Medieval – The Final Guardian
Twilight and her group continued their way to where the Rainbow Shell was, which forced them to cross through an old village. They stopped briefly and looked around, taking in the peaceful place in.
“Hey, is this… Ponyville…?” Twilight asked. Applejack turned to Twilight smiling.
“How'd ya know?” Applejack asked.
“This is sort of where Ponyville is in my world I think,” Twilight said, “I don't know, it just felt familiar to me.”
“I have matched this area with all of my maps, and can confirm that this small town stands where the Ponyville District lies in my world,” DASH-379 said turning to Fluttershy, “Your village matches this spot as well.”
“Village is in same area?” Fluttershy said tilting her head confused, “Not fully understand, but Ponyville was original name of village before Chief and Seer settle there.”
“Starting to see the connections, huh?” Pinkamena asked walking forward a bit, “All the worlds have the same locations and in the same areas.”
“Just like Guardians,” Fluttershy reasoned, “They all in same spot in each world too.”
“Correct,” Pinkamena said, “Makes you wonder just how each world is separated, doesn't it?”
“If that's true, then does that mean there's a statue in Standard too?” Twilight asked, “That would make sense, right?”
“You would think, but your world is a little different,” Pinkamena explained, “Their worlds are the only ones who need Guardians, since they're the ones being tested.”
“I am still curious about why that is, but it will have to wait for another time,” DASH-379 said, “We need to proceed onward.”
As everyone started walking, they noticed that Applejack wasn't moving. Instead, she was looking out at a meadow with a somber expression on her face.
“Applejack?” Fluttershy asked, “Why stop moving?”
“Oh, sorry,” Applejack said snapping out of her daze, “Just… remembering something that's all.”
“Is that place important to you?” Twilight asked.
“Yeah, it is…” Applejack said walking on ahead, “It's where my teacher and I first met.”
Everyone shrugged and ran after her, DASH-379 quickly reminding them that she was leading the team today. As they walked, Applejack's mind wandered back to that time. The time when she first ever laid eyes on the woman who changed her life.
The enemy came out of nowhere, trying to take over Ponyville. Thankfully, the Queen's Knights appeared and protected everyone. Still, Applejack was doing her best to rally the people and get them to safety.
She looked out toward the meadow and saw a little girl running away, but she tripped and fell to the ground. Applejack ran over to her immediately.
“Hey! Are you okay?” Applejack asked. The little girl nodded, but then gasped pointing behind her. Applejack looked to see an enemy soldier prepped to attack her. She held the child close shielding her and prepared for the attack, but instead she heard the clash of metal. She looked up and saw someone standing over her blocking the attack.
It was the leader of the Queen's knights. This knight wore black and golden armor, had a purple cape, and a fancy helmet. Unlike most of the knights though, this person didn't wield a sword and shield. Instead, he had a long fancy spear with a diamond etched at the base.
“You need to get out of here!” The knight said, his voice striking Applejack a bit. It was intense, but softer than she was expecting. Applejack nodded and rushed off with the child. As she ran, she looked back at the knight who rescued her. Somehow, it just didn't feel right leaving him there.
Applejack ran over to one of the other adults and gave the child to him, “Take care of her!” Applejack requested before running back into the meadow. As she ran, she grabbed one of the swords of a dead soldier and immediately knocked down a knight about to attack her savior from the back.
“I thought I told you to get out of here!” the knight shouted as he and Applejack stood back to back.
“Yeah, you did, but I'm a little hard headed!” Applejack replied. She could almost feel the knight smirking before the two of them worked together to fight off the enemies. While her style lacked technique, Applejack was able to hold her own and stayed with the knight for the rest of the attack.
Once the enemies cleared out, Applejack turned to the knight.
“Thanks for saving me back there,” Applejack said. The knight removed his helmet, surprising the hell out of Applejack. Said knight… was actually the most beautiful older woman Applejack had ever seen.
“I should be the one thanking you,” the knight said with a soft smile, “My name is Rarity, by the way.”
“A-Applejack…” Applejack said shaking the woman's hand. Such intensity and ferocity came from someone so beautiful and elegant?
“Still, that was quite foolhardy, coming back to fight after I ordered you to retreat,” Rarity continued, “If you're going to be one of my soldiers, you better learn to follow orders.”
Wait, did she say… one of HER soldiers…?
“Um… what do you…” before Applejack could finish her thought, one of the other knights ran over to them.
“General, we secured most of the civilians, but some were unfortunately killed in the attack,” he said with a salute. Rarity looked absolutely crestfallen and placed a hand over her heart.
“Then this mission was a failure,” she said somberly, “Organize a vigil for those lost today, and let's prepare to head back to the Kingdom.”
“Yes sir!” he said running off. Applejack couldn't take her eyes off this woman. She seemed to almost internalize the deaths of those lost. Powerful, elegant, yet still soft in a way.
Rarity walked off, but then stopped turning to Applejack, “Well? Come along.”
“Um, you mean, when you said earlier that…” Applejack said.
“You'd probably end up following me anyway, so I figured why not just cut right to that point,” Rarity continued, “Come now. Would you rather spend your life wasting your talent and drive here, or refine your skill and make something of your life?”
Applejack thought about that. She was close to her family, and didn't want to leave them, but this was a once in a lifetime chance. Besides, this woman seemed to take interest in her. If Applejack went with her, could she stay close to her…?
She didn't even have to think about it. Would her family be upset at her? Probably. Was she abandoning her familial duties? Maybe a bit. But she needed to be next to this woman. She had to know her, and earn her respect.
So on that day, she left her family and simple life behind, and chose to become a knight in the service of Queen Celestia. That was also the day she became the personal student of General Rarity.
Applejack wondered if her family still lived here. It had been so long since she saw them, or even heard from them. By now her grandmother had passed on. Sadly Applejack never got to apologize to her. She left her home so she could follow Rarity and be by her side.
And what did she have to show for it? Sure she was a strong knight, now Captain of the Royal Guard, but her beloved friend was now gone. In the end, was it worth it?
I knew her, that much is all that matters.
I wouldn't trade any of that for the world.
DASH-379 lead them into a large cave full of glowing crystals. It was scary thinking of possibly fighting one of those giant statues here, but once they reached what was the main section of the cave, Twilight calmed down considerably.
The area was wide open, much like the other areas where they faced this things. It also looked sort of like a metallic structure.
“This is definitely the place,” Pinkamena said looking around, “See that? There's our Guardian.”
She pointed ahead, and the group saw a large statue sitting down in a throne. Like all of the others, it looked sort of like a knight, but this one actually had a large sword thrust into the ground next to it.
“It has a sword,” Twilight said, “Of course it has a sword. Why not?”
“My scans indicate that the Rainbow Shell is near the statue as well,” DASH-379 said, “I believe we will have to beat it in order to get the shell.”
“Then we really are killing two birds with one stone here,” Applejack said drawing her sword, “Everyone, get ready. This is going to be our toughest fight yet.”
Everyone drew their weapons and approached the statue. Right on cue, the entire room began to shake.
You who seek enlightenment…
I am one who guards the door to Zenith…
Only one who passes my test may enter…
The statue slowly rose to its feet and picked up its sword, getting in a fighting stance. It was scary since so far this guardian was the only one to do so.
“We're looking at a tough one here!” Applejack said. DASH-379 looked behind it and saw what looked like a multicolored spiral shell etched in the wall.
“Rainbow Shell located,” DASH-379 said.
“Let's hurry and take him out so we can get that sword finished!” Pinkamena said. Everyone got in their fighting stances and prepared for what was definitely going to be their toughest fight so far.
The Guardian started by charging up it's red element, and then cast what looked like Vigor on itself. It then immediately cast another element on itself, charging up it's body with even more energy and causing its body to glow brightly. (Bide)
The group wasted no time scattering so they wouldn't all get hit by its attack. As she ran, Twilight fired her arrows at the Guardian. She did little to no damage on it, but she could feel her energy building up which was more important.
She stopped running and charged up her white element, casting Healing Stream on everyone in the room with her. Pinkamena and DASH-379 both rushed at the guardian, taking turns attacking with their weapons, which sadly also seemed to do very little. Both of them jumped away from it and charged up their elements at the same time.
Pinkamena snapped her finger summoning a large ice cannon in front of her. She fired at the Guardian, temporarily freezing it. DASH-379 then rushed at it and kicked it rapidly with her leg charged up with electricity, eventually doing a back flip kick breaking it out of the ice. (Double Tech: Frostbite)
The Guardian slammed its blade onto the ground, creating a shock wave that knocked DASH-379 back. It then quickly charged up its red element again, only this time it's chest opened up revealing a large red gem stone that looked to be charging up energy.
“Something tells me we need to stop that NOW!” Twilight cried out. Fluttershy ran over to the Guardian and slashed with her daggers to build up energy. At the same time, Applejack attacked it with her sword. Once they had enough, Fluttershy jumped away and charged up her green element, using Razor Leaf on the Guardian.
It didn't even flinch.
“Attack not work?!” Fluttershy cried helplessly. Applejack looked at that and then charged up her red element. She then slammed her sword onto the ground causing a tower of fire to shoot up at the Guardian. That seemed to do something, but it still wasn't fazed.
Pinkamena quickly used what remaining energy she had left to cast Heal on DASH-379, “Everyone brae yourselves! This is gonna hurt!”
As soon as she said that, the Guardian fired a large red beam out of its gem downward. It's entire upper body spun around causing the laser to create a large circle around it, and then the entire area exploded with fire, knocking everyone back. (Over-Heat) After that attack, the Guardian fell to one knee, it's entire body smoking almost like DASH-379 after using ATHENA-Mode for too long.
Twilight forced herself to her feet and fired her arrows as best as she could, thankful to see that her attacks hit. Once she had enough, she charged up her white element, casting Mass Rejuvenation on everyone.
“It looks tired,” Twilight reasoned, “How is that possible?”
“It's body temperature has exceeded 300 degrees Centigrade,” DASH-379 stated, “I believe the integrity of it's outer frame has also dropped by 37 percent.”
“In English, please!” Pinkamena fussed.
“We can start actually hurting the damn thing now!” Applejack shouted, “DASH, you're with me!”
DASH nodded and charged up her yellow element, “Releasing all limiters! Activating ATHENA Mode!”
Once she entered her altered state, Applejack rushed at the Guardian and slashed it with everything she had. She then jumped back and charged up her red element while DASH-379 charged up her yellow element. The two of them then rushed to either side of the Guardian and used Beat Rush on it.
The Guardian slowly rose to its feet and swung its sword, sending a shock wave at DASH-379 and Applejack knocking them away. It then used it's red element, charging its body again with Bide.
“What is it doing with that?” Twilight asked, “That's not the first time this one used that move.”
“It looks like it's storing energy,” Applejack said, “I think we might need help from our sixth member, don't you?”
Twilight nodded and used her remaining energy to charge her white element, “Spike! Come forth!”
Spike's signature howl was heard throughout the room. A second later, a barrage of Shadow Balls fired down on the Guardian, doing mediocre damage as it stepped back a bit. Spike then walked over to Twilight, who pet him lovingly before getting back in her fighting stance.
Fluttershy rushed at the Guardian and slashed with her daggers to gather energy. She then charged up her green element, using Reinforce on everyone to raise their defense. Pinkamena did a few attacks on the Guardian as well, casting Ice Body on Twilight, raising her defense further.
The Guardian charged up its red element, and then fired a red laser at the ceiling. Molten rocks then fell down on top of the party. DASH-379 and Fluttershy managed to dodge all of them, but the rest of the group wasn't so lucky.
When the Guardian charged up its red element again, this time revealing that red gemstone, DASH-379 gritted her teeth.
“This is not good!” DASH stated, “The Guardian is getting ready to use that large attack again!”
“We need to stop it somehow!” Pinkamena fussed, “Any bright ideas?”
Mistress, I have a thought.
“Huh?” Twilight said turning to Spike, “What's your idea?”
The gem looks to be important. That might be its power source. Shall I try firing on it?
“If you think it'll work, then by all means,” Twilight requested. Spike nodded and rushed at the Guardian, thrashing and hitting it with his tail. Once he seemed to have enough energy, Spike jumped back to Twilight's side and howled loudly, charging up his black element. He then fired Shadow Balls out of his mouth at the Guardian, hitting the gem instead of the main body.
The Guardian made an odd sound and faltered a bit. It looked like that actually seriously hurt it.
“Girls! Attack the gem on its chest!” Twilight commanded, “That's the only way to seriously hurt it right now!”
“Understood!” DASH-379 said. Before she overheated, she charged up her yellow element and fired a Charged Shot at the gemstone. She would have fired again, but he felt herself hitting her limit and fell to one knee, “Systems… overheating…!”
Applejack slashed at the main body of the Guardian a bit to gather energy, but then jumped back really far charging up her red element. She prepared to fire her red laser to use Sword Dance, but then stopped squinting a bit at the gemstone.
“Damn it! How am I supposed to get my sword to hit it!” She asked, thinking about how far it was. Even being up close was dangerous. If she missed this, her entire attack would be useless. She then felt something, almost like a gentle hand touch hers.
Remember what I taught you…
You and your sword are one…
“Hold on… that's right…” Applejack said to herself, “So it's not my sword that has to hit it…” she relaxed her arm a bit, tightening the grip she had on her blade as a result, “It's me!”
She spun her sword around a bit and shot a red beam at the Guardian, hitting it's gemstone point blank. She then immediately appeared before the gemstone and used Sword Dance, actually cracking the gemstone. The Guardian fell to one knee as Applejack landed back on the ground and jumped away.
Fluttershy charged up her remaining green element and then jumped into the center of the room, using Tail Spin as it was her strongest technique. Twilight fired at the Guardian with her arrows, and then turned to Pinkamena and nodded. Both of them charged up their respective elements and used Healing Rain on everyone.
Applejack didn't give it a chance to get up. Instead, she charged up her red element and cast Vigor on herself. She then rushed at the Guardian holding her sword ready, almost able to feel General Rarity running next to her.
Now! As one!
“Right! Together!” Applejack shouted. She then jumped up to the gemstone, and slashed at a diagonal at the Guardian, which somehow now had an X shaped slash mark on it. Needless to say though, the Guardian's gemstone shattered, and it's entire body became lifeless.
The path to enlightenment has now been opened…
Proceed now to the door to Zenith…
Applejack sheathed her sword and then looked up at the remains of the gemstone. How had that other slash appeared. Was it possible that somehow…
“Great work, bestie!” Pinkamena called out, snapping Applejack out of her moment, “That idea was perfect!”
“Hey, it wasn't like it was my idea,” Twilight said as Pinkamena hugged her, “Spike was the one who came up with that.”
DASH-379 walked over to the Rainbow Shell. It was big, but not too big for her to pick up. She pulled it out of the wall and then held it over her head.
“Mission complete,” DASH-379 said, “Let us return to Facet's workshop.”
“DASH want help?” Fluttershy asked as they walked out of the cave.
“That would not be wise, Fluttershy. This object is much to heavy for a normal human to lift,” DASH explained.
“Hey,” Twilight said to Applejack, “Good job there.”
“T-thanks,” Applejack said. As they left the cave, Applejack looked back at the Guardian. Had she finally learned the final lesson? And also, had her teacher's spirit come back to fight by her side one last time?
Questions for another time, Applejack thought as she followed her group out of the cave. Now that they got this far, there was one more thing that she needed to do. Only after this, could her teacher finally rest.