Chrome, The path he walked

by RIPoste

First published

Chrome was a friend to many, but he was no more. Now, Overlord Lueur walks the plane in his stead, an enemy of all. A dark lord in the eyes of many, the villain laughs and weeps as he remembered how he came to be...

Sombra had failed to take over the Crystal Kingdom. However, where the Shadow failed, when together with the Light, success was inevitable. Victorious and with the Crystal Kingdom in his thrall, Overlord Lueur, or Chrome Windcutter as he was known before his fall, looks on as the Equestrian army was mobilized to rescue the Crystal Kingdom. As he watched, the dark lord remembers his past.

-Currently undergoing refining-


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The Overlord Chrome

Within a dark tent, an Alicorn worked. Facing a map on the table, she moved pieces upon it, muttering quietly to herself. Behind her, on a pile of cushion, a purple baby dragon slept.

“Twilight?” A voice spoke, “are you free now?”

“Rainbow!” Exclaimed the alicorn, spinning around as she took in the sight of a blue Pegasus draped in a traveler’s cloak. As the Rainbow Dash shook off her hood, her multicolored mane flowed free of the bundle she kept it in.

“Are you okay Rainbow?” Asked Twilight concernedly, “I thought you didn't want to come because…”

Seeing her friend hesitate, Rainbow’s eyes hardened.

“I can’t go back now,” she whispered in a deathly tone, “not after seeing what he did to this place.”

As to what she was referring to, both friends knew very well. Outside the flap of the tent, an army was readying for war. In fact, the tent was located in the middle of the main encampment. Beyond it however, just several kilometers away, was none other than the target of the siege.

The Crystal Kingdom.

In its entire radiant splendor, the city of the crystal ponies shone far brighter than usual. However that may be due to the very fact that it was the only place within a few thousand miles not covered in darkness.

To the rank and file soldiers. The story was that a being of evil had went to the Crystal Kingdom, dethroned the Crystal Princess, Mi Amore Cadenza, and her husband, Shining Armor. The citizens of the Crystal Empire fared better, becoming his thralls.

To a private few, the story was far more complex. In summary, a dear friend and powerful ally had fallen into the jaws of misdeeds. For personal and ‘selfish’ goals, he had wrested control over the Crystal Kingdom from Twilight’s brother and sister-in-law, Shining Armor and Princess Cadence respectively. In turn, he re-enacted the scene King Sombra once did, forcing his will into the Crystal Ponies, turning them into his loyal servants.

Princess Celestia and Luna had immediately ordered an army mobilized. For the Crystal Kingdom was one of Equestria’s greatest assets.

Gazing at her friend, Twilight asked.

“Can you do it? We don’t wish to force you.”

Turning her head away so as to not let Twilight see the tears welling up in her eyes, Rainbow Dash spoke.

“My friends need me, I… Have to do it.”

Duke Solid Bulk, a well-muscled unicorn with a shimmering brown coat and a flowing mane of dark and light blue, marched along the hallway of the Crystal Citadel. An imposing structure which had grown out of the original castle in the Crystal Kingdom. An improvement, in Solid Bulk’s opinion, after all, he was never a fan of the previous one, being as impractical as it was in times of war.

As he marched along the hallway, the duke could see the less fortunate slaving it out as the entire castle prepares for war.

'Fools', noted the duke, 'you should have joined our Great Lord Lueur while you had the chance. Now I doubt you even have the conscious to witness what happens.'

The “less fortunate” were similar to him. Their coats were shining and their mane and tails were in light and dark hues. A side effect of accepting the powers of the Stars and Shadows, but one that could be overlooked due to the benefits they bring. In fact, the term going around now that described them was Dark Crystal Ponies, a term that Duke Solid Bulk finds fitting to represent them.

While many were subjected to the fate of a mindless slave, the “more fortunate” ones like him who swore loyalty to the great lord were granted the privilege to enjoy their newfound power. In fact, Solid Bulk could feel the raw energy, both physical and magical, coursing through his veins. The intensity of the power granted to him and the rest had in fact made them feel a great deal more powerful.

And it had, for Solid Bulk had tested his most simple attack spell, the magic blast, out on a target dummy. The spell was originally strong enough to knock the dummy about, with it being solidly built and all. What it resulted in was a scattered pile of burnt straw littered around the training field.

As he came before the doors to the throne room, however, his confidence had all but disappeared. How could he not? After all, behind the doors, seated atop a throne of crystals was none other than the very being who made this possible, He who conquered a Kingdom in a single night. The Overlord himself.

All of a sudden, a booming laughter echoed throughout the hallway, originating from the Throne Room itself, causing the Duke to jump in surprise.

“Even his laughter hold so much power,” muttered the Duke, trembling as he imagined the unspeakable horrors he believe to be occurring within. Gathering his courage, the Duke hollered.

“Duke Solid Bulk requests an audience with Lord Lueur! Permission to enter the Throne Room, Sir!”

Almost at once, the gargantuan doors swung open, a sign for him to proceed. Trembling ever so slightly, that was what Solid Bulk did.

Inside the throne room, there were two platforms of crystal. Atop one were two shackled prisoners, a white male Unicorn and a female pink Alicorn, both bruised but still conscious, their horns covered in dark crystals which occasionally sparks, preventing them from utilizing magic. Despite all the oppression, the male Unicorn glared insolently at the occupant of the second platform, who sat, laughing upon a gleaming throne of crystals.

The second occupant is an Alicorn of dark green, whose entire body shimmered in the light of the chandelier hung from the ceiling. A black and white mane and tail flowed in the air despite the lack of wind, and a curved horn protrudes from his forehead, a light green aura surrounding it as his pitch black eyes beheld his object of amusement.

A book.

Wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, Lord Lueur flipped the page of the novel he was peering into, The Legend of Starguide the Traveller.

“This is golden!” Laughed Lueur as he continued to read, “such a comedic play! And a well executed trick too!”

Catching sight of the glaring Unicorn, Lueur could not help but snicker.

“Is there a problem, Shining Armor? Sure you don’t want a book? Can help you pass the time as there’s not much else to do when chained to a platform.”

As the White Unicorn ignored him, Lueur shrugged as he flipped a page.

“Suit yourself, it’s not my mind anyway.”


Peering over the text, Lueur smiled as he sees his next visitor.

“Ah!” Laughed Lueur, “If it isn’t Duke Solid Bulk! You ARE Duke Solid Bulk, right?”

Looking very uncomfortable, the Dark Crystal Unicorn nodded.

“I’ve come bringing dire news, milord.”

“Which is?”

“It appears that the armies of Equestria had just arrived. We predict that we would have an hour for them to finish setting up camp, another hour for them to prepare before they begin to attack.”

“Hmmmm…. And so?” Inquired the disinterested Lueur.

“I and my cohorts believe that we should attack now, while they are still setting up camp.”

“How familiar are you with psychological warfare, my dear duke?” interjected Lord Lueur.

Looking very puzzled at this change of topic, the duke replied.

“Yes, milord, I am familiar with the concept, but not the practice.”

“Good!” Applauded Lueur, “Now, picture this. The Equestrian Army had already set up their camps, and had proceeded to attack us. However, with our new defense systems, only a few would be able to pass through our line of protection. With all the fighting going on however, the invaders would realize too late that their camp was long destroyed. With all provisions and medicine out, what would happen to them?”

Recognition dawned upon the face of Duke Solid Bulk as he registered what his master had said.

“They would lose all hope,” replied the Duke.

“Excellent! Now tell our soldiers to get ready for a losing battle!”

“Yessi...” Before he finished his affirmative, something registered wrong in the duke’s mind with that sentence. “Milord… Pardon for this… but did you say losing battle?”

“Of course I did,” smiled Lord Lueur as he returned to his book, “I do have a habit of planning ahead after all.”

“Understood Sir.” Duke Solid Bulk saluted before making his way out of the throne room.

As the doors swung shut. The only noise that could be heard within the room was Lueur’s snickering, before Cadence spoke up.

“What are you planning, Chrome?” Cadence asked, her eyes sharp despite the state of her body.

“Exactly what I said, Mi Amore Cadenza,” Replied Lueur, eyes never leaving the book. “By the way, did you know that your name actually means ‘I Love Cadence’? Quite intriguing, considering you ARE the Princess of Love. Also, what did I say about uttering my true name?”

“Don’t change topic, we know you. What are you truly planning?”

“And here’s the part where I reveal my entire plan to you so that you could somehow babble it to Twilight and gang when they barge into here. Then, with the knowledge of my plans, they would be able to stop me in time and somehow save this pathetic excuse of a kingdom.” Said Lueur, rolling his eyes, “sheesh, you got any idea how bad that story would sound?”

“It’ll sound alright,” growled Shining Armor, “especially about that part where you were defeated by Twilight and her friends!”

“Shining!” Chided Cadence, “Don’t antagonize him!”

Seeing the Shining Armor’s reaction of disbelief, Lueur could not help but to laugh out in uncontrolled amusement.

“Ahaha… The two of you!” Shook Lueur as he desperately tried to control his laughter. “Such a sweet couple… haha… at such a time too! Hahaha… do you have no sense of priority?”

“Enough of this!” Said Shining Armor through clenched teeth; “a traitor like you deserves to be cast aside just like you did the same to us!”

Almost at once, Lueur stopped, and it felt as though the temperature went a few degrees colder.

“Traitor?” Whispered Lueur in a voice Cadence and Shining Armor had never heard him speak in before, sounding like one thousand beings speaking at the same time.

“Traitor?” Lueur repeated, the word shaking the entire citadel. Outside, all the Dark Crystal Ponies looked around in fear as they heard the fury of their lord.

“You have no right, Shining,” Continued Lueur in that deathly voice, “no right at all to call me that.”

Mane blazing, the black and white within it started to flow about like a whirlpool as a cold wind blew through the room.

“You left me for dead! All of you fools!” Snarled Lueur, “ Believing me to be a threat because of my heritage. Oh yes, don’t look so shocked like that, Cadence; I got quite the load of sensitive information on that meeting between the princesses. In fact, the only reason you are still alive was because Twilight and you argued for my sake.”

“Then why?” Asked Cadence, “why attack the Crystal Kingdom?”

“Oh… it’s not like you are that innocent anyway.” Laughed Lueur cruelly, “but I suppose I could tell you why. There are only two reasons. First of all, would be to get a quadruple revenge, for even though you and Twilight argued for me. The fact still stands, and added to that would be the fact that Shining Armor and you would be the perfect bait to gather the remaining princesses! Isn’t that brilliant?”

Eyes widening in shock at Lueur’s hysterical confession, Cadence asked the next dreaded question.

“And the second reason?”

“Well,” paused Lueur meaningfully, “it’s on behalf of the Umbral race, sounds familiar doesn’t it?”

“You can’t mean…” Gasped Cadence in horror.

“Yes, you got it right,” praised Lueur, “due to your feat of utterly destroying King Sombra, when I absorbed the power of the Umbral race, they specifically asked me to get back at you.”

“You monster! How far would you go for power?” Accused Shining Armor.

“Power?” Chuckled Lueur as his voice returned to normal. “I dislike that word, in fact, I despise the very fact that I have to use it to sate this hole you fools left in my heart. Blame yourselves,” continued Lueur as he headed for the doors, “for it’s your own doing that landed you in this predicament.”

“Chrome! Chrome Windcutter!” Called Cadence in desperation. “Don’t do this! There’s still good in you! Remember the ones you loved, remember the ones who loved you! Remember your friends! Don’t do this!”

Turning around, the dark Overlord Lueur smiled bitterly at his two prisoners.

“Love? Friends?” Laughed the Alicorn, “I believed in them once, look where it got me.”

With that, the doors of the Throne Room swung shut, leaving the two prisoners alone and the memory of a pitch black eye imprinted deep into their minds.

'Damn that Cadence', thought Lueur as he walked along the hallway, paying no attention to his subjects as they scrambled to get out of his way, muttering apologies and flatteries as they do so.

'How dare she bring up unwanted memories!' Cursed the Alicorn, 'and my old name too, how dare she!'

As he stepped out onto the battlements of his fortress, Lueur had convinced himself thoroughly.

'Yes,' he thought, 'Chrome Windcutter is no more. That was a weak self, a weak Pegasus. Now, only Lueur exists! Celestia controls the sun? Luna controls the moon? Ha! I am the ruler of the light and shadow, what are they to me? Not even Love and Friendship will stand a chance!'

However, as he pushed away memories of his old self away. Subconsciously, he began to review them, the fragments that he meant to discard.

Slowly he began to remember…

Past 1: An Innocent Start

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A person who wishes only companionship may find this world a cruel one, where there were many who seeks only their own benefits. It's important to remember that not only yourself matters, but those around you too.

Past 1
An Innocent Start

Shadows engulfed the empty plain of the cruel north, lit only by the lights of the massive encampment of the Equestrian Army. A host numbering twelve thousand strong. A host meant for the recapturing of the Crystal Kingdom, the only place within miles to be illuminated by a brilliant light, similar to a beacon of hope in a time of despair. Except that the Equestrians know better, for the light was the Enemy, one of the foes that had enthralled an entire kingdom.

The Kingdom had changed its outer appearance. Towering Spires of crystals rose before them, each either burning bright with brilliant light or filled with dancing shadows, which moved endlessly within.

A wall of similar make stood glittering underneath the spires, like a cruel guardian standing between the Equestrians and their goal. On the other side of the wall however, stood a most imposing structure.

A Fortress stood in the middle of the city of Crystal Ponies. Towers of dark stone and clear gems that reached out toward the sky, each like a claw that seeks to grab the clouds which floats about. In fact, though nopony knows it, the one responsible for everything stood upon the battlements of the Crystal citadel.

As Lueur looked down from the battlements of the crystal fortress he raised. He could not help but feel a pang of regret at how things came to be.

No! He shook his head, dispelling such thoughts. He had come too far to reminiscence, too far for regrets.

Then something caught his eye.

Two young dark crystal foals were carrying a barrel together, aiding the preparations for the upcoming war. In fact, the dark lord had begun to notice that throughout the kingdom, all the children who had been mindwiped by him had been put to work.

Without a second thought, Lueur opened a telepathic link to his most trusted subordinate. It did not take long for the dark crystal Pegasus to reply.

“Wild Wake! Heed my call.”

“What is it you wish, my master?”

“It appears I had been too hasty in issuing orders. Gather the children, and herd them to the Citadel’s dungeons.”

“I understand,” replied Wild Wake, “but why, milord? Wouldn't it be more prudent to have them fight for us?”

“And become a liability?” Laughed Lueur, “I think not. Keep them in the dungeon where they would be safe. They would also serve as a nice shield in case the princesses tries anything funny.”

“Understood, milord.” Affirmed the Pegasus as the link was cut.

Why did he do that? Wondered Lueur, he had instinctively thought up a scheme to not only further his advantage, but to keep the children safe. Had the great Overlord Lueur soften up?

Unknown to himself, or perhaps, he had been denying it all along, but the Dark Lord’s mind shifted to his past.

10 years ago…

Cloudwalker fidgeted in her seat. She was seated in the newly appointed Ponyville’s mayor office. She could never quite get used to the cushions. After all, the soft and comfortable feeling of the clouds was quite addictive.

“So, Cloudwalker,” said Mayor Mare, glancing at her guest through a pair of spectacles, “how’s things at the school?”

“It’s fine,” replied Cloudwalker, “the foals and fillies are growing well, some of them even learned how to fly within weeks of their induction.”

“Excellent,” smiled the Mayor as she peered at the Pegasus, “that's great to hear.”

Cloudwalker, however, sensed that there was more to this than a simple meeting. In fact, she even had an inkling on what the Mayor’s true purpose was.

“I don't think that you came to ask me about my school’s wellbeing alone…” Probed Cloudwalker carefully, “is there something else you wish to discuss?”

“Nothing gets past you,” smiled Mayor Mare gently, “do they, Cloudwalker?”

“It’s hard to hide things from an old friend. May I know what else you need to tell me?”

“The Princess had paid a visit.”

“What? She had? What did she say?” Asked Cloudwalker; awestruck at the honor Mayor Mare had received.

“It’s about the foal we found weeks ago, do you remember? On the night of falling stars?”

“You mean Chrome?”

“He has a name now?” Asked Mayor Mare, “well, it does suit him, after all, about his silver eyes, wait why Chrome? Isn’t silver more fitting?”

“Well, it’s after Chromium, a metal with a slivery look. Not to mention that silver is a bit too… generic,” Continued Cloudwalker, “He can speak now, too.”

“He can?” Laughed the mayor, “why, a few weeks ago I recall that young Pegasus to not even know how to talk? What a fast learner!”

“Yeah, he's a fast learner,” agreed Cloudwalker, “just a few days ago a few of the older Pegasi tried to create a mini-tornado. Then it flew out of control, and then guess what he did? Flew into the darned thing at an incredible speed. For a moment there, I thought he was going to recreate the Sonic Rainboom! Sadly, It appears that stopping the tornado was what he’s intended on at the moment”

“Uh…. I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Simply put, he was at such a fast speed when he hit the tornado, he was at the exact same velocity! Then he simply controlled it and dissipated it!” Laughed Cloudwalker, “That was when the seniors started calling him Windcutter coz when he flew at the thing, he looked like a blade cutting the very air. So the nickname stuck.”

“Chrome Windcutter,” smiled Mayor Mare, “a fitting name for one so young.”

“Anyway,” interjected Cloudwalker, “What did the Princess say?”

“Well,” replied Mayor Mare, “she just asked a bit about how the town was and that she had heard that we had found a young foal wandering about. She seems quite… Concerned about the young Pegasus, even asking us if we knew where he came from.”

“And?” Prompted Cloudwalker eagerly, still awed by the whole ‘princess’ thing, “what did you say?”

“I just told her we found him outside the Everfree Forest, the poor child who can’t even speak, so you just took him to your school to be tutored and brought up. She was like… Okay, keep up the good work and she left.”

“Just like that?” Asked Cloudwalker incredulously. “That's not much of a visit.”

“You were the one getting all excited,” pointed out Mayor Mare.


“Don't you think it weird, though?”

“What to be weird?”

“This is the first time that the princess had actually taken her time off to find us over such a trivial matter. Trivial when compared to matters of the state.”

“Chrome is a special child.” Mumbled Cloudwalker thoughtfully. “He's a fast learner after all.”

“Look after him, Cloudwalker,” said Mayor Mare, “he may be far more than your average foal.”

“Well, look at the time!” Exclaimed Cloudwalker, “the examiner from Flight Protégé Institution is about to arrive! I should get going soon…”

“Maybe after a cup of tea?” Offered Mayor Mare.

“Yeah, sure. Why not.”

At the top of a cliff, a young light green Pegasi stood still, the wind ruffling his unkempt mane, blue strands swaying in the gale. Silver eyes survey the ever-moving cloud, which was when he opened his wings.

With movements like a blur, he shot forward, punching a cloud apart.

“One,” he noted.

Spinning around, he bucked a second one apart.


Moving with the momentum of the spin, he plunged into the next one, bursting the cloud as he made his exit.


Doing a mid-air somersault, the young colt struck apart another four clouds in rapid succession.


However, here comes the hard part. The somersault had him moving into another cloud. Unable to stop the spinning, he needs to time this correctly if he wants to continue.

Pouring his entire being into concentration. He shot his legs out… which stop short of an inch of the cloud.

“Uh-oh,” was all the Pegasus could manage before the momentum he used carried him face first into the cloud. Plunging through it, he desperately tried to regain his balance as he spun out of control towards the sea of clouds beneath.

“Aaaaaaaaargh!” He screamed as he crashed into through, one, two, three clouds before landing on the third one.

Eyes rolling dizzily, Chrome Windcutter laid still as the world spun about him.

“Uh… are you okay?” Asked a voice.

“Totally,” Chrome wheezed sarcastically, “Like falling from a height…of… 300 meters… at… my age is totally healthy…”

Hooves helped him sit upright and Chrome found himself facing Fluttershy, a young filly close to his age. To be honest, there was nothing special about her, just a normal gentle, shy filly who just so happens to be a bully-magnet.

That was how he met her weeks ago, having a bucket of water dumped upon her when he was inducted into his adoptive parent’s flight school. After he talked the Bullies out of furthering the ‘damage’, apparently, the young filly had decided to follow him EVERYWHERE. Added to that, Fluttershy has a habit of NOT SPEAKING AUDIBLY, something which just INFURIATES- convinces Chrome that she needs some help in boosting her self-confidence.

“Just want to ask,” Smiled Fluttershy awkwardly, “are you sure you want to try for entrance into Flight Protégé Institution?”

“Uhhhhh.” Huffed Chrome, who’s still dizzy from the fall, “Yeah… I mean… Cloudwalker says… I should go for it… Why…. You ask?”

“Wouldn’t staying here be much better?” Asked Fluttershy, “I mean… it would be nicer to… stay here?”

“What’s… the diff…difference between here and there?” Gasped Chrome.

“I don’t know, but Fillydelphia is awfully far, I mean, like you won’t be able to keep in touch as often.”

“Ever heard of writing?” said Chrome, regaining his breath.

“Oh…” Mumbled Fluttershy, before muttering something barely audible.

“Huh? What did you say?”

“Nothing…”*mumbles something else*

“Wh- never mind… by the way, how long did I take?”

“About 10 seconds…”

“Aw Shucks, would have been nicer if I was a little bit faster.”

“Um… Chrome?” Whispered Fluttershy.

“Oh my gosh, the time!” Exclaimed Chrome, “C’mon Fluttershy, we’re going to be late!”

Spreading his wings out, Chrome took off like a bullet, leaving Fluttershy alone among the trees.

“Hurry up Fluttershy, we’re going to be late!”

“Um… okay…”

Flapping her wings, Fluttershy slowly followed her companion.

It did not take long for Chrome and Fluttershy to be assembled with the class. A building constructed out of dense cloudmass, the class of two-dozen stood at their desks, where Madame Redwing, a red pony with a flowing mane of grey, their flight teacher said for what felt like the 37th time.

“Listen!” She said, “The instructor coming down to assess you all is from one of the most prestigious Flightschools of Equestria, be on your best behavior and don’t embarrass yourself.”

“Um, Chrome?” Whispered Fluttershy, “Do you have a moment?”

“Can it wait till a little later, Fluttershy?” Chrome whispered back, “I don’t wanna get scolded by Redwing right before the instructor comes.”

“Chrome! Stop chatting! The instructor will be here any moment!”

“Like that…” Sighed Chrome, a deadpan expression upon his face.

That was when hoofsteps were heard down the hallway. Tension hung in the air, as the hoofsteps grew louder. In fact, the darting eyes of Madame Redwing made the situation worse, as beads of cold sweat flowed down everyponies’ neck.

Cloudwalker entered the classroom first, a Pegasus still in her youth who was in charge of the entire Flightschool, in fact, one could practically see the pride flowing through her azure coat and red mane as she gazes at the attentive class. Following her was a Black Pegasi, her mane a light tone of blue. Dressed in military uniform, which covered her flank, one could immediately tell that she received a well-trained upbringing.

Standing before the class, Cloudwalker smiled at them.

“Good afternoon everypony! It’s great to see that all of you turned up!”

“Good Afternoon, Miss Cloudwalker,” chorused a couple of dozen voices.

“This here is none other than Mrs. Rearsweep, a former Captain of the Wonderbolts who decided that she would serve better by training the next few generations of fliers!”

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Rearsweep!”

“Afternoon,” replied Rearsweep, her eyes resting on each of the foals in turn.

“Now,” continued Cloudwalker, “I am sure that you all know why Mrs. Rearsweep is here. She’s here to assess which of you would like to join Fillydelphia’s most famous Flightschool, the Flight Protégé Institution!”

“Now, Chrome Windcutter, Tallsign and Lightningstreak! Please step forth!”

Chrome slowly walked to the front of the classroom, where he stood with a grey colt and a yellow filly. Cloudwalker gave him a wink as she turns and asked Rearsweep.

“So, Mrs. Rearsweep, these are the younglings who want to join your school. What do you think of them?”

Rearsweep swept her gaze over them before giving a wry smile.

“Now, nothing special. However, let’s see them out in the sky…”

“Of course!” Agreed Cloudwalker, “Come on, young ones, let’s head to the obstacle course!”

“Now listen!” Hollered out Rearsweep to the foals at the starting lines, “the rules are simple, clear the obstacle course in top notch time and finish up by hitting ten clouds in a row in quick succession! If you fail to punch at least ten of them up in a row, you have to redo it or fail the test! Understood?”

“Yes ma’am!” Replied the foals.

Glancing at Tallsign, the grey colt, and Lightningstreak, the yellow filly, Chrome gave them a quick smile that was returned before turning his gaze upon the obstacle course.

He had never gotten used to the sight of the imposing Cloudsdale Racecourse. An incredibly large white cloudmass served as the floor. Pillars of dense cloudmass, The Columns, marked the start of the obstacle course. Following the pillars was a roiling river of mist, River Mist, where one had to maintain pure balance in flying through as literally nothing can be seen. A slight deviation from in form would cause one to move off course or crash into the ground. After the wall of mist would be the most famous feature of the obstacle course, the Bubble Field. At first glance, the field of oversized bubbles floating about seemed hardly menacing, until one actually flies into it. Each bubble ranges from the size of baby pony to twice the size of a full grown Pegasi, but the size of the bubbles were not the problem, it was the force they explode with that were the true threat. In fact, Chrome had experienced the impact once before, and had never forgotten the power packed inside even the smallest of those bubbles. That one time, he had flown into one about roughly his size, the force of the explosion propelled him into another… and another… in fact, he had lost track, only remembering striking the cloud surrounding the course sometime after. Afterwards would be the most common practice area found in all Flightschools and Courses, The Cloud Harvest, where one trains for busting clouds.

“Ready,” yelled Redwing, as she stood glaring at the audience with the “No Jeering Allowed” look.

“Get Set!”

The participants bent forward, hind legs ready to push off. The audience seemed to hold their breath as the atmosphere went taut with tension.


Lightningstreak was the first to take off, followed by Chrome and Tallsign. Like three blurs of movement, the three foals sped towards the first stage of the course.

Chrome followed in directly after Lightningstreak, but took a different route. After all, first rule of racing, never directly follow a fellow contestant, for if they trip, they may trip you too.

The wind brushing against his face, Chrome weaved and dodged, avoiding each of the cloud pillars. One or two were a narrow inch from crashing, but the rest of the pillars were cleared easily.

Bursting from the thick foliage of pillars, Chrome sped towards the river of mist. Closing his eyes, Chrome reflexively felt every single part of his body with his mind. Maintaining perfect balance, Chrome dove straight into the river before exiting out of it sometime later with no apparent difficulty.

Unfortunately, the river of mist had a side effect. Moisture clung to his wings and mane, making it tougher for him to move. Desperately, Chrome tried to shake off the water that clung to him when the next stage looms before him.

The Bubble Field.

Remembering his mistake from last time, Chrome slowed down, after all, bubbles floats about, making it tough to predict as thousands of them are floating about AT THE SAME TIME.

Heaving a breath for confidence, Chrome entered the third stage of the Obstacle course.


Cloudwalker had never been so excited.

Well, except for the one time where she attended the Summer Sun celebration in Canterlot, but now, Cloudwalker honestly could not believe what the young Pegasus who had been inducted into her school weeks ago was capable of.

“Calm down, Miss Principal.” Chuckled Rearsweep beside her, “you got a reputation to keep.”

“Sorry!” Muttered Cloudwalker as she sat down in embarrassment.

Well, you can’t blame her for being excited. After all, three of her finest students were not only taking the test for the a transfer into Fillydelphia’s Flight Protégé Institution, they were clearing the obstacle course while doing so, something that has not happened in years. After all, there was a secret motive behind the race, which was to find out a simple quality the Institution was focused upon

“However,” continued Rearsweep, “this is a first, after all, none of the previous students we accepted actually finished the race.”

“Yeah,” muttered Cloudwalker, her eyes focused upon Chrome, who was carefully avoiding the bubbles within the field at a manageable speed, “this is really a breathtaking moment.”

Dodging and weaving among the floating bubbles like a green blur, Chrome could only curse as a grey bullet shot itself past him, causing him to fly off course.

Barely stopping before a large bubble three times his size, Chrome flapped his wings as hard as he can, ducking about him. Roughly ten meters ahead, a small “pow!” and a grey shape flying into the air indicated that Tallsign had been on the receiving end of an explosion.

The actual test was harder than during practice, for Chrome had not counted on River Mist’s side effect. In fact, the moisture had caused him to tire more quickly, being unable to glide as efficiently due to some of his feathers were stuck together by the water. Not to mention that the additional weight was unwelcome, even to Pegasi who focused on balance more than speed like Chrome. His wings were already straining to keep himself in the air; in fact, Chrome felt that he had only a few more seconds left to go before his wings could not hold up his body anymore.

There! He’s almost at the exit.

With an extra burst of strength, Chrome cleared the Bubble Field, making his entrance into the Cloud Harvest. Clouds of multiple shapes and sizes loomed before him.

“One try,” muttered Chrome Windcutter, entering a state of pure concentration. Spreading his wings, he flapped them once before pushing himself forward towards the field of clouds, looming before him.

The crowd gaped at the event happening before them, a crowd which had started as roughly a couple dozen Pegasi foals and adults, to roughly an audience of a hundred. It was not unusual for a rare spectacle to attract a large crowd, especially when one was happening before them now.

It was well known that Cloudsdale was home to one of the toughest obstacle course in Equestria, a course that tests one’s speed, dexterity, balance, stamina and focus, all essential parts of a flier. Yet right now, three foals were taking on the difficult task of clearing the course.

The grey one had been sent flying into the sky by a bubble explosion, but in amazing show of agility, he had twisted mid-air and dived back into the field. The crowd was also entertained by the antics of the other two. The yellow filly had impressed many Cloudsdale adults with her speed, clearing what would have been seen to be impossible, one such event being her dashing in between two bubbles on a collision size and zipping free just as the bubbles were about crash into her.

The green colt was equally as impressive. With a control over balance almost unparalleled, he had cleared the River Mist without breaking speed, and had seemingly treated the bubble field with ease. Except for the one time where he was almost knocked off course by the grey colt, where he awed the crowd by narrowly dodging a bubble three times his size by quickly ducking around it.

The current spectacle was no less impressive. The three foals had finished the course and were clearing a path among The Cloud Harvest. Each was unique in their own way. The green Pegasi was demonstrating feats of amazing dexterity and balance, making sharp and narrow turns as he struck apart the clouds he chose to be his targets while avoiding those that seemed overly dense and large. The grey one was doing the exact opposite, plunging through each cloud regardless of their size, a show of incredible stamina and strength for one his age. The yellow filly was like a butterfly, where speed was her main concern before, here she slowed down drastically, choosing her targets carefully before hitting it like a lightning bolt.

In simple terms, the show happening them was one not seen for a long, long time. And none of them regretted being able to witness it, for no one doubted it then, three outstanding fliers had blossomed in Cloudsdale.

Chrome gritted his teeth as he attempted to push his wings past his limits. In fact, he had needed felt like this before. A flame burns within him, a desire to prove himself.

Out of the corner, he spotted a yellow figure spiraling to the cloudmass floor, but he was too engrossed in his own world to feel anything but the need to not be outdone. Like a blade of green, he sheared through his seventh cloud and angled sharply upward.

The eighth one loomed before him, like a forbidding figure denying a trespasser entry. Clenching his teeth, Chrome put on an extra burst of speed, propelling himself towards the dark fluffy object, hoping it would be enough.

Except it wasn’t.

Instead of bursting through the cloud, Chrome got stuck, not having the strength the break through. As he hung upside down, grim realization hit Chrome like a thunderbolt. He had failed.


A second passed.


The word hung in the air.


Eyes tearing, Chrome could almost imagine the disappointed face of Cloudwalker as he attempted to pull himself free. He got to do it again, he needs to bust apart another ten clouds in rapid succession. However, as much as he tried, his strength failed him, for the course had taken a lot out of him.

Spreading his aching wings, Chrome attempted to use them to help him push himself off the cloud. Pushing as hard as he could, Chrome attempted at least slowly shift his left leg out when a strong pair of hooves helped him out.

Turning his head, Chrome Windcutter was faced with Cloudwalker. However, contrary to his expectations, Cloudwalker holds no disappointment in her eyes. Rather, a glimmer in her azure eyes beams with pride.

“Why?” Whispered Chrome forlornly.

“Why what?” Whispered back Cloudwalker as she pulled him out of the cloud.

“I… I did not finish the course.” Panted Chrome.

“Silly child,” chuckled Cloudwalker, “I have a surprise for you, get on my back.”

Having little choice in the matter, Chrome lay still as his adoptive parent placed him on her back and slowly flew back to the starting line where everyone else was waiting. To his surprise, it appears a crowd has gathered while he was doing the obstacle course.

Lightningstreak and Tallsign were in no better shape, looking as exhausted as Chrome was and had to be supported upright as well. Both gave sad wry smiles as Cloudwalker carried Chrome in, one which Chrome sadly returned, taking comfort in that no one passed the test. When the sound of hoofsteps drew his attention.

Marching towards the group was none other than Rearsweep, the black Pegasi a far more imposing figure than the clouds which Chrome were busting apart minutes ago. Eyes resting upon Chrome Windcutter, Lightningstreak and Tallsign in turn, Rearsweep eyes narrowed as she spoke, Chrome preparing to control the flinch that was bound to come with her reprimand.

“Congratulations on passing.”

Jaw gaping, Chrome sputtered, “What?”

Smiling mischievously, Cloudwalker chuckled.

“Silly child, you actually thought you failed?”

“The test was to evaluate you,” continued Rearsweep, “if we chose merely the foals who completed the entire schedule, Flight Protégé Institution would have no students at all. The schedule was built to evaluate your current level, and I dare say that you all had been exemplary, for no foal in all my time of teaching had ever cleared all three stages of the Cloudsdale Obstacle Course.” Rolling her eyes, “I have no idea what made you think that wining is passing. Anyway! Congratulations on your admission to Flight Protégé Institution!”

“And congratulations on your cutie mark, Chrome!” Added Cloudwalker.

“What?” Asked Chrome, “cutie mark?”

“Your flank!” Laughed Lightningstreak, “you got a cutie mark!”

Turning his head, Chrome beheld at wing spread across a tornado upon his flank. Eyes widening at the image, Chrome could barely contain his excitement.

“A fitting cutie mark for you,” smiled Cloudwalker, “it really suits you when you were fighting against impossible odds just now.”

“Well,” Concluded Rearsweep, “go home and celebrate, I’ll be returning in a week to pick you three up!”

The small group cheered, a cry that was echoed by the surrounding crowd, all with the exception of a single filly. Who looked on with eyes filled with sadness.

One week later.

“Time’s up Chrome, we need to go.” Said Cloudwalker.

“Yeah…” sighed Chrome Windcutter, pulling on a backpack twice his size.

They were at the edge of Cloudsdale, about to take flight down towards Ponyville, the place where Cloudwalker first found him, to take a train to Fillydelphia. However, Chrome had been waiting at the edge of the city, for a friend.

“Don’t worry, child,” assured Cloudwalker, “I’ll tell her that you promise to write.”

“Yeah…” Said Chrome, “She just feels like avoiding me for the entire week. Ever since that race. “

“She’s a shy kid,” replied Cloudwalker, “but strong, and kind.”

“Uh… Mom?” Started Chrome.


“Is it a mistake? To want to improve?”

“It’s not a sin, my child,” smiled Cloudwalker, “not a sin…”


“Not a sin,” repeated Lord Lueur. “Not a sin.”

“Milord?” Asked a voice. “Is there something wrong?”

Spinning about, Lueur stared at the bearer of the voice, a red Dark Crystal Pegasus stared at him with concern in her green eyes.

Her name was Crimson Fall, a follower possessing a loyalty bordering upon fanaticism. Even now, behind the concern within her eyes, Lueur can feel her desire, her desire to please him so that she could hear a sliver of praise from his tongue. It was not her fault, for once one had seen miracles that he had wrought, especially if it saved lives, it would hard to resist following him.

“Is it a sin, Crimson Fall,” Asked Lueur as he turned away from her, facing the direction of the Equestrian Encampment. “Is it a sin to want to climb to greater heights?”

“It’s not a sin, milord,” replied Crimson Fall, adoration clear in her voice, “for you saved us. That’s why it will never be a sin.”

Far away, in a house of cloudmass situated in Cloudsdale, a middle aged Pegasus gazed at the stars through her window. The lamplight revealing her coat to be one of azure.

With sad eyes, she gazed upon the night sky, the thousands of twinkling stars shining upon the blanket of darkness. She was witness to the movement of Equestria’s forces, and she believed her beloved son to be among them.

Eyes gazing at the stars as though pleading to them, she whispered.

“My child, return safely.” Whispered Cloudwalker, “It’s not a sin to want to climb to higher grounds… Just like how you did it for Fluttershy… How you did so that she would have something to work towards…”


Present 1: The Brighter Side Of The World

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In a world where freedom belongs to all, wherever something goes wrong, people complain why there was no one to look over them. In a world where lives were controlled by others, there were always those who criticize the lack of choice in their lives. It is in our nature to feel that the grass is greener on the other side, unfortunately, it's not in some people's nature to think if the grass is actually greener on the other side.

Present 1
The Brighter Side Of The World


In the Equestrian Encampment, Rainbow Dash slowly sipped the warm tea served to her while she rests in Twilight’s Command Tent, a simple purple pavilion that was surrounded by more guards that Rainbow had ever seen around a Princess. The inside was no less decorated, a tapestry of the map of Equestria hung between two stakes driven into the ground. Two piles of cushion lay on the floor, one occupied by Rainbow Dash, the other by a sleeping purple baby dragon. In the center of it all was a desk laden with scrolls and a large map with multiple flags and icons placed upon it.

“Seriously, Rainbow,” Lectured Twilight, “You should not have flown all the way here. What would happen to you if you were injured on the way here?”

“Cool down,” muttered Rainbow, “I got here in one piece, isn’t that good enough? Besides, don’t you have other things you need to do?”

“The Battle Plans!” Remembered Twilight, “Omigosh! I totally forgot about them!”

Jumping over to her table, Twilight stared down at the map depicting the Crystal Kingdom and its surroundings. In fact, all that surrounds the block of wood, which represents the Crystal Kingdom, were a multitude of white, black and purple flags.

“It would be folly to think that a countermeasure was not taught up against a siege…” Muttered Twilight as all matters concerning Rainbow Dash left her mind, “our opponent was a captain who served Celestia after all… In fact, I believe he would have plans laid in place against an all-out siege and a sneak attack. Also, those different Crystal Ponies worry me… Had he augmented them somehow?”

“Uh… Twilight?” Asked Rainbow Dash.

“Yes?” Replied Twilight distractedly.

“Will there really be a battle?”

“I hope not,” confessed Twilight, “Celestia says we should try negotiating with the Overlord Lue... I mean Chrome.”

“Don’t call him that.”


“Don’t call him Chrome.”


Losing her temper, Rainbow jumped up.


Twilight stared at her friend, eyes wide with shock. Upon seeing her friend’s startled reaction, Rainbow Dash quickly sat down, face turned away from Twilight.

“Sorry,” Croaked Rainbow brokenly, “it’s just… That thing, it’s just not what Chrome would do… Not what… He would ever do… Because… He would never hurt us… Not like this…”

Eyes softening at her friend’s exhausted form, she did not even look at the entrance as a unicorn dressed in the yellow army depicting himself as one of the royal guard entered.

“Your highness, is there a problem?”

“No, you may leave,” replied Twilight Sparkle.

“If I may have a word, your highness,” Said the Royal Guard, “Me and my comrades heard the name Chrome just now… May I know what happened to him? His disappearance since last week worries us all…”

“He’s a victim,” said Twilight sadly, eyes still fixed upon Rainbow Dash, “as many were of the Overlord Lueur."

The Crystal Plaza was a bustling place as usual, but for different reasons this time. Various types of Dark Crystal Ponies rushed about as they prepared for war. Wagons carrying crates and barrels were sent to the walls while the empty ones were being loaded up with them. Elsewhere, weapons of dark crystals were being hammered into place by the tireless blacksmiths of the kingdom while their subordinates quickly equipped the mares and stallions waiting in line.

As soon as one was properly outfitted, each of the ponies quickly joined a nearby group that marches towards the walls, falling in rank and steeling their will. Above in the sky, Pegasi whose coats shimmer with a dark light darts about, delivering reports to the commanders or carrying demands elsewhere.

So busy was the Plaza that nopony noticed the Alicorn which walked out of the Citadel gates and strolled among them, a red Pegasi at his side.

“Shouldn’t I inform them of your presence, milord?” Inquired Crimson Fall. “It would be folly when an accident happens.”

“No matter,” replied Overlord Lueur, ruling dictator of the Crystal Kingdom. “I have no desire to have preparations halted because of me. Furthermore, they would notice me soon enough.”

His words proved right when an Earth Pony bumped into him. Turning around, the Earth Pony almost cursed aloud when he saw who walked among them.

“Your Majesty!” Cried out the pony as he kneeled before Lueur. His call attracting the attention of others, which escalated quickly. Soon enough, the entire plaza was filled with the chants praising Lueur’s own name.

“Your Majesty!”

“All hail Lueur!”

“Our King!”

Sparing a wry smile for Crimson Fall, Lueur held up a hoof, silencing the crowd with a single gesture.

“Carry on, my subjects,” purred Lueur, his words carried to the ears of everyone within the plaza. “It heartens me to see you dedicated to your work, heartening indeed, so go on, but clear a way for me to the gates.”

“Yes, Milord!” Echoed the entire plaza. As the remaining continued with their work, a few guards quickly cleared a way to the gates for the dark green Alicorn and his companion.

“I told you it would work, my friend.” Smiled Lueur.

“I never doubted you, your majesty.” Replied Crimson Fall.

Far from the working masses, fourteen ponies met in a dark room, all cloaked and hooded despite the fact that the room had no windows, nothing to let even a single ray of light in. In fact, the only source of light within the room was from a single candle, which burns within a metal lamp.

“Is it ready?” Asked one, “are we ready?”

“Yes,” replied another, “just in case, always just in case.”

“But is it enough?” Wondered a third, “to take out an Alicorn?”

“More than enough,” assured the second pony, “the sword had so much magic packed into it, not even Celestia herself could stop it!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!” Snapped the second pony irritably, “I’m sure that it would shred Celestia to bits!”

“Well then,” said the first voice, “now it’s all up to him. Him and the negotiations.”

“If all goes well,” added another, “we won’t even need to use it.”

“But if it does not,” laughed the second voice, “we have a key to perfect glory with history showing us killing an Alicorn.”

“Alicornslayers,” Chuckled a voice, “I like the sound of that.”

“Killing isn’t important.” Said the first voice, “We just need to end the war the first chance we get, if the war even starts.”

Nodding at the statement, the lamp was blown out as the ponies slowly filed out of the room.

“Milord? What are you doing at the gates?”

A Dark Crystal Pegasi, with a coat of a shimmering turquoise that was covered in pitch black armor knelt at the gates as a dark green Alicorn and a Red Dark Crystal Pegasi casually strolled up.

“Nothing of note, Wild Wake,” replied Lueur as he beheld the his own creation, the location he had created, “nothing of note.”

They stood before the Gates of the Kingdom, a structure raised by Lueur to protect his kingdom. A wall many meters tall and ten meters thick held up two massive doors of dark stone. Flanking the thick wall were two towering spires that bustled with activity, as many Dark Crystal Ponies hurried back and forth, stacking materials and weapons for the upcoming battle.

“As you can see,” boasted Wild Wake proudly, indicating the preparations, “everything is up to expectations, even if an army ten times as strong stands against us, they would have to lose many before they could breach the defenses.”

“They won’t breach our defenses!” Corrected Crimson Fall, “With our lord by our side, no army stands a chance!”

“No,” smiled Lueur, “they will not, not yet anyway.”

“However,” continued Wild Wake, “we would need to have-“

“Overlord Lueur!” Boomed a voice suddenly.

“What in the world?” Cursed Crimson Fall as she looked around in suspicion.

“It’s her,” smiled Lueur, “they have come for negotiations.”

“I am the Princess of Friendship, Twilight Sparkle!” Continued the voice, “Me and my fellow Princesses, Princess of the Sun, Celestia, and Princess of the Moon, Luna, demands that you step forth from within your walls for a parley!”

“Told you,” chuckled Lueur, “Open the gates, Wild Wake. And gather the ministers."

“But Sir! It could be a fiendish trap!”

“Of course there will be a trap,” laughed Lueur, “Not from their side, but from ours…”

Three Alicorns stand in the darkness, their forms outlined by a glowing orb that floats before them. Two had manes that flow without the presence of the wind. The tallest had a coat of pure white, a mane of glimmering rainbow and a cutie mark of a sun. The other had a coat as dark as night, a mane who looked as though it carries stars within it, she possesses a cutie mark of a crescent moon. The third, the shortest among the three, had a coat of lavender and a simple well-trimmed straight mane with a purple streak running through it. All wore crowns atop their foreheads, their symbol of office.

For they were the Princesses of Equestria.

All had their eyes fixed upon the only location basking in the radiant splendor of the light. A city encircled by towers and walls of crystals which shone like stars or were shrouded in shadows.

“Do you think he would answer, my sister?” Asked the Alicorn with the coat as dark as night.

“I do not know,” replied the white Alicorn, “But it is for the best that we show him such respect, Luna. Especially when he had learned of our plans to eradicate him.”

“Yes, Celestia,” replied Luna, “we owe him an apology at least.”

“We all do,” said the lavender Alicorn, “and so does he.”

“Hush Twilight,” Chided Celestia, eyes never leaving the massive black gates in the distance. “His actions are justified, his anger correct.”

“Have you seen what he did?” Asked Twilight, a hint of anger in her voice, “he left the streets of Canterlot in devastation! He took over the Crystal Kingdom like King Sombra did! He even forsook his friends!”

“Did he?” Replied Celestia, “he changed his name, did you not recall? There’s still kindness within him, for he do not want you to face him as friend, but as an enemy. Chrome stays as a friend, but Lueur have no friends.”


“Twilight!” Interrupted Luna, “I know that his betrayal had caused a fracture in your friendship, but know that Lueur had been one of us. We had taken away his happiness. We caused this, now we have to fix it.”

“Some fixing,” argued Twilight, pain and anger plain upon her face. “Have you seen Rainbow? She had gone through such pains of losing Chrome! Not to mention Fluttershy, who had to see two of her childhood friends fighting each other? What about the rest of us? Two of our friends were at a loss and there’s nothing we could do to help! What about the rest of the Guards? Chrome was a friend to them too! Had you ever wondered what they would feel?”

“Yes…” Sighed Celestia sadly, “It was my fault that I was so wary about Chrome. After all, a unicorn had once appeared in a similar fashion. And the Crystal Empire suffered for it. Now…” She heaved a breath, looking upon the pained expression Twilight possessed with sympathy, “I decided to meddle with his fate, and the Kingdom suffered once more because of it.”

“It’s not your fault,” Consoled Luna, flashing a look of warning at Twilight, “It was only for the best for Equestria-“

The sound of gates slamming open with a massive impact interrupted her speech, causing Luna to halt midsentence to behold the spectacle with the other two princesses. None of them admitted it, but they could not deny the shiver that ran down their spines when they saw what they did.

A dark-green Alicorn with a shimmering coat stood in the archway of the gate. His mane of black and white flowed despite the absence of the wind. Bat wings remained folded to his body, but the memory of seeing them remains fixed in their minds.

However, what terrified them was something else. Though they were too far away to see it, they could feel the pitch black eyes gazing upon them. Eyes bereft of hope and peace, eyes like the void that sought to engulf everything and devour it.

Though they wish it otherwise before, deep down in their hearts, at that moment they knew that this was the greatest enemy they have yet faced.

An enemy, not a friend.

Lueur smiled coldly as he beheld the three figures in the distance. All former friends before, traitors now.

Beside him were the sixteen ministers of his court. They were originally ponies that had served the previous regents of the Crystal Kingdom, but he had allowed them to continue keeping their posts, so long that they swore allegiance.

Not that he cared anyway.

Forming a casual thought, the ground beneath Lueur began to tremble. Beside him, the ministers look about in positive alarm, Lueur noted to his amusement. In fact, the ministers had just realized that the group of them was actually moving forward without them actually taking a step.

The ground was carrying them to where princesses were waiting.

“Milord? The ground!” Yelped one of the ministers, a light brown Dark Crystal Pony.

“Relax,” Soothed Lueur, “No harm will come to you now.”

Blinking at the statement, it took the minister a full five seconds to actually realize that the being before him was responsible for this feat. Muttering a quick apology, the minister bowed in respect.

In fact, moving the ground was no mean feat at all. It took not even the barest fraction of his already immense power to do so. In fact, it took only seconds before the event halted and Lueur faced the three princesses of Equestria.

It was a magnificent sight, should it be seen in the time of peace. On an empty plain engulfed in shadows, four Alicorns stood facing each other. Three shrouded in darkness, eyes fixed upon the one who stood smirking at them, bathing in the embrace of the light denied to them.

“Lord Lueur.” Greeted Celestia, her eyes full of determination, Lueur noted to his satisfaction.

“Celestia of the Sun,” replied Lueur, before turning his eyes to the other two Alicorns present, “Luna of the Moon and Twilight Sparkle of Friendship, what brings you and your massive armed… rabble to my territories?”

“It was never yours to begin with,” said Luna, “and we hoped that you would return it without any incidents breaking out.”

“Never mine?” Gasped Lueur mockingly, “well, I suppose so. However, would it not be mine through the… Right of Conquest?”

“You attacked the Crystal Empire, and dethroned the Regents who were placed in charge of it.” Growled Twilight, “an action as such would be tantamount to an assault on Equestria itself!”

“Careful, Twilight,” warned Lueur, who was clearly enjoying the situation, “so much like your brother, letting emotions get in the way of politics. Remember, I am the guest to this meeting, as such, I have the right to leave and render this discussion and any agreement that could turn out from it... void.”

Before Twilight could snap out a retort, Celestia strode forth, the very action silencing everypony present.

“Lueur,” She began, “we apologize for all the wrongs we had ever done to you. All we ask now was for you to make the decision to prevent any unnecessary battles. We just wish for peace, for stability. We just hoped that you could return the Crystal Kingdom to its previous state, and that you return my niece and her husband to us unharmed.”

All eyes present turned towards the Dark-green Alicorn who holds the solution to all problems. The one who need only speak a single word prevent a conflict unlike any seen before.

Unfortunately, there were those who knew otherwise, and were not surprised when Lueur broke out into mirthless laughter.

“Apologize?” Snarled the dark lord, “Peace? Stability? Who do you think you are, Celestia?”

Manes blazing like a blend of black and white flames, Lueur continued in a voice that seemed to shatter the very air itself.

“I was betrayed, my dear princess, is an apology enough to atone for your crimes? You wished for peace and stability, but your actions show otherwise!”

The very earth trembling as his rage flowed through it, Lueur continued.

“And what right do any of you have to make such demands? The sun? The moon? Do you see them anywhere? No! Friendship? You are about to make war! What use is friendship?”

Then as sudden as it started, Lueur calmed down. His mane hung down, no longer blazing out like before. The ground stopped shaking, and his voice returned to normal.

“However,” continued Lueur, “There would be a solution to this, I can return the Crystal Kingdom and its regents to Equestria on one condition.”

“Which is?” Asked Celestia, a hint of hopefulness in her voice.

“That all three of you relinquish your crown and authority to me, return to being common folks and accept me as ruler of all.”

“You jest!” Snapped a shocked Luna, her horn glowing with powerful magic.

“I do not,” replied Lueur, “your rule is filled with mistakes. Mine is not.”

“How can you be so sure?” Accused Twilight, eyes wide with shock at the proposal.

“Look upon the Crystal Empire!” Said Lueur, “Twice now had it been attacked by enemies and taken over. Both enemies created by none other than the princesses of Equestria themselves!”

“Lies!” Rebutted Luna, “You lie!”

“Do I?” Laughed Lueur cruelly, “The First Princess of the Crystal Kingdom! Do you remember her? Sombra was an Umbral, a being of shadows who came to live among the Crystal Ponies! What did she do? Knowing that the power of love could destroy the Umbrals, she continued with the annual celebration of the Crystal Festival anyway! Instead of saving Sombra and turning him into a valuable friend and ally, that fool of a princess decided to carry on with the annual festivals so that she could show off the power of love! She even had the gall to tell Sombra that he could choose his own path while deliberately shortening his own life at the same time!”

“Then there was me!” continued Lueur, “I had served Celestia wholeheartedly, but she tried to destroy me because she was suspicious! Just because of a suspicion that I am the same as Sombra! Me and Sombra, we are both pieces on a board who decided to rebel against your precious game!”

“And what do you suggest?” Whispered Celestia, eyes without emotion gazing upon Lueur. “All that ranting but you had not stated why your rule would be better.”

“Foolish Celestia,” Spat Lueur, “do you not see it yet? The proof is here! The four of us!”

“What do you mean?” Inquired Twilight, still in a state of shock.

“When you banished Sombra, there were none but you who could challenge him! Even now, the only ones capable of stopping me are but the three of you!”

“What are you implying?” Questioned Celestia.

“That the citizens of Equestria are far too reliant upon their rulers! Their rulers hold incredible strength, but the citizens are weak as a leaves in a thunderstorm!”

“History has shown us this!” Shouted Lueur as he glowed with magical energy, slowly rising into the air.

“When Discord came, it was none other than the two of you who stopped him! When Sombra conquered the Crystal Kingdom, its citizens could only watch helplessly as you fought and sealed him! When Luna challenged Celestia’s rule, it was down to Celestia to prevent her sister from running wild! When the Changelings attacked Equestria, it was none other than a princess and her husband who turned the tide with a single blow! Twilight Sparkle and her friends foiled Sombra’s resurfacing! The Princess of Friendship and her friends without the aid of others defeated even the mighty lord Tirek! And now! You three stand against me! To save Equestria again!”

“Proof lies in history!” Hollered Lueur, his form a mixture of dancing shadow and brilliant light. “Time and again have the citizens of Equestria been helpless against foes too powerful for them! Time and again had they relied upon their princesses for aid! But no longer!”

“My rule will grant power to all ponies!” Roared Lueur, “power to protect! Power that is as natural as the blood in their veins!” Reaching a hoof out to Celestia, he continued, “Join me! And together the world shall become a better place! A world will be created where no ponies will have to cower before another foe again!”

Celestia, however, shook her head as she took a step back.

“You were not there Lueur,” Said Celestia in a voice full of authority, “the world you spoke off had existed, but it’s not the ideal world you envisioned.”

“Yes,” agreed Luna, “we had seen that world, where ponies of all kinds possess power that was not seen today. A time where they protected themselves.”

“But power corrupts,” Added Celestia, “not all beings are like you and me who can resist the temptation power brings. Not all ponies dislike wielding power.”

“At the time,” continued Luna, “it was a living hell. Ponies grew mad with the power they wield and turned upon each other. Warlords dominate the land, each wanting more power, and the fastest way to get more was to take it from others.”

“Discord was the last warlord,” Continued Celestia, “He was a Draconequus who came from far away with the intention to stop the war between ponies. Unfortunately, so drunk was he with the power he gained in his mission, that he became the epitome of chaos and it was up to us to stop him.”

“After we defeated him,” Said Luna, “We saw what he did and what he failed to do. He had gathered and concentrated all forms of power upon himself… Authority, Magical might, Strength, you name it, he has it.”

“He had succeeded somewhat,” Said Celestia, “For he had created an ideal world without conflict, where he protects everything. Unfortunately, we had to stop him, for he was controlling things, not letting it run their own ways. Hence we decided to adopt this system. Peace continues to flow in Equestria, while we take up the mantle Discord had left with his sealing into stone.”

Twilight could not believe what she was hearing. What Celestia and Luna had revealed was not the history of Equestria, but the hidden side to it, for it revealed the very foundations on which Equestria was run upon. However, even as she thought of Discord, who was comforting a distraught Fluttershy, she could not envision a noble image of him. Seriously, that mischievous Draconequus a noble spirit? Not happening.

Turning her hopeful eyes to the form of Lueur who was levitating in the air, she hoped that this revelation would be able to dissuade the dark lord from war.

Unfortunately her hopes were quickly dashed.

“Your argument is sound,” agreed Lueur, “but I had given power as a gift to my current subjects, and I would be loathed to take it away.”

“Gift?” Said a shocked Luna, “you took away their minds!”

“Only from those who resisted, or rather, I took away their will to move against me.” Replied Lueur, whose form is still a mixture of light and shadow, “Of course, I would not relinquish control over the Crystal Kingdom either. A deal was struck with the Umbral and Stellal race after all…”

“Stellal?” Echoed Celestia, eyes wide with shock. “You cannot be…”

“Yes I am,” smiled Lueur, “As Sombra was sent to free the Umbral race from the shadows beneath. I was sent by my race, the Stellal to free them from their imprisonment in the sky!”

“So this is what this is all about…” Muttered Celestia, who was in a daze at the sudden revelation.

“They really want to thank you, my family and Sombra’s,” mocked Lueur, “after all, if you had not betrayed me, I would never have the mindset to accept their offers.”

“So you are adamant on this?” Said Celestia in a defeated voice, “you would go through with the war?”

“It appears so,” said one of the ministers, a former earth pony with a coat a dark tone of beige, “and that leaves us no choice.”

Before their very eyes, weapons were drawn, all of almost similar make, with the exception of a glimmering blade that glowed unusually.

“This is a parley!” protested Twilight, “no conflict is allowed in such a meeting.”

“I really appreciate this specially prepared ambush,” droned Lueur, who was smiling at his retinue, “especially without my knowledge, it’s really a well-intended surprise.”

As Twilight readied a spell instinctively. She could not believe what happened next.

The retinue around the dark lord leapt not at the princesses, but at the dark lord himself.

Lueur had never felt so much in control before. After all, his plan to flush out the ponies who were working on the betrayal had never worked so well. This feeling of satisfaction was only dampened by the fact that all the ministers were in on this.

‘No one can be trusted, can they?’ Sighed Lueur as he thought but a single word.

Beams of light and shadow burst forth form his form, each striking the ministers who leapt at him. Like dancing rays of black and white, not a single minister was spared as they were struck to the ground by either shadow or light.

“Impossible,” choked a Dark Crystal Unicorn who carried a blade that shines with an unusual red light. His name was Quicktongue, Lueur believed, but then again, Lueur had never bothered remembering the names of those that never mattered to him.

“Impossible what?” laughed Lueur, “that a blade meant to slay Alicorns would not work on an Alicorn or protect you from an Alicorn’s magic? You should really have paid close attention to my conversation just now. I am not an Alicorn, I am a Stellal, a being of the light, and I have also accepted the powers of the Umbral race.”

Turning towards the three Alicorns who stood witnessing his show of strength, Lueur laughed nastily.

“Spoiler alert: this is what’s going to happen to ponies who betray my trust!”

As he finished the sentence, a pillar of light descended from the sky, cutting through the very shadows that surround the group. In fact, the effect was so blinding that even Lueur had to close his eyes.

When the air cleared, what lay on the grounds were not ponies, but crystal statues. Each as clear as diamond, and with finely crafted details that even a master sculptor would admit to taking days to craft such specific features. Not the Lueur would ever blame them, after all, he had just transformed sixteen ponies into glimmering crystal statues.

“What have you done?” Asked Celestia, the first to recover from the blinding pillar of light. “And why did you not attack us?”

“This is a parley, so I did not attack you” Smiled Lueur as he faded away into the shadows, “despite that, you three possess enough magic to withstand that spell. However! If you insist on reclaiming the Crystal Kingdom, once you have depleted your magic challenging me, this will be your fate. After all, I hold the power of two divine races within my soul!"

An echoing laughter erupting from his mouth, Lueur faded away into the shadows. The ray of light vanishing with him, the Princess soon found themselves alone in the dark, with the figures of sixteen crystal statues not far away.


Past 2: Breaking Ice

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Friends never finds one naturally. Rather, it's when the person himself know how to make friends that they choose to become his friend.

Past 2

Breaking Ice


“Where is he?” Crimson Fall was worried sick; after all, her beloved lord had seemingly vanished with the ray of light that had descended upon the Parley meeting just moments before.

Pacing about the Great Hall, an enormous room who remain lit due to the bright stones that made up parts of it’s structure, overriding the shadows projected by the dark gems which accompanied it. It was completely undecorated except for the pedestal at the far end, which stood beside a door leading to the Throne Room.

Before her stood the four wall sentries who had claimed that they had used a telescope to check on the meeting a few minutes before, just after a pillar of light descended.

“You are sure?” She questioned the sentries for the thirtieth time. “Our lord just disappeared? Gone? Poof?”

“Yes, milady,” replied a stallion with a white coat, his armor clinking as he stood to attention. “We could see no traces of him, in fact, even General Wild Wake was at a loss. And with Duke Solid Bulk and Court Magician Sign Teller overseeing the preparations of the Monoliths, he asked that you take command of all war preparations immediately, being the Lady of the Fort.”

“My lord…” Fretted Crimson Fall, “How could this be? What devilish trickery could the princesses has pulled? What could have happened to our monarch?”

“Nothing of note,” laughed a familiar voice, “I just took a short cut.”

Spinning around, words alone could not describe the flood of feelings that Crimson Fall felt at the sight of her monarch, a powerful dark green Alicorn with bat wings and in possession of a blazing mane of contrasting black and white, who smiled as he watched them from his pedestal.

“Lord Lueur!” Called Crimson Fall, the sentries quickly kneeling behind her, paying homage to their king. “You are safe!”

“Of course I am,” standing; the dark lord rested his pitch black eyes upon Crimson Fall who could not help but tremble in his gaze, “though disappointment runs through me at the moment…”

“What happened?” Crimson Fall asked concernedly as she lowers her eyes, instinctively feeling that something had went horribly wrong.

“It breaks my heart to possess knowledge that the ministers of the Crystal Kingdom, who I had kindly allowed to keep their posts, had turned upon me.” Admitted Lueur, voice dripping with disgust, “in fact, all of them had attempted to steal this life of mine.”

“They do not dare!” Gasped Crimson Fall in horror, the sentries behind her voicing similar words.

“Unfortunately they did, they had believed that they were saving the Crystal Empire. They were oblivious to my strength, those pathetic fools. They believed that PRINCESSES COULD HOLD A CANDLE TO ME?” laughed Lueur mirthlessly, Crimson Fall cringing at the obvious anger within her beloved lord. “Fools! All of them!” Spat Lueur, “They think that I could not know of their plans? All Shadows and Light bows to my will! And so does the very power that runs through their veins!”

“What became of them, milord?”

“Sixteen crystal statues now lay within the Equestrian Encampment, subjected to experiments as they attempted to both undo and decipher my magic,” smiled Lueur, a grin befitting a dark lord. “A fitting end for traitors.”

“I will not betray you, I swear!” Kneeling, Crimson Fall prostrated herself before her lord, hoping to quell any dissensions and suspicions before her lord thinks of them.

Trembling as her lord strolled to where she knelt, a gentle hoof lifted her face; to the point where green eyes meets pitch black eyes.

“I know,” assured Lueur gently, the darkness in his eyes drawing her in, “you were saved by me. You, Solid Bulk, Sign Teller and Waking Call. And I know that your loyalty would be eternal, for your eyes tell me so.”

Taking comfort in her lord’s words. Crimson Fall savored the moment, for she knew that this was the closest she could ever be to the one she believed in.

Closest to the one she loved.

Not so far away, in the eerily quiet areas of the Equestrian encampment, a Cyan Pegasus dressed in a green military shirt sat in the comfort of firelight. The fire, though small, illuminated much of the surroundings, in fact, throughout the entire encampment, campfires were the only way to drive back the shadows effortlessly. Around him, the occasional patrol of guardspony marched about, alert for any unusual signs as they gazed between the tents set up by the army.

White mane swaying, the Pegasus threw another piece of timber into the flames, causing it to crackle as it hungrily consumes the piece of wood. Lying back onto the floor, he returned to a book that he had been reading to pass the time.

“Reading the Doc’s Biography again, sergeant Jump?” chuckled a feminine voice, it’s owner steeping out of the shadows to bask in the firelight.

Gazing up at the newcomer, Sgt. Jump Pack smiled at the black Pegasi, who was dressed similarly, but possesses a yellow bar across her sleeves.

“Captain Rearsweep,” acknowledged Jump Pack as he indicated a spot by the fire with his hoof, “it’s good to see you, have a seat!”

“Gladly,” replied the Rearsweep, grunting as she sat, “but it’s quite weird to be reading a book while you are at war, no?”

“Helps take the mind off the tension,” admitted Jump Pack, “and I suspect that bad news are adrift?”

“You don’t know?”

“I heard the rumors, but nopony here seems sure.”

“Well,” sighed Rearsweep, “it appears that the enemy’s using a new form of magic. The Magic Assessment Department calls it Crystalysis.”

“Crystalysis?” Echoed Jump Pack, never hearing that term before.

“Yes,” affirmed Rearsweep, “Apparently the tyrant had used it on the former ministers of Crystal Kingdom, who had been carried into the camp in the form of… Crystal Statues…”

“Crystal statues?” repeated Jump Pack, “but isn’t that the kind o’ magic that that previous conqueror used? The black kind of crystal thingy?”

“Not dark Crystals,” Rearsweep shook her head, “transparent ones, apparently caused by light magic.”

“Light? Ain’t that supposed to be the good stuff? The sort that heals and banish curses and sorts?”

“Apparently not,” sighed Rearsweep, “it appears that there’s no good or bad in magic, it’s just…” randomly gesturing with her hoof, “magic.”

“Well,” snorted Jump Pack, “magic don’t decide a course o’ a battle, we did it, and even Doctor Silverfeather done it good!”

“Doctor Silverfeather,” smiled Rearsweep, “I miss that old stallion.”

“Yeah, he was the Flightguards Admiral, and then he gone and founded that school.”

“The Flight Protégé Institution!” Declared Rearsweep with a hint of pride, “I know; I went there to become an instructor.”

“Yeah,” added Jump Pack as he tapped the book on the floor, “and churned out a bunch of aspiring fliers, all written in Doctor Silverfeather’s biography. In fact,” he continued enthusiastically, “he even recorded where they go after graduation! There’s Spiral Dive, who joined the Wonderbolts. Lightningstreak who joined us, the Flightguards, that cheeky brat... Weatherwing who became a Cloudsdale weather pony, of all things…”

Rearsweep smiled as she listened to Jump Pack reciting the names of her students, recalling the bygone days of unbroken peace at the Flightschool.

“ Not to mention other well known names amongst the guards,” Added Jump Pack, “Tallsign, captain o’ the Royal Airforce 2nd division, singlehoofedly protected the Canterlot Barracks during the changeling invasion. Dark Jet, member o’ the Wonderbolts who helped defended Cloudsdale from a dragon…”

Upon hearing the name, Rearsweep’s expression soured, causing Jump Pack to halt in his narration.

“I’m sorry,” Apologized Jump Pack profusely, “it’s not really good memories when a student gets ‘urt, right?”

“Yeah,” admitted Rearsweep in a voice full of emotion, “it doesn’t. To be truthful, he was the last pony I expected to be down with a coma, it just does not fit in…”

“Silverfeather called him and Tallsign, the Trouble Rivals,” interjected Jump Pack, in an attempt to change the conversation, “can’t imagine why he wouldn’t, as it’s all in this book. My favorite tale in his biography was when they broke a Pegasus out of his isolated self, the Breaking of the Chromium Shell… The one time the two of them actually helped somepony.”

“Yeah…” Agreed Rearsweep, her mind already drifting away, to the bygone days.

Days filled with pride, happiness and peace.

Nine Years Ago

Fillydelphia, a rising metropolis of towering skyscrapers, complete with a track record of almost zero unsolved crimes. It was also home to ponies of all kinds and even had a town of domesticated dragons. The city had bred multiple rising stars, and was also known to house some of the most effective training institutions within Equestria, one of which was known across the land as The Flight Protégé Institution…

In fact, as the skies brighten, the institution could be spotted easily. In the largest pasture of roughly ten kilometers across and wide, the brick-red building can be discerned from the metallic colored buildings around it. Roughly 50 stories tall and consisting of at least a hundred rooms, this skyscraper was clearly designed with the intent to house hundreds of students.

In fact, the kilometers wide grass lawn served as the main practice area for the aspiring fliers, and it was common to hear the early morning practices of the young Pegasi.

“Hurry up, recruits!” roared a voice from the sky so loud, that it could be heard from the ground, “one more round to go of warm-ups! Go! Go! Go!”

Shadows shot across the ground as young Pegasus foals flitted across the cloudy sky. Each of them wearing a bright red and white uniform, the uniform of the Flight Protégé Institution.

One of them, a dark red Pegasi, zipped over to a foal possessing a grey coat, displaying flight abilities like that of a bee.

“Hey Tallsign!” Yelled the red Pegasi, “you are pretty slow today!”

“Oh yeah?” Hollered back Tall Sign, “last to the finish line gets everypony the summer cream delight? Up for it, Dark Jet?”

“You're on!”

Folding their wings, the two ponies dropped like bombs to the ground, their peers cheering them on as they followed.

“Get us the drinks, Dark Jet!”

“Let Tallsign fill the bill!”

It was a curious sight. The scene of dozens of Pegasi foals dropping down from the sky like a group of skydivers.

Just fifty meters short of the ground, each of the Pegasus spread their wings out, drastically decreasing their fall to that of a glide, landing on the school field with typical talented ease. Gasping from the exertion, Dark Jet turns to Tallsign, who was in a similar state.

“I won,” panted Dark Jet, “drinks on you.”

“You had a slight headstart!” Protested Tallsign.

“Regardless,” interrupted a very dreaded voice, “what were my instructions?”

Turning around, the two foals beheld the furious face of instructor Articmane.

“I believe,” said the white broad-shouldered Pegasus, who had taken off his green cap, “that I asked you try for control when landing, and do a slow spiral down INSTEAD OF A STRAIGHT DIVE!!!”

The roar echoed across the wide field, even caused a few critters here and there to dive to safety from a nonexistent threat.

“Uuuuh… Gee coach… You said that?” Replied Dark Jet, slightly embarrassed of himself.

Sighing, Coach Articmane facehoofed before he pointed towards the sky.

“And what is that?”

Sheepishly, the two foals glanced at the sky, where their classmates were slowly gliding a winding route down. As the first one, a light green colt, touched down, Articmane gave a grunt of approval.

“Good work, Chrome, top of class in balance as per usual. If only you start working on your speed, you won't be a disappointing replica of a Wonderbolt that you are… And fall in! On the double!”

Returning a quick nod of acknowledgement, Chrome walked to the spot where Articmane indicated and stood at attention, head held high. In fact, Dark Jet couldn't help but feel slightly sorry for the silver-eyed colt; after all, he just excelled in class, but got reprimanded for his other faults. That's practically unfair, in his opinion.

“Now,” Articmane turns his eyes at the two misfits, “You are going to have to have to explain yourself! Under what manner of excuses do you have to be not paying attention during explanation?”

“Well… I was on cleaning duty last night so I fell asleep during the...” began Tallsign when Articmane cut him off brutally.

“YOU FELL ASLEEP?” Roared Articmane, his deafening voice almost blowing the two foals away, “HAVE YOU NO CONSCIENCE ABOUT THE DISREGARD OF THE RESPECT THAT I, AS YOUR COACH, AM SUPPOSED TO REC-“

“Ahem,” coughed Rearsweep, who had walked up behind him while the shouting was going on.

“WHAT?” Roared Articmane as he turned around, “HAVE YOU NO IDEA HOW INCONSIDERATE I-“ where he cut himself off midsentence when he realized whom he was hollering at.

“I am perfectly aware how inconsiderate you are being, Articmane,” Lectured Rearsweep, “It’s in the middle of the morning and you are being a… rather large nuisance to the neighborhood.

“I understand, Capt. Rearsweep,” replied Articmane; beads of nervous sweat rolling down his spine, “however, have you seen the foals? Outrageous! How can we train the next generation of outstanding fliers if we don’t-“

“Enough,” ordered Rearsweep, “I am here to inform you that there’s to be no more shouting henceforth, a warning you had clearly ignored since the last training we assigned to you!”

Cringing under Rearsweep’s fierce gaze, Articmane nodded profusely, an act he continued, as Rearsweep turned away and soared in the direction of the Institution.

However, as soon as Rearsweep disappeared into the building, Articmane turned a furious gaze towards Dark Jet and Tallsign.

“Don’t think you are out of this yet, miscreants!” He warned, “The two of you are going to join this week’s program with Lightningstreak’s group!”

“What?” Chorused the two Pegasi, “But today’s Weatherwing’s and Spiral Dive’s turn! We only have like less than half a week of preparation!”

“Here’s a tip,” laughed Articmane wickedly, “Always be prepared.”

Spinning around, the coach hollered to the group of Pegasi who was standing in neat rows a few meters away.

“Hear that? Spiral Dive, Weatherwing! Your places as flight leaders for the upcoming Capture the Flag against the Year-threes will be substituted by Dark Jet and Tallsign!”

Dissension broke out among the rest of the foals as they heard the news. Flattening his ears threateningly, Articmane shouted out,


“ARTICMANE!” Screamed a voice from inside the building as soon as the sentence was finished.


“That’s just plain unfair,” Complained Tallsign. “Why’s that Articmane such a bully anyway?”

The class was seated in the cafeteria, where various photos of prestigious students who graduated from the institution decorated its yellow colored walls. Seated upon the blue benches provided within the area, the group conversed in serious tones.

“Yeah, really,” frowned Cloudaxe, a sturdily built pale blue Pegasi who was combing his grey mane, “It’s just doesn’t make no sense to suddenly change the Squadron leaders, now we need to come up with a new plan to suit you guys.”

The Event was a monthly program made to raise funds for the Flightschool’s activities. It pits three squadrons chosen by the instructors from two different year groups. Each Squadron consists of two wing ponies and a lead pony, commonly used in a v-formation. It ranges from various different programs. Last month was a cloud busting; this month was a Capture the Flag Event. The problem was that the lead pony HAS to lead his companions into the event, and a sudden change of lead ponies means a total revamp of possible strategies and formations.

“We also need to practice,” pressed Dark Jet, “a few runs should be all we need. That should be okay, right?”

“But we still haven’t decided on what formations to use!” Protested Tallsign, “We can’t go into practice without a proper plan!”

“Let’s just use the Goose Wing formation,” commented Dark Jet, “that never failed before.”

“And what makes you think that the Year-Threes won’t learn from their mistakes? They lost to that last week remember? There’s no way in hell will they want to lose to us after the last time this year.” Fretted Lightningstreak.

The group of Year-Twos nodded in agreement. Punishment awaits the losers, however, a worse punishment will be handed down if you lost to a generation younger than you, for there’s no excuse to lose if you hold more experience. It’s totally understandable that their seniors would want to avoid it.

As the banter went back and forth, Chrome, who was tired of the arguing left his seat and headed for the door.

“Hey Chrome!” Called Dark Jet, “where are you going? We still need to discuss a formation!”

“Just going to the field,” shrugged Chrome as he swung open the door, “I’ll be practicing my speedruns there, just come and give me a call when you know which formation you want to use… I’m fine with anything, by the way.”

As the door swung shut, Spiral Dive snorted, the grey Pegasi sweeping her long unkempt mane back.

“What’s his problem? We have been together for a year already and he’s still like that.”

“Well, you have been making him the source of all jokes…” pointed out Cloudaxe.

“So have you! You just can’t stop calling him cold-blooded cause his name is a metal!”

“It’s not my fault he’s so antisocial!”

“That’s Chrome,” sighed Lightningstreak, “there’s just something about him that always seemed off. Like he wants to be a friend but doesn’t wanna be one.”

“Well,” interjected Dark Jet, “you can’t blame him for feeling slightly down, that coach Articmane was a jerk to scold him every single time he tops the class in controlling his balance.”

“He’s a strange pony,” Muttered Rain Wake, “I don’t get why he don’t wanna hang out wit’ us.”

“Strange…” muttered Dark Jet before jumping out of his seat, “Strange!”

The whole class looked at him, dumbfounded, though none finds it weird; after all, it was Dark Jet.

“Uuuuh…” Uttered Cloudaxe, “so what’s strange?”

“Give me awhile,” Said Dark Jet, as he started for the exit, “I just need a little chat with Chrome!”

As he dashed out of the cafeteria, the silence among the Year-twos was broken by a slight cough from Tallsign.

“Uuuuh… I say we wait?”

Chrome panted lightly as he skidded to a stop upon the grass patch.

He had failed again.

Twice had he tried to break his speed record, but apparently, some inner part of him was too fixated on maintaining his balance. Wiping a thin layer of sweat off his brow, Chrome sat down, closed his eyes and went thinking.

What had he done wrong?

Was it the positioning of his wings?

Or maybe his wing strength was not in proportion to his weight?

Or perhaps… he needs to go on a diet?



Jumping in shock, Chrome spun around as fast as a spinning to*WHAM*

Rubbing his forehead, which had painfully collided with whatever was behind him. Chrome Windcutter looked up to behold Dark Jet in a similar state.

“Darn it!” Complained Dark Jet, still rubbing his sore nose, “did you have to turn around that quickly?”

“Sorry,” mumbled Chrome as he massaged his forehead. Realizing Dark Jet’s presence, he instinctively knew what it means.

“So, when’s practice?”

“Practice? Uh… well… we still do not know when it is, to be honest.”

“Okay,” replied Chrome, “So what formations are we trying?”

“Oh yes, formations…” laughed Dark Jet awkwardly, “well… I was planning to ask you about that…”

“Me? Why?” Questioned Chrome, “I mean… what can I do?”

“Maybe, you could provide some insight to how to counteract the Year Three’s skills?”

“Maybe the Seagull Flocks? The Year Three’s do like to branch out loosely so… that formation could work, seeing as the formation requires us to spread out so that we could slip past them easily…” Blinked Chrome as he noticed Dark Jet’s wide eyes upon him, “Uuuuh… Why are you staring at me like that?”

“GENIUS!!!” Yelled Dark Jet, startling the living daylights out of Chrome.

“Uuuuh… What?” Started Chrome, who was in a state of shock. “What? Me?”

“YES!!” Shouted Dark Jet, who was literally prancing around like Hearthswarming Eve just came early. “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT BEFORE?!?!”

Chrome’s only answer was a gaping mouth and wide surprised eyes that stare bewilderingly at his companion who had yet to cease prancing about. Until he did, where Chrome felt a real shiver down his spine, for Dark Jet turned about and gave him a smile that TOTALLY CREEPS HIM OUT.

“I just got… the most brilliant idea!” Whispered Dark Jet, Chrome barely catching onto the words.

“Uuuuh… What?” Was all Chrome could managed when Dark Jet pulled him along towards the building.

This would most definitely be a very long day, Chrome noted.

“So, who’s up for it?” Finished Dark Jet as he beheld the entire class with Chrome by his side, feeling as proud of his plan as never before.

Chrome, on the other hand, wished the ground would open up and swallow him or that something would happen to stop the class from looking at him and Dark Jet.

After all, who could blame him? When Dark Jet came and made that preposterous decision: Asking him to be their Class Commander.

The Flightschool follows the ranking for the Equestrian Airforce Officers up to the rank of Captain within classes. Each ranking had to be earned; either nominated by the class as a whole or a flight Instructor and was considered prestigious within the school. As of now, only five out of eighteen Pegasi within the class holds a rank: Captain Tallsign, First Lieutenant Dark Jet and Spiral Dive, and Second Lieutenant Chrome Windcutter and Cloudaxe.

Chrome, unlike the rest of the five, received his rank due to Instructor Rearsweep and Doctor Silverfeather happening to spectate the one time he did a reckless and seemingly impossible feat during a Defend the Flag event when he was a year one: Dodging and distracting six Year two Pegasi who were closing on Dark Jet who was carrying the flag at the time.

However, compared to that, what Dark Jet suggested was insane. The title of Commander was special as it means having absolute authority of his class out on the field. In short, you become the boss of your class whenever such events occur. Problem is, Commanders are rarely appointed because they have to be BOTH Class-approved and backed by an Instructor.

He got the Instructor backing, but… the class approval, on the other hoof, would most likely not turn out well. After all, common occurrence in the Flightschool: half the time, the class did not back those who gain an Instructor’s approval. In fact, Tallsign and Dark Jet would be the most obvious choice, them being the best received in their class.

“Dark Jet,” said Cloudaxe, “you suggested lots of things, but that have got to be the most crazy suggestion I ever heard.”

“And why Chrome?” Demanded Spiral Dive, “I mean, you two did not hang out much… did he offer you some bribe or something?”

The accusation stung Chrome to the core. He never asked for this anyway! He was just brought in by Dark Jet for no apparent reason at all, and now he has to face the class’ scorn… again.

“Well…” fidgeted Dark Jet, “I just happen to think that he would be a good commander in the first place… What with the suggestions he made…”

“What suggestions?” piped up Tallsign, now genuinely curious, “you left that part out.”

“Oh yeah,” laughed Dark Jet in embarrassment, “well he just told me that we could use the Seagull Flocks formation because the Year Three’s like to branch out a lot.”

“And what’s the chances that they won’t expect such a simple formation? That’s one of the basics!” Argued Cloudaxe.

“Well…” Interrupted Chrome, an idea occurring to him, “we can always transition into a new one, after all, the Seagull Flocks is a build up to many other formations, like the Roiling Clouds, or the Hail Dive formations…” Noticing his classmates gazing at him in surprise, Chrome reflexively flattened his ears in fear. “What?”

“That’s quite sensible,” said Lightningstreak, “I see where you are coming from, Dark Jet.”

“Yeah,” Dark Jet puffed his chest out proudly, “I got an eye for this things!”

“And while talking was so easy…” began Cloudaxe, an air of disapproval about him, “we don’t even have time to practice transitions and have you any idea how hard it is to change from a formation to another?”

“Well, Chrome can always direct us!” argued Dark Jet. “That’s what a Commander is supposed to do!”

“Can you direct us?” Cloudaxe rounded on Chrome, “you think you got what it takes.”

Startled by the almost hostile nature of Cloudaxe, Chrome took a step back. He hated scorn, he hates failing, so why do everypony here have to look at him with such accursed eyes that seem to think he was a failure?

“So?” Pressed Cloudaxe, “you up for it?”

“I’m not sure,” replied Chrome, still unsure about himself. “It’s just Dark Jet’s idea after all.”

“See?” Said Cloudaxe triumphantly, “He’s not even sure of himself! What makes you think that he can lead us on the field?”

“I don’t get why you are so against Chrome,” rebuked Dark Jet, “Why are you so against him?”

“Because he’s just a pony who can garner Instructor’s attention but not even have a proper conversation with us!” Snapped Cloudaxe, “In fact, the only friend he got was but a bully-magnet in Cloudsdale!”

“Enough!” Commanded a voice, one refined with age and experience. As the foals within the cafeteria looked to the door, they immediately stood at attention.

Brown-maned and grey coated, an aged Pegasi stood at the entrance of the cafeteria, a long greying beard of brown flowed from his chin covering most of his medal-filled blue military uniform. Brown eyes filled with years of experience surveyed the scene as the aged Pegasi walked into the cafeteria with an air of absolute authority.

“Principal Silverfeather!” Saluted the foals as they beheld the living legend.

“At ease,” barked the elderly Pegasi as he looked at them. A living legend in their eyes, nopony could hold back their excitement at being in the presence of the former colonel of the Flightguards, one of the Equestrian Airforce divisions, he who had led the said division on multiple missions that saved various areas of Equestria, most commonly dealing with wild dragons that were roaming about and terrorizing areas. However, that excitement was tempered by the fact that Silverfeather looks very annoyed right now: That’s never a good thing.

“I heard your arguments from a long way down the hall,” started Silverfeather, “and I find them very annoying. So I decided to come down here and solve things myself!”

Holding their breath, the foals listened attentively as the authoritative figure continued.

“The rank of Class Commander is a very prestigious one! Not to mention that it requires an appropriate amount of responsibility! However, it does not require one to be only capable of planning, but it needs to be a pony that could be well respected, for who would pay attention to somepony who no one else would listen to?”

“Ponies who could not socialize with their classmates are not worthy of being a Commander.” Continued Silverfeather, who began pacing among the foals, “So too are Ponies who find fault with everything! As of now, there’s only one among you who I see fit to hold that title.”

As he finished, Silverfeather stopped before a dark red Pegasi foal: Dark Jet, who, Chrome noted in satisfaction, looked at the elderly principal in surprise.

“You seem worthy in this old pony’s eyes, young one. How would you like to be Class Commander?”

“But… I thought that the class needs to approve! I mean…”

“I think that they already approve,” winked the elderly Pegasi. “Right?”

“Yes Sir!” echoed at least a dozen voices.

“Righto then.” Smiled the Principal as he marched out of the cafeteria, “now that that’s settled, keep it down a little would ya?”

As the principal walked out of sight. Cloudaxe muttered:

“Well… That escalated quickly…”

One Day later

Chrome was having the worst day of his life, he decided.

Ever since the few hours in that Dark Jet had became the Class Commander, he had been working them, really hard. The class had it rough, having to cope with Dark Jet’s shenanigans ad directives. They had been practicing since Morning Warm-ups the formations that Chrome had suggested. Granted, those were easy formations, but the transitions needed much more practice. Nopony complained though, after all, none of them wants to be landed in cleaning duties for a month.

Nopony except for Chrome.

Dark Jet had specifically appointed Chrome to be the informal tactical expert of the class, and that essentially means that he had to coordinate every single movement of the entire class. He’s literally vomiting frustration over this right now.

Eyes scanning the sky, he could make out exactly two groups of three foals, and one of two, each flying overhead. Each seeming as small as a doll to Chrome, they were spread out evenly, each group in a formation that was reminiscence of the shape of a bird as they soared overhead.

“Seriously,” muttered Chrome to himself, “in no way does that reminds me of seagulls.”

Raising a hoof, he punched the air three times. Dark Jet, who was quite high above, suddenly sped up, twisting his head to shout something, which Chrome could not hear due to the tremendous distance.

Almost at once, the groups above broke down and formed a four alternating lines, the Roiling Clouds, designed for normal static guard movement. Chrome however, could only shake his head in disapproval at the sloppy transition into that formation.

“There’s no way he’s going to like it…” Muttered Chrome, “and I suppose he wants me to figure it out…”

“So?” Panted Dark Jet as he landed on the ground, “how did we do?”

It was a few hours since practice started, the sun beginning to lower itself into the horizon, it’s rays painting the city with a dark red glow. Chrome snorted in disapproval at the sight of the exhausted group of Pegasi foals before him. They had been working hard, and here he was, told by Dark Jet to coordinate the groups flight schemes. In his opinion, that’s no different from slacking.

“It’s quite okay,” started Chrome when Dark Jet gave him a Don’t-lie-to-me-look, causing him to admit, “Alright… It’s quite bad.”

“I could tell,” Fussed Dark Jet, “Cloudaxe was too late in taking up the rear, and Weatherwing just could not-“

“Uh…” Interrupted Chrome, “maybe we leave that for later? You only stopped for a break once, and that’s more like a light a snack than anything… You all really need the rest and dinner…”

“Yeah,” muttered Cloudaxe a little too loudly, “unlike some slacker over there.”

Chrome flinched at the jibe, flexing his wings distractedly. He mumbled:

“Maybe you guys go to the cafeteria first? I’ll go and scrunch up the flight formations and see which may be better for transitioning.”

As Chrome dashed off without waiting for a reply, Dark Jet glared at Cloudaxe.

“Did you have to say that?” Snapped Dark Jet irritated, “I told him stay there after all!”

“I just don’t get why you value him so much,” replied Cloudaxe, “he’s just a nopony until like yesterday.”

“Yeah,” said Dark Jet, “a nopony that managed to point out something we all missed, in fact, he knows his ways around the formations! He got skills! What’s there not to value him so much?”

“Stop that,” interjected Tallsign tiredly, quelling all dissensions. “It’s evening already, let’s just get some rest and food and somepony… please bring Chrome his share, he looks like he’s going to be gone a while…”

“I’ll do it,” volunteered Lightningstreak.

“Right… Now let’s have ourselves a long break,” sighed Tallsign, “and hope that tomorrow turns out better.”

“How did it go?”

It was roughly an hour after the end of practice. Dark Jet was supposed to be enjoying his meal with the rest of the class. However, he had followed Lightningstreak who delivered Chrome’s meal at Tallsign’s request and met the yellow filly just outside the dorm that Chrome shared with his roommates.

“Same as usual,” Lightningstreak shrugged, completely unsurprised by Dark Jet’s presence. Quite a tough thing to do, following somepony secretly when your hooves make so much noise on the wooden floor.

“Same?” Asked Dark Jet, “or is he…”

“Chrome never reveals his pain,” replied Lightningstreak, cutting Dark Jet off, “not even in Cloudsdale, not even to his only friend there, Fluttershy. It’s just how he is…”

“Wouldn’t that be lonely?” wondered Dark Jet, “having nopony to trust?”

“He had Principal Cloudwalker then,” smiled Lightningstreak sadly, “now…”


“Why are you so fixated on him?” Said Lightningstreak exasperatedly, tired of the conversation, “he’s just another pony, and I really don’t think that there’s anything special about him. Sure, his planning skills may be quite well done, but seriously? I think we can manage without him.”


“So?” continued Lightningstreak, not giving Dark Jet a chance to reply, “why? Why are you so fixated on him?”

“It’s just that…” started Dark Jet, “He looks like a pony that would make a good friend, and that we just need to know some more about him…”

“We tried that already,” sighed Lightningstreak, “it did not work, in fact, only Fluttershy succeeded, and that’s because she followed him around endlessly… In my opinion, we can’t do anything.”

Dark Jet could only watch as the yellow filly turned away, walking through the corridor towards the cafeteria. His eyes shifted from her departing form to the door of a room where another Pegasi resides.

He had not been honest. It’s just that feeling seems so silly to Dark Jet.

However, Dark Jet always got that feeling wherever he stares into Chrome’s silver eyes.

Eyes that screams for a way out of loneliness, yet displaying a fear of friendship.

Two Days Later.

“Okay everypony!” Fluttered about a white Pegasi mare, literally screaming into the microphone she held in her hooves. “Today’s showcase would be a Capture the Flag event between the Year Twos and Year Threes of Flight Protégé Institution! I’m your commentator for today, as per usual, name’s Glitterdraw!”

She fluttered around the Fillydelphia stadium, a massive oval structure consisting of six stories and at least twenty kilometers long and eight across, with two towers towering over at its elongated sides. In fact, it dwarfs the racecourse within Cloudsdale and its utilities far outmatch what Cloudsdale had to offer. However, they were not able to provide the kind of challenges Cloudsdale racecourse had to offer, due to being unable to harvest the variety of Cloudmass required to replicate the obstacle course within Cloudsdale.

Hundred of ponies were present for the event, located amongst the row of seats provided, for the Flight Protégé Institution Monthly showdown between the different age groups was a prime event that many ponies look forward to. After all, who could not? Flight Protégé Institution was well known throughout the whole of Equestria to have trained many of the best fliers. Churning out members of the Wonderbolts, Flightguards, Royal Airforce and even the mysterious Shiftgliders. They were here for the show that those picked by one of the most prestigious Flightschools have to offer.

“Today’s event as most pony here knows, would be the capture the flag event!” Screamed Glitterdraw, “for the benefit of those here who do not know, the set up and rules are simple,” Raising a hoof to indicate the two towers above the stadium, she continued, “Up there, the two teams waits in their respective towers! Waiting for the horn to be sounded before they could take off! Their objectives would be a red or blue flag; Red for the Year Twos, Blue for the Year Threes! First team to take the flag to their respective towers scores a point! First team to score five points wins!”

“However!” Continued Glitterdraw, the white mare swooping around crazily, “the two teams are allowed to use anything short of an injury or direct assaults to each other faces or wings to disrupt the other’s tactics! Though it may seem dangerous, there’s nothing to worry about! The stadium is littered with Emergency Fall Crystals! These crystals are perfectly capable of tracking any falling objects and turn what could be a fatal, and grisly, fall into one that looks like you just jumped off a table! Unfortunately, if you’re out, you’re out! No reserve fliers, no replacements!”

“Anyway! On to the two teams! From the year threes we got the three lead ponies, Ferenheight, Arrowhead and Thawsling. All are noted to be exceptional fliers and calculative thinkers! They were strongly expected to show us some outstanding moves today!”

“The Year Twos, on the other hoof, do not fall quite far behind! The following fliers, Cloudaxe, Tallsign and Dark Jet, lead them! Unfortunately, Dark Jet and Tallsign replaced Weatherwing and Spiral Dive at the last minute, so let’s hope that they do not leave us wanting of a good performance!”

Barely a second passed when an enormous horn blared, the sound raising the crowds to an excited frenzy.

“Whoa! What the?” mumbled Glitterdraw, obviously surprised, before recomposing herself, as soon as six groups of three Pegasi swooped into view, “There they go! The Games began!”

And she made a mental to find a particular pony who was placed in charge of the horn to strangle, after all this was over.

Chrome gritted his teeth as he struggled to follow Dark Jet, his squadron’s lead pony alongside Lightningstreak, who was having similar problems.

In fact, it’s not just them; it’s the entire class. They were all dead tired and filled to the max with aching body parts due to Dark Jet’s training scheme. In fact, Chrome felt that they might not be able to perform optimally.

“Remember the plan!” Yelled Dark Jet’s voice from the ear speaker that Chrome wore. It came equipped with a microphone so that the teammates could communicate throughout the event.

“Dark Jet…” Began Chrome, when Tallsign’s voice cuts him off.

“Dark Jet! We’re going down now!”

“Good!” Replied Dark Jet, “Cloudaxe! Go for disruption! Chrome! Lightning Streak! Follow me down!”

Dark Jet’s flying form before him suddenly changed from gliding to a steep dive. His competitive nature taking over, Chrome followed quickly. The wind brushing against his face, he could just make out the hundred of ponies looking up at them expectantly.

Not that he cares anyway.

Feeling a slight prickling on his neck, Chrome pulled his wings and limbs closer to his body, decreasing the surface area of which the air resistance was gushing at him. Diving faster, he heard a brief curse from behind him as he registered that a third year had failed to knock him off course.

Just only a few inches away from Dark Jet, Chrome could see Tallsign’s group not far ahead. However, he was more interested in the shadows flitting in from only a few meters away.

“Chrome! Lightningstreak!” Came Dark Jet’s voice through the ear speaker, “Stop them from getting to Tallsign’s group!”

Putting on a burst of speed, Chrome hurled himself at one of the figures. Knocking the red Year Three Pegasi off course, Chrome could see the furious gaze of his senior as he attempted to rebalance himself.

Not stopping there, Chrome barreled into another Year Three, a blue mare of solid build, who was attempting to harass Tallsign. As the momentum from the impact caused them to spin around dizzily, Chrome saw Tallsign gave him a small nod of acknowledgement.

Allowing himself a brief sense of satisfaction, Chrome spread his aching wings as he attempted to rebalance himself.

Maybe they can do this after all.

The audience of Fillydelphia rose in uproar at the feats performed before them. Before them, were a few of Equestria’s finest performing feats that seemed impossible to the average ponies. It also helped add to the excitement that there was an over enthusiastic Commentator spiking the excitement.

“Did you see that?” Roared the Commentator, Glitterdraw, “Ferenheight just dodged Cloudaxe and his friend! Here comes the third member of Cloudaxe’s squadron! SWEET CELESTIA! THAT MOVE! A SOMERSAULT AT THE LAST MOMENT! HE DODGED THAT YEAR TWO PEGASUS AND SCORES!”

Rising into an uproar at the Ferenheight’s display of skill, the audience was whipped into a frenzied state by their excitement.


As the two opposing teams began to spiral around while waiting for the flags to be returned to the ground. The audience began to chatter excitedly among themselves. Sensing their mood, Glitterdraw started to speak again.

“That was an impressive last minute move by Ferenheight indeed. A small somersault at the last moment that not only helped him dodged that Year Two Pegasus, but not carrying himself too far from his tower! However, the Year Two’s are still putting up a pretty nice fight! I wonder where-“

Glitterdraw almost cursed as the horn sounded again. Looking on darkly as the audience cheered when the two teams began to swoop for the flag again, she made a mental note to not only strangle the pony handling the horn, but to bury him ten feet under.

“Somepony’s sooooo going to get it.” She muttered.

Chrome was panting heavily. He had spent most of his energy already, and yet they were still a point behind and three points away from winning. Gliding beside Lightningstreak and Dark Jet, the three of them surveyed the ‘battlefield’.

The Year Threes were branched out evenly, and they had taken advantage of it. Using swift transitioning of formations, they had overwhelmed the outnumbered Year Threes at the areas they had broken through. However, the Year Threes had quickly learnt from their mistakes and had purposely allowed them to pass unhindered. By the time Tallsign and company had retrieved the flag. The Year Three’s had their reinforcements arrived and was able to delay Tallsign long enough for their own team to retrieve their flag. Which was what was happening now.

“Chrome,” Dark Jet panted, “any ideas?”

“We need something unexpected,” replied Chrome, “if we could just break their concentration for a while when they were grouping up, maybe we could buy Tallsign some time to retrieve the flag.”

“Something unexpected…” muttered Dark Jet, as he could see Tallsign clench the flag between his teeth while looking carefully at the Year Threes circling overhead, “I think I got an idea.”

Without warning, Dark Jet suddenly dropped into a steep dive. Gasping at the foolishness, Chrome could barely form his surprise from words when he heard Dark Jet scream over the ear speaker.

“TALLSIGN,” Chrome flinched at the volume, “FLY TOWARDS ME!!! I’M OPENING A PATH!!!”

Before Chrome’s astonished eyes, he saw the most idiotic scene in his life. Dark Jet and Tallsign were charging at each other at top-notch speed, on a collision course. The Year Three’s however were caught purely by surprise and quickly scattered away from the two. However, at the last moment, Dark Jet swerved off at the last moment. Tallsign, unimpeded, continued his path towards the tower.

The Year Threes, recognizing the ploy, quickly recovered. However, they were to late, for Tallsign was quite a distance away while Chrome and Lightning were between them.

Facing the rising group of Year Threes, Chrome quickly hurled himself amongst them, Lightningstreak right behind them. Breaking their momentum, Chrome could only smirk as some of them attempted to renew their charge.

It was in vain.

The horn blared to sound the end of this round, with the commentator screaming.


Smiling at the commentary, Chrome probed his ear speaker.

“Nice work, Dark Jet,” He began, “you make a nice commander. Any ideas on how to keep up our progress?”

No response.

“Dark Jet?” Asked Chrome, beginning to panic as he heard his teammates calling out as well but not receiving any replies.

“Ouch,” Sounded the voice of the Commentator, “it appears that the pony who pulled of that stunt got a wing dislocated. It’s not a serious wound, but he won’t be flying for a while!”

“What?” Said Cloudaxe disbelievingly, “Hey Dark Jet, this ain’t no joke!”

“Heh… Sorry guys,” Replied Dark Jet’s voice, tinged with pain, “went slightly overboard down there.”

“Hey!” Protested Chrome, “We can’t go on without you! All of our formations were made with you coordinating our movements!”

“Well… you can… coordinate them right?”

“WHAT?” Echoed eight voices at once.

“I’m not joking…”

“Why me?” Questioned Chrome, “Tallsign is a better choice!”

“Shut up, Chrome!” Sighed Dark Jet, “If you really want to make friends, how about you help them out this time?”

“What do yo-“ Chrome started in shock when Dark Jet interrupted him.

“Just give it a try…”

“We don’t have much time,” pointed Tallsign. “Hurry up, please?”

“O-Okay,” relented Chrome, “I’ll do it… just this one time…”

“Thanks,” panted Dark Jet, “just need to lie back, this pain is killing me…”

“So now what?” Asked Lightningstreak, gliding beside Chrome, “ what do we do?”

Slightly irritated at the fact that the Class was now relying upon him, it took much of Chrome’s willpower to push back his frustration. Eyes surveying the situation before him, he was surprised to find himself unusually calm. In fact, it felt so natural that it was unusual. Putting such thoughts to the back of his head, he surveyed the scenario and quickly formulated a plan.

“Okay,” He spoke up, “I got an idea, listen up.”

“That was quite a setback, losing a teammate for a point.” Commented Glitterdraw, “in fact, I do think that it would be quite rough for the Year Twos this time round. After all, they are not only dealing with nine Pegasi older than them, but now they are one team member short, what are the odds-“

This time Glitterdraw really cursed, the blaring horn fortunately obscuring her really colorful words. The audience, oblivious to her plight, rose in an uproar as the two teams started their flight. When it was suddenly cut short by a collective gasp. Eyes still glaring furiously at the Earth pony in charge of the horn, Glitterdraw reluctantly turned her eyes to see what caused such a reaction.

“What the-“ She began before being struck silent at the scene.

The Year Twos had split into two distinct groups, but the sizes of both groups were weird. A group of four hovered around the Year Three’s tower while three headed for their own flag. Their final member stayed where he was, at their own tower.

“WHAT IN THE HAY!” Glitterdraw repeated, “looks like the Year Twos had forsaken their usage of formations and are going for something new this time round!”

She looked on in bewilderment as the one of the three Pegasi swooped down to pick up their red flag. The moment she did, the yellow took off at top-notch speed, while her two teammates swooped down in a similar manner as what their injured pal did last round.

The Year Threes however, had learned from their mistakes too. All of the Pegasi sped after the lone rising filly, paying no heed to the two who sped down.

The crowd rose into a frenzied state of excitement. Even Glitterdraw was amazed at what happened, rubbing her eyes in disbelief. The mare being obstructed threw the flag at her comrades, who were gliding in a line, before any of the Year Threes managed to get in the way. The grey colt in front grabbed the flag and tossed it to his friend behind, when the MOST UNEXPECTED STUNT MOVE WAS PERFORMED.

As soon as the second Pegasi grabbed the flag, the light green Pegasus twisted in mid air while his companion in front spread his wings and slowed down drastically. When one thought they would collide, the light green Pegasus used the grey Pegasus as an obstacle to push off in the opposite direction back towards the tower.

It was really incredible, and Glitterdraw knew she was not seeing things; the way the crowd was acting right now. Over the cheering crowd, Glitterdraw voiced her thoughts.


Chrome ignored the words of the Commentator as he dashed straight for he score. Like a green blade befitting his given name, Chrome Windcutter sliced through the air at an incredible speed.

His wings ached like never before, in fact, he could feel the wing muscles straining as they tried to move as he wishes.

‘Just a little more,’ thought Chrome, ‘I’m almost there!’

Sparing a glance behind, Chrome could see the forms of the Year Threes approaching. In fact, he could tell that Arrowhead, a red Pegasi who he had competed against before, catching up rather quickly.

‘That’s impossible!’ thought Chrome, ‘Arrowhead’s slower than me!’

That was when Chrome realized, it’s not Arrowhead who was moving at a faster pace than him. He was getting slower.

Then he caught sight of a blue Pegasi waiting some distance away. Making up his mind, Chrome made an extra burst of speed right before hurling the Red Flag at the hovering Rain Wake.

“Rain Wake!” He called through the ear speaker, “Take it!”

Spreading his wings out, Chrome twisted around and headed for a collision with Arrowhead.

Chrome could see the look of surprise on the Red Pegasus’ face as he tried to slow down.

“What the-“ was all Arrowhead got to say right before Chrome slammed into him.

Chrome could not really make out what happened next. First was a spinning sky as the impact carried him and Arrowhead out of balance. Then, he only had in time to register an impact to his face.

And all went black.

“HE DID WHAT?” Screamed Cloudwalker’s voice from the phone. Rearsweep wincing at its volume.

Rearsweep was standing in the hospital lobby, a clean colorful place, and was sure glad that Cloudwalker wasn’t here right now. The scene she would cause would lead her to be banned from entering a hospital ever again.

In fact, this was the part she dreaded the most. She never liked to inform parents of their children’s, if only temporary, stay in the hospital.

“Sorry, Miss Cloudwalker,” sighed Rearsweep, “but his stay is only temporary, at least until the doctor recognizes that he is capable of returning to the institution.”

“Alright, but the event?” Demanded Cloudwalker over the phone, “who won?”

“Oh…” Rearsweep hesitated; knowing telling the truth would not be the wisest choice but decided to do it either way. “The Year Twos lost due missing two members. The principal was kind enough to prevent their puni-“

A loud scream of anger and rage over the phone caused Rearsweep to pull away from it for fear of going deaf. After awhile, she returned to it, where Cloudwalker had continued her rant without noticing Rearsweep’s absence.

“-st? Really? I told him to go there and be safe! Maybe do something outstanding! But what did he do? Go and get himself landed on the sick bed and FAILED to even win a simple event? What in the hay-“

It took her a full ten minutes to calm down, and another five when Rearsweep deemed it safe to start talking.

“Well,” Coughed Rearsweep, “He did make some new friends…”

“New friends?”

“Yeah,” affirmed Rearsweep, “ever since the event, he had been hanging out with his classmates more ofte-“


“Uuuh, Miss Cloudwalker, I’m sure there wou-“ began Rearsweep when she was cut off by Cloudwalker again.


Rearsweep sighed as she continued listening to the enraged Cloudwalker, debating silently whether to break this new development with Chrome right now.

‘Nah,’ Winced Rearsweep as Cloudwalker hit a high pitch over the phone, ‘best to let him enjoy the atmosphere with his new friends right now…’


“Mrs. Rearsweep?” Muttered Jump Pack, causing to be startled out of her nostalgia.

“Yes?” Rearsweep replied, slightly disgruntled that she had been caught dreaming.

“Nothing, you just look quite weird. I mean… you were smiling.”

“Oh…” Smiled Rearsweep, “it’s nothing, just remembering the good old days…”

“I see,” nodded Jump Pack in affirmation, “no days like the old days… By the way do you remember…”

Listening to Jump Pack distractedly, Rearsweep raised her eyes to the stars. Ever since her blast to the past, she had remembered a student who she never quite knew what became of him. She had no cause to worry, but… that’s why she’s worried for him.

‘Chrome…’ She thought, ‘Where are you, Chrome?’

“Brother Lueur…”

Lueur sat up on his pedestal in the great hall of is fortress reluctantly. He hated these sorts of visits, after all.

Eyes gazing over to the crystalline walls of his great hall, Lueur made out a shape of solid light slowly seeping from it. Seeping through to form a Pony of pure light.

“Sister…” Lueur sighed, “What is it now?”

There was nothing blood-related between them. It’s just how the Stellal race refers to each other. They always start with an honorific, and the name was only bestowed upon those who gained that honor.

“Brother,” spoke the mare of light, in a tone as noble as she looks, “Is it ready?”

“Preparations are in place,” replied Lueur, “You all will descend, and Father shall return.”

“What about mother?” Hissed another, the sinister tone a stark contrast to the mare of light’s pure, innocent speech. “Sssshe will be freed too?”

A whirlpool of shadows seeped in from the black crystalline doors. As it approaches the duo, it began to take the form of a pony composed of pure darkness.

“Yes, Sinistra,” smiled Lueur, “so would mother.”

He had always enjoyed the Umbral’s company more than his own race. They weren’t that uptight about rules, for one. And had names, for another.

“Good…” hissed Sinistra, his form weaving in and out inconsistently.

“Is this really necessary?” Asked the Stellal, “working with these scions of shadows?”

“Sombra failed to free them alone,” pointed out Lueur, “which proves that the Umbral’s powers alone were not enough against the combined might of the princesses.”

“Yes,” snorted the light mare, “but we are the light!”

“Forget our past conflicts, Sister,” Said Lueur, “we have fought the Umbral race in the ancient times. Their strength is about equal to ours. If Sombra failed alone, I would not take that chance.”

“Yessss” hissed Sinistra, “Ssssombra wassss unfortunately too weak to face the princessssessss.”

“No, he was not,” corrected Lueur, “he just did not have the backing of the Mother Shadow. I, however, had secured both the powers of Father Light and Mother Shadow. My plan would not fail, not like Sombra did.”

His form slowly becoming one of dancing light and darkness, Lueur smiled as he continued.

“I am the first to hold both their powers, and I had demonstrated the rewards that can be reaped!” He intoned, “Darkness had covered where I wish it, light shines upon where I desire it to be!”

“Our races had conflicted since ancient times!” He continued, “but no more… Soon! The shadows will rise to the sky from the ground whence they were imprisoned! The stars will fall from the skies that enchained them to the ground!”

Looking at the forms of his Sister and Sinistra, Lueur smiled.

“There’s no need for anymore conflict then. Father and Mother will be brought forth! And our utopia will be created!”


Past 3: Coverless Book

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Sometimes, a book need not be judged by its cover, because it has none...

Past 3

Coverless Book


Imminent conflict in the far north, where the Crystal Kingdom resides had caused much distress throughout Equestria. News were rife throughout the continent that an Ancient Enemy had been reawakened and had taken over the Crystal Kingdom, one of Equestria’s most prominent Allies.

What made it worst was that for the first time in a long time, the full might of Equestria’s military had been mobilized to deal with the threat. Rumors and reasons for the sudden decision to mobilize the whole of the Royal Equestrian Army had been the most popular topic for gossip. Many spoke that the enemy had an army to oppose the forces of Equestria. Others reasoned that the populace of the Crystal Kingdom were scattered into the Frozen North, a range of mountains plagued by blizzards. Then there were the rumors that the princesses themselves were incapable of dealing with this new threat themselves, that this new enemy was far more powerful than any other met before.

However, in the town of Ponyville, one Pegasi knew what was false, and which was true.

On the outskirts of Ponyville, a cottage lay basked in the glow of the moonlight. It was a simple, quaint place, like a typical countryside house. It was a two-story building that consists of roughly five rooms. Straw roofing, wooden walls, a yard that contains henhouses and other dwellings for little animals. A chimney rose from the roof, yet no smoke flowed from it, for no fire burns within the fireplace.

Inside the cottage, darkness covers most of its features. What furniture and decorations illuminated by the blue moonlight only served to add to the gloom that hung within the house. Within the living room, a lone figure sat upon a straw sofa. A female Pegasus, whose eyes were gentle, yet tarnished by a growing sadness. Her coat and hair shone gray within the light of the night.

She lay upon the sofa, a photo book open before her, and a bunny, his fur bright silver in the moonlight, lay beside her, fast asleep. However, she paid him no heed, her eyes focused upon the pictures of days past, times that she had cherished, and wished had continued.

“Fluttershy,” whispered a voice, “Are you alright?”

The Pegasus barely replied to the question, not even sparing the one who asked it a look. He did not blame her, however, after all, he knows of her grief, her pain…

From within the shadows, a creature that looked as though he was made up of many others stepped forth to be illuminated in the moonlight. A horse head, which was adorned by a deer’s antler and goat’s horn, was attached to a dragon-like body. For forelimbs, it has the paw of the lion and a claw of an eagle. For hind legs it has a hoof of a goat and the leg of a lizard. Sporting a tail of a lizard, which ends with a white tuft of hair, a wing of a Pegasi and a bat lay folded to its back. Red eyes that were normally jovial now carry concern; the white bushy eyebrows and beard making the creature look several years older.

His name was Discord, a Draconequus and the spirit of Disharmony.

“Fluttershy,” Discord repeated, “why? Why so much grief?”

For a while, he thought that Fluttershy would not answer, and that this attempt would be the same as the last few hours. That was when the Pegasus looked up at him, her tear-stained visage feeling his sight.

“It’s because of this,” Fluttershy whispered, a sound that spoke of great grief and loss, as she indicated the book with her hoof. “Do you know what this is, Discord?”

“A photo book,” Discord replied.

“And what does a photo book hold?”


“No,” corrected Fluttershy gently, “memories.”

“What is he to you?” Asked Discord, “what is Chrome Windcutter to you? To both of you?”

“He…” hesitated Fluttershy, “he’s my first friend.”

Taking a seat upon the floor, Discord smiled at his friend. One of the rare times where Discord was not fooling about.

“Tell me, Fluttershy, tell me all about him. Maybe I’ll understand.”

A sad smile upon her face, Fluttershy obliged her friend.

“This here,” She said, indicating a photo within the book, “is of our class at Miss Cloudwalker’s school… Then this one…”

Slowly, as Fluttershy recounted the events of her past to her companion, she began to remember. Remember the times past; recall the moments shared, and happiness that came with them. Above all, she remembers the reasons why those times were cherished.

And what was lost with the passing of time…

Nine years ago.

“It’s quite chilly, no?” Shivered Dark Jet, a dark red Pegasi foal, as he draws the scarf around his neck tighter while gazing out at the city from the front oaken doors of the brick red skyscraper that was the Flight Protégé Institution.

The morning was perfect, a cool breeze blows gently over the skyscrapers that look as though they wished to climb for the sky. However, where one would had been prepared to laze within their cozy homes on such a lazy morning, the situation seemed otherwise.

The city was preparing for winter, in the streets, trees stood bare as their brown dying leaves were collected by ponies who were all dressed up for the chilly weather. The city mood was festive, as its population chatted and shared various tales while they prepared for the incoming season.


Even now as the city was busy preparing for winter. The mobile city of the clouds, Cloudsdale was within sights. It was such a magnificent sight, a city created solely out of white cloudmass, rivers of rainbow liquid flowing within its Weather Factory, while white smoke was pumped out of its chimneys. Slowly, but surely, the City of Clouds made its way towards Fillydelphia.

Dark Jet could not help but feel a pang of sadness at what’s about to happen. After all, it was winter holidays, and that meant that everypony was about to get together with their families.

Worse part? They were spread throughout all of Equestria.

It was worse than last time too. Last year, when the bunch of them were only first years, the class wasn’t as bonded to actually miss each other. This year, on the other hoof, he was already feeling the ache. His parents from Manehatten were on their way, which was a good thing, just that he had to see others off first.

Meaning that he had to endure the aching of seeing his classmates off one after another.

“You sure are edgy,” muttered a voice beside him.

“You are one to talk,” retorted Dark Jet as he turned to face the speaker, “at least you get to go off first.”

Chrome Windcutter, a light green Pegasus foal with light blue hair and silver eyes, stood before him with a slight twinkle within his eyes, suggesting a playful nature. Seriously though, Dark Jet would never forget the change that overcame Chrome in just a matter of days. Just months ago, Chrome was definitely the most antisocial pony that anypony would ever know of. However, with a bit of egging from Dark Jet, Chrome had managed to display his skill at planning and flying, quickly gaining popularity among his classmates. In a matter of days, almost everypony had forgotten the old morbid Chrome as they beheld the, lighthearted, if not quite solemn, Pegasus before them.

Though somehow, Chrome still seemed distant to the class, though that could be just him being over sensitive, admitted Dark Jet to himself.

“Well,” shrugged Chrome as he turned his eyes towards the moving city of cloudmass, which was currently hanging at the edge of the city, “I suppose I’ll meet you next year?”

“We’ll see him next year,” corrected a yellow Pegasus filly who had just pushed open the oaken doors, entering the outside world. A grey staunchly built Pegasus colt who towered over both Dark Jet and Chrome followed her.

“Lightningstreak, Tallsign, nice to see you up at last,” smiled Dark Jet, “how long did it take to get Tallsign to finish his breakfast at the cafeteria?”

“About five minutes and thirty-five seconds,” replied the yellow filly, “he’s gotten sloppy.”

“Hey!” Protested Tallsign, “I was half asleep! How do expect me to finish sixteen hayburgers in such a situation?”

“I guess that makes thirty-one to twenty-eight in Dark Jet’s favor,” added Chrome, “watch out, the gap’s getting wider.”

“Anyway,” snorted Tallsign, “are they coming down yet? I really wish that we could just fly up there.”

“And you know why that’s not allowed.” Stated a black Pegasus mare dressed in prim blue uniform, emitting one of those no-nonsense auras. “We don’t want you to mess up the winter preparations by accident.”

“Captain Rearsweep!” Saluted the four foals present.

“Yes, yes,” muttered Rearsweep as she returned the salute, “at ease.”

“I just can’t wait for them to arrive though,” continued Tallsign. “It’s just so boring in here-“

“CHROME WINDCUTTER!!!!” Screamed a voice, the suddenness of the event startling everypony present.

As the five Pegasus turned to look, they could spot an azure coat Pegasi flying down to them, her red mane streaming behind her as she dashed down.

“Uuuuh… Captain Rearsweep? Why does my mom look so mad? At me?” Asked Chrome Windcutter worriedly.

“Well, it’s just that she had been quite angry at you for… not telling her some stuff,” chuckled Rearsweep awkwardly, in fact, she had totally forgot to inform Chrome about this particular incident.

“CHROME WINDCUTTER!” Yelled the azure Pegasus as she landed, “COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!”

Scampering down the steps, Chrome quickly dashed over to her, his four companions following, for various other reasons.

“Now, Cloudwalker,” chided Rearsweep, “it will not do to shout in the morning-“ biting her tongue as the azure Pegasus shot her a frosty glare.

Turning her gaze back to the trembling green foal before her, Cloudwalker’s eyes narrowing in pure fury.

“Chrome Windcutter,” She began in a very STRONGLY controlled volume, “do you have any idea how disappointed I am in you?”

Silence met her answer.

“I said, do you have any idea how disappointed I am in you?”

“Very?” replied Chrome weakly.


“Cloudwalker,” winced Rearsweep at the volume of the blast, “perhaps somewhere else? This is the public, you know?”

Another glare was shot at her, silencing her immediately. However, this time, Cloudwalker nodded.

“Very well,” Agreed Cloudwalker, “I’ll carry out the lecture at home. Chrome, you are following me. Tallsign, Lightningstreak, your parents are coming soon, so just wait for them here.”

Without waiting for a reply, Cloudwalker took off, followed by a very terrified Chrome, who whispered a quick goodbye before soaring off.

The group of Pegasus stood there in daze, amazed at the escalation of events. Silence flowed over the area, only to be broken by Tallsign.

“Well… I take back what I said. It’s not that boring now…”

Dark Jet could not decide to laugh or shake his head as he watched his friend flapping away.

One week later

Sirens blared as the city of clouds above Fillydelphia signaled to all ponies within a mile of its departure. As the mobile cloud city began to take its leave, one could see the hundreds gathered upon the city’s edge as they waved goodbye to those below.

In fact, it was a beautiful sight. A city covered in white snow while hundreds were gathered on the tallest skyscrapers as they bid farewell to those who had brought winter to them. Snow floated down from the morning sky, creating a lighthearted feeling as the city of clouds began its move to bring winter to elsewhere in Equestria.

The town of Ponyville.

As the city of Cloudsdale drew further from Fillydelphia, the crowds gathered upon the edge of the city began to scatter, returning to their normal lives. Many did so in groups, each chattering to each other as they began preparations for their next location.

“We did nicely this time, no?” Laughed one to his companion.

“I believe that was the fastest time we covered Fillydelphia yet!” Boasted a mare to her friend.

“Hope we get those water tanks filled,” Fretted a third, “We are going to need a lot more for snow production.”

“Anypony seen Cloudwalker about?” Asked one.

“She should be at the control room helping out,” replied another Pegasus, giggling at the thought, “said something about needing to help out as she was too busy lecturing her kid.”

“Well, the week just ended, so he’s not grounded anymore,” laughed the one who asked. “Wonder what that little chap is up to now…”

“I am so never going to lie to her again,” muttered Chrome, as he paced along the streets of cloudmass gingerly. His hooves pressing against the white dense clouds that made up the floor. Buildings of various designs loomed on both sides of him, though Chrome had no interest in the designs of white cloudmass at the moment.

One week ago, he apparently discovered that Cloudwalker had discovered his deception, that he had been lying to her that he was on excellent terms with his classmates at Flight Protégé Institution, which was only true by effect of four months ago. Needless to say, his mom was extremely furious by the fact that he lied, leading to an half hour long lecture, which he was grateful for not going deaf in, and grounding him to stay at home for a week, not really a bad thing, considering that their home was actually a schoolhouse.

Problem was that his classmates kept popping by and dropping him visits, adding to his growing pool of envy that they were actually allowed to help with the preparations while he was stuck at home.

“At least I got to spend the last day with them,” reasoned Chrome aloud, “so that’s not a lost cause.”

Ears picking up a slight rustle behind him, Chrome heaved a sigh. After going through the exact same scenario last year, he could not be expected to not know what’s up. Turning about, Chrome faced the empty streets.

“Okay Fluttershy,” He called, “I know you’re there, come on out.”

Silence met his answer.

“Fluttershy, you did the exact same thing last year,” Continued Chrome exasperatedly, “You can’t really expect me to not know that you’re there?”

He could still remember how it happened last year’s winter holidays. Apparently, when he returned, Fluttershy had secretly been avoiding while following him. Needless to say, Chrome eventually discovered her ploys and managed to coax her out. After a series of untroubled events, Chrome eventually learned that Fluttershy was still as insecure as she had always been but was just glad to see him again, though not knowing how to apologize for not seeing him off.

‘It’s pretty much the same thing this year,’ thought Chrome as he continued calling for his friend to show herself.

“Um… Chrome,” Whispered a soft voice behind him.

“Wait a moment please,” replied Chrome without turning to look at the speaker, “I’m trying to-“

Cutting himself short, Chrome blinked a couple of times as he registered the familiar voice. “You standing right behind me, right? Fluttershy?”

“Uh-huh,” agreed the soft voice.

Turning around, Chrome beheld a yellow Pegasus foal with pink curly mane, a single strand running down her face, conveniently covering one of her eyes and giving her that ‘super shy look’, which fits her personality. Additionally, Chrome noticed that Fluttershy had received her cutie mark, a trio of pink butterflies, what ever that means.

“So,” began Chrome awkwardly, “how’s life?”

“Quite good,” admitted Fluttershy, her voice a tad more confident than Chrome felt she was a year ago. “Um….” *Mutters something*

There she goes again, Chrome almost facehoofed in exasperation but stopped himself. WHY COULDN’T FLUTTERSHY EVER SPEAK AUDIBLY? IT’S SO INFURIATIN-

“Um… Pardon?” Chrome asked, his voice a total contrast to what’s in his mind right now, “didn’t quite catch that.”

“How about you?” Whispered Fluttershy, Chrome barely catching the words.

“Oh me?” Smiled Chrome, despite what’s screaming within his head right now, “I’m doing fine, had a nice-“

WHAM! Before Chrome realized it, he was cut off by a sudden impact to his flank. The force behind the blow knocking Chrome clean off his feet, sending him tumbling into a wall of Cloudmass, which conveniently cushions the blow.

“Take that!” Yelled a scratchy voice, definitely female, as Chrome shook his head to clear the dizziness from the impact. “Nopony bullies Fluttershy and gets away with it!”

“Um… Rainbow, it’s-“

“Careful, Fluttershy! Looks like he’s recovering! Maybe I didn’t hit him hard enough?”

Wincing, Chrome got on his feet, glaring at the cyan Pegasus filly whose hair looks as though it had went for a swim in the rainbow rivers of Cloudsdale. A cutie mark of a cloud with a tri-colored lightning bolt shone from her flank. The filly, however, met his gaze with an indignant stare of her own.

“Okay bozo!” Started the filly, “If you think that bullying Fluttershy here would be a coooool thing to do, you might wanna think again, cause nopony bullies Rainbow Dash’s friends and gets away with it!”

“Rainbow Dash, huh?” Returned Chrome frostily, who definitely had not taken the hit well and failing to register the last part of what Rainbow Dash said as his anger started to boil out of control. “More like Rainbow Crash, the way your hair looks tells me you often do emergency landings in Cloudsdale’s rainbow rivers.”

“Crash?” Bristled Rainbow, “Excuse me, I’m the best flier in all of Cloudsdale! Or going to be, but that’s not the point! I most absolutely do not crash!”

“Oh yeah?” Smirked Chrome, “and I wonder how does not crashing makes you the best flier on all of Cloudsdale?”

“Listen pal,” smiled Rainbow, puffing out her chest, “I’m the only Pegasus in all of Cloudsdale to perform a Sonic Rainboom! That naturally makes me among the elite in Cloudsdale!”

Chrome stared for a second as he registered what the filly had said.

A beat.

That was as long as Chrome could hold it. Legs going weak with hilarity, Chrome dropped to the floor like a rock, a torrent of laughter bursting forth from his throat.

“Hey! What’s so funny?” Snapped Rainbow, annoyed by Chrome’s reaction, “stop laughing!”

Chrome, however was oblivious to what she said, rolling about as he chortled. Rainbow, unable to stand it anymore, opened her wings, a murderous look in her eyes.

“I said STOP LAUGHING!” She yelled, diving at Chrome. However, this time he was prepared for her, and quickly leapt to his hooves and making a quick last-minute dodge.

As Rainbow skidded to a halt, it was her turn for a frosty glare, one that Chrome totally ignored.

“So…” snickered Chrome, “you performed a Sonic Rainboom?”

“Darn right I did!”

“Impossible,” interjected Chrome.

“What did you say?”

“If you could perform a Sonic Rainboom,” grinned Chrome, “you would had been accepted into any of Equestria’s best Flightschools and would had been the talk of all Pegasi in Equestria. The fact that you were not proves it.”

“What?” Snapped Rainbow indignantly, “who needs to prove that I did not perform a Sonic Rainboom! I did it! Even Fluttershy saw it, right?”

“Um…” mutters something inaudible

“Fluttershy,” Said Rainbow, rolling her eyes, “You need to speak up!”

“Well,” Smiled Chrome, “How about you prove it to me?”

“Oh?” Grinned Rainbow, walking up and pressing her forehead against Chrome’s, “Is that a challenge?”

“If it is?”

“Then I’ll take you on!” She grinned sinisterly, “Let’s race it out at the arena!”

“The obstacle course?” Questioned Chrome, despite knowing that he had asked her to perform a Sonic Rainboom, Maybe this would be better, “alright then.”

As both foals spread their wings and rushed off, neither of them realized that they left a friend coughing in the clouds they threw up.

“Um…” Muttered Fluttershy, “this isn’t going to end well, right?”

“We’re doing the same requirements to be admitted into the Flightschools, minus the cloud busting,” Said Chrome, “that okay with you?”

“Yeah, yeah,” replied Rainbow Dash confidently, “when are you going to stop yapping and start flapping?”

Purposefully ignoring the jibe, Chrome returned his gaze to the obstacle course.

He really missed this place. In fact, he could still remember the first time he flew seriously here. An incredibly large cloudmass served to be the floor, and the three infamous obstacle of the course. The Columns, pillars of clouds that had only one purpose to serve, which was to block your way. The Mist River, a sea of fog serving as a test of endurance and balance while taking away your sight so long you were within. Finally, the Bubble Field, as innocently looking as bubbles could be, but packing a punch when one flies too close.

“Um…” said Fluttershy before muttering something her friends could not hear.

“Speak up, Fluttershy…” Said Chrome and Rainbow simultaneously before glaring daggers at each other.

“Okay…” Replied Fluttershy before raising a hoof.


The two foals at the starting line went tense as they prepared to push off.

“Get set…”

Wings cracked as they were flexed, glaring eyes were turned upon the tracks as the contestant put aside their differences.

Only the race matters now.

They did not even hear Fluttershy speak, hooves pushing off as the umpire’s hoof descended.

It happened so slowly, yet so fast. All Chrome could remember seeing was a quick flash of cyan as Rainbow Dash darted forward in an incredible show of speed. Sparing only a second to gaze in surprise, Chrome poured his strength into his wings as he attempted to catch up. Slowly but surely, he inched forward, when Rainbow Dash suddenly braked and dived to the side.

Swerving quickly, Chrome narrowly dodged the pillar that Rainbow led him to.

‘Fool!’ He chided himself, ‘Don’t bother about beating her, just care about defeating the course first!’

Repeating Captain Rearsweep’s advice to him, Chrome’s mind entered a state of calculation.

‘She has speed,’ He thought to himself while casually dodging the cloud pillars as he kept an analytical eye upon the blur that was Rainbow Dash, ‘however, she has next to no control over it. In a race of speed, she’ll definitely win, however, this is no race of speed alone.’

After all, courses requiring control over balance were Chrome’s specialty back in Flight Protégé Institution, and obstacle courses require just that.

This race was his.

Fluttershy felt a pang of nostalgia as she beheld the scene before her.

It was exactly two years ago, when she witnessed Chrome Windcutter taking on the exact same Obstacle Course. However, something felt different this time round.

The last time she saw him took flight, she could only feel a desire to prove himself, this time, however, she could feel a sense of lightheartedness in the way he executed his moves. Happiness, even.

“He got what he wanted, right?” Whispered Fluttershy to herself.

She never gave much thought to it, however, now that she had received her cutie mark and had seen Chrome. She finally understood why she stuck around him.

Chrome was like a critter then, confused, unsure how to communicate with those around him. She was drawn by his eyes especially, eyes that screams for companionship but knows not how to achieve it.

Fluttershy could only smile as she beheld her friend taking upon the obstacle course. How could she not?

After all, her friend had changed, for the better.

Chrome burst forth from the River Mist, not even breaking in speed while within it. His control over his balance had improved so much under the intense training at Flight Protégé Institution that just controlling his balance and speed in any situation was second nature to him.

Even now, the water droplets from flying in River Mist that had caused him so much trouble during the entry exam barely hindered him.

Feeling a slight prickle on his neck, Chrome quickly drew aside as a cyan blur sped past him once again. However, despite the show of speed demonstrated by Rainbow Dash, Chrome remained confident in his victory.

‘After all,’ Chrome noted, ‘from what I’d seen so far, she had a habit of flying too fast and just braking in front of an obstacle, losing the momentum of the flight.’

Oh, he just loves the feeling of being in control; Chrome chuckled as he plunged into the Bubble Field after Rainbow.

Everything occurred within his expectations; Rainbow had started using small bursts of speed, losing her momentum as she skidded to a stop before every bubble she encountered.

Rolling out of the way before another bubble, Chrome continued his path without a break in speed. Flapping his wings, Chrome swerved out of another within an inch of him in what Captain Rearsweep would deem a ‘sloppy dodge’.

Not that Chrome actually cares; he was confident of his win.

Before long, he had completely overtaken Rainbow, sparing her slight smile as he sped past her.

Rainbow Dash was having an exceptionally hard time with the obstacle course.

“There are just too many things in the way!” She complained as she stopped before another bubble three times the size of her before soaring above it.

Not to mention she had just been completely overtaken by that colt- what was his name again? - Who had been bullying Fluttershy.

After all, everypony in Cloudsdale, except for her, bullies Fluttershy! So, it’s up to Rainbow to stop them!

“I gotta win!” Fumed Rainbow as she slowed down to a brake just inches before another bubble in her way. “For Fluttershy!”

Regardless, she could not help but hold some admiration for the colt, after all, despite the fact that that green Pegasus was a lot slower than her, he was capable of CASUALLY clearing each of the obstacles with ease. How awesome was that? Somepony actually treating Cloudsdale Racecourse like a playground.

“I need some tips from this pal after he promises not to bully Fluttershy,” muttered Rainbow Dash grudgingly.

“What’s up, Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy almost leapt up ten feet into the air at the unexpected greeting. Turning about, she came face to face with a grey colt who looked at her with a bemused expression.

“Tallsign?” Whispered Fluttershy.

“The one and only,” responded the grey colt proudly; puffing his chest out, only for his head to fall forward as Fluttershy muttered something he could not quite catch.


“Um… What are you doing here?”

“Well,” replied Tallsign, “Me and a bunch of fellas from the old Flightschool just so happen to see Chrome heading for this place, so we decided to tag along.”

As he spoke, Tallsign indicated behind him with a wing. Looking past his figure, Fluttershy could spot a crowd, or more accurately, her class from Flightschool. Cringing slightly at the excited crowd, she hardly registered Tallsign’s words.

“By the way,” Tallsign sounded surprised, “who’s that racing Chrome?”

‘Just how much energy does that Rainbow Dash have?’ Cursed Chrome as he sped along the curve on the way back to the starting line. He had managed to clear the bubble field way before Rainbow did so, and had gotten a good lead on her.

A lead that was rapidly shrinking as soon as Rainbow was clear of the obstacle course.

The filly was at full speed right now, in fact, all confidence that Chrome had before had completely evaporated as he shot quick glances at the blue bolt speeding towards him.

Wind rushing past his face, Chrome strained his wings as he had often done at the monthly school events. Feeling the adrenaline pumping through him, he eliminated all other desires within him at the moment.

He just wants to win.

It doesn’t matter why.

He just wants to win.

Doing his best wasn’t enough.

He just wants to WIN.

Putting on an extra burst of speed, Chrome sped up towards the finishing line, completely ignorant of the cyan lightning bolt catching up to him.

Just a little more…

Five meters away…

Rainbow’s nose was level with his wings…


Almost neck to neck….


Now almost level with him…


A little bit more…


Speeding past the finishing line, Chrome almost lost his balance as he skidded to a stop. Panting heavily as the adrenaline accumulated from the race began to fade, it took him a while to register faint cheering from the distance.

It was his old classmates from Cloudwalker’s Flightschool.

“Looks like we put on… a good show,” wheezed an exhausted voice behind him.

“Show?” Asked Chrome, not bothering to turn about.

“Duh…” Heaved Rainbow sarcastically, “Can’t you see them cheering?”

It was something about her voice, THAT JUST PISSES HIM OFF. Relatively annoyed, Chrome turned about, ready to utter a retort when somepony else interrupted.

“Nicely done! That was great racing, Chrome!”

‘Oh great,’ realized Chrome, ‘it’s him…’

Turning about, he came face to face with his classmate from Flight Protégé Institution, Tallsign. A grey coat with a great sense of ego, which often clash with Chrome’s, ALL THE WHILE REMAINING OBLIVIOUS TO THE CONFLICT...

The grey coat had trotted over, with Fluttershy and a group of Pegasi fillies behind him, all muttering excitedly about whatever made them excited.

“Tallsign,” Greeted Chrome reluctantly, “what’re you doing here?”

‘Oblivious as usual,’ Thought Chrome, as Tallsign walked straight up and gave him a winning smile despite Chrome’s OBVIOUS display of coldness.

“Well,” laughed Tallsign, “We just saw you speeding to the Racecourse and Fluttershy following you after quite a long while. So we got curious…”

“And decided to follow,” panted Chrome lazily, “also, don’t you have to go and help out at your father’s wor-“

“Before we go there,” interrupted Rainbow Dash, “who won?”

“Um…” Whispered Fluttershy, who somehow silenced the deafening chatter with a WHISPER. “Chrome did, by a nose.”

“WHA-“ Rainbow started to protest, before Tallsign cut her off.

“Oh yeah, so the two of you managed to catch up with each other like old pals?”

“Yup,” replied Chrome, “Sorta…”

“Wait a second,” Blinked Rainbow Dash, “Pals?”

“Um… I was trying to tell you, Rainbow, but you woul-“

“Ooooooh, why didn’t you say so?” Laughed Rainbow, giving Chrome a friendly wink, “great race by the way.”

Chrome stood there, transfixed to the spot at the sudden change of development in the Pegasi filly.

“Wa- Wha- WHAT?”

“Chill down, pal,” Snickered Rainbow, “friend of my friend is a friend. Sorry bout the hit, but since you beat me in a race, I’ll call it even!”

Fuming, Chrome struggled to control himself from leaping over at a particular Pegasi who was deciding how everything should be ran.

“Um… Chrome?” Said Fluttershy, “Could you forgive Rainbow? She’s just trying to protect me…”

Eyes darting from the silent crowd of foals, to Tallsign, to Rainbow, to Fluttershy… Seriously, he can’t refuse under all this pressure…


A beat…

“I’m soooooo shipping the two of you together,” snickered Rainbow.

Another week later…

“This is soooo booooooooring…” yawned Rainbow as she trekked along a snow covered pathway.

Chrome had to agree with her, compared to what had happened in the last week: helping the adults set up winter in Ponyville, Rainbow Dash pestering him for some tips on agility non-stop once she heard that he achieved constant full marks for balance in class, having to race Rainbow Dash four times at least every day of the week and proceeded to lose to her continuously after she perfected her agility… and other similar stuff… Well… She’s a good flier, and friend… just that she often do things without thinking. That of which was going to make it things more difficult to achieve her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt… Plus the additional fact that to become a Wonderbolt or any other Flying Groups out there, one had to either have a job first, or secure a contract through graduation from an affiliated Flightschool: One of which was Flight Protégé Institution. I had a very satisfactory response from Rainbow at unveiling that little tidbit.

Rainbow Dash had literally screamed out in anger at hearing that. Apparently, she never bothered to read the career books given out by all the Flightschools.

“Just a little more, my aunt said it would be around here…” Said Fluttershy excitedly, which counts as excitedly as she could be… which wasn’t much…

As they moved along the road, leaving three sets of hoofprints trailing lazily behind them, Chrome started to wonder what in the hay was so important that Fluttershy had to drag them out here.

It didn’t take them long to find out what surprise she had in store for them.

A house.

A broken down, dilapidated, rusty old house. Not to mention that there was a small river flowing before it, and the entire area around it looks in need of a heck lot of gardening.

“Seriously?” Snorted Rainbow, echoing my thoughts, “THIS is what you brought us here to see?”

“Um… well,” smiled Fluttershy, “My aunt’s giving it to me…”

“Say what?” Chorused Rainbow and I simultaneously.

“Um… yeah,” laughed Fluttershy softly, “the moment she heard that I was meant to be an animal caretaker, she remembered that she had a neglected house somewhere in Ponyville. So she decided that as I really don’t like to fly, she’ll give me a house on the ground…”

“So, you brought us down here so that we could admire your birthday present?” Said Rainbow, unimpressed.

“Well,” muttered Fluttershy, “I just want to tell you that wherever you would be, I’ll always be here…”

Chrome felt a pang of regret at that statement. How could he not? After all, it was Fluttershy who dreads having her friends leave her… As evident of when he had decided to further his studies at Fillydelphia.

“Well…” Started Chrome hesitantly, “at least we’d know where to find you. So thanks for showing us your… future home?”

Fluttershy smiled awkwardly at that phrase, to which Rainbow snorted in disgust.

“It’s gonna take more than a long distance to keep us apart!” Declared Rainbow, “I mean… What are friends for?”

“Yeah,” agreed Chrome, “distance won’t keep us apart that easily, right Fluttershy?”

Beaming at the reassurance of her two friends, Fluttershy nodded.



Discord had never sat so long without cracking a joke, or pulling a prank. To be honest, this was the first time he had actually taken on the role of a listener.

He had never known this Chrome that well, only knew that he was a friend of Fluttershy, a subject of Equestria and other of those whatnot. However, as he listened, the more he knew, and the more he uncovered about why Chrome’s betrayal ran so deep.

It appears that Chrome had mattered a lot to many ponies, had been a very good friend.

Unfortunately, Discord could only draw a single feasible conclusion as to what Chrome was.

This Chrome, was a total jerk.

After all, whoever heard of a pony who would willingly throw everything away, especially his friends, without giving a single concern for their feelings.

Yup, this Chrome’s definitely a jerk…


The sneeze echoed throughout the Great Hall, causing a cold wind to rage for an instance within that enclosed area, its furious torrents whipping mercilessly against the multihued crystals that made up the walls and floors; even causing the transparent chandelier, which illuminated the room, to sway dangerously with the breeze.

Rubbing his nose, Overlord Lueur frowned at the ceiling. Displaying a look of amusement, the dark green Alicorn folded his bat wings and made for the doors.

Flinging it open, his gaze was leveled upon the guard that was stationed there at Crimson Fall’s insistence. Noticing a slight tremble of fear within the orange Dark Crystal Pony, Lueur could not help but sigh.

‘Do they have to fear me so much?’

“Your name?” Asked Lueur, his voice echoing throughout the hallway.

“Evening Grind,” replied the former Earth Pony, his armor clinking slightly as he fidgeted under his lordship’s gaze.

“Nice to meet you,” laughed Lueur, patting the guard on the shoulder with a hoof, “could you fetch Crimson Fall for me? Tell her to meet me in my bed chambers now.”

“Yessir!” Saluted the guard. Dashing off to carry out Lueur’s orders, Evening Grind only stopped as he heard his lord call out his name.

“Oh, one more thing, Evening Grind,” Called Lueur.

“Yes, Milord?” Replied the guard.

“Could you tell Crimson Fall to bring up some cold medicine? Please? I think I caught a cold...”


Present 2: Understanding Is Success Itself

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Understand yourself, and you would move forward. Understand others, and they're as good as friends. Do both, and success would be yours.

Present 2

Understanding is Success itself

Crimson Fall had panicked when her lord Lueur had went missing and she thought that that situation was bad enough. However, another situation had arisen causing her worry to blubber out of control.

Her lord Lueur… Had ordered her… to meet him in his quarters.

Crimson Fall blushed at the thought.

His quarters…

Her face flared a deep red, one far stronger than her original shade.


Unable to hold it in, Crimson Fall began hyperventilating, causing the guards in the hallway to look at her with concern.

'I’m not ready for this!' She thought, 'what do I do? WhatdoIdo? Whatdoidowhatdoidowhatdoido????'


Screaming out her frustration created by the welling emotions within her, Crimson Fall raced down the hallway like a red bolt of lightning. Leaving a pair of guards coughing in the dust.

“What the. Eck. Hay’s with her? Eck!” Asked a Dark Crystal Pony, coughing out dust.

“Bathroom? Kek. Maybe?” Replied his companion.

“It was an obvious move, Tia,” Sighed Luna, “you should not act as he would want you to, same to you, Princess Sparkle.”

“But!” Fretted Twilight, “How did he call forth such power? We could not sense a single shred of power from him!”

The three of them were seated within a dimly lit tent, one of the twenty command tents within the Military Encampment. They had made specific efforts to ensure that a different tent was used each time, and that hints were dropped to indicate that they were at another one.

However, none of them had bothered with the normal precautions, leaving the preparations purely to their officers this time, after all, it would be quite difficult to do anything when two of the rulers were greatly disturbed while the last one was trying to keep them from falling into distress.

“He was far more powerful than I thought,” Whispered Celestia, “a spell of such magnitude, yet having next to zero presence, physical or otherwise at the same time. It was a feat Starswirl the Bearded could not even accomplish…”

“It was clearly a display of strength,” pressed Luna, “and it was clearly meant to mess with us psychologically. DON’T FALL INTO HIS PLOY, THE BOTH OF YOU!!!”

With a magically enhanced royal voice, the beings that could hear this and not falter in whatever they do were definitely not before her.

“Alright, alright,” panted Twilight, who looked as though she was on the verge of hyperventilating. “I’m calm, calm...”

“And you, Tia?”

“I’m good, I’m good…”

“Very well,” Luna could not help but feel disappointed in her fellow princesses, after all, as pinnacles of ponies, it would not do for the common folk to see them disgruntled.

“Princess Twilight, could you please help us break down the possible categories that Lueur’s powers could possible fall under?”

It was an attempt that she had constantly repeated ever since she was reinstated as Princess Luna after her defeat as Nightmare Moon. It had been a benefit to her, for she had since been humbled and had put her previous general’s teachings to good use.

If she had heeded that general from over a thousand years ago, her victory as Nightmare Moon would be all but guaranteed.

Looking back, Luna was glad that she had rejected the general’s teachings then, but also glad that she had at least bothered to remember them.

One of which she would put to good use now.

The general had told her, ‘know thy enemy, and know thyself, doeth one, half the battle would be won, doeth both, and victory would be thy own forevermore.’

That was Luna’s aim now.

The lavender Alicorn she addressed gulped slightly before meeting the Night Mistress’ eyes.

“Uh…” Stammered Twilight as she ran through the endless libraries within her mind. Seemingly lost in thought for a few moments, the Princess of Friendship drew a sharp breath as she landed on a logical conclusion and replied.

“The most obvious conclusion was that Lueur was a being on par or even greater than us, if we take his powers at face value.”

“Face value?” Inquired Luna, “does that mean that his strength may not be real after all?”

“Hard to say,” replied Twilight, when Luna realized that she had been flashing glances at Celestia, who was surprisingly quiet throughout the conversation, “however, before I like to make anymore analysis, could one of you tell me what a ‘Stellal’ is?”

Jolting as though awakening from a deep sleep, Celestia turned her gaze upon her student.

“They were an… an ancient race,” replied Celestia hesitantly, as if reluctant to share the information, “One of the three races to rule this world before the country known as Equestria even existed…”

Lueur was amused, very amused at the antics of Crimson Fall. He had known that Crimson had a very powerful crush upon him since he saved her life. However, he had also known that she was very embarrassed upon harboring such feelings towards the being revered by her.

He had tried his best to not laugh out loud when she had entered his room and asked for what she was required to do. Forty-seven times, each time asking for permission to start over again as she had deemed her speech ‘imperfect’ for her lord.

‘At least she got it right the forty-eighth time,’ Thought Lueur, ‘it was getting kind of old.’

“Thank you, Crimson Fall,” smiled Lueur, “I really appreciate you coming here.”

He got off the bed, a luxurious work of art, and made a show of gazing around the plain room, which was empty except for the bed, a small round table and a cupboard filled with various board games. (What? Evil Overlords need some sort of reprieve too!)

“Come here, my friend,” Lueur gestured with a hoof as he spoke, his motions clearly telling Crimson Fall to approach him.

Blushing furiously, the red Pegasi slowly inched forward, until she stood face to face with the overlord himself.

“Tell me, my friend,” Asked Lueur, “what am I to you?”

“A… A king, one beloved and kind to many, even if they do not know of it yet.”

“Excellent,” grinned Lueur, “now bend over.”

“Wh… What?”

“Bend down,” repeated Lueur, “you can do that right? Oh and close your eyes.”

Her face a darker tone of red than her original shade, Crimson Fall complied. Lueur could not help but silently shake his head at her reaction.

‘Seriously,’ He sighed, ‘does the name ‘Overlord’ automatically assumes that you are a practitioner of everything vile?’

Assuming a position similar to hers, Lueur prayed.

‘Great one,’ He asked, ‘Another follower to thy cause, one that holds unbound loyalty to I, and through I, to thee. We seek entrance to where you were bound, and where you would be freed.’

As soon as the last word was formed within his mind, Lueur felt a spread of warmth wash over his body. Though he could not see it, Lueur could most definitely distinguish that both him and Crimson Fall were being sent elsewhere.

The warmth lasted only a moment, but it felt as though an eternity had passed. Opening his eyes, Lueur gazed about.

He had only been here a few times, but each time had filled him with awe, and one of utmost respect.

They were inside a humongous cavern, with walls as smooth as the sea on a calm day. Not a single discrepancy could be seen, it was as though a maniacal craftsman had gone to work on the place.

However, the unnaturalness of the walls were only but one of the unusual aspects of the cavern.

Even more outstanding was the suspended yellow pyramid hanging within the sanctum, that looks as though it was solely supported by a flight of stairs leading into it’s side.

‘Tomb raiders would be delighted though,’ chuckled Lueur, ‘when they realized the structure was made out of solid gold.’

Until they ran into the countless traps that protects this area. After all, this was the very place where two of the world’s greatest beings were held.

Father Light, the origin of the very word that defines his essence, and Mother Shadow, her name also becoming the very word that defines her very being. Both were ancient beyond compare, and they were the creators of the Stellal and Umbral races respectively, the progenitors of the two races.

His gaze rested upon Crimson Fall, who was still prostrating herself in that position.

‘Sometimes,’ Lueur sighed, ‘some subordinates are just waaaaay too loyal.’

“Crimson Fall, you can stand now.”

Like a loaded spring, Crimson Fall immediately stood. Eyes snapping open faster than Lueur could blink, she took in a gulp of air as she surveyed her surroundings.

“Milord,” Asked the Dark Crystal Pegasus, “Where are we?”

“In the heart of a dead volcano,” Replied Lueur, “One located slightly north of the Crystal Kingdom.”

Indeed, there was only one source of light, which had illuminated the sanctum as it poured down hole in the ceiling and was reflected throughout the sanctum as it reached the pyramid of gold.

“Though, I would like to tell you that this was a far more important place than the heart of volcano,” continued Lueur, “welcome, to the Cave of Origins.”

“Th… The Cave of Origins?”

“And we hereby begin your initiation, my friend. Look to the top of the stairs.”

As Crimson Fall did as he asked, she could see two figures emerging from the open hole in the side of the gold structure that the stairs lead to. One appears to be a white elderly female pony garbed in a thick woolen robe of grey. The other figure however, garnered far more attention.


A powerful centaur of red with an overflowing white beard, two goat-like horns sprouted from his head, a red burning ball of energy glowing between them. Even his eyes seem to glow with a bright flame as he gazed at the newcomers.

“Milord!” Gasped Crimson Fall, “is that?”

“Tirek and the archbishop of the Cult of Origins, yes, please make your way up the stairs. The archbishop would begin your initiation.”


“You wish to serve, do you not?” Laughed Lueur, “then you have to join the cult which had started it all. For only then, would you be deemed worthy to truly aid in our cause.”

“Yes!” Saluted the Dark Crystal Pegasus, “I’ll do my best to meet your demands!”

Without waiting for a reply, Crimson Fall immediately dashed up the stairs. As she did so, the being known as Tirek began making his way down.

It looked as if they were about to clash, however, they passed each other without any special conflicts occurring.

After all, Tirek had his sights set only on one being in the entire area, Lueur himself.

‘The feeling is mutual,’ smiled Lueur, as he watched the centaur make his way down.

“I have much to thank you for.”

Tirek directed the sentence at the dark green Alicorn standing before him.

“Don’t be,” replied Lueur, “you had repaid your thanks with your work already.”

“Is that so,” Laughed the centaur, “however, what you done was good enough for me. Breaking me out of Tartarus, restoring my magical strength with your supplies. Even providing the chance to absorb the powers of that Draconequus and rendering the Magic of Friendship unusable. Much to thank for indeed.”

“As I said, no need for thanks,” chuckled Lueur, his mane of black and white flowing as he threw back his head, “it was easy to nullify the Magic of Friendship, create an emotional rift and it all falls apart. Discord was a common foe, and one I believed would be beneficial to us so long you steal his powers. Also, breaking you out of Tartarus was easy, a few dog biscuits and a ball would render that guard dog incapable of protecting the place.”

“Still,” Observed Tirek, “weren’t the six of them your previous friends? You truly feel nothing about causing a fracture in their friendship?”

“No,” replied Lueur bluntly, “it was tough, but necessary. The Magic of Friendship is one of the few possibilities of ruining my schemes. I have no choice but to ensure that it could not be utilized against us.”

“And hence, it was a success, is it not?”

“I told you already, Tirek, it is a success.”

“Excellent, then I would have no qualms about doing this.”

Red rays of pure fire lanced forth, and tied themselves around the Alicorn’s body. Tirek watched in satisfaction as Lueur yelped at the sudden attack. In retaliation, Lueur’s horn began to shimmer in a faint white glow.

However, that was what Tirek was waiting for.

He could not sense anything about the dark green Alicorn, no physical, spiritual or magical presence. However, when Lueur had attempted to fight back, Tirek could suddenly feel the faint glow of magic that had begun to gather.

Jaws opening wide, Tirek breathed in, as he did so, the shimmering of light surrounding Lueur’s horn flowed into his mouth.

This was what he had been after: Lueur’s magic.

He had tasted it once, and that was months ago, when Lueur had first freed him from Tartarus and had provided the magic required to replenish Tirek to a state that could be of use. Ever since then, Tirek had thirsted for more and now, his wish would finally be fulfilled.

“Such power,” laughed Tirek between mouthfuls, “So much of it… too! It… appears that… I would… take awhile… to finish!”

Holding the thrashing body that was Lueur in the air with his magic, Tirek gouged upon the power of the one who saved him with gusto. After all, Tirek had lived solely for power, and…

That was when the body literally vanished.

Tirek, still gulping on the heap of magic, widened his eyes in surprise at the incident. This was most definitely not in his plans…

“Enjoying yourself, Tirek?”

Turning his gaze to the source of the voice, the centaur’s eyes widened as he gazed upon a cloud of black and white.

“Who… are you?” Tirek asked between mouthfuls.

“Do you not recognize the one who saved you from Tartarus? How sad, I thought you would remember me. Especially when you were so enthusiastic about catching me a few moments ago”


“Spot on,” laughed the cloud, or at least it sounded as though it laughed, “So… how does it taste? The magic, I mean…”

That was when something registered within Tirek’s mind, something that does not add up. Glancing at the seemingly endless flow of magic entering his mouth and the floating cloud of light and shadows, it took quite awhile before Tirek realized what was wrong.

“You… how are… you… there? Is this… not your magic?”

“Of course not,” laughed the cloud as it began to swirl about. “I had none to begin with anyway.”

At this Tirek panicked, closing his jaw, he cut the flow of magic flowing to him. Or tried to, for he realized that he could do no such thing, but sit there with an open mouth as the flow of light continued to enter him.

“You look puzzled,” laughed the swirling mass, as it began to take the form of a simple pony of black and white, “perhaps I should explain, though it would require a bit of history lesson beforehoof.”

“The Stellar and Umbral were among the three origin races. Unfortunately, there was conflict between us; so terrible was the war that it had caused our progenitors, Father Light and Mother Shadow, to be sealed by the third race in this place as they were engaging in a fierce battle. To ensure that they would not be freed again, the third race imprisoned us, the Stellal in the skies above, and the Umbrals into the ground below.”

“However, the Stellal and Umbral each sent a champion to free them from their cages. The Umbral sent Sombra, while the Stellal sent me, Lueur.”

“Of course, what was a champion without powers?” Laughed Lueur, as he began to pace about Tirek, ”It was necessary that the Champions were each granted a particular set of power that would help serve our cause, no?”

“Sombra was granted ‘Immaterial’, the power to not be grazed by anything that could harm him physically. I was granted ‘Inexistent’, the power to not be sensed by anything that exists.”

“However, we do not possess magic, so how could we go about our duties?”

“The reason for our strength was because of a similar ability granted to both of us, ‘Command’.” Proclaimed Lueur proudly, raising what would be a hoof towards the air.

“Sombra was capable manipulating the shadows, the very being of the Umbral, to do his bidding. I, on the other hoof, am of commanding the very essence of the Stellal, the light that illuminates our surroundings. Needless to say, I was granted Sombra’s powers once I accepted the blessing of the Umbral race.”

“Do you see now,” Jeered Lueur as he gazed upon the growing form of Tirek who was taking an endless flow of magical energy, “This power was never mine in the first place, I never had any magical energy to use.”

“Then… You mean… to say that… this power equals Celestia and Luna?” Mumbled Tirek, as he was force-fed.

“No,” Laughed Lueur, “I could never be their equal in a contest of magical strength alone. After all, despite my near limitless supply, attempting too much spells with them would be quite difficult.”

“But… you took the… force of their attacks… head on! And you are an Alicorn!”

With a deadpan expression, Lueur gave Tirek a look as if to say ‘are you serious?’.

“Physics 101,” sighed Lueur, “ since you seem to be uneducated in that field of expertise, I’ll put it simply. Light is reflected into our eyes from the object, hence giving us a vision on the object. However, if I refract the light and made it appear as though I am here even though I’m elsewhere, nopony would ever know the difference.”

Mocking eyes turned upon Tirek, Lueur continued.

“So I could make it appear as though I took the full brunt of their attacks head on and not suffer a scratch. I could even ‘take on’ that Rainbow of Friendship and survive. After all, what couldn’t hit you can’t hurt you, and as my own power, ‘Inexistent’, keeps my presence hidden, they would become fearful of my unknown, seemingly limitless, non-existent power. Same as that Alicorn form I took,” Lueur seemingly shrugged, “you do know that making others think I’m an Alicorn seem to convey the ‘I am strong’ image.”

“Nevertheless,” Smiled the pony of shadow and light, “you do need to know that I do not share information on my own strength easily. Do you know what that means?”

Tirek’s eyes widened as he processed this information.

“You’ll… kill me?”

“Unfortunately,” chuckled his tormentor, “I could not.”

“You see, we are like three points of a triangle. You, me, and Discord.”

“The being who subjugates magic and make it his own, the being who commands an endless stream of magic, and he who warps and twist said magic with his own.”

“You who could subjugate magic could not be stopped by the being who twist those powers with his own, for you could just absorb Discord’s powers. However, for me, who command an endless stream of magic, could be easily defeated by Discord, for he only need warp and twist my powers to the point of uselessness.”

“That’s why,” explained Lueur as he paced up towards the still growing form of Tirek, “I could not just get rid of you, for with your death, Discord would regain his powers and my defeat would be guaranteed.”

“What… then… do you… intend to do… with me?” Grunted Tirek, trying not to choke on the stream of light flowing into his throat.

“It should be beginning soon.”

“What?” Muttered Tirek in response before a violent shudder shook him. Glancing down, he could only widened his eyes in horror at what he witnessed.

His hooves had became transparent, no, they have became a diamond-like substance… And he could not feel them anymore.

“One of my favorite methods to deal with enemies,” smiled Lueur, as his form of light and shadow began to make dizzying patterns within him as though to express his excitement. “Feed them more power than they could ever take in, and let said powers destroy them. It was how I dealt with the ministers outside, did you know?”

In response, Tirek could only emit a gasp as his torso was transformed into the same diamond-like substance.

“That’s why I’m your weakness,” laughed Lueur, as he watched Tirek’s transformation. “You who could take in magic, and me who command an endless source of said magic. You would take them in, and I would provide some more. However, I had did my research, and it would appear that there’s a limit to how much power a being could contain in their mortal shell.”

“After all, there’s a limit to how many skill points a level ninety character could have…”

Past 4: Unseen Roots

View Online

Sometimes, things happen without us knowing why, and we would never be able to explain them without searching for the reason. The Question lies with what we do next, do we search for answers? Or do we wait for them to show themselves?

Past 4: Unseen Roots


Lueur stared upon the glowing crystal statue that was Tirek.

“A pity that you needed to put him down,” Stated a feminine voice behind him.

Not turning around, Lueur nodded absently, lost in his gaze at the statue. Though the outer exterior was clear, one could see a dancing stream of purplish green magic flowing within. Moving hypnotically like a snake within the prison, it seemed to be seeking an exit. However, Lueur would never let that magic escape, for to do so would spell the downfall of all that he had ever built.

“Beautiful, don’t you agree, herald?” Continued the voice, “Chaos magic, in its purest, rawest form.”

“And the only magic that could guarantee my defeat.” Added Lueur, finally angling his head so that he could see the newcomer out of the corner of his eyes.

A light blue earth pony well into her prime stood behind him. She was garbed simply, a plain brown robe draped around her. However, on closer look, one could tell that she was blind.

Or so one thinks.

To the normal bystander, they would only see her discolored, unseeing eyes and feel pity for her cause. To magicians, they would only be able to have a faint sense of the obscure aura about her. However, to Lueur, he could feel the level of devotion that this earth pony had towards her cause.

To hasten the rebirth of the Original Beings, that was the cause of the Archbishop of the Cult of Origins.

Granted with the ability to ‘see’ the light and dark within any single being, the Archbishop was able to discern the ‘balance’ within any single soul. Despite being unable to see the world as it appears, she was allowed to see the world as it truly was.

“Indeed,” replied the Archbishop, “The Origin is the greatest manifestation of balance, only Chaos magic could disrupt its flow.”

“Which is why we have to keep it sealed,” finished Lueur, “our success depends upon it.”

Silence descended upon the two beings as they each delved into their thoughts. A silence broken by Lueur.

“How goes her initiation?”

“I do not know,” admitted the Archbishop, “the battles of will had begun, and not even I could see what the two gods have in store for her.”

“True, though I do hope they would loosen up a bit…”

“You love her, herald?”

“I care for her,” corrected Lueur, “protecting her was my promise to someone who had and still matters to me.”

“But you love her?”

“No. I had stopped loving, not since discovering what a farce it was.”

“What about that rainbow-maned Pegasus?”

“You are pushing it…”

“My apologies, herald…”

Lueur turned away from the Archbishop, annoyed at her antics. He had loved, once, and he had been abandoned when it mattered most.

Even now, he could still remember when it had begun. He did not know it then, but he could see that it had started then.

Five Years Ago…

Rays of the afternoon sun shone down on the grounds through gaps in the leaves of the massive amount of trees within the Fillydelphia Nature Reserves. Thousands of critters jostled about in the undergrowth as they added their voice to the ever-growing chorus of the forest. It was a peaceful, serene scenario, except that there was at least one particular green Pegasus not in the mood to enjoy it.

Chrome was very annoyed.

Treading in the dark undergrowth was not his style, nor should it be any Pegasus’ way of approach.

‘Why did I even agree to this anyway?’ Complained Chrome internally, as he grimly trudged his way through the thicket of a forest, Dark Jet by his side.

They had spent five four years at the Flight Protégé Institution, and had went through various trainings, trials and tribulations together. However, when working as a team, there was bound to be disagreements and arguments among the members.

‘And why does it have to happen on our graduation exam?’

They had been separated into groups of threes for their final examination, and their goal was to traverse the Fillydelphia Nature Reserve searching for colored sticks hidden within the reserve. The number of points varies with the time taken for each group to retrieve a certain number of sticks. A way to keep the competitive spirit up in the tension of the exam.

‘Except that the tension is getting to all of us…’

Chrome was paired with Dark Jet and Tallsign for this, and despite having friendly relations with each other; they were not exactly the best of chums. Meaning, they were prone to hour-long arguments.

Dark Jet had initially wanted to scour the trees for the hidden colored sticks. However, the problem lies in the fact that the Instructors had hinted that the sticks were scattered throughout the forest. They had not explicitly stated that the sticks would be hidden in the trees. Also, the fact that the test was named, Zero Altitude Survival Hunt, was already hinting that the sticks would not be placed at above ground level.

This led to Tallsign and Dark Jet having a long bicker about what was to be done, eventually ending up with a plan that was much worse than it sounds. They were going to take turns scouring the trees, while the other two search the undergrowth. In Chrome’s opinion, that method would be what Captain Rearsweep would label, ‘unfeasible’.

Unfortunately, logic rarely applies when you had two over-enthusiastic companions who agreed on the same prong of approach.

‘I just can’t believe that I need to spend at least two days with these guys…’

Yeah, they were given enough supplies to last them for three days straight. In fact, they were even informed that the fastest team to ever complete the course took two days, three hours and fifty and a half minutes, give or take.

Using his wings and fore hooves to push apart a bush, Chrome grinned as he beheld a long thin cyan colored cylinder sticking out from the leaves he just cleared.

“Two days?” Muttered Chrome, “Not if I got anything to say about it.”

A few hours later

“That’s it?” Stated Dark Jet, “These are all we have?”

“Yeah…” Muttered Chrome, the light green Pegasi struggling to stay on his feet

“Sorry about this…” Added Tallsign, which was ironic, for he looked as he had felled into a quicksand and was subsequently pulled out. Which was exactly what happened.

“What are you apologizing for? This is a team effort.”

“Oh right.”

Despite his words, Dark Jet was still unhappy with his team’s performance. They had been searching a portion of the reserve all day and yet only managed to find four of the required color sticks.

And he was right about some sticks being hidden in the trees, due to the fact that ‘zero-altitude’ actually stands for ground level. Apparently that was either something that his teammates did not know, or that they are just so narrow-minded as to assume ‘zero-altitude’ meant that it had to be literally only the ground…

Time had been wasted trying to scour both the grounds and the trees for colored sticks, while they could had saved much more time by flying among the trees, where they could have sped things up due to flying.

Sighing, Dark Jet turned towards his teammates.

“We should rest, get some sleep and something to eat.”


“Well,” Piped Tallsign, “I’ll go to that river I saw just now to wash up, and search for some more sticks.”

“Yeah, you do that. We’ll get the camp up.”

Without a second word, Tallsign turned about and headed off into the undergrowth. Adding his footsteps into the growing chorus of the woodland realm.

Nopony was worried, but then, nopony ever believed that the unexpected would happen because they never seen it.

Minutes passed, and Dark Jet’s annoyance at Tallsign’s tardiness became that worry as the minutes became hours. In fact, Tallsign was taking so long that it was either absurd, he had some stomach problems or he was in trouble.

“Uh… Dark Jet?” Called Chrome, “Tallsign’s taking awhile, do you think he’s in trouble?”

‘Well,’ Thought Dark Jet, ‘at least he spoke up.’

“Let’s go look for him.” Decided Dark Jet, following the path Tallsign had taken.

The forest was dyed orange in the light of the evening sun, however, grim as the mood was, neither Chrome nor Dark Jet was in the mood to enjoy it. Their imagination taking hold of them as they wondered what happened to their friend.

They trekked slowly through the woods, their hooves crushing the fallen leaves, an aura of seriousness surrounding them.

“Dark Jet, there’s hoofsteps here!”

Snapping his head around, Dark Jet could see the freshly trodden earth that Chrome had indicated. Indeed, they were fresh, but the ground was also slightly muddy, and with the lack of rain that means somepony had stepped into the water recently, and there was only one Pegasus that they had known to go to a water body recently.

“Tallsign should have passed through here.” Muttered Dark Jet, “Let’s go!”

Some time later

The night sky had enveloped the world in its loving embrace. The moon of the night smiled down upon all of Equestria; however, there were some places that not even the light of the night could reach.

The Fillydelphia Nature Reserve was one of them. With vast numbers of trees managing to block out most of the light of the sun, it was no surprise that the inside of the woodland realm was but a blanket of darkness. Nopony in their right mind would ever dare to venture about the woods at this time.

Unless you decided that Chrome and Dark Jet happened to be among those few souls that happened to not be in their right mind. At the moment.

The two Pegasus were discussing their current plans as they walked, following the sound of each other’s voices rather than by sight. For in this darkness, they were as blind as bats.

“Right,” muttered Dark Jet in his no-nonsense voice, “First phase, we are going to stick together and try to retrace our tracks.”


“Second phase, we would have to find as much of those sticks as possible before returning to the rendezvous point, where we’d have to wait for Tallsign, who would most definitely be heading there.”


“Final Phase, after this entire darned test is over, we are going to have to chew Tallsign off for taking far too long in his trip to the river.”

“Checking that. Totally.”

“Now, let’s get moving, follow the so- *Wham!* OW!”

Chrome briefly heard the sound of something striking a tree hard, squinting in the direction of the sound futilely, Chrome called out.

“Dark Jet, you okay?”

“Yeah,” Replied Dark Jet, “just knocked into a stupid tree, anyway, just follow me.”

Chrome gave his affirmation and started treading in the direction of his friend’s voice.

‘Weird though,’ Thought Chrome as he walked, ‘I had thought I would be afraid of the dark, but somehow, it feels… sort of safe, like I don’t need to be afraid…’

“Hey, Dark Jet,” Started Chrome, “I got this weird feeling, like somepony was watching over me, are you sure that the instructors were not privately supervising us, I mean, if they are, should we try calling out to them?”

Chrome waited for an answer. A very unnatural long wait.

“Uh, Dark Jet? You there?” Called Chrome.

No reply.

Voice rising in panic, Chrome’s voice rose in panic.

“Dark Jet? Where are you!?”

Unfortunately, only the darkness and the faint rays of light were there to answer his reply. Face paling at the recognition of what happened, Chrome could only think up a phrase for this situation.

“Oh crap.”

The next day

Rearsweep sat next to a table propped up just outside the edge of the Fillydelphia Nature Reserve. Sheltered from the burning sun by a large umbrella, Rearsweep took a quick glance at the edge of the forest. Though she could not see much apart from the trees and foliage that made up the woods, Rearsweep could tell that there were no motions that indicate any of her students approaching.

Not like they would be able to finish the course in record time.

Taking a sip from the cup of tea, Rearsweep breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction. Despite always showing herself as the model Captain at the institution, she had to have some time to relax.

However, she was certain that none of her students would fail the test, or even get injured, for that matter. She had seen them grow from young foals into almost fully-fledged adult ponies, and despite the spooky tales about Fillydelphia Nature Reserve, there were next to no dangers within the place. It was much more like an unattended park rather than an actual nature reserve.

Taking another sip from the cup of tea, she held it in her mouth, enjoying the taste of the Eastern Equestrian Black T-

“Guys look! There she is!” Yelled a very familiar voice, “Instructor Rearsweep!”

Spitting the tea out of her mouth in a fountain of brown liquid, Rearsweep hurriedly wiped her mouth with a handkerchief as she turned her eyes skywards.

“Chrome?” She asked aloud.

Sure enough, it was them, Chrome Windcutter and his two teammates diving down to the ground.

“Instructor Rearsweep, ma’am!” Saluted Chrome as soon as he touched down before her, “We finished the course!”

“Wha-“ Began Rearsweep as she registered what her student had said. Whipping out a pocket watch, she quickly registered the time, and checked the date on a nearby calendar before fixing her students with a disbelieving stare.

“One day, six hours and thirty two minutes? That’s an Institution record!”

“By the way, marm,” Said Dark Jet as he laid a few objects out on the table. “Here are the sticks! We got a bit too many though.”

Disbelievingly, Rearsweep counted out the colored sticks laid out before her, before replying weakly.


“Sorry about that, ma’am,” Said Chrome, “I found a bit more than usual, is that a bad thing?”

“I’m afraid so,” Replied Rearsweep, still stunned at the speed her students had completed the test. “We did hid an excess amount of sticks for you to find, however, the absence of four of this meant tougher luck for the others to find more.”

“I told you, Chrome.” Said Tallsign, “you should not have been so enthusiastic about finding these extra pieces.”

“Like you’re one to talk,” Rebutted Chrome, “who’s the one who took so long going for a ‘wash-up’ and got lost?”

“Hey! I was searching for more sticks! And I found four!”

“And we found ten between us,” snorted Dark Jet, “and we did most of the finding at night, you got anything to say to that?”

“Night?” Exclaimed Rearsweep, “You were searching for the sticks in total darkness?”

“Well, we kinda got lost,” admitted Dark Jet, “but Chrome found me in the end, and we managed to pick up some sticks on our way to find Tallsign.”

“You found each other, despite getting lost?”

“Well, I just followed some tracks on the ground, and some sticks just so happen to be in places lit up by what light the moon could get into the forest.” Replied Chrome sheepishly, “it wasn’t easy, but we managed to group up together in the end.”

Leaning back in her seat, Rearsweep mulled this new information over. Aside from the fact that they had found their way across the forest in the dark, her students had apparently finished the test in almost a full day earlier than the previous record holders. This was amazing, even seemingly impossible, considering the circumstances.

There was also the chance of cheating involved, Rearsweep reminded herself, where ponies attacked other groups and bullied them into handing over the sticks. However, a simple truth reader device would be able to tell lies from truth.

And one such machine was on the table now, and it had not ringed, not once, meaning that the truth had been spoken.

‘Well,’ Thought Rearsweep, ‘I just need to ask them a question, just in case.’

“Ahem,” coughed Rearsweep, “just to make sure, I’d like to affirm that you did not steal this sticks from other groups? Or make them give it to you in any way?”

“We won’t do that, ma’am!”

“No way!”

“Definitely not!”

The device had not ringed, and somehow that was the least of all the surprises that Rearsweep had seen in the past fifteen minutes. Turning her eyes back to the three indignant faces of her students, Rearsweep smiled.

“The machine here,” she tapped the Truth Reader with a hoof, “did not ring, you know what that means?”

Her three students shook their heads in puzzlement.

“Uh uh."


“Is it something bad?”

“It means,” smiled Rearsweep, “I’m going to write a letter of recommendation to the Royal Equestrian Airforce Officer’s School for Tallsign, who had expressed his interest in going there, and letters of recommendation to the Wonderbolts Academy for Chrome and Dark Jet, who both wanted to further their studies at that place.”

Bewilderment was among the foremost of her students’ reactions, which erupted fully into joyous expressions full of pride and gratitude.

“Thank you, Ma’am!” The three of them saluted simultaneously, roaring out their gratitude to their smiling instructor.

‘Well,’ Wondered Rearsweep, ‘I like their reaction, but I’ll like to see the reaction on Cousin Spitfire’s face when she hears that her record here had been beaten by a full day.’

Two months later

“This is just wrong!” muttered Dark Jet, “How could they do this?”

A group of Pegasi was seated inside Chrome’s room, Cloudaxe, Tallsign, Lightningstreak, and Spiral Dive… Even Instructor Rearsweep was there, and of course, Chrome and Dark Jet were there too.

It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, where a bunch of old friends gathered together to banter and brag about their hard earned futures, in the form of acceptance letters.

Except, that one of them was rejected, and nopony ever expected Chrome Windcutter to be rejected from any possible paths he could take in his flying career.

Upon the floor of the room lay a piece of parchment, it read.

Salutations to the Pegasus Chrome Windcutter.

I am Admiral Arrow Heart of the Wonderbolts, and though I had hoped to send you a letter detailing your acceptance into the Wonderbolts Academy, it would be my utmost regret to inform you that due to unnatural circumstances, we had to reject your application for entry into the W.A. I am deeply sorry for this and I sincerely hope you do not feel that this rejection was due to doubt of your skills or records, but that of unforeseen situations and interventions.

I for one have no doubts that you would become an esteemed member of our team should you be given the chance. However, despite the failure of your application, I sincerely believe that the day would come where you would be accepted into the Wonderbolts, but as of now, it would unfortunately not be realized yet. Please do not let this affect you in any way, for from what Dr. Silverfeather had briefed me, you are a very outstanding flyer, and we both hoped that you would overcome this setback and continue to improve your skills.

Fly Strong,
Arrow Heart
Admiral of Wonderbolts

“This is just a stack of hay!” Ranted Dark Jet, “how could they reject you but accept me?”

“Do you know anything about this? Instructor?” Asked Lightningstreak in a dangerously calm voice.

“No,” croaked Rearsweep, more out of anger than from shock, “but you can bet my year long salary that I’m going to have a long talk with both Dr. Silverfeather, Admiral Arrow Heart and my cousin about this.”

“Don’t bother,” smiled Chrome sadly, he had already gotten over the shock of the rejection and was reading the contents of the letter again, “It says here that it was just unforeseen circumstances that prevented my entry, and she also said that I would be given a chance in the future.”

“But it may just be pile of horseapples,” Pointed out Tallsign, “she may just be writing empty words to make herself feel much better.”

“Even so,” laughed Chrome hollowly, “I’m going to take that chance and hold her to her word. Besides, it’s not like the world’s going to end, right? I’ll just go somewhere else…”

“Well,” snorted Dark Jet, “still seems like a pile of hay to me, if they’re gonna say that unforeseen circumstances stopped them from picking you, then how are they going to explain picking me? Or anypony else for that matter?”

“Maybe I’m just not as good as you guys yet.”

“That’s just a bunch of buck,” Swore Dark Jet, “you were the best acrobatic flier, I mean, you could perform all kinds of stunts that require balance perfectly! No way in Tartarus am I buying their lies!”

At that instance, the door opened, and Rain Wake trotted in, holding onto another letter with the Wonderbolts insignia upon it. Upon seeing the dark clouds hovering upon her friends’ faces, her cheerful smile trembled with nervousness.

“Um… Letter for Chrome? From the Wonderbolts?” Holding the letter out, she passed it to Lightningstreak, who almost snatched it from her.

“Humph,” snorted Cloudaxe, “More letters of apology? Hey Lightning, if it’s anything but good or important news, you could tear it up.”

“Don’t worry,” Smiled Lightningstreak, giving one of her winning smiles as she ripped the envelope off the parchment inside, “I have every single intent to do just that.”

A few moments of silence passed, as the group allowed Lightningstreak to browse the contents of letter. As they did, they saw her various changes to her expressions.

Her look of contempt changed to one of disbelief, than to one of amazement. Now, almost as though she was dazed, Lightningstreak spoke aloud.

“Well, I don’t know if this is good or bad news,” She said, eyes still upon the piece of parchment, “But you have got to hear this, Chrome.”


Past 5: Layers Upon Layers

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Many of us lived layered lives, secrets built upon secrets. However, some of us never thought about what kind of impact it would have when those secrets were revealed. Sometimes it is devastating, at others, it would be no more than a breeze in a park....

Past 5

Layers upon Layers

Four Years Ago

“Where the hay is he?” Complained Rainbow Dash, “Isn’t he supposed to be seated somewhere close to us?”

To elaborate on her point, the cyan Pegasus made a show of looking around her.

“Well… Um… I’m not really sure…” Replied Fluttershy, looking around nervously, her attitude a stark contrast to that of her companion.

The two were seated in Cloudsdale’s Racetrack, which was currently modified to mimic the sky on a stormy weather. Indeed, the obstacle course within the stadium had been cleared to make room for dozens of clouds of all kinds; in fact, one could spot quite a few thunderclouds among the rest of the grey ones.

The stadium was packed full of Pegasus, even in the skies above one could see airships, zeppelins and all kinds of aerial contraptions hovering about, filled to the brim with Unicorns and Earth ponies that had came specifically to the event.

Dogfights, a competition composed of various aerial teams having mock battles in the sky. It was as much a military practice as it was an entertainment, and was very popular. However, why so many flocked to this competition today was for another reason entirely.

The Wonderbolts, Equestria’s finest Aerial team, was a participant in this event.

However, the two female Pegasus could not fathom where the one who sent them the tickets was, especially when some of the lucky ones here who were rumored to obtained by queuing up three days beforehoof.

“Caught sight of your coltfriend yet?”

“Not ye- Chrome’s not my Coltfriend!” Yelped Fluttershy.

“Anyway-“ Started Rainbow.

“You gals know Chrome?” Interrupted another voice.

Turning around, Rainbow Dash came face to face with a dark blue Pegasus, who looked as curious as she was.

“Yeah, who’re you?”

“Oh, right, name’s Rain Wake, I’m a classmate of Chromes in the Flight Protégé Institution. This here’s Cloudaxe, nice to meet ya!” She replied, indicating he companion, a solid looking white Pegasus.

“Classmates,” Shrugged Rainbow, “and here I thought he got himself into some shady business, nice to meet you too though.”

“Nice to meet you,” whispered Fluttershy, though nopony else heard it.

“Shady business?” Rain Wake raised an Eyebrow, “what kind of books have you been readin’?”

“Never read a single one in my life!” Declared Rainbow proudly, “never will!”

“Ooookay…” Replied Rain Wake, “Anyways, you two know who Chrome is?”


“Um… yes?”

“Lemme guess, he sent the two of ya tickets to this show too?”

“How did you know?”

“He did it for me and this bloke over here,” Rain Wake indicated her companion. “Probably even sent quite a few to the our other friends.” Rainbow noticed the empty seats next to them as she said that.

“How did he do that?” Wondered Rainbow aloud.

“Oh, ya ain’t hearin’ anythin’ yet,” Winked the blue Pegasus, “I heard he even managed to get a couple of VIP seats for his mum and Instructor Rearsweep.”

“He WHAT?” Exclaimed Rainbow aloud, “Now HOW did HE get THOSE?”

“Ten bits that he’s working for one of the sponsors of this competition,” piped in Cloudaxe, “good connections always helps you get these kinds of things. Anypony up for it?”

“On,” Replied Rain Wake, “I’ll say that he’s one of the participants though.”

“Well,” Interrupted another voice, “I’d much rather wait and find out than guess what he’s working as.”

“Tallsign!” Exclaimed three voices, and another whisper.

The grey Pegasus wore a crooked grin on his face, as always. Smiling at the group, he continued, “Well, personally, I’m just here to see the show, really grateful that Chrome could fish out some tickets for us.”

“Ya ain’t curious how he got them?”

“Well, I’d be upset if they were received illegally, but otherwise, no.”

“No fun as always, I see.”

“What do you think?”

Getting bored of the banter before her, Rainbow Dash turned towards the wide stadium. From her view, she could see the stadium keepers rushing back and forth as they pushed clouds into the random places over the area of the playing field.

“Can’t they just hurry up with the show,” Rainbow Dash was impatient, “the suspense is killing me!”

Spitfire, Captain of the Wonderbolts Squadron Code Epsilon, marched before her subordinates. Dressed in a tight light blue flying suit with the emblem of her organization’s upon it, the yellow Pegasus was geared up and ready to go out onto the field, except that she needed to give a speech to her fliers, both for morale and tradition’s sake.

“Listen up, soldiers!” At her barked command, the squad of eight snapped to attention, “as much as we liked to be protecting Equestria as its number one flight force at the moment, we had been drafted to join in this mock battle event by the name of Dogfights. Though it may seem useless, I had enough experience from this false battlefield to tell you that it would be every bit like the aerial combats that we would be fighting outside of peace.”

“Dogfights was birthed with two purposes, the first was for entertainment, and to raise funds for Equestria’s military, the second, was to remind us of the war between the Pegasus tribes in ages past. However, the fact remains that the Wonderbolts were meant to be the best among all of Equestria’s Aerial Battalions. Hence, this naturally meant that we had to be at the top of everything, including mock battles like this! So give our opponents no quarter! You hear me?”

“Yes ma’am!” The Squadron hollered back, with the exception of one.

“Yes? What have you got to ask, Soarin?

A slim light blue Pegasus, Soarin was one of the best fliers in the group, and Spitfire had learned to count upon his judgment when he gave it.

“Who’s our opponents, ma’am?”

“The Shiftgliders,” replied Spitfire, smiling at Soarin’s reaction as she said it, “Though Soarin probably knows who they are, I doubt that the rest of you do, so I’ll give an explanation.”

“The Shiftgliders are one of the lesser known flight groups in Equestria, because they hardly reveal anything. In fact, they did not participate in many events such as this in their entire history. However, even though they are top notch in discipline, they never fight fair. Anything that could give them the advantage, anything that could give them an edge, they’ll take it, so long as they fall within the required rules. They’ll play by the rules alright, but you could be sure to see them use those rules against us as well. That’s their specialty.”

“So how do we deal against them, ma’am?” Asked a young orange Pegasus, Rapidfire.

“Remember our secret team?”

Another rule of Dogfights, each side was allowed up to three Pegasus to form a secret team. This team could be deployed at anytime, and their identities were kept a secret until the point they were deployed onto the playing field. However, they were not allowed to enter the field with their teammates, hence becoming the wild cards in the game, unable to adhere to any known strategy or instructions until they entered the field, apart from the ones given to them beforehoof.

“You mean they are to…?”


“So it’s up to those three to help us play dirty, huh?” Muttered Soarin, “do you think that they are up to it?”

“Well, the one from Flight Protégé Institution possess great potential, “Replied Spitfire, “if he could unleash it, we’ll be able to have a great boost on our side.”

“And so long he does so, this game’s as good as won…”

The siren blared and sixteen figures shot out from the entrances into the stadium, like blue lightning bolts, the Wonderbolts made their traditional fly by over the arena, leaving smoking trails in their wake. In contrast to their opponents, the Shiftgliders hovered above the area of the event, giving the impressions of bloodstains against the blue sky in their dark red suits.

The crowd gave all a mixture of cheers and jeers for both teams, but the overall effect was one of epic proportions. Above the clamor, the voice of the local commentator, who had been reassigned due to having almost choked a colleague to death, could be heard. Glitterdraw, who did not regret any of her actions or her reassignment, flew like a maniac across the stadium, at a speed that could rival the Wonderbolts zeal.


Mad with excitement, the crowd howled in response to her words. However, Glitterdraw was far from done.


Another loud cheer rose up, though it was not as impressive as the one before, much credit was still given to the lesser known.



In response to her command, a small projectile was launched into the air through one of the chutes that had been placed at the walls of the stadium. Deftly catching the projectile, Glitterdraw displayed the sphere for all to see.



Tossing the sphere back to the cannon attendants, Glitterdraw shot up into the air in a dizzying spiral.



The crowd went wild as they joined in the countdown.


All the fliers from both teams took carefully planned positions around the stadium.


Muscles tensed as the quickening wing beats started make the air vibrate.


Chaos encompassed the area as Spitfire weaved in and out of various obstacles in her way. Diving fliers, floating clouds and launched colored bombs, none touched the Wonderbolt captain as she flew among the sky.

The adrenaline bringing her senses to a new level, Spitfire could barely register her two teammates keeping up with her. However, as much as she wanted to give in to the forces now assailing her senses, Spitfire fought for control.

After all, she was the Wonderbolts captain, their leader. If she falls, their formation falls and defeat would be eminent.

“Soarin!” Ducking a cloud, Spitfire called for her teammate through the earphone issued to her, “status report on the region two of the stadium?”

“Two hostiles on my six, no casualties on either side as of yet.”

“Good, how about yours, Fleetfoot?” Spitfire hailed her other teammate.

No reply.

“Fleetfoot? Report!”

“This is Rapidfire! Fleetfoot’s down! There are five of them against the two of us in region three right now! We need backup!”

‘Five?’ Thought Spitfire, ‘added to the two Soarin got, that means there would only be one left, who could it be?’

She got her answer soon enough as she had to dodge a colored ball flung her way. Looking up at her attacker, she could see a single Shiftglider hovering among the clouds.

They all look the same under that entire getup, a quality the Shiftgliders prize. However, Spitfire recognized her attacker, for if there was anything they could not hide, it was their flying style.

When one became a flier, and had known somepony else for quite some time, it would be easy to tell their way of flying apart from the rest.

“Rip Dash.” Acknowledged Spitfire, “Captain ‘Silent’ Rip Dash, never thought I’d see you here.”

Her adversary did not respond. Spitfire was used to it. They had cooperated on joint operations and practice sessions before, and the few times she had heard Rip Dash spoke, it would when he was offering reports or lectures. Apart from that, she had never heard the Captain of the Shiftgliders A.A.T. (Ambush Assault Team) speak. Definitely worthy of the term ‘silent’.

It would explain the well-planned surprises. It was common sense to split your team as evenly as possible so as to avoid being outnumbered and cover as many areas as possible. Not to mention, nopony would ever expect a single Pegasus to take on three others almost equally skilled in flying.

A clever plan, and one that cost the Wonderbolts a member, however, Spitfire wasn’t Captain for nothing.

“Blaze! Fire Streak! Go aid Rapidfire! I’d take care of Rippy here!”

At her command, her two teammates dashed off towards Rapidfire’s team assigned area. However, out of the corner of her eye, she could see a blood red streak zipping towards them.

Or was zipping towards them. Throwing her weight forward, Spitfire flew on a collision course towards Rip Dash, who pulled back from the attack to avoid being knocked off course.

“Uh-uh, Rip.” Spitfire smiled as she stared into the eyes behind those green goggles, “I’m your opponent, as always.”

It was a fierce competition, one that Glitterdraw had not seen for a long time. Wonderbolts and Shiftgliders, both teams of expert fliers. Dozens of moves were executed by expert fliers in a matter of seconds as they both strove for their own victory.

It had only been thirty minutes into the event, and already, Glitterdraw was out of breath, both from the excitement and the shouting she had to dish out.

Well, it really helps when there were no time outs and no useless colleagues that would interrupt her commentary.

Speaking of which, she should get back into right now. Taking a deep breath, Glitterdraw readied herself.

“I suppose that Chrome’s one of the secret teams?” Commented Rain Wake.

“I think so too,” Replied Tallsign, “but I’d bet that he’s going to be part of those Shiftgliders, with him being rejected from the Wonderbolts and all.”

“What?” Interrupted Rainbow Dash, “he was rejected by-“


Rubbing her ears at the volume of the scream, Rainbow Dash turned her gaze skywards, in time to notice three Wonderbolts plunging down onto the stadium from a height, which made them looked as though they were ants in the sky.

At an incredible speed, the three Pegasus converged on various members of the opposing team, who shot out in different directions to avoid the unexpected assault.

However, one in particular caught Rainbow’s attention. In a smooth arc, that Wonderbolt swooped in upon one of the Shiftgliders and knocked her into the path of a colored projectile. Unable to prevent the momentum, the Shiftglider could do nothing as she was struck and colored in a sticky blue liquid.


However, Tallsign and Rain Wake paid no attention to the hysterical yelling of the commentator, for they were too focused upon one of the Wonderbolts.

“Is that?” Asked Rain Wake.

“Yes,” Agreed Tallsign, reading her mind, “That’s him.”

Soarin was glad that backup came when it was needed. The Shiftgliders’ unorthodox strategy had crippled his teams’ plans. Fleetfoot and Blaze were knocked out early into the match. Furthermore, the region they were responsible for was completely dominated by the Shiftgliders who outnumbered there.

There was also the factor that Spitfire was keeping the enemy team’s captain, Rip Dash, occupied. Soarin had to hoof it to her, for Rip Dash was by no doubt one of those geniuses. Every bit a leader, and a good flier at that. The fact that Spitfire’s keeping him occupied was a feat by itself already.

Snapping back to reality, Soarin, surveyed the field.

Within all the chaos, he could see that the tables had turned with their reserves coming in. Everywhere, he could see outnumbered Shiftgliders struggling to stay in the game as the Wonderbolts forced them into positions that furthered their disadvantageous position.

‘This area’s as good as secured.’ Smiled Soarin, ‘but their reserves haven’t arrived yet, and that’s what worries me.’

Quickly mapping out multiple scenarios in his mind, Soarin decided on what would definitely be the worst one that could happen.

“Reserve one! Reserve two!” Soarin barked into his microphone, “go help out the Captain, we don’t want her outta the game!”

Hearing their acknowledgement over the earpiece, Soarin allowed himself to smile. He could very nearly see the sight of victory ahead him.

“Stay still!” Spitfire snarled as she made another unsuccessful dive at her adversary, who hovered just out of range before ducking behind a cloud.

It was infuriating, that every time they face off, Rip Dash would utilize a different fighting style. It was part of his mantra as part of the A.A.T., such that the unexpected would always occur. However, Spitfire hated this new type of fighting style the most, she decided.

Like a slippery eel, Rip Dash had done nothing but escape and escape in this showdown. Apart from the occasional attack, there was no sign that Rip Dash wanted to take her out of the game. It was as though he wanted to keep her from the scene of the main battle.

Not that she cares, from the regular updates that Soarin had given her, she knows that the Wonderbolts were winning and that backup against Rip Dash was arriving soon. She need only hold out till then.

And with Rip’s downfall, victory would be as good as theirs.

Detecting a movement to her right, Spitfire lashed out at the cloud in that direction, bursting it into bits. Through the broken fragments of the cloud, she could see the silhouette of Rip Dash back away quickly like a cornered rat.

Except… that Rip Dash does not feel like a cornered rat. What had made Spitfire puzzled was the fact that it feels as though Rip Dash was planning something.

“Captain!” Shouted a voice into her earpiece, “we’re here!”

“Good job, recruit!” Acknowledged Spitfire, “we’re at area one-four-one in region one. Circle around and we’ll trap him in a pincer attack!”

“Yes ma’am!”

Smiling grimly, Spitfire hovered around, maintaining her distance from the Pegasus in the blood red suit.

“Looks like time’s up for you, Rip,” taunted Spitfire, buying time for her subordinates to move into position. “It looks like your plan wasn’t good enough.”

As she spoke, she could hear the faint sound of the commentator announcing the arrival of the Shiftgliders’ reserve.

“Looks like your secret weapon just arrived, except that it won’t do you any good now. Not unless you got another genius on your team, because you are going down!”

At her word, she dashed forward at Rip Dash, and just within her field of vision, she could see two other blue lightning bolts streak out of their hiding place towards their target.

Multi Layered Thunder, that was the name of the formation. It was designed for usage when a group faces a single opponent. Members would launch themselves at where they think their opponent would move next, and it was performed at such a great speed such that it would be impossible to predict which areas were covered. Spitfire had never seen a single Pegasus to avoid the formation before.

Rip Dash tried to avoid it though, attempting to escape, his momentary panic left him wide open for a second, a fatal mistake. Knocked out of the sky by the formation, Spitfire plucked a projectile that was flung in their direction by a cannon and threw it at the falling figure of Rip Dash, knocking him out of the game.

Or that was what that was believed to have happen.

Before her astonished eyes, Rip Dash hovered in the sky, without any reaction. It was as though he had resigned himself to fate. However, what happened next was incredible. As though he was an otherworldly being, Rip Dash gently rolled out of the way of the first recruits’ path, only to stop MID roll to twist himself out of the other recruits’ path.

Right into the course of Spitfire.

Putting aside all doubts, Spitfire pushed herself forward, streaking like a fireball towards her target. However, she did not count on what happened next.

Rip Dash, who she had never seen grin before, let out a small smile. She could not see it completely, as the blood red flight suit of the Shiftgliders masked the entirety of their face as well. However, she could see the small outline of his mouth, and whatever that means it most definitely did not bode well.

That was when she fell into a trap.

It happened so slowly, yet so fast.

Spitfire raced towards her adversary, who calmly, as though picking a fruit from the tree, plucked a projectile from the thin air that was flung at them from the cannon beneath them. Unable to change her course, Spitfire could only watch as Rip Dash flung the projectile in front of him, right into the face of the oncoming Spitfire.

For the first time in her life, the Captain of the Wonderbolts had her speed used against her.

The sticky blue paint spread across her face, Spitfire instinctively slowed down, and flew off her intended course.

‘How? Rip Dash’s a speed type! Not a balance type! How could he have that type of control?’

What Rip Dash said next answered her thoughts almost immediately.

In a voice that does not belonged to him.

“Hello, Dark Jet.”

Hearing one of her reserves’ name called out, Spitfire tried to pay close attention to the conversation as she struggled to keep her balance. She managed to hear her subordinate’s reply, at least.


Chrome Windcutter loves it when a plan comes together. Aside from the fact that his cover was blown and that he was outnumbered two to one. At least he should be proud of the fact that he knocked the Captain of the Wonderbolts out of the game, even though it was by surprise.

He should savor this moment too, Chrome decided. He could almost see the surprised eyes through his former classmate’s goggles. He could not fault Dark Jet for feeling so, however. After all, they had come here seeking the enemy team’s captain, only to find out it was their old classmate.

“So,” began Chrome, “how’s life in the Wonderbolts?”

“Wha…” Dark Jet stuttered, “What are you doing in the Shiftgliders?”

“Hello?” Sighed Chrome, slowly distancing himself from the two Wonderbolts, “I was rejected, remember? From attending the Wonderbolts Academy? Because of unfortunate circumstances? You telling me you don’t remember?”

“Oh. Yeah. I forgot.”

“Well,” Smiled Chrome as his wing muscles tensed, “I’ll chat later, once this game’s over!”

Finishing his statement, Chrome shot out into the clouds, leaving Dark Jet and his unknown companion in surprised confusion. Shooting dizzily between the clouds, Chrome only stopped when he was sure that they do not know which one he was hiding within.

“Chrome!” Dark Jet called. Admitting that Dark Jet was quick on the uptake, he poked his head slightly out to get a better view on the two Wonderbolts.

“Chrome!” Taunted Dark Jet, while his companion hovered silently about. “Stop hiding! Are you telling me you don’t fight fair?”

‘Like I’ll fall for that, Dark Jet,’ frowned Chrome, ‘and for the record, I play fair, I don’t fight fair.’

It was common sense to use anything to further your advantage in a fight anyway.

‘And I happen to know that boredom’s your worst nightmare. I can wait until the game’s over anyway. Because you can’t find me, as long as I don’t want you to.’

‘They don’t call me ‘The Elusive’ in the Shiftgliders for nothing anyway.’

The match ended with an unexpected outcome. It had appeared as though the Wonderbolts were winning, but the Shiftgliders managed to pull an unexpected tactic upon them. By disguising one of their members as their captain, the Shiftgliders managed to take out Spitfire of the Wonderbolts purely through surprise. With the loss of their captain to coordinate, the rest of the Wonderbolts became easy pickings for the REAL Captain Rip Dash, who was actually among the Shiftgliders reserves. The Wonderbolts fought bravely, but against such numbers and tactics, not to mention underhoof tactics, they lost, leaving the crowd stunned at the turn of events.

Especially one particular female Pegasus.

Well, not so much stunned than seething. And she was really angry…

Her idols lost, and not through fair play, Rainbow Dash would have accepted it that way, but through what was most definitely foul play! Not to mention that the authorities did nothing about it! Some friendly event!

Walking along the white cloudmass corridors of the stadium, she made her way towards the Shiftgliders R&R room, intent on giving them a piece of her mind. Especially one particular colt, WHO HAD TO BETRAY HER BY JOINING THE ENEMY!!!!!!!

(Insert you favorite rage photo here please.)

‘Where is it? Right turn? Or left? AHA!’

Making a turn that would most definitely bring her into view of the R&R room, Rainbow stood stock-still for a moment both reversing her motions immediately.

‘What is she doing here? And what is she doing talking to HIM?’

The pony in question was none other than Spitfire, Captain of the Wonderbolts, and she was speaking to none other than Rainbow’s foalhood friend, Chrome Windcutter.

“To be honest, after seeing your skills today, I’d really wonder why the admiral rejected your application a year ago. The fact that you could masquerade as Rip Dash just now was… pretty amazing…” Spitfire was saying.

“We can’t help it ma’am,” Chrome replied, “but I always go for the next best thing if I can’t get what I want.”

“I see, do you want to try again? I can put a good word in for you too…”

“Thanks, but no thanks, Cap’n” replied Chrome, almost regretfully, “but the admiral promised me a personal invitation, I’m holding her to that.”

‘That idiot!’ Thought Rainbow, screaming hysterically in her mind, ‘did he just REJECT an invite from the captain HERSELF?’

“I see,” Continued Spitfire, “I’ll look forward to your induction at that time then…”

However, Rainbow was too preoccupied cursing Chrome’s reply to pay any more attention to Chrome’s next whispered words. Which she would have caught if she listened intently.

Dropping his volume immensely, Chrome whispered to the Captain of the Wonderbolts.

“The Silent says, deploy your Wonderbolts to Zeppelins two, four and six, executing Operation: Cleanup in two hours time.”

To be continued!