The last solstice
Chapter 17: An urgent message
This دن was full of awkward and surprising moments already, but little did Nocturnal Mirage know, it was far from over. After the royal blue stallion has left the Ivory Tower, he trotted down to the main lobby of the Castle. He requested an audience with the Princess of the Night, as a part of his weekly report. After a couple of minutes, he was granted permission and entered Luna’s office. To his surprise, the cobalt alicorn wasn’t alone this time.
“I believe you’ve met Princess Cadence before.” Luna کہا objectionably, when she spotted the signs of hesitation on the earth pony’s features.
Mirage nodded, but remained silent and idled immovably for some length. It seemed the lunar goddess has forgotten about him, as she stood سے طرف کی the large window, gazing into the gray curtain of rain. The younger Princess appeared to be busy with some paper work, she was levitating several scrolls with her magic and beside a pale, but warm smile; she didn’t pay too much attention to the dark blue stallion. Mirage cleared his throat, just to end the maddening quietness and to remind the alicorns of his presence.
“Oh yes… Nocturnal Mirage… I’m listening. آپ may report.” Luna replied a bit confusedly, turning away from the window, like it was difficult for her to let go of the sight of the gloomy equestrian landscape.
Mirage discretely raised a brow. He found it odd that Cadence was there too, but he could quickly overcome this feeling and began his report. As he spoke, the cobalt earth ٹٹو noticed that both Princesses were sending undisguised, scanning looks toward him. This has made him very uncomfortable, although the features of the alicorns did not reveal any emotion. When he finished the report, silence settled on the room once more. Of course, the stallion neglected to tell Luna about his encounter with her sister, he was afraid of Celestia’s wrath. The sun goddess strictly forbade him to share anything about her with the nocturnal Princess.
“Is that all?” Luna inquires sharply.
“Yes, your Highness.” Mirage finishes the report.
“Are آپ sure?” Cadence questions.
“Positive.” the stallion nods, trying to sound as neutral as possible.
The moon goddess stomps her hoof on the floor. The golden horse slipper makes a metallic noise when it clashes against the marble. This is when Mirage notices something’s wrong. At first, he did not pay attention to his intuitions, but now, as the stallion endures Luna’s intense glare, it is clear. The noise triggered his senses and he’s able to see that Luna has changed. She has become cold and edgy. Unreleased stress and tension radiates from her being.
The Princess of the Night is sick. Some mysterious disease seems to be consuming her soul and body. The alicorn’s cheeks are sunken, and heavy concerns furrow her features deeply. Her ribs are sticking out, like she hasn’t eaten anything for weeks. Her mane and tail flows very slowly in unnatural, opalescent colors. Even her dark blue کوٹ turned pale. As Mirage gazes into her چیتی, نیلگوں ہرا eyes, he recognizes that glassy, resigned look. It’s not that defining yet, but the earth ٹٹو can tell it’s there. He saw this look filled with infinite weariness before. This is the look of a broken spirit. The look of Celestia. Impossible! Luna’s losing her faith too!
Mirage thinks in horror.
The lunar alicorn tilts her head a little, which only strengthens the stallion’s impressions. In this position, it appears the tiara with the symbols of the Sun and the Moon on it is too big for her. For one skilled observer it is clear: she slowly crumbles under the weight of the dual crown. Luna turns away, when her senses warn her that she has dropped the steely mask for a few seconds, allowing Mirage to peek behind her armor of pretended expressions and mannerisms. She takes a few steps toward the younger Princess and their eyes meet.
“Are آپ okay? Another one of your headaches?” Cadence asks on a soft, compassionate voice.
Luna nods, closes her eyes and turns her back on the others.
“Well get through this.” the Princess of Love says warmly, placing a comforting hoof on Luna’s shoulder.
A weak smile passes through Luna’s face as a response and she sits down to the couch, rubbing her temple. Cadence turns around to face the dark blue earth ٹٹو who watches the events in utter perplexity.
“We need to talk…”
A sudden knock on the door interrupts the love goddess. Not waiting for an answer, یا permission, three royal guards push inside the office.
“What is the meaning of this? I specifically asked not to be disturbed!” Luna calls out sternly.
“We are truly sorry, your Majesty, but we have a very urgent message!” one of the guards replies.
“Queen Chrysalis!” the guards chant fanatically at the same time.
Green flames surround the armored stallions, and a moment later, their true form is revealed.
“Changelings!” Mirage gasps as he recalls his گزشتہ encounter with these dark creatures.
“All hail the Queen!” the beasts shout and charge at the Princesses with deadly intentions.
Cadence is the first to react; the others freeze in shock for a second. The گلابی alicorn immediately performs a love spell. A transparent, scarlet دل pops out of her horn and floats in the air gently, like an autumn leaf. It drifts to the closest changeling, but with a glassy sound, it shatters to pieces against its forehead. Her eyes widen سے طرف کی seeing the unlikely failure of her spell and the black creature is already on her.
“Leave her alone!” Luna growls vigorously, but before she could intervene, she is forced to face a changeling on her own.
The third monster heads for Mirage, letting out animalistic hisses. The royal blue earth ٹٹو evades with a quick اقدام and trips his attacker over. However, the changeling gets up from the floor in a blink of an eye and continues the assault. For a brief moment, Mirage hesitates, then he decides to use his magical powers in the presence of the alicorns. But that millisecond of pause is enough for the dark beast to force the stallion into a hoof to hoof combat. The ٹٹو struggles, for his opponent is much stronger and مزید agile. Mirage manages to deliver a fortunate kick to the changeling’s pit of the stomach. The aggressor flops down on its knees, gasping for air, but not for long, because a powerful hoof knocks it out. Mirage shakes his head and tries to help the Princesses.
Luna is airborne, battling her foe سے طرف کی firing several smaller magic bolts on the changeling. The bloodthirsty creature avoids them, performing very skillful moves in the air, counterattacking with some projectiles coming from its scales.
Mirage realizes it’s just trying to stall Luna until she’s exhausted. The strategy works perfectly, because the lunar goddess was already weak before the fight, and every wing flap brings her closer to the final defeat. Furthermore, this smaller office was the possible worst place for a fight. Luna could not use most of her (still) tremendous alicorn powers, without jeopardizing dozens of lives. Of course if she was مزید reckless یا cowardly, she could have incinerated this entire wing of the Castle, even in her current state. But the Princess of the Night is a noble spirit and she holds back the power, despite the pain. Her horn aches and burns from the massive amount of unreleased magic that’s been building up in her body since the beginning of the battle. As the cobalt alicorn attempts to vanquish over her opponent, the random thought passes her mind. Hah! How ironic! My magic is not powerful enough to save the kingdom, but there’s so much in me right now, that I could make a giant crater out of this place!
The moment she finishes this thought, a huge block of marble strikes the changeling from the left. It writes down an arch in the air like a tiny pebble and eventually crashes into the floor with a loud bang, burying the changeling under itself. Luna’s eyes go large in shock and she doesn’t know what happened. Then she spots Mirage and a hole on the floor in front of him. That’s where he carved out that marble block from. An interesting, dark blue aura of magic swirls around his hooves. The moon goddess gazes at the stallion.
“A magic-using earth pony?” she thinks out loud.
Desperate sounds of struggle reroute her attention. The last changeling embraced Cadence in a lethal hug. They stand on their hind legs and the beast holds a sharp ebony scale against the mare’s throat from behind.
“Don’t move!” the monster growls.
“Let her go. She has nothing to do with this.” Luna asks as she lands on the floor, trying to sound as gentle as possible.
“I کہا don’t move!!!” the changeling yells sternly.
Cadence doesn’t say a word, but she remains calm and strong in this deadly situation. She’s much calmer than the creature that’s holding her hostage, that is why she doesn't want to anything that might provoke the beast.
“Look around. It’s over. Let her go!” the lunar goddess states.
“You’re right, Princess! It is
over!” the changeling grins and takes out a golden orb with strange مرکت, ایمرلڈ crystals all over its surface.
“All for the Queen!” the dark creature grins deliriously and pulls out a pin from the middle of the orb.
The green crystals begin to flicker faster and faster سے طرف کی every second. Mirage’s face goes ashen once he realizes what the device is. He’s seen one in the Crystal Empire when he was a young colt. A rare and powerful object from the ancient times. Not many ponies know that besides being the most magical unicorn of his era, Starswirl the Bearded was a great and creative inventor as well. He was also experimenting with weaponry.
“WARLOCK GRENADE!!!” the stallion shouts, knowing the entire قلعہ will be obliterated سے طرف کی the explosion.
The ponies gaze at the changeling immovably. The crystals begin to sink inside the orb while with green electric discharges, marking that the chemicals began to mix inside of it. سیکنڈ before the detonation, a small marble rock, a piece of debris levitates on its own behind the assassin’s back. Luna immediately recognizes it and nods to Mirage almost unnoticeably. Like if it was thrown سے طرف کی a playful, mischievous filly, the tiny rock smashes against the temple of the monster. Cadence realizes this temporal distraction and bites the hoof of the changeling. The feral creature yelps in pain and his hold softens. Cadence grabs the opportunity and frees herself.
“Duck now!” Luna commands and presses a hidden button on her necklace.
In the middle of her royal accessory, there’s a symbol of the Sun and the Moon, like if her own cutie mark would have been merged with Celestia’s. Only a few Royal Guards know that this symbol also functions as a weapon. The rays of the “Sun” are made of the finest reinforced and enchanted steel Equestria could offer. If Luna chooses to throw it in the air horizontally, the spinning razors would cut even a درخت in half.
In the moment the Princess of Love is out of the way, Luna throws her deadly weapon at the changeling. It slits through the air with an eerie hissing noise, strikes the monster on the chest and the impact makes it break through the glass and fall out of the window. The changeling drops the golden grenade, but Mirage is able to catch it before it could fall down with the assassin’s body.
The ancient orb begins to shake and tremble. The crystals have almost have disappeared inside the device, but their مرکت, ایمرلڈ tips are still sticking out. The crystals turn dark purple. The ponies know this is the final sequence before the explosion. The strange blue aura begins to swirl around Mirage’s hooves once مزید as he uses his magic to form a small sphere out of marble around the grenade. When he’s done he runs to the broken window.
“I need a magic blast to take this thing up to space!” the cobalt stallion stammers and before the alicorns could respond something, he throws the sphere out the window.
He sends off a blast of his own, but it’s not enough, the deadly orb is still gliding above Canterlot Castle.
“The farther it’s from the earth the weaker my magic gets! Help!!!” Mirage cries in panic.
Finally, the Princesses react and run to the window as well. They hold hooves and their eyes fill with pure white magic. The cyan aura encases their horns as they آگ کے, آگ a bright, sparkly beam.
“Four seconds!” Mirage calls out.
The sphere with the grenade inside is struck سے طرف کی the magic bolt and soars through the sky rapidly, until it exits the planet’s atmosphere. A moment later, a humongous green explosion fills the horizon, like if the clouds were surrounded سے طرف کی مرکت, ایمرلڈ flames. The light of the detonation reflects in the eyes of the ponies, as they gaze upon this dangerous, but extraordinary light دکھائیں with dropped jaws.
The odd thing is, the explosion of a Warlock Grenade doesn’t make any sound, just bright green lights. The blades grind the enchanted crystals, turning them into a deadly powder. This powder mixes with several chemicals inside the weapon and the chain reaction combusts the very fabric of magic within a large radius. It is highly forbidden to use such creations. That is why only seven copies exist in the entire world. Well… only six now.
The entire assassination attempt was over within less than half an hour, yet it felt decades to all of those involved. Two of the three attackers lost their life in the ambush, the one Mirage knocked out was taken into custody for further questioning.
“How’s the Princess?” Mirage asked when Luna approached him an گھنٹہ later, as they watched the guards and the staff cleaning up the mess.
“She’s resting, but she’s going to be fine, thanks to you.”
“I was just doing my job, your Highness.” Mirage replied, blushing a little because of the compliment.
“Yes… and there are a few things we need to…” the moon goddess begins, but her sentence is cut in half سے طرف کی a random magical burst.
A powerful bolt of magic escapes through her horn, reaching for the skies voraciously like a hungry shark. Luna lets out a loud scream of misery, coming from deep within her soul. This time, she flops down on the ground in front of numerous ponies. They all stare at her in shock and surprise and don’t have an idea of what’s happening. Before the nocturnal Princess could fall down completely, Mirage moves in and Luna falls into his arms. Her body is so light…
As Luna loses her consciousness, several sinister lightnings slit through the sky. The rain stops and the clouds dissolve within moments, revealing the twilight horizon. Mirage immediately spots what’s wrong. There’s a black, sickle-like formation blocking out a small part of the sun. Luna comes to after a few seconds. Without saying a word, she immediately charges up her horn and the cyan colored magic slowly restores the skies to normal.
“Princess, what was that?!” Mirage inquires, still in shock.
“As I said…” Luna جوابات on a weak voice, still in the stallion’s arms.” We need to talk.”
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yeah, it's been a while since I've گیا کیا پوسٹ something, but this long chapter took a lot of time to complete, because I wanted something different this time, a sub-plot which still helps the main story arch to اقدام آگے a bit.
I hope آپ liked this chapter and the illustration at the end, it's my most complex pic yet and it took مزید than 4 hours to draw it. :)
The assassination attempt as I imagined it (drawn by me)