• Published 24th Jan 2013
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The Elements - hell00001



Celestia and Luna have gone into exile under Discord's tyrannical rule, and now struggle to find a way to stop the draconequus before he can gain the full chaotic power of the Element of Chaos.

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Chapter 1: A Timely Rescue

The Elements Chapter 1

Shadows zipped through the Everfree Forest towards the eerie buildings that loomed in the distance. As the clouds moved along in the dark, bleak sky overhead, they cast menacing shadows that danced off of the ancient trees of the forest. Vines looked like snakes in the darkness, and the bark from the tree trunks twisted to cast malicious faces that sent chills down everypony’s spine.

A squad of five ponies snaked their way through the forest at a brisk pace, their powerful hoofsteps muffled by the dense foliage. Leaves had begun falling from the trees in preparation for the upcoming winter, and the animals that had once been present in the forest had mysteriously vanished. They passed through thick bushes and deep mud puddles, but their coats remained dry and unscathed underneath their thick, protective armor. Everypony carried a spear across their back and a light dirk sheathed to their sides.

Princess Celestia stopped the squad once they reached a clearing of the forest, and she gazed up at the desolate tower that rose above all of the other buildings of Everfree City. The Tower of the Stars only stood at half of its height, destroyed utterly sometime during the battle between Everfree’s Guard and the mutated Flutterponies. Celestia shuddered at the tower’s ominous appearance, and redirected her gaze to the clearing that stood before the squad.

“Moonlight,” Celestia said, looking back at the purple unicorn mare in question, “scout ahead and see if there are any Flutterponies ahead of us. Now that we are closer to the city, we might run into some resistance.”

“Yes, your majesty,” Moonlight Sonata said, trotting ahead of the squad and out into the clearing.

Moonlight disappeared behind a thick group of bushes beyond the clearing, and Celestia sat back on her haunches. A cold wind blew against Celestia’s group, and she slightly shifted her wings against her body. The atmosphere of the forest felt dark and unforgiving, and Celestia felt unease creep into her bones as she glanced around.

After ten minutes, Moonlight Sonata reemerged from the thick bushes and quickly trotted up to Celestia. Celestia raised herself back onto her hooves and nodded at Moonlight when she had returned safely back to the squad.

“We are clear from here to the breached wall of Everfree,” Moonlight Sonata said, glancing behind her. “From what I saw, there are only two Flutterponies guarding the wall by the breach, but it isn’t something that Fallen Star can’t handle.”

“Right,” Celestia said. “Fallen Star, lead on.”

Fallen Star—dark blue pegasus—nodded at Celestia, and stepped in to take the lead across the clearing. In a few minutes, the squad had reached the breach in the wall, and they all took up positions at the very edge of the forest. Celestia quickly spotted the two Flutterponies that Moonlight had mentioned. They were walking back and forth casually on top of the wall, and she motioned for Fallen Star to pull his crossbow off of his back.

Celestia listened intently until Fallen Star had completely notched the crossbow bolt, and said, “Wait for the two to walk in front of each other. When you think you have a shot, aim for their necks.”

Celestia’s eyes strained, and her heartbeat steadily increased as she saw the two Flutterponies draw closer to each other. She bit her lower lip tightly just as one Flutterpony’s nose passed in front of the other, and she held her breath when she heard the thunk as Fallen Star’s crossbow released its bolt.

There was a faint splatter of blood, and both Flutterponies stopped in their tracks when the crossbow bolt passed through each of their necks. They collapsed into a heap atop of the wall, and Celestia released her breath before turning back to the squad.

“Okay, you know the drill,” Celestia began in a hushed whisper. “No sound, stick together, and do not kill anypony unless it is absolutely necessary. We cannot alert the guards or our entire rescue mission will be for naught. Move out.”

Everypony in the squad saluted Celestia, and together they made a dash for the wall breach. They took their time to climb over the debris of stone and gravel, careful not to allow for their metal armor to clink against any of the stone that protruded from the large mound.

Moonlight was the first to reach the other side of the wall breach, and she motioned for everypony to follow her once she had glanced in both directions. The squad broke into a gallop for the first house that they came upon, and smashed the door open to allow for everypony to gather inside. Celestia glanced out of the window that looked back out into the street. She froze, and shut her eyes and turned back away.

Moonlight looked over at her, and asked, “Is something wrong, You Highness?”

“This is the Northern Disctrict,” Celestia said quietly. “This is the place where architectural development in Equestria had reached its peak. To look at it now and see the chaos that was brought upon it is heartbreaking.”

Moonlight walked up behind Celestia and placed a forehoof on her shoulder. The rest of the squad glanced over at Celestia with empathy.

“Discord shall pay for what he did to Everfree,” Moonlight said, “but now is not the time to get caught up in the former glory of this city. Let us keep moving.”

Celestia nodded, and she fell in behind the squad as they made their way out into the backyard of the house. They began to traverse between the backyards of each house, slowly making their way to the castle that stood in the center of Everfree City. The once magnificent towers grew larger as they made their approach, and under the darkened sky they chilled Celestia’s bones with the defeat and despair.

The squad reached the main avenue that ran through the center of the Northern District, and Fallen Star was the first to peek his head out into the avenue. He quickly pulled his head back in, and motioned for the squad to take up positions hidden out of sight from the street.

“There are two Flutterponies coming our way,” he explained. “I suggest that Thunderhoof and myself take them out.”

Celestia nodded, and Fallen Star and Thunderhoof quickly moved themselves into position, unsheathing their dirks. Celestia’s ears swiveled around as she started to pick up the hoofsteps of the two Flutterponies. Her wings folded tightly against her side, and her heart rate began to thump inside of her throat. She watched as Fallen Star and Thunderhoof slowly slide around the bush they were hiding, disappearing from view. After a few seconds, the sound of steel sliding through leather echoed quietly, and Celestia peered over the bush to see that Fallen Star and Thunderhoof were dragging two Flutterponies across the street and into a house.

“Let’s move,” Celestia said.

The remaining three ponies crossed the street and entered the house with Fallen Star and Thunderhoof. The two Flutterpony bodies had been piled in a corner of the room.

“Let’s keep moving,” Fallen Star said, motioning towards the rear of the house.

Celestia followed the squad out into the house’s backyard, and they quickly resumed their trek towards the castle. They passed through the backs of more houses, each yard looking the same with being littered by debris from their respective houses. Celestia cringed as she walked through each backyard, and focused to look straight ahead towards the front of the squad.

Finally, the five ponies reached the inner wall protecting Everfree Castle. Celestia gazed up at the top of the massive structure, her eyes scanning along the stones and tracing the intricate vines and leaves that decorated the wall. She took a deep breath, and rustled the feathers of her wings against the sides of her body.

“Find a breach in the wall and enter from there,” Celestia said, leading the squad along the wall. “I think I saw an opening not too far from here.”

Celestia trotted to the head of the squad again, and lea\d them all along the wall in the direction of the second wall breach. The city was eerily quiet save for the groaning of the many decimated buildings that surrounded the squad. For each rock that came unhinged, the squad stopped in their tracks and looked around them. When the coast was clear, they resumed their search for the next wall breach.

After what seemed like half an hour of walking along the the inner wall, the squad finally came upon the breach in the wall that Celestia had mentioned. Celestia held a hoof up to bring the rest of the ponies to a halt, and she closed her eyes and charged her horn. Her magic extended from her body and made contact with the wall. Magical tendrils shot from her horn and seeped into the stone, and when Celestia opened her eyes again, she was able to make out everything that lay beyond the wall.

“We’re in the clear,” she said. “I’ll go first, just in case.”

Celestia spread her wings and lifted herself to the top of the rubble that was piled in the wall breach. She gave a quick glance on the other side of the wall, and then motioned for the rest of the squad to follow her. Celestia leapt from the top of the pile of rubble, and slowly started to make her way through the Everfree Gardens.

The tall, unkempt grass brushed against the tops of Celestia’s metal shoes, and she paused when she looked down a long corridor of cherry blossom trees. A mental image flashed through her mind of the time when she pulled Luna along on a picnic blanket when they were just small fillies. The cherry blossom trees were in full bloom, and the pink flowers were floating down all around the fillies as they zipped through the entire orchard.

The trees were now scorched from the explosive onslaught from the Flutterponies, and no tree held even a single beautiful, pink flower. The grass was long, with patches of the orchard completely devoid of life from the craters left by Flutterpony bombardments. A light breeze picked up, but the only thing that rustled in the wind was Celestia’s mane.

“Are you alright, Princess?” Moonlight Sonata asked.

Celestia blinked away a tear, and said, “Yes, I’m fine. Let us continue on.”

The squad resumed their trot towards the castle down the corridor of trees. Celestia remained at the squad’s head, and her wings shuffled against her sides uneasily when another breeze picked up. She gazed up once again towards the top of Everfree Castle.

Massive holes covered the castle where the Flutterponies had shelled it. The many towers that had dominated the Everfree City skyline were now toppled and jutting into the sky like primitive spears. The beautiful, white stone walls of the castle were now dirtied, and they looked very dark and menacing against the dark sky above.

The squad finally reached the castle, and they passed by the Equestrian Fountain that had now run dry. The massive doors that marked the entrance to the garden were already left wide open, and Celestia was the first to poke her head into the castle. The rest of the squad gathered behind her, their metal shoes clanking noisily on the marble steps that led up to the door.

“The coast is clear,” Celestia said, stepping away from the door. “Fallen Star, take point and lead us to the dungeons.”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Fallen Star said, and he stepped into castle.

Everypony else fell in behind them, and they traversed through the castle at a slow walk. Debris from the Flutterpony attack on the castle littered the castle everywhere the squad looked. Priceless paintings and vases were ripped and shattered, their contents strewn across the floor. Windows were broken or missing, and major sections of the floor were cracked and dirtied by rubble.

The squad walked past the doors to the throne room, and upon glancing over, Celestia noticed that the magnificent, wooden doors were splintered and pushed open. She quickly looked away when she saw that her mother and father’s chairs were gone.

After a few more minutes of walking through the castle, the squad came upon a heavy, metal door with a multitude of locks attached to it. Celestia stepped forward and released a beam of pure, superheated magical energy from her horn to slice through the locks. All of the locks fell to the floor, and Fallen Star pushed the door open and peered inside.

“We’re clear,” he said.

Fallen Star was the first to step onto the staircase, and he led the rest of the squad down into the depths of the castle. The deeper into the castle they descended, the darker the corridor became, so Moonlight Sonata charged her horn to illuminate their path. The air started to become thick and rancid, and Celestia suppressed a gag that was rising into her throat. When they reached the bottom of the staircase, they were met by an unlocked, barred door.

Fallen Star pushed the door open and entered the room, quickly followed by Celestia and Moonlight Sonata. The light that shone from Moonlight’s horn was barely enough to illuminate the room, but on the opposite side Celestia was able to make out an equine figure trapped behind a set of bars. Her body tensed up, and she stared with her heart rising in her chest as the last two ponies of the squad entered the room.

Moonlight strode up next to Celestia, and said, “We don’t have much time, Celestia. We’ll secure the entrance”

Celestia snapped back to attention, and she looked back at Moonlight Sonata.

“I won’t be long,” she said. “Search the other cells for any other prisoners.”

Moonlight saluted Celestia, and then made her way over to the first cell on the right. Celestia took a deep breath, glancing once more to the equine figure in the cell, and then she began to make her way over. She illuminated her horn to bring some more light to the dark walls of the prison, and she stopped in front of the rusted iron bars that confined a dirty white stallion with a two toned orange mane.

“Firemane,” Celestia said quietly.

Firemane stirred from his bed of straw on the stone floor. He twisted his head to look in Celestia’s direction, and his eyes shot open while he scooted himself into a corner in the cell. Celestia’s face fell, and she slightly lifted one of her forehooves.

“No,” Firemane said, shaking his head. “This is another trick. You can’t be Celestia! S-she died, or... or she’s Discord’s pet!”

Tears welled up in Celestia’s eyes as the light from her horn shone over Firemane. He had scars and burns all over his body, while his hooves were unkempt and caked with dried blood from bindings. He had an eye patch over his left eye, and one of his ears looked to be chewed in half.

“What did they do to you?” Celestia whispered, a single tear sliding down his face.

Firemane stopped squinting from the light that shone from Celestia’s horn, and his muscles started to visibly relax. He slowly edged himself towards the door, looking past Celestia for a second to the four other ponies that were in the room with her. When he returned his gaze to Celestia, he bounded the rest of the way to the cell door and stuck his head between the iron bars.

“It really is you,” Firemane said, staring into Celestia’s eyes.

More tears slid down Celestia’s face, and she pressed her lips against his. Firemane gratefully returned the kiss, and they brought their hooves together between the bars.

“Princess Celestia!” Moonlight Sonata called, “We have another survivor!”

Celestia and Firemane broke from their kiss, and Celestia briefly turned to look for Moonlight Sonata. She saw that Moonlight was standing next to a cell four doors down from her, and was staring into the cell with wide eyes.

“Who is it?” Celestia asked, charging her horn with superheated, magical energy.

“I’m not sure,” Moonlight said, “but she’s a Flutterpony.”

“Is she mutated?”

“No.”

Celestia’s eyes widened, and she quickly looked back over at Moonlight Sonata and asked, “What does she look like?”

“She’s incredibly beautiful,” Moonlight said, stepping closer to the iron bars. “She is pale white with red hooves and tattered, red butterfly wings.”

“That is Forza!” Celestia shouted, beginning to cut through the lock on Firemane’s door with her magic. “Get her out!”

“She appears to be unconscious,” Moonlight said, charging her horn and cutting the lock on Forza’s cell door. “Thunderhoof, come help me carry her!”

Celestia was halfway through cutting the lock on Firemane’s door when there came an ear splitting shriek behind her. She cringed, and when she turned around, she stared in horror as a mutated Flutterpony made a dash for Fallen Star. Fallen Star easily dispatched the Flutterpony, using one of his crossbow bolts to stab it through its neck, and he pushed it to the side and looked over at Celestia.

“Who let this thing through?” he growled, looking over at the fifth pony in their squad.

“No time to cast blame!” Moonlight shouted, exiting the cell with Forza slung over her back. “The Flutterpony must have used its hive mind to tell the others where we are. We don’t have much time before we become swarmed by Chrysalis’ horde!”

Celestia finished cutting through the rest of Firemane’s lock, and made a dash for the door with Firemane in tow. They fell in behind Moonlight Sonata as the unicorn continued to carry Forza on her back. The squad rushed up the stairs as quickly as they can, their hooves clopping noisily on the stone steps and the air noticeably becoming more and more clean.

They burst through the exit from the dungeons and into the hallway. A series of screeches rang outside of the castle, and the squad trotted towards the same direction they came from. Their hooves noisily calttered on the dirty, marble floors, and behind them glass crashed from the impacts of the Flutterponies making their way into the castle.

“Keep going!” Fallen Star shouted, leaping over a large piece of debris on the floor.

They rounded another corner and saw that the exit to the Everfree Gardens was just ahead of them. The entire squad broke into a full gallop, closing the distance between the door and themselves. Screeches echoed behind them from the Flutterponies that had started to give chase, and the entire floor of the castle shook as there was an enormous explosion of rock and dust that erupted next to them.

Celestia, Firemane, and Moonlight were thrown to the side under the shockwave from the explosion. Celestia groaned, and she quickly got to her hooves when she heard a powerful snort. Standing in a large hole on the side of the castle was the largest Flutterpony Celestia and ever seen. It had scars marked all over its body, and only one of its sharp fangs protruded from its mouth. The behemoth growled as it took a step forward.

“Firemane, help Moonlight get Forza onto her back,” Celestia said, staying her gaze on the behemoth as it slowly edged closer to her.

The behemoth reared its head back, and let out a deafening growled that rocked the very floor that Celestia stood on. Celestia cringed from the pain that vibrated inside of her ears, and she quickly let off a bolt of magical energy that struck the behemoth on the side of its neck. The Flutterpony faltered, and Celestia charged, her horn alight.

The Flutterpony noticed Celestia’s advance, and quickly brought its head forward in an attempt to stab her with its horn, but Celestia teleported herself to the side of the behemoth and shot another larger blast of energy. The blast hit the side of the behemoth, and the monster was thrown from its feet into a group of Flutterponies that had reached the fray.

“Let’s go, Princess!” Moonlight called from beyond the door to the gardens.

Without giving the behemoth a second glance, Celestia turned and galloped out of the door and into the gardens. The air echoed with the sounds of hundreds of buzzing wings, and the squad continued to make their way into the scorched cherry blossom orchard. Flutterponies attempted to try and follow them into the orchard while still in flight, but their efforts were quickly defeated when their wings tore on the dead branches of the trees.

Celestia focused her eyes directly ahead of her, watching as the squad quickly pushed its way through the orchard and then over the debris of the inner wall breach. They turned the corner around the wall, and made their way back towards the avenue that would lead them to the outer wall breach. Celestia’s heart was racing her chest as she pumped her legs into powerful gallop to keep pace with the rest of the squad.

The ground around them started to vibrate as the Flutterponies began to dive bomb the squad’s position. Their bodies powerfully struck the houses and ground around them, spraying shards of debris and dust in every direction. Celestia’s mind snapped back to when she first experienced the shelling from the Flutterponies. Their green bodies looked like meteors as they rained down upon the city, decimating buildings and filling the streets with massive craters. Explosions and screaming had filled Celestia’s ears, and the entire ground shook from the onslaught.

The squad ran around one last corner onto another avenue. Directly ahead of them they saw the breach in the outer wall, and everypony pushed themselves to pick up speed. The ruined houses of the Northern District flew by them, and the Flutterponies continued to pelt the squad’s path with craters and holes.

Just as the squad was about to make one last push for the breach in the wall, a Flutterpony crashed into the middle of the squad, sending everypony flying in every direction. Celestia was thrown against a lamppost, completely knocking the lamppost over with a huge clang.

Celestia groaned as she slowly picked herself up, her ears ringing. She looked up and saw that their position was quickly becoming swarmed by Chrysalis’ horde. The Flutterponies were landing all around the squad, quickly encircling and trapping them.

“This doesn’t look good,” Firemane said, standing next to Celestia.

“We need to get out of here,” Celestia said, looking back towards the rest of the squad. Everypony else had already gotten onto their hooves, and Forza was once again securely resting on Moonlight’s back. Celestia and Firemane bounded over to the rest of the squad, and she said, “You all need to get out of here now.”

“Oh no, Princess,” Fallen Star said, loading his crossbow, “You and your sister are the leaders of this resistance. There is no way that you are going to sacrifice yourself in order to let us escape.”

Celestia looked over at Fallen Star, and she saw his eyes glimmer slightly. He gestured his head backwards towards the wall breach behind them, and said, “You all go. Thunderhoof and I will be okay.”

Celestia nodded her head slowly, and said, “You will not be forgotten for all you have done today.”

Before Fallen Star had time to acknowledge her, Celestia released a powerful bolt of magic directly into the group of Flutterponies that were blocking the squad from escape. The Flutterponies flew in every direction, and Celestia broke into a hard gallop for the wall breach. She was quickly followed by Firemane, Moonlight, and the last member of the squad, and they all rocketed themselves over the debris that marked the wall breach.

Celestia heard a crossbow release behind her, and the clash of metal upon flesh, but she slid down the mound of debris before she could give one final look to the two ponies that were left behind. Moonlight and Firemane quickly overtook Celestia, and they all disappeared into Everfree Forest before any of the other Flutterponies had a chance to catch up with them.

Author's Note:

Part 2 has begun! I hope you all enjoyed this first chapter, and I will try to keep my promise I did with The Gift of Life and try to upload chapters every 5-7 days. Not sure how well I can keep that promise, however, as I have two laboratory science classes that are slamming me with lab reports every week.

As for editing, so far this chapter remains unedited. Naes345 is fairly busy, and so I'm looking for some editors that are willing to look over each chapter individually when I finish them. I already gave Proofreaders and People Willing to Proofread a look over, but that kind of style of editing is more for submitting a finished story, or a story in chunks. I'd rather this be still a "learn as I go" kind of hobby.

Anyways, next chapter is Chapter 2: Six Months