• Published 22nd Jul 2012
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Rites of Ascension - CvBrony



Twilight makes a new spell and starts the gears of fate with her ascension to alicornhood. (Writing started before Season 3.)

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Demon

Twilight charged out of the wooded thicket, a thin bead of sweat rolling down the back of her neck. Her hooves thundered against the ground beneath her, and multi-hued lightning sounded off in the distance as Rainbow occupied the ponies of the town. Though her path was dark, the smooth grass field had few obstacles.

A dragon! I really should have seen this sooner. Those dark clouds in the lower stratosphere? Probably dragon smoke settling and slowly clearing. The red in the leylines? Spike’s leylines are red! Mining that doesn’t export anything? Diamond dogs haven’t been seen in this region for decades! What else could it be?

She steared herself to her right, turning a wide arc towards the cavern. With every crash behind her, the fields and sky lit, providing her with just enough light to see the river off in the distance.

He knew what he was doing when he settled down here. He put up a façade and tried to make the town seem normal. When the raiders attacked, he moved the villagers out of town. If anypony new came into town, he would made them feel unwelcome. Who knows what he did to the ponies who discovered his mine.

Her eyes snapped to the first specks of light on the mountain side, lanterns marking the entrance to the cave. Now directly on target, she poured on as much speed as she could.

But he’s not exceptionally sharp, either. The smoke must be somewhat recent, or somepony would have eventually figured out a dragon was near. He’s also boastful, arrogant; he called me a ‘mere pony.’ I might be able to use that to my advantage. As long as I can keep him talking instead of blasting me… Twilight sucked in more air and leaped over a small hill in a single bound, coming to a landing with a slide in the dirt before rocketing forward again.

“If you face him, I might not be able to protect you.”

Twilight slowed after hearing the voice. The meek soprano didn’t echo off the walls but resonated from inside her head.

“I just wanted you to know. So you would be more careful.”

Twilight blinked. “Who are you?”

Silence.

Shaking it off, she raced forward again. Four small red dots, grouped in pairs, appeared next to the cave entrance.

Guards. Figures. Probably just there as an early warning. Well, that’s all he’ll get.

Twilight’s horn flared to life, firing two solid telekinetic streams directly at the ponies. They both did exactly as she expected: they flew back and hit their heads against the wall, hard.

Letting out a contemptuous snort, she barreled past them and into the cave before planting a hoof into the ground and throwing herself into a pivot. Now facing the entrance, her horn began to glow, and a ring appeared on the ceiling. She brought forward as much magic as she could bear, and a solid purple barrier appeared, covering the cave entrance.

Twilight stepped forward to inspect her work. There are openings on the sides, but not even a foal could fit through there. She swallowed, wishing for a drink of water. I have no idea if this will hold long against draconic magic, but it should at least slow them down.

Lighting her horn to illuminate her path, Twilight moved deeper into the cave. Now, to find the path where this plot-wipe is hiding. Though she wanted to continue running, the cave was slick with condensation. After the modest entrance, the passageway opened up. What would’ve been wide enough to accommodate a few ponies grew to a much larger opening.

She inspected her armored hoof. Time for a personal shield. I wish Shining had been able to be there for my training. His namesake spell would be really useful right about now. She charged her horn again, ready to put up a basic but powerful personal shield spell.

“Most dragons use fire and heat.”

Twilight stopped her casting and froze. The meek voice had again appeared out of nowhere, right in her head. “Apparently, I’m going crazy… but at least it’s a helpful crazy.”

She restarted her spell, this time optimizing the shield to better protect against both environmental heat sources as well as spells utilizing fire. It’d be weaker against everything else, but would give her considerably more protection against high temperatures.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t blast me directly with his fire. Even Spike’s flames can corrode enchantments. I have no idea how a shield like this will fare.

Twilight continued down the passageway, now a little faster as she gained a feel for the slick ground. The deeper she went, the higher the humidity rose, and progressively more and more stalactites appeared, each one glistening and shimmering in the light of her horn. Making her way around a sharp turn, she came to a series of forks in the tunnel. Carefully, she peeked into each entrance and found they all lead down another empty path.

Some have mining equipment, but that’s not really a guarantee of anything. Which way do I go? Rainbow’s out there fighting while I’m stuck in here. So, what do I know about this dragon that can help me? Next to nothing. What about the cave? She sighed. Again, nada. She started to pace back and forth, looking down each passageway while her ears twitched, searching for any possible source of sound.

The sudden rumble was not what she was expecting.

The wet ground under her shook and rattled, the earthquake knocking her hind hooves out from under her, bringing her to her haunches. Dust, pebbles, and soot fell from the cave ceiling like rain, covering her and her armour in a damp coat of dark, sticky debris as the quake subsided.

Twilight wiped her face with her magic, spitting and sneezing the worst offenders out of her system. “Great, now I’m dirty, and I don’t know where to go.”

“Dragons have hoards, usually comprised of gems and gold.”

Twilight stopped dead in her tracks fast—so fast she nearly tipped over onto her face. “Wow. Keep talking, O mysterious voice, and I might just make it through this alive.” She powered her horn with a spell she’d learned the same year she’d first moved to Ponyville. In fact, it was the spell that had earned her friend Rarity her cutie mark. An energy field bloomed outward from her horn, and gems inside the walls of the cave revealed themselves like bones in an x-ray.

One path clearly had more gems than the others. Spurs of crystals sprouted under the rock, shimmering in the light of the spell. They grew larger as the tunnel went on and eventually erupted through the cave wall.

She wasted no time taking off down the steepest of the paths, the sudden pressure change causing her ears to pop. At one point, the ground was slick enough for her to slide down without taking a step. The deeper she went, the more gems appeared in the walls, and the narrower the passageway became. Eventually, the cave transitioned from rock to crystal.

This is like the abandoned mines under Canterlot! Her spell and the light in her horn danced through the translucent walls, beaming back to her in a dazzling display of colors as she entered a small cavern.

“I am impressed that you managed to find your way here so quickly.” A deep rumbling voice reverberated through the cave. It was the same voice from the possesed pony though much louder now.

Again Twilight stopped, her head swiveling about as her eyes and ears searched for the voice’s source. Her search found a bright source of light illuminating the corner of a passageway off to her left.

Odds are, that’s where he is. Okay, tactical decision time. Stall and wait for Luna, or try to nail him to the wall myself?

She slowly inched her way towards the entrance, taking care to not make any sound. Stalling might not work. It could be over an hour before Luna gets here. I doubt I could last that long even with earth pony magic.

Twilight pushed her body against the wall next to the entrance, pausing to listen carefully for any sign of what lay beyond. There were no dragon sounds coming from the opening, but the light was a blue-white, and there was the clear sound of slow-moving water.

Dragon scales get more resilient as they age. Spike was already extremely tough during training, and this dragon sounds much older. Most unicorn magic might just bounce off, as would environmental hazards. My pegasus magic is still next to useless offensively. Earth pony magic, on the other hoof, that might work, but I’d have to weaponize it. And the only way I know to do that…

“Did you get lost on your last few steps?” The deep voice thrummed and echoed off the walls. “I find that hard to believe. Step out here, Grand Mage.”

“Hmph. Guess I don’t have a choice.” Twilight pushed magic to her horn and then sent it down through her body to her hooves. As the flames enveloped her, and she felt the fire going down her earth pony leylines. I really hope this doesn’t do permanent damage.

The flames subsided, condensing and hardening into four white-hot horseshoes attached to her hooves. The ground under her creaked and popped as the surface of the crystalline floor started to melt from the heat. With the smell of burnt sand wafting into her nose, the Grand Mage cautiously started her way to the next room.

She briefly covered her eyes from the increase of light when rounding the corner. Upon lowering her foreleg, Twilight finally saw the dragon’s lair. Technically, calling this space a cavern would be correct, but it was far larger than the word suggested. It was easily one and a half times the size of a major sports stadium, and like a stadium, was lit by a huge cache of charged magical yellow crystals dotting the ceiling.

The floor had various solid paths in it made of the same mineral as the walls and ceiling, but it partially blended in with the surprisingly deep and calm blue water that made up much of the floor. At the far end, a river flowed from one end of the cave to the other through small openings on each side. Crystal stalagmites and stalactites littered the area with their spear-like points on them.

“So, this tiny thing is the great Grand Mage? Pitiful.” The dragon’s voice echoed over and over off the cave’s walls, vibrating Twilight to her core.

A large mass of shimmering, deep blue scales rose to a sitting position in the center of the cavern. There, sneering back at her with a pair of deep blood red eyes, was a fat blue dragon sporting a white underbelly. He was about the size of a house, which was actually much smaller than the full-size adult she had expected.

Crap. Blue dragon. Water. Not just thick scaled, but he'll regenerate damage in seconds. Okay, time to stall. Remember, Twilight, never show weakness to a dragon. Be boastful, proud. Brag like Rainbow on a massive ego trip. You might not intimidate him, but if you show even a hint of weakness, he’ll stop talking and strike. “What an interesting coincidence, I was thinking the same thing about you,” Twilight retorted with a smirk. “I was expecting an adult, not a child. You’re only what, four, maybe five hundred?”

“Hmph,” snorted the dragon as he stood on his hind legs and cracked his back. “I believe some of you ponies have a saying: ‘Age and excellence are not even cousins.’”

Twilight shook her head. “Never heard it. Though, being a prodigy, I do understand it. Not that I can say it applies to you. Regardless, you’ve done some awful things to my ponies, and I’m here to put an end to it.”

The dragon laughed. “Your ponies? Hardly. They are mine, and they exist to fill my belly.” He stared at her, a haughty, malicious grin covering his face. “One way or another.”

Twilight put her ears flat against the back of her head and pawed at the ground, leaving scorch marks on the crystal. “I am the Grand Mage of Equestria, representing the authority of the Crown! Those are my ponies, my subjects, and their protection is my responsibility! I don’t know how a youngling like yourself managed to learn a complex geas, but your terror ends here!

The dragon lifted his claw, the black miasma visible between his fingers even without her thaumic sight, and brought it down with a thundering slam, sending dark magic out at her in parallel cutting waves.

Twilight was ready. None of Luna’s golems broadcasted their moves as much as this dragon did. She pushed up and back with her forelegs, her spell propelling her far into the air and onto the wall above the cavern entrance. After a perfectly balanced backflip, she planted four hooves on the wall and pushed off, sending herself hurtling towards the dragon.

With two outstretched forelegs, Twilight slammed into the side of the dragon’s mouth, feeling something inside loosen from the impact. The force was so hard that it knocked his head clear out of the way while she kept flying forward and down, bouncing off the ground where the dragon had rested and springing upward again upwards to a tall ledge on the far side of the cave. Executing a backflip, she turned herself around and used a blast of pegasus magic to create an air current and slow herself down for a landing.

The dragon spat out a tooth into the water and snarled. “I am Bloodtide, of the Abyssal Current, and you will pay for that!”

Twilight scoffed. “Bloodtide, really? Dragons don’t get names like that unless they’ve proven themselves, and I haven’t heard of you, so you’re nothing. In fact, you’re a dead nothing, ‘Bloodtide.’ Luna is on her way, and if I don’t finish you, she will.”

“When she arrives, I will have two ponies filling my stomach!” Bloodtide inhaled and spat a stream of fire at the ledge where Twilight stood.

She ducked back away from the flames, pressing herself against the far wall. The ceiling was just high enough and her path just wide enough to avoid being burned to a crisp directly, and her heat shield stopped the rest of it dead in its tracks.

When the flames subsided, she poked her head over the ledge. “You really are young, aren’t you? Figures you don’t know her, then. She has been gone a thousand years. If I were you, I’d run. Now.”

Bloodtide flapped his wings and jumped up at the ledge, causing Twilight to run down the path to the far end of the cavern.

“Dragons do not run! Dragons eat!”

Damn, I can’t keep this up forever! I need to find an opening! She pumped her legs down the slope and towards the far wall, running through a puddle as she went. The water hissed and turned to steam instantly, cracking one of her horseshoes.

Of course! The water! Twilight smirked at the dragon, who was fumbling through the puddles of water on the floor to get to her. “Hey! Bloodtide! Catch!” She put up a hoof and telekinetically hurled it at the dragon, who was scrambling up onto a thin solid area. The horseshoe was true to its target but merely bounced off his head and plopped into the deep water.

“What was that supposed to do?” The dragon chuckled.

“Ever hear of the Leidenfrost effect?” Twilight smiled. “If not, I wouldn’t worry. Just give it a second.”

TST-TSNT-TSSSUWUWUWUWUWUWUUWUUUUUUU

The noise from the horseshoe started to reach all the way through the deep water and into their ears as bubbles rose to the surface, signaling the ultra-rapid boiling of the water below. Twilight, meanwhile, smirked at him, knowing full well what was coming from the super-heated magic.

The dragon got up and scrambled forward towards her, but it was too late. The water around the horseshoe shot upwards like a geyser, exploding multiple times and blasting so much steam in the air that it quickly filled the entire cavern with warm mist. By the time the dragon had gotten to Twilight’s position, she was long gone, moving back up to the relative safety of the ledge.

Though she could hear the dragon clawing and slapping the ground and water where she had been, it was no longer accompanied by the sounds of the exploding horseshoe. Once the dragon stopped moving, all the sound in the room died, save for the gentle trickle of water in the river refilling the cave floor’s reservoirs.

Twilight pulled on her horn and went back into her magic sight. The magic of the crystal around her was all but impossible to see unless the wall was directly next to her. It was as if the entire cavern was filled with fog, which, of course it was. What was unique here was that the fog itself was teeming with her magic, obscuring even her higher level of vision, with one exception. Towards the end of the cavern was a dark blob of blood red with specks of green, a far cry from Spike’s bright red.

He’s listening. Despite all the echoes in here, I’m going to have to silence my hoof steps if I want to move. Guess this calls for more pegasus magic.

Pushing a mild air current up against her belly, Twilight softly tip-hooved down the path in the opposite direction. Each step was balanced on an ultra-thin cushion of air, hushing it to a strict silence. She had made it to the opposite side of the cavern from the dragon by the time he started to stir again, this time lashing out at everything around him futilely.

At this rate, I’ll be able to keep this up indefinitely. Twilight smirked. He really is young. Well, older than me, but clearly not that bright. So, the question is, then, who taught him the geas spell? There’s no way this dragon should be capable of casting a spell like that, let alone maintain it on so many other minds. Could there be a link to other dragon clans?

She reached the end of the cavern, nestled in a corner a bit lower than the high back edge she was on, and stopped. He’s still looking over there? I keep waiting for the punchline. Or some kind of trick.

Twilight yawned silently, her adrenaline fading.

“You aren’t safe yet.”

The voice from before had returned. I know that! she ‘thought’ back at it. I just have to keep an eye out and oh crap!

She could see the ceiling again and not just the glowing part. With a bit of a rush but still-silenced hooves, she made her way back up the ledge, where the steam was thicker. Damn! There must be too much air going through here for the steam to stay! Or maybe the water is too cold. Either way, I’m not just going to be able to keep hiding!

A deafening, violent sound of fury reverberated through the cavern as the dragon roared, shaking the ground enough to cause Twilight to fall to her side.

“Quit this incessant stalling and fight me!”

And get eaten? No thanks. Twilight detached the shoe on her other forehoof and tossed it across the room, where it landed on the ground with a ‘crack’ before bouncing over and over. Please get in water, please get in water… Silence reigned over the room once more for several seconds. Twilight’s eye twitched while her stomach squeezed itself flat while waiting.

TST-TSNT-TSSSUWUWUWUWUWUWUUWUUUUUUU

Yes! More steam exploded from the refilled pool, completely enshrouding the cavern in the magically-charged vapor once again. Two left. I must make them count. I don’t think I can cast that again without seriously hurting my leylines. I might not even be able to use earth pony magic at all at this point. The question is, how do I get through his scales? Even his belly is likely thick enough to block every spell I have!

Twilight rubbed her face with her forehooves and then squeezed her head to at least justify her headache.

“Wait,” she whispered, the other voice saying it too at the same time. “Not every spell. But could I really? Isn’t that overkill?”

~~ Your ponies? Hardly. They are mine and they exist to fill my belly. One way or another.~~

No. It’s too damn good for him. But it’ll have to do. Twilight looked around her and reached out to the edge of the cavern wall. Not enough room here. Circle has to be uninterrupted.

Twilight snapped into a turn, marching straight up the ledge as silently as she could manage. I need at least sixty seconds of uninterrupted casting time. I also need him to be relatively stationary. I also need to be completely insane. She stopped at the highest point of the ridge, out of the dragon’s reach. Squinting her eyes, she strained to see as much as a hint of his magic. The mist didn’t fade, but new colors did begin to show in brief glimpses. Lines of light washed over the surface of the cavern like waves, tracing out its outline. Faint tendrils of red and green lashed out like whips, cracking at her but missing clumsily. She stood there, studying the illuminated layout from top to bottom while the dragon searched.

Apparently I am completely insane. She pushed a little extra magic into one of her remaining horseshoes then kicked it right at the dragon. When it landed on his side, she felt a flash of radiant energy from the unleashed power, and the dragon crashed into the water from being knocked back.

While he thrashed in the pool, Twilight leapt off the ledge and down towards the very center of the cave, where the dragon had lain when she had arrived. Just before landing, she forced an air current under her to slow her fall, but this time, she allowed her hooves to make a sound. “You want a fight, Bloodtide? Bring it!”

The dragon pulled up out of the water with his arms and launched himself right at his prey, his raw strength alone being enough to force him into the air and halfway across the cavern.

Once again, Twilight was ready.

She watched him as she moved, now able to see every bit of his form in her sight, the radiant red energy glaring like a blight on the universe. She saw his leylines, thick with the green corruption that had poisoned her ponies. She saw his rage pouring power into his claws for another attack.

For all his strength, she would render him impotent. For all his rage, she would render his anger meaningless.

For all his crimes, she would make him pay.

At the last possible instant, Twilight knelt down to the ground, coiled her hind legs, and pushed up with as much force as she could bring to bear on the remaining horseshoe. Her body flew upwards, straight to the ceiling covered in sharp crystal stalactites. They pointed at her like lances, ready to run her through as she approached head-first.

She never quite heard her foe land where she had stood, as the sound of the explosion from her remaining horseshoe roared in her eardrums.

Twilight fell, arcing away from the center of the cavern. Though her body ached, her ears rang, and her nose bled, she managed a sliding impact at the entrance of the lair. Patiently, she waited for the sound she knew was about to come.

At first, there was only one, but a split second later, the rest hit. Dozens of the crystal stalactites had been shaken loose by the explosion, raining down like a hail of spears. The ground shook not only from the impacts but also from the wailing of the dragon. Red flame and ash spewed into the air, mixing with the magic-infused mist.

She could still see him, though, and he was still moving. One shard had crushed a leg, while another had gone through a wing and an arm, pinning him to the ground.

He’s still alive. Guess I get to go through with it. Good.

Her horn flared to life, firing a telekinetic beam into the ceiling, knocking down more stalactites, this time in between the two of them instead of on top of him. Crystal and rock crashed into the ground, forming a small wall. Twilight turned her horn to it, encasing it in a shield spell, this one so dense it was opaque. That won’t hold long, but all I need is a minute.

“This won’t save you, pony! I will find you!”

She smirked. “I’m right here. Get ready. I’m about to pass sentence.”

Twilight leaned down towards the ground, arching her back, then lifting her horn as high as she could, violet magic swirling all around it from the sheer power she was pushing into it. Meanwhile, the book from her bag floated out from its hiding place, opening to the proper page.

Stage one: circles.

With her horn pointing straight up, a thick beam of light fired from it straight into the ground, tracing a purple hexagon into the ground around her, with the sides to her left and right forming slightly longer than the rest. The beam continued, tracing out small circles over each corner.

Stage two: flow regulators.

Here, Twilight started the main spell, quickly decoding the pages as she worked. A symbol appeared within one of the small circles, burned into the ground. It was quickly followed by another and then another. She cast them in quick succession, each one appearing at a different spot around her, etching purple and orange runes into the crystal floor.

Once more, the sound from the dragon reached her ears as the crystal wall began to crumble. Miasma coated the rocks from Bloodtide lashing out with his claws. The corrupted magic was so thick it reacted with the charge in the rock, foaming like an acid meeting a base. There might have been words mixed in with his screeching yells, but Twilight couldn’t make them out, nor did she care.

Stage three: target destination.

The pages in the journal flipped, stopping at the right spot. As the symbols on the paper began to glow, the security spells on the book reacted with Twilight’s powerful magic and the subtle magics in the ink itself. Decoded, corresponding symbols began to appear in the hexagon under her, each one appearing in a deliberate, calculated order. At this stage, failure wasn’t an option. This spell had been created by Starswirl, the stallion who, in his madness, created a spell that had nearly destroyed Equestria and had also created the Everfree forest.

Black, charred, and smoking rock blasted over her head. A large chunk of the crystal wall fell inward, revealing his good eye. Another three or four blows, and he would reach the shield.

Stage four: multicasted projectiles.

Wind whirled around her from the power bleed-off warming the air. The Grand Mage’s horn grew even brighter as the light split into two poles. Very, very few unicorns were capable of casting two different spells at the same time, let alone two small sub-spells as part of a larger, multi-stage one.

Twilight didn’t even flinch.

Her mind blitzed through the symbols, duplicating each in turn twice with the delicate adjustments needed to create two magical projectiles in two different places at the exact same time. A new, final circle appeared as a reaction to the spell being cast, enveloping all the others in a sphere. The symbols on the ground levitated up to meet the new addition and spun around, eventually turning the entire assembly pure white. Two shimmering balls of light appeared on either side of her, a thread-like line connecting them before catching on fire.

A dark blast of power sent more rocks flying overhead, followed by another that crashed directly into the shield, cracking it. One more came, spreading the crack like a windshield under immense strain.

Stage five: flow release.

The pages flipped backwards, and the book listed to the side from the unsteady force holding it up. A white-hot beam fired downwards from her horn into the six small circles around her. This did not trace more arcane symbols, instead forming a star in each, perfectly nestled between the symbols already there.

Two more slashes hit the shield, shattering it to splinters. Twilight turned her thaumic sight off; she didn't need to see what her spell was doing anymore. That, and she wanted to see the look on his face.

His whole body was now free of the binds she had placed on him and ready to be put in a more permanent prison. She looked at him with her violet eyes, unimpressed with his efforts. For all he had done to hurt her ponies, he was pathetic.

Bloodtide roared, shaking the walls and swiping his claws at her in a last ditch attack.

“Stage six: fire.”

The stars in the magic array expanded and spun, releasing the stored energies within the circle like a group of emergency pressure-release valves. The two spheres of light shot forth faster than Rainbow Dash could fly, looking more like a beam than discrete objects. The thread behind them snagged the dragon’s claw like a bolas, halting his attack while snaring him, pulling him back into the mound of crystalline rubble that had buried him. His back hit first, followed by his head whiplashing backwards and cracking the stone.

“You… That will not be enough!” Bloodtide struggled to his feet, rubbing his head. “Your tricks end here!”

The dragon pulled at his claw again, ready to finally bring it down for that attack, yet it did not move.

His eyes widened in shock, finally looking at his arm. Where there once was a claw with long, sharp digits oozing with power, there was naught but a bubbling orange-gray miasma at a stump, and it was expanding up his arm. Over and over, the dragon tugged at his limb like he had gotten it caught in a cookie jar, desperately trying to wrench it free. Each pull waned further as her magic dissolved his.

“Bloodtide of the Abyssal Current!” Twilight yelled into the cavern, her own voice deeper than before and echoing just as much as the dragon’s had. “I, Twilight Sparkle, Grand Mage of Equestria, find you guilty of unforgivable crimes against pony kind! I hereby sentence you to permanent banishment not just from Equestria, but from this very plane of reality! Never again will you bring harm to my ponies!

The dragon pulled again at his arm, but the spell had now reached passed his elbow. He spat fire and flames at Twilight, but he was much too far away to burn her. With her shield, it was naught but a summer’s breeze. “No! No! The geas should have worked on you! Why didn’t it work!?”

Twilight lifted an eyebrow at the dragon, who was now flat on his rear, still pulling at his arm as the spell ate its way up his bicep. “Fool. You never used one on me.”

He tried to leap at her, his claws carving gashes into the floor, but ultimately went nowhere as he clawed at the ground. “Yes! Yes I did! Over and over while you were up on that ridge! Why didn’t it work!?”

What? He knew I was there? Then how did—?

The other voice returned. “Because I protected you.”

The spell hit his shoulder and sped up dramatically, eating away at his torso. “He swore it would work on you! That unicorn… Ionos! He swore every pony I wanted would be mine! I’ll have his hide! I will devour him! I—”

He stopped as the substance marking the line between one dimension and the other got to his lungs.

Twilight shook her head, turning to leave. “You won’t be eating any more of my ponies, Bloodtide. I will find the one you mentioned and deal with him myself.”

Some flashes of red lashed at her from behind, the last of his breath leaving him.

The Grand Mage merely turned back one last time to look him right in his panicked eyes. “Tell me, Bloodtide of Abyssal Current. Are you afraid of The Dark?” She smiled just a little. “You should be.”

As Bloodtide’s feet, tail, and head dissolved into the abyss, Twilight Sparkle, Grand Mage of Equestria, walked away.

Author's Note:

I couldn't find a way to ponify "Leidenfrost." I fail.

Medical news can be found in the blog post. Long story short, I finally have some meds as of tonight. No guarantee they'll work, but I have to try something, you know?

I hope you guys enjoyed the action in this one. I think it marks a nice climax for the first mission (of many, many to come). :) As always, I'm super nervous about sharing this one. Important chapter, wondering if I screwed anything up, etc. But, hey, learning is learning. If anything is that bad, I can fix it, apologize, and move on. One must have courage to grow as a writer, so, here it is!

Patreon peeps, next chapter preview will be up for you shortly.

-Cv

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