• Published 16th Jun 2021
  • 928 Views, 41 Comments

The End of an Era (Series Finale Rewritten) - StacheHand

Twilight Sparkle is about to be crowned ruler of Equestria, but on this day of all days, the peace is disturbed by the ultimate threat: Emperor Grogar and the Horses of the Apocalypse.

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Part 2 - Chapter 1 (5): Everypony for Themselves

Previously on My Little Pony...

With the shock and strife of the final Summer Sun Celebration's troubled preparations lingering, the greatest enemies of Equestria and the lands beyond, the former changeling queen Chrysalis, the magic-absorbing centaur Tirek, the psychotic filly prodigy Cozy Glow and the Starlight Glimmer echo Aurora Eclipse, have steadily weaved the threads of mistrust and hatred among the pegasi, earth ponies and unicorns. Now the clans are at each other's throats, wary of rebellions, uprisings, and theft of their purpose in nature. And worse? Many members of their kind have mysteriously disappeared.

The villainous tetrad had now unlocked the Bewitching Bell's untold power, a poisonous, world-destroying force named Malice Magic, thanks to a tome they stole from the deepest, darkest depths of the Canterlot Archives. With a spell that transformed them into their most powerful selves possible, Malice Evolution, they were finally ready to attack. Their master, the legendary monster father and dark sorcerer Grogar, was no longer of use to them, so they used his Bell talisman against him, activating a spell that rips out one's magic and the core of their being, the first chance they got. But he was not so easily dispatched.


The spell did nothing. What's more, it turns out that the villains had been playing right into Grogar's hooves the whole time. Their backstabbing plan was ruined, and in the process of their latest failure, they were humbled before they even set out for battle, receiving a painful, but important, lesson in how they needed to control their hubris and make wiser decisions through the knowledge of their past mistakes if they were going to win this time.

This dark day just so happened to be the day of Twilight Sparkle's coronation, and the entire country was excited for it, too. She was more comfortable and more confident than she had ever been in all of her years, but the preparations of this momentous occasion had to be called off when the soon-to-be-retired royal sisters, Celestia and Luna, received a vision of Grogar and his cohorts. The ram sorcerer had rejoined with his Bell, this time enchanting it and his collar with a pony artifact that was never meant to be found or uncovered again, the Alicorn Amulet. By applying that item's special magical lock, his Bell is now irremovable.

Having been made aware of this oncoming attack so late, Twilight rushed to set up Equestria's finest lines of defense. She, her friends, the sisters and the Royal Guard would stand, protect and evacuate Canterlot, the Pillars of Old Equestria defended the Tree of Harmony from Tirek and got all the pegasi out of Cloudsdale, Starlight Glimmer and her employees at the School of Friendship would help vacate it, as well as Ponyville, as Chrysalis approached, and Shining Armor, Princess Cadance and their soldiers fought Eclipse at the Crystal Empire as the Crystal Ponies were sent away to safety. Cozy and Grogar would handle some extra crucial jobs.

Grogar had set free a legion of his monster children, pairing them up with an army of zombies, created from the bodies of the disappeared ponies, who had actually been captured and collected by him for some time. He gave his allies their fair share of the monsters and zombies to terrorize Equestria, though many of them preferred to take down their opponents alone. Cozy, as a more diplomatic figure, used the deadly creatures and her outward charm to put on a facade of reformation, infiltrate Canterlot and distract the champions of ponykind until the primary forces of good were sabotaged.

Grogar collected items of historical figures and joined them with his Bewitching Bell to perform an unsealing spell on the reborn Tree of Harmony, opening the very heart of the world itself, allowing him to corrupt it with Malice. Before it fell into a greatly weakened state, the Tree reached the students known as Sandbar, Yona, Gallus, Smolder, Ocellus and Silverstream telepathically, ordering them to return to the yak, griffon, dragon, changeling and hippogriff clans to form a total alliance between them. They may be ready to back up the ponies in this great battle, but they still need to come to a worldwide accord.

"Good luck, my friends."

Although the Bewitching Bell powered up the ram sorcerer's partners to great heights, Chrysalis into a devilish mockery of her former subjects' new forms with enhanced shapeshifting capabilities and acid spit, Tirek into his peak physique with expanded magic draining power and a healing spell, Cozy into a heavily-protected Pony of Shadows that can summon lifelike clones of herself, and Eclipse into a dark, transcendent alicorn that can control nature and brainwash creatures by inverting all of their senses, Twilight's group, the Pillars, Starlight and the Crystal Empire couple put up good fights. They all came close to vanquishing their foes, but none of it was quite enough. Most were beaten and imprisoned, the last of them were pushed into a corner. The Horses of the Apocalypse had the advantage.

"Face it, you've lost! The perfect just desserts for the infection of my hive!"

"For the dishonor to my family!"

"For the destruction of my equal community!"

"And for throwing me in Tartarus! Seriously, what's wrong with you?!"

Twilight and her friends, remembering what Discord taught them back when Sombra invaded, triggered the power of the Elements of Harmony to blast their enemies away, but were foiled at the last second by Grogar. After the strongest defenders of Equestria had fallen, the ram sorcerer had obtained the magic of two "key entities", Star Swirl the Bearded and the Crystal Heart. Then, with a devastating showcase of power, he, Chrysalis, Tirek and Eclipse destroyed Canterlot. All of it. Luckily, Discord saved the heroes after mostly watching the fighting. Thanks to a poor choice of words on his part, Twilight figured out his dirty secret.

"You knew! You knew they were coming, and you didn't tell us!"

From the start, Discord had not only been keeping an eye on Twilight's progression, but also one on the villains' machinations up to this point. He sat by and let them attack on this day as a final inspection on how far the friendship princess had truly come as a confident leader in the making. Twilight rebuked him, saying that she didn't need this, and never wanted this because of her hatred of fighting, and using magic as a means of force. Everyone, even kind Fluttershy, was disgusted by his decisions. After a thorough speech from Celestia, he realized his lapse in judgment and earnestly vowed to make up for carelessly endangering the world.

Grogar found Discord, his turncoat son, and did the unthinkable. He overpowered the draconequus in a straight demonstration of magical power. Twilight and company thought the spirit of chaos, who was so powerful that he could fake serious injuries from a blast fired by Sombra, was just pretending again to motivate them into reigniting their friendship light. They found out too late that he was in genuine trouble, and Grogar now possesses his core. The nigh-omnipotent Discord was utterly defeated by a force other than the mighty magic of friendship, ripped apart into the animals that his body parts belonged to. With the window of opportunity they had to escape, they got out of there to fight another day. Fluttershy, most of all, was shattered by the horrifying sight of what may be her chaotic friend's final moment.


♫ My Little Pony, My Little Pony
Ahh, ahh, ahh, ahhh...

I think I see a better way to be bad
Just put me in charge, make me queen, you'll be glad

No! Listen to me,
I'm the best of us three

Then you'll see a better way to be bad

Wait! This is my thing,
a better way to be bad

You shall do as I command,
I will rule this triad!

Hey! This is my song!
Sorry, not any longer!

A better way to be bad
Now you're making me mad

Won't the ponies be sad?
That would make me so glad

Now we've got a better way to be baaaaaad! ♫

Thanks to the power of three alicorns amplifying the teleportation spell, Twilight's group managed to land near Ponyville together, right in front of the entrance to the now grey and withered Everfree Forest. All of their surroundings bathed in the light of the crimson sky, making Grogar's presence felt everywhere, even when he was far away.

Twilight looked over at a patch of grass near along the path towards the forest, and looked at this lone, magenta flower. It seemed to be okay for a moment, but just like all the trees and other plant life in the vicinity, it wilted under the toxic Malice, flopping to the ground. Her expression became mournful, but an even more saddened pony was letting loose a river of tears and making her sorrow heard: Fluttershy.

"DISCORD!" she wailed out of grief. She cried loudly as her wet and reddened face bobbed up and down, making the salty liquid fly from her eyes like rain. "He's gone! He's really gone!" Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie put their hoofs on her shoulders to console her.

"Doggonit!" Applejack growled, throwing her cowgirl hat to the ground in a fit of frustration. "If he had concerned himself more with the security of Equestria than his delusions of teaching ability, none of this would've ever happened!"

"Applejack..." Fluttershy whimpered, futilely wiping her own face. "Whatever he's done to us, the horrible deed that monster did to him was the last thing he deserved!" She heavily sobbed and wheezed, burying herself in Pinkie's coat in the hopes of slowing down the currents of tears.

"Not gonna lie, I feel awful." said Rarity. "I wish we could see him again and apologize. He did seem to learn his lesson."

"Indeed. I sensed no reluctance when he chose to make up for his well-meant error." Celestia mentioned, remembering and recognizing how genuine Discord's tone was when he last exchanged words with the group.

Twilight nodded to her in agreement, not only coming off experience of the draconequus helping out begrudgingly, like during the Sombra conflict, but also because she noticed, knowing now he was truly being hurt and restricted, that he didn't expect his powers to be overpowered by the ram sorcerer's either. His remorseful vow and pained cries played back in her mind, hauntingly, like a vinyl record.

"Darn that Grogar..." Rainbow muttered vengefully, her fore hooves comfortably wrapped around Fluttershy. "Next time I see him, i'll make him wish he was a myth."

"With an opponent that powerful, we can't be too risky." said Luna solemnly. "Not even with the power of the Elements."

"I don't believe him. Not just the power he has, but what he said." Twilight addressed Luna about Grogar's words to the night princess back in the now-decimated castle. "Creating Discord, I could fathom, but freeing you from the moon?"

"I haven't fully comprehended it yet either, Twilight." Luna admitted. "Even knowing we were both prisoners in celestial bodies, of all the stars in the sky.... but we can dwell on the matter later; we can't afford to lose another ally to that bell."

"No, Discord isn't gone." said Twilight, pounding one of her fore hooves with another. "There has to be a chance we can save him."

"B-but h-how?" Fluttershy stuttered askingly in her shaken state.

"You see how that spell forcefully extracted this glowing orb from his body? That was his core." Twilight explained. "It's the source of his Chaos Magic. The way he split apart after it came out was just like how those hybrid monsters separated when they transferred their cores to me. If Discord is the same, then I doubt he's beyond help, even if has no life force to keep him up on his legs."

"You really... think so?" said Fluttershy, feeling a bit of hope return to wash away her intense misery.

"I know so." Twilight assured her pegasus friend with a smile. "We'll avenge him, Fluttershy. Grogar and his gang may have knocked us down, but what villain hasn't? We never let that take our hope away, and we're not starting now."

"Yeah, it's all just a Tuesday at this point." Pinkie chuckled. "I'm glad you finally agree on that." The somewhat cheered up pegasus she was comforting lifted herself out of her hooves, cracking a smile to the party pony and wiping her own tears, this time successfully.

"So then, with our best defenses taken out, the School shut down, the ponies' friction growing and the Lord of Chaos training wheels officially off, let's make a new plan and hope the lands beyond Equestria will be bringing in the cavalry soon." Spike advised.

"All I ask is that we have enough time." said Twilight, betraying worry in her words, but looking with determination. She gazed at Ponyville, which looked to be completely abandoned, all the buildings ruined and monsters and zombies running all over the place. She turned back to the others and instructed "First, let's gather at my castle. My old castle."

Without another word, the ponies and the young dragon headed towards the desolate Ponyville, ready for the beasts that were certain to welcome them on the outskirts of town.

In the crystal-covered basement of the dead, burnt debris pile where the glamorous, high-class structures of Canterlot stood mere minutes ago, Chrysalis, Tirek, Cozy and Eclipse were taking some time to speak with their captives from a fair distance, knowing that they could still hear their vile voices.

"I'm a changeling of my word, Starlight. I will be seeing your stallion soon, and he'll join my... collection once I return to my rightful position of power." Chrysalis declared, flying next to the cocoon containing her unicorn nemesis. "And I want you to see and hear every. Last. Bite."

"You big stallions kept me on the tips of my hooves, and you lovely mares gave the monsters and zombies a hard time." Tirek acknowledged to the cocoons containing the Pillars. "But legendary or not, you're no alicorns, and you're only two of each pony type out of many." He then pointed to Stygian's cocoon. "I don't know you, little one, but you're out of your depth."

"I know what you're thinking: "Eclipse, you monster, why don't you just brainwash us into your slaves?", right?" said Eclipse to the cocoons containing Shining Armor and Cadance. "Well, the missus, as the Crystal Princess, is a key entity for Grogar's magical assimilation. Can't enslave a raisin, can we? As for you, mister, I have a special proposal in mind."

"Now, you're all drained of magic, and thus can't really do anything, but you never know when these magic blocking stones could come in handy." said Cozy, pointing out the black rocks attached to the inside of each cocoon, including one that carried the earth pony component of Discord.

"Those fools brought the remains of my throne to Canterlot for protection, inside and out. Somehow, they modified them to cancel even changeling magic." Chrysalis explained. "How fortunate we were able to recover them from the ashes we and Grogar left behind."

"Also fortunate that they don't cancel out my large form or most wing functions, or Eclipse and I wouldn't have been able to carry them all here." Tirek pointed out, showing his large hands and referring to the dark alicorn's prehensile wings, a recent physical development among winged ponies. Then he put a finger up to his bearded chin and let out a quiet "Hmm..." sound of contemplation.

"We still have many shards to use for our next prisoners. As long as we don't get too close, and we keep every last one in this single, isolated location, they'll pose no threat to us." said Chrysalis, rubbing her fore hooves with glee.

"Hold on a second. Since somepony was able to make modifications to the stone, perhaps we, as talented spellcasters, could possibly make adjustments of our own." Eclipse mused. "Our squadrons can keep Equestria's last heroes busy while we experiment. Give your throne that pinch of Malice."

"No, Eclipse! We must complete our victories against Twilight and her friends and end this battle quickly, before they pull a trump card." Tirek argued.

"Oh relax, big boy, and you, echo, straighten your priorities." Chrysalis berated the two. "This is about humiliating those goody-goodies as hard as possible. You can't rush such gratifying art, or waste precious painting time on pet projects."

"You know, guys, before we do anything..." Cozy interrupted, holding out her shadow wings to stop the argument before it escalated. "We should probably check on Mr. Grogar and see if he's dealt with Discord already. I mean, this pony here who just came in looks kind of familiar, doesn't he?"

Her fellow villains took a hard look at their most recent prisoner and actually thought of the fallen Lord of Chaos as well. They turned to the filly and nodded in accord, opening up a portal together to reach their ovine leader.

Outside of Canterlot's ruins, Grogar was pointing a hoof at his own head and talking as if there was a voice inside it.

"Just soften them up for my students, children." he said, telepathically communicating with his squadrons. "Once we've given them the honours entirely, and I have Twilight's and her friends' cores, your destinies shall be fully fulfilled. Good. Now, for Cadance." Just then, a portal mixing green, orange and turquoise appeared in front of him, the villainous tetrad emerging from it's vortex.

"Mr. Grogar, what's with that weird earth pony?" Cozy asked.

"What of Discord?" Chrysalis queried impatiently, getting up in the ram's face.

"He is finished." Grogar confirmed. "Discord feared my power, yet still overestimated his own. Now that defective hodgepodge of mine is only the powerless stallion he was built from." The last sentence got a collective reaction of confusion from the others.

"That little pony used to be him?!" said Tirek, bemused.

"Wait! Discord was Grogar's child? Like, the whole time?" Cozy questioned.

"I figured he was as old as time, being the embodiment of disharmony and all." Eclipse commented while scratching her head. "But it makes sense, actually."

Grogar pointed down to his glowing, golden Bell and stroked it like a suave mastermind petting a cat. He said "From Discord's defeat I sent a potent message to his friends, on top of claiming a very special prize: his Chaos Magic core."

"Wow! His infamous Chaos Magic, all contained in there." said Eclipse with amazement. "Your tome said when you assimilate a core, you gain the magical knowledge and mastery of the original bearer." Grogar nodded to her with a proud smile, to which she yipped "That means... we've won!" and pumped her hoof. "All you have to do is flick your pastern and this battle's over!"

"Well..." Grogar uttered, about to state a correction.

"We all know how powerful Discord was, so what if we each had that Chaos Magic running through our veins?" Chrysalis suggested, licking her lips.

"I'll pass. I might explode." Cozy declined, shuddering from some graphic mental images her mind instantly conjured.

"Taking that magic, especially in large quantities, would be madness!" Tirek rebuffed, looking at Chrysalis like she was asking for the most absurd thing. "It's impossible for any other creature to control. Yes, I drained Discord once, but if I stripped him of more than his vital energy, which I couldn't, I would've been in trouble."

"Even for me it's tricky." Grogar said, receiving more expressions of confusion from the tetrad. "I have the knowledge and mastery of Chaos Magic, but I never intended to create this magnificent power. The traitor also possessed a third crucial element that gave him such reality-bending finesse. His wild, infinite imagination."

"But you created all those monsters, right? I think you're selling yourself short." said Cozy.

"Alas, i'm not a perfect sorcerer." Grogar replied. "I can put Chaos Magic to use, but nowhere near it's full potential because my creativity, my vision for the zany and madly unpredictable, ultimately pales in comparison. Watching it in action can only educate me on it's functionality so much."

"Well, that's an inconvenient catch." Chrysalis muttered. "Perhaps we could use a guinea pig to see if any of us can get a handle on this magic."

"What's that? Somepony wants to experiment? Ha, I win!" Eclipse sang.

"In that case, you be the test subject." Chrysalis breathed out disdainfully at the echo alicorn with a mock smile.

"As if!" Eclipse spat, pushing the changeling back. "I may have ideas, but i'm not chaotic."

"Forget about it. Let's just continue taking over with what we have." Tirek urged, feeling highly uncomfortable about the possibilities of this test.

"I concur, Tirek, but a queen must have her demands met." said Grogar, wisely conceding to the mentally unstable tyrant's wishes.

"I nominate Chrysalis." Cozy spoke up. The rogue changeling reacted to her words with apprehension. "She has the biggest chip on the shoulder out of all of us; her imagination must be filled with hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of great and terrible ways to punish the ponies and their little friends. She's an artist of vengeance waiting for her work to be known. Sounds like a good candidate, right?"

"Flattery will get you nowhere, child!" Chrysalis snarled at the tiny pegasus with a savage bloodlust. It vanished like a fleeting shadow as those claims were processed. Now she was smirking darkly. "Actually, you're right. I do have infinite ideas on how to bring endless torment to those who've wronged me, I don't even know what to do with them all. Haha, i'd love a way to dispense each of them at once." With that affirmation, she gestured towards her chest in anticipation.

"So be it." said Grogar in agreement of the terms. He ignited the yellow and black glow of his horns and collar, activating his Bell with another of it's ghostly ringing sounds.

"No, hold on, I was just kidding!" Cozy yelled, fearing the absolute worst after the changeling's self-assured statement.

"You're crazy! We don't know what'll happen!" Tirek shouted at about the same time.

"This is going to be good!" Eclipse hollered in excitement like a schoolgirl finding a working chemistry formula.

As they clamored, the Bewitching Bell released a stream of Malice Magic at Chrysalis, quickly carrying along the blue and purple magical core of Discord. It phased into her body, causing her to glow like a neon sign, just before suddenly, she grew in size, getting bigger and bigger, until she cast a shadow over everyone, including Tirek's giant, muscle-covered stature.

Chrysalis, filled with Chaos Magic, now stood twice as tall as Tirek, who was nearly the size of a two-story house in his current form. Her appearance also changed drastically. Her mane was unkempt and blowing in a non-existent breeze, spikes covered most of her body, she grew a bony peytral out of her chest and some bony shoes out of her hooves, her face now had small, beady eyes and four rows of fangs in her wide mouth, she grew two extra wings on her back, and finally, her single horn was now two, looking like the horns of a demon from the front. In this new state, she laughed maniacally in a deepened, booming voice. Tirek, Cozy and Eclipse recoiled in terror, but Grogar was not the least bit fazed by the sight.

"IDIOTS!" the massive chaos-powered changeling bellowed triumphantly. "YOU PROVED TO BE PATHETICALLY GULLIBLE AFTER ALL! NOW THAT THIS POWER IS MINE, I STAND ALONE AS CHRYSALIS: THE INVINCIBLE!" Her subsequent laughter thundered through the air.

"Th-this is definitely b-bad!" Cozy stuttered with fright, turning white from the fear that was taking full control of her mind.

"Don't shield me!" Grogar ordered the others without a hint of concern for his own well-being, holding up a hoof to them. Tirek and Eclipse raised their eyebrows at him.

"GOOD-BYE, SUCKERS!" Chrysalis called out gleefully, stomping the ground with loud, stone-breaking force and igniting her horns with blue and purple Chaos energy. She blasted downwards at her partners, showering them all with a gigantic, powerful beam.

As the magical beam came towards them, Grogar looked up without so much as flinching, Tirek and Eclipse joined together, simultaneously forming shields for amplified protection, and Cozy screamed at the top of her lungs, covering up behind the centaur and alicorn mare in her shadow form. Her entire, short life flashed before her eyes, for there was no telling if the power of the mad titan standing above the gang could be blocked. It was certain to leave a deep crater with their charred remains.

The blast passed... and no crater was left. In fact, the shielding wasn't effected by the beam at all. Grogar was in the same position, with the same expression that he had before it hit. All that happened was that the gang was drenched in some chocolate milk and covered in cotton candy. Once Tirek and Eclipse got a good look at these results, the dread they were filled with a moment ago quickly subsided. They smiled and chuckled at Chrysalis, who looked down at them confused. Cozy, however, was in too much shock to notice.

Chrysalis reignited her horns and materialized a storm cloud into over the others, which looked threatening at first, but soon transformed into a bunch of falling rubber chickens. Tirek and Eclipse used their telekinesis to blow every last one of them away. "WHAT THE-?" Chrysalis responded to the ineffectual nature of her attack. Making one more attempt, she raised one of her fore hooves and caused giant, living, ravenous pineapples with sharp teeth to grow out of the ground. Not a single one attacked the four, instead directing their savage attacks on their creator. They got all over her, causing her much pain.

"OW, NO! NOT ME! AH!" She screamed in agony. Then to make things worse for her, an even bigger pineapple popped out from under her hooves and threatened to drag her down. "OKAY, TAKE IT BACK! TAKE IT BACK!" With that, Grogar smiled, knowing that this had been a valuable learning experience for her. She was soon reverted back to her normal, stable evolved self by the Bewitching Bell's reassimilation of Discord's core.

By this time, Tirek and Eclipse had burst into laughter at Chrysalis' expense, pointing at her and coughing from how much breath they exerted. Chrysalis was sitting flat on the ground, groaning and looking like a wreck after that dose of cosmic power. Grogar used some magic to materialize a paper bag out of the grey grass and handed it to her when it looked like she was about to lose her lunch. She did, right into the open bag.

"S-somepony h-h-hold me." Cozy whimpered, crouched down and completely pale in the face. Tirek heard her and clicked his tongue in disapproval.

"Don't be such a wimp, it couldn't hurt you anyway." said Tirek to the filly with a rough, but fatherly tone.

"It's better off in the Phantom Zone." Grogar recommended. "I'm going to take the Crystal Princess' power now. Target Ponyville, and you'll find Twilight's band. But don't interfere with the conflict of the ponies; from here on it has to build up on it's own."

After his order, Grogar received a respectful bow from Eclipse and a hard thumbs up from Tirek. With a wave of his hoof, the ram sorcerer - again - opened up five portals; one for himself, and four for his partners. But before he disappeared into his, there was one last matter he had to bring up.

"My children and our zombie friends will keep them running. As long as they can't hide, their fates are tied on the end of our string." He notified them, smiling as his eyes glowed yellow and red.

"Now we're picking up the pace! I win!" Tirek gloated. Eclipse and Cozy, the latter now out of her state of shock, rolled their eyes at his declaration, and Chrysalis groaned behind them.

In a flash, the ram sorcerer's surroundings were changed to the underground caves littered with crystals, and in addition to that, the former changeling queen's throne shards. He illuminated the darkness with the yellow glow of his Malice to find the magic-nullifying stones. Despite being right next to them, though, his magical abilities didn't fade.

"Interesting. They're different from before." he pointed out to himself, sensing the modifications within the shards. He cracked a smile of amusement at this discovery, which brought back to mind that ever since he was freed from his cosmic prison, he didn't have the universal view he once had, so there was still much he hadn't seen or found out yet. "A good defense, but even an inhibitor has it's limits."

He levitated several shards with his Malice telekinesis and, with intense focus, combined them together like an assortment of pastry recipes until he managed to conjure up some dark diamond cages, each big enough to fit crowds of prisoners. Personalized for the reigning champions - not a bad gift i'd say, he thought about his work. But now, it was time to take his next prize.

Grogar floated off the ground, up near the ceiling, and faced Cadance's cocoon. By now, she had adjusted enough to her currently life magic-deprived body that she could speak, look and think straight, at least a little bit.

"Who are you?" she spoke weakly.

"I am Grogar, the original emperor of this world." the ram sorcerer formally answered. The alicorn and her husband, also recovering a little, scowled at him. "I'm here to obtain a most valuable asset."

"What do you want?" She growled in question.

"Your core is mine." Grogar replied simply, his face intimidatingly straight the whole time.

The Bewitching Bell pointed towards the Crystal Princess with another ring, and without a chance to realize what was hitting her, she found herself enveloped in the yellow and black, energy-stripping stream. Cadance's core, a blend of pink and baby blue, entered the artifact, and Shining Armor could only watch from his cocoon in horror as his wife was reduced to a fully unconscious husk. Not only that, her horn faded away into dust, devolving her into a pegasus; her original form.

The cocoon was blown open by the assimilation spell, so Cadance fell out, but she was caught in Grogar's hooves before her body even got close to the ground.

"Cadance, no." Shining Armor cried quietly, trying to sound louder, but being too low on energy to raise his voice. "You won't get away with this."

"I'll give her an appropriate monument, Shining Armor. After all, her triumph over Sombra was overshadowed by a young'un." Grogar stated with a businesslike tone. With that, he telekinetically pinned Cadance's body to one of the walls of the cave, then used her magic, indicated by a pink and baby blue aura, to conjure up new crystals to make a tomb for it.

"You creep... if you'll take her, take me as well." Shining Armor snarled in tears.

"I could, but I have students who'd enjoy using your mind and talents. Preferrably untainted." Grogar explained. "Believe me, i'm no barbarian."

"Your voice." Starlight Glimmer said over in her cocoon, loudly enough for the ram sorcerer to hear. "It sounds... familiar."

"You don't need to worry about that, Ms. Glimmer." Grogar responded to her knowingly. "You have a different place in this story, and you're not alone on that, either. Right, Stygian?" He shifted his eyes over the cocoon of the small unicorn hanging next to the six Pillars.

Stygian tried to ignore the wizard trying to address him, one thought stirring all alone in his mind. A plea for Twilight's group: Dear Tree, may the branch you gave me protect our last hope.

Ponyville never looked so gloomy. Monsters and zombies ran rampant all over the torn-down houses, stores, eateries and sports establishments across town. Twilight, her friends and the Royal Sisters surveilled the area and found no signs of pony life left, much to their relief. However, they also had to fight off the demonic hordes with all the strength they could muster. Twilight wanted to teleport herself and the others past all this, but their numbers were continually splitting them apart. For a moment, by luck, they managed to tire out the beasts and restrain the undead equines enough to catch their breath.

"Alright, the path is cleared!" Twilight called out to everyone. "Time to take refuge!"

"Thank you for your understanding, wondrous ones." Fluttershy said to some monsters she pacified, thanks to her signature Stare. Even with them clearly trying to attack the group by the will of their father, she still wanted to be their friend, even using any substitute for "monsters" as a term of addressment. To this mare, they were just beautiful, exotic animals.

Racing against the clock, the 9 of them headed in the direction of the Castle of Friendship. This was it; a chance to take comfort inside a safe haven. They could go down into the castle's basement, lock the doors, get away from the action for a while, set up a place to rest for the night, contemplate a plan to effectively strike back at the villains in the morning, and do it all as a singular unit. It felt like things, even if it was only to be for a short time, would look up.

They were wrong to get their hopes too high. When they got a good look at the Castle of Friendship, Twilight's home, their hopeful faces warped into expressions of devastation at what happened to it. The castle, as they remembered, was a part of the Tree of Harmony, and thus shared with it the core energy of the world. The once brilliant, blue, crystalline structure of royalty was covered in yellow veins, pulsating with electricity and black energy, it's walls changed to a grotesque purple colour. It did not look safe to go near, let alone inside.

"Oh no!" Twilight exclaimed at the miserable new appearance of the place she lived in for so long now. "Grogar did this?!"

"That's insane!" Spike yelled in disbelief. "Nocreature should be that powerful!" The sight he beheld felt like too much for his young mind to process. The defeat of Discord in a head-on assault, and now this, it didn't feel real to him at all.

When everyone looked to their right, they saw what was essentially the supplement to this awful display. The School of Friendship, a happy place where creatures from all over could come to learn the values of camaraderie, was ripped apart like paper, and the Maulwurf was playing in it's pieces like a sandbox. They didn't have long to process this imagery before the beast took notice of the group and roared. It's friends answered the call. The Ophiotaurus and many monsters and zombies burst out of the castle's front door, causing it to leak even more electricity and ominous black energy. They were eager for a fight.

"Run for it!" Rainbow yelled as she and the others turned tail.

Twilight ignited her horn and finally got to do what she was trying earlier, teleporting everyone away from the chaos. She successfully got herself and her friends a fair distance from where they were, no army crowding around them. The young princess needed another moment to breathe, for the strain of the spell was rough, and her mind was in turmoil.

"Guess a wrench is thrown in that plan." Pinkie remarked. "What do we do now?"

"It's time to leave. There's nothing left for us here, except danger." said Celestia.

"Yeah, nothing indeed." Twilight agreed glumly.

"Keep playing to your strengths, Twilight." Luna advised her fellow alicorn. "A moment of weakness could cost us dearly."

"Let's follow the train track, everypony!" Rainbow called from above, checking the distance from a higher height. "I see something far past the station!"

"Guess we have nowhere better to go." said Spike, jumping on his big sister's back as the group started running. His mind then flashed back to Starlight, held captive by Chrysalis. This reminded him of their other allies who received the Ponyville and school evacuation orders. "I hope Trixie, Sunburst and the students are still okay."

Twilight nodded, once again putting on the face of determination that she knew her friends would want to see on her, doing well to hide the sadness that was rattling her brain. For a few final moments, before it totally left her line of sight, she looked at the Castle of Friendship, it's new ugliness just as visible from afar, and quietly lamented as she barely held back a sob. This event brought back one of her most painful memories of days of old. Not another one.

After a long, organized walk through the underground tunnels, now turning the same purple colour as Twilight's beloved castle, Trixie and the students finally found a way back to the surface, though the red glow coming from the sky outside was not very inviting.

"Daylight!" Yona yelped in excitement.

"Ugh, you sure?" Trixie asked. "With that ugly light?"

"I don't like things that are all red, it's scary." Silverstream complained with her teeth chattering.

"Hold on, I think I see a tree out there." said Gallus, looking closely at the hole before turning to the magician. "It's our only way out. It has to be."

While nobody was looking her way, Yona had already gone up towards the hole with a charge like a bull, determined to finally leave this dark cave. It took everyone by surprise, but Silverstream most of all was beside herself with worry. None of them knew what they'd be walking into.

"Hey, Yona! Wait up!" Gallus hollered, wanting to make sure Yona didn't meet any opposition on the surface. Flying up, he poked his head out of the hole and found the young yak sitting nearby, waiting impatiently for the rest. "Oh." He muttered before rising out completely.

"It's okay, everycreature hurry! Either this way, or we go back!" Yona called to everyone still underground.

"Well, we didn't go all this way for nothing." said Trixie, wiping her forehead in relief. She trotted up to the hole with Silverstream, Smolder, Sandbar, Ocellus and all the pony students in the line.

Before the magician climbed out, she noticed that the walls of the tunnel had begun to crackle intensely with electrical bolts. Her relief returned to panic at these once beautiful walls becoming so violent like this. Now more than ever, it was time to make a run for it. In a neat order, they made it out and felt the fresh air of the outside world again. But what they saw were not the lovely sights they wanted to see.

"What happened to this place!?" Trixie cried in shock.

"All of this must be that Grogar guy's doing." Sandbar commented, taking in what had become of the surrounding nature.

"How long did it take him to do this?" Smolder questioned, fearfully suspecting how much damage had been done to the Tree of Harmony.

"Counselor Trixie, is Headmare Starlight coming back?" a pink unicorn filly student with a purple mane and tail, scared out of her mind, asked the magician.

"I've no doubt, Raspberry Dazzle." Trixie answered confidently, not hesitating for even an instant. "Starlight is the greatest and most powerful pony i've ever met. I bet all my bits that by now, she's already blown that nasty Chrysalis away with one, spectacular blast."

The moment she gave her quick reply to the filly, a loud rumbling sound came from the passage from which they exited the tunnel. It turned everyone's heads like they were about to witness a magic act. It got louder, it sounded closer, those sparks of electricity were starting to pop out, little by little. Trixie had an idea what was going to happen.

"Get back!" Trixie yelled, and everybody did as she said. Thankfully, none of the children were in range of what happened. Electricity and that black energy burst out of the hole, as if it was a volcano blowing it's top. When it was over, a little bit of smog was left, which everyone could tell was bad news. Moving as far away from the tunnel exit as they could, every single creature present took a bit of time to collect themselves.

"I'm going to wager it wasn't a blast like that." said Gallus, for levity. "Okay, guys. I think this is where we go our separate ways."

"But Sandbar lives in Equestria, where will he go?" Silverstream questioned out of concern, remembering the tree's specific orders.

"I'll stay close to Counselor Trixie and take refuge wherever we can." Sandbar assured his friends. "Hopefully we can get Celestia and Luna to discuss the alliance, too. Good luck!"

"Say, guys? Does anypony feel it getting chillier out here?" asked a light gold pegasus colt student with a vermilion mane and tail, feeling as if hit by a sudden cold breeze in the wind.

"Huh? What do you mean, Hyper Sonic?" Sandbar queried back, not noticing any cold sensation himself. Before any further conversing could happen, out of the horrible smog, bursting out of the ground from the sounds of it, came monsters and zombies, ready to attack the helpless group of children. They all screamed with face-whitening terror at the beasts drawing close, some flying in from the side or behind.

"Ah! Yona don't want to be monster food!" Yona yelled, ducking and shielding her eyes.

"Don't worry, filles and colts!” Trixie hollered, though she too was freaking out, as the sweat running down her head like rain indicated. “I’ve got this!” Swiftly, she used her telekinesis to draw a whole collection of small balls out of her magician’s cloak. She threw them on to the ground with a swift stroke and, as a result, covered herself, as well as all of the students, in a blinding smokescreen the size of an entire theatre stage.

Every monster and zombie present lost track of the ponies and non-ponies, and before long, their prey was gone; off to find shelter and fulfill the final wish of the Tree’s consciousness.

The ruined town of Ponyville was behind Twilight and her friends, but all that was ahead of them was even more dark roads and bleak landscapes. Wherever they could possibly go, the red sky and wilted plant life were inescapable. Following the train track, seeing it as their best way forward, they got far and hadn’t run into another horde of Grogar’s deadly creatures. For the moment, it felt like they could catch their breath.

“Uh oh, I see smoke up ahead!” Rainbow called down from the air.

“Smoke? Like, from the chimney?” Spike queried, confused. “The train had to have left quite a while ago, and we’re not that far from the station yet.”

“Yeah, it looks pretty fresh.” Rainbow confirmed, coming down with a look of concern. “That can’t be good.” Right in front of the group, a jittery unicorn stallion approached and gazed at them, fearful about their situation.

“Princess Twilight, Celestia, Luna, and your friends!?” he exclaimed questioningly to them. “What are all of you doing here, out in the open?! Hide!”

“What happened to the train?” Rarity inquired. “Nopony got hurt too badly, did they?”

“Vice Headstallion Sunburst got us on board with... those earth ponies, and we were on our way, but the whole thing got derailed!” the stallion explained, which made Twilight’s entire group gasp and jump. “We couldn’t go forward with that chasm in the way, and worse, there’s monsters everywhere! I was just escaping from the chaos, and then I saw you.

“All of this is Grogar’s doing.” said Twilight.

“Grogar?! Don’t be ridiculous, that’s just a character from a little foal’s story.” the stallion scoffed at the matter-of-fact statement he received. Of course, he couldn’t possibly believe it when the ram sorcerer’s presence hadn’t been made known to the rest of Equestria yet.

“I thought so too, but I saw him with my own eyes!” Spike stressed, a little frustrated at the disbelief he had witnessed.

“As did I, right along with everypony here.” Applejack affirmed with the straightest possible face. “Take it from me - i’m not known for my lying skills.”

“You sure?” the stallion said back with doubt. “It sounds far-fetched.”

“I only wish that such a dangerous wizard was just a fictional entity.” said Celestia. “Even worse, Tirek, Cozy Glow, an evil alicorn named Aurora Eclipse, and the former changeling queen, Chrysalis, have aided him in destroying our home, and dividing the ponies.”

“How?! They were cast out and locked away, right? And what evil alicorn?” the stallion questioned even further.

“From what we’ve heard, nasty rumors and word of sabotage has gone around thanks to those bullies.” said Fluttershy.

“Well, it doesn’t matter, the evidence speaks for itself. I’m going to find shelter; not sure where yet, but me and the other unicorns are going to gather there.” the stallion declared. “While you’re here, they could use your help over by the train wreckage.”

“What about the earth ponies and pegasi?” Rainbow asked.

“I don’t want to get caught in the crossfire of their rebellion!” the stallion harshly replied.

“Rebellion?! That ain’t right.” said Applejack incredulously.

“You’ve fallen victim to great deception, young one.” said Luna. “It’s blinding you to the bigger picture.”

“I don’t have time for debates.” the stallion groaned. “We lost enough unicorns before the attack.” Then just like that, he was dashing towards who-knows-where, hoping that he would find a place to get away from the mayhem.

“My word, it’s gotten that bad. Worse than I could’ve ever imagined.” said Rarity with dread.

“Everypony’s scared, that’s all.” Applejack remarked with a hoof on the unicorn mare’s shoulder.

“And the ponies over there need our help.” Twilight added, prompting the others to continue running along the train track with her, now that they have had a moment to recharge. “We need to reach them and explain this whole situation pronto. If we can’t quell the friction, who can?

The group of ponies and their small dragon friend closed in on the wrecked locomotive and, of course, the monstrous enemies that they had to contend with. Right behind them, unnoticed by even a single living thing, fell something small. Something white. Something that didn’t belong at this warm time of year. A snowflake.

Behind some dead forest trees by the nearby hills, a plot was being hatched by the villainous tetrad responsible for the direct damage to ponykind's unity. Each of them were watching the ponies' progress closely, though Chrysalis was having focus trouble due to her botched Chaos Magic handling earlier.

"Those jerks are so busy exhausting themselves, they don't know what we're going to do next." Cozy commented, then giggled with malefic delight. "Revenge is great."

"The army will deliver them to the stage of their defeat, and we'll meet them there." said Tirek. "We just need to take full advantage of the goodness in their hearts."

"Right. Chryssy, you can turn into multiple creatures now, can't you?" Cozy mentioned.

"I said don't call me that." Chrysalis growled by animal-like instinct.

"I won't if, well..." said Cozy with sly expression.

The four malefactors huddled together and discussed their current plan against Twilight and her friends. One part of their big idea left Chrysalis in indignation.

"Augh, didn't I swallow my pride enough?" Chrysalis groaned with aggrevation. "I'm a queen, not a lapdog!"

"No arguments or complaining, your whininess." Tirek rebuked. "The boss has allowed us to live out our revenge fantasy. Are you taking that for granted?"

"NO!" Chrysalis snapped back vehemently. "But I won't stoop that low, not for vengeance, not ever."

"Come on!" Cozy complained.

Huddling together again, Cozy and Eclipse explained to Chrysalis the reality of their current circumstances, how things played out on one's end while the others were busy, and how the end result of their countrywide attack's first phase has informed the heroic ponies.

"They saw through me the first time." Cozy mentioned.

"And you really think they'll buy anything I could fabricate?" Eclipse rhetorically questioned.

At the end of the discussion, Chrysalis opened her mouth thinking she had more protesting to make, but then realized that she didn't have a retort.

"I hate you." the rogue changeling muttered at the pegasus filly and the alicorn.

"Feeling's mutual." Eclipse breathed out, brushing her waving mane with a hoof. "Look, we've excelled at clandestine operations so far, so let's try not to trip at the finish line. This is exactly what Emperor Grogar trained us for."

"Chrysalis, o' majestic one, can you pleeeease turn into-" Cozy requested in her sugary sweet tone of voice, hugging the air like it was a teddy bear. The changeling shoved her away with telekinesis, interrupting the sentence.

"Yeah, yeah, i'm changing. Look away." Chrysalis grumbled, wanting to hurl again, and this time into anything but a bag. She enveloped herself in the green fire, beginning the demanded transformation. Tirek, Cozy and Eclipse watched in anticipation.

"Now, for the interesting part." Tirek said with a devilish, knowing smile. Cozy and Eclipse turned their eyes to the sides of their sockets, synchronizing their grins.

Grogar resurfaced from the underground caverns beneath Canterlot's burned ruins. Scanning the now lifeless area around him, gazing upon the mountainside that was blown apart by the blast his, Chrysalis', Tirek's and Eclipse's combined magic generated, he knew that he didn't want this whole space to go to waste. Then his eyes locked on to his Bell, curious about one thing. I may not have Discord's sense of artistry, but I know I can control his magic to some degree. Almighty Chaos Magic, help me construct the capital city of my dream kingdom.

With a thought and a clap of his fore hooves, the ram sorcerer activated the magical power of his draconequus son, just about the way it was done by it's original owner. In this case, he was using it to an incredible degree. In an instant, many bright flashes surrounded him, and many tall, dark and intimidating structures materialized on top of what was left of Canterlot. Grogar took a few seconds to breathe before getting a good look at what he just created. He was pleased at the results.

"Haha!" he laughed happily and proudly. "Perfect!"

With a flick of his pastern and ideas swimming all over his head like goldfish, he started building what would become his empire's capital city. The destroyed chunk of the mountain would be filled in with the keep of his dark castle, the former spot of the falls near the city entrance would now be filled with lava instead, the streets would be decorated with his symbol, shaped like his beloved Bewitching Bell, and statues shaped like his children and the four villains he helped bring together, each monuments of honour. All of this work proved to be tiring for him, for the strange nature of Chaos Magic challenged his focus and control a fair bit.

So this is the power you commanded, son. Truly, nocreature could replicate your dominating usage of it. Grogar thought. That's why I have to banish it after this. It's too great a risk to my vitality.

Now feeling that he had done enough to build what he had fantasized, the ram sorcerer would let his natural magic take over from here, arranging everything in the city to his liking, working out the kinks left in the architecture, making sure that there would be space and good homes for him and anyone else who treaded the grounds of this mighty, evil-looking place he owned. He intended on taking his time with this project, certain that his partners were plotting their victories over Equestria's heroes as carefully as both he and they desire.

Author's Note:

(I figured i'd get this one chapter of Part 2 up now, just to let people know the rewrite project is progressing again, and give a good taste of what's to come.)

To start, from this point forward, while the chapters of the parts that make up this rewrite will be listed as 1, 2, 3 and 4, the actual chapter numbers of the story will be shown in brackets. This just serves as a way for the readers to keep perfect track of the reading order, in case any trouble is had at all.

Yes, I tried to replicate the feeling of tuning into the second parts of the two-part episodes, but with text. I tried to get as much of the important details of the past events as I could in there, not only for those reading these chapters in succession, but also those who may need the refresher after the long wait for the publishing of this chapter, and in any long breaks in-between parts people could take if they prefer that approach to reading a big story.

This chapter isn't exactly the most eventful, but it felt important to provide a big break from the big action, a long moment for both the heroes and the villains to catch their breath after everything that went down previously. An advantage given to this story by expanding it so much from the source material is that there's more room for everyone to take in the results of the sudden, national incident they got caught in. After suffering a big loss, they need a lot of time to lick their wounds, register what they lost, what they're losing now, and try desperately to find any immediate solution, whatever roadblocks come between them and the possibility of a brighter future. Villains who come out on top earn the right to relish what they've gained, enjoy the victories they're claiming for an extended period of time, and have the consequences of their actions leave a significant impact on the forces they antagonize, because that spices up drama to make the eventual turnaround just a bit more rewarding.

Now, before I get to a part I really enjoyed typing, I want to clarify that when Discord helped Twilight's group restrain Cozy Glow and teleported all of the monsters and zombies away, that extended to all of the monsters and zombies outside, so none of them were caught in the villains' city-busting explosion. Too bad it's Sunday (in Equestria).

Now about the part where they discuss Discord's Chaos Magic. Of course, I couldn't just have the big, bad, ultimate villain have a true handle on that power, because it would make him too insanely, well, overpowered for it to be reasonable to defeat him. I think i've made him strong enough with the deadly magic he has naturally. That whole "imagination" criteria was the best inhibitor I could think up to balance it out. Maybe there's something better I could've used, but I wouldn't know what that'd be. Now, for the demonstration of how not to handle that ridiculous cosmic mojo. Sorry to any fans of the short-lived Chaos Cozy Glow bit, but in my opinion, it would've made more sense to have Chrysalis as the guinea pig, because her big flaw since The Mean 6 is that she has all but lost her mind. Sounds like somebody who might get the hang of an unpredictable and disorderly being's abilities, doesn't it? Also, she made her debut in the same season as Discord (Season 2), and she was shown to have looked up to the guy before he was reformed, so there's that connection. And so, I give you folks what I call "Chrazylis".

Yes, it's true, the dark stone that made up the former changeling queen's throne has no effect on Malice Magic. But more importantly, I addressed something that bothered me from the source material: the fact that the throne shards could apparently cancel out a changeling's magic now. The big thing about the throne back in the Season 6 finale was ignored. Neither the show nor the creators, as far as i'm aware, made any mention of the things being modified when they were brought to Canterlot, or even stated that the Bewitching Bell's enchantments altered Chrysalis' capabilities in any way besides making them stronger. Only a single, quick line would fill in the gap, which is exactly what I did here.

If you read the Seasonal Recap prologue and the first few chapters of Part 1, then you might be already connecting dots about the significance of those tiny interactions with some of the captured secondary heroes.

This rewrite has had it's fair share of throwbacks to the earlier years of Friendship is Magic, so why not more? In order to put the heroes' in a much stickier situation than they're already in, to drive it home that nowhere was safe in the land they know anymore, I needed something that called back to one of the biggest status quo breakers in the show's entire run. Except this time, it wasn't just happening to one of the main characters, but all of them.

You may have picked up that the two minor pony students who got lines during the part with Trixie and the Student 6 are, in fact, the unicorn filly and pegasus colt who quelled the fear and hatred of the unicorn and pegasus clans at the end of the original episode. By the way, research tells me that their names are indeed Raspberry Dazzle and Hyper Sonic, respectively. Let me tell you right now that this is the extent of their presence in the rewrite. Their original roles, coming much, much later down the road, will go to, let's just say, more historically important characters (Sandbar, however, will stay to share his role with one of those characters).