• Published 6th Jan 2023
  • 8,943 Views, 1,396 Comments

An Alternative Ending - ultrapoknee

When you discard something, it's easy to forget the wrongs you committed. But, more times than not, the past always comes back to remind you of your fallibility.

  • ...

The Gjallarhorn

Author's Note:

Chapter two in under a week? I think I found my muse again. But, yeah, this is turning out to be more fun than I thought. The ideas are just flowing, and I got to jump on them. I hope I have captured what the Gjallarhorn is in this chapter. Now, I realize the pillars planted the elements. But it would lean too much toward the ponies being op if they made the Gjallarhorn too. There's still more to reveal about this mac Guffin, so stay tuned and enjoy.

[Canterlot Castle - Royal Library.]

"Hmm, no. That's not it," Twilight said, moving one book to the side and onto the next. "No, nothing here either," Twilight leaves another book in front of her. "No, nothing. Urgh! Did you girls find anything?"

"Nope," Applejack said from her pile of books.

"There's a passage on how to play the trombone. A description of how to make a blowhorn. Nothing in these books about this Gjallarhorn," Starlight stated.

"Nothing here either, darling," Rarity hummed as Rainbow looked over her shoulder.

"Rarity, that's a magazine about fashion trends!" Rainbow exposed.

Rarity's features develop a tinge of pink. "W-well, we've been at this all evening and haven't made any progress!"

"Maybe, we're looking in the wrong place," Spike grunted, setting down a tower of books.

"We've taken every book on every type of horn we could think of, and still nothing on what Chrysalis used," Twilight groaned.

"We ought to be kicking her ugly butt out of Equestria like last time!" Rainbow said.

"I know I'll feel safer knowing I'm not sleeping next to one of Equestria's biggest threats," Applejack added.

"Yeah, it doesn't look like we can do anything about it. Chrysalis has diplomatic immunity. Attacking her would be the same as starting an international incident," Starlight explained.

"But it shouldn't be the case!" Twilight exclaimed. "Queen Chrysalis violated international peace accords the moment she invaded Canterlot the first time! Any immunity she would have should be null and void. Urgh!" Twilight turns to Fluttershy. "Any luck on the strange creature?"

"Oh, um, I've been over every primate species, from chimpanzees and gorillas, but nothing fits," Fluttershy said. "Maybe, it's not a primate,"

"It could be a Diamond Dog or even a Minotaur?" Starlight offers.

"A Diamond dog and minotaur that's been shaved bald and doesn't have horns or a tail?" Spike said incredulously.

"No, it wouldn't work. The face, hands, and skeletal structure don't match the two species. The only similarities would be opposable thumbs and bipedal," Twilight explained.

"Then, what the hay is that thing?!" Rainbow throws her hoof up in exasperation.

"Jason Wright…" Pinkie mutters.

The group turned to Pinkie, who had been uncharacteristically quiet the entire time. "Who?" Spike asked.

"That's his name, Jason Wright,"

"Wait, you know Chrysalis' new monster!?" Rainbow demanded.

Pinkie shook her head. "I don't know him. But, he's not a monster,"

"I wouldn't be so sure about that with the company he keeps," Starlight said.

Pinkie shook her head harder this time, her usual bouncy mane straight as her coat was slightly dull. "My pinkie sense has been going off like crazy since the two of them showed up! It feels like we all should know him, but I can't remember from where,"

"Hold on a minute! Didn't Discord say its name? It sounds like he knows who this varmint is. Where did he scurry off to now?" Applejack said.

"Discord left as soon as Chrysalis and Jason did," Fluttershy said with a frown. "I think, with everything that is happening, he felt upset,"

"Darling, this is Discord we are talking about; he never cares enough to be upset," Rarity said.

"That's not true, Rarity. You should've seen him back at my cottage. He was so worried about the mistakes he's made toward the rulers that he almost didn't want to go,"

"So, there was an issue with him. I knew there was something wrong. What if this Jason Wright is part of a scheme he cooked up a millennium ago, and it's coming back to haunt every pony like the plunder vines!" Twilight theorized.

"He wanted to make amends, Twilight,"

"We'll, he not here to do that or explain himself. His absence all but confirms Twilight's theory," Starlight said.

"I don't think he's just mad at Discord…." Spike said. "He didn't seem to like ponies too much. Especially you, girls,"

"Like we did anything to it! I bet Chrysalis might have that thing under her spell! After all, Twilight was the one that ruined her wedding crashing," Rainbow reminded.

"It might be more than that, Dashie. Didn't you hear what he said? Didn't you see his face or look into his eyes? He's been hurt!" Pinkie stated.

"And it might've been either Chrysalis or Discord that did it! You know both of them can mess with ponies' heads!"

"I wouldn't put it past either of them to put some devious lie into somepony's head," Applejack snorts in disgust.

"Rainbow! Applejack! It's not fair to blame Discord. You know he's changed. And he's never worked with Chrysalis!" Fluttershy defended.

"Whatever the case, we can stop for the night and wait for the press statement tomorrow," Twilight said, sensing an argument growing.

"So, there's nothing we can do?" Applejack asks.

"The Princess gave explicit orders that no harm would come to Chrysalis and Jason. Our hooves are tied,"

"I don't like this…." Starlight said.

"Me neither…" Twilight's horn glowed as her magic encompassed everyone in the room. "There. A little spell that will react to us when we're together. This way, we'll know if some pony's a changeling in disguise. Whatever her plans, as long as we're together, nothing can hurt us,"

[The Next Day - Canterlot Square.]

The grounds of Canterlot were a buzz with activity. As promised by Princess Luna, an emergency meeting to address the state of affairs is underway. Reporters from various outlets lined up in front of the empty podium where the other rulers waited. Ember stood with her arms crossed while tapping her claw against her arm. Standing on stage before a crowd of gawkers made her feel like a sideshow attraction. She would've already left if it wasn't for this odd compulsion to stay. 'Whatever issue the changeling and that bald minotaur has with the ponies is their business. But that horn reminds me a lot of my bloodstone specter. I'm sure dad might know what it is, but I'm already here, so I might as well find out now,' The dragonlord thought to herself. She found herself thinking back to that creature known as Jason Wright and those horrible scars.

"Something on your mind, dragonlord?" Ember turns to her right to see the Saddle Abarian rulers. "Shifting Sands, and this is my wife, Amira," The stallion and mare bowed.

Ember gave a curt nod. "I'm mostly wondering when we're going to get started,"

"Nothing about the strange creature or his accusations?" Shifting said.

The Dragonlord shrugs her shoulders. "Who knows? It could be true. It could be a lie that bug came up with, but the pony sisters seem to be siding with them,"

"We've known Princess Celestia for the majority of our rule. Her trade agreements are fair, and she is a pleasant company," Amira said.

"Aw, but we have known her for all of our lives. We do not know the Princess for all of her life," Ember noted with a bit of surprise at the other ruler. She appeared to be a pony, yet she was as tall as Princess Celestia. Her fur was a light brownish-gray. But, the shock came from the white scales running along her back and face down to her muzzle. Her green mane and tail complement her red eyes and long red horn. The newcomer noticed the stares and introduced herself. "Queen Rain Shine,"

"You're a kirin?" Ember asks. "

"That I am,"

"Huh, so father's drunk rabblings weren't complete nonsense. Scabbard did mate with a pony,"

"You're presence has set our minds adrift. I thought your kind was but a myth," A zebra stallion stated. "Oh, pardon me. I am Chieftain Zullki,"

"Charmed," Shifting and Amira stated.

"Yes, it is a pleasure to see the outside of the sea. Queen Novo of the Hippogriffs," The sea pony turned Hippogriff bowed.

"Yak is Prince Rutherford. What does dragon pony mean about what she said about Princess?"

"Merely that an oak can hide its rotting bark under its luscious leaves," Rain Shine says.

"So, the Princess has secrets or an unsavory past. Should that matter to any of us?" Ember asks.

"For a pony like the princess Celestia - who is the head of a powerful and prosperous country - to be this shaken by a horn speaks volumes for all our state of affairs," Amira said.

"Well, the least she could do is get on with this sideshow so I can get to Griffinstone. And none of them bothered to say hello to me? Grandpa Gruff," Grandpa Gruff hacked.

Just as Ember was going to respond, a bright flash went off. Princess Celestia appears at the podium with her sister on the left with Cadence, the elements Spike and Starlight. However, on the right were Chrysalis and Jason Wright. At first, the crowd of ponies before was silent as they beheld Jason's appearance. The silence didn't last as screams of panic went off before morphing into jeers and boos. The royal guard acted immediately and became a barrier from anypony looking to rush the stage and prevent a riot. Chrysalis took the reaction in stride and even had the gull bow in reference. Jason, however, was a statue of stoicism. The shouting, the angry faces, and the hurtful words. He'd seen and heard it all and became numb to it. All he could now was shake his head in pity and disappointment, except when a rock struck his person. Jason stumbled and clutched his head as blood dripped onto the floor. The princesses looked horrified as the stone left a gash above Jason's right eye. However, instead of screaming or cursing out in pain, Jason laughed. He looks back at the stunned crowd with a manic grin, made even more terrifying by the blood leaking out over his eye and down his cheek.

"Oh, boy. That didn't take long. But thank you all the same. I could always count on you, bigots..." Just then, the Gjallarhorn reappears.

"Wait, stop!" Celestia called out in futility. The Gjallarhorn pulsed a wave over the crowd. Moments later, a pony appeared before Jason via teleportation. Celestia recognized the stallion as Jetset. "Jetset, you fool...!"

"W-what is going on? Why am I here? Princess?" The stallion looks around in a panic.

"Hey there, Jetset, did you throw this?" Jason asks as he kneels to the stallion with the rock in hand.

Jetset shrinks back before scampering to his hooves. "Of course I did, you hideous ape! Canterlot does not barter with monsters-- Wait, how do you--"

"--Know your name?" Jason's wicked smile made whatever brave the unicorn had faded away. "That part comes later. I don't want to distract you from this next part~,"

"What are you talking about?"

Jetset began to feel woozy as his legs wobbled. He felt a sharp pain in his head. Bringing his hoof up, Jetset moves it back to see blood streaming down a gash above his right eye. The same wound he'd inflicted upon Jason was now reflected upon himself. But that was not all. With a steady glow surrounding the Gjallarhorn, a white aura surrounds Jetset. The horn sounds out again as Jetset struggles. The struggle did not last, as the unicorn's grey magical aura began to seep out of his body and into the Gjallarhorn. The process lasted a moment before the force holding the unicorn cut out, allowing Jetset to crumble onto the ground. The onlookers shriek back in terror as they beheld Jetset features. His eyes lost their vibrant color, and his cutie mark was gone. Twilight noted that the effect of the horn was similar to Tirek's abilities. 'I-Is Tirek in league with them?!'

"JETSET!!!" A mare's voice called out, rushing to the stage. She holds the unresponsive stallion in her arms as tears stream down her visage. "WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?!?!"

Jason's smile only widens as the baneful glare from the noble pony falls into confusion as he speaks again. "Hello, Uppercrust. Yeah, I know you too. And I didn't do a thing. It's simple, and it reminds me of a phrase my kind says; do unto others as you would do unto yourself," Jason broke out into another fit of laughter before continuing. "It seems your husband looks a bit winded. Cuts like these tend to make everything woozy. You should make sure he's not concussed,"

"Somepony, get him to the hospital, for pony's sake!" Cadence commanded as guards escorted the unconscious stallion and weeping mare off the stage.

"Interesting choice of words, Princess,"

"Was that necessary?" Celestia asks.

"Was this?" Jason countered, pointing to his wound. "Is it my fault you dragging your hooves about keeping your lemmings in line?"

"Enough! Now I know what's going on! You're both in league with Tirek! That horn stole his magic away just like he did!" Twilight accused.

The crowd gasped at the accusation, only to be shut out by Chrysalis' laughter this time. "Oh, poor naive Twilight. We can always count on you to solve the solution with only half pieces of the puzzle. Had that pony merely waited for Celestia to explain, he'd still be fine. The Gjallarhorn is not a creation of Tirek's. It is a tool much like your elements of Harmony,"

"Do you think we're stupid or something--"

Rainbow started, but Chrysalis interrupted. "Yes,"

"Why you!!!"

Rainbow went to charge again, only for Luna's magic to catch her in the air. "I am beginning to question your intelligence, young Rainbow,"

"Princess! We all saw him use that horn to hurt and steal Jetset's magic!" Rarity reminded.

"And what did you see before that, hmm?" Chrysalis asks. "Did you not see that pony hurl this rock?" Chrysalis leaves said stone before Rarity with Jason's blood on it. "Did you not see this rock strike his face and draw blood? What kind of mental gymnastics does one have to do to feign innocence so they can remain morally superior?"

Chrysalis's words hit home as the fashionista shied away from the changeling monarch, as the rest of the elements fell silent. Finally, Celestia stamped her hoof on the ground and flared out her wings. She stares into Chrysalis's smug expression before turning to the crowd with a deep frown. "There'll be no more outbursts such as the actions Jetset displayed. My sister has already stated that we will explain what is happening. However, any further acts of violence against the pair on my right will face dire consequences. Treason is not barred from consideration. Is that understood?" No one dared to challenge the statement as they knew the Princess of the sun was severe. Inwardly, Celestia hated going to such lengths. But it was the only protective measure she could offer her subjects. The irony was not lost on the Princess.

Once she was sure the message was clear, Celestia sighed. "Long ago, when we were fillies during the pre-unification era, war plagued the lands. Diamond dogs raided the southern plains. Dragons launched raids in Fillydelphia. And the three pony tribes were constantly at odds. One such conflict was the founding of Manehattan. It was once a farmland called Trotsberg. A unicorn stallion noble name Snively happened upon the lands hoping to start an outpost. Once he saw that the farming community barely had any defensive options, he strolled into the small town and offered the inhabitants an ultimatum. The village lacked the means of transporting their wares, and they desperately needed blankets for the harsh chilling nights. So the unicorn offered to transport their product and provide a fair share of the wages.

The leader at the time - a mare named Merry Gold - felt the deal was too good to be accurate, but the farmers were out of options. The leader told the noble that she would give their answer by week's end. The unicorn agreed and waited the week. The villagers struggle against the cold night for the entire week, with some even perishing. The villagers begged Merry Gold to accept the deal, but she knew Snively was dishonest. At her wit's end, Merry Gold prayed to Faust. The goddess and author of all life. Her prayers were answered in the form of the Gjallarhorn,"

"So, this horn is a divine artifact?" Ember suddenly asks.

Celestia nods, excepting a question to arise. "Yes, they say our creator became saddened by the constant death and destruction and devised a way to quell urges of war. If the elements are to promote Harmony, the Gjallarhorn encourages peace talks and negotiation," She cast a glance toward Chrysalis, who smirks. "Merry did not know the significance of the Gjallarhorn, but she took the horn to the meeting. It was a good choice as Snively came to the meeting with a small contingent of personnel guards. His intentions were clear; force the community to fuel his outpost while he reaped the benefits of the food and profit. Resistance would meet the end of his guards' spears. At this betrayal, Merry Gold produced the Gjallarhorn and blew upon it. The same effect we all felt happened there. For you see, the Gjallarhorn is tied to the magic that resides within us all. Snively took the call of the horn as a declaration of defiance and commanded one of the guards to strike Merry Gold down,"

"You mean after all that, Merry Gold was slain by that ruffian?" Rarity asks.

"Nay, Generosity. The wound the guard inflicted upon Merry had reflected onto himself. That means that any acts of violence against the wielder of the horn will fail and cost the attacker. That is what happens to the guard. That is what occurred to Jetset just now," Luna explained.

Everyone was now wearier of this divine item in Jason's possession. "That explains the wound, not the horn stealing the magic," Shifting Sands reminded.

"If your enemy insists on war, you take away their ability to wage it. Snively did not know this aspect and lost all his guard. Yet, he stubbornly tried to use his magic to attack Merry Gold and lost that along with them. That is the protection the Gjallarhorn grants,"

"So, you mean to say that Queen Chrysalis is now invulnerable to any threat, physical or magical?" Queen Novo asks. "What's to stop her from conquering our lands?"

"That would go against the Gjallarhorn's nature. No harm can indeed come to the wielder, but they must set their terms with no ill intentions against the opposite party. The Gjallarhorn reads the purposes of everything around it. Merry Gold wanted warmth and prosperity for her community and gave Snively his magic once he agreed to uphold his end of the deal," Celestia finished.

"But, Princess, Chrysalis invaded Canterlot intending to harvest our love. Shouldn't the horn steal her magic for that?" Cadence brought back up.

"If the Gjallarhorn had deemed that action unjust, then she would've lost her magic. No lies or deception can fool it. As it stands, Chrysalis does have a legitimate grievance against us,"

The elements and the crowd went into an uproar at that. All the while, Queen Chrysalis smiles at the display. "Oh, yes, woe is me. I merely wanted love, but I was denied such a request,"

"One must ask why you chose such a brazen method if love was all you sought!" Luna seethed.

"Ah, ah, ah. That part comes later~," Jason smirks again at Chrysalis, parroting him.

"You still haven't explained why we haven't heard of this Gjallarhorn until it was right at our doorstep!?" Chancellor Neighsay suddenly spoke up. Princess Celestia turns sharply to him as he clears his throat. "My princess..."

"The Gjallarhorn does not belong to any nation, country, or species. Once its task is done, it returns to the ether. Only those who desire true peace and truly believe in the creator can access it. There is also no means of tracking it otherwise. My sister and I never used it because we'd learned how to engage in peace talks and negotiations. That is the lesson the Gjallarhorn teaches us all," Celestia said.

"Hmph, I hear that horn allows others to bully them into submission!" Many murmurs of agreement went off behind the Chancellor.

"Still slow on the upkeep and trying to play victim, huh? Let's say we didn't use the horn and went to Princess's little throne room with our grievance. Would you listen? Would you hear us out? Or would you raise the alarm, break out the spears and hurl the rocks at us while chasing us out?" Jason asked. The silence was all the answer he'd need. "I thought so,"

"You don't know that!" Twilight cried out.

In response, Jason tilts his head to her and runs a finger across his gash, showing her the blood. "This happened with me just standing here. Are you sure about your stance?"


"So, what are we supposed to do now? Smile and wave while you bring all your changelings here!?" Rainbow angrily asks.

"Oh, fret not, my little Dashie. I know how nervous you ponies get around predators, so I made the preemptive move of integrating my subjects into your society already," The ponies all balked at that. "They've been living with you for some time now,"

"But, the horn--"

Twilight started before Chrysalis continued. "--Would only react negatively IF any of my subjects cause undo harm to your subjects. No one had been replaced or harvested. We do not need such methods anymore. We only wanted peace and love after all," Chrysalis couldn't help but giggle the more frustrated the royal Princess got from her every word. "They are even productive members of society with jobs and citizenship. All of it through perfectly legal means. Any changeling in disguise right now is unique - a new identity, if you will - so there's no need to claim fraud. And my request for using the Gjallarhorn will give me the means to ensure they have a future without fear of persecution. I know you understand the slight subterfuge,"

Princess Luna had a vein over her forehead, while Princess Celestia could only sigh in resignation. There was some degree of which did they understand. But, the fact remains that Chrysalis had thoroughly embarrassed the Equestrian government. "I see some reforms in border security and intelligence department shall be our next topic of discussion!" Luna said through gritted teeth.

"Indeed," Celestia stated. "Regardless, that is all the information on the Gjallarhorn and its function. I realize that today has revealed a lot, but I urge you all to return to your lives as before, with no more outlandish outbursts. Thank you,"

Celestia's words did not have the effect she hoped for. None of her subjects panic at the news of Changelings in their ranks. But she could see the seeds of suspicion cultivating. There were many shifting eyes and nervous twitching. She would have to talk to Luna about easing tension and doubling guard patrols. However, who knows how many guards are trustworthy now? Before she, too, could feel the effects of paranoia, Twilight confronted Chrysalis and Jason. "Wait! I still have questions! With all that's been said, how do we know you haven't found a loophole with the Gjallarhorn? How can anypony trust the pony next to them when they could be a changeling? You have to tell us who they are! What if you planted them to spread fear and confusion!? And how are we free from the Gjallarhorn effects? You can't expect us to accept things as they are.!"

The changeling queen regarded Twilight's words with an exasperated sigh of aggravation. "Do you want to take this, or shall I?" Chrysalis asks Jason.

"Go on, ahead. You've been killing it so far,"

"Thank you. Now, Twilight, can the elements be corrupted in any way, shape, or form?"

"Discord was able to corrupt us briefly before we reminded ourselves of how strong our friendship is--"

"Yes, yes. We get it. Friendship, huzzah. I don't mean the wielders of the elements. I mean the elements themselves,"

Twilight looked confused for meaning before shaking her head. "No, not that I know of exactly.

"They can't. I tried, and it failed miserably..."

"What?!" The elements exclaimed. "When did you do that?"

"Around the time you lot was in Canterlot, and I disguised myself as that photographer to get a strain of your manes and tails to clone you. I figured stealing your greatest weapon and turning it on you would be the best revenge. It turns out the elements know real from fake,"

Twilight and the others made their best impression of goldfish before Cadence spoke for them. "How can you freely admit to a revenge plot and still have your magic?"

"Because that plot failed before it started, and I did not have the horn, Caddie. A lot of time passed for me to get over my revenge schemes," Cadence huffs as she stamps her hoof. "Anyway, the Gjallarhorn works the same. No tricks. You are putting your very being under scrutiny so that two parties can meet on equal ground. Suppose trust is a concern; that falls on you ponies to have it. As I said, my subjects lived peacefully among yours with no issues. If that changes, it will be because of your intolerance. I will not compromise them until you have accepted my terms and stuck to your word that no harm will come to them! It should be easy for the Princess of friendship,"

"You still stuck them in without any of us knowing!"

To that, Chrysalis shrugs. "Better to ask for forgiveness than permission,"

Twilight gritted her teeth but stayed silent after a while before a gaze landed on Jason. "If those are your terms, what was his? You mentioned something about a tribunal. That means a trial and something about our sins. Surely, you can't mean that you are putting us on trial?" Twilight waved a hoof gesturing to her and her friends.

"My terms come after the tribunal. After I tear away the mask of hypocrisy and reveal the truth. So, I suggest having a chat with your good buddy Discord. It might clear your perspective," Jason looks to Chrysalis and gestures his head to leave. The queen gives a mocking bow as she struts over to him, and the two teleport away from Canterlot Square.