Post by Hollyleaf ღ on Sept 25, 2016 14:36:44 GMT -5
Next chapter up. Sorry I've taken so long. This one is a doozy too.
A trip seemed wasted
What happened to Princess Cloudwhisper?
It was the only question that rang in Celestia's head. Everything about these creatures seemed so evil to her that she was starting to question her earlier confidence that the princess really was okay.
She looked warily at Starswirl for a moment, able to make out his grey-blue shape as night began to make way for morning. He didn’t meet her gaze. To her dismay, as she looked at him more closely, an expression of horror and realization glittered clearly in the pools of his yellow eyes, and emotions were coming off of him in anxious waves. Celestia bent over and whispered in his ear - so quietly that even she could barely hear it:
At first Starswirl simply shook his head without meeting her gaze, but when he turned to face her and saw her look more urgently at him, he sighed.
He breathed, and Celestia nodded, meeting her horn to her friend’s. Their magic lit in unison and the yellow barrier began to surround them.
Celestia hoped deeply within her heart that they weren’t so close to the campfire that the evil creatures would notice the spell.
Familiar, lush grass soothed her tired hooves and she exhaled wearily. Her fear had emotionally exhausted her, but the hours of walking towards the campsite where the malicious gang were meeting had taken the additional toll on her young alicorn body.
“I’m so glad we’re out of there,” She uttered in a gasp.
After a few seconds of recovering from the mountain of anxiety she had retained, Celestia lifted her head to see Starswirl staring at her intently.
She panted for a moment longer and then muttered,
Starswirl narrowed his eyes to near slits.
“I think I know what happened to my mom.”
Celestia widened her eyes and then looked up at the expanse of sky, realizing that the shades of deep purple were quickly climbing into a pale pink as they made way for the sun, the time of day nearing dawn.
“Why don’t you tell me about this when we get inside the castle?" Celestia suggested, "we can teleport to the Resting Room… my dad never goes in there and my mom is busy working with her princess duties, so we’ll be left alone.”
Starswirl followed her gaze and the corners of his eyes crinkled with urgency.
“No… that’s not our priority right now," He said in a hushed voice, "we have to hurry and tell everyone that those evil things are going to attack the castle. They probably won’t attack at dawn because nopony will be awake. They’ll want everypony out in the open… so we have until it’s clearly morning, a little bit after sunrise.”
Celestia widened her eyes.
“How are we going to tell everypony without revealing that we’d snuck out at night?” She asked, attempting not to raise her voice and as a result ending her sentence in a squeak.
Just as Starswirl was about to answer, a distant voice rang throughout the whole field, and Celestia’s heart lurched.
The voice of a guard.
“What are you two doing out here?!”
The hairs along Celestia’s neck raised.
“Well, that’s one way to let them know,”
A white guard with a purple-and-pale indigo mane walked firmly at the left of Celestia, and a blood-orange guard with a darker red mane stood at the right of her friend.
They were being guided towards the meeting room where her mother had been discussing the attack with the captains of the royal guard several days ago.
Well, at least i’ll get to see inside of the room like I wanted,
Celestia thought, attempting to bring the positive out of the situation.
The door was opened to Celestia’s mother sitting on the other side of a large, rectangular, wooden table with seats on every edge of it that she guessed all members of the royal guard were assigned to.
Celestia met Vibrant’s gaze and found nothing but a combination of sternness, relief, and the fury of a mother who had probably been pacing with anxiety as she wondered where her daughter could possibly be.
Celestia ducked her head and let her pink bangs cover part of her face, her wings unraveling and remaining in a position of guilty submission. She allowed her guard to gently herd her toward the chair directly opposite of the seat her mother was settled in, while Starswirl grudgingly flopped into the chair directly beside Celestia.
Vibrant folded her hooves and laid them on the table, her posture firm and professional. Celestia dared to try and meet her mother’s gaze once more to find at least a drip of reassurance, but was met with her mother's expression to be boiling with curiosity - not the kind that Celestia often experienced with an interest and eagerness to learn, but the kind that screamed the question, How could you do something so stupid?
She felt like covering her eyes with her hooves to hide her face from her mother’s fixed stare; Celestia had never seen Vibrant with such a look.
She wished she’d stop.
Then, Vibrant let out a long sigh, and took a brief moment of silence as if to search for the right words so that she wouldn’t yell at her daughter in front of Starswirl, as well as the two guards beside the closed door to the room.
Then she breathed out calmly and slowly,
That’s an awfully broad question,
Celestia thought, but remained silent. Vibrant then rephrased,
“Why did you to leave the castle?”
Celestia gulped, then prepared herself to answer.
“I made her come with me,” Starswirl broke in, and Celestia stared at him, shocked. It was hardly like him to come to her defense.
“I couldn’t stand to wait for you to send out a troop to check out the weird magic I’d sensed earlier. I was blinded by how much I needed to see my mom, to know she was okay - so I had to go out and find it myself… or… with a little help.”
Vibrant’s firm blue gaze cooled down to a confused state.
“What… does this have anything to do with your mom?”
Starswirl answered without hesitation,
“Along with the magic, I felt her as well - as if she was… near it.”
A brief period of silence fell upon the meeting room. Celestia had to admit that she was feeling mildly uncomfortable, but she didn’t dare speak up - she knew it was not her place right now.
Then a question that made Celestia’s heart clench with anxiety rang out clearly from her mother, who’s voice was tense, unsure of what to anticipate of the answer.
Starswirl nodded slowly.
“We found the creatures that had attacked on Weathervane. They were working on creating a dark substance called the ‘tantabus’... formed from alicorn magic. Their leader revealed that they were working on contaminating the alicorn magic to turn it into his own, to turn it into a magic of darkness.”
Vibrant tipped her head slightly to one side.
“What… does that mean?” she breathed.
“The leader must be an alicorn if he can contaminate the magic to be his own and absorb it. It also means that he had to use a certain alicorn’s magic to contaminate… and that magic... was my mother’s.”
“That’s why I felt her along with the presence of odd magic - because it was her own. But it felt odd because it was in the middle of being contaminated. I think I was able to sense it because of the connection I have with her, because of the magic we share.”
Celestia met Starswirl’s gaze.
“So then if the alicorn has taken her magic…” She began.
Starswirl nodded, his eyes glittering, and his face contorting a little. He looked as if he were about to cry. “Yeah,” He said, his voice shaky, “She’s gone.”
♦I'm the Forgotten Warrior ✽ an impossible girl ❀ raggedy and always running♦