• Published 2nd Sep 2012
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Cutie Mark Sentai Crusader! - RaisingShad0ws

Cutie Mark Crusaders Power Rangers Yay!

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The Temple of Grimclaw the Terrible

Chapter 13

-The Temple of Grimclaw the Terrible-

-Utopian’s Airship, the next day-

Utopian stood calmly on the bridge of his airship, smiling at the sight that he beheld. The Elements of Harmony were all kneeling before him, bound by techno-magicks that could have only been seen in the Ram Empire. He could see the blue pegasus in front of him struggle against her bonds, and couldn’t help but afford himself a little chuckle at her futile attempts at resistance.

One of the doors from behind the main console opened up as Crimson Heart calmly trotted towards him, with a nameless unicorn soldier that carried several files on a tray with its magic. Crimson Heart eyed the ponies that were kneeling before his boss, and watched each of their reactions from varying degrees of fear and shock to indifference and mistrust. Utopian turned towards him and smiled, which forced the pegasus to bow low.

“My lord, the sacrifices are being prepared as you have instructed.” Crimson Heart reported, flitting one of his wings towards the soldier. The tray that he carried was levitated down onto the main console, to where Utopian could grab it with his own magic. After the unicorn opened up the file, Crimson Heart flitted his wings again which caused the soldier to leave from the same door that he came.

“Excellent work Crimson Heart. You have yet to have failed me. And I must say, your capture of the Elements of Harmony was a most decisive work of your skill. Tell me, did they put up too much trouble for you?” Utopian asked.

“We lost three Earth Pony Soldiers during the initial encounter thanks to the pink one over there.” Crimson Heart reported, not making eye contact with any of the ponies that were being held as captive prisoners. “As soon as they tried to separate, we lost three Unicorn and Pegasi Soldiers from the chases of the orange one and the prismatic mane. The other
three were captured without any trouble.”

Utopian nodded, setting the file down with his magic and taking a closer look at the Elements of Harmony again. “So, it was just a minor inconvenience then?” He asked, watching Crimson Heart nod from out of the corner of his eye.

“Yes milord.” The pegasus replied.

Utopian smiled. Even when Crimson Heart took losses on the battlefield, they were minimal. Clean and efficient, that’s how the pegasus sold himself and that’s how he kept himself on his good side. The unicorn took a deep breath, trotting away from the main console and around to its front side to get a good look at each of Equestria’s champions.

Utopian nodded, turning to the lavender unicorn directly in front of him. “Ah, I do believe that this is the first time that we have met in person Miss Twilight Sparkle.” He said with a mock smile on his face.

“Am I correct when I assume that you would be the unicorn the Princesses warned us about?” Twilight answered, watching the unicorn nod.

“Oh have the Princesses noticed what I’ve been doing? I’m rather touched.” He scoffed. “I just assumed that they were too busy with their immortal duties that they couldn’t settle this problem themselves. I mean, after all being the ruler of a nation must be extremely tiresome. Surely they could solve the problems that they send foals in their stead to solve.”

“Hey! You watch your mouth buddy or I’ll watch it for you!” Utopian turned, his smile diminished a little as he saw the cyan pegasus continue to struggle from her bonds. He calmly trotted on down their line stopping at her. As the pegasus stopped struggling, he gave the pegasus a once-over.

“You must be Rainbow Dash. Aspiring Wonderbolt, stunt flyer, and the Element of Loyalty.” He smirked.

“Yeah, and what’s it to ya?” Rainbow Dash countered.

Without any warning, Utopian reared his front legs up and bucked the pegasus square in the face, knocking her to the floor and drawing blood. The other bound mares watched as Utopian’s metal covered hooves continued to hit her several times before stopping, leaving her battered and significantly injured. “You see, I hate that kind of attitude in my subjects.”

“Your subjects?” A voice down on the opposing end asked.

Utopian turned, ignoring the yellow pegasus that struggled to get to Rainbow Dash and trotted over to the source of the voice. He stopped when he came upon the other unicorn of the group, a white one, and sighed. “You are correct my dear. Rarity was it?” The unicorn nodded as Utopian continued. “You see, I grow tired of our supposed beloved diarchy. I grow tired of living under a pair of erroneous fools who think that they love their subjects, and I believe that there’s a change of power due in the lands of Equestria.”

“But the Princesses do love us.” Twilight protested. “They would be willing to do anything for us. They would-”

“And what do you know of true love Miss Sparkle?” Utopian asked, cutting her off. “What do you know about ruling a nation, which may seem perfect on the outside but is rank and filled with impurities on the inside? Ponies, that are the perfect race, breeding with animals and heathens like the Zebra or the Griffins, or even the Minotaurs. Those who would dare to think that they are on the same level of society as we are.” Utopian chuckled, shaking his head before returning to face Twilight. “Well let me let you in on a little secret. The Princesses are not perfect. Their system is broken, corrupt, failing. And it is I who will set it back to the way it should be. To the way where Ponies are the superior race and all of the animals will know who we are. I will be the one to-”

“Now tha’ don’ make a lick-o’ sense.” One of the other mares snapped, cutting Utopian off.

“Yeah, you’re just going to be a big meanie meanie pants and say that only ponies have a right to live in Equestria? That’s not right.” A second voice followed, which caused Utopian to turn back down towards the left end of the group of six mares.

“Ah, the Elements of Laughter and Honesty. Applejack and Pinkie Pie I presume?” He said, smiling as both mares nodded nervously. “I thought you might not see it this way. After all, you were never exposed to how bad life can really be. You were never exposed to the horrors of-”

“Yes we were. Applejack ran away to the city for a few months and I lived on a dirt poor rock farm.” Pinkie Pie replied, cutting off Utopian.

A temple formed on the unicorn’s head. “Oh, so you think that because you lived on a rock farm or that she tried striking out on her own was bad? I do believe that you need a taste of reality Miss Pie.” He said coolly.

As if on cue, one of the soldiers that was standing behind the group of mares flared up its horn. The other mares watched in shock as the soldier lowered its horn into the pink pony’s back and released a stream of electricity which caused the pony to cry out in pain. After a few moments, Pinkie Pie dropped to the ground, her body still being pumped full of electricity as she continued to scream.

“Stop it! You’re going to kill her!” Twilight cried, watching the horrifying scene with her eyes. She would have stopped it herself, but something in the hoof cuffs that she wore kept her from channeling her own magic into her horn.

A full minute passed before Utopian raised a hoof as a signal to stop the pink mare’s torture. The soldier removed the horn from Pinkie Pie as she lay on the cold floor, twitching slightly. The smell of slightly burnt fur that came from the center of her body hung in the air as Utopian smiled at the sight.

“Pinkie Pie!” Applejack exclaimed, fighting against her bonds and nudging the pink pony with her head. Pinkie Pie stirred a little, and was still breathing from what she could see, but was otherwise still not moving.

“She’ll be fine Applejack. You see, for my plan to be a complete success I need all of you alive. The Elements of Harmony are integral in this stage of the plan, and while you all won’t live to see my kingdom after the fact you will all still be alive to see the nation of Equestria burn.” Utopian said in a mock-reassuring voice.

“And what makes you think that we’ll help you good sir?” Rarity asked, trying to keep a civil tongue even amidst what she had just witnessed.

“Well you have no choice in this matter. For my ascension there are two ways to make a sacrifice. And you can’t create a kingdom without spilling a little innocent blood, as the saying goes.” Utopian replied. “I’m sure that those poor foals, what were their names... Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon? I’m sure that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to restore Equestria to its former glory.”

The remaining mares gasped at Utopian’s plan, the unicorn turned smirking a little just as an air raid siren began to blare from the inside of the airship. He turned, watching as Crimson Heart began to work on one of the consoles just as Serene Grace stepped out from the door in the back. “What’s the problem? Why are the intruder sirens going off?” He snapped, glaring at Serene Grace.

“My lord, the radar room has picked up a small craft closing in behind us.” Serene Grace reported.

“And you have just now bothered to tell me about this because?” Utopian snapped.

“It just showed up out of nowhere. It wasn’t on our radar last night, and it just appeared on our radar this morning. I apologize milord; we failed to catch the pursuing vehicle in time.”

“It looks like the Princesses were on to your little scheme the second you kidnapped Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon from the Summer fair.” Twilight said confidently. “I bet that’s the flagship of the Equestrian Air Brigade, ready to take you and all of your ponies in and stop your mad scheme.”

Utopian was livid at the unicorn’s comments but before he could raise a hoof to strike her, he heard Crimson Heart say, “Milord, we have a visual on the craft.”

“Excellent, put it on the main screen.” The unicorn snapped, turning around to view the screen behind that was behind the Elements of Harmony. The sight caused him to do a double-take.

From the angle of where they were flying, he could see the front end of a smaller bright red airship. A pair of long wings extended from either end of the craft which ended in propellers. In the undercarriage of the smaller airship he could see what appeared to be at least six foals running around the inside and getting things ready for some reason he couldn’t come up with. One foal in particular got his blood boiling however, as a dark purple pegasus pony with a navy blue mane and tail was at the helm of the craft with a confident smirk on his little face.

“Task Force...” Utopian growled angrily through gritted teeth.

Twilight looked over her shoulder and gasped, watching as the Cutie Mark Crusaders were all inside what appeared to be an airship of their own colors. She could hear both Rarity and Applejack take sharp deep breaths as Fluttershy eeped at the sight.

“Milord, we’re getting a closer visual now and it appears that the smaller airship is being piloted by foals.” Crimson Heart reported.

“I realize that you idiot.” Utopian snapped. “What does that fool think he’s doing? And who are those commoners with him?” He thought angrily, watching the smaller ship as it moved out of one screen and changed to another view.

-Meanwhile, on the Crusader Airship-

“You guys, we finally caught up to Wonderwing’s dad!” Pipsqueak reported, pulling his spyglass back inside the carriage of their airship. The other crusaders looked in the direction of the bigger airship and saw that several ponies dressed in a manner similar to the ones that attacked the Summer Fair in Ponyville were all marching along a smaller bridge outside the main part of the enemy airship.

“Yeah, and Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are on that thing somewhere.” Sweetie Belle replied.

“But how’re we supposed to git on tha’ airship without bein’ caught?” Applebloom wondered aloud.

Scootaloo shook her head. “It doesn’t look like we can get anywhere near that thing on this side.” She said, as the other foals stared at her.

“She’s got a point.” Wonderwing replied. “This looks like a Celestial Class Battleship.”

“A Celestial Class?” Dinky Repeated.

“Yeah, it was only used for major wars like against the liberation of the Giraffes or Operation Camel Freedom. And they’re only used at the start of the War they’re in. Mostly because they’re too expensive to fly.” Wonderwing replied. “You see those long tubey thingies?” He asked, pointing a hoof at the long barrels that were remaining motionless on the sides of the enemy ship’s hull.

“Aren’t thothe cannonth?” Twist asked nervously. Wonderwing nodded.

“Yeah, the book I read up on airships said that those are seventeen inch guns. They’re capable of knocking out a fully grown dragon out of the sky.” Wonderwing reported, shuddering like everyone else on board. “But usually most Celestial Class Airships can have a maximum of fifteen inch guns on board at a time. I wonder why dad put those guns on board; they’d be really heavy for a Celestial Class to use.”

The foals remained silent for a moment as the realization of what they were dealing with set in. Wonderwing continued to steer their airship as nopony spoke for a few moments.

“See, I told you that we needed a plan.” Sweetie Belle scolded, glaring at Scootaloo.

“Yeah, those big gun thingies c’n blast us outta tha’ sky!” Applebloom said, taking a gulp of air.

“Uh guys, I think that we have bigger problems.” Pipsqueak reported, closing his spyglass.

“What is it Pipsqueak?” Wonderwing asked.

“Well... ere’s a problem wif’ the airship your dad’s using.” He said, quickly trotting over to Wonderwing and pointing a hoof in the direction of the gigantic airship. Every foal ran to the window and immediately galloped back to their seats. The sights of the airships smaller guns were trained on their small craft and ready to fire.

-Back on Utopian’s Warship-

“Crimson Heart, do your stallions have a clear shot on our little pest problem?” Utopian asked.

The pegasus nodded, watching as both the screen that he was viewing and the main screen that everypony else was viewing all had the Crusaders airship in its crosshairs.

“It’s a pity. They are really persistent. They could have all made great officers in my army.” Utopian sneered.

“If you lay one hoof on my sister’s head I’ll-”

“Ah, so there’s family on board as well!” Utopian said, cutting off the unicorn. “Well my, my, isn’t this a pleasant surprise. You really should have taught your sister not to meddle in the affairs of adults. I tried teaching my son that, I tried to teach him that nopony in the world was to be trusted. But oh no, he didn’t want to listen. He wanted to fall in with commoners like your sister.” He paused, looking down at Rarity with a malicious grin. “Crimson Heart, tell your stallions that they may open fire.” He ordered.

“Yes milord.” Crimson Heart answered, putting a hoof to his ear. “Open fire.” He commanded, smiling at the reactions of the Elements of Harmony.

“But that’s your son there!” Twilight protested, appearing to try to talk some sense into the deranged unicorn before her.

Utopian said nothing, returning to his throne behind the main console of the bridge. After taking a seat and resting his head on one of his hooves he smiled. “I know.”

-Back on the Crusader Airship-

“Wonderwing, they look like they’re going to shoot at us.” Pipsqueak said, watching several guns turn towards their craft.

“Your dad wouldn’t do that would he?” Sweetie Belle asked, watching Wonderwing shake his head.

“My dad may dislike me, but it wouldn’t be enough to shoot at me. I’m his own flesh and blood!” Wonderwing replied. A loud explosion rocked the side of their craft as Wonderwing stumbled to his own seat. Another explosion, which came close to hitting the side of their airship, rocked it wildly and knocked most of the foals around in their seats.

“Wonderwing... Wonderwing!” Scootaloo cried, getting out of her seat and crawling towards the stunned pegasus. “Dude, your dad’s nuts!” She snapped, watching as Wonderwing remained silent. “Hey, Sweetie Belle, we need to get him out of here! Wonderwing’s completely lost it!”

The unicorn nodded as another explosion rocked the small airship. She then made her way to the front where Wonderwing sat, and watched as he began to cry. “It’s okay... Here, come on Wonderwing. This way...” She said, beginning to reassure the pegasus as she led him to where Scootaloo sat, which in turn gave Scootaloo control of the airship.

-Back at Utopian’s Warship-

“Ahh... so even in their time of great peril, the commoners show compassion to one another.” Utopian remarked, watching as the pegasus was escorted back from the main seat in the airship.

“Utopian stop this! Please!” Twilight pleaded, watching as the unicorn began to scoff.

“It would seem that even in this moment when the ones you love and care for are going to die; you still try to reason with the pony in power.” Utopian commented, looking down on Twilight with a smirk. “Crimson Heart, what’s taking so long? I want those foals out of the sky now.”

“I apologize milord; the men have adjusted for the wind speed and are preparing another shot as we speak.” Crimson Heart reported.

Utopian nodded, smiling at the large screen in front of him as though it were a game of Stormball. He watched all of the pleading looks from the remaining conscious Elements of Harmony before looking back up at the screen. “You had better get one last look at them. This will be the last day that they are alive after all.” He said confidently.

The mares on the floor could only watch as a blast of magical flames, not unlike what was used to attack Ponyville during the Summer Fair, smashed into the Crusader’s airship with a powerful force. A chorus of screams and gasps echoed through out the bridge, watching as the foal’s small craft turned into a ball of flaming wreckage.

“You monster... You MONSTER!” Rarity screamed, lunging at the main console like a beast from Tartarus. She was only stopped by a powerful spell released from Serene Grace which knocked her to the floor with the force of a behemoth.

“You dare address the new Lord of Equestria in such a manner?” Serene Grace snapped, her horn flaring up with magic as it levitated Rarity’s body towards her own. “If you were not necessary for my lord’s plan, I would kill you now peasant.”

“You dare call yourself an Equestrian? I’ve known dragons that deserve that title more than you do.” Rarity snapped, glaring at Serene Grace.

“You insolent fool! I-”

“Release her Serene Grace.” Utopian commanded. The unicorn turned, a puzzled look on her face as her eyes met his. “I mean it. Release her.” Utopian watched as Serene Grace hesitated for a few moments before releasing her magical
hold on Rarity.

“I apologize milord. She had insulted you and-”

“There’s no need to apologize Serene Grace. You were only doing as you should. Crimson Heart; take the Elements of Harmony to the prison hold. The Elements of Laughter and Loyalty are to be given medical treatment before hand. I also want them in separate cells. Is that understood?”

“Of course milord.” Crimson Heart replied, bowing low to the unicorn. “You heard Lord Utopian; I want these four in the Prison hold. Take the other two to the medical wing, double time!” He ordered, leading the soldiers that guarded the Elements of Harmony towards the door he entered and out of sight. As the last of the prison guards carried both Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash off of the bridge, Utopian turned his attention to Serene Grace.

“Is there a problem?” He asked.

“No milord.” Serene Grace replied.

“You do realize my dear that you are a terrible liar.” Utopian said, watching the unicorn blush. “Now now, there isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. We’re all bad at something at one point.” He said, sounding like a parent reassuring a foal. “Would you care to tell me what troubles you?”

Serene Grace bowed before Utopian, her face almost touching the floor as she spoke. “Milord, I ask that you forgive me but why do you require the Elements of Harmony? I fail to see their role in your ascension.”

Utopian nodded, as Serene Grace remained on her knees. “The ritual that is required to release the sealed god’s power is the force of another god. The Elements of Harmony, though their physical bodies may be mortal, are implementers of divine artifacts. It is through that bond which I will revive the power of the Lord of the Griffons, and ascend into godhood. The foals are necessary to open the first gate which would protect the Elements of Harmony from its resonating powers. Is everything clear now?”

Serene Grace nodded. “Of course milord. I need to return to my post at once sir.” She said, bowing another time before leaving the bridge.

As soon as the unicorn left, Utopian smiled. “A pity that my own son had to fall by my hoof.” Utopian thought, staring out across the horizon from where he sat on the bridge. “But I will show no mercy to those who would get in my way. It was the fate that he chose, and the fate that all traitors will meet.”

-Back on the Crusader Airship-

The damage to the airship had been severe. Taking a magical burst from an eight inch cannon at point blank range would have done other aircraft in if they weren’t built like the Crusader’s. With Scootaloo still at the helm, she tried her best to hold the ship steady as it continued to plummet to the ground below.

“We’re going to crash!” Dinky cried, holding her head between her hooves.

“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Scootaloo shouted, pulling back on the Airship’s wheel as hard as she could.
“Wonderwing, we need you!” She snapped, looking over her shoulder and seeing the pegasus remain silent.

“Come on Wonderwing! Please!” Sweetie Belle cried, nudging Wonderwing gently. “Your mom still loves you! She’ll be very sad if we don’t make it!”

Wonderwing still didn’t respond, the shock of his father firing on them was still weighing heavy on his mind. “Why though? Why would dad want to kill me? Did I do something wrong?”

He never got to answer his question though as an all brown hoof smacked him across the back of the head.

“Lissen ere’ you.” Pipsqueak shouted over the sounds of the freefall. “You’re being glum an’ miserable when we need you! The time for questions is over. You just need to act. We need your ‘elp, an’ you ain’t going to leave us here. Not yet!”

Wonderwing shook his head. Pipsqueak was right, the time to act was now. Asking questions could wait. He snapped to attention and slid down to where Scootaloo sat as the airship continued its descent.

“Glad you could join us!” Scootaloo shouted, watching as Wonderwing began to flip several switches. She tried to follow his movements closely, but he was working so fast it was hard to keep up and pay attention to the ground that was getting closer by the minute.

“Thouldn’t we jump from the airthip?” Twist shouted over the now roar of the free fall.

“No, I’ve got this!” Wonderwing replied. After flipping a few more switches, he slammed his free hoof into the console which caused a big red button labeled, “Balloon Release,” to appear from out of the center of the wheel. After a few moments, Scootaloo cast a glance at Wonderwing who nodded as if they shared a mental conversation. Then, with all of their hopes on the line, Scootaloo pushed the button.

A few things happened all at once at first. Time seemed to stand still for the foals as the flames began to eat away at the roof of their basket. Then as if somepony were watching over them, the flames disappeared. The airship then slowly began to come out of the dive and finally stabilize, which caused the foals to cheer.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS! AIRSHIP PILOTS YAY!” They all shouted their battle cry. Their mood dropped a little as the blank flanked foals all checked their Cutie Marks only to find nothing there.

“Well at least we’re still alive.” Scootaloo said finally, looking at the instruments and flipping the switch indicated, “Auto Level Flight.” After spinning around in her chair to face the other foals, she could see that there was a lot of consoling done for both Dinky and Wonderwing. Quietly she slid off the seat and trotted over to Wonderwing, who was silently crying in the back. “Well... That was exciting.” She said, watching as Wonderwing failed to respond.

“Scootaloo, I think he needs to be alone.” Sweetie Belle scolded.

“I’m fine.” Wonderwing said through a sob. “I’m just relieved that we’re okay.”

“No you’re not.” Dinky said, causing everypony to look up. “You’re sad that your daddy tried to kill you.”

“Well he did try. But he failed. We’re alive, and we need to get to that temple.” Wonderwing replied.

“Hey, you can’t do any kind of crusading with that attitude. What’s wrong?” Sweetie Belle asked.

Wonderwing remained silent, sniffling a little as the realization of how his father felt about him settled in. “My dad doesn’t love me. I knew that. I figured that because I wasn’t born a unicorn, I wasn’t good enough.”

“But you ahr good enough Wonderwing.” Applebloom protested.

“No I’m not. Not to him at least.” Wonderwing countered.

The other foals remained silent as Wonderwing’s mood was felt by them all. He continued to sniffle and sob a little as he stood up on his hooves. “I mean, I try getting interested in things that unicorns can do. I try doing magic like a unicorn, I try fixing things and making things work, but it isn’t enough.” He turned to the other crusaders. “Well buck him! Buck him and his stupid rules! I have a mommy who loves me with all of her heart, I have the best friends that any foal could ask for, and I belong to the best club ever!”

The other crusaders cheered. Sweetie Belle smiled, grabbing a small napkin from her saddle bag and passing it to Wonderwing. The pegasus took it with his hooves and wiped his eyes, feeling extremely grateful.

“Thanks Sweetie Belle.”

The unicorn foal smiled, taking the damp napkin from Wonderwing and placing it back in her bag. “Don’t worry about it. You’ve been the one doing all of the work for the Crusaders, and it’s our turn to do it instead.”

Scootaloo smiled. “Yeah, we have some business to discuss with Utopian when we meet back up with him.” She stopped however as Wonderwing stepped forward. “What’s up?” She asked.

“I’m sorry that I may have been a little uneasy to work with these past couple of days.” Wonderwing apologized. “I know that I was wrong and that you should and Applebloom and Sweetie Belle should have been leading this thing.”

Scootaloo nodded, extending one of her hooves to Wonderwing. “Listen, I wanna apologize too. I thought that you were stealing my thunder and that you were going to take my friends from me. I just got so caught up that there were two
pegasi in the crusaders that I just wanted to show off. We still friends?” She asked.

Wonderwing nodded, extending his own hoof and shaking it with Scootaloo’s. “Yes. Yes we are.” He said, watching as Scootaloo turned away from them and towards the front of the airship.

“All right crusaders, we have a lot of catching up to do. Let’s go!” Scootaloo cried, galloping back to her own chair as Wonderwing took the front seat.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS! YAY!” They all cried in unison.

-Sometime later back on Utopian’s Airship-

The news was hard enough to bear that they had been captured and thrown in cells that were barely suitable for hardened criminals. It was hard enough to know that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were just hoofsteps away from where they were but could not be rescued. But the biggest bombshell was the news that the Cutie Mark Crusaders didn’t survive the attack from Utopian’s warship.

Rarity and Applejack seemed to take it the hardest, after all Applebloom and Sweetie Belle were on board during the attack. And even though Pinkie Pie, who had gotten put into her cell an hour ago, was doing her best to try and cheer them both up it wasn’t working.

Twilight could hear gentle sobs coming from Applejack’s cell that was to her right. Across from her was Rarity, but her face was so distraught with pain and loss that she wouldn’t have ever been the same.

Nopony said a word. At least they didn’t dare to. They were prisoners, and the loved ones that they were just a stone’s throw away from were now gone forever.

“Princess Celestia... I’m sorry. I didn’t think that the crusaders would actually follow us, let alone get caught in this mess...” Twilight thought, a tear streaking down her cheek. “I hope that wherever those foals are, they’re happy and together. That’s the least I can ask for you.”

“It’s my fault.” Rarity uttered finally, which caused Twilight to look up. “I s-s-should h-ha-have been th-there.” She wailed, gasping for air.

“No Rarity, it’s not your fault.” Fluttershy’s voice echoed throughout the chamber.

“I-I-I’m a terrible sister!” Rarity wailed, burying her face into her hooves. “She... She relied on m-m-me! And I let her get killed! I-I failed her!” She cried as a new stream of tears followed.

“Yer not the only one who’s lost a sister Rarity.” Applejack commented from her cell. “She was just a little filly. And there wasn’t a thing Ah could do to save her.”

Everypony remained silent with the exception of Rarity as hoofsteps could be heard. Twilight rushed to the bars of her cell and looked down the hall to see two of Utopian’s unicorn soldiers walk past. She could see that neither of them had a key, and that they appeared to be nothing more than grunts than anything else. Twilight slid down along the side of one of the walls in her cell. She wanted to do something, she really did, but there was no way out of her prison or any of her friends.

Not even Pinkie Pie, who had been silent the whole time surprisingly, could come up with an appropriate way to solve their problem. Her cell was the only other one that was completely quiet save for a deep and relaxed breath every now and then.

“Hey Pinkie Pie...” Twilight could hear Rainbow Dash ask through her cell. “Pinkie Pie... Hello, Equestria to Pinkie Pie, come in Pinkie Pie over.”

“Dashie, stop. I need to concentrate.” Pinkie Pie replied, surprising everypony else.

“What about?” Twilight asked, now wondering about what would make the party pony so serious all of a sudden.

“Utopian’s Airship is slowing down. I’m trying to figure out why.” Pinkie Pie replied.

The door that led out of the prison hold was opened suddenly, which caused Twilight to stir in her cell. The sounds of gigantic hoofsteps could be heard a mile away as she stood up and looked down the hall.

“W-What’s going on?” Fluttershy uttered, hearing the giant steps and trembling in her own cell.

The sounds of cell doors opening met the ears of each of the Elements of Harmony, and as they stood up in their own regards, a pair of Utopian’s soldiers replaced the hoofcuffs that they had earlier. The soldiers then led them out into the hall and in single file line as the pegasus known as Crimson Heart was standing, wickedly beaming at all of them.

“I see that you all have enjoyed your flight.” He said, looking down on them all. “But you see, we have arrived at our destination.”

“Where are we?” Twilight asked in spite of herself.

“You will see soon enough.” The pegasus replied, turning his back on them all and smirking a little. “Now, honored guests of the new Lord of Equestria Utopian I humbly ask that you follow me.” Crimson Heart said, calmly trotting down the hallway that he came. The captives said nothing, being forced into walking in step with Utopian’s soldiers as they marched down into the ship.

Several minutes passed as they all headed down corridor after corridor, with the layout making no sense at all to Twilight. When they finally stopped at a massive pair of double doors that were labeled, “The Hangar,” she could feel an intense heat radiate from the other side of the door even though it was less than a foot away from her.

“Fillies and Gentlecolts, milord Utopian would like to introduce you to the Temple of the Griffin Sphinx god Grimclaw the Terrible.” Crimson Heart introduced as the front doors opened wide. Even in the huge hangar, where Twilight could make out more of Utopian’s soldiers running about and getting things ready for a huge battle later on, all of her attention was focused in the center of the Hangar.

On the opposite side, she could start to see a huge building, ancient in nature but similar in size to Canterlot. The style of the temple looked like something that one would see in Equypt, with massive griffin statues on either side of the entrance that appeared to be guarding something. Row upon row of columns led from the airship towards the temple, as some of them were fallen over and shattered into tiny pieces. A pair of tall and slim spires stood on either side, one made of what appeared to be obsidian and the other appeared to be made of faded gold, which reflected what appeared to the unicorn as Night and Day. Everything also appeared to be in perfect alignment with the sun, as what would have been a small pool of water that ran up to the temple was dry but gave the illusion that there had been something there.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it Miss Sparkle?” A voice called out to her from above. Twilight turned as she felt herself being pushed forward, seeing Utopian in an all black suit of armor flanked by the biggest earth pony that she had ever seen and the unicorn Serene Grace. “This is the entrance to the Temple of Grimclaw the Terrible, in the Valley of Despair. A fitting place for one’s ascension into godhood don’t you think?” He asked.

Twilight said nothing but glared at the unicorn bitterly. She watched as the three ponies descended from a lift that was operated from a central hub above the hangar floor, which in turn was operated by more of Utopian’s soldiers. When the lift finally touched the floor and caused all three of the vile ponies to step off, Utopian laughed again.

“It would seem that one so talkative has nothing to say. I’m saddened really; I thought that you would be curious as to the history of this place.” He said, watching as Twilight made no sounds and nodded. “Well then, if that’s the way it’s going to be then that’s the way it’s going to be. Onward, my ascension to a being more powerful than the two sisters is at hoof!” He declared, beginning to march towards the temple. Behind him, soldiers numbering well over the thousands followed suit, marching in a tight box formation around the Elements of Harmony.

As Twilight was forced to march in line with everypony else, she cast a quick glance over her shoulder. Applejack and Rarity’s heads hung low, the loss of their siblings still paralyzed them and kept them from doing anything. Fluttershy was trying her best to make herself as small as she could, quietly obeying the commands of her captors. Rainbow Dash was still trying to struggle, valiantly trying to free her wings from the pair of cuffs that she had been given to keep herself from flying. Pinkie Pie however had a face full of determination, something that Twilight hadn’t seen since their battles with Nightmare Moon, Discord, or Queen Chrysalis.

“Don’t worry Twilight.” Pinkie Pie said, reassuring the lavender unicorn. “It will all work out in the end. Utopian will get his, and everything will be fine.” She smiled, watching as Twilight nodded in agreement.

“You’re right Pinkie. We just need to keep thinking positive, there’s nothing we can’t do.” Twilight replied, only to get struck with a light blast of magical energy. Twilight looked up and got back to her hooves to see that Serene Grace had fired the shot and was glaring at Twilight angrily. “Oh just you wait Serene Grace. Your master will get his.”

“Prisoners are only to speak when spoken to.” Serene Grace snapped, turning her attention back to the front.

After a few minutes of marching, it felt like hours to most of the Elements of Harmony, the small army of ponies stood at the gigantic doors of the Temple. Utopian smiled and turned to the gigantic earth pony that flanked him. “General Tuff Stuff, knock down the door if you please.”

The massive earth pony nodded, waving one of his front hooves from the army and towards the door before bellowing, “Artillery, bring that door down!” The response from several of the airship’s guns was automatic as several blasts of magical flame sailed over the army and into the ancient doors, shattering it into pieces. As the smoke cleared and the dust settled, Utopian continued to advance forward, as if he were about to get the best present in the world.

“Every pony step lively now.” He said almost too happily, turning to both Serene Grace and Tuff Stuff. “You two, go back to the ship and get the sacrifices. I want them here for the ceremony.” He ordered, watching as both ponies bowed low.

“It will be done milord.” They both said before leaving the temple.

-Meanwhile, back on board the Crusader Airship-

“Do you guys see that?” Dinky asked, watching as the airship closed in on the Temple.

“Ith the motht beautiful thing that I ever thaw!” Twist said, marveling at the sight.

“Yeah, but we need to be careful when we get near that thing.” Sweetie Belle warned. “Not only is the airship parked right out front of the temple, there’s an entire army of Utopian’s forces. And they could be liable to kill us.”

Wonderwing nodded. “Right, I’m settin’ her down.” He replied, doubling back to the ridge that was furthest away from the temple. After flipping a few switches and beginning its descent, Wonderwing eased the airship down towards the ground.

“Uh, Wonderwing... You may want to speed it up there buddy.” Scootaloo reported.

Wonderwing looked over to one of the side windows and saw that a smaller group of ponies had begun to advance towards them, charging fast on their own accord. They were led by another pony; clad in glinting armor from what they could see from their height but they couldn’t tell anything else about it.

As their airship continued its descent, blasts of magical energy whizzed from above their heads. “Guys, get your morphers ready and grab some parachutes.” Wonderwing said continuing the descent of the airship.

Scootaloo looked out one of the windows and saw several magical blasts whizzed by, dangerously close to one of the engines. “Come on you guys, we gotta go.” She said, climbing out of her seat and grabbing a small bag from underneath it.

The other foals did the same, before grabbing their saddlebags and their wristwatches, watching closely as
Wonderwing flipped the autopilot switch on and did the same. After the sound of a small explosion rang out from above their
heads, Scootaloo nodded as both Wonderwing and Applebloom opened the door.

“Ahr you sure this is safe?” Applebloom shouted over the roar of the wind.

“We don’t have a choice!” Wonderwing answered as a blast of magical energy flew dangerously close to the airship.

“It’s a sacrifice that we have to make! When we jump, change into your suits it will cushion the fall!” Sweetie Belle shouted. “The red cord is to release the parachute! As soon as you’re far enough away, let it go!”

“The longer we stand here the closer we are to getting killed!” Scootaloo cried. “We need to go now!”

The other foals nodded as each of them in turn leapt out of the airship. Wonderwing gave a last glance at the airship, before he too leapt from it.

The ponies on the ground didn’t understand what was going on until the last foal leapt from the airship. As they began to ready another salvo of magic into the free-falling foals, they all erupted into bursts of bright magical energy, each representing a particular color. The change was so bright that the soldiers didn’t even get a chance to fire a shot as they landed, their eyes adjusting to the instant brightness of the foals’ costume change.

The Lieutenant on the ground smiled, glaring at the foals from behind his bronze helmet. When the last foal finally descended, he smirked at what he assumed to be the easiest capture of his life.

“Is everypony ready?” Scootaloo asked, removing both her saddlebag and the parachute pack from her back.

“Yeah. Ah’m ready.” Applebloom answered.

“We’ve gotta put a stop to Utopian and his evil ways!” Sweetie Belle added.

“This is going to be the best crusade that I’ve ever been on!” Dinky squeaked.

“We need to be careful though, there’s a whole lot of them and only seven of us.” Wonderwing said.

“Well, we’ll take every thingle one of thothe creepth down if we have to. Nopony kidnapth innothent foalth and getth
away with it.” Twist added.

“An’ we’re all going to do it together.” Pipsqueak finished up, turning with the other crusaders as they all formed a line.

“Well well well. What have we here? A bunch of foals who think that they can stop Utopian?” The heavily armored pony scoffed, his all black cape fluttering against his back. “We’ll just put you all back to bed before anypony has to get hurt, and you go crying to your mommy’s-”

“You’re the only pony who’s getting hurt. Get out of our way or face the consequences.” Scootaloo snapped.

“And who do you think you are little missy?” The heavily armored pony asked, snarling at the group of spandex-wearing foals.

“We are the defenders of the blank flank,” Wonderwing began.

“We protect those ponies who found out how they were special,” Dinky said proudly.

“We are always on the quest for our own marks,” Sweetie Belle added, taking an aggressive stance along side her friends.

“Ahr cause is noble and just,” Applebloom reported, following everypony’s suit.

“We thtop bad ponieth like you,” Twist added.

“We’ll never stop our journey,” Pipsqueak said, as every one of the foals looked towards Scootaloo.

“Cause we are,” She paused, breaking into a smile that she hoped her friends could see even though she knew that they couldn’t, before taking a deep breath. “We are the Cutie Mark Sentai!”

“CRUSADER!” The foals shouted all at once, each of them striking a pose before charging at the crowd of ponies.

Meanwhile back inside the temple, Twilight’s ears twitched at the sounds of ponies fighting. Something didn’t seem right at all, as Utopian had seemed to be winning at every turn. She and her friends were tied up to one of a set of six pillars that held up the structure. She could also see that both Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara were both soundly asleep on the central pedestal that stood in front of another door in front of them.

Utopian smiled, his horn flaring up as his magic took a very old looking, ceremonial knife from one of the trays that another soldier held in its teeth. The soldier stepped backwards behind both General Tuff Stuff and Serene Grace, bowing low like the other soldier ponies that were in the room. “My dear followers, captives, and friends.” Utopian began, eyeing the dagger aloft. “This is the moment, the time that will make our long years of toil worth it. This is the epitome of success. The pity is that two young foals, and the defenders of harmony across Equestria, have to be sacrificed for it. But, there is hope! Their sacrifice will not be in vain! Equestria shall be a utopia once again, as it should have been. It will not be an easy road but I, as your new King, will lead you all into a glorious new world! And it all starts with a simple stroke.” Utopian used his magic to raise the knife high into the air, ready to plunge it deep into the body of Diamond Tiara, using all of his magic powers until-

“MASTER! I’VE FAILED YOU!” A loud shout was heard, causing every pony to turn. The Lieutenant from outside was flung backwards, smashing back first into Utopian before rolling away and collapsing due to exhaustion. The next thing that happened shocked everypony in that temple hall.

Heading towards them all, in a perfectly horizontal row, were seven foals. Each of them had a smirk on their face, and each of them wore bright red and gold capes with golden wristwatches. They stopped after getting within walking distance of the pillars that bound the Elements of Harmony, which caused both the Elements of Generosity and Honesty to stare dumbfounded at them.

“But... I... How? How did you survive?” Utopian snarled, glaring at the foals.

“Well dad,” Wonderwing began, glaring at his father, “You apparently hit us with a burst from less than an eight inch cannon. It may have destroyed the Balloon, but the way we designed the Airship itself kept us perfectly safe.”

“Utopian, what you’re doing is totally wrong!” Scootaloo snapped. “And as citizens of Equestria, we are forced to place you under arrest! Come quietly and we won’t have to hurt you!”

The unicorn laughed, looking down at the foals with contempt. “Oh please. Seven foals versus my army? What can you possibly do?”

The foals shared a look, before nodding all at once. “We can do plenty.” Scootaloo challenged. “Ready?” She asked.

“Ready!” The other foals replied excitedly.

“ACTIVATE! CRUSADER CHANGER!” They all cried, lightly tapping their hooves against the glass of their wristwatches. The resulting flashes of light blinded everypony in the room temporarily, and woke up Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, before it died down and revealed their costume changes.

Scootaloo reared up on her back legs before beating her wings. “Red Pegasus Crusader!”

Sweetie Belle made to flick a bang from her mane from out of her face with one of her hooves. “Blue Unicorn Crusader!”

Applebloom cracked her shoulders slightly as she began to stretch and warm up like she was ready to rumble. “Yellow Earth Pony Crusader!”

Dinky smiled, spinning on one of her hooves before falling lightly to the ground. “Pink Unicorn Crusader!” She said after climbing back up.

Twist followed Applebloom’s example and began stretching a little before dropping back on all fours. “White Earth Pony Cruthader!”

Wonderwing stood back on the back of his back hooves before bowing. “Black Pegasus Crusader!”

Pipsqueak drew a small pirate cutlass from its holster and ran one of his hooves around the dull end. “Brown Pirate Crusader!”

“We are the defenders of the blank flank,” Wonderwing began.

“We protect those ponies who found out how they were special,” Dinky said proudly.

“We are always on the quest for our own marks,” Sweetie Belle added, taking an aggressive stance along side her

“Ahr cause is noble and just,” Applebloom reported, following everypony’s suit.

“We thtop bad ponieth like you,” Twist added.

“We’ll never stop our journey,” Pipsqueak said, as every one of the foals looked towards Scootaloo.

“Because we’re the Cutie Mark Sentai!” Scootaloo paused as everypony was on the same page.

“CRUSADER!” The foals all shouted at once, ignoring a series of small explosions from behind them in their own respective colors.

As soon as their transformation ended, Utopian smiled, clapping his hooves together in a mock attempt in applause. “Well now, these foals want to play in the big leagues. Soldiers, annihilate them.” He ordered, as the hordes of his armies descended upon the foals.

“Let’s do it guys!” Scootaloo said, taking an aggressive stance before charging the horde of ponies. The other crusaders nodded, charging at the enemy with Scootaloo as fast as their little hooves could take them.

Nopony that wasn’t fighting could believe what they were seeing. The professionally trained soldiers that were under Utopian’s sway were being beaten down like they weren’t even there.

Scootaloo slid under one, striking another soldier in the chin with one of her hooves before getting back up and smashing into another one with her front hooves. As five or six of Utopian’s soldiers lined up a shot on her with their magic,
she charged them all, and bucked all of them before they could fire a shot off. She had to duck though as several more of Utopian’s soldiers were thrown into the air.

Several soldiers had Sweetie Belle surrounded, each ready to pounce on her should she make a mistake. After what seemed a split second, the little unicorn foal let out a horrifyingly loud screech that not only knocked away the soldiers around her, but took out over thirty more that were directly in front of her. She smiled, turning to another group of soldiers that charged her before screaming again and knocking them all back from where they came from in an unconscious heap. She smiled as she could tell that Scootaloo was staring at her in amazement from her helmet, and nodded as both foals got back to work.

Applebloom and Twist both seemed to be having the time of their lives, bucking soldier after soldier into next week with their super powered hooves. Several of the soldiers got smart, firing blasts of magic at the pair and knocking them backwards a little. Both foals got right back up, leaping towards the group that shot at them with little effort, and burying their hooves in between them.

Wonderwing was the only one of the few ponies who seemed to be having the most fun in beating the crap out of his father’s goons. Even as he finished three with a powerful strike with his hooves, six more would charge from the crowds and attack. It didn’t really matter to him, so long as he and the other Crusaders could put his father away for a long time. “Just you wait dad. I’ll make sure you pay for not only betraying Equestria, but for trying to kill me and my friends.” He thought, skillfully beating down another group of soldiers and advancing towards the unicorn closest to the pedestal.

The only two members that weren’t causing as much damage as the other foals were Dinky and Pipsqueak. They had both agreed to cover each other while one undid the bindings that were holding the Elements of Harmony. “Dinky, you got that rope cut yet?” Pipsqueak asked, striking several soldiers with his cutlass before blocking another attack at the little unicorn.

“I’ve almost got it Pipsqueak, hang on!” She replied, her horn flaring up as a mini laser that cut through Twilight’s ropes. The unicorn looked over her shoulder, and could feel the bonds loosening until she heard a final and fateful snap that set her free.

“All right Dinky!” Pipsqueak cheered as the little unicorn turned and got several of Utopian’s soldiers off of him. They both got cornered against the pillar however as more and more of them seemed to pile up in front of them.

Before either foal could charge the wall that surrounded them, they heard a loud battle cry and saw that Twilight had joined the battle, and began to use her magic to cut down swaths of the demented unicorn’s soldiers. “Thanks Twilight!” Both foals said as their savior, who was a blaze with flames at the moment, nodded in their direction.

“You two go on and help the others!” Twilight shouted, watching as both foals ran to the next pillar and began to free Utopian’s next captive. She then turned to the other soldiers and angrily charged them, her horn flaring up just like the rest of her body.

As the numbers of Utopian’s army significantly dwindled to almost nothing, both Wonderwing and Scootaloo turned towards the would-be god. “Calling on the Crusader Shield!” Wonderwing cried, tapping his hoof on the wristwatch on his other leg. A split second later and his black shield appeared on Wonderwing’s right hoof from out of thin air.

“Whoa! How’d you do that?” Scootaloo asked.

“It comes with your watch.” Wonderwing answered. “Your weapons come when you call them. Didn’t you pay attention when I told you what they did?” He asked.

“I may have missed that part.” Scootaloo replied, watching Wonderwing smashing another soldier with his shield.

“Look, all you have to do is say, “Calling on the Crusader,” and whatever your weapon is. In this case it’s a saber.” Wonderwing said calmly, watching Scootaloo nod.

“Right, okay let’s try it!” Scootaloo said confidently. “Calling on the Crusader Saber!” She cried. In the same way that Wonderwing’s shield appeared, Scootaloo’s saber appeared and dropped itself neatly into her right hoof. The pegasus foal nodded, swinging the blade of the saber at several soldiers and instantly defeating them with a wave of red energy. “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. This is totally awesome!”

Wonderwing nodded. “Yeah, now let’s show my dad our new toys.” He said, charging towards the older unicorn.

Scootaloo smiled, following Wonderwing closely, swinging her saber at soldiers that came after them that Wonderwing’s shield missed. Just as soon as they reached within striking distance of the pedestal, another pegasus dove down on them like a missile. Without anytime to think at all, Scootaloo lunged forward and knocked Wonderwing down before the attack connected, looking up at the vile pegasus that came after him.

“You two don’t worry about that poser! Stop that freak in front of you!” Both foals looked up to see not only Rainbow Dash, but Fluttershy chasing after their aerial assailant, and nodded before commencing their attacks.

Utopian smiled, bringing the knife blade across as both his son and his friend leapt after him. But he didn’t hear the clang of steel from the blade that he wielded in his magic, he turned to see that General Tuff Stuff had blocked both attacks with his armor and was easily holding both foals back with his sheer bulk. It didn’t last however as the Element of Honesty leapt at Tuff Stuff with a flying tackle like a bat out of Tartarus and got the general out of their way. Both foals tried to strike Utopian a second time, only to have their weapons held back for a moment by Serene Grace. That notion was completely stamped out however as not only did the Element of Generosity leap at Serene Grace, but the foals claiming themselves as the Yellow Earth Pony Crusader, Blue Unicorn Crusader, and White Earth Pony Crusader each leapt at her with a hammer, pair of bladed hooks and a megaphone.

“Well now... I guess my ascension will have to wait. I must dirty my hooves now.” Utopian sneered, using his magic to enlarge the size of his knife until it was the size of a Minotaur’s broadsword. “En garde! Your foolish lives will end soon enough!”

Wonderwing blocked the initial strike his father made with his shield and pulled the older unicorn away from the altar. Utopian raised the sword his magic carried high into the air and brought it down again and again, with more force each and every time.

“I’m going to enjoy watching you squirm Task Force.” Utopian sneered again, bringing the broadsword high into the air. He was stopped in mid swing when he was struck by a wave of red energy, which caused him to skid far enough back for both of his captives escape throughout the way they came.

“Where are they going?” Wonderwing asked, watching Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon run away.

“I told them to get back to the airship.” Scootaloo answered. “It maybe wrecked, but it’s safer than being in here.”

Wonderwing nodded, sharing another mental conversation with Scootaloo as they charged at his father. Over the sounds of the battle he could hear his father order both General Tuff Stuff and Serene Grace to go after them and leave the foals, but there was something else on his mind.

“Where’s Pinkie Pie?” He thought, seeing the bonds from where the pink party mare would have been standing only to find them lifeless on the floor.