• Published 22nd Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 2 - Never2muchpinkie



The continuing adventures of the now seven years old Pound and Pumpkin

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6-12: The magic of friendship

Mayhem laughed as the beach turned back into the throne room. “Oh, yes! This is going to be so much fun. I’m going to RIP the word hope out of your vocabulary. You’ll try, over and over and over and over, and every time you’ll fail.

“Flurry, you’re going to wish you had taken my offer when you had the chance.”

Pound gulped. “It looks like Mayhem is about to get serious.”

“Don’t get down, Pound,” said Pumpkin. “I need your strength more than ever right now.”

Pound took in a slow breath. “I know.”

Mayhem lifted his arms. “Little by little I’ll increase the power of my attacks, until eventually you won’t be able to resist them anymore. But I won’t just destroy you. Oh, no. I’ll make you taste true hopelessness first.

“Flurry, if I were you I’d hop back a step.”

Flurry was slow to react as Mayhem suddenly appeared in front of her and kicked her in the jaw. She flipped once and landed on her hooves, rubbing her chin.

Mayhem chuckled. “You really should duck, Pumpkin.”

Pound quickly grabbed Pumpkin and forced her down, just as Mayhem teleported again, shooting a bolt of lightning where she used to be.

“Nice work, Pound, but now you’re on the floor.“ A fireball appeared in his claw, but just before he fired his hand changed direction towards himself. He detached the claw as he jumped away, sinking into the shadows a bit as he kicked Masky, forcing him out into the open.

He reattached his claw. “This is amusing, getting down and dirty like this.”

“Are you alright, Masky?” asked Peppermint.

“I’m fine.”

“But are you really?” asked Mayhem. “Hope you’re not afraid of a little lightning.” He lifted his arms, summoning a large, dark cloud that was shooting out dozens of lightning bolts underneath it, and sent it towards their group.

“So fast!” Flurry exclaimed, pulling the others in with her wings as she created a shield over them.

The repeated lightning blasts broke through her shield, Flurry wincing in pain as the lightning bolts struck her wings.

The cloud completed its pass overhead, crashing into the wall and disappearing.

“F-Flurry!” said Masky as she moved her wings from around them. “Are you okay?”

Flurry was panting and her wings were singed, but she smiled at him. “My wings are tough. It’ll take more than that to destroy them."

“Glad to hear it!” Mayhem’s body separated into six pieces, each of them hitting one of the children to the floor. He lifted a hand, a gigantic fireball appearing. “Let’s heat things up, shall we?”

Pound and Pumpkin prepared a water spell as Flurry used her levitation magic to draw water from the pool they had landed in when they arrived.

They combined the ball of water and shot it at his fireball, filling the room with steam. Ultimately, even their combined efforts couldn’t fully repel the fireball, and it was getting closer and closer to them.

Tree Leaf turned into a dragon and shielded them with his body. His naturally fireproof body took the attack harmlessly.

Peppermint saw Mayhem’s shadow in the distance, and gave Masky a meaningful look. He nodded, sinking into the shadows.

The filly stretched her body towards Mayhem, wrapping herself around him like a snake. “Got you!”

Mayhem simply stretched himself, making himself thinner as he took to the air.

“You’re not getting away!”

He dodged her limbs a few more times before landing on the ground. “You’re persistent. I like that.”

He lifted a claw, preparing a spell, when he suddenly heard a yell right beneath him.

Masky came flying out of the ground, socking Mayhem in the jaw.

“YEAH!” said Peppermint, but Mayhem’s head only stretched from its neck, and he used the momentum to headbutt her.

“Try whatever you want,” said Mayhem. “You can’t stop me, you little babies. Even if you all combine your powers together, nothing plus nothing is still nothing.

“Oh, FLURRY!” He let out an evil laugh. “If you don’t want all your friends to die I’d suggest protecting them.” Once more he lifted his arm. “Let’s see how you like my air slice.”

Flurry felt a bit of panic, and quickly grabbed the others in her wings as she hid behind a pillar.

“You can’t hide, Flurry.”

With a single swipe of his claws he cut clean through five pillars right above them.

“Oops! I missed you. How careless of me.” With a laugh he said, “I’ll make sure I aim correctly this time.”

With a flash Flurry teleported them to the far side of the room behind the throne.

“Oh, are we playing hide and seek now, Flurry?” he said condescendingly. He scanned the room slowly. “Where are you? Maybe… here?” He slashed, destroying the ground near another pillar. “Hmm. I guess not. You’ll run out of places to hide eventually.” He destroyed pillar after pillar.

Flurry was sweating. Mayhem’s power was out of control. He was right. They couldn’t keep hiding forever.

Mayhem turned towards the throne. “Hmmm. I wonder if you’re at the most obvious spot. Do you think I wouldn’t attack my precious throne? I can always make another one.”

Masky tugged at Flurry’s mane, his heart racing. “Fire at the ground,” he said quietly. “Now!”

Flurry didn’t have time to think, and did as he said. The explosion caused a cloud of smoke.

Mayhem swiped, cutting the throne into pieces. He put a claw to his ear. “Hmm. No screams of pain. I guess you weren’t hiding there, after all.”

Masky held onto his friends tightly as he moved through the shadows with them. Once inside the shadows they could move on their own, but they couldn’t get out without his special magic.

A part of him really did want to try running this time, but he knew it was pointless. So long as they were in Mayhem’s world there was no place to hide.

Mayhem sucked in a deep breath, letting it out and dispersing the smoke. He looked left and right, but saw no sign of the group. “So you’ve hidden yourselves really well, have you?”

Masky had gotten above him as Mayhem began attacking everywhere in the room, getting annoyed. “Come out, you little rats!”

The six of them emerged slightly from the shadows.

Flurry whispered to Tree Leaf, “Can you transform while inside the shadows?”

“I don’t know,” he whispered back, “but I’ll try.”

Masky pulled him fully back inside, and Tree Leaf turned into a hippo before Masky pulled him out again.

“Magic?” Pound whispered, not wanting to draw Mayhem’s attention by talking too much.

Flurry shook her head. “No magic until we either hit him or he spots us. He’ll hear it building up.”

“Will he?” asked Pumpkin. “He’s throwing a tantrum right now.”

“I’m not risking it. This is our chance to catch him off guard.

“Masky, let’s go.”

“Got it,” he replied.

They all descended from the shadows, falling from the ceiling quietly towards him. With his heavier weight Tree Leaf sank the fastest.

Mayhem lifted his arms. “I’ve had enough of this. Hmm?” He built up water above him, then spun around towards the descending kids. “Have a tsunami!”

A stream of water struck each of them, slamming them all into the ceiling, then he turned his body, throwing his claw down and taking all of them with it.

Pound and Pumpkin struggled against the pressure, touching each other and shooting their own stream of water downwards, lowering their speed before they crashed into the floor and the water dispersed.

“Owww,” said Peppermint, rubbing her stomach.

“That really hurt,” said Pumpkin.

Mayhem clapped. “Bravo, bravo! Hiding in the ceiling was a great trick. I almost fell for your assault, but you made the mistake of having the green one turn into such a large animal. Bigger animal means bigger shadows, idiots. I saw you coming from miles away.”

Pound got up, panting. “Darn it! I really thought we had him this time.”

“Sorry, guys,” said Flurry. “I thought that having Tree Leaf turn into something big would be to our advantage.”

Peppermint grabbed onto Pumpkin’s leg to support herself as she got up too. “Even if he’s only using the same magic as the rest of us it’s so much stronger.”

Mayhem looked down smugly at them. “Sheesh. Even when I’m holding back this much you still can’t do anything to me? Maybe I should just take a nap. With the way you guys fight I could probably defeat you in my sleep.”

He shook his head. “Just look at all of you. Do you want to give up?”

“NO!” said Flurry strongly.

“Come on,” he said, walking on air like he was going down a staircase. “I know you got me upset before, but there’s always time for reparation. Bow down before me and beg for forgiveness, and I’ll let you live.”

“I refuse!”

“Oh, Flurry.” He lifted his arm, and a lightning bolt appeared in it. “That stubbornness of yours is going to cause you so much pain before this is over.”

He brought his arm down, and Flurry created a shield around her. The lightning bolt missed the shield, hitting the unprotected ground right in front of it. The ground underneath her flew upwards, and Flurry just barely managed to get her wings around her before rubble slammed into them, sending her flying into her shield and breaking it. Her momentum carried her into the pillar behind her.

Flurry cried out in pain, landing hard on the floor.

“Flurry!” said Masky, running over to her.

Pound glared at Mayhem, shaking in fury.

“It seems that none of you realize just how outclassed you’ve been from the start.” He lifted a claw, and Flurry went up with it. With a snap her pain went away, then he set her on the ground.

Flurry groaned. He had healed her again.

“Let me ask you something, my little ponies. Did you not find it unusual how each of you had powers no other pony does?”

Tree Leaf wasn’t sure he liked where this was going.

“Flurry’s theory was that I went after all of you because I wanted to take care of potential threats, like kids who have unusual abilities like yours. Sorry… but that’s wrong.”

“Then why?” asked Pumpkin. “Why us?”

“All those powers you have… I gave them to you. ME!”

Peppermint blinked. “You?”

“I told you from the start that I created this little adventure because I was bored. Flurry was the only skilled magic user among you. If I had set you loose in my world without some powers you didn’t normally have all of you would have been reliant solely on her. That wouldn’t have been very entertaining. So I gave you all abilities that fit your personalities.

“The twins could only use their powers to their full potential when working together. Flurry wants to protect others, so I gave her powerful wings that could also stretch.”

“So this was all… you?” said Tree Leaf.

Mayhem nodded. “But just like I can give things to you, I can also take them away. Just… like… this.” He snapped his fingers.

Pound gasped. “F-Flurry,” he said, flabbergasted.

“You… you’re…” Pumpkin couldn’t even finish her sentence.

Flurry looked to her sides. Her wings were gone. Her head also felt lighter, and she put her hoof up to find her horn was gone as well.

“Now you’re just an earth pony like the shapeshifter," said Mayhem.

She felt like she shouldn’t be surprised by now what Mayhem could do, but this particular change was scary because it meant she couldn’t do magic anymore.

“So, Flurry,” said Mayhem, “do you still want to talk big and stand tall? From the moment you came into my world all you’ve been is a toy to play with whatever way I want.

“How about it? Do you want to give up yet?”

The question made her angry, despite herself. “No! I won’t!”

Mayhem growled, disappearing and reappearing right in front of her, kicking her in the nose.

Flurry recoiled.

Pound and Pumpkin both tried to shoot him point blank, but he simply stretched his body and went on the attack again.

Flurry put her hooves up as Mayhem hit her again.

Mayhem took to the air. “You’re pathetic! You no longer have your magic. You’re just a common pony now, and yet you still stand in defiance of me? I am now most eager to see you surrender.”

“I don’t care what you do,” Flurry replied. Even though she felt pain she stood up straight. “I meant what I said before. I won’t give up.”

Mayhem slowly clenched, then he began laughing. With a snap he returned her horn and wings. “I wonder… just how much you can take before you break. Or maybe…” He looked towards the other children. “Maybe I should make them suffer instead for your insolence.

“Can you protect them from my attacks?”

Flurry growled. “I know what you’re planning.”

Mayhem chuckled. “You think I’m going to take your magic away at the last second so you can’t protect them? That would be dull. I want to see how long your false hope will last. I want you to give it your very best, and fade away knowing it wasn’t enough.

“After all, if I wanted to destroy you I could have done that so many times already.”

He summoned a long, thin stream of water, and cracked it like a whip. It missed Flurry, and hit Tree Leaf right behind her, knocking him to the ground.

“Pay attention, Princess! After all, you wouldn’t want to watch your friends die before your eyes, would you? That’s your greatest fear, is it not? Just how long can you keep it from becoming a reality?”

Flurry growled. She had never hated anyone more in her life.

The draconequus swirled the water around him. “You know, it’s not always about the power you have, but how creatively you can use it. For instance…” He added lighting to the water. “Now THIS will hurt, won’t it? Better protect Pumpkin.”

Pound immediately pulled his sister behind him. “Don’t even think about it.”

“Why think, when I can do? Water, with the speed of lightning. Who will fall first?”

Flurry wrapped her wings around the pair as he launched the lightning whip, groaning as it made contact. Her wings were very sturdy, but it didn’t completely stop the pain of contact.

Mayhem let out a big laugh. “Very good! But what will you do against this?”

He lifted his arms, and he summoned large amounts of earth above him and added fire to it. “How about a meteor for my dear friends?”

“You’ve gotta be kidding!” said Masky.

“Catch!” he yelled as he slammed it down.

Flurry created a magic portal, absorbing the meteor.

“Too slow!” Mayhem created another portal right beneath hers, sending the meteor back on course.

She teleported the group out of the way, and Mayhem teleported right after her, giving a hard kick to Pound and sending him right into the path of the meteor.

“Pound!” Pumpkin screamed out in horror, her insides going cold.

Peppermint went to stretch herself to catch him, but Mayhem simply flipped and kicked her too.

Flurry extended one of her wings towards Pound, knowing if she teleported over to the colt it would leave the others open to Mayhem’s attacks.

She scooped Pound up in her wing, the edge of it burning as she pulled him back.

Flurry clenched in pain as she set Pound down.

As Pumpkin went to hug him he pushed her away. As much as he wanted Pumpkin to feel reassured there were bigger issues. “Water!” he said strongly.

She turned to Flurry, seeing the charred part of her wing. She quickly touched Pound, putting some cooling water on Flurry’s wing.

“T-thank you,” she replied as the pain receded.

“This is only the start,” said Mayhem. “Why don’t you just quit before you get hurt even further?”

“No!” Flurry replied.

Mayhem shrugged. “Whatever. I have all the time in the world. It’s not like you can leave this space, after all.”

Mayhem attacked over and over. He kept to his word about restricting himself to the special abilities of the six of them, though he usually stuck to Pound and Pumpkin’s elemental spells since they were his greatest offensive magic, though he did occasionally stretch his wings or turn into a predatory animal just to switch things up once in a while.

He always focused his attacks on everyone but Flurry, forcing her to intervene. Every few blows he encouraged her to give up, but she always refused.

The draconequus had been getting angrier and angrier at Flurry’s obstinance, but his feelings were slowly changing to confusion.

“Why?” he asked. “Why do you keep getting up? Is your pride really worth all this pain?” Flurry snickered, which only made him more confused. “And just what are you laughing at?”

“This… has nothing to do with pride,” she replied, panting as she got up from her knees.

“Flurry,” said Peppermint, tears coming down her eyes. “Please stop. I don’t want to see you getting hurt anymore. Just give up already.” Flurry gave her a carefree smile, which threw her off so much that she couldn’t even continue speaking.

“Don’t worry, Peppermint.” She looked back up at Mayhem. “If it bothers you so much that I won’t give up then you only have yourself to blame.”

“Is that right?” he replied flatly.

“I believe it was you who said that in this adventure that I was the main character. I started out a weak little crybaby, but because of everything I’ve gone through I’ve grown stronger.”

“What’s your point?”

“You gave me too much time to grow, Mayhem. I’ve grown stronger than you.”

Mayhem shook, about to start yelling, but he reined it in. “And just how do you figure that? I could wipe you out with a breath. You’re only still alive because I’m allowing you to be.”

“What’s your point?”

Mayhem’s eyes narrowed, but they widened when Flurry began laughing, a bright smile on her face. He couldn’t figure her out.

The other children had no idea what to make of her behavior either.

“I think you’ve snapped, my dear,” said Mayhem with amusement. “Has your fear taken you that much?”

When Flurry got herself under control she said, “Why should it, when I’m not afraid of you?”

Mayhem growled loudly, his face going red. “What did you say?”

Flurry put her hoof to her chest. “I finally understand completely what Aunt Twilight tried to teach me." She lifted a wing. “These cuts…” She lifted a leg. “This burn…” She lowered both of them. “…I can barely feel the pain of them. Even after everything you’ve done to me I feel so much strength inside I can barely contain it. My desire to protect these ponies is so much more than any fear could touch.

“Nothing you could ever do to me will take that away from me. So long as there is a breath of air in my lungs and a drop of energy in my veins I will fight you. Far from making me want to give up, you’ve only hardened my determination further.”

“Flurry…” Tree Leaf felt like his own fear was disappearing, Flurry’s confidence infecting him.

“Flurrrrrrrrrrry,” Mayhem said furiously, shaking a fist at her. Everyone else was ready to quit. Why couldn't he break her spirit? Where was this power coming from?

“This feeling… if only you could experience what it’s like. Too bad you don’t have any friends to protect.”

Mayhem flinched as if he had been slapped.

“Ouch!” said Masky, impressed at Flurry’s boldness.

Mayhem was breathing sharply, but then his face grew hard. “Fine, then! I don’t care anymore. I was going to let you all live if you had just surrendered to me, but it’s too late now.”

He zoomed upwards, hitting the roof of the castle, which exploded outwards into a million pieces.

“With one punch?” said Pound, looking unnerved.

Mayhem cackled evilly. “I’ve grown tired of you. This is MY WORLD, and I decide what happens in it. A bunch of weaklings like you could never beat me.” His heart was thumping with excitement like he had never known. “But, hey, if you think you’ve got it then BRING IT! TAKE ME DOWN IF YOU CAN!”

Mayhem turned into a dark mist that began expanding. Huge chunks of the castle began to get sucked up into it.

Flurry could feel her hooves sliding across the floor toward him, knowing if she got sucked up into whatever Mayhem had become that it would be it for her. No. Not just her, but all of the other kids.

She extended her wings, wrapping all of them inside them as her horn glowed and she took off with levitation magic as fast as she could until she couldn’t feel the pull of his sucking force anymore.

Mayhem’s laughter only grew in intensity, seeming to echo across the whole world. “And just where do you think YOU’RE going? There’s nowhere to hide from me.”

Flurry landed on the dead grass in the middle of the fake Ponyville.

She looked back at the castle, seeing it had been almost completely sucked up.

“He… he destroyed his castle,” said Masky. “But why?”

“He doesn’t care about that,” said Pumpkin. “The only thing that monster is interested in is destroying everything.”

Once more Mayhem’s voice echoed through the world. “Did someone say ‘destruction of everything?’ That’s a great idea!”

Mayhem appeared in the air above way above them, but the dark force he had created was still increasing in size and sucking up the surrounding area. He had an almost maniacal glee on his face. “Oh, boy! This is the most fun I’ve ever had! Too bad our game is about to end.” He shrugged. “Oh, well. I can always get some new playmates.”

Before they had the chance to respond Mayhem’s body split into two halves, then grew the missing halves. Now there were two Mayhems.

Peppermint gaped at him. “He can duplicate himself?”

The two of them laughed. “That’s right!” they said together. “And that’s just the beginning.”

Even as they watched he continued splitting himself.

Peppermint had already been feeling afraid when there was just one of him. Now there were eight, then sixteen and beyond.

Pumpkin was panting. This was impossible. They could barely handle one Mayhem. How could they beat an army of him?

Now there were sixty four Mayhems floating around, each of them cackling at different intervals. It gave off a very creepy vibe.

Pound glanced between them. “H-hey,” he said, trying to sound confident but failing miserably. “I-If they split up like that they have to be weaker, right?”

“Who knows?” said all of the Mayhem’s at once. “It’s not like we’re planning to fight you, anyway.”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Tree Leaf.

“I want you to realize your own powerlessness. It’s not just about winning. I want to see the terror in your eyes as this world comes to an end.”

All but one of the Mayhems took off in different directions on the horizon.

“What are you doing?” asked Pumpkin.

The last Mayhem smirked. “Why, just taking your advice, my dear.”

Peppermint’s eyes grew wide as each of the other Mayhem’s turned into the same kind of dark mist as before, causing a circle of destruction around them.

Mayhem put his hands next to each other, creating a sphere of magic around the group. “This will protect you from the pull of these dark tornadoes… for now. But eventually all these tornadoes will converge on this spot, ripping you all to shreds as you get pulled from every direction.”

Masky began trembling. They were all going to die! This time it really did feel like he was being serious.

Mayhem raised a claw. “However, I’ll give you one shot. I’ve decided to show a little mercy.

“I’ll let one of you live if you betray the others. All you have to do is pop the bubble and join in on the chaos of watching your former friends be destroyed. I’ll protect that one pony from death.”

For a moment all of them looked around at each other, their hearts hammering.

All around them the facsimile of Ponyville was being sucked up by the sixty four tornadoes. Ever so slowly they were growing in size, getting closer to them all the time. It was clear that Mayhem was done playing around.

“Come on!” Mayhem called down to them. “Nothing is more important than one’s own life. Isn’t protecting your own life better than all of you being destroyed?”

Everyone else was looking around for a sign of betrayal, but Flurry just stared at Mayhem up in the sky.

The draconequus chuckled. “Are you sure you want to focus on me? You only have a few minutes before these tornadoes reach you.

“Well, princess? As an alicorn you’re clearly the most important of the group, aren’t you? It’s only right that you should be the one to survive. Just get rid of the others… or do nothing and be lost with them.

“It’s an easy choice, really.”

All of them looked at Flurry, wondering if she was really going to sacrifice them. Fear was starting to radiate through them.

Something stirred within Flurry. It wasn’t a memory. It was something deeper.

Even in the midst of the greatest danger of her short life she didn’t feel nearly as afraid as she thought she should be. There was just something about having all of them close by that made her feel peace in her heart.

An image passed through her mind. It only lasted for a split-second, but she saw her and the others playing together. Was it a memory? A vision of the future? Or maybe it was just her hope that they could all stay alive and enjoy time with each other after this.

Whatever it was, even the fear that was there faded away. Mayhem’s power was beyond anything she had ever seen before. All her training had done nothing to prepare her for a foe like him. A circle of death was around her, slowly closing in on her. There was a very real possibility that her life was about to come to an end, and this creature would proceed to do the same to all the people she cared for.

And yet…

She closed her eyes, putting a hoof to her heart. Even though she had no idea how, she felt certain that as long as these other ponies were by her side they would emerge victorious. They weren’t going to die here, because she was going to protect these other ponies, no matter the cost to herself.

She turned her gaze to the others, who were all looking at her fearfully, and she felt an outpouring of affection for them. She extended her wings, pulling them all to her as she hugged them. “Don’t be afraid,” she said calmly. “I would never betray my best friends!

“The five of you… you taught me things that no book could ever prepare me for. You taught me about true courage and not backing down no matter the danger, by risking your lives to protect me. Now I’m here to return the favor.”

She held her head high. “I know who I am now. I am Flurry Heart, alicorn princess, and I don’t want to be anyone else!”

Pound stared at Flurry. How? How could she still have such a fierce look in her eyes? Why… did he feel his fear vanishing? Why did he feel like they could still win?

“Aunt Twilight told me that ponies working together with one heart have so much power at their disposal. All of you… if you believe in me, then know that we’re going to come out on top here! That’s what I truly believe, because I have faith in all of you and your strength.

"Even if I'm wrong and we can’t win I’m still going to fight to the end. I'd rather go to my death denying him the victory he wants than surrender and be his pawn. No matter what he does after that he'll always know that we beat him."

Once more Flurry’s strength infected them. They did believe in her, and they knew that she did for them.

Mayhem let out a sound of disgust. “How boring. I wanted to see your fear.

“Well, fine. Then die happily together.”

The tornado’s increased their speed as Flurry released them.

Even though they had all been on the verge of panic before, Flurry’s calm demeanor and quiet confidence allowed them to feel more relaxed. It inspired them to share her feelings. Even as the world was coming apart around them they felt that as long as they worked together they would come out victorious.

From the looks of things they only had a minute left.

All of them looked up at Mayhem, and the draconequus finally lost his smug attitude. Where did all their fear go? Why were they looking at him like they were assured they would come out on top?

Mayhem growled. How dare they look down on him? His anger slowly left as he began laughing maniacally. “Fine! Fine! It doesn’t matter what you do now. It’s OVER!”

The barrier around them faded, and all of them could feel the wind whipping around them. The only reason they weren’t yet sucked up was the many different directions puling at them equally.

They looked around awkwardly for a moment, conquering their fears by putting their faith in each other.

“My friends!” Flurry called out, yelling over the sound of the wind. “I may be an alicorn, but that doesn’t matter. I’m not fighting here because of my title. I’m fighting for YOU!”

“And we’re not protecting you because you’re a princess, but a fellow pony and a friend like us,” said Pumpkin.

Flurry smiled. “I know I don’t have the power to beat him alone, so please… everyone, lend me your hearts.”

“Right!” they responded.

All of them held hooves with one another.

Flurry could feel the love and companionship they had for her, bringing her to tears as she felt something awakening inside her. It was a power that wasn’t just hers, but borne of their unity.

Her horn exploded with a bright light, larger than she had ever been able to make before, creating a protective sphere around them as a wide stream of magic shot up overhead, forming into a gigantic, fiery heart.

Mayhem shielded his eyes, for the first time seeing something he hadn’t expected. He knew all of Flurry’s spells. This wasn’t one of them. So what was it?

He could only stare in shock as the tornadoes diverted their path from the children, getting sucked into the heart. “W-what? W-where did this power come from?”

The darkness of the world began to get swallowed up by the light as the heart lit up, spinning around rapidly as it let off a wave of energy.

"H-how is she doing this? It's impossible!" He was so surprised he didn’t even think to move as the expanding sphere of light engulfed him.

The light hit the children as well, but did them no harm. After a minute the heart stopped spinning, though it remained suspended in the air.

The group looked around. They seemed to be in a blank white void now, the fake Ponyville completely gone.

“Wooooow!” Masky said slowly. “That was incredible.”

“What happened?” asked Pumpkin. “Everything is just… gone.”

“Well… I have an idea,” said Flurry.

“What’s that?”

“This was Mayhem’s world, and it was cold and black like his heart. The light of our hearts purified this space, so now it’s white.”

“That makes sense,” said Tree Leaf. “I guess that means we really did beat him this time.”

Pumpkin put a hoof around her brother, letting out a sigh of relief. “Sure looks like it. Way to go, everyone.”

Tree Leaf let out a quiet sob. "We're all still alive. We really did it."

Pound looked up at the only other thing besides them. “So what is that?” he asked. “Is that your spell, Flurry?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never learned a spell like that before. That’s beyond anything I could make. It kinda looks like the Crystal Heart, but it’s different. It still looks kinda familiar somehow.”

Peppermint got a thoughtful look upon her face. “It kinda looks like… that thing from the Hearthswarming Eve play.”

“Hmm.”

Flurry stared at it, but her mind was elsewhere. In the annual play Clover the Clever, Smart Cookie, and Private Pansy gracefully accepted their ends at the hands of the Windigos. They believed that no matter their differences they were all still ponies in the end.

If they were going to be frozen solid they at least wanted to go out as friends. That spirit of unity awakened a tremendous power that allowed them to overcome the Windigos.

It was similar to what happened here. In a time of greatest peril, it wasn’t her training that had brought her victory. It was her faith in her friends, and theirs in her. To the very end they remained connected, even with the threat of death looming over them.

“We won!” said Peppermint excitedly. “We beat that creature.”

They began to congratulate each other, but Masky brought them back to earth. “This isn’t any time to celebrate!”

“Why not?” asked Pound. “He’s gone now.”

“Exactly!”

“Huh?”

Masky sweeped his hoof around the area. “Have you looked around you? We may have beaten him but we’re still stuck in his dimension and we just wiped out our only method of getting home.”

A chill went through all of them. Were they to be forever stuck in Mayhem's world?

Author's Note:

By combining their hearts together the six awakened an incredible power and have seemingly defeated Mayhem, but what comes next? How will they get home?

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