• 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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Corruption Ch 1 - Visions and Nightmares

Book Four: Corruption

Chapter One - Visions and Nightmares

“It’s dark in here.”

Linnai sighed and shook her head. “Yes, it’s quite dark, and I can’t seem to use any magic,” she said with frustration. “Wherever that freak, Discord, put us seems to be fairly secure.”

Linnai tried to stand up, but instead felt herself pressing closer to the ground upon which she was laying. The sensation was odd, almost as if she were pressing downward on purpose. A moment later, she felt the ground begin to shake beneath her.

Mulcibar attempted to leap up to his hooves, but instead, his head slammed against the metallic floor. “What is this place, anyway?” he pondered out loud. “I’ve lost control of my body somehow.”

Two shining circles appeared before him and blinked like a pair of eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous,” a high-pitched voice said. “Your bodies are fine, just remember that up is down and down is up.” The light from the pair of circles lit up the area around the two changelings. They could see that they were still inside the cage they’d been trapped in earlier, and it seemed to be hanging, swaying as the shaking intensified.

Linnai turned her head to the left to look at the source of light. Rather, she would have turned her head to the left, but it turned right instead. She grunted slightly and felt disoriented.

“Whoops, forgot to mention!” the voice said gleefully. “Right is left and left is right! Be careful, you can get really mixed up if you struggle too hard!” As it said this, a bright light crested from below.

“Oh hey, the sun’s coming up! Whee!” the voice cheered, and the two circles slid shut. The sun’s light began to illuminate everything. A bright blue sky spread out beneath where Linnai and Mulcibar were hanging.

“Down is up?” Mulcibar said. He tried to press himself against the floor, and his body responded by standing up. Turning his head to the right made him look left, and vice-versa. He leaned back, which caused his body to awkwardly lurch forward, shaking the cage even more. “This is going to give me a headache…”

Linnai managed to join him in standing up. The cage they were hanging in was large and cube-shaped. They both strained for a moment and looked upward. The cage was hanging down – or was it up? – from a long chain that appeared to be attached to a stone block which was surrounded by sand. The expansive ceiling above them seemed to go on forever, a vast desert landscape with huge sand dunes. The sun lowered slowly down into the sky, its heat beating upward. The floor of the cage shielded the two from direct sunlight, which was fortunate for them. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky below.

“Well, I don’t see anything but sand… and falling seems like it would be a bad idea,” Linnai said. “We have to get out of here somehow.”

Mulcibar nodded in agreement. He slowly turned his whole body around to survey the landscape on the other side. His eyes went wide as he turned and spotted a massive structure coming up from the ground above them. A huge stone castle with towers, gates, even a moat all around it, hung surreally from what he perceived as the ceiling. “But that’s actually the ground,” he said and cocked an eyebrow. “This place is completely backwards. If we can get out of this cage, flying there would be no problem… maybe.”

“Well, we can’t exactly use our magic thanks to the nullification field,” said Linnai, tapping her hoof against her horn.

“Well, we can at least get out of this cage. Do you think you’ll be able to fly?” Mulcibar asked. “It’s going to be strange in here.”

“It might almost be better to plummet to our deaths, at least then we might wake up.”

Mulcibar lowered his eyebrows. “We can’t be sure of that. This place is controlled by Discord. Nothing ever happens like you think it will with him,” he said, remembering back to what Discord had done to him earlier.

Linnai laughed. “You’re scared? What’d he do to make that happen?”

Mulcibar cleared his throat. “Nevermind. Let’s get this cage rocking. If we use our wings, we should be able to get it swinging high enough to bang it against the ground above.”

Linnai shrugged and began to swing in time with her brother, the cage swinging higher and higher. As they swung, they both got a feel for the way their wings worked in this reversed world. Eventually, the cage slammed into the rocky ground, causing the bottom of the cage to explode off of it. Linnai and Mulcibar both gasped and pushed their forehooves through the cage’s bars, holding on for their lives as they swung back the other way.

“I did not expect the bottom to break off that easy!” Linnai shouted.

“I told you! Nothing works like it should!” Mulcibar shouted back. He turned his head to look at the metallic plate that had shot off the cage, and was baffled as he saw it fly outward for a moment, then shoot upward, clanging to a landing on the ground that was above them.

Is it really…? It’s better than staying in here, Mulcibar thought.

“I’m going,” Mulcibar said and then unhooked one foreleg from the cage. He swung his hind legs back to give himself momentum.

“Going? Wait!” Linnai shouted. She watched as Mulcibar swung forward and let go of the cage, launching himself into the air, towards the tower.

Mulcibar instinctively flapped his wings once, causing himself to fall further downward, but only for a second. After hanging in the air for several seconds, he fell upward, smashing head-first into the ground.

“You idiot!” Linnai screamed from the cage’s remains. “You’re the one who said we can’t tell what would happen!”

Mulcibar lifted a hoof up in front of his face and laughed. “Can’t tell what’ll happen if you stay in the cage, either.”

Linnai sighed and swung her hind legs back and then launched herself forward in the same direction Mulcibar had gone. She flapped her wings once, pushing herself forward and gracefully twisted in the air, preparing for the gravity reversal. Much to her surprise, though, she suddenly stopped in mid-leap and hung in the air, suspended between the sky-like abyss and the ceiling-like ground. She flailed her legs and flapped her wings ineffectually for a moment before going limp and groaning.

“I’m stuck,” she whimpered, the situation starting to get to her. Mulcibar clasped a hoof over his mouth, holding back his laughter. Linnai began to flail her legs again and whine. “It’s not funny, brother! Get me down from heeeeere!” Tears began to form in the corners of her eyes.

Mulcibar smirked and laughed out loud, but began to flap his wings, lifting himself down to where she was hanging. “Calm down,” he said, still smirking. “Give me your hoof?”

She reached her foreleg out towards him, and he grabbed ahold of it and pulled. The two of them immediately shot upward. Mulcibar smashed against the ground and Linnai dropped firmly onto his back, knocking the wind out of him. He gasped for breath and rolled over, pushing her off of him. Linnai took her turn to laugh now, and Mulcibar shook his head.

After catching his breath, Mulcibar stood up and turned towards the tall structure before them. He scanned the base of it for an entrance. “I don’t see any way in except the windows higher up the tower,” he said.

“Then by all means, fly on up there!” the same high pitched voice they’d heard before called out from nowhere. “You two are so precious! If I didn’t know better, I’d say I detected some siblingly love back there.”

Linnai swung a hoof clumsily above her head. “Show yourself, and I’ll give you some real love, Discord!” she shouted. Echoing laughter was the only response.

Mulcibar shook his head. “Ignore him,” he said. “He’s just testing us. He wants to see all our flaws, our weaknesses. Don’t give him anything to work with. We’ll just press forward through this little game of his and be on our way.”

Linnai nodded. What makes you so sure we can get through, though? she thought. Still, she followed Mulcibar’s lead for once, flying up and into the high window in the tower. The room through the window was large, with a high ceiling. It seemed to stretch the entire length of the tower.

“What now?” Linnai asked, looking around at the massive room. The walls were covered in mirrors of many shapes and sizes, some with decorative frames, and some plain and wooden-framed. The ceiling was one big mirror, as well. Linnai looked around, an annoyed look crossing her face. “I suppose it’s too much to ask for it to not be some sort of trap.”

Mulcibar nodded his head. “Knowing Discord, looking at them will show something besides what you’re expecting. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the magic book - a magic mirror.”

“Oh come on! I thought you’d like this, you two brainiacs! Something simple enough to where you won’t feel that it’s a trick, and yet… well, why not have a look for yourselves?” the high-pitched voice shouted gleefully.

Mulcibar frowned. “We can’t very well get to the other side without glimpsing at least one mirror,” he said in a deadpan tone. “Let’s get this over with.”

Mulcibar stepped nervously out towards the center of the room and turned his head to the left, gazing into the first mirror. Staring back at him was a familiar looking, but total stranger of a unicorn. He tilted his head, and the unicorn tilted its head as well. Its coat was dark gray, much like his own, and it possessed the same icy blue eyes. However, emanating from its eyes was a dark, purple magic energy, and its horn glowed with bubbling black magic. Mulcibar squinted as his lips curved downward.

“Is this suppose to be me, then?” he asked, scoffing. As he asked, a golden crown appeared on the unicorn’s head. The scene in the mirror panned outward, revealing that the unicorn stood upon a tall stand, a crowd of ponies surrounding it, all bowing in reverence. “I have no need of power over ponies. Is this what you think drives me, Discord? Do you think I desire such standing? Do you not think that if I had such aspirations, I would have achieved them already?”

“Ah, but my dear Mulci, power does have its benefits,” the voice responded, having lowered in pitch, and now very clearly Discord’s voice. The scene on the mirror changed, and several mares appeared beside Mulcibar, reaching their hooves out and grasping at his legs and body. One of them, a yellow pegasus with pink hair, pressed her muzzle up against the unicorn’s ear and gently bit at it.

Mulcibar coughed and turned his head to the side. “Whatever you’re trying to do, it’s not going to work! Come, let’s move on, sister!” he said, and turned to look for Linnai, but she was not where he’d last seen her. He turned around quickly and spotted her staring into a mirror, her eyes glowing red and her teeth grinding.

“Is this supposed to scare me?” Linnai asked, her voice rough and full of anger. She stared into the mirror. In her vision, she saw herself, standing upon a mountain of corpses, her whole body pulsing with deep, red magic. The bodies of countless ponies and changelings were scattered across a broken landscape that spread out before her. Her butterfly wings had become jagged and tattered, and the holes in her body had grown, giving her limbs and body a sharp, hollow look. The tips of her legs had become pointed, claw-like appendages, and her fangs had grown double in size. Linnai stared on intently at the image of herself. “Just the opposite… I hope I can achieve such power! All shall fear me and bow before me, or suffer the consequences! That includes you, Discord!”

“Oh, I’m terribly frightened! Too bad for you two that this story doesn’t have such a wonderful ending!” Discord’s voice giggled.

Mulcibar grabbed Linnai’s foreleg and pulled her away from the mirror. As her gaze broke from it, her eyes returned to normal. She blinked and stared into Mulcibar’s eyes. “What happened? I felt such exhilaration! I didn’t want it to end!”

“That must be his plan. We got out of the cage, so he wants to trap us in our deepest fantasies. Don’t look at any more of the mirrors, and pull me away if I look at one!” Mulcibar shouted. He pulled his sister’s foreleg and began to gallop across the room towards the door at the far end.

“Let me show you exactly how that little tale concludes!” Discord’s voice fired through the room, shaking the walls and shattering the mirrors all around them. Shards of glass and metal pierced into the wall and door ahead of the two changelings, who somehow weren’t hit by any of the debris. The pieces of mirror began to pull together, changing into one giant room-length mirror, covering the entire wall that they were running towards.

On the far right side of the mirror, Linnai could be seen, glowing with crimson magic and flying through a dark red sky. Blasts of energy fired from her hooves and horn, assaulting waves of pegasi and changelings that swarmed towards her. Her magic split pony and changeling alike in half, mercilessly blasting them out of the sky. A rain of blood seemed to fall endlessly upon the ground beneath her, which was decimated and covered in bodies and broken weapons.

There on the ground, on the far left of the mirror, was Mulcibar in the same dark unicorn form he had seen in his own vision. His eyes were bursting with purple magic, and his horn was aflame with darkness. He stared up at Linnai, who came to a stop in the air and met his gaze.

“What is this?” Mulcibar asked, his eyes wide.

“It’s the future,” Discord responded. “One of many possible futures for you two. One that I think is ever-so-likely, actually.”

Linnai and Mulcibar stared at the landscape before them, a scene of conflict between their mirrored selves playing out upon its surface.

“You’ve lost all control of who you are, sister!” the unicorn shouted up at the twisted changeling, his voice wavering and fading in and out. “Stop this madness! It’s gone too far!”

The dark vision of Linnai blasted outward with red magic. “Wrong! It’s you who have lost yourself, brother! Just look at you! Hiding in that form, hiding from what you are! What are you so afraid of?” she shouted.

The two of them glinted with magic and charged towards one another. They collided in an explosion, shattering the mirror. The real Mulcibar and Linnai shielded their faces with their forelegs.

“Enough of this!” Mulcibar shouted. “Release us! You’ve had your fun!”

“Do you hate the truth so much?” Discord asked. “You know, these mirrors can only show you what’s inside of you, just bending it ever-so-slightly and then laying down the ultimate outcome.”

Linnai stomped a hoof against the stone floor, pieces of glass cracking underneath it. “That future could never be!”

“Couldn’t it?” Discord asked with a deep, long laugh.

Linnai just sneered in response.

“Let us out of here, curse you!” Mulcibar demanded. “Are we just here for your amusement?”

“Of course you are! I’m just trying to repay you for such a good time!” Discord protested, his voice then taking a serious turn. “Remember what you’ve seen here, my little changelings. Believe it or don’t, but never forget it.”

With those words, the ground of the tower began to shake. The tiles in the ceiling began to crack and fall to the ground. Mulcibar and Linnai charged toward the door, and Linnai grabbed the handle and swung it open, revealing a brick wall on the other side.

“Discord!” she shouted as the ground continued to shake more and more violently. The walls of the tower crumbled all around them, the ground split open, and the two of them fell downward into a dark abyss, unable to resist or move.

A second later, the two changelings found themselves flung in opposite directions, slamming into the stone walls of a dim hallway. Linnai lifted her head up and blinked. Before her stood Twilight and the others. Her mind froze for a moment, and she clenched her teeth. Her eyes darted back and forth, quickly assessing the situation. She quickly locked onto the three foals and pointed her horn at them.

Moments earlier…

The sound of hooves pounding against loose rock and dirt echoed across the chasm. Twilight, Fluttershy, and Princess Celestia, each with a Cutie Mark Crusader in tow, galloped as fast as they could towards the bottom of the crater where a tall, round stone structure stood. Discord flew through the air overhead, glancing back over his shoulder at their pursuer, who was gaining ground much more quickly than he was comfortable with. Nightmare Moon bolted down the incline behind them, taking large aerial leaps and dives, drawing nearer with each.

Another imposter, or the real thing? Discord thought to himself.

She seems real enough! Celestia’s voice buzzed in his ear, reminding him that he was still mentally connected to her. My sister warned that she had returned. You can surely feel that darkness encroaching over us. It’s so heavy, I feel my knees creaking as I run!

“We’re not gonna make it!” Sweetie Belle shouted. “She’s too fast!”

“We are gonna make it! Come on, everypony! Run faster!” Twilight shouted back.

Scootaloo hunched forward on Twilight’s back, wrapping her forelegs around her chest and groaning. With a bright flash, her chest began to pour a stream of magic out, which flowed back towards Nightmare Moon.

“Scootaloo!” Apple Bloom shouted from Fluttershy’s back, and then fell forward in pain, the same thing happening to her.

Princess Celestia turned her head and looked back at Sweetie Belle, who was affected similarly. What is she doing to them? she thought. I can’t let this continue! She looked up at Nightmare Moon, who was gaining on them with each bounding leap.

“Twilight, take Sweetie Belle!” Celestia shouted and then levitated the filly from her back over to Twilight.

“What’s happening?” Twilight asked with confusion.

Celestia locked her legs and slid along the ground, turning her body. With a powerful thrust of her hind legs, she shot towards Nightmare Moon. “Very well, monster! Face me!” she shouted at the dark creature.

Nightmare Moon laughed and lowered her head, blasting a beam of dark magic towards Celestia, who released her own magic. The two beams clashed in the air and exploded outward, but the particles of dark magic did not dissipate. They swirled through the air and came flying towards Celestia. The magic collided with the princess, and she was encased in a floating ball of dark magic.

“Princess!” Twilight shouted.

“Oh for crying out loud!” Discord said with a groan. He shot back towards Celestia.

Don’t stop! A familiar voice in Twilight’s head implored. Just get to the boulder up ahead!

Nightmare Moon blew right past Celestia, glancing at her as she went by. “I’ll be back for you later, fool!” she screeched and then continued her pursuit of the others. A second later, a snapping sound shot through the air and a solid wall appeared in front of her. She smashed through it, but it slowed her down briefly. She turned her head just in time to see Discord fly past her.

Discord reached Celestia and snapped his fingers at her. The dark magic encasing her shot out sparks and began to vanish. At the first chance to do so, Discord reached out, grabbed Celestia’s front right hoof, and began to pull her forward through the air.

“Discord, wait!” the princess protested, but it was too late. Discord flung her through the air, and she went sailing towards the others, flying right over Nightmare Moon. She spread her wings and gave them a flap to keep her height, but then bent them backwards to try and maintain speed.

“Thank me later!” she could hear Discord shouting from behind. A second later, she felt a small weight upon her back. She glanced back and saw a small version of Discord sitting on her, holding a tiny set of reins and wearing a cowboy hat. “It’s later! Feel free, any time!”

She couldn’t help but crack a grin.

On the ground, Twilight and Fluttershy continued to barrel forward, the steady decline of the crater helping them to accelerate the whole time. The foals on their backs were still reeling in pain, magic streaming out of them. Twilight spotted a large rock sticking up out of the ground ahead. “That must be it!” she shouted. “Head for that boulder!”

Fluttershy nodded her head. “Okay, but don’t expect me to be able to stop!” she yelled back, her voice shaking nervously.

Celestia was nearly overhead, and she began to dive down towards the others. As she began her descent, a bright sliver of pink light from the horizon above caught her eye. “What’s that? Is that the sun?” she asked out loud.

Discord pulled out a pair of sunglasses and looked up at the pink light, which was growing rapidly at the far ridge of the crater. “No!” he said. “That doesn’t feel like the sun!” Celestia nodded in agreement.

A massive beam of pink light shot right down in front of the running ponies below, shining on the boulder. The circle of light, like a beam of pink sunlight, increased in size. The boulder split open at the top and slid outward on either side, as if it were some sort of hatch, revealing a massive opening in the ground.

“What’s that! What’s going on?” Fluttershy shouted nervously, not sure whether she should keep going or try to skid to a stop.

“Hey, everypony!” a familiar voice shouted out from the gaping hole in the ground. “Duck and cover!”

A massive, flowing pink mane shot up from the ground, sparkling and waving as Princess Celestia’s or Luna’s does. With an equally bright explosion of magic from below, a fully alicorn Pinkie Pie rose up from the ground, standing atop a giant version of her party cannon. Roughly the size of a small house, it shot out of the ground with great speed. Pinkie laughed, and with a slamming of her hoof against the top of the weapon, it lurched forward and locked its aim directly on Nightmare Moon.

“What!?” Twilight shouted, staring up at Pinkie Pie, who was now towering above them. She began to slide along the ground, trying to stop so she could hug the ground. Fluttershy had tried to do the same, but ended up rolling once before coming to a stop. Apple Bloom flew off her back and hit the ground as well.

Celestia was diving towards the ground at high speed. Upon seeing the cannon, she began to frantically flap her wings to stop descending.

“Ooooooh! I love this part!” Pinkie said with a giggle.

“No!” Nightmare Moon screeched, her eyes going wide and glowing bright red.

The cannon let loose with a massive beam of pink magic. The beam shot through the very fabric of the dream world, twisting it around and tossing it outward indiscriminately. Nightmare Moon glared and clenched her jagged teeth as the beam shot straight at her.

Discord flashed back to full size and wrapped his arms around Celestia’s neck. “No time to hang around here!” he shouted and then pushed upward as forcefully as he could, helping her to finally rise through the air. The two of them managed to dodge the beam, but a massive shockwave from the cannon rippled out, blasting them further upward. Their bodies flew through the air towards the bottom of the crater where the large stone building sat.

Despite the massive destruction let loose by the magical blast, Nightmare Moon was only pushed back halfway up the crater. The shattered and torn dream fabric quickly reattached itself, and Pinkie Pie slammed her hoof against the cannon again. With a pop, it vanished into thin air, and the pink alicorn floated gracefully down to where Twilight, Fluttershy, and the Crusaders were lying on the ground.

“Okie dokie, back to running!” she said, bouncing a couple of times with excitement after she landed. Twilight and Fluttershy slowly picked themselves up and shook their heads. Pinkie Pie levitated all three of the Crusaders to her own back and began to bolt down the hill towards the stone building. Twilight and Fluttershy took a moment to look at one another and shrug, and then slowly began to gallop down the crater once more.

Discord and Celestia flew through the air, the roof of the stone building below coming ever closer. Discord looked at Celestia, saw that her eyes were closed, and slapped his hands firmly against her cheeks. She shook her head and opened her eyes in response, glaring in disapproval. A second later, the two of them slammed into the ceiling of the stone building.

The ponies who had been running along the ground slid to a stop as best they could, bumping into the wall of the massive stone building. Twilight looked back and forth, trying to spot an entrance.

“How do we get in?” Twilight shouted, knocking her front right hoof anxiously against the wall.

“Push through!” a voice commanded. “Just imagine yourself passing through it, and you will!” Twilight looked at Pinkie, who nodded and jumped right through the wall. She gulped and closed her eyes. She pressed against the wall, but felt no resistance. A second later, she opened her eyes and found herself, along with Fluttershy and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, in a very dark hallway that lead to a large chamber ahead. Pinkie Pie was nowhere to be seen.

The chamber was dimly lit and cold. Twilight stood up and turned her head, looking for any sign of life. Fluttershy stood up as well and turned back towards the wall behind them. She tapped her hoof against it nervously, and found that it was solid.

“Hello?” Twilight called out, her voice echoing in the distance. Her ear twitched at the sound of her voice’s reverberations. “Pinkie Pie? Are you there?” After a moment, she turned to look at Fluttershy, who was kneeling down and making sure the Cutie Mark Crusaders were okay.

“This place is spooky, but not as spooky as outside,” said Fluttershy. Twilight nodded in response.

Apple Bloom stood up and brushed herself off. She reached a hoof down to Sweetie Belle and helped her get to her hooves. “Was that Pinkie Pie out there? That cannon thing was crazy,” she said.

“That cannon thing was awesome!” Scootaloo said loudly, leaping to her hooves, her voice echoing loudly across the dim chamber.

Twilight strained for a moment and then let out a sigh. “Strange, I can’t use my magic in here, even a simple light spell,” she said. She squinted, trying to force her eyes to adjust. Pinkie Pie’s face suddenly appeared right in front of her. She jumped back in surprise, and Pinkie grinned.

“I know! I love that thing!” Pinkie said excitedly, winking at Scootaloo. “Oh hey, we better get the others in here!” The pink alicorn’s horn lit up, revealing the ceiling far above them, upon which a pink, ovular portal opened. Celestia and Discord fell through the opening and landed roughly on the ground. The portal vanished shortly afterwards.

“Oopsie! Sorry!” Pinkie said, cringing. “Shoulda put something there to soften the landing. My bad.”

Celestia shook her head back and forth and pushed herself up to her hooves. “That’s okay. We are in your debt all the same, Pinkie Pie,” she said, smiling.

Discord floated up into the air. “Wow, drab décor. I would’ve expected better from you, Pinkie Pie. Honestly, I’m shocked and appalled,” he said, eyeing the place. “If it weren’t for this magic nullification field in here, I’d roll my eyes along the ground.”

Celestia sighed. “Little blessings...” she said. Discord smirked, and his lower body started to bulge and gyrate. Celestia ignored him and continued to speak. “He is right, though. What’s going on here, Pinkie? Has Nightmare Moon trapped you here, somehow?”

“Not exactly, but…” Pinkie Pie started, but was interrupted by an explosion from Discord’s hips. Mulcibar and Linnai appeared on either side of him and flung outward, smashing into the opposite walls of the small hallway.

Mulcibar rolled over and shot to his hooves, his eyes darting around and assessing the situation. Across from him, his sister did the same. He saw her lower her horn and point it towards the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who were standing beside Twilight and Celestia.

Not the best idea you’ve ever had… he thought.

“One move and the runts get it! Where are we?” Linnai commanded, quickly trying to take control of the situation, though her eyes told a different story. They were shaking and locked onto Princess Celestia, who was staring down at her, a frown across her lips.

Pinkie Pie bounced towards Linnai and landed next to her. She put a hoof over the changeling’s shoulder before she could even react and clicked her tongue. “Hey now, miss violent-pants! Why don’t you go ahead and try? Hate to tell you, but your magic won’t work in here.”

Linnai growled, but was quickly shushed by Mulcibar from across the hallway. “It’s true,” he said. “It’s just like what we were dealing with a moment ago. Perhaps even more powerful of a nullification field than that, actually.”

“Well we can’t just stand here! We have a mission!” Linnai shouted. She pulled away from Pinkie Pie with a snap and then pushed her horn forward, stabbing it right into Pinkie’s chest.

Chaos erupted. Twilight and Celestia leapt onto Linnai, pinning her to the ground. Pinkie fell sideways, hitting the stone floor roughly. Mulcibar dug his hooves in and gritted his teeth, preparing himself for the inevitable battle before him. The Cutie Mark Crusaders screamed in fear as Fluttershy ducked down beside them.

“That’s enough!” A booming voice came from within the chamber. A field of purple magic surrounded everypony and pulled them apart, holding them in the air. The entire group floated towards the center of the room, which became illuminated by a glowing horn. A circular altar stood at the room’s center, and sitting upon the altar was Princess Luna, her face locked in an expression of anger.

“Sister!” Celestia gasped. “Is it really you this time?”

“Pinkie!” Twilight shouted, reaching her hooves toward her friend. “You have to let us down, Princess! We have to save Pinkie!”

A flash of pink shot out from the purple magic, and Pinkie Pie jumped out, landing on the ground and dusting herself off. She grinned widely and tapped a hoof against the spot on her chest where Linnai had stabbed her. There was no sign of a wound.

Twilight exhaled with relief. The group was lowered to the ground, and the purple magic vanished from around all of them except the two changelings.

“You all must stay calm and listen to me, even you two changelings. The information I am about to share, though I am loathe to share it with the likes of you two, may be vital in stopping a terrible fate that would affect us all.”

“I don’t understand,” Celestia said. “What’s happened here, sister? Has Nightmare Moon trapped you here somehow?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Luna said. “Then again, she has been trapped as well, for a long time now.”

“Does this mean we are in your dream?” Celestia asked. Twilight, Fluttershy, Discord, and the Crusaders all walked closer to the platform, listening intently. Pinkie Pie turned her head towards the trapped changelings and stuck her tongue out. Linnai turned her head away from Pinkie and frowned.

“It is indeed our dream,” Luna said, her expression calming and her eyes closing. “However, it is more accurate to say that it is our never-ending nightmare.”

Author's Note:

Wow! It's been a long time! Allow me to offer my apologies, and then to welcome you back to the dreamscape.

I'd like to say that I've been busy and just haven't been able to get to writing this, but honestly, I was just distracted by a bunch of other stuff. I feel it coming, though! That feeling where I just binge write several chapters at a time! Yes, I am ready! Let's go, Book Four!

What can you expect from Book Four? Well, let's just say the original title of this book when I drafted the original plan for the whole fanfiction was "Resistance" - shortly after that, I decided to re-title it "Revelations". However, I ultimately landed on "Corruption". Revelations and Resistance both still apply to this book's content, though. That's all I will say for now. ;)

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