• Published 29th Aug 2016
  • 10,217 Views, 119 Comments

Mother Moon, Father Shadow - MatCor1337

Twilight gets the wake-up call of a lifetime as she discovers that her life has been a lie when she finds out who her real parents are.

  • ...

Chaotic Plots And Schemes

Chapter 3: Chaotic Plots And Schemes

Twilight was in the royal archives of Canterlot Castle, hoping that here of all places there would be a book or two about Discord, King Sombra and the Crystal Empire.

“Argh! Nothing here either!” Twilight yelled, throwing away yet another book. Normally she wouldn’t treat books like that, but she’s been searching in the archives for five days straight and was too frustrated to care. “Honestly, it’s like somepony working for the princess or Celestia herself doesn’t want anypony knowing about these things, which is ridiculous!” she grumbled for a moment before her eyes widened when she registered what she said. “…Right?”

Hidden in the shadows, Nightmare Moon watched the lavender mare with worry. Despite the Elements instructing her to remain at the old castle, she couldn’t help but be close to Twilight; to watch over her, to make sure she was safe. Something that proved beneficial as she saw how well she made friends with Gilda several weeks back.

When Twilight first heard of Zecora, a zebra living in the Everfree Forest, she subsequently started to have a nightmare of her because of what her friends said about her, but Nightmare Moon soothed the unicorn’s mind with a dream of calmly talking to the zebra, getting to know her and showing the other ponies that she wasn’t bad (Nightmare had already gone to Zecora’s dreams to know that she was nice). It was a shame that the Poison Joke took effect the next morning and Twilight’s friends blamed Zecora for it, tossing the plan out the window, but they were able to sort things out and got along anyway.

Twilight sighed and stood up from the table she was sitting at and began putting the books she gathered back where she got them from. “Maybe I can ask the princess about this at the gala tonight.” She mumbled before leaving the archives.

Later that night and true to her word, Twilight nervously walked up to Princess Celestia as the white alicorn greeted the guests. She took a deep breath and made her presence known.

“Um, Princess Celestia, can I ask you something?” she asked.

“Why of course, Twilight. What is it you wish to ask?” Celestia said, wondering what her faithful student wanted to know.

“Well, I was wondering, what was the Crystal Empire?”

Celestia stared at the unicorn for a moment. “Where did you hear of that?” she asks.

“Well, back at your old castle when she thought that she’d destroyed the Elements, Nightmare Moon started going on about how she would rule Equestria through fear and make the ponies suffer, but I was too scared to notice any details.” She lied. “And somewhere in her monologue she mentioned the Empire and I got curious. But no matter where I looked I couldn’t find any books about it, so I was wondering if you knew anything.” Twilight explained.

Celestia was silent for a while before she sighed. “The Crystal Empire was a small kingdom in the Frozen North before the founding of Equestria. It possessed an immensely powerful artifact that protected it from evil. But one day, a black-hearted pony was able to reach the Empire and conquer it, twisting the crystals to his dark will and enslaving the citizens.”

Some more nobles and highly respected ponies entered the foyer and walked over to the two mares. “I’m sorry, Twilight, but I have more guests to welcome. Perhaps we can finish this another time?” the alicorn asked.

“Yeah, okay.” Twilight sighed, disappointed that she didn’t learn more, a feeling that Celestia didn’t notice as she was already walking away.

One week later...

It was a calm, warm day in Ponyville, and Twilight Sparkle and Spike were on their way to visit their friend Applejack at the farm-pony’s home, Sweet Apple Acres. Everything seemed fine until she felt something cold and wet fall on her head, stopping the unicorn in her tracks.

“That’s weird, it’s supposed to be a clear and sunny day.” She thought out loud, feeling a few other drips. Twilight looked up and instead of a grey cloud above her, she saw a pink one. “What the-“ was all she got out when the cloud started raining a brown liquid over her.

Ignoring Spike laughing at her unamused expression and the fact that she was getting drenched, Twilight carefully brought out her tongue, curious to what the brown liquid was. She took a few tentative tastes when she was able to confirm that the rain was chocolate milk. Feeling that it was drifting away, Twilight used her magic to clean herself and pull off a piece of the cloud, bringing it to her muzzle. She took an experimental lick and then bit into it, confirming it as cotton candy.

“Cotton candy clouds and chocolate milk rain?” she thought out loud. “Why does that seem familiar?”

Spike stopped laughing and smiled at her. “I don’t know, but what do you think’s next? Soap roads?” he joked. Twilight giggled a little but yelped when another vision flashed in her mind.

“Weeeeeeeeeeeee!” a filly alicorn Twilight screamed in glee as she slid down the now soapy floor of one of the Crystal Palace’s corridors.

“Be careful Twilight!” Nightmare Moon called out to her daughter in concern. “Don’t get in anyone’s way!”

“I won’t mommy!” Twilight cheered back as she shot down another corridor.

“Oh, don’t be such a worry-wart, Moony.” A serpentine creature next to the black alicorn said. He was mostly covered in brown fur until it reached a red dragon’s tail with a turf of white fur at the end, had a lion’s paw and an eagle’s claw acting as his right and left hands respectively, and his legs were those of a green dragon and oxen (right and left respectively). His head was that of a, for lack of a better word, misshapen pony with irregular red and yellow eyes, a short beard, and had a deer antler on the right and an antelope antler on the left.

“Well excuse me for worrying for my youngest child’s safety, Discord.” Nightmare shot back at the embodiment of chaos.

“Oh, pish-posh! I assure you, there is no way your little Twilight will get hurt from what I do.” Discord said confidently. There was a light thud heard in the distance, followed by a squeaky “Ow~”

The self-proclaimed god looked back down to Nightmare Moon, feeling the full force of her glare. He chuckled awkwardly and snapped his eagle talon, causing the floor to turn back to normal. “Maybe that’s enough fun for one day?” he said whilst rubbing the back of his with his lion paw.

“Argh, you’re unbelievable!” she snapped, storming off to treat her daughter.

Twilight shook her head to clear it of the sudden flashback. “Okay, that was different.” She mumbled to herself.

“What’s that, Twilight?” her dragon assistant asked.

“Just another vision.” She answered with a sigh. They heard some commotion ahead and took notice of Sweet Apple Acres in total pandemonium; apples so large the trees bent over, rabbits with unnatural legs, and popcorn exploding everywhere. With a feeling of great urgency, the two ran to the farm to help bring order to the chaos.

After the situation at Applejack’s farm was taken care of, Twilight and her friends were called by Princess Celestia to get to the castle immediately. The six mares arrived as quickly as they could, barring open the doors to the main foyer where the princess waited.

“Princess Celestia, we came as fast as we could.” Twilight said.

“Thank you, Twilight, thank you all.” Celestia called out to the mares.

“Is this about the weather, and the animal’s weird behavior? What’s happening out there? Why isn’t my magic working? Is there-“ Twilight’s rapid questioning was ended when the princess raised her hoof.

“Follow me.” The white alicorn said simply before turning around. The Mane Six followed her down a hallway of stain glass windows in complete silence until she continued. “I’ve called you all here for a matter of great importance. It seems an old foe of mine, someone I thought I’d defeated long ago, has returned. His name… is Discord.”

They heard Fluttershy timidly scream at one of the windows with Discord’s image, covering Twilight’s gasp from her recognition of the name of the creature from her vision just earlier today.

“Discord is the mischievous spirit of disharmony.” Celestia went on. “Before my sister and I stood up to him, he ruled Equestria in an eternal state of unrest and unhappiness.” She paused when Twilight raised her hoof. “Yes, Twilight, is something the matter?”

“Um, no offence Princess, but wouldn’t ruling for an eternal state mean that he reigned over Equestria without beginning or end?” the unicorn asks nervously. “B-but that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t make it end.” She added hastily with a nervous chuckle.

Celestia stared at her student for a few seconds before shaking her head. “Right you are my student, but as I was saying: Luna and I saw how miserable life was for earth-ponies, pegasi, and unicorns alike. So after discovering the Elements of Harmony we combined our powers and rose up against him, turning him to stone.”

“All right, Princess!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, thrusting her hoof in the air.

Celestia turned down the hall and ushered the mares to follow. “I thought the spell we cast would keep him contained forever. But since Luna and I are no longer connected to the Elements, the spell has been broken.”

“No longer connected?” Twilight wondered out loud.

“This is Canterlot Tower, where the Elements are kept inside since all of you recovered them.” The princess said, ignoring Twilight’s question. “I need you to wield the Elements of Harmony once again and stop Discord, before he thrusts all of Equestria into eternal chaos.”

“But why us?” Twilight asks. “Why don’t you-“

“Hey look, we’re famous!” Pinkie Pie exclaims, interrupting the unicorn. Everyone turned to the pink pony and looked at the stain glass window of them all defeating Nightmare Moon, and it made Twilight feel a pang of guilt.

“You six showed the full potential of the Elements by harnessing the magic of your friendship to beat a mighty foe.” Celestia said. “Although Luna and I once wielded the Elements, it is you who now control their power.” Oh, how wrong she is. “And it is you who must defeat Discord.” She finished with her wings flared.

Twilight looked between her friends, unsure of what to do. One part of her was telling her that stopping Discord was top priority, but another was far more hesitant for some reason. However, the first part won out. “Princess Celestia, you can count on-“

“Hold on!” Pinkie interrupted, again. “Eternal chaos comes with chocolate rain, you guys. Chocolate! Rain!”

Twilight quickly zipped to Celestia. “Don’t listen to her, Princess. We’d be honored to wield the Elements again.”

The princess nodded and walked up to the vault, inserted her horn into the “key hole” and used her magic to unlock it. The doors opened and revealed a gem-covered chest sitting on a pedestal.

“You can keep the Elements, I’ll take that case.” Rarity said.

“Have no fear ponies.” Celestia said with a smile. “I have total confidence that you will defeat Discord… with these.” She opened the chest only for it to be empty. The Mane Six gasped and Celestia dropped the case in shock, Twilight was surprised that a part of her was relieved.

“Oh well.” Pinkie chimed. “If anyone needs me, I’ll be outside in the chocolate puddles with a giant swivel straw.” She joked.

“The Elements, they’re gone!” Twilight exclaimed, shocked.

“That chamber is protected by a spell that only I can break.” Celestia said as she paced between the walls. “This doesn’t make sense.”
An amused laughter echoed in the hall. “Make sense? Oh, what fun is there in making sense?” a bodiless voice asked.

“Discord, show yourself!” the sun princess demanded, but only more laughter came as a reply. Suddenly, one of the stain glass images of Discord started to move and speak.

“Did you miss me, Celestia? I missed you.” He said as he traveled to the other windows. “It’s quite lonely being encased in stone, but you wouldn’t know about that, would you? Because I don’t turn ponies into stone!”

“Enough!” Celestia shouted. “What have you done with the Elements of Harmony?”

“Well, I’m just borrowing them for a little while.” He said in a playful tone, which wasn’t entirely untrue. The very second after Discord had broken free, he was confronted by Magic and Kindness, who asked for his aid in creating a body for Nightmare Moon. Discord decided that it would be best if their physical bodies were much closer to her, so when they agreed to the logic behind it, he ‘stole’ them from the vault and to the old castle in the Everfree Forest.

“You’ll never get away with this, Discord.” The princess almost growled, pawing at the floor. Twilight was a little shocked at the hostility Celestia was showing; she’d never seen her mentor this angry, ever, and it made her a little uncomfortable.

“Oh I’ve forgotten how uptight you can be, Celestia. It’s really quite boring.” He said, idly looking at his claws.

“Hey! Nopony insults the princess.” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, rushing at Discord. But it was for naught as she simply slammed into the glass.

“Oh, you must be Rainbow Dash, famed for her loyalty, the Element of Harmony you represent.”

“That’s right! I’ll always be loyal to the princess.”

“We’ll see about that.” Discord mocked.

“I can’t believe we’re wasting our time talking to a tacky window.” Rarity remarked, Discord appearing in the window behind her.

“Ah, the beautiful Rarity representing the Element of Generosity, if I am not mistaken.”

“So you know who we are, big deal.” Scoffs Applejack.

“Oh, I know much more than that, honest Applejack.” Discord says, making his image larger.

“You seem to know our strengths, too.” Twilight commented. Discord looked at her and he froze for a split second before regaining his ‘cool’ and teleported to another window.

“Yes, Twilight Sparkle, and yours is the most powerful of the Elements, Magic.” ‘Speaking of which, it seems he wasn’t lying about her being alive.’ He said and thought, surprised and relieved that his favorite niece is alive and well, but still confused as to why she was a unicorn. But alas, he had to keep up the ‘villain’ role so he continued. “Fluttershy’s is Kindness and Pinkie Pie’s is a personal favorite of mine; Laughter.”

“Stop stalling, Discord. What have you done to the Elements of Harmony?” Celestia demanded.

“Oh so boring, Celestia. Fine, I’ll tell you, but I’ll only do it my way.” He began moving through the windows as he told his riddle. “To retrieve your missing Elements, just make sense of these change of events. Twists and turns are my master plan, than find the Elements back where you began.” By the end Discord had left and the stain glass he first appeared from went back to normal.

“Can we go home now?” Fluttershy timidly asks.

“What do ya reckon he meant ‘twists and turns’ and endin’ back where we started?” Applejack wondered.

“Twists and turns… twists and turns…” Twilight muttered to herself as she walked over to one of the regular window. When she peered out of it, her eyes widened and she turned to the others. “Twists and turns, that’s it! I bet Discord hid the Elements in the palace labyrinth.”

Celestia nodded her head in agreement. “Good luck, my little ponies. The fate of Equestria is in your hooves.”

“Thanks, Princess, we won’t let you down.” Twilight said before she and her friends ran off to the gardens.

Once the Mane Six were out of earshot, Celestia sighed. ‘Something’s not right, it seems too easy… but I could be over thinking it.’ She walked over to the window Twilight was at just a moment ago and gazed at the maze. ‘He might try to tell her something, but hopefully she’ll remain faithful and believe his words to be lies.’ The six ponies were now in view and the sun princess stared intently at Twilight before whispering to herself.

“I swear to you, Twilight, that no matter what the costs, I will not let you travel down the dark path your parents did.”

A while later, Discord teleported to a random hall in the old castle in the Everfree Forest and wondered to the throne room after he dealt with the situation at the hedge maze in the Canterlot gardens. He used his powers to make the Mane Six the opposite of what they represent; Applejack – liar, Pinkie – angry, Rarity – greedy, Fluttershy – cruel and Rainbow Dash – traitor. Despite that Fluttershy was the most resistant to Discord’s temptations and caused him to force his power on her whilst the others needed words alone. He was quite put off that it was because she’s fine being a pushover.

Discord felt a little bad about what he did the mares, they seemed to be the only friends Twilight has had since the Empire was sealed away in that pocket dimension his brother found.

He soon made his way to the throne room and pushed open the old, rotten doors and entered the chamber, seeing an interesting sight. In the center of the room were six cloaked figures - five with gold necklaces, one a crown - standing in a circle with both palms stretched out above a glowing, white dome. And inside the dome was the purple, starry mist of Nightmare Moon.

“About time you showed up. What took you?” Loyalty brashly asks.

“Well excuuuse me for being busy in making your bearers their opposites and thusly turning them all against each other.” Discord shot back. “But I must give Twilight credit for doing her best to keep them together.”

“Can you not argue please? I kinda want my body soon rather than later, if you don’t mind.” Nightmare Moon scolded.

“Sorry.” They said.

“So what exactly do you need me to do?” Discord asked.

“I’ve thought about it and concluded the best way to do this.” Magic began. “You will fly above our circle and when I give the signal, release a continuous beam of your chaos-magic down on the dome. Whilst that is happening, we will collect and alter the atoms and molecules from the surrounding area, and put them together to form Nightmare Moon’s bones, organs, veins, nerves, muscles and skin; in that exact order. We’ll leave the fur and feathers last. I don’t actually know for certain how much of your power we’ll need, so just keep pouring it out until I say so.”

“Well that sounds exhausting on my part.” The draconequus muttered.

“You’re not the one who’s about to be built from scratch and will feel it, so don’t complain!” Nightmare snapped. “Now get up there and let’s get this over with. I want to hug my daughter with my own hooves as soon as possible.”

“Alright alright!” Discord shot back, flying into position above the dome. He charged his magic between his palms into a sphere of pure energy about the average size of a pony.

Magic was silent for another minute before shouting, “Now!”, signaling Discord to fire his magic down on Nightmare Moon. The Elements put more power into the complex and intricate spell to form Nightmare Moon’s body from the atoms and molecules from the environment.

The dark mare gasped, grunted, hissed and even for split-seconds at a time, screamed in pain as each and every cell, muscle and tendon were formed and stitched together. Discord cringed at the scene, a little uncomfortable witnessing his sister-in-law going through such a painful process. He idly wondered if she’d choose to go through childbirth for a third time than this.

Luckily it only took just over half an hour for the spell to be complete. When Magic called for Discord and the other Elements to stop, they lowered their arms and allowed the residual magic to either finish off the spellwork or fade away. Soon, Nightmare Moon was revealed in all her former glory, with the exception of her armor.

She stood silently for a few seconds, taking a deep breath and releasing it, before collapsing to the ground. The Elements and Discord rushed to her side and breathed a sigh of relief when they found that she was only unconscious.

“Oh my, the poor dear must be exhausted from that ordeal.” Muttered Kindness.

“Can’t say I’m surprised; being remade from the atomic level would put all kinds of strain on you. But don’t worry, I’m sure a day or a few hours of rest would be enough for her to get back on her hooves.” Loyalty assures the soft-hearted Element.

“While I am not sure of the timing, Loyalty has the right idea. Nightmare Moon must have rest for the future ahead.” Honesty’s wise and aged voice informed the group.

“I’ve got this.” Spoke Discord as he snapped his talons, causing the dark mare to be laying on a bed rather than the hard ground, and disappear before the Elements could say anything else. “She’ll be fine in her old room for now.”
Magic nodded. “Very well then. Now for the next part of the plan.” He said, the others fading away as their physical constructs floated to Discord.

“Yeah, yeah. Put the trinkets in the reference book, let them try and fail to ‘beat’ me, make Twilight lose all hope, give her some time to be alone, coo her come with me back here, take her to Moony and wing it from there. Simple.” The draconequus tiredly droned.
“Just making sure.” Magic replied as his corporeal form too faded and floated into Discord’s grasp. Discord merely huffed before teleporting himself to the Golden Oaks Library.

Discord sat on his throne as he gazed upon what had become of Ponyville. Checker patterned hills were just about everywhere, buildings and similar structures floated above the ground and almost every road was now covered in soap-water. Every now and then a quartet of buffalo wearing pink tutus would dance from side of town to the other, a stampede of transformed rabbits would do something similar, as well as some random ponies that flailed their limbs uselessly as they drifted through the air.

He thought back to what happened only about an hour earlier that brought him to this moment. Just as they planned, Twilight and her friends who she struggled keeping together finally arrived at the library and found the Elements of Harmony. She tried to defeat him by having Spike replace Rainbow Dash as the Element of Loyalty. It didn’t work. After that the four mares that Discord encountered in the hedge-maze abandoned Twilight as she wallowed in defeat and despair.

The self-proclaimed Spirit of Chaos may have cheered in victory, but he felt sorry for Twilight losing her friends. Regardless, he gave her some time to be accustomed to her current situation before he’d look for her and bring the lavender mare to the old castle and Nightmare Moon.

After another moment of thought, Discord sat up straighter and muttered, “This should be long enough.” He was about to go find her until Twilight’s own voice caused him to turn his throne around, seeing her with the Elements… and surrounded by her friends, all looking and acting as they did before he influenced them.

He idly gazed a few paces behind them and saw the spectral forms of his ‘allies’. His eyes asked for an explanation, but all they gave him were shrugs, their body language saying, “Don’t look at us, we’re just as surprised as you.”

Before Discord began the banter that would no doubt end with his second imprisonment, one final thought crossed through his mind. ‘...Bollocks.'