40 Ultimatum


Twilight and Sirmyurin watched as the hooded being, now holding a crackling orb of blue energy in its hand, stalked toward them, the sorcerous discharge whipping its absurdly long coat-tails around. The other hand still gripped Soulshatter in the two-finger grip, but no matter how hard Twilight willed the blade to return to her, the weapon would not respond. Sirmyurin had been right. This being was even more powerful than Faedran had been, and she had just angered it.

Twilight's life began to flash before her eyes as the being in black took another step toward them, each taloned foot digging into the soft earth. The ball of magic grew even bigger, jagged lightning beginning to fork out of the orb haphazardly. The cloaked being threw Soulshatter into the ground, the cursed weapon embedding itself up to the hilt in the grass, stuck tight, and leaving the being's other hand free.

Twilight began to charge a spell with her horn, a last ditch attempt to teleport out, to do anything. Perhaps she could even call Princess Celestia… Twilight glanced at Sirmyurin, who gazing transfixed by the magnificent blue orb of doom that was now rapidly approaching the table. He seemed to be in shock.

Twilight felt he magic brimming at the tip of her horn, the tip of it glowing with sparkling magenta light.

This was it. The spell was ready.

The hooded one was now less than five meters away, and the orb of sparks was almost too bright to look at. It revolved and pulsed in the creature's grip, a high pitched whining emitting from the ball of sorcery.

Twilight tilted her head up and closed her eyes, pouring every last part of her will into this message.

Princess. Help me.

Pinpricks of rainbow light began to gather around Twilight Sparkle. Seconds later, Twilight would be drained of her magical strength, but Princess Celestia would be on the way.

The hooded being chuckled and stretched out its free hand, reaching into a small yellow portal that appeared beside it. At the same time, another portal opened next to Twilight's ear. The hooded being's armored hand reappeared out of that portal, and with a sharp movement, flicked the unicorn's cheek, making her flinch and breaking her concentration. She recoiled, the spell fading before it could be used.

Twilight opened her eyes, the magical buildup in her horn dissipating, leaving her with an awful empty feeling. The being withdrew its hand, both portals closing as it continued its relentless pace, the spell in its hand growing and sizzling.

This was it.

The hooded being stretched out its hand, the spell's humming intensifying into an almost intolerable level. Twilight felt as if she were glued to the spot, unable to even look away as the orb's radiance grew to blinding.


Sirmyurin suddenly snapped out of his trance, unfurling his enormous wings and pouncing at the hooded being, the alicorn's cracked horn beginning to extend into a blade of light as it closed the distance.

The hooded being suddenly disappeared, the garden's light level dropping back to normal, which seemed rather dark. Sirmyurin, horn flickering and fizzling with magic, slid to a stop right in top of where their attacker had been standing.

"Too slow."

Both equines heard a soft boom, and out of nowhere, the hooded being reappeared behind Sirmyurin, arm extended.

With a flick of its armored wrist, the hooded being threw the ball of light, striking Sirmyurin head on. There was a deafening blast, accompanied with a shockwave and a gout of cold air.

When the spell faded, Sirmyurin, still with a surprised and dismayed expression on his face, toppled to the ground.

"Sirmyurin!" Twilight cried, rushing to the alicorn's side. Her friend's coat, once a lustrous white, was now a dull gray shade that looked like marble. His open eyes, staring intently at the grass, were now pure orange, and they glittered, like gemstones.

It reminded Twilight of Talonbite. She was hit with a sudden revelation. Perhaps Talonbite had once been alive too, but now…despite the fact that Sirmyurin had tried to split them up earlier, and had been working with Faedran, he had saved them, and obviously cared deeply for Blizzard Gale. And about Twilight, too, it seemed. And now he had paid the price of friendship, of giving in to sentiment.

"No, please! Please get up!" Twilight sniffled, hugging the statue, which now was cold and hard, even the mane.

The hooded being watched with a dull disinterest, muttering to itself and putting a hand under its hood, giving off the impression that it was stroking its chin.

"Hmm…what a mess…couldn't be helped, I suppose. Ah well."

It strode over to the ivory table, and after recreating its chair, sat down once more, twiddling its thumbs.

"You know," it said in a thoughtful tone. "I think I might enjoy presenting that statue to Faedran. That one has a special penchant for animating those things and making them do his will. I don't know. Maybe it can stay here, and watch over the world it seems to care about so much. Either way, Twilight Sparkle, I think we have unfinished business here. The sooner you sit down, the sooner we can conclude this ghastly meeting."

Twilight didn't hear it. She was trying every spell she knew to counter petrification, but every spell she weaved simply slid off her friend's marble body.

The hooded being peered into its lexicon, turning a few pages. "You know, that if you don't get yourself over here right now, I'll have to take action? I'm not going to be here forever, waiting for you to finish failing at unfreezing him-oh?"

A scroll had just dropped onto the table, gray paper with a stylized rune on the wax seal. The hooded being immediately dropped the lexicon and tore the scroll open, reading it with care.

The being stared at the seal, then read the contents once again, just to make sure of the message.

"So. It's going to be like that, eh?" it muttered softly. "Alright. I can deal with that."

The hooded one rose up from the table, striding over to Twilight Sparkle and the stone Sirmyurin, scroll in one hand, a ball of orange light in the other. Without a word, Twilight was pushed aside by a cold metal gauntlet, and watched helplessly as the hooded being shot the orange orb into Sirmyurin's face. It then unrolled the scroll and began to dictate in a loud monotone.

"By order of Grimm, the operative known as Sirmyurin, has been found guilty of severe insubordination on a retrieval mission led by the operative known as Faedran. Sirmyurin, you are hereby sentenced by the Court…" there was a pause. "…To four months of extensive counseling with Court member Nightfall. If you decline, I will leave you as you are. I will take your silence as affirmation. Do you have any objections?" The being in black paused and looked at Sirmyurin. "Of course you don't. Well then, off with you."

A yellow portal opened in the grass, allowing the alicorn statue to drop through, disappearing as quickly as it had come.

Twilight picked herself up off the grass, ignoring the pain in her side from being shoved away.

She threw herself at the hooded being, pawing and kicking with all her might, screaming and howling in rage.

Her target simply took a step back, waving a hand at her and stopping her in place with a flash of black lightning. Once the lavender pony was immobilized, the hooded being stepped forward and dusted its coat off.

"You know, if you had damaged my coat, I'd have sent you the repair fee." It checked its sleeves, then the coat-tails. "I'm sure this coat is worth more than you can imagine, so do be careful." The hooded one stopped examining its coat and peered at Twilight, to hung limp in the magic's embrace, completely useless.

"You know, I'm not here to fight you. If I was, you'd be gone before you knew what happened. I'm here to cut you a deal, and if you'll just listen," Twilight felt a cold metal finger tap her forehead. She didn't care. "…then I'll tell you something that you might find interesting."

The being left Twilight levitating in midair and strode over to Soulshatter, effortlessly pulling it out of the ground. Holding it by the hilt and crossguard, the hooded one brought Soulshatter back, holding it in front of Twilight's face. The blade glowed with crimson runes, but otherwise remained inanimate.

"Where did you get this sword?"

Twilight felt her mouth unseal, allowing her to answer. For a moment, the unicorn was tempted to lie and say he didn't know, but then she thought of Sirmyurin, taken from her in an instant. There was no use resisting. "I got it from…Mauraxus. I took it off him."

The being in black turned the blade over in its gauntleted hands, examining the weapon carefully. "Do you know how many souls are in here, by any chance? Because this is a very valuable magical artifact, and I'd be willing to buy it off you."

And at this point, I realized that this was too grim and way too revealing, so I stopped.

Anyhow, thanks for reading this entire story.

It's been a long journey for me too, except I've been at home the whole time.

Sequel coming soon…

And leave a review on the previous chapters, if you didn't already!