• 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.

  • ...

Ch. 20: Night Strikes and Living Legends

Legacy of the Pegasi:

Ch. 20: Night Strikes and Living Legends

Soarin' landed lightly on a moss covered log, just shy of a large clearing. A second later Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo also descended, landing to his left and right. Behind them Rainbow's friends trudged slowly along, bringing up the rear. The rest of the Wonderbolts were spread out around the perimeter of the clearing. Invisible to the untrained eye, they silently took up paired positions within the branches of the canopy.

Soarin's wings fidgeted slightly as he took count of Rainbow's friends for the umpteenth time that night. Five. And Rainbow makes six.

Soarin' gestured wordlessly to Rainbow's friends to stay out of sight. They complied, if a bit slowly, hiding amongst the trees. He could tell they were just as worn out as he was and a bit rattled, but they had made the trip nonetheless. Glad to see Rainbow's friends are made of sterner stuff, Soarin' thought.

It had been several hours traversing the through the forest. The group had maintained a good pace, but the journey to the center of the Everfree had taken time. Even with night vision, moving in darkness hadn't been easy, low light and the spooky reputation of the Everfree immediately weighing on the group. Thankfully their route had brought them safely to their destination.

Before Soarin' and beyond the safety of the trees was a massive, circular clearing bathed in the silver light of the moon. It stretched beyond sight, the far side obscured by a thick, misty fog. A deep, sightless trench circled just beyond the forest, creating an island of jagged rock. Shadows of a castle shifted against the perpetual mist, cast against the moonlight.

“Woah,” Soarin' said silently.

“Quite the sight isn't it?” Rainbow said, stepping up next to the stallion. “This is the third time I've been here, but this place never gets any less creepy.”

“Nightmare Moon?” Soarin' asked.

Rainbow nodded. “Yeah. This is where we defeated her. Kinda weird that we're coming back here to do the exact same thing.”

But how exactly are we going to do that? Soarin' thought. “Do we really know how that's going to work?” Soarin' asked. “Aside from some of these abilities, we really haven't figured out how to use them to stop a pegasus demigod.”

“Maybe we should just wing it like Rainbow and the others did against Nightmare Moon,” Scootaloo said dryly.

Soarin' looked for a moment at Scootaloo, not sure what to think. She had been silent up until now, no obvious emotions from the young mare. What's happened to her? Soarin' thought worriedly, his mind thinking back to before their departure.

He tried once more to reach out with his aura, as he had several times during the journey, but she remained walled off from him.

Soarin' inwardly sighed, looking to Rainbow.

Outwardly Dash was calm, but Soarin' could feel her aura frantically trying to console Scootaloo to no avail.

“She's right,” Rainbow said finally as her aura retreated sadly. “Though I don't really like planning for it, we don't exactly have time to figure out the how to of taking down this guy.”

Soarin' made to reply, but another sound caught his attention.

Spitfire and Fleetfoot silently flew into view, landing in front of the trio. Spitfire looked to Soarin'. “We need to get across to the castle. Rapidfire and Blaze have already scouted ahead. They didn't see anything, but that fog still made it hard to make anything out.”

Soarin' frowned. Going in blind was never a good idea, but at this point they didn't have much of a choice. “I don't like it, but that fog isn't going anywhere anytime soon.”

Spitfire turned to Rainbow Dash. “Is everypony ready to go?”

Rainbow turned to her friends. “We're good... except,” Rainbow trailed off, peering at the edge of the cliff.

“Except what?” Spitfire said tersely.

“Except there used to be a bridge here,” Rainbow said, pointing toward the gorge, “but it looks like it's rotted away.”

“Let me worry about that,” Twilight said, stepping forward. The rest of Rainbow's friends also joined the group. “I can teleport us across.”

Soarin' frowned. Though he didn't know a great deal about unicorn magic, he did know that teleportation was not an easy feat for a single unicorn. To do so for five other ponies was unheard of.

Rainbow seemed just as concerned. “Twi, are you sure?”

“Positive,” Twilight replied proudly, more toward Spitfire than at Rainbow.

Spitfire turned to Soarin'. “Any of that other... stuff, I need to know about?”

Soarin' knew exactly what Spitfire was referring to. “No...” he said slowly. “I haven't felt anything at all.” Wait a minute... he thought.

“Good,” Spitfire said. “Let's go-”

“No, that's just it Spitfire, I haven't felt anything,” Soarin' said, looking between her and Rainbow Dash. “I haven't felt anything since we entered the forest. I only just now realized it.”

Dash nodded slowly. “He's right. I'm not feeling anything right now like from the storm. And all those tornadoes came from here. Why would it suddenly be gone?”

Spitfire cocked her head. Even with her helmet on, Soarin could tell she was confused. “That's bad?”

“I'm not sure,” Soarin' said. “But it makes me uneasy.” What if they already succeeded? He thought.

“None of the 'Bolts or I have, uh,” Fleetfoot trailed off, looking awkwardly toward Spitfire, “had any of that 'flight sickness' from before when we were over the Everfree.”

“I haven't felt sick since the storm disappeared, if um, that helps at all,” Fluttershy whispered.

“I didn't detect any 'pegasus magic' during the storm,” Twilight commented dryly.

Even though Soarin' had his helmet on, he still shot Twilight an annoyed look.

“Do ya reckon they already left?” Applejack questioned.

“In the end it doesn't matter,” Spitfire said. “Archon-pegasus-magic or not, we stick to the original plan. The 'Bolts, Rainbow Dash,” Spitfire's gaze lingered on Scootaloo for a moment, “and Scootaloo will fly over first.” She turned to Twilight. “The Element Bearers will follow after.”

Twilight nodded.

“Once we're all across we'll link up at the gate house. From there it's complete silence. The 'Bolts will go in on the ground into the castle. Ms. Sparkle, you and your friends will remain outside unless called upon.”

Spitfire surveyed the group for a moment. “Does everypegasi and everypony understand?”

All assembled nodded.

“Good. Let's fly.”

Soarin' immediately leaped into the air, chasing after Spitfire. Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo followed close behind. Together with rest of the Wonderbolts the group of pegasi silently flew across the night sky, landing just outside the outermost wall of the castle.

Immediately the Wonderbolts stacked up against the wall, Soarin' and Spitfire at the head of a column of 'Bolts along either side of the gate. Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo quickly mimicked Soarin', joined at his side.

Soarin' took a deep breath, trying to ease the welling dread in his stomach. Here we go. Just relax, we've got this, he thought. Taking another deep breath, he slowly peeked his head around the corner.

A ruined court yard lay ahead. Though the fog still persisted, Soarin' was able to make out the castle more clearly, and the large wooden double doors that led within.

Purple light flashed, accompanied by an obnoxious popping sound.

Soarin' whipped his head around, years of tactical training screaming at the sudden illumination and the purple unicorn that had spawned it.

Twilight's eyes rolled in her head slightly as she teetered on her hooves. Beside her Applejack and Fluttershy looked as if they were about to be sick. Rarity was only a touch better. For her own part, Pinkie stumbled about crossed eye, silently giggling.

Out of the corner of his eye, Soarin' saw Spitfire jerk awkwardly towards Twilight.

“Are you bucking kidd-” Spitfire's irate voice came through Soarin's helm, but she didn't get the chance to finish.

Rusted, wrought iron hinges rattled through the air, followed by the sudden dull bang of a large wooden door.

Soarin's blood ran cold. His eyes locked momentarily to Spitfire's. Without a word, both pegasi peeked around the corner with baited breath.

The fog had all but disappeared. Standing in the castle doorway was a black robed pegasi with hood drawn. The figure suddenly froze, his alarmed gaze looking straight through the gate, directly at Twilight and her friends in full view.

The realization came to Soarin' too late. Son-of-a-

The Tempest Guard's amulet burst into light, as he violently rounded about and dashed back into the castle. The doors slammed shut behind him.

Spitfire's urgent voice came over the net. “Fleetfoot, get the civilians to safety!”

The sound of shattering glass from the castle roof cut across the air.

Soarin's eyes jerked upward. A dozen black shadows swept through the air like meteors, diving toward the Wonderbolts.

“Tangos at our twelve o'clock high! Engage! ENGAG-!” Spitfire's command blared over the net, before static drowned out her voice.

One of the shadows fell from the sky, directed right at Soarin' and the other two bearers.

“Rainbow, Scootaloo! Look out!” Soarin' yelled.

Soarin' leaped away from the wall as the shadow neared the trio, trying his best to push Rainbow and Scootaloo out of harms way.

The sudden impact of his attacker on the ground threw Soarin' from his hooves. What in Tartarus?

Reflexes reacted before his mind did. In an instant, Soarin' was on his hooves.

The field around them had become a battlefield. The Wonderbolts outnumbered the Tempest Guard, but the cloaked pegasi had the element of surprise. The distinctive scream of magic lances also evened the odds as the Tempest Guard attacked.

Though taken by surprise, the Wonderbolts reacted with a cool precision. Immediately the assembled 'Bolts broke off into pairs, some taking to the sky to meet their foes, while others were caught in isolated skirmishes throughout the courtyard. Led by Fleetfoot, the remaining Wonderbolts broke from their adversaries to form a protective semi circle around Rainbow's friends.

Soarin's mind snapped.

Rainbow. Scootaloo.

The stallion spun in place, trying to find the two other bearers. He barely glimpsed a tuft of a rainbow mane before a hoof connected with his helmet, cracking his visor.

The blow forced him to stumble backward. Though his headgear received most of the impact, Soarin' was momentarily stunned by the strike.

“Soarin'!” Scootaloo's terrified voice reached the stallion's ears.

Soarin' bolted toward the sound, his senses hyper aware. His cloaked attacker was only a few yards away with back turned to him. Apparently the Tempest Guard believed he had dealt with Soarin', as he moved toward Rainbow and Scootaloo. Amethyst light glowed around his silhouette.

Rainbow stood defiantly against the advancing Tempest Guard, her back to a wall as she shielded her body in front of Scootaloo. Her brow was furrowed angrily as she snarled menacingly at her opponent.

“Back off!” Rainbow yelled.

Despite her threat, Soarin' could see the hidden fear in her eyes.

Scootaloo was wide eyed in shock as she clung to Rainbow.

The Tempest Guard's wings flared open, amethyst electricity crackling upon them.

Rainbow's face faltered as her eyes flicked to the electrified wings that spread before her, then behind her would be attacked. A cocky grin spread upon her face.

Her opponent's advance faltered. A second later Soarin' charged into the cloaked pegasi's backside.

Rainbow rolled to the right, pulling Scootaloo with her.

The Tempest Guard yelped in surprise as Soarin' charged forward. The guard was able to awkwardly turn around as Soarin' pushed forward, but it was his undoing.

With a final growl, Soarin' heaved against the Guard, slamming his body into the wall. The Tempest Guard's hood fell from the impact. The stallion gasped for breath, the wind knocked out of him.

Soarin' glared at the Guard, white hot with anger. His aura flashed and he could feel the sudden adrenaline rush to his muscles. He abruptly thrust his fore-hoof under his opponent's throat. The stallion's eyes bugged out fearfully as Soarin' pushed up onto his hind legs, pulling the Tempest Guard off his hooves.

The stallion gasped for breath, choking for air as he pitifully flailed his fore-hooves against Soarin's chest.

Soarin' gritted his teeth. Then in one motion, he brought his other hoof back and slammed it into the stallion's face.

There was a sickening crunch as the Tempest Guard's nose broke. Soarin' released him, letting the unconscious pegasus crumple to the ground.

Soaring panted heavily. “Tango down,” he said into his mic. His eyes jerked to his right.

Rainbow stood still with Scootaloo beside her. She bounced lightly on her hooves, at the ready to protect Scootaloo, but Soarin' could see she was somewhat shaken.

“Are you okay?” Soarin' said quickly.

“Y-yeah! We're okay!” Rainbow replied.

“Soarin'! Enough with the free-style! Get over here!” Spitfire's voice came over the net.

Soarin's looked across the courtyard.

Spitfire was currently embattled with two Tempest Guards. Though her opponents were larger than she, Spitfire was the more agile, deftly twisting about to dodge blows and parry magical lances with her wings. With a snap of surprising speed, she charged forward and battered her opponent with her serrated hooves, then immediately thrust herself into the air as the second Guard sailed by beneath her in what would have been a vicious tackle. As quickly as she had ascended, Spitfire snapped her wings shut and brought her reinforced hooves down forcefully onto the second Tempest Guard's rear legs, punctuated with a pair of dull snaps. The Guard's cries of pain only lasted a moment before she brought her hoof down upon his head.

Damnit! Soarin' mentally kicked himself. Though Spitfire was an elite fighter, he knew better than to leave his teammate to fight alone like that. “On my way,” he replied.

“Rainbow, Scootaloo, we have to get to Spitfire. Follow me and stay close!”

Both nodded without question, but Soarin' could tell they were both on edge. And yet, he could feel his aura link with theirs naturally, confidence pooling among them. Even Scootaloo's aura, though still wary, seemed to have opened in light of the conflict.

Together the three galloped across the courtyard, the air polluted with magical lances and air combatants.

A Tempest Guard streaked by in front of them at high speed, a blackened blur barely avoiding the ground. Half a second later, another, faster blur chased after it, a glint of steel on its wings.

“Come here you wingless bastard!” Whiplash's voice crackled over the net.

Out of the corner of his eye Soarin' saw Whiplash collide into his prey, forcefully grinding him into the ground. A second later the Wonderbolt pounced on the Tempest Guard, bringing his fore-hooves down for the finishing blow.

Lances screamed overhead. Soarin' caught sight of Rapidfire, dodging the magic projectiles from a pursuing Tempest Guard. Abruptly the Wonderbolt pulled up sharply, then flipped himself around to face his opponent.

The Tempest Guard was undeterred, continuing to fire lances at Rapidfire.

Rapidfire let his momentum carry him as lances whizzed past. Several times the Wonderbolt angled his wings to deflect the incoming projectiles.

“Ha, that all you got?!” Said Rapidfire's cocky voice.

The Tempest Guard's amulet shone brighter. A second later a much brighter lance streaked across the sky at Rapidfire.

“Rapidfire! Look out!” Soarin' shouted into his mouthpiece.

But the warning came too late. Rapidfire made to adjust his wing, but the lance found its way beneath, punching clean through the Wonderbolt's wing.

Rapidfire's body began to fall from the sky, twisting awkwardly as suppressed grunts of pain spilled into the comm.

The Tempest Guard followed the falling Wonderbolt with murderous intent, another volley of lances glowing at his hoof.

“RAPIDFIRE!” Soarin' screamed as he skidded to a halt. He readied low, and was about spread his wings when another voice crackled over the comm.

“Soarin' keep going! I've got 'em!” Wave Chill's said frantically.

Soarin watched as Wave Chill rose from the ground, flying to intercept Rapidfire's body. With difficulty the Wonderbolt caught his comrade, while at the same time blazing forward with an outstretched hoof.

The pursuing Tempest Guard didn't have a chance to dodge. Wave Chill's hoof met his face at high speed, knocking the cloaked pegasus' head back awkwardly. The Tempest Guard fell from the from the sky, landing on the ground in a heap.

“I've got Rapid. Tango down,” Wave Chill's heavy voice said over the comm.

Rainbow's aura blared through Soarin's own. All at once his mind saw through the eyes of another, he saw himself, and the Tempest Guard that was swooping in to strike him in his blind spot.

Soarin' ducked low without a thought, while at the same time whipping his bladed wing upward. A second later he felt a grisly tug upon the blades and a gut wrenching scream as his attacker sailed past him and crashed to the ground.

“Soarin', how did you-” Rainbow Dash started to say.

“No time! Gotta get to Spitfire!” Soarin' shouted.

The trio raced the remaining distance to Spitfire. The Wonderbolt Captain was hovering in midair, tussling with a Tempest Guard, hoof to hoof. The Guard managed to get a hoof free, striking Spitfire across her helm. The Wonderbolt fluttered in the air awkwardly, her head lolling from side to side.

Soarin' jumped into air and body checked the Guard to the ground, just as he was about to let loose a lance. The Guard landed roughly on the ground, where he was promptly thrashed by a very irritated Spitfire.

“Clipped-wing,” Spitfire swore angrily, kicking the unconscious Tempest Guard for good measure.

She turned the trio. “Good to see ya Soarin',” Spitfire said quickly. Her visor glanced toward Rainbow and Scootaloo. “Need to get those two to Twilight so we can mop these rogues up.”

Rainbow cocked a brow. “I can handle myself.”

Soarin' frowned. “Rainbow this isn't like your other adventures, this is real, liv-”

A Tempest Guard appeared out of the darkness, descending from above onto the group. The cloaked pegasus made a beeline for Rainbow Dash.

Soarin's heart stopped. It was happening too fast. He wouldn't be able to get there in time. Rainbow! Soarin' mentally screamed through his aura.

In a flash Rainbow rolled to her left, immediately taking to the air. The Tempest Guard only had a second to look confused as Dash re-appeared from the darkness, a rainbow trail behind her. With hoof outstretched she blasted across the Guard's cheek. In a daze the Guard spun around once, and was promptly bucked in the chest as Rainbow cocked and fired from her landing.

The Guard flew through the air and promptly landed on one of his comrades, just as he were about to fire a lance.

Rainbow smirked as she observed her hoof-work. “Two for one.” She turned to Soarin' and Spitfire. “Like I said, I can handle myself.”

Woah, Soarin' thought.

“Fair enough,” Spitfire said tersely. “But you stick with Scootaloo,” she added.

“Hey!” Scootaloo said. “I can-”

“No way in Tartarus!” Spitfire shouted over her shoulder, ending Scootaloo's protest. “Now lets wrap this up.”

Soarin's eyes were drawn toward the sky above the castle. Another dozen cloaked pegasi swooped through the air. Seconds later they were upon the group.

Like clockwork Soarin' and Spitfire fell into place side by side. The two wove together in tandem, a practiced and unspoken groove.

Magical lances attacked them first, but the duo easily dodged or parried the strikes. A pair of Tempest Guards landed at a gallop approaching the Wonderbolts, their amulets flashing bright. Another pair hovered overhead, their wings crackling with lightning.

Not a word passed between the Wonderbolts.

Soarin' leaped into the air, taking off with tremendous speed toward the airborne Guards. Likewise below, Spitfire charged her ground borne opponents.

Though taken by surprise, the Tempest Guards only faltered a second. Lightning flashed across the sky as vicious bolts erupted from the hovering Guards. Soarin' rolled and dodged, rapid fire lightning missing only by inches.

Soarin' felt a renewed vigor in his wings. Strength poured forth from his aura, as he felt the collective hum of the pegasi around him. Is it always so random? He thought abruptly. But it was a fleeting thought. Bolstered by super-pegasi strength, Soarin' put on a burst of speed.

The hovering Guards stopped firing, fluttering backwards in surprise.

Soarin' readied his hoof to meet his target, focusing entirely on the Guard to his right. Now I've got you!

The Guard to Soarin's left backed away, patiently training a lance on the Wonderbolt.

Below Spitfire had reached her foe.

The first Tempest Guard had out ran the other, still charging headlong at the mare. His amulet began to glow as he snarled.

At the last second Spitfire dove to the left, sliding along all fours as she ducked low. The Tempest Guard's outstretched hoof sailed over her head. Letting her momentum carry her, Spitfire forcefully opened her right wing. The brandished blades dug deep into the charging Guard's legs, slicing the tendons.

The Tempest Guard collapsed to the ground, screaming in pain as he writhed about.

Spitfire pushed off her from her knees, flapping her wings and carrying herself forward. Not missing a beat, she blasted by the second Guard with an outstretched hoof. The connection snapped bone.

Soarin' was nearly upon the Tempest Guard. His aura flared in warning as he saw a burst of electricity arc from the Tempest Guard's amulet and gather at his hoof. The cloaked pegasus readied to strike.

Rainbow's aura cried out in Soarin's mind. Danger. Left. Magic lance. Tempest Guard!

Soarin' ignored it.

The Tempest Guard struck first as the two pegasi collided, bringing his electric hoof down upon Soarin'.

Soarin' moved faster than the eye, crossing his fore-legs to block the attack.

The Tempest Guard's electrical attack crashed against Soarin's hooves. But instead of the crushing attack he had expected, the blow barely left a dent. Soarin' could feel his aura build around his fore-legs, the lightning arcing along and dissipating into nothing more than a tingle.

Out of the corner of his eye, Soarin' saw Spitfire blaze upward from the ground, her outstretched hooves pummeling beneath the Tempest Guard on his left. The cloaked pegasus yelled in terror as the two disappeared into the darkness above.

Soarin' grinned to himself. Thanks Spits.

Soarin' refocused his efforts on the Guard before him, lowering his gaze menacingly through his cracked visor.

The Tempest Guard gaped in astonishment. He then let loose a snarl, his amulet burning bright as he prepared to assault Soarin' again.

Soarin' was ready. He dodged to the right, and grabbed the stallion's hoof as it came downward. Held in place, Soarin' struck with all his might against the joint.

The stallion screamed in agony, his limb bent awkwardly inward. His screams of pain turned to rage as he abruptly swung his other hoof in a hook at Soarin'.

The Wonderbolt was more than ready. Soarin' grabbed the errant attack, and flung the Guard away with his strike. The amplified throw spun the cloaked pegasus through the air, barely recovering before he impacted the ground.

Soairn' wasn't going to give an inch. He blasted off toward the Guard like a comet. The Guard frantically fired lances at Soarin', but he weaved past them undeterred.

The Guard tried to back pedal through the air, desperate to get away. He fired one last lance at the on coming Wonderbolt.

Soarin' deflected the energy with his wing. He veered slightly to the left, and clipped the Guard's wing with his hoof at high speed.

Soarin' peeled around, landing with a huff on the ground. A thud sounded nearby as his foe impacted the ground. The Guard whimpered and sobbed as he tried to hobble to his hooves. His amulet began to glow as he shakily raised a hoof at Soarin'.

“I'll kill you!” The Tempest Guard snarled.

Soarin' regarded the Tempest Guard for a moment, then looked the sky. He smirked to himself. Right on time.

“Hey,” Soarin' said casually. He nodded upward.

The Tempest Guard looked confused for a moment, then looked toward the sky.

Out of the darkness a cloaked, limp shape fell from above. The Tempest Guard's eyes bugged in his skull as he tried to hobble away, but it was too late. The body of his comrade crashed into him with a dull thud.

Soarin' looked up.

Spitfire hovered down to her teammate. Her armor was singed in several places, and her helmet had a large crack along the side. She limped slightly toward Soarin'.

“Nice one Spits,” Soarin' said.

“That little clipped-wing took a little longer than I would've liked,” she replied harshly, her speech laced with pants.

Soarin' made to reply, but his aura surged in alarm.

“You... you don't know what you've gotten yourselves into!”

Soarin' and Spitfire turned toward the voice.

Less than ten hooves away stood the remaining Tempest Guard of the original four. Blood poured from his mouth where his jaw seemed to be broken, torn apart by a serrated horseshoe. The Guard's hoof glowed a brilliant amethyst, paired with the light of his amulet. His wings were outstretched, massive surges of electricity dancing along them.

“Thought I finished that one off...” Spitfire growled.

A twisted smile crawled on the guards face, made all the more grotesque by his mangled jaw. “It doesn't matter what happens now,” The Tempest Guard screamed in a rage, “we've already won! The Archon will render this world anew with the pegasi at the forefront!”

Smoke began to curl from the Guard's hoof. The electrical current along his wings intensified, feathers curling back as they began to burn.

Soarin's eyes widened as his aura screamed at him. He saw the transfer of power in the Guard's amulet, egged on by the pegasus' own aura. The amulet around his neck cracked.

The Guard steadied his wavering hoof. “Too bad you won't be here to see it.”

“Yeah. Not happening.”

The Guard whirled around. His face immediately connected with a cyan hoof.

The Guard stumbled forward as the power from his amulet faltered. “You impudent bitc-

Rainbow Dash rushed forward, reared up and battered the back of the Guard with her fore-hooves.

The stallion collapsed on the ground with a groan. Weakly he tried to rise.

Rainbow walked slowly past and kicked the stallion in the head with her rear leg. The Tempest Guard fell and did not move again.

Rainbow trotted quickly over to Soarin' and Spitfire, a wide eyed Scootaloo in tow behind her.

“Good work Rainbow,” Soarin' said quickly. “Are you two alright?”

“Y-yeah, we're good,” Rainbow replied after looking to Scootaloo.

“Good, cause we gotta move!” Spitfire said. She took to the sky, flying back toward the courtyard entrance.

Soarin' scanned the area before him. Pairs of Wonderbolts still battled on the ground and weaved through the air against the Tempest Guard. There were no serious casualties yet, and they had dispatched several of their opponents. Overall, the Wonderbolts were holding their own, but it was only a matter of time before the Tempest Guard wore them down with their superior firepower. And what about the Archon? What then?

“This isn't looking good Spitfire,” Soarin' yelled ahead over the screams of magic lances. “With those reinforcements the Tempest Guard has us outgunned!”

“I know!” Spitfire shouted back. An amethyst lance streaked up from the ground, barely missing her head. “We're regrouping!”

“We're going to let them get away?!” Rainbow Dash shouted in disbelief.

“I didn't say that!” Spitfire called back. “We're scattered all over. We need to regroup and-

Spitfire's words fell away as bright lights began to appear all around the courtyard, pulsing in unison.

Soarin' focused his visor on one of the lights, the dampening lens filtering out just enough that he could make out one of the Tempest Guards. The Guard had distanced himself from the Wonderbolt he was fighting, and instead seemed to be focused on his amulet.

Oh no... Soarin' thought.

The comm crackled in his ear. “Spitfire!” Fleetfoot's voice sounded off. “Something weird is happening! All the tangos just broke from the fight, and, uh, they've got this weird light thing going on!”

The rest of the Wonderbolts confirmed Fleetfoot's report.

“Spitfire!” Soarin' shouted. “They're trying to leave! Just like before at The Trough and Cider!

“All Wonderbolts engage! I say again, engage!” Spitfire ordered frantically over the comm. “Do NOT let those bastards get away!”

But it was too late. Those Tempest Guards that had not been incapacitated took to the air, back across the courtyard to the castle.

Ahead of him, Soarin' saw Spitfire pull up abruptly, taking him by surprise. He barely had time to follow suit, braking with his wings and angling himself upward into a half loop.

The world flipped as Soarin' neared the crest of his loop. With the last of his momentum he thrust his right wing down hard, flipping himself over.

Rainbow and Scootaloo shot past, unprepared for the sudden maneuver. In tandem they pulled into a tight banking turn.

Soarin' couldn't wait for them. His wing mate was already well ahead him. “Spitfire, wait! Something's not right!” Soarin' yelled over the comm as he put on a burst of speed to catch up. His visor caught the last of the Tempest Guard's disappear over the inner courtyard wall, directly in front of the castle entrance.

“I've lost visual,” Spitfire's seething voice came through Soarin's helm. “It's cloak and dagger now. Fleetfoot bring up the civies, just in case we need that Harmony crap. Everypegasi else stay within sight and by the stars don't get ambushed!”

Soarin' gritted his teeth. Damn-it Spitfire! And you busted my flank for the free-style? Soarin' thought. In truth he was worried. More than worried. Spitfire was letting her emotions get the better of her, something that rarely happened, and he didn't need his aura to tell him that. But even more, he was worried about what he hadn't felt. There was no signal of the Archon, and the Tempest Guards' sudden retreat only made him feel worse.

Rainbow's aura reached his mind, echoing sentiments for the Wonderbolt Captain. Just stick close by, Soarin' thought to her. We have to be ready for anything.

Regardless of his fears, they couldn't let the Tempest Guard get away. Soarin' gritted his teeth, pushing his wings harder. We've got to end this thing now.

Ahead, Spitfire abruptly took a nosedive, leveling out and landing just outside the inner courtyard gate that led to the castle entrance.

Soarin' followed, landed softly behind her. A few seconds later Rainbow, Scootaloo and the rest of the Wonderbolts fell into place. Twilight and rest of the Element Bearers appeared soon thereafter, albeit much more stealthily this time.

“Paired entry, on my lead,” Spitfire said quietly.

Soarin' readied himself, stacking up closer behind Spitfire.

The Wonderbolt Captain rushed around the corner hugging the wall to her right. Soarin' followed her, his eyes immediately scanning the foreign ground. Aside from a pair of blazing braziers by the castle doors, the area was deserted.

The rest of the Wonderbolts tactically filed into the terrace, filling a half circle around the entryway to the castle.

“Ten up,” came the last report from the final Wonderbolt pair.

Soarin' sighed. “One up. We're all clear Spitfire.”

Spitfire strode angrily toward the center of the terrace. She stared at the large double doors. “We need to clear the castle. They have to be there.”

Soarin' joined her, followed by Rainbow and Scootaloo. Her friends fell in along the inner circle of Wonderbolts.

Soarin' grimaced. Urban combat was... messy to say the least. Though the Wonderbolts were trained for all environments, fighting in enclosed spaces went against pegasi instincts. Without access to the sky, their options would be limited.

“I know it doesn't really tell you anything Spitfire, but I don't feel too good about this one. Something's...off,” Soarin' said.

“Still nothing?”

Soarin' frowned. Even in during the fight, there had been no sign of the Archon's presence. “Yeah.”

“Then we're going in.”

“They could be anywhere in there,” Rainbow said.

“And why would they corner themselves like that?” Twilight asked, joining Soarin' and the rest of the leadership at the center. “They seemed like they were trying to get away.”

“I don't know and I don't care,” Spitfire said icily, as she still looked to the castle doors. “This isn't up for debate. We'll clear the castle out, room by room if we have to.”

Soarin' stared up at the castle. The longer he looked, the worse he felt. I have a bad feeling about this.

Spitfire turned to the face the Wonderbolts. “Same as before. Paired entry and watch your corners.”

Soarin's eyes widened, as his bad feeling suddenly materialized. It was a tiny pinprick in the back of his mind, barely noticeable, but the signature was unmistakeable. Oh no. Soarin' looked to Rainbow and Scootaloo. Both stared intently back. Rainbow's aura, much like Soarin's, was on the alert, pulling toward his. Even Scootaloo's cried out in agitation, but it was unfocused much like teenager herself.

Several Wonderbolts began to make their way to the door.

“Spitfire wai-!” Soarin' cried out.

The double doors swung open, banging loudly. Immediately an ice cold wind poured from within the castle, filling the terrace.

Soarin' moved closer to Rainbow and Scootaloo. He could feel a slight pressure force itself against his aura, but it was negligible.

“Rainbow? Scootaloo?” Soarin' said quietly, not taking his eyes from the castle entrance. He backed up slowly until he felt the two pegasi at his sides.

“Yeah, we're here Soarin'. We're good,” Rainbow replied uneasily. “But what in the hay is going on?”

“I'm not sure,” Soarin' said warily. “Just keep an eye out.”

Unfortunately, the rest of the gathered pegasi did not fare as well. They seemed momentarily stunned, some clutching their foreheads, others stumbling slightly. A quick glance to the rear, confirmed that Twilight and the rest of the Element bearers were unaffected, with the exception of Fluttershy, their expressions ranging from puzzlement to fear at the sudden frigid air.

“Rainbow?” Twilight called out as quietly as she could to Rainbow. “What's happening? What's wrong with everypony? I didn't sense any mag-”

“Not a good time Twi! Just be ready with the Elements!”

“Spitfire?” Soarin' said to his wingmate. “Are you alright?”

Spitfire groaned, wobbling on her hooves. “I c-can't think straight... feel so s-slow...”

Marching hoofsteps echoed from the castle hall.

The Tempest Guard filed out from the shadowed doorway in two columns. But instead of attacking, they simply took up position along either side of the staircase, facing inward.

Soarin's eyes locked on the doorway. A large darkened shape shifted in the shadows. His aura, together with Rainbow's and Scootaloo's, went from cautiously waiting to an absolute frenzy.

The shape took form. Out from the shadows stepped a pegasus stallion. He stood a head over everyone else, with a stature that reminded Soarin' of Princess Luna, if it were not for the fact that the pegasus seemed to be only skin and bones. His coat was was a deep, dark purple-red, with a lighter and darker shade for his wings and mane, respectively. The wings were thin and worn, but Soarin' could tell they were far larger than any normal pegasus.

Soarin' could try to deny what his aura was telling before him, but when his eyes saw those of this magnified pegasus before him, he knew his worst fears were confirmed. Dark, coal colored eyes with a faint amethyst glow, surveyed the terrace. Soarin's mind immediately flashed back to Commander Hurricane's vision. A single, magnified pegasus at the center of the tempest, controlling the storm. They did it. By the stars they did it, Soarin' thought, gaping at the Archon. They brought back the Archon of Storms.

The Archon stopped at base of the stairway. “I, am the Archon of Storms, and I am not your enemy,” he stated in a deep if somewhat raspy voice. His eyes looked over those before him as he spoke. “I do not wish for pegasus blood to be spilled among our race. Know this, I have come back to restore the pegasi nation, not to bring about their destruction.”

Soarin' stepped forward. “You've got a funny way of showing it,” he said, looking to the rest of the Wonderbolts.

The Archon bowed his head slightly. “I can assure I mean no ill will to you. My time in prison has left my powers... erratic.”

That was all Soarin' needed to hear. He pushed out with his aura to Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash, hoping they could somehow trigger their aura's to defeat the Archon. Guess this is winging it, he thought. In flash he leaped forward, serrated hooves ready to attack the Archon.

“Protect the Lord Archon!” One of the elder Tempest Guards yelled out, but Soarin' could tell they would not be able to intercept him in time.

Soarin' sailed through the air. Though they were initially surprised, Soarin' could feel Rainbow and Scootaloo's aura connected to his. Strength came to his wings and the sensation of invulnerability coursed around him. This can work, he thought, confidence swelling his thoughts. This can work!

The Archon did not move. Instead he brandished his wings, alive with crackling electricity. Two ropes of lightning shot forth from his wingtips, immediately wrapping around Soarin's neck. The Wonderbolt gagged as he hung from his restraint, trying to pull himself up for breath as his hooves burned against the electricity. His aural connection to Rainbow and Scootaloo snapped.

“But I am not completely without ability, either,” the Archon remarked sadly, as he looked to Soarin'.

“Soarin'!” Rainbow Dash screamed, charging forward at the Archon.

“Stop her!” One of the Tempest Guard yelled.

Out of the corner of his eye, Soarin' saw several Guards make ready to intercept Rainbow, but either she didn't see them, or didn't care. Rainbow! Soarin' pushed with all his might through his aura, but the electric rope coiled around his throat had blinded his connection.

Purple magic suddenly manifested around Rainbow's barrel, pulling her back. Though he could no longer see her, Soarin' could hear Rainbow's cries of protest.

“Twilight?! Put me down! Put me down!”

The Archon looked for a moment behind Soarin', then back to the Wonderbolt. He fixed him with a curious gaze. Reaching forward with his hoof, he removed Soarin's helmet. “I dislike helms such as these. Sky warriors do not hide their faces.”

One by one the assembled Wonderbolts removed their helmets, as if in a trance.

“You are more resilient than the others,” The Archon said, looking intently at Soarin'. Slowly he hovered Soarin' back to the center of the terrace, releasing him.

Soarin' landed on the ground, gasping for breath. He looked up as Tempest Guards began to approach him.

“No,” the Archon's voice commanded sternly. “I said no more pegasus blood will be spilled this night.”

His eyes hovered about the uncovered pegasi, stopping briefly on Scootalo, Spitfire and Rainbow Dash. “You are all pegasi of great strength and willpower," the Archon said. "Though I know not how." He looked back to Soarin'. “Why do you oppose me? Who has poisoned your minds against the truth?”

Soarin' slowly hobbled to his hooves. “Your so called Tempest Guard attacked us. And sent storms that killed hundreds!”

The Archon's face fell. “I had said that some aspect of my power was beyond my control. It was never my intention that fellow pegasi would die as a result of my release.”

“It wasn't just pegasi!” Soarin' heard Twilight yell. “You killed earth ponies and unicorns too!” She stopped next to Soarin', helping to steady the stallion. “You... you shouldn't even exist!”

“You dare speak to the Lord Archon in such a manner?!” The elder Tempest Guard accused Twilight, stepping forward menacingly. Soarin' noted he seemed to be the leader of the group.

The Archon's face hardened. “I care not for the inferior races.”

Soarin' saw Twilight's jaw drop. She was absolutely stunned, at a loss for words.

“Twilight...” Soarin' said cautiously, trying to calm the unicorn. His eyes hovered over her saddlebags, catching the golden glint within in the moonlight. Rainbow... Soarin' pushed through his aura, plan B!

Twilight's face went from stunned to horrified.“You... you monster! You destroyed my home! Our home!”

The Archon's eyes flashed brighter, as his brows furrowed in anger. “Silence thy tongue, you insignificant rimor calva!” He shouted, thunder rolling overhead. “I will not destroy another pegasus life tonight, but I have no qualms in ending yours!”

“Rainbow!” Soarin' commanded, abruptly grabbing a hold of Twilight and throwing her awkwardly to the rear. He heard the unicorn yelp in surprise as she landed.

“Yeah! On it!” Rainbow's called back.

Soarin' didn't waste any time. Being in the line of fire wasn't the best place to be and he wasn't about to find out what super-powered harmony and friendship felt like. He grabbed a confused Scootaloo and a still dazed Spitfire, diving out of the way with the two of them in tow.

A brilliantly white light engulfed the terrace. From his place on the ground Soarin' saw Rainbow Dash, Twilight, and the remainder of the Element Bearers hover suspended in the air. Five necklaces and a crown were among them, glowing brightly as a vortex of wind surrounded the group.

Soarin's eyes flicked to the Archon. His eyes narrowed, but he did not retreat. Beside him, those of the Tempest Guard shifted about uneasily, glancing between their Master and the saviors of Equestria.

The light intensified. Soarin' watched in awe as Twilight opened her eyes, filled only with an angelic white. By the stars... Soarin' thought, Rainbow wasn't kidding.

“Woah...” Scootaloo said, gaping at the display.

A beam of rainbow shot out from above the suspended Element Bearers. A shrill, high pitched ringing filled the air as it twisted about, seemingly caught in the vortex. It continued to grow, until the Element Bearers were completely hidden. Then without warning, the rainbow vortex shot forward.

Soarin' barely had time to follow the vortex as it engulfed the Archon and blasted Tempest Guards away.

Soarin' swallowed uneasily as he watched the vortex tighten. The Archon hadn't even flinched.

The Archon had all but disappeared, obscured by the swirling rainbow. In the final seconds, Soarin' caught the pegasus' eyes. Ancient, supreme anger filled them as they glowed once more, an amethyst-red lightning erupting forth.

Dread filled Soarin'. No...

The vortex reached its pinnacle, squeezing shut. The high pitched ringing hit its crescendo.

Soarin's aura suddenly lurched under a massive blow. He and Scootaloo gasped aloud, both clutching their heads. Beside him Spitfire shrieked as she twisted about the ground. Spitfire! Soarin' thought frantically. Never had he heard her in such pain. It scared him, fear for what was happening to his best friend. He tried to reach out with his aura. Spits...? He called out fearfully through his aura, but uncontrollable pain blocked her from him.

The rest of the Wonderbolts screamed aloud in agony, falling to the ground in writhing pain.

Lightning erupted in all directions from within the rainbow vortex as the ringing abruptly cut out. It intensified, sharp bolts cutting in between the colored bands. The rainbow began to pull apart as the vortex lost it's velocity. A final jolt of lightning erupted from within, ripping entire bands away. The rest were overwhelmed, burning away into ash.

The Archon stood as he had before, though he was breathing noticeable harder. His eyes still glowed, staring directly ahead at the Element Bearers.

“It... it isn't possible...” Soarin' heard Twilight whisper.

“You arrogant, mongrel unicorn,” the Archon seethed. His eyes flared again menacingly as lightning began to crackle at his hooves. “You cannot turn the Elements against one of its creators!”

Soarin's eyes widened. “Rainbow! Twilight! Look out!” he screamed, before another wave battered his aura, rendering him mute.

But warning was of little use. The Archon reared up on his hind legs. His fore-hooves were completely engulfed in electricity. He slammed both forcefully to the ground, a quake erupting through the earth along with the crack of lightning. Immediately two bolts of electricity struck out across the ground from the craters, each seeking the nearest target. They chained viciously from Wonderbolt to Wonderbolt and to each Element Bearer in a fraction of a second.

Soarin' lost control of his body, muscles convulsing out of control. Tears formed at his eyes as he watched Scootaloo and Spitfire writhe in pain alongside him. Scootaloo... he tried to think, tried to reach out to her, to somehow comfort her, but his aura was no longer his to control. All they could do was stare blankly at one another as surges of lightning wracked their bodies.

Finally the surges stopped.

Soarin's body was numb. Smoke curled from his coat, parts of it seared completely off. Feeling was gone from his body and his muscles refused to move. Only his eyes responded, lazily turning toward the castle.

The Archon heaved heavily. He began to wobble slightly. One of the Tempest Guard rushed to his side, propping him up. He looked directly at Soarin', eyes significantly dimmed but just a intimidating.

“You all shall survive,” he said darkly. “And you pegasi here may still yet join me.”

Soarin's eyes phased in and out of focus, as awareness began to slip away.

“But know this,” the Archon's gaze narrowed on the Wonderbolt, “those who stand against the pegasus nation will perish.”

Soarin's sight continued to blur as he struggled to see.

“My Lord Archon, we must leave. You need rest,” one of the Tempest Guards said.

The Archon walked from Soarin's sight. “Yes,” the Archon said weakly. “To the outpost in exile. Show the way.”

Outpost? Exile? Soarin' thought. The words tumbled through his mind, but he was unable to concentrate.

His eyes landed on a Tempest Guard. His hood was drawn back. He stared at the Wonderbolt. Fear and confusion were on his face. Why...would that...be? Soarin' wondered. Answers eluded him as exhaustion tugged harder at his consciousness.

Just as sleep was about to take him, something touched his aura. Soarin's forced his eyes open.

The scared Tempest Guard looked back. Or was it confused? Soarin' couldn't remember. Confusion, fear, curiosity and even shame moved through his aura. All from this nameless Tempest Guard.

Maybe... maybe... Soarin' thought. Abruptly he pushed through the link with his aura, summoning the last of his strength.

The Tempest Guard recoiled in surprise, flinching.


The Tempest Guard looked away, then raced off. The link severed.

Flapping wings sounded in the air as Soarin' finally gave into exhaustion, lapsing into an unconscious darkness.

Author's Note:

Well would you look at that? I got a chapter done on time for once!

I hope you enjoyed chapter twenty of Legacy of the Pegasi. We finally get to see the heroes and villains collide in an all out brawl! I really did enjoy writing the combat scenes, and giving some of the other Wonderbolts some time to shine. I really wanted to show them working together tactically as a team. Though I might have gotten a little carried away writing too much of the combat stuff. And how about that Archon eh? I'm pretty happy with his reveal and abilities so far (and just in case you didn't pick up on it, he wasn't fully recovered in this chapter!) as well as his demeanor.

Hard to believe I've written this much. And with so much to go too! Thanks for sticking with me on this.

Until next chapter!