From the diary of Jacqui "AJ" Apple:
Well, they won.
I expected them to, honestly. He would do whatever it took to defeat Xonix and bring peace to everyone's lives. Like the rest of the world, I saw the replays of the battle on the news and it broke my heart to see the destruction of the Ultra Crystals. I can only imagine what Weihan was going through in that moment but in the small amount of time I used the Power, I couldn't think about what would happen if it was suddenly taken away. When they were restored, I honestly cheered so loud, I think I scared a few folks around me. And then there was the one-on-one battle with the fused Xonix and he caught the sword between his hands…and all that blood. I've never actually seen him bleed on camera but the sight of the red against the white of his gloves…I don't want to think about it.
Unlike the rest of the world watching, I had some insider information. Karone called me a few hours after I had settled in and had explained the situation from her point of view. And I thought worrying about him on the plane was tough! There was absolutely nothing she could do to help them from the Ultra Cavern as she had to help the others but they had ended up watching the battle on the Main Screen. Rocky had apparently gotten up to get popcorn at one time, but had been smacked by Kat. I wish I could have been there to see it, I get chills just thinking about what could have happened if the plane was a second or two too slow in taking off. Anyway, I need to put all of that behind me. He will come for me in the future; I can feel it in my heart.
The family is overjoyed to have me away from the chaos and celebrations in Sydney. Bree, in particular, kept asking questions about Sydney and what it was like being in the thick of Ranger action. I didn't tell him this, but she's the only family member of mine that knows about them. My kid sister has been sworn to the utmost of secrecy and I still have no idea how she found out. Mom's been telling me that she's going to send Bree off to some prestigious Hotel Management School in Sydney in a few years, so I'll have a bit of time to see to her training. It's actually a good thing Angel Grove is so close to San Angeles, Adam's karate school will help her with some knowledge…well, if he can ever get it off the ground. I keep telling him that it's good to have Ranger Endorsement but he always resists. I'll think about getting Tanya and Kat to help me on that front.
Yeah, I moved to San Angeles. Bree is with me and we're staying at Andrew's mansion. His marriage recently broke up and I think Mom wanted me to be his 'second chance' or something. Luckily for me, he stated that he doesn't want to be a burden on me and that he's pretty much 'had it with love'. I worry about him sometimes. He's getting into Advanced Robotics and Advanced A.I.; I don't know what's come over him recently. Something about hearing a legend about the Crown of the Gods and wanting to go on another adventure to find it.
I have a feeling this won't end well at all.
He opened his eyes weakly.
Where was he? His mind was a mess of images, pain and fire. His body ached and all he could see in front of him were four strangely familiar figures. Forcing his vision to come into focus, he looked down at his body and gasped in alarm at the massive wound that stretched from shoulder to arm. It was still weakly oozing blood, matting the black fur on his body, and he knew he was about to pass out; yet he needed to know where he was and who the figures were.
"What happened? Where am I?"
The lead figure stepped into the light and he relaxed as his mind took in the familiar figure. One of the lost Warrior Groups had returned to him at last. Weakly smiling, he drifted off into blissful unconsciousness…followed by the words of Dark Hoof.
"Welcome back to Equestria…Night Shade."
AN: Well, after one year of planning (all of 2003) and eight years of writing/story development (including the breaks); The Ultra Crystals is finally complete, just over 340K words and 233 chapters (100 more than originally planned all the way back in 2003). Thanks to those who have stuck with me through the long stretches of breaks, reviewers old and new and the ones that followed when I bumped up the rating from T to M (yes, there was a time when this fic was rated T). The journey's not over yet though…
Coming Soon: Powers Unleashed.