• 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 6: Drackenridge Secrets

The Elements Chapter 6

Celestia and Moonlight skirted around a corner just as a blast of magical energy struck the rocky wall next to them. An ear piercing scream echoed in the canyon behind, and Celestia nearly tripped over her own hooves as she resumed galloping down the canyon away from their pursuers. She looked back and saw a Changeling come barreling around the corner.

The Changeling spread its wings and lifted itself into the air, speeding through the canyon. Celestia turned and charged her horn, releasing a bolt of magic at the Changeling and striking its wings. The Changeling spun and crashed powerfully into one of the walls in the narrow cavern. Celestia turned back around and galloped after Moonlight, shooting another glance at the corner just as two other Changelings sped around it. She gave an exasperated sigh after she caught up to Moonlight.

“We can’t keep running from these things,” Celestia panted. “Stalliongrad is still too far away, we’ll be captured before we can even reach Dragonmount Peak.”

“I’m looking for a place to hide as we speak,” Moonlight replied, keeping her eyes directly in front of her.

Another roar rose up behind them, and Celestia looked back to see three Changelings galloping towards them. She faced forward again and looked up, scanning along the walls of the canyon while keeping pace with Moonlight. Her eyes locked onto a thick crack in the side of the wall, and she charged her horn and fired three bolts of energy at the cracks. The rockwall split, and Celestia dived just as the first of the boulders started to fall.

A cry echoed behind them, and Celestia turned and saw that two of the Changelings had been trapped under the falling rocks, while the third was lying against the side of the canyon unconscious. She looked forward again and trailed behind Moonlight as they sped around another corner.

“Wait!” Moonlight shouted, coming to a halt. Celestia quickly stopped and turned, trotting after Moonlight. They stopped in front of a large cave mouth that was covered by ivy and decorated in strange runic markings. The runes stretched around the entire mouth of the cave, and they were each carved deeply into the rocks. Celestia’s wings shifted uneasily against her side.

“What do these runes mean?” Moonlight asked, stepping forward.

“I don’t know,” Celestia said just as another roar echoed through the canyon. “And we don’t have much time to find out. Let’s get in the cave!”

Celestia and Moonlight ran into the cave, quickly becoming surrounded by darkness. Moonlight charged her horn in front of her, and together they began to jump over fallen rocks or slide around corners. Their hoofsteps echoed noisily on the cave floor, but at the head of the cave they heard the Changelings gallop past the mouth. Celestia and Moonlight held their position for a moment, listening intently as Changelings ran by the opening, and then they turned and started to make their way deeper into the cave.

~~~

“You’re sure they went into the caves?” Blackheart asked, staring at the massive, gaping hole in the side of the mountain. He eyed the runes around mouth of the cave, gently levitating vines of ivy out of the way if they happened to impede his eyesight.

“Yes, My Lord,” the Changeling replied, looking down at his hooves. “I witnessed both the princess and the little unicorn dash into the caves before the rest of the Assassins could catch up to them. Shall we go in after them?”

Blackheart stepped forward, straining his eyes to peer into the dark hole. Cold air blew against his greasy, dull red mane, and he released his magical grip on the ivy vines. His ears swiveled around his head, and he merely shook his head when he heard faint whispers echoing from deep inside the mountain. He locked his wings together and turned to the Changeling next to him.

“No, I will not risk anymore Changelings today,” Blackheart said, nodding his head for the Changeling to depart. He glanced back at the cave and added, “If the princess and the unicorn are lucky, they will be given a quick death by what lurks in the depths of Drackenridge.”

~~~

Celestia and Moonlight stopped next to a pair of stalagmites, and they leaned against the rock formations, panting. A dull trickle of water echoed around them, and the cavern they had been running down was very wide and tall, with large stalactites hanging from the ceiling like enormous spears. Celestia gazed up at the stalactites, watching as water dripped from their tips onto the floor. She heard Moonlight lift herself from the rocks next to her and trot forward.

“Do you know where we are?” Moonlight asked, shining her horn to look at one particular stalactite above her.

Celestia stared up at the stalactite as well, the dull lavender hue of Moonlight’s magic reflecting off of the rock to make it seem like the ceiling was purple. She said, “I don’t know, Moonlight. I have never heard of this place before, and neither of my parents ever gave of any mention of caves lying beneath the Drackenridge Mountains.”

“Should we move further into the cave? It doesn’t seem like the Changelings are giving chase.” Moonlight turned from gazing at the ceiling to look at Celestia.

Celestia glanced back the way they had come. Moonlight’s light stopped short at the corner further down the cavern, and she rustled her wings against the side of her body. A drop of water landed on Celestia’s wing, but she continued to stare into the corner, her ears twisting to face forward. Faint screams rang through the air, and her body felt cold.

Orange and red twisted before her eyes, and dull grey specks floated in the air to create a powerful and dangerous dance of heat and ash. Rain was immediately vaporized when it touched the flames. Innocent and bloody screams echoed together, composing a haunting piece fit for only the most malevolent halls. Celestia nearly stumbled taking a step back.

“Are you alright, Your Majesty?” Moonlight asked, rushing over and supporting Celestia with one of her shoulders.

“We should not have gone to the village,” Celestia said, slowly turning to look at Moonlight. “Those ponies, their homes, the foals—you saw how those blood thirsty Changelings ran after them. There is probably not a single pony left alive in that village.”

Moonlight looked away, but she continued to lean up against Celestia and said, “We could not have known what would happen, Your Majesty. Those ponies... they... Well, what could we have done?”

Tears streamed down Celestia’s eyes as she looked back down the corridor. “We were too clumsy. We left those bodies lying out in the open. We made it obvious which direction we took. We were careless, Moonlight. We placed the safety of that village into our hooves, and we foolishly tossed it around as if we’re petty gamblers.”

Moonlight sighed, and she rested her cheek on Celestia’s shoulder. Celestia turned her head and looked at Moonlight and said, “What did we do, Moonlight?”

“I don’t know, Your Majesty,” Moonlight replied quietly.

Water continued to drip from above, bringing a chill to the air that caused Celestia to shiver against Moonlight. The light from Moonlight’s horn started to dim, encompassing the two of them in a dull light that barely extended past their own bodies. Celestia looked around at the darkness, tears still running down her cheeks as the orange and red still twisted around. She opened her mouth, but quickly shut it again when a rumble echoed through the cave, shaking the floor beneath their hooves.

A loud crack reverberated from above, and Celestia and Moonlight quickly scooted to the walls of the cave. The rumble stopped, and none of the stalactites had fallen onto the floor. Celestia heart beat heavily in her chest, and slowly she and Moonlight edged themselves away from the wall and looked down the hall deeper into the caves.

“What was that?” Moonlight asked, brightening her horn and glancing at Celestia.

Celestia charged her horn as well, and began to step in front of Moonlight and descend further into the caves. “I’m not sure, but we should move quickly and find out before another of those earthquakes happen.”

Moonlight fell in behind Celestia, and together they carefully crept through the cave along one of the walls. Their hooves gently tapped along the floor, echoing off of the walls and causing Celestia to cringe. Another series of rumbles vibrated the cavern, and each time Celestia and Moonlight hugged against the wall. When the rumbling would end, they let out a sigh when no stalactites fell from the ceiling.

After minutes more of traversing through the cave, Celestia and Moonlight came upon a massive chamber that could very well hold the size of half of Everyfree Castle. Celestia stared up at the ceiling, noting the enormous stalactites that descended, along with the thin waterfall in the center of the room that fell into a crystal clear pool. Off to Celestia’s right was a wide, carved ramp that sloped down to the bottom of the chamber.

Celestia nodded her head towards the ramp, and she and Moonlight started to make their way down it. When they reached the bottom, Celestia quickly halted and stared at the pool at the center of the chamber. Ripples rolled through the pool from the clear water, but other than the splash of water, no other sound echoed around them. Moonlight stepped ahead of Celestia, giving her a queer glance and then trotted further into the room.

Celestia’s eyes followed Moonlight as she passed her, but they returned focus to the pool. She gingerly took a few steps forward, spreading her wings and giving them a few flaps. The wind from her wings disturbed the even ripples in the water, but nothing else came from the pool besides the splashing of the waterfall. Even so, Celestia remained away, staring.

“Your Majesty!” Moonlight called. Celestia turned to see that Moonlight was standing far from the pool on the other side of the chamber. “Come take a look at this.”

Celestia eyed the pool one last time, and then broke into a trot towards Moonlight. her eyes widened when she drew close, and her trot slowed to a brisk walk. Ahead of Celestia and Moonlight was a massive stone wall with the same runic markings from the mouth of the cave. The runes were etched along the entire side of the wall, raising up by fifty meters. Celestia gawked, taking a few more steps in front of Moonlight.

“I have never seen such writing before,” Moonlight said, watching as Celestia walked closer and closer to the wall.

“I don’t think anypony as seen this writing in hundreds of years,” Celestia said. “I remember seeing these same runes on a few translation pages in my parent’s study. I’m not sure what era they are from, but I doubt they are anything recent or you or I would be able to recognize it.”

“Do you think you would be able to read it?” Moonlight asked, stepping up next to Celestia.

Celestia’s eyes scanned over the runes. “I could try, but I’m not sure how well I would be able to translate this. I only briefly looked over my father’s notes.”

Celestia’s horn shone brighter and picked over the runes. The engravings were carved deep into the stone, allowing room for layers of dust to pile into the cracks. Celestia gathered air into her magical grasp and blew it against the wall, scattering the dust everywhere. She coughed briefly, and then illuminated one particular section of the wall.

“From the darkness spawns magic,” Celestia read, “the Overlord and Master to the Order of Time and Life itself. Wheels spin, and the Sun and the Moon do turn over in the heavens above, marking from when freedom ends and suffering begins. He who understands the wheels understands the Overlord and Master.”

Moonlight stepped up next to Celestia and asked, “What does it mean?”

I’m not sure,” Celestia said, looking at the runes underneath the line she had just read. “Tambelon rose from the wheels of magic, and broke from Time and Life itself to defy the darkness.” Celestia’s eyes widened as she read. “The Overlord and Master ruled over Tambelon, and brought upon those who would not break away unending pain and shadow.”

“I recognize that name,” Moonlight said, taking a step back.

Celestia turned her gaze towards the top of the wall. The shadows within the runes grew darker, and the chamber she stood in felt cooler. Her eyes rested on one particular rune, and she took a step back with Moonlight, spreading her wings. She inhaled a deep breath.

“We have stumbled upon the tomb of Grogar the Necromancer,” Celestia said quietly.

Behind them, the waterfall stopped splashing within the pool. Celestia was the first to turn around, and her head slowly drifted up. A massive creature rose from the pool, its head as large as Celestia herself. Sharp teeth stuck out as low as to its jawline, and as it continued to climb higher into the air, Celestia saw that it had no arms or legs. When the creature stopped rising from the pool, it was at least twenty meters tall and was armored all around with grey scales.

The serpent opened its eyes and looked down and Celestia and Moonlight. “Who enters?”

Celestia glanced at Moonlight, and then she took a step forward. Her wings clenched tightly against her sides and her heart beat heavily in her chest as she said, “I am Princess Celestia, daughter of King Sol and Queen Galactica, and heir to Equestria.”

“Princess of Equestria?” the serpent said, leaning forward slightly. “I have not seen a pony in a very long time, let alone an Alicorn pony.”

Celestia looked the serpent up and down, and she noticed colorful feathers flattened against the back of its head. Her eyes widened, but she stood her ground and asked, “What are you?”

The serpent brought its head down so it was eye level with Celestia, and said, “A good question, young pony, and one you will have to find out for yourself. Tell me, what brings you beneath these mountains?”

Celestia took a step back, but the serpent followed her with its head. Its forked tongue flicked in and out of its mouth. The feathers behind its head shifted slightly as Celestia remained quiet.

“We... We were chased into a cave,” Celestia finally said, glancing at Moonlight. The serpent’s head didn’t move, and she added, “by a band of Changelings who sought to bring us harm.”

“Changelings?” the serpent asked, pulling its head back. “Never have I heard of a creature called a Changeling.”

“They are the remnants of the Flutterponies,” Celestia replied. “Twisted by magic used by an enemy.”

The serpent’s lips curled into a thin smile. “Whose enemy? Yours, or mine?”

I... I,” Celestia stuttered, raising one of her forehooves. The serpent slowly slithered the rest of its body out of the pool and began to encircle Celestia and Moonlight, who edged herself closer to Celestia away from the serpent’s sharp scales.

“Curious, though, to know of an old race becoming transformed,” the serpent mused. “Or extinct in this case. They really were beautiful with their shining, white coats and colorful wings. It is a shame they were taken from the world so soon.”

Celestia’s head followed the serpent’s as it snaked its way around her and Moonlight. “They were transformed by a draconequus who goes by the name of Discord.”

The serpent stopped and slowly turned its head towards Celestia. It said, “So some of the ancient magics still exist. I was wondering when they would start to reappear again.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow at the serpent, watching as it looked towards the rune covered wall. Its tongue flicked in and out of its mouth again, and the feathers on the back of its head fluttered slightly.

“What do you mean when you say ‘the ancient magics still exist?’ “ Moonlight asked, still hugging her body close to Celestia’s and looking up.

The serpent slowly looked down at Celestia and Moonlight again, and said, “Being you have that little knob on the top of your head called a horn, I’m sure you are aware that the essences of time and life themselves are molded and shaped by what everything here calls magic. From the beginning of Creation, magic has spurred on events through the ages and morphed the reality that is present today.

“However, there are entities that draw upon the inner workings of magic to try and disrupt these essences, imbalancing time and life.” The serpent looked directly at Celestia and said, “The moon and the sun battle for control over the essences, but they require outside sources to advance their schemes. Many are drawn to their calls, but only a few may wield the full power of their magic.

“The draconequus you mentioned is drawn to the moon’s power, but he does not seek to wield the power for his own gains. He is planning something more.” The serpent looked away from Celestia and began coiling around her and Moonlight again. Celestia’s feathers ruffled as she glanced at Moonlight.

“Why do you say that?” Celestia asked.

The serpent tightened its coil around Celestia and Moonlight, and slowly its head came to rest on its body, staying at them. Its tongue flicked inches from Celestia’s face. “The moon does as it wills, and those connected to it will feel its presence. They are guided along like a peasant is guided along by a leader, and those that defy its power will be silenced.”

Celestia looked down at her hooves, and she traced the rocks and cracks along the ground. The serpent looked on at Celestia for a few moments more, and then it uncoiled itself and slithered to the other side of the chamber. Moonlight’s eyes followed the serpent, and when it was a safe distance away, she gently pushed herself from Celestia’s side.

“Luna felt the power of the Element of Chaos...” Celestia muttered, her ears folding back against her head.

“Another question comes to mind,” the serpent said, turning to face Celestia and Moonlight. “Where is your sister?”

Celestia quickly met the serpent’s gaze, and her wings flared open. “What do you know of my sister?” she growled.

A hiss reverberated from the serpent’s throat, and it slowly began to crawl its way back across the chamber. Its eyes were dark, and its forked tongue flicked in and out of its mouth rapidly.

“We should never have given you mortals the power of the sun and the moon,” the serpent said coldly. “You may live ageless lives, but you can be slain just as easily as a unicorn or a griffon. I plan to undo the work we have done, and give this world back to the Shadow Realm where it rightfully belongs.”

“The Shadow Realm is only a myth,” Celestia said, charging her horn. Moonlight stood next to Celestia, but she took a step back when the serpent had crossed halfway across the room.

“Naive little pony, where do you think the moon’s chaotic power originates from? The moon is a massive hole in the heavens, releasing chaotic magic and increasing the entropy of time and life. The forces set in motion this present day have been caused by the magic from the Shadow Realm, and the moon attempts to lure mortals in order to share its chaotic magic and to degenerate the structure of reality.”

The serpent towered over Celestia, and slowly its head lowered until it was eye level with her. Celestia stood her ground, but her wings started to fold inward. The serpent continued, “Discord and Grogar are all just a means to an end for the moon. They carry out its plans, and in doing so, they are slowly dissolving the remaining harmonic magic left in this reality. What you know and love is slowly dying, becoming wiped from existence.”

Celestia eyes narrowed, but she dispersed the energy surrounding her horn and said, “If the moon’s power really is corrupting this reality, why do you seek to remove those that can harness the sun’s power as well?”

“Because any entity that can use the power of the sun can use the power of the moon. If you were to tap into chaotic magic, you would hear the call of the moon echoing within your mind. I cannot rely on any liabilities to remain, including this world that is fed by the two magics.”

Celestia took a step back, her wings unfolding again. “You want to destroy all forms of life that can wield the magic of the sun and the moon without giving us a chance to try and stop the Shadow Realm from spreading its influence. You mean to tell me that the thousands of years of work my parent’s have done protecting Equestria, and essentially the world, is for naught, and that their attempts to save all life is wasted?”

The serpent pulled its head back, its feathers flaring behind its head. “Your parents died trying to protect this reality from the Shadow Realm. That alone is proof that entropy is increasing, and that time and life are unraveling.”

“You forget that Luna and I still breathe,” Celestia said, scowling. “We have a chance to stop the Shadow Realm from consuming everything that is Harmony.”

The serpent’s eyes softened, but its feathers remained opened behind its head. “I am sorry, Princess Celestia, but I cannot give you that chance.”

Celestia and Moonlight barely managed to leap out of the way of the serpent’s strike. Celestia rolled and skidded to a stop, and she charged her horn, releasing bolts of magic at the serpents body. The magic bounced off of its hardened scales, causing Celestia to dodge some of her own magic attacks as they were reflected back towards her.

The serpent began to rise back up from the ground, and Celestia caught a glimpse of Moonlight as she was dodging a few of her own attacks. Celestia flinched when the serpent snapped its head towards her, and she once again dodged its head as it smacked against the the wall. The entire chamber shook from the impact, and a few of the stalactites from the ceiling snapped off and plunged into the ground.

“Moonlight!” Celestia shouted, galloping away from the serpent as it started to rise once again. “Find a way out of here!”

Moonlight hesitated, watching as Celestia dodged another attack from the serpent. The entire room shook, with even more stalactites falling from the ceiling and impaling into the ground. The serpent rose again, and it continued its attack on Celestia, completely ignoring Moonlight.

“Goodluck, Celestia,” Moonlight said quietly, and she then began galloping around the chamber away from the serpent and Celestia. Her eyes scanned over the walls, looking for anything that might be a way out.

Celestia leapt onto a large boulder, spread her wings, and took flight towards an outcropping. The serpent watched as she lifted herself into the air, and it quickly slithered over to a rock column, smashing its head and causing the column to topple directly in Celestia’s path. One of her wings caught onto the falling column, and she was brought back down to the ground before she was even half way towards the outcropping.

Dust and rubble flew up all around Celestia as she collided with the floor, and pain shot through her spine from the impact on the hard ground. She groaned, rolling away from the rubble of the rock column, and got back onto her hooves with enough time to dodge another lunge from the serpent.

The shock from the serpent’s head colliding with the ground knocked Celestia off of her hooves again, and she groaned while her wings hung limply from her side. The serpent’s head rose high above Celestia, and when she looked up she stared into its gaping mouth. She charged her horn, and when the serpent lunged she fired a beam of magic into the serpent’s mouth, watching as the yellow energy blew through its eye.

The serpent screamed, and it pulled back before it had reached Celestia. She rose to her hooves and made a dash towards the other side of the chamber. The roar from the serpent shook the walls, and stalactites from above rained down around Celestia as she crossed alongside the pool. She skirted this way and that, avoiding the falling rock formations and galloping over to Moonlight, who stood waiting near a large mouth to another cavern.

The chamber stopped shaking, and when Celestia glanced behind her she saw that the serpent was quickly closing the distance between them. She galloped as fast as she could, leaping over fallen rocks and zipping around massive rock columns. Explosions sounded behind her as the snake barrelled through the rock columns, and a dull roar started to reverberate from above while the ground shook.

The serpent made one last lunge at Celestia, but she safely dived into the cave before its jaws could clamp around her hind legs. The ground shook powerfully from the snake’s collision with the mouth of the cave, and the ceiling above Celestia and Moonlight started to crack and split. Both ponies quickly began to scurry away from the cave’s opening as rocks fell around them, and the roar of the serpent echoed off of the walls as the massive chamber began to collapse in on itself.

Celestia and Moonlight galloped down the cavern, refusing to glance behind them even after the roar of the serpent stopped and the rocks ceased to fall around them. They flew around corners and ducked low under sections of the cave that had collapsed. Eventually, Celestia tripped over a rock and came tumbling roughly over the rocky ground. Moonlight skidded to a halt in front of Celestia.

“Your Majesty!” she cried, turning around and kneeling next to Celestia. “Are you alright?”

Celestia struggled back onto her hooves, and she leaned against Moonlight when the unicorn offered her side as a form of support. One of Celestia’s wings drooped against her side. Both mares were covered in dirt with tangled manes.

“I’ll be fine, Moonlight,” Celestia said, cringing when she took a step forward. “We need to keep moving and get out of these caves.”

Celestia remained propped up against Moonlight, and the continued to slowly make the rest of their way through the tunnels. A horrid stench started to rise as they walked deeper into the cave, and soon Celestia and Moonlight came up to an iron grate blocking the exit of the cave. Moonlight grabbed hold of the screws holding the iron grate in place and pulled them out, causing the grate to fall backwards.

Moonlight helped Celestia lean herself against the cave wall, and when she looked Celestia over to make sure she wasn’t in pain, she slowly peered beyond the grate.

“I think we stumbled upon a sewer, Your Majesty,” Moonlight said, taking a few steps forward.

The walls were curved into a circular shape, and in the center of the sewer ran a thin stream of sludge that filled Moonlight and Celestia’s nostrils with a sour smell. Moonlight’s ears twitched, and she looked up towards another grate on the ceiling. Hooves clopped over the grate, and a whir of voices echoed into the sewer from above. Moonlight started to turn back to Celestia, but her eyes caught on a plaque that was printed on the side grate she and Celestia had come from.

“You’re not going to believe this, Your Majesty,” Moonlight said, glancing from the plaque to Celestia, “but we have arrived in Stalliongrad.”

Author's Note:

This took me longer than expected, but then all of these chapters are taking longer than expected. Oh well, here is chapter 6 for you all. I hope you enjoyed it.

Naes was unable to help me edit this one due to school work, so I just quadruple edited it myself. If you guys find any mistakes, by all means, point it out.

Next chapter is Chapter 7: The Griffon Kingdoms