Chapter 78 – We Make a Good Team
Breeze reappeared in the middle of town, close to the river. His breath ragged as he trotted slowly towards the shore and tears in his eyes as he thought of what may have happened to his love. Finally, he collapsed in exhaustion right next to the bank, "I'm sorry Dashy." he whispered to himself. "Me too." he heard her say, and looked up. There she stood, a sorry expression on her face as she looked down and shed silent tears. "You're alive!" he said as his breath slowed, and let his tired head hit the ground. Rainbow Dash stepped up to him and nuzzled him on the cheek, before she pushed her way underneath him to place him on her back, "Just rest, there's nothing we can do now." she whispered to him and turned to look at the fight, "You guys better not lose." and trotted away towards Fluttershy's cottage with him pinning her wings to her back.
Zeral continued to deflect each strike as it came, from Blade, Fluttershy and Applejack. The only one he was having trouble with was Rarity, because she kept on vanishing. "This is gitt'n us nowhere." Applejack said in frustration. "Maybe if we time it right…" he thought, and watched as Zeral just barely dodged another of Rarity's darts, "That's it!"
"What's it?" Fluttershy asked. "We have to wait until she fires her darts, striking only a second after." he told them. He then charged in, the other two close behind, "Applejack you're first, kick him in the chest to knock the wind out of him." he said. "On it!" the orange earth pony responded, and took off at a higher gallop. "Fluttershy, I then need you to hit him in the chin with your shield as hard as you can." he told the yellow Pegasus next to him, "I'll finish it off, and if that doesn't work, we all strike at the same time.
"Got it!" Fluttershy responded and flapped her wings to be in front of him.
"Blasted creature!" Zeral growled as another of Rarity's darts zipped by him. The second it took for him to dodge, Applejack turned and kicked him in the stomach, the Quake pistons sliding down her hooves to collide with his armor. The force given off not only knocked the wind out of him, but also tossed him into the back of one of the houses. Gripping his chest, he attempted to regain what strength he had, only to catch Fluttershy's shield to his chin. The force she used coupled with the fact that her shield was 100% adamantine actually cracked his mask all the way through causing a small piece to fall out of the forehead. As he looked up, he could see the grey Pegasus, Blade, with his great sword held high, come down to finish him off. Zeral quickly lifted his scythe, shrinking it into the soul eater sword that he had before. Sword slammed against sword as the resounding ring of metal sounded through the air.
Fluttershy floated there watching in anticipation as the two warriors began a brand new deadly dance of rage. The two warriors clashed their weapons together several times, each trying to outdo the other. Zeral backed up a little as Blade made a horizontal swing and lifted his sword high above his head. Blade lifted his sword in front of his face, blocking the strike easily. Zeral then used his own strength to push the warrior's sword to the ground, the two blades at one point matching in direction. Zeral's blade suddenly slid right through Blade's sword splitting the sword in half. Blade was able to maneuver his body perfectly so that the blade of Zeral's sword passed by him without much more than a scratch to his cheek. Suddenly Blade lunged forward, clashing half of his sword against Zeral's, "This is impossible!" Zeral said as Blade brought the other half of his sword in for a strike. "My sword can split into two, remember?" Blade reminded and backed up, flipping the two swords in his hooves, changing them into the wing blades, and launching another attack.
"I don't see an opening!" Rarity said in surprise, "I'm not sure I can even launch my horn without hitting Blade." Fluttershy watched as he fought, worry covering her face as he tried desperately to protect everypony.
"Why?" Blade asked as the two of them locked weapons again, "Why are you so afraid of them?" Zeral didn't answer, instead he simply pushed harder against the Pegasus, knocking the air born pony somewhat off balance. Blade was able to lift another of his wing blades quickly enough to block the next strike, redirecting the sword into the ground. Blade then placed the two weapons together, creating the shield just in time to block a blast after Zeral changed the sword in his hands to a small pistol. Zeral again changed the weapon in his hands to a scythe, and Blade changed his shield into his twin lance. Swinging it behind him with one hoof, he struck the handle of the scythe as he dodged to the side
"There, that's our chance!" Fluttershy said, and the three of them charged in, just as Blade backed up and charged in, one of the tips of his lance pointed towards the madman. "Enough!" Zeral shouted, and spun his scythe in the air, just as all four of them came close. The force was able to knock them all to the ground, and Blade's NanoPack away from him, making it shrink back into standby. Zeral breathed in, calming his nerves as he stood straight up, allowed his weapon to disappear into his armor, walked to the handle, and picked it up. Without a word, Blade looked up just in time to watch Zeral grip it in both hands and struggle a little bit before it snapped in his grip. The golden dust that scattered in the wind faded quickly, disappearing as it died off. Zeral tossed the two halve to the ground, and turned to the warrior, before lifting his head to the sky, "It's about time!" he said.
The four ponies looked to the sky, a bright yellow dot shinning in the sky, "The Ark Cannon is ready, and this time there is no stopping it!" Zeral said, as he lifted his hands, and brought out his scythe. He lifted it high above his head, and was tackled by Applejack. Rarity ran by, firing her darts in rapid succession at him with Fluttershy close behind. "Fluttershy wait!" Blade called out. The yellow Pegasus came to a stop, and ran up to him, "You have to stop the Ark Cannon's blast." he said. "But…" she tried to say, but was interrupted when he held up his hoof, "Your shield is a level ten Ion Deflector, it's the only one that can block the blast." Fluttershy looked down at the ground, her nerves beginning to fray, "I don't know if I can do it…" she said. "You have to, there's no other choice." he said, his eyes pleading for her to try. "I'll go with you if it'll help." he said softly, and received a hug from Fluttershy, "I'm scared," she said, and before he could say anything, she kissed him, "but I'll try." Flapping her wings, she lifted herself up into the air, placing herself as high as she could, and pulled her shield in front of her, "Let's hope it is enough." she heard the Valkyrie say. "It's going to have to be." Fluttershy said, her confidence sounding higher than it actually was as she flew up to meet the beam.
Twilight gasped as she let her eyes fly open, then turned so that she could place her hooves on the ground, and lift her body off of the bed. She shook her head, clearing the cobwebs from it, and looked up. What she saw was Princess Celestia, on her side and breathing heavily, "Princess Celestia!" she called out and ran up to her mentor. "I'll be fine Twilight." she said. Twilight looked around, finding not only Celestia, but Luna and Riida in the same predicament. Luna crouched so that she had her legs tucked under her and Riida with her head resting on the bed the Twilight had been sleeping on. "What happened?" she asked. "Never mind Twilight." Celestia said. "You must go," Riida finished, "Zeral is destroying Ponyville, and the Ark Cannon is just about to fire!"
"He's what?" Twilight called out, and ran to the balcony. "Your friends are already there, but I fear they may not be enough. Go to them." Princess Luna said, and watched as Twilight nodded, and stood on her hind legs, allowing the DoublePack to engulf her completely before jumping off of the balcony and rocketing through the air toward her home. The three princesses simply lay there, breathing deeply as if exhausted, until one of the guards came in, "Princess'!" she shouted and ran up to them.