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

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Princess Celestia

Chapter 12: Princess Celestia

After all the explanations were finished, Princess Celestia only had one thing to say. “We need to get started. Innocent creatures are dying.”

“We’ll take the others, so you can focus on their Celestia.” Spitfire called out, having arrived with Soarin and a few other Wonderbolts, alongside a few other of their allies that had been ready and willing to fight.

The Princess of the Sun merely shook her head in reply. “No. I won’t force you to defend two cities alone. Twilight - all three of them - Cadence, and I will be joining you and the others in dealing with the Solar Empire’s forces to help better prevent casualties. Then Celestia.”

“I still wish you had let me come, Sister,” Luna declared from the other side of the portal via a telepathy spell.

Sci-Twi sighed. “I know what you mean, Luna, but even if we didn’t need you, Sunset, Starlight, and Trixie to watch the portal on your side of things - make sure that we have a way home after all of this - you have to remember that the reason all of this started is because Celestia murdered you and Sombra in this world. Who knows what she’d do if she saw, well, you now?”

“She’s right, Luna: it’s too risky,” Celestia said with a sad smile even as Luna reluctantly agreed. “That said, Tirek is going to be difficult to deal with…”

Princess Twilight nodded, remembering her own brief battle with him. “Plenty of collateral damage…”

“I'll try and force that fight elsewhere when I have the chance.” Taking note of how quiet her student’s counterpart had been throughout this whole discussion, Celestia turned to Twilight Sparkle. “Is there anything you'd like to add?”

Twilight merely nodded as she approached Celestia...and that was all the warning the Sun Alicorn got before she was drawn into a hug. “I know I've been saying this a lot today, but it's never any less valid. I realize this isn't completely accurate, but it's good to have you back.”

Princess Celestia gave a bittersweet smile as she returned the hug, feeling her student's Lunar counterpart practically melting into the embrace even as tears leaked from her eyes. “I realize it’s not an entirely accurate reply, but it’s good to be back.”

Meanwhile, Garble was having the time of his life. It was about time that Celestia, that any of these puny ponies learned the basic rule of the universe: the strong lived and the weak crumbled, and he refused to be weak. Just as he was about to prove just how much ‘strength’ he had against some of the (ex-?)Wonderbolt members that were supporting the Lunar Republic, however, a blast of magic forced him back.

“That’s enough, Garble,” Princess Celestia declared as she arrived on the scene with reinforcements. “If you follow the commands of anycreature besides yourself, then follow this one: go home before I’m forced to make you go home.”

“Never!” the rebellious dragon declared. “Celestia rules Equestria the way I would’ve ruled the dragon lands had Ember and Spike not stolen the title of Dragon Lord from me: we have no room for insurrection! We have no room for weakness! And if you care for these pathetic creatures so much, then I’ll take that much more pleasure in having you watch them die!”

Celestia merely shook her head as the red-scaled dragon proceeded to pick up various carts and pieces of debris before throwing them at innocent bystanders, disgusted at this cowardly, and to be blunt, rather idiotic tactic. So idiotic, in fact, that the Princess of the Sun didn’t even have to move as she telekinetically caught the multiple thrown objects before they could hit any of their targets and lowering them safely to the ground. “Please, Garble. I literally move the sun on a twice a day basis. You think I can't handle a few boulders? And speaking of the Sun, I think that would be enough heat to override even a dragon's fire resistance.” And that was all the warning Garble got before the Alicorn fired off a fairly powerful heat blast at the rebellious dragon, knocking him out. “Now who’s weak?”

“Still you!” And that was all the warning anycreature got before Queen Chrysalis proceeded to blast Celestia into a nearby building before using her magic to subsequently force the building in question to seemingly collapse on top of her. Sure, everypony in the Solar Empire now knew what Twilight and the Lunar Republic had already suspected - that she was a serpent in their supposed Garden of Eden - but she didn’t care! Now she knew that she could do the same thing to the Solar Empress. Now was the time to make everycreature bow to her! “LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!”

Her sense of triumph was short-lived, however, as she soon felt somepony tapping her on the shoulder. Sure enough, Celestia had teleported away at the last minute...and hoo-boy, was she mad! “I truly have gone off the rails in this world if I thought it would be a good idea to trust you!” the Alicorn of the Sun declared before proceeding to knock the Changeling Queen out with a well-placed chop to the back of the neck: Fluttershy wasn’t the only pony who knew about pressure points after all.

Deciding to play it safe, Celestia then proceeded to hit the traitorous (former) Changeling leader with a sleeping spell. “By the time you wake up from that, you'll be in heavy duty chains and wearing a high-grade horn ring. And Gilda, I am politely asking you to surrender peacefully. You know you can't win against me.”

Sure enough, the Gryphon in question had been standing off to the side watching everything that had happened. “I never wanted this.” Gilda said with a sigh as she lowered herself to the ground in surrender. “I just wanted to keep the few friends I had safe. You said it yourself: I couldn’t win against you. Twilight couldn’t win against you.”

“Knowing her friend Rainbow Dash as much as you claim to, as well as the circumstances of he unfortunate passing in this world, I’d have thought you would have just a little more faith in my student.” Celestia gently scolded as several Lunar Republic loyal guards came to take the Gryphon away even as she nodded to some fillies that Gilda had been protecting when Garble and Chrysalis had started their little tantrums. “But I’m certain she will take how you were looking after the safety of the Empire’s little ones into consideration when passing judgement upon you.”

Elsewhere, Dragon Lord Ember continued to reluctantly march several of her Dragons through the city streets. Loath as she was to admit it, Little Strongheart and her counterpart had been right: siding with the Empire hadn’t been the way to protect her subjects. Her musings were brought to a screeching halt, however, as she spotted the Celestia that hailed from the Equestria we all know and love descend from the heavens. Mistaking her for the Empress, however, Ember growled in defiance, having finally decided that she had enough of licking the Empire’s boots. “Are you ready, Princess? Do you think yourself powerful enough to challenge the might of the Dragon Lands?”

“Yes: we do.” And that was the only warning Princess Ember got before the entire Apple family clan came out over the next hill, led by Applejack and her Lunar counterpart. Needless to say, a fight quickly broke out.

Ember, however, decided to take the fight to the big mare herself. “You're not wanted here, Empress!” she cried out as she charged the Solar Empress’ doppelganger...only for her to be stopped in her tracks by the Alicorn’s telekinesis. One punch to the gut and the battle was over before it even began.

“I might not be wanted here, but clearly I am needed.” Celestia declared as she approached the fallen Dragon Lord, offering a helping hoof as she did. “With that said, though, I could use your help to stop the Empress from making sure creatures like you don’t have to suffer. I won’t force you, but I don’t believe you are ready to leave things like this.”

Ember stared at the hoof in confusion before looking to the pony offering it. “You...you’re not her, are you?”

“No, I’m not,” Celestia said with a smile as the Dragon Princess took her hoof, “And fate permitting, I never will be. Think you can still fight?”

Lunar Princess Ember merely snorted in reply. “It’ll take more than a few farm ponies to take my Dragons down. No offense, Applejack.”

“None taken,” both farm ponies declared.

“And in any case, it’s good to have you back, Ember,” declared one Little Strongheart, having tagged along with Braeburn and a few dozen of her Buffalo. “Also, just as a heads up, I got word that the others are holding their own in Ponyville. Who knows? Maybe it'll be easy from here on out.”

Before anyone could reply, however, Princess Celestia found herself blasted away from them by a mind controlled Tirek, who proceeded to charge right on through, toppling a building as he did. Little Strongheart could only facehoof in response. “Why did I say that?”

Back with the Alicorn of the Sun, Tirek could almost be mistaken for doing this of his own free will as he proceeded to try and take Celestia’s magic. A quick blast to the face, however, had him stumbling back, giving the Solar Empress’ counterpart the opening she needed to grab onto him and teleport the two of them to what was, ironically, the safest place in Equestria right now: the gates of Tartarus. The maneuver had unintended consequences, however, as the force of their rough landing was enough to damage Tirek’s collar, freeing him for the first time in years, and needless to say, he was not happy about how he had been treated. “You share the face of the one who tried to control me…”

Celestia merely nodded in reply. “I do, but even you must know that appearances can be deceiving.”

“Indeed,” Lord Tirek said with a scoff.” “I suppose I should thank you for freeing me, but seeing how you do share the Empress’ face, you'll have to settle for me making your death as quick and painless as possible.”

Celestia could only shake her head in disappointment: even in another dimension, Tirek’s only loyalty was to himself. Even still... “I can't say that my doppelganger wouldn't deserve that sort of treatment, but if you insist on living just to cause death and destruction, I'm afraid that you'll live disappointed.”

To say that the fight that followed was difficult would be like saying that water was wet. Celestia actually found herself on the defensive for the majority of the fight due to the raw strength and power Tirek commanded, and this wasn’t even his final form! That said, for all his power, the Centaur had never truly learned how to use his magic as anything more than what was essentially a blunt object, always going for the straight forward approach in battle, while the Alicorn of the Sun had spent milenium learning every battle tactic she could. Case in point, at some point in the battle, she purposely left herself open for an attack, hoping that the so-called Lord’s lust for more power would result in him trying to take hers. Tartarus’ most infamous prisoner didn’t disappoint...which had been exactly what Celestia had been counting on, as she proceeded to shove one of the pieces of Chrysalis’ throne that had been scattered around the prison as a means of further deterring prisoners using magic into the Centaur’s mouth.

A casual onlooker might well ask “So, wait: what happens when what’s essentially a magic vampire tries sucking magic out of an object designed to suck up non-Changeling magic?” The answer? Essentially what Twilight had hoped to do with the Solar Empress with her mana siphon: by the time Tirek had gotten the stone out of his mouth, he was as skinny, if not more so, then he was when he had first escaped Tartarus, making him easy pickings to be knocked out by Celestia.

Princess Celestia shook her head as she proceeded to lock Tirek back up in a cell. “No good comes from relying on stolen power.”

Before she had time to relish in her victory, however, her ears perked up, noting that something, or rather somepony was approaching. Turning towards the newcomer, she couldn’t help but stare as her Solar counterpart made her approach. “I knew they’d pull you over eventually: you don’t belong here.”

Celestia shook her head. “I would’ve thought you of all ponies would understand: I couldn’t just stand by and watch as all those innocent lives were slaughtered in the crossfire of your little war.”

The Solar Empress nodded. “I do understand, but I’d have thought that you would understand that I am this world’s Savior. I am their protector.”

Needless to say, Celestia was horrified at this declaration. “That’s what you call what's happening out there?! Protection!?”

“Disobedient children will be punished.”

“Children?!” Celestia cried out in shock. “I seem to recall ourselves hating the idea of ponies looking to us like we were gods. We don’t get to decide who lives and who dies.”

“It is my decision!” The Empress cried out. “It became mine when Sombra turned me into a weapon of mass destruction!!”

Princess Celestia sighed. “I know what you lost. Even still, ‘A true Princess, in any world, leads, not by forcing others to bow before her, but by inspiring others to stand with her.’ For a simple high school principal, I believe our human counterpart had some sage wisdom.”

“You dare to mock me? To judge me for my actions?!” Her Solar counterpart yelled out before approaching her. “Once I've killed you and brought your Luna here…”

“...and she'll be terrified and disgusted by what her sister had become in ‘her’ absence!” Celestia yelled out. “And I wouldn't be able to blame her one bit! This is far worse than anything she ever did as Nightmare Moon!”

“At least she’ll be alive!”

Princess shook her head in disgust at the pony her counterpart had become. What she had become. “Your Luna's death does not justify all of this.”

The Solar Empress growled in defiance. “Sombra stole her from me - after I only had her back for two years!”

“And you stole the freedom of this entire nation and several others.” was Princess Celestia’s immediate reply. “It’s time you gave it back.”

There’s an old saying: “You are your own worst enemy.” Needless to say, this fight was doing a very good job of showcasing just how true that statement was. Every blow, every spell, every possible way to put each other down, Celestia - both of them - had a counter for it. It was clear from the getgo that if Celestia wanted to defeat her counterpart, she’d need some sort of edge...and as luck would have it, she’d get it in the most unlikely source.

“GET AWAY FROM HER!” Storm Chaser yelled out as she rammed into the Solar Empress, very nearly recreating the Sonic Rainboom with how fast she had been flying. “You killed my Mom, you killed my Aunt. Did you really think I was going to let you kill yourself?! I don’t care if this ends up extending how long I’m grounded. I don’t care how much more powerful you are then me! I won’t stand by and watch as you destroy everything that makes Equestria great!”

“You have courage.” Celestia remarked as she backhoofed the young filly into a wall. “The courageous are always the first to fall.” The filly didn’t give a response other than using one of the flashbangs that she had “borrowed” from the Republic’s base, causing the Empress to flinch back in pain before turning back to Rainbow’s daughter with a glare. “Why do you continue to fight?! Can’t you see that it’s hopeless!?”

Having seen just about enough, Princess Celestia charged forwards and pinned her Solar counterpart to a wall, giving the nastiest glare she could muster as she did. “If that filly is anything like her mother, she won’t quit as long as she can still draw a breath. None of Twilight’s allies will. Twilight never will. Me? I’ve got a different problem.”

Celestia proceeded to punch the Empress until she was forced through the wall she was pinned to before giving a glare. “I feel like I live in a world made of matchsticks. Always taking constant care not to burn something. To burn somecreature. Never allowing myself to lose control for even a moment or somecreature could die. But you don’t care about that anymore, do you? You stopped holding back a long time ago. Even still, you can take it, can’t you? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose and show you just how powerful I am. How powerful you used to be.”

It seemed that seeing Storm Chaser’s bravery, her Loyalty, was enough to give Celestia a second wind, as the Solar Empress soon found herself on the defensive for the first time in years. What’s more, Celestia had been right: the Empress had stopped holding back within the last few years, always going into battle, as the humans would say, “all guns blazing,” whereas the Princess of the Sun from the Equestria we all know and love had always kept some of her magic and strength in reserve. In fact, the only reason Chrysalis had been able to overpower her back at the Canterlot wedding was that she couldn’t go all out for fear of hurting the ponies who had been in attendance. Here though, the only pony Celestia could hurt was the Empress, and judging by the bruises that were covering her Solar counterpart by the time Luna’s sister was done with her, she’d done a very good job of doing so.

Princess Celestia just took a few deep breaths as she looked upon her fallen counterpart. “Your reign is over.” Needless to say, however, the Solar Empress wasn’t quite ready to call it quits, as evidenced by her firing a beam at her counterpart with her horn. Teleporting out of the beam’s trajectory, however, Celestia quickly delivered a punch right to her Solar doppelganger's jaw, knocking her to the ground as she did. The Alicorn of the Sun simply shook her head in disappointment as the Empress tried to get up to attack her again, only to fall to the ground once more. “It’s over: you won't be terrorizing the ponies of this land anymore.”

The Solar Empress, however, merely glared in defiance. “Love and tolerance only go so far: fear and hatred are the only things those ponies understand. One day, you will learn that as well.” With that she passed out, completely missing the look of pity that had been in her counterpart’s eyes.

When she came to, Celestia almost couldn’t believe her eyes. There, surrounding her, stood the Elements of Harmony, reunited after five long years: both versions of Applejack (Honesty), Rarity (Generosity), and Fluttershy (Kindness), Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena (Laughter), Rainbow Dash and the potential bearers of Loyalty that were Soarin, Lightning Dust, and Storm Chaser - whom Rainbow and Soarin looked upon with pride, though also promising that she was still grounded, though it would remain a week seeing how she did leave a note back at the base and it was to help Celestia - and of course, the trio of Twilight Sparkles (Magic), all of whom stood beside two versions of Dragon Lord Ember and her own counterpart.

Knowing that even she couldn’t fight all of them at once, the Solar Empress settled to leveling a glare at her former student. “You’ll have to kill me.”

The leader of the Lunar Republic, Twilight Sparkle, merely shook her head in reply. “No, Celestia. Unlike you, I only kill when I have absolutely no other options. Besides, too many beings of too many different species have already died because of this war. No, you are going to be spending the rest of your extremely long life in Tartarus.”

“And just how do you have the authority to decide that punishment?” The Empress barked back in defiance. “Your Princess privileges were revoked years ago. And what's to keep me from escaping? After all, Tirek escaped more than once and that was when he had far less power than I do.”

“I can answer that, courtesy of a spell Luna, Cadance and I once used to temporarily transfer our combined power to our universe's Twilight.” Princess Celestia remarked. “I can use that spell again - only this time to transfer your power to your universe's Twilight - permanently. At the very least, you will be left too weak to easily escape.”

“And as to authority, I found an interesting bit of information in the contracts you had us sign when we joined up with the Empire,” Rarity declared as she took out a legal document. “Page 5, paragraph 9, sub-section 12. ‘All laws and decrees made by the Empire shall be absolute so long as at least half of the Elements of Harmony agree with the Empress’ commands.’ Well, Darling, I don’t believe that I agree with you taking away Twilight’s status as a Princess. What say the rest of you?”

“I want Twilight to be a Princess again.” Fluttershy said with a look of determination, her and Rarity’s counterparts likewise nodding in agreement.

“Your world’s Rainbow Dash wouldn’t like that declaration, and neither do I” the rainbow-haired Wonderbolt declared, Storm Chaser, Lightning, and Soarin likewise showing their disdain for that particular decree.

“Princess Twilight Sparkle not being allowed to actually be a Princess? And ponies call me crazy.” Pinkamena remarked, Pinkie Pie likewise giggling at the ridiculousness of that particular command.

“I might not be an Element Bearer, but I’ve had my fill of the Empress’ commands,” Princess Ember immediately replied. “If I’m permitted, I’d like to jump on the ‘Give Twilight her Princess privileges back,’ bandwagon.”

“Yer permitted,” Applejack declared with a smile, even as her and Ember’s counterparts nodded in agreement.

“Et tu, Applejack?” Celestia growled out. “After everything I’ve done for you?”

“Twilight’s family,” the farm pony said with a teasing grin. “And as Ah recall, the last thing ya wanted was for me to forgo dedicating time to my family. Besides, Apple Bloom wouldn’t talk to me for a year if I didn’t help Twi get her status as a Princess back. She’s doing just fine outside that magic bubble, by the way.”

Needless to say, Celestia didn’t have a good reply for that statement, only being able to look down at the ground in frustration even as all three Twilight’s smiled in appreciation. After five long years, the Solar Empress was forced to truly admit defeat.

To be continued