I, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was pure and utter chaos, the kind that would have made ol’ Dissy proud. There was destruction everywhere I looked, fires raging in certain parts, and ponies running for their lives from the massive behemoth that was destroying the city. It was large and long, with a head that looked as if it were made of bone, with a massive spinal-like feature running down it’s back. It had a enormous maw and bulbous turrets that jutted out from parts of its spine. It had to be at least fifty feet in length and was roughly half the size of the castle. I remembered this monster from the game, a creature that had feasted upon children that were trapped in its realm. The great leviathan, Nushi.
I tried to shake myself from the shock as its massive tail trashed yet another building, sending it to the ground as a pile of ruble. “Dusty, are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
“If you mean the massive fish destroying the royal city, then yes, yes I see it. How are you suppose to fight that thing? It’s massive!”
“If I remember right, there’s a weak point on the back of its head. There was some condition for it to appear, but I can’t recall what that…”
The great beast opened its maw as we spoke and energy began to build in its mouth. A second later, a massive beam of gravitational energy was fired from it, destroying three blocks of the city in seconds. I noticed on the back of its head was the red eye that needed to be smashed.
“Oh, right. It has to do that for it to appear. This is going to be the most property damage yet. Alright, let’s get this over with.”
“Uh, Kat....” Dusty carried off and I followed his gaze downward, my eyes widening in horror. Not only was the Nushi here, but also he had a pack of nevi with him! I saw Hulks, Stars, and Minions all over the place. Then I looked back to Nushi, and saw that the monster was actually creating its own guards!
“Aw… buck! This is going to be a chore.” I powered up, Dusty hovering with me, and flew off to take on the monster.
As I flew, I slammed my shield and staff into several nevis, trying to give the populace a better chance to escape. There were still ponies running everywhere, and it made me choke back a few sobs to see some were lying dead in the streets. This steeled my resolve as I charged the Nushi. I went up under its chin and flew straight up, bashing my shield into its jaw. The monster flew up slightly, but simply used the momentum to turn in midair. Then came my crap moment, when I got slingshotted by its tail. Yeah… that happened.
I flew backwards at incredible speed, slamming into a building and came out the other side. I plummeted to the ground, making a crater with my body. I groaned as I tried to get back up, feeling pain racking my body.
“Kat! Are you injured?”
“I’m… I’m fine. A little shaken up, but fine. Oh man, how can that thing pack such a wallop?”
“I’m not sure, but we have to destroy it soon, or it will destroy everything here. Then who knows what it will do.”
I nodded, getting shakily to my feet. “Let’s get this done. I got repairs to make.” I took off and flew right back at the leviathan, only to be blasted by its turrets, falling to a roof. I got up once again and flew back, bashing away a Star in the process. As the nevi dispersed, I found myself face to face with a gaping maw. I blanched as the beam powered up. Stupid on my part as I was frozen in place as the massive beam of energy was fired directly at me. I had just enough cognitive thought to put the shield between me and the blast, but I was still sent flying, crashing once again into a building. I groaned in pain as I pulled myself from the wall I found myself pressed into.
“Kat?” I opened my eyes painfully to see to familiar alicorns staring at me in surprise, which I returned.
“What are you two doing here?!”
“That’s what we were wondering about you,” Luna said, surprisingly not sounding angry or annoyed.
“I’m trying to fight off that!” I pointed back out of the hospital. Their gazes followed and then widened and paled at seeing the Nushi attacking Canterlot.
“What is that thing?!” they screamed.
“That’s the Nushi, the most powerful of all the nevi. And I’m trying to stop him from destroying everything.”
Celestia looked at me in surprise, while Luna stared at the monster. “Why? Why would you help?”
“Because… because that’s who I am,” I admitted with a shy smile. Then it turned remorseful. “I hope to show you that in time. But for now, I’ll be content with defending. Where’s the staff, they should be evacuating you.”
“We haven’t seen anypony since the earthquakes, which we are guessing was that thing,” Luna explained, pointing out the hole in the wall.
“They probably all ran off, but that doesn’t explain the guards disappearing. Ah, just stay here then,” I said as I started to march back into battle. Then I stopped. “Dusty! Keep an eye on them for me. Let me know if something comes to attack.”
“As you wish, Kitten,” Dusty said as he appeared between the two princesses, who went bug-eyed at seeing him. “Hello princesses. I hope you are pleased that you didn’t kill me.” I noticed out of the corner of my eyes, that both princesses were doing impressive impersonations of fishes, Dusty giving them a trollish smile. I smiled and shook my head, then shot off.
I was going the speed of a bullet, aiming right for that stupid eye on the back of its head. If I could just cause enough damage, I could prevent it from firing off the beam it was charging. I fired up my Spiralling Claw, giving me the needed boost to plow right into its weak spot. I put as much pressure as I could, but the damned eye wouldn’t burst! I ran out of stamina for the claw and I had to retreat. Thankfully, it was enough of a force to keep Nushi from firing.
I panted in exhaustion, this fight taking a lot out of me after my time with Sombra. This beast is far too powerful for me to take on by myself. I need help, I need -- Oh crap, it noticed me! I was slammed by its tail once again, shooting down and into the ground.
“I gotta rethink this whole hero thing sometime. It’s not good for my health,” I choked out as I pried myself from another crater. I looked around me, and could only see destruction. Bodies lay dead in the streets, nevi were running rampant, and the Nushi was destroying everything from above. This was no attack, it was a full on invasion! I was subtly reminded of Avengers for a moment as I took in everything. The sight brought tears to my eyes, especially since I couldn’t do anything.
I knew Garble and the others would come in time, as they always did when nevi appeared, but by the time they made it, there might not be a city to save. I needed help now. But how? From who? I sighed, looking the ground in sorrow. That’s when I saw it, a gleaming medallion in the rocks at my feet. I bent down and picked it up, revealing the totem that my teacher had gifted to me. That was it!
“This will do it! Gilgamesh will surely help me!” I said with glee. There was no way he could deny my request to help the innocent! I help up the medallion and shouted, “Oh great and mighty Gilgamesh, I ask for your aid! I, Kat Shifter, the Gravity Queen, required your assistance in defending Canterlot from a great threat! I summon you, oh great and mighty warrior!”
I waited like that for a moment, expecting him to come gallivanting out of a portal like he used to. One minute, one and a half, two… and nothing. Only the breeze of the wind and the sounds of destruction. I lowered my arm and stared in horror at the coin. Was... was he ignoring me? Did, did I really mess up so bad that he wouldn’t even talk to me?! “Gilgy?” I whispered to the coin, sorrow and dread filling my voice.
“B, but I can’t do this on my own.” I looked up at the monster that was causing all of this pain, only to see it was much farther away. Almost near…
“Kat! Get back to the hospital! The Nushi is coming!!”
My eyes widened and I rushed off, warping from my spot back to the hospital room. Just in time, too, as I put my and my shield in front of Celestia and a stream of gravity blasts. “Made it,” I whispered to myself. I looked out at the missing section of the building, the Nushi having made a much bigger hole. It stared down at us, its soulless eyes watching us with intensity. It roared loudly, declaring us its enemies. I looked behind me and smiled sadly. “Don’t worry, I’m going to protect you. Just as I should have been doing all this time.” Celestia and Luna were shocked by my words, but I couldn’t focus on that. I need to focus on the giant monster in front of us. I brandished my shield, my staff held out at the ready. “YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS!!!!” I roared in return.
The leviathan brought down its tail, to which I met it with a gravity kick. I batted back a turret blast, bashed away a limb, and held back a head butt. There was no way in hell, I was going to let this thing get the princesses. But it was getting to be too much. Faster than I could block, I was smacked by one of its clawed limbs and sent back to the hospital floor.
“Kat, look out!” I opened my eyes to see another limb barreling down on me. I rolled to the side just as it passed through the floor. This was getting nowhere fast. Not even in the game could this thing be beaten by only one. I needed help. The princesses would normally be an option, but with Celestia missing her horn and Luna still pretty beat up, there was no way it was going to happen. I could call on Auric since I still had his coin on me, but I had no idea if that knowitall pony could fight. He claimed he could, but I highly doubted it. That left my only option to be my former teacher. I needed Gilgamesh.
I summoned the medallion to my hand and fixed it to the shield with a stasis field and tried again. “Gilgamesh! I request your aid once again! I need your help! I can’t save them without you!” I dodged another blast, constantly making sure the Princesses, who Dusty had moved to the room across the hall as more and more of the building was destroyed, would not be harmed.
“Gilgy!” I screamed, taking a blast to the gut.
“Come on, Gilgamesh!” I was trapped against the floor. A claw followed me to the floor and impaled my staff arm. I screamed in agony, but had to beat back another that tried to go for my other arm. More and more blasts were fired from it and I had to strike each with only my shield. Then one shot got lucky and blasted my shield free of my arm and was sent flying across the room. I looked up in fear at the massive nevi.
“GILGY, PLEASE!” I screamed as its maw opened wide.
“GILGAMESH!” Energy gathered into a massive ball, aimed right at my head. I was pale with fear. I didn’t want to die, not like that, not without fixing everything!
I poured everything I had into one last shout, begging to be saved.
A massive blast rang out. For a moment I thought I was dead until I noticed that my arm still hurt. I opened my eyes to see that Nushi had been smashed into a nearby building, as if it had been swatted out of the air. But more important was the tall and armored figure that stood in front with his back to me, his weapon drawn as his scarf flowed in the wind.
“Sorry I didn’t respond immediately. I was going through a rough time,” he said in a calm voice before turning his head towards me. “That’s no excuse to let my student suffer. I apologize.”
I stared at him in shock and awe, seeing that monster struck away so easily. Then I began to tear up and a smile touched my lips. “Gilgy,” I whispered before flinging myself at him. “Sensei!” Yeah, I glomped him, so what?
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so affectionate, Kat. I hope it hasn’t been too rough without me,” he said as he hugged me back.
“Uh… noooo,” I said slowly. Before he could ask what that meant, Dusty called out to me.
“Kitten? Kitten are you alright?” He walked and stopped upon seeing Gilgamesh. “What am I looking at here?”
“Ah, Dusty. We finally meet. It’s good to see my student has her old friend back.”
“Ah, so this is the warrior you spoke of. The one that was strange beyond what should be allowed, I believe were your words.”
I facepalmed. “Dusty, sometimes you have no tact at all.”
“I’m just teasing you, Kitten. Ah, here comes the princesses.”
I blanched. “Uh oh.”
“What’s wrong? We could use their help,” Gilgamesh asked. “Honestly I’m surprised they’re not helping alre-”
He cut himself off as he saw the two alicorns enter the room. “Is the monster gone?” asked Celestia, Gilgamesh staring at the lack of a horn on her head.
“No, it’s only been pushed down for a little bit, but it’ll get up soon,” I replied, slowly distancing myself from the speechless Gilgamesh. This was not going to be good.
He looked back and forth between me and Celestia for a few moments before his eyes began burning in anger. I could hear him gritting his teeth underneath his faceguard. I was sure he was going to hit me right there until he closed his eyes and took in a deep breath before letting it go.
“Be like water,” I heard him mutter before opening his eyes. “An issue to be resolved later. Kat, get the Princesses to safety, or at least somewhere safer. I’ll hold this thing off for a little while. And Kat?” I saw his eyes burn with anger. “When this is over, we will have words,” he finished in a venomous tone.
I gulped and nodded, but then remembered one problem. “One issue with that.”
“What?” he asked.
I pointed back out of the hole, down at the rampaging hordes of nevi in the streets. “He made some friends.” I turned to my guardian. “Dusty, can you get them somewhere safe?”
He nodded. “Easy enough. Be careful, kitten, but you may want to use a healing crystal before that hole in your arm gets any worse.”
I looked over at my right shoulder and sighed. “Two holes in one day. This sucks.” I opened up my storage and looked for a crystal before paling. I pulled out the lone healing crystal in there. “Uh oh.”
“What’s wrong?” Gilgamesh asked.
“I only have one left. B-but I can’t use this!”
I could see him about to ask why until he noticed the Princesses again. He nodded to himself for a moment before walking over to me and raising his arm.
I felt the hole begin to heal and close. A second later, there was but a lone hole in my clothes where it used to be through skin and bone. “Thanks Gilgy,” I said with a smile before putting away the crystal. I then powered up and looked out at the nevi. “Now, let’s go kill some monsters. Keep them safe Dusty!” I jumped out of the building, heading straight for a Hulk and taking it out in one blow.
“Keep yourself safe, Kitten!” I heard him yell back.
Gilgamesh jumped down and landed on the street below, many Nevi surrounding him. “You have attacked this city, slain innocents, and harmed my student,” he began, unclipping his weapon. “Congratulations, you mindless beasts, you have earned my undying rage.”
Several of them rushed him only for him to swing his spear and unleashing a burst of wind that seemed to tear through them like a hot knife through butter, immediately dispersing the lot of them. A Hulk jump at him from behind only for him to turn and shove his spear through it’s eye. He then lifted the nevi above him before firing a beam from his eyes that annihilated it.
“Impressive,” I said flying above him. “But we still got the big guy to deal with.” The Nushi had gotten up and was flying high above us. “Unfortunately, he’s got conditions for us to get his eye. The only time it appears is when he’s about to fire off his big gun.”
“Let me guess, giant mouth laser?” he asked before lunging forwards and ripping out the eye of minion before crushing it in his hand.
“Eeyup. Then we can finally start to attack its main weak points, if the game is to be believed. Roughly ten more eyes should appear running down its back afterward and once those are gone so is he and all of his pets,” I explained as I swatted out a couple of stars. “Ugh, what is taking them so long?”
“Who?” he asked, summoning a missile and blowing up large group of minions.
The group of nevi to their left suddenly burst into a torrent of flames, three young dragons walking through. I smiled at them. “They would be who.” I flew down to them and hugged Garble. “About time you got here.”
“Sorry, your highness,” Garble said through his blush as I released him. “We had to get around my grandfather first. He figured out we were helping you and wasn’t too pleased when the news hit about your destructive habits. He’s especially pissed about the thing with the princesses.”
“I figured as much, but we’ll cross that bridge soon enough. Boys, meet Gilgamesh, he’s on our side.”
“Huh, I never thought you’d have these brats working for you. I guess you weren’t kidding about the ‘worshipped by dragons’ business.”
“Brats?!” the three said in unison.
I glared at Gilgy. “Don’t be mean. These three have stood by my side since the beginning. And, yes they knew the eventual goal. Garble, TK, and Tiny are my friends. Just because they were like that where you come from, doesn’t mean they are like that in every world.”
“What’s he calling us brats for?”
“I think it had something to do with Spike on his world.”
“Spike? What does the little dude have do with any of this?”
“Let’s just say in my version of Equestria you three were a real bunch of assholes to him and his friends. Sorry, hard not to associate the faces with what I’m familiar with,” replied before turning around and grabbing a Hulk by the leg and using it to bludgeon nearby nevi into oblivion. He then quickly shoved both hands into it’s body, gripping the eye before he smashed it between his hands.
The dragons stared in shock at his brutality, their mouths agape. I was impressed myself, but we had bigger fish to fry. “Boys,” I said, them standing at attention. “Your mission is to hold off the nevi down here while Gilgamesh and I take care of the big one known as Nushi. There will be no destruction this time around, what I want you to focus on is getting the ponies to safety and protecting them. And Boys?” The looked at me with curiosity. “I want the nevi to burn.” Their eyes turned harsh and they smiled.
“As your will commands, great Gravity Queen. Let’s do this!” They took off with impressive speed and started torching Nevi left and right. I turned to Gilgamesh who was staring in surprise. I smirked.
“Telling a dragon to burn something is sort of like telling a dog to sick ‘em. It’s a switch that let’s them go wild. We won’t have to worry about the smalls anymore.”
“I see. I’ll keep that in mind. After all, I still have Everflame indebted to me.” We both then turned to Nushi, flying above us. “Game plan?”
“We need to keep it busy, block the turrets and get it to focus on us instead of the city. Wait for its maw to open wide, that will be our chance. It can’t move when it’s charging so once that happens, go buck wild on the eye. Smash it in time and it will break it focus.”
“And so video game strategies prove useful once again,” he said with a chuckle while planting his weapon in the ground. He took a series of sweeping poses before shouting ”Henshin! In a flash he took his eight armed form, this time armed with weapons instead of musical instruments. “I can get up there easily enough, but I might need some help actually staying up. No levitation powers and and all.”
“Easy enough.” I threw my hand in his direction and Gilgamesh lifted up in the air. “I can give you simple controls, but not much else. Just think of moving and it should work. I think that’s how Dusty does it.”
“Wait, you just made me a shifter?”
“No, you just inside a stasis field. Don’t go to far from me otherwise it will fail and well… you can probably guess what happens then.”
“Eh, I’m sure it won’t hurt too badly. Anyway, let’s get this done with,” he said as he blared a new song, flying towards the massive Nevi along with me.
Nushi came swimming through the air at us, and we split, Gilgamesh going low and I went high. I flew up above its head and smashed my shield down on its head, sending it down where Gilgamesh went on a barrage on its underbelly. Nushi roared in protest, wiggling free of us and swimming a bit away before firing its turrets at us. “Gilgamesh look out!”
He unleashed a torrent of bubbles from his mouth before using his two free hand to force them forwards. The bubbles and blasts of energy met and destroyed each other, but the force of the blasts was still great enough that it sent him hurtling away. I was about to head after him when I saw him land on the side of a building and jump back at the monster, striking it’s face with his flail and axe and sending it hurtling further upwards into the air.
The Nushi righted itself and look down on us both. It roared and opened its maw wide. “This our chance! It’s right on the back of the skull!” We launched forward, and got right behind the monster. “Don’t hold back!” I roared bringing my staff down on the eye. Gilgamesh planted himself onto it’s back, keeping himself there by stabbing it with his sword and spear before hacking at the eye with his flail, axe, claws, and even his fists.
As one, we punched the eye, shattering it and sending the Nushi writhing in pain down. As we stood back, I watched as the ten new eyes appeared along its back. “Now for the hard part. Those eyes will open and close every now and then, but as long as we keep crushing them they won’t seal back up. And one more thing, like any game boss, when you get it weak enough,” the Nushi roared and sped towards us, “It get’s stronger and bolder.”
“Let’s finish this thing off!” he shouted before dispersing his weapons and firing eight comically large boxing gloves at it’s face, which promptly exploded. It didn’t do any damage but it did cause it to flinch. “CHARGE!” he shouted while dashing forwards.
I flew forward with increased speed, heading for the first eye. I placed my shield in front of me and slammed hard into it. The eye held firm so I twisted my body and jabbed it with my staff, blasting it into oblivion. I had to back off as another eye shot blasts at me, but that wasn’t stopping Gilgamesh, who simply cut at them with his sword. Even though they detonated in his face I saw him continue on, his body glowing a bit as I recognized one of the protective spells he often used. He stabbed into one of the eyes with his spear before summoning wind to make it spin like a drilling, continually damaging the eye until it finally broke.
“Two down, let’s keep up the pressure!” I fired up my Gravity Typhoon, summoning multitudes of boulders and fired them at the remaining eyes. Some were destroyed by the by the turrets, but it was enough to take out half of the eyes. “Take it, Sensei!”
He raised his arms, causing lightning bolt rain down on one of the eyes finally destroying it. He then dashed over and stepped on another unleashing an Earthquake spell, which I was surprised worked in the air, unleashing a massive shock wave that broke it.
“Let’s take the last two together!” Side by side, we charged against the final eyes. I fired up my Spiral Claw, while he brandished his weapons. We slammed into the eyes and burst right through and out the other side of the Nushi. The monster wailed in pain before dispersing into nothingness. We both panted in exhaustion from the battle, looking down to see all of the nevi following their creator to hell. I looked down and saw Garble, TK, Tiny, and Dusty with the Princesses just outside of the city by the train station. I flew us down and released Gilgamesh from the gravity field, while I dropped to the ground on my butt.
“That. Sucked!” I groaned.
“Perhaps, but… I think I needed this,” he said in an unexpectedly somber tone, changing back to his previous form. “I think I needed to see that… I could actually do something without screwing up.”
I looked back to Canterlot, the still burning and destroyed city. “Yeaahh, not screwing up.” I was about to say more, when a train pulled into the station. Immediately afterwards, I was tackled by a yellow blur.
“Gah!” I yelled as I was bowled over. I looked down to see Fluttershy nuzzling me. “Oh, hey Flutters, what’s up?”
“What happened to my hometown?!” I looked up to see Twilight about to have a full on panic attack and then she turned to me. “You! It’s always you! Shifter, I’m gonna--”
“Touch one hair, Sparkle and I’m not gonna hold back on you!” Flutters yelled, getting in a defensive position in front me. Rainbow and Applejack joined her, while Pinkie and Rarity stood by Twilight. Spike just joined the other dragons watching in silence. I looked up a Gilgamesh, an apologetic yet confused look on my face.
“This was entirely unintentional.”
He sighed for a moment before taking his place between the two of them.
“I don’t know everything that has happened here, but I can get an idea. The damage to this city was not caused by her. Surely you noticed the monster in the skies above?”
“Yes, but they are always after her! The nevi and her are related, there’s no denying that. After everything she’s done, she needs to be locked away. Despite what she did in the Crystal Empire, her attack on Celestia as well as the extinction of the Changeling race are proof enough.”
“‘Extinction of the-’!?” he began, only to turn back to face me, anger in his eyes. He looked ready to shout at me before exhaling sharply. After a moment he walked over to me and grabbed my arm, pulling me to my feet. His grip hurt. “We need to talk,” he said in an icy cold voice.
Dusty suddenly appeared on my shoulder, the same one Gilgamesh was holding. “If you have something to say to her, then you will do it in front of all of us. I don’t care what problem you have with her, I will not leave her alone with you.”
“Nor will I,” said Fluttershy. “She is my family and I won’t let you hurt her, whoever you are.”
Gilgamesh stared the two down before sighing and letting go of my arm. He walked over to a piece of debris and sat down, glaring at me. “I want to hear everything.”
“Where do you want me to start?”
“The beginning. The absolute beginning. What was your name before you were Kat Shifter?”
“My name is Allison, I do not remember my last name. Nor can I remember the names of my family. It was too long ago and filled with too much pain.”
As I explained everything, Gilgamesh simply sat there in silence. It was slightly unnerving, but once I had said everything, leaving out exactly what sent me over the edge against Celetia, I laid back against a rock, Fluttershy and Dusty by my side. Celestia and Luna sat by with the others, save for Rainbow who needed a cloud to be truly comfy.
“And that’s everything that’s happened.”
He took a deep breath before getting up and strolling over towards me. “You promised me, Kat. You said you wouldn’t abuse what I taught you.”
“I couldn’t control it,” I said while hanging my head. “I don’t even remember what I did. I blacked out and the next thing I know, I’m holding Mjolnir and Celestia is at my feet with her horn in pieces.”
“And the Changelings? What do you have to say about them?”
“I say that Chrysalis should have heeded my warning. I told her exactly what would happen if they tried this again. It was her own fault.”
My head whipped to the side as I felt something smack my cheek. It took me a second to realize he had slapped me. “How can you say that!?” he shouted.
Fluttershy immediately reared up and slapped him back. “Don’t you dare strike my grandmother!!” I pulled her back, rubbing my cheek.
“Calm down Flutters, he’s a protector of all. I can say that because they deserved no kindness. Maybe genocide was a little harsh, but if they had gone for peace instead of killing innocents and attempting to take over, then they would still be around. I will not tolerate monsters, not even when I am one of them,” I finished with a sorrowful moan.
“Tell me Kat, was it difficult to stop them? Did you struggle to fend them off?”
“When has that ever worked? Fending them off would have resulted in it happening further down the line. I’m not Batman, I’m not going to let the villain go hoping they’ll change. If anything, I guess I’m closer to the Red Hood.”
“Killing is done out of necessity, Kat, not punishment! You could’ve at least imprisoned them! When the Changelings invaded in my dimension I drove them off without killing a single one! With your gravity powers it should’ve been easy for you to restrain them long enough for them to be imprisoned! And before you try and tell me that it would only put off the problem, peace has been made between the ponies and changelings before! Auric did it his dimension! I plan to do so in mine! You should’ve strived for the same!” He raised his fist, ready to punch me. Fluttershy, Dusty, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Garble TK, and Tiny all readied to jump at him when he stopped, just hanging there. After a few tense moments his fist unclenched and his arm fell. He then dropped to his knees and wept openly.
“Gilgy?” I questioned at his actions. “Why are you the one who is crying? I’m the one who did the deeds.”
“Because it’s my fault. All of it,” he managed to say through sobbing breaths. “I should’ve taught you better. I sent you away because I didn’t want to make you stronger, but I was a fool. I gave you power, but I didn’t give you control. If I did, maybe you wouldn’t have… OH GOD, IT’S ALL MY FAULT!”
We were all stunned at his open weeping. I was stunned into silence, never expecting to see this side of my teacher. “Gilgy… it was not your fault. This was going to happen eventually. I didn’t need your teachings to destroy the changelings. I only used your teachings to keep myself from being squished by a massive golden warhammer that’s denser than anything in existence. You are not to blame, only me.”
“But if I’d taught you better you might’ve tried something different! You could’ve learned the value of all life! You could’ve decided that you would try something different! As your teacher, all of your mistakes might as well be my own! I might as well have come here and killed them myself!” I had no idea what to say. He was actually taking responsibility not only for what I had done but everything I was going to do. After a few moments more he stood up. “Promise me, Kat. Promise me you’ll make up for it. All of it.”
“Uh, I’ve already got a plan to make up for the whole destruction thing, but I get the feeling you mean more than that.”
“Kat, I know you have things to do here, but once this is all done, I want you travel to other Equestrias and do what you didn’t here. I want you to make peace between the ponies and changelings in no less than ten other dimensions. I don’t mean ten tries, Kat, I mean no less than ten successes.”
“Aw man. I get the feeling I don’t have a say in this, either.”
Dusty looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “Why are you even listening to this blowhard? I understand that he was a teacher and a friend, but you don’t have to do what he says.”
“I listen to him because I don’t want to die. I’m still not strong enough to take him on. Maybe some day, but especially not after fighting Sombra, a ton of nevi, and the Nushi. Not to mention I’m still not fully recovered from my fight with Celestia.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t do what he says,” said Twilight with bite in her voice. “One less problem to deal with.”
“Watch yourself, Sparkle,” Flutters warned.
“ENOUGH!” Gilgamesh shouted, causing everyone to seize up for moment. “Kat, you will do as I say.” He then turned to Twilight. “And you will try and forgive her. I know she has done horrible things, but she is not evil. And before you accuse her of causing destruction simply by being present, do not forget all of the craziness that follows you and your friends around. And I hope I need not remind you of ‘Smarty Pants.’ Besides, such aggression does not become one who wishes to champion the ‘Magic of Friendship.’”
Twilight glared at Gilgamesh before lowering head with a grumble. “Fine. I’ll give her another chance, but only because you brought up the ‘Smarty Pants’ incident.”
Gilgamesh then walked towards the Princesses before stopping a few paces from them. He then removed his helmet before holding it at his side. His face was chiseled like something out of a greek statue. His hair was golden blonde, tied into a shoulder-length ponytail, and his skin was dark grey. A chinstrap beard followed his rather impressive jawline.
“Damn. Good thing I don’t date my teachers,” I muttered. He was quite strapping, but that personality was a big turn off.
“Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, though you’ve probably already guessed by now, my name is Gilgamesh. I am a warrior from another version of Equestria. I met Kat Shifter by chance and she asked me to train her in the art of combat so she could defeat her enemies. I did not know that those enemies included you at the time, but that doesn’t matter. The blame still lies with me. I know I have no right to ask this, but please listen to my request. I ask that you please not punish Kat for what she has done.” He then removed his spear and his shield from his back and set them on the ground along with his helmet. He then got on his hands and knees and lowered his head. “If you must punish someone, please let it be me. I will take whatever you deem fit. Take my arm, my leg, even my life if you must. Just please, I beg you, don’t hurt her.”
Celestia looked at him in shock and awe, while Luna was literally slack-jawed. “...Mr. Gilgamesh, we do not blame you for these instances. If anything, the blame lies with us. For you see, Dusty’s death was intentional.”
“What?” I asked, glaring harshly at her.
“Kat, quiet. Let them speak,” Gilgamesh ordered as he lifted his head.
“It is not something we are proud of, but yes. We feared Dusty, you were the only one who could hear him, Kat. We were afraid that he was steering you in the wrong direction. When those disturbances were reported we feared that Dusty was the one doing it. Or was convincing you to do it. We knew that you could use your powers only when he was around so we thought that if we got rid of him, we could take care of two problems at once. If we hadn’t ever done that, then none of this would have ever happened.” Celestia began to tear up, no longer able to hold back her sobs. “I just wanted us to be a family and I thought Dusty was the one in the way of making that happen.”
For a moment everyone was silent, only Celestia’s sobs breaking it.
“So, this was all just a horrible misunderstanding,” Gilgamesh confirmed as he stood and faced me. “Well Kat? Can you not forgive them? You yourself have made bad choices in the name of love and affection. Can you not forgive them for doing the same?”
I was silent, thinking over Celestia’s words. They kept playing over and over in my mind. I didn’t know what to feel. Should I be angry? Angry that they destroyed Dusty due to fear. Should I be happy? Happy that they still wanted to be a family. Or… or… GAH! I just didn’t know! “I, I don’t know. I, I want to forgive them, but… but, how are they supposed to forgive me?” I started to crack up with sobs. “They destroyed my best friend, but I’ve destroyed the lives of thousands.”
Dusty, who had remained silent the whole time, finally spoke. “Well, I can forgive them.”
“HUH?!” sounded the ponies.
“Yes, I can see that it was a misunderstanding. Of course, I felt no pain so it’s not like I can hold that against them. The only anger I hold is that they didn’t try to figure this out before hand. Then again, that may have been my fault for not trusting them all those years ago. So yes, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, I forgive you for killing me.”
“So one forgives. Surely you can do the same, Kat.”
“Well, if Dusty can forgive them, I should too, right? Dusty was my whole reason for doing so in the first place. So, Celestia, Luna, if you are willing to give me a chance to prove myself again, then I can forgive you both.”
Celestia, tears still in her eyes, said, “Of course, Kat. All I’ve ever wanted is for you to be by our side. I would love to be given that chance once again.”
“I’m still a little miffed that you slammed me around and got rid of me before we had a proper fight, Kat,” Luna said with a little smirk. “If you can give me a proper fight, then I will give you a chance to prove yourself.”
“You are on, Luna,” I said with a smile. “Don’t expect me to go easy on you.”
“Of course not. If you do, then I will be very displeased.”
Twilight and the others were slack jawed. “Just like that? You’re going to forgive her just. like. that?!” Her hair started to fizzle a little and stick out. Then she let out a massive groan. “UGH!! Why is everypony so forgiving of this girl!?”
“‘To err is human. To forgive, divine.’ Alexander Pope,” Gilgamesh said. “Although, in this case, perhaps the proper word would be ‘mortal’? It certainly can’t be ‘pony’, as that’s not all that’s here.”
“Ok, I’m gonna stop you right now before you go too far down this rabbit hole,” I interrupted. “Honestly, I don’t Twilight and the others are going to be as easy to convince. The only reason we became friends was because she was curious about me, but was always wary. I don’t have any right to judge her on that though. I have been pretty awful as of late. But I’m trying to change and that starts with a simple gift.” I got up and walked over to Gilgamesh. I picked up a stone on the ground and crushed it in my hands. When I opened it again, a shining black diamond was there.
“Even though all I do is sin, you have guided me time and time again. For that I give this gem where by all it will be seen, I bestow upon you my gift, the powers of the Gravity Queen.” I embedded the diamond on his chest plate, right in the center where it glistened in the light. “I want you to know that for all you can or cannot do, like you were there for me, I will be there for you. Whether in times where you are about to meet your end, or when all you need is a friend. Always remember, never forget, from me to you, from your faithful student, Kat.”
Gilgamesh looked surprised for a moment before a smile came to his face. Not a cocky or mischievous smile, but a warm and simple one.
“Kat, could you give me the medallion I gave you?”
I reached into my pocket and took out the trinket with his insignia on it. He clasped both of his hands over my own and closed his eyes. A bright light emanated from under them before I felt the object disappear, only for something now to be covering both my hands. The light disappeared and I saw two gauntlets now adorned my hands all the way down to my elbows.
“These are the Genji Gloves. They are my summoning token, and are also a useful armor. They will defend you from physical and magical attacks and render you immune to Toad and Paralyse ailments. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure you deserve these right now. However, I do believe you will be.”
I stared at the gauntlets in awe, and smiled at my teacher. The gauntlets were then engulfed in my power and disappeared. “I refuse to use them,” I said with a smile. “Not until I have completed my mission. That is a promise I make to you, a Pinkie Pie Promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye. And for you, that gem is not only my new token for you, but it will also give you my powers. Highly limited, mind you, to only my originals and lasts for only five consecutive minutes. Each time it will need a 24 hour recharge. I know you will use it well.”
“It’s fine. I enjoy making creative solutions. And there is one last thing I can give. It was something I should’ve given you before I sent you away.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
“Be like water.
It is the softest element on earth, yet it penetrates the hardest rock.
It may flow swiftly or it may flow slowly, but its purpose is inexorable, its destiny sure.
Water may seem to move in contradiction, even uphill, but it chooses any way open to it so that it may reach the sea.
When a man is living, he is soft and pliable.
When he is dead, he becomes rigid.
Pliability is life, rigidity is death, whether one speaks of man's body, his mind, or his spirit.
The meaning of life is that it is to be lived.
It is not to be squeezed into a pattern of systems.
Living exists when life lives through us.
Be like water.
Even though I, Gilgamesh, may die some day without fulfilling all of my ambitions, I will have no regrets.
I did what I wanted to do and what I've done, I've done with sincerity and to the best of my ability.
You can't expect much more from life.”
He opened his eyes before continuing. “That is my mantra. It was what I always refer to when I’m trouble or I feel without direction. It is what I try to live by, though like any mortal I fail every so often. You can use it if you’d like, but I recommend you make one more personalized to you.” He then picked up his spear, shield, and helmet, returning them all to their proper places, save for his helmet. “Kat, I wish you the best.”
I smiled warmly at him. “I’ll give that mantra thing a try, but that might be a little too hippie even for me. What would my father think?” I asked with a laugh, a small one, but a laugh nonetheless. “Thank you for everything Gilgamesh.” I floated up and gave him a little peck on the cheek, getting a little blush from him. “I hope that the worlds are kind to you.”
He recovered after a moment. “And remember Kat, no less than ten. I hope you find it in your heart to do more.”
“Yes, Sensei,” I said with a smile and roll of my eyes. “Mighty Gilgamesh, I declare our contract complete.”
With that a portal opened up behind him.
“Huh. First time someone else has done that to me. Well, see you later Kat. May the winds of Freedom carry your wings.”
“And may you fall free in any direction you choose.” I smiled as his stunned expression which turned into a smile. And with that he stepped through the portal and disappeared. I turned back to the mares, still smiling.
And that’s when everything went to hell.
“I thought that weirdo would never leave,” said a voice from behind me. I turned around in surprise, seeing another human, one that looked exactly like the rival in the game, Raven. She smiled evilly at me, sending a shiver down my spine. “Guards! Seize them all! They have attempted to take the princesses hostage!”
Ten guards came rushing out of the bushes and tackled the mares. “Girls!” I screamed as Celestia and Luna tried to get them off. I tried to get to them, but was suddenly thrown backwards. I had to correct myself mid air and found Raven blocking my path.
“Unh unh uh,” she said with a wave of her finger. “Not gonna happen, Kat.” She powered on her aura, similar to mine save that it was blue where mine was red. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this, Shifter. I hope that you do not disappoint.”
I growled at this newcomer for ruining my moment of happiness. “I don’t know who you are, but you are not taking my family anywhere.” I brandished my weapons and stared her down. “Get outta my way!” I charged forward.
She smirked and a rapier formed in her grasp. “I’m going to enjoy this.” She rushed me and my staff and her sword met, a glare on my face and a sinister smile on hers.