Cold Hearted

She is the last. All her kin are gone. They'd either been blown apart by the Friendship spell so many ages ago or, in the case of her sister, changed their diet from hate to love. Cryoxia is the last of the windigos, but she is determined to be different, to never go back to those days ever again.
She'll make friendship from hate. She'll adopt an alicorn foal as her sister. She'll take physical form and learn how to move the celestial orbs with her mind. Celestial... has a nice ring to it. And she'll ally with the other nations in the world, establish friendship and preach harmony, no matter how they may diminish her food source. She'll make a world so wonderful that it will starve her to death.
Or die trying.

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3. Frozen Together

Celestia

 

And that was the story of how Prince Blueblood dumped a cup of coffee on Cadance's head.

Cadance sputtered and coughed as Shining Armor patted her withers, while Blueblood moved back to his seat in the moderately sized study they had gathered in. "Better?" he asked, forcing Celestia to stifle a laugh.

Cadance smacked her lips a few times to taste the lukewarm coffee, and then nodded. "Better." She looked over to her husband, then back at Celestia now that she was no long in stunned shock. "Auntie, did I hear you say that correctly?"

She nodded, immensely grateful that Twilight, Blueblood, and Luna were all there to support her. Even with two weeks to steel her nerves, she felt like she was about to start throwing up butterflies from her stomach. "Yes, Cadance. I am, and always have been, a windigo."

Shining Armor frowned. "Princess, you'll have to forgive us if we're less than believing." He looked towards his sister, who sat stiff as a board in her seat. "Twily, are you in on this too?"

"It's not a joke, Shiny," she insisted. "I saw it myself after using a revelation spell. She's telling the truth."

"Auntie," Cadance began slowly. "Um, not to say I don't trust you or your word but could you perhaps show us?"

Celestia sighed. "Alright Cadance, if it'll help convince you. Just please do not panic; it may be a different shape, but it is still me." It had been hard enough to calm down Blueblood once the reality of her species truly sank in. She really hoped that Cadance and Shining would be more level-headed than her nephew had been. "Here I go."

She took a deep breath, and worked her windigo magic. Her disguise wasn't something that she had to passively maintain, it was more like... like molding her body like clay and then leaving it in a certain form. Twilight's spell had forcibly reverted the shape, and had made the clay 'wet' for a while, unwilling to form, but now she was in full control. A flicker of concentration had her engulfed in a fine blue mist - engulfing hers and the seats near her in frost - and faded to reveal her true form. Celestia coiled her tail around herself and looked at the rulers of the Crystal Empire hopefully.

Cadance gasped and held a hoof to her mouth, and her husband lit up his horn defensively. "You were serious," he breathed as he layered several warmth enchantments over himself and his wife.

She frowned. That was better than Blueblood had reacted, at least. Another whirl of magic, and she regained her alicorn form. "As you can tell," she began as calmingly as she could manage. "I am very serious about this. Please don't feel like you need to defend yourselves around me."

Shining Armor gave her another wary look, then depowered his horn. "Princess, I think I speak for both of us when I say that this is worrying, to say the least. Could you at least please explain to us how this is possible?" Cadance nodded mutely, staring at her aghast.

She looked to Luna. "Do you want to explain it, sister?"

"Of course, Tia." From that, Luna - curiously speaking in modern Equestrian now that they weren't alone - gave the long explanation of how Celestia had been separated from her sister - wisely leaving out just who it was; one thing at a time after all - and stumbled on Luna herself, long before learning of what had happened to the rest of her kin.

"I don't truly remember those times so well; I was seven, and Tia here was three hundred. Buuut..." Luna gave her a wicked grin, and Celestia paled. She's not going to - "She was so awkward back then! Apparently the idea that I needed to eat physical food was the most confounding thing." Celestia blushed and tried to curl up. "And don't even get me started on when she asked what outhouses were for!" Luna looked her way with a self-satisfied grin. "Why Tia, you were rather curious over everything about me."

"I never paid much attention to ponies' daily lives, and you were an alicorn," she muttered in her defense. "I'd never seen anything like that before. It was only later when I started to get worried about my sister, so I had time to be curious."

"Excuses," Luna said cheekily with a hoof to her chest. "So, dearest Cadance, my uniqueness led to Celestia staying with me longer than she had expected and I, being a cute little foal at the time, grew on her." Celestia fought the urge to roll her eyes, but Blueblood did it in her stead. Luna was having far too much fun with this. In front of Twilight no less! This was so unlike her, and part of her wondered what long-forgotten prank had inspired this. "Of course, I'd... lost a lot of relatives lately, even if I didn't know it at the time, so I also grew attached to her." She gave Celestia a smile. "I like to think I had a hoof in changing Celestia from the crass, unlikable mare she was back then into who she is now."

This time she did roll her eyes, momentarily forgetting there were others around to act regal for. "Ha ha, Luna. And perhaps you'd like a reminder of how many times you begged me to make you smoothies with my ice? Or what you did to persuade me?"

Luna's pupils underwent collapse. "You wouldn't dare," she hissed.

"Ahem," Blueblood interjected. "Aunties, please."

"Right," Luna said. "So that's how our story began. Eventually, she realized just what had... happened to the other windigos and by that time she was too attached to me to hold it against me. One thing led to another, and soon we were bringing the Elements of Harmony to bear against Discord, and then being sworn in as Princesses of Equestria." She nudged Celestia with a wing. "Of course, she'd taken this shape by then."

Luna decided to pause and let that all sink in. Celestia looked over at Twilight, who gave her a reassuring grin. She felt somewhat embarrassed about that; so many times she had been the one calming Twilight and telling her that things were to turn out alright. For their roles to be reversed over such a sensitive secret of hers was jarring and uncomfortable; she didn't like it. But she owed her family the truth, didn't she? She just hoped things would go well.

Twilight, despite her initial shock, had come around. Blueblood had panicked more audibly, but however he acted around other ponies he did see her as family. She just hoped that Shining and Cadance would...

Slowly, the pink alicorn smiled, then trotted over to Celestia. They locked eyes, and then Cadance reared up and hugged her. Celestia grinned broadly and nuzzled her, returning the embrace. "All this means," Cadance said mischievously. "is that I am never siding against you in a snowball fight."

"I'm with Cadance on this one," Shining Armor said. "We're not specists."

Of course they weren't. How could she have ever doubted them so?

She smiled. "Thank you, both of you. It's relieving to see that my fears were unwarranted." She pointedly ignored the quiet 'told you' that Blueblood muttered under his breath.

Luna gave her a smile, warm instead of wicked, and nodded. "Of course, sister. We're all family here, remember? We support each other."

Twilight's ears perked up. "Oh! Speaking of which! Princess, can I talk to you alone soon? I have something I need to show you."

"Of course, Twilight."

They continued to talk. Celestia answered some of the questions that Cadance and Shining had, such as if her love magic hurt her - it did, but she was proficient enough in shields to avoid any real harm - or if windigos were in any way related to Discord given the history of spreading disharmony and strife - she truly didn't know, he was an enigma all unto himself. Eventually the day wore on and slowly, everypony began to trickle out of the study. Blueblood was first, followed by Luna to go back to sleep, and then finally she bid the Crystal Empire's rulers farewell.

She stepped out of her study to see Twilight alone in the hallway, a small package resting on her withers. She must have had it waiting out here, probably under privacy enchantments if she knew Twilight. The alicorn looked up at her as she approached. "Prin - Celestia!"

"Hello, Twilight. So, what was it you wanted to show me?"

She levitated the package out. It was a surprisingly small box, made of simple, uninteresting brown cardboard. "So, you told me how there's not much food around, and that you can't feed much. I asked myself what I could do to solve that, and I got to thinking."

"Twilight, you didn't force hatred out of anypony just to give it to me, did you?" It also didn't help that Twilight mentioning her hunger made it harder to ignore.

She shook her head. "No, no! I got to thinking, and I went north to the Crystal Empire. You remember Sombra?"

Immediately her mouth watered and she suppressed a shudder of revulsion. "Oh yes, I do. That monster was so angry at the world. You didn't go poking around at of his artifacts on your own, did you?"

"Not artifacts and not on my own," she admitted sheepishly, looking away nervously. "Initially that was the plan, but I found something outside. Discord was a big help too, he tagged along out of curiosity." She had to raise an eyebrow at that. Discord, actually being helpful? "And we made it safe, purged any of its corruptive influence while retaining the desirable traits and well, however gruesome it is, it's a gift to you." She floated it closer.

Celestia took the box in her own magic and lifted the lid off. Immediately she recoiled in shock; there inside of it was the severed horn of King Sombra, gray at the bottom, red at the tip, smooth and sharp with a wicked curve not unlike a changeling's horn. "Twilight what - "

"Try it," she insisted, looking up at her hopefully, as if she was being graded.

Suddenly, Celestia understood what Twilight - and apparently Discord - meant for her to do with the horn. And it could work, too. She could see the dark magic inside, fueled by the deceased tyrant's hate for the world, trapped in a time loop spell that would repeat every day. Suddenly the hole in her stomach was so glaring, so impossible to ignore. It gnawed at her, it felt like a black hole slowly pulling her inward. This horn was exactly what Celestia needed. She needed to eat. Cryoxia needed... needed to feed.

She opened her mouth and began to drain. Thick coils of black and purple magic, with dark flashes of red and green within, flowed off of the horn and towards her in a narrowing stream, fading to glacier blue halfway to Cryoxia's mouth. In it she could taste resentment, fury, indignity, vengeance, greed. She doubted that any of the emotions had a focused direction to them, but that didn't matter because the hatred was so pure, crisp and refreshing. She drained and drained, gulping down the emotion greedily and there was so much. She hadn't had so much to eat in ages, and she was going to make up for it. Cryoxia ate and ate and ate, until she judged she could eat no more and cut off the stream of hatred with a slurp. She took a breath and looked around.

Fifty paces in all directions around her, the castle was coated in ice that grew thinner the further it was. Twilight had shielded herself, and inside the barrier there was no frost to speak of. The air was bitter and cold, many degrees beneath zero, Celestia's breath steaming and freezing instantly.

The shield around Twilight expanded, warming the air back to normal and vaporizing ice where it passed. Soon the ice was gone and Twilight ended her spell. "Whoa. Never actually seen the process before... I take it it's good?"

Levitating the horn back into the box and closing it, Celestia smiled at Twilight. "It's... amazing, Twilight. I don't remember when I've last had such a meal. And I take it the time loop spell will keep it refreshed?" For the first time in a while, Celestia actually had to put some effort into suppressing her passive demonic chill.

She nodded. "That was Discord's doing, I just made it unable to corrupt anypony. I realize it's a little - okay, very - morbid, but - "

Celestia trotted forwards and brought Twilight into a hug. She had an endless source of food now. Already, she could feel the nourishing strength spreading itself through her limbs, easing the pain. She would not dwindle as the world grew pure, not anymore. She could see the fruits of her labors now. "Twilight, thank you. You don't know what this means to me."

"It was noth - "

"No, Twilight," she insisted, not releasing the pony but looking down at her instead. "I mean it. You and Discord... this gift will save me a great deal of pain and weakness in the coming decades, and in the coming centuries probably save my life. Thank you, Twilight. Thank you."

In the past half of a month, she had put to rest her - admittedly somewhat irrational - fear of her friends and family discovering her secret and shunning her, and she'd gotten a permanent source of food that would sustain her forevermore. It just reinforced her belief that honesty truly was the best policy. Maybe she could get started on making other ancient species acceptable in the public eye, prepare them for when she revealed herself in the future. She'd still have to work the numbers out on that one, but now she really did want to come clean.

Maybe later. No use getting ahead of herself.

She pulled away from Twilight, and didn't bother forcing the tear in her eye to melt. Instead, she let the little icedrop clatter to the ground. "Well I... suppose I should get back to my friends," Twilight said. "I mean, I got the spell in the archives, and you met with Cadance and Shiny, and apparently the horn works - "

Celestia nodded. "Yes, yes. You're right. I still have things to do myself. Thank you again, Twilight, and tell Discord he has my sincere thanks as well."

Twilight began to trot out of the castle at that, shouting a few more farewells over her withers. Once she was gone, Celestia returned to her study and smiled contentedly.

She trotted over to a desk, the box containing Sombra's horn in tow. She had a lot of paperwork in the Incoming pile, and she levitated the first of the documents over. Celestia brought some writing utensils to bear and began. Approved. Denied. Resubmitted for revision. Approve. Deny. Deny. Deny. Approve. She settled back into the pleasing monotony with practiced ease, until...

... until she came upon the letter. It was made of black paper, with a green seal of something that was not wax keeping it shut. Celestia nodded to herself; whoever had delivered her own letter, she'd have to find them and give them a raise. Either way she floated the dark note before herself and with a flick of magic tore it open. Celestia took a moment to sip from Sombra's horn - she'd need to get used to the gruesome factor - and then began to read. It was short, but that was enough to make her smile.

 

Cryoxia,

 

I think I'd like that.

Little sis,

Crystalis.

 

She had plans to make.

 
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