A New Flame

by The Zebra Hybrid

Act 2: A New Set of Prisoners

Crystal Palace

The group of ponies stood silent as Trixie finished her her tale. She had started from where she first encountered Malefor to them traveling to the changeling hive and agreeing to come to the Crystal Empire for aid, and the recent events in Manehattan. The dragons in the room didn't seem to be affected for they already knew the story but the ponies couldn't think what to say, not even Princess Luna herself.

"Why would Malefor use his time to help the changelings?" questioned Celestia.

Trixie shook her head in response, "Honestly Trixie hasn't the slightest clue."

Luna scoffed, "Please it's obvious that he is using the changelings to his advantage."

"And why would you say that?" stepped in Cadence.

"He simply wants an army. It's what I would do in his situation, gain a nation's trust and support, and use them against your enemies."

"You don't know that." weakly said Flashwing, she had woken up during Trixie's story and she was feeling a lot better. She still wasn't at a hundred percent and still had to be somewhat supported by Bash but she could still get around. "If he needed only the changelings why would he still need Trixie?" she continued.

"I think Luna has a point on this one." suddenly said Shining as the attention was now on him.

"Shining Armor..." started Applejack but was cut off by the white stallion prince.

"I'm sorry but we just don't have enough information on Malefor other than that he killed a few guards and attacked the princesses. James I could show a little more mercy due to the letters that we get from Twilight, but it has been reported that even him has killed some guards as well."

"But that was only because he was protecting us!" protested Rarity.

"You have to understand," started Cadence, "Those guards had families and were protecting the one they cared for as well, but that doesn't give him the right to commit murder."

"So you're taking their side of the story?" questioned Sam with a nervous look.

"We're not taking any side, at least not yet." replied Cadence.

"But if we don't get proof soon then we'll have to believe the princesses, for we can't go on just a couple of stories." explained Shining Armor.

Bash growled, this was not going as well as they expected. If only the princesses weren't here this would have gone more smoothly, but every time they would fire something it would blow right back in their faces. Where the hell were those two dragons? He turned to Luna and she seemed to notice his troubled look, he had a slight confused face before it dawned on him.

"Did she know?" he whispered.

"Which reminds me." spoke up Luna, "Where is James and Malefor, surely they would've been here by now."

"We are uncertain where the two dragons are." stated Drobot.

"Then I suggest they get soon." said Luna in a mocking tone.

"I detect mockery in your tone Princess Luna, do you know where they are?"

"Of course not you bucket of bolts! If I did I would be there right now instead of here."

Drobot, although no one saw under his helmet, was giving Luna a stern look, she knew where James and Malefor were or at least why they are absent so long. Before Drobot could retort the throne room doors burst open revealing a familiar group pf ponies and dog.

Twilight, Fluttershy, Derpy, Rainbow, Bolt, and Pinkie with tired and worried expressions were now standing in the throne room with them. Twilight, Fluttershy, and Derpy instantly saw the other dragons in the room and tried to spot purple drake that was supposed to be with them.

"Twilight?" Cadence said in shock and confusion, "What are you-"

"Princess!" came in a crustal guard, "We have urgent news. We were just informed that two dragons were captured trying to infiltrate the city."

Now this piece of information got every one's in the room attention. Who else could those two dragons be? Shining composed himself "Where are these dragons now?" he asked.

"We have them chained in the dungeon sir." replied the guard.

It was then everyone in the throne room rushed out and headed toward the dungeons.

Crystal Palace; Dungeons

I groaned in pain as I open my eyes. I tried to pull my self only to feel a heavy weight pull me back down. As my vision became clearer I noticed the chains on four of my limbs, including my wings, with one around my neck as well. I shake the chains and pull on them, trying to use my enhanced strength to break them but it was no use. I was far to exhausted to do anything.

I tried to use my magic to teleport out but it would only flicker out. Those ponies probably warded the damn cage. The sound of banging caught my attention to the right, and I was not surprised to see Malefor struggling to break his chains and shouting not so friendly words and phrases. How did we get here? The last thing I remember was the crystal guards attacking us, but the rest is just blank.

"Malefor," I call out as I start to feel a migraine coming on.

Malefor stopped his useless attempts at breaking the chains and turned to me, "Well, look who decided to wake up. If you're done napping I could use some help."

"Nice to see you too, asshole," I say sarcastically as Malefor went back to do trying to escape, "That won't work, they warded the cage so we're stuck here for a while."

The darker version of myself growled before giving the chains he was hooked on one last pull, only for the result to be the same. He roared in anger and punched the ground forming a few cracks, "DAMN IT! We were so close! If only that piece of shit Discord didn't cut us off we would've been with the others by now!"

"Well, there is nothing we can do now." I say.

"What do you mean! You can help me figure a way out of this!"

"And then what would we do! If you haven't notice that we are in a palace literally littered with guards. Not to mention the others are probably talking with the rulers here as we speak."

Malefor calmed down and sat on his haunches, "You think they'll convince them?"

I gave him a confident smile, "If I know Sam, I say she has this in the bag."

Crystal Empire; Streets

Five small individuals walked through the streets of the Crystal Empire, conversing on how to save their dragon friend. These individuals are Sweetie Belle, Dinky, Applebloom, Scootaloo, and Spike. The small baby dragon knew why the fillies wanted him to come along. The thing he couldn't understand was why Princess Luna hated James so much, at first he thought it was because James was a dragon. But so was he and he got along great with Luna.

He was glad he accepted the fillies offer, maybe he could put a stop to what was going on. His thoughts were interrupted as he bumped into the back of the girls and fell on his back. "What was that girls?" groaned Spike in pain as the four fillies were looking at the gate in front of them that led to the Crystal Palace but was armed to the teeth with guards.

"How are we going to get passed that?" asked Applebloom.

"I say we rush in! One of us is bound to make it." suggested Scootaloo.

"That's a terrible idea." replied Dinky.

Spike put a claw to his chin until something clicked in his mind, which Sweetie seemed to notice, "You think of something Spike?"

The baby dragon nodded, "I think I did, If I remember correctly there should be an underground network of tunnels under the city."

"Yeah, and?" asked Scootaloo gesturing Spike to go on.

"Well, if my memory serves me correct, one of them should lead to a secret passage to the palace."

The girls ear perked up as they all cheered, "Nice thinking Spike!" praised Dinky

Spike blushed in embarrassment "It was nothing!"

"Maybe you're not useless after all!" commented Scootaloo.

"Yeah- HEY!" yelled Spike.

Crystal Palace; Dungeons

"So...you want to talk about them." suddenly said Malefor snapping me from my thoughts.

"Huh?" I ask tilting my head in confusion.

"Don't play dumb. Did you choose who you're going to be with."

I stay quiet. How could I choose? Sam has been there since the beginning, Fluttershy was always there to take care of me, Derpy made me laugh when I was feeling down, and Twilight was able to help me adapt to this world. Each girl had something that I loved about them, but which do I choose?

I know Rarity mentioned something about herds but I know Sam will never in a million years do something like that. She can barely share a bag of chips, why would she be able to share me? Even, surprisingly, Fluttershy was a bit possessive as well even though she barely showed because of her shy nature I could still tell.

"I don't know." I finally say.

Malefor growled, "That's not an answer."

"And why the hell do you care!"

"Because it's eating you up inside and it's sickening for me to watch. These girls clouded your mind and it almost got you killed two or three times."

I perk up at his comment and turned to my darker self, "What do you mean by that?"

"Tell me when you're fighting do you think of them at all?"

"Of course! I think of what would happen if I don't-"

"Stop. That's the problem right there, you are too worried about them that you're not thinking straight."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Was Malefor saying that they were a distraction? That can't be right can it? No, they are the reason I'm still alive today, but not just them Rainbow, Pinkie, Applejack, Rarity, Dinky, Sweetie, Scoots, Applebloom, Spike, and Bolt. They all motivate me to keep pushing and to stay alive.

"Your wrong!" I exclaimed toward Malefor, "They are the reason I'm still alive!"

"Look," retorted Malefor, "I'm not saying to completely cut them off, but you need to focus on the task at hand. You can't protect them if your all you think about is them. Trust me I know the feeling."

"Wait..You're not talking about.."

"Trixie? Of course, who else did you think I was referring to?"

"Well, I mean I didn't think you could love....anything."

"Pfft, asshole."

"Hey weren't you the one that went on a rampage after breaking from that crystal?"

"Touche. But in all seriousness, and this stays between us, I have grown quite fond of her during our time together." I notice as Malefor's tone suddenly became quieter, "Those changelings are counting on me and her to save their race, but here we are locked in a dungeon. To be honest, I don't really know why I chose to help the changelings...I just felt a strange feeling in my chest when Chrysalis was on her death bed, I felt so helpless."

I listen to his words as they hit me like a rock, "I think I know why," I say gaining his attention, "It's because of Sam. When she got shot at that damn movie theater, then me...I mean us...not being able to do anything but to watch her die in that hospital bed."

"You might be right," Malefor's voice suddenly start to crack catching me off guard, "I-I don't want that to happen again. N-Not to the changelings, and not even Trixie. Heh...I guess I know how you feel when it comes to those other ponies. Tell me this James, are you certain that they will pull through?"

I nod, "Malefor, I'm a hundred percent sure that-"

I was cut off by the sound of a door being slammed open and the rushing of multiple steps head toward our cages. Our eyes widened as we were met with Applejack, Rarity, Sam, Trixie, Drobot, Flashwing, Bash, and what I assumed was Princess Cadence and Shining Armor. But they didn't catch out attention, with them was non other than Twilight, Fluttershy, Derpy, Bolt, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie, Celesita and....

"Oh shit.." me and Malefor mutter as the Princess of the night strolled to our cage.

"Hello dragons," she says in a cocky voice, "nice to see you again."