Dash and Applejack's ability to keep the door closed had been waning. Even the two strongest mares from Ponyville were at a disadvantage against three stallions, one of whom was a royal guard.
The two had communicated through facial expressions alone. They had decided that eventually the ponies on the other side were going to wrench open the door and that what they were doing was pointless. They both made a silent decision to suddenly step back away from the door. Their synchronicity was impeccable.
The door fell inward, just barely avoiding Applejack and propelling the surprised ponies on the other side stumbling forward. The two wasted no time in tackling the group and pushing them back into the house's main room. It was a jumbled mess of hooves and shouting, but it ended with the five ponies sprawled on the floor.
Applejack was the first to get to her hooves. She quickly moved back to the door and pulled it shut. During this time, the other four had gotten to their hooves.
The two unicorns were befuddled. "Who the hell are you two?!" Comet exclaimed.
"Shut up, you criminals!" Dash shouted hotly, "What did you do to our princess?!"
"How did you even get in here?!" High shouted, still trying to wrap his mind around what was transpiring before him.
"Answer the question!" Dash exclaimed, her temper rising, "We know you did something! What was it?! Huh? Did you kill her?!"
Navy stepped forward, his face full of rage. "I knew that prissy unicorn looked familiar!" He swiftly approached Dash and raised a hoof to strike her, but the pegasus was too quick.
"Boss?" Comet enquired.
"These are the Elements of Harmony!!" he shouted.
"Well, how flatterin'. Ya've heard of us," Applejack said, calm under pressure as always, "Now why don't y'all calm down before we end up kickin' the manure outta each other?"
Navy's response was to quickly step towards Applejack and take a powerful swing at her. She also swiftly dodged.
"All ri', ferget that…"
"Don't just stand there, you idiots!" Navy turned and shouted to the two befuddled unicorns, "Get them!! Hold them down and don't let them escape!"
The two unicorns lit up their horns and approached Dash, bearing fighting stances, while Navy continued to try to attack Applejack. The two mares tried to keep distant from their assailants, moving cautiously and biding time.
Comet and High converged on Dash suddenly, trying to grab her. At the last moment she jumped into the air, opened her wings, and hovered above the two. She smirked at the ponies below her, but her smile vanished when she felt the odd sensation of magic gripping her wings. She tried desperately to continue flapping them, but the magic of the two unicorns was too strong combined.
As they tried to pull her down, she focused all of her strength into one powerful sweep of her wings. This propelled her forwards while the magic was pulling her down, allowing her to arc through the air and land on the floor beside them. They were still keeping their magical grip on her.
"Wanna play rough, eh?" she said, grinning. Surprising the two stallions completely, she suddenly dashed towards them. Using their magical tug against them, she propelled herself into the two, crashing into them ferociously and sending the three tumbling to the ground.
Meanwhile, Applejack was dancing around Navy Shield's aggressive attacks. The pegasus was swinging at her with his strong forehooves and trying to grab her. Her smaller stature allowed her to move swiftly around the blows, but she didn't quite have the agility that Dash had. When Navy suddenly unfurled his wings and used them to propel himself towards her, she wasn't able to move quickly enough and Navy was able to wrap one hoof around her neck.
"'Ey! Watch it, pardner!" Before Navy could even react, Applejack kicked out powerfully with her back hoof, catching him in the stomach. The wind knocked out of him, he cried out in pain and released her.
Dash was not having as much luck with her unicorn assailants. The aggressive scuffle on the ground was not going in her favour. She kicked out with her hooves and even managed to hit the stallions in the face with her powerful wings a few times. However, she was ultimately outnumbered and the unicorns were eventually able to grab on to and subdue her.
"Hey! Let go-a mah friend!" Applejack said, quickly rushing to Dash's aid. However, she was suddenly knocked to the ground by a blow from behind, crying out as she hit the floor. Groaning and looking back, she saw Navy had already recovered from her powerful kick and was now approaching her.
"Cut it out!" Dash was yelling, "Let go of me! Fight fair, will ya?!"
"Damnit…" Applejack muttered.
"Damn fools…" Navy said as his hooves landed mere inches from Applejack's face, "Did you really think you could take us down alone?"
There was silence for a moment, and then Applejack chuckled.
"What?" Navy said, leaning down to stare into Applejack's eyes, "What's so funny?"
"Buddy, we ain't hardly alone," she said to him smugly.
Suddenly, as if on cue, the front door burst open. "HEY!" shouted a loud, female voice, "Leave my friends alone!!!"
Navy and the two unicorns could only turn and stare in shock at the pink pony that stood in the doorway, wearing a visage of absolute rage.
"Um, Pinkie dear," Rarity said, also stepping through the doorway, "don't you mean 'Our friends'?"
The fierce expression disappeared from Pinkie's face and was replaced with a smile. "Oh right, silly me. Duh! They're you're friends too. Oopsie!"
"In any case, hooves off our friends!!" Rarity shouted, quickly adopting a kung fu stance that, quite frankly, just looked odd.
Navy, having been staring in disbelief at the two new intruders, regained his composure. He whipped his head around to face the two unicorns, still holding down Dash with their bare hooves. "Will you two get off your lazy flanks and use your magic?! Restrain them! It can't be that difficult!"
"Oh, that's not gonna do much," Pinkie said, suddenly mere centimetres from Navy's face. He jumped back in alarm, letting his grip slide from Applejack enough to allow her to wrench herself free.
No longer content to play nicely, Applejack immediately turned around and aimed a powerful buck at Navy's head. He was barely able to dodge.
Comet and High, distracted by the unfolding events were taken by surprise when Dash suddenly began thrashing, trying to free herself. She managed to get one hoof free and swung it at Comet's head. With a cry of pain, the unicorn fell to the floor, a vicious red mark on his cheek.
Pinkie quickly dashed over to help her rainbow-maned friend while Rarity rushed to Applejack's side. Pinkie reared up and wrapped her hooves around High's neck, struggling to pull him free from Dash. The pegasus was now swinging her hooves at the yellow unicorn, just barely missing their mark.
Applejack and Navy, meanwhile, were engaged in an all-out brawl. They were circling each other, hooves flying as both tried to damage their opponent. Rarity, not exactly used to fighting, was keeping her distance. Whenever she saw an opportunity, she used her magic to hold Navy back from striking Applejack.
High finally released his grip on Dash, turning his attentions instead to the pink earth pony around his neck. He swung his hooves backwards, trying to hit her, but he succeeded in hitting nothing more than the air.
Dash immediately got to her hooves and was about to pummel the yellow unicorn when she was tackled from the side by a grey blur. Dash and Comet rolled along the floor, immediately engaged in a tussle with one another.
Sounds of battle resounded through the house. Blows were exchanged and cries of pain were exclaimed. Both sides were fairly evenly matched, with Navy's battling skill making up for their being outnumbered.
At the moment, as they struggled against their opponents, the four mares could only hope that Twilight would return to them soon.
With a pull of Twilight's magic, the cell door swung outwards. Uttering a cry of success, the unicorn dashed into the cell. Fluttershy immediately followed.
The first thing the two mares did was fling themselves into Luna, hugging her tightly. The moon princess smiled and leaned down to nuzzle the two, bringing her wings forward to hug them back.
"We missed you so much…" Twilight said quietly, smiling wide as she held her embrace with the alicorn. The sensation of physical contact her was the final ingredient of truth that her mind required. Princess Luna was really, truly alive.
"Excellent, Twilight," Luna said in a warm voice, "Thank you so much."
Fluttershy was crying joyful tears again. Luna brushed against her gently with her wing. "It's okay, Fluttershy. I'm okay, there's no need to worry."
Fluttershy lifted a hoof to her face and wiped away her tears. "I'm sorry," she said, sniffling, "I'm just so happy to see you."
A loud crash, followed by a cry of pain echoed in from the doorway, catching the three mares' attention.
Luna stepped back from the embrace, her face turning serious. "We must hurry. It sounds like there's trouble upstairs."
Twilight nodded, quickly shifting back into focused mode. "Right, of course." She quickly turned her attention to the shackles binding Luna's hooves. She again reached out with her magic and examined them closely, looking for a weakness. "Don't worry, Your Highness! I'll have you out of there in no time."
However, Luna raised one of her hooves to hold Twilight back, the chains clattering along the floor. "No, Twilight," she said before laying down upon the ground, bringing her head down to Twilight's eye-level. "Just get this off of me. I can handle the rest myself." She shifted her head, bringing her horn slightly closer to the unicorn.
Twilight realized that she was indicating the metal device around her horn. "Oh, all right," she said before stepping closer to get a better look. Fluttershy watched anxiously from the sidelines.
More sounds of the battle floated down from the upper floor.
"What is going on up there?" Luna asked, addressing Fluttershy so that Twilight could focus.
Fluttershy paused to listen to the sounds emanating from above. She winced and splayed her ears. "Oh no…It sounds like they're all fighting."
Luna grimaced. "That is not good…They're in danger. They're not exactly the most intelligent ponies, but the unicorns are powerful and the pegasus is strong and well-trained…"
Twilight grunted, frowning as the device reacted oddly to her magical probes. "Well," she said absentmindedly, "If Pinkie's in the fight, then she's probably already told Spike to send the scroll."
"Oh yes, that's right! That's good then!" Fluttershy piped up.
"What scroll?" Luna asked.
"Twilight told Spike to send a scroll to Celestia if there was trouble."
Luna smiled. "Well, if Tia is coming, then your friends will be fine. As long as she hurries, which I'm sure she will." She sighed in contentment. "I can't wait to see my sister again. I have missed her so much."
Fluttershy gave a compassionate smile. "I'm sure the smile on her face will be the biggest smile ever in the history of Equestria."
Luna grinned even wider as she envisioned the joyful reunion.
"Damn it all…" Twilight muttered.
"Is there a problem, Twilight?" Luna asked, her smile vanishing.
"Ugh, no, it's just this stupid thing…" she grumbled, "It has a very complex lock on it. I don't want to do anything wrong, or it might not come off…"
Luna and Fluttershy exchanged worried glances.
"Don't worry, Your Highness, I'll get it off. Just let me concentrate."
A loud, painful-sounding crash echoed from upstairs.
"Hurry…" Fluttershy whispered.
Earlier, Rarity and Applejack had been standing by the front door, wearily facing Navy. Their attention had been completely focused on him, so neither saw the charging form of High as he tackled into them and sent them rolling out the door. The others had followed and soon the battle had shifted to the front yard.
Nopony was paying attention to the location, however. The fight was escalating. Navy, High and Comet were fuelled by their dedication to their mission and would not allow failure to strike them when they were so close to succeeding. These intruders needed to be brought down.
The four mares, on the other hoof, knew what their job was. They needed to buy all the time necessary for Twilight to work her magic in the basement. None of them knew yet what she had found, but the fact that she hadn't yet returned was sparking hope in all of them.
Hiding behind the corner of the house, Spike watched the unfolding brawl in shock and fear.
The tide of the scuffle was turning, however. The four mares were losing their stamina quickly, while their opponents continued to try to bring them down. They all had injuries, while the stallions remained mostly undamaged. Applejack and Dash were covered in bruises and Pinkie had received a black eye. Pinkie and Rarity were hanging back, keeping their distance while Dash and Applejack were working together, trying their hardest to stop the attacks of the three stallions.
Presently, Navy was dashing towards Applejack, quickly stopping and spinning on his hooves, delivering a powerful buck in her direction. Applejack was only barely able to duck and dodge. Dash swooped in, aiming to tackle Navy and protect her earth pony friend. However, High and Comet reached out with their magic and restrained her helplessly in midair.
Applejack quickly rolled away as Navy brought his hooves down to the ground. Rarity lit up her horn and cast out her own spell, attempting to counteract the other unicorns' magic.
The conflicting magic managed to weaken the restraint on Dash and she fell to the ground on her hooves. She turned and was about to dash forward and tackle the offending unicorns when she herself was painfully thrown to the ground. She cried out as Navy held her down.
Navy's small victory over Dash was short-lived as Applejack proceeded to tackle into him, throwing him from Dash's downed form. The pegasus watched, panting, as Applejack and Navy rolled and tussled on the grassy ground.
Dash made to get up, but two hooves landed squarely on her back and kept her down. Craning her neck back, Dash saw Comet's smirking form standing over her, his horn glowing as he anchored her limbs to the ground.
Rarity stepped forward, intending to counteract the magic again when she felt herself being lifted off the ground. She stared down, watching as High galloped beneath her, his horn glowing as he cast the spell. The unicorn was galloping straight for Pinkie, who was focused on Applejack.
"Pinkie, look out!" Rarity cried, but the warning was given too late. The dark yellow unicorn reared up on his back hooves and shoved Pinkie to the ground, bringing his hooves down on her midsection to restrain her.
Dash, Pinkie and Rarity struggled valiantly, but their captors kept a firm grip on them. Their stamina had fallen considerably. Rarity was trying in vain to disrupt High's magic, but he was using a different spell this time; one she wasn't familiar with.
"Let go of me and fight like a real stallion!" Dash shouted, hot blooded as always.
Nearby, Applejack lay underneath a triumphantly grinning and panting Navy. "Damn…" he muttered, "Your fighting's not too bad…" Applejack squirmed and lashed out with her hooves, but she was effectively trapped under Navy's larger form. She panted, staring daggers at the pegasus above her.
Navy glanced to the side and his smile grew when he saw that the other three had also been subdued. "Excellent job, you two," he said, smirking.
"Yer gonna pay fer this!" Applejack said.
"Yeah! You're not going to get away with this!" Dash shouted.
Navy chuckled. "Forget it, foals. You've failed." He then turned to address Comet. "Use your magic and grab the rope from inside the house and tie that one up," he said, directing his gaze to Dash.
"Yes sir," Comet said before lighting up his horn.
Navy returned his gaze to Applejack. "I don't know how you got into that room or what you hoped to accomplish, but I can assure you that you're not going to stop our mission. We will succeed. The fate of Equestria hangs in the balance." He turned his gaze to the horizon, where the sun had vanished only a few moments ago. The night of the new moon would begin in mere minutes.
"I must admit…you had me scared for a time. There was a fleeting moment where I thought you might have the ability to bring us down, or at least ruin our operation. I must learn to have more faith in myself and my two excellent unicorns. It won't be long now before it's all over. You will all see how blind you have truly been."
Applejack growled. "Y'all are terrible…wicked ponies…"
Navy smirked. "Hardly. We're only doing what must be done."
Dash was still struggling, but Comet held tight. "You're monsters!! You're evil!!"
"You're all terrible, criminal scum!" Rarity said from her suspended position.
The other six all turned to gaze at her in confusion. "What's so funny?" High said from above her.
She snickered. "You all sound like you're in a cliché movie."
"What's the matter with you?" Navy shouted to her, puzzled, "Don't you realize that we've beaten you?"
"Yeah, Pinkie…" Dash said, equally perplexed, "Aren't you, like, angry at these ponies?"
She snickered again. "Well sure, they're terrible and evil, but it's just funny."
"What is?" Rarity asked.
"That they think they've won."
There was a period of silence. Navy finally broke it, saying "What in Equestria do you mean by that? Do you not see us holding you and your friends down?"
"Of course I do."
Navy turned to look at Dash. "Is she always like this?"
Dash sighed. "Unfortunately."
Returning his gaze to the pink earth pony, he said, "Well then…what makes you think that we haven't won, exactly?"
"Well, duh!" was her response before wrenching free one of her hooves, much to the surprise of High, and pointing it up into the sky. "Because of her!"
The six ponies barely had time to whip their heads around and see the white and grey streak rushing towards them before a booming voice shook the landscape.
"WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!"
The stallions gasped as four hooves clad in solid-gold horseshoes landed forcefully on the ground a few meters away. Her wings folded to her side and her horn lit up around her grey mane.
"Princess Celestia!" Navy blurted out, "Your Highness!"
"SILENCE!" Celestia shouted. Navy shrank back in fear before the only pony in all of Equestria that he was afraid of.
Celestia wore a very cross expression as she took in the scene before her. The four mares looked to her with relieved eyes, pleading for her help with their gazes. Navy's mind immediately began to panic. Everything was going wrong. Their carefully laid plan was falling apart before him now that Celestia was here. He stared into the rage-filled eyes of the alicorn, a sight that was rarely ever seen, and felt his confidence and resolve melt away.
"Navy Shield," she spoke, softly but with a dangerous edge, "You'd better have an extremely good reason for attacking and injuring these four ponies."
The pegasus gulped.
There was a click, followed by a loud clatter as the magic damming device fell to the floor. Twilight beamed triumphantly.
Luna wasted no time. She lit up her horn with a faint, flickering aura, which spread over the chains that were binding her. She grunted in exertion, the aura fading and flickering, but a minute later the chains had completely vanished.
Luna promptly fell to the floor.
"Your Highness, thank goodness you're here to arrest these criminals," Navy said in his professional tone.
"Princess! Oh thank heavens you've arrived to arrest these criminals!" Rarity shouted at exactly the same time.
Celestia glared at the three stallions. The scene before her was troubling and sketchy. It wasn't long ago that she had been in her royal chambers, about to go to sleep, when green dragon fire appeared before her and presented her with a letter.
She had immediately detected that something was amiss. The scroll wasn't rolled up neatly and there was no seal. Twilight had always been impeccable in the preparation of her scrolls. When she had unrolled it, she had found a hasty message from her protégé, stating that she was in danger and needed immediate help.
Celestia had feared the worst. Her mind had conjured up images of fierce creatures such as Dragons and Hyrdas attacking and harming her faithful student. She had wasted no time and had immediately taken to the skies, flying as fast as she could to the location that had been given on the scroll.
Now that she was here, however, she wasn't sure what to think exactly. Twilight was nowhere to be seen, but four of her friends were injured and being held by two members of the royal guard and a third, unfamiliar unicorn. Most troubling to her was that one of these guards was Navy Shield.
"Princess! Help us!" Applejack shouted from under Navy Shield. To the shock of everypony else, Navy responded by pulling back his hoof and punching her in the jaw. Applejack cried out in pain and Celestia gasped in disbelief.
Immediately, a golden aura surrounded the three stallions, wrenching them off of their captives and forcing them to the ground nearby. They struggled to move, but Celestia's magic held them down sturdily. "Navy Shield!" Celestia shouted, anger clearly evident in her voice, "How dare you strike an unarmed pony without provocation?! Do you have any idea who these ponies are?!"
"Your highness!" Navy shouted, his panic rising, "Let me go! These are criminals! They are endangering all of Equestria! They must be captured before they can do any more harm!"
Celestia turned her head and glanced at the four mares. They were slowly gathering together, wincing from their wounds and simply looking relieved. A moment later, Spike ran out to join them from behind the house, having seen the Princess arrive. He immediately began to ask if they were all right and expressed his gratitude that they weren't hurt any worse than they were.
"Those do not look like criminals to me, Navy Shield," she spoke softly, "They look like good ponies who have just received a beating. If they really were criminals, don't you think they'd have run away by now?"
Navy struggled against his magical bond. "Your Highness, please!!" he shouted.
Celestia glanced to Comet, the grey unicorn looking deathly afraid of the taller alicorn, and then to the third stallion. He was simply laying upon the ground, held down by her magic, staring at her. Celestia did not recognize him, and his presence only served to discredit Navy's actions even further.
"Your Majesty! You must let me go! This is important!" Navy screamed.
"Enough, Navy Shield," Celestia spoke with authority, "I am going to get to the bottom of this. You, your comrade and whoever this other unicorn is will remain here."
Ignoring the guard's shouts from behind her, Celestia paced over to the four mares and dragon, her horn remaining lit. "Are you all okay?" she asked kindly.
"I think so…" Dash said shakily, "It's just AJ's jaw…"
Applejack was holding a hoof to her lower jaw tenderly, her face screwed up in pain.
Celestia glanced around at the area, taking in the setting. "Where is Twilight?"
"She went inside," Rarity said, stepping forward to face the Princess, "Your Highness, those vile ponies over there are doing something horrible in this house."
"Is that so?" Celestia spoke slowly, still trying to assess the situation, "We are a fair distance from Ponyville. What are you all doing out here?"
"It's a loooong, long story, Princess…" Pinkie said.
"We're still not entirely sure what's going on," Dash chimed in, "but Twilight and Fluttershy went down into the basement and they haven't come back up yet."
"This entire escapade was based on Twilight's findings," Rarity said, "She was the one who figured it all out."
Celestia shook her head. "My little ponies, slow down please. What findings? What did Twilight figure out?"
"It was her idea to follow Spike's blue fire! And that's what led us here!" Pinkie said, quickly returning to her upbeat attitude in the presence of the Princess.
"Blue…fire?" Celestia muttered.
"Spike's blue flames went right to this house, and they went down into the basement," Pinkie said, talking a mile a minute, "So that's why Twilight and Fluttershy went down there, although Fluttershy wasn't supposed to go in, she just got poofed in by accident. At least I think. Oh, and Dash and Applejack went in too to help block the door, but the mean ponies over there knocked the door down, which is how the fight started, I guess. Then you showed up!"
"Pinkie…what are you talking about?" Celestia said quietly, harbouring a suspicion of what the pink pony's words meant, but not willing to believe it.
"Well Twilight was spending all of her time in the basement. Oh, not this basement, the one in her house. Or library. Same thing, I guess. But she was looking at videos and stuff, or at least that's what Dash said. She's the one that went down there. There were things that weren't right at the funeral and especially during that ghost thing. That was cool, by the way. Twilight knew she wasn't entirely sure if she was right, but she wanted to go check anyway. And she asked us to come along to help find her!"
"Don't listen to them, they're foals!!" Navy's voice could be heard shouting. To Celestia, it sounded distant. She was about to respond, when the sound of hooves on the floorboards reached her ears. Everypony turned to the house and saw Fluttershy standing in the doorway. She gasped and immediately fell into a low bow.
"Princess! You're here!"
"Fluttershy! Where is Twilight?" Celestia said.
The pegasus raised her head up and gazed at the princess, grinning brightly from ear to ear. She got up from her bow and stepped outside, gesturing into the doorway with her hoof. "She's right behind me."
When Fluttershy stopped talking, Celestia realized she could hear more hoof falls walking slowly on the floorboards. Everypony stood in complete silence, even the stallions. A few seconds later, two mares stepped through the door and outside.
One pony was Twilight Sparkle, who was walking slowly and using her body to help support the other mare. She saw Celestia standing outside and smiled brightly. Celestia's jaw fell.
Standing beside Twilight and leaning on her for support was a deep blue alicorn pony with a bright blue mane. She was dirty, thin and weak, her mane and tail a scruffy mess, and her eyes very tired, but there was no doubt of who she was.
Celestia couldn't believe her eyes. She couldn't speak, she could barely breathe. She closed her eyes and shook her head, but when she opened them again the same pony was still standing before her.
Princess Luna turned her tired eyes in Celestia's direction and then smiled brightly. "Sister!"
Celestia couldn't move. The logical part of her brain was telling her that this was impossible and was struggling to come up with an explanation. She must be dreaming, or seeing things. Wasn't this one of the stages of grief? The very idea of her sister standing before her, alive, was absolutely implausible.
And yet, there she was.
"Is…is it really you?" Celestia said, barely above a whisper, taking a tentative step forward.
Luna nodded, tears forming in her eyes. "Yes…It's me, Tia. It's really me."
"But…" Celestia was still staring in utter disbelief, "But…how…?"
"It was a ruse, Your Highness," Twilight spoke from Luna's side, "It was all a trick." She glanced towards the three magically restrained, but still struggling unicorns. "By them."
"Tia…I missed you so much!" Luna said, already crying tears of joy.
"It can't be…It can't really be…" Celestia muttered, "My little…My little sister is okay?"
Beside her, the four mares and Spike were smiling wide, bursting with joy at the success of their journey. They sat back, watching the heart-warming reunion.
Luna took a few steps forward. She was still shaky on her hooves, but Twilight remained by her side. "Tia, I'm so happy to see you again!"
Finally, Celestia began to smile. She took a few more steps toward her sister. "Luna!" she said, joy filling her voice, "Luna, it's you!"
The six ponies looked to Celestia as tremendous joy began to overcome her. Their eyes widened in astonishment as colour slowly began to seep through her mane and tail. Trails of colour flowed outward like a river, covering up all the grey and retuning the bright pastel colours that everypony was so familiar with.
Celestia's smile grew wider and wider as she quickly trotted over to her sister. "Luna!!" she blissfully shouted, "Luna, you're alive!" At last, she reached the younger alicorn and nuzzled her affectionately, tears streaming from her eyes.
Luna returned the nuzzles, smiling brightly as she embraced her sister. "Tia, I missed you!"
"Luna!! Oh, my little sister! Thank the stars you're all right!"
The six mares and Spike all smiled warmly at the touching reunion.
Celestia didn't want to move. She didn't want to break physical contact with Luna, as if afraid that she would lose her again. She nuzzled her warmly, leaning her neck down to hug her tightly.
"Luna…" she whispered, "I thought I'd lost you."
Luna smiled, tears in her eyes. "I thought I was going to lose you too." They stayed like this for a minute, savouring the wonderful moment and ignoring the shouts of the stallion nearby.
"Careful, Tia…" Luna said finally, "Don't knock me over."
Celestia reluctantly stepped back. She stood smiling at her sister, shaking her head in confusion. "I don't…how is this possible? What happened?"
Luna raised a hoof and wiped away a tear. "It's a very long story."
Celestia could feel her heart simply overflowing with joy. Her blissful tears did not stop, and her smile seemed to grow wider every minute. She had no words; she couldn't find any that truly reflected how happy she was at this moment. She simply gave a heartfelt smile at her little sister, her multi-coloured mane once again flowing on an invisible breeze.
She had lived for well over a thousand years, but this was without a doubt the happiest day of her entire life.
Everypony was gathered, watching the moving scene before them as the two sisters reunited. As the moon continued to move and the land grew darker, they could all feel a warm, joyful sensation that seemed to radiate from the two alicorns. It was as if happiness had manifested in the very air around them.
Nopony noticed that the aura around Celestia's horn had dimmed as her focus had shifted.
"The night of the new moon!! This should be enough!!"
Everypony quickly turned around to see Navy Shield upright and galloping towards them, his pistol already drawn from its hidden holster. Before anypony could react, he shouted, "For Equestria!!" and fired his weapon.
The deafening shot rang out into the night. Celestia responded immediately, casting out powerful magic with her horn which enveloped Navy as well as the two unicorns. Less than a second later, they were collapsed on the ground, deeply asleep.
She quickly turned back to the ponies behind her. "Is everypony okay?! Is anypony hurt?!" She gave a quick left-to-right scan, seeing that most of the young mares were in shock, breathing deeply or rapidly clutching their body, trying to find a nonexistent wound. None of them were hurt. She was about to release a sigh of relief when her eyes fell upon Luna. The gazes of the others quickly followed.
The alicorn had a stunned look frozen upon her face, her eyes wide and focused straight ahead and her jaw hanging open. She was standing on three hooves, the fourth was held tightly to an area on her chest. A thick, crimson liquid was quickly seeping out from underneath.
Celestia could only gasp in horror before gravity got the best of Luna and she collapsed into a heap on the ground, her eyes closed.