Synopsis – Dr. Whooves is worried. A time disturbance is radiating out from the Frozen North, it’s origin a thousand years before his and Derpy’s time. He knows from these facts alone it must have something to do with the tomb of the Crystal Empire and more notably, King Sombra. But how does one reach a place time-locked under a hundred million tons of ice? And why does Princess Celestia and Princess Luna insist Sombra’s sentence is for eternity? The answers lie with a Marazon TimeWitch who claims she not only knew King Sombra, but was his consort. Can Whooves keep her from killing the Two Sisters long enough to convince her his way of fixing time is better than the alicorn blood she feels she must spill?
Approximately 7,121 words.
The beautiful cover art is done by the very talented writer & artist Pixel_Spark, a dirty Sombra plebe. Beware – we are EVERYWHERE! =D
Please note: this story is up to Chapter 9 and is a work in progress. It will be updated once a month, quicker once we actively resume writing chapters again. To keep up on future chapter releases, please subscribe to our website feed in the sidebar. If you need help with that, feel free to contact us here.
“Hello, my dear Derpy,” Whooves greeted brightly as she walked into the workshop where the Time Pony was tinkering with something on his overcrowded bench space. “And how are we this lovely morning?”
She threw her mailbag over onto a chair. “It’s evening, Doctor. In fact, it’s dinnertime.” She came over to inspect whatever it was he was doing. “When were you last outside this lab of yours? When did you last eat?”
“Oh, about 253 years ago,” he said without looking up. She stuck her nose into his project, trying to get him to look at her. It worked. He looked up thoughtful, staring at nothing in particular. “I was in Saddle Arabia, come to think of it. Makes me thirsty.”
The mailmare searched for something to drink and since nothing was nearby, went over to the ‘fridge and rooted around until she came out, having found nothing. More searching found a teapot near to boiling on a makeshift stove (i.e. a bunsen burner). Dragging it off and pouring him a cup, she pulled out a packet of something, tore off the top and emptied its contents into it. He watched her approvingly, then buried his nose back in his project. “Ah, tea, excellent choice, Derp mi’gal,” he beamed.
She came over and placed the cup next to him on the workbench. “If you’re thirsty thinking of Saddle Arabia, I would recommend water, but that’s just me being strange, I suppose.”
“Most definitely,” he agreed, pulling the cup over to him. His nose picked up the scent of the contents and he frowned. It finally got him to look up and stick his nose into the little china cup. “Ugh! That’s not tea!” he complained disapprovingly.
“No, Doctor. It’s hot chocolate,” she replied.
Shaking his head at her, he moved the cup away and went back to work. “And it will stay hot chocolate, in that cup and never touch my muzzle,” he declared.
“Why not? What’s wrong with hot chocolate?” she asked.
“Ask a bar of chocolate,” he said, sticking his nose closer to her for emphasis. “The form, the temperature.” Drawing back, he lifted his head proudly. “All unnatural.”
Derpy sighed. “So says the pony who gallops through time and space at of course, completely natural speeds and in perfectly normal methods of transportation. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?”
“Nope,” he punctuated his word with a ‘pop’ at the end. “That’s why I always travel in hoof with a lovely companion.” He extended his hoof to hers.
She smiled, taking it. “Now that’s more like it, Doctor.”
They strolled to the time box. “So, where are you taking me for dinner?” she grinned.
“Me? I thought I was the one that was in need of food because I’ve been starving all day!” he pouted.
“Well, I’ve been flying around all day, too, delivering mail. I haven’t had lunch or dinner!” Derpy complained.
“Okay,” he agreed. “Dutch?”
She sighed, opening the door to the time machine. “It’s always ‘dutch’ with you! One day I’m going to get a Doctor who is gallant and treats me for once!”
He followed in after her. “I’m afraid you’re about two faces too late for that, mi’dear.”
Once inside, a soft beeping caught his attention. But as he trotted over to the console, Derpy drug his attention back to her. “Oohhh…Doctor? I feel dizzy!” she staggered, shaking her head.
“What – ah!” he was hit an instant later with the same feeling, driving him to the ground, his legs folding under him. “Ah! That’s a nasty time shift!” he groaned, trying to blink his blurry vision clear again. “Derps? Derps, are you all right?”
“I – I think so, Doctor,” she said slowly, recovering quicker than the time sensitive stallion. “What was that?”
“A time shift. A bad one from the feel of it!” Carefully he made his way back up on his hooves. “Felt like an entire region was affected.” He caught sight of the door to the Tardis, still open. “Ah, it didn’t help that the spacial interface was still open to the outside world and local time stream.”
“You mean the door was still open?” the mailmare asked, completely recovered.
“Yes, well if you want a less interesting and exciting phrase, yes! The ‘door’ was still open,” he grumbled. Once back up and centered, his head swung back over to the console, which was beeping louder and more insistently now. “That must be what the old girl was trying to get our attention for. She felt it coming on. Derps, would you do the honors?” he requested, indicating the door.
She pulled it closed and trotted over to him at the Tardis console. “Dinner may have to wait,” he warned. “This upset in the time stream is massive. It affects two thirds of Equestria and the other third has smaller blips of consequential repercussions.”
“’Blips’”, echoed Derpy. “Is that a scientific term?”
“It is now,” he nodded, giving her a wide manic grin. He programmed coordinates into the console and threw a switch.
The time box bucked and sounded off-kilter, fighting his coordinates. They had to grab the sides of the desktop to keep from being thrown to the floor. “Whoa!” Whooves yelped. “Goodness me! Wake up on the wrong side of the time-space continuum, did we, Missy?”
“Now that is a temper tantrum if I’ve ever heard – and felt one!” the mailmare mumbled.
“Indeed. She doesn’t want to head to where it is strongest…” he glanced at a map of Equestria. “which is…oh…a glacier about a thousand years in the past!”
“Oh…not frozen, long-buried Martians again, Doctor,” the mare whined. “They were horrid!”
“They are an honorable race, Derpy,” he countered, offended on their behalf. “It was the frozen Cyberponies that were horrid.”
“Good point,” she conceded. “but if we aren’t going there, why are we going somewhere else?”
“If I could tell you that, Derps, I would be omnipotent, would have fixed it already and we wouldn’t be having this conversation, now would we?” Whooves told her. “All she’ll tell us is that we appear to be taking a detour to – well, to Canterlot! Hang on, Derpy!”
In an alcove of Canterlot Castle’s many corridors, the Tardis slipped into existence again, only her peculiar wheezing engines giving her away. Fortunately, the corridor had emptied only a minute prior as a large pair of double doors had opened, letting a medium-sized crowd of ponies into another room.
Whooves poked his head out the door, looking in all directions before deigning it safe to exit the machine, gesturing to Derpy as he did so. Once she was out, he closed the door behind them, patting the side of the time box.
The two looked around. “Well, it does look like Canterlot Castle,” Whooves nodded. “She was correct in telling us that.”
“And it looks modern day, too,” Derpy agreed. “That’s a relief!”
“Yes. Whatever’s upset time, it must have something to do with the Royal Pony Sisters. C’mon!” Whooves cautiously opened one of the large doors, looked and crept in, pulling the mare behind him.
The large room was the throne room. They were at the end of a crowd of mares, stallions and families from all walks of life, standing in line, waiting to be heard by someone at the far end of the line from where the two travelers were. Derpy craned her neck around the crowd to see who it was. “Princess Celestia and Princess Luna!” she reported back to the Doctor.
“Makes sense,” he shrugged.
“What do we do now, Doctor?” she asked.
He scratched his mane, mussing it up even further than it already was. “Simple. We wait in line like everypony else.”
They waited, moving up in line ever so slowly. They had arrived in the morning and the Celestia’s sun had nearly peaked overhead when thankfully they were now only the second ones from the front of the line. “I hope something happens soon,” Whooves muttered to Derpy. “If we get up there and don’t know what we’re here for – “
The pony in front of them was next. The Princesses looked to the hooded and cloaked figure. “Welcome to Canterlot Castle, my subject. What might we do for you?” Princess Celestia addressed her.
The cloaked figure came slightly closer and bowed. From the sway of her back hips, the time travelers guessed it was a mare under the concealing garb. Her voice confirmed it. It also seemed to carry a peculiar hint of something else underneath it, almost like a double echo. The crowd, which had grown tired and restless over the past few hours, turned to her at its unique, almost regal cadence.
“I pray thee, I am no subject, your Highnesses, but I have nowhere else to turn to,” she began.
“Oh? Where does thouest come from?” Luna asked. “You speak in the old ways and sound vaguely familiar.”
The mare nodded her head. “Indeed, fair Princess of the Night. We have met before. And from where and when I hail, that would be the Crystal Empire.”
The Royal Sisters looked at each other. “Were Princess Cadence and Prince Shining Armor not able to hear or assist with your case?” Celestia asked, tackling that subject before her questioning her about why she said “when” she hailed from.
“Indeed not, your Highness,” the mare replied.
“Did you hear that, Derpy,” Whooves leaned to her, whispering. “’where and when’? I think we are on to something here.”
“This is a matter far beyond their hooves to tend,” the mystery mare confirmed, pacing back and forth slowly in front of the thrones. “for it was not their magic that caused me the loss of my King and my consort.”
Those in the crowd around them muttered at this and the Sisters themselves looked at each other in growing curiosity. It was Luna who addressed this. “There has not be a King in Equestria for a millennia, traveler.”
They could see a smile from inside the concealing cloak. “I did also mention ‘when’, your fair Highness,” the mare agreed.
It was Derpy’s turn to lean to the Doctor. “She certainly likes Princess Luna,” she muttered.
“Yes,” he agreed. “She keeps complimenting Her.”
“We would hear you out, dear,” Celestia interrupted. “but first, We would like to see the face of she who requests Our assistance.”
“Soon, and I apologize, Sun Goddess,” the mare agreed. “but I fear thy judgment would be affected by my appearance before Ye had a chance to hear me out.”
“Fair enough, if the thought makes you uncomfortable, then please proceed,” Celestia granted the unusual request.
The mare stopped pacing. “I have been without my King for a long time and my heart aches so badly even breathing is no longer bearable nor tolerable to me. I wish to beg for His sentence to be lightened. Its length has been – affected by unnatural forces and is of a crueler nature than He deserves.”
The question of her status if she were married to a King burned on the Sister’s lips, but they exercised patience before asking. “What do you mean ‘affected by unnatural forces’?” Luna asked.
“Time has – how shall I put this? Jumped a track and landed back in the wrong place,” their petitioner said carefully. “I know not the how, nor the why. All I know is I must do something to right it.”
There were mutters of disbelief at her words and she stood stock still, as if she had fully expected such a reaction.
“This grows more puzzling,” Celestia shook her head. “What was His sentence and what is it now?”
“And who is He? Indeed, who are thee?” Luna could no longer stand the mystery.
“His original sentence, your Highnesses, was one thousand years,” the mare declared.
Whooves sucked in a breath. “Save Discord, there’s only one pony that was sentenced to a thousand years by the Royal Pony Sisters!“
“We know of no pony nor creature save Discord condemned to such a length of time,” Celestia shook her head, startling the Doctor.
“What?” he asked softly.
“Yes,” agreed the mare. “Because now time has been distorted and His sentence has changed – “ she paused, took a breath. “to eternity!”
All manner of mutterings came from around them. Celestia drew back, a darkness flickering over her features. Luna’s gaze turned slightly chillier.
“We would see who thee are now,” Luna commanded, done with humoring the mysterious mare.
She drew her hood back, then let the cloak fall to the ground and stood unflinching under theirs and the other’s gazes. She was taller than a standard pony, the feathering on her hooves leading both the Princesses and the Doctor to believe she was of Freisan stock. Her coloring was black, with a misty, fog-like grey mane as wild and full as Princess Luna’s herself, and shot through with glittering sparkles fading in and out of visibility within its shadows.
This was not, however, what made all assembled so uncomfortable. Her eyes were all and completely black, with no discernible features such as an iris or cornea. If that were not disturbing enough, her unicorn’s horn was a sharp curve of black at the base, quickly shading into grey, then curving into a silver-tipped point – curved like a familiar, ancient Unicorn Witch King’s. She wore a silver breastplate and red royal cloak across her back, unnervingly familiar to the Two Sisters – and her crown’s familiarities sent a shiver through them as well!
Celestia’s and Luna’s tenseness conveyed itself to the royal guard who were stationed around the room. They became more alert, bringing their spears closer to attention, their muscles subtly shifting into readiness.
The mare picked up on this and ignored them for the moment. She had been trained to be on the alert for such threats, the instinct to be aware of them and ready to defend herself as natural as breathing.
“Nyx?” Luna peered closer at the mare. “Is that you?”
The mare nodded, bowed her head to her. “Yes, my Princess.”
“Why do you wear the crown of King Sombra?” Celestia asked, unable to hide the tension in Her voice of their petitioner’s revealed identity.
“Though it bears the triple moon in honor of the Marazon’s links to Princess Luna, I believe I made that clear, your Highness,” Nyx replied. “He is my King.”
“The Crystal Empire had no Queen,” the Sun Princess said assuredly. “and King Sombra no wife. It would have been in the royal registry – “
Nyx tilted her head at the ruler in annoyance. “Oh yes, as if relations between Yourself and my consort,” she emphasized. “were cordial enough You would have been made aware of this.”
Princess Luna jumped down from her throne, coming up to Nyx. “Last I heard, Nyx, you were captured by King Sombra’s forces, enslaved. And this a thousand years ago!”
The mare nodded. “Yes, I was. The Marazons – “ she trailed off, indicating it had not ended well. “I do not know if they even survive any longer in this age – or time stream.”
“Yes!” Whooves quietly jumped. “Nailed it! She’s our nexus point, Derpy!”
“We are sorry for the losses of your people, Nyx,” Celestia said. “I feel for what you must have endured at King Sombra’s cruel hooves.”
“Less than you imagine, your Highness,” Nyx replied. “He was only slightly worse than the worst stallion the Marazons ever swore off their company for.”
Luna went back up to Celestia and they conferred a moment. Whooves and Derpy stayed highly attentive to every word exchanged, every gesture so far. He was contemplating his options when the Two Sisters seemed to come to a consensus.
They faced Nyx again. It was, of course, Princess Celestia who spoke for both of them. “I am sorry for your losses, Nyx and for the affection you obviously held for King Sombra, but the sentence cannot be changed. He must never be allowed again to commit such crimes against ponyhood.”
“Those who were not there have no right to judge what was committed or not committed, without witnesses, your Highness,” the Marazon said, fighting to keep her voice even. “The crystal field allowed none egress to the area without His permissions. How can thy know what truly went on? And how can He repent or learn to become a better ruler whilst frozen under the ice flows of Northern Equestria ’till the end of time?”
“He showed no remorse!” Luna spoke up, slightly sharper than she meant to.
“Again, not to those from the outside looking in,” Nyx pressed. She tensed, then willed herself forcibly to relax. This was clearly a lost cause. “Then I ask Thee, if Thou will not consider a lightening of His sentence, I beg thee to condemn me with Him,” she asked firmly. “Banish me to the same fate, at His side!”
Ponies in the audience murmured in shock at her request. This suggestion seemed at least as abhorrent to the Royal Sisters as her request for Sombra’s clemency. “Certainly not!” Luna refused.
“Unless you are guilty of conspiring with Him in His crimes, Nyx, we will do no such thing!” Celestia agreed. “You obviously have been traumatized by your time with Him and I know not how you have survived all these years, but – “
The mare fumed, the air chilling around her. “Cannot assist, or will not, Princess Celestia? You have not the power to send the King of Shadows to such a fate and I believe You did not do so!” Her sharp gaze swung to Luna’s. “Is that not right, Princess Luna?”
The time traveler’s were surprised at Luna’s sudden discomfort. “He – He did display a strong resistance to my sister’s powers, that is true.”
“Only dark magic could have subdued Him,” Nyx pressed. “I believe this decision is in Your hooves, not Your sister’s!”
At this point, Celestia had had enough. “We are sorry Nyx, but We cannot assist you.”
“Then I will force this issue, Princess,” Nyx growled.
The guards were at her side almost immediately, preparing to subdue and escort her out. The Marazon lifted her head, her curved horn blazing with the telltale bubbling green, black and purples of dark magic. Her eyes themselves flared hot green, violet mist-like energies trailed at their edges. But instead of attacking, she grew transparent, the royal guards colliding into each other in the space where she should have been.
“Owwww!!!” Whooves yelped as Nyx warped time around herself, calmly and unhurriedly stepping back towards him, out of the way of the colliding guards so she could become fully corporeal again in their time stream. He stumbled back, Derpy going to his side in an effort to steady him. The TimeWitch glanced sharply back at him, cocking her head at his time sensitivity in curiosity.
“Clear the room!” Celestia ordered. The guards not attempting to subdue Nyx immediately pushed all stunned onlookers out the large double doors at the back of the palace throne room. Derpy attempted to push the guards away, but she and Whooves were still drug further back from the fight. As distance was put between he and the TimeWitch, the Doctor recovered enough he neatly side-stepped Celestia’s guards, grabbing Derpy’s hoof in his, running back towards the front of the room.
Meanwhile, Nyx, growling, dodged the guards, running to the side of the room Celestia’s throne was on, but no closer in distance to her. The Doctor guessed she was maneuvering for more fighting space and he was proven correct. The guards followed, when Nyx sharply stamped her left fore hoof down to the ground. In response, it shook, black and red crystals springing up at her call from the floor, shattering the smooth marble with the force of their eruptions.
As the Sisters came together, tensing and readying for a battle, they noticed the Marazon warrioress worked to only knock the guards back with the crystal towers, not kill or injure them. The crystal growth’s sharpened edges grew wide, flat and dulled once they had completed the task of tearing apart the flooring to allow their appearance, further convincing them, the Doctor and Derpy that she was acting strictly on the defensive and was trying to avoid needless bloodshed.
“King Sombra taught you well,” Celestia called out, her voice rising over the rumbling chaos destroying her palace’s marbled floorings.
“Not my specialty,” the mare admitted. “a last resort of defense.” She leapt upon a large, flat crystal that rose above the floor about six feet. “Have you considered my request for appeal, your Highnesses?” she asked, the old style of speech fading slightly in her voice and tone, but never leaving completely.
“No, Nyx,” Celestia refused. “We will not condemn you to share His grave without the due process of a trial to discern your involvement with His crimes.”
“ARGH!” the TimeWitch snarled, making a peculiar gesture of touching a hoof to her abdomen, then lowering it. “We – I have no time for this nonsense of bureaucracy! But if it will facilitate my fate to be sealed and be with Him, then yes, judge me without facts or witnesses – as it was a thousand years ago – and get on with it!!!”
“Why such haste, Nyx?” Luna yelled over the loud grinding of the crystal and rock formations surging and flowing under the Marazon’s hooves. “He is certainly not going anywhere!”
“My reasons are my own, my Princess,” Nyx said, a twinge of sadness in her strange, double-edged voice. “Your sister certainly has judged me already though She pretends a trial is necessary. Will You not be my advocate, if not for me, for the love and loyalty we Marazons have given Your reign these centuries now and past?”
Luna looked to her sister, back to Nyx, then away.
“Please, Dear Mother?” the Marazon warrior begged, tears threatening to blur her vision.
Luna bit Her lip at the title orphaned ponies often gave Her whom she took on Her secret nighttime ventures, guiding them in flights above the clouds in secret. In an almost ashamed tone, She uttered, “I must stand with Our sister’s decision and do what is best for Our Kingdom Nyx. I am sorry.”
The disappointment, pain and fury that crossed the Marazon’s features made the observing time travelers shudder. It was a blow so harsh, the TimeWitch snarled, enraged, the field of her dark magic flaring again, as did the green of her eyes. She called a weapon forth from the bedrock and minerals underneath the room – an enormous, wickedly curved death scythe of red copper.
“That looks familiar,” Luna said quietly to Her sister, Her own lunar sword coming into existence before Her, held aloft in Her magical grip. “Is there no recourse We can offer her, Tia?”
“None, Luna. And yes, Sombra’s scythe. I recognize it,” Celestia replied, calling forth her own weapon – a sun pike with a double-edged, curved blade of golden hue.
Nyx was in no mood for reminiscing on their part. For some reason, she appealed one last time, clearly not wanting to kill them, even in the grip of her fury and dark magic. “I really must insist you incarcerate me with my King, Sun Princess, for I will not go another – “
“Hold on! HOLD ON!” a male voice suddenly yelled out as a stallion jumped over the smaller of the crystals barring his way, landing in front of the platform containing Nyx. Surprised at the Doctor’s audacity, Nyx was, however, not caught off guard as movement behind told her the guards were attempting to follow his lead. She snarled, aiming her horn at them, around the surprised Time Pony, who dove to the side to avoid both her and the scythe.
“Take a time out,” Nyx commanded, firing a blast of energy at them. “Say, fifteen minutes in the future, when this be resolved!”
They disappeared in the aura of her dark magic, Whooves once again feeling the crippling punishment of too close a proximity to this TimeWitch as she did so.
“Please,” he begged, struggling to stand up straight again while white hot pain seared across his temporal lobe. “Just stop! There’s no need for this!”
The dark mare glared at him, keeping her scythe between them, and an eye on the two alicorns who were also her enemy, but had thus far only assumed defensive stances. She lowered the rocky platform she held until she was level again with the Time Pony and the floor of the room. “No need? Are you mad?” she demanded.
“He has been accused of that, yes!” Derpy called out behind him.
“You’re not helping!” he grumbled back at her, turning quickly back to Nyx and the razor sharp curve of the blade she held dangerously close to his throat. “Listen, please, JUST LISTEN!” he begged. “I know you’re speaking the truth, Nyx, is it? I felt the time slippage too!”
She looked him over, sizing him up. He was no warrior and thus not as big a threat. She did sense something of time’s energy surrounding him, however; the unstable, volatile particles of chrono-matter that drove time itself, was time itself. “What of it, Time Stallion? My ‘discussion’ is with Them,” she jerked her head at the Two Sisters. “not you!”
Whooves cocked his head. “Some discussion,” he muttered. “Look, LOOK!” he yelled when she tried to go around him, towards the alicorns. “This is not the way to set time right. I can take you to Him, to King Sombra, learn what happened, what went wrong within the time streams. Please! This helps no one, this fight!”
Having gotten her full attention at his mention of being able to get her to her King, Nyx still shook her head in disbelief. “Why should I trust you?” she declared.
“Because they will kill you and time will still be on the wrong path,” he pushed. “It will get worse and worse, more and more wrong, until it tears itself apart in the end and even if I can get King Sombra sprung early for good – or at least not entirely evil behavior – there may not be a world left for Him to return to if I – we don’t fix this!”
Something in his words, or in what Nyx saw as a new time track spring into her consciousness got through her rage. Her sides heaved, mind reeled, seeing this strange, chestnut-colored stallion making his way into new time streams in her visions of future possibilities. She shook her head, the mad glow of green and purple energies fueling her eyes and curved horn slowly settling down and fading. It was all too fast and too much for her mind to comprehend so quickly, but its very potential cut through the dark veil of her hatred for Celestia and worse, Luna’s betrayal, that urged her to gut Them both on the spot.
Slowly, to everyone’s profound relief, she lay down her death scythe, let it dissolve back into the natural elements, sinking back into Canterlot mountain’s bedrock. The Sisters let out inaudible sighs, dissolving their own weapons as well as a gesture of goodwill.
“Attacking our person cannot go unpunished, Nyx,” Celestia declared. “but if it is as you say…” she hesitated, gesturing for the Doctor’s name.
“Dr. – Dr. Whooves,” he supplied. “and I promise, if we are successful in righting time, your Highnesses, this offense will never have happened.”
“As Dr. Whooves says,” the Princess of the Sun concluded. “We will trust him to be your ‘keeper’, Nyx, though we will send a guard with you three to ensure yours and his cooperation.”
“Ah, your Highness,” Whooves raised a hoof. “that won’t work. If we right time, you see, your guard will be displaced and taken out of his own time stream, unable to return to a normal life here.”
“We will choose one who has no family nor ties, Doctor,” Luna spoke up. “One of the Night Guard, my sister,” she recommended, turning to Celestia. “myself in any and all time existences will be more – understanding of this phenomena of time travel and will assist him in reintegrating back into the guard of the ‘normal’ time stream, as you call it, Doctor.” Her attention turned back to the Time Pony and Derpy.
“Sister, are you saying We are not open to such proven phenomena as time travel,” Celestia asked, amused.
“Not at all,” Luna replied. “but it could be possible in other time dimensions You are a tad more – stubborn.”
Celestia huffed, amused, resettling her wings against her sides. “We shall talk about this at length later, sister. Over luncheon tea, We think.”
Derpy and Whooves snickered. Nyx, they noticed, remained impassive to the warm interplay, still stung by Luna’s abandonment of her and the Marazons.
There was an interlude of delay while Luna chose a Night Guard from those who volunteered for the one-way mission. Celestia requested the castle staff to fetch construction workers to clear the rubble caused by Nyx’s anger and magics, as well as requesting her planning staff to reschedule all other throne room activities to another, smaller chamber.
Luna came up to them, accompanied by the Night Guard volunteer. Derpy and the Doctor were in the middle of introducing themselves to Nyx. “I am the Doctor,” the stallion told her, extending a hoof.
Nyx looked at it and cocked her head in curiosity. She opted to bow instead, unfamiliar with the custom of hoof shaking. He pulled Derpy in front of him. “And this is Miss Hooves, my companion.”
She received a bow as well, which Derpy imitated. Suddenly the Time Pony winced as a disturbance of time hit his temporal lobe. He rubbed at it viciously, when he noticed Nyx looked like she was losing her balance, forearm failing outwards suddenly, then she threw her head upwards, towards the ceiling, then back down, hoof back down on the ground, her eyes flaring green, a gasp escaping her lips.
Whooves drew the mailmare quickly back from Nyx. Luna and the guard, a unicorn stallion, also backed up slightly. “Wait, wait, wait, what is that?” the Doctor asked the TimeWitch.”You really send my temporal lobe a jangle when you do that!” accusing her of the time spasm.
Nyx’s head lowered, ignoring Whooves, her eyes fixed Derpy’s, now a red, crystal glare layered underneath the sickly green. “Is it not better to give your King due respect my dear?” a cold stallion’s voice echoed out of her mouth. The dangerous voice was lined with the same darkness as Nyx’s, but much more menacing and male.
Derpy reeled, felt giddy. Her vision swam, the room being replaced by a large, crystal throne room, and the TimeWitch by a dark-colored Unicorn Witch King clad in steel, royal red robes and greaved hoof plating. All she could see were His crystal red eyes holding her gaze, flowing jet mane framing His regal facial features and the tips of predatory fangs as He spoke softly, commandingly to her.
Her knees buckled as she felt an overwhelming urge to acknowledge His dominion over her. She breathed steadily outwards, in a sigh, her muscles relaxing. The fear drained out of her and she bowed her head as she assumed a completely submissive position at the King’s feet. She felt His armored hoof caress her cheek, pleased with her reverence…
“No,” Luna shook her head. “By the Dark Ones!” She uttered, transfixed by what was happening with Derpy and the TimeWitch.
Looking at Whooves, Nyx next intoned, “See Doctor, how much better this is with them under My guidance than they going on aimlessly with their pitiful lives.”
It was the Doctor’s turn to be swallowed up by the time vision. He blinked, shook his head, but the Shadow King would not be banished so easily. “No,” he gasped. “You’re a future vision. You’re not really – here!” he yelled, stamping his hoof angrily, dispelling the evil despot with a massive effort of will.
Nyx’s eyes returned to their normal, if unnerving darkness, and she slumped, almost hitting the floor if the Night Guard had not thought quickly and caught her in his magic, setting her gently down.
“Is she all right, Dark Watch?” Luna asked her guard.
“She will be,” he replied, checking the Marazon over carefully. She appeared to now be merely unconscious.
“And you, Doctor?” Luna asked next.
The Doctor nodded, shaken. He took a deep breath, checking on Derpy. She nodded she was better as well.
Luna had a hoof to her mouth now, the shock just sinking in from the recognition of the voice, her head shaking. “Sombra?” she uttered, her voice strangely pained.
“What in Equestria was that, your Highness?” Dark Watch asked, turning to Princess Luna. “Princess?”
“It was her gift,” Whooves told the Night Guard, taking note of Luna’s stunned look and confirmation of the owner of the voice. “Or curse, however you look at it.”
“What?” the mailmare asked.
“Future possession and prophecy,” he clarified as Nyx moaned from the floor, coming back to consciousness. “Usually brought on by being near someone who’s timeline’s variables get entangled in your head, so they get drug into seeing the vision as well. Nasty stuff! Isn’t that right, your Highness?” he asked the Night Princess.
Luna shuddered, removing Her hoof, forcing Herself to assume the royal mask again. They could see how hard it was for Her. The voice had obviously shaken the Princess of the Night up terribly.
“Yes, Doctor,” She confirmed. “Among the Marazons, Nyx was well-known for these – unpredictable visions of the future.”
“That was quite a specific vision!” Whooves said sharply as the Night Guard and Derpy helped Nyx to stand. “One I do not intend to allow to happen!”
Dark Watch bristled. “How dare you speak to the Princess that way!”
Nyx put a hand out, still dizzy. “As if you have a say in the matter of where that blasted time box takes you,” Nyx grumbled, still bleary from the vision, one of which had included one of the travelers arriving in King Sombra’s court via the Tardis. The depthless black had returned to her eyes, telling them the vision had faded and she was back to what was normal for her. “He is merely protective of his companion, guard.” Steadier, she stood taller, resuming her regal bearing. “He means no offense.” Locking Whooves gaze with hers, she added. “This is why my King was often so fascinated with my gift. He crippled pony’s will with their own fears of their perceived shortcomings. I can, though it be unintentional, accomplish the same feat with ones fears of their possible futures.”
“I can see why He was so interested in you,” the Doctor said, fascinated.
“Unfortunately for many involved on both sides, Doctor,” Luna spoke up. “You have your guard. Dark Watch will accompany you. He will defer to your expertise in time travel, Doctor, and follow any instructions as to respects the laws of time and not upsetting the balance of its forward progression.”
He smiled. “Ah, you do appreciate what’s at stake here, Princess. I am impressed.”
She nodded. “It is the duty of Our sister and Ourself to protect the future as much as the present while learning from the lessons of thy past. We have had some small experiences with time’s ebb and flow.”
“And King Sombra?” Derpy asked the Night Princess. The mare blushed as the Princess bit her lip in mild distress at the subject. “I’m sorry, your Highness, I noticed you seemed upset at hearing His voice. Is there some, well, advice You can give us in case we do run into Him, I dunno, unfrozen?”
Luna shifted, despite her best efforts to hold herself poised and unattached. “That is unlikely, Miss Hooves,” her gaze shifted to Nyx. “though Nyx has appeared to have locked onto a time stream that would contradict my opinion on the matter.” She snorted, not pleased with discussing such painful subjects, but feeling it necessary. “When I knew Prince Sombra, long, long ago, before the darkness took Him, He was strong and stable, clever, possessing of a great kindness and thoughtfulness for His fellow ponies. Later, the strength remained, as did the cleverness, but all else died with Him at Lake – “ she stopped herself. “well, they died is all that needs to be said.”
“Do not give Him a reason to kill you, Miss Hooves,” the Princess’s voice turned grave. “those include disrespect for His authority, His intellect and His right to rule the Crystal Empire. Of course He has not earned that right to be a King through His tyranny, but if the subject can at all be avoided, then you will never have to anger Him if you feel the need to not lie and tell Him the truth of such.
“Never, never lie to Him or try to deceive Him. As a creature of darkness, He will pick up on your deceit almost before it leaves your lips and will most assuredly know you are planning ill against Him. He may not kill you outright for it, but He will use this knowledge to manipulate you into serving Him.”
Derpy nodded. “I’m not a very good liar anyway, Princess. I don’t think I would have to worry about that.”
She smiled. “I know through your dreams you are a good pony. But also, you have a great fear for predators and He is a consummate predator.”
At this Nyx nodded in agreement.
“Do your best to ‘tame the tiger’, I think is the term?” She advised.
“Thank you, Princess,” the mailmare bowed.
“Yes, thank you, Princess Luna,” Whooves agreed, bowing, as did his companions. “I think we should be off, then.” He, Nyx and Derpy walked back towards the throne room doors.
“Wait, Doctor, Nyx?”
He stopped. “Yes, your Highness?”
When he came back to her, she whispered, “Sombra delights in corrupting innocents. He feeds on that as much as he feeds on fear. I did not want to unduly distress Miss Hooves any more by imparting this knowledge to her.”
“I understand. Thank you for telling me, Princess Luna.” He bowed and followed Derpy.
“Nyx?” she called after the TimeWitch, who had not stopped when Luna had asked her to. The Marazon slowed reluctantly. Luna and Dark Watch approached her. She could feel the reluctance and even hatred Nyx had for the alicorn even before she turned around to face them.
“Yes, your Highness,” Nyx said evenly.
“I am sorry you are upset,” Luna began.
“Send your pet guard away so we can speak properly,” Nyx cut her off.
Luna nodded. Dark Watch scowled, but went to catch up to Derpy and Dr. Whooves.
“As I said, Nyx, I am sorry – “
“Sorry has nothing to do with it!” Nyx turned on Luna, her eyes flaring with green-tinged fury. “be honest at least, Princess. We all have a damn duty to perform. That’s all I have ever appeared to be to you!”
Luna slapped Nyx across the face with her magic. “How DARE you accuse me of that!” she snapped. “Has Sombra so addled your mind you forgot I saved your life when the Marazons were going to burn you at the stake?!?”
“You saddled me with them in the first place!” the TimeWitch snarled. “you should have let me die in the snows outside the Empire!” Her voice caught. “I bring death to every life I’ve ever touched!” Nyx broke down, sobbing.
Luna softened, stretching a wing out, enfolding her distraught subject. “You do not bring death, you addled creature. Seeing their deaths is not the same as causing them!” She let her sob for a moment, then pulled her back where she could get a look at her face. “and once they saw what gifts you brought the tribe, they were grateful I sent you to live with them.”
“Not all of them,” Nyx recalled.
“But enough Queen Ainippe had support when they found a place of honor there for you,” Luna reminded her.
“We both agreed it was for Sombra’s own good I be captured, Luna,” Nyx sighed. “I cannot turn my back on Him, so why are You abandoning Him now? Is this timeline so different from what I was born into that Your heart turned completely against Him? Even as evil as He is, You have imparted to me in the past You pitied Him!”
Luna’s eyes grew moist. “He is lost to me and to goodness, Nyx. I will never get Him back. Let Him sleep in eternity. Far better than being conscious, His magic being fueled by the agony of the terrible losses He has suffered. My sister knows unrequited love be but a fraction of them.”
Nyx put a hoof to her mouth, shaking her head, nearly doubling over in grief. She felt Luna’s hoof on her shoulder. “Nyx? What is it? What hurts you so?”
Spasms of sadness shook her she could not control. After a moment, she won the fight to ease them. “He’s not – He’s not unconscious!” she managed to get out.
Luna’s eyes widened in horror. “What?” she whispered. “That cannot be!”
Nyx shook her head.
“You are sure of this?”
“But my sister told me – “
The Marazon pushed her hoof away. “Damn what Celestia told You!” she snapped. “I can feel it. His mind is stillactive!” She caught her breath. “Your sister sentenced Tirek to a kinder fate in Tartarus. At least there he has freedom of movement, and if he repents, a chance to be heard. What does Sombra have of that?!”
Luna felt a crushing weight on her heart. “You have to be wrong, Nyx. I truly hope thee wrong!”
The Marazon could stand it no longer. She turned from her Goddess and fled for the door.