Running full sprint straight foreword, with the wind whipping through my mane. I just knew this was going to be the end one way or another.
Soon a rather bright light came into sight further ahead, but I had to slow down. Fatigue was beginning to set in ever so slightly. My was stamina draining really quickly despite my still rather toned body. The thought of being tired during this confrontion was not appealing. Whatever strength I had needed to be saved, that way the chances of winning were at their best.
Slowing down to a simple walk so as to conserve energy, I noticed that the light up ahead had this strange flicking affect, as though it were coming from a fire of some sort.
Making my way toward the light, it got larger and larger until it was a towering entrance to a rather large room with a glowing sphere sitting on a pedestal surrounded by a circle of fire. Out of the corner of my eye, the large morphicon sat like a statue watching the sphere intensely, as if it was guarding it. Off to the other side of the round room was what looked like a shrine of some type.
"Welcome to my humble abode." The voice was soft and silky, while remaining deep and clam. My eyes quickly changed direction to focus behind the sphere and fire. There stood a figure I hadn't noticed, it was enveloped in shadows despite the fact that the room was unusually well lit.
Something wasn't right about who ever this was. As it moved around the fire toward me there was nothing coming from it, no shadow, no visible physical form to speak of, and the only things that could be seen were those sharp yellow eyes.
I felt no fear, no paralysis, absolutely nothing. "You're the one who started all this aren't you?" My voice was even and methodically slow.
A simple chuckle was all that I got as a response. It moved toward me and walked just to my side. It only looked forward, as if trying to look into the dark cavern.
"You came alone?" it asked as if surprised. My mind was already calculating what to do. My instinctive reaction was to say no, but if I lied there could be the chance of countering whatever trap it had. The answer was obvious, don't show your hoof to your opponent to early.
"No." the word came out automatically and unintentionally.
"Where are the others?"
"I took off before they had a chance to stop me. They are probably on there way here."
The creature circled me, but I kept my eyes on it. "You have been very useful, my creation."
My eyebrow raised in questioning, drawing the creature to laugh and look me in the eyes. "You really don't know do you?"
"No." that automatic response was rather inconvenient.
"Well then," It said softly moving in to close enough so that it could whisper into my ears. "Shall I explain?"
Forcing myself to nod rather then speak, I watched as an insidious smile seemed to form on the shadowy figure. Backing up it turned to look at the sphere on the pedestal. A small flash of light came and went, and now suddenly I could see something on the inside.
The shadows dissolved and left a green stallion with, a blue main and tail, and legs not unlike those of Winnoa my supposed dog back on the farm, only with long sharp claws. He waved his me forward, and I did so.
Approaching the sphere I noted that it looked remarkably like glass. We kept our distance from the fire. But I could still see white clouds that seemed to be swirling around on the inside.
"This is where everything happens." He gestured to the sphere with his paw. "It's also where you were made."
I was unable to tare my gaze away, something began to take form. Slowly an image of something very familiar took shape, rotating in place.
"It's all really simple actually, all it takes is a little blood, and a specter spell."
Every thought in my head was falling short, as I looked into to the sphere at the mare. . .
"Once the process starts there's no stopping it."
That golden mane . . .
"Simply split the body and mind."
Her elegant orange coat . . .
"And replace it with a substitute."
Those Apples on her flank!
"You are the substitute I made, one that became different through a rather interesting means." Finally finding a way to tare my eyes away I turned to look at the stallion. Only to see something unexpected. Tears.
He was crying, a look of uneasy and sadness was plastered on his face as though he didn't want to be doing this. "It's my only means of survival. I hate it so much, but there's no other way around it. Nothing can change it, no mater what. Not even the Tree of harmony could help."
His eyes closed and tears fell to the ground.
“Jackie!” turning around, my concentration broken. I knew who that voice belonged to.
“You must understand that there is no other way for me.” I heard his voice reach my ears. My thought to scrambled at this point to make heads or tails of what was happening.
Just then Rainbow Dash and the others burst past the wall of shadows and into the room. They all looked around for a moment before catching sight of me and, who ever this crazy thing was. It was Rarity who spoke up first, “Jackie, quickly. Over here!”
Just like a spell being broken, my body was once again doing what I wanted it to do. Before anything else I jumped away and ran to Rarity's side.
The sound of growling at my side. Blot was standing between me and Rainbow his stance ready to strike.
“Who are you?” even though it was meant to be a question, the tone made sound more like a demand. The clatter of bones coming up from behind me was all I needed to know that Twilight was the one who had asked the question. But my eyes never drifted away from the creature standing by the fire, at least now that I was right next to Rarity.
He chuckled, a low almost amused sound that resonated with the whole cavern. Turning from the fire his bright yellow eye's fell on the group. Everypony else seemed to stiffen as they looked into his eyes.
“What the hay!” Rainbow shouted as she appeared to be struggling to move even a little.
“Oh,” the creature said shaking his slightly. “Sorry about that. It's part of my curse. But to answer your question Twilight Sparkle, my name is Glinting, Glinting Smile.”
“Glinting,” My voice seemed to be fading, before it could even get past my mouth. “Explain to me one thing. Why are you doing this?”
Closing his eyes for a moment as he nodded, everypony seemed to find at least some control over their bodies. “Alright as you wish Jackie. I will at tell the plight that comes with being what you ponies might call an Axenorm.”
The sound of stallion gasping in mock surprise caught everyponies attention. “You mean the race creatures that supposedly live over a million years ago that were thought to have died out back before Celestia was born?”
“Ah, Pinkie Pie, your one step ahead of the others.” Glinting said with a smile, “at least let me answer young Jackie's question, alright?” Turning my head to look past Rainbow Dash I could see the pink Stallion who's depressed demeanor seemed a little more upset was looking to the ground. Nodding once I turned my attention back to Glinting.
“As Pinkie said,” he began, “I am a creature that was supposed to predate even your princesses, but that's not the whole story. For you the Axenorm live on even today, the cause of many of your ponies disappearances. A great many of whom don't have been found only to die a few weeks later.
“I am born from that species and hate it so much. We feed off of the memories of other creatures, forced to kill to survive. Ripping the souls of creatures from their bodies and devouring it.” His demeanor was changing quickly from calm to sad, than to enraged.
Breathing through clenched teeth, he tried to speak calmly. “It's disgusting, but if we ever stop eating for to long, our minds shut down and we go on a violent rampage, destroying nearby cities and even killing some who are thought to be immortal.”
“Why not use the the tree of harmony than?” Twilight asked.
Glinting shook his head. “I've tried, it was ended horribly, even making things worse. That stupid tree made the cravings come faster, and they became that much harder to ignore. The worst part is that now only ponies can satisfy our hunger.
“We used to be able to feed from vast varieties of creatures, those days are no more.”
Two shadows of differing sizes began to appear beside him. “I never had a chance. I have to kill to survive and keep from going on a rampage. I've always tried to lessen the blows. To try and give some closure. That's where you come in Jackie.”
Taking a step back, there was something that he had said not to long ago that came to the front of my mind suddenly. I hadn't been paying attention, but now pieces were coming together.
“I use the specter spell to give the body a temporary soul that could give closer to the families and loved ones of those I take.” he was shouting now, the fire behind him becoming more intense, making him appear more foreboding. “The souls stay connected just long enough to give the fake time to accumulate enough energy to act like the original. But you Jackie are different!”
Everypony looked on in horror as the shadows at his side seemed to solidify and take shape. One was the Torus Minor I had fought on the way getting here and the other was that crazy bunny from the start of our adventure. “It may be because of that fact it was the soul of an element bearer, but that matters not. Because I only have two choice now. Either kill you all or ask you to leave. But I have a feeling the former is what's going to occur here.”
With little warming the two shadow creatures jumped forward, and if it weren't for the quick reactions of Twilight and Raident, the whole fight might have ended right then and there. Both alucorns threw up and forced the beasts back for a moment.
A roar resounded from the left side of the cave and suddenly a large paw sideswiped all of us and threw everypony off to the side.
I was the first recover, ready to charge forward.
“Stop Jackie!” Turning I saw Twilight reassembling herself. “Stay back, we can handle this.”
Twilight threw up another barrier just in time to block a blast of fire from Glinting. “Rainbow take Bolt and see if you can stop the big Morphicon, Fluttershy you and Pinkie stop that Rabbit, Raident, you and I need to get the the Torus minor, and Rarity, just protect Jackie for from Glinting.”
Everypony stood and nodded. “Good. Now Break!”
As soon as Twilight gave the command, her shield fell down and Everypony rushed to take care of the task they were assigned.