A slightly more Action Packed ending of the "Canterlot Wedding" episodes.
Princess Luna went to sleep before the Wedding of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. But when she wakes up she finds that she did indeed miss out on a lot. Because now she has to deal with a Canterlot overrun with Changelings intent on killing her. To make matters worse, Shining Armor wasn't the only person that Queen Chrysalis brainwashed. No pressure right . . .
Partially inspired by "Emperor Stark" from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
"Why did you do it?!" Princess Luna shouted.
It was the night before Shining Armor's and Princess Me Amora Cadenza's wedding. The Moon was setting and soon Celestia would raise the sun. Luna was going to go to bed. A part of her regretted that she would not be present for such an occasion, but then again she was nocturnal.
But currently, her focus was on her sister Celestia whom she was glaring at.
"What do you mean sister?" Celestia said in a calm voice.
"I've looked through all the official history books distributed throughout Equestria. The kind that are taught to schoolchildren. And I've found out something rather interesting Sister. I'm not in them!" Luna growled.
Celestia avoided her sister's eyes for a moment, and then she asked, "why does this anger you so much?"
Luna was almost speechless. She had been back for awhile and she'd often wondered why most people reactions to her were as if she was still Nightmare Moon. So she'd done a bit of checking up on what people knew about her. She had been very surprised to discover that most public information about her was in dusty books that almost no one read.
"Sister, I regret what I did as Nightmare Moon. But why did you not tell the people that we once ruled together before I became a monster? Why is it that the only thing that most everypony remembers about me is that I tried to usurp the throne and kill you?!"
Celestia faced down her angry sister with a sad look on her face.
"Luna, please try to understand. There was a thousand year gap in-between when you were banished to the moon and when you returned. Our subjects are not immortal and they needed a sense of stability after you were gone."
"So you made me into your scapegoat?!" Luna said, hurt evident in her eyes.
"No. You know how tiring and hard our royal duties are. By the time I had realized that you were passing into becoming an old Mare's tale . . . well, the effect was already underway."
Luna looked at her sister with hurt and tired eyes. She wanted to continue on, to scream at her big sister that she could've found time to make sure that Luna wasn't forgotten in favour of Nightmare Moon. But she simply felt too tired to do so, especially after watching Canterlot for so long and so vigilantly after a threat had been made from out of the blue against them.
So Luna simply sighed and walked past her sister, intent on going to bed. She'd deal with it after the wedding.
"Goodnight Little Luna," Celestia said softly.
Luna stiffened, and then walked on.
Celestia looked down as she watched her sister go. It had really been a stressful day and night. First Twilight had driven Princess Cadence to tears with ridiculous accusations of her being evil. Then Twilight had vanished, Celestia sincerely hoped that she was thinking her actions over. And now Luna was angry with her too. Celestia was happy to have her sister back, but their relationship still had some rough spots. Celestia sighed as she got ready to raise the sun. She'd deal with this problem after the wedding.
Luna finally got to her room and lay down in her bed. She was asleep almost before the sun had begun to rise.
She woke up around sunset and groaned. She really just wanted to stay in bed. But she knew that she needed to be there to raise the moon. That and the fact that she could make it to the Wedding Party after she raised the moon was enough to coax her out of bed.
After splashing some water in her face to make sure she was fully awake, she set off for the balcony where she and Celestia raised and lowered their respective objects in the sky.
At first she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary as she walked through the castle. She was in a hurry to raise the moon so she could attend the party and brushed past everyone, not noticing how they stared at her. She finally reached the high balcony where she and her sister usually performed their duties. She concentrated and with a smirk of satisfaction, saw the sun set fully and her moon begin to peek over the horizon.
It was when she finally lowered her gaze to look at Canterlot, to see if she could catch a glimpse of the party that was supposed to be held out on the grounds of the castle, did she notice something out of the ordinary.
Luna froze in shock and horror. Changelings were roaming all over the city, some simply were wandering, but others moved in clearly practiced formation. Everywhere she looked, Luna could see Changelings. But strangely enough, all the citizens seemed to be surprisingly acceptant of the monsters that had invaded their city. They were strolling around and it appeared that to them, this seemed to be just another day.
With another thrill of horror, Luna remembered what Changelings fed on and realized that they must be using the entire population of Canterlot as their version of a buffet.
Luna heard some hoofsteps behind her and turned to see her sister. Luna's face broke into a smile as she felt relief surge through her.
"Thank goodness sister. What has happened while I slept? How can we . . ."
It was only then that Luna noticed that Celestia's face wasn't arranged into its usual kindly smile. Celestia's face was murderous as magic ran along her horn in preparation for a spell.
"Celestia!" Luna said in confusion and fear. "What are you doing?! What has-" Then Luna noticed something else. She was very good at discerning magic, but only if she looked at her sister just right could she see it. Her sister's eyes held a slightly greenish tint, characteristic of a mental intrusion spell.
Otherwise known as a Hypnosis spell.
Luna backed away in fear as her sister glowered down at her while saying in a thunderous voice, "enemies of the Queen shall not be tolerated!"
Luna felt her hind legs hit the railing of the balcony, then without a second's hesitation, she threw herself off. Her wings snapped out and she glided away. But it was only a second's respite. A bolt of energy flew past Luna and she turned to see Celestia in pursuit of her. Luna flapped her wings, trying to keep ahead of her sister as she dodged the beams of energy that came flying at her.
Somehow, she managed to land, crashing through one of the windows and as soon as she'd gotten herself steady, she bolted.
Behind her, she could hear Celestia land, then her royal Canterlot voice echoed throughout the castle.
"The traitor Princess Luna has been found, all guards are to arrest on sight. Lethal force is authorized."
Luna panted as she ducked into one of the rooms and hid under a table. Some guards rushed past the door and Luna tried to control her breathing. Then she heard the flapping of wings and heard some Pegasus come floating in through the door.
"See, I told you she wouldn't be in here."
"Quit questioning me, just check under the tables to make sure!"
The voices sounded vaguely familiar, but Luna was too busy trying to steel her nerves to make a run for it as soon as she was found.
The head of a Pegasus poked its way under her table and Luna started. Fluttershy stared at the Princess of the Night. Then she smiled shyly.
"Uhm, I hope it's not too much to ask, but could you please turn yourself in Princess? We really need to obey the Queen."
Luna propelled herself off the floor, knocking the table out of her way as she fled for the door. She had almost made it when what felt like a small torpedo slammed her against the wall. Looking down, Luna was startled once again to see that Rainbow Dash was responsible for her missing the door. Now that she got a good look at them, she noticed that they too had a slight greenish tint to their eyes.
"You're not going anywhere Looney!" Dash said with determination.
Luna didn't waste her breath on words, knowing she was running on borrowed time. She created a small sphere of complete darkness from her horn and flung it right into Rainbow Dash's face. Rainbow Dash fell back, trying to scrub the blinding darkness out of her eyes. Luna turned to go but saw that Fluttershy was standing in the doorway.
"It would really mean a lot to me if you turned yourself in. The Queen is going to fix the world. She's already fixed Canterlot and it would be nice if you could join us."
It was surreal. Her voice seemed just like how Fluttershy would speak normally, shy and kind. But Luna knew far better than to even consider her offer so she charged past the Pegasus.
Almost immediately, Celestia found her again. Luna tried to gain some ground on her but Celestia kept a dogged pursuit. Luna pushed herself to her limits as at first she had to dodge beams of energy in the enclosed space of the corridor. Then Celestia enchanted various decorations such as paintings and flower pots to attack her.
As Luna turned one last bend, dodging some guards that had been posted there, she saw with shock that the corridor ahead lead to the entrance of the Crystal Mines beneath Canterlot. She tried to backpedal but it was already too late. Celestia landed at the entrance to the corridor and slowly advanced upon her sister.
"Celestia" Luna pleaded "please don't do this. You know it isn't right!"
Celestia's green-tinted eyes blazed, "you are unfit to determine right and wrong! Only the Queen may do so!"
And with that she charged at her sister.
Luna panicked and didn't even try to meet her sister in combat. Instead she turned and fled into the mines, not paying attention to where she went.
Celestia was about to follow her sister when a voice stopped her.
"No, she cannot leave the mines through any way but here. Post guards at the entrance."
Celestia turned and bowed deeply as the person who had spoken walked forward.
"As you command my Queen."
Queen Chrysalis's face split into a manic grin. She turned to leave while chuckling to herself. This was so much fun, truly the perfect end to her best day ever.
Luna landed to catch her breath and assess the situation.
She finished assessing the situation and came the conclusion that she had almost no idea what was going on.
Then something off in the distance got her attention. A soft sound of sobbing was echoing through the mines. Pinpointing where the sound was coming from, she spread her wings and propelled herself off the ground.
Soon she came into another room and in that room, to her great astonishment, was Celestia's prize student Twilight Sparkle who was busy comforting none other than Princess Me Amora Cadenza. The Princess was obviously in great emotional distress as tears were flowing down from her eyes.
However, as soon as Luna landed they noticed her.
"Princess Luna!" Twilight said with a great deal of relief on her face. But then her eyes became suspicious and her horn pulsed with magic.
"How do I know your not one of the Changelings?"
"I am Princess Luna, once called Nightmare Moon," Luna recited. "You and your friends freed me with the elements of harmony and I recently attended Ponyville's Nightmare Night in the hopes of improving my relations with the common folk."
After a few seconds, Twilight nodded and ceased the flow of magic. Then it was Luna's turn to ask questions.
"What has happened Twilight? I woke up this sunset and found Canterlot overrun by Changelings. I had to flee from my own sister and barely escaped some of your friends."
Twilight sighed as she sat down.
"Did you know about my little temper tantrum during which I called Cadence "Evil"?"
Princess Cadence looked up at Twilight with a questioning look on her face in spite of the tears.
"You called me evil?"
"Not you, the other Cadence."
They turned back to Luna and she nodded.
"I remember. Celestia seemed a bit tense when we exchanged the night with the day."
"Well, turns out I was right. The Cadence that's been around for most of the wedding planning is actually the Queen of the Changelings."
Luna's eyes widened as she at least partially realized what had happened.
"Unfortunately, before I could warn anyone, she sent me down here where I met up with the real Cadence. We tried to find the exit and eventually we did. But Celestia was waiting for us. At first we were happy, but then we noticed that Queen Chrysalis was behind her and Celestia's eyes were glowing green."
Twilight's head drooped.
"She tried to shoot us down and we barely made it back into the mines. We've been stuck here ever since. There are always some guards watching over the exit."
Luna nodded, "my story is simple. I went to bed as the sun arose; I am partially nocturnal by nature. When I awoke I was eager to raise the moon as quick as possible so that I might not miss the wedding Celebrations that were due to take place at night. However, after raising the moon I noticed the absurd infestation of Changelings who were running rampant through the streets and through the air. I also noted how nobody seemed to consider this out of the ordinary. I was then set upon by Celestia and she gave quite a chase throughout the castle. I eventually found myself at the entrance to the mine and was forced to flee into it."
Cadence seemed to have managed to get control of herself for now as she stood up. Twilight thought for a bit, then she said, "based on your description of Canterlot it seems as if everypony's been put under some form of Hypnosis spell. We should probably be able to break it, but it'll require several tries to determine what kind of Hypnosis spell it is. If only we could get someone to test on."
Luna grinned and motioned for them to follow here. If she was right, then it should be in this room. She saw the small out of place crystal and pushed down on it.
Cadence and Twilight's mouths both dropped as a door opened up in the wall.
Luna smiled "tis a small tunnel I had made before I was Nightmare Moon. It was Celestia's and my little secret. Come, it will lead us out of the castle."
The three Ponies followed the secret passage, their horns lighting the way. After awhile, they came to the end and Luna pushed open another door. The walked into the new room which appeared to be the back of some warehouse built into one of the cliffs of Canterlot.
Just as they had closed the door however, they heard a buzzing noise and they all turned to see a large crowd of Changelings staring at them. Some where licking their lips as if in anticipation.
But strangest of all were three little fillies who were wearing red capes. They appeared to be leading the Changelings and they all advanced on the three escapees. As they advanced with mischievous smiles on their faces, they all said simultaneously, and in a creepy monotone, "you're not going anywhere. Nobody escapes the Cutie Mark Crusaders."
Back at the Castle, Queen Chrysalis grinned as she watched the warehouse from a window.
"It's really quite nice that you remembered that secret passageway you and Luna had built when you were children. You truly are under my full mental domination Celestia."
Celestia said nothing as she watched the warehouse as well. Her face was completely blank, except for one subtle twitch of the eye.
Queen Chrysalis watched with amusement as black shapes flitted around in the windows of the warehouse. She knew that the eventually the two Alicorns and the Unicorn, powerful though they were, would soon be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Changelings. Also, they would not wish to harm the three little fillies she’d sent to do the job. Love was such a stupid emotion, and yet, so succulent and so tasteful. “Shall I go and end the fight?” Celestia asked as she also surveyed the fight with an emotionless face. “No, I am content to let my troops gain experience by apprehending the fugitives.”
Queen Chrysalis looked at Celestia with amusement. “I was astonished when I fully realized the extent of Shining Armor’s love for Princess Cadence. It was so powerful that I had an epiphany. If I am so powerful, then why shouldn’t I be the Queen of the Equestria? But first, I had to convince everpony of my great wisdom which will lead Equestria into my new golden age.”
Celestia’s face did not change at all as she stared at the warehouse. “What did my spell show you Queen Celestia?” “My own inability to look out for the good of my subjects” Celestia said in an emotionless voice “only you can save us from ourselves my Queen.” “Excellent, ha ha ha . . .” Queen Chrysalis chuckled, and then she turned back to the warehouse, fully expecting to see the three insurgents being dragged out by their tails.
Instead, she saw her Changelings wandering about, looking leaderless. The fight was over and the three rebels were nowhere to, in addition to the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
For a moment, Queen Chrysalis said nothing as her brain refused to process the information. Then she growled, her face contorting with anger. The Changelings along with the Ponies all across Canterlot flinched and some even cowered as the Queen’s voice boomed out. “FIND THEM, FAN OUT AND FIND THEM!!!”
The Changelings all nodded frantically and took off, eager to avoid their Queens wrath.
Back a few minutes ago in the warehouse . . .
Twilight fired off another beam of magic that hit a Changeling. It was utter chaos as the three un-brainwashed ponies tried to fight off the mass of Changelings while trying not to hit the three fillies that kept trying to attack them.
Cadence dodged back as Apple Bloom leapt at her. Apple Bloom missed but quickly got up and began hitting some crates in her direction. Cadence couldn’t understand how such a small filly; an Earthpony could be so fast!
Luna struck out and hit several Changelings with her hoofs. Then a shrill warcry alerted her to the fact that Scootaloo was charging straight at her. Unwilling to hurt the small Pegasus Luna’s eyes flared black. Darkness expanded from her horn and enveloped the entire inside of the Warehouse. Nopony could see anything except Luna and they all stumbled around blindly.
Both Twilight and Princess Cadence heard Luna’s voice, “grab a filly.”
Luna had quickly picked out the three Cutie Mark Crusaders and had herded them together. Now she shoved one each into Twilight’s and Princess Cadence’s hooves and each of them magically held the fillies in the air. The Crusaders all kicked and struggled but they could do nothing. “Follow me,” Luna said and she touched her horn to Twilight’s and Princess Cadence’s in turn. Suddenly they could see Luna and the immediate surrounding area in the darkness.
Luna turned and charged away and the two ponies followed, still levitating their struggling Crusaders. Luna lowered her horn and blasted the door away. The moon cast a bright light, though it could not rival the sun. They stormed out and Luna quickly darted away into an alleyway, with her two followers quickly following suit.
They looked behind them and luckily, no Changelings had yet recovered from Luna’s darkness to follow them. They galloped away, randomly changing directions until finally; Luna picked a random house that looked to be empty and moved in through the back door. It looked like a bar which was thankfully closed for now. The three ponies quickly moved to the basement of the building and closed the door behind them.
Only then did the finally deposit the three fillies in a corner. The three young ponies leapt to their feet, indignation and anger written all over their features. “Hey! What gives you the right to just go and kidnap us? Specially when we were just doin the queen’s biddin and all!” Apple Bloom shouted. “You are aware that your “Queen” is the ruler of the Changelings who has been impersonating me aren’t you?” Princess Cadence asked in confusion.
Sweetie Belle cocked an eyebrow “of course we are, that was all a part of her master plan to save Canterlot. Pretty soon she’s gonna lead us in a really awesome campaign to save all of Equestria.” A gleeful smile grew on her face as she continued what was fast becoming a manic rant “she even promised to open up Cutie Mark Crusader posts in every city. Imagine that! Nopony now will have to go without a Cutie Mark for long!! I hope mine’s gonna be a Changeling!!!”
Luna looked at her two companions “they’ve obviously been brainwashed by Queen Chrysalis. Or at least, by one of her servants. I fear that we are the only one’s left in Canterlot free from her evil mind control.”
Scootaloo bared her teeth and leapt at Luna, “you take that back!!! The Queen is a good and loving person and she cares a lot about us!!! She’s the only one who can save the world!!!”
Luna simply held out a hoof and pushed Scootaloo back into the corner with the other fillies. Twilight looked as if she were deep in thought, then a metaphorical light bulb went off in her head.
She stepped forward and turned to the two Alicorns. “I remember when Discord brainwashed all of my friends I learned a spell that would remind them who they are. That spell might help cure them.”
Luna nodded and quickly grabbed the three fillies, who’d been getting ready to bolt upon hearing this news, with her magic.
Twilight walked up to Apple Bloom first, her horn beginning to glow. Apple Bloom snarled “ah won’t fall fer your tricks. Ya’ll are just a bunch o traitors!”
Twilight touched Apple Bloom’s forehead and the young filly gasped as memories surged back. The greenish glow died in her eyes and she fell limply to the floor. The other two crusaders gasped and Twilight quickly moved on to Sweetie Belle. “No, it’s going to be so perfect!!! Don’t hurt me!!!” Sweetie Belle cried in fear as Twilight approached. “Don’t worry Sweetie Belle, you’ll feel better soon” Twilight said comfortingly as she touched her horn to the struggling Unicorn’s forehead. Sweetie Belle also collapsed to the floor and Twilight turned to Scootaloo. “Ha, you may have foaled the others” Scootaloo said as Twilight moved towards her. “But I won’t be so DUH-…” she finished as the spell began to work on her.
She also collapsed to the floor and Twilight stepped back to survey her work. Each filly was rubbing their head as if they had a headache (which they probably did.)
Apple Bloom opened her eyes and looked around her. Her eyes eventually came to rest on Twilight and she quickly avoided her gaze. “Twilight?” “Yes Apple Bloom.” “I’m a might bit sorry about all the things I said,” Apple Bloom said in a voice that sounded as though she were about to cry. “I don’t know what came over me. Me and the girls were just in the Kitchens, trying to earn some cooking Cutie Marks, when suddenly a bunch a Unicorns burst in. They hit us with some sort oh spell and after that . . .”
Tears actually were leaking out of her eyes now as well as the other Crusaders. Twilight smiled and walked over to them, pulled them all close to her in a hug. “Shhhh, it’s okay girls. What happened then?”
Sweetie Belle took over the story, “well, after that all we could remember were all our bad memories. Everything we’d ever done that made us feel scared, mad, or ashamed, that was all we could think about. Then we got told that the Queen was the only person who could save us from being the horrible people we were and that she was going to fix all of Equestria! And we . . . we . . . we fell for it!!!”
All three fillies began to cry in earnest, each leaning up again Twilight. The display tugged at the heartstrings of Princess Cadence and she walked forward, eager to comfort the little ponies. “Shhhhh, don’t feel guilty little ones. That was just the spell; none of you are to blame at all.”
Princess Luna watched from the background, unsure of what to do. She contented herself to wait and listen to make sure they were completely alone and that nobody was upstairs.
Finally, after the Crusaders had managed to calm down, Luna turned to them,”now, what do you all know about Queen Chrysalis’s plans?”
The Crusaders all thought (rather reluctantly) back during the time when they’d been brainwashed. It was Apple Bloom who answered first. “We were assigned on patrol duties at first. Then when the Queen heard that you had escaped into the mines Princess, she ordered us to ambush you in the warehouse. She thought it would be funny. But she’s not just sitting around on her bum laughing about such simple things, she’s raising a whole army!”
Luna’s eyes widened but her expression remained impassive as she said, “go on.”
Scootaloo took up the story, “she’s training up her Changelings to capture ponies so that the brainwashed Unicorns can use Hypnosis spells on them them. She’s got some of the ponies who wear the Elements of Harmony leading the buildup. Applejack is rousting food out of the houses, Rarity is designing uniforms, and she appointed Rainbow Dash to teach her Changelings how to fly better!!!” she said with indignation.
Princes Luna’s eyes narrowed in thought. Then she had an idea. “Do you know where each of these persons would be, or at least what areas they would visit?”
Apple Bloom sniffed then said, “last I heard, Applejack was gonna check out some of the warehouses down by the bakery’s.”
Sweetie Belle piped up, “Rarity’s locked herself up in the most renowned dress shop in Canterlot for “creative stimulation.””
Scootaloo took her turn, “and Rainbow Dash is hanging around the exercise fields training the Changelings.”
Luna nodded, “very well. I believe that we should attempt to apprehend these three and break them of the spell that controls their minds.”
Cadence looked up from Sweetie Belle at Luna, “why?” “Because, the Elements of Harmony are perhaps the only way to end this in one fell swoop, but to use them we need its bearers.”
Twilight nodded, and then she said, “I should probably be able to find them each in turn and catch them. You two should stay here in the meantime Princess’s and guard the Cutie Mark Crusaders.”
The two Alicorns looked at her as if she’d just gone insane. ‘Twilight Sparkle, if you believe for even one second that we will allow you to rush off into danger like this alone, then you are gravely mistaken. We shall accompany you, we will all go!” Princess Luna said with a flourish.
Princess Cadence nodded, “I’m not going to let my favorite little foal go off somewhere dangerous without some backup.”
“Hey!” The three older ponies turned to see the Cutie Mark Crusaders all looking indignant at being left out of the count. “We’re comin with you,” Apple Bloom said determinedly. “Yeah” Sweetie Belle continued, “and before you start on how we’re “too young” and stuff those ponies are our sisters! We’re not going to just wait in the basement if their in trouble!!!” “Totally,” Scootaloo agreed, Rainbow Dash was the best big sister she’d ever had. Even if she technically wasn’t Scootaloo’s big sister (by blood anyway) Scootaloo always considered Rainbow Dash to be the coolest person ever.
Princess Cadence surveyed the three little fillies, taking in their rebellious looks and contemplating just how much trouble they could get into. Then she turned to her friends and said, “if we take them along, we can keep an eye on them.” “But, the danger-“ Luna began but Cadence cut her off. “Look at them, even if we locked them in here, which by the way is just as likely to get them found as them coming with us, they’d find some way to get out. If they’re anything like a certain little unicorn I once looked after,” Twilight looked at the ground, blushing. “Then they’ll find a way to find trouble if they’re left out.”
Princess Luna thought for a long time. Carefully weighing the cost, and then she finally spoke. “Very well, they may come, but only if they behave themselves.”
The Cutie Mark Crusaders all cheered. “Maybe we’ll get some “kick Changeling butt” Cutie Marks!” Scootaloo said and the other two Crusader’s face lit up at the prospect.
The six ponies all prepared to leave.
Applejack walked into the warehouse. Holding her checklist, she walked down one of the aisles containing various foodstuffs and emergency supplies. She checked off items on the list as she went, all this food would be donated to support Queen Chrysalis’s righteous crusade to save Equestria. She didn’t notice several shadows moving on top of the boxes.
She did notice it however, when the boxes behind her slid off the shelves into an enormous pile, blocking her from going back. She looked at the pile and there, standing on the top were Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. Applejack looked at the two confusedly. “Apple Bloom? But I thought y’all was supposed to be patrolling. What’re you-“ her attention was stolen as she heard a flapping sound and turned back to see Princess Cadence land in front of her, cutting off her escape. Realization dawned in Applejack’s eyes as she understood why they were here. Then her eyes narrowed and she pawed the ground, glaring at Cadence. “What did ya’ll do to ma little sister!!!” she shouted at Cadence.
Cadence merely looked at her with a pitying expression, “I simply freed her from the enchantment. This is an act I intend to duplicate with you.” “No ma’am! I ain’t allowing myself to be turned against the Queen so easy like!”
Without further ado, Applejack snatched a crate of food off one of the shelves and kicked it straight at Cadence. The Princess didn’t have enough time to react and was hit by the box.
Applejack wasted no time and galloped past her, intending to get out through the other side of the warehouse. She heard someone following her, and then heard her sister shout out, “Applejack!”
She turned to see that her sister was keeping pace with her by galloping across the top of the crates on her right. “Please Applejack, let us help you!!!” “Help me what exactly? Be a traitor? I won’t miss out on my chance at becoming a better pony just because some Cutie Mark obsessed whiny filly tells me not to! Yer nothing but a whining betrayer who’s tryin to drag me down with ya!!!”
Apple Bloom’s eyes watered and she stopped chasing her sister. Applejack sped on; content with having lost her pursuit, but then she heard something that made her come to a screeching halt.
Apple Bloom was sobbing.
Rarity was hard at work. It wouldn't do not to finish this dress after all. As she levitated needles and strips of cloth, she noted just how frilly, pink and, dare she say it, girly this dress seemed. She’d received a basic outline of how she was to make the dress; one of the conditions was that it be as feminine as possible.
She hummed as she continued to bring her creation to life. She glanced at the mirror, musing on how this was really a step up from her boorish old life at Carousel Boutique. The Queen had been so kind to her even in spite of all the horrible things she’d done.
Then Rarity’s eyes narrowed, she thought she’d seen a flicker of movement in the mirror. After a moment, she shrugged and went back to work on her dress. Twilight poked her head out from behind a mannequin. Princess Luna and Sweetie Belle in turn, poked their heads around the doorway. All three as silently as possible, began to tiptoe towards the humming Unicorn who looked like she was fully engrossed in her project.
The operative word being that she “looked” like she was fully engrossed in the project.
Suddenly, Rarity spun around, her magic flaring. “HA! Thought you could sneak up on me did you!? Well have some of this!”
Various boxes, dresses and mannequins all were flung in the direction of the intruders. All three tried to leap away, but there were so many items that it was no use. Twilight was slammed in the flank by a box and she stumbled backwards into the wall. Princess Luna felt a mannequin crack against her skull and she fell over, seeing stars. Sweetie Belle in turn was tossed backwards by some small measuring tapes.
Before anypony had a chance to recover, ribbons, levitated by Rarity’s magic, quickly wrapped themselves around their legs and hog tied them. While this was going on, Rarity continued the bombardment of fashion materials so her prisoners couldn’t concentrate enough to magically escape. “I am Queen Chrysalis’s personal designer,” Rarity said, “and I am completely loyal to her. Nothing and no one can make me-“ but she stopped short as she heard a sharp cry of pain.
In her fervor, Rarity had magically grabbed several of her own needles and flung them. They had incidentally buried themselves straight into the blank flank of Sweetie Belle. This in turn caused a sharp cry of pain to sound from the young filly’s mouth.
Instantly, everything that Rarity was doing ground to a halt. Everything in the air she’d been holding up dropped and her eyes (which up until now had been glowing green just like everyone else under a mind control spell) grew clear.
They also began to water as Rarity rushed to her sister’s side. “Oh! Sweetie Belle, I am so sorry!” Rarity said in a strangled voice. She carefully grabbed the sewing needles with her magic and removed them as quickly as possible. Sweetie Belle cried in pain as the needles came out of her flank and as soon as they were completely out Rarity grabbed her sister and drew her close to her.
After a few moments hesitation, Sweetie Belle snuggled into her sister. Then she felt something wet hit her forehead and she realized with a start that Rarity was crying. “Oh my sister, how can you ever forgive me? Please, please don’t hate me! I didn’t mean to hurt you; it was that horrible Chrysalis woman! She made me do this!!!”
Sweetie Belle sniffed and hugged her sister, “it’s alright Rarity.”
Both sisters clung to each other. Then a slight cough reminded Rarity that they weren’t alone. Still hugging her sister, she looked over at the scrutinizing gazes of Twilight and Princess Luna. After a very hard look at the fashion mare, Luna sighed with relief and said, “you are free of the Queen’s control. I am impressed you managed to break it all by yourself.”
Rarity suddenly remembered something and she blanched. “We have to stop Queen Chrysalis!” Rarity said in a serious voice. “Uh, yeah Rarity, why did you think we came to get you?” Twilight said sarcastically. “No,” Rarity said in a panicked voice, “you don’t understand, I just received a missive from the Queen herself! She’s accelerated her plans! She’s going to lead her invasion of Equestria tomorrow!!!”
Applejack turned to see her sister crying. No, not just crying, sobbing her eyes out. Applejack’s eyes widened, how could she say something so mean, so cruel to her own little sister!? “Apple Bloom!” Applejack said, desperate to get her sister’s attention. She didn’t notice as the green glow in her eyes died off.
Apple Bloom didn’t look at her, she was still sobbing over her big sister’s insults. “I’m sorry Apple Bloom, I don’t know what came over me. It was like something was forcin me to say mean things to you and to anypony who dares to disobey the Que-“ Applejack’s eyes widened as the realization of the spell she’d just been under fully came to her.
Without further ado, the mare leapt up onto the boxes where her sister was still crying and quickly ran to her. She offered her sister a hug, which Apple Bloom (after a moment’s hesitation) gratefully accepted. Applejack stroked her sister’s hair as she spoke soft words of comfort to her. “Sssshhhhh. I didn’t mean a word of what I said. You are most cute, smart, and nicest little pony I have ever laid eyes on. I love you Apple Bloom, don’t you ever forget that.”
Apple Bloom hiccupped as she embraced her sister. Then Applejack looked away and found herself staring into Princess Cadence’s eyes. Applejack looked away sheepishly, but after a few seconds studying, Cadence breathed a sigh of relief. “Good, the effects of the spell have fully worn of. Now we must go and meet the others, if all has gone well, then Rarity and Rainbow Dash will have been rescued.”
After a few seconds hesitation, Applejack nodded. All four proceeded to head back to the basement of the bar that they'd cured the Cutie Mark Crusaders in.
Princess Cadence tensed as she heard footsteps in the bar above. She’d managed to get her group back without any trouble and now was waiting for Princess Luna’s group.
The door slid open and Cadence magically charged her horn in case she needed to fight. Thankfully, she didn't need to. Princess Luna led her small entourage of ponies down into the basement of the bar. After checking everyone’s eyes to make sure they weren’t tinted green they all exchanged notes.
Scootaloo asked the first question before anyone else could, “where’s Rainbow Dash?” “We could not rescue Rainbow Dash, it was too risky,” informed Luna after a short period of silence. “Risky in more ways than one,” she thought as she remembered what had happened.
Princess Luna and Twilight Sparkle peered cautiously out of a doorway into the training area where guards usually ran drills. They could see Rainbow Dash in the middle, organizing the Changelings and ordering them to do drills and practice flying maneuvers. Hundreds of Changelings were in the area and Rainbow Dash was sitting right in the middle, there was no way to get to her without attracting the attention of the whole horde of Changelings. Queen Chrysalis was inspecting Rainbow Dash’s work personally. Luna and Twilight both watched as the Changelings paraded and flew about, showcasing whatever Rainbow Dash had managed to teach them in a few short hours.
Queen Chrysalis did not particularly interested however. Rainbow Dash landed right next to the Queen. “And that formation is called the “Major’s Head,” Rainbow Dash informed the Queen enthusiastically. She went on about the various things she had taught the Changelings, failing to notice the obvious lack of interest being shown by the Queen.
Then the Queen suddenly seemed to have an idea, a mischievous smile played along her face. A small burst of magic lit her deformed horn and it suddenly hit Rainbow Dash (not that she seemed to notice.) “-and that one is called the Manticore’s stinger and-“ ZAP! –“that riiight there beees the Hounds o Hades formation. I’m a thinkin you of all souls would appreciate a wee look at the new attacks ah’ve been a thinking of. I call it, “the Valkyries!””
Both Luna and Twilight clapped their hooves to their mouths, giggles escaping in spite of themselves. Luna desperately tried to control herself and not allow the Royal Canterlot Voice give them away. As it was, they clutched their sides while small giggles escaped their lips no matter how hard they tried to stop it. They then discreetly removed themselves from the vicinity, not wanting to wait until the Changelings found them.
“The important thing is this,” Princess Luna continued, “we’ve received some disturbing information.”
The Princess turned to Rarity for an explanation and Rarity cleared her throat. “Before I was liberated from the Queen’s horrible mind-control spell she had set me to make uniforms as you all well know. I was also tasked to make a personalized outfit for the Queen herself. Now that I think about it, the instructions she gave me were all wrong. I mean how can pink frills and lace fit in with her dark color scheme. Really how can she be so-”
She stopped speaking when she heard Twilight and Applejack clear their throats loudly and pointedly. Rarity smiled apologetically, “right, sorry. Anyway, before you three arrived I received a letter from the Queen. She’d originally tasked me to design for her whole army as well as herself. But the letter said that since the rebels, you six, were still at large within Canterlot and liable to compromise security, that our invasion would be pushed ahead of schedule. I was to focus on Queen Chrysalis’s outfit only because the invasion of Equestria is to happen tomorrow at dawn!”
Silence hung in the air as the news sunk in. Then Rarity continued on in a panicked voice “but she doesn’t merely intend to conquer all of Equestria. She plans to brainwash every solitary Pony, Gryphon, just anything she finds. She’ll then have her Changelings feed off the whole country’s love and once she’s sucked Equestria dry, she’ll move onto the next country!”
Nobody spoke as they contemplated this new turn of events. Then Applejack spoke up, “well, the answers simple ain’t it? We gotta get out of Canterlot and warn everypony!” “And just how do you suggest we do that Applejack?” Twilight asked sarcastically. “There are what eight of us here and how many Changelings? We wouldn’t even be able to warn half of the outlying towns before the Changelings swarmed over us all.” “I’m just spitballin ideas Twilight, as far as I can tell that’s the best plan we’ve got.”
As the two argued on, Princess Luna thought about that line of thought. What if she did manage to lead them out of Canterlot and warn a good deal of the Ponies in Equestria . . . then what? Queen Chrysalis wouldn’t be satisfied until she had as much love to feast on as possible. Luna wasn’t sure what would happen what with Celestia being under Chrysalis’s control. She was certain that the Queen wouldn’t make Celestia mess with the day/night cycle, she had no reason to. To do so might disrupt sleep cycles and doing so would make ponies irritable and perhaps would provide less nourishment with their love.
What if, she just left? What if she just gathered as many ponies as possible and simply left Equestria? Wouldn’t that have been what she wanted, she could start anew, and then nobody would ever forget the great Princess Luna who delivered as many Ponies as she could from the malice of the Queen of the Changelings. Nightmare Moon would be the memory and the great Princess Luna would be what everypony remembered.
Nopony noticed as Princess Luna shivered, there was no way in the sun or the moon that she was going to leave her sister in the hands of the Changelings forever! “I know what we must do first in any event,” Princess Luna interjected into the conversation. The other’s eyes turned towards her and she continued, “we must retrieve the Elements of Harmony. They are our only hope of ending this in one fell swoop. And even if we do not have all the bearers of the Elements of Harmony, it would be preferable that we had the Elements themselves so that we may try and rescue the bearers later without having to worry about getting the Elements as well.”
After a few moments though, Twilight nodded, “the last time I saw the Elements was when we gave them back to Princess Celestia after defeating Discord. She keeps them locked up in a vault that, as far as I know, only she can open.”
Princess Luna nodded, “she taught me how open it as well. With any luck, Queen Chrysalis will have been too busy consolidating control over Canterlot to bother with the Elements. We have to sneak into the castle before the Invasion commences.”
After a few more minutes debate, they all agreed to a plan and set off towards Canterlot Castle.
Pegasus Brighttail was bored. He and his fellow guardspony were stationed at the most boring door of the castle. Ever since they had come under new management by the Queen they had been stationed there. It was especially boring because nothing exciting ever happened to them.
Assumptions are dangerous things to make and this was no exception. What looked like two orbs of pure concentrated darkness came out of an alleyway and hit both guardsponies in the face. They stumbled about, staggering as they tried to see to no avail.
Then, they heard several ponies gallop up to them and almost immediately, they two guards felt something very hard collide with their heads. Both guards slumped to the ground, unconsciousness overtaking them.
The small group quickly hid the two unconscious guards and moved into the castle, careful not to make any noise. The castle was unnervingly quiet. There were noises off in the distance, but it all seemed muted and their own breathing seemed louder.
Luna led the way towards where she knew the Elements of Harmony were kept. While they occasionally had to hide from a guard or two the trip seemed to be going very well, which worried her immensely.
But there was nothing she could do about it without stopping to explain all her thoughts, which was very unwise in a castle full of your enemies.
Finally, they arrived at the room containing the Elements of Harmony.
The room was deathly still. Nopony could hear the slightest sound. Luna entered first, her eyes piercing the darkness. The room was clear. The small group moved into it and Luna hurried quickly to the door. It was surprisingly still sealed.
Cautious of some sort of trap, Luna inserted her horn into the lock. She activated the internal mechanisms and heard the lock click. The doors opened to reveal a small box on a pedestal.
Still cautious, Luna stepped forward and pushed the box open. There, to her great relief, sat the Elements of Harmony, all untouched. “Thank you for that. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get that door unlocked,” said a very unwelcome voice.
The group turned and saw to their horror that Queen Chrysalis was standing in the doorway with Celestia, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and an uncountable amount of Changelings behind her.
Princess Luna looked at the Queen of the Changelings in confusion, "why did you-?"
"-let you get this far. Why it's simple really. I knew the Elements of Harmony are the only thing even possibly capable of defeating me. When I attempted to unlock the door with Celestia, she was rebuffed. Apparently the door can sense if you aren't in your right mind. So I needed you to do it, and to do it of your own free will. And now that the door is unlocked, I think that you'll all make fine additions to my kingdom."
Some of the changelings behind her changed shape into various people, some into the forms of the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony. The others simply elected to stay in their original forms.
Princess Luna leaned in close and whispered to the others, "we must use the Elements. Focus on freeing the other bearers; I shall distract as many of the enemy as possible."
As soon as she saw the others nod, Princess Luna reared up in the air, whinnying loudly. Then she charged, her horn flaring with magic.
Queen Chrysalis's forces (barring the Queen herself, Celestia, and Fluttershy) reciprocated. Rainbow Dash led the charge, still shouting in a ridiculous accent not at all befitting her, "coom on me lassies! Tis time to show this jack-a-mule who da real Queen oh Equestria is!"
It is often said that strength in numbers is one of the greatest advantages that one side can have.
It is also said that it is not a wise decision to charge straight at an Alicorn who is responding in kind.
To say that when the two charging sides met things went well for Princess Luna would be like saying that Pinkie Pie is a little energetic.
A more accurate metaphor would be to liken Princess Luna's onset as a bowling ball is to bowling pins when achieving a perfect strike.
And so strength in numbers, while still a good advantage to have, was completely wasted in this particular instance. This realization was visited upon many Changelings and two particular ponies as they each collided with the Alicorn of the Night and were each in turn knocked to the side against the walls, floor, and ceiling of the room.
All of them felt that they had learned a very important lesson (which some of them wondered distractedly whether they should mail Celestia with.) The lesson was very simple really:
"Don't charge Alicorns."
Once they all had had sufficient time to contemplate this nigh immutable fact of life (as well as manage to yank themselves out of the walls, floor, and ceiling) they felt that they had learned enough for the day and may as well get back to fighting.
And fight they did.
While Princess Luna's charge had indeed scattered everypony and everything in her path away like bowling pins, the reprieve was short lived. The Changelings recovered quickly and attacked. Most of them moved towards Luna cautiously. The remainder set their sights on the small group of ponies who were standing before the Elements of Harmony.
The Changelings smirked at what they thought would be an easy capture and moved aggressively towards the ponies. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash followed the crowd and the other three who had remained in the doorway (Chrysalis, Celestia, and Fluttershy) moved into the room as well.
It was tense as neither side wanted to take the first aggressive move. Then the Changeling's patience finally gave out and they attacked. Luna struck out as the Changelings tried to bury her in an avalanche of their bodies. The rest of the Changelings charged the ponies situated around the box containing the Elements of Harmony. Princess Cadence's, Twilight's, and Rarity's horns flared as their magic zapped out, and Applejack stood in front of them. Her face was set in a death glare and any Changeling that came within striking distance of her hooves deeply regretted it. The three fillies huddled behind the small group, afraid of being devoured by Changelings.
Meanwhile Rainbow Dash was flitting through the air, urging the Changelings on to greater efforts and directing the flow of the battle. Pinkie Pie was also flitting about the floor seemingly at random.
The battle quickly degenerated into a brawl as the group of Ponies tried to defend their small area in the room and track their brainwashed companions, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Princess Luna was lashing out left and right with any and all weapons available to her including her hooves, her wings, her horn, and most devastatingly, her magic.
Fluttershy was huddling in a corner of the great hall, too afraid to actually do anything about the fight. Suddenly a flash of a teleportation spell occurred right beside her and Twilight Sparkle appeared. Fluttershy squeaked and tried to bolt but Twilight had anticipated her action. Twilight had entered the spell while jumping and she had left the spell while still in that jump. As a result, she landed directly on Fluttershy, effectively pinning her to the ground.
Fluttershy struggled but Twilight wasn't going to let her go. Before Fluttershy could do anything, or (lord forbid) deploy "the stare," Twilight touched her horn to Fluttershy's forehead. As she was doing this, Pinkie Pie popped up out of nowhere.
"Oooh, what're you doing Twilight? Are you going to make her all scary and mean because that's not very nice! Oh, or are you going to-" as Pinkie Pie continued on, the spell took full hold and Fluttershy's eyes cleared. She shook her head and then looked around as comprehension dawned in her eyes.
Then, appearing in a pillar of flame, Queen Chrysalis teleported right next to the trio.
"FOAL!" she shouted at Pinkie Pie "THEY ARE TRYING TO BREAK YOUR LOYALTY TO ME! ATTACK!"
Immediately, Pinkie Pie dropped low into a position resembling an angry dog and growled at the two ponies. She leapt at Fluttershy. Twilight was about to defend her friend when she noticed Queen Chrysalis's magic charging up. Twilight quickly threw a shield around herself as the Queen fired a hypnosis spell at her.
"Not this time Chrysalis," Twilight said. The Queen of the Changelings simply laughed.
Fluttershy meanwhile was hit by Pinkie Pie. Both ponies slid back and once they stopped moving, Fluttershy looked up into Pinkie's snarling face.
"Please Pinkie, just let Twilight help you. I'd really like it if you would stop being such a meanie-pie."
Pinkie Pie frowned, still not getting off. Then Fluttershy had an idea.
"Oh, don't you think that since Princess Cadence was the one who the wedding was for she would know where all the desserts are."
Instantly Pinkie's entire demeanor changed. Her face went form a frown to a gleeful smile and she hugged Fluttershy in a backbreaking grip.
"Oh oh, do you think she'd tell us where the Pie is?! I like Pie! But not as much as cake! Which is really weird since my name is Pinkie Pie! But anyways, I really like cake so we need to find some!"
Pinkie grabbed Fluttershy and sped off, somehow weaving in and out of the crowd of Changelings at speeds that would put Rainbow Dash to shame. Anything that got in her way was immediately knocked aside as she hunted for Princess Cadence in the mayhem. Spotting the Princess, Pinkie Pie sped towards the beleaguered Alicorn.
Cadence was indeed having a lot of trouble. She wasn't that good a fighter. Sure she'd had magical training and maybe she'd observed the guard a lot (well actually she'd mostly been paying attention to Shining Armor) but she really wasn't cut out for this sort of pitched battle. Now she was surrounded and alone. The Changelings were slightly apprehensive of approaching her because they knew just how painful an Alicorn's magic could get. But they were getting bolder, moving closer. Finally, their numbers giving them the necessary confidence, they all charged at once. Cadence hit as many as she could with her magic, but it wasn't nearly enough and the remainder crashed into her. More and more joined them as she struggled to escape the dogpile that was blanketing her. Just as the last bit of view she had of the room was cut off, something blasted straight into the pile of Changelings.
Somepony was kicking and hitting the Changelings off her at insane speeds. Cadence caught a flash of pink and yellow as she heard Pinkie screech, "I . . . WANT . . . MY . . . CAKE!" Each word was punctuated with her hind legs kicking several Changelings at a time.
As soon as the last Changeling was kicked off of Cadence, Pinkie zoomed up to her, her face alight with anticipation.
"So! Where's the cake! Fluttershy said you might know where the cake is! I really love cake! Even more than I love Pie! Which is really weird because DUH-" Pinkie finished as Cadence tapped a glowing horn to her forehead. Memories came surging back to Pinkie and the green glow in her eyes faded.
While she was processing the memories, Cadence and Fluttershy stood on either of her sides, warding off the Changelings (or rather, Cadence attacked the Changelings with her magic and Fluttershy stood trembling.)
When she'd finally finished remembering all her memories, Pinkie blinked, and then looked around. Fluttershy and Cadence waited with baited breath to see what she'd do. Then Pinkie Pie smiled while giggling, "I get it now. WRESTLING MATCH!"
With that shouted, Pinkie dived headfirst into the crowd of Changelings. Cadence and Fluttershy both cried aloud in surprise but then numerous growls and howls of pain coming from the crowd of Changelings reminded them that it might not be Pinkie Pie they should be pitying at the moment.
"Pinkie Pie!" Applejack called.
Pinkie looked up from where she currently had a Changeling, which had coincidentally taken the form of Applejack, on the floor frantically tapping the ground as if they were wrestling and it was trying to surrender.
"We need Rainbow Dash soes we can use the Elements of Harmony!" Applejack shouted to the Pink Pony.
"If'n anypony can catch Rainbow Dash, it'd be you Pinkie Pie," Applejack finished.
Pinkie Pie looked up to see Rainbow Dash flitting about through the air. Then she looked back at Applejack and nodded, smirking as she did.
Princess Celestia meanwhile judged that the battle had gone on long enough. She strode forward, her green-tinted eyes fixed on her sister as Luna wreaked devastation amongst the Changelings.
Princess Luna turned and saw her sister approaching. She frowned grimly, wondering if a confrontation between them had been inevitable. She quickly dealt with any Changelings still attacking her and then turned to her companions.
"Quickly, see to the elements Princess Cadenza!" Luna shouted as younger ponies gathered towards the small chest containing the Elements of Harmony. Luna turned and pawed the ground, snorting as her eyes narrowed.
"I have some business to see to with my sister."
Luna launched herself into the air and Celestia followed suit. Both sisters charged and met each other in a blast of power that knocked anyone close enough to them away. They locked horns, glaring at each other. Power ran along their horns as each tried to gain an advantage over the other.
The sheer amount of channeled power knocked them both back a short distance. Luna readied a sphere of darkness and quickly flung it at Celestia. It connected and expanded to black out her entire half of the room. The reprieve it gave was short lived however as beams of light blasted out of the darkness, starting to burn it away.
Luna wasted no time and charged. Celestia was not expecting it and Luna's attack connected dead on. The two Alicorns smashed against the far wall and Luna prepared to use the memory spell to free her sister. But Celestia would have none of that and fired another beam of light from her horn. Luna was hit and she spun away towards the floor.
She managed to right herself and impacted on her hooves. Her impact cracked the floor and she immediately looked up, wary of Celestia's attacks.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash was flitting about the room, urging the Changelings on to keep attacking the un-brainwashed ponies. Suddenly, she heard a shrill warcry and looked up. Pink filled her vision as Pinkie Pie dropped from the ceiling. She'd been hanging like a bat, waiting for the exact moment when Rainbow Dash would be directly below her. While there was no telling how she got up there in the first place, no one could deny that it was an effective tactic.
Rainbow Dash was hit and both Ponies fell to the ground. The Pegesus struggled and kicked but Pinkie Pie held fast and strong. Instantly Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy charged, carving a pathway through the horde of changelings (well, more that Applejack and Rarity carved the path while Fluttershy apologized to the Changelings for hurting them.)
During all this Queen Chrysalis was still going after Twilight. Twilight however was trying to play cat and mouse as she dodged Chrysalis's magical attacks. Twilight knew that she needed to get away from the Queen of the Changelings. She suddenly saw an opportunity and took it.
Queen Chrysalis had been momentarily distracted by the battle between the two Alicorns raging above her. When she turned back to attack Twilight, she found to her consternation that she was staring at a crowd of seven Twilights. She growled as she debated what to do. Then another blast of light from the aerial combat above successfully stole away her attention once again. This freed up Twilight to teleport right over to where her four other friends were attempting to hold down Rainbow Dash.
Both Luna and Celestia fired beams from their horns at the exact same time and their attacks met in the middle. Both sisters strained as their wills came into conflict.
But at that moment, the light of the moon came streaming in through the windows. Both sisters realized at the same moment that the reason for this was that the moon was finally setting; the night was coming to a close. Celestia willed the sun forth and for a moment, both the sun and the moon lay in the sky opposite each other. Then the moon sunk below the horizon. Celestia reveled in the newfound surge of power she felt as the dawn broke over the land.
Then the beam of light slowly began to overcome the one of darkness. Luna poured all she had into the attack, but only managed to hold on for awhile longer before Celestia's attack reached her and hit her in the head.
Luna hit the floor and grunted in pain. She moved quickly, trying to get up before Celestia could capitalize on her weakness. She was a moment too slow as Celestia descended upon her, slamming her hooves onto her sisters chest and wings. Luna's breath whooshed out of her as her sister's hooves hammered her. Celestia then grabbed her sister in a telekinetic grip and flung her into the wall headfirst. Before Luna could recover she was grabbed again and was turned upside down so that Celestia could send her face first into the floor.
Celestia continued to fling her sister about the room, not giving her a second of peace. Luna tried to concentrate enough to break her sister's telekinetic grip on her, but the beating she was taking prevented it. Finally, after flinging her against the walls and floor, and blasting her with various concentrated beams of power, Celestia brought her sister right in front of her.
Luna was struggling to breath, various small wounds littered her body, shards of glass had left cuts in her flesh and she was unsure if one of her wings was broken. She was almost certain that several of her ribs were though.
Celestia studied her sister, internally debating what to do with her. She could of course attempt to brainwash her, but something told her that it would be time consuming now that Luna knew exactly what to look for and what to resist. It might even be impossible.
Keeping her prisoner for an extended period of time would also present its own score of difficulties, not the least of which being just how hard it would be. Luna was an Alicorn and thus was naturally skilled and naturally excelled in most every area that made ponies powerful. Sooner or later, Luna might find some way to corrupt their loyalty to Queen Chrysalis.
The answer was simple. But some part of Celestia rebelled against it; some part of her didn't want to do it. After all, wasn't Luna still her sister? Didn't she owe it to her to try and inform her of the Queen's great mercy, of how she would fix the world?
Celestia debated, and then made her decision.
Princess Luna cried in pain as a beam of power shot from Celestia's horn, hitting her square in the chest. Celestia continued the beam, not ceasing even as her sister looked at her with pleading eyes. Luna's eyes bore into her and Celestia finally closed her own eyes as she focused on maintaining her loyalty in order to see the execution through, it was all for the greater good. Luna felt about ready to pass out as the burning beam continued to hit her, charring her flesh as it seemed to eat away at her.
Then both of them heard a loud voice crying out, "STOP!"
All eyes turned towards the voice and they beheld Twilight, standing with her friends by her side, each wearing a respective element of Harmony. The Changelings all, knowing what this meant, charged without plan or hesitation at them, hoping against hope to overbear them before they could utilize the most powerful of all known magics.
But for them it was too late. The Elements began to glow, and any Changeling that touched them was flung back as if it had been dealt a heavy blow. A bubble made of rainbows expanded from around the six ponies and blasted outwards faster than anypony could tell.
Any and all Changelings caught in its wake were sent flying in all directions away from Canterlot. No minion of the Queen, or even the Queen herself was spared as they were thrown through the sky, disappearing into far distant lands. Whether they would even be able to find each other and gather again couldn't be guessed.
But as for all the ponies caught up in the power that was unleashed from the Elements, their minds were cleared. The glow of green in their eyes died and everypony stumbled around as if in a daze for a few moments. Then realization struck them as they realized what had happened, and some wept, others were relieved that the disaster had passed, and still others reacted angrily, berating themselves for not resisting the spell they had been under.
But nopony felt these things more thouroughly and more grievously than Princess Celestia. As she was put back into her right mind, her eyes first landed on her faithful student Twilight Sparkle, and she remembered how she had driven both her and Princess Cadence back into the Crystal Mines and had several times nearly gotten them captured. Then she looked around at the room, recalling how she had so easily handed over complete control of Canterlot to Queen Chrysalis.
And finally her gaze turned to her sister and her eyes glistened with tears. Luna was lying on the ground, panting and nearly unconscious. Though the Elements had healed her wounds, the experience she had gone through still had taken a great toll on her body and mind. Celestia moved towards her sister, intending to apologize, but the words caught in her throat and to her, any apology seemed woefully inadequate.
Then Luna's head fell back as she finally succumbed to unconsciousness.
Princess Luna blinked and groaned. She felt like she had just flown to the moon and back 10 times over without a single break.
Slowly her eyes creaked open and she realized that she was in bed, her own bed in fact, in her own room. She had been apparently laid down to rest by somepony after the Elements had banished all the changelings.
Luna glanced out of the window and to her relief, saw not a speck of black in the sky or on the ground. Not a single Changeling was in sight.
Then she heard the door open and she glanced towards it. A guard was peaking in and Luna quickly verified that his eyes were clear and free of any indicators of hypnosis. “Princess! Your awake!” “I most certainly am. Please inform me of what has happened while I recuperated. The last thing your Princess remembers is the Elements of Harmony curing everypony and expelling the Changelings.”
The guard quickly turned and called another stallion to him. He gave an order for the guard to get some food from the kitchens and then stepped into the room. “After you lost consciousness Princess Celestia had you checked over by the best doctors to be found. They determined that, while the Elements healed your injuries sustained in battle, your body was suffering from exhaustion after fighting Princess Celestia and taking such a beating.”
Luna looked away out the window, noting that the sun was still in the sky. She guessed it must be about afternoon. “How long was I unconscious?” “A few hours.” “Where is my sister at the moment?”
The guard looked at her confusedly, but answered nonetheless “I believe she is in the great hall of the castle, she is preparing for the wedding.” “The wedding is still on for today?!” Luna asked incredulously.
The guard nodded “at first Shining Armor wished to delay the ceremony, but I believe it was his sister Twilight Sparkle who said “let’s just get it over with before something else happens!””
Luna smirked. Then the other stallion entered, bringing with him a platter full of food.
The first guard explained as his companion set the food down in front of Luna, “the doctors recommend that you eat a good deal in order to regain your strength.”
After a moment, Luna nodded and began eating. She couldn’t help but admit that she rather relished the opportunity to eat so much in one go.
After she was finally done, she rose and began to get out of bed. The guard however, looked alarmed. “Princess Luna, the doctors suggest that you stay in bed at least a full day in order to recuperate!”
Luna shook her head “I must see my sister before I do anything else. I understand that I need rest and I fully intend to get it, but not quite yet. First I must see to a certain matter that needs to be cleared up between my sister and I.”
She strode forward and, after a few seconds hesitation, the guard let her pass.
Princess Celestia was in the grand hall finalizing the wedding. She’d only been persuaded to leave her sister’s side with the combined efforts of Twilight Sparkle, Princess Cadence, and Shining Armor together.
She was currently alone, which was alright. She preferred to be alone for now, with less people around she could try and keep her mind off how she’d betrayed them all so easily to the Queen of the Changelings.
She remembered it clearly now. It was only a little while after she had had her argument with Luna. The fake Princess Cadance had come to her and asked, very sweetly and politely, for her to come to her private quarters for her opinion on the new dress she’d been considering. At the time Celestia had merely been happy to see that Cadance was acting herself again, she’d been mostly cold and distant the past few days due to wedding stress she presumed.
But once she’d entered the room she had heard the sound of spell charging up and had turned, only to be hit full in the face by the Changeling Queen’s spell. Celestia supposed that in a way it was heartwarming because normally Alicorns could shrug spells like that off without a second thought. But Queen Chrysalis had been feeding on Shining Armor’s love for Princess Cadance and so Shining Armor loved Cadance so much that the Changeling Queen was able to harness enough power from him that she could enslave Celestia with it.
After that, she had systematically, under Chrysalis’s orders, brainwashed all the guards and magicians. Then she had sent them out to brainwash the whole population of Canterlot while Shining Armor’s protection spell turned into a prison to prevent anypony from getting away.
Where it not for the heroics of her sister, Equestria itself might be under the thrall of the Changelings by now.
A sound of hooves echoing off the marble alerted Celestia to the fact that somepony was coming.
Celestia turned and saw Luna in the doorway. Both sisters stared awkwardly at each other. Then, Luna looked at the floor with a guilty expression on her face. “What is it Luna?” “I am . . . sorry sister.”
Celestia stared at her sister in confusion. “For what, if anyone should be apologizing, it’s me.”
Luna looked her sister in the eyes. “Before I went to sleep the morning before this whole incident began. I . . . said some very hurtful things. I accused you of using me as a scapegoat and for that I am sorry.”
Luna’s eyes began to water as she stared at her sister “I have just been thinking, what if I had failed and those were the last words we ever spoke to one another while in our right minds. I don’t think I could’ve born it for your last memories of me to be ones of hatred! I had already forced you to live through that a thousand years ago!!!”
Celestia walked over to her sister and put her wing around her, drawing her close. Both of them took comfort in each other’s presence. “Luna . . . about what you said that night . . . about how I allowed you to pass into legend in favor of Nightmare Moon. Well, you were right.” “What?”
Celestia’s own eyes began to water as she stared down at her sister “I was heartbroken after you were gone. I had lost the last member of my family and was forced to continue on running Equestria in spite of how much I was hurting. I think part of me knew what was happening, but couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it.”
Tears were now leaking out of Celestia’s eyes as she finally faced one of her past demons. “I did not know if I’d ever see the real you again. I didn’t know if even the Elements were enough to make you see reason. Or perhaps I knew that my neglect of you in favor of perfecting my precious day was the root of our conflict. I think that I was simply afraid to even think of you if I didn’t have to. To banish you nearly destroyed me and I never wanted to experience that pain again. So in reality, it was my fault that you were forgotten.”
Neither sister spoke. Then Celestia sniffed and continued on. “And I’ve proven that I’m not even fit to be the Queen of Equestria!”
Luna’s face became confused “how can you say that sister?” “I was taken in by a simple hypnosis spell. I in turn did everything Queen Chrysalis told me. I NEARLY KILLED YOU LUNA!!!”
Luna flinched as her sister shouted the final sentence. Celestia looked away, her shame building inside of her. Then she felt her sister wiping her eyes off with one of her black wings. “I do not think you give yourself enough credit sister.” “You are too kind Luna.” “No, I am not” Luna said with a firm enough voice to make Celestia look at her in confusion. Luna continued before Celestia could speak again. “Do not underestimate yourself sister. You had almost a full 12 hours in which I was asleep on my bed, utterly defenseless. And I know that you can be an extremely good marksmare. I think . . . no, I know that you are the reason I survived the day without being brainwashed.”
Celestia contemplated this as Luna continued. “You chased me for a long enough time that you should’ve been able to hit me. And where did you drive me to? The Crystal Mines, right into the only other two people who had escaped this madness. I even wonder if I could’ve done as well as I did in our final battle if you hadn’t been holding back.”
Celestia looked slightly comforted, but she still looked sad. “But Luna, what about the way I treated your memory?”
Luna wiped her sister’s tears away once again. “I think now I understand your actions better than ever. I never knew how lonely it could be when you are immortal and all those that you know will eventually die. When I was planning with the others, a part of me wondered if worst came to worst, whether I would simply have to leave and establish a kingdom somewhere else without you. And the thought of that, of living alone without you and trying to run everything, it was the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Luna looked her sister straight in the eye; Celestia flinched, and then looked back. “So, I think I can forgive you sister, for not wishing to stir memories of me during my thousand year banishment.”
Luna smiled and after a moment, Celestia smiled as well. Both sisters wrapped their wings around each other in a tight embrace. Neither ever wanted to be separated from the other again. For in the end, they were two of a kind, immortal and noble creatures. Only they could truly understand each other like only sisters can. And while they may not be perfect, they were willing to look past any angry comment or mistake the other made when forgiveness was so much more rewarding.
Twilight was about to barge into the main hall when she heard the sound of voices. She stopped and cautiously looked around the door. Both Princess Luna and Princess Celestia were speaking with each other and though she didn’t quite understand some of it, Twilight could see by the tears that it was a very emotional time for both Alicorns.
Then they wrapped their wings around each other and embraced. Twilight smiled, not quite sure if she’d ever seen anything as touching before. She slowly backed away, taking great care not to be heard. She could wait, right now, both sisters needed each other and Twilight would make sure that they got that time.
The wedding was glorious, as it should be. Luna did not know if she’d ever seen any married couple look so joyous as Shining Armor and Princess Cadance did when Celestia declared them married.
As Luna brought the moon up to start its journey through the sky, the wedding moved out into the courtyard of the castle.
But, as Luna finished her ritual with the moon and flew down to join in the festivities, she was astonished to see that everyone appeared to be waiting on her. As soon as she landed, Shining Armor called everyone’s attention. “*ahem* I believe, that these festivities should not just be dedicated to my wedding to the beautiful Princess Cadance, but also in honor of another Princess whom we all owe our lives to.”
All eyes turned to Luna who found herself blushing at the sudden attention she was getting. “Princess Luna bravely led the bearers of the Elements of Harmony to victory over the vile Queen of the Changelings. I think it only fair that she shares our appreciation and that we honor her for her great accomplishment.”
He picked up a glass of wine, everyone else followed suit (except for those underage, who quickly had plastic cups of apple juice shoved into their hooves). Shining Armor lifted his glass and proclaimed, “to Princess Luna! Savior of Equestria!”
His proclamation was echoed by all those in attendance and they all drank their toast to the Princess of the Moon.
Luna smiled meekly, unsure of how to respond to this sudden display of appreciation. She was spared the trouble by Pinkie Pie who started music to a song. A microphone was tossed to Twilight Sparkle and Princess Luna had to marvel at the singing skill of Celestia’s student.
Immediately Luna found herself socializing with various ponies, all of which seemed dead set on telling her how wonderful they thought she was and how fascinating her night sky and moon were.
To her great delight, Luna found herself soon with a sizable audience who would like nothing more than for her to point out the heavenly wonders that she was steward over.
As she corrected a pony who had mistaken a comet for a star, she mused that things were starting to work out for her after all.
Luna looked around at the party full of happy ponies, then towards her sister who was chatting animatedly with Twilight Sparkle, at the bride and the groom who were currently dancing to a lively tune, and finally, back to the group of ponies who were currently enraptured by a meteor they had found.
And she smiled more widely than she had in over a thousand years.