Trinity's End: Nightmare's Avatar
As I fly towards the Everfree I turn my head to see princess Celestia's horn glow with brilliance. A flare of pure white energy hits the invisible dome above the army and sends ripples from the point of contact. Princess Celestia fires a second shot, weaker this time. The mini-Celestias panicking while bubbling acid melts their bodies from inside have no chance to even think about dodging the blast scattering the living and undead alike. Scream seems to have lost interest in punishing Holy Light's forces further and is now playing with the dragons trying to incinerate her. The more scaly destroyers fall from the sky the more the aerial force shifts its focus from Icy Gaze's airships to the flying alicorn.
For now, I have to leave the battle behind me though and focus. The smoke rising in the distance is my destination.
Blaze can be there.
Holy Light is there.
I don't have a plan, I've never been that sort. Don't you need enough information to formulate one anyway? Probably. I've got nothing aside from princess Luna's rushed explanation.
I shake my head. My goals is to find out the state of affairs. We've lost the mirror world portal and the castle so it's up to me to make sure the Nightguard force led by Darky has a chance to succeed in retaking those areas.
Trees rush under me as my wings mercilessly beat the air. The changelings led by queen Chrysalis are swarming through the forest, ready to join the defenders of princess Celestia's encampment. My focus breaks when I see a purple bubble contrasting sharply with the dark trees around. Perhaps some mages from the castle survived and need help with the wounded?
No. I don't now the area well enough to realize where I am until it's too late. This is the clearing where the mirror world rift is, protected by portable barricades. Nightguards and Royal Guards are lying everywhere but as I descend I can't make out any wounds. What I can make out is the earthpony standing inside the magical shield and watching me land.
"Heavy? What the hell happened here?" I yell.
"Well," he scratches his head, "Shadowstep and Guiding Light put these guys to sleep and Starlight is keeping the barrier up to stop anypony from entering."
Once again I feel as if I missed half of the events necessary to understand what's going on.
"Holy Light's army is finally moving, Heavy. We need all the help we can get."
"And I am in the best position to offer help... to the right side."
The information clicks together. Blaze is here, Heavy took out the mirror world portal defenders, Element bearers disappeared without making fuss.
Just like in Manehattan, Heavy Hoof chose the wrong side.
"Are you willing to see Equestria and the rest of the world ruined just because you feel guilty?!" I burst out.
Heavy just tilts his head.
"ANSWER!" I slam my talons into the bubble protecting the area.
"So Blazing was right. You wouldn't have helped," Heavy sighs and shakes his head.
"Helped him what? Ruin everything? I loved him more than you can imagine and-"
"And yet you left him as soon as things weren't going your way. Cromach, you keep barking but there's no bite. Empty promises all the way."
"Yes, I screwed up! I know but there's way too much on the line now. Fine, stay here behind the shield and don't help. Just tell me why is the mirror portal so important."
"I guess that's not classified," Heavy shrugs and I boil on the inside with lack of power to do anything, "The Element bearers me and Guiding captured are on the other side. We're just waiting for the last one and then you can come to watch what you helped happen."
"Heavy," I growl.
"Yeeees?" he grins and his ears twitch as strange high-pitched screaming comes from the forest.
"Yeah, that should be it," Heavy takes a deep breath, "Tio, commander, get ready!"
Splintering of wood and a mix of screaming voices gets closer.
The physical impact of the roar makes my heart race. I know the feeling of icy river flowing in my veins. Nightmare is close.
"NOW!" Heavy orders. The barrier disappears for a moment just to allow three ponies inside. I take the opportunity and jump into the clearing myself.
The entire purple bubble shakes as something crashes into it a second later.
Three, Guiding Light, and princess Twilight Sparkle strapped to Guiding's back can't slow down fast enough and end up in a ball of fur and chiting on the ground.
"BLRHGEEGHAHG LETflr THEhehehe DARKssss IN! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!" the bubble shakes again.
"Starlight, how long?" Heavy yells again.
A white unicorn mare with purple mane wearing strange, glowing jewels on her legs and neck shakes as next impact sends cracks through the bubble.
"If he keeps doing that not even a minute. Go there and make him hit you instead of my shield!" the mare's sarcastic and snappy voice answers.
I listen to all that while watching the beast mindlessly ramming himself into the barrier. It's a rust-colored alicorn, drooling black goo everywhere and covered in dust. As he notices me looking ar him he smiles widely and bares his fangs.
"Heh, tHe GriFfoN tRaItOr, MuRdErEr... friend," his pupil-less black eyes go wide to match his smile.
"I AM NOTHING LIKE THAT!" I scream, realizing the abomination must be Holy Light.
You are... nothing.
"FrIeNd," he laughs again, growling voice distorted by the second voice talking directly to our heads.
A barrage of explosive rounds hits Holy Light who just laughs again as black blood knits the scorched fur on his body back together.
"Spread out!" I hear the voice of Darky.
The reinforcements I've been waiting for are here. Fifty Nightguards led by Choking Darkness, all of them armed with hoof guns and trained in their use. All of them proving completely useless as black tentacles rise from the ground and drag every single one of them down. Granted, they keep dodging for a while but the tendrils not bound by physics pluck them from the sky one by one and straight towards Holy.
The barrier disappears completely and as I look at the unicorn attempting to keep it up she's turning her head in panic.
"What?" Starlight runs and hides behind Shadowstep.
"Guiding, Three, GO! Grab the princess and go! We'll buy you some time," Heavy orders, unsheathing his staff from his back, "Tio, I hate to ask you for this but-"
"Stallions don't dance around the subject, stallions ACT!" Cross smiles and a swarm of weapons appears around him. Axes, swords, polearms, all held in his telekinetic aura spread out to give the ultimate supersoldier infinite amount of options how to attack the Nightmare's chosen.
As some of those bury into Holy Light the tendrils dragging the Nightguards disappear and Cross now has Holy's undivided attention.
Holy screams as purple flames spread through his fur.
Correction, not just Cross but also Shadowstep, horn flaring with amethyst glow.
The mirror world portal ripples as Guiding drags princess Twilight through and Three follows. I rush after them. Heavy said the Bearers were there and they are our only hope. I've heard stories about the combat ability of Shadowstep's group but against a truly immortal creature they won't last too long.
I rise from the ground where Heavy's staff sent me.
"You're not going anywhere, Crom," Heavy spins his staff, "At least not until somepony explains to the princess what she has to do. The Elements need to be used in the right way."
Yeah, so Blaze becomes an insane god, you traitor. If you weren't involved then the Bearers would have destroyed Holy Light already.
"Darky!" I unsheathe my axe, "We need to get through the portal to save the Bearers. Heavy is a traitor. Help me out here!"
Several Nightguards split up from helping Cross with the common enemy and, led by Darky, join me in facing Heavy Hoof.
"Well, that's not good," Heavy scowls, "Starlight! Any protection spells in your backpack?"
"Get him!" I point at Heavy, "I'm going to the other side."
The Nightguards move as one.
The Nightguards turn as one when a groan comes from behind us. The batpony closest to the forest wall falls to the ground, a bola binding his legs. Many more fly through the air and take some others out.
"Defensive formation!" Darky commands, "Take care of the attackers!"
She rubs her hooves together and points at Heavy.
The smell of ozone assails my nostrils as a bolt of lightning strikes Heavy and raises a cloud of dust.
"You're getting better," I smile at Darky and rush to the portal.
More pain. Need to stop running blindly into danger.
Heavy is standing there, looking unimpressed, with his fur just slightly singed.
"Nowhere close enough," he twirls his staff and clears the distance to Darky at blinding speed. Darky is not as fast but she's way more agile and ducks the wide swing easily.
Running to help her, I notice the Nightguards are fighting tall bipedal shapes. The minotaurs are here and they definitely aren't on our side.
Some of the clansmen join the Nightguards in slowing down Holy Light.
Changeling magic isn't working. Darky's magical charge was so small it didn't even bother Heavy. Minotaurs are charging out of the forest.
Blaze is coming.
I need to get to the Bearers and protect them while they prepare to use their power. That means going through the rift ASAP. That means through Heavy.
A wave of force sends Nightguards and minotaurs flying everywhere.
"GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!" Holy Light finally manages to free himself and charges right through the melee, ignoring all weapons and fighters between him and the portal.
With no more hesitation I swing my battleaxe at Heavy from behind as he's messing with Darky, hoping Guiding Light and Three can keep the princess alive until I bring help and not talk her into doing something terrible.
He spins on one hind leg, kicks Darky with the other, and still has enough strength and balance to block my axe swing with his staff directly above his head.
"Neglecting your training, both of you?" Heavy smirks and spins again, this time forcing me to block a swing from the side.
The blades in Darky's horseshoes slip out.
"I didn't want to use these on ya, Heavy," Darky says sadly, aiming a hoof gun at him "Don't make me, please."
"He isn't, Chokey."
The calm voice rings through the small battlefield, instilling peace and calm into Nightguards and minotaurs alike. Everypony stops moving, black sheen appearing in their fur.
The bronze unicorn is walking between the statue-like combatants who can only turn heads to look at him.
He looks older, so tired that my heart skips a beat just from pity. Grey strands litter the blonde mane and patches of fur are missing from his coat. The blue eyes are different though. They resemble Void's so much. Both the alicorn of Death and the young unicorn have eyes positively glowing with power beyond measure.
"Blaze," I whisper to myself, "What happened to you?"
He just shakes his head and keeps walking to the portal, followed by a purple minotaur.
"How much time have we got, Heavy?" Blaze asks.
"Holy Light has just crossed."
"Take the portal stabilizing catalyst with us," Blaze orders and Heavy just pats the saddlebag on his side, "Darkhorn and his forces will hold the Nightguards here."
Heavy nods and both of them enter the mirror portal.
The freeze holding everpony breaks and I charge the minotaur standing in front of the portal. Lights start flashing as Starlight, Shadowstep, and Cross turn against the Nightguards alongside the minotaurs.
"Darky, go back and tell Luna-URK!"
Darkhorn's shield slams into my face with the force of a train.
"Like hell I am," several bullets pepper the minotaur's platemail and make him move away with his shield ready. That's all Darky needs to fly through the portal with me, still recovering from the blow and acting more on instinct than anything else, right behind her.
One short falling sensation later we arrive in a large round room with stone walls and several crystal light sources on the ceiling. Heavy Hoof is nowhere to be found, Holy Light and Blaze are facing each other.
"WHERRRRGH ARRRR THGEYYY?" snarls Holy Light.
"Not much of you left, is there?" Blaze taunts, "Just a boiling tank of divine power. Trust me, I know that feeling. Aspirin helps."
"BUUUUURN!" Holy bares his fangs at Blaze.
"Yes, it was. Thank you. It's pretty difficult to suppress the god's power changing you into their image, isn't it? Nightmare, the mindless force of destruction... keyword - mindless. Even if you succeeded here you would not see the world destroyed as you wanted, Holy. Holy Light would be gone and Nightmare would continue anyway. That means all this wasn't to take revenge on the world. It was just to make yourself disappear. I know that feeling too."
"The thing is, I have no control over my fate. You could have just slit your throat and ended the pain yourself. I wasn't allowed to. You are just weak, fearful little unicorn."
"Excuses, excuses," Blaze waves his hoof.
I'm not exactly sure if he understands Holy Light or whether he's just stalling for something. Probably the latter.
"BLAZE!" Darky yells.
"Yes, Chokey?" he asks calmly, "You know you shouldn't be here."
"One thing! Just one thing. Whose side are ya on?"
"I was afraid of that," I say, taking the mechanical arm off my back, "You know, I didn't believe Luna when she said you went insane. I knew deep down the unicorn I fell in love with would never endanger the world for his own benefit.-"
I throw the arm to his legs. It slides over the stone floor.
"-You're not him. Blaze would swallow his trouble and help us. He wouldn't plot in darkness but face everything with us by his side."
"HAHAHAHAHAHAAA," Holy Light starts cackling and doesn't stop as he watches Blaze stare at his ex-prosthesis.
"Really?" Blaze comments, blackfrost wings appearing on his back. They are still less frosty than his tone of voice, "One of you left me so she could alleviate her guilt, not caring about what I had to say. The second one turned against me when I was still the same pony but just LOOKED different. Pretty shallow, don't you think?"
"Blaze, please," Darky pleads but has nothing more to add. He is right about both of us.
"You have no say in what happens here," Blaze kicks the arm back towards me, "Get out! I WILL GAIN ULTIMATE POWER AND REMAKE THE WORLD TO MY LIKING!"
Holy Light jumps at him just to be swatted away by frozen wing. It doesn't do much to slow him down and he charges again, this time shattering Blaze's ice barrier, ramming his horn into his chest, and continuing until he pins Blaze to the wall. The impact shakes the building and Blaze's blood splatters over Holy's mane.
"ELEMENTS!" Holy roars, slamming Blaze into the wall over and over again.
"Asking... the same... thing," Blaze coughs and grins.
"Mmmmmhm," I mumble as a cloth is stuffed into my beak and I struggle against muscles of steel pulling me backwards. In the corner of my eye I see Darky sharing my fate. A blow to my head is strong enough to stop my squirming. Darky stops as well when a blade slips out of a hoof holding her neck and presses against it.
"Don't make this worse," Heavy Hoof whispers.
Holy Light grabs Blaze with claws growing out of one of his front hooves and grabs his chest. The cracking of ribs makes me grind my beak.
You want my power, worthless creature?
"Nah, I'm cool. Already got it," Blaze groans.
I will rip you to pieces, devour your heart, and with your last breath I'll make you watch your friends die.
"I... have no friends."
Something wet drops on my neck feathers and Heavy's breathing speeds up.
You will die alone and unloved. Just like you should.
"I know," Blaze goes limp and Holy Light's talons squeeze, making blood stream from Blaze's mouth.
Not begging for mercy, help of those you betrayed? They might save you out of sheer stupidity.
Black shards from Blaze's wings whirl around both of them and cover the duo. Holy Light tries to move but he can't. Neither can Blaze though and his breathing is growing shallow and ragged.
"At which point... of this... did you get the idea... that I WANT... to be-"
Blaze's ribcage caves in as the ice around the claws holding him shatters. The rest still holds though. The blue eyes visible from here due to their unnatural glow go dim.
Self-pity doesn't make me-
The walls of the round room creak and a section slides away, revealing princess Twilight, mirror Twilight, the remaining five Bearers, mirror Applejack with her roboarms, mirror Rainbow Dash with enough piercings to make walking next to somepony carrying a magnet painful, and a pony who has to be mirror version of Rarity. All mirror world Bearers aside from Twilight are wearing a piece of jewellery with their cutie mark on it. Mirror Twilight is wearing two necklaces and thus looks like a zebra shaman.
"Fire!" the iron hoof of Equus orders.
A beam of rainbows hits Holy Light.
The black veins in Holy Light's coat disappear, his wings melt, and his horn shortens. Dark clouds coming from him burn away in the brilliant light of the united Elements. The rusty unicorn falls to the ground and the beam strikes Blaze.
Unlike with Holy, the light gets absorbed and dies away. Blaze opens his eyes again and looks down at his hooves. A wing of fire and one of ice sprout from his back again. Above the fire wing a sphere of flashing lights hovers and, in the same fashion, there is a vortex of darkness above his frozen one.
Slowly, a third sphere materializes in front of him, white and empty.
"Beginning, end, and potential," Blaze smiles, "The entirety of existence."
He scowls at Holy Light who is growling and getting back up.
"I look at you and see myself from four years ago. You'll get the chance I would have given myself at the time."
The sphere of potential flickers and disappears. The sphere of life goes out as well. Only the sphere of death remains.
"Find your peace," says Blaze and black flames burn the Nightmare's avatar into nothingness.
You cannot stop me. I have agents everywhere.
"Yes, cowards, weaklings, broken souls. Very useful," Blaze snorts and his ice wing melts, giving room to a second fire one, "but the last big gateway to you in this world is me."
You would never do it!
"You will never bother this world again, Nightmare," the flame of Blaze's wings grows brighter and brighter until the wings are pure white, "The only way to repulse divine power is to use the power of the other two against it. That's why you needed Discord's help to destroy the Tree. Too bad he refused so you had to try to make the Bearers useless. Well, by stealing your power I knew that as well."
I will be back.
"Yes, in few million years. Now disappear! That is my judgement."
The sphere of darkness melts and Blaze turns to us.
"Now, to judge the mortals who refused to be my servants and concubines."
I struggle against Heavy's grip as Blaze comes closer.
"Just kidding," he chuckles, "The last gateway has to disappear. I would like to go while deluding myself that you will miss me."
He levitates the Blades of Balance sheathed on his back and pierces himself with them. The white fire of his wings consumes him.
All that remains is the bright image burned in my eyes disappearing as I blink and a pair of swords lying on the floor.