• Published 19th Feb 2018
  • 9,597 Views, 512 Comments

The Fairy Tale Fiasco - LaWombat

Trapped in a magical storybook with King Sombra, Twilight must escape by finishing a collection of fairy tales. All they have to do is reach the ending. But not all heroes get a happily ever after...

  • ...

Prologue: Getting Into a Good Book

“Just a bit of a tweak there, and…” Twilight stuck her tongue out in concentration and mentally nudged a bit more magic through her horn. A beam of it was already connected to an object that floated over the crystal floor, surrounded in a swirling flow of light. After a smaller pulse shot along the connection, the storybook floating in the center shivered and flipped open on its own. “Aha!” Twilight exclaimed in triumph when it began turning through the pages. With a rustle of paper, it stopped at a random chapter, displaying paragraphs of text surrounded by a delicately sketched setting.

“And then you just open it to the story you want!” Twilight demonstrated to her small audience of Shining Armour, Cadence and Flurry Heart while they watched her reach out with her aura and switch the levitating novel to a tale of her choosing. Flurry Heart squealed and squirmed with excitement. She might have been too young to understand exactly what was going on, but Twilight had seen her perk up earlier when her name and the word “gift” had been spoken in the same sentence.

When the pages of the book were facing the floor, the light mist of magic surrounding it fell away like a faint sprinkle of rain. It created a translucent image of a mystical forest with emerald leaves that shimmered in an artificial moonlight. Twilight gave her audience a quick smile before tossing her mane and trotting into the scene. As her frame disturbed the magical depiction, it re-materialized around her and settled along her fur, forming the illusion of wearing a rich gown fit for a gala.

“The spell will detect anypony that disturbs the magic field and dress them up as a character from the story. They can act out their favorite parts!” Twilight proclaimed with a giddy grin, ecstatic even though there was a small quirk where ponies couldn’t actually choose the roles they were cast as. The magic appeared to randomly give her the main role in the depicted story, but the illusion had performed without issue, and for now, that was the important part. Under normal circumstances, she would have been more diligent, but she had to finish in time to make the train.

Flurry Heart, unable to contain her delight any longer, launched herself from her mother’s hold and flew above Twilight’s head with a giggle. Upon entering the shimmering light, it swirled around her tiny body and gave her wings a sparkling, crystalline look. She was also dressed in a crumpled skirt and given a magic wand with a pointed star at the end. Flurry’s eyes glittered, and she waved it about.

“Why, hello, Flurry Heart Fairy!” Twilight greeted her niece with whimsy in her tone. “Have you come to grant my wish?”

Flurry Heart clapped her hooves together in happy applause before tapping Twilight lightly on the head with her wand. The tip shot out silver confetti and floating sparkles, much to Flurry’s delight.

“It’s wonderful, Twilight,” Cadence said with a laugh while Flurry Heart fluttered back into her embrace to show her. The fairy outfit disappeared in a cloud of shimmering dust when she left the scene. “And reassuring. Flurry Heart will be having too much fun to even notice we’re gone.”

“She definitely loves it.” Shining Armor strode over to Twilight to give her an affectionate hug. The dress she had on dispersed when she stepped out of the magical forest to return his affection. “Excellent job, sis.”

“Thanks.” Twilight rubbed her leg with a hesitant smile. “I just wanted this weekend to be extra special, since I’ll be spending the entirety of it with my favorite niece.”

“Only niece,” Shining corrected her with a confident smirk.

“For now,” Cadence smiled coyly as Shining straightened up with a choked snort. Twilight and Cadence exchanged a playful look before bursting into a fit of giggles.

“Awaah!” Flurry Heart wiggled against her mother’s leg and drew their attention when she popped free. She flew back over to the storybook and hugged it where it was still floating. At her touch, it instantly snapped shut, and the fairy tale scene quickly faded out of sight, leaving Flurry to flutter to the floor with the book. She babbled something in baby talk while tapping against the cover, trying to get the magic to create its illusion again.

“I guess we should go soon. Flurry looks ready to dive back into that book again,” Cadence said with an excited smile.

“Literally! Thanks to Twily.” Shining Armor grinned.

Cadence rolled her eyes before turning to Twilight. “I really appreciate you doing this for us. It’s been so long since Shining and I have had some time off, especially to ourselves. Are you sure you don’t mind watching Flurry Heart for the entire weekend? I could always ask Sunburst...”

Twilight was already shaking her head with a grin. “Are you kidding? I don’t mind at all! I only did double the work so I could specifically have this weekend off just to watch Flurry!”

“Huh, ‘only’...” Spike’s voice scoffed as he spoke up from his corner, laying atop a sofa along the wall. Once Twilight had started going over her special surprise for Flurry, he had settled down to read his comic book instead. Since he was Twilight’s test audience back in Ponyville, he had already gotten the run-through of her magical gift.

Twilight hesitantly laughed and laid a reassuring hoof on Cadence’s shoulder, clearing her throat with a soft noise. “I’ll enjoy spending the weekend with her as much as she will with me. Don’t worry! Just go and enjoy your trip. I have everything under control.”

“Alright,” Cadence finally conceded with a quiet sigh. “Have fun with Flurry, then. I know you'll take good care of her.” She returned a confident smile and gave Twilight a quick hug before stepping over to her daughter. Flurry Heart was still distracted by the non-functioning storybook, but Cadence scooped her up in an embrace and received a hug back in return, with Flurry giggling as she squeezed Cadence’s muzzle. Shining Armor leaned in and nuzzled her mane before lifting his daughter and setting her on Twilight’s back. The pair said their final goodbyes and left through the open doorway.

After Shining and Cadence had disappeared through the archway, one of the guards standing watch approached with a practiced march, saluting Twilight when he stopped before her. With a bow, the guard cleared his throat. “Princess Twilight, I was told to inform you that while the Prince and Princess are away, the crystal guard will report to you should we need royal council.”

Twilight nodded in understanding. “Of course.”

“Is there anything you have need of at the moment?” he asked.

“Nothing at this time. Feel free to carry on with your normal duties.” Twilight looked back at Flurry Heart with a grin. “I’ll get this weekend started by spending time with my niece!”

The guard blinked quickly but nodded with a polite bow.

“Let me in, or I’ll conjure up a wind that will blow your house in!” Twilight grinned as she menacingly stood over the small crystal house no bigger than her own body. Coming from inside the home was a happy babble of giggling from Flurry Heart while she hid from her “big, bad aunt.”

Twilight was about to recite the next line of the story when there was a sudden knock at the door that made her pause. In her moment of confusion, she heard a soft click from the tiny building, and Flurry Heart tottered through the door with a big smile on her face.

“No, Flurry! You’re not supposed to actually open the door—wait, I didn’t knock.” She looked up at the actual entrance to Flurry Heart’s playroom before the sound came again. This time the pounding sounded a bit more frantic. “Come in!”

The handle clicked and the door swung in immediately while an out-of-breath guard stepped inside to quickly bow. He opened his mouth to report, but his words seemed to become lost when he fully took in the fairytale scene laid out before him. Twilight could see the distracted look cross his face when he noticed her dressed as a timberwolf from one of the tales.

She dispelled the magic with a slight blush and stepped closer to the guard. “Yes?”

“Well, uh…” His eyes glanced at the floor, looking uncertain. “We’ve… found something that you might want to look at.”

“What is it?” Twilight adjusted her footing, getting nervous from the guard’s tone.

“It’s…” He began with a quick glance over his shoulder. “We’ve found Sombra’s horn.”

Twilight reared back the same instant Spike’s gaze shot up from the comic he had been immersed in. He neatly ripped the issue in half when he jumped up with a shout, “Sombra!?”

Meanwhile, Flurry was oblivious to the shocking news and innocently pawed at the storybook, trying to work the magic herself.

“Where is it? Has anypony touched it or gone near it?” Twilight asked quickly.

He nodded slowly. “It was found by a filly in the snow, outside of the city. Once the parents understood what it was, they brought it straight to the palace. We’ve locked it in a room with guards posted, and I came to tell you as soon as it was secure. It doesn’t appear to be doing anything, but we knew that wouldn’t matter.”

Twilight turned her gaze to the ground, rubbing her chin with worry as she hurried to organize her jumbled thoughts into an urgent list. Even if Sombra’s horn was no longer a threat, they couldn’t take any chances. She pointed a hoof at Spike and called to him, “Stay here and watch Flurry while I go check this out.”

“But, Twilight—” he started to protest.

“I need you to stay and make sure she doesn’t leave this room.” Twilight trotted over and gave him a quick squeeze, a comfort to herself as well as a reassurance for him. “It could be dangerous, and I don’t want her getting hurt.” Or you, she added to herself.

Even though her words caused him to frown, Spike nodded reluctantly.

A babbling of baby giggles reached her ears and the storybook suddenly bumped against her horn. Twilight looked above to see Flurry Heart holding the novel while making a pouty face that pleaded for attention. Despite the pang of regret she felt upon seeing the heart-wrenching expression, she wasn’t going to make any exceptions. There was no way she would put her niece in harm’s way.

“I’m sorry, Flurry, but I’ll be back soon.” She added a mental “hopefully” to that while catching Flurry in a field of magic and floating her down for Spike to hold. “There’s something I have to take care of first. Then we can have fun all weekend long together.”

“I’ll make sure she’s safe, Twilight.” Spike saluted, while Flurry simply whimpered and hugged the storybook closer. Her eyes wavered, and she looked to be on the verge of tears. Twilight had to tear herself away from the sight and quickly followed after the guard, letting him lead her down to another wing of the castle. It was a short trip, and she knew they were close when she saw the squad of guards standing attention outside of tightly sealed doors.

When they approached, the others bowed and let her through, bringing her to a wide room with a single pedestal set up in the very center. What rested on top made her blood run cold.

The wicked object appeared to shine brightly in the magic spotlights trained upon it. In contrast, the shadows glimmered darkly along the base as it seemed to suck in most of the surrounding light. The curved horn was unmistakable for what it was and with the dark sheen of crimson spread along the tip, there was no denying who it belonged to. Despite the evil aura it appeared to emanate, it rested quietly on its pedestal, encased in a box of protective crystal.

The guards that had gathered to defend against the possibility of attack surrounded the horn in a wide circle and stood at a cautious distance. The only pony daring to get close was so engrossed in his observation that he was oblivious to Twilight’s entrance as he examined it. Sunburst mumbled while he flipped through a spellbook, shifting his gaze from the paper to the display case and back.

“Sunburst!” Twilight called out as she skidded to a halt, her sides heaving a little from the effort of galloping the entire way. His head perked up at the sound of her voice.

“Oh! Twilight! I was just going to look for you myself,” he said with a bit of hesitation in his voice. “I’m not sure that container will hold if Sombra is able to re-form.”

“Is that even possible!?” Twilight glanced at the horn with an unnerved expression.

Sunburst shook his head with uncertainty. “I don’t know much about him aside from what I’ve read from the books I found. While his actions are well documented, his magic is an absolute mystery. But from what the guards tell me about his previous return, it may be possible. He was able to re-form himself from shadow after being trapped in ice for a thousand years.” Sunburst tapped his hoof against a passage in the book that floated before him. “I wouldn’t put it past him to be able to return from defeat. We can’t be certain the Crystal Heart truly destroyed him.”

While Sunburst began to drone on about the implications suggested from the Empire’s archives, Twilight noticed a sudden change in the faces of the surrounding guards, and her eyes were drawn back to the pedestal. She gasped and interrupted Sunburst’s theory, watching as Sombra’s horn shivered with a ghostly vibration. The rattling sound quickly escalated when the casing around it began to shake as well. Spindly fissures and hairline fractures spread along every side of the box.

With all eyes focused on the pedestal, Twilight didn’t even notice the commotion going on by the doorway until she heard a shout.

“Wait! Flurry Heart!”

Twilight spun herself to face the entrance, where Flurry flew over the heads of the readied guard. She giggled innocently while carrying the fairytale book, and Spike was frantic to catch up with her, jumping into the air to try and reach her.

“Flurry!” Twilight’s eyes went wide, and her wings flared open in surprise. Without a second thought, her hooves scrambled over the hard floor, and she leaped above the guards’ heads. Her legs reached out to grab Flurry briefly before a deep tone loudly hissed from behind her.

“Crystallssssss…” Sombra’s voice echoed around the room with no definitive source. There was a shrill snap, and the crystal case holding his horn was clouded by numerous tiny cracks covering the entire surface. There was a brief pause, as if time itself held its breath, before the case exploded into hundreds of shards that sliced through the air and filled the room with a sound like a heavy blizzard of sleet raining down over the crystal floors.

Fragments showered the armored guards and bounced harmlessly against the defense spell that Twilight had quickly pulled around herself and her niece. Flurry Heart simply clapped her hooves, entertained by something she didn’t understand the dangers of.

The guards raised their weapons as one, when a black, dense fog poured around the pedestal like a dark and hazy waterfall. It collected and billowed into a growing shape, picking up Sombra’s horn and settling it atop a tall form created out of the darkness. The silhouette of a head emerged while two large, white eyes snapped open, only to narrow at the sight of the armored ponies circled around him. The guards stood in rigid stances, ready to counter anything thrown at them. They held their ground, even if most were uncertain if their attacks would even be effective against the king of shadows.

Those unreadable eyes shifted around the room and eventually slid over Twilight. She visibly shivered and squeezed Flurry Heart closer within the confines of her protective shield. After Sombra’s gaze swept away, she heard a deep growl rise from the king’s form, and his head suddenly solidified to reveal his maddening scowl. Dark pupils narrowed into thin slits as they landed on something behind her. Wondering what had triggered the reaction, Twilight turned her head and saw Spike frozen by the doorway.

Realizing that Sombra was targeting Spike, she didn’t hesitate and tightened her grip on Flurry while jumping into a sprint over the floor. Pulling her shield with her through the crowd of guards, she dove towards Spike when she heard the powerful roar that shook the room.

Sombra immediately lunged while Twilight screamed Spike’s name, feeling a rush of something cold sweep by and ram her and her shield into the ground. She slammed against the floor and slid over the tiles, but cradled Flurry in her forelegs with Spike safely behind her. She could feel his claws gently press into her back, and his concerned voice reached her ears. Whatever he was trying to convey to her was lost in the chaos unleashed around them.

Sombra’s large form battered against the protective spell, and everything appeared to shake from the force. The guards’ voices were shrill cries, and Sombra’s furious howling drowned out the shouts for orders to defend, all while he tried to shatter Twilight’s shield in order to get at them.

The guards could not reach their princesses or their hero. The dark haze spilling out from Sombra’s body filled the room and pushed them away with a terrible force. Others were simply trapped in billowing masses of hazy darkness that they could not escape.

Dark bubbles of magic festered along his horn while Sombra summoned a spell. Black streaks of lightning lanced through the air and exploded when they connected with the magic of Twilight’s shield. With each hit, she could feel it slowly breaking apart, but there wasn’t much she could do to repair it. Beneath the assault, it took an enormous amount of concentration just to keep it held together. Flurry Heart’s small form cradled in her legs made her all the more determined to defend against him.

Twilight’s eyes popped open when a large crack shot through the pink glow. Bright sparks exploded around them, and Spike yelled something unintelligible while Flurry began to wail.

There was another flash, and something that crackled with searing energy struck the tiles nearby. The force of it knocked Twilight back into the wall of her own safeguard, and Flurry Heart’s cries turned into a gasp as the storybook flew out of her hooves. It hit the ground and bounced along the floor while surrounded in an arcane glow, swirling with a trail of darkness that fought to overtake the innocent light. It landed with its pages open, flipping about in the torrent of Sombra’s unforgiving onslaught.

It felt as if Twilight’s heart froze in her chest when her bubble, riddled with fractures, suddenly shattered and fell away. She tried to light her horn again, but the sneering face leering down at them was much quicker to the draw. Another bolt of magic shot away from his temples—and to his surprise, the attack suddenly veered away. It did not strike its intended target.

The dark spell flowed into the rapidly fluttering pages of the storybook. A storm of magic appeared to be brewing as clouds of light and dark rumbled above the elegant words. The paper rattled loudly, drowning out the other sounds of turmoil in the room as a roar of rushing wind grew louder from its depths. Twilight’s hooves shifted along the tiles when she felt a sudden pull at her body.

Flurry Heart was sobbing and reaching out towards the book, but it wasn’t her that was dragging them in. Spike, Twilight and Flurry found themselves slowly sliding along the floor. Beneath the crackle of electricity and magical fog, Twilight could see the words glittering as they moved and shifted across its surface. Their bodies began to stretch, and she tried to cry out, but the howling wind only ripped her voice away. They could do nothing against the vortex as it jerked their forms into the emitted glow. Both princesses and Spike shouted and yelled, a futile effort to escape before they disappeared into the pages.

With a deafening crack, the storybook slammed shut and dropped to the floor with a heavy thud. Silence instantly fell over the room when the darkness and chaos of before simply disappeared. Guards began looking quickly around the place for signs of Sombra, but like the princesses and Spike, he had simply vanished.

“Princess Twilight!” Sunburst was disheveled as he lay upside down with his rear propped up against the wall. He adjusted his glasses and watched the guards begin to search, looking around for signs of any of them, friend or enemy. “Spike!” He grunted and flailed his hind legs, righting himself into a standing position. He shook out his mane before galloping past the pedestal to the spot on the floor where the abandoned book lay. “Flurry Heart!”

Sunburst’s breathing came out in quick, shaking breaths. He poked cautiously at the book on the floor, but it didn’t react. Whether or not it was safe, he picked it up anyway before turning to look incredulously at the guards. “Does anypony know what happened?” Sunburst spun in a circle, seeing nothing but horrified faces and shocked expressions. “Where are they!?”

His only answer was the hooves pointed directly at the unassuming object he held.