• Published 12th Jan 2013
  • 11,696 Views, 566 Comments

The Demon's Angel - Radiant Dawn

Wake up, go to work, be a human...but what if this all changed by the arrival of someone special? How much will change, and will it be a good change? Most of all, how important is your universe to you?

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Chapter 21: Pour Gas on the Fire

Chapter 21: Pour Gas on the Fire

Time passed agonizingly slow, yet at the same time, it seemed there wasn’t enough time. Every second was agony, but I still attempted to hold onto them. Each moment counted another tick of time that worked against Lily.

Fluttershy, thankfully, arrived relatively quickly, but in the thirty minutes it took for her and the guards to return, the alicorn’s condition rapidly deteriorated. She was now violently shivering as her body temperature continued to drop, and it took the four of us that were there just to keep her from freezing to death. Furthermore, her eyes had begun bleeding, giving a very frightening appearance to the whole thing. Her heartbeat slowed to near-nothing, and she no longer even opened her eyes.

Time was running out.

“It’s not just manticore venom.” Fluttershy explained as she looked over the princess with worry clear on her face. She fished a small bag out of her saddlebag and tossed it in front of us, causing a small white mushroom to fall out. “That’s a Icecap mushroom. It’s a magical mushroom that grows naturally only in one part of the Everfree Forest. By itself, it can be used to add a slight cooling sensation to foods, a little like mint.”

“But...?” I asked warily.

Fluttershy was too worried to be shy at the moment, and simply sighed as her head dropped low. “When combined with the magic venom of a manticore, its properties are radically increased. It becomes highly volatile when exposed to fire or water, and can freeze an entire lake solid on contact.” Fluttershy then turned her eyes to the shivering princess, who was likely in a great deal of pain. “When used as a poison like this though, it causes the victim to slowly freeze to death, turning the water within their body to ice.” The pegasus then walked closer to us and shook her head at the fallen alicorn. “The only reason Princess Celestia has survived this long is because of the amount of magic she has inside of her. Her magic is protecting her, but it will run out soon.”

I took a deep sigh of resignation and nodded. “Alright...so what can we do?”

Fluttershy actually smiled, and her change in expression caused me to hope. “We can make the antidote.”

“Cool,” I replied, trying to speed the process along, “what do we need?”

She looked to me warily again. “The ingredients are very difficult to find, and I think her attackers were putting their bits on that. What we need is five things: a tuft of phoenix down, phoenix tears, two drops of liquid rainbow, a pinch of moondust, and a pint of dragon’s blood.”

I thought for a moment before asking, “Okay, the rest of those things seem relatively easy to get, but what the hell is moondust?”

“Just what it sounds like.” Luna replied worriedly. She then turned her eyes to Fluttershy and stated, “If it will save her, I will fetch it.”

“It will.” Fluttershy assured. She then turned to me. “Luna can get the moondust, and Moonbeam can get some feathers and tears from Philomena...I’ll get Rainbow Dash to help me get the liquid rainbow. You have to wait until we get back for the blood, because dragon’s blood is too acidic to keep contained in anything but a crystallized magic vial...and I don’t think even the princesses have any of those.”

“We do not.” Luna affirmed.

Fluttershy nodded again. “Like I thought. Alright then, we’ll be back soon. Keep watch over Princess Celestia and keep her as warm as you can.”

I nodded and watched as the two mares flew away, leaving me with two very frightened ponies and a dying princess.

“Dad?” Moonbeam spoke softly, and my heart soared at the term she used.

I looked to the unicorn and nodded. “Yes Moonbeam?”

“Is...” she began, only to trail off as she fought to compose herself, “is auntie Lil gonna be alright?”

“She better.” Spitfire answered with an angry grating of her teeth. “Otherwise Koa won’t have to do his mission...I’ll personally take them out myself.”

I couldn’t muster a snappy response at the moment, and instead turned to my daughter. “Moonbeam, go and get the ingredients from Philomena. If you tell her what’s at stake, I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to help.”

“Okay,” she answered as she released me, “just keep her safe...I’ll be right back.”

As the unicorn galloped away, this just left me and the Wonderbolt captain alone in the throne room.

“She’s your daughter?” the yellow pegasus asked curiously.

I nodded with a grin. “Life has a funny way about things...I’m sure you can attest to that.”

“Yeah.” Spitfire replied sadly, wrapping her wings around her mother in an attempt to keep her warm. “I could’ve been a princess, you know...even an alicorn, like her.”

“But you chose not to be.” I observed. I then laid my large wing around Lil and pulled myself close to her in an attempt to keep her warm with my body heat, and while her shivering did not stop, she unconsciously scooted a bit closer to me.

The pegasus mare nodded a few times slowly, as if remembering a painful memory, “Yeah...yeah, I did. I’ve been wondering lately if I made a mistake though.”

In the back of my mind, I knew why we were keeping the conversation going. A part of me really was interested about Spitfire, but like her, I also wanted to distract myself from the severity of the situation and the truth of the fact that at the current time, there was nothing I could do other than what I was already doing.

“Why would you be second-guessing yourself?” I asked in confusion. “You’re Spitfire, captain of the Wonderbolts. Most pegasi in the world want to either be you or be with you...what’s bad about that?”

The fiery-maned pony looked sadly at the shivering alicorn in our grasp and sighed. “How would you feel if you couldn’t tell your own mother that you loved her in public? Or even call her that for that matter? How would you feel if your entire life, who you were, was a lie?”

I thought about it for a moment before nodding. “Perhaps I don’t know exactly what you’re feeling, but regardless of what you are, who you are wouldn’t change. You’ll still be Spitfire either way.”

She leveled her gaze with me and replied, “There’s a big difference between Spitfire the Wonderbolt captain and Spitfire the princess.”

“Only if you let there be.” I replied calmly. She looked quizzically at me, and I sighed. “Spitfire, look at me. I’m a freaking dragon when I used to be a human. I have memories that span thousands of years, as well as strange abilities that make no sense to me. Celestia is my best friend from eons ago, and Luna used to be my wife...my queen. Now I’m reunited with both of them and am still working to play catch-up with everything that’s happened, as well as trying to find my place in the world.” I then looked to the pegasus’ amber eyes and smiled. “That doesn’t mean I don’t have a say in the matter though. No matter what you believe, ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ don’t decide our places in the world...we do. We are who we choose to be.”

From beneath me I felt and heard a large crack of what sounded like glass breaking, along with a whimper of pain from the white alicorn. I looked to see her right forehoof beginning to ice over, and a large crack ran through the center of it, along with a large amount of bloody ice crystals.

Spitfire gulped audibly, and extended her wing to cover my own as she pulled herself closer to the princess. “I hope they hurry up...we don’t have much time left.”

A mercifully short amount of time later, the three mares returned with the ingredients, though Luna looked rather shaken up by her return to the moon, short as it may have been. I could also see a fire in her eyes, however...the determination to save Celestia that overrode her own discomfort. Philomena herself returned with them as well, and the phoenix also looked rather worried for her master.

Fluttershy pulled a scroll out of her saddlebags and began to combine all the reagents together into a ceramic bowl, and after all was well and done, Philomena dipped her head over the bowl and let a few tears fall from her golden eyes, causing the different objects within the bowl to liquify with a hiss into an odd-smelling paste.

“Now,” Fluttershy began, all common timidness discarded, “we need your blood, Koa.” She pointed to a line drawn on the inside of the bowl and stated, “Fill it up to there.”

I nodded and brought my teeth to my wrist, tearing open my scales and skin and allowing arterial blood to flow as I brought my arm over the bowl. The concoction hissed again as my blood touched it and changed color from a grayish mess to a golden, glowing liquid.

As the last of the blood needed dropped into the bowl, I used my free hand to squeeze the crease of my arm at my elbow, slowing the blood flow to a gentle ooze. I thought for a minute about how I should go about stopping the wound (perhaps I was a little hasty in ripping open my wrists).

“Here.” spoke a gentle voice within my mind, and I nearly shouted in surprise.

I looked around a bit until I noticed Philomena holding her wing out to me, before plucking a single feather from the outstretched limb. I took the feather before turning to the others and asking, “Okay, did anyone else hear that?”

“Hear what?” asked Spitfire in confusion, though her gaze didn’t break with Fluttershy as she watched the fellow pegasus whisper to the ill princess, coaxing her to drink the liquid in the bowl.

I stared for a moment before the same voice from before added, “They cannot hear me, Koa...only you.” I turned again and caught eyes with the phoenix, whose intense stare seemed to soften somewhat. She gestured to the feather as the voice said, “Rub it on the wound...it will heal it and stem the flow of blood.”

I took the feather and did as the voice asked, and nearly instantly, the blood vessels, skin, and scales knitted back together with an itching sensation.

Within a few seconds, the wound was closed and my hide like new, and I again turned my eyes to the phoenix. I came to terms with the fact that somehow Philomena was talking...well, thinking to me, so I went about asking, “Why am I the only one that can hear you?”

Though her face didn’t change, she seemed to smile slightly. “You know of how avian hatchlings imprint on the first being they see, yes?” I nodded. “Well, for a phoenix, the bond goes much deeper than a mere parental figure.”

Not wishing to disturb Fluttershy as she worked, I moved closer to the tall bird and whispered, “How so?”

“Well,” she began, also moving closer to me, “we share certain aspects of one another. The one who I have imprinted upon would gain my ability to hear the thoughts of others.” It took a few moments, but all the pieces fell into place in my mind and I gasped. Philomena nodded. “Yes...who do you think introduced me to Celestia?” She then giggled lightly and said, “And now I shall add one more piece of the puzzle to your life. We knew each other, long ago in the time you came from. Think...Kailua, 1992.”

I thought for a moment before responding. “I was living with my mother and father in a house in town. I don’t really remember having any friends per-se, although there was this one girl...that...” My words petered out as the memories washed over me, and I remembered my childhood.

I was five at the time, and I remember a little girl with bright blonde hair and a smile that could melt a glacier. We grew up together...and a lot of times, she was my only friend. I didn’t care that the other boys in the town would make fun of me for hanging out at the beach with a girl, and I didn’t care that I liked it when she would hug me or hold my hand. What I did care about was when her father took her and moved to the mainland of the States...not even giving me a chance to say goodbye.

As most young memories do, this particular memory was buried deep in my mind, becoming a fleeting shadow among a sea of memories. Sure, there were times I would have dreams about her, or be reminded of the memory, which I could never quite grasp.

There are many times as a young child that we begin to experience romantic attraction, before we understand what it is and before our psyche even knows how to handle it. Adults call it “puppy love”, but the truth was that girl from my past was my first love. She was also my first friend, which cemented her in my heart forever.

But there was just no way...this was too coincidental to be real.

I shook my head in disbelief. “N-No...this can’t be real. This is just a little too unbelievable...even for me.”

“Really?” the phoenix commented, her voice smiling. “Well how about this then: you must remember the first time we met. As I remember it, it was your fourth birthday, and I was invited. I mean, everyone from our preschool class was invited since there was only five of us, but I still brought you a present anyway. It was a wreath of flowers my mother taught me how to weave, along with a kiss on the cheek that I surprised you with.”


“What color were the flowers?” I asked gently, shuddering a bit from the worry that she may be messing with me...or even worse, that she wasn’t.

Philomena stared right back at me and answered, “Blue to match my eyes, and white, since it was your favorite color. In fact, I remember commenting that white isn't a color, and we argued for a few minutes about it...but you still liked my first gift. The second, I’m not so sure of...you never told me if you did.” Another tear drops down the feathers of her face, but this was not one of healing...it was instead a tear of loss. “I never forgot you, Koa...even after you left. Ever since I came to understand the way the world works now, I’ve been searching for you...hoping one day to find you. Lo and behold, it appears you never left...I was just looking in the wrong place. That day I first hatched as a phoenix, that first glimpse at your face and your smile, I knew who you were. I’d never forget your smile.”

Had I not already been sitting down, I would have fallen over.

Philomena then used her beak to brush away the feathers of her chest, and she reached in and pulled out something...and my mouth dropped open. It was a shark-tooth necklace...the gift I gave to that girl so many years ago before my dad up and stole me away from her, and from home.

“You gave this to me the day before you left, and promised me we’d always be ‘bestest friends’.” she explained gently.

It took a few minutes for me to compose myself, but the first question I asked was, “But why am I the only one who can hear you? I still don’t get it.”

The phoenix stepped over to me and extended her wing across my back. “Because the bond you and I share is stronger than distance...stronger than time. You were my first friend in the world, both in Hawaii and now. When I first hatched as a phoenix four-thousand years ago, you were the first face I saw...and my mind and heart reached out to you. Your ability to hear me is the culmination of that. Magic found away...let that be the simplest explanation.” She then sighed and slumped a bit. “However, rebirth as another is no longer possible for me. When I chose the form of a phoenix, I became locked into this form. As a phoenix is already a being of endless rebirth, I will forever be what I am now.”

Emotions long-buried bubbled up within me, and I didn’t stop myself as I brought my arm around the back of the tall avian, and closed my eyes as I pressed my cheek to her own. To know that I had such a loyal friend who literally never forgot me was amazing. It seemed I was more popular in my life as a human than I originally thought.

“She’s stabilized,” I heard Fluttershy state from behind me.

I turned to look at the scene and was pleased to find that the sun princess was no longer shivering violently...but she was, however, bleeding from all four of her hooves, her eyes, and her ears.

I released Philomena from my grasp and crawled over to the five mares. “So, what do we do now? She’s losing a lot of blood.”

“She will be fine now,” Luna assured. “For a normal pony, this would be dangerous...but an alicorn will survive just fine.” The night princess motioned to me and said, “Please carry her to our private infirmary. Moonbeam can show you where it is.”

I nodded and turned to Spitfire. “Cool. It’s been awhile since I left Dash and the girls though. Can you go and tell them everything’s alright? They’re probably freaking out a little.”


I turned my eyes to the source of the noise to find that Fluttershy had fainted. It seemed the stress of the day had finally caught up with her now that the problem had been resolved.

I sighed as I turned my eyes to Luna and asked, “Can you make sure she gets home alright? She’s a dear friend and she’s been through Hell today.”

The night princess nodded before making her way to the timid pegasus and using her muzzle to nudge Fluttershy onto her back. Luna then smiled gently at me before walking away.

Spitfire then turned to me and said, “Thanks for everything, Koa...I really do appreciate it. I’ll take the train with this filly and be back in the morning.” She then walked closer to me and whispered, “Take care of my mother for me...please.”

I nodded. “She’s dear to me as well, so don’t worry. Celestia will be fine.”

Spitfire nodded once more before slowly trotting away, making her way to the atrium where Dash would be waiting.

I sighed before kneeling before the white alicorn and gathering her into my arms as gently as possible. I then lifted her bridal-style and stood, quickly making my way with Moonbeam and Philomena towards the palace infirmary.

It goes without saying that the infirmary staff were in an uproar over what had happened, mostly because of the fact that this was the first time in written history they’d actually tended to Celestia directly...or needed to, for that matter. Moonbeam and I did our best to calm the panicky doctors and nurses, but for the most part, it was useless. It was unlikely they would calm themselves before they were positive their princess would be fine.

And so, we waited.

Philomena and Moonbeam kept me company of course, though I had to explain to my daughter just who the phoenix was to me. Let it be said that it took some convincing for Moonbeam to believe I could “hear” Philomena talk to me, and it came at the cost of revealing some rather personal information about my daughter that only Philomena had known...namely the fact that two nights ago, Moonbeam had snuck a colt into her room after curfew.

Though open-minded I may be, there are some things about my daughter I am fine not knowing about...specifically, her love life.

However, after the three of us had settled in a bit and waited for news from the clinic staff, I had a rather important question pop up in my head regarding my daughter’s change of heart.

“Why so loving all of the sudden, Moonbeam?” I asked bluntly.

The unicorn looked up at me with a raised eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

I shrugged. “I mean that the last time I saw you, you were reluctant to call me by anything but my name.”

Moonbeam smiled at me and said, “A long time ago, you told me that the definition of love is someone you care enough about that you would bleed for them...kill for them...die for them. Maybe you’ve been gone a long time and maybe you don’t remember a lot of things, but you’re still my dad. You’re still the same, whether you remember or not. What you did today proves it.”

“How exactly does that prove it?” I asked skeptically.

Moonbeam was silent for a moment before asking, “What did mom tell you about how you died? Back during the Old Kingdom, I mean...before the Age of Darkness.”

I shrugged. “She told me that I was assassinated while we slept.”

“Untrue.” Moonbeam stated firmly. I arched my eyeridge and waited for her to continue, and with a sigh, she did. “Mom blamed herself for it, and let you think that because you couldn’t remember.”

Dread began to set within me, and I unconsciously started clenching my hands. “So what really happened then? And why would she lie to me?”

“Because she hates herself for it...” Moonbeam explained, though cryptically. She then took a deep breath and said, “It was a rival dragon faction that no longer exists. Basically, they found it blasphemous that a human and dragon were together...mom wasn’t a pony yet at that point. Dragons have always idealized their kind, some more so than others.” My daughter leaned against me as she continued. “Auntie Tia told me that the three of you fought them off together until the end.”

“The end?” I asked, demanding clarification.

She nodded. “You sent both of them away while you stayed and fought alone.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “I know the two of them pretty well, and I think it’s safe to say me asking them to leave wouldn’t work.”

Moonbeam shook her head and sighed. “It didn’t...that’s why you had a tornado pick them up and drop them off on a mountain summit. By the time they made it back to what is now the Everfree, you had already been slain. To pay homage to your memory, they forever marked the spot where they appeared on the mountain...and eventually built a city around it. Care to guess where this spot is and what the city became?”

I thought for a moment, trying to imagine how Lil and Diz would have acted in the situation...

“The Pedestal of Sun and Moon...and Canterlot.” I stated slowly. I then turned my eyes to the unicorn and asked, “Why? What makes me so important to, well, everyone? Seems almost everyone I’ve met has had a stake in my life at some point, or does now, or will in the future.”

Moonbeam smiled warmly and answered, “He who has a kind heart, an open mind, and the strength to defend those he cares for is likely to draw the attention of many. It makes sense that so many would want to be a part of your life. You have a great presence about you...you have the power to do a lot of good with it too.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “I’m just trying to do as good as I can without screwing up too much. So long as I don’t accidentally kill anyone, that’s good enough for me.”

“It’s good enough for us too, Koa. We missed you for so long.” Philomena commented.

I sighed and leaned back against my seat, feeling the two females close against me. “I’m going to have to talk to Luna about the past. It’s not right that she should be carrying around this pain for so long, especially when it wasn’t her fault.”

“That’s a stubborn mare you’re dealing with, dad...good luck.” Moonbeam quipped.

I felt a big goofy grin cover my face as I said, “Call me sappy, but I love it when you call me that.”

“Sappy.” Moonbeam prodded with a smirk.

I rolled my eyes and nudged her with a smile.

Hours passed, and I began to notice a pattern in the behavior of the nurses that would enter and leave the room Celestia was in. It seemed that the innocence in their mind that had once seen their princess as invincible was destroyed, but with this also came the determination to make her well again.

Sometime during all of this, I must have fallen asleep, as the next thing I knew I was being gently shaken awake by a white coat-wearing burgundy stallion with a yellow mane and tail.

“Skylord Zizzanasx, please wake up.” he whispered, being careful not to wake the unicorn and phoenix at my sides.

I sat up slowly and rubbed my eyes, mumbling, “What is it?”

“She is awake...and she wishes to see you.” he explained with a relieved smile.

I had to restrain myself from jumping up and doing a flip in the air, mainly because of the fact the building wasn’t big enough for that. Still, I allowed myself a beaming smile as I slowly stood and nodded. “Sweet. Take me to her.”

The doctor nodded and gestured down the hall. “Follow me, please.”

“So how is she? All things considered, I mean.” I asked him eagerly.

The doctor smiled and replied, “Very well. Had she not been an alicorn, she would not have survived. However, she should make a full recovery. I will warn you, she will be quite weak for the next few days at least, and now that you know she is being targeted, I would keep a close eye on her.”

“Now that the guards know, they’ll be on red-alert 24/7.” I replied.

The doctor nodded before stopping outside the door, his calm façade falling away as he pleaded, “Please...please watch over her, skylord.”

I nodded with a smile. “I’ve given my own blood to save her...and I would gladly do it again if needed.”

The pony nodded with a relaxed smile before pushing the door open, and we walked through the threshold.

Within the room were all manner of different monitors, some of which I recognized, others I did not. The most notable feature of the room however, was a bright smile from the princess of the sun herself...and the smile was for me.

“Lil.” I choked out, not caring if the doctor heard me.

The white alicorn looked ragged, and her pastel mane looked duller somehow, but the smile did not waver as she reached a hoof out to me. “Koa...”

Foregoing all pretense, I quickly made my way to the bedside before leaning down and embracing one of my oldest friends in a tight hug, though I took care to keep from hurting her. As relief finally washed over me, the tears I had held back all day finally broke free, and I wept heavily. The worry and fear I had felt all day seemed to leave my body through the tears themselves, and after a few minutes when I had finished, it felt as though a great weight had been lifted from me.

I pulled my face away from the chest of the pony and smiled warmly. “Heya, Cel. I’m so glad you’re okay.”

“I think ‘okay’ is a relative term. I will survive, yes, but I have not felt this weakened since after my battle with Nightmare Moon before she was banished.” the alicorn princess replied dryly.

I smiled in response and turned to the doctor in the room, who was checking over the different monitors and taking readings down onto a clipboard, his levitating pen scribbling furiously. “So when can she leave?”

The doctor looked up from the chart and said, “We would like to keep her overnight for observation, but if all is well, she will be able to leave tomorrow morning at around 08:00.”

I looked down at the princess and nodded. “Alright then. I have to go and do damage control with Luna, as I’m sure the palace staff is worried for you, but I should be back tomorrow morning to take you home.” I then leaned down and gave a soft brush of my lips to her forehead, and rubbed my thumb gently on the spot. “Get some sleep, Lil.”

She nodded softly before closing her eyes and turning away, taking care to be gentle with her bandaged hooves.

I turned to the doctor and commanded, “Take good care of her.”

He nodded before taking my place beside her, checking over her different bandages and taking down more readings from the monitors. With the peace of mind that she would be okay, I excused myself from the room and headed back to the waiting room.

Moonbeam, Philomena and I all arrived back at the palace ten or so minutes later, and immediately set about reassuring everypony there, as they were on the verge of a full-blown panic when we arrived. I confirmed with all of them that their princess was indeed okay, and she would likely be returning the following day, which calmed the nerves of most of the palace staff, though the guards were still very on-edge. It was clear that they were keeping their eyes open for any infiltrators in the palace.

Truth be told, had I not had more personal matters to attend to, I would have flown to destroy the organization that attacked Lil.

It took some doing, but I eventually convinced Luna that Cel was going to be alright, and thanked her profusely for her efforts in retrieving the moondust we needed so much. It was clear she was more than a little shook up by the whole incident, but stated she would do it all again if the situation called for it.

With everyone finally caught up to speed and calmed as much as they could be, I headed home...ready to see the two ponies I had missed all day.

”Koa!” squealed Scootaloo as soon as I entered my home, and I felt as her small frame slammed into my chest at a speed that would likely leave a bruise. Still, it was more than worth it, and I chuckled as I hugged the filly tight against me.

“Heya, Scoots. Sorry about bailing on you and your friends at the palace.” I apologized gently.

The orange filly shook her head with a smile. “It’s okay. Rainbow Dash told me you were helping the princess because she was hurt, so it’s okay. But hey, I got to meet Spitfire! It was so cool!”

I nodded with a grin. “Yeah, she was pretty cool. I figured you’d want to meet her, so I asked her to escort you and Dash home. Speaking of, where is our rainbow-maned friend?”

“Up here, Koa!” shouted Rainbow Dash’s voice from upstairs. “I’m all sweaty from practice, so I had to shower. I’ll be down in a few minutes!”

I chuckled and nodded before turning back to Scootaloo. “Alright then. What do you say we make something to eat then? I don’t know about you, but today has really given me an appetite. As the gryphon saying goes, ‘I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.’”

Scootaloo giggled and said, “I don’t think there are any horses around here, and ponies might get upset anyway.”

I raised my eyeridge with a smirk and said, “Well then...I’ll just have to eat the witnesses...”

The pegasus filly backed up a bit in fear before I scooped her up and started nibbling all over her shoulders, arms, legs, and cheeks, making “nomming” noises as I did so. Scootaloo began flailing wildly, laughing very loudly the whole time.

It was then that I was caught off guard by a loud and passionate voice singing from upstairs...

“...Between the velvet lies
There's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life's a never ending wheel
Holy Diver..”

A certain rainbow-maned pegasus then descended to the main room, and smiled at me. “Oh hey, Koa.”

I had stopped tickling Scootaloo and was now staring blankly at Rainbow Dash. “You were just singing ‘Holy Diver’.”

She nodded. “Yeah, I was.”

I raised my eyeridge as I asked, “How by the power of Luna’s royal rump do you know that song?”

The cyan mare giggled and shook her head. “It’s one of the most popular songs out there right now, done by Dio.”

My eyes widened as I asked, “Dio? As in Ronnie James Dio?”

Dash quirked her eyebrow up as she replied, “No, as in the artist called Dio. His real name’s Shiny Diamond.”

At this, I burst out laughing, dropping Scootaloo as I fell onto my back and literally rolled on the floor in laughter. This lasted for a few minutes until I could finally compose myself enough to sit up.

I chuckled a bit and wiped a stray tear away as I looked to the two pegasi, who were staring at me in confusion. I cleared my throat and said, “I don’t remember much from my time, but the one thing I do remember is the music I liked, as well as who did it. I don’t even know who Ronnie James Dio is, but my mind is telling me that’s who originally did the song, and I’m willing to bet bits that this Shiny Diamond guy is his reincarnation...especially if he came up with the same song and it’s as popular as I think it should be.”

“It’s number one on the music charts, and has been for the past three months.” Dash explained.

I chuckled. “Yep, that’s him.”

Rainbow Dash pursed her lips and nodded. “Awesome. He has a concert coming up at the Wonderbolts show if you want to go see him. I think it’d be pretty darn cool, I’ve always wanted to see him...and it’s at a Wonderbolts show! It’s win-win!”

I nodded. “Sounds like a plan, when is it?”

Dash thought for a moment before answering, “In about two months. I’ll get the details for you when I can.”

I grinned as I stood again. “Sounds like a plan, Dashie. Anyway, I’m actually feeling kinda lazy right now, so what say we all head out to dinner. I don’t feel like cooking.”

“Sounds awesome, Koa.” Dash replied with a smile.

Dinner was a calm affair, thankfully, though I ended up having to explain to Applejack what had happened, since we met her at the diner we went to. She had been worried, rightfully so, when her sister returned home saying that something bad had happened in Canterlot. I did my best to calm the earth pony mare, but not with much luck. Applejack was known to worry quite a bit about things she had no control over, a trait she shared with Twilight. Still, she conceded to go and relax at home when I told her I would forward any new information we received to her though she had been content with this, she was still nervous.

When the three of us arrived back at my place, I started the light overnight rain that was scheduled before closing the door with a sigh.

The day as a whole had been stressful, and I still had a job to do tomorrow.

The three of us didn’t do much else besides bathe (for the two of us that needed to), so we all ended up in my bedroom after such a long and stressful day.

The crescent moon rose high into the sky, obscured by the clouds, and yet I could see its light through the breaks in the clouds. It was a very relaxing night, and yet I still could not find rest.

Thinking about what was to come tomorrow and the next few weeks was worrying me.

It would mark the longest amount of time I’d been away from my loved ones and friends, as well as the first time I would have no backup available to me. Should something go wrong, I was utterly and completely on my own, and would be at the mercy of fate if worse should come to worst. For the first time I could remember, I was afraid of death. I had so much in my life worth living for now, and this would be a very dangerous task I was set upon. More than just my own fears though, were thoughts of how Dash or the others would react to my mission going badly.

I tried to push the thoughts out of mind as I attempted to rest some, though I knew I would not be able to sleep...not that I really needed to.

It took Dash moving at my side to snap me back to reality, and as I looked at her and the small filly by her side, I allowed myself a smile. In that moment, my hope and confidence was renewed.

Dashie and Scoots...they were my reason for doing what I did. To protect them, to provide for them...it was my entire reason for being. I wished to give Dash a stable and happy life and a mate she could be proud of, and I drove to give Scootaloo a world where she wouldn’t need to be afraid of the shadows. It was idealistic, but it was a goal worth fighting for.

As I thought about who I would be targeting during the next few weeks, I allowed myself a malicious smile.

For the first time, the Demon will truly be unleashed.

Author's Note:

Song mentioned is "Holy Diver", by Dio on the album Holy Diver.