• Published 19th Jan 2013
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Rise of the Elements Part II: Return of the Avatars - Radiant Dawn

Ancient beings of long since past are returning, but for good or ill?

  • ...

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Chapter 9: Reception Reunion

Chapter 9: Reception Reunion

Perspective change - Rainbow Dash

This is going to take some getting used to...

Not the princess part, as I'd already made my peace with that. No...the 'new body' part. I mean, going from four feet tall up to six and a half...it's a pain. Let's just say that I'd be looking rather stupid tripping all over myself were it not for Frost standing right next to me during this reception. A good thing is that I don't have to stand on my rear legs just to hug Frost anymore, so that's a plus.

The good news is that I can fly just as easy, if not easier. I couldn't help but show off a bit, feeling awesome with my new long mane and tail flowing in the wind behind me. Maybe I can't walk all that great yet, but I was born for flying, no matter what body I have. I noticed that now I leave a soft rainbow contrail in my wake, even if I'm not performing a Sonic Rainboom.

Oh yeah...I'm still awesome.

After a few minutes of letting Frost entertain the guests, I landed next to him, stumbling a bit as I did so. He pressed up against me to offer support, and I nodded in thanks.

"Ugh...how do you get around so easily? I mean, these legs are so long...it's like I'm walking on tree trunks!" I said out loud.

He chuckled and smiled at me. "Remember Dashie, you're talking to a guy that used to use only two legs for walking...and used to have hands. It took about a whole week of practice before I was comfortable with it. Luckily for you, you already know how to walk on four legs, so all you have to account for is the change in stature. Take your time with it, and I'm sure you'll have it down by the end of the day." He then grinned and motioned to a gathering a ways away. "On a lighter note, Spitfire, Soarin, and Fleetfoot are here. Want to go say hi?"

I tried to act cool, but I couldn't help but let out a little fanmare squeal quietly. "Would I ever! Come on, Frost, let's go!" He chuckled and walked slowly with me through the crowd towards where the Wonderbolts were.

As we wormed our way around the many ponies, greeting and smiling to them as we passed, Spitfire noticed us right away. I mean I was double the size of the average pony, and Frost was even taller than me.

"Oh! Your highnesses!" she greeted with excitement. I have to admit, it was a little weird getting such a response out of my long-time idol, but I played it cool and soon we were standing in front of her. As I expected, she bowed and I just nodded politely as she did so. Once she stood, I saw probably the biggest smile I've ever seen on her face. She looked at me and gasped. "Hey, you're the same pony that saved us a few years ago during the Best Young Fliers' Competition, aren't you?"

I nodded and grinned warmly. "Yep, that's me."

"And now you're a princess? Wow...that's intense. Well, it's a pleasure." she said politely, though I could tell she was a little nervous. This was also weird for me. You see, I had always seen Spitfire as the most confident pegasus I'd ever seen. I spent most of my life learning to fly like her...wanting to be her, so this was odd to see her acting so nervously.

I decided I was going to find out what this was all about, so I nodded to Frost before turning back to Spitfire. "Hey Spitfire, do you mind if we talk in private for a moment?"

She was a little surprised, but nodded all the same. "Um...sure." She turned to the other two ponies in her group and smiled. "Hey guys, I'll be back in just a sec, okay?" They nodded and I led Spitfire off behind the building, where it was just the two of us.

When we got there, I could swear I saw sweat beading on her forehead. "Umm...I have to ask, Spitfire...why so nervous?"

She cringed a little when I asked her this, but she took a few breaths and settled herself into a sitting position. "Let me guess, you're going to try and use your royal push now to try and weasel your way into the Wonderbolts, right? Well that's why I'm nervous, because I have to tell you no. You see, we can't just let anypon-"

I cut her off with a gasp. "Wait a minute, you think that's what me wanting to hang around you is about? I have to be honest, I'm a little offended you think I'd pull something like that."

She looked embarrassed now, and afraid. "Oh, by Celestia, I swear I didn't mean it to come out that way. Please forgive me, princess..."

She was shaking now in fear, so I softly placed a hoof on one of hers, and she instantly stopped. She looked up at me and I tried to copy the same warm smile Celestia would always give us when we were sad or worried. It must have worked, because she calmed down. "Look Spitfire, I'm not all 'wrath and anger' here...I'm just not that kind of pony, and I'm not going to be that kind of princess either. First of all, you don't need to be nervous around me at all. I mean," I let out a small sigh before continuing, "do you even know how much I trained to be able to fly the way you do? I mean, you're my bucking idol! Princess or not, that hasn't changed at all. I still look up to you a lot, and you'll always be what I shoot for." She blushed a bit at this, so I smiled again before continuing. "Something you need to know about me is that I have a lot of pride in my abilities, but only because I've worked so darn hard to get to where I am. Simply being given a spot on the Wonderbolts just because I'm royalty would make me feel cheated. No...if I get into the Wonderbolts with you someday, I want it to be fair and square, just like every other pony."

She finally relaxed and let out a breath she'd been holding. "Whew...that's a big load off of my chest. I'm so happy you're not like most of the nobles, all wanting things given to them simply because they're upper class."

I shook my head and smiled. "No, I'm not...and Frost is the same way. Both of us grew up having to work for what we have, and I prefer it that way. If I get something handed to me for free, I feel like I don't deserve it."

Spitfire smirked at me and stood, flapping her wings to float so she could look at me eye-level. "Well after this whole thing with Death is over, I think you've earned a shot to try out and put your skills to the test. I mean, you are known as the fastest thing in the air, and you did save our lives at the Best Young Fliers' Competition. Whaddaya say?"

I couldn't help but feel giddy and giggle a bit, but quickly composed myself and nodded furiously. "That would be great, Spitfire. I don't want you to go easy on me though. When I finish, win or lose, I want to know that I was judged fairly, and that I gave it my all to get through it. Deal?"

She nodded and grabbed my hoof, shaking it firmly. "Deal." She then smirked again, nodding towards the crowd that surrounded Frost. "So...what's he like?"

I raised an eyebrow, confused. "What do you mean by 'what's he like'?" She raised her eyebrows twice suggestively, and I blushed in realization. "O-oh, umm...wow. I wasn't expecting that question at all."

She giggled and nudged me with her shoulder as we sat side-by-side. "S-sorry, I was just curious is all. I mean he is from another world, and I've heard quite a few rumors about him."

I looked at her, confused. "What kind of rumors?"

"I'm sorry...you don't have to answer if you don't want to." she added quickly.

I shook my head and smiled. "Nah, we're both grown mares here. No harm in a little question like that. So what rumors did you hear? I'll confirm or refute them for ya."

"Well...one says that he uses his horn to..." she trailed off bashfully.

I giggled and shook my head. "Untrue...although he does use a lot of magic."

She nodded. "How about orally? I've heard he's about as gifted with that as he is with ice magic."

The question set off a little pleasurable twinge in me as memories surged forth. I smiled dreamily and nodded, blushing a bit. "Oh yeah, that's true."

"What about that he can please six mares all at once?" Spitfire asked, blushing herself now.
I giggled at the memory and shrugged. "Well, that was only one time, and he was pretty drained from it. I mean he's a hay of a stallion all right, but he's not all-powerful." I then looked at her in curiosity. "Why all the questions, if I might ask? Aren't you and Soarin..."

She gasped and looked nervous again. "You know about that?"

I rolled my eyes and nodded. "Of course I know about that. I mean I only saw you two kiss once, and that was in private. Still...friends - drunk or sober - do not kiss like that." She looked nervous still, so I placed a hoof on her shoulder and smiled at her. "Don't worry Spitfire, my lips are sealed. I don’t know why you want to keep it a secret, but I'm not going to tell anypony about it either."

She breathed a sigh of relief and stood up, motioning back to the party. "Well thanks for that, Rainbow Dash. What do you say we get back to the party, eh?"

I nodded and flew back with her to the reception.

Perspective change - Luna

I could not help but smile non-stop at the reception party for Frostbreaker and Rainbow Dash. Part of it was because of the joyous occasion in itself, while the other part was because of the bride's awkwardness with ponies bowing to her, as well as the obvious awkwardness with her new body. Tia, myself, and Twilight all stayed seated on three makeshift thrones, Twilight between Tia and I. Thankfully even with all the ponies that attended, only the ones not from Ponyville or Canterlot made it a point to attempt to flatter Tia or myself, so most of the party was rather quiet for the three of us, which was just how I liked it.

Suddenly, during the gift-giving portion of the party, I felt something was off for some reason. I couldn't explain it, but something just felt...wrong somehow. Like a foreboding feeling that something was going to happen, though I knew not what. I had always had a good sense of things like this, so I chose to follow the feeling and made contact with Tia.

Sister...something is amiss.”

What do you speak of Luna? The party is going wonderfully.”

Yes, it is...but that is not what I speak of. Or perhaps it is...I do not know.”

“Luna? What's wrong?”

I do not know, sister...but I feel like something is going to happen. I know not what, but the feeling is strong and all around me.”

...Very well, Luna...I trust your instincts. Gather the guard. I will make contact with all the Elements and advise them of this. Meet me back here in a few minutes.”

Understood, sister. Be careful.”

You as well, Luna.”

Perspective change - Frostbreaker

I noticed an uneasy expression on both Luna and Celly's faces as they got up to do something, but my answer was given to me as Celestia made contact with me.

Frost...Luna feels there is something amiss here. I need you to fly with Rainbow Dash overhead and try and spot if anything is coming this way, or if you see anything out of the ordinary.”

Understood, Celestia. Will do.”

Rainbow Dash had just returned with Spitfire, and I could tell she knew something was wrong as soon as she looked at me. I spoke first, so as to avoid any questions.

"Hey Dash, care to take a short flight with me?" I asked, faking a smile.

The smile fooled the ponies around us, but Dash knew me too well for it to fool her. She faked a smile as well, then nodded. "Alright Frost. Let's go!" With a strong flap of our wings, we were soon high above everypony. We both landed on a small cloud floating overhead, and when Dash saw we were alone, she looked at me worried. "Okay Frost, what's up?"

I sighed and shook my head. "I'm not sure, Dashie. Celly just told me that Luna feels something is going to happen here, but we don't know what. Celestia asked me to take you and scout the skies, looking for anything out of the ordinary on the ground."

She gasped, obviously thinking the same thing I was. "Do you think..."

I nodded. "Think about it for a second: large open space with a whole lot of ponies all in one place, along with both princesses, me, and all the Elements of Harmony...it's a definite possibility."

"How do you figure?" she asked, now worried even more.

I sighed and hung my head low for a moment in realization. "Because it's what I would do." I stood up again and traded my worried look for a stern one. "Dash, I need you to get the other girls to help and get everypony out of here. Move them to the Whitetail Wood, and have Fluttershy look after them. I'll make contact with the rest and tell them to meet us all back here. now go!" She nodded and sped off, using her superior speed to quickly round everypony up and start herding them off to the forest.

I looked towards the Everfree Forest, noticing a great number of birds flying away from the treetops as something disturbed them from their roosts. I clenched my jaw and summoned my ice armor.

So it begins...

Perspective change - Twilight Sparkle

Thanks to the training I'd done in military tactics, I'd already planned for just such an attack, so I had all the guards as well as my friends don their armor and weapons that I'd made sure was brought with us. Yes...with the coming conflict, Darkflight had created armor and arms for all of us who would be fighting in it, including myself.

My 'armor' was actually a scaled robe, made of what Darkflight called pseudo-dragon skin. Oddly enough, the robe actually did look like dragon scales, but was made of an alloy of magesteel and titanium that was very light, so as not to impede my movement. It was colored black with silver trim, and it seemed to glow with an ominous energy.

Applejack wore full plated armor, suited for her head-on attack tactics. She looked downright frightening, but she was every bit the kind friend we knew her as. Her armor was bright red with bronze trim, and an imprint of her cutie mark was on either side of the flank.

Lyra wore a robe like mine, except hers was colored silver, with turquoise trim. I was surprised that she had chosen to join, but brushed the thought off. We were going to need all the help we could get.

Pinkie was the biggest surprise so far. First of all, I had never expected her to even be in this conflict as a fighter. The largest surprise was her armor and arms, however. Pinkie had trained to fight on two legs instead of four, and was incredibly talented at it. She wore leggings and a shirt made of something akin to leather, but then I saw her mane. Her mane was straight, and a determined and serious look was in her eyes. On her back she wore a very large mace, spiked with a long chain attached to it, anchoring it to her at her wrist by a steel bracer. I had never been downright scared of Pinkie Pie before...but there's a first for everything.

My brother and all the guards had already arrived dressed in their best armor, but the last to arrive was the five royals. I had never seen either of the princesses or Cadence in battle armor before, but the sight was breathtaking.

Celestia was in full golden armor that covered every inch of her, with a pair of axes on her back. Her mane and tail had been braided tightly so as to keep them from impeding her during battle, and her entire form was glowing with a golden fiery aura.

Luna was a completely different story altogether. She wore nothing but a solid black cloak and bracers as far as armor went, but when she shifted I could see a wide array of throwing knives, daggers, and two small swords tucked in a belt around her waist. Her mane and tail had somehow been magically shortened, and they held tight against her body. Had the situation not been dire, I would have told her she looked downright amazing.

Last of the princesses was Cadence, and she wore bright silver armor. Her armor was separated into several plates, and although it was clearly strong, it seemed to be somewhat lacking as far as protection went. I assumed that she would be outfitted for something other than direct fighting, so I let the thought go for now.

The next to arrive was Rainbow Dash and Frost, who came from the palace. Frost was wearing the icy armor he preferred to anything else, as well as two black swords labeled "Void" and "Abyss". Rainbow Dash's armor had been reforged and refitted to accommodate her new body size. She looked absolutely incredible in it, as the sunlight of midday made the armor shimmer with all the colors of the rainbow. She had been fitted with two forearm blades, as well as blades on her wing tips.

With all of us gathered, we waited for the enemy to arrive. It didn't take long, as we could start to see movement from within the trees of Everfree Forest, as well as several animals and even a manticore come scampering out in fear.

"Get ready!" Frost yelled to us all, and I noted that two familiar wolves - now clad in full armor with a sword and shield each - stood next to him at the front.

We all readied ourselves for attack, but then the area became unnervingly quiet. The only sound was each other's breathing, and it started to scare me. Suddenly, however, I saw Frost tense up as a lone figure stepped out from the treeline.

It was a tall alicorn stallion, pure black with pale silver eyes. His mane and tail were a very dark red - the color of blood.

Frost stepped forward towards the stallion, meeting him midfield, and the two began to speak, being only a few paces away from each other.

Perspective change - Frostbreaker

I stood a few paces away from the stallion, restraining myself from lunging at him and killing him right there and then. Something told me that would be very stupid, so I followed my instincts and stayed put.

"Ah Drew, it's been so long since I've seen you. What has it been, a month? My, how time flies." he stated smugly. "By the way, wonderful wedding. So sorry I had to crash it, but duty calls. You know how it is."

I wasn't sure what kind of mind game he was trying to play, so I just kept my mind cool and my expression unreadable. "What do you want, Death?"

He snorted in a short laugh, then smirked again. "Well I think it's obvious, don't you? I want Terra, my dear boy."

"Why? What do you gain from ruling over this planet?" I asked, still holding a stoic face.

He shook his head and grinned. "Why, what anyone gains by ruling...power. Surely that bitch of a mother taught you that much."

I had to restrain from flinching at his remark, but instead grinned as well. "Well, I hope you don't mind being banished to the elemental plane for a few thousand years then. You've overstepped your bounds, Death...and you're going to be punished for it if you don't back down."

He frowned in mock offense. "Now, is that any way to talk to your father?"

I growled and glared at him. "You're not my father. I don't give a shit if you planted me in my mother's womb...that doesn't make you my father."

"You forget, boy...I need you." he said before grinning menacingly and looking at the ponies behind me. "I don't, however, need them."

He blinked, and before any of us could react, seven skeletal gryphons leapt from the ground and tore into the nearest guard, nearly instantly killing each one. My friends got a hold of the situation quickly, however, and dispatched the undead horrors.

"DEATH! YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR TRESPASSES!" shouted a loud voice from behind me.
I turned to see a tall pink alicorn with a long flowing mane of crimson. I was confused at first until I recognized the armor it was wearing.

It was Cadence's armor.

"Life? No, this is not possible. How?" Death responded, with just a bit of fear in his voice. He turned back to me and growled, "You got lucky, boy. I will return, however...and next time I'll make you wish you were dead." He disappeared in a flash of light, and the area was suddenly teeming with the sound and feeling of life again.

I turned to look at the damage, noticing that five guards - four stallions and one mare - had been killed by the undead before we could react, but luckily other than some scrapes and a bruise, the rest were unharmed. I did recognize one of the guards, however...

"Brightwing...no..." I mouthed in a whisper.

I could see Twilight looking a little green before running off, Lyra with a similar expression right behind her. I walked up to the avatar of life and nodded.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Life. I do wish it were under other circumstances, however." I stated solemnly.

The glowing avatar nodded and let loose a tear as she looked at the five dead ponies. "I agree. I wish it did not have to come to this, but Death was always the greedy one of the two of us." She sighed and lowered her head in shame. "I am sorry all of you have been drawn into this."

I shook my head and tentatively placed a hoof around her shoulder in an effort to comfort her. "Life, it's not your fault. Your brother would have escaped his imprisonment eventually, and because he controls one of the elements of nature, we can't simply destroy him. We're all in this together, and we're all going to get out of it together."

Life looked at me and smiled, nodding. "You are right, thank you for that, Winter." She stood proudly again and smiled. "Well so long as Death knows I am around, he will not attack Equestria. It is safe to assume until he figures out a way around me, he's going to stay quiet for awhile." She then motioned to Celestia, Luna, and me. "The three of you will need to make contact and keep in contact with all of the other territories and provinces throughout Terra, so that we can track Death's movements. Though they are not a part of Equestria, the rulers will need assistance if Death decides to attack them to get to us. We must be ready for that."

I nodded and sighed, the adrenaline of the near-battle wearing off. "Understood. Well, we should all rest and recuperate then...as well as prepare a memorial for these five that have sacrificed themselves. We must be sure that it was not in vain, though."

Life nodded. "If it is no trouble, I would prefer if I were to be the one to do it. I wish to imbue the bodies so that they cannot be raised against us."

I nodded again and smiled. "Good idea. The rest of us are going to get some rest. Life, you know how to get ahold of us should you need us. Don't have Cadence back home to Shining Armor too late, now." I then gasped and facehooved. "Ah crap, I just remembered that Cadence is about to enter a coma because of your awakening." Life seemed worried at first, but I waved a hoof off. "Don't worry, Death won't know that. I placed a hold on my memories when I first felt myself invaded by him in my mind, so thankfully he'll be none the wiser. All the same, we are still vulnerable, so make sure to tell Cadence everything you know while she's out, okay?"

Life nodded and smiled back at me. "Yes, I will. Thank you, Winter."

Ugh...what a day.

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