• Published 11th Jan 2022
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From Whence We Fell - iAmSiNnEr

In a fallen world, alicorns do battle as ponies cower in fear and hide from their insane overlords. Gods and monsters roam the world, and two alicorns must face each other to save themselves and their souls.

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The Queen of the Ruined Lands

From Whence We Fell

By iAmSiNnEr

The Queen of the Ruined Lands

“Your left,” Nightmare Moon sliced down at the manticore’s stinger, which twisted to stab at Midnight’s left side as she did so.

Midnight’s horn lit up, severing the manticore’s tail cleanly through, causing the creature to roar in pain and bound away as fast as it could, heading for the nearby swamps. Midnight and Nightmare Moon watched as it limped into the swamps.

And then a hydra’s jaws closed around it.

The manticore thrashed and shook, making a pitiful whining noise as the hydra lifted it up into the air before it tilted its head back and opened its jaws wide, letting the manticore fall further into its mouth before it bit down. As the jaws crunched away at the manticore, the other six heads of the hydra considered them curiously.

Midnight brandished her scythe, the edges of the blade glowing an eerie red. “Don’t you dare,” she muttered under her breath. “Scoot away, live to see another day.”

The hydra then decided that they were no threat and began trudging away into the depths of the swamps, heading for the sea that it linked up to. The giant monster roared into the sky as vultures dove down, pecking at its eyes. The heads spat acid at the offending birds, scoring a few hits.

Nightmare Moon turned away. “Let it be. It is no longer our concern.”

Midnight nodded. “How long to the Dragonlands?”

“The Ruined Lands, you mean,” Nightmare corrected. “Only one dragon remains, and he is a slave to my sister. The last time I was there, she had declared herself Queen of the ‘Ruined Lands’. I had to fight her to escape. Do not underestimate her, Daybreaker is much more powerful than you would think.”

Midnight looked up into the sky, where the sun and moon hung in a perpetual array, never moving. The stars could be seen on the moon’s side, whereas the sun glared down on them from the east.

“Don’t bother,” Nightmare Moon said, seemingly reading her thoughts. “The sun and moon will never move again. I tried shifting them. They resisted my efforts to do so.”

“They why are you called Nightmare Moon, then?” Midnight questioned as they took to the skies, flying for the volcanoes in the distance. “Seems kind of ironic to me.”

“I could shift the moon once,” Nightmare Moon replied. “Then they ceased listening ever since Discord broke the system. We vanquished him eventually, he had not enough power to draw from as they weren’t any ponies he could draw chaos out of.”

“Discord,” Midnight mused. “He seems formidable.”

“Indeed,” Nightmare Moon cast her gaze towards the ground. “It took three centuries and four decades to banish him to Tartarus, even when he was weakened. He messed with our minds, did things no creature should ever do, and summoned creatures of likes you would never see in your life.”

Thunder boomed in the distance.

“We should settle down soon,” Midnight suggested. “I really don’t want to encounter whatever is stirring up the storm over there.”

“I agree,” Nightmare Moon agreed. “I have had enough of fighting for the day. We shall take a rest once we leave the swamplands, and arrive in the forest. There, we shall have shelter for a little time.”

Midnight nodded in agreement. They flew on in silence, before landing down at the edge of the forest. Half the trees were wilting or dead, the rest seemed…twisted with a magic Midnight could not place.

“We should not stay long,” Midnight scowled. “This place may be cursed.”

“Very well,” Nightmare Moon allowed. “We will rest at the edge only, and travel to the Ruined Lands when the storm in our path lets up.”

Midnight yawned as she stretched her wings.

“You should sleep,” Nightmare Moon said as she heard the yawn. “I will take the first watch. You may take the second. Each of us should only sleep for three hours.”

“I don’t trust you, Nightmare,” Midnight muttered. “What if you kill me in my sleep?”

“It is in my best interest not to, for now,” Nightmare Moon answered. “I have come around to your foolish quest. We need to find out the cause of the shift in our world, and the Engine is the only way to do so. Without a fourth alicorn, our cause is sunk.”

“Hmph,” Midnight grumbled. “Fine.” She cast a spell on the ground and around her, before lying down against a tree that didn’t seem malevolent. “Wake me up in three hours.”

Nightmare Moon didn’t answer, choosing to use her blade to cut a tree down, before sitting down on its stump after burning the trunk to produce fire.

“Whatever,” Midnight closed her eyes, trusting her spells to protect her. She certainly didn’t trust Nightmare. She assumed she would wake up after a dreamless sleep.

Her sleep was anything but dreamless.

She was in the air, bolts of magic flying at her. She pulled up a shield, before retaliating with spells against the flying lilac unicorn.

“You took everything from me!” the unicorn screamed in rage. “Now, I will take everything from you!” The unicorn lit her horn up, and a portal surrounded by symbols opened and swallowed the both of them.

The scene changed.

She was facing off against Nightmare Moon, but her stature seemed lower than usual. She couldn’t feel her wings.

She pawed at the ground, preparing to charge at the alicorn.

“You’re kidding, right?” Nightmare Moon scoffed.

She charged at Nightmare Moon, teleporting past her.

She reappeared next to a few orbs made of stone, and her magic gathered around them.

Midnight was bewildered. She was not in control of her actions. What was happening?

Her horn winked out, and Nightmare Moon’s magic slammed into her.

Nightmare Moon leaned over her broken body, and the world turned into darkness.

Her eyes opened. Nightmare Moon was leaning over her, her horn glowing a dark blue color. Midnight’s eyes widened as she tried to scramble away, but her body failed her as the mana gathered on Nightmare Moon’s horn.

She closed her eyes, preparing for the end. How foolish she had been! She had trusted her greatest enemy, and now she was going to die.

She heard the spell release, but it did not hit her. A roar as something burst out of the ground behind her, and a thump as the spell slammed into whatever it was.

She opened her eyes and looked at the scene.

A mutated sandworm lay dead behind them, the insides burning with flames from a fireball that Nightmare Moon had thrown into its mouth.

“How—” Midnight could not find her words, her mouth opening and closing as she looked upon the dead sandworm. “How is it here?”

“The desert must be closer than we thought,” Nightmare Moon concluded without discernable emotion in her voice. “We should leave. There may be more.”

“Right,” Midnight hesitated as she finally found the strength to get up.“You saved my life.”

“Think nothing of it,” Nightmare Moon dismissed her. “It was in our mutual interest to keep you alive. When I sleep next, I shall trust you to do the same for me. Shall we leave?”

“Yes,” Midnight stood up, her throat dry. “Can we just try to teleport the rest of the way?”

“And leave ourselves open to attack when we arrive?” Nightmare Moon scoffed. “I’d rather not waste my mana on something like that.”

“But what if we combine our efforts?” Midnight pressed, her mind still in a whirl. She still didn’t understand what had just happened. This was her coping. “We would use half the mana we normally would consume.”

“Your idea has merit,” Nightmare Moon admitted. “And even as I am loathe to admit, I would rather not travel further. The sandworm proved that we are not safe anywhere.”

“Then let’s do it.”

Nightmare Moon shrugged. “If we both are vanquished, I will hunt you down in Tartarus.”

“Do what you will, Moony.” Midnight smirked. “Love you too.”

Nightmare Moon scowled at the last sentence, but did not reply. Her horn lit up as she gathered the teleport matrix, only summoning one orb and letting Midnight summon the other. As the two alicorns linked the two matrixes together, they vanished with a flash of light.

When they reappeared, Midnight reacted immediately as a stream of flames blasted directly at them. Her horn flashed, and a lavender dome was erected around them. The dome held against the stream of flames before it stopped, the creature producing it realizing that it could not kill them.

“We have arrived at the Ruined Lands,” Nightmare Moon observed morosely, looking up above them. Midnight followed her gaze, before backing up involuntarily as she saw what had been breathing fire on them.

A gigantic purple dragon stared at them, green spikes protruding from its back. Its wings were gigantic, covering the sky as it extended them. Opening its mouth, the dragon roared at them, the sound deafening even through the dome Midnight had cast.

“My, my!” Nightmare Moon’s ears flattened at the voice, her eyes showing the first hint of fear she had ever shown in front of Midnight. “Dear sister, what is this? A visit to my humble abode?”

A pure white alicorn with flames dancing along her body in place of her mane and tail appeared in their line of sight, dropping down from the dragon’s back as it folded its wings in.

Daybreaker grinned, showing her fangs off to Midnight. “And who is this? Have you gotten yourself a pet? Or is she your marefriend?”

Nightmare Moon visibly snarled. “You dare—”

Daybreaker cackled. “I’m joking, sister! I know who this is, we’ve fought before. Midnight Sparkle, was it? Or would you rather Twilight Sparkle?”

“Twilight Sparkle is gone,” Midnight replied coldly. “She took her own life after killing her parents.”

“Oh, dear me, I forget my manners,” Daybreaker’s horn tip touched against Midnight’s dome, shattering it instantly. Midnight’s eyes widened at the show of power, scrambling backward to get away from the white alicorn. “This is Spike. Spike, this is Midnight. The other one is Nightmare Moon, my treacherous sister.”

The dragon roared in response, breathing fire towards the skies. It was only now that Midnight noticed his flames were emerald green, instead of the usual red hot flames. It triggered her memories. It seemed familiar. Where had she seen that particular type of fire before?

“The only one here that is treacherous is you,” Nightmare Moon growled. “You killed every single dragon except for a baby, using him as your slave. Did you not even teach him a language to speak?”

“Oh, I did,” Daybreaker smiled, the edges of her lips curling upwards. “I just cut out his tongue for being rude to me. He’s learned his lesson after that. Haven’t you, Spike?”

The dragon made an awkward noise that seemed to be assent. Spike sat down on his rump, shifting his weight down.

“How does he even taste his food?” Midnight protested, appalled.

“His tongue is regrowing already,” Daybreaker dismissed Midnight. “For now, he’ll have to do with gems. No meat for him! Speaking of meat,” she leered at Midnight. “Would you like to be dinner for him?”

“We are here requesting a parley,” Nightmare Moon cut across Midnight, who had started to speak. Midnight glared at Nightmare Moon, but did not continue speaking. “We require your help to access the Engine.”

“You felt it too.” It was not a question, but a statement. Daybreaker tilted her head, the flames in her eyes dying down as she considered them. “The false memories and the shift in our world.”

“Yes,” Midnight agreed. “So Nightmare suggested we use the Engine, whatever that is, to see whatever is happening.”

“I will not help you.” Daybreaker grinned at their shocked faces. “Why should I? You two are my enemies. I stand nothing to gain from helping any of you accessing the Engine.”

“Do you not care about our world?” Midnight asked.

“I do,” Daybreaker shrugged. “But nothing has happened since. Spike, what do you think?”

Spike roared faintly, looking down upon them. He made a guttural noise in his throat, before lapsing back into silence.

“He said,” Daybreaker translated. “He doesn’t care, either.”

“What do you want, sister?” Nightmare Moon snapped. “I know what you are doing.”

Daybreaker grinned. “Indeed! If I am to help you two, I want something in exchange.”

“Name it,” Midnight immediately replied.

“Tsk, tsk, Sparkle,” Daybreaker shook her head in disappointment. “You need to learn that you shouldn’t leave it so open-ended like that. Who knows, one of the gods who roam our world could twist your words and make you suffer!”

“You’re going to twist everything I say, anyways.” Midnight shrugged.

“Hah!” Daybreaker laughed. “I like you! What a pity we have never talked like this before. I could have made you my slave like Spike, and we would have had so much fun.”

Midnight did not respond to the jab, choosing instead to stare silently at Daybreaker.

The alicorn pouted before she relented. “You’re no fun. Very well. My only condition for my help is that the both of you defeat me in a fight. The only rule is that we cannot kill each other.”

“Beat you in a fight?” Nightmare Moon raised an eyebrow. “It’s two against one. What’s the catch?”

“The catch is that you miscounted,” Daybreaker smirked. “Spike will be on my side. Remember how magic-proof dragon scales are?”

Midnight grimaced. “Is this the only way? Perhaps I could—”

“We accept,” Nightmare interrupted her. “Bring it on, sister.”

Daybreaker laughed. “Very well!” She launched into the air, ascending to Spike’s head. “It starts now!”

“What—?” Midnight’s eyes widened as Spike opened his mouth, and a stream of emerald green flame was breathed on them.

Author's Note:

im not really sure about this chapter yikes