• Published 12th Aug 2013
  • 13,697 Views, 217 Comments

Warring Dusk - AlphatheGriffin17

A happy day soon descends into a war between two peoples. Canterlot is under siege, the princesses are captured and Dusk must take up arms or watch his home fall.

  • ...

The Hero It Needs

Hard Edge tapped his hoof impatiently in the town hall, which he and the changelings had established as their command post in town. He and a good few others remained on station here, while the rest were on patrols throughout the town, making sure it was thoroughly secure with everypony who might be a threat rounded up and taken to the square.

It wasn't like there was much to do anyway. Even if this was a relatively small number of troops under his command, it hadn't taken them long to put down the resistance. The rest of them were away at some other fight, expanding out of Canterlot. He wondered where exactly, as there were only two other settlements and the idea of them going to Cloudsdale... just didn't sit well with him for some reason. Not they'd actually be able to take it anyway.

Even so, what did he care about what the rest of the bugs did? As long as he got what he came for, nothing else mattered, that was what he told himself. Even though it would have been good to have more troops, he managed just fine with the number he had. These ponies weren't exactly soldiers and it had been easy to organise against them once the element of surprise was gone. They really hadn't stood much of a chance.

Even so, they had managed to put up a good fight and he could respect that. He liked to think he would have done the same in their place. It didn't feel as good as he thought it would be, even if he told himself he was just taking down some of Celestia's pets. But still, a fight was a fight and they'd lost it. He'd gotten one of the things he wanted, a chance to fight and prove how great he was. Now, there was only one thing left...

That was what he was waiting for, now and again firing his new weapon at the wall to let off some steam. With everypony else surrendering, they'd find that shrimp Dusk at some point. He had a lot to answer for, humiliating Edge like the rest of the Canterlot scum, treating him like he was nothing. Well, they'd already gotten their deal. It was time for him to get his. He never met another pony he wanted squashed more...

Well, that Rainbow mare was getting a close second. She really had spunk, for a mare at least and he grudgingly admired that she was from Cloudsdale. Even so, she was really starting to stir up his storm cloud. Once Dusk got what was coming to him, maybe he'd have some fun with her too. He always did prefer more aggressive mares.

"Commander, sir." The leader of the round-up team had returned. "Here to report on occupational status, sir."

Edge could hear the tone of disdain when he addressed him with his title. Even he knew that his partnership his boss had going wasn't popular with the changeling troops. Not that he cared. He didn't like the bugs and the bugs didn't like him. As long as they played ball, he was fine with that and he wasn't looking to make friends.

At least they were open about it and if things did get nasty, he was always eager to try out his new weapons on some of them.

"Spit it out then," he snapped.

The leader, Nos or something, bristled. "We have completed our campaign here. All areas are secure and all ponies have been taken prisoner."

He nodded slowly. "You manage to find him then?"

He paused a moment. "No, sir. We scoured every inch of the town, but there was no sign of the pony Dusk Noir."

Silence hung thick in the air following that. Edge gave it a few moments to settle in, as well as to let his temper boil to the best point to let it out.

"Well, you can't have checked everywhere because you didn't FIND HIM!" he roared, shooting up from his seat and glaring at him.

"We tried our best, sir, but he has obviously fled the battle. I suggest we expand searches to the surrounding area, as well as advance forward to-"

"Sorry, are you telling me what to do?" he demanded, prodding his chest. "Nopony tells me what to do. I'm in charge, you got that?"

He hissed. "Only by a fluke."

Edge wasn't deterred. "What did you say to me?!"

"You think yourself in command, but you do not deserve the position!" he snapped. "You haven't earned it!"

"Oh really? Is that what you think?!"

"The only reason you are here is because our queen allows it, pony!" Nos hissed. "If you were not, I would-"

"I'm sorry, what was that?" Edge pointed the barrel directly at his face. "You would what?"

Nos stared at it for a while. A few of the other changelings tensed at the display, ready to act at a moment's notice. Would he have to take down a few of them before they would stand down, to make an example?

In the end, that wasn't necessary.

"Nothing... sir."

"You sure? You don't have anything to say?"

"Nothing, sir." he said through gritted fangs. "A slip of the tongue, nothing more."

"Good." He lowered the weapon, feeling a little disappointed. "Now then, if we can't find the shrimp by looking, we'll have to get somepony to show us where he is."

He strode outside, barging past Nos, who he heard hiss before falling in behind him. He really didn't care what the bug thought of him right now. He never cared. Right now, there was only one thing he wanted to get done.

He soon reached the town square, where he could hear the noise of all the ponies being kept prisoner there. He didn't care what they were talking about either, nor all of the jeers and calls that were thrown at him when he flew up to a nearby building to make himself seen. He didn't care about any of it.

At least, that was what he was telling himself to try and reduce the sudden squirming feeling he felt inside. It was drowned out soon anyway when he fired his weapon a few times to silence everypony.

"All right, listen up!" he began. "I wanna make one thing perfectly plain: you lost! We came, we saw, we kicked your flanks! There's no coming back, so you might as well play nice if you wanna make this easier for yourselves!"

"What, so we can get ourselves served up on a silver platter quicker?" called the farm pony. "Sorry, sourcube, but ah ain't plannin' on goin' out anytime soon."

"If that's the case then, maybe you can get out of it by giving me a little help!" he called back. "We've rounded up all the ponies who kidded themselves into thinking they stood a chance, except for one!"

"Then your victory is hardly thorough, isn't it?" shouted the snobby pony.

"It will be!" he snapped. "So, here's the deal! One of you tells me where Dusk Noir is hiding and maybe I won't let the bugs have their way!"

"That's a terrible deal!" yelled the pink pony. "Sorry to burst your balloon, even if that's more Pokey's thing than mine, but we're not snitching on our friend!"

"If you won't tell me where he is, I'll make you!" he threatened.

"Go ahead!" challenged Rainbow. "I hope it's gonna be worth trying to find one pony, 'cause you'll have to go through a lot more before you do!"

"You don't have to go through me!" a voice yelled. "If I knew, I'd tell you where he was!"

"By Celestia, do you ever keep your mouth shut?!" she shot at him.

"Both of you, shut it!" he roared. "If you won't tell me where he is, I'll just have to find somepony who will! Somepony like her!"

He pointed out at random and heard a shrill scream when a changeling dragged the mare out of the crowd. It was the butter yellow one, trying pathetically to struggle away from the changeling that was bringing her.

"NO!" The teleporting stallion managed to both look angry and terrified at the same time. "DON'T YOU TOUCH HER! LEAVE HER ALONE!"

"Shut him up!" he ordered. He grabbed her while he heard sounds of impact from the stallion. "Tell me where Dusk Noir is, right now!"

"We don't know!" somepony from the crowd yelled. "Don't hurt her!"

"I will, if none of you talk!" He shoved the barrel under her chin. "Somepony talk, right now!"

"P-p-please, d-d-don't hurt me." Even though it was barely a whisper, he still managed to hear her.

Edge could hear it now, the sheer terror in her voice, the fear in her eyes. His anger subsided and in that brief moment, he saw what he was actually doing. He was getting the glory he'd always wanted, he was getting payback on those he despised. But now, looking at this whimpering mare, he had to ask himself one question.

Why wasn't he enjoying this more? He hesitated when it entered his head. He didn't want to activate it.

An explosion sounded somewhere across town, followed by the sounds of magic being fired off. Was it him? Had he finally shown himself? He let the Pegasus go, glanced her scurrying back into the mass of prisoners and felt his anticipation grow again.

"Go find out what that is!" he ordered Nos. "Probably something you missed. Bring 'em back here with the others."

He nodded briefly and buzzed off with a couple more changelings. Edge watched the townsfolk warily, noting how they were talking in a more animated fashion than before, looking towards the explosion. If they thought they had a chance to escape, he had to make sure they didn't try and take it.

Fortunately, they didn't get the chance to. Nos returned a few minutes later, a triumphant look on his face.

"We can confirm, sir, that was somepony we missed," he reported. "She tried to storm us, but we overpowered her easily. The queen will be very happy we managed to find her again."

Even though he was seething that it wasn't Dusk, Edge allowed himself a little satisfaction when Princess Cadence was dragged in by a changeling escort. Another chance to get back at some Canterlot scum.

"Well, well, look who decided to grace us with her presence," he sneered. "I was disappointed when the bride couldn't stick around long enough for me to meet her."

"I'm sorry," she replied calmly. "It was just all so much to take in, I needed some time to myself."

"And leaving your guests unattended? Well, that's kinda rude."

"So is turning up without an invitation and I don't recall seeing your name on the guest list," she countered.

"Last minute security, they were a little short-hooved." He leaned in menacingly to her. "And, as a member of security, I need to ask you a few questions, princess."


"Not now, Nos, I'm busy."

"So, you're a commander now?" she noted. "Are you enjoying your new position? Are you proud of what you've done to get here?"

He laughed in her face. "And why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, the betrayal of your own kind and the treason against this land's rightful rulers might factor into it a little bit."

"Why? What have they done for me recently? It's good they're getting what's coming to them."

Her expression softened. "I don't think you really believe that."

For some reason, he faltered. "What? W-what are you talking about?"

"Sir, I think you should-"

"I said shut it!" he snapped, barely glancing up. "What do you mean?! How would you know?!"

"I know ponies like you, Hard Edge. You're doing this because you feel bitter, betrayed, but just how long is that going to drive you? How long can you hold a grudge before it drives you do something you'll really regret, if it hasn't already?"

Like I almost did before, his mind seemed to whisper. Like with that Pegasus...

"You feel like this is going to push you on to get what you want, but all you'll end up with is more pain." She shook her head sadly. "I truly do feel sorry for you."

"Like I care!" he snapped. "You had your chance and now it's gone! I'm on the right side now!"

"And just how far will you be willing to go to prove that?"

"Enough of the chatter, princess!" He aimed his weapon at her. "Tell me where Dusk is, right now or you'll regret it."

She returned his look coolly. "No, I don't think I will. The only one who will be regretting their choice of actions is you, Mr Edge."

"Oh yeah? And why is that?" he sneered.

"Well, I don't know if you've noticed but..." She smirked at him. "It's gotten a lot darker, wouldn't you agree?"

He barked out a laugh. "What? You think you're gonna get me with that?"

"Actually, sir," Nos said quietly, "I think you should see..."

"What do you...?" Now, Hard Edge looked up and he saw what they meant.

It was getting darker, but not because it was night time. The lamps in the street were going out, one by one. The shadows being cast by the buildings, the guards, the ponies, even his own, were growing up from the ground, even though the moon was barely moving. They were growing up, forming a wall around them through which all he could see was black.

"What the hay...?" He raised his weapon, darting his eyes around. "What's going on? What... what is this?"

In the dark, he heard a chuckle. A chuckle from a voice that made his blood boil from how much it reminded him of the Canterlot elite.

"Why, I should say that the answer is fairly obvious, Mr Edge." It seemed to come from everywhere. "As the day brings the radiance of light, so with the night comes the darkness. Then again, the darkness existed regardless in the day, just as there is still light within darkness. Rather curious, isn't it?"

"Who's there?!" he shouted. "Who are you?!"

"You ask a question that I've already given you the answer to." He whipped around as his own shadow seemed to grow and speak with the words. "Is this explanation enough?"

"What are you doing?! Who in Tartarus are you?!" he demanded.

"Very well, I shall make it more evident." Changelings looked around as, one by one, the voice spoke through the shadows they cast. "I am everywhere the light fails to shine, where most fear to tread for what might lie beyond. I keep them safe in those places, from those like you who give them reason for that fear."

"SHUT UP!" he roared, ignoring how much his leg was shaking. "Show yourself!"

Again, the chuckle. "And what, my good fellow, do you think gives you the authority to command the revealing of my good self?"

"What doesn't? Whoever you are, you're just one pony," he taunted. "I got weapons, I got soldiers. All you've got are your little magic tricks."

"Ah, so it is from the illusion of control your authority stems," the voice noted. "You think your little devices and your minions give you freedom over whatever you wish, but if we were to take all of that away, just how much control would you have? How much of you would be demanding of me then?"

All of the shadows, everywhere, all of them moving, talking with his voice, all at once. He fired off some random shots, but they all vanished in the blackness. He tried to keep from trembling, keep in control.


"Here." That voice came from directly behind him.

Something hit him sharply in the back of the head, knocking him off the roof. He snarled, recovered his wits and looked up, seeing a figure dressed in black where he once stood.

"Fear not, good citizens of Ponyville! It is I, the Shadow Spectre, here to serve you once more as protector of this town! But I cannot accomplish this deed alone! Will you join me in ridding our town of the scourge that plagues it?"

The crowd cheered in response. Earth ponies stomped their hooves, pegasi had their bindings sliced through and took to the sky, the horns of unicorns glowed in the dark.

"I am indebted to you all!" He pointed dramatically with his hoof. "Come now! Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!"

He vanished in a wave of shadow. Hard Edge's roar of anger was lost over the sounds of Ponyville fighting for its freedom once more.

Even with his aversion to violence, Dusk couldn't help but feel a certain sense of pride when he saw the ponies rise up against their captors. The changelings tried to hold back against the tide, but the sheer mass of ponies and the fact the guards were spread out meant they were overwhelmed in moments.

If there truly was a noble cause to be found in a battle, this was it. And he would not hesitate to be a part in it.

He looked over at Cadence, who had blasted aside her guards and a few ponies rallied to her. He was grateful that she had been able to provide an added distraction to give him time to go to his house and get his costume. The explosion had been provided by a special mix from Zecora, who was now arriving with her bamboo staff spinning.

That was the first part of his plan. Now that the general populace was free, he had to make sure his friends were free to help him lead the effort. The first port of call was one who certainly looked to be in more of a predicament than the others, struggling against the gooey manacles he wore, something black clamped to his horn.

He moved swiftly across the roofs and landed nimbly next to him, blasting away the goo and removing the thing from his horn. Immediately, it sparked with his yellow aura.

"Alright! Back in the game!" he declared, grinning at him. "So, you're like the town superhero or something? How did I miss that one?"

"You weren't here for it," he stated simply.

"Huh. That makes sense then," he shrugged. "Well, thanks for letting me out. That thing was not comfy to wear."

"I'm sure it wasn't." He tipped his hat. "It's the least I can do for injuring you previously, my friend."

"What? You never..." His eyes widened in realisation. "Dusk?! That's... that's really you under there?"

"Come now, Ray," he chuckled. "I would have thought that you, of all ponies, would have figured it out in minutes."

"Well, I was starting to get an idea but still..." He smiled easily. "Don't worry about it, bud. It's cool. Guess you managed to beat her then?"

"I did. Well, with some help," he added.

"I would consider hitting you with my pipe for that, but Spike still has it." He smirked. "I'll let it slide this time. I've got better things to hit."

"Relieved to hear it. Now, I need you to gather our friends here in the square. Can you do that for me?"

"Already going!" In an instant, he vanished.

Dusk smiled under his mask and looked around, seeing the rabble the ponies had become once more. It looked like they were winning now, but they needed some actual organisation if they were to have any chance of winning this fight and there were only certain ponies he wanted to trust to help him lead.

In about a minute, he had Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Cadence, Rainbow Dash, Spike and Ray. At least four of them knew who lay under the mask and from the looks of the remaining four, Ray might have let it slip.

"You're back, you're really back!" Rarity beamed. "Oh, darling, you have no idea what a relief it is to see you again!"

"The feeling is beyond mutual," he replied. "There are no words that could truly convey how sorry I am for abandoning you the first time. I should have known about her, but I-"

"Don't even start, sugarcube," Applejack cut off. "She pulled the wool over our eyes too and messed things up fer us all. But she's gone now and yer back, that's what counts."

"We're just glad you came back," said Fluttershy warmly. "It wasn't the same without you, big brother."

Dusk didn't argue with them. Instead, he felt that one part of his costume wasn't needed anymore and there was no need to hide from them. He reached up and removed his mask, just so they could see the look in his eyes.

"I really couldn't ask for a better group of friends," he said in his real voice. "Thank you, everypony."

"Yay! Now that that's done..." Pinkie's main popped back up into its usual state. "Private Pinkamena Dianne Pie reporting for duty, sir!"

He could already feel that smile growing wider. Only this time, they could see it.

"Right, try and get everypony as organised as you can!" He had thought of these roles before coming here starting out. Time to see if it would work. "Cadence, you work with Rainbow Dash and command those who can fly. Use the advantage of the skies against them!"

"Understood." She immediately took flight. "All Pegasi, to me! Hurry!"

"Come on, let's hustle everypony!" added Rainbow. "Let's show them what we're really made of this time!"

Those they addressed had already started to join them when he moved on.

"Rarity, you and Ray organise the close-range fighters on the ground!" he ordered. "Anypony who prefers to get in close and personal, make certain they follow you!"

"Absolutely," she nodded, flicking a scarf she wore. "I am always happy to work with my favourite ruffian."

"Only if there's the world's greatest snob to work with," he countered, exchanging a smile with her much different than what Dusk usually saw with them.

"And a number one dragon assistant," added Spike, wielding the metal pipe once more. "Thanks again for letting me use this."

"No problem, I don't think I need to be using it much more anyway," he remarked, smirking at Dusk.

"Pinkie Pie, organise a party of shooters, along with Applejack," he finished. "Get them on the high ground, the roof tops, the hills, overturned carts, anywhere. Get them stationed and get them firing!"

"Like shooting ducks at the fairground!" she said brightly, shooting off a blast from her party cannon.

Applejack nodded. "Just gimme a bunch-a apples an' some targets an' ah'll show 'em how sharp ah can shoot."

"Fluttershy, anypony who can no longer fight, start moving them into the town hall and keep them safe there," he told her. "Start treating them for their injuries, get them back on their hooves. We need all the help we can get. You can manage with Zecora's help."

"R-right," she responded, looking a lot braver. "I'll do my best."

"I shall try to be quick, should anypony have need of a medic," promised Zecora.

"Excellent. I have faith in each and every one of you. Now," he said, gesturing again, "let's stand up..."

"... AND TAKE IT BACK!" the girls finished.

Ray moaned again. "Man, I really did miss out on the best stuff!"

"Don't worry," Dusk said, seeing the changelings that were charging at them, "there's not much chance of that anymore."

Without hesitation, knowing they would all be right behind him, he leaped at two airborne changelings with the power the suit granted him, hitting them quickly with blue hooves as he passed by, turning them orange on the last one. The strike knocked his head back and he fell with Dusk atop him, who rode him to the bottom.

Other changelings came for him as he landed, some in their true forms, some mimicking his appearance, others his friends. He was ready to face them all, no matter what. He wasn't going to be falling for their tricks and deceptions any longer. He had his magic, he had his costume, he had his training. Time to put Luna's gifts to good use.

He never stayed in one place during the battle, going wherever he was needed. If one of the ponies was pinned by a changeling, he would punch it off. If the changeling outnumbered a group of fighters, he would be there to even the odds. If they felt hopeless and lost, he would give them the spirit to keep fighting with his example.

It was one of those times when he truly understood why he had been chosen as the Element of Unity.

As the battle progressed on, he could see that signs of rather hap-hazard organisation were starting to turn the tide. Cadence and Rainbow were rallying the Pegasi into the sky, the latter making small teams to create localised tornados to launch at their enemies, calling on their previous training from moving the water to Cloudsdale.

Down below, things were looking good too. Rarity's sheer grace of movements and Ray's energetic fighting method seemed to inspire those who followed them, adding extra vigour to their attacks and felling any who stood in their way. Spike always stayed close to Rarity, swinging his metal pipe like a sword. He glimpsed others, Octavia with her expert fighting, Big Mac with his immense strength taking down ten changelings at once.

Providing covering fire from elevated positions were the ranged fighters. Applejack had gotten her hooves on a basket of apples and was kicking them at her attackers or using her lasso to rope in changelings and use them as projectiles instead. Booms went of from Pinkie's party cannon, changelings blasted away, wrapped up in party streamers and from some strange sound bazooka Vinyl used.

But Dusk soon had his focus on a different target, who was also on an elevated position, firing away at any who tried to take him on. Dusk ignored all other challengers and concentrated on getting to him. If he could defeat him, this battle would be over. That and he felt some payment was due to him.

He floated up on a colour cloud, landing before him and locking eyes with him. Edge smirked at the sight of him.

"So, it was you under that mask," he remarked. "I really didn't know you had the guts. I gotta give you that much."

"I'm not at all interested in your concessions, Edge," he replied. "You know why I'm here and I know there's no dissuading you. Let's just get this over with."

"Couldn't agree more!" He fired off three shots, all of which missed when Dusk jumped out of the way.

He landed and returned fire, which Edge managed to block or shoot. They entered a duel, returning bolt for bolt, shot for shot with each other in what must have been spectacular to see. While Dusk had the experience of using his magic for this, it was clear Edge didn't. He let quite a few of Dusk's bolts slip by, most of his missing or being blocked. When he realised this wasn't working, he tried getting in close.

The stallion was ready for this and jumped away from the punch, hitting him with a wave of shadow and a round of colour pellets. He got in close with a fast punch, but Edge blocked it and countered. Dusk ducked under the blow, returned one of his own. Edge caught it and punched him twice in the stomach and threw him aside.

The suit took the brunt of the blows and he managed to return them in kind. Dusk charged at him as formless smoke, the suit giving him the power to do so and became solid when he reached him, striking with both hooves glowing orange. Edge staggered from the impact, firing randomly. Dusk was knocked back too when one of them hit him in the chest.

When he looked up, he glimpsed Edge was grinning evilly. Looking down, he saw, with horror, the blast had burned a hole in his suit. It had taken the impact, but had been burnt away, exposing part of underneath. Even worse, he felt a fading in the influence of the enchantment on it. The energy the suit gave him was being lost from the damage and he could feel it.

Another shot missed him by inches. He dodged another, got in close, missed the punch he threw at Edge and felt another blast graze his sleeve. Dusk kept up the fight, but the damage was letting exertion from the previous uses of his energy catch up to him. He suddenly felt a lot more tired than before.

But he had to complete his goal. Edge had to be taken down, no matter what. He had to try.

When Edge took to the sky, Dusk bounced after him. He created a colour cloud, dodging around the shots that were fired at him and got closer, creating a shield to block anymore that he couldn't. Dusk concentrated on the gauntlet he wore, a purple aura surrounding and forced him downward. At the same time, he struck quickly with blue hooves, sending him back down.

Back on the ground, time to finish this before he recovered. Using what he had left, he turned them orange, starting forward for one good punch.

"Not this time, shrimp!"

He charged right at Dusk, firing as he came. He saw the direction he was coming in, stepping to the left to avoid it. Just as he did, Edge suddenly changed direction, colliding into him with the force of a bull. Before Dusk could recover, he was hit three times point blank, the force of the blasts knocking him away.

He noted the fresh singing holes in his suit, the loss of power from the enchantment. He barely had time to comprehend before more shots came at him. He desperately put up a shield, but didn't have the time to apply the right amount of power. It fell after three, two shots grazing his unprotected face.

He cried out and clutched at it. Looking up, he saw Edge laughing mockingly.

"Yeah, I got my weapons and minions," he echoed. "But take away that suit, what are you?"

"Um, a pony with good friends, a great marefriend, an Element of Harmony with power over light and shadow and education from one of the co-rulers of Equestria?"

"Shut up!" His weapon whirred again. "That's the last time you ever mock me!"

The weapon's whirring grew louder, the barrel growing brighter. He tried to move, but his leg burned and he barely had any energy left. There was a flash-

Edge screamed as electricity shot through his whole body, his skeleton on full display amdist the flashing. He was panting heavily when it passed, his fur singed and smoking. He looked up just in time to see a hoof smack into him and knock him aside.

"Rule number one for Pegasi in getting out of a scrape: always make sure there's a storm cloud nearby." Rainbow grinned at him. "I heard all of that before. When did your ego decide to grow?"

"Ever since I was threatened with beatings if it didn't," he countered. "Are you fine dealing with this?"

"Believe me," she said, rounding on Edge, "it'll be a pleasure."

"You'll pay for that!" He pointed his weapon at her, but the barrel only poured black smoke. "W-what?! NO!"

"Aw, did I break your toys?" she cooed. "Looks like we're doing this the old fashioned way!"

"I don't need them to-!" A hoof to the face cut him off and his attentions became focused on things other than talking.

He charged back at her, but Rainbow ducked easily under his hoof and punched him in the chin, followed with a spin-kick to the face. He staggered back and was hit when she rammed right at him, knocking him into a chimney stack. He yelled when a few bricks landed on his head, but Rainbow was relentless and didn't let up.

He managed to get away, taking to the sky, but she was right behind him. Dusk thought she might lose it when Edge kicked a cloud at her and landed some blows while she was distracted, but he got more than he bargained for with Rainbow Dash. He tried to grab her, but she elbowed him in the gut, kicked him in the groin and punched him across the face, sending him tumbling.

Even though the guard tried to stand his ground, it was clear he was no match for Rainbow's speed and agility now that his weapons were gone. He did have his training, but she barely gave him the time to use it with the ferocity and swiftness with which she attacked. He was tempted to try and help, but he knew she didn't need it.

In desperation, he tried to charge her again, ramming into her full force. Instead of dodging it, she let him hit her and used his momentum against him. Heaving him, she spun around in the air with him in a headlock and flung him back to the ground. Dusk flinched from the force with which he crashed.

He managed to peer over the rooftop where he saw Edge climbing out of a crater he'd made. Rainbow landed next to him and looked down at him.

"Had enough yet?" she called down.

"You... you... YOU!"

"Wow, what a great speaker," she remarked.

"You'll pay, I'll make sure you pay!" he screeched. "You think you've won this?!"

She shrugged cockily. "I'd say so, considering your buddies seem to be in a hurry to leave."

"Come back here, you cowards!" he roared. "You'll-!"

He was cut off when Rainbow threw a brick down at him.

"No weapons and no minions." She grinned while he tried to stand. "I guess you're not in control anymore, are you?"

He glared at her for a long while, glanced at the retreating changelings and made up his mind. He took to the sky, getting out of the way of Rainbow's next strike.

"This isn't over!" he shouted. "You'll get yours, both of you! You all will!"

"Yeah, that's right, run away you gutless, back-stabbing piece of-!"

"I think... he got the message, Rainbow Dash," he said, making an effort to stand back up.

"Yeah well, don't you worry about him anymore, Dusk." She slammed a hoof into the other. "The next time I see him, he's not gonna be getting away."

"In all honesty, I think I'd prefer to let you deal with him anyway," he admitted.

"Thanks for that," she laughed, moving to support him. "Come on, let's get you to Fluttershy, then see if Rarity can't patch that suit of yours."

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