Outside of the castle, Greed laid battered on the grass and writhed in pain as he gave shuddered breaths. He bared his teeth and clenched his eyes shut when he felt a sharp pain on his back 'The old fart did a number on me...' He popped open one of his eyes and looked upon a strange sight next to him 'Good thing the statue broke my fall...' He thought sarcastically.
The statue he referred to was serpentine in structure, and was composed of body parts of different animals. It was wavy in design, and the face of it was draped with fear in its eyes. The avaricious pony was confused as to why Celestia would keep something so ugly in her royal gardens.
But it didn't matter to him now. Greed tried to gather his strength despite being flung out through a wall and bouncing off of a weird statue. He clenched his eyes shut and gritted his teeth when he tried picking himself up "Damn!" He growled as he felt pain course through his body "I know I'm not the homunculus I used to be, but I'd kill for some help right now..." He looked up at the castle while he breathed deeply 'Twilight...and my bastard of a dad's up there. I need to be up there, too! But how can we beat him without the damn elements!?' He moved a hoof and planted it on the ground "Ow! Crap!" He blurted out as he inspected his hoof.
What pierced his hoof happened to be a golden shard, and Greed's eyes slowly widened when he remembered something.
"What? You didn't think I would just shatter the elements and not expect you to bring them back with your spirit? Thanks to Celestia's memory, I know your precious elements inside and out...I'm actually enthralled by their unimaginable power."
"-Itty bitty pieces? That was only the first step...The next is keeping them out of your reach."
Greed stared at the sharp embedded in his hoof long enough before he darted his head around "I need to find more of those shards! I gotta-Rrgh!" His legs caved in and he looked around to see some of the shards that Father threw out 'If only I weren't in so much damn pain! I could've wrapped up all these shards in a minute! I need some help...'
The avaricious pony's ears perked up and he turned left to see a familiar royal unicorn approach him "Just what are you doing out here? Aren't you supposed to be inside fighting your father?" He asked in confusion.
Greed groaned at Blueblood's question 'He doesn't even know what it feels like to be tossed out of a high tower through a freaking wall, does he!?' "The better question is what are you doing here, pansy? Are you actually thinking about fighting?"
Blueblood fumed at Greed's insult "For the last time, you ignorant dolt, I most certainly am NOT a pansy!" He took a deep breath and his mood softened "I actually contemplated on what you've said earlier, and I realized that I wouldn't be deemed worthy to be a prince if I leave my subjects at the hooves of your deranged father! But I realize that it would be absolutely insane to rush head on, so I took the time to stroll around the castle to come up with a plan!" He said with a confident tone. He then frowned as he lifted a hoof and levitated a shard from it "But wherever I roam around this area, I keep coming across these bothersome shards! I remembered our groundskeeper Hayseed managing the royal gardens just before all of this happened!"
Greed deadpanned at Blueblood's explanation "How freaking smart of you..." He then grunted as he tried to pick himself up "Listen, I never thought I'd ask this from you, but I need you to help me! Those shards are very important!"
Blueblood tilted his head at Greed "They are? Is it because they consist of gold and gems?"
Greed gritted his teeth "More than that! They're the elements! My dad smashed them to pieces and no doubt they're all scattered out around here! I want you to work whatever magic you know and heal me so I can get cracking!"
Blueblood gasped "The many shards I came across were of the Elements of Harmony!? Oh, what hope do we have left now!?" He weeped in shock and despair.
Greed fell to his knees again as he took some deep breaths "We still have a chance, idiot! All we need to do is gather every single shard around here and bring them up to the throne room! Twilight and the others can do the rest!"
Blueblood looked at Greed inquisitively "But are you certain that they could prevail even if the elements are shattered?"
Greed grunted "Definitely! But enough talk! We're wasting time out here, and my dad could be victorious up there! Just heal me so we can find the damned things!!"
Blueblood took a deep breath as he nodded in comprehension "Understood! Lucky for a unicorn such as yourself, I happen to know some medical magic just in case I were all alone and injured!" His horn glowed with a blue aura and he directed it on Greed while he struggled to lift himself. The ignorant prince narrowed his eyes "Stay still, you! I cannot work with you moving so much!"
Greed did as he was told and laid on the grass "Just hurry it up! I can't let them die!" He tried hard to relax, but tension filled his body along with pain. The avaricious pony was antsy to try and make sure the same mistake made in Amestris wouldn't be repeated in Canterlot. After a small moment of waiting, he felt a large pinch in his body, followed by a cooling sensation that flooded his system. Greed lifted himself and winced in pain, but he inspected himself to know that he could at least move decently despite being sore. He nodded to Blueblood in respect "Not bad, pansy! Never thought you had it in you!"
Blueblood held his head up with a smug smile "Well, when you're a prince like me, knowledge is hoof-delivered to you on a silver platter!" He then glared at Greed "And for the love of my aunt, stop calling me a pansy! I'm helping you, you know!"
Greed sighed "Yeah, I suppose you're right. Well, let's get to it then! Spread and search for the shards and we'll gather them together here! I'm counting on you!"
Blueblood nodded "As I am you! Let us be off!" The two unicorns parted ways and began scouring the gardens for every last one of the shards.
Fluttershy tended to Rarity from a safe distance while the rest of the group fought Father and Chrysalis. The timid mare whimpered "Why did it have to come to this? Without the elements, this battle is too close for comfort!"
Rarity looked around in sadness "Nopony said it would be easy, darling. But I'm happy to see that Lust and the others are willing to fight against all odds! We need to be resilient like we always have in the past!" She held a look of resolve as she recovered.
Fluttershy looked at Twilight and the others fight with the aid of Gluttony and sighed "You're right. We overcame many things in our time, and maybe we can win this with the help of the homunculi!" She looked down in sadness "I just hope we manage to survive this..."
Rarity smiled at Fluttershy "I'm sure we will, Fluttershy. We have friends at our side." She picked herself up and shook herself "Alright! I think I can manage for another round! Shall we, Fluttershy?"
Fluttershy shivered "Um...Y-You go on ahead...I don't think I can fight." She looked away.
Rarity frowned at Fluttershy "Come now, Fluttershy! You need to remember that we're fighting for Equestria! I'm not all for fighting myself, but I'll raise arms for my home if I have to!" She poked her chin in thought and perked up with an idea "Take the time to be more assertive! Only do so around Father and nopony else!"
Fluttershy thought over Rarity's words, and then she stood up as her eyes narrowed "You're right..." She glared at the pale alicorn "Nopony should even be suffering because of him! Let's go!" Fluttershy and Rarity then dashed back into battle.
Twilight rushed at Father and caused him to cast another shield to fend her off "You'll have to yield sooner or later, Father!! You can't keep this up forever!"
Father sneered at Twilight with contempt "You deluded fool..."
Pinkie hopped over Father with a smile and landed behind him while Twilight took him on at the front "While I may not have Rarity, I still have this baby!" She pulled out her party cannon out of nowhere and aimed it carefully "Steady, steady..." While a fuse was hanging on the top of the cannon, Pinkie pushed it down as if there were a button, and her cannon shot out a large stream of confetti while a party blower noise sounded.
The confetti hit Father from behind and snapped him from his focus on Twilight. The lavender bookworm took this advantage and blast another magical beam on Father's chest, to which it mended quickly.
The pale alicorn looked behind and wrapped Pinkie and her cannon in a red aura. Pinkie frowned "Uh oh!" She was then flung around and knocked against Twilight and Lust. The three mares were bunched in a pile and tried to recover from the hit.
Gluttony saw this and gasped. He slowly turned to Father with anger "You hurt Lust...and you hurt Pinkie!" Gluttony trembled as he bared his teeth "Father, you're mean!! They didn't deserve that!!" He then galloped forward and latched himself onto Father's right foreleg with his mouth.
Father yelled in pain and he used his magic to yank Gluttony from his leg as the voracious pony left a massive bite mark from it. His wound recovered while he lifted Gluttony and glared "You impudent child, Gluttony! Perhaps you would like to join Greed outside?" He then jerked his head and tossed Gluttony through the hole Greed flew out of.
Lust picked herself up and noticed what happened "No! Gluttony!" She seethed with anger and she turned to Father "Now it's personal...He did not deserve such a fate by your hooves!"
Father huffed "He was the simplest of you children barring Sloth. It was merely a kindness..." The pale alicorn charged another beam "Besides, you should worry about yourselves!!" He then blasted a beam at Lust while she prepared to dodge.
Twilight jumped up and she stood in front of the beam, only to be knocked into a wall harshly and land on the floor with a thud. The lavender bookworm picked herself up and brushed herself off as she inspected herself "This shield is amazing! I feel so much stronger with it on!"
Lust called to Twilight "You have to focus! We need to win this battle!" She said as she galloped over to Father.
The pale alicorn expected her, but he turned to see Fluttershy and Rarity rush at him as well. He grunted and activated yet another shield to protect him from all three mares "I am beginning to think that you are at the end of your rope, my little ponies...This game is soon to be over!" Fluttershy glared at Father and her eyes almost shot open for another Stare. The pale alicorn's eyes widened before he clenched them shut and wrapped Fluttershy in a telekinetic hold to fling her into Lust "The same trick will not work twice!!" He grunted when he received a hit from Rarity.
Rarity glared at Father as she drew herself back at a safe distance "Take that, you ruffian!" She then looked shocked as he glared at her and wrapped her in a telekinetic hold. Rarity was then flung into Pinkie before she could advance with the others.
Twilight growled as she watched her friends get knocked around "This is getting us nowhere!" She then looked over at Father's prisoners and noticed their barriers dimming again 'Unless...' She looked over at the recovering mares "Keep him busy, girls! I have an idea!!"
Pinkie picked herself up and saluted with a smile "Roger dodger, Twi!" She then turned to Rarity "You ready for the second wave, Rarity?"
Rarity raised an eyebrow "Second wave? What are you-AH!" She was then grabbed by Pinkie and her horn was positioned at Father as Pinkie grabbed a hold of her tail "Pinkie! Not again!"
Pinkie yelled "Leeroooooooooy Wingkiiiiiins!!!" before she unleashed another torrent of magic beams upon Father.
Father growled as he gathered the energy "This again!? Have your mistakes taught you nothing thus far!?"
While he was distracted, Twilight galloped towards Celestia and the other captive ponies and examined the barrier with squinted eyes 'Hmm, let's see...I've studied this spell before! Earlier, it was too strong even for me, but now I think I can dispel this force with the proper concentration!' She closed her eyes and made her horn glow 'All I need is some time...' The barriers began to fade away 'Almost got it...almost...'
While he gathered the energy, Father noticed Twilight behind him and widened his eyes "NO!!!" He then took the large sphere of energy and directed it at her, knocking her through Celestia's throne and into the wall behind it. Sadly, it left him open as he was pelted with more of Rarity's beams.
Pinkie smiled "That's it, Rarity! Hit his weak point for massive damage!!"
Rarity yelled "How do you even know his weak point, Pinkie!?"
Pinkie laughed maniacally "I have no idea~!!!" She continued her onslaught without a moment to lose.
Lust watched in awe and confusion "How is she able to do such a thing all on her own?"
Fluttershy gave an embarrassed smile at Lust "I often wonder the same thing, Lust, but even I don't know."
Lust looked over at Twilight recovering and narrowed her eyes "I'll need to provide her cover just in case Father gains the upper hoof. Are you able to handle yourself, Fluttershy?"
Fluttershy was nervous, but she nodded "I can hold my own. But it will be hard since Father will know when I use my Stare..."
Lust smiled "It's good to know you are willing to fight. Be careful now." She then galloped towards Twilight while Father was being bombarded.
Father managed to bring up a shield and allow himself to recover from every earlier shot thrown at him. He growled in annoyance with how persistent Pinkie was 'They will not get far in this fight!!' From the corner of his eye, he noticed Twilight and Lust gather to dispel the paralysis barriers. Twilight focused on each fading barrier while Lust stood over her protectively 'No...NO!!'
Outside, Blueblood sighed as he levitated another shard into his small pile and trotted to the next one "I've never thought I would be subjected to such petty work! I know this is for Equestria's safety, but this is certainly most unbecoming of me!" He then heard screaming as he looked up and noticed a large chubby object coursing at him. His ears drooped "Mommy..." He squealed before he got squished by Gluttony.
Gluttony shook his head and looked around "Hey! I'm outside!" He heard muffled moaning and looked down at his backside "Hm?" The voracious pony then hopped off to reveal an injured Blueblood and glared "You! You flirted with Lusty!!"
Blueblood groaned "Glad to see you remember me...I was busy finding the elements' shards before you bumped into me!"
Gluttony blinked "Elements?" He then beamed "The elements are here!?" He pulled out Blueblood into a hug "We can still win! We can still win! Where are they!?"
Blueblood struggled and pushed himself away from Gluttony "They're scattered into pieces around the gardens! Me and Greed are busy-"
Gltutony gasped "Greed's alive!? Where is he!?"
Blueblood looked back "He's around that area looking for the shards like myself! If you're willing to help, we must hurry-" His mane breezed in the wind when he noticed Gluttony gallop away from Blueblood in search of Greed. His eyes widened in disbelief at Gluttony's pace "What kind of erratic family are these ponies!?"
Greed scrambled through the grass and managed to grab another shard to add to his pile "This is taking forever...I gotta pick up the pace, but these things are so damn hard to find!" He then heard galloping, and he turned to see Gluttony stop and look around before he proceeded his pace again. He perked up when he remembered Gluttony's trusty nose and he waved over "Hey! Gluttony, over here!!"
Gluttony noticed Greed and grinned widely "Greed! You're alive!!" He galloped over and went to tackle him, but he was held in place by a silver aura.
Greed groaned "No time for hearty reunions, Gluttony! I need that nose of yours!"
Gluttony smiled "For the elements?"
Greed nodded with a smile "Yeah! We're-" He flinched as his eyes widened "Wait! How did you know that!?"
Gluttony turned to one of the castle corners with a smile "Blueblood told me! He's gathering shards right now!"
Greed nodded "I knew that pansy could do well..." He turned to Gluttony and presented his pile of shards with his magic "Get the scent, Gluttony! We gotta help Twilight and the others!"
Gluttony nodded with a curt grunt and sniffed at the shards. He then drew himself back and sniffed at the air. He then pointed over towards a grass maze "Over there!"
Greed noticed and looked angry "Great...Just great..." He followed Gluttony into the maze with hopes of gathering the shards in due time.
Twilight focused on the shields as they almost dissipated completely 'Almost there! We can still win this!' If she had a muzzle, she would smile at her success.
Father growled as his body crackled with static "You will not take her from me!!!" He then exerted a wave that knocked Twilight, Lust, Pinkie, Rarity, and Fluttershy off of their feet. He glided over to Twilight and lifted her up with his magic. He then turned to the window "I believe it's time you joined Greed and Gluttony! You've proven to be nothing more than a nuisance to my goals!"
"That nuisance is my student!"
Father perked up and noticed that his prisoners have escaped from his hold and glared at him. Celestia took a step forward as her horn glowed "You would be wise to leave her be, unless you wish to invoke more of our combined fury!!"
Chrysalis managed to fly back into the hole she flew out of, and her eyes widened to see Celestia and the others free "What!? Father, what is this!?" Sloth went to hit her, but she lifted him with her magic and slammed him into Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Envy. She soared over to his side and glared at her enemies "How did they get free!?"
Father growled "Celestia's star pupil did this!" She tossed Twilight towards the others and stood his ground "I need more power..." He turned to Chrysalis and examined her "Yes...More power..."
Chrysalis nodded "Yes, and I'll make sure they stay down once we work together!" She raised her eyebrow at Father "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Father took a step forward "More power..." He uttered monotonously.
Chrysalis gritted her teeth "Of course we have more power! Why are you looking like some kind of zombie!?"
Without another word, Father lunged forward and jabbed his horn into Chrysalis' chest as she yelled in pain. Everypony around him gasped at the sight. Father then began sapping at the changeling queen's energy, and she slowly withered into a husk with dialated pupils. When he drew his horn back, Chrysalis fell to the floor and gasped hoarsely for air.
Twilight widened her eyes "I can't believe you!! You would do that to your own teammate!?"
Celestia closed her eyes with a solemn frown 'I tried to warn her...'
Father grinned as his body crackled with red static "You don't get it, do you, Twilight Sparkle? When you notice an insect on the ground, do you stop to consider it a fool?" The static around him grew worse "The life of an insect is so beneath you that it would be a waste of your time to even consider judging it!" His grin widened as he directed his inequine eyes at the group surrounding him "That would be an accurate summation of my feelings towards you ponies!!!"
The static died down, but then the pupil on his cutie mark shifted from left to right.
Pinkie noticed and gasped "Everypony, look at that!!" She pointed at Father's cutie mark as it moved on its own.
Soon, the blackness around his mark instantly began to spread around Father's entire body, enveloping him in a dark shroud. Father roared in anger as the darkness covered his body completely. Not a single sign of his face was seen, and his mane and tail disintegrated after they fell off of his body until only his ominous cutie mark was seen. His horn and his wings extended, and then suddenly, several eyes in different sizes showed themselves all over Father's body and shifted their pupils frantically until they stopped on Celestia and the group. Finally, a wide grin slowly formed on the new pony's muzzle as all eyes were on her and he spoke in a warped tone "I do not wish to become a pony...I wish to become the perfect being..." His grin widened after these words.