• Published 25th Jun 2021
  • 1,046 Views, 17 Comments

Creeping Darkness - Bronyxy

An unexpected visitor crashes Day Court, alerting Twilight to something being seriously wrong in the Crystal Empire ...

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3 A Shortage of Alicorns

Twilight flicked her eyes quickly to the high windows in the throne room. Clear blue skies smiled innocently back from each one in turn, serving to confirm that she had raised the sun that morning, as she knew deep in her heart she had.

Darkness returning to the Crystal Empire could only mean one thing, the unwelcome return of King Sombra.

She cast her mind back to the last time they had confronted one another, and how Discord had rallied the Element Bearers to defeat him, but now there were no Element Bearers, and she seriously doubted if she would be able to track down Discord in time. However, she had already sent pegasi messengers to his best-known haunts, on the off chance that they may be able to enlist his rather unique services.

Any hope of getting help now rested on Spike being able to find Celestia and Luna, or maybe just one of them. She sighed; if he was unsuccessful, it just meant that rallying the army would be a task she would have to take on by herself.

Although intensely frustrated that she couldn’t talk with Flurry Heart at the moment, she now had a fairly good idea of the message she had wanted to deliver; perhaps she had even seen Sombra weave his dark magic in person? One thing was for certain, time was not on her side, especially if he was at large again and had already begun enslaving ponies with his dark crystal magic.

Quickly sending word that she wanted to meet with the Royal Guard and Night Guard again to update them on events, she filled the brief time before they arrived by cutting herself another large slice of cake to keep her energy levels up; she had no idea when circumstances would allow her to eat next.

The generals filed in as before, neither having the audacity to pass comment on Twilight’s chocolate encrusted muzzle. She remained completely unaware of her appearance and went on to deliver the update relayed to her by the messenger, and the inference she had drawn.

“Begging pardon, Ma’am” the pegasus remarked once she had finished, “But if this King Sombra is casting the darkness and building up an army of mind-controlled slaves as you say he did previously, then how do we defeat him? You said yourself it took both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to banish him in the past, and then it took all the Element Bearers with Discord’s help to defeat him last time.”

“I agree, your Majesty” the bat pony concurred, “We in the Night Guard are happy to play our part in any combat as we operate best under the cover of darkness, but we still need to know our enemy’s weaknesses. However, from what you tell us, it would appear that this character has to be subdued with magic and neither bat ponies nor thestrals can wield magic. Perhaps a joint operation with the unicorns?”

The pegasus gave an affirmative nod of agreement, “We are all more than ready to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to protect Equestria, but if we need unicorns, we are left with the logistical problem of how to get them there.”

Twilight sighed.

“Sirs, your courage and enthusiasm are not in doubt, but I fear that equally brave guards have taken on Sombra before. There’s very few of us left who remember him personally, let alone have taken him on, and that’s Celestia, Luna, Cadance, Spike, Discord and me.”

“Stories of Spike’s heroism are the stuff of folklore” the bat pony acknowledged respectfully, “Why, the crystal statue of him as a proud young drake holding the Crystal Heart stands to remind us of that to this day.”

The pegasus acknowledged Spike’s role with a respectful nod, then enquired, “What about the others you mentioned?”

“I don’t hold out much hope there, I’m afraid” Twilight lamented, “If Sombra has conquered the Crystal Empire, we must assume Cadance has been captured, and Discord has become even more elusive than ever.”

“So, if Celestia and Luna can’t be found” said the bat pony, pausing for effect, “That leaves you as the only one capable of wielding the magic necessary to defeat him.”

“And if you fall, then Equestria loses its leader and there is no more night and day” summed up the pegasus soberly.

“Yes, and yes” replied Twilight with an engaging smile, “We had better come up with a good plan then. Would you care for some tea and cake?”

The generals both declined the cake, as they could see she had developed something of a penchant for it herself, but politely accepted the offer of tea and set about working up a plan together.

They hadn’t been going long when the door to the lecture theatre was barged open and all heads turned to see a lilac dragon filling the doorway. He ducked to get in, and upon seeing Twilight had guests, apologised for the interruption.

“Twi” he began, shaking his head despondently, “Can’t find them. They’re off somewhere together and nopony seems to know anything about where they are or when they’re likely to be back.”

“Don’t worry Spike. Thanks for doing your best; it was always going to be a longshot anyway” she consoled him, “Have you tried dragon mail?”

“Yeah; already gave that a go” he said despondently, “Seems like she’s switched it off at her end.”

“What?" asked Twilight, perplexed, "How can that even be possible?”

“Well, look at it this way” Spike explained, “If you’re doing a spot of birdwatching, or something else where you don’t want to be noticed, the last thing you’d want is for a scroll to suddenly pop into existence next to you in a puff of smoke.”

“I suppose I’d never thought of that” acknowledged Twilight, tilting her head to one side as the new concept forced its way into her memory banks, “Clever, but not terribly helpful given the current circumstances. Come and pull up a seat Spike, and see if you can give us a dragon’s perspective on how we’re going to tackle King Sombra.”