As her vision came back into focus, Twilight took in her surroundings. The rest of the ponies in their group had been shaken up by the abrupt massive teleportation and were slowly finding their way back to their hooves. The thought of the teleportation seemed to immediately jog the unicorn’s memory as she frantically searched the landscape for a certain pink haired pegasus. There, surrounded by the rest of her friends, lay Fluttershy, her soft yellow coat stained crimson and her once gentle, caring eyes were only glossy and void.
Twilight started to run to her late friend’s side when the entire area began to quake, and a rumbling echoed from the large cave opening near by. Before anypony could react, a massive figure emerged from the cave in a blinding light that forced the onlooking ponies to shield their eyes. The hulking being reflected the sun’s rays in an awe-inspiring display of rainbow light and glitter, like a massive diamond. As if having their visual senses assaulted wasn't enough, the titan’s booming voice bellowed across the rocky mountain side.
"Svabol tir wux siofme wux re tirir shafaer sia verthicha?” demanded the behemoth.
Twilight could only squint up in utter terror as she saw what could only be the outline of a dragon, her vocal cords were paralyzed in fear.
"Anyui ve equine ghoros si--" The glimmering colossus seemed to stop mid sentence, lowering its massive head down right in front of Twilight. It sounded to the unicorn as if it were sniffing her, and she could feel a warm, wet air blowing in her face.
"You smell like an ignorant, bullheaded apprentice I used to have." Came a much softer, but still deep and powerful voice. Twilight's eyes finally seemed to adjust to the bright light reflecting off the creature looming over her. She opened her eyes fully and stood in awe at what could only be described as a dragon carved out of pure diamond.
"Would you kindly explain to me, young miss, why there are a few dozen equine sitting on what would amount to my front lawn?" He asked, staring down at the tiny unicorn.
Twilight swallowed hard and for the first time, made eye contact with the massive dragon. "W-well you see sir, we were ambushed by griffons as were trying to meet up with a group of rebels and things got out of hand at an alarming rate. We lost a handful of ponies, one of which was a very dear friend, and when Spike saw what happened to her he just snapped. I've never felt that kind of magic before it was so… so RAW and overbearing! Just being near it was enough to overload my horn. The next thing I knew, Spike shot a massive yellow ring out from his body and it expanded rapidly in every direction. Once it encompassed the forest we were all just teleported here."
Twilight had to pause for a moment to catch her breath after rapid-fire rambling out her explanation. "After that we all woke up here and I haven't seen Spike since. I'm not sure if he even came with us during the teleport."
"Well, that would definitely explain the massive magical disturbance I felt. I had a feeling my idiot apprentice might have been behind it, but the optimist in me simply wanted to hope he wasn't that big of a fool." Paraxxus looked out into the horizon.
"You are may stay in my lair for the time being. I am going to see if I can retrieve Spike… and whether he is dead or alive." Paraxxus turned his head back to the cave entrance.
"DOVANICK" shouted the elder dragon in a deep booming voice. Moments later a relatively small Minotaur came rushing out of the cave and quickly took a knee before the dragon.
"Show them all to Spike's old training hall and help them get settled. You know what rooms to keep them out of." The large dragon instructed his apparent servant. The Minotaur nodded without word and quickly ushered Twilight to follow him.
With his orders given, Paraxxus unfurled his massive wings and took off into the air. The massive concentration of magic had dissipated too much for him to get an exact enough location for teleportation, so he would have to comb the area where the dispersed magic still lingered.
"You better be damn grateful for this boy, you KNEW before you sent them here I don't involve myself with the affairs of lesser species.”
The sun was beginning to set in the distance as Paraxxus closed in on where the largest concentration of residual arcane energy existed. He scanned the forest below for any signs of his wayward pupil when suddenly the lush greenery of the forest gave way to a massive crater. The giant wound in the earth could have easily measured a mile across. In the dead center of it Paraxxus caught a smudge of purple mixed in with the dirt brown environment.
Paraxxus began a slow glide down to the ground when out of the corner of his eye and a couple hundred feet below him he spotted a contingent of griffons that seemed to also be heading for the center of the massive crater. When the griffons reached the ground before him he began a nose dive in an attempt to cut them off before they reached his pupil.
"You two hurry up and unfurl the stretcher. We need to get this thing back to the castle before it regains consciousness," barked the lead griffon. Before his subordinates could even grab the pack containing the equipment the entire group was shaken to the ground as Paraxxus impacted the ground, kicking up a large cloud of dust.
"Just want exactly do you pathetic little creatures think you're doing?" boomed the deep, resounding voice of the elder dragon.
The dust settled to find the group of battle hardened griffons cowering in fear of the hulking behemoth before them. The lead griffon swallowed hard and mustered what meager amount of courage he had left to him and looked up to face the crystalline colossus.
"B-By order of the griffon kingdom, this dragon is under arrest for crimes against crown and country," the griffon declared meekly.
A rumbling chuckle echoed from the dragons maw. "How adorable. May you be as amusing to whatever gods you pray to." Immediately, every single griffon in the assembled party exploded in a shower of blood and gore.
Paraxxus gently lifted his unconscious pupil and placed him onto his back, then took off into the twilight sky, not wanting to linger any longer then he had to. With his newly acquired cargo he would have to set a slower pace back to his lair, which meant they most likely wouldn't return until after daybreak. Paraxxus decided to use the time to decide exactly what course of questioning he had in mind for his uninvited guests back home.
It was nearly midday by the time Paraxxus had returned to his lair, cared for his pupil and assembled said pupil’s second-in-commands. Needless to say, the elder dragon found himself sitting opposite a table to two ponies not only famished, but exhausted and irritated. Lyra and Twilight both sat silently as they watched the dragon lift a large ornate urn to his mouth and take in the steaming tea that had been presented to them by one of Paraxxus' many vassals.
As Paraxxus finished off his tea he set the two small ponies with a stern glare.
"I will be frank. Spike and I parted on less than favorable terms. He knew without asking that I would refuse to aid in his foolish crusade and as such I have abandoned him as a pupil. However, given the condition I found him in and that I know he wouldn't have involved me unless there was simply no other option available to him, I will allow you all to stay here until he recovers. But know this: I refuse to suffer the ignorance of less species. You and your kin will follow every rule I set down for you, and disobedience will result in whatever punishment I see fit. Are we clear?"
Twilight was the first to speak, "We understand wholeheartedly. We had no idea where Spike was sending us and we certainly did not mean to trespass on your property. I will personally insure great care is taken to honor your wishes while we are guests in your home," she said, bowing deeply.
"Very good. Now that we are on even ground, I would like for you to explain to me exactly what series of events lead to this unfortunate happening. I've always known my apprentice to be careless and hot headed, but for him to expend that amount of raw magic is startling even for me."
Twilight lowered her head and fought to hold back the tears. "Well sir, it went wrong when the griffons attacked." Twilight recounted the entire tale of how they had discovered the rebels and had planned to meet with them, but were caught in an ambush. The elder dragon merely nodded and sipped at his tea as the unicorn told him everything.
"It would seem you have all experienced much in a short amount of time... another hallmark of my foolish pupil, always rushing forward without proper forethought." Paraxxus paused to toss a few salted fish into his great maw.
"I offer my condolences for your loss. Even if I find you to be of one of the lower class species in the world, death should be mourned appropriately. I shall instruct my vassals to aid you in whatever funeral preparations you require for your lost friend. If you wish I will also perform a prayer for the lost for all of your kin that perished during the attack."
Both unicorns were speechless for a moment, unprepared for such an act of kindness. Lyra was the first to regain her composure. "We can not express our gratitude enough, good sir. The dragon's prayer is an honor none of my kinsmen could ever have dreamed being worthy of."
Paraxxus nodded toward the mint green unicorn. "That will be all for now. You both must be past the point of exhaustion after your ordeals today. We will continue our conversation when my pupil awakens and we can decide on what exactly he plans to do with the lot of you. If you require anything during the night simply ring the bell in the training hall, and someone will be along to attend to you."
With that, the massive dragon rose up and retreated into the deeper recesses of the cavern. Twilight and Lyra were lead back to the training hall with the rest of the ponies, the mood of the group of tense, but calm. The presence of the dragon Paraxxus seemed to somewhat soothe the frayed nerves of the ponies and allowed them to drift into a cautious sleep.