• Published 10th May 2016
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The Titan's Orb: Rising Storm - Old Man Dusters

While Callum and the Mane Six continue their quest to find the shards of the Titan's Orb, their path ahead grows only more deadly as they are now stalked by a relentless shadow that will stop at nothing until they are vanquished...

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Chapter Fourteen - Answers

“No, we can’t be here! We need to get out of here!” I shouted.

The sniper landed next to me, his wings casing snowflakes to flurry around in all directions. I turned to face him and looked at the visor in his helmet.

“We have to leave, something very evil is here.” I told him.

“You are safe, Nah’lek the Defiler cannot reach you for now.” He replied.

“You know him?” I asked.

“Too well.”

The sniper turned around and started to walk deeper into the forest, his wings flexing slightly.

“Walk with me.” He requested.

I followed him, and I couldn’t help but gaze at his wings; they must have been at least six metres in wingspan, they were huge. Each feather was a brilliant white, and they fluttered slightly against the cold breeze that whistled through the woodland.

“Who are you?” I quizzed.

The sniper didn’t turn to face me, and continued to walk in silence.

“Hey, you’ve been following me since Chernobyl, you’re stalking me for a reason; so cut the mystery man cliché bullshit and tell me who the hell you are!” I demanded.

“By a law, I cannot tell you everything. But you may call me the Guardian.” He spoke.

“Ooh, the Guardian. How unoriginal do you want to be? Come on, what’s your real name? Kevin? Bruce? Dave? Scott? Mitch?” I mocked him.

He tried to speak, when I interrupted him with a high pitched childish voice.

Is it Basel Fawlty?

One of his wings whipped out and cuffed the back of my head, making me jump.

“If you really must know, my name is Hawnu Rey’eng.” He sighed.

“Fancy, it sounds like a foreign name.” I hummed.

“It’s a language unknown to humans, it roughly translates to ‘Protector of the Balance’.” He explained.

“So you basically just told me that your name is the Guardian again, just in another language?” I teased.

Hawnu Rey’eng huffed, mildly amused.

I stopped fooling around and started studying him. He was taller than me, he looked about six foot, four inches tall; opposed to me almost being five foot, eleven.
His suit had always looked jet black from a distance, but up close I noticed it was an extremely dark purple, the metal looked to be chrome plated, as I saw the entire colour spectrum swirling around in the reflection. Come to think of it, it looked very similar to a Spartan suit from the Halo games, obviously there were numerous differences, but it was still quite a resemblance.
He seemed to carry no weapons, and so I assumed the sniper rifle he used in Chernobyl was just a temporary weapon to distract the zombies.

“So, what are you exactly?” I asked, curious.

“I was once a man, now I am something more, that’s all I can tell you.” He replied, his wings flexing again.

“Why can’t you tell me more?”

While I couldn’t see his face, I could almost sense him rolling his eyes.

“I was given rules to follow when ordered to protect you, there are things you are not allowed to know until a later date. Take solace in the fact you will understand one day, but not now.” He told me.

I shrugged, before looking ahead into the dark forest.

We had been walking for a while before Hawnu Rey’eng turned to face me.

“Do you know what this place is?” He asked.

“Yeah, the Frozen Forest.”

“But do you know what this place is?”

I bit my bottom lip, before remembering what Nah’Lek had said on our first encounter here.

“This is the afterlife of Equus, right?”

“That is where the Defiler lied to you, an attempt to confuse you.” He explained.

“Well, what is it then?” I quizzed.

“See for yourself.” He told me quietly.

I looked around, trying to get a sense of things.
The trees were blackened, dead and corrupted by Fel, I kicked away the snow beneath my feet and found the blackened dirt, nothing here was healthy. The entire forest was sick.

{No… Fucking… Way…} Conscio and I both thought simultaneously.

“This place… This is…” I breathed, but couldn’t finish.

I was in shock for a moment; it was so obvious now.

The Frozen Forest was the mind of Twilight Sparkle...

“We’re inside her head…” I muttered after a few moments of silence.

Hawnu Rey’eng walked over to a tree and stroked the blackened bark.

“Once, this woodland flourished. The trees grew tall towards the sun, trying to learn more about the universe, every branch entwined with that of the surrounding trees; the grass was soft and full of happy thoughts and feelings.
You could once take a walk through this land and find nothing but the eagerness to learn, and to spread the magic of friendship.
Now, the only thing you see here is death, cold, and bitter hatred; the sun doesn’t shine anymore.”

I understood the metaphor of the forest now, the trees were like Twilight’s neurons; the icy cold had caused everything to stop growing, her brain was dying, and the Fel was causing it.

“You sound like you’ve been here before.” I muttered.

He looked over his shoulder to glance at me, before kneeling down and scooping up some black earth, he crumbled it into a powder, and then let it fall from his hand onto the snow.

“Perhaps…” He sighed.

I took another look around the woodland and realised just how poisoned the place was, it was much worse than my first visit here. I noticed several trees had fallen, and some had all their branches broken.

“Did the Fel do that?” I quizzed, pointed at them.

At this, he shook his head.

“You did…”

I gulped, I must have hit Twilight so hard that it had caused some minor damage to her brain.

“Is it permanent?” I nervously asked.

“That depends on if you can rid this place of the Fel.” He replied.

{Do you remember that hole we found last time? With the green glow inside?} Conscio reminded me.

“Your little friend is incredibly wise.” Hawnu Rey’eng said, tapping the side of his head.

“You can hear Conscio?” I asked.

“I hear all, and see all.” He confirmed, nodding.

I looked around, we weren’t anywhere near the small cave, Conscio remembered exactly where it was and this place didn’t look familiar to him.

“I assume I have to go inside the hole and do something?” I asked.

“Yes, but not now.”

“Why not?”

“You don’t have the power, only Twilight herself can cure her sickness.” He explained.

I looked at him in confusion, if I couldn’t cure Twilight, why was I here?
Before I could speak, Hawnu Rey’eng looked at me and gave a disgruntled huff.

“It would have been much easier before the fight, your battle allowed the Fel to take over her mind completely. You’ve made curing her twice as difficult.” He grunted.

“Oh, so now you’re blaming me? Corrupted or not, she is responsible for Bunnie’s death!” I growled.

“It was a merciful death.”

“You fucking WHAT!?” I shouted, clenching my fists.



Hawnu Rey’eng was about to speak again when I marched up to him and continued to rant, my eyes once again filling with tears.
“I spent over a month trying to rescue her and Dijla! I was willing to give up the whole fucking mission just to get them away from Paulo, and I had JUST succeeded when Twilight let her die!

I collapsed to my knees and began to cry.

“How… HOW… Could that be merciful?” I wept.

My tears dripped from my cheeks and began to make little holes in the snow, Hawnu Rey’eng came over to me and knelt beside me.

“Bunnie’s death was tragic, I watched as you ran back to the compound, prepared to burn alive in order to save her. Regardless of the short time you knew one another, the love was real. I feel great empathy to your pain, and your sorrow.”

He put a hand on my shoulder, the metal glove was ice cold, yet strangely reassuring. I turned to face my mysterious guardian and looked into his visor; I could very faintly make out a pair of eyes that looked right back into my own.
He sighed and continued.

“Should she have lived, Bunnie would never have made it home; Nah’Lek can detect the presence of magic, and can follow it for thousands of miles. If Twilight chose to save Bunnie and her mother, Nah’Lek would follow their trail and attempt to extract information from them. He would try to find out your next destination and would slaughter them afterwards.
Nah’Lek is evil in its purest form, he would leave her in more pain than any human body could possibly comprehend, his methods of torture are beyond barbaric. Bunnie and Dijla would have suffered a fate worse than you can imagine, they would end up begging for death in the end.”

I took in his words, and tried to understand everything he was saying.
Regardless of everything I had been through, I still needed some time to get a grip on reality itself, especially with the ponies back in my life. It had been over half a year now since they came along and changed my world, but I still fluctuated back and forth from knowing what was real and what wasn’t.

After thinking it through, I began to see how Hawnu Rey’eng was right, while Bunnie’s death had completely broken me, it could have ended a lot worse for her.

{Napalm burns at a thousand degrees, not to mention the amount of carbon monoxide that’s released, as horrible as it is, she would have only felt it for less than a second. If Rainbow and Applejack hadn’t stopped you from entering the building, she’d be nothing but ash by the time you reached her.
I hate to say it, but the tin can’s right, dying this way was a kindness for Bunnie.} Conscio told me.

I sighed, and allowed myself to calm down from my tearful state. I stood up and brushed the snow from my knees, I slapped my cheeks a few times to feel something more real.
Deep down I knew I would have to let go of Bunnie, too much was at stake in the bigger picture, with Nah’Lek on our tail and the Titan’s Orb to recover. Getting any form of revenge from Hoyt was out of the question, if I went after him, Nah’Lek would find and kill the ponies; I needed to let go. But knowing and accepting this, didn’t make it any easier…

“How do we cure Twilight?” I asked, sniffing.

Hawnu Rey’eng pulled something from his back, it was the same cylindric container he had given me back in Rahim’s room in the Blood Family.

“Try not to lose it again.” He ordered.

He opened the box and showed me the collars, I then looked at the guardian with confusion.

“What do they do?” I asked.

“As I said previously, only Twilight can willingly cure herself.”

{How about you stop speaking in riddles and just tell us, dickwad?} Conscio muttered.

Hawnu Rey’eng exhaled loudly through his nose with amusement.

“Very well; these collars will allow a controlled transfer of consciousness.” He explained.

I stood up and looked at him with shock.

“Wait, you’re going to make me and Twilight switch bodies?” I asked.

Hawnu Rey’eng simply nodded, causing me to look back at the collars and scratch my head.

“But her brain is completely poisoned, surely that isn’t safe.”

“I’ve tested you before, and you survived.” He replied.

“Wait… YOU made us switch bodies? I thought that was Nah’Lek!” I exclaimed.

“Nah’Lek has no power over you yet, I placed you in one another’s bodies so you could endure a taste of the Fel without your depression to shield you. Inside Twilight’s mind you were resistant, and willing to do what Twilight cannot; to destroy the Fel’s corruption.” He told me.

I took a step back, and then looked all around me at the dead forest.


“Deep within Twilight’s brain, there is a mana well.” He began.

“A what?”

Hawnu Rey’eng gave an irritated sigh as he knew he would have to explain everything, he gestured for me to sit down again and I crossed my legs and allowed him to educate me.

“The mana well is an area in the brain, it’s a store for the purest energy in the universe, mana. Every living creature in existence contains mana, it is what your soul is made from.
Creatures such as unicorns can convert their mana into magic, through their horns. Many species can also use magic in more subtle ways, a pegasus such as Rainbow Dash uses magic through her wings to make herself lighter during flight, giving her much greater speed in the air. Fluttershy has the ability to use magic with her voice, and can enchant animals with song. Earth ponies such as Applejack have magic in their legs, giving them enhanced strength.
Planet Earth’s bumble bee converts mana into magic, to allow it to fly easier. Even humans contain a great amount of mana, but have lost the ability to use it. But long ago, some humans could harness their mana into magic, and were given many names, wizards, witches, sorcerers, and the like. Over time, mainly through your medieval period, they were hunted and executed, and the ability for human magic has been lost over generations.
Magic is fuelled by mana, and mana is the lifeblood of the universe.
Twilight’s mana well is abnormally large, due to her incredible gifts with magic. The Fel has corrupted her mana well, and feeds on it like a parasite while spreading to every area of her mind.”

I whistled loudly as all that information sank in, this wasn’t just a little pep-talk, this was some deep existential stuff. What he had just explained to me gave me a deeper understanding of the universe itself.

{Also explains the intro to the Bee Movie…} Conscio pointed out.

I ignored Connie and thought about mana, I wanted to study it now, the idea truly fascinated me that every living being had mana flowing through them. I was never a religious man, I had always believed when you died, you were dead, the end. I didn’t believe in spirits, or souls, or anything of that ilk.
Yet here I was, being told completely otherwise by a being with seemingly unlimited knowledge.

“So, how does this correlate to destroying the Fel?” I asked, curious.

Hawnu Rey’eng passed me the collars.

“While controlling Twilight, you must find the entry point that you previously found, reach the mana well, and drain it completely, then you must guard the well, until it refills with pure mana. When it is full, it will begin to purify Twilight’s brain until the Fel is eventually burnt out into non-existence.”

I hummed, the plan made sense to an extent.

“What will I be guarding the well from?” I quizzed.

“Hell.” He replied.

“And how exactly do I fight hell?” I scoffed.

“You will be an extremely gifted and powerful unicorn, use her spells to your advantage.” He advised.

Without warning, the entire forest was plunged into darkness, the white snow became a dark grey as the entire woodland was coated in shadow.

“Nah’Lek is here.” Hawnu Rey’eng whispered.

His hands began to glow and our bodies lit up in the same lavender aura from before; with a bright flash, we were gone, and reappeared on the hard rocky base of the collapsing cliff, time still frozen.

“I will shield you from the rock-fall, where you must remain until the ponies find you, they cannot know I was here, understood?” He commanded.

I nodded, before tilting my head.

“What about the collars?”

“I will hide them inside Twilight’s satchel, they will believe it was a precaution from Celestia.” He told me.

Putting a palm to my chest, he coated me in a blanket of orange magic, I poked myself to find the magic was hard as rock, yet smooth as silk.

“No harm will come to you, but you must remain here for the ponies to discover.”

At this, I gave him a concerned look.

“Won’t the ponies be a little suspicious when they find me completely unharmed?” I pondered.

Hawnu Rey’eng looked up and levitated a hollow log from higher up and brought it to the ground, he pointed to the hole and gestured me to get inside.

“Okay, so even if I were able to crawl into a log mid-fall, surely I’d still be injured.” I hummed.

“You’re right.” He replied.

Without warning, he punched me in the face; the force from his metal glove was enough to bring me down on one knee, instantly bruising my face and casing my nose to start streaming blood. I yelped with shock and tried to stand up, only for him to grab my arm and dislocate my left shoulder for the second time today.

OW! WARN ME, YOU TIN-CAN CUNT!” I shouted, clutching my shoulder.

“You wanted believable.” He said, shrugging his shoulders innocently.

{You’re a cock-shit.} Conscio spat.

“Climb into the log.” He ordered.

I groaned painfully and began to crawl inside the log.

“I thought you said the magic would shield me from harm?” I growled.

“And it will, just not from me.” Hawnu Rey’eng chuckled.

“Whatever…” I muttered under my breath.

I squeezed myself inside the log, which was very painful, thanks to my shoulder. The moment I was safe inside, I heard the guardian flap his wings and take off, and then all hell broke loose. Time around me unfroze and trees and rocks came crashing down, the vibrations were enough to cause the whole log to jump, making my shoulder rock back and forth. I cried out in pain as I was thrust side to side against the inside of the log, before finally the largest part of the cliff met the ground and buried me alive, all the light went out and I was encased in darkness. Everything around me continued to shake violently until eventually I heard the faint sound of stones colliding with the ground above me, and then silence.

I grew concerned with how far underneath the landfall I was, I could be metres and metres below earth and stone at this point, while the shield had kept me safe from any form of injury, I could still suffocate. The ponies might be searching for hours before they found me, I decided I would slowly try to reach the surface, which would prove difficult as I only had one usable arm. I squeezed myself to the end of the log, the rockfall had cracked most of the wood but it still encased me reasonably well; thankfully I didn’t have claustrophobia or I’d be having one heck of a panic attack, I had about an inch of free space here.
I couldn’t see a damn thing, and had to stroke my hand across the log until I eventually found the end and pushed against the rocks blocking my exit. They remained still, I pushed as hard as I could and they very slightly budged, but otherwise I was still entrapped.

“Well, shit…” I muttered.

I lay there and tried to think out a plan.

{Let’s rest for a moment and wait for the ponies to reach us, then we’ll try to break this log and cause some rocks to move a little, hopefully they’ll see it and dig us out.} Conscio suggested.

I settled for that idea and kept still, savouring my remaining strength and oxygen for later.

About ten minutes past before I heard the extremely faint sounds of hooves clip-clopping on the rocks above me, I took this opportunity to shout as loud as I could.

HEEYY! HEEEYYY!!” I bellowed.

I rolled side to side and tried to move the log, but nothing happened. I was too far underground for them to hear me and I needed to act now. I started kicking frantically at my wooden vessel until it started to break away, the weight of the rock above it allowed the log to crumple and suddenly the entire structure broke into pieces, allowing a large majority of rock and earth to shift downwards onto my legs and lower torso. I felt the entire weight pushing me down slightly, but Hawnu Rey’eng’s shield kept me from being squished like putty. I clawed upwards and tried to shift more rocks, and one by one they slowly moved out of my way, I was aware that I would surely run out of air soon if I didn’t make it to the surface.
My hand gripped a huge stone and I pulled it backwards with all my might, and it thankfully shifted, which was when a gigantic mass of earth gave way and buried me entirely, covering my face and chest; I tried to pull my arm back only to find it was now trapped around other rocks, I was completely encased and couldn’t move. I desperately moved my head around in little circles in attempt to get a pocket of air, otherwise I’d end up just inhaling dirt.
I was eventually able to create the tiniest gap and took in as much air as I could, before holding my breath for dear life, as I had a horrible feeling it could be my last.

Then, a sensation lightly brushed my hand; a cool breeze very gently tickled the tips of my fingers. I felt the pressure of the stone prison release slightly around my palms as rocks were shifted away.

They had found me.

I let out a sigh of relief, and instantly regretted it as my head was still entrapped; I tried to suck some air back in only for some dirt to enter my mouth and cause my body to convulse as I couldn’t cough. In seconds my lungs felt like they were burning, and I started writhing around as hard as I could.
I felt the hard underside of a hoof against my hand, and then more rocks being lifted around my arm.

{We are literally suffocating to death! Dig up our head, you twits!} Conscio barked.

I opened my hand and started flailing it around to signal I was in distress, and thankfully I felt somepony’s hoof hold my palm, and I gripped onto it with all my remaining strength. They pulled back and my body shifted upwards ever so slightly, by this point Hawnu Rey’eng’s shield had dissipated.
If my lungs could make sounds, they’d be screeching at this point, they were in complete agony and I was beginning to feel tingly all over, as if my whole body had pins and needles. More rocks were pulled away and the hoof pulled back again, raising me upwards, I felt the earth shift and fresh air now all around my arm, one more pull would do it.

The last tug couldn’t have come a moment sooner as I was pulled upwards with great force and my head burst from the ground, I took in the biggest gasp of air I had even taken and began to hyperventilate as my body oxygenated itself as quickly as possible.

{Fuck you Hawnu Rey’eng! You’ve given me claustrophobia now!} Conscio screamed.

“He’s alive!” Applejack yelled at the top of her lungs.

I looked around to see Pinkie and Applejack around me; looking at me with tears in their eyes. Fluttershy came rushing over and started sobbing as soon as she saw my bruised, bloody face, I gave her an exhausted smile and she gave a spluttered laugh through her tears.

“Took your time.” I coughed.

“How…” She whimpered, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Stop, drop, and roll… No wait, that’s for fire.” I hummed.

Applejack took my hand and helped me climb out of the remaining rock and earth, my left arm went into spasm as it twisted at an odd angle and I yelped loudly.

“Arm! Arm! Arm!” I shouted, letting go off AJ’s hoof and gripping my shoulder.

“Arm! Arm! Arm!” A voice squawked.

I looked up to see Blu fluttering a few metres above me.

“Well it’s nice to know the parrot’s still alive.” I said, wincing as I tried to move my left arm.

“He’s been scouting for the next orb shard for us.” Applejack told me.

Blu landed on Fluttershy’s shoulder and nuzzled the side of her head, while Pinkie helped to dig up my legs so I could stand up, I got to my knees at first and brushed myself down, only for my hand to instantly start bleeding again.

“Where are the others?” I asked, clenching my fist to slow the bleeding.

Applejack sighed, and sat down beside me.

“They’re keeping Twilight restrained.” She muttered.

I noticed she was grimacing as though she were in pain, I then spotted some dried blood around her neck; I put my hand under her mane and lifted the hair to find a deep cut just below her ear. That was when her eyes watered up and she sniffed.

“Oh AJ…”

“She went mad Callum, she said she wanted to kill us all.” She whimpered.

“You were right Applejack, she’s sick, and I know what it is.” I told her.

She looked up at me, sniffing, her eyes wide.

“What is it?” She asked.

“We need to get back to the mansion I’ll explain things there.” I ordered.

She stood up and went over to Fluttershy. I turned to face Pinkie, who was sniffing my currently numb left hand, concerned at the amount of blood all around it.

“Pinks.” I said.

She looked at me with a curious frown, there was a small cut on her upper lip from where I had torn my binder from her mouth, it looked quite sore.

“I’m sorry for how I acted earlier, I didn’t-”

“Callum, you were really upset, we all do silly things when we’re upset. Once I got so upset when I thought nopony wanted to be my friend anymore, and I got all coco in the loco and threw a party with a bunch of inanimate objects!” She interrupted me, smiling.

“But I physically hurt you Pinkie, and that wasn’t okay.” I sighed.

“You didn’t mean it, and I’m okay now, my lip’s just a little tingly.” She giggled, beaming.

I put my functioning arm around her neck and gave Pinkie a hug.

“You’re amazing Pinkie, you know that right?”

“Oh shoosh you ol’ charmer, you.” She giggled, snorting.

Despite the ongoing horrific events, Pinkie was still her old self; even now, she always looked on the bright side of life and never let anything break her spirit. She truly gave me hope against all the odds, I was going to cure Twilight, and we were going to get through this, as a team.

I stood up and raised my left arm up and slung it over one of the trees sticking out of the broken earth. With a forceful press in the right direction, it crunched back into place and I gasped loudly. While fully functional again, the arm still badly ached from the constant strain it had endured, I had a feeling that arthritis would reach me before my old age, should I live long enough to see it.

{We’re making that damn guardian pay for that.} Conscio growled.

“Oh definitely.” I replied quietly under my breath.

I looked down at my bare torso to see I was completely covered in scars, cuts and bruises, along with the large blackened burn from Twilight’s fireball around my neck and collar.

“Well there goes my good looks.” I chuckled.

“Tell that to Rainbow Dash, she thinks scars are sexy.” Applejack chuckled.

I rolled my eyes and walked along side Fluttershy as we made our way back uphill towards the mansion. Due to the mountain being so steep, the journey took us along a long spiralled path, I suspected it would take at least fifteen minutes to reach the mansion.

“I still don’t know how you survived.” Fluttershy mumbled, nuzzling my hand.

“I clambered into a hollow log during the fall, it was just strong enough to keep me safe.” I told her.

“You’re the luckiest guy alive.” She sighed.

“He’s hard to kill, is what he is.” Applejack remarked.

I chuckled lightly and we picked up the pace, we didn’t want to leave Rainbow Dash and Rarity alone with Twilight any longer than we had to.

I SEE THEM! HE’S ALIVE!” I heard Dashie scream as we reached the old building.

I spotted her rainbow mane from an upstairs window, and it was gone in a flash; she emerged from the front door and bolted towards me. I knew Rainbow Dash struggled with thinking before acting and tensed my body for impact, as I could sense a dive hug coming my way. Yet no embrace reached me, she skidded to a halt and gazed at me, and looked at me from head to toe.

“You should be dead…”

“Should be, but I’m not.” I replied.

She stepped forward and placed her head against my belly, I gave her a small scratch behind the ear and then ruffled her mane.

“How’s Twilight?” Applejack asked, causing Dashie to look up and scowl.

“She’s alive, I’ll put it that way.” She growled.

We made our way into the building and ran upstairs; upon entering the master bedroom, I spotted Twilight on the king-sized bed, all her limbs were bound with rope and was attached to the bed frame. She was lying on her back and struggling, growling like a dog, her lips foaming with blood and saliva.

Just wait until I get a hold of you!” She slurred, sounding as though she were drunk.

Her face was covered in blood and her jaw was at a crooked angle. Her horn was flickering with emerald sparks; the whites of her eyes were bloodshot to the point I could barely see any white, while her irises were glowing a deep green.

Rarity rushed towards me and wrapped her forelegs around my waist, hugging me tightly.

“Oh darling, I was truly beginning to lose hope, I thought we had lost you…”

I didn’t reply and simply hugged her back, and then looked at Twilight again, I didn’t feel any hatred this time, I only felt sorry for her. Her face and neck was soaked with blood; she didn’t look far off from being dead.

“Why is there so much blood?” I asked quietly.

Rarity looked over to the bed and grimaced, before looking back to me.

“I don’t think you realise how badly you attacked her, you shattered her jaw, broke most of her ribs, and snapped her foreleg. She’s been coughing up blood since you fell from the cliff, Fluttershy thinks you’ve given her some minor internal bleeding.” She bitterly explained.

I sighed and looked at Twilight again. Through her vicious struggles I realised she was in a LOT of pain, the amount of blood all over the bed made me realise how brutal I’d been, I could have killed her…

“It all happened so fast… I was just so…” I began.

“We all understand, Callum. Ever since we set off from England, I knew this day would come, it was only a matter of time before a fight like this broke out.” She muttered.

I didn’t agree with Rarity, if only I’d known about the Fel, this would never have happened. But I couldn’t dwell on that now; this was the perfect time to help Twilight, while she was subdued and weak. I spotted her satchel in the corner of the room and opened it, pulling out the collars.

“Twilight has been poisoned, and I’ve come to understand what it is.” I began.

The others quickly gathered around me and allowed me to explain everything to them.

“The monster that sent the orb to Earth, Nah’lek, is in control of a dark magic called the Fel. This magic is born of death, and feeds on life; corrupting its user. He was somehow able to reach Twilight, and allowed a small amount of the Fel into her body, letting it cultivate deep inside her. Over the course of our mission, it’s been corrupting Twilight’s brain, making her more and more twisted. Until it would eventually drive her mad, as it finally has done now.
Twilight’s not been herself because this evil magic has literally been transforming her brain, and the only way to reverse it is to drain the Fel from her system.”

“How do we do that?” Applejack asked.

“We can’t,” I sighed, and then pointed to Twilight, “only she can.”

I’ll skin you alive, human!” She bellowed, causing bloody foam to splatter onto the floor.

Each pony flattened their ears as Twilight went into another fit of screeching and writhing around violently, cursing every known swearword in the English dialect and promising to murder all of us.

When she calmed down again, I held up the collars.

“These collars will allow us to switch bodies, where I will be able to cure the Fel from within.” I explained.

“Wait, switch bodies!?” Rainbow blurted out.

“Surely that’s dangerous?” Rarity quizzed.

I slowly nodded. I had a feeling that if I didn’t succeed on the first try, the Fel would kill Twilight; which meant killing me if I were still in her body.

“So, what do we do?” Applejack asked.

“Firstly, I want some Kuphila Amanzi on my wounds, because I’m in a lot of pain and am still bleeding in a few places. From there, all you can do is wait and hope this works.” I said.

Fluttershy went off to get her healing gel, while I carefully put the purple collar around Twilight’s neck, she attempted to bite me and spat at me; I wiped the bloody saliva from my cheek and was able to get the collar on. Fluttershy came back into the room and quickly got to work on applying the gel to my wounds, it stung horribly, but I knew it would seriously speed up my recovery and hopefully prevent mass scarring.

“When we switch, we’ll be unconscious, so try to tend to Twilight’s wounds while you can.” I prompted.

“Okay.” She replied.

Once the gel was applied, I placed my own collar around my neck, and switched on Twilight’s.
Rainbow Dash gave me a hug and then whispered into my ear.

“Be careful dude, I don’t want to lose you again.”

I gave her a kiss on the cheek, causing her to smile. I lay on my back and hit the button on my collar to activate it, both collars beeped loudly, before I felt a sudden burning pain all around my neck.

And then everything went black.

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