• Published 24th Jul 2012
  • 3,761 Views, 145 Comments

Darkened Shores - Silver Flare



An adventure that takes the Mane 6 around the world to face the what destroyed the alicorn homeland.

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Dissonance

Lyra returned to her bench in the Canterlot Gardens. It’d been another bad day. Bon Bon had come around again, and she’d brought flowers this time. But Lyra found she couldn’t explain her decision to break up any better than the last time Bon had asked her why. When she left, she seemed so sad. . . As if that wasn’t enough, Lyra’d had her first fight with Minuette. She’d stormed off, and now Lyra found herself doing what many do after a fight with a friend. She went back over everything that was said line by line, reliving the fight again and again.

It had been late afternoon, and Lyra had just left her room to go for a walk. She’d needed to sort out her thoughts after sending Bon Bon away, and a walk sounded excellent. Maybe through the gardens again. Minuette found her in front of her building.

“Lyra! There you are!” She’d said with genuine concern in her voice. “I haven’t seen you in ages! Where. . . are you feeling alright?”

She’d honestly thought about it for a moment. Strangely, she didn’t feel much of anything. “Yes, I feel fine.” She said. Lyra tried to walk around Minuette, but she sidestepped into her way.

“Hey, don’t just walk away.” Minuette said, putting a hoof on Lyra’s shoulder. “I’ve missed you, and you haven’t been yourself lately.”

Lyra’d felt strangely frustrated that her friend was blocking her path. A weird spike of anger made her grit her teeth over some very unkind words she’d wanted to say. But Minuette was her friend. She fought down her frustration, sighed deeply and said, “Look, I’m sorry. We can catch up later, I promise. I just need to be alone for awhile.” And with that Lyra’d cut through the grass around Minuette to head towards the gardens.

“Fine!” Minuette had shouted. “If you don’t have time for friends, maybe we shouldn’t even be friends! I never want to see you again!” Just the memory of those words made Lyra feel hollow and sad. She sat on her bench and fought back tears. Hang on. She thought to herself. That wasn’t right, was it? And when did this headache start? She went back over it again. She said, ‘I never want to see you again?’

Why yes, that’s exactly what she said.

Then why do I remember hearing it in my voice? Minuette would never say that.

Wouldn't she?

Lyra’s head was pounding, she couldn’t think straight. Did that really happen that way?

Of course it did, stop questioning me!

But that doesn’t make any sense!

Lyra heard a distant voice call out. “Hey!” She hadn’t realized she’d closed her eyes and was digging her hooves into temples until she looked up to see Minuette running down the garden path towards her. “Lyra. . . what are you doing here?”

Again, Lyra felt strangely angry. Couldn’t she have just one moment’s peace? Just leave me alone! No, she didn’t want to say that, did she? Instead, she said, “I’m just getting some fresh air. Why?”

“No.” Minuette pointed behind the bench Lyra was reclining on. “I mean, what are you doing here? That thing gives me the creeps.”

That was a very strange and unsettling moment for Lyra Heartstrings. She didn’t want to turn around. She didn’t want to look, she didn’t need to look, and nopony could make her. Princess Celestia herself couldn’t make her look at something she didn’t need to see. But at the same time the strength of her visceral denial left her terrified. She knew all at once that she’d been manipulated. She hadn’t been alone in her own head. Again.

She forced herself to turn around, even though she felt like she was moving through water. Behind her reared a statue with a slender body, one eagle claw and one lion paw thrust forward, as though to hold the beauty and the sense of the world at bay. A horse-like face was frozen in a silent scream. Even from this distance, Lyra could clearly see a small, fine crack in the stone running through the left eye. Lyra’s heart sank into her hooves, and she felt like she couldn’t breathe. She thought to herself, Oh, no. And she clearly heard, as if in her own mental voice. Oh, yes. The Elements are distant and scattered. They no longer bind me. Now that she was aware of him, his presence was palpable.

Discord.

The world lost cohesion, flinging apart like dandelion seeds, and the darkness between the firmaments swirled into its place.












Lyra. . .

Lyyyyyyyyyyraaaaaaaaa. . .

"Lyra?"

"Oh hoof me, what the hay happened to her?"

"I told you, she just fainted! I dragged her. . ."

"Oh, likely story!" Bon Bon? "How much did the two of you have to drink, huh?"

Lyra sat bolt upright with a cry, shivering, eliciting a squawk of surprise from both the other ponies in the room. Without allowing herself time to think, Lyra threw herself around Bon's neck, burying her face in her soft mane.

Bon Bon's face stretched into a victorious grin. "There, see? She'd rather be with me than you, you. . . harlot!" She said vindictively.

Minuette pulled at her ears in frustration. "I told you two floors below, there's NEVER been anything between us! Gah!"

Lyra sniffed. "Don't be stupid, Bon." She mumbled, not really caring if she got a face-full of mane as she did so. "You're not the jealous type, and we both know it."

Bon Bon tried pushing Lyra away with her hooves. "You! Don't you go thinking you can just shove your way back into my life! Not after the things you said to me! Get OFF ME!"

Lyra didn't let go. She locked her hooves together and held on for dear life. "I'm sorry, Bon."

"Not as sorry as you're going to be!"

"I love you." At that the earth pony stopped struggling, her eyes wide and her chest heaving. "I love you, Bon. I know I haven't said this enough, but I really love you. You're the sweetest, kindest pony I've ever met." One of Bon Bon's eyes twitched, and she clamped them shut. Lyra sighed, and it sounded like it came from the bottom of her soul. "You're smart and funny and emotionally stable. You're the reason my world is fun to be in. I love you. Please, don't ever forget that, no matter what."

With a shudder, Bon Bon collapsed back onto her haunches. She wiped the corner of her eye with a fetlock. "Lyra. . . Lyra, I'm sorry too. I don't know what came over me."

Lyra finally let go and pulled away from her assault-hug. Her mane was a mess and her eyes were red, but she looked happy. "I don't think you need to apologize to me, beautiful."

With a start, Bon Bon remembered that they weren't alone. "Oh, of course. I'm so sorry, Minuette. I mean, I never should have called you a. . . I mean, I know you're not. . . And, well, you seem like a. . . It's just, I wasn't, um. . . hmmm. . ."

"I get it, I get it, apology accepted, sheesh. Thank you." The blue unicorn rolled her eyes. But she smiled too.

For the first time Lyra took her eyes off of Bon Bon and swiveled about to face her friend. "Look Colgate, I really owe you big time for dragging my sorry flank back here."

Minuette blew her mane out of her eyes. "You got that right. Maybe now you'll go talk to somepony about what you've been through. I could set you up with a great therapist. I've got to tell you, since I started seeing Dr. Flanksberg my coping skills have been. . ."

Lyra held out a hoof. "Yes, okay? I'll do it. Believe me, I'll stop fighting it. I'll set something up right away and go see a shrinky-dink. Promise. But let's do that once the crisis is over. Okay?"

"What crisis?" Bon Bon asked.

"Crisis?" Minuette asked at the same time.

"Wait." Lyra turned towards the pony that surprised her, her ears drooping. "Tell me you saw the crack, Colgate. The crack in the statue?"

"What statue?" Minuette's steel-blue eyes widened in alarm. "That statue?"

Bon Bon glanced back and forth between the two. "What statue?"






It was getting close to midnight, and the castle seemed dark and lifeless. The Canterlot nobility and aristocracy were nowhere to be seen this late. The kitchens were quiet, the serving staff having cleaned up and turned in. Only one room near the top of one of the towers had a light still burning. The guards at the gate seemed unimpressed when Lyra, Bon Bon and Minuette asked permission to enter, and even less impressed when they refused to say why. It seemed to take forever for the ranking guard to vanish into the castle and reappear with an answer. But when he reappeared with a sigh, he led the pair through the castle, the occasional candle the only illumination.

Lyra spoke in a worried tone. “I mean, I was aware that Princess Celestia had left Canterlot, but can’t you get a message through to her or something?”

“That’s quite impossible.” The guardspony stated flatly. “Princess Celestia will return when she chooses to, but she has deliberately made herself unreachable.”

Lyra nodded glumly. At least there’s somepony left in charge. I just hope she’ll know what to do. She glanced at Minuette, and they shared a mute moment of trepidation. They ascended the double-stairway in the great hall, and the guard turned and guided them up the stairs to the west wing of the castle. An elegant but sparsely lit hallway, a couple of turns and more stairs, and the three ponies emerged into a quiet hallway lined with statues like mute sentinels, grim but powerless against any real threat. Partly down the hall a pair of guards stood watch by a set of doors. A sliver of warm light spilled from beneath it into the hallway.

“The Princess will see you in the study.” Their escort said. He saluted the guard ponies at the door, who returned the salute crisply. One of them turned and opened the study door. The three of them walked together into a richly appointed room lined with bookshelves. A fireplace, well tended and brightly burning, shed light across books and scrolls by the hundreds. The dark, lush carpeting was occasionally overlaid by an even more beautiful and lush carpet. Upon one of these positioned near the fireplace lay an alicorn busy reading through a stack of scrolls and missives. She glanced up at her guests, set aside a piece of parchment, and stood, stretching gracefully.

“So. We have heard tales of a message too important to entrust to the palace guards.” While the Princess’s voice was both warm and kind, it did hold a faint note of disbelief. “We find ourselves eager to hear it.”

All three ponies had bowed while they were being addressed. Then Lyra rose. “Your Highness, Princess Luna. Thank goodness you’re here!”

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