The First Draft
War. Colts and fillies learn about this subject at a young age. A simple yet heavy topic of discussion. No pony likes war, not even Princess Luna, who rather enjoyed the physical aspects of ruling the land of Equestria instead of the boring day to day politics, well night to night politics in her case. Luna would much rather wield a sword then a pen any day.
Today was not one of those days.
"FORWARD GUARDS OF THY NIGHT! CHARGE THY CURSED FOES!" Shouted a battle worn Princess Luna down to her battered royal soldiers from the air. She had a flowing mane of night and stars, a coat of the deepest blue, and strength that was forged on the battlefield, Luna was one of the most beautiful mares in all of Equastria. Hearing her war cry she brought some much-needed vigor to her Night Guard, even if they were tired and fatigued, they still readied their spears, shields, bows, spells, swords, and even rocks for those who had had their weapons break. Now equipped with some renewed hope, the soldiers charged at three figures a few leagues away.
Princess Luna leveled her own weapons and darted towards her enemies. The alicorn had only ever lost a few battles in her lifetime and she'd be damned before she lost this one. In her main hand Luna held her prized greatsword, a polished obsidian blade, enchanted with powerful magic, named Night's Shadow, for it was as beautiful as it was deadly. While normally greatswords required two hands, with her immense strength the Princess could wield it with ease. Her other handheld her defensive weapon, a shield made from a tooth of a Leviathan, perfectly balanced, extremely light and had a built-in scabbard. The front of the shield displayed her cutiemark and three gems; blue, red, and pink; its name was simply Moonlight. It was white and bright, but it seemed almost forced, dull even. There was a mysterious aura around the shield, like the light around it wasn't as bright as it needed to be. The armor she wore was, or rather had been, made of equal beauty. Constructed from a mix of strengthened steel and Equestrium, the natural ore found in Equestria's mountains and mines. Colored a deep purple with accents of blue, this was the strongest set she had. Underneath, Luna wore chainmail fitted to her body structure and made of dragon scales which had been a gift from an old friend thanks to a quest they once completed.
However, even though at the beginning of the battle the armor was complete, it was now dented in several places and cracked heavily, barely resembling a Knights plate-mail. The shoulder plates were missing along with the knee guards and the bracers. Luna herself looked like she had faced multiple battalions of warriors by herself. Her face had a cut above her eyebrow dripping blood into her eye and Luna was pretty sure it wasn't a good sign when she could feel all the ribs in her abdomen were cracked and broken. She was breathing heavily but still fixed her three adversaries with a hard stare. In order to strength her body and mind, Luna did the twelve tasks that a mortal ounce took in order to ascend to godhood, now deemed The Moonlit Quest, earning her right to be one of the Eternal Sisters and co-ruler of Equestria. Learning from grand masters of other species across the world in order to become the best swordsmen, or swordswoman, across the nine kingdoms. At one point she was even knighted and commended as an honorary dragon by the Dragon Lord himself.
"Come on then! Does thine enemies have no courage to face our might head on?!" She shouted as she flew at rocketing speeds, "HAVE AT THEE!" Thrusting her sword forward as she came at the leading body of the three beings. She smirked, though these foul creatures may have got a few hits in, they made one very vital mistake. They had foolishly underestimated her. So she charged straight for the brute right up front, sword straight and true, with the intent to end this once and for all.
It did not.
It came as a surprise when she was hit by an uppercut that sent her sailing backwards to where she just was moments before. She landed hard, hearing the creaking of her armor take the impact but shattering to pieces. Groaning as she felt and heard wing joints snap, with dazed eyes she lazily lifted her head, blood spilling forth from her mouth. Now Luna was certain that all her ribs were broken. Given the blood there was a high chance that some had pierced through to her organs. She was about to call for a retreat, only to see her prized soldiers being slaughtered by the two beings behind the one she had targeted. Luna cursed as she saw her blade in the hands of the damned monster that had just knocked her senseless. Her once strong will now gone as the tall and deadly brute brought the blade down on its knee, breaking it from the hit like a mere twig. The look it gave her reminded Luna of a child that had gotten bored of the "fun" it was having...
"Damn you curs to the nine hells..." Using her arms, the defeated princess picked herself off the cracked stony earth, armor pieces falling to the ground around her. She wanted to give up. To stay down. Every movement was agonizing pain, every heartbeat only drove more of her blood out through her mouth and wounds. Just lay down, just stay down. Luna looked down as her mind lost consciousness. She had fought enough. She'd given more than enough for her home, and for her little ponies. The screams of her men and women dying was deafening until silence came to greet her.
But she couldn't. It wasn't over until the breath in her breast left for its last time. She would fight as long as her blood was still warm and flowing. Letting control of Equestria within the hands of the Sins was not acceptable. She did not fight tooth and nail, to have given countless blood, sweat, and tears only to die laying in the dirt like some dog.
Her mind began to clear as determination set in, and with it, a sound quite different as the one from before. The sound of her guard screaming in fear was wrong. They were not desperate to get away, no, they were desperate to keep fighting, to keep pushing, to show exactly what these Sins would have to go through in order to win. It was screams and yells of ponies looking at absolute defeat and saying, 'I'm not out yet!' to its face. They did not fear death by the hands of the enemy, instead they feared for the surrender of the living.
So, Luna gritted her teeth, picked up her shield, and yelled at the top of her lungs. Even as blood poured out, even as darkness surrounded the edge of her vision, she charged with a clear head and only one thought clears in her mind. 'I will die on my feet, not my hands!' Sweeping up a fallen soldier’s spear she launched it with all the power she could muster and threw it still charging at the dog who had thought she was done. It sailed, passing over the shoulders of her guard and striking into the chest of the Sin with so much force it pierced straight through and stopped halfway. Grabbing another forsaken weapon, a longsword, Luna placed her shield up and put all her momentum as she crashed into the devil. Of course, her arm shook with tremors as it threatened to break but that did not stop Luna from taking her sword and slicing at the Sin with complete focused rage. Slash after slash, cut after cut, nothing but a moving line of silver striking at her opponent again and again. Just as quickly she stopped and side-stepped to the side as an arm shot out to grapple her.
Slicing the sword down on the arm, she jumped back huffing, "Thy Sin of Hunger and Consumption will meet its fill by mine blade!" The arm for the most part fell to the ground, cleanly cut all the way through. However, the Sin just looked from the princess, to the arm, and back again. It broke into a maniacal grin as it picked up its severed arm and swallowed the appendage whole. Then Luna watched as the stump she had just freshly made moments grew to another fully functioning arm. The creature flexed the new fingers and dashed madly to the Eternal Sister. Luna's eyes widened and she felt ill before quickly bringing up her shield. Gluttony clawed and chomped down on the shield with a grin until slashing across with such force, that Moonlight was snatched from Luna's hands and she was sent sprawling to the ground once more. All the while Gluttony ate the shield like a giant dessert. To it, the shield was tasty, but then the being began to wretch. From its mouth it threw up three seemingly insignificant jewels. Why could it not eat them? Gluttony had eaten many gems before, what was different? It picked up the blue one and inspected it. They looked normal enough.
Just then all three jewels glowed with amazing power, zapping the Sin. Gluttony dropped it, but it did not hit the earth. Instead, all the magical jewels floated upward and soared to the fallen princess. They embedded themselves into her remaining guantlet and stopped glowing. The princess tried to get back up but that was a fatal mistake. Little blood flowed from her mouth, for it had already been spilled. The haze of darkness returned with full force, her vision now all but gone. The shattered ribs that had once only puncturing her organs, now embedded in them. Her left arm was a cracked mess from her hand to her shoulder, a useless slab of meat. Even as the fresh wounds on her chest brought even more pain to the already overwhelming amount, she did the one thing she could.
She called for help.
'Sister... thyself have failed thee and country. We meet thy Reaper soon dear Celestia. No longer can we fight. We have lost...' One faint message to Celestia and Luna finally lost consciousness.
Celestia, High Princess of Equastria, eldest and tallest out of the two sisters was the most powerful spellcaster in the country. While Luna had plenty of power herself, but where her specialty were weapons, Celetia's was the arcane arts. The Sun Goddess had countless spell knowledge that most unicorns could only dream of. With the purest white coat and a long pink mane, Celestia represented a beacon of hope, survival, power, and above all salvation in this war against the Sins. In her left hand she held a staff that clearly need two even with her added strength. The staff's name was Sun's Light and was made entirely of Equestrium and coated in gold. At the tip was a circular structure that held three colored gems; orange, purple, and green. She also had on chainmail like her sister's but the plated armor she wore was made of same material as her staff, colored white with golden accents. Like Luna this was her best protection. However, it was also heavily damaged; reduced to forearm and leg guards. The chest and back plates as well as the shoulder and arm plates left broken beyond repair. It resembled a barbarian’s armor now and Celestia was not faring better, having an arm that hung limp and a bruised eye that was forced closed, and more scars then one could count. She was in the air to have some sort of height advantage while firing a barrage of arcane fireballs and ice shards at the figures down below.
With a grimace she changed the Fire & Ice spell, seeing it have little effect and instead used Treacherous Earth. Below the three sins the earth cracked and rumbled. It shattered and began to cave in on itself. The beings though instead jumped up the falling debris and landed a few meters away, clearly smirking at her failure. All the while Celestia was sweating, and bleeding, profusely. The white Alicorn lowered a few meters in the sky. She was very tired, a nap sounded amazing right now. There was one problem though, besides the obvious. If Luna was fighting three Sins and Celestia was also fighting three sins... Then where was the seventh and eighth? A couple meters away, was the last of the great army of Equestria. Each soldier skilled enough to kill a manticore on their own and had such teamwork that a group of five could take on a hydra, these soldiers were why the nation was one of the most powerful in the world.
And they were not but cows for the slaughter by the hands of the Wrath and Despair, seventh and eighth Sins of the family. 'This is a futile battle. Our army is destroyed, and our magic has no effect.' Celestia thought to herself. She heard something softly hit the ground a way off and looked to Luna see her laying on the ground but was not getting back up. An instant later she received her sister's message. 'Luna! Worry not dear sister, we are coming to thine aid, but first we need a distraction!' She sent back while preparing a soon to be used spell. "If thy spells of fire, ice, and earth won't stop thee, then have a taste of this!" Raising her hand skyward, Celestia cast a well-known spell called Solar Flare, a blinding spell that might give her enough time to get to her sister... Hopefully.
Not even checking to see if it had any effect at all, Celestia dashed at her top speed to get Luna, grabbing her and flying fast to a nearby mountain. Landing near the edge of a cliff she gently lay the injured Princess of the Night down and cast Heal Dire Wounds, a radius healing spell that she only used in emergencies. She could feel her wounds healing at a rapid rate and could see the same for her dear sister. Slowly Luna opened her eyes and sat up. "Sister, is it over?" She asked tiredly. The spell might heal, but it did nothing for replenishing endurance.
Celestia shook her head. "Afraid not Luna, thy Sins still slaughter our numbers by the tens. We must resort to the elements; they are our last hope for any chance of survival." She said, fearing that they would not be able to accomplish even this. The sisters stood together and gazed at the destruction taking place before them. The elements, or Elements of Harmony, were powerful crystals that held incredible magic. No one knows for sure who made them, or what they really are. Celestia's top magician, Merlin Starswirl, disappeared while researching them. The elements were too powerful to be used by a single pony, so Celestia and Luna both had to use the elements together for them to work. They looked at each other and with a silent nod, the Sun Princess raised her staff, while the Moon Princess raised her armored hand.
Together the Princess of the Moon and Sun, Guardians to watch over Equestria said the enchantment that would decide if they would live or die this day. "By thy power of the Fates, let thy mighty Elements banish the evil that threatens to disrupt Peace and Harmony!" The gems within the weapons both glowed bright. The earth and stone themselves shook as a miniature rainbow-colored black hole appeared in front of the cliff.
The seven beings far below, now all together, saw this and immediately knew what was to happen if they did not do something now. So, using every bit of energy they had at their disposal, each of them condensed all of it into seven individual balls of their essences and dispersed them. Due to the size of the black hole, the princesses took no notice of the orbs flying off into the horizon. Each ball traveled in different direction as the beings were sucked into the black hole. Two of the Sins still had some energy still, as they were the two most powerful of the family. Forming much smaller orbs, each through one at the much closer targets casting the banishment spell. The last two Sins to be devoured by the black hole threw the small balls of essence at the Princess of Equestria striking true. Though with all their concentration focused on maintaining the massive spell, Luna nor Celestia felt the orbs of energy enter within themselves. Having gotten all the Sins, the black hole banished them form the planet and took them to Tartarus knows where, the elements stopped the enchantment and the black hole disappeared, sensing that the evil was now gone. Not a moment after did both sisters collapse at the strain of maintaining the enchantment.
"Did...Did we stop thy enemies Tia?" Luna said out of breath. She could not see any of the beings down below or in the sky.
Celestia looked over her ruined kingdom. She braved a smile as the sun shined down upon their city. "We do believe so dear sister," She rose to her feet, Luna soon followed. "Today is a new day and with it we bring thy Kingdom of Equeastria victory."
The Moon Princess frowned as she looked at the great destruction and masses of dead scattered. "But sister, the city is in ruins! Our soldiers have suffered a mighty loss, if we were to be attacked by the other nations, we would be conquered quite easily!" She explained pointing below them.
The Sun Goddess grabbed hold of her sister and hugged her close. "It will be alright Lulu, do not have so much worry. The other nations will not break thy treaties and besides, we can rebuild!" She looked around the cliff seeing it attached to a great mountain, an idea popped in her head. "Let's build a city here on this mountain. We can start construction when thy own castle has been rebuilt along with the rest of Equeastria, we can make a new castle even, that way we can watch over thy land together!" she proclaimed proudly.
Luna smiled a little at that. "Yes, tis an excellent idea Celestia. We will rebuild and we will be stronger for it."
As the sisters stood on the hilltop devising plans for the future, within a few days’ time villages and cities would begin the massive reconstruction project. Meanwhile the orbs that the eight beings released flew to homes which held an unborn child.
Somewhere in the Dragon Clans a green orb floated down and merged with a dragoness of purple and blue scales.
Next a violet orb soared into the battered building that used to be the royal library. The orb merged with a unicorn with a light purple coat.
A purple orb did the same, merging with a unicorn mare that instead was a noble.
An orange orb went to a family of farmers that harvested apples for Equeastria. A wife taking a rest as a day's hard work was over
An orb colored pink went to a rock farm, the mother sitting by the fire with their future child.
In Cloudsdale, the floating city, a cyan orb flew to a pegasi couple clearing clouds and making rainbows.
The yellow orb flew to a mare who lived in a cottage out in the outskirts of a nearby village. Having taken a vacation from their skyward city.
The last orb, black in color, flew for north to an icy tundra and merged with a mare in the Crystal Empire.
None of these parents saw the orbs as they merged with each of them, implanted the essence of the sins within each child. And even though it might take centuries, the balls of magical essence awaited the day when they awakened to their new bodies, awaited the day when they could take control of these bodies, awaited the day when they took revenge on the Princesses.
In the land of equestria
Twilight was not happy at the moment. She had been experimenting with the usual potions and chemicals in her basement/laboratory when her labcoat caught the edge of a shelf and it collapsed on her. Twilight was fine though, being an alicorn means increased strength, tough skin, and more durable bones. Since her ascension into a princess she was made of sterner stuff. Now Twilight was staring into a body mirror to see what would happen with the mixture of chemicals.
"Makes you angry doesn't it? All those wasted materials..."
Twilight did a double take. For a second there she swore her reflection just...spoke! But that's impossible, reflections don't talk, and they certainly don't ask questions.
Her reflection crossed her arms and smirked, a pose she herself was not in. "But that's what I just did Twilight." it smirked at her and chuckled.
The alicorn's mind raced with possibilities. Maybe the chemicals made a portal into another reality, maybe she developed a split personality, maybe she was just going insane?! "Calm down Twi, jeez," What was happening? "What’s happening is your overthinking things, don't you remember me?" No of course she didn't! Wait... that voice did sound familiar, almost sounded like...
Her eyes widened, "Wrath." Yes, she remembered now.
Back before she was Celestia's student, Twilight would often go into fits of rage over the smallest of things at a young age. Mom made something she didn't like? Broken plate. Lost at a board game? Broken table. Her BBBFF shipped off to the academy? Broken room. Finally, after smashing a window when she got a A- instead of an A+ Twilight researched why she was like this and came to the startling realization that her anger was something else entirely.
While it is true Twilight is gifted in the realms of just about every subject in school, she was also very attuned to the supernatural world. The former unicorn discovered that her anger was the result of having a 'ghost' inside her. It was one of the Seven Deadly Sins of Stallions, Wrath. Twilight also knew that it was merely influencing her with its presence for the being was in a coma of sorts. However, the day when the Sonic Rainboom overcame the lavender mare, it reawakened the 'ghost' and over powered her, its incredible force adding to her. At that moment Twilight gained a second mind.
At first, Twilight was surprised that the source of her anger was Wrath, that the Sins were actual people and worked for Celestia and Luna themselves. After coming to terms with this new person and learning from it, they became friends, and with a new friend came new knowledge. From that moment on Wrath and Twilight devised plan after plan on what the next step was. When she met the other element bearers, and going through the adventures with them she discovered they were the carriers of the Sins, and how to awaken them. She had a pretty good idea, well except Pinkie, that mare was just too random for any plan they came up with.
"Wrath, Long time no see! What happened to you?! After the incident with Discord I haven't heard from you in such a long time! After I felt your conscious leave I was lost for a bit, I didn't know what to do..." Twilight put a hand on the mirror's frame.
Wrath snarled. "After you used the Elements, the Friendship Power pushed me back deep within your mind!" She slammed her hands against the glass. "Why didn't you try to help me!?"
Twilight's eyes widened, "I did! I swear I tried every method I could think of! Nothing worked, every spell or experiment had no effect. Not even that pond Pinkie found worked! Though I shouldn't be surprised sense it didn't work for her and we just ended up with over a hundred Twilights to deal with, boy was that a day." She giggled. Wrath wasn't as amused and just gave her a hard stare while tapping her finger on her forearm. "The point is I tried Wrath." Twilight said
Her reflection stared at her until Wrath calmed down. "Alright, I forgive you. Some things just don't work." Though it didn't seem that sincere to the magical mare. Wrath was not known to forgive that easily...
Twilight over looked it however and focused on one detail that perplexed her. "But the Friendship Power woke you up in first place," she rubbed her chin "why would it effect you negatively?"
"It gave me life again, so I suppose it took it away too. I think it saw me as something that was bad for your health and tried to get rid of me." Wrath theorized. "So, what did I miss anyway? I notice you have some wings there." Twilight spent the next few hours telling Wrath what she and her friends accomplished over the years. Wrath nodded; amused. "Impressive, it also sounds like the Sins are about to wake up on their own. We are almost ready."
Twilight also nodded thinking deeply on the subject. Maybe they could-
"Oh, and Twilight?" Wrath interrupted her brainstorming.
She looked up just as a hand came out of the mirror and pulled her in. Twilight yelled as she was now in the mirror and Wrath was standing in her place.
But no sound came out...
Her eyes widened as she didn't hear herself. Twilight started to bang her fist against the glass. All the while an exact copy of her looked at her with a menacing stare.
"Twilight, I've been lying to you this whole time. I was using you! And after being stuck inside your head I wanted to have this wonderful body to myself. Now that I switched us, I'm afraid I don't need you anymore. Thanks for catching up to speed, and goodbye Princess Twilight Sparkle of Friendship." Wrath raised a fist and punched the mirror, shattering the reflective material and destroying the frame into pieces.
Wrath opened her eyes. She was currently laying on the floor of Twilight's lab. Swirls of colors pooled around her as spilled chemicals mixed together. Shrugging the collapsed shelf off of her back the purple mare smiled.
"So that's what happened, Twilight did get covered by chemicals. Oh well not my problem, now this mare deserves a bit of hard-earned rum."
They were The Seven Deadly Sins, beings of power and monstrosities of nature. The Sins only ever lived to satisfy their own desires, having no regard for anyone or anything except each other. The thing is, these Sins were manifestations of emotions, that is where they get their names, and their powers. To become physical, they would take control over the person with the strongest emotion related to them, warping them into a vassal of destruction.
Wrath, is undoubtedly the strongest one, and is the leader of the Sins. She has only the feelings of anger, rage and even hatred. She can inspire these feelings out of anyone and as such is could at making people turn on themselves. Many an army have fallen to her, or really, to themselves.
Envy, is always jealous of others. She feels heavy discontent towards someone else's traits, status, abilities, or rewards. She can also take a person's entity and covet it, mimicking the person. Many lives have been taken and adopted by her.
Pride, is sort of a loose cannon. She irrationally believes that she is essentially and necessarily better, superior, or more important than her family, failing to acknowledge their accomplishments, and excessive admiration of her personal image or self. Although because of this, she fights with Wrath a lot.
Sloth, is lazy. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She is indifferent to her duties and obligations. She also has a lack of any feeling about self or other, a mind-state that gives rise to boredom, rancor, apathy, and a passive inert or sluggishness. She finds expression in laziness, idleness, and indolence. And doesn't do as she is told often, but is too tired to argue much with Wrath.
Gluttony, is very fun loving. She has insatiable hunger and is known to have a problem with overindulgence and overconsumption, but because of this she can literally eat and devour anything. Food, buildings, mountains, you name it and she'll eat it.
Lust, is the prettiest of the group and most hated by Envy. She has unraveled beauty and usually has intense or unbridled sexual desires. Which, in turn leads, to fornication, adultery, rape, bestiality, and other sexual acts. She also has desires in general; for money, power, and other things. Her main abilities are distraction and manipulation.
Finally, is Greed, who wants everything to be his. Hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all his ways to get something. He has a simply need, to own everything. He has an ability to take the abilities of others and add it to his own strength.
Spike Sparkle Solaris was not having a good dream. It started out well enough, finding all kinds of gems, spending time with his friends, and most importantly, getting to finally take a certain dragoness out on a date. Except now he was in a room, he was seated in a very basic chair with a very basic half of a large table, half of a bland chandelier giving of some dull light. A rather dirty looking glass and a paper plate with two slices of bread sat on the table by him, along with a fork and knife that looked to be homemade. However, the weirdest part of it all was the other half of the room. The bland table was suddenly very extravagant, made from the finest wood, delicately carved to perfection, the other side of the chandelier was grand and brought forth a brilliant light. Accents of gold ran throughout the table sides and the tablecloth looked to be made of silk. In the back corners of the room stored a sea of gems; gold, jewels, crystals, anything and everything of value was there. Spike wanted that side of the room, it looked better than his rundown and blank set up.
"Beautiful isn't it?"
Spike looked to the source of the voice, and was surprised at what he saw. Spike was looking at himself, sitting in a beautiful chair with a feast fit for Celestia on the table in front of him. Other Spike was currently cutting out a piece of steak.
Spike felt uncomfortable looking at himself eating meat.
Finally, Spike spoke, "Where am I? Who are you? What am I doing here?"
The other Spike took his cut piece of steak, dipped it in sauce, put it in his mouth, and chewed. After he swallowed he looked at Spike with a smirk. "You're wasting words, don't do that Spike. You already know the answers to those questions." He cut another piece. "Come on, use that big ol' brain of yours." He lifted a glass and drank.
Spike thought for a moment and took his surroundings into account. His realization left him stated to say the least. "Are-are you my greed?"
A bright smile appeared on the other Spike's face and he clapped with delight, like a foul unintentionally getting a question right that his teacher had asked. "HAHA! Very good Spike! I knew all those years with Wrath would make you a smart cookie. Although it's actually a big G." Greed said with a smile.
Spike was flabbergasted, "How?" he asked. "And who is Wrath?"
Spike's double simply ignored the second question, "How did I become sentient? How did I bring you here? How am I out of wine?" He chuckled and lifted his now empty glass, "You'll have to specify Spike? How what?" He then poured himself more wine.
"How did you become alive?" Spike said narrowing his eyes at his host.
He smirked, "Well Spike, I've always been alive. It’s more a matter of when I woke up."
Spike almost fell out of his chair when he heard that. "Wh-What!? What are you talking about!? Who are you?!" Spike stood up and slammed his fist into the table, cracking it."
"Spike, sit down," Spike sat, although reluctantly, "Tell me my boy, what do you know of The Seven Deadly Sins of Ponies?"
The teenage dragon tilted his head and thought. "Well, the sins are greed, lust, pride, wrath, envy, and two others."
"Sloth and gluttony. And that's a big S for sins"
"Huh? Right. And there are other names, like in Latin, or having a slightly different title, Like saying The Seven Deadly Sins of Stallions."
Greed sipped his wine. "However, did you know that those sins are actually real, living, breathing people?"
If Spike had decided to drink his water right then, he would be doing a spit-take. If he was a cartoon his jaw would be on the table.
"That's right, before Luna became Nightmare Moon, before Discord, Chrysalis, Sombra, and even Tirek, we Sins were Celestia's elite of her royal guards, but back then they were called the Holy Knights." He took a sip, "We defeated armies, conquered nations! That is until after a... 'misunderstanding'," Spike didn't really seem convinced on that part. "We were betrayed by Celestia and Luna, we almost won too but those Sisters used a last ditch effort. Before we died, the Sins, myself included, put our life into some couples, our essence would go through descendant after descendant until we had built up enough strength to reawaken into our new bodies. Looks like I got lucky cause I ended up in a dragon, pretty good deal if you ask me." Greed stood up and walked over to the real Spike.
"What are you going to do?" Spike went to stand up when he was forcefully pushed back into his seat.
"Well, I'm going to get my family back together and we're going to go take our revenge, like normal villains would." Spike tried to stand, he really did, but this other Spike was immensely strong with only one hand on Spike's shoulder and yet with all the struggling he wasn't even moving an inch. "But of course, to do that, I'm afraid I'm going to have to get rid of you. I'll make it quick." Before Spike could do or say anything, he was pulled from his chair and thrown backward through a set of double doors that hadn't been there before. It quickly shut once he was through.
In that instance the dream ended, and Spike's former body awakened and stood up. With a dark yet wide smile, his eyes glowing green, it yawned and stretched.
"Whelp, I need a drink."
Rarity was having a simply marvelous day. She had just completed a big order for a client in Las Pegasus, they had wanted two dresses one green one blue along with three tuxes, white, black, and gray. Oh, it was hard delicate work. first, she had to sketch the designs often re-guessing and redoing them. (So much paper!) Now though, now she was done and could sit back on her couch and relax. It was around 8 am when she shipped off the garments and luckily Sweetie Belle was having another adventure with her friends. A dim blue glow emanated from Rarity's hand as she raised it to where the kitchen was. Soon a bottle and wine glass gently floated to her hands, she popped the cork and poured a bit of the wine. 'A lady needs to unwind after pulling an all-nighter.'
After taking a generous sip of the dark red liquid Rarity contemplated another issue, "Hmm..." 'This order took a bit out of my gem stores, I’ll have to ask Spike if he's up for a gem-hunting escapade. Usually it was a weekly thing for them. Gem-hunting on Thursday and then a refreshing spa-day with Fluttershy on Friday. 'Spike...' Another string of thought presented itself.
Of course, Rarity knew of Spike's little crush when he was a child, but after going through a growth spurt that put him at Bic Mac's height it seemed her Spikey-Wikey... well, he wasn't her Spikey-Wikey anymore. Sure, he still helped her when she asked, though he doesn't faun over her anymore. 'Now that I think about it, Spike seemed to be putting more of his affection into other mares around his age. The wall in front of Rarity had the misfortune of feeling glass shatter against it when Rarity very suddenly stood up.
"None of those mares deserve Spike!" Rarity stormed around her studio. "He's MY Spike, and he loves ME! Those skanks are second fiddle compared to me!" She stopped in front of her full body mirrors. "I mean look at this figure," She posed several ways and smirked. "I'm drop dead gorgeous!" Drop dead, hmm... Now that was an idea that sounded quite good to Rarity.
After a minute of this Rarity's mind seemed to clear and her eyes nearly popped out of her skull. "Wait a minute, what did I just say!? What was I just thinking!?" Rarity walked back to her living room and looked at the shards of her glass and the stain of wine from where it hit. 'Why in the world did I just act like that? It must be the fatigue, I should get some rest today.' After making sure the open sign was flipped to close, and the mess from her... little, outburst was cleaned up, Rarity made her way up the stairs to her room. Instead of going through her bedtime routine the white unicorn simply flopped onto her bed and swiftly fell asleep.
The first thing she noticed was that she was bound, and clean chains were chafing against her fur. The next thing would be the cell she was stuck in. 'Well, this is quite the predicament isn't it? Rarity raised her head and focused on her chains. A faint glow flickered around them until it died out. '...Buck...' Vocal help it is then. "Hello? Whoever you are that's captured me this time could you please release me?" She pulled at her chains. "Or at the very least loosen them? It’s not polite to chafe a lady's skin you know."
"Oh, you are quite right darling, but then again, you are hardly a lady."
The white unicorn focused on the voice and saw standing outside the bars were... herself?! Wait a minute, what was going on? "What's going on? Why are you me?" She stood up "And what do you mean I'm not a lady?"
Her other half laughed at that. "The name is Invidia dearie and I must say, you look simply beautiful! Let me get those chains off you and we can chat over a cup of tea." She snapped her fingers and suddenly the chains disappeared, she then opened the cell door and gestured to a nearby table with the same setup Rarity used for her own tea parties. The seamstress stood up and rubbed her wrists, now she understood, remembering some Latin from her days when she was a young filly, that Invidia meant envy. Twilight wasn't the only one who was studious in her early years, although she did change her career back to her true desire. But the real question is why there was a manifestation of envy talking to and look like her?
"Why thank you Invidia, tea sounds lovely, but I still would like to know why you look like me?" She sat across from Invidia and began to prepare her cup. Two sugars and light cream, no more no less. Her mirror image mimicked her. "I also see you enjoy your tea the same as I do."
Invidia smiled, "I do, it has the perfect balance of sweet for my taste," Invidia seemed to have her same thought process too, interesting. "as for your question, its simple really." Both mares sipped at their respective cups, "I look like you because I am you Rarity." Rarity gasped but because of the tea, she was reduced to a coughing fit. "It's quite a story, let me tell you..."
Meanwhile at the Castle of Friendship, a purple and green adolescent dragon made his way to the front doors. It had taken a bit to get used to a physical body but he got a pretty good hang of it. He had checked the kitchen but the only thing in the fridge was apple cider. Not interested in that, the apex predator wanted something stronger, so he made his way to Berry Punch's bar, from Spike's memory it was located on the other side of down. On the way there he made sure to smile, wave, and say the occasional "Hey there." Even at night Ponyville was still lively it seemed, it was a warm spring night after all.
'What I really need is a name, but not one of those names that these idiots have. Cheese Sandwich? Who in their right mind names their kid after food? Hmm... Food...' The dragon opened the door to the bar and smiled. Now this was his kind of crowd, although the smell could have been better, but something out of the corner of his eye made his smile vanish.
At the other side of the bar was none other than Twilight Sparkle, who was currently fixing him with a stare and a smirk. Reptilian eyes narrowed at her as he made his way over.
Twilight downed her shot she had tried to get earlier, but was told that whatever she wanted was on the house. Naturally she asked for almost one of everything.
'Wait a minute, Twilight doesn't even drink hard cider, the hell is she doing with all of this? Unless...' Greed smiled. "So you finally broke free huh?"
"YEP SURE DID!"
"HOLY SHIT!" Greed fell out of his chair, a very pink and very loud mare staring back at him with a bright smile.
Twilight/Wrath smiled while pouring another drink. "Yeah, she did that to me too Greed."
Greed groaned as the mare known as Pinkie helped back up to his seat and then sat down herself. "Sorry about that Greedy! I'm just so excited that we're finally FREE!" Pinkie then grabbed an unopened bottle, drank the whole thing in about five seconds, and continued like nothing happened. "And I think I got the lucky draw, look at these puppies." Pinkie grabbed her at her own chest. "Pretty good right?"
Now, in any other situation, the dragon would have one hundred percent agreed that yes, Guluttony did indeed look pretty good. Instead "Greedy" gave her a deadpanned look before reaching for a bottle and poured it into a vacant cup. "Right... I see you got Pinkie's enthusiasm Gluttony."
Said mare shook her head rapidly. "You betcha! Oh, and my name isn't Gluttony anymore. We've had those names for centuries! I wanted something new and exciting, and Wrath-Math here came up with a BRILLIANT idea!" She then shook Wrath by the arm repeating "Tell him! Tell him! Tell him! TELL HIM!"
Wrath calmly waited as Greed drank from his glass. After Gluttony stopped and resulted to bouncing in her chair the purple alicorn spoke. "At first, I didn't care for her idea, but after thinking it over I conclude that maybe we should give ourselves a new look afterall. No one even knows who we are anyway except the Princesses, maybe Discord, and the former souls of these bodies. Besides, Envy already changed her name to Invidia, which is Latin for her name so why don't we follow her example? For instance, I would be Ira, Gluttony would be Gula, and your name; Avarice."
Greed sat back on is seat and thought it over, raising a clawed hand to rub his chin, all the while the newly named Gula looked on expectantly with the biggest smile he'd seen on her yet. 'Avarice huh? It sounds nice enough, better then what I came up with. Pretty sure Smaug, and Super Mega Awesome Dragon wouldn't fly.' The scaled reptile raised his glass. "Alright, Avarice it is then."
Gula practically exploded out of happiness and tackled the dragon to the ground. "OH YAY! I JUST KNEW YOU WOULD LOVE THE NAMES!" Greed groaned, even his scales couldn't withstand the bone-crushing pressure from Gula's hug.
"Glutt- I mean Gula, get off me!"
"But you're all warm and stuff."
"Gula get off Avarice right now."
"No 'but's', now get back in your seat."
"Okay..." The pink pony finally got off the poor dragon, not before giving him a wink though, and sat back down.
Said dragon then once again picked up his chair and sat down. "I swear to Tartarus, if I end up on this floor again I'm burning this place to the ground." He grabbed another bottle, hard whiskey this time, and poured himself a hefty amount.
"GREEDY-WEEDY!" Came from the door as a white coated and purple maned blur slammed into Avarice, or at least, he was pretty sure it was white and purple.
Sgt. Graycloud was not at all prepared when Pte. Thunder Wing came into his office shouting about Ponyville.
Five minutes ago...
"What is it Lad?"
"IT'S PONYVILLE! I-IT'S DESTROYED!"
"EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE!"
"HOLY MOTHER OF CELESTIA! I GOTTA TELL CELESTIA!
That may not be exactly how it went, but there was a lot of yelling...
Now Graycloud was sprinting at full speed, in heavy full-plate armor, through the castle to reach the main court. Apologizing to maids and butlers alike as he ducked under some chefs who had just made Her Highness's afternoon cake. Graycloud just about had a heart attack, if he had knocked that cake over nothing in this world would have saved him from Her Majesty's fury. Just the image made him shudder has he finally burst through the great doors into the court.
"Sir Finnigen I insist that you give up that land or I declare you to be a big dummy head." Said noble number one
"Merganall, I'll give up that land when you admit it takes one to know one." said equally tiring noble number two.
Of course this wasn't what they were actually saying, but Celestia wished it was instead of doing it through politics.
What were they fighting over again? I can't even remember...
She was and had been sick of these two, specifically these two, for the past hour or so. Something about a piece of land that went a little bit further than the border or something. She sighed, Cadence must be having a ball with all her subjects loving her... 'Maybe I could swap places with her, at least for a day. Tell my little ponies it's an exchange program or something. Maybe I could swap with Twilight? Yeah, just call it an experiment in friendship and she'd be all for it.'
"Obviously he who said it, is it." The first noble shot with venom Point goes to Noble One.
"Yeah, well talk to the hoof cause the face ain't listening." Oh Snap! Point to Noble Two, what will Finnigen say to that?
"Ha! You sir are an obnoxious fart-knocker. You'll have to pry the deed from my cold dead corpse!"
"I'm telling Celestia on you, you heartless meanie!"
"Even bigger berd!"
"I know you are but what am I?!"
Celestia was about to call a five minute recess (while she went to go devour a cake) when the doors burst open and one of her sergeants came in, out of breath and falling to his knees. "Princess Celestia!" Greycloud gulped for air, "Ponyvile has been destroyed by an unknown force and the Elements of Harmony are nowhere to be found!"
Her Majesty's pupils shrunk. Oh fu-.
That's all there was. A void filled and empty of nothing. It wasn't like a darkness that required light, no, it felt like light did not exist here. Where was here exactly? In this void you could be everywhere and at one place, you could be moving or standing still, up or down, left or right. There was nothing to indicate direction.
But within this vast or tiny void was a something. Yes, an existence, faintly glowing in the nothing.
'Where-where am I?' The existence paused. 'What am I?' the excistence had no memory, just now gaining the ability of thought and comprehension. It knew not why it was here, or what exactly it was supposed to be doing. It could not tell what its purpose was meant to be
Then there was a flash, so bright it filled the nothingness, the existence felt the presences of... feeling, of touch. It could feel a mind and body forming, the existence began remembering what and who it was.
And then, there was light. Eyes opened, looking up at the bluest sky he had ever seen. For a moment he was dissociated and unsure. Siting up he saw a great, vast ocean stretching out into the horizon. The waters were peaceful and calm, nothing moved except for a few soft waves gently lapping at the shore, with a breeze sweeping along the grass. The sun was also nearing the horizon, in about an hour or so the blue sky would become orange.
Spike stood up, his eyes gazing upon what was around him. Years with Twilight had taught him not to panic when lost, he remembered her lecture.
'No matter where you, who you're with, or what you did. Remember: Do. Not. Panic. Safely scope out your surroundings and then come up with a plan to either find me and the girls, or at the very least some help. If it's still day out, find the sun and then head north, if north is blocked by a heavily dense forest, then do the best you can to skirt around it. However, if it is nighttime then make a camp and wait till mourn- Spike? Spike, wake up!"
In hindsight he wished he would have paid more attention to when Twilight was talking. Spike sat back down and frowned. there was something nagging him at the back of his mind.
Twilight... There was something wrong with her. No that's not it. It had something to do with me, but not me...? He looked like me but he called himself something else.
His eyes snapped open. "Greed." Greed was going to get some other ponies and kill his friends and Celestia! he had to warn everypony! He needed to get the Crystal empire Involved! Hell, where was a quill and parchment when you needed it!
"Hey, relax mister dragon, your friends are alright." came a voice from beside him. "Well... sort of anyway"
Spike looked to his left to see a small foal, about the age of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. She had a light green coat with an even lighter blue-green mane, the strange thing that attracted Spike's eyes however, is that her clothing was made of leaves. Her eyes were constantly shifting, from blue to green to red and so on, and they did it separately to each other. She had a smile but the aura that radiated from her was powerful, peaceful, and sort of familiar.
The girl raised an eyebrow at the young dragon, "Are you trying to undress me with your eyes or something? That's kinda weird you know." She chuckled.
Spike however was so shocked by what she said he face-planted into the grass. Looking back up he had a huge blush. "What?! No! I-I'm not doing that! I-I-I'm not a pervert or anything!" He fretted.
The girl smiled sweetly down at him, "Don't worry, I know you didn't mean it Spike, You still have that crush of yours after all." She bent down and picked a daisy."
Spike's eyes widened. "Wait, how do you know about Rarity? And my crush on her? And who I am!?"
"Spike, I said calm down you silly boy, I know all about you, and Equestria." She giggled, "I'm sorry for messing with you like this, but when you're a god, visitors are somewhat lacking. Even more so if you're a tree."
"What do you mean? Wait, are you trying to tell me that you're the Tree of Harmony in the Everfree?!"
A nod from the little girl confirmed what the dragon just asked. Spike, for his part, stayed in silence as this information was processed. "Okay... So what are you doing here?" The dragon looked around. "And where is here exactly?"
The girl sat down and padded the spot next to her. "I'll tell you, but you have to here the whole story first Spike."
He hesitated, but only just, and sat down next to the supposed goddess. She took a breath and gestured to the trees, and the ocean. "You, young dragon, are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Where time and space meet along with the essence of everything. This plane of existence is my domain. This is where I reside along with any I deem worthy upon their death. For your world, young dragon, the magic of the wilds comes from this astral plane. Unicorns draw upon the natural mana that is here. Can you not smell it in the air? Can you not taste it?" She looked at him expectantly.
Spike was confused. 'Taste the mana in the air?' He open his mouth and took a deep breath.
As soon as he did though, he had to exhale. The air felt so heavy and dense in his lungs. Fire immediately shot forth from his mouth, the biggest fire he had ever produced, more so than at the Crystal Empire. He bent over as cramps settled in his abdomen and coughed, puffs of smoke escaping his lungs. Even though this was happening, she had been right. There was a distinct taste in his mouth, like the scent Twilight's spells made after she would cast them, only it tasted as if it had been concentrated heavily.
"Not what I had expected you to do, but it got my point across none the less." she smiled and rubbed his back. "From the sky and clouds there is a force dispelled that pegasi will naturally absorb into their bodies in order to succeed in making the weather, moving clouds, and of course flying. I believe your friend Rainbow Dash is quite good at doing this.
For earth ponies, its a tad different. unlike unicorns that have a horn to act as a medium, and the pegasi who's wings are primarily responsible for their innate magic, earth ponies have a sort of...hmm, how to describe this..." She rubbed her chin for a moment. "They have a certain... authority, yes, an authority over nature and the ground they work on. Earth ponies have the unique gift to tame the unpredictable growth of crops." She smiled sweetly. "It is rather exciting. Based on how your wrinkled your fore head is." She giggled lightly.
While furiously trying to remember each detail she said he hardly herd that last part. looking up, his cheeks soon had a familiar hotness to them he knew quite well. "Uh..." He coughed into his hand and rubbed his neck. "It's not often I talk to a god, especially Mother Nature herself. Plus, what kind of assistant would I be if I didn't take notes or at least remember such information? Twilight would've throttle me if I hadn't."
Thinking of his adopted sister made the young drake look away to the sea, the thoughts before absentmindedly stored away, as he gazed across the vast ocean.
"Well, I'm going to get my family back together and we're gonna go take our revenge, like normal villains would."
Spike tensed upon remembering what Greed had told him. The dragon had only one thought coursing through his head at the moment. 'I need to get to him first, and stop him...'
As if responding to his mind, the ocean's previously slow, gentle waves began to hit the cliff-side with building force, the waters growing larger and more unforgiving. The white clouds of the sky grew darker and a low rumble could be heard from them. Lightning cracked across the sky hitting the ocean in random spots along with the forest where Spike and the goddess were. The ground in response shuddered and quaked, a distant mountain shook with boulders tumbling down. The top of the mountain bellowed black smoke that rose with fresh lava spilling over the edge, slowly tracing down.
These three ecosystems that worked with each other became vicious like they could no longer stand being so close to the other. Spike, all the while, took no notice of the world that was attacking itself as he was becoming more furious by the second. Smoke came from his nostrils as green fire licked across his maw, escaping his closed lips.
"Please, young dragon, calm yourself. Regain the control over your emotions before you loss yourself once again. Do not repeat what happened on that unfortunate day."
Spike felt a wash of calm go over his scales, his soul, and felt the anger fade as this new voice spoke to him. He blinked, his eyes returned to from predatory back to normal. He turned to thank the newcomer for their help but nearly choked on his own tongue as he looked up.
Her skin was a pale blue with flowers blooming in random sections of her body, the hair was made of thin dark blue vines and her clothes still of the leaves like before but they had a violet tint to them. She was easily taller then Celestia, spanning maybe ten feet over. He knew it was the little girl he had been talking to previously, even though the body type was completely different. It was the eyes, they still held that playful, but caring, sight that she regarded him with before. and on her neck, shoulders, and legs were the Elements of Harmony themselves.
Spike looked up at her and fell back, to stunned at the sight before him to even think of speaking. Around him the sea, sky, and earth eased their attack on each other, like a mother who had discovered her children fighting after telling them not too. Each went back to being calm, clear, and still as the god began to speak to the stunned dragon before her.
"I am Harmony incarnate and you young dragon, The one called Spike, you have already met one of the Seven Deadly Sins, his official title is Second Sin: Dragon's Sin of Greed. He has tried to kill you in order to take your body, mind, and soul." she said calmly. "And he has."
Dread and guilt fell over Spike, "W-Wait. You mean that I die- That, that I'm actually dead?"
A growing expression of sadness came over Harmony's face. "While yes he has taken your body and only part of your mind, I was able to divert your soul to here." Her hand swept in a wide arc to express what she ment. "This is my domain. Here I hold the power of nature and it's attributes on your world where I once resided. This was very long ago when my now long forgotten father birthed the planet into existence. He was Creation, and alongside his Sister, Destruction, they made the gods that would keep order in their place. I was one of those gods, and I was given the title of keeping the harmony between the differences of things. Of course for everything that is their is also an opposite, so to keep me in check, Destruction created Chaos. However, do to the unstable personality of Chaos, Destruction was tricked and influenced into believing that her Brother hated her and planned to become the sole ruler of this world.
"What followed was called what many called a Holy War where the subjects that were made by the two beings fought against one another all the while Creation tried to convince his sister that he loved her. She refused to believe him and seeing that she was going to lose this war, She put the last of her power she could spare into creating The Stones of Imbalance, and imbued the strongest of each of the races she created with the power of a stone. Creation did the same creating what you have come to know as the Elements of Harmony." As Harmony explained all of this she slowly shrunk to Celestia's height and sat on the ground. Spike watched on as she waved her hands as images were shown to him of what she said.
"Over the course of this great war, many were slain and the bearers of the Stones and the Elements died, with seven remaining each side." she solemnly said as she laid each of the elements on the grass in front of Spike.
For his part. Spike was doing a pretty good job of following along. Years with Twilight, Starlight, and his mom and aunt had given him a brain that could store a lot of things at the same time. But, hearing Harmony say that each side of this Holy War had seven of these mystical artifacts he had to ask a fairly obvious question.
"Wait, seven? But I thought that there was only six Elements?"
Harmony smiled a sad and tired looking smile. "Spike, do you believe in fate and being destined for more than what one thinks. Have you ever felt like you weren't doing enough? Like there was something holding you back?"
The young teen thought for a moment and then looked determined at the goddess before him. "No, I don't." he said with a finality. "I believe that everyone does have a purpose in life, but what I don't believe is that its by some random quirk in the universe. The incidence may seem unbelievably impossible at the time, but it was planned. Living with an Alicorn who is, and I do mean is, going to be the most powerful magic user in Equestria, I have come to expect the impossible. Hell, I see it happen every other week when I help her! Yes, there is free will, but it depends on the choices made with that free will, that will determine their fate." He sighed.
"When Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow dash, and Pinkie became the new Bearers of the Elements it seemed like they were destined to do it, and that it was something that was impossible.." He paused briefly. "But after hearing their life story and speaking to my adopted mother, I figured out that she knew that each of these ponies, while great in each of their one rights, through work, will, and effort in there lives, they earn their right to be the elements."
"I came to believe that my lot in life was to always be the assistant and little brother figure of the group. All together they helped raise me into who I am today. Those girls are basically my sisters, my-my family." Unknowing tears welled up in his eyes. "And you know what? I was happy with this fact. I came to terms with it." He wiped his soon to be tears on his arm and stared at Harmony. "Because of the question you ask me, are you presenting me with a way to help my family?"
As Spike spoke, Harmony's Eyes widen a bit by how much Spike believed in what he was saying, and how much he had figured out about the world. "Of course I am Spike, Equestria is in peril, and your family is still under attack by the Sins. They are trapped within themselves, the elements providing protection to their souls from being fully removed." She stood up and gestured Spike to also do so. "You my dear boy, must save what little soul they have left by defeating the sins yourself, What you need to do is retrieve the seventh Element of Harmony." She placed her hands on his shoulders. "The Final remaining Element is locating in the Crystal Empire, You helped to save it Spike, and destroy a now former Sin."
Spike was shocked. "The Crystal Heart!? But I-? Sombra was one of the Sins!?" He shook his head to clear it just a bit. "I thought there was only seven?"
"He was Eighth Sin: Ghost's Sin of Despair. And the Crystal heart is Hope. The reason why he was killed was because the two were opposing forces. Creation's and Destruction's existences could never mix with each other because of this very reason. There must always be a balance, with Sombra dead and the Despair lost, Hope became dormant and its aura being projected across the empire once more. Before when Sombra first attacked, a pony named Spirit Sword distroyed himself in banishing Sombra. Much like Celestia when she banished Luna, who had been affected by Envy and awakened by Sombra before he fully left."
Harmony let the dragon go and turned to the forest. Waving her hand the trees seprated and created a path that lead to down into the woulds. "Follow this path and you shall find the mystical Ley Lines that run throughout this world. Find the Crystal Empire's and you shall be there."
Spike took a breath and set out down the path, feeling ready for anything when he was immediately stopped by Harmony with a raised hand.
"That won't be enough however. You must also find the pony who once studied the Stones, the sins, and the Elements themselves. You must find the one who doesn't wish to be found. He will help you locate the Contrary Virtues."
Spike thought for a moment. "The opposite of the Sins right? You said there had to be a balance? I thought the Elements of Harmony were?
"When the world was being rebuilt after millania of war, I gave everything I was in thw mortal world to help the process along. The Sins and the Virtues were lost to every being and race when the war ended. I, along with a hanful of remaining gods, helped the world become whole again."
Spike thought another minute, like finally funding peices to a pyzzle you forgot about. "So Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Discord, and Tirek are gods?"
Harmony nodded. "Along with some others you have yet to encounter."
The moon in the distance dipped below the horizon, and beside the mountain, glorious light was showered upon the night sky as the mourning sun rose. Mother Nature looked at the raising light. "You must go Spike. Time flows mush slower in my domain. In the word of mortals, A week there is a day here. Go now and save your family." she gestured to the forest in front of him.
As Spike looked on, he gulped and looked back to Harmony to ask a question but while his mouth opened, he uttered no sound. Closed it and looked down.
'This is for Equestria... For my family... I'll try- no, I will find this person and they will to help me or I'll make him.
Lifting his head back up, he pulled all his determination together and than set off. "Thank you for... for everything Harmony, I'll save everypony and the world will heal again." Spike said looking back.
As he traveled deep into the woods he heard Harmony's voice in his ears, as if he was still beside her, say one last thing.
"Thank you Spike, I will remember this talk for centuries. The one you seek is one who was the greatest sorcerer in Equestria centuries before." Her voice began to fade as she said the last part.
"You must find Starswirl the Bearded."
Spike walked along the forest, a single path blocked on both sides via trees, that seemed to form impenetrable walls. The path didn't have a fork, or a bridge that a riddle-giving troll came out from. No tunnel that went mysteriously down into a cave with at least three trials for him to pass.
Just a path that went straight.
It didn't help that the sun seemed to already reach noon, the big yellow... wait a minute, why was the sun kind of pink? This etheral plain of existence is weird. Aside from having not moved, it was the only thing in the sky too, no clouds, no birds, just nothing. Not a sound except for his own feet hitting the dirt.
Being the last savior of Equestria sure isn't what Spike had first thought. The most exciting thing about walking down this path was the occasional rock here or there. Spike had tried using his wings once but quickly hit the dirt face first after hitting the tree canopy, somehow having elasticity. Half mumbling about, "Stupid magic trees." Spike went back to his straight, never twisting path. It could've been minutes or hours since he had spoken to the Tree of Harmony, or Harmony, as she preferred. That had been pretty exciting and she really pumped up this quest to find the most powerful unicorn in Equestria! But now he was just walking in a single direction, by himself, alone...
Maybe it would be a good idea to turn around and get a map or at least know what's up with this blasted forest path. Now that sounded like a solid plan as any, but first he should mark where he is so if Harmony came with him, the dragon could show her how far he'd walked already, or find where he had been if he did get a map. So he went around the never curving path picking up stones where he could find them and stacked them up into a decently sized pile in the middle of the path. That should be easy enough to spot coming back. With a nod to himself the young dragon stood back up and began heading back to Harmony.
However, when he did turn around the dragon was still facing the stack of stones.
Spike blinked and rubbed his eyes, there were the stones. He turned once more.
And still faced the stones...
'Last time I checked, when you turned away from something, you weren't looking at it anymore.' Spike rubbed his spines, of course he was confused. Maybe this was the riddle he had to solve? Sure, he had been walking down a path, but perhaps he wasn't walking the true path? Spike sat down in front of that stack of stones and thought. He thought and he thought, and he thought...
...And nothing came.
'Okay, so I've been wrong before.' Opening his eyes, Spike stared at his little stack of rocks. What was the trick? Spike had read plenty of comic books in his younger years to know that whenever the hero encountered a trial or puzzle, they would have to use their cunning or immense strength to overcome it and save the damsel in distress. However, there was a huge problem with this train of thought for our young "hero". That problem being that Spike wasn't Twilight or Applejack, who had vast knowledge or athletic ability, and the fact was they were two of the six damsels in distress. So Spike just looked at the rocks, hoping that he could solve his first obstacle or some miracle would just happen. As he looked at them though, the stack itself kind of reminded him of Rocky actually.
"Heheh, yeah you do look like Rocky, I wish I had a party hat for you. That would be funny." Spike chuckled, until he realized he was talking to a bunch of rocks... "I need to get more guy friends when we all save Equestria again."
"Awww, Spikie are we not good enough for you anymore? I thought we were supposed to be Best Friends?"
Spike's head whipped around and he saw something impossible. He was in Pinkie Pie's room, at another one of her tea parties. The one difference being that this time he wasn't tied up. However, Spike didn't focus on any of that, instead he was looking at Pinkie Pie. Her hair was completely straight and her once very bright coat was dull. If he remembered right, this was something that happened to Pinkie every now and then. This was Pinkamena Diane Pie.
What Pinkamena wore though was something that made Spike want to puke. It was some sort of horrible amalgamation of the other girls fashioned into a suit dress. Applejack was the leggings, Rarity was the skirt, Twilight being the overcoat and what he thought was Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash underneath.
Spike felt a deep chill travel up his spine and he visibly gulped. 'Oh-Oh no.'
Pinkamena smiled wickedly at that, "Ooh, Spikey here is looking me up and down, I didn't realize he was at that age yet. I have to say, he looks like a tasty treat to me too." She licked her lips talking to the many party "guests" at the table. Spike really wished he was back on his boring path again. Pinkiamena on the other hand started to walk past her table of stuffed animals and imaginary friends, (But Spike was pretty sure imaginary friends didn't have razor-sharp teeth.) and stopped right in front of the purple dragon. Even though he wasn't tied down, it turned out that paralyzing fear was enough to keep Spike in his seat.
"H-h-hi Pinki-Pinkamena... How's it, uh, going?" Spike tried for a signature Spike-Approved grin, but he was pretty sure it looked like he had just eaten a book, which he knew from personal experience, was not as good as gems. The fact that his best friend was holding a knife in her hand with a genuine smile on her face did not help his confidence. Spike swallowed the lump in his throat once more. "Gosh, is it your birthday already? I had it in my calendar for at least another month. May 3rd right? We had planned on going up to Cloudsdale to see if their cotton candy was made from actual clouds remember?"
Pinkiamena stopped when he said that. Had he blinked, he would have missed her ear twitch. Her knife slightly lowered, "That- yeah... Yeah! We were gonna go try all the favors and then get some pizza. Rainbow was gonna give us a super luper duper tour of the Wonderbolts!" Pinkie started to show through a little, her hair bounced and she had a little smile on the her face. "You guys were gonna make the party and the cake, and the back-up cake, and the bake-up cake for the bake-up and the back-up for the..." She stopped. The flatness coming back onto her features, but the smile remained. He got Pinkie's attention for a second but Pinkiamena was not easy to get rid of. "But Spikey, the girls cancelled on me again. They were gonna leave me, I didn't want them to leave me." She stood in front of Spike and posed to show off her clothes. "So I made them into something that will never-ever-ever abandon me again." She walked around behind him and gave him a gentle hug, which was more terrifying then her bone-crushing hugs that Pinkie gave.
"Now it's just you, me, and my real friends." The imaginary friends gnashed their teeth. From the far corner off to the right a huge reptilian maw snapped shut and Gummy, or what Spike believed to be Gummy, crawled out into the light, his iron chain keeping him from getting too close. SPike didn't like the fact that loose meat was hanging from his jaws "You're just as much of my friend as the girls Spikey, I couldn't lose you too. Promise me Spikey, promise you'll never leave me." Before Spikey could say anything, a shrill 'ding', was heard through the door. "Oh, looks like our food is done, I'm always so hungry Spikey, I have to make so much food. I'll be right back, don't you go anywhere! Wouldn't want to skin you alive!" Pinkiamena walked to the toward the door and Spike's eyes followed her. She looked back for a few moments, just to make sure he hadn't moved, and then she left. the door closed and multiple locks clicked into place.
Cajunck, chi-ching, click, click
Spike breathed again. He hadn't realized he had held his breath when she had hugged him. Spike needed to think, and fast, if he wanted to survive this. He was sure that he wasn't actually talking to the Sin, Gluttony. Maybe this was a fragment of Pinkie's soul that was left? The Sins have his friends' body and mind, but maybe they couldn't get rid of their souls? The bonds between the girls and the Elements were keeping the souls still linked somehow, here in Harmony's Domain. So these were the trails Spike would have to face. He would have to defeat each of his friends' darksides. Harmony had mentioned something about the Heavenly Virtues right? But what was Gluttony's opposite? Charity? No... Temple something or another. Temperance! That was it! The problem being what was the trigger that he needed to change Pinkie? what has the key?
Click, click, chi-ching, cajunck
Spike jumped when the door unlocked and opened. The dragon breathed deep while trying to control his heart beat, which felt like a breezie was trying to escape his chest. Spike grimaced, not the best image to picture considering the situation.
As the door swung open a horrible smell came in as Pinkie wheeled in a food tray filled with "food". Spike's urge to vomit was the strongest right then and there. What scared Spike the most however, was the twinge of wanting he felt. His long repressed urges of an apex predator.
"When I made my suit I couldn't just waste the insides, and after all the sewing I felt so... empty." She giggled as she went around the table and placed full course meals of bloody entrails, intestines, hearts, brains, fingers, and of course cupcakes down while humming a tune from a story that a talking candlestick had sang. Spike wanted to back away as far as he could possible get, to leave this place forever.
He couldn't though. He had to save Pinkie, and if playing along with her twisted reality was the way then he would do it. He would do anything for his girls. So he sat there as Pinkiamena came around to him and set a beautifully crafted plate of dinner in front of him. He did not flinch away in fear when she kissed him on the cheek and sat right next to him. And he did not puke as he took a bite from his meal. He did not chew, he swallowed as quick as he could and then pretended to chew. Spike held in the tears as he gossiped with Pinkiamena.
How was he supposed to save her? Twilight had made him speak and read Latin literature before at some point. He knew of Temperance, but what was its deal? Then, a quarter into his plate of flesh and organs, Spike had an idea.
Pinkiamena was telling him the story of burning the school down with the children inside to "smoke" the little hellions for the perfect barbecue and Spike faked a chuckle when she told him of how his dragon friend was the real trouble as she almost had the mare in her hands before noticing the knife in her sternum. He saw the opening and snagged it. He started to hum. The pink mare Spike knew could never say no to a song, and a duet? forget about it. So he sang the first part of one of Pinkie's favorite songs.
"When I was a little- dragon, and the sun was going down." He closed his eyes and with a genuine smile hugged Pinkiamena.
She looked at him strangely, "What are you doing..?"
"The darkness and the shadows, they would always make me frown." He drew out the frown as he looked at the Pinkie.
Still she looked him, "It that... Giggle at the Ghostly? I-I love singing that song." The Mare's voice was trailing, as if she was distracted.
"I'd hide under my pillow
From what I thought I saw
But You, Pinkie Pie, Said that wasn't the way
To deal with fears at all"
Pinkie scrapped her fork on her plate, moving the food around, but for some reason finding it less appealing. With a small smile she asked, "What did I say Spike?"
Spike's confidence soared then and he stood up, taking Pinkie's hand in his, moving slowly away from the table he continued. 'Sure hope those dance moves I learned from Rarity work here...' He twirled Pinkie gently around.
"You Said, 'Spikey, you gotta stand up tall
Learn to face your fears
You'll see that they can't hurt you
Just laugh to make them disappear"
As he drew Pinkiamena close to him, he say the smile widen and her hair bounce a little. "Ha, ha, ha.. she said quietly. Spike knew it was working. He'd get his baker back. The purple and green dragon spun her from his arm back into her seat.
Pinkie began to clap but Spike wasn't finished, He could see the change happening all around the room. The "food" was becoming real food, the imaginary friends were becoming, well, imaginary. And Pinkie was becoming Pinkie. Her foot started to tap, the eyes shown with a renewed light as Spike put his own funky spin on the chorus. But he needed a little bit more.
And if there's a scary face lurking from the shadow
Hunting you down till the near tomorrow
just turn around and tell that guy
If he wouldn't mind, taking a hike.
Say he's got another thing coming
That he should be running
From your giggling, which is infectious
That your Joyfulness is merciless
Make him terrified of your own merriment
The very Idea of being scared fills you with amusement
And should he not listen to you on your behalf
Then take this welcoming opportunity to-
"Laugh!" Pinkie shouted falling into a fit of giggles as Spike smiled to her. He ran the short distance to his once-again fluffy friend, and he lifted her up off the ground. H-they both cried/ laughed together as they spun around in a fierce hug. She returned it full force and then some making Spike sigh as he felt as if his bones would crack. He never wanted to not feel one of Pinkie's body crushing hugs again. Putting her back on the ground Gummy jumped into her arms, back to his normal size and the young dragon thought the poor guy would pop like a balloon from the return hug.
Pinkie looked up to Spike, her face covered with tears, mirroring his own. "Oh, Spike! I'm so sorry for putting you through that! Gluttony-Uh, well she's calling herself Gula mostly, got me in my dreams, I think that's how they got us. I-I-I really believed the girls... and you, and everypony were gone! Thank you Spikey, Thank you so much!" She hugged him again. "When we all get back I'll make a 'Yay-we're-not-dead-and-Equestria-was-saved-again!' Party!!!" Spike and her laughed a little as he held her close when the pink mare broke down again halfway through her rushed apology and promise. Once she calmed down she looked at Spike again. "I can't stay like this anymore Spike, I'm only a soul, I was only able to be "me" because of Gluttony controlling my body. I was trapped I guess. But I won't leave you alone, loneliness is a bad thing. But, before I go, promise you won't die. That all of us will make it out of this alive." She looked at him.
Spike took both their hands and raised them up so they could both watch as he hooked his pinkie around her's. "Pinkie Promise. Or stick a cupcake in my eye." He hugged her again.
Pinkie pulled out of the hug after a couple seconds, enjoying the confort it brought. With one more tear trailing down across her face she said, "I'm gonna use what I have left in me to help you." And with that Pinkie's fur began to glow a bright pink. "See ya later Alligator."
"In a while, Crocodile." Spike said in return. There was so much he wanted to say to her still, but time wasn't on the hero's side. He would talk with her, and all the others once this was over.
He watched as she shrank into a pink jewel that was about four inches, into his hand. It wasn't her Element of Harmony symbol that resembled her cutiemark, it was instead shaped like an Apple. Before he could question why it was an apple, the scenery changed around him in an instant and Spike heard a very familiar, very country-esc voice behind him.
The sky was bright as it shined over Sweet Apple Acres. Birds could be seen flying across the sky, while a gentle breeze blew over Spike's scales. He blinked, almost believing he was back in Ponyville, that he had just taken a nap by the Apple Estate. The small hope was swept away with the wind has his emerald eyes looked down at his hand. There in his palm was a pink wolf's head branded onto a ring. Spike slipped it onto his left pointer finger, and he released a slow breath. Pinkie would be with him for the rest of this journey, his mind being put at ease.
Squeezing his hand, Spike turned to where the voice originated from.
"So, she's trying to get the harvest done by herself again is she?" The young dragon asked to the 7ft tall wall of muscle that was Macintosh, or Big Mac, as he preferred.
Setting down two full barrels of apples, Big Mac smiled down at Spike, "Eeyup." Spike sighed, so which Sin is she?
'If I was a betting dragon, and I am, then I think she would be Pride right?' the dragon taped his chin. 'It makes the most sense... but what should I expect? It certainly won't be as gruesome as Gluttony's nightmare. I guess there's only one way to know what's behind the door.' Spike flared his wings.
Thanking Big Mac, Spike took to the skies and flew low over the orchard. His ear fins twitched as he listened for any sign of Applejack. Over the past few years since the opening of the school, Sweet Apple Acres lost Applejack as one of two of its best workers. As such the place had a fear of closing when the Mane Six came in to save the day as they always did. With effort and some luck, the greatly loved orchard came back full force and was able to expand itself. Discord even helped Twilight and Starlight to create a few Stone Golems that would work the farm. The business was booming and better off than when it had started thanks to some well controlled chaos.
"You know, Discord really as come along over these past few years. Whenever we needed him, he was there ready to help. Once he gets back from his yearly fishing trip, and if we- when we save all of Equestria, I should ask Pinkie to throw him a Thank-You-Party." Spike looked at the wolf ring. "Yeah, she'll like that." The ring being an inanimate object did nothing.
As the dragon was reminiscing on that strange week and his friends, Spike failed to notice a boulder fly up from the ground and smash against his chest. With the wind knocked out of his lungs Spike plummeted to the ground, dropped ten or so meters before he slammed into a tree.
Rubbing his head Spike turned around and laid against the trunk he had recently just met. He scratched his spines trying to get the groggy dizzy feeling that floated along his consciousness to dissipate. He had a dumb grin on his face as a shadow fell over his form. "Please don't send me back to Twilight, Rarity. I'd rather stay here and bake cookies with you..." Spike slumped over as the darkness hovering around his vision finally closed in.
An indeterminate amount of time later and Spike awoke to the sound of grinding stone.
"Uhh... Huh? Wait what?" Spike looked over his body, seeing it tied to the trunk of the tree he'd crashed. "Son of a- Dave?" In front of Spike were a group of Golems stood completely still as the young dragon recognized the small "Hello! My is ________." stickers on the left side of each Golem thanks to a certain pink pony. The constructs themselves were 8 feet tall, made from clay and rock. Their arms large and solid, like the trunks from the trees they had to harvest apples from. One hit could make a normal stallion go down with a total knockout. The Golems looked like knights, just not armor made of metal. They all stood in line in rows of five with them being five deep as well. Yep, twenty five farmhands that didn't need to eat, sleep, or drink. They didn't have personal lives to attend to so, twenty four-seven they would work, and "redirect" trespassers if any were caught. While the creations had only been around a few months, these pony-made Golems were great at what they did. And they only ever listened to one pony, that pony understandably being-
Spike's head snapped up, his thought vanishing as the group of Golems clicked their heels and saluted. Turning his head to the right Spike saw the pony he had been just now been thinking about.
"Hey Apple Bloom."
MEANWHILE IN CANTORLOT
Celestia dipped her quill into a fresh ink bottle and continued with the letter she was working on. The princess had been like this for the last two hours with no rest or food. This woman needed a seven-layer frosting rainbow cake.
Letting out a small growl, Celestia ignited her horn and levitated a new quill while sweeping the broken one onto the floor, where it joined its fallen brothers. Quickly signing the parchment, she then practically threw a bundle of scrolls at a Wonderbolt as he waited on the balcony nearby. He saluted and dashed at his top speed to the nearby towns, excluding Ponyville. The Sun Princess continued to write having not stopped for the exchange.
Luna on the other hoof, was a few meters away staring at a map in the center of their War Room. Looking at the placements of squadrons of the Night and Sun guard distributed all over Equestria. Taking her hand, Luna moved and added some flags here and there, thinking of battle plans and back up battle plans. Next to her was Admiral Sweet Treat, leader of the Sun Guard and Sgt. Graycloud, who was the same for the Night Guard. The room had been this way for the past five hours since the first reports of Ponyville had come in.
Graycloud redistributed guard placement in Sector 3 and Sweat Treat added two more to Sector 7 northwest of Cantorlot's main gate. Luna kept looking at the map for a moment longer, then wrote down the changes, signed them, and handed it off to Graycloud who passed it off to a Private waiting outside. She saluted and took off to the barracks, her wings slightly aching from traveling all over Cantorlot.
The evacuation had been ordered immediately, all trains of the Friendship Express being used from Cantorlot Station, with all their destinations the same. Cadence, King Thorax, and Lord Ember having been notified the instant Celestia had finished the first few scrolls. The latter two leaders gathering their forces as quickly as possible to move to the Crystal Empire, which would house Cantorlot's citizens.
Both Princesses had accepted the fact that within moments the Sins could arrive. That their nation's capital was lost. There was no time for fortifications, unlike during the wedding. No word from the Elements, Discord, or Twilight's assistant, Spike could be attained, because when Celestia had tried to send one, it would merely pop back into her hands a moment later. An omen not taken well, to say the least.
'Who or what the hell is attacking Equestria!? It's not Tirek, or Sombra. Tempest, Starlight, Discord, the Dragons, and the Changlings are our allies. The skies are clear of Griffon Airships, no armies from Saddle Arabia, Yakestan, or the other nations have been spotted, meaning the Peace Treaties are still in place...'
Back with the Moon Princess, she wrote out a few notes and orders of her own and handed a scroll to the Admiral and Sergeant. They saluted and quickly left the room.
'Sister.' Luna looked to Celestia.
'Lulu.' Celestia gave Luna a hard stare.
Luna sighed and pointed to the hellscape that was Ponyville outside of the balcony window. 'Tia, you and I both have the same suspicion o-'
'NO! Luna don't.' The Sun Princess stood abruptly. 'We destroyed those creatures ten thousand years ago. They're gone! This is just another new threat that plagues Equestria.' Celestia walked over to the War Table.
'Faust Damnit Tia!' Luna slammed her hands on the table, knocking over flags, soldiers, and little houses. 'Every time! Every single time its "We Already defeated them" and then a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand years passes and they ALWAYS come back! Luna got up and stormed over to Celestia. 'And you know what, WE don't even do anything! Your "precious" Elements of Harmony clean up the mess! Take the wedding, you get yourself captured immediately while I'm reconnecting with the other nations and Twilight had to figure it out on her own. And now, now their-!' Luna's mane and tail blinked, inside it looked as if a nebula was trapped, stars and constellations swirled.
Celestia knit her eyebrows. She typically had better patience, but her anger and distress at the situation were being tested. 'Don't say it Luna...' Celestia own mane and tail flickered from its usual multicolor to one that resembled living flame.
Luna growled out load. 'You know it's true Celestia! I know you felt IT when I did. Ever since we formed that Empathy Link.' Luna rubbed her temple 'The connection to the Elements... their gone Tia...' Tears formed at the edges of Luna's eyes, but they would fall like mini icicles and shatter on the floor. The room feeling like the chill of the grave. Her mane stopped blinking.
Tears started to stream down Celestia's own face but the heat coming from her body would evaporate them. The fury rising with each of her Sister's words. 'Princess Lunar Mi Estrella Eclipsil, you will not speak of my little ponies like that.' The Princess's body changed then. Her mane finally solidified into a raging inferno, her coat became a brighter white, and new armor appeared on her body. Flames licked at the edges of her eyes, her pupils becoming slits, with a hate in them that could reduce all od Equis to a world of ash.
Black chainmail covered her upper body while black leather covered her lower, padded gloves and elbow and knee pads, full plate armor appeared over it a mix of gold and orange, including wing guards in a blood red color, which accented the outlines of the armor. A battle kilt made of hardened leather with a sash displaying a burning star. On her head was a golden crown, much like her usual one, except for a red gem in its center, Solar Flare. In Celestia's hands she held a simple staff, colored in that strange orange and gold mixture, with a ruby stylized as a fire on the tip and the same type of black leather handholds around the center. A scabbard for a shortsword was equipped to her back.
Strangely, Luna seemed not to notice the completely new mare before her, either blinded by the grief or tears. 'And you Princess Celestial Mi Cielo Solaris WILL hear my words! I will not let you leave this new mess to others, instead you and I alone will face these enemies. The casualties from the last Holy War were much. And I will have no more!' Luna's coat altered from its usual blue color, to that of complete darkness, the light around her seemingly being absorbed into her. She grew to match her sister's height, her features sharpened. Her teeth became points, her pupils also forming slits with dark shadows around them, and within held certain death.
The same black leather and chainmail covered her body. The armored that appeared was Nightmare Moon's, then more plates began to form. Sliver plates covered her shoulders, wing tips, hands, stomach, and thighs. She had no sash but, on her neck guard and waist there was a moon in the process of being eclipsed made from hardened ice shards, which appeared in the air around her and within her mane/tail. Purple coloring highlighted Luna's armor and instead of a helmet, she had a sliver crown with a white crystal centered in it. A full sized greatsword was strapped onto her back and in her hands was a black staff with sliver hand holds but instead of a gem on the tip, it was a scythe blade in the shape of a moon, named the Waning Crescent.
Neither Sister noticed the other's transformation and so the silent argument taking place continued. Around this new Celestia there were magical circles forming all around her. 'I CAN NOT LEAVE THIS NATION UNTIL THE ELEMENTS ARE READY! THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN NEEDED; DO YOU NOT REMEMBER MERLIN?!' She slammed her staff down, forceful winds whipping all around. [i}'You dear Sister, are too young and naive to understand what I must do! Of course, I sent the Elements into danger, they were chosen! Equestria needed symbols of Hope and Unity!'
Luna's scowl deepened, the growling almost like a roar now. 'So then you knew this would happen?! That I would comeback? Crysalis, Discord, Sombra, even Tirek?!' The new looking Moon Princess spun her scythe and slammed the blade down, cracking the floor and making it rumble. In fact, the castle has a whole started to shake. 'DO NOT TAKE ME FOR A FOOL TIA! YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF TO BE THE BEST RULER?! THIS IS WHY I BECAME NIGHTMARE MOON IN THE FIRST PLACE! YOU TIA!' The sisters were mere inches from each other now, steam filled the room.
"...Um... Your Highnesses?" Came an almost whisper like voice from the doorway.
"WHAT?!" Both Princesses heads swerved to the voice's origin, the quaking and howling winds shifting toward it making the tile below crack entirely and the doors to blast off their hinges. The private standing there had a scared tremble go through him.
*Ahem* He cleard his throat and straightened himself. "Your Majesties, The Sins have breached the gates and are in route to the castle."
"Which gates Private?"
"...All of them..."
Back in the Astral Plane.
A small yellow mare with a big red bow in her apple-red hair was currently brushing off a slightly annoyed purple and green dragon.
"Oh boy, Ah am so sorry Spike! Ah ordered the sentries to look for anything suspicious, you know to look for Applejack? What Ah didn't know was that 'look for anything suspicious' meant 'throw boulders at anything suspicious'." She kept padding down his shirt even though there wasn't any dirt left on it.
Spike's annoyance turned into embarrassment as Apple Bloom fretted over him. She had really grown, along with the rest of the Crusaders, no longer wearing her overalls but instead a dirtied light blue button-up shirt and some jean short shorts. Spike new the danger he would be in if Big Mac (or AJ for that matter), caught him even thinking about their sister that way. 'Wait a minute, this is a fake world, created by magic, and probably the inner soul of the Sins, this isn't actually Apple Bloom here with me. But still...'
The green teen backed himself up and made it look like he was stretching his wings and back. It wasn't to difficult considering he got hit with a big rock, fell a few meters, and slammed into a tree. "Look Bloom, it's no big deal really. Uh... you said you were looking for Applejack right?" 'Smooth Spike.'
Thankfully Apple Bloom didn't seem to notice his shift in mood. "Oh yeah! Jerry and Carmichael here thought they had seen somthin' a while back but by the time Ah got there the whole section was picked clean! Ah swear Spike, this year she's determined not to be out classed by the Applems." She rubbed her forehead and let out a sigh. The 'Applems' in the back all lowered their heads in shame.
"Oh, sure. Why not."
For some odd reason when the golems had been made, Big Mag, Applejack, nor Granny Smith could control them. The only Apple they would listen to was the youngest one, Apple Bloom. Twilight and Spike always suspected that it had been a little prank done by Discord during their creation.
Apple Bloom grimaced. "Ah have no idea how she keeps avoiding us. You'd think applebucking would be a little louder huh? Let me talk to my guys and fan 'em then we can come up with a plan. The filly went back to her squadron of golems and proceeded to repromend them for hitting one of her friends. Spike swore he saw one shed a tear. 'Let's see, Applejack, or Pride for that matter is harvesting the whole Orchard. A feat that she could probably due, but there are so many Sectors to investigate, how can we find her? Why is she even doing this chore? What's the point of it?' Spike thought back to the time Twilight taught him Latin. He was never any good at the language but there seemed to be a line about the Sins, like a main characteristic they all shared. Pride focused on their accomplishments, so naturally they would start with the acheivements of their vessal.' Spike snapped his fingers, he finally made a connection. Like with Pinkie! The Sin was in her body, but it was still in a place that Pinkie herself was familiar with! Okay so that's why I'm here in Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack's soul is the most comfortable here. That's what keeps them subdued.' Spike smirked.
"Well Apple Bloom," Spike spoke higher then he needed to. "I think I could harvest this orchard better then Applejack ever could!" Spike put his hands on his hips and struck a pose. He gulped. 'I really hope I sound more convincing than I feel.'
Apple Bloom stopped scolding the Golems and stared at Spike like he suddenly had Cutie Pox. "Spike, what in sam hell are you sayin'?"
"Well duh, Bloom," Spike pointed at himself. "I'm a DRAGON. So naturally I'm better than you nampy pampy ponies." It made Spike physically ill to say these things. "In fact, I'm better, stronger, and faster than you! I feel like I'm six million bits right now! My fangs can break diamonds and my scales are so tough I can swim in molten lava!" Spike then strode over to a nearby Appletree. He gave the very confused filly a wink. "Watch this!" The dragon then crouched, breathed deep, tensing his muscles, he let his breath even out.
Suddenly, Spike lept into the air and did a spin kick to the trunk of the tree. However, there was no crack in the bark, the tree didn't split in half, or a single apple fall. that is, until spike landed back on the ground. As soon has he stood up straight, a tremble went throught the whole tree he had hit and all at once every single apple fell from the branches.
For the past five years, Spike finally got sick of being helpless and stuck on the sidelines. The dragon first went to Twilight's brother Shining Armor for training. After he had beat all the Crystal Empires Captains and won against a duel with Shining himself, Spike moved on to Princess Luna. Those two years were horrible. Luna's idea of training and character building meant, "Okay Spike, today you'll go kill that swarm of Purple Worms in the badlands today and then rest you up with a cockatrice tomorrow." Everyday Spike was in some sort of horrific new danger. For his last year Spike visited the dragon clans, more as a request from Ember more than anything. After that ordeal the dragon Pinkie Promised himself to master his technigues and become even stronger. It had been a lot of fun, although he was sure that the Elders still hated his guts...
"You see that Bloom? I bet I could even beat Applejack in a fi-Woah!" Right in the middle of Spike's boasting an apple came hurtling from the trees at incredible speed. Spike activated one of his abilities just in time to duck under the fruity projectile. It slammed into a tree behind him. Instead of doing a normal apple thing and splattering over the trunk, it imbedded itself into the wood. Spike even thought he saw steam coming off it. Looking over to where Spike saw the apple come from, he felt a little sweat form on his forehead.
There, standing before him was an orange coated mare with her classic blonde ponytail and Stetson. She had on a button-up red flannel shirt with blue jeans that had seen some better days, along with some light brown work boots. Spike knew that his plan had worked a little two well, seeing the frown on her face and the way she slowly tossed an apple in her hand.
"Now Ah been hearin' some cocky little lizard bastard hollering across the orchard saying he can do MY job better than me." When she had said "MY" Applejack crushed the apple, and Spike new that that would be him in the next moment.
'Welp. In for a bit, in for a pound.' Spike coughed and tensed his muscles, hoping that it helped to make him look intimating. "Yeah." His voice came out with a sqeak. "I mean, YEAH! That's right Applebutt, I could totally do a better job! As a matter of fact, I was about to make a bet with Apple Bloom here that I could beat you in fight!"
Applejack raised an eyebrow and looked to her sister. Who was currently cowering behind Spike. "A-And Ah was about to tell him how crazy that would be." She kicked his calf. "Don't bring me into this you crazy dragon!" Apple Bloom whispered harshly in his frill. "Hmm? Oh would ya look at that!? Big Mac is callin' me up to the house to help him with the sorting! Well, see ya Sis, and (soontobedead) Spike!" The young filly motioned for the golems to follow her. "Applems! Move out!"
Spike really didn't want Apple Bloom to leave him alone with the Sin, and the mumbling part about "soon to be dead" didn't exactly help. He watched as the young filly led the squadron of golems out of eyesight, until it was just him and Applejack. He returned his attention to said mare as soon as Apple Bloom was gone, but the farm-mare wasn't there anymore. Before he could look around, Spike suddenly found himself flying through the air.
He flared his wings, flapping a few times to slow down. He hovered there for a few minutes, but couldn't see his target. "A sucker punch AJ? Now that's not very sportstallion like..." Spike landed and brought his guard up, activating Amplitude. Spike's senses became heightened, his muscles tensed, and his pupils became slits. True to his word, Spike had increased his training regimen until he could keep Amplitude on all the time. 'If Pride is all muscle like I suspect, then Amplitude should be good enough to take her down.' A twig snapped on his left and he dodged right just as AJ came in with a flying roundhouse kick.
"Ah must say Sugercube, you've gotten better." A punch came to his right, then his left. Spike backed up, using his tail to help create some distance. However, she was on the offensive, with punches and kicks, elbows and knees, not letting him get in any sort of counterattack. Spike thanked the gods for his tough scales, it was all he could do to use his forearms to block her attacks. He couldn't stop all of them though, a few hits connected to his abdomen and chest. each hit he felt had the same power of getting hit with a barrel full of cake batter, replacing that wall the following morning proved the power of baking.
Spike sidestepped, making it out like he was going to use his wings and take off. AJ saw this but didn't anticipate the feint out so in the instant she looked up Spike delivered a fist right to her face. The orange mare stumbled a little backward, her hat fluttered to the ground, while Spike's eyes widened in surprise. 'The buck? I'm strong enough to break granite, how is she standing?!'
Applejack looked him right in the eyes and spat out some blood to the side. "That the best you got?" Spike quickly brought his center low, pushed off from the ground, and did a sweep to her legs. As AJ fell, Spike jumped up and dropped an elbow to her midsection. Applejack slammed hard into the dirt, some dust gathering in the air. She moved her head just as a green fist came down. She smirked, and gripped his arm, she wrapped her legs around neck. Spike fell and was maneuvered so he was in her Tartarus' Gate hold. The dragon choked has her shin started to crush his windpipe.
"Sorry Spike, but it looks like you're done." Applejack smiled at the dragon's futile struggling. When Spike spat out some blood, he knew he need to something and fast.
Think fast, he used his freehand to grip onto her, he pushed Amplitude to the limits as he picked up the shocked mare and threw her off of him. Applejack landed a few meters away as Spike fell back to his knees as he coughed, "Ha... I'm not... done yet." He stood back up and ran towards AJ.
Applejack shock her head, clearly unprepared for that move, when a tug at her ponytail forced her up. Two arms wrapped around her stomach, she was flung up and over being slung into the ground once more by a suplex. When her eyes refocused, Spike was on top of her, using both of his fists on her undefended face. Right, left, right, left, right, left, Spike wasn't showing mercy. AJ raised her legs and slammed her knees right into his spine. "OW!" Spike called out. Her hand clamped over his throat was she swung her arm to the left, the dragon flying into a tree as the bark snapped and apples rained all around him.
"I'm getting real tired of this- Shit!" Spike dived away from the tree as rocks the size of watermelons came at him. He looked over and saw that AJ was slamming her foot into ground, making rubble rise, then kicking the debris in his direction. "Okay, seriously, what even." Spike sprinted away dodging the speedy bullets and taking cover behind another tree. "Fine then, lets fight fire with fire. ...Or rock with fire I guess... nevermind." He breathed in deep, counted to three and ran straight at her full speed. When more rocks got close he let lose multiple fireballs to intercept. The heat from his counterattack proving to much and melting the earth to slag, Spike brought up his fist and aimed right for her. Applejack wasn't taken by surprise however, and raised her own clenched hand. A shockwave sounded when their two fists connected with each other. Both opponents were thrown back several meters, each breaking through trees as they slammed into them.
Spike's connection to Amplitude was broken as he tumbled to the grassy earth below. "Uggg..." he raised his head in time to see Applejack punch him right in his jaw, not sending him back, but sideways into the trees again. He landed hard on his wings, skidding five or so meters. "Come on Spike! You've faced harder opponents than this." Spike once more activated his primary ability and stood. This time he was prepared for Applejack when she closed in on him. Using his tail he deflected a punched aimed for his side and brought an elbow to her cheek. He crossed his arm in the shape of an X as a kick hit him. Timing it just right, he disoriented her by moving his crossed arms away abruptly. Spike dropped low and waited as she somersaulted backwards, landed on her feet.
Before she could become fully stabe Spike used a running start and hopped. The dragon brought both his legs up and said, "Double Decker Applebucking Kick!" He connected with her torso. Celestia damnit, I said that out loud again! To the pony who taught me the move no less!' Applejack didn't fly several meters away but instead smashed into a tree that it trembled so hard branches broke off and apples tumbled and bounced all over.
As the dust settled the worn out dragon gripped his side as he looked at the mare. Applejack however, didn't move.
Spike waited, huffing, sure that any moment she would come at him again. Several minutes passed and nothing happened. Spike lowered his guard a little. "'Is-is it over?' Spike walked up to where she was, impeded a small amount into the tree. Several cuts and bruises dotted her body, a small trickle off blood came from the side of her mouth. Spike made to get her out but just when his hand touched her shoulder, her eyes flew open.
She swung her right leg into his groin, when he doubled over, AJ grabbed his crest and smashed her knee into his snout. When his back arched, she delivered a brutal elbow to his throat. An organ rubsured and blood spilled out. Before he could bring up some kind of defensive move she kicked him in his abdomen, and Spike was sure that a few ribs cracked then. Spike landed on his back and groaned.
Applejack jumped on him instantly and wrapped her hands over his neck. Spike gagged. "What... is the... deal with... attacking... my neck..." He grabbed at her arms desperate to get the pressure that was closing in to stop.
Applejack smiled "It's a shame you died so easily Spike, or else I might have had some sort of satisfaction." Instead of replying Spike used the remaining oxygen he had to blast a small fireball into her face. "AHH!" She shouted and covered her face. the dragon then uses his tail to grab her by the ankle and sent her face-first into the ground.
Spike gulped at new found air, laying there. When he had the strength to, he crawled over to Applejack. He got to his knees and put her into his own hold, The Draconic Sleeper, a move he adapted from Shining's STF (Stallion Toehold Facelock). Placing his entire body weight onto the mare's back he wrapped one arm around her face and the other gripped onto her hair. Applejack struggled but couldn't get ahold of anything. Spike's own legs kept her's pinned and she could bend her arms back enough to break out. Slowly, her vision began to fade, her immense strength starting to drop. Spike's eyes were shut tight as he poured all of his remaining strength and Amplitude into the hold.
Several minutes passed and finally Spike's ability ran out. He let go of the hold and sat down beside the unconscious mare. He breathed in deep, the adrenaline dropping, making him feel the full force of the pain he was in. "Oh, that's gonna hurt in the morning." Spike looked to the knocked-out Sin but nearly yelped at what he saw.
Laying on her side as Applejack, eyes open and smiling at Spike. He went to scramble away but stopped when AJ didn't move. That's when he noticed something else; she was glowing. Her smile wasn't one of cruel surprise, but of relieved happiness. "Hey Sugar, mind helping me up?" She let out a hand. The shocked dragon quickly scooped her up and gently sat her down on a nearby stump their fight had made. When He was sure she was comfortable Spike looked around for her hat and found it lying on the grass a ways off. Picking it up he returned to Applejack, brushing off the grim and dirt from it the best he could. He held it out to her, and she took it. Although, she didn't put it back on immediately , instead she looked at it, and then back to Spike. "Thank ya kindly Spike, but Ah won't need it where Ah'm headed." She handed it back to him.
He went to take it back, but hesitated. Spike wanted to deny it, that it had always been her thing, like not wearing the Stetson meant she was saying goodbye forever. AJ laughed at his aparent silliness over her favorite hat, and Spike lifted his head at the sound. "Ah ain't leaving for good Spike, ya know that. Pinkie brought ya here because she knew Ah needed saving next. She's here with us now in that there ring of yours."
Spike looked at his hand with the ring on it. The object glowed faintly. "Now look." Applejack continued "I'm going to be with ya for the rest of your journey too Spike, and I'm gonna take ya to the rest of us that need saving alright?"
Spike let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "Yeah." His voice sound rough. He finally took the hat, and something happened after he did. The glow that had been surrounding AJ was transferred over to her Stetson as he took it, then the orange glow moved over Spike's entire body. The cuts and aches lessened and healed, the dragon felt energy course throughout his body. He closed his eyes as the feeling surrounded him and before long Spike was fully healed.
When he reopened his eyes, the orchard was gone. No more trees or the bright blue sky over head. Spike looked around his new environment and saw that he was in a very familar cottage. Outside the windows he could see a heavy storm taking place. Rain and sleet pounded against the glass, in the distance Spike could hear the rumbling of thunder and the flash of lightning. When he looked at his hand the cowgirl's hat was gone, and what was there was an orange ring with the engravings of a bear. he slid it onto his middle finger, so it was next to the ring Pinkie had given him. He let out a slow breath and smiled. Applejack was right. She would be with him, and Spike felt better for it.
That is until he heard the soothing voice come from the shadows.
"~Oh Spike, it's so good to see you again.~"