"Twilight, what are you...oh..."
It had been so long ago. Celestia had discovered a young Twilight Sparkle standing inside of her personal office, her wide and shimmering eyes glued to the massive painting hanging on the wall in front of her. She could not be blamed for it, though. It was a magnificent image: An alicorn, wings spread wide, with its body wrapped in a shield of flames emitting from the very sun itself. It was both a monstrous and glorious sight at the same time. Twilight appeared mesmerized just staring at it. Celestia's expression darkened for a moment as she approached her tiny apprentice. She quickly turned her lips upward into a friendly smile.
"I finally found you, my dearest pupil." Celestia remarked.
"Oh!" Twilight jumped, and spun around to meet her teacher, "Princess Celestia, I-I'm sorry, I had not noticed that you came in!"
"It is alright. I was just looking for you; it is time to begin our next lesson, out in the gardens."
"Okay. But..." Twilight glanced over her shoulder, at the portrait, "May I ask you something first?"
Celestia honestly wished she wouldn't. "What is it, my dear?"
"Who is that? Is that you, Princess Celestia? It kind of looks like you."
"That is not me." Celestia quickly replied. Maybe a little too quickly. Fortunately, Twilight did not seem to pick p on it.
"That picture is...a demon, from long ago. It had threatened to destroy the entire kingdom using its massive heat to defeat its enemies. It once tried to help the ponies of Equestria at first, but its power proved far too deadly, and in the end, it only brought pain to everypony around it. I keep this portrait in remembrance of those times."
"What? Oh my, that's horrible!"
"Indeed it was."
"You don't think this demon will ever come back, do you?"
Celestia shook her head, her heart heavy and so many confessions hanging on the edge of her tongue. "No...it won't..."
"But, still, what if it does?"
"Then I'll do whatever I can to stop it."
Princess Celestia could remember that conversation so vividly even as Queen Chrysalis stared her down. Chrysalis's horn still shone with a bright-blue aura after she had slashed into Celestia's chest, having taken away the princess's magic into her new amulet. Celestia had been duped by a copy, and now she was paying the ultimate price. Chrysalis smiled evilly; she waited to personally witness the result of her well-placed attack on her former nemesis.
A spurt of blood escaped Celestia's mouth, and trickled down her chin. She thought of her reply to Twilight's fears of the 'demon'. The 'demon' that had ruled Canterlot and all of Equestria for over a thousand years. The 'demon' she had locked away inside of herself along with the power of the sun itself. But now, this one time, Celestia had wished she had the chance to use that power again. Not to conquer, but to protect. That was how it should have been used. However, it was too late now to change things. She had failed utterly and completely.
She couldn't defeat the ones who put the ponies in danger, or even teach Twilight the way she intended. Everything she had done in her life culminated at this point, and in retrospect, she could feel nothing but disappointment with herself. Celestia unleashed her final tears as her last vestiges of life drifted away into the sun.
'Twilight...please...don't give up...'
The upper half of Celestia's torso and right leg hit the ground, but the rest of her did not follow.
Twilight Sparkle, despite being miles away and surrounded by Changelings herself, could immediately sense the disturbance of magic in the air. It was clear to everypony in the immediate area. For the Changelings, it was a sign of their triumph. For the ponies, it had destroyed any slim hope they still held of coming out alive. Princess Celestia...was dead.
"Princess!" She wailed at the top of her lungs, just as several of the shape-shifting ponies accosted her at once.
Queen Chrysalis smirked as Princess Celestia's mutilated corpse laid motionless in the mud and grime.
"Hmph. You belong there, Princess Celestia. Just stay and stuff your face with the dirt, for that is all you will be doing now."
Chrysalis turned to leave, but suddenly, she felt something brush against her hind leg. She looked around. It was Celestia's hoof. With a quick swipe of her horn, the hoof was removed and flown off into the distance. Chrysalis started to get angry. She hated ponies who wouldn't give up easily. She began stomping on Celestia's head and kicking at her horn, burying the princess's head deeper into the soil.
"You think, even in death, you can stop me? You're an idiot! An idiot who has nothing left! You have failed, Celestia! Do you hear me? You have failed!"
As expected, Celestia did not react.
"We've already killed your sister Luna and stolen her power, and you have also fallen. You two were the strongest ponies in all of Equestria, and yet you both failed to stop me. Equestria has no chance against my army now, and whoever remains of the royal family will be hunted down and executed. With your death, Celestia, everything has come to an end."
Celestia was almost fully submerged in the mud. Still, Chrysalis continued her tirade.
"You had let yourself grow soft, and that's why you have lost to me. I've seen your power before; it could have wiped out myself and the entire Changeling army several times over. But you hesitated to go all out, despite when fighting a clone who you fully believed was the real me. You hated yourself for the way you wielded power with an iron fist in the past. But that's how you should have been. Instead, you started to show compassion for your subjects, you took on an apprentice who you grew to care for like a daughter, you forgave your traitorous little sister...you aren't the Princess Celestia I once knew. You are the real imitation, for hiding your true sins behind a curtain and pretending it never happened. That is exactly why you are dead before me. I am going to make sure you stay that way for good."
Chrysalis' horn began to glow, and, combined with the power of Celestia's stolen magic, she obliterated Celestia's entire body with a single blast. It produced a light that all ponies and Changelings still on the battlefield could see. It was a blinding white beacon, a herald of death and destruction. It sent shivers through the spines of even the toughest of the stallions.
The light faded away a few seconds later. All that remained of Celestia was the stub of her horn. Chrysalis had never felt more satisfied. Still, her revenge was not done. no, not yet.
"Now, I shall take care of the remaining flock myself."