Spike looked around to see that he was in Ponyville, but he felt some malevolent presence in it. All the buildings were devoid of color and were gray. The sky was pitch black and there was nopony on the streets. He then looked at himself and saw that he was back to being a dragon again.
"Hello?" He asked. "Um...hello? Is there anypony here?" There was no response. "Where is everypony? Twilight? Applejack? Rainbow? Where are you?" Spike still heard nothing and felt a little scared.
Spike's ears suddenly picked up the sound of hooves trotting and looked around to see where it was coming from. The hoofsteps got louder, but the baby dragon couldn't see where it was coming from and felt a little intimidated. Then, out of the shadows of a building's ally way came Rarity. Feeling flushed with relief, Spike rushed over to her.
"Rarity, am I glad to see OOF!" Spike felt himself be pushed to the ground and smacked into a lamppost.
"Get lost loser!" A voice shouted.
Spike rubbed his head and looked to see a purple pegasus with a scruffy flat green mane and green eyes. He realized he was looking at himself as Sparky. The baby dragon looked on in fear while the pegasus gave him a smug smile.
"You heard me you foal, get lost!" The purple pegasus shouted.
"But...but you're me." Spike said. "We're both the same pony...uh dragon...uh..."
"Get a clue you idiot!" The pegasus barked. "She's not interested in you! She's interested in a real stallion like me. She's got no time for a pathetic dragon such as you."
"Hey! I...I'm not pathetic!"
"You think so huh? You honestly thought you had a chance with Rarity here? You've got to be kidding me. All you are is just some lovesick foal who thinks he could win over somepony like her!"
"He's right Spike." Rarity said coldly and snuggled Sparky. "This whole chasing me has gone on quite enough. If you want to make yourself useful, then you can be the ring bearer for my marriage to Sparky."
"W-what!?" Spike shouted in disbelief. "But Rarity, I..."
"Oh forget it then." Rarity snapped. "I've been patient with you long enough and I don't have time for you. Now leave me and Sparky alone and go find your own dragon to have." The white unicorn turned around and grabbed Sparky's hoof. The two walked away and into the shadows.
Spike collapsed onto the ground and could hear his heat shatter like glass. "R-Rarity...don't leave me! I...I love you!" Spike saw the shadows close in on him until the ground was gone and he fell through screaming.
Spike woke up with a cold sweat on him. He looked around to see he was in the spare bed of Twilight's room in the Ponyville Library. A pounding noise caused him to look outside to see billowing black clouds with a steady stream of rain falling. Spike threw his head against the pillow and laid there for what seemed to be an eternity. It had been two days now since Spike's realization about how Rarity felt about him. The purple pegasus shut himself off from all of Ponyville and had no intentions of coming out of hiding. He wondered if Twilight was going to try to coax him out of bed like yesterday. He recalled what happened yesterday with the aftermath of his date.
The purple pegasus heard the door knock softly.
"Spike?" A voice asked.
Spike knew it was Twilight and turned in his bed. He heard the door open and the light from downstairs brighten the room. The purple pegasus heard Twilight approaching him and hesitantly looked at her. He could see in the darkness the lilac had a mixture of pain and regret on her face. She was levitating a silver tray with a bowl of red soup with a glass of water. He recognized the soup as his all time favorite, tomato soup, and could tell Twilight was trying to make him ease up.
"What do you want?" Spike asked in a raspy voice on level with Barry's. "You ready to tell me how right you were about Rarity? If you are, then just go away then."
Twilight looked down, feeling guilty about what she said to her friend. "Spike, I want to first of all say how sorry I am for what I said. I know I teased you a lot about your fascination with Rarity, but I really didn't think that you really liked her. I realized last night how much you wanted to win her over with what you did in the last couple of days."
"That's a first." Spike spat.
"I'm sure Rarity didn't mean what she said." Twilight said in comforting tone. "She didn't know it was you and perhaps wanted to break it to you gently."
"Then she shouldn't have taken my heart and smash it to bits then. She doesn't even like me as a dragonfriend and she most likely doesn't like me as any kind of friend."
"Spike, that's not true. I know she sees you as one of her best friends and a great dragon to be with. Besides, you can probably find some other pony that more in your league."
"So you agree with her then huh Twilight?" Spike asked coldly. "You think I was just a creep to her?"
Twilight was taken aback by this. "W-what? I didn't mean that Spike. I meant that you could probably find another pony to get your mind off..."
"Save it Twilight!" The purple pegasus shouted hoarsely.
"Get out!" Spike barked. He grabbed the tray and threw it against the wall. The bowl and cup shattered against the wall and splashed the contents on the wall. "Just leave me alone already and stop bothering me!"
Twilight hung her head in defeat and moved away from Spike. She used her magic to clean up the mess and throw the broken bowl into a trashcan. She walked out the door and looked back at Spike again to see he was glaring at her. The lilac unicorn turned away and shut the door behind her. Spike turned away from the door and closed his eyes tightly.
Later on in the day, the door to the bedroom was knocked again, but sounded more firm. He heard the door open and the light cast upon his bed again.
"Spike?" A southern voice asked.
The purple pegasus knew it was Applejack, but he refused to look at her. He believed that the farmer pony was going to rub it in him that she was right about Rarity not liking him.
"Sugarcube, Ah want t'talk y'ya 'bout what happened." That farmer pony said. "Twilight told me 'bout last night with Rarity. Ah wanted t'say..."
"You were right all along right?" Spike asked bitterly.
The orange mare was taken aback by this. "What in tarnation are y'all talkin' 'bout Spike?"
"Don't give me any of that Applejack." The purple pegasus said. "You told me that what I was doing with Rarity was a wild goose chase."
The orange mare rubbed her head and looked down frowning. "Ya know Spike, Ah still feel bad 'bout what Ah said t'ya that day. Y'all have every right t'be angry, but don't shut us out of yer life. Twi and Ah are gittin' worried 'bout ya."
"I don't care anymore Applejack. After everything I've done for Rarity, it seems you and Twi were right all along. Just leave me alone and go away."
Applejack placed a hoof on Spike's head. "Listen sugarcube, Ah..." She suddenly felt a pair of hooves push her away. She looked to see Spike's face looking red and his eyes swollen from all his crying.
"Just go away!" Spike shouted. "I...I just want to be alone and not see any of you."
Applejack got up and walked towards the bedroom door. She turned to see Spike lying back in bed turned away from her. "Ah was gonna say sugarcube that Ah'm mighty sorry 'bout what happened. Ah wish Ah could've been there to tell Rarity off, but Ah couldn't. Ah just want y'all t'know we'll be here t'make ya feel better sugarcube." She turned around and closed the bedroom door behind her, leaving a bitter and hurt Spike behind.
Since then, Spike lost all interest. He only came out of his room for some food or the bathroom. He didn't care about what happened anymore. He tried to forget about Rarity, but every attempt he tried to failed. He really hated what she said to him, but a small part of him wanted to still like her. He felt conflicted on what to do and decided maybe a nap would help him. Covering himself in the blanket, Spike fell into an uneasy sleep with thoughts of Rarity on his mind.
Outside the east entrance of Ponyville, the rain was starting to pick up. Rainbow Dash struggled a little to fly over to a red tent near the entrance. She went in and made her way towards a buffed white stallion with a short red mane and tail sitting at a desk.
The stallion was busy filling out paperwork, but saw the sky blue pegasus in the corner of his eye. "Ah good afternoon Miss Rainbow Dash." He said looking up. "I'm glad you were able to make it."
"No offense Commander Cameron, but what the hay!?" Rainbow asked irritably. "I can barely see out in this rain! I doubt those disciples are going to really do anything on a day like this!"
"Relax Miss Dash." The white stallion said. "We need to be vigilant in this time of danger. I need you to go patrol the southern area outside Ponyville. We're one guard short there and we can't risk one loose end in security."
"Yes Commander Cameron." The sky blue pegasus said growling. She turned around and made her way out into the downpour again.
The white stallion watched Rainbow trot out and went back to his duties.
"Commander Reynolds." A cold voice rang out in his head.
He stopped instantly and closed his eyes in concentration. "Yes Captain Sanderson?" He said in his mind.
"Commence Operation: Nightfall at once. We can't keep Lord Sandro waiting anymore."
"It shall be done Captain."
The white stallion marched outside into the rain and looked at a blue pegasus in royal guard armor. He pointed the pegasus to a nearby storm cloud and nodded. The blue pegasus saluted and few up to the cloud. Commander Reynolds looked in the sky and noticed Rainbow Dash flying around in the rain and smirked.
"BLAST HER!" He shouted to the blue pegasus.
He nodded and stomped on the storm cloud, causing a lightning bolt to shoot out of the cloud. Rainbow was oblivious to the impending danger. She had no time to react as the lightning bolt hit her in between her wings. She screamed in agony and plummeted to the ground. Two "royal guards" caught her with a net and brought her to Commander Reynolds. The white stallion smirked a bit and motioned his troops to take her away.
At the entrance of Sweet Apple Acres, Caramel was squinting his eyes to look around. Despite the wind blowing and the pounding of rain, he heard something crash not too far from the eastern orchard he was standing by. Caramel quickly ran over towards the noise. He came across two white stallions in royal guard armor and heard one of them scold the other.
"Excuse me sirs!" Caramel shouted as he stepped forward. "What are you all doing here?"
He saw the two stallions glaring at him and saw a pair of unicorn horns charging a white glow. The tan stallion stepped back nervously, wondering what was going on.
Caramel suddenly saw a red blur charged past him and ducked. He saw the blur tackle the two white stallions to the ground. He came up slowly to see Big Macintosh standing on top of the stallions.
"Somethin' ain't right here." The red stallion said. "Come on Caramel, Applejack's back at the homestead."
The tan stallion nodded and galloped along with Big Macintosh. As they approached the homestead, Caramel saw Applejack run out with a few "royal guards" shooting bolts of lightning that narrowly missed her. He narrowed his eyes and charged at one of the attackers. Caramel knocked a red stallion to the ground and started to punch him in the face repeatedly. The other two noticed what was going on and charged their horns at the tan stallion. They were about to fire a spell, but they were suddenly tackled on the sides. They looked to see Big Macintosh, with a cold glare on his face. Applejack stopped running and looked to see Caramel and her big brother struggling against the attackers.
"RUN FOR IT APPLEJACK!" Caramel barked. "WE'LL HOLD THEM OFF WHILE YOU GET HELP!"
"Hold on there Caramel!" Applejack shouted. "Ah can help y'all! Let me git mah..."
"THERE'S NO TIME APPLEJACK! GO!"
The farmer pony nodded and bolted towards the entrance to the apple farm. As she reached the gate, several "royal guards" came out of the rain and had their horns glowing with energy. Before she could even turn around, the unicorns fired streams of energy at Applejack, hitting her repeatedly and knocking her to the ground unconscious. The "guards" were met up by the other group. They each had Caramel and Big Macintosh levitated in the air.
"Leave them here soldier." One of the guards said. "We must bring back this mare to the castle."
The group nodded and levitated Applejack away from the farm. Another group stayed behind and tied up Big Macintosh and Caramel.
Pinkie Pie was busy cleaning up a table and humming happily. She heard the door to Sugarcube Corner open and turned to see a yellow "royal guard" stallion approaching her. The pink mare hopped over happily and gave a cheerful smile.
"You're Miss Pinkamena Diane Pie correct?" The guard asked.
"You got it, but call me Pinkie Pie!" She shouted shouted. She watched the guard pull out a pink frosted cupcake with a cherry on top. She let out a squeal of delight and tackled the guard. "Ooo! Can I have that? Pretty please with exploding chocolate milk."
The guard pushed Pinkie off and said, "Yes Miss Pie, this is for you. Consider it a gift for your dedication here at this bakery." He handed the cupcake over to the pink mare.
Pinkie took the cupcake and swallowed it in one gulp. "Mmmm! Strawberry flavored icing! My...fav..." She suddenly felt very drowsy and collapsed on the floor.
The yellow stallion used the horn under his helmet to levitate Pinkie out of the shop before being noticed. He went out and was greeted by six other "royal guards" and nodded at them as he took his captive away. The guards saluted and went to the side of the bakery.
Inside the bathroom, Fluttershy was finishing washing herself up. She heard the crying of a creature and looked out the window to see a baby blue bird struggling against the wind and rain. The yellow pegasus gasped and ran out so fast, it would've made Rainbow's jaw drop. She fought her way through the wind and rain until she reached the location of the baby bird's crying. As Fluttershy looked around, she couldn't see the baby bird and was initially worried he got blown away.
All of a sudden, she saw six "royal guards" step out of the rain and had their unicorn horns glowing with energy. Before the yellow pegasus could ask anything, she was immediately hit with several simultaneous bolts of magic and collapsed onto the ground. They levitated her and placed her onto a cargo wagon next to Pinkie.
Rarity was busy making some tea for herself in her shop. She levitated a tea set towards the table and placed it down. She went over to grab a red book to read. Just as she was about to start reading her book, the door knocked loudly. She put the tea and book down and made her way to the door. The white unicorn cracked the door open to see a gray stallion in royal guard armor staring at her.
"Miss Rarity?" The guard asked in a Stalliongrad accent.
"Yes, what can I do for you?"
The guard suddenly kicked the door down and knocked Rarity to the floor. The white unicorn looked in panic as several more "guards" entered the shop and had unicorn horns glowing with energy. Hastily, Rarity's horn glowed and levitated several items at the guards. The guards dodged to the side and watched as Rarity ran off into the back of the shop.
The groups charged up their horns and fired bolts of lightning at the white unicorn. Rarity felt several of them whiz pass her, but one bolt managed to hit her square in the back of her head. She fell to the floor unconscious. The "royal guards" came up to their captive and bound her up before taking her away.
The gray stallion closed his eyes and his horn glowed with energy. "Captain Sanderson this is Commander Steel." He said in his mind. "I am happy to report that the white unicorn is now in our hooves."
"Excellent work there commander." The dark brown stallion said. "I have been reported about the others and their successes as well. Return to the castle with your captive. I shall join you all soon."
"Yes captain." The stallion used his magic to levitate Rarity and escort her out of her shop. He placed her onto a cart that held Rarity's friends that were all bound and gagged as well.
In the Ponyville Library, Twilight was looking at a book and read instructions for a new spell. She looked at an apple and powered up her horn. Just as she was about to fire a spell, her door busted open. She quickly turned around to see a brown unicorn stallion in royal guard armor come in. Twilight felt something sinister from the stallion.
"Can I help you?" The lilac unicorn asked.
"Oh yes you can Miss Sparkle." He said sinisterly. "You can come with me now." He charged up his horn and fired an energy bolt at Twilight.
The lilac unicorn dodged the energy blast at her and her horn glowed. She quickly turned around and fired an ice bolt at the guard, but he dodged it and charged at her. Twilight quickly used her magic to teleport to the other side of stallion. She shot out a lightning bolt at the brown stallion and hit him in the back. The guard cried out in a mixture of anger and pain. He turned around and glared at Twilight. The two unicorns' horns charged up again and fired energy blasts at each other.
Spike was resting in his bed when he suddenly heard a loud crash. He got up and felt his bed shake a little from a blast coming downstairs. The purple pegasus went to the door and opened it to see Twilight and the "royal guard" fighting each other. He slowly backed away and watched as the lilac unicorn levitated a large model globe and threw it at the guard. The brown unicorn was thrown to the ground and dazed from the attack.
Twilight was gasping for breath and looked around at the ruined library. She suddenly noticed Spike at the top with a shocked look at him and took this chance to mouth one word at him: hide. Spike hesitantly nodded and shut the door to the bedroom. He quickly retreated into the closet in time as he heard some shouting and explosions. The purple pegasus felt helpless as his friend fought valiantly for not only her life, but his as well.
The fighting seemed to last what seemed to be hours until all of a sudden, it stopped. Spike heard no shouting, no crashing, and no explosions. The only thing he heard was the heavy pounding of the rain against the windows. He slowly opened the closet door and heard hoofsteps come upstairs to the room. The door opened and to Spike's horror instead of Twilight, it was the brown stallion standing in the entryway. He quickly hid himself behind the winter clothing and prayed to Celestia he wouldn't be found. Spike heard the hoofsteps come closer to the closet and felt his heart pounding with fear as he got closer. He closed his eyes and hoped for the best.
"Captain Sanderson!" A stallion's voice rang out in the library bedroom.
"What is it?" He asked coolly.
"Some of the real royal guards are onto us! They've gotten word about the attacks at where the other targets were!"
"Hmm...this is troubling. Take that unicorn out of here. I'll go deal with that traitor and capture him myself."
Spike heard the galloping of hooves leave the room and waited until they couldn't be heard. He slowly got out and smelled something burning from the first floor. He quickly made his way to the library foyer and was met by a gruesome sight. Many of the books fell from their shelves and were scattered on the floor. There were burn marks on the walls and ceiling that were giving off smoke. Spike had no time to take in the sight as he needed to find the others before they suffered the same fate as Twilight.
The purple pegasus went outside into the harsh rain and wind and thought about which area to hit first. He decided that since Carousel Boutique was closer to the library, that he'd check it out first. Spike galloped as fast as his pony legs could until he reached Rarity's place and felt his heart sink form what he saw. In front of the shop, there were several royal guards barking orders and sending other guards in different directions. Cautiously, Spike got close to hear what was going on. He sneaked up and hid behind a crate to hear what the guards were saying.
"What in the name of Celestia is going on here!?" A white Earth pony stallion demanded. "I've been getting reports of attacks from here to that apple farm!"
"Sir we don't understand!" A green stallion shouted. "We found two survivors at the apple farm that suffered a brutal beating. They said something about us before passing out."
"What!? How is that possible lieutenant!? We've been..."
"General Craig!" A yellow stallion shouted running up. "I...there's...um..."
"Speak the Princess' language you foal!" General Craig barked.
"Some of the checkpoints around town have been deserted! We can't find the soldiers or any of the commanders at their post!"
The white stallion's eyes narrowed and shook with rage. "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!?" He boomed. "How can our own men just...leave..." General Craig stopped talking and recalled what his subordinate said about the survivors. A dark revelation hit him and his eyes narrowed in anger. "We've been had." He said quietly.
"E-excuse me sir?" The yellow stallion asked.
"WE'VE BEEN HAD!" General Craig shouted. "WE HAVE TRAITORS AND SPIES AMONGST US! COLONEL ERICSON!"
"Yes sir!" The green stallion shouted.
"Lock down the checkpoints now, and have all guards on alert! Nopony is allowed in or out of this town!" He turned to the yellow stallion. "Lieutenant Cody, I want you to come with me and write a message to Princess Celestia!"
"Yes sir!" The two guards barked and saluted. Colonel Ericson ran off to alert the other guards while Lieutenant Cody followed General Craig.
Spike felt his insides churn around a little bit. Not only was Twilight gone, but so was Applejack and Rarity. Hoping that the others were fine, Spike bolted off towards Sugarcube Corner. As he galloped through the harsh rain, Spike saw to his horror that the bakery also had several guards overlooking what seemed to be a crime scene. Spike felt his knees buckle and gave out. The purple pegasus felt many emotions race through him from fear to sorrow.
He realized that he was too late to do anything for his friends. He thought of trying to find Rainbow Dash, but he had a hunch that she suffered the same fate. Spike heard the galloping of hooves approach him fast and decided to duck into a nearby ally. He hid behind a trashcan and waited for the galloping to die down until it could be heard no more.
Spike laid against the trashcan and contemplated on what to do. He wanted to get help, but felt afraid to be caught by the imposter guards. Spike heard more ponies approaching him and ducked again.
"Get some scouts over to those alleys now!" A stallion ordered. "I want this entire town secured immediately. The rest of you are with me! We'll check by that potion shop!"
"YES SIR!" A group of stallions shouted.
Spike heard the galloping of hooves again as the guards ran off. He heard one of them mention a potion shop and felt something click in his mind. The purple pegasus knew of only one potion shop in Ponyville: Barry's shop. Spike thought that maybe he was right that Barry may be behind this. He realized he had to get there and finally get the answers the gray unicorn held.
"Sir, I'm going to check this alley!" A stallion shouted.
Spike realized one of the guards was coming his way. He quickly galloped away from the alley before being caught. The purple pegasus slowed down as he reached the end of another alley. He peaked his head out to see he was close to Barry's shop and no guards were seen. Spike gulped a little as he made his way towards the shop, ready to confront the mysterious unicorn at last.
Barry's shop was groaning as the wind pushed against it. The only light from the two story building was from a window on the far right side. Inside the room, there were a bunch of beakers and test tubes full of various liquids of all colors. Around the beakers was a large workbench that had many tubes, electrical rods, and small burners across it. Barry was looking at a beaker full of pink liquid that had two electrical rods connected to it.
The gray stallion looked at a large gray box with a red switch to his right. He used his magic to create a white aura around the switch and activated it. Barry watched as the beaker was bubbling with small waves of electricity coursing through it. He took some notes for a few minutes. He then noticed the beaker was shaking violently and the liquid had turned purple. Barry turned off the red switch before the beaker could burst.
"Ah horseapples." The gray stallion said. "I thought that was the right mixture for the..."
He suddenly heard the door to his lab burst open and turned to see who it was. He looked upon a brown unicorn stallion who had some cuts and bruises and his royal guard armor was banged up. The brown stallion gave a cold smile at Barry.
"If you're looking for a place to heal, then go to the hospital." Barry said coolly. "I'm afraid I don't have anything to help you out."
"Don't try and play dumb with me 'Barry'." The brown stallion said. "There is something you have for me. Something that you took from me ten years ago."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Stop playing me for a foal. You know very well what I'm looking for and how important it is to me."
"So you're still after me after all these years huh?" Barry asked.
"You've been very elusive to me, but nopony gets away from me in the end." The brown stallion said. "You took what I needed and I'll make sure you won't get away with what you've done. Now I'm only going to tell you this once. Give me those tablets right now, or I'll be forced to 'persuade' you into doing so."
"I'm afraid you've come too late now Captain Sanderson." Barry said. "I destroyed those tablets a couple of years ago."
"What!? You lie!" Captain Sanderson said furiously. "You...you still have those tablets! You couldn't have destroyed them!"
"I'm not kidding with you captain. As soon as I finished studying the hieroglyphics and decoded them, I disposed the tablets. The knowledge you seek for is now only known to me."
"You...you couldn't have." The brown unicorn said, with anger building in his voice.
"Oh, I did already." Barry said with a smug smile. "I think I remember you saying that nopony ever defeated or outwitted you. It seems I did that to you twice now." The gray unicorn couldn't help but laugh.
The brown stallion glared for a few moments and his eye twitched. "Very well...I'll just have to torture you for the information you have in that brain of yours." His horn glowed a brown aura.
"You will try won't you?" Barry asked as his horn glowed a white aura.
Captain Sanderson and Barry did nothing and waited for whoever would make the first move. Barry blinked and opened his eyes in time to see a lightning bolt headed towards him. He jumped to the side and heard the bolt collide with the wall. The gray stallion saw out of the corner of his right eye Sanderson charge at him. He fired an energy blast him, hitting him square in the chest. Sanderson fell over and could feel his skin scorching with pain, but he shrugged it off and got back up.
The brown unicorn's horn glowed and levitated an electrical rod on the workbench. He threw it at the back of Barry's head, causing his vision to blur a little. He stumbled around a bit, but saw Sanderson charge at him again. He was punched in the face and fell to the ground. Barry felt his body shifting and looked to see Sanderson pinning him down. Barry's horn glowed and he teleported out of the grasp of the brown stallion. Sanderson looked around, but before he could react he felt a large lightning bolt hit him on the side. He looked to see Barry glaring at him and snorted a little. The two unicorn stallion's horns charged with energy and fired a bolt of energy at each other.
Spike carefully made his way around Ponyville to avoid any royal guards. He ducked into an ally every couple of minutes to avoid patrols that were marching through the slick wet streets. As the rain picked up more and more, Spike walked along another ally until he could finally see Barry's shop. The purple pegasus made sure no guards were coming and entered the shop.
Spike saw it was very dim in the shop, with the only light coming from a few lit lanterns that were hanging on the wall. He was about to call out for Barry when suddenly he heard a crashing noise from upstairs. Curiosity overtook the purple pegasus and looked around for a way upstairs. Spike eyes squinted as he looked around, but behind the shop's desk he could see a brown door. The purple pegasus went over to the door and opened it. The door revealed a well lit swirling staircase. Spike wasted no time and climbed the steps.
He reached the top of the staircase and opened the door to see a sight eerily similar to the library. There were scorch marks on the wall, a couple of walls had holes in them, and several small contained fires burning. He heard the heavy breathing of ponies and looked to see near a ruined lab workbench Barry fighting the brown stallion he saw. Spike tried to keep himself hidden, hoping he wouldn't be seen.
Captain Sanderson though saw Spike in the crack of the entryway and grinned sinisterly. "It seems we have a guest. Come on out Sparky and I promise 'Barry' here won't die."
"Don't do it Sparky!" Barry shouted feebly. "I...I'll hold him off...go get OOF!" The gray stallion was hit with a beaker full of red liquid. He collapsed onto the ground unconscious.
Sanderson looked at his defeated foe and then at the door. "It's useless to try anything else Sparky. Come on out before your friend here suffers a fate far worse than that weak lilac unicorn."
Spike knew he was talking about Twilight and felt anger building in him. He opened the door and heard it slam shut as he passed it.
"You made a wise choice my friend." Captain Sanderson said. "It's a shame though, I was hoping to rough this foal a little bit more." He looked at Barry's unconscious body and smirked. "Maybe one more kick will do."
The brown stallion kicked Barry's body. The gray unicorn was sent flying for a second before crashing down to the side of Sanderson.
"Who are you anyway?" Spike asked.
"Captain Sanderson at your service." The brown stallion said. "Second in command of the Disciples of Nightmare Moon and the right hoof of my lord."
"What have you done with my friends!?"
"Patience there Sparky. I can assure you that your friends are fine...for the moment that is. I will tell you that they're under the protection of my lord. If you refuse to come with me and 'Barry' here, then I can't guarantee their safety."
"What do you want with me anyway?" Spike asked. "You all kept hurting my friends, but you all need me for something. I don't understand what's going on."
"You mean to tell me you haven't noticed the power you have?" Captain Sanderson asked. "Do you understand what you really are?"
"You're kidding right? You mean to tell me that 'Barry' over there never told you. That's quite a surprise since he knows everything about what you are."
"What are you talking about!? I'm a dra...um pegasus! What else could there be!?"
"All will be explained when I take you to my lord's castle." Sanderson looked back at Barry. "Now come with me, or you'll suffer the same fate as this traitor here."
'Traitor?' Spike thought to himself.
"So what will it be?"
Spike shook his head in anger. "No! I won't let you get away with this!"
Sanderson's smirk melted into a glare. "Then I'll make sure you suffer the same fate as your friends." His horn glowed with energy.
Spike snorted a little and prepared himself to charge at the brown stallion. He could see Sanderson give another smirk and looked confident. The purple pegasus felt a little intimidated by his opponent, but pushed those fears aside and charged at him.
'This is too easy.' Sanderson thought to himself. He prepared to fire a large energy bolt at him.
He was suddenly hit with a glass beaker, throwing his concentration off. The brown stallion looked to see at the side Barry slowly getting up. Remembering he had to fight some other pony, Sanderson turned back to Spike. He had no time to react as the purple pegasus slammed into him.
Sanderson was sent flying into the workbench. The various beakers and tube shattered, the liquids spilled, and the wires from the electrical rods came apart. The brown stallion felt glass penetrate his body, the liquids soaking him, and the wires wrapped around his body. He shot a cold glare at "Sparky" as he slowly got up.
"It's going to take more than that to defeat me Sparky."
Sanderson slowly made his way towards Spike when all of a sudden, he slipped on a puddle and lost his balance. He fell forward and reached out with his front right hoof to stop him from falling. He grasped the red switch on the gray box and saw the electrical symbol on the box. Before he could react though, the brown unicorn flipped the switch and activated it.
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He cried in a blood curdling scream.
The electricity coursing through Sanderson could be seen by Spike and Barry as they looked on. The room flickered with bolts of lightning coming from the brown unicorn. His mane frizzled and fried until it was standing up. His body twitched around wildly and felt paralyzed. His screams of suffering echoed in the room for a minute before they finally died down.
Barry got up slowly and used the last bit of magic left to turn off the switch. Sanderson's body stopped twitching, but electricity could still be seen surrounding some of his body. The brown stallion's body sizzled and smoke billowed from his body. Sanderson gave raspy breathing as he seemingly crawled towards Spike. Spike backed away from him until the brown unicorn gave a death rattle and collapsed on the ground.
Spike stared at the deceased stallion for a few minutes before a loud groan interrupted him. He turned to see Barry was covered in wounds and was barely standing up. The purple pegasus rushed over to help Barry and try to hold him up. Just as Spike was about to speak to Barry, the door to the room crashed down. He looked to see General Craig along with Colonel Ericson and Lieutenant Cody standing at the doorway.
"Alright freeze!" General Craig barked. "Somepony want to tell me what's going on here? One moment we're patrolling the area and the next I see bright flashes flicker on and off from this shop."
The white stallion smelled flesh burning and looked to see Captain Sanderson's corpse. He turned to Spike who was holding Barry. Craig's eyes narrowed and gritted his teeth.
"Well it looks like we have our criminal mastermind here." General Craig said coldly.
"M-mastermind?" Spike asked feeling intimidated.
"Don't play games with us you foal." The white stallion spat. "You not only attacked and kidnapped six mares, but now you've murdered one of our own guards."
Spike's heart sank and panic ran through him. "W-wait you don't understand! That's not a royal guard! He was..."
"Silence you!" Craig barked in a deep booming voice. "You can tell that to the princess when you are tried for crimes against ponykind. Now you'll come with us, or we'll take you in by force."
"Please wait! I..." Spike felt a white aura surround his body and was levitated. He looked to see General Craig looking vivid.
"I don't have time for this! You're going to tell us where you took those mares!"
"That's enough General Craig!" A voice rang out.
The white stallion and his escort looked to see Princess Celestia at the doorway. She looked down at the royal guards with a glare on her face. Craig released "Sparky" and bowed along with his escort.
"Greetings your highness." General Craig stated. "We caught the one who kidnapped your apprentice and her friends. Now he's even killed one of our own guards. We're preparing to..."
"General, let me ask you something." The white alicorn said sternly. "Have you ever seen that stallion in the royal guard before?"
Craig was taken aback by this and turned to Sanderson. He trotted over to the fried body and tried to think of any other stallion like him. He felt a cascade of ice drop in his stomach from the realization. He turned back towards Princess Celestia and tried to maintain his cool.
"Uh...n-no your highness, I-I've never seen this guard before." Craig said quietly. "I-I guess I um..."
"That's enough out of you general." Princess Celestia said sounding a little calmer. "I will take care of the shopkeeper and the pegasus here. In the meantime, I want you to lock down the town and don't allow any other pony in or out. Do I make myself clear?"
General Craig nodded a little and said, "Y-yes your highness." He turned back towards Ericson and Cody. "Let's go men, we've got work to do."
Craig went out the door with Ericson and Cody following him. Princess Celestia waited until they couldn't be heard anymore and then used her magic to fix the door. She closed the door and her horn glowed a white aura. The room flashed with a bright white light for a quick second.
"That will keep any eavesdroppers out." Princess Celestia said. "This soundproof spell should make sure we aren't being heard." The white alicorn looked at Spike and Barry with a small smile. She went over to Barry and lowered her head.
"Stay still now." Princess Celestia said.
Her horn glowed and a white aura surrounded Barry. Slowly, the wounds around the gray stallion started patching up. A scorch mark on his right side slowly faded away. When the wounds were healed, Princess Celestia moved away.
The gray stallion stretched and groaned a little as he got up. He looked at Princess Celestia and said, "I'd never thought I'd see you again your highness. How long has it been?"
"About ten years now. I thought I'd never see you again, but here you are in Ponyville of all places."
Spike seemed to feel invisible to Barry and Princess Celestia. He was trying to figure out what they were talking about.
The purple pegasus broke out of his trance and saw Celestia was in front of him. He bowed down. "P-Princess Celestia, Twilight she's...she's..."
"I know Spike." The white alicorn said sadly. "I already know what happened to my faithful student and her friends."
Spike lowered his head and shook a little. "It...it's all my fault." He said with his voice cracking.
"What do you mean Spike?"
"It's my fault Twilight and the others are gone. I couldn't save them."
The purple pegasus felt tears building up in his eyes. He made no effort to hide it and let them drip down his face. Spike suddenly felt a pair of white wings cover him and felt Princess Celestia hug him. He looked up to see she had a sad look on her face.
"It's okay Spike...it's okay." She said gently. "I'm sure that you did everything you could to..."
"No! No I didn't!" Spike shouted hoarsely. "I...I didn't do anything at all. I...I told them to leave me alone."
"Leave you alone?"
Spike nodded and sat on the floor.
"Spike, I need you to explain to me about what happened." Princess Celestia said calmly.
Spike looked up to the white alicorn and slowly nodded. He told of what happened with the potion again, but this time told that he took it to win Rarity's heart. He described the events that led to the date with him and how he reacted when Rarity told him he didn't like him. He described about how he pushed Twilight and Applejack away afterwards and how cold he acted.
Princess Celestia took it all in and said nothing for a few minutes. "Spike, I'm sure that you didn't mean to hurt the others."
"Princess...you don't understand." Spike said with tears streaming down his face. "I yelled at them and pushed them away. They wanted to help me, but I told them to get away from me. The things I said to them...I'm a horrible friend."
"Spike, you are not a horrible friend in the least bit." Princess Celestia said. "You've stuck with them through thick and thin and you want to help them in any way you can. We'll fine Twilight and the others and get them back."
Spike looked away and saw the body of Captain Sanderson. "But...how can we find them? That Sanderson guy was the one who took Twilight and he probably knew where the others were taken."
"We'll send out a search party immediately."
Spike then had an idea. "Princess, do you know this pony?" He pointed to Sanderson.
Princess Celestia looked at the brown stallion's corpse for a few minutes. She turned back and shook her head. "I'm afraid not Spike. Why do you ask?"
"Because this doesn't make any sense. Not only were Twilight and the others taken, but they want me as well. It wasn't just Sanderson there, there was also another unicorn stallion named Jordan. I just don't..."
"It's time you knew the whole truth." A voice called out.
Spike turned around to the source of the voice and saw Barry. He could tell there was something different about the gray stallion. He didn't sound raspy anymore, but instead sounded confident and commanding. His posture changed to look like he was standing at attention.
"It's time you told him the truth your highness." Barry said coolly. "I'm sure even you can sense the power in him and what he possesses."
Spike looked back at Princess Celestia to see she had a bitter look on her face.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Your highness, I want you to put your hoof on his head." Barry said. "When you comforted him, I'm sure you could feel the surge of energy coursing through his body. You can't fool yourself and think it's some sort of coincidence. I know you must still be feeling pain about what happened, but it's time Spike here learned the truth.
The white alicorn looked back at Barry with a solemn look on her. "You're right, I did feel the energy coursing through him. I have to admit, I thought it'd never come back to haunt me again."
"Perhaps you are wrong about this one." Barry said. "I've seen him in action and he isn't like the last one I've read about."
Spike's mind was overflowing with questions. "The...the last who? What's going on here Barry? Why is...?"
"That's not my name Spike. It was merely a name to disguise myself.." The gray stallion said. "My real name is Markus and you Spike are the last Element of Harmony."