• Published 20th Apr 2020
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Disharmony: Gods Among Ponies - Mr-Astounding

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Twilight Sparkle 2

Chapter 8: Twilight Sparkle 2

Meanwhile, back in the Equestria we all know and love, Spike, having returned from his diplomatic mission, couldn’t help but shake his head in frustration. “Run that past me one more time?”

Sunset, having finished re-examining the portal, merely sighed in reply. “We successfully bridged the gap between the dimension where our friends have ended up, but we ended up pouring too much energy into the portal during the initial activation. Combined with how, if the readings Starlight and I found are right, that the other world in question has its own portal set up somewhere, we ended up accidentally causing a feedback loop that resulted in Pinkie Pie and Sunburst being sucked into the other dimension.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought you said,” Spike declared with a groan.

“We’ll continue to work on the portal to help make their return trip run more smoothly,” Celestia reassured her former student’s number one assistant, “but for now, I’m sure wherever Twilight is, she’s got plenty of ponies who are ready and willing to help her out.”

Just outside of Tartarus, Twilight Sparkle, leader of the Lunar Republic, couldn’t help but let out a sneeze. “Ugh, I really hope I’m not coming down with a cold or something.” Shaking her head to try and get her thoughts back together, she activated a scrying stone to address all of her allies just before she and the brash Pegasus entered the compound. “Everypony, Rainbow Dash and I are in position: begin the assault.”

Meanwhile, at Tartarus’ gate, The Solar Empress and her allies waited with baited breath for whatever assault on the hellish prison her former student had planned out. Still, even she was vaguely surprised with what happened came over the horizon: one huge army, consisting of Dragons, Buffalo, and just about every animal that sprung to mind (and even a few that didn’t) coming over the next hill, all led by the very determined looking trio of Dragon Lord Ember, Little Strongheart, and Fluttershy. Celestia would be lying if she said that she wasn’t somewhat impressed by the gathered forces: there had been more Dragons and Buffalo who had been opposed to her rule than she had anticipated and it seemed that Fluttershy’s talent with animals was something to behold in any world. Even still, she’d come too far to stop now. “Take them down,” was her sole command to her forces before the battle began.

Back inside of Tartarus, Twilight Sparkle couldn’t help but look towards her companion. “You have the explosives secure?”

“Right here,” Rainbow confirmed as she patted her saddlebag, “and I’m guessing you have the backup explosives for in case those fail and/or we need some extra 'OOMPH' at some point.”

“Not the most subtle plan, I admit,” Princess Twilight replied as she patted her own saddlebag, “but hopefully, Celestia will be too focused on the fight outside to notice us.”

“I don’t know,” Rainbow admitted as she scanned the surrounding areas. “It feels too easy. Like there should have still been one or two guards inside the...look out!” And that was all the warning Twilight got before the Loyal Pegasus pushed her to the ground, the two of them just barely dodging the magical blast as they did.

“You always did have sharp instincts and even sharper reflexes, Dash,” Solar Flash Sentry declared as he and the Thorax-look-alike from the assault on the Shadow Party came around the corner, the former quickly nodding to the latter. “I’ll deal with Sparkle. You deal with Rainbow, though remember to try and take her alive: we might need her to help us determine who the next Element of Loyalty will be.”

“No promises,” the Changeling declared as he stretched some joints before tackling the Pegasus out of the area.

As soon as they were gone, however, Flash’s features softened significantly. “Hello, Twilight. Still rocking the ‘hot librarian’ look, I see.”

“Save it, Sentry,” was the Lunar Republic’s leader said with a snarl. “Four years. Four years you stayed with the cause, and I’ll admit, if you had come to me with a ring when the fifth year began, I would’ve said ‘Yes’, but it wasn’t a ring you arrived with, was it?”

Here, Flash couldn’t help but growl with frustration. “I was cool with us fighting the Empire ourselves, but then you went and decided to get ponies from another dimension involved. What: getting ponies from our own dimension killed wasn’t enough for you?”

“I didn’t want that sort of blood on my hooves,” Twilight snarled back, “and besides, you saw the same images through the inter-dimensional scrying spell that I did. That they’re just as committed to protecting ponies as we are. As you used to be!”

“You know, I was going to try and convince you to leave this war behind,” Flash admitted as he got into a fighting stance, “but it seems there’s still one pony that needs to die before…” ...and that was far as he got before he suddenly dropped to the ground, holding his head. “N...no! I...I won’t let you…”

Needless to say, Twilight was shocked at this turn of events. “The re-education camps. Celestia must’ve managed to lure you into one. It hasn’t been you that was fighting us this past year, has it?”

“Sh...shut up!” Flash yelled out, his eyes scrunched up in pain. “All I care about is getting rid of...ugh, Twilight just take me out and get your counterpart out of here. I’ll be fine!”

Twilight simply nodded in reply, a tear leaking from her eye as she did. “Sorry, Sentry: I’ll try to make this as painless as possible for you.”

The fight that followed was, in a word, intense. Being former lovers, the two of them knew each other’s moves like the back of their hoof, so it was difficult for either to get a good hit in. Difficult, but not impossible, especially when Flash was fighting himself more than he was with the Lunar Republic’s leader. In the end, with how powerful he knew Twilight was, all he needed to do was let her get one hit in, which she eventually managed to do, blasting him into a wall, quickly knocking him out and ending the battle as she did.

Twilight couldn’t help but shake her head in frustration: she didn’t want to leave the stallion laying here, but she couldn’t risk her counterpart’s life by taking the compromised Pegasus with her. “We’ll find a way to get your mind straight after this: I promise.” she declared, giving him a quick peck on the cheek before flying off to aid Rainbow in her battle.

Speaking of whom, the Loyal Pegasus could only growl even as she continued to grapple with the Thorax look-alike. “Spike stood up for you. Starlight taught you a better way. Neither of them would want you to do this!”

The Changeling merely snorted in reply as he pushed the Pegasus to the ground. “I'm not Thorax.”

Twilight growled as she just barely managed to shield Rainbow from the Changeling’s attack. “This is Pharynx, Chrysalis's most loyal soldier and Thorax's sorely misguided brother.”

“It was my brother that was sorely misguided.” Pharynx growled out. “He would have made the Changelings too soft to properly defend themselves with what Spike and Starlight taught him. Celestia and Chrysalis both understand the value of strength better than you ever did!”

“I understand all too well that sometimes a direct approach is necessary,” Twilight retorted, “but even still, while part of me does hope that your counterpart might discover the Magic of Friendship in my doppelganger's reality, I’ve lost all my compassion for you when you killed Spike.”

“Wait, what?!” Rainbow gasped out. “I thought you said that he died in the hospital.”

“He did, except that it wasn’t from natural causes,” the Princess replied. “Despite what the Empire might claim, he was murdered in his sleep...and I should know: I was there when you slit his throat, Pharynx.”

“He was just a Dragon,” the rogue Changeling retorted with a roll of his eyes. “No big deal, right?”

“Hence why I’ve lost all compassion for you: I’d have thought you of all creatures would understand,” Twilight Sparkle growled out as she forced her opponent back. “Thorax was your brother, but Spike was mine!”

The humans have a saying: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Needless to say, Pharynx was quickly learning that it had just as much truth to it in Equestria. True, he was physically stronger then his brother and a number of his fellow Changelings, but when going up against an angry Alicorn with an ax to grind, it was only a matter of time before he…

...wait, she’s not…

I think she is…

She...she wouldn’t. She...ooh, she DID!

OUCH: right in the kiwis!

...welp: this Pharynx definitely won’t be having kids anytime soon.

Nope!

Let’s...let’s just move on, shall we?

“Thorax was, is, and always will be a much stronger Changeling then you will ever be.” Twilight growled out as she secured her fallen opponent.

“You know, our Spike is still alive,” Rainbow felt the need to point out as she helped the Republic’s leader secure the rogue Changeling. “I’m sure if you’d ask, our Twilight would let you spend some time with him.”

Lunar Twilight couldn’t help but snort in reply. “Maybe we should wait until after we’ve finished the mission before we start planning any inter-dimensional vacations.”

Meanwhile, Celestia’s guards were holding their own against the army the inter-dimensional/multi-species commanders lead into battle. The Empress herself, however, had had just about enough of the interference of the alternate Ember and Fluttershy...and come to think of it, she supposed that she did have a policy concerning traitors that she needed to enact in regards to Little Strongheart. With all that in mind, she blasted the Dragon Lord out of the sky before charging the Buffalo Chief’s daughter. Fluttershy, bless her soul, did move to try and stop the attack by employing “The Stare”, but while it did knock the High Councilor of the Solar Empire off-balance temporarily, she quickly rallied herself, blasting the two allies back a good distance. “A good try, Fluttershy,” she felt the need to point out, “but in the millennium that I’ve lived, do you honestly think you’re the only pony I’ve come across with access to that trick? Even if I hadn’t built up a tolerance against it, however, I wouldn’t let even you stop me from restoring order to this world.”

“Good thing she’s not alone then.” And that was all the warning Celestia got before she herself was blasted out of the sky. “Now you’ll face the wrath of the Great and Powerful Trixie and her allies!” Lunar Trixie yelled out as she, Soarin, Applejack, and Rarity joined in on the battle. Not too long after, however, one of the rogue Changelings attempted to charge the illusionist...only to be stopped in his tracks when a whip found itself around his neck

“Sorry I’m late,” Lunar A.K. Yearling/Daring Do declared as she slammed the would-be assailant into the ground. “Had to stop some of Celestia’s more radical followers from trying to release the Pony of Shadows as a means of destroying us. Shame too: we could’ve really used the help of Starswirl the Bearded and his companions right about now.”

“We’ll see about working to free him and the other Pillars when this is all said and done.” Soarin said with an understanding nod even as he kicked one of Celestia’s guards away from him. “But for now let’s focus on the task at hoof.”

Back inside of Tartarus, Princess Twilight Sparkle couldn’t help but wince, both in regards to the injuries she had received from her torture sessions and towards the light that suddenly flooded her dark cell. After blinking a few times to clear up her vision, however, she couldn’t help but give a bitter chuckle upon realizing who it was that stood before her. “So, you’re what all the fuss has been about.” she jokingly declared to her counterpart.

Twilight Sparkle, leader of the Lunar Republic, merely snorted in reply even as she removed her counterpart’s horn clamp and shackles. “Funny: I could almost say the same about you. Come on, let’s get you out of here, your Highness.”

“That is something you shall not do,” Solar Zecora declared as she walked out from behind a pillar. “This is the end of the Republic and you.”

“I’ll need to remember to scan everycreature we capture for possible mental tampering when this war is over,” Lunar Twilight remarked as she readied herself for battle against her former ally. “But for now, I won’t be going down without a fight.”

“I believe there’s been a misunderstanding here,” was Zecora’s reply as she took out some powder from her satchel. “It is not I who you’ll be fighting, but your fear.” And that was all the warning Twilight got before the Zebra shaman blew the powder into her face.

Coughing a bit, the Lunar Republic’s leader shook her head in frustration. “This won’t stop me from trying to take down Celesta, you know.”

“It should be: resisting didn’t do me any favors.”

Needless to say, Twilight had not been prepared to hear those words, or more specifically, who had said those words. “Rainbow?!”

“Been a while, Egghead,” Rainbow Dash, her Rainbow Dash, remarked...and yet at the same time, she knew that this wasn’t the Lunar Republican that she once knew: not if the decaying flesh and hate-filled eyes she saw were anything to go by. “You’d be amazed how quickly I jumped onboard with the Empress when the offer to not be dead anymore was offered to me. It’s more than you ever did for me.”

“You’re not Rainbow: she’d never say something like that. You’re not real!” Twilight fearfully declared, though she couldn’t deny that a part of her feared that a good number of her fallen allies would indeed turn against her if Celestia managed to bring them back, as crazy as the notion of her not doing it to Luna first might have been: that she wasn’t as capable a leader as she tried to be.

“Rainbow” merely snorted in reply. “I’m real enough to defeat you!”

As it turned out, real or not, “Rainbow’s” words weren’t all bluster: Twilight could practically feel the blows coming, the severity of them only serving to showcase just how much the Loyal Pegasus’ death had affected her. Despite all this, the Princess of Friendship held firm. Maybe she could have found a way for her friend to survive that fateful night. Maybe she could have found a way to survive this long against Celestia’s enhanced troops besides sending Rainbow behind enemy lines to retrieve the formula and fight fire with fire. Maybe she could’ve avoided this war completely if she had simply made a different choice somewhere down the line. However, if there was one choice that she’d never regret making, it would be choosing to fight for the freedom of Equestria’s citizens. Besides, focusing on the “what ifs” never helped anypony before, so it wasn’t going to help her now.

“Whatever you are, you’re right about one thing: my actions led to Rainbow’s death, and I can’t change that,” the Lunar Republic’s founder and leader admitted, “but I can make sure that it meant something, so go back to whatever dark corner you came from and stay there!” With that, she unleashed a large blast of magical energy, managing to hit the undead pony head on as she did. As she collapsed to her knees in exhaustion and the visage of the Loyal Pegasus faded away, however...well, maybe it was just her imagination, but she could’ve sworn that the zombie pony actually smiled at her in a way more reminiscent of her late friend before it disappeared completely.

Zecora, meanwhile, merely gave a chuckle as Twilight stood there panting, having apparently dealt with the hallucination her powder had conjured up. “Defeating that phantom was quite a sight,” she admitted, taking out some more powder, “Shall we see if you can handle another fright?”

Fortunately for the Republic’s leader, she wouldn’t have to find out, as her counterpart - having managed to get out of her cell with some help from the real Rainbow, who had managed to sneak around the Zebra while Twilight was dealing with the illusion - clocked the shaman against back of her head, swiftly knocking her out in the process. “I hope for your sake that you are under some sort of mind control,” the Princess declared even as she held back a wince, the earlier maneuver having agitated her wounds. “It’s about the only reason you should be getting any enjoyment out of the pain and misery of others.”

“Got that right,” Rainbow remarked before giving Lunar Twilight a quick embrace, having guessed what it was that she had been seeing. “It wasn’t me. Whatever it was that that fake said, I’d never be able to hate you for something that was my own choice. I mean, you heard Lightning Dust: the other me knew that there was a chance that going after the Ursa might end up killing her, but she did so regardless. She’d forgive you for what happened. I forgive you for what happened.”

“Thank you,” Twilight said with a watery smile. “I...I needed to hear that.”

“That’s what friends are for, right?” Princess Twilight remarked, before her eyes went wide upon noticing something in the distance, quickly lighting her horn as she did. “Watch out!” And that was all the warning Rainbow and Lunar Twilight got before Princess Twilight let out a blast from her horn to intercept a large rock that had been tossed in their direction.

“Other Sparkle Pony smash good,” Solar Prince Rutherford declared. “Think you smash good again?”

Needless to say, Lunar Twilight could only give a tired sigh in return. “Celestia got to Yakyakistan too, huh?”

“Yaks tried to smash Sun Pony like Sparkle Pony did, but Yaks got smashed instead.” Prince Rutherford explained. “Now only way Yaks not get smashed again is if Yaks smash Sparkle Pony and friends. It not personal.”

Needless to say, the fight that followed was not easy. Twilight - both of them - were heavily exhausted from their more recent ordeal(s), and to make things even more complicated, they had to refrain from using their magic so that they’d have enough to teleport out of here when all of this was over. Luckily for them, however, Rainbow Dash was more then willing to aid them in taking on Solar Rutherford, and while she might not have been as smart as the Alicorn(s) in question, that didn’t make her dumb. Case in point, she was able to take advantage of how they were technically in a cave and that they had brought some explosives along with them by luring the Yak under a stalactite that she had managed to stick some dynamite to before blowing it up, managing to knock out the Prince with the resulting rubble.

“I know,” Lunar Twilight said in reply to the Yak Prince’s earlier comment as she looked upon his defeated form. “You’re just trying to survive, the same as everycreature else, and that’s why it hurts so much.”

Princess Twilight merely nodded. “When friends go to war with each other, everypony loses.”

Rainbow could only shake her head in agreement. “Let’s just get out of here, shall we? The sooner we stop this war, the better.”

Meanwhile, Rarity, having tried to assault Celestia in an effort to protect her friends, soon found herself being choked out by the Solar Empress. Lunar Daring Do, having noticed this, dive bombed the Alicorn to try and force her to drop the Element of Generosity...which she did. Good news? Fluttershy and Ember were there to catch the fashionista before she could hit the ground. Bad news? The explorer found herself within the Empress’ grip instead, which was threatening to tear her wings off. Before she could, however, Celestia took note of an explosion that blew out one of the walls of the hellish prison below her. “So that’s your game, huh?” she growled out, dropping the adventurous Pegasus before flying off to confront her former student.

Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but worry as she noticed that she and her two hadn’t teleported away yet. “Uh, shouldn’t we be disappearing right about now?”

Twilight merely looked up as Cloudsdale made it’s arrival on the scene before giving a nod. “We just need to get a little further away from here before…” ...and that was as far as the Lunar Republic’s leader got before a very familiar face showed up. “Ah, pony feathers.”

“Did you really think you could fool me, Twilight?” Celestia growled out as she blocked the trio’s path. “Like he did?”

“This isn’t about Sombra,” was Twilight’s immediate retort. “It’s about you.”

“I perfected this world,” The Empress rebuked, not noticing how Twilight and Rainbow gave each other a slight nod before subtly sliding closer to the edge of the path they were standing on. “So many lives lost because I held back, when I should have been using all of my power.”

“To do what?!” The Lunar Republic’s leader barked back even as she and her two companions moved towards the edge of the cliff. “Oppress the innocents you swore to protect? Have control over their very lives?”

“How could you, of all ponies, not understand?!” Celestia genuinely wanted to know. “I could’ve prevented Canterlot! SAVED MY SISTER!”

Even as Twilight subtly/silently primed her magic for a quick telepathy spell, she couldn’t help but try and appeal to her former teacher’s better nature one last time. “Celestia, please, just listen. I do understand. I know how you feel. Remember, I’ve lost friends and family to evil magic too…”

Unfortunately, Celestia had heard just about enough of this discussion. “BUT YOU WEREN'T THE TRIGGER!”

Despite feeling somewhat disappointed that she couldn’t save her Senior Princess, Twilight remained determined. “NOW!” she yelled out both outloud and over her telepathy spell, diving over the cliff with Rainbow and her counterpart soon afterwards.

As Celestia made to follow, however, she was quickly blasted back by a huge bolt of lightning just as the three ponies teleported to safety. Needless to say, the Solar Empress was not happy. “The Weather Factory…” she growled out, before flying off towards Cloudsdale, murder in her eyes. As she approached, however, she was momentarily distracted by the bubbling of the rainbow rivers that she could see from even here...and that was all the warning she got before Cloudsdale literally blew up in her face.

Momentarily knocked off balance, both literally and figuratively, by this latest development, she quickly scanned the area and found, to her relief and frustration, that nopony had been inside the city when it exploded, as everypony had been previously evacuated and the one who aided her former student had been teleported away at the last minute. As she pondered her next move, however, something else drew her attention. More specifically, the words, “CELESTIA! YOUR TIME IS OVER!” that were shouted to the heavens by a magically amplified voice. More specifically, Prince Blueblood’s voice.

To be continued