• Published 23rd Apr 2014
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MLDC Next Generation: Know Fear! - Michael_Ravencroft



"Starburst of Equestria, you have the ability to instill great fear!"

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Blood and Shadow, Fear and Light

A day had passed since Starburst’s departure and Sunny Skie’s death. It was a somber, solemn time. Spitfire and Fleetfoot had come to see the body of their only daughter, Rainbow Dash and Soarin, along with Prism Bolt and his little brother Icy Storm accompanied them to Canterlot Castle. The six pegasi trotted through a hall to a room with stained glass windows, each of the windows depicted several different ponies, soldiers from the past captured in a moment of their most noble or historic deed. Not a word was spoken as they walked down the velvet carpet to the other end, where a white oak coffin stood.

Lance was at the other end near the casket; his face was bruised, but somewhat neutral. Most likely he had steeled himself for what was coming. He looked up to the approaching pegasi and stood at attention.

“Miss Spitfire…Miss Fleetfoot. Mrs. Rainbow Dash, Mr. Soarin…Prism, Icy.” Lance nodded to each pony as he spoke their name, looking at them directly.

The coffin was closed as per the protocol. It was only to be opened upon request of the immediate family. Spitfire and Fleetfoot took shaky breaths and gave the Guard Captain the go ahead to open the casket. Lance sighed heavily, lighting his horn and lifting up the upper part of the coffin.

It wasn’t a pretty sight. The two mothers broke down into tears upon the sight of their daughter lying pale in the coffin. Prism Bolt saw this as well, remembering Sunny from the few times their families got together, Icy was the same, he hadn’t known her as long as Prism, but it was still a sad sight to see death, especially two tough mares like Spitfire and Fleetfoot cry so hard.

Prism noticed, probably before his parents and the grieving mothers, that the mare had a smile on her face. The dark blue stallion didn’t know what to make of it, was she happy that she died, or was she happy about something else? He then noticed Lance nudge his head forward, catching onto Prism’s curiosity and indicating that they needed to talk separately. Prism was able to excuse himself from the group and left to talk to Lance. The two stallions walked until they were out of the room, the echoing sobs of the two pegasus mares could still be heard even from their distance.

Once alone, Prism gave the alicorn stallion a slight glare. “Let’s just make this clear, don’t BS me, alright?”

“Say what?”

“I don’t know what’s going on, but Starburst feels like she’s at the center of this, even her death. I don’t believe for a second that this was some accident,” said Prism with a hint of bitterness in his voice.

Lance’s gaze was downcast as he remembered the events of last night. “It was…and it wasn’t…Believe me when I say that the one who were responsible got the asskicking of a lifetime!”

Prism noted the amount of anger in his voice; he was just as sore about Sunny’s death as he was. “So, what’s happening with Starburst? Something tells me she ain’t here anymore.”

The alicorn stallion thought it over, it wouldn’t be hard to lie to Prism Bolt, he wasn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed, but sometimes he surprised you and others with how he could grasp a situation. So, reluctantly, Lance spilled about what happened last night, it was painful recalling every event, especially with how close he came to convincing Star to stay with them and his promise to fight for her. In the end, it was all shattered by some overzealous idiots. Lance would’ve banished them to the surface of the sun if he could, but instead he settled for insubordination and the indirect mareslaughter of a fellow Royal Guard.

Once Lance was done he waited for Prism’s response. He gave it in the form of a swift punch to the jaw, in the same spot that Star had hit previously, sending the alicorn stallion sprawling to the ground from the cheap shot. Lance growled in anger and pain from the returning soreness. “What the hay Prism!?”

“Believe me, that’s less than you deserve you plothole! I can’t believe you and her mom, High Princess Twilight of all ponies, went and did that!!!” Prism shouted in anger.

Lance slowly rose to his hooves and shot the pegasus stallion a glare of his own. “I thought I had no choice Bolt! She was putting herself in danger, and using a weapon with unknown magic to do so!”

“She used it to help your sorry asses! And you put her in a dungeon for it! Tell me, are you jealous of her or are you just that pathetic!”

That tore it, Lance launched himself at the arrogant, loud mouthed pegasus and the two started to roll on the floor, punching and kicking as they did so. Prism bucked Lance off of him and shot back up to his hooves, snorting as he stared down the alicorn stallion. Lance recovered quickly and zoomed right for Prism again.

“You have no idea how I feel about Star! I care about her, I want her to succeed! She’s my family dammit!”

Lance thrust his right hoof forward for a punch, but, utilizing his quickness; Prism dodged the attack and launched himself at Lance. The resulting tackle smashed the Guard Captain into the wall. Prism was about to throw another punch when Lance’s horn flared, catching the punch and tossing him against the opposite wall.

“And you show how much you care by taking away the one thing she wanted more than anything! Her life’s goal, her dream! As far as I’m concerned she let you off light last night! Can’t say I would’ve done any better! She’s practically a freakin’ saint!” Prism shouted.
The two stallions dragged themselves up off the floor, huffing and staring at each other through narrowed eyes.

“What would you have done in my position then?! Oh why am I even having this conversation with you?! You don’t even take anything seriously, so why does this ruffle your feathers!” Lance yelled.

Prism snorted in indignation, “Because one of my friends is labeled a criminal, is hurting because the pony who risked everything for her is dead, the guy she was dating back home is worried about her, along all her other friends, that’s why I’m taking this seriously!”

“Says the pegasus who was rejected by the Wonderbolts.”

“BUCK YOU!!!”

Prism dashed for Lance, the alicorn stallion lit up his horn to tried and take hold of him in a telekinetic aura. But Prism’s quickness and sharp turns made it hard for Lance to accurately focus on him when the pegasus kept zigzagging all over the place. Before he knew it, Prism landed one punch across his left cheek and another across his right, sending a bit of blood flying into the air. Prism then brought up his forelegs and used them as a battering ram, slamming into Lance’s chest as he propelled himself with his wings. The dark blue stallion brought his left foreleg higher, pinning Lance by the neck as he glared daggers at him from his intense green eyes.

“PRISM BOLT!!!” Both stallions turned to the sound of the familiar voice. Rainbow Dash was standing in the middle of the hallway, her gaze furious as she looked at the injured stallions. “Let him go Priz.”

“Mom, he –!”

“I SAID LET HIM GO, NOW!” Rainbow ordered.

Reluctantly, Prism released Lance, letting him fall to his haunches as he coughed a bit. Rainbow Dash then trotted up to Lance, offering him a hoof up. She then stood before her son and stared him in the eye. There were few things that could make Prism feel small and fearful, one was definitely Claire, another was Star when she flared her wings and used her special talent, and the third, his mother’s gaze.

“Mom…I’m sor –”

Before Prism could finish Rainbow Dash slapped her son across the face, making him stare wide eyed at her. “We’re here to support our friends who just lost their only child, and you decide to pick a fight while their crying their eyes out not fifty feet from you?!” The pegasus stallion stayed silent. “Now go back in there and pay your respects to Sunny, and tell her you’re sorry while you’re at it!”

Prism Bolt didn’t say a word; he took one last look at Lance, snorted, and then proceeded to head to the room where the family was grieving. Rainbow Dash stood there, breathing in slowly to calm herself down as well. Lance got back onto his hooves and looked over to Rainbow Dash sadly.

“Mrs. Dash, it’s not entirely his fault…”

“Don’t even get me started with you, Valiant Heart. I heard every word you said to Prism.” Dash noticed the surprised look on Lance’s face. “I didn’t buy that malarkey that the Guards told Spitfire and Fleetfoot, but I pretended to, because I planned on asking Twi about it when I got the chance, but now that I know what I know…” Rainbow Dash growled frustratingly.

“You’re…You’re not going to tell them…are you?”

“I should, I should tell them how their daughter died! How she protected one of my friend’s kids who saved my life and Spitfire’s and all of Cloudsdale! I should, but…they’ve been through enough…I’d kick your ass too, but I think you got enough of a beat down from Star and Prism, I’ll chew out Twi later…”

Rainbow Dash turned away from Lance, her tail snapping like a whip in a sort of warning. Valiant Heart didn’t think he could feel any worse than he already did, but he was wrong, unfortunately…


Two Days Later…

Starburst cried all the tears she had left during the last couple of days, she had mourned the loss of a friend, an ally, a comrade, and now she was going to pay her respects. Star had gone into hiding after that night; taking refuge in the one place nopony would look for her, the Everfree Forest. She stayed close to Ponyville, hearing the rumors being spread throughout the town of Starburst’s unknown whereabouts, and as well as the funeral that was going to be held in Cloudsdale for the fallen Royal Guard Lieutenant, Sunny Skies.
The Fear Lantern flew to the floating city and stopped when she saw the procession flying by. Spitfire and Fleetfoot, Sunny’s mothers, were at the head of the group, looking so defeated and downtrodden; it hurt Star to see them in such a state.

It’s all my fault…I’m so sorry…

Starburst also saw that Rainbow Dash and Soarin were there as well, along with Prism and Icy. There were also dozens of Wonderbolts, both current and former members, along with them were lines of Royal Guard pegasi. Further ahead was High Princess Celestia leading the procession, while four RG pegasus stallions served as the pallbearers for the coffin. Starburst choked up upon seeing it, but kept silent.

She followed the procession to a special graveyard for pegasi. Star learned this as part of her heritage when she was twelve years old. The Pegasus Tribe lived primarily in the air, so they had nowhere to bury their dead like unicorns and earth ponies. Because of this, they adopted a system of cremation, collecting the ashes and placing them in an urn to keep or to place within a special family mausoleum. It wasn’t until a few hundred years later that they discovered another way to deal with their dead. They used winter storm clouds to create a hard coffin made of solid ice. Not only would it preserve the body, but it would also allow the family to visit them.

They wouldn’t cremate her, not after what Spitfire and Fleetfoot had to go through to conceive Sunny. Most likely they’ll put her on ice…cremating her would be like saying she never existed…

Starburst continued to follow the procession into Cloudsdale. There were more Wonderbolts standing by, they were dressed in their usual uniform, but each was wearing a black band on their right forelegs. The orange pegasus looked up as they started to fly overhead, she had to admit, Celestia must’ve gone out of her way to make sure that this day was particularly bright, clear, vibrant, and sunny. No doubt it was in homage to Sunny Skies’ namesake.

Something had caught her eye that she didn’t notice earlier, Valiant Heart was there. At first Star scowled in anger, wondering where he got the audacity to show his face at Sunny’s funeral. If it weren’t for the fact that she was in hiding, Star would throw the stallion out of the funeral right now. But she could tell by the look on his face that it was guilt ridden and sad. As much as she wanted to blame him for her death, in the back of her head, she knew it wasn’t his fault, but that still didn’t erase everything else.

The funeral procession continued on till they reached the graveyard, or what counted as a graveyard by pegasus standards. Starburst perched herself on top of a mausoleum, looking and listening as Celestia gave a eulogy for Sunny, highlighting her many accomplishments over her years of service, it honestly surprised Star to hear of her contributions to the Royal Guard, she was sure there was more since Sunny also doubled as an agent of the EBE, but those were probably top secret and need-to-know kinds of things.

After Celestia finished, Sunny’s parents were next, saying how on the day of her birth there was a storm going on, when she arrived on Equus, the sun shined and skies cleared. Which is where they got her name, and, it was also alluding to how Sunny made them feel, happy and filled with joy. After a few of Sunny’s friends and other family members said their peace, Celestia stepped forth and opened the coffin, her body had a preservation spell cast upon it, to keep it from decaying until they could fully perform the ceremony. The Ceremonial Weather Ponies brought in the specially created clouds, floating them over a designated pedestal slab where Sunny would rest. Once Celestia placed her there, the pegasi working the clouds gave them a swift kick with their hind legs, unleashing an icy flurry upon Sunny’s body. It didn’t last more than twenty seconds before they stopped.

Sunny’s body was now encased in a block of ice, normally, a team of pegasi would sculpt the ice into something smaller and refined, however, Celestia announced that she would do it personally. With a flare of her horn, the alicorn mare’s magic sliced and chiseled the ice down till it was smaller and etched with intricate designs that best represented the fallen soldier mare. Celestia stood aside and let Spitfire and Fleetfoot inspect her work, they approved and thanked the High Princess.

From there, many ponies departed to attend the wake. Some stayed behind to pay their respects to Sunny. Once she was sure they were all gone, Star flew down to the pedestal slab, and landed softly on the hardened cloud and took a shaky breath. She was just as she left her, with that same smile on her face; it made the reality of her death all the more painful. Starburst rested her hoof on the ice, not minding the cold; she had to stifle her own whimpers lest she be found out.

I’m sorry Sunny…You didn’t deserve this! You deserve to be with your mothers…! Dammit…!

Just then Star heard the sound of approaching hoofstesps. She quickly turned around and saw Prism Bolt walking towards her. Starburst quickly moved away, not wanting to make him alert to her presence, but still remained close to Sunny’s resting place. The young mare watched as Prism looked upon the frozen casket, his face scrunched in anger.

“Sunny…I wish I knew you better…hung out more, something. You’re the second mare I know who went maverick and tried to be something else other than what others thought you would or should be…Despite being raised by two Wonderbolts, you decided to become a Royal Guard, I doubt they were happy with that…”

Starburst thought she should leave, this was Prism’s private talk with Sunny and she wasn’t one to eavesdrop.

“And then there’s Starburst…” The young pegasus mare stopped upon hearing her name. “Talk about a legacy to live up to…Her uncle and father were decorated Royal Guards and High Princes, her mother, a student of Celestia, and ascended alicorn, and an Element of Harmony like my mom, and an aunt who’s also the High Princess of the Crystal Empire. She could’ve followed in her mother’s hoofsteps, learned how to become a good ruler or something…But I don’t see Star sitting on a throne all day and listening to nobles whine, if anything she’d punch them out.”

Starburst couldn’t help but giggle inwardly, she would do it too, and nearly had a few times in the past.

“Both of you chose to go and pursue something that made you, well, you. And what have I done…?” Prism’s gaze turned downcast. “When I couldn’t make it into the Wonderbolts, I could tell how disappointed my mom and dad were. They’ll never say it out loud, and that’s fine, I don’t need to be a part of the Wonderbolts! The truth is Sunny, I admired Star for doing what she wanted, and giving everything she had and pushing herself to the limit and beyond…I guess…I sorta admired that about Star…maybe even liked…y’know?”

Starburst felt her heart beat faster and her face heat up. Was Prism Bolt actually confessing that he…had a crush on her? The young mare shook her head furiously and slapped her face a few times to disperse the blood that was filling her cheeks. Don’t think that way Star, remember, you and Del, you and Del! Although…his eyes are still cool…Ugh!

“I may not be going anywhere with my life, but I know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to just sit back and watch as one my friend fights in this war alone! I’m joining the Royal Guard!” Prism proclaimed.

WHAT!!?

“I’ll fight twice as hard for you Sunny, and watch out for Star if I find her. And fight three times as hard for Star, wherever she is…” Prism gave a slight bow of his head before saying, “Goodbye Sunny.”

Starburst watched as the pegasus stallion took off into the air, leaving her alone with Sunny. The orange pegasus mare could hardly believe what she was hearing, Prism was going to join the Guard because of Sunny and her, the laziest stallion she had ever met was going to fight to protect Equestria. Star had to sit for a moment to let the reality of this situation sink in. And as it did, it made Starburst dread. The images of Prism dying by the claws of the griffons, and the eventual sorrowful faces of his parents and brother…Star looked to Sunny for a moment, her face slowly started to morph from worried, to angry, and then determined.

“I won’t let another friend die in this pointless war!” Starburst rose to her hooves and placed her right forehoof on the ice. “I promise you Sunny, you will be the last friend I lose to this war. It’s time to bring justice to the Griffon Empire…” Star’s eyes shined with the yellow light of Fear. “Once and for all…!”


The Capital of the Griffon Empire, Griffonia…

Starburst stood upon some clouds that were drifting over the capital, she looked down upon the city that was the center of the Griffon Empire, watching as the inhabitants went about their day, like a hawk keeping close watch over its prey. It sickened her, watching so many of the griffons go about their day as if nothing was happening, as if the brutality of their actions was the furthest thing from their minds. Families playing, friends hanging out, all of it reminded her of Canterlot, but at the same time, she hated the sight.

“Murder, violation, torture, all these atrocities are taking place at this moment and they don’t give a damn about any of it!” Star grumbled under her breath.

Star had made her way to the Griffon Empire at great speed a little after Sunny’s funeral. When she arrived she waited, watching, biding her time until the right time to strike arrived. While she waited, Star planned her attack route, it was easy, the entire capital was carved into a mountain, with different parts jutting out like platforms leading up to the highest point, the palace of Emperor Stratus. She thought it so arrogant, his palace set atop all else, Star was more than happy to bring his place of power crashing down around his ears. But she couldn’t get wrapped up in the anger, no; anger would not serve her well. This was not vengeance, she reminded herself. This was punishment. A sentence brought down upon by one chosen by a cosmic power to do so.

“I’m sorry mom, but this day, I am judge, jury, and executioner.”

Starburst continued to watch and wait. Celestia’s sun started to set on the horizon, bathing the city in twilight, and making way for the full moon. The stars came out and made this night truly beautiful, honestly Star couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop to this moment.

“Ring, can you hear me?”

[I can, Starburst.]

“What happens if I die…well, what happens to you?”

[As per my programming, if you were to die then I would immediately begin searching for another who is worthy of wielding the yellow light of Fear. Why do you ask?]

“This might be our last fight…We may’ve beaten Steel Wing, but Shadow Wing is still alive, along with two other Wing Commanders. I haven’t a clue if they’re in there, but if they are…I want you to know that you’ve changed my life, despite all that’s happened, I don’t regret taking on the mantle of a Fear Lantern, and having you as a partner.”

[Starburst of Equestria…thank you.]

Starburst pointed her ring and fired a beam from it, tearing a hole open in space and dragging out her power battery. Starburst took the lantern into her left hoof, she then stood on her hind legs and leaned back, letting gravity take hold. She leaned back more and more till she fell off the cloud. The wind roared in her ears as she continued her free fall, there was something different about this moment, more liberating, freer. Star knew she may be facing certain death by doing this, but that didn’t frighten her, this feeling wasn’t fear, but excitement. It was reassuring to know that even if she were to fall here, there might yet still be hope for Equestria.

Starburst brought her ring to the open portal and the lantern shined like a star in the night sky, causing the citizens below to look up in wonder of what the light was. The power of the yellow light of Fear coursed through Starburst, energizing every molecule, every cell of her young body.

Star was then enveloped in a torrent of golden light, swirling about her as her armor appeared over her body. The golden star continued to descend further and further down towards the city. Many of the citizens still watched, but now they were being filled with a sense of impending doom the longer they looked at it. At last, Starburst made landfall, striking the ground with such force that it sent a shockwave in all directions, shattering window, damaging a few buildings, and throwing a few of the citizens, both in the air and on the ground, in almost every direction.

Griffon soldiers were immediately called to investigate the incident, hovering around the crater, waiting for the dust cloud to settle. They didn’t have to wait long as the cloud was quickly dispatched by the powerful aura of the Fear Lantern. The soldiers immediately recognized the armor clad mare and dove to attack her. Star didn’t move from where she stood, but her ring shined, reacting to her mental commands. The aura surrounding her began to lash out, changing into thorny vines the struck with the speed of a cobra.

One griffon tried to outrun the tendril, but the vine wrapped around him and extended its thorns, piercing the griffon soldier from every angle and made the vine drip with blood. Another tried to slash at it, but the vine weaved in and around his attacks and struck the griffon through the heart. Star could sense it, they were afraid, and the ring’s light shined even brighter because of it. There were five remaining soldiers and Star handled them personally. She flared her wings, energizing them with yellow light. With a light flap, Starburst was airborne, with shimmering sparkles and golden feathers left in her wake.

Star summoned her katana to her hooves and began slashing at a rapid pace, becoming a blur of yellow light as she cut down one griffon after the other. When she finished, Star reappeared before the full moon, wings still aglow. Star then flicked the droplets of blood from her blade and at that moment, all five griffons burst apart in a shower of blood a limbs. Star looked over her shoulder and saw the fear and terror in the eyes of the civilians as they witnessed her slaughter.

Starburst then raised her ring hoof into the air, “I call forth the fiercest of the night constellations, Ursa Major!” Star’s ring fired a single beam into the air; it then traced the outline of the constellation she spoke of. The outline then took form, filling in to become the dreaded giant bear creature. The construct landed on the ground with a thunderous boom, roaring into the air loudly and causing the fear level of the citizens to skyrocket.

“Scorpio! Draco! Cygnus!”

Three more constellation constructs lit up the sky, one landed beside the Ursa Major, a scorpion with menacing beady eyes, wickedly sharp pincers with barbs, and a long stinger on its tail. While in the air, the last two constructs took form. One was serpentine, growing two arms and legs, each bearing four long claws. The head formed next, filled with razor sharp teeth, two antlers, and draconic slit eyes. The last was a giant bird, a swan, as graceful and beautiful as the golden bird appeared to be, its eyes did not betray the fierceness that lay within it.

These four constellation constructs gathered to their creator, waiting for her command. Starburst watched as numerous airships were being launched from the top tier of the city, she could also tell from the glimmering in the distance that dozens of griffon soldiers were heading her way.

[Enemy numbers: 10 vessels, 500 combatants. Warning: Enemy numbers growing.]

The four star beast constructs turned to Starburst; with a wave of her hoof she gave her order. “Dispatch!”

The four beasts released their different bellowing calls and charged forward. The Cygnus and Draco constructs flew towards the airships, immediately the griffon ships began to open fire on the two star beasts. Draco and Cygnus shrugged off the ordinance as if it were nothing, still barreling towards their targets. A squadron of the griffons broke off and tried to attack the Draco construct, but they never made it. The Cygnus construct saw this and, with a flap of its mighty, majestic wings, unleashed a volley of light beams that sailed towards the squadron. The griffons were shredded by the light beams, as well as a good half of the griffon soldiers that were flying towards them.

Draco continued on to its target. The dragon construct wrapped its body around an airship and began constricting it. Two other ships advanced on Draco and opened fire on its body, hoping to make it release the ship. But constructs felt no pain, and these ships’ cannon fire was little more than a joke to the great beast. Draco drew its head back and released a torrent of golden fire, hitting the first airship and blowing it up spectacularly, sending the flaming wreckage careening for the city below. The fireball continued to plummet till it made contact with a building, creating a secondary explosion which sent chunks of debris smashing into the nearby structures. The star beast construct released a second torrent, this time at the second ship that was trying to flee.

But the fire blast was too wide and caught up with the ship, detonating it. The second joined its fellow airship on the ground, hitting a building or two before finally hitting the solid earth. Draco then craned its neck to see the bridge of the ship, its slit eyes narrowed as it saw all the griffons that were inside, each one with a look of pure terror on their face. Bolstered by their fear, Dracon tightened its body in one swift motion, crushing the airship into a heap of twisted metal, wood, and balloon mesh. For good measure, the Draco construct whipped its body forward; launching the wreckage and making it topple over five structures before hitting the wall of the city.

Cygnus was faring just as well, the swan construct did not crush or tear, it sliced. Using its wings and speed, it flew by the airships and cut through them as easily as air. The remaining ships tried to fire at it, but the Cygnus construct was too fast, too swift for them to hit. The downed ships ships that the swan construct destroyed didn’t detonate on contact from its attack, instead they fell from the sky, hitting the ground exploding with great force, turning the ships into bombs.

Cygnus watched as a new wave of airships was about to rise up and launch, but the swan construct flew high into the air, right above the new wave. It then flapped its wings, releasing a massive volley of light beams raining down on the ships. It continued this attack, blasting at the launch bays as each one made itself known. Draco joined Cygnus and together the two of them flew over the city, using fire and energy blasts to destroy them before they rose up.

Meanwhile, the Ursa and Scorpio constructs tore through the city, acting as Starburst’s battering rams as they busted through one tier gate after the other. Starburst wanted this, to give them a taste of the fear and helplessness of what the ponies of Stalliongrad felt, to know what it feels like to be overwhelmed and blitzkrieg-ed in the dark of the night. Thanks to her ring, Star could feel it all, all the fear, the terror, and the horror, her ring was practically shining like the sun itself. And the best part was, the ring had barely lost any of its power, syphoning its energy from the collective fear of the masses. She was going to show them fear as she made her way to the palace, even if the Wing Commanders flew out to meet her, with how much power she felt coursing through her, not even they were dumb enough to challenge her.

The Ursa Major construct rose up on its hind legs as they approached the fourth tier wall, the muscular beast brought down its right paw and smashed through the stone and mortar, sending the remnants falling like meteorites right into the streets, buildings, and homes of the citizens below. On the other side, however, was a line of cannons readied by the griffons, each one fired in rapid succession, blasting away at the giant bear.

This did little more than annoy the Ursa construct, but Starburst bade the beast to hold its ground. Star glanced from the corner of her eyes and watched as her Scorpio construct began to crawl over an undestroyed portion of the wall, making its way behind the firing line. Scorpio then raised its stinger tail, the tip collected particles of yellow light. The insect construct then fired the pent up energy in a single beam, swiping it quickly over the firing line. The result was a delayed reaction as a massive explosion ignited from where the beam began to where it ended.

“Can you all feel it!? Can you all see it!? This is the power of justice! The wrath of all the terrified citizens of Equestria!”

The Ursa construct swiped its claw, raking through one structure after the other, toppling them like dominos. Scorpio used its sharp pincers to slice other buildings in half, bringing them down like tall trees, and for others it fired off the beam from its tail, causing even more damage.

“I am the Fear Lantern of Equus, and on this night, I will show you what it means to truly be afraid!”

Starburst and the star beast constructs continued their trail of destruction, carving out a fiery path of rumble and flames with each fallen wall. Finally she approached the final wall, the wall to the seventh tier, where the wealthier residents resided, but more importantly, this is where the Emperor and his palace were. Starburst had her constructs move aside as she created a fifth one. The yellow light of Fear shined forth, creating her newest weapon. When it was finished, Starburst had created her own Equestrian airship, but this was no ordinary airship, it was one that Starburst new from memory, made all the more apparent by the name that burned in glowing letters on its hull, “Nightingale”.

With a great battle cry, Starburst hurled the ship construct right for the wall. The ship attacked as a battering ram, completely decimating the fortified wall and bringing it crumbling down. On the other side of the wall were even more griffon forces, airships had been deployed into the air and were now hovering, fifty in all. On the ground and nearer the skyline, hundreds upon hundreds of more soldiers stood ready to defend their Empire.

Fools.


Twenty minutes later, Starburst had annihilated the enemy forces and was now walking through the palace of the Emperor. She had gotten some directions from a soldier where the throne room was, after some intense interrogation. She didn’t know if Emperor Stratus would be there or not, she hoped he would be, in fact, if he was even half the arrogant plothole she thought he was, then he’d be there waiting for her. Most likely wanting to prove his strength against her, to show his subjects he wasn’t afraid of some pegasus mare with a powerful weapon.

Faust I hope he’s that stupid.

As Starburst walked through the halls to the throne room, she encountered a contingent of soldiers in one of the rotundas. They surrounded her, weapons drawn, claws bared, ready to fight and die for their Emperor. It was almost sad to see such fierce loyalty wasted on the likes of such a bloodthirsty dictator, almost. Starburst smiled under her faceplate as she took count of how many griffons had encircled her, eight in all. The griffons were about to pounce before Star started talking.

“Eight vital points…liver, lungs, larynx, jugular, spine, collar bone, kidney, and the heart, do any of you know what the difference between each of them is?”

The soldiers were caught off guard by the sudden question, which was all Starburst needed. She dashed forward, creating seven different copy constructs of herself at the same time. Each of the copies struck the vital points Star had indicated earlier in quick succession, with the original Starburst striking the griffon before her in the larynx. The griffon grabbed his throat and gasped for air, but blood was pooling in his beak and made speech all but impossible.

“The difference is how quickly you die. But you can figure out how fast on your own,” said Star.

The Fear Lantern continued her pace through the halls, all the while she could not shake the feeling of being followed, a feeling that was confirmed by her ring.

[Detecting multiple cloaked enemies.]

“Well, at least I’m not imagining things then.”

Starburst kept walking, knowing that there were enemies nearby was better than not knowing, least now she could tread with a little less caution. It wasn’t long before she ended up in the Great Hall, a large hallway that had statues lined up of different Emperors from the past, leading to the large double doors at the other end where her target awaited her. Star took a few steps down the hall, but stopped when she reached the middle.

“I know you’re there, either come on out and flee with your tails between your legs, or die. The choice is yours, but I think I already know the answer.”

Suddenly the hall was filled with griffons, they appeared out of nowhere as if a veil had been lifted and revealed them to her. Star noticed that they had on familiar armor, that of the Pretenders, the elite assassination and infiltration unit of the Griffon Empire. No doubt they wanted payback for her killing their comrades at Cloudsdale, and making an overall mockery of their elite status.

Starburst took a deep breath and stood on her hind legs, making all the Pretenders flinch and enter defensive stances. Star then closed her wings, and brought her forelegs above her head, adopting a stance that none of the soldiers had ever seen before. The yellow ring shined once again, creating a construct around Starburst’s waist. It was solid ring, with five curved blades that resembled the flow of ocean waves. It was lopsided, with one end clinging to her waist, and the other extended a good five feet to her right as one blade tip touched the floor. One of the Pretenders got fidgety; waiting for her to make a move was making him anxious. He couldn’t take it anymore and charged for Starburst.

The Fear Lantern sensed the attack and swayed to her left; dodging his initial strike, but what the griffon didn’t see was that the motion of Star’s sway made the blade ring move along with her. Before the griffon knew it, the ring blade passed right through him, slicing him at the waist. This was the trigger that Star needed to get the momentum going, now that the ring was looping around her she swiftly made her way into the crowd. Star pirouetted around and around, turning into a buzz saw that slashed through several of the Pretenders. Seeing this, the griffons began moving with their own agility and swiftness, trying to get in close to Starburst.

Star didn’t stop; she swayed her body back and forth, making the ring follow her momentum up her body. As the first few griffons started to get closer, Star maneuvered the ring to her right hoof and slashed upwards in a wide arc, cutting down three of the Pretenders at once. She quickly and flawlessly passed the ring to her left hoof and took out another four. She continually did this, passing the ring from one foreleg to the next, stepping to the rhythm of a song only she could hear.

Star jumped off her hind legs and into the air, she then flung the ring blade while still in midair, sending the killing disc cutting through multiple opponents at once, but the ring didn’t stop, it ricocheted off the floor and headed to the ceiling, slicing a griffon down the middle, bounced off the ceiling, cutting down several more, and bounced off the wall.

The griffons decided to make for Starburst while her flying disc of death kept bouncing off the walls and cutting down any Pretender who wasn’t paying attention to its movements, which was quite a few. But no matter which way they came at her, Starburst easily dodged them, or used their opposing force against them, redirecting it towards their fellow Pretender.

At last the ring blade made its way back to Star, who caught with her left hind leg, twirling it around as it cut the head off a griffon that got too close. She then did a backflip and tossed the ring again, the disc whistled as it cleanly severed limbs, torsos, and heads, it was Star’s personal audience; this was her dance, the Dance of Death.


Star stood in the middle of the hall once again, only now the bodies of several griffon Pretenders were strewn across the floor, body parts littered the entire way, along with splashes of blood that painted the walls like modern splash art. And the statue, walls, and ceiling all had large gashes from where her construct bounced, it was a literal slaughterhouse.

She panted a few times, the fight taking a bit more out of her than she anticipated, the Pretenders were tougher here than they were at Cloudsdale, she attributed this to the fact that they were trying to defend their Emperor. But a little fatigue wasn’t going to stop her now. Starburst brusquely walked through the corpses and found herself before the intimidating pair of double doors. With a powerful blast from her ring, Starburst destroyed the door, rendering them to mere splinters.

Her eye slits narrowed as she stared down her enemy. Emperor Stratus was sitting upon his throne, and right beside him was Shadow Wing. She didn’t like it; the black griffon had only waited till now to reveal himself? But then again, she reasoned, it would make sense to keep your strongest asset close by.

The young mare made her way into the throne room, noting the tapestries of the previous Emperors before Stratus. And of course, the grandiose stained glass window behind the throne. Starburst kept walking, cautiously, waiting to see if a trap was about to spring, knowing Shadow Wing, there must’ve been one. But Star reached throne, at least fifty feet from it, and nothing had happened, yet.

“Emperor Stratus,” Star spoke in her altered voice, “you have committed heinous crimes and must now answer for them.”

“You may drop the act, Princess Starburst,” said Emperor Stratus.

Starburst let out a small gasp in surprise that the Emperor knew of her real identity; there was no way he of all people could’ve found that out this quickly. There was no point in keeping her helmet on to mask her identity now. The golden helmet disappeared in a matter of seconds, changing into light particles that faded away as the helmet deformed.

“How did you know I was the Fear Lantern?” It was more of a demand than a question.

Shadow Wing stepped forward, “That would be my doing, Princess. You see, I kept an eye on old Steel Wing during his arrival to Maretonia. Imagine my surprise when he captured your mother and cousin. Of course that was nothing compared to your spectacular battle with the old feather duster –”

“Take care how you speak of Chalyvas, he was the pride of the army, don’t forget that,” interrupted Stratus.

“Sorry, my Emperor, that aside, I stayed out of sight long enough to see you without that armor, I recognized you immediately from that day, it feels like that was such a long time ago, but I never forget a cute mare,” said Shadow Wing.

Again, he made Star’s skin crawl. “Regardless, knowing my identity will not change what’s going to happen tonight!”

Emperor Stratus rose from his throne and stared down Starburst. “And what, pray tell, is about to happen tonight?!”

“I’m going to pass judgment upon you, for all the lives you have taken, and all the pain and misery you caused others!”

Shadow Wing flared his wings of darkness, standing in front of the Emperor. “I don’t think so.”

“Oh, I do think so!”

Starburst pointed her ring at Shadow Wing and fired a powerful beam of yellow light right at him. But Star didn’t aim for Shadow Wing directly, her angle was down a little, causing the beam to hit the foot of the throne, exploding and sending a dust cloud into the air. Emperor Stratus quickly flew up to avoid being caught in the cloud, but just as soon as he did so a construct collar and chain lashed out at him, and secured itself around his neck. The armored griffon tried to remove the binding object, but to no avail. Starburst then pulled back on the chain, swinging it around till she slammed the regal griffon onto his back in the middle of the room.

Shadow Wing fired a beam of dark magical energy at Starburst, but she quickly erected a shield to block the attack. “You can’t keep that up forever, Princess!”

“Don’t have to!”

Before Shadow Wing realized it, he was blindsided by a by a battering ram from his left, sending him sailing until a construct copy of Starburst appeared in his path and punched him in the face with an armored claw, a second copy then bucked him with its hind legs, sending Shadow Wing up to the ceiling, a third appeared and fired a yellow energy blast, impacting him right to the floor. The constructs then flew right at him, combining into one large energy ball that struck the black griffon and detonated upon impact.

Starburst knew that Shadow Wing’s dark magic would give him an advantage, so she took away his ability to use it by quickly assaulting him, and not giving him a moment to defend. It seemed to work, because when the smoke cleared, Shadow Wing laid still in a smoldering crater. Starburst felt a tug on the chain, out of the corner of her right eye she watched as Stratus tried to attack her with his claws. Star jerked the chain and forced the Emperor down to the ground, with another pull she tossed the griffon right back to the steps of his throne, slamming him again, and leaving a body sized impression on the steps themselves.

The Fear Lantern released the chain construct and hovered over to him, forelegs crossed over her chest as she stared down at him with her magenta eyes. “It’s over Stratus…and I hereby pass my judgment upon you.” Starburst raised her right hoof and up above Stratus a construct formed, it was a large sword, easily the size of a stone column. It dangled over the fallen Emperor’s body in preparation to deliver the final blow. “Any last words?”

The regal griffon coughed out a chuckle, he then slowly raised his head to meet the cold gaze of Starburst. “It seems that I was wrong about some you ponies…”

“What do you mean?!”

“It seems some of you do possess the ferocity and killing instincts, while others are weak, you do not hesitate, you fight and destroy your opponents! This is the kind of thing I strive for in my Empire…!”

Suddenly Starburst remembered the words of Steel Wing: “…were you fortunate enough to be born a griffon I would’ve gladly made you a general in our army, personally…

“A pony with the soul of a griffon…” Stratus laid back, closing his eyes and smiling, “I have no regrets, this is an honorable death!”

Those words struck Starburst like a hammer to the head. Her actions from the night of Sunny’s death, and even tonight’s, were being replayed in her mind. The way she tossed the Royal Guards like ragdolls, her fight with Lance, and just recently, the trail of destruction she left as she made her way to the griffon palace, the terrified screams of the innocent civilians, she had taken their lives, griffons though they were, they were not combatants, they were just harmless citizens, children, husbands and wives, she slaughtered and destroyed them all as she tore through half of Griffonia to get to this place.

It’s too late to go back now! I’m the Fear Lantern! I must follow my sense of justice!

Star raised her hoof higher; the sword glowed with more intensity than before. She then brought her hoof down and the sword mimicked her motion, but, in that instant, another voice echoed in her mind and in her heart.

…you have to believe in yourself. Believe in the Starburst, that I do……

The moment the blade made contact with Stratus it shattered like fragile glass, disappearing into particles of golden light. Stratus opened his eyes and saw that the Fear Lantern had gone still. “What’s the matter?! Why did you stop!?”

Starburst looked Stratus right in the eyes. “I’m not like you, or any of your bloodthirsty kind! I believe in justice, and the just thing for me to do is to drag your sorry ass back to Equestria! You will be brought to the Council of Nations, and answer for your crimes!”
Stratus propped himself up on his forelegs, glaring daggers at Starburst. “You stupid little mare! Even with all that power, all that ferocity, you’re still weak! That is why you will never win this war!”

“It’s already over, we’ve won.”

“Now we can’t end it here.”

Starburst was suddenly struck with a powerful blast of dark magic, sending her flying into a pillar. The sudden attack caught her off guard; her aura not at full power let her feel nearly the full force of the attack. Star weakly looked up and saw Shadow Wing walking towards Stratus.

“Finish her Nox! Finish her and take the ring! With it, we’ll be unstoppable! Soon the whole world will know the might and superiority of the Griffon Empire – GACK!”

Starburst stared wide eyed at what she saw. Shadow Wing’s black wing had materialized a spear, and rammed it through Emperor Stratus’ barrel. The regal griffon looked at the spear in disbelief his gaze changing from the spear to Nox.

“What…What are you doing!?”

“I was hoping that she would kill you father, it would’ve made things so much easier. But now I have to do the deed instead.”

“You…! This was just some trick of yours to seize the throne!”

A black tendril lashed out and grabbed Stratus’ right claw, pinning it to the floor. A second spear formed from the darkness and Nox quickly plunged it into the palm of his father’s claw, causing the Emperor to grunt in pain.

“You see it’s because of that narrow mindedness that you can’t see the bigger picture father, believe me, I don’t want the throne. Tell me, what’s better than a hero?”

Nox repeated the same thing with Stratus’ left claw. He then forced the griffon’s wings to unfurl, and pierced them with spears as well. Starburst could only watch in confusion and horror at what was going on before her.

“The answer: a martyr. You dying by the Fear Lantern’s hoof, who is a Princess of Equestria no less, would ignite a fire in the souls of our troops, and the civilians. The plan to conquer Equestria may’ve been laid out long ago, but it’s too singular, we must broaden our horizons, and sadly, you’re not the one to see that vision through.”

Nox formed two more spears, both of which found their home in Stratus’ upper chest. The regal griffon wheezed as blood filled his lungs, anger and fear warring within him at the sight of his son killing him. And then, there was nothing, Stratus went still. Nox stepped back a bit and took a moment to look over his work, he then brought up his talons using his thumb and index talons to make a picture frame and angling it like a director of a movie would.

“Good, this will do. But just to add a little flare, I think I’ll remove his head and mount it on a pike. Get medieval with the whole thing. What do you think, Starburst?” asked Nox.

“You’re sick, insane! You killed your own father!” Star shouted.

Nox shrugged off the comment. “I was originally going to just let you kill him, and then play dead until you left. But since you were going to go and spare his life I had to improvise. And besides, don’t act all high and mighty, you would do the same,” said Nox, a devilish grin forming on his beak.

Starburst adopted an aggressive stance, “I would never kill my parents! No matter how much I hated them!”

“Well this is all a moot point then, because now you know that I killed my father, and while I don’t think anyone will believe you, I can’t have others looking into my actions.”

“So now what you become the Emperor!?”

“Hardly, I prefer to work from the shadows, it’s in my title after all.”

Starburst’s aura flared up as she spread her wings in preparation to fight Nox. “I will defeat you!”

“Not this day I’m afraid, or ever.”

Nox brought up his right talon and snapped it. Below Starburst a magic circle appeared out of nowhere, the circle then erupted into a column of dark magical energy, bombarding Star from all sides with pure dark magic power. The aura field hardened itself, trying to protect Starburst. But it couldn’t hold! It shattered apart and left Star to receive the full force of the attack. After an agonizingly long minute of the being in the column of dark magic, Starburst was released, her body sizzling, and her breaths labored.

[Power levels at 40%.]

“H-H-How did you…?”

“Created that while you were lying on the ground, used my shadows to draw it without you knowing. I wish I could’ve gotten to know you better Starburst, you really are attractive for a pony mare, even in that armor, but alas, play time is over.”

Nox’s dark wings quickly combined overhead, forming a sphere of dark magic that he fired at Starburst. The young mare brought up her hooves quickly to block the attack. When it hit the impact tossed her till she hit another pillar. But before she could recover, Nox had rushed her, bringing his right claw around her neck and raising Star up the pillar’s length. Starburst struggled against his grip and was about to summon a construct to remove his arm. That is until she let out a pained gasp, feeling something going through her. Star looked down and stared in wide eyed horror. One of Nox’s spears had pierced her barrel, right through her protective armor and through the other side, pinning her to the pillar.

Starburst let out a painful scream from the searing pain of being stabbed, but could barely do so with Nox keeping his claw around her neck and steadily applying pressure. “Hmm, usually by now you would’ve made something to cut off my arm or blow me away. I wonder can you not make those strange creations unless you’re concentrating. It must be distracting to be in this much pain.” Nox’s eyes traveled to Star’s flailing hoof, using a dark tendril, he wrapped it around Star’s right foreleg, keeping it from thrashing about. “So I’d wager there’s nothing keeping me from doing this.”

Nox then removed the ring from Star’s hoof with his left claw, and immediately Star’s Fear Lantern uniform completely vanished, leaving her completely at Nox’s mercy. “My…My ring…!”

Nox released Starburst from the choke hold, and left her there to hang from the pillar. Blood started to seep down the column, pooling a bit at the bottom. The black griffon examined the ring, curious as to how such a small object could boast such tremendous power. He then slipped the ring over his left, middle talon.

“I suppose I won’t have total control over it until you die. But that shouldn’t be much longer.”

Starburst could barely think, her body was already in pain from the earlier attacks, and now she had a spear through her gut, it hurt worse than the time when Pinpoint hit her in the shoulder, way, way worse. She looked upon the griffon, now wearing her yellow ring, she couldn’t believe it, she was going to really die here, and her most powerful weapon, the only hope for Equestria, was now going to be in the claws of this psychopath.

She could feel the warmth of her body leaving her, her limbs failing her, vision blurring, she was dying. It took a moment for Starburst to wrap her head around that, she was going to die. In a weird way, that was fine, just as Sunny sacrificed herself for Star, so was she sacrificing herself for the safety and security of Equestria. Her eyes focused on the ring, its insignia becoming less clear as the seconds passed.

It’s fine…the ring will find somepony else…someone better than me…

But what if it didn’t? Star’s eyes started to slowly open, that one thought buzzed in her mind. What if the ring chose Shadow Wing instead? He had the ability to instill great fear, there was no question about that, but did he have the sense of justice? And who’s to say that the ring might not be lead astray into thinking that Shadow Wing was the best candidate?

Images of Star’s friends, family, all of Equestria, the world, all of it falling in terror and fear under Shadow Wing’s dark magic and fear light powers. That thought terrified Starburst, out of everything she had faced, had been exposed to, these thoughts truly terrified her.

I…I can’t let that happen…!

Starburst started to raise her head, and tried to focus her failing vision on Shadow Wing. Nox nodded his head at seeing this, “Even when you’re life is about to be taken away, you still cling onto it, there’s something to be said about your fighting spirit. But tell me Starburst, aren’t you afraid to die?”

“Who isn’t…but that’s not what terrifies me…It’s you wielding that ring…”

Nox noticed that the yellow ring on his left claw started to glow.

“You have no fear…you lack it…and because you do, you’ll never know what it feels like to imagine what I can…!”

The yellow ring shined brighter, Nox raised his claw up to his eyes, watching as the object continued to glow. The black griffon believed it was responding to Starburst’s fears, but he was only half right.

“I can almost see all the pain and misery…all the lives that will live in fear because of what you could do with that ring…My friends and family all consumed by your power, it terrifies me…but…I am not scared.”

The ring shined with greater intensity, Nox was starting to realize that something was off. He tried to slip the ring off his talon, but it wouldn’t come off.

“That fear does not weaken me; in fact it strengthens me…! Because I want to do everything in my power to make sure that that doesn’t happen…!” Starburst gripped the ebony spear that still kept her pinned to the wall. Yelling into the air, Starburst ripped the weapon from her body, tossing it away before she fell to the floor. “Not even death will frighten me from stopping you…! In order to snuff out those fears, I must become stronger than them!”

The ring’s light blazed upon Nox’s claw, it slowly started to creep up is foreleg. A searing pain radiated from the limb with each inch covered in the yellow light.

Starburst struggled to rise to her hooves, but she did so, although shakily. “I am that which evil runs from, I am the light in the darkness…!” The yellow light had completely engulfed Nox’s left foreleg, he then stared at Star with his ice cold eyes. “I am a Fear Lantern!”

[You are not worthy.]

The light around Nox’s left foreleg flashed, incinerating everything that it had covered and separating itself from him with a burst. Nox pulled away, stumbling about till he landed on his right side, and cupped the now burned off limb, now a cauterized stub. The ring flew to Starburst in a streak of light, striking her right hoof and enveloping her in bright, golden light. Nox had to turn his gaze away from the brilliance of the light, which somehow seemed to have grown stronger.

The power of the yellow light of Fear reinvigorated Starburst; her pain was lessened, but still there. The protective aura wrapped around her body, layering over the gaping wound in her midsection. Star’s eye color changed to the intense yellow from before, but unlike last time, Starburst was in full control of herself, her emotions centered, her mind sharp. Starburst flared her large wings, lowering down and assuming her intimidation stance.

Nox tried to lash out at her with his wings of darkness, but the light emanating from Star’s body burned them away. “What is this?! How is this possible!?”

“You’re starting to sweat Shadow Wing. Do you feel it, that chilling feeling running up your spine, the shortness of breath, the heightened adrenaline!? You may not know fear, but you will be afraid of me!” Starburst’s light grew brighter, nearly becoming a second sun within the room.

Nox tried to look away, but the light was captivating, and dangerous, drawing his attention like a moth. The intensity of the yellow light burned his wings of darkness away, his power dwindling as he felt a new sensation overtake him, one that he wasn’t familiar with. No, he refused to believe what this feeling could be, he was above feeling –!

[Fear detected.]

“FEAR SHINE!”

The light of Fear shined like a supernova, blasting Nox with its power, attacking him both physically and mentally at the same time. The black griffon screamed in horror as image upon horrifying image bombarded his mind, and with each wave a powerful burst of raw power from the light buffeted his body. Star’s eyes were shining like new newborn stars, her wings shimmering in the light she emitted. It was in this moment, that a new oath was born. New words found their way to Star’s mind, and it was these words, she swore, it was her oath.

“In twilight’s dusk, in moonlit night,
Evil shall cower before my might!
When darkness comes to cloud my sight,
I’ll shine like my power – Fear Lantern’s light!!!”

The power of Fear bellowed forth, washing over Shadow Wing like a tidal wave. The energy carried him straight into a wall, slamming him with unrelenting force and power as his psyche was torn to shreds by the overwhelming power of fear! Starburst released the Fear Shine, nearly falling from sheer exhaustion and blood loss. She took a moment to examine Shadow Wing, wanting to make sure that the griffon was really dead.

Star levitated herself over to Shadow Wing and looked at him closely. His body lay slumped up against the wall, sizzling from the intense power of the Fear Shine. His wings of darkness were completely gone, and his eyes, they looked like charred rocks, with tiny fissures of golden light. Just to be sure, Star had the ring fire a probing laser, scanning his body up and down to be doubly sure.

[Enemy life signs: Zero. Subject deceased.]

“Good riddance…oomph!” Starburst was starting to feel the pain of her wound again now that the adrenaline rush of the battle had worn down.

[Warning: Severe trauma to abdomen, internal damage detected. Bearer life in danger.]

“I noticed…” Starburst groaned as she clutched at her wound. “Is there…anyway you can buy me some time…?”

[Construct mesh can facilitate the replacement of damaged internal organs, but it is a temporary measure. Power levels are at 30%, calculating time to nearest medical facility.]

“Don’t bother…do we have enough power to make it back to Ponyville…?”

[……It is ill advised, but current power levels should be sufficient.]

“I have faith in you partner…Let’s get out of here fast, I don’t really want to get into another fight…”

Starburst rose up into the air and fired a beam at the stained glass window, shattering it to pieces. She then flew out of the window and into the night sky.


All was quiet in the throne room, but not for long. The shadows started to move towards the body of Nox, like slithering snakes they glided across the floor. Shadowy tendrils started to slowly emerge from the walls, and a black sludge like substance began to pour down from the shadows overhead. This blackness started to surround Nox, cocooning his body in ebony shadows.

Something else rose from the shadows, a black object that suddenly zipped into the cocoon.

…Rise…

Author's Note:

To Be Concluded…


Proofread by: joeSFX