• Published 18th Oct 2019
  • 11,876 Views, 600 Comments

Time Enough For Three - Valtyra

Twilight finds herself wanting to know more about Celestia and Luna. So she ends up time travelling!

  • ...

Arc 1: Chapter 14

It didn't take Twilight long to cast the spell two more times, once on Luna and finally on herself. Yet, by the time she had finished, she was rubbing her aching horn.

"Doesn't look like I'll be doing much for a while," she groaned, wincing.

The effects of the spell were quite clear from the fact that each of them could only really see each other with a vague lavender glow, helping them to not step on each others hooves.

The trio quickly made their way down the corridor, only pausing as they neared the heavy wooden door which separated the corridor they were in from the main entrance hall. The door itself was ajar, allowing them to see into the well furnished hall.

The area was littered with expensive tapestry, blooming flowers and various pieces of art hanging around the numerous pillars which pierced up to the ceiling.

Twilight placed a hoof against the wood and gently pushed it open some more so they could pass. Peeking out, she spotted only a couple of guards posted at the bottom of the stairs which wound around to the first floor on either side of the hall.

Opposite to the stairs sat the grand entrance: two monolithic slabs of stone which acted at the front doors. Each stone door intricately carved to show the rule of each king which came before.

Walking out, Twilight gestured for the others to follow but made sure to keep to the shadows so their Shimmer was less noticeable.

She closed her eyes and retraced her way through the mental map of the castle, remembering the route to the King's Chambers.

'First floor then head east, head up a spiral staircase, head west and then past the barracks.'

Opening her eyes, she found her first obstacle: the two guards.

Looking around, she noticed the shadow of the first floor landing overlapped with the stairs just enough so they could most likely pass.

Yet, she didn't move.

'Have to get the guards to move,' she thought, looking for something to use as a distraction.

Spotting part of a white flower-vase on the first floor, Twilight backed off slightly further out of sight and lit her horn up. While she may have been invisible, her magic wasn't. Her magical aura surrounded the vase and she focused, shattering the vase with a sharp crack and sending dirt and one very unhappy plant, across the hall.

"Hey, Greg. Go check that out," the Gryphon furthest from Twilight ordered, receiving a groan from the other.

"I bet it's nothing, like usual," Greg grumbled, turning and climbing the stairs, leaving enough room for the trio to move past.

They stuck close to the railing, deep enough into the shadows to not shimmer too much and eventually made it up to the first floor landing where several doors awaited them on their left.

The hallways were decorated mostly the same as the other floors, but held various banners and coats of arms along the walls, along with flower pots to brighten up the normally drab grey walls.

Twilight turned to give a once over of the sisters, finding the pair sneaking around and carefully moving up behind her.

'Shouldn't take too long to get to his chambers, she thought, turning back to the doors.

Making her way over to the third door on their left, she pressed the tip of her horn against the scratched iron of the handle and allowed her magic to flow.

Her magic flooded through the metal and pulled the latch up, cushioning it as to muffle its noise while she slowly pulled the door open.

Peeking inside, the trio saw a darkened, narrow, corridor with a stone staircase situated at the end. The floor was covered in a thin, rough, mat and an unlit sconce was attached at the end of the hall just before the spiral staircase.

Stepping inside, Twilight waited until the others were in before closing the door and letting out a sigh.

"This might be slow going if we are to avoid a fight," she said, turning and walking down the corridor.

"I can go and cause a distraction so it'll be easier for you once you meet the King," Luna said, slowing to a stop. "I don't expect then to be able to find me if I am invisible, so it would make a perfect opening for you two to go by."

Celestia shook her head. "No, sister. I can't allow you to risk yourself like that. What if they get catch you?" Stepping closer, she paused when she saw Luna take a step back.

"'Tia, surely I'm old enough to choose whether I want to help the ones I love?"

"It's not about age, Lulu. We can't help you if you get in trouble," Celestia argued, placing a hoof on Luna's shoulder as her voice gently quivered. "I'm sure that we'll be able to handle any amount of guards if we stick together..."

Luna pursed her lips for a second and shook her head. "Sister, we couldn't handle some bandits without our Moon. What hope would we have against the king with his guards," Luna stated as a matter of fact as she took that step closer and leaned against the hoof. "At least if I make a distraction it will help you two sneak by. Surely you remember who won all those hide and seek games out on father's farm?"

"I remember winning some..." Celestia retorted, then looked away, mostly annoyed that Luna was right.

Quickly, Luna leaned in and nuzzled up along Celestia's neck, gently leaving soft kisses while her wings unfurled and wrapped around the solar mare in a tight hug.

After a few tentative seconds, the pair broke off and Luna turned to Twilight. "And you, my moon."

Leaning in towards Twilight, Luna brought her hoof up and caressed her cheek, before pressing her lips against the mare's own.

Twilight felt herself shudder at the touch and the fur on the back of her neck stood on edge while she leaned in to get a single second more. She wanted nothing more than to be done with this whole adventure so she could spend quality time with the sisters, yet reality for her was often disappointing.

Pulling back, Luna let out a happy sigh and began to make her way over to the staircase. "I will go ahead and try to pull as many guards as possible."

Twilight was still frozen for a second, but she quickly shook herself out of it, and glanced toward Celestia for a second, then back to Luna, she replied. "There are several service passages which run throughout the castle, so use them to get around. The guards will have a tough time using them due to their armour."

Luna stepped up the stairs a little and looked back before continuing on. "I'll meet you at George's cart after."

"Please be careful, sister."

Stepping into the third floor hallway, Twilight slowed then moved out of the way for Celestia to move past before turning to her.

"Luna will be perfectly fine, 'Tia. You know how hardy we are. Plus, I'd assume the King would rather interrogate her rather than just kill her..." she said, realising how bleak she sounded. "Uh, I just meant that she's grown up and can handle herself. A few guards won't slow her down."

"I know. I sometimes forget that we're not little fillies anymore. Even after all we've been through it's hard," Celestia said, awkwardly brushing the mat-covered floor with her hoof.

If Twilight could actually see more detail than an ethereal outline of the mare, she'd find Celestia with rosy cheeks and a sheepish smile.

"That's not always a bad thing," Twilight muttered, shrugging. "Sometimes it's nice to remember the old times."

The hallway branched forwards and to their left, before turning towards each other to form a square room in the center.

The majority of the floor was dedicated to the barracks, allowing the hallways to run along the exterior of the Palace, which included plenty of windows to the outside showing the raging thunderstorm.

Soft, red and purple mats ran along the floor, softening the stone floor for those without hooves as well as brightening the depressing stone hallways.

"The king has his personal Chambers just past the barracks. If we're careful we'll be able to make it through here without much of a problem," Twilight explained, keeping her voice low. She didn't know if any soldiers had started patrolling inside yet.

"We go down this hallway and take a left before moving down some stairs and we're there," she finished, before sighing. "Well, there is a little problem," she muttered, rubbing the back of her neck.

"What sort of problem?" Celestia asked, sounding unamused.

"There's a couple of guards who were standing outside of his chambers when I sent the pulse. They're probably still there."

"Oh, is that it?" Celestia replied, letting out a quiet groan. "I assume we can't go past them?"

"Not without alerting them we're there. There's a balcony, but we'd need to go out in this weather and the spell would fade away too quickly to help us get past any sentries. "

"That's," Celestia paused for a second to think of what to add. "Less helpful than I imagined. Still, we'll have to knock them out and hope the others don't hear it," she suggested.

"That could work. You taught me a few numbing spells," Twilight agreed, nodding.

Once Twilight was sure that the conversation was over, she began to make her way down the hallway towards the stairs. She constantly made sure that she didn't stop in front of any of the windows; even with the thunderstorm, there was enough light to cause her invisibility to shimmer and shine, and the risk of getting caught was not something they wished to risk this late into the infiltration.

'I really hope the king is still in his chambers,' Twilight thought, feeling worried that the king might have moved since her first scan.

Her worry exploded once the door to her left slammed open and a contingent of guards rushed out, causing the pair to press themselves up against the wall so as to not get trampled by the iron-clad troops. Twilight made sure to keep both of them pressed up for a good minute or so afterwards with her magic, her heart thumping within her chest, while she made sure no other guard would suddenly pop up.

She peeled herself away from the wall, her hooves practically shaking from how quickly everything played out and how easily they could have been caught. Of course, Twilight was confident that they could have escaped considering the pair of them had magic on their side but the wasn't willing to take that risk within an enclosed space, especially with how sharp the Gryphon soldiers kept their claws.

The pair rushed down the long, winding hallways, the mats muffling their hooves, and eventually made it to their destination. Standing in front of them was the first set of heavy wooden double-doors to the King's Chambers.

"Alright, behind these are a second set of doors which acts as a buffer. With any luck the Gryphons should be gone... But I wouldn't count on it," Twilight explained. "So, how do you want to do this?"

Celestia placed a hoof on the door, then glanced at Twilight. "I can act as bait," she said matter-of-factly.

"I don't-"

"It's okay, Moon," Celestia interrupted, pulling away from the door and sighing. "I trust that you will be able to do this. I can distract them and when they chase me, go in and take the crown. We can meet up at the cart afterwards, okay?"

After a couple of seconds, Twilight nodded and dispelled the invisibility around Celestia. "I... If you get into trouble," she began, biting her lip to stop herself from stopping the mare.

"I'll be okay, Moon. Trust me like I've trusted you," Celestia said, leaning in and kissing Twilight on the cheek. "We'll see each other soon enough," she whispered, nuzzling her gently before pulling away and forcing open the doors with her magic.

The doors creaked open to reveal a pair of Gryphons, each one suited in black platemail. They each held an arm-blade, along with a buckler strapped to their opposite forearm.

The soldiers reacted to the door opening by tensing up and taking a step forward. "Submit and you will not be harmed!" one of them stated, extending their blade and moving closer.

"Sorry boys, if you want me you'll have to catch me," she teased, winking then rushing off down the hall while letting out a laugh.

One of the guards grunted in frustration. He pulled out a horn and blew into it, releasing a low, heavy rumble which echoed throughout the castle.

The other guard shot forwards and crashed past the door, throwing it open as he chased the Alicorn down the hallway.

Shaking her head at Celestia's sheer audacity, she hesitantly inched her way in and discarded her own Invisibility. Using her magic, she pulled the doors behind her shut and used one of the banners attached to the wall to clamp the doors shut.

"Alright, let's actually get the first piece of the puzzle..." Twilight muttered to herself as she turned back towards the delicately carved oaken double-doors which stood between her and her goal.

Taking the handles in her magic, she twisted the metal and heard the click as the latch slid up. The doors swung open with little effort only to reveal the King's empty bed-chambers.

An unkempt king-sized bed lay pushed up against the side of the room, surrounded by a separate lounger and side table, upon which sat rotting fruit.

Various pieces of furniture were strewn about and knocked over, which held claw-marks or, in the case of the mirror, shattered completely.

Trotting into the circular room, Twilight's gaze flicked around to try and find anywhere the King could have been hiding but she found nowhere.

Her eyes were drawn towards the lone, midnight black feather which sat upon the vanity dresser, along with a lock of nebulous mane.

Moving closer, Twilight levitated it up, inhaled its scent and quickly clenched her eyes shut. She could feel her anger welling up inside of her and she didn't want to do anything rash.

Flaring her horn, she shot a pulse of magic out to scan the castle once again, this time looking for the Alicorn sisters and Titas himself.

She found Luna and Titas on the Palace roof, along with Celestia being shepherded towards them by the numerous soldiers chasing her. Knowing she had to do something now, Twilight galloped towards the door and tore the banner off to allow it to open, only to freeze upon seeing several guards waiting for her outside in the hallway.

"Surrender and you will-"

"Yeah, I've heard it before," Twilight growled as she flared her wings and charged.

After a few well placed bucks, Twilight splintered through the flimsy iron door and staggered to a halt upon the tiled rooftop. Her mane whipped around her as the thunderstorm lit up the world around her as the rain stung against her cut and bloodied coat. Bolts of lightning snapped down on the numerous iron spires which dotted the rooftop she now found herself upon, letting out harsh cracks which caused her to wince.

Several cuts were laid across her body, many deep enough to have chipped bone and cut organs, but to her they may well have been papercuts once her eyes locked with the unconscious bodies of the sisters.

Her eyes were solely on the King himself that teetered on the edge of the Palace roof, the two sisters bound up tight in thick rope, their bodies being held just off the edge; several hundred feet of nothing but air under them.

The king himself held himself taller than the soldiers she had just fought. His muscles rippling as he tensed up and his burnt autumn plumage fluffier, despite the weather. His eyes held a glint of glee upon seeing Twilight and he brought his other claw up to rub the rainwater across his face with as much of a manic grin that a Gryphon could pull off.

Thankfully for the mare, she couldn't see any armour upon the King, which she attributed to arrogance, but he looked strong enough to tear her apart given the chance. Twilight froze to the spot upon seeing the same rune as the cultists use on his right cheek, still scabbing over.

"Not one more step!" the king shouted, glancing between Twilight and the sisters. "I knew you'd come for me; it was foretold!" he cackled. "But I was smart, I let you get this far. I don't need any disgusting pony to order me about!" he spat, his face scrunching up in disgust. "Especially on how to kill you!"

Twilight gritted her teeth and tensed her torn and aching muscles, forcing herself to stay put. Even so, her mind was busy formulating her chances to save the pair.

"This is between you and me, Titas! Let them go and we can-"

"We can what? Talk?" he laughed, causing the Alicorns to rock back and forth. "No. You won't lie to me like you did yourself, Sparkle!"

"I was told that you would try to talk your way out of this; you always talk but not today, not this time!"

"How do you kno-"

"I've been told everything," Titas continued, his eyes wide as they stared up at the storm raging around them with glee. "I was shown your sins and how you have- no, will bathe in the blood of whole worlds. It was foretold."

Titas grunted and heaved the sister' unconscious bodies to the side, where they slid across the ground and hit the railing, coming to a stop.

Twilight felt a flood of relief at the sight of the sisters not dangling over the edge, but that suddenly faded once Titas lunged at her!

Within an instant he bridged the rooftop and swiped his claws towards her neck, eager to tear her apart, bloodlust in his eyes and a snarl upon his face!

"Stupid fo- agh!" Titas growled, hitting the ground and tumbling end over end, coming to a stop on the rain-slick tiles. Pushing himself up and snapping his gaze at Twilight, he growled once again, yet didn't charge.

The mare slowly circled around the king, keeping her distance while the crown on his head began to glow a dark yellow. Her eyes widened quickly once she saw his claws become enveloped with a yellow mist which quickly started to eat away at the ceramic tiles, reducing them to an almost sludge-like state after but a couple of seconds.

"Foolish mare," Titas laughed, his snarl growing into a manic grin. "I gave up everything for this power. You will not take what is mine!" he cried, lowering himself and firing himself at the mare.

With barely an inch between them, Twilight pushed off and jumped to the side, her horn firing several bolts of magic at the King, which impacted against his back leg and burnt away his fur to leave bare flesh.

'Can't let him touch me,' Twilight thought, jumping away from another swipe, of which she could feel her own fur disintegrate from around her left leg.

"Can't run forever, filly!" Titas laughed, flaring his wings and leaping up thirty foot into the air with one powerful thrust. "You'll be nothing but blood and ash!"

Opening his legs wide, the crown glowed once again, forcing a thunderbolt to arc over and strike his claw. Thunder sizzled across his flesh, bridging across into his other arm which he pointed towards Twilight.

"Die!" he screamed, launching the bolt of white lightning at the mare.

The lightning blasted out of his claw and through the air, causing Twilight's fur to stand on end and for the smell of ozone to fill her muzzle.

"Fuck!" she muttered, forcing herself to bubble herself in a hastily made shield, using raw mana to fuel it rather than a carefully constructed spell. She clenched her eyes shut as the lightning collided with her shield and arced across the surface before grounding itself.

Twilight tore up several feet of tiles from the collision, having been forced back, and gritted her teeth from the pain her horn was coursing through her head, a low whimper leaving her as the lightning just seemed to continue on forever. Then suddenly, as quickly as it hit, the attack ended, leaving her a tired, panting mess.

"My turn," she growled, opening her eyes and staring at the still hovering King. Dispelling her shield, she flared her wings and shot off the ground, throwing the remains of the tiles away as she launched herself at the Gryphon.

Twilight collided with the King, causing him to let out a grunt and she quickly pushed off of him, gaining a few feet of height, before pulling her hoof back and striking him in the chest, throwing him down to the roof where he broke straight through and into the palace below.

Swooping down into the hole, Twilight came to a stop to see the dining room in shambles. Gryphon's who had been eating were strewn about, many of which were horrified to see their King laying there in the splintered remains of the dining table. The soldiers on duty quickly shook themselves out of their shock and took up arms against Twilight.

She glanced about, counting three on her left, one with a sword and two with spears, and two on her right, both with swords. 'This isn't good, she thought as one of the spear-guards took a lunge at her, forcing her to lower herself and tilt, the point barely grazing past the soft flesh of her radius.

Rolling away, she grunted as a sword came down to cut her across her side. Twilight responded in kind by thrusting her hoof up and knocking the soldier away to crash through one of the unbroken chairs. With a grunt, Twilight pulled herself to her hooves, just as another spear was shoved towards her face from the closest Gryphon on her left.

Wrapping her magic around the shaft, the Gryphon suddenly found his spear to simply freeze in place until he was struck with a non-lethal pulse of energy which threw him across the room where he tumbled end over end.

"Submit to the King!" One of the soldiers ordered while the rest of the soldiers took a step towards the mare, forcing her to take a step back.

The pile of rubble in the center of the room shifted and the King pushed himself free. Dust and splinters fell from his bruised body and he turned around to narrow his eyes at Twilight. "You really think I would fall so easily?" he laughed, knocking a chair aside and striding towards the mare.

The guards parted to let their king through and quickly moved two on either side of Twilight to pincer her against the wall. She glanced between them, judging her will to survive against her morals of not wanting to kill again; images of the bandits flashing through her mind.

"I don't want to hurt any of you," she growled, tensing up and lighting her horn while getting ready to pounce.

Titas turned to one of the closest soldiers. "Get the ponies on the roof. I want them to watch," he ordered, receiving a nod as the soldier rushed out of the room.

"Your friends will get to watch you beg for death once I'm done here," he continued as the jewels in his crown lit up a sickly green. The soldiers around him glanced in worry as one by one they began to cough and collapse, their very skin and feathers decomposing around their ruler.

Twilight erected a shield around herself, just in time, as a wave of black and purple miasma blasted towards her, pushing the shield and her back against the wall. Her ears pinned down from the abyssal wailing which filled the room.

Titas himself inched closer, his own movements contorting unnaturally with each step. His eyes had darkened and a green slime cascaded down his cheeks and dripped onto the marble floor, each drop sizzling.

"My rule is eternal," he groaned. "You and your kind have no place in this world!"

With that, he suddenly shot against the shield and began to claw and smash himself against it in a mad attempt to kill Twilight.

Twilight winced back at the impact and stared at him in horror as cracks began to form despite her best to keep the shield maintained.

With a scream, she pumped her magic into the shield and forced it outwards against the flow of miasma. Shattering, it exploded out and threw the king across the dining room as the miasma stopped.

He tumbled across the ground then slowed as his claw dug into the solid marble. With a tsk, he rose up and tilted his head. "Poor pony. Scared pony. Dead pony."

Flaring her wings, Twilight kicked off the wall and flapped to close the gap, then collided with the king. She kicked and punched against his tough hide, her diamond hard hooves crunching bone while his claws cut through her flesh, leaving ribbons across her chest and side.

The pair fell apart, the impromptu skylight illuminated between them. The thunderstorm was still raging above them, cascading water down into the dining room.

"Give me that crown, Titas. You can't win," Twilight huffed, one of her hooves pressed against her sliced breast.

One of her eyes had swollen shut and the cut upon her cheek had begun to bleed once again, dripping down onto the floor.

Titas grunted and dragged one of his back legs behind him as he took a step closer, each step letting Twilight hear the grind of bone upon bone.

"I am sustained. My subjects will give their lives so I may live!" he announced, his wings opening up as the crown lit up once again, almost blinding Twilight and causing her to shield her eyes with a hoof.

"Dear Celestia..." Twilight muttered, feeling the sheer pressure that the crown was producing.

She was buffeted back as a wave of miasma hit her, sizzling against her coat, but managed to stop herself from falling over.

She held a wing up to shield herself from the second wave and charged her horn up.

'Don't miss,' she thought, praying to Celestia, Luna and whoever else might listen. Time seemed to slow as she collected every last drop of mana in her body and flowed it into her luminous horn, the sheer volume starting to burn her flesh around its base.

Her wing was struck with the second wave of miasma and Twilight let out a sharp cry of pain, but forced herself through it. Pulling her wing away, she saw the King floating within the light of the thunderstorm and unleashed the pure Alicorn energy from her horn.

The air around her horn sparked and ignited as a shockwave rippled outwards, shattering the solid stone flooring in front of her. With a crack-boom, Twilight's magic lanced through Titas' eye, through his head and carried on through the castle, leaving a hoof-sized hole up into the sky, where the clouds disintegrated around it.

Titas crumpled to the floor in an unmoving heap, the crown tumbling off his head and rolling across the floor to where it stopped in front of the panting mare.

Twilight went to reach for the crown, but found her wing burning hot for one second, then freezing cold the next. Moving her attention to her wing, her eyes shot open when she found her feathers crumbling to dust and her flesh starting to slough off her bone.

Stopping herself from vomiting, she panicked, her eyes locking onto the dried and shriveled Gryphons strewn around the room. Each step she took felt harder and harder as her wing grew lighter and lighter with each dribble of decomposed flesh which splattered into the ground.

Her mind was reeling at the thought of what she would have to do, but she stopped just short of a sword and shakily levitated it in front of herself. She could see her own sweat covered and blood-stained self reflected back at her as it passed around to her side.

Crying out in pain, she unfurled it best she could and moved the sword up, before bracing herself and forcing the sword to be brought down upon her still healthy bone.

Her wing and sword clattered to the ground and Twilight let out an agonising scream, her eyes clenched shut. She moved a few steps away from the pooling blood and fell to her knees.

It only took a moment for what she had done to hit her, but she kept her eyes shut, even as the sound of hooves filled her ringing ears.

"Sister, in he- By the goddess!" Luna cried, standing frozen in the doorway as she surveyed the carnage... until her eyes settled upon Twilight. "My Moon!" she screamed, galloping over and wrapping the mare up in her wings, her eyes staring at Twilight's wing across from them, then down at the oozing stump and the many, many cuts and gashes across Twilight's body.

Celestia made it to the dining room, and much like her sister froze up at the sight of the room, then made her way in. "Moon, are you..." she began, her voice low as she saw the sword, then wing, then bundled up Twilight in Luna's embrace. Her heart fell at the sight and she lowered herself next to them to tenderly take Twilight's hoof in her own.

"Moon, we need to leave. The city guards are closing in on the Palace," Celestia stated, tearing her gaze away from the shivering Twilight to look up at the Luna.

Luna brushed her hoof through Twilight's matted mane while she stared down at her, nothing but love and concern in her eyes. "She is right, my love," she began, glancing to Celestia then back to Twilight. "We must leave if we are to escape the city."

Twilight squeezed Celestia's hoof and grunted out in pain while she pulled herself up onto wobbly hooves, then was steadied by Luna and levitated onto Celestia's back.

"Hold on, Moon. I'll try and be as smooth as I can."

"The crown," Twilight coughed, weakly gesturing towards where it had tumbled.

Luna levitated the crown over and held it tight, making sure Twilight knew. "I won't lose it; let's go."

Author's Note:

So guys, we did it. We reached the end of the first arc! It was a hell of a trip, but the trio will now have even bigger foes coming their way!

I really hope you've enjoyed it thus far and I hope you continue to enjoy it as the world opens up for the three of them and they get to see wondrous new sights and strange companions!

Of course, Twilight will get some more specific character attention given to her. Not only to flesh out how this whole journey is affecting her, but also to deal with those demon's and how she ultimately sees herself in the grand scheme of things.

There will also be more of a cohesive plot moving forwards. I apologise for those who have put up with various strings being pulled and ill do my best to solidify everything onwards.

I just want to say than you so much for sticking around. You all mean the world to me and I hope you stay around to see the end of Arc 2!