• Published 10th Aug 2016
  • 4,929 Views, 132 Comments

Achieving Divinity: A New World - The Joeker



Catastrophe! After a spell gone wrong, Tyrath Kyelinth - The last Dragon-Knight of Rivellon, has been spirited away to lands unknown! Now with no idea where to go, he must survive by learning the value of friendship among others. How will he fare...?

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Chapter 5, Pt 1: The Dragon-Knight of Equestria

Author's Note:

No changes. Just read the comments. A vote is happening.:twilightsmile:

"What now that the Dragon Stone has been altered and you are Human again My Lord?" Asked Sassan as we met on the balcony again after I called her.

"Now we find adventure! First things first! Where are we...?" I asked and went to my balcony, looking out.

I saw it was blizzarding outside of the island, on the island it was only snowing lightly. We looked to be deep in the arctic...

"I suppose the Island is keeping the extreme weather out." Observed Sassan.

"Indeed I am." Came the echoey female-esque voice of Sentinel Island. I turned and saw her in all her nature-y shape

"Island?! Hly fuckbuckets! It's been a year since I met you." I said, she remained humanoid in shape luckily.

"Yes Dragon-Knight. You have not changed." She chuckled. "And I told you that you had a great destiny before you." She said.

"Yes." I replied. She told me I was to become Lord of the Tower and defeat Damien. Only one of those has come true so far...

"You have not yet met your destiny. I thought it was to kill Damien and that was it, but no. Something, even to me and my knowledge, was hidden." She said.

"You're not explaining yourself very well..." I said.

"I know. That is because even I do not fully understand. Your destiny is to defeat Damien, but that is not the end of it. Your destiny is to become more than you are, in more ways than one. To learn and to be taught. Your true destiny is tied to this place. And more..." She said.

"I get what you're saying... Mostly... But I do not get how I am to accomplish this task..." I said, standing on the balcony, leaning against the stone railing with my ass, crossing my arms.

"You will find a way Dragon-Knight, as you always do. The answer is right before you." She smiled and turned to leave.

"Before you go, may I share in your knowledge?" I asked, coming inside.

"But of course." She said and I mindread her.

Just to be clear, mindreading is not always to know what people are thinking in words but I can also explore their knowledge and gain power from it as well, that is how I know so many spells both forbidden, ancient and lost. Mindread a few Black Magic practitioners and you pick up a few things...

Island is an ancient being with almost infinite knowledge, I tried to mindread her before I was a Dragon and she had to spoon-feed me her knowledge because it would've destroyed my - in comparison, petty Human mind. Now I could access a small portion of her knowledge without penalty. I strengthened my mind with her knowledge, increasing my Spirit, used for casting spells.

"Thank you." I said.

"Of course." She said and vanished as fast as she appeared.

"So, what did that mean?" Asked Sassan, I had to look down to talk to her face to face... Or face to muzzle.

"I'm not sure... Right in front of me?" I asked and looked around, I was on my balcony when she said that...

So, maybe...

I looked out into the blizzard and narrowed my eyes, using my superior Dragon eyes to see through... There it was! A blue shield in the distance...

"You see it?" I asked, I saw Sassan with her eyes closed, casting a vision spell as she couldn't see through the blizzard as I could.

"I see it." She nodded.

"Wait..." I said, concentrating more, squinting my eyes... Oh bollocks...

"Dragon, do you..."

"Yes." I answered worriedly... (Imagine snow surrounding the floating islands)
Flying Fortress

"My Lord..." She started.

"Damien..." I growled in response.

;5 minutes later;

I was moving quickly through the Throne Room back to my room, I had packed some food, drink and books in two large satchels from the kitchen and study, saying 'hi' to Erlking as we went. He was oddly quiet when he saw me... Almost surprised? Maybe that I was still alive after I disappeared? That Goblin should know better than to doubt me.

"So My Lord what now?" She asked, struggling to keep up with me. I was quite a bit taller than her so I took longer strides.

"Is my gear ready?" I asked, power walking, making sure my gauntlets were on properly.

"Yes My Lord, I had it prepared as soon as you vanished. It is in your teleportation chest." She said.

"How did- Oh yeah, your premonitions." I said, rolling my eyes.

My teleportation chest is where I store my large gear such as weapons for instant access when I'm in the field.

I have a Dragon Chest which is larger but I have to come back to the Tower to access it.

"How long will you be My Lord?" She asked as we approached the balcony.

"However long it takes to save the frickin' world." I shrugged, power walking to the balcony stone railing. I sat on it facing inwards.

"Good luck..." Said Sassan.

"We make our own luck." I saluted her and as I did I took a backwards dive from my balcony (like a scuba diver gets off the boat) and morphed into my Dragon Form, flying into the blizzard.

I managed to stay in control of my flight through the blizzard, luckily I trained myself to fly in extreme conditions, otherwise I'd be fucked right now...

I also saw the Flying Fortress had a red shield around it... Red shield means an Anti-Dragon Zone... Well, that makes shit complicated. I could only access it on foot but they were too high for me to climb and I doubt they were going to drop a rope for me...

I could fly over the shield and drop down... No, the blizzard is too thick up there, even for me.

;10 minutes of flying later;

I flew towards the blue shield and was approaching it before remembering it would probably kill me if I tried to pass through it as a Dragon.

I gave myself a burst of speed and reverted back to Human, curling up and rolling in the air as I did. I dropped in the snow outside some kind of cabin. It just looked like a shelter with benches in it though... Strange house.

I walked forward and tripped on something... It was some kind of metal rebar attached to the ground...

I used my Crystal Skull to summon Creature.

"Hey Creature, you OK?" I asked, he looked like just an Unicorn with its limbs stitched on... He was gray with mottled fur dotted around, he had a patchy mane as if it had fallen out in clumps. His eyes looked like a normal Pony's eye was dark red, except the other which was faded, meaning it would need replacing soon.

"I'm... Fine... But Master... It's cold..." He shivered, I cast a heat spell on him to keep him warm.
(I imagine he sounds like Genie from Aladdin when he tells Aladdin he can't bring people back from the dead. Start at 30 seconds if you don't know the voice.)

Suddenly I heard some kind of loud noise. Like a... Foghorn?

"What manner of beast approaches?" I asked and drew my blade. I took cover behind the house with Creature. Holding my blade horizontally in front of me.

"It looks like a massive beast Master!" He said. He had taken his eyes out and left them on a bench in the 'house'. Looking out so he could see whatever approached.

I leaned out from around the corner of the structure we were hiding behind and saw a massive contraption! It looked to be on rails... Similar to a minecart except much bigger! And it was moving much faster!

"That is no beast..." I said. Sheathing my blade...

Suddenly it screeched to a halt before the house... It looked more like some kind of waiting area actually...

The machine itself seemed to act as a means of transportation, running on coal and magic equally... Strange. We have floating islands, but not this? And these Ponies have this but not Flying Fortresses?

Of course, you do have to be Black Ring to get a Flying Fortress as they are made in the forests of Yuthul Gor by Orc slaves. But still...

"Well, what is it Master? Because I don't know, and I can see it perfectly." Asked Creature, he had his brow raised but it looked weird with just two holes instead of eyes...

"I'm not sure, but as soon as the coast is clear, fetch your eyes back." I said, shaking my head as I turned from him.

"Yes Master." He said, waiting for me to give the all clear.

As the huge thing came to a halt and the doors opened I peered out again and was pleasantly surprised to see the 6 mares from the wedding.

Ok, names... Come on Dragon Mind, don't fail me... There was Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and... Twilight? YES! Nailed it!

I was about to greet them before I stopped for two reasons. 1: I was in a different form and I didn't feel like I should change forms. 2: We were strangers, I didn't really know them that well...

"You know them?" Asked Creature, noticing my expression soften, it only did that when I was with people I know.

"Yes. When I vanished I met them." I nodded.

"Ah..." He said.

"Ha! And you all made fun of me for packing so many scarves." Said... Twilight? Nope, Rarity. I remember now. It's all coming back.

"I didn't say a word." Grunted Spike with all the luggage on his back.

"Trying to impress the ladies... Good lad." I chuckled quietly.

"A baby Dragon, Master?!" Whisper-shouted Creature.

"Whoa! Hey! C'mere..." Said Spike, dropping it all and trying to grab some scarves.

"Yep, I know. Except he's not a usual Dragon. As you can see." I said.

"Well... What are you thinking?" Asked Creature...

I peered around the wooden structure again and saw another figure approaching them, I prepared to spring into action...

"Twilight!"

Ah shit!

"Shining Armor?" Asked Twilight and they hugged.

"Twily! You made it! We'd better get moving. There are things out here we really don't want to run into after dark." Said Shining.

"Boy is that Cliché of the Year..." I said to myself, sitting down as I kept to the wall of the shack, preparing some supplies for the journey through the snow.

"What kind of things?" Asked... Fluttershy! Yes! Got it!

"Let's just say the Empire... Isn't the only thing that's returned." Said Armor.

;13 minutes later(what felt like 40 minutes in the damn blizzard);

I decided to follow them but I sent Creature back to the Tower with the Crystal Skull first. Otherwise his limbs would freeze.

I followed them in the blizzard, finding little trouble with the extreme weather. My body was extremely well conditioned so the blizzard was hardly a challenge, but if I stay in it for too long it may become an issue... You know, pneumonia and stuff. Not really a big deal...

The only foreseeable problem was the deep snow, I had to plough through it in my armor which slowed me down, I was keeping a reasonable distance from the girls, using my enhanced vision to see them whereas they couldn't see me. And the wind was blowing toward me, meaning their voices carried so I could hear them.

"What are those rocks floating above us?" Asked Twilight.

"Those? We don't know, they just floated in and keep trying to penetrate the shield with some kind of weapon. And something keeps trying to get in down here! We think it's the unicorn king who originally cursed the place. We think the floating islands and the king are connected somehow." Said Armor. They must be firing ballistas at the shield...

"But Princess Celestia said I was being sent here to find a way to protect the Empire! If King Sombra can't get in, then it must already be protected." Said Twilight.

The Princess asked her here? To defend this place? They don't stand a chance against the Black Ring! Then again, it's likely she didn't know they'd show up... And If that shield fails...

Well, I've seen first hand what the wrath of the Black Ring can do to those unprepared... Or even those prepared!

I looked up to the islands... Ice. Only one person uses ice on their Flying Fortresses...

"Keara..." I said with a scowl. It wasn't Damien... I suppose that's a good thing. It it were him, he'd be through this shield in minutes... And I don't know if I'm strong enough to fight him yet.

Suddenly a howl echoed through the blizzard...

That's not good...

"Th-That's one of the things, isn't it?" Asked Fluttershy, seemingly looking at me...

Wait...

Oh fuck...

This is one of those 'it's right behind me, isn't it?' moments...

I looked behind me to see a black mist, and Black Ring soldiers were in it!

"Guh. We have to get to the Crystal Empire! Now!" Exclaimed Armor, suddenly the mist shot upwards and toward me.

I leapt backwards with a somersault and landed in front of Spike to protect him from the mist.

"Ahh!" He exclaimed in surprise.

"Hehe, sorry." I said as Shining rescued him, making Spike drop the luggage as he grabbed him in his magic. I stayed for a second...

One of the Ring shot an arrow at me but I caught it mid air just in time.

"The Dragon?! Come! We have to tell Kali!" Said one of the Ring and they all disappeared behind the mist...

Kali? Looks like she's borrowed Keara's Fortresses. Good, I didn't feel like having to deal with Keara, that crazy bitch...

"Cowards..." I mumbled as the mist was about to attack. "Ohhhhh shit... RUUUUUNNNNNN!" I yelled and cast a simple light spell at him, causing him to back up.

Then I also started to run. I didn't fancy fighting the air, thanks. I have enough to fight.

"Go, go!" Said Twilight as we saw the shield in the distance.

"Almost there." Said Armor but skidded to a halt to attack Sombra.

"The fuck are you doing!? Are you fucking suicidal?! Keep motherfucking moving!" I yelled as I ran past him, grabbing his tail as I did and swinging him around. He yelped in pain but at least he actually did what I said.

"We'll never outrun him!" Argued Shining.

"Fine!" I yelled and stopped, turning to the mist.

"What-" Started Armor before...

"FUCK OFF!!!" I yelled, using magic to amplify my voice, the shockwave sending the mist a good few feet the other way. I continued running. "There we go." I said, but the thing in the mist growled and caught up to us again.

"Hahaha!" It laughed.

"Oh bugger off!" I shouted to the mist as I caught up with the Armor. Who then stopped as I got a little ahead of him.

'The fuck is he doing...?' I thought as I stopped as well. He fired a magic bolt at the mist who simply parted to let it through, it started toward Shining who charged another spell...

One of the Black Ring punched his muzzle, knocking him out... Fuck, now I have to rescue him..

Another Black Ring was about to kill him before I jumped at the mist with a Light-Magic Imbued Greatsword.

"Ahhhh!" I yelled as I jumped at the mist with two hands on my greatsword and prepared to slam into it, it backed off but got nicked by the blade and howled in pain, backing up further... so did the Black Ring... Were they part of the mist? I put my Light-Magic sword in my teleportation chest. I then grabbed Armor bridal style, who's horn was riddled with black crystals.

"Wha-" He asked, slightly dazed as we practically took flight toward the shield. I never even knew I could run that fast, never mind in full armor also carrying Shining Armor...

"Don't question it." I whispered to him as we bolted to the shield faster than a Dragon in a treasury...

I saw the mist about to get us so I took a dive through the shield.

"Ahh!" Yelled Shining as we practically flew through...

"Ow!" I exclaimed as we landed, me on my still sore ass and Shining on his hooves, lucky git.

"That was close! Whooo!" I laughed, sitting up for a second as I cheered. I fell back down, still on the ground. But I saw the 6 mares surrounding me with 'not amused' expressions. "Oh right... Haha..." I said, rubbing the back of my head.

"And who are you?" Asked Armor.

"Me? I was your college experiment, whom you now consider your shameful past." I answered with a smirk.

"What?!" Asked Armor, seemingly genuinely worried...?

"No! I was joking." I said with a laugh as I got up.

"So? Who are ya?" Asked Rainbow Dash.

"My name is Tyrath, Tyrath Kyelinth." I said.

"There's... something familiar about you... The least of which the way you announce your name..." Said Twilight.

"We have met before... Twilight." I said, they all widened their eyes when I said her name.

"How do you know my... Wait, your voice is familiar... Assertive, yet you try not to show it..." She said thoughtfully.

"You know me as Ego Draconis." I said.

"Wait... Ego?!" Asked Spike.

"That’s... It can't... No way!" Argued Rainbow.

"Would... This be better?" I asked as I magically communicated with the Dragon Stone to turn me back into a Pony.

"Oh wow! Ego?! You're not really a Pony?" Asked Twilight.

"Nope. I am a Human." I answered as I turned Human again.

"Oh, no! Shining Armor, your horn!" Said Twilight to Shining Armor.

Suddenly I slapped him in the face. Not hard, but it left a mark.

"Ow!" He exclaimed in surprise.

"NEVER, do something that fucking stupid again or next time it won't be a slap!" I warned.

"Wha-" He asked, holding a hoof to his cheek that had a red hand print on it.

"Putting yourself in danger?! I don't care if you hate me or not, you have a duty to your wife and your little sister. To NOT get yourfuckingself killed! Do not do that again. Understand?!" I asked.

"Yes... And I don't hate you, I just don't trust you." He said. He seemed truthful. So I took him at his word.

What? Oh Ok! Yes, I read his damn mind! Happy now?!

'He could be gaining our trust only to turn against us at the last minute!' Pondered Armor. Ok, so he's telling half truths...

He tried to use magic only for his horn to spark out because of the black crystals. We continued our way.

"Sparkleriffic!" Exclaimed Pinkie in wonder at the city before us, I admit, I was impressed...

;5 minutes later, in the city center;

"It's gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! There are no words!" Said Rarity, mumbling trying to find the right ones.

"Nice." I nodded.

"Focus, Rarity. We're here to help Twilight, not admire the scenery." Reminded Applejack.

"You're right. Come on." I said with resolve.

"Eh, I don't see what the big deal is. Just looks like another old castle to me." Said Rainbow.

"You clearly don't appreciate the fine arts. Oh well. It's not everyone's slice of cake." I shrugged.

"Err what?" Asked Rainbow.

"Everypony's." I corrected.

"That may be but... Did you say- Another old...! Have you lost your mind? Look at the magni–" Started Rarity before Applejack and Rainbow burst out laughing and... Hoofbumped? Sounds legit.

"Very funny." Said Rarity.

"I don't get it..." I said.

"They were winding her up." Said Twilight as we entered the castle.

"Oh, right." I nodded. It’s been so long since I've had real friends that don't treat me like I would kill them at any given moment that I've forgot some social mannerisms.

We entered the Throne Room and saw Princess Cadance on the throne. She looked run-down...

"Cadance!" Exclaimed Twilight.

Seeing Twilight seemed to reinvigorate her and they ran up to each other.

"Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!" They said together and did the familiar moves.

I smiled at the sight. It warmed my heart. Suddenly her horn fizzed and the shield flickered, I looked out the window and gulped, seeing the islands above us.

"One of these days we need to get together when the fate of Equestria isn't hanging in the balance." She said, sighing.

"Agreed Your Majesty." I bowed with a smile.

"Err..." She started, a confused expression on her weary face.

"Oh, you wouldn't recognise me. Unless I pinned you to a wall with magic." I smiled, Shining Armor's mouth dropped at that. "Not like that." I whispered to him.

"Ego?" She asked with wide eyes.

"Aye." I answered with a nod.

"Ego!" She exclaimed and hugged me. Again, not sure how to respond so I froze up.

But seeing me also seemed to cheer her up...

"What is with Princesses and giving out free hugs?" I asked as she let go.

"Who said they were free? 20 bits please." Laughed Princess Cadance.

"I'm a bit short at the moment." I said, patting myself down and we laughed.

"Are you okay?" Asked Twilight as the Princesses horn and the shield fizzed again.

"Princess..." I said, noticing her fatigue... I was concerned for her, she didn't look too good...

"Hey! My wife doesn't need your help!" Exclaimed Shining Armor. I held up my hands and backed off.

"Shining." Said Princess Cadance angrily.

"Sorry dear. Now then, Cadance has been able to use her magic to spread love and light. That seems to be what is protecting it. But she hasn't slept, barely eats. I want to help her, but my protection spell has been countered by King Sombra. And those islands make it worse, Cadance can't expand her shield because of them." Explained Armor.

"It's not just this 'Sombra' out there." I said gravely.

"What do you mean?" Asked Princess Cadance.

I sighed, walking over to the balcony. I put my hands behind my back and looked out at the Empire.

"A year ago I was on a quest. To stop Damien, The Damned One, from conquering my home, called Rivellon. I succeeded, but just barely. And Damien escaped. Now it seems he's set his sights here, on these kingdoms. Yours and this one." I explained.

"What?" Asked Twilight.

"Why? I don't know. But during my quest I fought, and killed Damien's best Generals. And his worst. Weakening his army's armada, morale and military strength. But It seems they are back... Despite what I did." I said.

"You killed 'em?" Asked Applejack, the girls all backing up.

"See? I knew we couldn't trust him! Oh ouch!" He exclaimed, trying to charge a spell but failing. I turned around.

"No, you misunderstand. In Rivellon, not everything is solved with the 'Magic of Friendship' and 'forgiveness'. We have to fight to survive. Damien would have it no other way. Make no mistake, I am ruthless on the battlefield when me and my enemies are facing off and the blood is flowing. But I do not harm innocent people." I explained to them.

"So, you kill because it's kill or be killed?" Asked Rainbow.

"Exactly!" I exclaimed.

"I suppose that's fine, it is self defense after all." Said the Princess.

"What? Cad-! Fine." Said Armor, not wanting to argue with his wife.

"This particular General is called Kali, sister to my Personal Trainer, Captain Hermosa." I said.

"You're killing your Trainers sister?!" Asked Twilight, horrified.

"Hermosa asked me to kill her last time. Now Kali's back and I will do it again. You need further reason? Ok, how about this? Kali killed her own father for a sword he forged." I said.

"She... What?" Asked Twilight, almost in tears. The rest of the girls were as well.

"How could she?" Asked the Princess.

"The Black Ring are despicable. Kali is an exceptionally ruthless General who stops at nothing to achieve her goal." I said, looking back out to the outline of the Fortresses dominating the skyline beyond the shield. "There will be hundreds of Black Ring on those islands hell bent on conquering this Empire as a staging ground for their invasion of both Equestria and Rivellon."

"What do we do? We can't fight all of them!" Exclaimed Armor.

"No! I can! I must! It is my test to save the Crystal Empire." Countered Twilight.

"No. Not in this form. Princess Celestia didn't foresee the Black Ring appearing." I said.

"He's right Twi. There ain't no way ya can take down those Black Ring on yer own. Even with our help." Said Applejack.

"She's right. But you can save it from Sombra. Hell, you could do that without my help! But the Black Ring will annihilate you, or worse... Capture you, torture you and use you as leverage to take over the land. You might be able to drive them all off without me if you find a way, yes. But if they do get through, I must defend you all. Otherwise this kingdom, Equestria, and you, will fall. And I will not allow that." I resolved.

Fluttershy was in tears, but the others steeled themselves for what was possibly to come.

"Fluttershy, it's OK, I promise. While I live they will not touch you." I promised.

Suddenly the Princess's horn fizzed again and she almost collapsed. I started toward her to help but Armor got in front of me, reaching for his wife.

"It's alright Shining Armor, I'm fine." She waved him off.

"She's not fine. She can't go on like this forever, and if her magic were to fade... Well, you saw what's out there waiting for that to happen." Said Armor.

"And I've told you." I said, still with my hands joined behind my back.

"That's why we're here." Said Twilight.

"Why we're all here." Said Applejack with resolve.

"Well, with Cadance putting all her strength into keeping her spell going, and me trying to keep an eye on signs of trouble in the arctic, we haven't been able to gather much information from the Crystal Ponies." Explained Armor.

"Crystal Ponies?! Hahaha, there are Crystal Ponies?! Um, ahem. Please continue." Said Rarity, growing hysterical.

"...But we have to believe one of them knows how we can protect the Empire without having to use Cadance's magic." Continued Armor.

"I hope it's that easy..." I mumbled. Who am I fucking kidding? It's NEVER that easy.

"A research paper!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"Huh?" Said me and Armor in synch.

"That must be part of my test – to gather information from the Crystal Ponies and deliver it to you! This is gonna be great! I love research papers!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"Yeah, who doesn't?" Said Rainbow sarcastically.

"Oh-oh-oh! Lemme guess! Is it Spike? Nono, Fluttershy! Rarity?" Asked Pinkie Pie picking each one up as she mentioned them. I got the impression we should ignore her during these moments.

"Don't worry, big brother. I am really good at this sort of thing." Reassured Twilight.

"I hope so. I don't fancy having to face a hundred Black Ring." I said in monotone.

"We will!" Exclaimed Twilight.

She turned to leave but bumped into somepony... Or should I say someone...

"Hmmhmmhmm." Came a chuckle. "Well well well Dragon, here we are." Came a voice, I turned and saw none other than The Damned One... Surprisingly not a pony. Twilight backed off to her friends in terror.

"Damien." I greeted casually. Showing no hint of malice toward him.

"Greetings Tyrath. Long time no see. So, you have chosen your friends then?" He asked, walking up to me and going behind me, I turned my head to look at him. He was an astral projection that only looked real. Of course he could touch you, but the most he could do is give you a weak punch. He gave me a kick to the head once back when I first became a Dragon-Knight...

"Why, Damien! Are you are assuming I'd work against you?! Perish the thought!" I exclaimed, putting the back of my hand on my head dramatically.

"Indeed. You may have stopped me before, but not this time." He said, walking to the Mane 6 and crouching down by Fluttershy. She squealed and cowered behind her mane. "What is wrong little pony? Scared?" He asked with a smile, running an armored finger along her cheek, causing her to shed some tears and whimper. Her friends were too terrified to do anything...

"Y-y- You stay away from 'er!" Quivered Applejack.

"As you wish." Chuckled Damien. "Someday little ponies, if you're lucky and survive this day, you will witness a fight between two Gods." Said Damien, looking at them, standing before.

"Keep away from my sister and her friends!" Threatened Princess Cadance. Taking a stand. Even though she was in no condition to even give Damien a struggle.

"Princess, don't..." I said.

"Now, now. No need to get violent." He said, holding his hands up to her in mock surrender...

"Damien! Your quarrel is with me. Keep the ponies out of it." I said, pointing to me with a thumb and then the ponies with my finger. He walked over to me and encircled me like vulture would its prey.

"Oh, I do not think so." He chuckled.

"And why not?" I asked.

"You see Dragon, I will see this kingdom fall by Kali's hoof. And if you refuse this offer to join me, you along with it." He said, stopping encircling me once he was in front of me.

"Huh. I am of the opposite opinion." I said.

"I thought as much. You see, I need these kingdoms to act as a Realm of my own to house my troops. An unreachable place we can fortify. We would be unstoppable!" He exclaimed.

"Solid plan. But you forget one massive obstacle in your way." I shrugged.

"That is?" He asked.

"Me." I answered.

"It doesn't have to be that way." He said, holding out his hand. "I would hate to see such potential, such godlike power, go to waste. We could accomplish so much together." He smiled.

"You know, I appreciate the offer. Really, I do." I said, going up to his face... "But I do not think Ygerna would." I whispered.

"Insolent cur! I will have your head Dragon!" He exclaimed, raising his fist at me, causing all in the room to recoil, except me. I just crossed my arms with a smug smile. He stopped and took a breath. "But... my offer stands. Let me know if you change your mind. I need a new General." He growled, going behind a pillar, vanishing.

"Who... What was that? He felt so empty... So hateful, not a shred of love in him..." Shivered the Princess.

"That. Was Damien. You just met my archenemy face to muzzle. Be thankful you're all alive." I said to the group. Uncrossing my arms and turning to face them. Fluttershy burst into tears.

"His touch was so cold... Like ice... It was-" She started before continuing crying.

"Shh... It's OK, he will not harm you. I promised, remember?" I asked, I looked into her eyes and cast a subtle calm spell.

She stopped crying and nodded, sniffing a few times.

"Well, with our resolve reinforced... Let's get going!" Exclaimed Twilight, luckily they had all recovered...

"Oh, before we go... Here Princess, drink this." I said and gave her a Potion of Revitalising, helping her drink it because she couldn't use her magic to lift it.

"Thank you, I feel better. It's quite nice as well... Blueberry." she smiled, licking her lips.

"Good, that’s the first time someone other than me has tried one of my potions. At least your hair is still the same color." I said with a sigh of relief.

"Wait, what...?" Started the Princess.

"Sorry gotta go!" I exclaimed, running out with the girls...

...

We split up and started interrogating ponies. After 10 minutes of no luck and holding back from mindreading, I finally decided to try it.

"So, do you perchance know anything about a way to stop King Sombra?" I asked.

"No, no... I don't." Said the stallion.

"Hmm..." I said and tried to read his mind... There was some kind of block, an endless darkness that I tried to sift through. To no avail.

"Ok, cheers." I said and walked away.

"Anything?" Asked Dash, flying above me.

"No, and their minds are almost blank except from when they recently reemerged... It's strange." I pondered. Stroking my beard in thought...

"Huh?" Asked Rainbow.

"Oh nothing." I waved her off.

"Sure... I'm goin' over here." Said Rainbow and... Dashed off I suppose, no pun intended.

I headed over to our de facto leader, Twilight, after having no luck on my own.

"Are you sure? Absolutely sure?" She asked.

"I'm sorry. I wish I could help you. But I... can't seem to remember anything before King Sombra came to power. And I don't want to remember anything about the time he ruled over us." She said and shuddered.

"King Sombra's spell must be why their coats aren't... Crystally." Observed Twilight. Whispering to Spike and myself.

"Agreed, he seems to have sucked the joy, love and light out of them, like what happens when I walk into a room full of Black Ring." I smiled.

"Have we really been gone a thousand years?" Asked the Pony.

Twilight and I looked at each other, wondering what to say...

Eventually she settled on:

"Yes."

"It feels like it was just yesterday." Said the mare.

"I know how that feels..." I said to myself.

"If you think of anything, even the smallest thing..." Said Twilight.

"Of course." Nodded the Pony.

"Well, that was a total bust." Concluded Spike.

"Really? I thought it went rather well." I said with a sideways smirk to him.

"Haha." He fake laughed.

"Well, maybe the others are having better luck."

"One can hope." I said and leapt onto a building roof to observe the others.

"A way to protect the Empire! You know anything about it or what?" Asked Rainbow to the South.

"I wish I could help you. Really." Said the Pony, turning to leave.

"Hold on! You gotta know something!" Exclaimed Rainbow, blocking her.

"But... I don't have any information." Insisted the Pony.

"Looks she's playing bad cop." I said, turning to the west.

"Oh, um. Excuse me! Oh! Hello! Umm, I was just wondering. Oh, oh, that's okay, um, you all look really busy." Said Fluttershy, laughing nervously.

"Shy cop." I rolled my eyes. I turned to the east.

"Time to gather some intel!" Said Pinkie and put some weird things on... They look like those goggles that help you see in the dark in the detective novels I've been reading, but in our land they were nothing more than a pipe dream... She also had a black skin/fur tight suit on and roped down a building. I listened to the conversation she was listening to.

"It just feels like something is missing."

"I know. It looks the same, but it doesn't feel the same."

"Because it isn't!" Interrupted Pinkie.

"A spy!" Gasped one of them, and they ran. Resulting in Pinkie screaming as she fell from the rope.

"A spy? How did they know? Ah! Must have noticed my night vision goggles. Ooh! Night vision-y!" She said. I turned north.

Rarity.

"Hm-hm-hmmm. And when you flip your mane, it simply must create a rainbow of color. Oh! Wouldn't I look just magnificent? So sparkly!" Tittered Rarity.

They all met in the square.

"I got nothing so far." Sighed Rainbow.

"Oh, me neither." Said Rarity, not admitting she hadn't even tried.

Fluttershy with an unusually serious expression approached Twilight before a disguise was pulled away to reveal Pinkie Pie...

"My cover has been blown. I repeat, my cover has been blown!" Said Pinkie in a hushed voice before running away.

"Ooookay." Said Twilight.

I leapt down from the roof, startling everypony with the noise I made and how I shook the earth with my landing. I went over to the 6 mares.

"Nada, their minds turned out no results." I informed as I approached.

"Their minds?" Asked Twilight.

"Yeah, I can read minds, a good remnant of a bad past." I said, shaking my head.

"You haven't read my mind yet... Right?" Asked Rainbow.

"No, I only read the minds of those I trust when searching for knowledge. If I do that, consider it a compliment, it means I think you know something I don't." I said.

"Cool." She said with a smile.

"But I haven't read your mind yet..." I said.

"Oh, right." She said with a disappointed expression.

"First being I've met that wants me to read their mind." I muttered.

"DRAGON!" Came a loud, booming female voice from above us.

"Huh? Me? What''d I do?!" Asked Spike.

"Not you. Me." I said.

"Oh." He said with a sigh of relief.

"KALI! HOW NICE OF YOU TO SHOW UP!" I yelled.

"WHY ARE YOU COWERING BEHIND THESE PONIES?! COME OUT AND FIGHT ME!" She yelled.

"Something's wrong... She wouldn't challenge me unless she had a trick up her sleeve... She knows how powerful I am, yet she wants me to fight her?" I shook my head.

"WELL?!" She asked.

"TELL YOU WHAT! GET THROUGH THE SHIELD FIRST AND I'LL SEE WHAT I CAN DO!" I yelled.

At that they used lightning towers against the shield, with no effect.

"We need to find a way!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"And quickly..." I mumbled.

"Sorry, Twilight. These crystal ponies seem to have some kinda collective amnesia or somethin'. Only thing I was able to get out of 'em was somethin' 'bout a library." Informed Applejack.

"A library? Well, why didn't you say so?!" Gasped Twilight.

"Uh... thought I just did." Chucked Applejack and gave us the directions and we all set off.

"Yep..." I said worriedly and followed them.

;5 minutes of walking(and another 5 of getting lost) later;

We pushed open the doors to the library.

"I just... I don't even know what to... There are no words." Said Twilight as we saw the library.

"Impressive book collection." I whistled.

"Ahem. May I help you?" Asked the librarian.

"Yes. We're looking for a book." Informed Twilight.

"I think you need to be a little more specific." I whispered.

"We have plenty of those." Said the librarian as if to reinforce my point.

"You do. You really do." Said Twilight in awe, I waved a hand in front of her face, to no avail.

"We're lookin' for a history book. Somethin' that might tell us how the Empire might've protected itself from danger back in the day." Explained Applejack in the stead of Twilight.

"Yeah, this is kind of important." I added.

"Right then! Important... Yes. Of course. History, history... Ah, yes." Said the librarian. The girls all smiled but noticed her pause.

"Which is where, exactly?" Asked Twilight.

"I... I can't seem to remember. I'm not sure I actually work here." Said the Pony.

"Fucking fuck!" I yelled tensing up and punching the wall, cracking it.

"Are you OK?" Asked Twilight.

"I'm fine, I just... I'm fine." I concluded. Taking a breath.

"We'll just take a look around. I'm sure we can find it on our own." Twilight tried to comfort me. Putting a hoof on my back, I turned quickly, causing her to recoil. I sighed and calmed down, relaxing my muscles.

"Let me know if you find anything." Said the librarian as we looked around.

"I like her!" Exclaimed Pinkie.

"Yeah..." I said, sighing again and running my hands down my face as I started to search.

I was flicking through the books, taking the information in instantly from each book. Rainbow and Applejack devised a genius method of Applejack bucking the ladder on wheels and Rainbow throwing all the books in the row on a pile. I pinched the bridge of my nose after my... 37th book I think.

"Giving up Dragon?" Asked Damien, stepping out from a pile of books. There were piles of books all around me so the others couldn't see him.

"Not quite yet." I replied, reading through a few books at once rather than looking at Damien.

"Come. You must realise this is a lost cause. These ponies are already dead. They just hold false hope." He said.

"I'm not joining you." I said with disinterest.

"No?" He asked.

"No. And you will not harm these Ponies. I'll see to that personally." I said, still disinterested.

"... We'll see." He said, leaving as I went back to looking.

"Yes we will." I replied to the empty air.

"Anything?" Asked Twilight, stepping around my pile of books.

"No, sorry." I said.

"Who were you talking to?" Asked Twilight.

"Oh no one, Damien just dropped by for a visit. Told him to take a look at the 'bugger off' section." I said.

"Good." She smiled.

"Other than that, sorry, I've had no luck." I informed her.

"It's OK. Keep looking everypony!" Called Twilight.

;3 minutes later;

"No, no, no, no, no." I repeated. Sifting through books thrown on the pile. Pinkie was leaping high, grabbing books from shelves. Rarity was growing tired and Spike was trying to impress her still...

;After about another 10 minutes of searching;

"Uh, anypony else startin' to think this is a lost cause?" Asked Applejack.

"It's never a lost cause!" I exclaimed, throwing a fist in the air as I was on a ladder with wheels and kicked off the wall, wheeling along a few shelves. I then slid down the ladder and continued my search on the ground.

"No, no, no, no, no..." Said Twilight also. I put my hand on a book at the same time Twilight grabbed it with her magic.

It looked like the one we're looking for...

"Ladies first." I said. Handing her the book.

"Yes! 'History of the Crystal Empire'. I just hope it has the answers we need." She said. I took it and read it in seconds. We headed to the Palace and I skimmed through the book again, trying to find a solution...

"This page seems promising." I said, passing her the book with the page open.

"How d'ya know? Ya didn't even read it!" Exclaimed Applejack.

"Yes I did. The Dragon's mind is a helluva a lot sharper than the average persons, or Pony's as it were. We can absorb information from a book in a matter of seconds." I said.

Suddenly Twilght's face lit up.

"Yes! That's it!" She exclaimed as went in.

"Hmm, looks like I was on to something." I chuckled as we approached the Prince and Princess.

"A 'Crystal Fair'! According to this book, it was established by their first queen and became their most important tradition. The Fair was held every year to 'renew the spirit of love and unity in the Empire so they could protect it from harm!' My friends and I could put it together. Everything we need to know is in the book! Thanks to Ego we know about it!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"Looks like you're in the habit of saving our lives." Smiled Cadance to me. I shrugged.

"I got into the habit of saving lives about a year and a half ago." I chuckled.

"That sounds pretty promising. But how do we know he isn't setting us up?" Asked Shining.

"Because I hate the Black Ring. And the Black Ring is working with Sombra. Our goal is mutual. Even if we were at odds, which we're not, I would side with you over them." I said.

"Fine." He relented.

"Great! We'll get started right away. C'mon, you two, we've got a Crystal Fair to put together!" Exclaimed Twilight to me and Spike. We headed to a meeting with the girls and... They sang. Again. No, really.

As we set things up they used my ungodly strength to their advantage by having me put up stands and pull(for them) heavy objects.

After about 20 minutes we had it all set up.

"Whew!" I exclaimed and wiped a bead of sweat from my brow.

"It looks amazing! I don't know how I could've done it without you!" Exclaimed Twilight to us.

"Ehh, it's nothing." I waved her off.

"Let's make sure everything is in place then the festivities can begin!" Exclaimed Twilight again.

"Err, what's this thing for?" Asked Applejack, poking some kind of heart.

"The last page of the book mentioned a Crystal Heart as the Fair's centerpiece, so I used my magic to cut one out of a crystal block." Said Twilight and showed us the heart.

"Nice work, Twi. Think we're ready to get this fair up and runnin'." Said Applejack.

"Agreed." I nodded.

We went inside and told Shining Armor and the Princess we were ready, the Princess went to move but swayed a little and I put my hand on her back to keep her steady.

"Woah! Careful Princess! Want me to-" I started.

"I've got her." Announced Shining, pulling his wife toward him forcefully to lean on him.

"Fair enough." I shrugged as we went outside to the balcony.

"Flugelhorn!" Pinkie blew on the horn, leading the word to come out.

"Hear ye, hear–" Started Twilight before Pinkie blew the horn again.

"Flugelhorn...!" She exclaimed with it and we stared at her... "My bad." She said.

"Ahem. Hear ye, hear ye! Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor do cordially invite you to attend the Crystal Fair!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"Full of traditional Crystal Empire treats, gifts and games!" I added. At that the ponies brightened up and turned normal, but not quite their crystalline selves.

Rainbow, Applejack Twilight and I hoof/fistbumped in celebration.

"Thanks fer all yer help pardner." Thanked Applejack, tipping her stetson to me.

"Nah, you're good." I said. I leapt down from the balcony to keep an eye on the festivities.

"Come on in, y'all. Got food and drinks thataway, games and crafts are thataway, Crystal Heart to the back near the Princess." Explained Applejack to the Ponies.

"Did she say... Crystal Heart?" Asked a Pony.

"We totally nailed it, right? Must be feeling a lot of love and unity about now! Gonna have some grub, huh? What are you thinking? Crystal Empire berry pie? Maybe some crystal corn-on-the-cob!" She said, getting no response. "What is with these ponies?!" She asked as she chased a pony around the Fair.

I began to read their minds because I felt their minds opening... but I eventually decided to leave their minds alone.

I sat down on a stool and started sharpening my sword.

"Getting a little blunt aren't we?" I asked it. As I did, the markings on it flashed. "Don't you take attitude with me." I said to it. I looked up from my whetstone to listen to some ponies talking.

"Seeing all of this, I feel like I'm starting to remember. Remember things from before the King." Said a Pony.

"Me too." Said another.

"Good." I nodded to myself.

"The Crystal Heart!" Gasped a few ponies and turned 'normal'.

"Do you think they really have it?" Asked one.

"Of course we have it! Can't have a Crystal Fair without the Crystal Heart, right?" Asked Rainbow.

"Yeah, I mean duh!" I said, sheathing my sword.

"Of course you can't. The whole purpose of the Crystal Fair is to lift the spirits of the Crystal Ponies, so the light within them can power the Crystal Heart, so that the Empire can be protected! I do work at the library!" Gasped the librarian in realisation, becoming normal.

Suddenly I went from happy to confused...

"W-what's that about 'powering the heart'?" Asked Rainbow as Applejack jumped over.

"Yeah, what say?" I asked with a chuckle, getting up quickly from my stool.

"I just can't believe you found it. King Sombra said he'd hidden it away where we would never see it again! I only hope it will still be as powerful after all these years...! Mm, funnel cake!" She said.

Me and Rainbow looked at each other worriedly and both rushed to Twilight, covering the 'Heart' and making sure nopony went near...

"Why did you–" Asked Twilight.

"I think we may have a problem..." Said Rainbow.

"Yeah, a big fucking problem, let me look at the book..." I said and i skimmed through it. "Oh shit!" I exclaimed.

"What?" Asked Twilight.

"Fuck me. I'm a fucking idiot... There's a page missing!" I exclaimed, facepalming, handing the book to Twilight...

"What?!" Asked Twilight and also skimmed through the book. "He's right!" She said.

"We're fucked. Fucked. Fucked!" I exclaimed hitting myself on the head each time with my palm as I said it. We ran to the balcony to inform the Prince and Princess...

"I didn't know it was an actual relic! The book didn't mention anything about the Crystal Ponies powering the Heart! There was a page missing... How did I not notice?!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"No, it's my fucking fault, I should've noticed. Shit." I said, putting my hand on her back.

"You could've tore the page out before Twily had the book!" Accused Shining.

"Oh! And bring the fucking Black Ring armada down on our heads at the same time?! Yeah that seems fucking accurate! You know what? I'm sick of your shit! I am not your enemy, no matter how much you want to believe it!! You want to know who the enemy is? Fucking Damien and that fucking armada outside is! Don't believe me? Go outside and meet them! I'm sure they'd love the entertainment!" I yelled.

"Please stop fighting!" Cried Twilight.

"Tell this damn prick to fuck off with his bullshit accusations! I'll prove my loyalty! The moment they get through the shield I'll tear them apart! And how about this? I'll bring you Kali's head personally!" I said.

"It's alright, Twilight." The Princess comforted Twilight because she was crying.

Princess Cadance collapsed and I caught her in my arms.

"Shit!" I exclaimed. Worried for her health...

"Twily..." Started Shining, reaching for her but she recoiled before they both noticed Cadance and looked over.

"Princess!?" I said, shaking her as the shield dissipated. "Fuckfuckfuckfuck. Come on! Please wake up! Princess Cadance! Come on! Please be Ok!" I exclaimed, brushing her hair out of her face so I could look her in the eyes to see if she was OK...

"I can't... Hold it..." She said. Ok, she was alive, that's something...

"Oh thank fuck... No, don't move... Shhh, It's OK. Just rest... I'll take care of it!" I exclaimed about to put the shield back up myself as I held her.

Suddenly Shining butted me to the side while I was distracted and I hit the railing of the balcony with my back. Almost breaking the railing.

Applejack and Rainbow's mouth dropped at that. I was distracted as I held Princess Cadance so he had little trouble hitting me, but if he did it again he'd find that hitting a brick wall would be more pleasureable... I've had Black Ring punch me and shatter the bones in their hands.

"Ah! The fuck!!?" I asked him, getting up, rubbing my sore back.

"Keep your traitorous claws off my wife! What did you do to her?!" Asked Armor, preparing to charge me again.

"Shining!" Exclaimed Twilight in horror.

"He did something to Cadance! Look at her!" He yelled.

"I did fuck all! She passed out!" I exclaimed, pointing my finger. Suddenly he came at me again and I moved him to the side, causing him to butt the railing.

"Ah!" He exclaimed in pain, shaking his head.

He snorted and scraped the ground with his hoof, preparing another charge.

"Let do it then. Bring it." I said, he ran at me and I kicked his jaw lightly, sending him flying backwards. I only hit him lightly but I was getting worked up, I wouldn't be able to hold back much longer.

"No! Stop fighting!" Exclaimed Twilight.

"Stay out of this Twily! He tricked you! He's been playing us all along! He probably joined this 'Damien' from the beginning, or he probably joined him earlier when you weren't paying attention!" Argued Shining. Rubbing his jaw and preparing another attack.

"No, he- Shining!" She started. But he ran at me anyway, ignoring her.

He ran at me again, yelling as he did.

I slipped my hands beneath him and picked him up, I walked him over to the railing and prepared to throw him off.

"You like heights?" I asked him.

"Ahhh!" He yelled. Looking over the edge.

"Say hi to Stone for me!" I yelled and reared back...

"No, wait!" Said Twilight, I remembered where I was, what I was doing... I turned and threw him at the wall instead, he hit it and left a dent.

"He's joined Sombra and Damien! He's on their side!" Shouted Shining, wiping blood from his mouth.

"No he hasn't! You started this at the wedding! He has done nothing to deserve it!" Twilight shouted at him.

"Yeah, whats yer deal pardner? He's been helpin' us from the start. We got no reason not ta trust 'I'm." Said Applejack, her and Twilight stepping between me and Armor.

"What the hay, man? Ego's been nothing but nice. Sure he lost his temper before, but I don't blame him! You may be Twilight's big brother, but right now you're acting like her little sister." Said Rainbow and flew over, landing next to Applejack.

"Bu-" Started Shining, realising he was outnumbered.

"No! Stop this right now Shining! He saved our lives and that wasn't enough for you. He even saved your life out there. What more do you want from him?! You just attacked him for nothing. I don't know if I want to be with a stallion who does that." Said Cadance, jumping to my defense, well not literally as she was worn out and was getting shakily to her hooves next to Shining before moving next to the girls in my defense.

"No! Candy..." He started.

"No. Save it. He just tried to help me and you just plain assaulted him." She said, I could see she was angry. "If weren't my husband I would have you arrested." She warned...

"I just don't trust him. And that isn't changing." Armor stomped his hoof. Putting his, well hoof down. In an attempt to get his wife to help him.

"Why?" Asked Twilight.

"Didn't you hear him and that 'Damien' talking? They were talking like old friends!" He accused.

"It's called 'civility'. Yes, we talk like old friends, because it's like we are. Except we're always trying to kill each other. It's very simple really. I can't hurt him in that form, he can't hurt me in that form. So why fight? If I meet him face to face then yes, we will fight to the death. But otherwise we talk circles around each other."

"I think you're lying." Growled Shining.

"Fine, just don't take attitude with me or your wife. And if you ever try for me again, wife or no wife, sister or no sister, I'll have you eating through a fucking tube for the rest of your life. What little would be left of it." I warned, going up to him.

"Is that a threat?" He asked., narrowing his eyes at me as I did the same and our faces drew closer. .

"Shining! Stop... Now..." She mumbled. I turned away from Armor, and caught the Princess again as she collapsed

"Your Majesty..." I said, worried more about her than Shining attacking me.

"Cadance?!" Asked Twilight.

Suddenly a howl rang out in the arctic and the black mist approached.

"Oh shit..." I said, looking up from her, seeing the Fortresses starting to get into positions to block anyone leaving the Empire lowering. They were hovering just above the ground, creating a blockade around the Empire and they moved closer with the mist...

Further in the arctic, Black Ring were rappelling down the far end of the Fortresses into the snow, landing about half a mile from the city...

"They're huge..." Said Twilight.

I saw their defenses powering up... If I tried to fly ponies out of here, we'd be shot down within seconds.

"We might be in trouble." I concluded...

To be continued...