It started out like a normal day for me and the wife, you know, good a cup of coffee, some waffles, the usual. It seemed as if everything was normal, for once, that is until I heard a voice call out to me, one I had not heard in quite some time and had almost hoped I wouldn’t hear again. It was the voice of Kat Shifter, the gravity manipulator who I had tried to convince not to follow a path of vengeance only for her to not only lie to me, but completely blow me off after I left. This time, however, it didn’t seem she was calling for me, specifically, but was simply calling out. Her voice was ragged and almost desperate. Her words were simple, but the emotions behind them were strong, stronger than I had felt in a long time.
I don’t want to be alone.
Those six words were surprising to say the least. I wondered, briefly, what she meant by that, but figured it meant that her plans for revenge had fallen through. So, I ignored her, or tried to at least, but Measured noticed my discomfort.
“Is everything alright?”
“It’s nothing, just a certain Displaced calling out,” I replied.
“Which one?” she asked, sounding curious.
“Remember the gravity shifter I told you about?” She nodded and comprehension came upon her. “It seems something has happened to her.”
“Shouldn’t you help her?”
“I tried that once, only for her to ignore me entirely.”
“Still, Auric, what if she’s in danger? Can you really just sit back and let something terrible happen when you know you can make a difference?”
I thought on those words for a moment, running through all different situations that could possibly happen. In the end, I knew that Measured was right. “You could be right, maybe I’ll just check on her.”
“May I join you?”
“I don’t see why not, but be careful,” I say before looking around, knowing I wouldn’t see anything, or anyone, “you never know who might be watching.”
“Stop being so paranoid, come on!”
The two of us made our way to the Black Lab and towards the Mirror. I placed my hoof on the mirror and thought in the direction of Kat. As the mirror changed, it showed… Kat in a prison cell sobbing intensely?! Now, I was slightly intrigued.
“Oh, wow,” Measured said looking at the same thing I was. “What all lead to this?”
“Why don’t we take a look?” I commanded the mirror as such: Show me Kat’s experiences since we last met. What the mirror showed me was simply amazing. It seems that after I had left, Kat discovered an enemy in these strange, ink-like monsters called nevi, and used them as an excuse to become Equestria’s most wanted. And it seems I was right about her not killing off every last changeling, though she seemed to have rectified that at the wedding of Cadence and Shining Armor. That seemed to have been the final straw for the Sisters, as it was there that they called Kat out and she supplied it… immensely. The way she handled their fight was rough and powerful, almost surprising me at how powerful she could be.
Oh wow… okay, did not see that ending coming. That last blow was beyond what I thought even she was capable of. Harsh girl, harsh. Fast forward to a giant monster attacking Canterlot and Kat defending the Princesses? Wait, is that Gilgamesh helping her?! Wow, even I’m starting to get confused here. And now there are two gravity shifters? What the? Okay, the other one seems to have it out for Kat and… I have no words for what I just saw. That was utterly beyond anything I would have expected and now I know Kat needs my help!
“Dear Celestia,” I heard Measured whisper as she held back her tears. The very sight of that pony being killed in such a cruel manner is just unbelievable. “Auric, you have to help her.”
I nodded. “I know. I just hope she listens this time.” I gave Measured a quick kiss and flung myself through the mirror. I appeared instantly behind Kat who was muttering to herself about being alone and being a terrible person. “Maybe you just made some bad choices.” Kat wheeled around in an instant, her eyes were red and her face was stained with tears. Her voice was shaky and pained, saying one word only.
“The one and only. Why, do you know of another unicorn like me? Cause if so, I’ll have a copyright infringement case to get started on.” Snark and sarcasm to break the ice, and hopefully bring her mood up a tick. It’s easier if they laugh with you.
She stared at me for a good few seconds before flinging herself at me. I was prepared for something, but not this. She was hugging me! Embracing me as if I were an old childhood friend come back to life. “I’m so sorry, Auric,” she sobbed into my neck. “I should have listened to you. I should have just given up revenge when I had the chance.” She couldn’t continue as her sobs picked up.
Warily, I picked up a hoof and started to rub her back. Normally, I enjoy people saying that I was right, but considering the circumstances… “What brought this on? Last I checked up on you, you were laughing my ideals off. And I checked up again when I left. How did you go from confident to...this?”
She sniffled as she pulled back slightly. “I made friends,” she whispered mournfully. “They were the greatest I had had in a long time, a very long time. They stood by me even when I told them the truth. I couldn’t have asked for better. I even found out why Fluttershy was so familiar to me. Auric, she’s my granddaughter.” She hesitated, before turning away slightly. “Was my granddaughter.”
I blinked at that as the meaning behind the past tense kicked in. “No. No, no no no. That...what monster would do that?!”
“A monster of my own unintentional and intentional making. Do you remember me speaking of a girl named Rita?”
I shook my head, still shell-shocked by the very idea that I’d been forced to contemplate. “It doesn’t ring a bell. Should it?”
“I suppose not, or it didn’t then. Rita was my very best friend back on Earth. We had been friends since we were three, both of our fathers were in the military together in Vietnam and the Gulf War. My father stayed in the military, while hers pursued a psychology degree. Her father was my therapist for a long time and we became exceptionally close after my parents were killed. We were like sisters. She was also the only one with me when I was sent here. I thought I would never see her again, until now.”
I breathed deeply. In, out. “When did this happen, Kat? When, precisely?”
“Only a little before you came did I finally learn the truth. Rita has been behind everything. Ten years after I left Earth, she fell victim to the Merchant and came to Equestria as Raven, Kat’s rival in the game. If she hadn’t done what she did, I would feel sorry for her. It had been a busy ten years for me, already ending the century long dragon war, and there were many who were displeased at that. Selfish creatures. When Raven came here, they thought she was me and attacked her. She was forced to hide and hone her abilities with only that bird by her side. It was during this that she learned how to summon the nevi. That was after two hundred years and after all the tormenting and shunning, she had come to hate me. She attacked those towns with the nevi and I got blamed for it. That’s how I got sealed in stone, if you remember. When I was freed and she found out, she had had a thousand years to hone her powers fully and use them, while I was forced to only learn of them. She wanted revenge on me and now she has it.”
Her sobs began anew and she placed her head in her hands. “This morning,” she cried. “She killed her and made me watch! Her last words were: I will always love you grandmother! How could you, Rita?” she started talking to herself again. “How could you Extinguish such an innocent soul?”
“We have one shot.”
That got her attention. She snapped her eyes to me as I continued. “In the Starswirl the Bearded Wing, there’s a scroll on Time Travel. Got it from my Twilight. Lets you travel one week back into the past. And as I’m currently a unicorn…”
She shook her head. “It won’t help. It may bring back us back in time, but how can I help? Auric, I’m powerless.”
I smiled at her. “Compared to her, yeah. Compared to me? Dear, my tank’s running on empty. I need magic, energy, chakra, ki, power, call it what you will. I broke my immortality to save a pony close to me, and it takes a lot to recover that. You might as well be a damn star next to me!”
“No, you don’t understand. I’m not a shifter anymore. Raven took my powers. She said if I gave them to her she wouldn’t harm my friends. I never should have taken her word.”
I snorted at that. “Kat, you were an inanimate statue in a magic laden world for a millenium. Trust me, there’s power in you yet. You just can’t use it. Give it to me, I’ll recover at least a noticeable portion, and try to find the damn scroll. It’ll take careful maneuvering to create a new, stable time loop. But I’ll try. For you and her, I’ll try.”
“Thank you for that Auric, but I don’t have anything. I’m just a human now, Raven is much more powerful. She has Equestria now, Celestia made the deal. If she made Raven the ruler, the other Elements would be allowed to live, but not me. My execution is tomorrow. I can’t beat her, she has all of my powers and I have nothing. I was locked away while she ran free. She’s taken everything from me, not that I had left myself much to lose.”
I rolled my eyes and turned to the door. “This little thing?” I focused my mind on it, seeking the pins holding the hinges together, and neatly dissolving just a tiny portion of them.
Of course, said tiny portion ended up with the door creaking, falling down an inch, and then falling into the hallway. I quirked an eyebrow at Kat then. “Cause that’s not an issue. And the Kat I knew fought for what she wanted with all her heart. She certainly didn’t let a ponified Alchemist tell her what she had to do. She did what she wanted, how she wanted, and took no guff from nobody. Are you sure you’re Kat? I can almost see hooves if I look hard enough.”
Much to my annoyance, Kat simply stayed in the corner of her cell. “You’re right. I’m not good for anything, all I do is make things worse. I forced Celestia into this because I messed up.”
I snorted, reared back, and placed my front hooves on her shoulders, locking eyes with her. “Exactly! It’s your fuck-up! Are you just gonna let it fester? Or do you intend to clean it up? Because the way I would do it would be highly messy, involve quite a few Banishments to the Void Eternal, and I’m not sure even that would be enough! I might just go hunt her down afterwards and see to it she’s present for the birth of a new star! So man up or wuss out! Because if you don’t, I will. And when I’m done with her, because you caused this situation, I’ll come back for you afterwards.”
“Fine, do it then!” she roared at me. “Just end me now so I can be with my granddaughter and her ancestor! What do I have left to live for?! I bucked up! Okay? If I hadn’t lost my cool on Celestia after seeing that the adoption form was real and broken her horn, then she never would have been forced to rely on Raven for anything! What good am I to this world?! Huh, how can I, a pitiful human with nothing, stand up against the most powerful being on this damn planet?!”
I slowly blinked. “You don’t get it. They didn’t like you for your powers. They liked you for you. You made friends, not just because you could compress coal to diamonds, but because you were human. You made Flutters proud she was your granddaughter, enough that she died with that on her lips. You ask how can you? I ask, how come you can’t? It doesn’t matter if you fail. What matters is, you fucking try!”
“But how?” she asked me in a desperate whisper. “I want to do something, but how? I don’t have any powers.”
“That is not entirely true,” said a voice from the shadows. It walked slowly into the light revealing a pitch black cat with a starry coat and nearly glowing white eyes. “There may still be hope,” it said.
“...Gonna guess that you’re not only important and you know Kat here, but also Dusty, wherever he may be, and agree with my sentiments, if not my wording. I assume you also know our names, so care to give us yours?”
He chuckled, which was a little creepy. “I know my Mistress’ name, yes, but not yours. Based on your speech, however, I assume that you and she are alike. And I don’t just know Dusty, for I am him.”
“...Well this makes me feel all sorts of awkward. Apologies, but I never ran into you. Merely heard of you. And yeah, we’re kinda sorta alike, except I’m not the one acting like all is lost and giving up. I assume from your earlier introduction, you have a plan? Care to inform us?”
“I apologize as well, I was quite dead until about two months ago. I assume Kat informed you of that much prior to this encounter. And I do indeed have a plan. Though, I feel I must also apologize for my mistress’ behavior. She doesn’t take loss very well as I assume you have seen.”
I sighed and looked to the ground, thinking of all I had lost, all I had almost lost, and all that I would...one day lose. Potential immortality sucks sometimes. “Guess we’ll see how well I deal with it when my turn comes.” I looked the cat in the eyes. Have I mentioned how freaky it is to see a cat that’s only slightly smaller than you? Damn pony form. “So. What’s the plan, and do you need me to deconstruct slash banish anyone? Cause I’ll do it.”
“I think we are all misunderstanding the situation we are in. As I have told Kat in the past, we need to find the truth hidden within the truth. We know that Rita, a.k.a. Raven, has created the nevi to attack Kat, but she also has taken control of all Equestria. But why? What is her motivation for this? All I have determined is that something is wrong with her, there is something... else. What, I do not know, but I fear that we will need to. What we need to do is get Kat powered up, for the lack of a better term.”
“You can handle that. I think I have a shortcut for figuring out ‘what’s going on’ with me.” I held up a hoof that glinted in the little light there was in the cell. “But get her at least somewhat strong again. I’m not about to inflict this without her consent and her being able to withstand it, even if I can direct it.”
Kat blinked. “Oh no, you are not touching me with those screwed up hooves of yours. I am insane enough and mourning will only make it worse.”
“I am not quite sure what you speak of, Mister Fulcrum, but it seems to be quite upsetting. May I inquire as to what you mean?”
I smiled evilly, or as evilly as a pony can. “It’s quite simple. Eureka, blade of Understanding. Touching it is highly inadvisable, because it can and tended to show the unwary...how everything works. These days, I’ve formed a bond with it, and can direct its powers somewhat. It’s still a damn mischievous blade, and in this form, it takes the place of what would be my hooves.” I stepped one step closer to Kat and didn’t drop the smile. “And dear, insanity? Is mandatory for this knowledge.”
“No! I don’t want that kind of knowledge. I will leave that to you and Teridax!”
I growled at his name, but quickly plastered my smile on again. “I fully intended to direct it, dear. Just to make you remember everything about your life and hers that you could recall. To make you truly understand yourself and what you can remember of her, and compare it to the her of today. It’d probably sting a bit, but look on the bright side. You wouldn’t be forced to see...what I’ve seen and can’t unsee.”
Dusty put a paw on her knee. “I will be right here, Mistress. This may be our chance to understand what has happened and how we can fix it.”
Kat sighed. “Alright, but I want to know how I’m supposed to power up first. Just in case.”
“Wise and good. You go over that with her, Dusty, I have to wrangle a mischievous sword.”
“Very well. You see Mistress, when you relinquished your powers to Raven, I simply couldn’t let you. Since the beginning I was the source of your abilities until you developed your own, from whence I became more of a surge protector. As such, I still have a connection to your original abilities and I decided to take them back, just for this moment. I can give you all my powers, Kat, and then you can take yours back.”
Kat blinked and her eyes widened as she realized something. “You learned Extinguish, didn’t you?” I remember her mentioning that the first time, though I still wasn’t quite certain about what it meant.
“I did indeed,” Dusty replied sadly. “I wish I never had, that is until now. With it you can take back your power and end Raven’s threat all at once. It will be the only way since you will only have your three original powers to back it up, along with the first basics.”
“Nice to see I count for so much,” I snarked. Yeah, emotional conversation, Dusty likely to sacrifice himself so that Kat can fix this. I know the score. Damn TVTropes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can still feel! It was just...somewhat predictable when he said he could give her her powers back and that he’d taken them.
Dusty raised an eyebrow at me (still creepy). “I believe you misunderstand, Mister Fulcrum. Gravity shifters have the ability to pass their powers between each other, given that both are willing. It is relatively painless and as her familiar, I can do the same. As if I would miss out on a chance to see that evil witch writhe in pain for the hell she has put my Mistress through.”
“Ah,” I replied intelligently. Hey, shut up, mind being force to rearrange what it thinks is predictable over here, thank you very much. “So, question. Will you actually kill her, or will you not have the heart at the time? Cause if you don’t intend to have her die, I have a very fitting punishment all lined up. Just wanna know ahead of time, it takes a minute to charge.”
Kat blinked. “That’s right, I never did fully tell you about Extinguish, did I?”
I shook my head. “Nah, but feel free. Nearly done here. It’s not being quite as belligerent today.”
“Extinguish is the only move I have ever forbidden myself from using and have only ever used it once on accident. Extinguish rips away my enemy’s gravity field, painfully, and I absorb it, gaining their strengths in the process. This results in the target having no gravity at all and their particles are drawn to the nearest source, usually the planet below. What makes it so deadly, is that it can only be used on actual living creatures. I used it once on an Ursa Major and it turned to dust while I gained its immense strength. Wish that hadn’t been taken with when I gave up my powers. It was also that incident that got me kicked out of Gilgamesh’s training camp.”
My mind was abuzz, instantly. “That’s how it works? But then, if she Extinguished...and you did it to her...would you still have any chance?!”
“What do you mean? If Dusty can give me back that power, I can end this. It may not bring back my granddaughter, but at least I can say she didn’t die in vain. All I have to do, is to make sure she doesn’t use it on me, as well as try not to get killed by every other power she has and… I am not helping myself by talking about this, am I?”
I shook my head and rapidly made hoof movements while I talked. “She Extinguished Flutters. So she absorbed what used to be Flutters. If you were to use it on her, then you would absorb everything about her...including the things she took. Would you or her have any hope, then?”
“There is a way that could be beneficial, but it would need something,” Dusty said. Kat looked confused, but didn’t say anything.
I nodded once, satisfied that one of them got what I was saying. “Dusty, the cat with a plan. Okay, so. My part. I can help you figure out just where the hell things went wrong. Maybe. And gravity may be your domain, but with my Understanding, don’t undercut me. I’m willing to try as well. The important part isn’t the impossible odds or the certainty of dying. It’s that we need this to work, and I would be a right ass if I didn’t pitch in. Dusty, do your thing, then I’ll do mine.”
“One problem with your statement, Auric.”
I quirked an eyebrow as I finally reached an accord with my sword. “And that is?”
Dusty smiled. “The transfer is already complete. I have been giving Kat my powers as we spoke. Simple as that. And they say dogs are a human’s best friend; I’d like to see one of those mongrels do that!”
I blinked a few times at his efficiency and smiled. “Actually, dogs are loyal and dumb, cats are clever and independent, and my personal favorite has always been vulpines. Dogs live with you, cats live in your house and consider themselves your superiors, and foxes are just awesome.”
Dusty deadpanned at me and then looked to Kat. “Should we tell him exactly what we ate during that first year and a half of your training?” Then he turned to me. “I take affront to your words, Mr. Fulcrum. I am nothing if not loyal! Do you know how many times I have been blasted, burned, crushed, squashed, and trampled? And each time I returned for more to keep my Mistress safe. Hell, I came back from the dead just to be with her!”
Kat smiled for the first time since I arrived. “Don’t dis the cat, or you get the smack.”
I shook my head at Dusty. “Those are just my views. You’ll never be able to top a vulpine in my mind. ‘specially fennecs. Sorry. If it helps, have Kat tell you what position cats held in Egypt, if she hadn’t already. But hey, if I had to choose between cat and dog, I’d go feline every time. You just failed to take into account that I might like another kind of animal more than your binary choices.”
“Ah, yes,” he said with a dreamy expression. “I remember the last time we had fennecs. They were quite delicious. Those dragons certainly knew how to cook. Though, I thank you for the compliment, Mr. Fulcrum, I do believe there is a task that needs to be completed. Morning is only a few hours away, leaving Kat’s execution only an hour after.”
I walked up to Kat and held up a hoof that was brimming with light and power. “Last chance. Once I touch you and speak the words, there’s no going back. You’ll see everything that’s true, everything that should hopefully help, and you won’t be able to forget it. Tell me right now otherwise, or we go ahead with this.”
Kat hesitated for a moment, but nodded. “This may give us the lead we need. I’ll do it, for my little Flutters.”
I smiled sadly at her. “That’s the kind of resolve I was looking for.” My grin faded. “This...will hurt. I’m sorry.”
I brought the hoof to rest on her hand and breathed deeply once. “Kat, you need to focus, to know, to Understand your friend Rita, or as she’s now known, Raven.”
And with that sentence, the cascade triggered. Her screams and the open cell door, however, also brought down some...attention from the guards, what few there were, in the area. I looked to Dusty and laughed slightly. “Eheh. My fault?”
“Ya think? Just be lucky the only guards down here are Minions. If it were a Hulk then we would be dead.”
The nevi, as Kat had called them, gathered at the open door and looked from the screaming Kat, to me, to Dusty, back to Kat, and then apparently decided ‘eh, screw it,’ and walked in. My eyes narrowed and I spat something to Dusty, something that probably sounded like ‘you take the ones on the left.’
The next thing I can recall, I was standing near the door and panting heavily. I...don’t remember the intervening moments. At all. I’ve tried before, but all I get is this...ball of rage and anger. I might have...gone off a bit.
“Oh,” said Dusty, who was wide eyed. “Now I ‘understand’, you’re just as crazy as Kat, if not more. Are all humans as unstable as you three?”
I snarled at him slightly. “These buckers serve an insane murderess who tore apart the kindest pony in any existence on the atomic scale. Not only is that a crime against all Equestrias, that’s also my shtick! You better believe I’ll go a little crazy against such monsters! It’s no less than they deserve!”
Just then, I noticed my coat had shifted from Day to Night. Definitely was recently angry, then. Should probably look into that.
“Well, at least nevi are unintelligent beasts with no soul or anything. Just simple constructs that do as told. No harm, no foul.”
I looked back to Kat, who’d stopped screaming and fallen against the stones. “Ah, good. The flood has stopped. Integration should soon begin. That takes a minute or two. Then she’ll probably jump up and say my blade’s name or something similar.” And just like that, back to Day again. I should get a handle on my emotions.
Another minute passed in silence, but then Kat’s head slowly rose up, revealing an expression of pain. “The bird,” she whispered, just loud enough to be heard.
Didn’t she say that Raven’s familiar was a bir- wait. I glared at Dusty. “Something you’re not telling us, Dusty? It seems odd that she would name the familiar to her rival, don’t you think? Almost as though her actions weren’t her own. I’m not doubting your loyalty, but is there something about familiars you’ve neglected to mention, ever?”
Dusty shook his head. “I know very little about my kind, unfortunately. Only small bits that I learned of from the Void as I put myself back together over the millennia. I know not much else save that we can communicate telepathically with our respective persons. Though, I don’t quite think that matters here. Now, Kat, what did you learn?”
“The bird. It’s the source. We don’t have to destroy, Rita. She never relinquished her bond like we did. The bird is still the source of her power! We just have to kill it! I can still keep my sister!”
I blinked a few times. “Okay, new question. What’s to stop the bird from crushing you? If she’s the source, then she knows Extinguish, right? Or is it a totally different dynamic than the one you and Dusty share?”
Kat blinked, then looked at Dusty, who was looking back at her. “Though I am able to learn gravity techniques, Mr. Fulcrum, I am unable to use them. Familiars do not posses such an ability, as far as I know. Otherwise do you really think I would have let Kat fight on her own for so long? I would have been out there protecting her if I could.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Fair point. New question. Why would the bird ever be apart from Raven? If it leaves her, it’s defenseless. It’d be the opportune moment, true, but if the bird is as half as smart as you, Dusty, then it’s got a goddamn roost set up on her back.”
Kat then took on a hard expression, one of pure determination. “We don’t have to wait. It’s time this ends. Rita, NO! Raven said that it was unfortunate that I gave up so easily. Well, now, she’s gonna get her fight. I may not have the power to rival hers, but I won’t give up!” She looked at me and smiled. “I have friends I need to save and that alone will give me the strength to win. I will tear that damn bird to shreds and everything will end. There has been enough pain and suffering in this world because of her, now it’s time to end it.”
I walked over to the cell wall with a window in it and put a hoof to it. “The only question now, dear, is do you want to tear this complex apart on your way out, or will you let me make for you an explosive exit?”
I could feel Kat smile behind me. “If you would be such a gentleman, Mr. Fulcrum, or do you prefer gentlecolt?”
I focused on the stones in the wall and carefully selected a few, enough to blast a hole through the entire thing, and replied absentmindedly. “Actually dear, those that I trust enough? I prefer they call me by my birth name. Frank DeFontaine. And get ready. This is gonna be fun.”
And with that, I ‘flipped’ some of the atoms in a wall for those with their exact counterparts. Or to put it another way, I turned four atoms into antimatter. More than enough to blast the damn wall open. One would have done the job. And instantly, I was drained. It would take a good ten minutes to recover from this. Damn my showman’s nature.
Kat whistled appreciatively at my handiwork. “Damn, you sure know how to show a girl a good time. Also, I would say that it’s alright to call me by my real name, but I can only remember my first name. It’s Allison, by the way, or Ally for short.”
I wheezed as I held a hoof to my chest. “Well Ally, go get ‘er. I’ll just stay here and recover from turning matter to antimatter if you don’t mind. Though if you scream enough, I might could intervene in your fight if you need me.”
“No, this is my fight Auric. You have been help enough, but I need to do this.” She leaned down and kissed my cheek, surprising me. “Thank you for giving me another chance, Frank. I hope I can repay you for it some time.”
I would have blushed, but Measured’s done a good job insulating me to the embarrassing effect of kisses. I did cough, which can still be attributed to needing to recover from the whole ‘let’s make antimatter’ shtick I just pulled off. “Just...one spoiler for you, then. If all goes well and you succeed, not only in this, but in bringing back your granddaughter? Ask Cel who was contained in the world’s oldest prison, and ask her to check if He’s still in there. Cause I think I’m still ahead of you by a year or so.”
Kat sighed. “Tirek’s free, isn’t he? I knew I felt his presence a while back. It doesn’t matter, at least not right now. That is something they will have to deal with when the time comes. Because after all this, I don’t think this world can take any more gravity shifts. Besides, I fear Teridax is up to something. I felt his spy for a long time, but simply ignored it. I noticed that grimace of yours earlier, Auric. I have met Teridax, live and in person. He is a dangerous one.”
I snarled again. “Yeah, he’s up to something. Me. Because we both Understand, he’s declared me his polar opposite, his perfect foe. I’m trying to refill my immortality gas tank before he truly fights me, and so far, all I’ve done is drain it.” I looked to the ‘courtyard’ below and grimaced. “If you live through this, come find me. I have at least one guest room at my tower. I could use all the help I can get. If you’re willing to give it, that is.”
She nodded. “I think I will take you up on that, that is if you can put up with someone like me.” She smiled at me. “I’ll probably be there in about a month. Hopefully by then, the last thing this world will need, is me.”
I shook my head and began to pull on the connection to my homeworld, but not before leaving her with one final saying. “If you can truly look into the eyes of your granddaughter and say that without either one of you objecting, then it’ll be a cold day in hell, m’dear.”
And with that, I vanished back home.
*****Third Person POV ~ The Dragon Lands*****
“But granddad, you have to listen to me!” shouted a red, teenaged dragon at his much larger superior. This argument had been going on for days now as Garble tried to convince his grandfather, Pacolytese, and the Dragon Emperor, Excalibur.
When the Royal Guards had come for the Elements and the princess, Garble, TK, and Tiny had fled as per the usual orders of their goddess and friend. Unintentionally, Spike had been brought with as he had been with his elders when the guards attacked. It turned out to be a good thing as Spike received newspapers via his dragon flames, allowing the four drakes to keep up on the situation with Kat and the Element Bearers.
Garble was furious when they received the news about Kat’s sentence and went straight to the Emperor. Ever since, he had been trying to convince Excalibur and his advisor, Pacolytese, to assist in freeing their Battle Goddess. It wasn’t going very well, though, as Kat’s actions had severely ticked off Paco.
“For the last time, flameling, we are not going to assist Shifter. Her actions as of late reflect very badly on us all. You three helping her all this time has made things even worse. And don’t think I don’t know about you sneaking off earlier! I know you had something to do with the destruction of Canterlot!”
“No, we didn’t! Kat wanted us to stop the nevi, so she could deal with the big monster attacking the city! She wanted us to save everypony, not destroy!”
“That matters not!” Paco roared at him. “The burning of cities and towns, the changeling extinction, and the destruction of Princess Celestia’s horn cannot be overlooked.”
“Gramps just listen to me!” Garble pleaded. “They’re going to kill her! She’s been sentenced to death; we have to save her! She’s my friend!”
Paco actually looked surprised at that. “Your friend, you say?”
Garble, TK, and Tiny all nodded. “Yes, she is. Sure she can be harsh, but she always said that we were friends. She told us about her plan, gramps, about why she was destroying towns. She trusted us. We can’t let her down now!”
At that moment, Spike let out a loud belch and a new newspaper appeared from a gust of flame. “Heh,” he said as he rubbed his head embarrassed. “Um, excuse me.”
“You are excused, young one,” Emperor Excalibur said with a small laugh. Spike blushed slightly and went to read the paper.
Spike was actually enjoying his time in the Dragon Lands, despite the circumstances. He was completely worried about Twilight and the others, but he was also learning a lot of his culture amongst his fellow dragons. Much more than when Kat had taken him to the Dragon Migration. Spike smiled as he began to read the front page, but he soon paled and started to shake. His claws gripped the paper so tightly that they dug symmetrical holes into it. He felt a huge ball of burning anger in his gut as he finished reading. For once, Spike felt like a dragon.
The little dragon marched back to his elders and glared up at Paco. “Yo, Paco!” he shouted at him.
“Pacolytese!” the larger dragon corrected instinctively. He looked down at Spike and lowered his head so the young drake didn’t have to shout. “Yes, young one? How may I help you? Make it fast, we are in the middle of a discussion.”
“Well stop discussing and do something!” Spike said with fury. He presented the front page of the paper to Paco, depicting Fluttershy on the execution block along with Raven and a cheering crowd. “That monster just killed my friend and now you need to do something about it!”
Paco took the paper, pulling a pair of reading glasses out of nowhere and began to skim through the article. “While I’m sorry for your loss, hatchling, why should we do something?”
“Because that pony is also Kat’s granddaughter. And they executed her!”
Paco froze at that and looked down at Spike with true shock. “What was that? This pony,” he pointed to the picture of Fluttershy, “is Kat’s granddaughter? How?”
“She’s Flitterbee’s descendant,” Spike said simply with his arms crossed.
Paco froze at that, shaking slightly as he looked back to the paper. Suddenly, the elder dragon roared and ripped the paper to shreds. “THEY KILLED FLITTER’S DESCENDANT?! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!” He let out a large burst of flame into the open air above, his fury reaching its peak.
“You know Flitter, Mister Sharp-Tooth?” asked TK, a little in awe at Paco’s fury.
“You’re damned right I know her! Kat introduced me to her a long time ago and I knew those two had a special bond. I knew how much Kat cared for that filly and now,” Paco snorted and turned to his emperor. “Your highness, this ‘Raven Masters’ has murdered the chosen heir of Gravity herself. We must claim revenge in her name! No one, pony or dragon, will get away with harming one so close to our goddess. Please, my Emperor, allow me to lead a legion to war against this heathen!”
Excalibur was quiet as he looked over his elder. “Pacolytese,” he said before another moment of silence. “I have always taken your advice, knowing that you knew better from experience. You always allowed me to think for myself, though, to use my own logic and reason to lead our kind. Your watch has helped me succeed in keeping us together. That is more than enough to allow you a favor from me. As such, I grant your request. Take five, no more.” Then the Emperor growled. “Teach this ‘Raven’ that you don’t mess with our goddess. Now go, choose your army and rectify this sacrilege.”
Paco bowed slightly. “Thank you, my friend. I shall.” He then pointed at the four other dragons in the room. “You four, suit up, your coming with me.”
“US?!” they shouted.
“Yes, you! You three have proper experience with nevi and Spike knows the layout of Canterlot. I shall retrieve the final member of our squad.”
Garble gulped. “You don’t mean..him?”
Paco nodded. “Yes, your father will be the perfect choice for this.” The elder took flight and headed out for the southern Dragon Lands.
Spike looked at Garble who was a looking a little scared. “Why are you scared of your dad?” he asked. “That sounds pretty weird to me.”
“My dad is a tricky case,” he admitted. “He’s a loner and prefers to hide out away from the Dragon Lands with his hoard. If gramp is bringing him in, though, means we’re in for a big fight. My dad was the greatest warrior the Lands ever had.”
“Wow, where is he now?”
“Last we heard, he was ordered out of Equestria due to his snoring or something. I dunno, only gramps knows the full story. Let’s get goin’, little dude, we gotta get armed up.”
As Garble and the others ran out, Spike just stood there in a daze. “Raven is so doomed,” he said before shaking himself out of his stupor and ran after them. “Hey! Wait for me!”
Kat and I moved through Canterlot Castle with pace and purpose, not a single step out of stride. There were no words between us, only furious silence. At first, I thought she would go searching for her weapons, but from the path we were taking, I knew we were heading straight for the throne room. There was no stopping her, this is knew for sure now.
“Kat,” I said, hoping to get her to talk to me. However, before either Kat or I could speak, a Hulk rounded the corner up ahead, immediately spotting us. The behemoth roared and rushed towards us, intent on killing us both.
Kat never stopped or strayed from her path. She just kept walking as the nevi got closer. The beast roared and raised its fist and prepared to slam down on her. “Kat!” I yelled out, but it wasn’t necessary. Kat simply raised her hand and the nevi shattered apart as it lit with power. I swore my jaw went slack as Kat miraculously Extinguished a nevi. I never even thought that possible before now.
“No mercy,” Kat said under her breath, but I heard it as plain as day. “No more chances, no more redemption.” She tightened her fist and stopped walking. “Raven started this, and now I’m gonna end it, once and for all.” She turned towards me and my eyes turned to pinpricks, or they would have if I had pupils that is. Her red eyes were much sharper and darker, with none of the warmth I knew Kat had. No, these eyes were cold and uncaring. Those blood red eyes of death that I hadn’t seen in many years. “Once that bird is dead, Rita goes right in that cell and never sees the light of day. Death would be too easy for her.” She turned back around, “Come on, Dusty. Let’s end this.” And she started right back on pace.
“Yes...General Shifter,” I said, turning to mist to catch up to her. This was going to be a fight of legends, that was all I knew now.