• Published 30th Jul 2016
  • 3,136 Views, 69 Comments

The Night Mare's Guard - Shadow Quill

The Changelings haven't been sitting idle the three years they haved been gone. Now they're back and better than ever, with their sights set squarely on the alicorns of Equestria. One dark mare, shrowded in mystery, sits right in the crosshairs.

  • ...

11 The Changelings Rise

The soft evening breeze rippled through my fur as I waited, the moon sending silver streams through the branches of the willows. The stars seemed extra bright tonight, as if paying homage to their creator as I folded out the white blanket and set the simple wicker basket next to my flank. I checked over everything, knowing that this had to be absolutely perfect if I wanted to have any chance of trapping Luna. However, my fears faded slightly as the wind teased the feathers of my wings, making me almost wish I could stay in this form.

I sighed as I extended them slightly, letting the air currents dance over their surface while my mane flowed over my shoulder in a soft ripple. It’s almost a shame to have to ruin this night, but the mission must come above all else.

I opened my eyes again, hearing the soft thumps of approaching hooves on the neatly manicured grass. I glanced over my shoulder in time to see Luna stepping through the bushes, her eyes alight with wonder as they roamed around the clearing.

It was a perfect spot in all seriousness, the moonlight reflecting off of the perfectly smooth pond, with the stars twinkling overhead as the wind danced through the willow branches. Had it been anything more than a very pretty trap, I would have been shocked if a pony could resist falling in love in such a scene. But, that was the whole point behind doing this, to lower the Princess’s guard so that she would never see my attack coming.

“You have outdone yourself,” she murmured as she walked up to me, “I could never have thought that the gardens would be this beautiful at night.”

“Only because of your moon and stars,” I countered, “if not for them this would be a dark and lonely hovel, hidden in the depths of a forgotten wood.”

I saw the blush creeping up her cheeks as she sat down next to me, curling her legs under her chest as she eyed the basket, “You flatter me when it is not necessary. What did you bring for us to eat?”

I smiled as I flipped open the lid with a wing, pulling out my treats one by one as I set them out on the blanket, “A few of Copper Pot’s hidden treasures. A bottle of his finest Caberneigh wine, two platters of oat cakes smothered in his secret sweet sauce, a raspberry tart just big enough for two,” I winked at her and she giggled as I pulled out the last item, “and a bag of chocolate bits for us to share.”

Her eyes seemed glued to the fake gold coins, and I couldn’t help but snicker at the expression she was making at the foal’s candy. She shook her head as she looked back up at me, the affection towards me nearly making my stomach groan. Yet, I held off, knowing that if I filled up on her weaker emotions, there wouldn’t be any room for the main course.

“You seem to have gone to great lengths to pamper me,” she mused as she lifted one of the tarts in her magic, “is there some ulterior motive behind this little midnight rendezvous?”

I forced a blush to my cheeks as I rubbed the back of my head with my hoof, faking bashfulness, “Well you see Your Highne –”

“Have I not told you to call me Luna when we are alone?” She teased, her eyes flashing with mirth as the affection between us grew.

I nodded, smirking on the inside at how easy this was going, “You did say that.” I cleared my throat, “You see Luna, I might have brought you here for some reason other than to simply show you a good time.”

She leaned closer, placing the cake between her lips and looking at me through her eyelashes in the most adorable expression I had ever seen. She bit into the cake and prompted me to continue with a nudge of her hoof.

By that point I no longer had to fake the blush, it was simply too much seeing the Princess of the Night looking at me like a lost puppy while nibbling on an oak cake. “I-I may have developed some feelings towards you that might not be considered proper.” I averted my gaze despite how badly I wanted to continue gazing into her navy orbs, knowing that I had to nail this performance, “And I might have brought you here in the hope I could convince you to return those feelings.”

I closed my eyes, nearly laughing like a mad pony on the inside as the affection coming off of Luna was mixed with a large dosage of unease and surprise. However, those negative emotions quickly morphed into something nearly akin to lust, and I could feel her body heat as she leaned closer. Her hoof gently turned my head towards hers, and I nearly jumped out of my disguise as I saw how close she was to me. Her eyes were half lidded and her muzzle was only an inch from my own. I could feel her mane gently brushing over my shoulder, and I could smell the sweet scent of her breath as she lowered her leg.

“You might be surprised at what my answer is.” she spoke in just over a whisper, her tone sultry and warm as she extended her wings. I never thought I would see the day that a princess of Equestria would get the stiffies over a regular pony, but I could not deny what my eyes were telling me. Add in to that the waves of lust now coming off of her, and I had no doubt in my mind that she was just an inch away from falling in love with me. Now all she needed was that final push.

I pined my ears back and flared my wings, feigning my own arousal as I locked their joints, “And that answer would be?”

She didn’t speak, instead she leaned closer, closing her eyes fully as her lips connected with mine. I resisted the urge to fall into her embrace as the lust within her exploded into full-power love, and I drank it up like a starving drone. I could barely keep myself under control as the power surged through my body, nearly making me forget what it was I needed to do. Hoping to keep Luna distracted, I wrapped my forelegs around her shoulders, deepening the kiss with a soft lick on her lips. She moaned as she complied, and I used the moment to pull the Amulet out of my armor with my magic as our tongues danced in her mouth. I pushed her over, keeping our lips connected as her back settled on the ground. She moaned into my mouth again as her hooves held tight to my neck, and I smiled as I activated the Amulet, knowing that even if she wanted to resisting wasn’t going to save her now.

Her eyes flew wide as the magic drain began, our connection causing the flow to move directly through our lips. Her body began to glow a deep blue as mine radiated a fusion of green and white, her magic transferring from her body through mine and into the Amulet. The jewel in the necklace’s center began to rotate and glow with the same color as Luna’s magic, the metal shifting around it until the crystal was hovering in the center of an open sphere. Luna tried to get out from under me, but with my superior position I was able to easily pin her in place. Her hooves pushed against my chest, but in her current state she wasn’t able to do more than lift one of my hooves off the ground. Trying to fight my strength while doing everything to stop the magic dump proved to be more than even she could handle, because after a few moments of token resistance, her body fell completely limp as her eyes stared into mine. I couldn’t help the arrogant smile that crossed my lips as the last of her magic flowed into me, going so far as to nibble on her bottom lip in a dominant way before pulling back as the aura around her body faded to nothing.

She lay there, gasping for breath as I stepped away from her, her eyes locked on me as she tried and failed to speak. I spit several globs of resin on her hooves and wings, pinning them together and to her sides before turning towards her face. She was just sucking in a great lungful of air to scream when I cut her off with a resin gag. The air came out of her nose in a rush as she glared at me with all of the hatred she could muster, the pure fury of her emotions washing over me like a forest fire.

I chuckled as I shed my disguise, knowing that here there was no risk of discovery. “You never knew, did you? That the perfect stallion and willing guard was in fact your greatest enemy?” She tried to yell something through her gag but it came out as an intelligible mess. I bent down and smiled evilly as our eyes met, “You may be the keeper of dreams, but this is one nightmare that you will never wake up from.”

Her eyes widened as her hatred turned to fear, and I reveled in the thrill it gave me as I turned away, “I’ll come back for you later, but first I believe that your sister and I have some unfinished business.”

Her fear strengthened into outright terror as she screamed through her gag, and I laughed as I replaced my disguise. Oh my, it was good to be back on top. No more having to fake interest in stupid tasks or buttering up to ponies I couldn’t stand. I was Prince Silver Jacket, heir to the changeling throne, and tonight the mighty Princesses of Equestria would fall to my power. I cast a quick sleep spell over my shoulder as I slipped into the bushes, hearing Luna’s muffled protests instantly halt as her defenseless mind plunged into slumber. She’d be out for a couple hours, meaning I had more than enough time to take care of the rest of my targets before the sun was due to rise.

I made my way through the castle grounds, moving with stealth to avoid the Guard patrols until I entered the north wing of the complex. It was here that the royal quarters resided, and where I would complete my conquest of this once great nation. The first room I came to was attended by two members of the Guard, their eyes fixated ahead and their bodies standing strong against any possible threat. Yet, that stoic grip on their emotions faded as I walked up. I had slipped the Amulet into my armor to avoid any undue attention, and fixed a calm smile upon my face as I approached them.

“Good evening Captain,” the one on the left called out in a hushed tone, “what brings you to our neck of the woods at this hour?”

“I just had to deliver some important information to Princess Cadence and her husband.” I replied, “It’s urgent and requires their immediate attention.”

They shared a nervous look before turning back to me, “Would you like for us to announce you so they can grant you entry? I’m sorry, but we cannot simply let you into their private chambers, no matter how important it may be.”

My eyes glowed a bright green as I activated a mind spell, “That won’t be necessary, I’ll let myself in.” Their eyes flashed the same green for a moment before they slumped to the floor. I smirked as I walked past them and slipped through the doors. Mind spell gets them every time.

I pulled the Amulet from its hiding pace as I entered the lavish room, my eyes locking onto the two sleeping ponies in the center of the bed. I walked up and gathered the resin I would need in my mouth before spitting it onto each of their mouths. Their eyes flew open in shock and duel muffled cries escaped their muzzles before I pinned them to the mattress with my magic. Their eyes locked onto me as I activated the Amulet, their bodies beginning to glow a light blue and fuchsia as their magic was drawn out through their horns. The tendrils of magic flowed through the air and into the Amulet, causing its dark blue glow to become a tri-colored rainbow as it began to spin faster in its metal sphere. It only took a few moments before the glow around their bodies faded away, and I used my magic to remove the sheets before securing their legs and Cadence’s wings with more resin. Their eyes remained locked on me the entire time, the fear that radiated from their bodies nearly enough to knock me over as I walked out the same doors I had just entered through. A quick spell over the shoulder, and two more ponies entered the now unprotected realm of sleep.

Moving quickly, I made my way down the hallway to another set of doors, these marked with a purple starburst surrounded by six smaller white ones. I took a moment to settle my breathing, letting my heart slow down to normal speeds as I pushed the oaken monsters open. I slipped into the darkness and paused to let my eyes adjust, though what met my gaze was not what I had expected.

Lying in sleeping bags around the base of the bed, were Twilight Sparkle’s friends. The shock of their presence was enough to make me freeze for a moment, before a sinister grin plastered itself over my face. Here was one of the greatest threats our hive could face if things went south, wrapped up for me all nice and pretty like a Hearth’s Warming gift. I worked my way into the center of the room, being careful to avoid stepping on the sleeping dragon next to the white unicorn. After I made sure I had enough resin for the whole group stored for use, I activated the Amulet.

At first nothing happened, save for the ponies beginning to glow the same colors as their innate magic. However, that quickly changed as Twilight’s eyes cracked open. She only had enough time to gasp in shock before my resin clamped her muzzle shut and pinned her limbs to her body. Her struggles and muffled screams weren’t enough to wake the entire group, but it was enough to rouse a certain rainbow-maned pegasus. She was a bit faster than her alicorn companion, getting half of a shout off before I secured her to the wall and shut her muzzle for her. That cry was enough to wake the rest of the ponies, but by that point it was far too late.

The last of their magic flowed into the Amulet and it began spinning like a top as a true rainbow of colors flashed from within the crystal. Helpless and weak, it was a simple task to round up the lot of them and spell them back into slumber. I chuckled to myself at how easy this was turning out to be, and walked around the corner towards my final target. If this was the best defense the ponies of Equestria had to offer, I was beginning to wonder how mother had been repelled all those years ago.

Like with Prince Shining Armor and his wife, Princes Celestia’s room was guarded by two members of the Guard, although rather than simply having her cutie mark painted onto the doors, it was forged out of dozens of plates of gold, inlaid with topaz highlights that would no doubt radiate under the morning sun. The two guards proved to be just as easy as the pair previous, and I slipped into the room with barely a wisp of air to mark my passage.

I took a moment to look around the royal chambers and noted that it bore a striking resemblance to Luna’s only in a reverse of design. Instead of clockwork clouds and sun moving about across the ceiling, the night sky was nearly perfectly recreated upon the tile, the stars small crystals embedded into the stone while the mother-of-pearl moon hovered dead center over the bay windows that took up the far wall. To my right was a large desk, piled high with scroll after scroll and several ink wells made of polished silver. And last but certainly not least, was the massive bed that took up the entire left side of the room. The behemoth was nearly four times the normal size of a pony bed, although given the size of its occupant it wasn’t that surprising. The covers were a deep orange that reminded me of the sunrise, while the misty curtains that hung from the bedposts were a soft yellow not unlike that of a canary.

Behind those curtains, sleeping soundly, was Princess Celestia herself. Her normally flat expression had softened in slumber, her shoes and collar resting on the floor and bedside table respectively. Her crown was sitting in a silver bowl that had two prongs in the center to support it from behind. I took a second to inspect the sleeping princess before I activated the Amulet, my magic ready for any and all attacks that might come from the solar diarch. For a moment it seemed that the Amulet was working, Celestia’s body began to glow with a pure gold light, but as her body began to shimmer and fade I realized that I had been tricked.

The tiniest flash of malice was my only warning, and I leaped to the side as a blast of solar power vaporized the rock where I had just been standing. I spun around to see the real Celestia landing next to the doors, her horn aglow and her eyes narrowed in fury. Yet even then, I could barely sense the raw hatred coming off of her, like she was many miles away instead of mere feet from me.

“I wondered when you would come for me,” she stated in a flat tone as she looked me up and down, “I was expecting a unicorn to be behind the theft of the Amulet, not a pegasus. You may shed your disguise changeling, you cannot fool me when I know that form could not allow you the use of that artifact.”

I smirked as I flared my wings, “You may have seen through me, but you underestimate your enemy.” I let the ring of transmutation fire race up my body, revealing my true form as Celestia’s eyes widened in surprise. “I am no ordinary changeling. And your time ruling Equestria is over.”

Celestia recovered from her shock quickly, her eyes narrowing as the glow of her horn doubled in strength, “So Chrysalis has sent her heir to take what she failed to conquer. I’m surprised she would risk somepony so critical to her hive for such a task.”

“You forget, it also makes me several times more powerful than my drone brethren.” I countered, “A single drone would not stand a chance against you and your allies, yet in a mere hour, I have stolen the magic of every princess save for one, with a few extra ponies as a bonus.” I let my combat stance relax into a more dignified pose, my head level with Celestia’s as our gazes sparked against the other, “You cannot hope to defeat me as you are. I have the magic of three alicorns and half a dozen of the most powerful ponies in your kingdom under my control. You can’t possibly believe you can beat me.”

Her eyes narrowed as she flared her wings, “Be that as it may, I have faced foes stronger than you in my life, and I will not back down to anypony who threatens my subjects.”

She fired a beam of pure magic directly as the Amulet, and I realized that she was trying to destroy it before I could bring the stolen power to bear. I flung a shield in front of the blast, feeling my hooves slide on the floor as the overwhelming force of her attack impacted my spell. I knew I had one chance to beat her before she overpowered my shield, so I activated the Amulet’s second function. The metal shifted until it was once again an open sphere, but this time the crystal did not draw magic in. Instead, it slowed to a stop and then began to spin the other direction. Faster and faster it spun, and I could feel the magic it contained flowing through every pore in my body as the might of Equestria’s greatest surged through me.

I laughed as Celestia’s eyes widened in fear, her calm mask shattering as her true emotions surged out in waves. I let my shield spell fall, taking the brunt of Celestia’s might directly in the chest. And yet I did not feel it. The sheer difference in our power made her attack feel no more significant that a filly’s telekinetic grip. I turned to face her and let her magic impact the Amulet directly, activating the first function before she had a chance to react.

She cried out in desperation as she pulled her horn back, but it was too late. Already her body was glowing with the gold aura her double had before, and even as she tried to step away, her magic flowed into the Amulet like an endless river. I used the last of my resin reserves to pin her to the wall, using small globs on each of her hooves and wings instead of covering her whole body. Tears streamed down her face as she cried out in desperation, but I put a stop to that with one final glob across her mouth.

It took far longer than it had with the others, but even still, Celestia’s magic finally ran out. The stream from her horn trickled down to nothing, and she slumped in her restraints as she gasped for breath. The Amulet returned to its natural state and spun so fast it simply became a blur, the gold light of the princess’s magic completing the rainbow that it radiated from within.

I stepped up to Celestia, about to knock her out with a sleep spell, but stopped as she met my gaze with her own. There was a question in her magenta orbs, one that I could read as easily as if she had spoken it.

I lifted her head with one hoof, forcing her to meet my gaze directly as I spoke, “I’m going to use the very magic you hold dear to free my mother from her prison. With you out of the way nopony can stop us. You ponies thought we were defeated, but you couldn’t have been more wrong. We survived, we grew stronger, and now you will all pay for underestimating our might.”

I let her head go and she seemed to deflate as the true reality of her situation hit her. I could feel the desperate glimmer of hope fading to nothing as the inevitable conclusion reared its head in her mind. She had lost, and with the other princesses already disposed of, there was nopony left to stop what was about to happen.

I stepped back, using a small token of the magic contained in the Amulet to boost my teleportation magic. A ring of green fire sprang into being between me and Celestia, revealing a black abyss within its boundaries that led to a very specific location. I removed the Amulet and dropped it into the wormhole, the ring of fire closing around the necklace as it traveled to its new owner. I turned my back on the silently weeping Celestia and walked out onto the balcony, turning to face Mount Equinor as the first hints of dawn began to show over the shadowed crags. Then, with a thunderous crack that threatened to split the very sky, a beam of rainbow energy erupted from behind the massive mountain, and I could have sworn I could hear a mare laughing as the beam faded to a sliver before disappearing. I couldn’t help the smile that formed on my face as I looked back at the still Celestia, because Chrysalis had returned to rule over all of Equestria as its new Queen.

Author's Note:

So sorry to you guys for taking this long to update the new chapter, but my writer's block has been very real. :twilightangry2:
Anyway, I hope to get another chapter up in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for the next instalment of this epic tale.
See you all next chapter,
Shadow Quill, Messenger of the Moon.