-Begin Act II-
Chapter 9: The Raconteur's Secret
Daily Log #528342
Date: 03-13-0005 - New Lunar Calendar
She shows much promise. It seems she has regained any strength lost by time. Something I have also noticed is just how little she has changed over the years, she is still the same as I remember her to be.
Maybe she will really be able to beat Nightmare Moon. It's a stretch, but I'm not going to count out the possibility. It's unlike me to second guess myself, however I sincerely don't know if she could do it. Nightmare Moon has grown incredibly powerful since she returned.
I saw her when she was chasing after that zebra, she is very determined. Her heart in that moment was remarkably clear, she wanted to end all of this darkness. I think she might just have a chance, but only time, and a number of other factors, will tell.
My only concern at the moment is if she falls into their lies. If that happens I will have to intervene personally, but I would prefer to keep our meetings the way I had originally planned them.
I will not be keeping many more logs after this point. There's no point, I'm not going to be able to forget what comes next.
No one will.
The white pony and the blue pony had grown very close after the stormy day when they met. They went everywhere together, exploring the world and expanding their ability to communicate with each other.
The white pony missed her sun more and more every day, she felt like a part of her was gone. The blue pony would occasionally notice her looking in the sky for the missing sun and comfort her.
As they wandered the lands they kept feeling something warm inside of them, a soothing energy that kept trying to come out.
Magic, they decided to call it.
With some effort, they could move the magic through their horn and interact with the world around them. They soon learned how to move things through the air with magic and create light with it.
It was exciting, they were constantly finding new ways to do things. They felt like they had total control over their colorful world.
A year passed after they discovered they could use magic. The two would occasionally split up to explore a new land, wandering new places and sharing their discoveries with each other.
One day the two of them decided to split apart to explore a new region. The white mare went east to the mountains and the blue pony went west to the sea. Many hours passed as the white mare flew through the misty mountains.
As she took in the sights of the tall mountain range she came to a point where the mountaintop obscured the moon. The sight caused her to remember the absence of the sun she had so dearly missed.
But then she had an idea, she thought that now that she could use magic maybe she could bring her day back. She was hesitant to try however, as she knew how much her sister loved the night.
To take away what something somepony else loved gave her pause for concern. She had never thought about anything like that. But she thought that if she could live with having her sun taken away, her sister could live without the moon.
She landed on the top of one of the mountains, facing the full moon. She stood with her wings spread open and lowered her head. Taking a deep breath the white mare focused all her magic into her horn.
A single thought dominated her mind as she focused all of her magic on it: the Sun. She focused on thoughts of it rising from the horizon and lighting up the skies again. Her horn began to brightly glow a deep yellow.
The sky started to turn a light red as the moon fell from the center of the sky. She grunted as she pressed herself to keep focusing her magic through her mind to her horn.
A sliver of light appeared at the horizon, heralding a great ball of bright light.
The blue mare was flying over a body of water when she looked up and saw the sky brighten. She looked around confused for a moment as she watched her moon begin to lower to the edge of the horizon.
"No, do not leave, please!" She pleaded, stretching out her hoof at the celestial body. "Why are you leaving me?"
The white mare continued focusing her magic as the sun burst into the sky, surrounding the misty mountains in a warm beautiful light.
Light flowed through the lands around the two ponies. The blue mare covered her eyes as she flew back towards the closest piece of land. She had no idea what was happening to her night, and it was making her terrified.
A white alicorn stood atop a tall mountain, panting after her effort. She looked up and closed her eyes at the bright light. After a few moments her eyes adjusted and she looked into the bright sky.
It was back, she had brought back her sun.
She sat down in the grassy rock and a smile came across her face. It was incredibly relieving to have her old daytime back. She felt happy just being back in it's familiar embrace.
The blue pony found a short tree and hide underneath the oppressively bright sunlight. She closed her eyes and covered herself with a tree branch.
Another hour passed while one pony sat in happiness and the other hid in fear. Soon the blue pony dared to open her eyes and found that everything was less bright and less harsh to her.
She slowly moved the branch off of her and poked her head out into the light world. It was so different from the soothing dim world she had seen so far.
It was foreign yet it had a beautiful mystique to it. It was new and different, but it was incredible in every way. She cautiously took a step out into the warm sunlight. She looked up and saw a ball of extremely bright light in the sky.
Where had all of this come from, she asked herself. Perhaps her sister might know, she spoke of a bright object she had always held dear that vanished when she arrived. Perhaps this was what she meant.
Whatever it was, it was amazing.
The white pony suddenly had the urge to find her sister. She turned back west and opened her mouth to call out to her. As she did she froze, she had no idea how to call her sister; they had always simply wandered until they found each other.
She quickly flew back to where they had split apart. She wanted to see her sister now more then ever.
The blue mare flew up to a mountain and stopped on a high ledge. She looked at the beautiful landscape around her, it was so full of life and so warm. She stared at it and didn't even notice when a drop of water came out of her eye and flowed down her cheek.
It was more amazing then anything she had ever seen. She had no idea so much life could be in one place at once.
As she stood on the mountain she saw the white mare flying through the air looking around desperately. She smiled and quickly flew over to her. The white mare saw her approaching and flew to meet her.
"Oh sister, it is so beautiful!" The blue mare shouted as they neared each other.
They met and embraced each other in the air, relieved to see each other again. They flew down to a mountaintop and looked over the valley they had been exploring.
"What is it?" The blue pony asked her sister.
"It is what I told you about, it is the world as it was before you arrived. That is the Sun." The white mare pointed into the sky. "I felt lonely and sad, so I used my magic to bring it back."
The blue pony's smile disappeared a little. "This was what the world was like before?" She thought to herself. "It was really this beautiful until I arrived?"
"We are different aren't we?" The blue pony asked flatly.
The white mare became slightly concerned at her question. "What do you mean?"
"We are different. You are related to this bright sun, and I am related to the dark moon. Perhaps we should give each other names to show the difference." The blue mare said.
"Oh, okay." The white mare said, slightly distraught by the thought of making them even more different then each other. "What so you think your name should be?"
The blue pony sat for a moment, thinking about what her name should be.
"How about...Luna." She said.
"Luna? I think it is a fantastic name." The white mare smiled. "What do you think my name should be?"
Luna concentrated for another few moments before turning back to the white mare and answering her question.
"Your name will be...Celestia."
A white mare stood in an open grey field near the bottom of a hill. She scratched her head while Fate looked at her patiently.
"I'm terribly sorry, but I still don't understand how you knew about me and Zecora fighting." Celestia said, sitting with Fate in the plains outside of Ponyville.
"And I told you, I just knew. I realize it's pretty suspicious, so you have my permission to blast me into smithereens if you feel I'm not trustworthy." Fate said.
"I wasn't thinking of doing that." Celestia said. She looked at him for a moment before speaking again. "I hope you don't mind if I ask you something Fate."
"What are you really doing here? Surely there is a reason you wanted to see me and Zecora so badly." Celestia asked.
Fate nodded his head thoughtfully. "Yeah, there is another reason I came here. I actually wanted to ask you something."
"Oh? What is it?" Celestia raised an eyebrow.
Fate squinted his eyes and looked around the empty hills to check if anypony else was nearby. The two of them were alone together. He leaned closer to her and cuffed his hoof around his mouth before asking his question.
"Would you like to know a secret?"
"But why not Celestia? It is not fair!" Luna cried out in the middle of a forest clearing.
"Because the day is better. It makes it easier to see and it is warmer. Maybe you can bring out the moon later." Celestia answered.
The two of them stood facing each other on the bright green grass. Ever since Celestia had brought back the sun Luna had occasionally asked if she could bring back the moon as well. Celestia had always insisted that the sun was better and that she could raise the moon later. It had made her a little disappointed each time, but Luna thought these reasons were fair.
But this time she didn't want to take no for an answer.
"You always say that. I have asked you many times if I could but you always say no. It is not fair that I never get to see the moon." Luna complained.
"It is better for both of us with the sun up." Celestia calmly said.
"No it is not." Luna stomped her hoof on the ground. "I miss the moon like you missed the sun. You even said you thought my nighttime was beautiful. Why do you refuse to let me do it?"
"Because I said so." Celestia said, growing angry.
"Why does that mean I cannot raise the moon? Why do you get to command me?"
"Because I am older, and I am more experienced then you."
"You might be my big sister, but that does not mean you get to tell me what to do because you are thinking only of yourself." Luna said and raised her horn.
"Do not be ridiculous, sister. I am thinking of the both of us. And I say the sun stays." Celestia lowered her brows.
For weeks the thought of seeing her moon again made Luna upset. She didn't like seeing her precious night taken away by Celestia's sun, gorgeous as it may be.
Luna stood for a few seconds with her horn raised. "Well maybe I shall not listen to you this time! Since you refuse to let me do what I wish!"
Luna's horn glowed a deep blue and she flew up off of the ground. The sky started to darken slightly as the edge of the moon peeked over the horizon.
"Stop!" Celestia commanded her. Luna ignored her and kept focusing on bringing forth the moon and stars.
Celestia spread her wings out and raised her voice. "I said NO!"
Five meteors crashed into the ground around them. The shockwave broke Luna's concentration and she shot her eyes open. Five trails of black smoke came from five small craters. Four of the craters landed next to Luna and one next to Celestia.
Celestia crouched to the ground, her heart racing. As the thin trails of smoke cleared away small rocks were sitting on the ground. Luna lowered herself onto the ground and stared at the four rocks in front of her.
Luna leaned forward and looked at the rocks. They each had a symbol on them that looked like a gemstone. Celestia looked at her stone and then saw the four in front of Luna.
"What did you do?" Celestia asked, still angry at her.
Luna looked at Celestia with an accusing glare. "Me? I have done nothing! This was not my doing."
"Then why are there four over by you and only one here?"
"I don't know!" Luna yelled back. She looked down and rolled the rocks closer to herself.
Celestia eyed her suspiciously. "Why are doing that? Do you think they belong to you and not me?"
"Actually yes, and I AM going to keep them. If you get to have your precious sun all of the time then I think it is a fair trade that I may keep these." Luna picked up the stones with her magic.
"They do not belong to you!"
"Who are you to decide!" Luna yelled.
They stared each other down as Celestia grew more and more angry. "Fine!" She huffed. "But this one is mine! I am better off without all of them anyway."
"Me too. In fact, I think I might just be better off without having a sister either!" Luna stomped her hoof down.
Celestia gritted her teeth. "That makes two of us!"
They both scoffed and turned away from each other. Luna spread her wings and flew away towards a mountain with the stones carried by her magic. As Luna flew away Celestia stared at the rock for a moment before flying away in the opposite direction.
The bright sunlight beat down upon the two alicorns as they parted ways. The leaves on the trees sagged slightly, as if expressing their disappointment in the situation. The two of them have had minor disagreements before, but it had never been this severe.
Celestia landed in the shade of a large tree, placing her prize in the ground in front of her. She took a few moments to fester her anger as she sat in the shade. The light-grey stone sphere sat silently on the grass.
"She is being incredibly selfish." She huffed. "She wants to take everything away from me. But this is mine, she can't have this."
Celestia leaned down and investigated the rock. A symbol in the shape of a triangle jutted out of the surface.
"Now, what are you?"
A blue alicorn sat in the mouth of a cave, just outside of the sun's reach. She eyed her four grey rocks absently. Her anger at Celestia was all she could focus on right now.
"How could she be so incredibly selfish?" Luna said to herself. "She says the sun is better, but it is only so she can keep the moon away."
She looked out into the lush forest that sprang from the bottom of the mountain. The plants shifted in the slight breeze as they always did, but small specks of brown were fading onto them.
Luna ignored them and stared at the rocks again. They sat silently, as if waiting to see what she would do with them.
"Accursed rocks..." She said under her breath, knocking one away from her. She suddenly felt very angry, she was frustrated that not only was Celestia being selfish, she had no idea what these rocks were supposed to be.
At least Celestia didn't have them all. That fact gave her some solace. It was oddly refreshing to have something Celestia did not, it gave her a sense of power. As she eyed the stones a new sense of determination rose in her head.
"I am going take back what she took from me." Luna said and began focusing her magic in her horn.
A single stone was floating in front of Celestia as she held her eyes closed, pushing into the stone with her magic. She had spent her time trying to find out what could be so special about these simple rocks.
Probing the energy inside was simpler then she expected, but there was something unusual about it. It was carrying a magic she had never seen before, one completely different then hers or Luna's.
She gritted her teeth at the thought of Luna, but she quickly ignored her and went back to studying the stone.
If she were to push into it with her magic, then she could sense a deep reservoir of this strange and powerful magic. A little more focus showed more of it's inner workings to her.
The stone indeed contained a deep pool of magic, but it was thin and diluted. She could sense four other pools of energy as well, but they were only a faint trace. The other four magical sources felt very similar to the one she had.
But what were the other four magic sourc-
Celestia opened her eyes and dropped the sphere she was holding. "Luna. So that's why she wanted them, she knew they had some kind of power in them!"
She looked over her shoulder and saw a small sliver of the moon appear at the edge of the horizon. Her mouth opened in shock as she saw the stars fade into light. In a rush she grabbed the stone with her magic.
"No! You won't take my sun away from me!" She yelled and leapt into the air to find Luna.
Luna stood at the mouth of the cave with her horn glowing a deep blue. She kept her eyes closed, focusing on pulling the moon into view. The moon responded by surging into view, bringing along a chorus of shining lights that dotted the bright sky.
The moon made it's way into the sky, but the sun remained where it stood. The sky darkened slightly as the sun's light was suppressed by the moon's presence. A red hue overtook the land, engulfing it in an unnatural twilight.
Celestia flew up to find Luna. She saw a glint of light out of the corner of her eye and followed it. As she approached she could see Luna with her wings spread wide and magic undulating around her horn.
"Stop!" Celestia bellowed.
Luna opened her eyes and angrily stared at Celestia. "Not this time. You shall not tell me what to do anymore."
She stared Celestia dead in the eyes and continued raising the moon.
"I knew those rocks were caused by you! You just wanted their magic so you could take something else away from me." Celestia said.
"What are you talking about?" Luna responded.
"You managed to take those four but you needed this one to receive all of their power. So you would take away my sun and then later take my stone."
"You have lost your reasoning, I don't know what these things are and I don't care. I am simply standing up for myself!" Luna yelled.
Celestia ground her hoof into the smooth rock in anger. She didn't want Luna to take anything away from her, especially not the sun. She directed a small amount of magic to her horn and launched it out at Luna as raw energy.
The beam of magic hit Luna in the side of her face, knocking her back a few steps. She winced at the mark on her cheek and looked up at Celestia with a look of confusion.
"Stop." Celestia said, her tone infused with rage.
"No." Luna said.
Celestia fired another beam at Luna, hitting her in the chest. She stared at Luna as she coughed from the impact of the magic.
"Stop the moon right now."
Another bolt of magic hit Luna in the face. She spat out a drop of blood onto the stone floor. Celestia waited for Luna to make another move. Luna shook her head and her horn glowed again.
Celestia furrowed her brows and fired another bolt. Then another. And another. Each hit impacting Luna like fierce kick and knocking more air from her lungs.
Behind Celestia the lone rock sat discarded on the ground. As she continued to fire at Luna the rock began to grow a deep black. The other four stones grew black as well and trembled slightly on the ground.
Luna fell to the ground and brought her hooves over her face to protect herself. Celestia took a few steps forward and fired more bolts of magic.
Luna squirmed on the ground, her body being covered in bruises. Her horn stopped glowing as she lost her focus. Every bolt made her more afraid and more helpless.
"Stop!" Luna said, streaks of smoke coming off of her body.
Celestia ignored her.
The five rocks stopped trembling and each rolled out of the cave. They had turned into a dark shade of black, and as they rolled past the mouth of the cave they floated up into the air in a circle.
"What are you doing?" Luna pleaded, her breath just barely audible.
Celestia froze in place, caught off guard by Luna's words. She stood with her horn ready to cast another blast of magic. The cave was quiet expect for the humming of her horn and Luna's whimpering.
At the sight of Luna's shaking battered body Celestia stopped focusing her magic and her mouth dropped open.
"What AM I doing?" She thought to herself.
She had only been trying to stop Luna from taking away her sun, but now she could see what Luna really wanted to do. Luna was feeling just like she was the night Luna arrived and the sun disappeared, she was scared and threatened. And she was trying to get back the only thing she had.
Luna had been her little sister, they had promised to be with each other forever. They had both experienced the fear of having something dear taken away, only she had tried to keep hers forever by keeping away what Luna loved.
Selfish. The word roared through Celestia's head like a hurricane, consuming all of her thoughts and making her feel worse then she could ever imagine.
"Luna..." Celestia could barely hear herself.
The five sphere stones spun around each other and flashed black and white. An aura of black magic appeared in between them and lightning began striking out from it. It shook and ground as it unleashed a black beam of magic that slithered into the cave and struck Luna.
Celestia watched the black tendril of magic grab Luna and looked over her shoulder. The five black stones were spinning around each other and more black tendrils were escaping the center. They reached out in every direction and plunged into the ground, spreading a wave that drained the plants of their life and color.
Celestia looked back at Luna who was being lifted into the air by the stones. Luna shot her eyes open and saw the magic envelope her. She let out a cry of pain as the magic coursed through her.
"Luna!" She shouted and charged towards her.
Celestia jumped over to Luna, trying to shield her from the tendril. She grabbed Luna and pulled her close.
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry, I was being so seflish and I tried to control you. I never should have done that Luna, and I'm very sorry." Celestia held Luna's head and pleaded to her.
Luna held her eyes closed as the tendrils gripped her.
"This is all my fault. The stones have some kind of magic and I think my anger twisted it into something terrible. I'm so sorry Luna."
Luna clung to consciousness from the pain but managed to give Celestia one small smile. One little smile that said everything.
I forgive you.
Celestia couldn't contain herself, she let her grief pour out as she grabbed onto Luna and her horn started to glow. She drove her magic over Luna and grabbed onto the black tendril. As she did it responded by releasing Luna and grabbing onto her.
Celestia dropped Luna and fell backwards in pain. It felt as if the tendril was trying to tear her apart from the inside out. Every muscle was bursting apart inch by inch. She had to struggle just to stay in one piece.
As Luna hit the stone floor her eyes jutted open and she could make out Celestia struggling on the ground in front of her. She blinked to clear her vision and looked from Celestia to the swirling stone rocks.
"Get away from her..." She said, almost passing out from exhaustion as she did.
The rocks ignored her, continuing to pump their dark magic into Celestia and the surrounding area. Luna grunted and pulled herself forward, trying to reach Celestia.
"I said..." She wobbled onto her hooves.
"Get away from my sister!"
Luna leapt onto Celestia, her horn glowing bright. Celestia's eyes opened and she saw Luna grabbing onto her. She embraced Luna and pulled her closer.
A new magic began to flow between them. Spirals of different bright colors came out of Celestia and Luna and joined together to make one large halo of rainbow colors. The magic formed into a stream and shot at the black rocks.
The rainbow colored magic began spiraling around the black rocks, overpowering their dark aura. Celestia and Luna lay embraced on the stone floor, holding each other for dear life as the magic sent a shockwave of air past them.
The black rocks stopped spinning and the rainbow magic went inside of them. They flashed a bright white, blocking out the sun's own light. The ground shook, either out of awe or fear.
A rainbow shot out of the stones and fly up high. It spun until it created a funnel of colors and power. Out of the funnel came a crashing wave of pure magic that poured out and spread in every direction.
Magic unlike anything the earth had every seen overtook everything in sight. The wave of white magic spread until it had consumed the entire world.
As the wave dissipated the ground stopped quaking and everything was as quiet as it was before. The rocks stopped spinning and calmly floated down to the ground. They rested peacefully amidst the green grass.
Celestia and Luna didn't dare open their eyes, fearing something might happen to each other if they did. They stayed with each other for almost an hour, simply holding on to one another.
After their hearts stopped racing they released each other and smiled to one another. They looked at the world outside of the cave. It was still in that red-ish hue that came from having both the sun and the moon in the same sky.
"Hey sis." Celestia said, her voice ached.
"Don't mention it sis." Luna said back and smiled. "So what shall we do now?"
Celestia looked up at the sky. The sun and the moon almost battled for control of the sky. Streaks of dark blue and red swirled among each other.
She looked down at the plants, they were coated in brown spots, desperate for a reprieve from the sun.
"The plants are dying from the heat. And we cannot leave the sky like this. I think it is just the right time for a little nighttime, wouldn't you agree sister?" Celestia said.
Luna looked up at Celestia with joy in her eyes. "I think you are right, sister."
Luna's horn glowed as she focused on the moon. Celestia did the same, focusing her magic on retreating the sun.
The two celestial bodies performed a heavenly dance as they aligned themselves in the sky. The sun moving away at the movements of the moon, mirroring it's moves as it left the field of view. The moon took it's proper place in the middle of the sky as a dark blue hue overtook the land.
Stars let their fullness shine through at long last, bringing an end to the harmonized dance. A hushed tone swept over the trees, a familiar quiet coming back.
Celestia and Luna stopped focusing and opened their eyes to look at the peaceful nighttime. A sense of accomplishment welled up in both of them. The kind that comes from a mutual victory over a great feat.
They sighed in relief and decided to rest their tired bodies. They walked out of the cave and saw the five grey stone spheres, their magic now inert. They decided to ignore them and curled next to each other on a soft patch of grass.
Sleep brought it's calming aura over the two alicorn sisters and they soon found themselves sleeping away the awful experience they had just endured.
Hours in silence passed as they slept at the grassy foot of a mountain. Time cast it's healing spell on their bodies and their minds from the pain and the heartache. They slept more peacefully then they ever did in their entire lives.
"A secret? What kind of secret?" Celestia asked Fate as the two of them stood in the empty fields.
"A secretive one. Which everypony knows is the best kind of secret." Fate answered.
"Fate, I don't wish to be rude but these last few hours have been very hard on me, and I am not used to having to deal with these rough situations. So please stop messing around." Celestia sighed.
Fate frowned for a moment and lowered his ears. "Ok then..."
Celestia seemed a little hurt by his disappointment. "Sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel bad, it is all just very stressful. I have no idea just what Nightmare Moon has done since she returned, and I'm not sure if I can do much about it right now." She pressed a hoof where her necklace used to be.
Fate nodded his head understandingly. "You're in a real bind, I get that. Maybe what you need right now is a good rest. I know we need to stop Nightmare Moon, but right now we have all the time in the world."
"We?" Celestia said.
"That's right, I wanna help you Princess. Consider me your guide to the new Equestria. I can help you and guide you where you wanna go." Fate gave a smug smile.
Celestia thought for a moment. She didn't quite trust him yet, but right now he was the only pony she had left. It would be a gamble, but she really didn't have any other choice then to listen to him for the moment.
"I am very grateful you are willing to help me Fate, it is good to have somepony by my side."
Fate gave her a salute. "I'll be the most helpful pony that has ever lived. Ponies will tell their foals stories of how helpful I was. Scribes will write tales of an earth pony who charted entirely new realms of helpfulness."
Celestia chuckled at his display. He certainly had a way of making someone feel better.
"But, I suppose it would be helpful if you told me what you were planning on doing next." Fate said.
Celestia frowned. In her time in Ponyville she had often thought about what could be done, and the each solution came back to retrieving the Elements of Harmony.
"The only way I could think of was getting the Elements of Harmony back. If I can get the Elements then they can fix everything. So that is what I will do: go find Nightmare Moon and take back the Elements of Harmony." Celestia said firmly.
Fate looked at her hesitantly. "Is that your whole plan? Just get the Elements of Harmony?"
"The Elements are the only things that can put everything back in order. I need to get them."
"Well...um...that's gonna be a problem." Fate rubbed the back of his neck.
"Why do you say that?"
"Because the Elements of Harmony are kind of...gone."
"What do you mean?" Celestia asked.
"Technically they are still there, but they're different. They aren't the Elements of Harmony anymore, they've been changed by Nightmare Moon." Fate said.
"I've actually studied the Elements of Harmony very heavily in my time, and I even saw them after she stole them. When she came back, she almost immediately drew from their power. And because every time you access magic from them you also put in some of your own magic, they became corrupted by the evil inside of her."
"In essence," Fate continued, "when you use their power you connect with them, your magic intermingles with theirs. When she used them her evil turned the good traits in them into evil traits like anger and hatred. They essentially stopped being the Elements of Harmony and became a dark shadow of their former selves. They aren't really the Elements of Harmony anymore, those Elements are a fake copy filled with darkness."
"Oh." Celestia said. "But if we can get them back then we can turn into the Elements of Harmony again, right?"
"I'm afraid not. Her corruption was too deep-seeded, her hatred and anger were so strong that I don't think they could ever be turned back." Fate sighed. "I'm afraid that the Elements of Harmony are gone for good."
Celestia felt her gut tie up into a knot. Getting the Elements of Harmony was the her only option, she had no idea what else she could do.
"But!" Fate suddenly blurted out. "I do happen to know another way."
"You do?" Celestia leaned forward.
"Yes, but it's my little secret."
"You said you wanted to help me, Fate. Now tell me what it is." Celestia insisted.
"Alright, but I want to let you know now that this is no ordinary secret. This secret is something that nopony in Equestria knows, it's a secret that you have kept from yourself for thousands of years. I don't even think Nightmare Moon knows it."
Fate leaned closer to Celestia. "But I will only tell you what it is on one condition."
"What is it?"
"We need to start moving right away. There are places you need to be Princess, and I'm just the pony who can take you there."
Celestia thought for a moment. The possibility of walking into a trap was high, but she felt that she could handle a sticky situation should one arise.
"I agree with you Fate, we need to get moving. Where were you planning on going?"
Fate jumped to his hooves. "I'm glad you're on board, Princess. The first place we need to go is the Valley of the Spires. That is where the first step on the path to victory lies."
"Is this where the secret lies as well?"
"You bet. I could just tell you what it is right now, but I feel like it would be better for you if you saw it firsthoof. After all, you'll recognize it when you see it." Fate turned to Celestia and winked.
"You've got a deep secret sitting in your mind, and it is just the thing that will win us Equestria back." Fate continued. "It's something that happened a long time ago, and you have been hiding it from yourself for all these years, even if you didn't know it. But I know it, and I'm going to help you rediscover it."
"Do you mean-?" Celestia began to recognize what he was talking about.
"Yes, I mean the empty gap in your memory. The blank spot in history where time seems to skip ahead. It happened around the time right after the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters was contructed." Fate explained. "You and Luna destroyed any recollection of the events using a memory-erasing spell, but the memory can be brought back using various means to jog the brain and make it remember the memory that was erased."
Fate took a few steps away from Celestia. "Now let's go Princess, we have a ways to go and I'd rather not keep dilly dallying."
A slight breeze swept through Celestia's hair as she slowly stood up. She had long since wondered what the gap in her memory was, but if it was something she had erased from her own memory then she trusted her past judgment and had made no attempt to recall the memories.
As tired as she was, it felt good to be moving with a purpose, even if that purpose wasn't exactly clear. Fate waited for Celestia to catch up to him before walking forward at a brisk pace. Celestia followed behind him, trying to shake off the sores from her skirmish with Zecora.
The two of them walked through the empty plains in silence. Fate kept a few paces ahead of Celestia, seemingly unaware of her difficulty in keeping up with him.
"So, Fate." Celestia said, breaking up the silence. "What exactly is at the Valley of the Spires?"
"You'll see, Princess." Fate said over his shoulder. He brushed his green mane before continuing. "They say that a dangerous creature guards it's misty depths, that's why so many ponies avoided it at all costs. We'll find out if that's true when we get there."
Celestia remembered hearing stories about the Valley of the Spires. Well seasoned myths about a mysterious beast that would kill entire parties without any of them even noticing it was happening.
No ponies had ever gone in there and come out before. The area was considered a wasteland with no minable resources, so the myths just further convinced everypony it was a place to be avoided.
And it just so happened that the key to her past and the future of Equestria rested inside it.
Something caused a white alicorn's ear to flicker as she lay sleeping on the ground. It wasn't a breeze, but a faint sound.
Celestia's ear flickered again, this time bringing her out of her slumber. She hazily opened an eyelid, but the only thing she could see was Luna sleeping peacefully next to her. She sighed to herself, relieved that their last ordeal was over.
But there was that sound again. It didn't sound anything like trees swaying in the wind, in fact it sounded much more like a living creature. Celestia stood up, careful not to wake Luna, and walked to where she heard the noise.
Nothing could have prepared her for what she saw as she moved a bush out of the way and saw into a nearby clearing.
"Luna!" Celestia ran back to her sister and shook her awake. "Luna, wake up. You must see this!"
"What? What is it?" Luna sleepily got to her hooves.
"Come here." Celestia lead Luna over to the bush and pushed it aside. Luna's mouth dropped as she looked into the forest floor.
Under the shade of a grove of trees was a group of small ponies, each of them different colors. They laid on the ground curled up into little balls, all happily asleep. One of them was awake and making a moaning sound.
"What are they?" Celestia asked Luna.
"I think they might be like us." Luna said.
They stepped through the bush and wandered into the group of sleeping ponies. There was almost a dozen of them in a circle around the five stone spheres. The stones were the same except they were a slightly lighter shade of grey now.
Celestia saw the stones and froze. Luna noticed her gaze and gave her a reassuring nudge.
"I think they are safe now." Luna said and gave Celestia a smile.
Celestia hesitantly took a step forward and looked down at the sleeping foal. "Where did they come from?"
"I don't know." Luna answered. She looked back at the rocks and noticed they were in the exact middle between the foals. "Maybe they came from the stones."
Celestia took another look at the baby ponies. A third of them had wings but no horn, another third had a horn but no wings, and the last third had neither wings nor a horn. They had a wide range of colors, contrasting her pure white coat and Luna's dark blue.
"What do you think we should do with them?" Celestia asked.
"The same you did with me, we raise them and teach them. You told me how much raising me enriched your life, so I think we should do it again."
Celestia looked down at a bright yellow foal. They certainly did remind her of Luna. The opportunity to raise life again made her feel very excited.
But with the joy of bringing up others came the danger as well. Celestia felt a pang of fear that she might let her selfish desires come forth again.
This time would be different however. This time she would work with Luna to raise them together. They would figure out a way to make everything work out.
"And on that day in the forest the two alicorn sisters decided to raise the group of ponies that came from the Elements of Harmony. And the legends say that this was also the day mortality found it's way into the land that soon came to be known as Equestria.'
'They strived and struggled to accept the consequences of taking care of the group of mortal ponies. They took up a role as stewards to all the different kinds of ponies, raising them in numbers and knowledge.'
'This was how ponies, and the other creatures of the lands, were born into the world with the two alicorn sisters as their teachers. The pony population grew until they had conquered the land they stood on and built towns and villages, ushering in the first age of recorded history."
The sound of hooves clapping together in applause could be heard coming from a pair of hooves wearing golden horseshoes.
"Wow, I cannot even remember the last time I heard that tale. Thank you for telling it, Fate."
"My pleasure, Celestia. It's my personal favorite story, although I imagine it means much more to you then it does to me, considering it's a piece of your history."
"It's very surreal hearing it. It's like a remembering a long forgotten dream. Although I think we should stop for the night, it is getting dark."
"I agree, I'll save the next chapter for morning. That's the most important bit."
-Three Hours Earlier-
"How long do we have to go until we reach the Valley?" Celestia asked Fate, breaking the awkward silence that fell over them as they walked through the plains.
"Can't say for sure, but I suspect we should be there sometime tomorrow morning if we keep going at this rate. But I suggest we stop for the night at some point, it gets pretty spooky out here when it's dark. Or...darker, I guess."
Celestia nodded to herself. She didn't want Fate to see it, but she was very exhausted, both physically and mentally. Just when she thought she could find an ally in Zecora she lost her in the Void.
Thoughts of her beloved student raged throughout her mind, dominating almost every waking moment that wasn't spent speaking to Fate. If it wasn't for him she didn't know what she would be doing right now.
She managed a small smile. It was good to have a friend again.
But her smile quickly vanished as her mind turned to the dark thought of losing him just like all the others. While she had been alone before, it was something that tore her up inside. She couldn't stand the thought of ending up fighting by herself.
"Hey!" Fate suddenly said, turning his head and smiling to Celestia. "I have an idea, why don't we do something to pass the time?"
"Alright, did you have anything in mind?"
"We could play I Spy With My Little Eye as we walk. But...I suppose their isn't much around to look at, so it would over too quickly." Fate squinted as he thought to himself. "Ah! I know what we could do, we could tell stories. And as it turns out, I happen to be a fantastic story teller."
"I think a story would be nice. Did you have any particular story in mind?" Celestia asked.
Fate smiled knowingly. "Oh, I have one story that I know you will absolutely love. I believe you are already familiar with it; it has been called the first story in recorded history. A story that got passed down from an untold number of generations, and one that has captivated minds the world over."
"What story is it?"
"It's yours, Princess. It is the story of how the Elements of Harmony were born, how you and your sister came into being, and how the Elements of Harmony created all living beings and introduced mortality to the world."
"It has been ages since I have heard that tale. I have missed those days where everything was much simpler." Celestia sighed to herself. "I would love to hear that story, Fate."
"Then let's not waste any time in telling it. I should tell you now however, that the reason I chose this story is because it ties directly to your forgotten memory. I could just start there, but it would be better if we simply start at the beginning. It is important to know what lead up to the gap in your memory before we extrapolate on it."
Fate cleared his throat and got ready to speak. "Let's begin shall we?"
"Her eyes shot open into a blinding yellow light, she squinted against the intensity of the huge ball of light hanging high into the sky. She couldn't bear to look at it, she spent several minutes trying to adjust her eyes to the place surrounding her.
Finally the light became less intense, as her eyes adjusted to this strange world she found herself in. She looked around this gorgeous landscape for any clues as to where she found herself. A landscape so full and teeming with life, yet there was no one else around her....."