• 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 Twenty-Four - Red

The real reason Red let her father go had nothing to do with him being a possible threat.

Yes, she could see the future, and she knew that her father would hide in the shadows for a while, gathering strength in numbers, before he launched a surprise attack on her for betrayal. And in all the futures she could see, it failed. If she saw anything different, then she would start to get a little worried.

She really let him go because, even though he was a terrible pony and had never been very nice to her and only cared about what Emperor Lupines cared about, he was still her father. And no matter what, she couldn’t put him in prison. It wouldn’t feel right.

What also didn’t feel right was walking through the palace that was now hers and having every single pony refer to her as “Your Majesty”. It was very unsettling and would take some getting used to.

Before she could return home, however, she had to establish Anoia’s alliance and official friendship with Equestria and the surrounding kingdoms. Unfortunately, that took a long meeting with all the rulers of said kingdoms. And while some were willing to embrace this new friendship (Twilight, Queen Novo and Princess Skystar, King Thorax), others were less certain and refused to accept this alliance unless the Anoians paid for what they had done (Dragon Lord Ember, Prince Rutherford).

“Do I need to remind you,” Ember proclaimed, “that her kind not only invaded our homes and conquered them through brute force and murder, but also kidnapped our own subjects to study in a lab?!?”

Red winced and shrunk in her seat, trying to make herself invisible. From the way that Ember said it, it sounded a lot worse than what actually happened. She felt like Ember was doing that on purpose. Either way, it was a very uncomfortable moment.

“But Red didn’t do that,” Twilight protested. “And she’s going to change everything. I can be sure that this won’t happen again.” Ember and Prince Rutherford snorted in unison and received dirty looks from the others.

“Besides,” Thorax chimed in, “the changelings did more awful things than that, and we were forgiven and look at how that turned out.” His cheeks flushed when he mentioned the changelings’ past mistakes. Ember rolled her eyes.

“Ember,” Twilight said, “I know you’re upset. But if we stay in the past, then how are we supposed to live in the present or charge to the future?”

“Ugh, we’re getting sappy now!” Ember groaned and leaned against the back of the chair. “You know how I hate it when you get all sappy!”

“My point is,” Twilight said, frowning, “we can’t judge a pony based on their past mistakes. I’ve seen enough examples of this - probably more than you.”

Twilight sat back with a satisfied smirk while everyone else in the room made Ooohhh… noises while Ember flushed.

“I’ve seen enough, thank you very much!” she snapped. “I know how to judge someone. And I’m judging the Anoians for declaring war on us, stealing our territory, killing our soldiers and citizens, and kidnapping innocent creatures and torturing them!”

“Ember, have you ever heard of the hydra?” Twilight asked out of the blue dragon. She caught Ember off guard.

“Um… no.”

“It’s a creature with multiple heads, and if you cut one off, two more grow back,” Twilight explained. “To kill it, you have to aim for the heart.”

“Okay, but what does this have to do with anything?” Ember demanded.

“Think of your problem with what the Anoians did as a hydra. To get rid of it, you have to aim for the heart. The only way to do that is to forgive them. If you continue to hate them, or try to give the ponies who wronged your subjects a taste of their medicine, that would be like cutting off one of its heads; the problem will come back twice as bad.”

Ember opened and closed her mouth, stunned. She finally sat back and fell silent for the rest of the meeting.

Red sat up taller with every defense that Twilight threw at the blue dragon. It felt good to know that somepony would stick up for her, even when the rest of the world was against her.

In the end, Twilight brought out a scroll and unrolled it in front of Red.

“This is a scroll that each kingdom has to sign if they want to ally themselves with us,” she explained. “Everyone on here is protected by everyone else, and protects someone if they’re in trouble.”

Red nodded and used her magic to sign the scroll with a quill. Ember and Prine Rutherford still looked skeptical, but Red was relieved to finally get this over with.

Immediately, Red headed home with her subjects. It was strange to have a whole fleet of ships for her. Of course, she shared the luxuries. She wasn’t ready to have them all to herself yet. She spent her days walking on the decks with Marylyn, enjoying the salty air and planning her reign.

“So, any pieces of advice before we get home?” Red asked, the breeze brushing her curls away from her face.

“What? From me? No offense, but I’ve never ruled a country before,” Marylyn teased.

“Yes, but you were Lupines’s trusted assistant and were with him all the time. You must have picked up something,” Red persisted.

“Do you really want to use Lupines as an example?” Marylyn asked quietly. Red fell silent.

“Lupines never used the Emperor’s Emerald, did he?” she whispered. The question caught Marylyn off guard.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said. “I never saw him wear it, or, really, ever saw the Emerald. He kept it locked up in a vault… I think Cameron the Crafty enchanted the gem to kill any emperor currently on the throne who is unworthy. So he locked it away so that it couldn’t do that.”

Red nodded. “I was wondering how the Emerald could have chosen someone like him to be emperor if it was only supposed to choose good emperors.”

“I’m going to go find some shade,” Marylyn said as she lifted her hoof to shield her eyes from the sun beating down on her. “You coming?”

“Maybe,” Red said absentmindedly, her eyes scanning the horizon. Marylyn shrugged and left her to her sea gazing.

The sun shone down unforgivingly, torching anything underneath it. Clouds drifted lazily across the bluest sky Red had ever seen. The bright blue sea stretched out in all directions, just like it had when Red had flown back to Anoia from Equestria. That felt like a lifetime ago. So much had happened since then…

The setting sun painted streaks of pink and orange across the darkening sky. It was a marvelous sight. Anypony with wings would waste no time leaping into the sky that would soon be dusted with stars. In the distance, against the vibrant colors of the sunset, a speck appeared on the horizon. Red rubbed her eyes and looked again, making sure it wasn’t a mirage. When she saw that it wasn’t, she allowed herself a small smile. With every passing second the speck grew larger and larger.

Red glanced around. She had the deck all to herself. Nopony was watching. Red leaped over the railing and fell towards the dark ocean waves. She snapped out her wings and caught a gentle breeze, flying low and close enough to the water that she could reach out with her hooves and brush the waves.

The rush of adrenaline that always came with flying filled her veins as she soared away from the ship and towards the island in the distance. Her wings flapped in sync with her beating heart, and while her head filled with doubts, her heart ignored them and pushed forward. She had a promise to fulfill, and she wasn’t going home until she made it come true.

Unbeknownst to Marylyn and the rest of Anoia, Red had one last stop to make before she went home to Anoia.

Author's Note:

Constructive criticism is appreciated.