• Published 25th Jan 2021
  • 2,352 Views, 60 Comments

Equestria at War: Solar Sacrifice - White Comet

This story takes place in the Equestria at War universe - When a certain thought to be dead Princess of the Night visits Sunrise Sparkle in her dreams, she begins to start doubting Daybreakers leadership. A decision that could decide her fate...

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Chapter 1: Doubt

The light of the amber setting sun refracted through the many crystals of the Crystal Castles throne room. The room itself resembled more of an office than a throne room nowadays. Along the back wall ran plenty of filing cabinets along with whiteboards with various notes written on them. Just beside the throne on the floor level was a large pristine crystal desk, in a semi-messy state with pieces of paper and books scattered around it.

Behind the desk sat a purple alicorn with a red streak through her mane and tail. Her cutie mark a yellow star with other smaller white stars hanging off the big central yellow star's tip. Her dark violet eyes concentrating intensely on the paperwork she was currently working on, a pen seamlessly working its way through the paper gripped in the red aura of her magic.

The large crystal door that was the entrance to the throne room squeaked open, although the alicorn paid no mind to the noise and the hesitant hoofsteps that followed it. “Everypony for your four O’clock is here, Grand Inquisitor,” A timid mare's voice hesitantly informed.

The alicorn gently lifted her head to look at the blue unicorn mare with a blonde mane standing a few feet away from her desk. "Thank you, Frost," She lifted herself out of the chair and to her hooves, levitating all the paperwork in her magic and collecting it up. "Walk with me."

Frost bowed her head in acknowledgement before taking her place alongside the purple alicorn. She took a few quick glances around the throne room, her eyes resting on the large portrait above the door. A picture of the alicorn dressed in the gold battle armour of the Solar Empire. Albeit with a few scuffs from battle marking its otherwise pristine gold. In the background of the portrait was the red flag of the Solar Empire, but extremely burnt and torn. At the bottom of the picture frame was a golden plaque with the alicorn's name engraved into it.

Grand Inquisitor Sunrise Sparkle, after defeating the Changelings at the battle of Crystal City - 22/03/1014

"Have you arranged for refreshments?" Sunrise asked her assistant as they walked through the hallways of the Crystal Palace.

"Yes, your Highness," Frost replied clearly.

"Good," Sunrise stopped at a door, holding her hoof out to it. "See to it they are comfortable, tell them I will be there in a moment."

"Right away, Grand Inquisitor Sparkle," Frost answered with a quick bow of her head before picking up speed again.

"And Frost?"

Her hooves squeaked to a stop at Sunrise's words, and she turned to face her.

Sunrise picked out a package at the bottom of her pile of papers and levitated it over to her assistant. "Please see that this makes it to Manehatten. Via the secure channels,” She specified, before levitating another small envelope on top of it. “And just make sure that one reaches Chief Marshal Sentry immediately.”

"Of course, your Highness," Frost acknowledged, taking the package in the yellow aura of her own magic and trotting away down the hallway.

Sunrise pushed through the door into her bathroom, locking the door behind her. She walked over the sink and used her magic to run the tap while at the same time looking at herself in the mirror. She spent a long time staring into her own purple eyes, trying to perfect her look. She wanted to look like she meant business. And she definitely looked it. She had had almost thirty years to practice, she definitely had it down.

But although she was looking the part, she definitely didn't feel it…

She slipped the shoe off her right forehoof and bought it up to her chest, seeing it shaking. She was trembling. Was she...nervous? In all the years she had served Daybreaker, she never once felt nervous.

Although she had a pretty good idea why. The latest demands of the Solar Empire would require more sacrifice from the Crystal Empire she was governing. She knew the industry leaders she was about to meet with would be furious about these ludicrous demands. But everypony knew that when Empress Daybreaker demands something, you have no choice but to accept or suffer the consequences…

Even knowing that she would easily win this debate either through negotiation or through force, she still had an uneasy feeling in her gut. Something wasn't right. She tried to hide the facts from herself, but deep down, she knew the demands from the Equestrian continent and the creatures living in it were unsustainable. But they really had no choice. The world had changed since the Great War with the Changelings that ended almost twenty-five years ago. Great superpowers had emerged on the continents, and the two biggest ones had insane supremacist dictators at their helm. Those being the Solar Empire, led by God-Empress Daybreaker, and the Griffonian Empire, led by Ferdinand Dawnclaw. The last bastion of harmony existed only in the far east with the united River Federation.

Sunrise levitated a flannel into the warm running water and wrung the majority of it out before giving her face a quick wash over with it. She quickly looked herself over, making sure all her regalia was in place. Her golden neckpiece hung nicely around her neck and rested on her chest, encrusted with the Solar Empire's emblem in rubies. On her head sat a golden crown also encrusted in a similar logo.

Sunrise smiled as she drew a comparison to the look of her portrait back in her throne room. Although she was a much younger mare when that portrait was made, now she was a full-grown alicorn. Her mane had also grown longer and had taken on a flowing motion to it, much like Daybreakers.

She sighed, knowing that she should stop delaying the talks any longer. She finished freshening herself up and then left her bathroom, continuing towards the meeting room where the Crystal Empire's industry representatives waited for her.

She could hear the conversations had already begun when she reached the door, but she didn't wait to enter. She flung the door open with power, immediately drawing all attention to herself. Several ponies were sitting around a large round crystal table—the natural light casting a shadow through the large windows.

"G-Grand Inquisitor Sparkle!" A stallion immediately got off his chair and lowered himself into a bow, causing everypony else to follow suit.

Sunrise paid no mind to it and simply took her place at the top of the table they were meeting around. She dropped her paperwork on the space in front of her and levitated a teapot and teacup that was waiting in the centre of the table, pouring herself a cup of tea before beginning. "The latest demands from the Empire have been negotiated, you will find your individual requirements in here," She started, levitating the folders full of paperwork to each respective pony it belonged to. "As you can see, the first issue I want to address is the request for extra staff, I will be making arrangements for the rotation of--"

"How much?!" A pegasus stallion interrupted, "We won't even have enough fuel reserves for our own citizens, and the price of fuel is already well beyond what most Crystal Empire residents can afford."

"I have to agree, these demands will require significant sacrifice," another mare joined in. "At this rate, we'll be pulling fillies and colts out of school to join in the Royal Army."

"That's actually something that's already going to be in place under the Solar Youth program expansion,” Sunrise informed, quickly flicking to the relevant page in her own papers to check its position then returning to the page she was on.

"Your majesty…" an elderly earth pony stallion spoke up, standing from his seat. "With all due respect, I think we need to ask the God-Empress to reconsider. I understand the need to keep the Empire safe from the Griffon menace across the sea, but the Solar Empire has ruled across the Equestrian continent unchallenged for over two decades. How long are we going to remain at this level of readiness."

"That's exactly what the Griffonian Empire is waiting for; us to let our guard down. The moment they do, they will attack us with all their might. We will not give them that chance." Sunrise enforced, punctuating her point by tapping on the table.

"Surely the Griffonia Empire is feeling the economic strain of this ridiculous arms race as well. Are we just going to continue this stupid staring contest until somepony blinks first and millions of lives are in ruins?" A pegasus mare added.

Sunrise turned her head to face her. "If that is what the Empress wishes," she answered, albeit feeling somewhat unsure of that answer herself. "And never forget that Ferdinand Dawnclaw murdered a four-year-old child in cold blood to secure his power. There is no negotiating with those barbaric griffons. This is our only option."

"A conspiracy theory yet to be proven even after all these years," The elderly stallion retorted.

Sunrise felt her eye twitch, but she otherwise kept the rest of her body under control. "...Fine." She slammed her book containing her paperwork shut with force, startling everypony. "I guess I'll just have to tell the Empress that her subjects considered her demands unacceptable," she stood to her hooves, lighting up her horn.

The elderly stallion gasped as he felt himself being lifted off the ground by the red aura of Sunrise's magic, being pulled through the air across the table far quicker than his old bones would have ever wanted. He was abruptly stopped when he met the alicorn at eye level; something that terrified him dearly as he wiggled his limbs, not liking the fact he was floating off the ground.

"And when I tell her that, she will simply replace you with somepony more capable…" Sunrise trailed off her sentence, believing that she had made her implications clear. Her violet eyes began to glow, striking fear into the old stallion. “So do we still have a problem?”

The stallion quickly shook his head in desperation.

“Good,” Sunrise replied calmly, the glow from her eyes slowly diminishing. She floated the stallion back over to his seat at a more leisurely pace.

Sunrise retook her seat and took a generous sip of tea, releasing a sigh as she regained her focus. “Now then, where were we?”

Her meeting concluded, Sunrise returned to her throne room and closed the door behind her. She wanted to breathe a sigh of relief now that was over, but something was stopping her from relaxing. She could still feel a slight tremble in her legs. She couldn’t understand why she was feeling so nervous about this. Part of her agreed with the Crystal Empires representatives, they were challenging demands to meet. But she knew it was the simple lay of the land that she followed the Empress’ will.

Instead of moving to her desk like she was planning to, she instead trotted up the steps and sat atop her throne, gazing out her windows. She saw the streets of the Crystal Empire being patrolled by the loyal guards. Most ponies were turning in for the night as the sky began to turn dark, the roads only illuminated by the evenly spaced street lights.

Sunrise sighed as she analysed her thoughts. She was nervous about something. But what? She had been to plenty of awkward meetings with the ponies of the Crystal Empire’s industries before, what made this one so different? She continued probing her mind for an answer...or rather, an alternative solution. She didn’t want to admit it, but…

She gritted her teeth at the thought. The simple truth of the matter was that she disagreed with the Empress’ latest policies, and she couldn’t get the doubt out of her mind. This arms race with the Griffonian continent was pushing Equestria to breaking point. Granted, the Griffonian Empire was in a similar situation, but which side would blink first? This wasn’t like the Great War with the Changelings, or the Solar Empire’s continued conquest of Equestria. The Griffonian Empire was a worthy opponent that was led by an equally insane dictator.

Sunrise’s ears folded back and she bit her lip. Insane? Had she really just used that word to describe her Empress? Good thing nopony could read her mind…

Of course, the most significant change had simply come with the passage of time. It had almost been a quarter of a century since the Great War had ended. Time had moved on. And with it, technology. New weapons had been invented, with new doctrines to go along with them—weapons of previously unforeseen destructive power. Sunrise had personally overseen the development of the Solar Empire’s missile-mounted warhead, aptly named the Star Collapser. The combination of magic, crystals and nuclear energy produced a devastating weapon of mass destruction. And there was still more power that could be extracted. Yet, on Sunrise’s request, they kept the payload limited to maintain their tactical advantage of being able to strike anywhere in Griffonia from any launch location east of Canterlot.

“Grand Inquisitor?”

A chime from the intercom mounted on the right foreleg rest of her throne fed through the voice of her assistant. Sunrise moved her right hoof to press the button to respond back. “Yes, Frost?”

“Chief Marshal Sentry is here as requested,” she informed.

“Escort him to the dining room and tell him I will be there shortly,” Sunrise replied, disconnecting the intercom and raising from her seat. She trotted away and out of the throne room, navigating the stairs and corridors until she made it to her living quarters.

She pushed through the door and stepped into her room. Using her magic, the flicked the light switch to turn on the beautiful crystal chandelier that hung from her ceiling, it’s light almost reflecting off the pristine crystal floor on which she walked. While she was at it, she drew the velvet curtains that draped alongside the stained glass windows that covered her balcony entrance.

She took a few steps towards the far side of the room and pulled an upholstered chair out from her dresser, sitting down to prepare herself. She felt a slight unease in her stomach as she came to rest. She was still having trouble shifting this feeling of doubt. It must be giving her some form of anxiety that was slowly building up.

...Or she was just hungry. She was about to go have dinner after all.

She did her best to ignore it and preoccupied her mind by getting ready to meet the most senior pony in her military. She used her magic to open her wardrobe, examining the array of dresses she had for every occasion. Her wardrobe had gone through a few alterations now that she was a fully grown alicorn, seeing as her old clothes no longer fit. But as she examined her clothes, she couldn’t shake some thoughts off her mind.

She sighed and stood up from her chair, taking a few steps to the side to look into a giant mirror she had hung on the wall that stretched from floor to ceiling. She had hung various pictures and newspaper clippings about her accomplishments alongside Daybreaker and the Solar Empire around it. They usually were inspiring for her, but for the conversation she was about to have, this was the wrong type of inspiration.

Breaking from her norm, she used her magic to remove all her regalia and levitated it over to a stand she had placed next to her bed for the sole purpose of storing it. She then looked back at herself in the mirror. No fancy gold shoes, necklace, crown or clothes...she looked completely different. But it was the difference she was going for. Flash Sentry was the only pony she trusted in her whole empire. She believed she could be completely one hundred percent truthful with and tell him her actual thoughts, feelings and emotions instead of the political mirage that was her role as Grand Inquisitor. She trusted him. And for that reason, she wanted to do something that inspired him to feel the same way. Instead of meeting him as Sunrise Sparkle, Grand Inquisitor of the Crystal Empire and all-powerful alicorn protégé of Daybreaker, she would simply meet him as Sunrise Sparkle, the pony.

She gave herself a quick washdown and freshened herself up before leaving her living quarters. She almost felt naked stepping out without her regalia on. Even some of her staff had to do a double-take as she walked through the hallways with no regalia on.

She made her way to the castle's main dining room, opening the door with her magic. Inside, she found a marigold orange pegasus stallion sitting at the end of the crystal dining table. His age was just about starting to show in the form of some faint grey streaks going through his otherwise brilliant royal blue brushed back mane. The room was nicely lit with candles and open flames, providing plenty of heat. An aesthetic choice by Daybreaker that Sunrise felt obliged to follow.

“Grand Inquisitor Sparkle!” Flash greeted, standing from his seat and bringing his hoof to his forehead in a salute. He wore the light purple uniform of the Crystal Empire, albeit with some new insignias and streaks of red and orange added to it ever since it came under Solar Empire occupation. His blazer was adorned with several rank insignias and medals.

“At ease, Chief Marshal Sentry,” Sunrise instructed with a bat of her hoof, trotting over to take her seat on the other side of the table. She used her magic to signal to the kitchen staff that they were ready to be served. “What’s the latest in the Crystal Army?” Sunrise asked.

“Still the same as it ever has been,” Flash replied, somewhat monotonously. “We train, we grow, we expand, we wait.”

“I thought as much,” Sunrise acknowledged, hearing the double-doors open behind her followed by the faint squeak of the wheels on a food cart. She twisted her head to see a silver unicorn stallion, dressed in the kitchen staff's white overalls. He did a quick bow before levitating the plates over to each one of them.

“Slow-cooked vegetable lasagna,” The stallion named the dish in an exotic accent, placing the plates and cutlery neatly in front of them. He then levitated two wine glasses over, along with a bottle of white wine resting neatly inside a bed of ice in a silver bucket. He lifted the bottle out and effortlessly popped the cork out with a corkscrew before pouring a glass for each of them. He left the wine in the middle of the table for them to help themselves to. “Enjoy,” he said with a smile before leaving them in peace.

“So what’s the situation with you?” Flash resumed, picking up the knife and fork in his hooves and tucking in. “Was there a meeting today?” He asked before taking a bite.

“There was,” Sunrise answered, taking her own cutlery in her magic. “It was...interesting…”

Flash swallowed, “I heard about the new quotas, I read the report briefly on the Solar Youth expansion, which I will probably be getting involved with.”

“Yes, you will,” Sunrise replied before taking a bite.

The two of them exchanged little tidbits of information between them, but Flash could tell something was up. He knew that Sunrise liked to keep her relationships professional, but he had known her for a very long time. Longer than anypony else in the Empire. He knew something was up. “Permission to speak freely, Ma’am?”

Sunrise...smiled? “I’m glad you asked, Flash.”

Flash raised an eyebrow. Sunrise rarely smiled this genuinely. Something was definitely up. “You seem to have something on your mind. Want to talk about it?”

Sunrise quietly sighed, feeling the anxiety she had earlier begin to drift away with Flash’s voice. “How long have we known each other now, Flash Sentry?” She asked curiously.

“I’m not sure,” Flash rubbed his chin with his hoof. He picked up on the variation in her tone, which implied that she was less formal. “Ever since before you…” he stopped himself and cleared his throat, “We’ve known each other ever since your ascension,” He corrected his words. He wasn’t sure if Sunrise’s past life was something she was in the mood to bring up. She was acting...odd. He couldn’t put his hoof on it, but she certainly wasn’t in Grand Inquisitor mode. If anything, he could almost sense a bit of Twilight Sparkle in her voice. They did virtually sound alike, albeit Sunrise’s voice was a tad deeper.

“Ah yes, my ascension,” Sunrise recalled the memory as she levitated the glass of wine to her lips. “The day that the God-Empress Daybreaker herself showed me the light. I’m glad you agreed that day we occupied the Crystal Empire; otherwise, I may have been forced to kill you.”

“It was clear that the way things were going, Equestria would not have otherwise won the war against the Changelings. Harmony wasn’t working, we had to be more aggressive,” Flash explained his stance. “And imagine if the Changelings won and then got the weapons we have today. I think they already would’ve taken a few potshots at the Griffonian Empire and millions would be dead. I think the choices we made back then is the reason we and millions of other ponies are here and alive right now.”

Sunrise smiled as she listened to his logic. “I’m glad you think so.”

Flash rested his cutlery down on his plate and picked up the glass of wine in his hooves. “But I get the feeling you didn’t ask me to come here on short notice only to reminisce. What’s the real reason I’m here,” He cut to the chase.

Sunrise sighed, knowing that this was coming. Flash didn’t beat around the bush, his experience had given him good senses. “Do you trust me, Flash?”

“Your will is my command, your Majest--”

“No, not like that,” Sunrise interrupted, batting her hoof, “I’m not talking about my role as Grand Inquisitor. I’m talking as me, Sunrise Sparkle, the pony. Do you trust me?”

Flash raised an eyebrow, thinking about what Sunrise was asking him. This was certainly different. But at the same time, he had known Sunrise for a very long time. Even when she was being unorthodox, there was always a reason for it. There was always a method in her madness. “Of course, Sunrise. I trust you with my life. But...why?”

Sunrise smiled back at him, “I’m glad,” Her horn lit up and began enveloping the room in the red aura of her magic.

Flash glanced around, “What are you doing?” He asked hesitantly.

“Soundproofing,” Sunrise replied, holding the spell for a few more seconds before her aura dissipated into the walls of the room. “Because I want to tell you how I honestly feel about this arms race we’ve been in for going on two decades.”

“It’s impossible, isn’t it?” Flash deduced.

Sunrise nodded, “The latest demands from the Solar Empire today...they’re getting more and more extreme. I’m not sure how much longer this continent can run under Daybreaker’s regime. We’re breaking apart families, and with the latest Solar Youth expansion, we’re going to be pulling fillies and colts out of high school to train them in the army.”

“Sounds all too familiar,” Flash replied, “Daybreaker likes to think that there’s going to be no more rebellions to her rule, but from the rumours I’ve heard, there’s been a storm brewing for a while. I think even SMILE has some double-agents in on it, given that it hasn’t been discovered yet.”

Sunrise smiled, resting back in her chair and sighing. “I’m so glad that we see eye to eye on this. Not that we can do anything, it just lifts a weight on my shoulders knowing that I’m not the only pony who's seeing things like this.”

The two remained silent for a few moments, finishing off the last of their dinner and getting through the wine.

“So what are we gonna do?” Flash spoke up.

“Huh?” Sunrise leant back into the table. “What do you mean?”

“How are you planning to confront Daybreaker? What do you plan to do?”

Sunrise felt her eyes widen, “Uhh…” she swallowed, “I don’t know. Nopony argues with the God-Empress and lives to tell the tale. I’ve got no idea what to do…”

Flash sighed, “Well, I hope you come up with something. Because if Equestria does go into civil war, something tells me Dawnclaw won’t hesitate to take advantage.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of…” Sunrise admitted.

Flash stood from his seat, “I will also let you know if I find any more information.”

“Thank you Flash,” Sunrise replied, smiling. “I...actually really enjoyed this. Would you like to do this more often?”

Flash smiled back at her, walking around the table. “I would like to get to know Sunrise Sparkle the pony some more. If you’re willing to, that is.”

“Of course,” Sunrise replied, also standing up. “But for now, we need to keep this between us until we’ve got a better idea of what to do.”

“I agree,” Flash nodded. “I’ll see what I can uncover discreetly,” He trotted over to the door. “I’ll probably see you tomorrow.”

Sunrise nodded, “Thank you Flash. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Flash nodded and smiled back at Sunrise before pushing through the door. Sunrise sat and reflected for a moment before taking the same route back out.

With somepony to share the burden with, Sunrise felt like the weight on her shoulders had been reduced. Flash Sentry was somepony she trusted with her life. She’d even dare to say that he was her one and only friend…

She returned to her living quarters, closing the door with a sigh. Just what was she getting herself into? Everything felt like it happened all at once today. She didn’t like it one bit. She needed to relax.

She went into her bathroom and ran herself a nice hot bath. The hot water instantly melted away her nervousness as she lowered herself into the large bathtub. A pony of her height needed it to be long after all. She was considering turning in early tonight, and seeing how relaxed she was now all but sealed that deal.

After her time in the bath, she got herself ready for bed. Flicking all the lights off with her magic and pulling the curtains shut. She pulled herself into her bed, pushing her head into her pillow to make herself comfortable. Her breathing gently slowed as she tried to drift off into sleep…

...but her eyes quickly reopened the moment she tried to. “Ugh, come on,” she muttered to herself, rolling over to the other side in the hope that she might be able to make herself more comfortable.

The shivers were returning to her. Her mind was thinking at a million miles per hour. Was she really planning on going ahead with this? Going behind Daybreakers back? Any failure would result in her death, and she had done exceptionally well with securing this position in the Solar Empire. Did she really have the drive to risk it all for this?

Sunrise laid on her back, gritting her teeth in mild annoyance. A hoof rested on her stomach under the duvet. She was beginning to feel slightly nauseous. All these thoughts and ideas really were screwing with her brain. She needed to get control. She used her magic to increase her room temperature, hoping that would help combat her trembling.

Her hoof still resting on her stomach, she could feel her heartbeat picking up speed. A feeling which only became more pronounced since her other senses weren’t being stimulated at the moment. She sat herself up, trying to do some breathing exercises to calm herself. Why was she so nervous about this? Of course, every part of her brain was telling that this was suicide. But those same parts were also telling her she was doing what was right. She was conflicted. Conflicted between her loyalty to Daybreaker and her duty to ensure Equestria had a prosperous future.

She could feel a lump rising in her stomach. Almost as if she was about to--


Sunrise glued a hoof to her mouth. She quickly climbed out of bed and flicked all the lights on using her magic. She shot towards the bathroom, still covering her mouth with a hoof. Galloping on three hooves was difficult.

She slid along the bathroom floor, reaching the toilet just in the nick of time as her stomach decided to release its contents. She simply closed her eyes and let nature take its course, allowing herself hurl as much as she needed to. Her eyes were squeezed shut as she pressed a hoof into her torso, trying to counter the pain her insides were currently feeling. She felt like she was going to implode. Every time she felt like she was done, the rancid stench of her vomit only reached her nostrils again and made her heave. Eventually, her stomach simply had nothing left to give, and she felt herself recovering, finally getting the opportunity to breathe in-between hurls.

Lifting a hoof off the floor, she rested it on the toilet flush to try and wash away the smell. She let her body go limp and allowed herself to roll away from the toilet, giving her somewhat fresher air to let herself catch her breath and let her mind catch up on what just happened. Did she just have an anxiety attack? Was the situation really affecting her that much?

She gingerly bought herself up to her hooves. She took some toilet paper in her magic and looked in her bathroom mirror to wipe away residual traces of vomit from her muzzle. She threw it in the toilet, flushing it again for good measure.

“What a mess…” Sunrise said to herself, rubbing her forehead with a hoof. She brushed her teeth again to remove the taste and smell of vomit from her mouth.

Feeling somewhat fresher, she walked back into her bedroom. She trotted up to her nightstand and pressed the buzzer button on the intercom she had placed on there.

“Your Majesty?” A stallion's voice answered on the other side.

“Have somepony bring a sleeping aid to my quarters,” Sunrise instructed sternly.

“Right away, your Majesty,” The stallion answered back, no questions asked.

Sunrise sat down on the end of her bed, resting her head in her forehooves. All she wanted to do right now was relax and forget about the day. Wake up fresh in the morning in a fresh mind which would maybe help think a little outside the box.

Her thoughts were quickly diverted to a knock at her door. “As requested, your Highness. I’ll leave it at the door,” A stallion's voice came from beyond her door. She heard the sound of something being set down and the slowly fading sound of hoofsteps trotting away.

Sunrise slowly walked over to the door and opened it with her hoof. She saw a black tray sitting at the base of her door frame with a white cup filled with a steaming tea-like liquid. She took the tray in her magic and bought it inside, closing the door behind her.

She set the tray to one side and propped herself up on her bed, resting her back against the headboard. She slowly brought the cup to her lips, testing its temperature first before committing to a full sip. The liquid simply tasted like a herbal tea, but it had a relaxing effect to it. Even simply inhaling the steam coming off it seemed to be clearing her sinuses.

She sunk herself lower into bed, pulling the covers over herself as she continued to sip out of the cup. As the temperature decreased, it became more tolerable to take larger swigs, and she eventually finished it.

She could already feel it taking its effects before it had entirely made its way through her system. She set the mug down on her nightstand and finally felt herself beginning to drift off. Her mind was still elsewhere, but right now, she didn’t care. All she wanted to do was rest…

Sunrise was running. She didn’t know why, she didn’t know where, all she knew was that she was running through a somewhat familiar hallway, although she couldn’t quite put her hoof on where it was. She felt strange, but it didn’t take her long to work out that she was dreaming. Although she had never had a dream this vivid before…

She burst through a set of double doors to see a large white alicorn standing at the back of the room, seemingly waiting for her. Her long flowing mane and tail were varying shades of turquoise, blue and pink. The alicorn was…

“Celestia?” Sunrise said out loud, confused. She raised an eyebrow at the figure standing in front of her as her pace slowed to a trot. She was immediately taken aback by the size of the alicorn. She was a tall alicorn herself, but this was way too tall. Unrealistically tall.

Looking around the room, Sunrise caught her reflection in a glass window. Well, that explained the height discrepancy. She looked like the young alicorn she was decades ago, no taller than your average pony. Although something else immediately caught her attention. The red streak in her mane and tail was replaced with a pink and violet streak. That could only mean that in this dream, she was…

“Twilight Sparkle!” Celestia’s voice boomed.

“What’s going on--”

“You failed!” Celestia cut her off, lowering her head down to her level. “Because of you, we are at war!”

Sunrise (Twilight?) took a step away, “Because of me?”

“Changeling soldiers have just marched into Acornage, and several ponies are dead. And it’s all YOUR fault!” Celestia pointed a hoof at her. “Ever since I sent you to Ponyville, I sent you on a mission to spread the magic of friendship. Now you’ve failed, and several ponies are dead Twilight.”

Sunrise took a few more steps back but felt her flank bump into something. The door. It was now locked. She couldn’t escape.

“I’m sorry, Twilight,” Celestia’s horn lit up, “But I can’t let you do any more damage.”

“No!” Sunrise realised what was happening. She tugged on the door with her own magic, but it wouldn’t budge. She quickly charged her horn and blasted against the door, but it didn’t budge. “Nonononono,” she turned and kicked the door with her hind legs, only to feel the impact vibrate every bone in her body. That door was rock solid, it wasn’t budging anytime soon.

Her attention was quickly diverted by the sound of Celestia’s magic, releasing a shot. Without even a second thought, she fired her own purple magic back at Celestia’s yellow beam. The two beams collided in midair and sent a loud explosive shockwave cascading outwards. “AAHHHH!” Sunrise screamed, covering her face at the impending blast.

She felt the shockwave pass over her and fade quickly. It became...cold? And the floor beneath her became squishy?

She took her hooves away from her face and opened her eyes. It was pitch black. She stared upwards to see a large full moon in the clear sky. The sky was probably clear because she was sitting on top of the cloud cover that seemingly stretched for miles in every direction. The only light being from the moon that shimmered off the velvety surface of the clouds.

Bringing herself to her hooves, Sunrise felt like she was back in her correct body. Or at least, she felt like the right height. She pulled her tail around with her magic to confirm that the red streak was back where it belonged.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this, Twilight Sparkle,” A familiar voice came from behind her.

Sunrise turned around to see a dark blue alicorn standing a few feet ahead of her, wings raised with a bold face. Her mane flowed with a similar dark blue colour, with added sparkles in it. She wore black regalia with a white moon symbol on the chest piece and crown.

“Luna?” Sunrise raised an eyebrow.

Luna simply nodded in response, keeping her face straight and her brow furrowed.

Sunrise scoffed, glancing away. “So the rumours are true. You are very much alive...” She pondered the implications for a moment before looking back at Luna, “But more to the point, what are you doing here? Why have you so foolishly come out of hiding?”

“I have been trying to reach you for several years now, Twilight Sparkle. Tonight I was finally successful,” Luna began to explain.

“My name is SUNRISE!” Sunrise insisted, slamming her hooves on the cloud, but Luna was unphased.

Luna simply raised an eyebrow. “For now,” she replied. “I am here to work on eradicating your parasitic hold on Twilight’s mind and body, so she can restore true harmony to Equestria.”

“Like hell you are,” Sunrise replied angrily, “This is MY body, and you’re gonna have to do much better than this to get rid of me.”

“On the contrary, you have already started,” Luna simply replied.

Sunrise tilted her head. “What do you mean?” She asked with more intrigue than anger.

“Daybreaker’s hold on you when she decided to turn Twilight into you has been absolute ever since that day. She sealed away unwanted memories and emotions she didn’t want you to have, making it difficult for me to access your dreams. I have been trying to find a way ever since that fateful day when she gave in to the same darkness I did over a thousand years ago, but you seemed to have helped me today.”

Sunrise withheld a groan, not liking where this was going. “Explain,” she demanded.

“You began to doubt Daybreaker and her decisions. This doubt was strong enough to weaken your hold on Twilight Sparkle’s mind. Just enough for me to slip in.”

Sunrise opened her mouth to reply...but she couldn’t find the words. She just sighed instead. “What do you want?” She spat, feeling defeated.

“Ultimately I want to vanquish you and Daybreaker from Twilight’s and my sisters' minds respectively, but I believe you, and I have something we can work together on,” Luna suggested.

“And what would that be?” Sunrise raised an eyebrow.

“We both know that if this arms race were to escalate and start the second Great War, the weapons of this era would cost millions if not billions of lives. I want to prevent that from happening by removing Daybreaker from power.”

Sunrise scoffed, seeing where this was going. “Okay, so we have the same goal, but that hardly means anything. You just said it yourself. Ultimately you want to kill me. Why should I follow you?”

“Because now I have access, I can now control your dreams,” Luna stated sternly. “I can make every sleeping moment for you a true nightmare. You only see what you see right now because this is what I’m telling your mind to see,” Luna cast her hoof over the clouds to punctuate her point. “And I have much more control over your sleeping body than you may think. What you just saw before this was simply one of Twilight’s nightmares. It only stopped because I stopped it.”

Sunrise shook her head. “You think you can intimidate me into your will? The Empress was able to show me the light and aid in my ascension. I’m sure she can vanquish you just as easy.”

“Perhaps,” Luna replied, almost smugly, “But do you know what happens when ponies claim they have seen Princess Luna in their dreams? Or show sympathies towards the old alicorn diarchy?”

Sunrise glanced away and muttered something in annoyance. Luna was right, anypony that admitted these things tended to get declared as having their minds 'poisoned’ and were...never heard from again…Sunrise had no intention of being added to that statistic.

“There’s also something else I will be capable of if Daybreaker attempts to enter your mind,” Luna added.

“Enough of this,” Sunrise looked back at Luna. “Where are you hiding?”

“Do you take me for a fool?” Luna retorted. “I will disclose that information if it is required.”

“Whatever,” Sunrise rolled her eyes, “I am not helping you. End of story.”

“And yet you already are,” Luna said cheerily, sarcastically smiling. “We have the same goal, so anything you do to work towards it will be helping me,” her smile retreated into a frown. “But since you are not being cordial, don’t expect any favours from me.” She spoke sternly, turning around to face away from Sunrise. “You will start experiencing Twilight’s emotions and their interpretations as nightmares. I was going to offer my assistance to you in dealing with these, but I think I’ll let you do it yourself for now.” Luna’s horn lit up, “See you later, Parasite. Enjoy your nightmares.”

Author's Note:

And welcome to this new project of mine.

So, trouble in paradise it seems? Hopefully Sunrise decides her loyalties quickly...she probably was, until Luna appeared out of the blue (literally!)

Thanks for reading, feeback appreciated! :twilightsmile: