My Little Unicorn: Magic is Believing Redo
Rewrite By: Raising Shadows
Author's Notes: Well. Here we are with the second chapter. No turning back now. I'm in this thing for the long haul. As I have stated before, I do not own any of either the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or My Little Unicorn: Magic is Believing fictional works and I don't intend to. This is my take on a crappy story that I thought needed to be changed and worked on to be made better. Thanks for reading and on with the fic!
Episode 2: The Return of Darkness Part 2
“TITAN. HAS. RETURNED!”
Those three words seemed to silence the entire world, even as the robed humanoid scanned the crowd with his menacing red eyes. The sound of his voice seemed to wake the neighborhood from its slumber, as more and more unicorns and other citizens began to come from out of their homes to see what all the fuss was about.
“Uh... Did that guy just say what I think he said?” Someone asked from the crowd.
“There's no way that he's here.” Another voice commented.
“This guy's a fake!”
“There's no way that-
SILENCE!” The humanoid snapped, striking the ground with the butt of his staff with such a force that it caused a shock wave which knocked the Unicornicopians to the ground. “You are all fools to believe that your precious Grand Ruler's seal on my home planet would hold out forever. My will is absolute, and cannot be crushed by your ruler's foolish notions of justice.”
“Hey, No one talks about the Grand Ruler that way and gets away with it!” One of the first unicorns on their hooves snapped, glaring at Titan. Several others nodded in agreement before leaping into the air at the sorcerer.
“Hah, you think that you can honor your pathetic ruler? Fine, come at me fools.” Titan snapped, watching as the lead unicorn, a light blue one with a brighter blue mane and tail concentrated as his horn flared up with magic. After a few seconds his entire body was covered in a liquid-like armor that surrounded almost all of his entire body. Titan didn't blink, nor did he move as the other unicorns that followed him changed into suits of armor of their own as they closed the distance.
“You're gonna rue the day that you insulted the Grand Ruler!” The lead unicorn snapped, reeling his right fist back as a ball of water began to form. He then punched the ball, it turning into a huge cylindrical wave that washed over Titan. The other unicorns followed suit as they launched orbs of magical energy in a small plethora of colors which collided into the swirling aquatic vortex before exploding in a flash of bright light. As the display of magic from the attacking unicorns ended, it appeared to where Titan stood was only a cloud of smoke.
That was too easy. Lightning thought, getting to his hooves at the same time that everyone else did. The unicorns that went in for the initial attack calmed themselves down, looking confident that the threat had been neutralized. One even kissed the lead unicorn on the cheek, causing him to go bright red for a moment before smiling goofily.
“You do realize that this isn't over right?” Buddy Rose whispered in Lightning's ear from behind him. “If that guy was really Titan, then he's probably got something up his sleeve.”
Lightning nodded. “Yeah, we need to be ready for anything.” He said.
No sooner than when the attacking unicorns started celebrating, did a cold and heartless laugh bellow from the smoke cloud. It started low, barely loud enough for anyone that wasn't within a foot of the cloud to hear, and then it grew into a sort of demonic wail. As the laughing continued the unicorns both in their armor and closest to the house all tensed up and attempted to prepare themselves for anything.
Just then, a wave of unbelievably black energy came from the cloud of smoke and slammed into the attackers, knocking them out of their armor and onto the ground with a set of heavy thuds. Several unicorns in the group in front of the house immediately cast spells that would generate a barrier as the wave slammed into their position before dissipating as quickly as it came.
“No way...” The lead unicorn gasped. “We hit you with our best attacks...”
The cloud of smoke finally faded away, revealing Titan to be completely uninjured from the combined assault of the Unicornicopians. “Pathetic.” He scoffed. “You think that display would harm me? I am a master sorcerer who wields the very Essence of Darkness itself! What you called an attack was merely child's play.” He then raised a hand of his own, as the orb that hung from his neck began to glow and radiate with a black light. The unicorns all struggled to get up to defend themselves, but were too late as beams of dark energy surged from the orb and enveloped their bodies before causing them to disappear before shooting back to the orb. Their cries for help were silenced as the orb stopped glowing, only now containing a mist-like fog that swirled around inside like a storm. “Yessssss... Give me more... Give me more!” He moaned, his body beginning to radiate with a dull purple light.
Lightning stepped forward, glaring at Titan. “What did you do to them?” He snapped.
The dark wizard raised his staff as the orb around his neck began to glow again. “The same thing that I'm going to do to you and everyone else in this pathetic city! The Rainbow Capital shall fall and all will know the true name of Titan!” He bellowed, raising the staff higher into the air. The mechanical serpent that had remained stationary high above their heads roared to life as several beams of white-hot plasma shot out from its sides, striking and shattering a now visible golden barrier that once hung over the city. The serpent then began circling the skies, firing plasma bolts in seemingly random directions from the ground, causing the spectators to look on with horror. “Your threat is not with the beast in the sky, but with me!” He snapped, causing the unicorns to look back at him before getting blasted by a barrage of black lightning that erupted from his staff. The lightning cleared the distance between himself and the crowd that it didn't give the unicorns time to throw up another shield to block it.
A violent explosion knocked Lightning off of his hooves and into the living room of his new home. He heard a voice shriek, “LIGHTNING!” From above him, and weakly got into a sitting position. “Kry... Krysta?” He asked, seeing the fairy hover above his head.
“Yes Lightning, I'm here.” Krysta answered, fluttering down to the unicorn's face before turning around. “What's going on?”
Lightning, who was shaken from Titan's spell, unsteadily got to his hooves. “I don't know... But apparently Titan has returned.” He said, watching as several other unicorns got back up or helped others up as the sorcerer began laughing a second time.
“I'm glad that you are squirming like the vermin that you are, but it is now time to end this. Your magic, what it is was or will be, shall now be all mine!” Titan cried as his orb began to glow a second time. The orb around his neck then began to resonate with the staff that he carried as another wave of dark energy beams shot out from it and started picking out unicorns from the crowd. Those that weren't caught watched as some struggled, and some were being dragged, by the beams of energy to Titan. After they got a reasonably close distance to him, the beams of energy consumed their victims, their screams resounding throughout the night as they too were sucked into the black orb.
Lightning couldn't believe his eyes, watching as the dark smoke that was in Titan's orb now grew in density. Something snapped inside the unicorn that had never been released before, and without thinking he charged the sorcerer. Lightning had never run so fast in his life, but something deep inside him wanted to make him end Titan. Closer and closer the unicorn ran, until he leapt right at Titan with his left fist reeled back. It didn't even make halfway as Titan stabbed him in the left shoulder with the stinger from the wyvern's tail about halfway into his jump. Lightning let out a horrified scream, as a healthy spurt of blood escaped from his lips, before he was reeled back and launched back to the crowd of unicorns.
“FOOL! Did you really think that you could face me on your own?” Titan shouted, watching as Lightning bounced like a ball on the hard concrete patio before skidding to a stop. The sorcerer smiled as a puddle of blood began to form from the open wound even as several other unicorns tried treating his injury.
“What... What are you... What are you going to do with them?” Lightning asked, holding a hand to his open wound as he struggled to get back up.
“You should just stay down. It will mean your end all that much easier when your turn finally comes.” Titan scoffed, glaring at the struggling unicorn in front of him. “As for your question, I do not believe that you are in the position to be asking that. Especially when you are next!” He said, holding his staff up at Lightning and readying another shot. Before anyone had too much time to react, the spell was released as Titan took dead aim at Lightning.
“LOOK OUT!” A voice cried to Lightning's right. He turned, watching as Krysta flew as fast as she could before slamming into his body, moving it just enough to avoid an impact with the beam of magic before getting hit herself. The fairy struggled against the beam of magic for a few moments before she too was dragged and absorbed into the orb around Titan's neck.
“KRYSTA NO!” Lightning cried, listening to another howling laugh that came from Titan. He turned to face the sorcerer, rage and hatred in his eyes, as the staff charged up for another spell. Before it could be cast however, several bolts of golden energy streaked down from the heavens and struck near where Titan stood. The impact knocked the sorcerer back, sending him skidding heavily along the ground, before he came to rest at a clump of trees that were behind the house.
“WHO DARES STRIKE ME?” Titan roared, looking up from above and taking a step back.
Flying high above him, in all his regal majesty, was the Grand Ruler himself. Titan snarled as the Grand Ruler descended from his lofty perch in the air, flanked by several unicorn guards, and glared at the alicorn. The Grand Ruler's mane had taken a shade of vibrant red, which seemed to whip about violently like a solar storm. His attire was different too, instead of the black suit or royal blue robes that Lightning saw him wear when they first met he now wore a bright bronze breastplate that left his wings exposed. A skirt made from long metal plates went down to about his knees as his arms and legs were covered in guards of a matching color. Even the helmet that the Grand Ruler wore was intimidating as it concealed most of his face save for a slot that was made for the horn on his head and a piece cut out for him to look and breath in. “I thought I had sealed you away... You'll never learn.” The Grand Ruler snapped, glaring at Titan.
“Time hasn't been kind to you or your pathetic seal Celesto.” Titan countered darkly. “But that's what you get when the one who put you inside is a ruler of weaklings. A pathetic excuse of a defense, and a true chance at revenge.”
The Grand Ruler shook his head. “It doesn't have to be this way Titan.” He said, giving a stern look at the sorcerer from underneath his helmet. “Release all of the citizens that you have captured and return to your prison where you belong. I am only going to say this once.” The Grand Ruler's words sounded like they were full of hate and malice, almost like Titan's.
“Hah, try as you might you still believe that you can change me. Even after all of these years you still have that soft and weak heart that tries to see the good in a being.” Titan scoffed. “It's time that you met your end!” He roared, firing a blast of magical energy at the Grand Ruler. His blast was cut short from it's target by a golden barrier that blocked the attack. Furious, Titan unleashed several blasts of energy in an attempt to bring the Grand Ruler's barrier down.
“And that is where you are wrong Titan. Your destruction and tyranny over those who are weaker than you is your weakness.” The Grand Ruler countered, the barrier that had protected him faded for a split second as he raised his hand an fired a stream of white energy at Titan. Titan snarled, throwing up an all black barrier with his staff, but staggered backwards at the impact of the Grand Ruler's spell. The Grand Ruler kept up with his magic for several moments before shattering Titan's barrier, knocking the sorcerer backwards and through a tree.
As the stream of light died down, Titan staggered to a standing position and gave a death-glare at the Grand Ruler. Most of his left arm was missing, and the stump began leaking what appeared to be black oily blood. “An impressive hit Celesto... I didn't think that you would have the will to strike with such force...” Titan complimented, his breathing getting slightly shallow as his arm began to slowly reform. “But for now I shall withdraw. You may have won this field, but you will not be so lucky when I return!” He roared, raising his staff high into the air once again.
The serpent stopped its circling, coming to rest directly above Titan's location. A beam of dark energy descended from the belly of the serpent, landing on top of the ground in which he stood. Titan's gaze turned to the yellow unicorn that he had stabbed with his staff, as he struggled to walk over where the Grand Ruler was standing.
“Where do you think you're going?” Lightning asked, his body beginning to give out on him.
“Hmm... You have spirit boy. Too bad that it will all go to waste. Remember my name, as it was I who gave you to the emissary of death.” Titan declared, continuing to rise from the battlefield until he disappeared into the belly of the mechanical serpent. It fired one more shot of plasma at Lightning and the Grand Ruler, which was deflected by a barrier spell, before taking off into the night.
It was then, standing right next to the Grand Ruler, that Lightning could feel his body collapse. He felt faint, dropping to his knees before collapsing on the ground in front of the Grand Ruler and everyone else. Before he passed out he could hear the Grand Ruler shout at him, “Hold on Lightning!” Then everything went black.
“I hope that Lightning's okay.” Buddy commented, standing outside the healer's circle room that was in the only hospital that wasn't hit during Titan's attack. The hospital was as close to the Temporal Palace as one could get without being treated by the Grand Ruler's personal staff. The all white tile floors were positively sparkling as luminescent electrical torches flickered in the halls, giving the walls a pale and calming look. There were chairs that were lined against either side of the hall, which were mostly vacant save for Ottavo and Drawn Out, that sat next to a set of end tables which were covered with a stack of books.
“Are you kidding?” Ottavo asked. “These are the best healers on the planet, save for the ones who treat the Grand Ruler's injuries. Lightning's going to be fine.” He said reassuringly. “Trust me I know, I've been here a few times.”
“We know Ottavo, you've said that at least a thousand times.” Moonbeam said calmly. “I just don't understand why we couldn't have gone in there too.” She said.
Ottavo shook his head. “It's standard Healer's procedure. Only those who have a close enough magical signature can enter the circle with the one being treated. It prevents mana contamination, especially from those of different species that aren't related by blood.”
“You know your stuff.” Drawn Out commented. “How did you learn so much about the procedures anyways?” He asked.
“My mom and dad are both professional healers.” Ottavo answered. “While my dad isn't at the top of his game any more, and takes to seeing patients with minor injuries, my mother still works as a member of the Healer Circle Corps. She's one of the Elite Members, and guides the ways the spells are cast to treat standard injuries that on would see in there on a daily basis. Heh, she's even led a surgery spell on me once.”
“What happened?” Buddy asked, sounding concerned.
Ottavo shrugged, smiling confidently. “I was trying out a new stunt, I had the bright idea to roll a cannon down a ramp and shoot myself out of it as it reached the end of the ramp, and well... It didn't turn out to well. I was put on forced bed rest for weeks. Plus I wasn't allowed near another ramp until I completed a stunts safety course. It was my fault of course, I was acting like a complete idiot, but at least I'm not dead.”
The other unicorns remained silent, waiting for some sign of either the Grand Ruler or Lightning to come out from the Healer's Circle okay. This went on for another agonizingly long ten minutes before the Grand Ruler stepped out, his face looking absolutely anxious, before seeing the other unicorns waiting at the entrance to the Healer's Circle.
“Your Highness!” Drawn Out exclaimed, bowing low as everyone else did so. “Is Lightning going to be okay?” He asked.
The Grand Ruler took a deep breath before nodding calmly. “Of course young one. The wound he suffered from Titan was great, but he will be making a full recovery.” He smiled, watching as everyone breathed a sigh of relief before giving him their full attention again. “This is a terrible time indeed. With Titan on the loose, I fear that war may spring up again in Unicornicopia soon. If not as soon as the next sunrise. He was not known to ever be patient in his attacks.”
“Your Highness if I may-
Don't worry about it your highness.” Ottavo said, cutting Drawn Out off. “If Titan shows himself here again, I can handle him by my self. He'll be gone just like that!” He snapped his fingers to emphasize his point, only to watch as the Grand Ruler shook his head.
“Titan isn't so easily defeated young one. He is as powerful now as he was when I faced him one-thousand years ago. Maybe even stronger.” The Grand Ruler said calmly. He then placed a hand to his ear as his horn flared up before speaking again. “Captain, report.” He barked, his change in voice startling the unicorns in front of him.
A small screen appeared in front of the alicorn's face as an all gray unicorn appeared in the middle of it. The scene behind him was that of a hurricane as several armored unicorns and orcs were rushing here and there in between burning buildings and rubble escorting civilians to safety. “Your highness, that attack wasn't random. It's like they knew where our garrisons and hospitals were. Our defensive strength has been cut in half and the barrier is going to be out of commission for a while.”
The Grand Ruler's eyes narrowed. “What about the civilians? Any casualties?”
The unicorn on the monitor shook his head. “None your highness. We had a few close calls, but there wasn't anyone we couldn't rescue from some of the places hit. Thank the heavens that we have magic on our side.”
“You've done well captain. Keep the situation under control, I will be there shortly to monitor the extent of the damage and see what can be done.” The Grand Ruler replied, watching as the unicorn bowed before the screen disappeared. His horn continued to grow as another screen appeared in front of him, with a red haired elf with pale skin and plate-mail in the middle of the forest appearing in it instead. “Star'len, report.” The Grand Ruler ordered.
“Your highness, I am currently tracking where the enemy warship's heading. They appear to be heading towards the Chromatic Highlands, staying above the clouds enough where it wouldn't be safe for my sky-riders to close in without engaging them. There was a pick up made about an hour ago, the one appeared to be dragonkin but I cannot say for sure.” Star'len reported.
“What makes you say that?” The Grand Ruler questioned.
“Because my lord, he was missing a tail and that his armor looked different than what normal dragonkin wear.” The elf explained. “Also he appeared to be heavily guarded, bringing with him at least a full battalion of Kobolds and at my count seven or eight trolls.”
The Grand Ruler's face paled at the news. “Captain Star'len, halt your pursuit and return to the capital. Do not engage with the enemy stragglers, and under any circumstances are you to engage with the main force. Is this clear?” He asked.
“Yes my lord. I'll meet back up with you at the city.” Star'len replied before he too disappeared with the screen.
The unicorns all exchanged looks, staring at each other nervously. The Grand Ruler calmed down a bit before Ottavo spoke up. “I have to ask your highness, but why did you call the Sky-riders back to the city?”
“Didn't you hear Captain Star'len?” Buddy Rose asked. “They have a full battalion of battle-hardened kobolds with them. There was also trolls from what I heard, and trolls are capable of wiping a division of soldiers out on their own.”
“You also forget that the Sky-riders are a group of scouts. They aren't meant to attack the enemy, they're only meant to gather intelligence on the size of the enemy so the main force can be better prepared to deal with the threat.” Drawn Out explained. “Plus where there's one kobold, there's at least thirty to forty more waiting underground to surprise you.”
Ottavo nodded, understanding the situation as the Grand Ruler remained silent. He looked up at the alicorn, stepping back as his eyes snapped open before he began to head down the hall. “Your highness! Where're you going?” Ottavo asked.
“My country is in peril, and it's capital has been attacked in a blatant declaration of war. Unicornicopia needs it's ruler and I need to be there for it.” He said in a rather unpleasant tone, taking the younger unicorns by surprise.
“What about us your highness?” Buddy Rose asked, jumping behind Drawn Out as the Grand Ruler turned on them all.
“Your task is to stay with Lightning. He needs the support of someone else now more than ever, especially until Krysta has been returned safely to him.” The Grand Ruler answered.
“But what about the enemy?” Ottavo snapped, getting shocked looks from everyone including the Grand Ruler. “We can fight too! We're a part of this country just as much as your highness is, and you're needed a lot more than-
SILENCE!” The Grand Ruler shouted, causing Ottavo to leap back and trip over his own hooves. The other unicorns gave the alicorn looks of near-pure terror, as his rage seemed to start boiling over. He stopped, realizing the tone he had just taken with one of his subjects, and calmed down. “Young one, I understand that you want to help me drive away this threat. I really do, I can even see it in all of your eyes. The spirit of our race lies well within each and everyone of you. But you must understand, Lightning Dawn may need your protection more than I do. And there will come a time when his fate will come to meet him.” The Grand Ruler paused, calming down even further. “You are needed when that time comes, to be there for him when no one else can. To be his allies, his friends. That's what he needs more in the world, no the cosmos even. His life has not been anything but bleak ever since he came to this world, and that is why I must ask you – no beg you to stay here with him. You are his only hope.”
The Unicorns remained silent, the Grand Ruler's weighing hard on them. Buddy Rose helped Ottavo to his hooves, remaining silent as Drawn Out and Moonbeam Mist had respectful looks in their eyes. They all cast a glance at each other, recognizing the responsibility that they were given from the Grand Ruler before bowing before him.
“I'm sorry for shouting at you all young ones.” The Grand Ruler apologized, returning the bow with a curt nod of his own. “Now, I must be off. I shall be back after assessing the situation to check on Lightning, but it will only be for a moment. I can not stress enough how important it is that you all stay by him. The actions that happen now and in the future could change Unicornicopia as we know it.” He turned to leave, hearing the sound of hands touch the the floor.
“Your highness, forgive me. I was out of line and-
All is forgiven.” The Grand Ruler said calmly, as small smile gracing his lips. “Just try to not let your temper cloud your judgment.” He said, before leaving them all in the hallway.
Ottavo got up from the floor, receiving curious looks from Moonbeam Buddy and Drawn Out before scratching the back of his head sheepishly. “I guess I went a little far huh?” The only thing he received was silence from everyone else as they went to staring back at the healer's circle door.
Pain. That was all that Lightning could feel at the moment, with the occasional numbness setting in a couple of times but all there was was pain. His body refused to move, to do what he commanded it to do.
He had ran the situation over with Titan several times, and each time it ended up with being stabbed and either Krysta or himself captured or both. He was right there, his best friend was right within his grasp and he did nothing. He couldn't do anything, Lightning was just as weak and powerless as he thought. And it was his lack of power that got Krysta captured.
But it wasn't your fault Lightning. A voice in his head whispered. Krysta was doing what anyone would have done. She'd be feeling the same way if you had gotten captured by Titan instead of her.
“At least she wasn't stupid enough to rush at the guy who was using nigh invincible dark magics to capture people.” Lightning snapped bitterly. “If only I were stronger I would have-
But you are strong Lightning. The voice interrupted in an attempt to reassure the unicorn. You are stronger than you even realize. How did you even get to the Temporal Palace in the first place?
“ I got there because Buddy Rose helped me get there. He showed me the way.” Lightning countered.
No, you got to the Temporal Palace because you are strong. The voice corrected. Your inner strength was what caught the Grand Ruler's eye.
Lightning felt unconvinced, but felt a soothing aura wash over his body. “My inner strength? Please, don't make me laugh. I'm just Lightning Dawn, a handy wingless-unicorn that can't even hold his own in a fight.”
You know that isn't true. The voice said. It was your inner instincts that took over. Titan wouldn't have stabbed you with his staff if he didn't feel that you were a threat. Plus, he didn't launch his spells at you until you made an attack at him. He must've seen something in you that would make him do that.
Lightning would have shook his head if he could, but he still couldn't move. “So you're saying that because you think that I may have gotten lucky that Titan was afraid of me and stabbed me because of it?”
Well, in a way that's right. The voice answered.
Lightning laughed. “Yeah, me taking on one of the oldest evils that this universe has ever known. That will be the day.” He said sarcastically.
You never know. The voice replied as the soothing sensation was replaced with the feeling that Lightning was now lying on something soft. I think that they're done. The voice said quietly.
“They? Who's they?” Lightning asked.
Why don't you open your eyes and look for yourself silly. The voice teased before fading away. Lightning blinked before calming down, opening his eyes to see a blinding light in front of him.
“-ey he's waking up!” Lightning could hear Buddy Rose's voice say as he opened his eyes. The room that held the bed he was lying in was extremely surprising.
The walls were a pleasant peach color as was the ceiling. A set of electrical torches were on at full power, giving the room a comforting feel. There was a window with a view of the Rainbow Capital's Upper District on one of the wall to Lightning's left, and from it he could see huge plumes of smoke that rose up from the Lower and Middle Districts. The floor that the bed was resting on was carpeted in a royal blue that matched the extremely comfortable comforter that Lightning was lying under. An I.V. Bag hung on a stand off to Lightning's right that was connected to one of his arms with a hose that led to the arm. Buddy Rose and Drawn Out were standing on the side of the bed opposite of where Lightning lay as Ottavo Rima and Moonbeam Mist came from a door that was on the wall behind him from the left.
“How're you feeling Lightning?”Buddy Rose asked as Lightning attempted to sit up.
“Sore. Really sore.” Lightning replied. “Where's the Grand Ruler? Where's Titan?” Lightning asked, watching as the other unicorns exchanged looks.
“Well the Grand Ruler is assessing the extent of the damage to the Rainbow Capital. Plus he's looking at how many soldiers that he can round up so that they can go after Titan.” Drawn Out replied, watching and leaping to restrain Lightning as he tried to get out of bed. “Whoa, easy there buddy. You just got out of the healer's circle. You can't get out of bed yet. Not until the doctor says that you're clear to go.”
“But Krysta's in danger! And so are those unicorns that were captured!” Lightning exclaimed. “I can't just sit around and do nothing!” He continued to struggle, forcing Buddy Rose to assist Drawn Out in restraining him.
“Easy there Lightning! You're going to open the wound again, and the spell hasn't finished fixing it!” Buddy Rose cried. “You don't want Krysta or the Grand Ruler see you in a puddle of blood again do you?” He asked, watching as Lightning calmed down before he released him. Drawn Out did the same thing, eyeing Lightning suspiciously.
“The Grand Ruler's not really in the mood to find out that you did something stupid either Lightning. Trust me on this one, you're better off staying in bed.” Ottavo commented, getting looks from everyone else. “What? I'm just telling him the truth.” He said.
Lightning remained silent, burying his agitation for the time being. I wouldn't want to upset anyone here, especially the Grand Ruler... He thought, staring at the comforter that was draped over his body. But Krysta's in way too much trouble for me to be worried about sitting around here. I need to help her somehow.
“Hey Lightning look, we know that Krysta's the only being that you can trust right now but we're here too.” Drawn Out said.
Lightning sighed before laying himself back down. Well I might as well stay here for a bit, at least until I can think of something to get me over there... He thought, closing his eyes a second time.
It was a few hours when the head physician on the current staff walked into Lightning's room to monitor his health situation. It didn't take them too long to check up on how the injury closed up, and after another hour and a half of signing paperwork Lightning was walking out of the front door of the hospital. Dawn was quickly approaching the Rainbow Capital and Unicornicopia, but he still had no idea of how or where he could find Krysta or Titan. His worries were put aside however as Drawn Out had led their small group to a restaurant in the middle district. It was a small place, seemingly out of the way from most of the city, and it had an air of nostalgia for the others about it.
The restaurant, a two storied log-cabin with a smoke stack built into it's right side and a black shingled roof, stood nestled in a small grove of oak trees and appeared to be peaceful even though Titan's attack had ripped through the city. The front door of the establishment was flinging itself open and shut over and over again as everything from soldiers to medical crew members rushed in and out, some only stepping inside for a few moments while others emerged fully energized. But that wasn't the thing that got Lightning's attention the most. He noticed an odd set of machines leaning in front of a railing that was near the front door which caught his eye as they approached.
The vehicles, all of which were painted black save for one on the furthest end which was all rusted and beat up, were fierce-looking. They all had the appearance of chariots that were modeled in the shape of dragon's heads, with a place for the rider to sit down in. Each of the vehicles had a pair of folded sails that looked like wings which rested on either side of the main body, as a set of blaster cannons were extended from the front of the central hub of the machine and made the snouts of the dragon's heads look even more pronounced. An engine sat behind the rider, back just far enough for a second passenger but only if they weren't really big.
Buddy watched as Lightning continued to stare at the machines before coughing a little. “You know that we came here to get something to eat right?” He asked, snapping Lightning out of his trance-like gawking.
“Oh... Yeah, sorry about that.” Lightning replied, heading up to the front door of the establishment where Buddy was standing. He stopped, getting one last glance at the machines before being stopped by Buddy. “What?” Lightning asked.
“Sorry Lightning, but those are out of your league.” Buddy said calmly.
“What are they?” Both unicorns heard a laugh as a very old and heavily set orc began laughing. He wore all black leather armor, it looking more demonic than any armor that Lightning had ever seen save for Titan's, with an all black riding helmet that looked like it was made with a pair of bat wings sewn into it. The armor was heavily spiked, but only to add to an extreme intimidation factor that made Lightning and Buddy nervous.
“Those are Solar Fliers. And they're some of the best in all of Unicornicopia.” The orc said, calming down and giving Lightning and Buddy a once over. “And your friend there's right, these babies are built for the Grand Ruler's Elite Knights, soldiers that have survived more battles than you can possibly think of. These things are faster than you can even imagine, all you need is a location and they'll get you there in no time. They'd be wasted at the moment on a greenhorn like you. No offense.”
Buddy shook his head as Lightning was unfazed by the orc's comment. “None taken sir.” He said before whispering into Lightning's ear, “Hey... We need to get inside, everyone else is waiting.”
Lightning didn't say anything, he was locked in the gaze of the orc's amber eyes. Something about the orc was wild, but it was a friendly kind of wild that Lightning seemed to trust. “Yeah... Let's go.” He said, turning to leave as the orc nodded behind him.
As the pair of unicorns stepped inside, the orc placed a finger to his temple and concentrated. After a few seconds, a magical screen appeared in front of his face as the Grand Ruler appeared on the other side. “Grubble, what's your report?” He asked.
The orc smiled. “Well your highness, he's interested in a Solar Flier.” The Grand Ruler fell silent, his eyes shutting for a moment before he took a deep breath. “Should we continue the operation? Or do you want to abort?” He asked.
The Grand Ruler shook his head. “No. We're not going to abort this Grubble. You and your squad of knights know that it's worth the risk. And I am well aware of the replacement costs and repairs that it will take to restore Sheila back to fighting strength for when the time comes. Continue with the operation, and make sure that Lightning gets a Solar Flier.”
Grubble nodded. “Understood your highness.” He said. “May I ask something before we break contact?”
“Is this a question or a comment?” The Grand Ruler asked.
“More along the lines of both.” Grubble answered.
“Well then, ask away.” The Grand Ruler replied.
The orc smiled before turning back to the rusted out Solar Flier. “Your highness, I understand that you love all of your subjects on this planet. And you treat all life like a shaman back on my home world would, with as much respect as one would with a person of your station. But I must ask you, is this necessary?”
The Grand Ruler sighed as Grubble turned back to face him. “Sometimes I wonder that myself.” He answered. “Though I didn't want this to happen so soon, Lightning Dawn's bonds with his other friends are starting to form, the bond that he and Krysta both share will force him to stop at nothing to save her. I fear that the only thing that would stop Lightning would be to silence him forever. But I cannot do that to them. They are too close together, you could even say that they are family. If only I had more time to train him, then he could be more prepared-
You were dealt the cards that you were given your highness. And you're making the best of it.” Grubble reassured, interrupting the Grand Ruler. “Yes it would have made a difference if you had gotten to train him sooner, but this may prove to be more beneficial to not only him but the others that will ally with him. I don't know what I personally would do in this situation, but you are handling it well.”
The Grand Ruler smiled. “And that's why I appointed you as the head of the Black Knight Squad. I thank you for that.”
Grubble smirked. “Heh, I'm just a humble unicornicopian doing a friend of my old homeworld a favor. It's the least I can do.” He then turned, seeing a thumbs up given by another orc in black armor by the last of the Solar Fliers before turning back to the screen. “Looks like I have the all clear from the boys. I'll let you know which signal to follow once he gets out of the city. Until then your highness.” He said before giving a polite bow.
“Until then Grubble.” The Grand Ruler replied before vanishing with the screen. Grubble stretched a little before smirking again. Heh, Lightning Dawn huh? You may just be that diamond in the rough that his highness was looking for.
The inside of the establishment was just as rustic looking on the inside as it was on the inside. All of the furniture was made from the same wood that the building was made from, tables draped with fresh white linens were placed here and there in the first dining hall as heavily armored soldiers chatted amongst themselves or hastily scarfed down plates of food before leaving in a hurry. There were heads of slain beasts mounted on the walls that Lightning had never even seen before, most of which appeared to be more reptilian in appearance than anything else.
“This is the Dragonslayer Hall, as it's known to the sky-riders.” Buddy explained, guiding Lightning to a table where Moonbeam, Drawn Out, and Ottavo were seated. The table was off in a corner, next to a fireplace that contained a flame that was almost reduced to embers when Lightning sat down.
“What took you guys so long?” Ottavo asked. “We've already ordered for you.”
“It was the Solar Fliers that did it.” Buddy replied. “Lightning got attracted to them, and... well-
That really doesn't excuse the fact that you both arrived after we ordered for you.” Moonbeam said coldly. “That was a little short of being rude.”
“Moonbeam has a point.” Drawn Out said. “You should have been with us the whole time. Even those that have already informed their friends that they were going to be late can get away with that but...” Drawn Out stopped, watching Lightning closely. The unicorn seemed to be making a plan up in his head, and it distracted him. “Lightning... Is there something you need?” He asked.
“Oh, no it's nothing. I'm just thinking of something, that's all.” Lightning answered, giving a fake smile.
“Dude, you don't have to worry.” Ottavo said confidently. “The Grand Ruler and his armies will get Krysta and the other unicorns back and show Titan whose boss. So take it easy and relax.”
Easy for you to say, especially because you don't have to worry about losing anyone. Lightning thought.
“Let's not let all of this rescue business keep us down, come on you guys. It's my treat.” Drawn Out said, watching as both Buddy Rose and Lightning's faces lit up.
The meal was amazing, to say the least. Lightning had never even seen so much food, as each plate at their table had at least a stack of ten pancakes that oozed with cool raspberry syrup and melted butter that was lighter than air. Several smaller trays were covered in magically converted sausages and bacon, something that everyone except Lightning avoided only because it was something that the orcish soldiers ate and referred to the sight of the meat as, “barbarism at its finest.” There was also an equal portion of tofu-converted meats, which the other unicorns devoured, and made them nearly sick to their stomachs when they were finished.
However good the food was though, was put aside as Lightning got up from the table. “Uh... Drawn Out, where's the restroom?” He asked.
“What, you tryin' to make room for more?” He asked, watching as Lightning gave a half-hearted chuckle.
“Uh... Heh-heh... Yeah. Something like that.” Lightning lied, watching as Drawn Out pointed to an entrance way that stood across from the front door.
“The bathroom's that way, first door on the right. You can't miss it.” He said, watching as Lightning nodded before slipping off. As Drawn Out returned to the conversation, or more like an argument that Ottavo and Moonbeam were having with each other, a second pair of eyes on the furthest side of the Dragonslayer Hall followed where Lightning went.
“Commander... I think he's going for it.” The owner of the eyes, another orc in a black cloak whispered.
“Hmm... A little early, but I'll let the higher ups know. You left the ignition system where it was supposed to be right?” A harsh voice asked on the other side.
“Yeah, and the Solar Flier is parked where it should be. She'll be fine won't she?” The orc asked.
“His highness assured me that it will. Now, meet up with the rest of us. We're in the barracks at the northern entrance of the city.” The voice ordered.
“Understood commander.” The orc whispered, getting up from the chair quickly before walking out.
Moonbeam's eye's narrowed however as the orc left the restaurant. “There's something suspicious going on here...” She uttered, gaining attention from Buddy Rose.
“So, you weren't the only one who saw that?” He asked, watching as Moonbeam shook her head.
“No, I don't believe that she was.” Drawn Out said darkly, looking over to where the orc sat. “Someone has it out for Lightning, and we need to watch out for him.” He added, getting nods from the others.
Meanwhile as soon as Lightning was finished using the restroom, after flushing and moving to the sink, he spotted something. A small crystal that appeared to be in the shape of a key was patiently sitting on the floor. Something in the back of his head told him to take it, while another part of him said to leave it there and let it be someone else's problem. As he turned to leave, he stopped and got an idea. What if... He paused, turning to the crystal and stared at it. What if that gets me to where Titan's gone? He stopped before looking out the window. He played around with the idea in his head, sure it would be stealing but he had to do something. Krysta and the unicorns were captured and it was all his fault. But he didn't even know where to begin looking for her. All he had to go on was that Titan's ship could fly and shoot plasma. He had nothing, and that wasn't going to help him save her.
That's not true. Remember what the Grand Ruler did when he first met you two? The little voice in his head asked.
When he showed us the Uniforce? I don't even know how he did that. Lightning thought mentally.
Just concentrate. Baby steps. The voice encouraged. You don't control the magic, the magic of the Uniforce is just something to be guided.
Lightning closed his eyes before concentrating on performing the same spell that the Grand Ruler had done. Taking a deep breath Lightning could feel his horn flare up with a small amount of power, barely noticeable even by his standards, but as he concentrated so did the power. After a few moments and a bright flash that nearly pierced through his eyelids, Lightning opened his eyes and looked around. The entire world around him appeared to be doused all in white as streams of colored magic from everywhere led up to a singular focal point.
There we go. Now, you have the path. All you have to do now is follow it. The voice said, watching as Lightning began to scan the skies above him.
Something was different than the last time that Lightning was seeing the world this way, he could feel it. As he looked above, he could almost feel the different hopes and dreams of the citizens and peoples of Unicornicopia. Some were good, others were bad, and others still were worse. So this is what he was doing... Lightning thought, scanning the skies until something odd caught his eye.
Far above where he stood, and leading in a northwesterly direction was a stream of black magic that had a malicious aura that Lightning had never felt before. It was sickening, almost to the point of making him lose focus of the connection, but at the same time he could feel the streams of magic that were intertwined with the black stream. That must be the direction of where Titan is. Lightning thought, nodding a little. Well then that's where I have to go. He said mentally, concentrating a little as the spell was released. He looked back down on the crystal before walking over to it and picking it up. And you're my ticket to getting to Titan. He thought, stuffing the key in his pocket. The door to the bathroom opened, causing Lightning to turn as Ottavo appeared on the other side.
“Hey Lightning, I'm just checking up on you. Is everything okay?” He asked, watching as Lightning nodded.
“Yeah, everything's going to be just fine.” Lightning answered, turning back to the sink. “I'll be out in a second, don't worry about me.” He said, giving Ottavo a fake-ish smile before beginning to wash his hands. I can't let them know what I'm about to do here, especially because it's the stupidest thing ever. This crystal has to be a Solar Flier key, and a Solar Flier is going to take me to Titan and help me get to Krysta.
“Okay, well don't stay in here too long.” Ottavo said, turning to go. “We're going to have to stay in a group for a bit until Titan's caught okay?” The Grand Ruler's just made the announcement, and he says that it's for the safety of everyone. Plus, Drawn Out's already paid and Moonbeam's getting antsy. So, before we decide what to do we need you there too.” He said, watching Lightning nod.
“Okay, I'll be there. Just wait a second.” Lightning answered as Ottavo disappeared from behind the bathroom door. I'll have to lose them here, otherwise they'll try and keep me from risking my neck like this. But if it's all the same, I need to do this. Lightning thought, leaving the bathroom.
As Lightning met up with the others at the front door of the Dragonslayer Hall, he knew what his next move was. “Uh yeah, guys?” He began, as they all turned to him. “Yeah... It's been great hanging out with you all and, well... I just remembered that I need to head back to the house that the Grand Ruler gave me. You know, to check the extent of the damage?” He hoped to sway them all with just his words, as his expression wasn't the best in the world.
Moonbeam's eyes narrowed as did Drawn Out's. “Oh sure, go on ahead. We'll meet back up with you later okay?” Drawn Out said earnestly, smiling as the other unicorns all gave him a look of confusion.
“But what about what the Gr-
Easy there Ottavo, we need to give Lightning his space.” Drawn Out interrupted, as Moonbeam seemed to catch on and elbow him in the shoulder. “How about this, we meet up at the Crown Royal Park at around three-ish, and enjoy a nice game of Stormball?” He asked.
Lightning nodded, watching as his new friends' mood changed. “Sure, I'll see you guys then.” He said before running off, he was stopped by a hand that was placed on his shoulder and turned to see Moonbeam glaring at him.
“Please Lightning.” She said, continuing to glare at him in an attempt to hide her nervousness. “Don't do anything stupid.” She said, watching Lightning smile.
“Eh-heh-heh-heh... Yeah, that won't be a problem.” Lightning lied, smiling as Moonbeam released her hand from his shoulder. “All right, I'll see you around.” He said, dashing off down the dirt path that was off to the right of the road that they were on and out of sight.
“You guys noticed how Lightning was acting all morning right?” Drawn Out asked, watching as everyone except Ottavo gave him a nod.
“He's probably going to get a Solar Flier from somewhere. If what we heard from what the Grand Ruler's communication was true, then Lightning's going to head to the Chromatic Highlands.” Moonbeam answered.
“But how's he going to do that without a key?” Ottavo asked. “And isn't that like, the most dangerously stupid thing ever?” The other unicorns looked at him incredulously. “What? I'm a Daredevil, not a suicidalist.”
“You know that's not a word right?” Buddy asked.
“Of course it's not...” Ottavo groaned, before turning to Drawn Out. “What do you think we should do?” He asked.
“Follow him of course.” Drawn Out said, stretching his wings before taking to the air. Ottavo made an, “O,” with his mouth before following his example with Buddy and Moonbeam. The four Unicorns were already high enough in the air that they could see Lightning make his way to an inconspicuously parked Solar Flier. They watched as he casually approached it, before flying over to the site as he mounted the machine.
Lightning could feel his guilt playing against him as he sat in the rider's seat of the Solar Flier. An all black panel was mounted on the other side of the dragon's crown as a pair of handle bars extended from the front. They'll understand, I'm sure of it. He thought, digging out the key from the depths of his pocket and staring at the panel. A small slot, cut into the shape of the key he was holding was visible. Lightning smirked a little as the key and the slot matched up perfectly before quickly inserting it.
The result was automatic.
The panel in front of him sprang to life and began radiating colors of multiple hues as the engine roared to life from behind him. The sails that were on either side opened up into the shape of dragonic wings as the Solar Flier began to hover on his own. Greetings, this is the launching key system for His Majesty's Sky-riders. This announcement is a safety-feature that is installed on all Solar Fliers when a new rider first climbs aboard the Flier's seat. Please hold onto the handlebars while I adjust the arrangements to ensure maximum comfort. A digitized voice said from somewhere. As it did so, Lightning could feel the seat from under him move up closer to the main panel, and move up a little higher as the handlebars were locked in place. Because this is your first time flying a Solar Flier, the settings for this flight will be on Auto-Pilot. All commands will be accepted through the sound of your voice, and will be registered as a location on the map of unicornicopia. Now, where would you like to go?
Lightning thought about where Titan could have gone for a moment before looking down on the console. “What's the most important, abandoned structure in the Chromatic Highlands?” He asked, watching as a map appeared on the main panel.
The Temple of Unity, dedicated to the Grand Ruler of Unicornicopia himself was the site of Grand Ruler Celesto's battle with the Dread Sorcerer Titan. The computer explained. Is this where you would like to go? It asked.
Lightning immediately jumped as he heard the sound of unicorn wings descending from above him. “Yes, go now!” He shouted, listening to a beep before the sounds of the engine behind him letting out a loud roar. The force of the Solar Flier's initial acceleration sat the unicorn down in his seat and held him there even as the sounds of Drawn Out and Buddy's voices all tried to reach him.
The Solar Flier's engine let out a roar just as Drawn Out and Moonbeam got within a foot from it. Buddy Rose had to restrain Ottavo as a blast of orange flame erupted from the back of the Solar Flier, causing it to rocket forward. It rounded the corner once, then twice, before disappearing behind another building. They all shared a glance with each other as the smoke trail disappeared from sight, each knowing what the others were thinking.
“We have to go after him.” Ottavo said finally, breaking the silence as the other unicorns nodded.
“I heard the computer mention something about the old Temple of Unity. So that's where we need to go.” Drawn Out said, getting nods from everyone else. “Let's go then.” He said, flying off with everyone else in pursuit.
-Continued in the next chapter-