TiM: Best of Intentions, Worst of Results

by Twidashforever

First published

TiM #3: The cost of inactions is often higher then the cost of action, yet who pays the price? Sequel to The Truth in Meanings

Story number three of the Twilight is Magic series. See author notes in first chapter for link to read order.
It has been forty years since Rainbow and Twilight married, forty years since they started on their new lives together. A time of peace overtook the land. With all races and nations sharing in the harmony of Equestria. Yet that is just the surface. Dark forces move underneath, planing their revenge.

Shout out to ModMCdl for the epic cover art!

Pre-wedding Jitters

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Twilight woke up earlier than she expected. It was unusual for her to wake up before her wife, as she was far more of an night owl, as such she took the time to enjoy it. She loved Rainbow Dash more than she believed possible. With all the time that passed, and all the adventures the two went on, some good, others not so much. She thought that maybe, just maybe, the love they shared would start to fade. Never before was she so happy to be wrong. As far as Twilight was concerned, she could be wrong every day of her life from this point on, as long as this feeling continued.

Twilight admired the wing cocoon she wrapped herself up in each night. Rainbow’s golden wings were amazing; somehow, they kept her at just the ideal temperature, not too hot, not too cold. It was the most perfect feeling in the world. Briefly, she remembered the few days they tried to spend the night apart. Neither of them slept at all for two days. It was the third night that Rainbow broke into Canterlot Tower and snuck into her bed. Twilight rolled over and asked her what kept her for so long. Rainbow apologized profusely before Twilight told her she was only joking.

The next day Celestia chewed both their heads off for Rainbow leaving her diplomatic mission early. Twilight merely replied that if she did not want Rainbow to leave early she should have sent them both. That left Celestia speechless and caused her to refuse to talk to the pair for a whole week. True, the mission was important. Twilight’s research was important too, something that if she left would have set them back months. Then again, none of that matched the importance of going to sleep next to the mare you love. Celestia would just have to consider that in her next round of planning.

The golden wings themselves defied all attempts Twilight made to study them. From what little she could peg down they seemed to grow and shrink with Rainbow’s will. Responding to her subconscious thought, allowing them to reach a wingspan of over seventy hooves when she wanted to show off. To as little as six when she needed to fly around the house. They were truly an impressive display of raw magic. They weighed nothing, not even appearing as a blip on Twilight's most sensitive scales. Yet there was no substance that Twilight knew of that could cut them. The magic of their creation was truly that of Gods. Not just any God at that; but the one that resided in Twilight Sparkle, Gaia: The God of Life and Magic.

Gaia, now there was a bundle of trouble Twilight did not know how to answer. On one hoof, she hated Gaia, which was the equivalent of hating herself if she believed Eros. The power inside her nearly caused the end of all life as she knew it; it nearly cost her everything. Well not quite everything, there was a few things she owed to it, including the one she now held in her arms. The mare of her dreams, Rainbow Dash. That was not the only blessing Twilight owed to Gaia; due to that power, or at least in part from that power, Twilight and Rainbow have three beautiful foals. As such, Twilight counted Gaia as a positive thing, even with all the bad; the good were miracles she loved with all her heart.

The first two were in direct relation to what occurred: Dayspring Gleam and Aurora Flash. Little Dayspring was the jewel of Twilight’s eye. The purple-coat colt with the rainbow mane and square academic cap cutie mark never failed to earn the respect of anypony who heard his speeches. He succeeded at becoming headmaster of Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. Recently elected to headmaster, he was the youngest to date. Using his natural talents for organization he achieved the impossible. In three months their graduation rate increased from seventy-three percent to eighty-nine percent. He recomputed the cost/enrollment calculation and doubled attendance almost overnight. The quality of the graduates was on track to improve fifty percent the first year alone. Celestia herself has awarded him over a dozen accommodations for excellence.

Little Aurora Flash, the firecracker, the cutest filly born in a hundred years (literally, Twilight has the poll numbers to prove it). Aurora became the most drop dead gorgeous mare to shine on the cover of any magazine. She has the subtlest curves in her dark blue coat, distinctive purple, blue, orange mane, and forty-karat diamond cutie mark. She truly was Twilight’s diamond in the rough. As a filly, Twilight was always worried that she would be in serious trouble when her cuteness finally faded. She should not have even bothered worrying; Aurora was the bell of the ball. With a single bat of her eyelashes, she could swoon her way out of any situation.

She was also the most highly sought after model in all of Equestria. Not a day would go by that she did not get at least a dozen requests. Although, even with all the fame she would always put family first, her favorite pastime was modeling for the many dresses her Aunt Rarity would make for her. Ponies lucky enough to own first print pictures of her can sell them for hundreds of bits, increasing in value exponentially the older they get. The rarest picture of her, the one of her as a green and pink filly last sold for over ten million bits alone. Twilight and Rainbow have a princess’s fortune worth of pictures in their house. Not that they would ever sell any of those pictures; somethings are too precious to give up, even for all the bits in Equestria.

The only flaw Aurora admits to never being able to turn into a virtue is her cookie addiction, although Rainbow and Twilight would disagree with that statement, to them it just brought back memories of her as a little filly, and that was a virtue in its own right.

The last of Twilight’s miracles was Shimmering Night, a light purple alicorn with a rainbow mane. Her cutie mark consisted of a dragon and a griffon holding up a golden crown, and unlike anypony before her, she was born with it. She was special in every sense of the word. Celestia, Luna, and Cadance all came to verify this little filly’s birth. Never before has an alicorn been born. Each one came into their ascension through other means. Everything about this filly was special, from a pregnancy that mathematically should not have occurred. The easiest birth ever recorded (much to the chagrin of Rainbow, whose labor was ANYTHING but easy). To her record graduation speed and insane growth rate. At just twenty she was already taller than Twilight, now the only pony that could match her in size was Celestia. After Twilight had turned it down, the princesses were grooming Shimmering Night from birth to take her spot as one of the rulers of Equestria due to the uniqueness of her birth. Sadly, it was something she utterly did not care for. The only thing that held that mare’s attention was her soon to be husband: Bright Dawn.

Bright Dawn was everything Twilight loved in Rainbow, save in colt form and waiting to marry her daughter. Needless to say, he was one of the few ponies Twilight did not like. Bright Dawn was brash, arrogant, and impulsive. Yet, he somehow made Shimmering Night happy. As such, Twilight could forgive everything else. Now Rainbow, that was another story altogether. She told the young midnight blue pegasus that if he ever wanted to marry her daughter he would have to beat Rainbow in a race. After seventy-six attempts, Twilight admired his dedication. The races were not even close. He trained every day for four years straight, even becoming the second pony in this generation to do a sonic rainboom.

After that Twilight assumed Rainbow would let him win. She did not; she followed his sonic rainboom with six of her own. That event earned her a visit from Celestia for breaking the restraining order that prevented her from exceeding three sonic rainbooms in Equestria's airspace. Rainbow calmly pointed out that by the time of her fourth rainboom she was in fact, not in Equestria's airspace. When Twilight explained why it occurred, Celestia told Rainbow not to ever go easy on him. It would be another four years before Bright Dawn would win, with a little help from Shimmering Night.

When Night and Dawn came to Twilight with their plan, she balked at the idea. It was ridiculous, crazy, and a little suicidal. It took months of convincing, they only managed to get her help by saying they would do it with or without her. That would definitely result in suicide, as such; Twilight was left with no choice but to help. Bound by a pinkie promise, she could not even worn Rainbow of what was coming.

When the day of the race came, Dawn had a four-second head start, the only concession Rainbow gave the poor colt was that every hundred races he lost she would give him a handicap of one second. Twilight did the math, with an average of fifty losses a year he would be three hundred and sixty three before it would be a close race. Assuming she actually knew Rainbow’s top speed, something even Twilight was unsure of.

Half of Ponyville was out for the race. Several years earlier, the Mayor installed a huge clock that displayed the start and stop time and Rainbow’s handicap timer. Twilight reflected that she never saw the stop timer get into the ten digits. The race never lasted that long. This time would be slightly different; this time Rainbow would actually lose the race.

As the start time began, Dawn took off at full speed, creating his first sonic rainboom after one second in flight. Twilight was impressed, the colt was crazy, but not stupid, he knew what was coming. As Rainbow’s handicap timer clicked two seconds left, Night dropped their trump card.


The normal ruckus of the crowd ceased all at once, poor Rainbow froze mid-air, and spent the next ten seconds just staring at Night. Fifteen seconds after, it finally clicked on just who was responsible for causing that pregnancy.

Rainbow broke through seven of Twilight’s strongest shields trying to kill that colt. As the eighth shield failed, she let out a wing swipe that sent magic energy at the speed of light in his direction. Again, Twilight was impressed at the colt’s reflexes. Against all odds, the colt pulled up, causing the energy swipe to miss any vital spots and Dawn managed to get away with only the loss of his tail.

By then, Night flew up and blocked Rainbow from any further attempts of Dawn's life. She explained to Rainbow that it was a prank and she was not pregnant. By the time Rainbow calmed down the damage was done; Bright Dawn already won the race.

Rainbow wanted to be mad; she wanted to vent her frustration out on somepony. The problem was she has no idea who. Twilight was simply too sexy to take it out on. She always had a soft spot for her kids, and Bright Dawn would soon be joining the family. So she settled for an around the world flight instead.

Twelve hours later when she got back, Rainbow calmly sat the two down and explained that while she did lose, and would honor the agreement. They would not marry for a year. For two reasons: One; that way she could get used to the idea of it happening and when the marriage was finally here she could enjoy it. Two; as revenge for that prank.

Night and Dawn both looked at Twilight, pleading for her to talk some sense into Rainbow. She merely shook her head. Twilight’s part in this extended to only keeping Rainbow from killing Dawn. She would not try to overrule Rainbow’s decision. As such, the wedding date was set for one year from that date, otherwise known as tomorrow.


Twilight slowly ran her hoof through Rainbow’s mane; the rough feel of it sent shivers through Twilight’s body. She loved every inch of Rainbow, Twilight knew Rainbow’s body better than she knew her own, every curve, every muscle, every hair on it. The fact that neither of them seemed to age helped too. Over the years she spent hours just running her hooves through Rainbow’s coat. Every new scar Twilight would categorize and file away. Only the sexy ones would Rainbow keep and Twilight had final say on that. The only part of Rainbow that hurt to look at was the tip of her ear. A timberwolf tore it off forty years ago. Despite Twilight’s every attempt, she was unable to grow it back. It seemed some scars stay forever.

Her musings caused Rainbow to wake up. She looked at Twilight with her normal lustful glare. “Morning, sexy…”

“Morning, stank breath.”

Rainbow let out a huge yawn right into Twilight's face. Causing the alicorn to gag and try to roll over, only to discover that the wings tightened around her. She was not going anywhere.

“You know you love it.”

“Rainbow, that breath could serve as an ignition source.”

“So… I could breathe fire?”

Twilight laughed, ‘Don’t ever change Rainbow.’ She thought to herself. “I tell you what, you let me go and I will get the shower started.”

“Really?” Rainbow perked up at that one.

“Provided, you brush your teeth first.”

“Well, if you're going to twist my hoof about it.”

Twilight reach forward and kissed her wife on the lips. Rainbow soon reciprocated the motion two more times before letting Twilight leave. As she got up and made her way to the shower, Twilight looked back at the sexiest mare in Equestria lying on her bed.

“And Rainbow?”

“Yes Twi?”

“Don’t keep me waiting…”


Briefly, Rainbow lay back in bed and stared up at the ceiling, wondering for the millionth time just how she got so lucky. When she rolled over to get up, Rainbow glanced at the calendar and saw what the true cause of it was. ‘Ah, that’s Twi's game.’ The wedding was tomorrow; Twilight was trying to distract her from it as long as possible. Rainbow forced the year’s delay. She needed time to adjust to the fact the youngest of her foals was getting married. A year was far too short; she did not believe any amount of time would be appropriate for that adjustment. Yet, it was here, there was nothing more she could do about it, after all, a promise is a promise, and Rainbow Dash always keeps her promises, even if they might break her heart doing so.

They tried having more foals, Celestia knows they tried; physically they were both two healthy, normal mares. Normal being a relative term in this case. Nothing physical was stopping them. However, whatever magic cause it to happened, not once but twice, seemed spent. After years of trying, they both agreed simply to be happy with what they had. It hurt, but they had each other and three bouncing little kids to take care of. Time heals all wounds, right? Not really, that gap was still there in Rainbow’s heart.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Twilight turning on the shower, so what if it was a distraction, she would play her part and enjoy what she could get when she could get it. She would make Twilight pay for it, but in the fun way. First things first, she needed to find her toothbrush for both before and after the shower.


Shimmering Night was downstairs cooking breakfast, doing her absolute best to not pay attention to the noises coming from the upstair bathroom. Needless to say, her best simply was not good enough. Try not to think about the color pink and that is all you can think about. Try not to think about numbers and you're soon counting to a hundred. Try not to think about your mom screaming her head off in sexual bliss and…

After the seventh waffle she dropped on the floor due to a well-placed scream, Night was starting to regret her decision to come over and make them breakfast. It was the nice thing to do, and she did need to talk to Twilight about a few last minute preparations for the weddings, but hearing this was a little more than she could take. Just when she reached her breaking point, the shower stopped. She quickly cleaned up waffle seven and started on eight. Knowing them, she had only a few more minutes to get breakfast ready, more than enough time for an alicorn, now that she could concentrate that is.

Rainbow playfully chased her wife down the steps until she noticed the smell coming from the kitchen. Twilight smelled it at the same time. She turned to Rainbow with a blush on her face; there were only four ponies that could enter their home without Twilight noticing. Celestia and Luna both have royal duties in Canterlot. Dayspring was dealing with an expansion of Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. That just left Night.

“Do you think she heard us?”

“Twi, I think the entire town heard us.”

“No, I have a soundproof spell on the outside of the house. It has been there since the neighbors complained about that one time….”

With that memory back in her head, suddenly Rainbow was not that hungry anymore. She wanted to grab Twilight and take her back upstairs, ravishing the purple alicorn to an inch of her life, just as she did on that day.

Unfortunately, Twilight noticed the grin forming on Rainbow’s face and cut off that thought with an ‘are you serious’ look. Rainbow just shrugged. “Well, whatever she heard we cannot just stay up here forever. Let’s go find out.”

The two made their way into the kitchen to find Shimmering Night sitting at the table waiting for them.

“Hello honey, what brings you by today?” Rainbow asked.

“Well I am getting married tomorrow.”

“She knows that dear, how long have you been waiting for us?” Twilight replied with a slight nervousness in her voice that Rainbow immediately recognized.

“Oh, I just got here a few minutes ago.”

Twilight seemed to relax at that comment; meanwhile a quick glance in the trashcan told Rainbow all she needed to know about the lie that was. She would not call Night out on it though, if it helped Twilight relax, then she could live with the little white lie. Rainbow merely tore off a few paper towels and pretended to wipe something off, throwing the wad in the trashcan to cover up all the ruined waffles.

Breakfast passed smoothly between the three, despite her best attempts, Night could not help but give Twilight a few awkward glances. ‘I had no idea mom’s voice could get that high…’ She started talking before her thoughts went too far down that track.

“So mom, about the wedding.”

Rainbow shrugged as the two got into the girl talk. She may love these mares, but that did not mean she loved wedding planning. Rainbow would do her part for it, once Twilight had all the last minute details worked out and abbreviated exactly what Rainbow was to do for her daughter. As such, Rainbow simply started cleaning the plates and walked upstairs to make the bed.

Twilight loved planning things like this; she was always in her element when she could organize things for others. “What about it?”

“Well, I know we were going to go with a blue theme, but… I was hoping we could switch to red.”

“Red? Why?”

“It’s Dawn’s favorite color.”

“Well, this explains the breakfast at least… and you're just letting me know this now because…”

"Well, I was worried about the flower arrangement, then the seating chart. The dance music came up next, I know Rainbow wanted to pick the DJ but he was just dreadful. Then we had ‘The Pie’ incident, then the-"

“Ok, ok I get it, red huh… I should be able to make that work; of course, you have to go explain to Rarity why she has to change all the dresses.

“Thanks mom, you’re the best!”

“Oh don’t think me yet, she will not be happy with yet another last minute alteration to those dresses.”

Night shrugged before turning to leave. On the way out the door, she decided to have a little fun with her mom.

“Oh and mom, I know you and Celestia are good friends and all, but I don’t think she would appreciate you using her name like that.”

Twilight’s eyes grew the size of dinner plates. Her face turned beat red as the full implications of that comment dawned on her.

“Well, I'll see you later! Ok, bye!” With that Shimmering Night left her parents. She was on her way to her Aunt Rarity and Uncle Spike to give them the (good) news about the changes for the dresses.

Rainbow walked down stairs to find her wife frozen in the kitchen, she had to check twice to make sure Twilight was still breathing. “She told you huh? I always knew that kid had a vicious streak in her.”

Still no movement came from the alicorn.

‘Well, I only know of one way to snap her out of it.’ Grabbing her wife, Rainbow pulled her on top and locked lips with Twilight. It took a few seconds but before long Twilight was returning the favor.

“You with me, egghead?”


“So, what did the little troublemaker want?”

“Hey that’s your daughter you’re talking about.”

“Yeah I know, that’s why I said it, what did she want THIS time?”

“She wants the theme changed to red.”

“Ah, I liked it blue.”

“Me too.”

“Red huh? Rarity is going to be pissed.”

“Yep, that’s why I told Night she had to tell Rarity.”

“How long do you think we have?”

“Until Rarity comes over screaming bloody murder, I would say about a minute.”


“C'mon you cannot still be in the mood.”

“Look me in the eyes and tell me you’re not.”

“That's different, you started it, I can’t help how sexy you are, Stupid sexy Dash.”

“Stupid sexy Twilight.”

True to Twilight’s calculations, one minute later their impromptu make out session was soon interrupted by a very pissed off white mare, one who has to change an entire town’s worth of suits for a next day wedding.

“Your daughter… she wants… I cannot… what the… what are you going to do?”

Rainbow wanted to laugh. Not one of the sentences Rarity tried getting out came out correctly. Hell, not one of them was complete.

“You want to calm down there, Rarity?”

“Calm down!!! Calm down!!! I AM CALM!!!”

Spike walked through the door, standing by his wife’s side. “She is, you should have seen her after Shimmering Night left.”

“I can bet.” Rainbow whispered to Twilight.

“I know she can be a lot Rarity, but can't you just create new ones with your magic?”

Rarity just glared at Rainbow with an ‘are you serious’ look on her face.

“Rainbow Dash, darling, let me ask you a question. Do you fly at full speed when you race?”

“No.” Dash replied, unsure where this line of questioning would lead.

“Why not? Would it not guarantee you would win?”

“Of course it would, but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it… Oh.”

“There you go. I may be getting on in years but this is still the thing I love to do the most. What would be the point of continuing if I just zapped everything I thought of into existence?”

“I didn't think about that…”

“I know dear, but maybe next time you could take your thoughts and put them…” Rarity was unable to finish that sentence before Spike covered her muzzle with his hoof.

“What my wife is trying to say is, this is what she enjoys and using her magic would ruin that enjoyment for her.”

“We apologize Rarity, it's her big day though. Lets get through the next two days and then it will all be behind us. I tell you what, when Aurora gets in, I will have her spend the next day at your shop with you. How does that sound?”

Rarity’s mood did a sudden one eighty, “Well Twilight, if it's not too much trouble of course I would love to have that mare over. Oh, look at the time. I better get started on those changes. C'mon Spike, lets go.”

Spike just grunted and left with his wife. He's seen Twilight at work too many times to not know Rarity just got played. Twilight just sat back and watched the huge pony go, Spike grew massive over the years. His pony form was twice that of Big Mac's when he was in his prime. His dragon form was no longer allowed in the city limits.

Rainbow smirked at her wife. “Masterfully played Twi, good thing she did not know Aurora wanted to spend the day with her anyway.”

“Hey, I never said she didn’t. C'mon we got some work to do.”

“Ah, what now?”

“Now we have to paint the town red.”

Black Night

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Contrary to Twilight’s earlier statement, they were not painting the town red, or if they were, Twilight had a very different definition of it then Rainbow did. Rainbow decided she would add ‘lookup meaning to paint the town red’ to Twilight’s to do list. Spending several hours decorating the gazebo with red clothes, red streamers, and red blankets was not her idea of a fun time. Rainbow’s idea of fun involved her and Twilight doing anything that did not involve actual work, depending on your definition of course.

“Are we done yet, Twi?”

“No Rainbow, not yet.”

‘Hmm, only the thirteenth time she asked that question, a new personal best. She must be getting tired.’ Twilight thought, as she took to counting all the different questions Rainbow would repeatedly ask, despite the answers never changing. So far, in the last eight hours she had counted thirteen ‘are we done yet', fifteen ‘can we call it here’, twenty ‘How much longer, I’m bored', but only six ‘You want to take a ‘break'. (With the accompanying wink) Normally Rainbow would be a bit more frisky than that but it seemed their ‘earlier’ events had taken it out of the mare. Although, if Twilight was being honest with herself, only the fact it was Night’s wedding actually caused her to decline. This event was too important to get off schedule.

“I think that’s it.”


“Oh, no sorry, still one more item on the checklist.”

“What could that possibly be? We did everything already.”

“Double check the checklist.”

“SON OF A….”



Twilight sighed, she loved that mare, but Rainbow’s brazen streak was something that just would not go away. She grew to appreciate it; after all, it was part of what made Rainbow, Rainbow. However, that did not mean she ALWAYS loved it. At times like this, it was more annoying than cute.

“If you help this will go faster.”

“Yeah, ok.”

“Let’s see, Gazebo.”






On and on it went, until Twilight began to notice that Rainbow’s answers were coming a little too quickly. It was slight, but she seemed to be anticipating what Twilight would say. A quick glance up told Twilight that Rainbow was off in her own world. Twilight decided to test this theory.



“Large take-home stuffed Celestia dolls.”


“Fifty hoof tall Luna statue.”


“Rainbow mare not paying attention.”


“Upset wife.”


“Rainbow mare not having sex with me again this week.”

“Che… wait what?”

“Rainbow! You weren't paying attention.”

“I was too!”

“Really, where are the alligators then?”

“Oh, I thought you said ali-gation.”

“Nice try.”

Rainbow landed right in front of Twilight, she knew that Twilight just busted her and trying to lie would not win her any favors right now. “Look, I'm sorry alright. However, I'm beat, your beat, and we're done here. Can we just go home?” she put on her best puppy dog face.

‘I never should have done that to her so much, can't fault that she learned from the best.’ Twilight thought, her heart broke looking at her wife with those pleading eyes and cute pouting face. “Ok, Rainbow. I guess you're right. Let’s go home.”

Rainbow flew up for joy, before quickly remembering that she had to play tired. Stopping mid-flight, she played it off by landing next to her wife and wrapping a wing around Twilight. Twilight responded by kissing her on the cheek. As the two walked home together, they stopped and took notice of the sunset on the horizon.

“It truly is a beautiful sight.”

“Yeah, it is.”

Twilight took note that Rainbow had been staring at her when she said that. However, she did not mention it. Somehow, it just made the whole experience all the more memorable.


Shimmering Night could not believe the day was almost here. She and Bright Dawn had waited nine years for this moment. She wanted to curse her mother; Rainbow had prevented them from getting married all those years ago. Citing some law she herself had made which stated that anypony named Shimmering Night could not marry without both parents approval. It was ridiculous to say the least. Why Twilight and Celestia both went along with it she could only guess. It was not until yesterday that Twilight had finally told her the truth. Rainbow made it up.

It took her several hours to calm down, then a few more to plan her revenge. She felt somewhat bad for including her Aunt Rarity and Twilight in on it. However, they had both known the truth so in her opinion it was justified. She ‘decided’ last minute to change everything from blue to red. Watching them spend the day fixing everything was wonderful. In addition, her ‘all natural’ (AKA no magic) wedding prevented Twilight from doing it all in a snap. They had to hoof change each and every sheet, towel, wrap, and plate from a blue one to a red one. She had told Rarity that the restriction did not include her and felt a little guilty when she found out Rarity had changed all the suits and dresses by hoof anyway. However, she could get over it; As Rainbow taught her, even the best pranks sometimes had collateral damage.

Shimmering Night would not let those memories get in the way of tomorrow; she was finally getting married! What’s more, it was to a stallion of her choice. Ever since she could remember, others made her choices. This, this was her choice, she loved Bright Dawn and he loved her. So much so, it had nearly cost him his life for the privilege of marrying her. They both knew it was a risk, however, when she approached him with the idea of pranking Rainbow in that last race, he said yes in the drop of a hat. True, he was fast becoming the second best flyer in all Equestria but that was the problem. He could only ever hope to be second best.

Mom, Rainbow, was the best. She would always be the best. Her wings gave her an advantage of flight by will. Not even Twilight had figured that out yet. If Rainbow willed herself to move faster, she would be faster. With the willpower her mom had, Night did not believe she actually had a cap on her speed. There was no telling just how fast Rainbow could actually fly if properly motivated. Bright Dawn never stood a chance.

That was an issue they had put to bed last year, and tomorrow, she would put him to bed. The two never had a chance to do so before. Twilight had cast a special spell on him. He never knew, in fact, Night believed that only four ponies actually had the ability to detect that spell. What it did was a mystery, but she knew her moms and suspected it was there to ensure nothing funny happened before marriage. Most likely placed on him at the insistence of Rainbow.

Whatever it was, tomorrow it would not matter. They would be married and could do whatever they wanted with each other. After all this time she wanted to do a lot too. Of course, that was an issue for tomorrow; first challenge was getting there. Something sleep would normally help with, tonight however, sleep seemed to be in short supply for Shimmering Night. As the clock stubbornly blinked two AM and she was still awake.

As Shimmering Night paced around the room for the seventh time that night, she paused to enjoy the fresh breeze coming from the open window. She was hoping that Bright Dawn would soon come and sweep her off her hooves, ravishing her in the bed. She knew he would not, after all this time he would do nothing that would risk their marriage. Night supposed that in a few hours a different bright dawn would in fact come into her room. Not the one she wanted, but for tonight, the one she would have to settle for.

Night paused to admire Luna’s moon. The warm glow seemed to relax every muscle she had. Until she saw something that caused the exact opposite effect on her.

“Shadows, covering up the moon?” Night said to nopony in particular.

The attack began seconds later, Night was unable to tell what was attacking Ponyville, but the explosions soon echoed through the town.


She flew down from the windows, seeking to help as many ponies as she could. While Shimmering Night could not claim to be the combat expert her cousin Radiant Star was. There was one unwritten rule in Equestria everypony understood without having to be taught. For most, it came as natural as breathing.


She easily blasted the first of the creatures that tried to attack her. It was some sort of shadow being, half corporal, half something else. Whatever it was, she could only see it when it was attacking. That bothered her; this would be a fight of reflexes, not power. She would have to be on her hooves for this.

A scream from down the street soon distracted her. She took off in flight, several more of the shadow creatures attempted to intercept her along the way. Several more learned the unwritten rule of Equestria, or they would have, if she left them alive. When she arrived at the scene, the sight shocked her. A group of shadow creatures had two mares surrounded; what’s more, she knew those mares. It was Fluttershy and Ataxia.

For all intents and purposes, Ataxia was Shimmering Night's second big sister. The unicorn mare with a purple coat, dark blue mane and the oddest cutie mark. It was three question marks which never seemed to be in the same spots each time you looked at them. They defied all logic, nopony ever actually saw them move, yet everypony agrees they seemed to always change. Night did not really care about it; it was simply yet another mystery of Ponyville. Which was the title of a book Night was writing, one that was currently on page three thousand with no end in sight.

The fact Ataxia had a different mother and father was irrelevant to Night. Ataxia had always been there for her, and Night had reciprocated. She was as much a part of Night’s family as Aurora, Day, or even her moms. With access to unique and unexplained magic, that mare had a wild streak to her. One that only Fluttershy seemed to be able to calm

Ataxia and Fluttershy had stuck together for years now. Ever since Applejack passed away, they had needed one another. Fluttershy and Applejack had been best friends for years. While their relationship was strictly platonic, they seemed to draw strength from each other. It had been hard on Fluttershy when Applejack passed on.

For the past decade, Ataxia had been the town’s troublemaker. Everypony had tried to rain that mare in. She seemed to go around just making everyone’s day miserable. With her magic, she proved to be very efficient at it. Her mother, Rarity, would spend days apologizing for her behavior. However, Ataxia’s antics soon grew beyond her ability to fix. Twilight would have to step in to undo the damage. It was a taxing task for the alicorn. One she was unable to do every day due to the demands of being a princess.

On one such day, Ataxia was at her worst. She started the day by floating houses around so she could play a game of air pong, whatever that was. When she got close to Sweet Apple Acres, Fluttershy had come out and demanded she stop. To everyone's surprise, Ataxia listened. Not only that, she put back all the houses. Something normally Twilight would have to do. The story goes the two went into Sweet Apple Acres and talked for a whole day. When they finally came out, they were inseparable. Nopony knows what they talked about, or why Ataxia would become so enamored with the yellow pegasus, but no one was dumb enough to start questioning it. For Ponyville, it was a gift from Celestia herself. Fluttershy had someone who could stay by her side. Ataxia had finally mellowed out a little.

Needless to say, when Night arrived on the scene and saw Fluttershy lying on the ground, bleeding from a cut across her back and Ataxia trying desperately to defend her, Night’s mood quickly grew from concerned to pissed.

Protecting the two in a force bubble, she got to work clearing the crowd. They were slippery little fuckers, vanishing at the drop of a hat and reappearing when her guard was dropped. However, Night was quick, quicker than they were. She artfully dodged a swipe at her flank while blasting two more with her horn. It took a few minutes but the fight was never truly in doubt. She was an alicorn. She would make all of them learn the unwritten rule of Equestria, one way or another.

“Thanks Night. Can you look at Fluttershy? She has a nasty cut.”


Night dropped the shield and began scanning Fluttershy’s wound. It was largely superficial; however, the bleeding was an issue. It seemed to nick an artery.

“She should be fine; however, I need to close this wound so she won’t bleed out."

“I don’t want to be a bother. I'm sure others need your help more.”

“Nonsense Flutter’s, you need help now. Night can't help anypony else if she's worried about you.”

“Oh, ok…”

“Now hold still, you can’t move while I'm doing this.”

“I got your back.”

Ataxia turned and stood guard while her friend worked on Fluttershy, the attack had caught them both off guard and the damn things hit Fluttershy first. She had not been prepared then, NOW she was.

“What are you two doing out here anyway?”

“Flutter’s heard the explosions and wanted to see if she could help. I wouldn't let her come out here alone.”

Night just nodded. Fluttershy was one of the heroes of Equestria, even with her advanced age she would never just sit by if some ponies life were in stake.

“Hey Night, how much longer do you need?”

“Few more minutes, why?”

“Oh, no reason. Take your time.”

Contrary to that statement, there was a reason, a WHOLE lot of reasons were coming down the street right at them. Around fifty of the shadow creatures were making their way towards them. Ataxia only caught sight of them in odd glances.

Night really did need to concentrate for this, as such; she did her best to ignore the noises that soon came up. Some sounds were a little more difficult than other to ignore, sounds of buildings falling down, bugs going squish, train horns, and something that sounded like a clown squeak really got in her way, soon though, she was finished.

She looked around at all the devastation Ataxia caused. From the looks of things, she had taken her training with Pinkie Pie to a completely new level. The street was covered in the weirdest objects. Including parts of the nearby buildings.

“Wow Ataxia, you really cut loose didn’t you?”

Ataxia turned and smiled at her friend, “Thanks, are you done… LOOK OUT!”

A shadow creature had made its way behind Ataxia, it reached out with a swipe of its claw to eviscerate the unsuspecting alicorn.

A fast blur slammed down into it, hitting the ground with enough force to leave a crater in its wake. Steam came pouring out of the crater, an indication of the immense speed the objected had been flying at. The sonic rainboom hit next. The object that arrived had created it in the sky. The rainboom left a colorful expanding ring from its creation point. If any ponies had still been asleep, they would all be awake now, as the force of the shockwave rattled every hoof-made building in Ponyville.

Night looked down in the crater, new hope building in her chest.


“Not quite.”


She jump into the crater, wrapping her hooves around the pony she so loved and dragging him into a kiss. Fluttershy just watched from the top of the crater with a smile on her lips. Ataxia stood guard, not wanting to let another creature get through.

As the kiss ended, Night looked at Dawn with an upset glare. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought I was coming to your rescue? Not that you need rescuing of course.”

“Of course, I'm glad you are here.”

“Me too, although, I do have to ask, why aren’t the sirens going off?”

Night facehoofed, she had not even considered that. Ponyville had the best response system in all of Equestria. Designed and implemented by her mom, Princess Twilight Sparkle. They all knew the system worked, Twilight ran weekly drills on it. It was located in the safest place in all Ponyville, her parent’s basement. If it was not going off… Had something happened to her parents?

“I don’t know Dawn but I need to find out, do me a favor and take Fluttershy and Ataxia to one of the bunkers. I need to find my parents to end this.”


“No buts… I can't worry about you guys and them and I only trust you to take care of my friends. Do this for me, please.”

Bright Dawn hated the look she was giving him. He was defenseless against it, sighing, he gave her one last warning. “Ok, but pinkie promise me you will be ok if I do this for you.”

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye. Besides, it’s not me that will regret this attack; I'll make sure of that.”

She stood up and jumped out of the crater. Surrounding herself with a magic field she turned to Ataxia, “You know what to do.”

Ataxia just nodded. When they were younger, the two had perfected this move. She tapped into the gift she had inherited from Spike, her father, and engulfed the shield in fire. Night nodded her thanks and flew down the street at top speed, straight for her parents’ house. Dawn made his way out of the crater and looked at the others. “C'mon let’s get to the shelter.” Fluttershy just nodded, her and Ataxia followed the pegasus down the street.

Shimmering Night arrived at her parent’s house in due haste, several of the creatures had tried to cut her off; the fire shield took care of everything in her way. The sight of the house shocked her. There was not a thing wrong with it, she had expected it to be destroyed since the warning signal had not been given. All the fires, explosions, and destruction going on in Ponyville and this house was completely untouched. Well not completely; it was currently surrounded by shadow creatures that were trying to gain access to it. Relief flooded over her to see that they had not done anything to her parents.

She thought to herself. ‘Fat chance of that, you guys are much too weak to break mom’s spells.’

“Hey! I don't think they are expecting you! Breaking and entering is illegal you know!”

That got their attention; an entire swarm of shadow creatures stopped their attack and turned to her. Glaring claws and teeth at the alicorn that dared interrupt their mission.

Night lowered the fire shield and raised her head. These creatures had attacked her home, endangered her friends, tried going after her parents, all of this on the day before her wedding. She was going to enjoy getting her revenge. “Schools in session boys, today’s lesson: Don’t buck with Ponyville!”


Twilight awoke with a start; somepony had broken the seal on the front door. This time it was not deactivated, rather broken open with raw magic force. There were only a few ponies capable of such a feat; the good ones knew how to deactivate it. That meant trouble with a capital T.

“Rainbow, wake up!”

“Five more minutes…”

“No! Get up!”

Rainbow opened her eyes, wiping the sleep from the corners. “What’s up Twi, you in the mood or something?”

Twilight hit her in the shoulder, “Why is it always ‘that’ with you?”

Rainbow playfully rubbed her shoulder, acting as if she was hurt. Twilight did not buy it for one bit. “Hey, if you were married to you, you'd feel the same way.”

Twilight blushed at that before they both turned to the sound of hooves running up the stairs. Suddenly adrenalin solved Rainbow sleep problem for her. She jumped up on the bed, ready to defend her wife from whatever was coming after them.

To her surprise, Night burst through the door. “Are you two alright?”

Rainbow visibly relaxed, “Yeah, why wouldn’t we be?”

Night just stared at them, “You don’t know? Are you kidding me?”

Twilight spoke next, intrigued at that comment. “Know what? What’s going on?”

Night just looked at her, disbelief crossing her face. She calmed herself and walked over to the curtain, as she pulled it back Night told them. “Oh, I don’t know, how about that all of Ponyville is under attack.”

Rainbow’s jaw dropped as she took in the devastation of the town from the window. “How'd we sleep through that?”

Twilight facehoofed. “The sound-proof spell!”

Rubbing her head to try and sooth the headache she now had, Night sighed inwardly. ‘Only my parents…’

“Twi, what’s the plan?”

“Depends, what's attacking?”

The sudden change in mood seemed to affect everypony in the room. This was her parents at their best, this she could deal with. The other stuff, not so much. “They are some kind of shadow creatures. They seem to be able to turn insubstantial at will.”

Twilight rubbed her hoof against her chin, “Shadow creatures huh? Ahh I know, Night go to the basement and trigger code 17-x.” Night nodded and took off down to the basement, grateful to have something worth doing.

“What about us, Twi?”

“I will need you to protect me, the code will work but based on the damages outside there will be some blind spots.”


Twilight shattered the bedroom window and the two flew out. For this to work, Twilight needed to be somewhere higher up. They flew up to the Ponyville clock tower. Several times a shadow creature would try to intercept. They never got within a hundred yards of Twilight. This was Rainbow’s element; she would die before a single one of them got within ten hooves of Twilight. Not that they would be capable of such a feet, to a mare like Rainbow, these creatures were nothing.

“What’s the plan?”

“Shh. I need to concentrate.”

When they had arrived at the tower, Rainbow noticed that they had attracted quite a bit of attention. A little more than she felt comfortable with. Not that she couldn’t take them all on, however, doing that and protecting Twilight would be a lot harder. Suddenly the sirens started going off, Alerting everypony to the nature of what they were facing and the appropriate response to it.

Over the years, the disaster preparation system had evolved. Going from a simple system of early warning to a system designed to counter some threats, including but not limited to: Creatures that preferred times when the sun was not out. As such, code 17-x was designed to deny them those times. Miniature spells placed around Ponyville were all activated at once. Flooding the area they covered in captured sunlight.

The effect was instantaneous; multiple groups of the shadow creatures were completely wiped out. Born and bred from the shadows themselves, sunlight was an anathema to them. The ones caught in it were utterly annihilated, including those heading for the top of the clock tower.

However, Twilight had been correct in her assumptions. There was too much damage to the system. Rainbow doubted that the system itself had been targeted; most likely, it had been collateral damage. There were still large concentrations of the enemy left. She turned back to her wife. “Whatever you’re doing Twi, hurry it up.”

Twilight reached out with her magic. Her target was far, very far away. However, she had done this before, well not exactly this; she had reached out to it before. Last time had been to move the object. This time she merely needed a piece. The smallest fraction of it. The spell was hard work, she had to grab a piece small enough to not hurt anything, but large enough to do the job. Eventually she felt satisfied with what she had and started it on its way back.

“Got it.”

“Got what?”

“You still don’t trust me?” Twilight gave Rainbow her best pouty face.

Rainbow walked up and kissed her wife on the forehead. “With my life, now answer the question.”

“Oh, I don’t think words will be necessary.”

A miniature sun had arrived over Ponyville, one strong enough to snuff out the shadows. Yet not so strong as to negatively affect its inhabitants. Several shadow creatures tried to hide, to avoid the sunlight’s touch. At a simple command from Twilight, the miniature sun split apart and begin chasing them down. Every single shadow in the town was erased.

Rainbow was impressed. “When did you learn that?”

“It wasn’t easy, but when you went on your last around the world flight I had a little extra time. It’s amazing what I can do without you distracting me.”

Rainbow looked hurt. “So, I'm just a distraction to you?”

“My very sexy distraction.” Twilight pushed Rainbow on her back and kissed her softly on the lips.

“By the way, Rainbow.”


“It’s the same for me, being married to you I mean.”

Rainbow’s eyes got big as she recalled the conversation they had when Twilight woke her up. “Is that so?”

“I just hide it better.”


The Crystal Empire

Radiant Star was getting pissed; He had been in constant combat with these creatures for an hour now, whatever they were. While it was easy enough to knock them down, for everyone he killed two more would take its place. Therefore, he took it as an endurance workout. The stallion was magically wielding six halberds at once. Each one taking on three separate enemies’. He could have done more; however, the room would not allow for it, he could not afford the distraction of his own weapons running into each other to affect his concentration. He had his mother to protect after all.

“Mom, get to shelter.”

“Not without you.”

He was starting to wonder why he kept asking. Cadance would never leave without him. ‘Not after what happened to dad…’ “Fine, but watch your flank.”

“Don’t worry about me son, they will find me a little more than they can handle.” As if in demonstration, she lowered her horn and annihilated a new group of enemies that just showed up.

He had to admit, the power of an alicorn never ceased to impress. It was one less worry on his mind, Cadance could handle herself, it was simply his job to ensure she did not have to.

Before he knew it, the battle was over. The last of the shadow creatures fell to his blades. No new ones rushed forward eagerly awaiting a taste of his blades.

“Is that it?”

Princess Cadance reached out with her magic, touching into the minds of the many ponies around the Empire, the crystal guards were well trained, they had responded in force with speed to the threat. There were very few civilian casualties. “I think that's it son, good job.”

“A good job would have been preventing it from happening in the first place.”

“Radiant, you can't stop every disaster. We've never encountered these creatures before. There's no way you could have known they were coming.”

He hated her logic, it is hard to place blame on yourself with someone like ‘that’ around, someone who was always right. Fortunately, only his mom and aunt fell into that category, Cadance and Twilight were always right.

Cadance walked over and hugged her son, the white unicorn stallion with the red mane leaned into her hug. He was an impressive ruler; ever since Shining Armor passed, he had taken up his father responsibilities with a drive she had never seen in him before. He had some big horseshoes to fill, Shining gave his life for his kingdom and family, and whatever it took, he was determined to do better. His blade work was by far the most impressive she had seen, but given his cutie mark of two swords clashing, that did not surprise her.

The two were soon interrupted by the palace guards. ‘Better late than never’ Radiant thought to himself. He would have to up the readiness drills around here. It did not matter to him that this was the first attack in ten years; sloppiness would not stand under his watch.

“Prince, princess. The invaders have been driven off.”

“We know that, is there anything else?”

“Your majesty’s, I regret to inform you, the Crystal Heart was taken during the fight.

Radiant’s eyes grew as large as dinner plates, he suddenly found himself at a loss for words. All of this had been a distraction; they got what they wanted after all.

“Thank you sir, we'll need to discuss this in private.” Cadance replied, sensing her son would be too lost in thought to process this news.

“Your majesty.” The guard bowed and left, relieved that he was not blamed for the loss of the empires most treasured possession. Well third most treasured anyway.

After a very heated debate, Radiant and Cadance found they both agreed on two facts, Twilight needed to know, and the heart needed to be found. What they disagreed on was the timing.

“We should send the letter now.”

“For the last time, no.”

“Mother, this is a little more important than some silly wedding.”

Cadance took offense to that, she stood to her full height and looked down on her son. “Listen to me Radiant Star, This is your cousin’s wedding. It's bad enough we couldn't make it. I will not see it ruined. I will inform Twilight of what has occurred here the very next day, but for now, I will NOT do anything to interfere with the love Shimmering Night and Bright Dawn have.”

Radiant Star shrunk down, too late did he realize the mistake of what he said but just like everything else, once said there was no taking it back. However, he did not believe this line of action to be wise. “Are you sure that’s the safe bet?”

Cadance looked down at her son, her demeanor quickly changed from stern to gentle; she reached down and rubbed his muzzle with hers. “Trust me son, always bet on love.”



“My lord, we have great news to report.”

“Do you?”

“Yes my lord, we have acquired the Occulous.”

“That is good news, provided you empowered the crystal as well.”

He looked down at the Dark Stone in his claw; no magic energy had been obtained to empower it. “My lord, I'm afraid we were unable to acquir-” A strong magical grip clasped around his throat.

“Idiot! Without that power the master’s plan will never succeed!”

“My loorrdd-” He tried to speak.

“The next words out of your mouth better please me.”

He dropped the creature; it collapsed to its knees gagging for breath. “My lord, the ones you sent us out for, they were too powerful. We could not hope to take their power.”

“All that sounds like excuses to me.”

“My lord, there is another, another pony who has the required power. One whose power would be easier to get.”

“Is there? Tell me more about this one, if I like what you say I will spare your miserable existence.”

“I live to serve, my lord.”

For Those we Love

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Twilight and Rainbow flew down from the clock tower as Celestia’s sun was rising in the distance. As much as Rainbow insisted that they had time, most of Ponyville was still on fire. The safety measures would have protected the ponies in the town, but not the town itself. The first priority had to be insuring that the ponies were safe. The town could come after. Now that the threat had been neutralized they could deal with the fires. For that, they needed water and lots of it.

“Rainbow, I'll go sound the all clear. Can you give us a rainstorm?”

“No problem, how big do you want it?”

“Heavy downpour, about thirty minutes will work fine.”

“Got it, back in five.”

The cyan mare with the golden wings was off. At her speed, five minutes was a very conservative estimate. Twilight knew from several test runs Rainbow could easily fly to Cloudsdale and back in ten seconds, and that was if she was not trying. She never told Rainbow this but she hated when they were apart. Twilight was too afraid if Rainbow ever actually knew, she would never leave her side again. That could get embarrassing, and quickly.

The emptiness quickly returned to Twilight. She hated this feeling, the feeling of being away from Rainbow. There were times when it could not be avoided, such as now. However, it did not change the fact that without Rainbow by her side she felt it. Almost as if a piece of her was suddenly not there. It hurt more than she cared to say.

Those were thoughts she could not afford right now; she was a Princess of Equestria, not a little filly missing her friend. Twilight focused on the task at hand. She had to get to her basement and sound the all clear. Let the ponies know that the threat had been eliminated. She flew faster, gaining a little more speed in order to get the signal out.

Arriving at her house she quickly regretted blowing a hole in the side of the bedroom. Sure, it was expedient, but would the door have really cost them that much more time? Her actions reeked of Rainbow’s influence. Speaking of doors, she finally noticed just how her daughter had set off the alarm spell. The front door was shattered inwards. Judging by the destruction outside, it looked as if Night had accounted for herself well. Even if she did get a little overzealous. Twilight smiled as she realized that she was not the only mare in the family that Rainbow was influencing. She made a mental note to tell Rainbow about how well Night did, such stories always did make her wife proud.

Twilight made her way down to the basement, it was a simple process to sound the all-clear signal, but she quickly decided not to do it just yet. With half the town burning down it would be more dangerous to bring them up now then to wait for the rain to put out the fire.

Twilight received a much-unexpected surprise as she arrived at the basement, Rainbow was already down there waiting on her.

“Finished already?”

“What can I say, I had some motivation.”

“What’s that?”

“I had something worth getting back to.”

Twilight knew where this was going, however, they did have a half hour to kill before they could do anything else, so she gave in. “Really, what would that be?”

“Oh, a sexy little egghead,”

“Is that so, where might you be hiding her?”

“Funny Twi.”

Rainbow grabbed Twilight around the waist and dipped her into a long draw out kiss. When they finally broke apart, Twilight was panting for breath. “Too bad we only have thirty minutes.”

“I know right.”


An hour later Twilight was addressing the town ponies on top of the hill overlooking Ponyville. She gave them a complete rundown of events as she knew them, asking others to come forth with their information to fill in the gaps of knowledge she did not have. Ponyville had long since grown accustomed to such disasters. It was standard procedures to have a town debrief afterwards. Although, normally they would take place in the Town Hall, for obvious reasons that was not an option right now. As such, it was being done on top of the hill, the backdrop of the ruined town served as an explanation point.

Nopony interrupted the speech; they had all been through this sort of thing before. It was standard procedure to let Twilight give the rundown and then ask questions later. The few times somepony had broken this rule, Twilight removed their mouths for them. Given, at the time she was anything but happy, the whole incident involved the new CMC, a dragon, and a slice of cake. Still, it got the message across.

Rainbow could not help but smirk as Twilight completed the briefing by saying the rain took an hour to put out the fires. While some fires did take an hour to be extinguished, just not the ones burning down the town.

“So, any questions?” Twilight asked.

Rarity spoke up first, “What were those things?”

“From the looks of them they were Shadowbeings. Anything else?”

“Ah Twi, I think she wants you to explain what they are, not just what they're called.”

Twilight glanced from Rainbow to Rarity; the look on Rarity’s face was enough to tell her Rainbow was right. “Oh, sorry.”

“Shadowbeings are servants of old, they spend their whole lives living out of the sun's touch as it is an anathema to them. Light will hurt them but sunlight will kill one, well sunlight and powerful magic. As such they tend to prey upon weaker creatures at night.”

“Why were they here?”

“That's a good question, as of now I cannot answer that, normally Shadowbeings are solitary creatures, only a few have ever been seen in Equestria or anywhere else for that matter. To see this many, all at once… it’s unheard of.”

“Wait Twi, we have seen this many before. Don’t you remember?

Twilight turned to Rainbow with a puzzled look in her eye.

“You don’t remember, Yes, Rainbow’s time to shine!”

“Just get on with it, captain ego!”

“Alright, can’t blame a girl for trying, anyway we saw this many in Tartarus, some forty years ago.”

A light bulb went off in Twilight’s head. “Of course! I knew they seemed familiar.”

Upon the mentions of Tartarus the townsfolk started to worry, whispers of devils, monsters, and the like started to spread through the crowd. Twilight cut off everyone with a loud bang from her horn.

“None of that! Any concerns you have will be addressed one at a time in an orderly fashion. That’s the point of this after all!”

There was always a great concern when individuals gather in large groups. Individual thought and rationality would lose to group mentality; panic and fear would take hold in ponies that are normally reasonable and rational. Fortunately, Twilight was well read on such phenomenon. Yes, the individual could be prone to irrational, illogical behavior. Which would often result in even the best and noble ponies performing horrible acts.

While this would be the negative side of such gatherings, the reverse was true as well. Provided there was a strong, elegant leader. Ponies could overcome their fear for the greater good. In such times they could be persuaded to forgo their own personal needs to serve the greater good of the community. Indeed, such a leader would have untold power, it could be used for evil depending on the nature of the pony who took charge.

Fortunately, Twilight Sparkle was the noblest of ponies. She had a well-developed sense of mortality and was genuine. Such attributes shone through into her speeches, they calmed the moods and the nerves of the ponies that listened to her. The respect the town held her in only served to increase this.

“I know you're scared. An enemy that should not have been in such numbers attacked us without provocation. However, it happened. What is important now is that we come together, not grow apart. But, I cannot make you do this. So I leave the question to all of you. Will you panic and spread fear, or will you show these creatures that Ponyville is made of stronger stuff? The choice is yours.”

A ripple of agreement passed through the citizens of Ponyville, sure, they had been caught off guard, but so what? They were strong, and they were resilient. This was Ponyville: home to Princess Twilight Sparkle, home to her family, home to the Hero’s of Equestria. Such creatures would not overcome them.

“We're with you Princess!”

“You can always count on us!”

“Anything for Princess Sparkle!”

“For you!”

“For Ponyville!”

“Ponyville! Ponyville! Ponyville!”

Twilight smiled, this was her town, these were her friends, her family, she would be damned if she would let anything happen to those she loved under her watch.

The meeting soon came to an end. The ponies broke up into smaller groups, each talking about what they could do to help each other rebuild what was lost. Twilight walked over and joined Rainbow and Night.

“Nice speech, Twi.”

“Thanks, I had some inspiration.”

“Really, what?”

“More of a who.”

She leaned in and kissed Rainbow on the cheek.

“That’s nice and all mom, but what if they come back?”

“I doubt they will Night, Shadowbeings don’t exist in large numbers outside Tartarus, I'm sure that force we saw would have comprised just about all of them left in the world. They shouldn't be back. Besides, they can only be active at night, and they are only really a threat during a red moon. We don’t have one of those coming up for years.”

“Why a red moon?”

“The red tint of the light increases their power. But like I said, there is no real threat there. I will augment the system to be more effective next time. We'll be fine. ”

Night considered this for a while before turning back and taking a long look at Ponyville. A new sense of melancholy washed over her. “It’s all ruined, isn’t it?”

“What do you mean, dear.” Rainbow looked concerned, she did not like seeing her kids in such heartache.

“I was going too… I should have been married today. But, we lost everything…”

Twilight smiled, “My daughter, you have learned so much and made me so proud, however, you still have more to learn. That down there.” She gestured at the ruins of Ponyville. “That’s just stuff, brick and mortar. It’s not Ponyville.” She wrapped a hoof around her daughter and turned them back to the ponies in the crowd behind them. “That’s Ponyville. It is the individuals who make the community, not the other way around. Never forget that.”

“Besides, do you really think I would let my foal's wedding be ruined by something like this?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like I said, it's just stuff. I can fix it easily.”

“You can???” Night jumped up, she knew her mom was powerful, but fixing a whole town?

“Of course she can, give your mom a little credit after all.” Rainbow walked up and rubbed her muzzle against Night’s.

Night was excited by this prospect. She had written off the wedding, but now, now it could go ahead, although, now that the opportunity presented itself there was one thing she wanted to correct.

“Mom, wait one second.” As she ran up to Twilight, who was currently on her way to the center of town, Twilight turned around and looked.


“If it’s not too much trouble. When you rebuild the park, the red looked awful, can you change it back to blue?”

“What happened to red being Dawn’s favorite color.”

“It’s my wedding, he'll understand.”

Twilight smiled at her daughter, she knew a lie when she saw it, but she did not say anything about it. “Sure honey, I liked it blue anyway.”

“Me too, Thanks mom.”

“Do me a favor and keep everypony away, this will be a lot easier if I don't have to worry about anypony else.”

“Ok, thanks!”

Night turned around and flew back to the crowd. “Everypony, Can have your attention!”

Rainbow watched her daughter speak to the crowd; there was so much of Twilight in her that she could not believe it. It made her proud that Night inherited the best of the mare Rainbow so loved. Hearing her speak, Rainbow had to admit; Night was better at it then Twilight. Night was definitely a natural on motivating the crowd, briefly, Rainbow wondered if it had something to do with her unusual cutie mark. She dismissed that, whatever was with that girl it would come in time. When Night began to explain what Twilight was about to do Rainbow started to worry, she did not doubt that Twilight would be able to pull of such a feat. But she had expended herself so much already. It was not easy to raise the sun and moon every day. Luna and Celestia had taught Twilight how they did it. When Twilight had tried her hoof at it, it had left her exhausted. Today, not only did she reach out to the sun, she brought a piece of it back to the planet. After that, to try something like this, it would drain her so much. Rainbow resolved to not let her do it alone.

Rainbow shot straight up, she zoomed over the destruction that Ponyville had suffered. Nigh a building was left untouched. Most of them would have to be scraped and completely rebuilt from the ground up if somepony would go about it the usual way. Of course, what Twilight was about to do was anything but the usual way. Rainbow quickly spotted the alicorn in the center of town.


She looked up at her wife, relief flooding her face. “I was hoping you would come.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“Just stay by my side.”

“For you Twi, Always.”

Twilight began concentrating, this would require three separate phases, the removal of the debris, re-imagining of how it should be, and recreation of what was. Removal was easy. She reached out with her magic, slowly expanding her mental focus over each and every square block, until it encompassed the entire town. This was only her mental concentration; she would have to spread her magic like this afterword to do the actual rebuilding. For now though, Twilight concentrated on what was abnormal, what was not correct. It was easy enough to see. When something is not in its correct state it longed to be that way, leaving an aftereffect of what it should look like left over. As such, objects that were ruined, objects that were broken, burnt, or destroyed stood out, to those who knew what to look for.

Twilight broke those down to their base components. It would have been easier to simply remove them altogether but she would need those components for phase three. For phase two, Twilight concentrated on the residual energies of what should have been, the after images of what was, what had been destroyed. This was the hardest part. Twilight needed to concentrate on every object in town at the same time. Painting a mental picture in her head of what the town should have looked like. It was almost too much for her, almost. Had it not been for a golden wing that wrapped itself around her at that moment, she would not have succeeded.

Rainbow normally loved to watch Twilight in her element. The mare had always been impressive when it came to magic. It was Twilight’s special talent. In much the same way she knew that Twilight loved watching her fly. The two of them rewrote the books when it came to what they were best at. There was not a pony alive that could challenge Twilight at magic, nor could one ever hope to beat Rainbow in a race. Well, not a fair race anyway.

This time was anything but a normal time, they were both still exhausted from yesterday, and with only a few hours sleep last night, Twilight was nowhere near fully recuperated. Rainbow had been there when Celestia let her raise the sun one day. It was exhausting for anyone trying, the great distance to the target increasing the difficulty exponentially. Not only was Twilight going off of so little sleep, she had reached out to that distant object and brought apiece back with her.

Having been married to the mare for so long it was easy to tell that things were not going well. Despite hours of listening to her lectures, Rainbow had only basic knowledge of magic. This advanced spell, rebuilding a whole town, Rainbow knew nothing about this. However, the sweat pouring off of Twilight's face spoke volumes about the level of stress she must have been under. Rainbow had no doubt that Twilight had the capability to pull of something like this, in much the same way Rainbow could build a house if she had to. However, experience and knowledge were two separate things. She was sure Twilight had the knowledge but she knew for a fact that she did not have the experience.

There was very little Rainbow could do to help her wife. She had magic, lots of it, in her wings. Unfortunately, speed and protection would not help Twilight at all when it came to things like this. All she could do was be there for her. Provide moral support, this situation was alien to a mare like Rainbow; she was not one for sitting around doing nothing. This would go double when the mare who was trying to help everypony was her wife. True, she did not know what to do, however, that did not change the fact that she wanted to do something.

Suddenly Twilight began visibly weakening, most ponies never would have known, most would not have seen the signs. Rainbow did, she knew every inch of Twilight, every tell the mare had. This was bad; this was the first sign that Twilight was in over her head. Whatever she was doing it required too much concentration. Rainbow’s decision was made for her at that moment. If she could not directly help Twilight, she would do so indirectly. Rainbow ran over to her wife and wrapped one of her golden wings around her. She would be Twilight pillar of strength, the immovable object she could always lean on, the one constant in her life that would always be there for her. After everything they had been through together, it was the least she could do.

As the wing wrapped around her body, Twilight found a new reservoir of strength. The physical act magnified Twilight’s power a hundred fold. The pillar of strength that was her wife, it removed the uncertainty about this task, knowing that somepony like that loved you; it gave her all the strength she needed. Suddenly, concentrating on Ponyville proved to be the easiest thing in the world. The mental image completed itself in Twilight’s mind at a level of clarity she never knew would be possible. Over the forty-six years she lived here the two of them had seen every inch of the town, the memories of the times spent with Rainbow flooded her mind. Using those memories she was able to paint a picture of the town with more accuracy than a photograph could have captured. Step two was complete. Twilight only had one more step to go.

Shimmering Night watched the town with grim fascination. For the first thirty minutes nothing happened. She could see her mom’s purple magic radiating in the center, but it did not appear to be doing anything. At precisely the thirty minute mark, that all changed. The aura from her mom began expanding dramatically, it grew street by street, block by block, until it encompassed the entire town. Once it was fully expanded the real show started. Each building began reconstructing itself, atom by atom, brick by brick. It started off one at a time, magic began enveloping around the destroyed parts, glowing brightly as matter would come together to fix what was missing. It was slow going at first. Then it truly started to pick up, within minutes three buildings were fixed, then seven, then fifteen, then thirty. It seemed her mom was either getting better at it as time passed or was showing off. As this was not Rainbow’s doing, Night highly doubted the latter.

One hour after Twilight had walked into the center of town the last building was repaired. It was not just the buildings though, as the ponies would discover when they got home every item they owned would be fully restored to how it should have been. The side effect would be those items that were broken before the fire would also be fixed. It was a nice surprise for everypony. There were a few items that were not returned to how they were. It had taken a little extra concentration but Night’s wedding was once again, blue.

Rainbow’s grip was the only thing that stopped Twilight from falling down. While she had the power for this, it was absolutely exhausting. “You ok, egghead?”

“I will be… I might have overdone it there.”

“You think?”

“Funny Rainbow. Can... can you take me home?”

“Of course.”

Rainbow leaned down and lifted up the alicorn on her back. Twilight had definitely grown over the years. Alicorns were naturally taller than other ponies, however, this was a weight Rainbow would bear forever if it made Twilight’s life the slightest bit easier. She would gladly carry her anywhere.

On the way home Twilight had passed out on Rainbow’s back, she chuckled a little as small amounts of drool began wetting her shoulder blades. Fortunately, they made it home before anypony found them. Briefly, Rainbow had been hoping the hole in the side of the house would still be there, it would be a lot easier to fly her directly to the bedroom. She should have known better, Twilight did not make mistakes like that. Rainbow shrugged as she carried her wife through the front door and up the stairs. Gingerly placing her on the bed; she lay down next to her. Rainbow was not tired, but she would never leave Twilight alone. It was more than just the pinkie promise she had made, she loved this mare and would be here when she woke up, or when she had to wake her up for the wedding. Whichever came first.

Shimmering Night flew into town; most ponies were still gawking about the sudden reappearance of their town in almost perfect splendor. She only wanted to find her parents. As soon as the magic faded back she was off. Twilight and Rainbow Dash would be in the center of the town. She should find them there. Unfortunately, by the time she arrived, there was no sign of them. Save for a strong residual magic residue, which was an indication of the sheer amount of power that had been expended here.

“Where did you two go?”

She facehoofed, of course they would have gone home. This much magic expenditure, that level of power, it would be impossible for anypony else to even accomplish it. Her mom was not anypony, she was Twilight Sparkle, but even she would be exhausted by such an attempt and Rainbow would NEVER leave her side at such a time. Night flew to her parent’s house; she just needed to make sure they were ok.

Finding the front door left open was a little disconcerting, however, it did mean she had located them; either that, or some burglar was about to have a VERY bad day. She went in, immediately running up the steps to her parent’s bedroom.

“Hey Night, keep it down ok.”

Night paused and looked at her parents on the bed, Twilight was completely passed out. Rainbow lay next to her, warming her wife with her own body heat.

“Is she ok?”

“Twilight will be fine, she is just exhausted.”

Night laughed a little at that, Twilight had pulled off the impossible, books would be written about this, and she was just ‘exhausted.’

“I'll let everyone know, and don’t worry about the wedding, it can wait until tomorrow.”



“No buts, your mom did all of this for you, for the wedding, so do you think she would be happy if you rescheduled it? Besides your brother and sister will be in town soon. The wedding continues as planned. No delays, no rescheduling.”

“I don’t want to have it if she cannot be there.”

“We will both be there, She will not be at her best, but she would not miss it for the world. Go, get everything ready, I'll wake her before it starts and make sure we get there on time to do our part.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, just remember to pick up Day and Aurora from the train station, ok. They should be in at noon.”

Shimmering Night began crying, she really did have the best parents in the world. “Thanks… for everything.”

“No need to thank me, you should really thank your mom when she wakes up though.”

“Of course and don’t worry, I will make sure nopony disturbs you two before its time.”


Rainbow lowered her head and kissed Twilight on the cheek. She wrapped a wing around the mare in a heartfelt gesture that told anyone who saw it, ‘She is under my protection, you will have to kill me to lay a hoof on her'.

Night smiled as she left her parents in peace, she had a wedding to get to after all.

Red Wedding

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The two shadowbeings made their way up the slope; neither actually touched the ground, as each one simply darted from shadow to shadow. These two were special as they were generals in an army, and between them, they were some of the greatest veterans that ever existed with over a million years worth of campaign experience. They had countless knowledge in battle, on both the losing and winning sides. Losing always came with a price though, such events were necessary for any commander to be competent, as losing caused you to learn, to grow, and to adept. However, lose too much and it would be viewed as a failure to adept. In their line of work, failure only leads to one thing, death.

As they reached the top of the slope, their journey ended. They had to deliver their report. Some of it was good news, the rest, not so much. That alone was reason not to hurry, however, to delay is a sign of cowardice, which brought something worse than death. The more brazen of the two shadowbeings sought to earn their master's favor by being the first to deliver the report.

“My Lor…”

A fist the size of a small mountain slammed down and squashed him like a bug, the speed of it sent shockwaves through the air. The impact caused the very ground the other one was over to crack and shake. Briefly, the thought crossed the other’s mind to run. However, there would be no point, such action would only be seen as cowardly, and subject to worse punishment from his master.

He could not help but remark on how much of a fool the other had been. ‘You fool, he never gave us permission to speak… I'm lucky, the master is in a good mood today.’

He stood there, head bowed in submission towards his master. He knew that eventually, he would be able to speak, but only after his lord deemed it appropriate. After what felt like several hours the order finally came, in the form of a dark brooding voice.


“My lord, I bring news of our efforts, the distraction you planed worked perfectly my lord; we have acquired the first of the Occuloi. Preparations are already being made to put it to use.”


“Unpowered my lord, their defenses were too great to crack, however, we have located another source of power. Another we can use to power the crystal, one not as well defended, one that will be easier to manipulate to your objectives.”


He gulped at that, logically it was his only play; however, if it failed he would be fully accountable for it. “Yes, of course my lord. I'll gladly take responsibility and pay with my life if it is what you wish.”


“Indeed my lord, the other items are already in play, with the knowledge and help you provided us, it was easier than expected. Everything is prepared for what is to come. We simply await your final blessing in order that your plans are fulfilled.”

His master opened a gigantic hand, one that could easily crush hills in its grasp; a spherical objected took flight from it. It was unremarkable in appearance, yet its effect would become legendary throughout the ages. With this final piece of the puzzle in place, the world would be forever changed. Well, changed back to the way it used to be.


“Thank you my lord, we will not fail you.”


He bowed and took flight, the sphere in his claw. What was coming needed to happen exactly by the book, not one thing could go wrong. However, he had left nothing to chance. Everything would indeed go right, as this was simply the first part of a much larger plan to restore the master to his rightful place.

“I live to serve.”



She was flying through the clouds, hoof and hoof with the mare of her dreams. The cyan pegasus and lavender alicorn danced in the sky, their flight paths complementing each other perfectly. Each left a trail behind them, the lavender alicorn’s trail being one of purple, made entirely from magic as she pushed herself farther with the subtlest input of magic energy. The cyan pegasus had three trails, two of gold and one of rainbow. Two golden streaks followed the edges of her wings, each one parallel with the other; her rainbow trail came from her mane and tail. It stayed between the two golden streaks. The symmetry alone was breathtaking. However, the alicorn could not have cared less about the beauty of symmetry at that moment. For her eyes were only for the pegasus.

After hours of flying the two landed on a cloud under the most perfect rainbow either had ever seen, it seemed to be radiating warmth and love to any who saw it, and being this close the two were enjoying the full splendor it offered. The alicorn had landed first, dropping down softly on the cloud, folding her wings by her side. The pegasus landed next, landing so close to the alicorn a piece of paper would not have been able to fit between them. She wrapped the alicorn tightly in her wing. A protective gesture they had both grown to enjoy.

Twilight stared longingly in the eyes of Rainbow; in all the years she had known the mare, Twilight never once felt anything but the deepest love for her. At their best and worst she was the one constant in Twilight’s life. The one thing she would always have. The Gods themselves had tried to come between that and they had failed. Theirs was a love that would last the ages. Twilight did not just believe that, she knew it, with the same certainty that she knew one plus one equals two. She knew Rainbow and she would always have each other.

Rainbow reached over and kissed her wife on the lips. “I love you, Twi.”

“I love you too, Rainbow, and I always will.”

Twilight looked around and really took in the scenery for the first time. For a moment, she wondered why she just now noticed how perfect everything was, that mystery was solved as soon as she looked back at the mare by her side. Despite everything around them, none of it compared to Rainbow.

“Everything is perfect Rainbow. Promise me it will never end.”

“Sorry, I can’t do that, Twi.”

That took Twilight back. “Why not?”

“'Cause you have to wake up now.”

“Wake up, I am awake.”

“Twi, wake up.”


“Twi, c'mon, you've got to get up.”

Twilight found herself opening her eyes. Gone were the soft clouds, the warm sun, and the beautiful rainbow, well, one of them anyway. Fortunately, the other Rainbow was still there, softly cooing into her ear.

“Twilight, you've got to get up now.”

“Five more minutes.”

“Believe me, I would give you five more days if I could, but you have to get up now.”

“What, why?”

“The wedding is in thirty minutes.”


The grogginess that had kept Twilight from getting up left her in a second. She shot out of bed before her body was ready for it and slammed face first on the floor.

"Ow, who put that there?!”

“The contractors who built the house, I think.” Rainbow barely managed to keep herself from laughing, however, despite her best efforts, a sarcastic remark still got through.

“Remind me to have them banished in the morning.” Twilight got up from her impromptu floor bed and started to rub her muzzle with a hoof, she was thankful that there was not any blood coming out.

“Sure Twi, whatever you say.”

Twilight walked into the bathroom, a little more carefully this time, her legs were indeed weak, and she felt tired, more so than she could remember being in a long time. Her little face-plant did not help the situation either. Grabbing both a hair brush and toothbrush with her magic, she quickly started to make herself a little more presentable.

“How long was I asleep for?”

“About seven hours.”

“Seven hours!" Twilight spit out a mouthful of toothpaste. "Why did you let me sleep for so long Rainbow? You know important today is and I…”

Rainbow cut off her sentence by walking up behind Twilight and hugging her with all the strength she could manage. Twilight nearly dropped both brushes from the unexpected display of affection.

“Twi, you're so stupid at times… What you did for Night today, it was nothing short of legendary. You rebuilt a whole town in an hour. I know for a fact that nothing like that has ever occurred before. Yet, you did it. After that, you should be able to rest for as long as you want. Night even came by and offered to delay the wedding. I told her no.”

That shocked Twilight; she knew Rainbow would have done anything to delay the wedding for as long as she could.

“I told her no because I know you, I know how much you want to see her happy and that is the reason why you did what you did today. Yeah, the side effect may have been everypony else getting their houses back, but that wasn't the reason you pushed yourself so much. This day is as much yours as anypony else’s. Night agreed, and promised to take care of any last minute details; the girl is smart Twi. Smarter than I will ever be. With her and Dayspring working on it, I can promise you they have every eventuality covered. There is nothing left for you to do, as such, I let you sleep, you needed it and everypony in Equestria would agree with me on that one. So relax, take your time, and let's enjoy the day that you alone saved from not occurring.”

Twilight felt touched by her wife’s words; although, there was one small detail she wanted to correct. One minor thing Rainbow had gotten wrong in her statement. She loosened her wife’s grip and turned around. Twilight looked into Rainbow’s eyes and corrected her on that one small mistake.

“You think I did it alone? Sorry Rainbow, but on that you could not be more wrong. It was too much for even me. The spell required me to imagine every inch of the town. I thought I could do it, but I was wrong. There is only one reason I was able, and that was you. When you stood by my side and wrapped a wing around me, the memories of all the times we have spent together came back. I completed it because of you. Everything I have accomplished in the last forty years, it was only because of you being by my side. Never forget that.”

The kiss they shared served as a final punctuation on that remark. They were the best at what they did because of each other. It would be a lesson neither of them would ever forget.


Twilight had to admit; when Rainbow was right she was right. The wedding looked perfect. Every detail was spot on, the food, the reception, and even the awaiting doves were exactly where they needed to be. Each section was ready to do its part precisely when it need to, and she once again was happy to see the blue theme back. Twilight did not know what to expect when she walked up to the park, however, this was not it, although, her true surprise had yet to reveal itself.

As the two made their way to the wedding, Celestia herself soon spotted them. She was currently standing in the center of the stage next to Bright Dawn. Unfortunately, Luna could not make the wedding, as one of the two had to stay in Canterlot. As soon as they got within earshot, Celestia began stomping her hooves. On that signal, the entire congregation stood up and joined her. Every pony present gave Twilight and Rainbow Dash a standing ovation for their work in saving the town, yet again.

Twilight began blushing at all the attention. It was unwanted and unneeded, but, it was precisely those qualities that made her the most deserving. True heroes did not want admiration for their deeds and Twilight was a hero by every definition of the word.

“I think they might want a speech, Twi.”

“I don’t deserve this, Rainbow.”

“Funny, I think everypony here would disagree with that.”

Twilight and Rainbow both made their way down the center. The two had assigned spots in the front row. As befitted the heroes they were, and the fact they were the bride’s parents. Twilight tried to go right to her seat; however, Rainbow would not let her.

“I know you don’t think you deserve it, but you do. Say a few words to the crowd and we can enjoy the rest of the day.”

“Only if you stay by my side.”

“You didn't even need to ask.”

With Rainbow by her side, Twilight made her way to the center platform. Both Celestia and Dawn quickly got out of their way, respectfully making room for the two ponies. As Rainbow watched her wife give her speech, she could not help but regret yet again, the fact she had to wake her up. Twilight was swaying back and forth, almost as if she could not quite stand on her own. Being that she was leaning heavily on Rainbow, that was probably true. Rainbow wrapped a wing around Twilight and squeezed her tight; she would carry Twilight’s burden for her.

“I want to thank you all for that standing ovation and say that I'm sorry for the destruction this town once again suffered. It seems as if we go through something like that almost on a monthly basis, and I cannot help but feel responsible. Rebuilding the town was the least I could do for all of you. You, Ponyville, are the true heroes. Every day you open your homes and your hearts to others. You took me in all those years ago and made me feel welcomed. You, Ponyville, welcomed an introverted filly with open hooves and taught her the meaning of friendship. Then a few years later she would learn the true meaning of love.” Rainbow began blushing at that point. “On today of all days, I'm proud of all of you. You all stood up and granted me a standing ovation when I got here. Well, I want you to join me for one more. This time it's for all of you. For your courage and dedication to do what is best for each other, for being the unsung heroes of this town. For putting up with the antics of me, my friends, and my family on a daily basis. You never had to do any of that, but, because of who you are, you could do no less.”

Twilight began stomping her hooves in applause of the town, at first none cared to join in with her, as they were not comfortable taking any of the credit that Twilight was giving them. That all changed when Celestia joined in with Twilight. Soon the entire congregation was back on their hooves, this time applauding their own actions and the admiration the princesses had for them.

As soon as she felt it was appropriate to do so, Rainbow guided Twilight to her seat. The whole experience of the last few days had taxed the alicorn. She may have put on her brave face for everypony but Rainbow knew better. The two of them had been together so long they could read one another like a book. Rainbow nodded to their other two kids, Dayspring Gleam and Aurora Flash each nodded back, proud of their parents.

As they took their seats, the applause finally started to die down, center stage; Celestia and Bright Dawn each went back to their spots. To Rainbow, Celestia actually looked like she had cried a little during that speech. Dawn looked as nervouscited as a colt on his wedding day. Which Rainbow deemed was appropriate given the circumstances. He wore a goofy grin that spoke volumes to his excitement at joining such a family, however, his back and forth fidgeting told how nervous he was to be joining the likes of Celestia, Twilight, Rainbow, and Night in the spotlight. The poor colt’s life would find itself turned upside down by today’s events. After today he would become Prince Bright Dawn, husband to Princess Shimmering Night and son-in-law to Princess Rainbow Dash and Princess Twilight Sparkle. Even with nine years of preparation for it, it was still a lot to take in.

Celestia begin addressing the crowd. “Let me be the first to say, thank you Princess Twilight Sparkle. It is the mark of a great leader that they always put their subjects before themselves. Your humbleness is matched only by the love you have for everypony here. All of Equestria, no the world, has prospered by your leadership and dedication to those you love. It has been my honor to be your teacher, mentor, and friend all these years.” The applause started up in earnest one more time. Rainbow lost track of how long it lasted, and it only ended by a gesture from Celestia. “In all this we have one more pony to thank, I also wish to thank Rainbow Dash, her loyalty and dedication to Twilight has been a shining example of what true love is capable of. Dash, the element of Loyalty chose you as its bearer for a reason, because, in the entire world, you exemplify loyalty better than anypony else." Celestia paused to catch her thoughts.

I have often wondered though, what is loyalty? Loyalty is defined as: The state of being faithful to that which you deem worthy. In this case Rainbow’s loyalty was given willing to the town she now calls home, to the friends she made, and to her wife, Twilight Sparkle. Is it little wonder that the one who best exemplifies loyalty would come to love somepony so much, or that the one they love would come to rely on them as much as Twilight relies on you? Together, you two have accomplished the impossible so many times that I have come to stop using the world. I pinkie promise to never again understate your love for each other.” The crowd laughed as Celestia crossed her heart and stuck an imaginary cupcake in her eye.

“But enough ramblings from an old mare like me. Today, we are here to celebrate the marriage of two young ponies.” She turned and looked at Bright Dawn, who suddenly grew very anxious at having the ruler of Equestria staring at him. “Don’t look so nervous Bright Dawn, I don’t bite.” Again a laugh broke throughout the crowd, because of it, nopony else heard the words she whispered into Bright’s ear. “I will do much worse if you break her heart though; remember that I sent my own sister to the moon once.”

Rainbow smiled as the colt’s face turned from nervous to downright scared for his life. Briefly, she entertained the idea that he might actually take flight and run. Rainbow dismissed that off hoof, it was way too late for him to change his mind. No colt was going to leave her daughter at the altar. If he did run, Rainbow would chase him down in a second, buck the crap out of him for trying to break Night’s heart like that and bring back whatever was left to finish this. Either way, Rainbow would have a good day.

Fortunately for Bright Dawn, his rational side won out. He decided to simply take these lessons to heart. Not just anypony could marry into such a family as he was about to. He loved Shimmering Night with all his heart, and given time, he knew he would love her family just as much. First things first, he had to get through this day. A task that grew infinity easier when, at a signal from Fluttershy, the birds started singing.

The poor stallion could only stare down the aisle at his beautiful bride. Shimmering Night walked down the aisle, dressed in a long flowing white gown, accented perfectly with cyan blue collars. A task that could only have been accomplished by a master designer, and Ponyville had one of the world's best in Rarity. For her family, she had gone all out, the dresses, suits, and decorations all had her hoof in it. Truly, it was a wedding for the ages.

Every head turned at once when Night began down the aisle. Most were full of tears; the ones who could avoid crying were wearing the biggest grins. As with everyone related to Twilight, Shimmering Night had left her mark on Ponyville, a difficult task when you are related to such ponies as Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Aurora Flash, and Dayspring Gleam. Yet, despite all of them, she never failed to win over hearts and minds in her own way. The birds stopped singing as soon as she reached the end of the aisle.

“You look gorgeous.” Bright Dawn whispered in her ear.

“You don’t look to bad yourself.”

The two stared lovingly at each other until Celestia interrupted. “Are you two ready to begin?”

Shimmering Night and Bright Dawn both nodded to her, blushing as they did.

“Today, we are gathered here to witness the union of Shimmering Night and Bright Dawn. Bright Dawn’s love for her was such that he completed the impossible; He won Rainbow Dash’s approval to marry Night by beating Rainbow in a race. Such a feat has never been achieved before and will never be again. However, it was only due to the love that Shimmering Night had for him that he won at all. Such love is the only true magic in this world. May it forever last between this pair.”

Celestia leaned down and touched her horn to Nights and Dawn’s forehead. Symbolizing her approval of their wedding. “It is my understanding the couple has written their own vows.”

Bright Dawn begin first. “I, Bright Dawn, take you, Shimmering Night, to be my wife, my constant friend, my faithful partner, and my one true love. In the presence of Celestia, your parents, and those here today, I promise to be your faithful stallion through all of life’s joys and challenges. I further promise to love you unconditionally, comfort you in hard times, encourage you to achieve all your goals, laugh with you, cry with you, always be open and honest with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, and cherish the love we share for as long as we both shall live.”

Shimmering Night went next. “Bright Dawn, I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in the highest regard. These words I pinkie promise to you today, and all the days of our life.”

Celestia finished the ceremony, “I now pronounce you Stallion and Mare. You may kiss the bride.”

As they turned and kissed not even Rainbow was able to hold back the tears. The entire congregation begun a thundering applause for the two. While Twilight tried to join in, she was too weak to keep it up. Rainbow noticed this and doubled her applause for the two of them, easily becoming the loudest of the whole crowd.

Twilight was so happy for her daughter. ‘Perhaps now I can finally get some grandfoals.’ She smiled her broadest smile as they began walking down the aisle to the reception area, Shimmering Night’s white, blue, and red dress flowing behind her. ‘Wait… Red?’ She prodded her wife in the ribs.

“Ow, what’s wrong, Twi?”

Twilight simply pointed at the red that was tinting everything around them. She felt a strong magical pressure coming from above, as she looked for the source, she found it in a ball of red energy streaking through the sky directly towards the sun. When it impacted the sun’s surface a few seconds later, the sunlight changed to a dark red tent. Illuminating everything it touched in shades of crimson. Twilight, Celestia, Rainbow, Night, Aurora, Day, and Dawn all looked on in horror as red light covered the entire town.

Twilight’s words from earlier that morning coming back to haunt them.

‘The red tint of the light increases their power.’

Pain and Loss

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Panic and fear spread throughout Ponyville as the tint of the red sun coated everything. Most ponies began screaming, as whatever had just happened was new to them, which was saying a lot considering where they lived. If nothing happened to control this, a riot would soon descend. One that would cause the loss of any cohesion that might otherwise be possible. Twilight needed to stop this as soon as she could.


Her horn let off a loud boom with her horn as she sought to get control of the situation. The ponies all stopped and turned towards the source of the noise that had startled them so. Twilight calmly joined Celestia on stage. Giving the appearance of a unified front, which was exactly what she needed to present right that second. As if to emphasize that standpoint Dayspring Gleam, Aurora Flash, Shimmering Night, Bright Dawn, and Rainbow Dash all stood next to them. Presenting to the crowd some of the most talented and gifted ponies to ever come out of Ponyville.

“Where are you going?” Twilight did not yell; she did not even raise her voice, there was no need to do anything like that. Her very presence commanded the attention of every pony in the crowd. “Standing here are the protectors of Equestria, while they,” She gestured up to a dark cloud that was even now forming over the Everfree, preparing itself to attack, “might be a threat, I can assure you there is no safer place to be. The seven of us are here for all of you. We would never allow them to harm one of you.”

Words from a strong leader can move mountains, it is said that some of the greatest leaders can inspire their followers to perform superpony feats. Ponyville had such a leader in Twilight Sparkle, her simple words, and show of unity from her family, immediately caused the ponies to listen.

“We will handle this just like every other crises, Aurora, head to the house, Code 17-x. The light will not work this time around, however, we need to let those who are not present know what the current situation is and the appropriate response they should take.”

With a nod, Aurora took off, flying with a sense of urgency as the dark shadow grew over the town, the cloud of Shadowbeings seemed to be without number as it continued to grow larger.

Celestia nodded to her most faithful friend, a show of unity and submission at the same time. It indicated that she would follow whatever order Twilight gave her without question. Twilight smiled at her, grateful to have the support of someone who was so well respected and had been in this sort of situation before.

“Celestia, Dayspring, please ensure that everypony gets to one of the bunkers in one piece. There may be stragglers, escort any you can find to safety.”

“Of course mom.” That made Twilight smile, she was still the only one he ever called mom. He would always refer to Rainbow as his mother.

“Yes Twilight.”

The two of them started off, leading those ponies that were present to the nearest bunker. They allowed nopony to get lost or unintentionally separate from the crowd. With two of the most skilled magic users in Equestria guiding them, the ponies quickly made their way to the bunker.

Celestia turned back before she left range of Twilight’s hearing.

“Twilight, there is one more thing you should be made aware of.” On a signal from Celestia’s magic, one thousand royal guards made their way out of Whitetail woods, directly to the lavender princess. In a show of true respect, they all bent a knee to Twilight as one. Twilight looked at her in shock at this turn of events.

“After Cadance’s wedding I made it a rule that the entire royal guard would be present for every royal wedding. Out of the way, of course. Consider it part of my wedding gift to you Night!” After those words, she took off, following Twilight’s orders.

Shimmering Night blushed at the thought that all these ponies had been present for her vows and she never even knew it. Bright Dawn simply nuzzled her cheek, offering his encouragement to his new wife

Twilight smiled, this would be a welcome edition for what was coming. “Shimmering Night, Bright Dawn. You two take these soldiers and lead our counter attack. Rainbow and I will meet them head on, we will make them pay for daring to attack Ponyville.

Fluttershy watched from the sidelines as her friends gave their speeches. She knew she should have headed to the bunkers, she knew not to leave the crowd of ponies, and the safety it provided. However, she was tired of all that, she was tired of these attacks, she was tired of others doing all the work as she had no choice but to watch. Mostly, she was just tired. Fluttershy had lived quite a long life, outliving one of her oldest friends, Applejack. Her death had been sudden, not the way a pony should go.

Those old memories hurt every time she thought about them, almost as much as seeing how helpful Twilight and Rainbow still where. To them, it was as if no time had passed. They still loved each other with all the passion they had forty years ago. It seemed to Fluttershy that they were stuck in a time bubble, that time itself could not touch the two.

Fluttershy would never tell anypony this, but she was jealous, Jealous of what they had, of the fact Twilight and Rainbow never seemed to age, and that they had such a wonderful family. Sure, she was happy for them. Fluttershy was there for the best and worst times. She was as much a part of that family as anypony else. However, it was not the same as having your own. They had each other, and she had nopony. Well… that was not exactly true.

“Fluttershy! There you are, c'mon, lets get going to the bunker.”


“What, why?”

“Can… Can you just take me home, Ataxia.”

Ataxia just stared at her, home was dangerous, and the bunkers were safe. She would know, having tried forcing her way into one on several different occasions. Of course, that was before Fluttershy came into her life in a big way. However, looking at Fluttershy, Ataxia saw a resolve in the old mare that would not be denied, the only way she could force Fluttershy to go into one of the bunkers now would be if she tried to make her. That was the one thing she would never do. They may just be friends, but she loved Fluttershy with all her heart. More so then she even loved her parents.

“Of course, Fluttershy. Stay close though.” The two began heading back to Sweet Apple Acres, Fluttershy’s home for the past forty years. It was on the way back that Ataxia noticed just how tired the yellow pegasus looked. She vowed to herself that come what might; she would keep Fluttershy safe through all of this.


Spike lead Rarity on with the crowd, she was reluctant to go. He knew the reason why all too well as Ataxia had left them, again. That filly had been trouble with a capital T since the day she was born. They both loved her with all their hearts. Sure, she was annoying, rude, thoughtless, and the majority of the time, a major threat to public safety. However, she was still their daughter, a little miracle given to them by Celestia. Nothing would ever change that.

Neither of them gave voice to going to find her. On her nice days, she was force few could reckon with. Having personally endangered Ponyville more times then Spike wanted to count. Only Twilight and Rainbow were able to rein her in, for whatever reason, those two were never even mad at her for what she would do, provided that Ataxia did not injure anypony of course. Oddly, Ataxia never crossed that line.

Spike and Rarity considered her more then capable of handling herself. However, they would never stop worrying, it was the fate of being parents after all. Unconditional love came without stipulations. Besides, Spike knew where she was, she was always right by Fluttershy’s side. Those too had become the best of friends.

Rarity interrupted Spike’s musing with a subtle nuzzle. He looked down at the love of his life.

“Go, find her, I'll be alright.”

“I don’t what to leave your side.”

“Hey, these bunkers were designed by Twilight, I think I will be fine. Take care of our daughter.”

“You sure?”



Spike turned and went to leave.

“Oh, one more thing.”

Rarity proceeded to cast two spells on Spike as he stood outside. The first removed the Pony spell he was currently under. As his dragon form had grown too massive to live in Ponyville. His transformation back into a dragon was instant. His head stretched out as his neck expanded, he grew in stature several times his normal size. Easily matching the size of the tallest buildings in Ponyville, then exceeding it. After it was done, he stretched out his wings to their fullest and let out a threatening roar, if these creatures wanted a fight he would give them one. They would learn the hard way not to mess with Ponyville.

However, Rarity was not done with her husband. With a second blast of magic, she equipped Spike with Dragon Steel armor. The unique metal was the rarest in the world, its properties allowed one to ignore all but the most dangerous of attacks. His suit would allow him to fly faster than ever before. Despite its immense size, it weighs next to nothing, while fully protecting his chest, back, limbs, tail, neck, and head. Sure, there were gaps, however, his thick scales would protect those. It had been years since he last dawned such armor. Not since the griffon attack some forty years ago.

“And Spike.”

He lowered his head down so he could be face to face with the love of his life. At this angle, one could be easily forgiven for thinking he would eat her, however, those would only be the ponies that did not know them, that did not know the love they had for each other.

“Yes, my love.”

“Come back to me.”

“I pinkie promise.”

At that moment the alarms went off, signifying two events, one intentional and one non. The first was the code signal 17-x. This would alert any soul in several miles to an attack on Ponyville and the appropriate response to take. The second was the official start of the Shadowbeing's attack.


They flew down in a swarming mass, claws and teeth lashing out for whatever flesh they could sink them into. Twilight had to admit; it was a scary sight. However, she had seen worse in her days, much, much worse. After facing down a charging alicorn demon, little threats like this were almost an afterthought. Still, she knew not to get cocky. These creatures were fast, fast and dangerous. Under the red sun, they were even more so. She briefly admired their increased speed and power. As they tore straight through several buildings in an attempt to reach their prey.

Twilight stood by herself in the middle of the opening; She only wanted their attention. As such, she only cast enough spells to maintain it. Flashy ones, which would only rile them up. Nothing that would hurt them, not in any serious way. She knew that if she made herself seem too threatening some of them might seek easier prey and she could not allow that. This first wave, she wanted it wiped out, destroyed down to the last Shadowbeing. On any other day, she would have just wiped out the whole swarm all by herself. However, today, she had pushed herself too far. As it was, she could barely stand. The thought had crossed her mind that this was exactly the position they wanted her in. Whatever was going to happen, this was only the start. She let it go, even if it was true, it was far too late to do anything about it.


The general watched as his first wave of soldiers swept over the town. His thoughts quickly turned towards overconfidence. This was simply too easy; these ponies, they had no walls to guard them. No weapons could be seen. They had run and hid. He squashed those thoughts immediately. He had seen the soldiers appear. He had seen the attack last night wiped out to the last. These ponies were crafty; they had tricks, underhanded ones at that. He could respect that. As such, his first wave was merely a test run; he wanted to see personally just what they could do.


Rainbow watched as the swarm got closer to Twilight, she hated this plan; she hated using her wife as bait, she hated anything that put Twilight in danger. However, once Twilight decided to do something, Rainbow knew from personal experience that there was no talking her out of it. Twilight was weak right now, exhausted from the day’s earlier events. They had insisted that she conserve her strength. Therefore, she volunteered herself for this. Rainbow wanted to say no, she wanted to scream about how crazy that was. However, there was simply no time for a better plan. As such, Twilight put her trust in Night and Rainbow. Even though Rainbow had no doubt she would protect Twi, she could not escape the feeling of dread she felt that Twilight was in danger at all.

The swarm closed in with hunger permeating through them. They were close to their target. A little alicorn pony that would barely feed one of them. It did not matter, as the honor of first blood would be theirs. However, in their rush to the prey, they failed to notice several key factors. The side paths were being magically blocked off, the top of them were being forced down by a magical wall, the one way barrier that they unintentionally passed through, and most damning of all, their prey was smiling at them.

When the last of the swarm had passed through the barrier, Shimmering Night quickly sealed it off. Causing those in the front to ram straight into a wall of magic that blocked them off from Twilight. She then proceeded to raise the temperature of the air inside the cage, hot enough to ignite the ignition source they had buried inside. The blaze instantly extended, using up its fuel source and expanding to a new one, The Shadowbeings themselves.

Twilight was glad she could not smell or hear anything from inside the cage. The sight of it alone was enough to make her gag. When it was over, and the last of the oxygen had burned off, night lowered the shield. As expected, under the red of the sun, several had survived. It was Rainbow’s turn.

Rainbow flew up from behind Twilight and annihilated those left with wing bursts. The golden energy coming from her wings proved just as effective as the time in Tartarus, regardless of some power up they may have gotten from tinting the sun’s red light.

Shimming Night soon joined her parents in front of the mass destruction they had caused.

“You were showing off a little weren't you kid?”

Night gleamed at Rainbow’s reply. She was pleased that Rainbow had noticed.

“It’s not a compliment.” She gestured a hoof to the mass swarm still hanging above the Everfree. “You will need that strength for what’s to come. Ration it; we cannot have you burned out so quickly. Not with your mom in such a condition.”

Shimmering Night was taken aback by that, she hadn’t given serious thought to the fact Twilight wouldn't just be able to save them if something really bad were to happen.


“Hey, buck up. It was impressive, just, think next time, ok.”

Twilight wanted to laugh at Rainbow telling someone else to think before acting, but there was no time. The next wave would be in soon and they would not fall for the same trick twice.

“Alright, here's the plan…”


Ataxia and Fluttershy made it back to Sweet Apple Acres before the horns starts going off. She reflected that once, this place was a farm, not anymore. Big Mac and Cheerilee had moved to the city years ago, they were raising a family there who in turn had their own kids. Applebloom had married and left as well. The two moved into a house purchased for them by Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. Some friendships were made to last. Indeed, after Applejack passed, the farm unofficially belonged to Fluttershy; she had used it to care for her critters, which enjoyed the open space.

Reflecting on this almost cost Ataxia her life. As they walked into the farmhouse, several Shadowbeings were lying in wait. They attacked her as soon as she stepped in. In a speed defying her age, Fluttershy raised a wing and repelled the attack with a force shield.

Ataxia quickly regained her wits and smashed her attackers with an oversized anvil she conjured from above.

“Thanks Fluttershy.”

“Don’t thank me yet, there are a lot more of them.”

Ataxia looked around, all over the house Shadowbeings were moving in on the two, a look of hunger in their eyes.



Twilight started to consider the possibility that somewhere in the Everfree forest was a portal that directly linked to Tartarus. After the third wave they had put down there was still no end in sight of the things. Worse yet, NIght was getting tired. While Rainbow looked fine, even she could not be everywhere at once. There was no option anymore.

“Night, call them in.”

“But you told me…”

“I know, but as much as I wish otherwise we can’t do this alone anymore. Besides, several waves are getting past us.”

Night turned around and gave the signal to an awaiting Bright Dawn. At his command, the Royal Guard mobilized for war.


Spike bit the head off yet another Shadowbeing, Even empowered as they were; little could stand up to the might of a full-grown dragon. His fire proved just as effective on them as it was on everything else. However, after the second building caught light he decided to abstain from that for the time being. There was not much point in fighting for the town if he destroyed it in the process.

The path was slow going, these creatures were everywhere, and their task seemed to be just to slow him down, as they were attacking with nowhere near enough of them to stop him. Looking up at the black cloud, he realized that they definitely had the numbers He would have to do something about that.

A loud scream from down the road soon interrupted his thoughts. Somepony was in pain, something bad had happened, worse yet, it had happened to somepony he knew.

“Aurora!” Spike yelled as he took wing, flying as fast as he could to the source of that scream.


The General watched in approval as yet another wave of his forces was utterly decimated. However, his enemies had played all their trump cards now. Every one of their forces was committed to the battle. Well, almost every one, the one responsible for this, ‘It’ had still not committed itself. ‘It’ seemed to stand back and let fly do its work. He could respect that, but, for this situation, it was exactly what he did not need. He would have to separate fly and ‘it’ for this to work.


“Yes, General.”

The General looked down at the failure, the one who had allowed all of this to occur in the first place. The one his master had brought back again and again. Each time the scars remained, each time he was resurrected his master had rewarded him with more. The others, they hated failures, they hated ones who displeased the master. As if the master cared what they thought, as if somehow hating the things he hated would earn them his favor, ridiculous. He however, he liked failures, he like using the ones who had earned such displeasure. For they knew... they knew the cost of such actions. They knew what would happen to them if they failed. They were not afraid of death, only of further failure. Such soldiers were useful, especially now.

“Thanus, separate fly from ‘it,’ keep them separated for as long as you can.”

“Yes General.” In a flash, he was gone. The General knew he had just sent Thanus on a death sentence. He did not care; if he did his job, the master would bring him back. If not, the master would not care. Either way, it was a win. He turned back to watch his masterwork play out before his eyes. There was still so much more to do. However, things were going swimmingly so far.


Celestia and Dayspring both heard the scream at the same time. Despite being in the midst of a battle, Dayspring broke off and started running down the street. Yes, it left Celestia’s flank exposed to the enemy; however, he knew the voice that made the sound. It was his sister, Aurora Flash. For her, he would leave Celestia to fend for herself.


Ataxia grunted in pain as a sharp claw raked her side. She was doing her best to hold her power in check. It had a tendency to get away from her from time to time. As the madder she got, the stronger her magic got. She pushed it back and bucked the creature in the face. As soon as it backed away, she conjured several pieces of cookware and slammed it into a wall. Pinkie Pie’s lessons stuck well in her head. It was the times where you most felt like NOT laughing that you needed to. She could have conjured knives, blades, or swords, however, seeing such a creature of darkness get hit in the face with a frying pan was just the laugh she needed right now.

After what felt like hours, the last of them was finally defeated. She knew it could not have been that long, but exhaustion has a way of distorting one's sense of time. “I think that is all of them. These bastards are a lot tougher than before.”

Fluttershy looked at her and smiled. “Thank you Ataxia, I know that wasn't easy, I know we should have gone to the bunker. I was just so tired…”

Ataxia nodded at Fluttershy, she knew just how the old mare felt. “C'mon, let’s get you in bed.”

As she turned to lead Fluttershy up the stairs, her earlier comment proved to be false. A shadow darted across the floor, coalescing right in front of Fluttershy with a claw swiping towards her exposed neck.



Rainbow shouted at Twilight as she tried, yet again, to get the pegasus to go all out. She knew Rainbow had been holding back, The pegasus was staying by her side the entire time. Only attacking threats that got close to Twilight. Needless to say, it was quite an impressive kill box. Still, Rainbow could do so much more up in the air. Yes, Twilight was not exactly herself right now. However, she was not so tired that she could not defend herself.

“I will not leave you alone in this, not if I can help it anyway.”

Twilight supposed it was adorable that Rainbow would go so far out of her way in order to ensure her safety. Or she would have thought that if it was not so aggravating at the same time.

“GET DOWN!” Rainbow forced Twilight’s head into the ground as she raised a wing to shield them both, several black needles impacted her outer wing, shattering as the magic of the wing proved to be impenetrable to the objects.

“What was that?” Twilight asked.

“I don’t know, but he’s pissing me off.”

Throughout all of this, none of the Shadowbeings had used any form of range weapon. They had all simply been attacking with claws and teeth. The fact that this one did not, that this one actually tried assassinating Twilight at range. He was special, he was an enemy worth killing.

The attack soon came again, and then another three times. Each one was repelled by Rainbow’s wing, although one came from such an unexpected direction that Rainbow almost missed it, almost. She quickly realized that this was not a winning strategy. He only needed to get lucky once and that would be one time too many.


“Go, I will be fine.”

“Which direction?”

Twilight pointed a hoof to where he was currently located; Rainbow nodded to Twilight and took off in that direction, it was the same direction of the last attack, a direction that led her to the edge of Whitetail woods. Near the edge, she spotted him, or his shadow anyway. She had to give credit where credit was due, the bastard was quick. He jumped from shadow to shadow, heading deeper into the forest with each movement. ‘So he knows I am on to him. Good, it means I don’t need to play this game anymore.’

With a loud impact, Rainbow landed directly in her assailant’s path. The shocked look on his face made her smile.

He regained his composure and spoke. “Welcome to my parlor.”

“You tried to kill Twilight, didn’t you?” Rainbow growled out the words.

“Did I?”

She lashed out with a wing, cutting the strange weapon in his claw in half. The creature looked down at the weapon and dropped it.

“You’re faster than before, Rainbow Dash.”

Dash’s eyes grew wide. “You know me?”

Her shock cost her dearly; the creature lashed out with a claw and took a chunk of her front leg with it. Rainbow grabbed at her leg with her other hoof as the creature took a bite from the chunk of meat in his claw. “Tastes like chicken.”

He took off deeper in the woods, with an enraged Rainbow Dash hot on his trail.


Dayspring fought tooth and hoof to reach his sister’s side. When he approached the spot, he found her lying outside their parent’s home, unmoving on the street, her attackers surrounding her. Dayspring was the head of Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, he had a record of accomplishment with spells that rivaled that of Starswirl the Bearded and was only overshadowed by his mother, Twilight Sparkle. As a unicorn in such an important position he had access to some books that the rest of his race did not, he had made extensive studies into the darker magic for some of Celestia's research. He never questioned why they would need such spells. Usually the news reports the next day would shed some light on why they were necessary and if he needed clarification, he and his mom always kept an open dialogue on just about everything.

Seeing his sister, Aurora Flash, on the ground, bleeding, unmoving, and surrounded by Shadowbeings. His mind immediately went back to those spells. Normal spells incapacitated their victims, some even went as far as killing them, however, those were only the highest level spells that a hoof full of ponies even knew existed. Those spells killed quickly, there was no pain. NONE of those would do for what Dayspring wanted.

The first spell he cast tore its victim limb from limb. That alone earned it a spot on the band spell list, however, that was not the end of it. The spell immediately after, clotted the victims bleeding, insuring that he would not die from his wounds. There was pain though, oh yes, the victim felt every agonizing moment of losing all his limbs, one at a time, then got to enjoy feeling his wounds close, as if a flame was placed on them.

The other Shadowbeings looked on in horror, never before had they heard one of their number scream out in such agony. The master himself had never caused such pain to even the most deserving of them. They turned to flee, suddenly scared of the pony coming right at them. They could not; he had completely blocked off any possible escape.

“He got off lucky, I'm still warming up... Trying to run? I wouldn’t waste your energy like that; you'll need it for screaming. 'Cause you’re not going anywhere.” Dark energy wrapped itself around the unicorn, before lashing out at every creature in range.


Spike applied another burst of speed as the screaming in front of him intensified a hundred fold. Whatever was happening, it was causing untold suffering. Fortunately, none of these voices sounded familiar, as he knew most of the ponies in Ponyville. Oddly, that only made him more worried, not less, and when the screaming stopped, his gut was telling him something just happened that could not be undone.

The scene Spike flew up on was out of his worst nightmares, Shadowbeings lie all around, torn, frayed, shredded, eviscerated, and even castrated. Not one of them would ever move under their own power again, yet, all of them were still alive. It looked as if somepony had removed their mouths, so they could no longer scream. In the center of this street of carnage was a shadow covered Dayspring Gleam, gingerly holding his sister in his hooves, crying as he rocked back and forth.

“Day wha…”

Spike never got to finish that sentence, upon speaking those words a wave of magic slammed into him, knocking him back four blocks, his bulk crushed the houses that he landed on.

“Don’t call me that. Only she gets to call me Day.” Dayspring spoke the words through sobs.

He moved a stray strand of hair from her face. Despite all the damage done to her body, her face somehow remained perfect. To him, it always had been perfect.

Spike stood up, grateful for the Dragon Steel armor that Rarity had given him. He looked down in shock as he noticed it was dented where Dayspring's magic had hit him.

“Dayspring, I… I… I am so sorry.” Spike was at a loss for words as he flew back to where Dayspring sat. What do you say to somepony in this situation?

“You're sorry…” Tears kept falling from his eyes, wetting his sister’s mane. “You're sorry, Spike the great and powerful dragon, he’s sorry. I suppose that makes everything all right then… Tell me Spike, what did you do that you're sorry for?”

“I'm sorry for your loss.”

“My loss, you are sorry for my loss. What, did you not love her? Where you the only soul in all of EQUESTRIA NEVER TO LOVE HER!”

“You know I did, I loved all three of you, you're part of my family.”

“Oh, I guess then it’s your loss too. So you should be sorry for our loss, shouldn’t you?”

“Dayspring, you’re scaring me.”

“I have the power you know, it was mom’s gift to me. I could have stopped this. I could have saved her. Yet, I held back, ever since I was young, mom told me I had to maintain control. I had to be in control. Power is not important, only control. Well I let that go, look around Spike, and see what it looks like when you put POWER first.”

Spike did not want to look, memories of what it looked like would never leave his head. However, he did not know what Dayspring would do if he refused. Upon taking in the site again, he reflected that if this is what it looks like when you put power over control, than Twilight was right to tell him that.

“I kept my promises, I held back, my pride caused this Spike, my foolish pride. 'Cause I cared what others thought of me, 'cause I held myself back. I LOST MY SISTER!”

Spike wished that somepony, anypony would get here, Dayspring had gone mad with grief, and judging by the destruction around him, he was dangerous, possibly more so than anything else right that second. Spike could not even allow himself to let Aurora’s death sink in, that had to wait; he couldn't let that be real, not yet.

“However, in keeping those stupid promises, I broke my promise to her, I promised to always protect her… Isn't that what brothers should do? Wasn't that my one job in the whole world? I failed the only true test a brother has, keeping his little sister safe.“

Aurora's face was soaked in her brother's tears.

“Spike… Will you swear something right now, to me… on your dragon code?”


“Swear first.”

“I swear on my dragon code.”

“Finish what I can’t, keep her safe. For me.”

Spike looked confused as Dayspring Gleam finished casting the spell he had been prepping. This spell was not in any book, no recorded of it would ever be found. Those who cast it were not around to write about it later. Dayspring transferred his life force into that of his sister. Ending his life and restarting hers.

As Dayspring fell over, Aurora woke up with a puzzled expression on her face. “Spike… what Happened?”

Celestia arrived seconds after. “Oh no… Aurora dear… I am so sorry.”

The pain from her wounds kicked in seconds later. However, what got Spike's attention was the magical explosion that occurred on the other side of Ponyville, in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres.


Twilight could never get her mind to be quiet, even amongst all of this she kept trying to figure out the reason for the attack. Yes, they were trying to kill everypony here. However, there had to be more to it than just that. Why attack now? The tactics they were using, it indicated a greater level of intelligence than just mindless killing.

“MOM, pay attention!”

“Oh, sorry.” Twilight mentally face-hoofed for letting herself get distracted. In truth she was so used to Rainbow being her protector that she was not paying attention to her surroundings. Night had just blasted one who had gotten to close. “Thanks for that.”

“No problem, just promise me you wont need it too much, Rainbow would kill me if something happened to you.”

Twilight tried to reply, when magic pressure began rapidly building up in the back of her skull. A glance over confirmed it happened to Night too. They looked at each other in pain as a magical explosion rippled throughout the town, coming from the direction of Sweet Apple Acres.

Night nodded to her mom, whatever was going on would need Twilight to deal with it. Night was still needed here; there were more enemies to fight after all.

Twilight took wing and flew to Sweet Apple Acres. She felt bad about leaving Night like that, however, whatever was going on was big. She would be needed for this. The other thing; she could leave that to her daughter.

The cause of the magical backlash became apparent at once. A magical whirlpool of energy was dead center on where the farmhouse used to be. Twilight never actually believed one of these could exist. She had only read about them in theory from her books. Most scholars did not believe them possible, Dayspring was the only one she knew who had given serious consideration to its possibility. His theories suggested that they could only occur when a large amount of magical power was released, uncontrolled all at once. As to the cause, she could only guess at.

When she arrived, it was worse than she ever imagined. The storm was huge, and growing... At its current rate of expansion, all of Ponyville would be destroyed in less than an hour. As for the bunkers… she could only guess if they would survive the storm.

“Twilight!” A yell from behind her caught her attention.


“What happened here?”

“I just got here myself. What do we do about this?”

Celestia paused to examine the event. She had only heard about these once in her life. Starswirl’s lecture came back to her. “We have to stop whatever is releasing this energy. It will be in the center of this maelstrom.”

“Ok, I will go in.” Twilight raised her strongest shield and began walking in. The energy was intense, slamming into her with enough force to knock a pony off her hooves. The shield held, even in Twilight's current state, it would survive much worse than this. The noise of it deafened Twilight to the final words Celestia had tried to tell her.

“Twilight, Dayspring's dead!”

Twilight pushed onward, every step was a fight. Walking into a tidal wave would have been easier. She could not help but wish Rainbow was by her side. Yet, she pressed on, for her it was more of an endurance test. She was good at tests. Never once in her life had she failed one, and she would not fail this one. This one was important, more so than any of the others. Failing this one would result in the destruction of all of Ponyville. It was sapping her limited strength but she eventually made it into the eye of the storm.

The storm seemed to cease in the eye. Inside was a sight that filled her with dread. Ataxia was bent over a yellow pegasus body, that was lying in a pool of blood, judging by the slash at her throat, something had killed the kindest mare Twilight had ever known, Fluttershy was dead.

The purple coated mare with the dark blue mane looked up at Twilight, her eyes were full of tears. When she spoke her voice was not her own, Twilight had heard that voice before, although, it was some forty years before.

“Is this the magic of Friendship Twilight?”

“Yes Discord, this is part of that magic.”

She scoffed at that, turning her head away as to hide her tears. “Some magic. I just lost my only friend in the world. Why, why do you do it? It hurts so much.”

“Let me ask you a question first. Why did you take an Avatar?”

“I'm asking myself that same question right now.”

“Ok, what was your reason for doing it in the first place?”

“I was bored.”

“Is that it? That’s the only reason, now who is lying to who.”

“I was jealous, I saw what you girls had and wanted to experience it for myself, but truly experience it, not just interfere like I normally do.”

‘The truth will set you free,’ Twilight thought to herself.

"Anyway, back to your earlier question. You see Discord, Chaos, Ataxia, whatever I should call you. We're mortal. Our lives are finite; as such, we only get the highest enjoyment because of the lowest depths. We experience fun and know its fun because we also experience sorrow. We can love because we hurt. We can be happy because we can be sad. You cannot have one without the other. Fluttershy, she was precious to you because she would not last. It is the same for me, for all her friends. We will grieve for her, together. We will all remember the good and the bad. Although with Fluttershy it will only be the good.”

Ataxia chuckled a little at that, truly she could not think of anything bad that anypony could ever say about Fluttershy, she was the kindest mare in Equestria.

“You were wrong about one thing, she's not your only friend. You have many friends Ataxia, you always have, including me.”

Twilight offered Ataxia her hoof. She looked at the offered appendage, considering, maybe, just maybe, Twilight was right. She looked up at Twilight. “You don’t seem to shocked about all this.”

“I figured it out years ago. Nopony sees you for years and the date just happens to correspond with Rarity’s pregnancy. C'mon, You know I'm smarter than that. As far as the whole communicating thing, I can’t imagine the God Chaos wouldn’t make at least a few changes to the spell.”

She chuckled at that, it was not a laugh, but it was a start. “It won’t last you know, I will not be able to communicate with you for much longer. It only happened because of all this.” She gestured to the storm with a hoof. “You have to get this power back inside of me. It will destroy everything otherwise.”

“I can manage that.”

“For what it’s worth, thank you, thank you Twilight Sparkle. Thank you for being my friend.”

Twilight smiled at her, and then closed her eyes. For this, she needed total concentration and given her current state, her earlier statement about being able to handle this just then might have been a little premature.

Celestia was forced to take a ringside seat as the whirlpool of energy kept growing; she had to back up as the expansion increased. Whatever was going on inside needed to happen soon. Then she noticed a purple light shooting up out of the center. The light expanded in all directions. Encircling the power of the storm, then slowly, ever so slowly, it started to shrink, until, at last, all the power collapsed in on itself. Revealing an exhausted Twilight, and Ataxia still holding onto Fluttershy’s body.


“The crystal is fully charged General.”

“I would hope so, I saw that power release from here, ever hear of a thing called overkill? It doesn't matter now; we are ready to enact the last part of this. Take the crystal to the heart and release him.”

The Shadowbeing took the crystal to the center of the ritual. The crystal was fully charged with the stolen energy of the one the ponies had called Ataxia; it was remarkably easy to cause that mare to lose her control. To cause her to let go of all that energy. Carrying the crystal to the heart turned out to be a much harder task. The power it had absorbed caused its temperature to increase exponentially. It was literally burning a hole in his hand.

“Do it, release him!”

He stabbed the crystal into the stolen Occulous. The release of energy vaporized the Shadowbeing in one fail swoop. The General sat back and watched as his final goal here was achieved. For the first time in millions of years, a Titan would walk on the surface of this world.


“Twilight, what in the world?”

Twilight removed herself from Celestia grip and looked in the direction of the massive disturbance of magical power. A creature was emerging from the Everfree forest. One of truly massive size, one that had the stature that would rival a mountain, one that she recognized instantly, one she had wished never to see again. After all, once you saw one Titan you could never forget it.


Twilight's fatigue was instantly forgotten. This was a threat that she needed to deal with now, it did not matter that she was exhausted, it did not matter that she was near her end. All that mattered is that this thing never be allowed to roam free. Only she could do it. Not even Celestia commanded that sort of power. She had no choice.

It would be her versus it.

Twilight Sparkle vs. a Titan.


View Online


As a Titan slowly continued dragging its bulk up from the Everfree Forest, Twilight quickly took flight. She wanted to end this quickly, before anypony else could get hurt. The memory of seeing Fluttershy like ‘that’ was still fresh in her mind. The longer the fight lasted the more likely she would lose more of her friends, not to mention the fight itself. If that happened, there was no doubt in her mind that the destruction of the world would soon follow. A Titan was a child of the Gods Tartarus and Gaia. These creatures were such a threat to the world that the Gods themselves could not allow them to continue living on it. As such, Gaia and her brother Tartarus sealed them away using Tartarus's body as their prison. Originally, there had been twelve such creatures. However, in an effort to gain even more power, and the ‘favor’ of their parents, they turned on each other, only three remain. Right now, Twilight was watching one of the last three Titans pull itself out of the Everfree Forest.

‘How did this happen? How did it escape from Tartarus?’ Questions kept replaying in Twilight’s mind, whatever had happened; it was bad, very, very, bad. She would have to get answers on how such a creature could have possibly escaped, and why Tartarus did not immediately stop it, later. With the exception of her conversation with Chaos just now, she had not seen or heard from any of the Gods in almost forty years, not since the incident under the Crystal Palace all those years ago. In truth, she wished never to see them again, especially Tartarus; after all, he was kind of a prick.

Twilight made her way to Fluttershy’s abandoned cottage. Fluttershy had moved out of it ever since the changeling incident. She took to living with Applejack before AJ’s passing. It hurt to think of that, Applejack was the first of their friends to pass on. Logically, Twilight knew that she would have to watch every one of them die, eventually. Now, she had not only watched Applejack die, but Fluttershy was gone too.

Twilight quickly changed gears in her thinking; she would need to deal with that later, not now. Now, she had other concerns, bigger concerns, Titan-sized concerns.

Twilight had selected this spot on purpose, any creature of ‘that’ size would be overconfident, assure of itself, not believing that it could actually be harmed. At least, that was what her previous experience with the Titan she had seen before. She had taught it a lesson in humility. She cut off its left arm and spilt its right in twain. As such, she did not believe that this was the same one. This one had both arms still intact. Unless they could grow back that is…

Using her magic, Twilight lay down an enhancement ritual. Normally, she would not have even bothered with such a spell. Normally, she was not so exhausted. The day’s events had not been kind, as such; she needed all the advantage she could get. Only a hoof full of ponies knew about this spell. She had developed it with Dayspring as a way of practicing new magic, when a talented unicorn or alicorn stood in the center, he or she could use the runes inscribed on the edge of the circle drawn on the ground to boost the power of their spells. It was an incredibly useful tool for developing new magic. Under normal circumstances, trying new spells would drain the caster for a week afterwards. Allowing only one such attempt at a time. If it failed, you were done for quite some time.

This allowed the user to make several attempts a day. If you failed, you could make a quick adjustment and try repeatedly as needed. However, because of the uncertainty of new magic it was very dangerous. There was no telling what result such a miscast could cause. As such, Twilight and Celestia both agreed that it would never see mainstream use. Therefore, as of now, the only ponies that knew about it are Twilight, Night, Day, Celestia, Cadance, and Luna.

Of course, developing new magic was only one thing it could do. Enhancing spells was it purpose after all, and right now, Twilight needed a spell enhanced, an attack spell.

As the Titan stood upon the ground for the first time in a million years he paused to bask, it had been a long, long, time since he had seen the sun. The lesser races had taken control of the surface. He would have to fix that. Looking around, he could spot several odd structures in the distance. On the side of a mountain were numerous strange spear-shaped objects. Definitely bigger than any of his bugs could use, although, they might be the perfect size for him. Closer were some strange box shaped objects. They seemed arranged in a pattern of some sort. That did not matter to him; they were something he could crush, something he could use to vent his rage. That mattered to him.

Celestia watched as the gigantic mountain took its first step towards Ponyville. She had studied history books, as the ruler of Equestria it was useful to know a little about everything. These beings, these Titans, they were unlike anything she could have ever conceived of before. It was one thing to read about them, quite another to see one in real life, especially one that was currently walking over to attack Ponyville.

“Celestia! What is that?”

“Night, what are you doing here?”

“When that.” Night gestured with her hoof to the towering mountain walking to her hometown. “Showed up, they all stopped attacking. It was almost like they were afraid to be there once that arrived.”

Celestia nodded at that, in truth, she was afraid of the exact same thing.

“It's a Titan young one, one of the children of the Gods. They should have been all locked up in the deepest depths of Tartarus; I'm unsure how this one got free.”

“What are we going to do about it?”

“There is little we can do. Don’t fret though; your mom is working on it.”

“But, she can’t handle one of these alone.”

“She has before.”

Shimmering Night looked stunned at that, “Nice joke.”

“It's no joke, surely Twilight Sparkle told you about her time in Tartarus?”

Night thought back, “Yeah, but she never mentioned anything like that.”

Celestia laughed, “I see she skipped over a few details, while your parents were in Tartarus one of these creatures, I believe it was called, Cronus, attacked them. After it severely injured Rainbow Dash, Twilight cut off both of its arms.”

Night thought about this for a while, she had heard the stories of how much power Twilight had back then, but that was a long time ago. Now, Twilight was nowhere near her power from all those years ago. Suddenly a realization overtook her, the full implication of what Celestia had implied weighed down on her. “Wait; there are MORE of these things.”

“Two more, if what Twilight told me is true, and I have no reason to believe otherwise.”

A large buildup of magical energy interrupted the conversation they were having, one glance over told them the direction it was coming from. It was coming from the direction of the Everfree Forest, more specifically, the direction of Fluttershy’s old cottage.

“Mom, please be ok…”

Twilight concentrated as hard as she could, the magical buildup was amazing. She could feel the energy coalescing around her, the more power she gave out; the more the circle would amplify and return to her. It was condensing, becoming real, and substantial. Anypony looking at it would be able to see the magic buildup. She had to be careful. This circle had its limits. Too much and it would cascade out of control and explode. Dayspring had found that lesson out the hard way. The next six months he spent in the hospital had taught all of the value of control over power.

She amplified the power in her horn; the Titan was getting close, very close. She wanted to time her attack just right. Her target was its heart, or at least where she thought its heart would be, she resolved on a direct, intense blow straight to the middle of its chest. Two more steps and it would be in optimal position, one more step, now!

Celestia and Night watched as Twilight released the energy that she had been building. The dome of power that was coalescing around Twilight gathered at the focal point in her horn and shot out at unimaginable speed, her aim was true. The purple energy beam struck the Titan dead center in its chest, passing right through and out the other side. The force of the impact knocked the titan off its feet. Blasted backwards by the force of the collision, it went crashing down into the Everfree. The resulting shock waves flattened every tree in five miles, destroying several homes in Ponyville that had been weakened in the attack. The Titan lay, unmoving where it had fallen.

“MOM!” Shimmering Night took off before Celestia could stop her. She flew straight to the source of the beam that fell a Titan, straight to Twilight.

Night landed a few hooves away from Twilight. “Mom, are you ok?”

Twilight looked up from where she had collapsed, on a good day that was a LOT of energy to use, and today was anything but a good day. “Did… did that do it?”

“Yes, you got him…”

Twilight visibly relaxed, the circle around her was close to breaking, literally, she could see cracks forming in the lines she had drawn. It would not be usable again. Even if it had been, in her state, she questioned whether or not it would do more harm than good anyway.


Thanus laughed as he raked his claws across the fly’s flank yet again. It was almost too easy to rile this one up. Sure, she had speed and power over him. However, he had experience and the terrain on his side. He had set this up beforehand for this very purpose. It also helped that he knew her weakness. He knew how to get under her skin. All he had to do was talk about the one called Twilight; this fly seemed to have a weakness for that one. He liked such weakness, they were easy to exploit.

“Ahh, just think, once I finish with you, Twilight will be all by herself. Easy enough prey. I wonder how she will taste.”


Another outburst, another blow she failed to block, another sweet feeling of blood staining his claws. ‘Time to run.’ He thought. Yes, he could get the advantage, but he had to capitalize on it. This meant he had to keep her frustrated. Nothing was more frustrating than an opponent who would not sit still, who would not face you directly in combat. He had to be careful though, one slip up and it would be over, he would lose, and the fly would return to the battle. His mission would fail. He did not fear death. He only feared failing, again.

The shockwave nearly cost him everything. When it hit, the force took him by surprise. Dash did not have that issue, one of the few advantages of succumbing to your rage was that you tended to be single minded in your pursuit of it, as such, Rainbow Dash did not care about the sudden earthquake; she did not care about what had caused it. All she cared about was the creature that had tried to kill Twilight. When the opportunity presented itself, she took it.

Thanus clutched at his missing left arm. Cursing himself for getting distracted, another injury, another lesson. He took off deeper into the forest, yes this set him back. However, it changed nothing; there were still several more locations to have this fight. He would enjoy teaching this fly another lesson.


Celestia caught up with the two, she had to admit that Twilight’s power was very impressive. This proved beyond her last shreds of doubt the reports that Twilight had given her had been true. Even she was a little ‘unsure’ about some of the more fantastical details. Now, now, there was no denying it.

“Shimmering Night, is she ok?” Concern was evident in Celestia’s voice over her friend and former protégés condition.

“Yes, she's just exhausted.”

“I can only imagine.”

“Will you two stop talking about me like I'm not here.”

Celestia looked at her friend in shock; she had not expected Twilight to be conscious. “Sorry Twilight, I didn't know you were still awake.”

“Trust me; I don’t want to be… Night can you go find Rainb…”

Twilight’s question was killed mid-sentence. A loud rustling noise was coming in the direction of the Everfree; the sound caused a sense of dread to overtake the three assembled ponies. Only one thing could be making it. The Titan was getting up.


Spike did his absolute best to ignore everything going on behind him. He flew straight to Manehattan as he clutched Aurora tightly to his chest. Celestia told him to take her there, Ponyville was not safe, and while she was able to close most of Aurora’s wounds, the pegasus still needed medical help. Ponyville was no longer safe and if they failed, Canterlot would be next.

He hated this, he hated leaving Rarity behind, he hated leaving his Daughter behind, and he definitely hated leaving Twilight behind. He hated Dayspring for the position he put him in. He hated how selfish Day had been; he hated how evil he had been. However, mostly, he hated how noble he had been. Tears began falling from Spike’s eyes at that thought. He hoped… he prayed… that when his time came, he could meet his end with half the honor Dayspring Gleam had shown. It was hard to hate somepony who gave up everything for those he loved.


“Mom… What do we do?” Fear was evident in Shimmering Night’s voice as she looked back and forth from the Titan to Twilight.

Twilight looked up and examined the situation from every possible angle she could conceive. The Titan was definitely hurt, and while the hole left in his chest was small, it was slowing him down. Worse than that, he was now enraged. Rage would make him sloppy; however, Twilight did not have the power to capitalize on that. She was out of options. “Celestia, get Night out of here. Keep her safe.”

“I have a better idea, Twilight.”

Twilight stared up at her with a confused look on her face as Celestia leaned down and touched horn to horn with the fallen princess. Power began transferring from Celestia to Twilight.

As the transfer stopped, Twilight found herself able to stand. She was nowhere near a hundred percent, however, she felt better than before this started. “Celestia, what did you do?”

“I gave you what energy I could. I'm sorry, it's not as much as you normally have, but it should help. With the wound you caused, it should put you on an equal footing as that creature.”

“Let me give you mine too, mom.”

“No young one, it is a very advanced spell, one which I do not have time to teach you, and besides.” Celestia stumbled a bit. “I'll need you to help me out of here.”

Twilight nodded at that, “Night, take her and get to safety.”

“But mom.”

“No buts! Now do as I told you.”

“Listen to your mother. Besides, we'll just be in the way.”

Night looked from one alicorn to the other, she did not want to go, she wanted to stay and help. However, this was not the first time she had found herself in this situation . She knew that no matter how much arguing she did, they would win in the end. After all, trying to argue with one alicorn was bad enough; when you had two breathing down your neck, your chances went into the negatives.

“Fine… But promise me you will be ok.”

“I promise.”

Shimmering Night nodded to that and leaned down to help Celestia on her back. As she took off in the air she turned back to say one last thing to Twilight. “Hey Mom, one more thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Kick his butt!”

“You got it.”

Twilight smiled as Night took off, Celestia holding onto her back. ‘Kick his butt… if only it were that easy.’ She turned to face the giant as he finally regained his footing and glared angrily at the one who had caused him such pain.


Bright Dawn was trying to help. The battle had caused injuries to many in the royal guard. He knew he could not help his wife. Not with ‘that’ anyway, however, he thought he could do something for these brave stallions. Suffice to say, he was largely just in the way.

“Move please!”

He took several steps back as a pair of doctors took another pony from triage to intensive care. There seemed to be no end to it. He logically knew that they had gotten off lucky. The royal guard had acquitted themselves well. For every one of them that fell, four of the Shadowbeings had fallen. Of course, the issue was they were outnumbered ten to one. It was a losing game any way he looked at it, and he was very grateful when they pulled back. His gratitude left him when that 'thing' emerged from the Everfree Forest. Whatever that was scared the hell out of him.

Shimmering Night had flown straight for it; she had not even blinked twice. She knew it was where her mom would be; she knew it was the greatest threat, so she knew that's where she would be needed. Dawn supposed that was part of his issue right now. That he knew the reason why he kept getting in the way around here and could only help by changing bandages, his wife was braver than he was.

A grab from behind quickly interrupted his melancholy. “What the…” He never got to finish that sentence as Shimmering Night spun him around and planted a kiss on his lips.

“Miss me?” she asked with a playful look on her face.

“…” Dawn was left speechless as he looked into his beautiful wife’s face.

“I would ask if the cat had your tongue but as it just got done playing with mine I know that’s not true.”

“Of course I missed you.” He grabbed her and went in for a longer kiss. One he was prepared for this time around.

“Is it over? When did you get back?”

“Just now, and no it’s not over. I had to bring Celestia back…”

“What happened to Celestia?”

“I was getting to that, she gave her power to mom, and it kind of exhausted her. Don’t worry, she's fine, just tired.”

“What’s going on?”

“Come, look for yourself.”

Shimmering Night led her husband outside to view the fight personally. Several miles away a Titan was swinging his arms around madly. It would have almost been comical. Such a huge creature, throwing around his arms like a little foal threw a tantrum. However, the purple energy beams that struck him repeatedly gave truth to the situation. It was trying to kill his mother-in-law, Princess Twilight Sparkle.

The two ponies watched in grim fascination as the monster continued to try to hit Twilight. For the most part, Twilight seemed to be the one doing the damage. Several times, energy beams would lash out and strike the monster on his most vulnerable areas. Already, he was blind in one eye and clutching at a wound on his neck. Unfortunately, he had strength on his side and only had to get lucky once, that and Twilight was getting slower.

Night gasped as the fateful blow finally landed. Even at this distance, she could make out the purple shield that had protected her mother get hit and then pop. She watched in distress as Twilight plummeted to the ground with the force of a meteorite.

Night turned to Dawn with a pleading look in her eyes, after casting a quick spell she took off, straight to her mom. Bright Dawn tried to stop her. If he felt comfortable with one thing, it was his speed. Eight years of hard training to beat Rainbow Dash in a race had paid dividends in that regard. If he had one thing over Night, it was that he was faster than his wife was. However, he suddenly found himself unable to fly. Looking back, he saw the reason. His wings would not open. Judging by the glue that he found holding his wings to his side, he now knew what spell Night had cast. She did not want him stopping her.

“Good luck.” Was all he could say as she flew off to Celestia knows what fate.


Twilight tried three times to shake her vision back to normal. That hit hurt. Quick thinking had caused her to cushion the fall. She was not badly injured, but there was differently going to be some bruises. After her fourth attempt, Twilight’s vision finally cleared. What she saw horrified her. Shimmering Night was buying her time to recover by engaging the Titan directly.

Shimmering Night fell back on years of training and endurance runs. No pony with wings in Rainbow Dash’s family would be anything less than a great flyer. In addition, since Rainbow was the only judge of what qualified as a ‘great’ flyer, she was put through the ringer. While Night would never be as good as Rainbow or Aurora was for that matter, she was easily more capable than any Wonderbolt she had met. Once they even asked her to join, she had thanked them, but declined the offer. It was never something she had wanted for herself.

All that meant diddly right now as this bastard was fast, faster than anything of this size should have been able to move. She quickly understood how Twilight had been having such trouble. Night could barely dodge its attacks, much less counterattack with any degree of accuracy. The fact that Twilight had been able to avoid these for this long, and launch attacks that wounded this thing was a testament to just how good she really was.

Night used her wits, he was injured, and she was relatively fresh. She stayed in his blind spot. Forcing him to turn and twist to try to hit her. Her magic blasts struck repeatedly at his arms and chests. She could not manage to hit anything more valuable. Not with his arms swing about, she soon experienced a stroke of luck as her next blast caught him in his blinded eye, causing a bellow of pain to emerge from the monster mouth. “Success!” she shouted.

Unfortunately, such success led Night right in the path of his mouth. Something she did not know, something she had no experience with the threat that it represented. Twilight knew, Twilight remembered how Rainbow was felled by a Titan’s breath once before. The wind speed one could blow would cause anypony to lose their capability for flight. She had watched as Rainbow suffered from that blow. She would not allow her daughter to suffer the same fate, not as long as she could prevent it.

The Titan blew with all his might. Night had no prep time, no indication that he was sucking in air. He simply forced it out. The airspeed quickly grew beyond one thousand-wing power. Night was ill prepared for such an attack. It took all her concentration and magic to stay in the air. She lost track of what the titan was doing next. The Titan brought up his left fist and swung it at Night as hard as he could. He smiled as he felt the force of impact.

While he did hit a pony, it was not the pony he aimed for.

Twilight flew in front of her Daughter and threw every last shred of magic energy she had into stopping that fist. However, at her current level, it just was not enough. The blow shattered her shield in a million pieces and set her careening into Ponyville town hall. She could not stop herself from landing badly this time.

The force of the shock wave hitting Twilight’s shield blew Shimmering Night out of the sky. She could only look on in horror as her mom landed in the center of Ponyville. Smashing through the town hall’s roof.

Night tried to stand; however, an immense pain shot through her wing. Looking back, she could see that it was broken. She could only watch with tears falling down her face as the Titan followed Twilight into town, intent on finishing the job it had started.

For the second time that day, Twilight tried to shake her vision back to normal. It was easier this time; however, when it cleared she looked up to see the Titan’s fist coming straight for her. She did not have the power left to cast even the most basic teleportation spell.

“Sorry Rainbow, Night, I… I broke my promise.”


Rainbow was tired of this cat and mouse game, especially as it became very apparent that she was not the cat. Drastic times called for drastic measures. She took wing; going into a spin, she increased her wingspan to the maximum and shot out magic energy, which cut down every tree in a one-mile radius.

Thanus suddenly found his position VERY revealed. “Well, somepony's tired of playing our little game.”

“Your damn right I am… Why are you smiling?”

“'Cause the game is over, little pony. Take a look.” He gestured with his one remaining hand in the distance.

At first, Rainbow thought this was a trick, some little ploy he was using to try to get another piece of her, however, she was currently flying in the air. There was no way he could reach her. Therefore, she turned her head to look at what Thanus was pointing at. There, in the distance, some several hundred miles away was a creature she never wanted to see again. A Titan was in Equestria. She watched in horror as it swung its left arm about. While at this distance she could not make out whom he was swinging at, the purple energy shield popping was more than visible. She knew of only one pony with magic of that color. This Titan had just hit Twilight, and judging by his walk into town square, he was moving in for the kill.

“Looks like I win the game after all.”

Rainbow turned and looked at her quarry. “Sorry, I don’t have time to play with you anymore.”

“What does tha…”

Thanus never got to finish that sentence. Rainbow cut him down from eight separate angles in less than a second. Stuck in the woods, with all the trees and foliage blocking her attacks, he had the advantage. With her in a rage over his attempted assassination of Twilight and constant barbs about all the disgusting things he would do to her when their fight was over, he had the advantage. Now... now with Rainbow’s mind crystal clear on what was important, and with all the trees out of way. Rainbow had the advantage. Her wings sliced him to pieces in the time it took her heart to take its next beat. Then she took off. Straight for Ponyville, Straight for Twilight Sparkle.

Rainbow’s early life had always been one of speed. She spent her years training to be the best, to be the fastest, to be the greatest flyer there ever was. She had succeeded at that dream. She had become one of the best flyers in the entire world. She was never the smartest; never the brightest, but she was the fastest. At this moment, she realized that her entire life was leading up to this. She knew how fast a Titan was first hoof. She was faster than they were, of that she did not doubt. However, just how much faster?

The Titan standing over town hall was already swinging a fist down at Twilight. She was several hundred miles away. That bastard Thanus had separated them; he did a damn good job of that too. She had to move fast. Faster than ever before.

Thoughts began playing through her mind.


The first day she had met Twilight.


Their defeat of Nightmare Moon.


The first (and only) Grand Galloping Gala she ever attended.


The release of Discord.


Stopping the first changeling invasion.


Rescuing the Crystal Empire.


Her death at the hooves of Chrysalis.


Their first kiss.


The twins being born.


The birth of Shimmering Night.


For Rainbow, the world to her left and right seemed to flash by; all she could see was what was directly in front of her. Her tunnel vision focused only on the Titan that was about to kill Twilight Sparkle.

A few years earlier, Shimmering Night had run some tests on Rainbow’s wings. In these tests, she figured out a secret that not even Twilight had found out. Rainbow’s wings were magical constructs that her willpower directly controlled. With them, she flew as fast as she wanted to go. They grew as much as she wanted them too. They shrunk to the size Rainbow needed them to be. The only limit to them and her flight was the amount of willpower Rainbow had at the time. Whether or not it was conscious or subconscious, did not matter.

At that moment in time, Rainbow’s entire existence focused on one thing and one thing only, moving faster.

It is often wondered what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Unfortunately, the question itself is flawed. For an object to be unstoppable it must be moving and of infinite mass. For an object to be immovable it must be stationary and of infinite mass. As such, two objects of that nature cannot exist in the same universe. As two objects cannot both be of infinite mass in one universe.

Anypony who looked at a Titan would never underestimate its mass. A titan was a walking mountain. Skin as strong as steel, huge gigantic arms, and a bulk that rivaled most cities, however, while there was no doubt that it was massive. It's mass was nowhere near infinite. However, at Rainbow’s speed, she WAS near infinite mass.

Rainbow slammed dead center into the Titans chest with all the speed she had. The impact shattered the Titan, sending pieces of it in every direction. The force of the blow radiated out from where she struck. Expanding in a ring that decimated every building in its range, Twilight had to shield her eyes with a hoof to prevent any debris from blinding her.

The mega rainboom hit next.

It received its name afterwards, after the damage had been done. Unlike any sonic rainboom, this one hit with a force a thousand times more powerful. Every building but one in Ponyville was completely destroyed. The ring of destruction cut a new trench in the earth, carving a pony made river through the center of what used to be Ponyville all the way to both oceans. The mega rainboom split Equestria in two.

Night shielded her eyes and ears from the explosion. When she came to, she did not even register the damage that had been caused, only one thought went through her mind. Only one thing mattered to her at that moment. While she had no idea what had caused that to occur, she only needed to know one thing.

“Mom!” She ran as fast as she could to where the center of Ponyville used to be. In a desperate hope that her mom, Twilight Sparkle, was still alive.


Pound and Pumpkin Cake both sat over the bed Pinkie Pie was laying on. The mare was sick. They both knew this. Sixty-six years of confectionary delights had taken their toll. Fortunately, Pumpkin had become an expert physician as Pinkie Pie had been kicked out of three different hospitals over the past four years. Despite her heart condition, she still was insistent on having parties. While the patients always appreciated it, the doctors, not so much. Therefore, they brought her back to Ponyville and set her treatments up in the bunker under Sugarcube Corner. That had been Pound’s idea. He reasoned that if they set it up down there they would not have to risk moving her should the alarms go off. Pumpkin agreed.

They were both down there now, with the alarms going off everypony had to get into a bunker. Theirs was empty, as most of Ponyville had been at the wedding. It still broke Pinkie's heart that she could not go, but Pumpkin had insisted she stay in bed. The newlyweds had promised to visit as soon as the wedding was over. However, with the alarms going off and all the noise they heard up top. That was unlikely to happen. Whatever was going on was big, bigger then Ponyville had ever seen before and Pinkie was hurting in a bad way.

Three times already Pumpkin Cake had to lift Pinkie from her bed with her magic as her Pinkie Sense caused yet another combo. These combos identified the worst news and caused the most destruction. Somepony Pinkie loved just died. With the strain they put on her body, Pumpkin Cake did not believe that Pinkie had much longer.

Abruptly, it became apparent that another combo was on its way. Somepony else had just died. Pumpkin Cake lifted her off the bed and held her in her magic as the vibration took hold of Pinkie Pie again; this time was a little different though. This time she rolled over and faced Pumpkin Cake. The vibrations took ahold all the same, but she was reaching out a hoof to something behind Pumpkin Cake. Almost like, she wanted something over there.

When it finally stopped, Pumpkin called her brother from the other room while gingerly laying Pinkie back on the bed. As she closed her eyes for the last time Pinkie Pie’s final words were, “Twi’s going to be so sad… What type of party could bring back her smile?”

Pound grab his sister and hugged her for all he was worth. Pumpkin could not help but look over at the wall that Pinkie had been pointing at. For the life of her, she could not imagine what she wanted. There was nothing more than a bookshelf full of old fairy tale books, an old clock, an out of date calendar and a few knickknacks. “Pinkie being Pinkie.” She started crying as she realized that would be the last time anypony would ever say that.


Night dug frantically into what remained of Ponyville. Her spells disintegrated everything that was not a Pony, everything that was not her mom. She hoped and prayed to whatever Gods were out there that Twilight was ok, that she had been able to shield herself from the worst of it. By some miracle, the Gods answered her prayer.

She found Twilight under the largest of debris. It appeared to Night that Twilight had indeed protected herself with a force bubble; shielding herself from the worst of it. Her broken hind legs were most likely a result of her landing in the town hall. Twilight was staring up at the sky, crying in agony.

Night ran over to her, “Mom, are you alright?”

Twilight merely raised a hoof up to the sky, to the location where the impact had occurred, where the Titan used to be, and spoke one word. “Rainbow…”

The light of the red sun slowly faded back to yellow as the effect wore off. Celestia used the last of the power she had saved to lower it, as it was time to make room for Luna’s moon.


At the edge of Ponyville, a massive red earth pony with a black mane stood in watch of everything that had happened. He was unable to directly assist; he was under a vow not to directly interfere with the lives of mortals. Not that he would, even despite of everything, they were still his kids. No parent could ever bring harm to their own children, not on purpose.

He remarked on this as a macabre scythe made its way back to him. He had work to do. The results of this battle would keep him busy for quite a while. However, he had wanted to see this, to see it with his own eyes. A lot had happened that even he did not see coming, such events were unknown even to the Gods. After the scythe attached itself to his back, he turned and vanished to the next area he was needed.

Tartarus spoke one phrase before teleporting away.

“Only one left.”


View Online

Canterlot Castle

Alicorns are the perfect mix of earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi. As such, they have the best qualities of all three races. They carry the magic of a unicorn, the wings of a pegasus and the strength of an earth pony. For what NIght wanted right now, she accessed her earth pony side, and drew upon that strength. Shimmering Night transferred all her weight onto her front legs. Lifting herself up on them, she kicked back with her back legs, striking out with all the strength of the strongest earth ponies.

Her back legs kicked out at the doors with all her might, with a force that would shatter steel. Her legs flew back true, they were dead on target to connect squarely with the doors, and just like all the times before, the magical energy shield absorbed and reflected the force of the blow back into her. Causing Night untold pain and discomfort.

“You know, the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

“Shut up Dawn.”

“Yes, your highness.”

Night grunted at her husband that was sarcastically bowing to her, with a goofy grin on his face. She tried to stand back up after yet another failed attempt. Only for her legs to start buckling (yet again) as she was forced to sit down before they gave out and she fell over.

“Well you have only tried that about fifty times this week, so I am not sure if that actually qualifies as over and over.”

“Shut up and help me up.”

He kept his goofy grin as he walked over to her, allowing her to wrap a wing around his body so she could transfer her weight to him to help her stand. “Why do you keep doing this to yourself, you know that physical force will not open it.”

Her expression quickly changed from one of annoyance at her husband for his quirky remarks to one of depression at the horrible events of the last few weeks, with tears in her eyes she answered his question. “It’s the only way I know she is still alive.”

He rubbed their muzzles together, as a gesture of love and respect for his wife, and his understanding of what this was doing to her.

“I still cannot believe you, Celestia, and Luna were unable to break down that shield. Just how strong is Twilight anyway?”

Night nodded at that statement. In truth, they should have been able to do it. Twilight was a powerful alicorn, however, three alicorns should have been enough. ‘Perhaps, even I do not know my mom’s strength.’

“I should consider it a blessing that she allows Celestia to visit once a week; even if mom limits their visits to just five minutes at a time.”

“Is that why Celestia always comes back to Canterlot every Sunday?”

Night nodded at her husband. Celestia and Luna had been on permanent damage control since the mega rainboom had caused untold damage all across Equestria. The death toll was in the hundreds of thousands, and still climbing. Fillydelphia was directly in the shockwaves path. So far, the ponies that survived Fillydelphia’s destruction from the mega rainboom were pitifully few, less than a thousand ponies in total survived. It was one more pain that Equestria would bear, one more pain her mom had to bear. ‘Perhaps that is why Celestia has yet to tell her all the details.’ She thought.

As horrible as all this was, Night shivered at the thought of what would have happened if the Titan were still on the loose.

“How long has she been in there now?”

Bright Dawn looked at the clock on the wall, “About four minutes.”

“So one more minute.” Night began pacing back and forth again for the hundredth time that day. Celestia had been in there with Twilight for four minutes now. In one more, Celestia would leave the room, by choice or otherwise, yet again. “It’s not fair.”

“What’s that?”

“She's the parent, not me, why do I… Why do I have to be strong? Isn’t that her job?” Night began breaking down, crying her eyes out, yet again.

Dawn walked over and hugged his wife. Letting her tears fall onto his chest while he slowly ran a hoof up and down her back. “You told me once that an alicorn’s lifespan is enhanced, that alicorns like Princess Cadance would live a few lifespans past normal ponies. Ones like Luna and Celestia would live thousands of years. Moreover, that, your parents, Twilight and Rainbow, would have lifespans that put those to shame. How do you think they endure the knowledge that they would outlive all those they love? Everyone they care for will die, while they will not.”

Night’s crying intensified at that, “It's because they had each other.” She spoke the words between muffled sobs.

“So what must it be like for her now, Twilight has an eternity in front of her without the one she loved by her side. She has to face it all on her own now.”

Shimmering Night’s sobbing became full out bawling. She hated his logic; she hated the fact that she could not accept it. Mostly, she hated having to be the strong one. Rainbow might have been Twilight’s wife. However, she was also Night’s mom, with the loss of Dayspring, and the hospitalization of Aurora; she did not want to be the strong one anymore. For the first time in her life she did not have Twilight to tell her exactly what to do, Rainbow to just do it for her, Dayspring to lecture her on the proper way it could be done, or Aurora to convince her that she could do it on her own. It was unfair, just as unfair as this whole situation had been.

“Is she ok?”

Night and Dawn both turned to Celestia, whom had just appeared from Twilight’s room. “She will be fine princess, it’s just hard for her right now, ya know.”

“How... is... mom?” Night managed to ask the princess the question that was weighing so heavily on her mind.

Celestia sighed; once more, she had no good news to report. ”Four times have I spoken with Twilight Sparkle, four times she has said nothing. This marks the fifth time.” Celestia shook her head in utter defeat at the pair. “I've been alive for over a thousand years; I've seen the best and worst of what ponies are capable of. I had to banish my own sister because she threatened the world. But, I have never seen two ponies more in love, more devoted to each other than Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash were. Together, they would face eternity; now, now she is facing it alone.”

“Does that mean she has accepted mom’s death?”

Again, Celestia shook her head at Night’s comment. That one gesture broke Night’s heart.

“It’s been over a month.”

“I know dear one, but without a body, without proof, I don't know if she will ever believe, or ever be able to move on.”

“But, we haven't found any bodies, not even Dayspring’s…” Saying his name caused Shimmering Night to break down again. Bright Dawn squeezed her tightly in his hooves, lightly stroking her mane while he did so.

He looked up at Celestia and asked, “Did you try talking to her about it again?”

Once more, Celestia shook her head. When she had first brought up ‘that’ subject, it produced the only reaction she has yet received from Twilight. Twilight’s magic forcibly removed Celestia from the room as soon as the conversation went in that direction. In truth, Celestia did not believe that Twilight was even aware she did it. That thought scared her, she was ‘unsure’ exactly when it would be safe to discuss that with Twilight, however, it will need to happen, else the healing could never began. “I will try again next time…”

Night looked up with tears in her eyes. “What if she never accepts it? Celestia, what do we do?”

“Time young one, it is our only ally in this. The only thing we can do for Twilight right now is to give her that time; she has lost half her soul. Trying to reestablish who she is without Rainbow, it will be a long process for her. One in which the rest of us will have to stay supportive for.”

“Does she know about Dayspring?”

“No, I do not know what that information will do to her right now; I will tell her myself, when the time is right.”


Twilight’s Room

Twilight hated her bed. She hated it more than she had ever hated anything in her entire life. More than she hated Chrysalis. She considered it scientifically impossible to hate something more than she hated that damn bed. It was ALWAYS too soft, or too hard, or too hot, or too cold. She had disassembled and reassembled the molecules in the thing at least a thousand times now. She knew exactly how many atoms made up the bed, as she had removed each one by destroying and the recreating the bonds that held them together. Whatever was the cause, she had it narrowed down to the very last atom. As it stood, the bed was too damn soft and hot. Add one more atom and it was too damn hard and cold. The entire situation infuriated Twilight to no end. It should not be possible.

Intellectually, she knew the bed was fine. In truth, it was probably the most comfortable bed in all of Equestria, hell, maybe the world. Although quantifying that statement would be impossible, as Twilight did not have the research to back it up. At the very least, she could say it was the most comfortable bed in Ponyville. No, she could not say that, there was not a Ponyville anymore; the town was gone, Ponyville was gone… That hurt to think of. She went back to hating the bed. More precisely, she went back to hating the absence of something on the bed. Rainbow was not on the bed. She could not sleep without Rainbow’s wings wrapped around her… She hated that damn bed. It was nothing more than a tease of what she should be able to do.


Celestia had come and gone, again, what was that the fourth time now, the fifth? Twilight lost count. Celestia had come in, talked about some stuff and left. It was all she ever did, talk, and what made it worse, Celestia never had the information Twilight wanted… Twilight did not want to talk about anything like that, so she did not talk at all. She only wanted news about her wife, more accurately; when Rainbow would be back in her hooves, holding her, wrapping her wings around her, kissing her. Maybe then, Twilight could finally sleep.

She missed sleep; Twilight missed the comfort of being asleep. She had lost count of the days since sleep last took her. It was before the destruction of Ponyville, she remembered that much. Everything else, it was just one long blur. Her entire life since then has been one of hatred and pain. She laughed at the thought that everypony wondered why she kept them all away.

Her daughter, Shimmering Night, she was outside the door. Night was crying over not being able to see her. That hurt too, that was more pain that Twilight had to deal with. However, Night’s beliefs were mistaken, Twilight was not keeping the world away from her; she was keeping herself away from the world. Her magic was out of control. Subconsciously, she had disassembled and reassembled every single item in the room countless times. Had a pony the knowledge and wherewithal to look, they would have seen that not a single item had so much as a scratch on it. Every item was like new, better than new. Nopony could have designed anything to the level of perfection that these items now possessed.

That was why she only allowed Celestia to come visit once a week, for five minutes, tops. It was a supreme effort on her part to keep it under control for even that long. She only trusted Celestia to deal with it if it went bad. If she caused something to happen to her kids, if they came in and she lost control... She would never forgive herself. Such an occurrence would tip her over the edge; she would lose control. Then the real disaster would occur.

As it was, the stuff in her room seemed to take the full brunt of her out of control magic. It was happening around the clock, every hour of the day she would watch as items would deconstruct to their component parts and then reassemble themselves. It was scary, at first. Twilight grew accustomed to it. If anything, it was a lesson on how everything fit together. She now understood what every single item in the room consisted of, how it was assembled, and ways to improve upon them. Even in this situation, her mind still ran a mile a minute. She could not help but consider how to advance the technology in clocks, radios, and even bookcases. It was so simple that she could not believe nopony had thought of it before, or, for that matter, why she had not thought of it before.

She knew the answer of course; it was simplicity at its most basic. She was using all this crap to distract herself from that... that which was absent, from that which she missed more then anything. It was the real reason she did not focus on what the problem was. It was the reason she refused any sort of medical treatment for her broken legs. This distraction, her pain, it was all to prevent her from completely breaking down. If that happened, all of Canterlot would pay the price. Objects may be able to survive disassembly, but ponies could not. If she lost control, everypony in Canterlot would be at risk.

‘How long has it been’ She thought, ‘Weeks at least, Rainbow where are you? You pinkie promised never to leave me…’ She wanted to cry, but there were no tears. Not eating or drinking for a month will cause anypony to suffer the effects of dehydration. Had she been in a better state of mind she would have wondered how she was still alive…

Before she was aware of it, Celestia visited again, ‘Had it been another week already?’ Twilight knew it must have been. She cast that spell allowing one visitor for five minutes every week. If Celestia was back, a week had passed, that was sound logic. The premises where all true and the conclusion was true. She hated these visits, they took so much out of her to maintain control, however, it was the one concession she gave the rest of her friends and family. She could not be around them, not directly, so she continued to allow this.

“Twilight I need to….”

Celestia was talking again, but the words Twilight were waiting for never showed up. Only once had she heard Celestia say those two words, only once had she managed to get Twilight’s attention. However, the words that had come after those caused her to lose control. Maybe that is why Celestia never said them anymore?

“Rainbow Dash…”

“Wait, what about Rainbow.” Her voice was dry, barely a squeak from the lack of hydration for all this time.

“Despite our best efforts, there is still no sign of her body. Twilight, Rainbow Dash is dead.”

“Get out.”


There was no further discussion. Twilight picked up Celestia and threw her out of the room. She phased through the spell on the door and landed with a sickening crack on the other side. Celestia had broken something in the violent landing; however, at that moment, Twilight did not care.

“I would know if she was dead. Why would she say that?”

‘Why indeed.’

Twilight snapped her head back and forth around the room, she wanted to find the source of that thought, or more specifically, she wanted to make sure she was not losing her mind.

“Who said that?”


There was no reply, nothing in the room spoke, because, nothing in the room could speak. She would have known if another presence was here. She would have known if something had gotten in past her shield.

“So I am going crazy.” it was a logical conclusion.


Again, there was no reply; honestly, she was not surprised to be hearing things. How long had it been since she last slept? Since she last ate, or drank anything? Such things tended to be necessary to live, to be normal one had to do all those things, before now, she never would have believed she could go without them. However, after these last few weeks, that theory was wrong. Twilight did not know if it was due to being an Avatar, an alicorn, or the extra magic she had; but she was still alive, well, still living anyway. She could hardly call this being alive.

Twilight could not help it when her mind started to wonder, ‘this is the second time Celestia told me Rainbow passed on. That's impossible. I would know, I would feel it. Why would she keep saying that? Why would she lie to me?’

‘Why indeed.’ The thought kept playing through her head. She was roughly eighty-three percent certain it was not her own. However, the more she considered it, the more that percentage went down. ‘Why indeed, why would Celestia want to hurt me like that, why would she want to destroy my heart like that?’

‘Why indeed… maybe, maybe I did think that.’ The percentage dropped to about fifty-fifty now. ‘Why would she want to hurt me so? Why would she want to destroy my love?’

Over the next few days, she would ponder this question; she spent her time dealing with her confusion at the betrayal of Princess Celestia. ‘Why would she want to hurt me so?’ It started as a simple thought, in the same way as a tumor starts as a simple cell. In Twilight’s head, it found the perfect festering ground. Her analytical mind processed every possible scenario. Her confusion turned to betrayal, then to hate. However, Twilight was not one to jump the gun. She needed evidence. She needed to confirm if Celestia was actually lying to her first.


Outside Twilight’s room

“How long has it been?”

“Six weeks.”

Radiant Star pondered this. He hated that all this went down, that his cousins had suffered so much, worse yet, that they had suffered because of him. The attackers had used the Crystal Heart to bring that ‘thing’ into Equestria. They had used it to hurt his family. Regardless what his mom said, it was his fault. Had he done a better job in guarding it…

“I'm sorry.” He said it again for the umpteenth time since arriving in Canterlot.

“Prince, it is not your fault.” Dawn tried to be as comforting as he could. However, Radiant just glared at him for talking to his betters like that.

“You’re wrong. This is my fault. Had I done a better job at guarding the Crystal Heart, none of this would have happened. I will live with this for the rest of my life.” The look in his eyes ended that debate. He considered this his burden to bear and he would do so with what little honor he had left.

“And I'm sorry that I could not get here sooner, it took a while to find and secure the Crystal Heart. Afterwards, mom and I went to visit Aurora in Manehattan. mom stayed there, she couldn’t leave Aurora in such a state, she said she will visit as soon as she can.”

“How bad is Aurora?”

Radiant stared down at his hooves. Night could not recall the last time she had seen him so defeated, well except for when his dad passed on. “She woke up a week ago. Spike refuses to ever leave her side, much to the dismay of all the doctors and Rarity; he said something about his dragon code not allowing it. Ataxia actually stood up for him. She said it was noble of him to keep to his code.”

“Does she know… about Dayspring I mean?”

“She knows he's dead, no one has told her the rest though. It broke my heart to see her so sad. I don't know if she will ever be all right again, mentally I mean. Physically she's ok, although, she refuses any sort of cosmetic treatment for her scars.”

“What about her modeling?” Dawn asked; there was not a pony alive that had not seen her photos.

“She doesn't care. All she said on the matter was something about finally knowing what was truly important in life and having lost it.”

No further discussion came on the subject as they were interrupted by Princess Celestia being violently thrown out of Twilight’s room and slamming up against the wall opposite of the doors. From the sound she made at least one bone had broke on impact.

Night turned to Dawn. “Get a doctor!”

“Right, on it!” He took off, easily faster than any of the other ponies present.

Radiant ran to her side and attempted some minor healing, while not as skilled as a physician would be, he insured every soldier in the Crystal Empire had a basic level of first aid knowledge for combat, and as their leader, he would never issue an order that he did not also abide by.

“Celestia, what happened?” Night asked, concern for her friend and her mom was evident in her voice.

“I attempted to discuss Rainbow; Twilight was not yet ready though…” She grunted in pain as Radiant set the bone in her leg.

“Sorry, sorry.”

“It's ok; I thank you for your assistance.”

“Mom did this?” Shock was evident on Night’s face.

"Do not blame Twilight for this, in truth I didn't know if it was a good time or not, however, I approached the subject anyway. I saw her Night. For the first time since all this started Twilight spoke to me. I could see the mare she had once been. The one she might be again with our help." Despite the pain, Celestia was actually smiling.

“Are you going to try again?”

“I will need to approach it carefully, but I think, I might be able to reach her. I will try again next week.”


The next week…

Twilight found that having something to focus on seemed to calm her nerves. Her power was focused, and her mind was sharp. It had been several days since she last disassembled anything in the room. She had an objective, a task, a puzzle she needed to solve. ‘Why did Celestia want to hurt her like that, to destroy her love?’ When Celestia came by for her next visit, Twilight was ready.

As Celestia passed through the portal with a slight limp in her walk, Twilight smiled a little. She never actually wished Celestia any pain, but with the sort of anguish Celestia had caused her over the last week, Twilight did not stop herself from enjoying a little poetic justice.

“Hello Celestia.”

Celestia looked up in shock at Twilight, who was currently sitting up on the bed. Her voice had the fire and drive that she normally associated with the young alicorn. Somehow, It had none of the rasp in it that Celestia heard last time Twilight spoke to her.

“Twilight… Are you feeling better?”

“No. However, I finally have something else to focus on.”

“What would that be?”

“Celestia, I've spent the last few weeks listening to you speak. I think it's time for you to answer a few of my questions.”

A chill went down Celestia’s spine. This was a version of Twilight she had not seen in a long time. She knew that this self-imposed isolation was a bad idea. For seven weeks, Twilight had nopony to talk to, nopony to help her. She'd been stuck in this room with only her thoughts and wherever that lead her.

“Very well Twilight, what questions do you have for me?”

“What else happened? Why have I not felt the presence of Aurora or Dayspring for that matter.”

A lump built in Celestia’s throat. She did not want to tell Twilight that just yet. It had taken the mare seven weeks before she could even hold a conversation with Celestia, and now, now she was asking the inevitable. Celestia had to decide right now if the time was right to reveal all that had occurred. It was for Twilight’s sake that she made her decision.

“Spike took them to Manehattan Twilight. They were injured in the fight with the Titan, but they're recovering.”

Twilight spotted the lie instantly. Only she would have been able to see it. Celestia was good, one of the best at trying to hide something from others that she did not want them to know. However, Twilight had been her student for years. She trained under Celestia, fought by her side. She trusted Celestia... she had trusted Celestia.


“Yes Twilight.”

“Why did you just lie to me?”

The lump reformed in Celestia’s throat. She was busted and she knew it. Whatever trust Twilight held in her was gone. She had made her choice, the choice to protect Twilight, to try and spare her the pain of her son’s death, it was the wrong choice, she failed.

“Twilight, know that we all love you…”


Anger began to radiate off Twilight in waves, each one presenting as red magical energy coming off her in pulses. They caused Celestia physical pain each time one touched her.

“You talk to me about love. Tell me Celestia, whom have you ever loved? Whom have you ever felt any real emotion for? You banished your own sister to the moon… You know nothing about love.”

Celestia physically recoiled from the verbal assault. Every word Twilight spoke hurt worse then the waves of energy impacting against her.

“Your wrong Twilight. I love you. It hurts me more then you know to see you like this.”

“Get out.”

“Twilight I…”


The waves of energy grew exponentially more powerful. The pain intensified against Celestia’s skin. To stay in the room was death, even for an alicorn.

With it has the only option left, Celestia fled for her life. She gambled and lost. Twilight would not trust her anymore. Whatever good will she still had with Twilight, it was spent.

Twilight raged at the obvious lie. Her power went wild with the anger she could no longer hold back, no longer control. A dam burst in her mind. The power took apart every object in the room. The dressers, the clock, the knickknacks, all of them were disintegrated at the molecular level. Finally, the bed went next.

Oddly, she missed the bed.

Twilight floated in mid-air. Power radiating off of her. She watched as the out of control energy destroyed everything. Twilight had no doubt that if the spell failed around the room. If that no longer protected everypony, she would destroy the entire castle, then, all of Canterlot.

The spell she cast isolated the room from the rest of the castle. Ensuring that nopony could teleport in or out of the room and that no magic power could pass through the walls. While this ensured her power would not destroy anything outside of her room. It did not protect the drywall on this side of the room. That was destroyed next, breaking down to their base atoms and dissolving.


That noise got Twilight’s attention. It was unexpected to say the least. An object had fallen out of the walls. One that had been imbedded between two sheets of drywall. The sudden noise and unexpectedness of it cause her to stop. Albeit temporarily. She knew once her curiosity was satisfied it would start up again.

Twilight looked down at a golden crown inlaid with a black star stone in the shape of her cutie mark as its centerpiece. It was a bastardized representation of what her element of harmony looked like before she returned it to the tree. She instantly hated it.

‘Destroy it.’

She wanted to, she wanted to more than anything right that moment. However, that had been the second time she had heard that voice. Moreover, as much as she agreed with it, as much as the thoughts seemed like hers. She suspected... no, she knew they were not. Something was bucking with her. Something wanted her to destroy that crown. She was not new to this sort of thing. She would not give it what it wanted.

Twilight concentrated on herself for the first time in seven weeks. She used her considerable reserves of raw magic power and healed her broken legs. She then regenerated the atrophy in her muscles, rebuilding them atom-by-atom. For the first time in seven weeks, Twilight was able to stand.

Walking over to the crown, she did the exact opposite of what that voice told her to do. In pure spite of, whomever, was trying to pull her strings she did the exact opposite. She did what Rainbow would have done. Twilight picked up the crown and put it on.

Seconds afterwards, a horrible truth was revealed to her. Twilight knew not how she had failed to see the signs. It should have been impossible, however, that was true about much in Twilight’s life. When this truth finally clicked, she could not help but see the lines connecting everything. She knew for one hundred percent certainty that it was the truth.

Only one creature fed on love. With this realization, all the others dots fell into place.

She knew why Celestia wanted to destroy her love…

She knew why Celestia kept trying to tell her Dash was dead…

She knew why Celestia had just lied to her…

She knew why Celestia had wanted to redirect her love to others, to herself…

Celestia, was a Changeling. She wanted Twilight’s love for herself. As there was no stronger source of food for them. There was no telling just how many ponies were already replaced by them or were directly working for them.

It should have been impossible, however, so were a lot of things. Another hive must have survived the cataclysm from forty years ago. They were using the Titan attack as an opportunity to make their move. Only Twilight knew, only she could stop them.

Twilight screamed at the top of her lungs as the magic of the crown surround her with dark energy. She welcomed this, in terms of pure power it was next to nothing compared to what she normally had. However, dark energy could amplify a pony’s magic. She would be several times more dangerous than ever before. Twilight could even control other beings of shadow with this increase. Using this power, Twilight WOULD find Rainbow. She WOULD defeat this new threat. Twilight would have her family back. Then they would be happy again, forever.

Hell hath no Fury

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Canterlot Castle

With a minimal amount of effort, Twilight turned her horn towards the double doors leading out of her room and forced them to open. The doors slammed open with such force that they broke off their hinges and embedded themselves into the wall all the way down the hallway. Two guards patrolling the corroder quickly responded to the noise. Showing all the discipline and training they are famous for.

Not since Nightmare Moon has such a sight been seen on Equestria soil. An alicorn walked out of Twilight’s room; Darkness radiated off the figure in waves. The alicorn’s eyes were glowing a light purple. A golden crown resting on top of her head. One with a six pointed black star sitting as its headpiece. As the figure took one step forward, the guards made the last mistake they would ever make; they each took one step back.

Twilight stepped out of her room. The crown’s power was radiating off her, and she barely registered it. Yes it offered great power, however, she did not need it. She only needed her wife, Rainbow Dash. Twilight was utterly convinced that the Celestia-Changeling was hiding Rainbow, if not in the castle, than somewhere else. She needed to know where. For that, she needed to find somepony who was not a changeling, somepony who was working for the Celestia-Changeling that she could enlighten. What she found disgusted her to the core.

Two Changelings ran up to her, alerted to the noise of her leaving her room. As if... as if she was somehow a prisoner here. What was truly disgusting to look at though, was the fact these two Changelings were both in royal guard armor. Had their corruption spread that far? If they were here, what did that mean for the rest of Equestria? How far had this new ‘Queen’s’ influence spread? Was she already too late to stop it?

‘No, I will put a stop to this.’

The two Changelings started backing away from her in terror. That proved it, if they were royal guards, they would have been bowing. It dawned on Twilight that the sun was not up. That surprised her, she just finished talking to Celestia, it had been a day then… Perhaps more time had passed then she knew. Twilight needed answers, these creatures, they might have them. However, that could all wait; she wanted to know the truth about Dash first.

“Tell me before I have to take more drastic measures. Where is my wife? Where is Rainbow Dash?”

The two guards looked at each other in horror, the unspoken question passing between them.

‘Is this creature Princess Twilight Sparkle?’



Shimmering Night awoke to screaming in the night. Somepony was in pain, in such pain that their cries of anguish carried all across the castle. She immediately jumped out of bed, her actions accidentally kicked Bright Dawn square in the face.

“OWW! What the buck!”

Night looked over at her husband. A huge welt started growing on his head.

“I’m so sorry!”

Dawn started rubbing his head. “Well that’s one way to wake me up. What in Celestia’s name was that about anyway?”

The noise was gone; Night could no longer hear the screaming. “I thought I heard somepony scream.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t just a nightmare. I know, after you found your mom…”

Dawn did not finish that sentence. After the Titan attack, Night was haunted in her sleep by the sound of Twilight's suffering. Hearing her mom in such pain, it left a mental scar in Night’s subconscious, one that Luna and she worked on almost every night. They had only recently reached a stage where Night could get six hours of sleep. It would be a long process.

“Maybe… I don’t know.” ‘Maybe that's all it was.’

She kissed the welt on her husband’s head. “Sorry.”

As the two lay back in bed, Night wrapped a wing around Dawn, dragging him into her embrace so she could feel his warmth next to hers. For Dawn’s part, he welcomed the attention of the alicorn he so loved. It had taken him nine years to get to this point, nine years of struggling and training day in and day out. He would have waited his whole life for this opportunity, it was worth the wait.

Both of their eyes shot open as the screaming recommenced in earnest.


Twilight was quickly growing tired of this. Seven changelings had tried to impede her. Seven tried to stop her from finding Rainbow. Seven changelings no longer existed. She needed what they knew; she needed information on where their Queen hid Rainbow. Not one of them seemed to know anything. Even when she mentally invaded their minds, she had learned nothing of Rainbow’s location. Although, she had to give this new Queen credit: somehow, these changelings adapted to their new personas thoroughly, they even had the memories of those they replaced. It disgusted her to no end. When had this switch taken place? It had only been seven weeks, was it possible that all this had happened in that time? The more she found out the more answers she needed.

Twilight took a second to look outside the window. Luna’s moon hung brightly in the night sky. ‘So it is night. What happened to the day? I had just finished talking to the Celestia-Changeling… What's going on?’ The Captain of Luna’s bat ponies interrupted any further contemplation she had on the subject.

“Halt intruder!” Eventide drew upon all his training in order to keep the fear out of his voice. Only once had he seen such a creature and that was just in his books. Only Nightmare Moon ever looked like that.

For Twilight, the ambivalence of the situation left her speechless. She knew this pony; Eventide was one of the noblest souls working for the castle. He had a record of honor going back decades. She had been there for his induction into Luna’s night guard. However, his troops were all changelings and they were pointing spears right at her.

“Eventide, do you not see?”

“See what, foul beast!”

Twilight physically recoiled at that comment, Eventide did not recognize her, more so, he did not seem to know the company he kept. He did not seem to understand just how bad things really were. She supposed, logically, it made sense. She was the only one who knew. Twilight resolved right then and there to save those she could from this new invasion.

“Forgive me Eventide, but I do this for the good of Equestria.”

Twilight picked up the front five guards and broke their necks. She had given up on getting information from these creatures; she needed to find one of higher rank, one that might know where the Celestia-Changeling was keeping her wife.

Eventide signaled for the attack, in one blow he lost half his forces. Five sets of spears lunged for Twilight’s throat. Without even breaking a sweat all five of them were yanked from their wielder’s hooves and turned upon those who used to own them. Their screams were mercifully short as the tips ended their lives.

Twilight slowly walked towards their master, “Eventide, I don't know how this occurred, however, I will save Equestria from this new Changeling invasion. You took the same vow when I presented you your command.” The shocked look on his face told Twilight all she needed to know. ‘Eventide is not involved in this; I might be able to convince him.’

“Eventide, I've been your friend for twenty years now, come, join me. Together we can rid Canterlot of these creatures once and for all.”

“Should I know you, monster?”

That shocked Twilight, ‘How can he not recognize me?’ She glanced over into a window; her reflection stared back at her. It was broken; however, she could make out the details. Her once lavender coat had taken on a dark hue, her eyes shown with purple energy. Twilight’s entire frame was coated with dark power as none of it could find true purchase in her, as such it hung around her frame. She barely recognized herself in the reflection. ‘No wonder he seems afraid.’

“It is I, Eventide. Twilight Sparkle, your princess.”

A loud gasp came from the other end of the hallway. Twilight turned around to see who dared interrupt her.

At the end of the hallway stood another alicorn, one in which Twilight immediately recognized, however, the face she wore was one of total disgust. Shimmering Night was standing at the end of the hallway; her gaze lingered on Twilight, while her eyes took in the full horror of the dead corpses all around. Thirteen dead bodies lay on the ground. She counted them six times. The one responsible was the same pony who gave birth to her, the one that she called mom.

Twilight’s attention immediately went to the changeling standing by her daughter’s side. It was currently whispering into her ear. As if that was enough to prevent her from making out every word it said.

“We need to go, it’s not safe.”

“YOU are not taking my daughter anywhere, monster!” Twilight lowered herself into attack position and shot out an energy beam directly at the changeling that was trying to take her daughter away.

Her aim was perfect; it was a kill shot. Or it would have been, had a set of hooves not latched around her neck and lifted her head at the last possible second.

“Prince! Princess! Run!”

Eventide jumped up on Twilight's back and lifted her head before the killing strike was delivered. The beam shot up into the castle, passing through every floor until finally exiting the roof. Shooting straight into the night sky.

“Night, we've got to go!”

Dawn was shaking his wife for all his worth. She just stood there, rooted to the spot. The scene was too much for her to take in, Shimmering Night was in shock.

“I'm sorry about this.”

Bright Dawn took flight off the ground, reaching back and using his wings to add additional force, he slapped her as hard as he could.

“What… what is going on?” Tears were falling from her eyes and Dawn did not believe that they were from him hitting her.

“Why are you two still here?!”

Eventide was holding on to Twilight’s neck, constantly hitting her horn in order to disrupt any spells she might be trying to cast.

“Let’s go!” Dawn shoved the alicorn towards the nearest window and quickly shattered it with a kick from his legs. Before she fully understood what was going on, Shimmering Night was flying away from Canterlot. Tears falling freely from her eyes as Bright Dawn led them both to the emergency fallback plan Twilight had designed. Princess Twilight had designed the system for every eventuality, even this one. Dawn forced the two as fast as Night could go and for the first time he could remember she did not question it.

‘If Ponyville and Canterlot are both under attack and no longer safe, head north, fall back to the fortress city. Fall back to Stalliongrad.’


Twilight was tired of playing this game; the fact that a changeling had made off with her daughter only drove her rage into a deeper depth. She threw her back against the wall. Slamming through it will all the force she could muster. Despite losing all the air in his lungs, despite a few broken ribs, Eventide held on. It took another three walls before he let go. A piece of wood was sticking out of his stomach.

“I could forgive a lot Eventide, however, because of your actions, that ‘thing’ escaped with my daughter. I cannot forgive that.”

He glanced up at the creature that was once known as Twilight Sparkle. He had once called her a friend. Now, now she was anything but. She was the greatest threat Equestria had ever seen. He spit a wad of blood out of his mouth and smiled as he said the last words he would ever speak. “Forgive me, princess.”

Twilight, taken aback by that, almost failed to respond in time as Eventide drew the ceremonial blade Twilight presented him on his inauguration as Captain of Luna’s guard and lunged for her neck.


Twilight stared at the hole in the wall. Blood caked on the sides. Shredded pieces of bat wings lined the floor. Twilight had acted on instinct alone, a base desire to save herself. Eventide lunged for her neck with sword drawn. She threw him through the brick wall and down the mountain Canterlot was built on. There was no way he could have survived, he was dead, and Twilight had killed him.

Unlike the others, Eventide was not a changeling, he was misguided, yes, but he was not evil. She had taken his life. She had killed a pony, a pony she knew even, a friend. Her mind went blank with that realization and the dark magic in the crown finally found a way inside.


Celestia spent this night as she did most, combing the new river with a magic net. She and Luna took turns doing this for as long as they could. Luna took the west, Celestia the east. After four weeks, there were no more survivors to find. The only thing left was to find as many remains as possible. She had little hope of finding Rainbow Dash, but for Twilight’s sake, she would keep looking. Maybe, just maybe, she could earn back a little of the trust she lost with the alicorn earlier that day.

Celestia was near the remains of Ponyville when it occurred. An explosion of power lit up in the night sky. One with a dark purple tint to it, one coming directly from Canterlot. Celestia’s mind ran through all the possibilities of what that could be, from another attack to a magic accident. They all led her to one conclusion.

"Twilight! I'm coming!"


Twilight felt the power attempting to take control. It was foolish, a rookie mistake; she never should have dropped her guard like that. She had felt it since she first put on the crown, it was a little voice in the back of her head. She was stronger than it by miles, she thought she could simply use it and discarded the damn thing before it was of any concern. She never imagined this would be a possibility.

‘Why do you fight me?’

‘I'm the master of you, not the other way around.’

‘You are a strong one, yesss… I acknowledge your superiority. Yet, I ask again, why do you fight me? Why do you resist my help?’

‘I don’t want anypony to get hurt.’

‘Don’t you want to find your wife?’

‘Of course I do.’

‘Don’t you want to rid Equestria of the Changelings? Don’t you want your family back and safe?’

‘You know I do.’

‘Then ponies are going to get hurt. You already hurt one, didn’t you.’

‘That was an accident. I was protecting myself.’

‘Oh, I know, I saw everything. However, the changeling threat is too big, too massive, these ponies, they are far too gone in service to their masters. You need me. You cannot bring yourself to do what must be done. I can, I will rid Equestria of them for you.’



'I don’t trust you.’

‘That’s fair, I don’t trust me either, however, trust has nothing to do with it. Right now, you need me. The Celestia-Changeling has been lying to you, you know that already.’

‘I don’t even know what you are, who you are.’

‘It matters not who I am, although you have encountered one of my kind before’

‘I have?’

‘Yes dear one, you used the Elements on it, do you not remember?’

Realization crossed Twilight’s features, ‘The Nightmare…’

‘Yes, I knew you would remember. While I am not that upstart, I can assure you, I am far more powerful. If you must call me something, call me The Night. Now that you know what I am, you know what I can offer you. I will find Rainbow for you; I will return your family to you. All you have to do is let me the rest of the way in.’

‘How do I know you will keep that promise?’

‘Dearest Twilight, with the power you have, you could eject me at any time. Surely, Luna and Rarity have both told you about their time with the Nightmare, they were aware of everything it did. If I cross that line, if I try to betray you, simply eject me.’




‘For Rainbow, for my family, I accept.’


The explosion of power destroyed the top of Canterlot castle. Rubble rained down on the city below, awaking everypony in town. Dark purple energy coalesced on the focal point. Building in power as something new, yet very old was reborn into the world. Every pony that saw it instantly turned away in fear. It was a force that never should have existed, one that would see the destruction of all of Equestria before its lust for violence was sated.

Twilight Sparkle ceased to be, and Twilight Night was born into the world. All of Equestria would soon fear her power.

Celestia arrived soon after the birthing of this new alicorn. She looked on in horror as the creature gazed out into its new kingdom. It possessed a coat of pure darkness. A mane of flowing purple energy. Dark lavender eyes that could stare into a pony’s very soul and snuff it out of existence. What truly disgusted Celestia though, was its cutie mark. She would recognize that cutie mark anywhere. Twilight’s six-pointed star. Although it was no longer surrounded by the markings of her five friend's stars.

“No!” She had not meant to scream it but it was too late to take it back. She had seen ponies under a force like that, Celestia’s own sister had succumbed to a similar fate. Twilight Sparkle was now under the control of a dark power.

Twilight Night looked around her new kingdom and smiled. “First things first, we have to clear out the ‘Changeling infestation’.” Twilight Night summoned the remaining shadow creatures to Canterlot; while there were pitifully few of them remaining, they would be more then enough for her purposes. The new Queen had no need to dirty her own hooves. Well, almost no need.

“Celestia, how wonderful to see you again.” When she spoke, it was in Twilight’s voice, slightly deeper than normal.

“Creature! You have been defeated three times now, you will not be victorious here.”

“Tsk, tsk, dear Celestia. You have never defeated me. I'm not the Nightmare, I'm the one that comes first, and with Twilight’s power under my control, I shall pave the way for the true master to arrive.”

“You are not the Nightmare?”

“No, I'm that which comes before, I'm the Night.”

“You underestimate your host’s power, you will not be able to hold onto Twilight for long.”

Twilight Night started laughing a maniacal laugh that echoed around Canterlot. “You misunderstand what has occurred. She INVITED me in!”

“Twilight would never!”

“Oh don’t act so surprised. With all she lost, and the way you lied to her like that, Is it little wonder she would say yes to me? All I have to do is keep her focused on Rainbow. I promised to help her find her dear departed wife. Well, that, and insure that all she sees is betrayers and changelings. Even now, she believes you to be a new changeling queen and our conversation is nothing more then I asking for information about her wife. You should know that she's asking why I'm still talking to you. She wants to see you dead. This one truly has a mean streak when somepony messes with the ones she loves.”

Celestia ignored that last jab. “Rainbow is dead.”

“I know that, and you know that.” A devilish grin formed on Twilight Night's face.

A thought crossed Celestia’s mind, something this creature had said. “How did you know I lied to her?”

“My master had me in her room, long before all of this began.”

“So, you are just a pawn, I thought as much.”

Twilight Night’s face turned from one of mocking joy to pure anger. “Celestia I will…”

She never got to finish that sentence. Celestia was a very powerful alicorn in her own right, one of the two pony sisters. Her and Luna had been around the block more times than she could count. She knew how to fight, even against a foe that was more powerful. She used Twilight Night’s anger against her. The blow landed true on her left flank, knocking the mare to her side.

She had to capitalize while her foe was disoriented; Celestia flew to where the creature landed. Ready to immobilize the pony before anyone was hurt, before she was forced to hurt Twilight more. Celestia landed at the location, shocked to find Twilight Night was not there.

“Surprised aren’t you?” A voice rang from behind Celestia as Twilight Night teleported behind her and launched a killing blow of her own. The energy from Twilight Night’s horn flew true, landing at Celestia’s spot on top of the Castle, it incinerated everything there, blowing out the majority of the castle walls and the few towers that were left standing.

“Now it is you that underestimates me.”

Twilight Night spun around, looking for her prey. She should have known it would not be that easy. Celestia was nowhere around.

“Where are you?!”

The attack came from underground; Celestia ran a magical blade through the floor Twilight Night was standing on, nearly impaling her on it. She flew up, impressed by Celestia’s quick thinking.

“Blades Huh? A little old school but I approve.” She gestured with her hoof and willed into existence a magical blade of her own, one with two long serrated edges pointed front and back, the blade was radiating magic power. The energy in the center purple gem seemed to empower it with a dark life of its own.

Celestia readied for the duel to come, she had no doubt that Twilight Night’s blade was the stronger, however, if this is the duel to come this creature will be in for a shock. Celestia was practically unmatched with the blade. Only Radiant had ever lasted any amount of time against her, their duel ended in a draw.


Shimmering Night stopped mid flight, refusing to go forward another hoof. Bright Dawn turned around, flustered at his wife’s sudden actions. “What are you doing?”

“We have to get the others.”

“Later, after I get you to safety.” He took his wife’s hoof and attempted to get her flying again. Shimmering Night did not budge.

“No, now.”

Bright Dawn looked at his wife, his face showing utter annoyance that she would demand something like this now. “Really?”

Despite the tears falling from her eyes, Shimmering Night’s face was one of utter conviction. “In the past two months I have lost my brother, my sister is hospitalized, one of my parents is dead, and the other just might be the greatest threat Equestria has ever known. I REFUSE to lose anyone else.”

Dawn knew he had lost; in truth, he suspected it had never actually been a conversation. As soon as Night decided on something, that something would happen. She was so much like Twilight that it was scary. “Ok.”

“No, Dawn I am go… wait, what?”

“Lets go get the others, you’re right, they need to know, we need to get them to safety.”

Joy overtook Night’s face as she flew over and grabbed her husband in her hooves and squeezed for all she was worth. “THANK YOU!!!”

“Can’t breathe…”

“Oh, Sorry!” She let him go, Dawn fell a few feet before finally regaining his ability to fly.

“Don’t worry about it, lets just get to Manehattan.”

The two of them changed directions, heading east to Manehattan in the hopes of saving their family.


Celestia was trying to think of a new strategy, fast; without a doubt she was the more skilled swordsmare, but Twilight's blade would win out over hers. For every three blows that they exchanged Celestia’s blade would shatter and she was forced to conjure another.

She had to plan her strategy accordingly, she could not leave herself on the defensive when a blade shattered. It was frustratingly annoying, and worse, physically draining.

Twilight Night was laughing, “Oh dear Celestia, is this really the best you can do?”

“Shut up, foul creature!”

“The name calling, if only your subjects knew the real you. Then again who really does know the great and powerful Celestia?”

“You know nothing about me creature.”

“You're right about that; however, Twilight does. You forget, I have all her memories, and what a naughty mare you have been.” She laughed again. “You sent six young mares out after a dragon? Really, all on their own…Tsk, tsk.”

“Shut up!”

“Oh, but that's just the start. You then sent them after the master of Chaos and Disharmony, while you did what? Sit on the throne and watched?”

“Those were for her sake!”

“For Twilight’s sake? You honestly believe that don’t you… I have seen some awful things in my life; hell, I did most of them. But really? What if she had died? What if one of her friends died?” Twilight Night grinned a devilish grin at Celestia. “But you already considered all that didn’t you? You weighed the pros and cons. So what if she died? You can always start over with a new student, can’t you? If one of her friends died, so what? That would just strengthen her bond with you. That's what you tried after Rainbow wasn’t it? You tried to use the death of the mare she so loved to cause Twilight to fall for you. I'm right, aren’t I?”


Celestia lashed out in rage at the Creature that had just pushed all the right buttons to royally piss her off.

“I'm right, you're the true evil here aren’t you. I wonder if your dear sister even knows everything you have done.”

Twilight Night easily sidestepped Celestia’s attack and lashed out with one of her own. Celestia’s momentum caused her to fall to the right of Twilight. Her right wing fell to the left of Twilight.


Her scream carried through the night. In her horror, an entire town worth of screams soon accompanied it. She looked out at the fires that were just now illuminating Canterlot. The shadowbeings were descending in mass, decimating her town and the ponies that lived there.

Twilight Night held her blade to Celestia’s throat.

“And now, I enact the vengeance for all the ponies you have wronged over the years, well, in reality, I'm going to kill you for the fun of it. Oh well, what do they say? Two birds one stone. It's a shame that your subjects will never know the true you. Don’t worry about them though, when the master arrives they will all be joining you soon.”

“Go back to Tartarus, beast!”

“Celestia, why would I want to go home? I just got here. And besides, I live to serve.”

Twilight Night slammed the blade down towards Celestia's neck. Shattering through the weak blade that Celestia held up in a futile attempt to stop it.

Like a mare Scorned

View Online

West Equestria

Luna flew at full speed towards Canterlot; she felt the energy release of a very familiar creature being reborn in her world. She would not allow it, not again. Putting on more speed she increased her velocity until Canterlot was at last in view. She stared in horror at the fires raging around the city. She could feel the shadows crawling all over the place. They were familiar to her; she had commanded them for almost a thousand years as the mare of darkness: Nightmare Moon.

For now, none of this concerned her, there was no point in striking at the body of the serpent while the head still lived, she needed to kill the source of all this, the one responsible, the one who commanded them. There was only one place someone like that would be in Canterlot; and a quick glance over to the palace confirmed it for her. Canterlot Palace stood in the same place for almost a thousand years. Luna was not present for its construction, but she was well read on its history. An army of ponies had built it for Princess Celestia as a way of giving thanks after she saved them from Nightmare Moon. Celestia could no longer live in their ancient castle; she moved the seat of power from the castle of the Two Pony Sisters to where Canterlot now stood. It has survived more wars than Luna cared to count. Now? Now it was completely destroyed.

The view of it would have broken her heart. The castle was a marvel of pony construction. Easily the grandest structure ever produced on Equestria soil. Every facet of it, from the gardens out back, to the tips of the towers was constructed with a true artisans touch. Love was poured into every slab of concrete. Now it was gone. The towers were completely destroyed, the garden sat on fire. The floors had collapsed. Nothing remained of the original design. It could not be rebuilt, only remade. It would have broken Luna’s heart. However, at that moment, another emotion altogether ruled over Luna; Rage.

Rage is an interesting emotion. Those under its thrall forget themselves; their only consideration is inflicting violence on those who cause them pain. They lose rational thought, no longer considering the effect of their actions, no longer caring for their own survival or the survival of others. For somepony who is truly under the control of rage, for one that gives themselves over to it, there is not a more dangerous foe in existence. Although, few beings are able to keep it up for long, as most lose the drive after their endurance fails, or they succumb to extreme pain.

The sight before Luna caused her to completely give into rage. She no longer cared about the others; she no longer cared about herself. Her entire existence was now dedicated to the destruction of the one who stood on the ruins of the castle. The one who stood over her sister’s prone form.

The energy blast slammed into Twilight Night’s flank, knocking the alicorn several feet back, she fell off the ruins and came to a stop in the dirt. There was no precursor, no monolog, and no speech dictating how this new foe would stop her. It was completely by surprise, underhanded, and sneaky. She could respect that. Her new opponent was powerful. The blood flowing down her flank was testament to that. Not even Celestia had hurt her so. Whoever this was, she would need to be on her guard.

The next attack came before she even stood up, from the most unexpected angle, it came from the shadow she cast on the ground. The energy blast slammed into her stomach. Launching Twilight Night several hundred hooves in the air. Another wound, more blood spilt. Through her force of will, she extended her wings and caught herself in the air. Arresting her velocity upwards and soon to be downwards. A smile passed her blood stained lips as her enemy was finally revealed. Princess Luna stepped out of her shadow. Glaring angrily at her foe.

“Princess Lun…”

She never got to finish that sentence. Her intent was to goad Luna into talking, to anger her, to cause her to drop her guard. Twilight Night failed to realize that Luna had no guard; her emotions were all drowned out. Only one remained; Rage. Luna’s horn in her gut taught her that lesson the hard way. Twilight Night spit blood as she was skewered by it.

‘You’re losing to a changeling!’

‘No, she just caught me by surprise.’

‘No excuses, take another hit and she will be the least of your concerns.’


Having been given her ultimatum, Twilight Night shouted, “Enough!”

The alicorn creature teleported herself off Luna’s horn and back to the ruins of the castle, she held a hoof to the wound on her stomach and concentrated on healing herself. However, full healing would have to wait; Twilight Night was forced to raise a shield to counter Luna’s next energy blast. To her horror, the shield almost cracked from the blow. When the energy faded, the Jet-black alicorn dive-bombed at her. She barely had time to counter the black sword that came for her throat.

Black blade met purple. Their energy fields collided with each other, each repelling the others. Luna was never the swordsmare that her sister was, however, what she lacked in grace she more than made up for in power. She had no worry of her sword breaking, in that they are evenly matched. Unfortunately, Twilight Night was done playing around. She could not take another hit, not if she wanted to see her master’s plan come to fruition.

Twilight Night teleported behind Luna and swung, her blade barely missed Luna’s neck; it only managed to claim a few of her feathers in the swipe. Luna ducked low and kicked back with her hind legs, the move was telegraphed and sloppy. A byproduct of the rage in her heart. Twilight Night easily avoided it, doing so caused the wound in her chest to open up again and she grunted in pain. Luna took advantage of this small opening and swiped for Twilight Night’s neck.

She almost lost her head there, almost. A quick teleportation spell caused her to keep it, however, Twilight Night did lose a few strands of her mane.

“I grow tired of this game.”

“Then die already!” Luna shouted.

Luna attempted another charge at Twilight Night. Only to find her path blocked by an energy shield. “No!” She screamed. The shield closed in around her, stopping her from using the shadows to escape, or from teleporting out. Luna began using force to break out. Slamming it with energy blasts from her horn.

Twilight Night’s cocky grin faded as she realized the shield was about to break, cracks begin forming on the outside. “I don’t know how you got this powerful, Princess Luna; but it ends, NOW!”

Twilight Night tapped into the deeper reserves of power that Twilight had, truly, she could not believe that this mare had that much power. They had just fought Celestia and then Luna and she still had much more power to give. Before Luna could break through the shield, Twilight Night did it for her. She blasted the weakest section with an energy beam. The shield cracked and then exploded from the inside out. The mare trapped inside screamed for all her worth.

The dark alicorn landed next to the former Princess. She grinned at the results of her work: Princess Luna, one of the greatest alicorns to ever exist, was lying on the ground, dead. “One more alicorn to defeat.” She turned and walked away.

“We are not done yet, monster.”

Shock was evident on Twilight Night’s face as she turned around and saw that Luna was still alive; weakened, beaten, bleeding, but still alive. She tried to stand several times, only to fall over, as her legs could no longer carry her weight.

“You should have stayed down Luna, you might have lived.”

“Survival is not enough.”

“It’s a pity you know, had you still the Nightmare in you, this might have been a lot more fun. A shame, oh well, any last words to Twilight before you go? Not that she will ever get it.”


“Oh, I’m hurt; don’t tell me you do not recognize your fellow princess.”

Luna stared at the creature before her, realization dawned on Luna’s face as she finally realized just whom she had been fighting all this time. This was Twilight Sparkle, possessed in much the same way she had been all those years ago. This realization granted her newfound strength.

In a display of willpower that shocked Twilight Night, Luna conjured her black blade. It was for show, Twilight Night shattered the thing easy enough, and she held her purple blade to Luna’s throat. “It’s over, Princess Luna.”

“We don’t think so, monster!”

Three Wonderbolts slammed into Twilight Night with all the force they had, breaking several of her ribs in the process. Two more landed next to Luna. She recognized one of them, Firestar, the daughter of Spitfire and the current captain of the Wonderbolts. “C’mon, we're getting you out of here!”

“No! We must stay and end this!”

“Sorry princess, I have to respectfully disobey that order. You can court-martial me later.” Firestar and her partner picked up the stricken alicorn and carried her away. Luna raged in their hooves, but her strength had left her. Her last sight before finally succumbing to exhaustion was the creature killing off the three Wonderbolts that had sacrificed themselves for her to escape; and the headless corpse of Princess Celestia lying on the top of the ruins of Canterlot Castle.


Day never came, Twilight Night took control of the moon, and for now, she refused to lower it. It was her declaration of victory, she accomplished the impossible, she was the new ruler of Equestria. She would lower it eventually, after all, her master would not want a dead world, or if he did, he would want to do it himself. On the outside, she was a mare that savored her victory. The entirety of Canterlot was burning to the ground. Every pony her troops had found was dead. Several undoubtedly survived, running like the vermin they were. On the outside, one could be mistaken for thinking she was basking in the joy of victory.

On the inside was a VERY different story. The creature that was only known as ‘The Night’ screamed in agony. Every molecule of its being lit up in unspeakable pain. Twilight would not destroy this being, it had technically not failed. The Celestia-Changeling was dead. However, there was more than one of the foul creatures out there. The second one escaped.

Twilight Sparkle stood above the creature’s psychic form, glaring angrily at it. “I let you take charge because you said you could do what needed to be done. And you let another escape!”

“Sorry mistress, I did not know there were two.”

“Again you come to me with excuses; again you try and justify failure. You have two bucking jobs, return my family to me, and rid Equestria of the changelings. YOU HAVE DONE NEITHER!”

The pain started up again, never before had it felt such agony, never before had it felt such pain. The master was cruel, he would snuff out life and a whim, resurrecting it as he saw fit just to repeat the process. This, this was on a completely different level. This creature, this Twilight Sparkle, her torture put his to shame. She knew how to hurt something; she knew how to make it bleed. Her entire attention was directed at it.

“One more chance… Please mistress…”

In a way of answer the pain stopped. Twilight stepped away from the pathetic form in front of her. She did not want to give it another chance; however, nothing had truly changed; Equestria was still over run in changelings, ponies were still defending them, and though it let one of her foes escape, another was dead, So it technically did not fail.

“Twelve hours.”


“As you can’t seem to get the job done with the changelings, you have twelve hours to return at least one of my family members to me. Understand this creature, if one hair on their pelt is out of place, or you fail. This is over; there will be nothing left of you when I'm done.”

“I live to serve.”

Twilight Night began moving again, she looked up and summon her commanders to her. They had an attack to plan on Manehattan.


The Remains of the Everfree Forest

The General extended his will over the meager troops under his command. The mistress was summing them again, each attempt threatened to cause him to leave his post and flock to her. He could not; he had another mission to complete. A task he was assigned by the true master. If he failed, if he gave into those instincts, true punishment would be his reward. It was difficult to say the least, every fiber of his being wanted to go and not only did he have to avoid the call, he had to keep his troops avoiding it as well.

“General, we're almost at the target.”

“Keep me apprised of the situation as it develops.”

‘Soon my lord, soon we will have everything we need. Your solution is brilliant; more power, a stronger conveyor; we will soon have everything we need for your assentation.’


Outside Manehattan

It is said that nothing in the world travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. That saying was once again proven true: Somehow, the news of Canterlot’s destruction beat Shimmering Night and Bright Dawn to Manehattan.

Several pegasi flew up and intercepted the pair. Each carrying weapons aimed directly at them. Night was in no mood for pleasantries and calmly bent each blade back around.

“I will ignore you pointing weapons at a Princess of Equestria, for now.”

Bright Dawn smiled smugly at the looks of horror on the guard’s faces.

“We're sorry your grace. We're under orders to stop anypony trying to gain entry to Manehattan.”

“What sort of idiot gave that order?”

“The Mayor, your grace.”

“Consider it revoked, your new orders are as thus: Stop detaining ponies for the first part, when the enemy comes, it will not be in the form of ponies." She glanced up at the moon that still hung in the sky as a way of punctuating that sentence. “Escort me and my husband to the hospital, and tell the Mayor that I will have words with them now.”

“At once, your majesty.”

Under escort, the two continued their journey to Manehattan hospital. Then the youngest of the guards spoke up.

“Is it true what they say?”


“No, let him speak.” Night hated secrecy of any kind. If there was some rumor going around it was best to stomp it out now.

“They say Canterlot has fallen, that Celestia is dea…” He could not bring himself to finish that sentence.

Shimmering Night flew over to the poor colt and laid a hoof over his neck, in a show of compassion and friendship she hugged him. “Listen, we just came from Canterlot, when we left they were both still there. While I cannot vouch for what happened after we left, I will say this. Princess Celestia is one of the toughest ponies alive. It would take a lot to bring her down. Besides, ‘they’ say a lot; how often is it true?”

That seemed to calm him down a little; however, Bright Dawn could not help but notice the uncertainty in her posture after she spoke those words. The unspoken question passed between them. ‘Is that why the sun never rose?’


Manehattan hospital

“Ataxia if you keep pacing around this room I will have to ask you to leave.” Cadance stated.

“Ha, I would like to see you make me.”


Ataxia shrunk back at that, she knew she had pushed it just a little too far with that comment. “Sorry…”

Rarity scoffed at her child, how she had ever raised such a troublemaker would be a mystery worthy of Twilight’s attention. She blamed her husband for this. She would have given him an ear full if he was in the room. However, with the situation as it was, he insisted on staying in his dragon form. This room and hospital was far too small for him to enter. As such, Spike had spent the last two months outside the hospital. Keeping watch for anything that might threaten his sister. One who right now was quickly becoming her own worst enemy.

“Aurora, dear, you have to eat something.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“C’mon, you said the same thing yesterday, and the day before that.”

“I wasn’t hungry then either.”

“Hey mom, what time is it?”

Rarity looked annoyed by the sudden question. She needed to convince Aurora that it was necessary to eat slightly more than once a day. However, she had been completely unsuccessful for the last few days. The poor dear seemed to be on a hunger strike, though for what purpose Rarity could only guess at.

“I'm doing something slightly more important right now dear.”

“It’s seven thirty.” Cadance spoke.

“Morning or Night?” Ataxia asked.

“Morning, why do you ask?”

“Why is the sun not up yet?”

That got everyone's attention; they all went to the window, having just noticed that Celestia failed to raise the sun for the first time since any of them could remember. Something was very wrong indeed.

“Whatever's going on, I'm sure that Luna and Celestia are taking care of it. After all, if they needed us they would just send a letter to Spike, right?”

A chorus of agreements followed Princess Cadance statement, though no pony in the room seemed fully convinced by it. The uncomfortable silence soon permeated through the whole group as they contemplated alternative reasons why the sun had failed to rise that day. Fortunately, a pony entering the room soon interrupted it.

Cadance turned a smile to her son. “Radiant! Did you get them?”

Radiant Star grinned at this collection of ponies, they never ceased to raise his spirits, even at his lowest, even after his dad passed on, he felt happy to have such an unusual family. “I sure did! Oatmeal raisin with rainbow chocolate chips, your favorite.” He levitated the bag of cookies over to Aurora.

Aurora picked up the bag of cookies with her mouth and threw them into the trashcan. “I hate cookies.”

The entire group stared at her in stunned silence.


Shimmering Night arrived under escort to Manehattan General Hospital; her first sight was of her brother rising up to greet her.

“Hey Night, what brings you here this late?”

“Spike, it’s after eight.”

Spike’s eyes went wide with shock after that announcement. “What do you need me to do?”

“Be ready, I have no idea what to expect, but we have to get to Stalliongrad.”

“Is it that bad?”

“I'm not sure, it might be worse…”

“Fifteenth floor, east side, middle room. I’ll keep an eye out.”

With that Spike flew off, doing circles above the hospital scanning for any threats he could.

Night wasted no time, she quickly flew to the east side of the hospital and through the window, shattering it in the process.

“What in the world?!” The shattering glass startled Rarity, however, secretly, she was just happy for something that broke the permeating silence that had been present for the last thirty minutes.

“Good, you are all here, we have to get out of here and get to Stalliongrad."

“Young lady! That is no way for a princess to behave.”

“Rarity, we really do not have the time.”

“Rarity, we can discuss proper etiquette later, for now though, Shimmering Night would you care to explain that statement?”

Shimmering Night looked gratefully at Princess Cadance; she had forgotten how stubborn Rarity could be at times like this. “I really do not have time to explain everything, and in truth I don't know everything. However, we have to get to Stalliongrad. Yes, it’s that bad, or it could be. I don’t really know, but I don’t want anyone else getting hurt.” She almost cried looking at her sister lying in the bed.

Aurora Flash turned away from her sister. For the first time she could remember, she did not want the attention. Seeing her younger sister in such pain, over her. It brought tears to her eyes.

“We can’t move her though.” Radiant Star pointed a hoof at Aurora. “The doctors have yet to fully restore her legs. If we try now, she may never walk again.”

“Besides, what sort of threat could we not deal with?” Cadance asked.

“Twilight Sparkle.”

Every mouth in the room dropped at the words Bright Dawn just spoke. He arrived just in time to hear the last question asked. Shimmering Night stared daggers into her husband for dropping that bombshell.

“They deserve to know something happened at the castle. Princess Twilight, she, she seemed to be possessed by something, something that caused her to want to kill me. We got out of there as quickly as we could but there is no telling how long we have. You have all seen the sun, or more precisely, the lack of it. Now what that truly means I can only guess at; however, I think it is safe to say that Celestia has at least lost to her. Judging by her actions, she will want her family with her; that means all of us are in danger. She will come for us all.”

Waves of energy began pouring off Ataxia; a smile crossed the purple mare's face. “I would like to see her try. I have always wanted a real go at Twilight.”

Cadance, Radiant, Night, Dawn, and Aurora all looked at her in shock. The same thought crossed all five of their minds, ‘If those two go at it for real…’ Rarity simply walked towards Ataxia, past all the energy she gave off, raised one hoof, and slapped her across the muzzle.

“No daughter of mine will lay one hoof on Twilight.”

Ataxia rubbed her muzzle in shock, which was quickly replaced by anger at her mom for hitting her. However, before she could say or do anything, green fire lit up the night sky. Night looked out in horror. “We're too late.”

Spike did his damnedest to keep them away from the hospital. He fought tooth, claw, and nail. However, when the defense forces showed up it quickly became a losing battle. Normally he would have been happy for the assistance, not now. Now they were in the way, he could no longer use his most dangerous weapon, his fire. Several waves of the creatures made their way past him and into the hospital, hitting several floors at the same time.

Ataxia was in no mood to play around, she fired the first group of the creatures with magical hellfire.

“Ataxia stop!”


“You're setting the room on fire!”

She watched as Cadance was forced to take time and extinguish the blaze.

“Young lady, there is no point in destroying them if we all die in the process.”

“It’s not my fault they're so weak.”

“They may be weak. But there is a lot of them.” Radiant slaughtered the one he was fighting before turning his attention to the door. Another group was on their way in. “If we can keep them bottlenecked like this they won't stand a chance.”

Fate has always been a fickle beast, sometimes granting luck to those who do not deserve it, sometimes to those who do. There is no rhyme or reason to it, as an invention of Chaos; he designed it to be Chaotic. Although there is one sure-fire way to get on its bad side. A wrench he threw into the workings if you will.

As the old saying goes, ‘Don’t tempt fate.’

Aurora screamed as her bed was dragged down to the floor below. Her nightmares had come back to haunt her, the same creatures that had made a meal of her were now swarming on top of her. They picked her up and began dragging her to Celestia knows what fate.

“AURORA!” Radiant screamed; as he jumped down into the hole after his cousin.

This time, when Ataxia fried every one of the Shadowbeings on the floor, nopony complained. As they all jumped down the hole after their missing family member. Radiant took point, he no longer cared to show off, and he no longer gave a shit what the others were doing. This was a family member's life on the line, for him, this was his father’s life on the line. He would not be found wanting, not again. He ran down the hall in a blur, slaughtering every creature that he saw with magical blades he conjured out of air. The rest quickly followed his trail of destruction. Shimmering Night brought up the rear.

Shadowbeings are fast, swift, and agile. They sped down the hall, their prey carried between them. However, Radiant Star trained every day of his life to face any challenge. He would not be denied; he caught up to them and slaughtered every single one.

“Is she ok?” Cadance asked.

Radiant leaned over Aurora’s body, relief flooded his features. “She's fine, just unconscious.”

The rest of the group arrived. A chorus of “Oh thank Celestia,” and the like passed between them.

It was Bright Dawn that broke the aura of congratulations when he noticed somepony missing. “Where's Night? Where's my wife?”

All the way down the hall Shimmering Night screamed as several shadowbeings tried dragging her through the window and out into the sky.


Before anypony could stop him, before anypony could so much as say another word, Bright Dawn sped down the hallway, performing a sonic rainboom to maximize his speed. He slammed into the shadowbeing with such force that they were cut in half. The impact knocked him out as his momentum carried him out into the night sky.

The hospital collapsed next.


The remains of Canterlot

‘It's been twelve hours, let me guess, you have more excuses for your failure.’

‘No mistress, they are bringing them now.’

Twilight Night looked up at the horde of shadowbeings coming her way. There were pitifully fewer of them then when they left. She would have to do something about that. However, her true attention was on the pony they carried.

‘Is that Bright Dawn?’

‘Yes mistress, one family member as you asked, mostly untouched.’

‘Again you try my patience! Did you really think I meant him? Besides, I ordered they be brought back unharmed!’

‘Sorry mistress. We will do better next time.’

‘Well, you did bring one back, however, such arrogance cannot go unrewarded, I think I might enjoy this, you won't.”

The being only known as ‘The Night’ screamed in agony as its punishment was delivered. Twilight laughed, normally she would never take such enjoyment in another’s suffering. However, normally those who suffered were good; this creature was the lowest of the low. It was nothing more than an admitted force of evil. She had to teach it its place. So why not enjoy it for a little while?

Little did she realize that this creature, this ‘Night’, was slowly working its way into ‘other’ areas. Her actions were not fully her own, and little by little it had been corrupting her since she first entered the room all those weeks ago.

Twilight Night signaled the shadowbeings to take Bright Dawn and make him comfortable. The shadowbeings snickered to each other; after all, what could be more comfortable than a torture cell?

Twilight spent the next week enjoying herself with her new plaything, and before she grew bored of the punishment she actually figured out how to play a song with its screams.

Twilight Night looked around and stretched her legs; standing in the same spot for over a week had left quite a cramp in them. Turning around, she saw the work her minions had done. It was quite impressive; they were quickly turning the ruins of Canterlot Castle into a palace fit for a Queen, fit for her. They needed more workers to finish it though, and she would need more soldiers for her army. It was a win-win as far as she was concerned. Twilight Night headed inside the palace to fix that issue immediately as the oddest thing happened.

Two drops of liquid struck her on top of the head.

Looking up, she saw no rainclouds that could have caused that to happen. “Odd,” She ordered two shadowbeings to investigate and quickly forgot about it. Twilight Night had a mission to complete after all; the master demanded it.

“I live to serve.”

At the Bottom of Pandora's Box

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As a baby dragon, Spike was able to lift many times his own weight. Rarity often forced the poor dragon to carry all her luggage in one go. As a result, he was easily one of the strongest living beings in Ponyville. His strength increased exponentially as he grew up. Before she untapped Gaia's power, not even Twilight could lift as much with her magic as he could with his arms. He put that strength to good use.

Spike tore at the rubble of Manehattan General Hospital with all his strength. His biceps strained at the pressure he put on them. Lifting several tons of debris with each load, he quickly removed them from the site and returned to work. Several times, other ponies would try to get him to stop, get him to rest. However, none of them were successful. The mayor almost lost her life as she attempted to get in his way. Only a lucky grab by a nearby unicorn saved her head from literally being bitten off. For Spike, his whole world was this pile, his friends, his family, and his promise. He would not be denied. Any who try he counted amongst his enemy, and a horde of dead shadowbeings gave warning to what happened to those who fell in that category.

He clawed at a huge piece of rubble, blood from cuts in his claws flowed down his arms. He knew not when the blood started flowing, nor did he care. He made a promise on his dragon code. A promise to his dear departed brother to protect their sister, Aurora Flash. He would honor that promise to his last dying breath. Even if the possibility existed that, that... that he might already have broken it.

Spike slammed his head into the rubble to clear that thought from his mind. He could not afford to think like that, for him, there was one job and one job only. Find his sister, find his family, and keep them safe.

He dug in the rubble for days, until he was beyond being tired, beyond being exhausted. He wore his claws down to nubs. His hands cut up so bad that nopony could see the purple coloring on them anymore. Spike did not care; he had a dragon’s endurance, a dragon’s strength, and a dragon’s promise to keep. Even if it cost him his life he would keep digging until he found them, and so he did, for three days straight he dug. No pony could help him; he dug with such speed and such ferocity they would only get in the way if they tried.

On the third day…

Spike grunted as he tried to lift the largest piece of rubble yet. It was easily seven tons. He poured his back into it and even used his wings to help. It was no use, three days of constant exertion, three days of not eating, sleeping, or drinking anything, despite the plethora of food the ponies around him had offered. Spike refused to rest for any reason, however, now all that exertion was finally taking its toll.

For the first time since he started, for the first time in three days, he was failing. The weight of the task was crashing down on him now. No longer could he ignore his thoughts, no longer could he physically exert himself in this task. It was all coming down. Just as the building had, save this time, it collapsed in his mind. He cried out in true agony, the agony of failure, as the huge piece of rubble he was lifting started to come down again.

Suddenly, several magical auras began surrounding the piece of debris. It became lighter, its mass decreasing in half. Spike still struggled, but this time, this time the result was not in doubt. He spared a glance back and bore witness to a sight that caused a tear to fall from his eye. The unicorns who until now were too afraid to even go near him; they were combining their powers to help him. He mouthed a silent ‘thank you’ before pouring the last of his strength into it. The piece lifted the rest of the way and he threw it to the side. The scene revealed before him caused his heart to skip a beat.

Aurora Flash lay on her side, her head resting on Princess Cadance's lap. Her body was motionless, save for the subtlest rise and fall of her stomach. Aurora’s scars were seen by most ponies as something to be pitied, she had been so beautiful before them. For Spike, they simply made her more gorgeous, they represented the sacrifice her brother, Dayspring Gleam had made for her. Such a noble sacrifice should be honored. There should be a mark upon this world of what he did, and if Aurora chooses to wear that mark, he would forever be proud of her for it.

Rarity and Cadance where each leaning on the other for support, Neither of them looked good, well good was relative when speaking of these two. Even at her age, Rarity was always drop-dead gorgeous. While most ponies would consider Aurora to be the standard of beauty. As far as Spike was concerned, they were all wrong. Rarity was beauty personified, and she always would be too him. Even now, having been buried under rubble for three days, she was still the most gorgeous sight he had ever seen.

It was obvious to Spike that Cadance had pushed herself too far. As an alicorn, Princess Cadance had the endurance of the strongest earth ponies, but even they had their limits. She lay there, lightly stroking Aurora’s mane. Her efforts completely focused on keeping the mare in her lap alive. As another pony stood over them.

Soaked in her sweat from hoof to muzzle, Ataxia’s eyes radiated magic power. It was obvious to anypony looking that she had not moved from that spot for three days. The shield she was casting over the group taking all her concentration. Her face consorted into a grimace, with the pain of her physical exertion written all over it. Radiant Star lay collapsed by her side. The little magical power he had seemed spent, given to Ataxia to help her keep them alive.

Spike landed near the shield, and placed one claw on top of it. To his horror, the shield shattered from his touch. The realization of how close it had been to fading dawned on him. ‘Had I failed to lift that last piece?’ He could not think about that right now, as with the shattering of her shield, Ataxia’s endurance finally gave out and the mare collapsed. Spike ran forward and caught his daughter. She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. Her final act before succumbing to exhaustion was to point to the west and speak two words in a dry, raspy voice, “Shimmmerrriiinnnggg Niiiiggghht.”

Spike turned his head back at the rescue ponies, which were stunned into inactivity. He shouted, “Don’t just stand there. Help me!” His words spurned them into action, several medical ponies ran forward at the sight of the first survivors they had found since this all started. As two unicorns removed Ataxia from Spike’s arms, he glanced over in the direction she had pointed, understating what she had meant to say. The warning she had used the last of her strength to give him. ‘Shimmering Night is over there.’ Another full day would pass before Spike found his missing sister.



Stalliongrad is a marvel of modern pony engineering. The first city of its kind built on Equestria soil. It was a fortress city, designed by none other than Princess Twilight Sparkle. The other Princesses and Twilight's kids had balked at her insistence that such a city would ever be necessary. In over a thousand years, Equestria never had need for such a place. However, Twilight’s checklist had deemed it necessary, she made a checklist for every possible eventuality that could occur to Equestria, and while the chances were slim, while the odds where next to nil, it was still a possibility that nopony could effectively refute. It took ten years, and an uncountable amount of pony hours, but Stalliongrad was complete. The greatest military minds came to examine this marvel of ingenuity. They all agreed on one thing, Stalliongrad was impenetrable, no force could take it.

Twilight did not believe in absolutes. Not after the life she had led. Say something is improbable and it will probably never happen. Say something is impossible and it will most assuredly occur, and in the worst possible way at the worst possible time. Therefore, she had a contingency plan for her contingency plan. If the time came for Stalliongrad to fulfill its purpose, if the day came that the ponies of Equestria would ever call upon the defenses that Stalliongrad offered. Cloudsdale would relocate above it, doubling the defenses in one move.

The very nature of pegasi was one of conflict and struggle, while for the last few hundred years that involved turning their pursuits to the athletic. Cloudsdale still kept a sizable force of standing militia. They are… was, Celestia’s go-to for any quick response that Equestria needed for its military defense.

While her fellow princesses had ridiculed the idea of a fortress city ever being necessary in Equestria, right this second, Princess Luna was VERY grateful for Twilight’s foresight. It was more than necessary. She knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Stalliongrad was the only reason they were still alive. This new enemy, a revenant that had possession of Twilight and all the magic she owned. It would have seen them all dead by now otherwise.

As such, that is where the new seat of power in Equestria was located, in a fortress city, designed by Princess Twilight Sparkle, and declared impregnable by the greatest military commanders of the age, with another city floating above it, one currently occupied by over three divisions of pegasi, that even now flew in practice drills for an impending fight that no pony was foolish enough to assume was not coming.

Luna held her court in the main council room of Stalliongrad, a room designed to fit several hundred ponies, but which now only held a hoof full. She was seriously considering the possibility of removing a few of those ponies from their miserable existence even now. The conversations were going nowhere quickly and the burns on her body had yet to fully heal. She scratched at a particularly obnoxious one on her belly as the conversation again, returned full circle, back to where it started.

“What are we going to do about this eternal night?”

“Our crops are dying in the fields.”

“We need to attack.”

“No, we should stay here.”

“What about sending for help?”

“No one will help us right now.”

“We can’t stay here forever.”

“Yes we can, there is seven years of provisions for twice this number.”

“We still have to do something about this eternal night.”

Luna quickly grew mad, again. “SILENCE! We've had enough of this bickering. No pony will talk out of turn again!”

The floor went silent, Luna’s voice cutting through every eardrum present. It was not the first time she had to employ this trick today, not even the first time she used it this hour. It never failed, these ponies only seemed happy when they were repeating themselves. Never listening to any other point of view, and always assuming theirs was the only right way to do it. She would give them her crown if one of them were actually correct. Sadly, she knew none of them had the right answer. Everything they said was a short-sided viewpoint, which at best was missing too many details to work. At worst, they were repeating the same question already asked five times before. She briefly considered just canceling the whole bucking thing. ‘What was the point if they would not actually talk about something important?’ She would not, after all, Luna did not have the answers herself, and if there was one thing everypony agreed on, it is that Twilight would be coming here.

Twilight designed this fortress, she knew what it means, and she knows victory can only be achieved by destroying it. Luna hoped that Twilight's designs included attacks from herself. Somehow, Luna had a feeling that they did. Twilight was always one for considering every eventuality, even the unthinkable, like this one.

During the small lull in the arguing, Ataxia turned to her mother and asked, “Mom why are we here?”

“I already explained that to you dear, this is a meeting of the greatest commanders Equestria has to offer, we need a plan for dealing with those creatures that doesn't involve us all being killed.”

“Alright, let me rephrase that question. Why am I here?”

“Funny Ataxia.”

Ataxia just grumbled at that, she hated things like this; her specialty was causing trouble, not cleaning up what others did. She did not believe that she would be of much help anyway. After Manehattan, she had completely exhausted herself keeping the building from crushing her family. Ataxia had yet to tell anypony this, but even the simplest spells were beyond her right now, she did not know when she would be able to do magic again.

Shame was her only friend now. For the first time in her life, she was on the receiving end at what she did to others. She knew a little of the suffering that she was guilty of causing, and now, now she was friendless. Fluttershy was dead. Rainbow Dash was dead. Twilight was evil and looking to kill them all. She did not know if the others could even be considered her friends. Ataxia did not have the courage to ask them, if they said no, then she would truly be alone. All she wanted to do was cry in her room. However, her dad had asked her to attend, and after everything, everything she had put her parents through, she could not say no. It was a small penance, but it was all she could do for them right now. Despite herself, she could not stop a tear falling from her eye, one that went unnoticed by all but Rarity, whom said nothing about it.

Rarity did step ever so closer to her daughter though; she hoped that the closeness might cheer her up. While the small gesture did not achieve the desired result, it achieved so much more than Rarity ever imagined it would. Ataxia looked at her for the first time as a daughter would a loving mother, for the first time since she could remember, with that one small gesture, Ataxia felt truly loved. ‘It’s a shame it took the end of the world for me to figure this out.’ Ataxia thought.

Princess Cadance soon found her attention dragged to the pair, a smile crossed her face at the tender display of love the two shared. ‘I knew it would happen, eventually.’ She knew, without a doubt in her heart, that Ataxia finally reached a turning point. She would still be the same smart-ass mare they all knew and loved, but, she would no longer cause misery to every pony she met. Ataxia now knew what love felt like, and although it had taken her longer than most to figure it out. Once a pony knew that feeling, they would forever be changed by it.

Radiant Star noticed the slight smile on his mom’s face. “What’s up?” he asked.

“Nothing, just enjoying a touching family moment.” She wrapped a wing around her son and dragged him over to her, nuzzling him gently, much to his embarrassment.

“Mom, not now.”

“No Radiant, now is the perfect time. Consider it an order.”

That ended any more protesting from the stallion; as much as he hated others seeing him like this, in a very inappropriate personal display of affection, the one thing he would NEVER do is disobey a direct order. As such, he was forced to deal with the tender display of affection his mom was doting on him. However, it did surprise him that when it was over, he actually missed it.

A deep voiced pegasus soon broke the silence. “Princess Luna, if I may address the floor.”

Luna looked up at the new speaker. She was currently rubbing some of the bandages on her chest, a souvenir from the battle she had with Twilight. Radiant was not surprised to learn that some of her wounds would never heal. On her worst days, Twilight was a formidable foe, one that would take entire armies to have a chance of defeating. Now, now, she was more dangerous than he could imagine. Still, if half of Luna’s story was true, she gave as good as she got. His respect for the Princess of the Night increased ten-fold.

“Of course, the floor recognizes Commander Tsunami, leader of the Cloudsdale militia.”

As a pearl white pegasus walked up to address the crowd, Cadance shot him a look of complete disgust. One that Radiant quickly took notice of. “Mom, what’s wrong?” asked Radiant.

“That pony is what’s wrong. He's a backstabbing, self-absorbed, egotistical narcissist.”

Radiant Star looked at her in shock; he had never heard her talk like that about anypony. Radiant could see the look of anger on her face. He looked over the pony that had so earned the ire of his mother. As Commander Tsunami stepped out the crowd, Captain Firestar moved to the side, allowing him to pass. With a respectful nod, he gave her his thanks, ‘Surely he cannot be all that bad?’ Radiant thought. Tsunami had a pearl white coat with a light blue mane and tail; his cutie mark was that of a rising star.

What Cadance told him next completely changed his opinion of the pony in an instant. Cadance whispered into her son’s ear. “He was with your father, on that day.” Suddenly Tsunami’s coat was an insult, there was not a mark on the pony, not one imperfection. It became clear to Radiant that this pony was the reason why Shining Armor was dead. He must have run when Shining fought; he flew away like a coward, leaving those who could not fly to fend for themselves. Rage began building in Radiant’s gut, before he even released it, Radiant conjured three blades in the air.

Cadance wrapped a hoof around her son, causing all three blades to disappear before he did something drastic. “No, there would be no use in that, son. At best if you did what you are thinking, Cloudsdale would withdraw its support. At worst the Crystal Empire would be at war with Cloudsdale.”

“We can’t do nothing.” He growled.

“Wrong, nothing is precisely what we're going to do. Taking action is easy; the mark of a true leader is their ability to not take action. Besides, a military tribunal cleared him of any wrongdoing.”

That seemed to calm Radiant Star down, however, what Cadance left out was that it was a Cloudsdale military tribunal lead by ponies that had been given their positions by Tsunami several years prior. That was news that would only serve to rile him up more. If that happened, she seriously doubted Tsunami would live through the day. Not a fate she would mourn, however, her son’s punishment afterwards would be too heartbreaking to endure. Looking back at Tsunami her face turned once again to disgust, as far as Cadance was concerned, Tsunami’s cutie mark should be knife in the back.

While almost no pony noticed Radiant’s outburst, two did, Ataxia turned to her mom and asked. “What was that about?”

Rarity looked around at all the assembled ponies until she finally noticed Commander Tsunami being introduced and walking to the front of the assembly, she knew this pony. Rarity knew this story all too well. Having been there when Twilight went through the heartbreak it brought her. “Looks like somepony opened Pandora’s box. Be ready for anything.”

Ataxia looked confused, but she stayed close to her mother, just in case something did go down. ‘I may not have my magic, but I can still protect those I love.’

Commander Tsunami sat in front of the council chamber and looked around, even when he was younger, he was a well-known wordsmith, with a talent for working over crowds.

“Friends, we have sat in this same room for several days now, listening to the same arguments being tossed back and forth, all for what? Nothing, for three days we have accomplished nothing. Yes, we each have our concerns; however, they all treat the symptoms of the problem, and not the problem itself. Friends, we have to deal with the actual issue at hoof.”

A sinking feeling on where this was going settled in Cadance’s gut. One that seemed contagious, as both Radiant and Luna appeared to be sharing in the symptoms.

“Friends, we need to focus on the cause of all this. We need to concentrate on the actual problem itself, putting one hundred percent of our effort into catching the one who is responsible for all the suffering we have endured over the past week, and that pony is… Twilight Sparkle.”

He timed the reveal perfectly, waiting for the exact moment when the group’s emotions were the most susceptible to his cause, then dropped the bombshell on them all. They all knew what had occurred; Princess Luna had informed every member of the committee at the start. However, now they had a focus for their ire, now they had something to rally against, a pony to direct their hatred towards. It was much harder to stay unified when the cause of your pain was not responsible for her own actions. With one speech, he had removed that thought from their heads and directed all of their hatred on that pony. Unfortunately, that pony was Cadance's sister-in-law, and she would not stand for Twilight's name to be dragged through the mud like this.

“Enough!” Cadance shouted at the top of her lungs. Anypony who knew her knows Cadance never shouts, she never raises her voice to anypony. That fact alone was enough to quiet the whole room. “Twilight is not responsible for her actions. I WILL NOT have this turn into a witch hunt, yes we need to stop her, however, we also need to bring her back to us.”

Commander Tsunami smiled at her, this was too easy. “Well of course her former foal sitter, sister, and fellow princess would say that. It just goes to show the depth of her treachery.”

“Treachery…” the words stung in her throat, too late Cadance realized she had played right into his hoof.

“Yes dear princess, treachery. Twilight Sparkle destroyed Canterlot, the capital of Equestria for a thousand years. She declared war on all of Equestria by sending her minions to attack a hospital in Manehattan, she is at least partly responsible for cutting Equestria in half, and if that wasn't enough, she beheaded our dear leader, Princess Celestia in cold blood.

Rarity could not take any more of this, she jumped to all four hooves, “Twilight Sparkle would never, and she wasn’t responsible for any of that!”

“Twilight Sparkle is a traitor, a coward and a murderer. I say this to every pony here. Former Princess Twilight Sparkle is a betraying whore who needs to be executed on sight!” Commander Tsunami paused to bask in the cheers and adulation of the assembled ponies. He had won; Twilight had always been a pain in his neck, a constant thorn in his ambitions. Now... now she had given him the perfect opportunity rid Equestria of her forever.

Princess Luna, despite the obvious pain it caused, stood to her full height; she was more than ready to put a stop to all of this. She need not have bothered. A blinding multicolor light filled the room

Before the light had cleared, before anypony could see what had caused it to occur, a loud noise echoed throughout the room, coming from a very familiar voice.


No pony spoke, everypony too shocked to say another word. When Luna’s vision finally returned she saw Commander Tsunami forced up against the back wall. He was hanging by his neck with a shocked look on his face. Two golden wings were keeping him in place on the wall several hooves above the ground. Blood was leaking down his neck as the wing’s most prominent feathers cut into either side of his neck. The tips of the wings imbedded into the wall keeping him hanging like a ragdoll. The other ends were attached to a cyan blue mare. If it were not for those wings, Luna would never have recognized the mare. Covered as she was from head to hoof in scars, bleeding from the worst cuts that seemed concentrated around her face. One eye would not open, as her eyelid was too puffy to allow it. Several of her teeth were missing, if Luna had been in a battle, this pony had been on the receiving end of a warzone.

Rainbow Dash leaned in close to her prey and spoke her command one more time, in case he did not hear it. “Say it again.”

“What?” he managed between his struggles to breath.

“What you said earlier, call my wife a traitor, a murderer, and a coward. Call her a whore who needs to be executed on sight”

Wisely, he said nothing; however, the same could not be said for his bladder.

Captain Firestar walked up with the intent of putting a stop to this. “Rai…”

As soon as the words left her mouth, Rainbow's right wing shot out of the wall and directly to her, the tips of her feather coming an inch away from Firestar’s eye. “I am not speaking to anyone else right now, and I will not be interrupted. So sit down and shut up. This piece of filth and I are having a conversation.”

Firestar never had any real love for Commander Tsunami. Every pony who met the stallion, sized him up within five minutes of talking with him. She had tried to come to his rescue out of formal courtesy only. He definitely was not worth getting killed for. Therefore, she sat back down without complaint.

“I will tell you one more time. Say. It. Again.” As her right wing retook its spot on his neck, she removed her hoof. Once again causing him to hang and the blood to resume flowing. Mixing with the blood flowing from Rainbow’s wounds on the ground.


“Oh, you won’t say it now?”


“What wrong? Cat got your tongue?” She reached a hoof up and opened his mouth. “Hmm, no, that’s not the case, it’s still in there. Maybe you just lack the balls to say that to me?”


She reached down and squeezed his testicles, eliciting a loud yelp from Tsunami and a sympathetic moan from every stallion in the room. “That’s not it either; they're still there as well.” To his relief, she let go.

“Well the problem must be a mental one, you seem to have the balls to say stuff like that when nopony around is going to do anything about it, but you lack them when somepony confronts your bullshit head on. Well, if you are not going to use them when it matters, I say you shouldn’t have them at all.”

Princess Cadance turned to Luna, surprised to find a smile on the alicorn’s face. Whatever was about to happen, Luna would do nothing to stop it. Secretly, deep down, in her darker places, Cadance wanted it to happen as well.

With a speed that nopony in the room could hope to follow, Rainbow removed both of her wings and quickly inserted another into the wall before removing it. To the other ponies, it looked as if she had simply removed both wings from the wall. However, when Tsunami fell to the ground, castrated, no pony was in doubt at what Rainbow had done. As he cried out in pain, Rainbow’s voice carried over his, “You better hope that somepony here likes you enough to get you medical attention.”

Princess Cadance did not know if it was due to his attitude, his cutthroat nature to backstab any pony in his way, or the lingering presence of Rainbow Dash in the room. However, nopony so much as got up to help Commander Tsunami. Some actually had smiles on their faces. Apparently, she was not the only one who disliked him so.

Radiant tried to ask a question. “Rainbow…”

A golden wing shot out and stopped in front of the stallion; while the intent to kill was not there, the threat was very real. “The next words I want to hear will tell me what happened to my wife. Anything else and you lose your tongue.” She spoke to everypony in the room.

Lieutenant Blazing Light, second in command of the Wonderbolts, and personal protégé of Tsunami, spoke up. “Are we really going to let one pony threaten everypony in this room?” few doubted just how she had such a high-ranking position in the Wonderbolts. It was an obvious case of Nepotism.

That would be the last sentence she would ever speak. As soon as the last word left her mouth, her tongue went with it. She grabbed at her mouth with a hoof, shock written on her face.

“Don’t worry, it won’t kill you, however, you will never speak out of turn again.” Rainbow spoke. “Now, I will repeat myself one more time, what the buck happened to my wife?” Rainbow began pacing back and forth. Bloody hoof prints left in her steps. It was taking everything she had to avoid passing out, however, this was too important; she wanted... no, needed answers.

“We will tell you, Rainbow.”

Rainbow turned and looked at the black alicorn; Princess Luna was the first to speak. Not wanting any more of these foolish ponies to press Rainbow’s buttons. “Rainbow, Twilight has been possessed by a revenant similar to the Nightmare that possessed us for a thousand years. She is raising an army and seeks our destruction.”

Rainbow paused near the wall, she stood on her hind legs and leaned against it, “Oh,” she replied. “Is that all?” Her wounds finally beat out her endurance and she fainted to the ground. Her wings were finally able to wrap around her and start healing her. As they were no longer being kept taut through her force of will.

Several guards ran up to the golden cocoon, pointing spears at it menacingly. Before one was within striking distance, Luna calmly stated, “If anypony touches her, they will share Commander Tsunami’s fate.”

As every guard paused in their tracks, Luna calmly stood up and walked over to the golden cocoon. She picked it up in her magic and carried it out of the room to the infirmary. Princess Cadance could not help but notice a slight change in Luna’s demeanor. For the first time since Celestia was killed, Luna looked happy. Her final words to the delegation rang out behind her. “Dismissed, same time tomorrow!”

Ataxia stood up and looked around at the ponies leaving the room. Glancing back, she saw that somepony had taken Commander Tsunami out of the room, if that was to a hospital or a morgue she could not say. Ataxia turned and looked at her mother whom had the widest smile on her face and tears falling down her eyes. “What just happened?” Ataxia asked.

“We just found out what’s at the bottom of Pandora’s Box.”

“What’s that?”



Stalliongrad Infirmary, two hours later…

As the golden cocoon retreated, Rainbow slowly regained consciousness. Her first sight was of Princess Luna, singing a soft melody to herself. It sounded lovely; truly, Princess Luna had a singing voice to rival that of Sweetie Belle’s.

“Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low”

“Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home”

“Only know you love her when you let her go”

“And you let her go”

The wings retracting interrupted Luna’s singing, much to Rainbow’s chagrin. “Welcome back to us, Rainbow.”

“How long was I gone?”

“Gone or healing?”

“Healing, I know how long I was gone for.”

“You were in a healing state for two hours.”

‘Two hours? It only took an hour to heal after my fight with Cronus… Was I really that bad?’

“Rainbow, if we may ask you a question. How long were you gone for?”

“What? What sort of question is that?”

“Just please, humor us.”

“Thirty minutes, why?”

Luna’s eyes going wide told Rainbow that ‘that’ was not the answer she was expecting. “Rainbow, can you tell us everything you remember? Please, it'll help us fill you in on what has occurred.”

“It was during the fight for Ponyville, that bastard Thanus tried to assassinate Twilight. I gave chase, but he led me on a wild goose hunt through the forest. He was a slippery one, ducking all my attacks by using the trees. I don’t think killing me was his objective, I think his objective was simply to separate me from Twilight, which I'm ashamed to say, he succeeded in doing. By the time I realized it, the Titan was free… It was about to kill Twilight. I. I couldn’t let that happen. I flew to her aid, faster than I have ever flown before. Faster than I think anypony has ever flown before. Every part of me felt like it weighed a ton. I couldn’t keep my eyelids open. Although, I did feel the impact against the Titan, several times in fact.”

Rainbow paused in the telling, the pain of recent events catching up to her. “I cannot say for sure what happened next, but it took me almost thirty minutes to come to a stop. I couldn’t see anything, So I used an old trick Twilight taught me and counted seconds. Eighteen hundred seconds later, I found myself back in Ponyville. Imagine my surprise when it was completely destroyed with a new river running through it, well not completely destroyed, our house was still standing. However, I couldn’t gain access to it. Whatever spell Twilight cast wouldn’t let me in. Since nopony answered my yells, I knew she wouldn’t be in there either, so I went looking for her in Canterlot.”

Rainbow began Laughing, “Boy was I shocked to find it completely burned to the ground, and a creature that could only be some twisted version of my wife standing outside the ruins of Canterlot Palace. I... I couldn’t stop myself, tears began falling uncontrollably. So I left, I know the rule, ‘If Canterlot and Ponyville falls come here.’”

Rainbow’s face converted to one of rage, “When I arrived and heard that maggot talking about Twilight like that…”

Luna placed a hoof on Rainbow stomach, offering her condolences for all the pain she had been through.

“Rainbow, there is something you should know, something that is slightly off with your story.”

Rainbow shot up, grunting in pain as her muscles adjusted to the sudden movement. “I'm not lying!”

“We apologize, we did not call you such, nor did we intend to suggest you were. However, there is one thing you need to know. It has not been thirty minutes, Rainbow. It has been eight weeks.”

Rainbow’s eyes went wide. One look on Luna’s face told the cyan mare that she was not joking. Rainbow lay back down in bed. “Luna, if this is a dream. I would like to wake up now.”

“We wish that was true. Rainbow, we wish more than anything that this was all a dream and that we could wake you and everypony else up from it. Then, maybe, our sister….”

It was Dash’s turn to comfort Luna; she placed one hoof on Luna’s leg in a gesture of solidarity for their shared loss. “I know, at Canterlot, I saw….”

The two shared in a moment of silence at their common loss, it was a moment that was intruded upon several minutes later by a question that Rainbow had floating around her head.

“Luna, how is it possible that I was only gone for thirty minutes yet eight weeks passed for everypony else?”

“Starswirl had a theory once; we think Twilight and Celestia studied it for a while also. Forgive us, we did not pay that much attention, it stated something about time being relative to the object it was affecting and that when one nears the speed of light, for them, time would pass differently. What took the rest of us eight weeks to do, only took you thirty minutes.”

“Wait, Twilight said it was impossible for an object to go the speed of light.”

“We never said you went the speed of light, but we are willing to bet you got close to it. It also explained how you survived hitting the Titan, when your speed increased that drastically, your mass also increased. Rainbow, for thirty minutes, you were near infinite mass. Forgive me, like we said, we do not know the details, only the theory. Celestia would know…” Tears began falling from Luna’s eyes. Sitting up again, Rainbow reached out with a hoof and wiped them away.

“Hey, tell me one thing and be honest. Do you blame Twilight for her death?”

Luna immediately shook her head. Relief flooded over her as she realized that it was the truth, she did not blame Twilight one bit. “We could no more blame her for the actions of that creature then we could blame ourselves for the actions of Nightmare Moon, or Celestia for having to banish us. We… I know her actions are under the influence of this new revenant, they are not her own.”

Relief flooded Rainbow’s face; Luna was sad that she would soon have to destroy that moment of happiness. “Rainbow there is one thing you need to know, Celestia kept this hidden from Twilight until she was ready, but that never happened. We feel you deserve to know the truth though.”

“After everything that has happened, I doubt the news can be that bad.”

As the wheels of fate spun on, a small portion of Chaos’s master invention directed itself at this newest soul to tempt it. “Rainbow, Dayspring Gleam is dead.”

“Oh…” Rainbow lay back down. The news was that bad.

Several more minutes passed in silence as Rainbow lay there contemplating her son’s death. She knew the true impact would come later, it would hurt, she would cry. She may never get over it. However, for now, now she needed another question answered. “How, how did he die?” Dayspring was one of the most talented unicorns in the world; he could not have gone down easy.

“It was Aurora; she was attacked and killed by the Shadowbeings in Ponyville.”

Rainbow shot up, “Aurora’s dead too!!!”

“No, she is alive, a little worse for wear, but please allow us to continue. When Dayspring found her… he did the unthinkable, something nopony has pulled off for several hundred years, he combined several of the ‘darker’ spells into one that pulled out his life force and put it into his sister. Quick action by Celestia stabilized Aurora and Spike was able to get her to a hospital soon after. However, the spells did their job; Dayspring gave his life to save his Sister.”

Rainbow rolled over on the bed facing away from Luna, and asked her final question before succumbing to this new grief. “Luna, can... can I be alone for a while?”

“Of course, we shall return in the morning. However, know this dear Rainbow; you have many friends here for you. Don’t shut yourself off from them. Nopony can carry this grief themselves, you helped us carry ours, and we shall do the same for you.”

“I know, I just need some time.”

“Fare thee well then, we shall return in the morning.”

As Luna left the room, the sounds of Rainbow’s grief followed her hooves out of the room. Thinking quickly, Luna soundproofed the room. As to save Rainbow any embarrassment or interruption in her grieving.

For Rainbow, the next twelve hours were some of the fastest in her life. Her emotions ran the gambit from denial that it had occurred at all, shock that her son knew that many dark spells, and hatred at her son for being so stupid, anger at herself for not being there, for not stopping it. Fear at never seeing him again, and finally, as much as it stunned her to feel this way, pride. Pride that he would go so far to save his sister, pride that he loved her that much. That he would make such a sacrifice for her.

At the twelve-hour mark, Rainbow realized that she did not have to accept his choice. It was his decision, and while she still felt that he was selfish for doing it, she could respect it without accepting it. She supposed, given similar circumstances, if she was in his place. She would not have done anything different.

As Luna walked back in, Rainbow was sitting up in her bed. “Sleep well?” Luna asked.

“Fine, I suppose.” Rainbow countered, the soaking wet pillow at the head of the bed gave truth to the lie that was. Luna let it go, for some, such grief was necessary.

“Rainbow, we know this is sudden, but…”

“This is about Twilight, isn’t it?”

Princess Luna quickly hid her annoyance at being interrupted. “Yes.”

“She'll be coming here, won't she?”


“She built this place; she designed every defense we have. She will not attack unless she has a winning strategy.”

“We believe that to be true as well.”

“Let me guess, you need someone to keep her busy when the time comes, somepony to fight her face to face, and as I am guessing that is how you got your wounds. You're not up for it.”

Luna was taken aback by that, she had no idea Rainbow was so observant of the small details. ‘Then again, she has been married to Twilight for forty years now. She was bound to pick up something.’

“We know it is unfair to ask this of you Rainbow, but yo-”

“I’ll do it.”

“Rainbow you are the only one… Wait, what?”

“I said I'll do it, if somepony has to fight Twilight, if somepony has to subdue her, it'll be me. I will not let anypony else touch her. However, you need to understand a few things, Luna.”

“What are those?”

“First, I'm doing this to get my wife back, not with the intent to kill her. As such, nopony else is to interfere in any way. I mean that, I don't care what happens. Keep everypony else out of it. Second, if the only way to win is to kill her… I will make that call. Nopony else has ANY say in that. Third, if I have to do that, if I have to sacrifice Twi… You WILL kill me afterwards.”

“Rainbow, but…”

“No buts Luna, These terms are non negotiable. I will not live in a world without her. This is my offer. Take it or leave it.”

“What will we tell your family?”

Rainbow thought about this, “Tell my daughters I love them, and tell them... tell them I died in battle.”

Luna considered this very carefully, “We accept your terms.”

As punctuation on that last remark Rainbow grabbed Luna’s hoof, “Pinkie promise me.”

“Rainbow, Pinkie and Fluttershy are dead.”

Rainbow considered that, however, she had no more tears to cry, no more grief to feel. She shook her head. “No pony breaks a pinkie promise.”

A smile crossed Luna’s face; “Cross our heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in our eye.”

Rainbow smiled back, ‘Now I just have to find a way to keep mine.’ Her thoughts were interrupted by a bat pony opening the door.

“Sorry princess, princess.” He said in turn, as he bowed to Luna and Rainbow. “I have good news.”

“We're in need of such news, please continue.”

“Princess Shimmering Night is awake.”

“Wait. What happened to Night?”

An embarrassed blush crossed Luna’s face, “We shall explain later, c’mon, we know she will want to see you.”

After dismissing the guard the two of them made their way out of Rainbow’s room and down the hall, Night's room was the second to the left. When Rainbow entered the room, she was shocked to see her daughter in such a condition. Night’s wings were strung up on wires, every one of her hooves set in splints, however, it was the surprised look on her face that cause Rainbow to pause. Slowly it turned into a smile as a weak word escaped her lips. “Mom?”

Aurora turned and looked at Rainbow, her expression a mirror image of Night’s; she dropped the spoon she was using to feed her sister. It was quickly forgotten, ”Mommy?”

Rainbow flew up and hugged her daughters for all her worth. Night cried in Rainbow’s chest. It was not due to the pain she felt from the hug, as these were tears of joy.

Preparation for the last Stand

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The next few days passed with everypony getting ready for the upcoming war. Several scouting parties were sent out to monitor Twilight’s movements. For every three scouting parties sent, one would return. Their reports came in with nothing but bad news. Twilight was increasing the size of her army. Somehow, the mare was cloning her troops and she was very efficient at the process. Able to double her force every day. The greatest tactual analysts they had gave an estimated attack date of one week. Meanwhile the same old arguments played out in Luna’s court.

“We should attack now!”

“We should flee.”

“We should seek help.”

Luna knew these were coming, as such; she invited a guest this time around. In the middle of a particularly boring debate, Rainbow Dash made her entrance and the entire chamber went quiet. As Rainbow walked in, every pony in the room instantly shut up. All of them too afraid of losing their tongue to the cyan mare with the golden wings. You could hear a pin drop from the other side. Rainbow walked to the center of the chamber and turned to address the assembled ponies.

“You're all afraid of me.” It was not a question.

“You should be.”

Audible gasps crossed the room, to put in mildly, that was not the answer these ponies expected to hear. Most were expecting some sort of rousing speech about how they all had to band together.

“I'm not my wife, I'm not tactful, caring, or good with words. What I am is blunt, rude, foul-mouthed, and quick to anger as you all should know by now. I'm also blessed with the powers of supersonic flight, healing, extendable blade wings that respond to my very will, and apparently the ability to achieve near-light speed. What does all that make me? It makes me the most dangerous mare in this room, one that you do not want to piss off.”

Rainbow paused for a minute to let all of that take in.

“I'm also deathly afraid of what is coming.”

If it were possible, the room seemed to get even quieter.

“However, if we fail, if we do not stop Twilight here, there is nowhere else. This is our now or never moment and I will fight here. So if you want to leave, leave. Nopony will stop you. However, if you stay, you will shut the hell up about all this useless crap. This has been nothing but a huge waste of time and I just got here. How much time have you wasted before now? Days? Weeks? Good bucking job.”

Everypony in the room was quiet; if there was one thing they all agreed on, it is that nothing was being done. It took a pony that they could not talk back to in order for them to understand that they were the problem. Nopony likes to have the hoof pointed at them, but nine times out of ten, that's where it belongs.

“So I will say this one time and one time only, if you want out, if your goal is some bucking political power grab. Get out now, unless you want to see my bad side again.”

To their credit, nopony moved an inch. Rainbow looked around the room; a small smile crossed her face. It was not much, but at least she made her point. Rainbow turned and nodded to Luna before she took her seat next to Princess Cadance who was seated next to her son, Prince Radiant. As Luna began addressing the ponies in the crowd with a slightly more motivational speech, Cadance began talking to Rainbow.

“Welcome back.”

“Thanks, but for me no time has really passed.”


“Yes, the best I can describe it is waking up TO a bad dream. It was sudden, heartbreaking, and unbelievable.”

The Princess of Love wrapped a wing around Rainbow Dash. Despite herself, despite the tough exterior she put forth, despite all the ponies around the room that were terrified of her, Rainbow Dash started crying. She did not know if she would ever stop. So much had happened, so many soul-crushing things, she wanted... no, needed Twilight. She needed her wife with her.

Princess Cadance sensed all of this and more. For the Princess of Love, seeing this, seeing true love broken in half by events out of their control, it was tragic. All she could do is be there for Rainbow. It was such an important gesture, the weight of it could not be denied by either of them. However, for Cadance, it felt so small. For her, it was pathetic, ‘is this really all I can do for her?’ Tears began falling from her eyes, not from the events of the past few days, but because she knew, even with all her power, the answer was yes. She could not help Rainbow carry this burden. Only Rainbow could face Twilight in a fight and have any hope of winning. Only she could face her one true love. At times like this, her thoughts turned to the cruelty of the world, and briefly, she wondered if it might be better if they all lost. If the world could be this cruel, this evil, was it even a place worth living in?

The next voice she heard gave her the answer to that question.

“Mom, are you all right?”

Yes, the world was cruel; it would give you everything you want just to snatch it from you in the worst possible ways. However, there was great beauty in the world also, and great love. Like that of a son who loved his mother, and a mother who loved her son. “I will be Radiant.” He did not seem convinced by that. She snatched him up in her other wing, she snatched the one physical thing Shiny left her in the world and included him in the hug. As Rainbow held onto her left side, she whispered in Radiant’s ear. “Whatever happens, take care of this one, ok? And yourself.”

Radiant’s embarrassment from his mom’s very inappropriate love of personal displays of affection was soon forgotten at that comment; he looked down at the mare hugging his mother’s left side. ‘Rainbow Dash is the fastest mare in the world, she has the endurance of ten ponies, wings that can grow and shrink as she wishes, and can create wind blasts that I have personally seen cut building’s in half.’ However, at this moment, she looked as weak as a newborn foal.

Understanding crossed his face; yes Rainbow was the toughest, strongest, and fastest mare alive. However, she was also hurting, the burden they were all placing on her, it would destroy any other pony. She carried it all with more on top of that, and to make matters worse, she was expected to win. It was too much for any pony, even her. She would push herself. She would fight, however, she could not do it alone. Cadance saw that, and now, he did too. “Ok mom, you can count on me.”

Princess Cadance leaned down and kissed her son on the forehead. “You have made me so proud Radiant, and I know, deep in my heart, Shiny would be proud of you to.” Despite himself, all the training and conditioning Radiant Star had undergone in his life, he could not stop a few tears from falling loose. “Thanks mom, I... I.... I miss him.” Cadance squeezed him tighter at that. Burying her head is his back as she shed a few tears as well. “I know son, I miss him too.”

While everypony in the room soon found their attention dragged to the three ponies on the side. It was a mark the respect they had for Princess Cadance, Prince Radiant, and the fear they had of Princess Dash that they all tactfully ignored it.


Shimmering Night laid back in bed, her sister Aurora Flash curled up at her side, asleep. So many unbelievable events had occurred in the past few days, it was too much to take in. Night started to cry again. She did not know if these were tears of happiness at her mom coming back from the dead, or tears of sadness at all the pain she felt. Her stupid, idiotic, numbskull, arrogant, brave, and reckless husband had almost killed them all. ‘How big of an idiot do you need to be to do a sonic rainboom inside a building? Much less a hospital. Even Rainbow wasn't that dumb.’ The death toll from the collapse had yet to be fully tallied. However, Night knew it would be in the thousands. All laid at the feet of her husband, the biggest idiot in the world: Bright Dawn.

Twilight had him; Spike had told her as much the other day. When the building collapsed, he was already ejected from the window. The remaining shadowbeings swarmed around him and dragged him off to Celestia… Luna knows where. The idiot was so concerned for her safety he failed to take into account his own. She did not understand why he would do something like that. He was never that brave, never that rash… was he? Memories of that final race came back to her mind. He was so willing to put his life on the line for her. Rainbow almost killed him over it. Perhaps he was that brave, or just that stupid. No, the common factor in all these scenarios was Night. He was not that brave, stupid, or reckless. He was that much in love.

Aurora woke to the sobs of her sister, without realizing it; Night’s crying had intensified. “Sis?”

“Sorry, Aurora I didn't mean to wake you.”

She reached up with a hoof and wiped a tear from Night’s eye. For Night, the gesture was even more touching with how scarred Aurora's hoof was. It was obvious that moving hurt the pegasus. Yet, that just increased the significance of the event. Had Night been able, had she been able to move her hooves, she would have hugged her right then and there. As it was, she could only repay her sister with a small smile and more tears.

“It’s about Dawn, isn’t it?” Aurora asked.


Aurora reached up and hugged her sister, accomplishing the gesture that Night was unable to do. Somehow, this made her feel worse, not better. “Does… does that make me an awful pony?”

“What, how could you think that?"

“Well, we lost Rainbow, Dayspring, and then Twilight turned evil. Yes, we got mom back, but… but all I can think about is my husband. Tell me, am I awful for that?”

“Listen to me right here and now.” Aurora broke the hug and stared face to face with her sister, their nose's inches from one another. “This is the official word of your big sister. You are not an awful pony, don’t ever think that. It’s ok; it’s ok to be hurting over Dawn’s absence. I saw as well as everypony else just how much you two loved each other. Yes our family is hurting, however, you still have the right to your own feelings. Never forget that.”

“Thanks, Aurora.”

“And if you do I will knock some sense into you, once you're healed that is.”

Before either of them could make another comment a nurse walked in with a plate of food for Night, she smiled warmly at the two sisters and sat the plate down for Aurora to feed her sister. An arrangement she had insisted on. ‘If someone is going to take care of her, it will be me.’ No pony could argue with a royal decree like that. Besides, for the first time since the Titan attack, Aurora seemed to be regaining her spunk.

At times like this Night was beginning to lament that fact. Aurora seemed to enjoy taking care of her little sister far, far too much. Going as far as to play the ‘pegasus game’ with her food. “And the pegasus flies into the hanger to make a ten point landing.” It was cute, annoying and degrading, but cute.

“You know I’m not a baby, right?”

“You always will be my baby sister to me, I don’t care how big you get.”

Night found it hard to argue with that, and with little other recourse left to her, she played along, finding herself slightly enjoying this. It had been so long since she and her sister had spent any real quality time together. It was a shame that the precursors to this had to be so extreme. Without warning, the game came to a sudden end. Aurora noticed something and looked over to Night.


“What, what is it?”

“Can, can I have your cookies?”

Shimmering Night stared down at the last item of food on the tray, sure enough, two chocolate chip cookies were sitting there. “Sure Aurora, they are all yours.” Tears started falling down from her eyes and for the first time in days, Shimmering Night could not stop herself from smiling.


“It was a good speech and all, but it does not solve our problems.”

Luna looked over to Radiant as the two walked down the hall; she simply nodded to the young unicorn. Over the past few days, his council had been invaluable. It was his idea to use Rainbow to keep the council ponies in line. It was a good one too, even though it had not been her objective, the fear she instigated in them kept all of them in line. Briefly, she reflected why Cloudsdale did not immediately withdraw its support. She learned after the fact that Captain Firestar had taken command. Her official statement of what happened to Tsunami went along the lines of ‘Karma’s a bitch.’ Of course, that was the PC version; the actual report was several pages long and definitely NOT for viewing by more sensitive ponies. Luna had a copy of it posted in her room. She would often fall asleep reading it.

“What about you?”

“We heal quickly, a side effect of the moon always being out. We are able to draw upon its strength for our own use. Do not worry, when the attack comes, we will be more than capable of playing our part.”

“It’s not our part that I'm worried about.”

“Indeed,” Luna knew exactly who Radiant was worried about, as she was heading there now.

“Luna, will she be ok?”

“We do not know, however, we wish to help her as much as we can right now.”

“How much longer do you think we have, before she comes?”

Luna considered this, her council advisors said they at least had a week, however, she was not so sure. Besides, if there is one-thing advisors succeed at, it was being wrong. “We will estimate, in the next three days time.”

“Three days huh… will everything be ready?”

“You know the answer to that Radiant, however, we both know that our defenses mean nothing, only one pony can end this, this one pony will decide if we win or lose. The rest of us are simply here to support her.”

“Who knew fate could be so cruel?”

Luna commented no more on that subject, she knew more than most, just how cruel fate could be. In a thousand years solitude you learn quite a lot about the cruelty of fate. The two paused as they reached Rainbow Dash’s room. Luna turned to look at Radiant; “We thank you for your company, however this is something we must do alone.”

Radiant raised one hoof and placed it on Luna’s shoulder, “Good luck.”

Luna nodded as she watched him turn and leave. What was about to happen, she wanted nopony else to know about it, morale was a dangerous thing. It alone could lead armies to victory or defeat. If these ponies knew just how bad off Rainbow was, it would cost them the war.

Luna undid the spells she had on the room and walked in. As expected, Rainbow was still in bed. She had not moved from that spot since Princess Cadance teleported her there from the council room earlier that day. It seemed the weight of the past events were finally catching up to the mare. She did not even look up when Luna entered the room.

“Hey Luna.”

“Sleep well, Rainbow?”

“Alright, I guess.”

Luna knew for a fact that was a lie, the pegasus had not slept since she first awoke from her healing trance all those days ago. She doubted Rainbow could fall asleep, not on her own, at least.

“Is it time?”

“No Rainbow, our scouts report that we have a few days more to go.”

“Oh, then why are you here?”

“To help you.”

“Help me?” Rainbow turned and looked at the princess, the bags under her eyes, the frown of her face. It was depressing to see the once proud mare in such a condition. “I'm forced to fight my wife in a few days, and you’re here to help me? How?”

“We have a gift for you.”

“What sort of gift could poss-”

Luna touched her horn to Rainbow’s head, causing the cyan mare to instantly pass out on her side. Smiling, Luna lifted up their one hope for the future and lay her under the covers. This spell never worked on Twilight, she was too powerful for it. However, while Rainbow was just as powerful as her wife was, she was so in other ways. Her body could not immediately cancel the effect of this. Luna’s most powerful sleep spell. It allowed the caster to instantaneously put their target into a deep slumber. With, whatever dream they wished upon them. The caster could wake them up anytime they wanted and regardless how much time had passed; they would wake up fully refreshed.

As Luna turned and walked out of the room, she looked back at the sleeping mare on the bed. “Sweet dreams, Rainbow.” The smile on Rainbow’s face confirmed that fact for Luna. She closed the door and cast the strongest spells she had on it. Whatever happened next, Luna was happy she could give Rainbow this one moment of true peace. With all they were asking of her, it was the least they could do.

When they made their last stand, when Rainbow was needed, at least she would be ready.


A cyan pegasus and lavender alicorn flew together through the sky. It was the perfect time of day, the sun had just set, but the night was not fully here, it truly was twilight time. The two crisscrossed flight paths more times than either could count. Their energy trails crossed back and forth with one another, leaving a design written in the sky that spoke of the love they shared with each other.

After hours of flying together the alicorn began tiring out, she landed on a cloud under the most gorgeous rainbow either of them had ever seen. A yawn escaping from her mouth. The cyan pegasus landed right next to her and wrapped a golden wing around the mare. The alicorn looked up at the pegasus and smiled, her simple reply came in the form of a kiss on the pegasus's cheek.

“What was that for, Twi?”

“Do I really need a reason?”

“You only need to be you.”


“Yes Twi?”

“Promise me this will never end.”

“For you Twi, I promise the world.”

Twilight nuzzled her head into Rainbow's side, breathing in the very scent of the mare she so loved. Rainbow squeezed her tightly with her wing, as she noticed the tell-tale signs of Twilight about to fall asleep.

“Good night, Twilight.” Rainbow rested her head near the alicorn, preparing to join her wife in blissful sleep.

“Good night, my love.” Came Twilight’s reply.


As Rainbow lay in her bed, several tears began falling down her face that were accompanied by a wonderful smile of contentment. Several hundred miles south, in the mind of Twilight Night, a similar scene played out, as for the first time in two months Twilight Sparkle found herself asleep. Her tears and smile matched that of her wife, as they shared the same dream.

The Night snarled at this new development, ‘I will have to expedite my plans then. You will not be able to keep her in there for long, Luna. I don’t know how you did it, but I will make you pay for this.’


Princess Cadance smiled as she watched Luna leave Rainbow's room and walk down the hallway. While Luna had simply meant to put her into a deep sleep, Cadance augmented that with a little spell of her own. She connected Rainbow with Twilight in their dreams by the love they shared. Cadance had finally found the one thing she could do for Rainbow and it was enough to make her happy. Even if the tears were still there.

Always and Forever

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Outside Stalliongrad

The being only known as ‘The Night’ suffered under excruciating, agonizing pain. Twilight Sparkle was livid; it had taken upon itself to up her timetable. They were in front of Stalliongrad, her forces ready to attack several days before she ever wanted them to, but it was too late to do anything about it. If she pulled back now, if they tried to retreat, they would expose themselves to the changeling infestation and be wiped out. Regardless of her carefully laid plans, it was now or never. Although, Twilight reasoned she could still have some fun with this thing.

‘So just because I fall asleep you think that puts you in charge?’

‘Mistress, of course not.’

‘Then what makes you think you have the right to change my plans?’

I'm sorry mistress. I meant no offence.’

’Your meaning is immaterial. Only your screams count now.’

Scream it did, on and on for hours she tortured the creature well past the breaking point of any mortal, however, what Twilight Sparkle did not know was while she played it, it was playing her. Deep down in her subconscious, it was erasing, altering, and changing memories. Soon she forgot why she was even punishing it. Twilight Sparkle did not care; the fun was in the act, not the reason.

Twilight Night looked out at the fortress walls of Stalliongrad. The city was as near impregnable as it was possible to be. Its forces well dug in, supplied, and trained. She would know; as Twilight, she designed every aspect of the defenses they are now about to assault. There was no tactical weakness. On ground, it was impossible. In the air, there were three divisions of pegasi warriors to deal with. All of that made a conventional attack impossible, no ground force could touch it, and no air force could touch it. However, no conventional attack had a mare of Twilight Night’s power. She was the trump card. All her forces had to do was get her in range with enough time. She would drop Cloudsdale on top of Stalliongrad. They had no pony that could stop her. Luna was badly hurt after their last encounter. Cadance was never a great fighter, Radiant was a fool who cared too much about the soldiers under his command, Night was wounded or dead, she did not care which. With Celestia’s head hanging over her palace, Twilight Night predicted her odds of success at eighty-seven percent, good odds.

Twilight Night was still very upset about the dream event earlier. So much rode on her finally breaking the last of Twilight’s barriers, for this to work she needed to be hindered, weak, and helpless. Not only did this event set all that back, it actually cheered her up. The punishment she was dishing out should have been much more extreme. This threatened everything.

There was still a way though, all Twilight Night had to do was kill someone Twilight loved and at the last possible second, pull the illusion away. Twilight Sparkle is a pure soul, such an action would scar her mind forever, and it just so happened, Twilight Night was staring at a city full of ponies that Twilight loved. For her, it was just a matter of picking the right one. In this city there would be plenty of options.

“Summon the council.”

Twilight Night gave the order to no one in particular. It did not matter, within minutes she knew the five strongest shadowbeings would be by her side. Ready to listen to her augmented plans for taking this city, and the complete destruction of the two biggest threats left to her, Cloudsdale, and Stalliongrad.


The Remains of the Everfree Forest

The General put all he had into shielding those under his immediate command. The mistress was getting stronger, the pull she gave out managed to attract a few more of his workers each and every time. He doubted that he would be able to resist much longer, however, they were close. So close to his target he could taste it.

However, with every loss the work would slow down. Less workers means more time, more time means less workers. The longer it took the less likely he would achieve his goal, and it was the most critical of them all. He had to achieve this objective. Failing here is certain death. The kind he could not be revived from.


Outside Stalliongrad

“Any questions?”

She knew there would be none. No shadowbeing in their right mind would dare question their mistress. ‘Do shadowbeings even have minds? Maybe I should dissect one.’ The thought both intrigued and disgusted Twilight Night. That was not the thought of a ruler, a mistress in service to her master. That was a thought from Twilight Sparkle. Somehow, that sleep had set her back more than even she believed possible. This was an issue and a big one. Twilight Night would have to do something drastic and soon. Twilight was regaining her willpower. If that occurred, it would all be lost.

“Give the order. We attack.”

“When mistress?”

A question… Twilight Night was shocked, several seconds passed, and she had yet to execute this upstart for daring to open his mouth to her. This only had one cause; she acted quickly and flayed the thing alive. “Any more questions?”

“No mistress, we will begin the attack now.”

It was starting to affect more than her thoughts; it was reaching her actions and demeanor. This was not good, not good at all. Twilight Night resolved right then and there when she saw Luna again she would flay her alive and find out just how that spell had gotten to Twilight. She could not allow that to happen ever again. The damage might be too big already. No, she could not think like that, the plan was a good one. It would still work. The only thing left to decide is who to kill in front of Twilight Sparkle to do the maximum amount of psychological damage. ‘At times like this I somewhat wish Celestia was still alive.’ She laughed under her breath.



“Ok, that is a buck-ton of them.”

“We are not familiar with that term; we are curious young prince as to exactly how much a buck-ton is?”

“It’s a little more than a shit-ton and a lot less than a fuck-ton.”

Luna considered this, while she had no real frame of reference for how much any of those terms actually were she decided not to press the issue any farther and trust the prince at his word. The two of them walked the walls of Stalliongrad, eyeing the enemy that was currently amassing on the outside, one that was stubbornly just outside the effective range of their defenses. That surprised nopony, Twilight designed this city and she knew the layout, Twilight would naturally know the range of their spells; she had put some of them in place. Of course, she would know how to avoid assembling her troops in range. The knowledge of such did not make it any less infuriating to Luna though.

“Shadowbeings” Luna spit the word out like a curse. To her it was a curse, with the death of Celestia and her own defeat at the hooves of this new revenant; Luna could no longer control the moon. This thing, a creature that masqueraded as a twisted version of Twilight, she had taken control of both the sun and moon. It seemed Nightmare Moon’s objective of bringing on an endless night finally came true. Just from the last pony Luna ever expected. ‘It goes to show, anypony can fall.’

A sharp pain soon interrupted Luna’s melancholy. Looking down, Radiant was poking her with his horn. He stared up at the Princess, “You ok there, it seemed like you got distracted.”

“Yes young prince, We were simply lost in thought as it were.”

“Can I ask what about?”

“We think you already know that answer to that question.” She glanced over to the assembled army ranged against them, or more precisely, to the command bunker they had set up. There could be no doubt that is where Twilight was.

“You know I can’t see as well as you in the dark.”

“Oh, sorry.”

She reached down and touched their horns together. Radiant’s view instantly expanded ten-fold, allowing the unicorn to take in the full view of the forces arrayed against them. “I take it back.”

Luna stared at him inquisitorially, “What is it that you take back?”

“That’s not a buck-ton of them, that’s a fuck-ton of them.”

Luna considered this and readjusted her earlier assumed definitions of how much each of these terms was, “Indeed young prince, we face a fuck-ton of them.” Radiant’s failed attempt to hold in his giggles soon drew her attention. “We are curious, to what do you find so funny?”

Radiant Star, Prince of the Crystal Empire, tried to hold it back, he bit his tongue and stomped his hoofs, trying to think about anything other than Princess Luna saying the words fuck-ton, but it did not work. Several giggles managed to escape from Radiant before he recomposed himself. The Princess of the Night was highly annoyed by this. ”Nothing Princess Luna, forgive me for that; so how shall we deal with this fuck-ton of enemies at our gates?”

Luna and Radiant examined the battlefield in turn, focusing on the grouping of enemies, it was a standard formation, one designed for overwhelming threats from multiple angles, nothing the fortress city could not handle. The issue at hoof was in the center mass, in the command tent, where that creature was. All of the rest were irrelevant, mindless minions who would simply follow orders and die to buy their commander time. Twilight was all that truly mattered. “Exactly how she planned it, our military advisors cannot come up with anything better.”

“I don’t like going to war with someone who wrote our playbook.”

“Indeed. young prince.”

Silence descended on the two as Radiant considered an idea that might have gone overlooked. “I don’t suppose you could just lower the moon and raise the sun? Then we could skip this altogether.” Luna did not fail to notice the ray of hope in his voice; sadly, she had to stomp it out.

“Believe me young prince, we have tried. The moon is held in place by magic much stronger than our own. That is why we must stop Twilight here and now. When that occurs, this battle will be over.”

Captain Firestar interrupted any further conversation the two could have. Flying down from Cloudsdale, she landed directly in front of the two and snapped to attention with a smart salute. “Prince, Princess, Captain Firestar reporting as ordered.”

Prince Radiant was the first to reply, his hoofs on experience with the troops in the Crystal Empire made it second nature to him. “At ease.”

“What do you have to report, captain?” Luna asked.

“The pegasi divisions are ready to deploy on your notice, we are fully armored and ready to bring the fight to the enemy.” Something was off with Firestar’s tone, something that did not sit right with Radiant.

“You have concerns, captain?”

“Sir, no sir”

“Captain, we cannot have you holding back useful information, speak your mind, that's an order.”

“Sir… the Wonderbolts are left in reserve, I'm wondering why?

“It is part of the plan, captain. While the Wonderbolts are the greatest flyers we have, they will be held in reserve until such time as the enemy Commander presents herself. Then they will see combat, we must clear the way for Rainbow Dash. If she exhausts herself before the true battle begins it will be all over.”

“Are we to assist Princess Dash?”

Luna took that question, “Under no circumstances are they to interfere in any way, when we awaken her, the Wonderbolts are merely to clear a path and keep everything away from them. It will be no easy task.”

“I stand ready to lead them into battle.”

A puzzled look crossed Radiant’s face. “Captain, I'm afraid there has been a misunderstanding, you will not lead the Wonderbolts in this.”

“I... I won’t” Firestar could not help it, despite the presence of two members of royalty, that news broke through her military bearing. “I'm sorry prince, I don’t understand, have I not performed my duty to your liking?”

“Of course, I've never had cause to think otherwise.”

“Then, why would you pull me away from my command?”

“Because Firestar, we are giving you a new one. Due to the ‘unfortunate’ hospitalization of former Commander Tsunami, from this moment on you will be in charge of the Cloudsdale militia. We will take care of the formalities later. For now Commander, congratulations are in order.”

In the blink of an eye, the two of them promoted Firestar to Commander of the Cloudsdale militia, effectively making her the leader of Cloudsdale. “I… this must be a mistake. There must be someone more qualified than I am? Someone better suited for it. I never sought to lead all of Cloudsdale.”

“You ask if there is someone more qualified. There is quite the list, better suited? There is no one, the fact you never sought such authority makes you the perfect candidate for it. Trust us; we have been alive for thousands of years. Those who seek power should be kept far from it.”

“But… But who will lead the Wonderbolts?”

“Your Lieutenant, Blazing Light.” Radiant answered.

“Lieutenant Light? She can’t speak.”

“Oddly, we have found this to be a blessing in disguise. It seems that with this physical mark against her honor she has, how do you say? Turned her around.” Spoke Luna.

Firestar considered Luna's words, her Lieutenant was definitely a hot head, very arrogant, and there was never a doubt she wanted to advance in rank. However, she was honorable, in her own way. Perhaps this would not be a bad thing. The Wonderbolts were very well trained, they would easily adapt to a commander that could not speak. Although, she did have one question.

“I… You honor me. But, why now?”

“We need someone to lead the pegasi into battle.” Radiant spoke.

“Excuse me for saying, would not Princess Luna be more suited to that task.”

Luna flexed her wings, their span easily taking up the width of the walkway, “Indeed, however, we are needed to lead the earth ponies, our strategy relies on them holding the line, the unicorns taking the flanks, and the pegasi holding the air. The Earth ponies must hold. We will ensure they do.

“Understood princess, I will ensure that the pegasi do their duty.”

“We know you will, Commander Firestar.”

“Princess Luna, if I could ask one more question, what about Princess Dash?”

“All our hopes rely on her, as such, she stays in reserve until the enemy commander commits to the battle. I will send her in after. Tell the Wonderbolts to look for my signal before you go to your new command.”

“What signal?” Firestar asked.

“It will be on the moon, trust us, you will not miss it.”

“Will we be able to see the moon when this starts?” Radiant commented.

Luna thought about this for a minute, the darkness was a hindrance for many of the ponies, and there was no doubt their enemy would have no such issues. A solution came to mind. “While we can no longer raise or lower the moon, perhaps we can do something else.”

Luna concentrated on the moon, an object so far away. This was her birthright, she was the master of this object, nopony else had that right. It irritated Luna to see the dark power surrounding it, preventing her from lowering it. However, while that power would stop her from lowering the moon, it might not stop her from bringing it closer.

She struggled, every fiber of her being focusing on this one task. Slowly at first, the moon came towards the battlefield. A task that became easier the closer it got, the moon being her element, the closer it was the more powerful Luna became. Until, at last the moon filled the night sky.

“I didn't know you could do that.” Firestar said, with a shocked look on her face.

“It’s cute to see someone so surprised by the power of an alicorn. Don’t you think so Luna?”

“Indeed Prince.”

Firestar turned away before they noticed the blush on her face. A blush caused by a rather dashing prince calling her cute.

“With this, we shall be able to effectively counter this fuck-ton of enemies.” Luna spoke matter-of-factly.

The blush went away.

Firestar turned back to Luna with a shocked impression on her face. “Come again, princess?”

“We said, with the moon in its current position our forces should be able to deal with this fuck-ton of enemies.”

“Would you look at the time, well I better make sure the unicorns are ready to go.” In a flash of magic, Radiant teleported out before Firestar explained to her what she just said.

Despite being on the other side of the city, Luna’s shouting still managed to reach his ears. Fortunately for Radiant, that was when the enemy horn blew, signaling the start of the battle.


Outside Stalliongrad

As the battle began in earnest, every set of eyes focused on the horde of enemies approaching. Twilight Night’s plan was a comprehensive dual attack strategy, with half of her forces flying overhead and the other half taking the ground. This would ensure total saturation of targets in the area. No commander would ever consider such a strategy; as it was a wasteful expenditure of the lives of their troops and would quickly fall apart when morale broke at the constant loss of life. However, few commanders ever attacked a fortress that they had built.

Twilight Night had no such concerns over moral; these shadowbeings lived in fear of one thing, failure. To that end, even their deaths mattered not. As such, she sought to overwhelm the fortress city’s defenses until she could play her trump card, herself. She knew these defenses; they were effective and lethal. It did not help she had a quarter of the troops she had wanted for this. It was a simple strategy, but an effective one. Give them too many targets; make them divide their firepower in too many ways. Use her troops as a shield, and crush the defenses when she was in range. After all, the most effective tactics were the ones with the least amount of variables.

The fortress itself was a marvel of ingenuity; it took the form of a pentagon. At each angle and spaced in the middle of each wall were three magic batteries. Each battery held an ‘area denial’ spell, one that could be set to incapacitate their enemy or worse. These batteries can target ground or air foes without difficulty or need to be manually aimed. There were three batteries in each set to compensate for the forty five second recharged, when activated they would fire in sequence every fifteen seconds. This allowed for a steady rate of fire that would see any attacker turn back after a few minutes of combat.

Underground attacks would be repulsed by carefully placed freeze spells throughout the field, each timed to go off when they would do the most amount of damage. The spells were tripled up as to deny the enemy any semblance of when a danger has passed. These spells could be directed upwards too, if no enemy was coming from the ground, in this scenario, that is exactly how they were set. It truly was a formidable fortress. She would know, she built it.

Twilight Night watched in grim fascination as her forces were decimated to the last. Each wave failed to achieve a single hoof of progress. As each wave of troops was sent forth they would do so to simply replace those who were just annihilated. For a moment, for just one moment, she lamented the loss of her troops. That concerned her greatly. She should not care about the lives of these creatures; they were nothing more than chaff. Designed by her master to live and die at his whim. Their lives were meaningless. This feeling, this came from Twilight Sparkle. She had to hurry. The corruption was too far. ‘Damn you Luna.’

“Send in the flyers.”


Twilight Night turned and looked at the creature that had spoken. “Send in the flyers.”

“Yes ma’am.”

The next wave of troops was sent in; this was the critical game changer. She knew Luna would bring the moon closer, casting its light over the battlefield. The flyers had a role to play, played too soon and she would lose. If she played them too late she would lose. Twilight Night watched as the flyers flew into the battle, as expected, the plan went off without a hitch. However, something was bothering her. “Did that creature question my order? And did I not kill it?”

As the waves of ground troops proceeded forward, they were quickly covered in the shadow of the flyers. This was the focus of Twilight Night’s plan. As expected, the batteries unleashed the deadly energy at the ground forces to no avail. Hidden in the shadows, the energy was unable to do any real damage. The system quickly adjusted, the next firing targeting those that were flying. Then the next shot hit the ground forces. However the damage was done. As the batteries now divided their firepower between the two forces. The shadowbeings were making progress across the field of battle. Slowly, ever so slowly her forces were closing the gap.

“Your move Princess Luna, when will you commit the pegasus?”


Cloudsdale Infirmary

They had given him all the drugs they could. Yet, Commander Tsunami refused to be unconscious. The pain, it was unbearable. Only the latest round of pain meds prevented him from crying in agony. Regardless, he refused to sleep through this battle. Despite the hatred most had for him, he would not sleep through the greatest military conflict Equestria had seen in a thousand years. There was just one problem with his plan. One small detail he overlooked. He could not participate in the battle either. The pain would not let him up. Unfortunately, it also refocused his mind, allowing his thoughts to venture to places he would rather they not go.

“Curse you Rainbow Dash. Curse you till the day you die.”

‘This isn’t her fault.’


‘No it isn’t, you know that.’

He had been having this argument with himself for over an hour now. It seemed that with nothing but time to think, he found himself beginning to question many of his own actions. Much to his loathing, after all, it is hard to win an argument against yourself.

“She maimed me!”


“Why what?”

‘Why did she do that to you?’

“You were there, you know!”

‘Say it.’

“Commander, are you ok?”

He turned up and looked at the nurse that had just walked in. ‘Maybe screaming at yourself is a bad idea?’ he thought.

“Yes nurse, forgive me, just having an intelligent conversation. I'll be sure to keep it down.”

With a look that came from a pony that was both concerned and insulted at the same time the nurse turned to leave. “If you need anything, please hit the call button.”

He smiled as she left the room and shut the door. ‘She's kind of cute; too bad she'd never want a freak like you.’

“Shut up.”

‘Then stop dodging the question.’

“She maimed me because of what I called her wife.”

‘And why did you call Twilight Sparkle that?’

“It’s what she is.”

‘Ha, ha. Lying to yourself now? Come on, I am you.’

“Then why are you asking these questions, if you already know?”

‘Because, you won't admit it to yourself.”


‘Say the truth.’


‘Say the truth!’



“All right, no, she was not any of those things. I saw an opportunity and I took it. Ok.”


“Why what?”

‘Why did you want that opportunity?’

“I have to advance, I have to seek status, and it’s the only way.”

‘Only way for what?’

“To keep my promise…”

‘You are the COMMANDER of the Cloudsdale militia. You are the military ruler of Cloudsdale; I have news for you, there is no higher rank for you. I think you know that. Well, of course you do, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to say that, would I?’

“Your point?”

‘YOUR point is this, you forgot the reason why, you forgot YOUR PROMISE. You dedicated your life to keep it, an admirable trait, but somewhere along the line, you lost sight of that. Obtaining such status was the means to the end. Yet it became the end.’

“…” This time his refusal to answer came not from stubbornness, but from contemplation of the truth. A truth he could no longer deny.

‘Let me ask, do you still want to fulfill that promise from all those years ago?’

Tears fell from his eyes. “Of course I do…”

‘You can’t do it here, get up. Now is the time.”

“But, it hurts…”

‘Did you think it would be easy? Get your ass up out of that bed and be the stallion you always claimed to be! Will you let this stop you? Is your promise worth that little?’

“It’s worth everything to me.”

Bedside Smile was grateful that the noises from the commander’s room had stopped; That stallion was the bane of her existence. She had never met a more stubborn pony in all her life. However, after an hour, a sinking feeling overcame her gut. The feeling a parent gets after her children have been too quiet for too long. Therefore, despite her better judgment, Bedside’s medical training took over and she went to check on the former commander.

Opening the door she stepped inside, eyes shut preparing for the verbal lashing she was about to receive. “Commander? Commander Tsunami?”

When no response came, she opened her eyes to see an empty bed with a small trail of blood leading to the window. “COMMANDER!” she yelled out the window, it was already too late, Commander Tsunami was gone.


Stalliongrad Infirmary

“Auntie, you don't need to be here.”

“Where else would you rather I am, Night?”

“I don’t know, out there… with your son?”

“I'm afraid I would simply be a distraction to him right now.”

“I don’t think Radiant would ever find you a distraction.”

“You don’t know Radiant all that well, do you?”

Shimmering Night looked down at her sister sleeping in her bed. She did not want to look Princess Cadance in the face at this point. It was true, she had not spent much time with her cousin, not as much as she would have liked anyway. “No. I don’t.” she said, busying herself with running a hoof through Aurora’s mane.

“I'm sorry about that. He was always the most stubborn foal.”

“It’s not like we made all that much effort to come see you either.”

“The realities of ruling, I'm afraid…” Cadance looked down at her hooves, she did not want it to happen, yet, somehow, being the Princess of the Crystal Empire had come between her family. It was simply an unpleasant fact. One she lamented. “We shall do better.”

“Don’t tell me you are starting to pick up Princess Luna’s speech patterns.” Shimmering Night laughed.

“No, nothing like that, I meant we, as in me and Radiant. It's time I teach him another aspect of ruling, delegating.”

Night laughed at that, however when Aurora was in danger of waking up she quickly silenced the laughter. “We've got to keep it down.”

“I would say the same thing, there is a war going on and I can barely hear it over your laughter.”

Night and Cadance both glanced over to Ataxia, who was currently staring out the window and watching the batteries unleash wave upon wave of destruction at their enemies. Rarity sat next to her daughter, the confusing emotions of worry and relief plastered on her face. Worry for her husband, whom was still in the hospital bed. Relief that for the first time in her life, Ataxia refused to go where she could cause the most destruction and opted instead to stay with her mom. Unfortunately neither of the two ponies could do much in regards to defense; it seemed having a building fall on them had exhausted both of their magics.

“Sorry Ataxia, Rarity, we'll keep it down.”

“Besides, I don’t want you waking up Spike.”

They all turned and looked at the pony in the next bed. Luna turned Spike back into a Pony after he dragged them out of the debris of Manehattan General Hospital. The dragon pushed himself far beyond his own limits. In many ways, Spike was lucky to be alive.

“Yeah, I'll get dad to eat you if you don’t keep quiet.”

Cadance smiled at their playful bickering; there was a reason she was in this room and not out there. It was these ponies right here. Her talents never lent themselves to war, only love. She could be dangerous when somepony threatened her family, however, it was reactionary. On the front line, she would simply be in the way. As such, when Luna and Radiant suggested she stay with the others. Cadance did not complain. It was where she could do the most good after all. Love was always at is strongest when looking after your own family, even if it was not your direct family.

Unfortunately, nopony noticed that the batteries ceased operation, a sign of two possibilities. First was that the enemies destroyed the batteries. Alternatively, the risk of hitting friendly forces was too great. In this case, it was the latter. The battle began in earnest.


Walls of Stalliongrad

Luna cursed the Gods themselves. She was left without options and had to deactivate the batteries. The forces arrayed against them were seemingly without number. Despite finding out the meaning of the word she could not help but see the truth in it, this was indeed a fuck-ton of enemies.

When Twilight’s plan was finally revealed, using her own troop as bait to drive her forces ever so closer to the walls, Luna had all but laughed. She was not laughing now, now she saw it for the true heartless terror that it was. The creature that took over Twilight’s body, it simply did not care how costly the victory was. It would see every soul here dead; including its own troops if that were the cost of victory. In a way, Luna actually respected that. To pay any price for victory, It was an admirable trait, sick and twisted, but admirable.

She made the enemy troops suffer for it. Waiting until the last possible minute to turn off the batteries. It was a masterful piece of planning. In their last shot, Luna commanded all the batteries to fire at once. Eliminating the last ten minutes of gains the enemy made, but that was the end of them. By the time they recharged, her forces would be engaged with the enemy. There was no way of firing again without risking friendly fire against her troops.

Of course, now would be the fun part. At Luna’s signal, two whole divisions of pegasi flew down, right on top of the flyers. Completely annihilating their next wave. Her troops, the earth pony guard, held spears at the ready.

“Hold.” Luna spoke, her own weapons held against her back until the last possible minute. In front of them was a small army of shadowbeings. The only real detail Luna could make out of them was their claws and teeth. It was the definition of terror; she knew what such a sight could cause to the common pony.

“Hold.” Luna repeated the command. Not because she need to. Luna was the Princess of the night. Regardless of the threat before them, she has seen far worse in the past. Nothing could match the terror in a pony’s dreams. Luna knew the truth in the old saying. Reality can never be as terrifying as your imagination.

“Hold.” Each time Luna spoke, she imbued the words with a magic touch, the same magic she would use in dreams to dispel the horrors that walked the nightmares of the youngest and the oldest. Unfortunately, in the waking world, she could not dispel these nightmares as easy; however, she could remove the fear that was building up in the minds of her troops.

The shadowbeings were closing the gap fast. One hundred hooves away, seventy-five, fifty, twenty, the time was quickly coming. Luna’s forces held ready. They knew their jobs; they knew they had to hold the line here and now. “Steady…”

“NOW!!!” At her command, one hundred spears fell forward. Each held in the hoof of an earth pony. Those selected for this front line duty where the strongest ponies in the guard. Each one was able to bench-press his or her weight several times over. With the deadly and last minute defense, these creatures had no choice. The weight from those behind them pushed those in front forward onto the spears of the awaiting ponies. The shadowbeings found themselves impaled on the spears several deep. Unable to arrest their forward momentum, hundreds died in those few seconds.

In one fluid motion, every earth pony dropped their spear and readied a shield. The next wave of enemies was already inbound. Their trap was sprung. It was time for the unicorns to have their day.


Prince Radiant watched and waited for his moment. He was the hammer to Luna’s anvil. Their plan was simple; let the enemies exhaust themselves on the shields of the earth ponies. When they were committed, when they could no longer pull back. He would strike at both sides of the enemy flanks. Crush them between a rock and a hard place.

He waited... he waited for the enemy to commit themselves. They slammed into the wall of shields with bone crushing force. The earth ponies held, but only just. When the final forces reached the line, when the shadowbeing at the back had nowhere left to go other than to push forward. Radiant gave the order.

Two waves of unicorns teleported to either side of the forces. They attacked at once, disorientating the enemy. That momentary distraction bought enough time for the earth ponies to draw their blades. Between the unicorn’s magic and the earth pony’s blades, the ending was never in doubt.

It was not long before Luna and Radiant were walking amongst the corpses of their enemies. “A good fight, Princess Luna.”

“Dear Prince, the fight has yet to begin.” She gestured with her hoof to the enemy forces still arrayed against them. Despite all they had killed, despite the wave upon wave of forces that were wiped out to the last. There were still countless numbers of enemies left. “The next wave will be upon us soon.”

“Is it time?”

“Yes, we think it is.”

With a mental command, Luna activated the ground defenses. The freeze spells went off without issue. Preventing several hundred of the shadowbeings from taking a single step forward. With their momentum arrested, the battle quickly swung back in favor of the defenders.

“Huzzah!” Went up from every pony that could see it. With this small victory, Luna was free to turn the batteries back on. That creature that infected Twilight Sparkle would be back to square one now. Forced to retake all the ground her forces had died fighting for.

However, in the next moment, the closest three sets of batteries exploded in a hellfire. Killing the ponies nearest to them. Every set of eyes turned to the direction the shots had appeared from. They all lead back to the same sight. A midnight black alicorn trotted forward. This pony was cloaked in darkness, Radiant gasped. Luna told him about this pony, the one who took Celestia from this world. The one who wore the corrupted form of his aunt.

For her part, Luna cursed this creature. She knew of its impact all too well. Her life as Nightmare Moon was still a frightening memory the Princess of the Night was unable to conquer. “She's committed to the battle.”

Radiant could only slightly nod at Luna’s comment. This was their enemy, this dark alicorn. How could they possibility hope to win against such overwhelming power? It was madness itself. “We should flee…” He whispered between gasps for breath.

“No. We put our faith in Rainbow Dash. Nopony else can stand before her.”

Luna punctuated this by casting a spell on the moon. Luna’s power magnified several times with the moon this close. Once more, after almost fifty years of being absent, the Mare in the Moon was once again visible on the night sky. This time, instead of representing fear, it was a mark of hope. Hope for the future. The moon magnified her normal influence over fear and directed it too all the ponies on the line. Eliminating their doubts over the possibility of victory verses this opponent.

It had two more functions as well. In addition to boosting morale over this terrifying new threat. It alerted the Wonderbolts that their time was here. The last thing it did was awaken their trump card. It woke up the only mare in all of Equestria that had a hope of defeating this revenant. Rainbow Dash was now awake.


Twilight Night smiled as the batteries came crashing down. It was too easy at this point. Her forces would soon overwhelm the defenders with sheer numbers. It was a shame; over seventy-five percent of her forces were lost. In the end, it did not matter. Yes, she had suffered more casualties than she ever intended too. However, now, now she could finish this.

The outcome was no longer in doubt, as Twilight Night predicted ninety-eight percent odds of victory. Soon the defenders would be far too busy saving their own flanks to worry about her. When she was in range, Cloudsdale would fall. Only somepony with extreme magical power could cause such an event. Fortunately, she was one such pony.

Twilight Night smiled as her forces crossed the battlefield; in a show of utter superiority, she walked the last few steps to get in range of Cloudsdale. As such, she never noticed when the Mare in the Moon returned to the sky. However, she did notice when a rainbow streak shot straight up from the middle of Stalliongrad. Her smile turned to a frown, as in the moonlight; she was easily able to make out the two golden wings connected to that pony. Only one pony in all of Equestria had golden wings. A pony that should be dead. “Rainbow Dash.”

Her odds of victory just dropped to fifty percent.


Rainbow flew towards the center of the mass of enemies. Her objective was clear, in the center of that mass, was her wife, her love, Twilight Sparkle. She recognized Twilight from a mile away. Luna fed her all the information she needed in her dreams. She knew what was required and what was happening. Rainbow felt a sense of debt to Luna for the slight time Luna gave her with her wife. She owed her that much at least.

Rainbow sped forward, soon accompanied by the Wonderbolts themselves. A very pissed Blazing Light led them. Any concern Rainbow might have had about her escort disappeared when Blazing Light saluted. Whatever else anypony could say about her, she followed orders, and her orders were clear as day: Protect Rainbow Dash and ensure she reaches the battlefield without incident.

Their formation was a V attack pattern. Years passed since Rainbow was last in the Wonderbolts. However, Rainbow quickly fell back into the pack. She flew in the center of the formation, flanked on either side by members of the elite flying team. They would intercept any threat sent her way. Three of their flyers flew next to the mare, acting as a personal guard.

It was a good thing they were there too, as a swarm of creatures broke away from Cloudsdale’s main forces to engage the group before they reached their target. The Wonderbolts showed once again why they were the best flyers in all of Equestria. Some of the right and left wings sped off in front of them. They crossed in a X pattern before the swarm. Their cloud trails momentarily disoriented the shadowbeings. That small distraction was enough.

The spear tip flew straight through the center. Each member of the formation struck out at their enemies with blades and kicks. Striking at their enemies most vulnerable spots, their wings. The effect was both instantaneous and devastating. Hundreds of the creatures fell to their deaths, as they were unable to stay in the air any longer.

Rainbow and her three guards flew unmolested through the hole the others created. Their objective was within range, the leader of this force. The one that had to be defeated before this could truly be over. She had to defeat the creature responsible for all of this, Twilight Sparkle.

Seconds before Rainbow put forth a final burst of speed her three escorts nodded and veered away. Their task complete, if they stayed any longer, they would simply get in the way. Rainbow nodded back and in a flash, was gone. Her objective was clear.

The speed of the pegasus was never beyond doubt. Rainbow was always fast, however, now she was pissed. Twilight Night never saw the first blow struck. The first she knew of the attack was picking herself off the ground with a cyan blue pegasus hovering above her.

“You should be dead!” the voice was so similar to Twilight’s, yet to Rainbow, its imitation of her wife voice only infuriated the mare farther. Somehow, those small differences highlighted that this was not Twilight more than her new look.

“Then this shouldn’t hurt.”

Even with the advance warning, even with access to more power than anypony before her. Rainbow was too fast. Twilight Night would raise shield after shield in the smallest effort to delay the cyan pegasus enough to get the upper hand. None of it worked, Rainbow was simply too quick.

Every shield she raised, every blow she tried to land, was futile. Rainbow never struck from the same angle twice. She was using her speed to change position in the blink of an eye. Rainbow would attack from several angles all at once. Landing blows from different locations at the same spot at almost the same time. Rainbow timed her shots to allow her wing blasts to hit one after another. For every additional shield Twilight Night raised, Rainbow destroyed two and would score another hit. Desperate, Twilight Night summoned her soldiers to aid her, she need to rob the momentum of this mare. Rainbow was a dangerous foe to say the least.

When none came, she used a few precious seconds to look around. The annoying pegasi in the blue uniforms were surrounding them. Somehow, the Wonderbolts set up a corroder, preventing any of her creatures from assisting. While she could take them out, doing so would cause an opening for Rainbow to attack, something she could ill afford to do.

Those few seconds cost Twilight Night. Rainbow attacked her flank four times from each side, as she bounced back and forth, each blow caused Twilight Night to fall into the next. Their impacts canceled each other out and Twilight Night had only one direction she could go, down. She fell onto her stomach, her legs no longer able to support her weight.

‘You’re losing.’

‘She is too fast mistress. There is no doubt; this is the one true queen of the hives.’



‘So, we finally found the one responsible for all of this, well then, take this power, but do not fail me.’

A surge of energy coursed through Twilight Night’s body. The power Twilight Sparkle held, it continued to surprise even the revenant.

To Rainbow’s surprise, Twilight Night took flight. Rainbow attacked again; however, her wing blasts were unable to down the shield. Whatever had occurred, this creature’s power just increased several fold. However, Twilight Night’s attacks failed to land as well, her shots were laughing easy to avoid for the pegasus.

Say what you will about power, enough speed and it is irreverent.

“Well dear Rainbow, it seems we've reached an impasse. I can’t hit you and you can’t touch me anymore.”

“Is that so?” Twilight Night spun around to face that voice. Rainbow took the bait and gave away her true position. If she struck now, it would be over.

Too late did she realize that while a trap was sprung, it was not hers. This was Rainbow’s doing. Rainbow struck at her rear shields ten times in less than a second. Shattering the shield at its weakest point and cutting the tendons in Twilight Night’s wings. The creature screamed and fell. She bounced twice as she landed with a thud on the ground.

Rainbow flew around the being masquerading as her wife, unwilling to present a stationary target for whatever it would try to do next.

“Rainbow… Why would you hurt me like this? Please, help me…” The voice was that of Twilight Sparkle.

Rainbow paused, the shock of hearing her wife’s voice, her true voice from this creature. It caused her to stop.

“You fool.”

The blast landed directly on Rainbow stomach, blowing a hole right through the mare in a sickening parody of forty years ago. The kinetic energy knocked the mare out of the sky. She flew back several yards before landing on the ground with a sickening thump. Rainbow lay unmoving on the earth, still, and motionless. Her wings began slowly wrapping around her, trying their best to heal the damage.

“Tisk-tisk, and to think how close you were to victory. What’s that? Are you trying to heal? I don’t think so. It’s time to finish this, Rainbow Dash. After all, the dead should stay dead. So long Rainbow Dash, and just think, this will be the last memory Twilight Sparkle will ever have of you. I truly could not have asked for a better way to finish her corruption.”

Twilight Night readied her strongest blast, aimed it at Rainbow, and fired.


Twilight Night watched as the blast flew true, it was a good shot, one that would lead to a direct hit. Regardless how effective those wings were in healing, nothing could bring back the dead. Her smile turned to ashes as the energy was deflected straight up into the air.

Radiant Star stood over Rainbow’s body, his panting served as evidence at just how fast he ran over here. The two swords he conjured glowing from the energy they had just deflected.

“No more, creature.”

“No more the child prince says? As you command, your majesty.” She bowed before him in a mock gesture of subservience.

In a way of response, Radiant conjured two more blades and charged her with all four of his swords. Twilight Night simply smiled as she conjured the blade that took Celestia’s head and met his charge dead on. ‘The only thing better than one headless member of royalty, is two.’

Their swords clashed in the middle. Each flew at speeds no normal pony could ever hope of watching. The sparks only lasting an instant, but serving as a tell-tale sign of where they met. While there was no doubt Twilight Night’s blade was stronger but the four swords of Radiant Star more than made up for it.

Radiant scored hit after hit on the monster, his four swords allowing him to parry her attacks and thrust forward with his own. After years of combat training, it was truly starting to pay off. Blood spilt on the ground, none of it his.

“You fight well, young prince.”

“Well enough to send you back to Tartarus, monster.”

“Now, I'm not ready to go home just yet.” She laughed at that last comment. In her mind, the comments similarities to an earlier retort were more than striking.

“Tell me, you know who you fight against, what do you fight for?”

“I made a promise to look after Rainbow, I intend to fulfill it. I will beat you.”

As they traded swords blows, Radiant scored several more hits, all of them caused Twilight Night’s blood to spill. “Well, you are the superior one with a blade, of that I cannot deny. In a fair fight you would win.”

“Then why are you smiling, monster.”

“Because, I don’t fight fair.”

Twilight Night blasted at the ground blow Radiant’s hooves. He stumbled forward into her front hoof. She kicked the stallion with all her might. The force of her blow sent him crashing to the ground several yards away.

“Time for death young prince, I would ask for your last words to your mom, but she'll be joining you soon enough.”

Twilight Night flung her sword directly at Radiant Star’s chest. He watched in horror as it flew straight and true, impaling itself in a pony’s chest. However, it was not his own. Commander Tsunami landed directly in front of the prince and took the blow for him.

“Well, the surprises keep coming today, don’t they?”

“You don’t know that half of it, monster.” Twilight Night’s face turned to shock as Rainbow bowled over the mare, causing them both to go tumbling into the night.


Radiant ran to the stricken commander, with his magic he pulled the sword out and pressed a hoof on the chest wound. The sudden pressure on the wound caused Tsunami to cry out in pain. Despite it all, Radiant only had one question in his mind. “Why?”

Tsunami coughed up blood as he started to laugh. “Why what?”

“Why did you save me? That’s not like you.”

“It used to be, I… I lost track of that, somewhere.”

Radiant’s face turned to one of shock, after the last time he saw the commander, he spoke to many ponies who knew him None of them had a kind opinion of Tsunami.

“Don’t look at me like that.” Tsunami spoke, coughing up more blood as he did. “I had a promise to keep is all.”

“A promise? To who.”

“To the one who saved my life, your father, Shining Armor.”

“You don’t deserve to speak his name.”

“You're right, I don’t.” tears began falling from Tsunami's eyes. Radiant looked on in shock, despite everything that had happened to the Commander, despite all the pain he had seen Tsunami in. He never saw the stallion cry before.

“He saved me, you know. We were completely surrounded, cut off by the snow golems. They had us pinned behind enemy lines. I didn't want to go; I didn't want to leave him alone. However, his survival was never an option. The only question was who would die with him. He told me, he told me to go, to save myself. I refused; I told him he could court-martial me later.” The body heat from Tsunami was fading quickly. Radiant was unable to respond to any of this, this version of events, it was not recorded anywhere.

“He told me to go, he told me to look after you. He told me that is how I could return the favor, since I cannot save him, I was to save you. He made me promise damnit, some bucking pinkie promise I never heard of before… So I left, it went against everything I stood for, everything I used to stand for, but I left. It was the hardest decision I ever made.” More blood was leaking out of his wound.

“You were a prince, protected by the royal guard. How could I look after you? How could I return the favor? I was just a lowly lieutenant at the time, so I resolved to gain status. At first, I went about it the normal way. But, after a while, I figured out an easier way.” He started laughing at that. “There are two ways to make rank in the military, be the best, or stab those who are in the back. One is significantly easier than the other.”

“What happened then? You were already the Commander of Cloudsdale. Why didn’t you stop?”

“It became second nature by then. I lost track of the reason why I was doing it… It went from a means to the end to the end itself. I'm glad though, in the end, I was able to remember, I found my purpose again, and I was able to fulfil my promise.”

Commander Tsunami closed his eyes for the last time. His last thoughts did not sound like his own, yet it left a smile on his face all the same.

‘Thank you for keeping your promise, for saving my son.’

Radiant stood up over the fallen body of Tsunami, he sharply saluted the former commander. While it was not a hero’s death, as he was anything but. He could still honor how the commander had died. Few ponies died knowing they had fulfilled their promises. Radiant turned and looked around. Wherever Rainbow and Twilight where, they were not around here. However, there were still a lot of enemies to fight. Luna would be missing him on the front line.


Rainbow let loose on this creature posing as her wife. The trick she played only served to infuriate the mare more than anything else did. This creature had a chance to kill her. She missed it; there would not be another if Rainbow had anything to say about it.

Their battle quickly became extreme. Energy blasts lashed out from Twilight Night’s horn, however, none of them struck their target. Due to Rainbow's speed, she quickly figured out how to turn that energy towards a more ‘deserving’ foe. As such, Twilight Night was annihilating huge sections of her own forces with each ill-conceived attempt on Rainbow’s life.

Rainbow reflected on the terms she had given Luna. She was actually worried back then; somepony might get in the way and try to help during an event like this. She should not have worried about anypony interfering; this amount of damage would cause most sane ponies to stay away, only the truly insane would come close to this. Speaking of insane, she did owe Radiant a big bucking thanks. A debt she hoped to repay later.

The frustration of Twilight Night did not go unnoticed, rage was beginning to build in her, so much so that it was obvious to Rainbow. She added extra speed, the battle between her and Thanus earlier taught her much about rage.

Rainbow circled the mare a hundred times in less than a second. She struck with her wings during each pass at a different limb, they left small cuts but ones that bled. It was too much for Twilight Night. She soon collapsed on the ground, weak from blood loss and out of breath.

“Please, don’t hurt me anymore, Rainbow… I love you.” Twilight’s voice spoke in a pleading matter.

“How dumb do you think I am?”

“You really want me to answer that?”

Anger took hold of Rainbow and she flew at the creature. She bucked her several hundred hooves in the air. Rainbow followed the creature up. She easily outpaced the slow speed Twilight Night flew up at.

Twilight Night spun in the air, frantically trying to right herself. For Rainbow, this presented a unique opportunity. There, for a split second, the creature’s neck was open to attack. It was quick, faster than the blink of an eye, but for a mare like Rainbow, it was all the opening she would need. Deep down, she knew, this was the only opening she may ever have.


Rainbow attacked with both wings. She sent the primary feathers straight and true to their target. Twilight Night did not have the reflexes to respond with anywhere near enough speed. As such, they landed exactly where Rainbow was aiming for and broke the crown on top of her head in two.

The black stone flew off to Celestia knows what fate. The golden inlay shattered on her head. Twilight Night just smiled back as she released an attack of her own, “You missed.”

Unfortunately for Rainbow, Twilight Night did not.


Rainbow woke up after hitting the ground. The hole in her lower back sent her spiraling out of the sky. Her wings were already trying their best to repair the damage. While they would protect that portion of her from any further attack, the rest of her body was wide open.

Twilight Night landed next to her with a smile on her face. “I have to give you credit, Rainbow Dash, I thought you were going to win there. It's a pity, tell me before you die, why did you waste your shot?”

“Why should I tell you anything, monster.” Rainbow spit on the creature's face.

“Oh, don’t give me that, if you want I will simply kill you now, however, color me curious. Tell me, is it because you couldn’t bring yourself to do it?”

Rainbow’s expression confirmed the reason why she missed her chance.

“It is! This is too precious, the great Rainbow Dash, the last hope of the defenders of Stalliongrad, she threw away their only hope of victory.” The laughter in her voice chilled Rainbow to the core.

“It’s because that crown looked awful on her…”

Twilight Night walked over the pegasus until she was standing directly over her face. “That may be, but you miscalculated. I don’t need it anymore. I have, how do you say, moved in. Twilight is in here by the way, I will let her replay this memory over and over, unaltered. Tell me, is there any last words you would like to say to her before she kills you.”

Rainbow thought about it, she did have one thing she wanted to do. “There is one thing I would like her to know.”

Twilight Night reached down and whispered seductively to Rainbow in Twilight’s own voice. “What’s that, my beloved?”

Rainbow reached up and kissed her.


Twilight Sparkle watched in horror as they stood over the changeling queen and it kissed her. She could not believe such a creature would dare do something like that. Her anger and rage built to the forefront of her mind. It was repulsive, disgusting, gross, repugnant, and... and familiar. Too familiar…

That feeling, she felt it before. Too many times, only one mare in Equestria kissed like that. Only one, no changeling could ever hope to duplicate that, somethings carried too much emotion to ever fake…

‘Mistress, it’s a trick.’

The walls came crumbling down. All the lies, all the illusions, none of them could hope to fool her of that kiss. It could only be one pony. She looked again and for the first time in two months. Twilight Sparkle saw herself kissing her wife, Rainbow Dash.

‘You tricked me…’

The creature that only referred to itself as The Night tried to flee, it tried to anyway. Twilight grabbed it in her magic and began crushing; smashing every fiber of its being together into an orb. She quickly found the side pieces of it in her mind and added those to the ball. Twilight Sparkle squeezed the creature into the size of an atom and beyond. Nothing remained of the revenant that corrupted her mind. With the loss of the secondary consciousness in her body, Twilight Night’s form quickly regressed to a smaller vessel. One recognized the world over as Twilight Sparkle.

As Rainbow held the kiss, she soon found it reciprocated several times over. Rainbow refused to open her eyes in case her doom was soon upon her. It was not until the weight landed on her stomach that Rainbow finally opened them. The mare laying on her caused a smile to form on Rainbow's face. To Rainbow, It was a proven fact; her kiss could snap Twilight out of anything.

“You still with me, egghead?”

“Always and forever.”

Rainbow wrapped them both in her wings, as the magic lock on the moon vanished; Luna was able to perform her birthright. Luna was finally able to lower the moon and raise the sun. In the light of the sun, the shadowbeings died to the last, ending the battle.


The Remains of the Everfree Forest

The General smiled at the sight before him. It had taken countless hours, but he was here. They had finally reached the necessary container for their master’s vessel. “Sir, we don’t have the numbers to take the tree.”

“Fool, we don’t need the tree, just the stones.”

A noise behind him alerted the General to the coming of another soldier, this one darted side to side. His skin torched by the newly rising sun.

“Did you bring it?”

Its mouth was too far-gone, no long able to speak it simply handed the general a black stone in the shape of a six-pointed star.

He smiled as he took the dark stone from the creature and dismissed it with a casual wave of his claw. “With this, and the Elements from Gaia’s Occulous, we shall at last return the master to this world. The Titan Cronus will once more walk on this world.”

Scars Never Fade

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Ruins of Ponyville
The one remaining building

“Bucking hell, Twilight!”

“What's wrong now?”

“If your horn gets any longer I wont be able to do that anymore.”

Twilight stuck out her tongue in playful teasing of Rainbow’s comment as her wife got down from off her horn. Rainbow landed on the floor next to the bed and Twilight could not help but laugh as Rainbow was walking funny.

“Oh buck up, it’s not like you don’t enjoy it. Besides it was your idea, remember?”

Rainbow simply smirked at her wife. “Please, you enjoy that as much as I do. I know exactly how sensitive horns are.”

Twilight smiled at that, her horn had always been sensitive, but over the years, its sensitivity seemed to increase as her magic became stronger.

“A little pain can be fun, and it's not like it will kill you or anything.”

“Trust me, there is nothing ‘little’ about that.” Rainbow gestured to the glossy horn on Twilight’s head.

“So you don’t want to do that anymore?”

“Well, I never said that, did I?”

Rainbow hobbled over to her wife and kissed her on the lips, despite everything, they always found new ways to express their love for each other. In many ways, it was still amazing to the mare. “Besides, I’ve seen what happens when you don’t get your way.”

Twilight pulled away from the kiss and grabbed the blanket on the bed; unfortunately, she failed to realize just how soiled it was. Twilight tossed it over to the corner of the room and crossed her hooves in front of her.

Rainbow smiled at just how cute a pouty Twilight could be, unfortunately, the state she had left her mane in detracted from that. However, based on the earlier screams, it was well worth it.

Twilight did not want to talk about what happened, she did not want to face that reality, she did not want to know what happened (even if it was too late for that), she did not want Rainbow to have that grin on her face, and she did not want a towel thrown at her. Sadly, all these thing happened at that moment.

Rainbow laughed as the towel hit her wife square in the face and then fell loosely to her side. Twilight gave the mare a death glare that only served to increase the humor of the whole situation in Rainbow’s eyes.

“It will take more than a towel to clean this up, Rainbow.”

“I know, we will probably have to get a new bed after this.”

“Trust me, there is no probably about it.”

“Well the towel should make you feel better anyway. Hopefully, one day you will give up your crown of denial and we can actually have the conversation about what occurred.”

“Hey! If I want to be the Princess of Denial, I can! Royal privileges give me that right at least.”

“Yes, your highness.” Rainbow bowed sarcastically to her wife, the Princess of Denial. Unfortunately, the move also cost Rainbow, as her muscles protested at the sudden movement of parts of her that had yet to readjust.

‘Least she paid for that.’ Twilight thought.

As Rainbow slowly got up from her show of servitude to the princess, she flew over to the bed and lay down next to Twilight. She sighed in relief as her muscles thanked her for not stretching them any farther.

Rainbow relaxed a little as Twilight adjusted to the extra body back in the bed. So many times in the last few months, she would have given anything for that warm body to be there. She could not stay mad at Rainbow, even if she kept bringing up the ‘subject she never, ever, ever, wanted to talk about.’

Rainbow relaxed a little as Twilight’s hoof wrapped around her. Even with the pain and discomfort being touched brought, she would not want it to stop for all the bits in Equestria. Rainbow let out sigh of contentment as she lay next to her wife.

“You know we still have to talk about it.” Rainbow said to her wife.

Rainbow landed face first on the floor with a loud thud. “Ouch!”

“Serves you right.”

“You don’t want to face reality so you push me muzzle first on the floor?”

“I just want to lay in bed with my wife and you keep bringing that up. Why?” Tears began forming in Twilight's eyes.

Again, Rainbow flew up and landed directly to the side of Twilight. She lay next to the mare and wrapped a hoof around her. Rainbow pulled Twilight tightly to her chest, not wanting to see her cry anymore, yet not willing to let her suffer alone. “Shh… You’re not ready yet, I get it, but it’s not good to try and ignore this, you taught me that, remember?”

“…” Twilight said nothing; she simply started rubbing a hoof along Rainbow’s flank.

“I love you more than anything Twilight, but it's been over a week, you and I both know this is not healthy, you have to talk about it, eventually.”


“I'll make you this deal; I'll never bring this up again, provided you do agree to talk about it to somepony, eventually, when you’re ready.”


"It doesn't even have to be me."

"Of course it will be you."


“How's the rehab going, Dawn?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Sorry… Mine is going ok, I can walk again.”

Bright Dawn looked over his sister-in-law. Aurora was indeed walking again; from the looks of things, she would make a full recovery. Of that, he was at least glad. She had always been a spunky little pegasus and to see her so injured. It affected more ponies than even she realized.

As Dawn went to sit down, He groaned again from the stinging on his flank. “You ok?” Aurora asked.

“I will be.” That was at least partially true; he spent a full week under the tender care of Twilight Night’s minions. They seemed to play with him at least once an hour. Only his wife knew, but he still woke up to the nightmares of that cell. However, he could not bring himself to complain to Aurora about it. Compared to what they did to her, he had no right to bitch. She was quickly become an inspiration to the pegasus.

Bright Dawn did not want to be here, he did not want to wait outside his in-laws house for when they came out. The two of them retreated here a week ago. If they were going to come out, they would have already. Whatever was going on in there (and despite the soundproof spell, the screams that did escape gave him some ideas) it did not involve leaving anytime soon. If he was being honest with himself, truly honest, he did not want to be around Twilight Sparkle at all. It was hard not associating her with that creature that tortured him, regardless of the assurances Luna gave on her behalf.

Shimmering Night asked him to wait here for her. Luna and Night were busy as ever these last few weeks. Reconstruction began in earnest on Canterlot. Princess Luna decreed that the capital of Equestria would once again stand tall, regardless of what occurred. While several council members did object, she was anything but in the mood to argue about it. Luna simply reminded them that they were still under martial law until she declared it over. Their failure to follow orders under such conditions was an act of treason and will be treated as such. That quickly shut them all up.

Bright Dawn looked over to his only companion at that moment. Aurora patiently sat across from him. A stab of guilt quickly overtook the stallion, it was not her fault that this all happened. She was not to blame for his injuries, for his week of torture. Why was he taking it out on her?



“Never mind…” He could not do it. He just could not bring himself to talk about it to anyone other than Night, not yet anyway.

Luckily, the arrival of three additional ponies saved the two from any more pathetic attempts at small talk. Princess Shimmering Night, Luna, and Cadance all arrived to lessen the awkwardness of the whole situation.

Bright Dawn ran towards his wife and embraced her in a hug. Cadance simply smiled at the two as Luna walked over to Aurora. “You look well, we are glad.”

“Thanks. You seem to be doing better as well.”

Luna looked down to her stomach, she was fully healed, however, some patches of hair on her belly would never return. “We are, adequate. We were under the impression that there were three here today.”

“Yes there are; however, Ataxia quickly grew bored and said she was going to find something to destroy.”

“You allowed this?”

“How much more damage can she do?”

A huge column of water shot up in the air following a loud explosion near the river. “Ok, dumb question.”

“Something troubles you young one?”

“I'm not that young, Luna.”

“Dear one, once you reach my age, everyone is young.” Aurora laughed at that.

“I suppose, I just don’t like it here anymore.”

“We are confused.”

“Here, Ponyville, it doesn’t feel like home anymore.” She gestured around, indicating all the rubble strewn about the place. “I don’t like seeing it like this…”

“This is just stuff Aurora, it can be rebuilt.”

“I know that, I do, but still… We were raised here, even discounting the destruction and rubble everywhere; it doesn’t feel like home anymore.”

“You know, when we… I was sent away, Canterlot did not even exist. Once we came back, everything had changed.” Luna walked over to Aurora and wrapped a hoof around her. “Imagine such a change; even our speaking patterns were wrong.” Luna laughed at that.

“You never really talked about that before.”

“Indeed, however, we adjusted to all of this, to this new age. Would you like to know how?”

Aurora nodded to that.

“We put our trust in our sister, our family. She helped us acclimate to this new Equestria. Yours will too.”

“Well, your speaking patterns are still wrong.”

Luna cuffed the pegasus over the head with a hoof, “We do it on purpose, as a way to remind ourselves of the past.”

“Thanks, auntie.”

Luna smiled at her, while they were not officially related in any legal matter; the princesses had always been there for Twilight’s foals. They were as much a part of their life as any other ponies were.

They were soon interrupted by a polite cough coming from Cadance; looking up, Aurora saw the other three had joined them. Although, there was one thing she wanted an answer for now that she remembered.

“Dawn, may I ask you a question?”

“I think you just did.”

Night cuffed him across the ear for that. “Smartass, you know what she meant.”

“Okay, sorry. Go ahead Aurora.”

“Your tree cutie mark, what is it for.”

He glanced over to his side; on his flank was an oak tree cutie mark. He smiled at the memory. “Well, you know how a tree can grow to such a huge size, practically anywhere.”


“That’s my special talent.”

“You can grow anywhere?”

He smiled at that. “No, the tenacity to reach my dreams regardless of the obstacles involved.”

Shimmering Night smiled at him as they kissed.

“Cadance, where's Radiant Star?” Aurora asked. Wondering why her cousin was not here.

“Oh, my son had to go back to the Crystal Empire, we've been gone for far too long as it is. It was time one of us returned. I told him to go, I would help out here.” Cadance smiled as she was practically giving away another juicy detail with her body language.

“Cadance, what is it?” Aurora did not by it one bit.

“Fine, you found me out. He has a date.”

Night jumped up and down like a filly. “Who, who, Tell me, tell me, tell me!”

Cadance stuck her nose in the air. “It's not my place.”

“It is Commander Firestar.” Luna spoke, matter-of-factly.

“Firestar?!” Aurora, Dawn, and Night all gasped in shock.

“Auntie! Way to ruin my fun! How did you know anyway?”

Princess Luna glared at Cadance with an ‘are you serious’ face.

Cadance playfully punched her in the shoulder. “You’re not supposed to reveal what you see in dreams, you know.”

“Please, you've been dying to tell them anyway, we simply beat you to it.”

Cadance simply smiled at that, she was busted red-hoofed and she knew it. The others began pestering her with questions about her son. Questions she was all too happy to answer. The five ponies quickly fell into idle gossip about that and all they missed since the last time they were together.


“TWILIGHT. What are you doing?”

“What, you said you wanted me to use my tongue.”

“Yes, by talking to…MEEEEE… ok, keep that up.”

Twilight smiled at Rainbow and went back to work.


A deadly silence came over the ponies outside at the noise they just heard. Luna was the first to break it. “Perhaps, when they do come out, we will let Twilight know she should strengthen the soundproof spell.”

Four blushing nods accompanied that comment.


Rainbow lay on a soaked mattress with Twilight in her hoof. She attempted to get some of the matting out of her wife’s mane, but much to Twilight’s chagrin, all she managed to do was pull on her hair. “Just leave it.”

“I don’t think there is enough shampoo in the world to save that, Twi.”

“Hey if I have to shave my head you’re going to too.”

“What? Why?”

“You’re responsible for it after all.”

“I guess…”

“Hey Rainbow?”


“How long has it been?”

Rainbow laughed at that, “I lost track of time a while ago. Why do you ask?”

“Because you stink.”

She laughed at that. “Have you smelled yourself, Twi?”

Twilight looked up and smiled at her, “I guess it has been a while since I left this bed, huh?”

Rainbow smiled back, “Shall we take a shower then.”

“Yeah I guess we do need one.”

“I’ll say.”

They both turned to the newcomer in the room. Shock turned to anger as they saw just who managed to break through the shielding around the house. Nothing should have been capable of it.

The new pony was a huge red earth pony with a jet-black mane. He wore a disgusted look plastered over his face from the aroma in the air, with a macabre scythe strapped to his back.

Rainbow spoke his name like a curse on the wind. “Tartarus.”

“I see her mistress remembers me.”

“I’m not her mistress, I'm her wife.”


“What are you doing here, brother?” Twilight smiled at the obvious discomfort calling him her ‘brother’ brought him.

“I have come to give you a warning, the Titans have escaped.”

“Hmm, how about you file that under SHIT WE BUCKING ALREADY KNOW!” Rainbow screamed at him. “Good job at that by the way, so much for being their jailer. How does the old saying go? One bucking job?”

Anger radiated off Tartarus, he quickly approached the cyan mare and the scythe flew from off his back. He slammed it down into the bed, cutting right through it like a hot knife through butter. “One job huh? I got news for you; this was never meant to be my job. This was meant to be YOUR JOB.” He gestured at the scythe sticking out of the bed. “I can’t do both full time. Every second of the day, another soul drops dead. Another soul requires my attention. Just to have this meeting I have to stop bucking time.”

To her credit, or perhaps as a monument to her stupidity, Rainbow was not backing down. She jumped on all fours and glared at the God angrily. “So it’s my fault you suck so much? You’re a God, deal with it!”

Tartarus glared back, until, at last he gave up and turned around to leave, with the scythe reclaiming its spot on his back. “Whatever, forget I even came, I will be in enough trouble from the others for even this much contact.”

“Wait!” Twilight shouted. “You said the Titans escaped, plural. “

Tartarus smiled, “Yes, they are now all gone.”

“All three of them?” Twilight asked.

“One now, only Cronus is still loose.”

“What about the other two.”

“Well, that one killed Hyperion.” He gestured a hoof at Rainbow, who just smiled and nodded. “Cronus killed Crius; beat her to death for her arms.”

“So are you actually going to do something about Cronus, or are you just going to let us mere mortals deal with it again?”

“Rainbow, shut up.”


“Rainbow, please, just for now, shut up.”

“Hmm…” Rainbow scoffed and crossed her hoofs over her chest, but she did keep quiet.

“That's a good question though Tartarus, why didn’t you help us with Hyperion, you had to have known.”

“Yes, I did. As soon as a Titan steps foot on this world every God knows. However, it's a double edge sword. As soon as they appear, interfering is breaking vow two.”

Rainbow went to speak but Twilight used her magic to keep Rainbow’s muzzle sealed shut. “What's with this anyway? It seems like all you Gods do come up with new ways around your own rules.”

“Hey, I'm not the one who figures out new ways around the vows. That's all the others.”

“Says the God who is right now, directly interfering in the lives of mortals.”

Twilight stared at Rainbow; somehow, she used her wings to cut away the magic seal keeping her from talking.

“Unlike the others, I don’t find loopholes, and when they come back I will pay the price for this, willingly.”

Twilight nodded at that, she could respect someone who took responsibility for their actions. “How are they getting out of Tartarus anyway?”

“They are being transported in the Occulous. Their minions figured out a way to encase their essence in them and bring them out that way. Of course, it requires a God's power to free them, which they have found in abundance up here, between Chaos and you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“When Chaos lost control of his power. They leached enough off to free Hyperion.”

“No, what do you mean me?”

“The stone you wore while possessed, it was a dark stone. Slowly, it leached some of the power of Gaia from you and filled itself to capacity.”

“How are they getting past Cerberus?”

“They killed him.”

Twilight stared down with a guilty look on her face. Rainbow jumped to her defense. “So, it’s not like they have the Tree of Harmony or anything.”

“What do you think they were doing while you were off fighting your little war?”

“The tree is gone?” Rainbow asked.

“No, they don’t need the whole tree, just the elements.”

“So what? We will just kick his ass again when he gets here.”

“How? You going to risk cutting the world in half next time? Besides, Cronus is a lot stronger than his brothers and sisters. With the power he will gain from Gaia, he will be even more so. You two do not have the strength to stop him.”

“I doubt you just came here to tell us we're doomed.” Twilight commented.

“Indeed, there is something you can use to defeat him. However, you cannot get it yourself. Only this one will be able to reach it.” He gestured at Rainbow with that statement.

“What is that?” Rainbow asked.

“The most dangerous weapon ever created by the Gods, the one that ended the Titan war. The weapon I'm sure Cronus wants more than anything else. Cronus’s Sickle.”

“His what?” Rainbow asked.

“Cronus’s Sickle, it was a weapon Gaia forged for him, back when there were still twelve of them. None of the other Gods could create anything near it. When the blade cuts you, it destroys your very essence, there is nothing left of those who are injured by it. Using that, he began killing his brothers and sisters, taking their power for himself. It is what caused us to realize our folly in granting them such power. Gaia and I sealed them away shortly afterward.”

“What did you do with it after? Twilight asked.

“We sealed it in the far north. Where no living thing could touch it. Just to insure that one of us were not tempted by such power we cast a spell that prevented Gods from being able to reach it or even sense it. That is why only this one can actually reach it. You cannot.”

“This is not some trick right. Rainbow won’t pick it up and become corrupted by it, will she?”

“No, the sickle has no consciousness, to most it will feel just like a normal blade.”


“Well, it is a God weapon after all, such relics tends to carry a power all of their.”

Twilight had the sinking feeling something was being left out of his story. However, once again, she did not see any other options. “We will get it, together.”

“You can’t.”

“You misunderstand; I will go with her to retrieve it, regardless if I can make the last portion of the journey with her. We will go together or not at all.” Rainbow simply nodded her head in agreement.

“Fine, when you retrieve it, bring it back here, I will verify it has not degraded so you can use it to kill Cronus.”

“How long do we have before Cronus is brought back?”

“My best guess is a week, however I might be able to delay it longer; it will take you about two weeks to find the sickle though. So make sure your ‘friends’ know that they might have to deal with him on their own for a while.”

“Two weeks? I can find it in an hour!” Rainbow puffed up her chest as she bragged.

“Really? Good luck with that, we sealed that thing a millennium ago and the snow hasn’t left it alone.”

Rainbow deflated at that comment.

“If it can’t be sensed, how are we going to find it?” Twilight asked.

“We sealed it at east side of the tallest mountain there was. That’s all I can tell you.”

“Doesn’t sound too difficult.”

“Then Chaos found out, he changed the landscape just to ensure we will never find it. By the way, my two week estimate, was taking into account your speed and power.”

“Oh, before you go rally the troops sort of speak. You might want to take that shower.” With that comment Tartarus turned and walked through the wall of the bedroom. To ‘whatever’ required his attention.

"He's a prick." Rainbow spoke.

Rainbow and Twilight both looked at each other, despite it all, they started laughing at the state they had left each other in. “C’mon Twi, let’s go take a shower.”

“Sounds great.” Twilight tried to stand. Unfortunately, it had indeed been a while since she last used her legs to support her own weight. Rainbow was instantly by her side, catching the mare before she fell to the ground. “Thanks Rainbow.”

“No need to thank me, Twi.”



“I think… I think I am ready to talk about it now.”

“And I'm ready to listen. But first, we should really do something about that smell.”

“On it.”

All the sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, ball gags, and other 'assorted' toys magically levitated to the bed as Twilight lit the thing on fire. She trapped the area in a magic bubble and when nothing remained but ashes, Twilight teleported the bubble to the bottom of the ocean. Just to ensure that nopony else would ever know what occurred in this room.

While Twilight was disposing of the evidence, Rainbow retrieved every bottle of soap and shampoo they had, while she was never one to doll herself up, even Rainbow had to admit they both needed this, badly. Briefly, she wondered if thirteen bottles were going to be enough. Somehow, she doubted it. Rainbow took the bottles and went into the shower.

As Twilight joined Rainbow in the shower, Rainbow directed the water to her wife’s mane. She dumped the first bottle out on Twilight's hair and began scrubbing viciously.

“So, what do you want to talk about first?”

“Tell me how my son died.”

Rainbow signed inwardly. ‘Of course she would want to know that first.’ That was a scar Rainbow would rather not pick at herself, but if Twi was finally willing to talk she would go through it again, for her.

“Ok, it all started…”

Tasks and Trials

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Ruins of Ponyville
The one remaining building

“You ready for this, Twi?”


“C’mon, we talked about this already; we have to let the others know what Tartarus said.”

“I don’t know Rainbow, I still feel like we can’t trust him.”

“What? You think I do? C'mon, what’s the real reason?”

Twilight laughed at that, if there was one pony in Equestria who had cause to doubt the God of Death it would be Rainbow. “I know you don’t. I just... I just don’t know if I'm ready to face everyone, after what happened and all…”

“They don’t blame you, Twi.”

“I wish I had your confidence.”

“Well, not everyone can be as awesome as me.”

Twilight reached over and kissed her wife on the cheek. “Damn right, nopony is as awesome as my wife.”

“Well, I can think of one, they're super awesome.”

Twilight looked taken aback by that. “Really? Who is it? I'll go marry them then.”

“Sorry, you're too late, they are taken by somepony already.”

“Oh, someone beat me to them, tell me, who married this super awesome pony?”

“I did.”

That earned Rainbow another kiss. After a few minutes, Rainbow pulled back, earning a disappointing moan from her wife. “Sorry, but we really do need to get going. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I am way too sore to follow that to its conclusion.”

“Are you saying I wore out the great Rainbow Dash?”

“Twilight, you would have given several ponies a run for their bits these last few days.”

“What can I say; you left me alone for two months.”

“We went over this already, I did no such thing. It’s not my fault I time traveled.”

“It wasn’t time travel.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, but stop getting off subject. It’s time to go see our friends.”

“How long were we in here anyway?”

“What, you think I was keeping track of time?”

“What were you keeping track of?”

“Number of times we each…”

“Yeah, and?” Twilight would be lying if she said she was not a little curious.

“Ninety-seven to ninety-three, I won!”

“Rainbow, I think this would be more like golf. Lower score wins.”

“Yeah that’s stupid, higher score always wins.”

“If you say so.” Twilight smirked at her wife.

“C’mon, we don’t have time to kill.”

Rainbow began walking forward; forcing Twilight to keep pace if she wanted to stay under her wing. The two of them traveled out the front door of their house, greeted by the light of the sun for the first time in quite a while, they could not help but shut their eyes to it. However, their eyes were not necessary to hear the warm greetings from their friends and family.




Princess Luna noticed their temporary blindness and moved a few clouds in the way of the sun with her magic. “You should be able to see now.”

Twilight and Rainbow opened their eyes. While not having the sun in their face did help, it still took a few seconds for their vision to come back. “Wow, everyone is here.” Looking around Twilight saw Cadance, Luna, Rarity, Spike, Night, Dawn, Ataxia, and Aurora all gathered around the house. For Twilight, seeing all her friends and family gathered around like this, only seemed to highlight those who were missing, Dayspring Gleam, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Celestia. She would never see her only son’s face again; she would never be able to talk to her mentor and oldest friend again. She would never attend another of Pinkie Pie’s parties. She would never have evening tea with Fluttershy again. It was too much to take in all at once. In so many ways, it was worse than ever.

Over the years, Rainbow learned to read Twilight like a book. As such, she easily saw the signs of a breakdown on the way. Rainbow was worried about this. While they talked for over a day about everything that had happened, she knew it would take time for Twilight to process it. For her to truly come to terms and move on, that might even take years. Even Rainbow still felt the grief of it all, she probably always will.

Rainbow squeezed her wife tightly in her wing and forced her to sit down. She lightly stroked Twilight’s back with a hoof. Rainbow’s hoof paid special attention to the sensitive area between Twilight’s wings. “It’s ok Twilight, no one will judge you.”

“How can they not?!” Twilight was in tears now.

“Because, we can no more hold you responsible for your actions as Twilight Night then ours as Nightmare Moon.” Luna commented to the stricken mare.

“But you didn’t do anything this bad.”

“Only because you stopped us before we could, had you not been there, had your friends not been there, we would have caused eternal night. It would have killed all of Equestria. If anything, it is us that should apologize to you.”

“To me?”

“Yes Princess Twilight. Your hooves carry so much in this world. We have all relied on you to solve all of our problems. When something happened to you, when you needed help with your problems, we were not strong enough to help. We failed to prevent you from succumbing to your demons.”

“But.... but... Celestia, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Dayspring.”

“No buts, mom.”

Rainbow looked over at Aurora, The mare looked a hundred times better, however, that did not squash the guilt Rainbow felt for not being there, for not helping her during the attack, or after.

‘No, this is not about me, this is about helping Twilight. There will be time for me later.’ Rainbow pushed all those errant thoughts aside.

“Aurora is right, Twilight. We know for a fact that Celestia would never blame you for what happened.”

“How can you know that?”

“If we do not blame you, how could she?”

Aurora came over and hugged her two parents. Softly she whispered in Twilight ear. “Please, forgive Dayspring for what happened. I don’t want your memory of him to be stained by his actions to save me.”

“I… I… I do.” A weight seemed to lift from Twilight as she realized that it was the truth. She never knew that she actually blamed him a little for that. With that admission, with her daughter’s kind words for her lost brother. She was able to forgive him for his actions, and in doing so, she forgave herself. It would still hurt, that gap would never go away. However, the weight of it, it became easier to carry.

“I'm sorry girls; I missed so much, you all had to go through everything that happened without me.”

“No, we're sorry Twilight.” Cadance spoke for the group. “We were not there for you, I wasn’t there for you. Radiant told me to tell you about the theft of the heart. Had I listened to him…”

“It would have changed nothing.” Shimmering Night replied. “They would have still attacked; Ponyville would have still been destroyed. The only difference is that the wedding would have been delayed and the Royal Guards would not have been there. Worse, Twilight might have left to see where they took it and Rainbow would have gone with her. That would have caused the deaths of many, many more ponies. Not just the few it did.”

Cadance considered that, she doubted her choice in not interrupting the wedding for a while now, however, with that knowledge she was finally able to crush those small thoughts for the last time. ‘I knew you should always bet on love.’

Twilight looked around to the best friends and family she could ever hope for, after taking a few minutes to let the tears fade she asked an obvious question. “How did you all know to be here today?”

“That was Ataxia’s doing, darling.”


The mare just blushed at the back of the group, trying to hide her face in the crowd. Eventually she realized that was not working as everypony was waiting for her to explain just how she knew today would be the day. “I… I just had a feeling that we should all be here today. I can’t explain it, but that’s what happened.”

“It wasn’t a pinkie sense kind of thing was it?” Twilight gulped at the possibility of that continuing on to a new generation.

“No, it was just a gut feeling, like somepony was trying to tell me that but couldn’t communicate it directly.”

Twilight had a few ideas of just who ‘that’ could be, but she kept them to herself. Twilight already got enough strange looks for revealing that she was Gaia’s Avatar, nopony needed to know that Ataxia was the Avatar of Chaos. The mare has enough problems fitting in as is.

“How long were we in there anyway?” Rainbow asked.

“Two weeks to the day.” Spike responded, holding up a calendar with each day crossed off.

Rainbow and Twilight both looked at each other, the same thought crossed through their head. ‘Two weeks? That’s a new record.’ Although, while Twilight was simply embarrassed by that knowledge, Rainbow vowed to break it one day. ‘We can do better.’

“I suppose you're all wondering why we came out today.”

Eight sets of eyes turned from their casual conversation and looked the two. Twilight calmly addressed her friends and family. She was no longer worried about being judged for her actions. They forgave her for her sins; it was the least she could do to try to forgive herself. Even if it was a much harder prospect.

“We had a visitor yesterday.”

That caused every eye to turn into dinner plates, they all knew Twilight’s spells were the best, if somepony broke in. without her permission, without them even seeing whom. That was the very definition of Trouble.

“Who could break into your house?” Night asked, she had tried a few times over the past two weeks to gain access. Twilight strengthened the shield to allow nopony entrance. Any spell strong enough to do so would have destroyed the house and half of Equestria along with it.

“Tartarus.” Rainbow replied to her daughter.

“Tartarus, like the God Tartarus? Or the place?”

“One in the same Spike, I told you that.” Twilight answered.

“Wait, didn’t you say in your report the Gods were forbidden from directly interfering with the lives of mortals.” Luna asked with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Yes, however, Tartarus broke that rule to warn us that the Titan Cronus escaped. The one Rainbow killed was Hyperion. Apparently Cronus is going to use some of Gaia’s power he stole from me to bring himself back to this world with the intent to enslave or kill the entire plant.”

The entire crowd went silent at that until Ataxia broke it. “But, you can stop him right? Like you did with the other one.”

Twilight grabbed ahold of Rainbow’s hoof. “No, the consequences of another mega rainboom are too extreme. There would be no point in stopping him if it destroys the world in the process. In addition, Tartarus told us that by using Gaia’s power and the elements to return, Cronus will be much stronger than Hyperion was. There is no guarantee that it would even work if we tried.”

“Even if you two worked together?” Rarity asked pleadingly.

Twilight shook her head. “I don’t believe Tartarus was lying, we don’t have the power for that sort of fight.”

“However, he did tell us of a way.” Rainbow added.

Looks of hopelessness quickly changed at this ray of possibility presented by Rainbow. “He told us of a weapon that could destroy even a Titan. One designed by Gaia. Ironically, it was designed and named for Cronus himself. Cronus's Sickle.”

“Seems easy enough. All we have to do is get this sickle and stab Cronus with it?” Cadance asked.

“Not exactly.” Twilight replied.

“Of course there is a catch.” Ataxia added, earning herself a punch to her shoulder by Rarity.

“Enough of that.”

“It’s ok Rarity, she's right, there is a catch. When the Gods sealed the Titans away, they also sealed away the sickle. In order to make sure that no one could ever use it for their own purposes they cast a spell on it making it undetectable. Then Chaos found out and rearranged the landscape to prevent anyone from finding it. Needless to say, it’s probably buried several miles under a snow drift or ice somewhere in the north.”

“Between all of us we should be able to find it.”

“No Spike, for starters we have no idea just how long such a search would take, plus Tartarus was adamant that Rainbow would be the one to find it. Let us not forget, Cronus is coming, he will not sit idle while we hunt for his weapon. We need to be ready for him when he gets here.”

“Twilight, there is no time for any of that. We're hardly in a position to wage another war. Especially not one against a Titan.”

“I know that Luna, Which is why we need help for this. Tartarus said we have a week before Cronus arrives, maybe longer if he can buy us some time. As such, we are splitting into three teams. Rainbow and I will head north to find the sickle. Luna, Cadance, Rarity, and Dawn; you four are staying in Equestria, work with Radiant and Firestar on this. Evacuate as many ponies to the outlining cities as you can. Keep everyone safe and prepare what defenses we have left. Spike, Aurora, Ataxia, and Night, you four will head to the Griffin Empire. Talk to Siros; see if you can get him to convince his son to help us. We can’t do this alone.”

Aurora looked horrified at that, while she considered the former Emperor Siros to be a dear friend, if half the reports she heard were true, his son was a completely different story. Young Icarus was brash, impulsive, power-hungry, and rude. Worse, he hated Equestria with a passion. In many aspects, he was the exact opposite of his father in every single way. She still did not understand why Siros relinquished the throne to him. Any further thought she might have given the subject was interrupted by Dawn. “If Night is going I'm going to.”

“No, you're needed here, Dawn.”

“Twilight, I'm going with my wife and that’s final.”

“No, you’re not.”

He turned and looked at Shimmering Night, who was staring daggers at him. “What? Why not?”

“Bright Dawn, I love you. However, you cannot go with me on this one. I told you before we married that this would make you a prince. That means something you know. You have duties here that have to be fulfilled. While Rainbow is needed to go looking for this weapon, that makes you the fastest flyer in Equestria. We need someone fast to get to all the towns and spread the warning, someone with authority to evacuate the ponies that live there. We have no idea how long we have or where the Titan will show up.”

“Then why are they going?” He gestured with his hoof at the other three.

“Ataxia and Night can hold her own against just about anypony. The griffins respect a show of strength; as such, a fully-grown dragon will more than accomplish that. Siros has always had a soft spot for Aurora. I trust the four of them to get the job done. Or get home safely if things go wrong. You, Luna, and Cadance will be needed here. With the country in the shape it is, Equestria needs stable leadership right now. Otherwise we risk a massive panic on our hoofs.”

“What about…” A mouth covering his own cut off Bright Dawn’s comment, Shimmering Night grabbed her husband and brought him into a long drawn-out kiss.

When it was over she looked him in the eye. “You’re scared, I know. So am I, don’t worry though, I can take care of myself.”

“It’s not you that I'm worried about.”

Shimmering Night felt a creeping sensation up her spine as Bright Dawn was looking at Twilight when he said that.

Princess Luna looked cautiously at Twilight. While Luna understood the necessity of such action, she did not fully trust the griffins. Four decades ago, Emperor Siros kidnaped Luna during a diplomatic mission and put her in jail. It was hard for Luna to get over such actions, even with the time of peace they shared since.

“Don’t look so worried.” Twilight spoke, “Siros is more than reasonable.”

“It’s not him we are worried about.” Luna’s concern was easy enough to read on her face. “Are you sure this is the best move?”

“Honestly, no. I don’t trust Tartarus at all, not after our last encounter.” Twilight shivered at that memory and held onto Rainbow’s hoof all the tighter for it. “However, a good plan executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed when it is too late.”

Luna laughed at that. “I had no idea you had read the works of General George S. Pottok.”

“Are you kidding? I read all his books twice when I became a princess.”

“You two keep this up and I'm going to start wearing an ‘I’m with the Egghead’ T-shirt.”

Twilight reached over and kissed her wife on the lips. “I think it would look cute on you, Dash.”

“Yeah, well we can discuss our wardrobe when we get back, the clocks running after all.”

“Oh, yeah, right…” Twilight turned back and got the attention of everypony assembled.

“Ok, we all have our assignments, if there are any more questions, let me know.”

Nopony spoke up so she continued. “Ok, with nothing else to add let’s get going.”

“Wait! Should you go armored?” Rarity asked, unsure if it was the best idea.

“No, that would just slow us down in the snow. However, you should armor the group going to the Empire, just in case.”


With that, Rainbow scooped up Twilight and took off towards the north. Treating everypony present to one more sonic rainboom before they were out of eyesight.

Rarity turned to the four assembled ponies heading to the Griffin Empire; they actually looked excited by the prospect. She smiled at them. “Ok, you three first.”

One at a time, she armored Shimmering Night, Aurora Flash, and Ataxia in their own set of Dragon Steel Armor. As usual, Aurora’s was by the far the most luxurious of the three. As Rarity was Aurora’s only tailor, she personally made sure that mare looked elegant in everything she wore.

“Alright dear, you're next.”

Spike walked up to his wife and kissed her passionately on the lips. When they broke apart, he said his goodbyes. “Promise me you will stay safe while I'm gone.”

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

He smiled at that and stepped away from any of the other ponies. Rarity spoke one last time before transforming the pony back into the dragon he truly was, a fully-grown dragon at that. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Spike transformed back to his full, intimidating form. If any griffin would try anything, they would think twice before messing with such a creature. Spike's dragon form was far more dangerous than anything they had. This would only be amplified by a fresh new set of Dragon Steel Armor Rarity gifted him with. While he had another set, the dent left in it by Dayspring Gleam made it all but unusable for the dragon to wear. No pony in Equestria knew how to work Dragon Steel, much less repair it.

Spike lowered one of his massive wings, allowing the other three to climb on his back. While Night and Aurora could fly, they were nowhere near as fast as a dragon in Dragon Steel. With a flap of his wings, he took off into the sky, carrying a precious cargo on a mission to try to save Equestria from a Titan.

Princess Cadance took one look at Rarity. “Don’t even think about putting me in armor.”

Rarity laughed at that, while she could design quite the piece for Cadance, she highly doubted that the Princess of Love would appreciate the statement such a getup would make. “Don’t worry dear. I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Princess Cadance, will you take Miss Rarity to the Crystal Empire and fill your son in on everything that has happened. Prince Dawn, please inform the towns in south Equestria of the dangers. We will take the north. When everything is done, gather what troops you can and meet back here.” Luna commanded.

“Here? How do you know the Titan will appear here?”

“We have learned in the past forty six years if something is going to happen in Equestria, it will happen here.”

Rarity wanted to take that as a joke, but there was not much humor in the truth.


Equestria’s southern border

Ataxia really enjoyed this flight. It was a rare day she was actually able to appreciate such activities. As such, she grew a little carried away with herself and started bouncing around her dad’s back like a filly that just got her cutie mark.

“Careful Ataxia, you might just fall off if you keep that up.”

“Make your jokes all you want Night, not all of us were born with wings you know.”

“I guess you’re right. We can’t all be as awesome as me.” Shimmering Night put on a grin more suited to Rainbow Dash.

Aurora grabbed her sister by the head and gave her the biggest noogie in her life. “What did I tell you about getting a big head?”

“Ow, quit it!”


“Aurora stop!”

“Take it back.”

“Fine, fine, I take it back.”

“What do you take back?”

“I'm not all that awesome.”

Aurora let her sister go. Night’s mane was a mess after that. “I'm just mostly that awesome.” She replied, sticking her tongue out at her sister.

Before Aurora could reply to that comment, Spike arched his back and dropped them several feet, Causing all three of them to fall flat on their stomachs. “If you three do not play nice I'm going to take all of you home.”

“You can’t, we’re royalty after all, you have to do what we say.” Night replied to Spike’s empty threat.

“I got some bad news for you princess. That only applies while we're in Equestria.”

“Yeah, so what?”

“We're not in Equestria anymore.”

All three of them stopped and faced forward. The landscape had indeed changed; a barren rocky environment replaced the normal lush fields. Huge mountain pillars as far as the eye could see. The entire area could only be described as drab and dark. “How anypony… any griffin could live here boggles the mind.” Ataxia spoke to nopony in particular.

“This is your first time out of Equestria isn’t it?” Aurora asked.

“Yeah, I haven’t left Equestria before. I sure haven’t seen a place like this before.”

Spike continued flying around several of the cliffs. Wherever they were going, Ataxia was glad he knew the way. She seriously doubted she would find her way back on her own, even if she somehow grew wings, it would still be a challenge.

“Mom took me here a few times when I was younger. For some reason Emperor Siros requested it.”

“Why's that?”

“I don’t know to be honest. I used to sleep through most of the trip.”

“Where are we going anyway?”

“I only remember the city was on the tallest pillar overlooking the whole kingdom.”

“You mean that one.” Spike interrupted.

She looked up to a sight not seen since she was a filly. Aurora gasped at what her memories recalled as a magnificent city. One that was right now, reduced to a shadow of its former self.

The Griffin Capital, Warclaw, once the proud center of the Griffin Empire, a city that stood before the two alicorn sisters rose to power. It lay in ruins before them. Its once proud walls lay in rubble. Several sentry towers melted to the ground. The battle that raged here must have been intense to cause such damage, such destruction, and such loss of life.

“What could have caused this?” Ataxia whispered the words into the air, yet they still found the ears of the other three members of the group.

“I think we are about to find out.” Aurora pointed a hoof up to the tallest remaining tower. A squad of five griffins took flight with spears in their claws. Their formation was crude, yet resembled a standard V attack pattern; it was obvious several of the griffins in the formation were injured. They flew high into the sky and darted straight down, straight for the dragon heading to the capital.


Spike ceased his forward momentum as the griffins hurled their spears directly for them. Quick thinking from Shimmering Night caused her to raise a force shield before the spears impacted, causing them all to break upon her magic instead of them. The griffins hesitated, the last thing they seemed to expect was a magic shield surrounding a dragon.

“No pony or griffin attacks my dad!”

“Ataxia no!” Night shouted her warning but it was too late. The impulsive unicorn returned fire.

The griffins immediately went into evasive maneuvers. They dived out of the line of fire from Ataxia’s horn. At least four of them did. Somehow, despite the extreme range, the military training, and the forewarning from Shimmering Night. Ataxia’s shot landed on the fifth. The griffin fell out of the sky, knocked unconscious by Ataxia’s shot. None of his squad members were in the position to help him and Spike was too big to follow him into the canyon.

Aurora took off like a bullet. Pushing herself as fast and hard as she could. As the daughter of Rainbow Dash, Aurora was a superb flyer. She was easily one of the best in Equestria. Rainbow would not have it any other way. Yet, it had been years since she flew this hard. Aurora flew under and over every obstacle in her way. Her natural grace allowing for split-second maneuvers. Her target was in range.

She wrapped her hooves around the stricken griffin a split second before he would have hit the ground. However, her forward momentum was too fast. Turning to avoid injuring the griffin further, she skidded on her back, wrapping her charge in a wing. The pair rolled over several times before coming to a stop. Fatigue began creeping into Aurora’s consciousness as the Griffin in her hoofs began stirring, the jolt waking him up.

Her last sight before succumbing to unconscious was of the grey and black griffin getting to his claws and of a golden medallion worn around his neck. One that she remembered from her last visit, the last time she saw it was around the neck of Emperor Siros, for that medallion was special; it was only worn by the ruling family of the Griffin Kingdom.

Emperor Icarus awoke in the grip of his savior. He silently cursed himself for being hit like that. Shaking the impact from his head, he stood up and looked down at the one who saved him. To his surprise, it was a pony, and a mare at that. The most beautiful pegasus he had ever laid eyes on.

Love and Lust

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The Crystal Empire

Radiant Star was nervous, no, scratch that, Radiant Star was afraid. He still could not believe his mom was making him do this. He hated touchy-feely stuff. For the past ten years, Radiant lived his life in preparation for his role as a leader. He wanted to lead the Crystal Empire to its glorious future. Now that the empire needed true leadership, now during this time of strife and war, now when Equestria faced the greatest military threat it has known in over a thousand years, his mom, Princess Cadance used a guilt trip to make him to go out on a date. Somehow, war seemed a lot easier.

The hard part should be over, He asked her out, (under duress) and she said yes. Why did he now feel like that was the easy part?

“Prince, if you don’t sit still and let me finish I will have to inform your mother.”

Radiant glared at his help. “Who do you think you are? I'm the Prince of the Crystal Empire; you can’t talk to me like that.”

“Yeah, I'm just a lowly help; however, I'm under Princess Cadance’s orders to make sure you make your date on time.”

Radiant gaffed at this tailor, however, he sat down and let him finish. ‘I can’t believe he just pulled rank on me.’ Several minutes later Radiant stood, admiring himself in the mirror. He had to admit, he looked good. “Sorry.” Was his only comment to the pony that helped him.

“No need prince, I'm glad I could help for your first date.”

“It’s not my first date!”

“As the prince says.”

Radiant could not help but notice the sly grin on his face as he walked out of the room. He dismissed him and turned back to the mirror. ‘I have to admit, he does good work.’

Thirty minutes later, the Prince of the Crystal Empire, Radiant Star, was bored. He stood at the top of the hill overlooking the Crystal Palace, waiting for his date to arrive while watching the sun go down. He pondered for the thousandth time just how long etiquette demanded him wait for a date that was late. Almost ten minutes now, if the clock on the tower was anything to go by. He would have left nine minutes ago if he was not sure that his mom would rip him a new one for doing so.

“Prince Radiant?”

The sudden noise almost caused the poor stallion to jump out of his fur. He turned around and stared into the face of the pony that startled him so. The pegasus he was looking at stirred up more emotions than he expected. The light tan mare had the most gorgeous blue eyes. Her mane and tail were the same color as her eyes, with the exception of a light sky-blue stripe that ran through them. He gasped at the casual way she wore her mane, one that exemplified beauty, grace, and a carefree attitude all at the same time. Her cutie mark was a comet shooting across the heavens.

What really stood out to Radiant was the outfit she wore. It was practical and elegant, one that seemed to cover everything and nothing all at once; the dress was obviously designed just for her. On anypony else, it would be wrong. On her, it was perfect. Had he been capable of rational thought, he would have known instantly the one pony who could design such a dress. The main color was dark blue, with sky blue highlights. With this dress, this pony could win a fashion contest just by walking in the door.

“Prince, are you ok?”

Speech was lost on the stallion, as such; he simply nodded his head up and down.

“Are you sure? You seem to be drooling a little.”

Radiant noticed that he had yet to shut his mouth since he first laid eyes on her. He quickly wiped his muzzle with a hoof. “Sorry, sorry.”

She laughed at that. “No I'm sorry, I hate being late but Miss. Rarity insisted that a lady must always be fashionably late to her date.”

A light bulb went off in his head. “Wait? Firestar?”

She blushed a little at that, “I look ridiculous, don’t I.”

It dawned on the prince he had never seen her out of uniform before; in all their meetings, strategy sessions, counsel sessions, and talks. She wore either her Wonderbolt uniform or the Cloudsdale Militia official dress uniform. None of those clothes did this mare justice. They all hid her natural beauty, this dress; this dress highlighted that beauty in ways he could not comprehend. “No, not at all, you look fine.”

“Just fine?” Firestar said with a hurt look on her face.

“Gorgeous, stunning, radiant, breathtaking…” Radiant rambled on, trying to make up for his unintentional slight against her.

Firestar placed a hoof over his mouth to get him to shut up and smiled. “I’m just messing with you, truthfully, I feel a little awkward in this getup. However, Princess Cadance insisted that I wear something nice and sent Miss Rarity to assist. I couldn’t tell her no, no matter how much I wanted too.”

Radiant tried to lament his mom’s interference in his love life again, he tried to anyway. However, looking at the mare in front of him now, he could only feel a sense of gratitude for his mother’s involvement. “Yeah, moms, what can you do?” He spoke with a nervous tone in his voice.

“Hey, relax, let’s just get through tonight and then we never have to do this again.” She walked past him, close enough that the ends of their coats were almost touching.

Every part of Radiant was screaming ‘NO!’ at that comment, yet his mouth could only manage a quiet “But… but….”

She turned around and looked at him. “Unless you want to that is?”

“Ok.” Was all he managed to say.

Fortunately, for Radiant Star’s sanity, his mouth actually managed to catch up with his brain and he was able to hold his own in small talk for the rest of the night. Firestar actually had to admit to herself that he was somewhat witty when he wanted to be. She found herself having a better time than expected.

As the two walked around the Crystal Empire for a while, they found their small talk evolving into areas that were more personal. She finally felt the courage to ask a question that was weighing on her ever since her impromptu promotion.

“How do you find the time?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, ever since I became the Commander of Cloudsdale I feel like I'm being pulled a hundred different ways. Don’t get me wrong, leading the Wonderbolts was taxing at the best of times, but this is on a completely different level. Heck, Princess Cadance sent an army of ponies just so I would have time to go on this date.”

He laughed at that, which earned him a punch in the shoulder from Firestar. He tried to play it off, but she was a lot stronger then she looked, especially how she looked now. “Don’t laugh at me.”

“Sorry, I wasn’t laughing at you, just that situation. Every leader goes through the same thing. We all go through the whole ‘how to deal with responsibilities of command’ phase. You learn to deal by making time for the little things.”

“Little things?”

“Well, I always schedule time for sword training, at least an hour a day. My mom gets together with her friends at noon every day for lunch. It keeps us refreshed, and reminds us why we do what we do.”

“That’s ridiculous, how do you get everything done?”

“Simple, you don’t.”


“There is a lot to do when you’re on the top, too much. You cannot do it all in one day. Nopony can, as such; the only logical thing to do is not to do it all. Believe me, it may feel daunting to go to sleep at night with items still on the list, however, it will stop you from going insane. Delegate what you can, prioritize what’s left, and spend the day doing the most important items on the list. You will find that those at the bottom of the list, they were not worth your time anyway.”

“Thanks, I’ll try and keep that in mind.”

Firestar’s stomach rumbled in protest to a few too many missed meals interrupting any further conversation they might have had on the subject. “Sorry.”

“Hey its ok, I could eat too. Are you in the mood for anything in particular?”

“It’s your city, you pick.”

“I know just the place.”

The two of them started walking to the east. Unaware that a pony dressed in all black was following them through the streets. The pony silently moved from cover to cover watching them with hawk’s eyes.

“Thank you by the way.”

“For what?” Firestar asked.

“All the help Cloudsdale has been giving us. I know it cannot be easy constantly relocating an entire city every few days, but without your support we would be lost. Also, thanks for not pressing things too far after the whole Rainbow-Tsunami incident.”

“Trust me, he will not be missed. I would tell you what I really felt about the Stallion but it’s not for polite company.”

“Oh there is no need, I read your report.”

“The official one?” Firestar asked hopefully.

“The first one.”

Radiant thought the look of horror on her face was adorable. “Don’t worry about it; I like a mare that can speak her mind.”

Firestar quickly recovered. “You like a lot of mares?”

“No, not really, never made time for all of that before. What about you? You like a lot of stallions?”

“Same boat as you, I had more than a few admirers but none I really wanted to get to know more intimately.”

"Maybe that's all changed? For both of us?" Radiant asked hopefully.

"Maybe." Firestar said with a sly smile.

As the two turned the corner, their stalker fought hard to keep up, the pony was trying to stay close enough so they would not get out of sight, but far enough away so they would not notice. Suddenly, a completely new sight got the ponies attention.

Up in the sky was the tell-tale trail of a Wonderbolt. The pony was dressed in the standard uniform and scanning the ground for something. Finding it, the pony dove straight for the objective, straight for Firestar and Radiant.

The pony in black waited for this newcomer to get into range and teleported the Wonderbolt directly into the pony’s hooves. Holding a hoof over the Wonderbolts mouth to prevent them from yelling the pony waited for Firestar and Radiant to turn the next corner. Satisfied that they were not noticed, the pony took off the mask and turned to the newcomer.

“What do you think you're doing?” Princess Cadance asked, a pissed expression on her face.

“Ma’am, Sergeant Flash, ma’am.” The Wonderbolt snapped to attention at his recognition of a member of Equestria royalty.

“I didn’t ask who you were, I asked what were you doing.”

“Yes ma’am, sorry ma’am.”

“Ok, two things, first calm down. I don’t want you waking up everypony in the empire. Second, stop calling me ma’am and answer the bucking question.”

“Yes ma… Sorry, I'm here to deliver a report to the Commander Firestar directly.”

“What is so important that it couldn’t wait a few hours?”

“Sorry m… I don’t know, I was told to give it to her directly and that she could be found here.”

“Well you can give it to me.”

“I cannot, my orders were to give it directly to Commander Firestar.”

“Well consider those order revoked by Princess Mia Mora Cadenza of the Crystal Empire. Your new orders are to give that to me directly and forward any more communication to Commander Firestar to me as well.”

“Yes ma… princess.”

“And Sergeant Flash.”


“I will hold you personally responsible if anything reaches Commander Firestar for the rest of the night.”

“Yes, princess.” He snapped another salute and handed the letter to Cadance before taking off into the night.

Cadance teleported the letter to her room and turned around to continue ‘monitoring’ her son's date. Much to her chagrin they were lost in the night, heading to who knows where. She sighed inwardly and headed home. While she could track them with her magic, Radiant was more then used to sensing her power. That would give away her position without a doubt. Cadance silently cursed Sergeant Flash and whoever sent him here as she headed home. She would simply have to wait for Radiant to finish with his date before she could hear the rest of the juicy details. Rarity would not be happy about that.

A few hours later Cadance and Rarity found their conversation interrupted by a tired stallion walking past them in the kitchen. “Did you have fun dear?” Rarity asked.

“Yeah, it was ok.”

“I hope it was more than ok. Come on, let’s hear about it.”

“Mom, it was fine, I'm just tired is all.”

“Oh, ok…”

Radiant could not help but notice the dejected tone in her voice. “I’ll tell you about it tomorrow, ok?”

“Tell us dear, did you two at least have fun?”

“Yeah, I think we both enjoyed it.” He took the milk from the fridge and poured himself a glass.

“So are you going to have dinner together again?” Cadance asked with a smile on her face.

“Oh no, she's far too busy for that.”

Cadance’s smile quickly fell to a frown. ‘I was so sure there was something there.’ She thought.

As Radiant walked out of the room with his glass of milk he paused and looked back at two. “So we are going to start having lunch together instead.”

The smile that appeared on the faces of the two mares made him laugh. “Oh and mom.”


“I know it was you that was following us, two things, please don’t do it again.”

“And the second?”




She woke up to a very familiar feeling. Only one place had this sort of smell, only one place had these sorts of sounds. She was back in a hospital room. Aurora was starting to loathe hospital rooms. Testing the waters, she opened her eyes and immediately closed them again. ‘Too bright, far too bright.’ Instead, she stretched each leg in turn. After making sure that each leg still worked with just a little soreness in them, she stretched a wing. Her left one was fine, the right would not move.

Aurora forced her eyes open and jerked her head to look at the offending wing. It took a while but when her vision finally cleared, she was relieved to see that the wing was still there, just in a cast. Testing a few feathers, she could still feel them. Whatever had happened, she would not be flying again anytime soon but she did not lose the use of her wing.

“Morning sleepy.”

Aurora turned her head to the left and looked at her sister. “How long was I out?”

“About ten hours.”

“I'm tired of waking up in a hospital bed.”

“I'm tired of you being in a hospital bed.”

Aurora laughed at that, she had spent the better part of the last few months in such a state.

“You have company by the way.”

A griffin at the end of the bed cleared his throat, grabbing the mare’s attention. She looked over and noticed the familiar coloring and medallion hanging from his neck. “I just wanted to say thanks.” With that out of the way, he turned and walked out of the door.

Aurora turned back to Night. “Was that who I think it was?”

“Yep, the griffin you saved from taking a dirt nap, the Emperor of the Griffin Empire, Emperor Icarus.”

“How long was he here?”

“He’s the one who brought you here after you passed out, he made sure you had a room all to your own, and gave us all passage inside.”

“Really? I was always told he was a pompous ass.”

“Of course he won’t let Spike near anyone, and Ataxia is under house arrest for attacking him.”

“That sounds more like the Icarus I heard of.”

“He wasn’t always like that you know. In fact, you should take that as a compliment, that’s the nicest I've seen him in a while.” A new voice preceded a much older dark grey griffin into the room. Age had taken its toll on this one; he walked with a limp in his step. However, despite the loss of a few feathers, the addition of many wrinkles, and a nasty rasp in his voice, Aurora recognized him instantly. “Emperor Siros!”

“Aurora Flash! It does my heart good to see you again. It's been years my dear. But please, just Siros now.”

“Sorry about that, my modeling career kind of took off on me. I don’t have much free time to get away.”

“No need to explain anything to me, I have a standing order for a copy of each picture you take.” He laughed a little, “I had it written into the second treaty I signed with your mom in fact.”

Aurora blushed at that. “In fact, I was hoping you could sign one for me, if you feel up for it that is.”

“Anything for you.”

Siros pulled out a picture of a little green and pink pegasus filly with her wings spread wide and handed Aurora the picture with a quill. She took the quill in her mouth and signed her name to it, adding a little something extra. ‘To my Uncle Siros, thanks for everything, Aurora Flash.’ She passed the picture back to Siros, who took it with a smile on his face.

“Thank you my dear, it does these old bones good to feel this happy again. You have no idea how bad it has been lately.”

“Oh, we might have you beat on that one.” Shimmering Night replied.

“Has Ponyville been under constant dragon attack due to the week long night?”

“No, I can’t say it has.” Shimmering Night replied. Despite herself, and the situation, Aurora took a small amount of pleasure in knowing who would win this argument.

“Well, I guess we win.”

“Almost, Ponyville was just completely destroyed by a Titan, Canterlot burned to the ground at the hooves of a revenant possessed Twilight Sparkle, Celestia was beheaded, and to make matters worse, another Titan is on its way. One we are in no position to stop on our own.”

“Night, that was mean.”

“He started it.”

Siros looked like he was going to faint. If even half of that were true -- and he had no reason to suspect otherwise -- they would all be in serious trouble before this was over. “Night, Night do something!”

Shimmering Night levitated a chair directly behind the former emperor. He fell right into it. ”Here I thought you might have come to help us.” A haunted look crossed his face.

Aurora crawled out of bed and walked over to him, several of her muscles grunted in pain at the sudden movement. ‘I'm lucky to move at all, I need to remember to thank Rarity for the Dragon Steel Armor when I get back.’ She noticed the armor stacked neatly in the side of the room. Dismissing it for now, she placed a hoof on Siros’s back. “Hey we might still be able to help you, tell me what’s happened.”

“Don’t tell them anything, they're outsiders.”

“Hey look at that, grumpy feathers has returned.”

“That’s emperor to you.” He glared at Night.

“Fine, Emperor Grumpy Feathers then.” Night stuck her tongue out at him.

“ENOUGH.” Siros found his voice.

“But dad…”

“No buts. They are political envoys from Equestria and have a right to know what has occurred to one of their neighbors. In times of crises, we all have to come together for the good of everyone. I thought you knew that already.”

Icarus tilted his beak back in disdain. “Hmm, we don’t need anyone, much less a pony.”

“Says the griffin who got knocked out of the sky by one less than twelve hours ago.”

“I was injured!”

“Hey, you picked the fight, not us.”

“You came on the back of a DRAGON! What should we have done?”

“I don’t know; how about use your brain for starters. What dragon has ponies riding on its back?”

“If you two are done comparing ego sizes, I would like to hear what has occurred here.” Aurora shot daggers to each of them in turn, she was not surprised to see Night back down (being the older sister had its benefits), but when Icarus turned away from her gaze, she felt a little surprised. ‘The blush on his face is priceless’

“Thank you, Aurora.”

“No problem, please continue, uncle.”

“It started a few weeks ago with the loss of the sun. Celestia has never failed to raise the sun on time before; as such, most of us were scared. I tried my best to get ‘someone’ to send an envoy to Equestria in order to find out what happened.”

Icarus simply grunted at that. “It wasn’t our business what the Equestrians were doing.”

“Yeah, how did that work out for us?”

That shut him up and Siros continued with his story. “Well, we were not the only ones affected. The dragon migration was on its way. Several decades before it was meant to. The dragons, scared by the loss of the sun, they attempted to find a warmer spot. The natural terrain around here made this the perfect spot for them, and lets just say some griffins should leave negotiating to those more suited for the job.”

Aurora could easily imagine the rest. Griffins were prideful at the best of times, but against dragons? It was easy to put together the pieces. They would confront the dragon horde head on. Words would be passed back and forth. Tempers would flare, one thing would lead to another, and war was simply the inevitable result.

“Wait.” Shimmering Night interrupted. “Why are they still giving you trouble after the sun came back?”

“Dragons hold a grudge, our only options are to stay and fight, or leave and hide.”

Night knew that if those were the two choices they had, stay and fight would naturally win. “Maybe… Maybe we can talk to them?”

“Like dragons would listen to a bunch of ponies.”

“Icarus, first thing we are not all ponies, or did you forget the dragon that we road on. Second, we are not all a bunch of pompous asses in Equestria and actually have decent relations with the dragons.”

“I thought I told you to call me emperor.”

“Fine, Emperor Pompous Ass.”

“Enough you two!”


“I said enough!”

“Why are we even talking to them?” Icarus gestured a hoof at the two ponies in the room.

Siros stood up to his full height. Even in his old age, he was still an imposing figure. He stretched his wings to their full distance. “Son, Aurora Flash saved your life after your pathetic attempt to ambush them on their way in, despite me telling you not too. Her sister, Shimmering Night is an alicorn, one of only five… four in existence. If she is half as powerful as her mother, that makes her the strongest being this side of Equestria. Beyond that, they are both daughters of my two friends. You will get out of this room and not insult any of these ponies again.”

Icarus puffed up his chest, ready to reply to this insult on his honor. However, the look his dad gave him caused him to deflate. Defeated, he turned around to storm out, for a split second; Aurora swore she saw a blush on the griffins face when their eyes made contact.

“He’s kind of an ass” Night commented.

“Yeah, he is.” Siros could not help but agree.

Aurora simply nodded to the other’s comment. ‘He’s kind of a ‘cute’ ass. Wait? Where did that come from?’ Her thoughts betrayed her.

“Siros, can you get me in to speak in front of the council? Maybe I can get everypony… griffin to calm down enough to solve this issue.”

“I think I can still arrange that.” Siros spoke as he sat back down, his old age taking its toll. “Although, Spike cannot be allowed to walk around on his own. Until this is solved I don’t think our citizens will be receptive to a dragon walking around the town.”

“I’ll let him know, I should also be the one to tell Ataxia too.”

“What's with her anyway? I stopped by to talk to her first, but she was, how do you say, less than receptive.”

“Well, you are keeping her father against his will.”

“Wait, Spike is her father? You mean adopted father right?”

Two heads shaking back and forth answered his question; it just was not the answer he was expecting. ‘Is it possible…’

“Aurora why don’t you stay here for now, rest up. I'll go with Night and let the guards around your friends know that they will not be necessary.”

“Oh, ok…”

“Don’t look down Aurora, I'll come right back to see you. After all, I want all the juicy stories you can tell these old bones.”

“Oh, I got some good ones too.”

Shimmering Night mouthed ‘Don’t you dare.’

Aurora’s reply came in the form of a devious grin.

Commander Firestar -Just change her cutie mark-

Dangerous Games

View Online


The next morning Aurora went for a walk. Despite the constant advice from her ‘doctors’ she had quite enough of being in a hospital bed. As such, when Night finally left her alone for five minutes, she left. Walking around the hospital Aurora took the cast off her wing. They told her she strained it, that it was not broken. The cast was only on there to prevent her from moving it, however, after her flight two days ago. She was itching to feel the wind through her feathers once more.

Walking around the hallway and heading outside she could not help but notice how full the hospital was. The dragon attack filled every room in the hospital. How she had a room to herself? The answer could only be Emperor Icarus.

“Speak of the devil.” Aurora spoke under her breath as she turned the corner. In the yard was the very griffin she had named. Icarus was out practicing his aerial maneuvers, despite the bandages wrapped around his wings and chest. She could not help but see the flaws in his technique. He had natural talent but lacked the skill to properly pull off some of the maneuvers he was trying. After one such failed attempt saw the griffin land face first in the dirt, Aurora walked up to him.

“Wow, you really suck.”

“What did you say to me?” Icarus pulled himself out of the dirt and glared at her.

“Sorry, you might not have heard me with your face in the dirt. I said: wow, you really suck.”

The red on his face made him appear all the cuter to the pegasus. “What do you know, you're just a pony, and a mare at that.” A huff accompanied his rather sexist remark.

“Well, I know that you pull out of your dives thirty degrees too sharply, your banked turns are at best, basic. Eight-year-old foals can perform Slip-turns better then you, and your overshoots are what cause you to be injured in the first place. But you're right, I guess I know nothing about flying.” She turned and walked away, unwilling to deal with the griffin’s insults any longer.

After pulling his lower beak out of the ground for the second time in so many minutes, Icarus shouted after the pegasus. “Wait, how do you know all that?” many of the maneuvers she listed were really advanced.

Aurora turned around. “Well, my mom IS Rainbow Dash. Who do you think we are anyway?”

Icarus never cared much for the other countries, much less the races that inhabited them. He would smile and wave when needed, doing his best to hide his contempt. However, even he knew the name Rainbow Dash, and not just from his father’s secret crush on her. He knew of this pony’s reputation. He had always written it off as a rumor. No one was that good... were they? If this pony was her Daughter?

“Is it true she was the one who split Equestria in half?”


“I don’t believe it.”

“Believe what?”

“I don’t believe a pony actually cut Equestria in half.”

“I just told you…”

“You’re lying.”

“Wait, what?!”

“You heard me, I call you a liar.”

She stormed towards the griffin, her dark blue coat turning red around her face as anger radiated off her. “You want to say that to my face?”

“I. Call. You. A. L-”

Aurora slapped him.

“You can’t do that!”

“Really? 'Cause I think I just did. However, you cannot fly worth crap. See the difference between something someone can’t do and what someone can?”

Icarus rubbed his cheek with a claw. “I’m a better flyer than you.”

“I could fly circles around you.”

“The day I get beat by a pony is the day I…”

“Before you embarrass yourself by completing that sentence, here's my proposal, we do two laps around the outer edges of Warclaw and end back here. If you win, my friends and I will leave. I will even give you a twenty-second head start. However, if I win, you have to not be an ass for a whole day.”

“So you, a mare, are going to challenge me to a race? Moreover, you are even going to give me a twenty-second handicap? What do you take me for a fool? You will just blame your loss on your injury when I beat you.”

She turned around and slapped him in the face with her tail. “Well, if you're worried about a female beating you, you can always say no.”

“Fine, lets do this.”

She smiled a wicked grin. Turning around, Aurora looked at the clock; it read five minutes until nine am. “When the clock strikes nine, your twenty second head start begins.”

“Twenty seconds, like I'll even need that.”

“Hmm. Good point, I'll give you thirty.”

“You’re a cocky mare aren’t you?”

“What’s that? You need forty seconds? If you insist.”

He grunted at this mare and went back to stretching. ‘At least they will be gone after this.’

For her part, Aurora began her own stretching techniques Rainbow taught her when she was younger. They came back as natural as breathing. Going through several of the wing exercises, she stopped thirty second before nine. “It’s almost time.”

“I know.”

“Ten seconds.”

“I know.”

“Five seconds.”


The griffin took off, bolting out of the yard at full speed. Aurora simply smiled. ‘Amateur.’ While she only promised him a forty second head start, Aurora waited a whole minute before blasting out of there, chasing after the griffin.

Emperor Siros turned to Shimmering Night; the two of them watched the whole conversation from an upstairs balcony. “He doesn’t stand a chance, does he?”


“How long until she gets back.”

“Depends, what's the circumference of Warclaw?”

Siros stroked his beak with a claw, “I would have to say, about thirty one miles.”

“Well, Aurora is injured and out of practice, but given what I know… She should be back in about eleven minutes.”

“Eleven minutes? She truly is her mother’s daughter, isn’t she?”

“Did you ever doubt it?”

“Not since the first time I laid eyes on her.”

Siros began reminiscing about some of their earlier visits. Night could not help but think Siros was paying Aurora back for the earlier stories that Aurora told him about Night. She laughed and did her best to remember most of them. Her ammunition storage to use against her sister increased ten-fold from these. All too soon, her sister returned.

“Wow, she did better than expected.” Only ten minutes had passed in the time it took her to fly over sixty miles.

“How long until Icarus returns?”

“Lets see, he left eleven minutes ago, I would say we got another five before he gets back.”

Six minutes later, the Emperor of the Griffin Empire returned, winded, and out of breathe. Seeing Aurora already back and relaxing on the ground, his first instinct was that she cheated. However, his pride would not let him deny what he witnessed with his own eyes. This pony, Aurora Flash, she was just that good. He was an amateur compared to her. There was no denying it.

Icarus landed next to her. “So you are more than just a pretty face.”

‘Wait? Did I just call her pretty?’

“Saved your ass didn’t I.”

‘Hmm, so he can be polite when he wants to be.’

“Only because I was injured. Otherwise I never would have needed saving, and you never would have won.”

‘Am I falling for a pony?’

“You can’t help yourself can you, you are nothing but an egotistical jerk!”

“You're nothing but a pompous pony who thinks she is too good for everyone else!”



“That’s princess to you!”

“That’s emperor to you!”

“Emperor Ass!”

“Princess Bitch!”

They were staring daggers into each other’s eyes, muzzle to beak.

“Would you two get a room already!”

Both set of eyes turned to Shimmering Night and Siros as they flew down from off high. Night thought their matching blushes was cute.

Icarus shouted. “Whatever!” Before turning and leaving, flying off towards a much needed shower.

Aurora looked at Night and let out an offended grunt before leaving to return to her room. “That’s so ridiculous it doesn’t even deserve a reply.”

Siros landed next to Night. “They really do make a cute couple, don’t they? Tell me, why did you interrupt?”

“Auntie Cadance taught me that such relationships take time, those two are so much alike it’s scary. While they might have gotten together after that, without another catalyst, it would not last. Besides, I had to wait nine years to marry Bright Dawn, I'm not going to let her have it that easy.”

He laughed at that. “You might be right, however, we have had enough distractions for the time being. The council will see you at ten.”

She looked up at the clock. “Oh, then we should get going.”


Ataxia paced around the outer courtyard for the hundredth time that day, much to the annoyance of the dragon watching over her. “ You keep that up and you are going to gouge a circle in the dirt.”

“Oh that’s, silly. No pony can do something like that.”

“Trust me, it’s possible.” Spike’s memories of a certain lavender unicorn worrying about a cryptic message from the future came to the forefront of his mind.

“If you say so.” To his surprise, she actually stopped. “This is just bogus.”

“What’s that?”

“This, this whole situation. They attacked us, and then stuck us in jail like we are some sort of prisoner. Now that they finally realized how stupid that was, they won’t let us go anywhere.”

“You did attack Emperor Icarus.”

“That jerk attacked us first!”

“We were never in any real danger. Trust me, your mother’s Dragon Steel Armor is nearly impenetrable.”

“Still.” She huffed.

“Well, you can go wherever you want, you know.”

“Yeah, a unicorn can go anywhere she wants, in Warclaw. A city designed and lived in by griffins. With no sort of bridges or roadways for anypony who can’t fly. Thanks dad, that’s really helpful.”

“You could teleport around.”



“I don’t trust these griffins, or the dragons they are at war with. Teleporting doesn’t come as natural to me as it does-did to Day… I wont be caught unprepared incase something happens. Besides, I hate teleporting, you know that.”

‘Wow, that’s really mature… When did that happen?’ Spike thought.

“Hey, Ataxia! We’re heading to the council chamber! You want to come?”

Ataxia and Spike turned their heads up. Shimmering Night and Siros were both flying above, on their way from the hospital.

“Yeah, just let me sprout wings and fly over there. Oh wait.”

Shimmering Night landed next to her. Siros stayed in the air, unsure if he should get near her after their ‘last’ attempt to talk.

“So, do you want to go or not?”

“It beats staying here, however, once again, I don’t have wings.”

“I’ll take care of that.”

“Night, no, Night, Nigh-”

Ataxia’s comment was cut off mid sentence as Shimmering Night teleported the two of them directly to the council chamber. Spike raised his head and looked at Siros. “You better get going. My daughter does not like teleporting.”

Surprisingly he landed next to the dragon. “Actually, I was hoping I would have a chance to talk to you about that, can you tell me more about those two?”

Spike turned his head towards Siros, staring him directly in the eyes. It was a credit to the former emperor’s resolve that he did not flinch from the dragons gaze. “What do you mean?”

“Shimmering Night and your daughter Ataxia. Can you tell me more about the circumstances of their birth? It is obvious they are not normal ponies.”

“Sure, I'll fill you in. first though, why do you ask?”

“Have you heard of the legend in the empire about the crowned ruler and the hybrid?”

“No. We don’t have anything like that in Equestrian”

“There will come two who will unite the empire with its greatest enemy. One who was born the child of a god, one born as a god; their ability in unification would do the impossible and bring peace to the empire.”

“Wait are you talking about Shimmering Night or Ataxia? ‘Cause neither of those two is the child of a god.”

“Maybe, possibly, I'll know more when you fill me in.”

“Well, it started when…”



To say Commander Firestar was swamped, would be to say that the oceans were wet. Sitting on her desk was a stack of paper three hoofs tall. She silently cursed last night’s distraction. ‘Even if it was worth it.’ True, Radiant Star’s advice was good; however, it would take some time to implement without causing more of a mess. Therefore, for now, she was it. This mess was hers and hers alone. Which would not be a problem, save they keep adding to it. Outside her office was a line of ten ponies, each with their own issue that required her ‘immediate’ attention.

A knock on the door brought her back from Paperwork Mountain.

“Commander Firestar.”

“Yes, what is it now, Miss. Deacon?”

“Mr. Fair Trade is waiting for you.”

“So what’s new? He’s been out there for an hour now.”

“He’s very insistent.”

She looked up and glared at Deacon, the expression on her face would send most ponies running for the hills. However, as Firestar’s personal assistant for ten years, Miss Deacon weathered a lot worse. She merely stood her ground and awaited Firestar's orders.

“Fine, send him in.”

Deacon whispered a silent ‘good luck’ under her breath as Fair Trade passed by. ‘This pony will be lucky to avoid being tossed out the window.’

Fair Trade walked confidently into the room and shut the door behind him. “Commander Firstar, thank you for giving me a minute of your…”

As the door shut, Miss Deacon took one look at the clock. “Ninety seconds.” She spoke to nopony in particular. She would have normally said sixty but the Commander was in a good mood today.

Exactly ninety seconds later, a loud crash came from the other room. Miss Deacon sent her messenger to inform supply they would need another window, the pegasus took the message with a sigh. “Well, if this is the first one today, I'd say she is doing good.”


Any further conversation with the pony was immediately cut off by a loud scream.

“That’s it, I’ve had it!”

Miss. Deacon could hear Firestar’s shouting from outside the room, an impressive feat, due to the special soundproof clouds that went into the construction of the office. Firestar bucked the door open and looked at the rest of the ponies in the line. “I don’t give a buck what BS you all want. It’s all a waste of my bucking time. None of you are getting jack. Now get out of here before you really piss me off! Miss. Deacon, no more visitors, no more interruptions!”

“As you say, ma’am.” Deacon sighed. ‘She should not have done that; she will pay for this later.’

Firestar turned around and slammed the door shut. She nearly broke it off the hinges. ‘Like I give a buck if his trade routes are suffering because of the constant relocation of Cloudsdale… Although, throwing him out the window was probably the bad way to handle that. Ah, buck him, he’s a pegasus, he can fly.” Commander Firestar returned to Paperwork Mountain, determined to make a dent in it by the end of the day.

An hour later, the last sound she ever expected to hear disturbed her work. Miss. Deacon let herself in and cleared her throat.


“What did I say, Miss. Deacon?”

“I know ma’am, but there is somepony out here to see you.”

“No more visitors.”

“You might want to see this one, ma’am.”

“They better be ready to fly.” Firestar’s intent to toss this newcomer out the window was obvious to anypony who heard it.

“This one can’t, ma’am.”

Ok, that got her attention, it was a rare day that somepony visited Cloudsdale who could not fly. Firestar looked up, standing next to Miss. Deacon was the last pony she expected to see, but while she didn’t know it, it was the one pony she wanted to see the most.

Radiant Star looked at her and smiled, “I can always come back later if you’re too busy. Although, getting up here was kind of a pain.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Well you missed lunch, so I figured I would bring it to you.”

He could not help but notice how bright the room became with her smile.



Bright Dawn arrived in yet another town, yet another group of ponies he had to tell to evacuate without knowing when they could return. Appleloosa, another town he had to order to evacuate. Another group of ponies that would be forced to leave their homes, maybe never to return. He hated this; he hated kicking ponies out of their homes. All for what? Or was that the wrong question? Should the question be, all for whom?

He knew the answer to that question. The same pony that caused his suffering, the same pony that caused his wife so much grief, and caused the first war Equestria faced in over four decades. The pony that beheaded Celestia, yet, somehow, she was getting a pass on all of that. Dawn did not understand it; after all she did, she even tortured him. Why was everypony so quick to forgive her?

“Whatever. This is what Night wanted…” He shook the thought off and headed into the mayors house. The lingering doubt was a lot harder to dismiss; it never left his head. ‘Is it a good thing that Twilight is back?’

The wound from on his side from the shadowbeing's attention started itching again.


Warclaw Council Chamber

Ataxia coughed up a lung when the teleport smoke faded. “Why did you do that to me?” She asked Night through deep inhales of breath.

“What? You didn’t want to come?”

“I didn't want you to teleport me! You know I hate that!”

Shimmering Night stuck her tongue out at Ataxia. “We made it here, didn’t we?”

“Yes, you mares made it here, however, if you would kindly get off the stage you are not expected to speak for another ten minutes.”

Night and Ataxia looked around, they teleported center stage in the council chamber, every set of eyes staring directly at them. “Oh, sorry.” Night managed to say as she led a very flustered Ataxia off the stage.

“And you wonder why I hate being teleported. I can barely stand it when I teleport myself!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

Several loud SHHH soon interrupted the two from any further conversation. The crowd around them highly annoyed at the two ponies that could not keep quiet.

To pass the time Ataxia conjured a video game and started playing it, Night’s quick thinking by muting the damn thing, prevented them both from being thrown out.

Before Ataxia even cleared the first level, it was Night’s turn to speak. Ataxia loved watching Shimmering Night work over a crowd. If Twilight was an expert at winning over ponies, Shimmering Night was a master. She seemed to have a talent for knowing right when to deliver the next address, when she could push it, or even when she needed to reel them back in.

A griffin to Ataxia’s side leaned over and whispered to her. “Your friends a natural.”

“She can give one hell of a speech.”

“Is it true?”


“What they say about the weeklong night, about Princess Celestia.”

“Oh, that… Yes, it’s true.”

“Who is raising the sun?”

“Princess Luna is doing both right now.”

“I still can-”

Any further conversation was immediately cut off; the chamber walls themselves began shaking. Explosions reverberated throughout the chamber. Every set of eyes started looking around in panic and fear. Huge sections of the ceiling started falling then stopped, caught in the air by Shimmering Night’s magic before any griffin died.

Ataxia transformed the rubble into leaves, allowing Night to relax as she let them fall safely to the ground. Despite her hatred of it, Ataxia teleported on stage with Night, there was no choice; the crowd would not allow any other form of travel to the stage. “Are you ok?”

“What’s going on?”

A look up answered that question. Seen through the hole in the roof, Ataxia and Night easily made out a mass of dragons flying above. “Looks like your peace talks will have to wait. They’re back.”

“On the contrary, this is perfect. But first we need to get our armor and then find Spike.”

Ataxia looked at her with a horrid expression on her face. “No. Please, not again!”


With a flash of magic Shimmering Night teleported the two of them out.


Aurora nearly lost it when Night and Ataxia arrived unexpectedly in her room. “What the buck!”

“Good you're putting on your armor.”

“So you teleport right on my bed and…. What's wrong with Ataxia?”

Ataxia ran into the bathroom and started dry heaving into the toilet. “She’ll be fine, too many teleports in one day I think.”

“YOU THINK!!!” Came the yell from the other room.

Night just grinned sheepishly at her sister. “Anyway, the dragon horde is back, we need to get into our gear and find Spike.”

“Hopefully he will keep his head down. I know he’s tough, but it’s just a matter of numbers right now, lets just say, they have more.” One glance out the window told her as much.

Aurora’s statement wasn’t technically true. At that moment, several battalions of griffins took flight. Each would gladly give their lives to protect their home. Previous encounters left them all veterans. Skilled in how dragons fight, their weakest number culled to attrition. When they engaged the dragon horde, the dragons were in fact outnumbered three to one.

Not one of them would say the odds were in their favor. At best, against the younger dragons, it would take five of them to bring down one. None of the griffins had doubt as to what the outcome would be, however, not one had hesitation in their hearts. Victory was not an option, however, if they made their defeat cost enough, maybe, just maybe, the dragons would leave.

Shimmering Night used her magic and levitated the armor on the three of them. Much to the annoyance of Ataxia whose response was, “I am not cleaning that up!”

“Well c’mon, we need to get outside before it’s too late.” As the tell-tale signature of another teleportation spell started up, a horseshoe making a ringer around her horn interrupted it. “What the?”

Glancing over, it was obvious to see that Ataxia conjured the horseshoe. “I don’t bucking think so!”

“Then how do you suppose we get outside?”

Ataxia gave her best ‘are you serious’ look and tapped her front hooves together. “Huh… how do we, three ponies, get outside without teleporting? If only we had like legs or something…”

“Oh, right…”

Aurora felt like she deserved a medal for not laughing at this situation, her sister had yet to remove the horseshoe from her horn and forgot that ponies could walk. In so many ways, she reminded Aurora of their mom, Twilight.

The three of them made their way to the top of the roof. Outside was a massacre, the dragon horde was keeping busy burning every building they could to the ground. Several of them flew overhead, easily fighting off the griffin defenders.

“Well, what now, Night?” Ataxia asked.

“What, what are you planning sis?”

“I have to go talk to one.”

“Bucking hell you do, I thought you wanted to find Spike for that?”

“There's no time.”

Night went to take off, however, a hoof stepping on her tail prevented her from going anywhere. Looking down she saw the pony responsible for that. “ Aurora, let me go.”

“No. You know what mom would do to me if something happened to you.”

“I just need to get one of them to talk to me.”

“They won’t”

All three sets of eyes turned to the new speaker. Siros flew up to them with Spike providing cover. “They won't talk to you Night, not at first. Dragons have a very low opinion of other races. You might be able to convince them, but not without a catalyst to start the conversation.”


“However, they will talk to her.” Siros gestured to Ataxia with a claw.

“Me? But, I’m nopony, she’s the alicorn.”

“Your right, you are no pony, what you are is a half dragon hybrid. Tell me, how many of those have you heard of before?”

A Dragon Legend

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“What the buck are you talking about?’

“Ataxia! Language!”

“Buck that dad. He’s trying to say I'm special or something.”

Spike wanted to reply that she was special. That regardless of what they learned here she was his little girl. That alone made her the most special pony in his life (well, tied with Rarity). However, at that moment their conversation attracted the attention of one of the larger dragons.

This newcomer flew down to attack the group of ponies on the roof of the hospital. Spike rose up and met him head on. While Spike was not the raw brawler that these dragons were, he did have one advantage they did not. A little gift his wife gave him, Dragon Steel Armor.

The two dragons twist and turned in the air, in terms of raw size they were even, however, the other dragon was far more of a vicious fighter, much to his detriment. Every spot the dragon bit at, every spot the dragon clawed at, merely resulted in loss of a tooth or claw. Spike’s attacks were far more effective. Several times the other dragon would cry out in pain as blood spilt from his wounds.

“Ataxia let me ask you this. Spike is your father right?”


“Your mother is a pony?”

“Thank you, Captain Obvious.”

“Spike told me Rarity gave birth to you; that you didn’t hatch from an egg.”

“Is this going somewhere?”

“Don’t you think it’s weird that you have no physical characteristics of a dragon? You are half dragon after all.”

“…” For once in her life, Ataxia had no comeback to that. She never truly considered why her dragon side never presented itself. She did think of one thing though. “I can breathe fire like my dad.”

“Time for that later. Aurora, we got company.” Night added.

All four sets of eyes looked up; making a beeline for the hospital was a pack of three smaller dragons. Without another word, Night took off on an intercept course for the three interlopers.

“Shimmering Night! You get back here this instant!” Aurora took off after her sister, silently cursing her earlier bet against Emperor Icarus. ‘Perhaps I shouldn’t have pushed it so hard.’

Night blasted the first dragon with a beam from her horn; the impact alone was enough to knock him out of the air. An impressive feat, dragons have a natural resistance to magic energy. When the blast came and did that much damage, it gave pause to the other two.

Night flew between the two remaining dragons, her intent to lead them away from the hospital and all the injured there. It worked, as the two dragons looked at each and turned to give chase. Only the one on her right succeeded. The one on the left found itself bucked in the back of the head as soon as it turned. The dragon rubbed the sore spot and turned back to look at who would dare do something like that. A dark blue pegasus blew a raspberry at him before flying off.

“Well, looks like I get to try pegasus meat tonight.” The dragon youth said before flying off after Aurora.

Ataxia’s head jumped from conflict to conflict. From watching her father tussle with a fully-grown dragon to watching her friends fend off a dragon youth each, uncertainty was written across her face on who to help or how she could help them.

“Ataxia, only you can end this.”


“Show them what you are.”

“What, a little fire breathing is going to scare them off?”

“You are capable of so much more, young one.”

“I have my magic.”

“Magic won’t cut it; you need to access your inner dragon, now.”


Shimmering Night led her pursuer on a wild goose chase throughout Warclaw. Up and over every obstacle in their way, several times they would run into a bundle of dragons or griffins. Night got in what shots she could, even rescuing several griffins from what was certain death. She was careful about it, never allowing herself to be seen by these new dragons. She already had one after her and that was enough.

“You can’t run forever, little pony!”

“Then you better speed up!”

It was too easy. While she was not the flyer her sister or mother was. Shimmering Night was ten times better than this dragon could ever hope to be. She easily avoided his flame breath, causing the fire to strike other dragons in the process while she would lose herself in the smoke, or teleport clear just in time to ensure the blame went to whom it belonged.

A scream towards her left almost cost Night her life. A young griffin, under attack by a dragon youth screamed a death rattle. The flame from the dragon caught Night’s primary feathers on fire. She teleported above him and blasted the dragon into the dirt. Looking over in the direction of the scream, another dragon almost had the young griffin, with the intent to eat her alive. Night shot forwarded like a bullet. Ramming the dragon out of the way she shielded both herself and the griffin from the dragon's counterattack then teleported them out of there.

“Are you ok?”

“Yes… Thank you…” The young griffin was sobbing into her chest as Night held her close. “Can you stop all the monsters?”

“I hope so, kid.”


Spike scored a lucky claw across the other dragon’s face. Earning a loud scream from his opponent. “Why do you fight us?!”

“Because I’m not one of you.”

“Have you seen your reflection lately, you’re not a griffin.”

“You're right, I’m not. I’m a pony.” Spike kicked the dragon in the stomach as an explanation point on his statement. The dragon roared up in a rage and tried to bite his neck, losing several teeth in the process.

“Dragon Steel Armor?!”

“A gift from my wife.”

“Wife? Dragons don’t marry each other.”

“You're right, my wife is a pony, and you were about to attack a building with my kid on top.”


Spike grabbed the dragon by the neck and threw him across the field. He caught wing mid-flight and flew off. Spike could not help but notice the confused look on the dragon's face when he looked back. Almost as if he wasn’t sure about something.

“At least Ataxia will be safe. Now to find Aurora.” Spike took off looking for Aurora; he made a promise on his dragon code that he intended to keep.


Once more, Aurora cursed Icarus’s name. Her right wing began cramping up, if that arrogant blowhole had not goaded her on, escaping this dragon would be easy. ‘Well, the doctors did warn me.’ She barely managed to duck another flame attack in time. “Night, if I get out of here, I am going to kick your flank all over Equestria.”

“Don’t worry about that little pony, you aren’t going to see that other one again.”

‘Shit, I said that out loud.’

She ducked and weaved through another falling building, the other dragons in this attack making sport of hunting the last remaining griffin defenders. In her mind, this was it; this was the dragon’s victory. Whatever Siros was going on about back at the hospital, it was their only hope.

Such thoughts cost her precious seconds. It was a rookie mistake, ‘don’t think, always pay attention to your surroundings, react, feel it out.’ She could practically hear Rainbow’s lecture now. Aurora ducked underneath her attacker's flame breath to end up right in the way of falling debris.

Aurora screamed in pain as the rock crushed her right wing, there was definitely something broken this time. She fell out of the air and landed badly on the ground. Spraining a leg in the process. She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t fly, and her dragon pursuer knew this.

Tears began falling from her eyes, not from the pain but from the wasted gift her brother’s sacrifice would mean. “Sorry Day, see you soon.”

The dragon pulled back and rapidly inhaled. His dragon fire struck true.


To Aurora’s surprise, it was not as hot as she expected. She closed her eyes, expecting the worst. Yet it was no worse then a very hot sauna. A loud grunting caused her to open them. All around her the fire parted, surrounding but not engulfing the mare. Directly between her and the dragon was the last pony she ever expected to see, or griffin she ever expected to see.

Emperor Icarus held a tower shield between her and the dragon fire. It was easy to see this shield was of the highest craftsmanship. An artisan’s touch went into its design. Yet even it could not hold up to the heat of a dragon’s flame. It was melting into his claw.

Icarus grunted in pain, unwilling to drop his guard for even a moment. While the burning in his claw would never fully heal, it was a mark of his strength that he would not let go, a mark of his endurance that he stayed standing, and a mark of his pride that he came to her rescue.

Far shorter than it seemed to either of them, the dragon's fire stopped. Icarus collapsed to his flank, no longer able to let go of the shield as it was melted to his claw.

“The pony got a chicken to save her, interesting.” The dragon taunted them, readying another breath attack.

Aurora crawled over to Icarus, the movement causing pain to shoot over her whole body. “Why?” Was all she managed to ask.

“You won the bet.” Was his reply.

“You fool, now we’re both going to die here.”

“I can think of worse ways to go.”

Emperor Icarus did the one thing he never thought we would do in a million years: He grabbed Aurora in his one good claw and kissed her, determined that for once in his life he would be true to his heart. Even if it was too late to do anything else. Despite her initial surprise, Aurora soon began to reciprocate the kiss, while it was awkward to kiss a beak; she soon got the hang of it.

“Ah, that's so cute, I wonder if your charred corpses will be in that position after I'm done.” The dragon closed his eyes and let loose his flame again.

“You call that fire?”

The young dragon cut off the flame and snapped his eyes open. In front of him was a fully-grown purple dragon in shining white Dragon Steel Armor. He gulped and booked it out of there as fast as his wings could carry him.

“You’d better run.” Spike’s reply taunted the dragon all the way out.

He turned around and smiled at the two lovebirds still making out. “Well I hate to interrupt this moment, but you both need to get back to the hospital.” He couldn’t help but think, ‘Rainbow is going to be pissed’.

They broke apart and gazed into each other’s eyes, no words were necessary. Aurora turned and looked at the dragon. “Can you get us there Spike? I don’t think either of us will be flying on our own anytime soon.”

“Sure thing, this might hurt though.” He picked them both up, and true to form it did hurt. Flying back took only seconds; his Dragon Steel Armor boosted his speed.

“Dad!” Ataxia ran over to him. “What happened?” she looked at the injured pony and griffin in his claws.

“Get them to safety.”

“I’ll take care of it.” Siros flew down into the hospital. In no time at all four griffins accompanied him back up the stairs with two gurneys between them.

“Are they going to be ok?” Ataxia asked.

“Trust me, they will be seen by the top doctors we have.” Siros responded. “As for us, well that depends on you.”

“Not this again.”

“No, this time it’s because of that.” He gestured with a claw at three fully grown dragons inbound to the hospital.


Spike rose up on his wings. “Keep her safe, I’ll try and lead them away.”

“Dad no!” They both knew he would not stand a chance against those odds. However, Night had yet to make it back, and Aurora was in no shape to help. Without wings, at this distance, there simply was no other option, if they came in range of her spells, it would be too late. They would destroy the hospital.

He turned back and looked at her. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Tears fell from Ataxia's eyes as she realized that those might be the last words she ever spoke her father.

Ataxia watched in horror as Spike engaged three dragons, each of his size. Against one his Dragon Steel gave him the advantage, against two it would have been an even fight. Three? There was no doubt in the outcome.

He gave as well as he got, at first. For every claw that made it through an unprotected joint in the armor he would land two of his own. However, the odds were not in his favor. These dragons learned quickly. Their attacks targeted his unprotected wings and joints.

Soon Spike’s fatigue started to show, the dragon put up a good fight. However, the outcome was never truly in doubt. Despite taking one down first, his wings were torn to shreds. He soon lost the ability to fly. Spike crashed into the ground, the other two dragons roared in triumph.

“We are lost.” Siros spoke to no one in particular; looking around he noted that there was not a single griffin left in the air. A full week of attacks exhausted them of all their assets.

Ataxia had eyes only for her father. She couldn’t believe it, finally she had the family she always wanted just didn’t realize. Yet she was about to lose her father.

“Siros, You want to see my dragon side? Cause you’re about to.”

The range was impossible. Even her strongest spells couldn’t reach that far. However, if what Siros told her was true, if she had some sort of power granted to her by her father. She would use it now, she would save his life with it or die trying.

The two dragons that downed her dad moved in for the kill. Sucking in as much air as she could, Ataxia roared into the heavens with all her might.

The sky lit on fire.


The Frozen North

“It’s bucking cold!”

“Yes Rainbow, the sky is also blue and the wind blows. Are you going to keep pointing out the obvious or get back to work?” Twilight said with a snarky grin on her face.

“When did you get like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like me?”

“Well, I have been married to you for over forty years.”

Rainbow ceased her vortex and landed next to her wife. “Forty years huh? Feels like only yesterday.”

Twilight scooted next to the mare and forced a wing open, bundling herself up in it. “Well, if you want to take a break, I wouldn’t say no.”

“I thought you said you weren’t cold?”

“No, I implied you were just pointing out the obvious to stop working.”

“Hey it worked, didn’t it?”

“Well, if you don’t want to dig right now, I can find other ways to put you to work.”

“Now Twi… that will never count as work in my book.”

“Then there shouldn’t be any complaining about it.”

“I’d never.”

Twilight teleported both of them directly into their magically heated tent. The same one they took on their way to Tartarus some forty odd years ago.

The heat from their teleportation left the oddest rock revealed in the snow, one that seemed to power up from the magic energy. The snow around the rock began melting. Which started to reveal a very large object buried under it.



Commander Firestar shifted through the last of Paperwork Mountain. Which was both good and bad: good because it was finally done, bad because of the relocation tomorrow. Tomorrow night the pegasi would began the arduous task of relocating Cloudsdale from above its current location over the Crystal Empire to a coastal location. The militia would leave, heading straight for where Ponyville used to be, per Princess Luna’s order. Over the past week they assisted in the evacuation of every Equestrian town around Canterlot. It was time for Cloudsdale to evacuate as well.

Although, this time she was ready, as Radiant Star’s assistance proved invaluable. That stallion has given up all his free time and more to help her make the transition to more of a delegation standpoint. She had to admit, when he was right he was right.

She glanced over to the photo Princess Cadance gave her of Radiant. Whenever she would have a visitor she would lay it down, only three ponies in the world knew she had that photo: Princess Cadance, Miss Deacon, and her.

Firestar’s mood always improved when she looked at that photo. Somehow just the sight of the stallion was enough to cheer her up. It’s been days since she last threw somepony out of her window.


Firestar looked up from her desk. Miss Deacon was waiting for her to reply. “Yes, Miss Deacon?”

“A letter arrived for you just now.”

“Just stick it with the rest.”

“It’s from the prince.”

Firestar flew over the desk and grabbed it from Miss. Deacon with a wing. She tore open the letter with her teeth and looked it over as quickly as possible.

Miss. Deacon simply smiled, this stallion, Prince Radiant Star, he was very good for her. She silently vowed to commit regicide on his flank if he screwed it up.

When Firestar’s expression suddenly changed she got worried.

“Commander?” she asked.

“He wants to meet before we move Cloudsdale; he wants to meet at the Crystal Palace.”

“Should I ready your formal attire, or the dress Miss. Rarity made for you?” She really hoped for the latter.

“No he says to just come normal…” The tone in Firestar’s voice sent a chill down Miss. Deacon’s spine.

“Commander, if I may ask, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, I just have a bad feeling all of a sudden.”



Bright Dawn ended his impromptu tour of Equestria at Baltimare. This city was only the second worse of all of the country; in truth he could hardly call it Equestria anymore. In his eyes, Equestria was dead. Its murderer ran free, like nothing happened.

“Prince Bright Dawn, we're happy to see you.”

His self-loathing caused him to completely miss the arrival of Princess Luna. “Princess.” He gave a snarky reply.

She stopped her forward momentum and stared at the stallion. “We demand to know what is troubling you, young prince!” Encasing Bright Dawn in a magic aura she dragged the prince back to her.

“It’s private.” Was his only response.

“We are the Princess of the Night, we are used to keeping secrets.”

“It’s… why are we doing this?”

“To save Equestria, of course.” She looked at him like it was the most obvious answer in the world.

“No, WHY are we doing this?”

“Because there is a Titan on the way and we need to save as many ponies as we can.”

“Why is there a Titan on the way?”

“Because, Princess Twilight...”

“Exactly my point.” He cut her off.

“We don’t understand.”

“Truthfully Princess Luna, I don’t either.”

“Enough of the riddle of the words, come, it is time we head back to Ponyville.” She took flight ahead of him. While he followed, she failed to hear his last comment. “What Ponyville?”



Shimmering Night clutched the crying griffin child to her breast as she watched the largest firestorm she ever saw cover the sky. It originated in an inferno from the location of the hospital. Whatever was happening, it involved her friends, of that there was no doubt.

She concentrated, hard. This inferno would kill every non-dragon in the city. She layered a magic shield around the top of the city. Trapping the fire above it. It was a task of endurance as the magic energy used sapped her strength. Just when she was at the breaking point the fire stopped.

The shield cracked and faded. Shimmering Night fell to the ground soon after. Her energy spent.

“Miss… Miss… You have to get up!” cried the child she still held in her hooves.

“Give me a minute, I’ll fly us back to the hospital after a quick rest.” Her words came weakly under her breath.


Dragons, by their nature are practically immune to fire. It is standard practice of their young to play such games as lava cannonball. Such creatures are not affected by extreme heat. As such, when Siros looked up, he was shocked to see them burning in their scales. The fire Ataxia lit, it was hurting them. Some of the younger fell out of the sky. No longer able to keep flight. The majority of the dragons left Warclaw’s airspace. Retreating to a safe distance, however, much to his dismay, they did not fully leave.

“Ataxia, you did it! I said you were special! Ataxia?”

The purple pony lay passed out on the ground.


Spike clawed his way up the side of the building, no longer able to fly. His movements spurn on by the cry of his daughter’s name coming from Siros. When he was high enough, Spike stretched his neck over the top of the building. “What’s wrong with her?” He asked as Siros ran over to his daughter.

“She's still breathing.” Siros commented as he held his ear to her muzzle. Relief was evident on the two.

“Little help.”

Spike looked over to his left; Shimmering Night was trying to make it back to the hospital with a small griffin child on her back. Spike reached an arm out and caught her just before she fell. He gently placed the two on top of the rooftop. Shimmering Night collapsed on the hospital roof, her strength spent.

She barely raised her head to look at spike, “Was that you?”


“The inferno, the one that chased away all the dragons.”

“No, that was her.”

Night looked down at Ataxia, who was currently held by Siros.

“Is she ok?”

“I don’t know.”

A powerful wing gust alerted the three that they were not alone; with everything that had occurred; they failed to notice the arrival of the biggest dragon any of them has seen before. A huge red beast, easily twice as large as Spike, he came alone, as all the other dragons stayed on the outskirts of the town.

“Who, or should I say what, is that?” his voice echoed throughout Warclaw, ancient and powerful. It radiated with the wisdom of the ages.

Spike flipped around, his claws digging into the side of the building. He stretched his damaged wings out in a show of force. “You will not touch my daughter!”

The dragon landed, despite the fact Spike was several stories up on the hospital and the new dragon was standing on the ground, he still had to look down to be face to face with Spike. “I have not come here to hurt any of you. However, if what you say is true, as I have reason to suspect it might be, this changes everything.” He gestured a claw to the fallen unicorn.

Siros gingerly lay Ataxia down on the roof and walked over to the edge of the building. “It is true, I have every reason to suspect that these two are the ones of prophecy.”

“Tell me young dragon, is she truly your daughter?”


“Then do you wish to save her?”


“Enough to trust me?”

He thought about that, could he actually place his trust in this newcomer? ‘Well, if he wanted us dead I doubt that would be beyond his abilities.’ Coming to the only real decision he had left, Spike answered his question. “Yes.”

The dragon walked over and took a closer look at the unicorn. “I never thought I would see it in my day, a child of a dragon and a pony. Before we begin, tell me how this occurred?”

“I was raised by ponies; they are the only life I have ever known.”

“Unusual, but not unheard off. However, that does not answer my question.”

“Princess Twilight Sparkle…”

“Ah, say no more.” He cut him off; even the dragons knew that name.

He placed a claw on Ataxia’s head and immediately removed it, the burning sensation he felt from her causing him pain. “She is undergoing a transformation. However, it is not going well, she is rejecting her dragon side.”


“Your daughter, this is the first real time she has accepted her dragon side isn’t it.”

Siros looked down, while it had been necessary to save all their lives, he still felt guilty about it.

“Yes.” Spike gave the reply without any doubt.

“She will either reject herself, or accept herself. If she rejects she will die here and now, if she accepts her world will forever change, along with her form.”

“Can we do anything to help?” Spike asked hopefully.

“We, no. She can though.” He gestured a claw at the alicorn lying on the ground.

Shimmering Night wanted to bury her face in the roof, the largest dragon she ever saw was pointing and addressing her directly and she did not like it. However, as much as she tried, the roof was not allowing her face entrance.

“Night, please.”

“Spike… I don’t know if I can do anything right now.”

“Will you try, for me?”

“What, what do you need me to do.” Despite her exhaustion and fatigue, Night managed to stand up and walk over to Ataxia. Her family needed her, what choice did she have?

“She is fighting a battle within herself, however, she needs help. Concentrate on your friend, see into her soul and help her overcome this obstacle, bring your friend back to the waking world.”

Night bent down and touched her horn to Ataxia’s horn. She concentrated on Ataxia, on everything that made her, her. Shimmering Night let loose with all the magic power she had left.



“Wakey, wakey niece.”

Shimmering Night opened her eyes and immediately jumped back at the sight of the strangest creature she had ever seen in her life. The creature had the head of a goat, one bat wing, and lion’s paw, all sort of other animal parts were also built in. it was an exact replica of the creature in the stain glass windows in Canterlot Castle.

“Ah, now is that anyway to react to your favorite uncle?”

“Favorite uncle?”

“Well, unless somehow I rank below Tartarus, but let’s just say, I doubt that.”

“Do I know you?”

“Ah, yes, introductions, I suppose that’s the proper way to start this isn’t it, how boring.” He stretched out a claw for her to take. “I am Discord, Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony, also known as the Primordial Deity Chaos, please to make your acquaintance.”

She indulged him and shook his claw, which immediately came off and started tap-dancing up her hoof and down her back. “I am Shimmering Night, daughter to Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash.” Fear radiated in her voice.

“Ah, so close. Sorry wrong answer, try again.”

“What, what do you mean?”

“You’re not Twilight’s daughter.


“You my dear, you are the daughter of my sister, Gaia the God of Life and Magic.”

“But… But… But…”

“No buts!”

Hearing her mom’s common phrase caused her to stop. “I know, right know you’re going, ‘but Twilight and Gaia are one and the same,’ and you’re right. However, you see my dear sister fell so in love with your siblings that she wanted to try to have one herself. Her last attempt at offspring, let’s just say, it did not work out so well.” Discord produced a scroll from out of nowhere and unrolled it, showing the Titans of old walking around destroying everything in their path.

“I would have told her not to, but, she stopped listening to me a long time ago, plus little Ataxia has just been a hoot.”

“Or she was until a few days ago.”


His expression changed from one of playful banter to one of serious contemplation. “Yes, something is wrong, I can’t see what’s happening anymore.”

Night wanted to know more, she wanted to ask this God what he was talking about, unfortunately, this concerned her a lot more than her own fate. “When did it start, exactly? What’s the last thing you remember?”

“We were blowing huge holes in the new river by Ponyville. Then, nothing.”

‘That was right before Twilight had her visitor…’ Night thought.

“I doubt it’s a coincidence, but that was around the time Tartarus visited Twili…”

“What!!!! Tell me what he told her!!!”

“He… He wanted her to go retrieve Cronus’s Sickle…”

“You need to go, now! Warn Twilight, do not retrieve that item! And whatever she does, do not let Tartarus get his mitts on it!”

“Ok… But Ataxia…”

“I’ll take care of her, go, NOW!!”

With a snap of his claw she was back in her body, her strength fully restored. “Night, what happened.”

“Spike, we need to…”

Her reply was instantly cut off, a bright light surrounded Ataxia, radiating with magic power. It blinded everypony and dragon on the roof. When their vision cleared, the strangest creature stood before them. It was Ataxia in so many ways, but not in others.

The creature was twice the length of a pony, purple in coloring; it had the features of a dragon: Scales, a tail, and dragon wings. Yet even though her face was changed, anyone who knew her would be able to see Ataxia’s in it. However, she still had her unicorn horn, her back legs still ended in hoofs, but her front legs were dragon claws.

“What… what happened?”

“There is no doubt anymore, you are the first dragacorn ever in existence.” Spoke the ancient dragon.

Ataxia looked herself over, she felt strong, magic radiated through every part of her existence. She stretched her wings; they were not the feathered wings of a pegasus, these felt powerful, tough, and fast. Amazingly, her Dragon Steel Armor changed with her form. It became part of her, making up her scales. Ataxia could no more take it off then a pony could remove their own skin. She looked back, disappointed in her lack of a mane, however, in her opinion the light blue scales running down her back more than made up for it.

“How did this happen?” Ataxia asked.

“You embraced your inner dragon.” Spoke the ancient dragon.

“I think Discord helped a little.” Night added.

“Discord!!!” Spike turned to Night; he wanted an explanation about that.

“I’ll explain later, for now you need to send a letter to Twilight, Tartarus is using her to get the sickle, we need to stop her from finding it.”

“I think I can help with that.”

Ataxia easily conjured a quill and ink. Siros took it in his claw and immediacy began writing, he addressed the note as from Spike and handed the dragon the letter. Spike took the ridiculously small quill in his hand and blew flames at it. Whatever happened next, at least Twilight would be forewarned.

“That should do i-” His reply was cut off by a burp.

“That was fast.” Ataxia commented.

She picked up the scroll and read it aloud.

“Sorry dear brother, I'm afraid Twilight can’t answer any letters right now, feel free to leave a message, and I will ensure she will never get it. Nice try though.”

“All my hatred,”


“PS. To you ants reading this, Cronus will be here soon, enjoy that.”

A look of horror spread through the assembled masses. “We have to get back.” Night almost shouted the words.

“What can we do, we're in no position to fight.” Spoke Ataxia.

“Not on your own.”

They all turned and looked at the elder dragon. “Whatever is happening here, its bigger then all of this, I have been alive far too long not to see that, as such, I can promise you our help in this.”

“Thank you.”

“And ours, for what good it will do.” Siros added.

“How are we going to get back, I can’t fly.” Spike added.

“I think… I think I can help with that.” Ataxia walked over to her father. He brought his head down to her level. In a flash of magic, Spike felt better than ever. He looked over his wings, all of the tears and scrapes were gone.

Despite it all, he couldn't help but think when he looked at his daughter. 'Rarity is going to be mad.'

“Can you heal the rest?” Night asked.

“I think it might be a dragon only thing.”

“Besides, although she might hate it, I would feel better if we left Aurora here.”

“WHAT?” Night shouted.

“I made a promise on my dragon code to keep her safe. If she comes with us, I will be more concerned with keeping that promise than anything else.”

Night thought about that, with the dragon threat neutralized, Warclaw would be a lot safer than where they were going. “Fine, but you’re taking the blame.”

“Deal. However, I have to ask, how are we going to stop a God and a Titan?”

“I have no idea.” Night replied.


The Frozen North

“Twilight, I found it!”

“Found what, Rainbow?”

Twilight looked up at the edge of the tent, there was no way Rainbow was talking about the sickle, she had not stepped a hoof out of the tent.

“Whatever that thing is, I found it, and you can’t say jack about it.”

Twilight looked over Rainbow’s shoulder, sure enough; an ancient structure was plainly visible in the distance. It looked as old as time itself. The snow around it oddly melted away.

“Rainbow, I think you're right.”

Rainbow mentally added another tally mark to her side of the scoreboard, Twilight’s tally marks dwarfed hers in sheer numbers, but every little bit helps.

As the two made their way to the structure, Twilight soon found that she was unable to enter it.

“What the hey? I guess this is what he meant when he said I can’t be the one to retrieve it.”

“They probably blocked it off from Gods getting access. It would explain why Tartarus did not get it himself.”

“I'm not a God.”

“Yeah, but you have a God in you.”

“Great. Be careful, ok.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Rainbow continued the journey on her own; she soon found a set of stairs going down. “Rainbow, what do you see?!”


“You go down them yet?!”

“Not yet!”

“Why not?!”

“'Cause you keep yelling at me!”

“I'm not yelling!”

“Really?! What do you call this then?!”

“Asking questions loudly!”

Rainbow shook her head. “Whatever Twi, I'm going down now!”

As she proceeded down the stairs, the temperature dropped dramatically. It was only thanks to her wings that she was able to make it at all. ‘Maybe that’s what he meant by it has to be me?’

At the bottom of the stairs was a pitch-black chamber; Rainbow poured her energy into her wings, causing them to light up in the darkness. There, in front of her, was a hundred hoof tall sickle. Without a doubt, this is what they came for. However, there was one major problem. “Twi!”

“Yes, Rainbow?!”

“I think we have a problem!”

“What now?!”

“This thing is massive! I couldn’t hope to move it, much less get it out the door!”

“You've got to try something!”

Rainbow facehoofed at that comment. “Whatever.”

She took wing and attempted to grab the handle with a hoof, to her surprise it actually shrunk down at her touch. “Wow…”

‘Crap, Twi gets another check.’ She thought.

Rainbow took the sickle and flew up the stairs to her waiting wife. “Well, you were right, again. It shrunk down as soon as I touched it.”

“Speaking of which, you don’t feel any different, do you?”

“No, it feels like a normal sickle to me.”

“Good, ok, let’s get this back to Tartarus and deal with Cronus once and for all.”


View Online

The Crystal Empire

Commander Firestar headed towards the Crystal Palace with a sense of foreboding running down her spine. She could not explain why, but ever since she read Prince Radiant Star’s letter, she had a very bad feeling about this meeting. As much as she wanted to, Firestar somehow managed to avoid the temptation to delay her arrival. It was not in her nature to take her time. Her military bearing would not allow it.

She flew down to the entrance, upon recognizing the commander the guards posted there snapped to attention. “Commander Firestar.” They sharply saluted.

“At ease.”

“Ma’am, may we ask what your business is here?”

“Prince Radiant Star sent me a letter to meet him here.”

“Understood, ma’am.”

“Is he in the throne room?”

“No ma’am, Prince Radiant is awaiting you in his chambers.”

She quickly started up the stairs before they could see just how red her face became. Her thoughts instantly going to some very awkward places before she realized it. Luckily for her ego and sanity she was able to banish such thoughts from her mind before she reached the top of the stairs. However, if she was being truly honest with herself, she did not exactly not like the thought. Her distraction almost caused her to run muzzle first into Princess Cadance. “Commander Firestar, what a pleasant surprise.”

“Princess Cadance, it’s good to see you again.”

In a show of affection that Cadance was well known for, she walked up and hugged the commander with all her might. Firestar took it with a smile on her face and wrote it off as royal privilege. “Tell me my dear, what are you doing here?”

“I got a letter earlier today from Prince Radiant, he told me he wanted to meet before we head out tomorrow.”

A concerned look crossed Cadance’s face. “He’s not trying anything funny, is he?”

“Trust me, I’d kick his flank all over the Crystal Empire if he tried.”

“Then he would have to deal with me.” Cadance added.

Firestar laughed at that, however, the look Cadance had on her face told the mare it was anything but a joke. She gulped, nopony had yet to truly get on the Princess of Love’s bad side. She did not want to imagine what would happen to the first pony that did. Firestar did not believe that even family ties would save one from Princess Cadance’s wrath.

“Well, he’s waiting for me.” She awkwardly added.

“Of course dear, his bed chamber is down the hall to the right, the second door on the left.”

Firestar left the throne room a little quicker than she meant to. However, the tension in the room was just a little too much, even if it was unintentional. ‘Lets see, down the hall, to the right, second door on the left.’ Commander Firestar was surprised when she arrived at the door. It was completely undecorated. In truth she was not sure what to expect, however, this was definitely not on the list. There were no markings that identified the importance of the occupant inside, no place marker, no statues, no drawings. The door looked just like any of the other thousand doors in the palace.

She knocked twice, forceful to insure that its occupant would hear. “It’s open.” Her heart jumped when she heard that voice, it being from the stallion she was beginning to know all so well.

After gently nudging the door open, Firestar took this quick opportunity to look around Prince Radiant’s room. She was amazed at just how spartan the room was. Every piece of furniture had a very specific purpose. There was nothing unnecessary in this room. Not one item existed that was there as a personal effect. She instantly realized why the door to this room looked exactly like every other door in the palace. This room was nothing special. It was just a standard servant room. “Do... do you really live here?” Firestar asked the prince.

“Yes.” Radiant was looking out the window, he did not even turn back to address her face to face.


“Why what?”

“There has to be other rooms that you could stay in, ones more comfortable, and more suited for a prince. Why do you stay in this one?”

“I have never placed much value in such things, I use what I need to do my duty for the Crystal Empire. For me, it never mattered much what I had in my room, my training came first and foremost.” He started laughing. “I always figured one day I would be called upon to do my duty, much like the situation that we are in now. I wanted no regrets. I wanted nothing to distract me.”

“Distract you?” the words were venom to the commander, their implications ran through her head a million times over. She did not want to interrupt, however, she needed an answer to that right now. “Is… is that what I am?”

Radiant Star started laughing at that. The commander’s rage threatened to take hold of her. “Sorry, I’m not the best with words. You asked if you were a ‘distraction’ to me? I wish that was all you were. You see…” Prince Radiant turned around, in his hoof he was holding a picture frame, tears were falling down his face. “You see, it took me a while to realize it, my mom actually had to kick the reality of the situation down my throat the other day. Firestar, I think… I know I love you.” Radiant levitated the picture frame back to the desk by his bed. In a spartan room, filled only with items that were absolutely necessary, it was the one thing that did not fit. The frame itself was nothing special, however, the picture was of her on their first date. Taken by a camera pony in the restaurant they went to. She did not even know he had it.

“I… I… I…” Firestar was at a loss for words, ‘I love you,’ these words, they were exactly what she wanted to hear, what she secretly dreamed about. However, the situation was wrong. Why was he crying? Why did she still feel like something awful was going to happen? Why couldn’t she say it back? She knew, without a doubt, that she loved him as well. Why wouldn’t her mouth say the words that her heart was screaming at her?

“That’s why I called you here. You are far worse than a distraction. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you in this fight. If you are there… My focus would only be on protecting you, I would be unable to do my duty for Equestria.”

“What are you saying? What are you trying to ask me?”

“I'm going to ask you something, don’t get mad ok.”

“I promise nothing.”

“When the Cloudsdale militia head to Ponyville tomorrow, will you not go? Will you please stay in Cloudsdale, for me?”



A million thoughts ran through her head, however, they all led to the exact same place. “Why would you ask me that?”

“Because I lov-”

“Don’t you dare use that as an excuse.”


She walked up to him, staring directly into his eyes, muzzle to muzzle. “You selfish prick.”

“What? I just want you to be safe.”

“You didn’t ask me to do that for my safety, you did it for your own peace of mind! You want me safe? I am ‘worse then a distraction’ to you? You selfish prick!”

Radiant Star was lost; he did not understand how the conversation turned so badly against him. He expected her to be mad, but how exactly was he being selfish?

“This is all for you! You want to feel better! You can’t live with me being in danger? How do you think I feel? What if something happened to you and I wasn’t there? Did you even once think about that? Did you ever once think about me?”

“I… I…” Truthfully, his own safety was the last thing on his mind.

Firestar began pacing around the room. “You didn’t, did you? All this bolstering about my safety, about how I ‘distract’ you, and you never once considered me? Why am I not shocked? Look around this room, you say you live like this to prevent yourself from being ‘distracted,’ I say you do it because you don’t want anything to live for.”


“You're looking for a place to die, aren’t you? I know the story of what happened to Prince Shining Armor, I've read the reports. However, I did not put it together until now. All you want is a way to outshine your old man. You could never duplicate his shield spell, never make it your own, so as you cannot beat him in magic, you want to die a heroic death that will put his to shame. That’s why you live like this. You don’t want to hesitate when that time comes.” She walked back up to the stallion and slapped him across the muzzle.

“You never stopped to consider that you might actually fall in love with somepony, but hey, you did. And guess what, She loved you too.”

“Loved?” Radiant rubbed the rather painful red spot on his muzzle, he knew that it would leave a lasting bruise, in more ways than the physical.

Commander Firestar wrapped her hoof around the unicorn and brought him in for a deep, passionate kiss. When it, at last, broke, she looked him in the eyes and her frown took over her expression. “You fool, if you were truly worried about me, all you had to do was protect me. As I would have done for you, but now? Now I've seen your true colors. I can’t be with someone as selfish as you are.”

As she turned to leave, Radiant said the last thing she ever expected. While he did not want to do this, it was an option he considered before she even arrived. It did not matter to him if she hated him for this, only her safety mattered. “Commander Firestar, you are under orders by Prince Radiant Star of the Crystal Empire to remain in Cloudsdale until further notice. Failure to comply will be considered an act of treason.”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“I already did.”

“Radiant!” She screamed his name, uncaring if the entire Crystal Empire heard.

“That’s Prince Radiant Star.”

She wanted to blow up, she wanted to grab this unicorn by the horn and toss his flank out the window. However, her military training would not allow her, whatever happened, she was still a soldier. Soldiers followed orders.

“Yes Prince Radiant Star.” Firestar saluted and walked over to the window.

“Permission to be dismissed, Prince Radiant Star?” the venom in her voice curled the wallpaper in the room.

“Permission granted.”

Before she left, in one swift motion, Firestar grabbed the picture and chucked it out the window, she followed it less then a second after. Radiant watched her go with a tear falling from his eye.

‘Whatever happens next, at least she will be safe.‘

After a few minutes Radiant was finally able to clear the tears from his eyes. He went to leave for the training grounds, attempting to distract himself with physical exertion. Upon opening the door, the last pony he wanted to see was waiting for him, with a very pissed expression on her face.

Princess Mi Amore Cadenza looked directly at her son, the magic lighting up her horn giving the tell-tale sign that she knew of everything that just occurred, even if she did not yet know the details.

“What. Did. You. Do?”


Ghastly Gorge

“We have all the pieces now General, why do we delay?”

“This must be done perfectly, you fool. Hyperion was a mindless beast when he was raised, the stress of rebirth was too much for his mind. Unless, you want a similar fate for our master?”

“Of course not, General. I live to serve.”

“Then know your place. Do not question orders again.”

The normal punishment for such actions would be death. However, there was only one Titan left, and the number of shadowbeings left sit at seven. Only Cronus now had the power to resurrect them. If something happened they would be lost and he needed all his soldiers alive for what’s to come. The General could not afford to lose even one at this stage. This was it, the final culmination of his master’s plan. Nothing can go wrong; nothing can be left to chance. So if he had to ignore the slight, it would be worth it.

“Arrange the pieces of the Occulous in circle. Space them evenly on the diameter.”

The few soldiers he had complied instantly, five different ones each carried a separate stone they pulled from the tree. Without being tied to all six bearers, the elements of harmony reverted back to their original forms. The stones were similar in shape to each other, only the color changed. The green stone was the first placed, followed by the pink, then blue. The shadowbeings carrying the red and cyan stone seemed, hesitant…

“What are you waiting for?”

“I… I don’t know, whenever I try to walk forward I just… stop.” The one with the white stone said. The one with the cyan stone just nodded his head in agreement.

‘Weak willed fools.’ He knew what was going on, the elements were repulsed by this action. The ones with bearers still alive were repelling their actions. He would know, as he held the strongest of all the elements, the purple one. As such, the feeling was ten times stronger for him. However, his force of mind was more then enough to overcome it.

The General walked over to the cyan stone carrier and took it from him. He placed the stone on the circle himself and turned to do the same with the red stone. When he took it from the shadowbeing carrying it, both the cyan and red stone repulsed him. They flew several hundred hoofs back, knocking the General off his feet.

‘I should have expect that.’ He knew better than to carry those two stones at the same time. Their bearers were both still alive, and connected by a very powerful force. Combined with the purple one, they were far more powerful than he could ever be. These stones resonated their connection even after all these years.

Learning from his mistake, he retrieved them one at a time; placing them on their spots on the circle, first the red, then the cyan. The power of the purple stone increased with every step he took closer to the center of the circle, it drew energy from each of the other five stones and made him pay for each step he took. ‘Amazing, no wonder the master wanted these for his container; these stones alone are stronger than the Crystal Heart ever was. He will be invincible when he returns.’

When he finally took the last step, the General found he was unable to place the stone. Even his willpower was not enough. He held the stone as close as he could to where it needed to be and turned to one of his minions.

Grunting he gave him the order. ‘Cut if off.”


“My claw; cut it off.”

“Are you sure, General?”

“Do it!”

The shadowbeing swiped out one of its claws and severed the General’s claw from his body. The stone and claw fell, however, only the stone landed. Its power incinerated the claw before it touched the ground.

The General held his stump in pain. The sacrifice was excruciating, however, he would be rewarded for it. The master rewarded success and punished failure. This was his greatest success.

The General looked down at the six-pointed dark stone in his one remaining claw, six points, and six stones. Fortunately he had six minions left. “Begin the spell, in ten hours, we will be ready to use the dark stone. Then, at last, this world will once again know the wrath of Cronus.”



Princess Cadance oversaw the largest collection of military forces Equestria has gathered in over a thousand years. Earth ponies, pegasus, and unicorns answered the call to arms. Much to the chagrin of her advisers, Cadance ordered every soldier from the Crystal Empire to Ponyville. There was not a doubt in her mind, whatever was going to happen, it would happen here. However, there was one pony she wished she could have left in the palace. Not because he was a bad solder, but because he was an idiot.

“Prince Radiant Star, go oversee the ponies digging the latrines.“

Radiant gave his mom an ‘are you serious look,’ however; one glance at her face told him that she was VERY serious about this. He was here at her discretion, not for any other reason. “Yes, princess.”

Cadance watched her son lower his head and walk over to help the ponies on that detail. She wanted to feel sorry for him; however, she also wanted to buck him in the head for being so stupid. He was her son; he should know better by now. Cadance dismissed the thought from her head and went back to work.

Radiant Star took this duty with the same professionalism as everything else he did. He organized the ponies into groups and sent them onto their tasks; he even helped out the team that was falling behind.

While there was not a doubt in his mind that this was punishment from his mom, that would not stop him from doing the best job he could. Even after this, even after the massive flank-chewing Princess Cadance gave him last night, one that woke up the entire Crystal Palace. He knew in his heart that he made the right call. It did not matter that Firestar hated him. It did not matter if she cursed his name for the rest of her life. What mattered was that the tan mare with the most beautiful blue eyes he ever saw was safe. If her safety meant his misery, it was a price he would pay a million times over. Or so he thought.

“Prince! Cloudsdale has arrived!”

A smile crossed Radiant’s face, the Cloudsdale militia made up the bulk of Equestria’s flying forces, and so far they had yet to arrive. He had been slightly worried that Commander Firestar would not send anypony as revenge against him. He dismissed that idea outright, regardless of her personal feelings she was still a soldier through and through, and she would never let the two interfere with each other.

His smile turned to a frown as he saw that very same tan mare flying in the center of the formation. “She… She went against my orders?!”

Before he could do anything about it, before he could even summon his guards. A loud explosion was heard from the direction of Ghastly Gorge. Radiant’s failure was absolute. The Titan was coming and even though it cost him the mare he loved and the respect of his mom, Firestar was ANYTHING but safe.


Ghastly Gorge.

“It’s time!”

The General smiled, after everything, the test run with Hyperion, the revenant, splitting this world it two… this was it, this was the culmination of all their planning. Finally Cronus will be reborn into this world. Once that happened it would all be over. Victory was imminent.

The General walked over to the first of the shadowbeings. “Why do you live?”

“I live to serve.”

The General placed the dark stone in his claw, and without hesitation, the creature walked up to the first element and stabbed it with one of the points. Energy exploded outwards from it, destroying the shadowbeing’s essence in the process. The shadowbeing could never be resurrected from this; he would never live again.

The General walked over and picked up the stone. He proceeded with the ritual four more times. Each time another point of the star would be used. Each time another creature would be erased from existence.

As he picked up the dark stone and handed it to the last of the shadowbeings, he closed his only claw around that of his last minion. “With this, you will return our master to the world, you will be the one who completes his plan. Take this and go, with no hesitation in your being. This is what you were created for, fulfill your purpose.”

“I live to serve.”

The creature took the stone and flew up and into the ritual. With the other five stones fully active there was no way to walk to it anymore. He stabbed the center stone with the one remaining charged point of the dark stone. The explosion of power was immense.

The General flew up and out of the gorge, what was happening next would be noted throughout history. For the first time in millions of years a Titan was returning with his mental state fully intact. Cronus will conquer this world and then rule as a God.

To his surprise the dark stone landed near him. He picked it up and looked it over. All six points were clear. The power they stole from Twilight Night spent. However, the center was still dark, he laughed at that. “So it seems as if part of you still exists, revenant. A shame your failure almost cost us everything or I might still have use for you.” He chucked the stone into the new river that bisected Equestria and turned his attention back to the rising of his master.

A blade cut his head from his shoulders as soon as he turned back around. His face still had his grin of victory on it when his head rolled to the ground. The scythe returned back to its master as he awaited the arrival of his son.

Being reborn is a very unique experience for anyone. So much more for a creature the size of a Titan. The birth canal was small; however, he pulled himself free. One hand at a time, then his head, and chest. It was arduous, however, it was worth it. With this, he had won. The Gods of old had officially lost. They were bound by their rules not to interfere. His rebirth should have been impossible, but he figured it out. Now, now was the time of his victory!

As his final leg was pulled out, Cronus roared in triumph, it was a shout the entire world heard.

“Wow, you still are a loudmouth, even after all this time, aren’t you?”

He knew that voice; it was ingrained in his memory as much as the creature that injured him so. “HELLO FATHER, COME TO SEE ME WIN AFTER ALL THIS TIME?”

Cronus looked down at the red pony that was laughing at him. His father’s form was pathetically small, however, he knew from first hand experience that was just the form he chose to wear. As a God, Tartarus could assume any form he wanted to. Tartarus itself, his prison, was a testament to that.


“Oh, and why is that?”


“Tell me, my oh so smart son, where are my brother and sisters right now?”


“You don’t know do you? Well, I do. They are playing around with mortal forms right now, all of them… That means, for now, I can do whatever I want.”


“Me, me.” The smile on Tartarus’s face was condescending to the Titan. “I've had enough of playing your jailer. You've been so accommodating with that too. Thank you, thank you for causing the deaths of the other two, and giving me this opportunity. You have been such a good pawn for me.”


“Oh, but you are, you are my pawn in the game against my siblings. You've played your part oh so well too. Because of you, all the little ants on this world are running around trying to find another way to win. Not one of them knows about me, not one of them suspects me. With the others playing around in mortal bodies, my chance to rid the universe of them is now. I will kill each and every one of them and take my place as the only God of this universe.”


His laughter started up again, “That’s the true beauty of it, I convinced my sister’s Avatar to fetch it with her ‘wife,’ all to deal with you. I must admit it was a little work to blind them all to what was going on, but it was worth it. Just think, I'm going to kill her with the very weapon that she wishes to use to save this world from you.”


“What do they say? Never raise more devils than you can put down.”

Cronus punched out with all his might in a desperate attempt to stop his father from ruining everything. His fist slammed into the spot Tartarus stood. His blow landed squarely on target, however, when he pulled his fist back, Tartarus stood without a scratch on him.

“You've been such a good pawn for me, however, I have no use for a pawn with free will anymore. As such, I think this is goodbye, son.”

In a blink of an eye, the scythe flew from Tartarus’s back and imbedded itself in Cronus’s skull, severing his immortal soul from the shell of his body. The Titan slumped back; he stayed on his feet due to them being held in place by the terrain, however, the shockwave from him slumping on the edge of the gorge reverberated throughout the land.

“However, I still need something to keep all the little ants busy, I think your corpse should work nicely.”

In a flash of red power, the Titan’s corpse was reanimated. His eyes turned red, the scythe left his skull and returned to Tartarus.

“Tell me creature, what do you live for?”


“Then you live to serve me, go, crush the mortals where they stand.”

The Titan began walking through the remains of the Everfree Forest, his intent, the army that was assembled on the edge of Ponyville. Tartarus smiled as the ponies assembled there moved into the forest to challenge the Titan directly. All they were doing was hastening their deaths.

A gust of wind caught his attention. Tartarus smiled as he recognized the magic of a letter being sent to his sister. He could feel Chaos’s influence in the wind. With the slightest effort of will, he sent the letter back to his dear brother with a small note added. The only way for anyone to stop him now would be to intercept his sister on their way back. However, as they were only a few minutes out, that would be impossible. “Nice try brother, but it is much too late for that. You all played your little games, but I won. You just don’t realize it yet.”

Tartarus teleported directly behind the assembled armies and awaited the arrival of Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash in their house, all he needed now was Cronus’s Sickle, and that was on its way to him at Mach ten. Had the war not been going on with the Titan, the ponies outside the house would have heard him laughing, despite the soundproof spell.

True in Purpose

View Online

Ruins of Ponyville

The Titan walked. Every step it took caused an earthquake with an epicenter on the spot its foot touched down. Every pony in the army looked at it with dread running down their spines. Even with all the reports and training they suffered through in the last week, reading about something and seeing it are two very different things. Morale crumbled at this sight. No grand speeches would work right now, only one pony could fix this, and as much as he would hate it, Radiant knew exactly what needed to happen now; before they were all lost.

Radiant Star ran over to his mom. Princess Cadance looked on in horror at the creature they were now facing. This was the might of a Titan; never before did she truly appreciate exactly what that meant and the fact that Twilight fought one of these Titans, not once, but twice. It both amazed and shocked the princess. So much that she did not even hear the words spoken by her son.

“MOM!!” Radiant shouted for the second time as he poked Princess Cadance in the side with his horn.

Cadance finally recognized the pony shouting in her ear, she turned around and spoke to her son with fear in her voice.

“How do we defeat something like that?”

Radiance grabbed her and hugged with all his might. The contact was unusual for the stallion; however, he knew that it was exactly what she needed at this time. The Princess of Love simply needed to be reminded of what they were fighting for. No soldier goes to war for a princess or for their country. While it might sound good to say that you do it for your loved ones back home or for some noble cause, it simply is not true. When you go to war, you do it for your fellow soldiers. You fight for them and you die for them. Because, while you may not like them, they are the ones who have your life in their hooves, as you have theirs in yours. At its most basic, it is the truest form of love.

“Remember mom, I love you, and you are not doing this alone. Nopony is.” He touched his horn to hers, spreading that love across the assembled army. Ensuring that everypony knew, without a doubt in their hearts, just why they were fighting, and what the costs were if they failed.

It worked, it was so simple, but the best plans usually are. Doubt was removed from the army. Every soldier looked over at the one standing or flying next to them. They knew that they were fighting for each other. While his plan was brilliant, Radiant Star was not counting on one small side effect.

This effect was several times more potent in those soldiers who felt something more for one another. For both good and bad. A soldier with somepony to protect is a dangerous foe. For Radiant Star, his attention was immediately drawn to one mare in particular. The Commander of the Cloudsdale forces, Commander Firestar, who was right now, flying at the head of her forces on an attack vector for the Titan. She was already out of range of his voice; she would not hear his cry, but that did not stop him from trying.


“Troops! Move in.” Princess Cadance gave the order, her son lost his purpose at that moment and she needed to help him find it again.


Equestrian Airspace

Bright Dawn’s self-doubt never went away. He stared forward, thinking, just thinking about everything and nothing all at once. Several times on their way back to Ponyville, Princess Luna would try and strike up a conversation with the stallion. Each time he would simply be lost in thought. The same recurring thought kept going through his head.

‘Would Equestria be better off without Twilight Sparkle?’


The Southern border of Equestria

“Dad, you've got to fly faster!”

Ataxia was doing loops around the dragon, despite his speed, despite his Dragon Steel Armor, she was several times faster as a dragacorn then he could ever hope to be. She was bored of this; every part of her wanted to leave him in the dust and rush forward. However, Shimmering Night told her no. She did not want them to separate in case they needed raw force, Night already did not like how much distance they were ahead of the rest of the armada. While Ataxia was fast in the air, she did not yet have the basic nuances of flight down yet. Several times Spike had to swerve to avoid colliding with his daughter.

“Ataxia, you have to relax. You read the letter, and you know the Titan is here.”

“Assuming he’s telling the truth.” Ataxia grunted as she landed on her dad’s back.

“Well, if he wasn’t, we brought all that for no reason.” Siros gestured behind Ataxia and Night; Spike was about five miles ahead of the largest air armada in Equestria history; every single dragon and griffin that was capable of flight was directly behind them. Even at this distance it was easy to make them out. It was a sight for the ages.

“I don’t think we have to worry about if he is lying or not.”

At Spike’s comment, every set of eyes turned forward. While they were still quite far away, a new mountain was visible in the distance. However, it was plain to see that this was not a normal one, for this mountain was moving.

“Ataxia, can you sense her?” Night had no need to say exactly who she was talking about.

“Yes, I can.” This new form increased Ataxia’s magic in ways she had yet to fully understand. Ataxia’s strength and speed were already several times more powerful than before. However, her magic was still an unknown to the dragacorn. Even before this new form, she could easily sense Twilight’s location. It was hard to miss the most powerful magic user in the world. Now she could track her movements with scary accuracy and from great distances when she focused hard enough.

“Go, warn her.” Night’s command came without doubt or hesitation. This was the second time in her life a Titan stood on Equestrian soil. The cost of the first time was still being tallied. She did not want that to happen again, especially with what was at stake.

Ataxia nodded in agreement and took off faster than a bullet. It would be noted afterwards that she was the third pony this generation to do a sonic rainboom.


The Frozen North

“How much farther, Rainbow?”

“God Twi, why don’t you just ask if we're there yet over and over?” Memories of trips with the kids sprung to both of their minds, while Rainbow laughed, Twilight took offence.

“Because, I’m not a foal.”

Rainbow chuckled. “Good thing about that too, otherwise I'd be in jail.”

“Yeah you would.” Twilight said with a snarky grin.

Rainbow hugged Twilight tighter in her hooves and kissed her. “I can go faster if you want, but it will get cold.”

“Well, as long as you hold me tighter.”

“As the princess commands.”

Rainbow squeezed Twilight even tighter and applied an extra burst of speed.


Ruins of Ponyville

Radiant watched dumbstruck as the pegasi engaged the Titan. He hated to admit it, or even to say it, but their maneuvers were perfect. Operating in teams of twenty the pegasi flew in perfect formation, each supporting the others. Flying around the Titan as it flung its arms about wildly. Not one pegasi was hit. Not one fell to its breath attack. They were trained and trained well by their Commander; however, that was his problem.

Commander Firstar was always right where the fighting was thickest. Her squadron was at its head. Her group attacked the Titan’s eyes by throwing spears and blades at it. Several times he saw a group of pegasi land on top of its head and buck it as hard as they could.

“Do you see?”

The question startled the prince so much that he almost jumped out of his skin. Radiant Star turned sharply and looked at the pony who just said that. Princess Cadance stared smartly at her son and repeated the question. She knew exactly what he was staring at... who he was staring at.

“Do you see?”

“See what?”


“It’s all I can see.”

Radiant’s eyes went back to watching the commander at work; he cringed every time something would almost happen to her. As he watched, understanding finally dawned over the stallion; Commander Firestar was a natural. She expertly dodged attack after attack, and he watched as she led her team on another pass. It was like watching a professional painter at work on his greatest masterpiece. She was a master in the air; her command obeyed without question by those under her. It was obvious how she became the Captain of the Wonderbolts, and why Princess Luna selected her over all the other candidates to replace the former Commander Tsunami. She lived and breathed this; it was what she did.

"I tried to order to her stop." Radiant’s jaw hung open at that realization.

“Oh, mom... what did I do?” Depression was evident in his voice, as the full effect of what occurred finally hit him. "I loved her, and she me. How could I be so stupid?”

Princess Cadance wrapped a hoof and hugged her son as strong as she could. “It’s not too late, son.”

“Yes it is, she doesn’t love me anymore.”

Cadance pulled back from the hug and looked her son in the face; to her surprise tears were falling down his face. It was the first time she seen him cry since Shining Armor passed on.

“I know why you did what you did; I thought about doing the same to Shining Armor. However, to these ponies that we love, this is who they are. Asking them to change that, asking them to go against their very nature? It's selfish. However, I know for a fact what you said is not true and I think you know it too.”

He turned and looks at his mom. “What’s not true?”

“She does love you.”

He stared down and looked at his hooves. “No she doesn’t, she hates me.”

“You’re right about that.”

He stared up at her in shock at that comment.

“She hates you, that’s for sure, after what you did. I hate you for that too. However, we BOTH still love you. I can sense it from here; I sensed it last night when she left. I know it for a fact.”

“How do I get her back?”

“You may not be able to.”

He stared at her in shock at that. “What, what do you mean?”

“Just what I said, you may not be able to get her back, you insulted who she is, you insulted her honor, and you insulted her. Then you tried to force her to do exactly what you wanted her to do, even though it was so repugnant to her, by pulling rank. She rightly called you out on it. The possibility exists that the damage might be too great to repair.”

He looked down to his hooves, defeated. “So, there is no hope.”

Cadance raised his muzzle with a hoof. “There is always hope. If you want her back go show her that you do love her, show her who you really are. Vow to yourself that every moment of this life will be spent trying to be the stallion she deserves. You are both one in a million. Prove it to her and make her see the real you, the you only I know. Even if it takes the rest of your life to earn her forgiveness, never stop trying. Make that your purpose in life. Even if you fail, you will have no regrets of not trying.”

He looked up at his mom, she finally saw it again, the side of her son that had been missing ever since Shining Armor fell in battle, the resolve in his eyes was back. “Thanks mom.”

She smiled as she watched her son run off to fight a Titan for the mare of his dreams. It was the last direction she wanted him to go. However, it was where his heart needed him to be. In many ways, Cadance actually felt sorry for the Titan: her son had found his true purpose and that Titan stood in his way.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the approach of a very powerful magical force from the south. Something that was easily the level of an alicorn was approaching and fast.

Turning back she looked at the Titan. If this new force was hostile, their forces would be caught fighting both of them; defeat was assured if that happened.

Princess Cadance took off, silently cursing Princess Luna for not making it back already. She would meet this newcomer head on, if it was hostile, she would deal with it herself.



“What’s going on?”

“Welcome back, emperor.”

“Hey princess, how long was I out?”

Aurora rolled her head to the right and looked at the clock on the wall. “About ten hours.”

“Ten hours!” Icarus tried to get up; doing so caused the griffin unspeakable pain as he managed to pull the needles out of his leg and several wires from his chest. “Ow.” Was all he could say to that bonehead move.


“What happened to emperor?”

“Emperor Dumbass.”

Icarus tried to laugh, but doing so only caused him to realize that his sides hurt, a lot. Fortunately for the emperor pulling out some of those wires alerted the attendants that something was wrong. A team of nurses came in and reattached everything. After a few minutes of checking up on him they informed Icarus that a doctor will be in when he can to do an official check up, then they were gone.

Aurora watched him squirm when they reattached the needles with a smile on her muzzle, after they left she asked. “So, what happens now?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean between us, what happens between us?”

“I'm not following you.”

She glared at the griffin, Icarus did his best to pretend he did not know, however, it was obvious to the pegasus he was faking. “You kissed me you jerk. What happens next?”

He was visibly blushing when she said that, the griffin turned his head away from Aurora. “It wasn’t intentional.” He barely whispered the words.

“What was that?”

“It wasn’t intentional.” Icarus spoke a little louder; however, it was not loud enough for Aurora to hear.

“One more time.”

“I said it didn’t mean anything, it was a stupid heat of the moment thing. I could never love a pony.”

He heard a noise that should not be possible. Glancing over, Emperor Icarus of the Griffin Empire stared on in shock as Princess Aurora Flash got out of her bed. He watched her legs wobble as they were still injured from her fall. It was only by grabbing onto the bed that she was able to stand at all.

He felt sympathetic pain as she pulled every IV from her legs out in one fell swoop. It should have hurt; there should have been grunting and crying coming from the mare. However, her face betrayed none of that. She slowly walked around the bed, taking careful steps to ensure that she did not fall over.

Icarus would never forget that expression on her face for as long as he lived. Her face was the definition of determination. Whatever this mare wanted, she would get it.

He held hopes that the gaps between the beds would stop her. Briefly, he wondered why the emperor had to share a room with any griffin or pony for that matter. There must have been many casualties to cause this.

His hopes were dashed. This mare, Aurora Flash, crossed her way from one bed to another through sheer determination. He could no longer avoid her gaze. He could no longer pretend she was not standing over him. Icarus turned his head to face her and glared.


Princess Aurora Flash, Daughter to Equestrian Royalty, and one of the fastest flyers in the world, leaned down and kissed him.

Emperor Icarus wanted to scream out for her to stop, he wanted to rage against it, he wanted to cry rape. Actually, he did not want to do any of those things, he wanted this moment to go on forever.

Seconds were minutes, minutes were hours, and hours became days. He did not care. As far as Emperor Icarus was concerned, those lips were all that mattered. The rest of the world can and should buck off. He never wanted this moment to end.

As with all things, the kiss did come to an end. It ended when the team of nurses came back in and interrupted the two. They helped Aurora back to her bed and reconnected everything. He could not help but notice the smiles and grins on their faces as they glanced over to him lying on the bed. When the last of them left, Aurora commented on the situation.

“Well now that we have that bullshit excuse out of the way, I'll ask again: What happens now?”

Icarus was completely out of excuses. This flew in the face of everything he knew, he had no game plan for this scenario, all he knew, the only thing that he wanted was for that feeling to happen again, and to keep happening for the rest of his life. “I have no idea.”

“Well, let me take this time to warn you about my mom, and then I’ll fill you in with everything the doctors told me happened after we were taken to this room."


South of Ponyville

“Stop right there!”

The command came from a very unexpected source, so much so that Ataxia actually obeyed. It was then she saw the source of the words. Princess Cadance flew straight at her. From the look on her face Ataxia could not say for sure if Cadance was about to attack her or hug her.

“Princess Cadance?”

Cadance stopped altogether, shocked that this creature knew her name.

“Who are you?”

“Wait? You don’t recognize me?” Ataxia face-clawed as she realized that she did not look quite herself. “Oh, yeah right, it’s me, Ataxia.”

“Ataxia?” Princess Cadance did not look convinced.

“There's no time to explain, I have to tell Twilight about Tartarus’s plans.”

Cadance looked back at the fight with the Titan, those ponies were dying now. Even if this was Ataxia, she owed it to them to take no risks. “Then give me the short and sweet. I cannot afford blind trust right now.”

Ataxia raged against that, however, she took a few deep breaths to try and calm down. She knew that the quickest way to get the warning to Twilight would be to tell Cadance what happened. “Alright, here is the condensed version. It started when…”


The first casualty was a unicorn squad. Despite the orders to stay at maximum range, one squad moved forward. They paid for it with their lives. In a stomp, ten ponies were dead. Crushed under the foot of a Titan, they would not be the last to go.

The earth ponies operated catapults, each one flinging heavy rocks at the creature as fast as they could reload them. It was fruitless, it was all fruitless. One shot in a hundred would hit a vital spot, and none of those did the sort of damage needed to affect the Titan. Only the pegasi seemed to get a response from the creature. Commander Firestar trained them well, as she based their training on the reports filed by those who saw the first conflict.

“Thank you, Celestia.” Firestar spoke. She memorized the highly detailed reports Celestia wrote about the first Titan. “For everything.” Celesta’s death affected everypony in Equestria. Some tried to use it for personal gain; others simply bottled it up and moved on. Several fell into melancholy. Firestar sought a different approach: she wanted revenge. On who was the question. When this enemy presented itself, she finally had her answer of whom she could blame.

Of course, the one thing she never counted on, the one thing she gave up on, was finding a special somepony. Ever since she was little Firestar dreamed of the Wonderbolts; she guessed it had something to do with her mom being the Captain. Spitfire took her to every performance they did. Before she even had her cutie mark, Firestar was a natural at flying. She would often sit in on their practices and do a little herself. She qualified to join them at twelve years old, and was a full-fledged member as soon as she was old enough.

Firestar dedicated herself afterwards to that one dream. She single-mindedly threw herself into it. Nothing else mattered but being the best. Several times a member of the squad or a fan would ask her out on a date. She never gave it a second thought. Hers was a life for the Wonderbolts and that was it. When Captain Spitfire retired, nopony objected to her appointment to that slot. She earned it the hard way, the right way. Firestar remembered Spitfire crying when she hugged her after. While Spitfire never liked sitting on the sidelines for anyone, seeing her daughter follow her hoofsteps by her own merit was the second proudest moment of her life.

Then he came. Firestar never had much interaction with the dignitaries of the Crystal Empire before, other than a few meet and greets. She always took Prince Radiant as another stuck up brat of Royalty. Everypony knew the exploits of Prince Blueblood and one prince was exactly like another, or so she thought.

Firestar would always remember the moment he called her cute. It was small, it was slight, but it flipped a switch in her. In that one word, she viewed him in a whole new light. She saw his strengths and weakness for something new. She felt odd, a feeling she never knew before, or was it a feeling she never allowed herself to know before?

She remembered Princesses Cadance ‘inviting’ her down to the Crystal Palace to have tea. It was the oddest request Firestar ever got. Unexpectedly, a Princess of Equestria wanted to have tea with her. She could not say no. As the Commander of Cloudsdale, it was her duty to play politics. Even if she hated every second of such trivialities.

As expected, the tea session was quite boring. They talked about everything and nothing all at the same time. Then, at five minutes to three, Cadance suggested they go for a walk. Down the hallway, Cadance preceded to politely excuse herself to go freshen up. Waiting for her to return, Prince Radiant finished his training session and walked out the door, right next to where she waited.

It was obvious looking back on it that Cadance played a masterful game on her. The tea, the conversation, and the ‘freshening up;’ It was all too cause that one moment to occur. If she did not love every minute of what followed, Firestar would have been mad at her. However, Radiant seemed to strike every right cord with Firestar. He was charming, witty, and funny. He was serious, hardworking, and dedicated. Sadly, it later turned out he was also bucking stupid.

Firestar was almost over him, she threw herself back into her work with reckless abandon, and even disobeyed his command with the threat of treason hanging over her head. It seemed to work as Firestar could almost go an hour without thinking about him. Then Radiant and Cadance cast that damn spell.

She could feel the pull of it. She knew why it was cast, as even the sight of a Titan affected her own troop’s moral. That knowledge did not make it any easier to bear. She loved him; she knew that without a doubt now. However, she told him she did not, not anymore. It was a lie and she knew it. The damn stallion was still on her mind and in her heart.

Yes she loved him, but she still hated him. Prince Radiant Star betrayed her in every way that mattered, even ordering her to stay at Cloudsdale. Though, if she was being honest with herself, she could forgive all that, what she could not forgive was his intent.

The Prince was simply looking for a good place to die. It was evident the more she thought about it. He was an expert sword fighter; he was a master offensive tactician. However, none of these things was for defense, none of these things protected, as they all attacked. No wonder he could never manage Shining Armor’s shield spell. He did not care if he lived, as long as his opponent dies.

Firestar could never be with a pony like that, one simply looking for a good death, even if he was the gallant prince of her dreams. All she had left was her purpose; she would fulfill that until she could no longer. That would have to be enough.


View Online

Ruins of Ponyville

As Prince Radiant Star ran forward he examined the battle with a critical eye. They were holding, but only because of the pegasi. The unicorns and earth ponies were contributing nothing of significant value, and if he wanted to help Firestar, he would have to fix that. Fortunately, he had an ace up his hoof for just this sort of occasion, a little spell he and Dayspring Gleam developed together as a way to dramatically increase one's power. It was a spell even more powerful than Twilight’s enhancement ritual.

“Squads seven through nine, on me!”

“Squads two through four, hold your fire until my signal!”

“Squad twelve, you know what to do!”

Instantly the catapults stopped firing, each reloaded and waited for his command. Three squads of unicorns formed up around him. While they were not as well trained as Commander Firestar’s troops, Radiant was no slouch in the art of war. He drilled these ponies ruthlessly for just this situation. The individual squads formed up three abreast and three deep, with their sergeant in front of the pack.

Individually their magic would not make a dent in such a creature; however, they were not fighting it as individuals. Only an alicorn had any hopes of that and even then, the chances of success were slim to none. This formation was his and his alone. It was the result of hundreds of hours’ worth of work.

The three squads spread around him, each an equal distance from both Prince Radiant and each other. An individual unicorn has no chance of taking down a Titan; however, with their powers focused on one there was more than a chance. He knew they could succeed.

Each member of each squad focused their raw magical power to the tip of their horns. They concentrated on creating the strongest magic they could. Then they shot that magic at the sergeants in front. These ponies are hoof picked by Radiant. They had to be, as this was the critical stage of the attack. These ponies had to amplify the magic energy they received and pass it along to the focal point, to Radiant himself. If one of them failed, if one of them was slightly late, the whole plan would fail.

That was not a concern for Radiant; their training paid off. All three squads succeeded in their task, as he knew they would.

The sergeants of each squad amplified the power and passed it to him as planned; he received the energy from all three squads at the same time. He now possessed the power of twenty-seven battle ready unicorns amplified threefold. For a brief moment, Prince Radiant Star of the Crystal Empire knew what it was to have the power of an alicorn. However, he was not done. Radiant amplified that power several times. Using his power to focus and condense it. Every second he held onto it was another times the power would grow.

In practice, he could hold it for five seconds. That was his limit to do it safely; eight seconds would cause it to backfire and seven seconds would kill him. He knew that seven would ensure victory: Even If it did cost him his life, at least it would end this, he would finally one up his dad and he would go down in the history books as the pony that slew a Titan..

A team of Crystal Pegasi cleared his firing path. They waited until just the right moment to do so. His shot was clear, but his body fought against this much magic, every fiber of his form screamed at him to let it go. To take the shot before the energy cascaded out of control.

Two seconds

He held still. This was not about the battle anymore; this was the total fulfillment of his lifelong purpose.

Three seconds

He thought about what he was doing this for, for all the families in Equestria that counted on them to succeed.

Four seconds

He thought about his mom, about his aunt. The ponies that performed such actions on a daily basis. He thought about his dad, and the sacrifice he made. How could he do any less?

Five seconds

Something caught his attention. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her, he saw Firestar flying in the distance, and he thought about how she would feel if he died.

Six seconds

He took the shot.

The energy Radiant Star released cascaded from his horn in a brilliant spectacle of blinding light. His aim was true; the energy shot out and struck the Titan dead center in its chest. The rock that made up its chest around the impact zone disintegrated. The Titan's upper half was completely covered by a cloud of smoke. The pegasi immediately disengaged. It was too dangerous for them to stay put.

The catapults released soon after. Their target was the spot hit by Radiant’s attack. While he could not see if they landed on target, he had faith that their training paid off. The Titan fell on its back, in a parody of Hyperion’s fall several months earlier.

Radiant collapsed on his stomach. He put everything he had into that one attack. While he did not hold it for the full seven seconds he thought it would take, it seemed to get the job done all the same. The stallion could no longer stand, however, for the briefest instant; with a glance to the sky, he thought he saw the commander smile at him. It was gone in less than a second, but for Radiant, it was all the thanks he would ever need.

The squads let out a loud cheer as they ran to their prince, he looked up in gratitude at them.

Then the cheering suddenly stopped. He glanced around as they all froze in their tracks.

“What going on?”

They were all staring in the direction of the Titan; Radiant turned and watched it. Red energy coalescing around it; soon its entire body was covered in a very powerful magic and the Titan got back to his feet.



Commander Firestar ordered her soldiers back in. The pegasi immediately reformed their squadrons and begin again. Something was wrong this time, Firestar’s gut was telling her as such.

Her instinct proved true. Almost too late, Firestar called off the attack at the last possible second. Red magic energy shot out of the Titan, striking out at the pegasi on their attack vector. Her quick thinking saved lives, but it was not able to save all of them. Three squads were stuck down before they could evade the energy. Most of those ponies fell from the sky, dead before they hit the ground.

In order to save as many as they could, several squads swooped down to catch their fallen comrades. One of those squads hit was close to Firestar. Directly in the path of the Titan’s fist. At his current speed, she could see the pony would not make it.

For Firestar, it was not a conscious choice: She did not stop to think, she did not stop to consider, and she did not weigh the pros and cons. Her life was far more valuable than that of a front line soldiers, she mattered, and her death could cost them the war. However, none of these things mattered to her. A soldier needed her help and she was in position to offer that help, that was all that mattered.

Commander Firestar left her formation and flew straight down to him, the large fist a consistent ticking clock of what awaited them both if she was too slow. The pegasus was unconscious; he did not even see the blow coming. He did not have to, but she did, and that is what mattered. Firestar knew her squad was right behind her, but in a game of milliseconds, they would be far too late to matter.

She reached the pegasus and pushed him out of the way just in time to avoid the fist. For a brief second, she smiled; He was safe; she made it in time to save them both.

That illusion shattered when she felt the impact on her back legs. Her torso was just far enough to avoid a direct hit. However, her back legs were not. The force of the blow crushed every bone in her rear legs and flung her to the ground at a speed that was only possible by a certain rainbow mane princess. Her squad fared worse; they were directly in the path of the blow.

One last thought crossed her mind before blacking out. ‘Radiant, I forgive you, and I'm sorry I said that.’


Ataxia sped through the story as fast as she could, there was too much at stake to tell every single detail, however, if she did not tell enough then Cadance would not believe any of it.

“And that’s what happened, now can we go?”

“I don’t believe it.”

‘Bucking hell.’

“What? Why not?”

“Well for starters, I have never heard of dragons following anypony, and I have certainly never heard of a dragacorn. I don’t know how you know all these details but I am not letting you get one hoof closer.”

“Princess Cadance, you should let her go.”

Cadance’s gaze never left the dragacorn while she was telling her tail, but at that deep familiar voice, she looked to her left. A huge purple dragon approached at top speed. On it rode an alicorn and a griffin, all three of which she recognized.

“Cadance let Ataxia get to her mission.”

She looked back to the dragacorn, shock evident on her face.. “It is you?”

“I told you that, and yes we brought backup.”

Ataxia pointed a claw in the direction Spike was coming from, even from this distance she could make out a veritable swarm of dragons on their way.

“So then, Twilight is in trouble?”


“Why didn’t you say so? Let’s go!”

Ataxia mumbled under her breath, “I did.”

Cadance pause in flight and let Ataxia take the lead; before following her, Cadance turned and shouted back to the group. “Night, Spike, I’ll leave the Titan to you guys.”

Intellectually, Spike knew his group had the easy job, however, that was a hard pill to swallow when he looked over to the combat currently taking place. He changed directions to head towards the Titan; there was no need to inform the dragons behind them. They could not miss it with if their eyes were closed.


Radiant thought he was dreaming, in many ways, he wished he were. He watched as out of nowhere hundreds of dragons descended on the Titan and unless he was mistaken, there were several griffins in the melee as well.

He rubbed his eyes for the third time; it was too good to be true. Whatever, whoever brought these dragons here did so at just the right time. He would give them a bucking medal when this was all over.

While it was a much-needed respite for his army, it was for naught. He could already see the dragons falling from the sky due to the red energy. While they gave as well as they got, the Titan was healing; the dragons were not.

His forces made good use of the time: the unicorns and earth ponies took this time to take a breather, and the pegasi pulled back, getting those wounded to triage stations. He tried to get back to work, even if he fully exhausted himself, there were still ways he could help. Anypony could apply bandages or set broken bones. However, something pulled at him, something that did not seem right to the prince. It finally dawned on him just what was wrong.

“Where’s Firestar?”

He scanned the skies several times, watching for where she would be the most needed, where somepony like her would always be. He could not see her anywhere.

Panicking, the prince forgot himself and began running across the battlefield. One thought played through his head on repeat.

‘Firestar, please, please be ok. I'm so sorry.’


“Princess Luna am I seeing that or is it a dream? Please say it’s a dream.”

“Tis’ no dream Prince Dawn, our heart soars with the possibility of this challenge! Come; let us join the battle posthaste!”

Bright Dawn face-hoofed; he should have expected that. Princess Luna had a reputation for her night patrols around Equestria. It seemed the Princess of the Night could not get a good day's sleep without several fights under her belt. It was only logical that she would see something this big and threatening as yet another challenge to overcome.

“Whatever you say, princess.” He did not know how, but he had a feeling that just like everything else that happened in the last few months, this was somehow Twilight’s fault.

Luna sped forward, ecstatic over this opportunity. She shot out a magical blast at the Titan, one strong enough to topple it yet again. Luna expertly aimed it between several of the attacking dragons that immediately flew off as to not get in her way. However, the red energy around the Titan intercepted the blast from her horn and nullified it seconds before impact.

The Titan turned from the others; much like an animal under the eyes of a predator, it sensed that this was the biggest threat. This new threat would require all of its concentration. The Titan held the dragons and griffins at bay with the red magic energy granted to him from Tartarus.

“We see you will not go down easy. Very well! Let us engage in a rousing game of hooficuffs!”

Dawn made a mental checklist and added to it: ‘Inform Luna of the proper usage of the term hooficuffs.’

To his surprise, Princess Luna conjured a huge spectral magical hoof and hit the Titan in the face with it. The Titan fell to the ground again; as red magical energy gathered around its head, healing its wounds.

Dawn removed that item from the checklist and added two items of his own: ‘Never underestimate the power of an alicorn,’ and ‘Never get on Princess Luna’s bad side.’


“Are we there yet?”

“I thought you said you weren’t going to ask that?”

“I thought you were fast.”

“That’s it.” Rainbow tripled her speed in a second; nopony, not even her wife, implies that Rainbow Dash is anything other than fast. After three sonic rainbooms; she could see Canterlot Mountain in the distance. What disturbed her though was the sight of another mountain near the remains of Ponyville.

Twilight was expecting the sudden increase in speed; as such she cast a binding spell to her and Rainbow. It prevented her from falling off after she goaded her wife into pushing herself. Their journey took them to the other side of the world. It was little wonder the flight back had taken awhile; (Awhile being relative in this situation, two hours to fly several thousand miles was damn quick by most ponies’ books.) Rainbow interrupted her thoughts.

“Ah, Twi. I think we might be late to the party.”

Twilight stared directly ahead and saw the threat instantly. The Titan was already walking. Twilight looked beyond it, she could also sense several strong magical pressures on their way to combat it. None of them would be enough. It was imperative now more than ever that they finish this. To do that Rainbow and Twilight had to get to Tartarus as fast as Rainbow could fly.

“Hey Rainbow, if you can get us home in the next ten seconds I will let you pick our next game.”

Six seconds later the two arrived on the doorstep. Even with the spell keeping her bound to Rainbow, Twilight had to pry her hoofs from around her wife's neck. Quick thinking on her part caused her to remove the air in front of them before they broke any more sonic barriers, ensuring that the Titan would not be alerted to their presence by sudden appearance of several more sonic rainbooms in a row.

She canceled the holding spell and fell to the ground with a loud thud. ‘It seems that a pony can get air legs as well as sea legs.’ Twilight thought. Rainbow offered to help her to her hooves, yet Twilight waved her away. She would do this on her own.

“You ok, Twi?”

“Yeah, I will be, just give me a minute.”

Rainbow glanced over to the walking mountain, the dragons were on their way to engage the Titan now, and she could easily see that a minute might be asking too much. Though as far as she was concerned, Twi could take a year if she wanted to.

One thing did strike her odd though, the Titan seemed to have magical red energy coursing over his body. Rainbow swore she had seen that energy before, and it was not from a Titan. Rainbow dismissed that thought as Twilight finally tried standing again.

When her wife was able to get on her own hooves, Rainbow walked over to her and wrapped a wing around her. Twilight looked at Rainbow and kissed her cheek. “Thanks.”

“After all this time Twi, you know no thanks are necessary.”

“It still doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it.”

“Whatever you say, princess.”

“You’re a princess too, you know.”

“Na, I'm more of a royal concubine.” She said with a smile on her face.

“You mean a royal pain in my ass.”

“Oh, don’t worry; I'll be that too, later tonight.”

“I don’t think so! Last time I couldn’t sit right for a week.”

“Hey, you said I get to pick the game.”

Rainbow smiled as a look of dread passed over Twilight’s face. She squeezed her wife tighter and walked them to the door. Whatever they were planning to do to each other will have to wait for tonight; as right now, they still had a mission to accomplish.

As Rainbow reached her other wing out to open the door, they both jumped as a huge red pony stood on the other side.

“Tartarus!” Rainbow and Twilight both yelled the God’s name in union.

“Welcome back, I take it you found the sickle.”

Rainbow was still unsure if they could trust him. “Maybe, how do you know?”

“Because I can sense it on you.”

“Before we give it to you, how do we know we can trust you?” Twilight asked.

“Well, I did save your life after all, besides do we really have time for twenty questions? After all, your friends are in danger.” He gestured a hoof to the Titan fight going on. Twilight could feel the power coming from the monstrosity. It was familiar to what she could remember down in Tartarus, yet different. However, she could not afford to think about it right now, he was right, every second they spent talking is another second their friends spend fighting. Yet something struck her as odd about what the God said.

“What do you mean you saved my life?”

“When that one,” he nodded at Rainbow. “Decided to take a few million trips around the world, her shockwave would have killed you. I took steps to ensure that did not happen.”

“The shield that protected me from the debris, that was your doing?”

“Got it in one.”

“Wait, what?” Rainbow stared at her wife with renewed interest.

“I was under the Titan when you hit it, the shock wave should have killed me, but somepony cast a shield around me.”

“And that was you?” Rainbow questioned the God.


“So you were there?”


“Why the buck didn’t you help!”

“We've been over this before Rainbow; I'm in enough trouble with the others for the little I have done. Now do you want keep asking dumb questions or actually take care of that.” The Titan looming in the distance served as an explanation point to his comment.

Rainbow pulled the sickle out from her pack. While she would not let Twi carry it for her own safety, Rainbow did not take any chances with her own. They wrapped the blade in several layers of cloth to ensure there would be no accidents on the way. Rainbow held it up with one wing and turned it around to examine it. ‘What’s the big deal about this anyway? Just feels like a dumb blade.’

She flipped it over and passed it to Tartarus. Tartarus looked it over in his hoofs, giving off small grunts of approval.

“So that’s it, right?”

“Yes, this is the artifact my sister forged, of that there is no doubt.”

“It still works, right?” Twilight asked the God.

“Yes, this will destroy the essence of anything it touches. You two did well.”

“So it will kill the Titan? It will kill Cronus?” Rainbow asked. 

“Easily, however there is a much greater target that it needs to take care of first.”

“What? Who?” Rainbow’s brow shot up at this news, what threat could be more dangerous than a Titan?

“Gaia.” Tartarus smirked at her.

What few ponies know about Rainbow Dash is that her speed is not the only impressive thing in her arsenal. Even before her new wings, she was one of the fastest ponies alive. That sort of speed is worthless without the reactions to back it up. Without that, mountains or flocks of birds are more important and dangerous than what the destination is. Rainbow was not only fast; she had the reactions for it as well. This increased exponentially when she received Twilight’s gift under the Crystal Palace. With just a glance, she could count a bee’s wing beats.

For the most part, she was completely unaware of it; these reactions were instinctual, unless she was paying attention.

Rainbow was paying attention to Tartarus; that is why it came as a surprise when her face was suddenly wet on her left side. Her vision tinted red from whatever liquid now covered her eye, whatever it was, it stung her, a lot. Rainbow shut that eye to prevent further irritation. It was then she registered that Tartarus no longer had the sickle in his hoof.

Rainbow turned and looked at Twilight with confusion written on her face. Her jaw dropped, she found out where the sickle was. Her wife, Twilight Sparkle, still had that expression of deep concentration on her face that Rainbow learned to love over the years. However, Twilight’s knees could no longer support the weight of her body and she collapsed to the ground. Cronus’s sickle, the god weapon, was sticking out of her neck. The blood began pooling down into the dirt from the entrance and exit wounds it created.

Several hooves beyond her, Rainbow’s subconscious registered two new figures coming in: One of them was an alicorn princess, the other she had never seen before, and they were both shouting something. However, for Rainbow Dash, she could no longer hear anything over the pounding of her heart. The rest of the world disappeared to the mare. The only thing that existed was the love of her life, lying in the dirt, murdered by a god weapon that destroyed the essence of whatever it touched.

She did manage to whisper one word before collapsing by her wife’s corpse, it just so happened to be the same word that the two newcomers were shouting.



View Online

Ruins of Ponyville

Known all over Equestria and parts beyond as the Princess of Love, Princess Cadance is one of the kindest mares in all of the land. As Twilight’s former foal sitter, she and the alicorn had a lifelong connection. Cadance’s connection to Twilight only increased when she married Twilight’s brother; Shining Armor, and despite her status as a princess she would continue foal sitting for Twilight after she and Rainbow had their kids. The love Cadance had for Twilight and her family was absolute.

Cadance and Ataxia arrived on the scene of the battle and saw Twilight fall to the ground dead. Her thoughts of the memories they shared became all-consuming in her mind. The times they shared and the love she had for that filly: Love for the little filly she used to watch. Love for the young mare that rescued her from the Changeling Queen and saved her wedding. Love for the mare that saved Equestria from the worst villains that have tried to overthrow it throughout the years. Love for her foals and how adorable they were. Twilight’s love for her wife, one that as far as Cadance was concerned had its place in the history books. Rainbow’s all-consuming love for Twilight and the abominable, abhorrent nature of what this pony did in ending it. It is said that no force is more powerful in the world than love, because those who love somepony so unconditionally can achieve the impossible. There is no limit to their strength when they fight for one they love, or when they fight to avenge the pony they love.

Cadance no longer saw anything else. This pony, he killed Twilight Sparkle. In a process that normally takes months if not years, Cadance began traversing through the seven stages of grief. Shock over the sight of Twilight’s body and the horrible loss of what occurred, denial that the loss even took place. Denial that somepony like Twilight could even die. It was unthinkable in any situation she could conceive. Cadance felt fear when Rainbow Dash fell, it did not seem like she was hurt. Acceptance at why Rainbow fell. Cadance could feel it, the bond they shared... somehow her death destroyed it. That was why she fell; it was not because of an injury, as it was her inability to stand. Relief that Rainbow was not physical hurt. Then she reached anger: Anger at the pony that caused Rainbow such suffering. Anger at the pony that killed Twilight. Anger at the pony that destroyed something so beautiful. She was stuck on anger.

Pink energy coalesced around the princess. She drew on all the magic power she had, increased several fold by the events that took place. As one of the alicorn princesses, Cadance is considered the weakest of the five. In many ways, those who thought that way were right: Cadance did not have the power of Twilight, the force of will of Celestia, the battle experience of Luna, or the raw natural talent of Shimmering Night. However, they were also wrong: Yes, she was not any of those things, but threaten someone she loved, attack someone she cared for, and Tartarus itself would tremble before her wrath.

Princess Cadance attacked, in a burst of speed that left Ataxia’s jaw hanging on the ground. Cadance launched herself forward at the pony in front of them. He was a big target, easily bigger than any alicorn. As far as Cadance was concerned, that just meant she could not miss.

Her energy blast struck square on target, and she followed it up with another. Six more came afterwards. Each blast threw up a cloud of dirt over the pony; each blast caused a noticeable reaction from the pony it hit. They hurt it. That was all she needed to know, if she could hurt it, then she could kill it. Cadance flew forward, seeking to impale the pony on her horn. The smoke from her earlier blasts obscuring her vision of the target, it did not matter. She could feel him; she could feel his presence. It was a presence she wanted to erase from the world. Love is always at its strongest when fighting for another, even if it is just to avenge them.

The power in front of her increased several times over. Whoever this pony was, he was strong. It was too late to pull up, Cadance overcommitted to the battle. She did not care; all she wanted was this pony dead, no matter the cost. The dust cloud blew away in a wave of force, at the last second before being impaled by her horn, the red earth pony grabbed her by the horn and chucked her against the wall of the house. Cadance turned just in time to avoid a head on collision, her back struck the house with a loud thud.

“You challenge me?! You dare attack me?! You pathetic mortal, I'm a God!” his laughter only served to increases Cadance’s rage.

“Gods don’t bleed.”

Tartarus looked down at his flank. It was small and slight. Nevertheless, there was blood coming out of his side. “What? How?” Realization dawned on the red pony. He knew who this was. Tartarus started laughing again. “Eros’s Avatar. Thank you for saving me the trouble of looking for you. I was going to find and kill Chaos next, but since you came to me I will do you the honor of being the next to die.”

“Anyone ever tell you, you talk too bucking much.”


Tartarus never had a chance to finish that sentence, a huge wave of raw magical energy slammed into him. Sending the God several hundred miles to the north, he slammed though several mountains in his path. Cadance glanced over and saw Ataxia standing to the south. Ataxia’s horn was smoking from the release of that much magical power.


“No need to thank me, I couldn’t stand to hear another word from his filthy mouth.”

“Do you think that did it?”

Ataxia shook her head. “He’s strong; I've never felt such magical power before, not even from Twilight. I might have just made him mad with that one.”

“You got that right.”

They both turned and stared at the red pony that appeared behind them. Raw hatred radiated from Tartarus, blood poured down his flank from another wound on his side. “So Chaos’s Avatar is here as well, well I guess I should be grateful for small favors. I can end this all now.”

Ataxia and Cadance looked at each other. “Together.” They did not say the word as they did not have to. They each nodded at the other and turned back to this pony.

Again, Cadance attacked first. She flew at the pony, closing the gap in a second. Tartarus deflected her energy blast away with a flick of his hoof, and with a second sent the alicorn princess flying off in the other direction. Too late did he realize that Cadance was the diversion. As soon as the Princess of Love was out of the way, Ataxia Let loose with her flame breathe. A magically imbued dragon fire engulfed the God; Ataxia could hear his cries of pain as a fire that burned hot enough to kill dragons covered him from head to hoof. She did not let up; Ataxia kept the flames going as long as she was able. This freak would pay for everything he did.

When Cadance returned to the battlefield, the dragacorn’s fire was still going. She landed next to Ataxia. “Fry you monster.” A smile overtook her face. As far as Cadance was concerned, this creature deserved every agonizing moment it suffered, and if she took a little enjoyment from it, nopony would blame her.

When at last Ataxia could no longer maintain the fire, she let it go. Ataxia started coughing from the sudden intake of air after. Cadance placed a hoof on her back and immediately pulled it off as the contact caused second-degree burns to the alicorn.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah, just give me a minute.”

“You’ve both lived for a minute too long in my book.”

They looked up at the pony that just spoke, as the fire burned itself out the pony was still standing. His face a grimace of rage at those who injured him so, the pony was no longer red. Burns covered his body from head to hoof, and his mane and tail were gone. It was obvious he felt every agonizing second of that and wanted revenge. “I underestimated you two, I didn’t believe my siblings would share that much of their power with you.” He glanced at Ataxia with that comment. “I won’t make that mistake again.”

The scythe flew from his back and soared after the dragacorn. Ataxia shot several beams at it but the scythe simply deflected them. She had no choice; Ataxia took off in flight while the scythe gave chase. Tartarus turned to Cadance. “That just leaves you and me, Eros; I've been itching for another go at you after what happened under the Crystal Palace forty years ago.”

Cadance did not know why Tartarus called her Eros, but she did know that she needed to fly and quickly. His first shot conjured from his hoof missed, but she suspected he was missing on purpose. Cadance knew just how fast he could be when he wanted to. It seemed as if this pony was simply toying with her now. Cadance resolved to make him pay for that when she got the opportunity. As for now, all she could do is dodge.


“You have our thanks, fair Night.”

Shimmering Night held Luna in a magical grasp. She saw the Princess of the Night get hit by the magical red energy coming off the Titan. It was a luck shot but there was no time for Luna to avoid the blow, she was able to raise a shield just in time to reduce that damage. Night could not help but wince as she felt the blood flow from a new cut along Luna’s flank.

“Are you going to be ok?”

“Tis’ merely a flesh wound. We have not felt more alive in ages!”

Shimmering Night did not believe that a cut like that was merely a flesh wound, but she knew from personal experience that arguing with Luna while she was in a such a state was pointless on the best of days.

“You want some help?” Night knew better than to ask under normal situations. Princess Luna took such offers as an insult to her honor. She figured that, as this was not a normal situation, it might be received as a genuine offer this time around.

“You would insinuate that we cannot do this ourself?! We handle creatures like this all the time!”

She was wrong; Luna did take it as an insult. “No, not at all, it’s just that he seems a bit bigger than what you normally go after.”

As Luna took flight out of Shimmering Night’s magic hold, she winced at the pain in her flank from the wound caused by the Titan. “Well, perhaps you are right. Very well, we accept your offer of help. Just this once though.”

The Titan’s tread in the backdrop indicated its approach; whatever they were going to do, they had to do it soon.

“Of course, what can I do to help?”

“We need some way to bypass his magic shield. If we could land a direct hit, we know we can finish this.”

Shimmering Night thought about that for a second before smiling at a memory she had of a conversation with a certain draconequus. “If it works, I think I might be able to help with that. Alright, here’s the plan.”


Prince Radiant Star ran from triage station to triage station, looking and asking every pony and griffin he came across for any information about Commander Firestar. After his fourth such station, he finally caught a break. One of the survivors of the Titan’s initial magic attack woke up.

“You’re looking for the commander. “ Radiant could barely make out the pony’s voice. It came out as weak as a newborn foal.

“You’ve seen her?”

“I was in one of the first squads that went back in after you knocked it down. It killed most of my squad, but somehow it just knocked me unconscious. I awoke several seconds later to see the Commander push me out of the way of its next attack. I… I… I’m sorry, she was hit.”


“Where what?”

“Where did she land? Which direction?”

He would not believe it without a body in front of him, Radiant could not imagine a world so cruel that it would take her away from him.


He took off out of the tent. He did not have the magic left to teleport anywhere but this news gave him his second wind. He bolted south as fast as he could. After the pony he loved, after Firestar.

“I will find you, whatever it takes.”


Rainbow’s consciousness retreated into herself, into her inner world. On the outer world, her wife was dead. That was not a world she wanted any part of. Rainbow did not want to live in that world anymore, so she left that world and went to a different one, one where Twilight was still alive.

Her mind’s eye saw their bedroom; she was in their bedroom. Nothing was wrong; it was simply another day. Rainbow jumped on the bed and stretched out. In the distance, she could hear the shower stop and somepony step out of it. That made her smile; Twilight was always in a better mood when she finished showering. As such, Rainbow laid out on the bed in her most seductive pose and waited for her wife to join her.

Twilight Sparkle walked out of their bathroom. Her mane wrapped up in a towel around her head. Rainbow smiled; part of her believed she would never see this sight again. That Twilight would never do anything again. Rainbow knew that part was right, but right now that part could buck off. It might not be physically real, but it was real enough for her.

Twilight looked at her in shock. “What are you doing, Rainbow?”

“Waiting for you, what else?”

“No, why are you here?”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

“I don’t think the weather team will miss me, Twi.”

“That’s not what I meant; the others are counting on you right now.”

“Can we not?”

“Rainbow Dash!”

Rainbow cringed with Twilight’s use of her full name; Twilight only ever did that when she was mad at Rainbow. A mad wife meant an unhappy life.

“Are you giving up? Is that why you're here?”


There was no point hiding the truth, Twilight always knew when she was lying. Trying to hide it would only make things worse. Rainbow supposed that went double when Twilight was nothing more than part of her own mind. If lying to Twilight never worked, lying to a Twilight conjured by her mind could only be worse.

“That’s not the Rainbow Dash I fell in love with, and that’s not the Rainbow Dash I married.”

“Yeah, but…”

“No buts! I want to see my wife right this second. Show me that she's still in there.”

“What if I don’t want to be her anymore? What if I can’t be her anymore, not without you?”

Twilight walked up and lay down next to her wife. “You can, I know you can. You can because you are Rainbow Dash, the most awesome mare in all of Equestria. The mare I married, the mare I raised our children with. The mare I fell in love with.”

Rainbow rolled on her side, not convinced in the slightest. “Not anymore.”

Twilight shoved her off the bed with her hoof. Rainbow landed on the floor with a loud thud.

“Ouch! What the hell Twi?”

“Rainbow Dash, get your flank up and help our friends!”

“Why should I?”

“Because you know it’s what I would have wanted you to do, and you love me too much to disrespect my memory like that.”

Rainbow stood up, tears in her eyes. The illusion was gone; she could no longer deny it. This was not Twilight. She looked at the form of her wife with sorrow written on her face. “I… I’m sorry Twi, I’m sorry I wasn’t fast enough to save you. I want you to know that I’m sorry for not saving you, for not being fast enough, and I love you. I always have and I always will. I know I said it a million times but it was never enough. I could have said it a million more times and it still never would have been enough.”

“She knows Rainbow; she doesn’t blame you for what happened. She loves you too, more than life itself.”

“I can’t help them though. I don’t have the power to defeat Tartarus.”

“Yes, you do. Your love for me will give you that power. When in doubt, think about her, think about your wife. That's all the power you need. That will be more than enough.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, you simply went down the wrong track, but you’re back now. That’s what matters.”

Rainbow climbed back on the bed. Twilight leaned over and wrapped a hoof around her wife. She gingerly pushed a strand of hair away from Rainbow eyes. The two moved ever so closer, until their lips met for one, last, kiss. A brilliant golden light blinded Rainbow as her world suddenly changed.


Radiant ran south. Any other day and he would bring himself up on a court-martial offence for leaving his post like this. Any other day and the love of his life would not be in mortal danger. He decided to pardon his actions this time around. Besides, without his magic it's not like he could help out anyway.

The farther he got away from the Titan the easier it became to see. The stories of war and battle would always forget one key factor of any conflict. You cannot see shit after a while. The dust and dirt went everywhere. The only reason they were able to fight at all was the sheer size of their opponent. Even with a blanket of dust covering everything, it was hard to miss a mountain walking around.

As he ran farther away the dust thinned out, his destination became obvious. It was a hole in the ground, several hundred hooves away from his current location. Again, he cursed himself for not having any magic energy left, so he ran faster.

At the top of the hole he saw her, Commander Firestar, the tan mare with the most gorgeous blue eyes he ever saw. She lay at the bottom, unmoving. Radiant jumped down into the hole and scooped her up in his hooves. Careful not to worsen her broken limbs, a quick glance at her back legs told him it would be a small miracle if she could ever walk again.

Despite his best attempts, the sudden movement did cause her enough pain to wake up. Radiant smiled as she cried out, relief that she was still alive.

Firestar noticed the tears falling onto her face as Radiant held her close. With a soft voice, lacking any of the strength it is known for, she spoke. “Radiant I… I…”

“Don’t talk; there's nothing you need to say. Firestar, I'm so sorry. I love you and I want to be with you. What I did, it was the dumbest thing I have ever done in my life. If you will let me, I want to spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”

Firestar noticed new tears running down her face. These were her own.


“I think it’s time we end this, little pony.”

Tartarus’s next shot struck Cadance square in the chest. She gasped as pain coursed through her body and caused her to fall out of the sky. She landed on the ground in a heap. The pain from the fall heavily outweighed by the pain from the shot she took.

Tartarus walked over to her until he stood over Cadance’s body. “I'm Tartarus, the God of Death. You and your friend dare attack me?! You have only succeeded in making me angry.”

“We don’t go down that easy.”

“What? You think the other one will save you?”

The scythe returned to his back in a flash, soon accompanied by a loud noise as Ataxia fell nearby. Blood leaking out of multiple cuts on her scales. The Dragon Steel Armor did nothing to stop them. Relief flooded into Cadance as she saw that Ataxia was still alive. “As I said, I'm a god. You two might have been able to hurt me, but nothing can kill me. I do have to admit; this was much more entertaining than I expected it to be. However, all good things must end. As the God of Death, guess whose job that is?”

“Just be done with it, monster.”

“What purpose would that serve, I don’t care about you. I want to kill my sister inside of you. I want to kill Eros and only one weapon is capable of such a feat. The same one I used on Twilight Sparkle.”

He broke her right wing with a hoof. Cadance screamed in pain from the limb snapping. “Have to make sure my little birdy doesn’t fly away now, don’t I?”

“Why… why are you doing this?”

“Why? I've spent eternity watching all the others playing around with the universe we all created. While I serve as a glorified jailer for the fuckups of the Gods.” He pulled out the scythe and stuck it into the ground. “Then this was the final straw. They would have me serve as cleanup crew when you little ants die. I'm a God! Soon, I will be the only God that exists. When Cronus hatched his plan; it was easy enough to augment certain aspects. I let his minions escape. I let them have their fun so the others would not be aware of what I was up to. It served as the perfect distraction while you three played around at being mortal. That’s why Gaia had to be first, only she has the ability to pull you out of that body.”

“So all this is because you don’t like your lot in life.”

“Isn’t that what mortal’s say, if you don’t like your life change it? Enough talking, it’s time to end this once and for all.”


The sound shocked both of them; Tartarus turned around and stared at a golden pegasus mare that stood next to Twilight’s corpse.


Her wings spread out, easily twenty hoofs in length. Golden energy radiated off her in waves so thick they were visible with the naked eye.


Her eyes, her eyes identified who this mare was. Cadance looked on in shock. “Rainbow Dash?”


“I promise I will kill you.” Rainbow growled the last part.

Rainbow flew straight at Tartarus, her wingtips held out like two spears in front of her. A new calmness overcame Rainbow: This was not the rage she felt when the shadowbeing was taunting her. This was something that needed to happen. This was the Universe acting through her, trying to prevent something that it did not want to happen from happening. Rainbow accepted it, if the Universe wanted to use her in that way, she would let it. As long as she got to hurt Tartarus, she did not bucking care what else happened.

Tartarus could dodge the attack, but barely. Even with his speed, the gashes down his side were testament to the fact that Rainbow was a very serious threat to him. As a God he never knew if he could actually die, not from anything less than what he used to kill Gaia. However, he never put it to the test either.

“How did you get this much power?” It felt familiar but he could not place it.

Rainbow's reply came in the form of a ninety-degree turn and a hoof to his chest. At the speed she was travelling at the God was sent flying into the distance. Rainbow did not stop there; she increased her speed ten-fold. Rainbow appeared directly above the God and lashed out with both wings.

Tartarus cried out in pain as that attack caused several magical gashes across his stomach and legs. Rainbow kept it up; she flew straight down and slammed her back hooves into his chest. Causing them both to impact the ground with enough force to cause small tremors across the land.

Tartarus grabbed one of her back hooves and slammed her into the dirt. He did not let go of her, he directed several magical blasts into the mare at point blank range. They impacted her face and chest. Tartarus then threw Rainbow into the house. Shattering the spell cast upon it that saved it from the destruction of Ponyville. Rainbow went through every wall and out the other side before catching herself with her wings.

“I don’t know how you got so strong, but you still can’t beat me by yourself!”

“Who said she was by herself?”

Ataxia and Cadance both stood back up, they were exhausted and wounded, but neither of them gave a moment’s consideration to stepping down from this fight. Tartarus had to be stopped, no matter the cost, and they were the only ones who could do it.

Tartarus detached the scythe from his back. “Very well, let’s end this.” black wings sprouted from his back, giving him the look of a huge black bat pony.

All four of them charged forward. Ataxia and Cadance both tried to divert his attention away from Rainbow Dash. The scythe threw up a shield, stopping their attacks a moment before they impacted. As both the scythe and Tartarus flew at Rainbow, the scythe attacked first with a swipe for her neck. Rainbow responded in kind with her wings and broke the accursed thing in two. Each piece of the scythe landed on the ground, impaling into the dirt. While Rainbow was distracted, Tartarus attacked next, landing several telling blows on the mare that penetrated the golden light that surrounded her. The force of his attacks slammed her into the ground. She bounced a few times before coming to a stop right next to Twilight’s corpse, her blood mixing with that of Twilight's. Rainbow lay, unmoving on the ground.

Ataxia flew up to attack Tartarus. He blew her back with a gust of his wings. The wing power generated easily exceeding that of a Titan’s breath. Cadance caught Ataxia in her hooves, which caused them both to fall down in the process.

Tartarus landed nearby, his intent clear. “As I said, I'm a God. You cannot defeat me.”


Luna had to admit, Nights plan was ambitious, but it could end this once and for all.

She flew at the Titan, immediately getting the attention of the red energy that protected it. Luna flew around the walking mountain several times, until it was facing north. As the energy chased after her, she launched several attacks at it, forcing even more of its power to generate. When she was had just enough after her, Luna gave Shimmering Night the signal.

Shimmering Night attacked from the south with every bit of power she had. With all the energy concentrated on Luna, the Titan’s back was completely unprotected. The plan worked. Her magic blew a large hole in her target. However, the Titan did not fall.

The red energy ceased chasing Luna and returned to the Titan, that energy gathering around the new hole in its back. It began healing, just as they planned.

‘Now comes the hard part. Let’s see if what Discord said is the truth.’ Night thought.

Shimmering Night concentrated on that energy. Discord, or was it Chaos? Told her she was the daughter of Gaia, the God of Life and Magic. If that was true, this might just work. Night willed the energy away from the Titan; she poured her magic through her horn to that end.

At first, nothing happened. Then she saw it, the red energy began leaving the wound. Dispersing into the air, slowly at first, then more and more of the energy left. Soon the hole in his back was completely un-healed. More important than that, the Titan was unprotected, Shimmering Night gave the signal.

Princess Luna channeled all the energy she had, every last shred of it into her horn. She directed her attack at the Titan’s head and released it. As Luna fell from the sky, too exhausted to fly she saw that her attack was true. The Titan’s head exploded in a cloud of dust.

Shimmering Night barely had time to fly out of the way as the Titan fell to the south.


“Radiant if you squeeze me any tighter you’re going to break something.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“You’re still an idiot you know.”

“Yes I know. I want you to remind me of that fact for every day of my life.”

“I promise.”



“You need to run!” Fear radiated in her voice,

“What? Why?”

The Titan’s shadow soon covered the two of them, Radiant turned around with a look of disbelief on his face. Somepony had felled the Titan, but it was landing right on them.

“Run, you idiot!”

“I’m not going anywhere without you.”

“You can’t get us both out in time, go! Now!”

She hit him in the face with a hoof, in a desperate attempt to save his life. Radiant caught the third blow and pulled her into a kiss. One she eagerly returned. It was too late now; there was no way he could escape. As the Titan fell on them both, Radiant’s horn sparked to life.


Ataxia and Cadance stood up. “Ataxia I just want to say, before the end, I've never been more proud of you then at this moment.”

“Thanks, I think?”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“What you mean like ‘I was a fuck-up until the end.’ Now how could I have possibly gotten that idea?”


“Relax; I'm just bucking with you.”

“Well, now that you said your final words. Prepare yourselves. I'm going to bring you both to an inch of your lives and then flay you with the sickle.”

“Eat a dick.”

Ataxia looked at Cadance in shock at that comment. She never heard the Princess of Love use such vulgar language before. “Cadance I just want to say, before the end, I've never been more proud of you then at this moment.”

At that, they both launched an attack at Tartarus, Cadance from the ground and Ataxia in the air. He simply grinned at them and with one beat of his wings, blew them both into the dirt. “I can’t say this hasn’t been entertaining but it’s time for this to en…”

Tartarus did not finish that sentence. Tartarus was physically unable to finish that sentence. The blade of Cronus’s Sickle was sticking out of his mouth. Rainbow landed on his back, forcing the God to his stomach. She leaned in and whispered into his ear.

“I told you I would kill you, and Rainbow Dash always keeps her promises.”

With a yank, she pulled the sickle straight up; right through Tartarus’s brain. In that one moment, Tartarus the God of Death, died.

Justice or Vengeance?

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Ruins of Ponyville

Rainbow screamed to the heavens as the energy of the golden light left her body, it conversed straight up in a column of energy so bright that it overpowered the light of the sun. Once it left her body, she collapsed on the ground next to the corpse of Tartarus. Rainbow’s body was taken to the edge of even her legendary endurance both physically and mentally.

Cadance stood up. Pain shooting through her body from the many bruises and scars she suffered from Tartarus’s attacks. Her wing hung uselessly to her side; with the bones broken in it, she was unable to lift it from the dirt. Princess Cadance walked over to the mare that saved them all from Tartarus, then paused as the column of energy Rainbow released temporarily blinded her.

“What was that?” Ataxia’s sight left her as well; she was blinded by the same energy that claimed Cadance’s sight.

“I don’t know.”

After a few minutes, they were both able to see again. Rainbow lay next to the corpse of Tartarus, unmoving. Her fur once more returned to the cyan blue it was known for. The only sign of the golden energy left in her was that of her wings from all those years ago.

Ataxia walked over to Cadance and they both looked at each other, with one glance they each conveyed their feelings about Rainbow Dash’s condition. There were no need for words as they each had the same thought. Only one word described the mare in front of them, only one word now fit. In every meaning of the word, Rainbow Dash was broken.

Cadance went over to Rainbow, that mare was amazing this day. Even after suffering more pain than most ponies would know in several lifetimes, Rainbow tapped into a deep reservoir of power. She caused more damage to the God then Cadance even believed to be possible. Rainbow Dash was the one who delivered the final deathblow. The wider repercussions were unknown to Cadance at this time. However, right this second, Cadance did not care. Rainbow had and deserved her full-undivided attention.

“Take me to my wife.” Rainbow whispered the words as Cadance got closer. They were the weakest Cadance ever heard the cyan mare. Every syllable seemed to cause her more agony. The act of breathing seemed painful to her.

“Anything you want, Rainbow.”

Slowly, Cadance lifted the mare up with her magic and began taking her to Twilight Sparkle. As soon as she turned around Cadance almost dropped her from the surprise in front of them. All three of them stared on in shock, as standing next to Twilight’s body was a small golden pegasus filly. Rainbow shot up to her hooves, however; she was unable to leave the magic energy Cadance wrapped her up in.

“Leave her alone!” Rainbow shouted at the top of her lungs. It barely reached the level of a normal conversation.

Ataxia jumped in front of both Rainbow and Cadance. She spread out her wings in a protective and threatening gesture. “Who are you?” She asked the filly in front of them.

Rainbow fought tooth and hoof to get out of the magic Cadance held her in. She barely had the strength to stand, much less break an alicorn’s magic. They were all forced to watch as the golden filly lay down next to Twilight’s body and touched noses with her . Golden energy transferred to the mare’s body from the filly and surrounded her corpse in its light. When the golden light finally faded, the wounds in Twilight’s neck were gone. The blood that covered the ground from her wounds disappeared as well.

“Twilight?” Rainbow asked, hope rising in her voice.

The golden filly stood up and shook her head. In a voice that spoke with one of pure innocence she answered the unasked question from the three of them. “I’m sorry, healing her body is all I can do. The sickles power is absolute, the essence in Twilight’s body was erased.”

Rainbow collapsed in Cadance’s magic grip.

“Who are you?” Ataxia asked, as she felt an unusual strong magical pull from the filly. A pull the others did not seem to know.

“Dear brother and sister, my name is Gaia. It is a pleasure to meet you again.” Gaia smiled at the two, a warm greeting that left no doubt to her intent in being here.

“But, Gaia’s dead. She died with Twilight. Tartarus said as much.” Rainbow looked on in shock at the filly that claimed to be the impossible.

“Rainbow.” Gaia dismissed Cadance’s power and took Rainbow in her own. She levitated the mare next to her. Then in a move that surprised everyone, she jumped up and hugged Rainbow around her neck, crying into her coat as she did.

“I’m so sorry. I owe Twilight my life; she saved me from death at the hooves of my brother. She sent me to you, though the connection you two shared. I... I didn’t even know that was possible.”

Her tears on Rainbow’s coat restored the energy the cyan mare used in the battle with Tartarus. Those that ran off and hit the dirt caused new life to form on the planet. Flowers grew from that liquid. Sprouting out in beautiful patterns in all the colors in of the rainbow.

“That was you, wasn’t it? You were the one I was talking too. You were the one who convinced me to come back and fight Tartarus, weren’t you? The one that convinced me to help my friends.”

The filly squeezed tighter, never wanting to let go. “Yes, I’m sorry I tricked you like that. That message was not from me though. Those where the last words Twilight wanted you to know, if you do not believe anything else I tell you, please believe that.”

Rainbow wrapped a hoof around the golden filly and with a shove pushed her off of her.

“Why… why do you live and not her?” Tears fell from Rainbow's eyes.

“Rainbow I told you…”

“Why do you get to live… did she not deserve to? Was she not worthy enough?”


Rainbow walked over to her wife and broke down. It did not matter that she had just killed a God, it did not matter to her that one of the strongest beings in the Universe just offered her an apology. It changed nothing. Twilight was still dead and she still had to face an existence without her: One that would carry her on, for the rest of her life, an existence without her wife, one without Twilight in it.

Sensing that for the moment Rainbow needed to be left alone, Gaia walked over to her brother’s corpse. It was not his actual body. As Gods, they did not actually have things like bodies or sexes or anything of that nature. However, the forms they took were real, or real enough for the sickle to do its job.

“I do want to ask, if you were in Rainbow after what happened to Twilight, why didn’t you come out and fight Tartarus yourself?” Cadance asked.

“Your victory came from his overconfidence. It was his arrogance that caused him not to fight you at full power, not to take you seriously. Even with the energy increase you three had, he was still well beyond your power to defeat. Had I come out, Had I engaged my brother, he would have been infinitely more dangerous a foe. Only twice before have Gods dueled. Both times it caused more damage then you can possibly imagine. As awful it is to say,” Gaia looked at Rainbow lying by her wife’s corpse. Tears were falling from Gaia’s face as she watched the mare she grew to love alongside Twilight suffering so. “This is the best result we could have hoped for.”

Gaia reached out and pulled the sickle from Tartarus’s brain. She bit down on the sickle's handle, hard. It shattered into its component atoms in her mouth. “I never should have made that cursed weapon. I should have destroyed it after the Titan issue was resolved.”

Gaia looked down at her brother’s corpse lying in the dirt. “Then again, it was you who convinced me not to, wasn’t it? Was this your plan all along dear brother? How many years did you spend setting this up I wonder.” Gaia lay down next to the corpse of Tartarus. She touched noses with her brother’s body.

“What are you doing?!” both Cadance and Ataxia yelled at the same time, while that action did not bring back Twilight, they had no idea what the effect would be on a God.

“Relax, I could not bring back Tartarus if I wanted to, he suffered the same fate as Twilight, and despite him being my brother, I definitely do not want to. However, there are issues that need to be addressed. These events change everything in ways you two cannot even fathom right now. So for now, I need to converse with the other two. Do come out, Chaos and Eros. We need to talk.”

Gaia stared at each of them in turn as she made the comment. A large pink alicorn seemed to step out of Cadance’s body, the alicorn’s purple and pink mane flowing in a wind that did not exist. Cadance stared at her in shock. The feeling of her leaving was not unpleasant, but it did leave a chill down her spine. Almost as if, with her departure something was missing, it felt like something fundamental that Cadance had always had was now gone. It left her with the departure of this mare.

Eros turned around and smiled at her, the God rubbed muzzles with the princess. An action she was more than happy to reciprocate. Cadance could feel the power this pony radiated, it was a mirror image of her own multiplied several thousand times over.

“Cadance, I've watched you live and grow into the mare you have become, I've never been more proud.”

“You know me? Who are you?”

“Yes dear one. I know you, I'm a part of you, and my name is Eros, the God of Love. It is my honor to meet you for the first time.” Eros bowed before the princess in a gesture of gratitude. “You have served as my Avatar for these past years. But you have become so much more than that. I cannot thank you enough. Always remember that. You and your son have brought me such happiness that I cannot even began to describe.” After saying that, Eros looked slightly distracted at something in the distance, she sent a small suggestion to somepony on the receiving end before turning back and smiling to the princess.

Cadance had several more questions for the God, including asking what that was all about, but those would have to wait. Ataxia loudly grunted as a draconequus pulled itself out of her mouth in pieces. The process did not appear to cause the dragacorn pain, per se, but it was obviously an uncomfortable experience for her all around.

Discord seemed to enjoy it as much as he did everything else. What he did not enjoy was Ataxia lighting his ass on fire afterwards. When chocolate rain from a cotton candy raincloud failed to put him out, Gaia went over and extinguished the flames with a wave of her hoof.

“You’re no fun.” Discord poked her on the forehead.

Ataxia reached up and bit his hand off. “Depends on your point of view.” Spoke the dragacorn.

“Yes, I suppose that's true.” Discord spoke as he regrew another hand. “It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ataxia. My name is Discord, Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony.”

“Uh-huh, what's your real name?” Ataxia was not convinced of that explanation at all. They were dealing with Gods, and while she did not know what a spirit was, she was convinced that this creature was far more than what he said we was.

“Oh, you caught me red handed. Yes, I guess you deserve to know. A pleasure to meet you, I'm the Primordial Deity Chaos and I have to say, you have been the most fun I have had in several million years.”

“Fun. Fun. What part of this has been fun?! I… After everything that has happened you say fun? What the buck is wrong with you?”

“But don’t you see, dear Ataxia, that’s what makes it fun. Normal is so boring, excitement is excitement regardless what form it takes.”

Ataxia reared up and readied to have toasted draconequus. Discord barely managed to dodge her blast as she came close to frying him alive for the second time that day.

“She is a fun one isn’t she, brother?”

“Gaia, it's been so long dear sister. Tell me, how have you been?”

A glance from Gaia back to Twilight’s corpse and the cyan mare lying next it told Discord the answer to that particular question. “Yes, I know, our dear brother’s plan seems to have done some damage after all. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I tried to warn them but he knew it was coming and unlike you, I cannot leave my Avatar at will.”

“I don’t blame you, Chaos. For once this problem was not your doing.” She laughed a little. “I even tried helping you experience what life was like as a mortal. You were not the easiest to deal with.”

“What the bucking hell are you two talking about!” Ataxia screamed, still unsure what was going on or how a Draconequus pulled itself out of her mouth.

“Dearest Ataxia. This here is my brother, Chaos. You have served as his Avatar for all your life. In fact it was his magic that caused you to be born at all. Dragons and ponies cannot interbreed.” Gaia replied to Ataxia's vulgar comment.

“Wait, so I am nothing more than a creation of his?”

“That’s one way to look at it little one.” Eros filed this question, as the first amongst them to create an Avatar she was by far the most qualified to answer it. “But that is no more true than saying you are only a creation of your parents. When we create an Avatar we merely use it as a vessel to experience a new life. We do nothing to interfere with that life. You are your own pony. You are the daughter of your parents. You simply are an Avatar as well. This knowledge does not take away anything that you are, it simply adds to it. Every decision you have ever made over the years has been your own. Chaos simply went along for the ride.”

“So I shouldn’t even exist. What about the dragon legend I heard back in Warclaw? How did they know what I was when I don't even know?”

“Well, I won't say I didn’t take a little liberties with my Avatar.”

Both Eros and Gaia turned and stared daggers into their brother. “What did you do?” they spoke in union.

“What? I didn’t do anything. I just didn’t exactly cast the spell you taught me is all. See like I said, I didn’t do anything.”

“Chaos, explain that, now.” Eros looked pissed.

“Fine, fine. Look I always knew that you would, one day, eventually teach me how to do it, and I had so much fun with some of the other races. I knew with how powerful the dragons were they would eventually make something special. So with a little help from yours truly, I implanted a legend in their history of a half-breed dragon one day coming to their ranks. When you taught me that spell and little Spiky-wikey finally got his love to bed him. It was just too perfect an opportunity to pass up.”

“Eros calm down. It's just our brothers nature.” Gaia did her best to prevent yet another fight from breaking out. It was well known that Eros’s temper could easily get the better of the God when someone plays with love. Even if it was just what that love would create.

“Besides, it's not like I created my own offspring, again.” Chaos glared at the little golden pegasus filly.

“What? Who? Do I know them?” Eros glared at her sister, unsure if this was good or bad news.

“I hope so, you fillysit for her after all.”

“Wait, Shimmering Night? She's yours? I thought Twilight found a way to…”

“Nope. She's mine, well ours, I should say.” Gaia’s mood went from happy to sad in an instant. Her, Rainbow, and Twilight were the birth parents of Shimmering Night and one of them was dead. It was not a time to be happy.

Discord climbed out of Gaia’s ear and poked his head over her's to stare at his sister’s eye. “Well Gaia, while I love our family get togethers as much as the rest of us. I have to ask why you called us all out of our happy homes. Tartarus is gone, his threat no longer looms over our heads, and you did deal with the sickle after all.”

“Yes Chaos, but another issue looms over us now. Tartarus had a job to do after all, and now that he is gone we have to find another to perform the duties of the reaper.”

Eros walked over to the pieces of the scythe and levitated them both out of the dirt. In a flash of light she connected both pieces, restoring the scythe to its former glory, much to the disgust of the mortals watching who just fought against that very same weapon.

“Do you have to bring that ‘thing’ back?” Ataxia looked on in disgust at the scythe. The wounds it left on her wings and chest a testament to the damage it inflicted on her during the fight. It was obvious that she hated the thing just from the look she gave it.

Eros levitated the scythe over to the others and walked to the dragacorn. “Young one, I'm sorry but it must be done. That scythe allows for the continuation of life and death on this planet. Without it, new life cannot be born and old life cannot pass on. Don't worry though, without its master around it will not harm anypony again.”

“I think it did enough of that already.”

“On that you and I agree.” Eros leaned down and kissed the dragacorn on the forehead. The effect was instantaneous; pink light enveloped her form and healed all the damage she took over the fight. Ataxia stretched her wings. “I... I feel great. Thanks.”

“It is us that should thank you, all of you.” Eros looked over to her Avatar. Cadance was staring at the two mares lying in the dirt. Every fiber of her being wanted her to comfort Rainbow. To walk over and give anything she could to help the mare that refused to leave her dead wife’s side. Something told her not to, an instinct screamed at her that right this moment Rainbow Dash needed to be left alone. To do otherwise would simply be courting a new disaster.

Cadance was so engulfed in her feelings that she failed to notice Eros walking over to her. Her surprise came when she felt a kiss on her forehead, one that caused a similar event to that which Ataxia just went though. Cadance did not care, all she wanted was to end Rainbow’s suffering, an event she largely considered impossible at this time.

“Can... can you help her?” Cadance whispered the words to Eros. She merely shook her head.

“I’m sorry, what’s done is done. It is beyond my ability to do anything for her.”

“Will she be ok?”

“No.” Eros reply was blunt and honest. There was finality to her words that ended the conversation and broke Cadance’s heart all at once. Eros walked over and rejoined her siblings.

“I hope you two aren’t expecting me to carry that thing.” Discord stared at it with disgust on his face, the prospect of having responsibility more frightening than anything else he could think of.

“Dear brother, I could not imagine a worse idea in the Universe. I would rather destroy the thing once and for all then entrust you to take on that responsibility.”

“Thank you Eros, I take that as a complement.”

“I know you do, and that's the reason why I won't let you do it.”

Discord simply smiled at his sister, a cocksure grin on his face, as he slithered around the scythe. “So then, who do you suggest carry this burden for all eternity?”

“I see no reason why it must change.” Gaia spoke, matter-of-factly.

“Sister, you don’t mean…”

“I think she does.” Discord’s smile grew ten-fold; he giggled at the thought of what is to come.

“What are you three talked about, how can it not change?” Ataxia ran up, tired of being separated from the conversation and waiting to know what the buck is going on.

“Relax young one. Wait and see what happens next, trust me on this, it'll be good.” Eros raised a hoof and implanted a suggestion that calmed down the dragacorn.

“So you're going to do it then?”

“Unless you have a better idea brother. I will need both of your agreement first though.”

“Oh, no. I'm game for this, I just can’t believe that you came up with something this mean.” Discord gave his approval

“It is a fitting punishment, if I do say so.” Eros gave hers.

“Indeed.” Gaia replied.

Discord watched as Gaia walked up to the corpse of their dear departed brother. She reached out a hoof and placed it on his head. Her golden energy engulfed the dead body with its light; slowly, it stripped away Tartarus’s skin. His muscles left next, followed by his internal organs. Until, at last there was nothing left of Tartarus save his skeleton.

“Tartarus, brother: For that which you gave everything to stop, for that which you tried to kill us all to prevent. For the rest of eternity, that will be your fate. Your body will exist for the rest of all time as the Reaper of Souls. For now until eternity your corpse will do in death that which you refused to do in life.”

Gaia increased the power flowing into the skeleton several times over. Imbuing the bones with new life and purpose. The skeleton began moving on its own after a few minutes. Seeking their purpose in this new life. “Reaper, this is your tool, this is your purpose in life. Go, sever the souls of the dead, send them to their afterlife so new souls can be born.” Gaia levitated the scythe up to the reaper. Attaching it to his back. Cadance did not know how, but the scythe actually looked pleased at this, as soon as it attached itself. The reaper’s form was covered in a macabre cloak that wrapped itself around him.

The reaper nodded to the small golden filly and turned around. Walking off into the distance it disappeared in a flash of power, taking the scythe with it.

Discord laughed at that. “If I didn't know better, dear sister, I would say you enjoyed that. Tell me, was that justice or vengeance?”

“I did enjoy it, and why must those two things be mutually exclusive?”

“Say that again.” Discord could not stop the grin from spreading across his face.

“It was a fitting punishment for his crimes. I only wish it was his consciousness that was forced to serve out that sentence. After what Tartarus did he deserves a lot more than the fate he was dealt. His bones will have a new purpose in life, a new existence to fulfill. I agree wholeheartedly with your decision Gaia.” Eros commented, much to the surprise of both of them.

“Thank you Eros, I would like to say it was a hard decision, but truthfully it was the easiest thing I have ever done.” The venom in Gaia’s voice was a testament to how she felt about her actions. This was more than simple duty. This was her revenge for the pain Tartarus caused her, for Twilight, and the mare she grew to love.

“So we don’t have to worry about him trying anything again?” Cadance asked, uncertainty at what she saw radiating in her voice.

“No, Tartarus no longer exists, I have merely recommissioned his corpse to fulfill the function he did not wish to do in life. However, I should warn you. There will be other issues from this.”

“What other issues?”

“Tartarus did not merely act as the reaper, he also served as the prison for some of the most dangerous creatures that have ever lived. You have seen a few of these over the years.”

Memories of beings the likes of Tirek and worse flashed before Cadance’s eyes. “You mean they are all free?”

“I'm afraid so.”

“Can you do anything about them?”

“I'm afraid not, they are part of the mortal realm now, trust me when I say our involvement only makes things worse, the events of today should conform that too you.”

“Kill me.”

All five of them turned to look at the mare that just spoke. Rainbow Dash was still laying next to her wife’s corpse. She was unwilling and unable to get up from that spot. However, she was staring right at all three of the Gods.

Cadance spoke up. “Rainbow, no.”

“Please, I don’t want to live in a world without her, I don’t want to face this existence without Twilight in it. Let me be with her, let me join her in Elysium. Please kill me.” Tears were falling down Rainbow’s face as she said those words.

Eros started to move closer to her, Gaia held up a hoof and blocked her path. “Rainbow, if that would ease your suffering for even a second. I would do it in a heartbeat. But it wont. In much the same way that Elysium is unable to duplicate an immortal. It's also unable to duplicate someone who does not exist. Twilight Sparkle is not waiting for you in Elysium. She will not be there when you die. I'm sorry, there is nothing I can do for her, or for you.”

For the first time in her life, Rainbow felt what it is like when your last shred of hope, dies.


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Ruins of Ponyville

Shimmering Night flew around the body of the fallen Titan. Too many times had this thing stood up when it should have been down. Too many times has this one surprised them all with new tricks. Even with its head destroyed she did not fully believe it to be dead. However, it had yet to move after its fall. No new power came from it and no new ability had yet to cause it to come back to life.

After her thirteenth trip around the Titan, Shimmering Night was temporally convinced that it was in fact dead, but she still would not let her guard down, not around a creature of this nature anyway. Nevertheless, she had to call off her watch, as Luna needed her help now. With no immediate threat from this thing, Luna had to be her priority. Night was still unsure how she had commanded the energy away from the Titan. The wider implications at such abilities she could only guess at.

Shimmering Night found the jet-black princess several hundred hooves away; she landed near her and asked, “Are you ok, Luna?”

“We told you we could take it, did we not fair Night.”

“Yes princess; that you did.”

“Tell us, is it down for good?”

“I don’t know, Luna. This creature seems to defy any expectations as far as life and death goes. While for now it's down, I'm still not sure if it’s down for good.”

“A wise decision, young one. Never assume that your foe is defeated until you know for sure.”

Luna attempted to stand, her energy spent from that last attack. She tried three times before her legs would allow for it. After the third time, Shimmering Night walked to her side and pressed herself against the mare. It was a mark of just how tired she was that Luna did not complain about it, she leaned heavily against Shimmering Night’s side. In her weakened state Luna had to rely on Night to stay on her hooves.

“I think you might have over did it there, princess.”

“Tis’ a myth, fair Night. As long as you arrive victorious in the battle you have not overdone anything. Tis’ victory that ultimately matters, nothing else.”

“Whatever you say, Princess Luna.”

Suddenly a column of golden energy shot out in the direction of Ponyville. They both stared at in shock, unsure of what could have caused such an explosion of energy to suddenly occur. “What now?” Shimmering Night asked, she could not imagine what could cause such an event and in truth, she did not want to know. After everything that had happened, they were in no position to deal with yet another threat.

“It will be on you to find out, Princess Night. Go and find the others. If this is a new threat, we need to face it head on. Tis’ better to meet our end in battle then await for the enemy to find us while we sleep.”

“Are you sure about that, Luna? You don’t seem to be in much condition to stand on your own.”

As if to prove her wrong, Luna raised a hoof and shoved the alicorn away from her. Luna stood proudly on her own four hooves. “We are not that weak fair Night. We don’t require you to filly sit us like a newborn foal.”

Shimmering Night could see the stubborn streak in Luna as soon as it began; she would put up this act as long as she was able. Luna was unwilling to show any sign of weakness to anypony, even another alicorn. Night knew she had no choice but to humor her. “Ok Luna, you've once again proven me wrong. I'll gather the others and see what that was, but I'm sending Spike here to help you, regardless what you say.”

“If you insist, we shall welcome the conversation with the small dragon.”

“He’s not that small anymore, Luna.” Shimmering Night flew away, heading back to the base camp to find Spike and Dawn. A glance behind her conformed her earlier suspicion about Luna’s condition. The black alicorn fell to the ground, too exhausted to stand. ‘I need to find Spike and the others. Whatever is going on I have a feeling it involves all of us.’


Spike flew from group to group. The dragons formed their own stations to try and take care of those that were injured. For all the casualties they suffered there were hardly any actual injuries. By their nature dragons have a high level of resilience. It was unlikely that any of them would be permanently injured. Still he wished that Ataxia would get back, her healing powers would help out significantly right this second.

For his part he did what he could. Spike helped those dragons that would let him. There were a surprising few amount of them that would actually accept the help of others. As such Spike found himself spending more time going from camp to camp than actually helping anyone. It was during one of these treks that he heard a voice coming from behind him.


He looked back as Shimmering Night flew up to him. “Hey Night, congratulations on that kill by the way. You'll have to let me know how you did it.”

“It wasn’t me actually, I merely took care of the magic protecting him. It was Luna that dealt the killing blow.”

“I think you sell yourself short, Night. I saw the fight as well, Luna fought well, but she was losing. Whatever you did to remove his protection was what caused the fight to reach its conclusion. By the way, do you know what was going on with the golden light? That got everyone’s attention.”

“I'm on my way now to investigate, I want to find Dawn first. Do you know where he is?”

“He should be at the command tent.”

Shimmering Night looked around. “Where is that, exactly?”

Spike laughed. “Over there.” He gestured with his claw.

“Thanks. Can you go see to Luna? She’s in the south. I think she over did it with that last attack. The princess can barely stand on her own, she’s that exhausted.”

“Are you sure you don’t need my help first, with whatever that thing was?”

“I don’t think so, whatever it is, it doesn’t feel violent to me. It feels… how do I put this? It feels familiar. I've never sensed it before, but there is a certain draw to it that I cannot explain. The closer I get to it, the more that it just feels... right.”

“I guess I’ll take your word on it, Night. Good luck with that.”

“Thanks; take care of Princess Luna. She's the hero of this battle after all.”

Spike disagreed with that one hundred percent. Whatever occurred he knew who deserved the credit and the fact she did not want said credit only confirmed it to the dragon. ‘I’ll just have to wait for Twilight to put her straight on that regard.’ Spike thought, Shimmering Night was her mother’s daughter. As such there was no use arguing with the mare. He took off in the direction of Princess Luna.


In penance, Bright Dawn took to working the worst detail imaginable. He wanted to suffer for his crimes, for all the time he spent with the one responsible for all of this. For the years and years he spent in her presence without realizing what she truly was, and the harm she was causing Equestria.

He lifted another corpse to the group. Each body was cataloged, their name written down so their families could bury them later. This one was a young pegasus mare. She looked no more than eighteen years old. The mare would never know why she died or who was ultimately responsible for her death. His work broke the stallion’s heart with every corpse he collected.

Several times other ponies would try and get him to do something, anything else. Seeing a Prince of Equestria perform such work was demoralizing. He let his tears flow freely, but would not stop for any reason. Dawn even went as far as to pull rank on a few ponies. Telling them it was an order from Equestrian royalty that they let him work. He never stopped, never slowed down. He would see for himself the horror of what she had caused. Somepony, anypony needed to remember, the dead could not speak for themselves: He would speak for them. He would remember them, it was the least he could do for those that gave everything.

Part of him rebelled against this line of thought, that voice grew quieter every second. He knew Twilight Sparkle for over a decade. While the mare was never that friendly with him, it could easily be written off as Twilight’s overprotectiveness of her daughter. She was nowhere near as violent as Rainbow. In fact as far as most ponies were concerned, Twilight was a hero. It was easy to see why they thought that. She had a list of accomplishments a dragon’s length long. She was a hero, she should be a hero, but he saw through all of that.

The events of this last month told him that. Everything that happened could be traced back to her hooves in one form or another. He knew he was the only one who could see it; he was the only one who connected those dots. So until he had proof he would keep it to himself. Besides it would upset the angel he married to know he thought that way about her mom. His flank inched again as he thought about Twilight. The wound on his side still bugged him from his time with the Shadowbeings. It seemed to be getting worse these past few days.

“Bright Dawn!”

He thought he imagined it; the voice was ingrained in his mind. Even during the worst nightmares of his time as the Shadowbeing’s plaything her voice would always be there. It was the one shining light in his life, the one thing he loved more than anything else. It was all he wanted to hear this past week. Ever since Twilight forced them to separate.

“Has anyone seen Prince Bright Dawn?!”

That time he knew he was not imagining it. Shimmering Night, his wife, she was here. For the first time in weeks a smile appeared on the stallion’s face. He gingerly laid the body he was carrying down and took off into the sky. Unfortunately, it was impossible to see with the blanket of dust covering everything. He had the solution to that and how to get his wife’s attention. An old expression came back to him, ‘two birds one stone?’

Bright Dawn shot straight up into the air. He was out of practice and exhausted. But he had true motivation for doing it. Before long a sonic rainboom occurred in the sky, one that blew away all the dust covering the area. It was weaker than normal; the effect dissipated much quicker than usual due to his lack of strength and the dust and debris surrounding the area. However, it achieved the result. There was no doubt in his mind he had his wife’s attention.

Shimmering Night flew straight up to her husband and wrapped a hoof around him. She connected their lips as soon as they were close enough. For Shimmering Night, they had been apart for far too long. She wanted him close to her forever, if she could have her way they would never be apart again.

After an eternity, they broke apart. She smiled at him with the same look she had on their wedding day. It would be a face he would remember for the rest of his life. This mare loved him with every fiber of her being, and he loved her with everything that he had. To him, she was the definition of perfection.

“We did it Dawn, Luna killed the Titan.”

“I’m so proud of you. I couldn't believe when all the dragons showed up, what happened in the Griffin Empire?”

She grinned at him. “Just wait and see, you won’t believe it without first laying eyes on Ataxia. She's changed so much that you won't recognize her.”

“Wait, Ataxia? That mare that would destroy most of Ponyville every other month?”

“Dawn! She's changed now, I'd tell you more but there is no time. “

“What do you mean there is no time?”

“Didn't you see the energy column in the distance?”

“No, I was busy.” He glanced down at his work. In that cloud of dust it was impossible to see anything in the distance.

“Well, an explosion of golden light came from the direction of my parents’ house, I’m going to investigate. Come with me, I'm sure mom would like to see us both after all this time.”

She took off in the direction the light came from, Shimmering Night got several hundred hoofs away before noticing that Bright Dawn was not ahead of her. She turned around and stared at him with a questioning expression on her face. The stallion appeared to be lost in thought about something. “Hey slowpoke, you coming or what?”

“I’m coming.” He glanced up and slowly started making his way to her. A chill went down Night’s spine. Something was fundamentally flawed here. Dawn never failed to respond to a challenge before. He was hiding something from her and she had no idea what.


Spotting an alicorn princess in the middle of nowhere is normally as hard as spotting any other pony. However Princess Luna’s black coat stuck out like a sore hoof. Spike found the mare without too much issue after less than five minutes of searching.

“Good Spike, we take it that Shimmering Night sent you?”

“Yes, she wanted me to come and help you.”

“We do not require help, merely assistance.”

“Sorry I misspoke, she wanted me to come and assist you.”

“We figured that's what you meant.”

Spike reached down to pick up the princess, she did not even fight him about it. He placed her on his back. “Will you be ok up there?”

“We think we can achieve the simple task of staying on your back by ourselves, Spike.”

“Of course, princess.”

“Just, just take is slow… At first.

“Of course, princess.”

As they went to leave, Princess Luna jumped up to her hooves. Her face shot north and then back to the Titan. “Wait! Spike!”

“What?” Spike stopped flying forward. He hovered in place.

“We are needed here.”

“Why do you want to stay here?”

“No you misunderstand, we're both needed here. Let me down and go get as much help as you can. We must move the Titan.”

“What? Why?” Spike’s jaw dropped at the prospect of moving a mountain from where it lay. The sheer thought of it boggled his mind.

“Consider it an order, Spike.”

He grunted at that, it was the answer she gave when there was no point in trying to convince her otherwise. “As you say, princess.”


Rainbow collapsed on the ground: She did not want to think anymore. She did not want to feel anymore. Everything simply hurt her too much. This day was the worst in her existence. All these years, all this time she never considered anything like this. Twilight always had a plan, there was always a way out. This was failure; this was defeat, and... and death. It never should have happened, it should have been impossible.

Rainbow noticed something about her wife that caused her even more pain. It came as a shock to her that she could even feel worse than she already did. Rainbow whispered the words to nopony in particular.

“She’s cold.” Rainbow wrapped her wife’s body up in her wings and nestled her head into Twilight’s chest. Tears falling from her eyes as she did so.

Cadance watched all that and more, for the Alicorn of Love, her husband’s death hurt less then seeing the pain Rainbow was going through. Even with the death of a loved one you were still connected to them, not even death could break those bonds. With Twilight’s death, those bonds were shattered. The pain it caused Rainbow, it was unreal the mare was still awake, much less able to talk.

Something did upset Cadance though, something she wanted an answer too. “What do you mean she's not waiting in Elysium? Twilight couldn't possibly be anywhere else.”

“Cadance, I designed the sickle to destroy the essence of the one it cut. The essence in Twilight’s body was destroyed. It is truly the most horrible weapon that ever existed. I made my fair share of errors in my existence, but none of them compare to making that accursed weapon.”

Cadance fell into her melancholy. She began crying at what life would mean right now, thoughts and images of everything that would occur after this. Of having to tell Twilight’s children what happen, of having to put on the funeral for Twilight, and worse, Rainbow having to go on. That was the worst part of all of it. How do you comfort someone who had to face any eternity without their true love?

Eros walked over and sit down next to Candace. She wrapped the princess up in a wing and hugged Cadance to her breast. Even with Eros’s power and the feeling of peace she brought to those in her vicinity. None of that could stop Cadance’s tears from falling.

“Is there no hope then? Nothing that can be done?” Ataxia looked ready to collapse on the ground as well. Twilight was her friend; she did not want to lose another, not after Fluttershy.

“I never said that Ataxia, I simply said there is nothing I can do for her. You should know there's always hope.” Gaia stated.


It took some convincing, but Spike managed to gather up a large group of dragons and unicorns. Pegasus and griffins were left out, for this operation they would only get in the way. Spike learned after a while that simply mentioning Ataxia seemed to get the attention of the dragons. His race really did hold her in high regard.

Luna organized the dragons into groups. While she did not have the skills that somepony like Twilight or Night had. She still managed something akin to real organization for this effort. Luna could not explain why they needed to move the Titan, or where the feeling that it needed to be done even came from. She simply knew it; to her it was the same as needing to breathe. Ponies needed to breathe and this Titan needed to be moved. For her it was that simple.

The plan was simple, as nopony had the magic power to simply lift the Titan up, they would roll it over onto its front. Making the most of what leverage they could. The dragons would do the majority of the heaving lifting while the unicorns assisted with what little magic they had left, while most thought it was crazy to attempt it at all. Luna was eternally grateful that nopony questioned it too much.

Using her Royal Canterlot Voice, Luna gave the command. “Alright, everyone on three: One, two, three!”

As one all the dragons began flapping their wings, fighting through the pain and attempting to do the impossible, to move a mountain. Alone, they would never have budged the thing. The magic from the unicorns broke the inertia. They managed to budge the Titan from the ground. It was small, but that little victory spurted them on.

“Keep it up everyone! It’s moving!”

The dragons poured more and more of their strength into moving it, slowly the Titan lifted off the group rolling over to its side. But there was a limit to what they could do. The sheer bulk of the thing prevented it from moving any farther.

Luna would not let them fail. She knew not why, but this was important: Something was counting on her. Something needed to her to do this. Failure was not an option. Luna reached down into herself. Pulling on what power she still had left. She helped them try and achieve the impossible, she devoted everything she had left.

The Titans bulk continued moving. It was an endurance trial for everyone involved, but slowly, ever so slowly, they did the impossible. They rolled the Titan over onto its stomach. Luna never saw the fruit of her labor. She collapsed on the ground unconscious as soon as gravity took over.

Under where the Titan’s chest used to lay, a small magic shield held strong, one only seen twice in the last fifty years. Once earlier this month when Ataxia cast it to save all her friends from the collapse of Manehatten General Hospital, and once at the end of the first changeling invasion of Canterlot almost fifty years ago.

In that shield, a stallion held a mare in his hooves. They both had their eyes glued shut, they were unwilling to look around at the darkness that surrounded them. Afraid that to open their eyes would be to hasten their death.

When the light of the sun hit them, Firestar open her eyes first. Amazed that they were still alive. “Radiant? I… I…”

“Firestar, I did it.” His voice came as a whisper, the after effect of casting such a powerful spell taking its toll on the stallion.

She pushed back from his grip; so she could look him square in the eye. With her back two legs broken he refused to let her go completely. “But, how? Your magic is all offence; you could never cast this spell before. It’s not your talent.”

He held her tighter in his hooves, never wanting to let her go. “What can I say, I finally found something to live for. Do you think I’d give that up?”

“You idiot.”

Radiant placed a hoof on her face. “I still expect you to keep your promise. I want you to call me that every day of my life. Never let me forget it.”

“Don’t worry about that, I fully intend to.” She leaned in and kissed him, a gesture he was all too happy to return. It was action he would repeat every day for the rest of his life.

They stayed like that as several dozen medics rushed to them, while Firestar needed immediate medical condition and Radiant suffered from complete magical exhaustion, they would not allow themselves to be separated.


Surprisingly, it was Eros who shot up. “What do you mean sister? There's no hope to restore Twilight to life. The sickle cut her; we all saw it. As you said, its power is absolute. Twilight's essence was destroyed.”

“You are correct, sister. Twilight's essence was destroyed. Or the essence that was in her body anyway.”

Cadance shot up, tears in her eyes. “WHAT?!”

Even Rainbow raised her head at that; however, that was the only response the mare gave, she was unwilling to let herself hope again. Her heart could not take it anymore.

“Allow me to explain, you see it all began ten years ago. When Bright Dawn asked my daughter to marry him. Twilight knew how Rainbow would feel about that, and whatever occurred after she knew it would not be easy on the stallion. However, she also knew how Shimmering Night felt about him. In order to ensure that her heart would not be broken by Rainbow’s actions, Twilight separated part of herself and implanted that into Dawn to insure that he would never give up on her. It is a small piece, one that has no doubt degraded in all this time, but it is part of her essence.”

“You can put it back in her? You can bring Twilight back?” Hope returned Ataxia’s eyes, she wanted this, she wanted this more than life itself.

Gaia shook her head. “I'm sorry, while it can be put back, something of that nature cannot be taken, it was given willingly and it must be given back willingly. Not even a God can force such a thing. You should now know, that while it would restore her to life, as I said, we do not know the condition it is in. There is no telling what she will be able to remember or what she would be like when she returns.

“Bright Dawn.” Rainbow spoke the words. It was a mark of her conviction that the others heard her at all. They all turned towards Rainbow as she was staring at something over in the distance. Following her gaze, they saw Bright Dawn and Shimmering Night standing off in the corner. Bright Dawn’s expression one of shock and indignation at being so violated.

Cadance stood up. “Dawn, Night, how much have you two heard?”

“Everything that filly said.” Dawn replied.

“Then will you Dawn, will you give back what Twilight gave you?”

Memories went through his mind, everything that he experienced in the past few weeks, all the awful things that would fulfill a lifetimes worth of therapy sessions. Subconsciously, his hoof started scratching at the wound the Shadowbeings had given him. The doctors did their best to heal him and while he could not even see it anymore that did not stop it from itching lately.

A glance over confirmed they were waiting for his answer. It had to be willingly given. As such it all came down to this, he never wanted this choice, and he never imagined it would be his. Not in a million years; however, he knew the answer without having to think about it another second.


Wisdom of Mortals

View Online

Ruins of Ponyville

Shimmering Night did not hear their conversation. In front of her were the three Gods responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Universe. Her friends were asking her husband something. It was something important based on the tone of the conversation, but she was far too engrossed in her parents. Or more precisely, she was focused on the fact Twilight was laying on the ground, unmoving, and that Rainbow’s head was buried into Twilight’s chest. Rainbow looked comatose lying like that. Never in her life had Night seen Rainbow that defeated, that broken. As such, Night did not pay attention to what the others were saying.

As Shimmering Night slowly walked over to her parents, the others wanted an explanation from Bright Dawn. “Care to explain that comment?” Cadance asked him.

“You said it’s my choice, that regardless what else you cannot simply take it from me?” Dawn turned to Gaia for confirmation. The golden filly simply nodded at that.

“I don’t know how she died, what happened here, or who those three are; but if it’s my choice. The answer is no. I won't take any part in Twilight Sparkle being brought back to life.”

Cadance and Ataxia’s jaw dropped. “But why? What could you possibly have against Twilight?” Cadance asked.

“You two don’t understand, you can’t see the big picture, all the harm she's done. All of this, it’s all her fault.”

Ataxia’s frustration and confusion turned to anger. She reared up on her back legs and picked up Bright Dawn in a magic bubble. Rage overtook her; dragon fire began building up in her chest. “I’m going to roast you alive if you say something like that again about Twilight.” Ataxia growled to the pegasus.

“Ataxia, stop! It will do no good. If you kill him it solves nothing!”

Bright Dawn stared at the odd creature in front of him. “Ataxia?” He could not believe that this was the same pony from Ponyville. That this creature was Rarity’s daughter, it was unreal.

“Cadance, didn't you hear what he said about Twilight? I won't stand for it.”

“I heard what he said, but violence will not change his mind. Besides, regardless how painful it might be to listen to, I want to know why he feels that way.”

Ataxia was, frankly, reluctant to put him down. Every fiber of her being wanted to fry this pegasus alive for what he said, but Cadance was right. Hurting him will not change his mind, killing him would be the same as killing Twilight. The very thing she was trying to reverse. While Ataxia and logic had never been on speaking terms before, as they always kept at least fifty hooves away from each other on principle alone, but for this one time, she submitted to its wisdom. Ataxia let Bright Dawn go with a warning. “If you run, I will spend the rest of my life hunting you down.”

Bright Dawn collapsed in the dirt. Unsure what happened to Ataxia or how much power she now possessed, but knowing that he would live longer if he could avoid her bad side. However, this was his chance. He had a Princess of Equestria and Ataxia forced to listen to him. He could finally reveal the horrors he had seen over the past few weeks. Of the real monster Twilight was. Maybe, just maybe, he could convince the others of the harm she had done to Equestria.

“Let me began with the horrors that you all called Twilight Night.”

Ataxia paced back and forth as Bright Dawn began speaking. She was forced to listen to this little shit badmouth Twilight and connect imaginary dots that painted Twilight in the worst light imaginable. His logic was stupid; his face was stupid. She wanted to rearrange it, for his benefit.

“You see, even if you buy that Twilight Night was not Twilight. It was still her actions that caused that creature to be born. Twilight closed herself off to everything around her, causing her to succumb to the creature. So yes, she is responsible for every death that creature caused and what happened to me.”

“The Titans on the other hoof, that was all her.”

Cadance drew on all her composure to stay calm. She sat there and listened to every word that Bright Dawn said. Never in a million years did she imagine that anypony could really feel this way about Twilight, not even Tsunami had been this bad. Cadance knew Twilight Sparkle for longer than any pony alive right now: She was a little socially awkward. Did not understand certain norms of society, but this was downright hatred. Dawn hated her, and he connected all these dots after the fact. He seemed to take no regard for their context or external circumstances. It was unreal to listen to.

“The coming of the Titans was all due to the actions Twilight took forty years ago. Her arrogance in trying to save Rainbow, it caused them to take notice of us. That's the reason why they came, that's the reason why the Titans attacked Equestria and almost every pony was forced to leave their homes. She's the one responsible for everything.” He paused to take a large breath. “Don’t you see? It's all been her. Not only should she not be brought back. We should be happy she is gone.”

“Shut the buck up.”

Ataxia stared at Cadance wide eyed. Ataxia was a few seconds away from stopping this little shit from going on, but the fact that Cadance lost her cool first? That was very unexpected. Cadance seemed to be on the edge of attacking. Her magic increased around her, rage building throughout her body. “You filthy little shit. What gives you the right to say those things? Who do you think you are?”

Cadance took a step towards the pegasus, who in turn took a step back. Even being held in Ataxia’s grip and facing the prospect of getting roasted alive was not this scary. This reminded him of his time under the care of the Shadowbeings. Although, if he was being honest with himself, this was a lot worse. A pissed-off alicorn was the most intimidating threat he ever knew.

Ataxia found herself in the oddest position in the world. She flew in front of Cadance and held her back from killing Bright Dawn. “Cadance, remember what you said. Violence is not the answer; it will not bring Twilight back. “

Power radiated off Cadance, several strands of which sought out the pegasus’s body, looking to cause whatever damage they could. Ataxia was forced to cut off those strands before they could reach the stallion.

“It might make me feel better.” Cadance grunted in reply.

“It won’t. It'll make you feel worse and you know it.”

That caused her to stop. Cadance’s rage left her; she knew Ataxia was right. Under any other circumstances, she would have made the same argument. With that knowledge the will to cause such harm against another left her. She could no longer bring herself to harm him, even if a part of her still really wanted to.

“Don’t you see? I do this for the good of Equestria.”

Ataxia opened her mouth and shot at him with a long burst of dragon fire. Her aim was true and it would have killed him were it not for Cadance grabbing her by the back of her neck and directing her head straight up at the last possible second.

After a few minutes, Ataxia’s flame was spent. Cadance stared at the stallion. “You really, really need to reconsider. This action will haunt you for the rest of your life. Everywhere you go in Equestria you will be hated and scorned. This entire continent knows of Twilight and all the good she has done. If you do this, there will be nowhere you can go.”

Gaia, Eros, and Chaos all watch quietly. While they had their own opinions on the subject, they silently agreed to keep them between the three. This was a mortal issue; mortals would solve it. That was as it should be. Although, Gaia could not help but notice something slightly off about the young stallion.

“It doesn’t matter to me if I’m liked for this or not, if everypony hates me or not. I'll carry this burden, as none of the rest of you seem able. I'll do this for the good of Equestria, even if they don’t see it that way. I will do this for my wife, so she can live a future free of her mom’s destructive influence.”

Bright Dawn took wing and landed next to Shimmering Night. “Everything I do, it’s because of my love for her. That's what matters to me. I don’t care what you all think; this is what’s best for all of Equestria and my wife. As such, this is what I will do. I will not bring the monster Twilight Sparkle back.”


Shimmering Night stood watching her mom; to see a mare that was once so proud, so full of life look so defeated. It was heartbreaking. Rainbow lay crying into Twilight’s body. It took Night a minute to process that something was even wrong with Twilight. She looked fine; there was not a thing wrong with Twilight that Night could see. It was only when she got closer that Shimmering Night saw it. Twilight was not breathing.

Understanding crossed Night’s face: She knew why Rainbow looked the way she did, she knew why her mom was not moving from that spot. She wanted to join Rainbow, Shimmering Night wanted to curl up next to Rainbow and cry. It was too painful, the impossible made manifest. Whatever happened here, she didn’t bucking care. Twilight was dead. Whatever they won, it was not worth the cost. Not to her and not to Rainbow.

Any further movement forward was prevented when Bright Dawn landed next to her. She had not been paying attention to anything that they had said. Far too lost in her own world, too lost in her mom’s death to care what the others said. However, despite the haze she was under. One phrase did make it past all of that. “This is what’s best for all of Equestria and my wife. As such, this is what I will do. I will not bring the monster Twilight Sparkle back.”

Night did not know the context of what was said, or what line of questioning led to that. She did not bucking care either. Somehow, he had the ability to bring Twilight back and he would not. That is all she needed to know.

“What’s best for me?” She asked.

Bright Dawn smiled at his wife. “Her being gone. It’s best for all of us, dear.”

“So, if I understand you correctly. My mother being dead is best for me, for all of Equestria?”

“Yes.” The certainty in his tone was like daggers in Night’s heart.

She released a magical force that pushed Bright Dawn several hooves away from her. He landed badly on his hind legs, Twisting one of them in the process. “How dare you.” Shimmering Night did not shout, she did not need to.

“My mother, the protector of Equestria. Twilight Sparkle who became a princess by her own actions, one of the kindest, loyalist, generous, honest, and funniest mares in all of Equestria. The Mare that gave birth to me, the one that convinced Rainbow to even let us marry. Her death is what is best for Equestria? How dare you believe you are even worthy to make that call.”

“It’s… It’s... It’s because I love you, I cannot see us living for long if sh…”

“You love me? You use your love of me as an excuse to do something this awful?” Tears were flowing from her eyes.

Eros grunted in pain as she felt the connections of their love being shattered in front of her. Only one thing could shatter those connections --beyond the sickle-- true betrayal of the heart. That could only mean one thing, their love had just died.

“Night, this is for you, for us. Please see that.”

"This… this… this is not for me, don’t you dare say something like that. Don’t you ever put that on me, if this is what love means to you. I… I…” Shimmering Night seemed unable to finish that sentence.

“Night, please, I love you.”

“I don’t love you.” There was a finality to her words that left no doubt that she meant it. This was not a fight; this was not something she would forgive. Her love for him was dead. It would not come back.

“But… But…”

“No buts! Make your choice; but know if what you told me all these years was ever true. If you ever loved me, if you ever felt anything for me, you will save my mom. You will save her for me, it is all you can do to make that up to me.” A pool of tears was forming under Night’s face as she spoke those words.

Bright Dawn began crying as well. All of this was for his wife. It was all for Night. There was no reason to make this stand if it would cost him her. She was the one thing he was not willing to lose, regardless of what that would mean. “Fine, I’ll do it.” Dejection was evident in his voice. It was the last thing he wanted to do, but what was the point of standing for your principles if it would cost you everything you loved?

The three Gods teleported around the stallion, and as one they focused their considerable magical energy on him. Bright Dawn lifted in the air as the light of creation surrounded him. His own soul became visible around his body. Cadance could see it, as well as the sliver they were looking for. In his energy a sliver of purple existed, one so small, yet she knew what it represented. It was the piece of Twilight that she put into the stallion. The only piece of her left in this Universe.

The Gods grabbed ahold of the sliver and slowly pulled it free of the rest. Bright Dawn’s cry of pain was testament to the pain of having a piece of your soul separated from the rest. Its owner did not give this; as such, it was not painless. It was a mark of her character that for those few seconds. Cadance actually felt sorry for the stallion. The gods put him on the ground before releasing him. He collapsed in a heap. The pain was too intense to try and stand.

Rainbow was completely unaware of everything around her. She held Twilight in her wing. Crying into her wife’s chest, as despite her best attempts to stop it, Twilight’s body was getting colder. It was too much for the mare; she couldn’t concentrate on anything else. As such, Rainbow did not notice when a golden light, one that spread into every cell of Twilight’s body surrounded the two of them. The Gods completed the ritual by reinserting the sliver of Twilight’s soul back into her corpse.

Bright Dawn was able to move again after a few seconds. While the pain was intense, it faded just as quickly as it came. Before long he was able to stand again. Looking at his wife he spoke. “I… I did it for you.”

Shimmering Night walked over and kissed him. It had none of the passion and drive he knew from the mare. Instantly he knew what it represented. This was her way of saying goodbye. “I know, thank you for that. Now leave me and my family alone, forever.” There were no tears in her eyes when she said that.

“But… but I love you.”

“I know you do, but I don't love you. I hate you. I will always hate you for thinking what you did, for saying what you said. If I see you again I cannot promise what I will do. Now leave before we find out just what that is.” It wasn’t the words that broke Dawn’s heart. It was the anger in her eyes that did it. Bright Dawn always believed that the true feelings of a pony could be read in their eyes. Right now, Shimmering Night’s eyes only had one feeling written in them: Hate.

Bright Dawn glanced around, looking for somepony, anypony to convince her otherwise. Somepony to take his side; the realization dawned on the stallion. Nopony believed him, nopony liked him, and nopony would come to his side. He was truly on his own.

With tears in his eyes, Dawn took off into the sky. The direction he went did not matter to the stallion, as long as it was away from here, as long as it was away from the hate filled eyes of the mare he so loved.

Before any words could be said, before Night could even process the events that took place. Every set of eyes turned to a voice that had not spoken in quite some time.


Rainbow was staring at her wife. She had just heard the impossible, and after triple checking it several dozen times, she knew for a fact it was not an illusion. She just heard Twilight’s heartbeat. One hundred and thirty-seven times now to be exact. Rainbow was counting every single one of them.

“I think it's time for us to take our leave from this world.” Gaia spoke to the rest.

“What? Why?” Discord replied; he did not like that idea one bit.

“Brother, we have been breaking our own rules for far too long. Our actions are what caused all of this. We vowed never to directly interfere with the lives of mortals yet we let you play your games by ‘indirectly’ interfering with them. Sister, we even let you live amongst them. But look around. Look at all the damage that's been caused because of all of this. We can no longer pretend that our indirect actions are not causing pain, that they are not disrupting the order of life. It is time for us to depart and you know it.”

Eros looked longingly at Cadance, she did not want to leave her Avatar, not like this. It felt wrong to the God of Love. So much was still unresolved, she wanted to see and experience what would happen next. She did not want to leave.

“She’s right, Eros.”

“Chaos?” That was unexpected, both Gaia and Eros looked at their brother.

“I hate to say it, I hate to admit it, but you're right, Gaia. As much fun as it's been, we cannot continue as is. Tartarus is dead, Eros. He would have killed us all, all because we were not ready, because we were in our Avatars.”

Eros couldn’t fight against that, if Chaos agreed with Gaia, how could she disagree? It was unexpected and a little heartbreaking, but she knew they were right. It had gone to far.

The three Gods assembled before the mortals present; again it was Gaia who spoke for them all. “I speak for all of us when I say, we're sorry. We'll leave you all now, there will not be anymore interference, direct or otherwise, by us.”


Every set of eyes turned to the mare that spoke. Rainbow sit up, her hoof on Twilight chest to ensure that she would stay alive, that her heart would not suddenly stop just because she stopped listening.

“You don’t get to do that, you created these Avatars so you could learn what it's like to live a mortal’s life, to experience things as a mortal. Well guess bucking what, this is part of being a mortal. Bad things happen, horrible things happen. We don’t just get to leave. We don’t get to pack it in just because things went bad. We have to stick it out. We have to deal with the consequences of our actions. You don’t get off that easily. If you never want to create another, that’s on you, but don’t you dare try and take the easy way out of this. We don’t have the ability to ignore the consequences of our actions, so neither should you.”

The conviction in Rainbow’s voice spoke volumes to the Gods. Gaia actually started laughing at that. It was such a simplistic answer, but she couldn’t find any fault with Rainbow’s logic. ‘The wisdom of mortals.’ She thought.

A nod from the other two confirmed that her brother and sister agreed with Rainbow's logic.

“Very well.” In a flash, all three Gods returned to their Avatars.


The Edge of Night River

The waters of Equestria’s newest river pushed a stone towards the edge. This was in no way a unique event. Indeed, several million rocks would make this journey every single day. However, this was slightly different. The rock hit the rapids at just the right angle to cause it to tumble into a peninsula. Be it from happenstance, coincidence, or a dark design the rock washed up next to a unicorn’s body. It was a corpse that many ponies spent the last several weeks looking for.

This rock was special, different from all the other rocks, as it was in the shape of a six-pointed star with a dark core in the center.

While it should have simply washed back out into the river, it didn’t. The rock latched onto the corpse and transferred its remaining energy. Dark magic overtook a body that spent the last few months decaying. The corpse's eyes shot open and a toothless grin overtook its face.


The Crystal Palace
Later that night

Beep… Beep… Beep….


Beep… Beep… Beep…


“Hey there.”

She slowly opened her eyes, glad that someone answered her, and that there was some noise other than that obsessive beeping. However, she was unsure who was speaking.

“Where am I?”

A cyan mare with a rainbow mane walked up from the seats on the side of the room. Her wings were the most brilliant gold that she could ever remember seeing.

The mare spoke to her, a soothing voice that had an edge of cockiness to it. “You’re at the hospital. There was an accident.”

“Who am I?”

The mare seemed taken aback by that, like the question hurt her to hear it. “I’m sorry, was the that the wrong question to ask?”

The cyan mare seemed to be on the edge of tears. “No, that was the right question to ask. I want you to ask as many questions as you can. Please never stop asking them.” The mare wiped a tear from her eye. “Your name is Twilight Sparkle. You're the daughter of Twilight Velvet and Night Light. Both of which have already passed on.”

“I don’t remember them.”

“I figured; it’s ok that you don’t. I'll help you remember them. I'll help you with everything from now on.”

“Is there a lot of ponies that I forgot?”

“A lifetimes worth, but we will take it slowly, as you're ready. For now, just worry about you. We'll deal with the rest together.”

“May I ask two more questions?”


“Who are you, and why are you helping me?”

“My name is Rainbow Dash. I’m your best friend in the world.”

“Friend? I like that word.”

“You know Twi, so do I.”


“Sorry, it’s my nickname for you. I can stop if you want me to.”

“I like it, please don’t.”

“Ok, I wont.”

“Will you get me some water? I’m kind of thirsty.”

“Sure Twi, I’ll be right back.”

Rainbow turned and went to leave Twilight’s room. Before she opened the door Twilight added. “Please hurry back, I have more questions.”

“Of course.”

Rainbow opened the door and walked outside the room. Despite herself, as soon as the door shut behind her she broke down in tears. Rainbow knew from experience that the doors were soundproof so she was not worried about Twi hearing her outside.

Cadance walked up at that moment. “Rainbow what’s wrong? Is she awake?”

Between her sobs Rainbow managed to answer her question. “She’s awake, she doesn’t remember me, herself, or anything else. It’s her, but it’s not her. I... I did what you told me, I didn’t drop too much on her all at once, I didn’t try and remind her of everything she was to me, or I to her. I told her she was just my friend. I didn’t want too, but I did.”

Cadance picked up the mare and hugged her tightly. “I know it was hard Rainbow but it’s for the best. Had you tried to force your relationship back to where it was, you would have only pushed her away.”

Cadance held the mare tightly in her hooves as she cried into her mane. After a few minutes the tears ceased. Cadance placed her back on the ground to see the oddest expression appear on Rainbow’s face.

“Rainbow, why are you smiling?”

“Cause I just realized something.”

“What’s that?”

“We get to fall in love all over again.”

A new Beginning

View Online

Three months later…

The royal funeral just ended. It was a massive public display, put on for the general populous of Equestria. While the real bodies were laid to rest months ago, this was an opportunity for the common ponies to pay their final respects to Celestia, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Dayspring Gleam. As well as all those that lost their lives in the recent conflicts. Over two thousand ponies had died in those wars, and that wasn’t even counting the griffins or the dragons that had died.

Luna declared that the funeral would be held the day after the palace was rebuilt. The palace was the first building rebuilt in all of Canterlot. It was a mark of the love the ponies had for their leaders that everypony wanted to help. Luna had to admit, they did a good job. While it would never be the one Celestia built, it was still a monument to peace and harmony. Everything Celestia stood for. As such, Luna christened it: Celestia’s Palace.

As the last two ponies outside, Luna turned to her fellow princess and spoke. “Shimmering Night, we believe it's time to hold court.”

“Are you sure, Luna? It's been a trying day after all.”

“We are. We wish to do something upbeat to relieve the gloom. Besides, we are under the impression that Princess Aurora finally made it back.”

“Yes, she arrived earlier today.”

“Wonderful, go and fetch her, we have something we wish to tell her.” Luna gestured to the nearest royal guard, who immediately took off after Aurora.

“Come Night, we shall await your sister in the throne room.”


Aurora Flash felt like she was walking into the center of an ambush. Ponies on every side of the room were staring at her. If it weren't for the smiles on Princess Luna and Night’s face, she would have flown out the nearest window.

“Princess Aurora Flash, welcome back from Warclaw. Before we begin let me ask, have you been to visit Rainbow and Twilight yet?”

“No, not yet. Night’s letters filled me in on what happen though. Sorry I couldn’t get back sooner, it took a while for my wing to heal.”

“Very well, let us began; we shall keep this brief.”

Night snickered at that, Luna kept everything brief.

Glaring at Shimmering Night’s giggling, Luna had a better thought. “Princess Shimmering Night, do you wish to do the honors?”

“I would love to.”

Shimmering night jumped off her throne and walked up to her sister, who stuck out her tongue playfully at the alicorn. “Princess Aurora Flash, by the authority of the ruling body of Equestria. We hereby dub you: Royal Ambassador to Warclaw.”

Aurora’s jaw dropped at that. “What?”

“Tis’ not something you want?” Luna asked.

“No, it’s not that, I just wasn't expecting it, that’s all.” Memories of all the times she spent with Icarus came back to the mare. She thought about all the time they would have together now.

“So tis’ good news then, come take a seat, we wish to talk more after a few items of business.”

Aurora sit down and watched Princess Luna and her sister work. She had to admit, Night was a natural when it came to leading. Although, Aurora did notice one thing about Night; every few minutes she would glance over to her right. As if she was expecting somepony to be there. It was small, most ponies would not even notice. Aurora did. Night missed having her husband by her side. Even if she hated Bright Dawn, Night still missed the companionship his presence brought.

Just as they were about to finish, a three-pony squad of Wonderbolts came through the window. For the past three months the Wonderbolts were tasked to find any and all escapees from Tartarus. They were getting very good at their job. Anything they found was immediately reported to the princesses and handled with due speed. The only downside was that their new duties left them no time for any performances.

Luna shot up out of her seat at their arrival. “What did you find?” She asked.

The squad leader gave his report with a sharp salute. “Princess Luna, Princess Night. A Tartarus escapee has been located near Appleloosa. We have him under surveillance now.”

“Who is it?”

Ataxia walked out of the crowd. Over the past few months she learned how to transform herself from pony to dragacorn at will. Right now, she needed the dragacorn. All the ponies in court ran out the door at the sight of a pony transforming into a half dragon in front of them. For her part, Luna simply laughed. They would get used to it, or not, she really didn’t bucking care.

“We believe it to be Tirek.”

“Tirek? How big is he?” Luna asked, a worried expression on her face at that name.

“No bigger than an earth pony.”

Luna smiled at that news. “Very well, we shall leave at once. Come Ataxia, let us vanquish this foe once and for all.”

“Luna wait!”

“Yes Night, what is it?”

“Let me go with Ataxia on this on.”

“Night, Tirek is no ordinary foe.”

“I know, I read the reports, I know what to do. It’s just that I need to stretch my wings, sort of speak, and you did take the last three after all.”

Luna thought about this for a while. “Very well Night, we shall let you take this one. But if you do not get back in a day we shall have to inform Princess Dash.”

“Understood.” Night knew what that meant. They had vowed to each other to leave Rainbow and Twilight alone until they were ready. For the two princesses, they considered it a sin to involve them with anything that they did not volunteer for. That meant failure was not an option.

Luna watched as Ataxia and Night took off, led by the Wonderbolt squad to deal with this newly identified threat.

“Will they be ok?”

Luna turned to Aurora. “They will be fine, dear Aurora. Tirek is a serious threat, but those two are no slouches. We would say he is in for a world of hurt.”

Looking at the mare, Luna was reminded of what she wanted to ask her. “So, when will you tell Rainbow?”

“Is it that obvious?” Aurora held a hoof to the source of her skittishness: Her stomach and the foal growing there.

“Not yet Aurora, but you cannot hide if for much longer.”

“I know, I was just hoping that things would get better first. It doesn’t seem right to have good news at a time like this. Besides, she doesn’t even know about me and Icarus yet.”

“Times like this are the best times to have such news. You know how Rainbow is with her family, she will welcome this news.”

“I’ll think about it.” Aurora was not that sure Rainbow would take the news as well as Luna said.



By royal decree Spike and Rarity were put in charge of the rebuilding of Ponyville. While everypony expected Rarity to design every aspect of the town from the ground up, for the past three months her only focus was on Twilight and Rainbow’s house.

For Spike, every single detail was exactly how he remembered it. However, His wife fully disagreed. “That’s not where the couch was. It was two inches the other way.”

“Rarity, It doesn't matter, I don’t think they will mind if its two inches off.”

“I mind. That's what matters.”

“Yes dear.”

Spike did the heavy lifting. With Twilight out of the picture, Night and Luna figured out how to transform him back into his pony form, something he was eternally grateful for. However, his wife seemed to be utterly convinced that Rainbow and Twilight would never get back together if their house was not back exactly the way it was.

“No Spike; I said two inches, that’s three.”

“Rarity, they're not even back together yet.”

The glare she gave him told him to shut up better than any words ever could. “I know Spike, but I also know in my heart that they will be back together. When that happens. They will need a place to stay and I want this to be perfect for them. Now move it back one inch the other way.”

“Yes dear.”


Crystal Palace

As Commander Firestar promised, every single day she would wake up, turn and face the prince in her bed and call him an Idiot. His only reply was a kiss on her lips. While it was not the most pleasant experience to kiss somepony who had yet to brush their teeth, she learned to enjoy it after a while. For Radiant, he found himself helping her with a lot of normal daily activities. She could not stand on her legs. The damage had yet to fully heal.

Although many offered, Firestar would not let anyone else help her and neither would Radiant. He loved every second of it.

Much to the annoyance of several ponies, Cloudsdale was relocated above the Crystal Empire. Any request to relocate it was meant by an immediate ‘hell no’ from the current commander’s office. Only one pony ever sought to push the issue. No one has seen him since. When questioned, Firestar’s reply was that he would ‘eventually’ come back. Nopony has asked further in that regard.

It was easy for anypony to see how much Radiant and Firestar loved each other; many wondered when they would tie the knot. After the sixteenth time somepony asked, Firestar declared a press conference and let everypony know that they would get married when she could bucking walk down the aisle on her own.

It was something that all the doctors say is impossible.

It was something that occurred three months later.


Night River

At the western edge of Equestria's newest river, Bright Dawn flew to exhaustion yet again. Every single day he would repeat this pattern, flying as fast and as far as he could to escape his inner demons. It never worked. They stalked his dream with impunity these past few weeks. He was trying to kill himself. Purposely flying into mountains and rivers. Every time it made the situation worse, not better. It would force him into the dreamscape, where that ‘thing’ waited for him.

His dreams were infinitely worse than the time he spent under the care of the Shadowbeings. The ‘thing’ in them mocked his failure. It mocked his role in bringing back Twilight Sparkle to this world. It laughed at his attempted failures at suicide, promising that it would never let him succeed at killing himself.

Unlike before, there was no voice that pulled him back. There was no soft whisper that would cause him to avoid going over the edge. His wife was gone. No, not gone, worse. She hated him. Her voice did not come in the middle of the night to save him, and tonight, he needed that more than anything else.

For tonight the truth of it all was shown to him. It showed him his time under the care of Twilight Night’s minions. The wound in his side was not a simple cut. The Shadowbeings opened him up and implanted a stone into the stallion. They cloaked it in a magic shield that hid it from examination. Slowly, it corrupted him, causing him to blame another for all the pain he suffered. It knew he would fail: It wanted him weak. It wanted him isolated. It wanted him alone. Through simple suggestions, it achieved all of these things and nopony suspected the truth.

Bright Dawn screamed in agony as the revenant was released from the stone hidden inside of him. The revenant devoured his soul whole. Its power warped around the pegasus, turning him dark as night.

The being that used to be known as Bright Dawn cocked its head; in a devilish voice it spoke. “So, the master got himself killed. Interesting.” With a glance south it continued. “Hmm… One of my siblings is still around. I guess it would be rude of me to not say hello.”

The revenant shot straight up into the air and took off to the south. Its laughter was heard several towns away. “Mortals are so easy to corrupt.”


Flying Lessons

“I don’t know about this, Rainbow. This just doesn’t feel natural to me.”

“I told you Twi. That’s because you weren't born with wings. You have to work twice as hard at it to get it down.”

“I think my magic instructors would disagree on what I should be spending my time on.”

“Buck-em, trust me Twi, I’m right.”

“I know you think that.” Twilight struggled to simply stay in the air at this point.

“Twi, I told you, you really got to flap them hard!”

Twilight felt the end of her endurance catch up to her. Despite Rainbow’s training this was the end for her right now. She could fly no farther without taking a break. So she set down on the first cloud she saw.

“Sorry Rainbow, I just need to rest for a minute.”

“Ok Twi, but just a minute.”

Rainbow flew over to Twilight, disappointed that her muscle memory seemed to have left in her wings. She could walk and talk just fine, magic seemed to be coming back to her without much issue, but it was as if somepony had hit the reset button with her flying skills.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she saw Twilight start to shiver on the cloud. Without thinking about it, Rainbow landed right next to Twilight and wrapped a wing around her.

Twilight started blushing at the unexpected contact. “Rainbow?”

Rainbow looked at her before realizing were her wing was. “Oh, sorry Twi.” She immediately removed the errant wing.

“Actually, I'm a little cold, can you leave it?”

“Of course.” Rainbow rewrapped the wing around Twilight. Fear that this moment would come to an unwanted end coursed through her spine.

As soon as the wing returned, Twilight sighed in contentment. “Thanks Rainbow.” She lay her head down on the cloud, while enjoying the warmth from the wing and Rainbow’s body heat.

Rainbow stayed in that position, too many memories came flooding back to the mare. This was an event she never wanted to end.

“I don’t know why Rainbow, but this just feels right to me.” Twilight shut her eyes, drifting off to sleep.

As Twilight fell asleep, Rainbow rested her head against Twilight’s, Taking in a deep breath, full of the sent of the mare she so missed, Rainbow added. “You know Twi, this feels right to me too.”

Rainbow’s last sight before falling asleep was of the reflection and refraction of light in the water droplets in the sky, which formed a gorgeous rainbow that appeared right above them.

Night/Ataxia vs. Tierk