Ponies from all over Equestria are arriving at Canterlot to attend one of its greatest events: The Grand Galloping Gala. There are those that have come from as far as Baltimare, and even the Crystal Empire. Wearing their finest suits and dresses, many are looking forward to this wondrous night, hosted by Princess Celestia herself.
The carriages began arriving, and one at a time, the ponies within exit and make their way across the walkway, and into the city. After many have come and gone, the apple carriage, being pulled by four mice-turned-horses, is next.
Coming to a halt, the well-dressed baby dragon jumps off then opens the carriage door, “We have arrived.”
The six ponies exit one at a time. Once out, 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,” said Twilight.
“Lets just hope it’ll go better than last time,” Rainbow Dash hopes.
Applejack buts in, “Darn right it will. As long as we stick together, nothin’ will go wrong.”
“I completely agree,” Rarity says.
“Fluttershy nods, “Oh yes, I also agree.”
“Yep. Now lets get in there, and party! Whoohoo!!” shouts the excited Pinkie Pie, who starts hopping ahead of the group. They chuckle and follow Pinkie, but choose to walk.
The six finally make it into the main hall. There they see plenty of wonders to behold: There are 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; And last but not least, over in the Ballroom, there are ponies dancing to the finest music, played by Canterlot’s finest musicians.
After spending a moment to view all before them, they all agree this is much fancier than the previous Gala. This makes it hard for some of them to want to remain together as they planned.
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 smell the fancy food from where she stands, and is anxious to grab a bite; Pinkie Pie on the other hand, wants to get the “real” party started over in the Ballroom.
Twilight notices the look in their eyes and sighs, “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 chuckle and start looking around, wondering where to 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 in her mind.
“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 starts making her way to the Ballroom.
“Oh…well…I guess I could,” Fluttershy shrugs, who decides to follow.
“Thanks, but if it’s all the same with you, I’d like to meet up with the Princess first,” Twilight says, as she walks in the other direction to where Celestia will most likely be.
As the ponies separate, 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.
After a while of searching, Twilight finds herself entering the Ballroom and noticing it has become the busiest room in all of Castle. As she looks around, trying to find anypony she recognizes, she is soon filled with joy when she spots the Princess sitting over in the dinning area, speaking with what seemed to be some very important ponies. Twilight makes her way over.
“Princess Celestia,” she greets her mentor.
The Princess of the Sun hears the voice, turns and smiles, “Twilight. It is so good to see you again. I’m glad you made it.”
“I am too. I..uh…hope I am not interrupting anything here?” she asks as she sees the other ponies at the table looking at her.
“Not at all. I would be honored if you would join us.” the Princess points at the seat next to her.
“Thank you, your majesty.” the faithful student joins the rest at the table, and is ready to tell the Princess Celestia about recent events.
Meanwhile, the others are finding ways to have fun:
Applejack arrives at the buffet and works her way around it, trying out everything in front of her, “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.
“Howdy dere Spike. Enjoyin’ yerself?”
“You know it. How about you, Applejack?”
“You betcha!” the hungry earth pony returns to the buffet, enjoying the company of a friend as she eats. Applejack then begins to wonder if she could be able to get the recipe for this food, “If a’ try using apples in the mix, they might sell. That would add greatly to da Family Business,” She ponders.
Pinkie Pie spends her time stuffing herself with cake and other treats she can find around the Gala. She makes her way to where the band is playing, and jumps right in, “Come on, everypony!! Put your hooves up in the air, and shake em’ like ya just don’t care!” Her attempts to get a more live party started only annoys a few ponies, but she is determined this time to not give up.
Rarity joins up with Fancypants and his new entourage in the dinning area. After being introduced by the most important pony in all of Canterlot to his other guests, Rarity starts discussing many topics on fashion that intrigued them all.
Fluttershy, however, makes her way out to into the garden. She takes some bird seed she brought with her, and throws it on the grass. A few birds fly down from the trees to feast. This makes her happy, knowing she is able to make some new friends this night.
Rainbow Dash arrives at the V.I.P. area, where she is quickly recognized by a two of the Wonderbolts: Soarin and Spitfire.
“Hey Rainbow Dash. Glad to see you again,” the Captain of the Wonderbolts greets the expert flyer.
“Thanks. Almost thought you guys wouldn’t recognize me.”
“Why would you think that? I’ll never forget the pony who saved my pie last time,” Soarin smiles.
Rainbow Dash recalls that event, and smiles back.
Spitfire then asks, “Wanna join us? We are about to discuss our upcoming performance in Cloudsdale.”
Rainbow Dash gets all excited, but then calms down and remains cool, “Sure I‘ll join you guys!”
The two Wonderbolts smile and make their way back to the tables. Rainbow follows, but then sees some new treats arriving, and decides to grab a little something before sitting down.
As she fills her plate up with a few things, she takes a piece of the big cake sitting on the end. As she bites into it, she notices a familiar pony on the other side, “Derpy? Is that you?”
The grayish pegasus, with the crossed-walled eyes hears her name being called and looks up, “Hey Rainbow Dash.”
“It is you. I didn’t know you got invited to the Gala.”
“They let me join to help them bake. I made that cake that you are eating.”
Rainbow is amazed and impressed; This delicious cake she is eating, was made by one who usually causes accidents, “You don’t say? Well, it is pretty good.”
“Thanks, Rainbow Dash.” Derpy leans her back to the small statue behind her, showing a hint of pride in her cooking. But, the statue is not held down and both she and it fall backwards. The statue lands on the end of the neighboring buffet table, which makes the food at the other end fly high in the air and land on a few ponies over yonder.
The ponies covered in h’ordurvers look over at Derpy, annoyed. All she could do is smile nervously, squee, then dash away.
Rainbow Dash chuckles a little at what Derpy did, finding it hilarious. She then takes another piece of Derpy’s cake and makes her way to where the Wonderbolts are sitting.
Back to where both Princess Celestia and Twilight are sitting, the lavender pony waits for her teacher to finish speaking with the nobility, for she has some things to tell her.
Finally, the Princess finishes and turns to her student, “So, Twilight, 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 and sees Celestia is waiting for an answer, ”I never got to them. I was…distracted.”
The Princess tilts her head a little, “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?” The Princess interrupts.
Twilight blushes nervously, feeling more ashamed, “I’m sorry about that.”
“Twilight. Do not feel sad. All that is really important is that you were not hurt.”
Twilight smiles and looks back up at the Princess, “Thank you, your Highness.”
Princess Celestia nods and smiles back, “Now, about this book you were telling me about…”
“Yes. I brought it with me. Maybe you could tell me where it came from?” Twilight gives her teacher the book. Celestia levitates it and takes a look through it quickly.
Once she finishes, the Princess gives it back to her student 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.”
Twilight seems a little disappointed, but the Princess places her hoof on her students shoulder, “Once the Gala is over, I will do what I can to discover this book’s origins. I promise.”
Twilight Sparkle smiles at the Princess, “Thank you, your Majesty.”
“But in the meantime, please focus on your studies. There is much more I wish to teach you, once your current lesson is finished,” the Princess adds.
“Good. Now, I need to check up on my sister. I know it is 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. I will return later.”
Twilight nods as the Princess excused herself from the others and makes her way outside, to find Princess Luna.
As Twilight watches her teacher leave, she catches sight of two ponies entering the Ballroom which makes her get all excited: Shining Armor and Princess Cadance. She leaves the dining table and heads on over to greet her brother and his wife.
High up in the tallest tower, Princess Luna is gazing through her telescope, being ever watchful of the night. She occasionally will look down to see the ponies having a good time at the Gala. As much as she wants to join, she refuses to abandon her duties, even for a while. She resumes watching, determined to ensure all is well.
As Luna continues looking out into the distance, she suddenly spots a storm far off to the west, “Looks like a storm is brewing. Thankfully, it will never reach here.”
As she watches the storm, a massive bolt of lightning forms out there, in which the flash reached her eyes, causing images to pour into her mind: Something dark and terrifying.
She gasps as she sees a shadowy figure, with the blackest eyes, standing amongst the storm. It starts walking towards her, as the power of the storm increases. Luna tries to block the images, but to no avail.
The creature is getting closer, and starts to laugh manically at her. The Princess begins to panic. But, as the creature laughs more, she suddenly remembers that voice; She has heard it before, long ago…
“Sister?! SISTER?!” another voice shouts, snapping her back to reality.
“…Cel..estia..?” Luna mutters, breathing rapidly as she did.
“Luna…what happened?” Princess Celestia does what she can to comfort her little sister.
“I…I…saw…” The Princess of the Night can barely speak. Tears start to form in her eyes.
“Shhh…it’s okay, little sister. I’m here.” Celestia holds her close, trying to calm her down, “Tell me, what did you see?”
Princess Luna feels comfort in her sister’s embrace, and within a few moments is able to speak again, “Something…is…coming. Something…evil.” She points her hoof out towards the distant, where the storm is.
Princess Celestia gazes out into the distance and can see the storm. It is now closer than before. She can see her sister‘s words were true: Something…is coming.
Meanwhile, in the Ballroom, Twilight makes her way passed the crowds, towards her Big Brother Best Friend Forever (BBBFF): Shining Armor. When she finally reaches him, she throws her front legs around his neck and hugs him tight.
“Twili. It’s so good to see you again. I missed you.” the Captain of the Royal Guard greets with joy, who returns his little sister’s hug with his own.
“I missed you too.”
They both keep the hug going for a little longer, then they both let go, smiling. Twilight turns to Princess Cadance, who is standing next to her husband, and does their famous little dance together:
“Clap Your Hooves,”
“And Do A Little Shake!”
After finishing, both Twilight and Cadance hug each other, “It’s so good to see you as well, Cadance.”
“Me too. I have missed you, little sister.”
Twilight feels so happy hearing her old foal sitter call her sister. Ever since the events of the wedding and the Crystal Empire, these two have such a strong bond, much like Twilight and Shining.
The hug comes to an end, and Cadance decides to ask the question, “So, how have things been in Ponyville?”
“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 all this with a hint of pride in her voice.
“That’s wonderful, Twilight,” Cadance smiles.
“Indeed it is. We are both so proud of you. Mom and Dad would be too. Its too bad they couldn’t make it to the Gala,” Shining Armor sighs sadly.
“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 likes this idea and gets excited.
“That sounds like a good idea, Twili. Right after the Gala, lets go pay them a visit.”
Twilight smiles at her brother, “Can‘t wait.”
As the three of them continue their conversation happily, the orchestra begins playing something different; 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 a proper manner, “Dearest Cadance, would you honor me with a dance?”
Both Twilight and Cadance giggle, then the Princess curtsies in return, “I would, my handsome Captain.”
Shining then escorts her out to the dance floor, where they begin dancing together to the music. Other couples follow suit, and the floor soon has a number of couples dancing.
Twilight smiles as her brother and sister-in-law dance together. But as she watches, she soon feels her happiness starting to slip in to 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. She begins to wish she is out there, with a very special somepony. She now knew deep inside, it was her heart’s desire.
Twilight continues to watch the couples dancing, and soon imagines herself out there, dancing with a very handsome young stallion; He would hold her close, as they would move slowly to the sound of the music. Twilight would listen to his heart beat, as her own would beat along with his. Then, they would look into each others eyes, and see that, it was love.
The music suddenly stops playing, causing Twilight’s dream to end. She looks around and wonders what was going on. She soon notices everypony looking in one direction, to where Princess Celestia and is now standing.
“Attention, Everypony. This is an emergency. I need you all head to the Wedding Hall, immediately!” Princess Celestia orders.
“What is going on, your Highness?” Shining Armor asks.
“There is no time to explain. Take your troops and guard the Palace doors. Nothing gets in!”
The Captain obeys her order and makes his way towards the entrance with his troops. Cadance follows.
The Princess then orders the guards that remain with her to escort the guests to the wedding hall, in an orderly fashion.
As Twilight makes her way through the crowd trying to reach the Princess, her friends have already gathered together and joined her.
“Twilight, what the hay is goin’ on?” Applejack questions.
“I don’t know. I have never seen the Princess like this before,” Twilight shrugs.
“Something big must be going on if this is happening,” said Rainbow Dash as she hovers above them.
“Come on girls. We need to get to her and find out what is wrong.” Twilight stated.
Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Applejack, Rainbow, and Spike move through the other ponies as fast as they can, until they finally reach the Princess.
“Princess Celestia. What is happening?” her student pleads for an answer.
“Twilight, I need you and your friends to join the others in the wedding hall. Princess Luna has gone to retrieve the Elements of Harmony. We will meet you there.”
“Go Twilight! Now!” The Princess orders.
Twilight knows she cannot argue with her, so she nods firmly and rejoins the guests as they are being escorted to the wedding hall.
Once all the guests are moved, and the guards are in place at the entrance, Princess Celestia hurries her way to rejoin her sister and subjects.
At the sealed Palace doors, the Royal Guard can hear a storm approaching. The thunder and wind that comes with it feels the strongest ever heard or witnessed. It is now upon the City of Canterlot.
Shining Armor, with the support of his beloved Cadance, powers up his shield around the entire city, determined to not allow whatever this is to enter.
“Stand your ground!” he orders his 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.
Suddenly, a loud crack of thunder is heard, followed by a bolt of lightning which strikes down from the clouds above, piercing through Shining Armor’s shield and right at the Palace doors. The door blow open, knocking all the guards, plus its captain and his wife, onto the ground.
As they lie there in a daze from the force of the knock back, whatever that hit them has already entered, moving through the shadows.
The guests, along with Twilight and her friends, all gather in the wedding hall. They all begin talking amongst themselves, wondering why the Princess would do something like this.
“Maybe she’s planning a big surprise party for everypony!” Pinkie Pie excitedly suggests.
“Oh…I don’t know about that, Pinkie Pie,” Fluttershy softly replies.
Rarity gives her thoughts on the matter, “Well, whatever it is, it certainly ruined my chances of being invited to-”
“Girls! Enough. This is serious.” Twilight quiets them down.
The others are surprised at her words, but she has a right to say them; Twilight is worried about her teacher, and the situation.
Soon after, Princess Celestia enters the wedding hall. Twilight runs up to her, hoping to get an answer this time, “Your Majesty. Please tell us what is going on?”
The Princess whispers to her student to avoid causing a panic, “My sister saw something out there and she believes it is coming here, which is why I need you and your friends to wield the Elements of Harmony should-”
Celestia is cut off when Princess Luna enters in a hurry, but she does not have the box containing the Elements with her.
“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, coming from the skies above. This causes everypony in the room to scream and duck in cover. It is so loud, its echoes would no doubt be heard in Ponyville and Cloudsdale.
As the thundering comes to an end, the screaming stops, but they all remain on the floor should another appear.
Just then, a new sound is heard, but it is not of thunder: it is laughter.
Back at the Palace entrance, the guards try to stand back up and regain their strength. The Captain and his wife are given assistance.
“Thanks. Ugh…what was…that?” Shining Armor moans.
“I don’t know, dear….but it…” Princess Cadance stops and listens, “Do you hear that?”
The guards all listen, and hear what she is hearing: a dark, maniacal laugh coming from with the castle, further inward.
“Something got past us. We need to hurry to the Wedding Hall. Everypony, follow me!” The Captain shouts his orders.
As the guards gallop as fast as they can, Shining Armor starts to worry, “I’m coming, little sister.“
The volume of the laughter increases, and suddenly the wedding hall doors blow open, and a mysteries dark mist appears. It makes it’s way passed everypony, right up to the other side, and there it stops.
Princess Celestia and Luna, along with the Mane Six, rush towards it, ready to face whatever it is that has dared to invade their peaceful castle.
The dark laughter is heard once more, and seems to be coming from the mist, “Whatever you are, show yourself!!” Princess Celestia demands.
The laughter stopps and the mist spoke, “AS YOU WISH!!!”
The dark mist moves to the floor, and begins to take shape; Starting from the bottom, four giant hooves and legs form; Soon after comes the rest of the lower body, which looks like that of a pony, but the front start forming something else: the upper part reveals two arms, which follows with the head. It has two massive horns on top.
It is big and its fur is both black and dark red. It wears armor, and its eyes are black, brimming with dark energy.
What everypony sees is a creature none of which have ever seen in all of Equestria. They are all at a loss for words.
“What…what…is…that?” The frightened Twilight gasps.
The creature laughs and is amused at everypony’s expression, “I AM THE BEGINNING OF THE END…OF YOUR KINGDOM…AND YOUR PRECIOUS HARMONY!!” The giant, dark monster laughs once more, and glares down upon the frightened ponies, and reveals his name: