• Published 15th Apr 2021
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The Fall of the Anoian - bookhorse125

Equestria is not the only land full of magical creatures. Welcome to Anoia.

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Chapter Eighteen - Cadance

Seeing the red Anoian pony had sent a fresh wave of sadness and guilt pulling Cadance under again. Both wings and a horn… she didn’t care what Red said, it reminded her painfully of Flurry Heart.

Cadance blamed herself for Flurry’s capture. If she’d been more straight with her daughter, or enforced more rules, or had more guards watching her, then maybe she wouldn’t have been taken. Twilight tried to comfort her, saying that nothing she could have done would have prevented Flurry Heart’s eventual capture. They really wanted her and would give their best and only their best to the cause. Flurry would have been taken away anyway. But that didn’t help.

And then Red had easily agreed to betray her leader and help the Equestrians. Call her paranoid, but Cadance grew suspicious of such easy commitment. She wanted to trust the pegacorn - she might be the only way to get to Flurry Heart. But she could still have her doubts, right?

Then Red had passed out. She went limp and almost collapsed on the ground, if Twilight hadn’t caught her. Then the pony went rigid and stiff, and her eyes opened, but they weren’t a fierce, defiant green like they normally would be. Instead, they were pale white and glowing, illuminating the small space. Red’s breathing increased, almost becoming panting as her chest heaved. It stayed this way for at least a full minute, although it felt like a year.

“What the…” Rainbow Dash managed. Twilight and Cadance were both paralyzed with shock as they stared at Red. Finally, her eyes stopped glowing and Red went limp again. Her breathing slowed a bit when she suddenly sat straight up.

“What… what happened?” she murmured to herself. Twilight and Cadance didn’t respond. Rainbow Dash shakily explained what had happened in scarce detail, as only Rainbow Dash could. Red shook her head.

“I… I don’t understand.” She turned to Twilight. “What happened?”

“You were all like, bleh, and then your eyes went all glowy, and then you just laid there, all dead and stuff, and then you came back!” Pinkie Pie was sitting, wide awake on her sleeping spot, acting out with unerring accuracy what had happened to Red. She’d seen the whole thing. Apparently, so did Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Spike.

“A-are you all right, sugarcube?” Applejack asked tentatively. Red was silent.

“What was that?” Spike’s eyes were wide with shock.

“Are you okay?” Fluttershy whispered. Red shook her head once.

“I… I don’t know. I don’t even know what happened.” Red blinked and looked around at all of them. Each of their faces mirrored the same, unasked question written all over Red’s face. Twilight was the one to break the ice.

“Do you remember what happened to you?” Twilight’s voice was just barely above a whisper. Red nodded and glanced around the fire before continuing.

“I saw something. It was confusing, but I think I got the gist of it. I saw Canterlot, with this big pink bubble around it, but it was weak and cracking. Anoian forces were trying to get inside by bashing the shield with spears and swords and even trees. Then the shield finally gave way, and they charged into Canterlot, taking everypony by surprise. Nopony had any idea what to do. It was just chaos. Lots of ponies died. And not just ponies. Other creatures, too. Emperor Lupines himself caught and killed the rulers of those lands with his own hooves. And… then it was over.”

Facial expressions ranged from fear to shock to anger. Cadance herself was between the fear and shock category. An invasion of Canterlot that was completely unprecedented… lots of ponies and creatures dying… and her fellow rulers being killed at the hooves of the same pony who ordered Flurry Heart’s capture. Anger flared up inside of her, the same feeling she’d gotten when Chrysalis had taken Shining Armor away from her, but ten times worse. Shining Armor would be killed. Starlight Glimmer, the pony who had saved her and Flurry from Chrysalis, would likely be killed as well. Celestia, the pony who had adopted Cadance when she’d become an alicorn and raised her in Canterlot to be a princess, would definitely be killed.

“Has this already happened?” Cadance muttered. Red looked at her, and Cadance saw the answer in her green eyes. She almost collapsed with relief.

“No. It… hasn’t happened. But it will. Very soon.”

“How do you know that?” Rarity asked, stifling a yawn. Red shifted uncomfortably.

“I… get these dreams. That kind of show me the near future?” Red looked at all of them, trying to discern whether or not they believed her. Cadance wasn’t exactly sure, but she trusted Red, so if she said she got visions of the future, then she probably got visions of the future.

“Have you ever seen anything past the near future?” Cadance asked. The cherry-red pegacorn nodded, her glossy, chocolate brown curls bouncing. The firelight reflected her eyes as she told them.

“I’ve seen the outcome of this war. Who wins the whole thing. There are only two. The most likely one…” She hesitated, looking at Twilight before continuing. “...is that Lupines wins. He kills any loyal supporters of the old governments, and kills any creature who’s not a pony. I’ve seen this dream many times. After every single battle. It always changes. Sometimes there’s more dead creatures, sometimes less. I’ve seen one where there are no griffons, which meant that they probably allied themselves with Lupines. Once I saw one where you could only live if you were a pegacorn. I think Lupines might have been trying to make a superior race or something. But it’s horrible.” Red shivered, letting this sink in. “But there’s another one.”

“Well, why didn’t you say anything?” Rainbow Dash almost yelled. “Tell us!”

Red flinched. “It’s very faint. Not likely at all. And I’ve only seen it once. It’s a future where Equestria comes out victorious, and Lupines is most likely overthrown. He’s replaced by somepony else, somepony who’s willing to befriend Equestria, and everything turns out okay. But, like I said, it’s faint and not likely to happen. If we do want it to come true, there’s a lot of things that need to be changed.”

“Have you seen anything about Flurry?” whispered Cadance. Her voice broke when she said Flurry’s name. Her spirits dropped farther than she would have thought possible when Red shook her head.

“I haven’t seen anything. Then again, I can’t really control these things.”

“Wait, you said that we still have time before the invasion of Canterlot,” Twilight declared, using her leader's voice. “We need to rescue the missing ponies, then get back to Canterlot. We’ll worry about what to do then.” She turned to Red. “Got any ideas?”

“I just have guards patrolling the outside. So if you can sneak inside, you have free access to all the doors from these keys.” Red used her magic to lift a ring of keys off of her pendant necklace. “This one unlocks all the regular cells, so it’s the only one you’ll need.” Red turned to Cadance. “I heard that Flurry Heart’s in the palace, so you and Twilight should probably go for her. In the dark, you could pass as pegacorns if you keep your wings folded. I’ll go back to my office so that it’ll be like I had nothing to do with any of this. The rest of you can go get the prisoners.” Red tossed the ring of keys to Rainbow Dash, who caught them and saluted to Red before taking off into the sky. Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Spike hurried after.

“Remember,” Twilight called softly after them, “bring them back here! Me and Cadance will meet you with Flurry, okay? And then we’ll be back to Canterlot soon.” She turned to Cadance and smiled. “Ready?”

“Of course,” Cadance smiled, masking her feelings. She was panicky. What had they done to Flurry Heart that she didn’t even need to stay in the prison house? What if… No. Cadance pushed those what-ifs deep down inside her. Flurry Heart was alright. She was sure of it. Or else she would rip Lupines to pieces.

The palace was a long, dark structure made of dark cement and stones. The guards let them in without a hitch, which unsettled Cadance a great deal. Either they were supposed to let them in so that they could get caught, or they were just like the Equestrian military. The hallways were silent and eerie, so Twilight and Cadance lit the ends of their horns for a bit of light. They trotted quietly throughout the halls, opening doors a crack, searching for Flurry Heart. With each passing second, Cadance’s despair and her anticipation mounted to the point that it was almost unbearable. Of course, that was when they found her.

Author's Note:

Constructive criticism is appreciated.