• Published 14th May 2019
  • 1,471 Views, 73 Comments

Flash Sentry Chronicles: The Forgotten Darkness - Banshee531

Flash, Twilight and friends have beaten the Sirens. All seemed well as they returned to Equestria, only for a new threat to arise. Now, Flash and the others will find themselves learning a truth they had never seen coming. Will they survive?

  • ...

A Thing Called Reality

"The inferior man can not fathom the superior soul."

-Kanade Uryu

"Oookay. Everypony raise their hoof if they think this isn't good." Flash commented as he turned to his friends, soon seeing five raised hooves.

The only one that didn't raise it is Twilight, as she was too focused on the scene unfolding before them. She rubbed her chin at the sight, her eyes darting back and forth as she muttered out, "Hmm...why are we being shown this now?"

"I couldn't agree more sugarcube." Applejack added as she crossed her hooves, "Why are we still stuck watching this?!"

"That's not what I meant Applejack." Twilight replied as she glanced at the farmer. "I mean, consider what we just heard. This...'Vile Rune' and Dark Mist want to destroy the jakhowls, and this is the past."

Flash didn't like the sound of those last words, "Uh Twilight...what do you mean by that?"

Twilight gave him a glum frown before looking back at the laughing Trickster. "Flash, we've been shown scene after scene of jakhowls and Princess Luna, all in the past." She raised an eyebrow at this, "Not only that, what was the first thing we learned about jakhowls from a pony that knew about them in the past?"

The defender's brain reeled through it's memories before his mouth opened, "It was Princess Celestia. She said something about the jakhowls vanishing in number until it was like they didn't exist."

"She also said that ponies never had a full explanation as to why they disappeared. Just a theory of them leaving during conflict." Twilight stared back at Dark Mist, "I...I don't want to doubt Princess Celestia, but maybe history is wrong. The only records I could find when we first met Springer was in books considering them extinct and based on what we've seen, Princess Celestia wasn't around the jakhowls. At all. It would make sense, as she seemed so surprised to see Springer back then. There was also a whole lot of conflict with the Tricksters happening here. Doesn't that seem...well, bad?"

The others all grimaced at that statement, Flash sighing as he silently admitted she could be right. Despite this, he tried to keep a brave face as he stared at Dark Mist and Vile Rune, "I guess...maybe we should just keep watching for now."


Back at Vile Rune and Dark Mist, the two were now looking over a table covered in papers. Drawings and letters were on every piece of parchment, some glowing as Vile put the dark red gem in the middle of the piece of furniture. "First off, let me explain the basics of what I've developed." Vile commented as his horn started to glow, several pages now glowing the same color.

Dark Mist took a seat with a shining smirk, "Please do. I can't wait to hear how victory will be achieved."

"You're jumping ahead there fox." Vile responded as the papers became one filed pile. "Let's start with something simple." He took off the top piece of paper and put it by the gem, "For starters, this gem you got for me is extraordinary. The amount of power it can contain is at an unseen level. This is truly...intricate work."

"It should be." Dark barked back with a slight sneer, "After being stuck having that....that...whatever that place that I conquered was called, and having to be stuck waiting there for like a week, it better be worth it. Ugh...can't believe I had to stay there that long. I got bored on the second day."

"He considers tormenting a whole village of ponies a chore?! Are you kidding me?!" Flash growled, only for Twilight to push his chest back.

"Stop Flash, there's no point getting angry at him. This is the past." Twilight reprimanded, telling Flash to take a deep breath as they continued to listen.

"If that's your biggest issue, then you shouldn't have a problem." Vile replied as he levitated two more pieces of paper, "Now, thanks to the formulas you gave me, I configured three separate methods that we can use to distract the jakhowls, along with the main methodology we'll be using to destroy them. Granted, I honestly think no distractions will be needed, but all precautions must be made for this to work. Take a look."

And as the fox started to look the papers over, Twilight glanced over his shoulder, only to go wide-eyed, "This is...rune magic!"

"Rune magic? You mean, like what Solid Script uses?" Flash asked back.

Twilight did a quick nod, "It is, but...that's far from everything. These formulas that Vile Rune has made...I've never seen such things! Why, these would go at least ten years beyond some of the stuff me and Solid made back in the day!"

"And the bad guys have them. Great..." Flash commented, dodging a slight tail smack from Twilight. "I'm guessing that means that this isn't going to go well."

"Perfect!" Dark Mist interrupted as he flicked the paper currently in his claw, "I like your way of thinking Vile."

"I had a feeling you would." Vile tapped the paper in Dark's claw, "By the way, about that rune..."

"We'll do it." Dark Mist interrupted, immediately giving the parchment back to the unicorn.

"Wha-" Vile sputtered out as he took the paper, "Did you not read what this says?! This rune is a strength enhancement rune, but the price is-"

"I know the price Vile." Dark Mist responded as he crossed his arms, his form leaning back into a chair. "I'll go ahead and give you some advice over us Tricksters, Vile. We'll do anything if it means killing even a single jakhowl." He tapped the piece of paper again, "That includes sacrificing a Trickster, which can also be plural." a low hiss escaped his mouth as he leaned forward, "We'll do anything to destroy them."

Seeing this made the Mane Seven all flinch at his dark demeanor, but Vile didn't move. Instead, he just glanced back at the rune paper before staring at Dark Mist as he replied, "That's good to know, but one can't be too careful. As such, I'll go over the rune to you and the rest, regardless of what happens." the unicorn's horn began to glow as he pointed at the rune, "This rune in particular will increase all physical strength factors of an individual, but the cost is severe strain on his body. According to my calculations, if I put this rune on one of you foxes, it'll triple your strength."

"Sounds good to me." Dark responded as he picked up another piece of paper, "And this rune?"

"That's a connection rune. Its for safety, as it'll allow me to control the runes on multiple Tricksters in case some part of the plan goes wrong."

"So you plan to put that on all of us too?"

"Yes." Vile switched it to another piece of paper, "I must admit, the rune theories you gave me were truly incredible. To think you could use runes to transfer anything into energy, then store it in an object. Unicorn spells for that would take years to make compared to runes."

"Tch, I told you Vile..." Dark replied as a huge grin shined on his face, "We Tricksters made the original rune magic. Its you unicorns that found a way to make them better."

"WHAT?!" Twilight yelped, making the others flinch at her outburst. "Tricksters made the original rune magic?!" Twilight rubbed her hooves into her head, "But that's...I've never read about that before! How..."

"Didn't you just say history could be wrong Twilight?" Flash reminded her, making her glance back at the defender.

"That may be true, but...this is something crazy! The origin of rune magic has never been explained like this! Heck, there's never been theories of that magic branch for centuries! Granted, barely any family lines use rune magic, and research on it rarely happens...maybe once every two centuries, but this...this could revolutionize magic entirely! Think about it, a whole branch of magic that can skip spells like Vile Rune is saying?! It could-"

Flash interrupted her by putting a hoof over her mouth, "Then let's find out what happens and record it later."

"I..." Twilight tried to counter, only to sigh. "Alright. Let's keep watching."

They stared back at the cackling duo, only to see a huge grin on Vile's face as he tapped another piece of paper, "Alright, this is the final part of the plan." Vile placed the gem from before on the table, "As you know, the connection rune I'll be using on all you Tricksters will allow me to activate all the strength enhancing runes at once. Because of this, I want all of you to put these runes down on the battlefield beforehoof. That way, we can eliminate them all in one fell swoop."

"Excellent." Dark replied as he looked over the final paper of the plan. "Ki ki ki...this seems almost too easy."

"Its never easy Dark Mist. Activating a rune like this...it'll take a huge amount of time." Vile glared directly into Dark Mist's eyes, a look of pure death in them, "You'll have to start what's basically a war battle for quite a while."

"Ki ki ki...I know. And as I told you, we Tricksters we'll do anything to destroy them." Dark then turned around and snapped his claws, "Come!"

Within a second, a bipedal Trickster walked in and bowed, "Yes, Master Dark Mist?"

"Get me a report on everything. I want to know if they're at the castle or not." A huge smile creeped itself onto Dark's face, "We're making Trickster history, and I wanna be sure to take every jakhowl out."

"Fu fu fu...it will be done master." The Trickster laughed as it turned to leave the tent. And as it left, another Trickster entered, this one being a young fox, as it was on all fours.

"Master...are we finally gonna destroy them? Me and the other kids overheard ya, and-"

Dark Mist just chuckled as he put his claw on the Trickster's head tuft of hair, "Ki ki ki...we are. When we're done with them, we Tricksters will finally be free of the menace that is the jakhowls."

The little one's eyes shined like stars as a huge grin graced his face, "Really?! You're gonna kill 'em all?!"

Dark Mist did a small nod. "Oh yes."

"Wow...amazing." The tiny fox fell back, now sitting on his behind. "Gosh, I wish I could at least beat one before you get 'em all though. To think...those rotten monsters will all be gone."

"Ki ki ki...ki ki ki…" Dark Mist laughed as Vile Rune chuckled at the sight as well. Seeing this, Dark Mist leaned down and patted the fox's head, "Don't worry. If any of those vermin survive, I'll let you destroy one of 'em."

"Really?! T-t-that...that would be such an honor!"

"Indeed it would be." Dark's paw lifted itself from the fox's head, only to extend his claw to the little one's paw. "Do we have a deal?"

"Deal!" the fox accepted, shaking it vigorously.

And while this exchange happened, the Mane Seven stared at the scene, Fluttershy especially depressed as she whimpered out, "That poor little fox. I can't believe something so small and cute could think of doing such horrible things."

Flash just shook his head, crossing his hooves at the same time, "Its what Tricksters are Fluttershy. Granted, I've only met one before this, but...yeah, its the same experience."

"What a complete different way of thinking these foxes have." Twilight commented with a hoof to her chin, "To think, a society based on hatred, all the way to the point of admiring that hatred...that's insane."

"Yeah..." Rainbow added as she saw the ground around them start to flicker, "Looks like we're moving again."

"Yup. Get ready everypony." Flash ordered as the group closed their eyes, light blinding them as the background began to shift.

As Flash reopened his eyes, a series of groans followed as he saw his companions were all groggy from yet another transition. Blinking, he went over to help Twilight as she let out a cough, "You okay?"

"Ugh...I'm getting sick of this." she moaned as she rubbed her eyes.

"Yeah, same here." Flash added as he looked up at the others, "Everypony okay?" A series of 'yeah's and nods followed as they all started to look around at their surroundings, noticing it was just outside of Luna's castle from earlier. Seeing this, Flash pointed at the building, "Guess we're going back to Princess Luna and the jakhowls."

"Yeah...though I have a bad feeling about this." Twilight commented as she glanced over at the defender, "How many days do you think have passed since what we just saw?"

"Not sure, but I get where you're going."

"What do you mean?" Rainbow asked, only to get two frowns as Twilight responded.

"I think we might be on the day that...Dark Mist and Vile Rune do their plan."

"Oh..." Rainbow did a small gulp, "Yeah, that's not good."

The other girls all gave frowns as they stared at the castle in the distance, Flash soon walking in front of them. "Come on. Nothing's gonna happen out here. We better go in the castle and see what happens next." They all nodded in agreement, the seven now making their way to the structure. And as they got closer, a much happier looking sight soon came into view. It was Princess Luna, outside and playing with a group of young jakhowl. A small smile was on her face, one that the group could tell was hiding pain, but still showing happiness as she hugged two jakhowl at the same time.

"Awww...what a sad smile." Pinkie chimed in as he ears drooped. "Poor Princess Luna."

"Yeah. I'm guessing the jakhowls were all she had to cheer her up back then." Twilight added as she crossed her hooves at the sight, a slight glare on her face.

Noticing this, Flash turned to her and asked, "Something wrong Twi?"

She tapped her hooves with a small snort, "I...don't know."

"What do you mean? What don't you know?"

"Its just...there's too many questions." Twilight replied as she pointed at the scene, "I mean, why isn't this in the history books?! Why isn't there anything on her being the leader over the jakhowls, or her telling us she was?!" Twilight turned to glare at Flash, "You said she never told Springer about this, right?"

"Not that I know of. Same with Ruby." Flash replied, shrugging slightly. "Though...if something really bad is about to happen here, do you think she'll want to talk about it in the present?"

"I..." Twilight tried to respond, only to let out a long sigh, "No. I guess she wouldn't. At least, not a bunch of bad memories. Especially if this gets worse..."

"See? You're worrying too much." Flash patted her shoulder with his wing, a calm smile on his face, "We'll figure out that junk when we get out of here, alright?"

"Okay..." a tint of red could be seen on Twilight's face as she looked away from the patting wing, her eyes now back on Princess Luna, "I gotta say though, she does look happy right now."

"Your majesty!" yelled a new voice, making the seven turn and see Calm Paw running up to the princess.

"Yes Calm?" Luna asked as the young jakhowls jumped off her after seeing the incoming jakhowl.

"Your majesty, the spell is ready to be woven." Calm replied as she did a small bow. "We are ready when you are able."

"I understand." Luna added as she turned back to the other jakhowls, "Young ones, I shall return, as your leader needs me right now."

"Okay!" they all chimed in unison. "Take care of the princess, Lady Calm!"

"I will." Calm giggled as she patted the jakhowl's head, "Allow me to come with you, your majesty."

"Of course. After all, I wish to use this spell on your egg." Luna finished as both started to make their way to the castle, the Mane Seven following suit. And as they entered inside, the group watched a series of jakhowls dressed as maids and nurses greet the princess. There, they walked into the main room, where they saw it the egg they had seen earlier now sitting on a nest of straw. "Ah. Is everypony ready?"

"They are, your majesty." Sharp responded as he walked into the room. "But I must ask, are you ready to try this? No offense your majesty, but-"

"That's enough Sharp." Luna raised her hoof with a low sigh, "I know I am...still grieving, but I must move on. Let me do this." Her horn started to glow as she closed her eyes, "Let us begin."

Calm and Sharp glanced at each other before walking up to the egg, putting their paws on the sphere-like object. Their aura started to flow into the egg as what looked like a magic string came out of Luna's horn, which floated over to the egg and started to spiral around it. As it did this, the string looked like it was melting into the egg. Seeing this, Twilight let out a small gasp, "This is...an advanced defense spell."

"Advanced? It doesn't look that strong to me." Rainbow commented as she pointed at the egg, "I mean, its so tiny."

Twilight shook her head. "Its not that kind of spell Rainbow. The spell she's using...if I had to guess, its a shield like spell, but its also being directly absorbed by the egg."

"But why would she do that?" Rarity asked next, "I mean, most shield spells for us unicorns are just barriers."

"True, but this...this is something else. Perhaps its a delayed protection spell, one designed to last for an extended amount of time. Though, to do that would mean the magic would have to have both layers and need extra help. Its not suited for one pony to cast that kind of spell."

Flash pointed at Sharp, "Is that why those two are putting their auras in the egg?"

"Not sure." Twilight replied as she rubbed her chin, "Though that's not a bad guess. Either way, the egg will definitely be protected...almost to a sheltering degree. I imagine this amount of magic will possibly do more to the jakhowl inside when it hatches."

And as those words escaped her mouth, Luna's horn stopped glowing as she slumped over. She was now panting, sweat dripping down her face as she muttered out, "Its...its done. The egg...is now forever protected."

The two jakhowls also slumped down, Calm letting out a huge moan, "Thank the moon that's over. I've never had to use that much aura before..."

"Yes...but think about it, my love." Sharp added as he went over and slung his arm around Calm, "Now, the egg will be safe from literally everything. Nothing will harm it."

"True. Not only that, the amount of aura and magic poured into it..." a big smile started to appear on Calm's face, "Our child won't be any ordinary jakhowl. That includes whoever its partner is."

"Agreed." Sharp replied as he helped Luna up, "Your majesty...thank you for this."

"There is no need to thank me Sharp, I wished to do this." Luna responded as she took to her hooves, a calm breath following this, "Now, I believe we all need a good rest after-"

"YOUR MAJESTY!" yelled a sudden voice, making everyone turn to see a female jakhowl attendant running up to them, pure panic on her face.

"Hmm? What is it?" Luna immediately replied with a slight glare, "We have just completed the spell, so-"

"Its...its...its the Tricksters!" the jakhowl interrupted, the trio now freezing up at the words as she continued, "They're at the front gate! Its Dark Mist!"

"DARK MIST?!" Sharp roared, a blaze of blue flames now consuming his paws.

"Hold Sharp!" Luna instantly ordered, her wing flaring in front of the jakhowl. She turned back to the attendant as a series of pants escaped her breath, "Why is he here?! Even I know he is not a fool to come to my sanctuary."

Seeing the glare underneath the sweat on Luna's face, the attendant did a slight gulp before replying, "Um...he says he wants to speak to Chief Sharp. He says...he's here to end everything."

"That monster..." Sharp growled as he glared at Princess Luna, "Let me face him, your majesty. I need to do this. You know he won't stop with just a talking to."

Luna wiped her brow as she let out another long breath, "I know. That's why I'm going with you." She rested her hoof on her chest as she sighed, "Just...give me a second to catch my breath after that spell." Sharp opened his mouth, only for Luna to put her hoof in it, "No. You will stay here until I'm ready to walk out with you."

"And I'm coming to." Calm added as she gripped Sharp's arm, "Don't you dare leave me behind on this." She motioned to the attendant, "Take my egg to the infirmary. Keep it guarded."

"Yes, my lady." the jakhowl bowed before taking the egg away.

Seeing this, Luna stood upright before gesturing to the jakhowls, both nodding as they followed her. They soon left the castle, only to go wide-eyed at the next sight. Before them stood almost every jakhowl that lived there, only the young and a few attendants not showing themselves, as they were hiding in the castle. Looks of pure anger, rage, and slight fear were on all of their faces, as before them stood several hundred adult jakhowls. But despite these expressions, all of them immediately bowing as Luna walked down the courtyard of her castle. And as she reached the end, she found herself face to face with an army of Tricksters.

This group of foxes were only half the size of the amount jakhowls behind the princess. Not only that, there were other obvious differences. For one, the Tricksters looked grungier, dirt and filth on most of their bodies while the jakhowls all mainly had clean coats. Scars and markings were covering their forms, and every one of them had huge, devilish grins on their faces. That is, except the one at the very front of the foxes, which was their leader, Dark Mist.

"Ugh! That's disgusting!" Dark Mist immediately yelped as he stuck out his tongue and pointed at Luna, "You seriously let her walk in front of you like that?! Heck, why are you bowing to that...that thing?!"

"You will show her majesty respect Dark Mist!" Sharp Paw replied, his entire form almost now consumed in blue flames. "Kneel before-"

"Nope." Dark interrupted as he waved his claws, "I ain't doing that. I definitely don't serve this...thing."

"Why you little-"

"Enough." Luna commanded as she flared her wing in front of Sharp again. Not looking away for a second from Dark Mist, the alicorn let out a low growl, "Now, why are you here? And it better be a good reason, as I seriously don't know why I shouldn't take you down right now."

"Tch. Like you could take me." Dark spat with a shrug. He then pointed at the Luna with a wagging finger, "But since you asked so nicely, I'm here to ask for a deal with you, your maj...yeah, I can't say it."

"Does the deal include giving you some manners?!" Calm instantly replied, her own paws now lit in flames.

"HA! I like her! She's awesome!" Rainbow Dash guffawed, only to get a volley of 'shushes' from the others. "Yeah yeah, I'll be quiet."

"I don't need such things." Dark Mist barked back with his tongue still out, "Look, I'll just cut to the chase. I wanna make a deal with you." The fox leaned up next as his tongue rolled back into his mouth with a grin, "This is the part where you ask what the deal is."

Luna's horn began to spark, her eyes now seeing darkness cover every claw on each Trickster behind Dark Mist. Knowing her attack would spark a battle, she let out a long sigh, "What's the deal? Tell me now."

"Simple." Dark Mist's grin grew wider as he put both claws to his mouth, "I want you to revoke the law against Tricksters."

Luna's face kept a low, dark glare as she responded, "You can't be serious."

"Oh, but I am." Dark's claws started to go into his mouth as he continued to grin and speak, "You see, we Tricksters are all outlawed here in Equestria. We're not allowed to run free thanks to the law you made. Instead, we're hunted down by your despicable knights."

"That's because you cause chaos and destruction wherever you go. All you foxes do that." Sharp replied as Calm nodded in agreement, "You don't care about the ones you hurt or abuse. That's why you're outlawed!"

"I know." Dark Mist responded as he started to laugh, "But you see...that's what it means to be a Trickster. Tricking others, hurting them, destroying them...ki ki ki! That's how we live, and we love it!" His teeth clenched down on his claws, the pupils in his eyes now bouncing around. "But you 'equestrians' messed everything up! You don't let us live our lives!"

"We'll never let something as evil as you run free." Luna yelled as her horn's glow continued to get bigger, "I will never accept this deal! Now, either surrender to me or-"

"Or what?!" Dark interrupted as his eyes refocused on Luna, "You'll try to capture us?! Perhaps beat us all up and send us to one of your prisons?! Don't make me laugh!" He removed his claws from his mouth, his fingers slowly turning to point at the princess, "Here's the real deal. You will either remove that law, or we'll kill every jakhowl here!"

"And if I stop you?" Luna instantly replied as her horn continued to shine.

"Oh, you won't." Dark Mist snapped his claws, the Tricksters behind him now all glowing. Magic runes appeared on each of their chests, even the young ones as they all started to illuminate. "For we've acquired an even greater power. One that will let us finally destroy every last jakhowl."

The sight made Luna almost flinch, but she kept her horn's light strong. A low breath followed this as she replied, "I will still never remove that law. I will defeat you, and the jakhowls will stand strong." She shook her head next, "You will never win, no matter how powerful you become."

However, as those words exited her mouth, Dark let out a long laugh, "Ki ki ki...ki ki ki! Oh, that's rich! Ki ki ki...ki ki ki!"

"Stop laughing!" Sharp barked back, now stepping in front of the princess, "Dark Mist, you are no longer welcome here. Surrender now, or we will-"

"Do nothing." Dark interrupted, spitting at the jakhowl as he pointed at him, "Listen here Sharp. Tell that...thing you bow too to revoke the law, or..." his finger turned to point at Calm, "I'm gonna make sure you say goodbye to your mate...forever."

"Why you little-"

"Nope." Dark interrupted again, now turning around as he let out a low laugh, "Ki ki ki...eh, I can't laugh anymore. Figures you won't listen to my generous demands." The fox turned his head back to Sharp, a smaller grin now his face, "But, that doesn't mean we can't be civil about this. Tell you what...how about you jakhowls meet up with us in say...a day or so?" He slowly raised his claw and pointed at the horizon, "There's a canyon just a few miles south of there. Meet us tomorrow with all your pals, or...well, I'll keep my end of the deal over your mate."

"You will not-" Luna yelled as her horn flared, firing a beam of magic at the retreating fox. But as the spell exited her horn, the Trickster snapped his fingers. In that second, a barrier rune appeared, creating a wall that blocked the magic in one go. "Wha-"

"Had my minions set up a barrier while we talking. Runes don't always require speech or glowing horns." A long tongue rolled out of his mouth as he stuck it at them before turning to walk away, "I'll be waiting Sharp. I can't wait to destroy you! Ki ki ki...ki ki ki!"

"Neither can I!" Sharp screamed as he charged at the barrier, hitting with both fists. Despite this, the wall didn't faze, causing him to roar out as he continued to punch the shield, "DARK MIST! COME BACK AND FACE ME NOW, YOU COWARD!"

"That's enough Sharp. Stop hitting the barrier." Luna responded as she put her hoof on his shoulder, "If you do that, you'll just be playing at his game."

As those words from Luna's mouth hit everypony's ears, Twilight's eyes went wide. Her brain spun like a pair of gears in a machine, all working as she let out a gasp, "No...it can't be."

"Huh? What is it Twilight? You look like you've seen a ghost." Flash commented as he turned to the princess, now seeing a shiver go down her spine. "You okay?"

"I...I think I figured it out."

"Figured what out?"

"Why we're watching this." Twilight flatly said, making all six stare at her with now wide eyes. But before anypony could ask, she raised her hoof, "Stop. Let me explain." She did a small sigh as she pointed at Luna and Sharp Paw, "What Princess Luna just said, the part where Sharp Paw would be playing to Dark Mist's game, that's...that's why we're watching this."

"That's why?" Flash asked as he glanced back at Princess Luna, "Uh....I don't get it."

"Yeah sugarcube." Applejack added as she tapped the princess's side, "Yer gonna have to explain that one a bit more."

However, Twilight just shook her head, "No, that's exactly it. Think about it girls...and Flash. These visions we've been getting, they all happen like a story." She turned to her friends as she pointed at Flash, "Listen, when me and Flash used the potion, it was based on finding an answer we were looking for. But this...these things we've been shown are nothing like this, so it has to be something else."

"So...its not the zebra potion?" Flash concluded with a head tilt.

Twilight nodded in response. "Yes. And what Princess Luna just said has convinced me of what this is."

"And what is it then?"

"Its a game."

"A game?"

"Let me explain." Twilight sat down as she started motioning with her hooves, "Ever since this has started, we've been constantly thrown to each scene with no control. Not only that, we go over huge amounts of time like its nothing. Even if you were telling a story, you would have to structure it in a way that makes sense."

"But we were just thrown into this." Flash finished, Twilight nodding again.

"Exactly. In other words, somepony is controlling this whole thing." She crossed her hooves as she let out a low growl, "This individual is only showing us certain things, constantly hopping between scenes, and especially likes showing us the worst events. That...sounds like somepony petty and foal-like. You know, like they're just playing a game."

"But who would do that to us Twi?" Applejack asked next, only to get a small frown from Twilight.

"I...don't know."

"Maybe it was Discord! He could totally do something like this!" Rainbow interjected, only to get a shake of the head from Flash.

"I don't think so Rainbow. Considering what me and Twilight saw with Zecora's potion, I think this is after Discord was originally turned into a statue."


It was here that all seven friends frowned, depression setting in as they couldn't think of any enemy over this. But as this happened, Fluttershy looked back at Luna and Sharp Paw, only to speak up, "Um...why are we the ones being shown stuff about jakhowls?"

"Huh? What do you mean Fluttershy?"

"Well..." the buttercream pegasus started to fiddle with her hooves, "I know we said we're all here because we're the Elements of Harmony, but...why isn't Springer seeing this? I mean, wouldn't it make sense for him to see this?"

This made the others go wide-eyed, Twilight shining a huge grin as she placed both hooves on Fluttershy's shoulders, "That's it! Fluttershy, you're a genius!"

"I am?"

"Yes!" Twilight snapped her head to Flash, "Flash, contact Springer with your aura! You said you could do that since we could start understanding him, right?"

Flash was taken a bit back, "Um...yeah, I can. I mean...I tried when we got here, but I just naturally do it. Not being able to always contact him is kinda normal." But Twilight didn't reply, just giving him a glare that made him do a small nod before closing his eyes, "Gimme a sec. I'll try to find him..." And as they saw the defender concentrate, Flash took a low breath as he said in his mind, "Springer? Can you hear me bud?"

"About time. Hey Flash."

"Whoa!" Flash yelped as he hopped in place.

"What? What is it Flash?" Twilight asked, only for Flash to raise a hoof.

"One sec Twi. I'm talking to Springer." He closed his eyes again. "Hey buddy, I'm here with the girls and we seem to be in a bit of a bind. Where are ya?"

"Oh, I know. It was just that we weren't able to contact each other till you figured it out."

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"Do that thing where you see things through my eyes and you'll see Flash."

Flash opened his eyes as he stared at the girls, "Uh...looks like Springer already knew we were in this thing."

The others glanced at each other, Rainbow asking, "If he did, why hasn't he helped us get out?!"

"I don't know. He just told me to see things through his eyes, so I'm gonna do it." Flash closed his lids again, "Be right back." And as the girls stared at the still defender, a barrage of frowns followed as Flash let out two words, "Aw crap."

Just a few seconds ago...

"So they finally figured it out, huh? Took 'em long enough. Gotta say though, you were right. The princess would be the one to figure out...which if I'm totally honest, kinda disgusts me."

"Yeah, well...Twilight is better than you." Springer barked back with crossed paws.

"Pfft! Like a lousy alicorn could shape up to someone as magnificent as me."

"You really are full of yourself, aren't you?"

"I am NOT full of myself! I'm just perfect, you aura freak!"

"Yeah yeah...so honor your deal 'mister perfect' and release the rune. Let me talk to Flash."

"Grrr...fine. Not like it really matters."

And as a small click went off, Springer closed his eyes, contacting his partner. There, they had a conversation, mainly Springer telling him to just go ahead and see things through the jakhowl's eyes. With this agreement, the jakhowl opened his eyes, a new set of irises seeing through them. That and a new voice as Flash and Springer synced up. "Aw crap." was all Flash could say as he saw who Springer was facing.

"Welcome, Springer's partner. Have a look around." the other replied, making the defender now see the full room. He saw that Springer was in a large box room that looked like it had been carved out of a cave, complete with rock covered walls and ceiling. But that wasn't what caught his eye, as he now saw that Springer and the other figure were sitting on two large solid rock thrones and a machine was between them. The machine was showing a large map with several figures, all he recognized. They were his friends, Princess Luna, Sharp Paw, Dark Mist, Vile Rune and others, all being displayed like a show on the map, complete with an assortment of magic runes surrounding each display. Not only that, as his eyes scanned the machine, a low gasp went out of his mouth as he saw that the machine was connected by a giant assortment of wires and tubes, all with magic runes covering each piece. But that wasn't what made him truly gasp. What shocked him was that at the end of those tubes was seven large capsules, each showing a different pony inside them, all asleep. It was his friends...and himself.

Seeing this, he turned back to the figure, a low glare now on his face. "Shade...what have you done to me and my friends?! What is this?!"

"Hee hee hee...surprised? You really shouldn't be if you thought about it." Shade replied as a huge grin graced his face, his claws now stretching out as he gestured to the machine between them. "After all, this is my greatest accomplishment. Behold, a marvel of science and sorcery, all thanks to that idiot Doom Raizer."

"Hee hee hee...welcome, to the ultimate game! Welcome...to the final battle between the Jakhowls and the Tricksters!"