• Published 5th Aug 2019
  • 2,681 Views, 49 Comments

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic What If?: Volume 9 - SuperPinkBrony12

The ninth installment of a What If series that involves the rewriting of episodes. This one covers two Season 2 episodes, one from Season 4 as well as 6 and 7, and five from Season 8. (Warning!: Rewrites based on personal opinion. Please respect it!)

  • ...

S8 E25: School Raze, Part 1 (What If?)

The day started out like any other for the School of Friendship, with the delivery of mail. And it came courtesy of a very familiar, wall-eyed pegasus mare with bubbles for a cutie mark.

Despite her condition, the mare had little trouble finding the school. And aside from crashing into the front door, she landed without incident. She found it quite odd that she'd been delivering so much mail to this school lately, but then again there wasn't a place in Equestria quite like it.

The mare trotted past, not noticing as a certain pegasus filly snatched up one of the letters from the sack and smirked as she read it to herself. If anyone had been watching, they might have seen the filly's eyes glow green.

But the pegasus mare kept on trotting, finally reaching her destination as she knocked on the door to the headmare's office.

"Come in," Twilight called, using her magic to open the door. "Ah, Bubbles, so nice to see you again."

"Bubbles" set the mail sacks down on the floor as she groaned from the weight of them, breathing a sigh of relief once they were all set down. "Twilight, you know that's not my real name. Nopony calls me that."

Twilight simply replied. "Well I think your name is kind of mean. You're not really clumsy or stupid. You mean well."

"Bubbles" simply chuckled. "Oh, I know I do. But I learned long ago not to let what others ponies think of my name get me down. I've always been what I've always been, and that's not going to change," Then she cleared her throat. "Anyway, I got all the mail for you. Even Grandpa Gruff's letters to Gallus."

"Really? I thought that was Gabby's department." Twilight commented.

"Bubbles" just laughed. "She's the mail carrier for Griffonstone, silly," She booped Twilight's snout. "There's only one top mailmare for Ponyville, and that's me!" She proceeded to open the sacks. "You can make sure all the mail gets to whoever it's supposed to go to. I'd love to stay and help, but that post office isn't going to run itself you know," Then a thought came to her. "By the way, where are your students?"

Now it was Twilight's turn to smile. "Oh, Rainbow Dash is taking them on a field trip. Cozy Glow arranged for her to cover for me, wasn't that nice of Cozy?"

"Where is Rainbow Dash taking all the students? Maybe I could fly by on my way back and say 'hi'?" "Bubbles" suggested as she turned to leave.

Twilight simply replied. "I believe Rainbow Dash mentioned something about Cloudsdale. And if I know her like I think I do, she's probably taking the students on a sightseeing tour."

And that was just what Rainbow Dash was doing as she lead the students along. "Ta-da! The Pegasus Weather Factory! Every drop of rain or flake of snow from Cloudsdale comes from there. And did I mention that yours truly used to work here before she became a Wonderbolt?" She told the students.

The students all awed in amazement. Even Sandbar (who had been to many Wonderbolts shows) and Gallus (who was the best flyer among his friends) were impressed.

Rainbow smiled. "I know, right? But we're just getting started, the coolest stuff's over there!" She gestured a hoof to a nearby stadium. "You're looking at the one and only Cloudiseum, it's the place to go if you wanna see the best sports and shows in all of Cloudsdale!"

Ocellus, meanwhile, was taking in the view of Cloudsdale as she felt her hooves touch the clouds. The cloud walking spell had sounded rather scary, but the feeling of the clouds underneath her took any worries she might have had away. "Wow! I've never stood on a cloud before!"

Rainbow simply commented. "Thank Counselor Starlight, it was her idea to cast the cloud walking spell on the lot of you."

Starlight nodded. "And be sure to thank Headmare Twilight for teaching it to me. I owe just about everything in my life to her."

Gallus, meanwhile, stood on the edge of a cloud as the wind whistled past. The griffon soon got a rather mischevious idea. It was no secret that Yona was easily goaded, and that she didn't like to admit to being afraid of anything. "Hey, Yona," He called in an innocent tone of voice, trying his best to hide a teasing smirk. "Why don't you come over here and check out the view? Unless you're too scared."

Through chattering teeth, Yona walked slowly towards Gallus. "Y-Yona not scared!" She protested. But then suddenly, Yona felt one of her hooves slip! Her body began to sink through the cloud! "Now Yona scared!" She screamed at the top of her lungs as several students turned to look, and gasped!

At the moment, no one knew that what they were witnessing was a warning sign that something was wrong in the world of Equestria. Something that would threaten its existence yet again, but not in a way anyone could've imagined!

Immediately, Rainbow Dash and Starlight leaped into action to try and catch Yona before she could plummet to the ground! And it seemed like several other students who couldn't fly were having the same problem!

Rainbow Dash barked out an order to all able bodied flyers. "Come on! We gotta catch 'em before it's too late!"

Working quickly, the flyers rounded up everyone and brought them all to the ground safely. Gallus and Ocellus were able to catch Yona. "It's okay, Yona. I gotcha," Gallus told the yak even as he groaned. "Although, would it kill you to lose some weight?"

"Yak not heavy, Gallus just out of shape," Yona snorted as her hooves touched solid ground. "Worst field trip ever."

"But I thought you liked flying, Yona?" Ocellus questioned.

Yona snorted again. "Flying, not falling. Yona no want to end up yak pancake." Then she started kissing the ground repeatedly, glad to be safe.

With all the students safe, attention immediately turned to Starlight. No one had to say a word for her to realize what they were all thinking. "I don't understand, that shouldn't have happened. It-It's like my spell just stopped working all of a sudden. But that's impossible, that's never happened before."

Rainbow Dash gulped. "Should we be worried?"

Starlight nodded. "I think so. We should probably tell Twilight before word of this gets out and ponies start to panic."

A short time later, a panic stricken Rainbow and Starlight came rushing into Twilight's office. They panted, nearly out of breath. "Twilight, we have an emergency on our hooves! I don't think we even have a code or a number for it!"

"The students... they just dropped out of the sky!" Starlight exclaimed with fright.

Twilight spun around. "Slow down, one at a time," And she motioned for the two mares to take some deep breaths. "Now tell me, what happened?"

Starlight spoke up first. "I'm not sure. We were on the field trip to Cloudsdale and I cast the cloud walking spell just like you taught me. But it failed. Or rather, my magic failed. It was the weirdest thing. It was fine one moment, and the next it just stopped working."

"The good news is, we were able to get everyone safely to the ground," Rainbow Dash added. "The bad news is, Yona's probably gonna have nightmares... again. Some professors we turned out to be."

Twilight threw up a hoof, she didn't want to hear such an argument. "If no one got hurt then that's the most important thing. I'm glad you're all safe, and I'm sure it's nothing to worry about."

"Really? And why is it not?" Starlight questioned. "If there was ever a time to freak out, this would be it."

"First of all, panicking won't solve anything," Twilight explained to her former student. "And second, maybe you just did your spell wrong, Starlight. It can happen more often than you think, even I still mess up sometimes. Why don't we take another look? Maybe your magic's just on the fritz today for some reason?"

But when Twilight lit up her horn to pick up a book, she only managed to surround it with a reddish-violet aura for a second before it hit the ground with a thud. Just like Starlight, Twilight's magic had inexplicably failed.

Starlight couldn't resist making a sarcastic remark. "Gee, maybe you just did your spell wrong, Twilight?"

Before Twilight had a chance to answer, there came a thud at the door. Followed by a cry of pain from Rarity before the door opened. The fashionista came bursting in with tears in her eyes! "Oh Twilight, it's horrible! My magic is go-o-o-one! I even had to use my hooves to coif my tail! Oh the shame of it all!"

"Still think this is nothing to be worried about?" Rainbow questioned Twilight. "Magic is disappearing from Equestria again."

"But that can't be!" Twilight protested. "Magic doesn't just vanish, and alicorn magic was the one thing that didn't fade the last time around. Something about this doesn't seem right."

Rainbow Dash suggested. "You don't suppose it's Tirek again, do you? This has his name written all over it."

Fluttershy (who had followed Rarity inside) spoke up. "Isn't he still trapped in Tartarus though?"

"Well, we never did find out how he escaped the first time. Even so, it seems odd Tirek would strike again now. Discord would surely sense his presence and track him down." Twilight nervously commented.

Just then, the door opened and in rushed Spike who seemed to be gagging on something! Twilight immediately rushed to the dragon, hoping to pin down the source of his distress! "Spike, what's wrong?! Spit it out!"

But Spike couldn't so no matter how hard he tried. That is, until Rarity gently but firmly pressed on his back with a hoof. That made the dragon spit out the scroll that had gotten stuck in his mouth. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank goodness. Looks like I owe you one, Rarity," Then he turned to Twilight. "I've never had a letter get stuck in my throat before. This is definitely a magic theft we're talking about. And Princess Celestia's already aware of it, she's calling us all to an emergency meeting in Canterlot."

"Pretty sure I know what it's about," Twilight commented as she looked at the scroll. "It looks like classes will have to be cancelled for today."

Sometime later, the seven mares and one not so small dragon had all gathered in the throne room of Canterlot. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were noticeably stricken with concern. That was a sure sign that something was wrong, the princesses usually remained calm even in situations when the well being of all of Equestria was at stake.

Yet as Spike looked around he saw that someone was not there. Someone who had been there the last time he'd come to Canterlot. "Where's Singe?" He questioned upon seeing no sign of his birth mother.

"She left for the dragon lands just yesterday," Princess Celestia explained. "A shame, we could use her help at a time like this," The sun princess gave a heavy sigh and paused for a moment. "By now you must've noticed that magic is failing. It's not just unicorn magic either, pegasi, earth ponies, and even alicorns like my sister and I have become afflicted."

"I'm afraid that this isn't just a problem in Ponyville or Canterlot," Princess Luna added. "Cadence has reported that even the Crystal Empire is feeling these effects. Though the good news is that the Crystal Heart is still functioning, for now."

Just then, a pony clad in a blue mail worker uniform came rushing in. The stallion held a letter in his hooves as he panted. "Letter for the princess from Star Swirl the Bearded! It's urgent!"

Princess Celestia picked up the letter with her hooves and read it aloud. The words that were heard made everyone gasp as their hearts became filled with dread. The letter read as follows:

Princess Celestia,

By the time you receive this letter you'll probably already be aware of what is happening, but I can't take the risk that you might remain uniformed until it's too late. The same holds true for your fellow princesses, wherever they may be.

I can't explain it, but all of the magic in the land of Equestria is vanishing at an alarming rate! If my estimations are correct (and they usually are) then by sundown at the end of three days all of our magic will be lost forever!

On the first day, as is probably already happening, spells will fail along with unicorn magic. On the second day all creatures shall lose their magical abilities. Pegasi will be unable to walk on clouds, control the weather, or even fly. And earth ponies will no longer be able to tend to the soil or use their strength to move heavy objects. And on the third day, even magical artifacts will fail completely.

I'm well aware that some of my fellow pillars live close to a princess: Flash Magnus and Stygian in Canterlot, Mistmane in the Crystal Empire, and Rockhoof in Ponyville at Twilight's School of Friendship. But I must leave at once to recruit Somnambula and Mage Meadowbrook, for I sense our help may be needed to combat the evil force responsible for this magic theft. Alas, these old bones can only move so fast, and without the aid of teleportation it will take me a considerable amount of time to recruit all the pillars and deploy to wherever we are needed.

You must act quickly! Find the source of the magic theft and stop whoever or whatever is behind it within the three days I've mentioned! Otherwise, our magic will cease to exist, and Equestria will be left defenseless forever.


Your very concerned former teacher,

Starswirl the Bearded

"Well, does anypony have any leads?" Princess Luna suggested once her sister had finished reading Starswirl's letter. "Time is already starting to run out, the first day will soon turn to night. We have but two days left to save Equestria from a terrible fate."

Twilight put a hoof to her chin, deep in thought. "Has anypony checked on Tirek lately? Are we sure he's still in Tartarus and not running loose?"

Princess Celestia reluctantly shook her head. "It's been a while since we conducted any sort of security sweep around Tartarus, or done a head count."

"And you think that big, scary, centaur might be roaming loose?" Pinkie Pie wondered.

"It's a possibility, he's the only one I can think of who knows how to drain magic. Even if he's not behind it, I'll bet he knows something about who or what is," Twilight explained and then declared. "I have to get to Tartarus! If Tirek is there, he might be able to tell me who the culprit is. And if he's not, at least I could try to track him down."

"We'll all go with you, Twilight," Rarity declared. "We weren't there for you the last time you faced Tirek, and we won't let history repeat itself."

But Twilight shook her head. "No, girls. It's too risky to go all the way to Tartarus with me. I'll go alone. The rest of you need to stay and keep an eye on the school."

Everyone gasped as Spike rushed forward and protested. "But Twilight, don't you see?! That's what Tirek wants you to do! He wants you to go alone to Tartarus so he can trap you there! Please, at least let me come along with you! I won't be much help without my fire breath, but I don't wanna be separated from you again!"

"I'm sorry, Spike, but even you must stay behind. We don't know for sure Tirek's in Tartarus, and if he isn't it won't do us any good to all go to Tartarus," Twilight explained. "Assuming it is a trap, the best option in this case may be to spring it. It might even be enough to lure Tirek or whoever the culprit is out of hiding."

"But Twilight!" Spike began.

Twilight shook her head again. "No buts, Spike. You're a big boy now, and I'm not always going to be there for you. You need to be brave and do whatever you can to help the others," Then she added. "And if worse comes to worse and I don't make it back, I want you to stay strong. You're a fighter, and the best thing you could do for me in that situation would be to keep fighting. To work to ensure my sacrifice isn't for nothing."

Starlight nervously gulped. "Twilight, you're not gonna do something drastic, are you? You're making it sound like you're already writing yourself off."

"I have to be prepared for any and all possibilities, Starlight," Twilight firmly replied. "As a princess, it's my responsibility to put myself out on the line if necessary, no matter what the risk might be. But I don't expect to be gone forever. I may not be able to see the future like Celestia or Luna, but I have a feeling that this isn't the last time we'll see each other."

"Okay, so I guess you want me to take over the school while you're away," Starlight reluctantly commented. "But how are you going to get to Tartarus in the first place? You can't teleport, and Tartarus is a long way away."

Twilight grinned. "Not to worry, I've already thought of a solution," She looked across to Fluttershy. "You know what to do."

Fluttershy put her hooves to her lips and gave a whistle. Suddenly, with a loud whooshing sound, Discord appeared! "You called?" The spirit spoke.

Fluttershy gestured a hoof to Twilight, and Twilight spoke up. "Yes I did, Discord. Magic is disappearing from all over Equestria, and I need your help to get to Tartarus to check on Lord Tirek."

"Oh my, how very brave of you, princess," Discord commented, dawning a cape. "But don't expect me to go into Tartarus with you. I don't think Tirek would be happy to see me after I kind of... well, you know."

Twilight nodded. "Just be careful, we don't know for sure Tirek's still there. He may have already escaped. So be ready to teleport anywhere else on my command. But for now, let's just get to Tartarus and see for ourselves if he's there or not."

Discord obeyed. "Very well then, one trip to Tartarus coming right up," Snapping his paws, he teleported towards Twilight and dawned the appearance of a flight attendant. "Thank you for flying Air Discord! Please enjoy your flight!" Another snap of his paws caused him and the alicorn to vanish.

After Twilight and Discord had departed for Tartarus, the others all returned to Ponyville and back to the School of Friendship.

"Do you think Twilight will be alright with just Discord?" Fluttershy nervously wondered. "Even his magic will eventually cease to exist by the end of the third day. It'll be just like the time he tried to be normal."

"Well, knowin' Discord I reckon we won't have too much to worry as long as he doesn't cross paths with Tirek," Applejack commented. "But if you ask me, somethin' about this doesn't feel right. Why'd Tirek choose now to strike, and yet not make sure we knew it was him?"

Starlight tried hard not to gulp. "Are you suggesting that Twilight and Discord are on the wrong path? What are we supposed to do about that?"

Applejack shook her head. "Honestly, I don't know. For now it's probably best if we don't say anythin' about what's goin' on. That way we won't risk potentially lettin' the culprit know we're onto 'em. We'll just have to keep an eye out for anythin' out of the ordinary. And hopefully, by the time Twilight comes back we'll at least have a better idea of what we're dealin' with."

"Wait, Headmare Twilight is gone?" Cozy Glow innocently questioned as she came walking up to the others. She didn't seem to be particularly concerned.

A reluctant Starlight confirmed the filly's question. "She had to leave for a matter of extreme importance. But I'm afraid I can't give away any details, Cozy."

Cozy frowned. "Well, golly, who's going to take her place as headmare of the school?"

"Who do you think?" Starlight commented in response. "Twilight already planned for this, and she made it very clear she wants me to be Acting Headmare in her absence."

Cozy Glow didn't seem to be thrilled by the news if the pronounced frown on her face was any indication. But she walked away without saying a word, she just glanced back to Starlight as if she suddenly viewed the mare with hostility.

But that evening, as Starlight was closing up the headmare's office for the night and preparing to leave, she was surprised to receive a visit from Rockhoof. The once proud pillar was all but out of breath. "I was sharpening my tools so I'd be ready for whatever danger the pillars and I will have to face, when I saw one of the wee ones sneakin' off by themselves. Looked like it was Cozy Glow, lassie was mumbling somethin' to herself."

"Did you see where she went?" Starlight inquired of Rockhoof.

"I think I saw her head off towards the library, not sure why she'd be there though." Rockhoof answered.

Starlight put a hoof to her face. "Oh, I knew I was forgetting something! She's supposed to be on book stacking duty! Guess I'll have to find something else for her to do until Twilight gets back."

The mare trotted away, making an immediate beeline for the school's library. Her blue eyes scanned the murky darkness for any trace of Cozy Glow.

But when she entered the library, she was surprised to find Cozy sneaking past all the bookshelves. It appeared that she was heading to the very back. Starlight called out to the filly. "Cozy Glow?!"

Cozy Glow stopped in her tracks and spun around, finally noticing Starlight's appearance. "Golly, Acting Headmare Starlight! What a... surprise to see you here."

"I could say the same about you, Cozy," Starlight commented as she trotted up to the filly. "What are you doing here? Classes are done and the school is closing for the night. You should be in your room, not wandering the school."

But Cozy Glow only cackled as her eyes glowed a sickly green in color. Her body was surrounded by similarly colored magic flames. "Oh Starlight, you weak, pathetic pony. You have no idea what you're up against."

Starlight nearly jumped back in surprise as the familiar form of Chrysalis appeared! "Chrysalis?! What have you done with the real Cozy Glow?! How did you get in here?!"

Chrysalis only laughed. "There is no Cozy Glow, Starlight! She simply a disguise, a means to an end! You foolish ponies would never suspect one of your own. But I'm afraid I can't simply leave you to muck up my plans. And this time, no one is here to save you."

Starlight tried to fight back, but without magic she was no match for Chrysalis and the changeling easily overpowered the unicorn. Chrysalis smirked. "Oh, what I'm gonna do to you."

Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of miles away, a loud popping sound could be heard in what was otherwise a remote and uninhabited part of Equestria. In the distance stood a massive gate of dark red and black, with a seal over the entrance and two guards (one clad in the armor for Celestia's royal guard and the other clad in the armor for Luna's night guard) kept a silent vigil over the landscape. Surrounding them were a series of pillars similar to those found in Canterlot or Cloudsdale. But judging by the marks, cracks, and vines, they were much older and very worn.

The popping announced the arrival of Twilight Sparkle and Discord to the front gate of Tartarus, the very place where the worst criminals in Equestria were confined for all their days. A place that few would dare to enter.

Even Discord seemed to be shaken with fright as he eyed the ominous gate and the guards that kept watch over it. "Well, here we are, princess. This is as far as we go, I'm afraid." He told Twilight.

"That's alright, Discord, I'll be fine on my own. If Tirek is in there, he won't get to me like he did you," Twilight reassured the spirit. "You just stay put out here and be ready to teleport to wherever I tell you to. Hopefully I won't be long."

The spirit nervously questioned. "How are you going to get inside? It's not like we can just waltz up there and pretend we're delivering a pizza. The guards will surely pounce." He briefly dawned an outfit similar to ones worn by pizza delivery ponies, before throwing it (and a pizza box) away.

In response, Twilight pulled out what looked almost like a kaleidoscope except for the noticeable seal on the top that matched the seal of three upside horseshoes on Tartarus' front gate. "I made sure to plan ahead. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna keep the key to Tartarus heavily guarded. But after Tirek's rampage we agreed that if the need should ever rise one of us could take the key. The guards will make sure that no one gets in or out besides me."

"Couldn't we just ask the guards if they saw Tirek?" Discord hopefully inquired.

Twilight shook her head. "The guards themselves don't go into Tartarus unless a princes is accompanying them to deliver a new prisoner. And the last headcount was conducted weeks ago, Tirek could've slipped out while they were distracted," She proceeded to trot up to the front gate with a smile on her face. "Hopefully, I won't be long," As the guards looked down at her, the young alicorn simply informed them. "Permission to enter Tartarus."

The guards spoke not a word, they gave silent nods and let Twilight pass. She inserted the key into the gate and an audible click could be heard that echoed everywhere. It was a sound that could've unnerved even the bravest of hearts.

The gate swung open and without hesitation, Twilight trotted in. The key remained stuck in the gate all together. But unknown to the alicorn, as she walked past the opened gate and into Tartarus itself, a timer appeared on the key. As soon as she entered Tartarus itself, the timer started counting down.

Discord took notice and he did something he rarely did, he gulped and seemed to break out into a nervous sweat. "Uh-oh, I don't think that's a good sign. We may have less time than we hoped."

The next morning, Spike was the first to notice that the headmare's office was left vacant. There was no sign of Starlight Glimmer anywhere. "Starlight? Starlight?" He called while flying around the school. "Where are you? If this is one of your 'big sister pranks' it's not funny. With Twilight away, you're the one who's supposed to keep everything running smoothly."

Spike's flying and calling soon caught the attention of his friends, and the five mares immediately rushed to him. "Starlight is missing?" Rarity questioned the dragon, hoping beyond hope she was wrong.

"I don't know. I haven't seen her since last night when she went to lock up the school," Spike explained while flapping his wings. "I already checked the castle, her bedroom is untouched so she couldn't have gone back there at any point."

"Maybe she went to go help Twilight?" Pinkie Pie suggested. "I heard she didn't exactly enjoy her last romp as Acting Headmare, she got all super competitive with Discord."

"But wouldn't she leave a note or come to tell us if that was the case?" Rarity pondered. "This is starting to sound an awful lot like the time Rainbow Dash was framed for Spitfire's disappearance. Shadow Spade doesn't believe in coincidences, and neither do I."

Fluttershy then commented. "Um, not that I mean to interrupt, but has anypony noticed that Cozy Glow is absent too?"

"That's funny," Rainbow Dash remarked. "Rockhoof says he saw her last night, and told Starlight about it. But that was the last time he saw either of them. He was in the gym all night, preparing for battle. And he was still there this morning."

"I don't like the looks of this, y'all," Applejack glumly commented as she swallowed a lump in her throat. "First Twilight leaves for Tartarus and we don't hear from her. And now Starlight and Cozy Glow are missin'. And we've only got until sundown tomorrow to stop the magic theft."

"But what about the students?" Fluttershy spoke up with concern. "We can't just shut down the school and send them all away, with magic failing all over Equestria there'd be nowhere safe for them."

Spike then declared. "I do know one thing, someone's going to have to step in and be the new Acting Headmare," He quickly added. "And it won't be me!"

The dragon's declaration took all of his friends by surprise. Rarity was the first to ask. "Whyever not, Spikey Wikey? You've spent a lot of time with Twilight and Starlight, they're practically family to you."

Spike shook his head. "It just wouldn't feel right to take their place, even if it's just temporary. I tried filling in for Twilight once, and I hated the way it turned out. Why else do you think I gave the Bloodstone Scepter to Ember? I don't trust myself to be in charge without someone I trust to hold me back. And I want a position of power that I've earned, something that suits me. Taking somepony else's place wouldn't work," He sighed and came down to the ground, ceasing his wing flaps. "I know it sounds really stupid and childish. If Twilight were here she'd scold me for still thinking like that."

However, Rarity simply nudged the dragon with a hoof. "Darling, that is incredibly mature of you. Nopony should ever force you into something you're not ready for. There is nothing wrong with waiting until you're ready. In a time of crisis, we all have a duty to appoint the most capable creature to lead us."

"And would that be?" Pinkie Pie questioned. "Classes are going to start soon and it's going to look weird if there's nopony there to guide the students."

Applejack sighed, removing her hat from her head. "Well, I don't like it, but since Twilight and Starlight aren't around and Spike doesn't want the job, I reckon I'm the next best choice we've got. I'll lead us until we can figure out what the hay's goin' on around here," And stomping her hoof down she declared. "So all of y'all better stay alert! If ya see anythin' that don't look right, you bring it my way! And whatever ya do, don't go off by yourself! We ain't gonna lose anyone else!"

Back in Tartarus, Twilight's eyes took in the sights and sounds of the massive prison. It was a dimly lit place lined with prison cells and worn columns. All sorts of shadowy creatures could be heard but not seen, prowling around and lurking about in their cages.

The princess ignored all of them, even the likes of Verto and the scale traders (those who had survived Tempest's assault on their hideout had been turned over to Princess Celestia, who had seen fit to promptly banish them to Tartarus). She wasn't interested in any of them. There was only one prisoner who she needed to check up on. And as luck would have it, his cell rested at the far end of the complex.

The pathway to said cell was guarded by the three headed dog named Cerberus. His spiked collar made him easily identifiable. But all it took to distract him was a bone pulled out from Twilight's saddlebag.

Walking up the countless steps seemed to take an eternity to the young alicorn, who wished more than anything that she had the aid of her magic at the current moment. Alas, she had to make do with walking at a time when it was most inconvenient to her.

At last, however, she reached her destination. There stood the cell that was (hopefully) the resting place of the two time threat to all of Equestria, Lord Tirek.

Twilight carefully crept closer, unable to see into his cage fully from her current position. "Tirek, are you there?" She called into the darkness, hoping for a reply.

Her response was a pair of glowing yellow eyes that soon gave way to the familiar form of the centaur. Except he did not look at like the hulking beast with massive horns that Twilight had encountered all those years ago. He looked considerably weaker, and where his horns used to be there were only two little stubs. He clutched the bars of his cage, glaring at his visitor. "Princess Twilight? My my, how funny to see you in an accursed place like this," He spoke in a raspy voice. "So, what are you in for? What law did 'Little Miss Perfect' here break?"

Twilight frowned as she stomped a hoof down. "You know why I'm here, Tirek. Assuming that is you and not a well placed projection."

Tirek growled but it soon turned into a raspy cough. "Why, princess, where's your sense of humor? It's about the only thing I have left since you returned me to this horrible prison," He grinned a bit as he added. "I assure you, I'm quite real. You really think I would steal all of that delicious magic, and not make sure you knew it was me?" As he spoke he noticeably licked his lips.

"So you're saying you're not responsible for all the magic in Equestria disappearing?" The princess questioned the centaur further. Her questioned was answered by a nod. "But you're the only one who even knows how to drain magic."

Tirek just laughed. "I have ways of sharing my knowledge, Princess Twilight. As Discord will tell you, I am more than happy to make a new friend when one shares my thoughts. Of course, I also have a tendency not to trust anyone. When you've been betrayed as much as I have you'll understand."

Twilight blinked in surprise. "Wait? You'd actually tell me who is stealing the magic from Equestria?! Why would you do that?!"

Tirek just grinned as he rubbed his paws together. "Why not? You won't be able to use the information, you'll be stuck here in Tartarus with me! Or did you forget that the key to Tartarus operates on a time limit?!"

"What?!" Twilight gasped in surprise.

The centaur only laughed further. "This coming from the same pony who once nearly bested me. You are far too easily tricked, princess. And to think, you don't even realize the real culprit's been hiding under your nose this whole time!"

Night was falling in Ponyville as the second day drew to a close, the cause of the magic theft had still not been discovered and neither was there any clue as to the whereabouts of Starlight Glimmer or Cozy Glow. Things didn't look good for the ponies, or for Spike. Try as they might to pretend otherwise, they were deeply worried that this time things weren't going to work out.

Of course not everyone was upset about the fast approaching deadline. There was one creature who quite enjoyed it. Chrysalis. That night, she carefully poked her head up from beneath an air duct in the back of the library. A quick scan indicated that no one was around. So she emerged fully, quickly dawning her disguise of Cozy Glow. There was somepony she needed to meet with right away, somepony who she'd entered into a secret agreement with. And she knew that it was somepony who didn't like to be kept waiting.

So the disguised changeling sneaked away, making sure not to be spotted. Unaware to her, however, six students happened to catch her leaving the library. Rather than call out to her though, they decided to follow her. They'd suspected something was off about the filly, though none knew what that might be.

Cozy Glow at last reached the headmare's office, which was supposed to be abandoned. She entered and shut the door tightly behind her, just as a a tall, lanky unicorn stallion clad in a dark red robe spun around to greet her. It was Chancellor Neighsay, and his stern moderate turquoise eyes immediately locked onto Cozy. "Ah, you've arrived just in time," He commented, and then questioned. "So, is Twilight Sparkle... out of the picture as it were?"

Cozy Glow smirked as she rubbed her hooves together. "That pathetic princess took the bait, hook, line, and sinker! By the time she realizes the truth, it'll be too late!"

Neighsay simply nodded his head. "Good. And it seems you took care of all opposition, meaning I can now take over this school and run it my way. There will be changes, but for the greater good they must be imposed."

At that, Cozy Glow jumped back in surprise! "What?! I thought we had a deal, Neighsay?! I'd get rid of Headmare Twilight and Vice Headmare Starlight, and after you took over you'd let me run things!"

"Well things change," Neighsay coldly replied. "You're just a child, nopony in their right mind would be dumb enough to let you run a school. I don't care how smart you are. Besides, the magic thief is still on the loose. And if it's not in Tartarus then I have a hunch that whoever it is is somewhere within this school. Desperate times call for desperate measures," He proceeded to growl at Cozy. "Now out with it! What are you hiding?!"

Cozy was surprised to find herself on the defensive, she tried her best not to let the chancellor rattle her. A feat that was easier said than done. "W-who me? I-I'm not hiding anything," She stuttered. "I'm just an innocent little filly, what would I have to hide?"

Neighsay hissed. "I'm not stupid. I can smell the set-up a mile away. You've given me everything I could hope for on a silver platter. I've had far too many ponies try to butter me up like this not to grow wise. There is always a catch. And after Princess Twilight tricked me, I won't be taken by surprise ever again!" He gestured a hoof down to the filly. "Now out with it! You know something, and I wanna know what it is! What is your real reason for luring me here like this?! And just what did you do with Starlight Glimmer?!"

Before Cozy had a chance to answer, however, the doors to the headmare's office suddenly swung open! Sandbar, Gallus, Smolder, Ocellus, Silverstream, and Yona all came tumbling out and landed before Neighsay and Cozy! it didn't take a genius to figure out what they'd been up to!

Neighsay gasped! "This was a trap! You're planning to rat me out!" He shouted at Cozy Glow! "I knew you were up to no good!"

"Neighsay, what are you doing?!" Sandbar demanded of the chancellor. "What do you have against Headmare Twilight?! She didn't do anything to you to deserve getting trapped in Tartarus!"

The chancellor simply snapped back. "Young colt, you should learn to respect your elders! I won't be spoken to in such a manner! As for Princess Twilight, she will be fine. I simply needed her gone so that I could finally get this abomination of a school shuddered! I will find the magic thief and restore order to Equestria!"

Meanwhile, Cozy turned her attention to the six students as she suddenly shouted! "Neighsay, it's them! They're the ones responsible for the magic theft! You have to arrest them!"

"What?!" The six students all gasped at once! None of them even knew until just a moment ago that magic from Equestria was disappearing.

But Neighsay seemed to suddenly become paralyzed. "I-I can't!" He told Cozy. "Magic theft or not, I can't simply lock up these students! There are rules that have to be followed, guidelines that must be obeyed. If not, I'll get in trouble! I'll lose my title!"

The irritated filly simply growled as she flew up and snatched Neighsay's medallion off his robe. "Fine, I'll do it myself! Seems like I have to do everything around here!" She touched the center of the medallion, and a series of magical chains surrounded the six students, thus preventing them from moving.

Even Smolder's fire breath couldn't do a thing to the chains. And the dragon was quick to glare at Cozy. "You know what? From day one I had a feeling you were trouble. That sweet and innocent look was just a little too sweet for my taste."

"Well guess what, dragon?!" Cozy Glow taunted as she flew back down to make eye contact. "You just messed with the wrong filly. And you're gonna be sorry!"

Cozy Glow and Neighsay proceeded to lock the students away in one of the rooms on the upper level of the school. "Stop struggling, you'll never break free of the chains," Neighsay instructed. "You will remain here until your guardians can be contacted, and you can explain to them what you refuse to explain to me."

"For the last time, Chancellor, we didn't do it! You've got the wrong guys!" Gallus protested. "Let us go, we're innocent! Don't trust a word that pegasus says!"

But Cozy Glow snapped back. "Be quiet, griffon! You don't talk back to the chancellor like that!" And to Neighsay she encouraged. "Don't listen to them, I know they stole the magic! Don't forget, they're all dangerous creatures who would do anything to hurt Equestria!"

"But I'm a pony! Why would I betray Equestria?!" Sandbar protested to Cozy. "This is all a big misunderstanding!"

Neighsay refused to listen. "I'm sorry, but until I can figure out what's going on I refuse to take any chances. You will all remain here. And Sandbar, though you may be a pony, since you ally yourselves with those creatures I must assume you're part of their plan," He stomped a hoof down. "I will contact your parents, and I can imagine they won't be pleased. But perhaps it will teach you to be more careful about who you choose to befriend."

However, as the magical chains faded away, Sandbar stood up and declared. "Wait, Chancellor! I've changed my mind! You were right about them from the beginning, I see that now. I thought I was being kind and generous by befriending them, but all I was really doing was putting Equestria in danger."

Silverstream let out a gasp! "Sandbar?! How could you?!"

Ocellus pleaded. "Do you even realize what you're saying?! You can't leave us!"

"Yona no want Sandbar to leave! Yona thought Sandbar friend!" Yona desperately pleaded.

Sandbar only replied. "I'm sorry, guys, but this is for the greater good. If siding with you means I get into trouble, then i don't want any part of it. I don't want anything to do with creatures that could threaten Equestria!" He turned to Neighsay. "Let me out, and I promise to help you."

Against Cozy's protests, Neighsay accepted Sandbar's offer. "You've chosen wisely, young stallion. Everyone will come to their senses eventually. Now tell me, what do you know about the magic theft?"

Before Sandbar could say anything though, Applejack happened to come trotting up on the scene. "What in tarnation is goin' on here?!" Then she locked eyes with Neighsay. "What are you doin' here?! Twilight made it clear you ain't welcome around here!"

Neighsay only replied with a smirk. "But Princess Twilight isn't here, now is she?"

"Because she's off tryin' to solve the disappearance of our magic," Applejack insisted as she stomped a hoof down. "And I'll be darned if you think I'm gonna let you sabotage her legacy!"

"Who said anything about sabotage?" The crafty chancellor said with a smirk. "I'm trying to save her legacy and her reputation from a costly mistake. This school has been nothing but a disaster, and my only mistake was ever allowing it to open."

"You can't just come in here and take over!" Applejack stubbornly protested.

Neighsay just answered. "I can now. From this moment onward, this school is under EEA control. And as head of the EEA, that means what I say goes! If you have a problem with that, well you know who you can take it up with. But I doubt even you would want to interfere with my work at a time like this."

Sandbar finally spoke up. "Please, Professor Applejack. Neighsay's just trying to do what he thinks is best for Equestria. Headmare Twilight was wrong to fight against him. Let him take over the school, it's for the best."

"You see, Applejack?" Neighsay smirked anew. "Even your students support me. Now, are you going to back down and let me do my job?"

After a moment of staring at the chancellor, Applejack reluctantly conceded. "Fine, you win this time, Neighsay. But this won't be forgiven. Mark my words, you'll pay for this." Then the farm mare turned and angrily trotted away.

"Alright then, Sandbar," Neighsay commented as he turned to the colt. "Let's resume our previous conversa-" But it seemed that the colt had slipped away while the chancellor was distracted.

Cozy Glow growled. "I told you he was with them!"

But Neighsay shook his head. "Let him go, he's no danger to us. Earth pony magic has already all but faded away. In time he'll come to his senses and tell us what he knows."

Sandbar rushed straight to Sweet Apple Acres. He ran faster than he'd ever run before. All the while he was thinking to himself. "I hope my friends can forgive me for what I did. This was the only thing I could think of."

Apple Bloom awoke a short time later to the sound of thuds against the farmhouse windows. "What in tarnation?!" She wondered and leaned out her bedroom window to see what was going on.

Sandbar stood down below next to a series of objects he'd found around the farm. "Sorry, I ran out of apples," He apologized. "I was trying to get your attention."

"What's the matter, Sandbar? Why aren't ya with your friends?" The farm filly questioned.

Sandbar replied. "My friends are in trouble, Chancellor Neighsay locked them up. Cozy Glow made him believe they're responsible for the magic theft."

"Why'd you come to me, then? Why not get Applejack or one of her friends?" Apple Bloom questioned. "This sounds like somethin' right up their alley."

The colt shook his head. "They can't do a thing to Neighsay, not when they've got classes to teach. Besides, I don't think any of them even know Cozy's been working for Neighsay this whole time," He then pleaded. "You and your friends are the next best thing. If the Cutie Mark Crusaders can distract Neighsay, I can rescue my friends and we can all get to the bottom of this. Will you help me?"

Apple Bloom smiled. "Do mulberries have seeds?"

Sandbar blinked and said nothing.

The farm filly groaned as she explained. "That's a yes. You just wait there, and I'll get the Crusaders. Honorary members and everythin'!"

Miles and miles away, Discord was unaware of any of the developments occurring back in Ponyville. And he also wasn't aware of what was happening inside of Tartarus.

What the spirit did know though, was that the timer on the key was about to expire. He started to grow anxious. "Come on, Twilight. Of all the times to sight see, you had to pick the one time when it's not actually important."

He ran right past the guards, trying to reach the key to see if he could somehow prolong the time on it. But alas he was too late, the timer ran out. The key expired. And with a loud clang, the gates of Tartarus slammed shut! "Uh-oh! Equestria, we have a problem. Repeat, we have a problem!" Discord commented to herself.

Twilight heard the clang of the shutting gates from inside Tartarus! She ran right towards them, momentarily forgetting about her lack of magic! The gates slammed shut right in her face, leaving her trapped inside!

Tirek had seen the whole thing, and he laughed. "Just as planned, princess. All I had to do was stall you long enough for the key to expire. Congratulations, you're now stuck here with me, forever!"

Twilight growled. "So this whole thing was just a ruse to lure me down here?! Just when I thought you couldn't get more despicable, Tirek!"

"Guilty as charged, princess," The centaur smirked. "But now I suppose I should keep up my end of the bargain. I did promise you answers, after all. And it's not like you'll be escaping to warn anyone," A laugh formed in his throat. "It's funny, I never actually met her. But when she started writing to me, offering to be my pen pal. Well how could I say no?"

"Her?" Twilight wondered as she turned toward Tirek. "You don't mean..."

Tirek just laughed. "I do! The one responsible for the magic theft is none other than Chrysalis, former queen of the changelings. And the soon to be ruler of all of Equestria!"

Back at the school, Sandbar and the Cutie Mark Crusaders (including Diamond Tiara) were shocked to discover what looked like a series of crystal catacombs, hidden beneath a seemingly ordinary air duct in the floor at the back of the library.

"What is this place? It's like nothing I've ever seen before!" Apple Bloom commented.

"There's no time for that!" Sandbar protested. "I swear I saw Cozy Glow come down here when she left the office. She was the one who got Neighsay to lock up my friends."

Suddenly, in the distance the ponies saw what appeared to be a small clearing. They rushed towards it, and as they drew close they swore they could see bright lights and strange sounds.

At last, the clearing came into view! What they saw shocked them to their very core!

There was Starlight Glimmer, suspended in a magic bubble over a huge vortex! The six artifacts on loan to the school had been placed in a circle around the vortex, each encased in its own magic bubble.

Before anypony could think to do anything, they heard the sound of approaching hoofsteps and dove for whatever cover they could find. They were just in time to see Cozy Glow come trotting in. "Well, golly, this is certainly unexpected," She cackled with glee, before a series of sickly green flames surrounded her and her true form was revealed. "Who would've ever guessed that a sweet, innocent little filly would actually be the true mastermind?"

Chrysalis smirked, talking to herself as she surveyed her work. And her attention quickly turned to her prisoner, Starlight Glimmer. "Enjoying yourself in there, Starlight Glimmer? At least this way I can make sure you won't escape and foil my plans again! I told you I'd have my revenge someday, and I meant it!" She paused briefly before adding. "You may get some company in there soon though. If I can't get that annoying Chancellor Neighsay to back off!" She paused again to catch her breath. "Sorry, I'm usually more composed than this. I just hate it when others come along and try to ruin my work."

The changeling queen then bent down to pick up a crown. "It won't be long, though. Just one more day and all the magic in Equestria will be gone, trapped forever in another dimension! And the best part is, you'll be trapped there too, Starlight Glimmer. Just like how your mentor is stuck in Tartarus for all eternity!" As she fixed the crown on her head she declared. "All the pieces are falling into place. Soon, all will bow to me, Chrysalis, the Empress of Equestria!" And she burst into fits of maniacal laughter. It truly seemed like this time she was going to succeed.

Author's Note:

This finale has definitely not withstood the test of time, and even to this day most fans regard it as a mess. Among the biggest problems are how the story tries to juggle the many characters of focus, but characters like Spike and Starlight seem to be all but forgotten.

There's also the problem of how all the mane six decide to go to Tartarus even though there's no need for them to do, Starlight being defeated off-screen with no fanfare, and everyone but the student six believing that Cozy Glow is in charge of the school in Starlight's absence.

In other finales it was understandable why Discord was absent since it either didn't affect him or the setting was one in which he didn't exist as an ally. But in this finale his absence felt truly startling since they never specified whether he would be affected by the disappearance of magic. And I feel like that along with the pillars not even getting a mention (aside from Starswirl) was a missed opportunity.

Of course, since I didn't know about Season 9's plans when I rewrote "Marks for Effort", I had to stick with what I'd written of Chrysalis as the true form of Cozy Glow. Of course, Cozy's appearances in Season 9 so far still leave her exact role a mystery (she only works if no one is aware of who she is, and she still seems to view friendship as a selfish thing that only she gets a benefit from). I'll cover more about the rest of the failures in part two.

Lastly, Diamond Tiara's inclusion here isn't just pointless fanservice. Rest assured that she will play a role in the finale alongside the CMC (who in the original version were unfairly shunted aside even though the synopsis falsely claimed they were going to help save the day). And as for Singe, she is from my rewrite of "Father Knows Beast" in which she is Spike's biological mother (you can check out that rewrite in the previous volume if you want to know more).

The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well (Redo)
Ponyville Confidential
Daring Don't (Bonus Chapter)
Dungeons And Discords
Once Upon a Zeppelin (Bonus Chapter)
School Daze Parts 1 and 2
The Maud Couple
School Raze Parts 1 and 2