• 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 10: There is More Than Just One Way to Dance

The Elements Chapter 10

The streets of Stalliongrad were relatively empty during the early hours of the morning. Lights from apartments or businesses were all but extinguished, dimming the majority of the city apart from the street lamps that hung over the city streets. With the dark clouds still shrouding the entire landscape in darkness, the moon was unable to brighten the darkest alleys, allowing for ponies to scurry across the city undetected.

Celestia, Moonlight, and Meadow Free halted at the edge of one of the alleys, pausing when a pair of distant voices came into range. They all backed up against one of buildings and swiveled their ears to listen in front of them. The hoofsteps slowly approached, as well as the quiet clinking of metal upon metal.

“Did you hear the reports the other day about the commotion that happened in the Drakenridge Mountains?” A gruff voice asked.

“About the Changelings moving through the mountain pass?” a second quiet voice replied. “I heard that Blackheart was the one leading the strike force. Shouldn’t he be in the south attacking Voltenice?”

“No no, I mean the reports that one of the princesses was seen in the pass fleeing from those monsters.” Two Stalliongrad guards walked passed the alley.

“Oh, I’m, uh, not sure what to make of that. There have been numerous reports over the months about sightings of the Princesses all over Equestria, yet no one has confirmation if they are even still alive or not.”

“Why else would a small detachment of Changelings being running through the pass and burn a village?” Celestia grimaced. “They must have been chasing something.”

“Or maybe they were just a scou-”

The voices faded, and Moonlight was the first to step forward and peer out of the alley. She stared in the direction that two guards had taken before motioning for Celestia and Meadow Free to follow her across the street to the next alley. Once they were safely in the shadows again, Moonlight and turned to face Celestia.

“Why do you persist keeping your existence a secret?” Moonlight asked. “Ponies across Equestria are wondering whether or not you and Princess Luna are still alive. You heard the way those two guards spoke of you, you heard how defeated they sound now that all the leadership that had once ruled this nation is supposedly gone, replaced by the tyrants Discord and Chrysalis. Weren’t you the one who said that you wanted to take the fight to Discord?”

Celestia paused and sighed. “Yes, but that was before I learned that there was a chance to find the Element of Harmony. I would love to reveal to these ponies that I still draw breath here in Equestria, but you have to understand that in doing so, our chance at finding the Element of Harmony would be taken from us.” Celestia walked past Moonlight towards the other end of the alley, Meadow Free following her. “Discord knows what it is that Luna and I seek, but he does not know where we are. If we were to reveal ourselves at all, he would devote all of his strength to eliminating all possibilities of us achieving our goal. Instead, we must remain hidden to both sides of the conflict.”

Moonlight fell in behind Meadow Free and they all stopped at the edge of the alley. Celestia poked her head out, and after checking either side of the street for any pony in sight, sped across to the other alley. Ahead of them rose a sign titled “Starlight Spectacle.”

“But we have reached Stalliongrad, which protects the only two passes through the mountains,” Moonlight said. “Even if word of your location reached Discord’s ears, he would still need to make his way through one of the most heavily fortified and largest cities in Equestria.”

“What would that accomplish?” Celestia asked, looking back. “Stalliongrad would become besieged by the Changeling Horde before the most opportune time. Instead of having weeks to find the Element of Harmony and prepare for the battle against Discord, Luna and I would have a mere matter of days.”

“What Equestria needs right now is a hero,” Moonlight said, trotting passed Celestia, “not a leader.” They stopped at the end of the alley. “You two wait here, I’ll go speak to the owner and tell him you are here.”

Celestia and Meadow Free nodded at Moonlight, who turned and trotted towards the front door of the brothel. The establishment was painted a very dark shade of pink with neon lights decorated the edges and covering a massive sign with the building’s name on it. Pictures of moving ponies dressed in all sorts of revealing saddles adorned each of the windows that looked out onto the street, while the windows on the second story were tinted red with curtains shut behind them.

“How did you know about this place?” Celestia asked Meadow Free while she continued to stare at the neon lights around the brothel.

“Oh, word gets around pretty quickly in this city about all of the highlight attractions,” Meadow Free said, and she paused. “And, uh, Regality and I may have initially worked here for a time since the owner offers all of his “actresses” a place to stay.”

Celestia’s head snapped towards Meadow Free. “Wait, you worked here in this line of business?”

“For a time, yes. The librarian of the Stalliongrad Library quickly found out about my second job, though, but instead of firing me, he offered me a room he cleaned out for Regality and I.” Meadow Free gazed over at the Starlight Spectacle and added, “To be honest, working for this brothel wasn’t a nightmare like all of our parents tell us when we were foals. Sure, you may run into the creepy stallions who get a little too grabby, but aside from that, the mares that you work with are all fun and the owner is a fairly nice guy.”

“Why did you quit?”

“The hours were not nice and I was losing sleep over holding two jobs.”

A door on the side of the brothel opening, allowing for Moonlight to step through. She waved with her hoof over to Celestia and Meadow Free to come over to the brothel. Celestia checked either side of the street, and after seeing no ponies making their ways towards her, she galloped across the street with Meadow Free in tow. Moonlight waited for both of them to make it across the street before she dashed back inside the brothel, followed by Celestia and Meadow Free, who shut the door behind her.

Upon entering the brothel, Celestia was greeted by two beautiful mares who were both dressed in French maid outfits. Both mares looked to be twins with their large eyes and long, blonde hair. The only difference between the two was that one mare had a light tan coat while the other had a pale white coat. Celestia stopped before the two mares, and they looked at her and smiled the exact same smile.

“Welcome to the Starlight Spectacle, Princess,” both mares said in unison. “Our master has been expecting you. Would you care if we showed you the way to his office?”

Celestia’s eyes drifted between the two mares. “Of course. Thank you.”

The twins motioned for Celestia, Meadow Free, and Moonlight to follow them down a narrow hallway towards the back of the brothel. The walls on either side of the party had been painted a dark neon pink, while strands of bright pink lights had been fixed into the corners of the ceiling. The lights dimmed the hallway considerably, creating a moody and relaxing atmosphere.

As they walked down the hallway, Celestia passed by ponies of all shapes and colors and genders idling within the doorframes. Some ponies were without clothes while others wore costumes as intricate as the twins ahead of her. Most ponies, however, wore simple costumes of lingerie that were meant to tease the customers who were waiting out in the main foyer, as well as the customers in the rooms on the second floor.

The twins stopped in front of a large set of double doors that were made of cherry wood and inlaid with complex, golden designs. Without knocking, the twins pushed the doors open and led the party into a large room that was decorated with all sorts of beautiful lamps, expensive curtains, and plush pink carpet. Celestia, Meadow Free, and Moonlight all took their seats on a row of three pillows that had been laid out in front of a large desk also made of cherry wood. Behind the desk sat a large charcoal-gray pony who was scanning through a stack of papers piled high to the right of himself.

The twins walked to either side of the charcoal-grey pony and whispered something into his ear. His ears perked up, and he lifted his eyes to look directly at Celestia, except that he seemed to stare past her. His eyes were grayed out, hiding their original color. One of the twins walked around the back of the charcoal-gray pony’s chair, and together they strode to a corner of room and stood.

“Good evening, Your Majesty,” the charcoal-gray pony said. “My name is Diamond Heist. I hope my two lovely ladies successfully welcomed you to my humble establishment.”

“They were very helpful, thank you,” Celestia replied. “However, you betray your success by calling this brothel a ‘humble establishment.’ “

“I only speak the truth, Your Majesty. I do not pride myself on the work that my employees or I do, I only wish to simply spread love and affection to all ponies that wish to seek it.” Diamond Heist smiled, and he pushed the papers he was previously scanning to the side of his desk. “But you did not come here to talk of the Starlight Spectacle now, did you?” His dull eyes still stared past Celestia. “No, you came here because you are on a mission of the utmost importance. A mission that could very well decide the future of Equestria?”

Celestia’s eyes narrowed. “Precisely; and I have been told that you are able to help me in that regard?”

“That I can,” Diamond Heist said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his forehooves. “You’re looking for a deer that goes by the name Izdihar al Nazari, correct?”

“We have not known of her name until now,” Celestia replied, shifting her wings against her sides, “but yes, we are looking for a deer. I am assuming that you know her location?”

“Oh, no no,” Diamond Heist said, chuckling. “I do not know where she is located at this precise moment, but I can tell you in which direction she had taken leaving Stalliongrad, and her destination.”

There was a pause for a moment, and Celestia asked, “Well, can you tell me where she is headed?”

Diamond Heist leaned forward, placing both of his hooves on the table. “Not until you do something for me first, my Princess. You see, although I only wish to spread love and affection through this brothel, I must also remember that I need to be a business pony at times. You know, rake in enough income to successfully pay the bills of this establishment, pay the wages for my beautiful employees, ensure the customers are happy, etcetera.”

Although Diamond Heist’s hooves moved as he spoke, his eyes remained fixed in the same position, staring directly through Celestia. “Sadly, it seems that with the recent siege that Stalliongrad underwent, and now this war between what remains of Equestria and these Changelings, many of the ponies that used to frequent the Starlight Spectacle have been staying at home and conserving what amount of bits they have left. Business has been slow these last few months, and paying the bills and my employees is beginning to become a little difficult.”

When Diamond Heist paused, Celestia turned her head slightly while still having one of her eyes trained on the brothel owner in front of her. “How am I supposed to help you get your customers back?”

“It’s simple,” Diamond Heist said, smiling, “I want you to dance for those ponies who are here in the brothel tonight.”

Celestia’s eyes widened, but before she could reply to Diamond Heist, Moonlight was already on all four of her hooves and asked, “You want the princess to do what!?”

Diamond Heist frowned. “It is not as if I am asking her to become a permanent member here at the Starlight Spectacle. All I wish is that she perform here for one night.”

“You’re asking for th-” Moonlight stopped mid-sentence when she felt the magic from Celestia’s horn clamp shut around her mouth. She spun around, staring at Celestia, who refused to look at her, instead focusing on Diamond Heist.

“How would me performing at the Starlight Spectacle bring back old customers?” Celestia asked, raising an eyebrow. “I can only imagine that the ponies who have failed to reappear wish to save their money in case this nation takes a turn for the worse.”

Diamond Heist smirked. “Don’t you see it, Princess? The ponies who view your performance tonight would hastily begin to tell all of their friends that they saw one of the Princesses of Equestria dancing on stage at the Starlight Spectacle. Not only would this prove to them that this brothel is still doing well, but you would also be setting an example that ponies should try to relax instead of hiding away in the houses in fear.”

Diamond Heist rose himself from his chair and began to walk around his desk. “You see, ever since Stalliongrad had been ravaged by Germaney all those months ago, this city’s citizens have been on edge and pessimistic. Many do not see the joys in life anymore, in partly due to many of them losing just about everything they had in the siege, but also because they were hit with the reality that perhaps Equestria is not the nation it has always been cracked up to be. The powerful cities and unstoppable military can crack when enough pressure is applied.”

He stopped in front of Celestia, turning to face her, but still staring through her body with his dull eyes. “You can only imagine how this current war is dampening their spirits.” He paused, scratching under his chin with a hoof. “I only wish to try to brighten this city’s spirits, but I have exhausted all of my other plans. Ponies don’t want incentives or promises in times like these; they don’t want a leader, a guardian, or a princess. What ponies want is a hero.”

Celestia’s eyes darted to Moonlight. The unicorn stood next to her, and she slowly began to sit back down onto her haunches. Their eyes met for a brief moment before Celestia’s drifted back to Diamond Heist. She studied over each of his facial features; searching his eyes, observing his mouth, and examining the muscles across his cheeks, but she found that he refused to betray any scheme that may be deeper than what he had told her just now. She furrowed her brow.

“What must I know before I move out onto the stage?” Celestia asked, raising herself to her hooves. Although she stood taller than Diamond Heist, the earth pony’s head failed to follow hers, instead still staring into her chest.

“Have you taken any dance lessons before?” Diamond Heist asked.

“I have had some training back when I lived in Everfree City,” Celestia replied. The two twins stepped forward from their corner, standing on either side of Diamond Heist.

“That is a start,” Diamond Heist said, taking a step back. “Sweetheart and Pearl Cream here shall teach you a more exotic form of dancing than what you are used to.” Celestia bit her lip, and Diamond Heist added, “Do not worry, Your Majesty. The form is simple and easy to pick up.”

Sweetheart and Pearl Cream stepped forward, sidling up alongside Celestia and leading her out of the office, quickly being followed by Meadow Free and Moonlight. Diamond Heist watched them go, and said, “Oh, and you’re going to need something to wear.”

~~~

“Now, try moving your hips side to side,” Sweetheart and Pearl Cream said in unison. They began to creep sideways across the floor, making sure to visibly move their flanks back and forth in the air with each step. Celestia watched the twins for a moment before she began to imitate them. The twins stopped shaking their flanks and watched Celestia, smiles stretching across their mouths.

“That was near perfect!” They both exclaimed. “We think you are just about ready to show off what you have learned on the dance floor.” They paused, bowing slightly. “When you are ready, just let us know.”

Celestia returned the twin’s smiles with one of her own. “Thank you two very much. If you could give me a moment, I think I am going to speak with my two friends before I start.”

Sweetheart and Pearl Cream nodded their heads and stepped away into one of the corners of the room. Celestia turned and trotted over to where Meadow Free and Moonlight sat. The unicorn was fast asleep on the couch, curled up tightly in a ball with her head resting on one of the plush, pink pillows. Meadow Free, on the other hand, had been watching Celestia through her brief training exercises with the twins. She beamed at Celestia as she approached, sliding off of the couch.

“You’re doing great, Celestia,” Meadow Free said. “I’m pretty sure that with those dance moves and that outfit, you’ll leave the entire audience awestruck.”

Celestia was wearing dark pink stockings that had black lace along the tops and little pink bow ties on each of the hooves. She wore a small, lacy pink saddle that left her wings to be free, and around her neck was a pink, lacy collar with a large heart strapped the front. Her tail was wrapped in a small, pink bow, and she also wore a much larger pink bow on the side of her head. Celestia stopped before Meadow Free and looked back at herself.

“I... never thought I would catch myself ever wearing something like this,” Celestia said, swishing her tail back and forth. She looked in front of her. “What am I getting myself into, Meadow Free?”

“I ask you the same question,” Meadow Free said. “Only two hours ago you told Moonlight that you didn’t wish to let Stalliongrad know of your presence. You thought it best that everypony believe that you had either fled Equestria of died sometime ago. Instead, you are about to walk onto a stage in the most popular brothel in Stalliongrad, perhaps all of Equestria, and perform a rather raunchy dance for your subjects.” Meadow Free cocked her head. “What made you change your mind?”

Celestia sighed. “I don’t know. After listening to Diamond Heist, and reflecting upon everything Moonlight has said to me these past months, I sometimes wonder if I’m making the right decisions.” She glanced at the clock. “I should get out there before it becomes any later. It would be best if Moonlight and I can leave Stalliongrad before first light.”

“You’re not taking Regality and I with you?” Meadow Free asked.

Celestia took a step back. “You wish to come along with us? What about your jobs here in Stalliongrad? You haven’t even spoken to Regality about any of this.”

Meadow Free chuckled, spinning Celestia around and leading her to the door that would take her backstage. “Perhaps we can speak of this later. I did leave a note back at the library explaining to Regality where I went. I’m sure she is on her way here right now.”

Before Celestia could utter another word, Meadow Free pushed her out of the doors onto the back of the stage. The music from the speakers beyond the curtains was deafening, blaring deep bass and electronic melodies into Celestia’s ears. Even so, above the sound of the music, roars of cheers could be heard from the crowd of ponies from the front room, yelling and applauding whichever mare or stallion happened to be on stage at the moment. Celestia’s ears folded back as she felt Sweetheart and Pearl Cream bump themselves on either side of her.

“We have you slotted to be the next mare to go on stage,” they both said. “Don’t worry or be nervous, Your Majesty. Just try to be yourself when you go on stage, and remember to try to let your emotions flow with your physical movements. This is just like any type of dancing you have done before, the only difference is the manner at which your emotions are portrayed.”

Celestia nodded, and the twins disappeared back through the door she had just come from. The music continued to boom into Celestia’s ears as she began to make her way to the curtain, and another loud cheer exploded through the crowd for the pony that was up on stage. Her wings ruffled uneasily against her sides, while her tail swished back and forth to the beat of the music.

As another minute dragged on, the music came to a quick stop and one last round of applause and cheers rang through the crowd beyond the stage. A baby blue earth pony mare with a silver mane and tail walked off the stage, stopping before Celestia and bowing, then continuing through the doors into the back of the brothel. Celestia nodded her head back to the earth pony, and she then took a deep breath, perking her ears and waiting for the announcement of her name.

After the cheering from the crowd of ponies had died down slightly, a stallion came rushing from the doors behind Celestia and ran out on stage. The room beyond the curtains quieted to a dull chatter.

“Unfortunately,” the pony on the stage began, “the hour for the Starlight Spectacle has grown late and we must be closing our doors very soon.” A wave of groans and complaints ran through the crowd. “But, before we hastily remove everypony from this establishment, we have one last treat in store. Tonight, a special pony has offered her services to give you all a magnificent showing of her skills in the art of dance. She is a dancer so regal, so exotic, and so rare, that never before has any brothel within the history of Equestria been graced with her presence. I give you: Princess Celestia of Everfree.”

The stallion stepped off to the side of the stage, allowing for Celestia to emerge from the curtains and walk towards the center of the stage. Everypony in the crowd stared wide-eyed as their princess finally made their way onto stage, with some ponies even having their jaws held slack. She stopped at the center stage, turning slightly and sliding forward on her forehooves to put her flank in the air. She opened her wings entirely, giving everypony a clear view of their size.

“Good morning, my little ponies,” Celestia said in her most seductive voice. A few more jaws dropped from the crowd. “Surprised at what you see?” She arched her back more and flicked her tail. She heard a pomf from the back of the room. Celestia smirked.

Once music started to fill the room from the many speakers located in the corners, Celestia slowly straightened her posture and strut to the other side of the center stage. She turned and raised her flank into the air once again, giving everypony on that side of the room a clear view. She heard gasps behind her, and upon glancing behind her, she saw that a few of the pegasi in the back were hovering in the air to have a better look.

Celestia straightened her posture once again and turned, locking eyes with one of the floating pegasi and winking. The pegasi’s wings locked in place, causing him to plummet back to the floor with a loud thud. Celestia giggled and began to back up towards the center of the stage. Before she reached the center, she quickly scanned over the entire crowd watching her, and saw that everypony had their eyes strained on her.

The vocals of the song started, and she turned so that her her flank faced down stage, shaking it side to side in front of the crowd. A few cheers from the ponies rose up from the back of the room, and Celestia began to strut sideways towards the right of the stage just as Sweetheart and Pearl Cream showed her earlier. She accented the movement of her hips, forcing them to shake her flank more than normal and wiggle her tail.

When she reached the edge of the stage, Celestia spun around so the side of her body was facing downstage. She slowly walked back to the center of the stage, lifting her legs high into the air and pausing with each step, giving everypony a good look at each of her legs. As she made her back to the center, a pegasus Celestia had seen earlier in the hallway towards Diamond Heist’s office carried a pole and placed it into the small hole that had been carved into the stage. He winked at Celestia before flying off back towards a set doors that led to the back rooms of the brothel.

Celestia eyed the pole, and then she lifted herself onto her hind legs while placing both of her forelegs on the pole above her head. She spread her wings to their full length once again, eliciting more cheers to holler from the crowd of ponies. Celestia smiled, and she wrapped one of her forelegs around the pole to swing herself once around. When she stopped, she was leaning slightly away from the pole and bit her lower lip.

By now, the entire crowd of ponies was cheering Celestia on as she spun around the pole a few more times. She stopped with her back to the crowd and her flank out, shaking her tail back and forth and flicking it in front of one pony’s nose. The pony bit down on the tip of her tail, inducing a gasp to escape from Celestia’s lips. She spun around, pulling the tail from the pony’s mouth, and she lowered herself onto her stomach. She crawled closer to the pony who bit her tail, putting on the best bedroom eyes she could, and gently snapped right in front of the pony’s snout. The pony stumbled back, and she giggled before getting back to her hooves and prancing back to the pole.

Celestia was able to spin once more around the pole before the music stopped, sliding down the pole onto her rump and hugging the pole tight against her. An incredible roar of cheers and applause exploded from the crowd, and some of the ponies began to throw their bits onto the stage around Celestia. The princess rose back onto her hooves and bowed to all of her subjects, and then turned and began to walk back to the curtains. The cheers degraded to catcalls and whistles by the time she had disappeared behind the curtains.

When Celestia stepped through the door back into the practice dance room, Meadow Free turned and smiled at her. She rose from the couch and trotted across the room.

“From all the commotion outside of these rooms, I can take a guess that you put on quite a show for all of those ponies,” Meadow Free said, stopping in front of Celestia.

“This is...” Celestia began, blushing slightly. “This is going to be an interesting story to tell Firemane, at least. I can’t imagine what he will think, especially since I went through with this plan.”

Meadow Free rolled her eyes. “You know Firemane is not of the jealous type. He’ll understand.”

Before Celestia could speak again, the door to the practice room opened and Diamond Heist stepped through with Sweetheart and Pearl Cream in tow. Both of the twins were smiling proudly while Diamond Heist had his own smirk stretched across his face. He bowed in front of Celestia.

“From the sound of the crowd alone,” he began, “they all would agree that you put on quite a show for them. I wish I could have been able to see it myself, but alas, my eyes have not been of use to me for many years.” He chuckled. “In any case, you have more than fulfilled your end of the bargain, so I guess it is my turn to fulfill mine.”

Celestia’s ears perked up, and she asked, “So you know where the deer departed to when she left Stalliongrad?”

“Oh yes, she told me as she was leaving,” Diamond Heist said. “It’s a curious place to go, I have to admit, even for a deer. Magic has always been beyond my understanding, but perhaps you will understand why she has gone where she has gone.”

Celestia’s eyes narrowed, and Diamond Heist coughed slightly before he continued. “What do you know of the Tree of Aeternitas?”

Author's Note:

Chapter 10 is out! I apologize for the time it took me to write this out, but to understand why, go check out my blog post on my userpage. I hope you all enjoyed the chapter.

Next chapter is Chapter 11: Attachments.