They had us surrounded, I hadn't counted but my guess was that there were well over twenty. I started focusing my magic onto the nearest of them but was stopped by Coopers hoof on my shoulder.
"Unless you can kill them all at once, don't"
Baron Praxus laughed "He can't, don't worry. That horn wasn't made for armies, it was made for gods. You know, it's almost sad I know more about you than you do."
I frowned at him, glaring "I can still kill you" He smiled "and my men will kill you and your friends, a lose-lose situation, I'm sure you'll agree."
We stood there for what felt like an eternity, the four of us standing in defensive positions, glaring at Baron Praxus who was the first to break the silence "I'll tell you what, your friends are free to go, I would like some time to speak with you privately." I turned back to look at the three guards who'd been assigned to protect me, none of them had moved.
Cooper spoke in a deliberate tone "We're good, thank you for the offer though"
Praxus frowned but nodded "How noble. Now onto the meat of the issue. That horn you stole still needs to be returned, but we haven't the time to condition a new pony for it, not now that Celestia knows of our plan. So, we're bringing some more of that delicious mind-control agent which should set things right on track" He clapped his hooves together "So, if you'd be so kind as to not move an inch we'll have it here in a moment" He stood there, watching us carefully for a few seconds before Ray stepped forward.
"As delicious as that 'Mind Control Agent' sounds, I'm afraid our buddy here" He gave me a pat on the shoulder "Will have to decline. He's not allowed to take any drinks he didn't mix himself, you can't be too careful."
Baron Praxus smiled "Very funny, I'm afraid he won't have much of a choice" He gestured at his guards. Ray simply smiled back
"I think my friend Dusk here would beg to differ. You see, his name isn't Dusk because of his cheery personality."
Dusk had his eyes closed, his horn glowed for one instant before darkness fell over the room, a few of Baron Praxus's guards fired into the darkness and I heard my escort duck onto the floor, getting underneath the line of fire. I followed and hit the ground, crawling to where the door was. The moment I got out of the room the magical darkness lifted. I turned around to see a wall of darkness where the room was. I heard Dusk behind me
"Nice party trick, eh? Contained darkness."
I smiled and looked around, Ray and Dusk were standing next to me, Cooper was nowhere to be found. "Cooper?" Ray sounded concerned and after a few seconds we heard a response "Got him!" Cooper emerged from the darkness carrying an unconscious Baron Praxus on his back
"The guards are coming, lets get out of here."
We raced down the hallway, shouts emanating from the room behind us. We ran until we reached the remains of the book-case, still sticky. Once in the lobby we found two of the other squads. Cooper spoke first, strong and quick
"Where are the others"
One of the squad members frowned and shook his head
"Let's go, we have 30 right behind us."
The other squad leaders nodded and we left through the front door, loading into the chariots and taking off without another word. Once the Cloud Hub was almost out of sight Cooper gestured at one of the chariots, whose unicorn's horn glowed. Nothing seemed to happen before a large wave of sound hit the carriages, shortly followed by small shockwave. I turned to see the Cloud Hub was nothing but a large cloud of smoke.
"What.." I began before Cooper had cut me off "The other squads planted explosives before we left."
"Big base boom" Ray chimed in
Baron Praxus didn't wake up until halfway back to Canterlot. He seemed scared for a moment before regaining his composure. "Well, this seems to have worked out well for you." he seemed jovial and unconcerned with his situation, only betrayed by the fear that showed on his face moments ago.
"We've won, it's over." My voice was as serious as Cooper's and laced with as much malice as Dusk could have mustered on a good day.
"It is?" He feigned looking surprised, turning in his bindings to look at his torso "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe I am still alive."
I frowned "That can be corrected" It was more of a growl than a sentence. Cooper however, put a hoof on my shoulder "We need him alive, he has all the secrets of his organization." I frowned, nodding.
Baron Praxus opened his mouth to speak again "As though-" before he was interrupted by Dusk "Hey,"
Dusk slammed his hoof hard into the back of the Baron's head, knocking him unconscious "Shut up"
Ray burst into laughter "Did Dusk just make a joke? Can I die happy now? I mean, sure it involved punching Praxus, but a joke nevertheless!"
Dusk frowned "It was more of a 'One liner'"
Ray frowned back "I suppose so..."
Their conversation was interrupted by a bolt of energy soaring past the chariot. I turned to see a few dozen Chariots pursuing us, how we hadn't seen them sooner was beyond me, they were about a kilometer back and had begun opening fire.
"They want the Baron. Ray, speed up." Cooper was on top of the issue it seemed, shouting orders to the different chariots. Dusk had begun firing back and I followed suit. Let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than hitting a full speed chariot at nearly a kilometer of distance with a bolt of energy conjured with noting but your mind. The other chariots continued pursuit and managed to take down a few of our remaining chariots. Finally Canterlot was within sight, there were a half dozen chariots still chasing us and we were down to three. The anti-air fire kicked in and the remaining Chariots in pursuit either fled or went down. We landed, well, more like crashed in the hanger and dismounted. Ray was the first to speak
"Hey... Cooper? You said adrenaline numbs pain... Right?" The three of us looked over to Ray to find him half sitting, half laying on the floor, a giant gash running straight through his side. We rushed up to him to inspect the wound, it was pretty bad. "Heh... I probably shouldn't have made that crack about dying happy, eh?"
Cooper spoke, his voice wavering slightly, ever so slightly "You aren't going to die Ray, we'll get the medical team here and they'll fix you up"
Ray laughed, blood pumping from his wound with each breath "I'm pretty sure they hit a lung... Actually, I think they hit everything... I'm going to drown on my own blood before they get here."
Dusk just stood in the back, staring at him, stony faced as ever. Ray continued talking, coughing up blood every now and then "Well, I suppose this is the end, I guess the funny, attractive, amazing, attractive, honest, attractive stallions always die first in the movies... Humble too." He laughed at his own joke "Well, I supposed I'll die like I lived... Talking." He took a long pause, coughing "You know Cooper, I always had a crush on your sister... What was her name again?"
He was dead before Cooper could respond. Only when the blood stopped flowing did Dusk finally react. He barreled into the nearest chariot shoulder first, howling in a terrifying combination of anger and sadness. Cooper tackled him to the ground, shouting at him to calm down.
I just stood there, looking at the lifeless pony that I had spent the last day with, I found myself wishing I had laughed at his jokes. I kneeled down next to him and closed his eyes with a hoof. "Thanks for the ride..." It felt weird, Ray had practically been a stranger and yet, having known the pony for such a short time, it was still strange to see him dead.
Dusk had calmed down and we just sat there in silence, the blood was dry by the time Twilight, Celestia and the others arrived in the hanger, Baron Praxus having been taken by some guards ponies to a cell in a secure part of the castle. The first person I went to was Fluttershy, I went to hug her but she shied away. I realized I was covered in Ray's blood and backed away. Applejack spoke first, ever practical.
"Is that blood yours?"
I shrugged "Some of it, I assume."
Celestia stood there for a few more seconds, waiting for me to greet each of them, before saying "I'll get a full report from your escort, I'm told you managed to capture Baron Praxus?"
I nodded and she smiled "I suppose you'll want to return to Ponyville?"
I smiled weakly "How did you guess?"
Celestia simply responded with "I'll keep you updated on what happens with the Baron. Until then, I believe you ponies have a rather large house to build."
Pinkie Pie spoke up in quite possibly the most cheerful, peppy voice ever
"So, we beat the bad guys, get to build a house together and then live together and hang out all the time? Do you know what this calls for!"
My smile strengthened, even if only slightly "I think I can guess"
Well... That's it I suppose, it's weird parting from this Fic, I mean, I haven't really been writing much of it as of recent, but still...
Most endings are rather lack-lustre, I hope this one is good enough. It's been fun, it's taken a lot longer than it should've and now I'm on to my next idea. Have a good *Insert whatever time it is where you are here*.
Cya soon *Hopefully*