Courageous Heart stepped forward to examine the door closer, “Just as I thought: this barrier is of Darkness…one that only the Light can break down.”
“Well then, lets get it down so we can get in,” Rainbow Dash encouraged, “Although I don’t understand why we can’t just find another way in.”
“I…have to agree with Rainbow Dash. Wouldn’t it be easier to find a safer way in?” Fluttershy asked nervously, to which Courageous turned to look at both her and the cyan Pegasus, “If…you don’t…mind me…asking.”
“No there is not. I can sense the presence of Darkness around the rest of the castle. Any other way in would be too well guarded or be a false lead,” The Champion explained, “To save time, it would be much quicker to enter through here…although…”
“Although what?” Rarity asked.
“Something doesn’t feel right-”
“A’ don’t like it when ya say that. Somin’ bad usually happens shortly after,” Applejack blurted.
“Applejack!” Twilight Sparkle snapped at the orange earth pony for interrupting her beloved alicorn. She then turned to him and allowed him to continue, “What doesn’t feel right, Courageous?”
“I thought Tirek would do anything to keep us out, but I don’t understand why he didn’t make the defenses around the front gate as strong as the rest of his castle. It’s almost as if he wanted us to come here…or ….”
“Or what? What is it? what is it? What is it?!” Pinkie Pie asked anxiously.
Courageous thought a moment and then gasped as he came to a troubling conclusion, “…or there is something else guarding th-”
Before he could finish his answer, the ground around them started to quake. The seven ponies and two dragons quickly fell to the ground.
“W-w-whats g-g-going on!?!” shouted the panicking Spike.
“E-e-earth-q-q-q-uak-e?!” Twilight guessed.
“N-n-o! I th-th-think it m-m-may be th-the one…g-g-uar-d-ding the…g-g-ate!” The Wise One tried to answered and was unable to fly off the ground as it quaked.
As the ground continued to shake, the girls tried ever desperately to regroup and hold on to each other until the earthquake would end.
Twilight used her teleportation spells to round them all up: first came Spike, then Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and finally Fluttershy.
“Courageous!!” Twilight shouted to the brown alicorn, who was able to take flight before the shaking got too intense.
As the Champion flew down towards them to give assistance, something massive erupted out of the ground, knocking him and the others back a bit.
As dirt and rocks flew everywhere, the group tried to see what it was that came out of the ground. As the dust finally cleared, what stood before the seven ponies and two dragons was a massively big rock formation…that had two arms and legs, and a head. Whatever it was…was clearly something the creatures of Equestria had never seen before.
“What…is…that?!” Fluttershy muttered in fear.
“By the Light…it’s a Rock Ogre!!” Courageous answered.
“A what?!” Rainbow Dash inquired.
“I didn’t know these things lived here in Equestria!” Twilight alleged.
“They don’t! Tirek must have brought one here!” The Elder dragon explained. Due to her height being the same as the Rock Ogre, she knew she had the best chance of bringing it down. But before the Wise One could attack, she was hit in the head by a rock that fell from above due to the creature eruption from the ground. She was instantly knocked out cold.
“Oh no!!” Spike yelled.
Before anything could be done to help the Elder, the Rock Ogre turned towards the group and glared at them with its eyes. Since its pupils were normal, this indicated it was serving Tirek willingly. “ME SHMASH LITTLE PONIES!!” It roared.
“Run!!!” Twilight screamed as she and the others all scattered just in time as the Ogre hit the ground with its fists.
“HOLD STILL LITTLE PONIES! ME SHMASH YOU!!
“No thanks! We’d rather keep running!!” Rainbow retorted as she flew around it, trying to avoid it's big, rock arms as they swung around.
The Mane six ran in all directions trying to avoid the creatures fists. While succeeding, its massive stomps made it hard to stay on their hooves without tripping. Spike used his fire breath on the Rock Ogre, but had no effect.
“How do we beat this thing?!” Spike asked the leader of their group.
“Ogres are not very smart, but their size and strength make up for it! We have to defeat it in order to get into the Castle!!” Courageous speculated.
“How do we do tha-” Twilight asked but tripped and tumbled from the Ogre’s ground-quaking stomps. Once she came to a halt, she shook her head and looked up, only to see the massive creature standing before her.
“ME GOT YOU NOW, LITTLE PONY!!” The Rock Ogre declared as it reached down to grab her.
Twilight realized she had no time to cast a spell to get away. She screamed for help as the big hand was getting closer.
Courageous, Spike and Rainbow Dash bolted down to get her, while the others galloped to her rescue. In the end, Courageous was able to get there first, only to become the one the Ogre would grab.
“ME GOTS ME A LITTLE PONY!!” The Ogre stated as it held Courageous tight its grip.
“No!! Courageous!!” Twilight screamed as the others came to help her up.
The brown Alicorn struggled to get free, but his efforts were futile. Spike and Rainbow came to his aid and tried to break him out. Twilight prepared to cast a spell that would free him. But the Rock Ogre stomped on the ground and smacked the others away, knocking them all back.
With everypony lying on the ground, the Ogre stared at Courageous and grinned, “MMMmm…YUMMY PONY!!” It declared as it opened its mouth to try and eat the Champion.
As the girls and Spike got back on their hooves and claws, they all gasped as they were witnessing Courageous about to be eaten by the Rock Ogre. They all cried out his name, knowing they would not reach him in time. But Courageous lit up his horn just in time to summon the Light to flash it in the Ogre’s eyes, blinding it.
“RRRAAAGHHHHH!!!” It cried as the Light flashed so brightly in its eyes. It then released Courageous and covered its eyes with it’s hands, “TOO BRIGHT! CAN’T SEE!!!”
Courageous Heart rejoined the others, who were trilled to see him not become the Rock Ogre’s snack. Twilight threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tight.
“Oh Courageous! I thought it was going to…” Twilight cried.
“It’s okay, Twilight…it’s okay,” He replied softy to comfort and end her worrying heart.
“WHERE LITTLE PONIES GO!?!” The Rock Ogre cried as it tried to find them while it’s eyes were still covered by one hand.
Courageous knew the creature’s vision would return soon, but when he noticed that it was wandering aimlessly, there was only one way to beat it.
“I have a plan! Applejack, get your rope and tie it around that tree over by the cliff!!” He ordered, “Rainbow Dash and Spike…come with me!”
The Mane Six quickly realized what the Champion had in mind and followed his instructions. Five of the mares ran over to help tie the rope to the tree, while Spike and Rainbow flew with Courageous towards the blind Ogre.
“WHERE YOU GO!?!” The blind Ogre demanded.
Applejack tied her rope to the tree by the cliff, then brought it over to another tree. With the help of Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, the five mares pulled tight and awaited for the others to do their part. Courageous, Rainbow and Spike waited for the Rock Ogre to turn around so that his back was facing the cliff.
“Hey!! Over here, Rocks-for-Brains!!” Rainbow taunted to get its attention.
The Ogre heard her words and turned towards them. Once it did, Courageous yelled, “Now!!”
The three dashed towards the rock monster and hit it hard enough for it to fall back. The mares on the ground pulled the rope tight and once the Ogre’s feet got caught, it tripped and fell backwards, right off the cliff.
“AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!” The Rock Ogre cried as it fell from the top of the mountain to the very bottom and broke into a million pebbles upon impact.
“We did it!!” Spike cheered.
“We sure did. But at da’ cost of my rope,” Applejack stated as she looked at her now snapped rope.
“Come on. We have to get going before the Rock Ogre eventually pulls itself back together. They can do that.” Courageous warned.
The girls and Spike agreed and rushed over to help the Elder, who was still knocked out cold from the rock. She had a bump on her head, but would recover after some rest.
Meanwhile, back in Ponyville, the army of the Light had just finished rounding up all the dark ponies. Whether tied up or knocked out, the battle of the town was won at last. The Buffalo, Zebras, and other ponies all regroup and cheered. But soon the graceful shouts soon fell silent when the ground shook a little and something was seen approaching from the distance.
Chief Thunderhooves and Subira gasped as they witnessed a large group of nearly twenty or so charging towards Ponyville. The creatures were huge and each one had about four to seven long necks and heads.
“Hydras!!” Most called to what they saw.
They were correct: an army of Dark-eyed Hydras were charging towards them, roaring as they went; Tirek was responsible for this. As the large creatures were getting closer, and with the dragons occupied in the skies, there was no choice but to take them head on.
“Reform the line…Now!!” The Buffalo Chief ordered to the army of Light.
The ponies, zebras, and buffalo regrouped quickly and stood together, ready to charge. The horns were sounded and the next order was given:
“Charge!!!” Subira cried out.
The army galloped forward towards the Hydras. The creatures with many heads were getting closer to the much smaller attackers. The middle hydra was the first to reach the army and swung its heads downward once they met, knocking many into the air and back to the ground.
The forces of good scattered, realizing the hydras were too big and much more difficult to deal with then the dark ponies they fought earlier. The Hydras easily walked through the army, knocking many out of their paths, while snapping at multiple ones at the same time. Just when the side of Good achieved victory, this new encounter would most likely end in defeat. As they ran to avoided the Hydras, many looked to the Castle in the mountain and hoped for the heroes to succeed…and quickly.