“Wha-Wha-... What are you?”
The monster in the mirror, his opposed shadow, grinned at him. “I am the lord of the north, the shadow that haunts every dark corner, the iron hoof the crushed freedom and hope, I am the Tyrant that was freed from his icely cell!”</b> He grinned once more. “I am also your shadow. The view has been nice for some time but I grow weary of staring at your behind all this time.”</b>
“You won’t control me any longer!” Chale tugged on the gauntlet on his hoof, trying to pull off the evil device from his leg and be rid of this monster.
“HAHAHAHAHA! Try as you might Chale but it will not budge. When you touched my horn you and I joined as one being to crush our foes! Now that you have fulfilled your side of the bargain we will have a “parting” of sorts.” Chale looked back at the mirror to see the monster trying to pull something off of his own leg.
He truly was his shadow…
“Poor General Chale, always trying to protect his hive but always dooming them in some aspect later. This is your legacy, this is your life!”
“No! I won’t let you!” Chale turned and made for the balcony. If he was able to hurt his body enough, the monster could not use it! He reached the outside but his body made magical motions of it’s own. A dark crystal formed right in front of Chale and a magical flash hurt his eyes.
He rubbed his eyes and blinked to regain his vision. He was surrounded by a burning changeling hive! All the changelings struggled to help one another to put out the fires and save the ones that WERE on fire! Chale tried to move but his hooves were chained down by burning metal.
“No!” He pulled and tugged. “This isn’t what I wanted for them! I wanted to help them raise not fall!”
But on the outside in the real world, Chale’s lifeless eyes were vacantly staring into the crystal. His shadow chuckled and started to swirl around his seemingly soulless body. The shadow slowly crawled up Chale’s legs and soon his back and chest. Before long, the shadow covered all of his being and swirled around his eyes, changing their color and shape soon after…
“Found it!” Applejack told the others as she pulled out the dusty book from the top shelves. Sunlight and Twilight trotted over and watched Applejack climb down from the ladder and hoof the book over to Twilight.
“Thanks Applejack” She leaned over and nuzzled the southern pony while Rainbow made a ‘blech’ noise.
Twilight held the book up from the ground with her magic and started to flip through the pages. “Hmm… Apparently whoever made this book knew something about a secret changeling invasion some 10 years ago. It seems that she made this book to help defend ponies from their tricks.” She smiled. “Wish we found this sooner.”
Rainbow rolled her eyes impatiently and and tapped her hoof on her leg. “So, how are we going to do this?”
Twilight looked up from her book to look at the impatiently fast pony. “Well, I want you all to line up, then we can start the debugging.” Twilight chuckled to herself ” … Get it?”
Luna rolled her eyes.
Pinkie tilted her head.
Applejack scratched her head.
Rainbow narrowed her eyes at Twilight.
Rarity thought about it.
Spike face palmed.
Fluttershy kicked the floor nervously.
Sunlight wasn’t sure what part of the joke to get.
Dust slightly/nervously laughed at it.
The younger of the two guards giggled.
Twilight just groaned and trotted up to the line. “Let’s just get this over with…” She first did the spell on herself. Her horn glowed as a magical aurora swirled around Twilight. It just simply swirled around her, then slowly died down.
“Just to settle any doubts that I’m not who I say I am.”
“Don’t worry Twilight, we know only you could have made a joke that bad.” Rainbow snickered along with the bouncing Pinkie Pie.
Twilight shook her head and trotted up to Fluttershy and started to do the same spell to her “Don’t worry Fluttershy, this won’t hurt a bit.”
Fluttershy nodded nervously and watched as the purple magic swirled around her. When the magic faded, Fluttershy looked at the purple pony. “Well?”
Twilight smiled. “Don’t worry Fluttershy, you're still you.”
“Oh well, that’s a relief. I mean I already knew I was still me, but having you say I’m still me really helps.” Fluttershy smiled and then trotted over to the other side of the library.
After she was finished with Fluttershy she started to move down the line of ponies, using her spell on her friends as she went. Sunlight turned to the white guard. “Um, excuse me..”
The guard looked at Sunlight, her helmet covering most of her face. “Yes, Princess?”
“How do you think everyone is in Canterlot? I know I shouldn’t be so worried but I just can’t help but worry about everyone there.”
Before the white guard could speak up, Dusty was there to speak for her. “Don’t worry so much, Sunlight. This whole mess will be over before it even starts. Just like I said.”
“Okay Dust, I’m really hoping you're right about that…” She looked at her godmother who had just approached her. “My Turn?”
Twilight nodded and prepared her horn for the spell.
Sunlight braced herself for said spell and felt it wash over her, revealing her halfling form to everypony in the room. She didn’t expect anyone to gasp or be shocked about it, but she could’ve sworn she heard the guard next to her gasp lightly in surprise. Which Sunlight should have been prepared for, seeing that not every guard was informed of her real identity.
Sunlight saw the spell go away and Twilight gave her a smile to let her know that she was alright.
Twilight then moved onto the white guard next to Sunlight and used her spell on the guard. When the spell showed who was under that armor, everyone seemed to be thinking what Rarity was about to shout.
Twilight’s magic had shown through the armor that she had on. Her face was beet red and she nervously smiled. “H-Hey guys….”
Sunlight looked down to the floor and scooted away from Sweetie Bell as far as she could. Sweetie was about to say something to her but she was soon pulled back by Dust whose facial expression showed that she was ready to beat Sweetie into the ground.
“I don’t think she really wants to be around you anymore after what you did to her.”
Sweetie formed her words quickly to try and make her case. “No, You don’t… I-I didn’t know she-”
“I’m sure you know full well what you did to her! If I ever see you around her again I’ll be sure to-”
Sunlight finally spoke up after being quite after the reveal. “That’s enough, Dust. I don’t want you putting a hoof on her.”
“Sunlight you can’t be serious. She put you through the worst agony of your life and you just want her to be left alone?!”
“Yes Dust… Can’t you just do that for me?”
Dust’s once angry face faded away and she let out a sigh. “I understand Princess, I’m sorry for acting out so brashly…”
Sunlight nodded and tried to look at Sweetie Bell to see her face but she could not muster the willpower to do so.
Twilight looked between the three. “I think we should take a break and… discuss what happened…We’ll finish up with Vanilla and Dust later, Agreed?”
They all seemed to nod their heads in agreement and trotted off to their own place in the Library to think things over….
Sunlight sighed as she leaned over the railing to the library’s balcony. “It just had to get worse….” She told herself solemnly. She looked up into the night sky that Luna had made not too long ago. It was not like her natural way of doing it, filling the night skies with dashing and radiant stars that complemented the nice blue hue the night time sky gave off. Tonight had no stars and only the moon was there to give light.
Twilight and Applejack trotted up beside the sad princess and looked at one another, unsure how to start this.
Applejack decided she should be the first one to speak up. “Hey there Sunlight… How are you holdin’ up?”
Twilight hugged Sunlight in a warm embrace. “It’s going to be alright Sunlight. We’ll rescue everyone in Canterlot soon, just you wait.”
“It’s not that, Twilight… Well it is that but… There’s more to it.” She looked to the both of them. “I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I’m not cut out to be a princess.”
Applejack seemed shocked at this revile. “What are ya talkin’ about? I think you’d be a great fit for bein’ a princess.”
“No I’m not! I can barely master a spell right, I get upset over the littlest of things, I’m forgetful, and to top it all off I’m a half changeling FREAK!” She sniffled, on the verge of tears “After everything that has happened today and what's happened before… Do you really think that anyone would accept me for who I truely am?!”
“You don’t know that they won’t or not Sunlight, just give them time to-”
“No Twilight! They won’t accept me!” The poor thing now had tears streaming down her face. “No one will… Not them… Not Luna… Not Sweetie Belle… Not anypony..”
Twilight gently raised Sunlight’s face to meet her own. “Sunlight, it’s going to be fine. Want to know how I know it will?”
She sniffled. “H-How?”
Twilight smiled and looked over to Applejack. “When Applejack first asked me out onto our first date, I didn’t know what to think. I was confused, scared, unsure, and most importantly how our friendship would be if we did start to date.”
“I was scared also. I mean I was brave an’ all when I asked Twi would fer a date, but waitin’ for her to react is another thing to be brave about.”
“I don’t understand….”
“What Applejack means is that you can tell everyone about who you are and you have to be ready to face any backlash you might get with all the bravery intact.”
“Thank you both for the advice… But… I don’t think telling everypony in Equestria about my real self is anything close to asking another pony out...”
“Well, it’s still the moral of the story Sunlight.” Twilight started. “Understand?”
She nodded softly and the two mares hugged her tightly. Sunlight smiled and hugged the two mares back. Even though some or most of the ponies wouldn’t accept her, it was nice to know she had others to count on if ever a bad day came her way again.
The Main Room.
Vanilla and Dust sat together inside the main room of the Library. Dust was looking off into space and Vanilla was looking right at her. “Would you have done it?”
Dust looked up at Vanilla and tilted her head. “Huh? Do what?”
“Hurt Sweetie Belle. Would you have actually have done it?”
Dust nodded. “I would have done it gladly a second time as well.”
“Why? Mares like Sunlight get rejected all the time. It’s part of life.”
Dust then switched her position so that she would be constantly looking at Vanilla right in the eyes. Her very stern eyes. “You don’t get it, Vanilla. As part of the royal staff it is my job to make sure Sunlight has everything she needs to be happy. When she gets sad I get sad, when she gets the litle bit worried about if she’ll be late for school hours, I’ll be sure to get her there on time. So when I see that little brat around my charge it makes me so mad I would send her to the moon within a heartbeat.”
Somewhere within the library, Luna shivered and looked around from where a draft could have come in.
Vanilla was very confused about why a maid like Dust would care so much for the Princess like that. Then Vanilla went over what she had just said. “Your charge?”
Dust eeped with surprised, not knowing she would go as far as to say….
“Alright you ponies! It’s time to finish up with Vanilla and Dust so we can get to work.” Twilight said as she, Applejack, and Sunlight we’re re entering the room.
Vanilla turned back to Dust to let her know but she was already gone. Vanilla searched the room for her only to see her lining up already for the check up. She raised her brow at Dust. She knew something was up with that maid.
The two Ponies got in line for Twilight’s spell.
They both nodded and awaited Twilight to start.
The Unicorn’s horn glowed and the aura spiraled around them. The crowd watched on in anticipation.
Vanilla had her eyes closed the whole time. She never trusted magic in the first place so she didn’t know if this spell would harm her or not. When everything went silent she cracked open one eye to looked at the group of ponies that were all struck with a bad case of hanging jaw.
“Did it work?”
Twilight nodded and pointed with her horn towards Dust. Vanilla looked over to see in Dust’s place was a dark brown changeling!
“Um… What’s up guys…?” Dust said nervously and looked at all of them. The magic faded around the two and Dust started to back away from the group of ponies who all started to trot towards her slowly.
“Wait, I can explain everything and it will all be clear soon enough.”
Dash punched her hooves together. “You can explain after we beat you to a dirty pulp!”
“I know this looks very, very bad for me. But you have to understand I did it for a reason!”
Dash was ready to pounce. “I bet the reason was to make sure we didn’t get to Canterlot to save the others.”
“No! It’s not like that, I swear!”
Rainbow Dash had enough of Dust’s stupid changeling mind games and launched herself for the pouncing.
Dash stopped mid pounce and hoovered in the air. She looked back to Sunlight who was the one that told her to wait.
“What’s going on here?”
Sunlight trotted up to Dust and looked her in face. “I… I think we should hear her out.”
“Look, I know this is probably the most stupidest thing I have ever said in my entire life but… I just have a feeling we should try to talk to her… M-Maybe we could learn something from her.”
Vanilla sighed and looked to the girls. “You heard her, let’s talk to the bug.”
Dust breathed out a sigh of relief and smiled at Sunlight. “Thank you, Princess. I swear what I’m about to say will help everypony retake Canterlot.”
They nodded. “Now gather ‘round, this is going to be a very long story.”
Two Changeling soldiers slowly opened the room to Chale’s headquarters, spears first. They looked around into the pitch black room for their general.
“Sir? Is everything alright in here? We thought we heard screaming.”
There was no response. The changeling that talked looked over to his buddy Wilhelm and nodded forward.
“I’m right behind you.”
Wilhelm nodded and trotted forward into the black room. He tried to see through the darkness but he didn’t see anything useful about the General’s well being. He turned around to talk to his buddy but before he could, something wrapped around his neck and with a final scream, Wilhelm was dragged into the abyss.
The other guard gasped and ran inside after his friend. He called out for him but nothing answered him.
He had to get help, and fast.
He turned around for the door only to be closed on him. He gasped and shivered in his armor. He held his spear up high and tried to find another way out. He felt he bumped into something and looked up at it.
He saw Sombra’s Shadowy face armed with an evil grin. “Hello there~”</b>
The guard screamed with every bit of air he could muster from his lungs… then nothing… Silence..