Settling the Score
Piercing Gaze grinned as he finally tracked down Statice’s scent. It had been days of constant flying before he finally picked up on his location. To make matters worse, his instincts told him that he was followed, a suspicion that was proven correct multiple times when he heard many royal guards approaching him more times than not. Quick reflexes allowed him to hide from their vicinity every time that they were up to him. Once they were gone, he was back to his hunt.
In spite of the obstacles, he had found Statice. It was time to finish what he had started all those years ago. His dark scent was stronger than ever, even when the unicorn was not using dark magic, the griffin could smell the darkness inside his magic. Such was the cursed gift that he had received when the cub had blinded him.
Let’s see how you like it when your light is taken away from you, Statice.
He announced his arrival with a mighty roar and then dived at the green unicorn from a high altitude. If he caught him from such fall, he was going to deliver a load of damage into the unicorn. The first strike was always the most important one as his griffin forefathers had taught him.
The first strike is the deciding strike for a griffin. Once you’ve given it, the fight will be decided. Don’t throw it away! Make that first strike count!
It was going to count…he was going to make sure of that…
Statice sprinted towards the high-diving Piercing Gaze. He was familiar with the griffin strategy of the first strike. Piercing Gaze may have been the first griffin he ever fought, but he wasn't the only one since then. As he charged at the griffin, strategies and options were being reviewed inside his mind.
Blasting him won’t work. He’ll dodge the shots and I'll end up wasting my magic for attacks that won’t hit. Teleporting won’t do me any good if he can smell my magic and find out where I'll be. The Blunting Spell I used on his beak and talons is probably not working anymore and I am not looking forward to taking the risk of close quarters with an angrier and more experienced griffin to try the same trick again. I’m gonna to counter this strike first.
Piercing Gaze was already close to the ground when he switched directions to fly straight at Statice. The collision was imminent. Whoever struck first was going to be the one with the advantage. Not wasting any chances, Statice jumped as he was charging at the griffin in spite of not being within his range.
Twilight watched Statice’s decision and went into panic. The physics on the collision between the two rivals were playing inside her head as she calculated the variables in a matter of seconds. She could see Statice jumping at Piercing Gaze to clash against him, but that was not going to work in account of the griffin having a bigger mass and moving at a greater velocity that gave him superior momentum over the unicorn. However, this was a scenario that was supposed to happen if Statice jumped at the right moment. He had jumped seconds before the right moment, so by the time that he was back on the ground he was going to be hit by Piercing Gaze anyway.
What is he thinking? He can’t meet him head-on! He’s going to get hurt by the time he lands back on the ground! I need to help him! But how can I do it? I still have that ring preventing me from using magic. And my flying and fighting skills are not good enough against a professional…Wait! Is he twirling around?
At the apex of his jump, Statice flipped himself around so that his legs were facing upward. He tuckered his forelegs to his chest and extended one of his hind legs skywards while the other was chambered.
What is he doing? Is he going to hit him like that? It won’t work!
Ever since she lived in Ponyville, Twilight had watched Rainbow Dash perform her daily cloud-busting activities on the weather patrol. The speedster was very fond of showing off, so she often found ways to make her weather duties 120% awesome. One of her favorite tactics was using martial arts punches and kicks apart from bucks to make her chores more visually appealing to any audience that she may have at the time. It appeared that Statice was going to imitate a move that Rainbow Dash loved to use under special occasions, some sort of downward crescent kick.
He won't be able to hit him from this distance! By the time Statice finishes the kick, he is going to be exposed to a counterattack.
Her concerns vanished when Statice teleported. She gasped upon seeing that he had teleported right above Piercing Gaze. She saw the glimpse of a cocky smile as Statice performed the kick and nailed the griffin right in the ribs. She heard Piercing Gaze roar in pain as the blow sent him far away from the green unicorn.
Meanwhile, Statice landed on his hooves. He turned around and chased after Piercing Gaze to continue his fight with him. It was clear that Statice was not going to stop fighting until he was sure that the griffin was in no condition to continue.
Twilight was left aghast as she replayed that kick. It was the most clever and practical use of teleportation that she had ever seen in a battle. In most of her fights, Twilight’s main use of teleportation was merely teleporting away from her opponents, and then blasting them with magic from a safe distance. She never used teleportation to engage in close combat. Even then, the closest thing that she had to a strategy in those cases would be merely to teleport and then buck them the same way Applejack would do. She didn’t think to teleport mid-attack close to an opponent so that she could instantly hit them immediately after reappearing.
It’s just like when we first met.
First he used levitation in a way that she never imagined. Now he was using teleportation in the same creative way. It was clear that he was more cunning than she thought. He took two of her favorite spells and used them in a way that she never thought possible in a fight.
She was snapped out of her thoughts when she heard the synchronized chorus of her friends calling her name. She turned around to see them run to her, concern written over their faces.
“Are you okay?” Spike asked Twilight before she had the chance of asking them what they were doing there. “We heard a roar!”
“It’s Piercing Gaze!” Twilight informed them. “He finally found Statice and is fighting him again.”
“How bad is it?” Fluttershy asked, feeling concern for Statice in spite of his most recent behavior. “He didn’t get hurt, did he?”
“Only Piercing Gaze at the moment,” Twilight informed them as she gave a brief recapitulation on the fight.
“Wait!” Rainbow Dash threw her hooves at Twilight. “You’re saying that Statice caught him with a downwards crescent kick?”
“I thought that you needed to be a pegasus just for that!” Spike exclaimed, having seen Rainbow Dash practice the move hundreds of times when she was doing her weather duties in Ponyville.
“He didn’t fly exactly,” Twilight remembered. “He just jumped and made the motion of the kick as he teleported above Piercing Gaze.”
“Ya mean that he popped and kicked him just like that?” Applejack summarized the information as best as possible. She preferred her information short and simple.
“He teleported above him as he made the kick,” Twilight added. “I’ve never seen such a battle-oriented use of teleportation before.”
“Sounds like somethin’ Ah would do if Ah were a unicorn,” Applejack stated, not needing to think on it. “Ah just teleport in front of them, turn around, and introduce them to Kicks and Bucky.”
“That’s my strategy for using teleportation in close-quarter combat, Applejack,” Twilight mentioned, glad that she wasn’t the only pony to think about it. “But Statice does the teleportation as he does the attacks. It’s just like when he fought us in Canterlot when he used the levitation spell.”
“Thinking about it, he did use levitation in an unconventional way,” Rarity remembered how he exploited his environment as a shield, projectile, or platform. “I do recall that his magical aura was linked with each object, almost like I use my spell to levitate my working tools at Carousel Boutique.”
“Hello,” Pinkie Pie got in between her friends. “I don’t know if you forgot, but Statice is fighting against a mean angry gryphon. We need to help him right now!”
Remembering why they went into Winsome Falls in the first place, the girls stopped talking and pursued the fighters. They only hoped that it wasn’t too late.
Statice was looking after Piercing Gaze, trying to find where the griffin landed. His first strike was successful, but he didn’t believe in that griffin first strike creed of fighting. Many years of combat experience had taught him that he needed more than a strong first strike to win his fights. A single moment of having the upper hoof could be changed by an opponent’s action that was bound to switch the outcome of the fight. Statice had been under that situation more than enough times already to learn that lesson. Right now, he was evaluating his advantages and analyzing his disadvantages.
I countered his first strike with a kick to his ribs. He doesn’t heal like me, so he’s probably still sore from our last fight. He had to travel from Hoofington to Rainbow Falls while evading the royal guards, so he must also be exhausted. He’s weaker than he was during our first fight, but I cannot underestimate him. Griffins are very durable and quite more brutal when they’re angry and injured. With or without my Blunting Spell, this guy is dangerous. I must not let my guard down.
Statice looked on his surroundings. Piercing Gaze was not just an opponent, he was a hunter. Underestimating a predator was the closest thing to defeat, or whatever horrible fate Piercing Gaze had in store for him, in this type of mortal combat. He gave meticulous steps. Hearing was the second most powerful sense a griffin had when hunting. He had to avoid making unnecessary sounds if he was to catch him by surprise. Lifting his ears to maximum height, he prepared to hear his opponent to catch him first.
He was knocked to the ground when he felt a weight on his sides. His forelegs were pinned by talons gripping his wrists. His hind legs were stepped on by lion paws to prevent them from kicking. He was glaring at the dark eyes of Piercing Gaze.
“I’ve been sharpening my beak and talons since our last meeting,” Piercing Gaze bragged as he dug his talons into Statice’s wrists making him wince. He drew his head back to deliver a beak strike.
Well, that leaves the Blunting Spell out of the advantages. Now that I think about, I didn’t know that it was possible to counter the spell by sharpening the objects again. I have to think of a new plan. I might as well, get out of range as I think of something.
Gathering his magic, Statice casted the Quicksand Spell on the ground on which he was being pinned. His body sunk before Piercing Gaze’s beak struck his head. A large hole on the ground where Statice’s face was supposed to be was the only thing that he felt. The griffin roared in rage as he realized that his prey escaped from him again.
“I’m going to find you, cub!” he swore as he bellowed to the heavens.
“No, you won’t!”
It had taken them a few minutes, but the girls finally caught up with the fight…at least one of its combatants to be specific. He was swearing to catch Statice when they met up with him. They were not sure on why he was shouting an oath to hunt him down again, but they didn’t care. They came to finish this fight once and for all.
“You’re not harming Statice, Piercing Gaze!” Twilight declared, having her friends pose heroically alongside her.
“And just who are you to tell me what to do with my prey?” Piercing Gaze challenged, recognizing the owner of the voice as one of the mares that were with Statice in the forest.
“I am Princess Twilight Sparkle!” Twilight presented herself with authority, just like Luna had taught her to do in her first meeting as a princess. She expected the griffin to be surprised or acknowledging on her presence. Instead of that he looked…annoyed.'
“No, you’re not,” Piercing Gaze deadpanned.
“Yes, I am!” Twilight cried as she angrily stomped a hoof.
“Equestria only has two princesses. One of them apparently controls the sun and the other was a lunatic that was sealed in the moon a thousand years. Furthermore, while I see the point of worshipping princesses that control the sun and the moon due to the symbolism, I don’t see the point of worshiping the twilight at all.”
“I am not the Princess of the Twilight!” Twilight protested. “I am the Princess of Friendship! And for the record, genius, Equestria has four princesses now.”
“You’re lying,” Piercing Gaze was more annoyed. “Why on Tartarus will there be a Princess of Friendship? It sounds like a fairy tale if you ask me. I suppose that the fourth one is the Princess of Love!”
“As a matter of fact she is!” Pinkie Pie chimed in. “That was a nice guess for somepony who doesn’t know about Equestria. Are you a psychic?”
Piercing Gaze growled. From the sound of it, his obstacle was a group of young cubs, just like Statice…only more immature.
I’m getting out of this dump as soon as I’m finished with my revenge. There’s so much of this fairy tale garbage to put up with this place before reaching my limit.
“What is Statice to you if you want to defend him?” Piercing Gaze stared at the girls with his dark blind eyes.
“Not exactly,” Twilight asked, sounding a little awkward.
“Then how can you be the Princess of Friendship if you’re not even friends with the cub?” Piercing Gaze shrieked at her. “You contradict yourself as soon as we’re starting this conversation.”
“Let me finish!” Twilight yelled at the griffin. “Statice is not my friend at the time.”
“He’s also not a citizen of Equestria based on my sources,” Piercing Gaze inquired dangerously. “And from my years of tracking him down, I heard that he has a tendency of getting in trouble with local authorities. Did he perhaps get himself arrested during his stay there?”
That question erased the girls’ heroic poses. He was making a good argument on why it was a bad idea to protect Statice.
“We met him at Canterlot and then we got into a little fight and he got arrested,” Pinkie Pie summarized awkwardly. “Then he faked his identity to lie to us after we made friends with him and left without saying anything. But I’m sure that he may have good reasons.”
Piercing Gaze had a twitching eyebrow. From his facial expressions, it was sure that he was rolling his eyes behind the darkness that covered them. As much as he wanted revenge, he was a professional. He could not involve these girls in his mission. Sadly, their optimistic wishful thinking was frustrating him to no ends.
“You do realize that you’re not helping your case, right?”
“Maybe we don’t have good reasons to help Statice,” Rainbow Dash cut in. “He’s not a citizen of Equestria. The only thing I get is that he’s an outsider criminal and he’s a big jerk to boot. But there is no way that we’re going to let you hurt him after you started this fight. We know exactly what happened between the two of you. As much as he overdid it when he blinded you, it was you who brought it upon yourself, jerk!”
Piercing Gaze snarled. He was content with just leaving the girls with a warming. But if they were going to be so adamant in interrupting their fight, he was not going to hesitate in taking them down.
“What are you doing, Rainbow Dash?” Rarity asked the rainbow pony angrily.
“I’m going to take down this jerk and then we’re going to pound Statice to the ground for causing all this mess,” Rainbow Dash replied as she assumed a fighting position.
“But he’s blind, Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy sounded horrified and disgusted with her friend’s decision to fight the blind griffin.
“He’s still dangerous with or without sight,” Rainbow Dash reasoned, remembering how beat up Statice was after his first fight with him.
“It kind of sounds wrong when you talk about it, Dashie,” Pinkie Pie frowned. “Tell me, how am I going to tell the story when the hero is beating up a blind gryphon? Where is the fun in beating somepony with a disability? I’ll tell you the answer. It’s nowhere because it’s not fun, it’s mean!”
“Ah have to agree with Rainbow Dash,” Applejack spoke in favor of her friend, albeit reluctantly. “He’s still a dangerous vermin and we can’t let our guard down with him.”
“I suggest that we can try to stop him together,” Rarity proposed. “Maybe we can use our powers to help him with his…sight problems.”
“Rarity is right,” Twilight concurred. “Maybe we can subdue him without unnecessarily hurt him. Afterwards, we can make an agreement between him and Statice to end their vendetta.”
“Stop speaking as if I’m not here,” Piercing Gaze spoke, having overheard their plan. He was not happy at being treated as a defenseless cub with anger issues.
Does every pony in Equestria always talk in the middle of a fight?
“Well you won’t be here once we’re through with you, punk!” Rainbow Dash challenged as she flared her wings.
“That does it!” Piercing Gaze unfurled his wings and prepared to attack.
“How about you finish your fight with me first before you go after the girls, you stupid blind jerk? “
The girls and Piercing Gaze turned their head around to the speaker. Standing distantly from them was Statice, a coy smile plastered in his face.
“It’s so nice to see you, Piercing Gaze!” Statice smiled teasingly. “Don’t you find it nice to see me?”
Piercing Gaze snarled at Statice, turning his head to the source of the noise. He was able to smell the scent of his magic from where he spoke. It was a little scattered across the field, yet he smelled the most prominent path in front of him.
“I’m going to pound you,” Statice smugly rubbed his chest with his fore hoof. “I’ll pound you so hard that you’ll see stars. Consider it a favor since you haven’t seen them in a while, haven’t you?”
Piercing Gaze was gritting his teeth as the taunting increased. The unicorn’s words were striking nerves. Outside of his job, he was an artist. He loved to see the beauty of the world, and even paint and draw. It was the only pleasure of his job as a bounty hunter. And it got taken away by that cub.
“I can see that you are exhausted!” Statice bragged with more mockery. “What’s the matter? Are you too blind to see that you don’t have any chance?”
“That does it!” Piercing Gaze roared like a lion as he flew to Statice. He flew at full speed at his enemy, talons outstretched, ready to tear him to shreds. He collided with his prey, grabbing him by the shoulders. He prepared to give his final strike…only for his whole body to stop as pain surged across it.
The fight took a surprising turn of events after Statice appeared. First, he gave very hurtful insults to Piercing Gaze regarding his blindness. Then, Piercing Gaze tackled him. The next thing the girls saw was Statice smile, turn into green light, spreading said green light across the griffin’s body, and electrocute him.
“Quite a nasty surprise, wasn’t it?”
The girls yelped as they saw Statice next to them.
“Did I shock you?” Statice smiled teasingly.
“What are you doing here?” Spike asked in surprise. “You were standing over here and now you’re standing over there.”
“I used my Lightning Image Spell,” Statice informed them as he watched Piercing Gaze be electrocuted by his clone.
“What is that spell?” Twilight asked, not believing that Statice had the power to clone himself. Other than the Mirror Pool, there was no magic strong enough to create an exact copy of another pony.
“I used a magic field shaped like myself, filled it with lightning magic, and then used an illusion spell on it to make it look like me,” Statice pointed at Piercing Gaze, who was laying one the ground, incapable of moving. “You can say that the clone is a trap that activates when you touch it. The magic field breaks upon contact and releases the illusion and the lighting magic that was contained inside of it. A shocking way to tell my enemies that they missed, don’t you think?”
“That’s not funny, Statice,” Pinkie Pie frowned disapprovingly.
“It was a bad pun, but I am trying to regain my sense of humor,” Statice shrugged his shoulders.
“You find humor in this barbarity?” Rarity asked him with disgust.
“Why should I not enjoy the suffering of my enemies?” Statice glared at them. “If you girls forgot, this guy tried to take me away when I was a foal. He deserves every misery that I cause him and more.”
“Do ya listen to yerself?” Applejack asked pointedly. “You’re not only goin’ to his level, you’re sinkin’ to a lower one.”
“That’s how you beat enemies,” Statice retaliated. “You need to be willing to do anything to destroy them.”
“Even if that means turning into a jerk, is that worth it?” Rainbow Dash crossed her forelegs. “As much as I disliked Piercing Gaze, it was a sick move to mock him about his blindness, especially since you caused it in the first place.”
“It was practical,” Statice reasoned. “If you want your opponents to fall into a trap, you need to get them angry enough to make them go where you want them to go.”
“I don’t know, Statice,” Spike looked at him harshly. “I think that you went over the line with those insults.”
“Whatever,” Statice rolled his eyes at them. “I don’t need war advice from six pampered mares and their pet. Unlike you, I win my own wars on my terms. I don’t fight them because somepony tells me to fight them and I don’t rely on ancient magic jewelry to solve my problems. Everything I do, I do it because I wanted to do it.”
“Where are you going?” Twilight asked pointedly.
“I am going to finish the fight,” Statice looked at them. “Here is some tip, Princess, you need to make sure that your opponent is beaten before leaving the battlefield or they will get a second wind and attack you.”
“You’re not going to hurt him!” Twilight stood firmly.
“I can easily top you girls down now that you have your magic sealed, Twilight,” Statice glared at her. “Unlike your petty villains, I do look to hurt you in the worst possible way. If you cross the line that separates friendship and enmity to become my enemies, I won’t hesitate to mess you up.”
“And you think that we’re going to let you hurt him?” Fluttershy glared at Statice, ready to give him the Stare if she needed it.
“If I wanted to hurt him that badly, Discord would have already put me in the dungeon by now,” Statice gave her an annoyed look. “I am just taking an insurance to make sure he won’t stand back up.”
“What kind of insurance?” Applejack asked, not liking how easily he could use words to convey another meaning.
“This one,” Statice shot a beam of green light that zapped Piercing Gaze now that the electricity of his clone was no longer zapping him.
“That was harsh,” Spike glowered at Statice with disapproval. “He was already beaten. You didn’t need to cherry tap him.”
“You really think that this was an ordinary blast?” Statice raised an eyebrow at the baby dragon.
“What spell did you use?” Spike asked, sounding fearful at what may happen to Piercing Gaze for getting hit with the spell.
“You’re going to find out,” Statice tossed his head to look at Piercing Gaze, who was standing up and ready to rumble.
“I will end you!” Piercing Gaze threatened, foam coming out of his mouth as he shouted in rage.
“I already ended you,” Statice countered, a monotone voice clearly evident in his voice, quite the contrary of the one the clone used on him.
Piercing Gaze tried to move forward, only to fall to his sides and twitch erratically, kicking his legs in all directions. He tried to stand up again, just in time to see that his body twitched and twisted further. He tried to speak up, only to see his tail swishing uncontrollably. It was then that Piercing Gaze remembered that horrible familiar sensation that he felt many years ago…the day he lost his sight.
He had grown frustrated. That cub had dodged and escaped him for more than enough. Bursting out of the roof of the cabin he explored, Piercing Gaze found his prey about to escape.
I found you!
He dived down, ready to catch the cub. He was going to take Statice and use him as leverage against his next target. He heard that the cub was his apprentice, so Piercing Gaze could try to use him as an advantage. Teachers were like parents, and what kind of parent would not want to take care of his cub? It was the perfect reasoning…but not the perfect development.
As he got closer to the cub, he noticed something in Statice’s eyes. They were red and his horn was cackling with magic. He noticed that the magic around his horn changed from green to red. Said red magic was being covered in a black outline.
What is wrong with that cub?
His answer came in the form of a spell that struck him in the chest. It didn’t hurt at first. He didn’t feel any different than when he was flying at him at first.
He’s just trying to scare me. He wants to act tough. He didn’t hurt me! I’m still flying in one piece. I’ll just fix my course and catch him.
He had practiced his flying technique to achieve a high skill in pursuit. Changing directions in mid-flight was one of his most prized abilities. This was not an exception. He was going to change from diving to flying into a straight line. He had done this movement thousands of times. There was no way that he was going to miss.
He did the motions as he always did…only for his course to change to the right.
I missed? How did I miss? This is impossible! I shouldn't miss at this level of skill and practice!
He tried to correct his flight pattern, but he ended up changing direction up.
What is wrong with my body? It won’t do as I tell it to do!
A brief flash passed on his mind. It was the spell that Statice used on him a few minutes ago. His flying skill started to change after being hit by the spell.
What did that cub did to me? What was in that spell?
Panic was seizing his mind. He was trying to come up with different flight patterns at once. His attempts lead to his body to spasm uncontrollably. He went up, down, left, right, front, and back until he finally stopped…by crashing into a cabin.
The griffin moaned in pain. He had collided with a wall and made a hole with his entire body. He attempted to stand up, but he tumbled miserably to the floor. He heard a snapping sound. Somehow, he managed to turn his head around to see that he had damaged the cabin’s support beam.
The cabin is going to fall on me!
The panicking griffin tried in vain to stand up and run away. The spell made it impossible though. He was stuck, as he was crawling, jumping, crouching, and moving in all directions, but never at a path that led to an exit. Time ran out, and the whole cabin fell on top of him.
By sheer chance, he had survived. Only the upper half of his body was exposed, and he still had trouble coordinating it thanks to the spell.
“You’re not escaping.” Piercing Gaze gasped as he saw Statice, still sporting that horrendous appearance.
“Who are you?” Piercing Gaze spoke, barely happy to have his ability to talk still intact.
“I am Statice,” the cub responded. “You tried to hurt me. Now I will hurt you. That Tangled Limb Spell was too little of a punishment. I will hurt you in the worst way possible right now.”
Statice charged his horn with magic. The red magic looked blacker and darker by the second. The trapped griffin tried to escape. He coordinated his upper body to escape, just to find out that his lower body was responding but was incapable of properly answering thanks to the weight of the cabin on top of it.
Piercing Gaze tried to say something before he was interrupted by a black ball of magic thrown at his face. His eyes faded to black but he was still there. He could feel something in his eyes but wasn’t sure what it was.
Maybe he shut my eyelids together.
He brought his talons to his eyes. Not even bothering to feel happiness at recovering the motility in his talons, he touched his eyes. They were open. They were not closed. They were open… and he could not see. It was then that he realized what Statice had done to him.
A roar echoed across his mind in rage, grief, and despair.
Back in the present, Piercing Gaze snarled at Statice. Infuriated that he had used that horrible spell to strip him away of his body control, the griffin could do nothing more than twitch without any sort of restraint.
“The Tangled Limb Spell causes the victims to lose control over their bodies when they get hit by it,” Statice explained. “I just mess up the connections between the nerves and the muscles. Some ponies that get stuck with this spell are left twitching uncontrollably and others have cramps.”
“That sounds awful!” Fluttershy gasped, horrified at the thought of losing control of her own body. How was she supposed to live her life if she couldn’t do something as simple as walking?
“It’s only temporary,” Statice waved his hoof dismissively. “We need to bring Discord here to restrain Piercing Gaze.”
“You’re going to arrest me?” Piercing Gaze asked, feeling too bitter to be surprised by Statice’s course of action.
“I can’t abandon you in a desert,” Statice did not hesitate to point out his dislike for the griffin. “I’m going to try to do it the old-fashioned way. You’re going to the dungeons, one specially made for you by the Spirit of Disharmony himself.”
“I don’t care about your dungeon!” Piercing Gaze roared. “You took my light away from me. I won’t rest until I get my revenge!”
“Tell that to somepony who cares,” Statice glared at the griffin. “I don’t care how horrible it is to be blind. I’m sick and tired of you pretending to be a victim when you started it, pal.”
“Statice, please,” Twilight approached him with a begging tone. “Let me and the girls try to help him so that we can talk it out.”
The green unicorn sighed. As much as he wanted to protest that it was not going to work, he decided to give it a try. “Show me that Magic of Friendship.”
“First we need to expose the dark magic,” Twilight looked at the griffin’s darkness-covered eyes. “We can’t use our powers while he still has darkness inside of him. We don’t want to seal him in stone for a thousand years.”
“Why not do it?” Statice rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that what you ponies always do with your problems? You seal them away and then you let your successors do the hard work for you.”
“Are ya done with yer sarcasm?” Applejack gave him an annoyed glare. “Twilight’s workin’ over here. She doesn’t need distractions.”
“Did I miss something anypony?” Discord snapped into existence, stunning the group. Even Piercing Gaze looked stunned.
“Caught him,” Statice pointed at Piercing Gaze. “The girls want to cure his blindness first though. How do you remove darkness from eyes?”
“I’m afraid that you’re talking to the wrong draconequus,” Discord got close to Piercing Gaze to look at his unusual eyes. “I can’t cancel such a spell if it is that specific. I have to know how the spell works to counter it.”
“You can’t counter my spell despite being leagues stronger than me?” Statice asked, shocked by the development.
“Why do you think Celestia and Luna couldn’t save the Crystal Empire despite easily defeating King Sombra?” Discord playfully bopped Statice’s head. “You need as much magical brain as magical brawn to counter a spell.”
“Does that mean that we can’t help him?” Fluttershy sounded disappointed.
Seeing his first friend sad, Discord forced his chaotic mind to get to work. There was not going to be a sad Fluttershy in his presence. Nopony knew how the brain of a draconequus worked, but one could always assure that they knew more about magic than any species in Equestria. Sure enough, Discord got an idea.
“You can use your Magic Reclaiming Spell,” he smiled at Statice. “If you reclaim your dark magic from Piercing Gaze’s eyes, you can give him back his life.”
The girls gasped in delight. Even Piercing Gaze was shocked at the revelation.
“Then let’s do this!” Spike beamed at the group.
“What do you mean with that quote?” Statice glared at the baby dragon. “First of all, you’re no Element of Harmony so you’re more of a spectator than actual help. And second of all, I am not doing that.”
He got groans of annoyance from the group.
“Don’t be such a jerk, Statice!” Rainbow Dash yelled at him.
“I am not being a jerk,” Statice glared at the pegasus. “I am being cautious. If I absorb black magic, what makes you think I won’t turn evil? What will happen if the Elements think that I am evil and I get sealed for a thousand years? I am not losing a millennium of my life just because you girls wanna play hero.”
“He’s got a point there,” Discord whispered into Spike’s ear. “Being sealed for a thousand years is no picnic.”
“Statice,” Twilight walked up to the green unicorn. “I promise you that nothing bad is gonna happen to you when we use the Elements of Harmony. You can count on me and my friends that no harm will befall upon you in this operation.”
She finished her speech by putting her hoof in his shoulder. It was the first time that she had touched him like a friend, not as Aster but as Statice. Feeling no other choice was left, Statice looked at Discord.
“Take the Orichalcum rings, Discord,” he ordered the draconequus.
Discord did as he was told as he used his lion and eagle hands to remove the rings from the horns of Twilight and Rarity. He then placed the rings into special boxes that Statice sent to Hammerspace.
With their magic back to normal, Twilight and Rarity reared on their hind legs and kicked their forelegs in elation. After their little celebration, all the girls closed their eyes and activated their powers. Standing in front of him, the six mares were empowered by the Elements of Harmony, now sporting much colorful appearances. Statice said the only thing that came into his mind.
“I hope that you girls finish this quick. Frankly speaking, you’ve never looked dumber in your entire lives.”
The comment changed the girls’ default smiling expression into angry or offended frowns, particularly Rainbow Dash.
“Just do the stupid spell!”
Sighing, Statice performed the spell. His horn glowed green before it switched to the red with black outline magic that he used on Piercing Gaze. The darkness was slowly being pulled from the griffin’s eyes. As the black magic nearly reached Statice’s horn, the girls unleashed their Rainbow Power.
In a bright flash, the operation was done. Piercing Gaze no longer had darkness covering his eyes. His bright ruby eyes were visible again. Tears were falling as he saw Winsome Falls in its entire beautiful splendor.
“I can see,” Piercing Gaze spoke tenderly. “I can see! I can see again! I’ve never been so happy in my entire…”
His monologue was interrupted when Statice used his Taser Horn Spell to electrocute him into unconsciousness. The Elements of Harmony, back in their regular form, did not hesitate in expressing their disapproval.
“Hey, I’m not gonna have him speak about how beautiful it is to see again and how he is grateful to us for breaking his curse,” Statice pounded his chest. “I just wanna get this done once and for all.”
“You could have at least let him enjoy his happiness a bit more,” Pinkie Pie pouted, not liking it when somepony had a happy moment ruined by a meanie.
“He’ll have a lot of time to see how beautiful Canterlot is when he wakes up in one of the dungeons,” Statice rolled his eyes at the girls.
“Do tell how he is supposed to watch any beauty inside of a dungeon? “ Rarity asked indignantly.
“Give him a cell with view,” Statice sneered at her. “Now let’s get to Canterlot so that you girls can trial me.”
“I wonder if I want you by my side or as far away from me as possible,” Twilight groaned as she and her friends got close into a circle.
“Lead the way, Discord,” Statice told the draconequus.
With a flourish, Discord snapped his fingers and disappeared with the ponies, the dragon, and the griffin. And just like that, Winsome Falls Camp was over.