• Published 5th Apr 2013
  • 609 Views, 164 Comments

Ever After - Mixer

The sequel to the Mixer Chronicles

  • ...

The Hunt Begins

Chapter 2: The Hunt Begins

Cadence was sitting in her room, staring out the window when she first saw it. At first is just appeared to be a storm front, a mass of dark clouds. Then she saw it, the true blackness that accompanied the surging clouds. She wondered what could cause such a total darkness, such an absence of light. But that was her life now. Maybe it was a manifestation of her mind since Shining Armor had died. So Cadence sighed and ignored the approaching storm. She began to drift off into sleep, the common way she passed time now. She was awakened by the screaming of her guards, and opened her eyes to be greeted by the sight of changelings descending from the cloud, followed by other, darker forms.

As she watched the swarm sweep over the city, she had a flashback to her wedding day. She had been imprisoned in the Canterlot caverns by Chrysalis, while above her the changeling queen impersonated her. The changelings had come close then to destroying Canterlot. Cadence watched now as below her the Crystal Empire fell to that darkness. She cried, both for the painful memory, and the sight before her.

She knew as much as anypony that she was powerless to stop this invasion. Over the past hundred years she had let the Empire fall into disorder. They had no army. The only trained fighters were in the castle, and Cadence could see that the changelings outnumbered them at least three to one. How, though? She had received a letter from Celestia saying that the rouge changelings numbered only half of her force.

Then she saw it. The majority of the dark forms were not changelings at all. They trailed shadows, and had only vague form. Shades. Cadence watched on as her guards formed up outside the castle gates. The front row leveled spears towards the oncoming darkness. The shades flicked between the sharp points, launching tendrils of darkness which latched onto the spear bearers. In seconds the front three rows were gone. In a minute the swarm was through the gates.

Despite this, she watched as the guards fought valiantly against the changelings and shades. They showed little fear, but immense ineptitude. They hadn't been trained for this. The guards put up a fight, but slowly they began to fall to the merciless onslaught. The princess pushed away from the window, and set off for the throne room.

Cadence walked through the palace, hearing the panicked screams of the ponies below as she passed a window. “Oh Shining, what can I do?" she asked. "I can’t do this without you.” She continued walking, hanging her head as she reached the throne room, and looked out from the balcony. Below, circled around the inner palace, was the last of the guards, fearlessly battling changelings and shades with their spears. Many of them were veterans in her service, and understood why it was so important to protect her and hold the line. But against the number of changelings, paired with the almost undying shades, they could not hold out long, and soon the circle broke.

Cadence sighed, and walked back into the throne room, staring at the seat she once held so proudly. She heard the sound of wind rushing and she looked to see Chrysalis and Darkstar standing on the balcony.

“Dear cousin, you could have put up more of a fight than this,” Darkstar said.

“What does it matter,” Cadence sighed, turning from them. "I've let this Empire fall into ruin. It's been a lost cause for a century."

“Aw, now what do you think Shining Armor would say about that?” Darkstar asked, spreading his wings, letting a large drop of shadow fall and move in front of him. Slowly, the dark splotch rose up, morphing into a slightly darker image of Shining Armor. Tears filled Cadence’s eyes as she saw her dead husband.

“Oh Shining!” she sobbed.

“Cadence,” the shade whispered, moving closer to her. Cadence didn’t know if it was real or not, but she didn’t care, she just clung to Shining Armor and cried.

“How touching. But do speed this up; I don’t have all day. Well, actually I do,” Darkstar said, giving a mirthless laugh. Shining Armor pushed Cadence away from him, warding her off with a hoof.

“Cadence, I’m sorry, but it will be easier if you just surrender. I don’t want to have to hurt you,” Shining Armor said.

“What did he do to you?” Cadence said through her tears.

“He brought me back, but I’m under his control. I have to do what he says, otherwise..."

"This," Darkstar interrupted. The shade fell to the ground, writhing. The image of Shining Armor began to fade away, stretching thin until he was almost the size of a sliver.

“Otherwise, it will tear his essence apart,” Darkstar explained as Shining Armor's form returned to its normal state. He bore no marks, and his face showed no signs of pain. "The best part is, it doesn't actually hurt him. I can do whatever I please with his spirit," the dark alicorn said as Shining Armor was ripped nearly in half. "And all it hurts is you." The shade became whole again.

Chrysalis just stood and watched, even her heart being stirred by her new master’s cruelty. She knew more than anypony how Cadence really felt about Shining Armor. And the princess was on the verge of collapsing from the force of her cries.

“Alright, I surrender, just please stop doing that. And please don't separate us,” Cadence pleaded.

“Its not really at the point where you can surrender anymore, but I'll accept the gesture. Very well, you two can spend all the time you want together in the dungeon,” Darkstar said. He waved a hoof and six shades appeared in the room.

“Take them away,” he ordered the pony specters. He moved over to the throne and sat down on it, letting his blackness spread over it.

“I wonder if this is how my father felt when he ruled,” Darkstar mused. He noticed Chrysalis as if for the first time.

“Chrysalis, you may do what you wish to the ponies for now. But mind you, I will have a use for them later,” he said. The changeling queen nodded, and quickly strode out of the throne room. She didn't want to be near that dark alicorn.


Meanwhile in Equestria, Twilight was taking damage control after the incident.

“So how many casualties do we have?” the purple alicorn asked the captain of the guard. He was an old stallion, and sported a well trimmed mustache, which he stroked meaningfully.

“There were quite a few with minor wounds, and a few serious injuries, but so far no deaths,” he said. The princess nodded.

“That’s good. I’ve had enough death,” Twilight said, her eyes sliding slightly unfocused. A polite cough interrupted her reverie.

“There was no major damage to the castle or the surrounding buildings,” another pony said, this one her advisor, Flawless Statistic. "Just a few chunks of mortar missing from your and Celestia's fight with Chrysalis.

“So it wasn’t that bad. No innocent ponies were hurt and no property damage,” Twilight said, giving a relieved sigh. Her mentor glided into the room.

“Twilight, I have to talk to you,” Celestia said, moving to join the princess.

“What is it Celestia?” Twilight asked.

“I must talk to you about something very important,” the white alicorn said. “In private,” she added quietly. The two of them walked away, leaving the guard captain and Stats to figure the reconstruction and injuries out. The two wandered out of the throne room, and Twilight only broke the silence when no pony was in earshot.

“What is it?” she asked, concern edging her voice.

“Do you remember Shooting Star?” Celestia asked.

“Luna and Sombra’s son?” Twilight responded, mildly confused.

“Yes. He has returned. I have felt his presence,” Celestia said gravely. Twilight stopped suddenly, the words almost like a brick wall.

“What?! But I thought you banished him to the stars?” Twilight asked, now with an edge of fear.

“Because I have a great history of banishing evil to places from which they will never return," Celestia sighed. "Twilight, he has returned, and has already taken the Crystal Empire,” Celestia said. Twilight’s eyes grew wide and her mouth hung open.

“I must make sure that his taint does not affect the rest of Equestria. You must find the new bearers of the Elements of Harmony,” Celestia said. Her old apprentice closed her mouth and gave a slight nod. She always does better when given direct orders, Celestia remarked to herself.

“I have faith in you,” she said aloud, spreading her wings and preparing to take off. "I go now to set the barriers which will protect us."

“But wait! How will I know when I have found them?” Twilight called as her old mentor took flight.

“Use your heart, and you will know,” Celestia called back, and flew off to set the magical defenses. Twilight hung her head. It seemed like an impossible task in such a short period of time. Celestia seemed to have confidence in her though.

"But how can I find them when I have given up my own element for so long?" Twilight thought to herself. She walked back to her assistant and the guard captain. Her aid noticed her torn face first.

“Princess is there something wrong?” Stats asked.

“No, nothing wrong. But I do have a new task for you,” Twilight said, hardening her resolve.

“Oh?” both of them said.

“Yes. I need you to go and fetch the Elements for me,” Twilight said to Stats.

“The Elements? The Elements of Harmony?” Stats asked. The guard stepped back quietly and returned to his duties.


“But they have been dormant for over a hundred years,” he protested.

“I know. I ordered them so, unless you've forgotten." Twilight's eyes struggled to remain in focus. She wouldn't become like Cadence. She wouldn't let their deaths affect her. "It is my duty to find the next bearers for the Elements,” she said finally.

“Very well, I shall fetch them,” Stats replied, and ran off to do so.

“Breeze!” Twilight called to the pegasus who happened to be standing off to one side of the room, talking with Flit. Mixer sat against the wall beside them, appearing to be off.

“Yes princess?” he asked, the two of them walking over.

“I wanted to ask you, how did you build that golem?” she asked.

“We put him together based on Cog’s design, with quite a few modifications and a crystal core,” Breeze said. Twilight nodded.

“Well, thank you for doing so. It was a great help in the fighting,” she said.

“You are welcome,” Breeze replied with a bow.

“Flit?” Twilight asked.

“Yes princess?” the changeling asked.

“I would like you to accompany Breeze, as you have been doing, and be a link between me and your queen,” she said.

“As you wish,” he said, bowing. Twilight dismissed the two friends. They returned to Mixer, who sat off to the side, playing the part of the unassuming metal giant.

“What was that about?” he asked Breeze as they walked back over to him, lights flickering on.

“Twilight wanted to thank us for building you,” Breeze said.

“And she told us to stick together,” Flit added. The golem stood.

"Sound advice," it said.

Twilight sat thinking to herself, now that Stats was taking care of most of the work. She thought about which Element to start with, and which ones would be the easiest. She thought about looking for the Element of Magic first, being that she was once the Element of Magic. She might have the strongest connection to it. Then she decided that she should look for the hardest to find first, giving her more time to find the Element of Magic on her own time. But if she found one, surely the others would fall in place shortly afterward. So she should find the easiest first. The more she thought about it, the harder it became to think of a good way to find the Element's bearers.

“Oh, I wish my friends were here to help,” she muttered to herself.


The day after the incident at the castle a unicorn was walking along the street, heading to a special performance. He was a white stallion with a blonde mane and deep blue eyes. He wore a black formal jacket and had a violin case on his back. In any other city he would have stuck out, but in Canterlot roaming musicians in full attire were quite common.

“Hey, here comes Treble!” another unicorn said passing him.

“You know that joke is old, right Tonic?” he said to his friend. "Or have you been living under a rock?"

“Aw, I know that, but it’s still fun messing with you,” Tonic laughed. The other unicorn shook his head.

“Okay. Ha ha. Now if you don’t mind, I do have to be somewhere,” Treble Pitch said.

“Oh? And where does mister violin player have to be today?” Tonic jibed.

“If you must know, I’m going to play for my mare friend,” he said, waving off Tonic.

“Oh, I’m sure she’s going to enjoy that,” Tonic said.

“Candy always likes my playing,” Treble said, voice only slightly defensive. His friend held up a hoof in surrender.

“Ok, I see I’ve given you enough treble,” Tonic said, bursting out laughing.

“If you don’t watch where you're going, you’ll hit a pole,” Treble said annoyed.

“What pole?” Tonic asked, before he was smacked to the ground.

“That pole,” he said and left his friend dazzed on the sidewalk. He continued on until he got to a two story cottage and opened the door.

“Happy Birthday!” he said, as a pink unicorn came over and kissed him. She smiled up at the musician.

“I missed you,” she said.

“I'm sorry. I had to stop and pick up my violin before I came here", he apologized , taking it out of the case with magic while he hugged Cotton Candy. "I hope you don't mind."

“Yay, I get a concert all to myself,” she said, clapping her hooves.

“You always have me to yourself,” he stated, and made sure his violin was in tune. He proceeded to play a few tunes for Candy, who let the music wash over her.

“I always love it when you play for me,” she sighed when he was finished.

“I always love playing for you,” he said, setting down his violin to join her on the couch.

“So, what else do you have planned for today?” she asked him.

“Oh, something I think you will like,” he said.


Back in the Crystal Empire, Darkstar was contemplating his next move. Chrysalis was trying to persuade him towards war.

“Darkstar, why don’t you just march on Canterlot now? They are weakened and would not be able to stand against you,” changeling queen said. "We outnumber them."

He chuckled, “Because, my dear servant, Celestia and my mother would both join with Twilight, and even I cannot fight all three of their combined powers,” he said. "Luna has a habit of showing up when she is least wanted. I'm afraid in this case it would be by me."

“Then what do you propose we do?” Chrysalis asked. He smiled and stood up, letting five shadows drip from his wings as he walked over towards her.

“Why, my dear Chrysalis, I’m going to use Twilight’s one weakness...” he trailed off, letting the five forms finish his statement for him. Chrysalis’s eyes went wide. Before her stood the shades of Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy. They looked just the same as when she had last seen them. However, after a sweep of Darkstar’s wing, they all took on more evil guises.

Pinkie’s mane deflated, lying flat, and her expression darkened. Rarity now wore an outfit that made her look like some kind of dark countess. Rainbow Dash wore the outfit of the Shadowbolts, an opposite to the Wonderbolts that Nightmare Moon fabricated. Fluttershy looked the same, except that she now had a more evil about her. Just in general. Applejack, now had a black hat on and a black duster on, a rope at her belt, and a dagger hanging on her right side.

Chrysalis was speechless.

“Magnificent, aren’t they?” Darkstar said. "Perfect opposites of their pure selves."

“What did you do?” Chrysalis asked breathlessly.

“I created the perfect tools for fighting Twilight,” he said. "The warped souls of her dead friends."

“What do you want us to do boss?” Rainbow Dash asked, giving a salute.

“I have no doubt that my aunt has begun looking for the next bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Learning from my mother’s mistakes, I will neutralize them before they have a chance to use them,” Darkstar said.

“What do you intend to do?” Chrysalis asked.

“I intend to have these five hunt down the new bearers, and bring them back to me, dead or alive,” he said.

“Just give me a name,” Pinkamena said.

“All in good time girls. For now, why don’t you go and gather anything you could want,” the alicorn said. Pinkamena turned and walked towards the armory. Fluttershy flew out to find some creatures.

“I think I shall go find Spike,” Rarity remarked, and then departed.

“I need a few members if y’all want a posse,” Applejack said. Darkstar fanned his wings and three more shades appeared: Big Mac, Braeburn, and an adult Apple Bloom, all dressed in black attire. The new shades all nodded towards their new master.

“Thank ya kindly,” she said and left with her posse.

“And what about you?” Darkstar asked Rainbow Dash.

“I don’t need anything, sir,” she said, holding a salute.

“Oh come now. Are you sure you don’t want me to give you Spitfire, or any of the other Wonderbolts?” he asked.

“I don’t want to work with anypony that is not directly loyal to you,” she said. Darkstar smiled.

“Ah, there it is, that old element of loyalty. Though now in a far different place,” he said laughing.

“I can’t believe it,” Chrysalis said.
“What? Can't wrap your head around the fact that I can actually succeed where so many have failed?” he asked. “I have the loss of both my parents, Discord, and yourself to learn from, not to mention the whole ordeal with New Pegisopolis,” he muttered.

“No. I didn't believe that I would see them again,” she said.

“Dear Chrysalis, I can bring back any number of ponies. In fact I just thought of a good contingency,” he said, a wicked grin crossing his face.

“What?” Chrysalis asked, her voice shaking.

“Oh, you will see,” he said. “Should I have to use it.”


“So what has the princess all in a tissy?” Breeze asked, as he, Flit, and Mixer rode the lift down to the caverns.

“She is trying to find the next Elements of Harmony,” Mixer said.

“What?” both Breeze and Flit asked.

“Celestia instructed her to find the new bearers for the Elements of Harmony, and the dilemma of finding six ponies out of all of Equestria is proving quite daunting,” Mixer said.

"How do you know what's going on?" Breeze asked.

"Having no ears is quite beneficial to one's hearing," Mixer said mysteriously. The pegasus decided not to push the subject.

“What were the Elements again?” Flit asked.

“Loyalty, Laughter, Honesty, Kindness, Generosity, and Magic,” Mixer listed.

“How does one go about finding six ponies that embody those qualities? It’s like trying to find six needles in a very large haystack,” Breeze grumbled.
“More like six needles in a needle stack.” Mixer said, to questioning looks. "You see," he explained, "every pony embodies some kind of element in some quantity, and every other element in lesser quantities. You can't simply cast about for a loyal pony, because at some point almost every pony is loyal. A better analogy would be trying to find six keys on a giant key ring. Only one key will open each element, but until the element is opened it just looks like any other key.”

“Well, how did Celestia do it?” Breeze asked.

“She is an alicorn that has been alive for over a thousand years and has the power to raise the sun. For her, that was probably as easy as picking out something to wear,” Mixer said. "Or it was just blind luck."

“Then why isn’t she helping?” Flit questioned.

“I don’t know,” Mixer said honestly.

“Then how does she expect Twilight to find them? She’s only around two hundred, and she has to worry about Chrysalis on top of that,” Breeze said.

“Perhaps she doesn’t,” Mixer said cryptically.

“Oh great, not you too,” Breeze complained.

“I can’t begin to understand her mind, but I can hint at her intentions,” Mixer said.

“So how does she expect to find the Elements?” Breeze asked.

“She doesn’t. She expects them to find us,” Mixer said.

“So when are we supposed to know when one shows up?” Flit asked.

“There is no way to tell until all six are gathered. Then the Elements power will rekindle and the new bearers will be able to use them,” Mixer said.

“So is there any way to guess who the six are?” Breeze asked.

“The six will be drawn to each other by fate, and together they will find their true destiny,” Mixer said.

“There you go again! Talking in riddles like some prophesy,” Breeze said.

“I just know that things will happen in the near future, and that they will be life changing,” Mixer said.


“Oh Spiiiiike,” Rarity called around the large cavern. She continued walking until she bumped into something hard.

“Oh, there you are,” she said. The large dragon stirred, revealing a large pile of treasures.

“You’re not so little anymore, but that’s good,” she said.

“Rarity?” a deep voice boomed.

“Yes, it’s me Spike, and I need you to do something for me,” she called up to the dragon.

“Rarity...” the voice boomed longingly.

“NO! Bad dragon!” she scolded, swiping at his descending claw with a dueling saber.

“Spike sorry,” he said sadly. His voice would have made Rarity cry as well, if she could feel emotions anymore.

“Good boy, now let us go and say hello to an old friend,” she said.


“Now listen here, our boss Darkstar wants us to find the next Element of Honesty,” Applejack said. “Now as y’all know, I was the Element of Honesty. That don’t matter now. All that matters is that we find this pony, whoever he or she is, and bring em in,” she said.


“You got it sis,” Applebloom said.

“Sure wish we had the whole family,” Braeburn lamented.

“Well, we’ve got to work with what we’ve got,” Applejack said.

“So how are we going to find this pony?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I can smell him, he’s here in the Crystal Empire, I just know it,” she said.

“Then we best get a move on,” Braeburn said.


“Come here my friends,” Fluttershy said. A few seconds later a pack of timberwolves and a manticore emerged from the undergrowth of the Everfree forest.

“Darkstar wants us to hunt down the next Element bearers, and he was nice enough to bring Angel back too,” she said, as the white rabbit stood on her shoulder. There was a series of growls and grunts and more timberwolves gathered in the clearing.

“I want you to find them and bring them to me,” she said. Growls and roar greeted her, and her animal followers stampeded off.


“Blasted Alicorn!” Pinkamena said, sharpening a sword. Sparks flew off of it, several landing in her mane. She didn't care.

“He brought us back to life. You should be grateful,” the other one said.

“Yeah, but he wants us to hunt down other ponies,” she said, pausing in her sharpening if the blade.

“So?” the other one asked.

“How can you just hunt down ponies like that?” Pinkie asked.

“Easy, with a good blade,” the other one said, checking the edge of the sword. She resumed sharpening it.

“And what about Twilight huh?” Pinkie asked.

“Shut up already! I’m in control now,” she said, looking up. She remained silent for a few seconds.

“Good, we have an understanding,” she said, and went back to sharpening the blade.

Author's Note:

Ok, I guess I'm going to make this a weekly release, since today's monday.