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"You... how are you alive?" barked Rover, staring at Spike angrily.
"I had a problem during our battle and I had no idea where this problem was from. My problem originated from me, and I fixed it."
"What the hell are you talking about!?"
"What I mean is, I made an agreement with myself. I probably would've died if I stayed unconscious and didn't eat anything but I kicked back into reality. Stronger than ever."
Rover grinned, "That's great. I feared that this fight may be too easy. Thanks for getting stronger. It'll be a lot more satisfying to defeat you now."
He flicked a switch. From the undamaged part of the dragon's torso popped out a lot of metal tubes. Then he used his paws to grab a joystick on the control panel and aimed all of the guns at Spike.
"You took care of the cannon but it's not the only weapon on this machine. I think that faster and smaller bullets will be more suitable to take you down."
Rover pressed a button on the top of the joystick. The machinegun barrels started blasting bullets at Spike. The dust around the dragon flew into the air, covering him.
"See? You cold knock away a cannonball but you can't take a shootout, can you?" asked Rover mockingly, continuing firing.
"Spike!" shouted everypony, but nopony dared come any closer in case they were caught in the crossfire.
After a minute, the machineguns started stopping one by one. Finally, the last one stopped, allowing the cloud of dust to drop.
Spike was there, leaning forward and not moving. His face was overshadowed.
Rover started laughing maniacally, "You foolish little dragon! You thought that you could even begin comparing yourself to THE Diamond Dogs? That fireball move was interesting but our machineguns finished you off, didn't they? I don't even know why I bothered wasting all of my ammunition on you."
"Oh. So that was all?" asked Spike in an unusually deep voice. He raised his arms and opened his claws. At least 5 magazines worth of bullets were in each of his claws, and he allowed them to drop to the ground.
"Really, I thought you had something else to entertain me. Though I doubt it would do you any good, seeing as your aiming is terrible." he said, pointing to the ground around him, riddled with bullet holes.
"How the- How do you still live?" asked Rover angrily.
"I told you I'm faster. This also accounts for my reflexes. Those bullets were actually kind of slow, do you have something faster?"
"You cocky little fool. I'll teach you!" shouted Rover, grabbing another joystick and firing the dragon's left claw at Spike, who effortlessly slapped it away, snapping a wooden joint inside the arm.
"Not very well built, is it? I thought those would be a little bit more sturdy. Well, what the hell did I expect from a bunch of lowly dogs." said Spike, leaping into the air above the robot dog.
"Spot!" shouted Rover. Spot nodded and sent out his robotic fist to slam Spike very high into the air.
"You must've underestimated us-" Rover begun to speak, but he was cut off by Spike, "THANKS A LOT DOGGIES! OH, HEY, RAINBOW DASH! YOU SHOULD TRY SPINNING WITH YOUR NEXT SONIC RAINBOOM!"
"What?" asked Rainbow Dash, looking up to see what Spike meant. Dude, it was spectacular.
Spike reached the point where the force of gravity slowed him down completely. Then he started descending back down towards the ground. However, instead of trying to slow himself down he leaned together aerodynamically, and started spinning.
A familiar cone of air appeared around him, similar to the one that appeared around Rainbow Dash when she was going for a Sonic Rainboom. His, however, was spinning around him as if he was drilling through the air.
"No way..." said Rainbow Dash.
Small flames started appearing on Spike's body, and then it happened. A huge, deafening explosion filled the sky with a ring of fire. A trail of flame followed Spike from the explosion point, right through the very middle of the robot dog and to the ground where a huge crater appeared.
Both halves of the dog robot fell over to the sides. Spike got up, not a bruise visible on his scales.
"Thanks for the idea Rainbow Dash. I called mine 'Sonic Flameboom'. Hope you're alright with it." he said, smiling.
Rainbow Dash had no words for it.
"Spot! Are you okay?" shouted Rover. Spot held up his paw in a 'thumbs up' manner.
"Spot, we found a worthy enemy. Use the gem!"
Spot reached under his collar and pulled out a small black jet. He threw it at... Rarity.
Dammit. thought Spike, leaping to catch the gemstone before it touched Rarity. As he made contact with it a large black explosion occured, knocking everybody except Spike back.
He looked at the ground. Something appeared there. It was a black mass without a shape.
"What the hell is this!?" he shouted at Rover, who grinned even wider.
"Your new enemy. You." he said.
The mass started rising, forming into a humanoid shape. As its features and details became more visible, Spike understood what it was. it was a dark version of him.
"Meet Shadow Spike. He doesn't talk much, but he's a great fighter. Trust me." said Rover, nodding at his army.
"We're leaving. We'd just be in the way."
"Hey, what the heck do you think you're doing!? Get back here!" shouted Spike, leaping into the air and aiming his fist at the retreating dogs. Something obscured his vision. The Shadow Spike followed him into the air and decided to punch Spike into the stomach, firing him at a nearby fountain.
"Somepony help him!" shouted Rarity, causing a few ponies to run at the descending Shadow Spike.
"Wait, no! Get away from him!" shouted Spike, but it was too late. Shadow Spike fired up black flames around his body and slammed into the ground, sending a fiery shockwave around him and knocking the ponies back.
Spike jumped out of the fountain and slammed onto the ground, causing a large ring of fire which created an arena of battle around him and Shadow Spike.
"He ain't just a copy of me... he's my shadow." he said, his body casting no shadow below him despite the sun being at it's highest point, "Possibly as strong and fast as me, so don't get involved. I have no idea how it happened, but I gotta get rid of him."
At the same time, both Spike and his Shadow blew fire at each other. The emerald and the black flames met in the center and exploded, but even though the flames disappeared a black blade popped out and cut Spike.
Twilight looked closely at the Shadow Spike - she read about something similar a long time ago. A black gemstone and a shadow warrior...
She focused deeply on her memories, remembering every book she ever read about black gemstones and shadow copies. She did this until she found the thing she needed to know.
"Soul Jets - a rare black gem found very deep inside the ground. If thrown at someone and makes contact with them, it'll form an exact copy of the creature it hit from its shadow and it'll possess all of the abilities that creature knew at the moment of contact. Additionally, the shadow also has a power to control the darkness that its made of, normally causing it to overpower its enemy. The only purpose of the shadow is to fight and defeat the original." she recited to herself, then she looked up at the battle, "This isn't good for Spike... this isn't good at all."
Spike was getting pretty badly beat up. He did become ridiculously overpowered lately but his copy seemed to match him, if not surpass him. Every attack they exchanged was equal in power but the Shadow always had some dark blade or spike additionally, hitting Spike as they fought.
Damn those Dogs... they'd be finished if they didn't run away. he thought as he changed his tactic. Instead of attacking Shadow, he covered himself in a fire armour, blocking Shadow's strong attacks. It was to let him think through what he could do.
"Spike! He's not just your shadow, he also controls his darkness. You can't beat him like this. Get out of here!" shouted Twilight. Spike stared at Shadow, the dragon of blank, emotionless face. She was right. He couldn't defeat him now. All he could do was to get even stronger. For that, he'd need the knowledge of generations of dragons and a lot more energy, and he knew just where to find these things.
Spike inhaled his armour back inside him. Still holding the fire inside his mouth, he jumped up, spun in a circle and breathed out the fire, fire-teleporting himself elsewhere. He knew that Ponyville was still in danger, but he couldn't help them just now. he just hoped they could hold their own against his Shadow for the duration of his leave.