It is time.
With the moon shining with its white radiance across the night sky and the last of the party guests entering the mansion, I leap down from the roof and landed on the grass making no sound. First I started to sneak my way towards the two guards stationed at the front entrance, stopping at some nearby shrubs, I peer through the leaves and see the guards are carrying normal infantry swords.
They only appear to be armed with swords as to not spook the guests with something like a firearm or an assault rifle, because that would be bad.
Ignoring my stealth approach and instead choosing to just appear on the path from my hiding position and advance towards the guards.
“Hey, you! Halt!” the guard on the left side noticed me and shouted as he warned the other one.
I stop right in front of them, my face giving no expression.
“This is a private party. No invitation, no ent-.”
I step in between them; my hoofs shoot out with their blades and stab their necks simultaneously.
Simultaneously they die and both fall into the cover of the bushes thus eliminating my need to hide them myself.
I pull my blades back in my gauntlets and place my hoofs on the wooden front doors, taking a breath to relax my anticipation, I gently push open the front doors and step forward into the party inside.
I went to the top of some stairs leading to the large main party room and everywhere I looked there were ponies everywhere, chatting with each other and enjoying the party Balthazar is throwing.
It would have been my duty to kill off any Templars I see, but not only would that complicate things with a vendetta in Canterlot which I don’t need but Balthazar is top priority and he dies before anypony else.
I need to focus on locating Balthazar. These other Templars will get what’s coming to them soon.
As I walked down into the room being blended in as a ‘party guest’ as my assassin robes didn’t stand out as much compared to the formal attire the other ponies were wearing. In fact, with so much going on no one cared I was walking around them looking to murder the high duke.
But it is interesting to see what everypony was wearing, not everyone had formal attire, yet they did all try to look ready for the party, despite where they’re from.
Most of these Templars, don’t look like they’re from Canterlot, that pony over there is wearing a turban and there’s one that’s carrying around a katana! I’m surprised the guards outside didn’t notice that. Scientists and generals….. wow I didn’t realize there were so much variety with these Templars. I guess anypony can be one…
What... the hell? IS THAT A PIRATE!? Tell me it isn't!
“YAR HAR Har har, this rum be the finest Balthazar has pillaged for us scurvy dogs!” a pony wearing traditional pirate gear (and an eye-patch) took a swig from a bottle, receiving some laughs from the group of guests he was talking to.
By the Observer……… INTERNATIONAL TEMPLARS!
Is no pony a freaking Templar!?
I shook those thoughts away and instead kept an ear out to listen in on conversations to where Balthazar’s specific whereabouts might be.
“Hey handsome, you want to come by my place after the party?”
“And then he said, “I wasn’t even doing anything!” Ha! What a piece of crap his story was! I wonder how it feels to be at the bottom of Equestria’s deepest water trench. That’ll teach him to stand around and do his job!”
“So how’d you get mixed up in all of this? Lemme just say the ponies at my village had a… disagreement.”
“Good 'ol Balthazar sure knows how to throw a party!”
With that name heard I knew he must be definitely somewhere within the mansion. Before I could make a minor distraction by throwing a Templar into a punch bowl and sneak to the upper levels, a trumpet blasted through the party.
Everyone immediately went quiet and I had to ditch my distraction plan, so I put down the random Templar and ducked away.
A line of guards came out from a corner of the room and guarded some kind of stage. I put a hoof on a pony’s shoulder receiving a look from her as I raised my head up above the rows of ponies to see what was happening from the other side of the room.
A dark blue unicorn stepped out from behind the guards.
My hoof tensed and I started gently pushing aside the guests to get closer to the front.
The unicorn’s blood coloured mane stuck out from his formal robes as he raised a hoof to quiet down any remaining ponies.
I managed to make it to the center at the front of the room for a clear view of the pony speaking before his sinister dark voice echoed across the room.
“Welcome, my guests….”
“I hope you are all enjoying yourselves this evening, because we have a lot to celebrate!”
“You have all made your generous contributions to our plans and from what my accountant Dave has told me…” Balthazar raised a hoof with Dave entering and joining next to him with a smug smile.
“Project Purify’s preparations are finally complete.”
Project Purify? That’s what those other Templars I’ve killed mentioned… what Dave said.
I’m still no closer to figure out what it is. It wouldn’t matter once he is dead.
A guard came by over to Balthazar and whispered something into his ear as well as Dave who nodded his head and looked back into the crowd. I could feel his eyes searching the room but I don’t think anyone has spotted me yet.
“And once it has been flawlessly executed and you all have been generously rewarded, Equestria will finally belong to THE TEMPLARS!” he said with a slight rise of voice and hoof with the guest around him cheering.
Bastard. I know he wants the power all for himself, there’s no way these Templars are going to get anything in the end. They’re all playing right into his corrupted hoof.
I need to end this, here and now!
I adjusted my mechanism on my blade and took aim towards Balthazar’s head.
THIS IS FOR MY FAMILY AND EVERYONE ELSE YOU’VE MURDERED IN PONITALY YOU CAZZO!
The cross bolt in my modification shot out on a clear straight path on the way to Balthazar’s skull. By this range there was no doubt of it being a straight kill, I would have wished if it would not have been such a quick death.
The bolt pierced through the air with everypony else too distracted by their cheering to even notice. It was right on target, inches from impacting into the Templar’s head and finally ending this nightmare of mine, years of hunting this murderer and getting my revenge for my family.
But it didn’t.
Dave immediately reached out and grabbed the bolt in the middle of its flight with his hoof right in front of Balthazar’s face.
“Well would you look at that Bal? Looks like we have an assassin in here,” he said with a grinning smile, tossing away the bolt right back into my direction.
The crowd noticed where the shot had come from and landed, and moved themselves away from the assassin who was left standing, wondering how the High Duke is not dead, why his need of revenge isn’t gone after so many years hunting him down.
“Ah, so good of you to join us. Dave has told me the possibility of someone uninvited crashing my event. What my guard tells me is that it was you who killed the guards at the entrance. And to think, here you are, trying to ‘assassinate’ the High Duke all by yourself,” Balthazar gloated.
I clenched my teeth trying to withstand the amount of rage coursing through me.
“Wait a moment. You look familiar…. HAHAhahaha!” Balthazar burst out laughing hysterically. “I can’t believe you’re still alive! You, the only thorn left in my side. I thought you would have died after I’ve crippled your wing. But here you are, years later! You Assassins are resilient I’ll give you that…”
I’ve had enough; I took my blade out and let out a yell of exalted rage as I charged towards him and his guards.
“You really think you can kill me now? NO ONE CAN KILL ME! NOT WITH THIS!”
Balthazar immediately took out a bright yellow glowing object from his coat and blasted the room around him with unbelievable energy. The guests cowered to the ground from the power and the guards were pushed aside and slammed into the walls by the pulses eradiating from the object Balthazar wields.
I was blown back to only find myself floating and entrapped in translucent yellow lines of energy spreading apart my arms and legs. No matter what I do, I can’t move my hoofs or escape from these constraints. It just felt I was being held up by pure force alone by such power.
The room pulsed with such power, and right there where Balthazar was grinning with corruption and commanding that power, lay in the palm of his hoof.
My body was whisked towards him as he looked at me with a twisted lust for power and I gave him a look of pure hate in return.
“Did you really think you could kill me Shadow Mark? Did you really think you could put a stop to any of my plans? Everything you’ve done has been worth NOTHING!”
“What do you mean? Explain!” I shouted at him with spite.
“Alright where to begin? Ah, how about the CEO of Purifier Industries, Je Suis?” he said with an unsettling sinister voice. “Before that “Bat” flew out from the sky and the entire facility blew up, no one realized what he was going to say in his speech.”
“He was retiring,” Dave interrupted with a grin and a look of bewilderment went across my face, “He already had chosen his successor, meaning the only thing you did was make us lose that facility which can now be easily paid for by Je Suis’ retirement fund he no longer needs.”
“As for Gerpony…. Well… how best to say this? It’s the same way Ponitaly is right now,” Dave said with Balthazar grinning a sinister smile.
No… I couldn’t believe it; Balthazar got Gerpony, just like Ponitaly.
No no NO!
Damn it…. why…..
“Oh and as for Volcanous….. You know what, never mind about that. I’ll leave it a surprise for you to discover. But a nuke…. really? Heck even I’m amazed Shadow.”
“And so that leaves us with WingBlade who as you know I killed her myself. She served her purpose and I guess… you’re about to serve yours,” Dave gave me a quick pat on my back as a mocking statement.
“I am not afraid.”
“In that case I should be the benevolent ruler that I am and make your wings a complete set, and throw you off an even higher platform!” he said noticing my slightly crooked right wing. "But then that means you’ll just come crawling back with your fancy assassin tricks,” Balthazar thought for a bit before turning his head towards me with an evil look.
“No, I can’t have that. Just like all the Assassins before you, you will die.”
He gripped the artifact harder and unleashed more power out from it, its bolts and pulses directed itself at my nerves making me shout out in agonizing pain as I felt my head start to burn followed by my body. My mind started to quake as my head was impacted over and over with the Apple’s magical force.
The pulses grew larger and more violent that the entire building itself began to shake. The walls vibrated and cracks formed as the building around began to break apart under all the stress it’s suffering from the Apple. More and more energy shoots out from the apple, Balthazar’s eyes were entranced on how much power he could unleash on me and burn me by such ancient power.
Most of the energy was focused onto me, the pain…. It’s unbearable.
Suddenly the Apple went back to the way it looked like before Balthazar unleashed its power.
I coughed out from the pain as the energy got subdued and switched off as Balthazar released his attacks from me, fell to his knees and clutched his head.
*Groan* What…. What happened? Why did he stop?
“Arg, Dave.... WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME IT WOULD HURT THIS BAD!?” Balthazar shouted in an explosive anger of pain.
“Don’t blame me on how ancient artifacts work and what repercussions they might have. Using it for prolonged times must be its little nasty side-effect. As long as it works for the Project then everything should go smoothly. Really I think you just went a little bit overboard with it.”
“I…. I will have its power… it will be mine to command,” Balthazar panted as he raised himself off the ground and tucked the artifact into his robes.
“Would you care to let me finish this?” Dave asked him with a small suppressed chuckle as he looked at me trying to right myself up.
“….BAH! Fine, I need to return to my ship. Soon Assassin, very soon, the world will belong to the Templars and ALL will submit with me as their LEADER!” he shouted but quickly gripped his head in pain again. His blood red mane spun around as he headed out from the mansion with the Apple.
The guests and guards begin to get up from the spectacle that just took place and looked to see Dave using his magic to pick me up and keep me hovered in the air. He brought out a hoof and his pen-blade materialized onto it as he advanced towards me.
“I’m sorry Shadow, I really am, and you always were my favourite Assassin to mess around with. Ah, such wonderful times. Sure you might have pissed me off a little bit and I might have tried to kill you a bunch of times, but I say we really have bonded after so long. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“You wasted… all your time trying to kill me… all your damn plans don’t mean anything… sending me into this trap… now that I’m right here… you’re going to finally kill me? Despite how… *cough*…. unpredictable you might be… you still are… a predictable accountant.... cazzo...”
Dave gave it some thought and readjusted his glasses, “Who knows maybe something unexpected will happen? After all…. It’s all according to plan, despite what may or may not happen. But I’m afraid that you will no longer be part of it now for this time,” he took out his blade and gave me one last grin with his lenses flashing.
“Goodbye Shadow Mark, my Ponitalian Assassin.”
Dave thrust the pen-blade into my stomach.
His magic hold broke and I fell to the ground with blood flowing out from the stab wound as I grunt in pain, he walked above to me and gave me a quick smile and a chuckle.
The world around me began to blur black, as I hear glass being smashed followed by some shouts. I tried to turn my head and I could just barely see what I didn’t expect to see.
The rest of my Assassin friends fighting with Balthazar’s conscious guards, an orange robed pony stabbed one across the chest and noticed me on the ground with Dave staring at them.
He ran towards me and jump-kicked Dave who blocked his attack, “Damn it Dave! Shadow you need to stay alive, we’ve tried to come as fast as we could!”
“Good to see you again Le Duck! I guess it has been a long time since we have last seen each other. Normally I would go with a quick scuffle for old times, but looks like you need to make a choice.”
“Me. Or Shadow,” Dave spread his arms as to invite himself.
My sight and hearing began to black out considerably. I missed some swears by Le Duck, closed my eyes and opened them a second later to see Dave is gone with a rush of air leaving a closed portal.
Le duck went above me and tried to bandage the wound as my vision nearly faded, his frantic words were nearly inaudible to understand.
“He needs help!” Le Duck shouted to the mares that had finished dealing with the guards.
I could feel hoofs on me as I’m lifted with all feeling in my arms and legs going numb. My senses are nearly gone, all obscured by the pain Balthazar and Dave inflicted upon me. The last thing I see is my blood soaking into Le Duck’s robes and spreading across my chest, as the familiar faces around me have looks of worry.
“Don’t worry….. Shadow we got you… will make it....”
“……you……….. always do….”