The four Wonderbolts quickly set about rallying the rest of the fighting squadron, and with all 28 of the Wonderbolts in tow they headed towards the origin of the booms. As they flew in formation, Rainbow Dash saw Soarin' speaking with Spitfire. Whatever it was he was saying she was disagreeing with, but he seemed pretty set on convincing her. This became clear when the Captain brought the company to a halt mid-air.
"All right listen up," Spitfire spoke out enough for everyone to hear. "Soarin's got an idea and we're gonna run with it, I feel like it's a solid plan so let's hear him out," as she gestured to Soarin' who began to detail his plan.
"Okay, we all know we got our butts kicked last time, so I think we should try and tire this guy out. We're gonna do this by not locking into combat with him, I want everyone to fly in, strike hard and pull out, I don't care if you hit or if he manages to block, as soon as one of us finishes another will fly in. If we use our numbers he'll tire out or get confused with so many opponents attacking at once. Rodger that?"
"Yes sir!" they roared back.
"Good, now look, this guy has killed two of out friends and hospitalized Fleet Foot, so if this guy hits you I want you pull back and let the rest of us cover you. You're gonna let Rainbow Dash and Derpy check you out before you get back in the fight, that'll give you a clean bill of health, and get you breather. Rodger that?"
"Yes sir!" all but two of them roared back.
"Umm, Sir?" Derpy said from the back.
"Yes, you two, since you two have the most medical training and least combat training here, I think it best that you hang back make sure we lose nobody else." He ordered. Then, turning to two other stallions "Star Chaser, you and Quick Wing stay with them, if someone gets really hurt and they need evac, it's your job to get them to the Equus!"
The two Stallions saluted their confirmation.
"Okay, everyone know their role?" Spitfire said, jumping in and taking back control as she got nods all around. "Alright, this is it mares and stallions, I say we put an end to this war today. We're cutting the head off of this snake. I know that some of you guys are scared. I'm gonna need you dig a little deeper and fight in spite of it. Everything bleeds, everything dies and this thing is no different. Some say he can shatter the sky and sets it on fire in his wake, I say WE PUT HIM IN THE GROUND AND SNUFF HIM BENEATH OUR HOOVES!"
"YEAH!!" the group cheered.
"Some say he strikes as quick as lighting and as hard as thunder, I say WE ARE LIGHTING AND THUNDER!"
"Some call him a beast, death incarnate, a monster. I call him NEXT!" She said with a flourish of the Blade of Equestria which stirred the ponies under her to brandish their own spears and cheer.
A loud boom interrupted her rally as if on cue. Spitfire turned to see the blue streak heading toward them at a terrible speed; the group of fighters deep in enemy territory must have alerted him. She gripped her sword tightly and offered one last rousing word to her team. "Steel yourselves! For Equestria! WITH ME!" She bellowed out and charged forward.
As the Wonderbolts closed the gap. Rainbow Dash and the her three team mates branched off and took to a higher altitude to not draw attention to themselves and give them a clear view of the battlefield. She didn't like sitting out of the fight however the importance of the job Soarin' had given her outweighed her feelings. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that she should be with them fighting, but for now all she could do was watch.
Spitfire sheathed her sword, grabbed her spear and aimed it for her enemy as the blue streak grew brighter and brighter as it drew closer and closer. Moments before impact she cleared her mind, it was moments like this she lived for, nothing mattered to her anymore, not losing Soarin' to that rainbow haired filly, not that cheating stallion Blitz Ace, not even Fleet Foot lying in the medical bay. none of that mattered now; all that was important was the fight. Now, inches away from her prey, she stared the red eyed devil in the eyes and once more, she relished it.
She thrust home with her spear, but even at these high speeds the monster deflected the blade with his blue steel arm bracer. Time slowed down and Spitfire's eyes locked with the monster's and the their gaze never broke as they sailed past each other, the sound of grinding steel filling the air as her spear slid against his arm sending sparks into the air. After passing him the Captain spun hard and pointed her spear at him just as the beast spun as well, fire spewing from his back-side bringing him to a screeching halt as he prepared to engage.
"ATTACK!" Spitfire yelled swooping in for another thrust. The pegasus swirled around the blue monster following spitfire's lead, diving in and striking before retreating back to the tight perimeter they kept. They struck again and again swiping and stabbing, quick and rapidly from all directions, however for each thrust, he parried, for every swing, he blocked, but so quick were their attacks they were able to keep him entirely on the defensive. This drew a smile from Spitfire, "Good work" She yelled out after an attack above the maelstrom of the battle. "He can't fight back, he'll tire out quick then we'll take him down!"
Spitfire was not sure if the monster spoke their language before, but all doubt was removed now, as it seemed to take insult to her bragging which manifested itself immediately. As one of the Wonderbolt stallions swooped in for thrust but instead of parry, the beast monster gripped tightly on the shaft off his spear with his metal gauntlet, twisted and spun violently flinging the Wonderbolt off course into one of his charging teammates who altered course the best he could to catch him without getting the wind knocked out of him. The sudden turn events caused a break in the fight as the Wonderbolts scrambled around him to fall into a tight formation surrounding him. The the monsters red unblinking eyes followed their movements and in show of force, or possibly arrogance the monster twirled the weapon expertly around his body displaying advanced prowess with the spear, as if he was daring them to attack once more.
Soarin' gritted his teeth at the flashy display, reared his forelegs and charged him swinging his spear looking to tear open his chest. The monster deflected the blow and countered, catching his side with the blunt end of the spear swatting him away in time to side-step an attack coming for his back. The monster spun around at his would be attacker, twirling the staff above his head before crashing down the pole of the spear on the passing Wonderbolt's helmet with his right hand. Before his attacker even had time to fall away, the monster raised his free left arm and blocked another attack that came from above, flipped his grip on the spear and hurled it backwards striking the advancing pegasus and bouncing it hard against his throat prompting him to drop his spear and grab his neck as he choked. The monster caught the falling spear on his metal foot and the spear he bounced off the Wonderbolt in his right hand. Then he expertly flipped the spear on his foot into the air, spun and kicked its pole end sending it flying toward his newest attacker that swooped in to relieve his choking comrade. The Wonderbolt saw it dodging at the last second, but not fast enough as the deadly silver missile struck him so violently that it tore into his armor and buried itself deep in his shoulder, sending him tumbling from the sky as he howled in pain. The sight and sound of which prompted the Wonderbolts to fall back and regain formation around the monster, aghast at the skill and ease that he was able to deflect their attacks and strike back at them.
"Head's up pony down, Star Chaser you're up!" Rainbow Dash shouted to her teammate while pointing to the falling Wonderbolt. As soon as his name was mentioned the young colt took off to catch his teammate. Rainbow Dash had been biting her hooves at the fight, things had started so well and then everything flipped on upside down and it appeared as if they were powerless to stop him.
Out of the corner of her eye, Spitfire saw one of her back up team move to catch her falling fighter. Seeing that allowed her to focus on her quarry once again, which quite frankly was scaring her fiercely right now. Spitfire had spent a lot of time on the battlefield and in battle training. Never had she seen anypony fight so eloquently and effortlessly. Not one on one, not in a group, and certainly not against all of the Wonderbolts. She quickly tried to formulate a plan, something to bring this foe down. However her concentration was broken abruptly.
"You are strong, you will make fine warriors," it spoke out with a deep monotone voice bereft of emotion. Cold and uncaring and echoing as if there was vast chasm within him. Spitfire was unnerved by its voice as it called out to them. It was almost as if the monster voice reached out and seized her very heart but Spitfire knew of nothing to explain this. "You will join my cause and aid me in purging this world of the evil that would see it burn."
"We'll never join you!" She screamed screwing up the courage to respond. "You're the evil thing in these lands, and we're gonna purge you from them!!"
"Foolish creature," the monster boomed once more turning to face Spitfire, his red glowing eyes burning through to her soul. "You would reason with your Savior? He who would unite this world before the coming storm? How many more most I reap before you all shall see?"
Spitfire dropped her spear and unsheathed her sword; she wasn't sure what this thing…this monster was getting at. It was sputtering lunacy, and Spitfire knew that this had to end. "As long as ponies, wolves and griffons draw breath, I swear we will always fight monsters like you!!" Spitfire gave the signal for her men to fall back as she slowly hovered closer to him. "I am Spitfire! Captain of Wonderbolts! The finest fighter in all Equestria! AND I WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN!"
"I am going crush you," the monster called out, readying the spear in his hand. "And scatter your feeble mind to the wind as your body bends to my will."
Spitfire flew at the beast with all her fury behind her blade and let out a cry of havoc that erupted from the pit of her soul that called out for blood. The beast launched towards her, twirling the spear and lashing out at her with equal ferocity.
Steel sang out across the battlefield as the sky burned red with the setting of the sun. Those who witnessed the struggle were left breathless, never had such a display been seen. Spitfire wove a tapestry of violence with each stroke of the Blade of Equestria. Her strength was unfailing after years of practice. She was tireless, unyielding, and constantly searching for a weakness to bury her blade into.
The blue monster's movements were fluid, precise and unwavering. There was no gap in his defense that her blade could reach; there was no fault in form that she could find. He dodged, parried, and blocked every strike with finesse and expertise almost effortlessly.
They battled for minutes that felt like hours, Spitfire's strikes were getting stronger and more brash as it dragged on, fueled by her frustration. Her ally's screamed caution as they themselves were starting to see openings where before they could none. Then with a quick flash and twirl, the Blade of Equestria was stripped from her grasp and was sent tumbling to the ground.
Spitfire's heart froze as she gazed at the tip of the spear aimed for her exposed chest. Time slowed to a crawl as her eyes wandered from her impending death to the eyes of her allies, her one true family. They were wide with fear and horror and she couldn't blame them, but she always knew she would fall in battle, at least she always had hoped she would. Then her eyes gazed at Soarin' last which caused her very soul to rattle in terror.
The spear plunged forward and Spitfire for the first time in a great while felt powerless as the blue haired stallion shoved her roughly. Her heart was crushed as she saw his armor crack and give, followed by blood spurting forth in rivers that poured freely. As the world returned to normal around her and the screams of her teammates filled her ears, she abandoned the fight and took off; her forearms reaching to embrace her falling savior as he tumbled through the air with a face strewn with agony. He was no more than a few beats of her wings away before she embraced him tightly and gently escorted him to the ground, the Wonderbolts swirling down to surround and protect them but were ultimately futile as the monster discarded their attacks with ease and soon stood before them staring down on the bleeding stallion and weeping mare who cradled his limp body. He stared at them for a moment or two then stepped forward. His heavy footsteps signaled Spitfire's impending doom, and she couldn't manage the strength to turn away from Soarin'.
"NOT ONE STEP CLOSER!" Rainbow Dash yelled out before landing between them spear aimed at the monster. Derpy landed next to Soarin' placing one hoof on Spitfire's shoulder while looking to see what she could do for Soarin' as she examined the wound.
"Will you creatures not learn?" He said advancing, then quite awkwardly he stopped mid step. "That jewel, that is a…" the monster stopped mid-sentence his finger extended to the element of loyalty adorning Rainbow Dash's neck. Suddenly odd sounds began to burst out of him. Loud whirring and buzzing followed by harsh static and back feed filling the air. The sound caused everyone to cover their ears with their hooves and Rainbow Dash saw his red glowing eyes flicker and red lines of numbers streamed around his eyes. The blue monster raised his arms and gripped the sides of his head letting out a scream that filled the air causing confusion and caution to ripple amongst the Wonderbolts. Once the scream subsided the monster began sputter out mad phrases of incoherent verbage and arcs of lighting jumped around him, coursing over his body, causing Rainbow Dash to jump back. "What's hap,hap,happening" His voice repeated over words like a broken record..."I cannot…I cannot fail…I'm,I'm…I am the Ultimate Life form!" Nopony knew what was going on but now everypony was terrified as his voice altered instantaneously to that of another creature, raspy and gruff, and distinctly different from the monotone voice they heard before as if a recording was being played.
"Dash what's going on?" Derpy called out in fear.
"I, I have no idea." She said keeping her spear trained on the monster.
"Can't focus...Mu,mu,must control," The monster said his voice reverting for an instant before slipping back into the other voice. "It all starts with this…A jewel containing ultimate power."
"Are you talking about the Element of Loyalty?" Rainbow Dash yelled out to him confused and curious.
"That's a good one! YOUR Emerald!" The monster responded a different voice came out, strong and deep yet oddly not fierce at all. "Talking to you is waste of time!" Then the monster screamed out in agony again, falling to his knees as more back feed filled the air. His original voice returned once more. "You must sur,sur,surrender that jewel to me at once!"
"What are you, crazy? I'm not giving you this! It's mine!" Rainbow Dash yelled back.
"Look who's calling who a thief!" the non-threating voice came back.
"What are you waiting for!?" Spitfire screamed through her tears, "He's weakened, kill him!"
The Wonderbolts quickly steeled themselves and charged the downed foe. As they all closed the gap the monster snapped his head up and yet another voice came through, this one was pleasant and cheerful, almost playful. "Your too SLOOOOOW!!!"
The monster rose with frighting agility and struck out at his attackers, far faster than before. Bouncing from Wonderbolt to Wonderbolt, breaking bone and crippling them as he went leaving sonic booms in his wake. In moments the rest the remaining Wonderbolts were either lying motionless or writhing in pain. The only ones left standing were Derpy, Spitfire and Rainbow Dash, all of whom crowded around Soarin' terrified at this display of lunacy and violence.
Rainbow Dash's mind raced, then she swallowed hard, knowing what she had to do. Turning to Derpy, she placed her hoof on her shoulder, "Derpy, You need to save as many Wonderbolts as you can, I'm going to lead him away from here. You get everyone to safety, and Derpy you need…NEED to tell Twilight Sparkle so they can guard the other elements okay, I don't know what's going on but he wants this bad so he'll probably be looking for the others too."
"Wait! Rainbow Dash!!" Derpy cried out in protest but it fell on deaf ears and the blue pegasus took to the sky.
Rainbow climbed as high as she could as fast as she could. Like clockwork the blue monster climbed with her. Once she was certain she was high enough she allowed the monster to catch up to her. Gazing him in the eyes she knew that this was the only way to save her friends.
"You want this?" She said pointing to her necklace. "Well come and get it!" With that she took off into a dive bomb moving faster and faster, the blue monster hot on her heels. She felt the pressure build around her as she sped for the ground, and finally heard the familiar snap of the Sonic Rainboom as the night sky lit up with all the colors of the rainbow as she took off as far as she could away from the Equus, a bright rainbow trail in her wake. As she raced for the horizon she glanced back and saw the monster was practically right on top of her. She didn't know how far she went, didn't care, every mile she put between them was more Wonderbolts saved, however the Monster's patience didn't last and Rainbow felt his metal grasp on her wing.
A sickening crack filled the air and Rainbow Dash howled in pain as the monster brought them to sudden halt breaking her wing in the process. Suspending high above a forest at least a mile in the sky. He reached down with his free hand, and ripped his prize from her neck. He then gazed intently at it lost in thought. Rainbow dash heard the sound of back feed and buzzing.
"Who...just who do you think you are anyway?" she cried through her tears.
The monster grimaced in the pain that that plagued him before turning and speaking to her in the friendly warm cheery voice. "What you see is what you get, just a guy who loves adventure. I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!"
Then he dropped her.