Continuing in my Equestria dreamscape. With Celestia's decision to meet the Lord of Shadows in two days time and deal with him one way or another [link]
, suddenly there was a heighten sense of urgency in the Palace. Also certain uncomfortable questions that had been put off up to this point could no longer be avoided.
For Applejack, there were obvious motivations for her wanting to be on the team that would go in and help lay out the stencil that I would be used to paint the sun symbol. Her sister Applebloom was a hostage [link]
and she wanted her back, and if her release could not arranged then destroying the Lord of Shadows was perceived as being the best way to secure the hostages freedom.
However the premise was based on educated guesses of other vaguely similar situations. In theory if the Lord of Shadows was destroyed then his realm should vanish and all things that were not of his creation should return to their place of origin. Equestria. There was precedence for this premise in the theories of Pony magic, but when dealing with the magic from the land of shadows there were also uncertainties.
Either Applejack had not considered it or had been purposely ignoring this point in her mind, but now it was a question that could no longer put off asking. What would happen to Applebloom if Lord of Shadows was destroyed? That was the question she asked Celestia one afternoon in the ballroom we were using for training.
Celestia had been expecting this question from Applejack, but still she could not give any guarantees to her. "We don't know for certain, but she and all the other hostages should be released." Replied the Princess. "But if we destroy the Lord of Shadows it might kill Applebloom to?" Applejack asked. Celestia looked away for moment before looking back at the golden earth pony. " Yes. The possibility exists that if we destroy him then everything in his realm will be destroyed to including the hostages." Celestia sighed. "So what you're saying is if I go along with this I maybe end up killing my little sister!" Applejack green eyes were filled a mixture of anger and fear, and although she stood and stared directly into the Princess's eyes Celestia could see her entire body was trembling with fear.
Celestia closed her eyes and hung her head. She could raise the sun and the moon. She had lived over a thousand years and faced many foes and crisis, and yet still she had no certainties for one little pony. Slowly she sat down so she could look more directly into Applejack eyes before she spoke again.
"Applejack I cannot guarantee that there is no risk in this enterprise for Applebloom. However I have to know whether you are still willing to be part of this team?" Celestia's voice was soft like the wind whispering through the trees. "Even if this does not bring her back are you willing to do this so no other pony has to feel this pain?" With one front hoof she reached out to Applejack. " If you can't do that then you can not go with us to the planetarium." Celestia shook her head slowly then she continued. "I will not think ill of you nor will anyone else if choose to decline, but I can have no ambiguity in this mission. I have to know if you're willing to take on this task in spite of the risks." Celestia's mane billowed around the earth pony as she said this.
For several seconds Applejack stood there head bowed. When she looked up again her eyes were full of tears. "I'll do it." Then she started to cry uncontrollably. Celestia drew her close and just held her silently for while. At that moment it was probably the best thing she could do.