Celestia rose before the moon had officially set as she had for the last several days after her confrontation with the new Element Bearers, her sister, and Grogar. It had been nagging her for awhile now and it was time for her to confront it before she rose her sun. It wasn’t common knowledge before her sisters unfortunate lapse in judgement had her imprisoned in the sun, but she loved the time before the sun rose. Looking at her sister’s artistry, and meditating to clear herself of problems from the day before as well as to center herself before the raising of a new day.
But this was different, these last few days she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off and it had threw her off. Ruining the rest of the day, and followed her to her slumber. Now tired, and heavy hearted she decided that she was going to find her center before the new day arose. Turning her sight inward, and with a deep calming breath she started her inner reflections.
I can’t believe that my little ponies have been taught that I am some kind of monster. Even Luna believes the lies that she spread about me. After all that I’ve done for them before I was sent to the Sun for a thousand years.But those foals have a point. It was wrong to use force, and threatening their children and loved ones with death if they betrayed me.
They are young and don’t understand things as much as us older beings, but I should’ve struck at my sister rather than dragging the innocent into the fight. Even though my sister struck at me first during my coronation, fighting in the city and endangering all those ponies was a bad idea. Next time I’ll try to drag the fight so that it’s only me and her if she doesn’t stand down. Hopefully she doesn’t struggle to much, I don’t want to lose her, but I’ll do what I must to save Equestria. Where did everything go so wrong for her that she’d lose sight of how right I am?
Sending her consciousness into the depths of her memories. She trudged through the quagmire of her ancient mind looking at the thread that lead to it all. As she searched one memory came to the forefront shining above the others.
It was the time when the Crystal Empire and it’s heart shone love throughout their empire and Equestria. Although a small satellite nation that had it’s own sovereignty, the two nations shared a close friendship. The Empire’s love and happiness helped repel some of the darker entities from the borders of both of the nations, and it was a time of prosperity and joy.
Even as Celestia and Luna fought some of the threats that couldn’t be repelled by those barriers such as Lupuses, Shades, Chimeras both normal and magically created, and the Van Hoovenheim Society. things prospered. So it came as no surprise that when the rulers of the Empire had a child they asked for the princesses to train their son Sombra, in magic. As a way to further solidify their relations as well as teach their son the value of friendship and harmony so that he could be a great ruler that could bring both their nations prosperity and joy after they passed. It took some time for them to come to an agreement, seeing that at the time there was no structured school of magic, rather there were organizations and guilds of mages that took in rulers of various sovereign dutchies, with the princesses occasionally sitting in on the testing to see if any pony caught their eye.
But for an old friend, and long standing ally. They agreed to see what he had as he tested in the Northern Mages Guild, and seeing him he had an air around him that drew others to him, and raw power that could have led to greatness if he was molded by the right teachers, and they agreed that teacher would be us.
When Sombra came to the Palace of the Two Sisters he was filled with a deep inquisitiveness and a sharp intellect that spoke of his genius. He was the kind of powerful genius of a mage that only came once every generation, and they couldn’t be more thrilled to teach him what they knew.
But as time grew on, Celestia became uncomfortable around him, he was a charmer for sure, but his hunger and talent lay in the dark arts. At first it was Celestia who taught him, as Luna had ever grown distant since Celestia’s attempts protecting her sister from the evils of the world. At first Sombra was a gifted student, always hungry to learn more and quick to pick up new skills. With Luna occasionally stopping by to watch from the shadows before retreating once more to the confines of her chambers.
It was on one such occasion when Luna started to truly show interest in the student we agreed to take in. We were playing war games, using it to discuss the Roaman Saga of the Divine Grace. The Carthagineighan general who brought Roam to it’s knees. Luna watching the young colt have his attempt at taking down the “mighty city of Tiber” brought a rare chuckle from her, and after seeing him repelled and lectured by Celestia stood beside him.
Celestia saw her whisper something into his ear and him nodding in response. Celestia looked on as her sister didn’t withdraw like normal, but sided with the colt, giving pointers when needed, and encouragement in others. Eventually with both magic, and cunning he was able to breach the guards who were pretending to be Roaman Legions and with a distraction she saw a mile away but humored anyway “defeated the opposing leader” yelling, “Tag!”
It was shortly after that, that my sister took interest into our shared student. I saw it as an amazing experience since it gave me time to protect our nation, while getting my sister out of her shell. And for awhile things were great, we would share lessons with our student and gave him a well rounded education.
But as time passed he and I drifted apart as I had more important matters to deal with, and my sister had someone to share her experiences with. As well as a pony who loved the Dark Arts as much as she did. Even though I did try to curb his learning, with more beneficial, and less potentially destructive lessons when I had the chance.
In hindsight that was a great mistake. Although there were warning signs, neither of them could have foreseen what they were creating. Nor the ramifications of their lessons.
It was around this time that I knew something was off. It seemed like such a small thing at the time. But if I knew what that conversation would lead to I would have burnt him to ashes before he could take it to where he was going.
“Now Sombra, it is imperative that before I teach you more advanced forms of the Dark Arts, but before I begin, you must understand some things and make me a promise,” Luna stated regally as the young stallion looked at her with a hungry, yet rapt attention.
“What is your promise?” He inquired, his ears perking up at the prospect of furthering his skills.
“I’ll get to that shortly, now as I was saying. The Dark Arts art like any weapon or tool. It’s no different than Everfire, a sword, or even a plow. It can be something that can help you and others when you need it, and it can do many great things. But it can harm you and those around you the second you lose respect for it and what it can do. It can consume you, rip you to shreds, and tear your soul asunder the second you think you are in control. With the Dark Arts you never truly control it, you simply wield it and as long as you keep that in mind then it can be a great ally when going up against great dangers.
“I need you to promise me that you will always keep that in mind, and show the proper reverence to the skills I will teach you. The second thou fail to do so, or start misusing the arts I teach you. I will stop teaching you anything further, and I do mean anything. Do you understand me?” She said sternly. Impressing the severity and importance of her lecture.
“Yes Luna, I promise on thy name as future Emperor of the Crystal Empire that I will keep that in mind,” Sombra’s said. His rich tenor as sweet as honey as his eyes shone with glee.
“Alright so before we begin, do you have any questions or things you’d like to discuss?”
“Yes, is it possible to use crystals to link many ponies magics together, not just as an auxiliary force, but physically link?” He asked. Even as Celestia watched from a distance, she could see a flash of hunger in his eyes. A sort of blink and you miss it type things, and at the time with how well behaved, and caring he was she dismissed it as a trick of the light. If only she had acted in that moment.
That was the start of it all. Yes there were many dark times that weighed heavily on our hearts, mostly Luna. Even as the more militaristic of us, she never had the strength to bear the burden of the world’s suffering. I should have seen the darkness weighing on her, but I trusted her to give me that pain so that she could be happy. How foolish I was, but it was what happened a few short decades later that really sealed her fate.
Twenty years later and my plans had panned out. I had spent generations earlier slowly maneuvering Luna out of any true form of rule. It was my duty as eldest sister, when our parents passed from the world, or as close to the term that can be used for those of our kind, they asked me to watch over Luna no matter what and to keep her safe. That was my duty they said as big sister, to watch over the younger, and not a day went by when I didn’t regret it.
But ruling was a strenuous thing that we didn’t ask for at first, we simply protected the ponyfolk because it was the right thing to do and we couldn’t stand to see evil harm them. Eventually they decided to call us rulers and followed us, but the weight of rule is a heavy thing. And the fun times we had, had to be put to the side to take care of our subjects in times of peace, or fight for them when an evil arrived that needed vanquishing.
As time wore on, and the battles we so narrowly succeeded in winning, only to see those foes come back ready to fight us once again. My heart grew heavy, I’ll admit, but it was worse when I saw Luna come out of it severely injured after a few close battles with the Shades. Those malicious ponies of shadows, magically imbued with negative emotions giving them sentience. A mad alchemist had tried to make an amulet which would constantly generate them to form an army under his command. Our sister discovered it through her network of undercover guards.
I had never been so furious in all my life at that moment than when one of our subjects created such an evil. Not even when that fool Knight Shade made a deal with Arabus to steal the shadows of all ponies, did I possess the rage I felt for he whose name is stricken from all things. It was then that I swore to keep her safe, no matter what.
I need to stop going on tangents when remembering painful memories. I’m only distracting myself from seeing the true reason for my unbalance. Now where was I oh yes the moment when my sister fell to darkness. I knew there was a reason I was putting it off.
My sister had become increasingly reclusive, almost hermit like, and that was never my intention. How could she enjoy a life of freedom that I could never have if she squandered it as easily as our subjects did. So I steeled myself for the upcoming confrontation and teleported into her room.
It was dark, foreboding, and Luna sat on her bed with an oil lamp bent over a tome writing profusely about something. Giving a demure cough to get her attention Luna jumped, slamming her book shut, “Sister! Do you have any sense of propriety!? Our rooms are our sacred sanctuary, why do you choose to impede on my privacy?” She all but shouted in panic.
If I had been wiser, I would have done more, but love for my poor sister had blinded me to the monster she was going to someday soon become. In my ignorance, I ignored it and gave a light chuckle, trying to lighten the mood. Although I’m proud to say I had the decency to blush.
“I missed you Lulu. You haven’t spoke to me or any of those guards that have remained in your absence in months. We’re worried about you, I’m worried about you. I just wanted to talk, you know you can tell me anything and I’ll do everything in my power to help you?” Celestia asked with a sad smile.
“Sorry sister, it’s just that … well things have been going on that has … shall we say put us in a slump. But we are so close to fixing the problem, it won’t be much longer now and I’ll be better,” Luna stated warily. As if a great weight was crushing that joyous spirit Celestia loved so much.
“Well tell us about this slump and together we can fix it.” Celestia implored.
“It’s just, over these last few years, well to be honest it started before Sombra studied under us by a generation, and recently it’s gotten worse. But nopony loves our nights, all of our work is wasted as everypony sleeps through our nights, our own guards are less and less each year, and as of not even a few years ago they’ve gone completely empty.”
“Everytime I try to make a law, or suggest a change our staff undermines us. Even worse we can’t find proof of their transgressions for even in their dream-memories we see them drop off the papers. I just feel so … unloved. Is that wrong of us sister? To want to be appreciated, to be loved, to have our existence awknowledged?” From the very start of her tirade to the end, her voice rose until it was almost a scream. Bitter tears of sorrow flowing down her face.
Doing the first thing that came to mind Celestia wrapped her in her wings and hugged her with all the strength and love she could muster, “Don’t ever say you’re unloved sister. No matter what, no matter how bad things get I will always love you and I will always be your big sister. I have to ask you something Lulu?”
“What is it? And please sister stop calling us Lulu, we aren’t a little filly anymore, and haven’t been for millennia.” Luna huffed.
“You will always be my little Lulu, you’re the most important thing in my life. But I’ll desist since it means that much to you. As for the thing I need to ask. I need to know if you trust me?” Celestia asked tensely.
“Of course! What kind of question is that?”
“An important one. Then I want you know that I’m going to be making everything better. You’ll have the life you were always meant to have, and our subjects will have peace at last. But our subjects can’t love somepony who’d rather hide away in a dark, oppressive room rather than be out amongst them.
Promise me you’ll leave this room, go out and experience life. Love and be happy, and leave everything to your big sister. Alright?” Celestia said hugging her sister even tighter.
Luna nuzzled her barrel and said, “Alright, but I have just the thing to help. I’ll promise to go out more if you promise me when I reveal what I’ve been working on you’ll be there for it.”
“Agreed, now go out Luna, get some fresh air.”
I of course looked through what she was so nervous of and was slightly off put on seeing notes regarding her experiments on Dark Magic. But I put it off, as much as I wanted to track Luna down and question her I decided to give her, some space. Although as any concerned sister that space equaled just far enough to hide from her as I stalked her as she went about her business outside.
I was sad to see that she didn’t interact with her subjects. Choosing to be in the shadows, and watching from a distance, such as myself to her. Watching them for some sign or another, that from her slumped shoulders didn’t appear. But I’m ashamed to admit to myself that I was so busy keeping Luna out of the loop of things, and keeping her away from princessly duties that I couldn’t watch her for long. Just long enough to ensure she wasn’t doing anything regrettable.
If only I kept a closer eye on her. She wouldn’t have fallen to evil and turned against me. THERE! That’s one of the feelings that’s been throwing me off since my fight with Grogar. What is it? Urgh! I detest when something eludes me, well might as well finish the memory. It might lead me to what I’m missing.
Celestia from that day forward had her guards keep an eye out for Luna when she left the castle. It unnerved her that she spent so much time practicing one branch of the Dark Arts or another, but she hadn’t crossed any lines so she thought little of it other than her sister doing a branch of magic she had little interest in.
After all, she remembered Luna’s talk with Sombra, and it was one that she talked about most fervently when discussing the Dark Arts. That one should always give it respect and treat it as a dangerous thing lest it consumed the wielder. So it was not a problem to Celestia that she perfect her skills with a tool she wielded so efficiently, not if she kept drilling herself on the dangerous of its misuse.
As she was contemplating her sisters distant and distraught behaviour the door to her court burst open revealing a bedraggled guard, “Princess I have news to report!”
“What is it my little pony? Sit and rest while you tell me what has you so harried?”
“My Princess, as you’ve asked we sent patrols to see what has caused the Crystal Heart to stop shining, and to see if our allies needed our assistance. But there are unknown monsters that, as strange as it sounds, patrol the area. As well as a few Bushwoolies that seem more aggressive than usual.
A majority of our troops disappeared, and only I remain. I thought it prudent to warn you before making my report to my superiors,” the guard stated wearily.
“That report won’t be necessary. Tell the Imperial Legion that we are mobilizing in the morning. Also make sure that Luna doesn’t know anything, she’s been under a lot of stress lately and we don’t want her rushing into things when she’s not at her best.”
“O-of course Princess. I’ll makes sure your orders are passed along,” The guard stated.
“Oh and one more thing,” Celestia added as he got up to leave.
“Yes my Princess?”
“Tell your superiors that I said that you are to have tomorrow off. You’ve seen a great loss, and it’d do you good to take a small leave to recuperate.” Celestia said with a smile, the same mask she wore to her little ponies regardless of her emotions which at the time was a mix of wrath and concern.
“Thank you Princess, I won’t let you down,” and with that he left.
Celestia was alone in her thoughts afterwards. She knew that until a few months ago Sombra and Luna kept in touch, as the sisters were wont to do when they had protege’s graduate. But it was distressing that it was along the same time the messages stopped so to did the Crystal Heart’s light. It was why she sent her Imperial Legion to see what the problem was so that it could be dealt with.
I went to the frozen norths hoping that things were well with our neighbors. I thought I could just fight some monsters the regular ponies couldn’t fight, and then I would release the siege I imagined had overtaken the Crystal Empire. It was foolish thinking, and I was a fool for believing that things were that simple.
I’ve had millennia of horrors descend upon me and mine to give into such foolish naivety, maybe it was old Luna rubbing off on me, or maybe it was sorrow from having lost so many students and friends that I thought that I would rush in, and Luna’s and my student would greet me with open forelegs and thanks. I’ll think I’ll skip over the boring parts, the battles with strange leopards made of snow, the other unnameables that lurked in the shadows that my fire obliterated, and the trek to the boundary of the Empire’s city. Since it was at the boundary when things went south.
“Listen my little ponies we have no idea what to expect. I want you all to remain here until I give further orders, and if anyponies come here I need you to help evacuate them to the outskirts of Castle Everfree. Until then be safe my little ponies, and kill any non-pony that wanders through here,” Celestia instructed as she flew the last few miles to the city proper.
The first thing that stuck out for her was the fact that the Crystal Pegasi were nowhere to be seen. Those shining ponies on her few trips to their sister Empire would light up the skies with glimmering lights, and the reflected lights would pain the ground in artistic patterns as they captured and bent the light from the Crystal Heart.
The next thing was that the closer she got the more she noticed bigger and bigger black crystals. That seemed to form an ominous spell array. With the Crystals in the city itself merged with buildings in some places, while in others formed giant monoliths. As she landed on the city's outskirts the crystal closes to her sparked with a sickly green lightning before Sombra oozed out of the structure, “Hello Celestia, what brings you and your ponies to my humble nation?”
Celestia cringed at was once a deep, melodious voice was now a grating, gravely mockery of it’s former beauty. Giving it a more darker, animalistic quality that seemed to rattle menacingly inside her skull, “I was worried that the Crystal Heart was no longer shining, and those I sent to investigate disappeared. I feared the worst, but I have to ask how you know I brought others with me?”
“Oh that, my crystals are all over my nation, from as small as a grain of sand, to as big as the tallest towers. From deep within the deepest places of the earth, to the tallest mountains. Both within my nation, and hidden in places where I shall not name. And where ever my crystals stand I can see, and since they are me, where ever they stand my power can go. Just as you rule the Sun and your sister the night skies. My power is with the earth and all that resides with in it.
“I no longer need the weakness of the Crystal Heart, with my crystals I can not die, and my peoples power is my power, so we can withstand any force that would move against us. And with my immortality, I will protect my nation for all eternity, just as Luna and you’ve done since time immemorial,” he bragged. His chest puffed up like an overgrown popinjay, his voice almost purring in perverse satisfaction.
“So what you are some sort of lich now? Is that why I see no signs of life in this city? No Crystal Unicorns giving aid to their subjects, no Crystal Pegasi painting the skies with their beauty, no Crystal Earth Ponies tending the earth?” Celestia said her wings bristling with ill contained anger.
“What something so base? No, I would never stoop to shedding my beautiful form, fearing death by feeding off it. No what I have done has never been done before to the degree I’ve done, as for those you’ve mentioned. The aristocracy didn’t like my decision to shut down the Crystal Heart, and got the Pegasi to try and throw a revolt against me.
“So I punished them by stealing their horns and wings and bound their magics to myself, then I wiped their minds so they wouldn’t suffer … well most of them others I have imprisoned in stone for a very important purpose for their acts of treason. It’s no less different than your penchant of imprisoning your greatest foes in stone, except that mine serves a purpose other than decoration.
“As for those who aren’t in crystal, their lives and emotions not only act as a work around for the more greater costs for Dark Magic, but their magic is bound to me and my crystals. So the more living I have under my rule the more powerful I’ll become, and the safer my nation will be. So as you see, I am more greater than those petty weaklings that you call Liches,” Sombra monologued not seeing the growing anger and unease forming on Celestia’s face.
“So you are using the Dark Arts to use the living to generate Dark Magic, so you can use your power like a Nesting Doll of Darkness?” Celestia asked.
“No, more like a perpetual energy engine of power. As long as even one of my little ponies survives I will have power through them and their descendants. And as long as my crystals survive I will live on. Whether it takes me ten seconds or a thousand years to come back I will be here to ensure my nation lasts forever. And even better, the more who revolt against me the more power I gain through their dark emotions, then I bind them in crystal and I gain even more power from their crystalline flesh. It’s ingenious,” Sombra said.
“And what of the Crystal Heart?”
“That old relic, it’s somewhere nopony dares enter,” He growled.
‘Oh! a soft spot. I need to get it and get it activated if I’m to destroy this whelp. Then I need to go and wipe his crystals from the face of the planet, just like my sister and I wiped out the worshipers of Tirek. Or I did with other followers of darkness,” Celestia thought to herself as she charged up a violent blast to attack Sombra.
As she let it loose she grinned in satisfaction as it tore through his neck, leaving a burning gaping hole. That look turned to fear as green lightning and thick black magics filled the wound crackling maliciously as the wound closed. “My dear teacher, you don’t think I would monologue without being prepared to be assassinated do you? You’ve taught me all of your strategies, I’ve heard tales of all your past exploits, from yourself none the less, as well as your sisters strategies and exploits.
“All of this was built with you two in mind, since I planned on being as great and safe as your own nation. But I also built it to stand against you if you should ever decide to invade. I’ve heard rumors of your new army eating up smaller nations, I hoped they were rumors,” He said as he turned into Luna’s signature cloud form, the black crystals seeming to reach out and draw in tendrils of the mist like a lover, “But I’ve planned for every eventuality. If you want war, then you shall have it. I’m sorry that your greed led to this.”
As he was absorbed by the crystals, the crystals gathered arcs of green lightning forming a mixture of cages and glowing satellites that revolved around them like miniature moons. Then all Tartarus broke out. Balls of ball lightning shot at her from all sides as the bigger structures drew power unto themselves to release grand torrents of blackish green magic. After dodging the first few blasts she threw up a shield of raw light energy.
Unfortunately she underestimated her foe. Each shot of lightning flickered throughout her being. As if it was trying to virally merge with her essence. While the torrents made her soul feel as if it were being simultaneously doused in ice, while being cooked in the fires of her sun.
Throwing even greater power to it, she fed it love energy, or as much as she was able to muster. As her shields were being assailed and her soul violated with each attack, she reacted in desperation and teleported to the castle. Knowing his vanity would not allow him to mar it, or so she thought.
How I still remember that fight to this day. No necromancer made me fear for my soul as he did. For a necromancer would feast off of my soul and let my body die. But this fiend would keep me alive so that all of my power and will would be under his command. He would not stop at the incorporeal, and that violation struck me deeply.
I remember feeling that constant threat of volition against me as I shielded the castle and ran to where I thought the heart would be. A secret chamber I helped Sombra’s many times great grandparents build for when the heart was done charging or needed to be hid at during times of war.
All the while bitter tears flooded my face as I had a taste of what Sombra’s subjects must have felt before he assimilated their very being to his dark workings. I also had a wager that her guards she sent weren’t dead but now a part of his insane machinations. Oh how if only I would’ve seen this madness in him earlier I could’ve prevented this. But if I had been stronger, better, more wise, this would’ve never happened.
But I was too busy worrying about Equestria falling to pieces and losing everything and everyone I loved that I didn’t think our allies would turn on us. I know now, as I knew at that moment that was no longer the case. Every being on the planet needed to bow to a stronger pony, a wiser pony, and with that newest of horrors I had become that being just as I had always knew I needed to be.
Now I know that most ponies didn’t see it as I did, but I will show them the errors of their ways. After all my sister and I are older than the when pony races first formed, our race that we were born of are older than the oldest of dragons and we walked this planet since time immemorial, but as the eldest living alicorn. So old that not even the oldest of wyrms rivals my age. I have seen enough and done enough that my experiences let me see things as they are. I have always felt like a mother to my little ponies, and in their ignorance they don’t always know what's best for them.
They live but for a blink of the eye before their buried in the dust, ignoring the wisdom of their elders, and acting in their own limited interest before dying. But I think in terms of centuries, and as the eldest of all creatures, it is my duty to guide the world into a better light. One free of suffering, pain, and evil. Where my righteous light shines as a beacon of virtue for all to see. But that will come to me later.
There I go again going on a tangent to hide from darker memories. That is not the way things must go. I must face this darkness if I am to find what’s wrong. Now where was I … oh yes, the violation of Sombra’s magic, and the secret stairway. Oh how I loathe this memory, but it is unwise to hide from oneself when seeking the truth.
As Celestia managed to find the door, she noticed a new addition, a spell lock that prevented it’s opening through mundane means. Knowing Sombra’s methods now she used a blast of dark magic like upon the lock and as it opened her mind was filled with a vision.
She looked upon the sky bright orange as if the sky was burning, with howls and screams out in the distance. As she looked around she saw Equestria in ruins, bodies of her little ponies torn asunder, their bleeding body parts scattered like macabre leaves upon the ground. And those not torn to pieces were hollow shells of ponies, little more than zombies.
As she saw her greatest fear stretched as far as her eye could see Luna fell from the sky before her. Her body covered in black crystals, and scored with cuts. Celestia rushed up and grabbed her sister, “Don’t worry Lulu! I’ll save you!”
“You’re too late Tia! You’ve abandoned Equestria, and in your absence all those we fought rose up at once and slaughtered your ponies. And I’m dying now, and it’s all your fault. You weren’t strong enough to protect us so you hid in the north while we got butchered. What did you allow this to happen?” Luna wheezed.
“Don’t talk, let me heal your wounds,” Celestia replied as she let loose a beam of light magic to destroy the crystals growing on her, but when she went to heal her sister more sprouted up in their place, as the wounds started to fester as the healing magic turned toxic, “no! No! I won’t let you die Luna! Luna! Please don’t die!”
Celestia wept as her sister’s body cooled. A look of blame in her eyes. Celestia wept as she lost everything, even the only pony who had been with her for all these millennia. Even as nations rose and fell, friends died and got lost to the shadows of history, even as everything around them changed. They always had each other. Luna was her constant, her rock, the thing she needed to let her know that all her hard work was worth it no matter how bad things got, everytime Celestia looked at her. And now she held her corpse in her arms as the nation they sacrificed everything for fell to pieces around her.
“No! This is an illusion! I will not fall for this trick! If Luna were to be this wounded her moon would embrace her and heal her. Even though it would take ages for it to be so, this isn’t real! I reject you illusion!”
As she acknowledged that. A white light embraced her. As it faded something else greeted her sight.
She sat in her throne room, going over the endless papers that made up part of her ruling. She would have delegated the task if it wasn’t for how easy it was to corrupt a pony. She should know with how many workers she duped under one disguised form or another, it sickened her to resort to such tricks, but until she knew whom she could trust. Celestia resorted to the best tool at hoof. And each one showed that they could be bought with one token or another. No it was best to do things oneself.
Just then a pony barreled into her court. His blue coat glimmered with sweat and blood, and his red mane was missing chunks out of it, “My Princess! The gates of Tartarus have been breached! Those dark crystals you spoke of earlier have busted the gates, and that’s not all. We’ve seen the source of our fair Princess Luna’s despondency. She’s lost control of her dark magics, and has under it’s nefarious corruption has sided with Sombra and the forces of Tartarus!”
Celestia bristled, “Lies! Luna would never do such things!”
“But your most majestic majesty, isn’t you yourself who told your mages about her diary and they said something about bypassing planar gates to summon great dark forces? And that they should keep an eye out so Luna didn’t accidentally summon some dark being to do combat with?”
“Yes, but that’s different! Luna would never betray me, betray Equestria!” Celestia yelled. Just then a dark flash stood before her, and Luna stood and grinned wickedly.
“Sister, for so long know you’ve hoarded the love of our ponies. They worship the sun now, and I’ve learned that it was thanks to your daylight savings time. Did you not think we would discover your treachery! Your lies! Your theft! It is now our turn to rule Equestria, and we will take it by any means necessary!” Luna sneared.
“This is not my sister! She would understand that I was did those things to make everything better, to save her! Enough of this trickery Sombra! If you wish to fight me then fight me you coward!” Celestia shouted.
It was this time that she finally banished the illusion spell. Her shield was weaker and only a few more blasts and all would be lost. With the Heart no where to be gotten, nor anyway to rescue it she went through her options, ‘Either I can just annihilate the place with a mote of the sun. Countless ponies lives would be lost, and those who survived could not step foot here for hundreds of years until the sunblight’s poison died off. But it would blast away Sombra, his crystals above ground … at least within the city, and destroy a few resources that are supplying him with such great power.
Or I could release a high level light shield, it would save the city and its citizenry without killing them. But I could not leave this place until I found the heart, or found Sombra’s true hiding place for the nexus of the spell. I would keep that hidden somewhere that no air or ground attacks could hurt it, nor where it could be easily hidden. So that would take generations. Generations I don’t have.
Even though that place showed only lies. It confirms what I’ve been thinking all along. Equestria needs me to be it’s sole ruler. To take charge and make sure that, that fantasy never becomes reality. Everypony is counting on me to be the strong one, to be the leader. I can’t fail Equestria, I can’t lose Luna!’
Seeing that she had only one true option after all she wept openly, “I’m so sorry my little ponies for what I’m about to do. Hopefully when this place becomes habitable again we can rebuild this place. But what I do is for all of Equestria.”
With that apology to the emptiness of the chamber she connected to the sun, and with drew but a mote of it. As she released it from her horn a massive blast erupted, it’s fury killing hundreds in an instant as it ripped through the capital, and those not outright killed by the blast were wounded from the debris that was tossed around like boulders tossed by dragons.
Celestia walked out from the wreckage her mane and tail burning with the furious fires of the sun as her eyes shone with righteous power. She looked around at the destruction around her, yes the crystals were destroyed, but there was no sign of Sombra yet. Teleporting to her army she rallied the troops, “Listen well my little ponies, a great evil has infected these poor souls and I did what was necessary to demolish what I could. But they aren’t safe from it’s foul magics yet, we need to bring them into our nation and keep an eye on them. If they turn murderous, or try to sabotage our nation then extreme steps must be taken to save them.
But for now bring them to Equestria where we can protect these poor, violated souls. That is all for now. I must go back to Equestria to ensure that nothing has happened in my absence. Although we need to ensure they are safe so we need to use the old abandoned cities and interment them there until it is safe for them to leave.”
With that I flew for all my worth to Canterlot. I knew with the ponies being relocated to our old capital, Luna would not know that our student has turned out as he did. Nor that the ponies that were under his care were now corrupted by dark magics. I felt sorrow knowing that I might not be able to save them at first, but assuredly when I’m back in power I shall fix that problem once and for all. Especially since I could not destroy the crystals outside the Empire, well at least above the surface. I need to see if he came back, or is still growing his body. Since all descendants of those ponies carry the taint of his magic. But as it was, I made it to our castle within a day. Qutie a feat if I must say so myself.
The next few months were normal I suppose, and I thought that our problems behind us. I had started planning my coronation ceremony, and once crowned, I planned on celebrating with my sister who would be pleased to know that the burden of rule would never hurt her again. She would be happy and safe, and my ponies, after they got used to the change of having only one princess, would be happy to. Especially one as great as myself. How wrong I was, misunderstanding the ignorance of youth and the narrow sightedness of mortals.
Celestia sat in her throne, she was sad from the reports that the relocation and internment of the non-governing class of the Crystal Empire, as well as all crystal ponies who had moved here before their nations fall. It had taken much longer to do then she anticipated, but it would go a long way to ensure that they didn’t side with the griffons or elks. As well as ensure that Sombra’s magics could someday be undone from them. The months it had taken, had given her plenty of time to think about as she planned how to go about becoming the sole ruler and protector of Equestria.
Just as she was about to get started on her paperwork for the day Luna burst into the room, “Sister! saw a pony being dragged away by guards and when I questioned what was happening you’ll never guess what I found out.”
“What did you learn Luna?”
“I learned that there is a group of rebels against the throne, that you’ve exterminated many innocent crystal ponies, placed them into internment camps, at least those who didn’t escape, and have been making and enforcing laws without my say. What is this all about!” Luna yelled near hysterics.
“Well dear sister, it’s like this. You are too young, too inexperienced to rule a nation. I’ve been fighting monsters without you for decades now, or did you think that the calm was because Equestria was at peace? No, you are unfit to rule, and I’ve been slowly phasing you out. Soon I will be queen and the one and only sole ruler of Equestria.
“You have to admit, Luna, that it would be better on you without having to rule a nation, having the joys and freedoms you used to,” Celestia lectured.
She could see Luna going over what was said, and a resigned sigh escaped her lips, “yes sister. You’ve always been the eldest, and as you always say, you know best. I’m sorry for busting in, and … congratulations on being Queen. I’ll be right there by your side as the crown falls.”
Celestia grinned manically and rushed her sister, wrapping her wings and forelegs in a mighty hug, “You have no idea how happy that makes me. I’ve been waiting for you to give up trying to be a princess, and enjoy the safety and happiness I’ve been trying to give you. You’ll see, just like I promised you, everything will be okay, I’ll make sure of it. Now run along now, you should try acclimating to your life as a citizen of Equestria.”
How foalish I was to trust anypony, especially my family. I was so happy that she trusted me. That she knew of my righteousness, especially since the fires of my might had not fell down since I let loose the power of the sun.
It was a few weeks after. When I saw just how wrong I was, I just thought it youthful rebellion against one's elders, when my sister sided with the rebels. I was planning on placing her in a dungeon in the frozen waste for a few generations with a hematite horn limiter, and eventually I would be able to get her to see reason. It hurt that she didn’t trust me, when she promised that she would, not only a promise of a sister, but of the Element of Honesty. And she broke it, she never broke her promises. She was to honest, to loyal, and too thick headed to do so.
Celestia broke out of her revelry of the past. The steam of her tears stinging her eyes. A few silent sobs escaped her throat as the battle that was about to happen. Speaking out loud in a voice a little more than a whisper, “Why did you break your promise sister? Why did you betray me? Why do you continue to betray me? I see that you are not the monster that attacked me during the coronation, I just wanted you to be happy, to trust me to make everything better. So why?”
She spent some time crying over something that for the last thousand years she had avoided asking. But eventually the silent sobs quieted, “I need to look deeper into myself. I’m on the verge of discovery, but it’s only going to get harder from here.”
Taking a deep breath she quieted her hammering heart, and soothed the tension building between her wings. Now where was I? Oh yes the day of our confrontation. At first I thought Luna’s leaving was just her doing what she said she would, go into the world and acclimate herself as a civilian. To find happiness now that I was going to rule Equestria to ensure that she and all those I cared for would be forever safe. But I sensed something trying to interact with my elements. I knew then that she wasn’t planning on standing by me, but against me.
As I teleported to our old castle, I saw her getting the Elements from their hiding place. I’m ashamed to admit that it infuriated me, but I was so sure that the visions that I saw at Sombras were coming true, in the worst way possible.
When I arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes. My sister, my constant, my rock, was stealing the Elements of Harmony. Taking them from their resting place, I’ll admit that I was more than a little peeved, but the look of fear in her eyes wounded me more than any dagger could.
“You wretched cur! After all I've done for you, you'd repay me with this disloyalty! This betrayal! How could you!?” Celestia screamed in the Royal Canterlot Voice.
“Disloyalty! You’re forcing ponies from the northern expanses, and if I’m to believe rumors as I’m want to do with the last one being true, are forcing other frontier colonies into internment camps! Why?” Luna replied, the last question more of a plea than an accusation.
“I’m doing it to save them! They aren’t able to understand that I’m doing it for their own good. There are evils in the world dear sister, and after Sombra’s use of what we taught him, I learned that ponies can’t be trusted to look after themselves. So I’m taking charge, and the world will be better for it. Now I know of the Fell Beast you consorted with, and the knowledge of summoning horrible things. Give me the elements and let me purify you sister, or do you declare war?”
Celestia saw a look of sorrow on her sisters face that was quickly consumed by anger, Luna forced her moon into the sky and drew forth it’s power as both celestial bodies and physical deities struck at one another searching for dominance. Luna was a tricky warrior, but having watched her illusions in the battle field, and her manipulations in her magics, Celestia was prepared.
She didn’t give Luna time to set up traps or chicanery. Rather used raw force to slam into her. For every attempt of illusionary hiding, Celestia brought another part of the ceiling down upon her and used the clouds of debris to cut into her with her telekinesis. For every chilling blast of ice, Tia retaliated with Sun fueled fire, for every shadow, a blinding blast of light. And as Tia wrested control over the battle from Luna, so to did the sun wrest control from the moon. Their back and forth reflected in the skies as their celestial bodies danced, clashed, and fought above them.
But eventually the sun won, and Celestia took control over the Moon and Stars from Luna gaining even greater strength. As she did she looked at her sister’s prone form. The quivering body covered in burns and cuts, and for a single moment, she was reminded of Sombras vision of her dying sister. In her hesitancy Luna teleported away, taking the Elements with her.
It was shortly after that, that my army had its first defectors. Those ignorant foals choosing my sister who was clearly under the sway of dark magics and not fit for any sort of duty, over my self. I’ll admit that I through a small fit over just how far my corrupted sister would go.
Looking at it now, I can see that I might have acted hastily, my looks into finding more of Sombra’s crystals were hit and miss. Only recovering one encased pony in a cave near the Castle, along with a partially reformed body of Sombra. I’ll admit that was a satisfying kill. But depressing over all when I knew there were more out there.
As time marched on, I knew the world was too dangerous and decided that all of Equestria would one way or another would be safer if every pony lived in or near Canterlot. Then I could watch over them for all time, and no threat would be too far for me to save them from.
A few times I saw Luna on my savior runs, and the night reflected that melancholy. Eventually I just stopped trying. I could never be as good an artist as her. Every pony knew it, but my disassociation with that celestial orb caused to eventually wane until it shone black, and no stars lit the sky to show ponies the way. I think this is what eventually drove Luna mad.
Seeing her orb defiled so that no light shone during her time of the day. But it was shortly after my decree to force every pony to Canterlot and a nation wide declaration of myself as Queen. That I saw the darkness in her heart. Or so I have believed it to be so for so long.
Celestia stood in the center of town, the streets filled with smiling ponies, as the guards mingled with them to ensure that they were happy in this joyous occasion. As well as looking out for more traitorous dogs. It saddened her that ponies would willingly follow a pony who is obviously deranged, and under the machinations of darkness unlike herself.
Just as the crown was about to be placed on her head, A powerful blast of ice struck near her. And suspended in the air was proof of her sister’s evilness. A foul beast of corrupted magics in pony form looked down upon her, “Look at you and your sun worshiping ponies.There is room for only one Queen in Equestria and that is me, you hideous hag of fire and hate. I will best you, you night thief! For! I! Am! Nightmare Moon!”
Celestia struck down at her with her fires as she raised both the sun and the moon to draw power from. All around her, her ponies screamed in terror as Celestia tried her best to blast the source of their fear from the skies. She would protect Equestria from any
threat, even if it had to be her sister.
A part of her was unnerved that this fell beast of darkness, was so tactical. It would strike just close enough to almost graze her, and flew away getting Celestia to do the chasing and the wing work. A part of her laughed at the attempt of trying to wear down a Queen drawing power from both the sun and the moon. She would at last catch that flying charlatan and even though it broke her heart she was going to need to be brought to justice for her transgressions.
For hours they danced, Celestia’s fires razed entire woodlands, and the villages near them. While Luna’s blast would miss although put out the fires. Celestia was glad that her sister’s lack of training of the generations had made her so sloppy, but at least saved Celestia the need to fix it herself after her battle. The skies sang with magic, as between blast of fire and ice, they cast even more complex cantrips. Each one just barely missing it’s mark, but ended up with Celestia inching closer and closer until she was but a tail swipe away.
“Demon! You’ve betrayed Equestria with your foolishness!” Celestia yelled over the sound of the wind and arcane blasts that were trying their best to rend the sky in twine.
“It is not I who has betrayed Equestria, you tyrant! You mockery of the sun! You forced us into the shadows, then tried to usurp the throne over the corpses of thousands! It is you who is the demon! You are worse than Tirek and Discord ever were, I bet they are proud of the lands newest evil!” Nightmare Moon yelled, hitting as many low blows as she could while fighting.
Celestia roared a primal scream of rage as she drew close enough to wipe the smirk from Nightmare Moon’s face, but just as victory was at hand. A blast of rainbow energy struck her and the Nightmare.
”NOOOOOOOOOOO!” She bellowed as she felt the Rainbow Friendship comet drag her from the earth into her sun. That one scream, held a mix of confusion, primal terror, and betrayal that seemed to shake the skies as her body left the world as she knew it.
When it was all over she found herself alone, in the core of her sun. With her magic she made a throne mimicking the one she had constructed for her a few days earlier. But now … it just felt empty. As empty as her wounded heart.
Not only did her sister betray her, but as she saw it until just recently, her very elements became corrupt and attacked her. It took her awhile for the shock of everythings betrayal against her, but when it finally clicked she was imprisoned and it was all from the evil creature that was once her loving sister, and the very elements that were a part of her she let loose such a scream of rage and pain that even the earth could feel it’s malicious pain.
I admit that while in that prison I did many things I wasn’t proud of. Everytime I saw my sister I saw Nightmare Moon hiding in my sister’s body, and I let her know just how much anger I felt towards her. Eventually she stopped showing all together until a new Alicorn showed up in my sun. I was equally mixed of pleasantly surprised to see another one of our kind, and angry that another trespassed upon my sanctuary and solitude.
When that waif of a pony said she was me I was so furious that I was willing to annihilate her for her transgression. But thinking back on it, I see it for what it was. My little sister wasn’t corrupted, she must have used her shadow clone to line me up for the perfect ambush, and the elements weren’t corrupt. When I placed that tiara upon my head I instantly felt it’s harmonious hum flow through me.
And that waif, was just a byproduct of a sad little pony who missed her sister. While enraging, seeing it through Luna’s eyes, it made sense that she who was weaker thanme in the later years, would attempt to fill her heart with an impostor. Although I’m was glad that, my little talk with her got her to stop pretending to be me glorious self. I still need to talk to her one day to ensure she carries no delusions on to who she is and isn’t. But Cadance, I remember my little sister talking about having a foal named Cadance when we were younger. I can't wait to see if she can be made to see reason more than her faux mother did.
After all if my sister believes the lies and stories that her and her little ponies spread about me these thousand years, who knows what things were put into that poor little ponies head when she came to be. I bet my sister put her up to believing she was a form of me.
But I guess that’s the source of the imbalance. I know that the Elements are not corrupt, even though why they acted against me baffles me, and my sister was not that monster that attacked me. But in the end, my sister truly doesn’t believe in me, doesn’t see the righteousness of what I’m trying to do for her and all of my little ponies. And it hurts, it hurts so much.
But I also learned so much when fighting that monster Gorgar and Prince Bray. I learned that as a mother myself, threatening the children and families of ponies to get their obedience only pushes them away. It’s what was the root for the revolts before my banishment, and the malcontent amongst the aristocracy. And it’s now the reason so many of my little ponies fear me, as well as the current Element Bearers, and yes I can admit to myself that the Elements chose wisely.
I just need to reeducate them when I get back in power. Show them how good and pure I am so that their baseless fears that had them act against me can be squashed, and then they can work for me helping protect Equestria as is their duty as bearers.
Taking a deep breath and letting her mind come back to the surface she felt a great sense of peace wash over her. Her path remained pure, and with the insight of keeping the battles as much as possible from her little ponies to show her righteousness. She felt lighter, more lighter than she had in long time and with that lightness she flapped her wings and rose.
Calling out to the sun she let her joy, compassion and love flow from herself to the Sun’s nurturing essence and wash across the land. And as the sun met her flying form a smile graced her face as she knew that everything would be as it should be some day soon, and her little sister would know her love once she submitted to her Queen.