Red Letter leapt from his platform and hurtled towards the Rainbooms and Shadowbolts with his fists ready to deliver a powerful strike. He yelled a battle cry as he shot across the gap and was quickly met with counterattacks from Indigo Zap and Rainbow Dash. However, he quickly grabbed both of their punches, pulled them towards him, and kicked the two of them aside before landing to face the others.
When he landed, he was quickly circled by the others. Indigo and Rainbow quickly stood up to attack him once again, but were quickly knockde down when he did a roundhouse kick that knocked Fluttershy into both of them. Red Letter then slid behind Sugarcoat as she tried to strike him with a chop, before he rammed her, slapped Sunset's face, leapt over Twilight, and kicked her into her friends.
It was at that moment when the rest of the girls tried to strike all at once. They charged in with their armoured shoulders and drew their other arms for some quick punches, but Red simply let himself get boxed in, then jumped high into the air, turned his horn into spread wings, and jabbed his arms out, knocking all of his aggressors away in a swift movement.
"Pathetic teenagers." Red calmly brushed some dirt off of his robe. "You might be twelve, but when compared against a multi-black belt like myself, you might as well be a hundred for all I care."
"We're only getting warmed up!" Rainbow flew into the air and tried to face him in aerial combat. She did a few quick kicks and punches, but she was quite literally hitting air as Red simply shuffled sideways to each attack.
"Blind fury does not suit you, Rainbow Dash." Red Letter grabbed her last attack and pulled her in close. He leaned into her ear and whispered, "Your parents would be so disappointed with your actions..."
Rainbow's eyes widened and she stumbled back, allowing Red Letter to deal a powerful kick to her armoured belly, sending her flying across the skies. She went through a number of clouds which vanished as she touched them, before she finally regained control and shot back over to him.
Twilight, Sunset, Sugarcoat, and Rarity all tried to shoot Red down with their horns, but he was already moving too fast for them to hit him. He simply did some twists and turns, showing off as he avoided every shot that came from the horned girls.
Twilight then got an idea and stopped firing. She closed her eyes and concentrated on something else. She thought about flying from Red's point of view, and then him crashing into a wall. When she opened her eyes, her vision came true, and he had crashed into a purple slab conjured from her horn.
Rainbow, Indigo, and Lemon Zest all charged in, dealing powerful kicks to Red's back while he was still stunned. He plummetted towards the ground, leaving Sunset and Sugarcoat to grab him mid-fall and throw him against another mountain top.
"So now you start to show what the Magic of Friendship can really do?" Red gasped for breath as he slowly stood up, his fingers wobbling as he got back onto his feet. "It's about time. With such a girly name like that, we knew that there had to be more, to prove that it's not all smoke and mirrors..."
"What are you talking about, Red?" Sunset stepped forward and almost fell off of her mountain. "We're not using it to destroy, like you and your Defectors are! We're using it to protect this world and the people who live on it from monsters like you!"
"And yet you go out of your way to leave me with wounds?" Red looked down at his feet and noticed a small red patch on the ground where his left foot was. "From what it looks like, this is no simple fairytale..." A few seconds after he finished, the patch disappeared, and where he would have been bleeding, he wasn't, as if it had never happened.
"H-How did that happen?" Sunset immediately went wide-eyes as she quickly noticed the blood before it vanished. "It never did that before!"
"Now the truth comes out, Rainbooms." Red flapped his wings slowly and flew into the air. "The Magic of Friendship is nothing more than a stage name for something much different. While it claims to be lovey-dovey and baby-ish, in truth, it's a weapon for conquest—one to inflict harm on those who dare to defy you, isn't it?"
"That's not true, Red Letter!" Fluttershy stepped forward and threw her arms out. "We're not bullies like you!"
"Yeah! And besides, if this was a weapon to hurt others, we wouldn't use it on innocent people. Only criminals and gangs who like to cause trouble!" Indigo added.
"There are many ways to distinguish someone fighting for justice, rather than someone who merely fights for the thrill of it," Red flew back and forth, almost as it he was pacing in mid-air. "We Defectors are not the villains, Sunset Shimmer and friends. We are fighting because our dear Abacus Cinch was stripped of her position, title, and reputation. You seem to want to fight us purely because you want us to suffer," he said. "We did not do anything to you Wondercolts, and yet you decide that we Crystal Preppers do not deserve anything after losing something as meaningless as the Friendship Games."
"You are completely in the wrong, Red," Sugarcoat spoke up. "We asked the Rainbooms for help because you were hurting other students for no rhyme or reason. You didn't want the school to get better at all. You just wanted to throw it into something similar to that of a civil war, thereby making the Changelings your enemies."
"And you, Sugarcoat are so blinded by your lack of philosophy to understand who the villains are in this whole thing. I assure you, if it were up to us, we would not dare to lay a finger on the other students at Crystal Prep or Canterlot High, but Starlight Glimmer and Blueblood are our king and queen, and anything they say is law. So if a few students have to have nosebleeds, bruises, cuts, and broken bones, we are not allowed to disagree, as the penalty is similar to what happened to poor Fleur De Lis a few days ago.
"But Starlight's only using you all for her own twisted goals," said Sunset Shimmer. "She only wants to hurt the other students because she's alone. Twilight and Sugarcoat both left her, and now she's taking her rage out on the other students at CHS and CPA. I'm sure that anyone else, even King Blueblood, has to have some sort of remorse for the things that she's made them do."
"Sure, they might, but they would have to conceal it, as Starlight does not like any signs of weakness from any of her Defectors, even me." Red Letter's wings shone brightly as he ascended towards the sky. All of a sudden, his horn grew back, but his wings didn't. "I accept the Magic of Friendship, and all of the power it brings..." He clapped his hands together as if he were meditating, causing him to get consumed by a ball of light identical to the one that turned Twilight into Midnight back at the Friendship Games.
When the ball detonated, Red Letter was utterly transformed. Chinese symbols adorned his now barren arms and legs, with a single red sash wrapped around his waist. His outer parts of his eyes had turned purple, and apart from the sash and a pair of underwear underneath it, he was completely naked. He had massive white wings and an elongated horn, and on his back was a marking of the Shadowbolts' logo.
"I am transcendent." Red Letter held out his arms, and two orbs of magic appeared in them. He clapped them together with the light that was now emanating from his new horn, causing a number of chinese dragons to appear and fly around him. "I am one with the Magic of Friendship, and I shall use it to make sure our new world is formed."
He swooped down, the dragons following him at rapid speeds as he came towards the Rainbooms and Shadowbolts like a rocket.
It was at that moment, that Sunset Shimmer started to shine herself. She swung her arms in a massive circle, causing a barrier to appear and protect the girls from Red's charge. It repelled all of the damage and shock, and sent Red flying back into two more mountains.
"The magic is responding to me too, Red Letter," Sunset flew up just like he did, with another orb appearing just above her. "And now, with the help of my friends, I will show you that the Magic of Friendship is not a weapon of destruction, but a weapon to save our world!"
When Sunset went through the new orb, it exploded as well, revealing Sunset as the angel form she had taken back at the Games. A pair of shining golden wings appeared by her side, and she was now garbed in angelic white clothing with her horn turned from a simple yellow one into a longer one that glowed as well.
"And so the fabled angel of Canterlot High finally shows herself..." Red Letter crossed his arms as the dragons swirled around him. "At long last, the fated duel shall begin, and I shall fall to her shimmering light. Such is the way of the angels. They are the destroyers of armies, and as such, I shall be felled," he said. "However, if I am to die, I shall die with honour, knowing that my part in the Defectors was not for nothing!"
Sunset and Red Letter charged at each other, crashing into one another and creating a massive burst of magic that rippled across the skies. The dragons kept clashing with the rapid spells that Sunset kept lobbing at their master, as if they were serving as a shield to protect him from harm.
When Red had blocked enough attacks, he dashed forward with the dragons by his side and did some more punches and kicks, with the beasts beside each attack to widen his range. A few dragons did hit Sunset, but she didn't feel an increase in pain as the teeth came down on her, as they simply vanished when they attacked.
Sunset and Red Letter spent the next few moments trading blow for blow, striking each other with magical bolts, and even putting themself in a power struggle in which they managed to cancel each other out with how intense each side was fighting. The battle could have gone either way, but they were both determined to make sure that it ended in their favour.
"I don't really care how this ends anymore," Red Letter said after he dodged another attack from Sunset. "Win or lose, I have served the Defectors well, and that this shall be my final act with them."
"Huh?" Sunset stopped attacking for a brief moment. "What do you mean?"
"In the end, I am nothing more than an exchange student. "Red folded his arms, watching as the dragons circled him. "Tomorrow, I am to head back to my hometown in China, and this town's Frosty Orange will return to Crystal Prep. Such is the way of the exchange program."
"It's a lose-lose for you, isn't it?" Twilight spoke from below. "Even if you beat us, you'll have to return home anyway, right?"
"Yes." He hung his head. "Despite it being temporary, I have served my purpose as a student at Crystal Prep. I have made sure that the school's reputation for making the best graduates in the country has gone untarnished, and I have followed every one of Cinch's rules flawlessly. That is the way of the chinese student. Perfection is an essential part of our curriculum, otherwise, we are to be punished and forever reminded of our failures..."
"Are you saying that you don't want to fight anymore?" Sunset reached her arm out to him.
"That's absurd." Red slapped it away and got back into his fighting stance. "I might be forced to return home, but at the very least, I shall leave by letting the Defectors know that I bought them time to carry out their plans! And if I fail in defeating you, at least I have guaranteed that Queen Starlight's plan has gone through perfectly!"
"What?" Sunset froze up for a few seconds before the realization hit her. She and the Rainbooms had been wasting her time with Red Letter, and she now knew that the Defectors were after the students of Canterlot High. "Tell me what she's doing now!" She prepared another magical attack.
"The only to find out is if you defeat me." Red pointed at Sunset, causing the dragons to charge at her once again. They bared their fangs ready to bite, but she quickly vaporized them with a powerful laser.
"Tell me right now!" Sunset gritted her teeth as she fired more and more shots at Red Letter, destroying the dragons. "Tell me what Starlight's doing to Canterlot High!"
"Let's just say, the Wondercolts banner looks better covered in ashes..." Red chuckled maliciously.
"TELL ME RIGHT NOW!" Sunset screamed at Red as she flew forward and grabbed him by the neck. "TELL ME! TELL ME! TELL ME! TELL ME WHAT THE HELL STARLIGHT'S DOING TO MY FRIENDS!"
"And just like that, the angel's wrath descends upon this world..." Red spoke whilst choking for air. "Sunset Shimmer will finally have committed murder, and even then, she won't be able to save Canterlot High in time... Everything will be ruined, and it will be all her fault..." he let out a patheticly tinny laugh while he felt the oxygen in his lungs decreasing.
Sunset, despite everything that she had said, and how she had acted towards Red couldn't bring herself to murder someone—even if they had only served to delay her from stopping a disaster. Her eyes widened when she came to her senses, and she quickly let go of Red's neck and hung her head. She watched him tumble onto one of the mountains, taking in massive breaths of air when he landed.
"Wh-what?" Red quivered as he looked up at Sunset Shimmer. "Why didn't you kill me? I have done some awful things, and yet you decide to let me live?"
"With what you've said and done, you don't deserve death, Red Letter." Sunset landed beside her friends as the world around them returned to a normal Canterlot street. "Just because I'm furious with you for everything that you've said and done, I'm not going to stoop as low as the Defectors. It's not in my nature to fight evil with evil."
"Spoken like a true patriot and Wondercolt..." Red Letter watched the magic around him disappear as well, leaving him as a regular human again. He was no longer wearing his clothes in the other realm, and was now back in his CPA uniform—albeit with a few more bruises and cuts. "It's no wonder you've saved Canterlot High multiple times in the past."
"Aren't you going to keep fighting us?" Fluttershy quietly asked as she and her friends turned back to normal as well. "I thought the Defectors didn't show any mercy."
"I mentioned it before, didn't I?" Red stood back up. "There are some Defectors in the ranks that show signs of weakness, but they don't let it show, because Starlight would punish them for it. I too have a soft spot, much like many of my comrades, and I am actually scared of what Starlight is doing to achieve her goals, yet I don the mask of fury because I do not want to seem disloyal to her cause.
"As a young boy in China, I spent many years of my school time in bully groups, often bringing pain to other students because my leader thought it was fun." He paced back and forth. "I myself wasn't very pleased with myself afterwards, but I didn't want to make the other bullies seem like I wasn't contributing. I felt bad for them, but at the same time, follow my leader's words without question.
"Time after time, we did some horrific things in our groups, but I still followed on because I was not only afraid of what I was doing, but also because of what my friends would do to me if they found out I didn't want any part of it. Much like the Defectors, I have come to terms that hurting other students—and now even the ones in Canterlot High—is completely wrong, but I do not want to dissapoint Starlight Glimmer or Blueblood because of the strong grip they have over the others."
"But you're going back to China soon, aren't you?" Sunny Flare asked. "You'll still feel bad about everything you've done, right?"
"Yes. I admit that I will feel bad, but I will feel even worse knowing that I was let off the hook without ever having the time to say sorry for everyone I hurt as a Defector." Red took his Crystal Prep uniform off, revealing a casual t-shirt with a red envelope on it underneath. "Attacking is one thing, but never being given a chance to say that you're sorry for it is even worse. I will spend the rest of my days knowing that I made a name for myself as someone at CPA who liked nothing more than to hurt others, purely because I was a pawn in Starlight's game."
"I think I know how you feel." Sunset walked up to him and pulled him into a small hug. "I myself made the lives of many CHS students a misery when I first joined, but I eventually said sorry to them all, made up for it, and helped them through some even tougher times. And I'm sure that I can help you out, if you ever come back to this city."
"I appreciate that, Sunset Shimmer." Red returned the hug. "We're both the same. We've hurt others, but we want to be forgiven by all that we've scarred with our actions. I am so sorry that our first encouter at CPA was an ugly one, and had I only found the time to talk to you more, maybe we could've become friends. Which only makes me feel even worse for what Starlight Glimmer's done to Canterlot High..."
"What did she do, out of curiosity?" Sugarcoat raised her brows.
"While the thirteen of us battled in that other world, Starlight led the Defectors to Canterlot High and did some truly terrible things." Red let go of Sunset and walked up to Sugarcoat. "The unicorn students fired beam after beam of magic, tearing the school apart, while the winged ones and regular students infiltrated the school through the roof and back doors. They've probably got Celestia and Luna held hostage right now in an undisclosed location that not even I know about."
"What?!" Sunset stumbled backwards and tripped on the pavement.
"Are you alright, Sunset?" Red held a hand out to pick her up.
"I'm fine, Red." Sunset got back onto her feet by herself. "But what are they going to do with Celestia and Luna? Where there other students in the school? Is everyone who was involved in the attack alright? What about the portal? Tell me that's still standing!"
"I do not know about the rest of what you just said, especially not about a portal at Canterlot High, but I do know that Starlight's first step to revenge is to eliminate Celestia and Luna by any means necessary," said Red. "She says that it was for what happened to Abacus Cinch. A principal for a princial she said."
"Oh no!" Fluttershy squeaked as she hid behind Sour Sweet and Rainbow Dash.
"As for the rest of the students, she probably doesn't care about what happened to them, nor whether or not they're still alive, but I do now." Red Letter walked up to them. "I know that this seems all of a sudden, but if you're willing to declare me reformed, I will personally help the other students at Canterlot High get back on their feet."
"You might as well, Sunset," said Sour Sweet. "He's already suffered enough."
Sunset paused for a few seconds before she nodded. "Yeah. We're gonna need all the help we can get after a massive attack from those monsters in uniform. Come on, girls!" And she ran off towards Canterlot High with the others in tow.
"I just hope it's not too bad..." Applejack swallowed as she ran
When the group of thirteen arrived at Canterlot High, they were met with a truly devastating sight. The once proud high school where three battles had been won was now reduced to a massive pile of rubble, with a few students and staff members climbing out of the wreckage, with a few ambulances and police vehicles on the scene. The skies were no longer clear and sunny, and were now littered with purple storm clouds which were ready to start a storm at any given moment.
"No..." Sunset ran across the road as fast as her legs could carry her. As if the sight of the school destroyed was bad enough, the portal to Equestria was also in shambles, with the glass strewn all around the base of the destroyed statue. "NO! NO! NO! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!" She fell to her knees and punched the ground with her fists, tears streaming from her eyes.
"It's even worse than I thought..." Rainbow Dash slowly walked towards the nearest bit of the school she could find, slumped down at the mess, and gently rubbed it with her left hand. "The Defectors have ruined everything. The school's demolished, the students are hurt real bad, and the portal to Equestria's completely wrecked!"
"Girls!" Dean Cadence struggled to get out of the collapsed school, as her back and left side had been buried beneath marble and stone. "Help me!"
"Oh gosh! Cadence!" Fluttershy ran over with Rainbow Dash, Indigo Zap, Sunny Flare, Lemon Zest, and Pinkie Pie. They all moved the debris off of Cadence and helped her stand back up. It was only then that they noticed a massive red stain in the middle of her clothes. "You're hurt really bad! We've gotta get you to a doctor right away!"
"This is what we had originally wanted, but now I can see that the Defectors are beyond redemption..." Red Letter took his CPA trousers off, with a simple pair of jeans hiding underneath it. He ran over to Cadence as well and helped her to stop the bleeding as he and the girls carried her over to the ambulance.
"Thank you all, but I'm more concerned about the others." Cadence looked back at the rubble once she was laid down on a stretcher. "The Defectors came en masse, and I'm not sure that everyone was able to evacuate in time. Some of them might have been crushed by the destruction, or even worse..."
"The Defectors did this..." Sunset's head was entirely hung. She didn't show her face, nor her eyes as she walked up to Cadence. "Those monsters destroyed everything we had!"
"They also left me this before they hurt me..." Cadence shakily pulled out a letter from her pocket and handed it to Sunset, who opened it up immediately and threw away the envelope.
To Sunset Shimmer and her pathetic friends.
This is finally the end of your resistance. With no more school to go back to, you will lose confidence, knowing that there are some students—your other friends—who have died in vain because you spurred the wrath of the students at Crystal Prep Academy. This is far beyond simply winning over Chrysalis now. We are also at war with you, and if you dare to fight back against us, we'll only cause you more and more pain, before finally your friends walk up to the execution block to have their heads chopped off.
This is your last warning. Stay out of our affairs and let us change the world, otherwise, we will kill you, eat your flesh, drink your blood, and crush your bones.
Queen Starlight Glimmer of the Defectors.
"Kill me?" Sunset crumpled the letter up and shook her arm violently. "I'll kill them FIRST!" she gnashed her teeth as she violently ripped the letter into shreds. "Thinking that they can attack our school, hurt our classmates, and destroy our way of life?! Those fuckers are gonna get what's coming to them!"
"Sunset! Watch the language!" Pinkie Pie's tearful expression had melted into a serious one as she confronted her.
"FUCK YOU, PINKIE! THOSE THUGS JUST PROBABLY KILLED EVERYONE WE KNOW AND LOVE HERE, AND YOU'RE JUST TELLING ME TO WATCH MY LANGUAGE?!" Sunset lashed out at her, causing her to back away slowly.
"Sunset! Calm yourself down for god's sake!" Sugarcoat shouted and gave her a stern slap to the face. "You're letting yourself get angry! That's what they want you to do! It'll make them seem like the heroes if you keep up like this!"
"WHY DON'T ANY OF YOU SEE THIS FROM MY PERSPECTIVE?!" Sunset threw her arms out. "THOSE ASSHOLES HAVE DEALT US A MAJOR CASUALTY, AND ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT IS ME?! WHEN I OF ALL PEOPLE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG?!"
"SUNSET!" The Rainbooms, Shadowbolts, and Red Letter all shouted at the same time, pushing Sunset back onto the ground.
"Alright. I see how this is." Sunset stood up and pulled out the book to contact Princess Twilight. "None of you want to help a raging she-demon. I get it now. So why don't you FIX THIS PROBLEM YOURSELVES!" She threw the book against Twilight hard, causing her to collapse immediately. "I DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY NOW! YOU CAN GO DROWN YOURSELVES FOR ALL I CARE! I'M DONE! I'M OUT OF HERE! I'LL KILL THE DEFECTORS MYSELF!" She ran off with tears in her eyes, but with her hands tightly bundled up into fists.
"Sunset! Wait! We didn't mean it like that!" Twilight got back onto her feet and reached out to her, but she was already running for home.
When Sunset left the vicinity, the remaining twelve teenagers all grimaced at each other. Everything had gone from worse to absolute chaos, and now Sunset Shimmer had abandoned them at the worst possible time. Now with one less in their group, they started to shudder at what the Defectors were going to do next.
"How beautiful." Starlight Glimmer smiled as she watched Sunset Shimmer run through the streets without her friends. "I had not expected her to throw a temper tantrum like that. Now she's out of our way for good."
"What is our next move, Queen Starlight?" Blueblood asked.
"With the Rainbooms and Shadowbolts without their leader, they'll waste precious time trying to get her to come back." Starlight put her fingers together and gained a malicious smirk. "But by the time they do re-establish their friendships, we'll have already given everyone on this world Pony-Ups."
"How beautiful." Blueblood walked back to Canterlot High with his group of Defectors. The others were already back at CPA, and they were the last ones out. "Come on, Starlight. Your army is waiting to celebrate back at the academy."
Starlight nodded as she held hands with Blueblood, the two of them walking back to the school together with their allies right beside them.