• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,132 Views, 969 Comments

Little Consequences - Skijarama

Princess Rainbow Dash and her friends have found themselves in the newly restored Crystal Empire, and now struggle against the forces of Queen Chrysalis and the enigmatic King Sombra in an effort to reclaim Canterlot and save Equestria.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
An Eldritch Shadow Howls

For the last twenty-four hours, the swarm had moved without stopping, save for a six-hour rest after Chrysalis set the sun. In that time, they had managed to cover a substantial amount of distance towards the Crystal Empire, although they were still a day or two out, depending on whether or not the weather favored them. As they traveled, the gathering storm that Chrysalis had spied rolling towards them had completely eclipsed the sky, blotting out the sun with a thick blanket of darkness. What made this storm worse was that, alongside intense winds that were hampering their progress, there was also the blizzard of snow that pierced what little warmth their chitin could retain like a dagger through already molten butter. It had been raging for most of their time in the Frozen North, agonizing and endless. But, alas, there was nothing to be done about it.

Still, they pressed on, forging ever onwards. Their hunger needed to be satisfied. The further they went, the more prominent the light of the Empire far on the horizon became, and this, in turn, spurred them on.

As they went, Chrysalis’ eyes routinely scanned the rolling hills of white ahead of the swarm, searching for any signs of King Sombra. She knew well enough at this point that he could show up at any moment, and she refused to be caught by surprise. Amidst all of this white, surely a shadow of the exact opposite color would be easy to see, right? One would certainly think so, but past a certain point, nothing was visible but a wall of gray and white.

Something moved in the corner of her eye, and she rotated in the air to see what it was. By the time she was looking, however, it had disappeared. She was about to dismiss it as her imagination when she noticed that, while the movement had faded away, the steadily worsening chill in the air and the tingling in her hooves made it quite clear... they were being followed. They were being watched. Grinding her teeth together, Chrysalis straightened her posture and came to a halt. “Swarm, STOP!” she bellowed, and as one, all of her drones came to a full stop in the air, dutifully awaiting further instructions. She craned her neck to look at them over her shoulders, her horn already igniting with green flames. “All of you, stay in the air and look around. I think King Sombra is here.”

Her subjects began to grow fearful as soon as they heard those words looking between one another with tremors in their bodies. But in spite of their unease, they took confidence in their queen. Their horns began to light up with green flames of their own, and the swarm steadily spread out to cover a wide area. Chrysalis joined them in their search, picking out any detail that seemed out of place.

And a lone, charcoal-colored stallion standing almost directly beneath her in the snow, dressed in plate armor with a red cape, who was looking up at her with crimson eyes and a fang-filled smirk was definitely out of place. Their eyes met, and Chrysalis felt her pupils dilate with distaste. “I see him!” she called out to the swarm, and all eyes honed in on the King of Shadows. They began to hiss and snarl threateningly, the fire on their horns collectively flaring up even brighter. The collective light was enough to cast a sickly green glow across the land for miles around. They were just about ready to incinerate this enemy of the hive, but Chrysalis was having none of it just then. “Hold your fire!” she continued while slowly decreasing her altitude. “I wish to speak with him…”

Reluctantly, her drones eased off on their spells and backed off to give her some more room. Eventually, her hooves touched down in the snow with an audible crunch and thud. A cold wind rushed by as she turned her eyes from the ground to look at Sombra. Really getting a chance to study him now, she was disappointed. He was only as tall as a normal pony if perhaps more imposing with his red horn, flowing black mane, red cape, fangs, and tainted eyes. He smiled back at her as if to greet an old friend - although the narrowing of his eyes disrupted what little there was of that illusion.

“Queen Chrysalis. We meet in the flesh,” he began before giving a slow bow of his head. “It is an honor.”

Chrysalis scoffed. “Do not waste your time with formalities or flattery, pony,” she snapped at him. With a frown, he stood upright and looked back into her eyes neutrally. She bared her teeth and continued. “I am not here to play nice with you. I am here to claim what belongs to me and my subjects, and you assaulted and imprisoned several of my scouts. You hindered my progress and declared war on the changelings in the process. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t asphyxiate you right now!”

Sombra’s face remained neutral and blank as he weathered Chrysalis’ ire, then it lit up with a sickeningly smug grin when she was finished. “Are you about done throwing your temper tantrum, my lady? Have some manners.”

Chrysalis recoiled with an irritated hiss, her eyes narrowing and a pulse of light shimmering in her eyes.

Sombra continued before she could retort, however, his tone turning serious. ”You are invading my lands, Queen Chrysalis. I felt it only fair to offer you one last chance to surrender and retreat.”

“You’re wasting your time! I will tear you apart either way for your attack on my subjects,” Chrysalis sneered, her wings snapping open. “Return them to me right now, unharmed, of your own free will, and perhaps I will make your demise painless!”

Sombra’s grin grew vicious and predatory. “Oh? Is that a threat?” He asked in a low whisper, though his voice seemed to carry across the entire swarm. Several drones began to fidget or shrink back, fear evident in their eyes. Sombra’s body began to turn transparent, with shadowy wisps drifting off of him to be sucked away in the wind. His eyes began to glow ominously. “Can you back it up?”

Chrysalis’ horn lit up again. “With ease.”

Sombra lost his smile. His entire body turned pitch black, while his eyes became solid masses of glowing acid green. “...Then prove it,” he challenged before his body began to lose its shape and disperse in the wind.

Before Chrysalis could do anything to answer his challenge, one of the drones in the swarm, Stinger, let out a shout of indignant rage at Sombra’s insulting treatment of her queen, before launching herself down at him. The fire on her horn spread out to shield her entire body, making her look like a green meteor. The effect was similarly comparable, as when she hit the ground where Sombra had been mere moments prior, the flames on her horn erupted out in all directions in a violent explosion, turning snow into steam and creating a sizable crater where she had landed.

Chrysalis growled angrily as the embers washed harmlessly past her, her eyes boring into her too-eager drone in disapproval. “Stinger!” she barked, making the drone flinch back. She was about to give her a severe verbal lashing when an unnatural, monstrous howl echoed all around them. The falling snow vanished from the air, leaving everything in complete and utter silence. Chrysalis eyed the surrounding landscapes suspiciously before glaring at Stinger again. “Get back to the skies! NOW!”

Stinger nodded shakily and shot back into the air with her wings. Chrysalis followed shortly behind, looking down at the crater. Sombra had just... Vanished. Disappeared into a cloud of dark smoke. “Where did he go…?” she muttered under her breath before coming to a stop at the head of the swarm.

For several seconds, all was silent. All of them scanned the surrounding snow-smothered plains in search of the eldritch monster, but he had seemingly vanished from view entirely. But the signs of his presence were only growing sharper, clearer, and more distinct. The air was growing thicker and harder to breathe, and several drones reflexively reached up to their throats as if they were being strangled. The spot between their wings on their backs tingled and crawled as if covered with thousands of insects, making many of them squirm and writhe in disgust. The temperature continued to drop until almost all of them were shivering and shaking uncontrollably.

Overhead, the clouds began to change color. From the empty blackness, they began to turn the colors of fire, ash, and blood. Purple lightning danced across it, and distorted thunder rolled across the frozen north, the vibrations of the sound so powerful that they could be felt in their chests.

“I am King Sombra,” Sombra’s voice spoke in the air, everywhere and nowhere at once. “I am the lord of terrors, the king of shadows. I am the heir apparent to the Pony of Shadows, and I am the one true ruler of the Crystal Empire. And you… you are insects… gnats. You are pests invading my kingdom… and you must be swept away!”

All at once, absolute pandemonium exploded in the swarm. A great towering mass of shadowy smoke erupted from the snow, Sombra’s eyes snapping open at its peak. The shadow rose faster than the drones unfortunate enough to be in its way could react. As it rose, it swallowed them up in its suffocating depths, their screams lost amid the bone-chilling howl that echoed out from Sombra and across the wastes.

Chrysalis’ eyes widened at the sight, and her jaw fell open. Maybe she had underestimated this enemy…

At the edges of the Crystal Empire, Twilight Sparkle’s coat stood on end, and a chill ran down her spine. Her eyes turned to the south, where, far in the distance, she could see a blizzard raging. A blizzard whose clouds were the color of fire and smoke. She gulped heavily when, after several seconds, she heard that horrible sound rolling over her and shaking her to her core.

The roar of King Sombra.

Spike, who stood right by her side, instinctively wrapped his claws around her foreleg, his checklist and quill falling from his grasp to fall uselessly to the street, completely forgotten.

All around them, the Crystal Ponies that had been helping them gather snow for the last several hours stopped what they were doing to gaze south towards the howling. In the air above them, Rainbow Dash also looked, her ears falling flat against her head and her pupils dilating. After several moments of silence, she then looked down at the crowd, who in turn looked back at her with dread and terror in their eyes. She swallowed heavily and narrowed her eyes. “What are you all looking at me for?! Don’t worry about Sombra, he’s busy! We’ve still got work to do! As much snow as you can! Chop chop, let’s move it!”

The crowd, albeit with a new aura of fear hovering over them, set back to work. As they went back and forth, carrying wagon loads of snow to be deposited on the central street, Twilight looked back up at Rainbow Dash with fearful eyes. Rainbow looked back down at her with what she hoped was a smile of reassurance.

“Fluttershy?” Wind Whisper whimpered out when Sombra’s call reached her ears, immediately reaching out and clinging to the yellow pegasus for comfort. “I’m scared…” she whispered, unable to relax even when Fluttershy wrapped both of her hooves and wings around the frightened filly.

The two were waiting along the route that the Crystal Ponies were using to move snow into town, keeping an eye on proceedings and checking for any injuries or accidents. Luckily, they hadn’t needed to bust out the first aid kit, and it seemed they wouldn’t have to for a while yet, all of the ponies stopping as they were.

“It’s okay, Wind. It’s far away. We’re gonna be fine…” She whispered gently, giving Wind a reassuring nuzzle on top of her head.

Wind shivered horribly and tightened her grip on Fluttershy. “But… Thorax is out there…” she choked out, her eyes starting to glisten with tears. “Is he gonna be okay, too?”

Fluttershy slowly nodded her head. “Of course he is. He promised you that he’d come back…” she said softly, rocking Wind Whisper back and forth. “And we know that he’ll never break a promise he made to you…”

“Never ever?”

Fluttershy winced, thankful that her face was hidden from Wind’s when another harrowing roar washed over them, filling her being with nothing short of despair. “...Never ever,” she managed to breathe out.

“Woah… do you hear that?” Thorax asked under his breath as he and Thorax pushed their way ever southward, having already managed to crest the peaks of the mountains that separated the Frozen North from Equestria. The roar was distant, subdued and muffled, but it could still be heard. Thorax shivered when it came again. “That’s King Sombra…” he muttered, remembering the mass of shadows that had tried to invade the empire, and that had terrified Wind Whisper.

Pharynx ground his teeth together and picked up the speed. “It’s started! We need to move faster!” he called out over his shoulder, barely giving Thorax any time to do anything but work his wings as hard as he could to keep up.

Rarity shuddered next to the stack of large crystal crates that Starlight had put together when she heard Sombra’s roar. Many of them were filled with clouds already thanks to Rarity’s efforts, just waiting for Rainbow to come by and instruct Starlight on what properties each one would need.

They all knew that sound, of course, and at this stage, they all knew what it meant. She slowly turned her attention to Starlight in question, who stood by the crates with her ears flat against her head. “We… should probably pick up the pace. The changelings are getting close if Sombra’s making noises like that,” she said before turning and using her magic to deftly cut another perfectly square piece of crystal out of the large mound of raw building materials that had been supplied to them earlier.

Rarity nodded shakily. “O-of course, darling… Just… waiting on some more steam to direct…” she stammered out, her entire body shaking when she heard Sombra’ roar echoing once again.

Starlight eyed the fashionista with sympathy. “Uh… here, help me take measurements while your waiting, okay?” she suggested. A meaningless addition to their efforts, ultimately, but it would keep Rarity’s mind occupied.

Without complaint, Rarity did just that, withdrawing her tape measurer from her saddlebags and turning to offer aid however she could.

Applejack and Pinkie Pie both stopped mid-step, the former hitched to a wagon full of snow and the other having been bouncing up and down the crowd of volunteers to offer support, cheer, and where needed, snacks. When the roar came in, the two shared a worried look.

“King meanie?” Pinkie Pie asked nervously, trying to smile but unable to do so with her mane deflating somewhat.

Applejack nodded and kept moving, albeit with her movements noticeably stiffer and her pace significantly increased. What was there that she could she say about this? Pinkie Pie cantered alongside her, periodically glancing over her shoulders in the direction the howls were coming from.

King Sombra laughed. He had not felt the joy of subduing so many minds at once in a long time, and the fact that they struggled in vain made it all the sweeter. Of course, without proper time and tempering, they would be little more than mindless vegetables, content to sit around and relive their worst fears until the end of time itself unless he deigned to release them. He let loose another tendril from his shapeless body, swallowing another dozen or so drones that were foolish enough to fly too close. Their waking minds were immediately crushed down and paralyzed with fear, and they dropped, rather appropriately, like flies.

The drones were no trouble, of course. Those puny creatures were barely even a nuisance to a being such as him. It was their queen he had to watch out for. He could feel it just from the sight of the flames on her horn, and the glow in her eyes. She was powerful - insanely so. She evaded all of his shadow tendrils with an unnatural swiftness and grace, and the spells that went flying from her horn should not have belonged to her. Shadow steps that belonged to Princess Luna, rays of blinding light that should only come from Celestia, cyan barriers that blocked all of his efforts and actively burned him when he reached for her.

But she had yet to try and defend against his magic proper, and he was curious to see the true extent of her power. Eagerly, he allowed his horn to materialize above his eyes. He began to pour as much power and energy as he could into it, causing the color to slowly drain from the air around him and suffocating the drones that were too close. Their voices were lost in his latest howl, one intended to draw Chrysalis’ attention.

It worked.

She ended her retreating ascent and turned to face him, her eyes widening when he unleashed the torrent of magic he had built up in his horn all at once. The surge of corrupting darkness reached her at the same moment her horn lit up in an effort to form a barrier. Then his spell hit her. There was an explosion of blackness, purple and green electricity, and a shockwave of crimson light. All of the drones within any sort of reasonable distance to the blast were sent careening out of control from the pressurized shockwave that tore out of it before righting themselves and climbing into the air again.

For a few moments, all was still, the drones watching the point of impact with bated breath. Sombra, too, watched the slowly swirling cloud with great interest. Then, all at once, the residue of his attack was dispersed as a colossal beam of green fire tore out from it. There was no time to react, or ready a defense. The beam struck Sombra on the horn, immediately shattering the appendage and sending white-hot pain racing through his entire being. An agonized scream tore itself out as he allowed the stump of his horn to be pulled back into his form. His eyes had screwed shut from the pain, and he managed to crack one of them open to glare hatefully at Queen Chrysalis.

She simply smiled back at him, her mane looking messier than before and some small scratches having appeared across her body, but she was otherwise unharmed. “Maybe, next time you attack me… don’t announce your intentions,” she taunted before lifting higher into the air, her horn lighting up even more.

Sombra forced both of his eyes open to glare up at the queen that now rose above him. He couldn’t reach her with his tendrils from here, his horn was broken and would take several hours to reform. But that wasn’t the worst part. No, the worst part was that now he knew just how powerful this creature was. And as he really began to process the full extent of what she could do, he felt something he had always believed himself the master of.

Chrysalis must have sensed this because the sadistic look in her eyes only grew more intense. “I told you…” she began cheekily, her eyes briefly pulsing with green light. “I am what you fear most.”

And at that moment, she was absolutely right.

Author's Note:

The first phase of the final battle has begun.

Music to go with the fight:

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters Next
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!