• Published 22nd Jan 2013
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Equestria Legends Online - Shadowflame



A New virtual reality MMO goes screwy with the arrival of discord. Now over a thousand bronies are trapped in a virtual reality, and the only way out is to play Discord's game. Will they collect the Elements of Harmony in time, or die trying?

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February 15th (The First Element)

Hey it's Shadowflame here. You can call me Shadow for short, since that's what the other players in Equestria Legends Online call me. It's been about three weeks ever since we were all trapped in the game by Discord... Well, at least I think it has been three weeks. I've been losing track of what day it is in the real world, since it doesn't really apply in the game.

Anyways, ever since Discord trapped us here and scattered the elements of harmony across Equestria, everybody has spread out across Equestria in search of the elements. They've gone everywhere from Canterlot to Cloudsdale, but even after three weeks, there's been no news of any of the elements. In fact, there has been more news on the deaths that have occurred in the game than anything. After three weeks, 31 players have died from Discord's monsters when they were searching for the elements.

But despite the huge risk, everyone has searched diligently for any signs of the elements. Even Darkened5ky and I have been working our butts off. Ever since we were trapped in the game, Sky and I have made our own team, but it's just us two. Other players have had the same idea and began to team up with each other, or even make guilds of their own.

But all of the guilds and teams are kept under orders by the former administrators of the game, who were stationed in Canterlot. Their head-quarters are in the Canterlot Palace, because it's a large enough building and it's highly protected. From there, they'd manage and deploy all of the guilds and teams to any part of Equestria.

Although this game was in Equestria, there were none of the canon ponies from the show. That was a problem for several reasons. First, without any of the ponies from the show, no one would be able to receive help from them. Second, even if we found and retrieved the elements, no one knew who would, or even could, wield them against Discord.

But it's because of these problems and our lack of progress that the admins have called separate meetings for all of the towns and cities. Right now, Sky and I were situated in Ponyville, along with a few other teams but no guilds. And now Sky and I were on our way to the Ponyville meeting.

I looked towards Sky while we walked towards the town square, the place where the meeting was being held, "Hey Sky, what do you think they'll talk about at the meeting?"

Sky shrugged, "I dunno. I figure they'll just say we need to pick up the pace and search even harder for the elements, like they've always been doing."

I sighed, "Yeah, I guess you're right. But at least we've been working harder than the other teams, haven't we?"

Sky nodded, "Yeah, last I checked, we were ten levels above everyone else."

I chuckled, "That depends on when you checked last." But my smile turned to a frown, "Although, you'd think after three weeks of searching in the Everfree Forest we'd find something connected to one of the elements. I'm surprised that no one has found anything, yet."

Ever since we were all trapped in the game, everyone came to suspect that one of the elements was hidden in the Everfree Forest, even the ones who weren't stationed in Ponyville like me and Sky. But that forest was thick and could hide anything, so finding an element in there was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, discouraging with each passing day and possibly painful if you do find it.

Sky looked ahead, "Hey, look. We're here."

I looked forward to see the town square, and from the look of things, we were the last to arrive. Everyone else was already present. Sky and I joined the crowd of players just in time for the meeting to begin.

In the center of the town square, there stood a single blue earth pony with a blonde mane standing on a raised platform. All of the players in Ponyville knew him as Rex, since he was the local administrator for the Ponyville area. Rex cleared his throat as he began the meeting,

"Attention everypony! We have all been called here today to discuss a matter that is crucial to our liberation from the game."

I rolled my eyes, as I'm sure several other players did as well. We all knew Rex to be the kind that used unnecessary big words to make him feel smarter. But even so, we all still listened closely to what he said.

Rex continued, "As you all know, we have gone several weeks into this game, and so far 30 people have died and nobody has seen any sign of the elements. We all have become discouraged now and again, but I have something to say that will replenish your morale."

I heard Sky mutter next to me, "This better be good."

Rex took another moment to clear his throat, "You see, I've called you all here because just yesterday, we've found the hiding position of one of the elements."

A collective gasp suddenly pulsed through the crowd. But before everybody began to speak, Rex continued, "The element's position was discovered to be deep inside the Everfree Forest. Now, we haven't acutally been able to retrieve the element, but that's why I called this meeting."

"The element is being protected by a guardian, or in other words, a dungeon boss. It'd be suicide to send one team alone into a boss battle, so to prevent any deaths, we will all go and fight the boss together. But as you know, we have a few solo players and small rag tag teams situated in Ponyville, so before we fight the boss, I'm asking you to join up so you can watch each others' backs."

I turned to Sky, "We need to join up with somebody else? But we've done just fine with the two of us alone."

Sky shook his head, "Well, we've never fought in a boss battle before, so I'd be a good idea to add another member or two. Besides, I think it'll be just temporary."

I pondered over it and I could see the logic behind it, "All right, fine." I turned back to listen to Rex on the platform.

Rex cleared his throat again, "With that settled, join your ranks together and rest peacefully tonight, because we'll be disembarking for the forest at dawn. Meeting Adjourned!"

With that, Rex walked off of the platform and everybody began to leave the town square.

I turned to Sky, "Hey, let's go get something to eat. I'm starved."

Sky nodded, "Right, and *then* we'll look for somebody to team up with."

We both turned around and headed out of the square.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Soon, Sky and I had gotten ourselves some hay sandwiches, which I must admit tasted pretty good. We were both walking down the street as we ate, wondering who we should team up with for the upcoming boss battle.

"So," I started, "Who should we team up with?"

Sky shrugged, "I dunno. We should at least team up with one or two players. Seeing as we're at higher levels than everyone else, we can only help defend a few team members at once."

I nodded, "Right." I took another bite of my sandwich, but I found it a bit cold. So I used my magic to light a small fire underneath my sandwich. You see, after almost a month, I had gotten pretty good with magic. Sky had achieved some skill as well, but his magic was different from mine.

To explain this, you need to know that each player receives an ability after they've gained enough experience. My ability was called, "Blaze", which allowed me to use extremely powerful fire based spells, which fit me, seeing as my cutie mark was fire. I could use several spells in combat, like making a wall of fire, or making my sword light up in flames, which is pretty handy when you're fighting against a timber wolf.

On the other hand (or rather on the other hoof), Sky's ability was called "Darkness". His ability, like mine, allowed him to use powerful magic, but more based around dark magic. He could do things like make an area go completely dark or see through the darkest of places. Although, I don't know the full extent of his magic, seeing as he never really used it in combat, but I assume that it could be fairly horrific.

Anyways, after my sandwich was crispy, I took a satisfactory bite out of it. As I ate, I looked around at the other players in town who were on the streets, seeing if there was anybody who stood out as someone to team up with. Although, from the look of things, it seemed that just about everyone had already teamed up with another team.

I turned to Sky, "Hey, do you see anyone who could team with us?"

Sky was darting his eyes constantly through the street, but then his eyes stopped as he looked to the edge of the street. "What about him?" He said pointing a hoof to where he gazed.

I followed his hoof to see a single pegasus pony standing off on the side of the road. He was a dark gray colt with a blue mane that streaked through with navy. His cutie mark was a blue ruffle of feathers. Resting on his shoulder, he was holding a single pointed spear. Above his head, there was a player ID that read: Lexus.

I recognized him, as did most of the players usually did. All of us who are situated in Ponyville see each other a lot, seeing as it's such a small town. Lexus was a solo player that never talked to anyone else. In fact, he never did any leveling up or searching for the elements during the day like everyone else. He always did his training during the night, when Discord's monsters were the most in abundance.

Lexus always held a grim look on his face, like he despised every player in the game. Everyone says that he became like that after everyone was trapped, and he took the most shock and blamed it on everyone else.

With this in mind, I didn't quite like the idea of teaming up with Lexus. I turned to Sky, "Team up with Lexus? I don't know. I mean, there could be somebody else that we could team with."

Sky narrowed his eyes at me, "Hey, I don't care if you disagree or not. There's nobody left to team with, unless we want to go over our limit with team members. If there's anyone else, point them out to me."

I wanted to protest, but I sighed in defeat as I knew that he was right. I quickly gobbled down the rest of my sandwich, "All right. Let's go. But I doubt he'll team up with us, though."

We both walked over to Lexus, trying our best to look the least bit friendly. As we neared Lexus, he noticed us and turned towards us, clutching his spear tighter now.

I was the first to approach him, "Hey, you're name's Lexus, right?"

He narrowed his eyes at me, "Yeah? What of it?"

I cleared my throat, "I'm Shadowflame, and this is Darkend5ky. We were wondering if you wanted to team up with us when we go fight the boss in the forest. We could use all of the help we can get in our team."

Lexus scoffed at us, "No, I don't want to go with you, and there's no way that I would."

Sky raised an eyebrow, "But you haven't teamed up with anyone, yet. You'd kill yourself by going to the boss battle alone."

The pegasus glared at Sky, "You think that I don't know that? I'm not going to the boss fight." That made both of us pause for a moment in shock, but Lexus just shook his head, "Look, I don't have to help any of you. Now if you excuse me, I'd like to be by myself." With a huff, he walked past us and into a nearby alley way.

I couldn't believe it. He didn't even care that we were trapped in this game, and he wasn't going to help any of us to get out. I glared at Lexus with annoyance as he trotted off. Keeping my gaze on him, I muttered to Sky, "I'm not finished with him, yet."

With that I galloped after Lexus, Sky following behind me closely. As I entered into the alley, I drew my sword. Lexus heard my hoof steps and quickly whirled around, spear pointed towards me. Even with the spear between me and him, I didn't stop. I raised my sword to match the level of his weapon, and once I was within range, I activated my ability, "Blaze".

I saw panic fill Lexus's eyes as he saw my sword suddenly ignite with fire, and he quickly jabbed his spear at me. I quickly parried the spear to the side and rushed past the head of the shaft, throwing my weight against Lexus in the process. Lexus fell back against the wall of the alley and I quickly pinned him to it with my front hooves. The force of the impact made him drop his spear in the process, which Sky instantly picked up from a distance.

Lexus glared at me as he struggled under my hold, "What's the big idea, you idiots!?"

I pressed him harder to the wall and returned the glare, "Look, you snob. We've all been risking our lives to get out of this game and you haven't helped us in any way whatsoever. Other players are dying out there, and the sooner we get the elements, the sooner we can leave. Now the least you can do is stop being a jerk and team up with us for the boss fight. After that you can do whatever you want."

Lexus was glaring daggers at me, "No, I'd never team up with any of you nincompoops for the life of me."

I pressed him harder against the wall, "Why not?"

"Because of you freaking bronies! All of you are the reason why I'm stuck here!"

I felt my breath stop short. That wasn't the answer I'd been expecting at all. I saw Lexus's expression change from one of anger to sorrow. My anger released as well, and I let go of my hold on him.

Sky looked at Lexus with a curious expression, "What do you mean it's our fault?"

Lexus sighed, "Look, I'm not a brony and I didn't want anything to do with this game. But I ended up here anyways."

I looked at him with a raised eyebrow, "But then how did you get stuck in the game?"

Lexus shook his head, "Look, I don't want to bother any of you with my sob story."

But I still persisted, "We don't mind. I'm sure if you tell us what happened, you'd feel a little bit better."

Lexus sighed, "It was back in the real world. I was visiting my cousin's house. He's a brony and he was playing this game the day that it came out. When I got there, he made a bet with me that he'd give me twenty dollars if I played this game for at least an hour." He sighed as he looked at his hooves, "I thought it would be so easy, and I'd get out of here twenty bucks richer. But I couldn't have been more wrong. Near the end of the set hour of the bet, Discord trapped me here with everyone else."

Lexus glared at the ground as he stomped a hoof, "It wasn't fair. I had no say in it, and now I'm stuck here because of a stinking bet."

I actually felt sorry for the guy. He'd been trapped here like us, but I didn't expect that he'd wanted to get out before we were trapped. The emotional impact on him must have been harsh. I walked forward and put a hoof on his shoulder. He looked up at me and I gave him a reassuring smile, "Hey, I know what you mean. You've had it tougher than anyone else here. They just don't know it, but they're a lot luckier than you."

Lexus humphed and looked back at the ground, "And that's supposed to make me feel better?"

I shook my head, "No, but I'm just trying to show that I understand."

Sky walked forward, nodding, "Yeah, I mean, I have a few friends that aren't bronies and who absolutely despise the show. I can imagine how they'd react if they were trapped here, and really, you're handling it better than any of them would."

I smiled and looked back to Lexus, "That's right. You've learned to deal with this. We all have, because we need to if we're going to get out of this game." I backed away and picked up Lexus's spear with my magic. I held it out in front of him, "We all want to leave as much as you do. The least you can do is help us this one time. Once we defeat the boss and retrieve the element, then you can do what you want. It's all up to you."

Lexus looked at me with a wary expression, but I disregarded it as I moved his spear closer in front of him, "So, will you join us for this one fight, or are you going to enjoy you're time alone, like a self absorbed jerk?"

Lexus looked at me with a hesitant expression, and then he glanced at his spear. He said nothing for a while, but then he sighed, "All right. I'll team up with you guys, but only for this fight." With that, he took his spear out of my hold.

I beamed at him, "Thanks, Lexus. Welcome to the team."

Lexus gave a small smile, "It's only temporary, but thanks anyways. What's your- I mean, our team name again?"

"It's Team Equitum. It's latin for the 'Team of the Knights'."

Lexus nodded, "Hm, it seems to fit."

I nodded, "Yes, it does. All right, you know what to do. Tonight, we'll all gather the supplies we'll need for the battle. Get anything that you think will be useful in the forest, and at dawn tomorrow, we need to meet with the rest of the teams in the town square."

Sky and Lexus nodded, "Right."

I beamed at both of them, "Now let's get going. We want to be ready for anything tomorrow." And with that, we all headed out of the alley and set about our business for tomorrow.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

The next day, Sky and I were out in the town square. Sky was rechecking all of his items in his inventory using his player's menu, but I was impatiently waiting for Lexus, who was a few minutes from being late.

Lexus, being new to the team, stayed the night at his old place. But now it was almost dawn and the other players were already gathering, and there was still no sign of Lexus.

I groaned to Sky, "Agh, where is he?"

Sky shrugged, "Maybe he slept in?

I sighed, "I hope not." I looked around at the crowd, seeing if I could spot Lexus anywhere. But then a voice called up from above,

"Hey, sorry I'm late!"

Both Sky and I glanced up to see Lexus fly down to us in the middle of the square. With ease, he lighted down onto the ground in front of us, stretching out his wings a bit, "Sorry for making you wait. The streets were crowded, so I had to fly to find you guys."

I smirked, "It's all right. Although, I never thought about, but we've never had flight as a skill in our team. Are you a pretty good flyer?"

Lexus smirked smugly, "Well, I'd say I'm amazing, since my ability lets me fly without making a sound."

Sky raised an eyebrow, "What's your ability called?"

"Stealth Wing."

I grinned, "Nice."

Suddenly, the crowd hushed as Rex stepped on top of the raised platform, dressed in full white armor, with a single long-sword strapped to his back. Rex cleared his throat, "All right, everybody. Thank you for gathering yourselves together for this battle. Now, if you need anything else in your inventory, now is the time to retrieve it. Otherwise, let's depart for the Everfree."

With that, Rex stepped off of the platform and began to walk towards the forest. Everyone did likewise, traveling in their teams as they followed Rex into the forest. Our team brought up the rear of the whole force.

But as we began to enter the forest, I began to grin with excitement, as I had come to usually do before a difficult fight. I grinned at Lexus and Sky, talking in fake western accent, "This is gonna be fun, ain't it?"

Sky let out a small chuckle, but Lexus only rolled his eyes. I merely shrugged at Lexus's response. It would only be a matter of time before we started to rub off on him.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

In the forest, we had been walking for a good twenty minutes. Luckily, none of Discord's monsters attacked the group on the way. I think it may have been because of our huge group, or it might have been just plain luck. But either way, I was still getting anxious to fight.

During the entire walk, our team had been talking with each other to pass the time. We told jokes, talked about things from the real world, and sometimes pulled a small prank on one of the other teams. Which, at the moment, was what we were doing.

Sky and I were trying not laugh as we watched Lexus fly above the teams in front of us. Since he was flying above the tree tops, and because of his ability, no one had noticed him. Right then, the teams in front of us were walking beneath a couple of apple trees, right below where Lexus flew.

I grinned at Sky, "You think he's gonna do it?"

Sky grinned widely, "I hope so."

We both watched as Lexus plucked an apple from a tree, observing the travelling group below.

My grin was growing wider, "Ah, man. He's gonna do it."

We were both snickering as we watched Lexus pinpoint a unicorn in the middle of the crowd, the perfect target. Silently, Lexus positioned himself just ahead of the unicorn's course, holding out the apple in front of him with a hoof. I could see Lexus was having a hard time trying not to laugh as he tried to position the apple perfectly.

But then, in the moment of truth, Lexus dropped the apple from 10 feet above the ground. We all watched it as it quickly descended from the sky and skewered itself on the tip of the unsuspecting unicorn's horn.

Both Sky and I raised our hooves in the air in victory, "SCORE!"

Soon, everyone started laughing, even the other teams who had witnessed the prank. The only one who wasn't laughing was the unicorn who was trying to get apple mush off of his horn.

Lexus rejoined us, laughing at his success, "See? I told you I can be accurate, even with hooves."

I was holding my sides, making me stop for a moment, "Man, you proved me wrong."

Sky began to calm down, "Hey, maybe you can use that accuracy against the boss."

I nodded as I began to walk again, "Maybe, but what's the boss anyways?"

Lexus shrugged, "I don't know. Nobody knows what it is. Everyone says that if you enter the boss room, then you can't get out until you beat the boss."

I raised an eyebrow, "Really? Where do they get that? This is the first boss of the game that we've ever fought before, so how can they be sure?"

"Well, that's how almost every game works. So why not here?"

I nodded, "Good point." But then, in the corner of my eye, I saw Rex make his way back through the crowd, towards us. I pointed him out to the others, "Hm, what do you suppose he wants?"

Sky shrugged, "I don't know."

Rex reached us after a moment or two, "Team Equitum? Who's your leader?"

I stepped forward, "That would be me."

Rex nodded, "Ah, right. Well Shadowflame, as you know, we keep record of everyone's levels in each town or city. I checked yours and your other team members have levels that are vastly superior than everyone else's in Ponyville. Last I checked, you had a level of 25, Darkend5ky had a level of 27, and your newest member, Lexus, had a level of 23."

I nodded, "Yeah, that's right."

Rex nodded, again, "Since your levels are higher, I need you to lead the attack force as the head team of this battle."

My eyes widened, "You mean, be the first to take on the boss?"

"That is correct. But don't worry. If it is the boss alone that we face, then you won't be alone. All of the other teams will swap out with yours when your life goes down too much."

I looked at Rex curiously, "Wait, what do you mean, 'if the boss is alone'?"

Rex sighed, "Well, as an admin, I know that a few of the bosses that we put into the game when we began... Well, there were the bosses, but we accompanied them with a few of the smaller monsters that you'd find in the wild. We're not sure if Discord messed with the program or not where bosses are concerned, but if he did, we could be walking into something entirely different."

I grimaced slightly, "Um... Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

Rex nodded, "Right, well, what about your team? Will you lead?"

I hesitated for a moment, as anybody would do when faced with a life or death situation. But still, I remembered the real world, so I mustered up what courage I had. I nodded to Rex, "We'll lead the fight."

Rex smiled, "Good. You'll help everyone here by doing so. Come to the front of the group, immediately. We'll be arriving at the boss room in a short while."

I nodded, "Right."

Without another word, Rex galloped back up to the front of the group. I turned to my team, "Let's go."

They both nodded. Lexus spread out his wings, "I'll meet you guys up there." He flapped hard and took off to the sky, heading for the front of the group. Sky and I began to make our way around the traveling group.

As we made our way to the front of the line, I took a look at the other players as they walked towards the boss room. It was clear that most of them were terrified of the upcoming fight, as it was evident in their expressions. All of them feared for their lives, but a few of them didn't show any anxiety. They looked as if they were either ready to die, or brave enough to fight to the death, maybe even both.

But whether they were scared or not, I was ready to fight, since it was the only that we'd all get out of this game. I felt a determined grin spread across my face. I turned to Sky, "You ready for this?"

Sky paused for a moment, but then he shared a look of determination, "I'm ready. You?"

"Totally."

Soon, we reached the front of the group, where Rex and Lexus were waiting for us. And we arrived at the front just in time, because then, we stopped in front of our destination. It was a set of giant, double doors, heavily overgrown by vegetation, as if it hadn't been opened for years. It was the entrance to the boss room.

Rex turned around and addressed the group of teams behind us, "All right, everybody! These doors lead to the boss room. This is the first boss battle of the entire game, and we need to defeat it if we are to acquire the first Element of Harmony. You all came here knowing that you could die in the battle, and I thank you for coming,"

Rex suddenly stomped his hoof to the ground, "But now is not the time to fear for your lives. Defeating this boss is the first step to returning to the real world. We need to give our all in this fight, or else we'll all die! Now is your last chance: You may either fight with us to beat this game, or you can hike back to town and leave everyone else to die."

Everybody was silent, unknowing as to what they should do. But then a voice called out from the group,

"I'm going to fight! I'll beat this boss."

As soon as this one voice, everyone else joined in, "Let us fight!"

Rex smiled in satisfaction, "Good. It seems we've all decided." He cleared his throat, "Now, as for our battle strategy. When we open those doors, we will lead a charge against the boss as soon as it appears. Since they have the highest levels of all of us, I will be leading the charge with Team Equitum. Once we start the charge, I need Teams Red, Bomber, and Gold to follow from behind for support. Everyone else needs to keep at a distance and help in any way that you can, whether it be attacking with long range attacks, or keeping smaller monsters off of our backs."

Everyone nodded as they understood. Rex smiled at them, "Make the choices that you need to, so that the ones you fight alongside survive." He looked towards me, "Don't ever forget that." Rex then drew his sword with his mouth, signaling for everyone to follow in suit.

I nodded and drew my weapons as well, along with Sky and Lexus. Everyone readied their weapons and armor, as Rex and my team turned towards the giant set of doors. As soon as everyone was ready, Rex placed his front hooves against the double doors and pushed as hard as he could, making the large entrance open slowly.

Rex gave the two doors one large push, swinging them open completely. Inside, there was a long, dim, stone hallway, lined with arches. Large torches dotted the expanse of the hallway, which I could see, led to a larger room at the end of it.

Rex waved us forward, and my team followed, along with the rest of the group. As we walked, I kept my sword and shield at the ready, just in case any monsters appeared out of nowhere. But as soon as the last person in the group passed through the double doors, the suddenly slammed shut, making several players jump in surprise.

I sighed as I looked at Sky, "I guess we can't go back now."

He nodded, "No turning back."

"No regrets."

Soon, the whole group exited the hallway and walked into the large room at the end. The entire room was pitch black, save for the light coming from the torches behind us. I couldn't see the other end of the room nor the ceiling, just proving how massive the room was.

But then, a howl echoed through the room, making all of the players hold up their weapons in alarm. I was startled, just everyone else was, but not because of the suddenness of the howl, but rather what had made it. I recognized the howl, as I mainly fought these creatures several times while leveling up.

Suddenly, the room was lit up by torches hanging by the ceiling. Light was shed to every corner to reveal what had been lying in the darkness. Everybody gasped and raised their weapons towards the creature that was now visible. It was a timber wolf, but not just any timber wolf. This wolf, the boss, stood three times the height of a normal timber wolf. Above its head, there was a health meter, and above that was its name, The Alpha Timber.

But then, several other yips, barks, and howls began to fill the room. I glanced at the side walls to see other timber wolves, normal sized ones, begin to appear. But as they appeared, the wolves began to run in front of the alpha, blocking a clear shot from us to the boss. It was apparent: The fight had begun.

Rex glanced at me and signaled with his sword towards the boss. I nodded and focused on the wolves in front of the alpha. I then activated my ability, Blaze, and my horn began to ripple with small tongues of flame as I prepared to cast a spell. Just at the peak of my magic, I released the spell and a gigantic wave of fire spewed forth from my horn.

The fire leaped out at the wolves, making them move away from the alpha or making them catch on fire. I glanced at the top left of my vision, where my health meter had appeared. Just below it, there was a smaller blue meter, my magic meter, which had dropped by almost half. I knew that I couldn't use that spell again without using too much magic, which meant I had to use it sparingly. With the path clear, I raised my sword, "Charge!"

Everyone called out with battle cries as we galloped, with weapons raised, towards the wolf pack. As I galloped, I shouted out to activate my ability, "Blaze!"

Instantly, my sword erupted in bright glowing flames, which flickered lights across the battle field before us. In this kind of a fight, against a horde of wood creatures, I knew I would need the boost in power, firepower to be exact.

The wolves met our charge as they ran to get in the way of their alpha. As the wolves neared, I ran forward and slashed my sword against their sides, driving them away for the other players to finish off.

Behind me, Rex, Sky, and Lexus fended off what wolves they could, and the players behind them met the wounded wolves in close combat. Together, we all acted as a wedge, driving our way towards the boss. But soon, our wedge broke through the wolf pack, and we then met the boss, the Alpha Timber. I glanced behind to see that the wolves had quickly regrouped, stopping the rest of the group from reaching the boss. The teams behind us were occupied with fighting the normal wolves, leaving Rex and my team to fight the Alpha by ourselves.

Lexus was the first to attack the boss, as he flew quickly to the sky and drove the point of his spear into the glowing yellow eye of the alpha. The ginormous wolf howled in outrage and quickly snapped its mouth at the pegasus, but Lexus was fast enough to barely avoid it.

I quickly ran forward alongside Rex and Sky, and we surrounded the body of the alpha. Then, we all began to hack away at the wooden creature with our weapons. I drove my sword into every part that I could find of the beast as Lexus distracted the boss from above. But his distraction wasn't enough, as the boss took notice of its flaming wounds.

In outrage, the boss swiped a paw at me, but I barely side-stepped it. With the paw to my right, I leveled my sword with the appendage and drove the flaming blade up its foreleg. The boss took another swipe at me, but I wasn't quick enough, and the blow grazed my side, stabbing a few splinters into the area.

I cursed to myself as I saw my health meter decrease by a fourth, "Dang it! This boss is strong. A full on hit like that would kill me."

But as I was injured, the boss whirled around towards its other attackers. With a massive, wooden paw, the boss swatted Rex aside. In his armor, Rex only took minimal damage, so I wasn't too concerned. But then the alpha turned towards Sky.

I gasped as I knew Sky wouldn't be able to take a hit like Rex could. If the boss caught him with a paw, Sky would die, even if he was a higher level than me. I quickly rushed between the bosses hind legs, just as the boss took a swipe at Sky.
I cringed as I saw Sky barely avoid the blow, but he didn't notice the gaping jaws of the alpha as it lowered quickly towards him.

I didn't have time to do anything else to save Sky from being eaten, so I plunged my sword into the underbelly of the alpha and flared the flaming blade as hot as I could. With a screech, the boss quickly recoiled and leaped away from me. But as the boss leaped, I was almost crushed by its bulking weight. I looked at my health meter to see that it had decreased down to 1/4 of my health.

The boss ran to the other side of the room, running through players and timber wolves alike. I grudgingly got up, stopping only for a few sensations of pain.

In the moment of pause, I ran up to Sky, "Hey, are you okay?"

He nodded, "Yeah, thanks. I did not want to be eaten alive." He saw the splinters in my side, "Ouch, does that hurt."

"Not really. But they are really annoying."

Rex and Lexus soon joined us. Rex looked at my condition, grimacing, "Shadow, I don't think you should continue to fight. You need to take a rest for a while, and possibly get those splinters out."

I shook my head, "No, I have to help fight the boss."

Rex put out a hoof in front of me, "No, everyone else will take care of the alpha. You've done enough." He turned to Sky and Lexus, "Keep him here and fight off any timber wolves that come along. I need to rejoin the other teams." With that, he picked up his sword in his mouth and galloped off to fight the alpha.

But then, something caught my attention. It was the boss, and it wasn't fighting in place as it had before. It was running as it fought, knocking away all of the players that it came close to. And I also noticed that there were no other timber wolves left. They'd all been defeated by the other teams.

Now it was everyone verses the one boss, and it looked as if we were going to win. But then, something happened that none of us could have foreseen. As all of the players were chasing after the alpha, running just on the giant timber wolves heels, it quickly whirled around on the spot. And with power unlike anything that I'd seen before, the wolf reared back on its hind legs and then drove its forelegs onto the stone floor.

The stones in front of it burst out of the ground in a huge cloud of dust, sending every player close to it flying back. As soon as the dust cloud cleared, I could see almost all of the players lying on the ground, dazed and with their health meters in the red. All of them, except for one: Rex.

Rex stood with his sword in his mouth, his health meter in the yellow. In a scream, he charged the wolf alone.

My eyes widened at the sight and I turned to Sky and Lexus, "Come on! He needs help!"

Lexus stammered, "But he said that needed to stay back."

I narrowed my eyes at him, "Forget that! If we don't help him, he'll die."

Both Sky and Lexus nodded, and we all turned and hurried towards the fight between Rex and the Alpha Timber. As we neared the action, I could see Rex holding his own against the giant wolf, barely dodging the oncoming blows and countering just as quickly.

But then, Rex was a tad too slow, and the wolf pinned him down underneath his paw. My eyes widened as I saw Rex's health meter enter into the red, and another blow from the wolf's paw was on the way to crush Rex completely.

Sky shouted to me, "No! We won't make it in time."

I cringed as I knew that he was right, but then I glanced at my magic meter. It was still a third full. But then my eyes widened as an idea came to me. I had enough magic power to do it, but I'd have to act fast to save Rex. I raised my sword above my head, making it point towards the wolf.

And then, focusing every bit of magic into my sword, my blade became almost lost in a huge torrent of fire. With my last bit of magic, I launched my sword into the air as a flaming projectile. I watched my sword as it flew like an arrow, arching in the air until it met its mark in the wolf's neck.

The boss howled in pain, releasing Rex out from under its paw. I quickly ran to stand beside Rex, with only my shield for protection. However, it wasn't needed, as I watched my flaming sword slowly burn away the last bit health from the alpha's health meter. With its health at zero, the alpha let out a final cry as it suddenly burst into bits of code and disappeared.

As the boss disappeared, a large computer window opened up in the air,

Congratulations! You have defeated The Alpha Timber!

The boss had been defeated, and so everyone began to cheer. I couldn't believe it. We had defeated the first boss of the game. I glanced down at Rex to see that his health meter had just a small bit of health left. We had survived. I grinned at Sky and Lexus, "He's still alive. We did it." They both beamed and cheered with everyone else.

But then a small window appeared in front of me,

You've gained the last-hit bonus. You receive a rare item.
-Shadow Cloak

Curiously, I tapped the item name with a hoof, and in an instant, a black cloak appeared on my back, beneath my sword sheath. I grinned, "Cool."

But then a bright light appeared in the center of the boss room and everybody's cheers quited. I had to shield my eyes from its blinding light. But as it dimmed, I glanced at the light to see a small object inside it. Instantly, I recognized it as one of the elements of harmony.

The element floated down and stopped just in front of my face. The element was in the form of a necklace like one of the main six's, but the gem in it was a plain circle with no color. I didn't know what element it was, but I reached out and took it with a hoof.

Sky looked at the element curiously, "So what element is that one?"

I shrugged, "I don't know." I tapped a hoof on it, and a small window appeared above it.

Element of Courage (Inactive)
Object Type: Item

I raised an eyebrow, "The element of Courage?"

Lexus perked up, "Oh yeah, didn't Discord say there were ten, instead of the original six?"

I nodded, remembering back to when we first saw Discord in the Ponyville town square, "Right, so I guess this makes one out of ten."

Suddenly, a loud, evil chuckling echoed through the boss room, startling everyone. The chuckling quickly grew into a maniacal laugh, and then there was a large flash of light. But instantly, the light subsided, and in its place there stood a figure that was all too familiar to the players of ELO.

I glared at the Draconequus, "Discord."

Sky and Lexus quickly drew their weapons and pointed them towards Discord. I would have, too, except I hadn't had time to retrieve my sword after defeating the Alpha Timber.

Discord nonchalantly waved a finger at us, "Now, now, now. I don't want any fighting at the moment." He snapped his fingers and all of our weapons disappeared. Several players shouted at Discord in outrage, but the draconequus quickly silenced them.

Discord cleared his throat, "Don't get all feisty on me. All I wanted was to congratulate you all for defeating the first boss. Now you have the first of the elements that I've hidden. I believe it was this one here that defeated the timber wolf." He pointed a loin's finger at me.

Discord grinned evilly at me, "You must be Shadowflame, unicorn of fire and courage." I raised an eyebrow, but Discord only snickered, "You see, the way that I have designed the bosses is that only the correct bearer of one of the elements may defeat each boss. You were only able to defeat The Alpha Timber because you were already chosen as a bearer of the element."

"However, since you are the bearer of that element, only you can hold it. If anyone else tries to, they will be hurt. Not severely," Discord suddenly appeared at my side, poking a claw at the splinters in my side, "But they will be incapacitated for a few days."

He let out loud laugh as lighting struck through the room. Discord suddenly appeared in the air above everyone else, "Just so you know, with every boss that you defeat, I'll just make everything much harder. Even now, I've made my monsters more powerful than they were before, including the other bosses. Everything you've been through has been a cake-walk compared to what I have in store."

Discord laughed again, but then he stopped as he noticed Rex behind me. He grinned wickedly as he appeared over Rex, "My, isn't this one of the old system admins? It looks as if he's in pain." He snapped his fingers and Rex's sword suddenly appeared in his paw, "I might as well put him out of his misery." Suddenly, Discord drove the point of the sword into Rex's unconscious body.

My eyes widened in horror as Rex's health bar dropped until it was empty, "NO!" Before I could do anything, Rex burst into blue bits of code and disappeared. I felt my knees buckle underneath me, Everything that I did to save him... It was for nothing?

I glared at Discord in rage, "You Killed Him!"

Discord grinned at my anger, "Don't blame me. You were standing right here the whole time. You could've saved him if you'd acted quick enough. His blood is on your hooves, Shadow." He laughed loudly at my distress. Turning around in circles, Discord addressed to everyone, "Now, time to get searching for the other elements, eh? Good bye!" In a flash, he was gone.

I clenched my teeth as my anger towards Discord grew, He killed Rex. Why would he do that? I paused as I looked down at the Element of courage that I held in my hoof, I swear, Discord. My team and I will find the other elements, and when I do, I will make you pay. Sighing to myself, I placed my element around my neck and turned to Sky and Lexus, "Come on. We have more work to do."

Author's Note:

Yes, there will be a lot of time lapses between chapters. I hope you all realize that.

Thanks for reading!
-Shadowflame

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