• Published 2nd Sep 2012
  • 2,250 Views, 18 Comments

Cutie Mark Sentai Crusader! - RaisingShad0ws



Cutie Mark Crusaders Power Rangers Yay!

  • ...
0
 18
 2,250

The First Ascension Sign - Beginnings

Chapter 10


-The First Ascension Sign, Beginnings-

“Serene Grace, report.” Utopian commanded, glaring at an empty spot in between both Tuff Stuff and Crimson Heart. A few moments later a bright light flickered in between them both before the unicorn materialized between them and bowed low. Her mane and tail appeared to be in disarray as several minor cuts and bruises were visible from all over her body.

“I apologize for my tardiness in reporting in milord. I had to find a place away from all of the common ponies in Canterlot right after I left.” Serene Grace answered, looking up at Utopian from her position in front of the unicorn. Utopian sat quietly on a very regal looking throne behind several control panels with zombie ponies all working and monitoring the gauges that were in front of him. To her left and right, beyond Tuff Stuff and Crimson Heart were hundreds of other zombie ponies trotting about and working quietly and efficiently at other consoles. The windows that bordered the bridge showed what appeared to be a beautifully painted night sky amongst the clouds, which distracted Serene Grace for a moment before returning her attention back to Utopian. “Milord, the task has been accomplished.” She said confidently, rising from her kneeling position and seeing Utopian’s proud smile.

“I see. So, you destroyed my book as instructed...” Utopian uttered, making a mental not of Serene Grace’s looks. “You must have destroyed my home to by the looks of things... There weren’t any complications with the task now, were there?” He asked.

“No milord.” Serene Grace replied immediately. “I apologize for the wanton destruction of your home, but I believed that it would be necessary to throw the guard off of our trail.” She lied, hoping that Utopian wouldn’t catch her.

“I see... very well Serene Grace. Meet back with the ship at the first rendezvous point as instructed.” Utopian ordered, watching Serene Grace bow low. “You are dismissed.”

“Understood milord.” Serene Grace said before disappearing. Tuff Stuff and Crimson Heart remained silent, watching as the Unicorn used his magic to pick up a small glass of wine that was set out on a tray beside his throne. After taking a small sip, and looking down on them both, Tuff Stuff shifted nervously a little where they stood.

“Milord, I ask you... What was so important in destroying that book?” Crimson Heart asked, which caused Utopian to raise one of his eyebrows generously. “I’m sorry milord, forgive me for prying into private matters.” He hurriedly said watching as the unicorn set the glass down gently.

“No no, even though it is a private matter you did let your curiosity get the better of you. You are forgiven Crimson Heart.” Utopian answered calmly. “As to your question, the book contained everything that I needed to make the journey to the Temple of Grimclaw the Terrible alone without an army to be at my beck and call should the choice be necessary. The mentions of how Necromancy is a widely accepted practice in the Griffin Kingdom is also a plus, but none of that matters.” He paused, smirking a little. “Why waste valuable lives like yourselves when I can spend the marks of the undead at the Wayshrines of Ascension?”

“Wayshrines of Ascension milord?” Tuff Stuff repeated, sounding confused.

Utopian blinked, turning to the earth pony that was now kneeling before him. “Yes Tuff Stuff, it’s a pity that your knowledge of the Griffin Kingdom is lacking to say the least...” He paused for a moment, trying to think of a way to explain them better. After a few moments he smiled, coming up with a way before beginning to speak. “Think of the valley around the Temple as a safe, the safe cannot be opened without the proper combination correct?”

“Yes, milord.” Crimson Heart replied.

“The Wayshrines of Ascension are like the combination that one must put in to get inside the safe. There are three signs: The Wayshrine of Beginnings, The Wayshrine of Sacrifice, and the Wayshrine of Power.” Utopian tapped a hoof on the hoof rest of his throne, and lit up his horn which caused a big glowing map of the world to appear in front of his generals. “The Wayshrines are all connected to the center of the Griffin Kingdom, in the Desert of Scorching Death. Most who have tried for the power there had been turned away by the guardians of the Wayshrines here,” Utopian said, using his magic to flatten the map out and make a three dimensional model of a small temple carved into a rocky cliff side of a wide jungle crevice, “In the Jungle of Silent Cries, This is the location of the first Wayshrine. From there we must journey to the Lake of the Four Tribes here,” Utopian continued, using his magic to change the map into another small temple in the middle of a huge lake surrounded by four incredibly large Griffins with their swords pointing upwards to the sky. “The final Wayshrine, the Peak of the Master, rests about a Day’s flight away from the Desert. It is from there that we shall capture the Elements of Harmony, and continue to make our way to the temple.” He said as the map changed a final time into a very foreboding looking mountain that appeared to be more of a volcano than anything else. “Each of the Wayshrines guard the Dagger of Sureblade, the leader of the Four kings of the Griffon Kingdom. Using the Dagger, he dispelled and destroyed Grimclaw with his fellows and divvied up the land into four equal smaller nations.” Utopian explained, as the map changed into a simple looking dagger with a blood red stone in the pommel.

“Who came up with the naming?” Crimson Heart asked, watching as Utopian chuckled a little.

“The names for all of the land based formations were chosen due to the battles that the Kings of the Four Griffin tribes waged and won against Grimclaw the Terrible.” Utopian answered. “Remember, it is just like savages to base their world completely on battle. They did not know how to coexist until Grimclaw, and they don’t know how to now.” Utopian said, watching as both Crimson Heart and Tuff Stuff steeled themselves.

“I expect that there will be some form of resistance at the Wayshrines. They’ll most likely not want anypony to take the power of Grimclaw for themselves.” Tuff Stuff reported.

“You forget Tuff Stuff, we are in a highly capable War Machine and they have rocks and sticks. They will pose no threat even if they try to put up a resistance.” Utopian said coolly. He turned to one of the zombie unicorn soldiers who was carrying a small clipboard with it’s magic. “It would seem that at our current pace, we should make it to the first Wayshrine before too long. Crimson Heart, Tuff Stuff return to your posts. I shall call for you when we arrive.” Utopian ordered, watching both ponies bow before leaving out of the doors from behind him. “It is all coming together now. Nopony can stop me, not even Princess Celestia’s precious Elements of Harmony. It will begin soon...”

-Meanwhile on the Star Blaster-

It had been a while since they had left Ponyville, but Twilight had a tiny feeling in the back of her head that something was really wrong. She had gone through a mental checklist of everything that she remembered to do before they had left, twice, but something was still troubling Celestia’s Star Student.

“I left out enough food for Spike, Owliscious and Pee-Wee to last them the whole time that we’re gone... Made sure that they would keep the Library clean until we got back... Ooh what is it?” Twilight thought worriedly, continuing to make a mental note of everything that she had forgotten to do.

“Mmmm... Twilight?” Pinkie Pie asked, waking up as she could hear the unicorns annoyed pacing. “What’s wrong?” She said, watching as the unicorn immediately stopped before turning back around again.

“I don’t know Pinkie, and that’s the problem.” Twilight whispered, trying not to wake up her other friends. “I’ve gone over everything we did this morning and there’s still something that’s making me feel that I forgot to do something... It’s aggravating.” Twilight nearly shouted, catching herself in mid sentence and looking around as none of the other ponies stirred.

“Oooh... I think I know how you feel.” Pinkie Pie answered. “Come here, and let’s see if we can get this straightened out.” She said, beckoning the Lavender unicorn over to her own personal bed. “Come on now, I won’t bite.” Pinkie Pie encouraged.

Twilight, who was feeling weirded out by the pink mare’s offer and quickly trotted over to the pink mare’s bed before sitting down. Pinkie Pie smiled, getting close to Twilight before wrapping one of her hooves her best friend’s shoulder. “So, start from the beginning.” Pinkie Pie said immediately, watching Twilight blush.

“Well... Um, okay... After both princesses left the library last night I actually couldn’t sleep too well.” Twilight began. “I was just too excited, I mean I’ve never left Equestria before and now I can, you know?”

“Yeah I know.” Pinkie Pie answered gently.

“Well I spent all of last night reading up on the history of the Griffin Kingdom, and it just so happened to mention a lot of things that could possibly go wrong with Utopian’s search for the Temple of Grimclaw the Terrible. Not only that but there were several customs and traditions that we have to follow when entering their lands, plus there are creatures that we haven’t even seen in Equestria before.”

“So why are you nervous?” Pinkie Pie asked. “You seem like you’re a little excited to me.”

“Well it’s a combination of both I guess...” Twilight answered, feeling Pinkie Pie’s hoof begin to gently stroke her side. “I mean, I’m just thinking that there’s a lot of things that we don’t know about the Griffins and a lot of things that are missing and-” She stopped, watching as Pinkie Pie’s other hoof was gently planted on lips. “Pinkie... What are you doing?” Twilight asked, her heart racing a million miles a minute.

“I’m making you feel better. Shh...” Pinkie Pie crooned, drawing her best friend close to her. Twilight’s face immediately began to glow beet red as one of her best friends continued to hold her. It didn’t feel like how her mother used to hold her, which was something that seemed to be more reserved to whenever she was a foal and upset or embarrassed at something. No, this seemed to be more natural, something she hadn’t even felt when her other friends were with her, she didn’t even feel the same way when she was with her beloved mentor. No, this felt more genuine, more real.

“Come on Twilight Sparkle.” Pinkie Pie whispered, gently into the Lavender Unicorn’s ear. “Let’s make this a real party.” She said before kissing the unicorn on the cheek.

Twilight could feel all of her worries fade away, she could almost see them disappear like the aftershock of one of Rainbow Dash’s Sonic Rainbooms. It felt amazing, more than anything that she had ever felt in her life before. Twilight tilted her head, staring into the pink mare’s beautiful sapphire eyes. They were warm, inviting, just like a big beautiful birthday cake that was all for her and no pony else. Twilight couldn’t take it any more, she lunged at the pink mare and kissed her with everything that she had, feeling the bliss mounting as they both shared each other’s company. Their friends remained asleep, quietly unawares that both the Elements of Magic and Laughter were making out in the cabin underneath them.

They continued at it for a few minutes, coming up for air a couple of times during their session until both ponies were worn out. Twilight could feel the relaxing pull of Pinkie Pie’s sheets lull her into a sense of contentment with her pink friend, blissfully gazing into her eyes.

“Twilight...” Pinkie Pie began, seeing Twilight’s smiling face.

“Yes Pinkie?” Twilight asked.

“Are you okay?” Pinkie Pie asked, her soft and gentle voice now showing concern.

“What are you talking about?” Twilight asked, a goofy looking grin now on her face.

“You’re on the floor Twilight.” Pinkie Pie replied, sitting up and seemingly reorienting herself to make herself look farther away. Twilight couldn’t understand what was going on until there was a loud click, which caused the unicorn to shut her eyes.

When Twilight opened them, she had indeed found herself on the carpeted floor of their cabin receiving weird looks from all of her friends including Pinkie Pie. While Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash were peering at her from their beds in the cabin, Fluttershy was over by the light switch while Pinkie Pie was on the floor beside her. Twilight rubbed her eyes for a moment, before looking down at a spit drenched pillow in between her hooves before blushing again.

“Looks like somepony had themselves a really good dream.” Rainbow Dash commented, watching Twilight get up from the floor.

“Yeah, Ah’ll say.” Applejack added. “What happened?” She asked, watching Twilight toss the pillow back into her bed with her magic.

“Oh... I was with...” Twilight began, trying her best to hide the fact that she had just been dreaming about making out with Pinkie Pie not ten seconds ago. “I was thinking about...”

“It’s all right Twilight, you don’t need to tell us anything.” Rarity said gently.

“Yeah, we don’t need to know something personal like that.” Rainbow Dash replied, getting settled back into her own bed.

“Thanks you guys.” Twilight replied, watching as Fluttershy clicked the lights before returning to her bed. Twilight was about to drag herself back into bed too until she felt a gentle tap on her shoulder.

“Hey, just so you know...” Pinkie Pie said as Twilight turned to her. “I liked it too.” She whispered, blushing a little before returning to her bed and leaving a very confused Twilight standing in the middle of their cabin.

-Meanwhile on the Crusader Airship-

The stars in Princess Luna’s night sky glimmered and glistened silently. Wonderwing sat alone at the airship controls, keeping everything as steady as he could for the first leg of their journey. The other crusaders were all ready tucked in and silently asleep downstairs as far as he knew, he had told them that he would take over flying the Airship for the majority of the crusade only stopping and switching to Scootaloo or Sweetie Belle when he thought it was necessary. He didn’t want to scare them all away from the task, especially when they were chasing down what was essentially a flying fortress with nothing more than a Hot-Air Balloon, but that was what they had handy at the time.

As Wonderwing let out a gentle yawn, a gentle knock rang out from the only hatch leading down into the sleeping area that the Crusaders had built into the Airship. The Pegasus turned, seeing that the hatch opened revealed to Sweetie Belle who was looking just as tired as he was. “Sweetie Belle, what are you doing up?” Wonderwing asked.

“Well, you looked like you needed somepony to talk to so I came up here to make sure that you were okay.” Sweetie Belle answered, taking a seat on the floor next to Wonderwing.

“Oh, well thanks.” Wonderwing answered. “We should be getting to the border by tomorrow afternoon, there may be four engines on this thing but it doesn’t go very fast.”

“Yeah... That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” Sweetie Belle began.

“You’re not second guessing yourself are you?” Wonderwing asked.

“No.” Sweetie Belle answered. “It’s just that there’s a lot of monsters and stuff at the border. How’re we going to get past them all?” She asked.

Wonderwing remained quiet for a few moments before looking down and grabbing one of the maps that Dinky had Spike photo copy earlier. He reached down, grabbing the map with his teeth and passed it to Sweetie Belle before staring back out into the horizon. “There are several safe routes that airships pass through everyday through the Razor Back mountains on their way to the Griffin Kingdom.” Wonderwing answered. “I haven’t had anytime to actually look at dad’s maps, but the map that you’re looking at now has the Straights of Grandeur, which is a heavy traffic area primarily used for Warships.”

“Do you think that your dad might try for the Straights then?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Well, I don’t think so.” Wonderwing answered. “What would you do if you saw a heavily armed Airship trying to enter your nation during peace time?” He asked.

“Maybe he has a way of making it not look so heavily armed?” Sweetie Belle said.

Wonderwing nodded. “Maybe, but there isn’t a way to be for sure.” He yawned again. “He’s not aligned with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna that’s for sure, so they may not start a war with the Griffons. But there’s always that chance he might.” He said, watching as the information seemed to blow past Sweetie Belle’s understanding. “Sorry he might not be a good pony, but it doesn’t mean the Griffons won’t take it out on the Princesses if he hurts them.” Sweetie Belle nodded, watching the horizon from her spot on the floor.

“How come you know so much?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“What?” Wonderwing said, misunderstanding the question.

“How come you know about the things that your dad could possibly do?” Sweetie Belle repeated, rephrasing her question. “And why do you talk like you were a grown up pony?”

“I don’t talk like a grown up pony.” Wonderwing said calmly.

“Well the way that you answered me just a little bit ago sounded like a thing a grown up pony would say.” Sweetie Belle replied. “There isn’t anything wrong with it, it’s just a little weird sometimes.”

Wonderwing nodded, listening as Sweetie Belle’s words made sense as he tried to come up with an answer. “Well, my daddy wanted me to be a unicorn ever since before I was born.” Wonderwing began, a small tear coming from out of his eye. “For some reason he wanted me to succeed him, “if his plan was gonna fail,” and that I wasn’t the right kind of pony to make him happy.”

“What’s wrong with being a pegasus?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Well my daddy had professional tutors lined up for my school so I could get ready to go to Princess Celestia’s magic school.” Wonderwing answered. “He said that it was a wasted effort after I was born, and had told all of the tutors that they, “Wouldn’t be necessary and were free to leave.” I didn’t understand that when I was younger, but when I saw that the other unicorns at school were getting a lot more attention from some of the teachers I kinda got jealous.”

“You shouldn’t be mad at who you are Wonderwing.” Sweetie Belle said, watching Wonderwing nod.

“Yeah I know.” Wonderwing answered. “But there’s something that I wanted to find out from my daddy that I never got to ask him before I left from Canterlot to Ponyville. Would he actually have loved me if I were a unicorn?”

“I don’t think that it should really matter what kind of pony you are.” Sweetie Belle replied. “Your daddy should love you even if you were a half griffon, half zebra, and half unicorn mix. You’re his son, and that’s what should really matter.”

Wonderwing laughed a little. “That would be a weird looking pony Sweetie Belle.” He said, picturing the three way fusion in his mind. The unicorn giggled a little beside him before nodding.

“Yeah that would be funny looking.” She said. “Anyways, how long until we get to where we need to go?”

Wonderwing shrugged. “I’ll check everything by the time Scootaloo trades with me in the morning. You should get some sleep. It’ll be morning soon.” Wonderwing replied, watching as Sweetie Belle nodded.

“Okay, well you don’t fall asleep on us okay?” She asked, standing up and turning to go back downstairs. Wonderwing shook his head and gave her a smile.

“Don’t worry, I won’t.” Wonderwing answered, fighting back another yawn before Sweetie Belle disappeared. As Wonderwing was sure that Sweetie Belle had safely went back down into the lower cabins, he turned back to his console. After spotting a small switch on the console labeled, “Auto Pilot,” the pegasus picked up the map and began to study it. “Sweetie Belle is right. Daddy should love me even if I’m a pegasus. He really wouldn’t hate me unless I did something wrong, would he?” He thought, looking at several of the entrance points on the map. The dull hum of the engines on their Airship were all still dutifully working based on the modifications that he had made, and the gas that he had managed to sneak out of the local party supply store was busy keeping them aloft to the untrained eye. “Now daddy... which path are you gonna take to get into the Griffin Kingdoms?” He thought, scanning the map before yawning a little, preparing for an extremely long night ahead.

-Aboard the Star Blaster, the next day-

The sight that everypony beheld was mortifying. The checkpoint that protected both Griffins and Ponies at the Shatterpoint entrance had all but been annihilated. Not a creature seemed to be spared from what appeared to be scorch marks that appeared to have been made from dragons.

“What happened here?” Twilight asked, watching the scene as the wooden remains of a house on the cliff side finally collapsed and plummeted to the ground far below.

“The whole town’s just gone...” Rarity gasped, seeing several platforms of where what she could only assume were gathering places for the local citizenry were burning underneath purple flames. She stepped back, the scent of burning
flesh meeting her nostrils before anypony else and nearly vomited on the spot. “Who ever did this revolting act of callousness must pay!”

“I have a good idea as to who.” Rainbow Dash commented. “Our good old friend Utopian, the coward that called us all out. When I get my hooves on him, I swear I’ll-”

“Easy there Dash’ we ahll know that some of yer best friends were griffons, even the non-friendly like. Jes’ calm down an’ we’ll get them back.” Applejack said, trying to calm down the livid pegasus.

“Yeah, but I know that there’s gonna be Tartarus to pay when we meet up with that sicko.” Rainbow Dash answered.

Fluttershy remained silent, her eyes doing all of her speaking as the sight of charred bodies nearly reduced her down to a crying mess. It all seemed to much for the Element of Kindness, until a gentle hoof wrapped around her shoulder.

“It’s okay Fluttershy. Trust me, we’ll make sure that this doesn’t happen again.” Pinkie Pie said, smiling calmly at the pegasus before watching her cry her eyes out into her chest. “It seems like we’re going to get some help here too. Look!” She said, watching a huge cloud of black and brown flying things could be seen from one of the front windows on the bridge. The ponies all stared, watching as the cloud transformed into a horde of very well armed, and very angry griffons came flying towards them like animals possessed.

At the front of the horde was a huge griffon, about twice the size of the others and twice as fierce looking. While the other griffons wore a mixture of spiked leather armor and scaled armor, the lead griffon appeared to have a full suit of Pegasus Steel Mail on. He gleamed in the sun like a bright star, leading the horde towards the Star Blaster before beginning to circle it a few times which caused it to come to a complete stop. As one of the Equestrian soldiers opened the door to the outside, the steel covered griffin stepped on board with several other soldiers behind them. The griffon took off his helmet and gazed fiercely at the unicorn soldiers, each looking like they were about to both fight them and run away at the same time before turning his gaze to Twilight and her friends. “You seem to have just arrived here as we have done. You do not appear to be responsible for the lives that have been lost this past night.”

“We have just arrived sir, we didn’t know what happened until we got here.” Twilight replied, blinking a little as Rainbow Dash trotted past her with her wings fully flared out. The ponies and griffins watched as she then bowed low on her hooves, lowering her wings at the same time and remaining silent.

“What in tarnation is she doin?” Applejack uttered.

“Maybe Gilda taught her something while they were at flight camp?” Pinkie Pie thought aloud.

“I see that you know how to present yourself.” The heavily armored griffin said, sounding impressed, before repeating the same process. Everypony then watched with stunned belief as both the griffin and pegasus rose together before meeting claw with hoof in a shake. “It is a wonder to see you again Rainbow Dash.” The griffon said, smiling a little.

“You’re not looking too bad yourself Prince Steel.” Rainbow Dash answered, leaping at the griffon and giving him a big hug. Ponies and griffons all relaxed a little as the two seemingly long lost friends both held the hug for a few moments before releasing each other.

“Rainbow Dash, you know this griffon?” Rarity asked skeptically, watching Rainbow Dash turn and nod to her friends.

“Do I ever?” Rainbow Dash said excitedly. “Everypony I’d like you to meet Prince Stainless Steel, son of the Griffon King of the East Riptide and my own Wing Guardian from when I was a filly in Cloudsdale.”

The other ponies remained silent for a few moments, watching only as Pinkie Pie smiled and bowed low before the Griffin Prince who nodded in her direction. The other Elements of Harmony quickly did the same thing, but still had the same puzzled looks on their faces.

“I see that your friends have a lot of questions.” Prince Steel commented. “I may have sometime to answer a few.” He said, smiling a little.

As everypony looked very nervously at each other, Pinkie Pie stepped forward, staring at the armored griffon closely. “Hello there Steely, do you mind if I call you that, how do you know Rainbow Dash, why did she Call you Stainless Steel, what’s your real name, can I-” She began very rapidly before being knocked to the floor by the pair of griffons that entered the Star Blaster with extreme force.

“Keep your tongue silent when addressing our Prince worm.” One of the guards snapped, a metallic claw over Pinkie Pie’s throat.

“You must not value your life very much, such disrespect will not be tolerated in our lands.” The other guard said, holding a claw over Pinkie’s mouth.

“Guards, release her.” Prince Steel ordered.

“But your highness, we-” One of the griffon guards began.

“If you do not release Rainbow Dash’s friend, I will have your heads. Is that clear?” Prince Steel ordered coldly, causing everypony in the airship to shudder. After a few seconds both griffons obliged the Prince’s command and released Pinkie Pie before returning to their Prince’s side.

“Whoa, Steel you’ve gotten really tough since the last time I saw you.” Rainbow Dash remarked.

“After being your Wing Guardian Dash? Of course I have to be tough. It’s how our society works after all.” Prince Steel said before turning to Pinkie Pie. “I apologize, but they’re very sensitive as to what you say around me. I’d recommend that you tread with caution the next time that you would approach me, okay?” He asked, watching as Pinkie Pie nodded. “Now, what would you like to know?”

“Well, how do you two know each other first off?” Applejack asked, watching Prince Steel closely.

“Well I can see that you don’t really trust griffons all that much. After all, we are a little bit intimidating...” Prince Steel commented before coughing a little. “Rainbow Dash and I go way back. Even to before she was able to crawl let alone fly.”

“You mean you were our Dash’s foal-sitter?” Rarity asked.

“So that’s the pony term for Wing Guardian... Interesting.” Prince Steel said calmly. “Yes, you can call it that if it makes it easier.”

The Elements of Harmony wowed at the sight as mental images of a younger Prince Steel taking care of a tinier version of Rainbow Dash filled their heads. “I was in Cloudsdale at the time by the order of my father to understand our fellow nations customs on our world. Her parents were always gone, and well... I sort of took to watching her. She was a handful let me tell you.” Prince Steel exclaimed.

“Only until you roared me into shape.” Rainbow Dash said calmly, getting looks from her friends. “What? It only happened once, and I really deserved it.” She said, watching as they all remained serious.

“Anyways, I helped her to get off of the ground, her parents helped her learn to soar.” Prince Steel said. “I didn’t want to leave her behind, but I had a mission that needed to be done so we parted ways. I heard that one of the flock there in Equestria was... Hard to handle?” He asked, watching as everypony shared nods.

“Gilda really wanted me all to herself.” Rainbow Dash explained. “She was also being too rough with my friends here, and she really got what she deserved.” She replied calmly. “I just hope that she comes back around to apologize one of these days...”

Prince Steel smiled warmly. “Don’t worry, if this Gilda is a real friend she’ll be back.” He said before turning to the other ponies. “Now you all know about me, how about I find out about you? Who are you all, and why are you here?”

Twilight stepped forward before bowing low to the griffin prince, rising only as fast as Rainbow Dash did when she presented herself. As she began her explanation, which was supplemented by Pinkie Pie’s crazy antics from behind her, Prince Steel’s expression remained firm but they all could sense that he was worried.

“This is most troubling news...” Prince Steel said darkly. “If this Utopian is allowed to reach the Wayshrines and release the barrier guarding the Valley of Despair, the entire world is in jeopardy. Your Princess was right in sending you to deal with the Unicorn, but I cannot allow you to just fly into Griffon lands so blindly.” Prince Steel said before turning around. He then proceeded to screech and growl at the two Griffon guards, who then immediately saluted with their wings before leaving the airship.

“What did he say?” Applejack asked Rarity quietly, the unicorn shrugged as she was just as lost in the message that the earth pony was.

“He told the guards to go and get some scouts from outside.” Fluttershy said quietly, causing both Rarity and Applejack to face her. “Or at least that’s what it sounded like, my griffon is extremely rusty.”

“You can speak griffon?” Rarity asked, watching Fluttershy nod a little.

“It came with Iron Will’s self help guide for free. I didn’t like the service, but I kept the book just in case I ever ran into Gilda on her mean side again.” Fluttershy said, blushing slightly.

As both the fashionista and the farmer were both impressed, they turned and began to pay close attention to Twilight and Prince Steel’s conversation again.

“In order for you to make up for lost time, you will need to cut through the shadowed pass.” Prince Steel explained. I’d recommend at as full speed as you can, because while we sit here and continue to converse Utopian gets closer to his
goal.”

“You’re not coming with us Steel?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“I’m sorry little chick, but I need to return to my father and let him know of the news.” Prince Steel said calmly. “If push comes to shove, I shall meet you at the Wayshrine. Hopefully we are not too late...” He said somberly before putting his helmet back on. Prince Steel then headed towards the door to the airship, opening it a second time and leapt off, heading off in the direction that they had came from, directly ahead of them, with the other griffon soldiers.

Rainbow Dash smiled a little before turning to the Equestrian Soldiers that were still on the bridge with them. “You guys heard him, we need to go now!” She snapped, as they all began to begin working about and making themselves look busy. The airship started to move again, changing directions slightly more towards the right before picking up speed. Leaving the destroyed border town behind them, the Elements of Harmony could only look forward in their goal of catching up with Utopian.

-Meanwhile on Utopian’s ship-

“LET US OUT OF HERE!” A loud scream echoed through out the chamber. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon had found themselves inside a huge, all white room that appeared to be big enough for the Princesses’ throne room to sit comfortably inside. Diamond Tiara was on the furthest end from the only other thing in the room, an extremely large looking bed that looked like a group of ponies could carry it with at least sixteen other ponies on board easily. There were no curtains, no windows, nothing else that stood out in the room they were trapped in, and both fillies were panicking.

“Oooh when my daddy hears about what you did to me and Silver Spoon he’ll-”

“He’ll what, my dear?” A voice boomed from behind the frightened foal. Diamond Tiara turned around and gasped at the sight of the biggest looking unicorn that she had ever seen. He was bigger than even Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, and had a nasty smile on his dark green face. “I asked you a question young lady. What will your daddy do to me?”

“He’s gonna wipe that smug look off of your face, when he takes everything you own in court!” Diamond Tiara said proudly, a smug look on her face. “You won’t have anything when he’s done with...” She stopped, watching the unicorn
chuckle a little. “What’s so funny?” She asked.

“Why you are my dear.” The unicorn answered. “You think that by suing me in court that your Daddy will come to save you? Bah, by the time I’m through with you, you’re father won’t matter any more.”

“Wh-Wh-What are you gonna do with us?” Silver Spoon asked from the other side of the room, wiping her eyes with a free hoof.

“Well now, I can’t tell you that now... It would ruin the surprise.” He said in a mock-sense of reassurance. “You wouldn’t want that now, would you?” He asked, watching as both foals shook their heads, trembling at the sight. “Good... Now you two be good little foals and wait here until somepony comes to get you. Oops, silly me. It’s going to be a long wait. Ehehehehe!” The unicorn said before disappearing before their eyes. Silver Spoon ran to Diamond Tiara, beginning to cry her eyes out as both foals did the same. They were both cold and scared, and didn’t know where they were.

“I wanna go home Silver Spoon...” Diamond Tiara whimpered.

“Me too...” Silver Spoon replied. “Me too...”

-Back on the Crusader Airship, several hours later-

“You guys... I don’t think that this is the Airship checkpoint...” Scootaloo said, looking through the glass at the sight of what appeared to be a warzone. The foals were all quiet, each not wanting to look at anything until Wonderwing peered out one of the windows.

“This doesn’t make any sense. What happened?” He asked aloud as none of the other Crusaders could give him an answer.

“What’re we supposed ta do now Wonderwing?” Applebloom asked, watching the pegasus closely. “We can’ jes’ walz right in there without somepony knowing who we ahr.”

“Well we don’t seem to have a choice...” Wonderwing replied. “I mean, we can explain ourselves to the griffons when they stop us as a part of a routine check but... We’re not exactly trespassing are we?”

“Well then, let’s go!” Scootaloo said excitedly. “Where to next Wonderwing?” She asked, staring at the pegasus from over her shoulder.

“Well according to the book, and the maps that my daddy left behind we should head that way.” Wonderwing said, pointing off in a left angle away from the front. “We’re gonna need to be wary though, there are constant patrols according to the maps here. Dad must have had somepony tell him what their routine schedule is, otherwise we’d be flying blind.”

“He must’ve been thinking that the griffins would have known he was a bad pony from the get go.” Dinky said quietly, watching as Scootaloo steered the airship in the instructed direction. “All sorts of bad guys have to have plans before they
do their stuff too you know.”

“But my daddy isn’t a bad guy.” Wonderwing replied quietly, looking out the window. “He wouldn’t do this to somepony, at least I don’t think so...”

“Well let’th hope you’re right Wonderwing.” Twist said, coming up from the bottom part of the airship with a small tray of food. “We need to be extra, extra careful if there’th thomething wrong with your dad.” She said before grabbing the tray with her teeth and passing it around to the other crusaders.

“Ah jes’ hope that none o’ them zombie ponies hurt Applejack.” Applebloom said, taking a hoofful of sliced apples and placing them on her lap like the other crusaders. “Because if they do, there gonna hafta answer ta me!”

“Same thing goes for me and Rarity. Those zombie ponies had better watch out if they mess with my big sister.”

“Well on another subject, what do you guys think of the roll call that Wonderwing, Twist and I came up with?” Scootaloo asked.

“You mean when you guys went to Canterlot?” Sweetie Belle asked before taking a bite from her own apple slices.

“Well, not just that but when we talked about it before we went to bed last night.” Scootaloo said.

“I think that it sounds pretty good.” Pipsqueak said after swallowing his food. “But why do you three get to say it first though? I thought that you created the Crusaders with Applebloom and Sweetie Belle?”

“I was wonderin’ that mahself. What were you thinkin’ doin’ somethin’ like that Scootaloo?” Applebloom asked.

“Well, I was...” Scootaloo said, at a loss for words.

“She was doing it for a test run!” Wonderwing immediately said. “The three of us were first because we did it first. And now that everypony’s here we can do it in the right order!” The other foals nodded quickly, smiling as the explanation satisfied them all before running it all through their minds.

“Thanks for the save Wonderwing...” Scootaloo thought.

“You owe me one Scootaloo.” Wonderwing thought, staring out at the vast expanse below them.

After their short meal, and very good one provided by Twist Applebloom and Dinky, The Crusaders all had spent their time, practicing the roll call that they had developed and having fun with it all. Every now and then one of them would scan the mountainside for any sign of griffin patrols before returning back to the action giggling and laughing as much as everypony else.

Night started to fall on the Griffon Kingdom as Scootaloo immediately relinquished control to Wonderwing, who had begun to get nervous. They hadn’t gotten out of the mountains yet where most of the soldiers in the Griffon Kingdom would be patrolling according to his father’s map and constantly scanned the skies for a sign of the troopers that could and most likely would send them back home.

After several hours of remaining alert and keeping an eye out, Wonderwing had to blink the sleep out of his eyes. Before him, as the mountains that surrounded their tiny airship had begun to descend, was the biggest forest that he had ever seen in his life. There were so many trees that he could see them stretch on for miles to come. The end of a huge chasm could be seen near where the Airship was thankfully pointing, but the immense cloud cover above the forest made it too dark even for his eyes to see anything more than the top.

“Oh wow...” Wonderwing said quietly, trying to not wake up the other crusaders. He made sure that everything could be used to keep their rest as quiet and peaceful as possible, including shutting off two of the engines so as to reduce the noise they generated. Their being on didn’t affect the airship balloon anyways, and made almost as little noise as possible during their approach. “So this is the Jungle of Silent Cries... I can see why the author was so into writing about it. If daddy didn’t write all over his book.” Wonderwing said aloud, looking back down and shining a small light onto his father’s book. The inscription was almost completely illegible, covered from top to bottom with notes and annotations that made the original work almost impossible to read. Some of the notes were things appeared to be what his father was feeling at the time while others were parts to his plans of World Domination. The same thing could be said for the other pages except the ones containing diagrams of the Wayshrines and Temple in question.

A small breeze rocked the airship as Wonderwing kept it on course, dutifully staying at the controls like he forced himself to do. He didn’t want to switch it onto auto pilot and catch a few z’s, only to wake up and be completely off course so he remained as awake as he could for the duration of his turn on the night portion of the flight. “This place is beautiful. I hope that I can come back just to see it someday...” Wonderwing thought, continuing to take in the sights.

-Meanwhile back on Utopian’s Airship-

“Excellent.” Utopian said, glaring at the projected screen in front of him. The screen, which had a view of one of the walls in the cliff side, projected a very rugged looking Temple carved into it. He could see that a pair of statues, each looking like Griffons in full battle armor and wielding spears, stood on either side of a pair of heavy wooden doors. He couldn’t tell the number of his opposition, there could be only a hoofful of solders and their could be a whole army. He didn’t dare make a move until he received confirmation that not only the first key to the Temple was there and that the Numbers of the enemy were something that was quite controllable.

“Milord. I have a status update on the temple grounds.” Crimson Heart’s voice reported, causing the unicorn to give a slight start.

“What is it Crimson Heart?” Utopian asked quickly. “Did you find the relic inside?”

“Yes milord, and it remains physically unguarded.” Crimson Heart replied. “Magically though, I can’t acquire it without alerting the guard to where I am. It’s been rigged to alert the entire complex to would-be thieves.”

“I see...” Utopian said, remaining quiet for a moment. “These animals are quite clever... They must have expected somepony to come and try something as bold as this...”

“Milord, if I may suggest something?” Crimson Heart began, causing the unicorn to emerge from his thoughts.

“What is it Crimson Heart?” He asked, feeling his patience to wear thin.

“I suggest that the soldiers set off the alarm at the same time that I do. By my eyes and Serene Grace’s magical uplink, it could overload the spell and cause it to shut down. Plus the guard could be distracted while I make my escape back to the ship.” Crimson Heart replied.

Utopian nodded, using his magic to link up with the link that was set up by Serene Grace. After studying the energy readouts that were coming from the spell that Crimson Heart was talking about he smiled. “That’s actually an excellent
Idea.” Utopian replied before breaking the magical link. “Tuff Stuff, report.” He commanded, seeing the Blue Earth Pony
appear before him as a projection.

“Yes milord?” Tuff Stuff replied.

“Prepare the pegasi. Make sure that they are ready for battle.” Utopian ordered, watching Tuff Stuff bow before him. “Crimson Heart needs a clear enough distraction to take the relic from within the temple, and we’re going to give it to him. Be ready on my command.”

“Yes sir, it shall be done.” Tuff Stuff replied before disappearing again.

Utopian calmly nodded, watching as silently the battle station alarms began to flash throughout the entire complex. He could see that most of his ship’s weapons came on line and that the hatches for his aerial squadron were all opened and in position.

“Milord, the pegasi are ready and in position.” Tuff Stuff reported calmly from one of the speakers.

“Excellent.” Utopian said again, watching as everything began to set up almost perfectly. “Crimson Heart, Tuff Stuff, Serene Grace, begin the operation. All side cannons, Open Fire.” He ordered, watching the screen closely.

As fast and as efficient as lightning, as soon as the cannons hit the walls of the Wayshrine an entire battalion of heavily armed griffons leapt out from above. Utopian could see that a monitor made sure that Crimson Heart was still alive and breathing as a horde of undead ponies, pegasi this time, met the enemy armies with deadly force.

The battle seemed to be a wicked form of entertainment for the unicorn, watching as one by one, or sometimes two by two, the griffons all fell in battle to his hordes. Some griffons may have managed to land a strike or slay two or three before going down, but six or seven seemed to take their place faster than the dead ones could fall. By the time that the griffon soldiers had realized that they were hopelessly out numbered, Utopian saw on his screen that Crimson Heart was safely aboard the airship and that some if not all of the remaining griffons were trying to retreat.

“Pull them back Serene Grace, we got what we came here for.” Utopian ordered, watching as the undead pegasi left the battlefield, some leaving half-dead griffons against the cliff side before returning to the ship. The smoke of his airship’s cannons clouded most of what he could see on the side of where the Wayshrine was, but it didn’t matter as everything happened just as he planned it to.

“Take us out of here, head to the next Wayshrine.” Utopian ordered, tapping the screen once with his hoof and causing it to vanish. He heard the door leading into the bridge open from behind him, and looked over his shoulder as Crimson Heart trotted forward with a small pouch over his shoulder. “Did you get the artifact Crimson Heart?” Utopian asked.

“Yes milord.” Crimson Heart replied after bowing, trotting over to the counter and placing the pouch onto the center console. “This is what you requested, am I not correct?” He asked, watching as Utopian used his magic to furiously open the pouch before gingerly taking a small, all black dagger’s handle and guard from within. It didn’t look like much, nothing decorated or adorned the dagger to make it look like it was something special to the normal eye, but Utopian smiled as he saw a very peculiar red gem in the center of the pommel of the dagger.

“Excellent work Crimson Heart. Rest now and prepare for our next capture, you have done well.” Utopian said, gingerly examining the bladeless dagger with his magic. “Soon... Soon this world will bow to me and only me! It will only be a matter of time now!” He thought, setting the dagger back in the pouch before settling back in his throne. His plan was all going as planned, the Elements of Harmony have already fallen into his trap and he had gotten both the necessary sacrifices and the first piece to the dagger.

-Several Hours later, onboard the Star Blaster-

“Dagnabbit, Utopian’s ahlready been here!” Applejack shouted, looking at the devastation that was left over from the night before. The sight of several injured griffons from within the temple was enough to get the blood boiling of even Fluttershy, who looked on the after affects of the scene in disgust.

“We should have gotten here faster... Maybe then we could have stopped him.” Twilight uttered as she observed the scene. She could see that several griffon soldiers were with another heavily armored griffon like Prince Steel, but they didn’t seem to be barking orders at the griffons at the temple so much as they were gently talking with them.

“We need to get them some help.” Fluttershy said determinedly, trotting over to the door only to be stopped by Rainbow Dash. “What are you doing?” She asked, watching as Rainbow Dash shook her head.

“Don’t do it Fluttershy. It’s kind of an insult if you offer help that they don’t want.” Rainbow Dash explained.

“But we can’t just sit here and do nothing!” Rarity exclaimed. “There are a lot of injured in there, and by the looks of things they all could possibly die!”

“Yes, they know that too.” Rainbow Dash answered. “Stainless Steel told me that a griffon would rather die by a plague than accept unwanted help. It’s in their code that they have ever since they were born. It’s bred into them.” She said.

“ ‘Sounds like their bein’ mighty stuck up ta me.” Applejack said coolly.

“Hey I didn’t make their rules, but I’m not going to break them. You seen the kind of armor that Stainless Steel was carrying right?” Rainbow Dash asked, watching the other ponies nod. “Now imagine that armor in black standing over you and about to execute you.” They all gulped nervously.

“They still do execution?” Twilight asked.

“That’s terrible!” Fluttershy gasped.

“It’s one of those things that they do though.” Rainbow Dash said. “Out here, there traditions are like the laws. It’s kinda why Stainless Steel showed up in the first place.”

“You sure seem to know a lot about the griffon culture Rainbow Dash. Care to explain?” Rarity said, watching the cyan pegasus blush a little.

“Okay, okay so you got me a little on the whole culture bit.” Rainbow Dash said. “It was something that I got a little into back at flight camp, before I met Fluttershy but after I met Gilda. She wouldn’t shut up about all of the traditions that she was used to back home, and I guess that some of them stuck. And when Stainless Steel found me trying to do some of them, he actually told me how to do things the right way. It was something that I thought was cool, so that’s how I know how some things work around here.” Rainbow Dash replied.

Everypony else nodded as the information seemed to make more sense in their heads. As everypony watched the horrible scene, a very old and very weary looking griffon stepped out of the temple before heading towards the airship. He was flanked by several heavily armed guards as he approached, landing on the bridge of the airship before slowly walking to the door. Several soldiers remained cautious as the door was opened, as the griffon took a step inside and looked around.

“This... This is the Star Blaster... The vessel that was summoned by Princess Celestia of Equestria to aid the Elements
of Harmony.” The old griffon said before taking a few more steps inside. Everypony followed Rainbow Dash’s lead, bowing low to the griffons before receiving a bow back from them in return.

The Elements of Harmony remained silent as the griffon looked around, as though something was missing. “Something... Something is not right, something is amiss...” The griffon said with a worried voice, looking around the bridge.

“Elder, what’s wrong?” Fluttershy heard one of the Guards say.

“The chosen foals... The ones guided by the crusader... Where are they?” He asked, looking down on the ponies worriedly.

“What chosen foals sir? What do you mean?” Twilight asked, looking up at the griffon as he shook his head somberly.

“So gifted with the arts of magic yet she does not know... Foals from your nation, proclaimers of the crusade, they are the chosen ones.” The griffon replied. “Two pegasi... Two unicorns... Three earth ponies. They share a bond... Most of them are not marked like you are. They must be here... they must put a stop to the mad unicorn...”

As soon as the griffon said this, a flock of the same heavily armored griffons landed near the Star Blaster. Rainbow Dash recognized the armor of Stainless Steel right away and watched as he was escorted in by another, much larger griffon than any of them. The Equestrian soldiers watched closely and backed away as a griffon, three times the size of a normal one wearing all black plated armor seemed to easily squeeze into the doorway of the Star Blaster’s bridge without any assistance from the griffons outside. After taking off his helmet and revealing an all golden mass of feathers that surrounded his black beak and amber eyes, he scanned the crowd of ponies and griffons as they all bowed low on their knees to him.

“Father, these are the ponies that I am talking about.” Stainless Steel explained to the gigantic Griffon. “These are the Elements of Harmony, the ones sent by Equestria’s Princess of the Sun to stop one of their own from bringing back Grimclaw.”

The giant griffon nodded in Stainless Steel’s direction before clearing his throat and staring the Elements of Harmony down. “I Am Black Wind, King of the Eastern Province of the Griffon Kingdoms and Protector of this ward of the ancients. Which one of you is known as Rainbow Dash?” He asked, watching as the ponies all looked to a cyan blue pegasus before watching her step forward.

“I-I-I am your highness...” Rainbow Dash replied, trying her best to remember all of her manners that she was taught to use in front of royalty.

“Hmm... This one is very fearful of my size is she not my son?” King Black Wind asked, watching Stainless Steel nod.

“No offense your highness, but your current size is intimidating to our nation’s guests.” Stainless Steel said, watching as King Black Wind nodded. Before anybody could say anything, the king began to glow with a dark purple aura before shrinking down to a slightly larger than normal Griffon.

“Is this better?” He asked Rainbow Dash, who still seemed to be intimidated, but appeared to be more relieved at the sight.

“Y-Y-Yes sir, I mean uh Yes your majesty.” Rainbow Dash said, getting a chuckle from the Griffon King.

“It’s quite all right Element of Loyalty, speak as you would amongst your friends. There is no need to be so nervous.” King Black Wind said, watching Rainbow Dash said, wiping the sweat from her brow and relaxing back to her normal, laid back attitude. “Now I must ask, when did you arrive at the Wayshrine of Beginnings?” He asked.

“I guess that we arrived here an hour or two after morning. We didn’t see any other airships enter or leave at all...” Rainbow Dash answered.

“Hmm... This is most troubling.” King Black Wind said quietly. “This would mean that half of the Dagger is already found, and that he seeks the other two Wayshrines...” King Black Wind thought aloud. “My son, I want you to alert the other Kings, tell the messengers to let them know that another fool has attempted and just acquired the first piece to the Dagger of Grimclaw. Fly quickly and return to me, we haven’t got much time to lose.” He ordered, watching Stainless Steel nod in response.

“Yes father.” Stainless Steel replied before leaving the airship the same way he came.

“My lord... Foals not on board... sun has not risen... Darkness claims us! Darkness claims us!” The Elder griffon said, watching King Black Wind nod in understanding.

“Your highness if I may...” Twilight began, causing King Black Wind to glare in her direction. Twilight trembled a little before backing up, what she wanted to say dying in her throat.

“You’re the Element of Magic, Twilight Sparkle.” King Black Wind said, continuing to glare at the unicorn. “From what I heard, you calmed an infant Ursa Minor and returned it to its mother... Is this true?”

Twilight, who was still scared of King Black Wind only nodded silently gulping a little as King Black Wind remained quiet.

“Rainbow Dash, you know of our customs. Please let your friends know that it is not right to be intimidated by someone who means them no harm.” King Black Wind said calmly, watching as Rainbow Dash nodded.

“Yeah you guys, he’s not gonna bite. He’s just lookin’ for the same respect that we would show Princess Celestia or Princess Luna. So relax.” Rainbow Dash said reassuringly. “He was only expecting me to speak though, and it was kinda rude that you jumped outta turn like that Twilight.” She watched as everypony calmed down before seeing King Black Wind nod.

“I apologize then your highness, I didn’t know that there was such a thing like that in your culture.” Twilight said calmly, blushing before bowing low again.

“It’s quite alright, you are all foreigners in this land. Some of our nuances may be new to you if you never really grew up around griffons before.” King Black Wind replied. “Now what is it that you wanted to ask me?”

“Well I wanted to ask...”Twilight began, feeling very nervous as she spoke, “What is he saying?” She asked,
mentioning towards the Elder griffon.

King Black Wind nodded, staring at the Elder before turning his attention to the group of ponies. “I assume that you all have never even seen a proper Seer before?” He said, watching as they all shook their heads. “I see, you all must live with charlatans or not many good ones then.” He said calmly. “Seers, true Seers, need only to touch something once before they start having visions of the future. They words they say may sound like nonsense, but it isn’t. You could say that it’s a sort of code that they speak.”

“A sort of code?” Twilight asked, watching the King nod.

“Yes young one.” King Black Wind replied. “The schools of foretelling the future have always been regarded with skepticism, especially in Equestria.” He smiled as the unicorn began to understand a little. “Here in our land, the school of divination is a widely respected art. Those with true gifts may not even realize that they have them.” He said, watching as Pinkie Pie shuddered a little.

“What does the elder mean then?” Twilight asked respectfully.

King Black Wind watched as the griffon elder turned to him, a grim look on his face before whispering what he said moments ago into his ear. King Black Wind nodded, before clearing his throat. “What the seer means is that several foals that you know may be missing from here... They seem to stop at nothing about getting their Cutie Marks I think they are called if I’m not mistaken... And they are also guided by the crusader from your lands that aided us centuries ago. But because they are not present there is something the matter with this... You are all in great danger.” He said firmly, watching as most of the Elements of Harmony shared skeptic looks.

“You don’t think he means...” Rarity uttered.

“Ah hope he don’ mean who Ah think he means...” Applejack said quietly.

King Black Wind nodded as the griffon guards asked if they could escort the griffon elder off of the Star Blaster according to Fluttershy. As the Elements of Harmony watched them escort him off, King Black Wind turned to them all. “I understand that it’s hard to trust the words of someone that you have only met for just a few minutes, but trust me when I say that you would do well to heed his words. He knows what he’s talking about.” King Black Wind said before turning to leave himself.

“Wait a minute your highness.” Twilight said, causing the King of the Griffons to stop. “What did he mean by, “Darkness claims us.”?” She asked, watching as King Black Wind give her a somber look.

“The world will end, and Utopian will win.” He said, hearing an audible gasp from everypony in the airship.

-Several Hours Later, on the Crusader Airship-

“You guys, look!” Scootaloo shouted, taking a look down in the crevice below from the Airship. The foals all looked down from the window, watching as there were still hundreds of griffons flying about the base of what they assumed was the Wayshrine. Some of them were carrying injured, others were flying supplies in to fix the place, and others still were patrolling the area. Several soldiers looked up and began to charge at their airship, but were stopped by a huge griffon in all black armor before returning back to their posts.

“Ah wonder what’s makin’ them not come after us.” Applebloom said quietly, watching as the griffons not only stopped to see them pass over head, but some even shouted and cheered at them.

“I guess they think we’re the good guys.” Sweetie Belle said, watching the griffons continue to cheer.

Down below, inside the small courtyard in the Wayshrine, the Elder Griffon sat with a smile on his face and small tears in his eyes. “The sun is rising...” He whispered happily, rocking back and forth gently. “The sun is rising... The Light Banishes the Darkness...” The griffons all were delighted and continued to shout and chant at the sight of the foal’s small airship as it passed them from over head, treating it as if it were a sign blessed by the heavens. “The golden ones watch over you Cutie Mark Crusaders. The Golden ones watch over us all.” The Elder said, watching as the other griffons continued to celebrate.