The Rage of Two Sisters
Human kind has always sought technological advances. Everything was made better in turn to become more efficient and more convenient, or to break the boundaries and limitations nature had set for humans. Even in secret, behind vaulted doors, shady officials, and extreme experiments, some governments may do anything to gain any advantages.
Nazi Germany, in the past, had also studied the occult, perhaps to use in World War II. As far fetched as this may have been, there are some things in this world that cannot be explained. Also, if any kind of 'godly' supernatural weapon was conceived, what army in the world could stand up to the power of the divine? Luckily, none of this came into play.
Until earlier in these times.
Somewhere, far in the ice covered terrain of Antarctica, was a shed. To any other person (as to why they'd be there in the first place is ridiculous) this shed would be like any other shed. Worn out, punished continually by the arctic weather, and abandoned. In the distance, a single individual was trekking across the ice. a parachute lay abandoned a few yards from where his footsteps began. Step by tiring step, he managed to reach the shed. Shivering, he stepped in and closed the door behind him. William Lente, a strapping young man, in his late thirties, was tall, serious, and had short dark hair. His gaunt eyes suggested that he neither got regular sleep nor did he have a proper meal. He was exhausted from the journey from the short trek to this blasted shed. Why his superiors didn't let him take a vehicle was beyond him. They had insisted on airdrop instead, the bastards. But he knew he had an assignment here to complete.
"Hello *INDIVIDUAL*," spoke a computerized voice, "Warning: Unidentified personnel. Please state identification. You have been warned."
"William Lente." William said clearly into the dark.
"Mr. *WILLIAM LENT*," ding, "Individual identified. *W. LENTE*. Assigned to 'PROJECT PEGASUS'. Commencing full body scan."
A blue light flashed in the dark shed, blinding William for a second.
"Scan completed. Individual's identity confirmed. Welcome, Mr.Lente."
The floor gave a tremble. Regaining his sight, William found himself sinking into the floor of the shed . Or rather the floor was lowering like an elevator. Down he went. Five minutes. Thirty minutes. Why such a huge corporation couldn’t afford faster elevators disguised as ramshackle sheds was a question WIlliam had to ask later. Then after an hour of lowering into the earth, a vast man made cavern came into view. A sterile, white, and highly populated hidden facility was revealed. Descending in the elevator, William could see scientists running here and there, to and fro, large areas for computing data, and an experiment and research hall. However, the largest area was dedicated to the observation/test subjects' area.
The elevator touched down. William stepped out of the elevator onto a moving platform. Rolling along, he knew the procedure by heart. It happened every time he was relocated. He took off his heavy coat and boots and let them be taken away by robotic arms. The rest of his clothes were cut off by more robot arms. The clothes were thrown into a furnace and William was left naked and moving along on the platform. Next, he was doused in cold chemical cleanser and sterilizer.
After being dried up, he was suited in sterile, white lab attire.
"Welcome to your new job, Mr. Lente."
A young lady, slender with blond hair spoke to William.
"Thrilled," he replied as he patted down his ruffled hair.
"Hm. I suppose you were briefed on your job for the next year?" she asked.
"Yes, yes. I'm to be a 'caretaker' and observer." William stated from memory, "Just point me in the right direction, I'll get to work right away." He wasn’t much of a people person.
"You are stationed at the observation deck," the young woman replied, "If you need help finding the place, don't hesitate to ask anyone."
"Thank you, Miss...?"
"You don’t need to know," she said, "its a pleasure to meet you."
With that she walked away, her black high heels clacking away into the distance.He never saw her again.
Yes, he knew exactly what he had to do. He knew why he was here, too. The government was creating some sort of... Weapon. Given inspiration by the occultist scientists in the past, it had decided to secretly develop a powerful weapon. Will, here, was just there to take care of it, make sure it was 'growing' well. He didn't have friends. Nor did he have family. He just had to get his job done.
William took a small tram to the observation deck. Once there, he saw a two tanks. These were where the 'weapons' were housed. He pressed his nose against the glass of one tank. There it was. A small, white four legged creature staring back with bright pink eyes.
Six months had passed out of William's twelve months of work in the arctic facility. The subjects were growing well. There were two. Each one to control the other. One pure white and the other a dark blue. They were created and grown into the shapes of small horses to symbolize the purity of a young foal. The only blemishes on either of them were metallic holes and rivets used in the experiments. Foal or not, a weapon was still a weapon.
William had been observing and interacting with the ponies to assure proper growth and interaction. This was just a job. Of everyone in the facility, the two sister subjects only had the company of William. He was the only one who fed them, who interacted with them, and basically mommied them. The two ponies were regularly strapped down and routinely taught every bit of knowledge available. Pipes and wires were regularly bolted into the various ports throughout their bodies Hours upon hours, they were forced to do this. The superiors wanted the smartest weapon. After every session of 'learning', they were very subdued and fearful. That's where William's job came into play. The superiors also wanted the most powerful. The two ponies were also bred with abnormal brain waves and superbly developed brains each. This was to create a telekinetic ability for them. With more training, they could bend anything to their will.
Only very recently, have they been able to talk. Simple words strung together, but able to communicate none the less. With all the speculated power and potential, William had thought basic human speech was to be but a simple task to learn. Obviously, English was not the most coherent language as he had thought. The two ponies were moved into a single tank so the two could 'be together'. After another session of forced knowledge, William was sent into the tank. Immediately, the two ponies shot up from their fetal positions and ran towards him.
"Hello." they both cooed.
"Hello you two," William replied with a slight smile, "How was your lesson?"
He sat down. They both circled him and sat next to him, one on each side. They leaned against him.
"Why does lesson hurt?" the white one asked.
"Hurt so much!" the younger, blue counterpart added.
"I can't say why," William said, "only because I don't know myself." He started to pet them. How did his college degree and government job lead him to this? Babying two creatures in a secret facility in the middle of some god forsaken ice field?
"We learn new words today," said the eldest.
"Oh?" William answered, "Want to tell me?"
Both the ponies nodded enthusiastically.
"It was 'family', 'mommy', and 'daddy'." the blue one said.
"We learn the meanings, too." the white one said, "Are you daddy?"
"What?" said William.
"We know mommy and daddy make family," the younger pony said, "Me and sister is family. But no have mommy or daddy."
"We only remember you," piped up the white pony, "You make us happy. You keep us safe. You are daddy?"
Will refrained from having family and friends because of his job. He knew too much. According to his employers, he didn’t exist.
"No. I'm not," he replied.
The two ponies looked down in disappointment. Something about the blank sadness in those eyes stirred something in Will’s distant heart. To be mostly alone in the world, to have everyone walk by you like you didn’t exist, to only be gawked at when you spoke up.
"But," William continued, "Would you like one?"
William never had any really family. Both parents dead, no siblings, very distant relatives who didn't even know him. But who knew even HIS heart would warm up after years of social and family solitude? The two really had grown on him...
It was the start of the eleventh month of his year long commitment. He had grown close to the two ponies he was assigned to observe and parent. They were very well developed. Their vocabulary and knowledge on just about everything had grown in an elephantine amount in such short time. Even their special 'powers' had become extremely powerful. Some of the superiors from the top were getting worried.
"Daddy, I still don't get why you named me 'Celestia'..." the older said.
William was in the tank again, tending to the two ponies who had grown so much.
"Well, I was getting pretty tired of calling you 'you two'." he said, "Plus you've always enjoyed your lessons on astronomy. I remember you and your sister used to babble on about every planet, star, and constellation you learned."
"But why couldn't I be named 'Luna'? That's such a pretty name!" Celestia said with a smile.
"Well looky here! Your older sister's jealous of you," William said looking at young Luna.
"Am not!" Celestia pouted.
"It's okay, daddy," Luna said, "I like my name!"
"I'm glad at least someone agrees with me." William said patting Luna.
"Well... I don't hate my name..." Celestia said with a small voice.
"See?" Luna said, "We love your decisions! Just like we love you and you love us!"
"You DO love us, right daddy?" Celestia said with a smile.
William looked at the two little ponies he had taken care of for almost a year. He had basically been a mother to them. He was there to comfort them. He was there to tell them stories. He was even there when they had nightmares. As long as the two ponies could remember, William was the only one that was there for them.
"Of course I do" he said.
"MR.LENTE, PLEASE EXIT THE SUBJECT AREA." came a voice over the speakers.
Immediately, the two ponies grew afraid.
"Daddy, don't leave..."
"I don't want to go to lessons!"
"They still hurt..."
"But now a days they hurt even more..."
"Make it stop, daddy..."
"Don't leave us alone again...."
It was true what they said. Each 'lesson' caused them excruciating pain. But these past few weeks, the lessons have been getting longer and more intense. The two sometimes even yelled out in pain.
"I'm sorry," William said, "I've got to go. I know you can do it. You're stronger than this. Just endure it for daddy..."
Outside the tank, William was confronted by one of his superiors. He saluted to him. The superior was a serious looking man. He wore a constant scowl on his bald face and was the only one to carry a pistol in the whole facility. He never gave out his name. He wanted anonymity and was called 'the Doctor'.
"So." the Doctor said, "The subjects are developing in the right direction I presume?"
"Yessir," William answered, "They are developing and growing both physically and mentally. They are retaining every lesson they've been put through. Both of their 'special powers' are becoming more and more powerful each day."
"Good, good," Doctor said looking through the tank's glass wall, "However, the rate they are growing and the amount of sheer knowledge and power they each contain is alarming. All of the superiors and other scientists see this. Also, you are getting quite attached to them, being the only one to have contact with them."
"I'm just doing my job, sir," William said, emphasizing 'sir'.
"Yes... Well it is good to see that they are continuing to grow, despite their er... potential..." Doctor said, "and your knowledge of them..."
He eyed William suspiciously.
"Then I'll see you around, Doctor." William said.
The Rage of Two Sisters Part II
It was the last week of his job. William felt detached from his two foals. He was watching the two go through another 'lesson'. For him, as 'daddy', it was terrible to sit and watch. They thrashed around against their restraints and called for him. What seemed like steam issued from each metal hole where the tubes were hooked up. He pressed a hand against the glass wall.
After hours had gone by, more training. They were forced to exercise their unique powers. Wires were plugged into their temples and small metal probes kept the foals’ eyelids open. To anyone else watching, this would have been painful to watch. And to a certain Mr.Lente, it was as equally as torturous.
A block of graphite was stationed at the center of the test room. At the signal of the scientists, an electric pulse was shot through the wires into the ponies’ temples. WIth a shout of pain and a short glow, the graphite block shifted its form into a small flowering plant. By the look of the tears trickling from the corners of the ponies’ eyes, this was evidently extremely painful and taxing.
Still, William couldn't help but feel proud of them. Their talents had grown to near mythological magic. Their ability to bend matter and energy to their will was startling.
Finally it was done. The lessons were done for today. Each of the pipes and tubes connected to the ponies’ small forms forcefully shot off in a billow of steam. Celestia and Luna were huddled together in the corner. They were shivering, sweating, and crying. As soon as the 'All Clear' light came on, William rushed inside. It was apparent that the two ponies were still deeply shaken from the ordeal, as per usual. As soon as he approached them, Celestia lashed out in fear. Her teeth were bared and her eyes were aglow. A spurt of red and a slash of pain, a deep cut appeared on the side of William's face.
"Oh!" sobbed Celestia, "W-What have I done?!"
"Sister!!" Luna yelped.
"Shh... It's okay. Its fine," He said, "It's alright. Come here. Daddy's here."
This was too cruel. Who would've guessed that this loner would grow attached to anything let alone... Ponies?
They sobbed into his shoulders. Celestia muttered apologies and stained William’s lab coat in tears. For along while, they sat there all in pain. William had to leave soon. This would devastate his two now matured mares. No, his two daughters.
After calming down after a long time, the three just sat quietly in the corner together. No words were spoken. William knew too well of what he might say. The two were leaning against Will, pressing their faces into his chest. It wasn't until blood dripped from William's cheek onto Celestia's face that she remembered what she had done with her thoughts.
"I-I'm sorry..." she murmured, "I didn't mean to hurt you. I-I was just scared. I didn't think I could use my power like that..."
"It's fine," William replied, "it's not a deep cut. I just wanted to make sure you're alright."
"Thank you, daddy..." Luna muttered.
"I'll always be here..." he said, "Don't you worry."
One week left… He didn't know what to do other than lie.
"With all my heart."
At this moment, the tank door swung open. It was 'Doctor'.
Reluctantly, William stood up and saluted.
‘It was that man,’ Celestia thought, ‘that's a bad man. He always makes daddy angry and sad. I hate him...’
‘I don't like him...’ thought Luna, ‘I don't like him at all... I just want him to leave us alone...’
"Mr. Lente." Doctor greeted with his usual scowl.
"Sir." replied Will.
"Come outside with me. We need to talk," he commanded.
"No..." started Luna.
"I made a promise. Don't worry..."
Once outside, the tank door sealed. Doctor, William, and two guard scientists stood in front of the glass wall. The two test subjects watched carefully.
"That's quite a nasty cut on your cheek, Mr. Lente." Doctor said.
"It's fine." Said William.
"Well, as you know, your contract ends in a week," said the superior.
William clenched his teeth. "I understand, sir."
"Well, we see all fit and no problems in your contract, but there is another issue." Doctor said.
"Yes. You've been spending quite some personal time with those things haven't you?"
'Things'? Why I oughta...
"Turn around and look at them," William turned. "See? They adore you. They have told you everything they've learned and everything that they've seen."
The two ponies looked towards their daddy. They never broke eye contact with him.
"Where are you going with this, Doctor?" William asked.
“The superiors think that they had perhaps bitten off a bit more than they can chew with project Pegasus,” the Doctor continued, “They fear that they have funded the creation of something they couldn’t control.”
“Best conclusion they’ve ever come to in my books,” William muttered absent mindedly.
“In light of such an epiphany,” said the Doctor, “We’ve been shut down. Project Pegasus is cancelled. Everyone will be relocated to work elsewhere. Files and data on Project Pegasus will be destroyed and we will receive a hefty compensation for all of our hard work.”
“And what of them?” blurted out William. He was still staring at the two ponies.
“What about them?”
“What will happen to them?”
“What do you suggest, Mr.Lente?”
“If this project is really ending, I want them safe.”
“I was not aware that you were in charge, Mr.Lente.”
William continued to stare at his two daughters. If Project Pegasus was really ending, he wanted them to be as far away from any of this as possible. He couldn’t care less about his compensation or job just yet. He just wanted them safe.
“Tell you what,” William finally said, “If i give you my part of the compensation, will you let them come with me? They won’t get out and I won’t say a damn word. I just need them er… I mean they need me.”
The Doctor chuckled.
“Are you bribing me, Mr.Lente?”
“I-” William started, “Please. Let them come with me. I’ll take care of them.”
The Doctor chuckled again. William could hear his walking around him until the Doctor was directly behind him.
“I’m ever so sorry, Mr.Lente.”
William was still gazing at the two creatures in the tank.
"You know too much."
Slowly, he felt cold creep over him.
William lifted his hand to his chest and felt a warm sticky mess. He slumped down onto his knees. Out of a sort of haze, he could hear the Doctor.
"I'm sorry it had to be this way," he didn't sound it, "but you know too much and the project was getting out of hand. These two creatures were becoming too powerful for the government to control. We had to end it. All of it. That means you, too."
Breathing becoming shallower, William looked up into the tank through the glass which was apparently bullet proof.
There was an absolute look of horror on the faces of his two mares. They ran up to the glass trying to get to their daddy. Celestia was pounding at the glass and Luna was wailing in terror. William looked at the two with sorrowful eyes. Everything was a haze and there was a slight ringing in his ears.He tried to smile at them. The same smile he used to comfort them, to tell them that everything was alright. William lifted his hand from his bleeding chest and pressed it onto the glass surface. The last thing he felt was guilt from breaking his promise to his foals. He wrote three words onto the glass with his dirty hands.
'I am sorry'
William Lente slid from the glass on to the floor and never got up.
"Pull the plug on this project. Project Pegasus is over." said the killer.
The Doctor walked up to the glass next to William's limp form. He looked at the ponies. He had a slight smirk on his face.
No. Daddy. Why aren't you getting up? You said you'd be back. You always came back. You pr-promised.....
Something snapped. No one will ever know what, but something snapped. Something terrible had happened and Celestia’s mind was unleashed.
Celestia, in a state of uncontrolled rage and fury, snapped. She gave an almighty roar of anger. The metal rivets and ports on her body flew out of her flesh and shout through the glass. The glass wall shattered into dust. Her eyes were glowing red, red as her daddy's spilt blood. She gave another roar and the tank exploded with the force of a bomb. Alarms were blaring here and there throughout the facility. The Doctor was lifted into the air by Celestia.
He had a look of terror. The tank? How did it break the tank? It's impossible! How were they this powerful?
"P-please!" he cried over Celestia's fit of rage, "Don't hurt me! Please! Mercy!!"
This was the thing that commanded daddy?! This pathetic, groveling bug?!
"You killed daddy..." she muttered, eyes still a glow. Tears of anger were pouring from her eyes and blood was leaking from where the metal had left her body.
"You!" Doctor pointed at Luna, "You! Stop her! You were designed to be able to stop her!"
"I am fully able," Luna said, her face streaked with tears, "I just choose not to!..."
Doctor began to whimper and sob. Pathetic.
"I don't want to die!"
"That's not your choice." Celestia said coldly.
Doctor's head began to swell. It continued to do so. His eyes bulged and his mouth stretched. His top half burst.
There were warning signs and alarms going off everywhere around the facility now. The two guards had fled and the facility was trying to contain itself.
Celestia and Luna slowly walked up to their daddy. He was cold. So cold. They both laid next to him in the pool of red. Both sisters felt grief. Terrible, heart tearing grief. The only one who was with them always. The only support. The only love. The only parent.
The two wailed in sadness at the same time. Out of this grief grew fear. Out the the fear grew anger. The anger festered into fury. Finally, the fury melted into vengeance.
Both sisters touched heads, and with a flash of light and splatter of blood from William, they took new forms. Each had a sharp horn and pair of wings. They had both grown tall and menacing. The physical wound were gone and perfectly mended. Blinded with fury and a hunger for vengeance, the sisters left their father.
They both rose into the air. As they progressed through the facility in a fit of unbridled rage, they killed every member. Man and woman, they destroyed the whole facility. Blinded by anger, hate, and sadness, they couldn't stop. It was out of their grasp. They soon found themselves out in the cold winter air. Their power too uncontrolled and their vengeance not yet quenched, they looked to the sky. Celestia focused on the sun and it stood still in the air. Luna close at hand, looked at Celestia. They touched horns. A beam of red light shot to the sun. The light bathed the earth in a crimson glow. All over the world the two sisters rage was felt. In but a few days, the guilty, along with the innocent, burned. Plants turned to ash and the oceans boiled. There was no rain, but ash and soot. The rage and sadness of the sisters had rampaged the world, burning it all to the ground.
There was no one left. Celestia and Luna went back to the wreck of the facility in the snow and ice. All was calm, all was grey. They landed next to the only body left untouched, their father's.
"W-what have we done?..." Luna said shakily, “Everything is …. gone.”
"We've done something terrible." she replied, "Our powers grew out of control. We passed our boundaries. I thought this would make me feel better about... Daddy... But it doesn't..."
"Me too.." Luna said.
They both looked down at their father's body. Hours in the cold but not touched by age or weather. He looked extremely peaceful, as if in a deep sleep. They wept for him one last time.
"What do we do now, Celestia?"
"I- if we have the power to destroy," she answered, "then we have the power to create."
Celestia closed her eyes. And with a glow of her horn, a flower poked through the snow.
"We'll make a new world. A new life. We'll start over and create a world without such corruption."
"Can we do it?" Luna asked.
"Yes. We must."
It was a typical sunny afternoon in Canterlot. The sun was warm and the birds were singing a song through the air. Princess Celestia was in the palace looking for a certain little filly.
"Now where did that little Twilight Sparkle get off to?" she pondered.
Trotting around the castle, she passed a normal wooden door. Just any door really. No pony ever went in it. It was probably some kind of broom cupboard or something. Celestia smiled a sad smile however. The door was left ajar. I think I've found Twilight, she thought.
She slowly crept into the room. It was a cathedral inside. It was an enormous room decorated with the best in marble and gold, gems and diamonds. In the middle of the large room was a marble casket. It was the purest of whites. On top of it was a ring of flowers of the rarest kind. In front of the casket was a small purple filly unicorn.
"So, my faithful student. You've found my private room."
Twilight squeaked. "I'm sorry Princess! I didn't mean to! I was just on my way to the library but I saw this door and was curious! I didn't do it on purpose, I swear!"
Celestia chuckled. "Oh it's quite alright my dear. I was just looking for you. This just happens to be my favorite room in the whole palace."
"Why?" asked Twilight.
"It holds something very dear to my heart..." Celestia continued, her voice echoing off the walls, "Something that will be with me in spirit forever."
"What do you mean?"
"You'll find out soon enough."
And on the top of the marble casket was written a single word along with a message.
"I AM SORRY"
Sins of the Father
Author’s Note: This is a branch off of The Rage of Two Sisters. It was written as a “what happens afterwards” story. Enjoy!
It was a tremendously beautiful night in the city of Canterlot. The moon was positioned in the most prime spot in the air, full and glowing with beauty. The stars were placed with loving care, be-speckling the night sky with crystals of light, the night air cool and gentle. Princess Luna had outdone herself most exceptionally.
Her sister, Princess Celestia, was observing on her balcony. Swelling with pride, she was proud to call Luna her sister. She could never get the moon positioned as perfect as Luna and was so happy to get her back from Nightmare Moon five years ago. Getting up, Celestia turned and left her room. She didn't want to sleep yet. Her heart was always filled with grief. These days she was afraid to sleep.
Celestia wandered the halls of the palace. Being so late into the night, no pony else was around. The corridors were dark and there was no whisper of sound. Only the silent 'clip clop' of Celesta's hooves could be heard. She made her way to a certain door. A door with no meaning to anypony else but her and her sister.
She entered through the door. The cathedral was as breath taking as ever. Beauty and opulence spilled out from every corner. 'And for all the right reasons,' Celesta thought. She walked up to the center of the elephantine room up to a white marble figure. It was a casket.
"Hello, daddy..." she spoke silently.
Something about saying that word made Celestia feel like a little filly again. At a time when she was nothing but helpless, that word was always there to comfort her.
Celestia sat there for a very long time, leaning against the cold casket. This place always calmed her down after a hectic day of royal duties and whatnot. Her mind slowly went down memory lane and all the while, her eyes started to droop.
She remembered white walls and tall figures. She remembered the first time she was introduced to Luna as her 'sister'. She remembered the pain of 'lessons'. She remembered their savior, her daddy. She remembered his care, his love, his touch, his embrace. She remembered the Doctor. She remembered her hatred for him. She remembered the sharp sound, the splatter of crimson...
Celestia gave an involuntary yell. Her eyes snapped open. She looked around. That memory was so vivid. It felt like she was watching daddy die all over again. She turned her head to look up at the marble casket labeled 'Daddy'. She started to weep. It slowly progressed into straight out crying. Without shame, Princess Celestia, proud and tall ruler of Equestria, cried like a little foal.
She missed him so much... She wanted her daddy back. Even after a thousand years, the scars left behind still made her heart ache for him. Even after a thousand years, the comfort of a real family of her own was dead.
After a while, Celestia stood up.
"Good night, daddy," she said, "I love you..."
With that, she walked out of the room and shut the door tight. She felt relaxed after that. Perhaps sleep would come more peacefully this time.
Celestia was huddled up in a pile as a filly in the middle of a vast white plane of nothingness. She lay there breathing and blinking slowly. Tears were dribbling down the sides of her face.
Her head shot up.
Who was calling her? She looked around.
Panning the blank landscape slowly, her eyes spotted a figure in the distance.
"Celestia... Over here...!"
No. It couldn't be! Was that... Was that person...?
"D-daddy?..." she said out loud.
"Over here Celestia!" William Lente called.
"DADDY!!!" she cried.
It was him! It was actually him! It was daddy! He kept his promise!
Celestia leapt up began to sprint towards him. She was anticipating his embrace with baited breath. She leapt into his arms.
"Hey there Celestia..." he said, holding his foal.
"I've missed you so much..." said the filly Celestia, voice trembling and eyes streaming.
"Don't be afraid." her daddy said.
"I've got you. I'm not afraid." she answered, burying her face into his chest.
Suddenly, she was alone.
'W-where did daddy go?' Thought Celestia.
The ground began to tremble. Deep fissures and chasms tore themselves around Celestia.
In desperation and fear she called out.
Out of the fissures in the land scape crawled out figures.
First there were hundreds. Then thousands. Then millions. Then billions.
The limping figures walked on two legs. There were so many. Men, women, children, and infants, old and young alike. They reminded Celestia of a darker time. A time when she gave into her vengeance.
The figures encircled her. They had no eyes but empty, dark sockets. And from each socket, they were crying blood, thick and oozing. Celestia grew horrified.
"Murderer..." the figures spoke, as one.
"N-no..." Celestia whimpered.
"It was an accident!... I didn't mean to!" she yelled over the noise.
"No! Please! Stop..."
"Where are you, daddy?"
Celestia woke with a scream of bloody murder. Chest heaving, she looked around her. She was in her room on her bed. Alone. It was morning. She was drenched in cold sweat and shivering. It was THAT dream again. That horrible one that came around every so often. 'I think it's time I let my faithful student know...' she thought.
Trembling, she looked up to see Luna watching her in the door way.
"That dream again?" she asked.
Celestia sighed. "Yes, that one."
Luna crossed the room, settled herself into bed next to her sister, and they both held each other.
"Did you see daddy? " Luna asked.
A tear fell from Celestia's face. "Yes... I did..."
They held each other for a long time.
"I miss him."
"Well, at least we have each other, right?" said Celestia, tightening her grip on Luna.
"Yep," she replied, "Uh, sis?"
"Uhm... You can let go now," she said giggling, "I have to get to bed and you’re late for your royal meeting with the council!"
Celestia yelped and rushed to the washroom, hurriedly getting ready for the day's events. Luna's voice tinkled with a giggle.
Yes, as long as they had each other, daddy would still be with them at heart.
But still, she and Celestia couldn’t help but think of the past...
Luna was propped up on her bed in her room. The curtains were drawn, blocking out all outside light and noise (whether by magic or not, no pony knew). Being the ruler of the night and commander of the realm of dreams, she slumbered during the day and was awake at twilight. She was thinking about her dear sister Celestia.
"Poor Celly," she said to herself, "It's easier for me because I have some control on my dreams. She has to suffer through it all..."
Yes, she and her sister had been having chronic nightmares. Not too frequent to cause madness, but spaced out, enough to terrify them each and every time.
The dreams always brought about daddy. He was always there to show his love. But every time true joy and contentment started to fill Luna, he vanished. That's when the creatures started to grab at her. Moaning and screaming, smearing their black blood all over Luna. That's when she'd wake up...
Luna gave a hollow sigh. 'Perhaps it's not good to cling to the past. That is, after all, how I became Nightmare Moon.' she thought. But how could she let go of daddy? He was torn from her life so many years ago, but every memory of him felt like a white hot needle in her heart. She needed an output for her fears and stress. Maybe she'll make herself lucid dream again. Yes, that was a good idea. Maybe she could be with daddy one more night.
She shook her head.
"But first!" she squeaked aloud, a mischievous grin spreading across her face.
She leapt out of bed, crawled under it, and pulled out a red book. She looked left and right, making sure no pony was there to see her. Luna gave a small giggle as she looked at the red book in her hooves. "The Lust and Passion of a Pair." the title read. Oh, if Celestia found out that she took one of her most intense romance novels, she'd probably send her back to the moon! Luna may be about a thousand years old, but she was still young at heart. She was, after all, old enough (compared to her sister anyways) to be able to read these things, right? Right.
Luna flounced back into her bed. She cracked open the book to where she last left off.
'Oh, Fabio... Please, this is my first time...'
'Don't worry, just close your eyes and let me guide you...'
'I don't need to be.'
The young mare gave a moan of ecstasy as she was laid down on the bed, the strong stallion nipping her neck and caressing her naval.
Luna felt a flutter in her heart and began to feel warm in a number of places.
It was well into the day when she fell asleep.
Luna was walking through a meadow. Still in her normal form, feeling content. Everything seemed right in the world.
In the distance she spotted a figure. Luna walked up to him.
"Hello daddy!" she said.
William turned around. "Hello my little Luna." he replied, "So, I've seen what you've been reading." he said with a smirk.
Luna turned beet red.
"Oh look at my young foal," he said hugging Luna, "All grown up and reading smut."
"Sis had the nightmare last night..." Luna said, changing the subject.
"Yes, I know." daddy replied, "I was there..."
"Is she okay?"
"If I know your sister, she can handle anything. She's very strong."
"If you say so...." Luna said at her daddy, "I'm so glad I'm in control of some of this dream!" She leaned against him.
"Not exactly..." William said.
"I'm sorry, Luna, but..."
"No... Not again..." She whimpered.
Daddy vanished. The scenery grew dark and the arms started to poke out of the ground again, clawing at the air.
"Murderer... Witness... Passerby... Accomplice..."
Panicking, Luna mustered all the strength she could. She wouldn't go through it again. Not now. Not tonight.
She forced herself awake.
Luna awoke, but kept her eyes closed. Something woke her up. The sounds of uncontrollable sobbing filled the air. Who could it be?
It took a second for her to realize it was herself. Luna was the one crying. She let the dam break. She cried and cried. She wanted her daddy back. She didn't care if she looked like a filly for crying, she just wanted the only parent she knew back.
She stopped after a while and stayed in bed. She turned her head to the clock on the wall. It was was late afternoon. Celestia would be home but would be leaving at twilight to lower the sun.
Luna crawled out of bed, her heart heavy with grief from her nightmare and her eyelids equally as heavy from lack of sleep. She walked into the washroom to freshen up. She couldn't fall back asleep even if she tried.
As she was brushing her mane, Luna's mind couldn't help but wander to her nightmare. Those terrible two legged creatures showed up again. They reminded her of great loss and terrible power. She thought back to her daddy. He and Celly were the only real family she had.
But there was something daddy said that worried her. What was it again? R... Retribution?
"I think Celestia needs to hear about this..."
Before Luna left, she carefully hid the red book.
Sins of the Father Part:2
Never be seen, stay light on your feet, be smart, and avoid the anything that doesn't stand on two legs. Those were the rules.
Far beyond Ponyville and Canterlot lived a species that haven't been seen since the rise of the two divine Princesses. They existed far beyond the territory of the proud Griffons. Their domain was even past the realm of the mighty dragons. They were unwanted. They were a hidden race. Growing, surviving, and biding their time. They were scavengers at first, but that wasn't a worry. Mountains made of strong stone provided housing and primitive weapons at first. Then they found shed dragon scales and claws. Both were stronger than titanium and sharp as a scalpel. They even provided some magical protection. From these, swords, spears, halberds, armor, and an army was built. Thousands strong and thousands willing to fight and new technologies and methods appeared. The surviving race had built itself up from the ashes left from a fiery Armageddon almost a thousand years ago like an almighty phoenix. Their population was large, large enough to survive a thousand years...
The human race was building into a formidable force of raw power.
Magic was strictly forbidden. It was not normal. Bending nature to one's will was an evil thing. But that didn't stop young Ivy.
Ivy was a pale, slender, pretty girl in her late teens. She had long grey hair that she tied into a bun on the back of her head. Her eyes were as green as emeralds. Slender she may be, but not helpless. In fact, she fought a lot better than some of the boys back at the Citadel.
Ivy loved magic. Well... She loved everything her father didn't. Ever since she found the old tome containing lessons on magic, she hid it from everyone else. Especially her father. He was the king of the Citadel, mighty King Obera. The Citadel was located in a valley between two slabs of giant earth that rose into mountains. Perfectly hidden, it had stayed that way for over a thousand years.
Ivy was in the outskirts of the Citadel. She was hiding from the public. She didn't have many friends given her father's position. She was up one of the mountains, making sure to be hidden from both the outside and any curious eyes. From her bag she took out the ancient book. Opening it, Ivy read her favorite line in the whole book.
'Magic is present within every being, not just unicorns or the Princesses. Each individual has the gift of magic in the form of a talent, a passion, or an emotion. The output of ability however, is dependent on one's will power, strength of heart.'
Yes, the book mentioned 'unicorns'. Of all the creatures King Obera hated, it was those small horse things. She'd read the old texts describing the end of the first human civilization. It was the doing of their tyrant Princesses that caused the near extinction of the human race. Ivy could see why most humans held resentment towards the princesses, but Ivy wasn't the one to linger in the past. 'The ponies hurt our ancestors, not us,' she would think, 'We're thriving now, and all that mattered was that we continued to do so. The Two Tyrants are the ones to blame, not the small horses.' A good majority of the humans wanted to come out of hiding and make peace. Living in hiding most of your life wasn't considered a luxury.
Ivy lifted her hand. Eyes screwed up, she concentrated.
"C'mon rock..." she mumbled, "Move...!"
Nothing. The rock didn't move at all. Maybe she wasn't strong enough to use any magic yet.
With a sigh, she slapped the book shut, placed it in her bag, and got up to leave to the Citadel. Father would be angry that she left with out his permission, but better head back now than never.
Ivy entered the gates to the Citadel. They were huge walls of black stone. Once inside the gates and walls, she was at the front of the city's center. Here and there, citizens of the Citadel were bustling about. Shops portraying their wares were peppered throughout the city. Many citizens were gossiping or trying to make life better for themselves. Up straight ahead was a stone statue. It was a large statue at that as well. It depicted a human, clad in heavy armor with intricate and beautiful carvings and designs. He was holding a spear made of dragon teeth and a shield of scales. The warrior was mounted on top of a horse. The horse appeared weak and looked up to the warrior in awe and admiration. The base had a phrase carved into it.
'From the ashes, reborn. True masters of the scorched earth.'
Ivy snorted, bemused, every time she saw this statue. She knew that the humans were now a force to reckon with, but she doubted that ANY creature on this planet would look at humans so sappily. As she walked through the the city, she was greeted left and right by it's citizens. Being daughter of the king, she was well known. Even though many people knew her, she only had one very close friend.
She turned to see a boy, around the same age as her, running towards her.
"Hullo, Xan!" Ivy called back.
Xan was tall boy with undying sarcasm in his personality. He sported dark blue hair that was short in the back but hung down his forehead, occasionally obscuring his eyes that were light blue like ice.
"Where've you been? I've been looking for you all day!" he said, catching up with her.
"It's for me to know," she said with a mischievous grin, "and for YOU to butt out. How did you see me in the crowd anyway?"
"Eyes like a hawk, mate, eyes like a hawk." Xan said winking.
It was true what Xan said. He had the sharpest eyes of all the young ones in the Citadel. He might not be as tough as Ivy, but he was a master with the bow and arrow and was one of the smartest individuals you'd probably ever meet. His eyes wandered towards Ivy's bag.
"You were trying to practice magic again, weren't you!" Xan exclaimed.
"So?" Ivy retorted.
"You know that's illegal," Xan said, "It's a capital offense. And you being the daughter of the king..."
"Don't worry," she assured him, "I can't even do any magic. I'm too weak."
"Weak my left ass cheek, you're anything but." Xan said smiling, "You've been my best friend since we were able to walk. I just wanted to make sure you were safe."
"Thanks," Ivy said, "C'mon. I gotta sneak back home again..."
And they were off. The two best friends, inseparable, made their way to the city's center, a huge palace, grey and made of solid stone. How this was made without magic, no one knew. Ivy and Xan snuck past the guards around the palace and crawled into a small duct. It lead them like a maze around and around. They were trying to make it to Ivy's room so that it seemed like she never left. They poked their head out of the duct's exit carefully. Right above them was a stone wall. It was the ceiling. They looked down and their stomachs fell like bricks. They arrived at the top of the throne room, right above the throne.
Luckily, no one saw them and they ducked down. Ivy and Xan both looked at each other and press their fingers to their mouths. They could hear voices. One was the king's and the others seemed to be his advisors.
"Our army is ready to be disposed of at your command." said one voice.
"Good, good," said King Obera, "Make preparations for war. This is when we strike. This is when we take back the earth."
War? Now? There's never been a war with another species for almost five hundred years! And that caused heavy loss of lives and resources to the human race. Ivy and Xan looked at each other in shock.
"Uh... Your Highness," spoke another more timid voice, "Please reconsider... I, and many others, feel that we are not prepared for a war of this caliber. We barely survived the last war we were in. The Griffons tore our ranks apart! But a full out war against the Two Tyrants and their forces? Perhaps, in the Citadel's best interest of course, we should strive to make..."
"Absolutely not," the king interjected, "We have been building up to this crescendo. The Two Tyrants were the ones who forced the human race to the edge of nonexistence. I will not make peace with their race."
"But your Highness, we are alone in this world! We have no allies! Even now, the Griffons and Dragon race still despise our presence! We need to make peace and continue to survive, not destroy everything in a war we are destined to lose."
"Enough," the king said, "Truth is held in your words and explanations. However, we have been scared in the past, and that scar demands retribution. It was decided in the past that we would die fighting rather than laying down in fear. This is for the good of all humans."
There was a long silence.
"Very well..." said one of the advisers, "Our laws require us to send a letter of notice to the opposing side..."
"Let it be done." spoke the king.
"Right away, your Highness."
Ivy could hear a whisper from one of the advisers, "Then our fates are sealed..."
No. She couldn't let this happen. War was never the answer to everything. Their race would die and the Two Tyrants' land would be ravaged. They used magic as often as humans used their hands. Magic was an almighty force, turning forests into seas of fire and the day to night. This would surely kill them all.
"Xan," Ivy whispered, "I've got to stop this. I've got to go and warn the Tyrants..."
"You're mad." Xan said.
"Thats the only thing I can do!" she said, "I can only hope to convince them to make peace before soldiers threaten them with swords."
"Well, you're not going alone," Xan said, "If anything, I'm coming with you."
"Since when were you the boss of me?" he whispered with a smirk.
"Fine," Ivy said, "The message of war is probably already being written. We should gather our things and leave tonight."
"Fine by me," Xan replied, "I'll meet you in front of the statue in the city center."
The two edged back towards the way they came from, becoming more and more excited with the thought of adventure.
Below, King Obera sighed. If only his daughter had learned to speak more quietly...
To my most faithful student,
It has come to my attention that I haven't kept my promises. You and I have been very distant lately, only communicating through letters. As you remember, when I took you in as my protege, you were away from your family and looked to me almost as a second mother. I've never told you about my "family" have I? I almost feel guilty for not connecting with my most precious pupil at a more personal level. I wish for you to come to Canterlot so that we may "catch up."
Your Mom away from home,
"Wow," said Spike after reading the letter, "The Princess really trusts you, huh? Wanting to talk about family and all..."
Twilight and Spike were in the library home that they lived. It was a normal day, Twilight was studying, Applejack was working on the farm, Rarity was fulfilling an order for Hoity Toity, Fluttershy was tending to the animals, Rainbow Dash had finished her weather duties and was resting, and Pinkie Pie was being Pinkie Pie.
Spike was eating a sandwich when he belched a puff of green fire that toasted his bread and a letter from the Princess appeared. As Spike read it, Twilight looked over his shoulder to see it. There were blurred blotches in a number of places on the parchment. Tear stains.
"It sounds and looks awfully urgent..." Twilight said with a sigh, "I hope she's alright. Spike, send a reply telling her I'll be there this afternoon."
"Yes ma'am!" Spike said saluting.
It was so long since Twilight had seen the Princess. It had been almost a year and a half. Reading the letter to herself again, she remembered the mother/daughter relationship they shared. Thinking back, Twilight remembered how nice it was to confide in a mother when her real parents weren't with her. She loved her parents more than anything in the world, but the Princess was a wonderful substitute for a short while.
Twilight arrived in Canterlot later that afternoon by carriage. She was hit with a sudden nostalgia by her old home. The shops were still there and the ponies, perhaps a bit haughty, were still kind and welcoming. Twilight continued to trot towards the city palace. She had decided to go alone. She wanted her personal time with the princess to actually be personal.
But Princess Celestia's family? How could she have never asked her about that? Twilight thought back. Had the Princess ever mentioned her own family? Twilight could only vaguely remember a large, dim room with something in it. Twilight bumped into something. Or rather someone. Lost in her thoughts, she wasn't watching where she was going and had ran into one of the royal guards at the gates.
"Her Highness has been expecting you, Ms.Sparkle," he said in a harsh, deep voice.
"Oh! Uhm..." she stammered, "Thank you!"
The guard stepped aside as Twilight entered. The palace was still shockingly large no matter how many times she saw it. She walked through the main hall and at the end of it she saw her.
"Princess!" Twilight squealed as she ran up to her, "Is everything okay? The letter you sent sounded urgent, and were you crying when you wrote it? Because I saw-"
She was cut off. Princess Celestia was holding her in a tight embrace, fore hooves around Twilight's neck and face against her's.
"I've missed you so much," she said quietly.
"I've missed you too, m-mama.." Twilight said. She hesitated with the last word.
It had been so long since she called her that. Celestia knew that she could never be a real mother to her, but she loved the old pet name she was gifted with by her pupil anyway.
"Now," Clelstia said," I haven't ever told you about my family tree, have I?"
"Not that recall, mama," Twilight replied.
"Well, do you remember that room you snuck into all those years ago?" the Princess asked smiling.
Twilight blushed. "N-not really," she said, "I've always thought that the room was off limits and I got in trouble."
"Well, I think it's time you've found out a bit more about me and Luna."
Side by side, the Princess and Twilight made their way through the palace. They didn't talk much. On each mind was a heavy burden. As they eventually reached the wooden door, Twilight looked up at her mentor, worried. Celestia look down and smiled reassuringly. They both entered.
Twilight now could vividly remember the room she was in. It had the same cathedral-like size, beautiful decor, and somber atmosphere. The two approached the center. There was a white marble casket. Twilight looked down upon it. She read the words aloud.
"Daddy..." she said quietly, "Was this your father, mama?"
"O-of a certain kind..." Celestia said, "He was a father to me and Luna. He cared for us, loved us, and... a-and..."
A tear fell from her eye. Twilight was extremely taken aback. She had never seen the Princess, in all her glory, look so... vulnerable.
"He also died because of us."
Twilight looked down at the casket again. She felt sadness for the father of Celestia and Luna.
"What about your mother?" She asked.
"A mother?" Celestia asked, "We've never had a mother."
"You've never known your own mother? I'm so sorry..." Twilight started to say.
"No, no." Celestia said, "I mean that Luna and I literally had no mother."
"But how..." Twilight started to say. Of all the things she knew about pony anatomy, you needed a stallion and a mare to produce offspring. Celestia gave a heavy sigh. It was saturated with ages of wisdom and weariness. It just struck her how old her teacher actually was. Over a thousand years old, but still as beautiful as a young mare.
"Come and see, my pupil."
With a glow of her horn, Celestia started to lift the top of the top of the casket. It was evidently extremely heavy, seeing that even the Princess was having trouble lifting it. She set the lid down.
As a cloud of dust settled, Twilight saw bones. They were preserved, but she could tell they were even older than Celestia. But... Hang on.... These didn't look like any kind of bones she had ever seen before. The structure of the skeleton seemed to illustrate that it walked on it's hind legs rather than on all four. The ends of each of the legs and arms also seemed to have five manipulating structures. Years of time spent in museums told her that these bones didn't match the anatomy of any creature in Equestria, let alone a pony's.
"Mama, wh-what is this?..." she said quietly.
"This is daddy...." Celestia whispered, "My pupil, I was not born. I was not birthed. I was manufactured."
"Let me explain," she said, "This world you live in. It was not made by me. It was not even ours in possession. This world, I have stolen it. This world was ruled by a cruel and selfish race," her voice was filled with sorrow and frustration, "My sister and I were brought into the world as weapons."
Twilight's eyes widened. Her mouth was slightly open. Was what she was hearing the truth?
"We were tortured mercilessly by that race," she continued, "And this individual in this casket.... Twilight, he was the only one who showed any compassion." The Princess's eyes were streaming now. "But one day, he was murdered by his own kind for just knowing us. That's when my sister and I...." She struggled to find the right words. She swallowed hard, "exacted our rights over the world. The race then 'disappeared' and we started anew."
"How is this true?" Twilight said. But she didn't need proof. The proof was in the bones. She could see it. The two princesses were the only beings living over a millennium.
Celestia closed the casket. "He loved us dearly and treated us as his own foals. As far as we know, Luna and I are the start of our own family tree. We had no real parents. The only one we had was daddy."
Twilight watched the princess cry. It hurt to do so.
"Why," Twilight started, "Why didn't you tell me before?"
Celestia wasn't listening. She seemed to be deep in thought, almost in a trance.
"We, I've, done terrible things..." she whispered.
"No control. Blind..." she continued, eyes staring into space.
"A hole cut into the soul..."
Celestia blinked. Her eyes were still wet and streaming.
"Oh..." she said, "Hello, Twilight. What were we-"
But with a loud slam, the cathedral door was kicked open.
"YOUR HIGHNESS!!" a voice yelled, "YOUR MAJESTY, PLEASE LOOK AT THIS!"
Princess Celestia and Twilight whipped around.
"I've told you this place is off limits..." Celestia growled at her messenger.
"A thousand, no, a million pardons mi'lady," he said bowing, "But I bring a terrible message from beyond the threshold of the Dragons by messenger hawk."
Twilight looked from the Princes, to the messenger, to the scroll in his teeth.
"What could be so important that you must disobey rules?" Celestia snapped uncharacteristically.
"Your Highness," the messenger said standing up, "We have received a message. A message of war."
The eyes of both Celestia and Twilight widened. War? How could war break out? No treaties were broken, as far as the Princess knew.
"From whom was the message sent from?" Celestia demanded, "The griffons? Dragons?"
"W-we do not know," the messenger said looking down, "Please, t-take a look..."
Celestia magicked the scroll from him. Twilight looked up to read.
Hear ye, Oh Two Tyrants,
By our laws and by our integrity, we are required to harbinge the the coming of battle. Of war. Our forces are numerous as are the heart and strength of our ranks. Accept or not, war will fall upon your land and we will fight for retribution to your sins. Your land and people will burn to the ground. Such as you have to our race.
Celestia dropped the scroll. She was staring into the wall. No. It couldn't be. Could it? She and Luna had... Every single one... Perhaps survivors?
"Send a message out to every city and town. Tell them to bare arms and defend themselves. Assemble the royal army and send support units to the towns that need them the most." Celestia said all of this in one quick breath, "Send notice of coming danger and raise the defenses."
"Yes, Your Highness," the messenger bowed and galloped off.
"M-mama..." Twilight finally spoke up, "What have you done?..."
Celestia looked down in shame.
But before anything else could be said, Luna burst into the room.
"Sister!" she cried, "Celestia! Is it true? Is war to befall us?!"
Luna then proceeded to read the fallen letter. She skimmed the message. One word caught her eye. 'Retribution'.
"Oh no," Luna whispered, "Celestia, do you think..."
"Yes." she answered, "Twilight, I think it's time you went back to Ponyville."
Sins of the Father Part:3
It was bone bitingly cold in the mountains at night. Ivy and Xan were both huddled up against a small pathetic fire. They were shivering and hungry. Days of travel on foot, chased by griffons, and almost being seen by a dragon. This was torture.
"B-by daybreak," Ivy chattered, "W-we should b-e able to see our way to that t-town.."
"Gee," Xan replied, "I'm practically oozing with joy. Oh wait, that might just be my nose."
"Just one more night here," Ivy said, "Just one more, then we could sneak in to the town, and make our way to the Tyrants' city..."
"From there, we can only hope to convince them to make peace," she continued, "Not the best odds, but that's all we've got. If I know my dad, he'll never let up."
They both lulled into an uncomfortable sleep, each leaning on each other. The fire kept going even though it was very small. It almost looked like it was fighting against the bitter cold.
The first rays of genuine sun shine sparkled down on the mountain side. Ivy woke up. She brushed frost from her hair and stood up to stretch. Xan was still asleep. She decided to leave him asleep and scout ahead. Ivy arrived at a cliff edge that looked across the landscape. She could see it. A small town. No doubt their kind lived there. She hoped that they wouldn't be hostile.
"Morning..." Xan said, walking up to Ivy, tousle haired.
"Sleep well, did you?" she asked smiling.
"Like a baby..." he mumbled, "So, is that the place we're going?"
"Yep,"she replied, "We'll sneak right through and none of them will know the better."
So, they started to trek down the sloping surface of the mountains, packs on their backs, and protection swinging on their hips. The trail to the town couldn't be more straight forward. It was just THERE. The atmosphere had changed radically. Instead of the rough and punishing terrain of the mountain side, the trail and it's surroundings were sunny, almost friendly like in a wonderful cartoon. Disgusting... As they got to the edge of the town, they could see it's inhabitants.
"Colorful things aren't they?" Xan whispered. They ducked behind a large bush.
"Pretty small, too," Ivy replied, "They look kind of cute."
"Yeah, not like in our books though, all angry looking." Xan noted.
"Ok," Ivy said, "Let's sneak over behind that pink building..."
"What, the one that looks like giant cake?"
Under cover of their cloaks, they ran behind the building. Luckily, no one saw them. Ivy and Xan peeked around the corner. They were perplexed by what they saw. There were ponies everywhere. To and fro, they bustled, male and female, in a society much like the Citadel's. There were citizens with jobs and families and shops all over.
"Are you sure we're in the right place?" Xan whispered, "They don't look dangerous..."
"Shush," Ivy snapped. She looked back around the edge of the building. There was a sort of tension in the air. Everyone of the ponies looked worried and desperate to find some sort of solution. As the two hid behind the building, two female ponies, one a mint green unicorn and a cream colored earth pony by the looks of it, exited the shop they were hiding behind. Ivy and Xan caught some of their conversation.
"Do you really think the message was true?" the green unicorn asked, "Do you really think there IS going to be... war?"
"I don't know, Lyra," the earth pony replied, "The message was an official one issued by the Princess. I doubt it's anything but real."
"Bon Bon, how long do you think it's going to take for it to reach us?" Lyra asked.
"Only time can tell," she replied.
Ivy and Xan ducked behind another near by building, then to another, and another. Each time they moved however, it was becoming more and more densely populated. There were so many of them. Ponies looking out the windows, at shops, sitting at cafes, and even flying through the air. If they didn't find a good place to hide soon, they'd be seen.
"Quick!" Ivy whispered, "In here! The window's unlocked!"
The two of them climbed in to an empty building built into a massive tree. Just as Xan's foot fell into the window out of sight, a certain wall-eyed, blue-grey, pony looked over and had just missed it.
The treehouse was empty as far as Ivy could tell. Looking around, she realized it was a library. At least they were safe for now. She looked out the window carefully. Among the normal ponies were now armor clad ones patrolling and stationing themselves around the town. Despite their size, they looked very formidable.
"So what's the plan from here?" asked Xan.
"Well, there's not much to do but sneak out of here," Ivy replied, "We're smack dab in the middle of the town. We just have to-"
Horror struck, Ivy and Xan looked up. They turned around and at the top of the stairs to the second floor was a purple juvenile dragon.
"What the- Who are you?!" it said, "Get outta here! Burglars!" He was yelling at the top of his voice.
Ivy and Xan waved their arms at him shushing, trying to quiet the irate dragon.
"Breaking into the library!" he continued, "I'm getting the authorities!" He headed for the door.
Several things happened at once. Xan hurtled over a table, landed stomach down on top of the small dragon, and clamped his mouth shut and held him tight. At that moment, voices could be heard from the other side of the door.
Ivy and Xan, still holding the struggling dragon, leapt up and ran into a nearby closet.
"Thanks, all of you, for coming here on such short notice," said a voice.
The library door opened with a tinkling of a bell.
"So is it true, Twilight? Is there going to be... war?"
"Definitely," she replied, "The Princess took this issue without hesitation. As far as we know, we can only prepare for what is to come."
"This is totally bogus!!" a brash voice yelled, "I mean, what did we even do to cause a war?!"
"I don't know, Rainbow Dash, but what ever it is, it's a long feud between the Princesses and another race," said Twilight.
"Then why bring it up now?" said a southern voice, "An' who is it against anyhow?"
"Again, I don't know," Twilight said, "I was told to leave before I could get any information."
Ivy and Xan held their breaths in the closet. So, news of the coming war HAD reached them already... Xan's arms were becoming sore from gripping on to the struggling dragon. He trashed about in his captor's arms and jerked against his hand that was covering his mouth. Ivy had to help him hold down the dragon. For a baby, it was tremendously strong.
"How long do you think we have until the war hits us?"
"We can't tell for sure," responded Twilight, "All we can do is-"
The six ponies nearly jumped out of their skins. They whipped around to the source of the scream. What they saw left them in confusion, disbelief, and shock.
A tall... ape-like creature burst out from a closet. It was wearing some sort of cloak and dancing around with Spike attached to his arm. Spike had evidently bitten down on his arm very hard, seeing that there was a small trickle of blood dribbling down it. Another one of the creatures flopped out of the closet. This one was a female.
As Twilight gazed upon the two strange creatures, one trying to pull Spike off of the other by the tail, she realized that she'd never seen these creatures. But then it hit her like a dead weight. The tall stature, bipedal, articulating fingers...
"Spike!" she yelled, "Let go of him! What are you doing?!"
On command, Spike released the ape from his teeth and fell to the floor. He spat out a bit of blood. It wasn't his.
"Twilight!" he shouted getting up. He ran behind her and glared at the two strange new creatures. "Those... things broke into the library! And then they grabbed and tried to kill me! That's when I heard you coming and I bit-"
"I was not trying to kill you!" the male of the two creatures exclaimed. He was holding his arm trying to stem the bleeding. "Hot headed little newt..."
"Hot headed what?!" Spike yelled, advancing towards the male, "Why I oughta..."
The ape reached for something on his back. An arrow.
"Look out!" Applejack bellowed. She sprinted towards the male and bucked him in the stomach. His wind knocked out from the tummy tuck, he slumped on to the floor. The female gave a yell in surprise.
"Applejack!" Twilight yelled, "What was that for!"
"He was armed!" she retorted.
"Can we stop beating up my friend?!" the female ape yelled. She looked around. The six ponies surrounded her. She could fight, but six on one weren't good odds and she knew that unicorns could use magic. Plus her companion was still on the floor.
"Before anything else happens," Twilight said glancing at Applejack, "I think we need to set things straight. What are you?"
"My name's Ivy," the female said, "And I am a human." Although she was already taller than the ponies, Ivy stood up proudly. "We are a strong people, but few in number. We were almost struck down by the Tyrants almost a thousand years ago."
"Tyrants?" Rainbow Dash interjected, "She doesn't mean our princesses right?"
But no one answered her. Twilight was staring at the human, lost in her words about the princesses. Was this the unknown race that declared war? Were these the ones to bring war upon the 'sins' of her precious Princess?
"We're here..." the male on the floor coughed, "So we could warn you about the war..." He slowly got up, "I'm Xan, and Ivy and I travelled here to beg the Tyrants for peace."
"They're not tyrants!" Twilight yelled.
"Strong as we may be," Xan continued ignoring Twilight's outburst, "We are still a surviving race. We have no allies and have no special abilities and powers."
"He's right," Ivy said, "We are strong at heart and pride, but if we do go to war, many of your people and even more of ours will be lost. I know what magic can do. If we go to war, our kind will be wiped out."
"Wait," Rarity said, "I've never even heard or your race! And surviving? What happened in the past?"
"From what we know," Ivy replied, "Your rulers, many centuries ago, committed a great sin against our people. They bathed the earth in fire and cremated the age of human rule on this planet."
"You? Rule this world? Yeah right," Applejack said.
"That's just it," Xan said, "Look at the world you live in now. Look at the tools and even that door over there."
The six mares looked to the closet door.
"See how it's made to look?" Xan said, "See how the handle is formed? Now look at yourselves. Do you think that was made to be compatible with your anatomy? Those were originally made with these in mind." He held up his hand and showed off his fingers.
"And look at this quill," Ivy said picking one off of a nearby table, "How are you supposed to use this, with your mouth and head tilted sideways?"
"Holy MOLEY!" exclaimed Pinkie Pie. "They're right! Look!" She raised her fingerless fore-hooves.
"The world you live in was adopted," Xan said, "Stolen."
Twlilight looked around at Xan and Ivy.
"Ivy, was it?" Ivy nodded, "So you two know about the war? Can you tell us what we're up against? How much time do we have?"
"All that we know," Ivy began, "Is that our forces have already mobilized. They may be here in a few days, or even tonight."
"But please," Xan said, "We need to talk with your Ty- er, Princess." Twilight cocked her eyebrow. "Do you know anyone who can lead us to her?"
"Well, I can," Twilight said rubbing the back of her neck, "I AM her personal protege and favorite student."
"Great! You can lead us right to her!" Ivy exclaimed, "When can we go? We need to see them at SOON as possible!"
"Hang on hang on," Applejack said as she took Twilight to the side, "Are you sure we can trust these things? Fer all we know, they can be spahs er even assassins!"
"Don't be silly, Applejack," Twilight whispered back, "They seen to know that they're at a disadvantage. Plus the male couldn't even handle Spike."
"Ah dunno, Twi..."
"Just trust me Applejack, I want to end this war before it starts."
"Another town lays in ruins, your Highness..."
"Did reinforcements not make it there?"
"Nay, Princess. They are a strong race, call themselves 'humans'."
"How many have we lost?" Celestia asked her advisor.
"Almost a thousand dead on both sides," he replied, "And even more injured. There are even some earth ponies taken as prisoners of war. Other towns and cities are holding up, but we cannot guess on as to how much longer."
Hostages. Celestia sighed. The war was on it's way to Canterlot. The human race wouldn't survive the war. The ponies had allies, such as the dragons. However, Canterlot was a magical fortress with the best and mightiest forces in combat. If the war grew out of her control, she could always wipe them out again. This time however, she would make sure not to leave any living.
Her heart sank. Did she really have to drop to that level again? Her dreams and heart were already filled to the brim with guilt and sin from the last obliteration of this race. One side of her wanted to purge the world of such a primitive and savage race to protect her people, but the other wanted to make peace and and leave the past passed. But then Celestia thought of her daddy. Her heart gave a jerk and her eyes flashed red. No. This race was not fit to live in harmony. If she had to, Celestia would rain fire from the skies and damn them to what ever afterlife they deserved.
"Celestia," Luna said quietly. Celestia blinked and her eyes returned back to their normal shade of pink.
"Yes, my dear sister?" she replied. She had forgotten Luna was sitting right next to her on her own throne.
"What ever you're thinking of doing," Luna began, "Don't make the same mistake you did over a thousand years ago... I know I won't..."
"How can you even suggest-" Celestia started.
"Your eyes," Luna cut in, "I can see it in your eyes. Always. I can always see your spite, greed, and hatred in them when they go red.."
"How can you?" snapped Celestia.
"It feels good to brood in those emotions," Luna replied, "Nightmare Moon taught me that. Please, I beg of you sister, don't make the same mistake..."
Celestia looked down. Luna was right. If she gave into her hate like that again....
Both Luna and Celestia looked up to see one of the royal guards.
"Your student Twilight Sparkle and uh..."
"Yes?" Celestia snapped, "And what?"
"Uh... Er, some humans have..."
"Some WHATS?!" Celestia gasped.
"She and a pair of humans have requested an audience with you," the guard said quietly shrinking.
Celestia, throwing all royal demeanor aside, bolted off of her throne and sprinted out the doors, Luna right behind her. The two sisters arrived in the main hall where they saw chaos.
There was a circle of guards, each holding a sword or spear in it's mouth. In the middle of the circle were three individuals: Twilight Sparkle and two humans. Twilight was jumping around shouting.
"They're not the enemy! They come in peace! They come in peace! All they want is to see the Princesses!"
The two humans, one male and the other female, weren't exactly helping the situation either. The female had a curved dagger in hand and the male had a bow with an arrow drawn and ready.
"Enough!" yelled Celestia at the top of her lungs.
At once, the guards dropped their weapons and stepped away. The two humans relaxed their own weapons and looked towards the Princess.
"What is the meaning of this?" Celestia barked, "How dare you bring these... creatures into my palace, let alone Canterlot!"
"Sister, please..." whispered Luna. Celestia looked to her. She gave a sigh.
"So," she said regaining composure, but still very coldly, "My most faithful student, why is it that these two come here?"
As Celestia gazed upon the two young humans, she had a rage of conflict in her heart. She felt sadness. Horrible guilt and pain for the humans. Celestia had committed the ultimate sin against them. But she also felt fury. These were the things that brought the end of what little she could call a family.
"Their names are Ivy and Xan. They come here to negotiate peace," Twilight said, "They know that their race will be wiped out in an all out war and they want you to try and negotiate peace with their own leader."
"That is not completely up to me," Celestia said, "I am completely willing to avoid a war, but many of our own numbers have been slaughtered and I don't think your leader would want any kind of peace."
"Please, your Highness..." Ivy began. Celestia looked at her, but immediately gasped in horror and stumbled back a few steps.
A thin, pale figure stood before her. It's eyes were missing and pouring with thick, dark blood. It's mouth was gaping, uttering words like 'murderer' and 'slaughter'.
Celestia gave a short scream of terror.
"No! NO!" she yelled stepping back.
"Princess?" Twilight said, shocked at what she was seeing. She and Ivy started to approach her, "What's wrong?!"
"Get back! Stay away!!!" Celestia screamed. Her student was walking side by side with the limping and bleeding figure.
Celestia's pupils were contracted in utter fear. This was like the nightmare. The bloody bodies were now here to torment her. Celestia's eyes darted around the main hall. She noticed none of the guards or her sister watching her in shock. She was looking for her daddy. If the monsters were here, so was he.
Celestia huddled up in a small pile on the floor. She was sobbing uncontrollably. Her nightmares were now her real world and no one could stop it. She covered her face in her fore-hooves and blanketed herself in her large wings, trembling.
"Make it stop..." she sobbed, "I don't want... Daddy, make it stop..."
"What's wrong with her?!" Xan asked.
"Oh no, Mama!" Twilight yelled and rushed towards her.
"Wait," Luna interjected, holding Twilight feet away from the trembling, whimpering Celestia.
"Sister? Celly?" she said in hardly a whisper, "It's fine. The beastie is gone."
"I don't want to see it..." Celestia said softly, "I'm so scared..."
Luna sat next to her sister and nuzzled her. Although her form was smaller than Celestia's, she held her in the right places, slowly but surely calming her down.
"Where... Where is Twilight?" Celestia asked quietly.
"I'm right here, mama.." Twilight said, still fearful of her Princess's condition.
Celestia lifted a wing ever so slightly and gestured Twilight towards her. Twilight approached slowly until she was right next to Celestia. She crawled under her wing, which Celestia had again closed.
Twilight lay against Celestia, soaking up her radiant body heat and motherly scent. Celestia's wings were like a warm tent around her, alive and protective.
"I'm sorry you had to see that..." she murmured.
"You don't have to be sorry for anything, mama," Twilight replied pressing against her neck.
"There's so much I haven't told you," Celestia said quietly, "And it kills me that this isn't the time to tell you. I've done terrible things. Unspeakable evils..." She started to cry again.
"P-please stop..." Twilight said, "I hate seeing you like this..."
"I can only hope that you don't hate me after I tell you the truth..."
The main hall was quiet. Both Ivy and Xan were left outside the closed doors that led to the throne room. Celestia and Twilight had gone into the throne room first so that the Princess could regain her composure. Luna was left to watch the two humans along with a few more royal guards.
Xan was sitting on the floor, eyes locked with a female pony guard. She was clad in golden metal armor. Her eyes were cold and staring, staring back into Xan's. As they both continued to stare menacingly at each other, Xan's eyes began to dry out and water. He blinked. The guard gave a snort of satisfaction and victory. Damn it...
"So," Xan said looking at Luna. She didn't look back. "Has your older sister always been that ‘refined’ around guests?"
"So," Luna said to Ivy, ignoring Xan's remark, "Has your friend always been an insensitive ape?"
Ivy giggled and Xan gave a loud "Hey!"
"And don't flatter yourself," Luna snapped at Xan, "You are not guests. You are a hindrance. A nuisance."
"Gee wanna explain that?" Xan said scathingly. Ivy shot him a look of disapproval.
"Xan! Manners!" she exclaimed.
Luna walked up to him. Small she may be, but there was a type of aura that Luna emitted that kept Xan silent. She looked at him in disgust.
"Your species are a primitive kind who only seek power by the downcast of others," Luna began. She said this as if she had been waiting a thousand years to justify her actions, "You kill and pillage and even after a millennia you have not changed. You don't care about the welfare of other species and always seek to be on top by any means. Your presents here only serves to remind us of the bleak past we had to suffer through. You are a scar that is left on me and my sister. And..." Luna trailed off.
To Xan's and Ivy's utter bewilderment, Luna pressed herself up against Xan. Her eyes were starting to stream.
"And all I can do is ask for your forgiveness," Xan looked from Luna to Ivy and then even to the guards. They just shrugged. "My sister and I have almost nearly brought the extinction of your kind. The slaughter if billions of innocent individuals can never be justified..."
The throne room doors opened and Celestia poked her head out.
"Making friends, Luna?" she asked with a smile. Luna returned it.
Everyone was now in the throne room. In he two main thrones sat Celestia and Luna side by side. On Celestia's left sat Twilight, looking considerably more relaxed and happy. In front of the three equines were the two humans.
"So," Celestia began. The silence in the room was absolute, her voice echoing off the walls, "Before we go into any kind of negotiations," she continued, "I must first apologize for the way I have presented myself earlier."
"Not a problem," Xan said coolly. Ivy glanced sideways, her eyebrows creased. Celestia smirked.
"Now, if you please, explain your reasons for a peace and not war. Surely you want to destroy the species that has done you great harm in the past?"
As Celestia said this, Twilight looked up at her, "What exactly did you do?-" she started to say.
"Hush, dear," Celestia said quietly down to her pupil, "Now is not the time..."
"Ahem," Ivy coughed. Celestia looked back up and Luna gave a slight giggle, "Your Highness," Ivy began, "We know of the crimes of hate and spite you've committed against our people. Our king feels that we must wage war against you and that the spilling of your blood can be the only thing to compensate for our demise in the past."
"However," Ivy continued, "Many, if not most, of our kind seek a peaceful resolution. We know that a war against one of the most densely populated and powerful species in this world will inevitably bring the final end to our kind. I must admit that we can put up a pretty good fight," Xan smirked, "but this war is too much for us."
"We are still a surviving race," Xan said again, "As mentioned before, we have no allies, only enemies. The proud Griffon Clans and the mighty dragons see us as vermin and hunt us whenever possible."
Celestia put her hoof up in deep thought.
"We need to keep the past passed," Xan continued, "If we have any hopes in surviving any longer, we can only afford to make alliances."
"What say you, Luna?" Celestia said turning to her right.
"What they say is true" she replied, "I can see no loss in making an alliance with their kind, only the gain of perhaps a few good years of peace between two long rivaled species."
"Yes, but there is the issue of your king," Celestia said turning back to the two humans, "What does he say about this peace? From what I can tell, he is quite against it."
"Ah..." Ivy began to say, "That's where we were hoping you'd help us with."
"Oh?" Celestia said raising her eyebrows.
"Uh..." Ivy said rubbing the back of her neck, "Daddy can be very stubborn..."
Daddy? Well, well, well, now if they needed a hostage, Celestia had the daughter of the king of humans. But that wasn't the main point right now, so she put that thought aside.
"Does your father know you are here?" Luna asked glancing up at Celesita.
"Not that we know of, ma'am," Xan said.
"And since when did you start calling me 'ma'am'?" Luna said with a giggle. Xan bit his lip.
"For all the king knows," Celestia said ignoring her sister, "We could have kidnapped you, which would provoke the war even further."
Ivy looked down, "Oops..."
"However," Luna said, "Keeping you safe and not hurting you, we can show that we are ready to make peace."
"My thoughts exactly, Luna," Celestia said with a smile, "But we must still convince the king to accept our offer peace. We can only hope he does accept."
"In the mean while, please stay here for tonight," Luna said, "We can offer said protection and safety until matters are set."
“We can only hope our plans will work...”
Sins of the Father Part:4
Twilight Sparkle was again in her library home. The afternoon's events were very tiring. She had been made host to two humans, who were attacked by Spike, watched her dear Princess Celestia weep like a foal, and still hadn't had her questions answered. What had the two regal sisters done to have provoke a war? When did this all happen? Why was it happening now? Twilight's mind was so full of new information and questions that her head was pounding. Maybe a good night's rest would clear everything up. With that in mind, Twilight and Spike both prepared for bed. Twilight hopped onto her bed and buried her face into her soft pillow. With a sigh, she slowly started to relax.
Knock knock knock.
Twilight groaned. Who could that be? And at this hour? She was just about to fall asleep and get some well deserved rest. Spike on the other hand was fast asleep.Twilight made her way downstairs and to the door. She opened it only to be shocked by what she saw.
The streets of Ponyville were packed with soldiers. Earth ponies, unicorn mages, and Pegasus air units, all clad in dark grey armor, were occupying what seemed to be every crevice of Ponyville. They marched in platoons left and right, each carrying a menacing sword or spear. The unicorn soldiers were practicing combat magic, freezing dummies into ice and igniting them in place. Pegasi units were zipping to and fro in the air. Each had a crossbow mechanism attached to their back. With deadly accuracy, they swooped down and hit practice targets dead center. A few even carried wicked looking knives. Two large earth pony soldiers appeared in front of Twilight's door.
"Twilight Sparkle?" one asked in a deep voice.
"Y-yes?" Twilight answered.
"This is her residence," the other soldier said. He turned his head behind him, "Over here! Bring them here!"
There was a light scuffling noise behind them. Twilight looked over to see her five friends.
"Hey! Quit shovin'!" Applejack yelled.
"Get you filthy hooves off of me!" exclaimed Rarity.
"Hey hey hey! No pushing Pinkie Pie!" Pinkie said.
"Stop... Urf... Pushing.... Me!" grunted Rainbow Dash.
"Uhm, please stop... Eep! Uh..." came Fluttershy.
The five mares were shoved forcefully through the narrow doorway into Twilight's home.
"What is going on?" she asked in mild irritation.
"Yes, I'd quite like to know that myself!" piped up Rarity dusting herself off.
"Yeah, why are we here against our own will?" Dash yelled.
"You best keep your muzzle shut," one soldier growled, "before I shut it for you." Rainbow Dash sized him up. She realized she was much smaller than he was and backed down.
"You are all here," another soldier said, "Under the orders of the great Princess Celestia herself."
"The princess made us come here?!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed, "For what, like, a party?" The soldier sighed and placed his face in his hoof in irritation.
"You are the Elements Of Harmony," he said, "You are our top priority to protect. Her Highness, Princess Celestia, placed us, one of the elite squadrons, in charge of keeping you safe."
"Well then why'd y' have t' rough handle us?" Applejack said indignantly.
"You were being uncooperative," one soldier grinned.
"Are you implying ah'm stubborn?" she asked. Applejack turned to her friends, "He called me stubborn! Lemme at 'im..!" Rarity and Fluttershy darted forward and held back Applejack. Again, the guard smirked loudly.
"You are to remain inside this building until further notice," the soldier said.
"You're placing us under house arrest, aren't you?" Twilight said coolly.
"Well," the soldier said with a smile, "I wouldn't put it in those exact words, but yes."
"You can't do that!" she yelled back.
"Oh?" the soldier said standing up straighter and taller. He looked very intimidating for an earth pony, "Are you going against your Princess's orders?"
Twilight glared at the soldier, but then backed down.
"Good," he said satisfied, "We'll be patrolling the perimeter and casting a bubble spell around the area. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out. That way we can keep the enemy out and keep you safe."
Rainbow Dash snorted.
"Good even ladies," the soldier said, "Try not to too rambunctious..." The thuggish soldiers exited the library.
"Rambunctious?" Rarity gasped, "Well, I never..."
"So this is really serious then?" Rainbow Dash asked Twilight, "There's really a war going on?"
"Yes..." sighed Twilight.
"An' what happened to them uh, humans, didja call ‘em?" Applejack asked.
"They're safe in Canterlot," Twilight replied, "Hopefully they can help us avoid any more loss. But in he mean while, let's just make the best of things."
"So..." Pinkie Pie said slowly, "A slumber party?"
Twilight smiled. It was only Pinkie Pie who could see the need to party even in the shadow of a war. She always had to find some excuse to brighten up everyone’s day, no matter how bleak.
"Yes, Pinkie Pie," Twilight said, "Slumber party."
The six mares, still deeply troubled by war and it's influence on the town, all headed upstairs to Twilight's room. There they spent the night laughing and talking, bashing on the soldiers left to protect them, and seeing how many funny positions they could put Spike in before he woke up. Twilight looked out the window some time later.
Soldiers were scattered everywhere. They knew that the battle would soon come to them, and all they could do was wait. Many of the ponies in Ponyville thought it would be smarter to flee the town into bigger cities where protection was more readily available. Some stayed in their homes, hopeful that the battle wouldn't disturb their tranquil life style. Others found it hard to leave. This place was everypony’s home. They had built their lives here and they could not bare to see it burn to the ground. The fillies and colts were the first to be shipped out of the town. Some families were torn apart. Parents volunteered to defend Ponyville and sent their foals away to Canterlot, making hollow promises of being reunited.
Twilight caught a glimpse of the Apple family. Big Macintosh was leading Granny Smith and Applebloom to a large cart at the edge of town. Twilight could hear what they were saying.
"Ah don't wanna go! Don't let them take me Big Mac!" Applebloom screamed. She was bawling and crying, being held in Big Macintosh's forehooves, "Don't leave me! Were family! We gotta stick TOGETHER!"
Big Mac didn't say anything. His expression was hard set. He lifted Applebloom into the large cart. It was filled with other younglings, crying and begging their parents not to leave them.
"Ah'm sorry Applebloom..." Big Mac said, "I promise I'll come back." He kissed her forehead.
"Liar!" she screamed, "Ah know yer all gonna die! Don't stay here! Come with us! Or at least let me stay!" Again she was crying, "Please don't leave..."
"Ah'm sorry..." Big Mac said again. The cart started to move forward. The expression on Applebloom's face cut through him like a sharp knife. First it was a look of disbelief. How could Big Mac abandon his little sister like that? The it turned to one of disgust.
"If you don't come back!" Applebloom screamed at the top of her lungs, "Ah'll never forgive you! Ah have no brother!" Big Mac and Granny Smith stood and watched until the cart disappeared from sight.
"Y' did the right thing, Mac," Granny Smith said shakily.
"Ah hope so," Big Macintosh replied, "Y' know, y' coulda gone with her, be safer."
"Nonsense," chuckled the aging green mare, "With all these new hungry soldiers around, somepony's gotta feed 'em," she looked up at her grandson, "An' Ah'll bet yer gonna volunteer t' fight?" Big Mac snorted.
"Ah hafta," he said, "If ah can stand, then hell, ah'm gonna fight. They need all the help they can get."
Granny Smith sighed.
"If that's what y' gotta do," she said wearily, "Then that's what y' gotta do..."
Back up on the library, Twilight wiped a tear away as she watched the Apple family become one less. The war impacted everyone. Friends were hushed up, love was scarce, and families were left in tatters.
"Hurts t' watch, don't it?"
Twilight turned her head to the right and saw Applejack. She hadn't noticed Applejack was watching the scene with her.
"I'm so sorry-" Twilight began.
"Don't be," Applejack said, "If it's gotta be done, it's gotta be done. We all need t' stay and fight. Er at least prevent any more damage." She turned to Twilight, tears brimming her eyes, "And if we gotta give up our lives fer our family 'n friends, then it won't be wasted."
Have you ever noticed that when ever you want to desperately fall asleep, you never can? Maybe you have that one alarm clock that decides to choose that one night to tick the loudest? The rhythmic ticking keeping you awake all night, almost like laughing at your efforts to sleep. Everyone else in the house is fast asleep and you feel like the only one in the world being kept awake. You know that feeling? Because Twilight Sparkle does.
The night was as late as it was noisy. The whispers and babble that came from outside caused a din that kept Twilight awake. Her friends were all miraculously soundly sleeping. Pinkie Pie especially, snuggling up against Rainbow Dash on the couch. Applejack and Rarity were sharing a bed, and Fluttershy, being to afraid to sleep alone, was in bed next to Twilight, slowly snoozing away.
Twilight herself didn't really even know why she was still awake. Maybe it was the noise outside where she could hear all of the worried voices whispering about the horrors of war. Maybe it was the thought of so many young foals being forced away from their parents. Maybe it was the impact that harmony in Equestria was never set in stone. But perhaps most of all, maybe it was the fact that her idol, the perfect, kind, loving, divine, selfless princess, was not what she claimed to be for these past thousand years. Twilight sighed in worry as she continued to hear the din outside.
"So when do you think they'll come?"
"I don't know. Well just have to wait."
"Maybe if were lucky, they won't come..."
"Yeah, and maybe I'm Princess Celestia's brother."
"I miss my family..."
"See this picture here? That's my little filly..."
"Hey remember when ma used to cook us dinner every night?"
"Yeah, and to think we took that for granted..."
"Are you okay?"
"Ah, I'm not too old to fight."
All of these different conversations had a different story behind them. Each unique, yet bonded in the shade of an army ready to defend them.
"Hey, where's Star Light?"
"Beats me. Last I saw, he was- URK..."
Twilight sat up straight, her ears perked up.
Suddenly, there was a thunderous roar. It sounded like heavy hail raining upon the buildings. But as quickly as it came, the noise stopped.
"What the hay?..." said Applejack as she awoke suddenly.
"Wh-what was that?" Fluttershy whimpered as she hid under the covers.
All six mares were now wide awake. Five of them, Fluttershy still hiding in bed, ran to the window. Each of them gasped at what they saw. The town was covered in what seemed to be tall grass. It stuck out from the sides and tops of buildings, the ground, and the magic bubble that protected them. Upon closer inspection, the six friends realized that they were arrow shafts.
The raining arrows were quick, but they had done a fair amount of damage. A few bloody figures could be seen on the ground looking like grotesque, overlarge pin cushions. More soldiers had smaller wounds, pulling out arrow heads from shoulders, legs, arms, and from in between chinks of armor. It wasn't anything they couldn't handle. But there was another noise.
With a sound like a growing tidal wave, the ground began to shake. A single Pegasus soldier flew up to see what was coming. An army of human troops was charging towards Ponyville.
"Here they come!" the Pegasus shouted.
"First strike! Ready firebolts!" yelled a unicorn Mage. All the magical units' horns started to glow at once. From each horn, a lightning bolt incased in flames erupted. Each bolt flew in an arch towards the advancing humans. Fire rained down upon them.
"They're still coming!"
The humans were still advancing. They were clad in dragon scale armor. The shed skin of a dragon was strong and still contained magical properties. The humans in the armor were mostly protected from the vicious flames. A great number however, were struck in the gaps in their armor. They burst into flames and cooked within their shells.
All hell broke loose. The streets of Ponyville were flooded with soldiers, both equine and human. Slashes of blades and streaks of red were appearing left and right. Flashes of deadly magic, fire and lightning, illuminated the grim battle field. More arrows and spears were hurdling through the air, some landing in the ground and others hitting and dropping their targets. Pegasus air units swooped through the air raining deadly bolts and heavy rocks onto the enemy.
"Protect the Elements!" a pony cried.
Each pony soldier, each platoon had a common goal, to protect the Elements of Harmony and Ponyville. However, the persistent humans were becoming too much. Nets were being flung into the air, snatching up some Pegasi. Others were impaled by arrows through the wings and dropped to the ground still alive. Earth ponies were wrestled to the ground and unicorns were bashed over the heads and knocked out.
"There!" a human yelled, "That building over there! There must be something of value in it for the need of all this protection."
The humans screamed in agreement. Using swords, battering rams, and even their own fists, the humans began to attack the magical barrier. The six ponies in the library gasped as the protective bubble started to crack like glass. Magic was strong, but it had it's limits.
The bubble shattered. From downstairs, Twilight could hear the humans breaking down the door and making their way to her room. The six friends braced them selves. The door was kicked open by a single human soldier. As the door fell to the ground, Twilight's horn glowed and he froze in place, encased in ice. The frozen figure fell onto it's side with a dense THUNK and more soldiers poured in. Applejack was able to buck one, striking him in the temple, dropping him to the floor, limp and unmoving. But in the small room, the six friends could do little to resist. They were all forcibly held down. Six humans stood over them, each raising a sharp sword above the ponies' neck.
"Wait!" cried one of the humans, "Wait. These six were protected by a whole town," the soldiers lowered their swords. The yellow pony was sobbing in fear, "If they were that important, imagine how much of an asset they could be to us."
The soldiers in the room nodded and muttered in agreement.
"'e's right," said another human, "We can use these things for ransom or somefing. Put them in the cages with the others! And for the magical ones, bind their horns in metal."
The Elements of Harmony were carried out of the building. Both Twilight and Rarity had what seemed to be a metal cones locked onto their horns. It was tight and uncomfortable. Twilight tried with all her might, but she couldn't feel any magic flowing through her horn. They were all thrown into a cage along with numerous other ponies. They all sported bloody wounds and bruises. Looking around, Twilight could see the aftermath of the battle. Countless bodies littered the streets of Ponyville. There were also numerous cages scattered around, each holding a crowd of ponies taken as a prisoner. She could also see Big Macintosh laying in a cage, unmoving.
"I'm sorry we couldn't protect you..." croaked a battle damaged soldier in the cage.
"You did the best you could," Rainbow Dash sighed, "It's not like we helped any..."
Twilight was prodded very hard in the side. She awoke, sore and stiff. It was the wee hours of sun rise and she and her friends were still stuck in the metal cage. Pinkie Pie shushed at Twilight and beckoned her over.
"How long have been asleep?" she asked.
"Oh, I dunno," Pinkie whispered, "Four hours? But that's not important right now. Lookie over there!"
Twilight followed to where Pinkie Pie's hoof was pointing. She saw a tall human. His eyes were a shade of grayish green and seemed very formidable. He wore a crown of silver and purple armor with gold trimmings. He looked ill tempered and very serious.
"That's him!" whispered Pinkie Pie, "That's the king of humans!"
"My soldiers!" the king boomed in his deep voice, "Yet another victory for the human race!"
None of the troops said anything.
"We are this close to our imminent retaking of the earth," he held up his finger and thumb an inch apart, "And soon, we shall be rulers of this world once again!"
"But at what cost?!" yelled a solder from the crowd of humans, "Can you not see we have lost more than half of our men? How much more blood must be shed?!"
The king scowled.
"Step forth, whoever just spoke," he growled, but everyone caught every word, even the prisoners.
A lone figure broke apart from the group of soldiers. He too was tall, but his eyes were not as cold as the king's. Twilight saw him and her eyes widened. She didn't need Pinkie's nudge to the side to remember who he was. He was the human that stopped Twilight's and her friends' deaths.
"State your name, boy," said the king.
"I am William Saloan," said the soldier, "And I feel that this war is slowly becoming unnecessary."
The king glared at him. He nodded his head and two soldiers departed from the main crowd, stepped forward, and rammed their fists into William's gut. He fell over, his wind knocked out.
"If any of you speak up against your king," the king said, "I will have your head," he looked down at the wheezing figure, "But now, I need all the men I can get to fight."
The crowd of soldiers were still silent. None of them spoke.
"Tomorrow," continued the king, "We invade the capital city of Canterlot!" He raised his sword into the air. The soldiers did the same.
"All hail King Obera," the army said at once. They had lost their vigor. Their enthusiasm was slowly tested. The crowd disbanded in order to prepare for the following day's events.
"How's mah big brother? Can y' see him?"
Applejack was standing at the wall of the cage. She was breathing heavily with worry and grief. The red lump that was her brother hadn't moved and inch for hours.
"He'll be okay," said Fluttershy, "If he wasn't, why would they keep him?"
"She's right," said Twilight, "Besides, he's a strong stallion. You of all ponies should know that."
"Ah guess yer right..." sighed Applejack. She looked down at the dirt floor. A single tear fell as she thought about Big Mac's promise to Applebloom.
Applejack looked up. She saw William.
"Don't you talk t' me!" she grunted. She felt resentful to any human. "Don't talk t' me like yer mah friend."
"Applejack," Twilight muttered.
"Don't worry," William said unperturbed, "I'm on your side on this matter. I think this has gotten out of hand."
"Ah don't care what you think," said Applejack, "It's because of YOUR people that we're in a war! It's all yer fault!"
"Well, you're right and wrong," said William, "It's not my fault. It's it's the fault of years and years of prejudice and an unnecessary grudge between two species. We tend to forget that..." He sighed. "Also, did you ever think what about what your rulers did a thousand years ago?"
"Hang on," said Twilight, "I heard that they did something terrible to you."
"Again," William said, "Not to me or my generation, but my ancestors. But yes, they did something horrible." He sat down and leaned against the cage. "You don't know what they did, do you?"
Applejack, Fluttershy, and Twilight shook their heads.
"Well," said William, "From what my people and I have learned is that your perfect rulers forced my race to the the brink of extinction," He looked at the threes mares. They had their hooves to the mouths in shock. "Imagine. Billions of individuals, men, women, children, the elderly, the INNOCENT, purged from this world in a shower of hatred. The blood of millions spilled on the land, each wondering 'why'?"
"Y-you're lying," said Twilight. It couldn't be true. The two regal sisters were divine. They were the perfect rulers and they would never commit such a cruel act.
"Lying am I?" said William in a sad grin, "What else would provoke a war between to species that haven't met in over a thousand years? Why would two isolated races suddenly clash? The only answer is retribution. Revenge."
Twilight felt faint. Everything she thought she knew about the princesses was wrong. They weren't godly beings, they were made that way. They weren't perfect, they had the stain of the worst sin ever to be committed. They didn't create this world, they stole it. Twilight still refused to believe.
"If you need confirmation," William said getting up, "You can ask them tomorrow when we hold you as hostage." He sighed again. "I hope I'm not the only one who wants to avoid a war."
It was night fall. In the outskirts of Ponyville, the humans were seated around little fires scattered throughout the landscape. The cages holding the ponies were also spread around the camp. Again, Twilight was kept up. But this time, it wasn't only her. Each pony was still awake. They were either too worried about the next day's march to Canterlot or were in too much pain to sleep.
Twilight and her friends noticed a sickly scent in the air. It was the smell of burning flesh and hair. Larger fire pits were dug so that the dead could be disposed of. This made Twilight sick to her stomach. The smell wasn't only vomit inducing, but the thought of the ones who had family waiting for them, who were young with a bright future, and those unnamed who went with out a proper mourning was sickening.
Twilight laid down. She was exhausted as ever but didn't want to fall asleep. She listened to to conversations of the humans around the fires.
"How much longer do you think this will last?"
"Beats me... Honestly though, I just want this to stop."
"Me too. I don't think we're ready for another battle"
"He's right. I mean look at how many we've lost."
"Will has the right idea. This isn't worth it."
"I don't want to die..."
They were right. What was more important, a small matter of revenge or the fate of a surviving race? But how can they turn their backs on their ancestors, their king? Surely they believed 'an eye for an eye'. Right?
Perhaps not. The soldiers were growing ever more weary of battle, of loss. The risk of total extinction was a terrifying thought. But the thought of giving up and surviving was also insulting. Humans used to be so strong, but now they had reached an all time low. This might be their one final chance to be at the top again. But did they really need to be the only ones to be dominate? The questions were asked throughout the night and were not answered.
Sins of the Father Part:5
Celestia laid in her private chambers, her heart heavy with worry about her most precious pupil. She was once again deep in pensive thought. She had lived a thousand years, yet she felt... unfulfilled. She have already existed ten times that of a normal pony, yet she still felt an empty void in her heart. She knew that the loss of her daddy wasn't the only factor in this empty feeling. Her subjects had come and gone, each living their lives happily till the end. But fifty years to Celestia felt like only an hour. What did they have that she lacked?...
Luna entered Celestia's bed room. She wore a look of worry on her face.
"Yes?" Celestia said.
"Can I... Can I..." she stuttered. Luna was an adult and she had done her nightly work, but still...
"Of course you can," Celesia said with a warm smile. Luna's expression brightened up a slight. She trotted over to her elder sister's bed and crawled under the covers next to her.
"What's troubling you, dear?" Celestia asked resting her head on Luna's.
"I've never seen a war," she said bluntly, "And I haven't seen so much loss ever since... You know..."
"I thought I asked you not to mention that again," Celestia said quietly, "We must deal with the here and now."
"But how can I forget," Luna said, "When I'm constantly reminded? Sister, this is bigger than us. This war, I can feel it. We're going to pay for what we've done..." Luna started to cry. "I just want someone to know that I'm sorry."
Celestia held her sister tighter. In her mind, she too knew that some sort of punishment was coming. And she understood that, for Luna, the amount of punishment was frightening.
"Don't worry," she whispered, "We've got each other and daddy. Together, we can endure anything."
"But what if it's not enough?" Luna asked, "Celly, I'm scared."
Celestia didn't say anything.
There was a quiet knock on the door. Celestia sighed as she reluctantly got out of bed and opened it.
"Your Highness," It was one of the royal guards, "You requested my presents?
"Yes," she said, "Has there been any more word from Ponyville?"
"Not yet ma'am," said the guard, "All we know is that both sides had casualties and prisoners were taken."
"And you are absolutely sure that Twilight Sparkle is safe?" Celestia asked. Her eyes were as cold and hard as frozen steel.
"Uh... Umm... Yes," the guard said, "From what we know, she and the other elements of Harmony were taken prisoner. She has not been harmed according to our resources."
"How are the humans?" Celestia asked.
"They are in their chambers awaiting tomorrow's happenings," the guard said stiffly. And with that he was dismissed.
"You seem awfully concerned about Ms. Sparkle," Luna said as Celestia hopped back into bed.
"Well, she is my student," Celestia said.
"No, no I mean more than normal," said Luna. Celestia smiled.
"She is more to me than just a student," she said, "She is almost like a daughter to me..." But at that word, Celestia seemed to have lost her trail of thought. Daughter. Part of a family. Family sticks together...
"Oh, I'm sorry," said Celestia, "My mind must have wandered off..."
"You're too stressed," Luna giggled, "Go to sleep," She scooted closer to Celestia and closed her eyes. Celestia smiled again.
"Good night, Luna,"
"Can you believe it?! We were sent to bed like children!"
"Well, were not really adults, either,"
Xan was irate. He knew that he should feel more grateful to the two princesses for letting them negotiate peace and provide housing, but he never expected a curfew.
"Oh come on, Xan," said Ivy. She was sprawled out on a bed. "It could've been worse. The princesses might have killed us. Heck, we're lucky a griffon or manticore didn't pick us off before we even made it here."
"I know..." Xan grumbled, "I just want to establish that I'm not a child! I'm old enough to know when I'm supposed to go to bed! And who does she think she is, winning the staring contest and all. She practically threw us in this room!"
"You big baby..." laughed Ivy.
"So what's the plan now?" Xan finally asked. Ivy sat up and looked at him. Her eyes were still stunningly green and her facial features seemed to glow.
"From here," she began, "We can only hope that everything goes to plan. If my father sees that we're not harmed and that the ponies offer trust and peace, we might make it through," She bit her lip. "But daddy's very stubborn... But he wouldn't risk the safety of his own daughter, right?"
"He's cold, but he's not heartless," Xan said, "I'm just worried about you-"
"Uh... you... you're plan!" Xan said quickly, "This is the only chance we have at keeping our race alive. If we fail, one species is getting wiped out tomorrow. And I don't think it'll be the ponies." Ivy just stared at Xan.
"We've put so much into this," she said, "As long as we get passed this war, I don't care how we do it."
"Right," Xan said. His forehead was creased in extreme thought.
"Hey, it's getting late," Ivy said laying back down, "Let's get some rest."
"Right," said Xan again. He relaxed his face and turned to the other bed. He was prepared to rest his weary body, but there was no 'other bed'.
"Uh, Ivy?" he asked.
"Where's the other bed?"
Ivy sat up. She looked around and giggled. There was no other bed.
"Unbelievable," Xan grunted, "Of all the bloody rooms in this God forsaken castle, and we got the one room with one bed. Fantastic."
"Oh hush up," said Ivy, "We'll share this one."
"I have the right mind to go and talk with... Wait, what?"
"You heard me," Ivy said with a smile, "We can share."
Xan's eyes widened and his ears turned brick red. The room suddenly felt hot and sweat started to beat on his forehead.
"B-but I can't!" Xan said, "You're a girl and I'm a boy and if your dad finds out that I SLEPT with you-"
"What? Don't flatter yourself. We're not gonna... Are you suggesting you don’t want to get into bed with me?" Ivy was grinning mischievously. Xan swallowed hard.
"Oh," Xan said, "Alright..."
Ivy scooted over and made space. Xan, still very nervous, laid down next to her. He pulled the covers up to his face.
"Well, goodnight, Xan," Ivy said. She leaned over and gave him a small kiss on the cheek. Xan could feel his face burn. "Thanks for always sticking by my side..."
Ivy fell asleep seconds after, holding Xan tight in her arms. Her soft breathing danced across Xan's chest.
Xan lay awake. He lifted a hand to his cheek where the kiss was planted. Ivy was a childhood and life long friend. But maybe she was a bit more than just a friend to him. He realized that he would go to hell and back for her if he had to.
Xan smiled and closed his eyes. He wrapped his own arm around Ivy's shoulders and held her tight. She sighed in her sleep. If tomorrow's events didn't go as planned, he still got to spend the best night he'd ever have in a long, long time with Ivy. He too, then fell asleep.
The sound of a blaring trumpet cut through the morning silence like a heavy cleaver.
"Rise and shine, soldiers!"
Twilight lifted her head. It was still heavy with the lock attached to her horn. She was still in the cage and many other ponies were starting to wake. They didn't look to well. Battle damaged and lacking a good night's sleep, their color seemed faded and their expressions were weary.
King Obera was over seeing preparations to the day's upcoming battle. He was being followed around by some one who seemed to be one of his advisers.
"King Obera, please," he said, "I beg you to reconsider. We've lost most of our men and the remaining are getting rebellious. We will not survive this war!"
"I do not care!" shouted the king. Soldiers around him started to watch. "Is this not our time of revenge? Is our victory not well deserved? After they have completely wiped out our race before?!"
Twilight screwed up her face.
"Our race was purged from this world out of hatred and spite," the king continued. He looked mad and his eyes were bulging. "We are here to right what is wrong, and if a few lost lives are needed, then I say it is necessary."
Twilight covered her ears. She didn't want to hear. She didn't want to believe. Her princess would never do anything like that. Would she?
"And what of your daughter, Obera?" the advisor asked, "She is with them, and for all we know, she could be talking about peace. She may be SAFE! Is that not enough reason to stop this? If not for your people then surely for your daughter!"
King Obera gnashed his teeth. "My child decided to associate with those mules" he drew his sword and stabbed it into the ground. "I have no daughter..."
Twilight gasped. Everyone else watched in silence. The true side of the king was shown. He was so close to his goal, he could taste it. Obera's glory was only a small step away, and he wouldn't let anyone get in the way of it.
"Ready the troops," he said quietly, "We march in three hours."
The six friends were rolling along. Their cage, and all the others, were put onto carts and pulled by the humans. They were marching across a vast field that was located somewhere near the outskirts of Canterlot. Rainbow Dash stuck her head through the bars.
"Ha! How's it feel like to pull a pony like a horse?" she laughed, "I think that's what you call 'irony'!"
"Rainbow!" said Rarity, "Don't provoke them!"
The two soldiers pulling their cart laughed.
"Ah, don't worry" one said, "We know this isn't going to end well. This is a load of horse shit anyway."
The two soldiers laughed and laughed. Horse shit. And they were pulling ponies like, well, a pony should. Even Rarity couldn't help but grin at this small, yet crude joke.
"I don't think the king is going to get anywhere," Twilight said, "Even his soldiers seem to want anything else but war."
"Yer right," Applejack said, "These fellers ain't too bad. Ah think it's the king 'n his influence."
"Uhm..." Fluttershy said, "I agree."
The six mares sat in their moving cart and smiled. It was the first real smile they had cracked in a while. The weight of prejudice and misunderstanding seemed to have ebbed away just a little bit.
"Hey!" Pinkie Pie suddenly shouted. She raised her hoof and pointed, "We're here!"
The city of Canterlot was slowly looming into view. It's high buildings and center castle were becoming clearly visible.
"Here we go..." one soldier said.
The army kept advancing. Where were the ponies? Was there going to be a sneak attack? When was the carnage going to start?
"Hey, what's that?..."
In the distance, there was a dark mass on the field. As the army approached, they saw what it was. It was an army of ponies, almost twice the size of the human forces. It too started to march towards the humans. The two massive armies stopped opposite each other fifty feet apart. The humans drew their swords and King Obera stepped into the open.
"It is time for retribution!" he yelled, "Tyrants! Show yourselves!"
The equine army split through the middle and through the gap walked four figures, Princess Celestia and Luna, Ivy, and Xan.
"We are here, human," Celestia said. She had a blank look on her face and stared coldly at Obera. "But before matters get out of hand, might I ask for some exchange of words?"
"Very well," Obera said. The two rulers walked towards each other. Celestia was considerably taller than the king of humans, but that didn't discourage him. As Ivy approached her father, Obera saw that she was hand in hand with Xan.
"Your daughter and her friend have travelled very far to meet me," Celestia said, "And they have been asking for a peaceful resolution between our people," She looked hard into Obera's eyes. "I hope we can agree to something?"
"I've never been a very hopeful person myself," said Obera.
"That is evident," said Celestia. There was some edge in her voice. "You know you have no chance at-"
"Sister..." Luna interrupted. Celestia closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
"As you can see," Celestia continued, "Your daughter is safe. We have had numerous opportunities to kill her and her friend. But now, we return her to you without even the thought of taking her as hostage."
Ivy, still holding Xan's hand tight, walked together with him to her father. She turned around and faced the equine army.
"I too have some of your subjects in my possession," Oberia said. He gestured with his hand and a few soldiers brought a number of cages towards the front. "But there is something that I have been wondering," he continued. He walked over to the cage containing Twilight and her friends. "These six were heavily protected. Might I ask as to why?"
"I don't think you are in a positions to ask those kinds of questions," Celestia said coldly.
"And you are not in a position to not answer my questions," King Obera said. He drew his sword and pointed it at the six mares. "I can have them killed right now if I need to."
Celestia bared her teeth. Truly, the human race was a cruel one. But the she to protect the elements. Especially Twilight...
"They are all very dear to me-"
"Which one?" interrupted Obera, "Which do you hold dearest?" Celestia said nothing. Not even the sword would make her reveal such a weakness. King Obera grew quickly inpatient. He turned to Xan. Xan was still holding Ivy.
"You. Boy," he said, "Which of these are the most important? Tell me. I know that you know who..."
"I'm sorry, my king," Xan replied, "I cannot answer."
"Can not?" the king said, "Or will not?" He made another gesture and an arrow came flying out of nowhere and landed right in front of Ivy's feet.
"I've got the best archers at my ready," Obera continued, "If you don't tell me who it is, I'll kill her."
"You wouldn't," Xan said. His breathing quickened. "You can't!"
"You monster," Celestia whispered, "Your own daughter. Over this silly feud!"
"Me? A monster?!" Obera gave a loud bark of a laugh, "You have the heart to call me a monster even after you obliterated my race over a thousand years ago?"
A murmur of silent whispers swept the two armies.
"Yes," King Obera continued, "I am willing to take one life to right the past, and you took the lives of billions in the past. Tell me, which is more monstrous?"
"F-father... You wouldn't..." stuttered Ivy, "I'm your child!"
"Silence," Obera said through clenched teeth, "You have already stepped out of line. You should be on bent knees begging for forgiveness. My own daughter." He spat on the ground and again he raised his hand. Another arrow flew and it tore a hole through Ivy's cloak. Obera looked again at Xan. He lifted his hand halfway.
"Don’t!" Xan yelled. He looked to Celestia in a pained expression, but no word he could say would make it better. It was betrayal. The princess agreed on a peaceful treaty, but he was about to give the humans an upper advantage. But he had to. For Ivy...
"It's the purple one..." said Xan. He slumped to his knees. "She's the Princess' personal student."
"Good boy," smirked Obera. He opened the cage and pulled Twilight out. He held her by the mane which made Twilight yell in pain. Celestia's eyes grew red. Her most faithful pupil. Her daughter...
"Now," Obera said, "What shall I do here?" He lifted his sword to Twilight's throat.
"Don't you DARE-" Celestia said taking a step forward.
"Ah ah ah," Obera said tauntingly. He pressed the blade closer to Twilight's neck. Celestia could see a small bead of blood dripping down the side of her neck. "So she is important," Obera said, "But I can agree on an alternative other than war."
"And what, pray tell, would that be?" Celestia said, her teeth bared and heart aching.
"Either I kill this one and we battle to the death," said Obera, "Or you and your sister exchange places with your precious student and we call off the war."
There was an uproar. The equine army yelled it's unorganized dissatisfaction. The death of their ruler wouldn't fix anything. But Celestia bit her lip.
Her most precious pupil's life was at stake. She looked to Twilight who had a look of fear plastered onto her face. She didn't know if she feared for her own life or her Celestia's. Celestia swallowed hard and thought. This maybe the only hope for avoiding chaos. She could finally pay for what she had done so many centuries ago. She could finally be punished for her sins. Celestia then looked towards Luna.
"What ever you plan to do, Celly," she said, "I'm with you all the way."
A single tear fell from Celestia's face.
"Very well," Celestia said, "Take my and my sister's life, spare my pupil, and end this war." The ponies yelled in rage and screamed their willingness to fight. But the Princess' mind was set.
"No!" Twilight yelled, "You can't! There has to be another-"
"No," Celestia interjected, "There can't. We deserve this and you are worth more than this."
Obera threw Twilight aside, where two solders held her. Obera pointed his sword at Celestia.
"You first," he said. Celestia, head high and eyes closed, walked towards the king of humans. She lowered herself until she was laying on her side in front of him. Both armies were dead quiet. Not even the wind blew. All attention was focused on the king. Ivy and Xan watched in horror at the sight of Xan's betrayal. Twilight's eyes were streaming and she was struggling against her captors.
"Oh how the great have fallen!" yelled Obera, "And how sweet revenge truly is!"
He brought the trip of his sword down into Celestia's side, into her heart.
And then there was no more.
Sins of the Father Part:6
It was an odd feeling. Celestia was laying there and she was strangely comfortable. If this was death, then it wasn't too bad.
Celestia opened her eyes and found herself in a warm landscape. She was on a small hill in the middle of a lush green field of grass. She took some time to remember what she had done. She had just given up her life to save Twilight and avoid war. But was it really worth it?
Celestia looked up.
Her daddy was walking up the hill. He was dressed in a white shirt and pants. He looked happy, but his face turned to one of sadness as Celestia leapt up and galloped towards him. He held her in a tight hug . She was taller than him.
"Daddy, is it over?" she asked, "Is everything alright now?"
"No," he said, "It's not over yet. Not for you."
Celestia pulled away from him. She looked scared and fearful.
"B-but," she stammered, "Why? How? I've given my life... How can it not be over?!"
"My precious Celestia, sit down. We need to talk..." William said. His voice sounded weighted down in grief.
"Please," Celestia said sitting next to him, "Haven't I been punished?" She rested her head on William's lap. "Is death not enough?"
"No," said William, "You have done a great and terrible sin against the humans. You have murdered billions of innocent people and proper punishment must be taken." Even William began to weep.
"But I died," Celestia said, "I've given my life as payment. What more do I need to give? Is death not the ultimate punishment?"
"You don't get it!" William said angrily. Celestia lifted her head in shock. "You... Even after thousand years, you still think like the filly I raised in the tank..." William was smiling a sad smile, and as he looked into Celestia's eyes, his had started to leak again. "Do you feel empty inside?"
Celestia was taken aback by this question. She thought hard and felt deep within herself.
"I-I," she started, "I feel like there's a hole in my heart. And even after so many years of life, it won't fill up."
"Yes, that is it," William said, "Do you ever wonder why you and your sister lived such a long time, nearly immortal?" Celestia shook her head. "It is your punishment."
Celestia gave William a confused look.
"Immortality? A punishment?" she said, "It sounds more like a blessing..."
"But think, Celestia, think," William said, "You have been alive for more than a thousand years. Everyone you've ever known and loved is gone. All the family, all the lovers, and all the children you will ever bear will die and leave you behind. Every student you've ever had the joy to teach will grow up and wither away. And that Twilight Sparkle is no exception."
Celestia said nothing. She just listened, wide eyed and unbelieving.
"Immortality isn't a gift, it is a curse. Death is too easy and the crimes you and your sister committed do not match it."
Celestia just sat there. Understanding and a sickening realization washed over her like an icy bath. She was cursed with an immortal life so that she could spend it suffering. No family to be had, no friends to stay, no love to cherish. She looked at her daddy. There had to be another way...
"Fortunately for you sister," William continued, "She just followed you, so her sentence will be shorter-"
"S-sentence?" Celestia whispered, "What do you mean, daddy?"
"I mean she'll have to suffer less than you," he said, "There is a bright side to this."
"What? What is it?!" Celestia was desperate to know.
"You will die some day," William said, "But only when you have fulfilled your punishment. But until then, you must endure it and suffer through it."
"But for how long?" Celestia pleaded, "I can't do this any more... I just want to quit..."
"You know what I tell Luna every time I see her?" William asked, "I always tell her that her older sister is the strongest individual in the world. She can plow through anything." He looked to Celestia and again held her in a long hard embrace around her neck. "Please, just suffer. Endure this as long as you have to. It will all be worth it. And I promise that I and everyone else will be waiting for you in paradise..."
Celestia returned the hug. She felt some reassurance. Her daddy knew best and she was strong and willing.
"I love you,"
And little by little, the gaping hole in Celestia's heart slowly began to fill.
Celestia was cold and stiff as a board and her joints felt like they haven't been used in years. Her head was pounding and she had a sharp pain in her side. There was an unrecognizable sound buzzing around her. It sounded as if she was hearing it through a thin pillow. She felt a warm body next to her's. Her hearing slowly started to focus and she heard sobbing.
"T-Twilight?..." Celestia said.
"Mama?" Twilight gasped, "Mama!"
Celestia opened her bleary eyes. She was still on her side and he saw both human and pony legs mingling. She hadn't prevented the war. Luna was soon next to her.
"Quick! Help me pull this thing out!" she yelled.
There was another cold, sharp pain and Celestia saw a bloody sword fall to the ground next to her. She slowly sat up. The noise in the background suddenly stopped, but then grew into a cheer.
"Whats going on?" Celestia said bewildered, "What happened?" Again she looked around.
She saw king Obera on the ground. An arrow stuck out of the side of his neck and a sword jutted out of his back. Ivy was hovering over Xan, who had an arrow protruding from his right shoulder. The humans and ponies seemed not to be in battle, but in dance and in happiness. Twilight was huddled next to Celestia along with Luna, tears rolling down their faces.
"Twilight, dear, what happened?" she asked again. Twilight wiped the warm tears from her face and opened her mouth to explain but Pinkie Pie came bounding up instead.
"Ohmygoodness Ohmygoodness Ohmygoodness Ohmygoodness Ohmygoodness!" she shrieked, "At first you laid down and we were like 'No!' Then that evil guy stabbed you and we were like," she gasped loudly and jumped into the air, "Then Will came in and stuck a sword into the king's back at the SAME moment Xan shot him with an arrow! But then, the king raised his hand before fell and another arrow went WHOOSH! It came an inch! No, maybe a third of an inch! No, no, no, twenty three point zero two percent of an inch from hitting Ivy! Xan dived in front of her and THWACK! The arrow hit him instead! And it was the most romantic thing EVER! Then Princess Luna said 'The king and his absurdities are over! Surely peace is now the best alternative.' Then slowly, everyone threw down their weapons and started talking to each other, but we were sad because our beloved Princess Celestia died! But then you got up, and we were like," she jumped up and gasped loudly again, "then everybody started cheering! Yippee!! And then you asked 'What happened?' And... And... Well here we are!" Pinkie Pie flopped on to the ground. Her tongue lolled out and she was panting heavily. She had just said everything in one whole breath.
"Sister," Luna said, "What happened? We saw you get killed. I saw the life leave your eyes..."
"Are you disappointed, Luna?" Celestia said in a smile. She winced from the pain in her side.
"How can you joke at a time like this?!" said Luna. She too was reluctantly smiling.
"How can I not?" said Celestia, "We have just avoided war, saved two species, and the life of my dear student."
She leaned in and nuzzled Twilight, but coughed up a little blood.
"I will say this, though," she continued, "It is not my time to die. Not yet. I don't deserve such a luxury."
"Wh- luxury?" said Luna, "How... what do you mean?"
"I shall explain later," said Celestia, "And Twilight, my dearest pupil, I believe I owe you some answers as well."
Again, Celestia coughed up blood and cringed at the ever persistent pain in her side.
"I think a few of us need to make a trip to the infirmary," said Celestia in a weak smile. She looked over at the ponies in the cages, over to Xan, who was cradled in Ivy's slender arms, and back down to the deep, glistening cut in her side. "This isn't going to kill me, but it is an awful pain in the haunches."
Clean and sterile. That's how the infirmary was at all times, even at the brink of war. There were numerous hospital beds, each occupied by a pony who had been denied medical attention and locked up in a cage. A yellow filly with a bright pink bow was laughing as she spent time with her big, big brother along with her ol’ Granny Smith. There were even some visitors and, to everyone's shock and amazement, human visitors as well.
There were three beds in particular whose occupants were barred off from the rest of the patients by a large white curtain for some quiet and privacy. Princess Celestia was in one bed, bloody bandages around her side and surrounded by her sister Luna and Twilight. Xan was in another bed, the arrow removed from his shoulder and Ivy sitting at his bedside. And lastly, Pinkie Pie was occupying the last bed, shoveling mounds of sweets into her little mouth. Days of being locked in a cage without food dangerously depleted her sugar levels in her system. Even the rest of her friends were at her bedside, watching and talking as they sat.
"Even after all of that," Rainbow Dash giggled, "I can't believe the first thing you thought about was sweets!"
Pinkie stuffed a whole cake into her mouth and swallowed it whole.
"I knew my family was safe and that Mr. and Mrs. Cake were in good hands so I didn't have to worry about anything else but you guys and my empty tummy!"
"But-" Rainbow Dash said.
"Never doubt my 'Pinkie Sense'!" said Pinkie.
"Yay," said Fluttershy.
The group of friends laughed and enjoyed their time together. Twilight smiled and rolled her eyes. 'Oh, Pinkie Pie...' she thought to herself. Twilight turned back to Celestia.
"I'm so glad you're alright!" she sighed, "The wound wasn't fatal right?"
"Oh, Obera's strike was true," said Celestia, "His sword went straight into my heart. But I'm not allowed to die. Not yet."
She turned her head to Xan's bed and smiled.
"Ivy," Celestia called, "Are you alright? I hope the loss of your father doesn't make you hold some resentment towards us."
Ivy, at the thought of her father, wiped away a tear and gave a hollow laugh.
"My father?" she asked, "The one who would take my own life for a silly feud? The one who claimed to have loved me and protect me yet kill me in a second if he didn't get what he wanted? I wouldn't have things any different from how they are now."
Ivy smiled a little bit and looked down at Xan who smiled back.
"Besides," she continued, "It wasn't you who killed him, it was Xan."
Everyone turned their heads to the white curtain. A human poked his head through and Celestia's eyes went as wide as saucers.
"Oh, hello, Will," Ivy said as the human entered the private area, "Yes, William here was the one who er... stabbed my father in the back."
"Was that supposed to be a joke?" asked Xan.
"Not funny?" Ivy said raising her eyebrows.
"Not even a titter," said Xan grinning and closing his eyes. Celestia continued to stare.
"Wh-what did you say your name was again?" she asked.
"William, ma'am," he said with a slight bow.
Celestia turned to look at Luna who stared back and nodded. William was a splitting image of their daddy. Tall with dark hair, strong but with kind and warm eyes. Not even a thousand years would make them forget what he looked like. Luna bounded forwards and tackled him, knocking him to the ground and hugging him tight with her forehooves. Everyone gaped and watched. William managed to lean up, look down at Luna, then back up to Celestia, shocked and bewildered. Celestia chuckled.
"Let her have her moment," she said, "But let me just say that you are welcome here at the palace at anytime, daddy."
"Uh, pardon?" William said.
"Er... William. I'm sorry, I meant 'William'," corrected Celestia.
As William awkwardly patted Luna on her head, Celestia again turned to Ivy and Xan who were giggling at the spectacle that was Luna and Will.
"Ivy," said Celestia, "Now that the king of humans is no more, I do believe that you are next in line as ruler of your people."
Ivy raised her hand to her chin. Now that she thought about it, she WAS heir to the throne and she WAS technically a princess. She screwed up her face at the word 'princess'.
"So," Celestia continued, "As princess and ruler of your people, I hope that we can negotiate a peace treaty that will last for a very, VERY long time."
"That can be arranged," Ivy replied in a broad smile, "But I'm not a princess anymore. I'm a queen."
"Oh?" said Celestia intrigued.
"I already have a king," said Ivy. She looked down at Xan still laying in bed, held his head straight with her hands, leaned in and kissed him deeply on the lips. Xan's eyes shot open in shock, but then slowly closed as he kissed back. There was a collective 'Aww!' from Twilight and her five friends as the two humans broke apart. Celestia and Luna looked from each other and then to William. They too, started to laugh.
It was the dawn of a new age. A time where there was no worry of heart and only happiness to look forward to.
"Princess," she began, "Is all that you said true? Did you really... murder?"
There was a crowd in the throne room. Celestia and Luna were both sitting on their thrones, Twilight and her friends were standing in front of them next to Xan and Ivy, who were hand in hand.
Celestia frowned and looked towards Luna. She nodded.
"No," said Celestia. Twilight sighed and looked relieved.
"Good! Because I knew that you of all ponies would NEVER-"
"No, Twilight," interrupted Celestia "I... We did not murder. We did much worse," she sighed and continued. "We took millions of innocent lives. In cold hatred, we burned the world to the ground and started anew. We did much, MUCH worse than just murder."
"And, sister," said Luna, "Is what daddy said true also? Are we really cursed to suffer?"
"Yes," replied Celestia, "We are not allowed to die until we have served our sentence and are seen punished enough."
"And do you-"
"No," snapped Celestia, "As I have said before, I do not know how long it will take. We may have to suffer for a year more or even another five thousand years, but all I know is that yours, Luna, will take a considerably shorter amount of time, for I was the one to lead and you just followed your elder sister."
The atmosphere was no longer happy with feelings of recovery, but heavy with feelings of dread and sadness.
"I am to suffer for my choices," Celestia said more to herself than to anyone else, "I have brought on this war and the hate that caused it. I have caused the death of more individuals along with the ones I took over a thousand years ago. And for all of this I must be punished. Alone."
"You won't be alone," whispered Twilight. She ran up to Celestia's throne and leaped into her lap where she snuggled up against her. "We... I will always be here with you. Always."
The words cut into Celestia like a knife made of frozen iron. The words of comfort Twilight had said were anything but. They did not make Celestia feel any better. They were hollow and made Celestia realize how short her time with Twilight really was.
"No," Celestia said finally, tears dropping onto Twilight's face, "You won't..."
Maybe it's today. Maybe when I open my eyes, I'll see Luna, Twilight, daddy, Sun Dancer, Moon Gleam, Lily Stone, and everyone waiting for me. In paradise.
Nope. I'm still breathing.
Celestia woke up in her bed. She really didn't want to get out. It was soft and toasty, too comfortable to leave alone. But, Celestia sighed and sat up.
"Maybe tomorrow will be the day..."
She stood up and walked to the restroom. She looked into the mirror. A beautiful, young looking mare stared back. She had a lustrous white coat and a flowing mane like a river of color. There were no wrinkles nor blemishes. Celestia frowned and snorted. She hadn't changed a bit.
Celestia walked over to a small picture frame of a dark blue alicorn mare.
"Good morning, Luna," Celestia said, "I hope you and daddy are doing well? Say hello to Twilight and everyone else for me..."
The photograph stared back, almost tauntingly happy. Like all those years ago, she felt jealous of her sister Luna. Back then it was over their names, but that was so long ago in darker times. It almost seemed like a fairy tale.
The days were very repetitive. Nothing different happened when she looked at the days go by and her heart still felt empty. Celestia was in her throne, tending to her usual business. A human boy and a unicorn mare approached her.
"Princess?" the boy asked, "Are you okay?"
"Are you that blunt?" said the unicorn in a hushed voice, "Her sister passed away not even a year ago!"
Celestia look down at her two pupils. David the human and Starlight the unicorn. Polar opposites, but the best of friends. She thought back to the time when she only had ponies as personal students, but now she always had two. One human and another a pony. How could she not, though? Humans and ponies have been living in Canterlot for centuries. It was hard to think that there was a time when humans were almost nonexistent.
"I am just weary with age, young ones," she replied with a smile. Celestia looked to the empty throne next to her and the smile almost faltered.
"You look as young as ever, Princess," said David. Celestia looked sadly at him. She knew that this was a compliment, but she couldn't help but feel worse.
"Teacher's pet..." mumbled Starlight.
"Hey!" said David.
Celestia chuckled. She forgot what it was to be like so young. Almost a thousand and five hundred years old...
"Why don't you two run along," she said, "I'll give you two the rest of the day off from studies. Don't worry about your old teacher."
David and Starlight beamed at her.
"Race you to the doughnut shop!" said Starlight.
"Loser buys?" asked David.
"You mean you buy!" Starlight said. They raced out of the throne room at full speed, their whole lives ahead of them, laughing and playing, saturated in the bliss of childhood.
Celestia was left alone at her throne, left to wonder how many more students she would see come and go before she too left. She could remember almost every student she ever took on, human and pony alike. Their time spent with her almost seemed like a second compared to the time she had been alive.
But here she was again.
"You're getting married to a human?"
"Yeah, so what?"
Two royal guards were at the gates to the palace in Canterlot. They, obviously bored, were talking about their lives at home.
Even though humans and ponies lived side by side everyday, in regards to marriage between them, there was still some issues. Being two completely different species, a human and pony were not 'compatible' and pregnancy was out of the question. But if two individuals love each other, who can say otherwise? Sure love was blind, some argued, but how hard did you have to close your eyes, others would ask? Never the less, it had become acceptable in this society to marry a human or pony. Just some old prejudice, but it wasn't a big issue.
"Well," said one guard, "I know that human and pony marriage is legal, but..."
"But what, Stratus?" the other said.
"Nothing," said Stratus, "If you're happy, then I'm happy for you, Silver."
"Good," snorted Silver Star, "Hey, did you hear the Princess had another tantrum today?"
"Yeah," said Stratus, "What was it about this time?"
"Same thing as last time," said Silver, "She said that 'she wasn't aging' and broke all the mirrors in the whole palace. Bad luck I'd say, but maybe she's hoping the bad luck would kill her."
"Well, I don't get why she's complaining," said Stratus, "Not aging and living forever? That sounds like a miracle!"
"You dummy," said Silver Star, "Her daughters just passed away.... Don't you get it?"
"What?" asked Stratus.
"Okay, so she doesn't age, right?"
"So," said Silver, "Think about it. The Princess has been on the throne for almost over two thousand years! And along the way, she's probably hooked up with a stallion here and there right?"
"Right," said Stratus.
"And she's gotta have kids at some point. So with that in mind, if she has a family and never ages..."
"Then she has to watch her family age and die while she stays young and beautiful..." finished Stratus, eyes wide in horror at the thought.
"Exactly," said Silver, "My father and his father and his father and as far as I can remember have served in the royal guard. And through all of those generations, Princess Celestia has stayed young and almost perfect the whole time."
Stratus gave out a long whistle. Suddenly the idea of immortality seemed less preferable.
"Wow," he said, "I.... I feel sorry for the Princess... It almost seems like..."
"A curse," said Silver Star, "I think it's time we be thankful for the time we're given and for what we have now."
"Truer words have never been spoken, my friend," said Stratus.
Please let it be today. I don't want to get up. I don't want to see any more pass away. I just want my paradise...
Celestia opened her eyes and a tear fell from them into her soft pillow. She turned her body and faced a handsome stallion. He awoke soon after she did.
"Good morning darling," Celestia said softly.
"Good morning," he replied. They shared a kiss like they did every morning.
"Mmm, morning breath," said the stallion. Celestia giggled.
"So you don't regret everything we've done?" she asked, "Our quiet nights together, our marriage, or even our foals?"
"How could I?" the stallion asked, "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
"Even though you're not the first, Stormcloud?" Celestia said, "Even though I've had countless others-"
Stormcloud silenced Celestia with another kiss. They broke apart.
"How many times do I have to tell you?" he said, "Now it's my turn to have the most beautiful mare in all of Equestria. I love you and that's all that matters."
"Thank you," Celestia said, emotion running rampant in her aged heart, "I wish I could die with you..."
She got up and trotted over to a crib. In it were three young foals. Two fillies and one colt, each bundled up in a thick blanket. Moon Shimmer, Braveheart, and Lunestra were all sleeping lazily in the crib, occasionally kicking their small legs.
Celestia watched in wonder every time she looked at them. How could someone so cursed like her give birth to three beautiful children? How could she, even after over three thousand years of suffering, find love and marry? It seemed impossible that there were others before them. But how many children had she bore before these three? Countless foals had come and gone, each leaving a painful scar on their mother's heart.
After giving a tearful kiss to each slumbering foal, Celestia continued to the restroom. She started her usual grooming and stared into the mirror as she brushed her long mane. Still young and beautiful. No blemishes... Wait... No way. Really? No. It couldn't be! A trick of the light maybe!
Stormcloud came bursting into the restroom. Behind him, Celestia could hear her foals, all woken up suddenly and crying for their mother.
"What happened?!" yelled Stormcloud, "Are you hurt?! Did something-"
"No, no, darling, look!" Celestia put her face close to his and was looking cross eyed to her forehead, "Look! It's... It's... It's a GRAY hair!"
Stormcloud blinked a few times and followed Celestia's gaze upwards. True to her word, there was a single strand of silver hair dangling from her head. Celestia was ecstatic.
"Storm, I'm aging!" she cried, "I'm actually aging!"
She kissed him deeply again.
"I haven't felt this happy since our children..." said Celestia. Stormcloud smiled. He should try everything he could to make her happier.
"Honey," he said.
"Yes?" asked Celestia.
"I think I even see a wrinkle," Stormcloud said.
"Really? Where?!" Celestia said bounding back up to the mirror. She was just about to check her face but her attention was drawn away. Her foals were still crying in their crib. She and her husband trotted out of the restroom.
Celestia magicked her three foals out of the the crib and started rocking them slowly back and forth. She gave one of the fillies to Storm and she held the two remaining. The foals immediately silenced at the warm embrace of their parents.
"Look children!" whispered Celestia. She knew they couldn't understand her let alone her happiness about it but she talked anyway. "Look. Mommy's got a gray hair! She's aging!"
"And yet she's as beautiful as ever," said Stormcloud.
The family sat together in the large room and spent their time quietly, soaking up the joy. To any normal person, a whole lifetime with your loved ones would be a long and happy one. But Celestia knew that this wouldn't last long.
But she didn't want to think about that. Not now when she was so happy.
"Is there anything you need your Majesty?"
Stella was one of the servants in Canterlot castle. She was one of the human work forces as well. She worked along side pony servants to tend to the old Princess' needs.
"No, no, dearie, I'm fine for tonight," said Celestia, "Actually, be so kind as to bring me a mirror."
"Right away your Highness," Stella said in a quick bow. She rushed away but almost immediately darted back with a large ornate golden mirror. Celestia looked at her reflection. Yes, she was finally getting somewhere. Her mane wasn't it's normal vivid flow of color, but sliver. She had some of the wrinkles and creases that came with her age. Time had finally caught up with her and she was feeling it.
"Do you know how good it feels to see yourself age?" Celestia asked, "To finally see your body slowly withering?"
Stella looked uncomfortably sideways and rubbed her neck.
"Uh... I'm afraid I don't understand your question, your Majesty," she replied.
Celestia sighed and chuckled. Oh the ignorance of youth. How it had escaped her so many years ago.
"I don't expect you to know what I mean," said Celestia. At that moment however, a young stallion unicorn and a filly pegasus came bursting into the throne room.
"Mom! Dasher keeps bothering me!" the unicorn yelled.
"I just wanna show big brother my picture!" said Dasher.
Celestia looked down at her two children. Well, they weren't really her's. They were adopted, but she loved them all the same.
"What is all the fuss about?" asked Celestia in a warm smile. She left her throne and walked down to her two children. Dasher came up and sat between her legs.
"Comet doesn't want to see my picture I drew!" she complained.
"I was playing with my friends, Dasher," said Comet, "You didn't have to come keep pestering me!"
Comet and Dasher stuck their tongues out at each other. Arguing aside, Celestia thought it was adorable.
"Now now, if it make you feel better, mommy will look at it," Celestia said holding her filly close to her.
Dasher jumped in glee and held the drawing in her mouth. Celestia magicked it from her and looked at it. But she grinned. Of course.
"Um, Stella, dear," she said.
"Yes, ma'am?" said Stella appearing at her side, standing straight as an arrow.
"My eyesight isn't as what it used to be," Celestia continued, "Where did I leave my glasses again?"
Stella ran off to some obscure room in the palace but returned a second later holding a pair of red reading glasses.
"Ah, thank you, Stella," Celestia said, "You are always there when I need you."
"Always and forever, your Highness!" said Stella saluting. Celestia slipped on her glasses and stared down at the drawing.
It seemed to be a five legged hippopotamus with a horn and a horrible burn on it's back. Next to it stood a stick figure standing on three legs and it's head was on fire.
"Uh, honey," she said to Dasher, "What is this wonderful drawing about?"
Dasher again hopped up and down in happiness.
"It's you, mommy!" she cried smiling, "It's you and Stella! I drew it all by myself!"
Celestia looked back down at the drawing then to herself. Was she really that fat? She then looked at Stella and her vivid red hair. She giggled. Comet also took a look at the drawing, then to his mother, and burst out laughing. Dasher pouted.
"I think it's wonderful, Dasher," Celestia finally said, "And I'm sure your brother thinks the same." She gave Comet a firm pat on the rump.
"Uh... Yeah... It's great," he stammered.
Celestia gazed down at the two young ponies before her. She had a sudden rush of memory. She had a sister, too. Her name was... was... Luna. Celestia chuckled. How could she even have forgotten even for a second? Did she and Luna ever argue like this? Did they always get along? Well, there was that issue with Nightmare Moon... Celestia was brought back to the world by the sound of a loud yawn. She looked down and saw Dasher rubbing her eyes.
"I think it's time for bed," said Celestia, "Stella? Could you?..."
"Right away, ma'am!" said Stella, "Alright you two, time for bed!"
Comet and Dasher gave a tight hug to Celestia.
"We love you, mom," Comet said.
"Yeah, forever!" added Dasher.
Stella bustled them off to their rooms and into bed. Celestia sat there, aging and still empty inside.
How much longer? Couldn't be that far away now...
Celestia was in her private chamber with one of her servants. She was sitting in front of a white marble casket. She was old and she looked it. Her mane was white as snow with streaks of gray, her joints hurt, and her face was etched with the years of life she had endured through.
"Won't be long... Any day now," she whispered, "I can feel it in my bones."
"I wish you'd go and lay down, your Highness," said the servant. He was a serious looking earth pony who worried about nothing but Princess' health.
"Now, now, Stamp," chuckled Celestia, "You need to know how to lighten up. If my life has taught me anything, it's that you need to live for the here and now!"
Celestia gave a wheezy cough and shuddered.
"Please," said Stamp, "You need your rest. You are not what you used to be. Your son will be worried."
"And that is what I'm counting on," replied Celestia, "My age... And my son is old enough to rule this place himself."
She continued to stare at the casket. Or caskets. Their were two caskets here now. One of white marble and another of dark granite. The white was etched with the word 'Daddy' and the granite with the name 'Luna'. Celestia looked at them almost longingly. Soon... But... What was that? That over there... In the corner right there...? Celestia nodded in understanding and sighed.
"Stamp?" she said.
"Be a dear and go make me some tea. My throat hurts again," said Celestia.
"Anything, your Highness," Stamp said. He turned to leave but was stopped by Celestia.
"And tell my son I love him very much," she said, "And that I will be waiting for him."
Stamp nodded and walked out of the room. Celestia closed the door quietly. She turned around and looked again behind the caskets. There was a dark shadow swirling in the corner. An ominous, tall figure grew out of it. It was hooded and in it's skeletal hands it held a small hourglass.
"Hello, Death," Celestia said in a slight smile, "What took you so long?"
The hooded figure let out a dry, rattling laugh. He approached Celestia and sat down next to her. She hugged him like she was embracing a long lost friend.
"So," said Death, "You've been waiting for a very long time, eh?"
Celestia laughed and leaned against Death. She could feel the bones underneath the cloak.
"Six thousand two hundred and eighty three years, four months, two weeks, five days, and thirteen hours I've been waiting," said Celestia, "My friend, I have been counting every hour."
Death gave out another dry, raspy laugh. He held up the hourglass. There wasn't a lot of sand left at the top.
"You know, I gotta say I'm impressed," he said, "Most of the punished would have given up after what you went through. Normally, they would beg me for a ticket to hell rather than watch their family die and die again."
"I had motivation," Celestia said, "Set my priorities..."
"I mean, I was there every time," Death continued, "Every time your husband died or when your child passed away, I was there. I even remember your sister. Oh how wretched you looked!"
"And when your student, Twilight, died?" continued Death, clearly enjoying himself, "Do you remember her? Dear old Twilight, your most precious student? Oh I could tell you wanted to give up right then and there!"
Celestia bit her lip.
"I even remember Daddy..." said Death, "Oh how he loved you. And I knew how much it hurt for you to watch me take him..."
Celestia started to cry. Quietly, but still crying.
"I even remember your finest moment," Death continued, "They day you and Luna snapped." Death laughed again. "Oh man! I can see it like it was yesterday. A line of souls miles and miles and miles and miles long, each waiting for judgement, each asking 'why?'." Death slapped his nonexistent knee.
Celestia was weeping like a child. After almost six thousand years of suffering, none of the scars had left her. Even in her final moments, she could remember everything. You know how they say when you're about to die, your life flashed before your eyes? Well it does. And Celestia saw EVERYTHING.
"But let me tell you something, Celestia," said Death, "Your suffering and waiting, it's all worth it. All of it."
Celestia looked up into Death's face.
"Everyone of them is waiting," he said, "They all ask 'When's mother going to get here?' or 'Where's our teacher? Shouldn't she be here by now?'. They are ALL there, waiting. Just as you have been waiting here in this world."
The final grains of sands fell from the hourglass' top. Celestia suddenly felt very sleepy and warm. A smile spread across her aged face.
"Good work, Celestia," said Death, "You deserve this."
Once again, Celestia found herself laying on a soft surface. It was warm, fuzzy, and extremely comfortable. Celestia didn't feel old. She didn't feel achy in her joints and her eyes didn't hurt. She opened her eyes to see herself on a small hill. Like a long lost dream, she was surrounded by a lush green vast field. She turned her head and found herself sitting next to her daddy.
"You did it," he said quietly, "I knew you could do it..."
"I'm so happy," Celestia said, "I made it through, didn't I? I can finally be with you, daddy..."
"No, not me," William said. He pointed into the distance. Celestia looked and she could see a large crowd of people. "Them. They've been waiting, Celestia..."
Celestia continued to stare at the throng of individuals. As she watched open mouthed and amazed, the crowd rushed towards her. Soon it was close enough to her and she could hear what they were saying.
"Mother! It's really you!"
"My love, you're finally here..."
"Princess Celestia! Teacher!"
"You're finally here!"
Silent tears were streaming from Celestia's eyes. She could see everyone of them. Every lover she had ever had, every child she bore, and every student she had loved. She even saw a certain purple unicorn mare... They were all there... All of them.
Celestia looked and saw her beloved sister. Still speechless, she was enveloped in the the crowd that was her family. It was the biggest family you would have ever seen. Countless children, lovers, students, two sisters, and one daddy. Celestia just sat there, taking in every moment of being surrounded by her elephantine family.
"Welcome home, Celestia," said her daddy, "Finally and truly, welcome home."
It was then and only then that Celestia was truly happy. She was finally content and after lost last, her heart didn't feel empty any more.
A patient and strong heart always reaps the most succulent fruits.