• 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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Witness to Harmony

The Summer Sun Celebration, many months ago…

Twilight Sparkle crossed over the rope bridge that had been fixed by Rainbow Dash, approaching the crumbling ruin of the ancient castle, the last known resting place of the Elements of Harmony. The fate of Equestria depended on her and the others finding the Elements and using them to defeat Nightmare Moon. Reading hadn't served her wrong before and she hoped it wouldn't now. Feeling anticipation growing in her chest, she stepped through the wooden doors and joined the group.

"Whoa." She heard Applejack's awed voice echo in the chamber. "Come on, Twah'light. Isn't this what you've been waitin' for?"

She felt a sort of special warmth at the kind invitation of the farm pony. Admittedly, she hadn't been too enthusiastic about having these five mares accompany her into the forest to the castle. But now, considering all that had happened to them after they'd entered the Everfree Forest, she couldn't contemplate doing it without them. They'd helped her and each other through the worst of dangers, sharing laughs and scares along the way. She was certainly going to miss them when she had to go back to Canterlot… though she wasn't completely sure why.

She walked through the gap they made for her, approaching the multi-branched alter where five stone orbs, each with a different shape carved into them, sat waiting for them. Just like they had been in the reference guide.

"The Elements of Harmony, we've found them." She watched as Rainbow and Fluttershy began to lift them up and carry them down. "Careful, careful!"

Pinkie counted them as they were laid on the stone floor at their hooves "There's only five!"

"Where's the sixth?" asked Rainbow.

"The book said: when the five are present, a spark will cause the sixth Element to be revealed," she recited.

Applejack looked confused. "What in the hay is that supposed to mean?"

"I'm not sure, but I have an idea. Stand back. I don't know what will happen." Closing her eyes and bowing her head, she knelt before the Elements and began to work her magic.

She was vaguely aware of the sound of hooves moving further away, no doubt the others leaving to allow her to concentrate. Silently grateful for their consideration, she returned her focus to attempt to infuse the Elements with her own magical power, hoping the resulting spark would make the sixth Element appear.

As she gritted her teeth and increased power, she felt a strong wind before her, heard a rushing in her ears. Opening her eyes, she yelled in fright at the sight of a blue tornado spinning before her, levitating the Elements high into the air. Nightmare Moon, she realised and she was trying to stop them from beating her.

"The Elements!" Without thinking, knowing this was the only way, she jumped into the magical whirlwind. In an instant, she swept off her hooves and transported, carried wherever the Mare of Darkness took her.

At first, Dusk was rising, unable to see anything but a bright white void that made him shield his eyes to protect them. Then, with a rushing in his stomach, he was dropped like a stone and started falling, screaming the whole way. He had to grab his hat to stop it from flying off his head. All of a sudden, it came to a stop and he was flung on the hard stone, pain shooting from his belly from the impact. Rubbing it and wincing from the pain, he stood up and looked at his surroundings.

He couldn't help but feel a little disappointed, especially after all he just went through. From the structure of the stone and the way it was decayed, he was still in the Pony Sister's Castle Ruin. He wasn't in the same room however he realised. This room looked to be grander, larger than the Element Altar Room and there was a throne at the very end, atop a platform with a large window open behind it, allowing the starlight to shine in. So, he was in the throne room now…

But wait, he suddenly thought. How can there be stars out? It was still the afternoon. For a horrible moment, he thought Discord had beaten the girls and he had begun his reign of chaos again, intermittently changing between night and day at random intervals. He was about to gallop down a nearby hallway to get back and find out, even if he couldn't do anything about it, when a bright flash and a cloud of purple smoke made him dive behind a rotting pillar. What he saw next made his jaw drop.

The smoke cleared to reveal Twilight Sparkle, coughing from it and lying in a heap. But before the throne was an alicorn mare, with feathers and fur as black as the night she bought her mane and tail having that strange gaseous quality, decorated with twinkling stars. This was in contrast to a set of fierce battle armour she wore, glinting wickedly in the moonlight, as did her cat-like pale blue eyes. All of this fitted the description of only one pony. It seemed impossible, but here was Nightmare Moon, laughing wickedly with stone orbs floating around her.

But… how could that be? The girls had defeated Nightmare Moon and turned her back into Princess Luna. Had she reverted back to evil? Did this have something to do with that strange magic he'd found… a new theory formed in his head at that moment. Nightmare Moon was still here and, if those were the Elements of Harmony, they were still in stone form… like Twilight had told him in her story about this.

Ignoring the painful pang in his heart at the thought of her, Dusk came to the improbable conclusion that he had gone back in time, to the moment when the Elements of Harmony were about to be used. But… if that was the case then this wasn't right. Twilight was by herself, yet she'd told him she was with all of her friends when they used the Elements. They had to be here or else they wouldn't be able to stop her.

At this point, Twilight bowed her head to charge, snorting from her nostrils. Nightmare Moon actually gave a smirk of amusement. "You're kidding. You're kidding, right?"

He didn't watch what happened next, but instead rushed to the window to see if there was any sign, any at all, of the girls making their way over. He could spot where he'd been in the present day, the structure built into the side of the cliff and the silhouettes of five ponies running around inside. They just had to look over here, then they'd come. But how could he get their attention? He couldn't be spotted here in a time when he hadn't even met them yet. He'd read enough stories about time travel to know the disastrous implications of changing history. But if they didn't come over here then they wouldn't stop Nightmare and that would be changing history too. Come on, he urged them silently, you have to be here.

Then, he remembered something… something that Applejack had told him months ago, when they were watching that sunset…

"Anyway... what are you thinking about?"

"Well..." She thought again for a few minutes. "It's jus'... that colour talent-a yer's... ah jus' thought-a sumthin'..."


"Jus' a feelin like... ah've seen it before... or sumthin' like it, perhaps."

"Really?" This had him intrigued. If there was somepony else who had his talent, perhaps he could find them. "Where? Can you remember?"

"Sorta... yeah, a long time ago... when all firs' met, at the Castle in the forest... when Twah'light vanished..." She looked thoughtful for another few minutes, then she sighed. "Ah can't quite explain it, but ah'm sure that it was sumthin' like yer magic."

"That's it? There's got to be more," he urged. "Are you sure that's all you can remember?"

"Yeah... sorry, ah know it don't help much. Coulda been sumthin' else, ya never know," she shrugged.

"It's fine... maybe it was..."

Anypony else would have said that this was just a coincidence, that it had to be something else instead. But Dusk, who could be willing to believe the impossible, knew that there was no way this was a coincidence. If he could do one last thing for them before he would leave, he would let it be this. Even though he could be wrong and this wouldn't make a shred of difference, he tapped into his magic and set to this new task.

This had to work… he hoped.

"Twah'light, where are you?" Applejack called out, the others all running around and searching for her.

They'd heard her scream from outside and arrived to see her jump into the midst of some kind of tornado, which had disappeared an instant later with her and the Elements. Though she hadn't known her all that long, Applejack was still worried about her friend, as they all were and hoped that she wasn't hurt.

"Oh, where could she have gone?" despaired Rarity. "She could be anywhere in this ghastly forest!"

"Come on, we gotta find her," declared Rainbow. "We can't let Nightmare win."

"What she said," agreed Pinkie. "Ooh, what's that?"

"What's what?" Fluttershy gave a squeak of fear a second later, as Applejack turned to see what they were looking at.

She didn't really know what to make of it. It looked like Twilight, had the same fur and mane colour as her, and was the same size. But there were no eyes, no mouth and it was sparkling, twinkling with a magical glow. It turned its head, looking around at them all, as if it recognised them. It was almost like the blue smoke Nightmare Moon became, only… not dangerous. At least, that was what her gut told her.

"What the hay is this? Some other trick from Nightmare?" Rainbow looked about ready to attack, but Applejack held up a hoof.

"Wait a sec, ah don't think it means us harm." She stood and watched it for a few moments, then it galloped away to a passage way. It stopped in the door way and turned back to face them.

"W-w-what is it?" asked Fluttershy fearfully.

"I think… it means for us to follow it," suggested Rarity. "Perhaps it can lead us to Twilight."

"Is that it?" Applejack asked this strange thing. "Can ya lead us ta our friend?"

The apparition didn't reply, but it did gesture with its head. She looked in that direction to see another part of the castle, which was filled with a magical light, pulsating like a beating heart. Applejack looked back at the form.

"Is that where she is?" Again, it didn't reply. Instead, it galloped silently away, no hoof marks being left behind it.

"Hey, come back!" Pinkie was about to run off, only to be held back by Rainbow.

"Now hold on a sec. This could be a trap," said Rainbow suspiciously.

"Trap or not, it's our best chance-a findin' her. Come on!" Applejack took the lead and sprinted down the passage as fast as her legs would carry her, the others following swiftly behind.

She didn't know exactly what that thing was or if it had been caused by something, but she knew, deep down, it was leading them to Twilight. She couldn't explain it, she just knew. Applejack was like that when it came to honesty.

Dusk had opened his eyes to see the five of them sprint off down the passage. He kept his concentration, kept his focus on maintaining the colour form. Luckily, due to all the collapsed walls, he could keep an eye on its progress as he led the girls through castle over to the throne room. Hopefully, it wouldn't take them long to get here and history would remain on track.

He could hear Twilight in the background, something about the sixth Element, could hear Nightmare's cruel laughter of triumph, felt a small shiver in the ground as she stomped her hooves. He didn't dare turn around, no matter how much he wanted to, combined with the urge to run out and help her. He had to keep his concentration, to make sure that the girls were on their way. No distractions, just this one last thing. He had to-


He felt a sharp pain on the back of his skull. Something sharp bounced off the back of his head, clattering to the ground. He looked down, cancelling the spell and hoping it had worked, to see a fragment of stone lying before him. It must have become dislodged from the ceiling or something from the impact of Nightmare's hooves. It was strangely shaped, but that wasn't what held his attention. It was black, except for a small segment of colour on the black stone, a dark blue. The colour of his fur. Just like the six that hung around his neck.

Gently, like it was a precious diamond, he picked it up and held it in his hoof. His eyes travelled over it as he examined it. For the first time, he thought about the significance of these stones. Why did he keep finding them? Why did he feel so compelled to keep them, like they were the most important things in the world? They were nothing, they were just pieces of rock… and yet, why did he feel like there was more to it than that?

He whipped his head up as Nightmare Moon let out another bout of laughter, as he heard the calls of the girls assuring Twilight they were coming. Still feeling that sense of duty, he took this stone and added it to the six already around his neck. He would figure this out later, but he had lingered here too long. It was time for him to slip away before somepony spotted him. Using the pillars as cover, he ran in between them, making his way back to the passage, until…

"You think you can destroy The Elements of Harmony just like that?" That made him stop at the passage and look back, as the girls joined Twilight. "Well, you're wrong, because the spirits of The Elements of Harmony are right here!"

"What?" Dusk felt the beginning of a smile at Nightmare's disbelieving tone, the fragments of stone beginning to glow at her hooves. He couldn't resist the chance. This was something he had to see.

"Applejack, who reassured me when I was in doubt, represents the spirit of... honesty!" Some of the fragments flew to Applejack, hovering around her.

"Fluttershy, who tamed the manticore with her compassion, represents the spirit of... kindness!" Another group soared towards her.

"Pinkie Pie, who banished fear by giggling in the face of danger, represents the spirit of... laughter!" Pinkie tingled with happiness as she was next.

"Rarity, who calmed a sorrowful serpent with a meaningful gift represents the spirit of... generosity!" Rarity looked down at the fragments that flocked to her.

"And Rainbow Dash, who could not abandon her friends for her own heart's desire represents the spirit of... loyalty!" Rainbow smiled confidently as she received the last of them. "The spirits of these five ponies got us through every challenge you threw at us."

Nightmare looked fearful, desperate for a reprieve. "You still don't have the sixth Element! The spark didn't work!"

"But it did! A different kind of spark." She turned around to face them. Even from here, Dusk could see the tears of happiness shining in her eyes, as they passed over him, lingering for a fraction of a second. "I felt it the very moment I realized how happy I was to hear you, to see you, how much I cared about you. The spark ignited inside me when I realized that you all are...my friends!"

A bright flash of light, one that made Dusk squint from the brightness, appeared above her, as did another stone orb that came to a stop near her head. She turned back to face Nightmare, who was now terrified.

"You see, Nightmare Moon, when those Elements are ignited by the..." She paused, searching for the right words, "the spark, that resides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth element: the element of... magic!"

As the fragments glowed brighter than ever before, gathering near the bases of their necks, Dusk closed his eyes and bowed his head. Though he knew what was coming, as Nightmare screamed in defiance of what was happening, he felt that he should do this. He added his wish, his hope, that the Elements would work, that they would free Nightmare Moon of her dark powers and return her to good… as she should be. He remained like this until the Elements ceased to glow, until all movement and noise stopped.

When he opened his eyes, a slight headache and fatigue afflicting him now, he was a little bemused at how peaceful it all looked now. The girls were all on the floor, the Elements of Harmony sparkling around their necks, on the head in the case of Twilight. Unconscious from using the power of the Elements. He noted as well that Rarity's tail had grown back. In front of the throne, Nightmare Moon had vanished, leaving in her place Princess Luna, looking a little different to when he'd seen her. His head told him he should leave but… his heart, which was still feeling broken, told him to stay.

Slowly, softly, he approached Princess Luna. She was even smaller than when he'd met her and her mane didn't have the same sparkling quality that it would later. It was strange, seeing her like this when before she'd been cackling with evil intentions, but was so much more right. He smiled down at her, still remembering when they'd shared those candy apples at the Gala, her warm smile and carefree laughter. That hadn't even happened yet so… that was something for her to look forward to at least.

"Welcome back," he whispered, flicking her fringe out of her face and looking around.

There they all were. The Wielders of the Elements of Harmony, at the beginning of their friendship. Dusk knew that, for them, this was only the start of many adventures, some he had even shared in. Even if those had been false and they'd been lying all this time, he still felt affection, gratitude for them. Enough that he should say something before he left, even though they wouldn't hear him in their current state.

"Hello girls," he began, crossing over to them. "You haven't even met me yet but… you will. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. But, whether or not you were just putting up with me, I'll never forget the time I spent with you."

He moved to the farm pony, straightening her Stetson. "I still don't think my trilby ever truly rivalled to you, Applejack. You spoke to me before you even knew me. In a way, you were my first friend when I first came to Ponyville. I am proud to have known such a dependable, honest pony as you."

He could see the ruby lightning bolt glinting around her neck as she lay there. "I admire you in so many ways. You're brave, daring, confident… everything I'm not and could only really hope to be. I did try, but I don't think I ever compared. The Wonderbolts will improve tenfold once they take you on, Rainbow Dash, as I know they will."

Somehow, she still looked happy, even in her sleep. "I barely knew what true laughter was until I met you, Pinkie Pie. Regardless of how random and unpredictable you are, you could always bring a smile to my face, no matter what my mood. Please know that I tried and… I hope you'll always remember me as Mr Psychic Pony."

Even her breathing was gentle and quiet, lying peacefully on the stone. "You and I were alike in so many ways. I didn't think that there was anypony who could be just as nervous and unsure of themselves as you, Fluttershy. But you have a kindness and compassion that makes you truly special. If I ever had a sister, I would want her to be you."

Still as beautiful and stylish as the day he met her, he still bowed to her as he had done. "Rarity you've done so much for me: taught me to dance, gave me a chance at love and supported me all the way. You must have incredible patience to have put up with me, that's all I can say. I'll never forget your generosity… and I'll be keeping the hat, just so you know."

Lastly, there was her, the diadem shining in the stars, sparkling like her name. "And you... Twilight Sparkle… where do I begin? From the day we met, I always hoped you would be my friend. You gave me that friendship and so much more besides. I don't know I you had ever wanted to take it further, but that's something I'll hold onto anyway. I'll never forget you." He leaned in close and whispered in her ear. "Remember: together, you are unstoppable."

Pulling back, resisting the urge to kiss her on her cheek, as she had once done, he tore himself away from them, proceeding slowly towards the passage, even though they could awaken at any moment. It was a little ironic that, chronologically speaking, the first time he saw them, at the start of it all, would be the last time. He would find somewhere, a cave perhaps and live out his days alone, just watching the world move on. It was for the best.

He felt a sudden tingle, a magical lightning darting from his leg, tingling throughout his whole body and growing stronger with every passing second. His lift home, he thought with a slight laugh. Well, at least he would be back in his own time and not be a stranger out of time. As the lightning swept over every inch of him, he turned back around, sure that he saw them beginning to stir.

"Goodbye my friends… and good luck." Remembering something else he'd once read, he raised his hoof in farewell. "Live long and pro-"

He was cut off as it consumed him entirely. In a flash of light, Dusk Noir was gone. Like he had never been there.

Never in her life had Twilight felt so tired, so spent of energy. Moaning incoherently, she rubbed her head. She had a splitting headache and would need a good sleep, but she was sure she would be quite all right. Then, she felt elation, a surge of triumph. They had done it! They'd rediscovered the Elements and defeated Nightmare Moon! With her friends…

"Ugh, my head…" she heard Rainbow groan.

"Everypony okay?" asked Applejack.

"Oh, thank goodness," Rarity sighed with relief, looking at her tail, which was back as it was.

Fluttershy was looking in her direction in awe. "Why Rarity, it's so lovely."

"I know! I'll never part with it again."

"No. Your necklace," she corrected. "It looks just like your cutie mark."

"What? Ooh. So does yours."

As they all marvelled over their individual Elements, Twilight turned away from them, looking at the passage where they'd all arrived. Just before they'd used the Elements on Nightmare, she could have sworn that she saw somepony there, watching the proceedings silently in the shadows. He… at least, she thought he was a he, had just stood there, watching the whole thing. She'd only seen him for an instant and hadn't thought much on because of the moment, but now… who was he?

"Twah'light?" Applejack was looking at her with concern. "You okay sugar cube?"

Twilight looked at her, then back at the passage. There was nothing there, nor was there any sign anypony had been there in the first place. Maybe she'd just been seeing things, a trick of the light perhaps. There had been a lot going on.

"Nothing," she finally said. "I just thought I saw something, that's all."

"Really? What?"

Twilight thought for a moment. "Nothing but… I think it was a friend."

Applejack gave her a curious look, and then smiled reassuringly. "Ah'm sure it was, whatever it was ya saw."

"Yeah…" She glanced back at the spot and smiled. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

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