• Published 20th Aug 2012
  • 3,439 Views, 180 Comments

The Balance - Path_of_cloud



Two very diffrent groups of beings come together to save the world in its darkest hour.

  • ...
14
 180
 3,439

The Mysterious Figure

On top of a hill, under a large tree, sat six colorful ponies and a small green and purple dragon. A blanket covered the ground below them as they munched on snacks from a number of baskets, sharing with one another. A lilac Unicorn with a dark mane split by a dark pink stripe going down the middle was reading a book, while a yellow Pegasus with a long pink mane appeared to be chatting with two birds and a squirrel, which made their home in the tree. Across from them, a rainbow maned, sky blue Pegasus was hoof wrestling with an orange Earth pony with a blonde mane tied in a ponytail and wearing a Stetson. An energetic pink Earth pony with an equally chaotic pink mane cheered for both of them, unable to decide which of her friends she wanted to win. Finally, outside of the shade, on a vanity couch, sat a white Unicorn with a curly purple mane and tail enjoying the warm sunlight on her fur. The dragon walked up to her carrying two red drinks each with a few ice cubes floating on top of it. He offered one to the white Unicorn who accepted it gratefully, causing the dragon to blush lightly as he sat on the grass next to her and sipped on his own drink.

It was the definition of peaceful, and it struck a sad chord in the heart of the observer. He would be breaking that peace, something he had not had in a very long time. A tinge of jealousy and regret lay on the stranger’s shoulders, but nothing would break the resolve driving him.

The yellow Pegasus was the first to notice the cloaked figure advancing towards their picnic, her animal friends retreating to their tree. “Um… did one of you… invite someone else?”

“Fluttershy what are you talking about?” The blue Pegasus looked where her friend was staring, noticing the strange individual.

“Careful, Dashie, my nose itches. They’re dangerous, whoever they are.” The energetic pink pony lowered herself into a feral position, ready to pounce.

“So then, should we get ready to attack him? Pinkie and her Pinkie sense are never wrong, after all,” the lilac Unicorn asked, firsthand experience with the strange phenomenon of her friend’s ability concerning her.

“Twilight, ah’ reckon they ain’t attacked anyone yet, but we best be ready to defend ourselves if they do.” A tilt of her hat produced a rope pre-formed into a lasso.

“No need to act like savages, Applejack. Maybe, they just want to ask us something, or compliment us, we do look quite good today.” The white Unicorn puffed her mane up. “And if not, we’ll destroy them.”

The dragon had stayed silent the entire time. He could feel the cloaked figure’s eyes on him, causing a cold shiver to run down the green spikes along his back and tail.

A strong voice, laced with a sliver of ice, broke in, “I’m here for the dragon. Spike, I believe. I would prefer to avoid a fight, as it would not end well for you. So, young one, come with me quietly,” the voice softened, “please.”

Spike had no intention of letting this guy, a new realization brought on from the voice, hurt his friends, especially Rarity. Normally, he wouldn’t believe anyone could take all of the girls, but there was something about him, something strange. With that, he had decided to go with the cloaked figure. Scared out of his mind, he stepped forward.

“No. I’m not sure who you are, and I hardly care. We are the Elements of Harmony, saviors of Equestria, and you are not taking my assistant.” Twilight's horn glowed menacingly, aimed at the stranger.

“I won’t let you touch a scale on my Spikey-Wikey’s head.” Rarity rushed to her friend’s side, ready to defend the young dragon

A growl came in response, from the now feral Pinkie Pie.

“No weirdo, is taking our friend anywhere!” Dash spread her wings, her war face on.

“Ya best get, before we make ya get.” The lasso twirled in the air above Applejack, as she prepared for the worse.

“YEA!... If you don’t mind that is.” Fluttershy hid behind her mane after the sudden outburst.

The stranger remained un-phased, instead looking straight at the target of his demand. “Come with me peacefully. It’s for the best.”

“I’m going with him,” Spike replied. Something about the way the cloaked figure spoke seemed genuine. It was both calming and concerning, he truly believed he could take the girls, and Spike believed him.

“No way!” Rainbow Dash sprang from the ground and hurled towards the object of her aggression as fast as she could in the few yards that separated them. Black fur shot from the cloak as one hoof made contact with the front of her leg and the other grabbed the back of her shoulder. The dark figure spun with her in a circle before crashing her into the ground. No crater was formed where she contacted the floor. In fact, she didn’t even appear hurt. But before a sigh of relief could even be expressed by her friends, a hoof tapped the back of her head, knocking her unconscious.

“Horseapples! She never waits. We should have attacked him together.”

“It’s fine Applejack, she doesn’t look hurt. Anyways, now we know we’re dealing with a pony. I’ll lift him up, and you lasso him. Even if he’s a Unicorn, I can counter his spells.”

Twilight’s horn glowed, as Applejack threw her lasso. A purple aura surrounded the figure, but as soon as it appeared, it faded to nothingness. A raised hoof was caught by the lasso, but a quick yank pulled the captor to the captive. The cowpony was caught gently, the stranger appearing to have absorbed the momentum into him.

“That’s it. You’re in fer a world of-” a quick tap to the head silenced the farmer, who was placed gently next to the sleeping Pegasus.

“How can magic not work on him?” a mildly panicked Twilight asked.

“Darling, if you can’t lift him-“

“I can’t do anything! I can’t even put him to sleep.”

“As I was saying, if you can’t use magic on him, then use it on something else.”

A branch flew towards the figure, surrounded by a light blue aura. The branch was smashed by a quick hoof, but the point was made.

All of the forks, knifes, and even the spoons, raised into the air surrounded by the purple aura. Twilight allowed herself a victorious smirk, before launching the array of utensils.

The dark figure ran to the side at a rate even Rainbow Dash, had she not been unconscious at the moment, could of appreciated. The onslaught followed after him, copying his every move. That was, until his move, was to run directly towards Twilight, the storm of improvised missiles following behind him. Twilight quickly dropped her magic, afraid of hitting herself, or more importantly, her friends. The stranger summersaulted over her, lightly contacting her head and knocking her out in the process.

As he landed his face found itself in front of a pink pony and a strangely shaped device. “Eat Party Cannon!” A loud shot rang through his ears, as his face was assaulted by confetti, streamers and a bright light. The odd device had disoriented him momentarily, allowing the party pony to attack him. He seemed to sense the attack though, and managed another quick knock out; with his hoof landing squarely, gently on the hyperactive pony’s head.

He had not wanted this outcome. Truthfully though, he had suspected it.

“ENOUGH!” The shout had managed to hurt his head, still ringing from the cannon blast.

“I said I would go with you. I know they attacked first, but can’t we just go?” Spike pleaded

“I would like that,” came the figures response.

“Spike, darling, I can’t let you go with him. He’s dangerous, we don’t know what he wants with you, and Twilight would never forgive me,” Rarity pleaded.

Spike looked at her, guilt spreading across his face. “I’m sorry, Rarity. I’ll come back safe and sound. So don’t provoke him any further. We have a deal right?”

“SPIKE!” Rarity stomped her hoof in defiance of his choice.

“Rarity, if you have any respect for me, you’ll let me do this.”

Tears began to form in the disgruntled Unicorn’s eyes. She didn’t want him to go, but the dragon had made it known that his decision was final. “Of c-course, S-Spike.”

The young dragon turned away, unwilling to see her cry. He’d never make her cry again, he swore, but this was something he had to do to protect her, Twilight, and his friends.

“You made the right decision. Come young one, we have much to talk about, and even more to do.” The cloaked pony allowed the dragon to climb onto his back. He made his way back towards the woods he had come from.

“HOW DARE YOU!” Fluttershy had finally had enough, four of her friends lay unconscious and Rarity was in tears. “HOW DARE YOU!”

The stranger looked back into the most outraged stare he had ever seen.

“YOU COME AND RUIN OUR PICNIC, AND THEN YOU TRY TO KIDNAP OUR FRIEND. YOU HURT FOUR OF MY FRIENDS IN THE PROCESS, AND YOU MADE THE OTHER CRY! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?”

He stared into her eyes, and spoke calmly, “I am Wrath, and my sin is my name. I have come to collect this dragon, to protect this world that I don’t belong in. Your Stare won’t work on me. I am sorry it came to this, but your friends will wake up in twenty-four hours. The two of you should take them home. They’ll be fine; I didn’t hurt them. When they wake up, tell them to prepare. The Sins are gathering, and a great evil threatens this world. I applaud your bravery, but this is how it has to be.” And with that, he turned around and walked into the forest.

An hour had passed in silence for the odd pair walking through the woods, and Spike was getting bored. One could only look at the canopy and listen to the birds and woodland creatures so much. Small beams of sunlight slid through the cracks in the trees, falling over the shadowed ground. Pretty to look at, sure, but it got old fast.

“Um… Wrath was it? Can I ask you some questions?” It occurred to Spike that he could combat his boredom and learn about his new traveling partner at the same time. Twilight had told him knowledge is power and he was going to need a lot of power with this stallion.

The stallion seemed to perk up a bit, as if he’d been waiting for this. “Yes it is. You may, only seems fair; I did kidnap you after all. But understand, I won’t necessarily answer all of them. Somethings have to be learned the hard way, and even I don’t have all the answers.”

Spike could see the wisdom in his words. “Okay then, why did you kidnap me?”

“Weren’t you listening? To save the world.”

“Could you be a bit broader?” Spike crossed his arms in annoyance.

“Sarcasm, amusing. It’s complicated; let’s just say you are the last piece in a very dangerous game of chess. Again, broad, I know, but when we get where were going you’ll have your answer.”

“And where are we going?”

Wrath motioned with his cloak covered head towards the mountains in the distance, without slowing down. “Canterlot. We’re going to meet an old friend of mine.”

Spike raised his eyebrow, and then realized riding on Wrath’s back meant that he was unable to see the gesture. “Your friend have a name?”

“Yes, and you’ll learn it soon enough.”

Spike couldn’t help but notice how ominous that sounded. “Why do I find myself with more questions every time you answer?

“Such is the nature of the pursuit of knowledge, my young friend.”

“Fine,” Spike announced annoyed. Honestly who’d the guy think he was, Twilight? “Then, how about you tell me how you beat up my friends?”

“You can’t see it at the moment, but my Cutie Mark represents Martial Arts. Every time I tapped one of your friends, I put a little kai into the attack. This caused my strike to rattle their brain and render them unconscious.”

“I’ve never seen Martial Arts used like that, and what about Twilight’s magic?”

“I suspect I can answer both of those with a small story. Do you know the tale behind Hearts Warming Eve?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, the one you know is somewhat censored. You see, while no fighting ever actually broke out, there was preparation for war. The Unicorns trained themselves in battle magic; this would prove to be the foundation for the practice today. Pegasi started drilling for combat, formations, speed, trick flying that kind of thing. The Wonderbolts would be the modern spin on Pegasi war efforts. And finally, Earth Ponies began developing techniques to fight the agile Pegasi, and the powerful magic of Unicorns. Martial Arts were developed as a form of hoof to hoof fighting. A strong foundation along with quick, precise, and efficient movements was believed to be the key to defeating the Pegasi. The magic was another story entirely though. Dragons are largely immune to magic as they mature, though not entirely. So, early Earth Ponies studied dragons to try and discover a technique that would offer them the same protection. They were successful. They discovered that the dragons’ strong sense of self and inner ferocity allowed them to negate the magic. With this knowledge, the Earth Ponies developed a technique to make their auras and bodies resistant to all but the most powerful of magic. Both Martial Arts and Aura Training take a small lifetime to master, and even that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Because of this, and with the now peaceful times we live in, Martial Arts have largely become something of a hobby or a mere competitive sport, and Aura Mastery has fallen out of practice, unknown entirely to the public. I am one of a very small number who is trained in Aura Mastery, and a master of true Martial Arts.” Wrath leaped over a small stream as he finished his tale.

Spike barely managed to get his arms around Wrath’s neck before the jump. Safely on the other side, Spike continued their conversation, “So anyone who mastered them would be as strong as you? Wait, is that how you beat Fluttershy’s stare?” Spike rubbed his chin. The thought of gaining that kind of strength was intriguing, to say the least.

“No on both accounts. I am unique, in a sense, and mastering Martial Arts is more like reaching a certain level, you can always improve and advance. Do you remember what I told Fluttershy?”

“Yeah, your name, why you were taking me, about the girls, and something about sins gathering and destruction.”

“The Seven Sins are comparable to the Elements of Harmony, and at the same time very different. The Elements work together to create peace, each of them represents the best in a being, but they are not without flaw. The Sins represent the worst in a being, but their wielders use their sins for the best of intentions. They have a tendency to work alone”

“I don’t understand. How can they be the worst, but have the best of intentions?”

“I am the Sin of Wrath; dad got lucky with the name.” The mention of his father seemed to cause the stallion pain as his trot slowed momentarily. “Wrath is defined as anger, violence, and revenge. It’s a monster that can consume you and make you do horrible things. However, it can be forged, channeled, into a blade. Wrath can help you defend what’s important to you, it can bring justice to those who would abuse it, and it can avenge those who have been wronged by those who would use it selfishly.”

“So it has positive attributes, even though it’s normally dark. So does that mean a Sin is more powerful than the Elements of Harmony?” Spike shuddered at the idea of six others like Wrath.

“Correct on the first part, but the second part is more complicated. No one of us is stronger than the six elements together.”

“But I saw you take them all down.”

“Yes, but I didn’t fight all six at once, just in rapid procession. Rainbow Dash attacked by herself, cutting their power significantly due to her loss. Applejack teamed up with Twilight. But because they didn’t know about my Aura Mastery, I was able to take Applejack down. Twilight canceled her spell to protect herself and everyone else when she fought alone. Pinkie Pie managed to combo off of Twilight. I didn’t even sense her presence, and that party cannon of hers is not pleasant to have next to your face. When she attacked me directly however, I was able to feel her movements. Fluttershy and Rarity waited too long to join in and help. You defeated Rarity for me, but don’t feel bad about it, it was for her own good. And that left Fluttershy. Her stare is a manifestation of her element; it draws on the kindness in others and forces it to the surface. It didn’t work on me because I was being kind. I refrained from hurting anyone and was taking you out of absolute necessity. Still, she managed to pull some information out of me, so I wasn’t completely unaffected.” Wrath speed up his pace, as he finished explaining.

“Fluttershy’s stare is part of her element?”

“Indeed. All of the Elements and Sins have unique abilities. Your six friends are young still, and they haven’t discovered them, or tapped into them fully yet. When they do, they’ll be extremely powerful, even by themselves.”

“So what’s your ability then?”

“Not telling, not yet. We’re here.”

Spike looked up, the sky had darkened considerably their conversation had seemed like an hour, but had really taken most of the day. He was shocked to find Canterlot before him, shrouded in a vale of darkness. The mountain-side city was as beautiful as ever, ornate structures lined the streets giving an air of majesty to everything.

“Hold on tight.”

Spike wrapped his arms around Wrath’s neck, linking his claws together. Wrath sprang forward, jumping onto one of houses. He started running along the roof tops, jumping to every new building along his path.

“Pinkie does this. She called it Parkour.” Spike was trying to stop his heart from exploding.

“It’s one of the Martial Arts that evolved from the original. The art of running and climbing, very useful when you need to get somewhere quietly or escape from something,” Wrath said quietly, as he leapt to his next target.

A large, long wall was coming up fast. “Is that the castle?”

“Keep quiet now; don’t want to alert the guards.”

Wrath ran forward jumping from the roof to the wall of the castle, twice any of his previous jumps, and landed without making a sound. He quickly jumped down as a guard rounded the corner, barely missing him.

“Not bad. Think I need to work on my timing though. Spike?”

The young dragon was squeezing the muscular neck of the insane pony for all his worth. His heart slowed down as the adrenaline crept out of his system. “Are you insane?” he hissed.

“Little bit.” Wrath started moving again.

“That explains it.” Spike looked around. Statues of famous ponies, artistically crafted shrubbery, beautiful, fragrant flowers, and a large hedge maze surrounded him. A sudden realization hit him; they were in the Canterlot Castle Gardens. “You’re meeting your friend here?”

“Yeah, he’s just around this corner.”

They rounded the corner, and Spike’s eyes widened in realization. “Discord.”

The statue of the god of chaos and destruction stood quietly, posed in a frightened stance, the final cry of a forsaken trickster.

The head of the statue looked like a ponies but longer. It had a deer antler on the right side, and a goat horn on the left. One, long, sharp fang peeked from its mouth. The pupils were different-sizes. A forked reptilian tongue stood frozen in the open mouth. A goatee graced the creature’s chin. A buzz-cut mane ran down his neck. His right arm was that of a lion, and his left the claw of an eagle. His legs were just as strange, the right leg of a lizard, and the left leg of a goat. Upon his back were a bat's right wing, and a Pegasus' left wing. A dragon's tail with a white tuft at the end finished the mismatched Draconequus.

“Spike, off my back,” Wrath requested, never taking his eyes of the statue.

“Are you crazy? Forget insane, Discord is dangerous. Even the Elements barely defeated him.”

Wrath chuckled; the calculating, cold, insane Wrath, actually chuckled. “You think they defeated him? That’s rich.” The humor fled his voice, “Off my back,” he demanded, leaving no room for argument this time.

Spike reluctantly jumped off Wrath. Discord was just a statue now anyways. Wrath could not do anything to change that… could he? The Elements sealed Discord maybe a Sin could bring him back. No, the Elements were more powerful than a Sin, Wrath had explained that himself. So then, what was he planning with the statue?

Wrath bit the edge of his hood and in one swift, fluid movement shed the cloak from his body.

Spike stared in disbelief at the pony before him. A black Earth Pony with a long white mane and crimson red eyes. His body was covered in gray scars. One large scar went from the top of his forehead through his right eye and stopped before his mouth. A circular scar had indented itself into the back right side of his neck. The shape and size looked familiar to the young drake, a Griffon’s beak perhaps. That would explain it, a Griffon landing on his back and attempting to peck through his neck. Spike shivered at the thought, the pain must have been immense, searing. Wrath turned to face Spike, his eyes taking in his young companion’s composure at the sight of his body. On his left side three knotted gashes ran from his shoulder to his waist. Spike recognized the mark immediately, dragon claws, and from the size, a full grown one. His hooves and legs were covered in smaller scars of all shapes and sizes, but none of particular notice. Only the amount seemed daunting. But Wrath himself, appeared to be only a few years older than any of the girls. He was definitely younger than the Cakes by more than a few years. An educated guess placed Wrath at about twenty-five.

Wrath turned back towards Discord. “Now you see why I wear the cloak.”

Spike stared at the last of Wrath’s prominent features, his Cutie Mark. A black hoof smashing down inside a blood red circle graced the Earth Ponies flank. “You look…”

“Dangerous,” Wrath finished for Spike.

“Well yeah,” Spike admitted, nervously rubbing his head, “but it’s kind of cool.”

Wrath smirked. “You haven’t seen anything, yet.”

White, scarlet stained wings materialized on Wrath’s back in a mere moment. The next moment however, caused shaking and rumbling throughout Canterlot. Discord’s statue exploded, releasing the god of chaos with a loud yawn and stretch of his arms. “Morning, Wrath,” Discord stole a quick glance to the dragon now cowering slightly behind Wrath, “and Spike. Oh wait, that’s Rainbow Dash isn’t it.” Discord smiled mischievously at his own joke.

Wrath stepped forward. “Not that I didn’t miss your sense of humor, old friend, but I believe teleporting us out of here is in our best interest. We wouldn’t want Celestia and Luna down here. I’m sure they already noticed your grand awakening.”

“Quite right.” Discord stroked his goatee. “Anywhere specific?”

“The old castle of the Alicorn sisters seems like a fitting place.”

With a snap of Discord’s claw they found themselves in the ruins of a throne room. Discord snapped his fingers again. The walls turned a brilliant white, a regal red carpet ran from the twin thrones to the door, and chandeliers hung from the ceiling casting light across the now restored throne room. “Much better.” Discord flew over to one of the thrones, pulled a pillow from thin air, and sat down upon it. Another snap of his fingers brought forth a glass of chocolate milk. He took a sip. “Where are my manners? Would either of you like a glass?”

“No!” Spike half screamed, half whimpered.

“I’m good as well.”

“What just happened!?” Spike demanded.

“I drank chocolate milk; you and Wrath didn’t want any,” Discord mused. Suddenly, Discord seemed very serious. “Did you tell him yet?”

“No. I felt he should hear the whole story from us first. He has to know the truth after all, if he is to trust us.”

Spike spoke up, “How did you release Discord, and what’s with the wings?”

Wrath was happy to see Spike returning to his inquisitive side. “I released Discord with my wings.” Wrath’s wings suddenly disappeared as fast as they appeared. “They were transmuted onto me with Discord’s chaos magic long ago. He added the ability to remove or create them at will. When I presented the magic before his statue, it awoke the magic within, allowing Discord to escape.”

Spike’s eyes lit up. “I get it! His magic in your wings resonated with the magic inside the statue.”

Discord clapped, clearly impressed by Spike’s understanding. “It’s nice to see Celestia and Twilight taught you well.” Discord smiled saddened momentarily. “Always knew she’d be good with kids.”

“But that still leaves the question, why did Wrath break you out now?”

“Simple, he needs me.” He laid his head on his hand, and with an amused grin announced, “I am Discord, the Sin of Gluttony.”

“YOU’RE A SIN!” Spike shouted, much to Discord’s amusement and Wrath’s chagrin.

Wrath walked up to the other throne and sat down facing Spike. “Yes, he is. Discord’s unique ability is his chaos magic.”

“So then, what do you two need me for?” Spike voice betrayed him as it shook a little.

Wrath and Discord shared a downtrodden expression. It was not a pleasant one, but instead a sad look. Spike saw something in their eyes, regret and yearning.

Wrath started as Discord snapped his fingers creating a bean bag cushion for Spike to relax in, “To answer your question we need to go back about thirteen hundred years ago. Back then I was twenty-one, void of all these scars, and was working as Celestia’s and Luna’s personal guard. Discord was about forty-eight, and the twin princesses were fifty. None of them looked a day over twenty-five, and Discord was still a Kirin, a Unicorn dragon hybrid. He went by his birth name, Seeker. This is the story of the first two Sins, The Fall of Wrath, and The Birth of Discord.”