• Published 6th Jul 2012
  • 6,040 Views, 307 Comments

Legacy of the Pegasi - secret89

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

  • ...

Ch. 29: The Battle of Los Pegasus Part One

Legacy of the Pegasi:

Ch. 29: The Battle of Los Pegasus Part One

Windswept stood with the Typhonis at the edge of a dark cloud balcony. It was raised high in the sky, granting a view for miles all around. But viewing the horizon was hardly the goal. Instead the platform served as a point to command the Archon's many forces. The massive cloud fortress of Los Pegasus floated opposite from the platform. The sun slowly set behind the fortress, illuminating it in deep hues of orange and yellow. It was quite a sight, Windswept thought. It made what was to come all the more tragic.

Following Windswept's immersion into the Legacy Stream, Typhonis announced that he and the Tempest Guard were going to Los Pegasus. “The bulk of those who resist us reside there,” Windswept recalled the Archon's words. I intend to confront them directly. Typhonis hadn't explained what he meant by 'confront', but Windswept understood as much. What he feared was to come to pass. Everything around him proved as much.

Three massive pillars, the same that Windswept had witnessed before in Cloudsdale, stood before him. Upon their arrival the Archon had immediately set upon their construction. Storm stalkers poured forth from the spires, filling the lower sky-scape in such numbers that the ground below was obscured. The battalions hovered silently below, awaiting their master's command.

Typhonis stood utterly still next to Windswept, catatonic. Before entering his trance, he had told Windwept that he was going to negotiate with the fortresses' defenders. A surge in the legacy stream told Windswept all he needed.

In the time since the storm stalker legions continued to grow. Along with the stalkers came black-red thunderheads, billowing behind the platform with subdued rumbles. Slowly, two large tendrils stretched outward, beginning to encircle the city.

Am I really going to standby and watch this unfold? Windswept thought. He knew this wasn't right. No matter what Typhonis or Silver Wings said, the wholesale slaughter of pegasi, their race, their kin, could never be justified. But what could he do? Revealing his intentions now would be pointless. No, he would have to wait, and hope that his message through the legacy stream had reached the Wonderbolt. Though I'm not sure what it will do, he thought.

He had to hope. He had to try.

A presence alighted behind him.

“A fine evening, Windswept,” a smooth voice spoke.

Windswept turned to Silver Wings. “If you call killing our own a fine evening, then yes, I guess it is,” Windswept retorted.

The elder pegasus withdrew his hood, revealing a stern glare. “It is regrettable, but we do what must be done for the future of our race,” Silver Wings replied, joining him at the edge of the platform. “Sickness must be excised,” Silver gestured to Los Pegasus, “if the body is to survive.” He leveled another hard stare at Windswept. “You would do well to remember that.”

Windswept bit his tongue. He stared back at Silver Wings. “I want what is best for the pegasi-”

“What you want is irrelevant!” Silver Wings interjected. “There is only the Lord Archon's will. No other.”

Silence settled between the two.

“Despite your... dissent, I must congratulate you Windswept,” Silver Wings started again, walking between Windswept and Typhonis, “you stand here, the Lord Archon's own chosen Tempest Guard...” Silver trailed off. His lips curled into a fiendish grin.

Windswept knew that face. The calling card that signaled Silver Wing's many victories in the political chess game of the Senate. He never imagined he be on the receiving end.

“One would wonder what you have done to deserve such an honor.”

Windswept was taken aback. That's what this is about? Silver had been his mentor for years. Though he had never been quite as zealous as the elder pegasus, Windswept had at least considered Silver Wings a friend.

Now he wasn't so sure.

“You brought me into the Tempest Guard, Silver Wings,” Windswept said softly. “I thought you'd be proud.”

Silver's brow furrowed. “Welcomed you into our hallowed order, yes. Trained you, yes,” Silver's voice trailed off. A moment later he fixed Windswept with a cold glare. “Made you,” he seethed.

The air seemed to chill around them. The fur on Windswept's neck stood on end. His face remained like a stone, staring Silver Wings down. Internally he was anything but. Does he know? How could he possibly know?

“It would be most unfortunate if the Lord Archon were to learn of your... disloyalty,” Silver Wings finished, glancing up at the Archon.

“I have done more for the Tempest Guard and Typhonis than anypegasi!” Windswept shot back, baring his teeth. It was a truth, even if he regretted it.

Silver Wings was unfazed. “Perhaps. But do your intentions align with the Lord Archon?”

Windswept's eyes narrowed.

“You would do well to think on that, Windswept,” Silver Wings said, circling back around to Windswept, “I made you,” he said again. “And what is made can be undone.”

“Is that a threat?”

“A fact.”

He's bluffing. He couldn't possible know, Windswept thought. “You have nothing. And I have the Archon's confidence,” Windswept countered. He knew Silver Wings. He wouldn't be bullied.

“Maybe, maybe,” Silver replied. “For now.” He smirked, raising his hood. “I suppose time will tell.”

Windswept made to reply, but a sudden surge from his aura silence him.

A sudden gasp shattered the tension.

Typhonis took several deep breaths, stretching his limbs and wings.

“Greetings, my Lord Archon!” Silver Wings announced, bowing to Typhonis.

Typhonis' breath evened out. He sighed heavily, hard eyes cast toward Los Pegasus. “And to you, Silver Wings,” he replied softly.

Both pegasi waited with bated breath.

“Los Pegasus and her pegasi have rejected my overtures to join us.” He turned to both pegasi. All compassion was gone. “The Storm Stalkers will take the city. Silver, ready the reserves; I will call if I have need of them.”

“At once my lord!” Silver Wings replied gleefully. He shot Windswept a knowing glare, before taking to the wind.

Typhonis was silent once more. He continued to stare out toward Los Pegasus.

Storm Stalkers continued to pour forth from the spires, spilling into the air space below. All poised toward Los Pegasus. They'll fight, Windswept thought, gazing out at the city. His aura stretched for faint pulses of the pegasi beyond, yelling, screaming, yearning to warn its kindred. But they were deadened to the call. And they'll die.

I have to try, Windswept thought.

“My Lord Archon...,” Winswept started. “Is...is...”

The Archon said nothing, waiting.

Windswept gathered his courage. “Is this right?”

The Archon stiffened, but said nothing.

Typhonis turned to Windswept.

Windswept had expected anger or a rebuke, but received neither.

Typhonis sighed. His face softened, ears drooping slightly. “It is required, young Windswept. As I have said before, I do not desire to spill pegasi blood. But,” he paused, looking on again to Los Pegasus, “we must build the nation anew with only the best.”

“There's no other way?”

“No. There is not,” Typhonis said firmly.

Windswept stared at the Archon, mouth agape. All pretenses of decorum before Typhonis was gone.

Back in the Senate they hailed him as a savior, Windswept thought. Instead he's ushering in genocide.

Windswept slowly composed himself, eyes turned once more to Los Pegasus.

It was not lost on Typhonis.

“But, should any surrender, they will be spared,” Typhonis said. He turned his gaze to Los Pegasus. “I am not the monster you may think I am, Windswept. But I cannot tolerate opposition. If the Pegasus nation is to be restored, it must be of one, unified and resolute will.”

Your will, not theirs, Windswept thought bitterly.

Windswept's aura continued to scream out to it's unaware kin in the city beyond. It pounded at his mind, stewing his guilt anew.

He didn't try to silence it.

Soarin' stood still, his eyes glued to where the Archon had stood.

Silence filled the Acropolis, rooting everypegasi in place. Only the ominous roll of thunder rumbled outside.

Then again. Louder this time.

And again. Louder once more.

That's not right, he thought.

Soarin's eyes widened, realization striking him just as his aura flared.

He looked to Rainbow and Scootaloo, sharing the same thought.

He already has us.

“Sir!” A staff pegasus suddenly cut into the silence. “We're receiving reports of abnormal storm activity!”

“External comms are down!” Another called out.

Dark Shot rounded onto the map. “Where?”

“It's...it's...” the staff pegasus stuttered, bounding between several soldiers, leaning over to their terminals.

“Where?!” Dark Shot demanded again.

Soarin' moved aside Dark Shot.

“It's all around us,” he said grimly.

A second later the map lit up with the updated intel. A ring of thunderheads, highlighted in a red hue, surrounded Los Pegasus. It dwarfed the installation, bulging and pulsating as it grew, all the while slowly rotating around Los Pegasus like a hurricane.

“How in the-” Dark Shot started.

“It's the Archon's forces,” Soarin' stated.

“It's the same as Ponyville,” Rainbow added, joining Soarin'. “He'll hit us with the storm.”

Dark Shot raised a brow. “You're sure?”

“Can confirm sir,” Spitfire called out. “I've never seen a storm so powerful. Or unnatural.”

Dark Shot clenched his jaw, his gaze settling on the map. “I can deal with a stor-”

“Sir! Sir!” The staff pegasus called out again. “Bogeys! Bogeys inbound! Lots of them!”

“What?!” Soarin' and Dark Shot said together.

Both turned toward the map.

A light red haze suddenly spilled forth from the thunderhead ring. At first glance it seemed like it was fog. But that's not right, Soarin' thought.

“They're moving fast,” Spitfire said, peering over the map. There was a sharp edge to her voice. “Very fast.”

Soarin' shared an uneasy look between himself and Spitfire.

At the rate they were moving, Los Pegasus would be under attack in minutes.

“We don't have a lot of time before they reach us!” Spitfire said quickly.

“Sir, whatever they are, they mean to overrun the city!” Soarin' said urgently.

“I need eyes on those targets!” Dark Shot announced.

Seconds later the large crystal monitor suspended above the map sparked to life.

“Bringing up the best feed we have now sir,” a staff pegasus stated.

At first the sight was dim and hazy, only the blackened red horizon filling the screen. Then it cleared.

All eyes turned upward.

A spectral pegasus filled the screen, with a body made of the thunderhead and wings of lightning. Only red hued eyes marked the face; the rest was featureless. Electric daggers crackled at it's hooves.

Hundreds more filled the screen behind it.

A chill ran through Soarin's body. The Archon had brought a myth to life. His thoughts ran the same as Rainbow's and Scootaloo's. Stormstalkers.

“Holy stars above...” a voice sounded from the crowd. Other murmurs began to build.

Soarin's aura felt the sudden shift amongst the pegasi. Fear was giving way to panic.

Commander Dark Shot saw it as well. Quickly but calmly the pegasus pressed a switch on the console. He lifted a small headset to his mouth.

“Everypegasus, this is Supreme Commander Dark Shot.” His voice echoed throughout the facility. “The city is under attack. All personnel to your battle stations. Prepare to repel attackers! Commanders scramble your air wings, code word: BASTION.”

An alarm klaxon suddenly sounded. The Acropolis plunged momentarily into darkness, then returned to emergency red lights. An automated voice toned with the alarm klaxon, reiterating key information from Dark Shot's command. The rise and fall of the an air raid siren sounded outside, spreading the alert across the Los Pegasus airbase.

Controlled chaos finally erupted in the Arcropolis, staffers and soldiers alike rushing to and fro, manning their stations. Military chatter filled the air as reports were flung back and forth in the command center. Soarin' felt the panic subside, now a tenuous thrum held at bay by military training and Commander Dark Shot's orders.

“I need every able bodied soldier on the defense!” Dark Shot called out.

Luna looked to her sister, a silent agreement passing between them. “We shall aid in the effort.”

Dark Shot nodded curtly.

“Soarin'?” Rainbow sided up closer to him. There was determination on her face, despite the worry that laced her words. But not for herself, he realized. Rainbow held Scootaloo close, a wing wrapped tightly around the younger pegasus. Soarin' could see the unease on Scootaloo's face, even as he could feel her trying to quell it. “What do we need to do?” Rainbow said calmly. Even her aura put on a bold face, despite the quivers beneath it.

He winced internally. You're not going to like the answer.

“Soarin'!” Spitfire's voice rang out from the far edge of the Acropolis, near the entrance tunnel. “The armory! Let's go!”

He gave a curt nod to Spitfire.

“I have to defend the city,” he replied quickly to Rainbow, pulling away. Any longer and she would have seen the grimace on his face.

“Whoa, whoa whoa!” Rainbow said, joining Soarin's hasty trot. “What's this 'I' stuff you're talking about?” She accused.

Soarin's trot gave way to a gallop. Behind him Armis and Scootaloo followed. Luna and Celestia remained with Dark Shot.

“You're not a military pegasus Rainbow,” Soarin' argued.

“And since when has that stopped me, us,” she gestured violently amongst the group, “before?”

“Last time we didn't have a choice. We were in the fight before we knew there was one!” Soarin' countered. He gritted his teeth, his aural link to Rainbow straining. “This time there's a choice!”

“Really not the time you two!” Spitfire called over her shoulder.

Rainbow flew into the air above Soarin as they neared the exit. “To do what?! Stay in here and do nothing while you're out there fighting?!” She yelled. “We're the Legacy Bearers, it has to be us!”

Rainbow landed in front of Soarin' blocking the exit. “Hay, I can't believe you'd even think of something like that, after what we've done!”

Her words were angry, but Soarin' could hear the hurt beneath them; felt it in the strained link between them.

“I can't...” Soarin' seethed through clenched teeth.

“Can't what?” Rainbow said, stamping her hoof.

She had to make this difficult, Soarin' thought. “I can't risk you,” he said softly, leveling his gaze with her.

Rainbow's eyes widened for a moment. Her stance settled, ears drooping slightly. “O-oh.” A moment later she smirked. “And I'm not going to risk you.”

Soarin' raised his brow.

“So how about we not risk each other together?” Rainbow said with no small amount of sass.

“Ugh!” Spitfire groaned. “That made no sense and you're both morons. Let's go!”

The group followed Spitfire into the tunnel.

“Just promise me you'll be careful,” Soarin' said.

“We're a team,” Rainbow said, looking to Scootaloo. “We'll watch each others backs.” After a moment she frowned. She glanced at Scootaloo again. “Some more than others.”

“You're going to bring Scootaloo into this?!” Spitfire exclaimed over her shoulder. “Are you nuts?”

Quick as lightning Soarin' felt a sub-zero chill lash out from Scootaloo's aura, focused directly on Spitfire.

She leveled a vicious scowl at Spitfire. “I can take care of myself,” Scootaloo spat. “I don't need your help.” Despite her claims Soarin' could feel her trepidation vibrate from her aura. Fear for the events to come.

And mixed in was the disgust and hatred for Spitfire.

Soarin' looked at Scootaloo. She was distant, as was her aura. Scootaloo, what happened?

Rainbow shot a vicious glare at Scootaloo. The flash-freeze faded.

Whatever had happened between the two would have to wait, Soarin' reasoned. Nevertheless, Spitfire's concerns were valid.

She's just a kid, and I'm taking her into battle against a supernatural army, Soarin' thought. But we need her. Soarin' sighed. “The bearers can't be separated,” he said flatly to Spitfire.

“I will guard her with my life,” Armis stated. “Scootaloo shall not leave my side.”

Soarin' nodded, a measure of ease passing between himself and Rainbow. Soarin' saw Spitfire begin to bristle, but the mare said nothing. He tried to assuage her fears through his aura. I know its crazy Spits, you're just going to have to trust me on this one.

The group continued to trail Spitfire as she led them to the armory.

“Listen up!” Spitfire called out against the alarms. “BASTION means we have to protect the weather dispensers and the artillery batteries. The dispensers generate a field that's keeping the storm from overtaking Los Pegasus. Defend the dispensers and the batteries can open up on the enemy at range. After that we go in and clear out what's left. Simple.”

It sounded that way in theory, but Soarin' knew it wouldn't be easy.

The group dashed across the Acropolis court yard. Despite being in the early afternoon, the Archon's thunderheads had obscured the sun, enveloping the skyscape in sickly hues of pale yellows and violent purple-reds. The air raid siren continued to blare across the city. Air defense batteries along the inner and outer walls of the city scanned their sectors, ready to fill the sky with electrical firepower.

In the skies above the aerial batteries came to life. No longer floating dormant, Commander Dark Shot's orders activated the cities defenses, starting with the artillery and air defense batteries. The thunderheads sparked and churned with a barely restrained power. Electricity danced along the crystal barrels as the turrets slowly turned toward the red-hued horizon.

Scores of pegasi squadrons flew in formations, poised safely outside the line of fire of the batteries, but ready at a moments notice to attack. Additional squadrons scrambled from their aerial runways, urged on by the air raid sirens.

Other groups of ground-borne pegasi dashed in a frenzy across the yard. Some to the towers, other support personnel to the aerial platforms. Urgent commands littered the air, adding to the chaos and fighting against the droning siren.

A terrifying adrenaline rush shot through Soarin', stoked by the sirens. He was at a full gallop now, grateful to funnel the manic energy that clawed at him. His mind was laser focused along with every pegasi in the city; he had to be or he would lose himself.

Holy shit, this is happening!

He nearly forgot the two that relied on him. He urged a calmness onto himself, trying to anchor Rainbow and Scootaloo. Rainbow's aura was rattled, but still held focus. Scootaloo was barely keeping it together.

Soarin' pulled to them both, steadying them as best he could. It helped, but only so.

The armory was just ahead. Soarin' saw Fleetfoot and several other Wonderbolts urgently wave them on.

Spitfire led the group through the door way, pushing past the tide of armed soldiers that poured forth like a fire-hose. Soarin' felt their fleeting auras as they passed by. Saw the wide eyed fear in glimpses as they rushed to their shouting leaders.

The armory was largely empty now, save for the remaining dozen or so Wonderbolts from Soarin' and Spitfire's squad. The siren still rang outside, muffled by the thick interior of the armory. The sudden calmness was deafeningly eerie.

“Soarin', Spitfire!” Fleetfoot said. “We just got word; your gears' over here!”

Without a thought Soarin' hastily began to don his armor, the same as from their excursion into the Everfree. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Fleetfoot guide Rainbow and Scootaloo to a similar set of gear.

Soarin' quickly pulled his black flight suit on, but his adrenaline got the better of him. His hooves shook as he fumbled with his chest piece. Damn-it, come-on! He cursed to himself.

Spitfire, now fully equipped, jumped over to help Soarin'. “Soarin',” She said calmly as she pulled at the straps on his chest piece, “Scootaloo..., are you sure?” Her voice shook.

Soarin' swallowed as Spitfire gave a another violent tug at his armor. He quickly strapped the remaining armor to his forelegs and clasped the serrated shoes to his hooves.

“It has to be her Spits,” Soarin' said lowly, as Spitfire finished attaching the blades to his wings. “If we're going to have any kind of chance, she has to.”

He wanted to choke on his words.

He turned to face Spitfire. The mare bit her lip, and nodded. She hoofed Soarin' his helmet.

Both turned to the rest of the group. Every Wonderbolt was full equipped, save for the helmets tucked under their wings. Each shared the same uneasy look. Only two stood out.

Rainbow had opted to keep her relic on, fitting Wonderbolt armor where she could.

Soarin's eyes zeroed in on Scootaloo, garbed in combat armor. He nearly lost his composure.

Spitfire did.

She buckled slightly, but caught herself as she strode to Scootaloo. Spitfire's aura was a well of concern and worry, all for Scootaloo.

“Scootaloo,” Spitfire said evenly. “I guess I can't make you change your mind? Not if these two need you?”

Scootaloo's eyes narrowed on the Wonderbolt. The same icy shock jumped through her aura. “What's it matter to you?”

Spitfire visibly recoiled.

Rainbow's mouth dropped. Soarin' was similarly stunned speechless.

Spitfire swallowed. “I just want you to be safe, okay?” She said gently.

Scootaloo scowled, baring her teeth. “Now you want to be concerned?” She took a step, her muzzle closing to Spitfire's.

Spitfire's confused eyes shot from Soarin' and Rainbow back to Scootaloo. “Scootaloo..., I don't understand. Please.” Spitfire pleaded. “What did I do?”

The ice from Scootaloo exploded into a fireball.

“What did you do?” Scootaloo seethed. She began to pace around Spitfire. “What did you do?!” She bellowed. “It's what you couldn't do,” Scootaloo hissed. “What you didn't do.” She flared her wings, squaring up against Spitfire. She shook with anger. “You're not Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo yelled, thrusting her hoof at Spitfire.

Spitfire was at a loss. “Scootaloo, I don't understand. Please-”

“Of course you don't,” Scootaloo said silently. Tears formed at her eyes.

Stark images of Scootaloo's parents trapped under a wreckage of wood and steel flooded Soarin's mind. Scootaloo no!

“BECAUSE YOU LET THEM DIE!” Scootaloo screamed at Spitfire. “Rainbow Dash would have saved them!” Her eyes frantically searched nowhere, lost in thought. “No...” she said softly. Her eyes refocused with a terrifying clarity, narrowing again on Spitfire. “YOU KILLED THEM! MY PARENTS ARE DEAD BECAUSE OF YOU!”

Spitfire stumbled backward, falling to her haunches.

A massive explosion sounded outside. The facility rumbled from the shockwave, throwing Soarin' and several other Wonderbolts to the floor.

A second later the steel door to the armory swung open, violently slamming against the wall.

LTC Pilus stood in the doorway.

“What the hell are you doing?!” He yelled over the renewed anger of the siren. His face was twisted into a rage that Soarin' have never witnessed before. “We barely missed a direct hit from enemy artillery! Enemy squadrons are already on top of us!” He pointed to the sky.

Soarin' caught his breath in his throat.

Storm stalkers filled the sky, engaged in aerial dog fights with pegasi squadrons. Massive lightning bolts lit up the sky as the Los Pegasus artillery finally came to life. The discharge reverberated throughout the facility. Smaller air defense batteries droned in spurts of high intensity electrical that filled the sky.

“Get your sorry flanks into the air and defend the dispensers! Lose them and enemy artillery will eat us alive!”

Everything moved.

Soarin' didn't have time to speak to his squad-mates. To Fleetfoot, as he and the rest of the Wonderbolts thrust on their helmets and flew past LTC Pilus. Didn't have time to speak to Rainbow and Scootaloo as he felt his hooves carry him through the doorway. Only Scootaloo's latent anger lingered upon the aural threads, replaced by the insurmountable fear brought back by LTC Pilus.

He didn't get a chance to speak to Spitfire. His eyes met with hers only for a moment, filled with worry, sorrow and heartbreak. Memories from the aftermath of Ponyville raced past Soarin'. Of Spitfire's guilt.

Her eyes disappeared behind a cold visor.

Suddenly he was airborne. Spitfire had disappeared into the dark sky above. Only Rainbow, Scootaloo and Armis trailed behind him now.

The air raid siren continued it's damnable cadence, beckoning him.

Training took over. Soarin' thrust his helmet on, and after muttering a small prayer, joined the battle.

Thousands upon thousands of storm stalkers spilled into the sky around Los Pegasus. They flew in packs, shadowy hoards descending upon the city. Air raid sirens blared from Los Pegasus. The city's air defense batteries spewed electrical discharge in the air tearing into the storm stalkers. Entire formations of the Archon's forces were obliterated in a single strike, but where one pack was destroyed another rushed into fill the gap. So too did this occur all around Los Pegasus, slowly tightening the noose around the city.

As the storm stalkers began their dive toward the city, its defenders rose to meet them. Formations of pegasi squadrons scrambled from Los Pegasus and its aerial runways, determined to save the city.

And die for it.

Windswept watched numbly as the battle unfolded before him. The Archon's forces outnumbered Los Pegasus ten to one. Air defense from Los Pegasus was efficient and brutal, but those storms stalkers who survived still outnumbered the city five to one.

Here the storm stalkers were their most savage. They descended like wolves onto the pegasi, viciously tearing into the squadrons. Diving storm stalkers skewered pegasi at high speed, scattering the formations. Aerial dogfights ensued, stalkers ruthlessly dispatching the panicked defenders as their attacks harmlessly passed through the nightmare creatures.

Windswept couldn't hear the screams from his perch. He felt them in his aura. Every. Single. One.

Typhonis remained next to Windswept, unmoving. Only his stoic and stony gaze moved, scanning the battle.

For a time, a quick victory seemed certain. The storm stalkers reached the walls of the city, even managing to silence a number of the powerful batteries that delayed the bulk of the Archon's forces. Windswept could only hope. A quick victory would lessen the loss of life.

But, the tempo of the battle began to shift. The silenced guns began to fire once more. The storm stalkers numbers began to thin in combat. By some random stroke, the pegasi had found a way to permanently dispel the tethered spirit within the Stalkers.

Victory was still certain, there was no doubt. But instead of a lightning quick strike, Los Pegasus would only be secured through bloody attrition and death.

Typhonis stirred next to Windswept.

He pulled a scepter from beneath his wing, studying it in his hooves. A large, wild and uncut ruby was mounted on top of the amethyst scepter. The gem glowed faintly from within, the colors of fire swirling about.

Windswept noted the foreign markings along the scepter. Is that dragon script? He thought. Why did Typhonis have something like that? It appeared to be magical. Yet, up until now, Typhonis had made a point to rely on his own power or those of the pegasi.

“Is that draconic?” Windswept asked, watching Typhonis turn the scepter over in his hooves.

“Indeed it is,” Typhonis replied said, still studying the pommel.

Whatever it was, it was old, that much Windswept could tell. And it consumed the Archon's attention, despite the slowed battle before him.

Windswept's aura squirmed uncomfortably. He was inclined to agree.

“What is it for?” Windswept asked, though he wasn't sure he wanted to know.

Typhonis held the scepter upright, pointing the ruby toward the sky. The ember glows within the gem suddenly pulsed, escaping the confines of the ruby. The embers spun about the gem, coalescing into a dense ball of fire. It then abruptly stopped, and shot into the sky. Seconds passed. The fireball exploded in the highest reaches of the sky, emitting a fiery ring that expanded across the horizon.

Typhonis tucked the scepter under his wing once more. He regarded Windswept. “A means to end this battle.”

Windswept opened his mouth to question Typhonis again, but was cut off a deathly guttural roar that sounded behind him.

“By the stars, what was that?” Windswept exclaimed, spinning about.

“Ah, they are closer than I anticipated,” Typhonis nodded. “Good.”

They?” Windswept thought, cautiously watching the skies.

The roar sounded again, followed by the distinct flapping of wings. But no wings that Windswept was familiar with. They came in large and powerful swooshes, seemingly sounding a thunder all their own. One thing was for sure. These were not pegasi.

The thunderheads suddenly parted. Out of which emerged a massive, jet black dragon.

Windswept gasped, taken aback by the sudden appearance.

The beast was absolutely huge, easily a hundred times larger than a pegasus. It was covered in robust scales that rippled and stretched at the fibrous muscles beneath. Four limbs extended from the dragon's barrel. The forelegs extended from large, rounded shoulders and ended in four fingered claws; themselves large enough to grasp several pegasi at a time with ease. These were accompanied by slightly smaller but powerful hind legs. The body tapered to a long tail that whipped violently, tipped with a barb. The dragon's head was sharp and angular, like an arrowhead. A pair of aggressive horns curved backward from just behind the skull. Even with its maw closed Windswept could clearly see the rows of razor teeth that neatly lined the dragons jaws, punctuated by two massive fangs that hung from the dragons upper jaw.

Windswept gaped at the sight.

The massive creature flew across the pegasi, it's massive body filing past like a train. Windswept caught sight of the being's eye as it past. Housed around a scaled brow, the eye was larger than himself. In a split second the orange-red eye fixed him with a narrow black slit.

Windswept nearly fell from his feet as the dragon flew past, the hellish eye burned into his mind.

“Do not be intimidated, Windswept,” Typhonis said calmly. “Dragons thrive on fear and their own ego. This, display,” Typhonis gestured with his wing toward the dragon, as it pulled into a large turn, “is nothing but a means to frighten us.”

Windswept swallowed, trying to still his beating heart. “Right. S-sure. No problem,” he said shakily. Windswept watched as the dragon came around, heading squarely toward the two. He resisted the urge to drop off the cloud. Because the largest, most terrifying dragon I've ever seen is nothing to be worried about!

At the last second the dragon reared upward, flapping its leather bound wings forward, blasting wind at Typhonis and Windswept. The former was unfazed at the action, while the latter found himself thrown off his feet by the powerful gust.

Windswept slowly got to his hooves, never once taking his eyes off the dragon.

The dragon hovered in mid air, eyes locked on Typhonis. They narrowed. The dragon growled a low, guttural growl. Gray wisps of smoke curled out from between the dragon's teeth and nostrils.

“A pegasus?” The dragon spoke slowly, deeply. His words were punctuated by growls and hisses, fresh smoke coming in puffs as his breathed. “How is it that you have obtained the power to summon me?”

Typhonis said nothing. He smiled slyly.

The dragon's eyes widened. “Speak!” The dragon bellowed, flames spurting forth from his maw.

Windswept nearly lost his balance again. He could feel the blast of hot air pass him by, but it was a distant second to the absolute fright that was running his insides ragged.

The dragon hovered closer to Typhonis, craning it's neck over the Archon. His eyes narrowed again. “Do not trifle with me, pegasus. Who are you?” The dragon threatened in a low voice.

“I see the dragons have changed little since my time,” Typhonis said. He flapped his wings, coming to a hover, eye level with the dragon. He smirked. “ As arrogant, egotistical and narcissistic as ever.”

The dragon roared.

Windswept dropped to his haunches, clamping his hooves down over his ears.

The dragon swung his neck around, his mighty maw opened to a massive intake of air. The dragon's chest expanded. Windswept heard the telltale rumble of dragon-fire breath begin to build, scales along the dragon's underside glowing brightly.

The Archon hovered in place, unfazed.

“Typhonis!” Windswept called out.

The dragon's head coiled back, readying to let loose a stream of flames.

In a sudden, rapid motion Typhonis produced the draconic scepter. “I wouldn't do that if I were you,” he said, pointing the scepter toward the dragon like a puppeteer to a marionette.

The dragon's body relaxed, the glowing scales around his body beginning to fade. Billowing smoke escaped from the dragons mouth. The dragon's head came within a few hooves of Typhonis. “That...,” the dragon started slowly, “is the Draconic Scepter of the Dragon Lord.” There was no malice in his voice now. “It has been lost for thousands of years.” The dragon's eyes narrowed. “Where did you obtain it?”

“Simple, really,” Typhonis chuckled. “I took it from it's former master.”

“You lie!” The dragon hissed. “None can wield the Draconic Scepter, save for the reigning Dragon Lord!”

“Dragon Lord indeed,” Typhonis grinned.

“I will kill you and return what has been lost!” The dragon bellowed, raising a his claw to swipe at Typhonis.

Typhonis did not move. He raised the scepter once more. The ruby at the tip glowed.

The dragon froze mid swipe, as if a force had suddenly apprehended it's body. Only the eyes continued to move, bugging out in alarm. Random spurts of smoke escaped the dragons mouth.

Typhonis kept the scepter raised. He flicked it to the left.

The dragon's foreleg jutted in an awkward, clockwork fashion.

Typhonis grinned wickedly.

By the stars, Windswept thought. A power over the dragons?

Such a thing was unheard of. Dragons were by their nature inherently magical, and as such near immune to all but the most powerful of unicorn magics.

And yet, here he was witnessing Typhonis toying with the dragon like a puppet.

Typhonis flicked the scepter once more, causing the dragon's wings to snap shut.

The dragon's eyes bulged again, panicky tufts of smoke puffing from it's nostrils.

“Do you have a name, dragon?” Typhonis asked casually, flicking the scepter again, forcing one of the dragon's claws to shove into it's nostril.

The dragon growled.

“Well? Speak!” Typhonis demanded, still grinning madly. “You were all words before.”

He flicked the scepter again.

The dragon's claw retracted from it's nostril.

“Is there something wrong?” Another flick of the scepter.

The dragon's claw went to it's throat. Each talon bit into the dragon's soft under-scales.

The dragon's eyes bulged again, frantic puffs of smoke billowing from it's nostrils.

Typhonis drew near to the dragon's head. His expression suddenly darkened. He rolled the scepter over in his hooves.

The dragon's claw tightened it's grip. Scales snapped as drips of dragonblood dropped from it's talons. Windwept winced as he watched the dragon's choking reflex gag; it could not move against the scepter.

“Pegasus got your tongue?”

Windswept sided up next to the Archon. “Um, my lord?” Windswept said, pointing to the scepter.

With absolutely no surprise, Typhonis followed Windswept's hoof to the scepter.

“Ah yes, of course,” Typhonis said lightly. He rolled the scepter in his hooves once more, releasing the dragon's claw. He then raised the scepter to his lips. “Renthisj.”

The dragon suddenly gasped, his mouth freed. Smoke and jets of fire sputtered forth. “Karshoj wux!” The dragon managed to mutter between breaths.

“Cursing will get you nowhere,” Typhonis said flatly. He raised the scepter once more. “I will only ask once more: what is your name?”

The dragon stilled. It regarded Typhonis for a moment, breathing slowed. “I am called Aradace.”

“Very well, dragon Aradace. I am Typhonis, Lord Archon of Storms.” He fixed the dragon with a calculating gaze. “Henceforth, you will serve me.”

Deep reverberating booms echoed, from the dragon.

Laughter, Windswept thought. The dragon was laughing.

“Nay, I will do no such thing so called pegasus lord,” The dragon said, continuing to chuckle. “The lion does not kneel to the gnat. I serve only the dragon lord.”

“Indeed you shall. I am he, the dragon lord before you.”

“You blaspheme!” The dragon roared. Aradace snapped forward, intent on taking Typhonis into his powerful jaws.

Typhonis flipped the scepter.

Aradace's mouth snapped shut, frozen. He landed atop the dragon's mouth.

“Listen well dragon,” Typhonis sneered. “I am Typhonis, Lord Archon of Storms. The last surviving pegasus of the Skythan Empire. Perhaps you have heard of it? The noble warriors who put down your savage race.” He spat into the dragon's eye.

The dragon's mouth stirred. Straining, it opened slightly. “Myth...”

“NO!” Typhonis bellowed, clenching the scepter tight. The dragon's jaws snapped together once more. Audible cracks sounded, splitting dragon teeth.

“Not a myth! Flesh and blood!” Typhonis yelled, stamping forcefully into the dragons snout. “I tire of this time's willful ignorance of the pegasi! The true pegasi!” The legacy of the pegasi shall not be forgotten! By the stars above and by its every son and daughter, we will not be condemned to the ravages of time!”

Windswept gawked at the Archon. Unrestricted rage and fury whirled about the Archon's aura. It pressed into Windswept, like a great weight had been strung around his own aura.

Then, it subsided.

Slightly more composed, Typhonis continued. “I was amongst the legions, over seven thousand years ago. Back when your tribes still threatened our small and solitary mountain home. And it was there that I slew your so called dragon lord.” Typhonis stared directly into the dragon's eye. “Dragon tradition dictates the new dragon lord must assume his mantle through mortal combat. You know this to be true,” Typhonis grinned slyly. “Whether you accept it or not, by your own tenets, I am your dragon lord!”

Windswept could see the dragon continue to struggle at Typhonis' words. Erratic puffs of smoke came in jets from between his clenched teeth.

Typhonis leaned in toward the dragon. His voice was lowered, just barely enough for Windswept to hear. “I own you,” Typhonis sneered, “and every last one of your miserable race.”

He twisted the scepter sharply.

Something snapped. Windswept winced. Something bone.

The dragon stilled. A barely repressed whine sounded from his throat.

Typhonis retreated from Aradace's snout. He gave the scepter a flourish. “You will force the city to submit,” Typhonis said curtly, as the dragon gingerly exercised it's jaw.

Windswept's jaw dropped.

Despite it's nature, Windswept was able to pick out the signs of pain from Aradace. His breathing was deeper, as if he were trying to nurse the injury without showing it.

“Nothing more. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Aradace replied shortly, avoiding eye contact with Typhonis. The dragon gingerly massaged his jaw

Typhonis raised a brow.

Aradace bowed his head. “Yes, my lord,” he hissed.


Aradace immediately flung his head back, unleashing a tremendous roar. The sound wave shook the space around him, violently shaking the cloud platform. Windswept clamped down over his ears once again, dropping to his knees to steady himself.

A massive gust of wind washed over Windswept as Aradace took off, disappearing into the storm cloud from where he had appeared.

Aradace's roar sounded again. It was followed by another, and another, and another. Other, ferocious roars sounded into the sky. Some low and guttural, others sharp and screeching. Windswept lost count, as the savage sounds blended together.

Without warning, an intense orange color glowed from within the thunderhead. A second later a massive fireball flew overhead. Windswept felt the oppressive heat bear down on him as the fiery blast traveled across the sky.

Soon another fireball followed. Then another and another.

The swooshing of wings sounded, mimicked many times over.

Aradace reappeared, bursting forth and heading toward Los Pegasus.

Scores of dragons of varying shapes and sizes followed. Some tailed close to Aradace, others dove downward. Still others opted to took to greater heights into the sky, raining fireballs downward onto the battle below.

Between thirty and forty of the beasts bore down onto the pegasi, all under the Archon's will.

Windswept couldn't believe what he was seeing. A dragon horde! Set upon their own! Stars above, Windswept thought. His aura was equally shocked. It raged at the Archon, it pulled for it's trapped kin, those imprisoned within the Stalkers and the pegasi who would now die from razor claw and dragon-fire.

And here Windswept stood. Complicit in it all. “Ancestors forgive me...”

Typhonis rejoined Windswept on the platform.

His proximity broke Windswept's reverie.

“This is your solution?” Windswept exclaimed, surprising even himself with his own candor. “To set dragons on our own!?”

“It is better this way. More efficient.”

More efficient?” Windswept echoed incredulously.

Typhonis rounded onto Windswept in a blur, closing within an inch of his face.

“Yes! A long and drawn out battle will only cause more death, more suffering! The momentum has stalled; new momentum is required, thus the dragons! They will be brutal, they will incite fear and doubt, and they will bring this foray to a close!”

There was logic in Typhonis' argument, Windswept could see that much. Cold and calculating. Lives would be saved. But it was the Archon's willingness to set a horde of dragons on his own kind without a second thought that troubled Windswept. What would the Cloudsdale pegasi think of this? Their new leader? How could they follow him?

Typhonis retreated, distancing himself from Windwept. He took a deep breath. “Lives will be saved. A means to an end.” He turned away from Windswept, surveying the battle.

“I understand.” Windswept said lifelessly.

Silence settled between the two. The orchestra of battle resumed in focus, accompanied by raining fire.

The longer Windswept spent with the Archon, the worse he felt. He could feel the creeping filth once more, a pungent stench that enveloped him. It stewed around him, stoked on by his aura.


Windswept bowed his head. His aura continued to feed him the weight of every snuffed out soul.

Thousands of pegasi filled the sky around Los Pegasus, several wings of aerial soldiers deployed in groups and squadrons against the Archon's forces. Additional formations continued to scramble from the aerial runways as the city fortress deployed every wing and squadron in her defense. Long range and short range anti-personnel artillery fired discharges throughout the air space, raining down on the approaching swarms of storm stalkers, bursting violently. The continuous stream of firepower formed a protective, explosive barrier around Los Pegasus. Viewed from above it looked like a glowing, blooming flower, surrounding the city. It's intensity formed a vibrant ring, a self sustaining shield that glowed with every explosion, fed by stream after stream of electrical hellfire. All against the backdrop of the black-red thunderheads that surrounded the city-fortress.

But numbers prevailed. The mindless horde of storm stalkers broke through the electrical hellfire, driving through the dissipating corpses of their brethren. The storm stalkers attacked in waves from all sides. No anti-personnel fire existed in this safe zone for fear of friendly fire. Though thinned, the black waves crashed against the city's squadrons, the city's last line of defense.

Lightning and thunder filled the air around Soarin', Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts. It was constant, thousands of electrical volleys and their accompanying thunderous booms flooding the air space around Los Pegasus. The shockwaves, both near a far cut through the air, buffeting the air around him.

Soarin' could only react, he didn't have time to think. His heart thudded in his chest as pure adrenaline took over. It dampened the raging fear that threatened him, and called upon the training that guided him. His mind was laser focused, bolstered by the tense connection to Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo. Even now he could see the faint aura's of the pegasi manifest, tiny beacons in the darkened sky.

Spitfire led the squadron above, allowing the group a moment to survey the battle-space. Unending waves of storm stalkers, weakened from the artillery fire, were attempting to bypass pegasi squadrons with suicidal intent.

They're going for the city! Soarin' realized. That means-

LTC Pilus' voice crackled over the comm into Soarin's helmet.

Phoenix 6, this is Falcon 6, get your squadron to the western batteries! Their targets are the dampeners! Stop them!”

Without a word Spitfire banked hard to the right, pulling the squadron into a vicious dive.

Soarin' squinted through his visor, straining to follow her. The constant silver flash of lightning artillery made it difficult to see; only the HUD in his helmet and Spitfire's brighter aura kept him tethered to her.

He barely had time to relay the aural thought to Rainbow and Scootaloo. Stay close to each other!

Incoming!” Fleetfoot's voice broke over the comm. “Nine o'clock low!”

Soarin's eyes jerked to the left. A small, broken group of storm stalkers flew like bullets toward the city. If they stayed on this course they would barrel straight into the Legacy Bearers and the Wonderbolts

Clear a path!” Spitfire called out.

Soarin' rolled left, Fleetfoot and several other Wonderbolts following his lead. The storm stalkers remained on their course, undeterred.

Soarin' beat his wings harder, angling downward and gaining greater speed. He aimed for the lead stalker and angled his wings backward, holding them steady.

Gravity did the rest. Soarin' and the Wonderbolts who trailed behind him cut across the stalkers' formation, striking with bladed hooves and wings. The group dissipated into black cloud vapor.

Soarin' wheeled about, re-joining Spitfire and the rest of the Wonderbolts. Lightning continued to blast across the sky darkening Soarin's visor, while thunderous booms rattled through his skull.

The group tore across the sky toward their target. Streams of stalkers poured toward the city. Pegasi squadrons dove from above to intercept them.

Soarin' swallowed hard, but his mouth was dry. Stars above...

The pegasi were up against a wall.

Several storm stalkers blocked their path ahead, but were quickly dispatched by allied pegasi. Spitfire and Soarin' burst through the dissipating monsters, leading the Wonderbolts forward.

The western batteries and their associated dampeners came into view. Soarin's heart dropped into his stomach.

Storm stalkers were on top of the battery. They darted like feral predators, isolating pegasi soldiers. The gun was silent as artillery pegasi fought bravely to defend their station, but it was a losing battle.

Drive them off!” Spitfire snarled.

Soarin' gritted his teeth. We'll do better than that.

Seconds later the group descended upon the storm stalkers. Soarin' angled toward his target; a storm stalker reared with daggers drawn above an injured pegasus. Soarin' impacted like a meteor into a storm stalker, destroying it.

His aura shivered as the black vapor washed over his coat. A momentary horror washed over it, but it disappeared with the fallen stalker.

Soarin' barely registered the oddity; he couldn't stop now.

“Get back on the gun!” He bellowed over the din of artillery fire. He pulled the bewildered pegasus to his hooves. “If you die we all die!”

The faint aura around the panicked pegasus pulsed. His eyes bulged behind Soarin'. “Look out!”

Soarin' spun around. He barely had time to push at his wings, rolling away as a second storm stalker impacted were he had been seconds before.

Soarin' rolled into a low crouch, hooves tense, ready to move. His eyes settled onto his opponent.

His breath hitched in his chest. For the first time Soarin' squared up, face to face with a Storm Stalker. For a moment, adrenaline failed him. Colt-hood nightmares stood only a few hooves away. The beast had neither mouth or nose, only two hazy red glows where the eyes should have been. A greater red orb glowed in a similar fashion within the stalker's chest, tendrils feeding the eyes. Skeletal wings charged with an electric current brandished at either side and crackling daggers were affixed to its hooves.

Soarin' aura shivered again, and so did he. A sense of defilement touched him.

Soarin' steeled himself, pulling away from the red eyes.

Behind the stalker the rest of the Wonderbolts were similarly engaged; on the defense and unsure how to fight this foe. Spitfire and Fleetfoot were back to back, dodging and weaving around several of the stalkers. Rainbow Dash stood defensively beside Scootaloo, while the younger mare leaned in close to her elder. Only Armis fought without restraint, thrusting his lance with calculated strikes at stalkers who came near.

The team formed a tight circle around the entrance to the battery. Now the stalkers closed in, their greater numbers tightening the noose.

The pegasus behind Soarin' scrambled back into the firing cabin of the lightning battery. A high pitched screech filled the air, as the gun began to charge. Electrical tendrils crawled along the main conduits, gathering around the weapon's barrel. The screech reached an ear shattering crescendo, then immediately fell silent. A deafeningly silent flash of lightning erupted from the charge, followed by a thunderous boom that shook the airspace with a shock wave.

All gathered around the battery were thrown from their hooves, pegasi and storm stalker alike. Soarin's visor darkened to save his eyes, but without sight he began to panic.

Shit, shit, shit! Where is it? He stumbled about, bracing for a strike.

His aura flared. Low, right, left. Three times he dodged. He could feel the electrical strikes pass by. His visor was nearly transparent once more. His aura flared again. Over. Over? Over!

Soarin' heaved his wings, catapulting himself forward, over the stalker as it thrust forward with both hooves.

He spun around. The stalker had already recovered and was on the attack once more.

The stalker suddenly jabbed, aiming for Soarin's neck. The Wonderbolt dodged to the side, the blades crackling in his ear. The stalker continued to advance, rearing upward into the air. It came downward, swiping several times with it's hooves. Each time the blades inched closer and closer to Soarin's neck, the bluish charge raising the hair around his throat.

He couldn't dodge forever; the stalker's pursuit was relentless. Need to find an opening! Soarin' thought, rolling away once more as the stalker brought an overhead strike where he had been moments before.

Got one!” Rapidfire's voice broke over the comm. “Wait, what the-?”

Out of the corner of his eye Soarin' saw the dark vapor swirl violently around Rapidfire.

Soarin's aura lurched again.

The stalker swung wide at Soarin', intent in cleaving his head from his body.


He ducked low, then pushed forward with his wings. Soarin' brought his bladed hoof in an upward strike. It easily cut through the stalker's skull, decapitating it.

Agh!” Rapidfire pained voice cut through the comm.

Out of the corner of his eye Soarin' saw Rapidfire crumpled on the ground, grasping a wound in his shoulder. A storm stalker reared above him to deliver a fatal blow

Soarin' started to move, but he was too far away.

A orange-yellow blur shot past, pulling Rapidfire away from the stalker's mortal strike.

Soarin's aura lit in alarm, traces of Rainbow in it.

“Soarin! Behind you!” Rainbow's voice called out.

But he had already started to move. Black vapor from the defeated Storm Stalker swirled a convulsed violently in front of him.

How in the-

An electric hoof sprung forth from the spawn, aimed at Soarin's head. The rest of the Stalker's body followed.

It was too close to dodge. Soarin's tensed, turning his head slightly. The blade scraped his helmet, but the black hoof still connected with a sharp crack.

Pain swirled with Soarin's thoughts as he was thrown backward. I... didn't kill it?

He stumbled backward, colliding roughly into the cloud-stone of the battery behind him.

His aura exploded in alarm, pushing past the throbbing in his skull.

Without thinking he rolled to the right. The storm stalker's vicious punch impacted the cloud-stone, blasting a head sized chunk free.

Soarin' pushed at his wings, putting some distance between himself and the stalker.

The stalkers continued their wolfish strikes and baits, slowly tightening around the Wonderbolts.

Not looking good Captain,” Fleetfoot's voice cut into the static.

We're not leaving!” Spitfire countered.

Reports began to pour in over the alternate frequencies. Killed stalkers reforming and mounting casualties.

This is bad, Soarin' thought. They couldn't abandon the battery. Any loss of long range artillery support would create an opening in the dead space around Los Pegasus; the Archon's forces would overwhelm them. Worse still, the attacking storm stalkers would spread from battery to battery, and ultimately overwhelm the Acropolis. “How the hell are we supposed to beat these things?!”

“Aim for their very spirit!” Armis called out. “'Tis the only way they shall fall!”

Soarin' dived low, barely dodging an aerial slam from his opponent. He landed roughly onto the ground, near Armis. “Spirit? What in tartarus does that mean?”

Armis thrust forward with his lance, skewering two stalkers at once, straight through the red cores within them. Both flailed like they were possessed by demons, silently twisting about like no normal pegasus could. The red orb within the stalkers pulsed, then abruptly winked out. Both lost their form, dissolving into vapor.

Armis flicked his weapon free of stalker remains. “Vanquished!”

The storm stalker rounded onto Soarin' from above, electric wings blazing. “Fleetfoot!” Soarin' called out as he broke into a gallop. “Relay to command and all nearby units: strike them in the chest! Aim for the orb!”

Got it!” Fleetfoot called out over his shoulder, still juggling two advancing stalkers.

Soarin' glanced over his shoulder. The stalker shadowed him from above. Com'on, take the bait you bastard...

The stalker's wings flashed. Electricity snapped as the stalkers dove, with hoof outstretched and blade aimed for Soarin'.

Soarin' slammed on the brakes, sliding around and pumping his wings. He called upon his aura and powers of the bearers, focusing on his wings. With a single, mighty heave he blasted to full speed like a bullet.

Impressively, the stalker was unfazed, still tracking him.

Soarin' rolled upside down, bladed hoof outstretched. The stalker's strike passed harmlessly beneath him, but Soarin's found its mark. His bladed hoof punctured the stalker's chest, giving way to the orb within. His attack continued, and through sheer momentum Soarin' bisected the stalker from chest to hind quarters.

There was no chill from Soarin's aura this time; only a triumphant cheer, strangely directed at his foe.

The two parts thudded to the ground. The red eyes flashed violently one final time, and then dissolved into mist with the rest of the corpse.

Armed with the stalkers' weakness, the Wonderbolts and the Bearers were able to gain ground; though still with difficulty. The stalkers were relentless in their pursuit.

After what seemed like hours the pegasi thinned the enemy formation. An airborne Spitfire felled the remaining stalker, deftly parrying an electric dagger with her armored fore-hoof. The charge flowed within her armor to her opposite hoof. She gathered the charge on her blade, then buried it into the stalker's chest. The lifeless stalker landed to the ground with a dull thud, then burst into a shadowy mist.

Soarin' rejoined Rainbow and Scootaloo. “Are you both okay?”

“Y-yeah,” Rainbow replied. She was visibly shaken, but Soarin' felt her aura's strength. “Yeah,” she said again, a bit calmer. “I'm good.” She smirked. “Gonna take a little more than some zombie-clouds to rattle me.”

He turned to Scootaloo. “Scootaloo?”

The young mare swallowed, nodding silently.

“Just stick with Rainbow and focus on your aura, okay?” Soarin' said, placing a hoof on her shoulder. “We'll get through this, together.”

Scootaloo nodded again, wide eyed.

The remainder of the squadron regrouped, forming a defensive perimeter around the bearers. From what Soarin' could tell, the battle seemed have worked into a lull. Only small groups of stalkers remained near Los Pegasus, and armed with the knowledge to put them down, were rapidly disintegrating. Furthermore, the seemingly endless tide of stalkers had ceased.

“Did we win?” Rainbow said, tapping into Soarin's thoughts.

Dark storm clouds still circled Los Pegasus, red hues illuminated by flashes of lightning. For now, they remained at bay, held back by the city's dampeners.

Soarin' grimaced, shaking his head. “No. No, not yet.”

“The Traitor is merely testing us,” Armis said, planting his lance defiantly into the ground. “More will come.”

Spitfire landed roughly next to Soarin', Fleetfoot, followed a second later.

“HaHA!” Fleetfoot cheered, pumping his hooves to an invisible foe. “That'll teach those bastards to mess with the Wonderbolts!”

“We're not done yet,” Spitfire said gravely. She touched a hoof to her helm.

Her voice across the comm in Soarin's helm.

Falcon 6, Phoenix 6; western battery secured, follow on orders?”

LTC Pilus voice responded, broken up by static. “Confirmed Phoenix 6. Eagle 6 has ordered an all out attack.”

Somehow, silence followed LTC Pilus' words, despite the booming artillery.

We must eliminate the enemy's ability to put soldiers into the field. Command has identified multiple towers that seem to spawn the stalkers. You must identify and tag them for the bomber squadrons.”

Soarin' swallowed. So they would be heading into the storm.

Good copy Falcon 6,” Spitfire responded. “Departing now. I anticipate artillery will open a window for us?”

LTC Pilus did not immediately respond.

Radio static broke again. “Negative Phoenix 6. The guns cannot stop.”

Though none spoke, several of the assembled Wonderbolts shifted uncomfortably.

Soarin' could feel Spitfire chafe through his aura, not that he needed it. Her wings fidgeted as they always did when she was frustrated.

Acknowledged. Phoenix 6 out,” she replied tersely.

She turned to Soarin'. “You get all that?”

Soarin' nodded. “Yeah.”

Rainbow stepped forward. “Why? What are you talking about? What's going on?”

Soarin' grimaced. He could feel Dash's frustration. No doubt she had picked up on his dread about the situation.

Soarin' stepped toward the center of the group, looking about the assembled Wonderbolts. He was careful to avoid Rainbow's gaze. “You all heard command so you know what we've got to do,” he turned to Fleetfoot, “you've got Cirrus flight, I'll take Stratus; Captain has Arcus.”

“Hey, not all of us did!” Rainbow said angrily. She bored daggers into Soarin'.

Fleetfoot nodded curtly, pointing to several subordinates. They quickly began to make modifications to their equipment. “Recon formation?”

Soarin' glanced to Spitfire. She nodded.

He began to reconfigure his flight suit, hoping Dash would give up.

Rainbow stomped up in front of Soarin. “Soarin'.” She said tersely, staring him down.

So much for that, he thought. Should have known better. He looked up to her, thankful his visor hid his eyes.

Outwardly there was anger, but Soarin' didn't need his aura to see Rainbow was covering her fright. She already knows, he thought, and I haven't even told her yet.

Spitfire came to his rescue.

“The Wonderbolts are heading into the storm to spearhead the counter attack,” Spitfire said flatly.

“Wonderbolts,” Rainbow repeated, looking between Soarin' and Spitfire. “As in not me?” She refocused onto Soarin', some of her fear breaking past her mask.

Soarin' stood up. “The storm is too dangerous for an untrained civilian. We'll be dodging lightning shells from the city, fighting against stars knows what kind of weather once we're in there, not too mention those storm stalkers, and tagging who know how many of those pillars.” He stepped closer to her. It would hurt to say it, but he had to. “You're not coming Rainbow Dash.”

Hurt and fury were all over her face. “No way!” She stomped her hoof. “No way am I letting you go alone in there! I thought we agreed we needed to stay together?”

Fleetfoot's voice came over the comm. “Soar', Spits, we're ready to go.”

Copy Fleets,” Spitfire's voice replied. She turned to him. “Soarin'.”

Soarin' grimaced. “Rainbow please. I don't doubt what you can do, but legacy powers don't make up for training! And the city still needs-”

“The city is fine!” Rainbow protested. “We drove them off, that's why we're-”

A deathly guttural roar suddenly cut across the skyscape, breaking through the booming of artillery.

Soarin's turned to toward the northern sky.

On the horizon, scores of large beasts slowly came into view. Their leather bound wings flapped in slow, powerful strokes. Together their combined flight produced an almost thunderous sound all their own.

“Are those...” Scootaloo's spoke up.

The beasts suddenly pulled up rising high into the sky, lost within the black back drop of the surrounding storm clouds.

Then, from the point in the blackness where the beasts had disappeared, erupted raining fireballs.

“Dragons!” Soarin' shouted.

“Not just dragons!” Rainbow shouted. “The dragons!”

“They're attacking the city...” Fleetfoot said, dumbstruck.

Soairn' heard Spitfire's voice jump into the feed. “Command be advised we have hostile dragons in our airspace, say again hostile dragons...”

Soarin' felt a powerful tug against his aura. A familiar one.

Rose eyes met his.

Soarin' ripped his helmet off. “Rainbow, I can't let you-”


Soarin' stalled. He studied Rainbow's face, felt her. She was calm. Afraid. Determined. Reckless.

His eyes widened. “No way. You can't be serious. It's insane.

She smirked. “About as insane as flying into a magical hell-storm of lightning and flak? You're not the only hero here ya know. Besides,” she puffed out her chest confidently, proudly displaying the relic armor, “I'm a Legacy Bearer. Fighting dragons is in my blood.”

Soarin's stomach twisted. He couldn't let her go out there without him. She'd be torn to pieces!

Rainbow aura wrapped itself around his. So too did her hoof in his.

“Don't worry.” Her hoof squeezed his. “I got this.”

“As do I!” Armis declared, brandishing his weapon. “My lance has yet to taste dragonblood!”

“Soarin',” Spitfire called.

Soarin' nodded wordlessly. There was no time for personal distractions. Not when the pegasi fighting for their existence. But even as he pulled away his aura remained entwined with hers. Thoughts of safety and care abounded between them. Please, be safe. Both of you.

He thrust his helmet on and took to the sky before another thought could delay him.

“Nox 6 and Solis 6 will link in with you Rainbow Dash,” Spitfire said.

Dash seemed confused. “Who?”

But Spitfire was already airborne.

Soarin' thrust his helmet on once more. Indistinct radio chatter filled his ears as he returned behind the cold HUD of his helmet. Thrusting his wings he took to the air, moving into position at the head of his flight.

Author's Note:

Hello all! It's been a while.

This chapter was difficult to plan out. Trying to maintain a balance between our heroes and the villains while maintaining the flow of battle. As well as finding an appropriate point to break off for part one. That being said, I have a lot more planned for the battle. Things will get far more monumental before the end.

As far as our characters go, we finally get to see where Scootaloo's angst toward Spitfire comes from. Of course the revelation comes at the worst possible time.

I loved writing Typhonis in this chapter. Any way I can show his drive and determination.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter if you're still following this story. The show may be over, but I'm not done writing.

Until next chapter,