The night was near-pitch black in the wrecked cathedral. High above, the clouds were colorful, but they gave no true light. What light they shed never showed anything the viewer wanted to see.
And if there was a sun or moon beyond the clouds, Celestia couldn’t see it.
The young filly wasn’t paying attention to the skies, though. She was busy looking at the pedestal. The pedestal in the center of the cathedral where, moments ago, their only hope had been found.
But now, sitting there, was a mismatched creature calling itself a draconequus. The reason for the stormclouds. The reason Celestia had grown up in a world of pain and hatred.
He was cackling.
“Oh, I knew this was worth it!” He giggled, eying the pink-maned white alicorn—and her darker-hued sister. “I’d always hoped you would make it this far, to be honest.”
“You could have fooled us,” Luna said, eyes narrowed.
“Oh, I had to make things exciting!” Discord rolled his eyes. “You have to have hope, so it can be taken away. Haven’t you learned anything, Luna?”
Celestia stared at the pedestal as Luna argued with the spirit of chaos.
They’d been so close.
They’d been through so much.
Tartarus, they’d practically—
She looked back at Discord, glaring. “You think you can hide the Elements of Harmony as easily as that?”
“Well, you’re wrong!”
Celestia took a step forward. “Luna would never give up. Not even now, when we’ve lost! Even I couldn’t speak, but she’s still able to argue! You can’t take her hope away. And she would never abandon me, or Equestria. You tricked me earlier, but you had to cheat to even faze her! She gave everything to get me back. Laughter, Loyalty, Generosity!”
The pedestal began to glow.
Discord hopped off it, frowning. “What’s this?”
“And I never told her it’d be easy!” Celestia shouted. She realized she was crying, but the tears wouldn’t stop her. “I always helped who I could! Honesty! Kindness!”
“Are you quite fini—hm.” Discord trailed off, looking at the glowing pedestal. “Well, you still don’t have the sixth, Celestia. The spark isn’t here, is it?”
Celestia paused. She watched the pedestal’s glow intensify…
It went out.
Discord laughed. “You see?” He hopped back up. “It’s all over, my dear! You have los—”
He was interrupted by a massive green creature landing on his head. There was a moment of silence, then a lot of swearing from beneath the strange wyrm.
Celestia and Luna both blinked.
“…Crackle?” Luna asked. She cocked her head. “How did you—”
She stopped. “Oh, surely not.”
Crackle’s belly was glowing brightly.
Celestia turned to Discord. “You fed them to Crackle, didn’t you?”
“Did I ever mention that I hate you all?”
Discord vanished from beneath Crackle, and reappeared nearby. Glaring, the spirit crossed his arms. “Well, then.”
There was a flash, and Crackle’s glow blinked out. Celestia felt something heavy and metal appear on her head. She noticed Luna had some sort of elaborate necklace.
Discord yawned. “Let’s see what Starswirl’s greatest hope for your world can—”
Norse Pony’s comments: Haha, Crackle, the Element of Magic and savior of Equestria. Your Discord voice is spot-on, so kudos for that. I also like your take on Celestia, that sort of earnest passion you infuse her with. I was highly amused by this. I laughed out loud when Crackle showed up, or more specifically, at Luna’s reaction to Crackle’s arrival.