Chapter 9: A War to Forget
Royal Hospital, Canterlot, Equestria, Gaia, Summer, 56 C.E.
Everypony remained silent for a few seconds following the stop of the shaking. The distant sounds of the battle continued on but it was almost as if everything had become muffled from the unexpected event.
"Strange," Twilight uttered. There was an angry scream and Twilight jumped to the left to avoid a magical blast from Esmeralda.
Esmeralda's eyes glowed for a few seconds but then returned to normal. "What?!" Esmeralda gasped.
"Perhaps you're weaker than you thought," Angie stated as she moved over towards Twilight.
"No...what is this?! My power...my energy...it's...fading." The Changeling Queen stumbled around a bit and tried her best to regain her balance. She turned towards Twilight and Angie and glared at them. "No...I will not be defeated by you. I shall not be defeated!" She sent a few more magical blasts at them but the two mares hardly had to move to dodge the weakly-aimed attacks.
"Does anypony else hear that?" Celestia asked as the sound of massive wings flapping could suddenly be heard.
Twilight froze as she heard something heavy land in front of the hospital. "Move!" Twilight ordered as she grabbed onto Angie and pulled her away from the wall. She didn't know why but she suddenly had the urge to get as far away from that particular wall as possible. Not five seconds later, the massive and angry head of a red dragon burst through the wall. Esmeralda backed away from the oncoming dragon while Twilight, Angie, and Celestia just looked up in awe.
"Well this is...unexpected," said Angie. Twilight's eyes widened as she noticed three figures riding on the dragon's back: the Doctor, Derpy, and Donna.
"What?!" Twilight asked. "How?!"
"Long story," Donna replied as she slipped off the back of Erik the dragon, with the bundled Cloak still held in her arms, and made her way over towards Esmeralda. "Hello, your majesty. Do you remember me by any chance?"
"Yes," Esmeralda snarled as she took a few steps towards Donna. "You're that...human who escaped in the night. I can only guess that you are utterly stupid for why else would you come back to me?"
"I'm here to end this war. I think you and your armies have overstayed your welcome in this country."
Esmeralda proceeded to give a long and insane laugh. "You think you can end this war? Exactly how do you plan on doing this?"
Donna gave a smirk as she unwrapped the cloths around Cloak and presented the infant to the queen. Esmeralda's eyes widened and her face became pale (or about as pale as a changeling can get). "While I was gone I took a trip to visit your home. I found this little guy there; and I think everypony here would be interested in hearing what you put inside him."
"Give it to me!" Esmeralda lunged at Donna but Donna stepped aside.
"It?! That's all you care about, isn't it! You can't even feel one ounce of love for your own son!"
"Son?!" gasped the Doctor, Twilight, and Angie.
"Then again, I guess that isn't surprising as you've already killed your other son," Donna snapped.
A cold, angry smile appeared on Esmeralda's face. "There's no way to get it out, you know. Only I can remove it. Your only method to defeating me would be killing young Cloak," Esmeralda teased. Donna lowered her face a bit. "And you're not willing to do that!"
"Listen to yourself. You're talking about your son, your precious single heir, as if he's a tool to be used!"
"That's because he is! Why else would I go through the trouble of having a stupid brat! I knew nopony in this world would be cold enough to kill him. An innocent youth was the perfect place to hide my heart!"
"There are others out there who aren't as kind as me who would quickly slay this child if it meant defeating you."
"But you wouldn't dare give Cloak to them, would you? You're too good, like everypony else here." Esmeralda's eyes suddenly began to glow. "In fact, I think I've rested enough to finish what I started." Donna could feel a strong, foreign force grab onto her body. The Doctor, Twilight, Derpy, Celestia, Angie, and Erik also felt this force.
"But...you were weakened!" Twilight gasped.
"Patience is a virtue, unicorn," Esmeralda giggled. Donna was about to scream in agony when, suddenly, the pain went away. Donna looked around and noticed that the others had regained control of their bodies as well. However, something was clearly wrong with Esmeralda. Her eyes were no longer glowing and her body was shaking something fierce. "No...impossible."
Donna followed Esmeralda's gaze and saw that she was staring at Cloak. Cloak's eyes were glowing with green fire and his face was contorted into an angry stare. "Cloak?" Donna asked.
"Mommy...Mommy bad," Cloak cooed. The red spot in Cloak's chest that held his mother's heart began to twist and contort.
"What's happening?" Derpy asked.
The Doctor, who had managed to put the pieces together, shook his head. "Esmeralda should have probably refrained from insulting the very thing that kept her heart safe. Her son is much smarter and stronger than what she probably gave him credit for; and I don't think he's content on keeping his mother's heart safe anymore."
"Mommy bad," Cloak cooed. "Mommy hurt others."
"Please, honey," Esmeralda pleaded in a forced way. "Mommy's sorry. Mommy's sorry."
"No...Mommy not sorry." The red spot in Cloak's chest suddenly broke apart. A red cloud of dust phased through Cloak's chest and fell to the floor around Donna's feet. Esmeralda screamed loudly and harshly before falling to the floor herself. A few seconds later, her body became still and cold. Everypony and Donna was silent for a brief moment. Cloak then looked up at Donna and said, "Mommy gone now. Donna safe now."
Donna could feel herself tearing up a bit as she held Cloak even closer. "Yes. Everypony's safe now," Donna said as she rubbed Cloak on the head.
Canterlot Castle, Canterlot, Equestria, Gaia, Summer, 56 C.E.
The battle ended not too long after the death of Queen Esmeralda. News of Esmeralda's death spread amongst the changelings quickly. Some continued to fight, a fair amount gave up and flew away to lands unknown, and a large amount surrendered to the Equestrians (the latter helped by the fact that the Equestrians now had a group of skilled changelings and a dragon on their side). The Doctor, his companions, Celestia, and Flarewing and Bass's group met in the throne room of Canterlot Castle to discuss an agreement. Flarewing and Bass became representatives of the Changeling Empire as they happily agreed to the surrender of the changelings as well as the end of the war with Equestria. Flarewing and Bass decided to form a temporary council government for the Changeling Empire until Cloak became of age to take the throne. Several individuals (including the Doctor, Twilight, Derpy, Donna, Angie, and Erik the dragon) received awards from Celestia for taking the actions needed to end the Equestrian-Changeling War. As night fell on post-war Canterlot, the city was filled with celebrations in honor of the Equestrian victory. The Doctor, his companions, Celestia, Erik the dragon, and the new Changeling High Council once again met in the throne room to celebrate.
"I'm glad this is all finally over," Derpy said happily.
"Not entirely," said Bass. "There's going to be a lot of work to help both Equestria and the Changeling Empire recover from this."
"But I bet you'll manage," said Donna. "The Changeling Empire will be great with you and the others in charge."
"Bass, the others, and I are just the reconstruction group," Flarewing said with a laugh. "We'll be here to help the country get back on its hooves and young Cloak will step in to take care of the easy work once he comes of age."
"Ruling a country is never easy," Celestia said sternly. "Believe me. I've had enough experience."
"What are your plans for Equestria now, your majesty?" the Doctor asked.
"A bright future hopefully. I want to finally bring Equestria out of the darkness and create a new era of peace and kindness. Maybe that'll help this land heal and move on from this horrific event."
"Don't worry, your majesty," said Twilight. "I have a feeling that within a few centuries this war will be nothing but a distant memory."
"Well some ponies and changelings need to remember what happened," said Flarewing. "Maybe I'll get somepony to paint a picture or something."
"Focus on getting everything back in order first," said Donna. "Trust me, that castle of yours seriously needs some spring cleaning like five times over."
"We should be able to get back in the castle now that Esmeralda's gone. The shield around the castle was linked to her," Bass explained.
"Good luck with the cleaning then," Flarewing chuckled.
"You're helping too, flame head." The group exchanged a series of chuckles. Twilight noticed that Angie was standing away from the group and staring through a nearby window.
"Got things on your mind?" Twilight asked as she approached her.
"A few. I'm so grateful to the Princess for the award she gave me," Angie replied.
"Well you did save her life and all. Saving the life of royalty can get you places."
"She gave me so much money. It's more than enough to start a farm."
Twilight smiled and placed a hoof on Angie's shoulder. "Congratulations. Your dream's coming true after all."
Angie gave a big smile and a giddy laugh. "I guess it is."
"What are you planning on growing?"
"That's easy." Angie tapped her cutie mark. "Apples."
"I guess I was right about you."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh nothing. I just have a feeling that you'll have a super special somepony someday."
"Me? With a husband? One step at a time, Twilight Sparkle. Are you expecting me to have children and a long line of descendants too?"
"Maybe." The two mares proceeded to laugh as the Moon began to rise high into the night sky.
Silent Forest, South of Canterlot, Equestria, Gaia, Summer, 56 C.E.
Erik the dragon landed softly next to the Silent Forest the following morning. The Doctor, Twilight, Derpy, and Donna slid off his back. Flarewing, Bass, and the rest of the Changeling High Council remained hanging onto the dragon. Off in the distance, the remnants of the changeling army were marching their way back home.
"Thank you for helping us," said Derpy.
"And thank you too," said Flarewing.
"Life's funny sometimes, isn't it?" Donna asked. "Yesterday you guys were a group of poor rebels. Now you're the leaders of a country."
"Hey. This is one of those things that life throws at you that I can be pleased about," said Bass.
"Make sure to keep those other changelings in line," said the Doctor. "My companions and I have had to deal with ice parasites from other dimensions, rips in the fabric of space and time, angry natives, and vicious queens with bodily powers. I don't think we're all up and ready for another war."
"There's always war waiting over the horizon, Doctor," Flarewing replied. "It doesn't take much for a transition from peace to war to occur and vice versa."
"Don't worry, I know all too well about that."
"Good. That means you're prepared for what's to come then."
"Take care of yourselves," said the Doctor.
"And give Thorne my best," Donna added.
"We will," Flarewing replied before turning towards Donna and Derpy. "Farewell, Donna Noble and Derpy Hooves. It's been a fun ride."
"I hope we meet again someday," said Derpy.
"Don't worry. Interesting creatures like us can't stay apart for long." Donna and Derpy nodded in agreement. "Until we meet again."
"Bye," said Derpy and Donna as Erik took off with the Changeling High Council.
The Doctor, Twilight, Derpy, and Donna spent the next few minutes walking through the trees. They were all quiet until the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver began to give off a strange sound. "Ah! Here we are!" the Doctor exclaimed as he pointed the Screwdriver at a patch of air. The TARDIS appeared before them.
"I don't think I've ever been happier to see this blue box in my life," said Twilight as she trudge through the doors of the TARDIS.
"I've had a lot of moments like that," Donna chuckled.
"So, why don't we try this again?" the Doctor asked as he closed the TARDIS doors behind him and Derpy. "Ponyville. Equestria. 1002 C.E."
"Please and thank you," Derpy sighed as she sat down next to the console.
"I just hope Ponyville's in this peaceful era that Celestia was talking about," Donna groaned.
"Don't worry, Donna." said Twilight. "I think you'll like modern day Equestria versus this Equestria."
"And...here we go!" the Doctor said with a smile as he pulled down the nearest lever.
Home of Twilight Sparkle, Ponyville, Equestria, Gaia, Winter, 1002 C.E.
Spike and Applejack had spent several minutes studying the strange painting in the book. "I think Twilight, the Doctor, and Derpy will have some interesting stories to tell us when they get back," said Spike as he shut the book.
"I reckon you're right, Spike," Applejack added with a nervous grin. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
"Who is it?" Spike called.
"Hello? I'm looking for the Doctor!" called a female voice through the door. Spike and Applejack turned to look at each other. Spike raced towards the door and pulled it open. A unicorn mare with a blue coat, a blue and white striped mane, and an hourglass cutie mark stood at the door. "Hello. My name's Colgate. I've heard this is where I can find the Doctor. Is he here? I...I really need his help."
To be continued...