CastASpellLiana's avatar

[AU] Tough love

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For context;…
Yep! I'm doing this >:]

Be warned; the writing is kinda rushed. Feel free to correct me or offer any advice for improvements


The youngest alicorn shouted in surprise and horror. When Empress Celestia had taken her daughters to a discreet area; a forbidden land known as the Everfree Forest, she had claimed it was time for them to begin training. Princess Twilight assumed it was to put her knowledge of magic to the test. She had been practicing and training all her life, hitting the books every chance she had. Yet this was not what the two sisters expected. As soon as they landed, full of eagerness and excitement, her mother welcomed her daughters with a cold, emotionless look and lashed out at the older of the two sisters. Princess Twilight had never seen her kind, elegant mother harm a fly, let alone lay a hoof on her sister.

Princess Sunset felt stinging pain on the left side of her face. Her eyes watered almost immediately upon impact. 

"I expected you to be more prepared." Was all their mother had to say. 

Gritting her teeth, the amber alicorn was at a loss for words. Princess Twilight ran up to her and glanced at her cheek, not failing to notice the bruise that was making itself known. That would be hard to hide and explain to their subjects.

"Mom?" Princess Twilight questioned, almost in fear. She knew better than to speak without being addressed.

Empress Celestia gave both of her daughters a long look, as if observing them to their deepest core. 

"Twilight." She called.


"What can you tell me about wars?"

The filly gulped. "Wars... definitely not peaceful. There was a time before Equestria came to be - the three races; Unicorns, Pegasi and Earth Ponies were at each others' throats constantly, refusing to believe in unity. They were almost at war so many times, until they finally learnt to get along and formed Equestria. Equestria has histories of being threatened and invaded since then, but so far, no wars. Lives were lost and we did suffer damages though... In other words..,"

"We fight and sometimes die to defend our land." Her sister finished. Princess Sunset had one hoof on her cheek, with a wing held up to her face in an attempt to ungraciously wipe the blood casually flowing out of a nostril.

The Empress sighed; either from disapproval at the idea of a war or displeased with their answer. Despite that, she had to remind herself that her daughters are still young. Both of them had a long way to go. 

"The reason I brought both of you here today - I need you both to realize, my princesses, that there is more to life than studying. Books may give you answers. But ultimately, it all will lead up to your own actions." The mare leveled her gaze to the two princesses, allowing them to see the grim expression her face held, but not missing the gentle look in her eyes. 

"But... why?" Princess Twilight spoke up, still afraid of angering her mother. She gestured to her sister, who had now ended up with a smudged face instead of a clean, blood-free one. Her wing feathers were stained with some of the dried liquid as well. 

Empress Celestia gave her elder daughter a sad look and magiced a handkerchief out of nowhere. After casting a spell to will it to be wet, she levitated it towards Princess Sunset. The filly hesitated momentarily before accepting the soggy item.

"The key to never get bested by your opponent... is to stay on guard. Be alert, stay strong, and you will win the battle." 

"So the point of all this was to not get me whacked in the face?" Princess Sunset asked, almost mocking. 

Princess Twilight nudged her. "Were you even paying attention?"

In return, she received a sharp glare. "You aren't the one with a bloody muzzle!"

"Calm down." Empress Celestia sighed again. She couldn't fathom why she decided to have children, knowing the costs. Her daughters are almost teenagers, and according to the weekly magazines 'Mother Mares', teenagehood is the worst phase a foal will go through. What's worse; she will have to deal with two at once. "Come over here, and let me tell you a story."

Her children immediately obeyed, scrambling over toward her, eyes gleaming with excitement. Children, she smiled. Why do they have to grow up?

"Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria. There were two regal sisters who ruled together, and created harmony for all the land. To do this, the eldest; used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn. The younger, brought out the moon to begin the night."

"There were sisters?! I didn't know there could be two rulers at the same time!" Princess Twilight gasped. 

Princess Sunset poked her sister with the tip of her horn. "Shhh!"

"Ow! Sorry! Sheesh." 

Celestia allowed a small smile before returning to a stoic composure. "Thus, the two sisters maintained balance for their kingdom and their subjects, all the different types of ponies. As time went on, the younger sister became resentful. The ponies relished and played in the day her elder sister brought fourth, but shunned and slept through her beautiful night. One fateful day, the younger refused to lower the moon to make way for the dawn. The elder sister tried to reason with her, but the bitterness in the young one's heart had transformed her into a wicked mare of darkness; Nightmare Moon." 

At the revelation, both fillies gasped. Empress Celestia went on with the story, as if reading it off of an invisible book.

"She vowed she would shroud the land in eternal night. Reluctantly, the elder sister harnessed the most powerful magic known to ponykind; the Elements of Harmony. Using the magic of the Elements of Harmony, she defeated her younger sister, and vanished her permanently in the moon. The elder sister took on responsibility over both sun and moon, and harmony had been maintained in Equestria for generations since." 

"Whoa." Princess Sunset exclaimed. 

"She must be really sad." Princess Twilight said quietly.

"Yeah. As annoying as you are, if I ever have to banish you, I'll miss having nopony to plan my pranks for."


The Empress loomed over the girls, clearly not done with passing the information she long wished to give. 

"Sad as it is, the story is one of truth."

"You mean, it happened? It's real?" The older filly looked around fearfully, as if the evil mare will pop out of anywhere anytime.

"Nightmare Moon?" Her sister asked.

"Unfortunately, the story isn't of the utmost truth. As most stories are, when retold, storytellers recount what they remember, not the exact facts. But in our case, as royals, we intentionally change the stories, as the truth may cause harm. If our subjects know that the banishment is for a limited time instead of permanent, as the old ponytail states - we could cause fear and panic. Which is why, my loves-" The Empress wrapped her wings around the fillies, bringing together the dusk and the dawn of their pelts. "I need us all to prepare. As much as how crucial knowledge is, out intellectual skills will have to match our physical abilities."

"There's going to be a war?" Princess Sunset asked, snuggling closer into her mother.

"There's going to be a battle." Her mother corrected. "We must win the battle, for if we lose, a war may erupt. The truth to life; we won't always be able to remain in harmony. As rulers, we have to fight to maintain that harmony."

The young mares stayed quiet as they digested their mother's words, thinking through them carefully, counting all the threats and possibilities. Neither of them are trained or prepared for battle. The prospect had never even occurred to them until this very moment. The many times their mother had tried to get them interested in fighting tactics, battle strategies, et cetera. The reason as to why finally came clear to the young minds.

As protectors, Equestria is theirs to protect. 

I donno about you, but I'm liking strict mom Celestia. I believe she will have her moments when they just hang out and chill like a real, comfy family - but as rulers, there will be time when things have to be taken seriously. Very seriously.

They will all have different designs as well - let me know what you think and feel free to offer any suggestions!

What do you think of this AU? Let me know what you think ! :>

Characters (c) Hasbro/Lauren Faust
Art & Redesign (c) CastASpellLiana 
Image size
2500x1700px 3.89 MB
© 2019 - 2020 CastASpellLiana
anonymous's avatar
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Dragoncoton's avatar
"She couldn't fathom why she decided to have children, knowing the costs." Celestia has regrets for having her two girls? I hope no ;-;
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Not regrets - doubts! Though I gotta admit it may seem as regrets
Even for a thousands of years old alicorn such as Celestia herself, there are always something new for her to discover.
In this case; taking a dive into the world of parenting. She may have spent plenty of time with her younger citizens, but being around children is different from actually raising her own. She may be aware of all that could come with having kids (puberty, ignorance and all that stuff). She could prepare herself with yards of knowledge, but knowing isn't the same as doing.

I hope I'm making sense!
Dragoncoton's avatar
I see, thanks!
qeveren's avatar
From that day forward Celestia lived dreading that inevitable, unpredictable moment when Sunset sucker-punches her back. :D (Big Grin) 
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Oh no XD That's definitely not gonna end well
Let's get popcorn for when the Empress explodes
ladyruthnineteen's avatar
ladyruthnineteenHobbyist Traditional Artist
Can I just day how much I like TWILIGHT'S look!!! :)
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Yes!! Thank you so much! >u< Happy you like this little bookworm's design
ladyruthnineteen's avatar
ladyruthnineteenHobbyist Traditional Artist

I wuuuv it! Me next!! ;)

mysterysneeze's avatar
The writing itself and the drawing are both really enjoyable to see ^^ Great job with your idea here :D
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Aww thank you so much!! So happy you think so ^^
looFsydoboN's avatar
Actually, in the picture, I think Sunset looks a bit like she's about to get up and return the favor.  Great idea for an AU - though it leaves me wondering what the Mane Six would be like, since part of what brought them together was Twilight preparing to go into face danger alone.
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
XD I didn't think of that
Yeah, it's gonna be fun figuring that out!
Kylecope's avatar
KylecopeHobbyist Traditional Artist
I LOVE this idea for an AU! Completely different than anything I've seen before
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Aaw thank you so much! I'd love to continue to develop it further ;v;
catz537's avatar
catz537Hobbyist Digital Artist AU where Celestia is Sunset and Twilight's mom, and she's abusive? :c
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Nah she isn't don't worry. Believe me, I was expecting to get a comment like this c: 

Most times she's cushy, soft and gentle - but when it comes to the thought of Nightmare Moon's upcoming return, she takes their training very, very seriously. She rarely gets into this kind of 'strict mode', and add that up to the little knowledge she had to handling children and you get this. My interpretation of it, anyway.

Her children are stubborn, refusing to learn outside from books, and doesn't understand that knowing isn't the same as doing. Proved in Sunset's poor reflexes here, thus the impact. All in all, Celestia didn't expect to actually hurt her daughter. 'Princess Twilight had never seen her kind, elegant mother harm a fly, let alone lay a hoof on her sister.' This line proves that it isn't something she usually does, and that it was completely out of the ordinary. Back in the days, kids earn their motivation an entirely different way. This is also Celestia not being updated with the times along with her having little knowledge to parenting - treating her kids the same way she would train her guards hundreds of years ago.

I hope this helped clear some things up! If not, feel free to ask more questions and I'll try my best to answer. 
Being a storyteller isn't easy, and I'm still learning the ropes myself
I hope you liked my take on it regardless :>
AshuriKRBG's avatar
AshuriKRBGHobbyist Digital Artist
Great story so far! I like the different take on Celestia really brings the story together.  And I'm excited to see how Luna is portrayed.
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Thanks!! It's a bit tricky to figure out and pull off, but I'm glad something came out of it haha
Glad you enjoyed it! I'm excited to take a stab at Luna next too ;>
DonTheBassMan's avatar
Okay, overall it's good, I like. 
The only part that I don't like is the strike to Sunset. To me, that shows the Empress isn't used to instructing combat arts. Now, I'm not saying change it, but I am saying it makes me think that Celestia is using very old and very outdated tactics for training. She's going to need help to get her daughters trained up. The harsh hoof... doesn't inspire learning, especially quick learning.

I like the idea of a harsher alternate Equestria, where an Empress has to hold steady the reigns of power (reigns, get it? HA!) keeping the darkness at bay.

So, Bravo! Looking forward to more.
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Haha yeah I didn't expect a lot of people to like that idea
She's basically an over a thousand-year-old deity, who had long since lost her sister, and now having mixed feelings about her upcoming return. Having kids with zero interest in learning combats (for their own good, might I add) wasn't helping either, and she was getting desperate. (think of it like how Sunset and Twilight were both uninterested in making friends in the show) She'd feel like it was all up to her, being the sole ruler - to get her children to understand how important it is that knowing something isn't the same as doing. The strike was a symbolism of change; things aren't always going to be the same, the Empress isn't going to be there always to protect them, and ultimately when she fails, it'll be up to the two to save the day. Like it or not, simply having the qualities of being a good friend/great person in general isn't what will save your head in an attack. And may I add that despite having lived for thousands of years, nothing will give you the quality of a pro parent. It isn't something you get to master immediately without firsthand experience. It makes sense that Celestia isn't used to handling children, doesn't know the current tactics to it, and may even treat them the same way she does to her own warriors. Maybe that was how she trained up her first few knights. Your opinion is valid, and I like to leave things open for interpretation! 

Anyways thanks for your input! I really enjoyed it ahah 

Also Thank you! Glad you liked it ^^
DonTheBassMan's avatar
I just want to make clear, I dislike the action not the story or the portrayal. It shows that Celestia has something to learn as well. 
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
Yep I got that point. That's a fresh perspective to look at it from ;>
MugenSeiRyuu's avatar

Although I can only imagine a later dialogue.

Nightmare Moon: Celestia has never told you what happened to your aunt!
Sunset Shimmer: Well, she never told us that we have an aunt, but we figured that you are our aunt.
Nightmare Moon: No, I am your- uh, never mind.
CastASpellLiana's avatar
CastASpellLianaStudent General Artist
XD Brilliant 
They're both smart enough to figure that out! 
anonymous's avatar
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