• Published 24th Jun 2017
  • 2,170 Views, 26 Comments

Rise of the Shadow Empire - Splash Surfer 216

When King Sombra returns to Equestria with an army of shadow ponies, Twilight and her friends travel west to seek out an old Equestrian ally to help them save their homeland.

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Chapter 3: The Fiery Awakening

Frightened ponies ran for their lives from the evil spirits threatening to plague the kingdom. The guards met them with determination, but the Umbrum matched their strength, not afraid to use the means at their disposal. Weapons brandished, wings outstretched, horns blasting, they chased the fleeing ponies with snarls and dripping teeth.

"Everypony, please remain calm!" Shining Armor called from atop one of the high balconies overlooking Canterlot. Two of his guards and Flash Sentry kept a lookout. "We are doing the best we can to defend against these invaders. You must get each other to safety at once!"

Shining Armor was at his wit’s end; out of all the creatures he had to face such as Changelings or magic siphoning centaurs, none were so vicious, nasty, and uncontrollable as these were. However, within his mind remained a sense of determination that they would win this battle.

Flash, peering through a pair of binoculars at the chaos below, suddenly shouted, “Captain, we've got swoopers on the south west sector of the city!"

"Converge at the library!" Shining called to a few unicorn guards charging into the chaos. "Excessive force is authorized, fire on sight! Repeat, fire on sight!"

By the time they reached the exterior of the library, there was already a large amount of ponies running out of the building and trying to evade capture from the pegasi-like creatures swooping down out of the sky. After what seemed to be a fruitless sort of target practice, the guards finally shot down a few of the attackers with blasts of magic.

"That's it! We got em'! We got em'!" the guards cried out triumphantly.

"Sir, there's more trouble," the orange pegasus cocked his head towards another area, "We've got civilians under fire in the marketplace, it looks like one of their heads..."

Shadowy Eclipse was indeed the ringleader of the chaos going on in the marketplace. As more Umbrum either chased, swooped down, or blasted at the fleeing ponies, the drooling demonic earth pony spat globs of his slimy, toxic, saliva in all directions.

"Ugh, gross! He spit on me!" cried out Amethyst Star.

"It's in my hair!" screamed Upper Crust.

"Get it off, get it off, get it off!" Bon Bon tried to brush the repulsive substance off of her, but to no avail.

Shadowy Eclipse then pounced into one of the stalls in the market that was selling sparkling apple cider, and began guzzling down each bottle after another.
When he was finished, the disgusting beast let out the loudest, nastiest, and most revolting belch with the most intolerable odor that caused everypony nearby to either groan in disgust, try to hold their breath in vain, or almost retch due to how foul the scent was.

"Meeds nore korbone..." Shadowy snarled proudly, while staring at one of the bottles he held in his hoof.

High in the sky, the Wonderbolts surveyed the rampage going on in the city. Leading the flight into battle was Spitfire, issuing commands through her headset.

"'Shield Leader', this is 'Yellow Fireball'," Spitfire said, tracking Shadowy. "We have all eyes on the attacker, he's on the move! Over."

"Nicely done, ‘Yellow Fireball," Shining responded in his own headset. "Head down into the marketplace and deploy the net bombs! Over."

"Copy that, 'Shield Leader'. Over..."

The Wonderbolts dove down out of the sky and into the marketplace.

"Ready?" Spitfire said to her fellow teammates. "Steady, wait for it... and NOW!"

One by one, the Wonderbolts each leaned to the right. The hatches on their packs opened up to release the bombs down below. Just before reaching the ground, the bombs detonated, revealing large nets that rained down on the shadowy creatures, trapping them and rendering them unable to attack.

"Nicely done, team," The fiery maned pegasus smiled. "Now let's take care of that freak!"

Unfortunately for them, Shadowy Eclipse had successfully dodged all of their nets and was now turning the tables on them, picking up the loose nets with his teeth and flinging them back at his opponents. One of the nets managed to hit its mark, ensnaring itself around one 'Bolt, Surprise, causing her to plummet from the sky in a tangle of feathers and flailing hooves.

"We've got a mare down! Mare down!" cried Soarin into his headset. "We just lost Surprise! Over."

"Dammit!" groaned Spitfire.

"’Fireball’, what's going on up there? Do you copy?" Shining’s voice crackled through her headset.

"Yes sir, we just lost one of our fliers, Surprise. The enemy's disabled her."

Down below, with enough power built up inside, Shadowy Eclipse started to projectile spit more of his toxic saliva at the 'Bolts. One blast successfully hit Soarin, knocking him out of the sky.

"Mayday! Mayday! I'm hit! I'm hit!" the grey coated stallion yelled before spinning out of sight.

"And we just lost Soarin’..."

More of the toxic spit fired at the Wonderbolts. Most evaded the spit in time, except for Thunderlane. The grey coated stallion was suddenly blinded as the goop clung to his face and eyes.

"I can't see! I can't see! It burns!" he yelled, falling out of his team’s formation and crashing into a nearby fruit stand.

"Thunderlane is down! Repeat, Thunderlane is down!"

"Dammit! Spitfire, you and the others have to get out of there and recover!" Shining ordered over the receiver. "Shake them off if they get any ideas. Over."

"Copy that, 'Shield Leader'. Over. Fleetfoot, High Winds, follow me. The rest of you, head back with us to the castle, asap!"

The other Wonderbolts saluted and sped off. Fleetfoot and High Winds followed Spitfire into the fray, swooping in valiantly and saving their grounded comrades from the monsters closing in on them. But just as they rejoined their squadron, they found that they were being chased down by a number of pegasus-like Umbrum, who were slowly gaining on them.

"'Shield Leader', this is 'Yellow Fireball' again, do you copy?" Spitfire spoke into the receiver once more.

"Yes, what's up?" Shining replied.

"'We've got eight of those winged guys on our tails coming up fast. We need reinforcements! Over."

"Copy that, Spitfire. Just try your best to lose them until help arrives! Over."

"Watch your left, team!" Spitfire warned the other 'Bolts.

A few of the winged creatures caught up with the team of pegasi. Without warning, one of them snuck up close to Misty Fly and proceeded to bite her right on the wing as if it was a vampire feasting on its prey, syphoning blood.

The pegasus screamed, immediately starting to fly off course, her damaged wing limp.

"Mayday! Mayday!" called Blaze. "Misty's going off course!"

"Fireball, we can't hold them off any longer!" yelled out Rapidfire, before he too was clipped on the wing by another bite, losing altitude.

"Where's our reinforcements?!" Their leader groaned, seeing all of her teammates being attacked and crippled by the savage beasts.

Just as she said that, several magical blasts from below rang out into the sky and struck a few of the attackers. The disabled winged Umbrum plummeted to the ground.

"Now that's more like it!"

The other 'Bolts cheered triumphantly, and those that were injured tried as best as they could to stay airborne.

Just then, another blast rang out from below, zapping the lead pegasus right on the wing.

"Spitfire!" her teammates cried.

"Who fired?!" she shouted. No sooner was she shot, the remaining Wonderbolts were suddenly hit by the blasts, injuring their wings. The entire disabled squadron began to plummet out of control at an alarming speed.

"’Yellow Fireball’ to ‘Shield Leader’, we're going down!" Spitfire cried into her headset. "Mayday! Mayday!"

In the left turret of Canterlot Castle, through his binoculars, Flash could see the Wonderbolts plummeting straight for the towers where he and Shining Armor were situated.

"Captain, we've got the 'Bolts coming in too fast!"

"Shit, Hit the floor, colt!" Shining Armor ducked behind the turret, yanking Flash down alongside him.

A few other guards ducked down beside them, just in time.



Once the dust had settled, they lay defeated, and battered up Wonderbolts, piled up on top of one another, moaning in excruciating pain.

"M-m-Mommy... F-f-fluff my pillow?" Soarin muttered before passing out.

Shining Armor put his hoof to his head and shook it, overcome with stress and exhaustion, before poking his head out of the turret to oversee the continuing havoc from down below.

"Sir, we've got more reports of injured guards," Flash reported.

"What are we going to do now?" asked Sun Shield.

"I'm not sure how much longer we can keep this up, colts," their captain shook his head, rubbing his temples. "The Wonderbolts have been disabled, several of our guards are in critical condition, and these creatures are damaging the city further. I just hope the Princesses are doing their best to handle the ringleader..."

Celestia, Luna, and Cadence raced after the raging cloud ahead of them. Maldark looked back at them in his vaporous form with a sinister grin. He zipped towards the throne room with the princesses almost losing him in the chase.

Changing back into his true form, Maldark landed back on the ground and dropped the magical sack. Inside the sack, the kidnapped ponies squirmed around, struggling to get free. Looking up, Maldark saw that the princesses had caught up with him, each with fury embezzled in her eyes. The warlock smiled as they locked their glowing horns together.

In a blinding flash, a shining beam smashed into the floor where Maldark stood. When the dust had settled, the unicorn warlock was nowhere in sight. This puzzled the princesses. This seemed too quick, too easy…

"Is that it?" Cadence asked.

No sooner had the words left her mouth, an enormous dark crystal pillar sprung up and knocked the two other alicorns to the ground. Atop the pillar, Maldark leered at the princesses below.

Perhaps this would be an even fight after all.

The alicorns conjured up their weapons to match Maldark’s staff. Back and forth, celestial weapons and dark magic clashed. A flash of light, a swipe of shadow, and a flurry of blows between the fighters. Luna swooped in, swiping her sword at the unicorn demon. Maldark blocked her attack with his staff, but could only hold her off for a few seconds before she struck successfully. Though he had been hit, the warlock steadied his hooves, ready to attack once more.

A yellow glint caught Maldark’s eye and he quickly raised a shield spell to defend himself. Celestia’s magic struck the shield, followed by her sword, forcing him backward. He then turned his staff to Cadence, who was still recovering from the initial attack. A shower of crystal stalagmites began to rain down from the ceiling, heading straight towards her. Cadence gasped in horror at the sudden ferocity of Maldark’s incoming attack. The pink alicorn deflected the crystalline assault, growling as she summoned her strength and clashed her sword with Maldark’s staff, pushing him backward. Maldark maintained balance on his hooves and redirected his focus to see the three alicorns rise into the air. Each of their horns charged up until they finally unleashed their speed spells. Each princess let out a fierce battle cry as they sped towards their foe. Maldark quickly reacted with magic of his own. Before the alicorns could reach him, the sorcerer banged his staff on the ground, and dark crystals sprang up from the ground and slammed into their targets. The three princesses were thrown against the walls by the oily crystals.

Focusing their magic, Celestia and Luna pushed against the force of the shadowy crystals. The pillars cracked at the force of the alicorns’ magic before finally shattering, freeing them from their prisons. The sisters charged towards the demonic entity again. In a cloud of smoke, Maldark vanished into the shadows. Glancing around, panting heavily, the older alicorn cried out, "Show yourself, unclean spirit!"

A disembodied cackle rang out in the throne room as Maldark emerged again, his staff raised up in the air, ready to strike the sun princess. Celestia countered his attack, blocking the swing of Maldark’s staff before finally stabbing her sword through his chest. Celestia sighed a triumphant breath as Maldark gasped in horror. The sun alicorn’s sense of triumph suddenly turned to dread when the warlock’s expression turned into a grin as the vorpal blade was unable to make him bleed and die. The princess glared at her opponent.

"It's over, Maldark. SURRENDER YOURSELF!" Celestia growled, forcing her blade in further.

Maldark, still unharmed, cackled again. "So... much... FEAR!" he growled, slamming his staff towards Celestia, pushing the eldest alicorn back a few inches. The two sisters watched, readily as Maldark brought his staff off the ground. He slowly stepped towards them, his eyes glowing green, billowing with wisps of smoke, and his lips curled, exposing his fanged smile. "Do you really know not what forces you are tampering with? Let's not stay your end longer.."

He let out an animalistic roar and jabbed his crystal staff toward them. The alicorns avoided his attack, and struck him in the forehead, stunning him. The three clashed blades again.

"We care not what dark pacts you've made!" snapped Luna, focusing onto the entity's eyes. "You will fail!"

"Fear is our domain." Maldark smiled evilly. "And with every ounce of your struggle, I come to realize what you fear all the more."

He knocked Luna aside and attacked Celestia again, his staff blocked by her weapon.

"I can taste all of your fears, your contempt, your wrath, and they are delicious!"

The two alicorns’ eyes lit up with power.

"SILENCE, YOU FOOL!" Celestia screamed. The sisters charged up their horns, focused their weapons and shot beams of magic at the warlock. Maldark faded into the shadows again before the blast could hit him. The throne room became covered in a blanket of shadow.

Reappearing, Maldark was stabbed in the back by a magical blade. The Umbrum commander absorbed the blade with his magic, healing the wound. Turning his head, he saw that Cadence had broken free of the dark crystal pillar. As she glided back to the ground, she silently pointed her sword towards Maldark. Focusing her magic, several copies of her sword appeared shot towards him. The unicorn warlock blocked the attack with another giant crystal, which he proceeded to push towards her. Cadence quickly charged towards the crystal, slicing through it with ease before it could crush her against the wall. Internally celebrating her triumph, the princess spread her wings out, lowered her horn and began charging towards Maldark.

The two attacked each other viciously, striking again and again. Maldark narrowed his eyes and hissed demonically, "Relentless! Why such lengths to protect your petty interests and your already crumbling kingdom?"

Cadence glared at him. "You are a fool if you think that's what I'm trying to protect!"

She began striking at Maldark, slicing into him left and right. Brushing himself off to recover, Maldark unleashed his own speed spell, charging toward the princess. Cadence closed her eyes, focusing enough of her magic to envelope herself in a shield. Maldark’s strikes against the strong field of magic proved fruitless. While Maldark took some time to recompose himself, the princess lowered her shield to heal the few scratches that the warlock brought on.

In a glow of bright light, Celestia and Luna rose above the shadowy fog and shot back into the fray. With each blow and strike he dealt, Maldark assured the alicorns that he would not go down easily. The warlock let out another fierce roar, banging his staff hard on the ground. Green lightning bolts erupted out of his staff towards the three alicorns, who quickly absorbed the bolts with their swords and returned the blasts back towards Maldark.

Twilight found herself up against a horde of the monstrous creatures. As the shadow ponies charged straight at her, Twilight concealed herself in a magical shield. When they were close enough, she let down the shield, unleashing a large blast of magic which threw the creatures backwards. The battle raged as the enemies screamed towards her.Twilight steadied herself; she wouldn’t go down easily. Behind her, Twilight’s friends did their best to shout encouraging words from behind the bars of their crystal prison. Even between zaps from irritated guards trying to silence them, they made sure Twilight had their vocal support.

The Umbrum showed no mercy in their attacks. The unicorns summoned pillars of dark crystal from the ceiling which Twilight quickly blasted away. One of the Umbrum seeped into the floor and rose back up beneath Twilight, knocking her into the air. The young princess brought up a hoof to counter the attack. With a swift punch and a kick, she grasped her foe, juggling the creature in the air. She hurled it back down onto its comrades, knocking them off to the side as if they were bowling pins.

Nightshade could only chuckle at how pathetically relentless Twilight was, refusing to give up.

"My, aren't we the defensive little alicorn?" he mocked. "You know, Princess Twilight, you really should consider the possibilities of surrendering.” He ducked, avoiding a bolt of magic. “If you were to take up reign alongside our king, he could teach you far greater magic that not even Celestia could hope to control. You and the rest of us aren’t so different..."

"I'd sooner perish than submit to the likes of you," Twilight growled, her wings unfurled, and her horn lit up, ready to attack once more. "Don't think I've heard this shtick before. I'm not your equal, and I’m nothing like you or whoever you serve.” They clashed, wrestling. “I became the pony I am now because I let love and friendship into my life, while you're choosing to use fear and violence to get what you want! Why, you're all nothing but clichéd monsters straight from some mediocre fantasy book..."

Twilight then froze, stunned at what she had just said. The words she had just spoken seemed very familiar, as a matter of fact, those were the exact words she said during her nightmarish visions of an encounter with King Sombra.

You are not my equal, you’re not even a real king! You’re nothing but a clichéd bad guy straight from a mediocre fantasy book…

Twilight couldn’t move. She was frozen, completely dumbfounded.

"Well Princess, when you put it that way..." Nightshade said after a short amount of silence, "...you're just hurting yourself at the moment." He rubbed the pendant hanging from his neck.

Without warning, vines infused with dark magic arose from the ground in a circle and began to entangle themselves around the young alicorn, tearing at her dress and tightening around her neck to the point of suffocation. The Umbrum smiled sadistically, knowing that this act of dark magic was not their own but that of their king from far away.

"Now isn't this a plot twist?" mocked the pegasus-like creature as he circled around the gagging lavender alicorn struggling for breath. "The strong, superior, shadow ponies kill the plucky, young pony princess."

"Now how's that for a change of pace, Princess?" Shadowdancer chuckled slyly. The other shadow ponies watched the lavender alicorn writhing in pain and could only cackle sadistically. Twilight's friends gasped in horror at the sight of their friend being tortured.

"Alright, I'm giving you one last chance," Rainbow Dash growled through the bars. "Let us out and fight me like... things... whatever you are, you wretched jerks!"

Shadowdancer levitated the cage back onto the ground with her rather roughly, and with her magic, unsheathed a sword from the compartment resting on her back.

"Grrr... We've heard enough out of you!" Nightshade snarled as his partner brought the blade closer to the helpless ponies, ready to behead them.

"Twilight!" the ponies cried out in fear.

At that moment as she struggled to break free from the tentacles, Twilight felt a newfound strength within her, fueled by the horrific sight of seeing her friends ready to die, and the fear and hatred against the creatures, who threatened to finish them off.

"Girls, look out! NOOOOOOOO......AHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Twilight felt her horn surrounded in a purple haze of dark magic. Her eyes began to glow green and billow with purple smoke. With her newfound strength, she took hold of the vines and smacked the shadowy pegasus with them as if they were a whip. Nightshade flew off to the side, smashing hard into the ground.

The alicorn princess rose into the air, lowered her horn and then, something that somepony wouldn’t see every day occurred.

Instead of a beam of magic, an aura of fire engulfed her horn. Without warning, a massive beam of bluish flames burst out, scorching the Umbrum. The creatures panicked and ran around in pain. The crystal cage holding Twilight’s friends was also scorched in the process.

Twilight was shocked. How in Equestria did that just happen? she wondered. Her friends were also just as amazed at what had just occurred.

"Wahoo!" Rainbow Dash cried out. "Was that fire?"

Brushing himself off, Nightshade turned to Shadowdancer. The pegasus had developed a scar on his left eye after being struck by Twilight’s surge of rage-induced magic.

"Take care of her..." he whispered in her ear. "I've got to report to Sombra..."

Nightshade's partner nodded, and began to focus her magic to open up a small portal, which Nightshade proceeded to step into while the others remained preoccupied.

As more Umbrum began to attack, Twilight readied her magical energy. Before they could strike, the young princess blasted the creatures with another stream of fire. The heat and power of the flames burnt their tails to a near crisp. No matter the strength of the attack, Twilight’s shield spells kept her safe. With a flurry of fire and purple magic, Twilight disarmed her shadowy foes.

The remaining Umbrum renewed their resolve to take this alicorn princess down. She would never get to her friends nor defend the rest of Canterlot, and they were going to ensure that.

A fiery glint shone in Twilight’s eyes as she felt this new spell course through her, setting her nerves on fire, and warm her up from horn to hoof. She was amazed by its power, yet it still eluded her understanding...

"How is this possible?!" Shadowdancer snarled.

"It all went south when she turned into some walking flamethrower!" One disabled Umbrum unicorn shouted in pain.

Before Shadowdancer could regain her focus, the princess blasted another spell at the demonic mare. The Umbrum flew up into the air in recoil at the blast, landing on the ground with a crash, pieces of her armor scattered across the room, her face battered and bruised. She let out a pained groan as she struggled to hoist herself off the ground. Suddenly, Shadowdancer felt herself lifted up in a field of magic. She was too weak to react before she came face to face with the enraged lavender alicorn.

Looking the creature in the eyes, Twilight demanded, "Where did you come from?!"

"I can't tell you that..." the unicorn croaked, weakened by the blast. Twilight growled and lowered her horn again, ready to cast another spell, when she noticed that the pendant which hung from the mysterious mare's neck began to glow and flicker bright green as the other Umbrums’ did as well....

Amidst the darkness of the throne room, weapons clashed and clanged against each other. Spats of blood, unicorn and alicorn, dotted the once pristine floor.

“Rrragh!” The unicorn warlock growled fiercely with each strike from the princesses’ blades.

At that moment, Maldark's pendant began to glow, yet he did not cast a spell. The warlock noticed his pendant glowing as well and grinned evilly. The alicorns froze once they saw the glowing pendant and still alert, took the moment to recover.

"Ah, so ends our little reunion..." he hissed. "Here, take back the worthless brats, they are of no use to us anymore."

Levitating the bag high in the air, Maldark opened it up, turning it upside down. Flurry Heart and the Crusaders tumbled out onto the ground. Flurry ran towards her mother while still shaking in fear.

"Do you give up, you savage necromancer?" Luna gasped in between breaths.

"You wish.." the demonic unicorn bared his fangs. "Prepare yourselves, for I also come bearing a message from our king himself. Also an old friend, if you will call him that."

Maldark froze into a trance, his horn engulfed in dark magic and his eyes beginning to change. Shimmering within them was something very familiar, alarming the princesses, especially when Maldark began speaking in a voice that wasn’t his. One much deeper, more sinister, and ominous.

"Princess Celestia... My, has it been so long since our last encounter..” The voice echoed through the unicorn’s throat.

Celestia’s eyes widened with shock; she could hardly believe her ears.

"You thought you were rid of me, didn't you, you poor, pitiful fool?" the voice continued. "Thought that I was shattered forever when that accursed Crystal Heart was returned, didn't you?"

The other two alicorns gasped in horror upon realizing who the voice belonged to. "Now thanks to the efforts of my new army..." the voice continued. "I have returned, and with a new purpose; The creation of a new kingdom, by destroying yours."

Celestia felt something soft and warm grasp her leg. She looked down, noticing the trembling Crusaders huddled between her legs like frightened children, despite their age. Raising her head back to Maldark, she caught a glimpse of Flurry sobbing in her mother’s embrace.

"Beware Celestia, for soon I'll be coming for you, your sister, your faithful student, and everypony else you love..."

From far away, Sombra watched the shocked faces of the alicorns in his magic mirror and let out a sinister laugh as his voice faded away back in the throne room of Canterlot Castle.

Within moments, Maldark was out of his trance. He glared viciously at Celestia, as his hooves left the ground, and pointed one hoof in her direction.

"Make the most out of this victory, princess. Because mark my words... this is only the beginning..." Maldark hissed.

"You have three days..." The warlock’s staff began to swirl around in circles, gathering debris. A strong gust of wind picked up in the throne room. The ponies hiding beneath the alicorns held on even tighter as Maldark transformed into a raging tornado. From inside the maelstrom, a glowing pair of green eyes emerged, shooting a piercing glare at the princesses. No sooner was the transformation complete that Maldark tore out of the room, wreaking destruction in his wake.

Back in the ballroom, Twilight watched in shock as Maldark entered the room. The Umbrum commander changed back into his true form, before levitating out of the castle with the other creatures in tow.

"We shall return," snarled Shadowdancer as the Umbrums flew off out of the ballroom. "We have not yet begun to fight! Retreat! Retreat!"

After Twilight recomposed herself, she noticed her friends still trapped inside the cage. Fearing they might’ve been hurt during the fight, she ran over to their crystalized prison.

"Let us out of here Twilight!" Spike cried through the bars.

"Yeah, get us out!" Rainbow Dash said. "I think my wings are singed!"

Lowering her horn, Twilight shot a beam of magic at the lock. The cage shattered open, shards of crystal scattered in all directions, freeing her friends. They were worn out and partially toasted from Twilight's unexpected new spell.

"You girls alright?" asked the young alicorn.

"Fit as a fiddle, darling," Rarity took the time to readjust her skirt. "Though I will admit that you did almost torch us."

"Yeah, Twilight! We didn't know you were practicing super strong fiery breath!" said Pinkie Pie. "How did you do that?"

"I have no idea," Twilight brushed her mane with her hoof, sheepishly. "But at least it got rid of those horrid creatures."

"Uh, Rarity? Ya got a little someth'n stuck in yer mane," Applejack motioned to a strange, green substance stuck in Rarity's mane, slowly eating away at it.

Upon looking up and noticing the strange substance oozing through her mane, Rarity let out a bloodcurdling scream, trying to shake the slime out of her hair.

"Get it off, get it off, get it off!" she shrieked in disgust.

"Rarity, hold still... Let me examine it..." Twilight then took hold of Rarity's mane and, levitating a knife near it, began to scrape off the sticky substance into a small jar. Surprisingly, the jar was strong enough to hold the goo in place and it was unable to seep right through the jar.

"I've never seen a sort of goo like this before," Twilight said. "It looks similar to Changeling slime, but is much more sticky and Changeling slime does not eat away at physical substances."

"Whatever it is..." Rarity took a sniff from the jar, "It's disgusting!" and then backed away at the wretched odor permeating from the substance.

"I think I'm gonna be sick!" Fluttershy groaned. She gagged, holding her hooves over her snout.

"What do you make of it, Twilight?" asked Spike.

"Stinky, is what I'd call it..." Pinkie held her snout in disgust.

"From the looks of it, it seems to be a mixture of blood and mucus," Twilight began, as her friends groaned in disgust. She continued to examine the substance. "You should consider yourself lucky it landed in your mane, Rarity. This material could’ve been capable of delivering a very nasty stinging burn and..."

"Yeah, yeah, we get it, egghead..." Rainbow Dash then rudely interrupted. "It's dangerous, don't touch it, it'll burn your flesh off..."

"No doubt it came from one of those creepy shadow pony creatures..." Spike concluded.

"Yeah, where are they going anyways?" the rainbow-maned pegasus then asked. "And where's that jerk, Maldork?"

"’Maldark’," Applejack corrected. "And that's what Ah'd like ta know, Ah'd like ta fix his wagon!"

"Uh," Fluttershy stammered out, looking out the window and up at the sky. "I think I might have a clue..."

The six mares and dragon ran to the window and looked up at the sky. They could hardly believe their eyes at what they saw.

"Holy smokes!" Spike exclaimed.

"Captain! Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" asked Flash Sentry. "They're giving up! They're retreating!"

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" Shining Armor called to the guards below.

As soon as they were far high up into the sky, the Umbrum began flying around in a circular formation, gradually gaining speed, creating a large swirling vortex in the sky as storm clouds began to form. The wind picked up violently. Lightning flashed brightly and thunder boomed. Everypony watched in horror. "What are they doing?!" Flash whispered.

"I... I have no idea, Flash..." Shining Armor continued to stare up at the sky completely baffled at the sight before him. "But whatever this is, it doesn't look good..."

As the speed of the Umbrum increased, a glowing green light emerged from the center of the whirlwind, growing bigger and brighter. Finally, an earth-shattering explosion of bright, blinding light rang out across the sky, spreading all over the city, and across the entire land of Equestria.

When every pony opened their eyes from the blast, there was nothing but utter silence, and the threatening creatures had disappeared. In the very spot where they had left, was a small swirling black hole in the dark sky. Upon closer look, the Umbrum’s creation seemed to be slowly growing in size every single minute as it cast a heavy darkness over the crowd. Despite how small the opening was, it’s increasing size spelled doom to the ponies whose eyes were fixed upon it.

Within the throne room, Celestia, Luna, and Cadence ominously gazed up at the sight before them.

They now realized the severe amount of danger they were in.

Author's Note:

Update: Edited on 12/21/18!

Re-edited and reuploaded on 3/13/23!