Peace and tranquility. In this little town in the center of a large and hilly landscape, it had seemed like nothing could ever interrupt or remove such feelings. It felt like not a single thing in the world could disrupt the calmness that enveloped the town. It had stuck to its roots like glue, never showing a sign of leaving or abandoning this place.
It was the absolute perfect moment for her to manage the town’s daily activities and problems that were rearing their head at a constant rate. She would not accept anything else as they would induce some unneeded stress on her well-being.
At least, it was perfect a few minutes ago. All of a sudden, like a quick clap of thunder and lightning, something had breached the once-impenetrable tranquility and had washed it away like a furious river. Something that had caused the denizens of the town to evacuate from their homes and buildings, running away to the outskirts of the town. It was there that they now stood with her in the darkness of the night.
Standing in front of the river-crossing bridge with a large amount of ponies behind her, Mayor Mare looked onwards to her town with the look of fear and shock in her widened eyes.
The town of Ponyville ahead that once stood proud and tall before was now nothing but a burning shadow of its former self. Huge ravaging flames had spread throughout it, incinerating everything in their paths and emitting large amounts of smoke towards the star-filled night sky. Buildings of varying sizes were crumbling into dust as the great flames engulfed them in whole.
It was not long until the tallest building in the town, the tower-like town hall, fell victim to the raging flames. As Mayor Mare watched with her own distressed eyes, the town hall crumbled with debris falling from it. Like a giant being that was struck with arrows and magic, it leaned over and fell down to the nearest group of buildings, crushing them. Clouds of dust blew from the crushed buildings afterward and the fire from the fallen tower went onward to their ruins.
She shook her head in horror at this as the town hall was the place she had just been in before the disaster had struck. The ponies behind her continued to watch as the flames went on their course. To all of them, it was equally as horrifying to see that Ponyville had become a gigantic candle of destruction.
“How in the hay did this happen?” asked one of them. “Did somepony forget to turn off the oven or something?”
“If it was an oven, it wouldn’t have spread all over the place this quickly,” replied another.
“No... She’s behind all of this,” said the mayor, staring ahead. “I saw her using her magic on the town. I thought she was somepony else at first, but seeing her cutie mark...”
“Who?” asked the mare standing next to the Mayor’s right and looking at her with eyes of worry. “Who is attacking the town, Miss Mare?”
The Mayor hesitated, her body quivering a bit and with her head lowered, her teeth gritting slightly. The one who was ravaging the town was somepony she knew. Somepony that they all knew, in fact, for this one had done a few achievements that had caught the attention of everypony in the town. Yet, all of a sudden, something seemed very off about her to the Mayor. Extremely off.
With her eyes on her town, she formed a very distressed, yet sorrowful expression on her face, lifting her lowered head back up.
“…Why? Oh, why have you done this, Twilight Sparkle?!” she said with a raised voice. “This… This isn't like you at all!”
Amidst all of the blazing and waving flames in the town, an open space could be seen near the center of town. A large circular clearing surrounded by the flames, it was, and standing in the very center of the clearing was the very catalyst herself.
With her cutie mark depicting a red-colored, six-pointed star surrounded by five smaller white stars, indeed, it was none other than the unicorn, Twilight Sparkle. Though her cutie mark was the same as it always had been, her overall appearance had drastically changed. What had once been a violet coat had now become a light tan color. Her eyes were no longer violet, but ruby red, instead. Her stylish violet-and-rose mane and tail had become the exact same as her surroundings: huge flames that furiously waved and moved every second with embers constantly separating out of them.
Glancing left and right at the widespread wildfire that she had caused, the burning unicorn smiled with a wicked expression.
“Let’s see here,” she said. “The shops have been burned down, Pinkie’s awful little cake shop is nicely baked, and the town hall had just fallen to ashes like a giant… Yep! Everything's going perfectly. Heheheheheeee…!”
Glancing ahead, she sighed with a happy, yet still wicked expression on her face.
“It sure is a great wake-up call for me, thanks to Discord. No way will I ever wield the magic of Harmony again… Now, time to finish up on the rest of Ponyville.”
Twilight lifted her front hoof up. Before she could make a step forward, though, a pair of hoof steps was heard from behind her, causing her to stop with her right eye looking back and her smile fading away.
“I don’t think you’ll be finishing up anything here, Twilight Sparkle!” exclaimed a voice from behind her.
Recognizing the voice, after a second, the unicorn smiled, lowering her hoof. She closed her eyes and lowered her head a bit, still with the smile on her face.
“…Don’t you ever learn, Rainbow Dash?” asked Twilight. “You’ve already tried your best on me back at the castle ruins. What makes you think wasting your strength further will do you any good now? I’m curious.”
“What makes me think I can beat you this time? Well, why don’t you turn around and face me? I think you’ll be surprised.”
“Hm?” Twilight opened her eyes, looking back as her smile faded away. She moved and turned around to face her, only for the unicorn to form an expression of great surprise on her face.
What stood before the unicorn’s very eyes was, indeed, Rainbow Dash. But the wielder of the Element of Loyalty no longer had the appearance of the blue pegasus that she once was. Much like the unicorn herself, Dash had been transformed. Her coat had become a pure white color, and her trademark rainbow mane and tail had burst into large waving flames that emitted colored embers from them. The speed of her rainbow flames, though, was at a slower, more flowing pace than the unicorn’s raging flames. Like Twilight, Dash’s eyes were ruby red, and her own pegasus wings had grown larger than before, resembling the large wings of Princess Celestia.
Accompanying the pegasus’ new appearance was that of the Element of Loyalty on her neck, sporting the red lightning-shaped jewel that was embedded within its center.
“Well… this is different, and yet, so similar to me as well,” said Twilight, calming down from her shocked look while observing the pegasus. “Hmm… somehow, I don’t think Discord has changed you here as you still seem rebellious to me, not to mention looking rather… Celestia-like… Tell me, Rainbow. How did you transform into this?”
“Gee, did somepony forget already?” Dash asked, her eyes looking firm. “I think I’ll let you figure it out on your own.”
With a slightly annoyed look, Twilight moved her head forward a bit, trying to closely observe the pegasus.
“Let’s see. White coat, large wings, red eyes, flaming rainbow mane and tail, the cloud of her cutie mark looking a bit grey there, and the Element of Loyalt---“
She stopped there, having just realized something that caused her to look surprised again.
“…Aaahhh… I see now,” she said, slowly beginning to form a wicked look on her face again. She chuckled. “So, the historical records were accurate after all. Hm, it seems the Elements of Harmony do have a hidden secret of great power within them. One which can only be unlocked by a pony who exhibits all of their qualities at once, who also exhibits strong willpower and great bravery…”
“…and when Harmony is on the brink of collapse,” Dash said. “Yeah, that’s right.”
“Heh. I figured as much. You always had strong willpower and bravery within you, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said, smiling and beginning to walk around, taking her gaze off of the pegasus. “And from what I've heard in the past few days, it's no surprise that you were able to represent them all. Giving up your dream of joining the Wonderbolts, not leaving Applejack to die in that barn, and adopting a little filly as your own little sister… And gee, let me guess. The rest of your friends had lent their support towards you in order for you to represent the Element of Magic, finally causing you to become the legendary Flame of Harmony. Am I right on that?”
“…My friends? Aren’t they your friends as well?” Dash asked, raising an eye at her.
“Oh, they were, before I turned on them. Now they’re nothing but useless little annoyances that needed to be tossed aside.”
“Useless little…? Twilight, listen to yourself!” exclaimed the pegasus, looking a bit wide-eyed with her teeth clenched. “I mean, look at what you’re doing here! You’re destroying Ponyville, our home! Your home! Has that ever occurred to you once?!”
The unicorn stopped walking, taking a glance at her right with Dash standing to her left.
”This place? I don’t need it anymore… And besides, you forget who I swear allegiance to now. Harmony doesn’t fit me anymore.”
Turning her head to look at the pegasus, she then formed a grinning look with her eyes wide open, her pupils having shrunk to a large degree and becoming almost dot-like.
“Chaos does,” she said.
Dash was startled at the unicorn’s sudden look, causing her to almost take a step back. But she hesitated and quickly formed a firm look again.
“Heheheheheheeee… I gotta thank Discord for unleashing my potential like this,” Twilight said, sporting a crazed tone in her voice. “Did you know that I was almost like this before? Well, I remember.
“In fact, it was your Sonic Rainboom that had awakened it in the first place years ago!" Twilight exclaimed, facing towards and pointing at the white pegasus with her hoof. "My magic went out of control when you did it, turning everything into utter chaos until Celestia stopped me. Oh, how I shouldn't have let her stop me like that!"
“I know. You told us a while back, Twilight,” Dash said. “Well, if she hadn’t stopped you, would things play out the same as they did before this? Obviously not! …Twilight, wake up! Snap out of it! Break free of Discord's hold over you! I know this isn't like you!"
“Never. Hehehe… Well, then, now that I know that the Flame of Harmony is real,” said the unicorn, lowering her hoof. “I have to say I would very much like to test its power against my awakened potential here. What do you say, Rainbow Dash? I know you like to prove yourself a lot, so why not? Unless you’re too much of a chicken to face me all of a sudden…!”
Hearing her, Dash was startled again, jumping slightly this time. After a few seconds, she closed her eyes and formed a resolute look once again.
“You know… I thought that, for once, everything was hopeless,” she said, calmly. “Seeing you burn Ponyville to ashes and seeing Discord take over Canterlot like that… I really, honestly thought it was the beginning of the end. But then, I realized that we shouldn’t just give up like that. No, we should fight. Fight until the very end. Fight, even when we are powerless to do so. As soon as I realized that, as soon as I knew that I shouldn’t just sit there and cry like a little filly… something then happened inside of me. A miracle, it was, that showed the way for me. My true destiny.
“Do you think I’m just gonna let you and Discord get away with it?” Dash continued, opening her eyes and narrowing them to form a more serious look. “Do you think there’s no one else to stop you after what you did to us? Well, you couldn’t be any more wrong. Now that I’m here with you, there’s no way that I’m going to waste this transformation.”
The pegasus lowered her head closer to the ground and took one step back with both of her right hooves, entering a ready stance.
“You don’t wanna wake up to the nightmare that you’re creating here, huh? Fine. I guess you leave me no choice.”
Dash let out a loud grunt from her. With that grunt, a strong, swift, and wild burst of several tiny white particles erupted from all over her body, surrounding her completely within their light. As they continued to stream from her, the particles flowed upwards and faded into the air. With the particle aura of light surrounding her and her large pegasus wings, she had the resemblance of an angel that had descended from the heavens above.
“You want to test yourself against me? Bring it on, then! I’ll prove myself, alright!” Dash exclaimed.
Hearing that declaration from her, the burning unicorn’s eyes enlarged themselves back to normal. Forming a wicked, but confident smile on her face, she lowered her head while keeping her eyes on the white pegasus.
“This… shall be one for the books.”