And I Hope You Die

by Aquaman

One Good Thing to Say

Instead of dodging Cozy’s attack, Flurry rooted herself in place. And instead of blocking the incoming blow, she just stopped it—grabbed hold of Cozy’s body with her magic, froze her in mid-lunge, then twisted, crumpled, crushed her down to the ground. She heard the breath leave Cozy’s lungs, the distant groan of the impact rattling through the castle’s foundation—and then she hit her again.

She didn’t give Cozy a chance to counter, or even to get back upright. When Cozy lifted her head, Flurry met it with an amorphous mass of energy moving fast enough to shatter teeth. When Cozy ducked and tried to spring into a crouch, Flurry pulverized the floor beneath her hooves, and sent her and the broken pieces of crystal flying away from her. Even when Cozy summoned every Heart shard in the room and slammed them together as a makeshift shield, Flurry just tore right through them, her horn glowing white-hot, her gaze flat and disinterested like she was choosing shoes to wear to Cozy’s funeral.

Soon, sprays of sweat and spit become streaks of blood, marring what little of the castle’s throne room hadn’t already been destroyed. No matter what Flurry threw at her, Cozy kept trying to fight back—but with every titanic strike that would’ve turned any other mortal pony into a mess of bones and mangled flesh rent from them, Flurry could feel Cozy weakening. The Crystal Heart’s magic made Cozy stronger than a mortal pegasus could ever hope to become, but it couldn’t make her an alicorn. And it couldn’t come close to the power that a natural-born one could wield.

Finally, instead of impacting against Cozy’s impossibly resilient form, Flurry’s magic pushed straight through her. Cozy slammed against the far wall hard enough to bring pony-sized slabs of crystal crashing down on top of her, and when the dust settled, she didn’t stand back up. Flurry cleared the debris with an errant flick of her horn, and she saw Cozy Glow suck in a breath. She was bleeding from a dozen places, battered almost beyond recognition, but she was alive—and as she weakly looked up at the Princess, Flurry saw the light of the Heart’s magic still shining in her eyes.

“That’s… more like it,” Cozy wheezed, flashing chipped teeth stained crimson as she glared and grinned. “But it’s... not enough. You know it’s not.”

“Just give the magic back, Cozy,” Flurry ordered her, quelling the lightning inside her horn just long enough for its lingering thunder to force some sense into Cozy’s thick skull. “It’s not too late. The Crystal Heart’s been broken before, I can put it back–”

Cozy Glow interrupted her with coughing, sputtering, hideous laughter. “Oh, honey, it’s way too late,” she said. “You think I did all this, froze your entire empire, just by borrowing the Heart’s magic?”

Flurry furrowed her brow. Cozy spat on the floor, leaving a fresh red stain that trickled into the shape of a twisted smile. “I didn’t break that thing, babe, I destroyed it,” Cozy said. “My heart is the Crystal Heart now. And that magic isn’t coming out of me unless you have the ‘nads to take it.”

She was lying. She had to be. Even Cozy wasn’t that crazy. Even she would know better than to absorb the Heart’s power completely, to meld it so totally with her body’s natural magic that one couldn’t exist without the other. If she'd really done that, then that magic really wasn’t coming back. Flurry couldn’t move it back to its original vessel without destroying the new one—and left unchecked in Cozy’s body, the magic would grow in strength and influence until, in a matter of days, it overwhelmed her. That wasn’t a foolhardy plan for world domination, that was suicide. 

“I kept trying to tell you how this was going to end,” Cozy said, her voice just a tiny bit softer than before. “Well, now you know.”

Oh, Celestia save her, this was suicide.

“Only one of this is leaving this room alive, Flurry. And if I had to guess, I don’t think it’s gonna be me.”