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Planet Barcelona, Orion Nebula.
Time- 10:49 A.M.
Years with Editor- One million, five-hundred.
Punished with UV and gamma radiation from the star it orbits, Barcelona used to be no one’s first choice for a planet to land on. However, the construction of the Overshield (a massive sphere built around the planet designed to reduce the radiation levels to habitable conditions) fixed that right quick. While 90% seawater, the remaining 10% is covered in lush, tropical rainforests and perfect sandy beaches. An ideal vacation spot. Barcelona has a similar hydrosphere and ozone layer to Earth’s.
There is only one city on the whole planet, Fretus: the Latin term for 'shore-water'. It's location resided on the southern peninsula of the mainland, near the Equator. The population of Fretus was mostly human, but in the past decade or so this world had became quite a tourist attraction for other races in the galaxy. Fretus had a very Las Vegas–esque feel to it. The centre of the city was composed of casinos, hotels, bars, and shady alleyways for the unsuspecting tourist.
As such, several gangs and private militias used Fretus as not only a recruiting ground, but also as a local marketplace for black market deals and slavery. Fights are known to break out over the tiniest of disagreements in most bars, which strain the small police-force governing the city. Things were becoming grim, and the boundary between Law and Chaos was collapsing.
This, is where I come in.
When I had originally came here, I figured I could kick back and maybe take a vacation. There were some lovely girls around here, after all. And the smell was tolerable in the city compared to most places I've been. Surely I deserved such after busting my ass to try and keep everything sound, right?
I groaned in boredom as I strolled down the boardwalk of the easternmost section of the residential module. My temporary 'Fretus Police Department Officer' badge shone in the morning light as I leisurely made my rounds. I didn't really have a choice in the matter. Once the authorities knew what I was capable of, they practically begged me to at least help for a short while.
'This is so not worth the ten-thousand credits I'm getting for this...'
"It could be worse, I suppose."
'I doubt it. The boredom is absolutely intense. Thugs around here are piss-poor at what they do, so how these idiots can't manage them is beyond me.'
"I know, but did you really have to say that to the chief-of-staff, then proceed to wreck thirty-thousand credits worth of weapons?"
'Oh please. It was a rack of semi-automatic rifles. Nothing gravely important.'
"Plenty of them seemed ready to cut you down because of it..."
'Bah. I'll drop some credits down on my way back to cut down the price, then get the hell outta here.'
"Alright. Well, I see three misfits harassing an old man over there. Go get 'em."
I squinted my eyes against the light and spotted the mentioned deviants and their victim in a nearby alleyway. The thugs were nothing much to look at; some punks in their early twenties. Heh, that's ironic. Me being technically younger, yet calling them punks. Regardless, I drew one of the police-standard pistols I had and snuck up so I could hear any conversation from my position.
"...over the money, and we'll let you go. Whadda ya think about that, eh pops?"
"Look, I don't want any trouble," came the older and frightened response, "I was just trying to take a shortcut back to my home."
A malicious laughter filled the air as I prepped my knife in my offhand. "Whelp, you found it. Kill him boys."
I spun around the corner, knife-wielding arm bracing and supporting my pistol-gripping hand. "Freeze! Fretus Police!"
Their heads snapped in my direction, and I could see their eyes widen in surprise and confusion. Regardless, the leader waved to his buddies. "Shit! Kill the cop!" I ducked behind a dumpster as bullets began bouncing off my cover. I stole a glance to confirm their positions: one behind a trash can, one backing up while holding the elder gentleman hostage, and the final one closing in on me. Seeing an opportunity, I reached behind the dumpster and heaved it towards the other wall.
The result was it falling to its side, enabling me to roll past the new cover to reach the opposite wall. I poked my head out and fired two shots. The first pierced the shoulder of the advancing thug, while the second forced the hostage-wielding individual to drop his weapon in pain.
I quickly lunged out from my hiding place and rushed the approaching-wounded man. He saw me coming and tried to swing his shotgun at me like a moron rather than firing the short-range weapon in a close-combat situation. He failed as I ducked under and drove my blade into his ribs. I recalled a brief memory of the chief-of-staff telling me about restraining from killing thugs and instead capturing them to send them back to the HQ, but I figured I could let this one time slide...
I grabbed the man and twirled him, turning him into a meat-shield as I kicked the shotgun behind the dumpster. The fool restricting the hostage had a bleeding right hand, but still used it to grip his pistol once more. The other man who had been giving support fire ceased shooting almost immediately.
"Whoa man, let 'em go!" He shouted as he raised his free hand. I swiveled my pistol and fired. He fell without resistance. The thug in my grasp gurgled from the knife's new location in his throat slicing, before I shoved him away. 'Two down, one to go...'
"Holy shit, you're a fucking crazy cop, you know that?!" The final man said as he gripped his prey tighter. "Look! How about we make a deal, eh?!" I could feel his apprehensiveness and fear as I started walking forward. "Stop moving! I mean it! I'll kill this fool if you come closer!"
I stopped in mid-step. I straightened up, yet kept my pistol and knife ready. "Very well, what's your offer?"
"Please don't tell me you're actually trying to negotiate with him..."
'Hell no. Just watch...'
The remaining man looked at me surprised, but spoke in a shaky tone nonetheless. "L-look. I give you the guy, and I get to walk away while dragging my friends away. How's that sound?" My gaze remained unwavering as I made the calculations in my head. "Okay, how about I just go and you deal with my friends?!" Disgust flashed across my face at that. 'He's willing to leave his dead friends behind? Despicable...'
I could hear his breathing becoming slightly more desperate as I switched my attention to gaze into the elderly mans eyes. He seemed confused more than anything, but his positioning was crucial for my next action.
I looked into the thugs eyes once more, and noted his frantically vibrating pupils as he stared back. "Very well..." I spoke as I holstered the pistol, "but you need to come closer."
"What?!" He said, suddenly putting the man into a near choke-hold.
I sighed as I spoke. "I can't trust you. So come a bit closer and release him, and I'll let you depart."
He came forward cautiously and gradually began letting the gentleman go. "R-really?"
"Sure..." I trailed off before pulling out my knife and chucking it. Time seemed to slow down as it flew spinning at an arc towards him. His eyes widened in horror and confusion as the weapon gilded through the air and plunged into his skull, piercing his brain.
The only sound was his body collapsing on the concrete.
"...Never said how I'd let you leave though," I smirked as I walked towards the now-trembling old man. He didn't seem to fully realize what happened, but it quickly sunk in as his shaking cease.
"T...thank you, officer," the sir grumbled as he tried to straighten himself, "I wasn't too sure what would have happened if you didn't show up."
I waved a dismissive hand. "Don't worry 'bout it. Now go on and get out of here."
He seemed confused. Probably that I didn't take the opportunity to gloat about saving him, but he gave me a nod and swiftly exited the alley from the opposite opening. I sighed and grimaced at my knife's current sheathe.
"I'll need to see if I can arrange a funeral for these hooligans..." I muttered as I retrieved my weapon and began to clean it. The sounds of the nearby beach flooded my ears, allowing me to hear the waves crashing on the shore. It calmed me to an extent, but at the same time distracted me from the footsteps behind me.
As I holstered the blade and went to reload my pistol, I felt something was off. I went to turn around, only to be interrupted...
I shouted in agony as I felt a excruciating point of pain in the side of my ribs mid-turn. It was searing hot, and ripped through my very being as it sunk in. I recall collapsing to the ground, and glancing over my shoulder to see the smoking barrel from one of several Fretus Officers. The one who fired the bullet, was one of the more recognizable and cocky members of the local unit.
I snarled as I watched him give a cocky grin and begin walking towards me. His other six buddies, made an imposing crescent behind him and followed step for step. They stopped a few feet away as he unequipped his rifle and drew his magnum.
"Hello there, Storm," he whispered as he stopped over me. "How's your day been?"
"Fuck you." I groaned as I tried to position myself to wreck his shit. Unfortunately, my pistol had been dropped and knocked away from me, and my knife was in a location where I couldn't swiftly draw it. Meaning I really couldn't do much even if I could move. Oh, and the fact that his boot was pinning my face to the concrete by the temple was a large factor as well.
"Ah no ya don't," He chuckled darkly as he idly reloaded his magnum, "I ain't lettin' you get away that easily."
Suddenly I was pretty pissed off that the Editor was deciding that this period of time of me arriving to Barcelona was a good time to recharge. Well, you could say 'recharge', but it's mostly linked to my stress level. More stressed and tired I am, the further it stretches what The Editor can provide. Do it too much, and this happens. A stasis where I'm fucked and I can't access the higher working of the device.
"Well we're fucked."
'No we aren't. I just need to reach the shotgun, and I can deal with this-' I paused my thought as I felt a sharp spike of pain from the bullet wound, '-bastard...'
"Well think of something quick. I can't keep you from dying while the Editor is in this condition..."
I glanced at the disarmed-weapon from the spat earlier. It was so close, yet I couldn't reach it due to the seven guns trained at me. Any attempts to try and slither out of the pin the bastard above me put me in, he applied pressure and prevented me from doing such. If I tried to sweep him, it would only trigger the six rifles ready to turn me into Swiss...
For some odd reason though, the sound of footsteps ringing out from the opposite end behind the cops summoned my attention. As I turned ever-so-slightly to look at the owner of the sound, the others did the same. Needless to say, what I saw made me not only cringe at the absurdity, but let out a confused, nervous grin.
The person walking was your stereotypical tourist. He was a young man, maybe around the same age as the punks from before. His extra-large Hawaiian style shirt hung from his lean semi-muscular body as he paused in front of the alleyway. His left hand was buried in one of the pockets in his brown-khaki shorts, while the other held a piña colada half-empty. To top it off, he wore a straw hat with a wider-than-usual brim that obscured his face in its shade.
"Hey, you there," the prick pinning me said as he bore holes towards the civilian, "nothing to see here. Move along!"
He chuckled as he spoke. "I would, but I felt it was necessary to comment on how you're going about and doing this," he spoke dryly as he took a sip of his drink, "would you like to hear it?"
"We don't care for the opinions of tourists," one of the officers stated as he rose his rifle. "Now if I were you son, I'd get out of here and allow us to deal with this."
The young man however seemed to ignore the threat. "Let me start off with how you think you can best this man who disposed of the thugs here before your arrival. Despite being wounded and they're twice as many as you, how you hold yourselves to think you've won is idiotic."
I frowned. 'How did he know about the fight...?'
"He heard the gunshots?"
The same officer cocked his rifle and pointed it at the tourist. "Last chance kid. Shut it and go, before we add you to the autopsy report."
The man did something that surprised me; he smirked whimsically and took another sip of his drink. I watched him glance at the cop's rifle and scoffed. "If I was you, I'd recommend you hold your trigger-finger 'til I'm done."
I raised an eyebrow at the statement. The guy had balls, no doubt about that. The officer seemed ready to gun him down, before the bastard above waved him off. He turned towards the tourist while still keeping his boot and magnum in position as he spoke. "So, you believe this guy here can stand a chance eh?"
He rolled his eyes in response. "No shit. You're all just upset because he thought you sucked at your jobs."
"Wait, how could he know that?!"
'This is becoming less of a coincidence with every line he says...'
The leader tensed up at the statement, but couldn't continue before the other man interrupted him. "I have my ways of learning these things. Now, if I were you, I'd recommend you release him before both of us fuck your shit up." Whoever this was, he certainly had his own cocky air about him. Wait, did he just threaten them in order to help me...?
The officers all laughed at him. It was a short round of guffawing and whatnot, before the leader still perched above me silenced them. "Oh? And how exactly are you going to make us, 'tough guy'?"
The look in the tourists' eyes was all I needed to know. It was a challenge, and he seemed more than ready to show them up. He took one final sip of his glass and chucked it...
...and smirked as the drink detonated and threw both sides of the crescent against the walls. It didn't seem to hurt them, but rather sent them into disarray.
"Now that drink had some kick..."
As they were trying to recover, he raised his hand casually as if he was going to knock politely on a door and flicked his wrist to the right. The result was unexpected...
The shadows being created by the late-morning sun became animated, and started grabbing their respective bodies. The officers started freaking out, desperately attempting to break free and even trying to shoot the shades. But, it was without success. And finally, I saw one of the shadows grip one of the cops necks and twist.
"And now we're getting help from a shadowmancer. Sweet."
As the sound of bones snapping echoed throughout the alley, the fool above me removed his foot and drew his less-threatening glock out to point it at the young man. It became a semi-standstill, for in that very short period of time the other shadows had disposed of their previous masters, clouding the area in silence once again. I saw the moment of opportunity, and apparently so did my supposed 'saviour'.
I quickly sprung to the left and grasped the shotgun, before swinging it back into place in front of me. Two things happened because of that. The first was me knocking his magnum-wielding wrist to the side, guaranteeing my survival. The second was me briefly letting the weapon go, enabling me to cock it during mid-fall and grasp it like normal.
The asshole above me looked down only to see the end of the barrel facing him. His eyes widened, and out of the corner of my vision, I saw the tourist smirking at my action.
I didn't wait to pull the trigger.
I grimaced as the blood from his skull splattered on my face, temporarily blinding me as I heard him fall at my feet. I spat out a small glob that entered my mouth as I felt something being thrown onto my torso. A quick feel identified it as a wet towel.
"Might want to wipe that off," the tourist mumbled as he came to my injured side.
"Ugh..." I began cleaning my face as I felt him lower himself to inspect the wound, "thanks for the help."
He chuckled. "You probably aren't going to be thanking me just yet..." I was going to question him on this, before I felt yet another sharp pain from my wound. However, this one was similar to a needle, and a quick glance confirmed it as the syringe found itself back into his pocket. "Bet that tonic stings like a motherfucker, eh?"
"No shit!" I shouted as I finished removing the crimson stains from me. That just elicited a hearty laugh from him as he stood and helped me up. Once the small bout of dizziness passed, I glanced at the charred spot on the floor.
"The hell was in that?" I questioned as I pointed towards the mark. He glanced at it and gave a nonchalant shrug.
I nodded in understanding before I froze looking at him incredulously. He's a tough bastard if he was drinkin' that..., I thought as I cracked my back while surveying the mess. There was definitely going to be a required cleaning crew for this area. The previous recollection of the shadows attacking surfaced as I turned back to the man. "I assume you're a shadowmancer?"
He smirked and shook his head. "Not exactly. But that is one of my abilities, yes." His gaze hardened as he looked me up and down. If I didn't know any better, I would say he was sizing me up...
I took the moment to assess him. He didn't have any truly recognizable features that I could see... well, except for his eyes. They were silver. An odd colour, but not one that looked bad on him. That, and he looked more like a model than a shadowmancer. Regardless, I pushed the thought away and figured now was a good of a time as any to get out of here.
"I recommend we start leaving," the man said before I could even open my mouth. "Don't want to have to cover your ass while dealing with the scum around here."
"We?" I asked confused. 'He's acting very friendly... and I'm not sure whether to be cautious out or not.'
"Considering how you were in a tight jam just now, I figured you could use a wing-man," he explained as he started lazily walking towards the entrance of the passage. I followed him out, listening as he continued. "Of course, that's if your willing to keep someone who can steal your spotlight."
I noted the sarcastic and playful tone as I stood by his side as he watched the shoreline. "That depends on whether you're aiming for mine or not."
He chuckled. "We'll see in time eh?"
I nodded as I finally realized that I didn't even know his name. "Oh, my apologies. What's your name again?" I asked, giving the silver-eyed man a curious look.
The man turned back towards me, and I detected the slightest trace of an agenda glinting in his eyes as he stared back. He smirked as he said something that only now I realize it had a mocking undertone... "Your new best friend."
My heart was pounding in my chest. Every nerve in my body was screaming at me to turn tail and run. Run until I couldn't run anymore. Run to the very edge of existence and beyond.
It had been almost a million years since I had last heard his voice.
Almost a million years since I watched him, body burnt beyond recognition, covered in deep wounds that had shredded his organs, plummet into the molten core of a collapsing planet.
He shouldn't be alive. Even I couldn't have survived that.
Nevertheless, there he stood. Without any signs of the damage he had taken on that night. He was dressed in all black, true to his namesake. His dark pants were tucked into the tops of his equally dark combat boots.
His belt was made of a flexible, silver material with an obsidian diamond shaped buckle. His overcoat was left open, revealing his bare tanned torso underneath. A golden ankh hung from his neck, resting against his chest just below where his sternum would be. His midnight black hair was cut significantly shorter than I remembered and was spiked up in the front.
A jagged red scar ran along the front of his neck and up the left side of his face to end just below his eye, something for him to remember me by, I guess. My mind temporarily reminded me of the mark on my face that bared a semi-similar resemblance...
And you know what's the worst part of seeing him alive again is?
He still has his model-esque good looks.
He stood there, grinning down at me from his place in front of Celestia and Luna’s thrones. His silver eyes glinted in the pale red light of the room, seeming even more sinister than ever. The cold, lifeless veil behind him seemed to swish and reverberate. Like it was alive. I narrowed my eyes in barely-restrained anger at the man.
“What are you doing here?” I practically spat at him. “I thought I ended you.”
“Storm, who is he?” Lyra asked suddenly, drawing my attention from the only other human present. “Why is he doing this to us?”
“You never told your friends about me?” I glared back towards the man, who was feigning emotional hurt. “I’m wounded. How could you not tell them about me?” His smirk returned as he stared back at me, matching my glare with his own sick, twisted amused look.
"I believed I wouldn't have to relive the thought of you," I snarled, flexing my fists to try and occupy my growing bloodlust, "to corrupt these beings further by regaling them with tales of your insanity."
He let out a mirthless chuckle. “I see how it is. You were afraid to. Is that it? Afraid that the pretty little ponies would hate you?” He strode down away from the thrones and into the center of the room. “Do they know what kind of man you are, Storm? Do they know what you’ve done?”
He turned to face me, his gaze distant as if he were reminisicing about the past. "Seeing you again, Storm. It takes me back to the old days. Us against the unknown, killing it with big guns. Good times."
"Those days are long gone," I said with ice in my voice. "You ended that when you destroyed the Bentarius systems five million years ago!"
His grin only widened. "Wasn't it beautiful? A thousand worlds, burning in one massive fire. There is not a single thing in any reality more beautiful than that day was..."
"You're a monster!" Fluttershy shouted, startling all in the room who knew her. One of the Irida guarding her let out a growl and aimed his rifle at the pegasus' head.
"You will hold your tongue, creature!" It growled. I felt myself ready to crush himself using the planet's gravity as the primary component, but for some reason I held off from doing such. "You will not speak of the Savior in that way. Retract your offen-" Shadow held up his hand, sending the Irida into silence.
"Let her speak," he said coolly. His grin had melted into a smirk. "So, pegasus. You say I'm a monster?"
"Only some monster as evil and cruel as you would think killing is beautiful!" Fluttershy shouted, tears rolling down her cheeks as she continued her out of character tirade against him. "How can you stand there, responsible for so much death and laugh about it? How can you call it beautiful? How cruel can you be?"
He was silent for a long moment. His silver eyes bored into the pegasus until her angry expression melted into one of sadness. When he broke his gaze, he turned slowly back towards the massive stained glass windows and gazed out at Canterlot below.
"Cruelty is a matter of perspective," he replied simply. "The Bentarius system was the epitome of sin and gluttony in its universe. By slaughtering them all, I did their reality a favor."
"By sacrificing hundreds-of-million innocent lives," I added. "Not even half of those people that died were guilty of any sin, and those who were wicked never had a chance of redemption because of you. The Bentarius system may not have been the best, but your destruction sent waves that disrupted the natural Scales of the nearby universes for generations!"
The Irida that escorted me in had surrounded me, predicting my growing anger. However, I shoved his Irida underlings away with a most-unusual natural strength as I took a single step towards the man and pointed my finger accusingly at him. "Fluttershy's right. You ARE a monster."
He let out a small chuckle in response as he turned to face me. "Am I really the monster?" He asked, his voice laced with venom. "Or is the real monster the man who had the power to stop me, but stood by and watched the fires burn instead?" The human raised his hand and pointed back at me, mimicking my motion.
"If I am a monster, Storm, then so are you."
“Go to Hell,” I growled through my teeth as I lowered my arm. The Irida didn't seem pleased about being shoved away, but they still retained a semi half-circle to my back.
“Been there, done that, got the t-shirt,” he yawned casually. “A million years is a long time, Storm." Once again, he returned to his previous feigned hurt. "I thought you’d miss me after our last meeting then.”
“Not even a little bit,” I retorted. Silence fell across the room as he stared at me with those damn eyes. As I stared into those pools void of emotions besides mischief and malevolence, I began to let my senses reach out and scan the room. I snorted in irritation. There are far more Irida than what meets the eyes...
“I see. So you’ve been running away from your past. From me,” he concluded. “That’s why you didn’t stick around to make sure I actually died that day, isn’t it?”
“I recall said dimension creating a significantly dangerous rift to ensure ending you. I didn't feel like I needed to stay. Besides, I'm surprised you actually remembered that specific one. After all, you caused those on a regular basis.” The venom in my voice was frightening. At least, that was what I figured seeing the looks on the others faces in their cells.
“Of course I remembered that one. It had one of the best implosions,” he said proudly. “But you could’ve stayed a bit longer, long enough to see me absorb the energy from the core of Xyliion and use it to transport myself to safety in another reality.”
“So that’s how you survived,” I mumbled.
“So you’re just like Storm, then,” Lyra spoke up again. "One who wields these legendary-like abilities?"
“Not exactly,” I stated. Once again, all eyes in the room were on me. Especially his. “He doesn't have the same level of power, or the same morals.”
“Then what the hay is he?” Rainbow Dash blurted out. “If he isn’t like you, then how is he able to do all of this? How is he able to hold back the Princesses for pony’s sake?!”
“Because he’s a Manipulator,” I explained. “A Manipulator is a lot like an Editor, which is what I wield, only they aren’t as effective. A 'knockoff' of the original, if you would." I glanced at him in irritation to be met with his annoyed stare. "But he was always the most cunning Manipulator. He apparently figured out how to increase his power to combat several Editors at once.”
“And you had me worried that you’d forgotten all about me,” the Manipulator said sarcastically. “You’ve told them what I am, now isn't it time for introductions? Go on, Storm. Who am I?”
I looked around at the girls, all of whom were looking at me with expectant expressions. They wanted answers. They wanted to know who was causing them this misery. I owed them that much. He wouldn’t even be here if I had been more diligent.
“Everyone,” I said. My voice was shaking slightly from containing my anger and heartbreak at seeing these happy ponies look so somber and defeated. “He's called by several names: The Living End. The Harbinger of the Abyss.” I took a deep breath. 'The only man I ever feared.'
I looked back up and gazed into the silver spheres that were his eyes. "But the one I know him as... the one name that instills in me a total sense of rage, and anguish..." The air around me grew hotter, and my eyes were taking on a reddish tint. "His name... is Shadow."
As cliche as it is, thunder roared outside at the name, despite it being cloudless when I entered. The silence permeating afterwards was deafening. Not even breathing was heard from the rooms occupants as I waited for him to speak. To continue his tormenting with his survival.
As I did this, he leaned backwards casually on air and gave me his twisted smirk. "There. Was that so hard?"
Shadow's chuckling brought me back to outside my mind. "He can't speak to you. He's a bit pre-occupied." My eyes widened as I spotted a section of the darkness clearing. In it, the ghostly holographic form of Ed stood. But, I realized that he wasn't alone...
"You remember Creed, don't you Storm?" Shadow asked, motioning to the other figure next to my friend. Both of them contrasted greatly. While Ed 'wore' casual wear for the upper-class of the English back in the seventeen-hundreds, Shadow's A.I. Creed wore a large cloak which was blood-red that covered his body completely. I grimaced at the grin Creed gave me from under his hood, and I stepped side-ways to block my view of him using Ed's small top-hat he wore as cover.
My attention drew back to Shadow. "I wish for them to be released," I commanded as I waved in the direction of the ponies cells. "They aren't involved with this."
He glanced over at the mentioned cells and grinned. "Oh? And what if I don't?"
As he finished those words, I pulled a throwing kunai out of my pocket and threw it. It sailed at an ungodly speed, one that practically none could see. He rolled his eyes and caught the blade in-between his pointer and middle fingers in one swift motion.
However, I released a small burst of fire before throwing the weapon, igniting the enchanted tag dangling from the tool. As it swayed burning in his grasp, he plucked it off and chucked it into the air. It floated a few feet up before detonating, creating the tiniest flash in the sea of black swirling behind him.
"Nice try," Shadow teased as he dropped the kunai on the ground, "I didn't expect you to do the tag though." He shrugged and took a seat on Celestia's throne. He motioned towards Luna's throne beside him. "Care to join me, Storm? We have so much to talk about."
I snarled. Already, I could begin seeing a red outline in my vision. My rage was quickly reaching a breaking point. "I said, release the ponies."
Another cruel laugh escaped his throat as he leaned on one arm for support. "I prefer keeping animals in their cages, actually. You should too."
My eyes widened in anger and I flicked my hand. The kunai left forgotten near his foot, became animated and sailed right into his exposed abdomen. His head whipped downwards and he grunted in pain as the weapon embedded itself. I allowed myself a small smirk at seeing him in pain. "Do not, insult them again," I growled as I took a fighting stance.
The Irida situated around the Throne Room responded by raising their pistols and rifles at me. I glanced around to confirm the fifteen in the room, ready to open fire on me. Before they had the chance, I felt Ed standing behind me in a back-to-back stance.
I glanced at him in confusion, before directing my attention to Creed. He didn't seem the least bit annoyed, reclining against something in the darkness as he watched the two of us. I heard Shadow attempting to heal his wound, and realized that due to the action, I allowed Ed to escape whatever stasis/discussion he was having with Creed.
"Smart move," Ed mumbled as he raised his hands in a manner similar to a boxer, "though I don't think we can take this much gunfire."
I snorted incredulously at him. "We've taken more difficult tasks. With alot more guns against us."
Ed chuckled as I saw him generate a sword. Nothing fancy; just a plain officer's sabre. "Indeed."
I froze though at Shadow's chuckling. It was becoming an ever-increasing annoyance every time I heard it. I locked onto him to see that his hand was raised. I confirmed the gesture as to be 'hold fire' and saw the Irida lower their weapons. I felt uneasy that he did this, especially when Creed fully emerged from the darkness.
Now without the darkness acting as a veil, I could recognize his samurai-esque attire. I began to tense up as his holographic form twirled the katana he must have been reclining against and entered a stance. But, Ed stepped to my side with his sabre firmly grasped. I saw him nod to me, before walking to the side of the Throne Room. Creed understood the maneuver, and positioned himself parallel to my friend.
I noticed the girls were staring at them in confusion, before probably realizing that they were preparing a formal duel. My head whipped back towards Shadow as I watched him lazily walk down the stairs towards me, smirking as he un-clipped something from his belt. His smirk widened as he activated his common weapon: a Covenant Energy Sword.
"Come now Storm," He taunted as he readied himself, "let's see how good of a fighter you've become since our last brawl, eh? I promise I'll try to be gentle..."
"Spawning- Requiem's Ballad (Keyblade)"
I lowered myself so my point of balance was as low as possible while I gripped the Keyblade like a heavy mace. Its current form reflected my mood, resembling another Keyblade I was familiar with. I let out a calming breath and cracked my neck slowly.
Shadow smirked as he held the blade like he was going to stab. "Ah, magical against scientific?" His cocky laugh made me strengthen my grip. "Let's see how this plays out..."
I tensed up and began frantically looking around to guarantee he wasn't going to blindside me. He instead simply charged forwards and tried to stampede right through me. Seeing the maneuver, I dashed toward him and brought the Keyblade up ready to bash him over the head with it. He apparently took my telegraph, and tried to slash me from the side.
Smirking, the Keyblade found itself in the sword's path. As I was about to counter, he inverted the sword around in his grip and spun on his heels, trying to lop off my head. I began blocking the sword using one hand to repel the attack, only to get intercepted by a heavy front kick to my chest. I hissed in pain and felt myself being flung back.
I snarled in anger as my feet's friction ended the drag, and briefly twirled the weapon in my grasp once more. Shadow merely laughed. "I thought you could fight better than this!" He yelled as he lunged towards me at an impossible speed. I inverted the Key and blocked just in time for the Covenant weapon to become stuck. My Key was sitting in the crevice between the two prongs of the Covenant weapon, giving me the upper-hand at the opportunity. I smirked at his predicament and grabbed the length of the weapon, trying to twist the energy sword counter-clockwise away from my path.
Shadow growled in frustration and tried to deck me with his free hand. I saw it coming and quickly sent my own free hand to snatch his wrist. Once I held it, I balanced myself on my right leg and flicked my suspended leg outwards into a roundhouse. As it collided with his rib-cage, I instantly chambered the leg and side-kicked him in the abdomen.
He flew backwards at the strike, stretching his body due to him still holding onto the incapacitated weapon. As I used momentum to yank him in my direction, I spun my body around while switching my hands possession of my tool. With this, I smashed my left hand into his temple. Once the back-fist hit its mark. Shadow used the given momentum to springboard off the weapon lock leaning heavily to the left by using his left leg.
I was confused, before he jumped upwards and twisted his hips, resulting in him doing a tornado hook-kick with his back leg. I grunted in pain as my face whipped away from the strike and twisted my Keyblade, ending the lock. I back-stepped to avoid a wide swing, and started twirling my piece of magical-metal. As I did the narrow 3D infinity motion forwards and jogged, Shadow flipped backwards.
On solid ground.
As his head approached the ground, he stuck his left arm out and used it similarly to a vaulting pole as he completed the flip.
That's when his weapon began to become surrounded by a dark haze. My eyes noted the encompassing shade as his way of spawning items, and I prepped myself to change styles on a whim. However, it's difficult to be ready to switch from a sword-fight...
...To trying to dodge a now fully-created multi-fire rocket launcher.
He smirked insanely as he aimed the launcher through the glass-lens. "Dodge this!" His shoulder rocked from the recoil as the missile flew outwards at me. Without thinking, I reeled my arm back and threw my Keyblade. Strike Raid style.
Shadow merely raised an eyebrow as he reloaded the launcher, and we both watched as our respective objects zoomed closer to each other. I didn't know what I was doing, but I trusted my instincts to guide me. They approached closer and closer...
Only for my Keyblade to spin directly over it.
His taunting laughter reached my ears as I watched the pass. "Try better aiming next time-" He was interrupted. Not by my Keyblade touching him though. Infact, I couldn't even see the weapon anymore. I did see myself barreling towards Shadow in mid-air though, and doing a spinning kick. The move struck the rocket launcher, and set in sliding into the darkness.
I was surprised at the maneuver, but I used my momentum to jump off his shoulders and lunge towards Celestia's throne. I turned back, and realized what occurred. The Keyblade and myself had switched positions, probably me subconsciously willing it so. The result now was my Keyblade being rammed by the stray missile.
The explosive merely bounced off and flew towards one of the upper-sections of the blackness, before a brief explosion sounded off shortly after. Requiem was flung due to the impact, but I willed it to appear in my hands. Once that was done, I leaped off of the throne towards Shadow's still-confused form.
But of course, my keyblade only cut through a shade. It disappated, which sent me into alert. 'Where did he...?' I didn't finish the thought as I felt my instincts ordering me to roll forward. I did so, and heard the faint slash of a sword slicing through air.
I finished the roll and pushed off from the ground, landing back towards my original position to look at him.
The bastard was standing there in a finished slashing position, with his sword glowing menacingly in his right hand. He let out the faintest of smirks before a glob of darkness flew outwards and surrounded him. I kept Requiem at hand, and watched as the glob retreated to the churning wall behind with him inside of it.
My eyes widened when I realized that the darkness had surrounded myself, only giving me a twenty-foot ring of guaranteed sight. I heard his maniacal laughter as I stood in the eye of this unnatural torrent. "You'll regret thinking you can best me, Storm!" was all I heard before I saw him leap out of one side with his sword firmly grasped in a downward-slashing dual-handed motion.
I rolled to the side to dodge the attack, and rushed his landing spot. He saw me coming, and redirected himself in mid-air so he'd land in a basic stance facing me. My charge resulted in yet another weapons lock, but this time he took the maneuver into his own hands.
He did a clockwise twist and began forcing his sword against mine towards my throat. Seeing the danger, I braced my free arm against the Key to keep it at bay. This however left me open to his hand reaching out and digging into my curly locks. With his secured his grip, he yanked me towards his rising knee.
The impact was right between the eyes, and the energy sword lurched forward in advancement. I tried to keep the sword at bay, but Shadow's still-firm hold began pulling it closer to his weapon. I was barely suppressing the sword's assault, and Shadow knew it for he side-stepped in and kneed my bracing arm away.
As I watched the blade lunge towards me, I pointed my free hand downwards. The result was an air pocket formed and repelling Shadow backwards. As he stumbled from the unexpected shift in my moveset, I threw Requiem's Ballad into the air. As it lazily and in slow-motion spun, I took a Horse stance and breathed. Shadow had recovered and was now charging towards me with even more vigor than previously.
I felt the vibrations of every step he took, every beat of his heart as he closed in. I slid my right foot backwards and brought my arms inwards. The result was two separate slabs of marble spouting out of the ground. The first one blocked the stab, while the second came in shorter and struck Shadow's outstretched arm.
I grinned at the sound of his arm being broken, and pushed myself off backwards. The darkness around me wavered, and I could barely see the glint of two metal swords clashing against another through one wall. Knowing that the move would only buy me so much time, I caught the Keyblade as it returned from its aerial flight, and began spinning it while I channeled magic to it.
As I finished the spinning and pointed the blade single-handedly towards the slab of rock, it shattered. In its wake was an enraged Shadow, with his arm bent at a horrible angle. The Covenant tool had moved to his other arm, and he was staring daggers at me through the dust of the destroyed-mineral wall.
But it was too late, and he realized it when I smirked. "Lux!"
As the word left my mouth, two bright-pearly orbs began spiraling around Requiem. His eyes widened at the spell, and he began to quickly outstretch his hands to his sides. Darkness began pooling into his hands and began to flow around him as the two separate streams drew towards him. I smirked regardless from the recoil of the shot being released.
The bolt was pure light ripped through the darkened atmosphere and sailed towards Shadow. He smirked and pressed his still-functioning hand down, effectively constructing a shield of shade around his person. The holy bolt split into two however, and circled around his casing, gradually flying upwards 'til it struck the 'ceiling' of the darkness.
There was a demonic shriek as beams of sunshine and light illuminated the Throne Room. The shadows that had manifested themselves begun sulking away towards whatever section they could retreat towards. The shell around Shadow began to quickly fade, much to the dismay of who it was protecting.
(Allow song to finish, then end loop here.)
As the light faded, I looked around to assess the situation. Only to see Creed's katana rip through Ed's skull.
Immediately, I felt the pain. I grasped my head as the 'death' of Ed struck my psyche full-force. I screamed in agony, and could only faintly recall the concerned voices of the girls through the swirling torment. I could faintly hear the mocking laughter of both Creed and Shadow as I fought through the anguish...
Unlike everyone else in the room, Twilight’s attention was focused on the device powering the containment fields in the room. The impact of the strange explosive that flew out of the cage of darkness had landed a short distance from it, damaging it. It had cracked the domed metal casing of the device, causing it to send of bright blue sparks every sixteen seconds.
And for those every sixteen seconds, the containment field around only Twilight would flicker for one full second. A small window of opportunity.
Her gaze was torn away from the device as Shadow and his companion he called 'Creed', laughed at Storm as he was writhing on the ground and clutching the sides of his head in agonizing pain.
Uncharacteristic anger welled up inside of Twilight. She had first felt it building up inside her when she and everypony else in the room had been taken by surprise when a massive hole in time and space opened up and these 'Irida' poured out, capturing them all before they had time to react. When Fluttershy yelled at Shadow, Twilight saw just how scared her friends were, and her anger only grew. And now, someone she was beginning to think of as a friend was being caused horrendous pain in front of her.
Shadow had his back to her, and the Irida were too focused on watching Storm suffer. She had the element of surprise.
From what she could tell, Shadow was cocky, arrogant, and overall confident that there weren’t any more surprises waiting for him.
He would never see her coming.
She took several deep breaths and rose to her hooves, drawing forth her magical energies as she did so. Five seconds until the window opened.
The Irida closest to her didn’t see her rise, and thanks to the glow of the containment field, they couldn’t see the glow of her horn, even as it intensified. They wouldn't be an issue.
Twilight new she would have to quickly use two spells within a second of each other once the window opened. She would have to teleport out of the containment fields’ range first. Then, as soon as she reappeared, she would have to cast a spell to knock down all of the Irida and hopefully Shadow. That required a large amount of magic, and she knew she would only have minutes before she’d be too exhausted to do even brush her mane.
Even worse, there was the possibility that Shadow was immune to unicorn magic, just like Storm had learned to be. In which case, she would become the center of his attention. And while the Irida wouldn’t be a threat for a few moments, that left someone capable of destroying entire star systems standing to attack her, at the cost of her element of surprise.
Storm’s screams of pain were dying down to small groans as he struggled back to his feet. Twilight glanced around at her friends. Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Rarity were all crying. Rainbow Dash looked downright furious but utterly horrified at the same time, while Applejack was watching the proceedings with an anxious expression.
Twilight’s resolve instantly hardened.
'This is it, Twilight.' She thought, taking in one last gulp of air to calm her nerves. 'Let’s end this!'
A flash of blue sparks arced off of Shadow’s device. The containment field around Twilight flickered as well as the lavender unicorn, much to the surprise of the Irida closest to her.
“Warning! High influx of magical energy detected!” Creed’s silk-like voice announced hurriedly. Shadow’s laughter stopped instantly and he whipped around in time to watch Twilight reappear in the center of the Throne Room, her horn aglow with a bright-magenta aura and a snarl on her face.
“Twilight!” Her friends and Princess Celestia cried out in shock and fear. All around, the Irida focused their weapons on her, but the unicorn was faster. The glow around her horn pulsed and a shockwave of pure, magical energy lanced across the room. The Irida were thrown against the walls, their weapons cast aside by the magical blast.
Shadow, as Twilight had feared, seemed mostly unfazed by her attack, though it had caused his energy sword to short out. He let out a mildly-irritated grunt and reattached the weapon to his belt.
“Impressive, for such a small thing,” Shadow said, cocking his head to the side as he examined Twilight. “What is your name?”
“Twilight Sparkle,” the lavender mare spat back at him as her horn began to glow. “Wielder of the Element of Magic, Number One Student to Princess Celestia,” her magic flared within her, fueled by her anger, turning her coat a brilliant alabaster while her mane and tail were transformed into magical flames, “and the mare who’s going to make you pay for hurting her friends!”
“Congratulations,” Shadow laughed sarcastically, “your Twilight Sparkle has evolved into Rapidash.” Twilight let out a fierce battle cry and charged at the Manipulator.
“Twilight, no!” Princess Celestia shouted, but her student paid her no heed, focused instead on her target. Shadow seemed to not have a care in the world as she bolted toward him, casually examining his fingernails.
When she was a few feet from him, Shadow suddenly thrust his hand in her direction. Twilight let out a yelp of surprise as she was thrown backwards by an invisible force and into one of the support pillars, splitting it in two.
“Should have pressed ‘B’,” the Manipulator chuckled.
Twilight shook her head to clear it as she rose back to her hooves. Her coat, mane and tail had all returned to their normal states, the magical energy that had been fueling her having dissipated after absorbing the worst of the impact.
“Nopony hurts my friends,” Twilight growled.
“Twilight, you have to stop!” Fluttershy whimpered. “You’re only going to get yourself hurt.”
Shadow let out a boisterous laugh. “You should listen to your friend, child,” he said. “I’ve been alive a lot longer than you realize. I’ve seen more than you can possibly imagine and I’ve done more than you will ever accomplish in your fleeting life, mortal. You can’t stop me.”
“I can try,” Twilight said as a magical aura flared to life around her horn. “And as long as I can help get my friends out of here safely, then it doesn’t matter!” A bolt of magical energy streaked across the room at Shadow, who simply rolled his eyes.
“Mortals,” he scoffed. A ball of emerald green energy formed in his hand, which he then hurled at Twilight’s magical attack. “Always willing to risk their lives in the name of something worthless.” The two energies collided with one another, exploding in a large flash of white light. It temporarily blinded me, before the light faded. It revealed a long table in its place, covered in a pure white tablecloth along with sixteen elegant, high-backed chairs surrounding it.
Shadow blinked several times in surprise at the table before shrugging. “I was trying for a basilisk, but whatever,” he said casually. He looked back up at his opponent and found no less than five more bolts of magenta colored energy streaking toward him. His smirk vanished.
“Really?” He asked as green energy flared to life in his palms. “Talk about being a one-trick pony.” He matched Twilight’s attacks with his own.
In hardly a few seconds, the table that had been created from the collision of the first magical attack was now laden with a lavish breakfast of pancakes, bacon, biscuits and gravy, a wide variety of juices in silver flasks, and a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice.
Silence fell across the room as all present stared blankly at the lavish breakfast setting the brief clash of Twilight’s magic and Shadow’s Manipulator had created. I stared at what occurred with a worsening vision, becoming lost in how multiple offensive bolts of magic could achieve the act. Then, I saw Shadow grin at Twilight and sat himself down at the table.
“How kind of you, Miss Sparkle,” he said with a chuckle as he uncorked the champagne, pouring it into two flute glasses. “What good reunion doesn’t have a decent amount of food and drink?” He took a sip from one of the glasses and offered the other to Twilight. “Champagne?”
Twilight’s response came in the form of a bolt of magical energy that shattered the glass he was holding out for her. Shadow’s smirk slipped slightly in almost genuine disappointment. But the look in his eyes betrayed him; he clearly had expected no less. He shook his head with a sigh as he let the shards of glass slip from his grasp to the now wet tablecloth.
“Are you being serious?” Twilight snapped at him. “You’re acting like a child! Is this all a big joke to you?”
“A joke? Yes,” Shadow chuckled as sipped from his champagne glass. “Well, not everything is. I’ve lived a very long life you see. Almost as long as our dear friend, Storm. Isn’t that right, Stormy?” He turned in his chair to grin at me. The pain in my head prevented me from giving him a verbal retaliation, but I did manage to force my hand away from my skull long enough to give him the bird.
“Ah, you know you love me,” he laughed as he turned back to face Twilight, who was starting to look like she was about to pass out on her hooves. “But in all seriousness, when you live as long as I have, you have to find your humor where you can. I’m not lying when I said I've seen it all, and done it all…” he trailed off as he went to drain the rest of his glass, before promptly dropping it on the floor. The glass exploded, and turned into confetti before the pieces of paper gracefully landed on the marble flooring. He looked up into Twilight’s eyes.
“And this little fight of ours is nothing compared to what I am capable of.” He rose to his feet and began to edge around the table. “I have battled gods and demons. I have wielded weapons that drove fear into the hearts of trillions at the mere mention of their names.” Twilight took a step back, her angry expression rapidly fading into one of fear as Shadow’s voice filled with venom.
“I have listened to countless people beg for my mercy, prostrate themselves before me, offer their valuables, their livestock, even their children just so I would spare them. And I laughed as I told them ‘No’.”
Twilight backed into the wall, leaving her with nowhere left to run. “I have torn down gods so thoroughly, that no one even remembers their names. I have walked through the deepest circle of Hell simply because I could. I have torn down civilizations, absorbed the energy of a dying star, burned an entire star system and spat in the face of Death herself.” Twilight was frozen in place before the Manipulator, doing her best to seem as small as physically possible while not actually cowering.
“So what do you think a mortal like you can possibly hope to do?” Shadow asked. “Did you really expect to stop me?”
“No,” Twilight said. To her credit, her voice didn’t even quiver in the slightest. Instead, she looked Shadow straight in the eye and glared at him. “All I wanted, was to give my friends time to escape you.”
“Even if it costs you your life?”
“As long as they would be safe, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
Shadow stared at the lavender unicorn for several long moments. Twilight stared back, the determination in her face never once wavering. Then a sinister grin spread across his face.
“Credit where it’s due. You’re the first mortal in several million years to ever speak so brashly to me,” he spoke with a malicious intent as green fire flared to life in his hands. Once I heard its distinctive crackle, the pain vanished and was replaced with shock. I’d know that sound anywhere.
Hellfire. The fire Shadow had learned to summon sometime before I had first met him. He never told me how it worked, but from what I’ve seen it do... saving Twilight was nearly impossible now. It wasn't exactly my Kryptonite per-say, but I was still analyzing its effects. And after witnessing what it could do, it's quickly rose up in the ranks of my fears.
“Normally, given what you’ve tried to do and the rude tone you’ve taken with me, I would've killed you in a graphic, gut-wrenching, manner,” Shadow chuckled. Twilight gave an audible gulp and shrank further away from the Manipulator. “But I’m feeling generous. So, let me give you a gift.”
“A gift?” Twilight repeated in confusion.
“No!” I shouted as I scrambled to my knees, desperate to reach Shadow before he could do anything. But, it was too late. Shadow flicked his hands behind him and the Hellfire leapt from them, rapidly spreading in a circle while forming a wall of flame around him and Twilight. The flames rose to the ceiling, and blocked my vision from the two.
“Yes, a gift,” Shadow’s voice said with a laugh. “Tell me, Twilight Sparkle, are you ready?”
I slid to a halt, feet from green flames. I was too late. The flames twisted and contorted, displaying the ghostly images of laughing masks. I growled at the fire, but stopped as Twilight’s horrified screams of pain rent the air. I heard a separate fire... one at the center of the ring...
“Twilight!” was the only thing heard from the others as they saw their friend being surrounded by the hellish flames.
I paid no heed to them, though. My mind was in a frenzy, trying to work through the dull afterthought of the roaring pain he felt when Ed fell. 'I should’ve made sure Shadow died when I last saw him. He was here because I was here. Twilight was suffering because I couldn’t stop him...'
'This is all my fault.'
“Are you ready?” Shadow taunted from the other side of the flames.
“Are you ready?” The masks echoed. It was almost as though they were taunting me.
I winced as Twilight’s screams intensified, and began trying to reason with the madman. “Stop, Shadow!” I roared. “I’m the one you want! Not them! Just stop!” If he heard me, he didn't show it.
“Can you feel it?” He laughed sinisterly. “It's working alright! I hope you’re satisfied. But if you aren’t, then don’t blame me.” The flames mostly vanished in an instant, save for a partially transparent wall between me and them. Shadow stood there grinning and pointing at me, but I couldn’t see Twilight. All I could hear was that her screams had been reduced to pained whimpers.
“You can blame our friend, from the other side,” Shadow finished as the last of the flames died down. I was about to fly at him, but he stepped to the side, allowing me a good view of where Twilight sat on the floor. As the idle embers of Hellfire became extinguished around her, I noted her exposed back to me, the tips of her fingers visible over her bare shoulders as she hugged herself tight-
Shadow’s laughter rang in my ears as Twilight rolled over in pain and stared up at me, her legs and arms thankfully tucked to prevent any awkward sights.
The pain in Twilight’s eyes re-ignited the fire in my heart. 'The bastard could injure me. He could hunt me down. But this...? I'll make him pay!' I spun to face Shadow, ready to put him in his place. To finish what I should have a million years ago.
I just simply forgot one thing. The one most crucial note I made during my journeys and trials against him. Of fighting both alongside, and against him...
I forgot that Shadow isn’t afraid to cheat.
As I turned to face him, I made the mistake of leaving my chest wide open. In my blind spot, Shadow had produced a bronze-plated, orb-like device from the inside of his cloak and thrown it at me. As it flew through the air, it opened up like a sliced orange. A sliced orange tipped with inch-long needles, eight in total that aimed to pierce my chest.
The reflexes I honed automatically went to swat the tool, but at this point I only directed it towards my right shoulder, near my lungs. As the object made impact, instantly it felt like it was drilling into my flesh. I stumbled back with a gasp of pain, staring in shock at the device sticking out of my chest. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“Ah. You remember this little device, don'tcha, Storm?” Shadow chuckled. I didn’t respond. I was too stunned to even blink.
He built one. He actually built one.
“A Limiter,” I mumbled. “I don’t believe it.” I let out a howl of pain as the Limiter on my chest began to fuse itself with my skin even further. I fell to my knees, clutching and tearing at the Limiter as it burned and fused with me. “How?!” I spat in Shadow’s face as he stood over me. “How did you build one?! It’s impossible!”
Shadow shook his head sadly. “Nothing's impossible for me, Storm,” he murmured gently. He knelt down next to me, placing a hand on my back. “But I’ll let you in on a secret. It wasn’t easy making this beauty. I had to tear out the original devices from four other Editors and ten other Manipulators just to gain enough understanding of how they work. And the results right now, are beautiful.”
“I hate you so much,” I growled. The burning intensified. My vision began to swim, and fog was growing at a rapid pace near the borders of my sight.
“I know,” Shadow patted me on my back. “Tell me, old friend: how does it feel?”
I was speechless. I had only been back in this Equestria for less than half an hour and already I had been taken prisoner, found out my greatest enemy was still alive, watched as Ed fell by Creed's blade, been forced to stand by as Twilight was turned into a human prisoner, and now…
Now… I could feel the serum of the God-forsaken device inside my body, working it’s unnatural power and technology into my system as it found all traces of my Editor and sealed them off from me. Everything became steadily dimmer, and my strength was fading rapidly. When the pain subsided ever-so-slightly, I knew what happened. I was...
Shadow leaned down next to me, a sadistic grin on his face, and whispered in my ear. “Tell me how it feels to be mortal.”
[Author's Notes: Oh yeah. All you crying 'Gary Stu' out there. Here's one way to shut your traps. Don't worry, this (hopefully) won't last long...
Credit goes to Shadow Horizons for editing, and writing some scenes with me by his side. Try and pick out the scenes he wrote! (Hint: They're the ones that are actually written decently!) After all, Shadow is his OC. That's right, this is a crossover. Except, not really. You'll understand later on in the story...]