"This is the part where we give up our powers to save Equestria, right?" Nightmare Moon asked with some amount of annoyance in her tone. "And it's also the part where we all get to go free for being such a wonderful help, right?" She was smiling with sarcastic hopefulness, leaning towards Celestia.
Celestia looked amongst the various 'villains' that were before her now. Discord, the god of chaos. A draconequus that could never be trusted without something to tie him down. She had yet to find whatever that would be, but she doubted that he would be held by a Pinkie Promise. Then again, they all treated the Promises as life and death, so that might do the trick. Then came Nightmare Moon, the entire reason she was forced to banish her sister to the moon, yet also apparently the reason she still had a sister. Luna had never told her about what happened in the years before her corruption, but it was looking more and more as a desperate cry for help in hindsight. She wasn't sure whether she should be banishing Nightmare Moon, or thanking her. After that, was Queen Chrysalis. She hadn't known why the queen had invaded Canterlot, but now it was revealed that her pony-- changlings, were starving. Wouldn't she herself do anything to save her ponies? Certainly, the methods that Chrysalis chose left much to be desired, but they also had different cultures. She would no more expect a Minotaur to beg for food, or a Griffon to grovel. Perhaps the Changelings were the same, in this way? Finally, the case of Aether. He was no true villain, and he was doing everything with her blessing in the first place. The fact that one of his subordinates took his teachings to heart was no more his fault than anypony else.
This took Celestia a full minute to reply, and her stoic mask was left in place as she thought. The other villains, now seeing Celestia actually take Nightmare Moon's sarcastic remark seriously, became very interested in Celestia's reply.
With a deep breath, Celestia's blank stare finally broke as she looked to the four in front of her. "I do not trust that all of you will not immediately go back to plotting and attempting to overthrow me, but your assistance here is desperately needed. If I declined your assistance, or used you and then discarded your contribution, I would be no better than any of you."
Chrysalis, Nightmare and Discord all rolled their eyes in unison at the attitude of Celestia, and her 'holier than thou' grandstanding.
"However, this gives all of us an opportunity." Celestia continued, regaining their attention. "With one detail, I will allow all of you the chance to correct the error of your ways." Discord then grinned mischievously. "No, Discord. I don't mean fixing your plans. I mean reformation."
Discord grumbled, and Chrysalis spoke next. "What do you mean 'Reformation'? I'm not going to turn myself into one of your ponies , if that's what you mean. At least, not on a permanent basis."
"No, I talk of social reformation."
"Uh, you guys? Sorry to but in, but THERE'S A FREAKING INVASION HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!" Rainbow Dash yelled. Then, everybeing gathered looked up to the sky to stare at Cloudsdale, as if they had completely forgotten. "Can't this wait until after we kick the bad guys' flanks?" She then winced, and looked to the four villains. "Eh, no offense!" She smiled sheepishly.
Then, unexpectedly, an explosion blew out one side of the floating cloud city. Cloudy construction material rained from the sky with streaks of flame and rainbow in its wake, accompanied by mushroom clouds of debris and dust on impact. Cloud matter was spewing dangerously from a large container near the weather factory, sending a few Garotte's to their doom below.
Twilight's face paled, imagining any of those falling to be the real Garotte. "We have to go! We'll talk about all of this later, but I really need to get powered up if I'm going to have any hope against Tirek!"
"There's a big problem with this, and I feel like now would be a good time to mention it." Queen Aze spoke up with raised hoof.
"Really?! You waited until NOW?" Twilight snapped.
"The talking was nice, and you were all becoming friends. I didn't want to ruin the moment. Besides, Celestia is spicy" Aze wiggled her eyebrows at the Solar Diarch.
Several beings made faces at this before they composed themselves. "What is the issue?" Luna asked.
"Well, at least my hive as an issue with losing all of our magic. It keeps us alive, and without it, we turn into Amethyst statues of ourselves until we can be revived through the magic we lost, or a new source."
Rarity's face then decided it didn't want to have a jaw, as it dropped to the floor. Literally. Discord laughed his tail off, and then re-attached it. Oh, and Rarity's jaw as well.
"You mean... I've been using dead changelings in my work this entire time?!" she yelled, about to go into panic.
"No, you would notice that the statue was lifelike. A work of art. However, I don't know how Chryssi's hive deals with starvation." Aze pointed out, looking to the other Queen.
Chrysalis grimaced, before finally speaking. "Do I need to give Sparkle all of my power?"
Celestia, Twilight and Pinkie Pie all shared a look, before nodding. "Every bit could make the difference between victory and defeat." Celestia replied.
Then, to the disgust of everybeing but Queen Aze, Chrysalis made a hocking sound and spat into the holes in her hooves.
"What are you doing?" Twilight asked, still grossed out.
"Making myself." Chrysalis snickered, before her magic wove between the holes in her hooves and began pulling out a mucous-resin thread and wrapping it around herself.
"Huh?" Rainbow asked.
"She's preserving her body in a Chrysalis. Thus, she is 'making Herself.'" Aze explained. "It seems we both go into a stasis of some kind. However, we will be completely unable to protect or defend ourselves in this state. You must Pinkie Promise that nothing will happen to Chrysalis or I before I agree to give you my power."
"But we need your magic to defeat Tirek!" Twilight complained. "How could you even consider not helping us?"
"I have thousands of children to look after, and I cannot bargain their lives on a plan that only has a slim chance of working. If you can promise the return of my magic, then I will assist. First, I must inform the Hivemind of what is about to happen, so they do not come in a swarm to rescue me."
Twilight was reminded of the army that had landed outside of her treehouse when she had first met Queen Aze.
"Um, everybeing?" Fluttershy spoke up. She then pointed towards the opposite end of the city. "I think Tirek is here..."
Off in the distance, his steps beginning to shake the city, Lord Tirek fired a large blast of orange-red magic from his mouth into the City of Cloudsdale's center, splitting it in two and causing a great many copies to come raining down from the sky onto the Cobblestone below.
"That was a direct hit!" A Garotte at a control console yelled. "Another like that, and we're all dead!"
"Keep it together! We only have to stay here until the heroes pull their head from their flank and decide to do something!" Real Garotte barked back. Another blast scorched the side of the control building, causing it to shake as the supports began to collapse. Steadying herself on her hooves, Garotte looked out the window to see the grinning face of Tirek.
Garotte put up a bold front, though she was still shaking in place.
"Remember your promise!" Garotte yelled defiantly back.
"You think a foolish promise, even from the Pink One, is going to hold me back?!" He grabbed at the building, but his hand simply swished through the condensed clouds, causing them to dissipate. "I am Lord Tirek! I have more power than anybeing, even her!" he growled.
"If you want to test that theory, go right ahead! It'll just mean I have to find something else to fight the Heroes with!" Garotte shot back, making for the exit that lead to her flying contraption.
Tirek took in a deep breath, his magic condensing into a large ball of energy and aimed at Garotte. For her part, Garotte began a full sprint towards the stairs, deciding to leap down the staircases instead of taking the elevator or being more cautious. As Tirek was about to unleash a gargantuan beam of energy to annihilate the entirety of Cloudsdale, he began coughing and sputtering. He doubled over on top of a Barracks, squashing an armory, several carts, and sending some golems flying into the air from the impact.
"What?!" He coughed. "I-Im- *hack* Possible- *urk!*"
Garotte had barely made it to her escape vehicle, and gave it a shove off the side of Cloudsdale, grabbing onto the pilot seat at the last moment with her mane and tail being buffeted in the wind by her rapid spiral downwards.
"We are prepared?" Luna asked of those gathered in a circle around Twilight Sparkle.
"As I'll ever be, Loony." Nightmare replied, earning a grumble from Luna.
Queen Aze took a regal sitting pose, as if being painted. "I have informed the hive. I am ready."
Chrysalis was still inside of her namesake, but her voice could be heard through the membrane as if underwater. "Let's get this over with!"
The Pink One stood in front of Twilight, placing a hoof on her chest. "You're gonna do great, Twilight." She said with sad cheer. "Go get the bad guys for all of us!"
Twilight was a bundle of nervous energy, and about to become much more. Celestia began the transference of power, covering everybeing in a glow of sunlight colored magic. First was Nightmare Moon and Luna's magic. The Dark and Shadow mixing together and pouring from their horns into Twilight's own horn. As their magic was slowly drained, the two began to physically weaken. Their magic was joined by Discord and Aether's; mixture of blackened lightning and an Aurora-borealis of light, respectively. Discord began turning into stone, as Aether collapsed to the floor with a groan. Following this, Celestia and Chrysalis began to pour their power into Twilight. The light of the sun and the power of love forced Twilight to the ground, gasping for breath and relief from the feeling of being incinerated from the inside by all of the magic she was being forced to contain. Finally, Queen Aze's magic was taken in a magenta beam of energy, swirling around all of the magics together, coalescing them into what looked like the most intricate of nebulae. The raging storm of power began to calm, and Twilight was able to breathe again. With final effort, Celestia collapsed to the ground. The Pink One herself then gave Twilight a hug as the last of the magic poured into her, and a bright glow emanated from the Party Pony she had known as a friend.
"There's a bit of friendship for the road, Twilight." She said weakly, her mane deflating to the straight lines Twilight had seen when her friend was distressed. Pinkie then fell onto her back, sprawled onto the cobblestone beneath them. "Go get em..." she whispered, weak from having her magic drained.
Twilight could feel the force of the magics inside of her all fighting for dominance. The harmony provided by Aze was only going to last so long before it was exhausted keeping everything in check. She had to find Garotte before she took out half of the planet with all of this magical energy begging for release.
Seeing something falling from Cloudsdale, she squinted and saw a pony clinging onto it for dear life. Deciding it was her best shot, She channeled magic into her horn and teleported towards it.
Garotte was screaming her head off as her vehicle spiraled out of control towards the rapidly approaching ground. A wing had been torn off during her escape, and the vehicle was going to become her coffin at this rate. She couldn't do anything other than hold onto the contraption and hope that it would break her fall enough for her to survive.
A sound that was murderous to the eardrums of any that heard it completely deafened Garotte, who reflexively covered her ears with her hooves, and began screaming in earnest when she realized she had let go of the flying machine. She was in a tumble directly downwards, and had begun screaming as the wind rushed past her face.
This was before she had the wind knocked from her lungs, as something impacted her in the chest. Opening her eyes and gasping for air, she saw the lavender coat of a familiar mare.
The wings were new, though.
Are you the real Garotte?" Twilight yelled. Garotte was unable to hear anything.
Twilight swooped down, dodging some debris that was intent on impaling the both of them. Large sections of the city had lost their cohesion, and were crashing down below onto Canterlot with plumes of fog rolling through the streets. Twilight then banked into a dive, swooping down to land behind a fallen clocktower. The loss of speed caused Garotte to fall to the ground, having been carried by sheer momentum.
"You can fly?!" Garotte yelled.
Twilight looked to her wings, both of them unfolding. She had no idea how she was able to fly so easily, but decided that if the magic of Harmony could reign in conflicting magics of all things, then having her able to fly straight wasn't that much of a problem for it.
"Are you the real Garotte?" Twilight yelled, Garotte barely able to hear her.
Okay. That part was accomplished... now how to make friends?
Come on, Twilight. You went to Ponyville specifically to learn about friendship. This should be easy!
"Leave me, Twilight! I can't stop being evil any more than you can stop saving ponies, and I don't want to fight you!
Twilight latched onto the comment, as she could use that to get through to Garotte. "You don't have to be evil!"
The city itself was still falling apart all around them, and Lord Tirek was beginning to recover from the Pink One's intervention. His arms swung wide, allowing him to push himself onto his hooves and crushing several buildings in the process, as well as flinging debris towards the Royal Palace, destroying one of the towers.
"I made a promise!" Garotte yelled.
"We can revoke it! We just have to take you to Pinkie Pie, and you'll be freed from it!" She offered a hoof to Garotte, hoping that she would accept it.
"Don't you understand, Twilight?! I've never had a choice in who I was! I'll always be evil, no matter if it's from a Promise or not!"
"You always have a choice, Garotte!"
Garotte was regaining some of her hearing, but the destruction of the City as well as the beams of magic from Tirek were causing it to be very loud. They still had to shout just to speak to each other a few hooves away. The orange-red lances of energy were slicing apart the Royal Palace, and Golems were swarming at Tirek's hooves, attempting to pull him to the ground.
"Maybe you do, Sparkle! I don't!"
"Why is that?! You can end all of this right now! Help me, Garotte!"
"If you think I'm going to throw away the last part of me that still clings on to the vain hope that I can be a good pony, then you're wrong!"
"You can be a good pony! You just have to break your promise! Let Pinkie free you from it!"
Garotte breathed deep, her body covered in the concrete and marble dust of the city around her.
"You never understood, Twilight." She muttered.
"What? Garotte, We have to go! Come with me; help me end this!"
Tirek had wandered off, the gathered magics of everypony in Canterlot hiding in the Rich Bank drawing him towards them, giving Twilight and Garotte some breathing room. Golems were still attempting to stop Tirek, but his size was enough that he towered over every building in Canterlot that remained standing, and shook the ground with his steps.
"~Don't cut me loose~
~hang me by my Wire;~
~or set me free,~
~and hang my noose higher!~"
Garotte began to sing, confusing Twilight. Garotte was also walking towards Twilight menacingly.
"~I made a promise,~
~I intend to keep.~
~Don't be so thoughtless,~
~Let me put you to sleep!~"
Garotte grabbed hold of Twilight with her hooves, attempting to crush her in a hug. Twilight, empowered by the magics overloading her body, was able to counteract the absurd strength of Garotte, causing Twilight to reconsider if she was just a regular pony.
"~Just one hug~
~A bit of harmless fun,~
~Come here, Princess~
~Just a second; you'll be done~"
Garotte grinned malevolently, doubling down on the force she was applying and causing Twilight to strain under the compression. Twilight was then shoved to the ground, and Garotte took a moment to catch her breath.
"~Take a seat~
~Just leave and retreat!~"
Garotte then jumped onto Twilight again, re-doubling her efforts to crush her.
"~Don't cut me loose~
~hang me from my Wire~
~or set me free,~
~and hang my noose higher!~"
The two rolled, struggling to gain the upper hoof. She was too busy trying to keep Garotte at bay without hurting her from the building overload of magic that she was fighting to keep under control to worry about the meaning of the impromptu lyrics. She hurled Garotte off of her with a buck, sending her flipping over a cart. Rolling over and worried that she had put too much into her attack, Garotte leapt atop of the overturned haycart.
"~I made a promise;~
~I intend to keep.~
~Don't be so heartless,~
~Trying to put me down to sleep!?~" Garotte roared in anger, tackling Twilight.
She was on top of Twilight now, their foreheads and horns locked in a battle of will as Garotte upgraded from hugging to attempted strangulation.
"Come a little closer,
I've gotta tell you something.
Come a little closer,
~And let me tighten the wire's string!~" She cried madly, slipping her hooves past Twilight's wings and wrapping around her neck.
To her surprise, Twilight could see tears in Garotte's eyes. She could also feel her consciousness fading, and desperately unleashed a bit of energy, causing a sphere of nebulous magic to blast Garotte off of her and through a brick wall.
Lord Tirek had seen the blast of magic, and redoubled his efforts to tear apart the Rich Bank, holding hundreds of Unicorns, Pegasus and Earth Ponies. He was going to need every bit if he was going up against that much power.
Garotte wheezed, pushing a slab of bricks away. Her ribs felt broken, and she could hardly move in her present state. Coughing, she saw the concealed form of Twilight amidst the dust of the recently damaged store.
"F-finish it!" Garotte sputtered. "I can't break the promise I made, because if it's the only good thing I do in my life, It'll be that I never broke a promise!"
Twilight loomed over her, and Garotte shied away, expecting retribution for attempting to strangle Twilight. A hoof rested on her chest, and she winced in pain; before that caused her to gasp in agony from her ribs -that were indeed broken- stabbing into her.
Twilight's horn was bathed in Ethereal magics, and wrapped the both of them in its glow, lifting them into the air. Swirls of black, white, yellow, green and pink condensed onto them, and Garotte could feel the pain in her chest easing, before fading away entirely as if she had never been hurt. Twilight's eyes were a fierce white glow, and the magics that she was using had begun to change her appearance from their will to dominate the other magics. The harmony from Aze was fading fast with every spell used, and Twilight was running out of time.
"Garotte, You have to trust me. We can find a way out of this that won't break your promise, but we have to work together if we're going to do that. You don't have to be evil, no matter what anypony else says, and especially not because somepony else is forcing you be evil."
She was still exhausted from the fight, as magic could only do so much to heal her wounds. She could only look at Twilight hopefully.
"We have to defeat Tirek, but I can't do it alone, Garotte. I need you." She smiled, offering a hoof to Garotte, whom was sitting on the debris littered floor.
"You're not going to banish me? Or throw me in a dungeon? Or throw me in a dungeon in the place you banished me to?" Garotte asked, taking the hoof with cautious skepticism.
Twilight then yanked Garotte into a hug, surprising her. She nuzzled Garotte, further catching her off guard. "Friends don't banish friends."
Garotte almost yelped in fright, clutching her chest.
"What's wrong?!" Twilight asked in shock, concern for Garotte blotting out the impending doom that Tirek represented.
"I... I feel..." Garotte looked betrayed, glaring at Twilight. "What did you do to me?!"
"I didn't do anything!" Twilight yelped, hooves up in a gesture of surrender.
"Then why do I feel this knot in my chest!? You did something, didn't you!?"
Twilight then got an idea, and tackled Garotte.
"I knew it! I knew I couldn't trust you!" Garotte yelled, desperately trying to hug Twilight unconcious, but failing to succeed in her weakened state.
"I know what's happening!" Twilight yelled over the scuffle. She lifted the both of them in her magic, and Garotte's struggles started to die down after awhile.
"What's happening?! Why is the knot loosening?!" Garotte panicked.
"Let it happen!"
"Bad choice of wording, Sparkle!" Garotte retorted. The feeling was beginning to unravel, and somehow, Garotte felt more at ease when it loosened more and more. "Is this some kind of mind control spell?!" Garotte asked, calming down though still suspicious.
"Nope! It is magic, though!"
Twilight squeezed Garotte tighter. "Friendship!"
Twilight had taken a few precious minutes to explain to Garotte what their plan was, once she had calmed down.
"You need my magic, specifically, to defeat Tirek?"
"Yes. The other copy of you had said that I needed to befriend you, in order to do so."
Garotte's head lowered as her eyes raced in thought.
"I... I didn't tell them to say that..."
Twilight was surprised. "Wait, you didn't?"
From her spot on the floor, the Pink One smiled.
"It doesn't matter right now! We have to defeat Tirek. I need your help, Garotte."
"I still don't understand why. All I do is hug strongly." she replied, dusting off her suit jacket and adjusting her "Ambassador of Evil' nametag.
Twilight looked to Garotte's cutie mark of Piano Wire in a loop, and an idea came to her.
"I don't think that's what your cutie mark means, Garotte." She placed a hoof on her new friend's withers. "Would you mind telling me how you got it? I have a theory."
"We have time for that?" Garotte asked, pointing to the form of Tirek battering the bank with his fists, seeing as the walls had been enchanted against magic.
"Humor me." Twilight smiled.
"Alright, fine." Garotte cleared her throat, and began. "I was still a filly, though at the time I was living in the Griffon Empire on my own. My parents had vanished before I was born, so I didn't have anypony taking care of me but myself. I did what I could, currying packages or doing odd jobs to survive. Griffons aren't the most generous."
Twilight then remembered Gilda, and nodded.
"One day, I was delivering another package and came across a flock of Griffons, all arguing about something. I poked my head through all the ruffled feathers to see what was up, and earned a wing to the side that sent me flying. I picked myself up quickly, about to run before they decided to have fun throwing me around, and a hoof rested on my back. It was an old mare; never learned her name. She suggested going up to the griffons and offering them a hug. Help them see that their argument was silly, and we should just get along."
"Being the dumb filly that I was, I decided she was probably right. I walked up to the griffons, and offered a hug to them. One of the smaller ones, a mare griffon or something, picked me up and called me cute. I gave her a hug, and she was almost hospitalized. It took all of the other griffons just to peel me off of her, as I had no idea I was hurting her in the first place. When they pried be off, I got a swift wing to the face and flung into a fruit cart. When I came to, I had my cutie mark of piano wire. And then I overheard the griffons talking about me, and mentioned returning the favor by Garroting me. I decided to leave, but I called myself Garotte from that point on."
Garotte looked to Twilight. "I learned that no matter what I tried to do, It would only come out horribly, so I stopped trying to be a good pony. Trying to help only got myself or others hurt. If I couldn't be good, then I would be the worst pony I could live with. At least then I would have a purpose."
Twilight embraced Garotte again, and Garotte returned a half hearted hug.
"I don't think that's what it means, Garotte." She said, and pulled away to speak with her. "Look at it from a different viewpoint. All of those griffons were being mean to each other, right?"
"They were just arguing, Twilight. No big deal, and I shouldn't have gotten involved."
"No, I mean look what you did. They were all against each other, and you united them, although not in the best of ways. I don't think talking would have worked with griffons anyway. They can be really stubborn." Twilight was getting off track, and shook her head. "Anyway, I was getting at this: Your cutie mark doesn't mean that you're only good at strangling. It means you're good at having others work together whether they like it or not. Think about it! You got Tirek to work for you, you convinced all of your copies to work together when we couldn't keep even two Pinkies contained, You would've gotten all of Ponyville to join the forces of evil, and you even got insane ponies to work together towards a common goal."
"So... what does that mean?"
"It means, your special talent is uniting others through any way necessary." Twilight smiled.
"So how does that help you? Would it make your job easier?"
"I think so! If anything can make something work together, it's you, Garotte." Twilight smiled.
Garotte blinked, looking at herself in a new light. "And... you need my magic to defeat Tirek?" She asked hesitantly.
"Yes, or he's going to destroy all of Equestria. He doesn't play by any rules except his own, and he won't stop with just us ponies either."
Garotte gulped, realizing the threat she had created. She then nodded vigorously. "Okay... I'll do it!" She declared with a hoof raised dramatically in the air, before looking to Twilight. "Um... what do I need to do?" she asked sheepishly.
"Just relax for a moment, I'll take care of the rest." Twilight grinned happily, both for Garotte finally trusting her, and for the final piece to defeating Tirek.
"W-wait!" Garotte blurted as Twilight's magic began to illuminate them. "If I help you, then I'll be breaking my Promise to be evil..."
"Garotte, do you trust me?" Twilight asked.
"Um... sort of?"
"Garotte, I have an idea."
"And that is?"
"I'm going to seal you in stone, so the promise can't affect you. Then I'll absorb your magic, defeat Tirek, return everybeing else's magic, and we'll figure out a way to free you."
This didn't sit well with Garotte. "Twilight, I know you're being honest in trying to help, but you're asking me to go into Limbo for who knows how long. You don't even know if you can free me after this, or if the Promise will just..."
"We have to take the risk, Garotte. There's no other way." Twilight said with more determination and surety than she felt.
"Well... If that's what it takes, then you had better come back for me, Sparkle." Garotte replied, shoring up her nervous terror with bravado.
Twilight then embraced Garotte. "I wouldn't leave you, Garotte. I'll be back before you know it."
The two shared a moment, before Garotte broke their embrace. "Alright..." She took a deep breath and then exhaled slowly. "I'm ready."
"See you soon, Garotte." Twilight smiled, and her horn lit up with ethereal energies, also causing her eyes to emit blinding light.
Garotte shielded her eyes, and panicked as she felt the hooves touching the ground slowly lock up. Unable to move them, she looked down as saw stone slowly crawling up her hind legs, moving past her fetlocks already.
Well, if I'm going to be a statue for who knows how long...
Garotte then placed what she could of herself into a polite bow, head lowered respectfully while looking towards Twilight Sparkle.
Twilight, having finished her spell and taken the magic of Unity from Garotte, opened her eyes and was shocked to see the statue of Garotte bowing to her. This immediately made her feel a wave of guilt for how things had played out, but she promised to herself that as soon as she was able, she would find some way to fix this.
For now, however, she had some flank to kick.
Twilight stored Garotte with the others in the circle, placing her statue in the center. Queen Aze was an amethyst statue of herself, appearing as if carved exactly to her form and glowing faintly. The rest were either asleep, weak, or in a Chrysalis. Her friends had been standing watch, as their magic wouldn't be enticing enough to attract Tirek when Twilight was around.
Seeing that they were still safe, Twilight left the room, and took off from the ground while leaving a crater. Pinkie was right. Before, all of the magics were fighting with one another, attempting to use their version of a spell over the others. With Garotte's unity, the magics instead decided to fuse with Twilight's, and allowed her to sort through all the separate methods to come up with a unique spell that combined all types of magic.
Hovering above the city, it was easy to spot Tirek. He was the size of the Canterlot Palace, and shooting lasers. Kind of obvious, in hindsight.
Taking a deep breath, and feeling magic swirl in her vocal cords with a slight burning, Twilight got his attention.
"TIREK! FIGHT ME, ONE ON ONE!"
Lord Tirek turned his massive frame to the source of the ear shattering challenge. Then what he was facing suddenly surprised him.
"THERE IS A FOURTH ALICORN?!" He bellowed in rage. He had already destroyed the Palace and found that Celestia and Luna were absent. The cowards must have fled, and the Third alicorn, Cadance, was too far away at the moment. She would come later.
This, however, was a large problem in his plans. He could feel the magic inside of this fourth Alicorn burning as if nothing else existed in the universe. He needed that magic. The only problem was that it was too focused, too condensed. He would need to fight this Alicorn if he was to weaken her magics enough to absorb and control. He had enough from the rest of Canterlot, and the recently peeled open Rich Bank as well as the entirety of Cloudsdale's weather factories to fight Celestia or Luna. This one, however, was more powerful than either pony combined. He would have to play this smart if he was going to have a chance.
"You've got alot to answer for, Tirek!" the Alicorn bellowed.
Now that he noticed it, she seemed young. Perhaps she hadn't been taught how to fight, yet? This would play to his advantage, as he had more than enough experience in battle to match some upstart with too much power.
"THEN COME AND FACE ME, WHELP!" He yelled in reply. His mouth opened, and a large orb of Orange-Red magic, crackling with black lightning formed in the gap between his teeth, growing in size.
Twilight ducked to the left, as a massive beam the size of a battleship scorched the air past her. The laser then followed after her, slicing into the city and annihilating several structures. The golems, which had been all but an annoyance till this point, were disintegrated by the heat from the blast alone, causing a large scorch mark to blacken the ground beneath Tirek.
The newly made Alicorn then answered with a spell of her own.
Her horn glowed brightly, different magics swirling together, colors of White, Black, Yellow, Green and Pink, with a large Blue coil around them. This was all combined into a nebulous orb, swirling like the surface of the sun and emitting tendrils of dark magic that reached out to strike anything too close. She poured more power into the spell, ducking another beam of energy from an increasingly panicked Tirek, and discharged the beam directly into his chest.
The resulting blast sent Tirek flying into the mountainside through dozens of layers of rock and sediment. Then it kept going, drilling him into the mountainside with an unrelenting barrage of fury. Tirek held his hands in front of his face in an attempt to stop the stream of doom that was pummeling him, and he was horrified to feel his hands peeling back. He was being disintegrated!
With gathered magic, He forced himself to focus long enough through the pain to teleport out of the way of this death sentence, and appeared on the opposite side of Canterlot, heaving and using his brief respite to heal his injuries.
It was another half minute before Twilight's spell dissipated enough to be stopped. Twilight then made a mental note to not use that much energy in her next attack. If Tirek even still existed.
A blast of magic to her backside then confirmed that Tirek was still alive, and flung her through what remained of the Canterlot Palace.
"Ya think now's a good time to get the Elements of Harmony ready?" Applejack asked her four friends.
"Definetly." Pinkie Pie squeaked.
"Oh, I hope nopony gets hurt!" Fluttershy worried.
"Darling, I think the only pony getting hurt should be Garotte, for causing this whole mess." Rarity grumbled.
"Yeah! If It wasn't for Garotte, none of this would be happening." Rainbow Dash agreed. "What should we do with her?" She pointed to the statue of Garotte that had been set in the midst of them.
"Well... she's not doing anything now." Fluttershy pointed out.
"But, shouldn't she get punished or something? She basically blew up two whole cities!" Rainbow countered.
"Well, she is frozen in stone, Rainbow." Rarity offered.
"But... doesn't that seem like she got off a little easy?"
"Discord ruled and tormented ponies for decades before the Princesses banished him, and he was entombed in stone for it." Fluttershy said in Garotte's defense.
"Yeah... but..." Rainbow growled in frustration. "It seems like she got off easy." She pouted.
"Well, what'd you have done, Rainbow?" Applejack asked.
"I don't know! Banished her to the moon or something?"
"Not happening... on my watch." Pinkie wheezed.
"Are you certain you should be speaking, dear? You're awfully weak." Rarity asked with concern for Pinkie Pie.
"Hey look! Twilight's alright!" Fluttershy blurted, attempting to distract her friends from becoming embittered or sad.
"Go kick his tail, Twilight!" Rainbow cheered with a hoof pump.
Twilight's everything hurt.
A normal pony would've been annihilated by a blast like that, but Twilight was no longer a normal pony. She was an Alicorn. A pony Demigod in every sense, and empowered by the magics of actual gods.
It still hurt, though.
"Aaaauuuu..." Twilight complained, lifting debris off of her with a field of multicolored magic. Blinking the dust from her eyes and standing on her hooves, she spotted Tirek in the distance, patiently waiting to see if Twilight had survived. To her surprise, the beam of doom she had used earlier to drill the centaur into the mountain side hadn't done any lasting damage to him. He did, however, seem just a slight bit smaller. She was going to need to change her strategy if she was going to win this fight. However much magic she may have, she did have her limits, and those included passing out of physical exhaustion. She hadn't tried using magic to sustain her body before, but she also didn't want to risk becoming addicted to those methods of sustenance. That's probably what happened to the Changelings in the first place. Once you start, your body becomes dependent on the method.
Twilight's internal debate was rudely interrupted by the crackling energy of another beam being summoned by Tirek, and Twilight had just enough time to catapult herself out of the way with a combination of her wings and magical acceleration to avoid becoming part of a trench. She charged her own horn, and sent out needles of various magics to barrage Tirek, flying around his large form like an all powerful insect.
Shielding his eyes, Tirek laughed. "You think your puny attacks will harm me? Let me show you my strength!" he roared, swiping at Twilight with a massive hand. "Hold still!" he insisted, missing the very nimble Alicorn several times.
Then, unbidden to Twilight, a massive flyswatter was summoned from nowhere in a flash of white light, and smacked Tirek on the backside of his head.
Having no time to contemplate how Discord's magic had gained a mind of it's own, she instead focused on the opportunity given by the baffled Tirek, whom was now wrestling with a giant flyswatter. She charged another beam, (Less powerful than her previous one,) And aimed for Tirek's legs.
The resulting lance of magic was enough to knock Tirek to his knees, and he shifted his arms to block the laser from cutting further into him. When Twilight's spell finally dissipated, Tirek lunged upwards to grab hold of Twilight and succeeded.
At least, before Twilight simply teleported onto to the top of his head and gave him a magically enhanced stomp to the skull.
Clutching his head in pain, Tirek swayed slightly in an attempt to remain upright. Twilight took the opportunity to blast him in a most sensitive of stallion anatomical areas, and he further tried to protect his body. Seeing this strategy having the most results, Twilight began blasting other sensitive areas, even at one point deciding to fly into Tirek's ear and deciding to play a game with his eardrums.
"Sunshine, Sunshine! Ladybug's awake!" She pounded onto his eardrums with her hooves.
"Clack your hooves and do a little SHAKE!" She screamed, bucking his eardrum with the same magical enhancements she used on his skull, and causing it to rupture entirely. She then blasted out of his ear, causing further damage, and lanced his incoming palm with another beam of magic.
"AAAAAGHH! Curse you, pony!" Tirek yelled, clutching his bleeding ear and attempting to regain his balance.
While Tirek was looking around for her, Twilight then decided to play even dirtier, and took up a load of debris from the city in her magic. She then strafed the massive centaur, throwing the debris into his eyes and blinding him.
"ENOUGH!" Tirek roared, his arms swinging wildly in an attempt to hit the annoying pest that was doing far better than he predicted.
Twilight decided she was playing around with Tirek at this point and ducked under his arms, making another strafing run on his 'bits', before looping back and smashing full force into one of his horns. This caused an Equestria-shattering crack, and his left horn snapped off entirely.
"AAAAAHHHHGG!!!" Tirek screamed in pain, a large majority of his magic exploding outwards from the shattered horn and being returned to their rightful owners in a stream of color.
"YEAH! GO TWILIGHT!" Rainbow and Applejack cheered.
"We should be bringing the Elements now, shouldn't we?" Fluttershy reminded everypony.
"Oh, yes! I had completely forgotten; with the spectacle and all." Rarity mentioned, having been enraptured by the display of magic that would put any further display to shame for the rest of her life.
"I'll carry Pinkie Pie!" Applejack declared, lifting her pink friend onto her back.
"Let's go save the day!" Rainbow added, floating above her friends that were all now wearing their respective Elements.
"wooo." Pinkie Pie cheered weakly.
When Tirek had gone down in pain, Twilight took the opportunity to shatter his second horn, which released even more magic from Tirek and caused him to shrink down to about Luna's size. She could try to banish him now, but she didn't know if that would use all of her magic or not, and didn't want to risk the lives of her friends, and frienemies. Sure, they were evil, but so was Garotte. In the end, she had done the right thing and tried to help, despite the threat to her own life. With Tirek's case, however, she doubted he could ever be seriously reformed and taken away from evil.
"Do it. Finish me, Alicorn!" Tirek growled, still trying to conjure any form of magic he could to fight back.
"Just sit still, Tirek." Twilight snapped, annoyed with his persistence. Then she blinked. Twilight normally didn't snap at ponies, did she?
Deciding that she wanted the magics that had been contained inside of her to be outside of her as soon as they possibly could, she decided to yell to get her friends' attention.
"Moving with speed would be greatly appreciated right now!"
Then, her friends came from around the corner, attempting to cover their ears from the volume.
"We're here, sugarcube!" Applejack yelled, slightly deafened.
"Let's send Tirek to the sun!" Rainbow added.
"You girls ready?" Twilight asked, and they all lined up next to Twilight. Rarity had used her magic to place Twilight's tiara on her head, and Applejack had set Pinkie down on her hooves, standing as proudly as possible.
"Ready!" The five sounded off with degrees of enthusiasm.
Twilight then took hold of the elements with her magic, and lifted into the air with glowing white eyes. The elements began to glow fiercely, and lifted the remaining five ponies into the air to join Alicorn Twilight.
"You will regret this day, ponies!" Tirek swore, shaking his fist in a most cliche' villainous manner.
Then, the magic of the Elements flared to life, combining their colors into a strip of Rainbow magic that knocked Tirek off of his hooves and to the cobblestone, coiling around and wrapping him entirely. The might of energy began to speed up, before quickly collapsing in on itself and blasting off into the sky, directly into the sun.
Then, as anticlimactically as ever, The Elements of Harmony dumped the six heroes onto the street.
Fluttershy peeked out from her mane with one eye still closed. "Did we win?"
They had indeed won. Tirek was gone; banished to the sun. Twilight and her friends were making their way back to the circle, when Rainbow Dash spoke up.
"Hey, um, Twilight?" She asked nervously, flying next to her friend.
"Yes, Rainbow? Are you hurt?" Twilight asked, concerned.
"No, no. I'm fine. It's just... what do we do about Garotte?"
Twilight stopped, and looked at Rainbow. "What do you mean?"
"Well... it is all her fault that Cloudsdale and Canterlot are in complete ruins now..."
"You want to banish her too?" Twilight asked, a bitter and completely wrong feeling rising in her.
Rainbow waved her hooves in the negative quickly. "No no! It's just... what do we do about her? I mean, banishing her would work, but she's not powerful like Tirek or Luna. I don't think I could live with myself if we had sentenced her to..." Rainbow trailed, not wanting to finish her statement.
Twilight rested a hoof on her friend's shoulder. "We'll think of something, Rainbow." she said reassuringly.
"The Heroes of the hour return!" Nightmare Moon declared, her magics already having begun to return to her. Twilight had begun the transference of power the second she could feel the presence of the others, wanting to get back to normal Twilight instead of crazy, all powerful Alicorn Twilight.
"You were successful?" Luna asked, rising to her hooves.
"Twilight kicked Tirek's flank!" Rainbow affirmed enthusiastically. She then realized she was in front of royalty, and apologized for swearing.
"What of Garotte?" Celestia asked, motioning to the bowing statue that had caused all of this.
"I say we forgive her!" Pinkie Pie chirped, her magic returned as well. She received several stares of incredulity for this. "I mean, She did all of this because of a Promise, right? So it's not really her fault."
"Could she not have simply broken her promise?" Luna asked. "It seems to us a most drastic devotion so something as simple as a verbal contract."
Celestia then nudged her sister. "Luna, I'll explain everything to you later. For now, trust me when I say it is far more than a simple agreement between ponies when the Pink One in concerned."
"Are we really going to forgive her? She trashed two cities and endangered everypony!" Rainbow protested.
"Rainbow, are you alright? You've been mighty persistent about this whole 'punishment' business." Applejack commented.
"I just don't want to start a habit of us getting along with and hugging every villain we come across from this point on." Rainbow explained.
Twilight and Celestia then looked to Garotte's statue, and then to each other.
"I've got an idea of what we could do for Garotte." Twilight smiled.