The Mane Twelve Chapter 6 - The Lies
The cheers of happiness amongst the ponies had ceased. Silence had fallen as a serious mood took over the air again. Twilight Sparkle had put her joy aside, just like the rest of her fellow ponies. She gathered everypony around.
Thyme stood next to Twilight, along with Quill Soul. Her mind was concentrating on other things however. After that incident with Heartfire, she found it harder to forget about him. She struggled to push away the thought and tried to focus. The future of Equestria is more important than silly romance. It sounded easy in her head, but she knew it was nothing but easy. She felt her heart being squeezed. Why can't I forget this feeling? She shook her head calmly, yet she was still in denial.
"The first phase has been completed." Twilight begun speaking. "Now it's time for phase two."
Twilight's horn glew with a bright purple color. Following her action, every Unicorn focused their magic on their horns. The different colors from their horns merged and all the ponies vanished in a big flash. Upon opening their eyes, the first thing they saw was an enormous gate. The gate of the Royal Castle. The spell had relocated them to Canterlot. Twilight let out a weak smile and pointed her hoof at the door.
"Everypony will enter the Republic. Before we do that, we will split into groups. The Main Team and the Assault Team."
Rainbow Dash turned her look at the big group of ponies.
"We will form the Assault Team." She said to them. "We'll keep the guards away from the other team. Fighting will happen. And deaths will occur..." The last sentence barely made it out of her mouth. A sentence like that hid a lot of responsibility. Rainbow Dash herself was sure she could not guarantee everypony's life. But I sure as hay will try.
Twilight nodded at the Cyan Pegasus.
"Me, along with Thyme and Quill Soul will form the Main Team." Twilight carried on from where Rainbow Dash left off. "You all will be under Rainbow Dash's command. Split into two groups, the Republic is quite big."
"Then I'll take care of the second group." The hooded mare, Violet Haze, stepped out of the group.
Twilight noticed her confidence. It was the same as back at Sugarcube Corner. She nodded in approval. Violet Haze gave out a determined smile. Rainbow approached her and shook hooves with her.
The ponies in the Assault Group started splitting up. Rainbow Dash took the remaining Pegasi, along with Grafix and Fluttershy, as well as a few Unicorns and Earth Ponies for extra utility. Violet Haze took Pinkie Pie with her, who was accompanied by the Vita Twins. Finally, she took the rest of the Earth Ponies and Unicorns.
Once the two groups had formed, they took their positions. The Main Team stepped forward. Twilight, Thyme and Quill Soul focused their Magic and blasted the door open. The two giant gates flew inside the Republic, landing on the lobby with a loud thud.
"Ponies... charge!" Twilight ran inside and behind her, the rest of the ponies as they shouted for their freedom.
The three Unicorns ran to the left side of the lobby while the the Assault Team headed to the right side.
The mares ran inside the castle walls, the light of the moon illuminating them from the glass windows. They kept running, ignoring the rooms they went through. But there was one thing that bothered Twilight. Where are the guards? She looked at every room that they passed. They were all empty. Could they have all gone for us back at Sugarcube Corner? No, that's not possible. Just what is going on? As Twilight kept thinking, her hooves moved faster.
The walls suddenly opened up. The three ponies had reached what once used to be the Ball Room. Such a large room. The memories came rushing back to Twilight. She had walked in here for the first time when she was just a small filly. Then she grew up and attended the Gala with her friends. It may have been a disaster, but it was still the best night ever. She smiled to herself. After that, it was the wedding of her older brother, the Captain of the Royal Command, Shining Armor. Another moment of happiness not just for her, but for everypony that day. Such memories didn't comfort her now though. It all seems so... fractured.
"We should keep moving." Twilight still felt like she was reliving these memories and her sentence came out only when she had put them all aside.
There was no answer from behind her. Neither from Thyme, nor from Quill Soul. Twilight turned her head around, but saw nopony. Her eyes opened wide as she stared at the empty space where, under normal circumstances, the two Unicorns that accompanied her would stand. W-what's even going on? She felt her hooves shake again.
"What is indeed."
Twilight froze. A mysterious voice was heard from in front of her, from up the stairs. It was soft, calm. Twilight didn't dare to turn around. Is this an illusion? She slowly turned her head around and raised it upwards.
And she stood right there, just up the stairs. It was her voice. Her radiant, colorful mane sparkled from the moon. Her silky white coat glew. Her calm purple eye gazed directly back at her. P-princess Celestia...! Her mouth trembled. She tried to speak. Yet she wasn't sure if she was hallucinating or not. Am I just going crazy? Or is she truly there?
"What's wrong my student?" She tilted her head to the side and let out a sunny smile.
"I... I... I saw you..." Twilight lowered her head, staring at the ground. She just couldn't find the courage to say it.
"What's wrong Twilight?" The Alicorn Princess walked down the stairs and came close to her. "You saw me..." She raised her hoof and gently patted her head. "Die...?"
Quill Soul was in a state of total confusion. As soon as they entered the Ball Room, they were gone. Both Twilight Sparkle and Thyme were gone. Just like that. As if they never even went with her.
Quill Soul's breathing got heavier. Her eyes spastically looked around, trying to figure out a logic answer to what was happening. D-don't panic, it's now what it looks like! At one quick turn of her head towards the right, she saw Dark Equun standing only a breath away from her. Quill Soul screamed in fear and fell down on her back. As soon as she had realized it was him, she let out a sigh of relief.
"You really shouldn't scare me like that..." The Unicorn helped herself up.
The masked Alicorn stood still, his glowing eyes gazing from left to right. He was focused, as if he was scanning the room. As if he was searching for something.
"Um, Dark Eq-"
"Weren't there two Unicorns with you? When you came in?"
His eyes became thinner as he stared at the area in front of him. Quill Soul could feel his sharp gaze, even when she stood behind him. He felt a presence, another pony. And it wasn't a friendly one.
It was faint at first, but the sound of soft, melodic music echoed in Quill Soul's ears. As it continued, the music got more clear and along with it, so did laughs and voices. Figures of ponies in fancy clothes appeared all around them, dancing, walking, chatting. Did they come out of thin air? Quill Soul rubbed her eyes. Are they real?
And right in the middle of the ball room was a pony that stood out the most. An Alicorn dressed in a silky, hoof-stitched tunic. The golden olive branch complimented his perfectly combed golden mane and his smooth, pale white coat. He was dancing with himself, yet he still managed to seem elegant, graceful. Dark Equun's look didn't change. His eyes were still thin behind his mask, he was still looking at the stallion with suspicion.
"Aaaah." He exclaimed as he opened his eyes, revealing his dark, ocean blue eyes. "Isn't it all beautiful?"
Quill Soul opened her mouth, ready to respond. Dark Equun's hoof suddenly stopped her. He immediately grabbed his cloak and covered himself along with Quill Soul. The two ponies transformed into a cloud of smoke that rushed back to the entrance of the room, where they had come from. The smoke took shape, forming the two ponies again.
The music fainted as slowly as it had come. The ponies around them stopped dancing. They moved away, to the sides of the room. They looked at the two ponies, mumbling to each other. The Alicorn stood where he was. He seemed slightly concerned. Quill Soul looked at him from behind Dark Equun. Why does he look at me like that...?
"Stay back Quill Soul." Dark Equun didn't look back at her. Instead, his piercing stare was focused on the white stallion. "This pony has darkness in his heart."
The ponies around the room gasped.
"This pony you have with you is not to be trusted Quill Soul." The Alicorn slightly raised his voice, so as to be heard. "This thing speaks nonsense."
"Don't listen to him Quill Soul. Appearances can be deceiving. It's not what matters on the outside..."
"Quill Soul." Said the Alicorn once again. "This creature wishes to plunge you to its darkness. To drag you down to the abyss, where there's no life and no death. It wants to put a mask on your face, and make you one of them, a thief of life."
"No Qull Soul." Dark Equun raised his voice. He sounded upset. She lowered his hoof and put it on top of his. She could feel him shaking and gritting his teeth. And yet he kept looking forward, at that Alicorn. "I'll never let her wear my mask. I'll never let her join them. I'll never let her become a monster!"
"Quill Soul, he's only driving you to the darkness." The Alicorn stepped forward and extended his hoof. "Come with me, I'll take you to the light. To the truth."
"Quill Soul." Dark Equun held her hoof tight.
"Quill Soul." The Alicorn took one more step forward.
The only thing Quill Soul could now hear in her head was her name. From Dark Equun, the mysterious Alicorn, the crowd of ponies around them. I have a choice...? The light, the darkness, the truth, the mask... Quill Soul freed her hoof from Dark Equun's grasp and grabbed her head in a state of both shock and confusion. The voices echoed louder and louder inside her head. She shut her eyes.
"Please, make the voices stop."
Thyme entered the room. And both of her companions were nowhere to be found. They just... disappeared. That didn't hold her back. She started walking towards the centre of the Ball Room. As she did, she felt she had stepped on something.
She raised her hoof to see a picture underneath it. Was that even there when I came in? Without much thought, she picked up the picture and looked at it. It was Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. They are dancing. They seem happy. Thyme couldn't stop looking at it. Her thoughts drifted away, back to him. Heartfire. She stood still, day-dreaming. She and him, dancing in this ball room, just like the Royal Couple. They'd be looking at each other in the eyes as ponies stood around them and clapped. It would be... perfect.
"Oy." She heard a familiar voice behind her.
Thyme slowly turned around. She gasped as she saw Heartfire entering the ball room with a weak smile on his face. His walk was weak but he seemed a little better than the previous time she saw him.
"H-Heartfire?" She stepped away from the centre, heading towards him. "How did you-"
Heartfire put his hoof in front of her mouth as soon as she was close to him, ending her sentence right there. Thyme's cheeks turned red. He moved his head closer and landed his lips gently on top of hers, giving her a weak kiss. He leaned his head and rested his forehead on hers.
"I'm sorry." He whispered
Thyme shut her eyes and looked down.
"Mhh?" Heartfire didn't quite hear her.
Thyme suddenly grasped him tight, making him sit down. Heartfire felt her warm touch. She was shaking. He stretched out his hooves, wrapping them around her, comforting her in his embrace.
"Don't leave me again... don't leave me alone ever again..."
Twilight followed her mentor's movements and sat down as well. She was still looking at the floor. She was still confused. A--A fake. Her hooves were shaking. She was ready for anything. She shut her eyes. And I wasn't... She gritted her teeth.
"I-I still can't believe it's y-you!" The purple mare's voice cracked up and her mouth begun to shake. Her magenta eyes had welled up.
The Princess smiled at her, even if Twilight didn't see it. She leaned her head to the side and put it on Twilight's head. She raised her look and gazed at the moon above them, from underneath the glass ceiling.
"It's okay, my little pony." The mare slowly got up and walked in front of Twilight, lending her a hoof to stand up. The purple pony raised its head, her look still full of uncertainty.
"Take my hoof. I shall take you to the light."
Twilight's eyes slowly opened, wider and wider as her head cleared from the negativity. Her eyes glew from their vibrant magenta color. The Princess' figure radiated from the moonlight in her eyes. She's an angel. Twilight slowly reached out for her hoof. She wasn't shaking anymore and she herself knew it. She's my savior. Celestia smiled at her as she helped her up. She's my hope.
"Are you ready to walk?" The Princess of the Sun asked with a caring voice.
Twilight moved her head up and down several times, nodding positively. The two ponies moved up the staircase from where Celestia had come from, delving deeper into the castle. Twilight looked at her from time to time, still feeling a little shy to even talk to her. And suddenly, a wild thought popped in her head. This must explain why there are no guards...
Dark Equun's shout ceased everypony's breath. Both the ponies around them and the Alicorn in the center were taken aback. The white stallion's sudden step back made a strand of his perfectly combed mane fall down, hanging at the space between his eyes.
Dark Equun raised himself up, still holding on to Quill Soul's hoof. The mare stood up as well, standing right behind him. He turned around and took a swift glance at her. His golden eyes searched the pony thoroughly. They suddenly stopped and faced Quill Soul right in her shy, silver eyes.
"I will protect you." It sounded as if Quill Soul didn't hear anything. Yet she could feel his lips move from behind his mask. His words echoed in her head, comforted her.
She didn't speak. She was unsure, yet somewhere deep down, she knew that he was telling the truth. That he made a promise, and that he'd keep it. She just nodded her head positively, immediately looking away after that. But that didn't stop her uncertainty. And then, these words spoke to her again. A weak smile revealed itself from her lips.
Dark Equun turned around. His cloak waved with grace. He took a step forward. The Alicorn responded with a caring smile. With a gentle move, he raised his hoof a few inches above the ground and then calmly pressed it against the stone surface again. A weak clopping sound was heard.
"Step up masked creature. Let us all see you."
He repeated the gesture, over and over again. The sound from his hoof turned to a faint clapping. The ponies around him followed his lead. They raised their hooves and then set them back to the ground. The clapping was a little louder now, yet it felt cheerful. Quill Soul looked at the ponies. They had smiles carved on their faces. They just clapped, clapped for every step Dark Equun took. His walk was slow, and firm.
"Do not hide yourself anymore. Show us what you truly are, the one who hides in the darkness of both the beginning, and the end."
The masked Alicorn stopped. He stood almost a few hooves away from him. With a gentle wave of the white stallion's hoof, the ponies ceased clapping, along with him. The dark pony raised his hoof and gently rested it on top of his pale white mask.
"Thou shalt not pledge for glory." Dark Equun whispered.
He gripped the mask firmly and slowly pulled it away from his face. His mask now hung from his hoof as he lowered it, letting the mask drop on the stone surface. The Alicorn's dark blue eyes sparkled with excitement as his lips moved away from each other, forming a calm grin.
"So you truly are... one of them." The Alicorn started walking around Dark Equun, his eyes scanning him from every angle. "A divination of destruction without prejudice."
After a full circle around him, he stopped behind him. He turned his sight at the blue Unicorn, Quill Soul. The mare took a step back as soon as he did. With just a blink, he was gone from her sight. And then she felt it. A hoof on her shoulder. She gulped. She didn't want to look behind her. Her mind quickly went blanc as panic begun taking over.
"It's a shame. That she had to suffer your torment."
"D-Dark...?" Quill Soul called out for him. The dark Alicorn didn't turn around. He didn't even turn his head around.
"But's now it's okay. You'll be alone again. Forever."
The white stallion stepped back, pushing his body against the wall. His body started merging with the wall, sinking him inside it. Quill Soul couldn't feel her hooves anymore. She felt her body moving backwards, closer to the wall. Her eyes opened wide. The panic took over.
"D-Dark!" Quill Soul faced forward and called out for him again, louder this time. As it had ended, the music slowly played again, echoing in her ears. It didn't comfort her though.
"Please, help me!"
There was no response. Quill Soul felt her eyes welling up as her body slowly sunk inside the wall. She shut her eyes. Why? Why don't you just...
"Just look at me!"
Even if he did turn around now, it would be too late. Quill Soul had been sucked into the wall along with the Alicorn. One by one, the ponies looking at Dark Equun vanished as they had come, out of thin air. The dark pony was left all alone, in the middle of the Ball Room. And yet, the music still played. The gentle tune echoed inside the room, creating a relaxing atmosphere, despite the emptiness. It went on for what felt like hours to Dark Equun.
"And now you've finally realized it." He heard his voice. "Now you know what you truly are, and where you truly belong."
Dark Equun fell on his hooves. He stared directly at his pale white mask as it lied on the ground below him. He could hear it, he could hear it as clear as he could hear the music. Her cries of despair, her desperate attempt to convince him to turn around. He could feel her agony as she was taken away from him, separated from him. He moved his lips, whispering to himself.
Thou shalt pledge for justice.
Why am I remembering this now? Even though he remembered such a phrase, he did not comprehend its meaning, as if he had never heard of it before. Justice. He thought to himself. Justice. Friendship. Purpose. Promise. He smacked his hoof on the ground, making the mask shake.
What am I?
He couldn't help himself anymore. He let out a cry of pain. Why didn't I face her? Why didn't I keep my promise? He stared at his mask as its red symbol started dancing around its pale white surface. The color changed, forming blue and black, shifting into the figure of a dark blue pony.
Why am I such a coward?
He punched the ground again, only this time, it was out of frustration. He felt his strength giving up on him, as if it was being halved.
I belong nowhere.
I am nothing without her...
Thyme and Heartfire lied down at the floor and looked beyond the glass ceiling. They gazed at the moon and the stars.
"That one is the Orion Constellation." Thyme pointed with her hoof to the left.
She turned her head and looked at Heartfire. He gazed at where Thyme had pointed. He was smiling. He seemed happy. Thyme could sense happiness in him. True happiness. It was as if he had forgotten about his wings completely. Thyme looked at the stars again, smiling to herself as well. As much as she wanted to enjoy this moment though, she suddenly remembered what had happened when she came in here. Twilight. Quill Soul. The white Unicorn got up in a hurry.
"What's wrong, Thyme?" Heartfire turned his look towards her.
"I-It's just that... I have something to do. I-I'm really sorry..."
Heartfire looked at her in wonder. He got up on his hooves and looked at her right in the eyes.
"I'm all ears."
Thyme looked away. She felt horrible for spoiling that moment so abruptly. But she had to do so. And even so, Heartfire looked so concerned, he didn't seem to mind at all.
"I was supposed to head for the ruler of the Republic. Me, Twilight Sparkle, and Quill Soul. And kill him."
Heartfire didn't reply. Thyme could sense him getting more tense.
"T-that's suicide! A-and besides, could you really bring yourself to killing another pony?"
This time, the mare stayed silent. The air was filled with an agonizing silence between the two ponies. Thyme looked away, unsure of how to reply. Heartfire rested his hoof on her shoulder. Thyme turned her look back to him to see a comforting smile on his face.
"Why don't we leave Equestria?"
Thyme looked at him. His sentence was like a large blow to her. She felt her heart beating faster for a mysterious reason. She was at a loss of words. After a while, she lowered her head. She didn't say anything.
"So... what do you say, Thyme?"
"Heartfire..." She whispered his name.
The white Unicorn stepped away from him, ceasing Heartfire's grasp. The dark grey stallion looked at her, his smile replaced with worry.
"H-hey, what's the matter?"
"The real Heartfire followed his purpose." Thyme was still facing the floor. "That's why he lost his wings. He lost them because he followed the plan, because he was loyal to his comrades and his goal at the same time." She continued as she raised her head, staring at him with a cold look. "The picture was just a lie to conceal my purpose. Because the real Heartfire confessed the truth to me, because he knew I'd respect his opinion. And that is why I know that he'd never cower away."
Heartfire took a step back. "W-What are you saying, Thyme?" He let out a nervous chuckle and placed his hoof on his chest. "It's me. I am Heartfi-"
"Don't ever say that name again!!!"
Thyme's horn started glowing, pale blue aura starting to surge out of her body. Glowing runes started forming, hovering around her body. Her lavender eyes slowly lost their color, turning into the exact same color as that of the magical runes. She gritted her teeth with anger. The runes shifted, forming blades of pure magic energy. Their tips pointed at the fractured Pegasus.
"Ways of the Moon..."
The swords rushed at Heartfire with great speed. They pierced his body, one after the other, with every impact pushing him one step back. After what seemed like ten blades on his body, the stallion fell to his hooves. He put his hoof in front of his mouth, trying to hold himself. He moved away and spat out blood, all over the floor. He coughed, trying to grasp his breath. Blood dripped from the sides of his mouth.
"Could you really... bring yourself to killing another pony?" Heartfire whispered, coughing once more.
Thyme stared at his him until she heard a faint clapping sound. She raised her head, gazing forward. An Alicorn dressed in a gorgeous garment gently stomped his one hoof on the ground. He clapped as he smiled at her.
"Ponies can really turn to interesting methods when they feel anger inside of them." He stopped clapping and chuckled to himself as he lined a fallen strand that hung in the space between his eyes with the rest of his perfectly combed, golden yellow mane. "It's rather... rejuvenating, to see we're not the only ones."
Thyme's stance didn't change. She still felt rage, she still felt her blood boiling. The pale blue aura around her started getting thicker, more intense. The Alicorn remained as he were, with that calm smile coming from his lips.
"What was your reason? For turning to anger? Were you perhaps... in love?"
Thyme looked at the Alicorn in shock. Her rage boomed inside of her upon hearing that word. Her horn glew with a purple color. Her aura started shifting around her, creating large bones. The bones got covered in flesh and bright, purple fur. They grew claws and fangs and a pair of bright, red eyes. Thyme's Magic Energy had created a large creature made completely out of that essence. Right in the middle of the beast floated the Unicorn, her eyes glowing with the creature's bright, purple color. It stomped its paws on the ground and leaned its head towards the Alicorn, only a breath away from him. It roared, making the stallion's tunic wave. After that, the beast raised its head and howled underneath the full moon.
"Yes." The Alicorn had raised his voice slightly, exclaiming his excitement. He raised his hoof and stomped it on the ground, making a clopping sound. "Such grace." He repeated his gesture. "A creature of legend." His gesture repeated itself, turning into clapping again. "To see it called upon by this pony to fight her fear, her denial of love, it's truly exciting. Such perfection of his power."
"I..." Thyme's voice had now merged with the creature's, sounding as if she spoke with two voices. A gentle one, and one that was more rough, more violent. "I will... I will kill you!" Thyme yelled at him.
The creature raised its paws and swung them towards him. The Alicorn looked as the claws got closer to him. But before they could reach his skin, the clashed into an invisible barrier. The claws sunk inside the beast's skin, shattering into bits as magic energy shot out like blood. The creature roared with rage. Its claws sprung out again as it smacked against the barrier, trying to break it with force. It charged with its head and sunk its teeth inside the barrier, the edge of its teeth barely touching the Alicorn's nose. It dove its claws in the small gap and moves it head away, struggling to rip it open. It stretched its arms, slowly opening a hole. Suddenly, the barrier closed again, the force twisting its limbs. The beast roared. Even without its arms, it pushed its mouth against the barrier, fiercely trying to tear the invisible wall open with its sharp teeth.
"Bravo, bravo." The stallion couldn't help but grin at the sight. "Encore. Show me more of this power, show me its limits. Show me what his power is truly like."
"I will murder you." Thyme spoke, her voice echoing through the creature as it struggled to bite its way through. "I will tear you open." Its bones snapped, binding themselves together again. "I will rip off your limbs, one by one." And as it had begun, the beast charged its claws at the Alicorn. "I will devour you."
"Yes my dear. Do it. Do it all. One by one. Because I am... Heartfire."
The creature suddenly stopped. It pulled its head and paws back. Thyme had froze inside of it. Her mind recalled his name. His image. His smile.
"Heartfire..." She whispered his name.
"Yes." The stallion took a step forward and stretched his hoof towards her. "I am the one who rejected your affection. Who ignored your comfort. And I deserve... death."
The enormous creature's glow suddenly vanished. The beast made out of Magic Energy started to fade. Its fur and flesh started stripping. Its bones slowly disintegrated. Thyme landed gently on the ground. She stared at the Alicorn. Her eyes stopped glowing with that bright purple. Now, they were bland, full of emptiness.
"Yes, death." The white stallion slowly walked towards her. "For I am the disease. For I am the lie, the plague that spreads, and leads to nothing but chaos."
"No!" A voice from behind Thyme shouted. The mare slowly turned her head around, her dead look staring at the dark grey stallion entering the large room.
"The real Thyme would never give in to the lies. Because the real Thyme possesses wisdom of which I've never seen before."
"The real... Thyme?"
"The pony who faced the truth and accepted it. Because she knew it wasn't a lie. And that's why the real Thyme would never kill, especially not because of a lie. It's because she knows Heartfire Burn better than anypony else that she chose to restrain her anger, even though it hurt her."
Thyme turned her head around. The white Alicorn was gone. She sat down. Her eyes slowly got their lavender color back. After what seemed like years to her, she had finally gotten hold of her thoughts again. And after what had happened, it was only natural for her to burst into tears. Heartfire sat next to her and put a hoof around her. The white Unicorn rested her head on his shoulder, the tears still running down her cheeks.
"It's okay if you'll never forgive me. But we'll get through this, together..." He whispered to her. "You will find love. Somepony better than me."
He gently caressed her mane as he comforted her with his words. He raised his head and gazed at the night sky. He pointed to his left.
"Isn't that the Orion Constellation...?"
It seemed faint, but Heartfire could hear a soft chuckle from underneath Thyme's sobs. Whether he was imagining it or not, he wasn't sure. He gently rested his head on top of hers. And that's when it wasn't as faint anymore. She was indeed chuckling. Heartfire smiled to himself as he felt her shaking stop and her sobs slowly fading.
Anypony but me...
Dark Equun lied on the floor of the Ball Room. The soft melody had stopped again. There was complete silence around him. The silence was suddenly cut short. He could now hear somepony rambling. Such an interesting tale to be remembered. And the years will pass and I shall write it all down, as the one who commenced his lord's first steps towards freedom. The praise I shall receive, the glory I shall have. His voice was soft, concentrated. He had heard that voice all too well. Dark Equun gritted his teeth.
"You..." He raised his hooves and pressed them against the ground, lifting himself.
The fancy Alicorn walked around the Ball Room, talking to himself as he did so. He stopped and looked at the center. The black stallion stared at him, his bright golden eyes transmitting anger. The white pony looked around before he faced Dark Equun again.
"It's you again." The Alicorn chuckled. "You just seem so ridiculous when you overeact. But did you know? All you have to do..." He extended his hoof forward. "Is reach out for her... and grab her."
He walked towards the wall and pressed his hoof against its surface. It slowly sunk inside. As he pulled it out, he dragged the dark blue Unicorn out as well, lying her gently against the wall. Dark Equun shrouded himself in his cloak, turning into dark smoke that rushed towards Quill Soul and moved her into the center of the Ball Room. After that, it transformed into the dark Alicorn again.
"It's interesting you see. Even though you had such a simple opportunity, you chose to hide yourself from her." The stallion slowly walked up the stairs, walking away from him. As he walked the final step, he turned his head around and looked at Dark Equun one final time. "Who is truly the monster here...? The liar, or the coward?"
And so he walked away, his image fading into the darkness. Dark Equun lowered his head and rested it on Quill Soul's chest. He could feel her heart pumping. Dark Equun sighed in relief. He sat next to her, uncertain of what to do. He looked to his left, at his mask. He reached out for it with his hoof and grabbed it. He slowly moved it close to his face. As he was about to put it on, he felt a hoof, holding him from wearing it.
"You're here..." He heard her weak voice.
Dark Equun froze. She probably couldn't look at him in the eyes, but he could, from the eyeholes, from behind his mask. Her timid, silver eyes, looking at him, accompanied by a weak smile, a smile of relief. Dark Equun stayed silent. He raised his other hoof and gently grabbed hers, moving it away. As soon as he put on his mask, he held her hoof with both of his hooves.
"I am." Dark Equun whispered to her. "I am..."
"I'm... glad, to have you here, with me..." Quill Soul slowly closed her eyes.
Dark Equun lowered her hoof. She was weak, exhausted. The dark stallon looked at her peaceful face as she rested. He slowly run his hoof down her cheek, felt her soft skin. She was resting serenely. The dark stallion got up. With the same hoof he used to feel her, he felt his mask, his red mark. He grasped his cloak and covered himself with it. The cloak folded itself until it wasn't visible anymore, until it had disappeared.
I'll keep you alive, because you have showed me the way.
"P-Princess, I need to ask." Twilight had built up the courage to finally ask her. "When I entered the room, there were two other ponies with me. Do you know what exactly happened to them?"
Princess Celestia didn't reply. She didn't even look back at her. She just kept walking. Twilight looked at her. Her mane seemed less colorful and her coat was paler than normal.
"Princess?" Twilight asked her again. She slowly moved closer to her. "P-Princess Celestia?" She asked once again.
"You hate it when you're ignored, aren't you, Twilight Sparkle?"
Twilight froze. She stopped moving. Princess Celestia didn't stop though. The Princess of the Sun walked until she had disappeared from the Unicorn's sight. Twilight started shaking. She turned her head around. Her eyes opened wide as she gazed in shock at a face she had seen that night, back at the Throne Room. One of the ponies around Princess Celestia's corpse. A pony that didn't even seem like he belonged there.
"Have you thought about it my little filly?" The Alicorn interrupted her. "Imagine how... easy it would be if you had just put on your Element of Harmony. It would be so easy to defeat the bad guys, and receive praise from your beloved Princess."
"You couldn't prevent it, could you Twilight Sparkle? To save your friends or your Princess. And instead of facing your failure, you wish to clung to your dear Princess even more, even when she was dead."
Twilight sat down. She felt the cold touch of the stone floor. Within a blink, she sat in the middle of the Ball Room again, the white Alicorn walking around her.
"And you just followed her blindly in this castle, hoping to be freed of your sins, of your mistakes. Because if the Princess did it, it would all be peaceful again, wouldn't it? But it doesn't work like that, does it, Twilight Sparkle?"
"This..." Twilight was at a loss of words. "This is not..."
"You're slowly falling into your own insanity my little pony. Yes, you are slowly going mad, Twilight Sparkle. And the clock only ticks forward. Come on now. Move on, move forward, act one more time. But then again, you will fail again. And you will only lose yourself even more."
Twilight's mouth slowly begun to shake. Her eyes twitched as they begun to well up. The stallion put his hoof on his chest as he moved his lips. And instead of sound, his words became thoughts inside Twilight's head. She shut her eyes as she put her hooves on head, trying to shake them away.
"You are but a filly who desires attention from her beloved tutor. Because she's not pretty, because she's not smart. And she only wants to feel special, she only wants to impress. But when the time comes, she constantly fails. Because she is worthless. And she will always be... worthless. And the clock ticks, and the deadline ends. You will be replaced, by a mare that's worth your Princess' time."
Am I right?
Or am I wrong?
Am I real?
Or am I an illusion?
The dark blue Alicorn, Nightmare Chaos, stood near the glass wall of the Throne Room, gazing outside, at the dark town of Canterlot. He slowly turned around, noticing the white Alicorn, Pestilence, step inside.
"Ah, my lord." Pestilence gently bowed before him. Nightmare Chaos remained silent. "Is something the matter?"The masked harbringer, Death, approached Pestilence. His dead eyes pierced his skin.
"Is something wrong, Death?" Pestilence turned to him.
"Pestilence." The white stallion turned his look towards his master. "You disappoint me." As he said that, Death raised his scythe.
"W-What are you implying, my lord?" Pestilence let out a nervous chuckle as he stepped back, away from them. Death slowly walked towards him. Pestilence kept walking back until he was blocked by the doors. Death stood right in front of him, his scythe swinging itself in the air.
"You go against your purpose, you change the turn of events to your desire, all for a foul cause. Only for glory." Nightmare Chaos closed his eyes an turned around, facing away.
"Ironic. From the moment you were created, you were but the reincarnation of a lie, of a disease that didn't belong to this world. Your interactions with these ponies only helped reveal your hidden desires. And you are nothing but a vessel, trying to breathe life into itself."
"No..." Pestilence tried to deny it. "No! You can't do this to me! I am the true o-"
He never finished. Death's scythe fell and separated his head from his body. Blood spilled all over the wall and on his corpse, painting his tunic red. His golden olive branch fell to the ground. The metal ornament made a clang that echoed inside the room. The body started disintegrating, turning into a thousand bugs that immediately burnt to ashes from Death's presence. Death turned his head and gazed at Nightmare Chaos as he opened his eyes. Their fiery red color had faded away, replaced by a cold, bleached blue stare.
"You read the book..." Death gazed at the reflection of the glass wall, intrigued by the new eyes. "You've seen the truth now. Your eyes reveal the path to the Seraphim."
"It was all planned. For you and for me... even for my dear sister."
"And thus, it is all but a matter of time until the grand scheme of events unfold entirely. And once the Seraphim awakens and the Pure power reaches you, a new era will begin." He ended and vanished into the darkness.
Thyme looked at the stars with Heartfire. Her tears had stopped. She now felt the grey stallion's comfort as they sat at the Ball Room. Suddenly, a scream echoed in her head, as if a pony was suffering. Thyme felt her head getting heavier. She felt her forehead. Everything started shaking around her. Her head felt heavier and heavier, to the point where it hurt. Thyme let out a grunt of pain as she fell on the floor. She could hear Heartfire's voice but it was weak. She could see the faint images of Twilight Sparkle and Quill Soul appearing right in front of her eyes. But it all got weaker as Thyme's eyesight and ears slowly gave up on her, and she fell inside the black.
What is this? Completely white around her, above her, underneath her, as far as the eye could see. No obstacles, not a single pony in sight. She turned around and around until she saw an Alicorn in a dark cloak, a pony that wore a withered mask. Him and Thyme seemed like the only two ponies in there.
"I suppose you already know who I am." The Alicorn spoke. "And it is so that I need not introduce myself. I know you, so you need not introduce yourself neither."
"Am I... dead?" Thyme asked him.
"We exist between life and death, in a place where only chosen ponies can step on."
Thyme looked at Death as she raised an eyebrow of suspicion. What does he mean by that?
"I know of your life all too well. I know of all ponies, unique or not. You are a Unicorn that stood out from the rest, from a town far away from Equestria. You lived in happiness until your guardian, the town's leader, left. Then its residents realized that you were unique. Special. They made you an oracle. They believed in you. That is why you left. Left to get away from it all, your curiosity guiding you as a compass."
"H-How do you know that?" Thyme felt even more confused.
"My action was a precedent to yours. For I have lived many lives, and have experienced many deaths. For I exist to serve under the night. For I have many names, and one of them... was The Voice of the Moon."
Thyme looked at Death in shock, her jaw starting to shake after it was left slightly open by that name.
"It... can't be. F-father?!"