• Published 9th May 2020
  • 479 Views, 46 Comments

For the Mare Who Has Everything - GrassAndClouds2



An extremely wealthy and powerful member of Luna's Night Court who is nearing the end of her life resolves to obtain the secret of immortality, no matter the cost

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Epilogue. One Pony's Life (in Worn Condition)

Solar Flare looked out a window of the airship as they moved to hover over the hamlet just below the entrance to Red Magician's dungeon. She had spent the trip reading through a few of Red Magician’s journals that Luna had teleported to them, but those books had little useful information. For instance, take the last journal Solar Flare had looked through. There was a section on his dungeons, and even advice to prospective explorers on how to get through them, but they were just nonsensical gibberish. What did lines like “Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer’ even mean?

But no matter, she thought. It was just a little longer until they went into the dungeon. Just a little longer until she could finally give a truly valuable gift to her master, her mistress, the only pony who could love one such as her and thus the only pony worthy of her love.

Vicereine Puissance and Scepter were back in Puissance’s luxury quarters. Scepter almost hadn’t been able to come after all, as there had been an argument between Puissance and Banner regarding whether it was truly safe for Scepter to go on this trip. In other words, Puissance’s ungrateful family had once again tried to spurn the wonderful opportunities she had painstakingly arranged for them. However, Scepter’s impassioned begging and the promise that at least one Element of Harmony would be on hoof for Scepter’s protection won Banner over, and the foal was with them, just as Puissance and Luna had wanted.

The next set of quarters contained Moondancer, about a dozen clipboards which now seemed to be perpetually orbiting the unicorn’s head, and all the equipment she needed. She had come alone, without her assistants, but had promised that if Puissance could get her the fourth Horseshoe she would have everything she needed to cast the immortality spell. And that was good. It would be unfortunate if Moondancer tried holding out again, although Solar Flare was sure she could… convince her to see reason.

From over a neighboring ridge Solar Flare saw an approaching chariot marked with Luna’s crest. That no doubt contained Trixie and whichever other ponies Luna thought should help them. She’d heard the airship crew exchanging theories on who else Luna would send, some much more sensible than others. Other Elements, like that Ditzy mare who had gotten on so well with Puissance’s Vault ponies? Twilight Sparkle, to back up Moondancer as the expedition wizard (though that would no doubt infuriate Moondancer) and because they were basically in the backyard of the province she could one day rule? That crazy metal musician who had done some dungeon crawling before, Thrash Metail, and also Octavia to keep Thrash under control? Other nobles, like the mountaineer Baron Max? There were truly a large number of options.

But ultimately none of them mattered. Even if she and Puissance were alone, she knew she was strong enough to destroy Red Magician’s defenses and find the fourth Horseshoe. Strong enough to compel Moondancer to cast her spell, no matter how recalcitrant she got. Strong enough to truly serve her master.

Including, she thought, in ways her master would never know about.

She thought back to those reports from the scholars about the Golden Horseshoes. She had gone through them before Puissance had, and while she hadn’t initially intended to make changes, there was one segment she had ultimately decided to remove and burn. Its warning had been stark, and in her mind’s eye, Solar Flare could still see it.

“The legends vary,” the scholars had written, “as to whether using the Horseshoes may cause side effects. Some say the Horseshoes may be worn by anypony, but others say they can cause great damage if worn by one who is not a descendant of Mimic. Two myths state that the Horseshoes, if worn by a member of the family, will draw their power from the ambient environment, but if worn by an outsider, will drain the life force of those in proximity to the wearer—or those closely related to the wearer. In extreme cases improper use of the Horseshoes could result in the severe injury or death of others…”

Solar Flare did not, as a rule, hide things from Puissance, but she had destroyed that paragraph for three reasons. First, as the paragraph noted, the legend may well be false, and there was no point in worrying her master unnecessarily. Second, if it was true and Puissance really did hurt or kill somepony while becoming immortal, it would be important that they could prove to Luna she hadn’t known. Luna could exile Solar Flare to Tartarus over the matter, she could have her hung in the town square, but if Puissance hadn’t known, then Puissance could not be held responsible or punished. And if sacrificing her life was what it took to save her master, Solar Flare would gladly give it up.

And the third reason…

Her ears perked up as she heard Scepter make some joke. Puissance laughed, and Solar Flare permitted herself a scowl. Her master was incredibly loving, of course, but sometimes she loved so much she lost sight of her own value. If she knew that wearing the Horseshoes could hurt those around her, or her family, or Scepter specifically, she might not put them on. She might let herself die so that yet another member of her hateful, ungrateful family, could live. Her family would never appreciate Puissance’s incredible sacrifice in denying herself eternal life just because a few of them might die, of course. They’d still hate her, and Puissance would die, and Equestria would have lost the best pony it had ever produced.

But if Puissance didn’t know, if she put the shoes on and Moondancer made her immortal and they only later found Regalia or Banner or Scepter dead… well, Puissance would have eternity to get over it. And what’s more, she would have an eternity to create a better family, one that truly loved and respected her as she deserved.

Down below, Solar Flare saw somepony--perhaps the hamlet's caretaker--waving them down, so she pushed thoughts of Puissance's family out of her mind and extended her wings. It was time, she thought. Time when she could finally repay the mare who had saved her life. Time when she could finally give something worth having to her master. After all, she had finally found a worthy gift for the mare who had everything. And she intended to make sure the gift was received.

At any cost.

Author's Note:

This chapter takes place immediately before the Golden Horseshoes story proper.

And that's the story!

Note that this story is deliberately being vague about who exactly is going to be at the dig site for the Golden Horseshoes story. This is mostly to avoid trampling on that story; I tried to set things up so almost any character combination is available and hasn't been ruled out by this one; that's why the only ponies that this story explicitly states will be there are Puissance herself, Solar Flare, Scepter, Moondancer, and Trixie. Of course, there are a great many other ponies who could conceivably show up in Golden Horseshoes proper (other Elements, Twilight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer and Lightning Dust, Thrash/Tavi/Paperweight, other Vault ponies, Latigo ponies like Shining Armor and Night Light, other nobles like Max and Posey, griffin raiding parties, Zaldians looking for more magic weapons, various changelings, Fisher and renegade Factory Security goons, etc.), but I decided not to specify whether any of them are here or not so that GH can have maximum flexibility. Similarly, the ambiguous bit about whether the Horseshoes are harmful or not is also so that the Golden Horseshoes story can go either way, depending on what the writer wants to do.

This chapter is also designed to help set up Solar Flare as a potential 'final boss' in that story, in case the writer doesn't want Puissance herself to be that boss. Thus, Solar Flare can provide an alternative if desired.

Comments ( 7 )

And the winner of Craziest Pony goes to... Solar Flare!
A hard-earned late-breaking victory from such an enterprising pony up against such fierce competition as her own boss, and Moondancer.
(Of course, we must acknowledge that the previous favourite to win this race, Queen Celestia, had to bow out at the last moment due to "family issues" and "sudden attack of sanity".)

... guess that's what Puissance gets for wanting a crazy pony as her utterly devoted bodyguard (and, no doubt, for the idea of having "Celestia" as her bodyguard in the first place).
Hey, she got exactly what she wanted.

And finished and... I love it. I really, really do.

Puissance has softened slightly... but she still NEEDS to get punched. Greengrass, too. But that's par for the course for them. Really deep insights into punchable Puissance.

So, yeah. I also have no problem with this being canon and can be a good lead-up to my Golden Horseshoes story. Long as they arrive at Paradise Estate.

Twilight Sparkle, to back up Moondancer as the expedition wizard (though that would no doubt infuriate Moondancer)

Twilight: "Moondancer?! It's been forever!"
Moondancer: "Yes. Well. After today, I'll finally demonstrate that I am the greatest mage in the world!"
Twilight: "Awesome! I can't wait to congratulate you!"
Moondancer: "I hate you."

Anyway, I loved this through and through. I think that the edits you made to the areas I had issues with worked out very well. For now I'll be moving this into the Season 2 Movies & Tie-Ins folder, but when (when) Season 3 begins we can move it there.

10233829

Pleased to hear that you enjoyed it. And I'd have no problem at all stating that the dungeon is built out of the ruins of Paradise Estate, or that the Estate is part of the hamlet near the dungeon, or however else you'd want to work it.

10234180

Thank you! I'm glad you loved it. I really enjoyed writing it. It was fun getting to dig into Puissance's character a little more, and to draw upon the beginnings of some of the ideas you've brought up regarding Golden Horseshoes and Puissance's ultimate fate.

10234180

Carrot Top: Wait a minute, is that how me and Applejack act around each other?
Cheerilee: Well, sort of. You're much more endearing.
Carrot Top: On my god!

This was a really interestingly told and well written story. The exploration of the politics in the Lunaverse is always one of my favorite parts of it and seeing the wheeling and dealing here was really neat. Such a shame that you totally spoiled that Corona would eventually be defeated though. I was so so convinced that wouldn't happen. :P Anyway thanks a lot for sharing this. It's a shame it didn't get more notice and exposure.

Great story, but lame non-ending. :ajbemused:

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