• Published 6th Jul 2012
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Legacy of the Pegasi - secret89



An ancient pegasi myth has returned. It will take three special pegasi to turn back the storm.

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Ch. 17: Resurrection Part One

Legacy of the Pegasi:

Ch. 17: Resurrection Part One

Silver light flashed above the Skyfield. They came in random volleys from a massive storm cloud that hovered above the center of the stadium, casting a large shadow over many of the spectators. Those below held their breath in suspense as the lightning flashed silently, no thunder to punctuate the increasing number of jagged bolts. Seconds turned to minutes as the errant bolts streaked forth in all directions from the cloud, scorching the air. The crowd reacted in uneasy admiration, but the violent silence was practically suffocating.

Scootaloo's eyes were peeled to the cloud as she sat unmoving on the edge of her seat. The Wonderbolt's performance had been spectacular so far, a combination stunt rolls, daredevil flybys, dives, and insane precision flying. But for the past ten minutes, nothing had happened. The Wonderbolts had disappeared into the cloud at the end of their last trick, leaving Scootaloo and the rest of the crowd to ponder what was coming next.

Another lightning bolt shot forth from the cloud, the largest yet, straight up into the sky. Scootaloo flinched, still anticipating the boom that never came.

The tension was unbearable. “Come on, this is killing me!” She called out, an excited smile upon her face.

Swift Jet simply smiled at his daughter, nudging her slightly. “Just watch.”

The lightning ceased it's random flashes. Then after only a moment of silence, the cloud erupted. Thousands of lightning bolts streaked from the bottom of the cloud like rain, creating a massive column of light. A split second later, a massive boom exploded, the combination of all the absent barrages of thunder.

Scootaloo was thrown back in her seat as she felt the sonic boom thud against her chest. “Whoa!”

But she had little to time to think on the shock wave. Three trails of electrified cloud shot forth from the top of the cloud at the eruption of the thunder.

A spiral helix of thunderclouds climbed into the sky, a trio of Wonderbolts at the head. Each trail carried a distinct hue to the electrified clouds. The first a fiery red-orange, the second an ice blue, and the third a vibrant white. Higher and higher they climbed, flying dangerously close to one another, all the while maintaining perfect cohesion.

Scootaloo pumped her hoof into the air as the crowd exploded into cheers. “Woohoo! Go Spitfire! Go Soarin'!”

The three Wonderbolts were extremely close together now; so much so that their trails combined as one. Then, they abruptly peeled apart, each shooting evenly apart, creating a wide spiral, each disappearing into the clouds above.

Scootaloo held her breath, never once looking away from where the thundercloud trails disappeared.

A white hued thundercloud trail suddenly burst from the cloud cover. Fleetfoot was at the head of the trail as he dove downward. There were no acrobatics about his descent, only insane speed as he shot toward where the thunder trails of the helix met. A second later his outstretched body cut through the helix.

The entire helix lit up as a vibrant white lightning electrified the twisting cloud trails followed by a massive thunderclap.

Scootaloo nearly leaped out of her seat in a cheer along with the rest of the crowd, but she was premature.

Soarin' blasted across the sky opposite of Fleetfoot, his ice blue trail already halfway from the cloud cover above. A second later he shot through the helix.

The helix trails ignited once more, flashing with the stallion's trademark color. Thunder erupted again, louder this time with a shock wave that pushed Scootaloo back in her seat.

Scootaloo's smile was massive as she frantically searched the sky. “Com'on Spitfire where ya at? Show me what ya got!”

Scootaloo's challenge didn't go unanswered.

Spitfire shot like a rocket from the cloud cover in a vertical dive directly above the helix. Gasps filled the crowd as the audience watched the suicide dive. Scootaloo's jaw was on the floor as she gawked at the impossible.

With her orange-red trail behind her, Spitfire zeroed in on her target. A split second later she blasted through the top of and into the helix. The spiral formation flashed a fiery orange, while similarly colored lightning streaked down the cloud trails, all the while Spitfire flying dangerously inside the cloud formation.

The third, and loudest boom of thunder exploded, nearly throwing Scootaloo about and shaking the cloud grandstand above.

The crowd exploded into cheers at the conclusion of the display, Scootaloo among them.

“Holy Celestia did you see that?!” Scootaloo exclaimed to her father.

“Scootaloo!” Midnight Blossom said sharply.

Scootaloo started to apologize for the swear, but her father cut her off.

“Holy Celestia is right! That was incredible! Can you believe they did a complete helix? With lightning! I haven't seen a move that crazy since I was a colt!”

Scootaloo burst into laughter.

Midnight Blossom simply rolled her eyes with a smile.

Swift Jet laughed with his daughter, ruffling her mane. But despite this, his smile faded. His eyes wandered skyward, gazing beyond the confines of the Skyfield, a small frown on his face.


Soarin', Spitfire and Fleetfoot regrouped in the center of the stadium, hovering above as waves of cheers continued to pour in all around them.

Spitfire pulled her goggles off, resting them atop her head. She made a quick glance toward the disappearing cloud helix, then to the crowd around them. “Not bad gentlecolts, not bad at all.”

“Psshh, easy for you to say. Always hogging the spotlight at the end,” Fleetfoot said.

“If I recall, you had the final leg of that trick at the last show Fleets,” Spitfire shot back with a grin. “Which is also when the bolts set your tail on fire. If you want a repeat at the next show, please, be my guest.”

Fleetfoot shook his head with a smirk. “Low blow Cap'n, low blow.”

Spitfire laughed. “Seriously though, good work.” Spitfire turned to Soarin'. “Right Soarin'?”

Soarin didn't reply. A small frown marked his face as his eyes stared off. However, he quickly shook his head, refocusing on Spitfire. “Huh?”

“I said good job,” Spitfire repeated. She frowned slightly. “You okay? I know that stunt is rough.”

“No, no, I'm good. Just, something doesn't feel right,” he said, looking off again.

Spitfire's frown deepened. “Like from The Trough and Cider? Cause right now I feel fine.” Spitfire looked to Fleetfoot.

Fleetfoot shrugged. “No weird aura thingy around my chest. And definitely not that headache from the Everfree...” he trailed off, shivering.

Soarin' shook his head. “No, just a bad feeling. Nothing concrete.”

“Alright. We've still got Wave Chill and Whiplash covering our backs,” Spitfire said. “Com'on, we've still got a good part of the show ahead of us.”

Fleetfoot nodded, flying off to join the rest of the Wonderbolts, followed soon after by Spitfire.

Soarin' hovered for a moment. His eyes scanned the sky around him. Nothing out of the ordinary stood out against the sky above Ponyville. No threat of any kind.

The stallion sighed, then flew off after Spitfire and Fleetfoot.

Below, the crowd continued to cheer for the Wonderbolts. Apart from them, Rainbow Dash looked worriedly to the sky.


The circular door rolled shut with an echoing thud. Once again Windswept found himself plunged into darkness. But the lack of light was the last thing on his mind.

For a moment all was silent. Windswept held his breath, daring himself to see beyond the darkness. This is what you're here for, this is what you came for. Its all gonna be worth it, he thought. There were no whispers or the choking presence of the Archon's power. Where before it had been overwhelming outside the tomb, now it was starkly absent.

Windswept shivered, swallowing nervously.

Amethyst light abruptly filled the room, pouring forth from the Tempest Guards' clasps.

Windswept's nearly jumped from the flash as the tomb revealed itself. But there was no intricate tomb before him. No skeleton imprisoned behind arcane bars. No statues, no words of warning, no intricate traps or puzzles to delay them. There were four stone walls, a floor and a ceiling in the small square room. No decoration of any kind adorned the chamber. Only a rectangular patch of dirt marked the center of the floor, bordered by black stone.

“This is it?” Windswept said.

Silver Wings walked slowly forward from the group, stopping before the rectangular outline. He gazed at the dirt patch for a moment, then bowed his head reverently. A second later Silver turned to the rest of the Tempest Guard. “He, is here.”

Immediately the Tempest Guard keeled to the ground with heads bowed. Windswept followed suit, if only a bit confused.

Silver addressed the Guard again. “Our moment of triumph is at hoof. Take up your positions.”

Dominus nodded, directing the Guard. Slowly, with an almost reverent gait, they began to break off, circling around the dirt patch.

Windswept stepped forward, joining Silver.

“This is indeed the tomb Windswept,” Silver said solemnly. “Only soil and mud pony runes separates us from the Lord Archon.”

Windswept looked at the dirt patch. The soil was dark and untouched, only a layer of dust upon it. It was as if nothing had disturbed the tomb since its burial. Despite this, Windswept found himself looking toward the stone that bordered the burial site. Each stone was polished, reflecting the amethyst light that abounded in the tomb. But there was more to each stone than their respective sheen. Each bore a distinctive rune in the center, which glowed vibrantly in the darkness.

“You said before that these are Earth pony runes,” Windswept said, gesturing toward the markings. “What exactly are they?”

“A long forgotten and foul language magic of the earth ponies,” Silver replied.

Windswept rolled his eyes at the ambiguous answer. “Yeah I kinda figured that but-”

“They are meant to suppress the Lord Archon's latent magic, to keep him from regaining his physical form. But as you can see from the state of the Everfree, his magic and subconscious have still managed to seep forth. It is only a guess, but I believe Luna's banishment one thousand years ago, followed by Celestia's departure and the subsequent transformation of the forest were not a coincidence.”

“You mean Celestia and Luna's presence held the Archon in check?”

“I believe so. It would explain why Hurricane handed over the castle to those tyrants, though I believe he did not tell them that the Archon resided here, or Celestia would never have left,” Silver said. He smiled lightly. “A critical error on Hurricane's part, but most fortunate for us.”

Windswept nodded. Storming a castle of two residing Alicorns would not have gone well.

Windswept's eyes lingered again on the unassuming dirt patch once more.

The Tempest Guard stood in place around the burial site, each resting on all fours. Their clasps shone in a circle of amethyst light, centered on the Archon's interment. Dominus walked between them, observing the final preparations.

“I have to admit, I'm a little surprised,” Windswept said, turning to Silver. “After everything you told me about the Archon, and everything we've encountered through the castle, this,” Windswept pointed to the burial site, “seems... bare. Insecure.”

“You imagined great chains upon a grand sarcophagus, riddled with traps and ancient curses?” Silver said lightly. “Do not be deceived; the Lord Archon's resting place is indeed a prison. As the greatest being of the sky, a burial within the earth is the antithesis of his spirit, subduing it. Combined with these runes he is rendered dormant. Hurricane knew what he was doing when he enlisted the aid of those cursed mud pony magi.”

Dominus strode up to the duo. “We are ready.”

“Good. Windswept, stand over there please.”

Windswept did as he was told, taking up a position on the right side of the burial site. Dominus stood opposite to him, while Silver Wings posted himself at the head of the interment. Together they formed a triangle around the black rune stones.

Silver spoke up, addressing the Guard. “You are weary. You are wounded. You are battered. But you are also the Tempest Guard. The last remaining legacy of the Lord Archon, the Master of Storms, the Grand Master of our order,” Silver said with a measured tone. He took a moment to observe the Guard. Each stared back in rapt attention.

Windswept could feel the rush of pride fill within him. He didn't need his clasp to tell him the like feelings of his brethren, each bore it upon their face as a badge of honor.

“You have done everything I have asked and more. I now have one final request,” Silver said. “I ask you to lend me your strength, to resurrect the Lord Archon, the lost glory of the Skythan Empire and right the injustices shackled upon the pegasi race.”

The Guard was silent, but their message was clear.

Fulmina Alata!” Silver shouted abruptly.

Fulmina Alata!” The Guard echoed, shouting in unison.

Silver nodded in satisfaction. “So says the Tempest Guard. Focus on your aural link to Dominus, Windswept and myself. We will do the rest.”

Silver turned to his companions, speaking softly. “The Guard will feed us the power required. We must focus it upon the runes, they must be shattered before the Lord Archon can reclaim his body.”

Windswept nodded, mentally steeling himself. Just like with the tomb door, he thought uneasily. Hopefully it will be easier with Silver and Dominus' help.

“Place your forehooves upon the runic stones,” Silver instructed.

Windswept and Dominus complied, moving toward the edge of the polished stone.

Silver looked between his companions. “Are you ready?”

Both pegasi nodded.

Silver momentarily flashed a rare grin. “Today, we change the world,” he whispered to himself, before abruptly shouting aloud. “BEGIN!”

Everything happened at once.

The combined power of the Tempest Guard surged between Windswept, Dominus and Silver Wings, channeling between them. All three nearly toppled from the force alone, but they steadied themselves, maintaining contact with the imprisoning runes. The runes beneath their hooves immediately flashed alight, the golden yellow markings shining vibrantly against the power of the Tempest Guard. They flashed brighter and brighter as time passed, threatening to overwhelm the amethyst light of the Guard as they continued to resist.

The trio of pegasi surrounding the burial site gritted their teeth as the strain intensified.

The rune light throbbed violently in a near blinding light, as electrical arcs crackled and zapped from the edges of the interment. They continued to intensify, jumping and dancing across the burial site, as rolls of thunder came from nowhere, echoing from far above into the chamber. A swirling and howling wind rose up from the center of the chamber buffeting the Tempest Guard, growing in intensity and strength with the violent flashes of lightning arcs and the steady roll of booming thunder.

Windswept braced his hooves against the rune stones, crouching low against the pull of the wind, just as he dodged a random spike of electricity. This is insane!

Against it all, Windswept swore he felt the presence of another, growing with the rolling thunder.

Then it all abruptly ceased.

The light of the runes dimmed to near nothingness. The wind stilled and the lightning disappeared. The echo of thunder in the distance was gone.

It was deathly silent.

Windswept looked confusedly to Silver. “Did it work?”

Silver looked to Dominus for a moment, then back to Windswept.

“I'm not su-”

The chamber was engulfed in a blinding white light, accompanied by a searing heat. A massive lightning bolt erupted from the burial site, blasting the trio of pegasi to the ground. The column of fiery light shot upward into the stone ceiling with colossal force, charring the stone. It then dissipated into the ceiling.

A split second later a massive thunderclap resounded overhead. The booming sound shook the depths of the castle, as several of the Guard covered their ears from the sonic boom. The thunder continued to rumbling and growl, fresh thunderclaps shaking the castle.

Windswept slowly rose to his hooves. His mouth hung ajar as he turned to Silver.

The Captain of the Tempest Guard grinned. “The Lord Archon has awakened. Soon he will be free.”


Whiplash and Wave Chill nearly fell from their cloud as a massive column of lightning erupted from the tower of the Castle of the Two Sisters. The vibrant light flashed against the storm clouds, jagged lightning bolts painting the thunderhead in a sickly amethyst-red.

“What in Tartarus?” Wave Chill exclaimed as he braced against the sudden gale force winds that poured from the Everfree.

Immediately the sky darkened, only a malevolent red hue visible that clung to the late afternoon horizon. The massive thunderhead at the center of the Everfree bulged and expanded violently, surging to encompass the forest in driving rain and murderous volleys of lightning. Thunderclaps rolled again and again, filling the air with ear shattering booms.

In only a matter of seconds the storm had nearly overtaken the Everfree Forest, expanding with unnatural intent.

Wave Chill and Whiplash barely had time to leap into the air as their perch was swept into the storm. Both fought to remain aloft as they were battered by sheets of frigid rain and driving winds.

“WHIP WE'VE GOTTA-” Wave Chill started to yell against the booms of thunder and the roar of the wind, but Whiplash suddenly thrust a hoof toward the upper reaches of the storm.

At first Wave Chill saw nothing in the darkness. A flash of lightning lit up the sky. In that split second of illumination, Wave Chill's stomach turned, filling him with dread. Not one, but three funnel clouds were oscillating within the storm.

The storm surged again with a massive volley of thunder and lightning. The funnel clouds moved with the storm toward Ponyville, each slowly snaking toward the ground.

“FLY!” Whiplash shouted.

Tearing against the wind and rain, both pegasi raced towards the Skyfield.


“Alright, good work so far everypegasi,” Spitfire said, addressing the ring of Wonderbolts that hovered around her. “We've got the crowd really riled up now, lets hit 'em with the finale and call it a day.”

The ring of Wonderbolts all nodded in ascent to their Captain, breaking off into several groups about the Skyfield.

Only Spitfire, Fleetfoot and Soarin' remained as dusk began to creep upon the horizon.

Spitfire smiled with satisfaction, watching the rest of the Wonderbolts take their positions in the air. “I gotta say, despite what's happened the past few days, this still turned out to be one of best shows we've ever done.”

“You know Cap'n, for once you and I agree,” Fleetfoot said.

Spitfire smirked. “Don't think I'm about to let you off the hook after that drunken tirade from last night.”

“I still think I should get a bye on that one since I can't remember a thing.”

“Yeah, yeah, keep trying to play that card,” Spitfire said. She turned to Soarin'. The stallion still looked toward the sky with a slight frown on his face.

Spitfire hovered over toward her friend. “You doing alright Soar?”

Soarin' took a moment before looking to Spitfire. “Sorta. Something still feels off. Almost as if-”

Light flashed against the darkened sky from across Ponyville, followed by a colossal roll of thunder.

Spitfire and Fleetfoot immediately cringed, both struggling in the air.

The stadium reacted as well, the crowd gasping aloud. The assembled pegasi also began to show signs of pain, some flying haphazardly, others cradling their heads in their hooves.

“Hng... not this headache again...” Fleetfoot said, putting a hoof to his temple.

“What's going on?” Spitfire asked through clenched teeth as she fought through the pressure that bore down upon her skull. “Soarin'?”

Soarin' struggled to stay aloft. His wingbeats were erratic as he held his head in his hooves. His head felt as if it were about to split in two.

The malevolent energies of the Tempest Guard flooded around him. But instead of burning him as it had at The Trough and Cider, now it had become a suffocating presence. He could feel a savage drive behind it, unrestrained and carnal. It ravaged his mind.

“S-Spitfire...” Soarin' said weakly, as he tried to reach his comrades. “Something's... wrong...”

“Soarin'!” Spitfire exclaimed, quickly flying over toward her teammate. “What's wrong?” She asked frantically, looking Soarin' over as she helped prop him up.

Soarin' leaned against Spitfire. His head lolled about and his wings continued to flap erratically as the presence continued to flood the air. It was foreign, it was familiar. Dread filled Soarin'. It's the same as from the forest... Immediately a mental spike jolted Soarin's consciousness. Malevolent amethyst eyes bordered by the crackle of lightning flashed in his mind. In that moment, he could feel the rampant and feral presence turn its collective focus upon him.

Soarin's eyes shot open. Oh no.

Soarin immediately pushed himself from Spitfire, fully alert and straining against the willpower that held his mind in a vice.

The cascading rustle of leaves sounded in the distance, driven up by an icy wind that suddenly swept into the stadium.

Spitfire and Fleetfoot looked around worriedly at the telltale sign.

Soarin' looked at his Captain grimly. “Spitfire... we need to get everypony away from here... now!”

Spitfire didn't hesitate. “Fleetfoot!” Spitfire whipped around to Fleetfoot. Her voice was crisp. “Round up the 'Bolts! Evacuate everypony imme-”

A lightning bolt visibly splintered across the backdrop of thunderheads. Thunder immediately followed. The sky rapidly darkened, though the sun had not yet set. On the heel of the winds, it filled the sky with darkened clouds that heralded what was to come. Only a sliver of light persisted at the horizon, sickly and weak against the power above.

All three pegasi looked toward the sky above the Everfree.

“Where in Tartarus did that come from?!” Fleetfoot exclaimed, his jaw ajar as he gazed at the approaching storm.

Soarin's heart stopped as all hope drained from his face. His father's words echoed in his mind. ...It's going to happen again, all of this...

Spitfire broke her gaze from the monstrosity above, wheeling on Fleetfoot. “FLEETFOOT, GO!”

Fleetfoot nodded quickly, then took off in a white and blue blur toward the the nearest group of Wonderbolts.

A single pegasi with a rainbow mane shot forth from the grandstand. Rainbow Dash cut through the wind gusts with practiced skill, closing in on the Spitfire and Soarin'.

“Soarin'!” Rainbow called out through gritted teeth, slowing to a halt before the two Wonderbolts. Pain was etched upon her face, and sweat drenched her coat.

Soarin' turned toward to Rainbow. “Rainbow? What are you doing here? You need to get to safety!”

Rainbow ignored Soarin's concern. “What's happening? I saw... I saw these eyes in my head, and now it feels like something is crushing me... I feel so weak...” Rainbow trailed off, momentarily stumbling in flight as her wings flapped haphazardly.

Despite his own weakness, Soarin' stifled Rainbow's fall, propping her up. “It's the Archon... and the Storms.” Soarin' said between heavy breaths, wincing as the presence continued to bear down upon him.

Spitfire grimaced, putting a hoof to her head. “We've got all the 'Bolts here, maybe we can break up the storm?” Spitfire said.

Rainbow looked at Spitfire like she was crazy. “Not going to happen.”

Soarin' nodded. “Rainbow's right. This isn't an ordinary storm. I think... I think the Archon is with it.”

Spitfire looked confused. She opened her mouth to speak, but another voice caught her attention.

“-PITFIRE!”

Spitfire, Soarin' and Rainbow Dash, still struggling to stay aloft, turned toward the panicked voice.

Wave Chill and Whiplash burst from over one of Ponyville's buildings at top speed. With hooves outstretched, they seemed to be flying for their very lives.

“WHIPLASH!” Spitfire yelled, as the wind gather in intensity. “OVER HER-”

All color left the trio's faces as they looked behind the two scrambling Wonderbolts. A wall of rain was advancing on the two pegasi, moving at an unreal pace as the storm clouds bulged and surged without restraint overhead. Lightning and thunder struck all around as the storm moved to overtake Ponyville and the Skyfield.

The crowd broke out into a panic. Some pegasi began to empty from the grandstand, daring to enter the increasingly violent skyscape and out run the storm. Others descended below, joining the unicorn and earth pony spectators trying to find shelter.

Whiplash and Wave Chill came to a hard stop, fluttering their wings haphazardly. A second later the gathered Wonderbolts were engulfed in the deluge of icy rain and violent winds.

“SPITFIRE, SOARIN' WE NEED TO GET EVERYPONY OUT OF HERE!” Whiplash shouted over the screams of the rain and the rolls of thunder. “THERE'S A-”

The droning sound of a train suddenly manifested in the distance, cutting Whiplash off. In fact, it sounded as if several trains were in the distance, moving toward the Skyfield.

The dread was palpable between the pegasi as they fought against the wind. Each pegasi, a guardian of the weather by virtue of their blood, immediately felt the sudden drop in pressure. The telltale sign only served to feed the nightmare that nopegasi ever wanted to find themselves in.

Lightning flashed, curling around a trio of swirling vortexes that towered into the upper reaches of the super cell.

For a split second, each pegasi was mesmerized by the paradoxical majesty of nature's most destructive force.

Soarin' blood froze as looked on. Tornadoes.

A trio of twisters, snaking forth through the air side by side barreled into the far side of Ponyville at an alarming rate. Lightning erupted from within each, illuminating the swirling clouds. Only half of each tornado was visible, up to the thunderheads above, their lower halves covered by the Ponyville town horizon. However, the sickening crunch of timber, stone and the cloud of debris billowing beneath each said the rest.

“By the Archon,” Wave Chill whispered.

How right he was.

“FLY!” Spitfire yelled.

The pegasi took off toward the grandstand, battling through the winds and driving sheets of rain.

“WE NEED TO SAVE AS MANY AS WE CAN!” Spitfire yelled toward the other pegasi.

However, the storm seemed to have other ideas. The super cell surged forward, two large arms of thunderheads reaching out to encircle Ponyville and the Skyfield. With it came the tornadoes.

The trio of twisters slammed into Ponyville proper. Roofs of homes were ripped from their trusses and cast into the air, becoming meteor like projectiles that bombarded the grounds of the Skyfield. Other buildings were completely obliterated. The first tornado slammed into the very heart of the town, wrenching the steeple from Town Hall in a din of screeching steel and splintered wood. The steeple sailed through the air and barreled through several homes like dominoes, completely demolishing them. The second advanced unimpeded into the residential suburbs, imploding each home it passed over, subsequently scattering the wreckage in a hail of shrapnel. Nothing but concrete foundations were left in it's narrow wake. The last snaked its way around the right side of town into the park, uprooting trees and driving them toward the Skyfield. The tornado moved with astonishing speed, like a soldier rushing to flank its opponent. Without hesitation it rolled over the School House. A moment of crunching timber and shattering glass later, there was nothing left.

Rainbow Dash and Soarin' both winced as the dark power of the Archon surged with the tactical move of the storm around the town. Both looked to one another, their auras linked, the same thought between them.

The storm will trap us.

Soarin's eyes flitted toward the far side of the Skyfield. It was the furthest from the oncoming storm, but the approaching thunderheads were rapidly closing the distance. One tornado on the left, a second on the right, they moved together to cut off the pegasi's escape. They'll never make it! He thought.

Soarin' could feel the alarm from Rainbow as she came to the same conclusion.

“SPITFIRE, THE STORMS ARE MOVING TOO FAST!” Soarin' yelled above the rush of wind, rain and thunder. “WE NEED A COUNTER!”

Spitfire looked to Whiplash and Wave Chill. “I NEED TWO COUNTER CYCLONES AT THE EDGE OF THE SKYFIELD! DELAYING ACTION!”

Both pegasi nodded in unison, breaking out of formation toward the rest of the Wonderbolts.

The howl of the tornadoes behind them continued, accompanied by the orchestra of destruction as the cyclones tore through Ponyville.

Rainbow's worry filled Soarin'. I know it might not work against this storm, the stallion thought, but we've got to do something! Or else it will tear everypony to piec-

“Scootaloo!” Rainbow gasped.

Soarin' jolted as he felt a surreal fear fill him from Rainbow. Images of the young mare powering fruitlessly against the storm filled his mind.

Soarin' turned to Rainbow.

Despite the obscuring rain he could see the fear etched upon Rainbow Dash's face.

Without warning a wooden beam blew past between Soarin' and Rainbow, missing both by inches.

“I've got to find Scootaloo!” Rainbow cried, unfazed by the hail of projectiles that filled the air.

An entire rooftop passed overhead the trio, dropping suddenly before them.

The group reacted on instinct. Rainbow and Soarin' pulled upward, their hooves barely grazing the shingles of the roof, while Spitfire skillfully dove below, rolling from underneath.

“Rainbow wait!” Soarin' called out, still dodging numerous projectiles that fell from the sky.

But it was too late. Rainbow was too engulfed in her worry for her adopted sister. She banked hard toward the ground, soon disappearing into the gray haze of the rain.


Rainbow flew like a bullet toward the ground. Her fledgling aura erupted in protest the farther she flew from Soarin', her headache intensifying. But it was a small price to pay. She had to find Scootaloo.

Wind gusts battered against her body, driving rain-like pellets into her face. She squinted ahead, but was undeterred. With forelegs outstretched she flew overhead the Grandstand, frantically searching for Scootaloo.

Unfortunately the Grandstand had already emptied.

Crap, crap crap! Where could she be? Rainbow thought frantically.

Rainbow continued to hover about over the panicking crowds, trying to pick out the copper pegasus or her parents. But in the chaos below and the storm above, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

“SCOOTALOO!” Rainbow yelled fruitlessly against the noise of the thunder and rain. “SCOOTALOO!”

A large piece of timber suddenly whisked by, nearly clipping Rainbow's wing.

“Gah!” Rainbow exclaimed, stumbling in the air.

Another projectile flew by, just as close and with much more force. The upper section of the statue of Celestia from the Town Square nearly came toppling down upon Rainbow.

Rainbow rolled to the right as the broken statue impacted with a sickening thud into the ground below.

But it was only the first of many. The tornadoes were tearing Ponyville to pieces. Shrapnel spewed into the air threatening the pegasi, while the larger pieces became meteors that rained down on scrambling earth ponies and unicorns alike.

Rainbow continued to zip about, trying her best to weave through the barrage of debris all the while still scanning the ground below.

A large beam spun through the air, aimed for Rainbow's head.

“Woah!” Rainbow said. She somersaulted backward, letting the beam sail harmlessly past toward the ground. However, as she leveled out from her flip, she caught sight of the piece of timber. It was straight on a collision course for a trio of unsuspecting ponies.

Rainbow caught her breath in her throat. Oh no.

Rainbow immediately thrust her wings hard, using the momentum from her flip to shoot her toward the ground. With hooves outstretched and eyes peeled on the trio below, Rainbow beat her wings mercilessly. They already ached from the onset of the Archon's presence, but she didn't have a choice.

Moving at top speed, she gained on the spinning piece of wood, but the ground was quickly approaching. Come on. Come on... FASTER! She mentally screamed.

The trio of ponies turned around just in time to see the projectile heading towards them, but too late to move. The eldest among them, a teenage stallion, turned to cover the two younger fillies.

Rainbow gave one last heave of her wings.

At the last second she snapped her wings shut, dropping just under the beam. With her forehooves wide Rainbow barreled into the stallion. She and the trio rolled several times, finally coming to a stop.

Rainbow lay on her back, looking up at a swirling world of black clouds and lightning. Shakily she rose to all fours, spitting grass and mud from her mouth.

Still swaying slightly and covered in mud, her eyes rested on the large piece of timber. About ten feet away in front of her, it had impacted vertically, burying half of itself into the ground.

Rainbow shivered. “Glad I got those three-”

Rainbow's eyes and ears immediately perked up. She spun around, looking for the stallion and two fillies.

The three were only several yards away, each slowly rising to their hooves.

Rainbow Dash breathed a sigh of relief. Thank Celestia. Slowly she hobbled toward them, trying her best not to wince.

“You three okay?”

The teenager turned around. His eyes lit up when he saw Rainbow. “Rainbow Dash! Y-you saved us!”

“Are you okay?” Rainbow said again with a little more emphasis.

The stallion looked himself over quickly, then to the two younger fillies who were grasping tightly by his side. “We're okay, I think,” the teenager said, looking back to Rainbow.

He's no older than Scootaloo. A dulled panic struck Rainbow again as she remembered her original goal.

“What's your name?” Rainbow asked quickly.

“Red Stone.”

“That was a really brave thing you did there, covering those two. But now I need you to get to shelter. Find Twilight Sparkle. You know who that is right?”

The young stallion seemed confused for a moment at the sudden instructions Rainbow had levied him with, but nodded quickly.

“Good,” Rainbow said, hovering into the air. She stifled a wince. “Tell her this isn't a normal storm, and she needs to come up with some kind of magic barrier shield thingy for the earth ponies and unicorns. She'll figure it out. You got that?” Rainbow said pointedly, resisting the urge to take off right then and there.

The stallion straightened up, no sign of uncertainty upon his face. “Find Twilight, tell her about the storm, get a barrier up. Got it!”

“Good! Now hurry, we don't have anymore time!”

The stallion nodded, taking off toward the crowd with the two fillies on his back.

Rainbow didn't wait. She pushed her wings hard, but they replied in protest. She hobbled in flight pitifully, all the while still looking to the ground.

“Come on Scoots, where are you? Where are you?” Rainbow repeated. A sickening fear welled up in the pit of her stomach, as uneasy thoughts for Scootaloo entered her mind, each worse than the last.

No, nothing bad will happen. Rainbow thought, blinking back tears. I'll find her, and get her and her parents of out here!

A purple mane and copper coat caught Rainbow's eye.

“Scootaloo!”

Halfway across the Skyfield, Scootaloo stood at the bottom of the Grandstand, her parents beside her. All three wore panicked expressions, the same futile and hopeless fear that filled the air from the hundreds of ponies around them.

Rainbow's pace quickened slightly as she thrust her wings as hard as she could, defying all pain. A determined grin found its way to her face as she felt the knot in her stomach loosen. Just get there. Just get there. Jus-

Rainbow's mind went blank as her mouth opened in a wordless scream, her body instantaneously went rigid, as if she had been struck by lightning. Weakness overtook her. Her wings faltered. As she fell from the sky, she caught sight of one of the tornadoes. It radiated with the Archon's power, filling the sky with the poisonous electricity, driving straight through her mind and body.

Rainbow crashed to the ground, landing roughly on all fours. Her body was drenched in sweat and rain. Combined with her crash landing from before and the power that sapped her strength, she could barely keep her head aloft. She strained to see through her mud caked mane, but it mattered little. From the ground Scootaloo was lost to the crowd.

Panting hard, Rainbow put a hoof forward. Slowly and painfully she pulled herself forward through the mud. Her wings dragged alongside, useless.

Come on... Rainbow droned in her mind.

Hoof forward. Pull.

“Come on...” Rainbow growled through gritted teeth.

Hoof forward. Pull.

“Come... on...” She repeated between breaths, tears clouding her vision.

Hoof forward.

But Rainbow Dash could go no further. The last of her strength was gone. Barred from the sky and chained to the ground, all she could was watch as the chaos unfolded around her.


Everything had happened so fast. One moment Scootaloo was cheering the Wonderbolts on. Then there had been flash of light and a massive roll of thunder from across Ponyville, maybe even as far as the Everfree. The crowd had cheered initially, thinking it had been apart of the of the show.

Then all of Tartarus broke loose.

Scootaloo stood in her seat, her eyes peeled to the sky. The storm raced across the sky faster than any storm she had ever seen. The thunderheads were massive, towering high into the upper atmosphere. Lightning snapped and flashed unceasingly throughout, lighting the backdrop of the storm with a sickly red-amethyst hue.

Gasps and worry filled the crowd as a strong headwind of chilled air blew through. The earth ponies and unicorns ran hastened for cover, but seemed only inconvenienced. Their pegasi brethren seemed to think otherwise, taking to the sky.

Scootaloo felt the same.

“Dad?” She asked worriedly. “What's going on?”

But Swift Jet didn't answer.

Scootaloo looked to her father. “Dad!” She exclaimed, rushing to his side.

Swift Jet slumped in his seat, breathing heavily, with a hoof to his forehead.

“I'm... I'm o-okay...,” he said through labored breaths.

“No you're not!” Midnight Blossom said quickly. “We need to get you-”

“We need to get out of here!” Swift Jet said suddenly, jumping from his seat.

Scootaloo shirked slightly from her father's sudden outburst. “W-why? What's w-wrong?” She asked, her speech wavering slightly.

The wind picked up in intensity, seconds later driving sheets of rain upon the entirety of Ponyville and the Skyfield.

“Because of the Archon! Because-”

Swift Jet suddenly stopped talking. His face went pale, his eyes still as he looked toward the sky over Ponyville.

Scootaloo felt an involuntary shiver run down her spine. A drop in pressure? But that could only mean...

Scootaloo's eyes lit up as she turned toward the Everfree.

Only a glimmer of light persisted against the storm, but the violent bursts of lightning lit up the sky. A trio of tornadoes droned in the distance at the far edge of Ponyville. Immediately a thunderous crash boomed across the expanse, as the massive vortexes simultaneously bore down upon the town.

“WE NEED TO GO NOW!” Swift Jet yelled against the howling wind and booming thunder.

The sight of the tornadoes had immediately hastened the plod of the earth pony and unicorns filing out from the Grandstand. But now the crowd had erupted into chaos, jamming the exit way from the stands with panicking ponies. Scootaloo could only watch, trapped at the top.

“Midnight! Get on my back!” Swift Jet ordered, lowering down on all fours.

“Swift! You're not well enough! We'll-”

“I will be strong enough! We can't wait!”

Midnight nodded quickly, hastening onto her husband's back.

Swift Jet turned to Scootaloo. “Stay as close as possible? Understand?”

Scootaloo stared at her father for a moment. His eyes were almost frantic, but there was a resolve in them she hadn't seen before. Sweat had already matted his mane and she could tell he was in some kind of pain. She nodded quickly.

“Follow me!”

Swift Jet flourished his wings, awkwardly lifting into the air. For a moment it seemed as if he would fail, losing his gained altitude. But with an enraged snarl he righted himself, battling against the winds.

Scootaloo leaped into the air, staying close to her father, in case his wings failed him.

Swift Jet led the group up over the crowd, clearing the Grandstand, but it was slow going. Scootaloo could tell he was straining just to stay aloft.

Sickening crunches and violent screeches reached Scootaloo's ears. Her eyes turned toward Ponyville.

The tornadoes ripped through the town. A debris cloud was beneath each, as the trio devastated structure after structure. Shrapnel filled the sky, raining down to the earth. Seconds later the tornadoes had cleared the town with astonishing speed, two of which seemed to be banking around the outer edges of the Skyfield.

Scootaloo's eyes went wide. T-they're going to trap us?!

“D-DAD!” Scootaloo yelled fearfully, pointing toward the circling tornadoes.

Swift Jet barely had time to glance to the horizon. Immediately he cried out in pain, his wings flapping haphazardly. He began to spiral, falling out of the sky.

At the same time Scootaloo felt a sharp pain cut through her mind. Immediately she could feel her body begin to weaken. Dark memories from outside the The Trough and Cider flashed through her head.

Scootaloo forcefully pushed the pain away at the sight of her parents. Instead she dove underneath her father, trying her best to prop him up.

“GRRRAAAHHHHHH!” Scootaloo screamed as she flapped her wings furiously. She could feel her wings spasm and burn as she tried to fly for two adult ponies against the storm winds. Their fall slowed, but the ground was still fast approaching.

The trio banked hard to the left, half gliding, half falling behind the Grandstand. Scootaloo snarled against her burning wings, pulling with all her might to level out. “Dad?! DAD?! PULL UP! PULL UP!”

Scootaloo snapped her wings shut, and covered her head, bracing for impact.

Scootaloo slid awkwardly into the ground. Immediately she felt her father fly forward off her back, but it was a fleeting thought. Covering her head and keeping her wings tightly shut, her body skidded for several feet before rolling over several times to a stop.

Scootaloo's opened her eyes. Thankfully she felt no lasting pain from her landing beyond scrapes and bruises. Immediately she jumped to her hooves.

“MOM?! DAD?!” She screamed, whirling about in place.

Scootaloo's parents lay on the ground next to the base of the wooden framework of the Grandstand. Slowly, Midnight rose to her hooves. She was covered in mud and was favoring her left hoof, but otherwise seemed unhurt.

Swift Jet remained upon the ground, eyes shut.

Scootaloo rushed to her parents' side. “D-dad?” Scootaloo asked fearfully. She stood very still, wide eyes locked on her father.

The stallion's chest rose and fell faintly.

Midnight Blossom was only a touch better. Her face was pale as she shakily put a hoof to Swift Jet's muzzle. “Swift Jet, please, say som-”

Scootaloo felt a sudden warmth touch her mind. Immediately relief washed over her, a grateful smile upon her face. “Dad!”

Midnight Blossom looked confusedly to Scootaloo for a moment, then turned in shock when she felt movement at her hoof.

Swift Jet opened his eyes. “I'm-I'm okay...” he said weakly.

Tears formed at Midnight's eyes as she carefully embraced her husband. “Thank Celestia!”

Scootaloo scrambled to her father's side, opposite her mother. “Dad? Are you okay? Can you stand up?”

Swift Jet nodded. “My wings are no good, but I can stand,” he said, as he reached for his daughter. With his wife and daughter's help, he slowly stood up, his wings limp at his sides. His hooves still wobbled slightly, and he leaned against Scootaloo with his hoof over her back.

Swift Jet smiled weakly. “Scootaloo, what you did back there... for your mother and I... I'm so proud of you.”

Scootaloo could feel herself well up with pride, but it was fleeting as thunder boomed overhead.

“Dad, we've got to get outta here.”

A massive pillar of purple light shot up into the sky. But it wasn't lightning.

The trio all looked toward the beacon. Scootaloo gazed at the light that continued to spiral into the sky when thought struck her.

“We've got to get to Sweet Apple Acres!” Scootaloo said, urging her father onward. “That light is Twilight's magic! It's a signal!”

Others unicorns and earth ponies seemed to think the same, crowds rushing toward the light.

Midnight and Swift Jet didn't question their daughter's reasoning.

Swift Jet tried to rouse his wings, but they remained limp at his side. “My wings are gone,” Swift Jet said painfully, as he forced himself to saunter forward. “Quickly, we'll get there on hoof!”

Midnight Blossom opened her mouth, but she didn't get the chance to speak.

Blinding light and searing heat erupted within a fraction of a second, immediately followed by a massive thunderclap. Sound and sight were gone, as the trio of ponies were thrown to the ground from the magnified lightning bolt.

Scootaloo rolled over for the second time, pulling herself up from the mud. Stars filled her eyes, only blurry splotches of gray and green in her sight. Ringing filled her ears, muffling the sound of pouring rain, thunder and the cries of the crowd.

She wobbled in place, trying to regain her balance. Stumbling to and fro, she scanned the ground around her, but there was nothing. Mom and Dad? Where are Mom and Dad?! She thought fearfully.

Slowly the ringing in her ears receded. With it came the crunching and snapping of timber and the screeching of twisted metal.

Scootaloo whirled around.

Swift Jet and Midnight Blossom lay at the base of the Grandstand, seemingly unconscious. Above them a gaping, charred wound cut through the upper reaches of the Grandstand, splitting the structure in two. The lightning strike was so large that instead of a sliver slicing through the beams it had vaporized a large, wide section of the structure, leaving the upper portions of the Grandstand unsupported.

Immediately wooden beams at the top pulled from their steel fastenings, tumbling downward in cascading crashes as the Grandstand began to collapse.

Scootaloo's heart stopped. She ran toward her parents. “MOM! DAD!” She yelled against the new storm that boomed before her.

Both of her parents stirred slowly, as smaller flaming chunks of debris fell around them.

Scootaloo dug her hooves against the ground as hard as she could. “MOM! DAD! GET UP!”

Larger pieces of the Grandstand impacted dangerously close to Swift Jet and Midnight Blossom. Fires erupted around the two, built upon the flaming debris that crashed downward, both ponies oblivious to the threat.

Scootaloo's heart pounded as she pushed herself harder than she had ever run before. Her eyes remained locked solely on her parents. Fireballs crashed into the ground around her as she ran toward the chaos in front of her. Adrenaline fueled her as she dodged left and right, reacting to the projectiles that impacted around her.

Seconds later Scootaloo skidded to a stop next to her parents, nearly falling over. “MOM, DAD!” She screamed, shaking her father's body. Desperation filled her voice as her eyes flitted between her parents and the carnage above that was about to envelop them. “WAKE UP! WAKE UP!”

Larger and larger pieces of the Grandstand crashed to the ground, building the fire that was quickly turning into an inferno.

Tears filled Scootaloo's eyes. “MOM! DAD! YOU'VE GOTTA WAKE UP!” She began pulling at her parents, but she didn't have the strength to move either.

Swift Jet's eyes slowly opened.

“Scootaloo... are you okay...?” Swift Jet said groggily.

The larger support beams of the Grandstand groaned loudly, snapping and popping.

Midnight Blossom stirred, awakening. “Scoots, honey are you... are you okay...?”

Scootaloo stifled the tears that welled at her eyes. “We've got to go!” Scootaloo hurried to her father's side, pulling his hoof across her back as she tried to lift him to his hooves. “The Grandstand is coming down on top of us!”

Shrieks echoed from above, as metal brackets and fastenings were torn asunder.

Swift Jet's head lolled about. “What... what are you... talking a-about?” He said between gasps, falling in and out of consciousness.

Larger flaming pieces of timber fell downward, shaking the structure as they tumbled to the ground with tremendous force.

Midnight Blossom only fared slightly better. She struggled to her hooves, swaying slightly as she put a comforting hoof to Scootaloo's back. “Swift,” she said, her voice just a whisper. “Follow Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo urged her father and mother forward. “Com'on we've gotta run! Or else-”

A massive groan of snapping wood and twisting metal enveloped the trio.

Scootaloo looked up in horror.

Wooden trusses and beams severed, succumbing to the pressure from above. Debris plummeted through the rafters of the Grandstand, demolishing the wooden skeleton. Fires raged unrestricted throughout. The entire structure shook, as the upper sections of the structure collapsed with astonishing speed.

There was no time to escape.

Scootaloo felt her father suddenly push himself from her side.

All weariness and fatigue was gone from the stallion. Focus returned to his eyes as he stood upright and at the ready, an almost supernatural aura about him. A sudden warmness overcame Scootaloo, His eyes flitted up toward the collapsing Grandstand then to Scootaloo.

Time slowed. Tears came to Swift Jet's eyes as he smiled sadly at his daughter.

The chaotic barrage of the collapsing Grandstand drove onward. Seconds remained.

Realization overcame Scootaloo as she looked on in in horror at her father. Dad, no!

Swift Jet lunged toward his daughter. In the blink of an eye he grasped Scootaloo with both hooves and threw her away with incredible strength.

Scootaloo's body flew through the air. Tears filled her eyes as she looked on at her father and mother. A second later the Grandstand collapsed, stealing away the two ponies that meant most to Scootaloo in barrage of timber, fire and smoke.


Rainbow disappeared into the storm. Soarin' immediately felt the strain between them as their aura's waned, bombarded by the flood of the Archon's corrosive presence. His headache intensified, as did the drain on his body.

“Soarin' let her go, we've got to get to the others!” Spitfire said.

Soarin' grimaced, but he continued alongside his Captain, even as the aura around him still reached out in protest for Rainbow Dash.

In the short time since their appearance, the tornadoes had covered a frightening amount of ground. The two outermost had cleared Ponyville, taking wide, banking turns toward the Skyfield. The third neared the edge of town, a solid line of destruction through the middle of Ponyville left in it's wake.

By this time the super cell of the thunderstorm had overtaken the entirety of Ponyville, the Skyfield and surrounding airspace completely. The remaining light had been snuffed out, replaced by freezing wind and rain, and the continuous barrage of thunder and lightning.

Soarin' and Spitfire raced across the sky, crossing above the Skyfield. Looking ahead, Soarin' caught sight of what appeared to be two smaller cyclones on the far side of the Skyfield. In spite of everything, Soarin' allowed himself a small smile. Way to go Wave and Whip!

The artificial cyclones spun in place, kept stationary and at the ready by the tireless efforts of rest of the Wonderbolt Squadron.

Fleetfoot met Soarin' and Spitfire, hovering in place sporadically. Blood poured into his right eye from a large piece of wooden shrapnel that was embedded above his brow. Despite this he greeted his comrades with a determination.

"We're ready Spitfire!"

Spitfire nodded grimly. "Good work. With any luck, this will give us the window we need."

“At the rate those tornadoes are moving, our timing will have to be perfect,” Soarin' said.

Spitfire grinned. “I guess its a good thing we're perfect.”

A large, sickening crunch sounded behind the Wondebolts. Soarin' and Spitfire whirled around.

The last tornado chewed into Quills and Sofas, rapidly peeling away at the structure. The tornado was relentless, engulfing the building in its wake. A second later an explosion of shattered wood erupted from the base of the cyclone.

But instead of advancing directly into the heart of the Skyfield and its trapped spectators, the tornado stopped, spinning in place. In fact all three had ceased their approach, forming three points of a triangle outside the Skyfield.

Soarin', Spitfire and Fleetfoot stared dumbly at the impossible.

Blood curdling screams erupted across the Skyfield as every pegasi cried out in pain.

Soarin' reeled from the Archon's power. It had intensified. No longer did the Archon's power flood the air. Instead Soarin' could feel the dark power generate from each tornado and abound between them like ethereal lightning bolts. Every pegasi within was trapped.

The tornadoes began circling the Skyfield, compressing the Archon's power in one massive swirling vortex. The first was rapidly approaching the far edge of the Skyfield.

"Spitfire, the tornado is moving toward the Skyfield! We need to-"

"No, no NO!" Spitfire yelled in fury.

Soarin forced himself to focus on his Captain. Immediately he understood.

The Wonderbolt cyclones were failing. No doubt those inside had lost their collective wingpower with the sudden surge of the Archon's power.

No! Soarin' thought. He chased after Spitfire.

Spitfire disappeared into the first cyclone. Soarin' mimicked her, driving his wings hard as he forced his way through the swirling wall of the second.

Immediately Soarin' was caught in the current. His wings flailed awkwardly in the wind, buffeting his body. Once, twice, three times he spun around the funnel. Come on, come on, come on! He drummed in his head, trying to regain control.

Soarin's Wonderbolt training took over as he finally righted himself inside the vortex. Immediately he pushed his wings hard with the current. Get everypegasi in unison, stabilize the funnel, Soarin' thought, his Wonderbolt training droning in his mind.

The other Wonderbolts were erratic within the funnel, each trying to right themselves. Whiplash had already found his current, but couldn't pull the rest of his struggling teammates into his wake.

Gritting his teeth, Soarin' began to push harder. With each flap of his wings he pulled farther and farther ahead of the cyclone's current. But it was slow going, and he still did not command the current enough for his teammates to fall in behind him.

Out of the corner of his eye, Soarin' could see one of the tornadoes approach the Skyfield. It's not working! Soarin' thought. In his weakened state he couldn't summon the strength to tame the cyclone. Even his new found powers, erratic at best, were gone, suppressed by the Archon's presence.

I need help! He thought desperately.

A familiar silver glow suddenly appeared around his chest. Wha...? but I thought...

The visible manifestation of Soarin's aura hung faintly around his chest. But it was small and dull, nothing like it had been at The Trough and Cider. Tiny amethyst sparks erupted at its edges.

How is this going to help?

Suddenly other faint glows appeared within the cyclone. Reds, yellows, blues and greens faintly appeared among his fellow Wonderbolts. Streams poured out from them, touching upon his own.

His mind was clearer, more focused. He could feel the strength of his fellow Wonderbolts. It wasn't the same as Rainbow's presence, lacking a raw power and her distinctive flavor. But combined it was just enough to dull the grating drain of the Archon's presence.

With renewed vigor, Soarin' felt a strengthening in his wings. With each flap he pulled farther and farther ahead. Soon he had wrested control of the cyclone.

The first tornado was nearly upon the Skyfield. Scores of pegasi had already escaped the storm thanks to Fleetfoot, but the window was rapidly closing.

I just need to get the rest of 'Bolts. Soarin' thought, gritting his teeth.

The streams disappeared from view.

Yet Soarin' still felt the power of his allies. Confused he looked down to his chest. Colorful tethers still attached to his aura. Instead they all trailed behind him.

Soarin' looked back.

Every goggled Wonderbolt met his eyes. At their head was Whiplash, a green aura at his chest, grinning and leading the group in perfect unison within Soarin's wake.

Soarin' returned his teammate's smile.

Another tether abruptly touched his aura. Desperation and determination, but not his own rushed through him. So why did it feel so familiar?

Soarin' looked once more to his chest. A fiery orange stream was barely touching his aura, flailing wildly about from outside the cyclone.

Soarin's eyes widened. Spitfire!

He could see the singular valiant orange aura, like a tiny beacon against the backdrop of the other cyclone.

Soarin' looked back to Whiplash. I've gotta help Spitfire!

Whiplash threw an exaggerated salute, almost as if he had read Soarin's thoughts.

Soarin' didn't think twice. Timing his spin within the vortex, he flung himself like a slingshot out of the cyclone and into the other.

Soarin' sailed into the cyclone, rolling just overhead of Spitfire. For a split second she looked up in disbelief. Soarin' simultaneously felt surprise and relief course from her aura.

But he hadn't succeeded yet. Still moving at supernatural speeds, Soarin' nearly tumbled out of cyclone, barely catching the sporadic current that Spitfire and the rest of the Wonderbolts were struggling to maintain.

Immediately Soarin' thrust his wings forward, ignoring the burn in his muscles. Within a matter of seconds he had stabilized the funnel, Spitfire and the rest of the Wonderbolts in tow behind him.

Alarm once again rushed through Soarin'. Fear and hazy images of pegasi being decimated by the oncoming tornado flashed through his mind. It was almost like a premonition through the eyes of another. Again they were not his own, but familiar...

Fleetfoot!

He didn't have time to think. Soarin' flapped hard, bursting forth from the top of the cyclone. As he flew between the two cyclones he could see the dark tornado nearly upon the pegasi's only escape.

“NOW!” Soarin' yelled at the top of his lungs.

Soarin's aura flared, sending a jolt down the orange and green tethers. A split second later the Wonderbolts jettisoned, 'firing' the counter cyclones on a crash course with the tornado.

The dual cyclones moved with remarkable speed, far beyond that of any normal tornado, skirting just along the outer edge of the Skyfield. Though they were much smaller in size than the Archon's tornadoes, they carried a tremendous momentum with them.

The cyclones tore across the landscape, aggressively racing toward the massive tornado against the backdrop of the red horizon. It would be close. Very close.

Soarin' didn't wait. Immediately he flapped his wings, braving the gusts of the storm's headwind, heading straight for Fleetfoot and the waiting group of pegasi, all the while keeping the racing cyclones in sight. “Please let this work,” he silently prayed.

Spitfire flew up astride of Soarin'. Soarin' could feel abject bewilderment from her as she looked at him, but she didn't show it. “We need to move fast! The cyclones hit and we push everypegasi through!”

“Tracking!” Soarin' replied.

The two raced forward. Soarin' could make out Fleetfoot darting to and fro at the head of a large mass of pegasi, easily several hundred. Even over the clatter of the storm, Soarin' could hear the gasps of panic and confusion from the crowd.

Soarin' clenched his jaw. They would get them out. Every. Single. One.

Seconds later the duo reached Fleetfoot.

Fleetfoot hovered toward Spitfire and Soarin'. “We're ready to go!

No sooner had Fleetfoot finished speaking than a colossal scream erupted across the skycape.

The artificial cyclones rammed fiercely into the tornado, opposite winds grinding and tearing away at one another. Erratic wind gusts whipped out into the sky miles out, shrapnel ripped apart from the very essence of the cyclones and tornado. The invisible projectiles flew into the gathered pegasi, tearing through the formation. Several younger pegasi lost their uneasy hover, nearly plummeting to the ground below, were it not for a last minute dive from trailing Wonderbolts.

Every pegasi clutched their ears against the banshee scream that filled the air.

Soarin' held his head, but it wasn't just for the screams. He felt a sudden jolt within his mind, painful at first, then suddenly subdued. The Archon's power lessened, blunted by the cyclones. The linked power between the tornadoes had been disrupted.

The two cyclones continued their valiant resistance against the tornado, slowing its advance to a standstill. But it would only last so long.

The screeching continued, but Soarin' could make out Spitfire's voice commanding the group, reaching above the clash of titans.

“GO!”

The assembled pegasi didn't need to be told twice. As fast as they could, Ponyville's pegasi population flew through the opening.

But the escaping pegasi would not be able to get out under their own wing power. Thankfully, they wouldn't have to.

Hovering in place, Spitfire began flapping her wings hard. Soarin' joined her on the left, with Fleetfoot on her right. Together, they brandished their wings about, building a strong tailwind behind the escaping pegasi.

The crowd began to move more quickly, boosted through the gap.

The screeching turned more sour as one of the cyclones weakened against the onslaught of the tornado. Slowly the Archon's twister began to creep forward once more.

Soarin' beat his wings harder, sweat dripping from his mane into his eyes. His wing muscles burned in protest, but he ignored it, focusing on the escaping pegasi and the faraway glint of light on the horizon.

Any second now, any second now... he thought.

A blur of blue and gold streaked past the trio. Then another. And another. And another. They blew by the crowed of pegasi, carrying with them a thunderous momentum behind them, so much so that the air shook from their sheer velocity.

The rest of the Wonderbolts blew by at high speed. Each flew by into the momentum that Soarin', Spitfire and Fleetfoot had started, amplifying it and carrying it ahead. Within a matter of seconds the first of the escaping pegasi had made it outside the storm.

The ear shattering scream of the cyclones lessened. The first had succumbed to the Archon's tornado. The mighty twister's advance doubled as it bore down entirely on the last cyclone.

Wonderbolts continued to speed by, coming around again and again to make successive passes. The plan was working, half of the group had made it outside the boundary of the storm.

Soarin' didn't let up his wing beats, straining to stay in unison with Spitfire and Fleetfoot. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the Archon's tornado ravage the Wonderbolt cyclone. If it holds at this pace we'll be alright...

An enraged scream erupted across Soarin's mind at his last thought. Pure malice and hate at the defiance. Dread filled the Wonderbolt as his eyes went straight to the clashing vortexes.

The tornado surged forward in a wave of the Archon's power. With an ear shattering screech it devoured the cyclone in a single rotation.

The low train-like drum of the tornado intensified. No longer held by the Wonderbolt's cyclones, it immediately raced forward with remarkable speed, directly toward the escaping pegasi.

Time seemed to slow. Soarin' abandoned his wing beats, instead reaching forward. Fleetfoot's body somehow found its way in front of Soarin', holding him back, yelling something into his ear. Spitfire whirled around, waving her forelegs and yelling at the approaching Wonderbolts. Soarin' couldn't hear it. He could only watched helplessly.

The tornado seamlessly passed into the last quarter of the escaping pegasi. There was no grinding or tearing of brick and mortar. There were no screams. There was no resistance of any kind as the brightly colored pegasi were soundlessly sucked into the tornado, disappearing behind the veil of the black swirling wind. Lightning bolts intensified dramatically within the tornado, filling the air with the smell of burnt fur and charred flesh.

Soarin's eyes were locked onto the tornado. Fear, grief, anger and terror rolled into one tirade filled him.

The tornado turned abruptly, swirling toward the trio.

“Argh!” Soarin' abruptly clutched his head with his hooves.

“You who would dare...” said a deep and echoing voice within his mind.

Soarin' didn't think, he couldn't think. The swirling and catastrophic power of the Archon was upon him in one towering presence, crushing his consciousness.

The tornado was moving at full speed now, directly for them. As it closed the gap, the Archon's dark presence weighed heavier and heavier upon the stallion.

Soarin' suddenly came to a fearful realization.

“Fleetfoot! Spitfire! Get away from me! Stay away!” Soarin shouted at the other Wonderbolts, suddenly bolting toward open space.

“Soarin'! Wai-” Spitfire began to shout, but her voice was lost to the storm.

The tornado twisted violently, as if in a rage, volleys of lightning spewing forth. Defying all laws of nature, it banked from Spitfire and Fleetfoot and chased after Soarin'.


“Come. ON!” Rainbow Dash screamed.

But her cry was useless against the pressure of the Archon.

Somepony. Anypony. I need help! Rainbow thought desperately.

A red aura suddenly appeared around Rainbow's chest. It was small and faint. Sparks erupted fiercely at its edge, almost as if it were fighting a losing battle.

The glowing haze took Rainbow by surprise. This thing? But how?

Colors began to dot Rainbow's vision in the distance. Through the veil of the pouring rain Rainbow could make out what appeared to be differently colored aura's, similar to hers, darting to and fro throughout the sky.

Suddenly Rainbow felt a tug at her chest. Looking downward, she saw her own aura pulse, sending out waves into the air.

The bouncing lights froze in midair.

Rainbow Dash stared into the sky, her eyes locked on the lights. There are more?

Abruptly the wind picked up. It whipped more violently, pulling at Rainbow's wings. What sounded like the sound of a crashing waterfall gradually built behind her.

Rainbow knew it before she looked. Craning her head to the side, her eyes confirmed her fears.

The third tornado had cleared Ponyville. It was only several hundred hooves away from Rainbow, and she was directly in its path.

Adrenaline raced through Dash. “NO! Come on Rainbow Dash!” She snarled at herself. She pulled herself onto her forehooves, barely holding herself up. Her head hung pitifully as she tried to steady herself. She let out a low growl. “You can't let Scoots down!” Tears mixed with the rain on her cheeks. “GET...UP!”

But her hind legs refused to move, along with her useless wings that remained splayed at her side.

The tornado roared behind her. A darkened presence entered her weakened mind. Its words cut through her consciousness. “Traitors and defilers...”

The words fell upon Rainbow like a hammer upon an anvil. An incomprehensible and colossal presence, like the entirety of the tornado, bore down upon her. Her vision blurred as she felt herself succumbing to the dark power. No, I... I can't...

The whipping winds were like claws, slashing and grasping at Rainbow. Slowly her body began to drag against the ground toward the tornado.

A sudden warmness suddenly coursed through her body. Rainbow's eyes shot open as a renewed strength banished the Archon's power. The red light around her chest pulsed, glowing brighter. Her body responded.

Immediately Rainbow shot forth from the ground into the air.

The tornado roared, as its rotation increased, chasing after the blue pegasus.

Still flying at top speed Rainbow glanced down at her aura. It seemed stronger, holding its own as its edges sparked violently against the Archon's power. More importantly there were what appeared to be three ghostly tethers attached to it. One was a fiery orange, the second pure white, and the third a golden yellow.

Rainbow tried not to panic as grisly images from alien horror movies filled her mind. What the heck are tho-

“Rainbow Dash!”

Rainbow looked around, trying to pinpoint the voice.

Spitfire suddenly appeared, rolling above Dash and pulling alongside her. Fleetfoot and Surprise appeared as well, flying astride their captain. Fleetfoot had a nasty gash above his eye, but if he was in pain he ignored it. Surprise was completely expressionless. She almost looked catatonic, with unfocused eyes, her mind elsewhere.

Rainbow's eyes immediately went to the orange aura that hung around Spitfire's chest. From it came the orange binding that linked the two pegasi. Fleetfoot and Surprise held the remaining two cords.

Even from other pegasi? Not just Soarin'? Dash thought.

The Wonderbolts seemed unaware of their assistance.

“Rainbow, we've gotta get out of here!” Spitfire yelled over the winds. “There's nothing more we can do!”

“Where's Soarin'?”

“The tornado attacked him! He's leading it away from Ponyville!”

Rainbow's mind raced. A tornado after Soarin'. Another behind her. And a third-

Swift Jet! Scootaloo!

“Rainbow we need to go! There's nopegasi left to save!”

Images of Scootaloo staring down a massive tornado filled Rainbow's mind. “I've got to get Scootaloo! She's still out there!”

Immediately the tornado behind the pegasi roared with greater intensity. Rainbow could feel the Archon's focus zero squarely upon her through the vortex.

Spitfire's eyes widened. “Scootaloo's still here?” She said shakily.

A massive pillar of purple light shot into the sky, rotating as it pierced through the storm clouds. Originating from Sweet Apple Acres, it stood as a beacon against the storm.

Rainbow looked to the tornado behind her. A grim reality set in as Rainbow made up her mind.

“Find Scootaloo! She might be near the Grandstand” She pointed toward the beacon. “Get her to the beacon! Twilight's there, she'll know what to do!”

Spitfire looked warily between Dash and the tornado. “What are you going to do?”

The swirling wind of the tornado grew louder as it gained on Rainbow.

“Promise me you'll find her!”

Spitfire didn't hesitate. Rigid determination marked her face as she she peeled off without a word toward the smoke that billowed from the Grandstand, Fleetfoot and Surprise following after.

A calming relief washed over Dash as she watched the Wonderbolts disappear into the storm. Spitfire would find Scootaloo.

A quiver of fear welled up in Rainbow. She has to.

A vicious lightning bolt zapped by Dash's side, singing some of her smaller feathers.

Rainbow whipped her head around.

Lightning erupted all over the tornado, spinning like an electrified buzz saw. Larger bolts shot forth, intent on striking the lone pegasus.

Rainbow grinned cockily. “You can't hit what you can't catch!” She yelled defiantly.

The Archon's tornado surged in response, firing off several electrical projectiles.

Rainbow skillfully dodged the bolts, then put on an extra burst of speed. She could feel the waning strength from Spitfire, Fleetfoot and Surprise, but their presence alone had been enough, even as the Archon's radiating power began chip away at her aura. I don't have a lot of time before this thing saps my strength again, I just need to lead it away... worry about the rest later, she thought darkly.

Errant lightning bolts flew past Rainbow, forcing her to dodge and roll. The tornado still followed her, but it showed no signs of stopping, still sapping away at the pegasus. I can't outrun this thing forever! I need-

The second tornado caught her eye. It blazed a mad trail away from the Skyfield, into the empty prairies outside Ponyville. Flashes shot from the vortex, almost as if it were attacking something.

Rainbow gasped. “Soarin'!”

Her aura flared violently. But it wasn't from the Archon's attacks. Instead it reached for Soarin', desperately trying to seek out, to reach the stallion.

Something was wrong.

Rainbow Dash didn't question ethereal mist. She pushed her wings harder, despite the creeping weakness that threatened them. If I can get to Soarin', she thought, dodging another volley of lightning bolts, we can make it.


Scootaloo groaned aloud. She was on her back. Or, at least she thought she was. It was as if a haze clouded her thoughts.

What happened? She thought.

The first thing she felt was the rain drops upon her face. Slowly her eyes opened. Only hazy grays filled her vision. Soon her other senses refocused. Thunder reached her ears along with the continuous strikes of lightning. A low, rushing sound of wind sounded in the distance. Scootaloo's mind told her it was important, that it was something she should know, to be wary of, but couldn't tell her why. With her ever shifting focus, the alarm fell to the recesses of her mind.

Instinctively, she started to roll over, trying to pull herself up. The first thing she felt was the distinct pain that shot through her back. It was soon followed by sharp spasms that coursed through her wings. She rolled onto her stomach, her wings splayed at her sides.

Scootaloo gritted her teeth. As the pain subsided, her thoughts began to clear. I was flying though the air...

She tried to stand up. Her right forehoof cried out in protest as she stepped forward. Stifling a cry, Scootaloo fell once more to earth, splattering into a mud puddle.

Smoke reached her nostrils. Smoke? Why would there be sm-

Scootaloo flinched as her mind raced backward. The show. The storm. The Grandstand on fire. Scootaloo's eyes shot open. MOM AND DAD!

Scootaloo thrust herself forward with her wings. Pain shot through them to her back, but it was an afterthought. She swayed to the left and right momentarily, before roughly landing into an awkward sprint. She could still feel the wound on her hoof, but adrenaline had deadened the pain.

Scootaloo raced forward. A wall of billowing smoke met her eyes as she sprinted forward. She could see the twisted skeletal remains of the Grandstand reaching forth above the smoke cloud.

The sight of the destroyed structure only pushed Scootaloo harder onward. Her heart pounded in her chest. With each beat she could feel her body fade away to the numbing adrenaline, leaving only an ironic combination of focus and unbearable tension.

Scootaloo disappeared into the smoke. Her vision was reduced to only a few hooves, but she didn't slow. Several times she tripped on debris from the Grandstand, nearly falling to the ground. But she refused to stop, her momentum pushing her awkwardly forward from half falls as she weaved past burning obstacles in her path.

Larger pieces of debris appeared, and in greater abundance as Scootaloo ran onward. The shadowy silhouette of the ruined Grandstand appeared through the smokey haze. Scootaloo's heart skipped a beat.

“MOM! DAD!” She called out, hastening toward the looming shadow. Her chest tightened. Thoughts of her parents compelled her forward, set starkly against the reality of what she might find.

The smoke cleared.

Scootaloo's body was on autopilot as her eyes digested the scene before her.

The backside of the Grandstand had collapsed upon itself. Broken beams dangled from the skeleton of the structure. Others lay in burning piles on the ground. Altogether the debris had collected in a mountain at the base, a collection of protruding trusses, snapped timber and twisted metal. At very the edge of the wreckage, entrapped within, were two ponies.

Scootaloo rushed forward. “MOM! DAD!”

Scootaloo skidded to a stop next to the wooden cage. Unfortunately, the thick beams that trapped her parents wouldn't allow her to pass; she could only manage to push her hoof through. Swift Jet and Midnight Blossom lay within the pocket, miraculously their bodies had not been completely crushed by the collapse. Swift Jet lay splayed out on his stomach, one of his rear hooves buried under a pile of timber. Midnight Blossom lay partially beneath her husband, his hooves still covering her protectively. Both were unresponsive to Scootaloo's calls.

The rhythmic rushing of wind in the distance increased in pitch and volume, but it didn't register with the young pegasus.

Scootaloo frantically thrust her hoof forward, reaching for her mother. “Mom? Mom? Wake up! Wake up!”

Several times Scootaloo's hoof brushed against her mother's. The elder mare's ear twitched.

A wavering smile came to Scootaloo's face. “Mom! Mom! Can you hear me?!”

“...Scootaloo...” Midnight Blossom said weakly.

Scootaloo finally grasped her mother's hoof. “Mom! I'm here. Are you okay? Please tell me you're okay!”

Midnight Blossom began to rouse herself. Beside her Swift Jet began to shift about as well.

Scootaloo's eyes perked up again. “Dad? DAD! You're awake! Are you okay?”

Midnight Blossom pulled herself to her haunches. She turned toward her husband. “Swift,” she said, carefully trying to wake her husband. Her eyes glanced to his crushed hoof. A tiny gasp escaped her mouth.

“What's wrong?!” Scootaloo panicked, straining to see.

Midnight Blossom slowly looked around. She breathed slowly, calming herself. “It's okay Scootaloo, nothing's wrong,” she said a calm voice. She forced a smile at her daughter. “Everything will be okay.”

Scootaloo nodded obliviously. “Yeah, I know 'cause I'm gonna get you both outta here!”

Scootaloo began to pull at the nearest beam, huffing and puffing as she exerted at the large piece of timber.

Small tears crept down Midnight's face.

“Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo stopped pulling at the cage. “Dad?” She put her hoof through once more, reaching for her father.

Swift Jet coughed harshly. He shifted slowly in place, gingerly scooting closer to the edge of the cage. “Scootaloo, you need to get to the beacon.”

Scootaloo was still for a moment, almost comprehending what her father was telling her. She abruptly began pulling at the cage again. “N-no,” she said, her voice wavering slightly. “I-I'll get you out of here!”

“Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo felt her father's hoof upon hers. His worn and weary face appeared between the timber. “Scootaloo, my leg is broken and trapped. And you can't get us out-”

“Y-yes I can!” Scootaloo yelled as tears appeared at her eyes. “I-I'll get help!”

Before her parents could stop her Scootaloo ran a small distance away.

Growing winds had cleared the smoke. “HELP! SOMEPONY HELP ME!” Scootaloo yelled against the thunder. She looked about desperately, but the landscape was barren. All had fled for the refuge at Sweet Apple Acres.

Scootaloo stumbled about aimlessly, her breaths growing frantic.

“SOARIN'!”

No answer came.

“SPITFIRE!”

Nopegasi appeared.

“RAINBOW DASH!”

But Rainbow was nowhere to be seen.

The wind picked up abruptly, gusts catching Scootaloo's wings and pulling her about haphazardly. With it came the distinctive high pitch of rushing wind, now much louder.

Scootaloo twisted her head toward the sound. Her jaw dropped as renewed fear washed over her.

One of the three tornadoes barreled toward the Grandstand. It had torn through the Ponyville park, cutting between the rest of the town and Sweet Apple Acres. Nothing was left in between as the swirling black mass ravaged across the open field. The tornado moved with astonishing speed, and at less than a mile away; only minutes remained for Scootaloo.

Scootaloo ran back toward her parents. She slammed into the barrier that held her parents, ruthlessly attacking the wooden beams. “The tornado's coming this way!” Scootaloo yelled at her parents before they could utter a word. “I'll...I'll get you out!”

“Scootaloo!” Midnight Blossom said in a panicky voice. “Honey you need to get to safety!”

Tears dropped from Scootaloo's eyes as she pull all the harder at the ruins. “NO!” Scootaloo bellowed. “I won't... huff... I won't... huff... I-I can't” Scootaloo panted between her tearful pleads, slowly weakening against the unmoving cage.

Scootaloo gave one last fruitless tug, then collapsed against the wooden beam with a whimper. Renewed tears trickled down her face as she began to sob.

“Scootaloo, you have to go.”

Scootaloo looked up through tearful eyes. Her father and mother looked back, each holding her hoof. Silent tears filled their eyes, but they looked lovingly on at their daughter.

“I can't... I can't leave you!”

The tornado bellowed louder. Large pieces of debris began to fall from the sky, whipped about by the tornado. The Grandstand shook, groaning loudly as loose pieces of timber were ripped asunder and thrown to the ground.

“Scootaloo, listen to me,” Swift Jet said in a calm but very steady voice. “You need to find Rainbow Dash and Soarin'. Things are going to change for you, and you need to be ready.”

“Dad, I'm...I'm s-scared... I can't...,” Scootaloo cried, looking between her parents. “Not without you!”

Midnight rubbed her daughter's hoof. Tears still came from her eyes but she remained steady. “Scootaloo, there's nothing more you can do! You...you must go!”

Swift Jet smiled at his daughter. “We couldn't be more proud of you Scootaloo...” A glowing blue mist began to build around Swift Jet's neck. Slowly it floated from him to Scootaloo.

“W-we love you Scootaloo...” Midnight said weakly.

“I...I lov-”

The screeching of the tornado intensified. Only a few hundred yards separated it from the Grandstand.

The wind began to tug at Scootaloo's small frame. Horrified, she looked with tearful eyes between her parents and approaching vortex.

Swift Jet closed his eyes. His aura visibly pulsed between himself and Scootaloo, sending out a wave.

Scootaloo immediately felt a presence, a strength build within her. She could feel it comfort her. In that same moment it reached forth to the sky.

The Grandstand shook violently as the outer winds of the tornado began to take hold.

“MOM! DAD!” Scootaloo screamed against the storm, trying to hold onto her parents.

A fiery orange orb appeared against the backdrop of the storm, just outside the wrath of the tornado. The faint outline of an ethereal tether flickered like a spider's web between it and Swift Jet's aura. A second later the outline of a pegasus began to take form.

Swift Jet smiled faintly, tears running down his cheeks. His aura pulsed once more, before departing completely to his daughter.

Scootaloo felt the aura pulse. She looked between it, her parents and the approaching pegasus. Realization and sorrow overtook her as she looked to parents. No!

Swift Jet and Midnight Blossom looked back smiling weakly with tear filled eyes. Holding onto one another, they let their hooves fall from Scootaloo.

A split second later Spitfire zoomed by, grasping Scootaloo and carrying her away.

The image of her parents smiling at her burned into Scootaloo's mind. Seconds later the tornado engulfed the remains of the Grandstand in a crumbling cascade of splintering wood and twisting metal.

“NO!” Scootaloo screamed, reaching forth and trying to flap her wings. But it was no use. A towering presence overshadowed her, forcing its way through the mystical power that she had received. Battered and weakened both physically and mentally, she blacked out under the strain, but not before a deep and malicious voice filled her mind.

“Apostates will perish...”


Soarin' flew into the vast expanse before him. Despite the physical pain throughout his body and the continued pressure of the Archon's power, he took solace in the fact that the tornado no longer threatened Ponyville.

Just keep flying, get as far away as possible, he drummed in his mind.

Eventually his body would give out and he would succumb to the tornado. That much he knew. It was already obvious that this wasn't a normal tornado, and to expect it to dissipate on its own was foolhardy. Fighting the monstrosity was obviously out of the question. But I've got to do something! Those crazy pegasi are still out there!

But no option presented itself to Soarin'. He could only hope for a miracle.

More somber thoughts came to Soarin'. Images of Rainbow, Scootaloo and Spitfire. The Wonderbolts. Please let them be safe, he thought.

Gradually his eyes began to fade in and out of focus. His wings sporadically lost their rhythm, their endurance all but exhausted. The Wonderbolt heaved heavy breaths as he tried to simply maintain his distance from the giant behind him.

Lightning bolts shot past, intent on downing the pegasus. Soarin' dodged and rolled, but his focus was wavering.

Soarin' gritted his teeth mentally cursing himself. Come on Soarin', get your ass in gear! Spits wouldn't tolerate lazy flying like that! I'm better than this!

Downplaying the situation oddly made him feel better.

Another lightning bolt whizzed by, singing his right leg.

“Agh!”

The sudden shock threw Soarin' as his wings sputtered out of rhythm.

The tornado gained on the Wonderbolt, like a predator that sensed its wounded victim.

Soarin' regained some of his momentum, but the lightning strike had sapped his already failing strength. His head lolled about as he tried simply avoid being devoured by the twister. His aura was nonexistent, feeble and weak as dark words and half mutterings of the Archon filled his mind. It was only a matter of time.

Then, quite abruptly, Soarin' felt his aura jump. Instead of languishing against the power of the Archon, something else seemed to have caught its attention.

A sliver of hope entered Soarin's mind. What could breach the power of the Archon when it radiated so closely behind him?

Soarin's silvery aura appeared once more. It was bright and full, sparks erupting at its edges.

A familiar strength came to Soarin'. His body began to feel stronger, more resilient. He flapped his wings harder, pushing beyond the power of a normal pegasus. Slowly the poisonous thrum of the Archon's presence faded.

Soarin' grinned as his aura eagerly reached outward. Immediately it returned with the joyous, competitive and spunky presence that only one pegasus had.

Rainbow Dash flew into view, several hundred hooves to his left. Behind her trailed one of the other tornadoes.

Soarin' frowned slightly. While Rainbow's presence was welcome, he hadn't anticipated that she would be in the exact same situation he was.

Soarin' furrowed his brow. Doesn't matter, we can make it now. We have to.

“Soarin'!”

Rainbow rolled over the stallion, coming up astride of him. Her red aura glowed brightly around her neck.

“Rainbow Dash! Thank Celestia you're okay!”

Rainbow smiled briefly, but it soon disappeared as additional lightning bolts flew by.

Both pegasi looked behind them.

Both tornadoes still trailed the pegasi. Then without warning, Rainbow Dash's pursuer banked hard, directly into the first tornado. Immediately the two combined, surging into massive vortex the likes of which neither pegasi had ever seen.

The effect was immediate. Not only did the tornado double in size, the power of its winds ramped up dramatically and the fury of the lightning that spewed forth intensified. No longer divided between the two, the Archon's presence bore all the harder upon the fleeing pegasi.

Instinctively, Rainbow and Soarin' put on a burst of speed to avoid being engulfed by the expansion of the tornado.

Thankfully, Rainbow and Soarin's resolve held, withstanding the increased pressure of the Archon.

“Ah ponyfeathers!” Rainbow swore. “I didn't see that one coming!”

“Don't worry about it!” Soarin' replied. “We can fight it now!”

“How?”

“We put on a burst of speed, get some distance, and with a little help from these,” Soarin' pointed to his aura, “we pull a counter cyclone to tear this bastard apart!”

Rainbow nodded solemnly. “Let's do it.”

Without a word both pegasi shot forward with an astonishing burst of speed. Seconds later the two were more than a mile away from the storm.

For a moment, both pegasi simply hovered in place. An awkwardly peaceful lull settled as the two took a moments reprieve in the peaceful sky that existed outside the storm. It stood in stark contrast with the violence and destruction before them.

“Are you ready?” Soarin' asked.

Rainbow looked on toward Ponyville. For a moment she didn't reply, looking absently on at her home. The super tornado still raced after them, while the second made its way toward Sweet Apple Acres and the purple beacon that emanated from it.

She turned to Soarin'. “Yeah.”

Soarin' nodded. “Alright, let's-”

A massive column of light erupted into the sky.

Both pegasi looked toward the Everfree forest. The column of lightning flashed continuously, twisting violently at the origin of the storm. Massive rolls of thunder came across the landscape in waves.

Then, as abruptly as it had appeared, the pillar of lightning disappeared.

“Soarin', look!”

Soarin' looked toward where Rainbow's hoof pointed.

The massive super storm began to retreat. As quickly as they had invaded Ponyville, the large thunderheads rolled back toward their point of origin in the Everfree, almost as if they were called back to their home.

Both pegasi turned to the tornado.

No longer did the vortex pursue them. As the thunderhead retreated, the tornado began to dissipate.

Without warning Soarin' felt a hammer come down upon his mind. Again and again it pounded away with the Archon's final assault.

Rainbow flinched in like fashion.

Soarin' strained to keep his eyes open.

The tornado's dark swirling form became more transparent. Two amethyst-red eyes appeared behind the fading veil, flashing venomously at the two pegasi.

“All hail Skythus...”

The last hammer fell. Both Rainbow and Soarin' nearly fell from the sky, their linked auras barely holding against the onslaught.

Then, it all ceased. The tornadoes retreated soundlessly into the thunderheads above. In a matter of minutes the storm rolled back completely into the Everfree Forest. Free from clouds, a late afternoon sky returned along with the setting sun.

Soarin' and Rainbow Dash could only hover in place without a word, left in the sudden stillness and the destruction of Ponyville before them.

Author's Note:

Wow. It has been a while.

I hope you'll forgive the lapse in updates. Hopefully this chapter was long enough to somewhat make up for that fact. On the bright side, I already have several pages worth for Part Two written, so hopefully that should speed things up a bit for the next update.

As far as this chapter went... well let's just say that I will avoid writing Scootaloo, Soarin' and Rainbow Dash separated. Having to backtrack in time but with a different point of view is a pain. Overall though, I'm really happy to finally have this beast done. We've reached some critical points with this chapter, and defiantly have some more to look forward to in Part Two.

Oh, and I killed Scootaloo's parents. I'm not going to lie, I got a little teary eyed writing that final scene.

As always please let me know what you thought (especially with a chapter this large). All types of criticism are welcome.

Until next chapter!

-secret89