• Published 6th Sep 2011
  • 19,722 Views, 537 Comments

Substitute Harmony - blayzekohime



Pinkie's friends disappear and Pinkie must find others to try to help her defeat their ponynappers.

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Chapter 5: A Different Point of View

Early Day Three

Twilight Wish walked slowly into a large chamber, Firefly following behind with her head draped low. The pegasus was shivering as she came to a standstill aside Twilight, her eyes slowly moving to the center of the dark room.

The massive room was not visible for the most part, the light from the hallway not being enough to shine fully into the expanse within. The only light in the room itself were several consoles which displayed a number of glowing buttons and switches, none of whose purpose either of the ponies knew.

Their eyes were not looking at the consoles, anyway. Their eyes were locked on the pair of red, glowing orbs in the center of the room, which presently were looking downward. There was a strange scratching sound coming from the same direction.

“Master?” Twilight spoke quietly, bowing her head low in the process, “I’ve brought Firefly.”

“What about it,” a deep voice echoed across the room, sounding disembodied due to the acoustics. It wasn’t a question but more of a bored statement.

“Well you said to bring her here my Lord,” Twilight glanced away as she spoke, having trouble keeping eye contact with him.

“I also said to not bother me while I’m coloring,” the voice boomed, curtly. The scratching of wax on paper ceased.

“We can’t see in the dark and you have the lights off,” Twilight quietly suggested, then blinked, “Wait where did you even get a…”

“From the bright pink one’s saddle, there are all sorts of fun things in here. More than should fit, actually.” He cut her off, then after a moment of silence added, “Sure though, I forgot about that. Anyway this is Firefly. Hello again Firefly! I haven’t seen you since your arrival, wasn’t that just a blast?”

Strangely, the voice seemed absolutely polite, yet somehow he seemed to invoke terrified obedience from Firefly. Twilight seemed to cope with him better, perhaps because she had been working more closely with him than the others.

Twilight nudged against Firefly, coaxing her to answer instead of just standing there shivering.

“H-hey. What’s up?” Firefly stammered, looking ready to turn around and flee.

“So let me get this straight,” the voice stated, the sound of a paper book closing as he concentrated on her. His red eyes narrowed in the darkness, “You blasted Rainbow Dash with a sonic fireball while she was going at super-sonic speed, causing her to crash into a grove of trees. You expected this to do what?”

“Um,” Firefly looked about the room, shifty eyed, “Catch her?”

“In one piece? Because it sounds like you were trying to catch her in little pieces,” the voice chuckled, almost gleefully, and then grew more serious again, “We’re extracting Elements here, not hurting ponies for the sheer joy of it. Not just for that, anyway. Now I have to decide how to punish you; this is so annoying. Maybe the wings, I love your wings. Can I have one?”

Firefly’s eyes widened, stammering again, “N-no! No don’t! Look I promise I’ll do better. No more mistakes! It was an honest accident, I swear. Oh Helios! If you take my wings my life will be ruined!”

The voice stayed quiet for another few moments, his eyes focused on Firefly and narrowing angrily to the point of slits. Then, as randomly as anything, they returned back to large, round eyes, “Oh okay.” They then shifted to Twilight, staring at her as if awaiting some further report.

“I’m afraid we missed one of the Elements; the one named Pinkie,” began Twilight, even as Firefly slowly backed out of the room, grateful to be walking out at all.

“Yeah, I know,” the voice responded simply.

“Well yes, I knew that you would know,” Twilight paused, trying to determine if the voice was angry or not, “Which brings about the question, why are we going after that one since we already…”

“It’s just the idea of things, you know,” the voice replied, red eyes shifting boredly around the room, “The one that got away. Anyway, five out of six isn’t bad, right? Go and try again tonight. Now even though you’re going to fail again, I want you to try really hard, okay? Tell the others… I don’t know. Tell them I’ll cut off whatever part they seem to like the most if they fail. That seems to scare them pretty good.”

“Uh,” Twilight stared, unsure of how to respond, “Well I had a plan, if you wanted to hear it.”

“No, not really. I’d really rather finish my coloring,” the voice audibly shrugged, and moments later the scratching of wax against paper could be heard once again.

“Very well then, Master,” Twilight awkwardly turned around, about to step out of the room.

“Hold one bit,” the voice stopped her again, though the scratching noise against the paper didn’t stop.

“Y-yes Sir?” Twilight answered.

“Three things,” the voice started, “First, don’t actually tell them that. If you do then they might try to not come back when they fail, and then I’ll have to kill or re-educate them all again which would be sad, if amusing. Secondly, please stop calling me everything but my name during these meetings. I promise my name isn’t taboo; I’m starting to think I conditioned you TOO well,” The eyes rolled slightly, “Why can’t you be more like Firefly? She actually used my name as an exclamation just now. I love that; ‘makes me feel in charge, you know?”

“Of course mast- Helios,” Twilight nodded, and then asked after a long moment of silence, “There were three things?”

“Oh right,” the voice responded, “Third, get out. I'm getting tired of your pink.”

----------------------------

Later that same day

Twilight Sparkle tried to stretch her muscles out. She tried anyway that she could to move her joints so that she wouldn’t feel so numb. Blinded, she still had little idea of her surroundings. What she did know was whenever her captors left or arrived at the facility there was a sharp buzzing sound from one end of the hall, the end of the hall from whence she had arrived. It was this sound that she heard now, making her grow still to see what she could overhear.

“I can’t believe we missed her!” Firefly’s voice sounded out, clearly frustrated.

“Yes, Twilight,” Sparkler spoke next, “So much for your ‘perfect plan’. More like perfect mess!”

“Please,” Twilight Wish grumbled, her voice dismissing of them, “Look, I couldn’t tell you before, but he knew we would miss her anyway. We still had to try as hard as we could, though, or… well it’s hard to explain, but we had to try.”

“How’d he know anyway?” Applejack, their Applejack, spoke next, “How does he always know the results of things? What’s the purpose of doing them?”

“Yeah, where’s the surprise in all this?” Surprise’s voice made her typical argument.

“Well I think this is it, anyway,” Wish responded, “There’s only one other thing we can predict will happen, and we’ll be ready for it when it does.”

There weren’t a lot of others speaking after that, perhaps having given up on getting an explanation from the master’s right-hand mare, but Sparkle heard hoofsteps up the hall. A few of them seemed to step into another room before they got to her cell; from what she had heard the voices say before, that was the medical room where they had kept Rainbow temporarily.

One however, moved further and stopped at her cage. Another softer set of hoofsteps seemed to be following that one, almost as if they were trying not to be heard. The sound of Sparkle’s cell door opening could be heard, dragging along the rails. Sparkle hung limp in her restraints, not wanting to encourage them to question her and hoping that they would just assume her to be unconscious. Whoever opened the cage tossed something inside which hit the floor in front of her with a dull thud. Sparkle heard the object shift around slightly, as if it were alive. Twilight felt her body tense up, not exactly certain of what alive thing might have just been tossed into her cell.

“T.. Twilight!” Spike’s voice rang out, sounding panicked, “Twilight what have they done to you?”

“Spike?” Twilight called out, chains suddenly rattling as she jerked to full awareness, “Spike are you hurt?”

Wish chuckled from behind her, “I knew you were awake, you crafty monster. Now listen carefully.”

Both Sparkle and Spike grew quiet, though when she felt Spike’s tiny claws reach weakly up to hug against her chest, Twilight felt tears streaming down her face. She instinctively tried to lower her head to nuzzle at him, only for it to be held far above the floor still by the restraining chains.

“Here’s what we’re going to do, 'Magic',” began Wish, “I’m going to leave you to enjoy the company of your faithful servant while I go talk to Him. When I get back, one of two things is going to happen. Either you are going to talk and tell me everything I want to know, or you are going to listen to Spike's screams as he is tortured. I just read a whole book on dragon anatomy and I’m pretty sure I can make him feel more pain that either of you ever thought possible.”

“Twilight,” Posey’s voice piped up, apparently the owner of the softer hoofsteps, sounding as if she were tearing up, “Don’t tell him please, don’t tell him to condition me again please.”

“Shut up Posey,” Wish shot back at Posey in reply, without any hint of feeling for her sadness.

Posey’s only response to this was to whimper slightly, her hoofsteps indicating that she walked back away from the cell.

With that, the cell door closed again, hoofsteps going into the opposite direction towards ‘His’ chambers. Were they both gone? Twilight couldn’t tell who was around and who wasn’t now.

“Twilight?” Spike’s voice was heard again, sounding as if he was tearing up, his little claws digging against her coat, “Don’t tell her. Whatever she wants to know, I don’t care. I won’t blame you.”

“Spike you know I can’t do that,” Twilight tried to speak quietly, assuming that Spike wouldn’t be speaking if he saw the other ponies around, “We don’t have much time. Is Pinkie Pie alive?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded, finally releasing her from the hug that she was unable to reciprocate, “They didn’t get her, but I don’t know where she went after that. I think she was looking for you guys.”

“Okay,” Twilight breathed out a sigh of relief as she spoke, “Then we can still work this. Look, there is something terrible in the room at the end of the hall and I think we’ll need all the Elements together again. I hear it laughing sometimes and... well it just has that laugh, you know?” Her voice grew even quieter still as she continued, “Do you think you can climb up and get a hold of my blindfold to yank it off?”

“Oh no you don’t!” the sound of Surprise’s voice yelled happily from the back corner of her cell, “SURPRISE! I was listening!” Apparently the pegasus had slipped in during the conversation with Wish.

There was a ‘sproing’ noise and Twilight felt a breeze as the pegasus flapped up beside her. She tried hard to hold her head down so that Spike could reach the blindfold before Surprise got a hold of either of them, and she could feel him attempting to climb up her left foreleg frantically to get at it. She wasn’t sure if seeing would help her, but figured they must have her blindfolded for a reason.

“W-where did you even come from?” Spike’s voice spoke in clear shock that such a bright pony had managed to hide in a shadow, “Stay away from her!”

The next thing Twilight knew, there was a splitting pain in her back as Surprise brought down some kind of a bludgeon. Twilight cried out, chains rattling as she thrashed from the pain shooting through her spine. Surprise didn’t stop, however, repeatedly slamming the wooden device down onto her back as she screamed.

“No stop it!” Spike shouted as Twilight felt him release her leg.

The striking of her back ceased. Instead she heard the sickening crack of wood against Spike’s body, followed shortly by his impact against the cell wall.

“Don’t you dare hurt him!” Twilight snarled out, spit flying from her mouth as she screamed out in a rage that was usually uncharacteristic of her. Her body began to smolder, anti-magic chains glowing as they strained to restrain her.

The only response she got was for Surprise to slam the weapon into her side, making her jerk once again in her chains. The laughter of the crazed pegasus rang in her ears as she was beaten. Her energy kept trying to surge upwards, each time dampened by the magic holding her, even more pain coursing through her system from her efforts.

From the hallway, the voices of her friends screamed out for Surprise to stop as well. Twilight suddenly felt herself relax, relief pouring over her that they were still alive and okay. She even heard Rainbow's voice threatening Surprise if she didn't stop. For a moment, she almost forgot that she was being beaten.

“Surprise!” Posey’s voice could only be heard because she spoke between the other sounds.

“Oh hey Posey!” Surprise answered. She paused in her beating, much to Twilight’s relief. "Hey lookit! The bat actually caught on fire; guess I'll need to use the golf club on this one!"

“What are you doing?” Posey demanded, her voice growing louder than before, “And Firefly! Were you actually going to sit there and eat popcorn while she killed the prisoner?”

“What?” Firefly’s voice audibly shrugged, followed shortly by a crunching noise that did in fact sound like popcorn being consumed.

“We can’t kill them,” Posey asserted, once again growing quieter.

“The dragon doesn’t matter; I could kill it,” Surprise responded, casually.

Twilight bursts out in rage again, “I said stay away from him!” Her horn glowed, an aura of magic filling the area, but she couldn’t hold it. The magical chains made any use of her magic feel like it was burning into her head.

“You will not!” Posey’s voice grew louder again in Twilight's defense.

“Oh manure!” Firefly could be heard saying, a thump sounding as if she had dropped her bag of popcorn, followed swiftly by the sound of her hooves as she left.

Suddenly even Surprise’s giggling went silent as Posey spoke again, “You will not hurt them, DO YOU HEAR ME? I already spoke to Him and we are going to do EVERYTHING we can to get the elements WITHOUT killing them. GOT IT?”

“Uh,” Surprise could be heard scrambling at the cell door, unlocking it and pulling it open before her own hoofs could be heard hurriedly moving away from the cell and down the hallway.

A few moments of silence later, Posey’s lighter steps could be heard entering the cell.

“Spike?” Twilight spoke again, almost afraid to ask, “Is he?”

“He’s fine,” Posey assured her, “She didn’t get him good and even baby dragons have tough scales. He’ll be fine in a few minutes. I'm afraid I will need to tie him up, though, so he won't try for your blindfold again. I'm really sorry.”

“T-thank you,” Twilight breathed out, carefully and quietly wording her next sentences, hoping the others had left after what she assumed was a stare down, “I couldn’t help but notice that you don’t really seem like the others.”

Posey sounded reluctant to answer, “No, but if I want to save our world, I have to work with them. There are a lot of good, decent ponies that will suffer if we fail, and that are suffering right now.”

“I don’t understand,” Twilight tried to sound as sincere as she could, “If you needed help, you could have just asked for us to use the Elements on your behalf. We would have gladly helped.”

“Oh,” Posey softly sat in front of the sightless Twilight, “You don’t understand. The Elements aren’t for us; we probably couldn't use them anyway. Besides, Twilight Wish has the Rainbow of Light and it only takes one of us to use that.”

Twilight knew that Posey was correct. As far as she knew, the Elements required a team that felt strongly for one another and her enemies here were anything but that. She carefully probed for more information, “Can I ask why you are getting them then? Who are they for? And what’s the Rainbow of Light?”

“I’m sorry,” Posey replied, sounding truly afraid, “I can’t tell you those things, just that we desperately need them to keep our world from dying. Our world isn’t like yours. Yours is full of life, but ours is just a single remaining settlement in a desolate world. Before him, we didn’t have a single alicorn to look after us at all and most ponies thought the first ones were just a legend. And… he’s not that bad. I feel kind of sorry for him. I honestly believe that he’s just trying to make things right and his methods are… well not as good as they could be.”

“Please,” Twilight begged, “Please Posey. Is there anything else you can tell me about him?” She didn’t want to emotionally push the earth pony away and risk losing what little of her confidence she had, but desperately needed more information.

“I’m sorry,” Posey replied, “I just can’t. All I can promise is that if you cooperate, I will make sure you all get home safely. Even if it means… even if it means helping you defeat the others. He won’t care if you escape once he has your Element.” Somehow, she didn't seem to speak of their master with the same reverence as the others did.

“Keeping the prisoner company?” Twilight Wish’s voice rang out, echoing as if she were still farther down the hall. Thankfully, she was still too far away to have heard their whispers.

“Oh,” Posey could be heard standing up and then trotting to the door, “Surprise was trying to kill a prisoner again. I had to um... I had to use the… that thing I do sometimes.”

Wish sighed, “Fine, I’ll have a nice three-way discussion with her and a pair of pliers later. For now, go drain the puss out of the rainbow one. I think she’s due.”

Twilight cringed at such words, looking both depressed and sick simultaneously.

Once Posey had trotted out, the door slid closed again. Twilight could hear the other unicorn inside the cell though. Her breathing seemed to be inches from Twilight’s ear.

“Twilight,” the voice Wish used was almost motherly, “I see your little friend is stirring again, so what will it be?”

“Wait,” Twilight took a deep breath, her mind storming with possibilities. Did she trust Posey? If she did, her and her friends might die anyway. If she didn’t, then she was more certain that they would all die. She couldn’t allow them to torture Spike to death. He wasn’t just her servant. She had raised him from birth; he was like her child.

“I’m on a tight schedule,” Wish’s voice grew softer and closer to her ear, “So don’t keep me waiting.”

“What do you need to know about the Elements?” Twilight responded.

---------------------------------

Day 6

“This is booooring,” Surprise sighed, sitting atop a cloud overlooking the town square, “What are we doing?” The pegasus’ white coat nearly glowed in the sunlight, holding a cricket bat in both her fore-hooves as she relaxed there.

“The hay if I know,” Firefly responded, “All I know is that I’m not about ta risk getting my wings chopped off by not doing what I’m told again.”

“Yeah, I didn’t really enjoy talking to the pliers either; she didn't even need to either!. I’m just trying to remember what we’re doing at this point,” Surprise scratched the top of her head with the bat.

Both their eyes went to their right, towards Twilight, who was also seated atop the cloud thanks to a cloud-walking spell she had picked up during her time with the other Twilight. She was silently watching the square below them, waiting.

Aside her was a strange contraption that they had taken from the ruins. The main device had a number of dials and controls, very similar in shape to the control panels at their base, obviously made by the same designers. Attached to it were a number of straps with crystals worked into the leather. It didn’t look like they were for decoration, but served some magical purpose. The last bit was a large helmet with a number of lights atop it, straps meant to lock it across somepony’s head, a special slot meant to clamp down on a unicorn’s horn. The contraption had obviously had some recent repairs and addition, as much of it looked new, while the base itself seemed ancient.

Twilight glanced over, as if just noticing them, finally responding to their words, “He said we couldn’t do it until after the fight, and that it will happen soon, but we aren’t sure of the exact day. Once the vortex opens, we can go about our business. Look, Helios would be here himself, but if He showed up it would be instant knock-down drag-out battle between him and Celestia and thousands of innocents could die. He’s trying to avoid that. Nice bloodless coup.”

“So we’re going to catch Pinkie?” Firefly tilted her head, “After the whatsit happens? I’m tired of sitting on this cloud like a bunch of paperweights. We’ve been waiting for two days almost, and your staying awake spell is only getting me so far!”

“Look,” Twilight sighed, “Forget about Pinkie, she’s not even important right now, Helios just wants her because he’s mad she got away at this point. The important target is Celestia.”

“That was a little surprising when I heard it, I admit!” Surprise smiled, “But I’m still not sure how we could catch an alicorn.”

“Why do you get to be the favored one anyway?” Firefly grumbled towards Twilight.

“Because I’ve been with Helios from the time He arrived in Undervale, and I believed in Him before he even showed up!” Twilight glared at them, “I deserve my position as the right hoof more than anypony else!”

Firefly grew silent, not wanting to chance making Twilight truly angry.

“Well I guess that makes sense,” Surprise smiled, then started to look impatient again, “Hey what’s that? Is it a giant balloon?”

Sure enough, this was the day of the big battle in Ponyville’s town square. The two watched from their cloud as events unfolded, eyes growing large when a huge white alicorn arrived on the scene. The trio on the cloud all tensed up when they saw Celestia’s form slam to the ground in an abrupt but perfect landing, their eyes locking on her and hatred in their eyes.

“There she is, the one responsible for all this! Time for action!” Firefly grinned smugly.

“Hey, she is the same as Helios! Well, a bit prettier I guess. That’s pretty surprising, since she’s totally evil!” Surprise started to move as if to slip over the cloud edge, but was yanked back by Twilight, who held onto her tail for a moment.

“Stop it! You know we can’t interfere yet!” Twilight snapped, “Now we have to wait for the giant explosion to weaken her."

“There were already a few explosions,” Surprise pointed out, “They were pretty!”

“Yeah but I think he meant something bigger than those. Anyway none of those hit Celestia,” Twilight reasoned.

The two were suddenly snapped out of their conversation as a huge burst of energy exploded from the town square. Their cloud disintegrated as the impact wave hit, leaving the three trying to hold themselves against the current. Blinded by the intense light, they all scrambled to get a grip on where they were.

Surprise and Firefly thought fast, though their priorities might have been questionable when they grabbed the machine instead of their friend. The two hefted the contraption over towards a nearby rooftop, sitting it down there and looking back just in time to see Twilight Wish plummeting towards the huge fireball that had formed around Celestia.

“Oh Helios, I forgot only she knows how to use this thing,” Firefly grumped, “Man we are so dead.”

“Don’t look at me!” Surprise chuckled, “I’m blaming it all on you!”

It seemed certain that Twilight was going to be incinerated by the huge ball of flame as she fell towards it, and even more certain that her two friends weren’t about to risk their lives for her. However, she felt a strange magical force grab her, slamming her roughly to the side so that she landed out of harm’s way, skidding to the ground next to the building that the two fliers had chosen.

From the looks of it, she wasn’t the only one being helped. The alicorn had sent a wave of magic to drive shards of rock out of the ground, shielding two unconscious royal guards that had been laying in the square near to the ball of flame.

“She’s blowing up and she’s taking time to save ponies?” Firefly arched an eyebrow, “Is she nuts?”

“Wow, I guess she really isn’t like him after all!” Surprise nodded, yet this didn’t seem to lessen her bad opinion of Celestia, “She’s stupid! Hey! Does this mean we can run out and see now?”

“Let’s wait until she finishes exploding,” Firefly tactfully suggested.

Next to them there was a shrill noise as Twilight appeared next to the machine again, purple smoke spreading around it. She braced herself as the chaos continued.

“How are we supposed to get near her?” Twilight screamed in frustration.

Across the square, the two spied a second explosion between two buildings, literally shattering the structures apart before they collapsed back inward, imploding back to the point they had just exploded from. They weren’t sure what else had exploded, but whatever it was appeared to have drained energy from the first explosion in the process.

“Bet you wish you’d saved that popcorn for now, huh Firefly?” Surprise giggled happily.

When it was all over, the area around the town square was in shambles. A huge gaping crater filled the main section now, while the fountain, statue and balloon were nowhere to be seen. The royal guards that had been in the square were, amazingly, still lying where they had been before. They lay atop small mesas of debris as if Celestia had used all her concentration to shield them. Buildings around the square, which were pretty much deserted by the time the fighting got that far, didn’t look like any of them would be standing for very much longer. The buildings around the secondary explosion had actually crumbled and gathered into a huge ball of compressed debris.

“Man she’s wasted,” Firefly piped up, heading out towards the crater, “No way she could have survived that.”

“Guess we won’t have to worry about her after all!” Surprise chimed in, heading after Firefly, flapping her wings to excitedly peer over the edge of the crater.

Twilight wasn’t convinced. She moved to stand next to the machine, concentrating as her winged friends went to investigate, “I wish… I wish…”

In the very center, Celestia had dropped to the ground, her body glowing slightly, but not moving. The two pegasi rose to the air once again, flapping through the dust cloud on their way towards the center. Both landed nearby to the fallen goddess, slowly trotting their way closer.

They both jumped as Twilight appeared directly behind Celestia, machine in tow for her teleport, both appearing a few feet too high and tumbling to the ground with a crash.

“So what were we supposed to do now?” Surprise asked, poking one of her hoofs at Celestia’s smoldering back, then giggling wildly as she watched Twilight tumble to the ground.

“Shut up!” barked Twilight as she rose back to her feet, “All the interference makes it hard to target, now come on and help me!” She tossed the helmet across to Firefly, then kicked the needle like probes towards Surprise as she turned to begin adjusting the controls on the machine.

Surprise chuckled, putting her cricket bat down on the ground for a moment, instead grabbing one of the probe handles in her mouth. She gleefully jammed it into Celestia’s side with what was possibly the wettest noise the three had ever heard. The straps were looped around their appropriate limbs, one around each leg and battered wing, completing it as quickly as she could. She wasn’t keen on this one waking up before they were done.

“Uh, Twilight? Problem” Firefly held the helmet in both hooves, looking slowly back at Twilight.

“Oh what is it n… Oh.” Twilight turned around, staring down at Celestia’s upper body, then back up at the helmet that she had handed to Firefly.

“Right… where do I put the helmet if her head is gone?” Firefly was trying not to look directly at the body, “Like just put it on the stump or something?”

Then, despite all appearances of her being deceased, Celestia’s body began to shiver violently. The three ponies found themselves staring at the body in alarm, watching flesh of the goddess knit itself slowly back together. Celestia’s legs trembled as she slowly pulled her headless self up off the ground the onlookers frozen in sheer terror as they watched her head reconstitute itself, straight from bone to muscle to flesh. Eyes filled the sockets in her skull, globes of blue light within cavities. Fur grew from previously charred flesh, her mane flickering as if trying to spring back from her head.

Celestia’s eyes glowed at the trio of ponies, speaking in an echoing voice, “Do you have any idea how much that stings?”Her eyes narrowed again, shifting to the machine that Twilight was seated by and working on. Celesetia’s eyes then widened in sudden recognition, “Brother! No!”

An instant later, and the three would have probably been doomed, but the pegasi managed to come through for their comrade, for once. Surprise jammed the final probe into Celestia’s other side, a slightly less disgusting sound than the first one. Meanwhile, Firefly flew up behind her, slamming the helmet onto her head and clamping it down. The helmet immediately seemed to react, gripping down on the alicorn’s horn and strapping around her.

“You won’t finish us off, fiend!” Twilight called out, slamming her hoof down on the activation switch.

The scream that Celestia made echoed through the entirety of Ponyville, even further than the sounds of the previous explosions, terrible enough to cause some ponies to cover their ears and huddle up to hide. Celestia’s mane and tail flickered again as if trying to fade back into existence, then fizzled out. The princess collapsed with a horrible groan, tumbling to the ground and laying still as the machine drained her.

“That was surprising!” Surprise was trembling on the ground, eyes wide, looking unable to move after the sound.

“Holy Helios!” Firefly stared, herself having sunk down to hold her hooves over her ears as well, “W-what the hay is that thing?”

Twilight’s ears were ringing, unable to hear Firefly’s question, but a gleeful look on her face all the same, “Yes! It worked! The same machine that took Helios from us was repaired to take down our planet’s destroyer, ha!”

They were only snapped out of their trance when they heard heavy footsteps behind them. Slowly turning about, they found themselves staring into the eyes of no less than a dozen royal guards, all of whom were as furious as they were horrified by what they were seeing.

“So long, suckers!” Twilight grinned, powering up once again, her face contorted in pain at the effort of taking herself and the princess, “I wish… I wish…” and with a blast of magic, she and Celestia disappeared, along with the machine that had been attached to the later of the two.

It was unclear if Twilight’s first statement had been aimed at the guards or her two ‘friends’, but somehow the two suspected it was spoken to them.

“Uh, we can explain,” Firefly turned, eyeing the guards nervously.

“Yeah,” Surprise smiled, hoof pointing to Firefly, “It’s all HER fault!”