• Published 4th Jul 2018
  • 25,611 Views, 4,207 Comments

The Power of Freedom - Greatazuredragon

Having long grown utterly bored with the destiny the gods had decreed for him, Ganondorf decided to take matters into his own hands and escape to a new dimension where he could be free. Even if that would mean turning into a pastel colored pony.

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Interlude - Of Astronomers and Astrologists

Interlude – Of Astronomers and Astrologists

“All scans indicate that the unknown object is made of nothing but ordinary ceramic,” a cultured voice carefully enunciated to the quill floating within the grip of a silver hued magical aura, the sleek writing utensil swiftly noting down all the words that were said upon a large piece or parchment that rested at a nearby table. “There are no traces of spells, enchantments, or runes of any kind upon the object, nor of any kind of magic whatsoever, for that matter.”

The voice belonged to an elderly grey-coated stallion with a long lush white beard. He distractedly removed a stray strand of his white mane from his face as he kept pacing along the length of his private workshop as he pondered at the strange mystery that had recently fallen on his hooves, quite literally in fact. Nothing but the sound of his hooves, the baritone of his voice and the tiny tinkles of the bells hanging at the rim of his hat permeated the silence of the isolated room that rested atop one of the tallest towers of Unicornia.

“None of the spells cast upon the object have produced any kind of usable information,” Star Swirl the Bearded, high arch-mage of Unicornia, stated in the same calm and collected tone of voice he had been using so far, even as his eyes angrily glared at the mockingly ordinary looking blue ocarina that innocently rested upon a table at the very center of his workshop. “Nor have any of the more mundane methods of investigation utilized so far, for that matter. All tests and observations would lead one to conclude that the object is nothing more than a completely ordinary musical instrument.

“And yet, the fact remains that the object seems to be, for all intents and purposes, completely indestructible,” he dictated through gritted teeth as he paced towards this offending object that refused to reveal to him its mysteries. He placed his fore hooves on both sides of the blue ocarina as he nearly touched it with his muzzle, inspecting it as closely as possible, as if that would provide him with the elusive answers he sought. “The object has shown itself to be able to resist any and all spells I’ve tried against it so far without suffering so much as a scratch; the more mundane methods of attempting to damage it have also proven themselves of no use. Not to mention how it remained unscathed after falling from the sky of all things!”

He gritted his teeth and glared at the infuriatingly ordinary looking item, as if in an attempt to force it to divulge its secrets. Star Swirl had been devoting what little of his free time he still had to try and unravel the mystery of this stupefying object ever since he had found the ocarina in a crater during one of his morning walks, after he saw the damned thing falling from the sky in a ball of light at the nearby woods, to no avail.

“This makes absolutely no sense!” he angrily muttered as he massaged his brow with one hoof while his eyes never strayed from the damned ocarina. He pushed himself away from the table and resumed angrily pacing along the room as his mind went through what else he could try to attempt to extract some kind of answer from the instrument. A quick spell to see the time later and his scowl grew even more pronounced, as he saw that he only had another half hour of free time before he would be forced to call it quits for the night and resume his duties as arch-mage.

The fact that his available free time had been steadily dwindling day after day these past few months, due to how the tensions between the tribes grew worse and worse, and the systematic problems with the weather remained unchanged as the days kept getting colder with no apparent reason, kept creating more work for him, and as such he hadn’t been able to devote his full attention to this blue mystery, a problem that only made his temper deteriorate further. And that was without mentioning Princess Platinum’s latest stunts and the headaches and necessary damage control they tended to cause!

Stars above, if it wasn’t for the fact that his apprentice kept that annoying diva’s attention firmly away from him, Star Swirl had no idea how he would have kept his sanity! Truly, King Bullion couldn’t have chosen a worse time for passing away! At least, for all his arrogance, the late king had still had a good head underneath his horn and knew how to not needlessly antagonize the other tribes! Something that his dear little daughter apparently hadn’t quite gotten from her late father, despite having apparently inherited all of his arrogance!

The arch-mage huffed in annoyance as he closed his eyes and massaged his brow in a vain attempt to fight off his growing headache. Star Swirl knew that he was being extremely unfair to the young princess. The mare truly cared for her subjects and wished to see the kingdom prosper, but the fact remained that she was young, inexperienced, entitled, and dangerously naive in regards to how her actions were perceived by the other tribes, which, considering the current situation and political climate, was doing extremely little to not aggravate the whole mess!

Not that his reclusive and brusque ways were much better in helping with that, in the end. The simple truth was that he had long stopped having the patience needed in order to deal with either politics with the other tribes or the unicorn nobles in general, much less an entitled princess who had little idea what she was doing. Thankfully, he hadn’t been forced to interact with Platinum in any manner beyond the most basic of court niceties ever since he had had the genius idea of assigning his apprentice Clover as the diva’s aid and his direct link to the throne.

Part of him did feel slightly bad for basically throwing Clover to the den of wolves that was the court and its nobility in general, and their diva platinum-maned pack leader more specifically. But sometimes sacrifices had to be made for the greater good; priorities had to be determined and maintained, after all. And few things took priority over his continued mental health, and as such Clover’s sacrifice was duly appreciated. Nonetheless, a raise for his faithful apprentice was probably something to consider.

But as he briefly considered how to proceed with implementing said raise, a sudden and massive surge of magical energy swiftly tossed aside all thoughts about unexplainable blue ocarinas, the current political situation, or his apprentice from Star Swirl’s mind, as he spun around in place and rushed towards the nearest window as his bells madly jingled with each hurried step he took.

“What are those foals doing!?” he spoke out loud, incredulity clear on his features as he watched the Celestial Spire, the great arcane tower used by the Celestial Council to aid in their task of keeping the cycle of the sun and the moon going, light up with a torrent of magic, as if to move the celestial orbs. This, despite the fact that night had fallen less than an hour ago.

Not wasting a single moment, he teleported from his personal studio at the top of the easternmost tower to just outside the spire situated at the very center of the city, as not even he could safely bypass the tower’s many ward spells in order to teleport inside of it, intent on demanding an explanation from the council for whatever the hay they thought they were doing! But the moment his eyes fell upon the great structure whose only purpose was to aid his tribe in their task to guide the sun and the moon through the heavens, Star Swirl could do nothing but stop and stare in muted astonishment.

Every single rune, spell and enchantment on the massive structure was alight with magical energy. Arcs of barely controlled arcane power sparked and danced across the spire. All while a very worrying grinding noise reverberated underneath the solid thrum of barely contained power that coursed through what was, for all intents and purposes, a massive magical array in the form of a tower.

“What is this?” he whispered under his breath. He had seen the rising and setting of the celestial orbs thousandths of times, had even personally been part of the process several dozen times before obtaining his current rank, and nothing like this had ever happened before. Something was most definitely not right.

“Master Star Swirl, what’s happening?!” the panicked voice of his apprentice sounded from right next to him as the white-coated stallion appeared from his own teleportation spell. Panic and worry were clear on Clover’s features as the young mage hurried towards Star Swirl’s side, his green mane madly swaying as he galloped with all his might.

Only for any possible answer the arch-mage could have uttered to his apprentice to die upon his lips as, with a loud shattering sound, the weave of spells that surrounded the tower suddenly shattered and went silent. And, at the same time, the moon was swiftly pushed out of the heavens and the sun was brought back into its place.

Both ponies stared into the unexpected daylight with looks of surprise and astonishment for a moment in complete silence, before they rushed as one toward the ornate double doors that lead into the Celestial Spire and unceremoniously threw them open without a single care for the ceremonies and procedures that usually had to be observed before entering it. Once again they had to stop in astonished silence as they took in the sight that lay within the massive arcane structure.

Thirty unicorns laid on the floor, some of them unconscious, others groaning and panting as they massaged their horns, each and every single one of them covered in sweat and showing clear signs of magic depletion. The sight made it clear to Star Swirl that there was simply no way that the council had been the one to cause the unexpected and unscheduled day time, for no matter how straining it was to do so, there was simply no way merely moving the orbs would leave the entire council in this condition. Which in turn could only mean…

“Master Star Swirl, did… did something just usurp control of the sun and the moon away from the council?” Clover the Clever asked in a barely audible murmur as the white-coated unicorn watched, wide eyed, the unprecedented sight of the whole of the Celestial Council laid low upon the ground.

“I don’t know,” Star Swirl replied to his apprentice as he took in a couple of steps into the tower as he attempted to see any hint to what could have possibly happened, all the while checking to see if the mages of the council needed any medical assistance.

After he and Clover made sure that the downed unicorns were physically fine, if magically exhausted, the grey-coated stallion furiously wracked his brain for an explanation, any explanation, to what could have possibly caused this, to no avail.

“Master, do you think this has something to do with the strange behavior of the weather as of late?” Clover inquired as he helped a unicorn mare up from the ground. All the while angry and worried shouts started to enter through the open doors to the tower, as a veritable wave of unicorns sporting emotions varying from fury to panic rushed towards the Spire in search of answers of their own.

As he ignored the growing rabble and their useless babble, the arch-mage considered the validity of his apprentice’s question. Truth be told, Star Swirl had barely bothered to pay any attention to the strange news regarding the worsening condition of the weather and other odd sightings that had been happening as of late. He had been feeling far too tired and annoyed with the sheer stupidity of court to do otherwise. Let them do something productive for a change, or so he had thought as he let the other court mages tackle the issue. But now, now as he stared at the light of the midday sun merrily shining through one of the tower’s windows, despite the fact that it should be night, he realized that leaving it to the incompetent foals that called themselves part of the unicorn nobility to try and resolve the issue had clearly been a massive mistake.

Dismissing the shouted questions some noble he had never bothered remembering the name of asked, Star Swirl narrowed his gaze as his brilliant mind went through everything he knew about the odd happenings of late, the rapidly deteriorating weather, and now this new unexpected mystery, and came to a simple conclusion. It was time to fix said mistake, personally.

“I don’t know, Clover,” he seriously intoned as he gazed at his apprentice’s worried form, a fierce light on his eyes. “But I intend to find out.”

“What are those foals doing?!” Celestia heard her younger sister angrily question as they both stared at the midday sun that was merrily shining atop the heavens, despite the fact that it should be currently night. “Has the Council lost what little sense they still had?!”

“I don’t know, Luna, but this is most certainly abnormal,” the pale pink, nearly white, alicorn wearily stated as she looked towards her scowling sister who was glaring at the sun as if that would force the great celestial orb to somehow answer her questions about what the hay was happening. “Something is most definitely not right.”

“Do you think… do you think that something has happened to Star Swirl?” the midnight blue alicorn hesitantly asked as she fidgeted with her wings, worry and apprehension clear in her features.

“I hope not, Lulu,” Celestia answered, but even as she did so she couldn’t help but share her sister’s worry. And as she stared at the distant northern horizon and the lands of their birth that lay beyond, her thoughts went back to one of their few remaining friends. A friend they hadn’t met in years.

“Big sister, do you think… do you think that something has happened to the Three Tribes?” Luna hesitantly asked as she took a step closer to Celestia, who immediately covered the smaller alicorn with her wings and pressed her closer in a show of comfort.

It had been several years since Celestia and her sister had left on their self-imposed exile of sorts. The contempt and distrust their own tribe kept throwing at them due to their change in species, alongside the startling discovery that they apparently were now aging at a fraction of what should be normal, had finally started to take its toll as their friends started to pass away one after the other. Until, when but a bare hooffull of familiar faces remained, and surrounded by bigotry and derision from all sides, enough had finally become enough and they had decided to depart from the lands claimed by the Three Tribes.

They had made infrequent visits back in the beginning, only to be received by ever growing distrust, and repulsed by what had once been their own tribe, and open hostility by the other two, until they had finally stopped doing so altogether. No matter what prince Bullion or their old friend Star Swirl had to say about it, the peace and tranquility provided by the absence of ponies in the unknown regions to the south had sounded like everything the sisters could possibly desire. For, even if it was lonely, they still had each other.

But now that isolation meant that Celestia had no idea what could have possibly caused the aberrant behavior with the sun, and considering the fact that when last they had spoken to him Star Swirl had been a member of the Celestial Council, Luna’s worry was more than justified.

“Luna, have you seen anything amiss in the dream realm as of late?” she asked after a long moment of silence. She knew that her sister insisted upon at least attempting to protect their fellow ponies from the things that lurked within the strange plane of dreams she had been able to access ever since their transformation into alicorns, despite the fact the vast majority of said ponies had no knowledge of her efforts in doing so.

“Dreams are hardly straightforward enough for me to answer that, sister,” the midnight blue alicorn replied with an aggravated huff even as she snuggled against Celestia’s form. “There have been a growing number of nightmares as of late, yes, but forgoing the more ordinary and recurrent fears, they tend to consist of the same topics as always: distrust, doubt, contempt and anger towards their fellow ponies.

“Nothing I’ve seen these past few moons can evenly remotely explain the Council suddenly attempting to upend the order of the heavens like this,” she concluded with finality as she gestured towards the sun with one wing and let out a tired sigh.

“I see,” Celestia replied in an equally tired tone of voice as she gently nuzzled Luna’s mane.

“Maybe… maybe you should try to see if anything is happening?” her little sister hesitantly proposed as she turned her head to look at Celestia, who had stopped mid motion upon hearing the proposition.

“You know that I don’t like using that ability, Lulu,” she muttered under her breath as she averted her eyes from her sister’s earnest gaze.

As far as they had managed to ascertain, they had turned into their new forms due to the new magical abilities they had created so long ago. But while Luna took great pride in her ability to dream-walk, the same could not be said about Celestia’s own magical ability of foresight. Not only did she consider their odd abilities as the original source of their forced solitude, but in the case of her own ability, she also thought that it was next to useless when compared to Luna’s ability to enter the realm of dreams.

Looking into the future was like looking at an ever changing fractal of colors and shapes that never stayed still for more than a moment. It was an utterly maddening kaleidoscope of pictures that had no rhyme or reason from which getting any kind of real tangible information was a disproportionately frustrating and exhausting endeavor.

“I know, sister,” Luna gently said as she rubbed her muzzle alongside Celestia’s neck in an encouraging manner. “But what other options do we have?”

Celestia closed her eyes as she let out an aggravated sigh. No matter how much she wanted to dispute her sister’s words, she knew them to be truth. Her ability was indeed the best chance they had to try and learn what could be happening in the distant northern lands of their birthplace. And so, after a long moment, she nodded her head once in resigned agreement.

“Very well, I will attempt to see what I can get,” she answered with a tinge of annoyance at the need to do so. “But do not get your hopes up, Lulu. You know how infuriatingly vague my future sight truly is!”

“I have faith in you, sister!” Luna jovially answered as she gave an encouraging smile.

Celestia gave her a small smile in answer, before with a deep breath she focused herself, gathered her magic, and opened her mind to the flow of the future.

Images flashed by right in front of her eyes with impossible speed, appearing and disappearing without rhyme or reason almost too fast for her to even truly absorb their meaning: A massive explosion of sickly looking crimson flames blanket the sky; Ice and snow swirled around in a blinding blizzard; A sword stood tall against the darkness, it’s point puncturing the earth as otherworldly light covered the whole blade; The Three Tribes as they fought and argued against each other; A haunting shriek echoed through a deserted village covered in snow and ice; Three ponies, one of each tribe, huddled together amidst a raging blizzard, before, with a sudden flash, a pink flame was born in their midst; More scenes of her fellow ponies as they fought and argued with each other as ice and snow covered the land; A strange see through equine looking creature screamed to the heavens; The proud halls of Unicornia vacant and desolated as ice and snow slowly blocked all buildings from view; Three golden fi-

With a shuddering gasp Celestia closed off the ever speeding flow of images. She took in several heavy breaths as she attempted to re-center herself upon the present, an action that was immensely helped by the feeling of her little sister tenderly caressing her back with her wings in an attempt to help her deal with the strain of peering into the ever changing future.

“Well, that was as unpleasant as always,” she tiredly commented as she took in a long deep breath, before slowly letting it out. The fact that quite a bit of what she had seen was deeply worrying only added to the unpleasant feeling that using the ability normally caused.

“What did you see, sister?” her young sister asked, worry and apprehension clear in her eyes.

“I don’t know for certain, Luna. There was fighting and arguing, ice and desolation, some strange equine creature and even stranger looking fire,” Celestia tiredly replied as she attempted to put some semblance of order to what she had just seen. The fact that she knew from personal experience that the scenes she managed to glimpse from her future sight were never shown in a chronological order only added to the problem. “I simply don’t know…

“But one thing is certain,” she continued as she shoved her tiredness aside as the image of Unicornia’s snow covered and deserted halls resonated through her mind and a fierce glint entered her eyes. “We must find out.”

Author's Note:

So, with this interlude I wanted to show some of the repercussions caused by Link’s little stunt last chapter.

Obviously the unicorns are both quite unhappy and more than a little worried right now, but at the same time this caused Star Swirl the Bearded, one of the greatest mages ever, eccentric extraordinary, and a certain purple pony’s object of admiration, to get out of his tower and take notice of what’s happening around him when he ‘canonically’ wouldn’t have done so for quite some time yet. Wonder if that will change anything long term? :derpytongue2:

And talking about ‘canonically’; quite frankly I can’t see the celestial sisters allowing the ponies to kill themselves through frozen stupidity without intervening in some way. So, in my opinion, the fact that they aren’t a part of the original Hearth’s Warming leaves basically two explanations possible: they either weren’t born or old enough by that point in time to interfere with the mess; or they were too far away to do so at the time.

So, in this story the back-story of the celestial sisters is that: Celestia and Luna basically invented whole new branches of magic when they were young, Future Sight and Dream Walking respectively, and ascended in the process. Only for most of the other unicorns, with the exception of their closest friends, to see them as freaks that no longer belonged to their tribe due to the change and started to scorn and deride them for it. After a decade or so they realized that they were aging much, much slower than should be normal, which made them feel even more disconnected to their fellow ponies. A few more years passed with them being basically persona-non-grata to most ponies due to them not truly belonging to any tribe, and then their few friends started to get old and die, which was basically the breaking point for the sisters. And so they left their few friends that were still alive, like Star Swirl, behind in a self imposed exile as they sought peace far away from the lands occupied by the Three Tribes and as such missed the whole mess.

Afterwards the birth of the Fires of Friendship and the rumors of the Three Tribes attempting to create one singular kingdom where they all would live in harmony would have caught their interest, but shortly after arriving at the new kingdom a certain draconequus would appear and start to do what he does best. And the rest is history.

Hope you all enjoyed the chapter.