• Published 25th Jun 2012
  • 11,572 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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Night's Call

A few days had passed since Applejack’s battle with what Twilight had later identified as an Ice Shifter. AJ had come to talk to her the morning after to ask her about it, and Twilight immediately had gone through about twenty books before finding it. Ice Shifters were an ancient creature from the mountains on the outskirts of Equestria. It had been nearly four centuries since they were last seen near any sort of city or town. Twilight had been far too curious and confused as to why, or even how it could have traveled so far, to notice that AJ was wearing her hat quite a bit more forward than she usually did.

With Spike’s assistance, Twilight was still researching the strange creatures many hours after Applejack had left. She was surprised at how little her “world-renowned” books knew about them, if they mentioned them at all, and found herself reaching for older and older books. By the time she was gently handling ancient manuscripts, even Spike felt the need to question it.

“Err, Twilight, I thought you said those old books were all myth and superstition?”

“They are… But they are the only ones with anything on these things at all! Most myths have a shred of truth in them. So, they’re a starting point at least.”

“Weeeellll… Alright…” Spike replied slowly, as he placed two of the books that had been deemed useless back to their place on the shelf. As he put back another, he paused to look down at Twilight from his spot on the ladder. “But… Are you sure that Applejack wasn’t, you know, mistaken?”

Twilight looked up from her pile of books to give him a look, her eyes dead-serious, even as they peeked over the old tomes

“Spike. This is Applejack we are talking about. I am positive, she is not mistaken.”

Hours passed in silent study. As the sun set, candles were lit, their flickering light glimmering off the yellowing pages, causing the books’ deeply inscribed symbols to flicker in shadow.

Twilight was sitting in the same spot she had been all night, her focus uninterrupted by anything… Anything until now, anyway. Her train of thought finally skidded to a stop as Spike belched loudly, a spurt of green flame from him quickly forming into a scroll that he quickly stepped forward to catch. Far from being irritated, Twilight was delighted at its appearance, she had heard so little from Princess Celestia, that anything was welcome at this point. That is, until she seen the seal.

“Silver? Celestia always uses a gold seal…”

“That’s because it’s not from Princess Celestia, it’s from Princess Luna!” Spike said, a little surprised as he gently unrolled the letter. “Wow. And I thought Celestia wrote old fashioned.”

“Spike.”

“Oh! Right! Sorry.” Spike apologized quickly, his cheeks flushing a little. He cleared his throat before reading the letter aloud in his practiced way;

“To Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic, Fluttershy, Bearer of the Element of Kindness, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter, Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty, and Rarity Belle, Bearer of the Element of Generosity-

“Really goes for formal doesn’t she?”

Spike.”

“Heh heh. Sorry.” Spike chuckled apologetically, before scanning the top of the letter for where he left off. “Where was I… To Twilight, yadda yadda yadda… Aha!

“I, Princess Luna, the Ruler of Dreams and Nightmares, hereby formally invite you to my court for an audience of great importance. A chariot will arrive shortly as escort.

“…I think the opening took up more of the paper than the actual letter did.” Spike muttered as he flipped the parchment over to make sure there was nothing written on the back.

Twilight rolled her eyes at his commentary as she stepped over to the door to awaken and fetch her friends. A second after opening the door however, a thought struck her.

“Wait. Me, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Rainbow, Rarity… What about Applejack?” Twilight asked, after confirming mentally that she had not heard her mentioned.

Spike looked back down at the letter he was carefully holding in his claws. “She’s not on here. I wonder why she isn’t invited?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we’ll find out.”


~~~


Yawning, yet excited and curious, the five friends somewhat sleepily walked down the grand hallway towards the throne room. Luna’s chariot had been more than speedy, and had certainly jolted them awake… But it was still just past midnight, and almost all of them had been in a dead sleep before Twilight had banged on their door. Pinkie Pie seemed wide awake, and it wouldn’t have surprised Twilight if she had been staying up half the night on her latest post-party sugar buzz. There was plenty of anxious whispering; Exchanged curiosity about the invitation between Pinkie and Rainbow, Fluttershy was worrying about her animal friends, and Rarity was still fussing about her appearance.

“Twili-“

“For the fifth time Rarity, you look fine, yes, you got all the night cream off, no, you did not leave a roller in, yes, Opalescent will be fine overnight, no, Sweetie Bell will not manage to blow your boutique up in the three hours we will be gone.”

There was a few second’s silence as Rarity stared at her in mild shock after her spiel. After a few more, Twilight looked over at her, catching Rarity’s stare.

“Did I forget anything?” She asked, her voice deadpan.

“Uh. No. You did not.” Rarity replied quickly, switching her gaze to the doors in front of them.

Two guards, coat’s charcoal grey, bat wings folded, armour silver and elegant, stood on either side of the door waiting for them. Twilight pleasantly noted that Luna had toned down her guards’ regalia while staying wholly herself. It actually looked gracefully spooky, without really being frightening. Fierce, but Elegant and Refined. She’s gotten the hang of this.

The doors swung open without a hitch, and the five stepped through into the throne room. Gone was the brilliant red and gold of Celestia’s court, rich blues and soft silver now decorated the room. An onyx throne stood on the high platform, and Luna, lost in thought, upon it. She looked up as they reached the centre, and gave them a small smile.

“Equestria’s heroes. Glad you could make it.”

Twilight wasn’t sure if Luna was displeased and was being mildly sarcastic, or if she was simply tired and wasn’t sure how one opened court these days, especially with Celestia’s informal way of doing things.

“I have called you here to ask of you something very important-“

Luna was actually cut off by Rainbow Dash yawning and commenting loudly;

“It better be. Ya got any idea what time it is?”

Twilight grimaced slightly at Rainbow’s lack of manners, and probably would have swatted her had she been within leg’s reach. Luna looked at Rainbow Dash in surprise for a second, before in a deadpan tone, but not unpleasantly, replied.

“May I remind you that I am the Princess of the Night. Therefore it has to be nightfall for you to join me in my court.”

Rainbow Dash flushed a little, and Twilight gave a small relieved sigh as Luna’s lips twisted into a slightly amused smile. Definitely the second one. Twilight decided, grinning a little herself at Dash’s embarrassment.

“Now, as I was saying…” Luna began again, pausing for a second to ensure there were no more interruptions, “I have called you here to discuss something important.

“Primarily, the fact that because of my Sister’s… Illness, the protective barriers around Equestria are weakening. This will allow some of the more mischievous creatures that have otherwise been kept out by her magic to come in. We need you to play the role of lookout for these creatures until my Sister has recovered enough to repair her barriers as only she can.”

When she paused again, Twilight felt it was alright to ask a question that was gnawing at her. “I remember Princess Celestia mentioning the barriers before, but I never got a chance to ask her how then the Changlings managed to sneak in.”

“Chrysalis is more than capable of wielding magic herself, so we suspect she most likely bent the barriers around her and her hive and got in that way. The creatures I am speaking of now only hold their own natural abilities… That, however, does not mean they are to be trifled with. Many are still exceedingly powerful.” She paused again, this time to lift a familiar gold box up from behind her throne. “Which is why I wish for you to have the Elements of Harmony on hand.”

The box opened to reveal the five necklaces and single tiara they knew so well. Luna, with a flicker of magic, placed each Element in a box, and gave it to their relative Bearer, entrusting Twilight to give Applejack hers. As the girls took them with a formal nod, Luna cleared her throat and picked up a second box, simple and wooden.

“Celestia also wishes you to have these…” The small chest opened up to reveal the five red tear-drop pendants, which she placed directly on to them. “They are protective medallions that she has made just for you.”

Twilight admired hers with a proud smile, as Pinkie Pie looked about for a second.

“Umm, where’s Applejack’s? She gets one too right?”

“Oh, of course. She has already received hers… My Sister gave it to her personally.”

“During her time here in Canterlot, I suppose… What was that Royal summons about, anyway?” Twilight asked, tone darkly inquisitive, while staying formal and polite.

She was Celestia’s student alright, as Luna noted with a hint of dark amusement. However, Celestia had made it extremely clear that she did not want Twilight to know what was really going on… She was absolutely convinced that the young mare would go charging off in some hare-brained mission to defeat Chrysalis and break the curse, and would merely end up getting herself killed. So now what?

“Oh, yes, the Royal Summons. A bit much, in my opinion... It was merely trivial matters.”

“Of course! I am sure I could have assisted in that as her student however… What was it that she specifically needed Applejack for?” Tone had still not left the polite and formal way of speaking Twilight had suddenly adopted… And yet… Definitely my Sister’s student.

“It was about… Apple tea.” Luna replied, making it up on the spot. She covered up her hesitation by quickly adding an embarrassed laugh. “Is that not a silly thing to go the extent of a Royal Summons to achieve? Tea. I suppose it makes her throat feel better, but all the same…” Luna trailed off, and with a small rush of relief seen Twilight’s guard go down. She actually believed her.

“Oh. Is that all. I guess apples is something that Applejack alone succeeds in.” Twilight sounded a bit embarrassed, and Luna gave her a big “Oh don’t worry about it” smile, while resisting the urge to face-hoof at her “apple tea” explanation.

“Well… Uh… If you don’t mind, your Highness… I really should be getting back to my animals.” Fluttershy asked meekly, and Luna’s smile became a relieved one instead.

“Of course. I have nothing else I need to speak to you about. You may go. Have a safe trip home.”

The second that the girls were out, and the doors shut securely once again, the royal guards found themselves trying hard not to laugh as Luna finally facehoofed with an audible clap.

Apple Tea. What in all of Abyssius’s Dark Dungeons was I thinking?!”