Ever since she'd entered the fray, it had been a complete melee. Luna had not had to do any real fighting for many centuries, and it showed. Her movements were more sluggish than they had been in her youth and she was unaccustomed to having so much happen around her at once. Changelings would strike at her and attempt to knock her out of the sky in droves, knowing that if she fell, it would deal a serious blow to the morale of the ponies forces.
But in spite of that, Luna was no pushover. As an alicorn, she was an incredibly skilled flier, weaving past the many attacks by her changeling foes and bucking them in mid-air attacks. And if that wasn't bad enough for the changelings, there was also Luna's considerable talent in the field of magic. Her blasts from her horn had sent dozens of the beasts reeling and falling out of the sky. It was clear to all why Celestia had sent her up here, for Canterlot would easily have been lost by now if it hadn't been for Luna's involvement.
Further hope came for Canterlot when, as planned, the pegasi division of the royal guard had been summoned to come out of hiding. Many divisions of them came flying out from their hiding spots in the mountain ranges behind the city, attacking the swarm from above. The element of surprise had worked to great effect, bringing down almost a hundred drones in the first attack. But even though that surprise had worked in their favour, the changelings were simply too numerous to be stopped by an attack like that, and they just kept coming.
And then there were the dragons.
Even Luna had been shocked by the arrival of those fearsome beasts. She knew her nephew, Sombra, had great power in enchanting the minds of others, but to have control over so many dragons at once was, without question, a seriously bad piece of news for the defending ponies. The reptiles had swooped out of the sky and set fire to many of Canterlot's towers and defences. True, every now and then a barrage of magical attacks from the unicorns posted on those towers could repel one, but against the might of a whole group of dragons, there was little chance.
Luna surveyed the sky-line of the city, dismayed by the columns of smoke rising all over. It broke her heart to see this place in such a state. But as a princess and guardian of Equestria, she knew that she could not falter, nor allow such pain to sway her from her charge of defending the ponies. Turning back to the attacking dragons, she saw that one of them had caught a glimpse of her and was flying straight towards her. Narrowing her eyes in anger, she flapped her wings and also began to charge.
"Have at thee foul beast!" She called out.
The two opponents flew faster and faster, approaching each other with intent to kill. But then, just as they were about to reach each other, something strange happened. The dragon was engulfed in a blinding flash of light, bright enough to cause Luna to cover her eyes. After a few moments, the light died down, allowing her to see what had happened. The dragon had disappeared. Confused, she looked around but could see no sign of the creature. Before she could continue wondering however, she heard a laugh from above. A very familiar laugh.
Looking up, she gained a look of surprise as there, floating in mid-air was a creature of many mis-matched body parts, clutching his gut and laughing loudly. Discord.
"Oh my! Did you see THAT Luna? The poor creature had no idea what was coming!"
Under normal circumstances, Luna would be fairly irritated by Discord's attitude, especially at a time like this. But she soon put two and two together.
"You made the dragon disappear? Where?"
The spirit shrugged his shoulders before answering.
"Who knows? Inside a cave perhaps? Maybe a swamp somewhere? I just care that he's not here anymore."
Luna couldn't deny that. Now that Discord had joined the fight, their chances were looking better. That is, if he could focus for more that two seconds. Even though Discord had, for the most part, restrained himself from his previous trickery, he was still prone to bouts of sneakiness and self-amusement, much to the dismay of the Canterlot palace staff. He had, nevertheless, held to his promise of defending the city from Sombra's forces, and Luna decided that now was the time to press him on that.
"Discord! The city is in flames! The dragons and changelings keep pressing their attack! You have to do something!"
The spirit yawned in a nonchalant manner, irking Luna to no end, before finally replying.
"Oh Lu-Lu, must you always be so serious about this? I'll defend the city, as promised. But In my way."
Before Luna could give her angry response to that, Discord suddenly snapped to attention as a devious grin appeared on his face.
"And look what we have here! Two prime chances for some fun!"
Luna turned to where he was looking and saw, to her horror, a pair of dragons attacking a tower on the eastern side of the city. The creatures were clinging on to it, snapping their massive jaws at the poor unicorn guards on top. Luna tried to say something to Discord, but before she could, he disappeared with a snap of his fingers. She knew that if she tried to go after him, which as a tempting prospect, it would do no good. Besides, there were other areas of the city under attack that needed her attention.
As the two dragons began clawing at the tower, causing it to crack, Discord appeared above the two of them, catching their attention.
"Good evening friends! How about we play a little game?"
The dragons, still without minds of their own, merely spread their wings and lunged at Discord. As they flew higher and closer to him, the spirit merely chuckled and raised his hand.
"Tsk tsk. No flying!"
He then snapped his fingers and, with another flash of light, the dragons suddenly found themselves without wings. Having already let go of the tower, their lack of flying ability caused them to suddenly plummet to the ground at great speed. Discord held a hand up to his ear, listening intently for the sound of the dragons crashing against the ground. He soon got his wish as they collided hard with the stone beneath them. The impact caused many of the surrounding buildings to shake somewhat. Looking down, Discord saw the creatures lying motionless. They were not dead, as he could still see them breathing, but the shock of falling had knocked both unconscious. Either way, this had given Discord cause for laughter once more.
"Priceless! Absolutely priceless! Now then......where next? Maybe I could-WHOA!"
Before he finished his sentence, he reacted to a sudden magical blast aimed directly at him. He only just dodged it in time, having been caught off-guard by the attack. Surprised at having been directly assaulted, he turned to see what could have caused such magic, and his eyes widened with what he saw. A unicorn stallion, clad in dark armour, draped in a red cloak and floating in the air without the aid of wings to do so. Sombra, the leader of this invading force.
Discord was, admittedly, surprised that the enemy leader had chosen to engage him directly, but that surprise soon passed as he regained his usual smirk.
"Well well. If it isn't Celestia's little boy."
Sombra frowned at that comment.
"I am the son of Celestia, it is true. And soon, I will sit upon my mother's throne and rule this land as it's king. You would do well to keep that in mind spirit."
Discord couldn't help but chuckle at the dark unicorn's statement.
"Oh my! I do so apologise, your majesty! But I've never been one for manners, so I hope you'll forgive me if I don't bow."
Sombra merely smiled at that.
"No need. I'd prefer that you KNEEL!!!"
Without warning, Sombra shot a blast of magic from his horn straight at Discord. But the snake-like spirit merely stepped aside and dodged it with little effort. Frowning, Sombra shot at him again, but the attack missed yet again, this time from Discord snapping his fingers and teleporting behind Sombra, leading to the latter spinning around to face him once more. This was beginning to annoy Sombra. His magic, enhanced by the alicorn amulet, gave him a might that nopony could withstand. But this Discord person had magic of a different kind, tricky and slippery. Beating him in a full-on fight was going to be difficult, even for him.
But he would never think to look at him. The spirit was simply dancing in mid-air, in an attempt to mock and frustrate Sombra. Though he had to admit, the attempt was working.
"So this is the dreaded Discord? My mother told me stories about you, you know."
Discord stopped dancing and looked at Sombra, eyebrow raised with piqued interested.
"Oh, do tell."
Sombra shook his head.
"When I was young she would often tell tales of her and Luna's battle against you. How before that you spread misery and fear to all corners of the pony world. I'd grown up think of you as a demon, as a monster who was to be feared above all else."
He then gave Discord a narrow-eyed look.
"And yet all I see before me is a clown, parading about as though war was nothing but a game. How shameful. How undignified. How very......disappointing."
Discord was clearly unmoved by Sombra's words, having pretended to be asleep, only to then feign waking up.
"Sorry. Was somepony talking?"
Sombra frowned at this display, before turning to something beneath the two of them. Discord then looked on curiously as Sombra gained a rather disquieting look before turning his attention back to him. The smile he now had on his face was disturbing to say the least, and Discord knew all about disturbing smiles.
"Still.......at the very least I can hurt you."
Discord chuckled again.
"Hurt me? My dear boy.....you can't even HIT me!"
Sombra then gave a chuckle of his own, wiping the smile from Discord's face.
"Oh.......I have no intention of hitting YOU."
Discord raised his eyebrow, confused by that comment. Sombra gave no explanation, merely looked down to the ground beneath them. Discord turned his head to see what Sombra was looking at, and what he saw shocked him. For there, standing far beneath them, looking up at the two, was a very familiar pony. A pegasus mare. Yellow in her fur and pink in her mane. And she was looking very frightened as the dark unicorn glared down upon her. Discord' jaw dropped open at the sight of her.
There were very few things in this world that surprised Discord, but this was certainly one of them. What was she doing here? He had no idea that Futtershy was even in the city, let alone right in the thick of the battle. She was supposed to be in Ponyville right now, with her friends, and far away from the danger. And speaking of danger, Discord suddenly realised what Sombra had meant earlier. He looked up and him and glared angrily at him. Sombra merely kept his smile.
"Say goodbye to your pretty friend......master of chaos!"
Discord didn't have time to react. Sombra aimed his horn down at the defenceless mare below and shot a massive blast of crimson magic down at her. Discord's eyes widened with shock as he saw this. There was little time, so he knew what he had to do. Snapping his fingers, he teleported himself down to the ground, right next to Fluttershy. The mare looked up at him, terrified over what was happening. Discord looked up and saw the magic head straight for them.
He couldn't think straight, and didn't know what to do, and so, in a move that would have shocked him to no end a year ago, stretched out his arms and stood between Fluttershy and the blast. Closing his eyes, ready for the impact, discord felt sheer agony as the magic struck him. He howled out in pain as his limbs began to freeze up. He knew this sensation well, for it was exactly what the power of the elements of harmony did to him. Opening up one of his eyes, he saw that he was turning to stone once more.
But he stood his ground, not wanting Fluttershy to be exposed to this, and merely took what was being dealt to him. And soon enough, the powerful spirit was completely encased in stone. Sombra, having seen that his work was done, gently floated down to the ground, right next to the statue of Discord. He knocked on it mockingly with his hoof, before turning to Fluttershy, smiling as he did.
"Well done. I must say that even I was convinced by your performance."
"Fluttershy" then smiled herself, before closing her eyes. Her entire body then convulsed and was engulfed in a bright green glow. Her limbs began to darken, a horn protruded from her head and her wings became more insect-like. The green glow died down and Sombra beheld her true form, a changeling drone. He nodded in approval over this successful deception. before turning his attention back to the battle still raging above his head.
"I suggest you re-join the fray. No doubt your kind will have need of a few extra drones."
The transformed drone said nothing, merely bowed towards it's temporary commander. It flapped it's wings and flew high into the sky, no doubt going to join up with the rest of the swarm as they pressed their attack. With the drone gone, Sombra turned his attention back to the stone form of Discord.
"Another threat down."
With that thought done, the dark unicorn turned and set his eyes on the glittering royal palace at the centre of the city.
"Just you and me now.....mother."