• 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 2: Six Months

The Elements Chapter 2

Celestia was the first to break through the edge of the forest, emerging onto a flat, open stretch of grassland that extended all the way to the mountain range beyond. The sun was beginning to rise over the eastern mountains, staining the green plains with waves of orange light. She paused, taking a deep breath just as a gentle breeze rustled her mane against her face. A few leaves crunched behind her, but Celestia didn’t turn when Firemane walked up next to her.

“So that’s Canterlot?” Firemane asked, nodding his head at the largest mountain that jutted out of the range.

A faint discoloration on the mountain marked where Canterlot was located. The small mountain town rose only a few hundred meters above the grassy plains, but it was clearly distinguishable by its white and orange buildings that contrasted against the gray rocks. Moonlight Sonata emerged from the forest, still carrying the unconscious Forza upon her back, and strode up to the other side of Celestia.

“Yes,” Celestia said, taking a second to blow some of her mane out of her face. “Canterlot lies just beyond these grasslands. If we hurry, we might be able to make it to the town by midday.”

Everypony nodded, and they began to make their way across the grass towards a road that snaked its way along the edge of the forest. The road was quite narrow—wide enough to allow for a pair of ponies to walk side by side—and the tallgrass encroached on the sides of the road. Firemane walked next to Celestia, but they both remained silent.

The sun rose higher and higher into the sky as the group trotted across the plains. Without any shadows to protect them from the sun’s rays, they kept their eyes downcast while beads of sweat ran down their faces. Cicadas buzzed unique, monotonous melodies from the safety of the grass. Celestia noticed from the corner of her eye that Firemane’s wings shifted uneasily against his sides.

“You know,” Firemane said quietly, “the entire time that I was imprisoned beneath Everfree Castle, I thought you had actually died at the claws of Discord.”

Celestia opened her mouth, but Firemane sniffed slightly and straightened his posture.

“The Flutterponies that visited me daily to bring me my scraps of food told me that you were dead,” Firemane continued. “They would tell me that it was Discord that had killed you, or that it was your mother that killed you so you wouldn’t have to live through the torment of being Discord’s pet. They even once told me that you died to one of Chrysalis’ torturing instruments for information on the whereabouts of the Element of Harmony.”

Celestia cringed inwardly, but she put on a weak smile and bumped her flank against Firemane’s. She said, “But you know that I’m alive now, Firemane, thanks to my mother. She teleported Luna and I...” Celestia paused, and she looked away from Firemane to gaze off towards Canterlot.

Firemane glanced over at Celestia with his one eye, and he gently brushed the tips of his wings against her own. Even though there was no smile across his face, his eyes remained bright.

“I somehow always knew that you were alive, Celestia,” Firemane said. He leaned over and kissed Celestia on the cheek. Her ears fold back from his touch, and he added, “How did you know I was alive, though?”

“I didn’t at first,” Celestia said, staring directly in front of her. “After our mother teleported us away from Everfree to Canterlot, we remained in hiding thanks to Moonlight Sonata.”

Moonlight coughed audibly behind them, and Celestia smiled slightly before continuing.

“For months, stories came in to Canterlot about the extensive searches Chrysalis and her horde were performing all over Equestria. She searched all of the outlying villages around Everfree Forest, stationing Flutterponies at the villages that decided to cooperate and burning the villages that didn’t. Eventually she turned up empty hoofed on our whereabouts.”

Celestia looked down at the dirt, watching the dust float around her hooves as she took each step.

“Even with Chrysalis’ failure to find us, Discord has continued his search for the Element of Chaos. He is using Chrysalis’ Horde as we speak to overthrow the cities of Equestria one by one. Only the great cities of Hoofington and Stalliongrad remain defiant against Discord’s tyranny, but that won’t last much longer.

“Meanwhile, Luna and I have remained in hiding within Canterlot. Rarely have we left the town, and have spent the majority of our time training ourselves and trying to find some lead for how we might combat Discord.”

A few birds flew overhead, and Celestia’s gaze drifted off to the birds as they flew away. Her wings opened slightly once the birds had flown a fair distance away, and she turned back to look at Firemane.

“One day, a haggard pony came staggering into Canterlot. He told Luna and I that he was one of the ponies that fought to defend Everfree City, and that he had been hiding out in the Everfree Forest for months trying to heal his wounds. When I asked about what happened to you, he said that the last time he had saw you was when you were getting dragged into the depths of Everfree Castle’s dungeons.

“So, I staged a rescue mission. Luna warned me not to go back to Everfree—that the mission was too dangerous. I have half a mind to agree with her, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try and save you. Moonlight quickly joined up with me, along with the three other ponies that you saw.”

Everypony fell quiet again, and they trudged along through the plains in silence aside from the constant buzzing from the cicadas. The cloudless sky allowed for the sun to continue to beat down on them. Celestia blinked sweat away from her brow.

Ahead of the group was a caravan train of two ponies, each lugging a large cart full of supplies behind them. They broke into a brisk trot to meet up with the caravan train, and after Celestia had exchanged a few words with one of the ponies, Celestia’s group fell in behind the two carts. Moonlight levitated one of the canteens out of the rear of the furthermost cart, and after she had given a healthy drink to Forza on her back, she passed the canteen back to Celestia and Firemane.

It took the caravan the rest of the morning to reach the base of the mountain, and Celestia, Firemane, and Moonlight said goodbye to the two ponies as they departed the caravan’s company. They resumed a brisk trot up the side of the mountain on a thin road that snaked itself all the way up towards Canterlot.

“You’re sure those two won’t alert any of the Flutterponies of your location, Your Highness?” Moonlight said, walking slightly behind Celestia.

“They are both from Stalliongrad,” Celestia said. “I appreciate your concern, Moonlight, but I suspect that there will be no trouble from those two.”

Moonlight nodded, and she fell in behind Celestia and Firemane once again. Celestia gazed back at Moonlight and Forza, and she gently bit her lower lip.

“How is she doing?” Celestia asked.

“I’m not sure.” Moonlight said, glancing at Forza’s face. “I can feel her heart beating against my back, but each breath she takes feels weak, even for a Flutterpony.”

“We’re almost to Canterlot. Once we’re inside the town, we’ll get her to the local clinic and see what they can do.”

Celestia sighed inwardly, and she looked over at Firemane. He didn’t seem to notice her gaze, though, as he continued to stare ahead. His damaged ear swiveled slightly as a breeze picked up.

In another ten minutes the trio approached a small, wooden palisade that was guarded by a young pony in the golden armor of a Royal Guard. When he spotted Celestia, he quickly dropped his spear and grabbed the rope to the town bell, ringing the bell a total of two times. Celestia nodded towards the guard as she passed through the entrance to the town, and she then led her group straight for the Canterlot clinic.

The building was small and modest, built out of stone like the rest of the buildings in the town, and painted a beautiful white. Celestia held the door open for Moonlight to slip through with Forza, and she watched as the unicorn trotted up to the front desk and started to speak with the nurse that was behind it. In no less than a minute, three other nurses emerged from deeper inside the clinic and hauled Forza off on a stretcher.

“So, did they say which room that Forza was being taken to?” Celestia asked, walking up to Moonlight.

“She has been taken to room one hundred fourteen, Your Majesty,” Moonlight said. “The nurse asked us to wait a while before going back to see her.”

Celestia sighed, and she looked down the hall Forza was taken before saying, “I guess she does need her rest.”

The door to the clinic burst open, and Celestia found herself in the grips of a powerful hug. She stumbled slightly from the impact, and looked to see that a dark blue body was latched onto hers. Luna rubbed her nuzzle into Celestia’s neck, and Celestia returned the embrace happily by wrapping one of her forelegs around her sister. The surrounding nurses stopped briefly to glance at Celestia and Luna, and each onlooker smiled before returning to their tasks.

“I’m so glad you have returned, ‘Tia!” Luna said, releasing her grip around Celestia. She looked between Moonlight and Firemane, but her smile slowly waned. “Where are the other three that went with you?”

Celestia sighed, and she motioned for everypony to follow her out of the clinic. Once they were all out into the streets of Canterlot, she said, “We ran into some difficulties during our mission. A Flutterpony happened across us, and in a matter of minutes the entire swarm that was stationed in Everfree City was upon us. In our attempt to escape, Fallen Star and Thunderhoof sacrificed themselves while the last fell victim to an ambush in the forest on our way back.”

Luna remained silent as they crossed through the square of Canterlot. A large, stone statue of King Sol stood in the center of the square. His massive wings were extended to their full glory, and he was rising back onto his hind legs. Celestia looked up at the statue, and she closed her eyes.

May you forever watch over the heavens, Father, Celestia thought. I miss you.

The group exited Canterlot’s square, and Luna glanced over at Celestia and said, “You were successful in your rescue. Did you not find any other ponies?”

“Moonlight found Forza alive and unconscious in another cell,” Celestia said. “She is currently in the clinic being tended to by the nurses.”

“You found Forza?” Luna asked, astonished. “How did she escape Aun... Chrysalis?”

Celestia grimaced, and said, “I’m not sure, Luna.”

Moonlight Sonata trotted ahead of the group when they had reached her house, and she graciously opened the door to allow for everypony to enter. Her house was one of the bigger houses that had been built in Canterlot. It had large, spacious rooms with white walls and a wooden floor. The door closed behind everypony, and Celestia made her way onto one of the couches in the next room.

Firemane sat down next to Celestia, and she snuggled her head up under her chin, careful not to poke Firemane with her horn. Luna sat with Moonlight Sonata on the couch opposite from Celestia and Firemane. They all remained silent as the sun drifted across the sky. Luna shifted uneasily on the couch.

“‘Tia,” Luna said, staring at Celestia, “we need to begin looking for the Element of Harmony.”

Celestia sighed, and said, “Luna, you know we have been looking for the Element for months. There has been no trace of it anywhere. Have you found anything?”

“No,” Luna said, looking away.

“That’s what I thought. We need to focus our attention elsewhere. Discord is terrorizing Equestria as we speak. We can’t go trailing after some lost artifact while Equestria and its citizens die around us. We need to take action.”

“And how do you suppose we’ll do that?” Luna asked, a slight chill creeping into her voice. “Discord has an entire army at his back, along with Chrysalis being his ally. Flutterponies are roaming all over Equestria looking for us, but we need to take action?”

“I, too, but agree with Luna on this one,” Firemane added. “I’m sorry, but what plan do you have to stop Discord?”

“What else should we do? We can’t leave Equestria to the likes of Discord while we spend all of our time in hiding. We’ve been searching for the Element of Harmony for six months now, yet we haven’t even come close to gaining a clue to where it is. We need to do something to at least slow Discord down.”

“We have a meagre force at best, ‘Tia,” Luna said, fluffing her wings against her side. “We’ve been able to conduct some raids and spying missions on Chrysalis’ forces for information, but for us to try to launch an attempt to slow Discord’s efforts would mean for us to come out of hiding. That would only draw Discord’s attention in the wrong direction.”

Celestia ground her teeth together, but her wings relaxed and she looked away from Luna. The sun was still high in the sky outside, and the heat that had encompassed the town was now starting to seep into the house. She felt Firemane shift uncomfortably next to her, and she placed her head against his neck again.

Celestia was about to open her mouth when there came a knock on the door. She glanced over at Moonlight, who raised herself from the couch and trotted up to the entrance. Moonlight opened the door, and Celestia heard a whir of conversation flare up between two ponies. After a few minutes of Celestia trying to make out what the two were saying, Moonlight walked back into the room.

“There is a pony at the door who wishes to speak to both of you,” Moonlight said, glancing between Celestia and Luna. “He claims to be a part of the High Unicorn Council.”

Celestia looked at Luna with a raised eyebrow, and she lifted herself from the couch and followed Moonlight to the front door. Standing in the doorway was an elderly, gray unicorn with a frizzled white mane and tail. He had a small beard, and upon seeing Celestia, he smiled. Celestia trotted the rest of the way to the unicorn and gave him a quick hug.

“Orion, what are you doing here?” Celestia asked. “I had heard that all of the members of the High Unicorn Council had been eliminated.”

Orion’s face turned grim, and he said, “All but one, Your Majesty.”

Celestia looked away for a second, and then she motioned for Orion to enter Moonlight’s house. He complied, and shut the door behind him once he had stepped through. Celestia led Orion into the room where Luna and Firemane were sitting, and he paused in the doorway.

“Things are... much different now,” Orion said, his gaze falling onto Firemane.

“Change comes with time, and these times are dark, sir,” Firemane said.

“So they are,” Orion replied. “It seems you have no lost your wit, however.”

Firemane nodded, and Orion took his seat at the far end of the room in a large, comfortable chair. Everypony turned his gaze towards him, and he inhaled a deep breath.

“I have some information on the Element of Harmony,” Orion said.

Celestia’s breath caught in her throat, and she coughed slightly.

“How did you know we were looking for the Element of Harmony?” she asked.

“Your mother told me of the task she would give you before I left Everfree,” Orion said, looking over at Celestia. “She told all of the High Unicorn Council. When we left Everfree, we fled to the safety of Voltence where we thought that Discord wouldn’t go. Your mother never told us where she had hid the artifacts, so we spent months researching the magic of the Elements of Harmony and Chaos.

“We researched the magical discharge, the radiation, and the natural effects the artifacts gave off. There wasn’t much written on the subject, for magic is still a relatively elusive subject, especial Chaos Magic. However, we were on a lead on magical communication between an entity and the source of power it draws its magic from.”

Orion paused, and shifted his gaze from Celestia over to Luna.

“Discord interrupted our studies before we had any concrete information, and we were forced to flee Voltence before Chrysalis’ Horde attacked. In our escape, I was the only one of us to make it to Hoofington.”

Celestia looked at Orion, and said, “Would you happen to still have the notes you gathered from your research?”

Orion nodded his head and gestured towards his saddlebags he left at the entrance of the house.

“They are in those bags,” he said.

Celestia rose from her seat on the couch and she gathered up Orion’s bags in her magic, carrying them into another spacious room. There was a large blackboard at the very rear of the room, and a semi-circular couch was placed at the front of the room to look at the blackboard. Everypony else followed Celestia into the room and took their seats on the couch.

“Perhaps this will give us at least some kind of hint at what we can do,” Celestia said, levitating the first piece of paper out of Orions bag. She took a thumbtack from the piece of cork above the blackboard, and pinned the paper to the cork. She pinned each paper to the cork as she pulled them out, soon covering the entire top of the blackboard with papers full of Orions writing.

Luna rose from her seat on the couch and stood next to Celestia, looking over each piece of paper.

“Let’s gather what we know already,” Celestia said, taking a piece of chalk into her magic. “We know that both the Element of Harmony and the Element of Chaos were formed from the magical essences of the sun and moon respectively.”

Celestia divided the entire chalkboard into two sections, labeling one section “Element of Harmony” and one section “Element of Chaos.” She wrote as she spoke.

“Let’s start with the Element of Harmony. The artifact gathers its power directly from the raw magical energy of the sun. This magical energy is different than the magic that unicorns use daily because it takes the energy directly from the superheated, churning core rather than the radiation that hits the world through solar flares.”

Celestia paused, taking the moment of silence to draw a diagram of the sun and solar flares smacking into the world.

“So, by reading over Orion’s notes, it appears that the magic within the Element of Harmony would be confined to the artifact. There is no other outside force that can interact with the power unless...”

Celestia scanned over sections of Orions notes, and began writing again underneath the notes she had already written.

“Unless that outside force happened to have already harnessed the power of the sun,” Celestia said, looking back at her cutiemark. “Well, that explains my interaction with the Element all of those years ago.”

“But how do we locate the Element of Harmony?” Luna asked, examining Orion’s notes at the far end of the blackboard..

“It looks as though to interact with the Element of Harmony directly, you would need to unleash the power of the sun,” Celestia replied looking at a piece of Orions notes that was pinned in the middle of the board.

“Would either of you happened to be trained to use the power of the sun?” Orion asked.

Celestia and Luna turned towards Orion, and Celestia said, “No, we never received any training. Not even when we were being trained by Chrysalis.”

“Well, of course she didn’t teach you,” Orion said, raising himself from the couch. “What were Sol and Galactica thinking.”

Celestia watched as Orion paced back and forth in front of the couch, muttering to himself. Moonlight and Firemane were also watching Orion as he paced, and their heads followed his movements. Everypony was silent as Orion continued his mutterings.

“Why would you say that Chrysalis wouldn’t teach us to use the sun’s magic?” Luna finally asked.

Orion stopped, and he said, “Because the way Flutterponies harness magic is far different than how ponies harness magic. Even if she wanted to teach you, should couldn’t.”

Luna flicked her tail behind her and Orion returned to his pacing. Celestia turned back to the board, studying over everything she had written and Orion’s notes. Orions hoofsteps echoed melodically on the wooden floor, and Celestia’s head started to ache once she ground her teeth together.

“You’re going to need to find someone to train you to use the magic of the sun,” Orion said as he stopped pacing and faced Celestia.

Celestia’s breath caught in her throat, and she quickly spun around towards Orion. Luna, too, quickly turned towards Orion, but neither of were able to formulate anything to say. Orion merely stared back at Celestia, his face a mask of stoicism.

“Are there even any ponies left that could possibly teach Princess Celestia and Princess Luna how to use the magic from the sun?” Moonlight asked.

“I certainly couldn’t teach either of them,” Orion said, turning around towards Moonlight Sonata, “but I know of one pony left in Equestria that could teach Princess Celestia.”

“Wait, what about Luna?” Celestia asked, taking a few paces towards Orion. “Shouldn’t both of us learn how to wield the power of the sun?”

“That would not be necessary,” Orion said, stepping past Celestia and walking up to the blackboard. He took hold of the chalk in his magic and started writing all over the board underneath Celestia’s notes. “The Element of Harmony, aside from being the power of the sun, also accumulates the connections the wielder has with other ponies. If the bond the wielder has is particularly powerful with another pony, that other pony will be able to use the Element, too.”

“So, you’re saying that if only one of us learns how to use the Element of Harmony,” Luna said, watching as Orion continued to write, “then the other can just draw the power from the wielder?”

“Precisely,” Orion said, putting down the chalk and turning around, “and Celestia is going to be the one that needs to learn how to use it.”

“Because I have the initial bond with Element?” Celestia asked. “Who is this one pony who could train me?”

“She isn’t a pony,” Orion said, taking all of his papers off of the cork strip. “She’s a deer.”

Celestia and Luna looked at each other, Luna raising an eyebrow at her sister. Celestia turned back to Orion and asked, “I thought all of the deer liked to stay in Equedoe?”

“Generally, they do,” Orion said as he loaded all of his papers back into his saddle bags. “But this deer had the urge to travel the world beyond the Eternal Sea. She sailed here ten years ago, and has been wandering Equestria ever since.”

“And I’m to seek her out and ask for her to train me to use the sun’s magic?”

“Yes. Last I heard, she was traveling east towards the Night Guard state.”

Orion closed up his saddle bags and levitated them onto his back. He turned back to Celestia and Luna, and said, “And with that I must be off.”

“So soon?” Celestia asked. “wouldn’t you like to stay in Canterlot with us? There is plenty of room here for you to stay.”

“It would be best if the three of us don’t remain in the same place for too long,” Orion replied. “Discord knows that I am still present in Equestria, but he doesn’t know if you are even still on this side of the Eternal Sea.”

“Wait!” Luna said, galloping in front of Orion before he could reach the door. “If ‘Tia is to learn how to use the magic of the sun, what should I do?”

“I’m not sure, Luna,” Orion said, stepping around her and nodding his head. “You must decide what you are to do between yourselves.” He stopped in front of the door and turned, adding, “I am not sure when we shall see each other next, if we ever. Farewell, Celestia and Luna. Good luck to you.”

Orion opened the door to Moonlight Sonata’s house and left. The door shut behind him, and Luna sat back on her haunches and let out a sigh. Celestia walked over to the semi-circular couch and laid herself down next to Firemane, resting her head upon his back. The entire house was silent, and the sun began its descent across the sky.

Celestia felt the rise and fall of Firemane’s sides as he breathed, and she felt his tail as he caressed her back. He turned to look at her.

“Have you heard of anything from the Griffon Kingdoms?” Firemane asked.

“No,” Celestia said, lifting her head and eyeing Firemane quizzically. “Why do you ask?”

“Because the griffons would be a valuable asset to overthrowing Discord,” Firemane said. “The ponies of Equestria are too scattered to reunite and stand against him. We’re going to need to rely on outside sources.”

“What about the Night Guard?” Luna asked.

“They will soon be occupied with Discord,” Firemane said, looking towards Luna. “If what both you and Celestia have told me is true, then it’s only a matter of time until both Stalliongrad and Hoofington succumb to both Discord and Chrysalis.”

Celestia and Luna looked at each other, and Luna slowly nodded her head.

“I’ll go to the Griffon Kingdoms and see if they will be willing to help us against Discord,” Luna said.

“And I’ll go to towards the Night Guard state in search of this deer,” Celestia said, laying her head back on Firemane’s back. “I can only hope that she will be willing to train me.”

Author's Note:

And that's Chapter 2 for you! A little foundation before the story really takes off. I hope you all enjoyed it.

Credit for editing this chapter goes to Naes345. I am looking for editors, so if you are interested take a look at my latest blog post on my user page!

Next chapter is Chapter 3: Departure