After the events of Mogloween, Heaross had been escorted to Ponyville's hospital, a building he hadn't noticed in his explorations. It was fittingly named Ponyville General. After a thorough checkup and several layers of bandages all around his chest, Heaross was released to go home, though with a deadening spell placed on his chest. He wouldn't admit it, but the pain had been almost unbearable after drinking the potion.
One major thing Heaross had noticed after ingesting the elixir was that the scar the manticore had given him was completely gone. It was almost as if he hadn't been clawed in the first place. Understandably, Heaross was both depressed and elated at the scar being removed. Depressed because it was a major reminder of the home he had lost, while elated because the thing had always twinged him when he bent too much in certain directions. Along with this, several of Heaross' other scars were gone too. He was in a foul mood the day after when he had noticed it in the hospital.
Heaross was currently in his home, relaxing on his bed while reading a book Twilight had recommended to him while recovering. 'Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone' was the name of it. Personally, Heaross enjoyed the novel, a complex adventure of treasure hunting and mystery solving that kept him quite entertained. The main character, Daring Do, also very much reminded him of Valencia, the world famous treasure hunter of his home. The two were so similar, Heaross had to wonder if maybe they were dimensional copycats. Or maybe the author had met Valencia, and wrote a series based on a pony version of her. Or maybe Daring Do is Valencia, just turned into a pony. Or maybe it was simply coincidence, and Heaross was looking too much into it.
In any case, the warrior continued to read the story, enraptured in the mysteries and action well written by the author. After finishing the final sentence of the book, Heaross softly closed the novel, setting it aside him. Stretching, he rose from the bed, going over to his desk, barely a few paces away. On a small to-do list he made, he wrote "Meet A. K. Yearling" in the column. As the Guardian was about to return to his bed for a nap, his eyes fell on the small orb Discord had given him the week prior.
After arguing with himself if he wanted to take a nap or not, Heaross sat in the chair and picked up the small marble. The glowing energies which he recognized as the Elements flowed inside the orb, spinning and cascading around each other. As only five of the Elements were contained in the orb, there was a bit of an imbalance in the energies, causing small sparks to appear occasionally inside. The amounts of the pure Elemental energy were small enough to imbue something with power, but not enough to be used as power themselves. Thus, they were harmless as is.
The Grandmaster watched the Elements interact and affect each other, mesmerized by the floating power. The Fire Element knocked into the Water Element, sparking with the Energy Element, which bumped into the Ice Element, thus spinning around the Wind Element. Each of the Elements moved in tangential harmony and chaos, creating a captivating light show that on a grander scale would equate to an aurora flowing across the sky. Puzzled, Heaross grabbed the paper he had used to record what the orb had said when he first held it.
Mike Elemental... While Heaross didn't want to face something he had no prior experience of while recovering, this Elementalist didn't sound like someone evil. Who knows, maybe he even knew some healing spells. Deciding to take a chance, Heaross rose, holding the orb aloft. Calling out in a loud commanding voice, Heaross said, "Mike Elemental, I call upon you! Heed my cry and come!" A bright flash came from the orb, blinding him.
In another parallel Equestria, a young man was resting peacefully inside his mansion, at the center of the Everfree. It was a peaceful day, and after getting Thunder Blitz, the place was starting to get livelier again.
It was at that very moment that his link to the Elements vibrated, sending him into a instant battle stance on top of his bed. Looking around, he found nobody. “What…?” he muttered, confused.
At the same time, the phoenix trio all barged into his room, stopping right in front of him. “What in the world was that?” Fire Strike asked.
Mike stood in the same place, trying to remember the feeling. However, it was Claw Leafs’ voice that answered the pending question. “Seems like a summon from another World, if I’m guessing right.”
Hail Breeze tilted his head. “Summon?”
“Oh, that’s right. Mike hasn’t told you all yet? He created his own token shortly arriving home. Just in case some displaced needed his help.”
“With the condition that I wouldn’t go anywhere until I got the first Element.” Mike added. He started to feel the pull of the summon. “Seems like the token is quite effective. I’m feeling it reacting to the call.”
“Then you better suit up.” Fire Strike said. “The voice seemed that it was a powerful warrior, who knows what we’ll find.”
Mike smiled. “Alright then. Take care of the house, Leaf.”
“As usual. Just be careful and return safely. I’m getting impatient.”
Mike chuckled. “Relax, I’ll be getting you soon enough.” he turned to the trio. “Ready?”
“Aw yeah! Adventure!” Thunder Blitz yelled, before turning into Spirit form and entering his respective armor plate. Fire Strike and Hail Breeze followed after. Mike looked forward, took a step and jumped, letting the pull of his token do his work.
Everything went white.
The bright flash lasted only a few moments, but Heaross could barely see after the light had dimmed down. When his eyes were finally able to adjust back to the normal light of the room, Heaross saw a strange figure kneeling on his floor. The evidently male character seemed to be glowing slightly, maybe from the magic effect that brought him here. He wore a strange suit of light armor, made of several different pieces that each bore a color of red, blue, and yellow. The armor seemed quite strong, but the coloring would make him a walking target in broad daylight or moonlight. Wrapped around the man’s body was a strange white band and stripes, to which Heaross could detect an enchantment to make the band much heavier than it actually is.
As he watched, the glow from the figure died down until only the light from Heaross’ lantern kept the room bright. When the figure stood up, Heaross saw his face. The young man looked around his mid-twenties with brown eyes and dark hair slightly pulled back. He stretched a little and sighed. “Never thought my trip to another World would be like this.” he muttered. He then looked at Heaross.
Eventually, as both men regarded each other, they both broke into cocky smiles, colored with wariness. Introducing himself, Heaross said, “Greetings, you must be Mike Elemental. I am Heaross, Guardian of Battleon, at your service.”
“Nice to meet you, Heaross.” returned Mike, “Indeed I am. Mike ‘Holy Hands’ Elemental, the Elementalist. Why did you use my token to call me?”
“Well,” Heaross said, sitting down with a grimace, “I was simply curious. ‘Holy Hands?’”
Mike chuckled. “Yes, that. I earned that title after learning how to give massages. You will find no greater masseuse in Equestria.” Mike said this while wagging his fingers.
“We will see, Mike.” Heaross gave a sharp intake of breath then, feeling the deadening spell on his chest give out. “There it is…” Addressing Mike now. “You wouldn’t happen to know of a healing spell, would you?”
Mike frowned, noticing the bandages. “What happened to your chest?” he asked warily.
“I learned the lesson that you should never let Twilight think you died.” Heaross looked away, slightly embarrassed at the thought. “In any case,” he continued, “Think those ‘Holy Hands’ could help me out? My chest literally feels like it’s being crushed.” Heaross had a smirk before losing it at the pain in his chest.
Mike took note of his pain. He closed his eyes for a moment and opened again, this time revealing to be baby blue. He flinched. “Ouch. Yeah, I can see you need a treatment urgently. Fire Strike!” he called towards his right armplate.
The red armplate glowed, and a red sphere came out. It burst into flames and from them a phoenix materialized, landing right next to him. He looked at Mike. “What do you need?” Fire Strike asked.
“Phoenix tears.” Mike replied, keeping his eyes still fixed at Heaross. “A vial to drink, another to apply for a Healing and Recovery Treatment, with one feather to speed recovery.” Fire Strike nodded and started looking around for a pair of vials.
“A phoenix?” Heaross asked, surprised at seeing the phoenix moving around swiftly.
“Fire Strike, of the Fires of Loyalty.” Mike replied, as his eyes returned to dark brown. “More like a friend and companion. You better lie down on the side for a start. I need to relief some of the accumulated pressure on your chest.”
Heaross complied and lied down on the bed. Mike clapped his hands and rubbed them to warm up. “I’ll try to be quick and precise so that you don’t feel too much pain.” before Heaross could respond, several quick hits struck his spine in different places. Heaross groaned in pain, but before he could say anything else, Mike had turned around the bed and gave two hits on each side of his chest.
“Are you helping me or killing me?” Heaross growled through the pain of the hits he was receiving together with the pain he already had.
“Helping you.” Mike replied calmly. “But never expect a treatment for your case to be painless at first. Lie on your back.”
“Don’t you have any spells to heal?” Heaross groaned as he shifted to lie on his back, noticing Fire Strike approaching, with two vials full of a crystalline liquid held on each of his large tail feathers, and a small, red feather on his beak. He idly wondered where the vials came from, since Heaross never kept any in his house.
“My spells either rely on offense and defense during battle, sometimes for housework.” Mike spoke as he formed a cup with his hands. “Support and healing are not my forte, but in certain cases I can use a treatment to compensate.” Fire Strike poured one of the vials into the cupped hands, letting Mike wash them over quickly, before taking the red feather and crushing it between his palms. There was a light ‘bomf’, and smoke came out of his hands. When Mike parted his hands, his palms were glowing. “All right, now I can start the Treatment.”
Mikes’ hands blurred. Before Heaross could feel it, he saw the speed of the treatment Mike was giving. His hands hovered over Heaross’ body, barely touching him, but he could feel his fingers giving slight touches from time to time.
Just as fast as he started, Mike suddenly stopped, sighing in relief. “All right, all done.” he looked at Heaross. “How do you feel?”
Heaross moved his neck to face Mike. And felt every bone and muscle give at once.
His body tensed up, going rigid as every bone connection cracked just from a slight movement. His body felt like a firework factory for three seconds, before falling limp again on the bed, taking a deep breath. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d call you Robina. Wow, everything does not feel like working.”
“Yeah, a side effect of my treatment.” Mike explained absently. “Your chest should not hurt anymore, and I took the liberty of relieving some of the pent up stress you had.” he took the second vial from Fire Strike and thanked him. Fire Strike nodded and went back into the armplate. He passed the vial to Heaross “Drink this. It’s phoenix tears. A little salty, but it will heal any internal injury you have, together with helping the recovery I just gave you.”
“I don’t think I have any more internal injuries, but alright.” Heaross took the vial, swirling it for a moment. “Don’t argue with the doctor, right?” The warrior sat up before chugging the liquid in one complete go. “Yeah, that’s salty.” Heaross took a deep breath before standing up and removing his bandages. He did some stretches to limber his muscles up after little use for so long.
“Nice physique.” Mike complimented. “You must be rather strong.”
“Well,” Heaross responded, “I am very strong. The figure is just a nice side effect of extensive workout sessions.” He continued moving his arms and legs around until he turned back to Mike, asking, “Care to trade blows with me for a moment? I do rather enjoy a good spar.”
Cocky grins settled on both of their faces, regarding each other’s strength. “I don’t see why not.” Mike answered. “I must warn you, however. Appearances aren’t everything, I am much stronger than I look.”
“Good.” Heaross replied. “I won’t have to hold back.” The Guardian used a spell to switch to his Ultra Guardian Armor, the dark plates shining cleanly. “Would you say the Everfree forest would be a good battleground? It’s far enough away from civilization.”
“I can agree to that.” Both combatants headed out of the house and into the dark forest situated not very far from where they were.
“I can feel that you’re pretty strong, Mike.” Heaross complimented.
“Likewise, Heaross.” Mike returned.
Both men stood ready, combat stances rigid while they prepared themselves for their strongest strike.
“But I feel that you’re not going all out. Care to not hold back for just one punch?” Heaross asked, cockily.
Mike raised an eyebrow, but shrugged and smiled. “Sure. Make sure you don’t regret it.” he returned, just as cocky.
“Alright then.” The Grandmaster stepped back from the Elementalist, sheathing his sword.
“Let’s do this.” The Elementalist took a stance.
Mike dashed, right fist at the ready. During the distance, a white band surrounding the right wrist detached, as his right fist got covered by an ice gauntlet, fire bursting from his elbow, giving more momentum and striking the Grandmaster right where the armor was the strongest.
Heaross braced for the impact of the punch. He knew it would be strong. He didn’t expect however, to be sent back flying through the entire of the Everfree, back out and towards Ponyville.
Mike blinked. “I overdid it, didn’t I?” he muttered.
Thunder Blitz peeked from his plate. “Well, he asked for it.”
“We better make sure if he’s alright.” Mike said.
Fire Strike materialized. “He’s fine. The punch you gave was strong, and his armor proved to have a good defense.”
“How do you know?” Mike asked.
“There wasn’t even a dent when he flew back.” Fire Strike replied.
“Even so, better safe than sorry. Thunder Blitz?”
The yellow phoenix went back into the plate. Fire Strike took off in the direction Heaross went, as Mike took a small sprint, zigzagging between the trees like a blur.
“I just remembered something.” Hail Breeze spoke up during the sprint.
“What is it?” Mike asked.
“How will the natives of this World react when they find out you knocked out their protector?”
Mike slowed down for a moment. “Let’s hope he’s conscious when we arrive.” he replied. “But just in case, let’s keep our defense up.”
As Mike approached the end of the Everfree, an armor made of ice materialized around his body. Upon arriving at the edge of Ponyville, he saw Heaross in a kneeling stance, one knee upon the ground. The warrior didn’t seem to even be breathing heavy.
Heaross, detecting that Mike was there, slowly rose onto his feet, meeting the Elementalist’s eyes. “I’ll give you this, you are certainly strong. You were able to punch me with 83 tons of force. Not something to sneeze at, I assure you.” He said with a smile. “But we agreed to not hold back, right?” Mike nodded. “That’s what I thought.”
Slowly, as Heaross started moving towards him, the air grew heavy around the Grandmaster. When they were barely a few feet apart, Mike almost felt as if he was going to fall under the sheer pressure. “As the Grandmaster Warrior of the Guardians,” Heaross started, “I have certainly gained a few benefits. One of them,” he said, holding up a finger, “is that the Grandmasters, not just me, have a Limiter Spell placed on them. This serves three purposes. 1. It allows us to go about a normal day without breaking anything. 2. It allows us to gain even more strength through pushing past our now greatly increased limits.
“And third and finally, when we break the Limiter, an effect takes place around us. Mine, for instance as I am sure you are feeling right now, judging by the way you can barely stand, causes a sort of pressure to form around me. Most aren’t able to withstand the force of it, and feel themselves being crushed, almost as if they went too far underwater. Now,” Heaross said, holding up Mike’s chin with a finger, “How strong do you think I have to be to cause that sort of pressure, hmm?”
Mike wasn’t able to imagine the sheer power Heaross had, if his effect could cause this much trouble for him to simply stand. “That’s what I thought.” The Grandmaster said at the Elementalist’s silence. “Now, for that punch.” Heaross took a few steps back from Mike, lessening the pressure around him slightly, though that changed when the warrior rushed towards him, punching him full on in the gut.
Heaross had the small worry that he may have overdid it, fully breaking his Limiter. The worry was nullified when he felt Mike’s magical essence fly away, but not diminish. Taking that as a good sign that he didn’t kill the man, Heaross set off towards where he flew away, idly wondering if had set a new record in launching distance.
Mike on the other side was glad he put on the armor. Hail Breezes’ Ice Armor can be stronger than diamond and capable of withstanding critical hits, shattering to lessen the damage towards its user. As he flew back, he could see the point of impact where Heaross hit him. The armor had cracked visibly and a few pieces were flying out, turning into vapor. The trip however was brief, when Fire Strike caught him in midair. Or rather, collided with him.
“Okay… what the heck happened?” the phoenix asked, holding Mike by his shoulders and keeping aloft.
Mike however, looked thoughtful. “He withstood the punch.” a wicked grin appeared. “Alright then. He’s worthy.” he looked down, spotting Heaross looking up at him. “Let’s go down.”
Heaross watched as Mike landed, the phoenix going back into his armplate. “So, did you enjoy the flight?”
As Mike touched the ground, Heaross was suddenly assaulted by a heavy pressure, almost identical to his own. “I’m glad you told me about your limiter. Let me tell you about mine.” He took a step forward, the pressure only increasing, forcing Heaross to kneel. “I possess two sets of restraints: One white, the primary, and one black, the secondary, only in last resort.” He kneeled to be face to face with Heaross. “The pressure you’re feeling is something I only do to avoid confrontation or just to intimidate. Even so, I guess you can tell we’re both similar in that regard. But I digress.” The pressure faded. “When I usually fight, I like to measure my opponent’s strength, so I fight with all my restraints. And I’m at 25% strength. The punch you took from me was already boosted with the Elements, but without the primary restraint. My right arm would be going at 50%, 65 with the boost when it connected. And I’m glad you withstood. In my World, a punch like that can knock out a mountain-sized dragon.”
Heaross, still kneeling, said, “65%, huh? I gave you that punch at full power.” Standing now, he continued, “Would you believe me if I said I had a couple more tricks up my sleeve?”
Mike grinned. “And who said I haven’t?”
“Well,” Heaross started, “I myself have 2 more forms that would make this more interesting. For the sake of the forest, I’m not going to reveal those.” As he reinstated the Limiter Spell, Heaross moved into a more comfortable distance to talk at.
Mike nodded. “I’ll have to agree with you. In my case, releasing all my restraints is something I rather leave for a last resort.” He grimaced. “Putting them back on is a pain afterwards. And besides, I don’t have all the Element Spirits with me.” He gave Heaross a playful knock on his chest armor, grinning. “And let me be honest, I was kind of eager to know if I could punch you all the way to Canterlot, but I would rather not surprise the princesses.”
“True,” Heaross returned, also grinning, “They might be a bit peeved if I just flew in their windows, unannounced.” Pulling out a couple health and mana potions, he offered them to the visitor. “Here, take some potions. The red ones can heal you back up to tip fighting form, restoring your stamina as well. The blue ones restore your mana pool, so you can cast more spells. They’re also rather effective at curing headaches.”
“Thanks, Heaross. Anything I should keep in mind with these?”
“Don’t drink a health potion if you broke a bone or are ill, they only make it worse. Be careful not to spill the mana potions, weird things happen if you do. Otherwise, not really. The bottles are glass though, so careful there.”
Mike took out a small leather pouch, to which he stored the potions inside. “Might be useful sometime, when Fire Strike isn’t with me. Thanks.” He took a look towards the setting sun, deciding he had stayed in the World for long enough. “I had fun here, Heaross.”
“A fine day for me too, Mike.” The Grandmaster offered an arm to the Elementalist, to which he gladly took.
“If you ever need me, don’t hesitate to use my token again.”
“A token?” Heaross questioned. “So that’s what the orb was. Care to show me how to make one?”
“Maybe some other time.” Mike grinned, letting go of the warrior’s arm. “In order to go back, you have to send me through my token. Take care, Heaross.”
“You too, Mike.” He returned, taking out Mike’s token. “Your service has been fulfilled. I, Heaross, send Mike Elemental back to his World.” The orb flashed once, and Mike vanished.
Letting a sigh fall, Heaross turned from where his friend stood and started making his way back to Ponyville, storing the orb in a pouch. As he idly wondered what it was Twilight and her friends did over the day, he saw the mares entering the little hamlet from the train station.
Twilight noticed Heaross standing there, watching them. With a few words to her companions, she ran towards the Guardian, leaping into his arms, where he caught and held her tightly. “Hey Heaross.” She greeted happily.
“Hey Twilight.” He responded. “What did you do today?”
“I met A.K. Yearling.” She said this with a big smile.
“The one who wrote the Daring Do series, right?” At Twilight’s nod, he said, “Color me jealous. I actually wanted to meet her.”
“Maybe you can meet her sometime soon.” She offered with a cheeky grin. “Anyways, what did you do today?”
“I made a new friend today.”
“Well, that’s good.” Twilight and Heaross shared a kiss before he let her down, where she returned to her friends and continued their conversation. Smiling, Heaross returned to his house for some food and rest.
Once he had finished eating, Heaross moved to the desk in his bedroom. He took out a small leather pouch, whereupon he deposited the contents onto the surface. A small, grey feather. A stamped Dragon’s Tongue. A tiny, incredibly sharp tooth. A broadsword, shrunken to an insect’s size. A lock of sharp blue hair. The orb from Mike. A pair of photos, worn with age.
Heaross looked over each of the items fondly, remembering his family, the one from the farm, and the one in the tower. If he had the chance, he’d do it all over again.