The carriages start to arrive one by one. Once they pull up to the entrance, the ponies within exit, make their way across the walkway, and into the city. After so many come and move on, the Apple Carriage pulled by the four mice-horses has at last been granted their turn as they come to a complete stop at the front.
The little well dressed dragon releases the reigns and steps off the carriage. Coming to the side of the door, Spike opens it and takes a bow, “We have arrived.”
The six little ponies in their fancy little dresses each step out of the carriage one at a time, until they are all standing side by side while glancing to the beauty that is the capital of their homeland, and the Gala that lies at the end of the carpet walkway. Together, they begin making their way down the pathway, while admiring the view of the city ablaze with lights, fireworks, and ponies from far and wide.
“Well girls. Here we are, once again…ready to have the best night ever,” Twilight informs her friends while looking forward to spending the evening with her mentor, as well as her brother and sister who are bound to be here too.
“Lets just hope it’ll go better than last time,” Rainbow Dash mentions and hopes she can show off her moves to the Wonderbolts without any interference from the other elite ponies.
Applejack butts in and supports her athletic best friend, “Darn right it will. As long as we stick together, and try twice as hard than last time, nothin’ will go wrong.”
"Oh, I completely agree with you there, Applejack,” Rarity agrees and hopes to spend some time with the Canterlot elite once more and enjoy such enriching conversations and trade secrets with crafting the finest clothing this city has yet to behold.
Fluttershy feels the same way and hopes to have a chance to make some new animal friends this time around, “Oh yes...I...I agree as well.”
“I agree too! Now let's get ourselves in there and PARTY! WHOOHOO!!” Pinkie Pie screams with glee as she hops on down the pathway towards the castle, and to all the sweet treats and music that she is anxious to enjoy and get into a real live ruckus of fun and well...more fun.
As Pinkie moves on ahead, Twilight and all her friends walk together as they make their way into the Grand Galloping Gala, and have a second chance to having the Best Night Ever.
The Mane Six finally make it to the main hall, where they now see plenty of wonders to behold: Many high-class ponies from all over Equestria talking with one another; the tables are loaded with well-prepared h’orderves and other special treats; Last but not least, over in the Ballroom there are ponies dancing to the finest music, played by Canterlot’s finest musicians.
After a brief moment of viewing all the possibilities before them, the six little ponies all agree that this Gala is much fancier exciting than the previous one. But, this also makes it hard for some of them to want to remain together as they planned; The calling of all the excitement and fun is too much to resist.
Rainbow Dash feels like making her way to the V.I.P. area to have another chance at hanging out with the Wonderbolts; Applejack can already smell the fancy food from where she stands, and is anxious to grab a bite; Pinkie Pie on the other hoof, wants to get the “real” party started over in the Ballroom. Twilight eventually notices the look in their eyes and decides it be best to let them go, “Okay, girls. If we split up, lets all promise to meet back-” she is unable to finish, where as the three have already taken off. The remaining three giggle and start looking around, wondering where they should go.
“Should I wander around the garden…or…should I stick with my friends…or should I…oh, it is so hard to decide…” the timid little yellow Pegasus asks herself while wondering what Twilight and Rarity want to do.
“Well, I might as well go see if I can find Fancypants. It has been a long time since I last had a chance to speak with him and the other nobility. Care to join me Twilight? Fluttershy?” Rarity asks as she is ready to make her way to the Ballroom.
“Oh…well…I guess I could,” Fluttershy agrees unsure but decides to go with her generous friend before moving off to the gardens.
“Thanks Rarity, but if it’s all the same with you, I’d like to meet up with the Princess first,” Twilight informs politely as she looks off towards the ballroom where the Princess is no doubt meeting with some of the nobility.
With that, the three mares walk together and towards the ballroom. Meanwhile, Spike enters after having finished parking the carriage. When he sees that his friends have already split up, he seems disappointed. But once he can smell the food over yonder, his frown turn into a smile, and rushes over to chow down.
Once the hungry baby dragon arrives at the buffet, he licks his lips with his long tongue and does not even know where to start first; It is so hard to decide, but he gives a simple shrug and comes to the conclusion of trying everything at once...or one at a time depending on the size.
Applejack arrives at the buffet and joins her little dragon friend as they enjoy the delicious food that even she has to admit is very superior, “Boy howdy, dese little fritters are mighty tasty.”
“They sure are!” The baby dragon standing next to her agrees, stuffing his face the same as her.
The hungry earth pony returns her attention to the buffet, enjoying the company of a friend as she eats. Applejack then begins to wonder if she can get the recipe for this food, “If ah try using apples in da mix, dey might sell. That would add greatly to da Family Business,” She ponders.
After a while of searching around in the Ballroom, Twilight Sparkle notices how busy this area has become. But despite having a hard time making it passed everpony in her make, the little unicorn's spirit rises when she finally spots As she finally spots the Princess sitting over in the dinning area, speaking with what seems to be some very important ponies.
Twilight makes her way over as fast and careful as possible. Once she gets to the table, the fancy unicorn mare bows properly to her mentor, "Good evening, Princess Celestia."
The Princess of the Sun hears the voice of her star student and turns to return the greeting, “Twilight. It is so good to see you again. I’m so happy you and your friends were able to come.”
“As am I, your Highness," Twilight expresses while feeling that she will have some more time to spend with the alicorn princess that has taught her much in the arts of magic, "I..uh…hope I am not interrupting anything here?” She asks in a whisper when noticing some of the mares and stallions staring at her.
“Not at all. I would be honored if you would join us.” the Princess replies and allows her student to sit right by her side as they resume the conversation with the elite.
“Thank you, your majesty.” The faithful student appreciates her teacher's kindness and joins her at the table, and cannot wait to tell the Princess about recent events...including that of the journal she discovered as well as the strange dream.
Elsewhere in the Gala, the rest of the Mane Six are continuing to have a wonderful time: Pinkie Pie spends her time stuffing herself with cake and other treats, then attempting to get some real party music going in the ballroom; Rarity eventually crosses paths with FancyPants and is grateful when he offers to have her join him at his table with his wife and all their friends; Fluttershy makes her way out into the garden, where she spreads birdseed around for the animals to eat. She is overcome with joy when they accept her kindness and see her as a friend they can trust.
Rainbow Dash arrives at the V.I.P. area, where she is quickly recognized by a two of the Wonderbolts who see great potential in her: Spitfire, Captain of the Wonderbolts...and her Second-in-Command, Soarin. Once they see the tomboyish mare in the rainbow dress, they approach and greet her with a proper salute.
“Hey Rainbow Dash. Glad to see you again,” the Captain of the Wonderbolts greets the expert flyer that has saved her on an occasion or two.
“Thanks," Rainbow Dash appreciates the warm greeting by the ponies she has seen as her idols for so long, "I almost thought you guys wouldn’t remember me.”
Soarin is surprised as well as shocked to hear his friend say such a think, “Why would you think that? I’ll never forget the pony who saved my pie last time,"
Rainbow recalls that event and blushes slightly, knowing how she first met Soarin when he dropped one of the pies Applejack made for the last Gala, "Thanks, Soarin."
Spitfire jumps in and asks if their little, yet fast friend would like to join them at their table...where many other Wonderbolts are sitting, "We are about to discuss our upcoming performance in Cloudsdale. Wanna join in...with the conversation I mean?"
Rainbow Dash gets all excited and feels like screaming like the fangirl she is, but remains calm and plays it cool, “Sounds cool. Sure, I‘ll join you guys!”
"Great!" Both Soarin and Spitfire reply and walk on back to their table with the extra seat that will be reserved for their guest and friend Rainbow Dash. The thrilled pegasus releases a tiny squee and trots on over to join her Wonderbolt friends, but not before taking a small muffin from the table that was cooked by none other than her friend Derpy. Once she has her muffin and thanks the cross-eyed grey pegasus, Rainbow trots over to the VIP table and joins the fastest flyers in the worlds to discuss the upcoming events in Cloudsdale.
Back in the Ballroom where both Princess Celestia and Twilight sit with the rest of many rich and elite ponies of Canterlot, the lavender pony patiently awaits for her turn to speak with her teachers about recent events...which include that of what happened last night.
Finally, after a waiting period of fifteen minutes or so, Princess Celestia concludes her conversation with the nobility and turns her attention to her faithful student, "Now that I am finished, is there anything you would like to discuss, Twilight Sparkle? How have your studies been going?"
Twilight is thrilled to now have a chance to talk with the Princess, but once the question is asked, she feels a little ashamed, “Well…you see…I…” She looks up does not know how to explain herself, ”I was never able to finish last night. I was…distracted.”
The Princess tilts her head a little and while she is slightly disappointed hearing that Twilight was unable to complete her latest lesson before the Gala, she is curious to know what turned her sights from her studying, “Distracted by what, exactly?”
“Well…you see…I found this old book in the Royal Library…and…”
"I assume you are referring to that little accident that occurred when you were browsing through the dusty shelves?” The Princess interrupts, referring to exactly what happened after finding out when the Bookkeeper told her everything.
Twilight blushes nervously, feeling a little more ashamed for the mess she caused the other day, “I’m sorry about that.”
Princess Celestia places her hood gently upon Twilight's shoulder, wishing to put her student's doubts and troubles to an end, “Twilight, you don't not feel sad or apologize. All that is really important is that you were not hurt.”
Twilight feels a little better and appreciates the kind words of the great alicorn princess she is proud to learn all she can from her, “Thank you, your Highness.”
Princess Celestia smiles and feels happy seeing her student's worries gone away like the many dangers Equestria has faced; Which was all thanks to her and all her friends, "You are welcome, my star student. Now...about this book you were telling me about…”
"Oh yes, I brought it with me. Maybe you could tell me where it came from?” Twilight levitates the old journal up onto the table right before her mentor. Celestia thanks Twilight and opens the dusty old thing to see what secrets this little book may hold.
Once she finishes, which takes only a minute or two, the Princess places the book back onto the table and shakes her head sadly, “I am sorry Twilight...but this is the first time I have seen this one myself. I also do not recognize anything it speaks of. In fact, I am not sure how it came to be in my library, since I myself have read every scroll and book there."
Twilight feels a little saddened knowing the one pony in all of Equestria who has ruled for over a thousand years does not know of this one little book that probably tells of events older than even her, but realizes that more study is in order...and that makes it all the more interesting, "Oh...well...maybe after the Gala, you and I can find out it's origins?"
"That sounds like a wonderful idea, Twilight Sparkle," Celestia agrees and looks forward to that, “But in the meantime, please focus on your studies. There is much more I wish to teach you, once your current lesson is finished."
“That's my student," Princess Celestia praises her young pupil, then stands up, "Now, I need to check up on my sister. I know it is Princess Luna’s duty to watch over the night, but I will try to convince her to take a break to come and enjoy the Gala."
Twilight understands and hopes to see the younger sister of Celestia soon before this night is over. She then watches her teacher excuse herself from the table and make her way to the outside of the palace where Luna is no doubt watching the skies from the tallest tower. But shorty before Celestia disappears from sight, Twilight sees two ponies entering the Ballroom which makes her all the more excited. She leaves the dining table and rushes over to greet her beloved brother and sister-in-law: Shining Armor and Cadence.
High up in the tallest tower overlooking much of Canterlot, Princess Luna gazes through her telescope...being ever watchful of the night. She occasionally turns her attention away from the skies and down towards the Gala where many ponies are having a good time. As much as she wishes to join them, she refuses to abandon her duties...even for a moment. Returning her sights to the vast sky littered with the stars and moon, Luna remains determined to ensure all is well.
But while Luna continues gazing out into the distance, she suddenly spots a storm far off to the west. Although massive, it is still far away and will most likely not be an issue. “That is some storm brewing out there. Never seen anything like that..."
Luna uses her power to gaze closer at the massive dark clouds that seem to be moving their way towards her, and now it begins to worry her. Suddenly, a massive bolt of lightning strikes out there and the flash causes her to see something there; Something dark and terrifying.
A memory from long ago, one Luna could never remember until now, returns to her mind as she recalls the image she saw within the storm: A Monstrous creature with the blackest eyes, laughing in a dark voice that rings in her ears as if she knows it personally; She has heard it before, long ago…
“Sister?! SISTER?!” A voice shouts, snapping Luna back to reality and causing her to break down into tears. It is Celestia, and she has arrived only to find her sister in pain, "Luna! What...what is wrong?"
“I…I…saw…” The Princess of the Night can barely speak, for that which she wished she did not see at all has brought a terrifying chill to her body and more tears to her eyes.
“Shhh…it’s okay, little sister. I’m here.” Celestia holds her precious sister close, trying her very best to calm her and show that she is hear for her little sister that she vowed to never lose again, “Tell me, what did you see?”
Princess Luna feels a bit better in the embrace of her kind and caring older sister, but it is still not enough to remove that which she fears may do the same to Celestia and everypony else, “Something…is…coming. Something…evil.” She points her out towards the distance, where the same storm happens to be getting bigger...and closer.
Princess Celestia looks into the telescope and in the direction Luna mentions...and can see the storm coming. but it is unlike any storm Celestia has seen in any of the years she has ruled Equestria. Whatever it really is, she now that her sister speaks the truth: Something...is coming.
As the ponies attending the Grand Galloping Gala continue to enjoy the fine food, music, and company, Our little lavender unicorn excuses herself as she passes by every honored guest and Royal guard...in order to get to the one colt that she has cared for all her life: Her Big Brother Best Friend Forever, Shining Armor.
Once she reaches him, Twilight Sparkle throws her front legs around his neck and hugs him close, "Shining! It's been so long! I've missed you so much!"
“Twili. It’s so good to see you too.” The white stallion with the blue streak mane greets his precious little sister and returns her loving hug with one of his own.
“I missed you too.” The beautiful pink princess of the Crystal Empire mentions as she walks up to the little unicorn she is proud to call her sister. She gives Twilight a warm smile as she releases her brother and does the famous little dance they shared when Cadence foalsitted her all those years ago:
After finishing their favorite dance, both Twilight and Cadence hug each other and share a wonderful girlish giggle, “It’s so good to see you.” They both end up saying the same line together, which brings forth another giggle from them each.
Shining Armor is very happy to see that his wife and sister get along so well together, as they always have been. Ever since the events of the wedding and the Crystal Empire, these two have such a strong bond, much like himself and his brilliant little sister.
The hugging soon comes to an end and Cadence decides to start things off with a little conversation about the more recent things, “So, how have things been in Ponyville, Twilight?”
“They have been going well; My friends are always there to help me, Princess Celestia is preparing me for my next lessons, and well…that’s about it,” Twilight explains in truth of all that has happened recently, while omitting the strange dreams of course; Probably best not to tell them until she has a better understanding of all this.
“That’s wonderful, Twilight,” Cadence praises her little sister upon hearing all that she has been doing as of late.
“Indeed it is. We are both so proud of you. Mom and Dad would be too. It's too bad they couldn’t make it to the Gala,” Shining Armor informs with a sad hint in his voice.
“Yeah….” Twilight now seems to notice that her parents did not show up, but she will not let this bring her down, “I’m sure they have a good reason. Besides, we can maybe visit them before the end of the night; Surprise them in fact!” Twilight suggests with much encouragement, knowing it may be a fun idea.
“That sounds like a good idea, Twili," Shining Armor agrees right away since the idea sounds just like the right course of action, "Right after the Gala, lets go pay them a visit.”
Twilight gives her BBBFF a big grin of excitement, “Can‘t wait!”
As the three of them continue their conversation as any loving siblings would, the orchestra begins playing a different tune; It is slow dance music, which is the signal for couples attending the Gala to have the opportunity to dance together. Shining hears this and turns to his wife, and bows in the proper manner, “Dearest Cadance. Will you honor me with a dance?”
Both Twilight and Cadance giggle at how much of a gentlecolt Shining Armor is and find it very sweet. The Crystal Princess curtsies in return and accepts his offer, “I will, my handsome Captain and Prince.”
Shining escorts his beloved wife out on to the dance floor, where they begin dancing together to the slow, but soft melody of the music played by the band of five ponies. Other couples follow suit, and the floor soon has a great number of couples dancing together with the ones they love and hold dear to their hearts.
Twilight smiles as her brother and sister-in-law dance together, with their eternal love guiding their every step. But as she watches, Twilight soon feels her happiness starting to slip into that of sadness; The same she felt the other night when she was daydreaming. “They just seem so happy together.” She admires as her gaze turns to the other couples dancing. Twilight Sparkle is now feeling that she wishes she could be out there, with a very special somepony. She now knows deep deep inside herself, it is her heart’s desire.
Twilight continues to watch the dancing of the ponies, and soon imagines herself out there, dancing with a very handsome young stallion; He is holding her close as they would move slowly to the sound of the music. Twilight listens listen to his heart beat as she rests her head upon his chest. Then, she looks up at his handsome face, and into his eyes...and feel her heart beat with every ounce of love she has for her special somepony...
The music suddenly is brought to a halt when Princess Celestia bursts through the doors, with a very serious and slightly panicking expression on her face. This brings everypony, including the no-longer daydreaming Twilight, to turn their attention to her...and wonder what the issue is.
“Attention, Everypony! This is an emergency!" Celestia shouts as loud as she can so everypony can hear here, "I need you all to gather and remain here in the Ballroom!"
“What is going on, your Highness?” Shining Armor questions the Princess, feeling that he and the rest have a right to know what is going on.
“There is no time to explain! Take the troops and guard the Palace doors! Nothing gets in!” Celestia orders her former captain, and the Canterlot Royal Guard that stand by her side...ready to follow Shining's orders to the end.
The Captain and Prince obeys the command of the Princess, and takes what troops he has and gallops on to the front gate. Princes Cadence follows along with him, since there is no other place she would rather be than at the side of her beloved husband.
Once the guards and her niece are gone and moving to the front, Princess Celestia orders her remaining guards to spread out around the ballroom and protect her guests and friends. While they follow her orders, Twilight moves her way through the crowd trying to reach the Princess; Her five pony friend and one little dragon join up with her, since they want to know what is happening.
“Twilight, what the hay is goin’ on?” Applejack questions her best friend, knowing Twilight is closer to the princess than the rest of them and might know something.
“I don’t know, Applejack. I've never seen the Princess like this before,” Twilight has no answer to give but hopes things will be made clear once they get to the princess.
“Something big must be going on if this is happening,” Rainbow Dash suggests as she hovers above them, using the air to her advantage.
Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Applejack, Rainbow, and Spike pushes their way gently through the other ponies as fast as they can, until they finally reach the great white alicorn at last. “Princess Celestia. Please...tell me what is happening?” Twilight pleads for an answer from her teacher.
“Twilight, I need you and your friends to stay here with me and wait for my sister to return!" Celestia instructs the six chosen guardians of Harmony, "Princess Luna has gone to retrieve the Elements of Harmony with her own escorts. We will need you six to wield them for what is coming.”
“But what is coming?!"
“I...I do not know...”Princess Celestia admits while remaining strong for her subjects and the rest of the lands she rules...and hopes that Twilight and her friends will be enough to face whatever it is that approaches Canterlot.
The Front doors to the palace are sealed with powerful magic spells by the strongest of the unicorn guardcolts. The rest prepare for what is to come...by they wonder if they even can be when have no idea exactly what is approaching, but once they hear the roaring thunder of the storm, they stand their ground and prepare to defend the city of Canterlot.
Shining Armor, with the support of his beloved Cadence, powers up his shield around the entire city, determined to not allow whatever this is to enter. “Stand your ground!” he shouts at his loyal troops, “It is our sworn duty to protect Canterlot from all evil. Be ready!”
The guard’s confidence rises and they stand ready, thanks to the brave words of their fearless captain.
Meanwhile, The guests, along with Twilight and her friends, watch as the doors all around the ballroom are closed off to prevent any from entering...or leaving for that matter. They all begin murmuring among themselves, wondering why the Princess would do something like this.
“Maybe she’s planning a big surprise party for everypony!” Pinkie Pie excitedly suggests since she is loves surprises as well as planning such things.
“Oh…I don’t know about that, Pinkie Pie,” Fluttershy quietly disagrees, while finding all this to be very scary.
Rarity gives her thoughts on the matter, which happen to be well off the subject, “Well, whatever it is, it certainly ruined my chances of being invited again to-”
“Enough! This is serious!” Twilight shouts at her friends when they are getting too chatty and losing sight of what is going on at the moment.
The others are surprised at the sudden outburst from Twilight, but they soon realize she has every right to; The lavender unicorn is worried about her teacher and the situation. But before she can say anything else, Princess Luna knocks on the door from the other side and informs everypony that she has returned.
Celestia opens the door for her sister and is relieved she has returned safely, but is shocked to see she has returned without the jeweled box that holds the Six Elements of Harmony, “Sister, where are the Elements?”
“They are gone!” cries the Princess of the Moon, “When I arrived at the vault, it was open and they were gone. Somepony must have-”
Suddenly, an explosion of thunder is heard from above in the blackened sky of the storm. Everypony in the room screams in fright and turn to ducking up the tables and chairs for safety; The noise is so loud that it's echoes will no doubt ring out and be heard in Ponyville and Cloudsdale.
The palace guards, led by Shining Armor and Cadance, stand by the door ready as they hope to be. The Captain uses as much of his strength as possible to keep his shield spell up around the city to ensure nothing will get passed him. But what happens next is something not even this well-trained stallion is prepared for:
A bolt a dark lightning strikes on through the shield, shattering the magic around Canterlot in one single attack. The lightning then curves it's way down and strikes the very door the guards were sworn to protect. The great golden doors fly open and the shockwave of the blast knock all of the guards, including Shining Armor and Cadence, down onto the floor.
They have failed to keep whatever has come forth out...but there was nothing they could have done to stop it, and now they lie unconscious on the ground.
The volume of the thundering crashes above in the clouds grow louder as the wind outside increases ever more. The barred doors to the Ballroom open, and a mysteries dark mist appears...making it's way passed everpony and right up to the center of the room. There it begins to take form into that of a creature nopony has ever seen the likes of.
Princess Celestia and Luna, along with the Mane Six, stand ready to face whatever evil foe that dares to have invaded the capital of Equestria. “Whoever you are...whatever you are...show yourself! I demand to know who you are and what you want!!” Princess Celestia shouts with great courage at the black mist.
The answer is soon given once the mist takes the form of the one that controls it and the storms above: The monsters has four giant hooves and legs to where he looks like that of a pony...but only at the lower part. The upper part of it's body reveals two arms and claws, which follows with the head and the massive horns that rest on the top. In the end, this demon is huge and is covered in fur of both black and dark red. It wears armor, and its eyes are black, brimming with dark energy that are darker than any starless night.
As the ponies within the Ballroom cower in fear to what they see before them, the creature gives a mere smirk and answers Celestia “I AM THE BEGINNING OF THE END…OF YOUR KINGDOM…AND YOUR PRECIOUS HARMONY!!” The dark demon gives a small wicked chuckle and reveals his name: “I…AM…TIREK!!!!”