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Ever the Sun Rises (Intro)

By SizeOfMT
Created: 2022-01-07 03:13:53
Updated: 2022-01-31 04:17:16
Expiry: Never

  1. The corridor echoed with the sound of solid, leather-bound wooden soles. Deep, heavy impacts in a precise rhythm. A trained step, given a percussive clink of well fitted chain.
  2. An armoured man walked the grand, marble floor with purpose, but he suddenly paused and coughed. He took a moment to catch his breath, struggled then diverted his course to a nearby window for fresher air.
  3. He adjusted his battered and worn plate armour, which felt a little more loose each day, to make it more comfortable on his weary bones, but felt a surge of youthful energy as he looked outside at the verdant lands around the great metropolis that was his home, from this window, so high above all of it in the great palace, lovingly bathed in the late evening light. The cool, firm breeze eased the rasp as he inhaled, despite the subtle wheeze. He stroked his well groomed grey beard and looked out at the great capitol city of Equestria, Canterlot.
  4. ”Still so beautiful,” he sighed, and his eyes grew moist. “But you deserve another to watch over you now.”
  5. ”Copper Shield? Are you alright?”
  6. Copper cleared his throat, spun about and bowed. “Princess Celestia! My lady, I’m sorry, I was on my way to-“
  7. Celestia raised a patient hand to quiet the grizzled old man, who looked up at the nine foot tall sun goddess with the same awe as when they first met, and she looked deeply in his golden eyes. A tremble formed on her pillowy lips, so she turned her head to cover her face with her brilliantly flowing multicoloured hair as she sniffled. Soft green, pink and blue shimmered in ethereal strands that gave it a nebulous appearance.
  8. ”Please, my lady, none of that. I’ve come to terms that my time is soon, and so should you.”
  9. Celesta dropped to one knee, putting her closer to eye level with him, and he walked into her embrace as she began to weep.
  10. ”I have lived for over a thousand years,” she said between sobs. “I have witnessed so many wondrous and terrible things, so many tragedies and triumphs. So many births and deaths… but it never stops hurting.”
  11. Copper reached up and gently wiped away her tear trickling from those fathomless purple eyes. “That just proves that, despite everything, you’re still alive and vibrant. You’re still the same maiden you told me about from those thousand years past, still as beautiful in soul as you are in body. So long as you never forget that, I know Equestria’s in the best of hands, my lady.”
  12. Celestia managed a smile and took one of his scarred hands, then pressed it on her cheek. “You’re right. I just… I sometimes wonder if I should step-“
  13. Copper gently put a finger on her lips. “Please, honour my final wish my lady. I want to know you will serve Equestria for many years to come. I know your pain well, as you know I’ve lost good people under my command, but the world deserves your light for at least a little longer. But I digress!” He raised a leather book up between them. “I’ve brought the candidates for my replacement.”
  14. The princess stood and huffed, folding her arms under the vast swell of her bosom. “They won’t replace your ability to ruin a moment, I hope. You have that down to a performative art.”
  15. Copper chuckled, with Celestia tittering as well, then he coughed, deep and with a rattle that made them both wince. He said, “that will depend on who you pick! I’ve found eighteen who have truly excelled, that have gone above and beyond their stations or performed the impossible to truly be worthy of guiding and protecting you, my lady. Six of earth, air and noble blood. Men and a women from many walks of life.”
  16. ”Hmm, eighteen candidates? So many exemplary people. It never fails to amaze.” Celestia took the book, then beckoned for Copper to follow her into her bedchamber.
  17. She poured him some tea and sat on the huge chair as Copper sipped his beverage and relaxed. She began to look through the pages and pursed her lips.
  18. ”Knowing you, my dear Copper Shield, you know these candidates like the back of your hand. I assume you know their stories?”
  19. “Of course! Let me know if any catch you eye.”
  20. A bass rumble interrupted the conversation and the ground shook. Celestia’s eye twitched as she sighed deeply, while Copper Shield did his best not to spill his tea. The princess stormed up to the window, tossed open the curtains.
  21. Copper Shield gagged and coughed at the sight of two gigantic women, the two other resident princesses, naked and in the middle of having a romantic tussle.
  22. That they filled the old training grounds, a flattened earthen arena, once designed to house sporting events for hundreds of onlookers, was a sadly common sight to both the sun goddess and her longest standing companion.
  23. That didn’t stop Celestia affecting the infamous royal voice as she shouted outside, “what are you doing!? The sun is still up and the people can see you! Have you no shame, Luna!? And I care not if you’re one of the elements, Lustre, nor the friend of my former pupil, if you live in my castle, you will not make a spectacle of my sister!”
  24. The giantesses, each about fifty feet tall, both blushed and tittered like teenagers.
  25. “Forgive me, my sister... the moment was as radiant as your own sun, and the passions ran hotter than my sensibilities could control.” Luna stood, her curvy and well toned body nearly as tall as Celestia's window, and her nebulous hair as grand as any wide swath of a night sky. Luna covered her well curvy and toned body and offered a hand to Lustre.
  26. The element of kindness-turned goddess of passion stood with her lovers help, her gigantic and voluptuous form jiggling as she did. All soft curves, shapelier and heavier, and with a thick, wild set of wavy red hair and one lock of her fringe a soft pink. As she got to her feet, Lustre wound up an open palm and slapped the moon goddess’s ass with a gigantic, thunderclap-like thwack.
  27. The sound echoed throughout the arena, and could no doubt be heard throughout the city, as did Luna’s surprised squeal and giggle.
  28. The extended and angry stare from Celestia soon had Lustre sigh and shrug. She batted her eyelashes and said, “we we’re just having a little fun, future sister-in-law.”
  29. Copper Shield gently put his hand on the small of Celestia’s back. “No harm done, Celi. You yourself keep saying it’s good to see Luna let her hair down.“
  30. Celestia took a deep breath and sighed. “Just hurry up and shrink down. You have all night to enjoy and indulge yourselves.” Celestia waited until the pair did just that, shut the window and stormed back to the table.
  31. Copper sipped more of his tea, then poured himself and Celestia some more. “Luna's certainly earned a partner of her own, however unlikely the source.”
  32. “I just wish I could dismiss the concern in my heart. Lustre is Fluttershy, one of the kindest people alive, and yet I still remember how cruelly she crushed the will of those villagers beneath her heel.”
  33. “That was what, nearly a millennia ago? Maybe her current vessel being the Element of Kindness is the perfect play, that maybe this means she will be a cause for good.”
  34. “I hope you're right,” Celestia said, “for I do not have the heart to tear her from Luna, nor her friends in the other Elements of Harmony. I also cannot deny that the Spirit of Lust is just as natural as any other, nor her remarkable power to grant boons. I fear we may have to rely on her when the time comes.”
  35. Copper raised his bushy eyebrows. “Ah, that... I trust you still don't have more than an inclination of what's actually coming for us?”
  36. Celestia shook her head. “I'm afraid all I could offer is hearsay and vague signs. I detest that I must call on others to protect me, but that is what the signs point to, and besides stepping down, I cannot see an alternative.”
  37. “All the more reason to find the right people, hmm?” Copper patted his journal. “Trust me, there are some real diamonds out there just waiting for a chance to be polished by yours truly. And besides, you've been without personal wards for a time, present company excluded, of course!”
  38.  
  39. After much study, Celestia tapped her plump lips as she pointed to one name name, beside a picture of a cloud, twisted and coiled in the middle, giving it an hourglass like shape, and surrounded by snowflakes. “Mistral Shear… I’m guessing there’s more to her than meets the eye. All I’m seeing is failed Wonderbolt entry test scores, below average wing power…”
  40. Copper smirked. “So much more that you took notice, eh? A thin slip of a girl, but she has a spark like none other. She lacks the raw speed and power of her contemporaries, but she’s mastered a style of flying that makes her supremely agile in the air to compensate. She's also double jointed and devious. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie put her name forward because of how they met, up near the Crystal Empire. Let me tell you about the town of Fetlock...”
  41.  
  42. Celestia once more glances through the journal, and tilts her head at an entry beside a black and white circle with a blue heart in the middle, all surrounded by a large blue crescent. “This Osmiana Zenith seems quite unusual. A martial artist who can internalise magic to make herself stronger?”
  43. Copper Shield nods. “And an old childhood friend of the Element of Generosity, but she fell ill as a child and her parents felt they had no choice but to seek desperate measures and sought a group of isolated monks. They cured her and trained her in the Cloven Hoof style of martial arts, hence the magic channelling. Suddenly she turns up in a small, wealthy village on the edge of Equestria, and falling foul of her sheltered upbringing and just plain bad luck with the company she ended up with. It was an old reunion between Rarity and her, alongside Applejack. Let me tell you what happened, from what I uncovered…”
  44.  
  45. A cutie mark of a white star, obscured by grey clouds. “Tell me about Lumen Haze.”
  46. “A shut in, and something of a packaged deal with Pearly… uh Pearlescent Lux.”
  47. Celestia turned the page to the symbol of Pearly, two glowing crystals, one cracked and the other flawless, with two coiling, serpent-like figures between them. ”The recent palace doctor? Do tell.”
  48. Copper Shield stroked his grey beard. “Lumen is an irregular prodigy, not quite along the lines of Twilight Sparkle, but where she needed a push to make friends and reach her potential, Lumen has a small circle already and has… uh, too much potential? See, he suffers from a severe sensitivity to magic, and has such a strong connection that casting anything complicated makes him lose control as often as he succeeds. Pearly even said that it was in everyone’s best interest that he lives a quiet life.”
  49. “That’s no way to live, though.”
  50. “It seems to have been necessary, but the situation has changed. He’s been brought here so you can help him manage his condition. This is an unusual tale, but here it goes…”
  51.  
  52. Celestia nodded to herself and flipped over the rest of the pages. “I think we have our candidates. Mistral Shear has the sort of courage and creativity that could prevent any sort of duplicitous invader. I feel she could benefit with having a caring environment to defrost her somewhat distant demeanour so that her heart has a chance to flourish. The poor girl could use our support, and I'm eager to see her wit.”
  53. “I know she’s expressed interest in meeting Princess Lustre,” Copper said, to Celestia’s displeasure. “Mistral’s not lacking pluck, but she’s not exactly combat capable, and with Lustre’s boons so readily available, it’s hard to deny the kid will try and earn one as soon as she can. Not to mention keeping an eye on her about this supposed Heart of Sombra.”
  54.  
  55. “Second, Osmiana Zenith.” Celestia looked over the fighter’s pages again wistfully. “A link to my sister’s past that isn’t drenched in regrets would be a welcome change of pace, and as much as I wish every problem could be dealt with by diplomacy and understanding… a time for force may be inevitable.”
  56. Copper chuckled. “The big girl will need our guidance. She’s tough as nails and can punch through most anything, but I’d be careful about letting her loose with anyone with half a brain on them. They’ll likely run rings around her. It would be good to contain that stone of hers, too. The last thing we need is another Nightmare Moon.”
  57.  
  58. “Agreed.” She flipped the journal back to Lumen Haze. “I suppose we’ve had no choice but to accept Lumen in this. While I’m concerned about taking any recommendations from Lustre,” Celestia sighed but shrugged, “if my former student insists that Lumen is the man for the job, then his untapped power could well be instrumental. He just needs proper training, and my ability to dispel magic should hopefully allow him to learn true magic.” Celestia smiled. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a closer personal student.”
  59. Copper Shield sipped his tea. “I’m concerned about that Ondrarion entity too, and keeping an eye on Lumen should also give us an early sign if it returns. And besides, Pearly is already proving massively proficient as the palace doctor. I’m sure Lumen will flourish with our help as well.”
  60.  
  61. Copper stood and grumbled as his back popped clicked. “I’ll send word to everyone to expect some new residents. Horizon Hall has needed some renovating for a while, and I’d-“ he stopped and coughed loudly, bringing this sleeve to cover his mouth.
  62. Celestia stood and rubbed his back. “Maybe you should see our new doctor first?”
  63. Copper waved his hand but hacked on regardless. “No… no… hrmm…” He got it under control and took a few shallow breaths. “It’s pointless. I’ve already been to see her and she said the same thing; all I have is time. All Pearly could do is slow it down and I’ll be damned if I’ll go out, stuck in bed. My place, as always, is in your service, Celi. Please, no need to make a fuss. Besides, those new hopefuls are going to need whipping into shape.”
  64. “I can see to them, Copper,” Celestia said with a pout, “in case you have forgotten, I’ve been dealing with first time meetings with all sorts of people from all walks of life for, oh, I don’t know, over a thousand years? I *think * I can handle a young, quick witted acrobat, a naive, super strong pugilist and a magically sensitive have-a-go hero and make sure they’re comfortable. I’m sure we can bond over a stack of pancakes. None of them have aversions to fruit, or smily faces, right?”
  65. “I… don’t think so? All the same, I’ll keep nearby. I think you’re forgetting your presence sometimes puts ordinary, or I guess in this case, extraordinary, folk on the back foot.”
  66. Celestia folded her arms, indignant. “I’m extremely approachable, thank you very much.”
  67. “Just a precaution, Celi. I’m sure you’ll get along just fine. Give me a few days and I'll have the candidates brought to Canterlot.”
  68. Copper Shield saluted, winked at Celestia to a returned, warm smile, and he left her room.

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