• Published 22nd Jan 2013
  • 41,938 Views, 2,886 Comments

The Monster in the Twilight - Georg

Twilight Sparkle’s brilliant mind was gone, burned away by her own power when she nearly destroyed Canterlot twelve years ago. Now there is a monster prowling the Everfree. And it is starting to remember what true power felt like.

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Ch. 1 - Sunburn

The Monster in the Twilight

Princess Celestia paced the quiet paths between buildings in her School for Gifted Unicorns, trying not to display the nervous tension eating at her soul. Nearly a thousand years had passed since Luna had been corrupted by Nightmare and sent to exile in the moon…

No, that was not right. Celestia had been the one to use the Elements on her own sister; she had picked them up and placed them around her own neck willingly, not knowing if their power would kill her little sister, or turn her to stone forever. It was her fault Luna had been corrupted. She had seen all the signs while Luna drifted further and further away, until it seemed as if they were on opposite sides of the planet, not simply in separate wings of the castle.

A thousand years of exile. The Prophecy was very clear, although celestial bodies did not mark time in the way of mortals. Every year at the Summer Sun Celebration she felt the fear of uncertainty. Every night when she raised the moon, she could feel the unbroken rage and hatred of the beast locked within. The gentle touch of her sister in that dark maelstrom could easily be her own imagination. Nightmare’s return would spell the doom of not only Luna and Celestia, but every living being on the planet. If she failed, all of her precious ponies would die in darkness and ice, while the rest of the world burned.

This would not be.

Her gaze returned unbidden to the tower where her last dozen or so hopes for salvation were undergoing an unusual test. The dragon’s egg had been nearly impossible to obtain, but it was critical to her plans. Imprisoned within its unnaturally thick shell was a tiny life, much like her own sister was enfolded by the wings of Nightmare. Only a powerful yet delicate touch, even stronger than her own, could open that shell, yet save the life within. A touch that could wield the Element of Magic.

A touch that could save her sister.

Magic had rules; it lived and breathed. All of the Elements would fight fiercely to be with the one they represented, but Magic ruled them all. When Celestia had raised their power against her corrupted sister, they had fought her, twisting and writhing in agony even as their power blasted forth, then withdrawing from her once the cruel deed was complete. Celestia had returned to the wreckage of the throne room in the Castle of the Two Sisters many times over the centuries to beg their forgiveness, but they showed no response to her pleas. Five inert lumps of stone now sat on a platform awaiting Luna’s return, with only the Element of Magic missing. Without Magic, that is all the rest of the Elements would ever be, and the world would die in fire and ice.

They should have been finished with the tests by now. A dozen little fillies and colts trying a task not even a Princess could accomplish, a dozen little broken hearts as they trudged out of the test knowing failure. Still, she would break a thousand times their number to save—

No! That way led to madness and death. If this last desperate attempt failed, she would be forced to fight the Nightmare with no reservations, no restrictions. No mercy. Her sister would be lost in the conflict, whether destroyed long ago or consumed in the battle, it would not matter. Celestia had commanded the unlimited power of the sun for centuries. As her last living action, she would draw the darkness into her very soul and fling herself into her beloved sun, locking the Nightmare away forever. The era of the Two Sisters would end, but the world would go on.

There would still be a Princess to raise the sun and moon. Mi Amore Cadenza was a soft thing, filled with love and compassion. She would care for all of her little ponies when their Princess of the Sun was gone.

And then…

The very fabric of the universe recoiled beneath her when an explosion of rainbow light lit the entire sky. As if it were an echo, an incandescent blast of magical power poured out from the testing tower across the entire school. For a long moment, Celestia could do nothing but stand on the path and look up at the tower in disbelief with the rain of broken glass shards around her seeming as harmless feathers. There was hope.

A second shattering wave of magic broke over her when a dragon burst from the roof of the tower, its green eyes whirling in confusion as the newborn mind behind them clawed for sentience.

It’s too much. Too fast. She’ll burn herself out!

Teleportation was out of the question with the blasts of power emerging from the tower. Celestia flung herself forward into the air, breaking through the staggering waves of power horn-first. There was no time for subtlety. There was no time. The ancient stones of the tower wall burst into the air with her magical blow, allowing Celestia to pass through the resulting hole and skid to a halt inside the testing room.

A sphere of incandescent power floated near one end of the room, the purple filly inside almost invisible against the blinding glare. Twilight Sparkle. She had been the most powerful of Celestia’s prospects, nurtured with royal care, foalsat by her own niece, given every single book and lesson available. She was hope incarnate.

One step at a time, Celestia moved hesitantly forward, ignoring the supervising teachers floating in their own bubbles of magic behind her, ignoring the pair of cacti sitting silently in the parental observation area, ignoring everything in the world except the child who would be able to save her sister. The cascading waves of magical power emerging from the little filly crested across Celestia’s chest with an intensity sufficient to be incredibly painful even to her alicorn body

The pain the child was enduring must have been excruciating, but it would be over shortly. Twilight must have nearly expended all of the energy her immature body could hold. In just a few moments, she would begin to draw on her deepest reserves, and that could be dangerous to unicorns many times her age. Celestia placed a gentle hoof on the filly’s shoulder and gave a light tug to her ongoing spell. Most adolescent unicorn Flares were delicate things, disruptable with the lightest touch, but this bubble of power was like poking a rock. A second more forceful jab gave no better result, and Celestia felt the chill touch of doubt.

The already incandescent blaze of power from the filly doubled, then doubled again while tendrils of blackened indigo power lashed out, latching onto the supervising teachers and Celestia herself in order to draw the magic needed to maintain Twilight’s uncontrolled Flare. Caught off-guard, Celestia lashed back in reflex, truncating the magical tendrils before they could drain the teachers of their magic, and teleporting them all to the safely reinforced waiting room below, even the transformed cacti.

In moments, the giant dragon filling half of the room shrank, dwindling as the filly withdrew its unnatural power to fuel her unmanageable Flare. Without a source of power, Twilight would draw her power to insignificance in moments and fall unconscious. It was dangerous, but less risky than—

A pure sledgehammer of energy smashed Celestia to the ground when the bubble of magic around Twilight burst. Half-molten stones from the tower exploded away into the distance, the roof canted sideways, and a thread of pure light lanced down from above, vaporizing the remaining floor tiles and enveloping Twilight Sparkle in a ball of solar plasma that began to grow.

She’s tapping the sun! What have I created?

A rain of molten rock continued to fall as Celestia fought the small filly for control. As an unwanted result, the incandescent solar beam wavered, splashing around the top of the tower like some cosmic fire hose and blasting huge holes in the surrounding buildings. The end result was inevitable. Twilight had the power for the moment, but Celestia had millennia of experience manipulating the heavens. Bit by painful bit, the Princess of the Sun wrested control back from Twilight, until in desperation the little filly reached for the blazing solar orb—

And pulled.

The mindless scream of agony from the little filly tore at Celestia’s heart. There was no intelligence in that cry, only the insane screech of power burning out neurons, a young and promising mind vanishing in a cascade of power not even an alicorn could control. Even though the resulting gush of hot plasma that swept down onto the city was diffused and unfocused, she could hear panicked ponies throughout the city fleeing the streets for the temporary shelter of buildings. In minutes, the sun would fall upon the city and kill every living thing it touched except Celestia. She could feel her own power growing as the sun grew nearer, but not rapidly enough to counter the similarly growing power controlled by the screaming filly.

She had to be stopped. It would be so easy for Celestia to lunge forward, to drive her horn deep into the child’s small chest and take her life as she had done to countless soldiers centuries ago. The equation was simple. One life against the life of a city. One dead child. She was almost dead already. The power she channeled burned at her flesh like parchment in a furnace, her mane flickered with fire and her tail was almost gone.

Celestia lunged forward, lowering her horn.