"They are finally here my mistress", said a male voice and stared into a pool. It showed two earth Ponies, two Pegasi, three unicorns and two alicorns which jumped out of a portal. "Indeed my loyal servant", agreed a female voice almost dripping with evil. "Go and welcome them. They…" She broke off when the picture vanished, to reappear while showing a figure in a dirty black cloak. "Destiny escaped", growled the male figure. "No matter", decided the female. "Go, go and give them a worthy welcome for the elements of harmony and the Princesses." "With pleasure."
Fluttershy looked around with big eyes. Their surroundings were terrible. Rocks everywhere. No plants, no live, nothing. Just a with almost black clouds clouded sky and a few fire's here and there to see. "Terrible", whispered Celestia while she looked around. "Luna…isn't this…", the princess of the sun trailed off. Fluttershy looked at Luna and saw her nodding. "It is sister. This is the place where I've spent one thousand years as Nightmare Moon."
With a soft whimper Fluttershy started to shiver. This place was so scary. "Hey Sugarcube", said Applejack softly and pressed her flank against Fluttershy's. "Don't cha worry Flutter. The moment we got that Destiny-Pony outta here, we'll be out also." Nodding Fluttershy tried to stop her shivers a bit. It didn't work that well, but it worked nonetheless. With everyone having gathered their courage, they walked on slowly, always looking out for danger.
"This place is scary", stated Hope while she glanced around. "I agree to that", said Luna. "I never really realized how it looked like." "How come?", asked Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy thought; Bravo Dash, very subtle.
"Well, I just tried to get out the thousand years I was here…or at least I believe that was the reason. Not all of my memories as Nightmare Moon are clear." Fluttershy wanted to comfort the alicorns, but Celestia was faster and placed a wing around her sister. "I'm truly sorry for sending you here." "You had to", argued Luna back. "No one can say what would've happened if you hadn't. Nightmare Moon was dangerous."
"Well, Ah'm sure everypony's glad that ya' back", stated Applejack. Luna smiled at her. They walked on for what seemed like hours and the ponies got more and more anxious. "Gah, where is she, I can't stand that place anymore", shouted Rainbow Dash angrily. She stomped her hooves. "Be patient Rainbow Dash", said Celestia softly. "I know it's an exhausting work, but we can't lose our patience now." The cyan Pegasus sighed deeply and answered: "I know, I know…but this place…" "Yeah, ah know what ya mean Dash", agreed Applejack. Fluttershy nodded in agreement, then Pinkie asked: "Hey, how about we sing something?"
"What?", asked everypony else unison.
"A song, something to get us thinking of something else."
"A song?", questioned Rarity in disbelieve.
"Yeah, and I bet you all know it…
The fire of friendship lives in our hearts
As long as it burns we cannot drift apart
Though quarrels arise, their numbers are few
Laughter and singing will see us through (will see us through)
We are a circle of pony friends
A circle of friends we'll be to the very end
When they stopped, everypony smiled and Celestia said: "Pinkie Pie, this was a wonderful idea." "I…I think so too. I feel much better now", agreed Fluttershy. The others nodded and Pinkie beamed at this. They went on, smiling when the song went on in their minds. "Better mood now?" Fluttershy looked around, just now realizing she had started flying. Dash was next to her. The yellow Pegasus nodded with a smile. Suddenly Rainbow Dash's ears dropped and she sighed deeply.
With a new sigh the other Pegasus looked up and meant: "It's T…her. It…it's mostly my fault that she's gone. I should've asked her what was so special about that book, I should've allowed her to explain, I should've helped her. I'm the worst element of loyalty ever."
"You're not", assured Fluttershy. She was worried about Rainbow Dash. Every year around that time she got like this, though she and Applejack had gotten along with their loss the best. "You're tried to save your friends live, our friends live. And even if it's your fault. It isn't yours alone. We all are fault. We could've let her explain after the fire. But we interrupted her every time she tried. What happened is over. Don't grieve with the past Rainbow", bellowed the Pegasus. "But think and look forward to a better future. A future where she'll might come back. A future where she forgives us."
Rainbow Dash smiled at her brightly and whispered: "Thanks Fluttershy. You're the greatest." Fluttershy blushed and hid her face behind her mane. "I…I'm not that great. I'm just pointing out the truth." "But that's exactly what makes ya' such a great friend", called Applejack from below. "Ya truly are the right pony for the element of kindness Flutter. Ya always know what to say to make us feel better." Fluttershy looked away and mumbled: "Th-Thanks…but…but I wouldn't be like this without great friends like…like you." Everyone smiled and then Pinkie asked: "How about a party when we get back home. With balloons and cake and music and…"
Only muffled sounds reached their ears when Pinkies mouth turned into a zipper and closed, but the pink pony kept on talking. Everyone laughed when Celestia glared at her sister, who gave her a shy grin and removed her magic from Pinkie, who looked around confused.
"Hey! Why is everyone laughing?"
This caused everyone to laugh harder and then Rarity said: "Don't worry about it Darling." Pinkie looked at her for a while, then she answered: "Okay!" Everyone grinned and Rainbow Dash giggled until Applejack shushed her. After a while Spirit spoke up for the first time and asked: "Is it possible that we're running in circles?" Everyone stopped, then Pinkie proudly stated: "I don't think so. With my navigation skill we are…"
"Then we definitely ran in circles", interrupted Rainbow Dash. "No offence Pinkie, but your Navigation skills are the worst in all of Equestria."
"Oh you know that?", asked Pinkie. Everybody stared and Rarity asked: "Is…Pinkie really getting her old Pinkie humor back." "Seems so", answered Fluttershy, as surprised as the others. "Hello", called Hope suddenly. "Have you forgotten that we still don't know where we are?" Everyone shook their heads and they gathered in a circle.
"How about I fly up and look if I see something", offered Dash.
"No", agreed Celestia quickly. "This place is unknown to us. In such a high, dangerous creatures could be waiting for you."
"Agreed, no one should leave the group", said Spirit. "Especially not alone." Rainbow Dash grumbled, then Fluttershy got an idea. "I…I have an idea", offered the element of kindness. "Well", encouraged Rarity. "We…we shouldn't go up there alone…but…what if Rainbow Dash, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna and I fly up there?"
Fast she hid behind her mane if the others would should at her. But it was silent. Fluttershy dared to glance out through her mane and saw that they all were thinking about her idea.
"That…could work", said Applejack.
"It indeed can work", assured Luna.
After a bit of arguing, the two Pegasi and Alicorns flew up into the sky. They almost reached the clouds, when a beam of black energy nearly hit them. With a scream Fluttershy dived down, pulling Rainbow Dash with her. "Fluttershy let go", exclaimed the other Pegasus pony, but Fluttershy didn't listen. All she thought about was getting away from whatever danger they got into. She landed safely on the ground, Rainbow Dash not so gracefully on her stomach.
"What…was that", gasped Luna.
"I-I ha-have no idea", stammered Fluttershy out. Suddenly Spirit huffed and glared onto a pile of rocks.
"You!", exclaimed the unicorn. The other's followed his gaze and saw a black cloaked figure.
My eyes widened when I saw the cloaked figure. Shivers ran down my spine. I knew he was the one who pony-napped Destiny. I gulped hard when the figure laughed evilly and stated: "Well Spirit, this time you seem to find me before your precious leader is dead. How was it to witness Love dying? I never got to ask." I had never seen Spirit that angry. Then again, Love had been his older sister. He'd cared so much about her.
"You're going to pay for what you've done back there", threatened the grey stallion. "And you're going to pay for trying it again now!"
He shot a sphere of white energy at the figure, but it just jumped out of the way and landed safely on the ground. It faked a yawn and stated: "Common Spirit. You're the best fighter of your stupid tribe after all. What is magic good for if you can't fight with it?" "It's good for much, for good thinks", argued Princess Celestia. The figure cackled and sneered: "Well, well, if it isn't Princess Celestia. You made my job quite easy for me. I have to thank you. Whatever kept you inside of your palace the past few years, it spared me a lot of time." I saw how Princess Celestia narrowed her eyes, her wings raised a bit. "Sister don't", tried Princess Luna to calm her sister down. It didn't seem to work, since a strange yellow glowing started to cover the sun-princess' body. "Celli stop!", shouted Princess Luna from the top of her lungs. The glowing disappeared and Princess Celestia collapsed onto her stomach, panting for air. "Princess", shouted the five elements of harmony.
The next moment the cloaked figure shot a few more spheres and they all placed themselves around the elements of harmony and the princesses. Applejack and Rainbow Dash tried to get out, but were thrown back by an invisible barrier. "I just wanted our fight to not be interupted by them", sneered the figure.
I was just frozen in place.
I didn't know what to do.
Helping the Princesses and elements of harmoy, fighting with Spirit against this thing or preparing herbs for Destiny. I just didn't know. I was so deep in my thoughts, that I just snapped out by the sound of sword-play. With wide eyes my head snapped to Spirit and the figure. The figure was a dark-green unicorn with brown mane. Both, his and Spirit's horn, glowed and had gotten a bit longer. They used them like swords against each other, getting into a deadly fight.
Impressed noises came from the other ponies, the loudest being Applejack: "Whoa, that's some mighty fight!" and Rainbow Dash: "That's awesome!"
I had to grin a bit. Yes, our ways of fighting were truly awesome, but also dangerous, because those horn-blades could cause serious injuries.
"Heya Hope", called Applejack.
"Did ya know your buddy could do that?"
"Of course, every one of us can", answered I. They went wide-eyed and Pinkie asked: "Soooo, you too?"
"I…I just started learning. I'm not good in that yet. I'm more good with herbs."
They nodded, then Rainbow Dash tried once more to get out of the barrier, to be thrown against Fluttershy and ot the ground. I jumped to try to help them when Spirit suddenly let out a scream of pain. I spun around and saw him, limping away from the other unicorn, blood dripping from his flank. "Well Spirit, you're truly an honours fighter. But now it's over!"
"Never!" Spirit aimed his horn at the enemy and shot an arrow of magical energy at him, his horn returning to normal. The green unicorn screamed when it hit his shoulder and he growled angrily. "Now I'm really going to kill you!" "Prove it!", shouted Spirit back.
While the enemy gathered strength for a strong attack, I ran up to Spirit and carefully placed my horn onto his wound. "Be careful Hope", mumbled Spirit. "Mm", was the only answer he got, then I closed my eyes and focused on my magic. I led the powerful energy into my horn and felt how little strings of pure white magic started to cover Spirit's wound. When I felt that I was done, I stepped back and looked at my work. Everything was healed, not even a scar remained.
"Great work Hope", stated Spirit. I smiled at him, then I saw something and shouted: "Behind you!"
Spirit jumped out of the way just in time to avoid being hit by the other unicorn's attack. I wasn't so lucky.
The grey sphere hit me straight and I was thrown backwards and crashed against some rocks. I felt numb while I slumped to the ground. When I heard hooves coming at me, I weakly raised my head and felt how fear rushed through me. The unicorn came straight at me. Red eyes which burned with evil, his to a blade formed horn ready to strike. I gulped and tried to jump up and run. My body wouldn't budge. Fearful I gulped and shut my eyes tightly, waiting for my live to end. In my mind I saw all the ponies I cared for.
My mother, Dream, a beautiful dark blue unicorn with black mane and tail, sapphire streaks and a golden sickle-moon as cutie mark.
Faith, my mentor, a pure white stallion with fiery-red mane and tail and a green, plant-like cutie-mark like mine.
Spirit, the other ponies we have travelled with and…Destiny.
My eyes snapped open. No, I wouldn't die like a little newborn, I would face death like a unicorn from our tribe is supposed to. I glared at the unicorn and saw how he raised his head. I gulped once more, then his head went down. I braced for the impact…when he screamed. My eyes widend and I saw another black cloaked figure in front of me. However the color of the magical Aura of this unicorn was purple.
Purple, that meant...
"Destiny!", called Spirit.
Rainbow Dash's POV
My eyes went wide when that dammed unicorn went to kill Hope. Gosh was I pissed off, but I couldn't do anything while being captured in this...whatever those barriers were. My wings flapped faster when he got ready and then he stroke...and was blocked by a magical barrier while another black cloaked figure put a shield around Hope. I narrowed my eyes to see something, but the only thing I saw as faint purple glowing. Then I saw how Hope's eyes shone and then Spirit shouted: "Destiny!"
So that's the great Destiny, was my first thought when the new figure in a black coat jumped in front of the young filly. Destiny stepped forward, not once saying anything. To my, and everyone else's surprise, the other unicorn backed off. Then a beam of purple energy shot at the green unicorn. He tried to dodge, but wasn't fast enough and got hit on his injured shoulder. He screamed in pain and backed off farther, but Destiny followed him closely, shooting more and more beams at him.
After a while she stopped and called: "I think that's enough payback…for what you've done to me. However what you've tried to do to a little filly like hope gets you far worse punishment."
The green unicorn went wide eyed and stuttered: "N-No, pl-pl-please, don't kill me!"
Bell-Like laughter came from the cloaked unicorn and suddenly the light of the spheres that created the barrier dimmed. Destiny explained: "I'm not going to kill you…at least not yet. You are going to lead all of us back to the exit and then you'll return to your master. I think she had better punishment for you Skull."
I guessed Skull was his name. He growled and spat into Destiny's face. Spirit yowled in rage at the gesture and I tried to break free once more. The barrier almost gave in, but only almost.
Skull jumped up and his cloak fell off. Now I wanted to face-hoof myself. His cutie-mark wasn't so cute at all. In fact, it was a skull.
"I would never do that", hissed Skull.
"Oh won't you?", asked Destiny, again purple glowing came from her and then it went over to Skull, who went wide eyed. The next moment the spheres disappeared completely and we were free. "What...what has just happened?", asked Rarity. Princess Celestia explained: "He caught us in this circle of magic, but now that Destiny won this fight his magic drifted away and we are free."
I looked at Destiny in awe. I'd never thought someone who isn't a royal alicorn could manage so much.
"This control spell won't last longer than an hour, however it's long enough", stated Destiny. "And now, lead us to the exit!"
Skull obeyed and walked off. Destiny followed him immediately, Hope and Spirit, both bruised to no end, followed immediately. Finally I flung myself into the air and followed them as well. On our way I eyed Destiny.
Not just her magic had a familiar color. Her voice as well, as her way to walk. All in all she seemed quite familiar. I flew a bit deeper and asked: "Uh, guys, is she also kinda familiar to you?"
"She indeed is", agreed Luna.
"I…I think so too."
"Ya' raight Rainbow."
"I guess we all agree to this", stated Celestia. "There is something very familiar about his unicorn. I…just can't pinpoint what exactly."
We went on in silence after that. Finally we reached the portal and the unicorn turned to Skull.
"Go to your Mistress."
Skull turned and dashed off. "One hour?", asked Spirit suddenly. Destiny sighed and explained: "He stole much of my power to…I'll explain that in safety." With that she jumped through the portal. I shot through immediately. I finally wanted to know why she was so familiar. Destiny stared out of a window when I arrived and I asked: "So, you're Destiny?" "I indeed am", answered Destiny, not looking away once. I growled. Well, that was again such a pony who thinks she's better than everypony else. Finally we all were through and Destiny walked up to the portal once more. She raised her head, then the portal vanished into nothing.
How did she manage that? How did she manage so much of strong magic at all? Was she some kind of Super Pony?
Finally she turned to look at all of us. "We have till noon to talk here", stated the cloaked unicorn. "Then I want to leave. I don't want to be in Everfree forest at night, not after what happened."
"What exactly did Skull do?", asked Princess Celestia.
Destin paused, then answered: "He brought Nightmare Moon back."