Deep in the heart of the Everfree Forest, maybe less than half a mile from the rotting castle at its heart, sat a large pond that sparkled in the noon-time sun. Creatures of all sizes and shapes idled by the cool water that day, the oppressive heat at its height.
A low roar sounded from above the pond, compelling the creatures to look towards the sky at the incoming threat. Birds took flight as the animals on the ground ran away, almost as if they could sense the torrent of distress coming their way. The roar became steadily louder, a purple point on the horizon growing in size and ferocity. Any creature that had not fled by then sealed its fate.
In an instant, the once placid pond erupted with a bang, a huge jet of water piercing into the sky as the lavender streak struck into the heart of the body. Large waves crested out from the source as if the edges of the trapped liquid were the mighty ocean itself. Those animals that did not flee were swept away by the inland tidal wave, back out into the forest and away from the epicentre of the blast.
Soon, the mighty column of water fell back into the basin of the pond, the shattered remains of a once grand fountain strewn about as debris from the blast. The once sapphire blue water turned a sickly brown as it lapped at its new banks, about half the size it originally was before the unexpected entry. Any animals that were swept up by the tsunami quickly took flight deeper into the woods, sensing the presence that caused the disturbance.
A purple shape slowly emerged from the brown water, walking up to the banks of the pond before collapsing onto it. She didn't know where she was, or how she got there. In fact, she couldn't remember anything since she read that book... the book! The passage must have stressed her to the point of memory loss, which begged the question of what exactly happened. Twilight Sparkle stood on shaky legs, unsure why she felt this way, or why she smelled of singed wood and hay.
"Ugh," the unicorn moaned in pain. "My head feels like a train ran over it." She winced as she held a hoof to her head, trying to numb the pounding pain she felt to no avail. Images flashed across her mind's eye, replaying the scenes her purple ones once beheld. A black and blue Rainbow, a crying and pained Spike... and her four other friends, terror frozen on their faces: it all drifted in front of her.
She shuddered and held her head again, refusing to believe that she had done all of that. Yet, as much as the purple mare wished to deny it, she simply could not turn a blind eye to it, causing shivers to run down her spine. The mountainous pile of evidence in front of her simply could not be ignored, or explained away. It just fit all too well. Her lungs filled as she took a deep breath and sighed; she needed answers, and only one pony in this world could give them.
Looking behind her, the unicorn could see smoke rising from beyond the forest wall, tickling the azure sky. If she really did all of that, hurt them like the flashes told, then her friends would want nothing more to do with her, maybe even have her killed, and rightly so. Dry sobs slipped past her muzzle as she realized she had just lost the first friends she ever had. Not even Spike would want anything more to do with her: not after she attacked him like that without any provocation.
If only the princess were here right now, she would know just what to say to cheer her up. "Wait a minute," Twilight spoke into the pond, ceasing her sobs. "The princess... maybe if I told her just what happened, and get my answers, then she could try and explain it to them!" Her mind raced as she imagined her own worst-case scenario: the princess becoming infuriated with her over what she did in town, and that she stumbled upon a secret that she never wanted her to know.
"She's going to banish me," she continued, imagination racing. "Or throw me in prison... or banish me and then throw me in prison in the place she banished me to!" Then she quickly remembered a very important detail she had somehow forgotten. "But how can I get to Canterlot without a chariot!?"
A feeling of warmth suddenly came from her back as the coolness from the impromptu bath washed away. Turning to see the source of it, the unicorn's jaw dropped at the pair of lavender wings on her sides. They looked like Pegasus wings, but they simply couldn't be. Unlike the ones she gave Rarity, she could easily see through them... as if they were made of pure magic.
The unicorn tried to explain this, at first, but she quickly decided that she simply didn't have the time, or the curiosity right then. All that came to mind was talking to the princess, demanding answers, and doing so as quickly as possible. She flared her wings, and in a single, powerful stroke, darted into the air. The wind rushed past her mane and into her ears, tickling the insides, but not in an unpleasant way. As she flew to the castle in the distance, Twilight could not help but notice she had no feelings about being able to fly without a carriage... it must have been the more pressing matters numbing her urge to wax poetic.
Now she understood why Pegasus ponies loved to fly about as often as they could; from their lofty and ever changing perch, they could see the world in a way that unicorns or earth ponies could not. Granted, the fastest route to the castle was via Pegasus-driven chariot, but it just was not the same. She had enough time to realize this, but nothing more as she touched down outside the drawbridge, the magical pair of wings conveniently vanishing from existence.
The castle of Canterlot was a near perfect palace perched high upon the slope of Mount Notia; named after Her Royal Highness Queen Notia of Equestria... she was Celestia and Luna's mother, according to the history books. The city proper rested on the gently sloping hills on the other side of the mountain. A picturesque road filled with tunnels and cliff-hanging corners linked the two together like the thread on a necklace.
Twilight cautiously trotted across the drawbridge: the natural runoff from the mountain created a dangerous moat around the castle. The massive double doors that lay beyond, leading into the entrance hall, stood open before her to welcome royal visitors. She took a deep breath as she passed under them, hoping the guards wouldn't ask too many questions about how she arrived, or even if she were expected.
As usual, the entrance hall sparkled as ponies washed the floors and polished the solid oak banisters leading up the sweeping front stairs. Some heads turned as they took in the sight of the familiar purple unicorn, but thankfully no more than usual. She slowly made her way up the front stairs, recalling the night of the Gala with some embarrassment. Her mind did not dwell on it long, however, as the obviously more pressing business needed addressing.
Sitting at the top of the stairs, another pair of large double doors sat open, leading into the waiting room for ponies who wished an audience with the princess. Twilight walked up to the familiar desk, noting that today the princess had a light load of only maybe ten ponies waiting for her. A guard stood at attention behind the desk, his brown coat and white mane neatly groomed to be presentable in front of her highness when he announced the next petitioner.
"Twilight Sparkle?" he asked as she approached the bench. "I didn't know you were visiting Canterlot today. I must have missed the memo." What was the colt's name again? The purple mare considered this for a brief moment, before deciding that she would figure it out later. She pressed forward, ignoring him and the protesting ponies who sat as she neared the door. The other guards didn't make a move against her, as this sort of aloof behaviour was typical of the princess's protégé. Besides, Celestia told them explicitly that she could enter any time she wished, so despite not liking it, they couldn't stop her.
Meanwhile, Princess Celestia sat upon her throne, listening to the ramblings of the pony before her. His request was a simple one: a new bridge across the Altros River to Hoofington in order to reduce travel time for merchants. However, he droned on for the last half hour, explaining every single little detail in painstaking accuracy. Sometimes she wished she could have a break from ruling the kingdom, even if only for a little while.
So she instantly perked up when the familiar purple unicorn mare silently opened the door to the throne room and stepped off to the side. The Regent of the Sun confessed herself a little surprised to see Twilight drop in unannounced like that, which caused worry to flash across her mind. Her student's purple eyes spoke volumes of urgency with subtle hints of fear and sorrow. Whatever happened, she needed her right that instant.
"Excuse me," the princess spoke, holding out her hoof to silence the petitioner, "I believe your proposed project is more then satisfactorily detailed. Please, speak to the royal engineers and I will put it into action as soon as possible."
"T-thank you, your highness," the peppermint colt replied, taking a deep bow before gathering up his materials.
"Twilight Sparkle, my most faithful student," the princess addressed the purple mare behind him. "What has brought you to Canterlot unannounced like this?"
The student cast her gaze down to the ground, unable to meet her eyes as she recounted what little she could remember. "I... I need some help," she said. "I'm not... totally together anymore? I... think I did some things. BAD things. But I'm sorry!" She lowered herself to the floor, visibly shaking before her. Out of the corner of the princess's eye, she could see some of the guards exchanging worried looks.
"Twilight, what are y-"
"So yes, yes, we're all sorry, and... that is the TRUTH." The purple mare's strange combination of rambling and mumbling made the mover of the sun strain her ears to listen. "Truth is so important, yes? Honesty... you're... you're being honest with me, yes?"
Celestia sat upon her throne, dumbfounded by this strange turn her student had taken. Something had obviously disturbed the poor foal, resulting in her incoherent babbling. She blinked in surprise once her inane outburst stopped. "Are you alright, Twilight?" she asked.
"Yes... no! No... I might not be. I... I did BAD THINGS... but I'm so sorry! So, so sorry," the filly began to break down and sob openly before the court. The princess found herself slightly disturbed by her student's sudden lack of confidence. Deep inside, she could feel her heart ache that her precious student was hurt so, privately wishing the creator have mercy on the pony who did this to her.
"Guards," Celestia addressed the court. "Please leave us. I will call should I need you." They obeyed, silently passing the sobbing unicorn to retreat outside and lend them some privacy. Twilight kept her face to the ground, tears staining the marble floors. "Please, Twilight, tell me what is on your mind," she begged.
"Honesty... honesty is an Element of Harmony," the purple mare continued. She lifted her head, her purple and bloodshot eyes gazing into Celestia's. "You used them all once. You... you have all of them in you, don't you?" The Regent of the Sun found herself slowly becoming more worried with each passing second.
"Not all of them, I must confess," she admitted. "I lack the Element of Laughter these days, although I was quite the prankster in my youth. Hence why I could not purify Luna as you and your friends did, my faithful student." The princess had no idea where this was going, but a nagging thought in the back of her mind had her on guard, just in case.
"You wouldn't... lie to m-ME, would you?" Twilight replied with a hint of desperation, her voice and eyes, still dripping crystal tears down her muzzle and onto the ivory marble. She stood to her full height once more, desperate.
The princess took a deep breath before continuing. "As you are aware, sometimes it might be in the best interests of a pony to not tell the whole truth. In your case, I am completely honest with you." Something told her that she had said the wrong thing almost immediately. The unicorn in front of her tensed up visibly, a look of rage slowly beginning to form on her muzzle.
Twilight looked at her with a piercing gaze, as if x-raying the deity before her with great scrutiny. She could feel her body beginning to twitch as the blatant lie continued to ripple over her. The mare had no clue how, but she could tell that her teacher just lied to her... again. Her heart raced as the hurt embedded itself deep inside. "You... YOU LIAR!"
Celestia winced slightly, hearing such rage come from her precious student. "Twilight, talk to me," she pleaded. "Did something happen between you and your friends? Did you... read something troubling in a history book? I will admit; I wasn't always as benevolent as I am now." A sad look swept over her face as she remembered a darker time in her life... a time filled with hurt and sadness... before she sent her dear sister to the moon.
Sudden electricity began to fill the air as Twilight approached the throne, stopping just short of the steps. Her eyes never broke contact with the princess, locked in a disturbing stare. The mare's outline became blurred and distorted as her expression became maniacal. "YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!" she shouted out.
Quite suddenly, the ever-present smile on the face of Equestria's princess vanished from existence. "Oh no," she spoke in little more than a whisper. "... Please tell me you didn't..."
Silence met her ears, the unicorn's expression unreadable. However, all too soon a curt smile spread upon her lips before it vanished from existence. Laughter, like a dozen perversely beautiful bells rung forward into the depth of the room, vibrating off the walls and columns,echoing the unicorn's terrible laughter. It was weak and unsure at first, but quickly built into a crescendo. Fresh tears began to stream down her face and into her cheeks.
Celestia sighed, and shook a little as she nodded her head. It was a day she hoped to never see, but one she planned for nonetheless. "If you will calm down, Twilight," she explained. "I will answer any question you have. I swear upon my name, the ponies of Equestria, and the sun itself that I will only answer with the truth."
The filly blinked, her eyes glazing over in magical energy, hiding their wonderful amethyst colour from view. There was no emotion visible on her face, which scared the alicorn more than the previous flash of anger. Her tears evaporated into nothing from the pure magic covering her eyes. "WHAT. AM. I?"
"You are an advanced breed of Golem," she answered.
"WHY DID YOU LIE?" She wasn't angry and there wasn't any hint of it... she just needed her answers.
"I didn't want to hurt you, Twilight," the princess of the sun spoke, choosing her words very carefully. "I feared you would take it the wrong way...the way you are now."
The magic faded from the lavender pony's eyes and her muscles relaxed a little. She stood here, calm and dead silent for minutes until the most important question she would ever ask passed her lips. "Why was I created?"
Celestia shut her eyes and bowed her head in silence, a hoof rising to rest her head in. To any pony watching, she suddenly looked much older than they ever would have dreamed. It was the one question she hoped she would never have to answer, since she was genuinely afraid what would happen after she gave it. "I made you to house my sister's soul... at least, according to the original plan. Things didn't go the way I wanted, so I, FORTUNATELY, had to change it around until it came to the events of the last Summer Sun Celebration"
Her reaction to the news was exactly what the princess feared; a look of great betrayal and hurt dawning on the filly's face before more tears slipped from her watery eyes. "I'm... I'm a mistake?"
"You are a beautiful, smart and wonderful one, yes, like how that one pony invented penicillin. When I made you, I wanted a fully-grown mare who could handle her fate. Instead, I got you as a newborn. I wanted to keep you around, but we just don't have the facilities to handle foals here, so I sent you to live with your parents."
"You... you've never cared about me," Twilight replied in shock. "YOU'VE NEVER GIVEN A SINGLE HORSEAPPLE ABOUT ME!!!"
"No, Twilight. I do care about you," the princess of the sun tried to sooth. "I care about you more than any pony could know. When you came to me, I slowly realized how wrong I had been to try and create a pony without a spirit... a pony whose sole purpose was to die so her body could become Luna's." Her eyes suddenly went wide in terror, swiftly inserting a hoof into her mouth, tasting the gold of her shoes. She never meant to say that last part... ever.
A sickly silence fell over the room once more before the fantasy finally crashed down, the mare's voice suddenly becoming sharp and harsh, like the breeze on a cold winter morning. "MONSTER," she shouted into the stone rafters. The entirety of Canterlot began to quake as a rush of magic filled her, tears evaporating once more as laughter began to overtake her. "I'M A MONSTER... MADE BY A MONSTER," she called out, not quite yelling. Her laughter quickly became dark and wicked, chilling the alicorn to her divine bones.
"Twilight," the ancient mare spoke in an authoritative tone. It took great control to not let her deeper pain come through her words. Hearing her own creation call herself... and her maker, a monster stung more than anything she ever felt before in her long life."Calm down and we will discuss this matter further in my chambers. Please."
"SILENCE!" Twilight screamed in rage. The entire castle shook, causing the pillars in the throne room to quake visibly, ancient dust and cobwebs dangling down from the high ceiling. The glass windows and massive skylight quivered in fear at the enraged unicorn. Her body twitched and glowed as raw magic seeped from her pores, her anger unlocking something deep within herself that lay hidden for her entire life. She could feel a power unlike anything she ever felt before; as if the very sun itself lay at her beck and call. Was this how Celestia felt all the time?
Celestia narrowed her eyes dangerously at the unicorn in front of her, seeing that the mare was now enraged and stressed beyond the point of all rational thought. The doors behind the purple pony flew open as guards poured in at hearing the outburst, yet unnoticed by the filly. "You do not order ME around, Twilight Sparkle," she said with great control to hide her own anger. "Now, either calm down, or I will MAKE you calm down."
Magical lightning arced off the mare into the floor of the room, causing it to crack under the sheer power she exuded. The princess knew in that moment that Twilight possessed magical power equal to, or perhaps greater than her own. She stared at the princess, her eyes glazed over by a veil of pure magic, much like they had been when they were reunited those many years ago. "NO," she said, "YOU TRIED TO STOP THIS BEFORE, BUT I AM STRONGER NOW!"
"You leave me no choice. Now, SLEEP!" The princess didn't like to use this technique unless she had to, but it was a skill much akin to Fluttershy's Stare. However, unlike the Pegasus, the alicorn's eyes glowed with magic as it tried to influence the filly's mind into feeling waves of sleep.
However, after many seconds of trying the spell on her student, she felt no change in the purple mare. She began to cackle, the guards surrounding her looking to their monarch for orders. A shield of purple energy came to life, surrounding the unicorn, sparing her from the spell. "I CAN SEE THE MAGIC NOW," she cackled at her teacher's shocked expression, "I SEE IT IN YOUR MIND!"
It pained her to do what she was about to do, but Twilight's rage and impossible magic left her with no other choice. "Then, it would seem I must subdue you by FORCE!" She stood to her full, impressive height, ready for a fight with her beloved student. Taking that as their cue, the guards circling the purple filly sprung into action, little realizing the princess was about to tell them to evacuate the castle instead.
Princess Luna sat in her chambers that day, reading a book on modern Equestrian history, surrounded by piles of other tomes on the same subject. In just a few short days, she felt she would finally know enough about the country to fully resume her responsibilities over the night. Although she would never admit it, despite all the new technology and social upheavals, she found the starkest contrast in her older sister.
When she turned to Nightmare, Celestia had ruled the day with an iron hoof hidden behind an insincere smile and shallow flattery. She loved power back then and reveled in it, partly why she refused to pay attention to the midnight princess and mandated a strict sunset curfew. If any pony dared cross her, or fail her on multiple occasions, they soon faced the hangmare's noose, or even the pike. Luna shuddered in fear as she remembered the sight of impaled ponies lining the front of their castle.
Thankfully, the years had been far kinder to the elder than the younger. She had to deal with her own sense of isolation and loneliness, turning her from a bloodthirsty tyrant back into the kind yet quirky mare she grew up with. The Regent of the Moon sighed and put her books away. She simply couldn't get over how much her sister had changed, and how much she herself stayed the same. Sure, she was sorry about the whole saga with Nightmare Moon, but she wasn't about to beg for forgiveness and feel sorry for herself over something that was beyond her control.
Suddenly, the room around her began to quake as a soft "Silence!" filled the air of her room. Of course, she knew better than to think this came from any pony other than her dear sister. Whatever happened, it was enough to make her shout louder then Luna dared remember. She quickly got to her hooves and opened her door, galloping past her guards and down the halls. Celestia had not lost her temper yet in the year she had been back, and she pitied the poor pony on the receiving end of it.
Shouts and the sound of breaking glass met her ears as she ran at full speed down the winding and labyrinth-like halls of Canterlot. Eventually, her hooves found themselves before the throne room, a terrible sight meeting her eyes. All the ponies waiting for an appointment with her sister had fled, and rightly so. The inner doors were blown off their hinges, lying on the marble floor like felled trees.
Guards lay in all directions: some slumped against pillars while others hung limply from the frames of shattered stained glass windows or chandeliers on the ceiling. Most of them were either unconscious, or wishing so; all of them bled heavily onto the cold floor. The large throne itself lay on the ground, shattered into a million pieces while scorch marks shadowed the outline it once had against the wall. However, the sight that caught her most off-guard was that of her sister and her student, who stood on opposite sides of the room, enveloped by auras of magic while staring each other down.
"T-twilight! Sister! W-what is going on here!?" Luna asked in shock and awe, jaw dropping at the sight.
"Stay back!" warned Celestia, "Twilight's having a temper tantrum right now and I don't want to see you hurt." A spell hit her shield as she explained this to Luna, the purple mare far more aggressive than the lunar princess remembered.
"She's a MONSTER!" the smaller screeched. "She engineered me as a Golem and manipulated the ponies who WERE my friends JUST TO SAVE YOU! SHE MADE ME TO DIE!" She skilfully dodged a brilliant streak of gold erupting from the solar sister's horn as she spoke, firing off a few of her own blasts in the meantime.
Luna sat on the sidelines, dumbfounded about how this could have happened. Surely Celestia knew better then to create a magical creature like that... and for such a reason. "Sister... is this true!?" she begged. The large oak doors leading to the entrance hall shut to isolate the throne room for the rest of the castle. In the back of her mind, Luna already signalled the alarm for the ponies to flee the castle, or else suffer the guards' fate.
"Sadly, it's true, Luna," the elder sister replied with lament etched upon her face. A ring of pink flame surrounded the purple unicorn, slowly drawing in as if burning invisible oils. However, the lavender unicorn was no slouch as she teleported outside the ring of flame and behind her teacher. The alicorn wheeled around, expecting this and fired a blast at her student, sending her careening into a wall.
Her raw anger and power dulled the pain as she slammed into the stone wall. It cracked and formed a shallow imprint, but she swiftly got to her hooves and fired another volley at the snow-white monster standing before her. Predictably, the evil alicorn protected herself with a shield charm, but it was enough of a diversion to gain a better position against her.
The midnight pony found herself on the edge of a battle she couldn't escape. On one hoof, she had her sister, whom she loved more than anything else in this world. Yet, on the other, she had the unicorn that helped free her from her foolish inner darkness... to which she owed everything. However, they both committed very serious crimes: Celestia having created artificial life, and that artificial life trying to kill royalty.
Twilight charged, but the ancient mare stood ready for her protégé. Her horn dazzled, ancient roots from trees felled during the construction of the castle burst through the stone floor, ensnaring the charging pony. It slowed her down, but the white pony knew it would not subdue her enough. She quickly conjured a mist around her student, hoping the gas would put her to sleep, or at least impair her enough so she could have the edge.
The purple filly could feel the roots slowly sucking the magic out of her very body and into the earth. She needed to act, and to act fast, or else lose and be killed by the tyrant. Internalizing all the magic she could, she let loose a massive blast of magic, managing to catch the cocky princess off-guard. Her advisory cried out in surprise as the pressure wave hit her head-on, flinging her across her chambers and into one of the pillars a couple of her guards lay under.
Not a sound escaped their muzzles as their ruler landed on their bodies, her full weight suddenly placed on the pair of unconscious Pegasus ponies. The sudden attack caused her to lose concentration in the spell, the roots bursting into flame around her purple student. She quickly got to her hooves and focused; a pillar of rock rose from the floor, causing her former pupil to smack into it head-on.
Luna winced slightly as Twilight ran right into the stone slab, her battle with her dear sister as Nightmare Moon springing instantly to mind. She, or rather the twisted mare, had fallen for that exact same trap and nearly snapped her horn off. Things were quickly becoming violent, and if she did not step in soon, she feared that one of the ponies would not survive to see another sunrise.
Meanwhile, the unicorn charged her horn with magic and rammed it through the solid slab of granite as if it were naught but paper. The solid mass shattered into a million pieces; however, the princess was quick on the uptake, turning those chunks of granite into bubbles that surrounded her target. Each bubble merged with another, and then another until the purple pony lay encapsulated in a single giant bubble.
She rolled her eyes at this pathetic attempt to ensnare her, and promptly put her horn to the bubble's surface. Electricity ran into her body and down her spine, causing her to cry out in pain. Switching tactics, she tried to force her way out with her magic, but that too proved to be a dead end. "It's useless, Twilight," Celestia panted as she spoke. "There is no way out of that bubble from the inside; it exists in a shifted dimension, so you cannot interact with the outside world."
A smile spread across the unicorn's face. All at once, she vanished from the bubble. Worried, the princess dispelled it and called out for her student. Where had she gone? The princess never wanted to hurt her; that was why she was holding back... what was Twilight planning? Suddenly, a massive explosion ripped through the entire room, her world becoming a black torrent of pain and agony. It felt like thousands of knives stabbing and twisting over every square inch of her body all at the same time.
The next thing she knew, she lay on her side on the remaining steps leading up to the shattered throne. A massive hole marked the place she once stood, the purple mare at the epicentre of the blast. Any remaining windows were shattered, the pillar erased from existence and the glass skylight missing completely. Celestia looked herself over and calmly noted glass embedded into her coat, sparkling in her sun like jewels. She was dirty and covered in thin trails of blood.
Luna's mouth dropped at the spectacle of magic before her. The little pony was a very fast study, as she almost immediately found the work-around and utilized it to terrible effect. Dust still hung in the air from the torrent of marble and stone. Only then did the midnight princess notice that all of the guards' bodies were gone, evaporated or blown away from the force of the blast.
They had both crossed a very serious line.
Focusing as much energy into her horn as she could, the Regent of the Moon fired a volley of magic, hitting the unsuspecting Twilight Sparkle in the back. Another small cloud of dust exploded in the hall as the magic connected, dissipating to reveal a dusty and visibly enraged unicorn shooting death glares at her as she lay on the floor. "Sister!" Celestia exclaimed. "I thought I told you to stay out of this!"
"I don't care," she replied. "You've both taken innocent lives today due to your carelessness. I will do all I can... to stop you both." Another blast of unicorn power blasted out of her horn, missing her sister only because of her quick wits and motor skills. "I will show neither of you any quarter."
A purple energy began to form in front of the midnight alicorn. It hurt her to have to do this to her dear sister and one of her saviours, but she had to do so for the common good. The swirling energy quickly took shape, glistening in the afternoon sun before shifting into a large sword. Its blade sparkled black with the power of the stars, the fuchsia grip shimmering softly. Luna clenched her teeth around the weapon's grip, taking stance against the charging Twilight.
Suddenly, mid-charge the purple unicorn became ensnared by a thin beam of golden magic, quickly snapping back around her body and launching her in the opposite direction. The mare twisted herself in the air as she felt the rope of magic disappear and vanished in a wink of light, teleporting immediately behind the newcomer to the battle. However, the dark alicorn expected this, jumping in the air to avoid the attack and smacked her with a hoof.
She careened out of control from the smack as it had thrown her dive off-balance. Unable to stop herself, the mare rammed head-first into one of the remaining pillars. Before Celestia could even comprehend what had just happened, an indigo blur obscured her vision as her sister teleported in front of her, swinging her Midnight Blade. A dazzle of light flashed in front of the feuding alicorns as the Regent of the Sun summoned her own sword to block the incoming attack with naught but a second to spare.
The two exchanged a quick flurry of swipes, neither landing a blow on the other as the smallest combatant saw her opportunity. Luna was an aid in her attempt to end the reign of the monstrous tyrant, but she had also attacked her, and such a deed could not go unpunished. Her own horn dazzled as it built up energy, trying to channel the awesome power she felt into her next attack. Twilight hoped the deadly dance between the two sisters would distract them long enough, as she let loose her righteous fury in the form of a massive blast of golden fire.
Caught in the middle of a lock, the sisters sensed the build up and release of massive energy just in time to avoid a direct hit. The ball of fire impacted the spot where they had stood seconds before, shrapnel from the explosion flying in all directions, causing them to shut their eyes to prevent chunks from blinding them. Naturally, the princess of the sun took advantage of the chaos, charging a shot of magic in her sword.
She took to the air and swung it in a wide arc, gathering as much sunlight as possible. In short order, the gold and silver blade sparkled in the power of the sun. Celestia wasted no time in using it, pointing the tip of the blade directly at her sister before letting loose a torrent of light. The magic mimicked the sound of cannon fire as it screamed across the room, large disks of multi-coloured magic forming from dust caught in its path.
Pain crackled through her body as the Light Cannon attack struck her body. An explosion at the point of contact threw the midnight mare into the air. She flew helplessly, slamming into the wall just beside one of the felled oak doors. Her neck snapped back, the wind knocked out of her as the wall shattered under the force of her hit, seeing stars. Luna's body fell to the ground in a soft thud, the gentle rattle of her sword skidding to a stop just a few precious feet from her muzzle.
Using this distraction, the small unicorn teleported under her former teacher, hoping to gore her exposed belly with her horn and secure victory against the two goddesses. However, she flew just beyond her physical reach, taunting her inadvertently with her skill and experience. A smile crept across the disturbed mare's face as her horn shimmered beyond the aura of magic that shrouded her. Large cracks began to develop on the ceiling directly overhead.
The princess had no time to react to the sudden attack, chunks of heavy ceiling landing on her back, driving the dagger-like shards of glass deeper into her body. She cried out in pain as she felt one of the chunks bend her wing the wrong way, causing her to crash-land onto the ruined steps leading up to the throne. With a stamp of the princess's hoof, Twilight observed a cage of rock jetting out of the floor around her, a weak attempt to try and stop her from finishing off the monster.
Unbeknownst to the purple filly, the dome of rock was not meant for the sole purpose of containing her. A bright light immediately filled the entirety of the prison, causing her to weld her eyes shut or be blinded by the intense glare. Even then, light managed to shine through her eyelids, the world going from black to a shade of brilliant red. But annoying light wasn't the only part of the package; the temperature had suddenly skyrocketed to levels she never dare dream of before.
Luna couldn't believe what she was seeing; that her sister would use such an attack on her prized student, of all ponies! No longer winded from the surprise attack just moments earlier, she slowly got to her hooves and primed an attack of her own. Her sister tried to stop her, but before she could, the rocket of indigo magic shot forward and into the stone dome. Another explosion shook the hall, obliterating the rocky prison that held the purple filly. In addition to freeing her, the attack launched her into the wall, face to the floor with her stomach pressed against the solid slab of stone, winding her. "How dare you!" Luna shouted. "She might be angry right now, but she's still your student! How dare you try to kill her like that!"
Celestia tried to explain that she reduced the heat to about one thousandth of the sun's usual strength. Sadly, before she could get the words out of her mouth, the midnight princess grabbed her sword and shot another volley of magic at her. Things were getting desperate: Celestia could feel her strength slowly leave her with each spell she cast. One way or the other, this battle could not last much longer.
A dark cloud hung over the village of Ponyville that afternoon, metaphorically and literally speaking. When Sugarcube Corner exploded, fire quickly spread to several of the neighbouring buildings. On the mayor's orders, the weather squad rushed into action, pulling every cloud they could to form a large thunderhead over the town. It was their hope that by dampening it, they could slow the spread of the flames while the fire ponies tackled them.
Meanwhile, Nurse Headheart had quite the busy spell in her clinic. Along with her fellow nurse, the two mares tended to those wounded: a baby dragon with a broken arm, a black and blue Pegasus, a traumatized filly, a slightly concussed farmer and three shaking mares. None of them would talk when the two medical ponies walked into the ward, but as soon as they left, they all began chatting. It was a most curious phenomenon.
Pinkie Pie, usually the one pony who, no matter what, always put on a smile couldn't find one that day. In one moment, she lost her home, her job, and all of that candy! Meanwhile, Applejack massaged her head for the fortieth time since waking up, each time a little more of the massive migraine leaving her. Spike, however, laid quietly in his bed, arm in a thick plaster cast, staring into the ceiling blankly.
As soon as the two nurses left the room, Rarity decided it was time they finally break the ice. "So..." she started for the tenth time that day. However, she simply couldn't bring herself to say anymore, looking to the floor sadly again. No, this needed to be said! "So what do you think happened to drive Twilight utterly insane like that?"
No pony responded to her question, looking at each other blankly. The uncomfortable silence carried on for minutes, until finally the silence was broken by the most unlikely creature there. "I bet you something she read made her flip out like that," Spike spoke against the painkillers. "She was hitting those books harder then I remember."
"That's still no excuse," sounded the indignant voice of Rainbow Dash. One of her front teeth was knocked out in the assault, resulting in a small whistle with every utterance of the letter s. "I'd never flip my lid like that over something I read in some dusty old book!"
"Maybe one of 'em had a spell on it," reasoned Applejack. "Maybe readin' it drove her mad... like in that one colt's books... what was his name again?"
"That would be Horrid Craft, darling," the ivory unicorn replied. "But I sincerely doubt it. What about that... what did you call it, Spike... 'Test Stress'? I'm sure that might explain it."
"Well..." the baby dragon drifted as he sat up. "It might, but it would have to be something like... well... I'm not sure... uh... Like Dash hearing that the Wonderbolts disbanded."
"WHAT!?" the rainbow-maned Pegasus exclaimed, not really listening to the conversation. "How could they do that!? No, no, no, no, no, no, no!" She then proceeded over to the wall and began banging her head against the wall, crying and screaming in a mixture of pain and anger. After about a dozen hits, the Pegasus was tackled by an orange blur.
"Dang it, Rainbow!" she spoke, muzzled barely an inch from hers. "Stop it! Spike didn't mean nothin' by it; he was just usin' it as an example!"
"Exactly!" Pinkie Pie chirped. "It was for the benefit of the reader: to show something suitable to illustrate what Spike meant." Everyone in the room gave her that typical blank stare when she started on a topic they could never understand. "So maybe we should go to the Library and find out what happened?"
"I agree with Pinkie," voiced the quiet murmurings of Fluttershy who, until that moment, lived up to her name, "At least... the looking in the library part, I mean." She immediately squeaked and moved back into the corner of the room to avoid the limelight, still shaken up over what happened just an hour ago. As much as they didn't like the idea of going out into the rain, they had to admit that going to the library would be the best idea.
Eventually, the two nurses came back to check up on the seven patients. This time, they were surprised to hear that most of them wanted to be released. Poor Scootaloo, however, continued to sit in one of the corners soundlessly. Nurse Redheart silently mused that they would send for a psychologist from Canterlot for her first thing in the morning. Despite their objections, the two medical mares let them go as their injuries were minor, at worst.
The rain hammered the cobblestone streets of town as the six walked over to the Library. An occasional shout would ring through the streets as ponies continued to fight the fires caused by the addled unicorn. It was a sobering reminder of how much raw power Twilight had at her disposal, causing them to wonder where she had gone. Did she go into the forest to bide her time and destroy the town in the middle of the night?
"Wow," Spike voiced when they passed through the threshold of the door. The normally neat piles of books had collapsed all over the place, leaving only a small circle in the center where the purple pony once sat. "I've never seen this place so messy. I don't remember it being this way this morning." Wasting no time, they spread out to dig through the books; however, it took no time at all to find it.
"I think I found it," Rainbow spoke with some measure of pride. Suddenly, the tome took flight across the room and over to Rarity who flipped a page back. The mare read the passage aloud to her friends, pausing in some places where she found something that connected rather well to their friend. When all was said and done, they stood in the messy library in awe. Everything the book said fit her to a tee; it wasn't hard to imagine her being stressed at learning she wasn't even a pony.
Their minds reeled as they pondered how their friend could have possibly felt when she learned this terrible truth. All of a sudden, it wasn't that much of a stretch to see her turning paranoid, violent, and losing all touch with reality. Every pony stood around quietly, shuffling their hooves awkwardly as some of them tried to figure out where she might have possibly gone. Until, that is, one of them remembered a part of the passage... a disturbing part.
"Oh wow," Pinkie spoke. "So, is it just me, or is anypony else suddenly worried about Princess Celestia?"
"Spike?" the farmer asked, looking to the baby dragon.
"Way ahead of you," he replied, quill already in his good hand as he scribbled out a quick note, leaning on a table to write.
Princess Celestia of Equestria flew through the air with great speed and control. Every so often, she and her sister would fly close and exchange a quick blow or two with their swords, hoping to knock the other off balance and end the dogfight. In the meantime, Twilight Sparkle had managed to conjure a massive tornado of purple energy in the centre of the room, hoping to swallow both of the celestial sisters whole.
After several close calls, and breaking her Sword of Light, the mover of the sun summoned a bolt of light that blasted the ground underneath in holy lightning. It pained her to have to hurt her student so, but her magic was incredible and her rage boundless. She needed to end the confrontation soon, or else the filly's body would be destroyed by the overwhelming power. This lead to the present moment: the three mares stared each other down in a triangle of destruction.
Twilight made the first move as, much like the two alicorns before her; she summoned a sword crafted out of magic. If the alabaster princess was not busy fighting for her life, she would be proud of her filly for being so quick to learn new spells. The purple pony charged, head low and purple blade out as she charged her monster of a mentor. Princess Luna soon followed suit, taking aim at the charging pony.
Casting out two more lines of magical rope, Celestia ensnared her sister and student, flinging their bodies together in a dull thud before casting them to opposite sides of the destroyed throne room, entangling the purple student in a thick system of roots. So much destruction for such a meaningless cause, she mused. She stepped forward, advancing on her student, wings flared in a primeval display to make herself as intimidating as possible. Magic crackled off her body as the glow faded from her sockets, revealing her purple, slightly bloodshot eyes to the filly.
"You can't win against me, Twilight," she said. "No mortal pony could ever hope to conquer a goddess like me or Luna. Please, give up now and let us discus this like gr-" Before she could finish her sentence, a wisp of green smoke floated before her eyes, opening to show a hastily written note. Normally, she wouldn't bother with such a thing in the middle of a battle, but with her opponent finally subdued and her sister's wish granted, she had little to fear.
Twilight has gone crazy after reading something about Golems in a book, and we fear she might come to Canterlot in order to attack you. She has already set fire to half of Ponyville and hospitalized a good number of her friends. Please, don't be too hard on her if she comes... she'll suffer enough when she snaps out of...
A sudden flash of steel sparkled in front of the princess, allowing her to move her head just before she was decapitated. However, she soon wished she hadn't moved as she saw Luna before her, sword gripped tightly in her teeth... half of her large, ivory horn at her hooves. "LUNA!" Celestia spoke indignantly. Taking a unicorn's horn was a very, very serious offence; she counted herself lucky that her divinity would have it grow back. "HOW DARE YOU!" With a sudden flash of magic, a series of golden ropes erupted from her stump of a horn, tying her sister up tight and launching her into a stump of a pillar, the gilded strands securing it to the chunk of marble. "This whole thing was going to be finally over before you did that! Now you may have doomed all of Equestria!"
It was true that she could still cast magic, but with only half her horn it meant she could only wield half the power. Thankfully, the healing process had already begun on her damaged appendage. Celestia walked over to her sister, anger now fully on display, obvious. A look of pure horror suddenly came upon Luna's face, causing her expression to soften. "Sister!" Luna cried. "Behind you!"
The white alicorn let out a cry of pain as something sharp impacted against her side, cutting through her wing. Now flightless, she turned her head to find Twilight Sparkle, free of the binding spell, in her side. She fell to the floor as her student stood tall, royal blood seeping down her horn and over her face, a menacing grin over her face. "Now who's sitting in the saddle, Celestia?" she smirked.
Celestia yelped in surprise as she felt her student's magic pick her up and bash her into the walls of the room, twirling her around like a puppet on a string. She tried to use her magic to fight back, but the excruciating pain in her side, coupled with the near constant impacts made it nigh impossible for her to concentrate. With a final flourish, Twilight spun her teacher like Applejack would swing a lasso before letting her go careening into the last remaining pillar in the room.
Everything began to shake as the final support in the room crumbled. Luna lay tied against the pillar, wide eyed and stunned into silence. Only now did she realize she made a big mistake by chopping off her horn then, and feared that the rest of Equestria would have to pay for her misdeed... again. She cried out in terror as pieces of the ceiling began to fall around them, noticing how calmly the purple mare walked to her target... like a Griffon about to kill its prey.
The princess moaned as her world collapsed around her. Sure, she had done some wicked things in the past, but could this all be the universe getting her back for it? Celestia could barely move from the waves of pain washing over her, or the gathering coldness from the deep wound in her side. Twilight approached, that same wicked grin in her eyes, chilling the monarch further. For the first time in over three thousand years, she let a genuine look of terror show on her face, tears beginning to well up as she saw her student, her little filly, walk down the path to self-destruction.
"Please, Twilight," she pleaded, tears streaming from her face. "You're better than this... please don't."
Mad laughter escaped from her mouth, making the princess wince as she stepped onto her battered body. The sadistic mare jammed her hoof into her wound, causing her to cry out in pain as her tormentor smiled on. "You're so cute... when you're begging for your LIFE, YOU MONSTER!" Without pause, the unicorn laid a flurry of hooves down on her face, having completely forgotten about her dropped sword. She cackled in delight as the once regal alicorn lay under hoof, bloodied and beaten almost beyond recognition.
"Now, Celestia," she grinned. "It's time to wipe away your MONSTROUS REIGN OF TERROR and let a new age of peace and prosperity sweep over Equestria."
Her eyes went wide as they streamed crystal tears down her bloodied face. With every passing second, she could feel her heart breaking a little more as she realized just what her student was going to do to her. It was now or never to tell her, or else be doomed to her fate. "Twilight, please," she started. "I lo-"
"SILENCE!" the purple mare shouted in her face. Her horn began to glow an eerie white to match the veil of magic over her eyes. A sickening look of delight spread across her beautiful lavender face as a beam of energy passed from the tip of her horn into the stump of the other. From their horns, the mass of light spread over their entire beings, warming them where the light touched.
Luna watched with horror from her vantage point. She had no idea where Twilight had picked up that particular spell, but it did not bode well for her, or for the rest of Equestria. Eventually, the light surrounded both the ponies, shimmering as the illuminated silhouette of the one on top grew while the other shrank. If their country were to survive, she'd have to use her special, private spell that she'd never had the need to use on another pony. The light faded, revealing a sight she had not seen in over six thousand years.
On the ground lay a white alicorn pony, her mane a vivid pink with a more simple design of the sun resting on her flank. She panted while lying in a pool of her own blood, the wound in her side still leaking her royal blood onto the cold marble floor. Luna noticed a fear in her purple eyes, the likes of which she hadn't seen since she accidentally broke their father's crown one day so very long ago.
She felt a power unlike anything she ever experienced coursing through her veins. Her purple coat sparkled in the light of the sun. Her mane shaded from darkest starry night through the colours of sunset to the azure blue that now hung above her. A golden crown rested on her head while a golden necklace sat around her neck, each sparkling with many lavender jewels. The new wings that flanked her body flared open in triumph over what she accomplished as the pink-maned mare squirmed under her gilded hooves. How pathetic, the new Regent of the Sun mused as she grinned at her now mortal predecessor.
"Twilight," the former princess spoke in barely more than a whisper. Her voice was much higher then she remembered. "No, don't do this. I.."
"My name," she replied, her voice booming and commanding to all who should hear it. "Is Eos now. 'Her Royal Highness, Princess Eos of Equestria, Regent of the Sun.' Do not forget that, CELESTIA."
"Don't kill me, Twi- I mean, Eos. I know I did some horrible things, but PLEASE, don't destroy the pony that I've grown to respect so much!"
"Oh, I'm not going to kill you," Eos replied. "I'm simply going to banish you to what you have misused for so long. Enjoy an ETERNITY on the sun!" Her royal horn dazzled in light as she finished her sentence, quickly wrapping the bleeding mare under her in a blanket of light.
"No! Twilight! Don't! I love..." However, before Celestia could utter that last word, she vanished from the face of Equestria. Eos cackled in triumph as she kicked at the pooled blood under her hoof; at last, the world was free of that dastardly and evil pony who dared defy the universe. Now, all that remained was that pesky Regent of the Moon.
Luna shivered as the now immortal Twilight walked slowly up to her, eyes steeled in murderous determination. It was then that she noticed her stare. She looked back into those purple pools, working her magic. "Please! Twilight! Come back to your senses! You're better than this! Remember who you were... remember who you've hurt today. Yes, you're a Golem, but that's no excuse to hurt, traumatize and kill others! Please!"
Those green eyes... they quickly put her under their spell. Waves of serene calm crashed over her weary body, taking with them the anger, the hurt, and the hate. Suddenly, the events of the day flooded back to her, but not the way she remembered. Bright apples, cute critters, alabaster dresses, a filly learning how to fly, a concerned friend, and a started baby dragon. Finally, the straw that broke her back: a crying and hurt princess resting under her hooves, heartbroken and scared.
Twilight looked around the tattered room, her eyes beginning to shimmer and glisten. Not with magic this time, but with tears as startling realization crept upon her waking mind. Sure, Celestia did a horrible thing, but the real monster that day wasn't named after the princess... but Twilight Sparkle instead. Her mouth dropped in horror as she slumped onto her haunches, the water flowing freely from her eyes as her voice broke.
"Oh, my god! W-what have I DONE!?"