• Published 23rd Apr 2014
  • 3,387 Views, 294 Comments

MLDC Next Generation: Know Fear! - Michael_Ravencroft



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

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The Message

Starburst felt weightless, lost in a sea of darkness. There were sounds all around her. The clip clopping of hooves against stone, the “whooshing” of air being blown, and the numerous voices that echoed out her name. Some she recognized, or thought she did, others she didn’t at all. Then it all went silent. Starburst then saw something in the darkness. A yellow star, the glow reminded her of the ring she used. But soon there were others. A red light appeared, then orange, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

What…what’s going on, thought Starburst.

Each of the seven stars took on the form of a pony, or pony-like bodies. The yellow star had transformed into a construct version of Star. There were no details in the construct, the only real defining feature was the construct’s large, intimidating wings. The other six took on forms that Star thought she recognized, but she didn’t have time to contemplate what or who they were.

The seven constructs each looked at each other, jumped back, and then began to fight each other. The seven lights zoomed around the darkness, letting loose blasts of energy. The blue and green seemed to team up and fight against yellow, while the orange created copies of itself to assault everyone. The violet one struck out against the orange, letting lose rays of violet light that encased some of the copies in sapphire crystals. The red and indigo constructs flew all over the place, the indigo seemed reluctant to strike back at the red, instead opting to channel its light, along with blue and green to subdue rather than kill, which seemed to be the opposite of the red’s intentions.

Starburst didn’t know why, but watching these seven lights fight each other, duking it out in the darkness, it felt…wrong.

“Stop it,” she said in a hoarse voice.

The lights continued their battle.

“Please…stop fighting!” Star cried a little louder.

Somehow the constructs did indeed stop, all seven looking at her as if they just now acknowledged her presence. Star was happy that they stopped fighting, for some unknown reason, she felt as if they weren’t really meant to fight each other. That’s when something else made itself known. The darkness around them started to come to life, black tendrils lashed out and tried to make a grab for the seven. They seven constructs separated and started attacking the dark tendrils instead. Green, blue, and yellow teamed up and started fighting side-by-side. Orange used its copies to keep Violet safe. Red and Indigo worked in tandem, fighting in perfect sync to stave off the shadows.

Suddenly, Star felt something wrapped around her hind legs. Starburst gasped when she saw the shadows coil around her legs and slowly creep up. Before she could yell, two more lashed out and grabbed her forelegs. Another three constricted her torso, and two more wrapped around her neck and mouth. Starburst struggled against the tendrils, her screams muffled by the darkness around her mouth. The tendrils continued to coil around her body, slowly engulfing her. Star continued to watch as the seven light constructs fought against the darkness.

At some point they saw Starburst and rushed towards her, but that was the last thing she saw before the tendrils wrapped around her eyes and made everything go black. For a few seconds, Starburst thought she was dead, but then another strange occurrence happened. White light began to pierce through the dark tendrils. The tentacles hissed and writhed in pain as the white light continued to shine and chase away the shadows. At last Starburst was freed, her eyes fell upon the sight of the seven lights, having become stars once again, floating at the center of a giant white light.

Starburst didn’t know what this was. She knew she had to be dreaming. There was no other way to explain it. The white light continued to shine brighter and brighter till she was bathed in it and felt nothing but peace.

“LIVE.”


Starburst’s eyes shot open, waking with a start. She quickly sat up and immediately regretted doing as pain radiated through her chest and body. Starburst felt the tingling sensation of magic all around her body, forcing the young mare back down. Starburst started to struggle against the aura, thinking that she had been captured by the enemy and was now being held hostage.

“Star, calm down, it’s me, Nidra!”

Starburst immediately went still and took in her surroundings. She was lying on a bed, in a recovery room at some hospital. She assumed it was a hospital, given the usual sterile smell that accompanied such facilities. There were no other beds in the room, deducing that she had been put in a private room. There was a window to her left, allowing her to see the blue sky. Also to her left was a heart monitor, its beeping was rather rapid given Starburst’s current state. Along with the monitor were some I.V. bags with tubes tracing towards her neck and left foreleg.

Starburst finally turned to her right and saw that Nidra was indeed there, her horn aglow as her aura continued to keep Starburst immobilized. Her eyes seemed puffy and red; her usually well-kept mane was in complete disarray. A shaky smile started to appear on her lips as tears started to form in her eyes.

“N-Nidra…?”

“Yes, it’s me Star, it’s me,” she replied.

“What…where am I?”

“You’re in Panacea General Hospital, in Canterlot.”

“CANTER –!!?” Starburst was about to rise up again, but Nidra’s telekinetic hold kept her friend from doing something that foolish a second time around.

“Stop moving around Star! You just had surgery and your wing is fractured! So stop or you’ll rip your stitches!” Nidra ordered in a stern voice.

The young mare took in deep calming breathes, listening to the heart monitor as its beeps started to slow down to more normal levels. Once Nidra was satisfied that Star wouldn’t try that again, she released her from the telekinetic hold.

“How bad am I?” asked Star.

“You’re more or less okay, except for the bruises, scratches, but those will heal up. Your wing has some hairline fractures; they put it in a cast and numbed it, so don’t freak out because you can’t feel it right now. They had to open your chest up and fix your rips. You had two broken ribs, some cracked, and one that had pierced your lung…” Star watched as Nidra’s eyes started to water. “They said…they said that you were lucky, any longer out there and your lung would’ve collapsed and you’d be…”

Starburst put on her usual confident smile, trying to be brave for Nidra. “But I’m not, I’m right here, Nidra. I made it back like I promised.”

“BUT YOU ALMOST DIED!!!” Nidra’s brow furrowed as the tears continued to stream down her muzzle. “When I saw you being taken off that airship, bloody, beaten, and half dead, I thought I’d lose you! I’d never forgive myself, because it was my fault for even helping you! Ugh, I should’ve just –!” The alicorn threstral stopped her rant, knowing that there was no use in venting anger at Starburst. “Never mind…I’m just happy you’re back.”

“Thanks, Nidra.”

“I’d hug you, but I’m sure it’d be really painful for you right now.”

Starburst looked down at herself and the bandages that were wrapped round her chest. She then chuckled lightly, minding the pain. “Yeah, probably would.”

For the next couple of hours, Nidra regaled Starburst about how she had arrived back in Canterlot. Apparently, some Royal Guard found her in the middle of the city square. This Guard then took her into friendly territory where they were met by hundreds of Royal Guards. They immediately got her to some medics and notified Valiant Heart about her. The alicorn stallion ordered the fastest medical airship they had to shuttle Starburst back to Canterlot, her cousin rode along too, not wanting to leave her side.

Once she had arrived there was a team of medical ponies waiting to tend to her. Her mother and father were immediately summoned, along with most of the other royals. Some of their friends were notified as well and had come to the hospital. Hours in surgery, hours of Nidra being interrogated by Luna and Supernova, and even more from Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry. Nidra mentioned how hard it was to see her little brother crying, knowing that she had a hoof in taking away his big sister away from him made her sick to her stomach.

Eventually, the surgeons announced that everything went well, and that now all they could do was wait for Starburst to awaken on her own. Nidra told her that she had been sleeping for nearly four days straight, and during that time she never left her friend’s side. Prism and Whirlwind visited on the first day, followed by Claire and Illusion. Cotton Candy, Anthea, and Turquoise showed up for visiting hours the day after that. She remembered that day quite well, since Anthea wouldn’t stop crying from seeing Starburst in such a state, Turquoise had to eventually guide her out of the room to calm her down. On that same day, Valiant Heart arrived, that was another reason why she remembered that day, because in her whole life, for as long as she had lived in Canterlot Castle, Nidra had never seen Valiant Heart cry as hard and long as he did then.

The third day brought Star’s parents and brother. Nidra mentioned how Star’s mother, Twilight, was crying into her father’s chest, saying that it was her fault for driving Starburst to go through with what she did. All through this tale, Star couldn’t help but notice that there were others she didn’t mention coming to see her.

“Didn’t Del come to see me?”

“He did, along with Red June. To be honest, he looked three parts sad and four parts ticked off,” said Nidra.

Starburst sighed and closed her eyes. “He’s probably mad at me for doing what I did. I’m sure everypony is. And…I’m sorry Nidra. I’ll say that I used my special talent to make you cast the spell on me and that I told you to lie about what happened.”

Nidra shook her head.

“No…I’m not big on punishment, but, this time, I think I deserve it. I know you’re definitely going to get in trouble after you’ve recovered. So, why not both of us be in trouble together?”

Starburst couldn’t help but smile at Nidra, “You really are good friend, Nidra.”

“Well we teenage mares have to stick together, and watch each other’s back.” Nidra gave Star a playful wink.

The two mares shared a laugh at their soon to be joint misery from their parents’ punishments. Nidra then rose up from her sitting position and wiped her face with a tissue from the nightstand.

“Well, I’d better go tell everypony you’re awake, be prepared for a stampede,” she warned.

“Heh, bring it on.”

Nidra turned around and was about to open the door when she stopped suddenly. “Oh yeah, that reminds me…” The alicorn threstral turned around and opened her wing slightly. Using her telekinesis, Nidra levitated something out from her tucked wing. “What’s this?”

Starburst had to resist the urge shoot up from the bed. There, floating in Nidra’s aura was her yellow ring.

“Um…uh…”

“You were holding onto this really tightly in your wing. It fell when they were rolling you into the hospital. And no, nopony else knows that I have it, or that it fell from under your wing.”

“N-Nidra…that’s…I mean…”

The dark gray mare levitated the ring to Starburst, letting rest on the bed a few inches from her right hoof. Star looked from the ring and back to Nidra in confusion.

“I don’t know what happened out there, Star. But the fact that you held onto that thing for so long, despite being unconscious, I can assume that somehow it’s the reason you’re alive right now. I am right about that much, at least?”

Starburst thought for a minute. Nidra wasn’t asking for a lengthy explanation, she was only asking if it helped keep her safe and nothing more. Starburst simply nodded her head in confirmation of Nidra’s suspicions.

“Alright, that’s all I needed to know. You should hide it if it’s something you don’t want anypony else to know about.”

With that said Nidra exited the room and went off to locate the doctors and their family to inform them of Starburst’s awakening.

Once Nidra was gone, Starburst took the ring into her hooves and examined the instrument that saved her life and helped her fight back against impossible odds. She remembered that the ring was almost out of power when she last had it on. Starburst was wondering if the ring was completely powerless now.

“Ring…are you, um, functional I guess.”

[Affirmative.]

Starburst let out a huge sigh of relief.

“Well, thank Faust for small favors. How much power do you have left?”

[Ring power levels at 4.7%, recharge is required. There is optimal energy for Battery Retrieval.]

“Alright, let’s save that for later. For now, just keep quiet and don’t make any sounds alright?”

[I will comply.]


5 Weeks Later

It took a lot of physical therapy, and many magic healing sessions, but eventually Starburst was on the road to recovery. The mobility in her right wing had returned, the scar on her chest had completely faded away, and her internal injuries were more or less nonexistent. That, however, didn’t stop Starburst from worrying about what was to come. She knew that the only reason why neither of her parents had said anything about punishment was because they wanted to focus on her getting well. It was ironic, she wouldn’t get punished so long as she was beaten up mess, and now that she was better, she was going to be beaten in a different sense.

Talk about kicking a dog when it’s down.

Starburst was sitting up in her bed, staring out the window, and wishing she could fly again. She wasn’t the kind of mare to just stay in bed, and she honestly missed the freedom of the sky. Starburst reached underneath her left wing with her right hoof, double checking that the ring was still there. Star had debated for the last five weeks if she should tell anypony about the ring, to be honest, she knew that it was the right thing to do, but…

Suddenly Star heard knocking at the door; startling her and making the young mare hurriedly hide the ring.

“Y-Yeah?”

“It’s Mom and Dad, we need to talk,” said Twilight’s voice.

“You can come in,” said Starburst.

The doorknob jiggled a little before the door completely opened up. Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry walked into the room. There was a thick amount of tension in the room, Star knew why they were here, and Twilight and Flash knew that Star knew why they had come. It wasn’t going to be a very pleasant afternoon.

“So, how’re you feeling,” asked Flash.

“Actually a lot better, they said I could start flying in a few days, but I’m still going to need to take it easy.”

Flash strode up and gently ruffled his daughter’s mane, “Right, like you ever take anything easy.”

Starburst playfully swatted her father’s hoof away. Twilight stood a bit far from her daughter, almost regarding Star as a volatile concoction in her lab, ready to explode the moment she added the last ingredient.

“Mom, I’m not going to bite your head off.”

“I know…but, I know you hate me for what I said to you…and, I don’t want to make you more angry at me than your already are,” said
Twilight, sadness heavy in her voice.

Starburst looked down at the blankets, yes, it was true, she did resent her mother for telling her what happened to Valiant Heart, and that she had little to no chance of joining the Royal Guard. But, then again, what she did was equally foolish. Two wrongs didn’t make a right, and right now Star knew she needed to face the consequences of her actions.

“Mom…I know what I did was stupid, and that’s saying something.”

That seemed to kick start Twilight’s maternal instincts, because she stopped looking afraid and gave her a scolding stare.

“You’re right that was stupid! It was completely insane! I mean, for the love of Faust Starburst, you almost died out there! Considering what I’ve read from the reports coming from Stalliongrad, I hate to say it, but you got off easy!” Twilight pointed a hoof Starburst for emphasis.

Starburst winced from the scolding, she knew she deserved it, but that didn’t make it any less painful. Then something happened that Star didn’t expect. Starburst suddenly felt the warm embrace of her mother; she didn’t even hear her cross the room. Star didn’t shirk from the hug. She eventually wrapped her forelegs around her mother, allowing her presence to give her a sense of peace.

Twilight then gently pulled away and stood next to her husband, nodding to him as she did so.

“You know that we have to punish you, right Star?”

Star reluctantly nodded.

Flash Sentry took in a deep inhale and then a long exhale. “Star, given what you did, impersonating a Royal Guard and stowing away on a airship, as well as putting yourself in the middle of a warzone and nearly getting yourself killed…as High Prince of Equestria, I have no choice but to ban you from ever joining the Royal Guard or any other organization affiliated with it.”

Starburst gritted her teeth, holding back the sadness that was building in her heart.

“F-For h-how long,” she dared to ask.

“It’s indefinite, Star…even when you turn eighteen, the Guard has strict orders to reject your application, and to turn you away from any recruitment office, and to keep you away from the Academy. Valiant Heart won’t teach you anymore Royal Guard related subjects, drills or otherwise, in fact…” Flash found it hard to say this next part, “He doesn’t want you to see him for a bit…”

Just like that, her dream was completely crushed and shattered in less than a minute. Not only would she never be able to join the Royal Guard, but now her cousin, a stallion she most respected, didn’t want to see her at all.

Of course he doesn’t…I probably ruined all his creditability as a Guard Captain…and now, he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me…

“That’s not all, Star.” Twilight said. “You’re being grounded. And not to your room either.”

Starburst glanced over at her mother and father miserably, “Am I being thrown in the dungeon?” It wouldn’t be unexpected as far as she was concerned.

“No. We’re sending you to Ponyville, Star. We think that you need some time away from Canterlot. Plus, you can focus on recovering there faster than here. You’ll be staying in your mom’s library, you’re free to move about the town and the outskirts, but you’re forbidden to leave. We’ll have an undercover Guard watching you while you’re staying there, and they’re under orders to stop you from leaving and have further orders to detain you if necessary,” said Flash.

“Y-You can’t be serious!?”

“We are Star,” affirmed Twilight.

Star opened and closed her mouth several times in an attempt to argue that this wasn’t fair. But no matter what argument popped into her head, she knew that this was a decision that neither one of her parents arrived at easily. The pained looks on their faces was proof of that. They were pretty much shattering their daughters dreams right in front of her. Although, to be honest, I did that before they even said anything…

“It’s summer time already, so you’ll be spending the next three months in Ponyville. Star, please believe me, this wasn’t an easy decision for either of us. I promise there are better ways to defend Equestria, I wasn’t a Royal Guard, and yet, I was helping to defend Equestria before I even became an alicorn. So don’t think that your dreams are dead, when one door closes, another one opens,” said Twilight.

Starburst’s eyes shifted unconsciously to her pillow, remembering the yellow ring that was hidden under it.

“Y-Yeah…I understand.”


3 Days Later

Starburst sighed forlornly the whole trip to Ponyville. She watched as the scenery pass by the window as the train made its way to the station. There were some sad goodbyes back at Canterlot, especially from Nighty, the little colt kept pleading with their parents to let Starburst stay home, mostly likely afraid to lose big sister after her little stunt. Starburst had to assure the little colt that he she was going to be alright, and that their parents wouldn’t stop him from visiting. Nidra and Illusion also said goodbye, with the alicorn threstral making Star promise to write to her at least once a week, or if she got bored. Illusion said that he would pop by once in a while when he came to visit Claire, but Star made him promise not to, knowing how much the two enjoyed their time together.

{Now arriving at Ponyville Station, all passengers heading to Ponyville must be ready to disembark.}

Star could see the station coming into view now. The train started to screech and squeal as the brakes were applied. Once Star felt the initial jostle of the train stopping, she stood up, grabbed her back, and proceeded off the train. She wasn’t sure if anypony was made aware of her arrival, or if somepony was supposed to meet her at the station. Either way, Starburst didn’t mind, whether having company or not wasn’t a big deal to her right now. Once Star got off the train she was surprised to see that Golden Delicious was standing near one of the support beams for the station aweing.

Starburst remembered what Nidra said about Del being angry at her, and that made the teenage pegasus a bit nervous. Her nervousness was lifted slightly when she saw the addition of another pony. A mare with a light blue coat, a pink mane and tail with a swirling white stripe, gold colored eyes, and a cotton candy cutie mark, the daughter of Pinkie Pie and Pokey Pierce, Cotton Candy.

Cotton Candy happily waved to Starburst, she then bounced her way over to the pegasus mare and smiled broadly.

“Hi Star,” said Candy.

Starburst put her luggage down before greeting her friend, “Hi Candy, it’s good to see you, and you too Del.”

The stallion nodded in her direction, but did not voice his greeting.

“So…I guess you probably know why I’m here.”

“…Yeah…my Mom and Del’s mom told us about you being grounded.” Cotton Candy then wrapped her forelegs around Starburst, bringing her into a hug. “I’m sorry Star.”

Starburst sighed, she had cried plenty of tears long before she arrived at Ponyville, she even felt like doing so again, but there was something about being hugged by Cotton Candy that made such sad things go away. Like her mother, the mare had the special gift of making ponies smile, even her presence made you feel better.

“It’s alright, Candy, I’m…I’m not over it, but it hurts less,” said Starburst.

Cotton Candy released her friend and smiled at her. “Guess we should head to the library.”

Del eventually trotted over to the two mares, his face was unreadable as Starburst looked up at him, his stoic appearance somewhat mimicking that of his uncle Big Macintosh. He then leaned down and grabbed the suitcase handle with his teeth and started walking in the direction of Golden Oaks Library without another word. Cotton Candy looked to Starburst, her gaze downcast at the fact that Del hadn’t said a word to her.

The three friends walked to the library, with Del staying ahead of Star and Candy. Starburst leaned closer to Cotton Candy.

“Is Del…is he still mad at me for what I did…?”

Cotton Candy didn’t know exactly how to phrase it. “It’s not so much that he’s mad at you for what you did…more like, he’s mad about what could’ve happened to you. And, to be honest Star, I can’t really blame him. Del, me, and the others, we all really care about you. When we heard about what you did and what happened to you, we were really scared. We thought that you would…die.”

Starburst hung her head low, her ears flat. Hearing what Cotton Candy said, about how much she made them all worry about her, it just put what she did in perspective even more so. It was made even more apparent by Del’s silence. Del and Star had a close friendship, and like any best friend, he too worried about her, the fact that he wasn’t speaking to her was probably proof of how much he valued their friendship.

“I’m sorry to put you all through that, I really am. But, you and others don’t ever have to worry about me doing things like that ever again. I’m banned from joining the Royal Guard…forever.”

Cotton Candy stopped abruptly; Del ear’s seemed to pick up on that last bit of the conversation, because he turned around and looked at Star as if wondering if he heard her right.

“Forever!? But…you…and all the work you and Del did…it’s your dream! How can they do that?!” asked Cotton Candy, getting worked up over the news.

“It’s my fault Candy, nopony else’s but mine…C’mon, let’s keep going, I kinda want to lay down for a bit.”

Starburst continued trotting on; leaving Cotton Candy and Golden Delicious behind her, watching their saddened friend walk away. Del spat out the suitcase and looked to Candy.

“Ah didn’t know they did that?! Ma said they grounded her, but…Ah didn’t think they’d go that far,” said Del.

“Oh, poor Star, no wonder she’s really sad. It was her dream, her goal. She worked so hard to make it happen and now…I…I need to go tell the others.” Cotton Candy then elbowed her fellow earth pony in the side.

“OW! What was that for?!” asked Del.

“She doesn’t need the silent treatment right now, she needs her friend. So go with her, while I tell others about what happened.”

Before Del could say another word, Candy had already zoomed off in the direction of one of their friend’s house. Del took up the suitcase and started to catch up to Star.


Eventually the two of them arrived at Golden Oaks Library. Starburst had inquired about Cotton Candy’s absence, to which Del informed her that the mare in question had run back home to deal with a chore she had forgotten to do. Star could tell right away that it was a lie. The Apple family was known for their honesty and, for the most part, terrible liars. Star knew it would only be a matter of time before the others knew the full extent of her punishment eventually, so she didn’t really mind if Cotton Candy did go out and tell them, it just made it easier to not have to retell it.

Starburst opened the door to the library, as per her mother’s instructions, the library was kept in pristine order. Every book shelved and dusted, the floors and windows were spotless. Star and Del proceeded upstairs to the living area, and just like the lower level, the upper level was clean and very well maintained. Of course Starburst knew it would be, often times their family would come to Ponyville for events they were invited for, or for just some time away from Canterlot. Starburst sometimes stayed in the library, staying for a couple of weeks for a visit or to just have some alone time. But now, Golden Oaks Library would be her home for the next three months.

“You can just drop it the suitcase here, Del, I’ll carry it up to my room later,” said Starburst.

Del shook his head. He then trotted towards the bedroom and placed the suitcase next to her bed. The stallion then remerged from the bedroom.

“Ain’t proper manners, Ma told me if Ah was carryin’ a mare’s luggage the right kind thing to do was to take it all the way to their room. ‘Sides, you’re also supposed to be taking it easy while you’re here,” said Del.

“Yeah, for the most part anyway.” Starburst smiled a bit, hearing Del speak to her. “My doctors said that I had to do some exercise to get my body back in shape, do some flying to make sure my wing doesn’t get stiff, and other things to get my muscles back to full strength.”

“Well…if ya want, you could pop by the farm. We could do some work together.”

Starburst smiled weakly at the offer, “Thanks Del, but…it wouldn’t be the same. Back then I was working hard towards my goal of being a Royal Guard. Now that that’s no longer an option, I really don’t have as much drive as I used to. I’d only be in your way.”

“That ain’t true,” said Del firmly. “Ah know ya, Star. Even you’ll get bored just sittin’ around here. Ya may not have that goal anymore, but that doesn’t mean ya can just give up!”

Del started to make his way towards to the stairs; he then turned around and gave Starburst a small smile.

“Ah won’t force ya to come, Ah know ya need yer rest. But if Ah catch you just mopin’ around here all day, Ah’m gonna drag you outta here by the tail, through the town, all the way to Sweet Apple Acres.”

Starbursts cheeks tinted with red at the thought of Del doing such a thing.

“Y-You wouldn’t dare!”

“Well, just make sure you get out of the library every once in a while and Ah won’t have to.” Del noticed the embarrassed look on Star’s face and chuckled despite himself. “Somepony will be by to check on ya, ‘case ya need anythin’.”

With that Star watched as her friend walked down the stairs. She then heard the sound of the front door closing not a few seconds later. Star made her way to the balcony and gazed over the town, watching as Del trotted away back to his home. Starburst scanned the area, looking at every pony that walked about on the streets below.

Wonder which one is the undercover Guard, she thought. Well, doesn’t matter much. There’s something else that I need to do first.

Star unfurled her left wing slightly, reaching in to slip the yellow ring over her right foreleg.

“Ring, can you hear me, are you on?”

[I am functional.]

“What’s your power level now?”

[Power levels at 3.7%. Recharge is highly recommended.]

“I understand, sorry for not getting around to it. A lot of things have been happening lately…”

[Acknowledged.]

Starburst sighed and the straightened herself. “Alright, so how do I recharge you?”

[Recharge of ring unit requires a Power Battery, which is stored in a pocket dimension for safe keeping. Only the bearer of a ring can access their pocket dimension.]

Starburst recalled something her mother once told her about alternate dimensions, she even remembered reading about them and how some speculated that there were some dimensions that were completely empty and could be used as storage for various items, even living beings, but that was dangerous. Often times Star witnessed her mother pull something out of thin air, thinking that it may have something to do with said pocket dimensions.

“Okay, I assume we can get it. Do you have enough power to do that?”

[Affirmative.]

“Right then,” the young mare then held out her right foreleg, pointing the ring away from her, “bring out the, uh, Power Battery,” ordered Star.

[Initiating Power Battery Retrieval.]

At that moment the ring shined with yellow light, Star watched in astonishment as the energy of the ring tore open a hole in nothing. A lantern, yellow in color, floated out of the hole in space and landed a few inches in front of Starburst. Once the Power Battery had landed, the hole closed itself. Star blinked a few times, staring at the ring and then the Power Battery.

This just continues to get weirder and weirder.

[To recharge ring unit, Bearer must place this unit to one of the two openings. Once that is done, Bearer must recite the oath to initiate ring recharge.]

“Oath? There’s an oath?” Starburst then thought back to the night when she first received the ring, remembering the words the ring spoke to her when she accepted its power. “‘Welcome to the Fear Lantern Corps’. Duh, a corps, like an army, guess that makes since. So what’s the oath?”

[In Blackest Day, in Brightest Night, beware your fears made into light. Let those who try to stop what’s right, burn like my power – Sinestro’s might.]

Starburst was confused by the last line of the oath. “Who’s Sinestro?”

[Thaal Sinestro is the leader and founder of the Fear Lantern Corps, formerly known as the Sinestro Corps.]

Starburst recited the oath in her head a few times, and each time she did it felt a bit egocentric.

“Um, is there any other way to say the oath?”

[Fear Lanterns can modify the oath. You may replace “Sinestro” with Bearer’s name, “Starburst”.]

Star thought it over once again, but it still felt wrong. She wasn’t self-centered, if shev was going to use the ring’s power to do, whatever she eventually decided to do, then she needed an oath that didn’t make it sound like she was all powerful and ego maniacal.

“I’ll think of something, let’s just see what happens when we start.”

Starburst trotted closer to the Power Battery. Lifting her foreleg, she made sure to press the insignia on the ring against the inside of the lantern’s glass opening. The reaction was immediate. The lantern began to shine with yellow light. Starburst could already feel the energy course through her from the ring. It was then that the young mare knew exactly how to word the oath.

“In Blackest Day, in Brightest Night,
Beware your fears made into light.
Let those who try to stop what’s right,
Burn like my power – Fear’s holy light!”

The lantern then let loose a brilliant flash of golden light. The ring shined brighter than it had before. Star had to catch her breath for a second, the charging of the ring and the energy flowing from it through her was a real head rush.

[Power levels at 100%, unit now operating at maximum efficiency.]

“Good to know. Guess I’ll have to keep tabs on your power levels in case I get into another fight like that, again,” said Star.

[Reviewing Bearer’s battle actions. Processing…processing…processing…Complete. Based on Bearer’s actions, unit has confirmed full worthiness. Preparing to play message.]

“Message, what messa –!?”

The ring then glowed once again, projecting outwards. Star watched as the light began to form the image of something or rather someone. When the image finally came into focus, Star was puzzled by its appearance. The being before her wasn’t equine in any way, it had arms and two legs, an angular face with pointed ears, a pair of intimidating eyes, and a small mustache that adorned his upper lip. This being reminded her of the stories her mother told her, about when she traveled to a parallel world where the inhabitants weren’t ponies, in fact they resembled this being, but only slightly. The being wore armor with a flowing cape on his back, and upon his left…hand she supposed, was a ring similar to the one on her hoof.

{Greetings, I am Thaal Sinestro of Korugar. I’m sure you have many questions, but save them for the ring’s A.I. there is something that you must know. I was once a member of an organization called the Green Lantern Corps, a group of beings from across the universe, chosen to bring peace and order to said universe. However, as time went on, I realized that the methods of the Green Lantern’s were insufficient in properly bringing order to a chaotic universe. I sought to do better, and so I quit the Corps and went in search of a way to bring my ideals to life.}

{I eventually found it. By…persuading some individuals –}

“Something tells me that ‘persuading’ means something different to you.” Star commented.

{I was able to forge a ring that was powered by Fear. It was quite the endeavor, as a Green Lantern we are taught to overcome fear, the rings of my former Corps relied on Willpower in order to function. It took some doing, but I was able to master the power of Fear and wield as my own. What followed next was a long and…unfortunately, tragic string of events.}

{I forged my own, self-named, Sinestro Corps. It was contrived of some of the most fearsome and sadistic members from many galaxies. Together we waged war against the Green Lantern Corps, but eventually, we were defeated. I believed that I was always right, that my way was good and just, as long as long as the ends of order and peace were the result then the means were justified.}

{In my folly, my home world was enslaved by own corps in the aftermath of the Krona Incident. And…after other events occurred, my planet was completely destroyed…}

Starburst watched as the image of Thaal Sinestro paused for a moment, the fierce intimidating look he once had gave way to a deep sorrow that pained him to talk about. Even after hearing all the things that he did, the ultimate price for his actions was the destruction of his home, his entire planet. Star could tell that this being had probably done some deplorable and villainous things in his life, but even the loss of one’s planet was high price to pay.

{In the end, following the defeat of the First Lantern, now fused with the power of the Entity of Fear, Parallax, I took the remainder of my corps and we disappeared to the furthest reaches of the universe.}

{A friend of mine, the only one I consider a true friend, showed me how wrong I was. I both despise and admire him for it, though I’d sooner tear my own head off than admit it to the arrogant idiot.}

{By now you are probably wondering why you have received your ring, and why I have shared my personal history with you. It is because I do not wish for you or any others to repeat my mistakes. I reprogrammed the rings a few years after the corps’ departure. They now not only seek out those who can instill fear, but who are also just. You are among the first in the newly established Fear Lantern Corps. A corps dedicated to use the power of Fear to strike terror into the hearts of criminals.}

{Learn from me, do not become me, follow your justice and above all, do not lose your way. This is Thaal Sinestro, good luck Fear Lantern.}

The image of Sinestro then disappeared, turning into particles of golden light that were retracted back into the ring. Starburst sat on her haunches, mulling over what Thaal Sinestro said. She was chosen to be a part of a corps whose sole duty was to bring justice to all through the power of fear. Star didn’t deny that the fact that the Fear Lantern Corps was set up by a, former, evil person. But when she thought about it, his goals, like hers, were good and right, the ways he went about to obtain them were wrong.

“Guess we’re alike in some ways,” whispered Star.

She then raised the ring up to her eyes and smiled as she stared down at the insignia.

“Mom was right, when one door closes, another one opens. Ring!”

[Yes Bearer?]

“I want to know as much as you can tell me, what is the Green Lantern Corps? Are there other Corps that I should know about, and are there other Fear Lanterns on this planet?”

[Processing request, displaying information, now.]

The ring shined and produced several screens all over the living room, each one had information on her questions, and Star knew that by the time she got through with one of them she’d have more to ask.

“Well, since I’m grounded, might as well catch up on some reading. Oh and ring…?”

[Yes Bearer?]

“Don’t refer to me as ‘Bearer’, when there’s no one else around, call by my name.”

[Correction acknowledged, committing to memory, Starburst.]

“Let’s get started.”

Author's Note:

To Be Continued…