• Published 20th Jul 2012
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The Conquering of Love - Littlecolt

Twilight finds she and her friends are trapped in their own minds and must escape.

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Intermezzo 2

The Conquering of Love

Chapter Thirty - Intermezzo 2


Applejack looked over the charred barricades that stood at the entrance of the southern wall around Ponyville’s town square. “Where’s that silly filly run off to?” she muttered, spotting fresh hoofprints along the dirt road that led southward towards the Everfree Forest. “I bet she’s tried to go home, prolly lookin’ fer one’a her little animal friends.”

Applejack leapt over the barrier and galloped down the dirt road, her eyes darting back and forth quickly, watching for any sign of movement.

Ya just can’t tell what sort’a danger you’ll run into nowadays. Dang it, Fluttershy! This ain’t no game!

Fluttershy’s cottage came into view, and Applejack spotted the yellow pegasus stepping out the door of her house, which was completely overrun with vines.

“Angel!” Fluttershy called out, peering into the depths of the Everfree Forest. “Angel bunny?”

Applejack saw a big clump of vines twisting in front of Fluttershy. She picked up speed and ran towards her. The vines shot from the forest, right at Fluttershy’s head. Applejack rammed into Fluttershy, pushing her out of the way. She turned her head towards the forest just in time to see the sharp, spear-like vines sailing right at her.

“Fluttershy!” Vitra screamed, shooting up out of bed. She slammed a hoof against her right eye and cringed forward, her abdominal muscles tensing up. She breathed heavily, her heart raced, and her wide eyes stared blankly downward at the cover that had been laid over her.

“Fluttershy,” she said again, more calmly, “look out.” She blinked her eyes and shook her head. She looked around the room she was in. A single candle lit the windowless chamber, cold gray walls all around and a door on one wall. She got up out of bed and walked towards the door. As she reached it, she fell to the ground and clutched her head as a spark of pain shot through it.

“Rainbow!” she shouted, shutting her eyes. She saw herself fighting Rainbow Dash high atop a castle. “I don’t… want to fight you!” she managed to open her eyes again and stand back up, steadying herself against the door and slowly turning the handle.

Another painful shock sizzled through her mind, dropping her to the ground once more. She felt weightless as she fell down into a ravine, hitting the ground. She saw Rainbow Dash, Twilight, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Princess Celestia. Rainbow Dash was lying limply in front of the others. “We fell together,” she said quietly. “We both died.”

Vitra pushed the door open and walked down the hallway she found herself in. The hall eventually connected to a larger chamber. Stairs led up to a large set of doors. The sound of screaming and a flash of magic caught her attention. She twisted her head around. A pink-colored alicorn with a black crystal-encased horn stood against the wall, chained to it, screeching like a caged beast as gallons of pink magic poured out from her and was sucked into a rift.

Her eyes wide with shock, still groggy and confused after waking up, she turned and ran up the stairs, shoving the doors at the top open and bursting through, only to find herself in the throne room itself. She stared up at the ceiling, which was completely covered in hanging green cocoons, ponies filling each and every one.

Back behind Vitra, Cadence slowly opened her eyes and lifted her head, the outpouring of magic having left her head reeling in pain. She looked to her left just in time to see Vitra galloping up the stairs and through the far chamber door, heading into the throne room. The changeling seemed panicked somehow. A moment later, she heard voices echoing through the door and down the hall. She strained her ears, trying to listen in to the conversation, but couldn’t make out what was being said.

She recognized the voice of Queen Crysalis, and her mind wandered back to the encounter she’d had with the queen earlier. She furrowed her brow, remembering how different the queen had seemed, how she had asked for her own death so desperately.

“Why would she have said that?” Cadence pondered quietly to herself. “She must have some ulterior motive… but what? She already has what she wants, right?”

In the throne room, Vitra shakily turned her head to where the stream of green magic flowing out of the cocoons was concentrating, the throne to her right. Sitting upon it was Chrysalis, her eyes glazed over with white magic.

“Come closer, child,” Chrysalis suddenly said, her eyes remaining white and glowing. “Step up to the throne and sit with me for a moment, basking in this glorious feast.”

Vitra nervously stepped up the two tiers to the throne and took a seat to the queen’s left, staring up at the field of cocoons before her.

“Were you connected to the dreams a little while ago?” Chrysalis asked, her voice calm and conversational. “I could feel your energy flowing down.”

Vitra nodded her head. “Yes, your highness,” she said, slowly remembering who she was, as well as her station within the changeling ranks. “I had taken over the body of a pony named Applejack.”

Chrysalis smiled and nodded her head. “Oh, Applejack,” she said. “She’s one of my favorites. She is always so up-front and honest. I respect that.”

“I think I do, too,” Vitra said, looking up among the pods, trying to spot Applejack’s cocoon.

“Good, so you’ll be honest with me, then,” the queen said, leaning her head down towards the smaller changeling. “Tell me, Vitra, how was it that I could feel your energy? How could you possibly have produced love energy?”

Vitra blinked. “I didn’t. I couldn’t have,” she said, staring down at the floor. “It’s not even possible.”

“And yet, I felt you. I fed on you, child,” Chrysalis said with a grin. “Yours was so delicious, like a morsel hidden among a sea of blandness. Like a lone cherry sitting atop a pile of boring, plain oats.”

“I can’t… possibly explain it, your majesty,” Vitra said, her voice shaking.

“Ah, but I expect you to, eventually,” Chrysalis said, her burning white eyes locked onto Vitra. “But you must tell no one of what happened in that dream, nor of this conversation. Continue with the plan, and whenever you can, try to remember how you may have accomplished this freak feat. I expect great things, and I expect you to tell no one, particularly not Luzon or any others in The Order.”

Vitra swallowed hard, nodding her head. I still think it must be a mistake, but… that feeling when I woke up, remembering that moment when Apple… jack thought Flutter was done for… I only saw it as a memory, but it was so vivid. It felt so… sad.

“Now go, the other members of The Order need you in their chamber,” Chrysalis said, smiling at Vitra. Vitra nodded her head and walked down the steps and turned to go back through the door she came in from.

“Oh, and Vitra,” Chrysalis said. “One more thing. When I say you are not to mention this to anyone, I mean you are to speak of it to no one. Do not even speak with me about it unless first asked, lest we be overheard. This is our little secret, okay?”

Vitra nodded and Chrysalis grinned, her fangs peeking out from behind her lips. She turned her head and stared back up into the stream of magic that was flowing into her. Vitra went through the door, closing it behind her, and walked down the steps.

Cadence’s left ear twitched as she heard the queen’s voice yelling towards the open door to the throne room, followed by the sound of the door closing and hoofsteps coming closer.

Vitra quietly stepped through the large room at the bottom of the stairs. The pink alicorn was hanging limply from the wall, breathing shallowly. Vitra could see a glow coming from underneath a door on the far side of the room. She made her way towards it, and almost had reached it when a voice called out to her.

“Changeling, wait,” the voice said weakly. Vitra turned and saw Cadence hanging from the wall, looking up at her. Her eyes were barely open, and her voice had little strength. “I heard the queen talking to you. What did she tell you?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, pony!” Vitra sneered. “Save your strength, I’m sure it’s not long until we use you again!”

“Did she seem strange? Did she ask you to do anything weird?” Cadence asked, remembering back to what had happened to her just a few hours ago. “Did she ask you to do anything to her?”

To her? What on earth are you fantasizing about, sicko!” Vitra said, shocked. “The queen favors stallions. Particularly yours!” She laughed, her memory of who Cadence was having returned completely.

Cadence sighed. “You’re all the same, aren’t you?” she said cynically. “You revel in despair, yet need love to survive. What a backwards life you live.”

Vitra clenched her teeth and leapt at Cadence, pushing her front hooves against Cadence’s chest, her body slamming against the wall she hung from. “What do you know about us?” she hissed. “What pain have you known before now in your life?”

Cadence stared into Vitra’s eyes. “I am one who tries to spread love to those who need it wherever I go. I know sadness and pain more closely than you think, and I recognize lonely souls when I see them,” she said. Vitra stared back at her silently.

Vitra raised one of her hooves up and placed it on Cadence’s cheek. Her eyes remained locked onto Cadence’s. She opened her mouth to speak, but the words, still forming, had trouble making their way out.

“The nightmare,” Vitra started speaking, her jaw shaking. “Everyone dying, a lurking danger in the forest, a constant and terrible heat… The memories are fading. The names of my... friends... falling out of my mind.” A tear streamed down her cheek.

Cadence’s eyes went wide with shock, despite how tired and weak she was. It was there, if only for a second, she thought. This changeling, I don’t know how… she had the smallest spark of love in her heart, and then it was extinguished like a candle under a snuffer.

Vitra pushed away and eyed Cadence suspiciously. “It was all just a dream, anyway. I have no need for friends, I have my associates. Yes, I should go help them. I’ve wasted enough time talking to you, slave,” she said with contempt.

Cadence sighed. Was I wrong? she thought. She watched the changeling as it turned and walked towards the door on the other side of the dark chamber. Of course I was. What a foolish fantasy to think one of them could be so different. Cold, heartless beasts… I guess that’s all they really are.

As she finished that thought, Cadence felt another surge of magic build within her horn, and she let out an agonized scream as more magic was drained out of her. Vitra opened the door and turned to look at Cadence as she was being drained of her power again.

Vitra laughed, walked through the door, and shut it behind her.

She entered the chamber where the other members of The Order of Ismara were gathered, all focusing their energies at Luna’s cocoon. She immediately noticed the streams of magic flowing out from Mulcibar and Linnai and into the rift that hung in the air above. She felt a spike of pain in her head for a second and placed a forehoof to it. Luzon opened one eye and looked at her.

“You’ve returned, Vitra,” he said calmly. “Join us.”

Vitra walked around the table and took a seat next to Luzon. She looked at Mulcibar and Linnai again and cleared her throat. “They’ve both entered the stream?” she asked, a hint of confusion in her voice. “Why both of them?”

“There was another reaction,” Luzon explained. “A larger one than what you’d gone after before. I still haven’t forgiven you for going in without permission, by the way. There will be a formal punishment once things have calmed down.”

Vitra sneered for a moment before regaining her composure. “Well, if they find anything, it will only strengthen my defense,” she said, her voice laced with confidence.

“You sound pretty sure of yourself,” Luzon said. “Did you find anything? Do you even remember what happened in there?”

Vitra’s head sank and she shook it back and forth. Any memories of what had happened in the dream had faded. All that was left was a swirl of emotions. There was fear, sadness, regret, and even a sort of exhilaration. However, none of these were concrete enough to jog her subconscious memory into gear.

Luzon sighed. “Which is exactly why I didn’t want you going, and why I’ve sent both Mulcibar and Linnai this time. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I can rely on them to stop whatever is going on regardless of information making its way back to us,” he said. “You’re an excellent scout, Vitra, but you knew scouting wasn’t going to cut it. In the brief moment of consciousness you had after coming back, you only spoke a few words, none of which were of any use.”

Vitra clenched her teeth and frowned, but then thought back to what the queen had just said to her, some of it not even making sense anymore, almost dreamlike itself. She opened her mouth to begin to speak, but stopped herself. No, she thought, I am sworn to secrecy. She thought of what Chrysalis might do to her if she broke her oath, and shook slightly.

“What was it I said?”

Luzon sighed. “Your voice was weak. You simply said ‘We’ll meet again,’ and that was it. You passed out after that.”

Who will I meet again? What does it mean? Vitra pondered.

“Best not to think about it. Chasing subconscious memories is largely futile. If they come back, it will be on their own,” Luzon said. “Now concentrate on the stream. We need you.”

Vitra nodded. She closed her eyes and began the spell. A flash of a face appeared in her mind’s eye for just a second. It was a dark face, glowing red. A deep, distorted voice shouted in her ear.

Your nightmare is coming!

Vitra opened her eyes and gasped, a feeling of drowning having overtaken her. She looked around at the others. None of them had heard the voice or had the vision, apparently. She closed her eyes again and joined the others in containing Luna and pushing green magical energy through the rift.

Back in the throne room, Chrysalis sat upon the throne, her eyes glazed over with magic, her mouth locked in a giant smile. She chuckled under her breath.

“Your nightmare will be over soon,” she whispered. “A thousand years of torment will finally come to an end. The sins of the past will finally be known. The root of all evil will be there for all to see, and finally… the conquering of love will be upon us.”

Author's Note:

She said the thing!

Happy Holidays, you all! See you sometime probably after the new year with chapter one of book four!

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