• Published 23rd May 2016
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Tartarus Forged - SvenFoxx



Twilight winds up in Tartarus and is forced to adapt to survive. When she finally gets out, how will this new Twilight change things?

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7. Eternal Night, Part One: Homecoming For Two

Tartarus…
Twenty years after Twilight arrived…

“Well… This is it.”

Tirek nodded.

Twilight looked away. She didn’t know why this was so difficult. “… Thank you. For everything. I probably would have died who knows how many times if not for you. I know you only did it to use me, and I know you don’t care about sentimentality, but I just had to say it. Thank you.”

She jumped when a large hand landed on her shoulder, and looked up at Tirek. “If you ever grow bored of Equestria, you will always have a place here, Twilight Sparkle,” He then chuckled. “After all, you have amassed quite the reputation here.”

Twilight smiled and nodded, and then turned to the prepared ritual in the center of the room. She stepped into its center, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. “Right. Wish me luck.”

“My dog doesn’t need luck.”

There was a time when such a blunt reminder of her indentured servitude would have made her wince, but after twenty years of working for and learning under the centaur, Twilight now knew it was just his way of saying good luck.

Magical energy flared to life in her hands, and she directed it through the intricate ritual below her, making it come to life with swirling light. Waves of magic began to hide her from Tirek’s sight, and the world shuddered.

Twenty years ago, using this much magic would have triggered a Surge. Twenty years ago, she wasn’t trained by a master of controlling magic. Twenty years ago, she was Twilight Sparkle, Celestia’s Faithful Student.

There was a sound akin to the end of the world for just one brief moment… and then Twilight Sparkle, the Hound of Tirek, vanished with one final flash of light and power.

---

Deep in the void between worlds, a brilliant meteor of purple light streaked through the emptiness. Twilight kept her eyes forward and expression determined. After a small amount of time, a speck of yellow and blue light met her vision, and she felt her soul, her guide, swell with nostalgia.

‘Here I come!’ she thought with an almost feral grin, pouring even more magic into her propulsion.

She hit the barrier protecting her world from the ravages of the multiverse like a train, and passed right through it. Suddenly, a strange thought occurred to the once-Unicorn. She shrugged and grinned.

“Geronimo!” she hollered with glee on her approach to the planet below.

She never noticed the tingling in her body the moment she entered the dimension. She never knew that her biological clock was once more ticking.

She never knew Time had marked her.

---

Equestria…
Two years after Twilight vanished…

Sunset Shimmer grunted as she slid to a stop. She glared at her assailant, a shadow that imitated the basic Pony body structure, and using magic to attack her with a wicked looking crescent shaped sword and the occasional spell.

The Moon shone brilliantly outside, the Night dominating the landscape. It was well into morning now, almost lunchtime in fact, but that black Alicorn had not cared.

‘Nightmare Moon…’ Sunset thought, deflecting a beam of dark magic with a magic shield and trying, and failing, to use the same trick to kill the shadow. ‘If someone had told me that stupid fairy tale was real yesterday, I would have laughed in their face.’ Her eyes narrowed. ‘And Celestia knew. Why hadn’t she said anything before now? Is this the real reason why she’s been gathering magic users together for the last two years? Is that Twilight pony even real, or just another one of her manipulations?’

The black mare that was the Mare in the Moon had appeared just before sundown in the throne room, wiped out the guards with ridiculous ease, conjured the shadow to deal with Sunset, and then proceeded to attack Celestia in an almost feral rage.

‘Glimmer and ‘Burst picked a bad time to disappear,’ she thought ruefully.

Celestia’s words just before she got tied up in fighting the maddened Alicorn were still ringing in her head. Find the Elements of Harmony. Find Twilight.

She had no idea what the Elements of Harmony were, but she knew about Twilight. Maybe she was the owner of the Elements?

Sunset ducked under a horizontal swing, and then she saw her opening. Gripping the sword she had swiped from one of the knocked out guards in her magic, she stabbed it forward, reinforcing it beyond safe levels.

The sword began vibrating just as it slid into the slightly incorporeal body of the shadow, and then violently exploded with a flash of brilliant light. Sunset was knocked backwards by the backlash, and had erected a shield to protect herself from the fragments of the blade.

The shadow shrieked in agony, more from the magical light than the actual explosion. When the light died down, Sunset was relieved to find her opponent nowhere to be found. She turned and started at a dead sprint down the halls. ‘Now to get out of here.’

---

Celestia grimaced as magical blow after magical blow impacted against the golden shield surrounding her. Her reserves of magic were dwindling rapidly. If these attacks had been the work of a Unicorn, she could have outlasted them easily, but this was the full power of an Alicorn in her element. She would be lucky to last five more minutes.

The original plan had been simple. Send Twilight off to Ponyville with enough clues to lead her to the Elements of Harmony, but not enough that Nightmare Moon would be able to draw the location of the Elements from the Unicorn’s dreams in the worst case scenario. Then let her sister lock her in the Sun and conserve her power in case it was needed upon release.

Twilight’s disappearance two years ago threw a wrench in the gears, so to speak. Celestia spent a year desperately searching for the Unicorn, but when twelve months had gone by with no real clue as to where her student was… Celestia had begun to realize that she would have to use a last resort plan.

Cadence was safe from Nightmare Moon’s grasp, for now anyways, so in time a revolution will rise around her, but until then Celestia needed to distract her sister for as long as she could.

“Give up, Celestia. I have spent the last thousand years hoarding my power and training it. Even you cannot hope to match me now.” Nightmare Moon cackled, unleashing a fresh wave of siege spells.

Celestia was beginning to sweat now, and her body was growing sore from how much magic she was channeling through it. She could not win here, and they both knew it.

A crack formed in her shield.

Nightmare Moon seized the opportunity like a mare possessed, funneling a quarter of her immense power into that tiny crack. Celestia closed her eyes, knowing her end was approaching.

The shield shattered.

The ceiling exploded inwards as something moving too fast to be seen clearly hurtled through it, shooting straight for Celestia.

The barrage of magic overwhelmed the white Alicorn.

A very large section of the castle was suddenly much roomier.

“Well, I wasn’t expecting this when I arrived.”

Celestia’s eyes snapped open so fast she was distantly surprised that they didn’t get friction burn. ‘That voice!’

She realized she was being held n a grip vastly unlike a Pony's. The fingers she could feel were a clue. Looking up, she was met with the grinning lavender furred visage of a face she had been having nightmares about for two years.

Celestia examined this new arrival, and the first thing she noticed was her horn. Or, rather, the shattered stub where a horn should be. Eyes trailing down, she felt a part of her cry out at the eye-patch over one eye. She had to force herself to continue her examination. The mare stood tall like a Minotaur, bipedal with two arms and hands. Experience and a bit of guess work told her she was almost six feet tall. She wore a shirt made of durable leather and a pair of pants made of denim.

Strapped to her back was a sword that glowed white in the dark. Celestia could feel the Light magic within it easily. In a holster on her hip was a device Celestia never thought she'd see again; a handgun. It was remnant of a time when another species lived in Equestria alongside Ponies, and Celestia wondered where the mare got it. She had destroyed every last one she could find personally.

There was also a bag hanging from her shoulders that Celestia could feel a great deal of magic radiating from.

“Twilight?” she asked almost tentatively.

Twilight Sparkle smiled down at her. “Hi, Princess Celestia. Been a while, huh?” She chuckled.

Celestia jumped when a rose colored shield flared to life behind Twilight, deflecting a rather powerful siege spell. The bipedal Unicorn didn’t even turn around.

“Who dares interfere?!” Nightmare Moon roared, firing off another siege spell.

Twilight set Celestia down, not seeming to notice as the magic shield behind her didn’t so much as wiggle when the spell bounced off of it. Then she turned to Nightmare Moon.

“So, who are you?” she asked almost conversationally.

The black Alicorn snorted. “Yet another foal who cannot even spot the signs. Has your manipulation of the history books gone so deep, dear sister?” she asked Celestia, who was still staring at Twilight in shock.

Twilight frowned. “Sister?” she asked. After a moment of though she snapped her fingers. “Oh! Princess Luna! I read about you.” The frown returned, and slowly morphed into a glare. “No, that would be Nightmare Moon, wouldn’t it?”

Said entity smiled. It was not a kind smile. “So you do know of me. It seems you have me at a disadvantage. You know me, but I don’t know you.”

Twilight shrugged, and then bowed in exaggeration. “Twilight Sparkle, at your service.”

The sword was off her back and in mid-swing between blinks in Celestia’s point of view, neatly severing the pitch black ball of dark magic Nightmare Moon tried to surprise her student with. Both halves soared past the almost bored looking Twilight on either side.

“That wasn’t very nice,” Twilight said patronizingly, wagging a finger.

Nightmare Moon gaped when she suddenly found the mare less than a foot from her. She made to jump backwards, but was too slow and was punched in the face with far more strength than Twilight looked like she should have. She was sent skipping along the floor of the throne room to crash into the wall hard enough to dislodge some dust.

“Seriously, at least shoot me in the face, instead of waiting until I’m not paying attention. That was just insulting,” Twilight said, wiping some blood off of her knuckles with her shirt.

“T-Twilight?”

“Yes Princess?” Twilight asked, not taking her eye off Nightmare Moon as the Alicorn got her bearings.

Celestia’s poor brain was just getting hit with repeated surprise after surprise. Her student had returned. Her student was no longer a Unicorn. Twilight was actually good at fighting. Twilight had just slugged Nightmare Moon with enough raw physical force to lodge her in the wall!

“How… what…?”

Twilight sighed. “Short story; I landed in Tartarus, spent twenty years there, was forced into servitude under Tirek, and only recently found a way home.”

Celestia blinked. “…oh.” she muttered weakly.

Twilight started counting down in her head. 'Five, four, three, two…'

“What?!”

Twilight grinned, even as Nightmare Moon leveled her horn at her.

“You will pay for striking me,” the Alicorn growled, gathering magic in large quantities at the tip of her horn.

Twilight's grin vanished as she recognized the attack, and her gaze became cold. “If you fire that spell, I will kill you.” she said quietly, yet Celestia and Nightmare Moon heard her all the same.

The spell took on a green tinge.

Twilight slowly drew her sword. “Last warning. Don’t do it.”

“How cute. You think you can kill me.” Nightmare Moon smirked. The spell turned a sickly orange color.

“…I’m sorry, Princess Celestia.” Twilight whispered, just before vanishing in a blur of speed.

Nightmare Moon, however, was ready. She cancelled the spell and spun in place, lashing out with a magic enhanced buck straight into Twilight’s nose. She spun again faster yet and grabbed Twilight’s leg just as she started flying back, and yanked hard.

There was a crack, a scream, and Twilight hit the wall just as hard as Nightmare Moon had earlier. She crumpled to the floor, her sword clattering along the floor a ways away. Nightmare Moon erected a barrier only she could pass around it, having sensed the Light magic in it and not wanting to find out what would happen if she was hit with it.

Nightmare Moon approached the mare, her grin triumphant. “It was the height of arrogance to think you could kill an Alicorn.” She grabbed Twilight with her magic, hoisting her up. “Any last words?”

Twilight smirked despite the pain in her broken leg. “Yeah. Your situational awareness sucks.”

Nightmare Moon blinked, taking a moment to process that statement. And then Celestia slammed into her side like a meteor, wreathed in golden magic.

As Celestia proceeded to show Nightmare Moon why you don’t let the Alicorn of the Sun gather her strength for an extended period of time, Twilight set to work healing her leg. She wasn’t great with medical spells, but she could do a passable enough job until she could get to an expert.

After five minutes, she carefully stood up. It still hurt, but the bone was set and mostly mended. It would suffice. She looked towards the fight between Celestia and Nightmare Moon.

Celestia had not wasted her advantage, and had been unleashing spell after spell, punches, kicks, and anything that wouldn’t outright kill her sister. She was moving as fast as her body would allow, and was just managing to keep her sister on her back hoof.

It was becoming clearer and clearer as the fight was drawn out that Celestia had allowed her skills in battle to dwindle, while Nightmare Moon had only grown stronger.

It didn’t take long for the black Alicorn to finally get an opening and use it, grabbing Celestia’s hoof just before it impacted her face. “My turn.” she said, grinning maliciously.

“Wrong again!”

Nightmare Moon was, once again, blindsided, this time by Twilight. The bipedal mare drop-kicked her away from Celestia. Nightmare Moon righted herself mid-air, but was forced to dodge further back by a follow up blast of magic.

Twilight took a stance next to Celestia, and Celestia steadied herself, preparing another spell.

Nightmare Moon growled at them from across the room. She charged some magic into her horn, but then suddenly stopped, her ear twitching. She sighed. “It seems my attention is required elsewhere.” she said, stepping backwards and pulling the shadows over herself. “We will meet again, dear sister.”

“Oh no you don’t!” Twilight cried, lunging forward.

Nightmare Moon’s cackling laugh was all that remained as Twilight passed harmlessly through shadows. “Until next time, Twilight Sparkle.”

“Dammit!” Twilight cursed, pounding her fist into the floor and cracking the stonework.

Celestia slowly relaxed as the threat to her life vanished. Then she tensed up again as she looked at Twilight, suddenly realizing something very important when their eyes met.

‘…Now what?’ they both thought nervously.

Author's Note:

Alright, early update, and for a reason.

I'm going to a friend's house for the week, so I won't be able to focus on writing, and there likely won't be an update until next week. This second chapter is to tide you over.

1. Megalovania [DOOM Style] - Original author: Toby Fox. Remix Author: Malik The Hedgehog

I'm not entirely happy with a couple parts, so this chapter is subject to being tweaked later on. One of them is the song. I wasn't able to quickly find a fitting song, and ended up slapping one on just throw something there. That will likely get changed as soon as I find a good theme to go with thr first fight of the story. (Tirek's "training" of Twilight notwithstanding.)

Another is the fight itself. I just can't help this... meh feeling whenever I go over it. That will likely get a boost as well when I get home.

Stay Awesome!:rainbowdetermined2:

Nos Non Facimus Normalis.

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