Knights of the Realm

by Kinni

Return of Chaos

It should have been just an ordinary day for Spitfire. Taking the first year members of the group in a training exercise, checking for potential specialties and leadership potential, and doing reams of paperwork.

But instead, it turned out that Mauna Keep mountain, the place where they were training, was suddenly assaulted by what seemed to be a simple freak storm, but turned out to be a much more dangerous Freak Storm.

When the high-speed winds started, Spitfire ordered the members to assemble the fortifications they had brought in case of such an occasion, with the idea of simply waiting until the storm passed. However, the winds only became stronger and stronger, to the point where the fortifications were starting to break, so Spitfire ordered all the pegasi to join in a special defensive flight formation to try and escape from the area of effect of the storm.

It worked, despite things being touch and go for a bit, but they soon realized that the storm wasn't going to stop any time soon, and the town of Soledad's Harn was right in its path. And with how fast the storm was moving, there was no time for the town to be evacuated.

And they also realized that this wasn't just a common storm. The biped goblin-looking thing that was 30 meters tall shooting lightning all around with multiple limbs that he moved like a conductor to the movements of the winds was a pretty big clue. Even though they were prepared for many kinds of dangerous situations, that just wasn't the kind of freak weather the Wonderbolts were equipped and trained to handle.

But... Thankfully for the Wonderbolt leader, there was somepony else available who could deal with the situation.

One of the first year Wonderbolt members took off her uniform and spoke a few whispered words. Then, in a rush of magic, she was dressed in thin but powerful-looking magical armor.

She was Knight Rainbow Dash. And seeing her prepare like that, Spitfire calmed down a lot. If a Knight was there, that meant things would be okay.

Rainbow Dash called for their help. That was one of the benefits of Knighthood in Equestria, a level of authority where you can request help from any nearby ponies in case of need. Of course, considering the types of need that Knights have, the most common cases were requests from military or similar ponies or groups, so the Wonderbolts were a good choice.

"Wonderbolts!" She started a speech "Today, you stand to protect the lives of many innocent ponies! Today, you are going to go beyond anything you have ever done, for you won't be able to accept anything less! Today... You are going to be awesome."

She waited for a moment until her words had sunk in, then she gave actual orders:

"All of you, join together and make the strongest tornado you can! Move!"

They did it. Spitfire naturally took the lead and pushed herself in a way she hadn't done in years. Every single one of the pegasi put forth all their effort and pulled out every single scrap of magic they could possibly muster. Under the orders of the Knight, the Wonderbolts managed to reach levels of achievement that they definitely wouldn't have been able to in most circumstances.

The tornado grew, as the air itself hummed with the combined magical power of all the pegasi, the winds got stronger and stronger, and the immense amount of pegasus magic released in the air even caused the chaotic storm itself to react, "rearing back" as much as it was possible for something like a storm and gathering together to try to break through by force.

And even then, Rainbow Dash wasn't satisfied, as she watched from the side of the tornado, seemingly resisting the immense wind force without problem "Faster! You can do better than that!" She shouted, and released a pulse of magic into the winds of the tornado.

That pulse of magic touched every single one of the pegasi, invigorating them and allowing the group to push themselves even farther, but that was the least of the effects of that pulse of magic. The biggest effect was that it managed to briefly connect all of the pegasi in the tornado in a way that allowed them to pool their efforts, achieving a feat of teamwork that was far beyond whatever the Wonderbolts could have been able to do on their own.

And then, the winds of their tornado finally reached the leading edge of the chaotic storm that was threatening the village. And the shock of the sheer amount of ominous power they suddenly got in contact with almost caused the Wonderbolts to break away, unable to maintain their weather manipulation going. But they refused to stop. Each of them knew the others needed their help, and they didn't want to leave their companions helpless. That would have been the case even without the connection Rainbow Dash provided in between them, and that only made them even more dedicated to their task.

While the Wonderbolts did everything they could to resist the storm, Rainbow Dash was frowning. She already had suspicions, but the touch of the magic of the storm confirmed everything. What they were dealing with was chaos magic. Rainbow Dash immediately thought of Discord, before remembering how Sunset had said that sufficiently skilled mages could use chaos magic even if it wasn't part of their natural talent. Still, doing something like this certainly seemed like the kind of thing Discord would like. She supposed that the others would be able to tell her either way, but the main point was the fact that they had to deal with the situation, whatever was the cause of it.

Thankfully. Rainbow Dash was specially well suited to dealing with chaotic magic.

That was because of her magic shifting ability. During their encounter with Discord, Rainbow Dash had managed to severely wound him thanks to shifting her magical signature to harmony while doing a Sonic Rainboom, and later she figured out how to shift to harmony whenever she wanted.

This had some limitations. It was practically useless in one on one fights, because harmony depended upon a connection with others. The blow against Discord was only as effective as it was because every single one of the others was also trying to save Twilight and Pinkie at that moment, and because Discord was a true being of chaos, and more susceptible to that power. It had an average effectiveness when used to fight alongside her fellow Knights, because trying to focus their disparate wills into a useful amount of harmonic power in the middle of a hectic fight was complicated and somewhat predictable. But in a situation like that, where many individuals were focusing their wills in a single task and with a single objective... Then it was perfect.

Rainbow Dash had helped it along, sending a bit of harmonic magic to help the connection of the Wonderbolts and prepare the way for her attack, but now it was time for her to show what this kind of power could do in the hooves of somepony who was good enough to harness it. She saw that they were starting to be overwhelmed by the power of the storm, and that the source, that strange monster, was close enough.

"Retreat!" She shouted to them, and dived into the tornado.

She felt the other pegasi almost literally throw themselves out of the tornado, and then she used her pegasus magic to take control of it, forcing the winds to become even stronger by focusing them more and more, making the tornado smaller but increasingly dense, to the point where the air would have started to change into a liquid state due to the sheer pressure, were it not for the amount of magic coursing through it.

But that was only half of the equation. While Rainbow Dash was increasing the physical power of the winds, she was also harnessing the harmonic power from the focused efforts of the Wonderbolts. Using brief pulses of harmonic magic to direct it and fuse it with her will, Rainbow Dash was satisfied to see that the extremely dense tornado was also glowing with magic. So she waved her hoof upwards and the tornado actually started going down into a horizontal position. And with the way she was "holding it", the tornado was looking more and more like a spear.

The "goblin" clearly didn't like what she was doing, but it also clearly had no intention of stopping and trying to run away. The chaotic storm simply kept advancing, trying to sweep through the Knight with simple power. Rainbow Dash wondered if the monster even had enough intelligence to understand the concept of retreat, or if it was more like a living magical focus. Regardless, it wouldn't change the outcome.

"Harmonic Breaker..." Rainbow Dash started, focusing her muscles and magic for a single, powerful effort.

"Tornado Spear!" She shouted, throwing the tornado like a javelin.

The attack flew strangely slowly through the air, but there was a simple reason for that. The chaotic storm was using all of the power it could spare to prevent anything from getting close to the goblin "core". The tornado spear had to get through not only the simple physical power of the the storm, which had been building up for a while, but also the magical suppression of the chaotic energies that were at least intelligent enough to try and protect their weak point. Instead of a battle on the wind, this seemed more like a drill tunneling through the earth.

But there was no question to the ultimate outcome, as the Wonderbolts recovered and watched the titanically powerful magical attack slowly but steadily get through every single layer of defense the storm had in its path. They felt excitement for having had part in creating that scene, and they cheered when the goblin got pierced and exploded.

The storm dissipated into several high speed winds going in disparate directions, but the chaotic energy, now without a focus, turned into dozens of different bizarre effects on the environment, mostly creating a few short-lived monsters. One part of the wind got turned into some kind of wind monster that attacked the Wonderbolts, but Rainbow Dash flew in front of them and easily dealt with it.

As soon as she judged that the situation had came back under control, Rainbow Dash turned to Spitfire.

"I need to make a report and see what the situation is like in general, so you all should go back to base and keep an eye for more weirdness."

The Wonderbolt leader nodded at her, and Rainbow Dash flew off, quickly surpassing the speed of sound and flying from out of sight range.


Rainbow Dash got a message when she was nearing Canterlot that said to come back for a special meeting. This only increased her suspicions that the chaotic storm wasn't an isolated incident. She kept going and soon got to the same meeting room that everypony else used for that sort of situation. She soon realized that she had been the last one to arrive, and also that Fluttershy was the only other Knight who was wearing her armor.

"Knight Fluttershy, it seems like you were not the only one to have needed to fight recently." Celestia said, before turning to Rainbow Dash "Knight Rainbow Dash, I assume you have something to report, but first Fluttershy needs to inform everypony of what she told me."

The pink-maned pegasus cleared her throat and began her tale "I was going through the Misty Print valley, checking on the animals there... When I felt the presence of chaos magic in the air. Before I could decided whether it would be better to try to check it out or go back and get the help of the others... I heard a roar, and the hydra of that place came forth and tried to attack me."

She then stopped and shook her head before continuing "Ahm... But don't get the wrong idea. She is usually very calm unless somepony invades her territory. But this time, she was under the influence of chaos magic, which took the form of a minotaur-looking monster that was riding on her back." She blinked a few times "I knew that the hydra would cause a lot of damage if I just left without doing anything."

Fluttershy sighed "So I changed to my armor and used the manticore Animal Spirit again. I fought with the hydra for a few minutes, until I managed to attack the minotaur monster and destroy it. And then I could calm her down."

They all thought about that story for a moment, and then Princess Celestia nodded to Rainbow Dash, wordlessly asking her to speak.

"I was on Mauna Keep mountain together with a group of Wonderbolts when a storm came. It didn't seem like anything strange at first, only a fairly strong storm, but when it didn't pass and we had to forcefully fly away from it, it became obvious that the storm wasn't normal. I ordered the Wonderbolts to make a tornado and channeled it into a spear of wind empowered by harmony, since I could tell the power was chaos-based." She took a breath "The focus of the chaos was in the form of a kind of goblin thing and when it was destroyed, the storm dissipated."

Nodding, Princess Celestia then looked at Twilight Sparkle "With this new information, what we are facing here seems pretty obvious. Since this is your specialty, you explain it to them."

Twilight nodded, then cleared her throat and began to speak "Essentially, what we are dealing with here are Shards of Chaos. They are a phenomenon where a portion of chaos magic without direction fuses with a will of some kind instead of simply spending their energy causing chaotic effects. This only happens when the direction of the will drives the chaos magic into causing even more trouble, instead of doing something constructive. This renews and strengthens the chaos magic. Usually this is a rare occurrence, so for it to happen twice in so short a period..."

She sighed "The only possible explanation is Discord. The destruction of his body spread chaos magic all around the place, and I imagine that since he was destroyed by us, his influence on the chaotic magic made it so the shards of chaos created started activating at the same time, in order to cause more problems for the Knights, who would have to deal with them."

Celestia nodded "This all seems to hang together. But in that case, there shouldn't only be two Shards of Chaos activating, so do you have any idea of a way to track down the others before they cause too much damage?"

Twilight smiled "Actually. I have a perfect way of doing that. There's a special ritual I designed to take advantage of Fluttershy's empathic abilities for a tracking tool. And considering we have two specialists in chaotic magic here to serve as samples..." She looked at Pinkie Pie meaningfully.

Celestia agreed with the proposal, and soon Twilight had drawn a large magic circle inside the meeting room. In the middle of the circle was a map, and Twilight, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy joined their fore hooves in a circle around the map.

"Let's start." Twilight said, and activated the circle.