Author's Note:

AN: Not much to say. Continuation. Sklya may not be Shining Armor/Cadence's canon daughter, but she is here. Since I refuse to make an original character important (too many become Mary Sues), Prince Blueblood is one of the 'new' Elements of Harmony. How and why he's also gifted with a long life will be explained. There needed to be a fourth pony so Yu-lon's Elements of Harmony could be completed. So far, Twilight (Strength), Cadence (Hope, of course), Yu-lon (Wisdom, obviously). Prince Blueblood will be Tenacity. He is stubborn as all get-out, we all know this. The original copy of this was lost, and I copy/pasted this from FIMfiction. Yes, I am the same TerraZeal.

Shadows of Darkness

Chapter 2 – Princess Cadence

Princess Cadence, Princess of Love and Light, stood on the great balcony of the Crystal Empire, basking in the love and light powering both the Crystal Heart and her own heart.

She raised her head, horn pointed skyward and slowly spread her wings and rose into the velvet night sky. Elsewhere, she knew that Twilight was doing the same thing, to an audience in Canterlot, bowing before the night sky.

The Crystal Ponies bowed and muttered with awe as a brilliant orb of light engulfed Cadence as she rose higher and higher, eventually the light engulfed the entire Empire in it's warm, loving rays.

She watched Twilight's moon lower in a silvery, lovely flash of dark. The day had begun. The Crystal Princess slowly floated back to the floor, ignoring the Crystal Ponies and their awe and muttering.

She smiled. The sun, raising the sun, basking in the sun, it always made her happy. It made her feel less loss than she should have felt, losing Shining Armor and her daughter, Princess Skyla.

Skyla was born an alicorn, but soon her wings shriveled and fell off, leaving her a unicorn, like her father. Shining Armor was so proud of his daughter.

This just proved, once more, that alicorn-hood had to be earned. One would never, could never, be born an alicorn.

Proud of her horn and her cutie mark when she had received it. It had been a yellow swirling star, surrounded by a blue magical shield. Skyla was meant to be part of guard. The first female royal guard in the history of Equestria.

It was her destiny. She had trained hard, ignored the boys' taunts, and eventually became one of her parents' fiercest guardians.

She had even once beaten Discord in a fair fight (just for fun, Discord was reformed too much by then to harm any pony), which was practically impossible.

But then, both her parents had embodied a power greater than the elements of harmony and friendship. They embodied the greatest force in the universe. Love, of course. There was nothing more powerful than love, ever.

Slowly, Cadence lowered herself to the ground, amidst the cheers of the Crystal Ponies and others who had moved to the Empire. Smiling, she waved to the crowd and returned to the throne room. One of her great-great-great many times great granddaughters nuzzled her softly as Cadence moved to relax on a soft couch in to the left of the throne.

Her dear grandchild was a pegasus, just like she had been before she'd become an alicorn. She was an adult who eagerly awaited a stallion who would give her a foal. Her name was Sapphire Heart and her cutie mark was, indeed, a shining gold heart surrounded by sapphire spirals. She bowed to her princess/ancestor and asked how the morning had went.

"Well. As always. One can't mess up raising the sun." She laughed softly.

Sapphire smiled, running a hoof through her silky gold mane. It was lovely with her cotton-candy fur and green eyes. She put her helmet back on. Sapphire was a member of Cadence's royal guard, now all-female, a tradition established by Sklya, Cadence's headstrong daughter. The male ponies were now free to pursue a course of action besides royal guard. Twilight still employed male guards, but the Crystal Empire only employed females, thanks to Skyla's precedent.

" you ever get sad, or lonely? Outliving all of your descendants. I mean, I know I'll die before you, but just having you as my many-times great grandmother is an honor. As is being part of the Guard, just like my mother." Sapphire asked.

"Of course I do, dearest." She nuzzled Sapphire softly. Of all her descendants, Sapphire looked the most like her. Even her wings were similar, as well as her fur, the color of soft cotton candy. Her mane and eyes were the only huge difference.

"But, Sapphire, we can't despair for the past. Something I wish my sister, Princess Twilight, would learn. I've tried so hard, Sapphire, but nothing I do can bring her out of her depression. I even asked talk to her first, before coming here."

Cadence's wings drooped slightly. As mainly a pegasus princess, the horn only an afterthought, really, she expressed herself with her wings more than her magic.

Sapphire nodded. "I understand, your Highness. I...suppose I'll go back to my post now. I just wanted to see how you were doing, Princess."

The gold-maned pegasus couldn't help herself and flew up and pulled Cadence into a hug. "Never lose hope, your Highness. Ever." A few tears leaked down Sapphire's eyes as she nuzzled her grandmother.

Sapphire saluted Cadence and returned to her post outside the palace doors. Cadence was alone at last.

"Yu-lon? It is alright to show yourself now. Do not fear." Cadence almost laughed. A creature like Yu-lon fearing ANYTHING was amusing indeed.

"Yes...thank you again for listening to me, Princess of Love and Light, raiser of the Sun, guardian of Love." A shining jade dragon-like creature appeared slowly in front of her, silver-jade light eventually coalescing into Yu-lon's true form.

"The threat spreads, Princess. Twilight would not listen to me, still so lost in her sorrow. I fear the Sha of Despair may already have gotten to her. I know not what we would do were it true." Yu-lon regally bowed her great head to Cadence.

Cadence returned the bow, kneeling to the floor, to show her greater respect for Element of Wisdom and Mother of Cloud Serpents.

"Twilight...she is so very strong, great guardian of Wisdom. Surely she will heed your words about not wanting to lose the Equestria her friends fought so hard to keep safe." Cadence's eyes sparkled with tears. Her sister's sorrow made her entire body ache.

As Princess of Love, Cadence felt broken, twisted love in Twilight's heart. She loved her friends, but she was in love with the past. Nothing at all had roused her to do anything beyond her duties in the past seven hundred years, when her last remaining friend had passed on, Princess Luna, returning to the moon forever.

Luna had mourned Twilight's friends with her, mourned Celestia's passing with her, been Twilight's last friend and beloved. Twilight hadn't even taken a stallion. She had not married, not even with Flash Sentry's many attempts. She had known what would happen and didn't want to hurt him. Or didn't want to hurt herself.

No, Twilight was anything but selfish. She had kept his affections at a distance for his own sake. When he was old and dying, she would still be young and beautiful, powerful. She couldn't imagine the pain that Flash would feel. Would also feel if they had had foals. Losing a foal would just be too much for Twilight, Cadence knew.

Skyla's loss had almost sent Cadence into a spiraling depression, and would have destroyed the love in her heart were it not for Skyla's daughter, Cadence's beloved granddaughter, explaining that it didn't matter, that Cadence would always have family, that Skyla and Shining Armor would live forever in their descendants.

Yu-lon made a slight coughing noise. She appeared in front of Cadence now as a pony, not the tiny bear-like creature she had when Cadence had first met her, or the massive jade dragon that was her true form. She had green fur, striped with different shades of jade and a brighter green mane with blue-green highlights. Her eyes were a deep violet and had no pupils, just a bright white light in the center reflected in them that reminded Cadence of Twilight's moon, and she wore golden anklets above her hooves.

Instead of a single horn like a unicorn, she had two spiral horns on each side of her magnificent jade mane. Even the horns were a shade of green. Only the gold anklets and sparkling violet eyes were a different color. She was, after all, the Jade Serpent, Cadence remembered. She noticed that her mane had an almost feathery texture to it, rather than hair. As if even in her pony form, the great serpent could not disguise who and what she really was. Cadence noticed that, oddly, her mane ebbed and flowed like Celestia and Luna's manes. It wasn't truly surprising. Yu-lon was a powerful creature. A goddess.

Pony Yu-lon sat down and gazed at the brilliant blue sky, illuminated by Cadence's sun.

"Princess, did you know, on my world, we too have beings in charge of the sun and moon?" Yu-lon asked.

Cadence tilted her head, puzzled. "You said there were no ponies in...what did you call your world?...Azeroth."

Yu-lon smiled. "There are no ponies. You should know by now that ponies are not the only beings with great power, and power over their surroundings. These beings, even to this day, I am unable to truly comprehend what they are."

" You''re a goddess! The goddess of wisdom! Surely, if anyone can understand-" Cadence was cut off by the pony-serpent.

"I am no true goddess, Lady of Love. I am merely like you. An...element...of wisdom. These beings, called An'she and Elune, do not merely raise the sun and moon, they can grant power through the celestial bodies." Yu-lon sighed, closing her eyes and remembering the soft heat of An'she's sun and the silver glow of Elune's moons.

"Grant...power? I can't even imagine how such a thing would even work. It would require magic beyond even Twilight and Celestia, and they're, forgive me for being honest, far more powerful than I. Well, Celestia was." Cadence closed her eyes, remembering her brilliant, shining aunt, raiser of the sun and granter of light.

"Yes." said Yu-lon. "As I said, those beings...were always beyond comprehension. None of the races on my world ever discovered their true nature. Warriors called paladins and magic users called priests came as close as they could, but it was never enough."

Yu-lon yawned. "Forgive this old serpent for remembering. I do miss my world, but this is of far greater concern. We must reforge Equestria's elements of Harmony to end the Sha threat before it becomes too large and widespread."

Cadence tilted her head a bit, inquiringly. "How can we reforge the elements? I...Yu-lon, I was never even part of the elements. I know that you know that. Perhaps there are six other ponies who would work-"

"No. No others would work, and it is not six. It is four. Possibly five, if the element of Pride has power here. I have already found them, but for two of them, they must accept the power and responsibility. The element of Wisdom. Strength, Tenacity, Wisdom, and Hope. And occasionally Pride. These are the elements of harmony needed to end the Sha, once and for all."

A bright flash and Yu-lon abandoned her pony form, once again taking the form of the slightly mismatched jade serpent. She hovered a few feet above the crystalline floor of Cadence's throne room, and her aura seemed to bathe the entire place in pale green light.

"M-mistress of can Twilight and I tap into these powers? I...Yu-lon...I honestly don't even have the slightest idea of which of these elements I could possess. You say I do possess one, but where is it? How do I use it?" She remembered her first conversation with Yu-lon, who had told her she possessed one of Azeroth's Elements of Harmony.

Yu-lon smiled. Her teeth were like large daggers, but there was no malice in her smile. The jade serpent leaned her head forward a few inches and nuzzled the Princess of Love.

"You honestly do not know which element you possess? You have endured, and endured without giving in to depression, like Twilight. You possess a great hope. Hope beyond any other. Hope and love. Hope is believing in things that are possible, and even things that are not, and have that, Princess. You knew that you would outlive your family, but you hoped that you never would. In the end, that hope ended up becoming reality. Your husband and daughter, yes, you far outlived them, but your true family? They are still here. Your sister, Twilight, and your descendants. And, of course, the Crystal Empire."

"I must...for my subjects, and my descendents. I must hold the Crystal Empire together, and I must hold the Light and Love of Equestria together. It is...merely duty. As for's just something I've always had. I never had to try." Cadence sighed.

"Not duty." said Yu-lon. "You would feel...lost...without this hope. If you did not possess this great element of power, you would have followed Shining Armor and your child into the next world. I have had much experience with such things, on Azeroth." The serpent sighed and shook her great head.

"If I may, mistress serpent, who is the last Element? I know of myself, Twilight, and of course you...but..who else? There are no other alicorns!" Cadence bit her lip in confusion.

Yu-lon smiled, slightly devious. "You don't know much about your other family members, do you? This alicorn hid his true self from everypony. Only Celestia and Luna knew. He's older than you by at least eight hundred years."

Cadence blinked. "A male alicorn? A stallion? I didn't even know that was possible!"

"Anything is possible, little one. This stallion was granted alicornhood by Princess Celestia after discovering many lost continents and exploring countless lost worlds, including mine. I know him, in fact." The serpent smiled.

" I know him? I mean...well, do I?" Cadence was confused.

"You do, sweet Cadence. You knew him as the unicorn Prince Blueblood." Yu-lon gave a soft laugh.

Cadence's jaw dropped in utter disbelief.

AN: I know Cadence is spelled wrong. I was tired of the spell checker constantly wanting to correct it, so I left it "Cadence" instead of "Cadance". Sorry if you don't like it. Also, my grammar isn't perfect, I know. Any reviews are loved, and constructive criticism. Thank you for reading!