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Princess Luna, the mare of the moon.

Princess Celestia, the princess of the sun.

Two of the most powerful individuals to ever have existed, their power held near to no limit, their love for their subjects strong and eternal. If one truly understood the complexity of their duty and the sheer ferocity of their power, then the image of the two alicorns sat so casually at their breakfast table would have been comic.

It didn’t take a being of perceptive ability to see that something was disturbing their, otherwise peaceful, banquet. The two princesses were staring at each other across the table, as if they were communicating through the mere silence and tension that held strong within the room’s atmosphere.

The breakfast hall was normally a bright, colourful place, adorned with many priceless artifacts and works of art. Though not on this day. Today was different.

Today the grandeur of the hall was spoilt; the very tension in the room had been so potent that it had actually caused a physical reaction to the environment of the palace. It rendered the colours pale and made the light of the sun bend and shy away, this caused to room to seem only dimly lit.

“It’s certain?” Princess Luna asked grimly, breaking the silence.

“No. Not yet.” Princess Celestia paused to review her own thought process, though her unblinking gaze held strong. “I feel that it is only a matter of time before it is confirmed, however.”

“So it is certain.” Luna corrected sternly.

“We can’t be sure, at least not until he shows himself.”

“But it’s inevitable, why can’t we simply learn to accept that?” Luna asked with a tone of frustration.

“Because we need to have hope, Luna.” Celestia informed, her tone was gentle but authoritative.

The mare of the moon nodded solemnly in agreement, though her expression assured the sun princess of the obvious internal agitation.

“It might not be him, it could be any number of enemies from our past.” Luna suggested.

“That did pass my mind, but I honestly doubt it. Only such a reckless and callous spirit would emit such an evil energy. It’s a shame that Twilight hasn’t sensed it yet, she reports that her recent illness has slightly drained her magical ability. I’m sure she’ll realise soon, even a magical fatigue won’t keep her from the truth for very long.” Celestia spoke with a tone of respect for her student.

“What do you think her reaction will be?” Luna asked.

“To inform me immediately, of course. She’s such a faithful student.” Celestia added with pride.

“Have you told her about him before?”

“I didn’t tell her about Discord until I needed to. I trusted her to know what to do, albeit with a bit of encouragement. But I knew she would succeed in the end.” Celestia paused, her expression of pride slowly drained away as she settled back into reality.

“But that was Discord, and this is-” Luna suddenly paused, she felt a sudden dig of nervousness in her stomach. She simply couldn’t bring herself to say the name. The name was everything, the name invoked fear and despair to those who were old enough to remember what it meant, and who it referred to.

“That’s what I’m afraid of, Luna.” Celestia admitted.

“You should get her to rally the Elements of Harmony once he reveals himself, they will need to act quickly if we’re to avoid his destructive nature.” Luna advised.

“No.” Celestia said flatly. “He won’t fall for the same trap twice, he will probably target and destroy the element bearers the moment that he becomes knowledgeable of them. To let Twilight try and defeat him in this manner would be to deliver her to her swift fate. This requires far more thought than simply, ‘run and get the elements’...”

“Then what do we do?!” Luna asked desperately.

Princess Celestia merely looked down at the table in response, her expression was blank and devoid of feeling. This look had only ever befallen the sun-princess’ face upon realising a situation that she honestly didn’t know the answer to.

“No...” Luna whispered under her breath in disbelief.

Luna was a being of immense power, though not quite as powerful as her sister. The mere thought of Celestia actually giving up was most disturbing. It had brewed an odd, unwelcome feeling within Luna, an overwhelming mixture of helplessness and uncertainty. It was as if the emotional distress in her was overflowing, since a single tear welled up in the corner of the midnight alicorn’s eye. It grew slowly before falling gracefully onto the varnished wood with an audible drip.


By Whip Lash

Chapter One

“Never Truly Alone”

The Everfree Forest had long been feared by most residents of Equestria, perhaps due to it’s elusive, occasionally dangerous inhabitants and vegetation. The day was utterly clouded and overcast. No sun broke through the dull natural barrier that clung to the sky. It was a pleasant change, away from the common notion of either total unrestrained sunshine or contrastingly heavy downpours.

Overcast brought in the best of both. There was no heat and no chill, it brought the best of all weather together. It allowed one to simply forget about preparing for either excessive heat or cold and revel within a day that possessed neither former nor latter.

If one strained their eyes and looked to the sky they would see that it was home to more than just the stagnant weather. Since in the distance a small figure flew through the air, just beneath the monotonous cloud.

Upon looking closer, one could have made out one of many pegasus ponies that inhabited Equestria. The winged pony flew at a relaxed rate, neither fast, nor slow.

With even further inspection, a knowledgeable individual might have been able to identify the outfit that the pony was wearing. A blue and yellow flight-suit, bearing the symbol of The Wonderbolts. However, this wasn’t just a member of Equestria’s famous flight team, but their most fiery and arguably most skilled component.

Spitfire was team leader of The Wonderbolts. A team of pegasus fliers that was reserved for the absolute elite of skilled individuals in that particular area. No member of The Wonderbolts could ever be considered a trivial contributor to the team, since they were all masters of aviation in one way or another.

The team leader herself had the advantage of simply looking good regardless of whether motion was involved. She sported a marvelous yellow coat, that matched flawlessly with her fiery mane and tail. Even her eyes burnt with a flaming darkened orange.

The fiery pegasus had found herself under a lot of pressure, due to the recent occurrence of Rainbow Dash’s sonic rainboom spectacle. Spitfire’s fans consistently urged her to perform a similar feat in order to prove her superiority and she assured them that she was more than capable of executing a maneuver that was equally as stunning. A sonic flameboom was what they were after, a performance that Spitfire kept rare and mysterious since the anticipation that the crowd had shown over the topic never failed to amuse her.

Spitfire was not arrogant, far from it in-fact. She accepted the possibility that Rainbow Dash may be faster than her, though she honestly doubted it. For she, unlike others, understood that breaking the sound barrier should never be seen as a finale, rather it should be seen as a key to unlocking even more stunning potential.

Tomorrow, Spitfire was expected to bring her team together to perform at the Cloudiseum within Cloudsdale for a celebration of Princess Luna’s return to Equestria. The Wonderbolts weren’t the only act to perform, but to say that they were the most highly anticipated would be an understatement. Pegasus ponies from all over Equestria would be gathered, expecting their faces to be forcefully warped into stunned expressions due to the obviously magnificent performance that was to come.

Today however, was the perfect day to simply relax and unwind before the celebration begun. The overcast weather, in Spitfire’s mind, was perfect flying weather. The overpowering heat of the sun was being absorbed into the soft cloud layer which allowed the pegasus to fly through the air without a care.

She had chosen to fly above the Everfree Forest this day for the pure reason that she didn’t get to appreciate the air-view of the natural expanse very regularly.

It’s a masterpiece. She thought to herself as she observed the intertwining trees and bushes that flowed within each other like fine art. It made her appreciate that nature was capable of bringing the greatest wonders to the world.

The welcoming sensation of being alone washed through the master-flier. It was such a good feeling to simply break off from the crowd, the worry, the stress. This was just what she needed to relax and attune her mind before the show tomorrow.

Though Spitfire realised something... something that was amiss below her. She hovered in mid-air for a moment as she examined the forest below; there wasn’t visibly anything wrong. But she couldn’t shake the feeling of wrongness that hung over her.

She decided to descend to the ground and quickly landed in a small clearing. She looked around, cautiously, whatever was wrong was close. She peered into the bushes, but simply could not understand what exactly the source of her frustrating woe was. Her once peaceful mood had vanished as she became increasingly agitated.

That was when it hit her. That feeling, she recognised it. She was being observed. Watched.

Her head was now darting around quickly as she tried to spot any onlookers, however none were in sight. She panicked slightly, but got control of her breathing. A practice that she had mastered to overcome a period of stage fright in her early years as a performer.

Breathing in and out, in and out. She looked down onto the leafy ground.

“There’s nothing here - it’s just you, nothing to worry about.” She whispered to herself as she tried to calm down.

Just as she had successfully stilled herself, she rose her gaze from the ground and heard an excessively loud noise from deep within the forest.


The noise made her jump, it had sounded almost like stone splintering. But it was a violent sound, like something had smashed the rock with brute force. Only something hostile would have caused such a catastrophic eruption.

She lowered her goggles to cover her eyes, Spitfire decided that she must depart the forest as soon as possible, for her own well-being.

She dug her powerful hind legs into the ground and pushed off, an action that launched her up and out of the foreboding dark forest. She climbed rapidly causing the cool air to whip past her face, a familiar feeling that pleased her since she knew that she was escaping the clutches of whatever horrid evil had been waiting below.

Though something was still wrong... That feeling of being watched still clung to Spitfire like a shroud. It refused to give any quarter as it haunted her like a phantom. This was where she truly panicked. She was now at least a thousand hooves in the air. But she was still accelerating dramatically, which caused the world around her to blur and mix together like an amateur water-painting.

Spitfire stormed through the air, the famous thunder-cloud trail exploded into life behind her in reaction to the new burst of speed. However she kept panicking further, as the evil presence failed to dwindle, but instead, got stronger. It was getting closer and closer.

As she neared supersonic speeds, the Wonderbolt steadily got faster and faster she almost completely ignored the increasingly excessive wind-drag.

The thunder-cloud trail in her wake erupted into an inferno of flaming heat, this was an incredibly rare sight, even for her.

It was her natural flight trail, a trait that she adored. The fire blazed behind her as she flew, the heat would have been unbearable if it were to be exposed to any other pony. But to her, it wrapped and flicked harmlessly around her coat as she flew.

This change only occurred when an extreme physical speed was achieved, namely, when a sonic flameboom had the potential to explode across the sky.

Spitfire barely noticed the speed she had begun to achieve, a mach-cone formed in front of her as she shot across the sky like a rocket.

Her mind was racing as fast as she flew, panic fully gripped her, tears were forming at her eyes.

“JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!” Spitfire screamed at the top of her lungs.

As if almost in reply, a dark column of energy exploded from the forest floor, it shot vertically and joined with the sky. Spitfire’s approach to super sonic speed was immediately halted as she attempted to desperately slow herself. Indigo bolts of electrical arched around the hostile void-like entity like high voltage static.

She was about to collide directly with the churning mass of energy, she desperately tried to stop, but was travelling far too quickly to allow any normal braking methods to be of any immediate help.

It was too late...

An intense nexus of dark energies rapidly begun assaulting her body, it tore at her mind and punished her form. She would have cried out for help, but her own actions were denied to her. The last thing she remembered was falling, and the seething waves of gripping panic that threatened to rip and shred her apart from within.

Twilight Sparkle, the most faithful, loyal student to Equestria’s beloved Princess Celestia laid in bed, which was unusual considering it was only early evening.

Twilight had been recently suffering from an odd fatigue that drained her energy and caused her to feel lethargic. This particular illness had caused extra stress to Twilight due to the fact that it had negatively impacted her magical abilities. She found that she was unable to cast more complex spells, and even found that her ability to sense other magic users had dramatically dwindled from it’s normal potency.

Due to her sickness, the purple unicorn had written to Princess Celestia with increasing frequency over the last couple of days, to the point that she would send a letter, and then begin writing another one no more than five minutes afterwards. Twilight had never coped with illness very well, but the magical nature of this ailment was particularly frustrating in comparison to non-magical sicknesses.

She had been thinking about Celestia more and more over the past few months. She respected her mentor vastly more so than what ponies thought or could visibly conclude. The Princess had always been there for her, to guide her through difficult situations and to shape her into the intelligent and talented student that she had become.

Twilight felt more and more at ease as she and Celestia exchanged messages. It was obvious that the alicorn wanted to comfort Twilight, and the thought of being shown such care created a sense of deep contentment within the unicorn.

My Most Faithful Student.

Maybe you should try getting out of bed and taking a short walk, it will do you a world of good to take in some fresh air for a change.

I know you’ll resent this idea, but trust me.

Your mentor,

Princess Celestia.

PS. It’s cold outside tonight, wear something suitable.

Princess Celestia was right about one thing, Twilight hated the idea of going outside in her weakened state. But she knew that the sun-princess was right in offering this advice.

“Spike?” Twilight called.

“Yes, Twilight?” Came a familiar voice from downstairs.

“I’m going to try and get out and get some fresh air-”

“Great idea! I’ll get you your scarf, it’s cold outside tonight!”

The librarian smiled. Spike cared deeply about Twilight’s well-being, and it wasn’t hard to guess that he shared Celestia’s opinion about fresh air. As the little dragon brought a purple and pink scarf to Twilight, she reluctantly slid out from the warmth of the bed covers and shivered.

Twilight wrapped the scarf that Spike handed to her around her neck and half-walked, half-stumbled down the stairs to the front door.

She gingerly opened it with magic and braced herself for the inevitable chill that would roll into the library.

Twilight shivered as the breeze touched her body, she looked back into the house-tree lethargically as she longed to return to the warmth of bed. The unicorn looked out at Ponyville, the town was quiet since the populace had began to recognise the end of the day and return to the warmth of their respective homes.

Twilight had an idea wash over her that made the student almost smile.

“Spike.” She called back into the house. “I’m going to go and visit Zecora, I’ll ask her if she has any potions or remedies that can help me get my strength back.”

“Great idea, Twilight!” Spike paused. “Just be careful going through the Everfree Forest at night. I know the path to Zecora’s hut is normally safe... But...”

“I know, I know. Don’t worry... I’ll be fine. I’ll catch you later, Spike.”

And with that, the front door gained a magical purple aura and firmly closed. The heat was locked within her home and Twilight looked out into the night as it rapidly approached. She started trotting towards the Everfree Forest.

In truth, she enjoyed Zecora’s company, she seemed to study and work on her potion-making as hard as Twilight studied and worked on her magic. It was a similarity that the unicorn enjoyed and felt that the zebra was a good, trustworthy friend.

Potions were definitely useful in a multitude of different ways. Twilight had studied potions briefly in the past and was intrigued by the sheer variety of uses and combinations. She regularly talked with the zebra about different remedies and herbal properties upon her visits. The two of them could enthusiastically enjoy talking about the subject for hours.

As Twilight entered Everfree Forest, she slowed her pace and moved steadily.

No sudden movements means no sudden surprises. She thought to herself as she moved along slowly. The ground under her hooves was, luckily, not muddy. It was soft and leafy, but left no stain or mark.

Twilight realised that Princess Celestia was yet again, correct. This walk made her feel at least slightly stronger within herself, she knew she would not be let down by her mentor’s advice.

The wind blew through the trees, creating the familiar and creepy gusty sound that was generally associated with wind. But there was something else...

As Twilight’s illness slowly disappeared, she began to notice rather unsettling energies within the forest. The foreign magic was subtle at first, but as the unicorn concentrated she could not help but identify an unusual quantity of dark and mysterious magic in the air.

A twig snapped loudly.

Twilight froze, a common reaction to being caught off-guard. She then moved toward the noise cautiously, she was careful to move as silently as she could. she suddenly spotted a lump on the ground. The lump was moving as if it were breathing. It was too dark to identify it though.

Twilight slowly approached the unknown entity, as she got closer, she saw more. Then, as a break in the clouds hovered overhead, a beam of moon light exposed what Twilight was looking at.

The unicorn’s mind raced as she rushed forwards to kneel down beside a severely injured blue pegasus. She instantly forgot about Zecora and focused herself to imagine her home and the teleportation spell to travel there with the poor, abandoned pony. She summoned her magic, leaned forward and held the victimised pony in an embrace to join their teleportation.

She closed her eyes, her face strained, her horn flashed brightly.

“Spike! Help me!” Twilight called as she successfully arrived at the library.

Spike ran from the kitchen, he almost smashed into the wooden wall as his feet skidded on the polished floor. He saw Twilight, and then he saw the horribly injured pony on the floor.

“W-whoa... Umm... Twilight?” He managed.

“Fetch ‘Miraculous Medicinal Remedies’!” Twilight said seriously as she stood over the pegasus.

Twilight looked down at the injured pony once again, the light in the library offered a new perspective of the situation. Most prominently, the victim wasn’t blue. The pegasus was simply wearing a blue outfit; this instantly identified it’s wearer as a Wonderbolt. However, this pony wasn’t just a Wonderbolt, her vivid yellow coat and fiery mane meant that this was Spitfire, the Wonderbolt’s leader. 

The unicorn noticed that Spitfire’s outfit was ripped and torn, the blood from the wound had also spread through the clothing. Twilight made the quick decision to remove the filthy garment, she summoned her magic which caused the famous costume to remove itself and neatly fold onto the floor near a bookcase. Twilight had never seen Spitfire out of her outfit before and she never considered that if she did, it would be under these circumstances.

The horrifying rending slash mark tore down the fiery pegasus’ left side and was oozing blood across the library floor, a process that stained the wood. The dark magic was not strong enough to cause any visual evidence, but to Twilight it’s presence was consistently drawing her attention.

Spike finally held the dusty blue copy of ‘Miraculous Medical Remedies’ up into Twilight’s vision. She let her magic hold the book as she flicked through the extensive contents page.

“No, no, no, no, no!” She paused for a moment, something in the book was grabbing her attention. “Aha!”

The unicorn’s horn began to emanate a purple aura, a couple of bright streaks shone out as the powerful magic took hold. Twilight closed her eyes as she focused. She aimed the focused waves of energy at Spitfire. As the the librarian did this, she could not help but notice that the wound she was targeting was absolutely drenched in putrid dark magic.

After a few brief seconds of pure concentration Twilight opened her eyes and beheld the result. She had perhaps been too ambitious. The slash wound still oozed in much the same way as it did before. The unicorn knew it was a long-shot, but she felt that she had to have tried something.

What Spitfire really needed was proper medical expertise. A professional. A nurse. Somepony who really knew how to handle the situation. But then again, perhaps not, since this wound was covered in a malicious amount of dark magic which could be dangerous to handle.

The victim coughed a globule of blood onto the floor as she spluttered horribly and groaned in pain. Twilight flinched at the sight of a pony in such an awful state.

The violet unicorn thought to herself, she was hit by more sinister evidence. The wound was far too graphic and far too lethal to have been caused by any natural accident. Spitfire was arguably the strongest pegasus flier in the world, it would take gale-force winds to even begin to hinder the yellow pony’s flight. She couldn’t of crashed. She could also have outrun any dragon or manticore that chose to attack her.

Furthermore, the magic that Twilight identified in the Everfree Forest were potent dark energies. And even though Twilight only maintained a brief contact with the foreign magic, she was certain that it was evil in origination. Such a magic was very rare in Equestria, and it was far too powerful to have been generated by a natural source within the forest.

This left only one possibility, somepony, or something, had filled the air of Everfree with this dark magic; the same individual had likely caused Spitfire’s injury in some sort of attack or ambush. And simply judging by the potency of the dark energy, the unknown entity must have been far stronger in the use of magic than Twilight was.

The unicorn snapped out of her thought-stream, she would figure out the true menace of this injustice once Spitfire was healed, which would mean attempting to cleanse the dark magic from the wound in order to make it safe for healing by the medical hoof of Nurse Redheart.

Suddenly, a knock sounded at the door. Twilight’s concentration was instantly broken, her stomach fell as she realised what the noise was. She knew she couldn’t take visitors with such an injured pony in the middle of her library floor.

She rushed to the door and pressed the side of her face against it’s surface as she listened.

“Wh-Who is it?” She called.

“It’s me and Fluttershy, let us in!” Rainbow Dash called happily.

Twilight’s world slipped away briefly... Sure, Fluttershy might have been able to help in this situation, she was adept in taking care of forest animals, after all. She might not have any skill in treating a wound of this gravity, but no doubt her kind nature could have been of help.

As for Rainbow Dash, however...

There is no way she can see can see a Wonderbolt like this! It’ll destroy her! Twilight thought to herself.

Twilight was unable to foresee a way to allow Fluttershy to enter the building without Rainbow Dash being involved. Her best bet was simply to try and get them to move along, so that she could figure out how to remove the dark magic from Spitfire, and then take her to Nurse Redheart for recovery.

“Uh, you can’t come in! I- Uh. I.” She paused and refocused. “I’m just not in the mood right now girls... Sorry.” She thought that her best friends would understand a sincere reason such as this. The response came agonisingly slowly, the two pegasi must’ve been debating something.

“Erm. Twilight?.. Erm... Maybe we can come in and help. You know... Help you feel better.Fluttershy’s quiet voice rang with concern, she was never good at hiding her emotions.

Twilight winced, she hated lying to her friends, especially Fluttershy.

Twilight saw Rainbow Dash edging towards the window to look into the house, the unicorn quickly summoned her magic to shut all curtains and windows in the house immediately. This action must have rose a suspicion in Rainbow. Who was always quick to jump to normally inaccurate conclusions. Though her conclusion was totally correct in this case.

“Twilight, are you hiding something?!” She called through the wooden door, her voice was awash with accusation.

Twilight’s mental processing was abnormally quick, but in this situation she was running out of options and she was a terrible liar. She looked around the room, as if hoping a book containing the answer to her problems would randomly materialise.

I can’t lie... So I won’t. I’ll tell the truth, well... At least, part of it. She thought. Here goes nothing.

“Well... Actually, I am... But... I’m hiding it for a reason, Rainbow. You really shouldn’t see this, trust me. Leave this alone.” Twilight spoke as kindly as possible, as if offering guidance.

Yet again, the answer was very slow to be spoken. The tension clawed at her stomach, she thought she would faint from the sheer nervousness that had brewed within her.

Slowly, Spitfire shuffled slightly on the ground and emitted a loud groan of pain, the Wonderbolt opened her eyes in a tight squint as the light in the room assaulted her pupils, though her consciousness was short-lived. The noise didn’t go unnoticed by Rainbow Dash. Who was now letting her curiosity get the better of her.

“W-what was that?!” Rainbow demanded.

“That... Umm... I.” Twilight gulped. She had ran out of excuses, and telling the truth failed.

Rainbow Dash was an extremely curious individual, and though she would never truly doubt her friends. The Rainbow-maned pony would sometimes let her naturally brash self take control.

Rainbow would undoubtedly take this situation as a chance to reflect her courageous personality, which meant it wouldn’t be long before...


… Rainbow tried to force her way in, her curiosity finally agitated her to the point of a physical reaction.

Alright!” Twilight called in defeat. “I’m giving you this one chance to leave, and you really should. But if you really want to come in...”

Twilight summoned her magic, the lock on the door clicked as an indication to Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy that entrance into the library was under their control.

The unicorn almost thought for a second that the two would actually take her advice and move on, though Twilight noticed a delicate yellow hoof step into the library. Fluttershy snaked her head around the door, she spotted Spitfire and her eyes to widened considerably.

“Oh... My.” She gasped.

Twilight wanted to look away, to pretend that nothing was wrong. But she was obviously forced to accept the fact that in only a few seconds Rainbow Dash would enter the room. The unicorn could only guess as to what the pegasus’ reaction would be.

Rainbow’s head curled around the decorated wooden door. The cyan pegasus immediately spotted the lump in the middle of the room. Her face predictably fell.

Both Fluttershy and Rainbow entered the library at this point, though Fluttershy took a quick route into the kitchen. Twilight could only guess that she intended to forage around for supplies to make some sort of herbal salve. In which case, the unicorn had a cupboard well-stocked with ingredients for such a concoction. Courtesy of Zecora.

Meanwhile, Twilight watched as Rainbow Dash slowly approached the fallen Wonderbolt, the cyan pegasus’ face was blank, though it didn’t take a genius to understand why her face was blank. It was more than likely Rainbow’s naturally cool and collected personality coming into direct conflict with the very opposite.

Rainbow lowered herself heavily onto the floor beside Spitfire with an audible thump. The colourful pegasus eyed the rending wound, a small tear ran down her face, though she quickly shook her head and sniffed heavily as she attempted to remain as calm as possible.

Twilight watched from the other side of the room as she absently flicked through a book regarding ancient magics, unsurprisingly the book contained no useful information. It dawned on the unicorn that she would probably take quite a long time to purge the dark magic on her own.

She thought about an alternative. On one hoof, Twilight could attempt to purge the dark magic from Spitfire, and then take her to the Ponyville Medical Pavilion. Or on the other hoof, this was a very potent dark magic that could only be cast by a very powerful and hostile entity. This was something that Celestia should be aware of, and no doubt that Celestia would be a lot more knowledgeable of how to save Spitfire than Twilight.

Twilight knew her mentor would be able to bring sense and reasoning into the room simply by being there, she would more than likely be able to save Spitfire as well. And at that thought, the purple unicorn considered what Celestia’s reaction to an emergency summon from her faithful student would be. She was almost certain that the princess would be royally busy, but she imagined that she would also drop everything that she was doing immediately if the reason was respectable enough.

It was a hard decision, Celestia might think Twilight incapable of handling the situation if she instantly called for help at the first sign of an ill event. But then again. Spitfire’s life might well be on the line. She had been coughing up blood. Which would indicate as a sign bleeding in the lungs. Which was certainly no small injury.

“Spike... Take note please.” She ordered in an authoritative tone.

Spike did what he was asked immediately, he was always very efficient. As soon as the dragon had equipped himself with the writing utensils, Twilight began to speak her intended message out loud in order to let Rainbow Dash hear the contents of the message.

Dear Princess Celestia...” She started. “I would never ask something of you if I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary. A pony has been hurt, and though this would normally be a job for a nurse, or at least a medically minded individual. I believe that the damage of this wound is far too sinister to be of a natural origin, and I can sense a malicious dark magic covering it. I think something insidious is at work here. If you believe that your presence is required, find me at the Ponyville Library...

Though I will assume you are too busy if you are unable to reply soon, and will attempt to solve the situation by myself... From your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.

Spike took the letter once she was finished and rolled it up into a scroll. He adorned it with a red ribbon and seal, then walked up to the nearest window and sent the message in the usual way. The whole process was done in double-time.

“Dark magic?!” Fluttershy questioned as loudly as her quiet voice would allow, the words flowed from the kitchen in a rather distressed tone.

“You may not be able to tell, but it’s definitely there. This damage was caused in an attack, I’m sure of it.” Twilight declared.

Rainbow was now looking at Twilight, her complexion had changed to a point that her usually bright and colourful mane was slightly gray. The unicorn approached the pegasus and tried to wear a warm smile. Twilight looked at Spitfire and noticed that she was still being forced to lay on a rather uncomfortable surface.

Twilight’s horn glowed slightly as she summoned her magical ability, shortly after the magic was put into motion, a number of white pillows zoomed into the room from upstairs. Twilight then grasped Spitfire gently with her magic as she lifted her just enough to place a soft, comfortable layer of the pillows underneath the injured pegasus.

After she was done, the unicorn released the magic and observed how much more comfortable the extra support looked in comparison to a rather hard wooden floor.

Suddenly, a blinding flash erupted from outside the front door, everypony looked in the direction of the flash’s origination immediately. Everypony was stunned into silence as Princess Celestia strode in majestically, her presence was inconceivably bold and inspiring. The room itself seemed to light up.

Twilight had just been beginning to doubt that Celestia would even endeavor to intervene with the situation, but the unicorn was happy to be proven otherwise.

The librarian noted that not only had Princess Celestia arrived, but she had arrived promptly. Twilight knew that Celestia was a kind and caring ruler, but she couldn’t help but think that this rapid appearance was slight confirmation that a sinister force was definitely at work here. And that perhaps the princess was already aware of that fact.

The sun-mover lowered herself to sit beside Rainbow. She extended one of her beautiful, flowing wings to shelter the considerably smaller pegasus. Dash looked up at the monarch, her eyes spoke of her mental discomfort.

“Rainbow Dash.” Celestia spoke gently. “I think I understand what you’re thinking right now, no matter how well you are concealing it. Spitfire is a strong pony, just as you are. It’d take more than this to strike down such a bold individual. Not to mention that I will not allow anything to happen to her. She is in safe hooves.” Celestia finished.

Rainbow nodded as she listened. The Princess spoke with a heavenly soft tone, it caressed the ears of the listeners, and assured their souls that hope was never truly lost.

“You can help her then?” Rainbow asked, with a mild sense of anticipation.

Celestia turned her head to look at the suffering Wonderbolt. Her ancient mind rapidly searching for a magical solution. There was one way, it came with a price. Though Celestia considered the price as minor, in comparison to the otherwise unsettling outcome if Spitfire was just left.

The sun-princess had immediately noticed the dark energy covering the wound the moment that she stepped into the building. She maintained a passive demeanor as she internally confirmed the source of the magic.

“Of course I can.” Celestia said finally. Appearing to brace herself. With that said, the princess of Equestria leaned forward to touch Spitfire’s wound gently with the tip of her long and powerful alicorn horn. The sun-mover allowed magic to flow through them both as she closed her eyes and concentrated. Slowly, the thick slash seemed to dissolve. No more than moments later, the wound was gone, a thick line of bruises had replaced the grave cut.

Twilight looked in awe as her beloved idol worked her powerful magic, her face alight with admiration for her mentor. The librarian’s heart-rate increased as the room glowed with ancient energies. She observed and mentally noted everything she witnessed. As always, she was interested with all kinds of pony magic. The unicorn noticed that the dark magic soaking the wound had been eliminated in the healing process.

As the magic was finished, Celestia rose her head back to it’s majestic height, before she flinched heavily and closed her eyes in concentration. The slash that had been on Spitfire, had now appeared on the sun-movers white coat, the Princess wavered slightly under fatigue. But kept herself steady and remained strong.

“Princess!” Twilight cried as she rushed forwards to Celestia’s side.

“It's OK.” She paused. “Twilight... Don’t worry. It’s a lot better than it looks, honestly. I’ll be fine.”

“I’m sorry, I...” The violet unicorn could not put together the words that it would take to describe her mental state upon seeing Celestia hurt in this way. Though she quickly managed to focus on the point that the princess had assured her that she was fine. Even if the wound was visually horrific.

Twilight sat beside Princess Celestia, who brought her head down to rest lightly on her student’s. They embraced, a notion that meant a lot to Twilight. She loved Celestia as if she were her mother, to see her in pain was terrifying, but she knew she should never doubt her wise, ancient mind.

Their embrace lasted a short amount of time. It was clear that Celestia thought of Twilight as more than what she let to be visibly evident, they had shared an almost parental bond, though they had never accepted it vocally. It was more of a... Silent acknowledgement that belonged to both of them.

“I know you always mean well, Twilight, and I appreciate your concern. Really I do. But don’t worry yourself.” Celestia smiled.

Twilight smiled as she rested her head on the side of her mentor though she was careful to avoid the new jagged wound that cut itself across Celestia’s brilliant majestic form. The unicorn closed her eyes.

The sun princess peered at Twilight. Then she turned her gaze to Rainbow, whom was still gazing at Spitfire, her visage had eased slightly in response to the success of Celestia’s magical ability.

“She’ll be fine, Rainbow.” The princess assured. “She just needs a nice, long rest... At the worst she’ll keep those horrible bruises for a couple of weeks. But the permanent damage has been totally removed.”

Rainbow Dash nodded with appreciation and even managed a weak smile.

“Do you know who did this?” The pegasus questioned with a tone of minor indignation.

“I’m certain of who it is...” Celestia paused. “You should not concern yourself about it just yet, however.”

“So is this magic evil? It definitely felt evil.” Twilight asked as she looked up at her mentor.

“Yes, the magic is of a dark, cruel origination. It is as twisted and malignant as the entity that cast it. I’m sure more will be revealed to you very soon.” Celestia stated.

Twilight could see from Celestia’s expression that she was constantly calculating the situation. Though the librarian could not help but realise an unusual, rare emotion that spread across the alicorn’s face... It was almost like a mix between confusion and disbelief...

“Maybe we should put Spitfire in a bed. As comfortable as those pillows are... I think a bed would be more suitable.” Twilight suggested.

“A good idea, my student.” Celestia said as she visually snapped out of what would have been a deep thought process.

Princess Celestia stood first to test her physical strength as her new wound drained her. The Princess summoned a bundle of white bandages to wrap around her grievous slash mark which masked it from view, and shielded it from accidental damage.

Rainbow Dash carried Spitfire upstairs to the guest bed, the cyan pegasus didn’t seem to have any problems with Spitfire’s weight. In fact, it almost seemed as if the fiery Wonderbolt was easy to lift.

Fluttershy, who had been talking quietly with Spike in the kitchen, had finally found the key ingredients that she need for her herbal salve. She was now mixing a number common medicines in Twilight’s kitchen, her intention was to apply this to the bruising on Spitfire. As well as offer some to the Princess. Though Fluttershy doubted the Princess would be staying in the library for much longer, let alone accepting such trivial treatment.

After Twilight had packed away the pillows from the floor an action that exposed the bloodstained wooden floor. She frowned at the mess and quickly decided to deal with the cleanliness of her home later. The unicorn turned her attention back to Celestia.

“Thanks for coming so quickly, by the way.” Twilight said.

“Worry not, Twilight. I knew you wouldn’t call me so urgently if the need wasn’t dire. And you were right to have summoned me in this situation. Spitfire’s wound was more than just physical, the dark magic would have made normal recovery totally impossible.” Celestia confirmed. “Where did you find her?”

“She was just lying in the Everfree Forest. I was on my way to Zecora’s when I found her.”

“Just as I thought. The Everfree Forest is home to all manner of dark entities, including the one I spoke of earlier. I must speak with Luna before I come to an absolute conclusion of action beyond this point, however. I will send you a letter soon, detailing a lot more about our situation. Until then, stay here where it is safe.” Celestia explained.

“Of course.” Twilight nodded.

The conversation became stale once again. It was clear that Celestia was not quite ready to elaborate on the nature of the malicious entity just yet, so Twilight didn’t attempt to pursue the question further.

Celestia smiled. An expression that Twilight returned. The two of them stared at each other for a short space of time. Considering each other.

“Twilight, would you like to give me your friendship report for today before I leave?”

“Oh. I...” Twilight struggled for a moment to grasp at some sort of summary to her day, which she would form into a report of some kind. Though, the truth was, that she hadn’t really learned anything positive from today that didn’t revolve around the appearance of Princess Celestia. “I learnt... That... That...” Twilight stopped again.

It was at this point that Celestia obviously accepted that Twilight had not learnt anything of note today. But to be fair to her, she had been through an ordeal. It would be OK to excuse her most faithful, loyal student on this occasion.

“It’s OK, Twilight. It’s been a long day, and not much good has come of it. Just get some well-deserved rest.” The sun-princess suggested.

“Thanks Celestia. I promise I’ll have a report tomorrow... I know you like reading them.” Twilight smiled.

“I do indeed.” Celestia confirmed. “Now. I must be off, the royal guard will be in full panic by now. I did leave rather suddenly.”

Twilight smiled. She imagined the throne room swarming with guards, looking behind curtains and under carpets in a rather comic fashion in search of the missing princess.

The unicorn spotted a yellow and pink figure move nervously into her field of vision, she couldn’t help but smile at how shy the pegasus could be.

Princess Celestia.A quiet voice addressed, quietly.

“Oh. Hello Fluttershy, I- Oh. What’s this?”

It’s just a little something... It’ll help with the... Um. You don’t have to take it though, it probably doesn’t matter. In fact, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you, y-your majesty.

“Nonsense, I’m sure I can put it to good use. A light antiseptic salve, am I correct?” Celestia gripped the small wooden bowl with her magic and held it in front of her for a moment, examining it.

Fluttershy looked happy that Celestia had accepted her mixture, she gained slight confidence upon having been some help. Fluttershy had never been too great in chaotic situations, but she was definitely the kindest and more considerate pony that Twilight had ever known.

That’s right. Thank you. Your majesty.” Fluttershy smiled.

Celestia magically unwrapped her bandages, the slashing wound brought a heavy impact to the mood in the room, it was harmful to one’s sanity to see such a fantastic, caring entity marked with such an injustice.

The controller of the sun let the ointment drip out of the dish that Fluttershy had given her, it landed on the wound, which let a cooling sensation flush through the area it came into contact with. When she was done, Celestia re-bandaged herself and inclined her head toward Fluttershy with respect.

“Thank you Fluttershy. That was a kind gesture, you definitely have some skill with herbal remedies. You have my thanks.”

Fluttershy bowed her head low and happily made her way upstairs to treat Spitfire’s hideous bruising. The pink-maned pegasus hadn’t had much of a role in tonight’s events. But she was definitely the element of kindness in all situations, especially this one.

Twilight looked up at Celestia. She moved forward, the two of them embraced each other closely a final time.

“...Stay safe, Twilight.” She said, turning to leave. Though when Princess Celestia said those three words, she didn’t say them as if to her student. But on a much more personal, sincere level. It made Twilight smile.

With a magical flash of energy, Princess Celestia retreated from the Ponyville Library. Twilight nodded to herself in contentment over the situation. She turned towards the steps that led to the library bedroom.

She took a deep breath as she climbed the stairs. Considering how dire and unpredictable the chain of events had been that evening, the entire situation had been almost totally resolved. Obviously counting the appearance of a malicious entity to be at least reasonably negative. Not to mention the wound that Princess Celestia had unfortunately inherited.

As Twilight entered the bedroom she noticed that Rainbow Dash was looking a lot better, her colours were totally back to normal and her expression was back to it’s usual, friendly demeanor.

“Hi, Twilight.” She said, though she didn’t look away from Spitfire.

“Are you feeling better? You definitely look a lot better?” Twilight asked with a friendly tone.

“I’m feeling fine, Twi’.” Dash confirmed. “Sorry about earlier, I almost thought I’d lose my cool for a moment back there.”

“Don’t worry, Dash, considering the situation, you did very well. Everypony knows how you feel about The Wonderbolts, and I know Spitfire is a hero to you.” Twilight nodded and smiled.

“Yeah, I guess.” Rainbow nodded. “We’ll find whoever did this, right?”

“I hope so... I think. Whoever it is, I think I can expect Princess Celestia to call upon us to use the Elements of Harmony.” Twilight suspected that whatever being had the will to cause such fatal harm to a pony, it would require some very potent magic to defeat.

“Yeah, and then we can make ‘em feel sorry that they ever messed with us.” Rainbow declared.

“I have a bad, bad feeling about this.” Fluttershy uttered. The yellow pegasus had been sat at the bedside as she gently rubbed a thick herbal paste across the array of deep purple bruises that adorned Spitfire’s side.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Twilight almost didn’t believe herself, but remained in an optimistic state of mind. “With the power of our friendship, nothing is too difficult.” She stated proudly.

Fluttershy finished treating Spitfire after having successfully applied the ointment and also removed it. The bruises looked at least slightly less angry than what they did before, the kind pegasus smiled as she placed the bowl on the bed-side table.

Spitfire appeared to be in a natural sleep, rather than in her previous writhing unconscious state. Rainbow and Fluttershy both placed a bed-sheet over her, since they intended that she would at least stay for the night until she felt strong enough to leave independently.

The purple unicorn offered for Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy to stay over for the night if they wanted. Fluttershy declined, however Rainbow Dash enthusiastically accepted the offer. She politely refused to share a bed with Twilight, but instead she opted to sleep on the floor atop a pile of soft cushions.

After Fluttershy left; Spitfire, Spike, Rainbow Dash and Twilight were all expected to sleep in the same room. No doubt it would get slightly hot during the night due to the extra body-heat, so in preparation for that, Twilight opened the large circular window to let air flow in and keep the group at least reasonably comfortable.

And with that done, Twilight didn’t hesitate to wrap herself around in her soft violet bed-sheets. She closed her eyes and rejoiced in the solace and sanctuary that the realm of slumber would provide to her.

Something told her, that she’d definitely be needing her strength in the very near future...