Hero Souls: Awakening

by SvenFoxx

26. Skyland Complications

“That was really all you had on them?” Celestia asked calmly, not turning from her dinner.

A chuckle sounded from the shadows, making the four members of the Solar Guard in the room with Celestia tense and look around warily. “Please, you know me better than that.”

A folder dropped onto the table in front of Celestia, next to her dinner plate. No one could find whoever had dropped it. Celestia didn’t even try to search.

“That’s everything I could get. We nearly lost one of our best deep cover agents to get it too. Unfortunately, it’s worrying.”

Curiosity peaked, Celestia opened the folder. There was only a single photo in it. She frowned, levitating the picture out and examining it closely. It’s quality wasn’t the best, but there was no mistaking the red gem encrusted into the black necklace. “The Alicorn Amulet?”

“I personally chucked that thing in a volcano after it tried to manipulate one of our sisters. How it’s not molten slag right now is beyond me, nor do I know why this group has it.” The voice turned serious. “If your student was to ever wear this thing…”

Celestia closed her eyes. “ ...I don’t know that I could stop her, even before she became…” she trailed off.

“There’s no hiding that your student is different, Celestia. She hasn’t exactly been subtle. Whispers of fanatically loyal super-soldier clones are circulating the underground again. The only reason we haven’t tried to take her out to prevent her turning that power on Equestria is her position as the Element of Magic.” There was a pause. “... If she should ever lose that connection to the Element…”

Celestia nodded and sighed. “I know,” she whispered. “I have absolute faith in her, but if she became that kind of danger, one that would make the Element of Friendship itself abandon her… I’ll do it myself. It would be the least I owed her for failing her that badly.”

Silence reigned for a few moments, before a card landed in front of Celestia. She instantly tucked it into her mane almost without thinking. “As per usual, you can only contact me with that card once. Remember Celestia, ask and the shadows will guard you from the scorching Light. Demand, and they shall burn you far faster than the Light ever could.”

Celestia gave no indication that she heard him. She knew he was already gone anyways. She glanced at her personal guards. “I believe it goes without saying that this conversation didn’t happen.” All four Solar Guards saluted in unison. She nodded. “As you were,” she instructed.

A few moments later, as she was finishing her dinner, three Royal Guards entered the room. The middle, a Captain, saluted. “Your Highness!”

“At ease, Captain. How can I help you?” Celestia asked, standing and levitating the folder with her.

“I’ve just received word from these two recruits that the prisoner, Shadow, is missing from his cell. It appears he has escaped.”

Celestia nearly dropped her folder in shock. “Scramble the Wonderbolts for a manhunt!” she ordered after a moment. “Find him! And station a platoon in Ponyville. I don’t want him anywhere near Twilight and her friends.”

The three saluted. “At once, your Highness!” the Captain declared, before they left.

“... That was him, wasn’t it?”

Celestia glanced at one of her Guard, the one that had spoken. “I have no idea who you’re talking about,” she stated firmly.

The guard took the hint and dropped it.

That was when Celestia happened to glance at a window. She blinked, not quite sure if she should believe what she was seeing. Then she groaned. ‘I do not need this right now…’ she thought, staring at the pitch black smog that slowly, almost carefully, stretched over the sky from the horizon.


Twilight looked at her gathered friends, each of them occasionally glancing at the smog in the sky in worry. Spike was at her side, looking determinedly at the sky, almost angrily.

“The letter from the Princess came almost immediately after I sent an inquiry to her regarding the smoke,” she began. “Thankfully, she says this isn’t an inferno spreading across Equestria. Unfortunately, what is generating the smoke is worse. Mares… and drake,” she added, remembering Spike. “There’s a dragon, full grown, in Equestria.”

Everyone gasped, and Spike’s dark expression shifted fully into anger as he glared at the sky. Twilight noticed, but said nothing. For now.

Why is there a dragon in Equestria?” Applejack asked. Half-remembered history lessons dug their way to the forefront of her mind. “No, better question. How?! I thought all dragons had to uphold the Skyland Concord?” She glanced at Spike after a moment. “Well, besides dragons born here, I reckon…” she mused to herself.

Twilight shook her head. “Unknown. All we know at this time is that this dragon has so far only come into Equestria and promptly fallen asleep. He is unconsciously expelling a highly magic resistant smoke in said sleep, which is worrying, almost more-so than the fact that he’s here.”

“Why?” Rarity asked.

In place of Twilight answering, Spike took a deep breath and expelled a rather impressive gout of green fire at the ground between Twilight and her friends, startling them. After a moment the fire died down. In place of the grass there was now a burnt circle.

And no smoke.

“Smoke is produced when a fire isn’t hot enough to completely burn the hydrocarbons in the fuel source, sending carbon and tar particles into the air,” Spike explained. “Dragon fire is a lot hotter and more powerful than a normal fire, meaning there’s very little that it won’t burn completely. If this dragon is producing smoke in his sleep, his fire is trying to burn something… and failing.” He blushed at the pride filled look Twilight sent him.

Twilight looked around at her friends, her expression firming up. “Due to the Skyland Concord, Celestia can’t officially force the dragon to leave. As far as we can tell he’s not actively trying to endanger us. But if we leave him be, he’ll eventually blot out the Sun with the smoke he’s producing. If he does, it will take decades, maybe even over a century, for the smoke to clear, and that’s only after he wakes up and stops producing it.”

Twilight point off towards the horizon, where the smoke is coming from. “Celestia can’t send the Royal Guard or any other official military or law enforcement organization to wake him without possibly incurring the wrath of the dragons, so she’s sending us with the Elements of Harmony in the hope that we can use them to help the dragon if he needs it… or banish him if he's malicious in his intentions.” She looked at her friends. “Get your hiking gear, girls. We’ve got a journey on our hooves.”