• Published 1st Feb 2017
  • 4,666 Views, 688 Comments

Knights of the Realm - Kinni


Sunset, Trixie and Twilight were chosen as Celestia's apprentices, but they also choose to become Knights, protectors of Equestria. They are prepared for that, but Equestria is probably not prepared for them.

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The Flame Returns
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Author's Note:

Superfastchaptergo!

"So, what did you think?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"That was pretty cool." Rarity said "It must have taken a lot of practice to get everypony synchronized perfectly."

"Yeah, and I'm sure the pegasi in the audience were even more impressed. They would understand how hard it is to push your manipulation of tailwind to that point." Rainbow Dash agreed "And what about you, did your promotion attract many customers?"

Rainbow Dash was referring to the spell Rarity was using to shift the clothes she was wearing at certain intervals with different models, essentially turning herself into a billboard for her craft. Of course, every single one of the combinations had been chosen to complement her appearance in different ways, showing off her range in terms of design.

Rarity did a little grin "Yes it did. I've passed my contact information to a lot of prospective clients already, and I have so many ideas for special orders to do for them!"

The walked off while still talking. Rainbow Dash had invited Rarity to watch the latest performance of the Wonderbolts, in which she had one of the hardest roles, as the right center manager of the tailwind, a proof that she was becoming a trusted member of the group. And since the audience was going to be huge, Rarity decided to use the opportunity for some merchandising.

And both of them had already finished their obligations for the day, which was good, because that means they did not need to leave anything hanging when they got a summons from the princess.

"Ah." Rarity said when she saw the scroll appear in front of her and Rainbow.

The two Knights opened their scrolls and read them, seeing that it was a convocation for a new mission and they needed to see the princess for more information.

"Let's go." Rarity said, and charged a teleport spell to take herself and Rainbow to the castle.

She was one of the first Knights to get there, and while she looked around and waited for the others to appear, Rarity could not help but remember how unexpected it was the last time that she was called to this place.

-0-

Two Months Earlier

Rarity teleported into the castle. According to the scroll she had received, she hadn't been called for a mission, but another important matter that she should know about. Rarity was surprised to see that Applejack was the only other Knight present, and she wondered what it was about.

She didn't need to wait long, and she was surprised to see Princess Luna appearing there instead of Celestia.

"What happened, princess?" Applejack asked.

"I have called both of you here because your sisters and their friend helped me with a certain matter yesterday and that exposed some strange matters." Luna said calmly.

"Ah, you mean that dreamwalking ritual? And what do you mean by strange matters?" Rarity asked.

"Indeed. The three helped me deal with a creature from the world of dreams, which was connected to what they were trying to do. As for the strange matters, to put things simply, the three of them seem to have unlocked levels of magic power that are far beyond what any foal should have." Luna said "They can do some spells at a level that it would usually take Knight training to achieve."

"That... That seems dangerous." Applejack said "Do ya have any idea why that is?"

"I do have some ideas, but the main reason why I called the two of you here is to make sure. I already got permission from Scootaloo's parents, so I'm now going to ask you two for permission to allow Moondancer and Minuette, the highest level pony researchers in Canterlot, to examine your sisters."

There was a bit of silence as they considered that.

"Well, I guess that is something needed." Rarity agreed.

-0-

One Week Later

The two Knights had been called again to receive the results of the examination of their sisters. This time, only Moondancer was there to talk to them.

"What happened ta Minuette?" Applejack asked.

"Sleeping. We did quite a few all-nighters these last days." Moondancer answered, in a tone that suggested that she needed some sleep as well "But enough about that, I'm sure you want to know what is actually going on."

"Indeed." Rarity said.

"Well, to put it simply..." Moondancer started "It is a phenomenon related to their cutie marks. They somehow managed to achieve a natural fusion of bond magic and destiny magic."

"And that means..." Applejack was still confused.

"That means everytime the three of them helped another being with their destinies, they got a part of their energies, and I imagine that helping King Thorax really caused a great effect, considering his ascension. The fact that it was in that even that they gained their cutie marks is a great part of why the effect of that was so great." Moondancer said "That is the destiny stuff, the part of the bond magic is that the energy they received ressonates with the souls of the three due to their bonds and is amplified due to it. As such, over time as they helped other ponies, the three accumulated energy until they reached the level of power they have now." She nodded "Though thankfully, this is already the limit of what their magic combination is capable of. Even helping a lot more ponies wouldn't make them more than a little bit stronger."

"Then that is the reason..." Rarity muttered "And are there any particular problems?" She asked.

"Actually yes." Moondancer answered "The first and simplest problem is because of the bond magic. They can only use that level of power when all three of them are together. This is not such a big thing, but the second problem is far more concerning. Because they don't have the necessary training for their bodies to be able to handle so much energy, they can only use their fullest potential for at most one minute before their bodies can't handle it anymore." She shook her head "I imagine this is why they were unaware of their abilities until that time with Luna. They must have had some sort of mental block that kept themselves from hurting their own bodies by using all that power, and that mental block was erased when they used their powers in the dreamscape."

"Wait, something doesn't seem right about that." Rarity said "When they were helping Princess Luna, there was no sign of them overwhelming their bodies with power, and I'm sure the fight lasted more than a minute."

"It was a dreamscape." Moondancer said simply "The rules were different." She put a hoof on her chin "But changing the subject, the three of them informed me that they wish to be trained as Squires. What is your opinion about that?"

Rarity had to summon her couch.

-0-

Back to the Present

That had led to a lot of uncomfortable conversations. The crusaders were very stubborn on what they wanted, but while there had been Knights who were younger than them in the past, those were usually heroes who arose in complicated situations and faced off against many villains before being chosen for the position.

In the end, a compromise was reached. The three would train with Princess Luna, but most of the training would be to master their abilities, and they would not be allowed to go on missions until they got a little bit older, unless there was a true pressing need for it.

But while Rarity was thinking about those things, all the other Knights except Spike appeared, with Twilight being teleported in together with Princess Celestia.

And Celestia did not wait much before getting into matters "My Knights, I'm afraid that the mission I have for you today will be particularly dangerous."

"Ya mean... Dangerous even in comparison with most Knight missions?" Applejack asked.

"Yes. Because Flames of Annihilation has escaped from her seal." Celestia said gravely.

The three original Knights paled, and while the others did not, they still seemed somewhat nervous.

"Flames of Annihilation... You mean that mage that killed all of the members of the Knights of the Scarlet Dream?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Yes. But the story is more complicated than that." Celestia said "Twilight, if you could explain her story?"

"Okay." The unicorn sighed "Flames of Annihilation was originally one of the Knights of the Scarlet Dream herself. She can be considered one of the greatest mages in history, having created many spells that are still used these days, even though she was an earth pony." Twilight closed her eyes "Her specialty, however, was actually purification magic, which she managed to use via her flame spells, earning her the title of Purifying Flame."

"What is this deal about titles, anyway?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Knights that reach a certain level of power receive titles based on their specialties. I'm afraid that none of you have managed to reach a sufficient level yet." Celestia said.

Applejack looked directly at Celestia to try to see if she was joking.

She wasn't.

"Well... Going back to the story..." Twilight put things back on track "She was a great heroine with a number of feats to her name, but then came a warlock called Steel Mind. She was a powerful user of mind magic, and she managed to control the Knight and turn her against the others, in a series of events that are too complex for me to get into here."

Twilight sighed "Of course, the Knights of the Scarlet Dream didn't want that to be the end, and over the course of their next few adventures, they fought against Steel Mind and Purifying Flame with the purpose of freeing the latter." She stopped for a moment "Eventually they were successful.

"Of course, purifying flame went back to them, and they returned to being the complete Knights of the Scarlet Dream." She stopped again "But things just weren't the same. No one knows exactly what happened, but Purifying Flame started getting more and more melancholic, and sometimes aggressive, and always reckless, purifying away parts of her own self for greater power.

"Eventually, she became a villain again, that time by her own will. She started calling herself Flames of Annihilation, which is the name we still call her, and she fought against her old companions several times. They tried to get her to see the light and be redeemed, but nothing they did helped. Eventually, in a tragic day, their final battle was fought, and Flames of Annihilation killed every single one of the Knights of the Scarlet Dream except for one, who she injured critically. That last one, Knight Rose Water, the Ordeal of Gravity, used the last of his strength to seal his old companion beneath the ocean itself, perishing in the process. That was the end of the Knights of the Scarlet Dream."

There was silence as the ponies tried to process what they had just heard. And then Pinkie Pie decided to try and change the subject somewhat:

"What was her actual name then? You have just been calling her by titles."

Twilight shook her head "That's because her name doesn't exist anymore. When I said she purified away parts of her own self, this was while she was still a Knight, and she went even farther after becoming a villain. Flames of Annihilation is now the only name she has because she purified away the very concept of her own identity. Celestia knew her name but can't remember it anymore, all records of it were erased... She has lost herself completely."

This time the silence was even longer, as the Knights suddenly understood why Celestia had said they weren't strong enough. If titled Knights were powerful enough to mess with reality to such an extent, it made sense that their own abilities wouldn't compare.

"Okay, powerful threat to Equestria, I get that. But what does she actually want, and what should be our plan to deal with her?" Rainbow Dash was the one to get things moving again.

Celestia fielded that question "What she wants is very simple. The same thing she wanted before her imprisonment, the life of me and my sister."

"There's no way we're gonna let her get even close." Sunset said in a calm but incredibly firm voice.

Celestia kept going "Flames of Annihilation is currently walking in a straight line towards Canterlot, and destroying everything in a radius of five kilometers from her path. I have already ordered the evacuation of every single pony living anywhere within the predicted destruction zone. And since her movement is predictable, the best option for you would be setting up magic formations in points along her route in order to ambush her with powerful prepared spells and combinations." She shook her head "But there are a few extra things we need to discuss first."

They waited, Celestia said:

"First, Spike won't be a part of the operation because I've sent him together with Luna's avatars to Brasinari, where a Shard of Chaos managed to fuse itself to a manifestation of shadow monsters. The latest reports from them say that everything is going alright, but it will still take a while for them to manage to deal with every last source."

The Knights nodded in understanding.

"The second thing is, of course, related to Twilight." Celestia looked at said pony, along with the other Knights "She has already recovered her ability to use magic, but it's far from a level where she can fight along with you, and because of that Twilight will have to sit this one out."

Twilight Sparkle looked briefly mutinous at those words, but considering she hadn't even been able to reach there under her own power, she really didn't have a leg to stand on.

"The third thing is that me and Luna are going to be using a special spell to prevent Flames of Annihilation from using all of her strength. Normally this kind of thing would not be possible, or at least not from range, but considering how singleminded she is about her objective, we have a sufficient connection to allow that to happen. However, that also means the two of us will be unavailable to protect Twilight in case one of those construct warriors appears to try and attack her. So, one of the Knights will have to remain here to protect her during this time."

Princess Celestia looked at the Knights, who were watching her with expectation.

She smiled "Fluttershy should be the one to do it. She has finally managed to perfect her new ability, and it is one that would be particularly good in one on one battles." She looked at the pegasus "Do you accept this task, Fluttershy?"

"Yes!" Fluttershy agreed without hesitation. Twilight looked at her apprentice and smiled slightly.

"Of course." Celestia said "If the other Knights fail and Flames of Annihilation manages to reach the castle, Fluttershy and Twilight will have to fight against her, and I would not forbid Twilight from defending herself in such a situation, even if trying to fight would aggravate her injuries and make the recovery take even longer."

The six Knights of the mission looked at each other and then turned to Princess Celestia and nodded. They understood what she was getting at, this was just one more incentive for them to fight with all their strength.

"Now, the only thing that remains to be done is sending the six of you on this mission." She summoned a scroll "This has an analysis of the movement pattern of Flames of Annihilation, as well as the damage area and every single piece of information available about her capabilities."

Sunset grabbed the scroll in her telekinesis and she and the others read it quickly, knowing every second counted in this situation. Then she returned the scroll to the princess.

"Are you ready?" Celestia asked.

"Yes." Sunset nodded "We already decided a place to teleport to where we can make the last plans and start the preparations."

"Then go, my Knights." Princess Celestia said "I believe in your strength.

They nodded, and then disappeared in a combined teleportation spell.

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