• Published 22nd Dec 2012
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Stories in Stone, Memories of Twilight - TDR

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No dawn, no day.

Stories in Stone
Memories of Twilight

"No dawn, no day..."

The light click of hooves echoed across the stone as a small flicker of light shone from a spell-lit horn, illuminating the spiraling staircase upward. The faint rustle of wings accompanied the hoof falls as the princess reached the top of the stairs.

Her horn glowed brightly, causing several orbs placed around the room to glow, making the room shine as bright as day.
Thousands of paintings, photos, and trinkets lined the walls of this chamber, covering nearly every available bit of space. It had gotten to the point that there were even some on the ceiling and she had added some pillars just to make more room for those she wished to remember.

The alicorn trotted along the wall slowly, her gaze tracing over the images of old friends, old students, and old loves, a smile touching her lips as memories of who they were came to her mind as she saw them once again.

After a single circuit around the room, she moved to the center and a pair of tables before a cushioned bench. These two tables perhaps held some of her fondest memories. Despite all the others she had met and loved over the course of her long life, it was these that she always returned to. Unlike other parts of the room, these tables had no other photos or images adorning them save who they were made for.

The item on the first table was a simple book: an old weathered tome of history embossed with a golden unicorn head and written by one she remembered fondly. The book lay in the table’s center; age marring the leather bound cover of an otherwise pristine item.

Behind the book, acting as a stand for the tome, was a threadbare giant stuffed bunny. She was amazed how something that was little more than a fair prize had held up so well.

A pair of goggles was placed over the rabbit’s eyes; one of the lenses was cracked from their owner’s last flight, but they were otherwise perfect. Around the bunny’s neck, a heart-shaped gem dangled on a simple chain set into an elegant locket; the gem still seemed to sparkle with its own inner fire.

A battered old cowboy hat that had seen better days rested on the rabbit’s head, yet like the other items, it showed little sign of its true age and seemed to be in its worn state simply from use.

The last item, like its former owner, baffled her. A single red balloon tied to the rabbit’s ear floated above the entire ensemble. A gift from the last party, the balloon had simply floated, never deflating and seemingly unable to be popped or even show a sign of its age.

On the table before the book was a framed picture of six mares with the photo of a small purple dragon taped to the corner.
She smiled, looking at the picture and easily remembering them, even without her spell. There were plenty of places in their lives she could have gone, but she wished to see what she considered the greatest point of their lives.

She sighed at the thought, looking again over the items. What she wished to see this time was going to be hard. For as with everything she viewed, she did not shy away from the heartbreak and sorrow that came with it; that was just as much a part of their lives as their victories.

At this point, she had plenty of time to simply remember the past. Canterlot practically ran itself now; it was rare she needed to step in anymore. She turned her head slightly, noting a blue flame flickering along the item on the other table.

This table, too, was unadorned with images of others and simply focused on the ones upon it. These five were perhaps the luckiest and most unlucky group ever to exist in Equestria.

Two swords lay across the table, both double bladed with a grip in the center, though one was a nearly-silver weapon that was edged on both sides of the blade. The other was a darker metal and was only bladed on one side; the weapon had a gradual curve to it that gave the weapon its name: The Waning Moon.

The flames licked lightly along this blade, lighting up the table and the scant other items adorning it. Unlike the varied trinkets on the other table, this one only had six necklaces with chains of differing material, all holding a single bit of jagged steel from a shattered sword as the set piece.

The painted image showed three ponies, a dragon, a zebra, and Luna.

She looked back to the blades. Luna had not wished to keep the items; she had refused to live in the past and let the blade and items join the other trinkets in this room as she moved on with her life. That was perhaps the best thing to come out of the entire series of events.

A small smile crossed her lips as she settled down on the bench, with a last glance to the glowing blade. Her gaze fell on the lightly bouncing balloon. Her smile grew wider as her horn glowed, casting an old spell of viewing.

The spell knew where she wished to go and took her there immediately. Time had granted her the chance to improve the spell to the point where she no longer was bound to the item's location to follow what she wished.


The trees seemed to rush past as Twilight, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie galloped along the path to Fluttershy's house at the edge of the forest.

Both AJ and Pinkie Pie were in a panic, Twilight, however, felt oddly calm at the dire nature of the situation. She didn't understand why she was so calm, particularly with a thousand scenarios going on in her mind about what happened and what to do, but still, there was no panic. Odd, considering how she tended to freak out over nearly anything, even something so minor as missing a friendship report to her teacher.

As Fluttershy's cottage came into sight, she wondered if it was her time watching the events of the War of Night that was helping her remain calm in this situation. Perhaps seeing what she had had steeled her nerves more than she could have expected against disasters.

Running up the front path, the first thing she noticed was the overturned and smashed apple cart with a white bunny sitting atop it, gesturing wildly. Following his gaze, she saw scores of birds flying around over the nearby woods, searching for something.

Several bears and other larger animals patrolled around the forest’s edge, glancing towards the small group as they ran up. The yard was covered with a multitude of dead animals, many of them sliced in two or simply crushed to death by large hooves.

“Is that… Angel?” pants Twilight.

“Yeah, seems that bunny was what kept stuff from getting worse. Remind me tah have Granny cook him up a carrot cake or somethin’,”Applejack gasps.

“Where are Fluttershy and Big Mac?” Twilight questioned.

Angel stared at them a moment, pointing inside, before returning to his directing. AJ looks to him, then back to Twilight.

“Mac's in tha house and Fluttershy is under her bed, probably,” responded AJ.

Twilight rushed into the house, her saddlebags bouncing against her sides. She winced upon seeing the destruction in the small cottage. More bodies and blood splatters covered the room; large gashes were torn out of the walls and floor. Twilight thought they looked like they were caused by a large blade of some kind.

Big Mac lay on the remains of Fluttershy's couch, a large gash running from his shoulder to just short of his cutie mark on his left side. The wound itself was not deep enough to even scar, but it was clear he was poisoned.

His breathing was labored, a trickle of blood oozing from his muzzle. Black spirals of discolored flesh spread from the shallow cut, darkening even his fur and making the wound look as if it was forming a cloud pattern under the skin.

Twilight glanced over to Rainbow Dash, who was practically dancing in place, stressing out as she stared at Big Mac. With what had happened to Gilda, it was a wonder she was not hyperventilating yet. Applejack was dancing in place right along with Dash seeing her brother like this and Pinkie Pie was muttering something about twitchy hooves.

Twilight's eyes narrowed as she became only dimly aware of the chaos going on about her. She yanked her book from her saddlebag, flipping through it to when Jer'rahd was poisoned. The descriptions matched. It was time to use this oddly clear focus to fix this.

“How long ago was this?”asked Twilight.

“Prolly an hour at most,” sighed AJ.

“Then we only have a little bit of time. RAINBOW DASH!” yelled Twilight. Her yell briefly froze the pegasus's dance of panic as she looked to the purple unicorn, her features still etched with a mix of fear and anger. “I need you to go find Spike as quickly as possible. He should be at Sweet Apple Acres. so start there. Tell Granny to take the girls to Rarity's and stay there. Bring Spike back here as fast as you can,” she ordered.

“Ri~right! I'm on it!” stammers Dash. The blue pegasus was out the door in a flash, causing Twilight to wince. She flipped through the book, tore out a page, and offered it to Applejack.

“Applejack, get to Zecora's as fast as you can and tell her you need all the items that are being used here,” Twilight barked out.

The Earth pony grabbed the list and tore out of the house in a rush.

“Pinkie Pie, I need you to calm down and help Angel do something about the bodies of the animals. Take them outside or something. Fluttershy is not going to do anything if she sees them like this. I am already going to have a hard enough time getting her to talk about what happened so I can figure this out. I don't need more panic,” sighs Twilight.

“Right, I'm on it,” pipes Pinkie Pie

Twilight sighed looking down at Big Mac as he coughed up more blood. Jer'rahd had survived this. Why wouldn't Big Mac?


The cauldron bubbled under the zebra's watchful gaze. It had been a few weeks since she had seen Twilight at the library. It had been a rather calm and relaxing time.

She expected that to last a whole five more minutes. Something always came up when things were settling down. That seemed to be the joke of her life to be stuck in the middle of things.

Her door exploded inward, crashing to the ground with a massive thud as the oak struck the hardwood floor. She had predicted it and it still made her jump. An earth pony in a cowboy hat burst into her home and skidded to a stop, gripping a piece of parchment in her mouth. Zecora looked down at the broken door as AJ shook the dust free of her mane, trying to catch her breath from the run.

“Applejack, with your coat of orange, why have you broken my door hinge?” rhymed the zebra.

“Big Mac's in trouble. Twilight gave me a list a’ stuff tah see if you had any of it fer making a potion tah help him,” panted AJ.
She took the list, letting the farm pony catch her breath as she read it over.

“Hmm, even if we take blood from Spike's paw, I do not have the ursa claw,” mutters Zecora.

“Jus’ get what yah need an if me an’ Dash have tah go beat down a ursa tah save mah brother, we will,” shouts AJ.

Zecora nodded, rushing to gather what she had.


Twilight poked her head under the bed at the quivering pegasus hiding there. Rainbow Dash had brought Spike back rather quickly and both of them helped Pinkie while Spike worked up the courage to give some of his blood.

“Fluttershy, can you come out and tell me what happened? I need to know. It might help Big Mac,” Twilight said softly.

The yellow pegasus shivered and whispered something that Twilight could barely make out: “I don't really want to remember it, but if it will help Big Mac...”

Twilight laid, down reaching a hoof under the bed to rest on her friend’s shoulder, rubbing it. “Tell me what you can,” she encouraged.

The pegasus swallowed, closing her eyes. Still speaking barely above a whisper, she said, “Big Mac had just shown up with the apples and I invited him in, as I had just made some soup. He just sat down when a big pony smashed in the front door. He was a sandy yellow color and nearly as large as Big Mac. His mane and tail were black, though streaks of white and silver were mixed in. He was covered in scars and his left eye had a black patch over it. He also carried a sword that was bigger than he was. Mac got up to go try and throw him out and that's when I saw the second pony.”

Two ponies, the first sounded familiar, but she could not place why. “Go on,” Twilight responded.

“Well, the second pony was a black-coated mare with a bright blue mane and tail. She had a cutie mark like a book. She just sort of appeared next to Big Mac, and I guess he didn’t see where she came from, either, because he didn't move as she brushed along his side, and the next thing I knew, Big Mac hit the ground screaming,” Fluttershy swallowed, her shaking growing worse.

“I don't know what she did because the big stallion was focusing his attention on me. He had a strange accent and I didn't understand much of what he was saying, but... I think he was considering using me to breed offspring or something. He kept calling me a bunch of rude names and throwing in how he was going to make me his new pet. I only saw a bit of what the mare was doing as she destroyed my house. She finally stopped when she found your book,” finishes Fluttershy.

“My book?” questioned Twilight.

“The one about Nightmare Moon you have been writing. I am not sure what she did with it, but she stopped breaking things after that. I was not able to pay much attention as I was trying to fend off the big pony as he tried to mount me...” whispered Fluttershy.

Twilight's eyes narrowed. The mare sounded like the one Pinkie had seen and then lost track of the other day. The stallion's description was still nagging at the back of her mind.

“That's when Angel and the others attacked. Most of them focused on the stallion trying to hurt me. And that’s when he started swinging his sword… and I ran to hide. So many of them died trying to save me...” wept Fluttershy.

Twilight sighed, not entirely sure what to say to her weeping friend. Thankfully, a shout from downstairs announced the return of Applejack. The thunder of hooves up the stairs preceded the appearance of the farm pony who was still panting from the run.

“Ah got Zecora, but she says she dun have an ursa claw. Ah need tah know where that cave is yah put tha ursa minor when that show mare was here so me an Dash ken go git one,” panted AJ.

“Argh, that might take some time, it's not really close by,” grumbled Twilight.

“Um excuse me, I don't want to interrupt but...” squeaked Fluttershy.

“You ain't, sugar, go on,” says AJ.

“I have a few ursa claws out by the compost heap. I gave one a manicure a few days ago,” muttered the teary-eyed pegasus.

Twilight nodded, honestly not really surprised. She turned to head down to help Zecora when Fluttershy said something else. She glanced back as Applejack nodded.

“She jus’ dun wanna be alone, sugar. Go help mah brother. Ah'll stay here,” AJ sighed.

The purple unicorn nodded with a worried look and rushed down the stairs.


“Pinions of a bird of prey, eye of a hunting cat, and the charred hide of a rat... Eww. Glad Fluttershy is not down here to see this,” listed Twilight.

Zecora nodded as she mashed the items into powder in the stone bowl before her. Twilight was looking over the book's torn page and floating the ingredients to Zecora. “Luna moth’s wing... Rainbow, we don't need it destroyed. Just break the claw into smaller pieces,” Twilight snapped.

“Sorry, I’m a little nervous here... This is gonna work, right? This will save him?” Dash pleaded.

“It worked in the past. Zecora agrees that it is cloud serpent venom, though she’s never seen anyone infected with it,” Twilight stated.

“In the long past, or so I have been told, the cloud serpents were killed off, both young and old. Some poison can be found every so often on ancient spear or kris; the effects of that poison are always like this. He has been poisoned much longer than I like, but the mix is now done, save for the blood of young Spike,” Zecora explained.

“Oh man; I was hoping someone else had dragon blood…” the young dragon grumbled.

“I'm afraid not, Spike, and you are the only dragon anywhere near us that we can even ask,” Twilight stated.

“I know, I know; this is gonna hurt,” Spike muttered.

“For Celestia's sake, Spike, just do it! I'll buy you a tub of ice cream or something later, but Mac needs this now...” Dash shouted.

“Alright, alright, calm down, Rainbow Dash,” Spike tried to placate. The dragon looked at his hand, then to his other hand, picking the one he didn't write with before holding it out and turning his head. Zecora pulled a small knife from her bag and made a quick cut over the dragon’s scaled palm, bring a small wince and a cry from the dragon.

“Spike, are you alright?” Twilight asked.

“I just had my hand cut open. What do you think?” Spike snapped.

Zecora watched the blood drip into the bowl for a moment before wrapping a bandage around Spike's hand and mixing the rapidly forming paste. She trotted closer to Mac as Pinkie Pie worked to keep the wound clean, draping a wet towel over the groaning stallions head to keep him cool. The zebra spread the paste along the length of the wound, making sure the mix was pushed into the cut as well before bandaging it. Rainbow Dash floated over, watching.

“How long will he be like this? Is there any way we might know if it’s working? I can't take the suspense!!” she fretted.

“We won't know until later; it took Jer'rahd a month to recover from this, and even then, he still was not fully healed for a while after that,” Twilight recited.

“I may not take quite that long; this poison is not as effective on earth ponies, if I am not wrong,” Zecora said.

“Yes, that’s about right. Jer'rahd was only half earth pony, so it took longer. I am sure. Big Mac might be better sooner than he was, but it will still be a few weeks,” Twilight added.

“If he survives the next few days, he will have come quite a ways. That is not the thing to be dwelling upon; we need to find out how this happened and what is going on,” Zecora stated.

“I'm gonna check on AJ and Flutershy and see if they need anything,” Pinkie sputtered.

“Right. Zecora, Rainbow Dash. can you stay here and watch over Big Mac?” Twilight questioned.

“No problem,” Dash replied.

“Alright. Let's go, Spike!”

Zecora nodded as Twilight scooped up Spike and rushed out the door, galloping back to the library.


“Twilight, I don't think I’m up to taking a letter,” Spike grumbled as they galloped back into town.

“I just need you to send it, Spike; I think we have bigger problems than what happened,” Twilight said between gasps as she ran.

“Bigger than Fluttershy's house being attacked and Big Mac nearly dying?”

“That's just the start of it. Those two are still out there somewhere and both of them are armed. We don't have anyone here who can deal with that sort of thing. We need to get a letter to Celestia to tell her to send the guards. And I need to figure out where I know that stallion from,”

“What? You recognized him? He sounded like some kinda monster, from what you and Dash were talking about,”

“I think Fluttershy's description reminded me of something, but I can't figure out what,”

“Well, it's not like you were doing anything lately except studying. And after all that writing, I’m pretty sure there's no one in the book that had that description,”

“I know! Arrgh! Maybe I saw him in town somewhere and forgot about it. But then, how did Pinkie Pie miss him?”

“It could have been when you went after Applejack when she ran away, or at the wedding, or even when you took the cake to the competition with Pinkie,”

“There's a bunch of things it could be. Maybe the Princess knows. I'll be sure to put that in the letter. I want to check the library for anything I can about that poison,”

The pair arrived at the library, Twilight immediately gathering what she needed to start the letter and began to write. Spike listed a few things that were said that he noticed for her to write down. An odd change from the usual: Spike writing and Twilight dictating.

When she finished, Spike sent off the scroll and the pair headed out again to check up on Rarity and explain what happened. However, this time, she brought a large box along with her, despite Spike’s protests.


Celestia yawned softly, watching as her sister began to raise the moon. It had not taken Lulu long to return to her routine after she was freed, though Celestia was sure her sister was suffering from depression and heavy regret.

Luna had only raised the moon from one spot since her return, and she lowered it from there as well. Despite what she had said when they were last awake, she still could not leave them.

The Princess of the Sun sighed, letting her sun sink below the horizon, a small smile crossing her face. Lulu would have some answer soon; Twilight and her friends should be making their decision sometime today.

Oddly, it was something that she was both dreading and hoping for. As much as she disliked Jer'rahd, what he had been through while waiting for Luna to return, as well as what they all had done since being placed in stone, made her hope for their freedom, despite the massive issue it would cause.

They, of course, would need the same adjustments and training Luna had gone through when she returned, but that was a minor thing so long as her sister could be happy again.

As always, however, the issue was Jer'rahd. She was still not sure he could be allowed to be free at this point. She was sure he would agree, but the others would not. Only Luna and herself knew the full scale of what had happened when they last woke, as well as the danger that was now presented.

The faint click of hooves on her study’s balcony brought her attention to the dark mare trotting into the room. “Has your student sent the decision yet sister?” Luna questioned.

“No, not yet, Lulu, but it should be soon. I am still unsure if you are right to withhold the information from Twilight, however. That could be very important to the decision,” Celestia sighed.

“Nay, sister. I wished for an unbiased opinion based on the past. Once I have seen what is decided, I will think to tell her the rest of the story. Or let her see for herself... I still regret what I did.”

“You were angry, Lulu. Seeing him alive just as he was a thousand years ago was unexpected to all of us at the time. Honestly, he is not the most endearing pony anyway; he did little to ease your anger.”

“He is always like that. He had a task to perform and he did so without regret or remorse as he always did. My reward for that loyalty was uncalled for.”

“Perhaps, though I hope he may have also understood it.”

“Aye, sister, but I shall not be able to ask him if the Element Bearers are divided. The five shall remain as they are if that is the case,”

“And you will sink further into your dark mood.”

“There is little we can do otherwise. I simply wish...”

Celestia held up a hoof at the feel of a familiar tickle of magic. A flicker of green flame appeared before her, forming into a scroll that Celestia immediately caught and opened with her magic.

“Well, it seems, little sister, we shall find out...”

Celestia read over the note, her ears flattening as she scanned it. She reread it again to make sure it was correct.

“What is it, Tia? Have they all voted no?”

“One of the Bearers was attacked in her home, along with another's sibling. They are both safe, but to think something like this could happen nowadays…”

Luna took the scroll from her sister, reading it over as Celestia began to pen a letter back. A loud gasp escaped the Princess of the Night's lips and Celestia looked up in time to watch her sister rush to the door, shouting for the guards.


Twilight and Spike had spent several hours at Rarity's, both explaining what went on and stopping Apple Bloom from rushing out to try and find the culprits. Thankfully, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle seemed to grasp that it was a bad idea and helped to stop her.

Big Mac was moved to Ponyville General Hospital. Zecora went along to make sure the treatment was going well, and Rainbow Dash went along to act as a messenger to everyone else if his condition worsened. Applejack brought Fluttershy to Sweet Apple Acres with her so that she would not be alone. Angel had remained at Fluttershy's cottage and was intent on cleaning it up with the rest of the critters, as well as hunting down the ones who did it.

The CMC and Spike all stayed with Rarity that night while Twilight went home to do some research and try to remember where she had seen the stallion without any distractions. Pinkie Pie fretted the whole time, though once they left the hospital, she went back home as well.

Twilight spent the rest of the night flipping through books and pacing, trying to figure out why that stallion seemed so familiar.


(The next morning)

A pounding on the door woke her up from the pile of books she had fallen asleep on top of. She winced; not even having noticed, she dozed off in mid pace. The pounding on the door sounded again as the purple unicorn groaned, trying to shake the cramp out of her hind leg as she hobbled to the door.

“Stupid uncomfortable floor... HOLD ON, I'M COMING!” shouted Twilight.

She pulled the door open, expecting Rainbow Dash or Pinkie Pie, but it turned out, it was neither.

“Shining Armor?! What are you doing here?” Twilight gasped.

“Morning, Twily. Might wanna fix your hair; you have a lot of company,” Shining chuckled.

She blinked, confused, and leaned to the side to look around her brother, her gaze falling on a massive compliment of the Royal Guard, all armored and armed to the teeth, standing on the road behind him. She blinked, looking at the guards, then back up to her brother curiously. “What's going on here? Did the princess send you all here?” Twilight asked.

“Yep, though it was more at Princess Luna's orders than anything else. She even plans to send the Night Guard; they will be here shortly, I assume. Seems both princesses are rather upset your friends were attacked; otherwise, we probably would have been bogged down in red tape for a week or so. We've never been able to deploy this quickly,” Shining responded.

Twilight tilted her head, looking to the strange scabbard on her brother’s side, one that looked like it held a double-bladed sword. “What’s that?” Twilight asked curiously.

“Hmm? Oh, like the new toy, sis? Princess Celestia gave it to me for this mission. Seems whoever this is, she expects a great deal of trouble. After the changelings and all the other stuff, it shouldn't be anything we can't handle. Should be back home in time for Cadence’s home cooked dinner... Mind if I stay here a bit longer to avoid that? She means well, but she has been known to somehow burn orange juice...” Shining whispered.

She ignored the attempt at humor, looking to the guards, then focusing on the blade, noting the design around the grip. “If Princess Celestia gave you the Brilliant Dawn to use here, Shining, she expects this to be a great deal more trouble than you seem to think,” Twilight stated.

Shining seemed a little surprised she knew the name of the weapon, though knowing his sister, he chalked it up to some odd study or another. “Relax, sis. I've been doing this sort of thing for a few years now. I wasn't made Guard Captain due to just my good looks. A couple of rouges are no match for the Royal Guard. Sending a hundred of us is a bit overkill, but I suppose we have a wide area to cover in the search. I just stopped by to let you know we are here and heading out to start the search from Fluttershy's cottage. We should have these two nabbed before they manage to hurt any other ponies,” Shining remarked.

“While I am grateful that the response was so quick, I have a feeling that there's more to this than it seems. Be careful, brother,” Twilight sighed.

“No need to be so gloomy. I know your friends were hurt, but no pony died, right? And no pony will unless these two try to resist arrest. Then I may not hold back on them for upsetting my lil’ sis. Anyhow, we should have this all wrapped up in a day or so if they are still in the area, Twily, so sit tight and let me handle this,” Shining smirked. The Guard Captain turned, trotting to the guards filling the town in front of her house, shouting orders to get the force moving towards Fluttershy's cottage.

Twilight bit her lip as she watched them go, a feeling of dread forming within her as the stallion’s description continues to tumble around in her head. Princess Luna had sent the majority of the Royal Guard to search for the attackers, including the small force she had as her personal guards. Why would she do that? Were the two culprits someone she knew about?

Twilight closed the door after watching the troops march off. Fluttershy had said the mare had stopped trashing her home when she found the book about the past. Did she actually take it? If so, why? It was clear the mare was used to using poison. She had re-read all the parts regarding the poison and not found a clue about where it came from. Could she have been a last vestige of the Order? If so, why go after Fluttershy and Big Mac? More specifically, why the book? While the stallion wanting Fluttershy for breeding purposes was horrid enough, it seemed she was not the target. Everything pointed to the story of the rise and fall of Nightmare Moon being the target.

Who would want that? Who would know about that aside from her five friends? There was Zecora, the princesses, and Spike, though none of those three would want to hurt Fluttershy. The only other two were Vinyl Scratch and Octavia, but neither of them seemed to care about anything but the music that was around in that time. Still, that put them higher on her list than anyone else for little more than they had no connection to anything. The problem was the pair didn't know Fluttershy had a copy. The CMC knew about the study, but aside from an interest in the sword, they didn't seem to care.
This was maddening. If they were after the book, how did they even find out about it?

She was going to have to ask the princesses directly. Now, where was Spike?


The drip of water was the only sound in the cavern for centuries; now they were filled with a different sound. A lone figure stood in the darkness in the middle of the cavern, its head dipped the only light: a small green glow from its eyes. The figure lifted its head, hearing a whimper accompanied by a growl and a heavy smack as another few joined it. A soft sigh escaped its mouth at the sound of one of its associates knocking its newest pet to the ground with the hit.

“You should treat your toys better; they may last longer,” sounded a raspy female’s voice.

“If they don't hold up to a little love tap like that, then they are not worthy of my seed anyway,” a hoarse male voice d

A low growl from the darkness behind the first figure announced another's presence, though aside from the growl, there was no other noise. The two who had spoken, however, did not do so again after the growl.

The first figure spoke up, the voice clearly female and sounding like a sharp blade running across silk. “You both screwed up. You let a bunch of forest creatures run you off and you left two survivors,”

“No one survives Cloud Serpent Venom,” stated the raspy voice.

“At last count, three have,” chuckled the male.

“Both of you, shut up. If you had not retrieved the book as I asked, I would let him kill you, but seeing as you managed it, I will refrain for the moment. So long as you two continue to prove to be more of a boon than a liability, your place is secure. Fail me, and I will destroy you,” snapped the first figure

[“You are too lenient. I would have killed them by now,”] a soft, almost snake-like voice said in the zebra's tongue.

“That is not your call to make. It is mine. You should address me in my own language if you bother to speak to me,” snapped the first figure.

[“I do not speak the tongue of lesser races. No matter how strong individuals are, they are still inferior due to birth. Your pet feels the same, I am sure,”]

“I AM NO ONE’S PET, MAGGOT!” the loud voice boomed, clearly coming from the one who growled.

[“Oh, look, it can do more than growl and bluff; how delightful. Have you taught it how to sit up and beg yet? Because if it persists in angering me, it will sooo need to learn how to beg,”]

“Be silent, both of you. I know you are back; give me your report,” the silken voice asked into the air.

“Yeah, I’m here, boss lady; don't know why, considering all you do is bitch and plot. Aside from that last mission, I am the only one doing a damn thing,” grumbled a new voice from the cavern over head.

“I am aware of that, mercenary, and if you continue to do your tasks well, the reward will be great. I am still upset you have started your own side project,”

“I got bored; besides, I only took three from other areas. No one will even manage to connect them. You have no idea how much work it took me to find those last two,” quipped the voice from the ceiling.

“I do not care. Just make sure your hunts do not interfere with my plans, and I care not what you do in your free time,” replied the first figure. “What is the current situation?”

“The two idiots bungling got reported. Looks like the princesses sent the best of what they have. There's about a hundred troops and the Guard Captain. Seems there more coming in as well, a couple of the backup unit look like half dragons, probably that Night Guard unit. This much force would not be called for a simple breaking and entering, or even a murder if it had happened; seems someone was recognized,” chuckled the voice from the ceiling.

“I expected as much. This is sooner than I wished, but it is still trivial,” stated the first figure.
The low growl sounded again.

“Yes, you may have your fun this time. Leave none of them alive.”

“I do not need to be ordered to do that,” snapped the booming voice.

“If you wish what is promised, then you will continue to do so despite that. Now go. I wish to study what this book may tell us,” ordered the first figure.

The loud clack of claws on stone filled the cavern as the owner of the booming voice left. The figures of the first two also departed; the male dragged his pet along, the pony’s whimpers being silenced with another smack.

[“Those three will be trouble, you realize?”] the snake-like voice muttered after the others were gone.

“They will obey for the same possible reward you seek. That chance alone will keep them in line. Even he will follow for the chance at godhood,” muttered the first figure.

[“It is that promise of power that holds many in line, though it is a thin security.”]

“I couldn’t care less about the power, so long as I can keep doing what I want. Living forever to hunt anything I choose; that removal from limits is all I care about. I honestly don't see what that book could tell you,” sighed the voice from the ceiling.

“It is a telling of both the books and the Elements. The rest is little more than fluff..” the voice of the first figure stated as she flipped through the book. She paused suddenly, looking over the first few pages, her eyes glowing a bit brighter. “Interesting. This has just become worth our time,”

[“Why would some study on the Elements be worth our effort?”]

“This is not a study on the Elements themselves, but on the bearers,”

“Yeah? So?”

“The Bearers that were Luna's generals in the Second Dragon War,”

The other two grew silent for a moment.

[“While that is unexpected, you don't seem displeased. It is not what you thought it was. Why should a history book be worth our time, let alone the trouble that came about from getting it?”]

“There is a good reason for that, and I am sure you both will agree. If this first chapter is correct, the generals are still alive,”


Twilight yawned and looked over the books before her, grumbling. She had gone back over everything that she had read in the last few months and retraced all her steps around town, trying to picture the face. She and Spike had just gotten back to the library after running about most of the day

As soon as Shining and the Royal Guard left, she had gone to check up on Mac. Both Zecora and Rainbow Dash were passed out in his room, so she had left them be. The hospital staff said they had never seen a poison like that before
Although most of it seemed to have been drawn out of him by the mix, it would take time for his lungs and other organs that were touched by it to heal properly. They were quite positive that Big Mac was going to be fine with time to rest.

Fluttershy was still a wreck, though she did not have any more information for Twilight. Applejack suggested she tell Mayor Mare to make sure that everypony was alerted, at least in part, as to what was going on. With the amount of Guard that had shown up, that was not necessary. She and her staff were already on high alert, looking for any sort of trouble.

Twilight then checked in on Rarity and Spike, finding they had spent the better part of the day trying to keep Apple Bloom from breaking down or rushing off somewhere. The other CMC did their best to help, though Rarity figured it might be best if she went home.

She set Sweetie Belle up for a stay at the farm and Scootaloo simply needed to call her parents to let them know what was going on. Rarity decided to bring them to Sweet Apple Acres herself so she could talk to Fluttershy.

Now that they were back, she returned to her studies, trying franticly to figure out the name that went to that description.
Spike helped her for a time, though hunger got the better of him, and he slipped into the kitchen.

He returned as she flipped through another of the piled books, clutching an apple.

Twilight smacked her head into the open book before her and groaned. Spike winced lightly, turning the apple over in his claws and looking down at it occasionally as he fidgeted, not even sure he was hungry anymore.

“Still can't figure out where you saw him?” he asked.

“No, and it's driving me mad. I know him, I can picture his face in my mind, but I cannot place from where or the name,” Twilight responded.

Spike shrugged, fiddling with the apple again and sighing as he looked at it. Twilight glanced over, then down at the apple.

“If you aren't going to eat it, Spike, just put it back,”

“I can't, I already cut it up some with my claws... I just don't have an appetite any more. You want it?”

He held up the partially-mangled apple to her, his claws having cut into the peel, showing the white underneath, the cuts oozing with apple juice. She sighed, about to say something, but she stops dead, her gaze locking with the apple. Her eyes went wide before she rushed off away from Spike, her magic grabbing the large book that contained the story of The Five Beasts of the Moon, and flips through it frantically.

Spike looked to Twilight, then to the apple curiously.

“Umm, what just happened?” he asked.

Twilight flipped to the first few chapters, scanning over the pages. “I never described him; that's why I couldn't remember, and no one else recognized him. He showed up back when I had to write the story by memory. I never gave his description, but the scars and the weapon... It all fits,” she shouted.

“Ummm, Okay… wait, you remember? The guys is in the story? What?” Spike said, completely confused.

“Yes. I have to find Shining and tell him, he thinks this is something simple, but this is a nightmare waiting to happen. If he somehow got free.... Did the princess let him out? Why... ARRGH THIS IS EVEN WORSE NOW! I HAVE TO FIND SHINING AND WARN HIM!” Twilight shouted.

Spike watched her run about and grab things to shove into her saddle bags, including the box with the Waning Moon inside.

“TWILIGHT! Who is it!?!”

His shout fell on deaf ears as she rushes out the door still ranting and leaving the bewildered dragonling clutching a mangled apple.


Twilight galloped through the woods following a large trail of broken branches and hoof prints. She had initially worried that she would not be able to find her brother and his unit; thankfully, the trail they had taken into the woods from Fluttershy's cottage was obvious and easily followed.

Twilight panted as she ran, feeling the weight of her bags as well as the book. In hindsight, she should have sent a letter to the princess first, though if they had sent this many troops, it was likely she already knew, or at least suspected. The presence of the Brilliant Dawn with her brother only added to that hypothesis.

A sharp curse escaped her lips as the trail ended, splitting off into multiple paths. This was likely where the group had split up to begin the random search through the forest. Twilight danced about before the multitude of paths, having no idea where to go now and realizing this was a horrid idea.

A loud roar in the distance pulled her out of that particular panicked prancing. Her ears perked, listening again as much fainter shouting accompanied the roar. She turned her head, looking about in the fading light of late afternoon as she tried to figure where the voices were coming from. A brilliant pillar of light shot into the sky to her left, several screams filling the air along with the flash.

The source was easily acres away, but Twilight swore she could feel the heat from it even here. She turned down the path that seemed to head towards it, charging down the new path cleared by the guards.


Shining cursed as he charged the clearing. This was bad; none of the Guard had expected to find anything out here like this. A couple of rogues, sure, maybe a hydra or maticore, but not a dragon of this size; particularly not one that seemed to relish the chance to kill ponies.

They had not even seen the creature before it was on the first group. The whole unit was in communication with one another with simple spells on the helms they all wore. The entire unit was converging on the spot as soon as the first cry was heard through the magic.

The entire force of a hundred Royal Guard rushing the beast as soon as it struck should have been enough to cause a dragon to flee. This one had simply laughed as if it found the charging ponies amusing.
The four that had been ambushed were dead by the time the main section of the unit got to them. Shining was on practically on the other side of the forest with his small group and could only listen to what the others were saying as he ran towards the fray.

The dragon’s first gout of breath greeted the Royal Guards, cutting down dozens of their number before they even cleared the tree line. The screams were cut off as the magic was destroyed when the armor melted to slag around them, leaving molten puddles of goo and husks that were once ponies.

The pegasus guards flanked the creature, darting in and striking with their spears. The hoof-forged weapons shattered on the beast’s scales as the rest of the unit mobbed the creature.

The dragon continued to laugh as it lashed out with its tail and claws, shredding and destroying any pony near it as if they were not even wearing any armor. Its fanged maw ended the lives of several more guards before a second blast of fire incinerated the remaining pegasi, the pillar of white flame likely seen for leagues.

The few Guard unicorns cut loose with all the attack spells at their disposal as Shining arrived. The dragon was only slightly more affected by the blasts of magic than he was the weapons. No damage was being done, though the arcane shots seemed to at least cause some sort of pain as they impacted its hide.

The creature moved suddenly, far faster than any dragon Shining had seen before, its tail lashing out and smashing into the unicorns, sending the group of them, as well as the shield bearers around them, flying though the air to smash into the tree line or tumble across the ground to land in heaps of broken bones and shattered armor.

The beast turned, looking at the fallen unicorns and belching forth another column of flame to finish them off. A red shield formed around them, stopping the white-hot flame from reaching them. The dragon blinked in surprise, lifting its head up to look around as it sat up on its hind legs. Its gaze passed right over the few remaining guards and Shining as if disregarding them.

“I'm down here monster,” Shining shouted.

The white unicorn lashed out with the weapon the princess had granted him, the blade his sister had called the Brilliant Dawn. The weapon sang as it spun towards the dragon. The beast’s eyes widened and it dived aside, roaring out as the weapon managed to glance off its arm, drawing the first blood that had been seen from the creature.

The dragon glared at the graze on its forearm, surprise evident on its face before it focused all its attention on Shining. The other guards rush it, seeing that it could be wounded, though their weapons remain ineffective. The creature lashed out suddenly, tail, wings, and claws rending and ripping into the guards trying to swarm him, ripping apart chunks of pony flesh and armor with no motion wasted as it moved, stopping to stare down at the Guard Captain.

“It would seem that there is at least one here worth a damn. Pity it is still not enough to stop your death,” the beasts snorted along with a small burst of flame.

“Surrender now or we will be forced to destroy you,” Shining commanded.

“’We’? There is no longer any ‘we’, little pony. Or have you bothered to count your troops?” chuckled the dragon.

Shining spared a glance about and winced; there was not a single guard aside from himself still standing after the beast’s last attack. There were survivors, but they were scattered about the clearing in all directions as if intentionally thrown as far apart as they could be. A hundred of the best Royal Guard slaughtered and beaten by one dragon. This was impossible.

The dragon snatched one of the surviving guard, tossing the screaming Guard mare into its maw before silencing her with a crunch before Shining could react.

“So who do you save, little pony?”

Shining roared out, charging the dragon and lashing out with the weapon again. The dragon smirked. He grabbed the spinning blade out of the air and whirled about, lashing at the white unicorn with his tail.

The spiked length connected hard against Shining's side, shattering the armor and flinging him across the clearing into the side of a large tree. The great oak splintered from the impact, the ground at the base of its trunk lifting up as the force of the blow tore the roots of the tree from the ground. The large tree fell over with the bloodied mess of a pony lying atop it struggling to breathe through the blood filling his lungs.

“Ah, much pity; if you are the best they have to offer, little pony, than Equestria is doomed,” chuckled the dragon, looking down at the blood oozing from its hand around the sword. ”Such an interesting blade, too; the first star metal I have seen in some time.”


The dragon snapped its head up, seeing a purple unicorn at the edge of the clearing. Her eyes widened as she looked over the carnage of the field. The dragon smirked, watching the unicorn shake in her horse shoes. He would let this one go; let her spread the fear of what had happened. The one he was sworn to would be mad, of course, but what did he care about that bitch’s opinion?

He turned, his maw opening to fire a blast at the white unicorn lying on the tree. The white line of fire ignited the air between the two, only to bounce off a purple shield before reaching the fallen guard.

He whipped his head around, jaw snapping shut as his gaze fell on the purple unicorn and the glow from her horn. The look on her face had changed; her eyes were no longer filled with fear- they now glowed with rage.

The shield remained on the fallen pony while others started popping up around him, covering the guards still moving. His head whipped about, looking at the sudden abundance of protective globes. This was getting ridiculous.

He was simply going to move forward and crush her when a box lifted from her saddlebags, floating up in the unicorn’s magic. It was an impressive feat that she was casting this much at once, but it was pointless. There was no way this many spells by one young mare could hold up to his attacks. He moved to smash the nearest shield, chuckling darkly before freezing in place, his eyes locked on the unicorn and what she had.

The box had split open and a weapon had emerged. This weapon did not sing as it cut the air as the other did, but screamed with the rage of its former owner as it spun in place above the unicorn. Dark fire licked along its edges as the light from the silver orb in the night sky fell upon it.

“The Waning Moon...” the dragon spit the name, taking a step back, his full attention now on this mare.

The mare screamed, charging him, her horn glowing bright enough to cause the air around it to sear. He grinned; this one was just as foolish and predictable as the others. He flung the weapon from his hand at her, launching a blast of white fire behind the thrown blade. Even if the blade missed, his breath weapon would not.

There was a strange noise before his fire hit, though when heat and fire passed there was nothing where the mare had been. He chuckled softly to himself before he stopped seeing the blades were gone as well. Shifting his gaze around the clearing, the guards were also gone. There was nothing but broken weapons and armor, blood, and the burnt remains of the forest around him.

“What in Tartarus just happened?”


Celestia and Luna were both in the throne room. Celestia was trying to calm her sister down, though at best, she had managed to get Luna to slow her pacing. Once her sister had calmed enough to tell her what it was about the message that set her off, they both had gone to make sure her suspicions were correct.

The size of the gardens had made it nearly impossible to tell for sure, and they had returned to the castle to wait word from the guards they had sent. It was during this wait that they heard the screaming.

At first, there was no source for it, yet it seemed to come from everywhere at once. Suddenly, a massive wave of energy rocked the throne room, sending tapestries and the few guards present flying as dozens of forms materialized in the middle of the room. Corpses, charred and bloodied, heavily wounded guards ponies, and a entire tree with a nearly dead Shining Armor atop it appeared in the expanse of the room

In the middle of this chaos, a purple unicorn stood shakily on her hooves, a pair of star metal blades dropping to stick in the stone floor on either side of her.

The alicorns stared in shock as Twilight Sparkle lifted her head, her fur and mane singed around her horn, which still glowed hot. Blood was oozing from her nose and running from her eyes. She locked her gaze with Celestia, her whole form quivering.

“Silver Claw has been freed,” Twilight whispered before collapsing.

Author's Note:

I decided to change a few things with how I wrote this story as opposed to Stories in Stone, Luna's Royal Guard.

Also all the title's for the orginal were puns on stone. I tossed in song titles by bands that had stone puns in them [ Rolling stones, Stone temple piolets etc] or just out right puns or various types of rock.

With book two i decided to drop that and use lines from all the songs that were sung in the first book as titles.

Editing by Jphyper

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