Flash Sentry Chronicles: Dragon's Awakening

by Banshee531

First published

War. That's all that this can be described as. A war between ponies and dragons. But what has caused this war and how can our heroes stop it? The answers may lie in Spike's past. One even he knows nothing about.

Everything appears peaceful in Equestria and our heroes are getting ready to celebrate Spike's birthday. But everything changes when a new enemy appears, one that they thought was a friend. With war threatening to break out, it's up to our heroes to find a way to stop the violence and defeat this foe. But to do so, they must look to Spike's past. A past even he knows very little about.

Edited by KingJoltik


A New Dragon Lord

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Lightning filled the air as he hovered in the air, just above the ground. He glanced to his side, seeing his friends beside him. A yellow wyvern with a lightning bolt horn on his head, along with a white humanoid dragon with feather wings and a yellow star on its head between two head spikes. He then turned to the other side, now seeing two other dragons, one being a long green snake-like dragon with flowers covering its entire body while the other was a dragon with crystal-like scales and glass-like wings. He then looked down, where a wingless dragon on all fours could be seen, its body covered in natural metal armor.

They were all staring in the same direction, and when he followed them, he saw it. Another dragon.

This one was a large winged quadruped dragon that was pitch black with bright red eyes and claws. It was larger than any of them, being over twice their size. And with every breath it took, a black mist escaped its mouth and nostrils.

And then he spoke, his voice filled with anger and resentment. "This ends...now!" As soon as he said that, he charged, the dragons beside him charging as well. They flew, or ran, as fast as they could toward the black dragon. "Your reign of terror ends here and now!" The others dragons roared in agreement, only for the black dragon to take a deep breath.

Then, it unleashed a large cloud of the black mist that before anyone could react, consumed the six.

Spike gasped as he woke up, shooting straight upright in his bed. He let out a series of gasps, sweat pouring down his face as he glanced around, now seeing he was in his room. The drake let out a sigh, laying back and plopping his head on the pillow. And as he did this, he thought back to what he had just been dreaming about.

It was so vivid, almost like it wasn't a dream at all. "What was that?" he whispered, staring at his claws next. He knew he couldn't fly, and he didn't know any dragons like that.

"Eh, whatever," he shrugged as he turned and hopped off his bed. As he did this, he looked up at his calendar, now grinning at a circled date that was only three days away. His birthday.

The young dragon thought back, remembering the last few weeks, which had been surprisingly peaceful. The only big event that had occurred was the party that had been made in Starlight, Rogue, Heart, Soul, Discord and Thorax's honor, to thank them for saving Equestria from Chrysalis. There had also been the issue of Twilight fretting about Starlight's future, but luckily Celestia had been there to help he figure out the best thing to do. In the end, despite graduating as Twilight's student, Starlight chose to stay were she was, as she didn't feel ready to move on yet.

Now it was weeks later, and Spike's birthday was coming up. He wasn't sure how to feel about all of this. After all, in dragon terms, he was still a baby despite almost being a teenager by pony standards. He wondered when he would no longer be classed as a baby, only for an idea to pop into his head. "Gotta write to Flicker or Ember and ask about that," he muttered as he walked out the door. And as soon as he did, he was almost knocked over a pair of jakhowl cubs that ran past him.

"Ace!" He heard Mira cry out as she chased the other jakhowl, "Give it back!" Spike saw Ace was holding a book that he recognized as the diary Soul had given Mira.

"No way," he replied before looking into the book. "I wanna see what you wrote about me!"

"It's private!" Mira exclaimed before bringing her paws together. She grunted as a super tiny Aura Blast appeared between them. "Give it back!" She fired the bean sized orb at Ace, who barely managed to avoid it as it hit the wall. Despite being small, it exploded with enough force to knock him off his feet while leaving the wall untouched.

"WHOA!" He yelped as he fell over, the book flying out of his grasp. "Hey!" Mira smirked as she grabbed it and blew a raspberry before running off.

Spike could only laugh at the two's antics. Since learning to talk, they had become more active in the community. Mira had become closer with Soul's friends, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, while Ace had gotten into gaming with Rumble and Button Mash.

The drake then remembered that Twilight was supposed to be testing something, soon walking down to a room she had set up for the experiment. There he saw Twilight and Solid Script working on a familiar stone slab. "Morning Spike," she replied as she saw him walk in.

"Morning," Spike waved back before turning to the slab, "You sure this thing's gonna work? I don't want my birthday ruined because you turned yourself inside out."

"Don't worry about it," Script replied, "We've done countless tests and triple checked all the runes. This'll work."

Twilight nodded in agreement, Spike about to speak up until he suddenly felt something fill his throat. Seconds later, he let out a mighty burp, unleashing a burst of green fire that morphed into ash before turning into a scroll. The princess took it in her magic, reading, "Looks like everything is set up in Canterlot." She turned to Script, "We ready for the test?"

Script nodded and stared at the rune gate, doing one final check. "Everything's set."

"Spike," the dragon stood to attention, "Please send a letter telling Celestia we're ready on this end." Spike nodded and pulled out a piece of paper, quickly scrolling it down before rolling it up and breathing fire. The scroll incinerated with the ashes, flying out of the room and off to Canterlot.

A minute passed as the three waited for a response, only to see the rune gate shine. This created a pillar of light that flew up and hit the ceiling. It didn't damage it, but the light grew brighter by the moment. And then, something appeared within the light. The figure of a pony, which slowly walked out of the light to reveal themselves as Flash Sentry. And as soon as he was out of the light, the rune gate disappeared and returned to normal.

"How'd you feel?" Twilight asked as she looked him over.

"I feel fine," he replied while doing a slight shiver, "A little tingly, but other than that, I feel fine." He shined a big grin, "I'm not an expert, but I think the rune gates between Canterlot and Ponyville are now one hundred percent safe."

"Great!" Twilight exclaimed before glancing over to some papers, "If that's the case, we can start work on adding the Crystal Empire to the link. That way, we can teleport ourselves to any of the three castles without delay. Heck, this'll make it seem like Shining, Cadance, and Flurry are practically in the next room!"

"Should we get to work then?" Script asked, getting a nod from Twilight.

"We'll work on it for the rest of the day, then pick it up in another four days." Her eyes gestured over to Spike, making Script nod as she continued, "It shouldn't be too hard to set up a connection."

"True," Script replied as he levitated some paper in front of him, "We just need to make it as strong as possible since this rune gate will be a lot further away then the one in Canterlot. Perhaps we can add some extra power inscriptions."

"I guess, but we can't go too far with that. We need to do a few tests that-" Twilight said, only for Flash to raise his hoof between the two.

"Sorry, but I gotta get something to eat. Your little experiment meant I couldn't eat anything since...you know, I didn't want a full stomach in case the rune travel didn't agree with me."

"That's fine Flash." Twilight replied, "Go ahead, as we've already had breakfast."

"Got it." Flash turned away, licking his lips, "Time to get some grub..."

"I'm coming with you," Spike added as his own stomach growled. "I haven't eaten anything either." Flash nodded and the pair headed for the kitchen, Flash intending to have something big before heading out on patrol of the town. Hopefully, Heart had taken his advice about how to spend the day off.

"Augh!" The fire wielding colt yelped as he walked away from another stall, his sister trotting beside him. "Why is this so hard?!"

"It's your own fault for not getting Spike's birthday present sooner," Soul giggled while she floated a bag full of cauliflower bites in front of her, "If you hadn't delayed, all the good ideas wouldn't already be taken." She threw the snack into her mouth, chuckled as he let out a huff.

They then walked by Sugarcube Corner, Heart's brain now shining a bulb, "Pinkie!" He ran inside, Soul following as the two suddenly passed Springer as he walked by.

"Whoa!" He yelped as they side-stepped him, "Where's the fire?!"

"Sorry!" Heart called back before running into the bakery. "Pinkie, I have a party emergency!" In the blink of an eye, Pinkie suddenly appeared in front of him.

"What's the problem?"

"I haven't gotten Spike a present and all the good ideas are gone. Any suggestions? Because-" Pinkie held up a hoof to make him stop, then reached over and pressed it against the wall. Heart and Soul watched as the piece of wall was pushed inward like a button, causing the floor in front of them to open up before a large stack of paper shot up.

"Here you go," she pushed the papers over, "This is a list of everything Spike likes, wants or needs. The crossed out ones are what he has or somepony else got for him."

"Wow...thanks!" Heart gasped as he pushed the stack over to a corner to read.

Pinkie giggled at this while Soul rolled her eyes and Springer stood at the door. "So..." he asked the party pony, "Got everything ready for the drake's big day?"

"Eeyup," Pinkie replied as she bounced in place. "I got streamers, party balloons and all of Spike's favorite foods to enjoy!"

"Good," Springer nodded as Pinkie moved over to the register. "I think Twilight has a plan to keep him out of the castle tomorrow so we can decorate it."

"This is gonna be so much fun," Soul added, Pinkie and Springer chuckling at this.

"As long as what happened last year doesn't happen again," Springer commented as he walked up to Pinkie, Soul turning to him with a raised eyebrow. She also saw Pinkie shiver at his statement, only for Springer to ask, "So how many ponies did you invite to this?"

"Everypony!" Pinkie exclaimed as she pressed a button on the register, a large pile of envelopes falling out of a hole in the ceiling. "Twilight's parents, the Royal Knights, and even the princesses! Most of them were able to RSVP, but some of them aren't gonna be able to make it. That just means we have to party extra hard for them!"

"Cool," Soul replied as she moved over to the envelope stack. "So who couldn't come?"

"Cold, Tidal, Ruby," Pinkie listed off, "I would have sent one to First and Heather, but I don't know where they are. I asked Princess Celestia, but she said they're on a very important assignment."

"What kind of assignment?" Soul asked, Pinkie just shrugging back.

Meanwhile, just outside the Dragon Lands...

Royal Knights Heather and First were now making their way up a mountain upon request from Princess Celestia. The pair had been sent on a survey mission to investigate the Dragon Land's plant life, seeing if any of the flora could have possible medical benefits. If they did, it could create a decent trade opportunity that could go a long way to improving pony dragon relations.

"Sweet Celestia," Heather wiped her brow. "This place is so hot. It'd be a miracle if anything could grow in this kind of climate."

"That is what we have come to find out," First replied, "If there is any kind of plant life that managed to grow in this place, then it would likely have evolved differently to the plants in Equestria. Which means it may have properties that could cure a disease that we have yet to discover a remedy for."

"I already know that. Its just so hot..." Heather groaned before taking out a map. "Okay, it says here that we're meant to meet up with the Dragon Lord. She should be around here somewhere."

She then she put the map away, First now looking up and seeing something heading in their direction. But before he could get a proper look, the thing suddenly shot down and struck the ground. It kicked up a cloud of dust, making both leap back and getting into a battle stance on instinct as they stared at the fog. And when the dust began to clear, it revealed a dragon.

The dragon was male and was mostly red with a yellow chest and wings with orange spines on his head, back and tail. It saw them through the fading dust, hissing at the sight, "Ponies..." he growled, the knights about to reach for their weapons, only for the dragon to take a single step and fall over, "Augh!" He crashed, making both gasp as they saw his back was filled with scratches and bruises.

They quickly ran over, First doing his best to administer some aid as Heather asked, "Who did this to you?"

"He...he's gone nuts. And he has....has pony stuff."

"Pony stuff?" First replied, "Who are you talking about?" The dragon tried to reply, but could only groan in pain.

"Where's Dragon Lord Ember?" Heather asked next, "Maybe if we get you to her..." The dragon raised his arm and pointed a claw in the direction he had approached from, the two seeing it was the direction where we supposed to meet Ember in.

"Come on," First tried to pick him up in his magic, but the dragon began go squirm.

"No!" He yelped, "I ain't going-" He flinched at this, letting out a scream of pain. The ponies grimaced at this, quickly bandaging him up. Once they made sure he could survive on his own, the ponies left the dragon and ran to where he had pointed. A few minutes later, they found themselves atop of a large cliff that overlooked much of the Dragon Lands. And when they got there, pure shock covered their faces.

Dragons of all different shapes and sizes were scattered all across the land, all looking like they had been hit by a rain of meteors. The ground around them appeared the same, giant chunks of land missing, with other parts looking almost completely burnt. It was a destroyed battlefield.

"What could have done this?" First asked.

"Look!" Heather pointed downward, both now seeing a pair of dragons standing at the bottom of a crater. One matched the description they had been given of Dragon Lord Ember, but the other was a complete unknown. Down in the crater, Ember groaned as she fell to her knees, only able to stay up by placing her weight on the bloodstone sceptre. She then looked up at the dragon that caused her injuries, a dragon that she thought she knew and could trust. Flicker.

"Why?" She asked him, her eyes going between his face and what he was holding: A silver leather back book, "Why are you doing this?"

Flicker just smirked, giving a look of dark glee, of malevolence as he replied, "Because I want to," he chuckled as the book opened in his claws. The pages glowed red before the light shot off the pages and into his other hand. He whispered something in a language Ember had never heard, then thrust his hand out, shooting the red energy at the dragon.

Ember gasped at this, bracing herself before being struck in the chest, sending her flying back. The bloodstone sceptre fell from her grip, rolling to the ground as Flicker chuckled. "And so ends the glorious reign of Dragon Lord Ember." He held up his claw as it and the book glowed red, with the sceptre glowing along with them. Ember opened her eyes and saw as the scepter flew over to Flicker, the dragon laughing as he took it in his open claw.

"The bloodstone sceptre," he whispered. "The item signifying the ruler of the Flame Dragons." He then turned to Ember, "No creature knows its true power. When in the claws of one such as I, it's power is magnified many times over."

"What are you talking about?" Ember asked as she tried to push herself back to her feet, Flicker smiling as a light moved from the book, up his arm and through his body before moving to his other arm and going into the sceptre.

"Let me show you," he held the sceptre up before unleashing a red shockwave that shot out in all directions. As soon as it hit Ember, she clutched her head in pain, falling to her knees while the other dragons suddenly awakened and roared while doing the same.

The two pointed watching gasped as they saw the dragons appeared to be tortured by the energy wave. Second by second, their screams intensified until they suddenly went silent. The dragons went limp next, their heads dropping, remaining still as Flicker chuckled at the sight.

"Arise, my faithful servants." With that, the dragons all began to move. They stood up and remained still as the ponies now saw all the dragons' eyes were now glowing bright red.

"He's controlling them..." Heather whispered.

"How is he doing that?" First asked, "Dragons are not supposed to have this kind of magic."

Heather glanced between the dragons and the book Flicker was carrying, seeing the same glow coming from it. "It's got to be that book. Whatever it is, it must be an incredibly powerful spell."

"Then we have to get it away from him," First added, "If we do not...who knows what he will do with an army of dragons by his side."

But as he said that, something came up behind him. The dragon known as Garble, his eyes now red like the others, had awakened and flew over to his new master. And when he did this, he looked down at the ponies that had given him aid. He then slammed the ground behind them, making both spin around in surprise.

And as this happened, Flicker looked up and saw the ponies, making him yell, "Attack!" Garble seemed to hear this and unleashed a burst of fire, forcing First and Heather to leap back. Doing so caused them to fall over the edge, both barely able to brace themselves as their hooves hit the canyon's walls, both sliding down as Flicker pointed at the ponies, "Go."

The dragons all turned to the ponies, taking flight as they began to breathe in some flames. Seeing this, Heather pulled out her Celestic Gear, "Bloom FORCE!" A tornado of leaves that flew up at the dragons, pushing them back.

This made Flicker raise an eyebrow, "Wood magic?" He shined a small grin, "Perfect." He turned to Heather, "Seems luck is already on my side. With you, I'll be one step closer to my goal." The ponies turned to him as he pointed his sceptre at them, the gem now glowing. "Let's begin, shall we?"

Back in Ponyville…

Flash and Spike were now eating breakfast, the pegasi noticing Spike barely biting his food. The sight made him raise an eyebrow, "You okay Spike?" The baby dragon looked up at him, "You don't seem your usual happy self today."

"It's nothing," Spike replied as he bit into some toast.

"Its obviously not. What's wrong?"

Spike's eyes slowly shifted up, now seeing a big frown on the defender's face. He let out a long sigh, "I uh...I had a really weird dream last night."

"Weird how?"

Spike put his claw to the side of his head, grumbling as he thought of a way to explain it, "I don't know. It just...it didn't feel like a dream, you know? It felt more like...I don't know, a memory. It just...felt so real. Like I was actually there. But I couldn't have been."

Flash took a sip of orange juice at this, "Huh. Okay..." His frown changed to a small cocky grin, "Well, considering I have experience in both prophecy and flashback dreams, maybe I can help. What happened in the dream?"

Spike chuckled at this, "Well...I was flying through the sky and surrounded by a bunch of other dragons. But these weren't like the ones we've seen before. One was more like a winged snake, and another didn't have any wings at all. And we were all staring down a giant black dragon and it looked like we were about to fight. And when I talked, it wasn't my voice that spoke. It was just weird."

The defender's grin vanished at this, letting out a hum, "Huh. That's a new one. Not sure if I can help with that. Maybe you should talk to Twilight."

Spike did a small shrug, "Maybe. But she hasn't been able to help much in the past when it comes to my life as a dragon."

"Then maybe contact someone who can help you. Don't you have friends in the Dragon Lands now? That Flicker dragon and the Dragon Lord..."

"Ember," he replied, crossing his claws at this, "I bet Ember is super busy as the Dragon Lord...but maybe Flicker can help. Maybe he can tell me if the dragons I saw in my dream are real or not."

"There you go." Flash responded as he gulped down the last bit of his toast before flapping his wings, flying by Spike and ruffling his head spines, "And I'd tell Twilight to keep your bases covered. Anyways, I gotta go." Spike nodded as Flash flew off, traversing the castle until he found a window he could fly through.

He soon glided over the town, glancing around before seeing a certain group of ponies in the middle of the village. It was Grand, Lightning, Rarity, Iron, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow, and to his surprise, Skybreaker. "Hey!" He called out as he flew down, landing as he turned to the Knight of the Winds, "Skybreaker, long time no see."

"Same," he waved his metallic wing back at him. "Sorry I haven't been around much. Big mission."

"He was just telling us about it," Rainbow added, "It was awesome."

"Speaking of missions..." Grand turned to Flash, "How'd everything go with Twilight's little experiment?"

"Pretty good," Flash replied, "I'm not inside out, so we're choking it up as a win for the Rune Gates."

"Marvelous!" Rarity exclaimed, "That means we can go between here and Canterlot whenever we want!"

"It's to only be used in emergencies," Lightning chimed in, "As in, no quick trips to your Canterlot Boutique since they don't class as emergencies."

Rarity glared at him as Applejack let out a guffaw, "Either way, ah think ah'll be stickin' to the train when ah can."

"Same here," Grand nodded before turning back to Skybreaker. "So, you sticking around for the party?"

"Party?" Skybreaker asked.

"Spike's birthday party," Fluttershy replied, "It's the day after tomorrow. There's gonna be lots of games, lots of music and lots of really nice food."

Iron chuckled at this, "And if it's anything like last year, the after party's gonna be insane." Flash and Applejack rolled their eyes while Rarity let out a nervous giggle and Rainbow straight up laughed. Fluttershy glanced away, leaving Lightning, Grand and Skybreaker all raising eyebrows at them.

"Well..." Sky muttered out, "The princess did give me the week off, and I don't have anything else planned. So...why not? It might be fun."

The others smiled and nodded at this, the group soon going to other topics of conversation. But as this happened, another pony noticed something strange. It was Cherry Berry, who was flying through the air in her helicopter. Straight in front of her, a black spot of energy appeared, the mare barely managing to see it in time to pull the vehicle around, the black spot now growing.

This was followed by other ponies yelling, all seeing the black spot slowly expand in the sky. "What is that?" Rainbow asked, nopony able to reply. In Sugarcube Corner, Springer, Pinkie, Soul and Heart ran out after Heart had noticed the portal in the sky. But as they did this, Springer scanned in with his aura...and felt a large presence.

"What in the-" he tried to say, only to feel more auras appear with the black portal.

At the castle, Twilight, Starlight and Script had been walking from the library to the room with the Rune Gate, all passing by a window before noticing the portal. Spike had also spotted it through another window, the little dragon opening it up to get a better look. "What the heck?!"

And as the portal grew, its entire shadow began to encompass the town, causing every pony in Ponyville to notice its appearance as it blacked out the sun. As this happened, Flash now flapping up to the portal as Grand yelled, "Flash?!"

The defender didn't hear him, Skybreaker and Rainbow following as the defenders all pulled out their weapons. And as they stared at the portal, Flash saw a figure now fly out of the portal, "A dragon?"

The dragon was gray in color, carrying a strange looking staff and book in it claws. It saw the approaching ponies, glaring at Flash as a smile appeared on his lips. "There you are."

"Hey!" Skybreaker yelled as they got close enough, "What's the big idea?! What are you doing here and what's with the big hole in the sky?!" The dragon didn't reply, instead raising his staff as it began to glow. Seconds later, more dragons appeared from the portal. They were all on the smaller side for dragons, Flash spotting several teenage dragons from his time in the Dragon Lands.

The lead dragon then pointed at the ponies, with a single word escaping his lips. "Attack." With that, the flying reptiles charged, Flash, Rainbow and Skybreaker bracing themselves. And as the dragons began to clash with the trio, the rest swooped down, ready to attack the town. It was an invasion.

The Assault of Ponyville

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The ponies ran as fast as they could as the dragons descended from the sky, unleashing bursts of fire that burned everything it touched. Iron, Grand, Lightning, Springer and even Applejack were trying to get anypony away, pushing dragons back as the town was sent into a huge panic. And while this happened, Flash, Skybreaker and Rainbow were now fighting the many skyward dragons, unable to push them back as they kept getting past the three.

"Flash Cutter Barrage!" The Knight of Friendship swung his sword while spinning, firing a volley of energy blades.

"Sky Grinder!" Skybreaker morphed into a wheel of air that rammed into five dragons, knocking them all back. As this happened, Rainbow zipped around, delivering a series of flying kicks to the face to every dragon she could. But every time one dragon was knocked down, two more took their place.

And the same was true for the ground forces. "Gatling Spark!" Lightning yelled, a barrage of electric bullets now flying out of his horn, zapping a group of dragons.

"Grand Impact!" Grand slammed his hammer into the ground, causing a pillar of rocks to fly into the dragons, only for more to appear, destroying the rocks. "Not good..."

"Iron/Aura Force!" Iron and Springer fired their force attacks, the aura laser and iron tornado flying through the air and knocking out several dragons. But again, they just kept coming as Springer yelled, "Why are they doing this?! I know dragons can be mean, but they've never this aggressive!"

"I thought that new Dragon Lord promised peace between our kingdoms?" Iron asked as he used his weapon to smack away a dragon. In that moment, there was a flash of light, both turning to see Twilight, Starlight and Script appear.

"Princess!" Grand called out, "Do you have any idea what's going on here?!"

"No!" Twilight shook her head before using her magic to shield herself from a burst of dragon fire, "I have no idea why this is happening. But right now, our main focus has to be saving the citizens." The ponies nodded as Applejack threw her lasso at a dragon that had cornered Amethyst Star, grabbing the end of its tail before pulling it away. "Springer, connect to everypony in town and tell them to head for the castle! It's the safest place for them!"

"But it's made of crystals," Starlight added before shooting a dragon with her magic. "And dragons eat crystals."

"I can fix that," Script replied, "But I'll need a few minutes."

"We'll give you the time," Lightning chimed in before turning to Rarity. "Go with Script!"

"Not until I find Sweetie Belle."

"And ah need to find Applebloom!"

"They're already on their way to the castle," Springer told the pair as he scanned the town. "Scootaloo's with them."

"What about Heart and Soul?" Twilight asked next.

"Pinkie said she was gonna take them to the castle along with the Cakes," Springer responded before putting his paws together, closing his eyes as he took a deep breath. "To all ponies. Those that haven't already must get to the Castle of Friendship. Plans are underway to fortify it against the oncoming invaders. Please be careful. We will do our best to protect you, but stay calm and do what you can to stay safe." The entirety of Ponyville heard this and began to make their way for the castle, Rarity, Fluttershy and Applejack moving over to Script as he flashed his horn.

"Please be careful," Fluttershy told Iron before the four vanished.

With them gone, the other ponies turned back to the dragons as Twilight called out, "Everypony, let's push them back! Then we'll find out why this is happening!"

"Yes Ma'am!"

At the castle, Spike had heard Springer's announcement along with the jakhowls as the ran to the front doors. They opened them up, now seeing the first of the ponies arriving. "Come on!" The baby dragon yelled, "Hurry! You'll be safe inside." The ponies ran in, Spike spotting the CMC, Pinkie and the twins amongst them. "Hey!" They turned to him, "What the heck is going on?! Why are dragons attacking?!"

"I don't know," Heart replied, "Somepony pulled me away before I could ask!" He glared at Pinkie, who was helping Mrs. Cake calm the Cake Twins.

"She was right to!" Soul added, "Your fire's useless against dragons!"

As she said that, a flash of light caught their attention, now seeing Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity and Script appear. "Applejack/Rarity!" Their sisters cried out as they ran over to them, hugging the two. As they did, Script began firing some magic at the ground before walking in a circle around the castle, his magic moving with him as a ring of runes slowly began to appear.

"Script is going to make a spell to protect the castle. We can't let the dragons distract him," Rarity told the others. "Let's protect him as best as we can." They all nodded as a group of dragons began to descend upon them.

"Alright!" Heart leapt up, igniting his body. One of the dragons charged, Heart noticing this one was smaller than the others. She was not small as Spike, but somewhere in-between, the dragon being female and was orange with a yellow front and mouth with a purple fin running down its head and on the tip of its tail. The dragon unleashed a burst of fire, only for Heart to fly right through the flames, "Nice try!" He laughed before throwing a punch, hitting the dragon in the face. And as he pushed her back, he saw the dragon's expression not change, not showing pain or anything. Instead, it just stared at him with glowing bright red eyes, "Huh?!"

As this happened, the others also saw the glowing red eyes, Spike now asking, "What is that?" But as he said this, another dragon landed in front of the castle, one he knew all too well. "Ember?" He yelped as the blue dragon stared at him, showing the same glowing eyes, "Something's controlling them..."

"How?" Starlight asked as Twilight realized the same thing.

"I don't know," the princess fired a blast of magic that trapped several dragons in bubbles that they couldn't break through. "But that means this isn't their fault." She looked up and saw Flash and Skybreaker fighting at full force. They hadn't seriously hurt any of the dragons yet, but it was only a matter of time. "FLASH!" She flew up to them, bubbling any dragon that got near her.

Flash saw this and yelled, "Twilight, what are you doing?!"

"The dragons are being controlled," Twilight replied, "This isn't their fault. We can't hurt them."

"What about them hurting us?" Skybreaker asked as he roundhoused a dragon in the jaw.

"Yeah! How are we supposed to stop these things if we can't hurt 'em?!" Rainbow yelled as she flew up to them while dodging a fire blast.

"If we can just figure out what's controlling them, then-" Twilight tried to say, only for Flash to interrupt her as he turned to the first dragon that appeared through the still open portal.

"HIM!" He yelled, charging up there as Twilight followed him. They both raced up, blasting any dragon that got in their way, only for Twilight to go wide-eyed.

"Wait...that's Flicker!" Flash turned to her with raised eyebrows, "I'm sure of it!"

"What?! That's the dragon you befriended in the Dragon Lands?" Twilight nodded, "I thought you said he was a good dragon!"

"He is...or was." They then reached Flicker, who simply stared at the pair, "Why are you doing this?" she asked him. "Flicker, I thought we were friends." She then noticed the staff he was holding, "Wait...that's the Bloodstone Scepter."

"That's right," he laughed, "And as long as I have it, the dragons are mine to control." He smirked at them, then pointed the staff at Flash. "You. You will be coming with me."

Flash raised an eyebrow at this, "I'm not going anywhere with you except to send you to prison." He cracked his hooves, "You're gonna pay for attacking our town."

"We'll see," Flicker held up the scepter as the book in his other claw glowed. The light travelled though his body and into the staff before he pointed it at Flash, the gemstone exploding with light that shot right at Flash.

"WHOA!" Flash barely managed to hold up his sword and block the blast in time, though it pushed him back, "What the...magic?!"

"That's...that's impossible!" Twilight exclaimed, "Dragons can't use magic!"

"Can't we?" Flicker chuckled, "Maybe you ponies have just been underestimating us."

Flash held up his sword at this, "Doesn't matter. You're not the first magic wielding psychopath I've fought. Against Twilight and me, you don't stand a chance!"

But as he yelled this, Flicker raised his staff again. "Maybe. But magic and smaller dragons isn't all I have." The gemstone glowed, making Twilight and Flash brace themselves, only to see something new come out of the portal, the sight making them go wide-eyed. The rest of the town did the same, everypony seeing the being slither out of the hole.

It was a dragon, the biggest dragon anypony had ever seen. Its head was about the same size as Torch's, but it had a long serpentine body that appeared to be covered in green 'fur', everypony now realizing it was actually grass and had several differently colored flowers growing on it. Its hair on the back of its head that was made of leaved twigs and long vines, and it had two a pair of T-Rex-like arms. Its claws were made out of wood, and its wings looked like a pair of giant leaves that somehow kept it aloft.

The beast let out a mighty roar, shaking the ground around it, forcing the ponies to cover their ears. But one member of Ponyville's citizenship fought through the sound to look at the dragon above. Spike. The young drake stared at the beast, a memory of his dream flashing through him as he gasped, "That's....one of the dragons from my dream."

Meanwhile, the colossal dragon stared down at Flash and Twilight as Flicker flew up and landed on its head. "Let me introduce you to my ultimate weapon. The wood dragon." As he said that, the beast opened its mouth, taking a deep breath. Seconds later, it let out a mighty roar, this one firing a powerful blast of wind that was filled with leaves and twigs.

The princess flew in front of her boyfriend and summoned a shield, the barrier deflecting the leaf tornado. However, she let out a scream, "Gyah!" as the shield kept getting hit, Flash grimacing at this as he flew in front of her just as the roar stopped.

Flash caught Twilight as he shield disappeared, seeing her gasping after doing the barrier. "You okay?"

"I'll...be fine." Twilight replied as she looked up at him, "Get 'em!"

"You got it!" He spun back to Flicker, only for the dragon to point his staff at him. A beam of magic flew out, making Flash point his sword, "FLASH FORCE!" The laser exploded out, both connecting with the other. The two attacks pushed against one another, Flash feeling himself falter since one of his hooves was holding Twilight.

As this happened, he cut the attack and pulled away from Flicker's attack, the beam flying past him and hitting the ground. Growling at this, he flew down and landed, putting Twilight down just as several dragons surrounded them. He ignited his blade, firing a barrage of Flash Cutter attacks, knocking them all back. And as this happened, Twilight slowly got up, clutching her head as she looked up at Flicker. She saw the giant grin on his face, now seeing nothing but greed in his eyes as she whispered, "Flicker...what happened to you?"

Back at the castle...

"We can't keep this up forever!" Heart yelled as he flew through a dragon's fire blast, body checking the beast while Applejack bucked another away. He then glanced over at Script, who was getting close to forming a complete circle around the castle.

Soul was also doing what she could against them, using as much magic as she could control to pick the dragons up and throw them away. Fluttershy had also grown three times her usual size, now beating her wings enough to blow any dragon that got close away.

Meanwhile, Spike had been writing a hasty letter to Celestia, Cadance and anyone else he thought might come and help. There was a chance they already knew, given the size of the growing portal, but he knew he had to try everything. "Spike!" He heard Script call out, "Get inside! Once this rune circle's complete, no dragon's gonna be able to get through it!"

"Almost done!" He replied before rolling up the scroll and breathing fire on it, the paper disintegrating with the ash flying into the air. But as he did this, Flicker's head popped up.

"What was that?" He asked, his eyes narrowing at he felt a shiver down his spine, "It can't be...could it?" His vision swept over the town, only to focus on the castle, zeroing in on it with a fierce expression on his face. "There." He jumped off the dragon's head and glanced back at it, "Find them."

"HEY!" He turned to the voice, now seeing a charging Rainbow with Skybreaker behind her. "You're not going anywhere!" She tried to tackle him, only for one of the vines from the wood dragon's hair suddenly extended. The root quickly snagged the athlete, wrapping her up instantly. "HEY!"

"Hang on!" Skybreaker yelled, readying his weapon to slice the vine. But before he could, the dragon swung one of its wings down at him. "WHOA!" He yelped, barely managing to avoid it. But in the wing's wake, a powerful blast of wind slammed into him. "GYAH!" He went flying, slamming into a house before the dragon threw Rainbow into another house.

"AUGH!" she screamed, Flicker laughing at the sight.

"Ha!" Flicker then pointed at the castle, "Now, find them! I will take care of the rest!" With that, he hopped off the wood dragon as it stared down at the ground, now seeing the ponies that remained to fight against Flicker's army.

And as it flew down, Springer looked up and saw the approaching beast, "Look out!" He yelled as Iron, Grand, Lightning and Starlight now saw the dragon.

"Not good," Lightning whispered, "How the heck are we supposed to take that thing down without making it crush the town?!" As he said that, the vines that appeared to make up its hair began to move, now thrusting down. The four got into a battle stance as the vines swung down, Iron being the first to react by making a giant sword blade on the tip of his staff, swinging it at the roots.

But as soon as the vine was cut, more just grew out of it. Seeing this, Lightning took out several knives and Springer activated his Steel Paw, the two beginning to slash at the vines. Starlight simply blasted them, cutting them up while Grand swung his hammer into the roots...only for the vines to instantly wrap the end of his hammer.

"Oh no." he grimaced as he felt the vines now try to pull his weapon away from him. "Hey! Let go!"

As this happened, Iron slashed several more vines away before leaping back, then slamming his spear into the ground. "Armorize!" In a flash of light, Piecemaker merged with Iron and transformed him into his upgraded form.

"Mega Mode Power!" Springer yelled as he was engulfed by light, transforming into his evolved form. His Steel Paw claws even extended, now slicing through the roots while Iron swung his sword tail around, firing iron spikes from the sides of his body. At the same time, Lightning supercharged his knives as he slashed the vines, hoping to cauterize them. But they continued to grow, all the attacks seemingly pointless.

Meanwhile, Flash continued to defend Twilight as she finally managed to pull herself back to her hooves. "I'm okay," she told him as she spread her wings, now building up magic again. As she did this, Flash leapt above her, flying straight up as she unleashed a wave of magic. The wave knocked all the dragons back, pushing them away as Flash now saw Flicker heading for the castle.

"Twilight!" He pointed at the dragon, Twilight nodding as she tried to teleport them both. But as she did this, she clenched her head, Flash flying down too her. "You okay?"

"No...I used up too much magic at the start."

"Then we gotta follow him." Flash helped her up and they both took to the air, now seeing a group of dragons charging at them. Both nodded to each other, quickly blasting through the group with a burst of energy blades and magic.

But while they charged through, Flicker had a larger lead on them, about to get to the castle as Script finally finished the rune circle. "It's done!" He yelled as the ring of symbols began to glow. Spike had gotten behind the circle, now seeing a barrier to appear and form a dome around the castle. "Get in!" He exclaimed to the ponies outside the circle, Heart, Soul and Applejack turning to run away from the dragon and jump through the barrier while Fluttershy shrank back to her normal size.

They watched as the dragons began to charge at the barrier, only to bounce off it. The dragons followed up with a series of claw slashes and flame breath, but the shield stood against it all. "Nice one Script!" Applejack commented, the others nodding as they let out sighs of relief.

The only one not happy was Spike, who stared at Ember as she tried to get through the barrier. Watching the dragon he considered his friend was making his heart eat himself, only for his legs to start moving.

"Spike!" Heart called out as Spike ran up to her.

"What are you doing?!" Rarity added as he stopped in front of the blue dragon.

"Come on Ember!" Spike yelled, "Whatever this is, you can fight it! You're the Dragon Lord!" The blue dragon continued to claw at the force-field, "I know you! You're stronger than this!" He moved up to him, just inches as she kept slashing the barrier, "You don't wanna hurt us. You don't wanna hurt me." Ember's eyes glanced down at him, her claws slowing down as he said, "We're friends." Ember's claws came to a stop, though they were still touching the barrier. And as he saw this, Spike's eyes narrowed at the sight.

"SPIKE!" Everyone cried as they saw the dragon reached a hand through the barrier and grab Ember's, the group fearing Spike would be pulled outside the barrier and be ripped apart. But Ember didn't do that. She stared down at him, only to slowly grab his.

But as she did this, she suddenly let go, instead putting her claws to her head. She let out a scream of pain as she fell to her knees, "Ember!" Spike watched her scream, shaking her head back and forth, "Ember! You have to fight it!" She let out another screech, only to come to a stop. Spike went wide-eyed, only to slowly ask, "Ember?" The dragon opened her eyes, blinking as they the red glow disappeared from them.


"You're okay!" Spike cheered, only to hear the sounds of the other dragons still slashing at the force-field. He pointed to the horde, "Quick, get them to stop!"

Ember slowly turned to them, letting out a groan of pain, "I can't," she got up. "They're being controlled and..." She looked down at her empty hands, "I'm not the Dragon Lord anymore. I lost the sceptre in combat."

"To who?" Spike asked.

"TO ME!" Everypony and dragon heard the voice, all looking up to see Flicker flying above them.

"Flicker?" Spike yelped, Heart, Soul and Rarity all staring at him with wide-eyes as Ember growled at him.

"That's not Flicker!" she pointed at him. "It might be his body, but not his mind." She shivered, "I could feel it when it took control of me. Some kind of...darkness has corrupted him."

"And you'll soon be feeling it again," Flicker laughed as he flew straight down. And when he landed, he slammed the sceptre into the ground as energy flew into it from the book. The energy then exploded out into a wave, which struck the barrier and caused it to shatter, the runes being swept away like leaves on the wind.

"WHAT?!" Script screamed at the sight, unable to comprehend the sight of his runes easily being destroyed, "Impossible!"

"You ponies are so weak," Flicker cackled. "Back in my day, runes like that were hatchery level learning." He raised the staff again, "Now to add you both to my collection." He slammed his staff into the ground against and unleashed another wave of energy.

This time, the energy struck only Spike and Ember. The two dragons clutched their heads and cried out, the ponies gasping as they screamed, "SPIKE!"

A long groan escaped Spike's mouth as his eyes blinked open, soon focusing as he suddenly found himself in a white void. "Huh?" he whispered, "Where-"

His words were interrupted by a sudden dark light exploding in front of him, the darkness spreading all around the white void. And as it did this, black chains shot out of the darkness, quickly wrapping around the young drake, "What the-Aaaah!"

He clenched in the chains, feeling them tighten until a roar of laughter rang out. Looking up, he saw a dark shape appear in the void. It was a giant dragon head, which glared down at him with bright red eyes full of pure malice. "You are mine now. And you will obey me."

"Who...are you?" The dragon laughed again, the sound sending shivers down Spike's spine.

"I guess you might as well know the name of the world's most powerful dragon and future ruler of all dragonoids and ponies while you remain here. Look upon the all mighty king of dragons! The Mystic Shadow Dragon...MALAFEAR!"

"Mystic Shadow Dragon?" Spike yelped, only to then flinch as the chains tightened around him. "Ow!"

But as he felt the pain, he heard something else. Voices. First he heard Heart's voice, then Rarity's, Pinkie's, Soul's, Applejack's, the CMC and so many other ponies. His friends, who could yelling as he felt the chains pull at him. And as this happened, a click went off in his brain before yelling, "NO!" He pulled at the chains, "I won't...let you...control me! AHHHHH!"

The dragon's head raised an eyebrow at this, only to shake his head, "Don't bother. All dragons will submit to my-" His words came to a stop as a crack appeared in the chains, "What?!" A snort of fire blew from this nostrils at the sight, summoning more chains that wrapped around the little dragon. But before they could hit Spike, a sudden silver light appeared, shielding the drake as the chains bounced off the barrier.

"What?!" He roared as he fired more chains, only for them all to reflect off the shield. "Impossible!"

The chains began to turn to smoke, the light now shining even brighter before changing shape. It slowly morphed into a type of humanoid dragon, Spike not noticing due to this eyes being closed. But despite this, Malafear hissed at the being, glaring at the energy field as a pair of green eyes appeared on the head of the energy construct.

"You..." Malafear growled, only for Spike to give one final pull as the sounds of his friends echoed through the void.

"Let...me...GO!" With that, the chains shattered, the silver energy exploding out as it burned away the darkness. Malafear roared as this happened, the dark figure vanishing from the mind space.

"Ahh!" Flicker staggered back while Spike stumbled, barely able to keep his balance. He glanced up next, now seeing Ember still clutching her head.

"EMBER!" He yelled as he grabbed her, shaking her as the dragon began to blink. When she did this, her eyes returned to normal. "Come on!" He pulled her over to the castle, the pair joining the others before they heard the sound of wings.

"SPIKE!" Twilight exclaimed as she and Flash landed in front of him, "are you okay?!"

"I'm fine," he replied before seeing the pair stare suspiciously at Ember. "It's okay. Ember's on our side." He then turned to Flicker as he stood up. "But something's controlling Flicker! Some kind of evil spirit."

"An evil spirit?" Flash asked.

Spike nodded, "He said his name was...Malafear."

Flicker groaned as he held his head, only to glare at the small purple dragon. "I knew it," he hissed, "You may have changed your appearance, but that power is something I'll never forget!" He pointed his staff at Spike, "You won't stop me this time...Silverbolt."


"Teaming up with ponies again?!" Flicker roared, "You truly are a disgrace to the Mystic Dragon race." He turned to the ones under his control, "GET THEM!" The dragons charged again, Flash, Twilight, Applejack, Script, Heart and Ember running in front of the drake.

And as they began to push the dragons back, Spike just stared at Flicker, whispering to himself, "Silverbolt?"


The other defenders and Starlight were still fighting the wood dragon. The serpent had stopped firing vines, instead swinging its tail around. Its tail tried to swipe into them, Starlight yelping, "Look out!" She formed a shield with her magic, only for it push them back. Springer then slammed his paws together, forming a second barrier around Starlight's that managed to hold them in place.

"I didn't wanna do this in the middle of town," Springer growled, "But it doesn't look like I have much of a choice." With that, the shield reshaped into his head and began to grow. Slowly, he formed his aura avatar and stood tall against the wood dragon. "Take this!" He reached down and grabbed the tail before pulling at it, allowing the others to leap out of the avatar and unleash blasts of metal, earth, lightning and magic. The dragon roared as the blows hit, only to pull its tail free before slamming it into the avatar. Springer staggered back, doing his best to not fall into a building. But as he did this, a barrage of vines suddenly wrapped around the construct.

"What the-augh!" He screamed as the dragon pulled him, the being flying up and yanking Springer along with it. And with a great swing of its head, the vines whipped Springer around before letting him go. "GYAH!" His friends gasped as they watched the avatar fall, Springer quickly dispelling the construct before crashing into a roof of a building.

"Springer!" Starlight cried before the dragon turned to them, she, Iron, Lightning and Grand staring up at the beast. But before it could attack, a loud boom filled the air, something slamming into the dragon's head. The beast roared in pain, staggering back as a certain pony appeared over the dragon.

"Oh yeah!" Rainbow cheered as she flew back, "That's payback for earlier!" The dragon growled at her, firing more roots at her, only for another voice to call out.

"Sky Cutter Barrage!" A volley of wind blades shredded the vines, Skybreaker appearing by Rainbow's side, "Give up beast! There's more where that came from!"

"Now everypony!" Grand told the others, all now firing blasts at the dragon. Skybreaker helped while Rainbow flew out of the firing range, the dragon getting hit by a barrage of wind, earth, lightning, iron and magic. It went on like this for several minutes, the dragon falling back more and more.

Back at the castle, everypony was still pushing the dragons back. And as they kept knocking them away, Flicker began firing several magical blasts from his book and staff, but Twilight countered each with several quick beams. But as this happened, they all noticed the wood dragon take a a deep breath in.

"Oh no," Twilight whispered as Flicker smirked.

Before anyone could do anything, the dragon unleashed a blast of air from its mouth that was full of leaves. The leaves flew through the area, firing a tornado that pushed all the ponies that were pushing the wood dragon back. Screams rang out as the leafy wind went straight for the castle, Flash gasping as he saw the attack coming for them.

"WATCH OUT!" he yelled, but it was too late. The wind scattered the defenders, knocking them into buildings as Flash charged at the tornado. He morphed into his Flash Driver attack, colliding with the whirlwind.

And as he cut the wind attack in half, Flicker turned to the other ponies. "Gotcha!" He laughed as he slammed the sceptre into the ground, unleashing a burst of magic which grabbed the ponies and dragon facing him before throwing them all away.

"AHHH/GYAH/AUGH!" They all cried, all hitting the sides of the castle, one last blast hitting the distracted Flash.

The only one not thrown away was Spike, who was instead lifted into the air. "Spike!" Twilight screamed as she saw this, only for Flicker to put up a barrier around the two. "NO!" She fired a beam into the shield, only for it bounce off. "Let him go!"

"I won't let you get in my way this time," Flicker growled as he held up the book, "This time, you'll be forced to sit and wait to see the damage done by your failure!" With that, he opened the book, unleashing a bright light that suddenly consumed Spike.

"GYAH!" He cried out, only for the light to pull him to the book.

"SPIKE!" His friends all yelled, Twilight continuing to blast the shield, others trying to join her until the other dragons landed in front of them. All they could do was watch as the light was sucked into the book, the pages acting like a portal as Spike's feet touched it and phased into the paper.

"What's...HAPPENING?!" Were Spike's last words before his entire body was sucked inside, Flicker slamming it chuckle before dissolving the barrier.

"Vengence is so sweet."

But as he said that, a purple light made him turn to see Twilight glaring at him, her horn exploding with purple lightning. "Bring. Him. Back!" she hissed.

"Oh, I don't think so," Flicker chuckled before Twilight screamed as a blast of magic flew out of her horn. But Flicker just opened a portal like the one they had arrived through, the magic going through it before another portal appeared in front of her.

She gasped as a beam of magic slammed into her, making her scream as she went flying. "TWILIGHT!" Flash screamed before turning to glare at Flicker, "That's does it!" He charged with his sword ready, Flicker quickly countering with his staff. The two locked weapons, the pegasi pushing him back, "I'm gonna make you pay for all you've done."

"No, you won't," Flicker laughed as black lightning sparked around the gem of his staff. "Very soon, you'll find yourself working with me."

Before Flash could ask what he meant, the lightning shot off the staff, hitting the defender. "AUGH!" He cried, pulling back, but the lightning remained.

"FLASH!" His friends screamed as they tried to run up to him, only for the dragons to appear in front of them again. Flash continued to scream as his entire body felt like it was getting ripped apart, Flicker chuckling at the sight.

"Yes," he whispered, "You're mine." But in that moment, Flash's eyes shot open, both glowing bright gold. "What?!" He responded as the light spread to the rest of Flash's body, then exploded as a burst of light hit Flicker, "GYAH!" He cried, only to feel a hoof slam into his face. "AUGH!" He was thrown back, only to be caught by some of his dragons, barely able to hold onto the sceptre and his book.

He stared at the light, now seeing Flash armorized, wearing his Shining Guardian suit. He glared at Flicker, the dragon growling before both heard something. They turned to see the wood dragon using its vines to rummage around in the remains of some destroyed buildings before pulling something out.

"Well, we're closer to our goal." He glanced back to Flash, "Enjoy this reprieve, as we will meet again." With that, he shot up with the rest of the dragons.

"HEY!" Flash yelled, "Get back here!" But before he could do anything, Flicker spun around and fired a blast of magic, this one exploding and suddenly spreading out, forming a dome around the castle. Flash instantly pushed against it, only to bounce off as the dragons phased through it without issue.

As this happened, the dragons all flew toward the portal, flying into it before disappearing. Flicker reached it along with the wood dragon, who was holding a pair of ponies in its vines. "Excellent."

But as he said this, a shattering sound rang out. He turned to see Flash having shattered the dome like glass with his blade, "Impressive." he turned to the wood dragon, "Go."

The wood dragon began to fly through the portal as Flash saw what the dragon was holding. "Iron...Lightning!" The two ponies were unconscious, Iron still armorized as both had vines around them. "NO!" He yelled, opening the ends of his wings and using his Sacred Light to increase his speed. But the dragon disappeared through the portal with his friends, Flicker following with a smirk.

"Until we meet again," he bowed before disappearing through the portal. No sooner had he done so, the portal blinked and shrank down to nothing, vanishing instantly.

"No!" Flash screamed, the portal gone just moments before he reached it. Seeing it was gone, he came to a stop, his body shaking as he whispered, "Spike...Iron...Lightning." He then let out a ear-piercing roar towards the heavens, "RAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHHH!"

Somewhere else...

Spike's eyes slowly opened, letting out a moan as he blinked. His body creaked up, smacking his lips as he sat himself up, "Ow...what happened?"

HIs eyes glanced around next, only to go wide-eyed. He was now in a pure white void, completely devoid of anything. "Where...where am I?"

The Egg's Truth

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It's strange what an hour can do for a place. One hour ago, Ponyville had been a peaceful place anyone would have wanted to live in, but now it was a living disaster. Houses upon houses were either damaged or destroyed, the roads upturned and its many trees now burnt. Sweet Apple Acres had managed to be spared, along with the Everfree Forest, but that was the only place that hadn't been attacked.

Then there were the ponies, all either traumatized or injured. "Augh!" Grand yelped as he woke up, now feeling the bandages around him, Rainbow, Skybreaker, Starlight and Springer laying beside him.

"Grand!" He turned to see Flash along with some others beside him, now seeing he was inside the Castle of Friendship's entryway. "You okay? That was a pretty nasty hit you took."

"I'm...fine," He grumbled before glancing down at his body. "I think. What happened? I remember that dragon that fired that hurricane of leaves but..." He looked back at Flash, "The dragons-"

"Are gone," he turned to Twilight as she interrupted him, "They took off back through the portal and disappeared." The others were beginning to come round as she said this, the group hearing Grand as he asked the obvious.

"Something happened, didn't it?" He said as she saw Twilight, Fluttershy and Rarity with upset looks on their faces. The pegasus and unicorn were close to tears, making him grimace till he asked, "Wait...where's Lightning? And Iron?" Skybreaker went wide-eyed at this, both glancing around as they saw that the ponies were missing.

"They're gone," Flash sighed, "That big dragon took them. Lifted them up and pulled 'em through that portal." His entire body shook at this, growling, "I tried to save them...but I wasn't fast enough."

Grand shook his head at this, slowly getting up, "Don't. It wasn't your fault Flash. Whoever did this attacked with no warning or explanation. Anypony would be caught by surprise. Though, do we know who did this?"

"His name is Malafear." They turned to see Ember leaning against a wall, her arms crossed. Those that had just woke up tensed up, but Twilight jumped in front of them.

"It's okay," she responded, "Ember's on our side. She's the Dragon Lord."

"Former Dragon Lord," Ember corrected, "That dragon beat me and took the staff, which allowed him to take control of the dragons. And he did because he could somehow use magic."

"Magic?" Skybreaker asked, "Since when can dragons use magic?"

"No idea." Ember sighed, "I don't know how, but whatever magic he used seemed to be undone when Spike spoke to me." She glanced away at this, "I was trapped in my own mind, unable to control myself. But then I heard Spike's voice and it allowed me to break free of Malafear's control."

"But that just made the guy angry," Soul added, "And he...he..." She teared up, Heart patting her on the back.

"He what?" Springer asked.

"He took him!" Twilight almost cried, "He used some kind of spell that sucked Spike into the book he was holding! And then he went through the portal..." As they heard this, frowns and lowered ears following this. Twilight began to tear up as Flash placed a wing on her back, pulling her closer to him. She placed her head on his shoulder, all now letting this information sink in.

It was here that Skybreaker broke the silence, groaning as he stood up. "I know we're all upset about what happened, but sitting around doing nothing isn't going to help us. He have to find out who this Malafear is and get our friends back." He then turned to the exit, now seeing the damage that had done to the town. "We can't let this happen again."

"I agree." Grand added, "Though that begs the question...what do we do now? Do we have any idea where they went?"

"They had to have gone back to the Dragon Lands," Ember responded, "That's where we were before my brain got hijacked, so that must have been where we came from."

"So then what are we waiting for?" Rainbow chimed in, "Let's go save our friends!" But before she could fly off, Twilight magically grabbed her by the tail.

"Hold on Rainbow. I wanna save Spike too, but we have to face the facts. We can't go up against them all by ourselves. We need help."

"We're up against an army, which means we need an army," Grand grumbled while crossing his hooves, "We need the Equestrian Guard."

"Which means we need to talk to Celestia," Flash added, the others nodding, "Then let's get to Canterlot as fast as we can."

"There's no need." The group jumped at that voice, looking up to be greeted by the sight of a pegasus drawn carriage flying down. Celestia, Luna and even Trixie were sitting on it, all showing frowns as they stared at the destroyed down. And as they landed, Celestia turned to her former student, "Twilight, what happened here? We saw the portal from Canterlot and what appeared to be a giant dragon. Did it do this?"

"Not alone," Twilight replied.

"Maybe I should explain," Ember added, the princesses turning to her with raised eyebrows. And after an explanation from Twilight on who she was, they agreed to talk inside the castle. Twilight responded by being okay with this, but also asked some of her friends to try and help with the reconstruction of the town. Starlight agreed along with Applejack, Rainbow, Pinkie and the younger jakhowls.

The rest headed inside, moving to the Cutie Map room where Twilight conjured up a few extra chairs for the extra ponies. Celestia and Luna sat in Rainbow and Applejack's thrones while Ember sat in Pinkie's. The former Dragon Lord then explained everything that happened in the Dragon Lands, with the others taking over to explain the attack on the town.

"This is serious," Celestia grimaced.

"This is an act of war!" Luna declared. "Attacking without probable cause or warning...this act of aggression can not go unanswered!"

"But it's not the dragon's fault," Heart countered, the princess turning to him, "They're being controlled."

"The one to blame is this Malafear that is controlling Flicker," Ember added, "I know him, and Flicker wouldn't do this. Not if he had a choice."

Celestia nodded at this before shaking her head, "That may be true, but that doesn't change the fact that the dragons pose a serious threat. They attacked once, so who's to say they won't attack again? And with that larger dragon, they could wipe out any place they choose to attack."

"Where the heck did that dragon even come from?" Springer asked, "I never saw it when Spike and I went to the Dragon Lands."

"I am unfamiliar with that species of dragon as well," Luna continued before they all turned to Ember.

The former Dragon Lord crossed her arms and shrugged. "Sorry, can't help you with that one. Never seen a dragon like that before. And it wasn't in the Dragon Lands when Flicker took control of me. Whatever that thing is, it must have shown up after I got taken over."

"That doesn't help us," Trixie grumbled, "I mean, what kind of dragon breathes leaves and has vines for hair?" As she said that, Heart and Soul slumped over in their seats. The twins had been mulling over that dragon's appearance ever since they saw it, a feeling of recognition flowing through their brains whenever they thought about it.

"I feel like I've seen that dragon before," Heart sighed as he slammed his head on the table. "But every time I try and remember, I draw a blank."

"Why would you recognize the dragon?" Trixie asked him, "Aside from Spike, when have you actually met another dragon?"

"We went with Spike to the dragon lands," Soul replied, "That's where we met Ember and Flicker when they-" She stopped as her eyes went wide, a look of shock on her face before letting out a gasp. "THAT'S IT!" They all jumped before she leapt out of the throne and flew out the room, "Give me a minute!" With that, she was gone, the others only able to stare at one another in confusion.

A minute later, she flew back in with one of her sketch pads. She sat back in her chair and started flicking through the pages. "I know it's in here. No, no, no, no, YES!" She flipped it around and showed it to the others, Twilight floating it over to her.

The images showed a collection of different dragons with a pony at the bottom of the page, but one of the dragons caught her attention. It wasn't exactly the same, but it had the same body structure and was covered it flowers and other vegetation. "This is the same dragon that attacked us."

They all turned to Soul, the little alicorn replying, "I drew that after getting back from the Dragon Lands. We found a wall with that image under the Flame-cano with Flicker."

Twilight showed the others the sketchpad while Heart's eyes went wide. "Yeah! That mural had the same dragon on it!"

"But what about these other dragons?" Grand asked. "What do they have to do with this?"

"Maybe nothing," Twilight responded.

"I just remembered seeing that dragon on the mural," Soul continued as Heart took the sketch book.

"Hey..." he turned to his sister, "Weren't there markings on those dragons?"

Soul bit her lip at this, only to nod, "Oh yeah. But I couldn't remember what they looked like, so I left them off."

"Markings?" Celestia asked, the twins turning to nod at her.

"Each of the dragons had a symbol on them," Heart replied, "Flicker said they were ancient draconic." He pointed at each dragon on the page, starting with the one they had all focused on, "He said this one's symbol was 'tree'."

That made everyone raise eyebrows, Soul then pointing to the others, "The others were storm, light, metal and shining earth."

"Interesting," Luna rubbed her chin. "I wonder if each symbol was meant to represent the element that particular dragon wielded." She then pointed to the last two, "What of them?"

"Flicker said those were weird." Heart replied before pointing to the one at the bottom. "This one was storm, but it had another symbol for magic."

Soul then pointed to the central dragon, "And this one was magic and shadow."

"Magic?" Celestia asked.

"Flicker was able to use magic somehow," Twilight chimed in, "But it wasn't really him. It was like he was harnessing magic from the book he had." This made her brain click, "Hey...maybe if we get the book away from him, he won't be able to use magic anymore. That means the magic he was casting to control the dragons will vanish too."

"And maybe we can free Spike as well," Flash finished, Twilight rapidly nodding at this.

"But...I still don't get why he took Spike," Rarity added, "Was it just because he couldn't control him?"

"I think it was more than that," Fluttershy said, making everypony turn to her, "Was it just me, or did he seem to recognize Spike?"

The others exchanged glances, only for Ember to speak up, "He did talk to him like they'd met before. Talking about teaming up with ponies again, and how he wouldn't get in the way this time. But he called him something else."

"Silverbolt..." Flash remembered. "That's what he called Spike. And he said that Spike changed his appearance."

"So what are you saying?" Heart asked, "That Spike met this jerk before and changed his name and what he looked like afterwards? How does that work?"

"It doesn't." Twilight replied with crossed hooves, "Spike's been with us since the day he was hatched. He's always been called Spike, and always looked the way he does. There's no way he could be anypony else."

"I used to think dragons couldn't wield magic, or breathe fire that teleport scrolls," Ember countered, "Who knows what kind of dragons we're dealing with."

"She's right," Trixie nodded. "What if Spike was somepony else before you met him? We know age spells exist, so what if he had one used on him and he got turned back into an egg?"

Twilight blinked at the suggestion, humming for a second, "I...guess that's possible? Maybe he was reverted back so far his brain wasn't able to hold his memories, which is why he didn't remember anything when he hatched."

"But how did he end up with Twilight?" Fluttershy asked, the others turning to her before slowly going over to the alicorn that was responsible for Twilight and Spike's meeting, as it was her school that made Twilight hatch him.

Celestia saw every eye on the room was upon her, "Your majesty?" Skybreaker asked.

"I always meant to ask," Twilight added, "But whenever the question popped into my head, something else was going on, so it wasn't a good time."

"How did Spike's egg become part of Twilight's test?" Flash continued, Celestia and Luna sharing a glance.

"Maybe it is time, sister."

Celestia nodded before turning to the others. "Spike's egg was given to Luna and I to protect by our mentor, Starswirl the Bearded." This statement made everypony go wide-eyed, only for Celestia to continue, "It is...an unusual tale to say the least, which begins back when Luna and I were but little fillies."

Many centuries ago...

It had been several years since Starswirl found the alicorn sisters at the lost city. In that time, the pair had learned much from the unicorn mage. They had mastered raising and lowering the sun and the moon, and were well on their way to becoming ponies worthy of being the rulers of Equestria.

But as this happened, one particular day came as Celestia and Luna were reading in the library of the currently un-destroyed castle of the two sisters, both working on an essay their teacher had assigned them. It was here that Starswirl opened up the library doors, now carrying a chest.

"Starswirl?" Celestia asked as she and Luna got up, "What's that?"

Starswirl carefully placed the chest down, "Something very precious. I've safeguarded it for many a year, upon request of someone very special. And while I had hoped to remain its guardian until it hatched, I think it would be best if I entrusted it to somepony else. Or a pair of someponies."

"Us?" Luna replied, Starswirl nodding before he magically unlocked the chest. It opened to show a light purple egg with dark purple spots inside. "An egg?"

"A very special egg," Starswirl corrected, "One that might not hatch for hundreds of years. Not until the dragon inside is ready."

"So what do we do with it?" Celestia asked, with Starswirl levitating it before gently placing a hoof on it.

"Carefully place your hooves onto it." The sisters shared a glance before doing as requested, the pair holding up their hooves and placing them on the egg shell. "Now, whatever happens, don't pull away." The pair nodded and not a second later, a strange green glow began to emit from the egg and wrap around Starswirl's hoof. But the light then retracted from the unicorn and flowed through the egg before coming out the other side...and into their hooves. The pair gasped, but did as instructed and kept their hooves on the egg. And after a few seconds, the light vanished and Starswirl pulled his hoof away.

"There. Now the egg knows you are its protectors. When the time comes, the egg will tell you when it is ready to hatch."

"How?" Celestia asked, "I thought dragons didn't have magic?" Luna nodded as well.

Starswirl chuckled at this, "That...is a long and complicated story." He placed the egg back into the chest and closed the lip, pushing it toward the girls. "When I return, I promise to explain everything to you. But for now, just keep the egg safe until I return, or it hatches." The girls nodded and took the chest, Starswirl giving them each a hug before trotting out of the library.

"But Starswirl never returned. He vanished without a trace and left Luna and I to safeguard the egg. It remained in a special room we used to keep it warm and filled with blankets. And when Luna became Nightmare Moon, our battle shook the castle and almost destroyed it. The room survived, but it was only by luck that it wasn't damaged. I knew that the egg must be kept someplace more secure, so when Canterlot Castle was built, I placed it in the magically protected vault I would later use to store the Elements of Harmony.

Every day before starting my royal duties, I would go to the vault and check on the egg. I would place my hoof on it, asking if it was ready to hatch, but it never did. Until one day, a thousand years after receiving it..."

Celestia opened the vault, now face to face with the chest holding the dragon egg, which had remained in surprisingly good quality over the thousand years. "Hello there little one." She reached out and placed a hoof on the egg, gently rubbing the shell. "I don't suppose you feel like coming out today?"

She waited several seconds, but the egg remained unresponsive. A long sigh escaped her lips, shaking her head. "Its seems not. Even after all these centuries..."

But as she said this, the egg suddenly shined a familiar green glow. "What?" She responded as she kept her hoof on the egg. The light continued to shine, only for it explode with light. When the green flash struck her eyes, Celestia found herself seeing visions of a place she knew all too well. Her School for Gifted Unicorns. And there she saw a poster on one of the doors that stated the day was for entrance exams, something that would be happening in three days.

But no sooner had she seen it, that the image disappeared along with the light from the egg. The alicorn gasped, blinking rapidly before staring down at the egg, "What...was that?!" She kept staring at the egg, only for Starswirl's words to appear in her head, "Little one...are you trying to tell me how to hatch you?" The egg didn't respond, instead just laying in its chest while Celestia stared at it.

"I had no idea what it was trying to tell me," Celestia continued, "But I believed in the images I saw, and gave the egg to the examiners, telling them to make it part of the test. We all know what happened next."

Everypony was completely silent as they let this information sink in, Springer whispering, "Spike's even older than me? And he was stuck in an egg for a thousand years? Huh."

"I guess that proves Spike really is more than just a normal dragon," Ember chimed in, "If he wasn't, he should have died a month after being laid."

"It must have had some kind of stasis magic on it," Twilight added, "Either somepony cast it on him, or it was self cast by him inside the egg. And if it's the second option, and Spike really does have special dragon magic, it would explain why he can do things other dragons can't."

Heart nodded at this, "Flicker said Spike's dragon mail ability wasn't something he had ever heard of until we told him."

"Wait...so that's why Malafear took him?" Flash asked, "But that's just mail. Why would that be important?"

Twilight put a hoof to her chin in thought, "There must be something we're missing with Spike. If only we knew who this Malafear really is..."

The Dragon Lands...

The normally chaotic land of dragons was almost orderly at the moment, not a single dragon randomly flying around, fighting or diving into lava. Instead, most of the smaller dragons were standing in place, their eyes continuing to glow red. Meanwhile, the wood dragon was behind them, curled up and resting. They were all gathered around a large crater, which Flicker was standing on the edge of. He was pointing his staff into the crater as it unleashed a giant bolt of black lightning into the pit, the light illuminating to the whole thing. Inside the darkness from the lightning, none could see inside, but a pair of screams could be heard as the lightning continued to surge into it.

And when Flicker stopped unleashing the magic, pulling his staff back, the lightning continued to spark inside the crater while the screams carried on. He then turned to a nearby mountain, which had many larger dragons surrounding it. He tapped his staff onto the ground, forming a portal big enough for him to fly through, the dragon doing so and finding himself halfway up the mountain.

He watched as the bigger dragons unleashed burst of flames that struck the rocks around them, causing them to heat up and melt, allowing other dragons to scoop the rocks up and throw them away. "Keep working!" He yelled as he saw a few slowing down, "Don't stop until its completely uncovered!" The dragons tried to speed up, now breathing more fire while scooping up the lava it created. "It's here. I know it is." He placed a claw onto the mountainside, "I can feel it."

It was here that he heard a roar, looking up at a dragon that would look quite familiar to a certain group of ponies, who jumped away from the mountainside and roared again. Flicker flew up, staring at the section of mountain as a smile formed on his face.

Freed from beneath the mountain was a kind of rock that was flat and smooth, with something carved into the rock. It was a circle roughly five meters in diameter, with a symbol of carved into it. He placed a claw onto it and smirked, "Lightning." He turned to the rest of the dragons, "There are four more hidden here! FIND THEM!" The dragons got back to work as Flicker created another portal, soon arriving back at the crater.

As he arrived, the black lightning had stopped as his grin grew, "Second by second, my triumph grows closer." As he said that, two somethings roared from out of the crater. And along the edge of the crater, a large gunmetal gray arm with four bright silver claws came out, clawing the ground while a giant yellow bat wing with a white membrane and a large spike coming out of it did the same. Another pair of roars left the crater, cracks forming as the ground began to shake. The wood dragon also awakened at this, unravelling itself before taking to the air.

Flicker turned to the rest of the dragons, raising his staff. "Prepare for battle! We head out to our next target as soon as these two are ready." The dragons all roared back as Flicker glanced at the book in his claws. "And this time, you won't be there to stop me."


Spike was now walking through the white void, unsure if he was even moving with every step he took. "Hello?!" He called out into the void, only for no response. The drake let out a sigh at this, "Alright Spike, think. What's the last thing you remember?" He closed his eyes, the memory of Ponyville being attacked coming in nice and clear. "That's right," he opened his eyes. "Flicker...or something controlling him, attacked and sucked me into a book." He glanced back at the white void, "So its like the Power Ponies thing? Well, at least this one doesn't have any insane mane controlling ponies attacking me. But why is there nothing here?"

He continued walking, unsure how long he actually did so. It could have been minutes, hours, days or longer, as everything was a blur to him. "Gyah! Is there anything here?!" He screamed, "Heck, I'd settle for a freaking book to read!"

But as he yelled this, a flash of light suddenly shined in front of him. He was blinded for a second before his eyes adjusted, now seeing the light form into...a book.

Spike blinked at this before looking up, "Wait...I could just ask for something like this? Um...I'd also settle for a video game!" he exclaimed...only for nothing to happen, "Dang it!" He glared back at the book, "Fine..." He grabbed the book, opening it up, only for another blinding light to explode out of it. "Gyah!"

A few seconds later, he blinked as the light vanished, the dragon getting the specks out of his eyes. When they did, he saw the white void was gone...and he was now in the Dragon Lands.

"Whoa...wait, did I get free?!" He glanced around, but didn't see anypony else. "I gotta find something to send to Twilight and tell her where I am." But as he said this, a new sound rang out.

Turning to it, he saw it was a pony walking up, a gray unicorn with a white and blue mane that had large muttonchops on the side of his head. He was also wearing a blue cloak with stars and moons on it. "Hey!" Spike called out to him, walking up to the pony, "Hey there, I'm Spike. Can you-" He didn't get to finish as the pony walked into, and then through, the dragon, making the drake let out a yelp, "Eep!"

He shivered at this, slowly turning back to the pony as it started to walk away. Spike ran up to him, trying to grab him and saw his claw go through. "I can't touch him..." As he said this, a new memory flowed in his brain. The stories Flash, Twilight and Springer had told him about their visions of the past. "I'm in a memory? But how did I-"

But before he could finish asking himself, the ground around him started to shake. "WHOA!" the pony yelped, Spike glancing back at him as the ground in front of the pony began to shake before completely splitting apart. Between the cracks, lava bubbled up and pushed the rocks further apart until they created several islands surrounded by lava. Spike found himself on one island and saw the pony on another island, looking like he was in trouble.

"Not good," the stallion gulped as the island began to break apart. He turned to another island and sparked his horn, causing him to teleport over. He panted at this, then teleported again to another island, only to fall to his knees, gasping for air as the lava started drawing closer.

He then closed his eyes, as if accepting his fate.

But as he did this, a roar filled the air. Spike and the pony looked up and saw a dragon flying down toward the pony, this dragon only being about half the size as Torch or the dragon that had once napped near Ponyville. His scales were a combination of sliver and green, with its lower mouth, neck, chest, waist, tail bottom and the inside of his wings being green while the rest was silver. Along his head, neck and back were a series of green spikes that were lightning bolt shaped, and his eyes were also green.

The dragon swooped down and opened his mouth, green lightning sparking within. He let out a roar, lightning now shooting out and hitting the lava. The bolts hit them, somehow causing it to solidify upon impact. Within seconds, the entire lava lake was turned into a very hot rock bubble.

The dragon landed on the edge of the bubble before using his tail to reach over and placed the end in front of the pony. "Hurry!" The pony ran up the tail and once he was over the bubble, leapt down. Seconds later, the bubble began to crack and lava leaked out. The two ran as fast as they could and not a minute later, the bubble exploded and the lava flew free.

Once a safe distance away, the two sighed in relief and the pony turned to his saviour. "Thanks."

"No problem," the dragon nodded. "But this place is dangerous." He spread his wings, "You shouldn't be around here."

"Wait!" The dragon glanced down at him. "How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"That lightning."

"I'm a lightning dragon," he replied, "Shooting lightning is just what I do."

"But the last I checked, lightning doesn't turn lava to rock. That was magic. And I should know, since I'm pretty much a prodigy when it comes to the art."

The pony smirked as the dragon stared at him, making the dragon sigh, "Alright Chops, do you really want to know?"

"I do. And don't call me Chops," he glanced at the muttonchops he was sporting. "My name...is Starswirl."

Spike's eyes went wide at this, gasping as he now saw the similarities to Twilight's idol. But before he could do anything, the dragon replied to the unicorn, "Alright, Starswirl. My name is Silverbolt." Again, Spike's eyes went wide at hearing that name. "And I am a Mystic Lightning Dragon."

Both Spike and Starswirl tilted their heads at this, "Mystic Lightning Dragon?"

"I guess you could say we're the unicorn versions of dragons. I'm not surprised you haven't heard of us. Mystic Dragons are very rare. In fact, I've never met another Mystic Dragon in my entire life."

"So...you can do magic?" Silverbolt nodded, "Fascinating."

Silverbolt shrugged at this, "Alright, I've answered your question. Now, you answer mine. Why are you here?"

"I...only wanted to learn about dragons. Other ponies fear them because they know so little about them. I thought if I could learn more, then maybe I could find a way to bring peace between ponies and dragons." Silverbolt stared at him for a few seconds, only to smirk before the lightning shaped spike on his head began to spark.

Starswirl raised an eyebrow at this, only for lightning to shoot out of the spike and hit Starswirl, who flinched...only to find he wasn't hurt. The next thing he knew, he was being lifted into the air and placed on Silverbolt's back before the dragon took off. "If you want to learn about dragons, I'll take you somewhere you can meet many different dragons."

"Meet?" Starswirl asked as he held on tightly, "I was thinking this would be more of a distance expedition, where I observe them from a safe distance away."

"Don't be ridiculous. The only way to learn about dragons is to get up close and personal." With that, the two dragons flew off, Spike trying to follow them. But before he could, the word around him began to melt. Within seconds, everything around him was sucked into a single spot, Spike now seeing it was the spot the book was at from before.

The memory was pulled inside the book, placing Spike in the white void again, the book slamming shut. Spike stared at the book, wanting to open it up again, only to flinch. "That...was weird."

The thought of the memory replaying now going through his head, he decided to not open the book again, only to see another light off to his left. There he saw another book appear, the drake walking up and grabbing it. "Huh. Twilight told me the memory stuff just sorta happens all at once. Guess I can just choose when I want to see these?" He looked up from the shut book, glancing around for any other books. Shrugging at this, he opened the book, only to be blinded by light again. "Gyah!"

The void disappeared again, now morphing into a terrain filled with dragons. While most of the dragons appeared to look like the ones Spike was used to, others looked very different. Some looked like the ones he had seen in his dream, though not exactly the ones he had seen in his dream, along with others that he had never seen before. There were dragons that appeared to be made entirely out of rocks, ones in a nearby body of water that looked more like giant fish than dragons, ones covered in feathers rather than scales, and so many more.

It was then he heard laughter, now turning to see Starswirl and Silverbolt, sitting on the edge of a canyon. "So?" Silverbolt asked him, "Glad you didn't keep your distance?"

"Oh yes," Starswirl nodded. "I've learned so much. I can't wait to get back home and tell my student all about this."

"Student? You barely look old enough to be a student yourself," Silverbolt laughed.

"I told you I was a prodigy," Starswirl barked back, "Besides, Clover's more of a study partner than anything."

"Clover, huh?" Silverbolt gave him a grin, shifting his eyebrows up and down. "I bet you two have had lots of late night study sessions."

Starswirl rolled his eyes, "Knock it off." Silverbolt let out a cackle, "Anyways, she would have come, but she couldn't leave her job as Princess Platinum's advisor. Especially with everything that's been happening with the weather lately. That's why I have to learn as much as I can about dragons and write it down so she doesn't feel like she missed out." He replied while closing a book in his hooves, "Though I must say, one of the things I've noticed is that there seems to be a lot more Flame Dragons then the others."

Silverbolt nodded. "Yes, that's because they're able to hatch more eggs than other species." Starswirl turned to him with a raised eyebrow, "Dragons require large amounts of their elements to hatch. Flames dragons need intense heat, while lightning dragons need to be charged by lightning and wind dragons need to be bombarded by powerful winds. Most of the time, a parent will do it themselves, but the amount they need exhausts them. In fact, only one egg in three usually hatches."

"But Flames Dragons..."

"Natural elements can work as well, so Flame Dragons use the heat of nearby lava. But other dragons don't have much luck finding natural source of elemental energy. Lightning storms, tornadoes and other stuff..."

Starswirl tilted his head at this, "I get that, but what about Mystic Dragons? Do they have any special requirements?" Silverbolt frowned at this, opening his mouth to reply, only for something to catch his attention. Starswirl followed his gaze and saw a purple Flame Dragon with red spines fly down and land. The dragon glanced at him, smiling with a wave before walking off.

Silverbolt waved back, a goofy smile on his face, "Oh?" he turned to Starswirl and saw him smirk. "And you were having a go at me." Silverbolt raised an eyebrow before Starswirl gestured to the dragoness.

"Wha...Fira? We're just friends!"

"Sure you are." Starswirl chuckled before getting up. "Then you won't mind if I go talk to her then?" Silverbolt's eyes went wide as Starswirl spun around, now trotting toward Fira. Seeing this, Silverbolt quickly flew past him, only for both to reach Fira as she finished snacking on a gem.

She glanced back at them, her bright red eyes fluttering at the sight of him. "Hello Bolty." Starswirl smirked at him, "Who's this? I didn't know you knew any ponies." Spike watched the three talk, the sight making him both wonder why he was being shown these images, but also seeing himself, remembering all his pony friends.

"I hope they're alright."

Back in Ponyville…

Several hours had passed since Celestia and Luna had arrived. The pair had begun making plans with Ember about what to do about Malafear while Grand and Skybreaker stayed to give their suggestions. Meanwhile, Twilight and the others had headed back out to help with the repairs to the town.

With Twilight, Starlight, Script and Trixie's magical help, many of the houses were restored to their normal forms faster than it took to destroy them. But while the outsides were repaired, the insides would take much longer.

"Careful," Pinkie told Flash and Rainbow as they lowered a large section of a house roof, "Careful...careful...just a little more...Good! Stop." The pegasi flew in place as Pinkie hammered the roof section down, both unclear how nails worked on hay, but didn't question it. "Alright, you can let go now." They then flew off to another task, and as they did this, Flash stared down and saw Twilight using her magic to lift up and repair a wall that had been busted through. But despite doing a good job, Flash could tell she was barely focusing.

He flew down and called out, "Twilight!" The alicorn didn't respond, instead fixing up the last bit of the wall. But as she did this, the frown on her face grew as Flash landed, "You okay?" Twilight winced at his question, only to feel Flash put his wing on her back. "Twilight?"

She turned to him, the defender now seeing her bite her lip, "What if...what if we never find him?" She asked, now seeing tears form in her eyes, "He could have taken Spike halfway across the world by now! What if he lets Spike go from the book but traps him inside a cave he can't get out of or inside of a roc or hydra nest. What if Spike's dragon mail can't reach this far and he can't even tell us where he is. What if-"

"Twilight!" Flash barked, making her pause before he put both his hooves on her shoulders, "Relax. You can't get worked up like this. Thinking about what you can't do isn't going to help Spike or anypony. We'll find him and the others, I promise."

"But...but...how can you be so sure?!" Twilight yelped, "Spike is gone and we might never see him again!"

Flash grimaced at this, only to let out a sigh, "Because Flicker...Malafear wants me for something." This made Twilight raise an eyebrow. "Remember? He said I would soon be working with him before he zapped me with that weird lightning. If I hadn't summoned my Sacred Light to stop it, I probably would have been hypnotized into working with him like those dragons. But he failed, so that means he's gonna come after me again."

"You really think he wants you?" Twilight asked, "But...why? And what if he just thought you were too powerful and took Iron and Lightning instead because of this?"

"Then why didn't he take Springer, Grand, Skybreaker or Starlight?" Flash countered, making Twilight blink at his statement, "They were all knocked out, but he only took Iron and Lightning. You're just as powerful as I am, but he didn't try to take you either."

"So...he was after you three?"

"Yup. Which means he'll be back," Flash replied before turning to the town they were rebuilding. "It might be a good idea for me to not be in Ponyville for a while. At least until we stop all this. The town might not survive another attack."


The defender shook his head, "Don't worry Twilight, I won't abandon you all."

"I know, but we should tell Celestia and the others this." Flash nodded and they headed for the castle again. But as they made their way, Twilight let out a sigh, "Flash...I just can't help but wonder if we'll be able to stop Malafear. He beat us so easily."

"He took us by surprise last time," Flash added, "Next time those dragons attack, we'll be ready." Twilight looked up at the pegasi's face, seeing a giant confident grin on his face. The sight made a smile appear on her lips as she nodded in agreement.

"You're right. We'll beat Malafear, save Spike and free Flicker from whatever that thing controlling him is."

And as Flash began to reply, the castle doors suddenly shot open. "TWILIGHT!" Celestia screamed in her Royal Canterlot Voice.

"Princess Celestia!" Twilight gasped, "What's the matter?"

"We just got a message from Cadance and Shining Armor!" Celestia held up a scroll as Luna, Grand and Skybreaker ran out of the castle, the rest of their friends coming over to the castle after hearing Celestia's voice. "Dragons are attacking the Crystal Empire!"

Crystal Siege

View Online

Back in the white void, Spike returned from the memory with a low sigh. He was about to ask what was going on, only for another light to appear off in the distance. Turning to it, he began to slowly walk up to it as he thought about what he had seen. The visions of the dragons that used other elements went through his head next, only to look up and now see the new light in front of him.

It was another book, a bright light shining from it exploding before transporting him back to the Dragon Lands. Once he blinked the light out of his eyes, he saw he was at a large cave, only for two dragons to walk out of the mountain. It was Silverbolt, only he was much larger than the last time Spike had seen him. The Mystic Lightning Dragon stretched and yawned, clearly having just woken up. He looked around with a huge smile, only for another dragon to walk up beside him.

The dragon was Fira, who was also larger than the last memory. She leaned against Silverbolt and the dragon wrapped a wing around her, Spike smirking as he realized what had happened between the two memories. After a few more moments, Silverbolt stared out at the dragon lands before spotting something.

"There he is," Spike watched him unfurl from Fira and fly off, Spike now finding himself getting pulled into the air along with him, crying out as he floated through the air. It didn't last long though, Silverbolt now flying down as Spike landed too, only to look up and see Silverbolt say, "About time you showed up."

Spike now saw a pony approaching, Starswirl. He was older and the muttonchops were gone, replaced with a very simple white beard. "Hello again, Bolt."

"Long time no see, Chops."

Starswirl rolled his eyes, "I wish you would stop calling me that. I took your advice and shaved them off to grow this beard, so why can't you let it go?"

Silverbolt let out a laugh, "Lighten up, I'm just messing with yah. Come on, don't let a joke ruin your visit." The two began to make their way back to the cave, talking as they did so. "How are things in that new kingdom you ponies set up? What's it called? E...quest...topia?"

"Equestria," Starswirl corrected, "And things are going fine. Though they aren't perfect, relationships between the three tribes have grown strong. Although our biggest issue is the raising of the sun and moon. Every time we do it, it seems to get harder and harder."

Silverbolt nodded. "Wish I could help, but something like that is beyond my magic."

"I know. I'll need to find something that can help lessen the strain before we unicorns lose our magic permanently." He sighed before showing a small smile, "But that's not why I'm here. So where is the little one?" Spike raised an eyebrow as they reached the cave, Fira staring at the unicorn.

"Hello Starswirl."

"Fira," he replied, "Looking as radiant as ever." Fira blushed and hid her face behind her wing.

"You old charmer." She turned to gesture him to come in, the three entering the cave with Spike following. The cave looked pretty snug, with many warm rocks at the back and spikes higher up that looked perfect for back scratching. They soon reached the back, Spike spotting a hole in the ground that appeared to be radiating heat. And laying in the middle of it was something that made Spike go wide-eyed. An egg.

But not just any egg. This egg was light purple with dark purple spots. It was the same egg Spike had been described many times by Celestia and Twilight, one that Spike knew couldn't exist given Starswirl was there and that pony died a thousand years ago. His egg.

"No way..." he whispered as Starswirl leaned down at the egg.

"Isn't it beautiful?" Fira asked the pony, who nodded back.

"It certainly is," Starswirl replied as he circled it. "Any idea what kind of dragon it'll be?" He looked up at Silverbolt, "Maybe another Mystic Dragon?"

"I'm certain it'll be a Mystic Dragon," Silverbolt responded, "But it's element is uncertain. It's possible it could be a lightning dragon like me, but it's also possible it'll inherit its mother's firepower." Fira smiled as she got down on all fours as Starswirl stepped away, the dragon now curling around the egg.

"I don't care which element it is. Just as long as it hatches healthy and happy, I'll love it no matter what."

Starswirl smiled at this, only to notice Silverbolt frowning. However, Fira didn't see this, Silverbolt turning to walk out of the cave. "I'll go get us something to eat." And as he left, Spike was pulled along, Silverbolt taking to the air with Spike floating by his side.

Spike half expected the scene to end there, but it continued as a flash of light showed Starswirl appearing on Silverbolt's back. "Alright Bolt, what's the deal?"

Silverbolt glanced back at him, "I don't know what you mean."

"There's something you're not telling Fira about the egg. Something important. What is it?" Silverbolt frowned at this, looking away as Starswirl added, "Come on. You know I won't tell her if you don't want me too. Just tell me already."

Silverbolt sighed and continued to fly while staring ahead, "There's a very good chance the egg won't hatch." Starswirl's eyes went wide hearing this. "At least...not anytime soon."


Silverbolt paused for a second before saying, "Mystic Dragons don't just hatch when we're finished developing. We stay in the egg until the time is right."

Starswirl raised an eyebrow at this, "What do you mean?"

"Every Mystic Dragon is born with a unique destiny. And as such, they won't hatch until its the right time. Whether that takes months...years...or even decades. A Mystic Dragon egg will remain as an egg for as long as they aren't needed. It's only when they are ready to use their magic to do good for the world that they hatch."

"So the egg could remain an egg forever?" Starswirl asked, Silverbolt nodding.

"I remained an egg for over two hundred years before I hatched. And I have no idea why I did. All I know is it's very likely Fira and I will be gone by the time our hatchling is born."

"Two hundred years?!" Starswirl repeated, "But then how did you know all this? If your parents weren't around to tell you-"

"I was told by my guardian." Silverbolt interrupted, "Mystic Dragon eggs have a natural magic that links them to another being. It starts with the parents, but the connection can be passed to another that they trust, then to another and another. My egg was given to my father's sister, who passed it to her children and so on until I finally hatched. When I did, my great great great great grand nephew told me everything that he had been told by his parents when the egg was given to him."

"I see. So it's likely you'll have to pass the egg onto another to protect it until it hatches."

Silverbolt nodded. "Fira is so excited about being a mother that learning the truth would be devastating to her."

"Maybe," Starswirl replied, "But it isn't good to keep her in the dark about such things. All your doing it setting her up for an even bigger disappointment later."

Silverbolt sighed, but nodded in agreement. "I guess I can't keep the truth from her forever. Alright, I'll tell her when we get back. I just hope she won't be too heartbroken."

"Me too," Starswirl added while Spike just stared at the two.

"An egg that could remain one for hundreds of years?" Spike's mind returned to the egg he had seen in the cave, which looked just like the one he had been hatched from. "Could that egg...be me?"

But as he said that, a sudden shockwave, like a wind of energy, shot out from a few miles away, hitting the three. It didn't hurt, but they felt a cold shiver run down their spine.

"What was that?" Starswirl asked, only for Silverbolt to change direction and head for the shockwave's origin. "Where are you going?"

"Did you felt that?! That was a powerful magic energy!" He accelerated, Starswirl barely able to hold on as they shot down, "I've never felt a magic like that in the Dragon Lands."

"I have," Starswirl winced, "But only from one source." He and Silverbolt glanced at one another, both knowing what the other could be thinking.

But before either of them could say it, the memory ended, Spike now back in the void. But unlike before, he didn't start looking for another book. He just sat down, whispering, "Am I...a Mystic Flame Dragon?"

The Castle of Friendship was filled with noise as Twilight lead her friends. The Mane Seven, Springer, Celestia, Luna, Trixie, Grand, Skybreaker, Ember, and Script were all making plans for the Crystal Empire. Starlight, Heart, Soul, the jakhowl youngsters and the CMC were also there, some expecting to go, but Twilight had other plans.

"Starlight," The Princess of Friendship turned to her student, "I want you to stay behind and keep Ponyville safe the best you can. There's no telling if Malafear will send the dragons back here."

"Understood," Starlight nodded. "Just...make sure Sunburst is safe."

"We will," Flash replied as they continued through the castle.

"Why aren't we heading for the train station?" Rainbow asked as they reached a particular room.

"The train or just flying there won't be fast enough," Twilight responded, "By the time we arrive, the attack will already be over."

Script nodded in agreement. "But luckily, we have another way to get us to the Crystal Empire." Twilight threw the doors open and everypony now saw the completed Rune Gate waiting for them. "With this, the Crystal Empire is practically the next room over."

"Are you sure this is gonna work?" Rainbow instantly chimed in, "That thing's been a little...tricky in the past."

"Don't worry," Twilight replied, "Script and I have worked out all the kinks. We'll be able to get there without much issue."

"If you say so," Rainbow muttered while crossing her hooves.

While this happened, Ember looked away and added, "Maybe...maybe it isn't such a good idea for me to come."

"Why not, darling?" Rarity asked, "Don't you wanna free your fellow dragons from Malafear's clutches?"

"Of course," Ember nodded. "But what if...what if he takes control of me again? Spike's not around to free me anymore, so if he tries to take me over again..."

The others shared a glance at this, only for Script to speak up, "Give me a second." His horn lit up and he weaved it through the air, causing it to form a rune symbol. Once the symbol fully formed, he turned to Celestia and Luna. "Your majesties. Would you mind charging this rune up?" The alicorns nodded and fired a blast of magic at the rune, causing it to glow brighter.

Script then pushed at the rune and it flew toward Ember, hitting her chest and imprinting onto her skin before an aura of light surrounded her. "What did you just do?"

"That's a mental defense rune that should protect you from any kind of mental manipulation. Malafear might have been able to dispel a rune made from my magic, but one charged with alicorn magic is an entirely different story." Ember smirked at this while Twilight powered up the Rune Gate with her magic.

"Wait," Flash spoke up, "I thought the Crystal Empire didn't have a Rune Gate yet."

"It might not have a permanent one," Twilight replied, "But we can send a temporary one that'll work a few times." As if reading her mind, Script had taken out a piece of paper and used it to craft a rudimentary rune gate seal. The others glanced at it and saw that it didn't look as good as the original.

"This should work," he handed it to Twilight. "It should, at least, last about ten or so trips." Twilight nodded as she took the rune gate and connected it to the main one, then closed her eyes as her magic began to power up and surround the seal. Everypony knew to stay quiet, only for a flash of light to happen, the magic now vanishing. "There," she opened her eyes, "I've sent it to the Crystal Empire. I was aiming for the castle, but it might have materialized somewhere else close by."

"Only one way to find out," Flash commented, "Power it up!" Twilight nodded, now charging the gate as Heart ran up to Flash.

"I wanna come with you."

"No way," Flash told him. "It's too dangerous. You fire will be useless against the rest of those dragons."


"No Heart!" Flash interrupted, "You'll stay here and help Starlight protect the town." Heart grumbled back as the rune gate activated, creating a pillar of light that hit the ceiling and formed a gateway to the Crystal Empire.

"Luna and I will head back to Canterlot," Celestia told Twilight. "We'll use the Rune Gate there to start sending troops to the Crystal Empire."

The others nodded, Flash stepping up to the portal, "Alright. Let's go save our friends!"

"YEAH!" The others cheered before Flash ran through the portal, followed by Springer, Grand, Skybreaker, Rainbow, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Rarity, Script and finally Twilight. Everypony else watched as the portal began to lose power, beginning to close.

Heart frowned at this, onto to switch to a glare before sprinting forward. "HEART!" Everyone else yelled, unable to stop him as he leapt through the portal seconds before it closed.

"HEART!" Soul screamed, seeing her brother now vanish. The sight made her ears flop down, whimpering, "Oh no..."

The great northern kingdom had been having another beautiful day, the many Crystal Ponies enjoying their lives. But that had all changed when a portal suddenly appeared within the Crystal Heart's barrier, the inhabitants turning to it before a horde of dragons had flown out. Screams rang out as the fire-breathing reptiles descended upon the city, many simply pulling parts of the buildings off and eating them.

The Crystal Guards had charged in, attempting to hold the dragons back while the citizen ran for the castle for safety, Ruby leading that charge. "Crystal Shot!" She yelled as she swung a crystal sword, firing a gemstone arrow that struck several dragons, knocking them down. Ruby watched them fall, but the arrows hadn't gone deep enough to do any serious damage.

The unicorn had realized instantly that these dragons were being controlled, having seen the same signs in her citizen during Sombra's reign. But just because they were being controlled, didn't mean she would let them destroy her home. "Crystal Wave!" She thrust her sword into the ground, creating a wall of crystals before thrusting her hooves, causing the gems to fly into the dragons on the ground.

Knocking them back, Ruby watched as more dragons poured out of the portal, the ponies around her screaming as they ran to the city's center. "Get to the castle! The princess and prince will protect you there!" She yelled before zapping two more dragons, slamming them into a whole group.

At the castle, Shining Armor had put up a shield around the structure, the ponies able to get through while the dragons couldn't. "Hurry!" He yelled as the ponies leapt through the forcefield, Shining then looking up at the castle. Cadance was inside, keeping Flurry safe and sending a message to the other princesses. They had received a message telling them about an attack on Ponyville, only to now be dealing with an attack of their own.

"What else could go wrong today?" He asked, only to get an answer when something big came out of the portal. The Wood Dragon slithered out, now overshadowing the city. The civilian ponies all screamed in horror while the guards, Shining and Ruby yelled out to not panic.

Ruby had started trying to encase the dragons she beat in crystal body suits, leaving only their faces free so they could breathe, but this quickly became a futile effort. Whenever she trapped one dragon, another would fly down and bite into the gems while others now attacked her.

"Raaah!" She roared as she formed a pair of crystal maces and swung them at the beasts, knocking more back as one dragon got close. She leapt back and formed a shield, blocking a slash, only to feel her hooves grind back from the blow. "Grrr…" she growled, pushing the shield back and bonking the dragon. But as she did this, another dragon came down and fired a blast of heat onto the shield, "Augh!"

As she endured the heat, a laugh filled the air and made her look up to see Flicker, "Certainly feeling the heat, aren't we?"

"Who are you?!" She asked, "Why are you doing this?!"

"Just a dragon," he replied, "One that has certain needs that I need to acquire to right a wrong from long ago." Ruby raised an eyebrow at this, only for the dragon to continue, "Now, you have two choices." He pointed to the Wood Dragon that was hovering above the city. "Surrender and come with me, or my loyal servant will raise this city to the ground."

Ruby glanced over at the Wood Dragon and then back to him. "What do you want with me?"

"That's for me to know and for you to find out...after you surrender to me." Ruby stared at the dragon, seeing a big grin on his face before glancing at the dragon horde now gathering around them. She let out a sigh, her horn sputtering as she gripped the crystal mace in her hoof as Flicker added, "Well?"

Ruby closed her eyes, about to respond, only for a flash of light to shine behind her. Both glanced at the lights, now seeing a piece of paper flutter to the ground. She and Malafear raised an eyebrow until they noticed the seal on the paper, which then began to glow. Before either could say anything, the light exploded off the seal and created a beam of light that shot right into the sky. And from that beam, out shot Flash Sentry. The pony leapt out and entered Theta Mode the second he did, using it to notice Malafear a few feet away and instantly pointed his sword at him.

"Flash Force!" The beam of light exploded out, hitting the dragon right in the stomach. A scream of pain came out as he went flying back, Springer, Grand and Skybreaker now jumping out of the portal.

The three warriors saw the dragons that surrounded them, each firing their Force attacks, knocking the horde back. And as they cleared the area, Ruby dropped her shield and turned to the rest of the ponies that had leapt through the Ponyville Rune Gate.

"Princess!" She called to Twilight, then turned to the vanishing beam of light. "How did-"

"No time," Twilight replied, "We need to stop Malafear and free the dragons before its too late."

"Where is Malafear?" Ember asked, making Ruby flinch at the sight of her. But before she could ask or respond, a loud roar caused them to turn and see Flicker take to the air, "Nevermind."

"You fools again?!" Malafear screeched before raising his staff, "So, you decided to come in order to witness your own destruction?"

"No," Flash replied as he raised his sword, "We've come to take you down and save our friends."

"That's right!" A voice behind the pony group yelled, causing them all to turn and see Fire Heart standing behind them. "So just give up before we have to hurt you too badly!" He then saw everyone glaring at him, "What?"

Flash sighed and shook his head, "I'll deal with you later." He turned back to Malafear, "Celestia's gonna send some more soldiers through that Rune Gate." Ruby nodded at hearing this, but before they could try and do something, Malafear raised his staff and they heard a loud roar, making them look up at the Wood Dragon.

"That's...not good," Rainbow gulped as Twilight turned to the Royal Knights.

"We can protect the city. You all need to stop that thing from levelling it to the ground." All but Ruby nodded and turned to run off, the Crystal Knight staying put. "Ruby?"

"It's me he wants," she replied, making them all raise an eyebrow, Twilight quickly realizing what she meant. "I can't let him destroy my city." With that, she sparked her horn and vanished.

"Ruby!" Trixie yelped, Malafear also frowning at her disappearance.

"Over here!" They all turned to see Ruby was up on a nearby roof, Malafear quickly flying up to her. But before he or his dragons could reach her, she teleported to another roof.

"GET HER!" He screamed, the dragons chasing after the disappearing unicorn.

"What's she doing?" Trixie asked.

"Malafear wants her for something," Twilight responded, "The same reason he took Iron and Lightning. She must be trying to lure him somewhere safe."

"Then we've gotta use the opening she's left us," Script added as the others nodded, Twilight turning to the others.

"Rainbow, Applejack, Trixie, Ember, Script and I will help Ruby. The rest of you get the rune gate to the castle where it'll be safe. If it starts glowing, put it back on the floor and stand back." They nodded, Rarity grabbing the rune gate in her magic as Twilight glanced around. "Heart, when that gate opens you're-" She stopped when she saw the colt was gone, the princess' eyes going wide as she looked back at where the wood dragon was. "Oh no."

Flash, Springer, Grand and Skybreaker charged at the dragon, Skybreaker yelling, "Time for some payback!"

"Just be careful!" Grand added, "Don't forget how powerful this thing is. It wiped us all out in only one attack."

"Well, it didn't have to face off against me last time," Flash pointed out with a smirk.

"Or me!" The four quickly looked back, now wide-eyed at the sight of Heart flying behind them.

"HEART!" They all barked, the colt smiling before his body ignited. "Heart, this is too-"

"Oh, come on!" Heart interrupted before flying ahead, "I was born for this battle. Wood Dragon against my fire will only end in one overly crispy dragon!" Before they could say anything else, Heart used his fire to rocket ahead, about to reach the dragon first, "Alright you overgrown garden snake!" He brought his front hooves together and formed a fireball between them. "Get ready to feel the heat!" He thrust the fireball forward, a stream of fire now hitting the dragon as it let out a scream of pain.

"Ha!" Skybreaker laughed, "For a kid, he's got some serious power."

"Power...yes," Grand added. "Experience...no." To prove his point, the wood dragon quickly flew back and beat its wings, creating a powerful gust of wind that extinguished Heart's fire attack and blew him away.

"WHOA!" He yelped, flying backward before Springer used Velocity Strike to quickly grab him out of the air. "Uh..." he moaned while shaking his head, "I'm gonna need more heat." As he said that, a growl made them look up and see the wood dragon taking a deep breath. About to fire a leaf blast, Springer dropped Heart and raised a shield around them. The leaf storm then slammed against the shield, Springer flinching at the attack as it pushed the shield back.

"Hang on!" Flash yelled as he charged, the wood dragon stopping its attack and turning to him before the vines on its head extended toward him. "Flash Cutter!" He swung Lightbringer, firing a blade of light that cut the roots to pieces, evading the others as the roots instead smashed into some of the houses. "Oops."

"We need to get that thing away from the city!" Grand exclaimed as he and Skybreaker reached Heart and Springer. "Let's use Force attacks. Aim for its chest and give it everything you have!" The others nodded and began to build up power as Flash worked to keep the dragon distracted. "Now," he pointed his hammer forward, "Grand-"




"FORCE!" The earth and air tornado, laser and fire stream shot at the dragon, Flash flying straight up to avoid them as they slammed into the dragon. It roared in pain as it was pushed back, trying to escape the attack as the four kept changing the directions of their attacks. It was pushed more and more, now only a few hundred feet away from the barrier protecting the Crystal Empire. And as Flash saw this, he closed his eyes.

"Armorize!" His eyes shot open as light exploded off his body before wrapping around him, decking him out in his special armor. Once it was all formed, his wings opened up, propelling himself with light and charged at the dragon while the others cut their attacks. "RAAAAAHHHHH!" He roared as he slammed into the dragon's chest, the impact now knocking it right through the barrier. In a flash of blue light, the pair were now in the snow covered environment outside of the city.

They kept going for a few more feet, only for the wood dragon to use its vines to whip at Flash. The Knight of Friendship saw this coming and jumped back, dodging the roots before flying to safe distance away.

"Come on!" He yelled as he flew farther away from the empire, "Your boss wants me, doesn't he? So come and get me!" The wood dragon gave chase, Flash firing Flash Cutters back at him as he continued to flee into the frozen wasteland.

Back inside of the city...

Ruby was still teleporting around the place, dodging the dragons as Malafear and his servants continued to follow her. She had gotten quite far, only to unconsciously make a mistake. The knight had been moving in a pattern, zigzagging from one house to the next, with about four houses between teleportation points. And as she teleported away, Malafear turned to one of the buildings before firing a blast, making it explode just as she appeared on it.

"AUGH!" She screamed as the roof blew up, knocking her down and slamming into the street below. She slid along the crystal pavement for a few feet, moaning as she tried to pick herself up.

Malafear and his dragons flew down, a smirk on the lips of the dragon that he was possessing. "Admirable attempt to defy me and protect your home," he told her as he pointed his staff, "But it was all for naught." The crystal glowed black, "Welcome to the winning team."

Black lightning then exploded out of the gem, only for a flash of purple light to shine before her. Twilight appeared in that instant, the putting up a barrier that shielded the mares from the lightning, which exploded off her shield until Malafear cut the power.

"Princess!" Ruby yelled, only to see two more flashes of light that faded to show Trixie and Script outside the shield. She then saw Ember and Rainbow flying down while Applejack ran. "What are you doing here?! You need to protect the city!"

"We are," Twilight replied as she dropped her shield. "But the only way to do that is to stop this monster and free Spike and Flicker!"

"I'd like to see you try!" Malafear laughed, "Get them!" His minions quickly charged at the three unicorns and alicorn, all four now firing blast of magic back. And as they knocked them back, Rainbow, Ember and Applejack reached them, all attacking the dragons as they barely fought back, all not at full strength while under the mind control. "Dragon Lord Ember!" Malafear chuckled as he turned to the dragon, "Or should I say...ex-dragon lord." Ember growled as he pointed his staff at her, "You need to learn your place!"

"Augh!" She cried as a beam shot out of the staff and hit her. But before its power could affect her, the rune that Script had created appeared and deflected the magic. Malafear gasped as his spell exploded off her, glaring at the rune.

"Yes!" Script cheered as he blasted another dragon away, "The alicorn magic worked."

Twilight smiled at this before glaring up at Malafear and taking to the air. She fired a blast of magic, but he dodged it and responded with his own blast from his staff. She also dodged it, the two constantly firing at one another, but missing every time. They eventually stopped and hovered midair, both glancing around to see the unicorns blasting the dragons away while Rainbow and Ember did aerial combat and Applejack either lassoed or bucked dragons away.

Twilight then growled at Malafear, "This is your only warning. Release Spike from that book and return our friends, or I won't hold back."

Malafear laughed back, "You think you scare me?! Please. What do I have to fear against such a puny creature such as yourself?"

"You're not that much bigger then me," Twilight retorted. "And I wouldn't underestimate ponies."

"I don't," he replied. "I correctly estimate you. And if it hadn't been for Silverbolt and the others, I would have wiped your pathetic kind off the face of this planet a long time ago. And once I've regained the power I once had, I'll do exactly that! So instead of fighting me, why don't you run along and enjoy what little time you have left before I eradicate your pathetic species."

Twilight glared at him, "If we're so pathetic, then why are you so obsessed with capturing us? Iron, Lightning, Ruby, Flash...what do you want with them?"

Malafear went wide-eyed for a second before hissing, "A great injustice was done to me long ago. And the only way to make things right is with those that caused that injustice."

"What?" Twilight asked, "That doesn't make any sense. You must have been defeated hundreds of years ago."

"Over twelve hundred years ago," Malafear corrected.

"Exactly," Twilight responded, "And none of them were even born yet. Not even Ruby." Her horn ignited, "So why do you think they're the ones that did that to you?"

"That's for me to know," Malafear replied as his staff glowed, "And you to never find out!" He fired a blast of magic, Twilight doing the same. The two spells connected, pushing each other for almost thirty seconds before creating a small explosion that knocked them both back. And as they recovered, Malafear let out a long hiss, "All that matters is that I'm settling the score and nothing will stop me." He glanced back at the book, "Especially him."

Spike had recovered from his earlier shock, now moving to a new book that had just appeared. But as he reached his claw out to touch it, he hesitated. His mind went over the past, part of him in worry of where this story of the past was going, why the other was screaming at him to open it. And as these two mindsets fought, he grabbed the book and opened it up. Doing so caused the scene to appear around him, now back in the Dragon Lands, floating above it as Silverbolt and Starswirl flew.

"Where is it?" Silverbolt asked.

"We'll find it," Starswirl assured him. But no sooner had he said that, another wave of magic energy swept over them, making them look down at a nearby crater.

"There!" Silverbolt flew down and Spike followed, the three reaching the crater and seeing many dragons filling it. But only one in particular caught their attention. This one was a black quadruped dragon with dark red lines running down the sides of his neck, body and tail, with large black horns on his head and long claws. He had bright red eyes and a menacing spike on the tip of his tail that appeared to be split into three. And under the dragon's right foot was a Flame Dragon, who appeared to be seriously injured.

"Furnace!" Silverbolt yelled as he landed, Starswirl teleporting to the floor as the black dragon turned to him. "Let him go!"

"Or what?" The dragon chuckled.

"That dragon's nuts!" One of the other dragons yelled. "He's not like regular dragons!"

"Yeah!" Another one coughed, "He's like...well, like you!" Silverbolt raised an eyebrow at this before turning to the black dragon, the beast opening his mouth before spitting out some kind of black smoke. Silverbolt could sense the magic flowing through the smoke and quickly unleashed a bolt of lightning from his mouth to block it. The lightning and smoke collided, appearing to cancel each other out, making the black dragon go wide-eyed.

"You...you're like me."

"And you're like me," Silverbolt nodded before turning to Starswirl. The unicorn teleported down to Furnace and put his hoof on him, teleporting again with the dragon.

"What the-a pony?!" He growled, seeing him appear behind Silverbolt with Furnace, "What is that pathetic creature doing here?!"

"He's a friend of mine," Silverbolt replied, "Now...who are you?! I've never seen you around here before. I'd certainly remember another Mystic Dragon."

The dragon laughed at this, "Oh, I come from a very far off land."

"Do you have a name?"

"Do you?" He guffawed while the silver dragon rolled his eyes.

"My name is Silverbolt, the Mystic Lightning Dragon."

The dragon chuckled again, "My name...is Malafear, the Mystic Shadow Dragon."

"I knew it," Spike growled, clenching his claws. But as anger rose in his mind, he stopped himself as he said, "That jerk! If only I could do something..." He let out a sigh, "Though...maybe if I keep watching, I can figure out a way to save Flicker."

"What are you doing here?" Silverbolt asked, Malafear smirking.

"Well, my land doesn't have the large diverse amount of dragons like this land does. Shadow dragons are the most common type of dragon there, with just a few other types. Poison, ice, fear..."

"Fear?" Another dragon asked, making Malafear grin as he turned to the dragon with now glowing eyes. A beam of light shot out of them, hitting the dragon in the head. He cried out, the others watching in shock as the light wrapped around him and then sank into his body.

"Are you okay?" Silverbolt asked, only for the dragon to start screaming.

"Ahhh!" He screamed, leaping back as if he had just seen his worst nightmare. "Get away!" He began to breath fire, the others leaping back as the dragon took to the air. But as soon as he looked down, he screamed again and fell to the ground before he started scurrying up the sides of the crater.

"Fear..." Starswirl gasped, "He's become scared of everything."

"Exactly," Malafear chuckled, "Don't worry, it'll wear off in a few hours." He then let out a bellowing cackle, "As long as he doesn't have a heart attack before then! HA!"

Silverbolt turned to glare at him, "You said you were a Mystic Shadow Dragon. If that's true, how were you able to use the abilities of another dragon race?!"

Malafear raised an eyebrow at this, "Don't tell me you never realised what we Mystic Dragons are meant to do." Malafear then breathed out a large cloud of white mist and when it touched the ground, it caused it to freeze over. The dragon chuckled before letting out another blast of purple mist, this one now smelling rancid. It got closer and Silverbolt quickly grabbed Starswirl and Furnace as he took to the air, the others dragons followed suit. But one of the Flame Dragons wasn't fast enough and the purple mist enveloped him. He began to cough violently before falling over, crashing into the edge of the crater.

The others dragons gasped at this, only to Malafear fly up and pin him down. The dragon tried to squirm under the him, but Malafear began to glow a dark light. That light spread to the other dragon and made it cry out, "And with this, your soul is now mine." Malafear opened his mouth and the light was sucked off the dragon and into swallowed by him.

"What's he doing?" Starswirl asked, now seeing the light be fully absorbed by Malafear. And as soon as the light left the dragon's body, he went limp while his body's color became faded. The Mystic Shadow Dragon chuckled as he opened his eyes and looked up at Silverbolt, then took a deep breath and let out a blast of fire.

"He stole his elemental power." Silverbolt gasped as he swathe fire, the other dragons flinching before flying away as fast as they could. Silverbolt also flew away with Starswirl, knowing he needed to protect his nest and his mate. It was here that the scene ended, Spike now back in the void.

The drake slumped over, "He can steal dragons' elements?" The thought of what Malafear could do now went through his head, "I...I gotta tell everypony! I gotta get out of here!"

Outside the Crystal Empire...

Grand and the others leapt out of the barrier into the snowy wilderness, now rushing at the wood dragon as a golden light flew around it. "There they are!" Heart yelled as he charged ahead, the others quickly catching up. "Let's take that thing down!"

"Calm down Heart," Grand chimed in, "Remember where you are and what we trained." Heart glanced around, now realizing the frozen water all around him. It wasn't snowing, so he had to stay airborne so his flames could work.

"You stay back and fire from a distance," Springer added as he started glowing. "Leave the close combat to us! Mega Mode Power!" In a blast of light, he transformed into his evolved form and ran ahead at an even greater speed.

Flash had just fired a Flash Force from his helmet horn when Springer reached them, the laser hitting the dragon's face and blinding it. This allowed the mega jakhowl to form an Aura Blast in his paw, then leaping up, "Take this!" He thrust his paw forward, "Aura Blast!" The laser exploded out of his paw, making it roar in pain.

But as the attack hit, the dragon sent out several vines, Springer now using his Steel Paw to slice them apart. He fell next, Flash flying under him and Springer landing on his wings. The two flew back as Heart, Skybreaker and Grand reached them.

"Sky Grinder!" Sky morphed into a wheel of air that spun forward, slicing through the vines.

"Grand Impact!" Grand slammed his hammer into the ground, causing huge boulders to explode out before swinging his hammer into the rubble, sending the boulders like rockets at the dragon.

They all hit the dragon, making it cry out as Heart flew up. "Time to try out that new move I've been working on." He started spinning like Skybreaker, his flaming tail turning him into a wheel of fire. "Alright! Try this, Gatling Flame!" Fireballs exploded off the wheel, all of them hitting the dragon, only for it suddenly fly up...and take a deep breath.

"HERE IT COMES!" Grand screamed at Heart, "GET OUT OF HERE!" Heart didn't listen, instead building up as much fire power as possible. As he did this, the dragon roared and unleashed the leaf tornado.

"FIRE FORCE!" Heart shot the stream of fire upward, but when it struck the tornado, the force pushing the leaves dispelled the flames without even damaging the leaves. Heart's eyes went wide at this, only for Flash and Springer to appear, Springer forming a shield around them.

The leaves slammed into it, but the shield maintained as Springer turned to Flash. "What do say we go big?"

"You read my mind!" Flash laughed as Springer leapt off his back and Flash flew out of the shield the second the leaf blast ended. The dragon watched as Flash flew straight up, only to notice something happening below it. First it morphed into Springer's head, then the rest of the jakhowl's body grew out, soon making a sixteen meter jakhowl made of energy now standing with Springer and Heart floating within.

Then, a flash of light above it made it look up to see another energy construct appear. This one was in the shape of a golden alicorn that quickly flew down while Flash was floating inside its head. "Raaah!" He roared as both he and the avatar pulled their right hoof back before throwing it forward, socking the dragon in its head.

The beast roared as it was knocked down, the others gasping at the sight, "Let's go!" Flash yelled as his avatar landed near Grand, purposefully stepping on him to allow the earth pony to be absorbed into the form.

Skybreaker flew into the avatar as well while Springer had his form a Bone Breaker. "Heart!" The colt nodded and as Springer charged, Heart now swinging his tail to launch a volley of fireballs. As this happened, Flash took to the air and flew the avatar above the dragon as Skybreaker fired air blades from its chest.

The dragon unleashed its vines, trying to hit the two, "Not this time!" Springer roared as his avatar began spinning the Bone Breaker to cut the vines as Flash flew up out of range. His avatar fired a blast from its horn, frying the rest of the vines before hitting the dragon's wing. This made it cry out, the dragon now crashing as Flash landed as well. Grand then floated down the avatar's hoof and slammed his hammer into the ground.

This caused a massive rock to rise beneath the dragon, almost impaling the beast and throwing it's top half up into the air, Skybreaker now flying out of the avatar.

"Sky Driver!" He morphed into a drill, slamming into the dragon's chin, making it cry out as he dug into it before kicking away. The dragon tried to grab him, but Heart shot some fireballs at his claw, making it scream while Skybreaker flew down into Springer's avatar.

"Let's end this!" Flash yelled as his avatar extended a wing, Springer nodding and giving his avatar a Steel Paw. The two charged at the dragon from opposite directions and before it could stop them, they shot past, slashing with perfect timing. The dragon screamed in pain, the two sliding to a stop as the dragon slumped over, crashing with a mighty thump. And as it fell, they saw it let out a sigh, twitching as it laid there.

Back in the city, Malafear was still battling against Twilight, only to suddenly flinch, "Impossible..." he whispered, Twilight now firing a beam at him, only for Malafear to form a shield around him without looking at her. "We'll have to settle this later."

"What?" Twilight asked, only for Malafear to create a portal in front of him. "WAIT!" He instantly went in, Twilight trying to chase him, only for the portal to instantly disappear. "NO!"

She growled at the sight, only to turn to the area Flash had pushed the wood dragon through, "Flash..."

The five warriors stared at the downed wood dragon, Flash straining to keep his avatar active.

"So what do we do with it now?" Heart asked as he flew close, Skybreaker keeping him back.

"Well...Spike was able to free Ember," Flash replied, "Maybe we can find a way to free this one." The others exchanged glances, only for another voice to call out.

"You won't be freeing anything!" They looked up and saw Malafear fly out of a portal.

The five got into a fighting stance, Flash yelling, "Give it up! You've already lost your best weapon!"

However, Malafear let out a cackle, "Who said the wood dragon was my best weapon?!" Malafear then held up his staff, "I keep these two in reserve just in case." As he said that, the gem glowed black before a pair of portals appeared behind him. They grew larger and larger, making the five go wide-eyed as they watched them merge into one extra large portal.

And from those portal, two new dragons appeared. They were the same size as the wood dragon, but looked very different. One was more of a wyvern with yellow scales and white in the wings, which was covered in white lightning bolt shaped spikes. Its head looked like a triceratops, having two large horns above its eyes and on the end of its snout that were also lightning bolt shaped. The other dragon didn't have any wings, instead standing on all fours with a body covered in metal plating. Its claws were silver, and it had multiple silver spikes coming out of its shoulders and running along its tail. At the very tip, a spiked mace swung as both dragons roared, unleashing two powerful burst of winds that pushed them all back.

"Those are..." Heart gasped.

"Yeah," Flash nodded, "The dragons from the mural."

Malafear laughed at the bewildered looks on their faces. "May I introduce, the Lightning and Iron Dragons!" The dragons charged, the five leaping away from the wood dragon. And as it began to pick itself up, the five protectors of Equestria knew this was just the beginning

Unravelling the Truth

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Outside the barrier protecting the Crystal Empire from the frozen north, Flash and his friends were now staring at three super powered monsters. Just when they had appeared to beat the wood dragon, Malafear had summoned two new dragons, Heart now turning to his mentor. "What do we do now?"

This was answered by the iron dragon, now roaring before charging at Springer's avatar. Springer formed a Bone Breaker, about to counter as the dragon suddenly rolled its body up like an armadillo. The next thing any of them knew, the dragon was rolling in midair, picking up speed before hitting the ground and zipping up to Springer instantly. The blow pushed the avatar back, making the jakhowl flinch.

"Springer!" Flash yelled, only to then hear the crackle of electricity. Glancing back, he saw the lightning dragon fly up as the energy surged between its two upper horns. The lightning then exploded out, Flash barely managing to pull his avatar away in time. "WHOA!"

The dragon then charged at them, forcing the knight to spread his wings and take to the air. Malafear laughed at the sight, now watching the lightning dragon give chase while firing blasts of lightning. As this happened, the iron dragon spun around and swung its mace tail into Springer, "Augh!" He cried as his avatar fell back, Heart and Skybreaker yelping as they were thrown around inside its chest.

"HA! You fools don't stand a chance against my loyal servants. And pretty soon, you will fall to their might." As he said that, the iron dragon raised its tail, ready to strike again, only for Heart to fire a stream of flames out of the avatar. It struck the metal tail, making the dragon flinch. Seeing this, Springer quickly rolled his avatar away, dodging the burning the mace as he got back onto his feet.

While this happened, Flash spun his avatar around and fired several Flash Force attacks from its horn. The lightning dragon dodged the attacks, quickly zipping around before grabbing the avatar and biting into its shoulder. "AHH!" Flash cried, "Get off of me!"

Malafear laughed again before creating a portal, "I'll leave you to play with my pets. Once they're done with you, I'll come collect my prize." He flew through, now back in the city in an instant. There he saw Twilight fighting off a bunch of other dragons, pushing them away with ease. "Hmm...better keep my distance so she doesn't get in my way again."

He flew behind a house, a smile increasing on his face, "Once I have her, I'll only be one key away from my goal." He looked down at the book in his claw, "You may have stopped me before, but your sacrifice will all be for nothing once this is over."


Spike continued to travel through the void, his mind repeating the last memory.

"If Mystic Dragons can steal other dragon's elements, does that mean I could end up like Malafear?" He asked himself, scratching his chin at the thought. The memory of his greed overpowering him now appeared, making him grimace. He smacked the sides of his face, "No! Not that!" He stomped his foot at this, "I'm nothing like him! I'll never be-"

His words came to a stop as another flash of light appeared in front of him. He glanced up, staring at the sight...only for a sound to ring out.

"Huh?" He turned to the noise, only to hear it again. "That sounded like...a moan?" He told himself before hearing it again. The drake glanced back at the light, only to turn to sound again, "Um...shoot. Which do I go for?" He grimaced at this, only to walk away, following the sound as the memory book stayed there. And then the drake ran into the void, hoping he wasn't going crazy and that there was actually somepony there.

Back in the empire...

Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie had just arrived at the castle, now finding Shining Armor and his guards inside a shield that was wrapped around the castle.

"Shining Armor!" Rarity exclaimed as they jumped through the shield, "Thank goodness you're alright."

Shining turned to them with wide eyes, "How did-"

"Rune Gate!" Pinkie interrupted, taking the piece of paper from Rarity and holding it up to show him. "With this, we were able to teleport all the way here!"

"And Celestia and Luna are going to send more guards through it as soon as possible," Fluttershy finished as Pinkie spread the paper out on the ground.

"That's good," Shining replied, "Now, any idea why these dragons are attacking?"

"They're after Ruby," Rarity responded, showing a giant frown, "We don't know why, but one dragon is kidnapping ponies...and dragons."

As she said that, Shining blinked at her words as his brain caught up to her words, "Wait...are you saying Spike was..."


"Was taken," Fluttershy nodded, "Twilight is out there, trying to fight to get him back."

Shining growled at this before turning to the area where the dragons were massing. "I'm going to go help Twilight." He turned to the guards inside the shield, "Fifth troop! Follow me!" The soldiers nodded back before they marched out of the shield. "The rest of you, keep the castle safe until the reinforcements come through." The soldiers yelled in agreement before Shining and his squad ran for the battleground.

Back in the snowy north...

The three dragons continued to fight against the two avatars, Springer's avatar using Steel Paw to slash the iron dragon. But as he sliced the beast, his energy blades barely affected its metal hide. Heart and Skybreaker were also trying to do damage, unleashing bursts of fire and air...only for it to do almost nothing to the dragon.

Meanwhile, Flash had managed to pry the lightning dragon off of his avatar and was now flying through the air. Both flew around, firing blasts of light and electricity, the defender now feeling strain as he had just got done fighting the wood dragon. While this happened, the wood dragon was staring at Flash, waiting for its moment, only for Flash's avatar to start to flicker.

"Ah!" he yelped, flinching as his form start to glitch.

"Flash!" Grand yelled at him, "You have to get us to the ground and cut the avatar. We'll fight without it."

"No," Flash barked back, "We can't win without it!" The lightning dragon then charged at him, lightning spewing out of its horn, as the electricity wrapped around one of its wings. It tried to slam into the avatar, but Flash quickly circled around it. And as it evaded his charge, something wrapped around the avatar's leg. They glanced down at this, only to see it was the wood dragon's vines.

Flash tried to pull his leg free at this, only to feel the tug from the beast. Seeing this, his horn began to charge magic, only for Grand to yell, "FLASH!"

The defender looked up, now seeing the lightning dragon about to attack again. Grand fired a Grand Force in response, but the dragon barrel-rolled around the attack before slashing its wing into the avatar's chest. "Augh!" Flash and Grand cried as the lightning surged into the avatar, electrifying the two. This caused the avatar to shatter, both falling as Flash's Sacred Light faded, closing his eyes as Grand gasped at the sight.

As this happened, Springer turned to see this, only for Heart to scream, "NO!" He used his fire to explode out of the avatar, making Springer gasp.

"Heart, no!" the jakhowl roared as Skybreaker spread his real and fake wing to go after him. The two shot after him, only for the iron dragon to swing its tail at them. But as it tried to do this, Springer's avatar grabbed the tail, yanking the beast away as the pegasi flew down to their friends.

Grand had tried to fall toward Flash and grab him, hoping his Grand Force could slow their decent enough to save them. But before he could get to Flash, Heart grabbed his mentor and tried to hold him up while Skybreaker grabbed Grand.

"We gotcha!" The Knight of the Winds grunted as him and Heart held them up, but then turned to Heart, the colt straining under Flash.

"He's too heavy!" Grand told Skybreaker before pulling himself out of his grasp, "Help him!" He fell again as Skybreaker flew over to grab Flash before Heart dropped him. Grand fell like a meteor, only to point his hammer down, "Grand Force!"

An earth tornado exploded out of the weapon, the push of the attack slowing him down. But before he could reach the ground, a roar made him look up and see the lightning dragon charging at him, quickly grabbing him in its talons.

"GRAND!" The others yelled before hearing another roar, all of them turning to see the wood dragon take a deep breath before firing a blast of leaves. The three were struck, all sent hurtling toward the ground until they were smashed into the snow.

"Everypony!" Springer gasped, only for the iron dragon to pull its tail free and slam it into him. "Ahh!" He staggered back as the lightning dragon flew low and dropped Grand, slamming its tail into him and throwing the earth pony into the snow near the others.

"Grand!" Heart yelled as he tried to pick himself up, only to find that the snow had extinguished his flames. "No..." It was here that Flash began to wake up, blinking his eyes open before seeing the lightning dragon circling around, its horns sparking in preparation of another blast.

"NO!" Springer roared as he had his avatar run for the lightning dragon, only for a bolt of electricity to fly out and strike his avatar instead, "RAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!" He screamed before the avatar shattered, Springer returning to normal as he fell into the snow.

"Springer!" Flash screeched as he pulled himself over to his best friend, turning him over and saw he was breathing, but barely conscious.

"We're in trouble," Skybreaker told them as Flash looked up to see the dragons glaring down. The three had stood in a line, the lightning dragon charging up another attack while the wood and iron dragons took a deep breath. "They're gonna obliterate us!" As he said that, Flash pushed himself back to his hooves.

"Get back!" Flash yelled as a light shined all over his body, now summoning his Shining Guardian armor again. And as the three dragons unleashed their attacks, the avatar's horn glowed as he tried to spread magic around him and his friends...only for nothing to happen. And then, three attacks struck the same spot, creating an explosion that consumed them all.

The explosion rocked the north, its shockwave causing the city to shake as Rainbow asked, "What was that?"

"Hopefully," Applejack dodged a fireball before bucking a dragon away, "That was from somepony on our side."

Twilight turned to the wasteland at that, only to zap several dragons inside magic bubbles that floated upward. "Just keep fighting! Whatever happens, we can't let them get their claws on Ruby."

Ruby nodded as she used a crystal club to smack a dragon away, "I just wish I knew why these things wanted with me."

"Don't we all," Trixie added before turning to Twilight. "What if we have Ruby travel through a Rune Gate? If Malafear doesn't know where she is, he won't be able to get her."

"I guess that could work-"

"No!" Ruby interrupted, "I refuse to just run and hide! If this dragon wants me, he'll have to beat me in battle." She summoned two swords and sliced through three more dragons, "I won't abandon my home whilst it's under threat!" She growled as she turned and fired a crystal ball into a fourth dragon, "Not again..."

"But you're the reason it's under threat!" Script told her as he hit several dragons with paralysis runes, "If you leave, then so will the dragons. The others will be at the castle by now. If you go there-"

"The dragons will follow me and I'll be putting everypony there in danger!" She barked back while bucking a dragon without even looking at her.

"Only until you go through the portal!" Script countered, only for a dragon to jump down right in front of him. It was about to burn him with a point blank fireball, only for a spell to smack it in the head. They all turned to see where the attack came from, only to see the crystal army charging down the street with Shining leading the pack.

"Backup!" Twilight cheered as the dragons turned to them, Shining then using a shield to protect him as he mowed passt them to get to Twilight.

"Any idea why these things are attacking my city?" He asked when he got to her, "The others said something about a dragon wanting Ruby?!"

"He's after certain ponies," Ember told him, Shining glaring back at her as she raised her claws, "Relax," she then spun around and punched another dragon, "I'm on your side."

"She's the only one." Twilight added, "And she's right about Malafear wanting certain ponies. He's already captured Iron and Lightning, and now he's after Flash and Ruby."

"And Spike?" Shining asked, only to see Twilight glance away. "Oh...well, we'll get him back sis."

"I know we will." She turned back to him, "But right now, we don't even know where he is. He vanished a little while ago."

"Well for now, we need to focus on protecting the city." He fired a blast at a dragon before jumping back to avoid another, only for the crystal guard to throw a spear into the dragon, knocking it back. "Though this might be tricky."

"Its more than that! They're not gonna stop!" Ember yelled as she saw some of the dragons they had already beaten start to pick themselves up. "As long as they're under Malafear's control, they'll keep coming until it kills them."

"Then we have to subdue them as soon as possible." Shining declared as he signaled to the guard, "Come on everypony!"

But as he yelled this, the guard cheering as they followed his orders, Malafear stared at the fight from a nearby alleyway. He was tapping his foot, growling as he stared at the ponies, "A rune gate? Seems I'll have to change my plan slightly." He raised his staff as the crystal glowed, connecting him to several dragons that had just recovered. "Go to the castle and destroy anything you can."

The dragons mentally heard this and followed his command, flying off as the rest continued to charge at the ponies. And as they surrounded the group, Malafear laughed at the sight, "Ah...its just too easy." He put his claw on his staff at this, taking a deep breath as he began to chant a spell as he said, "Now, let's make sure nothing stops me from getting what I want."

The trio of element dragons all stared at the smoke covering the area that their attacks had struck. Despite being mind controlled, they had hoped they hadn't caused to much damage, as Malafear's instructions were to bring their target in alive. But then, the smoke began to fade...only to reveal that the ponies had all vanished. This made them glance around, growling at the wasteland as they began to walk around. Their eyes darted everywhere, hissing as they found their targets now all gone.

That is, except their targets were several yards away.

"Gyah!" Heart yelped as he flopped into the snow-covered ground. After spitting out the frozen water, he glanced up to see he was in a hole in the ground, Grand, Skybreaker and Springer now standing beside him.

"What the-where are we?" Skybreaker asked, only to hear a growl. The pegasus slowly flew up to poke his head over the top of the hole, now seeing the three dragons a good distance away. "How the heck did we get over here?" he added as flew back down, only to hear a moan, all turning to see Flash laying in the snow with his Sacred Light armor gone.

"Flash!" Grand yelled as he ran over to roll him onto his back. "Are you okay?!"

Springer put a paw on him, his eyes turning into blue flames, "He's okay. Just tired." As he said this, Flash's eyes began to flicker open.

"Ugh...what happened?" Flash mumbled out as Springer helped him up.

"Not sure. We just kinda...got here. Don't know how we did it." Springer replied, turning to the others as they all shrugged. Seeing this, the jakhowl had a thought as he asked, "Flash, did you teleport us here?"

"Me?" Flash responded, pointing to himself before replying, "Huh. I guess I did."

"I didn't know you could teleport," Grand chimed in.

"Neither did I. I was trying to put up a shield with the Guardian form, but when that didn't work, I was really wishing we weren't there. Guess the Sacred Light heard me."

"So what do we do now?" Heart asked, flying up to poke his head over the edge of the hole. He now saw the dragons separating, now spreading out their search.

"Just give me a few minutes," Flash muttered as the others helped him over to the wall. "That avatar takes a lot out of me, but the Sacred Light'll charge me back up. I just need a little time."

"I just hope you have that time," Springer sighed before grabbing Heart's tail and pulling him back down. "And even if you do recover, how the heck are we supposed to beat those things? One was hard enough, but three..."

"We don't have to beat them," Grand told him. "We just have to hold them off until Twilight and the others can beat Malafear."

"If they can," Skybreaker added.

"They can do it," Flash replied, "I know they can. We just have to buy them more time." They all nodded back, only for the group to glance out at the dragons one last time. "Though you are right bud. This isn't gonna be easy..."

Back at the crystal castle...

Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie could only stand there and wait now, Pinkie vibrating in frustration as she yelled, "Oooh...I can't stand this! We have to help our friends!"

"We are helping them," Fluttershy responded, "We're helping protect the rune gate."

Rarity nodded in agreement. "Once the troops from Canterlot get here, we'll be able to fight a more offensive battle." As she said that, the castle doors opened to reveal Sunburst, making Rarity ask, "Sunburst! How is everypony?!"

"Cadance is managing to keep them all calm," the wizard replied, "But it's not gonna take much for them to break into mass panic."

"We should be fine," one of the remaining soldiers added, "The dragons don't seem interested in the castle."

"Uh..." Pinkie pointed at the sky. "They look pretty interested." They followed her hoof and gasped when they saw a group of dragons charging at them. The ponies gulped at the sight of the reptiles, all of them now attacking the force-field with slashes and fire.

"What the-why are they attacking?!" Rarity yelped, "Isn't Malafear after Ruby?"

Fluttershy whimpered at this, "Maybe he thought attacking us would draw her here and distract her?"

"The reason doesn't matter," a crystal unicorn guard yelled as he lifted up a spear. "All that matters is protecting the castle and those that inhabit it! Soldiers...CHARGE!" The crystal ponies ran out of the forcefield, now beginning to attack the dragons.

As this happened, Sunburst turned to the girls, "We have to do something."

"Like what?" Rarity asked, "None of us are exactly battle experts. That's why we were sent here."

"We don't have to fight," Pinkie added, all turning to her as she had pulled her Party Cannon out of nowhere before pushing toward the forcefield. "Let's give these dragons a party they'll never forget!" She pushed the end of the cannon out of the shield and pulled the chord, causing it to explode and launch a confetti blast at a dragon so hard that it was knocked flying.

The others smiled at this, Fluttershy then turning as big as she could, beating her wings as hard as possible next. A powerful gust of wind came next, pushing the dragons away. As this happened, Rarity and Sunburst simply fired raw blasts of magic, hitting them as hard as they could.

And as they began to push the dragons back, one of the dragons was being used as Malafear's eyes. The evil dragon growled at the lack of success. "Idiots. The ground you're on is crystal! Dig!" The dragon did just that and while the ponies kept knocking away the dragons, that one began to dug underground. Shining's shield only protected the place from the ground up, so the dragon had no issues digging its way under it.

As this was going on, Rarity fired another blast of magic, only to turn to the rune gate and see it glow, "Yes! Its about to open!"

"Finally!" Pinkie cheered as Fluttershy returned to normal.

But as they began to celebrate, the ground just beyond the forcefield suddenly exploded. A dragon instantly flew out, the four gasping at the sight as the beast breathed fire. All they could do was leapt away, Sunburst then firing a magic blast at the dragon, knocking it flying into a castle wall.

The girls saw it fall over at this, its flames now extinguished...except the fire on the rune gate papers. "No!" Rarity screamed as she ran up to the paper, but it was too late. The light vanished from the markings before they burned away, the gate now gone. The dragon that did this laughed as it picked itself up, then took a deep breath. But as it began to unleash its flames, a blue light spread around its mouth and closed it. The dragon's eyes went wide as its mouth expanded and smoke escaped between its lips.

"I don't think so!" yelled a voice, everyone turning to see Cadance as she used her magic to lift up the dragon and fling it out of the forcefield before using the magic she had learned from Ruby to seal up the hole she had just made. The dragon slammed into the ground at this, only to glance up and smile at the other dragons.

They all took to the air, all flying away as the guard asked, "Where are they going?"

"I don't know. I doubt they flew off because I showed up," Cadance replied.

"No," Rarity turned to the destroyed rune gate, "I think they left because they accomplished what they came to do." The others glanced at the unicorn, only to see the now burnt paper in her hooves. "It looks like we'll have to make do without the princesses help."

"Oh no..." Cadance glanced back at her empire, "Ruby..."

At the same time...

"This isn't going well." Flash sighed as they continued to stay in the hole. "I think I can go back into Shining Guardian mode...though I don't know how long I'll be able to hold it this time."

"Same," Springer added, "I can go Mega Mode, but my avatar might be off the table this time."

"We need to fight smart," Grand told them. "These dragons are powerful, yes, but in their mind-controlled state, they're far from geniuses. If we lead them away from the city, maybe we can sneak away from them. They'll keep searching for us and we can return to the city."

"But wouldn't Malafear just summon them again?" Springer pointed out, Grand about to reply, only to facehoof.

"Shoot, you're right." Grand slumped over at this, "Guess I am getting too old for this."

"Its fine. We'll-" Flash tried to say, only for the ground to shake. The group shut up as they heard a growling sound, the iron dragon now stomping beside their hole while sniffing around. They exchanged glances at this, nodding to each other as the beast slowly walked up to the hole, snow jumping around at each stomp.

And as it looked down at the hole...it found nothing. Had it not been mind-controlled, it probably would have thought to give the hole a closer check. The walls around it curved upward, creating a small groove that the knights were hiding in, all now pinning themselves against the wall. None dared to even breathe as the dragons stared at the ground, sniffing the air before letting out a huff and turned to leave.

Once it was gone, they all breathed a sigh of relief as Flash commented, "Let's get out of here." They nodded back and pulled themselves out of the hole. The group quickly found a bunch of large rocks nearby, zipping behind them, ducking behind more and more as the dragons wandered around.

As they got behind one of the larger rocks, Heart looked down at his hooves. "Come on," he told himself as he tried to summon his flames. He had dried out a little, but was still too damp to transform. He then rubbed his hooves together, closing his eyes as he whispered, "Come on...come on..."

"Maybe this isn't the best place to try and do that," Grand chimed in.

"But if they find us, I'm gonna need my fire powers if I wanna stand a chance." He grunted, only to ignite a small fireball between his hooves. "Yes! Now, if I can make it a little bigger, I can dry myself off!" He pumped as much power as he could into the flame, only for the lightning dragon to turn to the rocks. It thought it saw something, now firing a bolt of lightning at one of the larger rocks, causing it to explode. The ground shook at this, making Heart let out an 'eep' before seeing the fire in his hoof now grow even more.

"Wait!" He yelped as the flame kept getting bigger, only to explode off his hoof and hit a house-sized rock a few feet in front of them. It exploded, making the dragons to turn and see smoke along with the snow that began to fall off the top of the rock.

"Move!" Grand yelled, the five of them leaping out from behind the rock and running into the open. The snow fell behind them, almost burying them before they rolled right into the dragons' vision.

"Oh great!" Flash groaned as they heard a roar, making them turn to see the dragons charging. "No other choice!" He skidded to a stop as the light wrapped around him, forming his armor again. "Fire!" He started unleashing Flash Force attacks, Springer, Grand and Skybreaker doing the same. The attacks flew for the dragons, but they easily dodged them, the Wood Dragon reaching them first as it took a deep breath before expelling a leaf tornado.

In response, Grand slammed his hammer into the ground, creating another large rock to hide behind. They felt the rock get pummelled by the wind and leaves, Springer going into Mega Mode again while Heart grimaced at the group, "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Flash replied, "We can't change the past. Let's just focus on having a future."

"But none of our attacks have any effect on these things!" Skybreaker barked back, "The only things that can hurt these reptiles are your avatars, and even those aren't strong enough on their own." As he said that, the lightning and iron dragon appeared around the rock, both holding their tails up to attack.

Flash closed his eyes at this, his horn glowing along with him and his friends. And just before the dragons could crush them under their tails, the five vanished in a flash of light. They then reappeared a hundred feet away, most hitting the snow and rolling, but Flash and Springer managed to stay on their feet/hooves. The iron and lightning dragon turned to them, both firing attacks. Flash and Springer stood in front of them, making a shield as Grand and Skybreaker used their bodies to cover Heart.


The lightning bolt and metal tornado struck the area, an explosion now covering the place as smoke and snow filled the surrounding area. But as the fog cleared, the dragons saw a new light shining through it. And this one was a mixture of blue and gold, intertwined with one another. It was a pair of shields that had wrapped themselves around their targets.

Inside the shield, Heart, Grand and Skybreaker opened their eyes and saw Flash and Springer standing side by side, and both grunting to keep their shields raised. Strangely, the shield appeared to be half Flash's and half Springer's, almost as if somepony had cut the head of their avatars in half and glued them together. The right side was an alicorn's head while the left side was a jakhowl's, and in the very center, the alicorn's horn stood proudly.

The two then noticed their strange combo and glanced around, only for the hybrid shield to change, the jakhowl head beginning to grow around the alicorn head. Meanwhile, the alicorn began to form below it and within seconds, they both completed, and it was like the alicorn was wearing a helmet that was fashioned after a jakhowl's head. There were two holes in the helmet, one for the alicorn's horn and the other for its eyes.

"What's going on?" Heart asked, Flash and Springer glancing at each other, only to smirk as an idea formed in their heads. They turned to see the dragons charging at them, and when this happened, the shield began to grow. Within seconds, the alicorn avatar appeared and grew to full height, the being now spreadinig its wings, flying up as the dragons crashed into the ground.

They looked up at this, now seeing the jakhowl helmet growing around the rest of the avatar as it landed back on the ground, forming more armor around it. The neck, chest and body were covered by the blue energy, leaving the wings, tail and legs uncovered. It was then that the avatar jumped onto its back legs, its body reshaping to morph into an anthropomorphic form. Once that occurred, the blue armor spread down its new arms and the front of its back legs, and now at the end of its arms, a pair of jakhowl paws grew out of where the hooves used to be. With the transformation now complete, the two's avatars had fused into an anthro-alicorn wearing jakhowl armor, Flash and Springer floating within the construct's forehead while Heart, Grand and Skybreaker were in the main body.

"Awesome!" Heart cheered while Grand and Skybreaker nodded.

"But will this work?" Skybreaker asked. "Those dragons were able to beat them when they were separated. Is combining really gonna make any difference other than giving them less targets?"

Grand chuckled. "If it were any other ponies, I'd worry too. But with those two..."

"You ready?" Flash asked Springer, who nodded back. "Alright. I'll focus on the wings and legs. You use the arms and your weapons."

"Got it!" Springer called back as the iron dragon charged. In response, the avatar ran up, both about to collide before it leaped up, the dragon then crashing into behind them while the lightning and wood dragon took to the air. The avatar formed a Bone Breaker and broke it in half, forming two before it flew down at the dragons. The lightning dragon unleashed a bolt of electricity from its horns, but the avatar crossed its bones and deflected it before swinging them apart and slamming them into the beast's head.

It roared in pain as it was thrown down, the wood dragon now unleashing its leaf storm attack next. Flash turned to this and yanked the avatar out of the way, the tornado shooting past them before the construct spun around to kick the serpentine dragon in the head.

"Yeah!" Heart added as the two flew away from one another, the wood dragon then firing a horde of vines in their direction. But before they could reach the avatar, Springer had it use Steel Paw and start shredding the roots, cutting them all in one stroke. And as this happened, Flash pointed the head at the dragon before the horn unleashed a blast of energy that struck the wood dragon.

Meanwhile, the lightning and iron dragon charged again just as the wood dragon fell over into the snow. The iron dragon swung its tail, firing metal spikes out as the avatar turned to the attack.

"Here they come!" Skybreaker yelled as the avatar flew down, flying from side to side to avoid the spikes. One grazed its shoulder, cutting through the armor and making Springer flinch and clutch his shoulder. The avatar then started firing rapid blasts from its horn, hitting the area around the dragons and kicking up clouds of snow.

The two dragons were now blinded, but Springer could see thanks to his aura. But as he scanned them, he felt something. It was if the dragons were familiar. But as he felt this, the avatar ran into the cloud, now forming a giant Bone Breaker and smacking the Lightning Dragon on the head before playing golf with the Iron Dragon, knocking it flying into the sky.

And as the snow faded, lightning sparked between the lightning dragon's horns before firing, "Look out!" Grand screamed, Flash and Springer ducking the avatar down so the lightning flew over its shoulder. It that leapt and tackled the dragon, pinning it to the ground. Springer started punching the beast, but then felt the avatar's movements become restricted.

The wood dragon had used its vines to wrap around the avatar's neck and arms, tugging it off the lightning dragon while the iron dragon charged at them, rolling into a ball to slam into them. But before it could get close, the avatar leapt up again, flying above the wrecking ball. And before the wood dragon could stop them, it reached around and yanked the vines as the avatar went into the air.

The iron dragon circled back around as the avatar fell back down, completely unaware that it was swinging the wood dragon around as hard as possible. It then swung the dragon into the side of the iron dragon, sending it flying back before the avatar swung the wood dragon up and then pulled it down to slam it into the lightning dragon as it tried to pick itself up.

"Wow!" Skybreaker gasped as the avatar cut the vines off. "This fight is like an all out monster smack down!"

"Maybe..." Grand looked up at the two, "But how long can they keep it up?"

Springer was thinking the same thing. "You okay?" He asked his partner, "I know how draining this can be."

"Actually," Flash chuckled, "I feel fine. Not tired at all."

Springer raised an eyebrow at this, only to then see the lightning dragon throw the wood dragon off. The three soon picked themselves up as the iron dragon rolled back over to them, the three standing in a line and all beginning to build power.

"Watch out!" Grand yelled, "They're gonna fire at us!"

"Dodge it!" Heart added, but Flash glanced behind them.

"We can't!" The others turned to see that the battle had positioned them between the dragons and the Crystal Empire. If they dodged, the blasts would go straight for the city. "We have to stop those things!"

"Alright!" Springer held up his paws, Flash doing the same. The horn of the avatar glowed before an Aura Blast formed at the very tip, which grew larger by the second until it was almost as big as the avatar's head. They then reached up and grabbed the orb between both hands, swinging it around as the three dragons unleashed their attacks.

A bolt of lightning and tornadoes of metal and leaves charged for the avatar, the giant now thrusting the orb, causing it explode as Flash and Springer roared. It formed a laser that collided into the three attacks, causing a huge explosion that sent a shockwave out in all directions.

The wave knocked back both the dragons and the avatar, smoke covering the entire place. And as the dragons fell over at this, the avatar remained standing with its arms crossed. It uncrossed them and looked down at the three dragons, Heart cheering. "YEAH! You beat 'em!"

"But what do we do now?" Grand asked as the avatar walked over to the dragons. The others glanced at each other at this, only for the lightning dragon to suddenly jump up at them. It tried to bite at the avatar, but it managed to create a Bone Breaker and use it to block its mouth.

And as the two pushed against one another, Flash let out a grumble. "These things don't quit. I hope the others are doing better than we are."

Back in the city...

Twilight and the others were still fighting the dragons, Malafear watching from afar with a growl. Twilight and Shining were back to back, Rainbow and Ember doing the same in the air as they kept knocking the beasts away. While this happened, Script fired a blast at the ground that created a line of runes, the dragons running over now finding themselves frozen in place before Applejack ran up and bucked them away. And as this happened, Trixie and Ruby had be pulled away from the others, both showing their time in the Lost City paying off as they teamed up against the horde.

"This isn't working. If I want to get to her, I need to get her away from those other fools." Malafear grumbled, only to shine a small grin, "Hmm...maybe I can try that."

Trixie smirked as she sparked her horn, a flash of light appearing next as multiple copies of Ruby were summoned around them. The real one mixed with the others, causing the dragons to wildly attack the fakes. As this happened, the real Ruby took a deep breath before slamming her hooves into the ground, which exploded to fire out giant crystal spikes that slammed into the beasts.

But as the blow knocked the horde away, a beam of magic suddenly hit Trixie, "GYAAAAAH!" She screamed as she was thrown into the side of a building, which was then blasted by another shot that caused it to crumble on top of the unicorn.

"TRIXIE!" Ruby gasped before turning to the source. There she saw Malafear, rage burning in her eyes as she summoned a crystal sword, "You monster!"

She began to charge at him, Twilight turning to the roar and seeing the smirk on Malafear's face. "Ruby...WAIT!" But as she yelled, Ruby leapt at Malafear, about to slash him as the dragon swung his staff and created a portal between them. The knight vanished a second later, Malafear jumping into the portal as well.

"NO!" Twilight screamed as she ran up to the portal, only for it to shut instantly. "RUBY!"

In another part of the city...

"Oof!" Ruby yelped as she crashed into a street, Malafear appearing behind her with a laugh, "Now you're mine!"

Ruby jumped back to her hooves before charging as she yelled, "I'll die before I join you!" But before she could strike the dragon, he raised his staff and blocked her blade.

"Oh, don't worry. What's about to happen will be just like death." The energy on the staff's gem then exploded, travelling up the staff and down Ruby's sword. "And when I have no more use for you, then death is all that'll await you!" As he said that, black lightning flew off Ruby's sword and struck her horn.

"AUGH!" She cried, making her drop her sword as she fell over. "AAAAAHHHHH!"

Malafear chuckled as he then pointed the staff at her horn, more lightning coming out of it as she continued to scream, her voice now filling the air of the city.

A few blocks away...

Twilight had just used her magic to free Trixie when the scream filled the air. "Ruby!"

Shining also heard this before turning to a certain blue dragon, "Ember!" She glanced at him and saw his horn sparking. Nodding at this, she flew down and landed besides him as a shield formed around the pair. Shining then slammed his front hooves into the ground and caused the shield to expand outward, phasing over the ponies without hurting them but hitting the dragons and sending them flying away.

And once everypony was inside the shield, he dispelled it, slumping over as Twilight grabbed the group in her magic before teleporting them to where the scream was coming from. When they appeared, they saw Ruby and Malafear, the dragon laughing at the knight in pain.

"Get away from her!" The alicorn screamed as she fired a blast of magic at the dragon.

However, Malafear cut the spell and hopped back, Twilight's magic now hitting the ground behind the dragon. But despite him cutting his spell, the lightning around Ruby continued to spark. "Too late princess," he chuckled, "The process has begun."

"What process?!" Shining asked, "What did you do to her?"

Malafear just grinned at him, only to point at the pony. Everypony turned to her, her screams getting louder as they tried to run up and comfort her...only to come to a stop. Their eyes went wide as they saw Ruby's body begin to grow...and begin to fill up the street.


Spike continued his travel through the void, following the sounds of moans. And as he did this, he saw a speck off in the distance, now running to it as the memory book floated after him. But as he got closer, he saw the groans were coming from a gray unicorn with a black mane and tail, wearing half-moon glasses with a cutie mark that was a red cross with an arrow sticking through of it.

"First Aid?" He asked as he kneeled down to the knight, "Why are you..." He shook his head before shaking the pony, "Hey! You okay?! Wake up!" The pony didn't respond, making Spike shake him again, "Come on!" But as he did this, his claw began to glow green, "WHOA!" He pulled it off of First, the glow fading. He blinked at his claw at this, only to feel a sudden urge to touch First again. And before he could stop himself, he placed his claw back on the pony and the light returned.

It spread across First's body, and as it covered him, the light morphed into green lightning that sparked all around, Spike now pulling his claw away. And as it sparked, First continued to moan, only for the lightning to explode off his body, his eyes shooting open.

"What?!" He yelped as his head shot up, "What happened?!"

"First!" Spike cheered, now seeing the unicorn turn to him.

"Spike?" He raised an eyebrow before glancing around, "What is...where are we?"

"Err...." Spike scratched the back of his head, "Inside a book." First raised an eyebrow at this, "It's a long story. But what are you doing here?"

"I...I was in the Dragon Lands with...with..." His eyes went wide at this, "Heather."

"What about her?" Spike asked, now seeing a grimace appear on First's face, "What's wrong? What happened?"

Outside the empire...

The avatar and the Lightning Dragon were still locked, the bone still in its mouth. But as the dragon squirmed, the avatar then pushed the beast's head down. And as this happened, Flash and Springer stared at it's forehead, only for Flash to go wide-eyed.

"Wait," he whispered before glaring at an area directly between its two eye horns. There he saw a familiar mark, that of a lightning bolt that zigzagged six times. "That's...Lightning's cutie mark!"

"What?!" Grand yelped as the lightning dragon pushed the avatar back and began charging lightning between its horns, the action giving Grand the angle to see the mark of his grandson. "But why does a dragon have..." His eyes went wide as the avatar leapt to the side, dodging the lightning bolt.

As this happened, the Iron Dragon charged and swung its tail at the ponies, the knights leaping back as Grand stared at the beast, now seeing the tiniest image of a shield with a spear breaking off it on the dragon's head. "Iron Core..."

Skybreaker turned to him, "What?!"

"Don't you get it?!" Grand replied, "Malafear kidnaps two ponies with elemental affinities, then a pair of dragons appear with the same elemental powers who have their cutie marks"

Skybreaker and Heart's eyes went wide, Springer then reaching out and connected to their auras. "He's...right," Springer opened his eyes. "I thought that dragon felt familiar when I sensed it. The transformation's made their aura's a little out of flux, but it's definitely them."

"So he turned them into dragons?" Heart asked, "How?!"

"I once got turned into a Breezie," Flash sighed, "At this point, it's just easier to accept that anything's possible." He then turned to Springer, "What about the wood dragon? Where did that come from?" Springer scanned the dragon as it charged, only to go wide-eyed.

"It's Heather!" He gasped before dodging the sprinting the dragon, then grabbing the beast into a headlock, the rest now seeing the image of a flower surrounded by a chain on its forehead.

"How did she get turned into a dragon?!" Flash yelped as the transformed pony pushed the dragon back before whipping them with its tail, Heather falling back just as Lightning took to the air and started charging up.

"Of course..." Grand grumbled, "Celestia sent me a message about her and First's mission to the dragon lands. They must have arrived when Malafear took over."

The avatar then fired a blast of energy from its horn, which struck the soon coming lightning bolt. And as this happened, Flash's brain warped back to the image Soul had shown him. "Wait...forest, metal and storm. Those where the symbols Soul said were on the mural. And the last two were-"

"Light and shining earth," Springer finished. "If you're light...then Malafear needs-"

"Crystals," Flash finished. "Shining earth must mean crystals! That's why he's after Ruby and me! He wants to turn us...into dragons?!"

Inside the empire...

Ruby's enlarging body was now beginning to transform. Malafear, Twilight, Ember and Rainbow took to the air as everypony else was teleported onto a nearby roof. And as they looked down at the Crystal Knight, they saw her beautiful crystal coat begin to change into shimmering scales. Her hooves began to morph into hands with crystal claws sticking out of them. Her tail-hair began to merge into a single tail with a sharp crystal spike sticking out the end while her mane began to morph into a crown of crystal horns that stuck out of the back of her head to act like a triceratops crest. And finally, wings began to sprout out of her back and extend until they were large enough that they could support her new size in the air. The cutie marks on her flank vanished, with a single crystal rose image appearing on her forehead after her horn sank into her head.

Malafear laughed as he held up his staff, firing another bolt that struck the transformed pony, making her roar and shake her head. Then she went still, her eyes opening to reveal a dark red glow.

The Six Dragons

View Online

The ponies of the Crystal Empire faces paled in the sight before them. A giant dragon had appeared, now letting out a mighty roar. The knight of the empire, beloved by all, along with Twilight and the rest of her friends, had been transformed into the ferocious beast. The now mind-controlled former pony spread her wings, beating them as she pushed herself into the air.

Malafear laughed as he hovered with her, "Impressed?! I learned this spell a long time ago. Thought it might come in handy if I found a creature with an elemental affinity that I hadn't found yet."

"Change her back!" Trixie yelled.

Malafear cackled at this, "Now why would I do that? She's the key to my return to power. Now all I'm missing is the dragon of light."

Those words made Twilight gasp, the princess's brain now going over what that meant. "You...you turned Iron and Lightning into dragons!" Twilight gasped, "And you wanna turn Flash into a dragon as well!"

Malafear just chuckled as he pointed his staff at them, causing a portal to appear. The ponies stared at it, now seeing three dragons fighting against an amalgamation of Flash and Springer's avatars inside. "Impressed?" He asked as they watched the three fight the avatar, the current winner unclear. "I like to think fate had something to do with this current situation. Right when I take control of the dragons, a pony with the wood affinity appears. And when I transformed and took control of her, I was able to see into her mind and learned she had friends with the other affinities I needed."

"Wood pony?" Shining asked.

"Who's a friend of ours?" Rainbow added before Twilight gasped again.

"Heather!" The others turned to her, "Heather Bloom!" She growled at Malafear, "She's the Wood Dragon, isn't she?"

"Possibly," Malafear shrugged, "Never learned her name, not that it matters. All I know is she's a pony with wood magic and was travelling with a gray pony with glasses."

"That's First!" Applejack yelped, "What did yah do ta him?"

"Oh, he's safe." Malafear held up his book, "I decided to keep him around in case the wood pony was able to break my control."

Everypony went wide-eyed again, Twilight hissing, "You...you're a monster!"

"Oh, you're too kind." he cackled, only for the dragon army to fly up to his level, all of them around the city now floating up to him. "But now that I've got what I came for, I think it's time I was on my way."

"You're not going anywhere!" Shining yelled, "Not with Ruby, or the rest of our friends!"

"And what could you do to stop me?" He laughed before snapping his claws, the Crystal Dragon taking a deep breath as Malafear flew behind her.

"EVERYPONY TAKE COVER!" Twilight immediately screams as she teleported most of them away, leaving Rainbow, Ember, Script and Trixie to get themselves out of there. Rainbow and Ember flew straight up while Trixie and Script teleported to a rooftop behind the dragon.

Not a moment later, Ruby unleashed a blast of wind that was laced with crystal shards. The blast hit the ground and collided with several houses, ripping them apart along with the street. On another rooftop, Twilight's group appeared and gasped at the now happening destruction.

"I can't believe she would do that," Shining whispered as he looked up at the Crystal Dragon.

"It's not her fault," Ember told him as she and Rainbow flew down. "It's impossible to deny Malafear's orders when he's got you under his spell. Trust me...I know."

"Well, I think it's about time I left." Malafear commented as he flew up to the ceiling of the barrier, the Crystal Dragon following him along with the rest of the dragons.

"Get back here!" Twilight roared, only for Malafear to point down at her.

"Stop them." he ordered, the smaller dragons all turning and firing a rain of fireballs. Twilight was forced to put up a shield around them, Trixie doing the same to herself.

But Script decided to do something else, his horn glowing as he focused on Ruby's dragonic form. He then fired a beam of light that struck her in the back leg. "RAAAAAAAAAAH!" She roared, the now mindless beast glancing back at him, Malafear also seeing them and mentally telling her to get rid of him.

She let out another roar, now unleashing a barrage of crystals that Script quickly put up a shield against. However, the dome he created was instantly hit by the gems, the attack smashing into the building under him, causing it to collapse with him on top of it.

"SCRIPT!" Everypony yelled as the building crumbed to crystal dust, Script's shield falling into the debris and getting buried.

Malafear laughed again as he flew out of the shield protecting the city, Ruby and the other dragons following after him. He landed on his newest minion and looked over at where the other dragons were battling, mentally telling Ruby to fly that way.

"RAAAH!" Flash and Springer roared as they spun around and smashed their avatar's hoof into the Iron Dragon, knocking it flying.

"Sorry Iron," Flash commented, "That probably hurt me a lot more than it hurt you."

"Flash!" Skybreaker yelled, "Behind us!" They glanced back and saw a charging Wood Dragon. The avatar leapt up at this, taking flight as the Lightning Dragon flew up as well.

"Don't do it, Lightning!" Grand screamed, but his words fell on deaf ears as a powerful blast of electricity shot through the sky. The avatar countered with his own beam of energy from its horn, the two attacks connecting to cause a large explosion that pushed the four away from one another.

When the clash settled, the avatar was a good distance from the dragons. The three were all panting, Flash and Springer doing the same. "Any ideas how we end this without hurting them?" Springer asked.

"No idea." Flash answered, only for another roar to ring out, making them look up and see a new dragon.

"Oh, come on!" Heart yelped, "Now what?!"

Flash squinted his eyes at this, only to see it was the dragon from the drawing Soul had shown them. "Oh no...that's Ruby!" The others gasped as he continued, "He got her too?!"

"No!" Springer cried, falling to one knee as they heard the sound of Malafear's laughter.

"I see you've been keeping my pets busy."

"They're not your pets!" Grand almost roared, "They're citizens of Equestria!"

"Oh?" Malafear raised an eyebrow at this, "So you figured it out. That makes things much easier." He pointed at Flash, "Come to me and I'll give you the ultimate gift. The chance to be freed from your pathetic pony form and become an all mighty dragon of light."

"Not a chance!" Flash barked back, "Sure, being a dragon would be cool, but if it means I'd have to become your brainwashed servant, no thanks."

Malafear frowned at this, only to glance back at the three dragons. 'It appears they were able to exhaust them to almost complete collapse. And even if they're tired, they can probably hold off long enough for the other ponies to arrive. I need that final pony, but that unusual ability he has seems to make him immune to my magic. My only hope is to find a way to get him alone, which isn't going to happen right now.'

"Dragons!" He raised his staff and unleashed a light that formed a massive portal, "Retreat!" The four large dragons glanced up before flapping their wings, the smaller ones now flooding into the wormhole.

"We can't let them get away!" Flash yelled as the avatar charged, only to be met by streams of fire from the other dragons. The avatar raised its hooves to try and shield the areas holding its occupants, but the impact caused it to stagger back, allowing the four dragons to go through the portal first.

"No!" Grand yelled.

But as the dragons continued to hold the avatar back...Heart decided to do something stupid. "RAAAH!" He roared as his now dry body burst into flames.

"HEART!" Flash screamed as his student suddenly flew out of the avatar, the fireballs hitting him doing nothing. With the added speed, he zipped past the dragons, only to fly straight up. "STOP!" But Heart didn't listen, instead flying straight through the portal. "NOOOO!" Flash pushed the avatar forward, now not caring about the flames.

And in that moment, the portal began to shift and fly down toward the avatar. Doing so caused the dragons firing at them to be engulfed, and once the last one was through, the portal shrank. The avatar reached out with an hoof and pushed it through the portal, grabbing something. But then the portal shrank enough to cut through the hoof, now feeling it break off.

"HEART!" Flash screamed again, the others looking away as the portal vanished. The battleground turned silent as the avatar just stood there, Flash fully wide-eyed as he saw the thing that took his student was now gone. That is, till he leto out a roar, "RRRAAAAUUGGGGHHH!"

"WHOA!" Heart yelped as he flew out of the portal, his face skidding across some dirt. He glanced up at this, now seeing he was in the Dragon Lands, only to look back and see the that all the dragons in front of him hadn't seen him come through. Quickly zipping behind a rock, he peeked out the side of the boulder as he saw more dragons fly out, only for Malafear to appear.

The dragon waved his staff, the portal fluctuating before moving as the last dragons flew through, only for the portal to start shrinking. But before it could close, a blue arm shot out of it and grabbed some of the dragons in its clutches. The dragons flinched in pain, but the portal shrank around the arm, cutting its connection and releasing the beasts.

A second later, the portal was gone, Malafear turning away as the larger dragons followed after him. The smaller ones stayed where they were, though they all flew down and landed, all lining up like tin soldiers.

"Alright," Heart whispered as ducked out of the rock, slowly tiphoofing behind another, "You can do this...just sneak up on him, grab the book, and fly like heck. Hopefully, it being out of Flicker's claws will mean he won't be under his control any more, and if it doesn't...I'll think of something else."

But as he began to follow them, he found they were flying toward a large mountain. As they got there, he saw many larger dragons were digging something out, Malafear staring at what they were doing. There were now several holes in this mountain, and two of the holes had markings that said metal and shining earth in ancient draconic. "Just two more..." he commented to himself, "Two more seals and one more dragon and I'll have everything I need to finally take my revenge."

Back in the void...

Spike and First Aid were still comparing notes, the drake now yelling, "Heather's the wood dragon?!" First did a small nod back, "Wha-but...how?!"

"Transformation spells are not unheard of," the Healing Knight replied, "But the spell this dragon used on Heather was like nothing I have ever seen before. It did not simply transform her into a dragon, it appeared to age her dragon form so her size and power would be three times the amount it should have been."

"But why?" Spike asked, "What would Malafear want with a dragon that uses wood instead of fire?"

"Who knows," First shurgged, "Everything is a bit fuzzy for me. I remember getting attacked by the dragons he was controlling and eventually getting overpowered by the sheer number. Malafear threatened Heather with my safety if she resisted, so she was forced to allow herself to be transformed. Then when she was under his control, Malafear sucked me into this book."

"And now we're stuck in here," Spike sighed as he glanced back at the white void, "There's got to be some way we can get out of here. Or at least send a message to the others and tell them who the wood dragon is."

First nodded back, "I agree. But for now, all we can do is wait here and hope something...is that a book?" It was only now that First had noticed the strange book that was floating behind Spike, the little dragon turning and nodding.

"Yeah, there is something we can do until something happens." He reached out and grabbed the book's cover, "Brace yourself."

He opened the book and in a flash, the pair were in the Dragon Lands, First glancing around with wide-eyes, "We escaped!"

"Not exactly," Spike chimed in, "None of this is real. We're just seeing a memory." First raised an eyebrow at this, only to suddenly feel something fly above them.

They looked up and saw it was Silverbolt. He landed in front of them and put Starswirl down, Spike quickly explaining everything else he had seen up to this point as the pair ran to the cave that housed Silverbolt's mate. "Fira!" He yelled, "FIRA!"

The dragoness rushed outside. "Shush Silver, you'll wake the baby." Silverbolt raised an eyebrow at this, only to shake his head and grab her by the shoulders.

"Get the egg. The pair of you have to get out of here."

"What?" Fira leaned back, "Why?"

"We're in danger," Starswirl replied, "There's a new dragon here. A Mystic Dragon."

Fira blinked at this, turning to Silverbolt. "But isn't that good? If he's like you-"

"He's not like me," Silverbolt told her. "This dragon is a monster." He glanced back for a second, "He...he killed another dragon." Fira gasped, "He...drained the life force out of him. And when he did, he somehow stole his elemental powers."

"And I have a feeling he's not gonna stop at just one," Starswirl added, "That's why you need to get out of here before he comes for you. The other dragons are already warning the others to escape, but we need to hurry." He placed a hoof on Fira's leg. "You and your egg can come to Equestria. You'll be safe there."

"Alright..." Fira nodded before heading into the cave.

And as she collected her egg, Silverbolt turned to Starswirl. "I have to go make sure the other elemental dragons are safe. Can you protect Fira and the egg?"

"You should be focusing on your family," Starswirl replied, "They're making sure the others are safe. You-"

"I'm a Mystic Dragon," Silverbolt interrupted, "I'm the one best suited to holding him off if he shows up." He turned to Fira as she left the cave, egg in claw. He moved over to her and placed a claw on her shoulder and the egg. "Stay with Starswirl and get to safety. I'll meet you there."

Fira did a small nod, "Alright," the two hugged on another, their wings wrapping around them. "Just be safe."

"I will," he replied before pulling away and taking to the air. He shot over the land as fast as his wings could carry him, soon spotting a group of dragons in the normal gem finding area.

"You have to listen to me!" Furnace told them, "There's something coming. A powerful dragon with magic."

"Oh please," one of the dragons replied, an Iron Dragon that went by the name of Shard, "Everyone knows how rare Mystic Dragons are."

"He's right," a female Light Dragon named Aurora responded, "Silverbolt's the only Mystic Dragon."

"No, I'm not!" They all looked up at the Mystic Dragon, Silverbolt landing and glancing at the dragons. Around him was the Iron and Light dragon, along with Fire, Lightning, Water, Wood, Wind, Crystal and Rock dragons. "There's another Mystic Dragon, and he's coming for all of us. If we don't escape, he'll kill us all and steal our elemental powers."

One of the dragons, a Lightning Dragon named Voltic, got up off his rock, "You're saying we should leave our home? The place we've known for generations as a safe place."

"It's not safe anymore," Silverbolt told him.

"Even if you're right," a wood dragon named Arbour spoke up. "Even if there's a dragon out to steal our elemental powers, why should we flee? He's one dragon against many. We can take him."

"But he's not just one dragon. He's one dragon with the power of shadow, ice, poison, fear and now fire. He's a one dragon army and he'll become stronger with every dragon he kills."

"All the more reason to stand against him," a Crystal Dragon named Jade told him. "If we run, he'll pick us off one by one until nothing can stop him. But if we stand together-"

"HE'S COMING!" One of the dragons yelled, all looking up to see a dark cloud moving toward them.

"That's him alright," Silverbolt growled.

"Then what are we waiting for?" Shard asked as he pulled himself up out of the crater, "Let's get him!"

He rolled up into a ball and charged at him, Voltic, Aurora, Arbour and Jade following after him.

"Wait!" Silverbolt yelped as he flew after them, "This dragon doesn't just have multiple elements! He has magic as well!"

"So do you," Jade reminded him. "I'm sure whatever spells he uses, you can counter it."

"I..." Silverbolt hesitated, only to glance up at the cloud. "Alright, I'll help. But don't do anything stupid." His mouth then sparked as they reached the cloud, unleashing a blast of lightning that struck the cloud, making it scatter. The black smoke vanished, now revealing the Mystic Shadow Dragon.

"Ah...quite a collection here." he chuckled, "So you've come to give yourselves up?"

"No!" Voltic replied, "We've come to take you down!"

Malafear laughed at this, "You really think you can stop me? You, who only have one element each, against me?"

"We might not have stolen elemental powers like you, but our elements combined will surely match yours!" Arbour responded before taking a deep breath, the roaring a tornado of leaves at Malafear. The dragon smirked before taking his own deep breath and unleashing a blast of cold air, the two currents slamming into one another. The leaves remaining in the middle, all slowly freezing over until they both stopped and the frozen leaves fell to the ground with a clatter.

"You were saying?" Malafear asked before his eyes glowed.

"MOVE!" Silverbolt yelled, he and the others jumping back as Malafear fired a blast of red energy from his eyes. "Don't let those eye blasts hit you! They'll cause you to be overwhelmed with fear!"

"Then I'd better blind him!" Voltic yelled as his body sparked with lightning, which exploded off of him. Malafear countered by surrounding his wings with shadows, flapping them as the darkness formed a barrier that deflected the lightning.

"WHOA!" Shard cried as he leapt aside, the lightning bolt hitting just beside him, "Watch it!"

Aurora and Jade took this moment to fly in close, Aurora turning to Jade. "Let's combo him!" Jade nodded and raised her tail as Aurora flew behind her, then unleashed a laser from her mouth. That laser struck the gems on the tail and was refracted into multiple colors, all flying out and striking Malafear.

"Gyah!" He yelped, being blinded by the rainbow of light.

"Yes!" Shard cheered as he charged and rolled himself up, spinning right into Malafear. The Mystic Shadow Dragon opened his eyes, now breathing a cloud of poison mist. But Shard didn't feel it thanks to his metal covered body, flying through and slamming into Malafear.

"We've got him!" Arbour yelled as he unleashed his vine hair, wrapping the tendrils around Malafear and tying up his mouth while keeping his other appendages tightly held.

"Take my Electro Burst!" Voltic roared as he unleashed a massive surge of lightning that struck Malafear and left the vines undamaged.

"And my Gemstone Shower!" Jade added before he began shooting crystal spikes out of her mouth that pierced into Malafear.

"Dazzling Destroyer!" Aurora yelled as she flew and a powerful laser exploded out of her mouth and struck Malafear.

"AUGH!" He cried through the vines, feeling his entire body burn. But after a few seconds, he ripped his way through the vines. "Enough!" He raised his front legs before slamming them into the ground, enough power in this to make the ground crack. The cracks ran off in every directions, even under the dragons fighting him. Then, the ground exploded before tendrils of shadow exploded out and struck the five dragons.

"GYAH/AHHH/YARG!" They screamed as they were knocked back, Malafear laughing as he took a deep breath.

"Now, choke on your stupidity!" He unleashed another cloud of poison, which flew toward the five. But before it could reach the dragons, the ground exploded again as several columns of lightning shot out. Those columns then unleashed lightning strings that connected them, forming a square net that the cloud flew into. The net then bent over and formed a dome that shrank into nothingness, taking the poison with it.

Malafear growled at the sight, only to glare at Silverbolt as the dragon said, "I won't let you hurt them...or any other dragon."

"Ha!" Malafear laughed, "How could you possibly defeat me?!" He leapt up and spread his wings, ready to pounce at the dragon. Silverbolt countered by leaping back and bringing his fists together, Malafear shattering the ground as he landed while Silverbolt pulled his fist apart. Doing so caused a rope of lightning to appear between them, Silverbolt ripping it in two and extending them to form a pair of lightning whips.

"Raaah!" He roared as he swung the whips around, lashing at Malafear as the dragon hopped back to dodge them.

"Oh please." Malafear's claws began to glow, black light now shining in them. He then swiped the claws, instantly cutting through the lightning whips. Malafear's tail then ignited as the whips disappeared, the dragon swinging the flaming appendage into Silverbolt.

"Gyah!" He cried as the tail hit his stomach, only to grab the tail as the fire went out. "Lightning Chomp!" He bit into the tail, electricity surging through the teeth.

"AAAAAHHHH!" Malafear screamed, his body now showing his skeleton for a second.

"YEAH!" Spike cheered, First simply watching in amazement.

"It's not over yet," he told Spike as Malafear's body began to glow. Before Silverbolt could do anything, the dragon he was biting into exploded into black smoke. The cloud flew around him, only for the fog to suddenly smack Silverbolt in the face. He grunted at this, only to slaw at the gas, but his claws flew through it.

"Don't bother. No matter how hard you struggle, a Shadow Dragon will always catch its prey." The cloud then divided into four and took shape, forming four Malafear that surrounded Silverbolt. All four unleashed a burst of fire, which struck the Mystic Lightning Dragon, the flames consuming him.

But as this happened, a barrage of crystals, iron spikes, lightning and a laser shot up and struck the four. The crystals, spikes and lightning caused their targets to vanish as soon as they were struck, while the laser pushed Malafear back away from Silverbolt.

Silverbolt saw this and smiled, only for Malafear to roar, "Annoying whelps!" He then took a deep breath, "Begone with you!" With that, he unleashed a torrent of fire that went straight for Silverbolt. He quickly hopped to the side, only for the flames to hit the ground and exploded into smoke that engulfed the others. They all cried out as they accidently breathed it in, all of them now coughing up a storm.

"What's happening?" Aurora asked as she felt her body going sluggish.

"The smoke from that fire," Arbour gasped, "It...poisoned us."

"No," Shard groaned as he fell to his knees. the other dragons following suit.

"How?!" Silverbolt screamed as he turned to Malafear. The dragon simply laughed, Silverbolt putting the pieces together. "You...you used fire and poison at the same time?!"

"Of course I did," Malafear brought his claws together as shadows appeared around them. "What's the point in having all these powers if I can't use them all at the same time?! Now...let's try this! Frozen Shadow!" He roared into his hand, then unleashing a stream of shadows that shot toward Silverbolt, slamming into him.

He then felt his body start to freeze over. "No!" Silverbolt yelled before lightning sparked out of his body, melting the ice before he flew straight up. He beat his wings next, lightning exploding out before firing them at the Mystic Shadow Dragon. It formed the net again and slammed into him, pushing Malafear backwards. Silverbolt then looked down at the others dragons and saw they were all slumped over in near unconsciousness. "This might hurt a bit!" He yelled as he clutched his fists, which sparked with lightning as he shot straight down and slammed them into the ground.

The lightning exploded off him, shooting through the ground and straight into the other dragons. "GYAH!" All but Voltic roared as they were electrified, Voltic then getting more energized, Silverbolt flinching at the screams while Malafear kept pushing against the electro net. And when the lightning depleted, the other dragons moaned as they picked themselves up. "What the heck?!" Shard asked, only to feel his body now moving. "Huh?"

"Sorry," Silverbolt replied, "Anti-venom spell. That's the one downside to being a Mystic Dragon. Can't use your magic on something without hitting it with your elemental powers."

"RAAAAAH!" Malafear screeched, now ripping out of the electro net. "ENOUGH!" He roared before his eyes glowed red, then unleashing a laser right at Silverbolt.

"AHHH!" He cried, covering his eyes as he felt his brain begin to burn.

"Bolt!" Jade yelped, only for Silverbolt's eyes to open. But when he did this, their images were distorted into grotesque forms, just like a nightmare.

"NO!" He screamed, staggering back while spitting out bolts of lightning. "Stay away from me!"

"Wait! We're not gonna hurt you!" Aurora told him, "Please listen to us!" But before they could get close, Malafear flew down, "Gyah!" She yelped as she was struck with his tail, thrown away as Malafear shot ice at Arbour and Shard. Voltic and Jade then charged at him, but Malafear leapt up and beat his wings, sending shadow darts that slammed into them. The darts knocked them back, now leaving only Silverbolt, who saw mutated images fighting...and saw one was Malafear. The dragon was laughing, images of the elements being stolen and him getting to Fira...and their egg.

"Poison Breath!" Malafear roared as the toxic cloud shot out of his mouth. The other dragons all held their breath as the cloud surrounded them, blinding as they now found they couldn't hear or smell. And it was here Shard suddenly slammed by something.

"Ahh!" Jade cried as something hit her back, knocking her to the ground.

"Gyah!" Arbour felt himself be pulled by the tail.

"YAAAH!" Voltic and Aurora screamed as they were struck at almost the exact same time, the pair falling over as the poison cloud began to fade and reveal that they were all on the ground with Malafear standing in front of them.

"Now," his claws glowed black, "Time to end this." He slammed them into the ground, shadow ropes exploding out of the dirt and wrapping up the five. They all screamed in pain, Malafear laughing at the sight.

"RAUGH!" Shard yelled, "I can't move!"

"Thank you for demonstrating your elemental powers," Malafear cackled as he walked up to Jade. "Now I know how to use them." Jade saw him place a foot on her as he began to glow. "Goodbye."

"RAAAAAAAAAAH!" He suddenly heard, turning to see Silverbolt charging at him. The Mystic Lightning Dragon tackled him, pushing him off Jade as both hit the ground, rolling until Silverbolt kicked him off.

"How?!" He yelped, now seeing pure anger on Silverbolt's face, "How did you recover from my fear so quickly?!"

"I just realized something I was more afraid of would happen if I let that fear beat me." Silverbolt then unleashed a blast of lightning from his mouth, Malafear taking to the air to dodge it. But as he did this, Silverbolt zipped right up to him, a electric claw slamming into Malafear's face.

"Pugh!" Malafear flinched, only to let out a hiss, "Worm! I'm gonna take your element first!" His mouth opened, black shadows flying out as Silverbolt roared lightning back at him. The two attacks struck, causing both to collide as they pushed against each other. And as this happened, both attacks began to surge until-


The attacks exploded, the shockwave striking the two dragons, knocking them back into the ground. Malafear slammed into the earth and skidded to a stop while Silverbolt as thrown into the side of a small mountain. The impact caused the rocks above him to come loose, causing a rock slide that crashed down on him, suddenly burying him until only his head and a single arm remained free.

"BOLT!" The others dragons cried when they saw this, Malafear picked himself up and chuckled.

"Well, this was fun." he grumbled as he walked up to the buried dragon. "Though not really. That was a lie, and I think it's time I added mystical lightning to my arsenal."

Silverbolt moaned as he opened his eyes and saw Malafear standing over him. "Fira..." he whispered, "I'm sorry."

Malafear's body began to glow, ready to steal his soul and power as he opened his mouth and-

"SILVER!" The Mystic Lightning Dragon's eyes went wide at hearing that voice, he and Malafear looking up and seeing Fira charging at Malafear, "Hold on!"

"No..." Silverbolt gasped, "GET AWAY!" But she didn't listen, instead unleashing a burst of fire.

Malafear growled before breathing his own fire blast, countering Fira's before taking to the air. "What does a dragon have to do to get some extra elemental powers around here?!" He hissed as he took to the air, charging at Fira this time.

Fira show a few more fireballs, but Malafear tanked them, only for the dragoness to try and slash him with her claws, but the Mystic Shadow Dragon just took the blows. "I won't let you hurt him!" She screamed before whipping her tail, only for it to hit Malafear's cheek...but he didn't flinch.

"Oh?" He asked before flicking the tail away, "Is he important to you?" Fira didn't reply, making Malafear shine a big grin, "Then I'll make sure he sees what happens to those that try and get in my way."

With that, he took a deep breath and roared out a cloud of poison. "Don't breath it in!" Silverbolt screamed, but it was too late.

Fire began to cough as she felt herself growing dizzy, allowing Malafear to tackle her. Within seconds, they both slammed into the ground, Malafear pinning her down with ease. Silverbolt's eyes went wide at seeing this, Malafear beginning to glow as that light began to spread over to Fira.

"NO!" He yelled, reaching out to Fira. "Please...DON'T! TAKE ME INSTEAD!" But Malafear didn't stop, instead breathing in as the light surrounding Fira began to fly off her.

Fira looked up and her eyes met with Silverbolt's, the dragoness weakly reaching out, their claws now inches apart. "Silverbolt..." she whispered, "I love you." He couldn't take his eyes off her while more of the energy was sapped out of her. "Please...protect our child." Those were her last words before the process was complete. The light around her body was completely consumed, her eyes going down into her head, her claw dropping to the ground.

Silverbolt could only stare at his mate, tears appearing his eyes as he whispered, "No..."

"AHAHAHA!" Malafear laughed, "She was brave, I'll give her that. You picked a good one." He then kicked Fira's body away, Silverbolt watching her lifeless form roll away and stop in an undignified heap. "Heh...too bad she wasn't an element I didn't have. Then she would have had a bit more value...oh well." He shrugged at this, only for Malafear to suddenly flinch. He glanced down at his body, the others now seeing his form begin to pulse.

Then, the Mystic Shadow dragon started growing. Though it was only a few inches, his entire being expanded. "What?" Jade asked once he stopped.

"Interesting," Malafear chuckled, "It appears I've reached the point where my body needs to grow in order to hold all this new power. Magnificent." He then turned to Silverbolt with a smirk on his face. "I wonder how much your power will make me grow." He licked his lips at this, the others gasping as they watched the Mystic Lightning Dragon look down and close his eyes in defeat.

But defeat was the last thing on Silverbolt's eyes, lightning beginning to surge around his body. The sparking grew more violent, forcing Malafear to step back as Silverbolt eyes shot open as pure rage consumed them, "RAAAAARRRRRHHHHH!" He roared at the top of his lungs, the lightning exploding off him and destroying the rocks holding him down. He then tackled Malafear, a giant swarm of lightning now surging out of the Mystic Dragon.

Spike could hear the fight going on, but wasn't watching. His eyes were staring at Fira, the little dragon making his way over to her. He leaned down and stared at her, seeing her eyes had somehow closed, tears now beginning to flow down his face.

"Spike?" First asked as he noticed his tears, "Are you alright?"

"I just saw how my mom died," First went wide-eyed at this, "I doubt anypony would be alright after that." First moved over to place a hoof on his shoulders, but then-

"AUGH!" They turned to see Malafear had pinned Silverbolt down, using his shadows to keep him from being zapped by the lightning.

"Play time...is over!" Malafear's body began to glow as the light spread into Silverbolt, Spike's eyes going wide as he saw his father squirm. But as this happened, the light around Silverbolt began to change to a more greenish color. "What?!" Malafear asked as he tried to devour his soul...only for nothing to happen. "Huh?! What is-"

"Get OFF!" Silverbolt screamed as the light exploded off of him, throwing Malafear away.

"AUGH!" He cried as he landed near Arbour, the Mystic Shadow dragon quickly picking himself as he saw Silverbolt stand up. The green light was still wrapped around him, making Malafear hiss, "Of course a Mystic Dragon would be immune to this magic." He then turned to Arbour, "Guess I'll have to help myself to the vegetarian option."

The dragons all gasped at this, only for Silverbolt to screech, "NO!" He glanced over at Fira before turning back to them, "NO MORE!" The light around his body moved to his fists, now sparking with green lightning as he punched the ground, electricity exploding out and heading toward the others.

Lightning struck Silverbolt's five friends, making them scream, "GYAH/RAAAH/AUGH!" They felt themselves be zapped, but the green light began to wrap around them, causing the shadows holding them to melt away, shocking Malafear. And as the lightning faded, he pinned Arbour and tried to take his soul, but the light around the Shadow Dragon's body couldn't spread to him. The green light stopped it, making him go wide-eyed.

"What in the-"

"Get off of me!" Arbour yelled as he used his vines to whip at Malafear, making him leap back and glare at Silverbolt.

"What did you do?! His soul belongs to me!"

"A shield spell," Silverbolt replied, "Protecting them from your evil." He glanced over at Fira, "if only I had thought of that sooner." He quickly shook his head before turning back at Malafear while the other dragons all picked themselves up.

Instantly, the six fired their elemental roars at Malafear, the Mystic Shadow Dragon leaping back as the six attacks hit one another, causing an explosion. And when the dust settled, Malafear was flying above them.

"If I can't take your powers, then I have no reason to hold back." He opened his mouth as a ball of shadows appeared within, that ball then being filled by poisonous gas, fire and ice. The four elements mixed together, only to close his mouth before swallowing. "RAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!" He roared, a tornado made up of the four elements exploding from his mouth.

The attack struck the ground, completely destroying it as it filled the air with a light that consumed the dragons, making them cry out as they were consumed. Spike and First both gasped as the shadows washed over them, only for the darkness to disappear as the scene was sucked back inside the book before slamming shut.

They panted at the sight, both falling on their rumps. Spike was still thinking about Fira, while First asked, "Do...do you think they survived?"

"They had too." Spike responded, remembering the dream he had before this whole event, "They...they must have found a way to beat Malafear. He said Silverbolt wouldn't stop him this time."

"But how did they stop him?"

But before Spike could answer that, a sound caught their attention. Spike was feeling déjà vu, as he now heard a groan, "There's somepony else here! Come on!" He quickly began to run away, First hot on his tail.

In the Crystal Empire...

The city was now recovering after the attack of the dragons, news quickly spreading about what had happened to the city's greatest protector, many fearing Ruby might never return. Others feared she would return, but always remain a monstrous dragon that would attempt to devour their entire city.

At the main battle site, Twilight was helping rebuild one of the destroyed buildings. She levitated the pieces up, connecting them back like a thousand piece jigsaw before performing a sealant spell that welded the crystal together. As she did this, she remembered back to seeing Script be buried by one of the buildings. They had managed to find him in the debris, injured but not seriously hurt thanks to the shield he had used to protect him. He was unconscious, but would be able to make a full recovery thanks to the crystal empire's doctors.

"There..." she sighed as the spell completed, the house now back to its former state. She turned to the other now repaired houses, making her wipe her forehead as she whispered, "This isn't good. Flash..."

As the sun and moon began to swap places, she quickly teleported back to the castle and found Shining and the rest of her friends waiting. Aside from Script, everypony had gotten out of the fight relatively unscathed. Trixie had a few injuries after getting blasted into a house that collapsed onto her, while the others had a few scratches and bruises that had been bandaged up.

Shining noticed her at this and asked, "Everything okay?"

She just shook her head, "No. I really wished we knew what to do next. This was our one chance to get Spike back and free the others, but now they're who knows where." Everypony who heard this glanced at one another, fearing Twilight might go into her hopeless 'I can't do it' mood. "But I'm not giving up!" They turned back to her with wide eyes. "Even if I have to search every known corner of the world, I'm gonna find Malafear and get our friends back!"

Her face shined a giant grin, making Shining chuckle, "That's the spirit sis! And don't worry, we'll find them."

"Heck yeah we will!" They turned to see Flash, Grand, Springer and Skybreaker walking up to the castle. They all appeared fine, though they had a few bruises and looks of exhaustion.

"Flash!" Twilight ran up to hug him, "You're alright." She pulled away, glancing him over....only to notice something. "Wait...where's Heart?!" The males all frowned at this, a look of shame on their faces while the others' eyes shrank as she repeated, "Where's Heart?!"

"Gone," Flash sighed, "That stupid colt leapt through the portal after Malafear and the others."

"What!" Twilight yelped, "Why didn't you stop him?!"

"We tried," Springer replied, "But the dragons were shooting fire at us and...everything went wrong. We couldn't get through, but Heart could."

The others all groaned at this, Rainbow adding, "So now that lone colt is trapped Celestia knows where, with a bunch of dragons that'll happily eat him alive if we can't find him?!"

"I'm afraid so," Grand nodded. "And there's...something else. We discovered something that might be a bit of...a bit of a shock."

"Is it that Malafear turned Heather, Iron, Lightning and now Ruby in-ta dragons?" Applejack asked, Rarity and Fluttershy glancing away while the knights all went wide-eyed. "We already know."

"And we know that Malafear only needs one more dragon to do whatever the heck he's planning," Twilight continued, "A light dragon." Her eyes shifted over to Flash, the pegasus suddenly finding himself being stared at.

"He's gonna come after me?" he pointed to himself, the others all nodded, Flash then letting out a sigh. "I knew it." He closed his eyes at this, only to clench his hooves, "Good. That means he's gonna show up again, and when he does, we'll be ready."

Everypony nodded at this, only for a flash of light to occur above them. They glanced up, now seeing a pair of alicorns appear above them. Celestia and Luna flew down, scanning the city with their eyes and seeing their subjects and only one dragon among them. "Twilight?" Celestia asked her student as Luna ran over to the now bandaged up Trixie, "What happened? When we attempted to activate the Rune Gate, it failed after a moment. It's a good thing we didn't send any troops through before-hoof."

"That was our fault," Fluttershy told her as she, Rarity, Pinkie and Sunburst walked over, "We let the Rune Gate get burned up before you could send them in."

"We're really sorry," Pinkie's hair went flat. "Things might have turned out differently if we'd kept it safe."

Rarity and Sunburst nodded, but Celestia shook her head. "It's not your fault. Malafear is the one causing all this pain." She let out a sigh and turned to Twilight, Flash and Shining, "Tell me everything." They nodded and Shining began to explain what had happened when the dragons first appeared, Cadance exiting the castle at this moment to give her two bits.

Twilight then began to explain what happened after they arrived, with Flash chiming it every now and again to tell them what happened after he pushed the wood dragon out of the city. The Royal Sisters were quite shocked to learn the identities of the elemental dragons, Luna fuming when they got to the point where Malafear injured Trixie and transformed Ruby into a dragon that now served him.

"And then Heart flew into the portal before it vanished," Flash finished, "And now we have absolutely no idea where he and the other dragons are."

"This isn't good," Celestia replied, rubbing her forehead while Luna's face contorted in rage.

"I've had it with this dragon!" she almost screamed. "Not only has he attacked our lands and stolen our citizens, but now he's unlawfully transforming them and using them as mindless drones?! Something must be done!"

"And it will be sister," Celestia added before turning to the others. "But for now, you're all exhausted. You all need rest."

"You expect us to go to sleep?" Ember yelped, "Right now when Malafear could attack at any moment?"

"You won't stand a chance against him if you don't get some sleep," Celestia countered, "You need to rest and recuperate. Only then will you stand a chance against Malafear. In the meantime, Luna and I will attempt to figure out our next move."

Ember opened her mouth to respond, only for the others to shut her down. Soon, she, Springer and the ponies all headed inside to rest up as the night began.

The Dragon Lands...

Malafear watched as the dragons continued to search for the last remaining circles. As he did this, his four elemental dragons were hovering behind him. Though he was staring at the mountain, his mind was on Flash and the others. "I need to come up with a trap that will isolate him from the others." He turned to the dragons in his control and pointed his staff at them. "Now, open up your minds and show me everything you know about Flash Sentry."

With that, the Bloodstone Sceptre unleashed four bolts of black lightning. It struck the dragon's heads, making them all roar in pain as images and worlds appeared in Malafear's mind. "Flash Sentry. Knight of Friendship. Element of Courage. Sacred Light?" He focused more on those words and delved deeper into the dragon's minds, learning all they knew about this subject.

As this was happening, Fire Heart continued to hide behind rocks. He had heard his transformed friends scream in pain, making him stare up at Malafear, "Hang on..." he whispered. "I'll save you."

As Heart said that, Malafear pulled back on the mental probing and smirked. "I see. So Flash Sentry can't be transformed by force. But if that's the case..." His grin grew at this, "I suppose I'll just have to find a way to force his claw. If I can just get him alone..." He then remembered the previous battle, how Flash's avatar waned after constant use. If Springer hadn't been there, he would have been Malafear's. "Alright. I'll just have to teleport him here and have my dragons attack. He won't run away, not if he sees a chance to save his friends, so he'll be forced to use his avatar and exhaust himself. Then, when he's too weak to defend himself, I'll swoop in and finally have my light dragon." He turned to the mountain. "Better not make this the battleground. He might pull something and I don't want to give away this location."

"RAAAAAH!" His attention was suddenly caught by the sound of a colt's roar, making him turn to see Heart flying at him in his fire form. The colt shot a fireball at Malafear, but he quickly raised his staff to stop it.

"So a little bug snuck through my portal?" He chuckled before swatting Heart's fireball back at him, the colt using his tail to deflect the blaze before attempting to tackle the dragon.

But as he did this, Malafear created a pair of portals on either side of him, Heart flying in one and out the other. And as he flew out, Malafear pointed his staff at the colt. "Ahh!" He yelped as he suddenly felt his body going ridged, almost like he was being held in a unicorn's magic grasp.

Malafear then thrust his staff down, Heart being thrown into the dirt, screaming as he slammed into it. His flames went out as Ruby flew down, following Malafear's mental commands. She slammed her front hooves into the ground, causing crystal spikes to appear and form a cage around Heart.

"You were brave for coming here," Malafear laughed, "But then again, bravery is just another word for foolishness."

Heart growled at him, Malafear smirking, only to hear a roar and look up, seeing the dragons had uncovered another circle, this one having the ancient draconic word for wood. "Perfect." He turned back to the other dragons, "Sleep. We have a big day tomorrow. You'll all need your rest." The dragons obeyed and all went away, Malafear then turning back to Heart. "Now...what should I do with you?"

Heart just growled back, "Bring it on! I'll burn you to bits!"

"I don't think you will." Malafear chuckled, "After all, I'm closer to my goal than I've ever been now."

The colt raised an eyebrow at this, "What goal? What are you doing?!"

"Simple. I'm merely reclaiming what was taken from me long ago." Malafear then leaned up to the bars of the cage, the biggest grin on his face, "And nothing in Equestria or the rest of this world will stop me."

The Seal

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Never had Twilight had a more troubled sleep in all her life. The princess had managed to get to sleep thanks to cuddling up to Flash, but her mind kept going over Spike, Heart and all their other stolen friends. And when she woke up, she found that Flash was the same, all soon going to the dinning room...and finding everyone was the same way. Pinkie was serving pancakes, but she didn't have her usual cheery manner. Ember looked the most out of place, clearly unsure how to sit in a chair designed for a creature without a solid tail.

"Morning," the princess sighed as they call gave a half awake retort. "I don't suppose any of you got at real sleep last night."

"Maybe for about...two minutes," Rainbow replied.

"This is ridiculous!" Ember yelled as she stood up from the table. "I'm supposed to be helping my subjects, and instead I'm sitting around eating pancakes and waiting around for someone else to find out where they are!"

"I'm worried too," Flash added, "But Celestia was right. We can't just fight Malafear when he's got a full army waiting for us."

"Agreed. We need a plan," Grand sighed, "We need some way to counter Malafear."

Springer shook his head as he took a bite of his pancake. "I tried tracking Heart's aura, but wherever he is, he's too far for me to locate."

"So what?!" Ember yelled again, "We just wait around doing nothing until Malafear shows up again?!"

"He's gonna come after me again," Flash reminded her. "And since we have no other way of locating them-"

"Maybe not." The ponies, jakhowl and dragon turned to see Celestia, Luna, Cadance and Solid Script walk into the room. "We may have a way to go on the offensive after all."

"Script!" Twilight gasped as she got up from her chair, seeing the bandages covering the unicorn, "You shouldn't be walking around!"

"I'm fine," he replied, "The Crystal Empire doctors were able to fix me right up. And it's a good thing they did, because I have a way we can find Malafear and the others. Well...I have a way to find Ruby, but she should be with them all."


"After Ruby was turned into a dragon, I managed to hit her leg with a spell."

"Which caused her to turn on you and almost crush you under a house," Grand pointed out.

Script rolled his eyes, "anyway, the spell I hit Ruby with was a tracking rune. Once I activate it, I'll be able to pinpoint exactly where Ruby is." Everypony's eyes went wide, even Grand's as Ember punched her palm.

"So what are we waiting for?! Fire that thing up and let's find him!"

"Hold on," Script responded, "We can't just rush off. The rune can't be seen right now since it's not being used, but the second I activate it, it'll glow brighter than a firework in the dead of night. Once Malafear sees it, it won't be long before he removes the mark from Ruby."

"So what do we do?" Fluttershy asked.

"We use a Rune Gate," Celestia replied, "Twilight and Script will finish the Crystal Empire gate, and when it's done, he'll use the tracking spell to locate Ruby and send the gate to her location."

"And we use the gate to attack," Flash finished.

Celestia nodded. "Since Malafear will likely target the Rune Gate as soon as it appears, we can't risk sending a large group."

Script hummed in agreement, "If the gate is destroyed while somepony is passing through it...I doubt it'll be pretty. That's why it'll be best to send somepony through that can put up a powerful shield that'll protect it long enough to allow the others through."

"I can do that," Shining spoke up.

Twilight then shook her head, "No Shining, you need to stay here in case the dragons attack again. I don't want to admit it, but it's possible we could fail. If that happens, Malafear may decide to turn the Crystal Empire into his all-you-can-eat candy store. You need to be here to protect it." Shining growled at this, his sister adding, "I'll go through and put up the shield."

"And Springer and I will go through before you," Flash told her. "With our new avatar, we should be able to hold off anything Malafear throws at us."

"Yah sure that's a good idea?" Applejack added.

"You are the one Malafear wants," Rarity pointed out.

"Which means he's not gonna run away when he sees me," Flash chuckled, "If anypony else shows up, he'll make a portal and fly through it before I get there. It's better for me to go first."

They all exchanged glances, only to sigh as Twilight glared at him, only to sigh, "Alright...but the rest of us will be there as soon as possible."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Rainbow asked, "Let's go save our friends!" The others all nodded, all letting out yells of agreement.

The Dragon Lands...

Heart didn't know when he had fallen asleep, but found himself being awakened by the light of the sun as it hit his face. "Unh..." he groaned as he opened his eyes, only to go wide-eyed. He found he was in a cage that was surrounded by a bunch of sleeping dragons, Iron being right beside him. The dragon was in a slightly curled up form, his tail folded up so the end of it was under its chin like a pillow as it slept away.

Heart glanced around at this, only to lean up to the dragon, "Iron," he whispered, "Iron, wake up." The dragon seemed to react to this, its glowing eyes opening as it slowly turned to him. "See? It's me, Heart. You know me. We're friends." The dragon's head leaned up, now growling as Heart leaned back, waving his hooves, "Come on Iron, we've been through way to much for you not to know me. Remember when you accidently said that dirty word when you didn't know I was there and begged me not to tell anypony? Or maybe when I accidentally set your mane on fire when I was doing that bet with Scootaloo?" The dragon just kept staring at him, growling as Heart did a slight gulp. "Ooookay. That's not working."

The dragon leaned down at this, snorting as he was about to show his teeth. And as Heart saw this, his brain went into overdrive as he said, "Wait! What about Fluttershy? She's probably worried about you!"

Iron opened his mouth at this, only to come to a stop. He let out a guttural growl, his head slightly leaning back as Heart continued, "That's right! She's probably heartbroken, not knowing where you are and what's happened to you! You gonna let some creepy dragon hurt the mare you care about?! Come on Iron!" The dragon began to shake its head at this, hissing as Heart added, "Wake up Iron! Wake up!"

"Enough!" A burst of red light hit Iron's head, Heart's gaze shooting up to see Malafear, only to look back at Iron as the glow returned to his eyes.

"No, no, NO!" He yelled, "IRON!"

"Leave us," Malafear told Iron. The dragons did as instructed and walked off, Heart trying to follow...only to see the other dragons had begun to awaken. Malafear then flew down and landed in front of his cage, placing a foot on one of the bars. "Nice try, but nothing will free them from my control."

"Why do you want them?" Heart asked, "What use could you have with ponies turned into dragons?"

Malafear growled back, "Trust me, if I knew where to find the dragons I wanted, I would have used them. But since they don't seem to be around anymore, I'm forced to use you worthless ponies. And once I have your friend Flash, everything will be as it should have been." Malafear turned to walk away, focusing on the dragons. "Eat and then we leave. I wanna find someplace far way from the seal to do battle." The dragons did as commanded and began to devour any gem they could get their claws on, Heart turning to the mountain that the larger dragons were flying up to in order to dig again.

"What's with this place?" He asked Malafear, who stopped and glanced back at him. "You're looking for something. What does it have to do with my friends? What's in that mountain?!"

Malafear remained silent for a moment, only to reply, "Inside that mountain...is me." With that, he flew off, leaving Heart in his cage.

Spike and First continued their seemingly endless trek through the book they were trapped in, following the moans they heard before. They didn't know how long they had run for, maybe minutes, hours or even days.

First sighed at this. "This place seems to go on forever."

"Twilight always said books were like an entire world crammed into a hundred or more pages." Spike groaned as he slumped over, coming to a stop. "But would it be too much to ask for a shortcut?!"

As soon as he said that, a light caught his attention, making him look down at his claw. There he and First saw it was glowing green, holding up the claw and stared at the light, feeling a strange warmth coming form it. It was then the light morphed into sparks of lightning, making First backpedal. However, Spike didn't feel scared, instead clutching his claws into a fist, the lightning suddenly morphing into flames that covered his hand.

"Huh?" Spike mumbled as he waved his fist around, only to pull his arm back as the flame formed around his claw, turning into a fireball. He then thrust the fire, the ball flying out and exploding. It burned for a few seconds, growing larger before it began to extinguish and reveal a door sized book in front of them.

"What was that?" First asked, Spike just shrugging. He walked up and grabbed the book's cover, opening it up. He expected a scene to appear, only to see a page that showed the image of something that made Spike go wide-eyed.

"Flicker!" The page had a drawing of the dragon, who appeared to be tied up entirely in black chains. He reached out and touched the drawing, only for it to create a light that sucked him inside. "WHOA!" He yelped as he was pulled through the page, then thrown out. "Ow..." He groaned as he felt he was back on the ground, pushing himself up and saw that another large book was open. This one showed the drawing of First, staring at him. But that drawing quickly glowed before the real pony was thrown out of the image.

"Gyah!" He screamed as he flew out, crashing a second later. "That hurt." He adjusted his glasses and glanced up, only to see the image of Flicker from the book in front of both of them...only this time, it was real.

Flicker was kneeling in front of them, his head lowered and black chains surrounding him. He was letting out moans, similar to First from before. But something was different. Unlike Spike and First, his body didn't appear to be all there, as if it was transparent.

"Flicker!" Spike gasped as he ran over to the dragon, "Come on..." he whispered as the light around his claw appeared. "Wake up." The light spread around his body, now morphing into green lightning. The chains around Flicker started to break as the lightning surged around them, only to shatter as Flicker's eyes shot open.

"AUGH!" He cried, jumping back as he continued to scream, "Ahhh!"

"Whoa!" Spike added, "Wait Flicker, it's me!"

Flicker fell onto his rump, gasping before glancing down at the drake, "Spike?" The baby dragon nodded, "Why are you...how are you..."

"It's a long story," Spike replied before pointing at the dragon, "Say uh...what's wrong with you. Why are you all...see through?"

Flicker glanced down at himself, only to shake his head. "I don't know. I don't..." He started to pick himself up, Spike and First helping him. Despite him being transparent, he still appeared physical. "How did you both get here?" Spike and First were quick to explain, Flicker frowning when he heard about Malafear using his body. "Maybe...maybe that's it." He looked down at his transparent claw, "We were all sealed within this book, but unlike you two, my body didn't come along for the ride."

"What happened to you?" Spike asked, "How did Malafear get your body?"

"I can barely remember. I know I was studying the mural I found with Heart and Soul, then it broke apart. The next thing I know...I'm here." The three shared glances at this as he then asked, "Any idea what this Malafear is doing with my body?"

"Well..." Spike mumbled out, "We know he turned Heather into a dragon. Other then that...not much."

"But we have learned a lot about Malafear," First added, only for another flash of light to appear behind them. Spinning around, they saw that another book had appeared. "And we might be about to learn more." He turned to Spike, seeing a huge frown on his face. "Spike, I know this is hard, but if we wish to defeat Malafear-"

"I know," Spike nodded, marching up to the book and grabbing the cover before pulling it open. In a flash of light, they were once again back at the Dragon Lands. Flicker was shocked, but First told him it wasn't real as Silverbolt appeared before them.

"Ahhh," he groaned in pain before picking himself up, only to go wide-eyed as he saw one dragon in particular. Fira's body was laid out on the ground, Silverbolt dragging himself over to her. Once he was there, he picked her up, now feeling no warmth from her. Tears began to fill his eyes, pulling her closer as he began crying into her chest. "Fira..."

Spike could feel his heart twist at this, First putting his hoof on his shoulder as he knew no child should see their parents in this state. It was here that the other dragons moved over, all looking injured but not critically so. They all gathered around Fira's body, Shard placing a claw on Silverbolt's shoulder while Arbour and Aurora pulled her from his grasp. They put her down, crossing her arms over her chest while her tail was carefully wrapped around her legs.

Once that was done, Jade bent down and began to breathe on her body. Doing so caused the air around her to crystallize, eventually sealing her within a coffin of gemstones.

"Do you...want to bury her?" Voltic asked Silverbolt.

"Yes...but not now." He turned in the direction he knew Malafear had gone, "We have to stop him." He spread his wings and took to the air, the others following after. Spike, First and Flicker were pulled along with them as they travelled across the land, soon arriving at the area the other dragons had been gathered. And when they got there, they were met with a horrifying sight.

Dragons of all kinds, littered across the land. Not a single one was moving, all not even twitching as they saw what had happened to them. Aurora gasped as they landed, her heart breaking as she saw a certain light dragon, "Gleam..."

"Forge," Shard growled at the remains of another iron dragon.

"I can't believe he got so many," Jade whispered as she stared at the sight, "Wait...there's no flame dragons."

"He probably left those ones alone," Voltic sighed, "He already has the flames of two dragons," he glanced over at Silverbolt and saw he had no reaction. "It's possible there's a limit to how many elemental powers he can steal. Or he didn't want to risk that possibility, so he left the dragons that were of the elements he already has."

"That's possible," Silverbolt grumbled as he kneeled down and closed the eyes of an earth dragon, "If we don't stop him, he may end up causing the extinction of our race. We can't let that happened."

The others nodded, only to hear a sound. It was weak, but it rang out in his silent place. They turned to see something small walking up, Silverbolt gasping, "Starswirl!"

"Silverbolt!" Starswirl sighed in relief, "You're alive! Thank goodness!" Silverbolt nodded as he walked up to the pony, the egg in his unicorn's magic grasp. "Where's Fira?!" Silverbolt grimaced at this, making Starswirl pale, "No..." he began to tear up, only to glance away, "I should have stopped her. She gave me the egg and told me to look after it, but-"

"No," Silverbolt shook his head, "Don't blame yourself." He let out a sigh and turned back to where they had left his mate, "That's just the kind of dragon Fira was. Selfless."

Voltic moved over to Starswirl, "What happened? Did any of the dragons manage to at least hurt him?"

"I don't know," Starswirl replied, "I hid inside the cave and put an illusion on it so he wouldn't see. I was just trying to protect the egg." The dragons nodded at this, only to see Starswirl grimace, "But I...heard what happened. Screams of terror. All of them, trying to flee or fight. But nothing worked."

Silverbolt's body began to shake, the rage radiating off of him. "I won't allow this. I won't allow him to take the life of another dragon ever again."

"What are you gonna do?" Shard asked, "We can't fight him. We lost when he only had five elements at his disposal. Now he'll have who knows how many and be who knows how big. He's unstoppable!"

"Maybe not," Silverbolt replied before turning to his egg, "When I was hatched, one of the first spells I learned was one that allows me to create a prison out of other dragons elements. One so powerful, that nothing can escape from it."

"Really?" Aurora asked, "Then why didn't you use it before?"

"Because it's a suicide spell." The dragons and Starswirl all went wide-eyed at this, Silverbolt turning to them. "A Mystic Dragon's power comes from their soul. The more powerful the soul, the more powerful their magic. And this spell works by transforming the users soul into the conduit that the elements use to create the seal."

"So if you use this spell..." Arbour couldn't finish the sentence.

"I'll die," Silverbolt nodded. "But...it might not be enough. Malafear's grown so strong, it's possible he could break out of my prison even if I sacrifice myself. If he was a normal dragon or heck, just a regular Mystic Shadow Dragon, I'm sure I could hold him. But the way he is now..."

"There has to be some why we can make the seal work!" Arbour added.

Spike grimaced at this, his eyes staring straight at Silverbolt as Voltic spoke up, "Maybe we could weaken him. Would that allow you to seal him away?"

"Possibly," Silverbolt replied, "But how do we weaken him?"

"I might have a way." They all turned to Starswirl, the pony then reaching into his bag and took out a book that was very familiar to the three watching this memory.

"A book?" Shard asked.

"I was gonna use it to note dragon breeding habits and egg hatching, but now I intend to use it for a very different purpose." He turned to Silverbolt, "You're not the only magical prodigy here. And I know a few spells that are a little...twisted." Silverbolt tilted his head at this, "I know a spell that can temporarily remove the soul of a being. With a few tweaks, it could be used to completely separate the body from the soul and seal that spirit within this book."

"So you wanna rip out Malafear's soul and seal it inside that book?" Jade repeated, Starswirl nodding. "If you do that, Silverbolt wouldn't have to sacrifice himself to seal his body away. The body would just be dead...right?""

"But what do we do with his body after his spirit's sealed away?" Aurora asked.

"We destroy it," Silverbolt answered, "It's possible Malafear will be able to break the seal on the book. If that happens, we'll be right back to where we started. So as soon as Malafear's soul is sealed away, we destroy the body as fast as possible. Then, even if the soul escapes, it'll have no body to terrorize the land with." He turned to them, glaring at the group, "But Malafear isn't going to just let us rip his soul out of him. We'll need to distract and exhaust him, allowing Starswirl the chance to use the spell." He let out a long breath at this, "This battle might not be one we come back from. Not matter what, he have to protect Starswirl. Even if it costs us our lives."

The dragons all shared a glance, only to all nod. No matter what, they would stop Malafear and protect the world.

It was at that moment the scene around them was sucked back into the book, slamming shut at the same time.

"Now what?" Flicker asked, the question being answered when a new book appeared beside the old one.

"Now we skip to the next important scene," Spike told him. "And hopefully, this'll be the last scene we see." He reached out and opened the book, the scene around them once again forming. This time, they were inside Silverbolt's cave. There the Mystic Lightning Dragon was laying around his egg the same way Fira had been while Starswirl was writing something on a piece of parchment.

"There," the pony said, "That should do it. The soul extraction spell, combined with a sealing spell. It should allow me to pull Malafear's soul out of him and lock it inside this book."

"Good," Silverbolt nodded. "Then we just have to find him. Hopefully, the others will have that covered." As he said that, he looked down at his egg. "Starswirl," the pony turned to him as he lifted up the egg, "I want to you keep this safe."

"The egg?" Starswirl asked with a raised eyebrow, "Silverbolt-"

"Please," he held the egg out, "I want you to become it's guardian." Starswirl glanced down at the egg before frowning, only for Silverbolt to say, "Remember what I said. Malafear will be focusing on us, which means you'll be the one most likely to make it out of this alive. That's why I want you to become my egg's guardian so if I don't make it, I'll know it'll be protected."

Starswirl stared at the egg, only to slowly nod, "Okay, but as soon as the battle's over, I'm giving the egg back to you." Silverbolt nodded and stared down at his egg, then put his claws around it and caused lightning to spark around it for several seconds.

Starswirl watched this occur, now seeing the egg begin to glow a green light. When Silverbolt was done, he bent down and held the egg's top and bottom between the tips of his claws. "Place your hoof on it." Starswirl did so, causing the egg's green glow to suddenly be absorbed into him. "There," the glow vanished, "Now the egg knows you're it's protector. When the time comes for it to hatch, it should give you some form of warning or message about what needs to happen."

Starswirl nodded and took the egg in his magic, then placed it back in the nest. "I promise that I'll protect it and find somepony worthy of protecting it should the need arise." He then turned to Silverbolt, "But I know we'll find a way to stop Malafear and keep you all alive."

Silverbolt nodded again, only for the sound of wings to catch their attention.

"Silverbolt!" Voltic yelled as he landed at the mouth of the cave, "Jade spotted Malafear several miles away! He's coming!"

Silverbolt turned back to Starswirl, "You ready?" Starswirl nodded and teleported onto his back, Silverbolt heading for the door. He glanced back at his egg, taking one last look before taking to the air, followed by Voltic, Spike and the others. They flew for several minutes until they arrived at an open area, a large cloud of black smoke moving towards it.

"Alright Chops, go find a place to hide. When you see an opening...take it." Starswirl nodded and teleported away, allowing Silverbolt to take his position between the other dragons with Shard below him.

And as the cloud drew closer, Silverbolt's body sparked. "Here." He thrust his claws out and unleashed green bolts that struck the others, zapping them. "Sorry, but it's better to be safe then sorry." The lightning faded, the dragons all now glowing green.

It was at this moment the cloud drew close enough for them to see into it, the dark vapor slowly fading to reveal the dragon inside. Malafear, now twice the size he had been before, hovered in place as he chuckled, "So...you survived. You should have escaped when you had the chance."

"No way," Silverbolt barked back, "We won't just stand aside and let you do whatever you want."

The three watching held their breath, knowing this would likely be a battle of epic proportions. That is, till Spike felt a sense of déjà vu as Silverbolt spoke up, "This ends...now!" As soon as he said that, he charged along with the dragons. They flew and ran as fast as they could as he added, "Your reign of terror ends here and now!" The others dragons roared in agreement, only for the black dragon to take a deep breath.

"I've seen this before," Spike whispered as Malafear unleashed a large cloud of the black mist. And as the six dragons were engulfed by the shadows, Spike now saw it was the dream he had had before this all started.

"Raaah!" Silverbolt roared as he unleashed a blast of lightning that dispelled the cloud, allowing the others to unleash their attacks on the monster. No matter what, this battle would be one for the ages.

Hours had passed, but Malafear didn't appear to be planning to attack the Crystal Empire again. Instead, Twilight and Script were hard at work, finishing the stone Rune Gate that would allow them to travel to Ruby's location. As this happened, Flash, Springer, Grand, Skybreaker, Rainbow, Applejack, Ember and even the royal sisters were in the city's stadium, all training. Flash and Springer were sparing while Ember practised hoof to claw combat with Rainbow and Applejack. Trixie was practising her illusions as well, Grand and Skybreaker staying on the side as they made sure their weapons were ready for battle while Celestia and Luna were doing some target practise.

"This is...strange," Luna sighed, "It's been almost a thousand years since we last took part in a major battle." She fired a blast from her horn and shot it straight through the target, Celestia doing the same and getting a bullseye. "I was starting to think we would spend the rest of our rule sitting on the sidelines while others were forced to handle the bad stuff."

"I too feel unusual fighting in a battle as well," Celestia added, "Had I the time, I would have sent for the other Royal Knights. But we must do our part and help protect Equestria and the dragons lands."

"Not bad," Ember told Rainbow as she deflected a swing of her tail. She then gestured them to move closer. "Don't tell anypony this, but there's a move you could use if you find yourself in a tight spot. Hit a dragon on the back between the wings and it'll cause them to lose control of their wings for a few seconds." Rainbow and Applejack nodded, promising to not tell anypony else.

In that moment, Pinkie ran into the stadium. "Everypony! Twilight said the gate's ready!"

This made them all turn to her, only for Celestia to grab them in her magic and teleported them back to the castle. In a flash, they appeared in the hallway outside the room Cadance had set up for the Rune Gate. Walking inside, they saw Twilight and Script working on the gate while Cadance, Fluttershy and Rarity stood behind them. Fluttershy and Rarity were wearing saddlebags loaded with gear they might need, including medical supplies and a few extras.

Twilight fired a blast at the stone, carving a final rune into it. "There. It's done." She turned to the others, "Everything's ready."

"Then let's not waste anymore time," Flash told her before armorizing into his Shining Guardian form. Twilight nodded back, Springer taking this moment to go into Mega Mode as she turned to Script as he held up a Rune Gate he had transcribed onto a piece of paper. He then sparked his horn and began to lock down on the tracking rune he had placed on Ruby.

In a rocky area on the very edge of the dragon lands, many miles away from where Malafear's mountain was, a portal opened up. Malafear flew through, surveying the area before commenting, "Perfect," he told himself before the portal increased in size. Multiple dragons flew out, followed by the four elemental dragons as he turned and closed the portal. "This will be where we fight against Sentry. Prepare yourselves."

The dragons all roared and flew off in different directions, Malafear turning to his four transformed slaves. "Once he's here, attack him with everything you have...but don't kill him. Just exhaust him enough for me to transform him."

And as he said this, a bright light suddenly appeared on the Crystal Dragon's back leg, making him turn to the beast. "Hmm?" He flew down to the dragon, squinting his eyes at the rune before going wide-eyed, "This is-"

A bright flash of light shined out behind him next, making him turn to see a piece of paper materialize on the ground. "Not again!" As he said that, the runes on the paper fired a beam into the air, a certain pegasus and his jakhowl partner shooting out a second later.

"SURPRISE!" Flash yelled as he and Springer's avatars fused together, expanding to create a familiar pony jakhowl hybrid alicorn. Before any of the dragons could react, the avatar created a giant Bone Breaker and swung it into the elemental dragons, knocking them all flying, "Sorry!"

"DESTROY THE GATE!" Malafear screeched, only for Twilight to leap out of the light beam and quickly formed a shield around herself and the gate. A barrage of fire hit the barrier after this, Grand and Skybreaker coming out next. The pair sent rocks and air blades at the dragons, pushing them back as Celestia and Luna flew out of the portal. They were followed by Ember, then Rainbow, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie, Trixie. Script was the last one, the portal deactivating as Twilight lowered the shield.

"It's over Malafear!" Flash roared as the avatar created a second Bone Breaker. "Release our friends, or we'll make you!"

"Counter offer. Surrender yourself and become my loyal servant, or my minions will destroy you." As he said that, the smaller dragons all charged at the ponies. The Royal Sisters fired a barrage of magical beams back, firework-like blasts now exploding as they struck multiple dragons.

As this happened, the avatar took to the air, the elemental dragons following while the others began to do battle as well. Twilight was teleporting all over, blasting any dragon near her while Script started plastering the ground with runes that exploded whenever a dragon flew over it. Grand and Skybreaker used their Celestic Gear to fight their way through while Ember began using her claw to claw fighting skills to knock the dragons around. And as the dragons began to counter, Trixie created illusions of everypony, the brainwashed minions now stumbling through the fake ponies.

Fluttershy, Pinkie and Rarity grabbed the Rune Gate and ran for it, Rainbow and Applejack going with them to keep them safe. As they ran, several dragons landed in front of them, Rainbow and Applejack quickly zipping up to them and slamming the spot between their backs. This caused them to start beating their wings randomly, making them fly out of control.

A pair of dragons still remained and charged at them with open mouths, only for Pinkie and Fluttershy to take out some fire extinguishers out of their saddlebags and shot foam at their mouths. Both dragons coughed as they felt the foam fill up their throats, only for Rarity to take out some super strong rope and tie their mouths shut before tying their arms to their feet.

Threats neutralized, the five ran over to a pile of rocks that had a gap the three of them could hide in while Rainbow and Applejack rushed off to fight again. "What do we do now?" Pinkie asked as Rarity took four pieces of paper out of her bag, all of them having runes on them. She then began placing them around the rock shelter, which soon emitted a light that quickly formed a dome.

"There," Rarity added, "Script said this field was completely dragon proof. Now if anypony gets injured, we can bring them in here to treat up." Fluttershy nodded as she removed a bunch of medical supplies from her bag while Rarity and Pinkie watched the others battle their hearts out.

"Here's hoping they figure out how to turn the others back to normal," Fluttershy whispered before flinching as the avatar kicked Iron in the face.

Meanwhile, Malafear simply watched the battle unfold from a safe distance. "Here's hoping I don't need to use my only bargaining chip to soon. It's always good to keep something in reserve." He stared down at his book, letting out a low hiss, "This time, you can see what it's like to be trapped inside a book."

The battle had been raging for what felt like hours. The six dragons flew around Malafear, attacking every chance they had got, the larger dragon acting like a pony being bothered by flies. "Raaah!" The giant dragon unleashed a torrent of water from his mouth at Jade, only for Voltic to fire a bolt of lightning. It struck the water, pushing it back as the electricity flowed up and zapped the shadow dragon. "AUGH!"

"IRON SLAM!" Shard roared as he rolled up and shot off a ramp-like rock that launched him into Malafear's chest. Malafear roared at this only for one of his spikes began to spark with lightning that fired a bolt at Shard. But as it did this, Arbour summoned a forest of vines around Shard, blocking the lightning. As it did this, Aurora and Silverbolt flew at Malafear from behind. Both unleashed blasts of light and green electricity, striking the back and travelling up his spine.

"RAAAAAH!" He cried, now trying to swat them with wings, only for all four dragons to fire at him from several different angles. "GYAH!"

"Ha!" Voltic cheered, "He can't hit us!"

"I guess bigger isn't always better," Jade added.

"Don't get cocky," Arbour chimed in, "He may be slower, but he packs enough punch that even one attack might be enough to take us down."

"Focus on limiting his movements!" Silverbolt yelled as he avoided a blast of fire, "Aim for his wings!" The other dragons nodded and began to do evasive maneuvers, dodging Malafear's attacks as they kept firing at the giant's wings, then flew back as he tried to counter.

"You insolent worms!" Malafear roared before spinning around and unleashed a cloud of toxic gas, which surrounded him.

The dragons pulled back as Silverbolt responded, "I don't think so!" He took a deep breath and unleashed a blast of lightning that struck the cloud, causing it to vanish. "NOW GUYS!" The others launched their elemental roars at Malafear, hitting his wings and making him roar in pain.

His wings then gave out, flopping over as he screamed, "RAAAH!" The wings hit the ground, causing it to shake as they saw that both wings now had multiple holes.

"Now we got him!" Shard laughed as Malafear let out a long hiss.

"You have nothing!" He roared before slamming his claws into the ground, causing it to unleash a massive spike of rock that slammed into Shard, knocking him flying.

"Aaaah!" He cried, now seeing Malafear open his mouth as flames appeared within.

"Hold on!" Jade yelled as she and Voltic flew down, Jade getting in front of him and roaring as Malafear unleashed the fire. Her crystal tornado deflected the flames, allowing Voltic to grab Shard in his claws and lifted him off of the spikes. Jade then pulled back, the flames flying past her as she shot down and slammed her feet into the ground, causing crystal spikes to shoot out and encase Malafear's foot.

"What!?" He yelped, now squirming as he tried to lift his foot.

"My turn!" Shard added, Voltic letting him go as he crashed into the ground like Jade. This caused metal spikes to shoot out and trap the other front foot, locking him in place.

"You little worms!" He roared as he prepared to breath fire, only for a barrage of vines to suddenly wrap around his mouth and seal it shut. "Mmhm!" The vines then yanked his head back, Arbour now behind Malafear and pulling as hard as he could. Meanwhile, Voltic and Aurora began to fire their attacks at his head while Silverbolt flew down to his chest.

"Now we've got you!" He yelled before thrusting his claws into his chest, lightning surging into Malafear, making him scream in pain.

"What's happening!?" He hissed as his mouth began to break through the vines, only for the rest of his body to stop responding, "Paralysis?"

"Now Chops!" Silverbolt roared, a flash of light appearing behind him.

Malafear glanced down at this, seeing Starswirl, "A pony?!" He watched as Starswirl's horn glowed, "I don't think so!" His eyes glowed red, but before he could unleash his fear, Voltic and Aurora appeared and blasted his eyes. "AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!"

"NOW!" Starswirl exclaimed, firing a blast from his horn that struck Malafear's chest. The light from the spell began to surround the dragon, the light now engulfing him.

"What?! What are you doing?! I feel...strange." Malafear groaned as the light around him retract, only for pain to suddenly surge everywhere on his being, "AAAAAAHHHHHH!"

"Not so nice having your soul ripped out, is it?!" Silverbolt barked back as the light around Malafear began to get to yanked out of him. And as this happened, the light began to flow out of his body and went down to Starswirl. The pony held the book up, opening the pages as the energy struck it, flowing into the item while the backlog began to fold in on itself and look like a river.

"Wait..." Flicker whispered as he stared at the scene in front of him. "This is...this is the mural. This was the event that was depicted on the wall that hid the book."

"I guess something like this would be worth remembering," First added as Malafear let out a roar.

He thrashed around, knocking Silverbolt off of him. He then pulled free of the crystals and metal before ripping the vines off in one mighty swing. "I won't let you do this!" He roared, unleashing a stream of fire at Starswirl. But the other dragons got between him, firing their own elemental attacks to block the flames. They pushed against one another, the six on one attacks at an even stalemate.

But as this happened, Malafear saw the light was still being sucked from him, making him falter as he growled, "No...this can't be happening! All dragonkind's souls belongs to me! Everything that exists...belongs to me!"

"You won't take another soul Malafear!" Starswirl barked back, "I'm sealing you away forever!"

With that, the light gave one final pull, the light now pouring out of the dragon as Malafear yelled, "You will pay for this! I will return one day, and when that happens, I'll destroy everything you love! All dragons...ponies and anything else will all PAAAAAY!"

And as he said this, his eyes suddenly went blank, falling over as the Starswirl shut the book, covering it with his magic a second later. And as this happened, the book fell to the ground, flowing for a few seconds as Starswirl slumped over with a sigh, "There. That got him. Now his soul shouldn't be able to escape."

"So he's trapped in there forever?" Aurora asked.

Starswirl shrugged at this, "Hopefully. Though there is the chance the seal might wain after a few centuries."

"Then we need to hide it away somewhere," Silverbolt replied, "Somewhere no one will ever find it." He then turned to Malafear's body, "But first we have to destroy this thing."

The others nodded, sucking up a breath...only for the body's eyes to suddenly shoot open, the dragon's head flying up and letting out a mighty roar. "WHAT THE HECK?!" Shard yelped as the dragon began to breathe fire, the group hopping back, "I thought it was dead!"

The other dragons took to the air as Malafear then unleashed a cloud of toxic gas, Starswirl putting up a shield to protect him . "What's going on?" Jade asked, everyone turning to Silverbolt.

"I don't know. It's possible that since it devoured the souls of other dragons, it can still live even without Malafear. But without his mind to control it..." The dragon stomped on the ground and caused multiple large rock, metal and crystal spikes to explode out the ground. "It's just running on pure instinct."

"So how do we stop it?" Voltic asked as he used his lightning to deflect a water blast.

Silverbolt stared at the rampaging beast, only for one thing to appear in his head. "Everyone, surround it and when I say, hit it with the most powerful blast you can make."

The others turned to him, all going wide-eyed as Starswirl teleported onto his shoulder, "Bolt! You can't! If you seal it away-"

"I know," Silverbolt sighed as he grabbed Starswirl and placed him back on the ground. "Starswirl...I told you before that every Mystic Dragon is born for a reason, something that only they can do. I think...this is why I was born."

"What?! You can't be serious! There has to be another way!"

"None that wouldn't take a long time and allow this monstrosity to destroy everything it sees." He used is claw to pat the pony on the head. "Goodbye my friend. And look after my child." Starswirl's eyes began to tear up at this, Silverbolt now turning back to Malafear. He spread his wings and closed his eyes as green lightning began to spark around him, only for his eyes to shoot open, quickly launching himself into the air.

The other dragons saw this and hopped back, the green thunderbolt now charging at Malafear. "I am Silverbolt, the Mystic Lightning Dragon! And in the name of Fira, and every other dragon whose life you took, I SEAL YOU AWAY!" He slammed into the dragon's chest, exploding as his physical form began to fade. The lightning then spread around Malafear's body and made it roar in pain, zapping every nerve as the dragon yelled, "NOW! DO IT NOW!"

The dragons nodded before all taking a deep breath. "Lightning!" Voltic shot an electric bolt from his horns.

"Wood!" Arbour unleashed a tornado of leaves.

"Crystal!" Jade did the same, this one full of gem shards.

"Metal!" Shard roared out a spiral of shrapnel.

"Light!" Aurora fired a laser, all striking the dragons. The elemental blasts mixed with the lightning around the dragon, which continued to roar in pain. With every passing second, the energy from the attacks grew, only for a brilliant light to explode out and sweep across the land.

"AHHHHH!" Spike, First and Flicker gasped as they were blinded by the light, forced to close their eyes. And when they felt the intensity of the light die down, they opened their eyes to see they were back in the void, the book now floating in front of them.

"Wait..." Spike muttered out as he stared at the book, "What happened next?!"

"Did they manage to seal the dragon away?" First added.

"And how did the book become hidden behind the mural?" Flicker inquired, but the book gave no reply. They stared at the void around the book, waiting for another to appear...only for nothing to happen.

"Oh, come on!" Spike yelled, "What happened next?!"

"I can't show you that."

"What?" Spike raised an eyebrow at this, glancing around, "Who said that?" First and Flicker turned to him, blinking since they had not heard that. "Why can't you show us what happened next?"

"Because I don't know. I wasn't there."

"Who are you?!" Spike asked, "Show yourself!"

"Spike, who are you-" First tried to ask, only to see Spike suddenly start gagging, his cheeks expanding as he had trouble breathing. First and Flicker gasped as Spike fell to his knees, First's doctor instincts kicking in and picking the dragon up in his magic. "Breathe!" He used the Heimlich, compressing his chest and allowing the substance to pass through Spike's throat. Spike unleashed the loudest burp he had every done, causing a massive stream of smoke and ash to fly out of his mouth.

The three watched as the giant cloud of smoke spiraled together, then started taking shape until it formed a dragonoid shape a little bigger than Flicker. The cloud slowly began to fade, revealing the form below, one being a ghostly image similar to Flicker, only it was a mixture of silver and green. They all went wide-eyed at this, now seeing the dragon push away the smoke and stare down at Spike. "Hello son."

"Grand Force!" Grand pointed his hammer into the air and created a rock filled tornado that slammed multiple boulders into a horde of dragons. While this happened, Skybreaker flew through the air, a bunch of dragons about to reach him. But as they began to breath fire, the pegasi suddenly vanished, only for to reappear behind them, a barrage of air slashes slicing into their bodies.

As this happened, Fluttershy and Rarity were helping bandage Rainbow's leg up. "How's that?" She asked, Rainbow moving it.

"That's good," she nodded. "Thanks." She turned to fly out the shelter, but Fluttershy grabbed her other hoof.

"Shouldn't you rest?"

"I can't rest," Rainbow shook her head as the ground shook from the avatar throwing the wood dragon into the ground. "We gotta keep fighting."

"Does it even look like we're making any headway?" Rarity asked, the group now seeing many dragons scattered around the floor. But there were just as many dragons still in the air, fighting against Twilight and the others while the elemental dragon were keeping Flash and Springer at bay.

"HEY!" They turned to see Pinkie running up, helping Ember move along the ground as Applejack protected them. The blue dragon's body was filled with bruises, one of her wings limping. "We could use some help here!"

"I'm fine," Ember told them as they reached the force-field, only to find Ember couldn't pass it. "Oh."

Rarity sighed at this, leaving the shelter and pulling one of the runes out of alignment. This caused the dome to vanish, allowing Ember to get into the shelter. But before Rarity could push the rune back into place, a dragon roared as it flew down to attack them. And as it did this, Applejack used her lasso to grab it around the neck and pull it away. "Hurry!" Rarity nodded and pushed the rune back into place, creating the dome again as Fluttershy began to put healing ointment onto Ember's injuries.

Up above, Malafear continued to watch the battle, only to feel a surge of magic and moved his head. A purple beam shot past him, the dragon turning around to see Twilight flying up. "Malafear!" She yelled, "This ends now!"

Malafear rolled his eyes at this, "I don't think so. I've already won this, regardless of what you pitiful ponies do." He then fired a black bolt of his staff, Twilight quickly zipping behind a boulder to dodge it.

As this happened, the avatar evaded a crystal barrage from Ruby before leaping over a rolling Iron. He then used his Bone Breaker to deflect a lightning blast before dodging several vines. And as he leapt back, he saw Script running up to Ruby, teleporting onto her back and hitting her with a spell before teleporting over to Iron and doing the same, then moved over Heather and repeated the process. "Script!" Flash yelled out, "What are you doing?!"

The unicorn teleported to the ground in front of Lightning, turning to him with a smirk, "Come on! Hit me!" The dragon growled but obliged and built up a charge before roaring to unleash a bolt of electricity. But instead of shooting towards Script, the lightning split into three and flowed into the other dragons. The three all roared in pain as the lightning struck the runes that had been plastered onto them, which had drawn the electricity.

"Script! You do remember those are our friends, right?!" Flash yelped as Script turned to him.

"And I think we all agree they'll forgive us for this when everything is over. I know Lightning will. Besides, now you only have one dragon to deal with."

"Still, you can't just-"

"ENOUGH!" Malafear interrupted, making them turn to the dragon. Twilight fired another beam at him, only for Malafear to just swat the beam away like it was nothing with his staff. He then shot a bolt down at the three elemental dragons, instantly destroying the runes.

"What?!" Script gasped, only for another bolt to come from him just as the avatar blocked it with a giant Bone Breaker.

"Enough of this farce!" Malafear growled, "This entire battle is pointless."

"I agree," Flash replied, "So give up already and let our friends go."

"Oh please, all you're doing is wasting my time." Malafear pointed his staff at Lightning and created a portal that spat out a certain crystal cage with a colt inside.

"HEART!" everypony gasped.

Before the colt could say anything, the Elemental Lightning Dragon surged a barrage of electricity straight into the cage. "AAAAAHHHHH!" He screamed as he was zapped, falling over once the surge ended.

Twilight sparked her horn and tried to teleport him out of the cage, only to feel something stop her magic from penetrating it. "You really think I wouldn't foresee that?" Malafear laughed, "Rune shield on the cage, you simpleton. He's only getting out of it if I chose him to be freed."

Flash sighed, the avatar vanishing as he and Springer fell to the floor. "What do you want?"

"You know what I want," Malafear told him before pointing at Flash. "Surrender yourself to me and allow me to transform you into my obedient servant. Do this, and the colt will be freed."

Everypony turned to Flash, the stallion glaring at the grinning dragon. He gestured to Lightning, the dragon holding his claw on the cage again. Flash then turned to Twilight, her eyes darting between Heart and her lover.

"Flash!" He heard Heart call out, "Don't do it! You're all he needs to complete his insane plan!" As he yelled this, Lightning zapped him again. "AAAAAHHHHH!" He continued to scream, the sound making Flash flinch before sighing.

"STOP!" He yelled at the top of this voice, Lightning cutting the power as Heart fell to the floor of his cage. "You win. Let Heart go and..." He dropped his sword and dispelled his Sacred Light, "You can have me."

Everypony wanted to tell him not too, only to hear a blood-curling laugh from Malafear. "Excellent. Step forward, and if any of you try anything, I'll electrocute your little friend to the point of no return."

Flash nodded and turned to the others, "You gotta let this happen." They all nodded, though looks of anger, fear and worry were on all their faces. Twilight's held all three as she watched him walk over to Malafear. "Do it!"

Malafear nodded and raised his staff as the gem turned black, "Welcome to the winning team." With that, he pointed it at Flash and unleashed a bolt of black lightning. It hit the defender instantly, making him scream out as he felt his entire body begin to rip apart.

"AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!" His screams filled the air as he fell to his knees, his friends gasping at the sight with some almost rushing toward him. But they kept their distance, only able to watch as Flash kept screaming.

The pony could feel his Sacred Light about to flare up, but he forced it to stop. As much as he wanted it to protect him, he had to let himself be turned. And as this happened, Malafear completed the spell as the lightning stopped firing. But it kept sparking around Flash's body, his fur now morphing into scales, his tail transforming into an orange tail with a blue underline. His feathers began to molt off his wings, revealing a membrane while his hooves began to grow claws and talons. The neck extended and his mouth was now filled with fangs while his mane began to retract into his head at the same time that three horns grew out. Two grew out of the back of his head and one grew out of his snout, his body re-shaping itself into a bipedal form with a blue star-shape appearing on his chest. His mouth and nose suddenly changed to blue along with his hands and feet and a blue shield with a lightning bolt over it appeared on his forehead.

Everypony gasped at the sight, the newly created light dragon turning to them as they saw a pair of glowing red eyes. "Flash!" Twilight called out to him, "Please tell me you can hear us!" The dragon remained stationary for a moment, simply staring at them before pulling its head back and taking a deep breath-

"RAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" The roar echoed across the land, clearly devoid of any intelligent thought. It was clear, Flash was completely under Malafear's control.