• Published 9th Mar 2013
  • 3,753 Views, 136 Comments

Unity at Dusk - AlphatheGriffin17



Book III. With the lord of chaos released from stone and being the only none-Element, Dusk is left behind by the others. But he will soon discover that there is much more to him than he could have ever known...

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Dusk Rises

Twilight had only just thrown Tom out of the library window, creating yet another hole in her home (Not that she cared at this point) when Discord reappeared to them, striding over to them across the tartan covered streets.

"Well, well, well, I see you've found the Elements of Harmony. How terrifying!" he said sarcastically.

"Discord!" Twilight said, enraged, "I've figured out your lame riddle. You're in for it now!"

"I certainly am. You've clearly out-duelled me, and now it's time to meet my fate. I'm prepared to be defeated now, ladies. Fire when ready." As he said all of this, he conjured up a pair of sunglasses, placed them on and also a bullseye on his chest, leaning casually against a tree.

Twilight would have normally been suspicious of his actions, but she knew he was only trying to confuse them further and ignored him. It was time to take him down and get back her number one pony assistant, if it was the last thing she did.

She looked around for his dark minion, but could see no sign of him anywhere.

"Where's your servant? I'd have thought he'd have wanted to see this," she remarked.

"Oh, Doomy?" Discord shrugged. "He'll be around somewhere, spreading chaos in my name like a good boy. I could always bring him along, if you'd prefer."

"He'll get his later," she snapped. "You're both going to pay for what you've done."

"If you insist," he said casually. "Very well, get on with it then. No point in prolonging my inevitable defeat."

"Formation, now!" she ordered, the others all reluctantly getting into place. "Rainbow Dash, get over here. All right, let's get this over with."

She could hear the power build up as the Elements began to work their magic. She reached into her own Element, letting its power flow through her as it did when she had defeated Nightmare Moon, becoming an instrument of them.

This had to work. It was their only chance…


Dusk met his foe mid-charge, their hooves locked together, shaking from the effort they were both putting in to their attacks. Wrestling to gain a position of power with each other, Dusk found it quite terrifying, being this close to his livid face, staring straight into his eyes, but he didn't allow himself to be distracted.

Grunting, straining with the effort, he put all of his energy into holding off Blackhole as best he could manage, urging himself not to give in to him. He even managed to move him a little bit, listening to his hooves scrape across the floor.

"Where did you find… this strength?" Blackhole growled.

"I'm not… about to tell you!" He let one burst of strength against Blackhole, enough to make him stagger.

Taking this advantage, Dusk pushed forward, sending two punches to the face, hearing his exclamations of pain and locking him in a wrestle again. Perhaps he could force him to the floor and pin him down while he punched him further. Normally, he would consider a fair fight and not strike a stallion when he was down, but he knew his opponent wouldn't extend the same courtesy.

Blackhole had different ideas. Enraged by Dusk pressing a kind of advantage, he doubled his strength, whereas before he had been reserving it, which had allowed Dusk to get the upper hoof. He didn't look like he was going to be making that mistake again, pushing against Dusk's weaker side so that he couldn't gain a footing against him.

Despite his best efforts, Blackhole pressed the advantage of greater strength and pushed Dusk away, sending him skidding across the floor, followed by a strong punch to the face that sent him flying back into the wall. But he wasn't going to be defeated that easily, not this time. Dusk shook his head to clear his vision and stood back up, glaring at him.

Blackhole raised an eyebrow and laughed.

"Still you insist upon this futile resistance?" he mocked. "We both know how this will end, brother."

"Then by all means, come and end it," countered Dusk, standing in a ready stance.

Blackhole took the bait and charged him again, Dusk holding his ground. He watched as he raised his hoof to strike him and ducked under it, swerving to avoid the following blow and any other blow he sent. He kept his eyes on his enemy's hooves, anticipating blows before he threw them and dodging them as they came, blocking only if he had to.

Taking advantage of the fact that it was dark, Dusk tapped into his magic and let a ball of light shine in front of Blackhole's face. Blinded by the sudden attack, Dusk proceeded to land every blow he could manage to throw at him, attempting to weaken him.

His airway suddenly constricted as Blackhole reached out with his own magic and tightened the levitation aura around his throat, choking him. Dusk scrabbled desperately at it, trying to push him away as he found it more and more difficult to breath, sending out a kick. That was enough to loose his hold and let him drop to the ground in a heap.

"Your spells are weak, useless in battle," said his foe angrily.

"Yet… yours aren't," remarked Dusk, gulping down air. "Why don't you… use it?"

"I… don't need magic to kill you," growled Doom, shaking his head to clear his vision. "When I kill you, I shall do it with my own bare hooves!"

"Then, I shall do no less." He returned to a ready stance, breathing easily again.

He may have wanted him defeated, but Dusk didn't want to be completely cowardly doing it. Dusk decided to at least be better than resorting to magic in this fight and match his opponent equally. Call it a sense of pride or honour to be fair in battle… or the fact he didn't want to provoke Blackhole into using his far more powerful magic against him.

This time, Dusk threw the first punch before Blackhole could react, landing it on his face, which was quite akin to hitting a brick wall in much the same way. As such, the split second's hesitation of pain it provided Blackhole with an opening to strike him in the gut, making him double over and cry out with a follow-up strike to the face. To avoid more blows, he rolled to the side, picked himself up and returned to blocking and dodging his blows.

Neither of them, of course, had any kind of formal training in any martial art or method of self-defence, Dusk due to his views on violence and Blackhole because he knew everything that Dusk did, as he was literally a part of him. As such, the two of them were down to basic brawling and punching, though Blackhole had far more strength to call upon that Dusk did, as well as being more physically capable than he was.

Dusk's size and stature, however, gave him the slight advantage, of being faster than somepony of a bigger build. Combined also with his sharp mind and decent reflexes, he was able to anticipate and avoid most of Blackhole's attacks, at least as long as his concentration and stamina held, the latter being more fragile than the former. For the most part, he was able to keep a good distance from his attacks.

He also had a slight knowledge of the most vulnerable parts of a pony, such as the joints of the legs or points near the neck and back. As such, he focused what counter-attacks he could manage on these areas of Blackhole, in order to inflict the maximum damage possible. Even then, his darker self was still able to absorb the damage, due to his own physical strength and Dusk's lack of muscle.

"You can't keep this up forever Dusk," taunted Blackhole, as another punch flew over his head. "You will tire soon enough."

Dusk didn't respond verbally, but instead took advantage of the second's opening he'd left due to his taunt. He aimed a jab under his leg, making it bend backward from the reflex muscle action, enough time for him to repeat the move on the other leg. With Blackhole now bent forward on his knees, he smacked him in the face twice with all his strength and proceeded to perform a downward strike on his spine.

Blackhole however, reacted quickly, swinging his rear legs forward so they struck his hoof away, the momentum of the force causing him to flip and propelling him in such a way that he was able to land two strikes with his front hooves and one final kick with his rear hooves, sending Dusk sprawling away from him and smacking back to the ground.

As Dusk started to push himself back up, wiping away the trickle of blood from his mouth, Blackhole started to sing mockingly, in a deep, sombre tone, like singing a funeral hymn.

Now this time
You will fall
Down in darkness
Lost in this great sprawl

And I have come
To start a fire
Little Ponyville
Will become your pyre

Dusk had barely recovered himself when Blackhole attacked again, forcing him to go on the defense once more, desperately blocking and dodging his punches and kicks, while he continued to sing during the deadly flurry of fists.

Fall to the shadows
Just give in to the pain
Fall to your grief
And let it grow into your bane

Rot in the caverns
Forming down in your soul
When the night has arisen
Then the chaos will be whole

"I thought this was a fight-" Dusk ducked under a blow, punching it away, "- not a dance!"

"Then stand still and fight, like a stallion!" he roared back.

Blackhole seemed to be gaining confidence, in addition to the amount already gained from his previous victory, something that Dusk could use to his advantage. Once again, thanks to his distraction from the singing, Dusk found an opening and struck him on the neck twice with both his front hooves, followed by an upward punch to the chin, making him reel back and cry out in rage and pain.

The dark stallion cricked his neck and growled deep in his throat. It only seemed that for every blow he landed or injury he caused him, that just made him even angrier and even more determined to bring him down. Dusk, however, needed not to be intimidated by that. He needed to remain in control of his emotions, relatively calm and calculated in order to match his brute force and pure rage.

Blackhole charged, with the intention of colliding with him head on, his horn lowered to possibly impale him. Dusk, however, reacted quickly, side-stepping out of his way and slamming his hoof down on his spine, making his back buckle and slam to the floor. Before Blackhole could recover, he slammed both rear hooves in a kick to his face, sending Blackhole away from Dusk again.

His darker foe hitting the floor, Dusk decided to take a chance. He waited until he was half way to getting back to his hooves, and then sprinted right at him. He reached him, slammed into his hip, twisted with his leg with all the energy he could muster and sent him crashing to the floor again, grabbing his head and punching him repeatedly in the face. He had him now!

"I think not!" his foe screamed.

Blackhole caught one of his fists mid-punch and squeezed, sending that paralysing pain up his arm again, roaring with rage like a beast and making Dusk sink low. This was what had brought Dusk to his mercy last time and he wasn't going to let it be the end of him this time. Screaming through his gritted teeth through the pain, fighting back tears and determined not to give in, he raised his free, limp hoof… he just had to bring it up… enough strength to…

"I… think… so!" shouted Dusk back, through the blinding pain.

Blackhole's eyes widened and he tried putting more pressure onto it, but he reacted too late. He could do this… ignore the pain. He swung it up, brought it round and hit him on the side of his face. Yes, he'd done it! It was just enough to make him let go, lax his grip enough for Dusk to smack him hard across his face, his fists crashing into the bone and sending pain shooting up his arm.

Hurriedly, he pulled back to a safe distance, while his opponent reeled in surprise and pain from this sudden counter-attack. Dusk didn't want to think prematurely, but he could tell he was weakening. If he could keep this up, just a little longer, he might actually win this battle and defeat him. But Blackhole came back, just as strong as before, forcing Dusk on the defensive again.

He had to hold him off… he could do this…

But Dusk was finding it harder and harder to keep up with the attacks, more and more strikes being landed on every inch of his body, adding to the injuries he'd already received. He tried to push himself, to keep himself fighting, but he was already well past his limit. Gradually, Dusk was running low on energy, whilst his foe seemed to have an inexhaustible supply he couldn't hope to match.

After the next blow that landed on his legs, he couldn't keep it up any longer. He collapsed on the floor, his energy and drive gone and his injuries getting the better of him. He tried to get back up, to get back into the fight, but he had nothing left to give. He was completely spent of strength, unable to do anything else. He was finished.

He had just enough will to raise his head and see Blackhole, with a few bruises and a cut lip from Dusk's efforts. He spat blood and glared contemptuously at him, panting from his own efforts, but smiling in victory.

"You certainly put up a better fight this time. Too bad it is your last."

Dusk watched as he raised his hoof to bring it down on his head, closed his eyes and waited for the end to come…


Twilight too was just getting back up after being dropped to the ground. The Elements had been working, with the exception of Spike's, they had all been lifted up into the air and consumed by their magic. Discord had even looked a little concerned at first. Suddenly, like somepony hitting a switch, they'd stopped and crashed to the floor.

"What's going on?" she asked in general.

"Mine's workin'," Applejack replied, tapping her own. "There mus' be somethin' wrong with yers."

"I HATE the Elements of Harmony!" declared Pinkie, throwing hers onto the ground.

"Hmph! Garbage," agreed Fluttershy, adding her own.

"This gem is a mere dwarf compared to Tommy-Wommy," Rarity said, discarding Generosity and returning to her boulder.

"Sorry, Twilight. I guess I'd better get back upstairs and clean up the library," decided Spike, removing his borrowed one and placing it on the pile, sprinting back inside. "Good luck with all this- whoa!"

"Oops, sorry, Rainbow Crash," laughed Fluttershy, who had tripped him with her tail.

Discord was approaching them, sarcastically applauding accompanied by random sounds. "Bravo, ponies, bravo! Harmony in Equestria is officially dead. Discord rules, Celestia drools."

Twilight growled angrily at him as he traced his claw along her chin, let out a hearty chortle and slipped and skidded away along a path of soap. Never before had she hated anypony as much as she had Discord, with the exception of possibly Blackhole Doom, for what he had done to her, to her friends, her home… Dusk.

"It's your fault it didn't work," Pinkie blamed.

"Who are you talking to?" demanded Twilight.

"Any of you! To ALL OF YOU! I'm outta here!" With that, she bounced away, still frowning.

Applejack threw aside her Element and set off too. "Ah better go, too. Ah've got new better friends waiting fer me at the farm."

"Yeah! I'm sick of you losers." Fluttershy soared away, lastly followed by Rarity, pushing Tom along the ground.

"FINE!" yelled Twilight. "Leave! See if I care! I don't need you guys either! With friends like you, who needs...enemies...?"

She bowed her head dejectedly, feeling a tear trickle down her cheek and splash onto the ground, only vaguely aware her fur had now become as toneless and colourless as theirs. Despite the way they were acting, that had been a lie. They were her friends, the best friends she'd ever had. They'd been through so much together, learned so much… and now that was over. They were all gone and she wasn't sure if she would ever see them again.

But it was worse than that. They'd failed to stop Discord. The Elements hadn't worked and now he was going to plunge all of Equestria into eternal chaos, overthrow Celestia and Luna and take their place on the throne. Worse still, she'd failed to save him, like she'd vowed she would… possibly the one thing that had been motivating her all this time, that one desperate hope and she didn't even have that now.

"Dusk… I'm so sorry… I tried…" Feeling more tears streaming down her face, she trudged away, not really caring where she was going. She just had to get away from here…


Dusk had many fears. Fear of rejection, of loneliness, of disappointing those closest to him, of pain and death. Even more so now, he feared what Blackhole would do. He could feel his dark intentions burning like a forest fire, the destruction and suffering he intended to cause. Dusk was supposed to be the only one that could stop him…

And he had failed. Now, he had a fear for if all he would be remembered for was that he had failed to stop him when he could. The last embarrassment and shame he would feel and it would be eternal throughout history. He waited for that fist to slam down and end it, just let oblivion take hold forever… just end it…

"Oh no ya don't!" a voice cried out in the darkness, as he heard the sound of rushing hooves.

But instead of feeling something hard smack down on his head, he heard the sound of hoof striking hoof, followed by a cry of surprise from Blackhole. When he opened his eyes, he saw that he had been pushed away to a further distance… and the two of them were no longer alone.

"Now, ah'm only gonna say this once, big feller," Applejack warned, placing herself between Dusk and his darker self, "y'all better back away from ma friend, 'fore this gets real ugly, ya hear?"

Both he and Blackhole must have mirrored each other in their expressions of shock at this sudden, unexpected arrival. But she wasn't the only one who appeared to assist, as a certain cyan Pegasus joined her from close by.

"Alright, punk," Rainbow Dash added, slamming one hoof into another, "we can do this the hard way or the even harder way. What's it gonna be?"

Blackhole was still staring, until he recovered himself and snarled. "You think the two of you stand any chance against me?"

"Make that three, you big growly snarly punchy meanie pants!" added a furious Pinkie, bouncing out from behind Dusk and snarling like a wolf.

"Yeah, um… what she said…" murmured Fluttershy, tentatively joining them and trying to look as ferocious as possible, but only looked more terrified.

"There are many things I can tolerate," Rarity said, in a low dangerous voice, "but one thing I absolutely cannot stand is cruel, callous, uncouth brutes like you!"

"You dare to lay another hoof on my number one pony assistant and we are gonna have a huge problem!" In a flash of magic, Twilight teleported in at the head of the group, looking utterly beside herself.

Dusk was wide-eyed and staring, still unable to believe what he was seeing. Here they all were, now, right when he needed them the most, more than any other time in his life. Standing between him and his enemy, like an impenetrable wall surrounding him, ready to stop Blackhole at the slightest show of hostility. His friends… they hadn't abandoned him at all…

"Are you okay, Dusk?" Twilight asked, still keeping her eyes fixed on Blackhole, but concern laced in her voice.

"I've… I've definitely… been better…" he replied, pushing himself back to his hooves, his legs shaking from the effort. "How… how are…?"

"You didn't think we'd just leave you hanging, did you?" Rainbow said in her cocky voice. "Not when we need to teach this jerk a few manners."

"I… I just…" He felt himself stagger a little, but ended up leaning against something warm.

When he looked up, he saw that Fluttershy had hurried to his side, to prevent him from falling.

"You're welcome," she said in her gentle voice, when he had trouble getting the words out.

Dusk shared her smile, when he suddenly realised something. "The… the last fragment… I still need it…"

"That's why we're here, darling," Rarity assured him, flicking her styled mane out of her face.

"You think they can stop me?!" demanded Blackhole. "You think you can hide behind them?! I am stronger, more powerful than all of them put together! This is merely a delay to your inevitable destruction!"

"Fluttershy, why don't y'all take Dusk on up the way we came?" suggested Applejack. "We'll stay here an' have a nice chat with Mr Doom here."

"Right." Fluttershy tried to pull him along, but Dusk ended up resisting, fraught with worry for them.

"No… I need… to beat him… too strong…"

"Sorry Dusky, this is one party you'll have to miss out on," Pinkie said, pulling out her party cannon and placing herself behind the barrel.

"Dusk, just go!" ordered Twilight. "We'll hold him off, long enough for you to get the final fragment. We'll be fine, don't worry. Now go!"

"But I-"

"GO!"

Dusk remained for a few moments, staring into Twilight's shining violet eyes as she turned to face him. In that moment, the respect, admiration and love he already had for her increased tenfold. She didn't look scared or fearful, but certainly angry and more than willing to fight. She wasn't going to be swayed, none of them were. He was still worried about them, but he had no choice. This was his last chance and he had to take it. He had to beat him.

He sighed and nodded, letting Fluttershy support him and Twilight return her focus to the coming battle.

"As you wish… Miss Sparkle…" He glanced at her one more time, passing over all of them. "Be careful…"

Limping on his legs, but assisted by Fluttershy, Dusk allowed him to lead him to a cave passage that he hadn't seen, hobbling away as fast as he could, for he had no desire now to try and fight Blackhole in the state he was in.

His attempted escape didn't go unnoticed by his darker self, who locked eyes on him and charged with the force of a bull.

"YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ME!" he screamed. "I WILL- OOF!"

His advance was halted by Applejack, who kicked him with her strong legs and sent him skidding backwards.

"Y'all weren't plannin' on leavin' without sayin goodbye, were ya?" she remarked.

"YOU PATHETIC WRETCH!" he roared, going for her now. "YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT!"

"All outta change hon, but how 'bout this!" She dodged his attack and gave him another hard kick into the wall.

"My turn!" Dusk watched as a cyan streak sped towards him

Before he could recover, Rainbow charged in with a battle cry, grabbing him and throwing him towards Pinkie, who blasted him with her party cannon. The impact sent him reeling into the hoof of Rarity, as she smacked him across the face, followed up with a blast of magic from Twilight, making him crash to the ground with a loud thud.

Dusk was once again held transfixed, staring as his foe recovered from the attacks, screeched with fury and launched into the battle, only to be struck again by multiple, coordinated attacks from the girls. He'd never seen them fight like this before, all of them working together with their unique abilities to keep him held back. Then again, he had never seen them fight before and he was certainly glad he wasn't their enemy.

He only hoped they would be able to keep him at bay long enough for Dusk to retrieve the final fragment. If he had learned one thing from fighting Blackhole it was that the more you attacked him, the angrier he became and the more determined he was to defeat you for inflicting pain upon him. He'd been only using his fists on Dusk, but he would resort to his own magic soon enough then… he tried not to think about what he might do…

"Come Dusk, we need to go," urged Fluttershy, nudging his side.

He snapped out of his reverie and nodded, limping his way to the passage, listening to yells of the girls and Blackhole as they fought each other, the occasional flash of light from Twilight lighting the cavern. As they hurried out, Blackhole's voice was heard clearly above the fighting, singing tauntingly again.

Your so-called friends
We are agreed
Cannot protect you
Now that I am freed

Your body broken
Your spirit numb
Weak and waiting
For the end to come

Fall to the shadows
Just give in to the pain
Fall to your grief
And let it grow into your bane

Rot in the caverns
Forming down in your soul
When the night has arisen
Then the chaos will be whole

Dusk ignored the voice and pushed on, letting Fluttershy guide and help him along. Blackhole was just trying to get into his head, to undermine what little confidence he had to put him in a weak enough mental state to defeat him. Classic psychological warfare, but Dusk wasn't going to let it get the better of him, not while his friends were in danger…

The passage they followed, while still inclining upwards, was a lot easier to negotiate than the steep cliff face had been, with this being much more smooth, less rocky than the other parts of the cave had been, with a gentle upward slope that he could manage relatively well considering his state. The light here also began to get gradually brighter, drowning out the shadows that had previously surrounded him.

The fact he was here with Fluttershy also gave him great comfort. She was a gentle force against his side, just enough so he could remain standing. Not only that, but her presence gave him added strength, assurance that she and the girls were here for him, that they were still fighting and willing to make sure that he kept going as well. He wasn't sure if she was real nor not, but she felt real to him and that was enough… his honorary little sister…

"Come on Dusk, we'll make it," she encouraged gently. "You and me, we'll get there…"

"I…I hope so…" Dusk lifted his head to look at her. "Thank you… for being here for me…"

"Anything more my friends," she replied. Her smile became a vision of shock when they heard somepony scream. "Oh my! Who was that?"

"I think… it was… I'm not sure…" To Dusk, it had sounded like Rarity, but the truth was he didn't want to think about it.

"Ooh… that meanie," she growled. "I'm so mad, I could just hit him!"

"I don't… think that would help…" Dusk said, remembering the last time she'd said that.

"Yeah, you're right…" She returned her head facing forward and pushed him on. "Just one more fragment and you can show him who's boss."

"I… I don't know Fluttershy…" he said unsurely.

"You can beat him Dusk, I know you can."

"But it's just…" He sighed at how pathetic he must sound. "Every time I hit him… he just keeps coming back… I'm not… strong enough to fight him… I never will be…"

Fluttershy seemed to consider this. "Well… maybe it's not about who's stronger than the other and it's not just about fighting on and on. It's when the fighting stops that's important and who's willing to end it."

Dusk gazed up at her in amazement. "Wow… that's… very profound Fluttershy."

"It is?" She seemed quite flustered at the compliment. "Thanks…"

They stopped walking at the sound of cracking stone and magic being cast.

Behind him, he heard Blackhole's voice echo throughout the tunnel again, plaguing his ears like the buzzing of an angry nest of hornets, followed by the cry of somepony being hit, but he couldn't tell who.

I
Will start a fire
Watch it rise
Through your city

This was then followed by a loud crash and the sound of hooves stomping, echoing through the tunnel. That could only mean one thing.

"Oh my," Fluttershy gasped. "Oh dear, he's coming…"

"I know… let's keep going…" He kept staggering on, knowing it was just a little bit further and they had mere minutes before Blackhole caught up with them.

They finally reached the end of the cave. Dusk could actually see the sun streaming in through the mouth of the cave, blinding at its intensity. Before this light, floating eerily in the beam, was the remaining fragment, just waiting to be taken.

"We made it." He turned to his companion. "Fluttershy… I need to…"

Fluttershy nodded in understanding and let Dusk go, as he staggered over to the fragment, knowing he needed to retrieve it himself, for this one had his fur colour on it, the same duke blue as he had. This was his piece, the remaining lost part of himself in a way. Blackhole was getting closer, he could hear his hoof steps and Fluttershy's terrified squeaks. He had to do this… almost there…

Finally, when he was close enough, he lifted it down with his magic, held it before him and attached it to his necklace. Feeling the strength surge through him, through his muscles, his limbs, his very mind, Dusk started up his own song, making sure that everypony would hear him. His own personal victory.

Rise from the agony
That pierces your mind
Rise from the stigmas
Of enigmas you've designed

Rise from the chaos
Of a world turned to dust
The faces of harmony
Are waiting for the Dusk!

Rise from the shadows
Make a fist of the pain
Rise from your grief
Before it grows into your bane

Climb from the caverns
Forming down in your soul
When the sun has arisen
Then your friendship will be whole!

Bolstered, he turned to face his enemy, ready now for the final confrontation. And yet… something held him back. With that strength came some knowledge, a hint of wisdom that made him stop and think about what was happening. No matter what he had done to Blackhole, he hadn't stopped coming and hadn't stopped fighting, neither had he. Maybe there was something to that, something to what Fluttershy had said…

"Well… maybe it's not about who's stronger than the other and it's not just about fighting on and on. It's when the fighting stops that's important and who's willing to end it."

He only just stopped thinking about this when the thundering hooves stopped and he looked up to see Blackhole, along with the girls galloping after him, had finally caught up. The latter group looked worse for wear, but nowhere near as badly as Blackhole, who looked like he could barely stand.

"You found it?!" He stared at him; something akin to fear flickering across his face… no it was fear. "No matter, I can still destroy you!"

He whipped around to the others and shot magic at their hooves, making the rocks spring to life and hold them in place, fixing around them like manacles and trapping them no matter how much they struggled.

"Come Dusk, finish him!" Rainbow called out. "We got him all warmed up for ya!"

"Show that brute what for!" added Rarity.

"Come then, brother, let us finish this! Your friends cannot help you now, nopony can!"

Blackhole stood, ready for another bout, his nostrils flaring and his eyes alive with anger, rage… and that fear, again. It was only now he took a better look at him that he started to notice it. He looked past him, to Twilight and she had the same look as he did. He knew now what he had to do to truly defeat him.

He shook his head, looking unflinchingly at him. "No, I won't."

"What?!" Blackhole chuckled. "What jest is this?"

"No jest, no jokes, because violence isn't funny and neither are you. You can never be truly happy, sad, relieved, satisfied or comforted." Dusk allowed his expression to soften. "I don't fear you, not anymore."

"And why is that?" Blackhole asked in derision, but still with that flicker of fear.

"Because I understand you now." Dusk let that sink in before continuing. "You are what I would become if I let my bad experiences and beliefs get the better of me. You are nothing but anger, hatred, cynicism, cruelty, fury, rage... and fear, most of all fear."

"Fear? I am not afraid of you, or anypony!" he roared back.

"Yes, you are. Fear is what drives you most: the fear of pity because it makes you look weak, the fear of happiness for when it will end, fear of me for ending your existence." Dusk frowned at him. "That's all you are, Blackhole and I don't fear you... I pity you, because that fear holds you back and prevents you from being something so much better, so much more."

Blackhole was dumbstruck, but only for a moment and he laughed again. "But what good will this knowledge do you?"

"Because what's the point of coming down to the same level as fear and anger? You can never beat it, overcome it if you keep succumbing to it, because then it just keeps coming back, worse every time. It's worse when you're alone and have to do with it by yourself, but when you have friends..." He gazed around at the girls at this, before returning to Blackhole "...anger can calm, hatred can become love and fear... can just fade away."

"No, no!" Blackhole stepped forward desperately. "Fight me, fight me now!"

"I don't need to. You're already beaten." He bowed his head to him and turned around. "Goodbye, Blackhole, I hope our paths never cross again."

"FIGHT ME! YOU CANNOT LEAVE ME LIKE THIS! FIGHT ME, FIGHT MEEEEE!"

For the first time since coming down here, he truly felt content and victorious. He had done it, he'd actually done it! He'd made it out and he was going to go back and stop Discord's reign of chaos... somehow. Over Blackhole's insistences to return and fight him, Dusk could hear his friends calling out to him as he left, walking out of the cave, out of darkness

"Way to go Dusk!"

"That's being the better pony!"

"Y'all get on outta here, go on!"

"Whoop-whoop-de-doop for yoop!"

"Yay!"

"Good luck out there, we'll be here for you!"

Now, it was time to end this once and for all, to do whatever he could for his friends and his home. As he strode out, over Blackhole's screams and his friend's cheers, Dusk could hear Princess Luna, whispering closely, like she was walking out with him.

Why do we fall?
Learn to...
Why do we fall?
Learn to...

"Rise," Dusk finished, stepping out into the light.


Blackhole's headache had now reached the point it felt like his skull was going to burst open. Dusk was getting out, he was almost out, but he couldn't let him out! He'd already beaten him and he wasn't going to lose to that pathetic weakling. He had to win, he had to beat him, he didn't want him to get out!

He was too scared if he would… he didn't want to go. He wouldn't go! He would be supreme, he would have control, he could never be stopped. His reign would be eternal, he would be lord of chaos, of all of Equestria. He would… he would…

But that would be the last thing he ever thought.

It reached the final point. The sheer trauma truly felt like it had split his head open, as Blackhole Doom screamed at the injustice of it all, the presence in his mind fading away. Rapidly, he started to change and alter. His body reduced in size, black fur became duke blue, his bone white mane becoming brown as chestnuts, jade eyes became emerald and the cutie mark of the raging fire returned to a rolled out scroll.

The transformation complete, the stallion collapsed to the floor. At first, he didn't move a muscle, apart from the slow rise and fall of his breathing. Then, slowly, his eyes lifted heavily and opened to reveal their emerald depths. Strength returned to his limbs, as he lifted himself back onto his hooves, his right leg moving to touch his head, like he was recovering from some injury or traumatic event.

It seemed impossible, incredible… but he'd actually done it.

"I'm… back," was all Dusk Noir said, returning to the waking world at last, until his mouth fell open. "By Celestia! What has he done… what have I done?"

Author's Note:

The song used is Rise by Miracle of Sound

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