• Published 30th Jul 2016
  • 2,560 Views, 68 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.

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16 Only the Strong Shall Stand

Everypony and everyling present gaped at my new form, the ponies shifting their gazes from my horn to my tail and back again, as if trying to fathom what had happened. I turned and looked towards my mother, noting that even she was beyond words at my transformation.

“What have you done?” She whispered, her eyes slowly moving to match mine, “What did you do to change like that?”

“I think I can answer that,” I spun around at Celestia’s words. She stepped forward until she stood between me and the protective line of Shards, “My sister and I had theorized it was possible, but we never imagined that a changeling could perform it. Even the possibility of a pony doing what you just did is next to impossible.”

My gaze narrowed in confusion, “What do you mean? What happened?”

This time Luna stepped forward, her eyes still wide with shock, “Self-induced Alicorn Ascension. You performed an act that made you worthy of becoming an alicorn, but instead of being changed by either my sister or I, you did something so dynamic, so life-altering, that you produced the magic necessary for your transformation all on your own.”

My own eyes widened as the meaning of their words hit me in the chest, “You mean I’m like you, a pure-blood alicorn?”

They nodded, “Unlike Cadence and Twilight,” Celestia said, “you are ageless, and as such will live forever unless you are killed by either disease or injury. It would seem that your conviction to save us ran far deeper than we could have imagined.”

Nopony spoke after she finished speaking, and for a moment I was unable to formulate a straight thought as the sisters’ words played over and over in my mind.

I was pulled out of my reverie by quiet laughter from behind me. I turned around and spotted my mother, head bowed and eyes closed, as she cackled like somepony had just told the most hilarious joke.

“You really expect me to believe,” she forced out between gasps, “that my traitorous son has done something that not even one of your little ponies has ever been able to do? Oh that’s rich, truly a testament to Fate’s twisted sense of irony.” She cleared her throat as she straightened, regaining her composure as her expression turned dark, “Still, my son’s miraculous transformation notwithstanding, you are still my prisoners, and no amount of luck or trickery will ever change that.”

The Amulet began to glow as she took a threatening step forward, “Now all of you will surrender to me, or face the combined magical might of Equestria’s most powerful ponies.”

I squared my shoulders and signaled Carapace to step up to my side. She did so with all due haste, her ears perked towards me as we stared down my mother and her group.

“See to is that the ponies are safely evacuated from the castle,” I whispered, just barely loud enough for her to hear, “Kill the guards if you must, but I am charging you with their lives and their continued freedom.”

“What will you do sir?” She returned, “You can’t possibly stand against Chrysalis alone.”

“I don’t have to stand against her,” I countered, “just buy you enough time to get away. I don’t plan on dying today, but I’m the only one with even close to enough power to keep her busy.”

She nodded solemnly, “Good luck to you, it’s been a pleasure serving you sir.”

I smiled as I took a step forward, “Please, call me Silver.”

She nodded as she turned to face the others, “Make it back to us in one piece, Silver.”

Mother watched the entire exchange, her eyes narrowed in confusion as she watched Carapace race back to the others. “What did you tell that guard?”

I schooled my features into a mask, “Nothing you need to concern yourself with. Your opponent is me. Leave the ponies out of this.”

“No Silver!” Luna cried as the Shards began to herd them down the other tunnel, “She’ll kill you!”

I cast my gaze over my shoulder at her, letting a small smile grace my muzzle as our eyes met, “Hey, have a little faith in me, after all, I have somepony I have to come back to.”

Her eyes widened slightly before she nodded and turned down the stone hallway, leading the others out of sight as I turned to face my mother.

Her eyes flickered with contempt as she pointed the way the others had gone, “Capture the ponies and return them to their cell. Knock them out if you must but do not hurt them. Kill the traitors.”

I made no move to stop them as the smaller changelings raced by me on either side, my gaze locked with my mother’s as we were left alone.

“Why waste your life on them?” She asked, “You know you don’t stand a chance against me.” The Amulet flared as she began to radiate magic from her body like a torch, “Stand down now and I promise to make your death swift and painless.”

I charged up my own horn, feeling the different magic surging through my body in far greater amounts then I had ever felt before, “You have hurt them long enough, mother. I will not let you keep them under your hoof any longer. I’ve made my choice. The only way you’ll get past me is to kill me.”

Her eyes flashed with fury, her fangs bared in hatred as her horn ignited. Realizing that I would not last two seconds in the tunnels around us, I quickly envisioned the plains below the castle. A sphere of ice blue magic enveloped me, and I vanished with a pop as a surge of rainbow fire erupted from my mother’s horn. I felt like I was compressed and stretched at the same time, unlike the gravity effects I was used to from teleportation, and stumbled slightly as my hooves came into contact with solid ground again. I took in my surroundings and was pleased to see that I had indeed landed in the grassland below the palace, although my pride was short-lived as a blast of pure magic punched a hole out of the rock halfway between the castle and the mountain’s base.

Chrysalis flew out of the hole created by the magic beam, quickly diving down at me with her horn forming another spell. With no time to think and little to go with, I used my magic to charge my own body with extra speed and strength, hoping that if I couldn’t overpower her, I could at least outmaneuver her. I dodged as several bursts of magic impacted the ground around me, kicking up massive clouds of dust and dirt as the spells vaporized anything in front of them. My eyes widened in surprise, although given how pissed my mother seemed to be I guess it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise that she was trying to blow me to bits.

She impacted the ground not too far to my left, obscuring her movements with another plume of smoke, although I was smart enough to dance to my right as another beam of supercharged magic shot out of the cloud.

“You will die a slow and painful death for betraying me, Silver Jacket!” She cried as the smoke around her was blown apart by a shockwave that threatened to knock me flat.

Her eyes were absolutely livid, and for the first time in my life I was glad I couldn’t sense emotions. I would have probably been sick from the raw fury she was expressing, if not completely incapacitated.

“Well if I’m going to die a slow and painful death,” I taunted, “you could at least do a better job of trying to hit me.”

I hoped that as long as I kept her mad, she wouldn’t be able to focus enough to actually fight. If she got serious I’d never stand a chance.

“Buzzing from an insignificant insect,” she hissed as her eyes flared white, “I’ll burn you to a crisp and hang your horn on my wall!”

A bubble of superheated air erupted from her body as six beams of sickly green fire shot out in all directions. I flared my wings and dodged backwards as the first stream of magic impacted the ground where I had just been standing. I had no time to do anything except react as the other beams homed in on my position. Over and over again they impacted the dirt just inches from my hooves, and I could feel the heat singing my new fur along my legs and chest with every explosion. I took a moment to catch my breath as the attacks came to a brief end, sending a beam of my own magic back at her in the vain hope of doing harm.

She laughed as my magic impacted her chest, the power surging through her body deflecting it like water over a stone, “Did you really think that would do anything to me? You must truly be a fool if you think you can hope to stand against me with so little magic at your disposal.”

I growled as my horn flared with magic again, “You seem to think I’m trying to beat you. I know how much magic is in the Amulet. What could have led you to believe that I had any hopes of beating you in a straight fight?”

Her eyes changed from angry to confused, the power around her body fading slightly as she searched my gaze, “What are you planning?”
I grinned as I fell into a combat crouch, “Now that would spoil the surprise wouldn’t it?”

I let my magic envelope me again as I teleported, coming back to myself directly in front of my mother’s muzzle. Her eyes widened in shock as my hoof made contact with the Amulet, only for my own to widen in fear as my hoof phased right through her body. Her after-image vanished from my sight, and I hastily threw up a shield as I was knocked over by another magic beam. I tumbled along the ground for several hundred feet before coming to a halt, my legs and wings aching as I forced myself back to my hooves. My limbs felt like they had taken quite a beating, and I winced with each breath as what I assumed to be cracked ribs protested my actions.

I teleported again, dodging another beam attack as I reappeared about twenty yards to the left. I stumbled as I came out of the jump, and barely missed getting my head removed as a blast of fire singed my back and wings. I grunted in agony as my burnt fur and feathers protested, along with my other injuries. However, I wasn’t given any time to recover before another eight beams of magic impacted the ground around me, throwing up choking dust and smoke as I tried to cover my mouth and nose with a hoof.

I did my best to clear the dust as my eyes watered and my lungs burned, but I wasn’t fast enough to see the next attack coming. Chrysalis came barreling through the smoke on my right and planted her forehooves in my ribs, breaking those that has already been cracked and popping my right wing out of its socket. We tumbled across the ground for several yards until we came to a crashing halt. Her hooved were planted into the dirt on either side of my head, while her hind legs pinned my lower half under her weight.

I did my best to hold her gaze as she sneered down at me, taking shallow breaths to avoid aggravating my partially caved-in ribcage. Her eyes shined with victory as she lowered her head towards me.

“You see, my son, there was never any hope for you. Even as you are now there was never any doubt that I would win.” She grinned as she lifted her head high, “Any last words before I send you to the next world?”

I ground my teeth as my horn flared, my final spell targeting the edge of the forest between the plains and Ponyville, “Come and get me.”

I vanished and reappeared at the edge of the wood, my body erupting in agony as my broken ribs and dislocated wing made themselves known again. I used my magic to force my wing back where it belonged, hissing as jolts of lightning ran up and down the limb. I used a basic healing spell to return my ribs to their formerly cracked state, although at the moment that was all I could do. For some reason I imagined being an alicorn would mean I had a lot more magic than this, although compared to my mother right now nopony had very much
magic.

I limped into the shelter of the forest, hoping to buy some more time with a game of hide and seek. However, my hopes were dashed as a ring of emerald flames torched the grass between me and the shadows beyond. Chrysalis appeared from the black abyss with a bored expression, her stance relaxed and her wings folded.

“Must this really go on any longer?” She asked in a weary tone, “you are obviously running out of magic, have several broken bones and yet you still defy me. Why can’t you see that you have lost?”

I did my best to stand straight, although my left hind leg refused to hold my weight, “I will stand against you as long as it takes, as long as the ponies you held prisoner get to safety.”

She rolled her eyes, “And there goes that bravado again. Really, must it be so difficult to simply give up and surrender? You’re only making it worse for yourself by prolonging this pointless scuffle.”

I tried to channel magic through my horn, but all I got was a pitiful fizzle and a few sparks, “It would seem I am at the end of my rope. I’d try and beat you with my bare hooves, but we both know how that would end.”

Chrysalis’ gaze now took on a light that resembled pity, “Now this is truly pathetic. I’m almost tempted to let you live and take your magic. But, alas, I have some wayward prisoners to track down, so I guess this is goodbye.” Her horn ignited as a ball of fire formed over her head, “Any last words before we end this?”

I did my best to burn a hole in her head with my gaze, “You will never hold this country, not so long as the ponies are alive to fight back. One way or another, they will find a way to defeat you.”

She snorted in contempt, “Not bad for a final speech, too bad the only pony who will ever know what you said is me.”

With that she launched the spell at me, and I realized for the first time that I was truly going to die. Not just injured, not just sick, but actually die. I would have gotten out of the way, but my body had run out of steam. I couldn’t move if I wanted to. I stared down the emerald death as it bore down upon me, and I was preparing for the agony of impact when something unexpected happened.

Two hooves planted themselves against my left side, propelling me out of the way as the fireball impacted where I had been standing. I skidded to a halt a few feet away, lifting my head in shock as I tried to figure out what had happened. A cloud of smoke was rising from a small crater, and as the dust settled I was able to make out a form lying in the dirt. At first I didn’t know what I was looking at, but as the pastel mane and white coat became visible, my eyes widened in shock and horror at what I was seeing.

Princess Celestia had taken the spell in my place.

Pounding hooves echoed through the air as the rest of the group raced along the tree line, the ponies far outstripping their changeling protectors as Luna and Twilight led the charge.

“CELESTIA!”

“SISTER!”

Everypony came to a skidding halt at the edge of the crater, their eyes wide with horror as Luna and Twilight fell to their knees beside the wounded diarch. I pushed myself to my hooves and forced my body to move, my eyes locked onto the savage hole that took up nearly half of the Princess’s flank. The broken stubs of ribs lined the horrendous wound, while blackened flesh slowly oozed blood into her open chest cavity. Her breathing was labored and she coughed up thick streams of blood as her eyes slowly opened.

Luna cradled her sister’s head in her hooves, caring not for the blood that was staining her coat, “Hold on sister! We shall save thee!”

Celestia formed a weak smile as her sister’s tears dripped onto her cheek, “You’ve slipped into the Royal We again Lulu.” Another string of coughs shook her fame, adding more blood to the growing pool beneath her head and body.

Twilight was nearly incoherent because she was crying so hard, “W-Why Celestia? Why w-would you d-do this?”

Celestia’s gaze slowly moved to her former student, “Because it was a sacrifice worth making. You may not see it now, but Silver Jacket is the only one who can save us.” Her gaze narrowed for a moment, “No that isn’t right. Silver Jacket was a changeling king, who wished to control ponies like his mother.” Her gaze moved to me, “You are no longer that pony. You must have a new name for your new life.”

“Sister, now really isn’t the time,” Luna was cut off by a sharp look from her sister, although the ailing Princess’s gaze softened once it returned to me.

“My time in this world is coming to an end. With all of my authority as Princess of Equestria, I name you Prince Noble Light, defender of Justice,” she coughed several times, although her lips were curled into a smile as her gaze returned to me, “and my successor.”

Gasps escaped every mouth in the vicinity, including my own, although there was one pony who wasn’t rendered speechless.

“You cannot be serious, sister!” Luna cried in outrage, “after everything he’s done to us, to me?! Please, rethink this action before you regret it Tia!”

Celestia moved her gaze up to her sister, “My mind is clear dear Lulu. I know what I am doing. Somepony must raise the sun after I am gone, and I know that you would never be able to handle leading our little ponies alone. Forgive Noble Light for his mistakes. He has made up for them by freeing us this day.” Her eyes began to flutter as her breathing began to weaken, “Take care of each other, and I will see you in the next world.”

“Tia?” Luna asked as Celestia closed her eyes, “Tia!”

There was no answer. Celestia’s flank had grown still.

For a moment nopony moved. Then, like a pin had dropped, all of the ponies rushed to the fallen Princess’s side, doing what they could to rouse her.

Finally, after several seconds of everypony shouting out Celestia’s name, Luna’s voice echoed off the trees as the Royal Canterlot Voice rang through the countryside.

ENOUGH!

Everypony fell silent, wide-eyed and shocked into submission as the Lunar Diarch slowly rose to her hooves. “There is nothing we can do for her now. My sister has left us for the Golden Fields.”

“But Celestia can’t be dead!” Twilight cried, her face soaked with her tears as she turned her gaze to her former teacher, “She just, can’t be.”

“Why couldn’t it have been me?!” Rarity wailed as her makeup ran down her face, “It should have been somepony else!”

“If only I could have flown!” Rainbow Dash growled as she glared over her back at her wings, “I could have saved Noble and kicked Chrysalis’ flank at the same time!”

“I just can’t believe it.” Applejack seemed to be in a state of shock, her eyes locked with her fallen princess as she sat rooted to the spot.

Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie were crying into each other’s manes, too wrapped up in their sorrow to pay attention to anything else. Cadence was lying next to her aunt, holding her about the neck with her hooves as she silently wept, Shining Armor looking between his wife and Celestia with a completely lost expression.

It was at that moment that sick laughter echoed around us, and all eyes turned to Chrysalis as she slowly approached our group.

“Oh this is too good.” She cackled, “Not only do I get to kill my traitor of a son, but I also get to feed off of all this delicious sorrow and pain. Oh it must be my lucky day.”

Shining Armor had to hold back Luna while Applejack held Rainbow Dash by the tail. Twilight looked like she wanted to rip Chrysalis’ throat out with her bare teeth, while Cadence had to be stopped by Rarity and a miserable Pinkie Pie. Fluttershy simply hid behind the others as she curled up in a little ball.

“Oh don’t look at me like that,” Chrysalis drawled as she stepped past them and up to Celestia’s body, “We all know I could do the same to all of you if I so wished. But then there wouldn’t be any fun for me if I destroyed all my little toys.” She ran a hoof through Celestia’s mane, “A shame though, I was enjoying watching Celestia stew in her own helplessness. Oh well, that’s the way the cocoon cracks I guess.”

For a moment it looked like the ponies were going to jump Chrysalis, magic or no magic, but they were stopped as I took several steps towards my mother. The pure murderous intent in my gaze must have made them reconsider their actions, because all of them backed off and moved behind the Shards as I advanced on the changeling queen.

“You have taken the life of somepony that should never have had to die.” I hissed as lightning began to travel across my body, striking the ground around me as my eyes flashed from normal to white and back again. “You did something that nopony would have ever dreamed of doing. You killed one of the most beloved ponies to have ever lived, and now all you can do is laugh as you desecrate her memory.”

I could feel a magic surge traveling through my body, making my fur stand on end and my eyes flash fully white as I stopped mere feet from Chrysalis, “I will give you three seconds to surrender, or else I’m not going to hold anything back.”

Her eyes widened and her lips curled in glee, “Yes, let your anger flow through you. I want to feel your fury when I drain the magic out of your pathetic pony body.” She turned to face me, the Amulet glowing as she charged up its power, “I will revel in this conflict, and I will delight as I make you scream in agony.”

I turned to the rest of the ponies, holding back my power as much as I could for their sake. I met each of their eyes, along with those of my Shards, and gave them all one simple order.

“Run.”

Author's Note:

Please don't hate me for what I just did!!!! Yes I know she's a huge part of the show but in this story Celestia was destined to die. I planned on having it be this way from the get go, and I planned on having Noble Light go nuclear when Chrysalis started rubbing it in their muzzles.

Comment about it if you want but no hate mail please!!

Anyway, I do have some good news for you. This was meant to be posted on the 2nd as a birthday gift to all of you, but given I was turning 21 and we were going out to dinner at an Irish pub. Yeah you all know where that ended up going. The next day I was mostly asleep on my hooves and the next I had to catch a plane across the country to get back to Alaska from D.C. Needless to say I've been a bit busy to get the necessary editing done to post this chapter for all of you.

Well now the wait is over!! I also hope to have the next chapter up in the next few days if I can, while my brain is working with me and my creative juices are flowing.

Anyway, I'll see you next chapter,
Shadow Quill, Messenger of the Moon.