“Forgive me, my sister, for you have sinned and I must act against you for the good of Equestria.”
There had not been a sound as he was brought in to the new throne room of an equally new castle in the city of Canterlot, but that was because the healers and night guards had thoughtfully enclosed the poor bat pony in a healing, soundproof bubble. The only thing now making the scene a curiosity that would turn the heads of the busy artisans and construction ponies was the fact such a large contingent - a dozen lunar sentinels - accompanied him, pouring into the marbled hallways, followed by several healers.
That and the fact that the accompanying lunar guards were bereft of their armor, their manes and tails in varying states of being singed or burned completely off.
This is why, while it took us by surprise, it was also not a surprise. One that saddened me deeply to see. Being the only direct witness to the perpetrator of the atrocities at Everfree Castle, the pony gave his account to me before giving up his life in service to both our throne and his country. My eyes blurred with tears as I beheld the poor unfortunate guard brought to me, an unrelenting reminder of what I had witnessed mere moments ago a hundred miles away to the north.
I had been newly arrived from the Crystal Empire, thrown through the mirror from King Sombra’s private study and denied return as my corrupted sister melted the magical device into a pool of glass and gold, never to be used again. In rage at Sombra’s incineration, I had let my guard down, but then, could anypony blame me after seeing my beloved consumed by fire so damaging he nearly died?
Yes, they could. It was not as if I had heeded the warning signs so blatantly in front of my muzzle. Now here, too late, I fully and utterly blame myself for letting the creature inside my sister get this far.
I could blame overseeing the construction of the new castle in Canterlot and how it hath kept me from seeing the signs of the darkness slowly eclipsing my sister’s heart because I was not there.
I could blame my anger at her refusal to allow the wedding of myself and King Sombra because I am immortal and he be mortal and yet soon afterwards she turned her own eye to him, betraying my feelings of affection in her blatant indifference!
And I could blame that anger as it made my eyes blind to her increasing callousness towards the needs of her ponies and contempt for them as on the lips of the twilight guards as they came to report the day’s activities to me.
I could blame anything and everything and everypony but the two who truly deserved my wrath - myself for being blind and the thing inside my sister, but it would do nothing to change the path I must now take to halt the escalating damage and stay it - and her hoof before all Equestria suffers further destruction.
Despite my fury and rage at all this, dear sister, I will beg your forgiveness if I am lucky enough to behold your beautiful, uncorrupted visage once again before this be all said and done.
But for now, I cannot turn a blind eye to your pride, your lust for power, any longer.
I am coming for you, my sister. Tartarus take me, I am coming for you.
Princess Luna sighed, laying down the feathered pen at her journal’s side, backing up slightly, lest her tears wash away painful words so newly penned. ‘Oh Sombra, if only thee were here now, to fight this evil by my side...the evil that hath consumed my sister!’ Thinking of the loss of him as well, the Night Princess squeezed her eyes shut, fresh pain washing over her, the sight of the glacier she had sealed him away in forever burned on her retinas, seen even as she closed her lids to shut out the rest of the world she was obligated to defend.
There was a soft knock on her bedroom door. Shaking herself loose from the pain of her recent defeat and losses, Luna smoothed her ruffled, sparkling mane, wiped away her tears with a handkerchief from the dresser and answered, “Come!”
A batpony guard cracked the door open. “Your Highness? Starswirl the Bearded is here to see you as thee requested.”
“Yes! Yes, pray, let him in at once!” she perked up.
“I told you she would want to see me upon my arrival, now out of my way, guard!” she could hear the wizard grumble. It brought a smile to her, his brusque manner and irritated voice both she and Celestia knew all too well. The guard disappeared, the door opened wider and the ancient pony shambled in, robed in his familiar, heavy, star-studded robes, matching pointed hat and stark white beard so long it always amazed Luna how he never tripped over it.
As soon as the old, sharp eyes caught sight of his pupil, he immediately softened, losing the tetchy attitude, his harsh blue eyes growing misty. Using a back leg to kick the door closed in the guard’s face, he wasted no time coming to her, a hoof extended to encircle her withers as she dissolved into tears in his embrace.
Desperately trying to hold onto a shred of royal bearing, the Lunar Princess felt herself crumble into sobbing as he patted her.
“My little moonbeam,” he murmured. “It pains me to have been so right!”
“I - I couldn’t stop her, Master Starswirl,” she cried into his cloak. “She wouldn’t listen and when she discovered Sombra and I were planning to wed, her anger grew so hot she - “
“ - transformed into a monster,” he finished for her. “I saw her in vision. This aspect of her power, Daybreaker, is a manifestation of her overwhelming pride, her lust for power.”
“It’s horrible!” she spat. “I have never beheld her in such a manner! But why turn upon Sombra?!? He was no threat!” she hiccuped through her tears. “He wanted nothing to do with her!”
“Once Celestia heard of the marriage plans betwixt he and thee, she no doubt saw him as a threat to her rise to absolute power,” the ancient wizard counseled.
“He saw the evil in her, warned her from it, said she talked about uniting his crystal bat ponies and his kingdom under the Equestrian banner in an alliance of marriage, but with her!” She pulled back to look at their teacher. “She lied to me, Master. She told me Sombra wanted to marry her, not me - “ Luna turned away, wiping away tears over Celestia’s betrayal.
“Such rubbish!” Starswirl snorted. “His heart always belonged to thy night, the source of his power. To your night...and to you.”
Luna smiled despite her tears. If only her love could keep him alive now...
“How is Sombra?" the wizard ask. "His fate was muddied in my vision. Does he live?”
“He was badly burned, so much so, I had to seal him in the glaciers of the Frozen North where - “
“ - where he could rest, where the cold might heal him,” the ancient pony guessed. He smiled, his mouth a thin line made less bright by the slim chance his pupil’s quick thinking could help her love. “It was the best you could do, given the circumstances, my child.”
“I can’t lose him. I can’t let my sister destroy our ponies - Equestrian or the Empire’s!” she cried. “And - and I can’t do this alone!”
The wizard pulled her head back down to his withers, offering what physical comfort from his presence he could. “Too young you are, to face such harsh decisions ahead. If only thy mother and father were here.” He sighed. “But, they are not, little one,” he drew back. “And the burden of this falls upon you, I fear.” The corners of his eyes lifted. “And yet, you are strong, so much stronger than you know. And I come with a gift that will assist you in this most difficult time.”
Luna drew back from him as he shifted, opening the flap to his saddle bag, peering inside. “These elements were scattered to the time stream - and would still be lost, were it not for Nyx. Now where are they? Hmmm..wand? No, not that.” An ornately carved wand clattered to the floor, followed by several candles tied up in silk ribbons.
“The alicorn of time?” Luna whispered. “I thought her a legend. You mean she truly exists?”
“Oh, here and there,” the wizard said, distracted by the items he pulled out of his bag, discarding them haphazardly onto the floor. Next came potion bottles, tossed to the safety of the bed. “Yesterday, but not today, a decade from now, but not tomorrow, tsk, tsk,” he shook his head. “She is a busy mare, and not always in our dimension.” An impossible quantity of spell scrolls piled up at their hooves. “But she has a soft spot for your Sombra - “ he stopped a moment, three colored stones now in his magical grip, hovering near his pack. “ - I hear tell they are involved, in uh, several other dimensions…”
“Beg pardon, Master?“
“Oh, oh, perhaps I should not have imparted that news to you, little one,” he regretted, reaching the bottom of his saddlebag. “Ah, YES. They always slip to the bottom of thy bag. Remember that, child. Travel lightly! No enemy will give thee time to unload all that junk just to find - ah, there thou art!“ Three more stones popped out to join the others, all varied colors, their glows in each other’s proximities increasing.
“Master, I escaped back here through the mirror to enlist your help. I had a plan to distract Celestia, but I was not able to carry it out before - “
“Daybreaker, child,” the old pony corrected.
“No, she is still my sister, deep down, in there somewhere,” insisted Luna. “beyond that hideous white visage that sears my vision.”
“This is your fight, little one,” the mage said, taking a serious tone with her now. “And will be the hardest task thee will ever do, but if you go into the fray thinking thy sister will listen to reason at this late stage - “ Starswirl looked around at the large pile of clutter around them. “Oh, dearie me!”
“What is it, Master?”
He looked truly distressed, shaking his head. “Oh dear, dear, oh dear me!”
“Are thee missing more stones?” Luna glanced around the piles of stuff he had tossed all over the floor, hoping to help.
“This will never do!”
“What, Master!” she fought to get his attention.
“This mess! How in Tartarus am I going to get it back into my saddlebag?!?”
A pegasus flying in hot and fast from the Crystal Empire brought the news hours later that Daybreaker had succeeded in enslaving the populace and had taken the throne. There was no more time. The two worked together to project a message to the solar menace across the vast hundreds of miles, directly to the palace…
Daybreaker glared at the vacated crystal throne, frowning. “Hmmm...red crystal is pretty, but not my taste,” she shrugged, lighting her horn. Her eyes burned with sickly green dark magics, the heat of her power bleeding off at the edges of her eyes as irradiated mist. The heart of the Empire’s power melted before her, dying, then warping, transforming into jagged spires in varying shades of orange, livid blue flames licking the inner crystal at their centers. Then, summoning living fire from the heart of the planet beneath them, she created a moat of molten lava to encircle the new throne, with twin troughs of rivers of fire running parallel to each other from either side of the throne to the double-doored entrance to the grand room. Nodding with an air of arrogant satisfaction, the usurper took a seat, settling in.
“Agenda! Formal Declaration!” she called out after flinging the doors open with her magic. “Attend me!”
Two crystal bat ponies, their coats dulled by airborne ash and stark fear, trembled as they were pushed in by drone guards controlled by their new, wicked ruler. “Ye - yes, your Highness?” the one called Declaration stammered, looking down, his Queen’s painfully bright presence nearly blinding his sensitive eyes.
The corrupted princess frowned. “Declaration, do you find me - repulsive to look upon?” she asked in a calm, measured voice laced with an undertone of malice.
“‘Re - repulsive’?” he echoed, surprised. “No! No, your Majesty!”
“Then why does thee look away?”
The bat pony made an effort to look at her, but could only squint, eyes blinded by tears of heat and discomfort. “I am used to a measure of - “ he trailed off, afraid for his life.
“Of...darkness, Majesty,” he whispered. “My eyes cannot behold you glory in any measure of comfort.”
“You are not here for your comfort, creature,” Daybreaker warned him. “That you live at all is by my mercy. Be warned not to forget - “
A messenger burst in then, a pegasus wearing stark white armor as cold and smooth as his new queen’s sleek hide. He came up to the throne, as close as he dare without being singed by the radiant heat thrown off by her mere presence. “A message most urgent, your Highness,” he announced, throwing himself down before her, grateful for the relative coolness of the crystal and marble palace floors.
“Speak,” she commanded.
The pegasus stood and opening a scroll, began to read. “By order of Princess Luna, ruler of the moon and night, as witnessed by Starswirl the Bearded, Royal Grand Wizard of the Court of Canterlot, you, the creature known as Daybreaker, stand accused of the assault of three ponies of royal blood - King Sombra, rightful ruler of the Crystal Empire, herself, Princess Luna, ruler of the moon and night and Princess Celestia, ruler of the sun. You are commanded to give up the throne immediately and present yourself for surrender and subsequent judgment at the court of Equestria - “
A blast of livid, boiling energy shot across the room, incinerating the scroll out of the pegasus’s hooves. Startled, he cantered back, a whine of fear escaping his lips.
Daybreaker stood, her manner almost bored. “Yes, yes, I suppose now that my reign here is secured, I should put in an appearance and remind my dear little sister and our foolish old mentor of my position there as well as here as their Eternal Queen.” Her ember burning eyes fell upon the three ponies at her hooves. “Begone, you lot. Inform the guard I shall be attending to business at the throne of Equestria. I suspect this will not take long.” She glided past them as they cast their gazes downwards out of respect and fear that their eyes be burned from their skulls by the heat of her passing. Before long they heard the throne doors close behind her and rose, hurrying to do her bidding.
As Daybreaker took to the skies over the crystal castle, she noted the absence of any of her subjects below. Some having witnessed what they believed to be the demise of their king in the skies she now controlled, had fled in terror, abandoning the homes their ancestors had carved out of the local, thousand-foot high cliffs dominating the Frozen North’s landscape. Others had left much sooner as the cascading river falls that had nourished all life here dried up under the unrelenting, burning gaze of a sun that had not set for days.
The earliest ones to flee had been fortunate. They had gotten out before the white alicorn had realized the frightened populace needed controlling and had thrown an enormous force field around the city cliffs. Those who had chosen to remain, or were slow in fleeing, marveled at the power to do this even as they trembled beneath her molten gaze. All they had gotten for their hesitancy were brass chains upon their hooves, heavy yokes around their withers and a new destiny slaving for gold, panning the river beds at the foot of their single dying source of water for hundreds of miles.
She took a moment to circle the city more thoroughly, ruminating on the thought that with the next cities she conquered, any surplus populace should be redistributed and the stronger earth ponies brought here to mine the gold she craved to decorate her throne and the castle proper with. Yes, as those city’s citizens grew overtired from a lack of darkness within which to sleep, they would be easier to conquer, spirits would falter, then crumble and her sun drones would find little to no resistance as they moved in to do their mistress’s bidding. Daybreaker nodded as she flew over the rapidly dying and cracked earth below and saw that her plan was sound and was good!
The white demon alicorn turned towards the southernmost edges of her city’s limits, drawn by the booming Canterlot voice. Princess Luna hovered above the force field, wide blue wings beating the skies furiously. Her body shimmered and wavered on the other side of the field, the only spot of cool blue color against a dread umber sky melting the surrounding glaciers in the distance.
“Greetings, Luna!” Daybreaker gestured with her wingtips towards the parched landscape. “Welcome to the warmth of my new holdings! Could not wait for my arrival at the Southern Castle? I am flattered at your eagerness to greet me.”
“Your flattery is given on a false tongue, fire demon,” Luna spat. “I would have words with my true sister, NOT the abomination that squats in her body!”
The older alicorn cocked her head, “‘Squats’?” she echoed, feigning confusion. “How crass, little filly. Thou art confused and uneducated on the manner in which I came to be.”
The Lunar Princess’s wings slowed their angry pace, conserving energy for the battle to come. A quick glance below caught the form of Starswirl moving, unseen by her sister, into position near the edge of the force field. “I care not how you came to inhabit where you are not welcome - “
“Ah, but that is where you are in error,” Daybreaker corrected her. “I was most welcome by the need for your sister to satisfy her desire for power.”
“My sister would never - “ Luna began angrily.
Daybreaker’s mocking laughter cut her off. “She has ALWAYS craved absolute power, you stupid child! How does thouest think I came to be aware of her in the first place?”
Luna’s anger faltered, replaced in part by shock. “Nonsense! Celestia has always been more powerful than I or any who rule, by reason of being firstborn, by the power of the sun. She needed no more as our leader and knew the life of all in Equestria depends upon her!” her voice rose in anger-tinged desperation to get through to the sister she was certain could still hear her.
A dark look came over the fallen alicorn’s radiant face. “Not all life, little filly,” spat Daybreaker. “And WE will have dominion over ALL, or those that resist us will be eliminated!”
Out of the corner of her eye, Luna could see Starswirl pause at her words. She too felt a fluttering of confusion, then the beginnings of fear for what the evil being meant by her words. ‘I have to get her out of that field, get her mad enough to let it down so Starswirl can slip in,’ Luna thought to herself. “What does thouest mean, foul creature?” she inquired aloud. “Or is this empty bragging by one who is sheltered in the protection of a magical field?”
Down below, Starswirl beamed. ‘Good going, Luna! Demons emotions run high when challenged. They can barely control their impulses to act out of anger when mocked.’
The sun demon was slow to bait, but she did dissolve the field in her overconfidence that Luna could not get past without her notice. “There, is that better, little filly?” she asked smugly.
“It fails to tell me what thou meant,” Luna replied. “So please, enlighten me.” The Lunar Princess flew slightly higher, wondering if it were high enough to dodge a solar flare blast. During their earlier fight with King Sombra on her side, the sun demon had demonstrated a terrifying reach with her magic, one which had taken her King by surprise. Luna’s mind raced with the pain of that lesson, the strategies she and Starswirl had come up with, the fear that Daybreaker would discover him before he could accomplish his mission below them, which, if such came to pass, all hope would be lost to them in their quest to defeat this demon with little to no casualties within the Empire.
Daybreaker chuckled at the phrase, then smiled, the effect against her cold, porcelain face like that of a smiling skeleton. “Does tho forget thine own allies, Luna?”
“You mean the ponies who rebelled against thee?” her sister shot back. “Even their sources of food and warmth come from Celestia’s - ”
“ - my,” corrected Daybreak.
“Celestia’s sun!” snapped Luna in anger. “You wear her skin, foul thing, but thee are NOT the bringer of light that gives life and warmth!”
The sun demon thought about that and surprisingly nodded in acknowledgement. “We concede the point. We bring fire and death to those that would resist Our sovereign right to rule over them.” She paused, then continued. “Those We refer to as “thine allies”, child, are such who have little need for MY gifts.” She gestured with an outstretched wing’s tips to the terrain beyond. “Creatures sheltered in the near eternal darkness of the soon-to-be-unfrozen north...Umbrum, Prenumbrum, the shadowvores created by King Sombra to stand against Us.” Her wing gestured back to Luna. “Those creatures thou stand guard against each and every night during thy vigil over the dreams of ponies.”
Luna turned herself away from Daybreaker. “Thanks to thee, there will be no more dreams to guard, no more nights to shelter our bat ponies - crystal or otherwise, neither the Umbrum or dark dwellers.” She took the opportunity of turning away to check on Starswirl’s progress. To her relief, he had crossed through the field and reached the slave camps lining the shores of the river’s branches below. Groups of ponies disappeared one-by-one as the wizard teleported them out quickly and quietly, Daybreaker’s own surrounding radiance making it impossible for her to see the flashes of magic below. “And why would thee desire their - “ Luna stopped short, realizing something. Turning back, she glared at the hateful visage of the thing wearing her sister’s skin. “You desire not their loyalty, vile demon...you desire their power!”
Daybreaker snorted as if it were obvious. “Of course!” she said haughtily. “Those with power to resist me I shall relieve of its burden - and their lives.”
“NEVER!” Princess Luna screamed, unable to bear the thought of her sister’s body being used to commit such atrocities. Furious, she shot a blast of powerful lunar magic at the creature. Taken by surprise, the sun demon paid for its lack of vigilance by sustaining a vicious wound across its cheek, the cold burning worse than anything the vile entity had ever experienced. Luna immediately summoned her body armor and lunar sword as Daybreaker howled in rage, baring sharp fangs and the red-hot, forked tongue of a sun salamander. Beady, glowing eyes glaring at the Moon Princess hatefully, the white alicorn launched herself at Luna without hesitation.
“Princess, LOOK OUT!” Starswirl yelled from below, fearing for the young alicorn’s life.
Distracted for an instant by his cry, Daybreaker looked back, understanding now that Luna had played her for a fool, acting as a distraction to hide the wizard’s actions from her. To Luna’s horror, the creature swelled Celestia’s neck, thin membranes painted in brilliant reds and oranges flaring out to her sides as her head reared back and her throat swelled obscenely.
“Starswirl, take cover!” Luna cried in warning in the royal voice.
The wizard, looking to Luna as she spoke, switched back to Daybreaker as the creature spat something huge and glowing from the white alicorn’s throat, hurtling it at him with incredible speed. Without thinking, Starswirl teleported out just seconds before the fiery tendril of a glowing solar flare splattered over the riverbank, burning what few trees had not died from the infernal weather and causing a great bank of steam to rise, obscuring the creature’s view of its target.
Beady, glowing eyes swung back in Luna’s direction. The sun demon’s hiss was a horrible, guttural snarl of purest hate. Luna’s heart sank as it seemed there was no trace of her sister’s soul left in the grip of this evil creature. Steeling herself for what she knew she must do, and with a pained heart, the Princess flew straight up towards the sun. Daybreaker hissed again and gave chase.
Luna sped up, higher and higher, faster and faster still, her enemy far below, but gaining ground with each flap of her mighty wings. When the lunar Princess was almost at the altitude and angle she and Starswirl had calculated before making the trip out to the Empire, she charged her horn, transcribing a magic circle around herself of very ancient runes, crying, “Shadow vores and Umbrum, servants of the great King Sombra, of night and nightmares, lend thy power to me in this moment of our greatest need!”
The temperature of the surrounding air cooled as wisps of darkness rushed past Daybreaker - great dark and powerful night demons, slithering whispers of night terrors and nightmares, hungry shadowvores whose mere touch upon her hide as they passed left welts and freezing blisters upon the perfect porcelain white fur. Their numbers were so numerous, their darkness so consuming they filled her with dread even though they were ignoring her in favor of the call of their Night Princess. She watched, shuddering, at their passage.
Then, the shadowy Umbrum, the emaciated forms of the terrors and nightmares sensed the solar demon’s fear and paused in their flight, attracted by the fresh scent of food. Hungrily they turned back towards Daybreaker, but paused, hesitating, she thought because of her overwhelming brightness and power, but then she felt it too...a familiar, magical signature. It originated far below them, deep in the glacier to the North. There was a soft, hum, a rumble, as cracks, then larger fissures could be seen on its surface, weakened by the fire demon’s heat blasts against the Moon Princess.
Luna’s heart skipped a beat. This was the glacier she had placed her lover in to heal, to rest...
A single, boiling mass of darkest shadow bubbled from the fissure, causing the demon wearing Celestia’s skin to flinch in fear.
The shadow felt the fear and suddenly shot towards her, in seconds swarming over its prey.
“NO!” the corrupted Princess screamed, her vision obscured by the King of Shadows all-consuming darkness as what was left of him swamped both her eyes and her mind. Her body grew stiff and cataleptic in the grip of those things that terrified her most as a deep, melodic chuckle rang through her mind.
Luna watched, horrified, as the disembodied form of her lover withdrew, sated as he had grown Daybreaker’s darkest fears, then weakened the sun demon’s power whilst feeding on it and Celestia’s terrors.
The other creatures of darkness could no longer restrain themselves, scenting the tantalizing feast and attacked the body of Princess Luna’s sister. Daybreaker managed to get off several shots of fiery magic towards Luna, but Sombra was there in an instant as a shield, absorbing the blasts meant to end the Moon Princess. When she surged forward with the intent to save her sister, a single, whispered thought in the voice of her beloved rang through her mind.
Starswirl had warned her of this, that the Princess would have to steel herself not to interfere with these nocturnal predators first few seconds of feeding as they weakened the sun demon enough Luna could avail herself of the opportunity to overpower Daybreaker. At first it was almost easy as she could no longer see the majestic white alicorn’s form within the dark, flowing mass. Celestia’s voice, having been corrupted by the demon’s presence, grew more and more guttural and unrecognizable as the gentle voice of her sister’s as she grew weaker, losing heat and sunlight vital to her magic. Luna shut her eyes, ears flattened back to the sides of her head, waiting seconds that seemed like hours for that telltale sign while the Shadow King sheltered her in his protective darkness -
Luna’s eyes popped open. It was Celestia’s voice now - not the demon’s. Weak and frightened, but unmistakably only her sister Celestia’s!
The Lunar Princess sprang into immediate action, drawing her sword, sending a dispersal scatter wave into the mass surrounding her sister, then lighting the archaic symbols within the circle around her, summoning the servants of darkness to it - and her. Deprived of the full satisfaction of their meal, but drawn to obey, they swarmed to her - a solid mass of darkness impenetrable as the shadowy mass that had once been the king of the Crystal Empire returned to the healing darkness of the glacier below.
Reeling, Daybreaker regained her bearings, but not her strength. A great pall of darkness now lay over the skies and lands below and she looked up towards the sun that should have been there to refuel and replenish her strength and her magics. She was greeted only with a glowing circlet, a halo of weakened white light behind the great orb of darkness demons clumped together in a seething, roiling mass behind the form of the Princess of the Night.
“No!” the sun demon croaked out in a weak, sickly voice, stretching towards the unreachable white star and its promise of limitless replenishment of her powers. The darkness standing in her way was in reality small, but massive in strength and power.
Using the dwindling reserves of her own power, she shot across the lands in an effort to find an angle around the demonic horde to bask in the sun and its influence, but as she flew, Luna directed the dark demons to block the fire demon from the light. Daybreaker quickly realized she would have to travel hundreds if not a thousand miles to regain direct sunlight with which to recharge her demon magic and as weak as she now was, that was just not possible.
While the darkness obeyed Luna’s will to block out the sun, the alicorn tackled Daybreaker, dragging her upwards in an unforgiving magical grip, higher and higher until the curve of Equestria appeared below them as they entered the upper atmosphere. A low, evil chuckle whispered to the Night Princess, next to her ear.
“Ha, Princess, thou thinks to defeat me by dragging us into space? I will feast on your charred carcass...even now I feel my strength returning as we pass from the penumbral shadow you artificially created!”
Luna ignored the creature’s taunts as she continued, gathering stardust at the very edges of the planet’s atmosphere to bind her sister’s hooves with chains unbreakable. True, Daybreaker’s body was growing hotter, her mane flaming back to life, but the Princess of the Night gritted her teeth and bore it, even as embers landed on the feathers of her wings, causing great pain and distress as they burned and melted the sensitive appendages.
With the body of her sister bound thusly, Princess Luna was able to reach her destination - a comet in orbit - and set them both down upon it. She stepped back from her corrupted sister, trying to shaking the hot embers from her wings, wincing in pain the cold of space quickly and mercifully numbed.
“Give up my sister, demon!” Luna snarled, bearing down in a fighting stance before her.
“You never understood, did you Luna?”
Confused by the calm in the demon’s voice, Luna stood up. Celestia’s appearance was still hideously corpse-like, unchanged, the beady yellow eyes peering out from behind pronounced bone, sharp fangs on either side of the slender red forked tongue flicking in and out of her mouth, her mane a writhing mass of flame dancing around her neck and withers.
“What is there to understand, foul creature?” Luna challenged.
“Always the wild, younger sibling,” Daybreaker/Celestia hissed. “Overtly rebellious and untameable. With our parents gone, you think it has been easy raising thee?”
“How dare you speak for my sister!” the Night Princess snapped.
“And yet it is the truth, Luna,” came the mockery of Celestia’s clear voice. “You never listen, flaunt your lesser responsibilities, put yourself in dangers I always have to rescue you from.”
“Not always - “ a shocked Luna began to protest.
“Tsk, tsk,” the voice sank deeper into the hollow echo of the sun demon’s presence. “Such power needed to reign your rebelliousness in.” The creature smiled a hideous, death-like grin. “No wonder Celestia asked for my help.”
“STOP IT,” Luna hollered, angered. “I know my sister and she NEVER would have given into thee willingly!”
The creature snorted. “And yet, here we are, you having to make the big decisions all by yourself about what to do with us. Face it, little filly, I/we hold all the bits...you won’t kill this body to get to me - not and harm your precious big sister.”
Luna turned away, tears streaming down her face. “I won’t have to, demon.”
Daybreaker’s face twitched. “You’re lying.”
“Am I?” Luna whirled around. “Haven’t you noticed how hard it is to move? How strange that is when thy chains are now not that restrictive around thy hooves.”
The sun demon laughed mockingly, but couldn’t settle the uneasy feeling the alicorn’s words awoke in it. She tried to lift her front hooves and found them as heavy as solid blocks of the densest lava. Grunting, she strained and snarled, throwing her head in a growing fit of anger and panic. “What is this?!?” she snapped, glaring hatefully at Luna.
“You thought regaining the directness of the sun’s rays in space would replenish your wicked powers, demon,” Luna explained coldly. “But have you noticed your mane?”
The creature glanced behind it. To its shock, the normally fiery mane was slowly dying. “What? No - !”
“Fire requires air - and there is no air up here, away from Equestria,” Luna’s voice grew even more clinical, more distant, as if the only way she could deal with the pain of what she was doing was to distance her emotions from the sentence she was about to carry out. "You have no source of fire within this body to sustain such power out here - not like that of the sun Celestia commands."
Luna lit her horn, summoning the Elements of Harmony from her saddle bag. As the Night Princess rose above Daybreaker, they followed her, began to align, to slowly circle her. Next she brought forth a scroll. Unfurling it, she began to read, “By order of myself, Princess Luna, ruler of the moon and night…”
“NO!” Daybreaker screeched. “You can’t do this to me - to your sister Celestia!!!”
“You, the creature known as Daybreaker, stand accused of the assault of THREE ponies of royal blood - King Sombra - rightful ruler of the Crystal Empire, myself - Princess Luna, ruler of the moon and night and my beloved sister, Celestia, the Princess of the Sun.”
“I will change! I can be a good ruler!” the sun demon shrieked, tossing her head violently back and forth, muscles all throughout her body fighting the growing paralysis of the magically enforced sentence.
“You are sentenced by the Elements of Harmony to imprisonment for your crimes,“ Luna’s voice cracked with sadness and emotion.
The Elements gained speed around the Lunar Princess’s form until they were a blur of color that blended into a blinding white light. They struck Daybreaker, paralyzing her completely, the look of shock and fear burned into her bone-white face.
The Elements slowly rose above them, still spinning, preparing to send her into exile deep under the ice floes of the Frozen North, far from the warmth and power of the sun. Luna let the scroll fall to the rocky surface, the deep silence of space her only witness to what she had just done to her sister.
How had it ever come to this, her mind dredging up the question, but her brain sluggishly processing it through the slowly dawning shock of what had just happened. Choking on tears, it was minutes before she raised a hoof towards her sister, but then dropped it back down, shaking her head, wanting to scream out her frustration and inner pain.
"'tia?" Luna cleared her throat. "I - I know you're still in there. Can you hear me? I'm sorry sister, I am so sorry! Thee left me no other choice!"
The porcelain statue stood mute, its strangely slit eyes unmoving, the unsettling molten color of the surrounding tissue cooled by the Element's spell.
Below them, Equestria cooled as well, the sun no longer buoyed in the skies by Daybreaker's magic, it slipped from its bonds, towards the horizon. Luna felt the tug of the moon - an internal signal of its impatience to be let free to reign over the newly birthing night. Even in her grief, the Princess remembered her duty and raised it, knowing their ponies were now safe and in dire need of rest and dreams held in abeyance for days unending. She would need now to learn to raise the sun on her own, to take the place of her sunny sister's duties, once again let the gentle warmth of the sun nourish all life in their magical world.
Tears streaming down her face, the Princess of the Night returned her gaze to her sister, enfolded her corrupted sister’s withers with her wings, even as the dying flames of Daybreaker’s mane seared her already damaged feathers. Despite the paralysis, the white alicorn could still hear the heartbreak in her little sister’s voice as she whispered into her ear.