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Chapter 10


"Apotheosis"




            "Miss Key, please try to relax."


            The mare in question, shorter then the average pony of her age, glowered darkly at the nurse. Her green eyes were filmy with worry and exhaustion, but she hadn't moved from the waiting room. Over the past few days she had become an installation piece in the hospital, her disheveled form and dark mane standing out in stark contrast to the pristine white decor. The waiting room was pleasantly carpeted with a few bench-like chairs for ponies to sit on. Despite this, Clockwork Key had been steadily pacing the same patch of carpet for hours now, threatening to wear a hole in it.


            "Clockwork?" a different voice asked, and the mare shifted her bloodshot gaze to the questioner.


            "Galaxi? What're you doing here?"


            "He was my teammate too," she said softly, not bothering to point out that she, Flourish, and Tome had been taking shifts in the hospital with Clockwork. She knew the mare's mental state was fragile at best, and days without sleep were hardly helping.


            "S-sorry Galaxi, I didn't mean to snap," Clockwork answered softly.


            "It's okay," Galaxi said with a comforting smile, "Any word?"


            "No."


            "Come on then, sit down. You could use a rest," Galaxi coaxed, and gently nudged her towards one of the benches.


            "I… I can't," she choked, "Every time I try to sleep I just see…" The small mare's voice trailed off as she clenched her eyes shut for a moment, the victorious scream of the Imp echoing through her mind, the glint of steel falling away from the helpless form as it arced through the air. Clockwork shook her head to clear it.


            "It wasn't your fault Clockwork," Galaxi interrupted, using a foreleg to hug Clockwork comfortingly, "It wasn't anypony's fault."


            "...That doesn't fix Ironjaw."


            "Clockwork, you need to let the doctors work," Galaxi said firmly. She nudged the khaki mare onto the bench, and settled across from her.


            "I know…" the small mare grumbled petulantly.


            "Just relax, take a few deep breaths…." Galaxi cooed, smoothing her hooves over Clockwork's head as the mare slowly fell into a deep sleep. Of course, the psychic mare had helped, and would continue to steer her dreams away from anything harmful for now.


            "Oh thank you," the nurse sighed gratefully, "She was making ME nervous."


            "He's the only family she has left," Galaxi answered, stroking over the mane of her sleeping friend and teammate, "I can understand her concern."


            "Be that as it may, the surgery could take a long time," the white coated nurse said, offering a wan smile, "And if he's her only family, she's lucky to have friends like you and those other two who keep showing up."


            Galaxi smiled, "We're a team. I'm sure that's something you can understand."


            "Yes… yes I can."


            Galaxi continued to lightly stroke over her friend's head, letting her psychic power seep further into the mare's mind. She normally wouldn't violate her privacy like that, but she recognized the need and needed to be on a deeper level in order to keep watch on her dreams. Fortunately it wasn't too difficult to block her memories from the dream, a simple mental barrier kept them separate, and allowed the khaki mare to dream formless dreams that would at least be partially restful.


            It was several hours later when Galaxi became aware she herself had dozed off. She also realized she had company, and looked up, blinking owlishly when she spotted Princess Luna. The Alicorn was deep in discussion with a doctor, speaking back and forth in hushed tones, obviously not wishing to wake Clockwork.


            "Princess?" she asked softly.


            Luna looked over and gave a slight nod to her apprentice, then steered the doctor closer, an aging unicorn stallion with a rusty red coat and what used to be a mint green mane before grey started seeping in.


            "This is Doctor Stitch, he was working with Ironjaw," Luna introduced.


            "Ironjaw? Is he okay?" asked a groggy voice, and Clockwork's head came up from her hooves.


            "He's alright, relatively speaking," the Doctor answered. "To be candid, he's damn lucky to be alive. The blow shattered two of his vertebrae; he'll need a cart to get around for the rest of his life. I'm sorry, but his rear legs will be paralyzed."


            "What about the aspect you were discussing with me, Doctor?" Luna gently pressed.


            The doctor nodded, "His metal shell is… falling off. Literally. The breach of the armour on his back allowed us access to the break in his spine. But to further assess the damage, we had to widen the cracks and were forced to remove additional segments, allowing us to discover and begin mending several broken ribs. Upon completion, we noticed that the metal was continuing to crack, and peeled as much as we could free. Nurses will be scrubbing him down on a bi-hourly basis until we've gotten it all, but I think it's safe to say he is no longer the Pony of Steel."


            Clockwork nodded slowly, "So the short version is that he's no longer covered in metal, and he'll be paralyzed from the hips down."


            "Aside from a concussion and a handful of broken ribs, you are correct."


            "Can we see him Doctor?" Galaxi asked softly.


            "Not until morning," the Doctor said, and held up a hoof to stave off objections, "I want him to get a full night's sleep. He hasn't woken up since he was brought in by the Princess, so I want him to spend the night in ICU to make sure there's no infection or further complications before we start letting visitors in."


            Clockwork was starting from her seated position when Luna gently cut in, "Are you sure Doctor? The young mare here is a friend of the family."


            "I wouldn't even allow his closest family in right now," the Doctor stated firmly, "I simply will not risk introducing any stress or potential infections to his fragile state. Tomorrow morning at the earliest, and that assumes there are no complications."


            "Thank you, Doctor," Luna conceeded, dipping her head slightly, "Please keep me posted. Ironjaw is a valued member of my Agency."


            "Will do Princess," the Doctor said warmly, then dipped his head to Clockwork, "I'm terribly sorry." With that, the Doctor headed back through the double-doors, leaving the trio of mares alone.


            "So… that's it then," Clockwork said in a drained voice.


            "No, we shan't give up on him yet," Luna said softly, turning to face the two mares, "Galaxi, please see Clockwork to her room. She needs to get some sleep. Stay with her if you need to, but… I'm afraid I have some work to do."


            "Come on," Galaxi prompted, and gently nudged the mare to her feet, leading her from the hospital at a slow pace. Luna stood by passively and watched as they left, but inwardly her mind was spinning. It may not have been Clockwork's fault the steel pony had been injured, but was it HER fault? Had not Celestia warned her that the group needed to consist of mares for the Elements to connect to, or was it just a speculation? Did she really know something?


            With those questions on her mind, the Princess left the hospital behind her, knowing she'd be returning first thing in the morning.







            "Luna? Are you in here?"


            The white Alicorn pushed open the door to the office of her younger sister and cast about for her. It wasn't rare that Luna just vanished, but given the grievous injury one of her team suffered, Celestia was worried about her. The office, however, yielded no information to her whereabouts. It was empty, save for a pile of paperwork on the desk, which the elder Princess moved forward to look over. Nothing seemed out of place to her, they were files on some agents, meaning her sister was looking for a replacement for the brawny metal pony.


            "You want to pick one?" Luna asked from behind her, and the elder Princess turned to see her entering the door, "I'm pulling out my mane trying to find an appropriate replacement."


            "Is there something specific you're looking for?" Celestia asked softly, noting the frustrated tone in her sister's voice.


            "Honestly? I don't know," Luna admitted, "With this team, they mostly 'felt' right to me. Clockwork, Galaxi, even Tome. Then later Flourish… they felt like they fit to me. But I look at all these folders, and something about them feels… wrong."


            Celestia watched as the younger sister closed her office door and wandered behind her desk, plopping herself down on her flank, "You are doing much of this by feel?"


            "Not initially. But then something happened," Luna chewed her lip thoughtfully, "Thunderhooves left. I liked him, he was a good fit, but he never quite… 'felt' right. But the moment Flourish arrived, I knew she was the right choice to replace him. I know for sure I'll have to replace Ultrapony soon, he's becoming toxic to the team. Ironjaw… I thought..."


            "You did not know. You could not know he would be hurt like this."


            "That's just IT Celly, maybe I should have! You made it very clear that your success came from 'The Six" being mares. Were you telling me something I missed?"


            "Not intentionally."


            "Huh?"


            "Perhaps the Elements used me to convey a message," Celestia shrugged.


            "Wait, what? Where did that come from?" Luna blinked in confusion.


            Celestia smiled serenely, "The Elements of Harmony are far more powerful then we are, sister. They stand outside of time, outside of our powers, and only permitted me to use them once. I have no proof, but I believe our world, our entire existence, owes itself to the Elements of Harmony."


            "What do you mean?"


            "Do you remember our parents, little sister? Do you remember a father or a mother?"


            "Well…" Luna thought aloud, "No, honestly I don't."


            "Neither do I. I don't think we had parents, not the way our ponies have mothers and fathers anyway. I have no proof, but I believe the Elements of Harmony created this world. Have you not noticed that we are like no other world in existence? Beyond the great darkness that only you and I have flown, the worlds are spheres and rotate around their sun, and their moons rotate about them. They even have stars that hover in the darkness all on their own, without having to be placed there every night. Meanwhile Equestria is flat, hovering serenely in one place while you and I turn the celestial wheel about it. A sun and a moon that won't move unless we use our magic to raise one and lower the other, and you have to fill the night sky with stars every time."


            "Celestia, what are you saying?"


            The elder Princess smiled, "I am saying I do not know for certain, but I think we were created by the elements to be the caretakers of the world it created, fostering the virtues of the Elements in our little ponies and to stave off the hatred and anger. Just look at what has happened to Equestria in the time we have been dealing with the Imps. It went from a quaint existence that had some clockwork and the rare electrical item to… well this. In just two generations we have a pony in an armoured suit made entirely of technology I can't claim to understand."


            Luna nodded, "Well… that did strike me as unusual."


            "I am saying it is intentional," Celestia said softly, "I believe the Elements are not so passive as everypony else thinks. They saw the threat, and gave the right ponies the right ideas to advance our technology to fight back, just as they granted some ponies powers to fight back with. In two generations we went from plowing fields and winding our clocks to late night discotechs and computer networks. That does not happen without a 'push' from somewhere, and considering I don't understand a great deal of this technology, I surely did not cause it. Given you were more out of date then I was upon your return from the moon, I doubt you instigated it either."


            "So by process of elimination, it has to be the Elements?" Luna asked, uncertainly.


            "That is what I am suggesting, little sister. I am also suggesting that the Elements may nudge us one way or another to make it's will known. Random thoughts, inspirations, accidents…"


            "Please don't tell me the Imps hurting Ironjaw was because of the Elements, Celestia. I'm not sure I could handle that."


            "No..." Celestia said slowly, "No, I do not believe they work that way. Their 'advice' was ignored, however, resulting in this accident. The elements exist in a state even we cannot comprehend and are far beyond our ability to control. The ponies might consider us the ultimate powers on Equestria, but in truth we serve a higher power. We serve the Elements of Harmony themselves. In so doing, we serve ALL the sentient beings of Equestria, and it is in that service we owe our very existence. We are caretakers, little sister... not rulers."


            "Is that why the removal of Nightmare Moon from me left me so young and weak?" Luna contemplated, "Because Nightmare Moon wasn't 'serving' the Elements?"


            "That is what I believe," Celestia answered, "Your growth was arrested for the duration of your banishment. To further aggravate the situation, I fear that drawing so heavily upon your power whittled them away, removing much of your former glory. I have tried, time and again, to return what I inadvertantly stole, but these efforts have failed each and every time. I think, however, the time of your redemption is at hand, little sister. Your actions to oppose the demon that once plagued you, Nightmare Moon, is perhaps your best hope."


            Luna gave a slight nod and gave a slow sigh, "So we're back to Ironjaw's injury being my fault because I missed the clues."


            "We are Princesses, little sister; that does not make us perfect."







            The atmosphere was stifling and warm, making the cyan unicorn sweat under her cape. She couldn't believe she was coming back so soon, especially at this time of night and with her teammate in the hospital, but the hall would be abandoned of ponies this hour and would give her the privacy she needed. The question was eating at her, she HAD to know now, and she had the perfect spell for it. It was simple and quick, and she'd be on her way before guilt weighed her down.


            The mare glanced about the somber Agency Memorial Hall, eyes sweeping over the statues and plaques of the many fallen agents that had sacrificed themselves for Equestria. Most of the statues were only the size of a normal pony, but a number were done at double pony-size, and a few rare ones towered over all the others. Most prominent was the Obelisk, a large onyx slab of stone right down the middle of the hall. Both sides were covered in the chiseled names of those Agents who had perished in the "war" against The Nightmare. It might have only been two-thirds full with names, but Tome suspected that the Obelisk would have a twin before it was all over.


            Unbidden, her eyes roamed the hall, washing over statues of agents she didn't recognize, or only knew in passing. A suited femme with a rabbit symbol on her flank for one, her mane wind-swept and her eyes wild, reminding her a bit of the old Wonderbolt leader, Spitfire. Of course, Spitfire was in here somewhere herself; the story of her leaving the Wonderbolts when her powers wakened was well known. Another pony was almost completely covered in a latticework of chains that made Tome wonder how much THAT sculptor got paid. A stallion that looked almost too normal stood next to her, his chest puffed proudly. Then the final statue along the row, a sized up statue of a menacing looking pony in a bulky looking powersuit. Tome smiled inwardly, thinking she'd have to let Clockwork know her brother rated a high end statue, for that HAD to be Warpony.


            Tome's breath caught in her throat as she paused at the threshold to the final chamber. She cast a glance back into the hall she just traversed, taking it in once more. The marble arches were high enough to almost vanish in the darkness of the night, with iron-wrought lanterns hanging down from chains to send the light chasing about the room, casting oddly shaped shadows over the walls that made the place feel more foreboding than was intended. After what seemed like an eternity, she turned and forced herself through the archway to the final chamber, never having seen the many pairs of yellow eyes open from within the shadows, watching her every move.


            The sense of foreboding only intensified in the final chamber as Tome looked nervously to the statues present. The statues of 'The Six' had not moved since her previous visit; their glare disapproving as they traced her slow progression across the eight sided room. Each clop of her hoof made the unicorn wince visibly, wishing she could silence them on the solid stone, or at least vanish into the shadows.


            It felt like an eternity, but Tome finally reached her destination. She sat down on her flank before the Elements of Harmony, not truly believing these were the REAL ones. She suspected these were just a display, with the actual elements locked away in the royal vault somewhere. Still, her burning curiosity demanded to be sated; surely no harm could come from a simple detection spell.


            The unicorn lowered her head, her horn beginning to glow as she quickly reviewed the detection spell she had created for this purpose. Her focus remained on the spell; her eyes closed as she recited it three times before she felt confident enough to continue. She began her incantations and leaned forward to touch the glowing tip of her horn to the vibrant purple central "Element".


            Tome didn't notice the imp until it was far, far too late. She looked up just in time to see the the glowing, baleful eyes glare down at her as it grasped the elements with it's claws. With a push, it shoved the central element hard onto the glowing tip of her horn. The Element was pierced as magical energies seemed to intersect and merge, and she FELT the element crack and split apart, sliding downwards over her horn. The silence was shattered by her blood curdling scream as it echoed off the monument walls. "The Six" watched on.







            A pair of heads snapped up the very instant the element cracked, identical expressions of pain painted on their faces.


            "Call your team. The Elements are in danger," Celestia ordered before vanishing in a flash of golden light.


            "GALAXI!!" Luna thought as loudly as she could, "Emergency at the Agency Memorial!!" With a silvery flash of light, Luna teleported to join her sister.







            "EMERGENCY!" the thought blared through her head, sending the khaki mare tumbling from her bed as though she had been struck by a physical force.


            "Agency Memorial! Emergency!" Galaxi's mental cry continued, and Clockwork managed to untangle herself from her sheets and bolt for the door, throwing it open. She obviously wasn't the only one, and quickly spotted Galaxi in her doorway, Ultrapony looking annoyed at the door he'd accidently ripped of it's hinges, and Flourish standing outside a closed door she'd simply teleported past.


            "Where's Tome??" Clockwork shouted.


            "I don't know, I can't reach her!" Galaxi cried, sounding scared.


            "Finally, some action!" Ultrapony grinned, and was off like a bolt. Flourish hopped over to Galaxi.


            "Going up!" she called, and the two were gone in a puff of pink smoke, leaving Clockwork alone.


            Turning on a hoof, Clockwork tore down the narrow hallway, rushing to her lab and hoping that Mai would be fast enough to get her there… and upload the location so she could find it from the air.







            Luna appeared beside her sister, and found herself in the Monument Hall. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the sight her elder sister was already appraising, her expression grim. For in the middle of the "Chamber of the Six" was Tome, staggering about while desperately trying to remove her own horn. As her head tossed about, Luna was horrified to note that the Elements of Harmony had been shoved onto her horn and seemingly welded themselves there. This did nothing to deter Tome's efforts to remove them, despite the obvious agony this was causing her. Even worse was the unicorn's constant soul-rending screams, as if the very presence of the Elements were somehow intensely painful.


            The Princesses were forced to shield themselves with a wing as a wave of magic burst from the Elements and Tome's screams rose in pitch. A light so pure it that to call it white would be a disservice rained from the Elements onto the unicorn that had impaled them. The energy was so focused it was literally flaying flesh and muscle from the bone. Yet Tome did not die, as her body regenerated as quickly as it could be destroyed.


            "No… her immortality…" Luna gasped.


            "We must remove it from her, and quickly," Celestia ordered, and Luna nodded, rushing to her sister's side.


            "Any idea ho- AAUGH!!" Luna cried out, her body buckling as an imp clawed into her neck and back, streaking her mane with blood before launching itself away.


            "Luna!!" Celestia cried, and rushing to her sister's side. From nearly every shadow of the hall Came at least two small imps, as if the shadows of the fallen heroes themselves had become possessed. Their wings flapped, filling the air with a leathery sound as the Princesses seemed literally surrounded by Imps.


            "Death to the Weak One!! Death to the False Goddess!!" one of them screamed, and with a painful screeching, they all joined in.


            Then as one, they launched at the sisters.


            Celestia was no stranger to battle. She disliked it, she found it clumsy and unworthy of an intelligent mind, but she was no stranger to it. Golden light and heat surrounded the sisters for a moment, bathing them in the warmth of the sun, before expanding outwards suddenly to shove the Imps back and away. A few of the slower ones caught fire, but their brethren simply ignored them, shrieking in rage.


            "Now the fight begins," Celestia said darkly, standing protectively over her sister.







            Clockwork fidgeted impatiently inside the armour. She knew Mai was assembling it as quickly as possible, but this was obviously something she'd have to handle in a later revision. Ease of putting it on and off had not exactly one of her top priorities when she created the suit. That was obviously a mistake.


            Green lights flickered across her sight, the cold boot coming up and the power levels reaching capacity, her visor snapped on finally as she looked around, "Come on Mai, this is an emergency!"


            "System checks are green," Mai announced as if she hadn't heard, "Side entrance is open already. Targeting indicator already uploaded, you are clear to launch, ma'am."


            "Thank Celestia!!" she cried, and angled herself for the exit, her wings flaring into existence behind her even as she dashed for the exit, jumping out into the air. Her jets flared brightly, and she hurtled into the night sky, her armoured form tearing up the side of Canterlot Cliffs.


            "You are welcome, ma'am," The AI grumbled as it closed the doors behind her.


            Dragonfly cleared the edge of Canterlot proper within seconds. The Agency memorial was a place she'd always planned to visit, but she was never sure how well she'd be able to handle it. She knew too many of the names who ended up on those walls: Totem, Jackrabbit, Sideshow, Whiplash, Chaingang, Heartburn… Warpony. Now, like it or not, she was going there for some unknown emergency.


            An explosion interrupted her thoughts and she quickly focused her scanners on the location, then found her jaw dropping. The side of the building had been blown out, apparently by Celestia herself!


            Gritting her teeth, she rolled the armour that way, diving down towards Celestia. The Princess herself looked almost as if she were on fire, for the multi-hued mane and tail Clockwork was so familiar with were replaced by searing white flames. She turned sharply and blasted another… something. Wait, that was an imp? Her systems marked it with a question mark, as it didn't fit the profile of any hostile or imp she had on file. They were too small and far too maneuverable for the team's good.


            "Dragonfly!!" came the mental cry.


            "I'm coming up on Celestia's side, where she blew a hole in the building." Celestia looked up at her, and she realized the Princess must be in on the "network" herself.


            "Be careful, these are the damndest Imps I've ever seen!" Flourish managed over the connection, "These bastards are FAST, sharp clawed, and only half the size of the usual imps. Worse, they can use the shadows to literally vanish from sight, and there's far more then I can count."


            "Roger that," Clockwork managed to answer, her weapons coming online as she came down by the side of the building. She didn't know why, but she had a gut feeling, and her plasma ejectors roared as she covered the wall of the building in a series of rapid fire shots. Her hunch paid off as she was rewarded with a trio of screams as the Imps fell to the ground. Her momentum carried her into the memorial, where she landed. Vaulted roofs or not, she didn't trust flying very high indoors.


            "Protect Princess Luna!! She's out cold and bleeding!" Galaxi cried, and her telekinetic shield sprung to life, a couple of imps pounding at it to reach a prone Princess Luna. Wait… did she say BLEEDING?!?


            "On it," Clockwork answered, and fired three bolts at the imps, her ejectors rocketing her towards Galaxi.


            "Belay that, we need to get Tome!" Ultrapony ordered.


            "Wait, what?" and the Dragonfly armour twisted in mid-air to face back where she had been coming from. For a second time, Clockwork's jaw dropped. Standing in the center of the chamber was a panicked looking Tome, who was spending more time screaming then doing anything else, the Elements of Harmony wedged onto her horn like some sort of adornment.


            "You've GOT to be kidding me!"


            "Killing Tome will have no purpose," Celestia inserted, level headed even in the midst of this chaos. Oddly Clockwork wondered if she'd be willing to take on the coordinator role from Luna.


            "Princess, with all due respect, you're not in charge of this team," Ultrapony stated, and dove at Tome. A shield of magic sprung into existence about the unicorn, pure white in color, to deflect the enraged super-pony.


            Clockwork frowned, but turned her armour back towards Galaxi and Luna, jetting along the floor to land by them. Just in time it seemed, as a handful of imps launched from the shadows nearby, apparently quite intent of getting through Galaxi and herself to get at the Princess. Clockwork answered with a barrage from her plasma ejectors.


            "What happened to the Princess?" Clockwork asked.


            "Which one?" Flourish answered, poofing into existence somewhere nearby to separate an imp from its life.


            "Luna, she's bleeding."


            "Did Luna tell you why she cannot fight Nightmare Moon directly?" Celestia asked, her horn blazing through the air in a pirouette that eliminated a half dozen imps all itself, and her flaming wings batted down another handful.


            "She said that she was weak to Nightmare Moon and the Imps," the armoured pony answered, her plasma ejectors roaring as she started trying to take down a swarm of imps fluttering bat-like about the chamber ceiling. Her targeting system was being overwhelmed, with hostile signatures vanishing in bursts of static. There were simply too mane of them, and they were far too fast, she thought to herself bitterly.


            "It appears that weakness extends to her goddess-like powers as well," Celestia replied icily.


            "Wait… that means…" Clockwork stammered, the implications chilling her to the bone.


            "That means they can kill her. The Nightmare is trying to take away my little sister… again." The Princess' tone made everypony shudder, feeling as if the room were suddenly freezing cold despite the heat radiating from her celestial flames.


            "Dammit! Help me here, I can't get through this shield!" Ultrapony demanded in frustration.


            "No offense, but top priority is keeping Luna safe," Clockwork cut in, "Tome's too heavily protected right now. We should focus on thinning out the number of Imps."


            "Where did they all come from?!?" Galaxi asked.


            "That is the question, is it not?" Celestia said, her tail whipping through the air to light even more Imps on fire. To Clockwork, it looked as if the Princess were trying to protect Tome as well, keeping the Imps away from her. Except…


            "Princess! On your six, trio of Imps behind Tome!"


            Celestia's response was as beautiful as it was deadly. Her wings pumped once, launching her into the air, one hind hoof skittering across the floor with a shower of sparks. Her turning form launched a trio of fireballs at the Imps, and two of them were reduced to ashes on the spot. The final Imp, however, saw her coming, and ducked into Tome's shield.


            "Wait, how did he…?!?" Ultrapony demanded, as he bucked the protection about Tome again, and was rebuffed once more.


            The Imp screeched from inside the bubble, taunting Ultrapony from astride the dazed Tome's back. It grabbed the sides of the Elements with its claws, a sick grin widening its beak as it looked to each of the ponies in turn.


            "FOR THE NIGHTMARE!!!" it screamed, and twisted the Elements on the unicorn's horn, pulling back sharply with all it's might. Tome's eyes widened with a new pain, her eyes wild as she screamed in a way everypony wished they could forget, and the entire shielded dome filled with a searing light.


            "DOWN! Everypony down!!" Celestia cried, and dove to the floor.


            Galaxi and Dragonfly threw themselves protectively across Luna. Flourish flattened herself on the floor where she was, and for once even Ultrapony heeded the instruction. It was probably a good thing he did, as the dome seemed to shatter and light poured from Tome. Clockwork had to clench her eyes shut as the dimmer on her visor failed. The sound of rock being torn away, crashing pillars and statues falling over filled the room, all punctuated by that unholy scream. Then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. Everypony was left all but deaf in the abrupt silence.


            "Ooh…" a new voice groaned, and the four ponies slowly began to recover, only to then stare in shock. Only Princess Celestia seemed unfazed by what she saw, if somehow saddened by it.


            There, before the Princesses and collected Quartet of Princess Luna's team, stood a wobbly cyan mare. She was twice, almost three times the size of a normal pony, with a mane and tail of the purest white. On her flank rested the simple cutie-mark of a star shaped wand, on her sides rested the massive wings of a large pegasus, and on her head spiraled the majestic length of her horn. The Elements of Harmony rested on her brow, still impaled by her horn.


            It was only then that Tome managed to shake her head and focus on the others in the room, her eyes wide, then blinked as she noticed she seemed… different then before.


            "This cannot be good," was all the new Alicorn managed to say.

It was my Birthday this weekend, so to celebrate ya'll are getting a double upload!

MLP (c) Hasbro

Feedback and comments are welcome and encouraged.

- Polecat
Add a Comment:
 
:iconapple-tank:
Apple-Tank Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Student Artist
>too mane of ...
switch to "too many"
Reply
:iconnova225:
Nova225 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011
>Had not Celestia warned her that the group needed to consist of mares for the Elements to connect to
-What in the deuce ?? What a silly and preposterous idea ?
Celestia is clearly not in her right mind... that or she's sexist, wouldn't surprise me that much, I have to say.

>You made it very clear that your success came from 'The Six" being mares.
-Are ''coincidence'' or ''statistical probability'' words not in their dictionary or something ? ...not sure to 'appreciate' where they are going with this.

>"The Elements of Harmony are far more powerful then we are, sister. They stand outside of time, outside of our powers
-Then why would they ONLY select, as Celestia says, ''females'' ?! They probably don't even have a conception of ''genders'' !... Errg... This is really turning in circles...

>Meanwhile Equestria is flat, hovering serenely in one place while you and I turn the celestial wheel about it
-Wait what ? Flat ? I hope this is just a figure of speech ...Also, you do know that Equestria is a ''country'' in the series, not THE planet itself, right ? (unless you chose to have a case of ''Washinton-State and City'' ?)

>The statues of 'The Six' had not moved since her previous visit; their glare disapproving
-Yeah... disapproving... I WONDER why ? :sherlock:

>Yet Tome did not die, as her body regenerated as quickly as it could be destroyed.
-Makes me wonder if the author has something against Trixie... or RD ?

... and then the imps created a new Alicorn ? Accident while trying to destroy the Element, maybe ? ...
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:icontcpolecat7:
TCPolecat7 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011
I made that note way back many chapters ago. It came for a reason. ;) I didn't know why at the time I wrote it, but as the chapters evolved, the reason found itself. Statistical? No. I highly doubt statistics had anything to do with it, they were "chosen". Why they were chosen is unknown, but they were chosen.

Yes, I do the Flat Equestria theory. I presented it in "Coming Home" as well. I had actually written this chapter prior to that one-off, but I decided I liked the idea and stuck with it. And what exactly Equestria is in the series was never specified, but it's kind of silly to need Goddesses for one country/continent to raise the sun and the moon, but everywhere else doesn't need it. That makes even less sense.

Nope, nothing against Trixie or RD. And the Imps "origins" are discussed in a much later chapter. You might be surprised where they came from....

- Polecat
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:iconnova225:
Nova225 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011
The world, and what's on it (cities, trains, etc...) are all presented in a ''Earth-like'' fashion, but for ponies... And considering who made the show, it's a rather safer bet to see 'it' as a Round World... They have go as far as to have a german-like accent for Photo Finish AND a clear meantion of France's Haut-Couture, and last time I checked we confirmed for a Round World. -And, frankly, it's just easier to work with, no ?

Also... the Sun and Moon circle the 'earth-like planet', from what we can see and guess in the series... Theory is that the Princesses mostly use magic (horn flashing), for the Sun&Moon, only when they cross the line of horizon. (after all, we don't see their horn flashing all the time, only at those 2 moments (dawn-dusk, on their side of the world))

-----

>Nope, nothing against Trixie or RD. And the Imps "origins" are discussed in a much later chapter. You might be surprised where they came from....
>You might be surprised where they came from....

-Well... As long as they aren't ponies/dead ponies mutated or something simillar... Oh, who am I kidding ? (sigh) I left a -large- part, if not most, of my interest (and cheery nature), back at the begining of Ch.8 embedded in a concrete-composed-structure... I fear it might never fully come back, as it has been 3 new chapters and, yet, 'it' is still haunting...
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:icontcpolecat7:
TCPolecat7 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Simply because it's presented as Earth-like doesn't mean there isn't room for interpretation either. I chose to interpret that aspect differently from you. While it's "easier", it doesn't fit my mental vision of it. But that's part of the fun, ne? Seeing where other's views differ from yours.

For the record, no they aren't even related to ponies (well, maybe in a very tangential way, but you'd have to read a very great deal into it for that).

Not sure why you're dwelling on it, but that's your decision.

- Polecat
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:iconnova225:
Nova225 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
It is because of the incredible (pardon the word) ''lameness'' of her death, RD's death.

Even before becoming ''specials'', the Main 6 were unique, with or without the Elements of Harmony.
Being ''specials'' gave and allowed them an even greater potential, like all 'super-heroes' have... from the *Super Power - Superman* to the *Cunning, intelligent and resourceful ''detective'' of the night - Batman*.

All the others had reasonable deaths, deaths that CAN and/or have been seen before in Comic books... bombs, assassinations, last stands to protect the innocents, duels with a powerful foe, sacrifices to protect vital data/informations...

They may not have been ''epic-super-mega-cool ++'' deaths, like dieing in the explosion of a supernova, for they (the Main 6) were simple ''super-heroes'', great ponies...

The deaths of the other 5 are, as a quick exemples, like the death of a Cop stopping a burglar or a bank robbery, like a soldier jumping on a grenade or staying behing to give time to his team to evacuate...
While RD's death is ''she speeds in a wall.''... It isn't a decent death for Rainbow Dash; it isn't RD-like... It is like falling in an acid tank because you sneezed, or dieing because you knocked your head on a corner because you tripped on your shoelaces...
(On another note, I would be ready to bet that no super-heroes or super-mutants EVER died because they run into a wall, ALL Franchises considered.)


All I am suggesting, desiring, requesting, you choose the word (I like to offer choices)... is that Rainbow Dash gets a death, somewhat decent like the other 5 had...
A quick thought, a quick exemple : She could have died doing a (close quarter) Sonic Rainboom, to eliminate an important group of enemy near a city (Cloudsdale, maybe ?). The other 5, not being able to join her in time, for the enemy was too close to the city. ...?

...what do you say ? Take the time you want to answer this, to consider it, I'm patient... Choose a PM, if it suits you better (I'm only hoping for something reasonably polite).
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:icontcpolecat7:
TCPolecat7 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2011
I've dropped a message to your PM. Don't worry, I have no problems with what you are saying, but I do have to ask that you trust me as a storyteller not to be as cruel as you believe me to be. Things are not always as they appear.

- Polecat
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:iconshellsh0cker:
Shellsh0cker Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2011
FINALLY someone takes the Discworld approach. I'm pretty damn surprised it took this long, though I admit I might have missed it. Still, given how much more sense it makes given what we do know about the way Equestria works, I think it's odd that it's not a lot more common.

Polecat, this story gets better with every chapter. Just don't stop.
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:icontcpolecat7:
TCPolecat7 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2011
I actually worked out the basics of that design when I did the story "Coming Home", so I adopted it for this since it made sense (And surprisingly got a lot of flack for it).

Still, glad you're enjoying the story. :)

- Polecat
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:iconshellsh0cker:
Shellsh0cker Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2011
Oh, and I guess I'm a couple days late, but happy birthday!
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