It was the day of the Shards of Chaos mission. Seven of the eight Knights had just opened up a portal and jumped through it in order to go on a rescue mission for their last member. Spike and Moondancer had been left outside to keep the portal safe and act as a connection to allow the others to come back more easily.
"What are you doing?" Spike asked Moondancer, seeing her drawing magical circles on the ground.
"Preparing." Was the answer "Unlike the Knights, I'm not strong enough to be able to fight using just my power, so I'm making preparations so I can help you in case it is needed."
"Ah, that makes sense." Spike said, and looked around once more to see if there were any problems coming.
It was pretty much unneeded, considering that he would have already noticed any changes in the situation just with his passive senses, but Spike was bored, and it was better if he didn't keep staring at Moondancer.
The situation was already awkward enough without dealing with that. Spike almost wished Princess Celestia was still there, but chaotic magic was unpredictable even in the best circumstances, and it was really for the best that she had taken Peppermint away to be healed immediately.
For the better or for the worse, Spike didn't need to keep thinking about, because as he was examining the magical circles to see what he could understand about them, his hearing captured distant walking sounds, and he looked at their source to see the new threat that had suddenly appeared.
She was a... pony, perhaps? It was difficult to tell, because while their shape was very similar to that of a pony mare, there were some glaring features that completely did not fit into the appearance of a pony. Specifically, they were rabbit features: Ears, eyes, whiskers and tail in the style of a rabbit, but sized for a pony body, and her whole fur was a light violet. And when Spike paid a bit more attention, he realized that her body shape itself wasn't entirely identical to that of a pony. Specifically, the hips were arranged in such a way that she would probably be more comfortable walking on two legs instead of four, even though she was walking on four when Spike saw her.
It seemed to be some kind of technique for moving fast, as the "pony" was coming towards them in a kind of bouncing run that looked somewhat weird, but covered ground fairly effectively. Spike called to Moondancer, already focusing on the threat:
"Possible enemy coming."
Moondancer looked up and saw the direction Spike was looking. She did a small spell that manipulated the air in front of herself into a lens to be able to see at a distance.
"Ah, it's another one of those constructs." She said.
"Anyone you recognize?"
"Another famous old Knight. That's Bunny Hammer, the Guardian of Existence. She was originally a normal rabbit changed by a spell from an warlock as part of a plan that she ended up foiling."
"Anything I should know about?" Spike was already preparing for battle.
"Probably just physical combat. Her dimensional locking magic is definitely way beyond whatever those constructs should be capable off, and most of her long range needs were covered by her partner." Moondancer was putting the last touches on what she could of the magical circles.
"A breezy who was her first friend. She was called Knight Ribbon, the Legendary Partner, because she was always together with Bunny."
"Understood." Spike tightened his fists and ran towards the enemy to initiate hostilities.
"Draconic Aura: Arms of the Dragon!" Spike used his usual opening move, creating his energy arms and punching at the opponent.
But Bunny Hammer wasn't the kind of fighter who would just allow herself to be hit, and while the construct couldn't reproduce her perfectly, it was enough to allow her to react to that sort of attack without problems. She got up onto her rear legs and extended her right foreleg, manifesting a hammer made out of red energy that she held with both forehooves and swung at the fist.
Both Spike and Bunny recoiled from the impact, neither one managing to get any advantage over the other, but Bunny recovered first, and she moved to Spike's right side in an instant, using a flash step. She swung the hammer again, and this time Spike barely managed to bring his elbow to block the attack, but out of balance, he was sent flying.
But Spike was very determined, he had barely left the ground when his left arm forcefully pierced into the ground, and with a sound of tearing earth, the dragon forcefully reversed his momentum and flew right at his opponent, swiping his right arm in a back hand that made Bunny Hammer be the one to fly.
Spike made to follow her, but suddenly realized that she had left a surprise right at his feet, a carrot made of the same red energy of the hammer, and it was quickly destabilizing.
Spike blocked with both arms, but the shockwave of the explosion still rocked him, and then his eyes started to sting, as he realized the explosion had released some sort of poisonous green gas, and even his draconic biology was having trouble trying to fight off the damage. Bunny Hammer came to attack as he was distracted...
And ran into a barrier.
"Magic Ritual: Endless Magical Barriers." Moondancer announced "I may not be a Knight or a Squire, but I'm still here, you know?"
Bunny Hammer looked at her and immediately flash stepped with a swing. Moondancer created ten layers of barriers to block her, and the enemy managed to break through all but one of them. But the force of the attack had been bled off, and Moondancer had time to channel more magic into the remaining shield to drive it forward and force Bunny away.
The enemy then had to turn back and swing her hammer once more, as Spike had already recovered from the poison and was ready to greet her with a punch. Again, the shock of their attacks was tremendous, and again neither of the two managed to gain an advantage over the other. However, this time, both of them recovered at the same time, which meant that Bunny Hammer decided that she had to change things up.
Instead of attacking again, she started to Flash Step continuously, showing exactly how much mobility a true close combat expert had when pressed. Spike could barely follow her movements with his eyes, and he brought his arms around to protect himself, but of course Bunny Hammer had an answer for that.
Stopping her movements for just a moment, she struck the ground with the hammer, creating a shockwave that traveled along the earth and bypassed Spike's defense. He felt his organs shake, which meant that attack would have probably disabled most opponents by itself, and it managed to stun Spike for a short time.
So, of course, Bunny Hammer turned her attention towards Moondancer. But by that point, the unicorn had already prepared for such a thing.
Moondancer had created dozens of overlaying, moving shields, creating a formation that reminded one of a lotus flower, except that it was multilayered and didn't have any blind spots due to the flying shields defending it from the air, along with some shields partially buried on the ground and probably some which were underground as well.
Bunny Hammer flash stepped all around the field, attacking from every direction, but even though she could destroy some of the barriers, there were always more to take up the slack, and Moondancer was constantly creating even more of them. And so, the opponent had made no progress by the time Spike decided to change things up as well.
"Draconic Self: Sonic Wyrm!" He shouted, and changed.
He became slightly taller, his legs changed into a form more similar to that of a wolf, and he got thinner and more "streamlined", like a jet. His colors also changed, to a light blue and gold. And then, he moved.
Sonic Wyrms were the fastest dragons in the world. After growing up and gaining their wings, they could easily reach multiples of the speed of sound, but even before that, their natural magic was based towards speed, and they could move at extreme speeds while still having perfect control of their movements.
And Spike definitely showed that, as he managed to keep up with Bunny Hammer's flash stepping. He couldn't use the draconic aura as well (for now), but as he fought off the enemy, she wasn't able to bring her whole power to bear against him due to having no time to brace herself, so for the next stage of their fight, the next hundred (very fast) exchanges, the two of them were surprisingly evenly matched.
And that was when Moondancer made herself known again. She decided that the best way to help was using her magical shields to cut off Bunny's routes and herd her towards Spike, as well as hindering her movement to keep her off-balance, and pretty soon, the magical construct was taking damage little by little.
So, she decided to change the script again.
Opening her mouth, she created a sphere of green light (different from the energy manipulation she had been doing) inside it. And then she fired it, in a blast of green light that split into dozens of strands that all hit Spike at once.
It wasn't that powerful, but it broke Spike's rhythm, so he almost missed the secondary effect of the attack, Bunny's wounds healed visibly.
Understanding that he didn't want her to be able to use that continuously, Spike immediately drove back into the fight, but even though he attacked even more aggressively than before, he was unable to prevent Bunny from charging up again a few exchanges later, this time a sphere of blue light.. At the last moment, Spike dodged away from his opponent in order to avoid the attack.
However, the blue attack had its own gimmick as well. It split into dozens of small blue spheres that homed in on Spike.
He dodged again and again, forcefully changing his direction a few times, and managed to successfully make the attacks lose track of him, but it took a good two seconds, and Bunny had time to charge yet another attack, and charge way beyond the level of power of the previous spells.
This time, the sphere of light was orange, and instead of firing at Spike, she shot straight up, and it disappeared on the overhanging clouds. Moments later, a beam of energy fell from the sky straight at Spike.
Exploding into movement, Spike managed to avoid the attack, but that was only the beginning, soon the space was full of a constant stream of beams of magic, and it was all Spike could do to keep dodging even with the hypermobility his newest form conferred him. And there was no chance of Moondancer helping either, because she was dealing with her own stream of attacks, and had to focus every single shield she could create upwards in order to endure.
Thankfully, Bunny herself seemed to need to manually control that attack, so they didn't need to deal with the possibility of being attacked by her in addition to that spell. But they were being worn down, and Bunny seemed to have energy to spare. And Spike was wondering why Moondancer hadn't mentioned anything about those abilities. And soon he got his answer.
"She's using the abilities of Ribbon... I think this is a special construct with two cores, one for the Bunny abilities and the other for Ribbon's..." Came a whisper in the wind, a small spell Moondancer had done to pass information.
Spike nodded inwardly, still doing his best to dodge, that seemed like a strong possibility, but how could they defeat her, then?
"Why don't you try the Mana Twister form?" Came the whisper again, and Spike briefly considered the possibility that she was reading his thoughts, before realizing exactly what was the plan she had thought off.
Still, the attacks weren't stopping, and Spike needed at least a moment of peace to shift his form. So he ran to Moondancer's side, taking advantage of the protection granted by her shields.
"Draconic Self: Mana Twister!" He shouted, and changed again.
This new form was very different from any of his previous forms, starting with the fact that he now had four arms instead of two. He had become monocolored with a purple color, but this purple was much sharper and brighter than the color he had in his normal form. His eyes were also different, having achieved a kind of "depth" that was very difficult to describe, looking like they were portals to the deep space, and if one looked closely, they could even faintly see stars within them.
His crest had split into two "antennas", that grew from opposite sides of the head and pointed in opposite directions, almost touching each other. The antennas gave a mysterious impression, as if the space between them was somehow different from the entire rest of the world. Finally, his body had become shorter and stouter than before, looking somewhat chubby.
Mana Twisters were some of the rarest dragon breeds in the world, and the reason for that was the fact that while most dragons were generalists that were not weak even outside their strong points, their particular breed was a true specialist, which was unable to fly and did not have particularly great physical abilities. Their only strong point was their natural ability to manipulate magic, and that was what the two were counting on to defeat their enemy.
"Ghhhh...!" However, protecting Spike, even for the small period of time that he needed to transform wasn't easy, because she now had to endure the entire bombardment that Bunny Hammer was capable of now that she had only a single target.
Blood flowed down from the side of her mouth as she bravely endured the feedback of the attacks. Once more, Moondancer marveled at the strength of the Knights. Even though she was using the magic circle as a medium with access to a huge amount of power, she was barely holding together, while the Knights faced those kinds of odds using only their own power.
Still, she was at least capable enough to do her task, and she managed to hold on until the newly transformed Spike joined his four hands together and twisted.
But he didn't twist his hands, instead what he twisted was the magic in the environment, forcefully bending the blasts of power of the opponent and causing them to strike the earth instead of the shields.
Moondancer sighed heavily in relief, that had been close.
Upon seeing that her attacks weren't working, Bunny Hammer changed tactics again. This time she charged a red light attack, and by the looks of it, it was going to be even stronger than the previous one.
Spike looked at Moondancer "Tch, I don't know how I can get close enough to her in this form."
However, the unicorn only smirked "As one of the top magic researchers in Equestria, I know a lot of interesting magic. I'll support you."
Then she activated a different set of magic circles, and Spike saw and felt several lines of magic congregate around him and slowly fuse together.
"Magic Ritual: Dragon Enhance." Moondancer spoke, and the lines melded into Spike.
The dragon felt as if his body was exploding with power. His magical senses were enhanced beyond anything he could imagine, and he felt as if he could warp space itself just by twisting the magic in it.
Boost magic was a rather powerful and uncommon magical category, and magic capable of affecting dragons was the same, so the kind of boost magic capable of affecting dragons was something extremely difficult to see, but of course, Moondancer herself had explained it when she spoke about knowing a lot of interesting magic.
And before Spike could react to the sudden changes, Bunny Hammer finished charging, and she fired a monumental blast of magic at the two, and it was clearly powerful, enough that even Sunset would be impressed. Immediately, Spike felt himself being forced forward, and realized that another one of Moondancer's shields was pushing him, this time created entirely by her own magic, since the magic circle was occupied.
In the last second before hitting the blast, Spike brought his hands together again and twisted.
And the gigantic blast of magic split in two like a river. Even though Bunny Hammer kept pouring more power into the blast, it was like Spike was an unbreakable dam that split a river in two. He got closer and closer, moved by Moondancer's shield, until he finally managed to touch his opponent.
And again, he twisted.
Having two cores meant that the Bunny Hammer construct was powerful and could use two distinct sets of abilities, but that was the equivalent of having two souls in a single body, and the smallest loss of balance between the two souls would lead to catastrophic consequences.
And that was exactly what happened, Spike managed to twist the connections between the two magical cores, causing a chain reaction that resulted in an immediate explosion.
Spike opened his eyes and saw Moondancer looking down at him.
"What happened?" He asked.
"The explosion of the construct was stronger than we expected. It knocked you out since the Mana Twister isn't a particularly resilient dragon. It broke your Draconic Self, but you've been unconscious for only a couple of minutes."
Spike looked at himself and saw that she was right, he was back to normal form, but it seemed like they had won. He stood up and winced, as his body protested the sudden action.
Ignoring it, he asked Moondancer:
"What about the portal?"
"It's still there. It looks like the Knights are still fighting."
"Well, I guess it's back to waiting, then." Spike said, and he and Moondancer started walking back towards the portal.
"What was that Dragon Enhance thing you used about?"
Moondancer smiled and started to talk about how it worked.
The awkwardness Spike had been feeling before was all gone now. Amazing what a fight could do to bring ponies and dragons together...