• 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 9 - Corrupted Hearts

Book Four: Corruption

Chapter Nine - Corrupted Hearts

“It’s been a while, princess. A thousand years since last we were together,” Apple Bloom said, her glowing white eyes staring up at Luna.

Luna and Pinkie Pie descended towards the ground where Apple Bloom and Discord stood. “A thousand years?” Luna questioned. “That young filly cannot be much over a decade in age, so if you claim to be over a millenium old, then who are you?”

“Perhaps I should show you rather than tell you. This may be hard for you to see, princess, but see it you must.”

“What, pray tell, is it that I should see?”

“Patience, princess. All shall be revealed,” Apple Bloom said, and then turned to Discord. “As for you, lord of chaos, you would do well to pay close attention as well.”

Discord nodded his head slowly, his brow furrowed in thought. Apple Bloom’s voice pierced his mind, speaking softly but sternly. I would also ask that you keep a close eye on Princess Luna. I am unable to guess how this will affect her. If anything happens, you are the one best suited to keep her under control.

Discord grinned. You have my attention, whoever you are. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on her. He popped one of his eyes out of its socket and rolled it around in his paw for a moment before placing it back.

Keep an eye on who? What’s going on? Another voice said in Discord’s mind.

Gracious, it’s getting crowded in here! I almost forgot you were there, Celestia. It’s the foal, Apple Bloom. She’s acting quite strangely and says she has something that she must show us.

Celestia, who was speeding through the air towards Las Pegasus, glanced over her shoulder at Scootaloo, who was lying against her back. Yes, I think it would be best if you did as she says. Who knows what may be revealed, but I can tell you this much: These three fillies are the key to us getting out of here alive. Their strange magic comes from Luna. They each have a part of Luna’s soul within themselves, and that is who is speaking to you right now—A Shard of Luna.

Discord nodded his head. “Yes, please do continue, Apple Bloom. We are ready.”

Pinkie Pie plopped down onto the ground next to Discord. She was holding a large bucket of popcorn, which she lifted towards him. “Want some?”

“Where did you get that?” Discord asked, grabbing a handful.

Pinkie Pie shrugged. “I dunno!”

Discord smiled and munched the popcorn as Apple Bloom stood before them all. She waved her hoof through the air and a rectangular magical field came into view. Through the screen, they could see an image of a grassy field. Many mounds of freshly dug dirt littered the landscape, and Princesses Celestia and Luna stood atop a hill, looking down at the field.

As she looked at the screen, Luna’s expression soured. “Most unpleasant. This is a memory I’d much rather never think about again.”

“You must, though. Within these memories lie the answers we seek,” Apple Bloom responded. “Bear with it, please. If it helps, you may explain things that we are seeing in your own words.”

Luna sighed. “That field is a graveyard. It is the site of the mass slaughter of many ponies and changelings, all killed by an unknown assailant. My sister had sent them to be exiled, but they were intercepted on the way and killed. Only one guard survived, and was unable to identify the attackers.”

“Hmm! Seems like chaos didn’t stop even after I was gone,” Discord said, and Luna shot him a glare. He groaned in response. “Please, continue…” He shoveled another handful of popcorn into his mouth as the two figures upon the screen began to speak.

“It has been nearly a month, now, and we are no closer to finding out who did this,” Celestia said. “If only I’d known, I would have…”

Luna scoffed. “Indeed, every lead has been a dead end. We are no closer to cleaning up your mess than we were at the beginning.” Celestia turned to face Luna, her mouth opening as if she was going to speak, but no words came out. Luna turned away from her and spread her wings. “I tire of this spectacle. It is almost time to raise the moon. I am returning to Unicornia.”

“Perhaps we should go home,” Celestia said quietly. “Back to the Everfree Forest.”

Luna sneered. “Yes, perhaps you should.” She took off, flying towards Unicornia. Celestia slowly opened her wings and took off towards the south.

A voice in Luna’s head whispered to her. Your sister is utterly useless! It has been nearly a month and she’s done next to nothing! The blood of so many is on her hooves. It is time for a shift in power.

Outside of the scene, Luna’s eyes went wide as the voice echoed out across the city. Discord and Pinkie Pie glanced at her and tilted their heads. “Who in the world was that?” Discord asked.

Luna fell to her haunches and grasped her head, the mere sound of that voice seeming to have caused a reaction within her. “No… No, no, no, I don’t want to remember,” she said, her voice frightened and small.

“You must face it,” Apple Bloom said. “Watch and listen, for this is important.”

Past Luna swooped down over Unicornia. The sun lowered on schedule as she landed on a castle balcony overlooking the city. Her horn lit up and the moon rose into the sky, a mere sliver of a crescent. She stared up at it and her eyes began to change, becoming slitted. Her magic darkened from purple to nearly black in color. Turning her gaze toward the city, she formed a toothy grin and laughed. The voice in her head called out to her. Celestia’s reign is over! She’s run away home! Now it is time for you to show the ponies of Equestria whom they should bow down to!

Luna was now lying on the ground, gripping her head and hiding her eyes. Dark magic began to rise from her body like steam. She growled under her breath and spoke through her teeth. “Cease this vision at once! Something inside of me is rising! I cannot contain it!”

“Princess Luna!” Pinkie Pie shouted, reaching a hoof out towards her.

Apple Bloom called out to the princess. “You must fight against the reaction you are having! Fight these feelings and don’t give in to the darkness again!”

Discord stared at Luna, unblinking. I hope what I’m thinking is wrong. We don’t need two Nightmare Moons running around in here.

Two Nightmare Moons? What is happening? I’m almost there! What is this strange magic I feel? Celestia’s voice responded in Discord’s head.

Discord noticed changes in Luna’s magic and eyes. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The filly here is possessed by that Shard of Luna as you called it and is insisting on showing Luna things from her past that she doesn’t want to remember. It’s strange… There’s this voice in—

In Luna’s head! Yes, I heard it as well! Celestia psychically shouted back. I have Scootaloo with me. She did something similar. She showed me and Nightmare Moon visions from a thousand years ago. These fillies are our only chance against Nightmare Moon.

Well, I hope they can handle two of them, because it’s not looking good here.

I can see the city! I’ll be there in a couple minutes! Keep her safe, Discord!

My, Celestia, that sounds an awful lot like you trusting me. How delicious.

Now is not the time!

Discord chuckled to himself

The strange voice flowed out from the vision yet again. You can become one with the darkness, princess, and become the queen of the night! All will bow before you!

Outside of the vision, Luna began to let off more dark energy. Her slit eyes darted back and forth between the others and her lips separated, revealing sharp, dagger-like teeth.

I don’t think keeping her safe is going to be the issue! Discord though. He snapped his fingers and a bubble of magic formed around Luna. Her gaze immediately locked onto him in response.

“Discord!” she shouted. “You always were such a nuisance! You led us on wild goose chases for years, all the while tormenting us with your chaotic magic! We should have killed you!”

“What’s happening to her?” Pinkie asked, grabbing ahold of Discord.

“She and Nightmare Moon are one and the same. If we wish to stand a chance, then she must be able to resist now as she could not in the past,” Apple Bloom said.

Pinkie’s eyes suddenly lit up with an idea. “Oh! We could form a cheering section for her!” She waved her hooves in the air and began to chant. “Hang in there, Princess! We’re here for you, Princess!”

Luna sneered at Pinkie. “You’re not even real! You’re just a piece of my dream! You’re part of me, too!” Her horn flashed and dark magic suddenly began to pour out of Pinkie Pie.

“No! I’ll fight it!” Pinkie screamed, falling to the ground. “You have to fight it, too! Come on… Princess! Hang in there… Princess!”

Discord waved his hands in front of him and glared at his magic bubble. “Oh, sure, just because they’re connected, you couldn’t stop that?” The bubble seemed to slouch forward and let out a squeaking noise. Discord rolled his eyes. “I’ll have none of your petty excuses!”

A gust of wind accompanied by a calm voice came from behind Luna. “Yes. You must fight it. We will fight it together, sister.” The bubble around Princess Luna popped and Celestia thrust herself forward, wrapping her hooves around her. Bright yellow magic flowed gently from her horn in wave-like pulses. She took a moment to levitate the still-sleeping Scootaloo over to where Pinkie Pie was collapsed on the ground. She leaned the pegasus filly up against Pinkie’s side.

Luna tried to resist, but she was unable to move, as if something was restraining her. A voice called out from inside her head. Believe in yourself, and your sister!

A tear streaked down to Luna’s jawline, which trembled as her teeth began to return to normal. “B… Believe..” she said blankly.

Celestia nodded her head and hugged Luna tightly. “Yes. I believe in you. You’re strong, Luna, so fight against this darkness. Defeat it this time!”

Discord lifted his paw up and formed a small version of the magic bubble, which was more a flat oval now, and appeared to be crying, little tears flying up into the air above it. “I believed in you! You need more practice!”

Luna’s coat began to return to its normal color and her eyes regained their original form. “Alright,” she said, and then turned her head down toward Apple Bloom. “Proceed, filly! Show us what we must be shown! We shall face it, for we are not alone! Thank you, sister… everyone.”

Apple Bloom grinned and waved her hoof above her head. The scene on the magic screen sprung to life, showing Luna flying through the night sky above Unicornia, casting beams of magic through the windows of sleeping ponies. Screams echoed out across the city. Children cried out for their parents who were stumbling out onto the streets, grasping their heads and screeching. Luna laughed as she swooped back to the castle, her complexion becoming darker as time went by.

“You don’t love the night? Then revel in its terrors! These nightmares are my gift to you!”

Luna inhaled deeply and explained, her voice still meek and quiet. “The next day, the effect of the nightmares was apparent. Everypony had lost sleep and was on edge. They didn’t want to talk about what had happened, but it was obvious that something had.” Ponies were seen walking through the streets of Unicornia, sapped of energy. A packed coffee shop was shown with every table occupied, ponies drinking coffee and tea to try and stay awake. “After two more nights of horrifying dreams, a transformation had begun. The ponies became cold and heartless. Their minds were injected with the poisonous magic of nightmares.”

The citizens of Unicornia passed by one another and purposely shoved others out of the way, snapping and yelling at each other, and doing other hateful things. “It was the biggest outbreak of disharmony since Discord’s reign, and I was not content to stop at Unicornia.”

The scene zoomed out to show a wide view of Equestria. A dark shadow spread out over the land from Unicornia, accompanied by the sounds of ponies screaming in terror. Luna grunted and turned her head to the ground, closing her eyes and grinding her teeth. Tears fell from her eyes. Celestia pressed herself closer to her and spoke softly.

“This wasn’t you anymore, Luna. You were overtaken by—“

“No!” Luna said, her chest heaving inward. “I remember it all so clearly now. I wanted them all to feel how I felt! I wanted them to feel my crushing loneliness! I hated them, all of them! I may have been taken over by darkness, but those feelings were mine!”

The scene showed Luna standing on the high balcony of the castle, gazing southward in the direction of the Everfree Forest as the sun rose. That fool still sits alone down there, raising and lowering the sun, oblivious to what is happening, the voice in Luna’s head said. She hasn’t been heard from for days, now. It is clear now that you don’t need her.

Celestia shook her head. “That voice, Luna. It is so familiar to me.”

“It should be. It’s just me. My own dark thoughts,” Luna replied, sniffling.

“No, it’s something else. I heard it in the vision that I was shown, and I just know that’s not you. It was with you since we first arrived in Unicornia to investigate the changelings, and you seemed perfectly fine before then.”

“So what?” Luna asked, looking back up at the scene as it showed her walking through the castle halls to the throne room. “What does it matter? You can’t change the past.”

Celestia paused to think of a response, but was interrupted by the sound from the vision. A guard entered the throne room and approached Luna, kneeling before her. “Your majesty, a group of ponies have penned a message to you. They say that it is of extreme urgency, and should be viewed by your eyes only.” He lifted a sealed scroll up in front of him with levitation magic.

Luna slouched on the throne and sighed. “Certainly. It is my duty to hear the concerns of the peasants.” She took the scroll and opened it, ignoring the guard’s look of displeasure as he turned and left, shutting the door behind him.

“Your Majesty Princess Luna,” she started reading in a whiny sounding voice. “As you may have heard, the nation has been plagued with nightmares. We can no longer assume that these are unconnected incidents. Many ponies are starting to whisper the name of a wicked mare of darkness, Nightmare Moon. It is my belief that this mare is real, and is using dark magic to bring unrest to the country. We implore you, as well as your sister, to come together and help us locate and stop this evil. As it is, the nation cannot move on like this. We have dispatched a team to the south to inform your sister. We beseech thee, please do something.”

She crumpled up the paper and tossed it over the back of her throne. “Well, well… It seems that it’s finally time. They know and fear the one who is giving them this darkness, and it has only begun. Do try to enjoy your last day, ponies. After the sun goes down at dusk, the night shall last forever!” She laughed maniacally and hopped up from her throne and walked to the back of the throne room, pushing a curtain to the side.

“No, not this. Some memories had become hazy, but I could never forget this! You have to stop it!” Luna cried out, struggling to escape Celestia’s grasp.

The screen showed the spell book that had been taken from the changelings sitting upon a table, glowing with green energy. Luna placed a hoof over the book and the same green energy began to course over her body.

Outside the vision, Luna turned to look at Celestia and shook her head. “Don’t look. Please, don’t look,” she said, then turning towards Apple Bloom. “Make it stop! This instant!” She tried to pull away from Celestia’s embrace, pulling both of them along the ground toward the foal.

“What are you afraid of, princess?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Sister, please, close your eyes!” Luna screamed, trying to push her hooves against Celestia’s face. Celestia resisted, moving her head to the side and staring ahead toward the vision.

“Whatever happens, Luna, you are my beloved sister,” Celestia said calmly. “Whatever it is that has you so frightened, we face it together.”

The image of Luna on the screen darkened, her coat and mane becoming frayed and black. She raised her hoof from the book up in front of her face, peering through one of the holes that had formed upon it. “I will become the wicked mare of darkness and make the nightmare a reality. Those foals will all bow before me!”

Luna fell forward in her sister’s arms, sobbing. Celestia stared wide-eyed at the screen. To their right, Discord had placed his claw against his chin and was stroking his beard. Pinkie was back to munching popcorn, but had a look of terror upon her face.

“Luna… you…”

“Now you know!” Luna said as she cried. She lifted up her foreleg and a flash of green energy revealed its hole-riddled surface. “This… corruption! This curse! And I brought it on myself!” Her foreleg dropped back down as she continued to cry. Celestia pulled Luna closer, hugging more tightly than before. Luna gasped slightly, her heaving chest tensing up.

“And I suppose you think that somehow changes the way I feel about you?” Celestia asked.

“Look at the mess we’re in,” Luna said, wiping her eyes as best she could. “We’re trapped, invaded, and in a desperate situation all because of changelings… Changelings like me.”

“But they aren’t like you,” Celestia replied. “You are you, Luna. You’re my dear sister whom I love. We’ve both made mistakes in the past, but we carry on. Now that you are finally back, we carry on together. Whether or not you’ve fallen under that curse doesn’t matter to me. All that means is that we’ll have to pick the torch back up from a thousand years ago. We’ll have to find a way to reverse it. I know we will, as a team.”

Pinkie Pie grinned from across the way. “Yeah! You’re not a meanie like those other changelings! That one changeling tried to stab me with her horn! You wouldn’t do that!”

Luna laughed. “I would have a thousand years ago, though,” she said, turning back to the screen. “The only real reason I’m any different is because of the Elements of Harmony. The emotions I feel… they’re all fake, just creations of the Elements.”

“They are real, princess. The love you feel is your own. Trust in it and move forward,” Apple Bloom said. “As soon as we three shards are put back in place, you will be whole again.”

Luna sat quietly in thought as Apple Bloom continued, turning toward Celestia. “At this point, I assume the ponies who delivered the message to Luna went south to deliver the same message to you, Celestia. However, Luna was later informed that you had turned them away.”

Celestia sighed. “It’s true. I remember it clearly. Three ponies arrived at Everfree Castle. They told me about the situation. It was the first time I had even heard of Nightmare Moon. I was still suffering deep depression from the incident with the changelings, and not handling it very well. I felt so lost, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to help. I told them to leave everything to Luna.”

Luna nodded her head. “That night, when I heard you had given up, I remember feeling emboldened,” she said, clenching her teeth as she recalled her dark thoughts from the past. “I assumed it meant that you would not stand up to me any longer. That I had truly ascended.” The screen showed Luna flying southward toward the Everfree Forest. As she flew through the sky, a tiny bead of light shot out of her body and flew up to the stars.

“And that… was the end of my time with you, Luna,” Apple Bloom said. “That tiny bead of light was the shard of your soul that you lost: your patience. I hid in the sky for a thousand years, eventually being reborn within this foal, similar to your other missing pieces. Replaced by a ravenous lust for power, the place in your heart where I resided ate away at you as you finally headed to the final confrontation.”

Luna’s horn lit up, bringing the screen back to life. “I am not sure if seeing the rest of this play out will be of any benefit, but right now I have a feeling. A feeling that I need to see this through. For my own sake… for both our sakes,” she said, glancing at Celestia, who nodded in agreement. The two of them looked forward as the fateful events of that morning a thousand years ago continued.

Landing atop the castle, Luna made her way to Celestia’s bedroom window. She stared into the room at her sleeping sister. Her eyes widened and her jaw tightened. The voice in her head, practically shouting, pushed her forward. Do it! She’s helpless! End her life right now!

Luna lurched forward, pushing the window open slightly, but then fell back to her haunches. She lifted her hooves up in front of her and stared at them, her body shaking from the adrenaline that was coursing through her veins. I can’t! I shouldn’t! She’s my sister! How can I murder my own sister?

Easily! Drive your horn through her heart! Shatter her head with magic at close range! Find an axe! There’s any number of ways, now go!

No! Luna thought, looking back at Celestia sleeping peacefully. I won’t kill her, not like this! I want her to know! I want her to know it was me! She will witness the birth of the eternal night, and she will be helpless to stop it! I shall face her!

Don’t be a fool! You will never defeat her in a fair fight!

Luna scoffed quietly and shut Celestia’s window. I am the princess of the night! She will bow before me just as everypony else has! She fired a blast of dark energy into the room, right at Celestia’s forehead.

Outside of the vision, Luna sighed. “Instead of killing you, I showed you a dream. A nightmare. For all the trouble I’d caused, my moment of egotism there was the only thing close to a good decision I made.”

“I remember that. You appeared before me in the dream as Nightmare Moon and told me that this night would never end. It caused me to wake up in a cold sweat, lying in bed terrified until I went to the throne room to raise the sun,” Celestia replied. “I am glad you did not murder me in my sleep, but what do you mean?”

The corners of Luna’s mouth curved upward ever so slightly. “I decided to face you head on, which is what led to my defeat. I suppose that is the one terrible mistake I made that was in your favor, sister.”

Celestia squeezed Luna in her forelegs again. “And yet… Banishing you is my own worst mistake.”

The scene showed Celestia walking into the throne room and lighting her horn up with magic. The moon did not lower and the sun did not rise. She looked up at the thrones and spotted Luna’s silhouette standing behind the curtains.

“At the time, I had not put two and two together. I did not realize that this and the dream were connected. However, you quickly showed me that there was no mistaking it,” Celestia said, lying her chin against Luna’s shoulder.

“Luna! What is the meaning of this?” Celestia shouted from the screen, stepping forward toward the thrones.

“Not… another step!” Luna said, turning to face Celestia. “Did you really expect me to sit idly by while they all basked in your precious light?”

Celestia stared back at Luna, silent, her heart full of shock. What? Could this be…?

“There can only be one princess in Equestria! And that princess will be me!” Luna shouted. She rose into the air, surrounding herself with a sphere of dark magic. When the bubble burst, she had taken on the form of Nightmare Moon.

No! Celestia thought. It’s her! From my nightmare! She’s… Luna?

“The confusion I felt back then all makes sense now. I did not understand your transformation, but now…” Celestia said outside of the vision.

Luna nodded her head. “The sphere of dark magic was merely to hide my changeling powers. I’m not sure why I even cared to hide it anymore at that point… Perhaps I never intended to kill you at all and didn’t want that secret to be revealed. Whatever the case may be, we clashed.”

The sound of magic beams being fired filled the air, and the scene showed the castle being demolished by beams of light. “Luna!” Celestia shouted. “I will not fight you! You must lower the moon! It is your duty!”

“Luna? I am Nightmare Moon! I have but one royal duty now: to destroy you!”

The flashes and sounds of magic continued as the scene progressed, the aerial battle taking out large chunks of the castle. The sounds of destruction were accompanied by the sound of popcorn being munched intensely. Discord and Pinkie’s eyes were glued to the screen – Discord’s literally were removed from his sockets and attached to the screen’s surface.

“Hey, move your eye, I can’t see!” Pinkie protested, her mouth full of popcorn.

“This is so exciting! Oh, why couldn’t you girls have put up this sort of fight while I was around?” Discord said, ignoring Pinkie’s complaint.

Celestia and Luna sighed in unison, their attention drawn back to the screen when Celestia spoke.

“Oh, dear sister. I am sorry, but you have given me no choice but to use these,” she said as the Elements of Harmony rose out of the ground.

“Hey! It’s the Elements of Harmony!’ Pinkie shouted.

“Oh, goodie…” Discord responded, deadpan.

“And then…” Apple Bloom said as the screen showed Luna being blasted into the sky. “Princess Luna was banished. Sealed away into the moon itself, frozen in rock for a thousand years.”

Discord laughed. “Sounds awfully familiar. Is this how members of your family solve all of their problems?”

Apple Bloom ignored Discord’s comment and continued. “My knowledge of what happened after that is very limited since I was hiding in the sky as a star at that point.”

“That’s not the end of the story, though,” Celestia said, releasing Luna from her embrace and rising to her hooves. “No, things continued to develop. Since these visions have not just been about Luna and I, but also about the changelings, I feel that there is one more chapter of this story that you must be told. Just as you faced your past, sister, now I shall face mine.” Her horn glowed and the screen zapped back to life, showing the past once again.

Celestia paced back and forth through the castle, walking from room to room, aimlessly. “I couldn’t believe what I had done,” Celestia narrated. “My sister was gone, and my link with the Elements of Harmony was broken. Nopony should have been able to wield all six of them at once, and yet I had somehow managed. However, I could no longer use them anymore.”

The vision showed Celestia lifting her gaze to the moon, staring up at the silhouette of the Mare in the Moon that had formed upon its surface. Her horn lit up, and she strained, eventually lowering the moon and raising the sun by herself. Drained, she fell to the ground and gasped for breath. The scene changed to show her standing in the throne room, giving orders to her guards.

“I gathered up the guards. I told them that we were leaving at once for Unicornia, never to return. I could tell they questioned my reasoning, but none of them asked why. The truth was, I wanted to get away from it all. I wanted to escape what I had just done. I told no one about Luna. Rather, I told them all that Luna and I had banished Nightmare Moon into the moon, and that the nightmares were over,” Celestia said, lowering her head. “They were just beginning for me.”

The screen showed chains being thrown around Discord’s statue, as well as many boxes and crates full of books, parchment, and clothing being loaded into numerous wagons. The caravan set out to the north.

“It hadn’t even been a week, and I was still wrought with guilt and sadness about Luna’s…” Celestia said, hesitating as she turned to her sister, “about your banishment.” She held back her feelings, still powerful even after a thousand years, and cleared her throat slightly. “I’m sorry, I just…” Luna smiled faintly and shook her head as the magic screen focused on Celestia sitting upon the throne, her head drooped down in grief.

“Sister, it’s in the past. I cannot begin to imagine how you felt. There is nothing for you to apologize for. Remembering it is one thing, but seeing it like this, practically reliving it, is another thing entirely. I feel the same way, having seen my wicked deeds with my own eyes.”

Celestia nodded her head and smiled back as the scene continued to unfold. A guard entered the throne room and approached Celestia. He kneeled and removed his helmet. “Your majesty, I am sorry to intrude, but there is a mare who is requesting an audience. I told her that you had asked to not be disturbed, but she says that it is important.”

Celestia took a moment to compose herself, sitting up straight on the throne and adjusting her crown upon her head. “Who is this mare, then?”

“She says her name is Ismara, and that she is an acquaintance of yours. She claims that she has something of grave importance to speak with you about, but she would not tell me anything. She says the information she has is for your ears only.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow and thought for a moment. Ismara? The magical prodigy? Well, I suppose saying she’s an acquaintance is accurate, though we have only spoken briefly prior.

The image froze and Celestia waved a hoof toward the screen, causing it to ripple slightly. “Despite my poor mood, just the fact that she wanted to speak with me piqued my curiosity. To say that I’d had my eye on her prior to the changeling incident would be an understatement,” she said. The scene showed Celestia peering into a university classroom. At the front of the class stood a unicorn with a light gray coat, almost white, and a jet black mane that hung straight down past her shoulders. Her horn was aglow with magic as she levitated twelve different spell books in front of her, their pages flipping as though the wind was blowing them. “It may seem as though she is simply levitating those books, and that is true, but the pages are not flipping randomly at all. She is reading their contents, twelve tomes at once, channeling a very complex series of spells into her horn.”

As the magic in her horn seemed to reach its peak, the books all suddenly closed and her eyes shot straight toward the cracked door at the back of the room. She locked eyes with Celestia and grinned as the spells fired from her horn. The room erupted in colors, the books returned to the shelves from which they came, several potted plants upon the teacher’s desk sprouted and bloomed multi-colored flowers, and a whirlwind of magic began to spin through the air above them. The plants suddenly sprouted long vines and the flowers morphed into pony-like faces. They all began to sing, a choir as wonderful sounding as the royal chorus. Every pony in the room stood and clapped enthusiastically, and the teacher’s jaw dropped in shock. “I could do nothing but stare in awe, amazed that a young mare was capable of such magical control. While none of the spells were all that powerful, to cast everything at once was quite a feat. I could tell that this mare was going to end up a being a wizard within the top tiers of unicorn society, so I investigated her thoroughly. She was reportedly born not long after Luna and I, and had grown up with her two earth pony parents. They had lost their lives during Discord’s reign, and she ended up being taken to an orphanage in Unicornia. From there, she learned that she had a talent for magic, and despite having to live in poverty, she pursued magic and was eventually taken in by one of the magic instructors at the university. She’d been shooting toward the top ever since.”

The scene changed to show Celestia sitting at a small, round table on a patio in the rear castle gardens. The sun hung low on the horizon and the garden where the patio was situated was alight with lanterns. A tea pot with matching porcelain cups sat in the middle of the table, along with a plate of sweet cookies. Sitting across from her at the table was Ismara. Celestia stared quizzically at the mare as Celestia outside of the vision narrated. “I had been hesitant to meet with her, but my curiosity got the better of me. What could she possibly have wanted to speak to me about? I could not even begin to guess, but I could feel that the atmosphere was heavy as she sat across from me silently sipping her tea, waiting for me to speak. She certainly was familiar with noble etiquette.”

Celestia took a sip of her tea and then gently set the cup down upon the saucer in front of her. “So, to what do I owe the pleasure, Miss Ismara?” she asked.

Ismara took a sip of her own tea and batted her eyelashes. “Your highness, I actually have a proposition for you, but I was hoping that Princess Luna could be present to hear it as well since you are both equal rulers of this land,” she replied, grinning and glancing towards the door that led to the inner chambers.

Celestia froze up for a second, and then shook her head. “I’m sorry, but Princess Luna… is currently either asleep or preparing for the night. She must be ready to watch over the night soon. Anything you would need to tell her, you can tell me. We are equal rulers, as you said.”

Ismara continued to grin, letting her eyes dart around as she took in the scenery of the royal garden. “So tell me, why did you move to Unicornia? Did you not previously live in the Everfree Forest? It seems so sudden, though I can understand wanting to consolidate your power at the center of the nation.”

Celestia’s eyes narrowed. She’s just wasting my time, now. Or trying to get some sort of reaction out of me. In any case, I’ll not be pushed around, she thought. What are you after, girl? I know you’re clever, but you’re also fairly obvious.

Celestia leaned forward against the table and placed her hooves upon its surface. “Ismara, dispense with the pleasantries if you don’t mind. It may not seem like it, but I am quite busy and do not have time to beat about the bushes, despite that we are in a garden. You said you had a proposal, so by all means, let us hear it.”

Ismara chuckled and took another sip of her tea. “Princess Luna is gone, isn’t she?” she asked, gesturing one hoof skyward. “You’re in quite a pickle now, aren’t you? I feel so bad about the whole tragic situation, and wish to help you out.”

Celestia’s expression remained calm and emotionless. “I’m sure I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Don’t think that everypony was so oblivious to what was happening last week, Princess. Don’t think that all of us were distracted by that changeling spectacle. When the nightmares began, we all saw the same being, Nightmare Moon. She flew through our dreams and brought us terror beyond darkness. Was she just a figment of our imaginations? Of course she wasn’t, even you claim that she was real, and that you defeated her alongside Princess Luna.” Ismara leaned forward against the table as well, pressed her face closer to Celestia’s and whispered. “But I know the truth. Luna was Nightmare Moon. You defeated her all on your own and banished your own sister into the moon.”

Celestia gritted her teeth and leaned back in her chair. She scoffed, her tone of voice now both offended and frightened. “Ridiculous! How could you even have come up with such a story?” she said, and then gestured to the path that led out of the garden to the front of the castle. “We would like you to leave, now. Your implications are not appreciated.”

“But I can help you. I’ve devised a new kind of illusion magic that perfectly imitates the appearance and abilities of another pony. The perfect disguise. It would be as if Luna had never even left.”

Celestia stared back at Ismara, hesitant to respond. Ismara’s horn erupted with black magic, and her appearance morphed into that of Princess Luna. She stood up and gazed skyward, her mane flowing through the air and her wings spread wide. “I know what you must be thinking, now,” Ismara said, her voice perfectly mimicking Luna’s. “This sort of perfect imitation has been seen just recently thanks to those changelings, but I know you know better. You can feel the magic, can’t you?”

Incredible! I’ve seen illusion magic before, but never like this! I would never have thought to weave these spells together in such a manner… she’s a prodigy among prodigies. I was right to think that she would someday be a master, Celestia thought, staring at the perfect transformation before her. She caught herself being awestruck and shook her head. No! This is not the time to be impressed. I can’t allow her to continue to pry for information until I know her motive.

“I came here at dusk on purpose, you know,” Ismara said. “Is it not time to lower the sun? Where is Princess Luna?”

There she goes, asking about Luna again, Celestia thought, turning her head skyward and responding. “I am sure she is in her chambers, or perhaps in one of the towers, standing ready to raise the moon. Please, excuse me for a moment.”

Ismara nodded her head and Celestia lit up her horn, pushing the sun down below the horizon. She hesitated to raise the moon, knowing that Ismara was watching. She glanced at the mare, who still held Luna’s appearance perfectly, as she stared into the dark sky and blinked.

“Where is the moon, Princess?” she asked, and then lit up her own horn. “Allow me.” In the blink of an eye, the moon shot up into the sky. Celestia fell to her haunches in shock, staring up at the moon, and then down at Ismara, who was grinning widely down at her.

“You’re surprised, I see. It’s understandable. Please keep in mind, though, that I didn’t actually raise the moon just now. However, everypony in the land thinks that the moon is shining up there in the sky. This is the power of this illusion spell. Can you not feel it?” She waved her hoof through the air and the moon vanished from the sky. “You’d better hurry up and raise the moon, Princess. It looks like Luna may have slept in.”

Celestia frowned and concentrated, straining to raise the moon. It was still a strain on her, but the moon eventually floated up into the sky.

“It’s all for show, you see… but that’s precisely what you need, now isn’t it? Someone to appear to be your sister, still walking among us. Nopony would ever have to know the horrible truth. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me, and all I ask in return is a chance to study in the magic archives that you no doubt moved from Everfree Castle to here.”

Celestia sat on the ground, still speechless at the level of magic Ismara possessed, thoughts racing through her head. Can I really trust her? I have no reason to think she is a friend, but I also have no reason to think she is a foe.

The princess stood up and stared into her sister’s eyes, knowing that they were just an illusion. She could see no flaw in it, no matter how hard she tried. “You are hereby sworn to secrecy about what has happened here, and about Princess Luna. We will consider your proposal. Until we make our final decision, please stay here at the castle. I will have a guest room prepared for you. Is that acceptable?”

Ismara smiled and nodded her head, Princess Luna’s form fading away from atop of her. “So, you finally admit to me about Princess Luna,” she said almost musingly. “Yes, it is acceptable. I await your response, your majesty.” She bowed before the princess, lowering her head until it practically touched the ground. Celestia stormed away into the doorway behind her and shouted for a guard.

“I had thought that allowing Ismara to stay in the castle would let me to keep a close eye on her. I was still nervous about her motive. She did, of course, have a hidden motive, but I would not find out about it until two days later. After much pondering, as well as having my personal guards keep an eye on Ismara, I was no closer to figuring out what she wanted. It seemed as though her aim was genuinely to study in the magic archives, which I knew were a tempting thing for any mage at her level. The archives contained many tomes and scrolls written by Star Swirl himself. Unfortunately, letting her stay just gave her exactly what she wanted: full access to the palace. She worked quickly and efficiently. I never saw it coming.”

The scene showed Celestia sitting on the throne. Moonlight shone in through the window beside her, and several guards and officials were in the throne room as well. Ismara entered, closing the doors behind her. She approached Celestia and kneeled before her. “You wanted to see me? Have you made a decision?” she asked, then glancing briefly at Luna’s vacant throne.

“Yes, we have made a decision. I apologize for calling this meeting so late at night, but secrecy is crucial. Everypony, step forward and form a circle here,” Celestia said. The others in the room stepped forward and stood silently, their attention aimed toward Celestia. Several of them were fully armored, while others were older ponies wearing robes. Ismara glanced around nervously. “Ismara, I admit, at first I was not sure if I should trust you. I will be honest about that. In fact, I am still wary of your offer, but time is short to make a decision about this, and questions have been coming up regarding Luna. I want nothing more than for the country to be able to move on peacefully, at least for now, in the wake of all that has occurred in the past month. The ponies you see before us are my most trusted inner circle of advisors and protectors. They will have the secret revealed to them as well. Word of this shall not spread beyond this room. Do you all understand?”

Ismara grinned and swished her tail behind her. The guards all took several steps back, and she followed suit. With a quick flash of magic from her horn, the sound of the door at the front of the room locking could be heard.

“No need to tell them anything, Celestia. They already know everything.”

“What!?” Celestia shouted, rising from her throne.

Ismara laughed and her horn began to blaze with white light. The moon sank from the sky and the sun raised quickly in its place. Celestia jerked her head around and stared up at the sun.

“Impossible! That’s really…!”

“That’s right, your highness! That’s not an illusion, and neither is this!”

Ismara’s body erupted in terrifyingly familiar green fire-like magic that rippled across her coat’s surface, burning away who she had been and revealing who she really was. Light gray coat turned black, gentle features became rough and jagged, her horn formed a hole at its base with a yellow gem inset, and her legs had several holes and divets along their surface. She laughed, her fangs bared and almost glowing. Celestia fell back against her throne, eyes wide with terror as green fire began to burn away at every pony in the room.

“All of my guards, my most trusted advisors, my personal security detail whom I trusted with my life and even considered dear friends… she had replaced them all in the course of two days with changelings. Every single one of them had the same strange gem-socketed horns and butterfly wings,” Celestia said, explaining the scene. “She had taken advantage of the situation with Luna, worked her way so quickly into my innermost space and had taken it over. Furthermore, she had raised the sun into the sky, a feat that to this day I am still puzzled by.”

The changelings on the screen all began to channel bright, colorful magic into their horns, the gems making prismatic spectrums dance along the walls, ceiling, and floor. Celestia sat in her throne, her whole body shaking with fear, anger, and confusion, unable to respond.

“Yet, despite all her planning, all her carefully executed maneuvers, all her silver-tongued engineering, she had overlooked one vital thing.”

“This is the end, Celestia!” Ismara screamed, her voice having changed along with her appearance. “Burn her to ashes!”

The screen lit up nearly as bright as the sun as all of the changelings fired their magic at once towards Celestia. The princess tensed up her body, light igniting at the tip of her horn, and a spherical shield appeared around her. The full force of the magic blast was reflected back at the changelings, blasting them away, reducing stone pillars to rubble, and blowing the wall where the doorway was out into the halls.

Celestia shakily slid down from the throne, standing up and walking across the scene of destruction. Unidentifiable pieces of changeling bodies lie strewn about, charred or burning. The only body that was left mostly complete was that of Ismara. She raised her head up off the ground and growled at Celestia.

“Her lack of understanding of alicorn magic, not that she could have come to understand it in such a short time, brought about her death. She never could have imagined that I had an undetectable magic repulsion field set up around me that would reflect all offensive magic back upon the caster. Along with my feelings of anxiety and grief from Luna’s banishment came paranoia. I’d had the field cast on myself ever since I came back to Unicornia.”

The others were staring at the screen, their jaws hanging open and their eyes wide.

“I’m sorry you had to see that. Perhaps I should have warned you.”

“Sister, that…” Luna started, cut off by dialogue coming from the screen.

“You haven’t seen the last of me, Celestia…” Ismara said weakly, blood trickling from her mouth. “Or my order of changelings.”

“Ismara,” Celestia responded, her body still shaking, “Why? Why did this have to happen? Just when I thought… there could be some sort of salvation for me…” Tears formed at the corners of her eyes. Ismara laughed and fell flat against the floor again.

“Salvation? Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no such thing in this world,” Ismara said, her voice fading. “Someday, Celestia… We will be back to haunt you. You will never…” With that word, her final breath passed from her lips and her body became completely limp.

“I’d hoped that her last words were just boasting, but now that The Order of Ismara has returned, it appears--”

“Sister!” Luna said more loudly. “That voice!”

“You heard it, too?” Discord asked, turning his shocked expression towards the two princesses.

“Yeah,” Pinkie Pie said, popcorn falling from her mouth. “It’s definitely the one. I never forget a voice!”

Celestia glanced between the others, and then down at Apple Bloom, who was staring up at Luna, a look of fright upon her face. “What are you all talking about? What… voice…?”

Celestia’s eyes went wide as she finally understood.

Why do you even try, night goddess? They have never loved you, and they never shall.

Cast aside your patience! Your determination! There is only one goal you need to be focused on, and that is overcoming the source of your problem! The sun must never rise again! Not until everypony recognizes your glory and might!

Do it! She’s helpless! End her life right now!

The image of Ismara ordering the attack on her appeared clearly in Celestia’s mind. She screeched out the order with the same bone-chilling voice.

This is the end, Celestia! Burn her to ashes!

“Ismara.” Celestia said quietly, almost whispering. “She was behind… everything.”

Twilight shivered as the cold air above the mountain pierced her coat. Linnai, who seemed unaffected by the change in temperature, began to dive down the other side of the mountain range toward the grassy field far below. The air was thick with love magic, and the changeling’s eyes had gone wide with excitement as each pulse of the sweet sustenance became stronger and stronger. Twilight felt herself slipping out of Linnai’s grip and shouted up at her carrier. “Hey! I can’t fly if you drop me!”

Linnai shook her head and pulled Twilight back up against her chest. “Sorry, I was just… appreciating the moment,” she said, her voice flat and mellow. It reminded Twilight a little too much of her sleepy adventurous tone from earlier that day.

“Well, stay focused. We’ll probably be coming up on the source of the magic soon.”

“Sweet smorgasbord, I hope so! I’ve been avoiding absorbing all this ambient energy so I have my appetite for the main course.”

After a few more minutes of flying, the two of them landed in thick grass. Twilight crouched to the ground and practically kissed it. “Okay, that was fun, but I’m not sure I am up for any more flying.” She stared ahead at what appeared to be the source of the magic directly ahead of them, a sphere of glowing, pink light. She flipped the Colorscope down over her eyes. “That must be where the magic is coming from. I can’t tell what it is. It’s definitely not part of the dream world, so chances are one of the others is involved. We should go check it out.”

“Way ahead of you.” Linnai had already started advancing along the ground, her red-veined wings extended and quivering slightly with excitement. “Pure, wild love magic. It doesn’t get much better than this.”

The sphere flashed as Linnai came close to it, surging outward with an even more powerful wave. The changeling’s eyes rolled back and she fell to the ground, her entire body quivering and a loud groan escaping her lips. Twilight was knocked down as well, a smile spreading suddenly across her face and tears falling from her eyes.

A second later, the sphere vanished and the love energy in the air evaporated. Standing in the sphere’s place were Sweetie Belle, Fluttershy, and Mulcibar, who was lying on the ground staring up at Fluttershy.

Twilight forced herself back up to her hooves and ran forward towards the group. “Fluttershy! Sweetie Belle! I’m so glad you’re alright!”

“Twilight!” Fluttershy shouted, turning away from Mulcibar and throwing her hooves up to meet Twilight in a hug. “Thank goodness! I’m glad you’re here. Listen, it’s about Sweetie Belle, she’s—“

A loud growl came from Mulcibar as he rolled onto his side and gripped his midsection as if he were having a bout of indigestion. Fluttershy gasped and leapt to his side, leaning her face down close to his. “Oh, my, are you alright? What’s wrong? Is it your stomach?”

Mulcibar strained and opened his eyes, speaking through his teeth. “Yes… No? I don’t know! It hurts! Whatever it is!” As his eyes opened and met with hers, his body suddenly untensed and fell limp against the ground. “Or I don’t know. My head is all light and I feel dizzy. Oh no, am I sick? Is this what it’s like to be sick? I’ve never been sick! A cold?”

Fluttershy pressed a hoof against his forehead and shook her head. Mulcibar shivered slightly in response. “You don’t feel feverish. Oh no, but I don’t know if you changelings are supposed to feel the same as we ponies do.” She turned her head toward Twilight. “What do we do? So much has been going on, it’s crazy.”

Twilight tightened her lips. “Hmmm. It could be a reaction to that magic. What was that, anyway?”

“Tasty!” Linnai managed to say, raising one hoof up in the air as she lay on the ground still.

Fluttershy pointed a hoof at Sweetie Belle, who had fallen to the ground and was fast asleep. “It was Sweetie Belle, but not Sweetie Belle. It’s that pendant from the last dream. Oh, Twilight, we saw some terrible things. Just awful.”

“Awful? How awful?”

“It was the past. Sweetie Belle was taken over by that magic pendant. It told us that it was a piece of Princess Luna’s soul. It showed us things that happened a thousand years ago. Celestia and Luna were in Canterlot, but it wasn’t Canterlot back then, and they were investigating Changelings. In the end, everything ended up sad and terrible, and there was always this voice in Princess Luna’s mind driving her to do bad things.”

“A voice?”

“Yes. The events we saw were not long before Luna became Nightmare Moon, and that voice seemed to be pushing her to become evil and betray Celestia. We all have our dark thoughts, but I can’t help but think there’s more to that voice than just Luna’s own dark thoughts,” Fluttershy said, and then lowered her gaze. “Even more awful, there were a lot of changelings and guard ponies that got… killed. It was horrible, Twilight.”

Linnai perked up slightly, coming down from her love magic induced high. “Yes, well, a thousand years ago… it must have been Tenderhoof and her stand against your tyrant princesses. It doesn’t surprise me that Luna had such evil thoughts. She and Celestia executed them all without mercy.”

Mulcibar took a deep breath and turned to face his sister. “Linnai, about that,” he said, his voice still weak and strained. “What would you say if we were wrong? What if they weren’t executed?”

Linnai stood up and walked toward her brother. “What do you mean? And what’s wrong with you?”

Mulcibar sighed breathily. “I don’t know,” he said, and then looked up at Linnai’s face. “I’m just so glad to see you. Thank goodness you’re okay.” His voice cracked as if he were about to cry. Linnai’s eyes widened and she pulled her face back in repulsion.

“For crying out loud, brother, knock it off, that’s just creepy,” she said, kicking one of her forelegs forward into his ribcage. “What’s come over you! You’re acting so… ugh, pony-like. Maybe you’re weak from hunger. Surely you fed on all that love magic just now.”

Mulcibar’s eyes seemed to go blank and a grin spread across his face. “No… I was already full.”

Linnai lifted her head and glanced over at the sleeping foal, and then at Fluttershy. Her eyes narrowed and she let out a chuckle. “Oh, I see how it is. Lucky you. I was stuck with the prudicorn over there,” she said, gesturing toward Twilight, who raised an eyebrow and looked toward Fluttershy as well.

Fluttershy blushed. “Why are you two staring at me like that?”

Linnai laughed. “Oh, wow, every time! You always get the easy ones, you jerk!” She looked down at Mulcibar and kicked him again, even harder than before He let out a grunt of pain. “I’d be impressed if you weren’t rolling around on the ground like you’re dying. Get up, already!” She gave him a third kick and Fluttershy suddenly leapt forward, pushing her away from him and standing between the two of them.

“Hey, leave him alone!” she said, but then immediately felt herself shrinking down and trying to hide. Linnai grinned and laughed again.

“Awww, aren’t you sweet?” she said, and then her face quickly soured. “What have you done to him, tramp?”

“Done? I didn’t do anything?”

“Hey, leave her alone!” Twilight shouted and leaned in towards Linnai.

“Butt out, prudicorn!” Linnai shouted, never averting her gaze from Fluttershy. “This little bitch must have done something to him. Look at him! Pathetic!”

“But, I didn’t!”

“Mulcibar! What’s the deal? Did you feed on the yellow one or not?” She shoved Fluttershy to the side and reared up above Mulcibar again. “Say something, you oaf!”

Fluttershy heatbutt Linnai’s shoulder, knocking her off balance and causing her to tumble sideways into Twilight. After gaining her balance again, she growled at Fluttershy and quickly moved back toward her.

“I don’t know what happened to him, but I can tell what happened to you. It’s written all over your stupid face,” she said, her nose pressed against Fluttershy’s. “The stupidity of some ponies never ceases to amaze. Tell me about it, little girl. Was he aggressive? Gentle? Rough? Did he trick you, or did you know he was going to gobble you up?”

“Hey!” Twilight shouted, marching the two steps away that Linnai was.

Fluttershy lowered her face, letting her hair drape over it. “I… I just…”

Linnai laughed, her gaze beating down against Fluttershy. “Did you fall in love with him, pony? Did you think he somehow had feelings for you?”

“No! I just…!”

“Did you think that somehow if you showed him some compassion, he’d somehow love you back? Did you think you could teach him how to love? Well, you wouldn’t be the first, and you certainly won’t be the last! That’s just how he operates, so don’t get any stupid ideas!”

Twilight shoved Linnai away and continued toward Fluttershy. She put a hoof against her friend’s face, brushing her hair aside, revealing her tear-filled eyes. “Fluttershy, are you okay?” she asked, and then letting curiosity get the better of her, added “Is it… is it true?”

Fluttershy remained silent, but shook her head.

Linnai let out a screeching laugh. “Of course it’s true! Little fillies with big hearts never change. They’re all the same! ‘Oh, maybe he’s not so bad! Maybe if I just am nice to him, I can save him!’ they always think, and it never works! You can’t teach a changeling how to love, it’s impossible!”

“Shut up!” Mulcibar screamed, leaping to his hooves and barreling towards his sister. In a single motion, he pushed her to the side and slid to a stop next to Fluttershy. He took a deep breath and then threw his forelegs around Fluttershy, pulling her up against him. “Don’t listen to her. Are you alright?”

Linnai and Twilight both blinked in shock.

“There’s definitely something wrong with you! What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” Mulcibar said, his voice shaking, as were his knees. “I’ve never felt this way before. It’s sort of scary, yet exhilarating. My mind is racing, I can hear my blood flowing and my heart beating. I feel sick, and yet… not. I don’t… know what’s come over me.”

Twilight fell to her haunches. “Impossible…” she said. “The way he’s acting, what he’s saying… I’m not sure what else this could be.”

Linnai and Mulcibar shouted in unison. “What could it be?”

Twilight gulped and inhaled deeply. “From everything you’ve said and done just now, it’s almost like… you have a crush on Fluttershy.”

“Crush?” Mulcibar pondered quietly, turning his eyes down to his forelegs. He shakily loosened his grip on Fluttershy. “I didn’t think I was holding her that tightly… Why am I even doing this?” His look of confusion only intensified.

“No, not like that,” Twilight said, placing a hoof to her forehead. “A crush. You know, as in you like her.”

Mulcibar blinked and felt his stomach acting up again. “I like a lot of things. I like stars, and cool breezes, and quiet times when Linnai isn’t shouting.”

“Hey!” Linnai shouted.

“No, not like that,” Twilight said. “I mean it’s like you love her.”

“What!?” Linnai shouted.

Fluttershy squeaked and tried to hide, but couldn’t escape Mulcibar’s embrace.

“It’s impossible… right?” Twilight asked, turning to look at Linnai.

Meanwhile, outside of the dream, in the throne room of Canterlot Castle, Chrysalis sat upon the throne, her eyes glazed over with magic as she absorbed energy from the field of cocoons before her. She suddenly gasped and raised a hoof up, placing it against her chest. She licked her lips, grinned, and whispered to herself.

“Mulcibar, you naughty boy. What have you done?”

Author's Note:

Poor Celestia and Luna. They had it rough. I hope I'm not driving everyone crazy with these flashbacks. It's been a pleasure to weave this all together, so I hope you enjoyed it, at least a little. In an ocean of MLP fanfiction, I'm sure everything I'm doing has been done before, but hey, I'm doing it anyway!

I had a lot of fun writing the Ismara scene. It's the same event that Celestia described to Twilight in book 2, but time time played out in full so all the details were revealed.

Not long to go now. Just one more chapter for this book, and it's gonna have everything! A little more about Celestia and Luna's pasts, how the legend of Nightmare Moon became what it did, the final confrontation with Nightmare Moon, and the long arm of Ismara reaching all the way from the past. Also, will Mulcibar ever get a grip on his newfound emotions? Will Fluttershy be able to deal with it? Will Linnai want to deal with it? Will Twilight be able to make them get a move on so she can find out what's happening with the princesses?

Look forward to it! You know, if you want to.

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