• Published 2nd Mar 2016
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The Missing Castle - chillbook1



Canterlot Castle goes missing, and it's up to the princesses to find it!

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Castellated: Uncut "True" Version

Author's Note:

This is the Uncut version of The Missing Castle. I had to trim down and flat-out eliminate certain jokes because it surpassed the word limit for the contest. But, upon rereading the original version, I realized that the cut content took a lot away from the overall story. Now that the contest is way behind us, I figured now would be as good a time as any to unveil the True Version of the story, for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy.

Princess Celestia was, unfortunately, a very heavy sleeper. She had the uncanny ability to sleep through most anything, whether it be loud noises or sudden shakes from her sister. Luna often joked that her sister could sleep through a war (it was a joke, of course, until it actually happened). Most staff in the castle knew better than to try and wake their princess. She was dead to the world, unable to notice anything in her slumbering state.

“Celestia! Wake up right this minute!”

Celestia heard nothing more than a faint buzzing, like a fly on the other side of a silent room. She rolled over in bed, raising her blanket higher to her face.

“Tia! This is serious! Wake up!”

Celestia stirred slightly, returning to the world just enough to recognize that Luna was shouting at her. She was in a tricky position. Luna had a habit of attempting to usurp the throne whenever she got upset, so Celestia would have to handle this gently. She would explain, delicately and with expert oration, exactly why she required no less than ten more minutes in bed.

“Lulu, I… sleepy…” mumbled Celestia.

“Celestia, I will shock you!”

“I love you too, Lulu…”

A jolt of shocking pain ran through Celestia, in and out in a second. That was more than enough to send Celestia up and out of bed, tumbling down onto the grass with a yelp. She dizzily stood herself up, clutching her head. She swiped the dew-damp blades from her legs absentmindedly.

“Luna, was that really necessary?” asked Celestia, barely stifling a yawn. She hardly noticed when a small songbird landed on her horn. “I thought you said that you would take sun-duty today.”

“I did. Your sun is raised, sister,” said Luna, glaring at Celestia was the heat of a thousand suns. Her glare was so intense that the bird took off for fear of its life. “That’s not why I woke you.”

“Then why did you wake me?” Celestia collapsed back onto her bed, but rose back once she heard Luna’s horn light up with magic.

“Was that a serious question?” asked Luna. “Take a look around! Notice anything different about the castle?”

For the first time, Celestia took a proper look around her room. Her walls had vanished, leaving her furniture laying out in the middle of a field dotted with daisies and peonies. Her bed lay just to the right of a calm, tranquil river. Luna stood just to the side of the bed, looking at her sister expectantly.

“Where in Tartarus are we?” asked Celestia.

“In a valley a few kilometers east of Canterlot,” said Luna. “Or, rather, a few kilometers east of where Canterlot used to be.”

“What?!”

“Last night, when you went to sleep, Twilight Sparkle invited me to dinner,” sighed Luna. She already seemed tired of the situation. “When I bid her farewell and returned home, Canterlot was some hundred hooves in the air. It vanished, and I managed to trace you back to this location.”

“And the castle?” asked Celestia.

“Nay. We need to find it, and soon.” She didn’t need to explain to her sister why that was so important.

However, Luna was mostly convinced by this point that Celestia was an idiot, so she explained anyway.

“All of our relics, our spellbooks, our magical defenses, all of them can be in the hooves of the enemy,” said Luna. “Gods forbid that something like Tirek took it. We may already be too late.”

“Are we sure that it’s not Tirek?” asked Celestia.

“Aye. I spoke to Cerberus as soon as the castle vanished. Tirek is locked where he belongs.” Luna gave her large blue wings a flap and fluttered into the air. “Come. We must meet with Twilight Sparkle if we are to find Canterlot and return her to her rightful place.” Celestia followed her sister into the air, raising an eyebrow in confusion.

“You see Canterlot as a mare?” asked Celestia. “I see Canterlot as a strong, handsome stallion. Smart, too. And kind. And good with foals. And-”

“You may consider looking into suitors some time soon, sister,” said Luna. “I fear you may have been alone for too long.” She set off to the southwest, Celestia right on her heels. Even at their top speed, it would take the sisters hours to reach Ponyville by wing, so Luna figured it’d be best to pace themselves. Besides conserving energy, it would give the two a chance to discuss some sort of strategy.

“So… Why are we going to Twilight, exactly?” asked Celestia. “Surely two goddesses can handle a simple missing castle.”

“I would agree with you, if not for the fact that it is our castle that is missing,” said Luna. “Our books are in the castle, we cannot do any research. We have no ingredients or materials for potions. Also, her mind would be a useful asset. As you know, she works exceptionally well under pressure, so her calm intellect could-”

The sky in front of Luna and Celestia burst with purple light, launching a similarly colored blur out towards them. The two princesses hardly had time to evade the purple projectile, which spread out its wings to catch itself and launch backwards. Luna managed to grip it with her magic, stilling Twilight Sparkle in the sky.

“Oh, hello, Twilight,” said Celestia. “We were just speaking of you.”

Then, Twilight burst into tears.

“Only good things, I assure you,” amended Celestia. “No need to get so upset.”

“P-p-princesses!” Twilight bawled. “I’m so, so, so sorry!”

“Twilight Sparkle, I am going to ask you to calm down,” said Luna firmly. “Stop crying and tell me what happened.”

Twilight sniffled, tried to catch her breath, then burst into a fresh batch of tears.

“I was with Starlight and we were having tea and then Pinkie Pie came in and started… There was frosting everywhere, and then Fluttershy, but then Spike came in, the shower curtains were burned, and…. The… the sink! Rainbow Dash tripped, and the sink, and-”

Luna fluttered over to Twilight and slapped her firmly across the face.

“Stop,” said Luna simply. Twilight gasped, panted heavily, then slowly came to a calm stop. “Good. Now, start from the very beginning.”

“And only the really important bits, please,” said Celestia. “We are in something of a rush.”

“B-basically? I lost the castle.”

Twilight yelped in terror as she dropped like a stone through the air. Luna realized her mistake a little too late, and Twilight would have hit the ground if it weren’t for Celestia catching her at the last second. Twilight shook free, and fluttered back up to her fellow princesses.

“You too?” asked Celestia. “This getting stranger by the second.”

“Wait, you lost Canterlot?” asked Twilight. “How could you be so irresponsible? I mean, a thousand years on the throne, surely you must have had some sort of measures in place against this?”

The alicorn sisters glanced at each other. Having been sisters for over a thousand years, they were able to discern meaning from simple looks.

No, we can’t banish her, glanced Celestia

Not even for a little while? tried Luna.

I’d love to, but then nopony would be here for when I want to take my vacation.

I can hear you two, stared Twilight. I learned your sight-language ages ago.

“Oh. Er… Apologies,” said Celestia.

“Let’s just get going,” said Twilight. Under her breath, she added, “Jerks.”


“Let me get this straight,” said Cadence, hiding her grin behind her hoof. “The three of you, all of whom are literally goddesses, lost your castles?”

Neither Celestia, Twilight, nor Luna could look Cadence in the eye. They stood before her in the Crystal Empire’s throne room, each of them staring at the floor while Cadence laughed and Shining rounded up the books they would need. In the meantime, Cadence sat in her crystal throne in her crystal castle, the crystal castle that she managed to keep an eye on, and she laughed. A lot. Cadence found the whole situation to be quite funny.

Really, very, quite funny.

“Cadence, we didn’t laugh at you when you got kidnapped by Chrysalis,” said Celestia. “Please, we’re your family. Show us some respect.”

“Well, Auntie, in regards to Chrysalis, you also lost to her, and you at least knew she was there,” laughed Cadence. “As for me, Chrysalis chloroformed me in my sleep. You had a fair fight. You even threw the first punch!” Celestia bloomed red in frustration and embarrassment.

“She was powered up on love!”

“I was drugged, and you’re God!” Cadence cackled. “And where were you, Auntie Luna? I seem to recall you doing a whole lot of nothing while your sister got her flank kicked by a bug!”

“In fairness to Princess Celestia,” said Twilight through her chuckles. “She was a really strong bug!”

“I don’t know what you’re laughing at, Twilight. Didn’t you lose to a stage magician?” asked Cadence. Twilight turned a shade of red similar to her mentor.

“Hey! She had the Alicorn Amulet!” whined Twilight. “She was really, really powerful! And, if you recall, there’s not a whole lot anypony can do about the Amulet. I outsmarted her, which is way more difficult than a simple magic duel! I convinced her to give me her weapon.”

“Twily, just last night, I was reading a book that contained twelve different counterspells to combat the Alicorn Amulet,” snickered Cadence. “Just last night, Twilight. And I got the book from your library!”

“What exactly is your point, dearest niece?” asked Luna. Cadence rose from her throne and slowly trotted towards her unofficial family.

“My point is that you three kind of suck at being… y’know, princesses,” said Cadence, wrapping her forelegs around the nearest two alicorns (Celestia and Twilight). “I may have been drugged and thrown in a cave while some bug had her way with my husband, but at least I never lost my-”

CRACK!!

Suddenly, the four alicorns were lain out on the hard surface that was crystal concrete. Cadence shakily rose to her hooves, bringing a hoof to her stomach to ensure that her precious cargo wasn’t damaged. Everything seemed fine, so she then looked up to see…

A steaming crater where her castle used to be.

“What in Tartarus?!” Cadence ran forward, frantically looking around in the same manner as someone who misplaced their keys and are now late for work. “How?! How did this happen?! We were just inside! Who?! How?! When?! Why?!”

“All of these questions, and more, we have asked ourselves,” sighed Luna. “I take it that the situation isn’t as amusing anymore?”

“No! Of course it isn’t!”

“So I suppose it’s safe to say that you also suck at being a princess?”

“I-... But-... Whatever,” sighed Cadence. “Let’s go find out who stole our castles.”

“Oh, I know who took them,” said Twilight.

Twilight very quickly had her personal space violated by her three co-rulers, all of whom stared at her expectantly. Twilight was too taken aback to immediately respond, so they all just stared awkwardly at each other for a few minutes.

“And you’ve known the whole time?” asked Celestia.

“Well, duh,” said Twilight. She took a step backwards. “It’s pretty obvious.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?” asked Luna. “That may have been very useful information to have had before flying all the way to the Crystal Empire.”

“Yeah, why did we fly, anyway?” asked Twilight. “We could’ve just teleported.”

In perfect unison, Luna and Celestia slammed their hooves to their respective foreheads.

“Yeah, yeah, you’re all having a dumb day today,” said Cadence dismissively “But who took the castles?!” Twilight took another step backwards, wanting to put as much distance between her and the others as possible.

“Well, it’s Discord,” said Twilight. “Who else do we know that could steal multiple castles without anypony really noticing? Who else would even consider something that crazy?”

This time, Cadence joined in on the facehoof festivities.

“So we have to find Discord?” asked Celestia. “If I know Discord, and, unfortunately, I do, that will be easier said than done. Where do we even start?”

“We could check his house,” said Twilight. “He’s probably keeping our castles in his dimension, after all. That’s probably a good place to start.”

Celestia decided that Twilight was probably correct. Trouble was, nopony really knew where Discord lived. He sort of just came and went as he pleased, and he made no effort to explain where he went or where he came from.

“I don’t suppose you know of a way to find him?” asked Celestia.

“I can open a portal to his realm right now. We'll be at his house in fifteen minutes,” said Twilight.

While this was only Cadence’s second, Luna and Celestia had just completed the facehoof hat-trick.

“What do you mean by that, Twilight?” asked Celestia flatly.

“Well, Fluttershy wanted to spend more time with Discord,” explained Twilight. “So I started picking apart the spell that lets me go into Sunset Shimmer’s world, and I was able to use those fundamentals to tune the mirror and have it send me to Discord’s dimension. It took me a few days, but I taught myself to cast the spell without the mirror at all.”

Cadence gently sat herself down, groaning in frustration. Not only was listening to Twilight mentally exhausting, but her pregnancy hormones were really starting to annoy her.

“How can you be intelligent enough to work all of that out, but also be stupid enough to not think about mentioning this earlier?” asked Luna. “Why didn’t you tell us?!”

“You never asked,” said Twilight. She stuck out her tongue childishly. “Must’ve been too busy deciding where to banish me.”

“Twilight, we were kidding!” said Celestia.

I wasn’t, looked Luna.

Obviously, neither of us were, returned Celestia. But what can we possibly say? We’ll lay low and figure it out later.

“I can still hear you!” exclaimed Twilight. “For the record, I could probably overpower the both of you and usurp the throne if I really wanted to, and you’re giving me a pretty deep desire to do so. If you do banish me, make sure you have another champion to send me back when I return.” She lit up her horn with powerful alicorn magic. “I’ll make Nightmare Moon look like the Flim Flam Brothers.”

Twilight fired her horn forward, splitting the very reality in front of her, leaving a span of nebulated, blackish-purple energy. The portal could just barely hold its shape, trembling and shaking in threat of collapsing beneath its own weight.

“That looks dangerous,” noted Celestia.

“You know what else is dangerous?” asked Twilight. “Irritating somepony who has beaten the two strongest gods you’ve ever fought. Now let’s go.”

She stepped through the portal, disappearing into the depths of the darkness. With a tired sigh, Cadence stood up and followed her through. Luna and Celestia, not wanting to leave a clearly angry Twilight alone with Discord, followed swiftly.

They fell through the other side, landing softly on cool blue grass that felt like little toothpicks. The princesses stood up, surveying their surroundings. They appeared to be on an island, one of many floating in the seemingly endless abyss.

“Where to now?” asked Cadence.

“Let’s check the map,” said Twilight.

“Map?”

Twilight trotted across the tiny island to a large map stand that somehow went unnoticed, despite only being a few yards away. Beneath the larger map was a compartment of small paper maps, of which Twilight took four. She then distributed them to each of the others and began planning out their route by marking it magically on the map.

“We head north to the Sealess Sea, then through the Field of Mild Annoyances,” said Twilight. “Then, we should go west through Minor Good Fortune Gulch, and then north through…”

“The Plateau of Pain and Suffering?” asked Cadence. “Dear Gods, this is going to be rough. Maybe I should sit this one out, seeing as I’m pregnant and all.”

“Oh, you’ll be fine,” said Celestia dismissively. “Alicorn babies are incredibly resilient. When we were fillies, I accidentally threw Luna down a flight of stairs, and she walked away fine.”

“Yes. ‘Accidentally’,” said Luna dubiously. “Still, Celestia is correct. Little Flurry Heart shall not be harmed.” Luna looked back down at her map, particularly at the last place they were supposed to pass through. “Though, perhaps it would be wise for us to scout the Plateau alone. Just in case.” Luna flapped into the air, followed by her fellow princesses. She led the way forward to the nearest island to the north. It only took them a minute or two to reach the considerably larger island, this one so vast that they couldn’t see the end of it. The princesses landed a few feet inland, expecting to feel the hard stone beneath their hooves. Instead, they unexpectedly found themselves to be submerged in some invisible liquid. Twilight, Luna, and Cadence managed to recover fairly quickly.

“Ah! Dear Gods, somepony save me!” squealed Celestia, flailing helplessly in nothing.

“She can’t swim,” said Luna flatly. She swam over to her sister and supported her in the nonexistent water. “How far?”

“Oh, just a quarter mile,” said Twilight, glancing at the map (which was magically still dry and readable). “Do you think you’ll be able to swim that far with Celestia?”

“I’m sure I can manage,” said Luna. “Come on, Tia, you remember how we did this last time. Don’t struggle, go where I go, please don’t splash.”

“I’m not a filly,” said Celestia, disappointed that Luna was able to predict her next move so easily. “Let us go.”

Even though Luna had explicitly told her not to, it only took Celestia a minute to decide that she didn’t care, and she soon started splashing her sister with invisible water.


“God, I can still hear that chewing,” grumbled Cadence, still complaining about the Field of Mild Annoyances. “Shining Armor always chews his cereal loud enough to wake the whole kingdom!”

“Could be worse,” said Twilight darkly. “I heard somepony continuously mispronouncing ‘library’. For the love of everything holy, why do so many ponies insist on saying ‘lie-berry’. Geez…”

“On the bright side, I found a bit in Minor Good Fortune Gulch,” said Celestia brightly. “It makes the sound of constantly clicking pens almost worth it.”

“Now is the really hard part,” said Luna. She stopped her little party (apparently, she and Twilight were alternating the leader role) just before a long flat of blood red stone. On the other side, about a kilometer out, they could make out the shape of what they assumed to be Discord’s house. “This is The Plateau of Pain and Suffering. Who first?”

You could hear a pin drop after that. For hopefully obvious reasons, nopony really wanted to trek through a place with a name like that. Cadence watched the three-way standoff, nopony keeping lasting eye contact with another.

“You know, I really think Princess Celestia should take this one,” said Twilight. “I mean, she’s older than all of us. She’s supposedly stronger than us, too. She should be able to take it.”

“Or, here’s an idea,” suggested Celestia. “Why not Luna? She managed to take a full blast from the Elements of Harmony. She’s clearly very resilient.”

“Very fair point, however, I believe that Twilight Sparkle should be the one,” said Luna. “After all, she is the youngest of us and hasn’t made the same sacrifices. I think you should… I believe the term is ‘take one for the team’.”

“For Gods’ sakes!” said Cadence loudly. “I’ll do it!” Without waiting for anypony to attempt to stop her, she cantered forward, crossing the threshold of the Plateau. The others sat in wait, chewing their hoof-nails (however that was even possible). Cadence trotted in a small circle, then let out a curious sort of grunt.

“Either I have a really high pain tolerance, or this place is really inappropriately named,” said Cadence. “Come on! We’re almost there!”

Twilight, Celestia, and Luna followed across the Plateau. As soon as they passed the threshold, debilitating agony ran through their bodies, dropping them to the ground for a second. Just as quickly as it came, it vanished, leaving the three princesses gasping for breath.

“Oh. I guess I do have a really high pain tolerance, then,” said Cadence. “Are you guys okay?”

“Oh, of course they are! Do you think I’d really harm my guests?”

It was a voice that made all four alicorns groan. A voice that only took one listen to burn into memory forever. Smarmy and smug and amused, all at the same time. The King of Chaos. The Spirit of Disharmony. A being that could still the heart of even the bravest of heroes, yet still bring a smile to a small child’s face. Weighing in at six hundred and seventy pounds and standing at seven feet, six inches tall-

“They get it!” snapped Discord. With a shower of sparks and a confetti, Discord dramatically rose from the very ground a few meters away. “The nerve of some people… Just ruined my entrance!”

“Discord!” Celestia stamped her hoof to get his attention. “Get over here right this min-”

“Hey! Celly! Loony! Caddy and Twi-twi!” Discord flashed a mischievous Cheshire grin. “I have something amazing to show you!” He turned to face nothing. “And you! We will talk later about your inconsistencies throughout the story! Feet, hooves, yards, kilometers, miles, and meters? What measurement system are you using?!”

Apparently just remembering where he was, Discord wrapped himself around his “guests”, then snapped his claw. A blinding light flashed, engulfing the entire party. When the light faded, they had all moved across the Plateau, and could now properly see the structure that they formerly thought to be Discord’s house. If it was his house, then he had made many renovations over the past few hours.

The most obvious features were Canterlot’s towers, which were scattered along the Crystal Empire Castle’s front. They could make out the very top of Twilight’s Friendship Castle in the back. All of this was on top of several other inverted castles, most of which were unrecognizable. The four princesses stared at the architectural abomination with a mix of confusion, awe, and annoyance.

Discord grinned in delight.

“What did you do?!” demanded Twilight. “That’s our castles! What is that?!”

“I’m soooo glad you asked, Twi-twi, and yes, I am going to continue to call you Twi-twi, so there’s no point in asking me not to,” said Discord, all in a single breath. “So, I was thinking to myself, I said,” Discord slithered over to the right and slipped a top hat (which he produced from thin air) onto his head.

“Discord, you’re the King of Chaos, aren’t you? To which I replied…”

He slipped to the left, replacing the top hat with a lavender fedora.

“Why, I most certainly am the King of Chaos! ”

Discord changed position and swapped hats.

“If you’re the King of Chaos, and we must assume that you are, why is it that you don’t have your own castle?”

He switched to the fedora.

“That is a truly fantastic question, me! Do you know what we should do?”

He didn’t bother to change hats, instead slipping the top hat right onto the fedora.

“What should we do, old chap?”

Discord stacked a third hat, this one belonging to Applejack, on top of his head.

“Y’all can bet that we’re gonna build one!”

“Discord, if you wanted your own castle, you could have asked us,” said Cadence.

“I have plenty of materials you could’ve used to make a castle,” said Celestia. “In fact, there are still left over blueprints from when Starswirl the Bearded was going to make one for you. You could’ve used that.”

“And I was going to, honest, but then…” Discord snaked his way up the castle, laying atop one of the Canterlot Castle towers. “I realized just how fond I am of Canterlot Castle. And then, when I was taking that, I passed by Twilight’s castle, and I figured that would look good, too!” He wriggled away to the crystal tree that Twilight lived in. “And the Crystal Empire has a wonderful castle, I couldn’t just leave it out!”

Twilight rubbed her temples tiredly. Trying to make sense of Discord’s motives was always taxing work. Try as she might, Twi-twi just couldn’t explain an enigma like Discord.

“Let me get this straight,” groaned Twilight. “You stole Equestria’s castle because… you thought they looked nice?”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” scoffed Discord. “I stole a bunch of castles from all over the multiverse!” He pointed out castles in the bottom portion. “Atlantis, Castlevania, Hyrule Castle, Castle Black, Castle Grayskull, Hogwarts Castle, Disney Castle, White Castle, Isengard- GAAAAAAAABLFMMMMMMMMM!

Discord twitched in pain, then dropped to the floor, unconscious. The four alicorns waved the remnants of their shocking spells from their horns, snickering among themselves slightly.

“Great minds think alike,” said Twilight. “Come on, let’s get these things home.”

The princesses looked at the mass of buildings. They didn’t know where most of them came from, and it would be tough to send them back. More immediately, however, they’d need to drag their castles through Discord’s realm, through the portal, and back to their rightful positions.

“Screw that,” said Cadence.

“Yeah, that’s not happening,” agreed Twilight.

“We’ll build new ones,” said Luna. “Let Discord keep this mess.”

“Excellent. I’ll raise taxes as soon as we get home,” said Celestia, a bit too cheerfully. She just really wanted to electrocute Discord.

The four princesses trotted away from Discord’s Castle, leaving it behind. What they didn’t know was that everything that was in the castle when it was taken is still there.

Including ponies.


“So…” said Starlight Glimmer, staring out of the window as Discord hit the ground, a twitching, smoking mess. “Does this sort of thing happen often?”

Rainbow, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Applejack, and Rarity looked at each other thoughtfully.

“Yup. Pretty much.”

Comments ( 5 )

Multiple measurement systems is but a minor quibble compared to this story's major flaw.
You named Flurry Heart while Cadance is still pregnant.

7308436 This came out after we learned her name but before we learned the context in which she got it. Prior to her episode, I just assumed Cadance picked the name out of the blue.

7309302
That makes sense. I'd initially chalked it up to another intentional plot hole (like the metric/imperial).
I wasn't trying to accuse you of negligence, nor suggest the story was meaningfully worse for the name inclusion, but I couldn't think of a way to convey that in my previous comment.

7309471 Worry not, friend, I'm just happy to receive comments on the story.

Thanks for reading

I enjoyed this. And I agree with you this 'true' version is way better then the contest one. I say my fav part was the silent talking between the Royal sisters and Twilight.

-BFBL

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