Author's Note: Okay, I know this arc has been lasting a LONG time, but as you know very well by now, I've had to write nine separate floors all being traveled twice as well as make the ending fight with Grim suspenseful with cliffhangers, so it should be expected that this would happen. I've also been trying as hard as I can to maintain this story's sense of humor, even in such a dark atmosphere. I just need you guys to see my position here. I'm sort of backed into a corner at this point. I promise, this arc will be over very soon and then we can go back to the slice of life bits(in the sequel that is). Now, on with finishing this up.
Yeppers, just climbing back up still. Three floors down, six to go. It's honestly a bit boring at this point because there are no more surprises or even suspense. We know what's on each of the remaining floors, and all of the guardians on each floor are completely taken care of. Unless something completely unexpected pops out, there's really zero chance of us not making it out of here alive.
After getting out of the incredibly long and tedious seventh floor, we had climbed back up to the sixth floor, where our good friend Volcanous should still be impaled to the ground.
We walk up the steps that lead inside the building to find just that: Volcanous still stuck.
Dark, as you'd expect, is the first to taunt him. "Hey, Big Red. How you holding up?"
"How can this be?! How are you all still alive?!" he shouts angrily.
"Through a lot of determination, fighting, and not giving up. Really just that simple." Rhino says.
Ice pats one of the pillars. "Glad to see my pillars doing a fine job of keeping you in place."
"Yeah, why is that, Ice? With all the fire around here I would've expected them to melt by now." Orion says.
"Blue?" Ice says knowingly.
"Magical ice. The ice is made through magic, so only magical flames can put them out. Like what happened during the fights against Giro and Ignis." I explain.
"Hmm, neat. That's definitely useful." Drax says.
"Indeed." Zeph says.
"I'm still having trouble getting used to that."
"Oh, get over it."
Volcanous growls angrily. "How in all of Taurtarus can such buffoons have survived this entire place?"
"It's something none of you guys could ever have: heart." Glare says. "Have all the strength you want, but nothing is stronger than the will of the heart."
"Um, I don't wanna seem like a killjoy-" Graze says.
"Bad pun." I cut off.
He glares at me for a second. "As I was saying, but I'm not feeling too good."
"Yeah, I recommend we keep moving. No reason to stay here any long than we need to." Vine suggests.
"Right." we all say at the same time. It still gets me how often that happens.
Unlike the last time, we ignore the burning ponies that are stuck to the ground as we continue walking. I know it sounds cold to just leave them, but we really don't have any other choice. Ciel is already too small from being shrunk earlier, so we can't do anything to help them. Anyway, as we continue walking down the walkway, we reach a flight of stairs that we walk up and reach a door that leads back out to the City of Dis.
We open the big doors and step out back into the city full of smoke and ash. The streets are completely void of any sign of life as we walk down them. After a bit of walking, we reach the end to find Iron Shell, still staying there just as he said he would.
He opens his eyes as he senses our presents. He looks down to see us and smirks. "Ah, I see I was right in staying here. Well done, ponies."
"You bet! Was there any doubt?" Dark says smugly.
"I suppose not. I could sense you'd make it. It is also nice to see you again, Glare."
"You too, Iron. It's been a while." Glare says.
"That it has. Well, I suppose you all want a lift back over to the other side of the river?"
"Correctamundo." Vine says.
"Very well." Iron Shell slowly bends his tree trunk thick legs so that we can hope aboard. We all jump on, Graze and I of course getting some help up. He bends his legs back up before turning around and moving his way down the River Styx.
As Iron Shell carries us back, I look at Dark, who's just lazing around. "Hey, Dark. No teasing the dead this time around?"
He shrugs. "Meh, not in the mood. I feel like a nap right now."
"I actually have something I have been wondering about." Iron Shell speaks up. "Blue Breeze."
"Oh, you're wondering about the wings, huh?" I say, a little saddened.
"Yes. I am very sorry to see that happen."
"Don't be. I don't plan on staying like this. And even if I do, I'm not gonna let anything hold me back from living my life."
He chuckles a bit. "I thought as much. Very noble of you."
"Blue? Noble? Get out of here." Zephyr jokes.
"I'd kill you right now if I wasn't so tired."
The rest of the travel back is uneventful, aside from being cursed at by a bunch of angry souls coming from the river. Eh, haters gonna hate.
Iron Shell stops and crouches as he reaches the stone platform and giant forest from before. "Destination reached. We have arrived back at the fifth circle: Anger."
We disembark from the behemoth pony's back. "Thanks a lot, Iron Shell. You're definitely one of the good souls down here." Glare says.
"I am only doing my job. Nothing more, nothing less."
We wave our good byes to him as we quickly leave the circle and head back up the stairway as to not be grabbed by the hands again. We go up the staircase with nothing significant happening. As I said, seems to be pretty safe at these kinds of spots.
We reach the top of the stairs a few minutes later and come out of a cave entrance to be back in the gold filled caves of Greed.
Alloy looks over at us and glares. "Darn you all! It can't possibly be true!"
"It is true. Maybe this'll teach you not to buck with us again." Dark says.
Alloy glares before noticing me on Drax's back and the lack of my old appendages. "Hahaha! Oh, did the little blue one lose something?"
I growl in anger at him. "Just calm down, Blue. You don't have the strength to be exerting a lot of energy right now." Rhino says.
I sigh. "You're right. Besides, he's not worth it anyway."
"Not worth it?! Try saying that when I'm free!"
"Hey, speaking of not having a lot of strength, I'm feeling a bit tired." Ice says.
"I know what you mean. It's been a while since our last break." Orion says in agreement.
"Well, we know from experience there's no monsters down here. Maybe it would be a good idea to rest up a bit." Vine says.
"Oh great. So I get stuck with you all taunting me again?!" Alloy shouts.
Dark smirks. "I think that's a great idea."
We all agree as we walk off to an open area as we did before and all start to lie around as we relax.
I know this pretty boring, but I ask that you guys just try to hang in. I'm not enjoying the repetitiveness either.
"So... anyone got anything to talk about?" Zephyr says.
"Well, I don't know about you guys, but once this whole thing is over, I can't wait to go home, be with Twilight, and just try to go back to a normal life." Dark says.
"You gonna get a job?" I ask.
He smirks. "Nope."
"Of course not."
"When we get out of here I plan to finally use that money I won to buy a house with Tavi before we finally get married." Zeph says.
"I know I'm gonna go right back to running my shop, drinking coffee, and of course, trolling." Vine says.
"No fun without the trolling, eh?" Drax says with a grin.
"You know it."
"Well, I hope to spend more time with Fire. She's always off doing her Wonderbolts thing, so we don't hang out that much anymore. What about you, Ice?"
"I don't really know. I hope to either get a better job or some kind of promotion at the coffee shop, because my check right now just ain't cutting it."
"I'm thinking I'm gonna go back to my simple veterinarian job and helping Fluttershy. Some new bear cubs were born, so we're pretty busy with that." Rhino says.
"Well, I was a royal guard before coming down here, so I guess I'll go back to that after this." Glare says.
"I'm thinking I may invest in a new astronomy themed clothing line with Rarity." Orion says. "Hmm, what about you, Blue?"
I breathe out. "Well, I'm really sick of all this crazy stuff. I mean, look at me; it's caused me the most important part of the pegasus body. I don't care if I have wings or not, but I plan to find out the mystery behind the Everfree Forest's weather and then try and have a normal life with Dash."
"Well, normal for us anyway, right?" Zeph asks.
I chuckle a bit. "Exactly."
"You sure you're up for that, Blue?" Rhino asks, a bit skeptical.
"I've tried to do it for over eight years. I'm not gonna give that up for anything."
"Well, I say good for ya, bro. I know from experience you're tough enough to do it." Dark says.
I smile before I turn my head towards Graze. "What about you, Graze? We don't really know much about you."
He looks at the ground. "I've been stuck down here quite a while. I plan to go back to Ponyville and hope my marefriend Ditzy waited for me."
"Don't worry, bro. I'm sure she did. If she truly loved you, she'll have waited." I reassure.
He starts smiling a bit. "Yeah, I'm sure she did."
Well, seems like everypony has got their lives figured out for now. And with only three floors left to backtrack through, we're not far away from making them a reality.
Author's Note: Okay, I promise, only one more chapter of Tartarus. We're almost there, guys. Just hold out a bit longer. .