• Published 3rd Jul 2012
  • 1,240 Views, 21 Comments

A Rainbow in the Dark - Lady Aubernon



Rainbow Dash finds herself on a beach with no idea of how she got there, or how she'll go home.

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Act IV

"We are here," Minerva said as the elevator doors opened upon the lowest level of The Citadel, plunging deep into the heart of Atlantis.

"What is this?" an astonished Rainbow asked, looking upon numerous alicorns, unicorns and pegasi hard at work on an unusual, baloonless airship much larger than the fireflies several stories above.

Attempting to follow the princesses out of the elevator, two unicorn guards blocked her exit.

"Let her through," Minerva ordered. "She is with us."

The guards raised their staffs, allowing Rainbow passage into the massive room buzzing with activity.

"Rainbow Dash, Luna, the answers you seek are in front of your eyes," pointing to the mysterious craft floating in-stasis just above the black-tiled floor.

"Minerva, I am afraid I do not understand. How is this the answer to the destruction your 'gift' caused upon so many?" asked a confused Luna.

Minerva gathered her thoughts about how best to explain her unorthodox methods involving Rainbow's sudden appearance in Avalon. She knew that the wrong word or turn of phrase would land Minerva upon her head by none other than Luna herself, not to say what her own sister could do with those magically integrated limbs or the horn surrogate effectively serving as Pandora's royal crown.

Minerva looked up in contemplation at the future of the kingdom she shared with her twin sister for a moment, her vivid heliotrope eyes giving away more than she had intended.

A gentle steel hoof in the grayest of fuchsias found a place upon her right shoulder.

"Min?" Pandora asked with concern in her soft, warm voice.

For the first time in what had seemed like forever, Minerva let drop her guard, allowing her own heart to show through as she began her tale.

"Rainbow," she turned, "I brought you here because I knew that out of all of the current Element bearers, you would be bravest enough to venture to our kingdom.

"Daring Do would have been proud, by the way," she winked.

"Not too many ponies know of Atlantis as anything but, as you put it, 'an old mare's tale.' Thus, I had to give you a map and a way to get here. That was when it dawned on me: Combine the two.

"The speed suit's cutie mark is actually a map, Rainbow," Minerva continued, addressing Luna and Pandora as well. "The three stars represent Equestria while the fourth represents Atlantis."

"And the moon is the boundary between us," added Luna.

"Correct, Luna. The map being mirrored on either flank was intentional; it was to lead you in the right direction," leaning up to Rainbow. "Alas, your rainboom magic interacted with the liquidized Etherium, resulting in the chaos that led us to this point."

"Min, why would you even-- ," Pandora tried to ask before a hoof was placed in front of her.

"I know, Dori," she remorsefully replied.

"Wait. So, if I needed the suit to get to Atlantis, then how did it get to my house in Cloudsdale? I mean, Derpy was the one who delivered it."

"Iris. I brought the package up to the hangar, attached it to her back, and gave her instructions on where to deliver the box; the rest she already knew."

"Lulu, dear, forgive us," Pandora begged. "Iris has been mapping Equestria's key strategic locations for Atlantis for quite some time."

"I can never apologize enough for all I have wrought through my gift," Minerva said.

"You will have all of the time you need to apologize, Minerva," Luna replied in a firm, gentle tone. "But why go through this at all?"

"The prophecy," Pandora interjected, looking up at the massive, bird-like ship above the quartet.

"Atlantis and all of her wonders will soon be no more."

* * * * * * * * *

"Awww! Why the long faces?" Granfaloon asked of her two unwanted guests. "You should be smiling with me!"

"'Smile,' Granfaloon? I would rather die again knowing I stopped your corruption of Pinkamena than 'smile,'" barked Star Swirl.

"You're funny, Grumpy McBeardy," she giggled sweetly before abruptly stopping, her eyes filled with darkness. "But I know just how to cheer you up:

"Pin the Tail on the Wizard!"

The pink nightmare smashed another fracturing glyph with her spiked mallet, froming the debris and magic with her hooves into a semi-solid, very long pin with a tail attached.

"Now hold still; I wouldn't want to miss tee-hee!"

"Wait!" Fluttershy quietly shouted. "Shouldn't you be blindfolded and spun around first?"

Granfaloon leaned in just enough to instill more fear into the timid pony's heart, cracking a twisted smile. "You're right, Fluttershy! How silly of me!"

The nightmare tore off some of the tail and tied it around her eyes, then spun around one hoof before coming to a dizzying stop.

"Okay! I'm ready!"

"Fluttershy, I think you're onto something," Star Swirl whispered.

"Um, I am?"

"Yes! Granfaloon may be a nightmare, but she is very much child-like compared to the others."

"Ah-ha! Found ya!"

Granfaloon drove her pin down upon the wizard, only to get a taste of her own medicine as a magic flare sprayed her in the face like a tidal wave of fruit punch.

"Fluttershy, listen carefully: Pinkamena likes to play games, yes?" he asked, both running from the nightmare as quickly as their hooves could carry them.

"Yes! Pranks, too!"

"I'm afraid we haven't time for pranks, my dear, not if we are to free your friend once and for all from this spell."

"That's it! Game time is over! Who wants cupcakes?" Granfaloon shrieked, lobbing exploding cupcakes at her two party guests, generating more flares upon impact into the violet-pink spark above the magical plateau.

However, one had failed to detonate, getting the nightmare's attention.

"You gonna eat that?" she asked before gobbling up the cupcake dud, only to find the explosion delayed.

"That tickles my tongue," she giggled, "I baked them myself using only the finest, yummiest ingredients!"

"Granfaloon!" Fluttershy standing muzzle to muzzle with her nemesis, "I challenge you to a staring contest!"

"Ooooooh! I think I'm game for that!"

"If I win, you have to let Pinkie go."

"And if I win, well… let's just say I'll have a lot of fun guests to play with when I kick off my dark carnival of the soul!" Granfaloon creepily grinned while her reptilian eyes poked at Fluttershy's demure irises, making squeaking noises with each poke.

"We shall see about that, nightmare," warned Star Swirl, looking off towards the spark with an idea building in his mind.

* * * * * * * * *

Not a word was spoken as the three princesses and their companion departed the elevator toward the bridge of the Atlantean bird of prey, their shoes clanking across the gantry in near lock-step.

A retina scanner identified Minerva, opening an entrance that had appeared to be completely solid seconds before, allowing the four mares to cross the threshold before the magitek door materialized once more.

Looking out into the windows at the head of the ship, the surrounding hangar continued to buzz with construction activity. One piece after another was added to the docked avian by a group of pegasi, while a group of alicorns and unicorns performed tests on various systems and components. All of this was under the watch of the Atlantean Royal Guard, and the quartet from within.

"Fourteen hundred years ago, none of this was here," Minerva broke the silence. "Not even The Citadel existed. Atlantis was simply an island city-state in the middle of the sea, a place where many a pony and ally called home.

"And of course, 1,400 years ago, my sister and I were truly identical," she sighed. "But all of that would change over the length of one horrible night."

"Min, are you sure this is the right time to go through this?" asked Pandora.

"I have my reasons, Dori," she said, staring off towards the large royal standard of Atlantis.

"Three hundred years before that night, Princess Aria and Prince Helios, the rulers of Equestria after Princess Platinum and her consort, became the proud parents of an alicorn foal they named Celestia, followed a few years later by their last foal, Luna."

"Wait," Rainbow interrupted, "you mean the Princesses have parents?" her eyes widening in slight disbelief.

"Had, unfortunately," Luna added quietly.

"Their father and mother were our allies," Minerva continued, "and they were wonderful ponies to all, especially to their children.

"However, Helios had a darkness growing upon his heart, not helped by an artifact that had been stolen from us, one that had been presented to our kingdom for safe-keeping by Star Swirl the Bearded, 'lest its corruption find its desire':

"The Hope Ruby."

"Somehow," Pandora took over, "the unicorn prince gained possession of this cursed artifact, though we didn't know at the time despite our own search for the relic for over a year, taken from this very chamber during the Summer Sun Celebration.

"Of course, none of that mattered when the friend you thought you knew had changed. Physically, he was as tall as an alicorn, and seemed to have more 'divine' magic flowing through him. Aria didn't seem to mind the changes, but she couldn't see what Min and I saw in his ever-darkening heart," she shivered.

"His deception would not last," Minerva returned. "One autumn night, my sister and I were telepathically called upon by Aria to come to Canterlot immediately. She had discovered a box with a broken clay sphere inside hidden within the royal garden, the very box that once held the cursed ruby.

"Upon our arrival, the three of us heard shrieks of terror coming from the throne room. We teleported quickly, appearing before our little ones and a horrifically changed Helios."

"If only that were the end of it, Min," Pandora sighed. "Unfortunately, the 'nightmare' he had become was only the beginning... "

* * * * * * * * *

"Whatever your intent, Helios, we shall not allow!" commanded a furious Minerva.

"Helios is no more," a cold, gravely, overlapping voice spoke. "I... am Tirek."

The Hope Ruby exploded, releasing a dark rainbow that spiraled upon the possessed prince, consuming his mind, body, heart and soul in totality.

What emerged from the light was a thing of anypony's worst nightmare.

"For 3,000 years, I had been waiting for this moment. And now that I am free once more, I shall make the Sovereigns pay for their mistakes, beginning with your world," the draconequus said, his dark crimson eyes glowing with unrestrained fury.

"What have you done to my husband?" howled Princess Aria.

"Temper, temper, dearest Aria. Anger will get you nowhere in this life," he chuckled. "Thankfully, yours shall be the first to end."

"Not on my watch, Tirek!" roared Pandora, charging toward him with the intent of using her scythe magic to send him back to where he belonged, only for a scaly, bright red-orange tail violently knock the young shepherd hard against the floor near the steps of the throne.

"Your scythe magic is of no use against me, Shepherd. But as your intent was to take my spirit, it shall be my pleasure to rip yours apart."

"No!" Minerva yelled to no avail, frozen in horror as the draco-equine hybrid used his dark magic to counter Pandora's second attempt to cast the demon into the depths of Tartarus.

Pandora lost more than she bargained for.

"Who is next?" Tirek challenged.

A white alicorn with deep violet eyes and a mane of deep purple mixed with vivid rose and vivid azure streaks, whose cutie mark was a four-pointed dark violet spark overlaid upon a moderate mulberry four-pointed spark turned 45 degrees with eight mulberry stars forming a circle around the sparks, stood gallantly against the reincarnated beast.

"You will not harm my daughters, and you shall not last beyond this night!" Aria proclaimed, a look of determination in her eyes.

A sadistic grin appeared on her opponent's face.

"I was hoping you would say that," Tirek gleefully replied.

He rose from Helios's throne and flew down toward the two remaining princesses, both of whom charged against the unrelenting beast. Through their combined magic, they brought down the dark-furred abomination with a violent crash that shook the castle hard enough to open the roof, allowing the light of the moon to illuminate the darkened chamber.

It was all for naught.

"Thank you for opening my eyes, my little princesses. I just remembered what else was bound with me to this ruby," Tirek intoned ominously.

He flew high into the moonlight, his eyes and the ruby glowing brightly as the wind picked up. The two alicorns stood between Celestia and Luna -- who were hiding behind an unconscious Pandora -- when his dark rainbow washed over them.

* * * * * * * * *

"When I came to, Aria was gone. Her body, her spirit, her heart… gone," Minerva's voice shook. "All that was left was her crown and collar… the items your sister wears to this day, Luna.

"My comrades, my friends, the ones who made us you and your sister's godmothers, they were all gone.

"As for my sister, she could no longer stand nor fly. And her horn, her power... "

Stinging, bitter rivers streamed from her heliotrope eyes with no sign of stopping. Only her resolve kept her from completely cracking.

"Tirek was one spell away from vanquishing us all that night. One. Spell. And he would have won. Equestria, Atlantis… perhaps the entire world, all under his reign of darkness for eternity.

"To top it off, I looked into the eyes of my two goddaughters who had just witnessed their mother erased from existence, their father lose himself to the beast locked within that stone.

"In those eyes of blue and purple, I saw fear. Fear that this night would be their last, that the world they knew had ended forever… "

Minerva steadied herself against the flood submerging her heart in memories she had hoped not to ever relive again.

"I felt all of that despair, that hopelessness, all of those dark thoughts and emotions, burn within my heart. I had to do something for you and your sister, something to avenge your mother's and father's lost spirits, something to take up where my sister had fallen…

"And then, I felt a spark."

* * * * * * * * *

"Any last words, my little pony?" taunted the midnight blue and red-orange behemoth.

The earth began to rumble, and with it came a maelstrom of wind that funneled light from the moon and the rising sun into Minerva's levitating body, allowing the spark within her heart to ignite and consume her spirit.

From the light of the hypernova emerged a nightmare whose inky fur sparkled like the Milky Way above Atlantis, her bright white mane and tail erupting like massive solar flares.

Her cat-like heliotrope eyes narrowed as she delivered her answer to her greatest adversary.

"Die."

Nightmare Minerva unleashed all of the power she drew down into her spark upon Tirek, ripping his spirit from his body and tearing the sky open, then casting the sadistic spirit into the white void before cauterizing the wound.

The last thing she saw was the draconequus's body disintegrate as the light wave consumed everything in sight.

* * * * * * * * *

"Fate intervened that night, I like to think," Minerva said, finally turning to her companions aboard the ship. "I don't really remember much of what happened after I blacked out, but I do recall two very scared goddaughters trying to lift my sister to her hooves. I'm just happy Dori wasn't conscious at that point."

"Speaking of Fate," Pandora joined in, walking over to her twin sister, "she and her companion Time visited us during that year's Hearth's Warming Eve celebration."

"She?" Luna asked, feeling slightly confused.

"Lady Ananke. She and Lord Chronos are the Divine Sovereigns of Delphi."

"Where is Delphi?" asked Rainbow. "Is it like Atlantis?"

"You could say that," Minerva replied, "but you will not find it on a map. Delphi exists beyond the veil separating their plane of existence from Astra and Avalon.

"Anyway, they indeed did appear that particular night with grim news: Tirek's torn spirit was barely alive within the void. In time, he would gain back enough strength to find a way back into this world, signs marking the moments until his return.

"How much time do you have left, Princess Minerva?" Rainbow asked.

"None," Minerva grimly replied.

* * * * * * * * *

More flares of magic erupted around the nightmare, the glassed earth shaking and shattering with every ejection into the spark above the plateau.

"Are you sure you want to do this, Fluttershy?"

"I must, Star Swirl. I must."

"Be careful! 'Tis one thing to stare into the abyss; 'tis another to have the abyss return the favor."

"Are we ready, doormat?" Granfaloon said in her sweetest voice.

"I am!"

"Then let's party!"

Fluttershy had never willingly used her stare on any creature, let alone a nightmare trying to escape into the real world. She wasn't sure if it would work, but there were no other options, not if she and the mage wanted to save Pinkie Pie from the growing darkness standing defiantly before her.

Granfaloon stared deep into her opponent's eyes, hoping to quickly break Fluttershy before moving on to draw the spark into her self, then taking her place within Pinkie's heart, body, and soul.

What the pink nightmare didn't expect, however, was something staring back into her. No matter how hard she tried to break contact, The Stare would not let her go.

"What is this? What are you doing?" Granfaloon roared. "You can't do this to me!"

"Oh yes I can, and you-can't-stop-me!" Fluttershy returned.

Her cyan eyes penetrated through the nightmare's sky blue curtains, seizing complete control of every thought and emotion running through the terror's essence. All Granfaloon could do was allow herself to submit to Fluttershy's iron will.

"Gotcha!" Fluttershy said, squeeing in success.

The spark had gone hypernova, the result of a well-placed energy spell Star Swirl directed into the heart of the matter while the nightmare was distracted.

"Noooooooooo!" the nightmare howled in agony, tearing painfully away from The Stare that had ensnared her seconds earlier.

The last thing Fluttershy and Star Swirl saw was Granfaloon disintegrate, the explosion tearing apart the plateau while violently undoing the anti-nightmare spell.

* * * * * * * * *

Minerva stood silent for an eternity when a blinding headache suddenly overwhelmed her, collapsing from the successive waves of pain.

"Min!" Pandora shouted, rushing over to her ailing sister.

"The… s… spell… Star… broke," she managed to gasp before passing out entirely.

"Aria, doors open!" Pandora commanded to the ship.

"'A-Aria'? This ship… you named it after Mother?" Luna barely eked out as her godmother rushed outside, calling up two pegasi guards to escort the fallen alicorn from the bridge.

* * * * * * * * *

White.

All around a bewildered Fluttershy and Star Swirl stood a white void with shimmering crystalline drops of pink iridescent rain singing an ethereal, ancient aria.

"What is this?"

"Pinkamena, Fluttershy. Every drop is a tiny piece of her whole self. Her heart, her mind, her spirit, her laughter… it is all here, waiting to be reunited."

"But how? I don't know where to begin!"

"Fluttershy," Star Swirl said firmly while placing a hoof on her shoulder, "remember what I said: I could break the spell Minerva placed on your friend, but only you could save her in the end.

"You must use your Element to heal Pinkamena, lest she be lost forever."

"But my Element is with the others back in Canterl-- "

"You do not need the charm, Element of Kindness; you are your Element. You always have been, and you always will be until the day the Shepherd comes to bring you home.

"Look within your heart, Fluttershy. There you will find your power."

It was then Star Swirl began to fade out of the void.

"Star Swirl! Please! Don't leave me!" cried Fluttershy.

"I'm afraid I must return to my place in Avalon. But do not fear, Fluttershy!" he reassured his charge. "I have faith in you!"

"Wait! How will Pinkie and I return to our world?"

The mage gave a wink before winking out completely, leaving a frightened Fluttershy alone in the pink rain.

"Pinkie Pie, I really hope you're here with me," she said to the pink drops of her friend's essence, closing her tearful eyes to look within her heart, concentrating as hard as she could muster.

A pink, butterfly-shaped spark rose from her heart, rapidly growing larger and brighter, enveloping her body and lifting her up higher into the rain until Fluttershy's eyes threw open to reveal the white elemental glow hidden behind her lids, her spark exploding in a supernova of pink magic.

* * * * * * * * *

Outside in the royal garden, the two remaining princesses and their charge stood under the dark curtain with only the wind and sea making their presence felt. It had been an hour since the guards took Minerva into her room. The royal doctor stated nothing more could be done to help Minerva, that rest was the only way through her ordeal now.

"Pandora, is this a bad time to finish what Minerva was telling us earlier? About Tirek… and Mother?" Luna gently but nervously asked of her godmother.

"No. You and Rainbow need to know the rest, my little Lulu."

"Aria is the name of the ark we have been building for the past 10 years, and it is of no coincidence that she is named after your mother.

"As my sister said earlier, I do have an affinity for machines, being able to understand them in the same way I can understand you two. When a special machine enters my consciousness, one of the first things I hear is their name.

"However," she sighed, "the voice I heard when Aria spoke to me was not of a machine; it was your mother's voice, Lulu."

"It… it was?"

"Wait a minute!" Rainbow interjected. "I thought Princess Minerva said Princess Aria was lost forever!"

"That's just it, Rainbow. I thought Aria's spirit to be lost. It came as a shock to hear her voice at all, let alone see Aria's lost spirit standing in front of the ark."

"'Standing'?" Luna asked. "But if Mother wasn't lost after all... You don't think-- "

"No. Don't ever think that. For your sake, and for your heart," Pandora said gently, nuzzling her goddaughter.

Silence returned for a few moments. While the princesses sorted their affairs, Rainbow stared out into the moonlit horizon, her mind swimming against the strong current of everything experienced within the shadows of life, death and The Citadel, not knowing what to do with any of the pieces in order to puzzle together the complete picture.

From the corners of her eyes entered flashes of grayish fuchsia and silver kneeling beside her.

"My dear Rainbow, I think it's time for us to take you home to your body. It would do no pony any good to have an Element in your state of being."

"Especially if what my godmothers say is true," added Luna. "We will need the Elements of Harmony whole and intact if we are to defeat Tirek once and for all."

"What's going to happen to Atlantis?"

"Our kingdom is destined to fall," Pandora plainly stated, "but Atlantis and all of her wonders are a sacrifice, my brave little flyer. Equestria, the entire world, they're more important. They're the ones that need to be saved."

"But-- "

"Aria will protect the heart of our kingdom, just like her namesake once fought to protect the future of hers," glancing over at Luna.

"What matters now, Rainbow Dash, is preparing for the greatest challenge you and your friends will ever face, and you need to be well to do that," Luna emphasized in a firm yet gentle voice.

"… So, how do I get back?" Rainbow asked.

"It's about time you asked," Pandora teased her charge. "Lulu, Rainbow, shall we?"

The trinity walked toward the east wall of the garden, vanishing into the blue-sparkled mist that had appeared in front of them.

* * * * * * * * *

A concerned voice echoed in Rainbow's head, calling out her name gently but urgently as she blinked back into consciousness. Her cerise eyes eventually came into focus on a purple unicorn whose mane resembled the skies over Avalon.

"Rainbow! You're awake!"

"Twilight?" she groaned, her head pounding just as Pandora warned it would upon the Rainbow's return to the physical realm.

"Pinkie, Fluttershy, wake up! Rainbow's awake!" Twilight said, shaking Rainbow's two bed mates.

"Wh-what?" Fluttershy groggily asked.

"Pinkie? Fluttershy? What are you two doing in my bed?"

"Oh, we're sorry, Rainbow. Pinkie wanted to stay by your side all night, and Twilight wanted me to keep an eye on you both-- Oh no! Pinkie! Wake up! Please be okay!"

Pinkie Pie slowly blinked back into existence, turning toward the voice calling out to her, only to catch two sets of eyes beaming back in a mix of panic and excitement.

"Fluttershy? Dashie? Dashie!"

"Hey! Take it easy," Rainbow said, giggling while her pranking partner -- whose mane and coat finally returned to their normal states -- gave her the biggest hug she ever received.

"It's sure great to have y'all back!" said Applejack as she and Rarity approached the bed.

"We were worried sick about you, darlings," Rarity added, hugging her two friends.

* * * * * * * * *

"Is this what it's like for you, Pandora?" Luna asked as they watched the reunion happen before them.

"You don't really get used to this, but so long as death is thought of as 'an end,' I will always be behind the veil."

"Hi Princess Pandora! Hi Princess Luna! Did you two take care of Dashie while she was gone?" asked Pinkie.

"She can see us?" Luna's jaw dropped while Pandora waved nervously.

* * * * * * * * *

"You can see them, too?" Rainbow asked.

"Of course I can, silly!" Pinkie giggled. "Ooh! Did you meet Star Swirl the Bearded and Princess Minerva, too? Did you get to see Atlantis? Did ya? Huh? Huh?"

"Oww, my head," she groaned, pushing a hoof against the throbbing, dull pain.

"Oh! I'm sorry, Dashie. I guess I just got a little teensy-weensy bit too excited."

"Heh-heh! It's okay, Pinkie," Rainbow said, rustling the cotton candy-covered scalp of her partner-in-crime.

"Well, that was weird," Twilight stated, a look of confusion appearing on her face.

* * * * * * * * *

"Oh Pinkie," Pandora chuckled. "It's good to see your heart has healed as well. I apologize for my sister's anti-nightmare spell not working out as it should have."

"Don't worry about it, Princess. She only meant well," she stated sweetly.

"I can see you," Fluttershy said, her stare penetrating the veil.

* * * * * * * * *

"See who, darling?"

"Her."

"Sugarcube, are ya okay?" Applejack asked, waving a hoof in front of her eyes in an attempt to get her attention.

* * * * * * * * *

"I… I need to go!"

"Pandora?" Luna asked with worry in her voice.

Before Luna could get another word, Pandora rushed out of the room into the ether.

"I apologize, Rainbow and Pinkie."

The remaining princess vanished in a flash of light, returning to her home above Canterlot Castle.

* * * * * * * * *

Applejack felt a familiar chill pierce through her for a brief moment.

"Did anypony else feel that?"

"Feel what, sweetie?" Rarity asked.

"Nothin'," Applejack replied with a slight dread coming through. "Anyway, it's good to have you back, pard'ner!"

"It's good to be back!" Pinkie Pie said.

"Pinkie!" everypony said in unison.

"What?"

"Pinkie… you are so random," Rainbow smirked, everypony laughing along.

Almost everypony. Fluttershy continued to gaze upon the spot where Luna and Pandora stood previously. Applejack looked with her, wondering if their pink and blue friends were onto something.

* * * * * * * * *

The ark stood silent in the darkened underground hangar beneath The Citadel's foundation stones, guards posted outside to prevent sabotage.

* * * * * * * * *

Pandora briefly checked in on Minerva, still in a deep sleep after the link to the latter's spell violently shattered, then left to attend her nightly duties in Atlantis.

* * * * * * * * *

Celestia laid upon her mattress reading Minerva's letter when Luna made a surprise early evening visit, catching her sister off-guard with her new appearance.

* * * * * * * * *

A shimmering, beautiful melody began to play through the veil, accompanied by an out-of-sync chorus singing the words of a lost lullaby.

* * * * * * * * *

Sparks of azure, violet, rose, mulberry, purple and white lightning magically enveloped the ark, altering the craft's appearance.

* * * * * * * * *

"Soon, Dreamweaver, I will finish what I've started so long ago. Your world will pass away," growled the disembodied voice of an enemy long thought to have been defeated.

* * * * * * * * *

The chorus coalesced into a familiar, motherly tone, one heard by those meant to hear it.

* * * * * * * * *

Aria's lights changed from the bluish-white of Etherium to a deep violet like that of her namesake, while a certain cutie mark appeared in-between the ark's eyes and upon its wings.

* * * * * * * * *

"I've been sent to/pray for you, love," the gentle voice dreamily repeated over the ghostly melody.

* * * * * * * * *

"No! It can't be!" an astonished Pandora said to herself.

* * * * * * * * *

"Don't you see/I'm never away/I'll be watching/over you now," the voice rang out over the first haunting verse.

* * * * * * * * *

Minerva woke screaming Tirek's name.

* * * * * * * * *

"Is that… ," Luna began to ask.

"It is," Celestia replied.

* * * * * * * * *

"Princess Aria? You're... here?"

* * * * * * * * *

"Mother," the sisters said quietly in unison, giving a tearful glance towards the direction of Atlantis.

* * * * * * * * *

"So, it has come to pass," Pandora noted softly, returning a mournful look towards the direction of Equestria.

* * * * * * * * *

"I am alive again."

Comments ( 19 )

... the cover brought me here :pinkiegasp:

Whoa.... that was pretty awesome... NEED TO SEE MORE! :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:
Dunno why, but that ending left me in goosebumps. Damn you and your cliffhangers.
Take these moustaches. :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

849666 Now imagine that image with the violet Etherium lights of The Citadel. :twilightsmile:

849884 I can't wait to write the rest! Thank you for your kind words!

849997 I even left it ambiguous as to who said that final line, too! Tirek? Aria? Both? :derpyderp1:

Thank you for the mustaches, and for your kind words! I look forward to finishing this arc; there's at least two more stories planned. Hopefully just two. :rainbowdetermined2:

EDIT: Clarification; I have more than two arcs planned for the T-42 universe.

850473 I thought it was Aria for sure, but you mentioned Tirek... damn, now I'm even more confused.:derpyderp2:

EDIT: Fixed typo.

850768 Well, you might be on the right track, but I won't spoil it just yet. :raritywink:

This is as ambitious a tale as I've seen in many days, and few reach this level of sheer epicness (epicity?) in fewer than twenty thousand words.

Whatever else you care to write, I definitely wish to read.

879795 Thank you, Dusty! I'm currently working on the second story of the Terminus arc right now. May I continue in my sheer epicness and ambition as I tackle this next chapter. :rainbowdetermined2:

Well, it´s not `Alexandrias Genesis´ *snicker*, but i´ll give it a Shot!

2435719 :derpytongue2: I hope you enjoyed this fic; I know it can't top what I (indirectly) did with in the Daria fandom, but I do hope it's a close second.

Greetings, I found this through that Alexandria's Genesis article you posted, coz I get around, and shall be reading this story. On a side note, with modern genetic engineering technology, you CAN in fact have violet coloured eyes, as long as you don't mind having a needle stuck into them first, but enhanced longevity can be found in species with Negligible Sconsecsnce. And yes, I know I totally spelt the last word atrociously wrong.

3184430 I think I'll keep my hazel eyes. :raritywink:

3264905 And I'd like to keep my blonde hair and blue eyes, just in case the Nazis return.

3350945 The hell is up with all the people replying to my weeks, sometimes months, old comments recently?

Got here via your Alexandria Genesis post, was not disappointed :)

3669784 I guess writing bizarre Mary Sue fan fiction adopted by Tumblr wholesale as a meme has its benefits after all. Thank you for reading, darling! :raritywink:

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