The gleaming streets of the Crystal Kingdom were absolutely dead. The road seemed to warp and twist as the terrible blackness moved across the land. Carriages and chariots were left in the streets, abandoned in a hurry. A few homes had messages hastily painted on their walls, scribbled on by shaking hooves, all of which shared the same message. "GET OUT."

Although it was just past noon, the once-beautiful kingdom was shrouded in darkness. A swathing darkness, unrelenting in its devastation, a devourer of light itself. A force that knows no friend or foe, pleasure or fear, only the corrupted bleakness it spreads. A giant, melancholy, cloud-like shroud covered the prosperous city. Only a tiny sliver of light shone through the malicious clouds, providing dim illumination to a small shadow evading another shadow.

The small shadow was a young pony; a mare only on the cusp of adulthood. She was a crystal pony, her mane and fur glistening and twinkling despite the overcast. However, despite her almost ethereal appearance, the mare's features were stricken with fear. She galloped through the streets of her abandoned home, looking for any sign of salvation. Behind her, some kind of dark entity advanced, silently but swiftly chasing the poor pony.

The crystal mare turned into a ruined house, half of which had been reduced to rubble from the initial purge. Panting heavily, the mare looked back to find the shadow still chasing her, looking to devour her just as it did her friends. Letting out a shriek, the gleaming pony hopped over the mounds of rubble, trying to escape the darkness's grasp.

She made her way through a back door, heading once again into the open world. She came upon a chain-link fence blocking her path. But the unmerciful being trailed close behind, gulping the small house behind her into oblivion. Seeing no other way out, the mare quickly grabbed onto the metal barrier and began to climb. The shadow extended a long, gangly tentacle towards the climbing figure. It was just about to wrap around the crystal pony's hind leg when she slipped over the fence, landing hard against the ground.

The pony was just about to take a breather, thinking that she had escaped the shadow's wrath. But to her horror, tiny black tentacles began to seep through the fence, grasping for her body. Thinking fast, she proceeded to trot down the alleyway, with the entity picking up speed.

But to her surprise, the alleyway culminated into a dead end. Panicked, the mare turned the other way, only to find the shadow blocking her path. The dark being raised itself up in the air, almost as though it were mocking the trapped prey. The shimmering pony smacked her hooves desperately against the wall, but to no avail. Then, the shaking pony turned around to see the last sight she would ever see: two red eyes, staring maliciously at her.

The crystalline pony let out an anguished scream before the black entity swallowed her in darkness.

xxx

Celestia marched down the long hallway in the dead of night, her eyes drooping from the loss of sleep. The moon's light faintly illuminated the corridor, dimly shining through the stained glass windows. Stars twinkled proudly over the mystical jewel of Equestria, providing no hint to the horrors that were taking place in a far-off land.

The princess of the sun had been suddenly awoken by one of her Royal Guards, who simply said it was a "dire" emergency. That was all she was able to get out of him before the stallion trotted out of the room, for some reason afraid of waking the sun goddess from her slumber. And who could blame him? Even immortal deities needed their beauty sleep.

Part of her wanted to get back to bed and let Luna sort this one out. After all, it was her shift. But Celestia could just sense something was off, so she willed herself to start walking to her throne room.

She swung the mighty door open to find not her sister, or even one of her subjects, but Princess Cadance pacing around the room. Now if her sister had called her in, she would have understood the interruption. But her niece issuing the summons; that was quite peculiar.

At that moment, Princess Luna flew into the throne room from her watchtower, completing the trio of alicorns. The sisters exchanged confused looks at each other, obviously not knowing the purpose of Cadance's visit. Rubbing her eyes, Princess Celestia said tiredly, "Cadance, what do you want? You're not waking me up in the middle of the night for some décor advice again, are you?"

"No, no, not this time Auntie," Cadance replied, looking quite distraught.

The regal ruler could sense the fear laced in her niece's voice, and she asked gently, "Whatever is the problem, dear?"

The pink pony sat on the ground with her hoof held up to her mouth, her eyes trained sadly on the ground. Cadance said quietly, "It's…it's the Crystal Kingdom. Something terrible is happening. I-I'm afraid there isn't much time to explain."

"Where is Shining Armor?" Luna questioned.

"He stayed behind to lead the evacuation," the princess replied, showing concern for her beloved husband. "I hope he's alright. The darkness…it was terrible Auntie. All of sudden, it rushed in and-." Cadance found herself unable to continue, the foul memory still fresh in her mind. The sight of her kingdom…swallowed up under her watch.

Celestia asked quickly, "Well what would you have us do, Cadance? Shall I send a legion of my guards?"

"No!" her niece replied. "Believe me; we have tried battling it head-on. But this sort of threat is nothing we have ever seen! You see, I came here because I…" She paused, as though she were about to admit she was going to drop a bomb.

Finally, she uttered, "Well…I need to use the Elements."

Celestia, obviously confused, told her niece, "The Elements? Well, I'm afraid Twilight Sparkle and her friends are off on an ambassador mission in Veneighzuela. I can't just-"

"No, no, no. Not those Elements. The other ones," Cadance interrupted.

The co-rulers' eyes widened, and they looked at Cadance as though she…well…dropped a bomb. Now it was the two goddesses pacing around the throne room, glancing anxiously at their niece. "Surely you don't mean…Are you sure?" Celestia muttered. "But you don't even have any bearers!"

To this, Cadance gave a sly, all-knowing smile. Her horn began to glow, projecting a magical image onto the throne. A scene began to emerge, and the sight of a humble little building began to form. The love princess beckoned her aunts to come forward to watch, and she said, "Actually, as a matter of fact…I do."


What...is...up readers? In case any of you go to FimFiction, this story is also posted there. That site is going to be a week ahead of this one, so if you guys feel like checking it out...and maybe giving me a thumbs up or something...then GO ON AHEAD! Also, there are probably a few things here that I didn't correct or add that I did on FimFic, so yeah.

But if not, then feel content to live a comment/review!