The ponies recoiled reflexively as the mountain sank into the ground, voluminous clouds of powdered rock roiled over the surrounding landscape. They stood in stupefied silence before a trilling crack rang through the air and Twilight Sparkle appeared, clutching to her mane was a slightly singed Zeitgeist Stardust.
He shuddered and reluctantly let go, quickly checking his body for missing pieces. "A-amazing! Successful teleportation of living organic tissue! That's something I've never been able to figure out! Not since that incident with the fly…"
Twilight shook her mane and sighed in relief. "Phew! I'm never doing that again, I almost lost both of us!"
Zeitgeist looked over at a recovering Doctor who was leveling a resentful gaze at him. "…I suppose that was part of your plan? You could have said something."
He nodded, his semi-spastic tongue stumbling through a response. "Thhre watth no thhime!"
"Heh…" Zeitgeist chuckled and patted The Doctor on the shoulder. "Sorry."
The Doctor grinned and shook his hand, speech clearing. "You did good Zeit."
He looked over at the giant crater in the ground, gasses and debris shooting up as the magma was halted. "I underestimated the effectiveness of your machine. If I had to ballpark it I'd say it displaced at least fifteen times as much as what was necessary."
"Sixteen, Doctor," Zeitgeist nodded. "At least the extra fall helped to fragment the mountain more, fill in the extra space."
The once great and ominous Mount Calcipher Del Kaffelerram was now but a jagged hill surrounded by sharp fractured debris, glowing magma slowly rising to fill in the hole; soon there would be no mountain to speak of, just a lump of cooled volcanic rock.
"So that's it then?" Fluttershy said cautiously. "We won?"
Zecora smiled and nodded. "Indeed my winged friend, our tribulations are now at an end."
Applejack cheered and bucked happily. "Yee-haw!"
Rainbow Dash clopped hooves with Applejack and laughed. "Oh yeah! We rule!"
Rarity sighed in relief as she made her way over to Zeitgeist, who returned her smile. "Are you alright, Zeit?"
"Yes Ms. Rarity, I'm fine," he said with a grin. "Is travel with The Doctor always this fun?"
"Well, we almost get killed every adventure…so, yes, yes it is," Rarity said with a nudge.
Fire Dazzler let out a hefty exhalation and practically fell into a sitting position. "I think I'll pass on any more adventures! Almost getting killed by an Elder God is a once in a lifetime experience for me!"
Spike murmured and rolled his head, his eyes fluttering open. "H-huh? Wha's goin' on? Did we win? Is Tirac gone?"
Pinkie Pie leapt into the air and cheered. "We've saved the planet…again! Do you all know what this calls for?"
Twilight nuzzled a dazed Spike as he rose to his feet, a soft chuckle in her voice as she asked. "What does it call for Pinkie?"
"A PARTY!" Pinkie cried as she rejoiced.
The ominous sound of shifting stone was soon followed by a low unearthly growl. Twilight spun around to see the towering form of Tirac rise from the ground behind her, his eyes literally blinding her with the baleful crimson light that shone from them. He opened his mouth and spoke, his voice filled with a malice and fury so potent that it chilled the blood of all around. "I concur."
(Dah-da-da-da/ /dah-da-da-da/ /dah-da-da-da/ /dah-da-da-da etc)
The Mines of Dragon Mountain: Part 7
Twilight gasped as Tirac lunged forwards, her horn lighting up instinctively. Tirac roared and swung both his arms inwards, jabbing his thumbs into either side of her neck. She squeaked is pain as her horn abruptly stopped fizzling, a curious numbness spreading across her forehead and down her neck.
"My magic! It's-" Twilight began to say before Tirac dealt her a powerful backhanded blow that sent her hurtling through the air, tumbling in the dust before coming to a halt, unconscious.
"Throw me through a wall now!" Tirac bellowed furiously. "Not so tough without your magic, are you?!"
"Twilight-Urgh!" Spike said as Tirac planted a solid kick into his midsection, lifting the dragon into the air only for him to be brutally smashed back into the ground by a single hammering fist.
Rainbow Dash cried out as she lunged forward, unleashing a flurry of kicks and jabs. Tirac's hands moved faster than the eye could see as he kept pace with the incensed pegasus. Applejack and Zecora bolted towards the fighting pair; Tirac grabbed hold of Rainbow Dash's forelegs and swung her around. He managed to catch Zecora across the side sent the two tumbling in the dirt. Applejack deftly leapt over the attack and closed in, engaging Tirac in furious combat. Tirac cackled as he expertly parried each one of Applejack's blows, unleashing a small counter attack each time.
"You think you can beat me?!" Tirac roared at the increasingly battered pony, "I who have had billions of years of war and combat as entertainment! I who have fought gods! I who have-AAAAAGH!"
Tirac turned to see Fire Dazzler's horn buried in his lower back, a smile on the stallion's face. "PTFE!"
A light came to life inside Tirac, appearing red and orange through the front of his stomach. Tirac screamed in agony as the magic display burned inside him, small amounts of smoke and steam escaping from his mouth as he did. He kicked backwards and his heel connected with Fire Dazzler's chin with an audible crack, the stallion's head snapped back as the force of the kick sent him into a backwards somersault. Applejack leapt as Tirac turned his back only to be sent tumbling away by a casual backhand from the monster. Tirac picked Fire Dazzler up by the throat, a terrible reverberating growl emanating from his mouth. He wrapped a single powerful hand around Fire Dazzler's horn and wrenched it to one side, snapping it off at the base with a bloodcurdling sound. Fire Dazzler let out a silent scream as his face contorted into a paroxysm of agony before the sheer magnitude of the pain rendered him unconscious. Tirac raised the dripping horn in his hand and prepared to plunge it into the stunned stallion's head before two cracks rang out as two smoldering holes appeared in Tirac's back. Tirac turned around to see Zeitgeist, in his hand a glowing pistol. Tirac dropped Fire Dazzler and flung the horn in a motion to fast to see. The horn connected with the pistol and sent it flying out of Zeitgeist's hand to clatter on the debris-strewn ground.
Tirac smile and walked towards Zeitgeist. "Ah, Duke Stardust…At last we meet face-to-face, or face-to-possessed meat as it were. Nice shot by the way, that second shot cooked Gabbro's heart."
Zeitgeist stood between the ponies and Tirac, The Doctor was still suffering from the effects of the stun and the other ponies were unfit to fight. "You're the one who's been killing my people?"
Tirac grinned. "Yes, hundreds of them. Their pain seeped into the mountain and made me stronger! Would you like to join them?"
Zeitgeist growled and lunged forward with surprising speed, catch Tirac off guard long enough to plant a powerful blow to his solar plexus. Tirac let out a winded exhalation of pain before Zeit hammered his left fist into the side of his face, sending him sprawling to the ground.
"So you're a competent fighter," Tirac said with a smile. "The more skilled the opponent, the more distress upon the moment of death!"
Tirac swung his legs out, sweeping Zeit's feet out from under him. Zeit attempted to get back on his feet but Tirac was upon him instantly, wrapping his hands around his throat and squeezing. Zeitgeist fruitlessly struggled against the obscenely strong demon as he slowly tightened his grip.
Tirac chuckled thickly, savoring the moment. "I have to say, everything was going pretty good right up until you showed up, I would have crushed all their skulls and taken back the dragon! But no, you and your unicorn friend just had to be big damn heroes and look where it got you! Your mine is gone, your reputation tainted with the deaths of your employees…and, oh…you're going to die!"
The sound of shifting breaking rock caused Tirac to look up just as a large pillar of stone was telekinetically swung into his face. The enormous cudgel sent Tirac hurtling backwards to skid across the debris-ridden ground.
Rarity approached Zeit as he began to regain his footing. "Zeit! Are you alright?"
"Yes…" he choked. "Tuh-Tirac! Get Tirac!"
The Doctor, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie gathered around Zeit as he shakily rose to his feet. Tirac stood up and glowered at them, gritting his now-broken teeth as he willed an unconscious Twilight into his hands. He wrapped his arm around her neck and roughly clasped the top of her head. "One more step and I'll cap her like a bottle!"
The Doctor leveled a glare at Tirac, stomping his hoof. "You just don't know when to give up, do you?!"
"You don't get to where I am by being a quitter!" Tirac said smugly.
"And where are you then?!" The Doctor said, fury burning in his eyes. "Look at you! That body you're in is falling apart, you're burning through energy just to keep it running…you can't possess anything else, can you?"
Tirac hissed. "A permanent link was the only way I could create a strong enough connection to possess this body."
"And those take years to create," The Doctor said steadily. "So if this body dies, you go right back into your prison! If that body dies you're through!"
"If this body dies…" Tirac said with a low chuckle. "Then Gabbro dies! He's still here you know! He's innocent Doctor, I got to him when he was but a hatchling. He never had a chance to be a true Grundel! Would you kill this poor unfortunate victim of circumstance to beat me?"
The Doctor paused and Tirac continued. "You'd better! I may not be able to possess anything else, but I can still perform a download! This unicorn is incredibly powerful, a true prodigy with magic, a perfect body for me! All I would have to do is override the patterns in her brain with my own, her power combined with my knowledge and experience will bring about the birth of a new god! And you will just stand there and let it happen because you can't bring yourself to kill an innocent being!"
The Doctor nodded slowly. "That's right…enough people have died today because of you. I won't let another one die, not if I can help it."
Tirac cackled hideously as his fingernails began to dig into Twilight's scalp. "I win. You know, I'm going to enjoy killing you all with the powers of your dearest friend. It'll be almost poetic! This perfect world will die at the hooves of a pony, how grand!"
"Hey…" a strained voice said to the left of Tirac; it was Spike and he was clumsily holding Zeitgeist's pistol. "…You talk too much."
Tirac casually kicked a small rock at the wounded dragon, knocking the weapon out of his hands. As the pistol tumbled through the air Spike let out one last weak burst and engulfed it in the teleporting flames. Tirac watched as the exhausted Spike collapsed to the ground, a small sigh of relief escaping his lips before he turned back to the congregation before him. Tirac jumped in shock as he saw Zeitgeist level the emitter of the weapon at him.
"Ah ah!" Tirac said nervously, brandishing the unconscious Twilight in his arms. "I've got a hostage! By the time you pull the trigger I will have moved her head into your weapon's path!"
"Tch," Zeit said as he rolled his eyes.
The air was split by a buzzing crack; a lance of blue-white energy arced through the air and impacted Twilight directly in her midsection. Tirac screamed as the electrical shock passed through her and into him. The demon was sent hurtling back by his spastically contracting muscles and Twilight fell to the ground unharmed.
The Doctor rushed over to Twilight, running his sonic screwdriver over her. "She's okay…he impacted a few nerve clusters in her neck, that's what knocked her magic out! Ooh…she'll be out for a few hours at least!"
"At least Tirac's down…" Zeitgeist said, looking at the pistol. "That last bit drained the battery."
Fluttershy examined Fire Dazzler's head, the broken stump where his horn used to be was bleeding slightly and the exposed nerve was clearly visible. "Oh this poor stallion, but other than his horn he doesn't seem to be hurt too badly!"
There was a series of groans behind them. They turned around to see Zecora, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash as they slowly limped towards them.
"Urgh…" Rainbow Dash groaned. "I tell ya, all this pummeling is not good for my self image!"
"Just be thankful he didn't have time tah really hurt us," Applejack said, still slightly dizzy. "Ah've been in scraps before, but he just walked all over us!"
Zecora nodded, nudging Applejack with a smile. "A fight survived is a victory, at least we can be sure that Tirac's-"
"Look!" Pinkie Pie said urgently. "Tirac is getting back up!"
Zecora sighed and shook her head. "Never mind…"
The collapsed body shifted slightly, his arm partially supporting him as he shakily rose to his feet. He looked up at the ponies and diamond dog as they surrounded him. He sighed and bowed his head, falling to his knees. "…Do it…please."
"Gabbro?" The Doctor said incredulously. "Is that you?"
He nodded pathetically. "Yes…my body has taken so much damage that he has to concentrate to keep it going. That last shock allowed me to take control but not for long…please, kill me."
"Gabbro we can help you. I'm sure there's some way-"
"No!" Gabbro sobbed. "He's too strong! Too smart! Even if he's stuck in this body I've seen in his mind a thousand different ways to regain his power! If this body is destroyed he'll be trapped inside the mountain forever! He's used up so much energy between keeping me going and fighting you that not even he thinks he'll be able to do this again!" He looked up at The Doctor, tears running down his cheeks. "I'll try to do it myself…but if he takes control…"
The Doctor sighed and nodded, silently consenting.
Gabbro smiled and rose to his feet again, locking eyes with Zeitgeist. "Duke Stardust…I'm sorry for the suffering I've inflicted upon your people. I know there is nothing I can say to atone for my deeds, but please know that I am truly repentant."
Zeitgeist nodded and saluted. "As duke I speak for my people. Gabbro, you are forgiven. Godspeed."
Gabbro smiled and turned towards the glowing pit of magma. He started towards it before turning back to them. "Doctor. When you see Cheppu tell him…you tell him that I died a Grundel."
The Doctor nodded solemnly. "I will Gabbro."
He nodded and made his way towards the pit of liquid rock, a large happy smile on his face.
As he closed in on the fiery pit his stride began to become clipped and difficult, as though he was resisting himself.
'Gabbro! What are you doing?!' The Beast cried in his mind.
"I think you know," Gabbro said mockingly.
'You fool! You'll die!'
"I know. I'm rather looking forward to it actually."
The voice in his head took on a plaintive tone, fear creeping into the words. 'Look. I know things got out of hand, but I can make it all better! I have several other plans, all we have to do is get you healed and we'll be back in action!' Gabbro continued to walk. '…What are you doing?! Gabbro this isn't funny! All those things I said before, about the power and fame? They were true! You'd be famous! Powerful! You, uh…er…you and Cheppu would live like gods!'
Gabbro stopped, only a meter away from the scalding pit. "Cheppu?"
'Yes! Yes, you and Cheppu would be the two most powerful creatures on this planet, aside from me of course!' The Beast said, terrified hope clear in his voice. 'Now please, step away from the edge.'
"Hmm," Gabbro said contemplatively. "Do as I say and I'll stop right now."
'Yes!' The Beast said frantically. 'Anything!'
"Promise me power."
'A million worlds will bow at your feet! Cheppu's too!'
"Fame. Promise me fame too."
'Yes! Yes! Your names will be on the tongues of countless worlds! There won't be a sentient alive who won't know of you and Cheppu!'
"Beg," Gabbro confirmed. "Beg for your life like the foul wretched vermin that you are."
There was a pause, as though the demon had to physically swallow his pride. 'I-I-I…beg…I beg you to spare me! I beg! I BEG!'
Gabbro smiled and chuckled. "Now fly."
Gabbro closed his eyes and hurled himself over the edge. He felt the Beast in his soul attempt to flee his body and caught it; Tirac would feel every second of this. As he plummeted he felt the scorching heat wash over him, the enclosed nature of the pit had funneled the vast majority of the immense heat directly upwards. In an imperceptibly short amount of time the air had become the temperature of liquid rock, setting his robes and skin alight. As he burned over a hundred meters above the magma he still held on, Tirac bellowing in his mind as agony and death washed over the two of them. Gabbro smiled with the remains of his face and laughed. "I win."
A small ball of flame fizzled against the searing hot magma, sending a small plume of flame tumbling across the viscous surface before sinking into the inferno.
The town was alive with activity as thousands of ponies celebrated. The unusual activity of Mount Calcipher and the fiery sinking of Mount Calcipher Del Kaffelerram had caused significant consternation amongst the tourists, but a calming speech from a CSS Agent had assuaged the population into resuming with their celebration. Now the air was thick with songs and music as fireworks and performing phoenixes arched across the sky.
The Doctor sighed and watched as the festivities. "The funny thing is, I probably didn't do anything Celestia's actual service wouldn't have done! Total transparency is a rare thing in a government…but then this universe has a funny idea of how things should be."
"…And that's when I learned that just because a flower looks tasty doesn't mean that you should eat it, you may just be devouring a celebrated official!" Twilight said with a smile.
Spike scrawled busily on his parchment. "…cel…eb…rated…ficial! Got it Twilight, what other things did you learn with The Doctor?"
"Well, there was that business with the Centauri Emperor, buuuut I think you're a little too young for that Spike, I'll write about it later," She said turning to The Doctor. "I'm sorry Doctor, what were you saying?"
The Doctor smiled and laughed. "Nothing important, just heaping accolades upon your universe as usual!"
"You do that a lot!" Pinkie Pie said as she bounced towards them with heavy looking satchels on her sides. "What were you doing Twilight?"
"Just catching up on all the missed friendship reports for Princess Celestia. I know I haven't really missed any but I learned so much in the TARDIS I just had to document it!"
"Climactic battles with the Midgaard Serpent and all she can think about is efficient documentation!" Spike said in exasperation. "Also, not too wild about you leaving me behind again!"
"I'm sorry Spike, but after that business in the Everfree Forest, I knew that if I took you along you'd be in terrible danger!" Twilight said apologetically.
"Actually…" The Doctor said with a grin on his face. "Spike really came through for us this time, I don't think we would have gotten out of there if it hadn't been for him!"
Twilight looked at Spike and smiled. "Looks like I've got another report to fill out! I've learned a lot this particular adventure!"
"Like what?" The Doctor said.
Twilight cleared her throat and blinked. "Uuuh…Well you see, I…no…"
"I learned that it is possible to make Alteran Cupcakes without Gorble eggs!" Pinkie announced as her bags began to pulsate and groan. "…And I also learned that just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should! On a completely unrelated note, do any of you know where Rainbow Dash is? I need her to drop these bags into the volcano."
Twilight raised and eyebrow and shook her head. "Sorry Pinkie, I think Rainbow is off introducing herself to some advertisers with Applejack…why?"
The sacks on her flanks began to emit dark light. "…No reason."
"Uhh…Pinkie?" Spike said cautiously. "Are your bags whispering?"
"Oh sugar beets!" Pinkie said urgently. "Any of you know where a I could find a blast furnace?"
"No, but there's a walk-in kiln at the Pottery Palace a few blocks from here…" Fire Dazzler said as he approached them. "Anyone else hear those…terrible voices?"
"Don't listen to them!" Pinkie said as she bolted off down the road.
Fire Dazzler shook his head and turned back to them. "Hey, how're you liking the party?"
The Doctor smiled and nodded. "It's going great! You ponies always know how to party! Oh, and I see you got your horn back…and are decidedly less singed."
Fire Dazzler nodded. "Yeah! Fluttershy and Zecora got their phoenix feathers and made that medicine! Fixed me right up along with Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Mr. Stardust!"
The Doctor chuckled and nodded. "Yes, I'll have to get them to cook up a big batch, could come in handy in the future. Oh, by the way…" He stepped behind Fire Dazzler and pointed to Twilight. "…I seem to recall you wanting an introduction. Fire Dazzler, this is Twilight Sparkle. Twilight Sparkle, this is Fire Dazzler, he helped us to escape! He's also an accomplished chemist! Knows all sorts of things!"
"Really?" Twilight said with a smile. "Pleased to meet you!"
Fire Dazzler smiled nervously and stepped forwards. "L-likewise! Uhh…I wanted to come over here to ask you to…dance?"
"Oh!" Twilight said, a blush forming in her cheeks. "W-well, umm…I'd love to, er, dance but I've got some work to do! Right Spike?"
Spike held out his quill and snapped it half. "Oh dear. I appear to have broken my only quill. Shucks."
Twilight smiled and her horn began to glow. "Don't worry, I can fix-"
Spike spat a tiny puff of flame at the fractured quill, dematerializing it instantly. "Oops. I accidentally sent it to the sun."
Twilight Sparkle turned to a smiling Fire Dazzler, a blush still in her cheeks. "Well…I guess my schedule just got freed up! But how about we just go get something to eat, I'm not much of a dancer."
"Me neither!" Fire Dazzler said excitedly. "Dinner sounds good! My treat!"
The two ponies turned and left, chattering to each other as they did. Spike turned to The Doctor, an amused look on his face. "How long until he slips up and she finds out he helped them kidnap me?"
"Five minutes," The Doctor said with a mischievous smile. "Ten at the most. What do you think will happen when he does?"
"I'll get some more of that phoenix stuff…" Spike said with a laugh. "…And a mop and bucket."
Zeitgeist stared out at the glowing ruin of his former life, stiff drink in hand. He smirked to himself as he reflected on just how much he had been willing to sacrifice to save the mine, but even his obsession had its limits. His people were in danger, and while he had many more subjects willing to call him 'Your Excellency' back in Canidia this was different. The subjects of Stardust City (a name not of his choosing) were all either exiles from their mother country or the descendants of such people. They had all been disowned and dishonored by an unfeeling aristocrat, cast out of familiar lands and forced to take refuge in the only friendly country in the hemisphere, Equestria. The whole affair was awfully familiar to him in particular. So he took them in, gave them jobs at his personal mine, and made a little piece of home for them in strange lands. Naturally Archduke Steinkoff had been livid, but they were outside of even his influence now, safe and sound from his petty tortures. The mere existence of that city filled him with joy, that there was now a place for exiles within these friendly borders, that banditry and panhandling were no longer the only options for the disowned. There was a home for them here, a home for him in a way.
"Zeit…" came a voice from behind; it was the smooth civilized coo of a radiant purple maned unicorn.
"Ms. Rarity…" he said quietly. "I've been expecting you."
She stepped forward, an inwardly directed look of shame on her face. "Twilight told me…uh…about the spell."
"Don't worry Ms. Rarity, should you desire I will destroy my copy," he said evenly. "However, I would be interested in pursuing a co-copyright on your spell, royalties will be yours of course."
"I'm a fashion designer Zeit," Rarity said with a sigh. "Mines and patenting papers aren't my passion."
"You've come to ask me if acquisition of your spell was my sole motive for associating with you," he said with a weak smile.
"Yes," he said with a nod. "In that it is the reason I approached you. I very easily could have had Litigia or another employee talk business with you and be done with it, but it's more than that. You do genuinely intrigue me Rarity, that's the truth."
"Is it?" Rarity said with a sigh. "No offense, Zeit, but you have a reputation for being a charmer, and that's all it is. Charm,"
He leaned on the rails of the lookout. "If that's how you feel. I don't blame you; it's not a pleasant feeling is it? Being used."
"No," She said flatly. "No it's not…"
He produced a gemstone and held it up. "This is the information crystal that holds Twilight's interpretation of your gem-finding spell. Its complexity confounds even me; locator spells by definition demand specificity, and yet yours is able to reliably locate 'gems', not diamonds, not emeralds, not sapphires, rubies, or amethyst. Just 'gems'. That takes into account every single variation in chemical composition while still leaving a margin of error wide enough to make room for exceptional specimens. Rumor has it you fashioned this spell not only as an ancillary tool towards your true passion, but that you were little more than a filly at the time! Baffling!"
He casually tossed the crystal into the air, drew his pistol, and fired. A beam of energy arced into the heart of the gem, causing it to glow briefly before exploding in a beautiful purple explosion.
Zeit holstered his pistol and turned back to her. "Business venture canceled."
Rarity blinked in confusion. "Zeit…"
"Anyway!" he said with finality. "Since all this business with the mountain has been sorted out, it seems I will be…*sigh*…required to attend the Grand Galloping Gala once more. As such, I am renewing my ensemble. Can I rely on you to make me look amazing?"
Rarity's eyes widened as a smile spread across her face. "Oh! Oh yes! I-*ahem*-I would be honored to, Mr. Stardust."
Zeit smiled broadly, raising his glass. "I'll drink to that!"
"No you will not!" A stern voice said from behind them, it was Litigia. "Mr. Stardust, you sank a valuable mine, buried it in lava, orchestrated the destruction of a 703, and now you're getting drunk and firing weapons in a public place! Are you trying to besmirch my reputation or are you just self-destructive?!"
"A little from Column A and a little from Column B," Zeitgeist said with a shrug, brandishing his glass. "Confound you ponies!"
She trotted up to the two and glowered at Zeitgeist, anger on her face but almost joyous relief and happiness in her eyes. She turned to Rarity, taking on a decidedly less threatening but no less fierce stance. "And you…thank you very much for keeping him alive, Stardust Inc is indebted to you and your friends."
Rarity opened her mouth to respond before being cut off by an alarmed scream. "Oh, Celestia! Get out of the way!"
A familiar white stallion went hurtling by, his legs a blur of panicked motion. "Don't let her kill me!"
"Oh I won't kill you!" said an infuriated voice from down the street. "I just want to show you a nice world I know of! It's called Hurt!"
Twilight raced up the street, her horn glowing, she turned to them. "Where did he go?"
"Somewhere to cower and pray," Zeitgeist said. "World of Hurt, huh?"
Twilight powered down and smiled bashfully. "I wouldn't have actually sent him there…I just wanted to freak him out, you know, teach him a lesson."
"For?" Zeitgeist said with a raised eyebrow. "I thought he was helping you?"
"Fire Dazzler did help us, quite a lot actually," Rarity said to Twilight and Zeit. "But he did get strong-armed into helping those crooks kidnap Spike for Tirac, so he's not entirely blameless…"
"Speaking of…" Litigia said quickly. "I believe you have recently shunted one of our less amicable employees into your 'World of Hurt'. Would you mind bringing him back?"
Twilight chuckled nervously and concentrated. A swirling purple vortex swirled and churned in the air, a sharp lightning crack heralded the materialization of a large diamond dog. He fell to the ground with a muted thud, the frazzled dog looked up and around, a look of confusion and shock in his eyes. "…I'm back?"
Zeitgeist put a hand on his shoulder, a smile on his face. "Yes Feist, you're back. Now, go take some time off. You've deserved it."
The slightly traumatized guard slowly, rose to his feet and cracked his neck. "If it's all the same to you, Your Excellency, I'd rather stay with you."
"Indefatigable, that's what you are!" Zeitgeist chuckled and patted him on the shoulder as he handed him his pistol. "Here, Ms. Statute seems to think I shouldn't be holding one of these."
Feist nodded and holstered the weapon. "She may be right, sire,"
Rarity looked over at Twilight, an unimpressed look on her face. "Have a little fun while you were at Zeit's, Twilight?"
Twilight sighed and nodded. "I was under a lot of stress! You all were captured and dead as far as I knew, excuse me if I get a little on edge with rude people!"
Zeit chuckled and put a hand on her shoulder. "We understand, don't we, Feist?"
"*Grumble* *Expletive* *Grumble*" Feist said under his breath.
"Don't we, Feist," Zeitgeist repeated, no longer a question.
"Yes, Your Excellency. Perfectly justified."
"See? We've all been through a bit of an ordeal. But it's over now, everything can return to normal," he said, raising his drink to his mouth seconds before it was telekinetically whisked away and tossed over the railing by Litigia.
"Oh Zeit, darling!" Rarity said with a laugh. "Normal never lasts!"
There was a rush of hot air followed by an all too familiar whirling sound. Litigia gasped and stood back as the TARDIS materialized into view, Zeitgeist looked on with excitement as the two unicorns simply smiled and waited for it to stop.
The doors opened and out stepped The Doctor and Spike, a broad smile on his face. "It took eight minutes! I was right!"
Spike nodded and stepped out. "Yeah, luckily for him you guys were here to stall Twilight!"
Zeitgeist stepped forwards, an eager smile on his face. "Doctor! I hope this isn't too forward, but may I have a look inside your vehicle?"
The Doctor grinned flintily. "Hmmm…say please."
Zeit blinked. "…Please?"
"Pretty please," The Doctor added, enjoying himself.
"Pretty please," Zeit said eagerly.
"With a…" The Doctor said.
"…Cherry on top," They said in unison.
Twilight stepped forwards. "Doctor! Try to show a little respect for the dog who just saved your life!"
The Doctor chuckled and relented. "Alright, alright! I'd love to bring you on board Ziggy…"
"But?" Zeit said, disappointment crawling over his face.
The Doctor stepped aside and revealed two Grundels, a familiar Worker Grundel and an elderly looking Thinker. "Buuuuuut…I think you have a few loose ends to tie up here."
Zeit turned to preemptively calm a startled Feist, who had already begun to reach for his sidearm. "It's alright. Things are different now…" he turned to the Grundels as they stepped out of the ship. "…Right?"
The Elderly Grundel nodded and spoke. "Indeed they are. I am Elder Granite and this is…"
"Cheppu…" Zeitgeist said with a nod. "We've met."
Granite gestured at Cheppu. "I feel that the Grundel who was closest to he that wrought such terrible suffering upon your people should be present at negotiations, to show you that we are indeed sincere."
"I appreciate the gesture, but I feel the need to inform you that the man you called Gabbro was under the influence of a being known as Tir…The Beast," Zeitgeist said with a respectful nod. "Gabbro died well, a true Grundel."
"We know," Granite said glibly. "It was The Beast's influence that allowed Chip to disregard his previous orders not to alert The Council. We assume that what remained of Gabbro subconsciously lowered the perception filter long enough for him to be scanned. Cheppu is here merely to validate our assertion that the Grundels were being manipulated, and that our regret is sincere."
Zeitgeist bowed respectfully. "Accepted. Come, there is much to discuss. I am currently formulating a story that will just about guarantee that no soul shall ever approach the remains of The Beast's prison ever again! By combining our efforts we can see to it that he remain imprisoned forever!"
The Elder nodded thoughtfully. "Perhaps we could spread awareness and warn all about His evil?"
"I was think more along the lines of irradiating the entire mountain with long-lived isotopes to ward off the lifeforms on which he feeds, but yours is probably a better plan," Zeit said before turning back to the ponies as they entered the TARDIS. "Doctor! It was a pleasure to meet you! Twilight! Try to relax! Rarity! I'll be in touch, let me know if you have any questions about the suit!"
"I will Zeit!" Rarity said with a smile. "Good luck!"
Zeit stayed and watched until the TARDIS faded away, soon only the sound and electrified air remained of the fabulous machine. "…We'll meet again Doctor…"
Inside the TARDIS Twilight, Spike, Rarity, and The Doctor trotted towards the center console. Inside already were Applejack, Zecora, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy.
The Doctor approached the console and grinned widely. "So! Where do we want to go now? Cerulean Shores? The Zephyrs of Clorin? Or maybe…"
Twilight stepped forwards, an almost apologetic look on her face. "Uhh…Doctor?"
He turned to her. "Yes Twilight?"
"Let's go to Ponyville," She said with a small smile.
"Why? We're all fueled up and I grabbed all your luggage from your hotel room!"
"Hey, Prof?" Applejack said. "Ah think she means, well, to stay."
The Doctor blinked. "Wh…what, like…"
All the ponies nodded, Twilight sighed. "Look Doctor, we all love traveling with you, but this adventure has made me realize just what I was missing here and how much it meant to me…A few days ago I would have rather faced the Shadows again than return to my normal boring life right away. But now…Oh! That's good! I'll get that down once we get home!"
"And ah need tah get back to mah business, travel is great 'n' all, but ah'm a working horse an' there's apples that need sellin'! 'Sides, I managed to talk a big name distributor intah taking a tour of Sweet Apple Acres!" Applejack said. "Ah can't just turn mah back on that…"
"I just landed a pretty sweet deal with some of those advertisers!" Rainbow Dash said with a smile. "I need to do some practicing in my home skies to live up to the hype I stirred up!"
Pinkie Pie giggled and nodded. "I'd like to stick around town and perfect my Alteran Cupcake recipe, I figure that I can do the least damage if I stay in Ponyville…besides, I miss Mr'n'Mrs Cake pretty bad!"
Zecora gestured at the large bag of Phoenix salve she had made and sighed. "While it has been fun with you, I fear leaving is what I must do. A home in the forest I must rebuild, an insurance agent will yet be grilled."
Rarity clicked her tongue and gesture out the door. "You heard Zeit, he's renewed his suit! If I don't get to work on it soon I'm starting to think I'll lose my mojo as it were! …And I do miss Sweetie Belle terribly…"
Fluttershy timidly scratched at the floor plating. "…I miss my animals…"
The Doctor looked at the floor dejectedly. "Well…if that's how you all feel I won't stop you. You all have a home and you miss it, it's perfectly understandable really. I-"
"Doctor…" Twilight said with a smile. "Stay with us. I know you don't like staying in one place for too long but please…give it a try. Besides, plenty of crazy things go on in Ponyville! Lots of stuff to keep yourself occupied! We all want to go exploring with you, but we need a bit of time home…and maybe you do too?"
The Doctor looked up at her and smiled. "…Alright. Maybe you're right; maybe I've been on the move for too long. Maybe…maybe a bit of stability is just what the doctor ordered, hmm?"
The Doctor rushed over to the console and pulled various levers. "Ponyville here we come! Allons-y!"
David Tennant…..The Doctor
Tara Strong…..Twilight Sparkle
Andrea Libman…..Fluttershy/Pinkie Pie
Ashleigh Bell…..Rainbow Dash/Applejack
Tabitha St. Germaine…..Rarity
Nora Dunn…..Litigia Statute
James Urbaniak…..Zeitgeist Stardust