As she looked up at the sky, she felt at peace. Clear weather always had that effect on her, even back when she was a filly. A bright warm warm sun was pleasing to her, as it suited her task here today. Twilight Sparkle, newly crowned princess of Equestria, was sitting on the edge of a house in the sky. A house made from clouds. This was the home of one of her closest friends, the pegasus Rainbow Dash.
And speaking of whom, a sound from behind alerted Twilight to her presence. The purple mare turned to see the blue pegasus approach. She walked up to the young princess and stood next to her, staring out into the sky as she did.
"Ready?" She asked.
"I am." She replied.
Twilight took a deep breath and stretched out her wings as wide as she could make them. It had only been a few weeks since she gained these wings, and with them the power of flight. But in that time she had received a fair amount of training in that skill by Rainbow, who was undoubtedly one of Equestria's best fliers. Her transformation into an alicorn had magically granted her some inherent knowledge of flight, as evidenced by her use of it at her coronation, but some of the finer skills had eluded her.
Today though, she would show what she had learned under her pegasus friend. She assumed a launch position, crouching low to the cloud-ground, staring out at her target. It was a solitary cloud some miles away. The task was to get there and perform some standard flight stunts, before flying back here with the space of a minute. It was a hard task, even for experienced pegasi, but Twilight was sure that she could do it.
With a strong flap of her newly-acquired wings, Twilight launched herself forward at high speed. She flapped her wings hard at intervals, making sure to remember the lesson she'd learned from Rainbow about timing her wing movements properly. And it seemed to work as she picked up speed well, rapidly approaching the cloud. As it drew closer and closer, Twilight furled her wings, becoming more aerodynamic, which gave her a final boost of speed to reach the cloud.
Once there, she opened her wings again and, once immediately pas the cloud, began to move around it. She positioned her wings just right so she could perform a spin around it. This was a weather control measure used by pegasi to scatter clouds and prevent them from getting too big. Twilight flew faster and faster around it, making it spin with her. After a few spins, the cloud was moving so fast it began to disperse, getting smaller every second.
Once the cloud had completely disappeared, Twilight positioned herself so she was aiming back towards Rainbow's house. She flapped her wings hard and flew fast towards it. After about a minute, she reached where she started and landed, furling her wings once more. She looked at Rainbow, who was holding a stop-watch in her hoof, and was also smiling.
"Not bad Twi. Even faster than last time."
"Thanks. It was hard. I don't think I'll ever get used to these new wings."
Rainbow nodded and was about to open her mouth to reply to that, but was interrupted when the two of them heard a scream coming towards them.
"TWIIIILLIIIIGHT!!!" IT called out.
Spinning around, Twilight and Rainbow saw Fluttershy flying as fast as she could to get up to Rainbow's house. Once there, she panted from the sheer effort it took her to get here. After a few deep breaths, and worried look from the other two, she finally spoke.
"Ponyville! Danger! Dra.....dra......DRAGON!!!"
The other two needed no explanation after that. A dragon, attacking Ponyville? This was a serious matter, and as Equestria's newest princess, Twilight knew it was her duty to protect the ponies of this village. She and Rainbow launched themselves into the air and flew towards Ponyville, leaving Fluttershy behind to recover after her own fast flight there.
Dash's house wasn't too far from the village, so it didn't take long for them to get there. Once the village was in sight, both ponies stopped in mid-air and looked with shock at what was in front of them. Fluttershy was not wrong, there was indeed a dragon attacking Ponyville. The creature was massive and coloured a deep red, with it's wings outstretched as it circled above the village. It let out a mighty roar that would have deafened anypony too close. It flew down fast, landing in the middle of the town square as all the ponies on the ground scattered.
The dragon got to work quickly, raising it's claws and smashing a nearby house. There were screams of the ponies ringing throughout the town. Rainbow got ready to charge the creature, but Twilight stopped her.
"Rainbow! Go to Spike! Tell him to send a message to Princess Celestia! We need reinforcements!"
Rainbow looked hesitant. The last thing she'd do in a situation like this was run away from a monster attacking the town, but she knew Twilight's plan was better. Nodding in agreement, she flew off in the direction of Twilight's home to find Spike. Twilight meanwhile looked at the dragon and narrowed her eyes, flapping her wings and launching herself towards it. The dragon meanwhile opened it's mouth and let loose a torrent of fire, incinerating almost an entire district in one go. Ponies were fleeing the town in droves, trying desperately to get out of the creature's way.
Twilight flew hard and managed to get close to the dragon, which so far had not noticed her. Upon seeing it closer, Twilight became shocked, for she recognised this dragon. Two years ago, she and her friends had been charged by Princess Celestia with convincing this very dragon to leave it's cave merely two years ago. From all accounts they'd heard, the creature had taken to flying a considerable distance away from any populated area. Why was it back here.
The young alicorn knew that, as a princess, she had the raw magical power to try and fight one of these things, but this was Twilight, so direct confrontation was something she wanted to save until she had no other choice. Instead, she tried a more diplomatic route. She flew around the creature, to where it's face was, and began to speak to it.
"Dragon! I am Twilight Sparkle! Princess of Equestria! I do not know hwy you have come to Ponyville, or what has led you to begin harming my people, but I must ask that you desist and leave the areas immediately!"
The dragon's ears perked up, only now noticing her. It turned it's head so it was looking straight at her. And it was here that Twilight got her second shock. The creature's eyes were not as they had been when they last met. There was no look of intelligence in them, merely anger. And the eyes were outlines in some strange energy, perhaps a magical spell. Twilight, seeing this, understood.
"You......you don't even know what you're doing, do you?"
The dragon did not answer, merely opened it's mouth. Twilight worryingly saw that, down it's throat, a glow was emerging. It was getting ready to attack. She flapped her wings and, just in time, managed to get out of the way of the flames which now erupted from the beast's mouth. Twilight knew that this dragon was now incapable of even understanding her, so the time had come to put her new abilities to good use. She lowered her horn and aimed it at the dragon, concentrating hard so that her horn began to glow. After a few second, she let loose a powerful magical blast at the dragon. Since her ascension to alicorn, Twilight magical abilities has skyrocketed, and as such, this attack packed far more of a punch than it would have done if she'd remained a unicorn.
The dragon winced in pain as the blast struck the side of it's head, leaving a burn mark where it hit. It turned to Twilight, now angrier than before, raising it's claws to strike. Twilight noticed only too late as the claws bared down upon her. She quickly erected a magical barrier around herself, which kept her from being harmed, although the impact from the claws sent her crashing to the ground. The impact made her lose her concentration and her force-field disappeared as a result.
Her head was pounding from the fall as she gazed up into the sky. The dragon was above her, it's sheer sized blotting out the sun from her sight. She stretched out her wings, ready to fly off, but it was too late. The dragon brought it's clawed hand down on her fast, pinning her to the ground. She struggled, but she was not match for the creature's sheer strength. She looked up in fear as the dragon brought it's head closer to her, it's eyes filled with rage.
Twilight closed her eyes, preparing herself for what was to come. But instead, she heard a familiar voice.
"Get away from her!" It called out.
Twilight opened her eyes just in time to see a distinctive rainbow-coloured streak fly through the sky and towards the dragon's head. The beast turned to look at it just as Rainbow Dash slowed down, spun around and gave the beast an almighty kick with her hind legs, much like she had done the first time they met this dragon. Unfortunately, this attack had just as little effect on him now as it did then. Instead, using it's free hand, it quickly struck Rainbow, sending her flying right into the wall of a nearby house, where she soon collapsed onto the ground afterwards.
The still-pinned princess looked on in horror as her friend's body was not moving. But what worried her even more was the sight of the dragon move it's head in the body's direction, opening it's mouth just as it had done before, ready to breathe fire on the defenceless pegasus. Twilight struggled harder and harder to get free, to do something to try and help. But she was trapped. She looked over at Rainbow again, tear growing in her eyes, and the dragon readied it's deadly attack.
She said quietly to herself.
She began to see the start of flames emerge from the creature's mouth. She couldn't bear this. Not her friend. Not Rainbow. She was a princess. An alicorn! She HAD to do something! But what?! She was trapped here, helpless! But as she considered the prospect of this dragon....this monster, killing her friend. it was too much. And anger began within her, a terrible feeling of aggression towards this creature. Her eyes narrowed and her horn glowed menacingly.
The dragon closed it's mouth just before letting the flames loose on Rainbow and turned it's attention back towards Twilight. Twilight's anger was growing, so much so that something was beginning to happen to her magic. The colour of the aura surrounding her horn began to change, growing darker. And her eyes began to develop a green tint to them. But what was most terrifying was the look of hatred on her face.
With that scream, Twilight let loose a blast of magic from her horn, more powerful than she had ever conjured up. It struck the dragon square in the chest, and was so powerful it forced him back, letting Twilight go. She flapped her wings and flew high into the air, now staring down the dragon who had regained it's footing. The beast snorted angrily and prepared to swipe at her, But Twilight was too quick for him. surrounding him and her magical aura and lifting him off the ground. It clawed at the air, trying to break free, but her hold was too strong.
And Twilight, still fuming, used her magic to slam the beast hard into the ground, knocking the wind out of him. She then lifted him up again and repeated this assault, over and over again. The creature was becoming increasingly hurt by this, as evidenced by his pained growls. But Twilight wasn't through with him yet. She lifted him into the air once more and this time lowered her horn at him. The dragon knew what was coming, but couldn't escape.
Twilight's horn shot out another magical blast, which hit the dragon and sent him flying off, all the way out of town and slamming him hard into a field adjacent to Ponyville. The aura disappeared, as did the magical glow around his eyes, as he tried to move, but eventually succumbed to his injuries and fell unconscious. Twilight, hovering above him and seeing the damage, wrenched herself out of her state of anger. She looked down at the injured beast and a look of horror appeared on her face.
"What.......what have I done?" She asked.
Before she could take stock of what just happened, a sudden and massive feeling of fatigue swept over her. The magic she'd just used was more powerful than she'd ever wielded, and her body just wasn't used to it. She grew increasingly tired, so much so that she could barely keep herself in the air. To stop herself from crashing, she gently lowered herself back onto the ground before her tiredness got the better of her. She looked behind her, just in time to see Rainbow's body begin to move, as her vision became dark and she fell to the ground.
The last thing she heard was a gathering of familiar voices approach her.
"Twilight! Spike, get the doctors over here now!"
"Hang on Twi. We'll get ya patched up in no time!"
It was growing dark as the sun began to set on the horizon. Through the air, a certain green-coloured pegasis with blonde hair, flew through the skies above the Everfree Forest. Ashe she flew, she looked down, scouring the area for her destination. Under normal circumstance, Lightning Dust would never come to a place like this. Ponies all over Equestria knew that you just didn't go into this forest. Dangerous creature and the sheer untameable land itself made it a death-trap for those who had to walk it on hoof.
But she had little choice. Her...."partner", had made this place a temporary meeting place of theirs. She didn't like it, but she understood the value in having a meeting place where nopony would dare come. And sure enough, she saw it. It was an old fortification, dark and crumbling, right in the middle of the forest. She flew down and landed in the middle of an open space right before the main entrance. She didn't like coming here, something about this place just made her feel strange.
She walked through the entrance and into what once would have been a grand hallways of some sort, but the centuries had worn it down. There, at the other end, was the one she was looking for. The figure was dressed as he always was, in a black robe, his face covered in shadow. Even after all the months she'd known him, she'd never got a good look at his face. He was sitting on a cold, stone chair at the end of the hall. As she approached, the figure raised it's head. The way he carried himself gave the very clear message that he was tired.
"Trouble sleeping?" She asked jokingly.
The figure shook his head.
"My power is not what it used to be. And casting a spell on a creature as powerful as a dragon has.....drained me."
The figure raised his head and looked right at the young pegasus.
"And speaking of which, I assume you're here to tell me how out ferocious friend did?"
"It's as you said it would be. The new princess was able to beat him. Some sort of dark magic. Threw him around like he was a rag-doll."
The cloaked figure chuckled, a sound which always unnerved Lightning.
"Excellent. Then the plan is going perfectly."
The figure raised himself from the chair and turned away from her, looking out of an old ruined window at the end of the hall.
"With that settled, you and I will need to find another place to continue our work. I have no doubt Celestia's forces will track the dragon's movements back here soon."
Lightning gave a smirk as she looked around the old castle.
"Good riddance. I was getting tired of looking at this place."
The figure did not face her but nonetheless replied to her remark.
"You should show more respect. In ages past, before the founding of Canterlot, this place used to be the capital of Equestria. How little you ponies remember."
Lightning frowned at him but decided not to throw insults at him over that. But then a thought grew in her mind, as she opened her mouth, ready to say something, but closed it, now unsure she wanted to know the answer. But it seemed her "friend" already knew the question.
"You wonder why I wanted out little beast defeated?"
Lighting looked at him, somewhat ashamed that she'd been so easy to read.
"Yes. If what you told me is true, why would you want our enemy to become more powerful like this?" She asked.
The figure faced her once more as he answered.
"It's very simple my dear."
He then waved his hoof and, without warning, a spell was cast right next to him It was a square outline of some sort, and within was a conjured image. Lighting recognised the image immediately. It was Twilight as she was facing down the dragon mere hours ago. Specifically, it was during the latter half of the fight, where she had used dark powers against it. She looked from the picture, and Twilight's green-tinted eyes, to the shadowed figure as he gave her his answer.
"Because now......it has started."