• Published 1st Aug 2020
  • 2,098 Views, 61 Comments

Crimson Heart - Starkeeper_Ponyfic



Discord's battle with the Elements pulls a certain determined human into Equestria. Shenanigans ensue.

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Arc 2, Part 1: Stirring in the Snow

In the ice-coated plains of Equus’s Arctic North, few things ever moved other than the snow. It would be suicide for anyone other than a yak to try crossing them without the equivalent of a portable bonfire for warmth, but one creature seemed to be defying this. An observer with a sharp eye might see a flash of color, the slightest hint of yellow, before it sank back into the snow. This continued for a while until searing cyan light poured from the earth, and structures of solid crystal rose from the snow, eventually forming a city and palace that repelled the snow.

The creature peered up at the city towering above it, shivering violently. The creature got up onto its back knees and looked around. Seeing no signs of life, it whimpered and got up onto its feet and pushed deeper into the heart of the city, head darting every way.

Suddenly, a mare sporting a faded, mauve, crystalline coat and mane wearing glasses with a scroll cutie mark emerged from a building. She gazed out in awe and confusion before spotting the creature.

"Ah, are you alright?" she asked, walking over shakily, like she hadn't used her legs in a millennium.

"I don't know," the creature confessed. "I'm so cold... and I'm confused, and I don't know where I am or how I got here..."

"Well, let's get you inside the library, so you'll... at least... be... um..." the mare trailed off before shaking her head. "Oh! Yes! Let's get you inside so you'll be out of the wind and snow," she offered.

"Thank you," the creature sighed with relief as it staggered inside. "Where am I?" it asked once the mare had gotten it situated.

"This is the library of the Crystal Empire," the mare replied.

"I guess you're the librarian?" the creature asked, breathing into its hands to warm them.

"Er... maybe," the mare frowned. "To be honest, I'm not sure that I even work here... I don't even quite remember my name. I think 'Amethyst' was in it?"

"Well, thanks for letting me come in, Ms. Amethyst," the creature murmured after a small sneezing fit.

"You're welcome... er, do you know your name?" Amethyst asked.

"Y-Yeah," the creature said with a nod while wiping the snow off its green and yellow sweater and white fur. "My name is Asriel. Asriel Dreemurr."

❤︎

Strained noises erupted from Discord's mouth as he clutched the side of his head.

"Discord!" Fluttershy cried, rushing to his side. "Are you alright?"

After a moment of recovery, he panted out, "I'm fine, Fluttershy. A magical energy surge just hit and it overwhelmed me. I'm gonna need to cut our party short so I can let Celestia know," he said apologetically.

"Don't worry, Discord," Fluttershy reassured him. "If it was strong enough to cause you visible pain, then you need to go and figure it out. If you want to, we could schedule an extra tea party whenever you have extra time."

Discord nodded quickly and warped out, but his disembodied claw appeared suddenly to grab a classy jet-black bowtie he left behind.

❤︎

Celestia found herself utterly bored with day court.

"Have the nobles always been this stuffy?" she murmured to herself between complaints. From demands of lawsuits over perceived slights, to rage that the damage from the Changeling invasion two days before wasn't totally fixed, to half-baked paranoia that almost everypony was a spy or assassin, if Celestia didn't get a break or distraction soon, she feared that she would go crazy.

That distraction came when Discord entered with a weary expression on his face.

Celestia greeted, "Ah, good afternoon, Discord. I was just about to-"

"Princess Celestia, something big just happened in the north," Discord interrupted. "An enormous magic burst."

"The north?" Celestia asked. "What could... oh."

Discord nodded. "You and I both know there's only one thing that it could be."

"So... the Crystal Empire has returned," Celestia murmured. "And if it has returned... then so has he... I must get a message to Twilight and her friends."

"I will meet them in the north," Discord promised. "After what he did to my sister... I will not stand by again."

"Good luck, Discord," Celestia said. "And... For what it's worth, I've always regretted not being able to save her."

"Thank you, Celestia," Discord replied before vanishing.

❤︎

"Frisk, Spike, Thorax, we need to get the girls as soon as we can!" Twilight called. "The princess just sent us an urgent summons to Canterlot!"

"I'll get Rainbow and Applejack," Frisk volunteered, "Spike can get Rarity and Pinkie, and Thorax can get Fluttershy."

"Sounds like a plan," Thorax, who'd decided to stay with Twilight after the wedding, agreed.

The three darted off to accomplish their task while Twilight prepared notes and a reply to send when Spike returned.

Frisk reached Applejack and Rainbow Dash at Sweet Apple Acres in the middle of a heated competition. They were essentially playing tug-of-war and Frisk decided to let them compete.

"Ah... ain't... losin'!" Applejack muttered through clenched teeth. "Y'all! Are gonna havta! Clean the barn when ya lose!"

Rainbow grunted with exertion. "Hah!" she replied. "More like you'll... have to clean Tank's shell for the next two weeks!"

Frisk cleared their throat to alert the mares when it was obvious their competition wouldn't end very soon. Rainbow was the first to let go and Applejack hooted in joy despite falling over.

"Hah! Ah win! Y'all better get ready to-" Applejack was cut off when Frisk shushed her.

"Twilight needs you two at the library as soon as possible," Frisk explained. "I was gonna let you two hash it out on your own but she said that Princess Celestia sent an urgent summons."

"Thanks for letting us know, Frisk. Race ya to the library, AJ!" Rainbow cried. "I'll even carry Frisk to give you a fighting chance."

Frisk snickered as Applejack rolled her eyes. "Alright, sounds fair," Applejack sighed. "Can Ah have a thirty second head start?"

"Don't push your luck," Rainbow snorted while she let Frisk on. "Now, eat my cloud dust, AJ!" she proclaimed before darting off. Applejack howled in laughter and broke out into a full gallop behind Rainbow. The two zipped through Ponyville, neck and neck for most of the race, but Rainbow managed one tighter turn than Applejack at the end and eked out a win.

"Nice work, Rainbow," Twilight giggled. "Though you were really close, Applejack."

Meanwhile, Thorax was just arriving at Fluttershy's house. He knocked on the door to find Fluttershy trapped in an animal riot.

"Ah, hello, Thorax! I'm having a little trouble with my little furry friends, can you help me out?" Fluttershy asked.

"S-Sure, how can I help?" Thorax asked.

"Well, if you could scare them... just a bit, I mean... then they might be willing to listen," Fluttershy suggested.

"Um... what animal? A bear, maybe?" Thorax asked.

"That would work!" Fluttershy agreed. "Just roar a liiittle quietly."

Thorax shifted into a bear and growled slightly loudly, but when the animals barely reacted he began a roar that slowly grew louder until the animals actually listened. Fluttershy grinned at him and he shifted back and hid while she started lecturing the animals for their behavior. They reacted with appropriate shame and went off into their separate spaces.

"Okay, so what did you need from me?" Fluttershy asked Thorax.

"U-Um, Twilight s-said that Princess Celestia needed all of your friends in Canterlot so s-she sent me, Frisk, and Spike to find you all," Thorax explained. "Frisk went to find Applejack a-and Rainbow Dash and Sp-Spike went to find Rarity and Pinkie P-Pie."

"So does Twilight want us to meet at the library or at the train station?" Fluttershy asked.

"Library, I think," Thorax replied. "At least she didn't say to meet at the train station."

"Alright! Just give me a moment to get my saddlebags in case I need them," Fluttershy hummed.

At the same time that Thorax was leaving with Fluttershy, Spike had just arrived at the Carousel Boutique after wrangling Pinkie Pie from Sugarcube Corner. He knocked on the door only to be dragged in by Rarity and shoved into a holding position for fabrics.

"Oh, it's so good that you came when you did, Spikey-Wikey!" Rarity exclaimed. "I was positively running out of space for these-"

"Rarity," Spike complained, "I came here because Twilight needs you and the girls. Frisk and Thorax went to get Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash, and I came for you and Pinkie Pie... and also this is uncomfortable."

"Oh, my apologies!" Rarity cried. "I thought you were just coming because you wanted to help me out, but if Twilight needs my help..."

"Where should I put all this fabric?" Spike groaned.

"Oh, I'll take that off your hooves," Rarity laughed apologetically. "Now, let's get to the library so we can see what Twilight needs!"

When all the Element bearers finally reached the library, Twilight showed them the contents of the letter and had Spike send a quick reply before she led them to the train station.

They managed to catch the new express line and reached Canterlot within two hours. Princess Luna met them at the station and teleported them all to the throne room.

"Hello, everyone," Celestia greeted with a grave expression. "I have a very important task for you all."

"Ooh, what is it?" Rainbow exclaimed gleefully. "An all-powerful supervillain rising to take over the universe? An evil dictator gaining support among the poor ponies? An ancient forgotten empire rising from the grave to take vengeance upon Equestria?"

Frisk sighed. "I've shared too many anime plotlines with her," they muttered.

"The last one... is almost correct," Discord replied. "Ancient forgotten empire, yes, but the empire itself isn't planning any sort of vengeance."

Fluttershy's eyes widened at the sight of Discord. "Oh, is that what made you need to leave our tea party early?"

"Correct," Discord confirmed.

Celestia cleared her throat and continued, "What Discord said, and the empire as a whole isn't planning vengeance on anyone. Their emperor, however..."

"He's called King Sombra," Discord cut in. "He's a unicorn who took over the empire before it was lost, and at first he was... fine enough. From what I remember, he was a bit socially closed off, but otherwise, a decent enough stallion."

Celestia nodded and continued, "I remember him being rather friendly, and he and Luna were... shall we say very close. But... then he began tampering with forces he couldn't control when he realized he was aging more quickly than Luna and... it did not end well for anypony involved."

Discord took over the tale. "Yes, he was taken over by dark magic when he began studying it to achieve alicorn longevity. It was subtle at first... he was just more aggressive, had gained more confidence seemingly overnight... but... as he delved in further it got worse. First he began working his subjects harder, but it eventually fell into outright enslaving them. At his worst point... he..." Discord faltered, emotion contorting his features. "My little sister Eris was visiting the empire at the time to try convincing him to lighten up, and when she pointed out the energies surrounding him, he... he hurt her. He really hurt her, and I wasn't able to save her... turns out a spirit of chaos isn't great at healing magic."

Fluttershy zipped over to Discord to console him while Celestia moved on with the tale. "After... that situation Luna and I went to confront Sombra but he was... beyond saving. His mind was totally twisted by his dark magic and we were forced to do battle with him. We managed to overpower him together, but just when we were about to give him a permanent solution he cast a spell that made the empire disappear. If Luna hadn't been so good with shield spells, we would've been swallowed with it. I never thought I'd see the empire return, but... it has now. But if the empire has returned, then he has returned."

"You need us to stop him before he grows powerful enough to attack Equestria," Twilight summarized.

"Correct," Celestia confirmed. "I know this is a grave task, and I will not ask you to do it alone. I will send a few regiments of the Guard, Cadance and Shining Armor, Discord, and Luna with you all, as well as the Elements of Harmony. I wish I could come with you, but... Equestria needs me here, especially if failure ends up being an option."

"Understood, Princess," Twilight declared after getting nods of confirmation from her friends. "When do we leave?"

"Tomorrow. I will commission a train to take you to the arctic research lab closest to the Empire's location. Be careful, all of you," Celestia commanded. "Especially you, Discord. I know you need closure, but... Sombra is powerful. And rage, anger, it empowers him. Please don't be afraid to back out if you begin getting too upset."

"I know, Celestia," Discord murmured. "I know hurting him won't bring Eris back, but I can't promise I'll be levelheaded. That's... kind of opposite to my nature. But I promise I'll try."

"That's... probably all that I can get from you," Celestia sighed. "Very well, I will take that. I will see you off tomorrow morning. Luna, I will take care of the moon tonight so you can get some extra rest."

"Thank you, Tia," Luna smiled. "Even the few extra minutes will prove useful, since I can apply a restfulness spell once I'm done monitoring the dream realm."

"May Faust protect you," Celestia murmured.

Author's Note:

The goat boi has graced us with his presence :yay:

Yeah Asriel's my favorite UT character fite me :<

I'm sure some people are gonna wonder HOW he got into Equestria, and since I'm not sure if it'll make it into the story proper, I'll explain here: Frisk and Chara's combined DETERMINATION, which Chara had control of during the battle with Chrysalis, was focused on their shared love for Asriel. That raw burst of power and emotion pulled on the fragments left of the SOUL magic Asriel had absorbed from the thousands of monsters in the Underground and got him through to Equestria, where its powerful ambient magic (and maybe the Tree of Harmony?) supplied his body with the magic content of a SOUL while his entrance near the Crystal Empire filled it with the ability to feel love.

Hope that makes sense, and if it doesn't... I don't really care its my fanfic and I'll do what I want and justify it how I want >:(

Also, thanks for the 105 bookshelves this is on, 43 of which are tracking! It means a ton that over 100 individuals thought this was worth adding :pinkiehappy: