• Published 6th Dec 2011
  • 5,072 Views, 104 Comments

Cutie Marks of Chaos - Roadpony the Loud



The Ruinous Powers come to Equestria, and nothing good comes of it.

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Overthrown

Whoo! Finally done!This took a while to finish: 30 Bucking pages!

Just a little note that I'm going to make some minor edits here an there as time goes on: nothing too serious, just polishing some rough edges and formatting.

Apologies this took so long in getting out: do enjoy.


Acrid smoke and the wail of air raid sirens filled Ponyville. Townsponies ran in every direction, any hope of a neatly organized evacuation forgotten in their panic. The earth shook in a drumbeat of desolation, a regular rhythm that spurred them into further flight.

The cause of this chaos looked down upon it from on high, and found it pleasing. It let out a roar of triumph and malicious glee, sweeping its tail in a path of destruction. It struck a building, demolishing it with a single terrible blow. The beast continued on, each step it made flattening all that stood in its path: ponies, carriages, buildings, and even cabbage stalls. The beast roared once more, continuing its blind rampage through the rural town, the fleeing denizens' screams of terror only pleasing it more. Raising its arm, it slashed at the nearest building, its claws tearing into the walls of the structure. There was a momentary scream of terror, abruptly cut off. The beast grinned, moving to continue its quest…

Something glinted out of the corner of its eye; something shiny. Turning its massive head and focusing on its grisly handiwork, the beast's eyes fell upon the source of the flash. Inside the gutted building, standing in the center of the rubble untouched and undamaged, a simple mirror stood. The beast found it curious and leaned in to gaze at the suspicious object, its head snaking into the building The reflective ellipse was so simple, so uninteresting, and yet so…

The beast froze suddenly before gazing, not at the mirror itself, but what was displayed in the mirror, its own reflection. It blinked. Scales of a deep purple sheen; eyes a deep emerald green…

No…” the beast said, pulling its head back away from the mirror; all glee from earlier replaced by fear, terror, abject horror. That was when it finally noticed which building held the mirror: the Carousel Boutique, almost unrecognizable with the enormous gash in its front. The beast violently shook its head in utter denial, a hand of ice gripping its heart.

No… no!” it cried, stumbling backwards away from the building. Then it noticed the blood splatter on its claws

And in that blood, a shred of white hair… and on that impossibly tiny scrap was a trio of bright blue diamonds. The beast shut its eyes, shaking its head fiercely as tears welled up. The icy fear was replaced by a drowning sorrow, before anger at itself and its actions flared in its chest like a wildfire. Clenching its fists, the monster threw its head back, arms splayed out dramatically towards the sky before roaring towards the heavens.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…!

-------

“…OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

Spike catapulted upward into a sitting position, still screaming in horror, anger, fear, and almost every negative emotion under the sun. His chest heaved as he panted, his scream ceasing for but a moment before he caught his breath and resumed. The young dragon continued his cry of despair for a moment longer, before stopping and realizing where he was. He was in Twilight's room, in his basket... at least, that's what it looked like. For starters, it was a few sizes too small; he felt horribly cramped.

“Mmmgh, this crummy bed is tiny.” he groused, before rolling over and crawling out, letting out a loud yawn. "What was up with that dream, anyway... so darn horrifying..." Spike rubbed his eyes before extending his arms, stretching them out... huh, that's odd, they felt a little longer than he remembered. The young dragon opened his eyes to get a look at his limbs, see what was up with the-

“GASP!” Spike exclaimed, announcing what would be an action as a word. His hands…

“W-w-what’s going on here?!” he yelled, turning his head around and looking down all over his body. “Oh no…” the young dragon darted over to Twilight’s dresser, and looked in the mirror above it. The reflection stared back at him; thankfully, it was not the face it had been in his dream. It was, however, not the face of the same old pre-adolescent Dragon that he'd grown used to seeing. The reflection of the young dragon's face was no longer curved and rounded, but angular and sharp. The same could be said for the green spines over his ear holes; now looking like emerald knives. As for the rest of his body, Spike looked downwards; his arms and legs were long and lanky. The dragon remained silent for a good long time, before his brain finally found the right reaction to a situation like this: screaming at the top of one's lungs.

----------

Over the few hours before Spike awoke and shouted his head off twice, Twilight and the others had cleaned up the mess caused by the earlier alchemical explosion: Rainbow Dash zipped around the higher parts of the room, clearing out any smoke that had risen above the windows before they'd been opened. Fluttershy tended to Owlowiscious, making sure that the owl was perfectly fine. The butter yellow Pegasus hummed a soft tune as she checked his wings, Owlowiscious standing perfectly still as she did so. On the other end of the room, Pinkie Pie bounced around, placing the books back on the shelves (in the very same order Twilight had left them in prior to the explosion, much to the lavender unicorn’s amazement.) The energetic pony carefully balanced a large pile of precariously stacked books atop her head as she bounced over to one of the shelves. Once there, she grabbed the tower of literature off of her head and began to reshelf them, singing an especially booktastic song to herself. While everyone else was taking care of the biggest parts of the mess, Rarity devoted her time to the little details. The alabaster unicorn trotted about the room, handling overall tidiness by using her magic and a feather duster to remove the errant soot from everything, including the soot. Twilight sat by one of her lecterns reading a rather large tome: Silver Flask’s Manuscript of Many Mixtures, as her friends tended to her home. The Unicorn bit her lip, losing herself in the book as her eyes ran up and down the page she had been reading and rereading for the past hour. Applejack simply looked inquisitively at the small puddle of brownish gold liquid that remained on the table, which had now stopped smoking. Curiosity gripped the blonde Earth Pony as she looked at the spill, trying to puzzle out what she felt was its most mysterious property.

“Now how could an itty bitty li'l puddle like this make so much smoke?” the farmpony inquired, not daring to risk a sniff or a touch to find out. She left all the fancy mathematics and science-y stuff to Twilight; her brain hurt just trying to make sense half of the stuff that the Unicorn had said when she was on a roll. “Seriously, it was there was a bonfire right in th' middle o' yer house."

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out, Applejack.” Twilight said, her eyes skimming that same page for the fourteenth time, trying to figure out what had happened. She’d mentally gone through every last step before the explosion countless times and still could not figure out what went wrong. She’d done everything by the book, so what had caused the potion to explode? Her frustration boiled over. “Auuugh! I just don’t get it! I’ve read the entire potion recipe up to the point when I went to grab the powdered wormroot from my stores downstairs and I still can’t figure it out!” The lavender unicorn sighed and hung her head.

Applejack walked over to her and placed a hoof over her friend’s shoulder. “You’ll figure it out, Twi, don’t be gettin' all upset jus' 'cause some fancy shmancy book ain't tellin' ya nothin'.” The orange Earth Pony gave Twilight a pat on the back before a thought popped up in the back of her mind. “Although… jus’ what were y' making?” She looked down at the page Twilight had been reading. At the top of the page, in big fancy letters and underlined was the name of the potion,“Polymorph Draught”. Beneath the name there was a picture of a pony dropping a feather into a beaker, then drinking the solution in the beaker and transforming into a bird. “What’s this here Pol… Polmo… Ploywhatsit thing?”

“Polymorph Draught,” Twilight corrected, her head perking right back up at the prospect of a lecture. “It’s a potion that allows a pony to temporarily transform into another living thing of the same size. What the drinker is transformed into depends on what is added as the final ingredient," The Unicorn recited from the book, walking towards the table and observing the puddle of liquid. "But I didn't even come close to that stage. I had to add the wormwood and then let it sit for a fortnight... what did I do wrong?" Twilight let out a defeated sigh; feeling exhausted as the stress from earlier took its toll on her. She fell on her haunches, her face covered with a downtrodden look. Before she could start any sort of moping, however, there was a hoot, followed by a feeling of weight on her head. Owlowiscious had flapped over and perched himself upon Twilight’s head, looking clean and happy; you could hardly tell he’d been spooked by the earlier explosion at all. Fluttershy flapped on over as well, the pink maned Pegasus looking quite pleased with her work. It wasn’t as fantastic as some of Rarity’s makeovers might have been, but one had to admire the careful work she had done to take care of the owl.

"Owlowicious is in perfect health, he was just a bit shaken up from the big booms," the yellow Pegasus said, patting the owl gently on the head before smiling ever so sweetly. “Who’s a good little owl?”

“Hoo.” the nocturnal avian replied, keeping his usual expression of Owl-Neutrality. Once Fluttershy ceased her petting, Owlowiscious flapped over to one of the bookshelves and hooted repeatedly, before seizing one of the books from the shelves and pulling it out with several tugs. Flapping his wings faster and harder, the owl struggled to carry the rather large book over to Twilight. He began losing altitude halfway to his owner before Twilight’s magic surrounded the book and plucked it from his grip. Owlowiscious let out a thankful hoot, continuing to remain airborne for a while longer. Curious, Twilight examined the large tome that her nighttime assistant had grabbed for hers. It was a very thick book, the cover being made of fine black leather with the edges trimmed with metal. In the center of a cover, there was a finely crafted metal emblem of a dragon head, a blood red ruby serving as its eye. The craftsponyship on the emblem was fantastic, Twilight had to admit.

"Oh my stars, Twilight! The cover of that book is exquisite!" Rarity exclaimed, placing the feather duster she had been using down on the table as she got a closer look at the large tome. "The metalwork on that emblem is amazing; I've never seen such perfect detail!" She pressed her hoof against the book, feeling the leather. "Such quality leather! This must have cost you a fortune! What book is it?"

"Sarkhoof Vol's Guide to Dragons." Twilight replied, looking at the cover of the thick, leather bound book, pulling it away from Rarity. "Please be careful. Celestia gave this to me after that incident with Spike's growth spurt." The rest of the group shuddered a bit. Nopony wanted a repeat of what happened on Spike's birthday last year; a rampaging dragon hoarding the entirety of Ponyville once was more than enough. "It's a first-hand copy, signed by Sarkhoof Vol himself... so it is worth a fortune." The lavender unicorn looked back up to her nocturnal companion with a quizzical expression etched on her face. "Owlowiscious, why did you grab this?"

The owl answered the only way he could. "Hoo." The matter apparently settled, he flapped to his perch near the window. Twilight scratched her head, confused. Why would her nighttime assistant give her a book that had no relation to her current train of thought? He'd never done that before.

Unless...

Twilight suddenly opened the book as the gears in her head turned, her brain beginning to connect the dots. As she flipped through the tome, picture after picture of nasty looking dragons could be seen, all of them drawn with careful, almost loving detail. A quiet squeak could be heard as Fluttershy looked away from the book, her fear of huge, gigantic, terrifying, enormous, teeth-gnashing, sharp-scale-having, horn-wearing, smoke-snoring, could-eat-a-pony-in-one-bite, totally-all-grown-up dragons apparently extending to pictures of them as well. Twilight didn't blame her; some of the dragons even frightened her: the Lich Dragon in particular. Dragons were bad, and so were Zombies: put both together in an undying reptilian body and you had something that went past horrific and right to mind-numbingly terrifying. It was certainly worse than dragons obsessed with zombies, that’s for sure. Turning away from her current ghastly train of thought, she continued to scan through the pages till she found what she was looking for.

"Cesium Fire Dragons." She read to herself, skimming through the information she'd read numerous times before. She'd almost memorized the behavior section, as a matter of fact. Regardless, she continued to read, looking for something...

"Here we are!" The lavender Unicorn exclaimed, drawing the attention of the rest of her friends, who gathered around.

"Whatcha find, egghead?" asked Rainbow Dash, looking at the page Twilight was on.

"While all dragons contain so much magical power that parts of them can be used as Alchemical Ingredients, such as dragon scales, talons, etc, Cesium Dragon Saliva is so potent that it is used in many different potions. The alchemist Silver Flask has found no more than over 12 different uses for Cesium Dragon Saliva…!” Twilight halted in her reading, before snapping the book shut and galloping back to the desk where she had left the alchemy book. Pinkie suddenly popped up next to her.

“Ooh! Ooh! Is that a cookbook? I see recipes!” the pink Earth Pony said, hopping around excitedly. “What are you making? Pie? Cupcakes? Science Brownies?”

“Science Brownies? How in Equestria wouldja make such a thing?” Applejack asked this, as Twilight was too busy searching through the book to do so.

Pinkie grinned, before standing on her hind hooves, holding her forlegs out in a dramatic pose.

“With SCIENCE!” She whinnied, and if lightning could have struck at that moment, it would have. Unfortunately, the Pegasi had scheduled clear skies for the day, so lightning strikes on demand were unavailable, even when dramatically appropriate. Not that that stopped Pinkie. “DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUN!” Her sound effect was rewarded with stares from almost all of the room's occupants, save Twilight and Rainbow Dash. The former was far too busy browsing the alchemy book, occasionally muttering under her breath, to even acknowledge such shenanigans. The latter, meanwhile, broke out in a fit of laughter.

"Pinkie Pie, that was so random, even for you!" the Pegasus said between laughs, holding her sides as she guffawed

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" A sudden cry of denial was bellowed from the bedroom, drawing everypony's attention. Twilight ripped her gaze away from her book, her eyes filled with worry once more upon hearing the cry.

"Spike!" the lavender unicorn cried, galloping towards the stairwell in a panic. Hooves clattered against wood as she ascended the stairs, the scream stopping as soon she reached the second floor. Twilight barreled towards the door to her room; the door was still closed, as she had left it when she and her friends had carried Spike up to her room. It glowed with a wreath of magenta as Twilight wrenched it open with a flourish of magic. Her entry was met with another empassioned shout from Spike, currently screaming at his own reflection. The purple scaled dragon stumbled backwards, his feet becoming entangled with each other and tripping him. Another flash of magic flared from Twilight's horn, catching Spike in a Telekinesis spell and halting his fall. Zipping over to her draconic companion, Twilight embraced the panicking dragon in a hug in an attempt to calm him down. Her number one assistant thrashed in her grip, still in a panic from what he was seeing.

“Spike, it's alright. I'm here.” The lavender Unicorn murmured to Spike, gently stroking his head with the precise, gentle care of a mother cradling her child. Slowly, the dragon ceased his flailing and panicked cries, before curling up closer and snuggling against Twilight, whimpering.


When the rest of Twilight's friends had finally reached the room, they had been greeted by the sight of their normally bookish friend gently stroking Spike's head, the now larger than normal dragon curled up against her. After a few moments of taking in the rather heartwarming sight, the pony/dragon embrace was broken up; Spike was then bombarded with questions from everypony, save for Rarity and Twilight, who had gone back downstairs to retrieve the book she had been looking at.

"Ummm... y-you're not going to turn into a giant dragon again, are you?" Fluttershy asked, avoiding direct eye contact with Spike.

"I, uh..." Spike began, only to be cut off by an excited Pinkie Pie bouncing around him excitedly.

"Oh!Oh!Oh!" she chanted, her smiling growing wider by the second. "You look so much older now! I'm gonna have to throw a 'Suddenly Grown Older' party as well as a 'Get Well Soon' party!" Before Spike could respond to that, Dash cut in.

"Wow, Spike. You look so scarily awesome! I mean, scarily awesome in the sense that you look totally awesome, but also a biiiiiit scary; not that you are scaring me." The blue pegasus said, hovering around Spike.

“Y' ain’t gonna go on some hoardin’ spree again, are ya?" asked Applejack, pushing her head close to Spike’s and staring him right in the eye with a very stern look. "It’s bad enough you stole all the apples and leaves off o' th' orchard one time.” The young dragon stammered and stuttered as he tried to find an answer, already overwhelmed from all of the questions

“Girls, please stop being so uncouth and leave Spike alone." Rarity interrupted, making her way over to the dragon and giving him an affectionate nuzzle. Spike's face flushed red from the physical contact from his crush, and a blissful smile cross his face "It's obvious he's going through a lot right now, and constantly asking him questions isn't helping.”

Before Spike could say words of thanks — or just blubber incoherent lovey-dovey babble — Twilight returned from her venture downstairs, carrying both Sarkhoof Vol's Guide to Dragons and Silver Flask's Manuscript of Many Mixtures aside her head with magic.

"I've figured out what happened, everypony!" the Unicorn librarian said, opening the first book to the page she had been perusing. The others looked at the contents of the page, reading quietly for a moment.

"Ummm, Twi?" Applejack broke the silence, raising an eyebrow. "What exactly are we lookin' for?"

"After Owlowiscious handed me the book, I remembered that certain parts of dragons were used in Alchemy, so I looked through the book to find out what Cesium Dragons had to provide." She pointed a hoof towards the passage that she had read earlier. "Since Silver Flask was the one pony who discovered 12 different uses for Cesium Dragon Saliva, I looked through his Alchemy book." At the mention of dragon spit being used as an ingredient, Rarity's face turned a little green. That was just disgusting! Twilight continued regardless, already on a roll. "I looked at the index of potions by ingredient in Silver Flask's book and fou-"

"Spare us the details, Egghead. What happened?" Rainbow Dash interrupted with a huff, crossing her forelimbs indignantly. Six pairs of eyes looked back at her, their gazes not approving. "Oh come on, I just wanna skip the boring stuff and hear why Spike's suddenly looking so awesome!"

"As I was saying..." Twilight began, looking back to the book and flipping through the pages. "I found several different alchemical recipes that made use of Cesium Dragon Saliva, but one caught my attention for two reasons." One flourish of magic later, the lavender unicorn opened to another page. Like the rest of the recipes in the book, the name of the Potion was at the top of the page: Draconic Maturation Accelerant.

"This is what caused Spike to suddenly grow so big; he got hit with the equivalent of a draconic growth hormone!" Twilight said, looking pleased at finally cracking the case. "The first reason is obvious," she pointed to Spike with her hoof, who looked away while he twiddled his thumbs. "The other reason, and possibly the more important one is the fact that the first seven steps to brew this potion are identical to..." Applejack let out a gasp, finally catching on to what Twilight was saying.

"That weirdo transformation potion!" the orange mare exclaimed, her expression a look of revelation.

"Exactly!" Twilight smiled. "There's even a little note here on this page." Celestia's personal prodigy pointed to a small window of text near the 8th step:

Warning:

Make sure all, and I mean ALL, members of any and all draconic races are not in the area when you are brewing this potion; the smell of the concoction is irresistible to them, and they will try to seek it out. (See also Dracoattractant Pheromone Philter, p. 394)

"Spike, did you smell anything before the beaker exploded?" Twilight asked her aged up Number one assistant, who tapped his head with a claw as he tried to think.

"...Oh! Now I remember!" the purple dragon exclaimed. "I was coming back in after getting the mail from Ditzy Doo. When you went down to the basement, that's when I smelled the most wonderful, irresistible smell in the world." He breathed in through his nose, recalling the smell: it smelled like Rarity's hair when she'd kissed him on the cheek during his birthday last year, only stronger. "Ahhhh, so sweet..." he opened his eyes, only to be greeted by everypony trying to hold back laughter at the dopey, dreamy look on his face; Dash and Pinkie could barely hold in a snicker. "Uhhh, anyway! I don't remember what happened after I first smelled it, but I do remember it being so strong, and so good, that I ended up drooling. After that, there was a loud noise that sounded like someone was gargling nails, and then... blackness."

"Exactly!" Twilight said as a matter of factly, closing the books and placing them on the nightstand next to her bed. "Since the potion only needed Cesium Dragon Saliva to be finished, you drooling into it was more than enough to complete it; enough to make it react so violently!" The lavender unicorn smiled triumphantly, very pleased with herself. If it could have, wind would have blown dramatically through her mane.

After a beat, Rainbow Dash asked the question on everypony's mind. "...So, how do we get him to change back?"

Twilight's triumphant expression vanished in an instant; she had no idea. "Uhhhh...." the lavender unicorn racked her brains, trying to think of an answer. "Well... "

"Why don't you try the recipe backwards?!" Pinkie Pie interjected, bouncing over to Twilight. "If the original potion made him grow, maybe brewing it in reverse will make him shrink!"

Twilight's face took on a look of mind-numbing disbelief that could only be described as "wat" at this brand of Pinkie-Logic. "Pinkie, that's just... that's not... I... wow." she said, shaking her head.

"What? Don't knock it till you try it!"

"Oh forget it, I'll just write a letter to the Princess, maybe she knows something!" Twilight turned to Spike. "Spike, take a letter." the adolescent dragon skillfully and quickly procured a quill and piece of parchment from the end table drawer, ready to write.

"Dear Princess Celestia," Twilight recited, having done this for so long that she had effectively perfected the art of reciting a letter. "There's been a minor accident in Ponyville involving Spike. Thankfully, he's not rampaging again like he did before, but due to an Alchemical mishap, he's now matured a few years. I can't find anything to reverse the effect, and I was wondering if you might know something. Your Faithful student, Twilight Sparkle." the scratching of quill against parchment ceased shortly after Twilight finished. "There, that should be good. Now send that off to the princess and-"

Twilight's request to Spike was suddenly cut off by a loud raucous burp like noise and a gout of emerald flame, a rolled up letter in front of her.

"A letter from the Princess?" She inquired, eyebrow raised. Spike let out a hacking cough, pounding his fist against his chest.

"Yeow... that burned more than it usually did." he said, kneeling over a bit. That gout of flame felt less like heartburn and more like someone lit a torch in his chest.

"Probably because your fire breath is much more potent with you being aged up." Twilight said, before unrolling the letter sent to her. "Let's see what the Princess has to say." The Princess's personal prodigy began to quietly read the letter to herself, her eyes moving back and forth across the paper...

"Ooh! Whatsitsay!?" Pinkie said, hopping back over to Twilight... then stopping. Pinkie looked at Twilight's face, frowning. "Twilight, is everything alright?" Twilight no longer looked all happy or inquisitive; she looked down right horrified and shocked, judging by the look of her slowly widening eyes. Her magic failed her as she lost concentration, and the letter fell to the ground.

"The... Princess..." she said, her eyes blinking in rapid succession; her mouth opened and closed as she tried to find the words. Pinkie Pie picked up the letter, deciding to look at it.

"What about the Princess?!" Rainbow Dash asked, grabbing Twilight by her shoulders and shaking her. "What's happened, Egghead?!" Before the blue pegasus could shake Twilight enough to Manes Bond's liking, Pinkie let out a loud, horrified gasp.

"The Princess is seriously hurt!" the Party Pony screamed, dropping the letter.


Earlier in the Day:

Castle Canterlot, home of the Royal Princesses of Equestria. Here, a pony could come to have their pleas and requests heard by either Princess during their respective courts: in fact, the Day Court had been in session for the past several hours...

Princess Celestia sighed inwardly, wondering when the Morning Court was going to end. Of course, she betrayed none of this in her expression, maintaining a front of patience and wisdom for the latest babbling noble in a long, grueling line. It seemed like every single member of the Canterlot nobility had some sort of issue that could only be solved through royal intervention, and for the past several hours, she'd had to listen to every single one of them. Even the ones that came from the most self-entitled and prissiest nobles. In fact, the current noble who had been making his requests for the past half hour was so overflowing with self-entitlement that Celestia was sure she could fill an oil drum with it.

"... and you recall the fiasco at last year's Gala, caused by those commonplace ponies!" the onyx black stallion declared, walking with the strut of a very snobby pony. “The fact is, Princess, is that the commoners are obviously overstepping their bounds and need to be curtailed. Yet you’ve not done your du-”

The Princess took a moment to dredge the stallion's name from among far older, FAR more important memories. “Onyx Ring, you've sought an audience with me on this very topic every day for more than a month now. What more would you have me do that I have not already done?”

The stallion sputtered, apparently not expecting such a question. “B-but...!” He racked his brain for a counterargument.

"I can do no more without violating the rights of the citizens of Equestria. I cannot simply discard the laws of the land when they inconvenience me, Onyx. To do so would be a betrayal of the responsibility entrusted to me when I took the throne. It would be a betrayal of the principles upon which our country was founded. If I were to do as you request, I would become little more than a tyrant, a petty dictator ruling through fear and intimidation instead of love and respect. I would be no better than the kind of pony who would order the execution of those who sought her audience for even the humblest request simply for wasting her time." She fixed the stallion with a plaintive gaze. "You don't want to make me that kind of pony, do you, Onyx Ring?"

“...Uh.” The black stallion let out a loud, audible gulp in... fear? Embarrassment? Celestia couldn't tell which, but the way the stallion held himself spoke volumes about his current train of thought. The Princess of the Sun gave him a warm smile

“Is there anything else you would like to discuss, my little pony?”

“...No, your highness.”Onyx Ring bowed to his monarch, before turning away and leaving, his head hanging. Celestia frowned at the stallion’s show of dismay; Onyx's pride may have been wounded, but it was for the better. On the plus side, if fate smiled upon her, she wouldn't be hearing that request from him for a while. Lighthearted bluffs like that tend to work wonders for her. The sound of the throne room doors closing brought Celestia out of her thoughts, and she straightened her posture, a movement imperceptible to the guards and Royal Scribe due to how little she adjusted herself. She turned her gaze to the scribe, a brown Unicorn with an inkpot Cutie Mark. "Scribe Inkheart?” the Unicorn mare looked up from the scroll she held with a spell.

“Yes, M’Lady?” she asked with an air of professionalism that a Royal Guard would be proud of; though the ones currently at Celestia’s side dare not break from their statuesque positions. Constant Vigilance, second in command of the guard, had taught these ponies well.

“Please, do send in the next cit-” Celestia stopped midway; looking suddenly up at the roof of the room. Her guards shifted from their positions upon seeing their monarch react so suddenly.

"What is it, Princess?" A Unicorn Guard asked, looking up to where Celestia was looking. The Alicorn remained silent, keeping her gaze up at the ceiling for a good while. The guards tensed, ready to rush to their Princess's defense at any second, but remained unmoving to keep up the illusion of unpreparedness, despite the fact that they had already shifted position. Time seemed to slow, each second feeling like an eternity; Celestia finally spoke, breaking the tense moment.

"Scribe Inkheart, I need you to go out and let everypony know that the Morning Court is ending early." The Alicorn moved her gaze away from the roof. The Scribepony blinked.

"But, Princess... isn't it a bit early to-" Celestia looked down to the Unicorn, her stern gaze telling all. Inkheart stared for a moment, before nodding silently. "Yes, M'Lady." With that, the Royal Scribe stowed her quill and paper before galloping out. Pleased that her Scribe had done as she asked, the Princess of the Sun closed her eyes; taking a slow, quiet breath...

And suddenly, the ceiling exploded.

A rainbow of colored magics flared as the Unicorn guards cast shield spells, the debris from the roof bouncing off of the wards. The Pegasi guards took to the air, forming around the princess to shield her from the attacker. Celestia breathed out: unrattled by the explosion, before opening her eyes. She furrowed her brow, glaring at the hole in the ceiling. There, slowly descending from the air was what looked like a light grey unicorn with a black mane... but that was where the similarities ended. Numerous eyes were all over its face, all of them open. Limbs that were not standard for a Unicorn equine grew out of its sides, a grossly deformed wing grew out of its right side, and tentacles waved out from all over its back. Its horn was glowing with a fiery red aura. The energy she felt emanating from the figure floating there... it had been so long since she felt something like that. Her eyes fell upon the interloper's flank, and she saw a bright blue symbol that she recognized all so well...

"...So, you finally found me, Tzeentch?"


Princess Luna awoke with a yawn, rubbing her eyes. Giving her head a shake, the Princess of the night looked out the window; it was nearing the evening. The midnight blue Alicorn sat up in her bed, kicking the covers off of her body before walking over to her mirror. Her reflection stared back at her with the same tired expression that she wore, imitating her yawn as well a moment later.

"I need to set a visitor limit on the evening court." She mumbled to herself, shaking her head once more to help wake herself up. Despite her own court happening in the dead of night, there were still a number of ponies who came to it; over a hundred ponies had shown up last night for who knows how long, some of them had taken hours with their requests. Since last year's Nightmare Night in Ponyville, she'd managed to quickly gain popularity despite the fiasco that had occurred at the beginning of the celebration. Ponies from all over Equestria were making trips to Canterlot just to have a simple audience with her. While the fact that Equestria was warming up to her following the Nightmare Moon incident was a pleasant thing , the sheer volume of visitors to the night court made it such a time sink, often going on until the sun was ready to rise. As the Princess of the Night stared back at her reflection in the mirror, the door to her room opened.

"Good Afternoon, Princess Luna. Did you sleep well?" Luna turned around to face the intruder, and was greeted by the sight of her favorite butler, a tan Earth Pony with his black mane tied back into a short ponytail, and a trio of wavy silver lines as his cutie mark; a monocle rested over his left eye.

"Thank you Silver Strings; my sleep was short, but much needed." Luna answered, beckoning the Earth Pony in. Silver Strings trotted in, and Luna finally noticed the tray on his back; mounted atop it was a black metal teapot, steam rising out of the spout. "I see you've brought me tea, many thanks."

"Yes, I figured you would need a pick-me-up after last night's Court." Silver Strings said, trotting over to the table near the window of the room and placing the tray on it. "I do say though, last night's sky was perhaps your best yet: I stayed up a bit later than usual to enjoy a bit of tea with your personal guard and watch the night sky." Luna smiled at the compliment, trotting over to the table and levitating the teapot to pour herself some tea.

"Oh Miss Luna, please; let me pour it, it's not proper for you to do so when I'm around." The Earth Pony interrupted, moving back to the table. Luna let out a sigh as she let the pot down back onto the tray. Silver Strings was so old fashioned sometimes, always wanting to pamper and her. Even on Nightmare Night he insisted she wear a cloak of some sort to stay warm: something she remedied with an illusion spell. The stallion gripped the handle in his teeth, before pouring the hot water into the cup and adding the tea leaves.

"You do know I am your elder by nearly a millennium, Silver Strings; surely you don't need to pamper me every day." Luna gripped the teacup in a levitation spell, bringing to her mouth and taking a sip. It was splendid, as always.

"But then I'd be out of a job, M'Lady." The stallion chuckled as he trotted over to the other side of the room and retrieved Luna's royal wear. He placed the fine pieces of metal onto a pillow, which he placed on his head, and trotted back over to Luna. "Besides, you cannot argue that I don't make fine tea." The Alicorn let out a light laugh at the bit of humor, and nodded. Setting the cup down, she cast another levitation spell and floated the metal jewelry over to herself. Crown on head, followed by the chest piece, and finally the shoes. Satisfied with her work, Luna stood back up and walked over to the window, looking outwards to the courtyard. Royal Guards Patrolled, the grounds keepers tended to the numerous plants and royal memorabilia, a weird mutated looking pony was floating over the throne room, the birds on the grounds were fluttering pa- wait a moment...

"Silver Strings, come here." Luna said, looking back towards the odd sight she had just seen. “Do you see that as well?” Her butler trotted over to the window, looking to where she was pointing. He took one look at the sight, blinking a few times, before removing his monocle from his eye. The stallion wiped the lens and placed it back over his eye; the appalling sight was still there.

"What in high heaven?" he asked, craning his neck to try and get a better look. The anomaly's horn glowed with a magenta light, before launching a blast down at the roof. Aloud explosion accompanied the blast, shaking the entire castle. Regaining his composure, Silver Strings looked back to the central keep, watching... whatever that was descend into the throne room. "The Morning Court is still going on...” he muttered, before the connections clicked in his head and he gasped. “It's going for Princess Celestia!" the Earth Pony shouted. “Luna, stay here, I'm going to rall- Princess?”

Silver Strings turned to his left to find that the Princess of the Night was no longer beside him. The slamming of the door announced the alicorn's sudden exit.


Celestia watched in horror as bolts of warpfire blasted from the creature's horn, vaporizing her Pegasi guards the moment they were struck.

"Protect the Princess!" Silent Vigil, the senior guard on duty, shouted. The Unicorn guards formed a phalanx around the princess, before casting several warding spells at once to block incoming attacks.

"FOOLS!" the creature snarled, before its horn glowed again and fired off more bolts. The shield spells shattered under the assault, allowing more of the warpfire bolts to get through and slam into several of the guards. Silent Vigil watched as his men were engulfed in the magenta flames, rapidly turning to ash.

"HOLD THE LINE! DO NOT FALTER!" he bellowed, prepping another ward. The Creature roared again, before charging up another blast. The Guardspony closed his eyes; if today was his time, then so be it... There was a flash, but not the magenta color of the intruder, but rather the golden light of Celestia's magic. The creature was blown backwards, slamming into the wall from the force of the powerful spell.

"Silent Vigil, get out of here." The Princess ordered the Royal Guard. The grey Unicorn stallion gawked at the princess in disbelief.

"No Princess, it is our duty to protect you. I shall not leave your side"

"You can't do your duty if you're dead, Guardspony. Now heed me and get out of here." Celestia ordered, looking back up at the creature, which was pulling itself out of the wall.

“I’d rather die than leave you to this monster, your highness.” Silent Vigil snorted, before standing his ground once again.

“And I am your Princess, and I order you to stand down. Just because I'm over a thousand does not mean I'm helpless." Celestia said, before leaping into the fray. The Unicorn sputtered, trying to argue... but let out a defeated sigh. She had ordered him to retreat, and he had to obey. That monstrosity was just way out of their league; still he wasn't going to run completely.

"Fall back!" he shouted to the guards that remained standing. “The Princess ordered a retreat! Fall back!” The other guards, already recovering from the shock of the assault, were flabbergasted by the order. “We’re not leaving her, we’re just getting reinforcements!” Silent Vigil added, snapping his guards out of their confusion. The order understood, the remaining guards concentrated, before vanishing in a flash of light: teleportation spells.

Satisfied that her guard was out of danger, Celestia turned to face the intruder, who had now pulled itself free of the wall.

“I don't know how your master found his way here, daemon." Celestia bayed, the unfamiliar feeling of anger rising up in her chest. "And I do not care, either; but you are not welcome in this world. Leave. Now." The monster what was once a pony looked all 64 of its eyes upon the alabaster alicorn, before letting out a snort of laughter.

"Oh, why would I do that? There's far too much destruction for me sow for me to leave now." the daemon spoke, a deep layer of reverb in its voice. It grinned grinned, its host mimicking its action. "Lord Tzeentch gave me a task, with the reward of more power; I intend to follow through with it!"

"The old bird wants me out of the way, doesn't he?" Celestia deadpanned, her mind already gently pulling up a thousand years worth of combat spells and erecting mental defenses. "He must be scraping the bottom of the barrel if he sent someone who's looking for more power." The daemonhost growled, not taking the insult nicely.

"I am a Lord of Change; the Greatest of Tzeentch's Daemons!" its horn glowed with magenta fire once again, firing off a thick stream of warpflame. "You are NOTHING, INSOLENT EQUINE!" The torrent of warp fire surged towards Celestia, before suddenly being stopped by a shimmering bubble of golden light. The Princess shook her head, before returning her glare to the daemonhost.

"I am Princess Celestia, ruler and protector of Equestria. I bring day to this world as my sister brings night to it. You? You've waltzed into my realm, harmed my subjects, and threatened me." Her horn glowed once again, spells at the ready. "If you will not leave like I've asked, then prepare to face retribution."

"Hah! So be it!" the daemon declared, before spurring it's host's body forward, flying right at the Princess.

The Alicorn snapped her wings downward, taking to the air. The host pony slammed into the floor, cracking it from the impact, before following Celestia into the air, blasting fireballs from its horn. Celestia dove and weaved around the projectiles with the skill of a master, showing that she wasn't some feeble, defenseless mare, but a powerful deity. The Sun Goddess of Equestria spun to the right, narrowly avoiding one fireball and feeling the hellish heat when it passed far too close to her back. Righting herself in midair, she turned to face the daemonhost and fired off a series of her own spells. Bolts of golden light blasted towards the daemonhost, striking with deft precision and accuracy. The daemonhost whinnied as it was struck, knocked off balance by the barrage of magical missiles. The opening noticed, Celestia flew right at her opponent, landing infront of him and lashing out with her front legs, her hooves cloaked in sunfire. The multiple flaming hoof strikes smacked into the daemonhost's face, igniting what remained of its mane and leaving burn marks in the shape of hooves on it's face. It reared and whinnied once more, countering with the numerous tentacles on its back. Celestia leapt backwards, out of their reach. Her horn glowed once again, before the sunfire left her hooves and floated into the air. The flames coruscated and compacted, before taking the shape of an ornate rapier. Grasping the bound blade with a spell, the sun goddess slashed at the incoming tentacle assault from her foe.

The daemonhost yowled in pain as Celestia's skilled swordsmareship sliced and diced its tentacles, gently smoking hunks of them falling to the floor. With her foe on the retreat, Celestia pressed onward with her attack, swinging her blade in a florish as she blasted more golden flames at the daemonhost, scorching its flesh. The daemon growled, realizing it was being pushed back towards the wall; if it was cornered, it would most certainly loose: even completely sacrificing the host's body to allow its true form to emerge would just give the alicorn a bigger target. Its constant attacks on her mind had yielded no results; her mind was an impressively guarded fortress and would not break while she was so focused. The anguished cries of terror and pain from its host's soul wasn't helping with its concentration either... Celestia blasted the daemonhost with another fire spell, sending it into the wall. It was out of time...

“You've lost, daemon. Now leave this world or die. You shall not harm the ponies of Equestria any more.” The Alicorn said pointing her blade at the prone daemonhost

The daemonhost blinked, and then grinned to itself, not wanting the Princess to see it. There was its opportunity. It relinquished control of the body ever so slightly, allowing the host's soul to to take over its body. The eyes that were originally the only ones prior to possession cleared, becoming blue once more.

“P-Princess!” the stallion stammered out, obviously in pain. “H-help... me...” Celestia blinked, hearing her subject's pained cry.

“Shhh, do not worry, my little pony; we'll find a way to help you.” The alicorn closed her eyes, before reaching out to touch the Unicorn's own mind to console him. She heard his pained sobs, and so desperately wanted to help. She brushed against the pony's mind, feeling the scars of possession on his psyche...

Gotcha!” the daemon said, crushing its host's control and sending a psychic assault directly at Celestia's psyche through the mind-link spell she cast. It struck hard, filling her mind with images of horror within the warp, blasting at her sanity. The Alicorn hadn't a chance to respond, only able to scream out as her mind was assaulted and violated by the daemon's talons. Her spells faded away, and the daemon let out a laugh. “I AM VICTORIOUS!” it shouted, before blasting the Alicorn with warpfire. Celestia was struck at point blank with the numerous fireballs, sending her sprawling to the ground. In the sky, the sun froze in its place; no longer guided by a deity's magic. The daemonhost laughed maliciously, floating over to the fallen Princess; it hadn't killed her, yet. It wanted to savor the moment before it quashed the life out of her completely. The monstrosity dropped down on top of the Alicorn, pressing its hoof against her neck.

Pathetic, worthless equine: no one challenges a Lord of Change and wins!” it boasted, laughing again.

It was at that moment that the throne room doors were blown open, blasted right off of their hinges. The daemonhost halted it's laughed and fired off a spell, completely disintegrating the giant metal doors.

WHO DARES ATTACK ME?!” the daemon bellowed, looking towards the entry. He was greeted by the sigh of a midnight blue Alicorn, her eyes glowing white; a look of unbridled, righteous rage across her face. Her gaze was locked upon the monstrosity standing atop her fallen sister; her anger spiked.

THOU HATH HARMED OUR SISTER! THOU SHALL SUFFER THE ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT!” Luna roared, the Traditional Royal Canterlot voice reaching maximum volume. The Princess of the Night let out an enraged snort, stamping the ground in challenge.

"You dare challenge me, pathetic equine? I. Am. A. GOD!" the daemon bellowed, launching a blast of warpfire at the Princess of the Night from its horn. The hellish flames struck the alicorn, engulfing her. The daemon laughed darkly as it watched the warp-born flames surround Luna. “Cross me and DIE!” it shouted, before resuming its vile mirth. The foul cackle reverberated throughout the room; the ground seemed to shake with every guffaw.

Luna's voice, amplified far beyond mortal lung capacity, overwhelmed the laughter. "Thou may thinkest thyself a god in whatever hell thou callest home, but this is Our realm. Our Sister's realm. We have sworn to defend this land, its ponies and all under Our rule. THOU ART NOT WELCOME HERE!" The Traditional Royal Canterlot Voice reached such a high volume that the ground itself did quake, the debris from the daemonhost’s earlier fight with Celestia trembling at the might of the moon goddess’s voice. The dark shadow of the alicorn within the riot of magenta warpfire flickered several times, before suddenly vanishing. The flames shuddered and wavered, vanishing a moment after. There was no burnt corpse or pile of white hot ash.

An illusion?!” The daemon screeched in astonishment, opening all of its host's eyes, trying to locate where its foe had disappeared to. This it had not foreseen; it hadn’t even considered the possibility of fighting a foe with illusionary magic. That very oversight would be its downfall. The throne room suddenly became dark as night without the stars; the only source of light coming from a single silver orb that hung in the air in front of the daemonhost, drawing its attention. It’s every eye fixated on the image of the moon, every limb prepared to strike, every act of warp sorcery at the ready.

I am destruction incarnate; I am a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch! You do not frighten me with your pathetic attempts at intimidation! I see everything!” the daemon yelled, before looking into the future. It saw the alicorn princess appearing on the right, only to be struck down by a blast of warpfire. It smiled, its host mimicking its action. “DESPAIR, FOR I AM THE END OF DAYS!” it thundered, before suddenly facing the left and blasting out a stream of warpfire from its horn. Luna flashed into existence, only to be engulfed by the flame. The daemon laughed once more as it watched her burn. “You don’t hold a candle to my pow-” Its boasting was cut short as its host’s limbs suddenly locked up. It couldn't move! It tried to open its mouth to speak, but found it couldn’t. The warpfire and Luna both suddenly vanished: another illusion? But how? It had seen the future. It had known what would happen. Before the daemon could cast a spell to free itself, the Traditional Royal Canterlot voice thundered once more.

We are the Princess of the Night, of the Moon, of the black abyss of the night sky! Neigh; We are Night itself!” Luna’s voice thundered as the Princess of the Night materialized behind the daemonhost, her midnight blue coat now an inky black; her mane, a cloud of stars. The alicorn opened her eyes, her once round pupils now slits, like a cat's. “WE ARE THE NIGHT GIVEN MORTAL FORM. TREMBLE BEFORE OUR WRATH!” Luna’s horn glowed with a flash of deep blue, before casting a second spell to follow up the Immobilization Spell binding the monster before her. The Daemonhost suddenly found itself hoisted and held aloft; it could feel the magic flowing around it. “NOW, FEEL THE MIGHT OF THE MOON UPON THEE!”

As the Princess of the Night, Luna’s powers were mostly devoted to illusions and trickery, and it was a rare day where she could match Celestia’s might in a contest of raw power; the sun was far greater than the moon. This did not, however, mean Luna was weak in any way. The younger Alicorn still had powers far beyond the strength of even the most magically inclined unicorn. She could conjure this power in the forms of two mighty spells. The first exposed the target to the pure essence of night. The other, however was far more brutal, and exactly what she chose to use now. Though the moon was held in place by Luna’s own magic and the weight of the world, it exerted an influence of its own on both. The tides of the oceans ebbed and flowed with the moon’s pull, and Luna was inflicting that very force upon the monster that had dared to harm her sister:

Gravity.

With the Daemonhost’s mouth sealed shut by the immobilization spell, it could not scream in anger or pain as it felt the titanic forces began to squeeze it into a ball: a tiny, tiny ball. Luna screwed her face up in concentration as she poured more and more into the spell, watching as the creature’s limbs bent at unnatural angles as it was crushed by the gravity she was forcing upon it. The many eyes of the daemonhost bulged before its body suddenly ruptured. Not a drop of its blood touched the floor, held in place as Luna poured more and more magic into the spell. The body of the monstrosity let out a series of sickening cracks and pops as bones snapped and eyes popped; still, Luna did not let up till the monstrosity was compressed into a tiny ball of organic matter that might once have been a pony. Only then, with a loud, disembodied scream, did what remained of the daemonhost explode in a violent ball of warpfire, discorporating completely. The scream of the daemon still rang throughout the entire hall long after the host's body had discorporated.

Luna released the magic from all of her cast spells, each of them vanishing one after the other. The throne room became bright once more as the illusion of Darkest Night faded away, shortly followed by Luna's body glowing with a bright white light as her body shrunk back to its normal size. Upon ending the spells, the Princess of the Night panted heavily as she dropped to the floor; the multiple doppelganger spells, followed a simultaneous casting of Darkest Night and the Gravity spell had taken a taxing toll on the Alicorn, draining her considerably. Shifting to her Nightmare form to trick the beast only increased that toll. So many spells cast, so much magic burnt: it was through only sheer force of will that Luna still was awake.

"It..." she panted, trying to push herself to her feet. "...is done." with a grunt of exertion, Luna forced herself to her hooves, standing tall as she trotted with urgency over to Celestia. "Celly! Celly, please be alive!" Luna reached her fallen sister, who looked as bad as Luna felt. Her once alabaster white coat was now singed black in many spots, along with splashes of red from wounds that had been cut into her. Her wings were missing many feathers, and her mane and tail were dim. To the moon goddess's relief, her elder sister's sides still rose and fell; she was still breathing! Gathering up whatever strength she had left, Luna summoned up the Royal Canterlot Voice for the second time and hollered.

"HROTHGAR! ODAHVIING!" she bellowed at the top of her lungs. At the Princess's call, a pair of shadows swooped into throne room through the hole in the ceiling made by the interloper. They landed in a crouch behind her, kneeling as the shadows faded away from them, revealing two stocky, grey, dragon-winged Pegasi dressed in Royal Guard armor, colored a deep purple. The two personal guards of Princess Luna, the Guardians of Night, Hrothgar and Odahviing, knelt before their ruler.

"The warriors of the Night are yours to command. We obey your call." they said as one, before standing up again and facing Luna. It seemed like only now they noticed how tired she seemed. The bodyguard on the right, Hrothgar, was the first to speak.

"M'Lady, art Thou alright!?" he exclaimed, moving to inspect the Princess for any wounds. Luna pushed him away.

"Do not mind us, Our Sister is wounded!" she declared in the Royal Canterlot voice, earning a gasp of surprise from Hrothgar. If Odahviing felt shock, he kept it hidden; only speaking in a voice that belonged to a stallion that’d been around for a very long time.

"I shall fetch the Royal doctors, M’Lady, if Thou desirest." he asked, already extending his wings in preparation for flight.

"Make it so, and quickly!" Luna ordered, and the Night Guard bolted upwards out through the hole in the ceiling. Happy that the doctors would be on the way, Luna finally dropped her commanding attitude, fear streaking through her as she turned back to Celestia, nuzzling her older sister. "Oh please don't die, Tia. Don't die." She sobbed, dropping to the ground and pushing herself against Celestia. Hrothgar courteously looked away from the two, standing in a silent vigil in the event there were more attackers poised to strike.

"L... lulu?"

Luna gasped, and only snuggled up closer to her elder sister. The voice had sounded like it was coming from within her mind...

"Tia! Oh please, don't die on me!" the younger alicorn cried.

"I'm not dead... I'm tougher than that... but that daemon did... something to my mind. I can't move at all... “Celestia’s voice said, sounding weak and distant.

"D-daemon?" Luna asked; the unfamiliar word sending a chill down her spine. "Is that what that... thing was?"

"Yes... it possessed a Pony's body..." Celestia's voice began to sound even more distant, like a fading radio signal. "Look, Luna... I don't have much time to talk; this telepathy spell won't last much longer... go behind my throne. There's a secret compartment... read what is inside." There was a sudden cry of pain from Celestia's voice, one that caused Luna to cringe. "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Just stay strong! I love you, sister." The last words her sister had spoken echoed in Luna's mind, before fading away.

"Tia? Tia?!" the alicorn said, nudging her sister. Celestia did not move save for the continued rising and falling of her chest. "TIA!"

-------------

Odahviing had returned a few minutes later, the royal doctors in tow. All of them had gasped in horror when they saw their monarch lying on the floor, unconscious. Still, they had managed to levitate her onto a stretcher and carried her to the Castle Hospital with the upmost urgency. Shortly after that, Luna had ordered the entirety of the palace and the city of Canterlot locked down till any accomplices of the beast that had attacked Celestia could be found: all land and sky routes to the city would be shut down. She'd find out who'd sent that monster, and she’d see to it that he (or she) would pay. On top of that, she had to notify Twilight Sparkle; Celly would want her student to know what happened. But first, she needed to do something.

“Where is that blasted compartment?!” the alicorn shouted, as she continued to scrutinize the back of the throne. She saw no door of any kind, and a detection spell yielded no illusions… so where was that secret compartment Celestia had mentioned? As Luna continued her search, Hrothgar and Odahviing stood rigidly at attention, keeping a silent vigil. At least, until Hrothgar tried to peak over his shoulder to get a look at Luna…

Brother Hrothgar, do control thyself. We art here to stand guard; not try and sneak a glimpse at the Princess’s hindquarters.” Odahviing said, not even acknowledging his associate with a glance. The other Night Guard returned to his rigid pose, looking very embarrassed. Fortunately for him, Luna was far too engaged in her search to have heard the older guard’s voice.

“Not so loud, Odah, sheesh… do you always need to use the voice?” The younger stallion would say, keeping his eyes forward.

Always.” The older stallion’s chest rumbled as he chuckled. “Thou may not wish to incur Her Majesty’s wrath; dost thou not remember those two clumsy foals who tried to woo the Princess?" Hrothgar did remember that incident: two stallions had picked up the Princess when she'd been out with her handmaiden (the princess was in disguise, of course, under the alias of Selene), had begun to buy her drinks, and had plans for her with not so innocent intentions. One of the idiots had made the mistake of slapping the Princess on her hindquarters. The resulting explosion of magic from an angry princess had wrecked the entire bar and left those two stallions regretting their actions. Hrothgar had no intention of being on the receiving end of her wrath, but he was still young, only having joined the Royal Guard a year ago in his late teens. He'd only recently been chosen for Luna's bodyguard (hoof picked by Luna, none the less!), and was still prone to some juvenile habits: checking mares out was one of these.

"Oh come on now you old coot, don't tell me you looked at some of the mares." he said, sheepishly grinning before returning to stoic guard mode.

"Thou still hast much to learn, Brother. We of the Night Guard may be Her Ladyship's honor guard, but we still need to show some shred of self-control." Odahviing replied, unfurling his draconic wings to emphasize his point. As Luna let out another stream of curses at her current task, followed shortly by a rapid series of clangs, he spoke up again. "M'Lady, dost thou require assistance?" Hrothgar looked over his shoulder, and stifled a laugh. Somehow, seeing the Princess just wailing on the thrown with her hooves was adorable.

"WHY HAST MINE SISTER MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND A SECRET COMPARTMENT?!" the alicorn bellowed. She blinked, realizing how she just answered her own question, before letting out a sigh and sliding to the floor. "I need help..."

"M’Lady, perhaps thou art trying too hard?" Odahviing offered, remaining motionless. "I believe that behind the throne doth not necessarily mean in the back of it. Perhaps it be so obvious thou didst not notice it?"

"..." Luna blinked again, before looking down directly at her hooves. Bolted to the floor was a handle, covered in a thick layer of dust. Directly below it was a plaque, also covered in a thick layer of dust. With her right hoof she brushed away the dust, allowing her to read what was engraved into the metal plate.

OPEN IN CASE OF CHAOS INCURSION

PS. You spent most of your time behind here looking at the back of the throne, didn't you, Luna?

Luna was silent, the words on the plaque staring back at her. The amount of dust covering it shot down any theory that the message had been carved within the year. In fact, the metal working on the plaque looked pre-Equestrian Renaissance, which didn't occur until about 500 years after she was first banished to the moon, judging by the way the text was carved in. This could only mean two things; the first being that Celestia had expected this entire incident. As for the second one, Luna asked herself if she was really that predictable...

"M’Lady?" Odahviing asked once more. "Art thou alright?"

A series of dull thunks were heard as Luna began to repeatedly bash her head firmly against the throne, absentmindedly wondering how much abuse an alicorn skull could take from bashing against a hard surface. Upon seeing the Princess of the Night apply her face to the throne, Hrothgar looked at his comrade incredulously.

"I though you said to show some self-control?!" he asked. "Didn't you just talk out of turn?" Odahviing smirked.

"Seniority in Luna's Guard allows some perks." the older stallion said. Hrothgar's ears perked up when he heard 'perks', causing Odahviing's grin turned to a disappointed frown. "And no, not those kinds. Get thy mind out of the gutter, Brother."

"Awww."

-------------------------------------------------

Thought of the Day: “Venerate the Princesses, for tomorrow you may be dead.”

Unit of the Chapter

Night Guard Pegasi

Pt Cost: +100pts

WS 4| BS 4| S 4| T 4| W 1| I 4| A 2| Ld 9| Sv +3

Unit Type: Jump Infantry

Special Rules:

Nighttime Warriors: The guards in Luna's Night Guard have mastered the ability of moving in and out of the shadows and darkness, making them very difficult, if not impossible, to strike at them. Any Unit attempting to fire on them is subject to the Night Fighting Special Rule. In addition, the Night Guard Pegasi are also not subject to the Night Fighting Special rule.

We heed Your call.”: The Night Guard always heed the call of their Princess, and arrive at her side when she calls. Night Guard Pegasi always arrive via Deep Strike from reserve, and if they Deep Strike within 6'' of an HQ unit, they do not scatter.