• Published 18th Oct 2019
  • 9,378 Views, 535 Comments

Time Enough For Three - Valtyra



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

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Arc 1: Chapter 2

Author's Note:

Hey there, lovely readers!
This chapter will contain some of the 'dark' stuff I was talking about. Not too much either.

There's a long fight scene, which I hope works as it's been a very long time since I've actually done any action.

As always, much love! <3

With a yelp, Twilight found herself falling face-first onto the dirt on the other side of the portal. In her haste to travel through the portal, she realised, in that split second, that she hadn’t studied how far up the spell would have placed it. Hitting the ground with a heavy thump, Twilight let out a muffled groan and pulled her face from the dirt.

Thankfully it was only a couple of hooves off the ground, but it was more than enough, coupled with her magical exhaustion to worsen her already sour mood. Still, she didn’t know the area around her and for all she knew, there could be predators prowling about ready to munch her down. Thus, with an amount of effort that nearly rivalled her assault on Tirek, she pushed off the ground to stand wobbly on her hooves.

Around her, like before were grassy plains. Various foliage was scattered about, providing refuge for smaller animals, but it was mostly open space. ’Perfect. Nowhere to hide if things go bad, she thought to herself, scanning the mountain range. ’It sure looks like Equestria.’

Turning around, Twilight found herself overlooking a sharp drop into a massively deep canyon with an intact overhang. Without much in the way of light, she had to rely on her Alicorn sight to provide her any details. She could just about see what looked to thick, jungle-like foliage as well as a simple settlement nestled within the canyon, on the far side as well as several moving light sources climbing up the canyon’s side.

“Okay, maybe it’s not Equestria,” she mumbled, tapping her chin in thought. ”Maybe Cervidas?”

Humming, she looked up upon feeling the magic of the portal quiver and collapse upon itself, leaving her standing there alone and suddenly feeling very exposed.

There wasn’t much for Twilight to do out in the open. She knew that banditry and faction warfare was a common thing this far back and didn’t particularly feel it would be a good thing to get caught up in a fight with the wrong lord.

Glancing around for an idea of where to do, she spotted a well-worn trail and made towards it, hoping that it would lead her to the Princesses sooner than later. The spell did open at this spot after all and it would have closed and reopened if both sisters had left the general area.

Now that she had a chance to wander, her mind was racing with thoughts, many of which pertained to what she would do once she found the pair of young Princesses. Despite her having travelled back thousands of years, Celestia and Luna were still many times older than herself. Would they trust her?

Why didn’t she think of this before she came through? Twilight didn’t have an answer. She was so caught up in if she could, she didn’t stop to think if she should and now, she was growing a little nervous.

’What if they hate me?’ a thought rang out in her mind, causing her to wince as if it had struck her. Of course, the more rational part of her knew the Princesses, despite being so young compared to their present selves, would still be full of grace and care. It was only natural, right? They’re the Princesses.

Finally, Twilight’s hooves touched down on the worn away dirt road that branched off opposite to where she stood. Taking a long glance in both directions, she was frozen to the spot, indecision etched on her face.

Unfortunately for her, there weren’t any distinguishing features that really sold one way over the other. To her left ran next to the drop into the Canyon and towards that settlement. To her right was an unknown, only showing itself to push further into the plains and away from the only civilisation that she knew existed in the immediate vicinity.

Shaking her head quickly, she took a deep breath, letting it simmer then releasing and turned to her left. The decision had already been chosen once she realised that without somewhere to sleep, she’d be a sitting duck for any bandits or ponies that would want to do unmentionable things to her.

Walking along the path, Twilight glanced about, her paranoia keeping her alert for any signs of life. There were plenty of chirps, growls and yips, but nothing that she thought were directed specifically at her. All in all, it was rather peaceful. Stressful; but peaceful.

At least it was, until a piercing scream sliced through the silence. Twilight’s ears swivelled around, trying to find the source, helped along by another, this one moving closer!

Pushing herself out of her shock, she galloped forwards, the trees and bushes growing thicker this far down the path. Just as she was about to burst through some thick bushes, she found herself colliding with a pure white coat and toppling onto her side with a grunt of pain.

With adrenaline pumping, Twilight forced herself up onto her hooves and spun around, horn aimed at the pony, but froze upon seeing Celestia laying there. The mare herself looked to have lost her ethereal glow; pink mane and cream coat matted and scruffy. Twilight’s eyes roamed the Princess’s body and her blood ran cold.

Lodged deep within Celestia’s side was an arrow-shaft.

Scrambling forwards, she came to a stop once another pony, clad hoof to hoof in leather, lept out of the bushes and pointed their horn at Twilight. A single sword holster was attached to his side.

“Do you wish to die? This is our prisoner,” he growled, narrowing their eyes as their horn glowed a soft lime green.

Twilight was sure that the pony was a stallion, from the voice and took a single step back as to not anger him. She noted a crossbow hovering behind them, aimed towards her, arrow cocked and ready to fire.

“Easy now,” she began, taking a careful step around the stallion, keeping her distance.

“Begon, whorse!”

Twilight wasn’t prepared to leave the Princess there, especially not with this bandit. Narrowing her eyes, she charged her horn and brought up a lavender shield in front of her, just in time to shatter an incoming arrow into splinters.

The bandit, seeing this, dropped his crossbow and fired a blast of magical energy at Twilight, who leapt to the side, leaving a scorched patch of grass in her place. “Wrong move!” he yelled, firing off a volley of blasts which either impacted Twilight’s shield harmlessly or ricocheted off into the bushes, before bringing his own translucent shield up.

“Leave the Princess and go,” she growled, taking a step forward, tears forming, “please.”

“Princess? Are you deranged?!” he shouted while rushing at Twilight, a sword sliding out his holster. Once inside the shield, his sword swiped at her leg, cutting her flesh and causing her to tumble over with a cry.

Twilight scrambled and laid next to the Princess, before leaning up and letting out a huff of annoyance. Blood leaked down her leg onto the dirt but did little to deter her once she saw the murderous gaze.

“Fine, I warned you,” she stated, rising, then falling to a knee.

Twilight pointed her horn at the stallion and focused her magic into a projectile which launched out of the tip, shattering through his magical shield and colliding with his horn. As soon as her magic impacted, his horn cracked and tore apart, scattering his keratin into the bushes around them.

The pony froze solid as his mana began to drip down his face, a look of horror beginning to etch underneath. “Wha-“ he muttered, before seeing the liquid drip onto the dirt. Instantly, he began screaming and galloped off down the dirt path.

Twilight stared at where the pony was just standing, her own shock evident as her heart thumped in her chest. Her insides churned as she felt the crunch of unicorn horn underhoof, her guilt growing into a hurricane that threatened to overtake her.

Until she heard Celestia’s wheeze of pain.

Twirling round to face the mare, Twilight’s thoughts instantly washed away at the sight of her. Now that she had a closer look, she could see that Celestia had plenty of cuts and bruises littered over her body, with several that looked like whip marks along her back.

Her horn contained minute cracks, as if caused manually to stop a unicorn, or alicorn, from using their magic without tremendous pain, along with many of Celestia’s primary feathers having been plucked.

“Princess,” Twilight whispered, letting out a choked sob. “Who would do this to you.”

With no time to spare, she pulled her saddleback, that had fallen off her during the duel, over and opened the side that contained her medical supplies. Seeing as the arrow was the biggest issue, she started there.

Pulling down several dozen leaves, Twilight placed them on the ground, after using a sanitation spell, then laid out her equipment. The area wasn’t as clean as she wanted, but it would have to do in the meantime; Celestia’s natural healing would be able to take care of the rest.

With a hint of trepidation, Twilight began to use her magic to cut Celestia’s fur off, around the impact site, hating herself for tarring the beautiful coat. After, she pulled out a bottle of pure alcohol and laid her aura over Celestia’s body to keep her still, poured it over the wound.

Twilight decided to ignore Celestia’s shaking and held her down. Slowly, the mare stopped, allowing Twilight to lift a scalpel up, placing it against the solar mare’s flesh, ready to cut the arrow out.

“I’m sorry, Princess.”


Twilight sat back and placed the bandage down with a sigh of relief. She had spent the last half an hour making sure her Princess wouldn’t bleed out, but finally she had closed her up successfully.

Glancing about, she could see the beginnings of light inching over the horizon, along with the guilt that she had pushed back to save her Princess. She didn’t need to shatter his horn; she only needed to knock him out.

Twilight reached up and ran her soft hoof along her spiral horn and shivered in disgust at the thought of some pony doing it to her. Even her enemies back home were given a second chance, as shown with Sunset and Starlight.

Letting out a quivering, tired sigh, Twilight looked down at her own leg and found that her Alicorn healing was still in effect; a tiny reprieve from what she had gone through. Yet, it did little to quell the rising restlessness that threatened to overpower her.

She didn’t know why Celestia was attacked, let alone why Luna wasn’t with her. ’The spell should have put me in the vicinity of Luna,’ she thought, looking around as she stood up. Once she had made sure no pony had come back, she wandered around the lightly forested area for any clues, being careful not to crunch any more horn underhoof.

Pushing through the bushes that Celestia had fallen through, Twilight found herself in a roughly circular clearing. There was a trail of blood running from one end to the other, as well as several arrows embedded in the ground every so often.

The mare wanted to investigate further, to find out where Celestia had come from, but her instincts and rational thought held her back from wandering too far from the wounded mare. There will be time later. As such, she pulled back through and lit her horn up to easily lift Celestia’s lithe form further into the forest, just in case any pony came back to ambush them.

Finding a suitable area, Twilight tenderly placed Celestia down, having padded the area with leaves from the bushes, then went about placing several magical runes around the area to alert her if any pony neared. She then wandered around and collected several twigs and kindling to construct a fire, which bathed the pair in a warm glow.

Unable to stop herself yawning, the mare laid down next to the fire and rested her eyes, for only a moment- at least until she was startled awake by Celestia holding her down, one hoof against her neck.

“Where is my sister?!” the Alicorn practically snarled, her ruined wings having flared high above her while she pressed down on Twilight.

Letting out a choked cough, Twilight held onto the hoof and stared up at the mare as a tiny whimper leaving her. “Lu-“

Celestia narrowed her eyes, her anger growing. “Do not speak her name!” she shouted, flaring her horn and throwing Twilight across the area, before screaming out as pain burned through the nerves in her horn.

Twilight rolled across the dirt and spun herself with help from a pulse of magic, throwing a plume of dirt up in front of her. Facing where she saw Celestia last, she slid to a stop and flared her horn, fearing the Princess would actually hurt her!

Within a second, Celestia shot through the dirt cloud like a bullet and collided with a sudden lavender shield. Bouncing back, startled, she stood there with a mixture of emotions crossing her face. Eventually it settled back on anger.

“Pri-“ Twilight started, catching herself. “Celestia, stop!” she continued, receiving a jolt of pain as Celestia’s hoof hit her shield. “Think about it! Why would I sleep near you if I did anything!” she pleaded, having had to back up slowly from another hit.

Even with as much magical ability she owned, she could see cracks forming.

“Lies! You are keeping her from us!” she shouted once again. “We just wish to live in peace.”

With a cracked sob, Celestia’s hooves hit the floor as she stumbled back, energy leaving her broken body. Heavy coughs racked the Princess and she fell to her knees, causing Twilight to rush forwards, dispersing her shield.

“Celestia!” she gasped, holding onto the Princess with her hooves, even against the weak protests. “Stop it, you’ll hurt yourself more.”

Twilight could see that most of her cuts had already begun to fade away, since the biggest wound had healed.

“Come on, let’s get you back to the fire.”

Using her magic, Twilight helped Celestia back over, ignoring her piercing gaze. It was obvious the Princess didn’t buy her excuse, but it wasn’t her concern if she didn’t believe it or not; Twilight was going to help her.

Settling the Princess down at the fire, Twilight wandered around the other side and let out a sigh. She lowered herself and stared across at her. She was at a loss as to where to start; she had never seen the Princess so vulnerable. Even when her magic was drained, Celestia still looked unhurt.

Glancing around, Twilight thought she should just jump right into it. “What happened to you?”

Celestia looked away from the mare. “filth like you. That’s what happened,” she spat, looking at Twilight like one would look at a sewage.

That look caused Twilight to wince, as if struck. She had never seen the Princess use that before and it was breaking her heart.

“Celestia, I’m not with them. Don’t you remember? The one attacking you was a stallion,” Twilight said, trying to reason. “I, uh, ran him off.”

Celestia frowned and looked down, trying to remember. It was slow, but the realisation hit her. “You,” she mumbled, glancing back towards Twilight, “you truly saved us?”

“I did,” Twilight replied, nodding and pushing the image of the bandit out of her mind.

“Why?”

Twilight was taken aback by that, causing her to frown. “What?”

“Why did you save us? Do you wish for gold; trinkets perhaps?” Celestia asked. “You are out of luck. We do not have anything.”

Twilight shook her head, seemingly hurt by those questions. “Of course not! I couldn’t stand by after I saw you. No pony deserves that.”

The alicorn stared at Twilight and let out an airy laugh. Quickly though, her eyes narrowed. “How have you come across our name?”

Twilight’s own eyes widened, and she looked away. ’I’m a trader,’ she thought; mouth parroting after; ’I had heard of a pink maned Alicorn.’

Celestia’s stare eased off Twilight, who sighed in relief. “I see.”

With a grunt, she stood up and moved over to Twilight’s side of the fire. In response, Twilight rose to meet her. “What is your name?” Celestia asked, staring into Twilight’s eyes.

“Moon Light,” Twilight replied, unable to hold her gaze and looking down.

“Well, Moon Light,” Celestia began, taking a knee to bow in front of her. “We cannot begin to thank you for saving us.”

Twilight’s eyes shot open as she watched her Princess bow! “It’s okay, really! I did what anypony would have done!”

Celestia snorted. “Neigh, no pony would have dared. But you are not any old pony,” she said, staring up at her. “Perhaps you could help me?”

“Luna,” Twilight replied.

“Indeed,” the Alicorn rose up and looked up to the sky. “We were taken to their camp. My sister was recaptured as we tried to escape.”

Tears formed in Celestia’s eyes and Twilight took a step forward and gently took her hoof, causing Celestia to tense up. “Of course, I’ll help, Celestia. We’ll get her back.”


The pair had quickly extinguished the fire and begun their trek towards the bandit’s camp, keeping near to the path to not lose their heading. Twilight didn’t know what to think now. She didn’t know how long it had been since she stepped through the portal; a couple of hours? More?

It wasn’t so much draining as it was scary for the mare. Here she was, in the past with her Princess, about to rescue her sister from bandits!

Celestia slowed as the light forest around them thinned even more into grassland. Off in the distance, the pair could see a mining outpost built into the side of a mountain with a thin trail of smoke drifting away from it.

“Is that the place?” Twilight asked, turning to Celestia and receiving a sombre nod. “Alright,” she said, turning back and scanning the landscape, then pointed at a copse of trees. “We can make it to those trees over there and rest for an hour or two.”

Pushing on forwards, they began their long trot towards the copse of trees that set the midpoint. Twilight, only now, was beginning to regret having Rarity make her the outfit, what with her being covered in leather on a warm summer day.

Still, it was too late for the former Alicorn and despite the heat, she couldn’t help but feel rather ‘hero-like’. She had saved a Princess from a dangerous thug! ’Dear me, what would Rarity think,’ she thought, giggling softly and garnering attention from Celestia.

“What do you find amusing?” she asked, confused.

Twilight looked over and chuckled. “Nothing. Just remembering a friend from home.”

“Oh? Pray tell.”

“Her name’s Rarity. She’s a fashion designer. The best I’ve seen actually,” Twilight answered, smiling warmly. “She actually crafted this for me.”

She gestured to the leather clothing she wore and received a nod in return.

“We see. She must certainly be highly regarded with this quality,” Celestia said, eyes roaming over Twilight’s body, then settling on her empty sword holsters. “You do not carry swords?”

“Oh, no. I don’t really like swords all that much. My magic is good enough,” Twilight replied, shaking her head as she chuckled.

“Somepony that relies only on magic. You are interesting, Moon Light.”

Twilight returned with a sheepish smile and continued towards the copse of trees.

It wasn’t long after that the two of them reached their hiding spot. The group of trees were just enough cover for them to hide and rest. During the wait, Twilight began to look through her inventory of medical supplies, keeping a little distance from the solar mare, as well as hiding the more modern medicine. She took stock and found that she hadn’t used too much of her sutures, but she was slightly lacking in alcohol. Still, she reasoned it wouldn’t do to fret too much and packed her saddlebag back up.

Returning to Celestia in the middle of the copse, she sat down and levitated a stick over.

“Alright, I’m going to need a plan if I am to get your sister out. What can you tell me about their camp?” Twilight asked, passing the stick over. “Draw what you remember.”

Celestia took the stick in her hoof and began to draw the camp. “Tis a mining camp, so they have walls made from heavy lumber, with a swing-gate out front. Several ponies keep watch across the walls, as well as some inside, guarding the mine.”

“Guarding the mine?”

Celestia nodded. “Tis where they are keeping my sister and several other ponies. We had to mine for our food,” she said, looking away as she composed herself. “My sister,” she paused. “Luna is stubborn. They were not kind to her.”

Twilight just wanted to scoop the mare up and comfort her, but this Celestia didn’t know her. Hell, Twilight wouldn’t even be brave enough to do it to the Celestia in the present. Yet, this one wasn’t the solar triarch. Compared to what she would become, she was barely a filly.

“I’ll get her back, okay?” she said, reaching over and placing a hoof over Celestia’s.

“We thank you. You are so kind, and I do not even know you,” Celestia replied, cracking a smile.

Twilight felt the beginnings of a flush make its way onto her cheeks and she pulled back. Clearing her throat, Twilight gestured to the map that Celestia was drawing. “How did you get out?”

The Alicorn marked the spot that she escaped from in the dirt. “Here. There is a small opening just below the furnace. You should fit, I did.”


Twilight had left Celestia back in the copse, not wanting her to get hurt; she couldn’t cast magic after all. She had waited, strangely enough, until twilight before making her way out towards the mining camp.

As she expected, the camp quickly lit torches all around the perimeter to deter any would be thieves that might be stupid enough to attack the camp. Of course, this only made the ponies on the walls easier for her to spot.

The camp itself was relatively large, with Twilight estimating three tents inside, along with the forge and storage. The inside was obscured by the heavy log wall that ran all around the camp itself, fortifying the mine.

Three ponies along the top wall. One unicorn, two Pegasi,’ Twilight quickly noted, rushing out past one of the trees and up to the wooden wall of the camp. Sneaking around the wall, she spotted the opening and could feel the heat radiating from within, even standing a few meters back.

Now that she was feeling the heat, the mare was having second thoughts. ’There doesn’t seem that many ponies up top,’ she thought, stepping back.

The silence of the camp was broken as the crack of Twilight’s teleportation snapped through the air. With a flash, Twilight was on top of the wall and could now see that there were several more ponies that Celestia had mentioned there would be; all of which were now staring at her in shock.

The camp was almost as she imagined it would be. Three tents, two of which could only hold storage, were set up near the entrance, along with the forge that had been constructed near the mine entrance.

All in all, the camp was well supplied, and as it turned out, well bodied. Her eyes scanned the area and picked out six ponies in total; two pegasus, three unicorns, and one earth pony.

It only took an instant for the nearest pony, a pegasus, to scream in anger at the trespassing unicorn!

The bandit pushed off the ground, using his wings to hover several hooves in the air and aimed his leg mounted crossbow at Twilight, taking a quick shot.

Shocked, Twilight flared her horn, causing her lavender shield to blast to life, splintering the shot mere inches from her face as a unicorn, on the other side of the camp, fired a bolt of electricity at her. The bolt ricocheted off her shield and hit a pile of logs meant for the forge, exploding wood shards across the camp and setting fire to the nearest tent.

As if by magic, the rest of the group leapt into action!

The pegasus growled as it swooped down, slow enough to pass harmlessly through the shield, and bucked Twilight off the wall. She fell between one storage tents and the forge, her back hitting the hard gravel with a thud.

Her eyes widened upon seeing the Pegasus come careening down and she activated her shield to cover herself just in time. The pegasus collided with the shield, causing mind-splitting pain to run down her horn.

Crying out from the combined barrel and horn pain, Twilight’s fired a pulse of magic into the Pegasus, blasting him back and against the palisade, knocking him out cold, just as she rolled to the side to dodge a titanic maul that slammed down into the dirt, being wielded by a hulking earth pony covered head to hoof in heavy plate armour.

Five

Forcing herself to her hooves, Twilight had to brace herself with a shoulder as the Earth pony charged into her, knocking her off her hooves and throwing her back against the same palisade, causing her to cry out.

Spotting a glint out of the corner of her eye, Twilight winced in pain and brought a small section of her shield up to stop a trio of arrows that the other Pegasus fired at her, but only caught two. The third clipped her across the shoulder as she jumped away, barely dodging the same earth pony’s buck that shattered the palisade’s wood to bits, as well as another crossbow bolt embedding itself into the wall with a ’twang’.

Rolling across the dirt and into the middle of the camp, Twilight expended more magic than she should have to teleport away from a multitude of magical blasts, which threw chunks of dirt about the area.

With another flash, she was back up on the wall and started to fire bolts of magic down towards the remaining pegasus. While several were dodged, one smacked him in the chest then threw him back against the palisade to knock him out.

Four

Twilight hissed in pain as the crackle of magical lightning snapped across the camp and burnt across her flank, right through the middle of her cutie-mark. Across from her stood a gaunt unicorn, the tip of her horn smoking. She stared at Twilight then fired another whip of lightning, barely missing as it scorched the walkway behind her.

Turning, Twilight broke out in a gallop towards the unicorn, dodging a swooping pegasus carrying twin swords and flared her horn, teleporting behind the spell-caster that was further down the allure.

The unicorn was ready for this and turned around, anticipating the attack. His horn arced with lightning that snapped directly onto Twilight’s chest, sizzling her fur and causing her to tense up as the electricity flowed through her nerves.

The smell of her burning fur assaulted the air as the unicorn stopped, horror on her face.

Twilight took a step forward, pain coursing through her mind, almost blinding her as she screamed and spun, bucking the unicorn over the edge of the parapet.

Three

Swooping over her, the pegasus sliced Twilight across the back with their sword, shredding through the leather, cotton and silk to tear into her flesh. Dropping to a knee, she growled up at the flier, ready to fire upon the attacker.

Suddenly, she felt the wood under her hooves crack and bend, throwing her off the wall as it exploded in a shower of splinters and magical force which peppered her coat with cuts.

Twilight flew through the air, then hit the ground with a heavy ’thump’ and coughed, blood staining her lips. She could see she was just behind one of the tents, hidden from view.

Rising up, she didn’t notice the Earth pony spin around and buck her through the storage tent next to her. She tore through the other side, having crashed through a box and skidded across the mud, a whimper leaving her bloodied and cracked lips.

Pushing herself up, Twilight slipped and fell into back into the mud, covering her front and matting her mane against her body. Feeling the blood pool in her mouth, she spat it out and rose up to her hooves, her broken body instinctively jumping away from the maul that hit the ground where she had been.

Off to the side, a unicorn galloped around the side of the torn tent, causing Twilight to glance over. Not expecting the intruder to still be standing, the unicorn frantically tried to cast their spell, leaving Twilight an opening to fire off several weakened blasts of magic. Most hit the dirt around them, but one landed squarely on their chest, causing them to rethink and gallop away.

She cried out again, barely dodging the maul that the earth pony heaved at her and limped out into the open. She came under fire from the other remaining unicorn once again and summoned her cracked shield, taking hit after hit, only for the maul to smash her back leg. She could feel the bone shattering as she was bucked once again, throwing her across the camp and against the palisade.

Blinding pain erupted across her entire body, forcing her to see a blinding white. She couldn’t think straight as every part of her hurt. Twilight just wanted to sleep; to dream of the Princesses and go home, but she couldn’t. Not until Luna had been reunited with Celestia.

Opening her eyes slowly, she felt the world slow down to a crawl. Pulling herself out of the dent she was lodged in, her horn glowed, and she brought her magic down on the pegasus that was dive-bombing her with his outstretched swords. She saw the intent to kill her etched on his face and she was reminded of how easy it was to shatter the unicorn’s horn before.

The bandit’s face contorted into a mixture of shock and pain as Twilight’s magic forced him to the ground, crumpling his body under the force of an Alicorn’s true strength.

’Two’

Twilight began to limp away from the wall, making her way towards the entrance to the mine, eager for this to be over, yet she spotted the remaining Unicorn rushing around the tent. They stared at each other for a second, before the bandit charged her horn and fired off a volley of blasts, several of which cracked against Twilight’s shoulder, which she braced for, burning her skin.

Twilight’s aura reached out and took a hold of the bandit’s horn, squeezing until it cracked. The unicorn began to beg and whimper, snapping Twilight back to reality. With a flick of her magic, Twilight threw the unicorn off and heard the soft beats of her hooves as she galloped away.

’One’

She could hear the pounding of the armoured pony through the blood in her ears and the shaking of the ground through her cracked hooves. It didn’t take long before she saw the titan with her bloodshot eyes.

A form of gleaming iron and rippling muscles. The pony stood at least a head taller than her yet hesitated when moving toward her. With a heave of its leg, the giant rammed the side of its maul into the ground, but Twilight jumped away, her magic tearing a piece of its leg armour off.

She circled the beast, keeping as far back as her weakened magic would allow and poked, looking for a weak spot. She couldn’t simply blast it, the magic would bounce harmlessly off its metal hide, nor could she levitate it up anymore, having exhausted herself with the pegasus and unicorn.

Twilight was working off instinct now; her survival instinct. The rational part of her brain had switched off, saving her from the pain that had threatened to drown her in the sweet release of death. Yet, she was loyal to the Princesses, no matter what time zone she was in and her broken body simply refused to die, even as it was practically falling apart.

Another slam and another piece of the titan was exposed. She poked his flesh with a magical blast and received a roar of pain; but it just wasn’t enough. Her body was fading, adrenalin was running out and she needed to save Luna. The timeline couldn't be changed.

Twilight missed a critical dodge and was rewarded with a slice down her front leg from one of the mauls corners, which chipped her bone. Blood poured out of her wound and she could feel herself grow colder, even as her body was desperately trying to heal itself now that her adrenaline had worn off.

Closing her eyes, she summoned every last ounce of magic she had stored, her fur standing on end as magic crackled along her flesh and horn. Twilight’s horn connected itself with the Earth Pony’s unarmoured leg by way of a purple lightning bolt and vaporized the pony inside the suit, the pony inside screaming. The remaining glowing plates dropped to the ground, the air around them shimmering with heat as they slowly began to cool.

’Finally’

Twilight stood there; her eyes wide as feeling began to return to her cold body. Even for an Alicorn, her body was working overtime to make sure she stays alive and as much of a blessing it was, it was beyond painful. Never had she been this badly hurt, a papercut here or there which cleared up in here minutes, but this was excruciating.

Tears dripped down her muzzle, mixing with blood, before falling into the churned-up mud below her. The mare forced one leg in front of the other, moving away from the luminous plates and towards the entrance to the mine.

The wet splat of the mare’s hooves and the crackling of the tents as they burned were the only sounds left in the camp, but Twilight didn’t notice. Her thoughts had turned inwards quickly, her guilt rising once again. How easy was it for her to crush that pegasus against the mud, to crack that Unicorn’s horn, to erase that Earth pony.

She stopped just outside of the mine, looking down to see her blood begin to pool around her hoof. ’Am I a bad pony? she asked herself. She didn’t expect an answer, but the silence still hurt.

Majority of ponies are nice and friendly in the present. There’s no bandits or slavery; so why did she find it so easy to strike them down. They were ponies too, right? Twilight saw the pain in the Pegasus’s face and the horror on the Unicorn’s and she found a new pain emanating from her chest.

Limping into the cave, the first thing she noticed was the whispers of ponies deep within. Lifting a torch off a table nearby, she lit it using a sconce on the wall and pushed ahead into the cave.

The frigid air bit against the Unicorn’s bloodied coat as she moved ever deeper into the mine and she found herself tensing up as the light from the torch . Several rotting boards were nailed into the floor at points to stop ponies from slipping up, helping her to navigate.

The mine came to a stop in front of her and turned to the right, opening into a central cavern which housed various sized cages strewn about, as well as several pillars that looked to be bearing the weight of the ceiling. Twilight could see a group of ponies huddled up on the far side, Princess Luna standing tall in front of them, defiant in the face of a perceived threat.

The sight of the Princess standing there brought a tiny smile to Twilight’s face. ’Celestia did say she was stubborn.’

Suddenly Twilight began to cough and sputter, finding herself hold her stomach, and causing Luna to jump. “W-Who is there?! Show yourself!” she ordered, voice quivering as she stomped her shackled hoof.

She used a hoof to pull herself up the wall and stumble out, eliciting a gasp or horror from the ponies. Luna simply stared at the stumbling form moving towards her, unable to conceive of what had happened to the Unicorn.


The ponies rushed out of the mine and were greeted with the sight of the carnage which Twilight had wrought. By now, only one tent was left partially standing, with the others reduced to smouldering ash along with the unconscious bodies of the bandits strewn about. The Unicorn which Twilight had let go wasn’t anywhere to be seen and thus she assumed that she had run off.

Leaning against Luna, for support, Twilight saw the entrance begin to slide open and Celestia poked her head through. The Alicorn gasped as she saw the scene, then rushed inside upon seeing her sister, Twilight’s saddlebags on her back. Galloping up, Celestia pulled Luna into a tight hug, peppering her face with kisses.

Twilight was knocked slightly back by this and returned the gesture with a mild look of annoyance; one of which she thought she had earned the right to do so. Standing there, she quickly let out a whimper of pain as Celestia tarnished her pure coat with mud and blood upon scooping her up into a painful, if not completely welcome hug.

Celestia felt like heaven to Twilight now and fell limp against her. She couldn’t help herself and nuzzled into the crook of her neck, whimpering as the guilt began to rise once again. This was met with comforting ‘coos’ and ‘shh’ as Celestia wrapped her wings around her, eyes flicking over to her sister, a mixture of concern and suspicion evident.

The other rescued ponies begun to gather the unconscious bandits and tied them all together, making sure that the Unicorn was blindfolded and by herself. The rest were stripped down and left under the allure, so they didn’t freeze to death.

One of the ponies rushed up to the trio and alerted them that they were to gather the guards from the village in the canyon, then galloped off.

With that, Celestia gently pulled Twilight up onto her back and entered the still standing tent. The inside was outfitted with bedrolls and sleeping gear for several of the bandits, with a smashed box sitting off to the side where Twilight had crashed through.

The pair of Alicorns placed Twilight down onto the bedroll and found that she was out like a light as soon as her head touched the soft pillow. The pair then began to carefully strip the mare down to nothing, taking care to not agitate her wounds.

The more clothing which they removed, the more they were confused, and the more questions appeared that needed to be answered. Questions such as: why this Unicorn had the healing rate comparable to their own, or how she managed to take out every pony in the camp.

Covering up Twilight, the two Alicorns laid down near her, nuzzling each other as they waited for guards from the local village to return.