“If I wasn't so scared shitless of the old man I would be laughing right now.”
Matt 'Shelly' Novak peeked up through the right side hatch of the M4A3 Sherman tank and between the legs of the tank commander Ian Collins. Ian sighed heavily with annoyance.
“Shelly,” he hissed at the gunner. “Get your damn head out from between my crotch and get back on the gun with Zeus!”
At the sound of his nickname Zachariah 'Zeus' Marshall elbowed Matt in the chest. The loader let out an audible humph as the air left his lungs and he plopped back down next to the tanks seventy-six millimeter gun.
“Should we help him?” Bill Harper’s muffled voice called up from the driver seat.
An uneasy silence filled the tank before Ian finally spoke.
“If somebody doesn’t help him we are all going to get cussed out into next Sunday. I will signal the others to follow me into the field.”
As Ian stood up in the hatch Matt kicked awake the man sitting in front of him.
“Waaaake up Fishy!” Matt sang.
Jeff Fisher, the co-driver, jumped and looked around.
“Whu?” He asked, dazed.
“We are moving forward,” Ian sighed. “Get on the ball! All of you be on edge, the Black Wolf was sighted this morning in a nearby town.”
‘There,’ Ian thought. ‘That should put them on edge and wake them up.’
Frederic Herrmann peered through his binoculars at the American jeep. He had been watching it from his position behind a high hedge for a good five minutes ever since it first got stuck in the mud. In all, the scene playing out before him was quite humorous. Two Yankee soldiers and the jeep driver struggled valiantly to try and get the vehicle unstuck while a flashy man stood in the back barking inaudible orders. Frederic knew exactly who the flashy man was, every German soldier knew. But he dared not fire on the jeep for several reasons. He looked back down through the hatch of his Tiger I at the tank gunner watching him impatiently.
“I told you once already Felix,” Frederic huffed. “I will not fire on the American General.”
Felix Bandt chewed his lips contemplatively. “Why?”
“If we kill him, let’s just say the Americans won't be taking any prisoners for a while. Also we are using him as bait.”
Felix looked appeased with the tank commander’s answer and went back to polishing the breach of the tank's eighty-eight. Frederic shook his head at the obsessive tendencies of the gunner and turned his attention back to the jeep. To his surprise seven American Sherman tanks had emerged from the foggy hedgerow that they had been hiding behind and were now surrounding the jeep in a defensive semicircle. A tank in particular caught his eye. One bearing a green, four leaf clover on its sides and the word Lucky.
“Felix, Udo,” he said to the gunner and loader. “Five-hundred meters. Elevation two clicks, rotation five. You should be able to see them through the sight. I will let you choose your targets. Just don’t shoot the enemy general!”
In his mind the image of his smiling wife and children distracted him momentarily.
Ian tapped impatiently on the outer rim of the hatch as they trudged toward the jeep. He knew that it was probably not a good idea to sit exposed due to snipers being commonplace. Zachariah shared these fears.
“Hey,” he whispered. His voice was barely audible over the sound of the engine. “I don’t like you standing out in the open like that.”
“I appreciate your concern Zeus, but if there are any snipers in the area we would know by now.”
“Still, I don't like the surrounding area. It doesn't feel right.” The gunner expressed his concerns and Ian could hear the anxiety in his voice. They were almost to the jeep so Ian remained standing. They were the second tank to arrive at the stranded vehicle and immediately he wished he hadn’t gone out there in the first place. As they arrived next to the jeep the six foot tall man standing in the back glared at them.
“Took you fucking long enough!” He screamed.
“Sorry Sir, General Patton Sir!” Ian replied calmly. Being a second lieutenant in Patton’s Third Army had made Ian used to the General’s “enthusiasm”. “What do you want us to do?”
The General stared at Ian for a few moments, a look that basically screamed to him that he had just asked a stupid question.
“Boy,” Patton said slowly. “You are in a tank. Pull this son of a bitch out!”
The two Privates that had been attempting to free the jeep prepared to attach a long cable between the two vehicles as Ian directed the tank in front of the jeep. Soon the jeep was pulled free and Patton grinning.
“Do you think he is going to give us a medal for saving his jeep?” Matt asked with a laugh.
“He better.” Zach took a long gulp from a canteen. “I haven't gotten a real medal yet. Not in the Navy and not in-”
A thunderous explosion rattled the tank and for a moment the crew believed that they had been hit. Ian was quick to tell them that Lucky had not been hit but the news was still not good.
“Number four is gone,” Ian said flatly. “I didn't see where it came from but it definitely was an enemy tank.”
“Do you think it was the Black Wolf?” Matt practically squealed in fear.
“Shut it Shelly,” Zachariah hissed as he panned the turret around, searching for the light cloud of smoke that would betray the enemy’s position through the gun’s sight. He noticed Patton’s jeep speeding away but the General was not in it. Another explosion and pieces of tank filled his view of the surroundings.
“I think that was number six,” Zeus growled.
He continued to pan across the distant hedgerow. Two more american tanks exploded before he saw it. A light puff of smoke floating parallel to the hedges making it harder for Zachariah to see it in the first place. But he had yet to find the tank itself. He waited for the enemy to fire again as they all hoped dearly that the next shell wouldn't be for them. The next sound they heard was almost as surprising as incoming artillery.
“Open this hatch,” came Patton’s voice along with several heavy knocks.
Ian heaved open the entrance and the General’s face filled their vision.
“Can't you see that son of a bitch?” He inquired loudly. “He is hiding right there!”
Ian stood up and followed where Patton was pointing. He could barely make out a large dark shape through the leaves of the hedge. There was a flash from the dark shape and another tank exploded.
“Kill that bastard,” Patton cheered as he stood defiantly on the turret. “I feel all tingly inside so this must be a good day!”
Ian puzzled momentarily at what Patton had just said when he realized that he too felt a strange tingling sensation building all over his body. He didn’t have time to think about it long as a shell whizzed overhead and exploded harmlessly behind them.
“Zeus!” Ian gave his favorite order. “Get a lightning bolt ready and send this bastard to hell!”
“I told you not to aim for Patton!” Frederic growled at Felix.
The gunner didn’t reply as he continued to peer at the Americans through the sight. There was a deep ‘whomp’ and the sound of dirt raining from the sky onto the tank’s roof.
“They are shooting back sir,” Felix stated.
“Don’t shoot,” Frederic warned. “Wait for more tanks to show up.”
“Yes Udo,” Frederick replied.
“Is there a fuel leak or exhaust seeping in? I feel light headed and...well it feels like I have spiders under my skin.”
The crew paused momentarily.
“I feel the same way,” Felix said.
“Hmm.” Was all Frederick said. He looked quickly at his arms while taking a deep breath tasting the air for hits of fumes and fuel. He smelled nothing so he determined that the sensations were of no major importance. He looked back at his hands as the eighty-eight thundered again.
“Looks like they are trying to flank us,” Felix said as Udo prepared another shell. The gunner looked out through his periscope and sighed heavily. “Are you sure you don’t want me to fire?”
Frederic didn't respond. He was busy watching a small purple flame dance across his fingertips.
“It’s the Black Wolf,” Zeus yelled over the sound of the growling engine.
“Get in range and flank that bastard!” Patton had now replaced Ian in the commander's position. The second lieutenant was now hunched uncomfortably in the small space by the General’s legs.
“Yes sir!” Bill replied enthusiastically.
The tank lurched forward as they tried to get a shot on the weaker sections of the enemy armor.
“I got a clear view!” Zeus cheered as the massive shape of the enemy tank filled his view.
Lucky came to a sudden halt and soon after the hull shook with the report of the gun.
“I hate it when that happens!” Zeus screamed in anger.
He watched through the periscope as the round he had just fired glanced off the dark black armor of the tiger and rocket skyward.
“Pour it on!” Patton yelled triumphantly as another shell was promptly loaded and fired but to no effect on the enemy’s thick armor. Obviously he was the only man enjoying the situation.
Matt prepared to slide a new shell into the breach when an explosion coursed through the tank, filling the hull with a strange purple-pink fire.
“Ah don't want to die!” Fishy screamed.
‘This is interesting,’ Ian thought complacently as his body and the others were engulfed in flame. ‘So this is how I die. And it doesn't even hurt.’
There was a sudden falling sensation as the crew blacked out.
Here it is. My first and possibly only HiE. I hope you enjoy.
I do not own MLP; FiM
Comment your opinion please.
“I’m dead?” Matt patted himself, checking for burns. Content that he was in one piece he looked around the silent tank. The others were just then starting to emerge from unconsciousness.
“What the fuck just happened?” Matt groaned as he woke.
Zachariah immediately peered through the periscope as Ian hesitantly tried to nudge Patton awake. The General jumped slightly and looked around.
“I was expecting us to be dead,” he stated happily.
“Sir,” Zeus said quietly. “I don’t know where we are at.”
Ian crawled past the General and opened the gunner's hatch. The bright sunlight blinded him momentarily and he shielded his eyes from the glare. When his vision cleared he was surprised to find the surrounding countryside filled with large apple trees. The commander’s hatch next to him creaked open and Patton emerged.
“The hell are we?”
Ian shrugged. “No idea sir.”
The lieutenant pulled himself out of the tank and down onto the grassy earth. He was followed by the rest of the crew who looked around in wonder at their bright and peaceful surroundings.
“Wheew,” Matt whistled as he plucked an apple from a tree. “I like this place!”
Bill and Jeff emerged last from the tank. The driver was toting a M3 ‘Grease Gun’ SMG on his shoulder. Ian decided that it was best to be prepared just in case there was Germans in the area.
“Matt, Zeus,” he said. “I am going to check for damage. You two retrieve our guns.”
“Yes sir,” Zachariah replied quickly.
“Aye boss!” Matt smiled.
Patton was walking away and Ian watched him walk behind a tree and disappear. He didn't bother keeping an eye on the General. He wasn’t going to babysit the old man. The tank commander limped to the back of the Sherman and his mood soured. The engine steamed from overheating and Ian kicked the steel hull.
“We won’t be going anywhere for a while,” he growled.
“Wha why?” Jeff asked in his southern accent through a mouthful of apple. The nineteen year old Texan joined Ian followed by Bill.
“It appears to be overheated.” Ian scratched his head as he stared distastefully at the engine.
“I’ll fetch some water.” Bill climbed the side of the tank as Zeus and Matt emerged with the crew’s personal weapons.
“To our wonderful Momma,” Matt laughed as he handed Ian a pistol. “Your 1911 .45. Ain’t she beautiful?”
Matt handed a revolver to Jeff. “Here is your thirty-eight Fishy.”
“Heaay, Zeus,” Matt protested. “That is my Thomson. This one is yours.”
Matt waved around a M3 as Zeus smiled.
“The Thompson is mine now. You lost it to me in a bet.”
Matt opened his mouth to protest then decided to not argue. Bill was now emerging from the tank with a canteen.
“Here Bill,” Zeus handed the driver a broken M3. “Blame Matt.”
“What did ya do Shelly! You killed Lee!”
“I did not kill your gun!” Matt backed away all the while smiling. “It got stuck next to your seat and I might have broken off the barrel.”
Ian took the canteen from Bill as the two crewmembers glared at each other. Patton returned from behind the tree and looked at the five tankers in front of him.
“Line up at attention!”
The sudden seriousness caught the crew off guard. They scrambled into formation in front of the General.
“We are in unknown territory, possibly behind enemy lines and you are acting like its a summer picnic with your Grandmama!” Pattons face turned a shade of pink. “Get your shit together or I will shoot you as to save the Nazis the trouble! Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes sir!” They replied in unison.
“I want you three to set up a perimeter,” he said pointing at Matt, Bill and Jeff. “You, Zach, Marshall... Zeus, or whatever your name is, give Harper your Thomson and get on the main gun. I don't want enemy armor taking us unawares.”
They saluted and departed for their tasks. Ian remained stone still as the others left. Once they were out of earshot and inside the tank Pattons mood changed. He smiled widely.
“You are a hell of a tank commander,” he said as he patted Ian on the back.
“Thanks sir.” Ian’s brow furrowed in confusion.
“I noticed that you limp.” Patton pointed at Ian’s right leg. The General walked up next to the Lieutenant and leaned up against the tank.
“Oh, Lucky was hit a while back and some shrapnel got lodged in my leg. I was out for a few weeks and Zeu... Marshall took over commanding the tank. I was almost replaced for good but I recovered.”
Admiration filled Pattons eyes.
“You boy are a hero,” he patted Ian on the back. “Any man willing to get hurt and rush back to the lines is worthy of any medal.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Where are you from?”
Ian remained quiet as memories flooded his mind. After a few moments he answered.
“I was born in Ireland and I moved to the States with my father and three sisters when I was seven. I lived in Maine for a while until I joined the army.”
“Well,” Patton said with a smile. “Lets see if the engine will start and when we get back to our lines I am getting you and your crew as many medals as I can.”
“Sounds nice sir,” Ian gave a zealous smile in return. Internally he could have cared less about medals.
“Oh, she’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes, she’ll be comin’ round the mountain, she’ll be-”
“Matt,” Zeus growled. “If you don’t shut up I am going to shove this shell down your throat!”
Bill shook his head but overall he was happy that the initial awkwardness of being in a tank with the most feared general had faded. Albeit only slightly. Shelly seemed to be the only one impervious to uncomfort.
The happy sputtering of the tank always improved Bill’s mood. Being a native of northern Virginia he had spent his whole life working on his family’s farm equipment and tractors. The sound of Lucky’s engine was like the sound of a heart to him. Next to him, Fishy was busy scanning the radio for any sign of allied or enemy forces. All they could hear though was the heartless sound of static.
“Tis ain't good,” Fishy pounded his fist on the metal box. “Ah ain't got nothin on all frequencies!”
“The radio is probably broken or the antenna shorted or something,” Ian called down. He was back in his command position, standing up in the hatch.
Patton, eager to relax, sat on the edge of the turret watching the apple trees pass by.
“What I don’t understand is how there is no signs of war anywhere.” Patton observed the peacefulness of the land. “No planes, distant gunfire and explosions. Nothing.”
He looked up into the sky, expecting to see P-51 Mustangs scream over the tree line but all that flew over was a robin. The tank unexpectedly ground to a halt and Patton was sent tumbling forward. Ian slammed his face against the fifty caliber in front of him and he felt blood drip from his brow towards his eyes.
“God dammit Bill!” Ian screamed. “What the bloody hell did you do that for?”
Patton righted himself and waited for an answer as well. When there was no reply Zachariah nudged the driver with his foot. Bill shook his head and replied hesitantly.
“I, uh... I think a brightly colored animal ran in front of the tank.”
“What?” Ian replied. His mouth hung open in confusion. “I have seen you drive this tank straight into a line of Germains, running a few over but you stop for a colorful dog or something?”
“Sorry,” Bill replied.
In his mind though the image of the animal remained. A small, yellow, horse-like animal with what appeared to be a red ribbon in its hair.
“Silly Billy,” Matt laughed. To which he was punched in the ribs by Zeus.
The orange pony looked up from a basket of apples she was sorting as her sister ran up to her. A look of pure fear etched across her face.
“What is it Applebloom?” Applejack dropped the apple she was holding and rushed to meet Applebloom.
“There’s ah monster in tha orchard!” The filly slid to a stop. Her body shook from fear.
“A monster?” Applejack wouldn't had believed it but the fear in Applebloom’s eyes convinced her that the filly had indeed seen some sort of monster. “What did it look like?”
Applebloom struggled to regain her breath. “Like ah... Like ah giant turtle!”
‘That don’t sound that scarry,’ Applejack said mentally.
“Ah’ll go check it out.” Applejack trotted into the barn. “Big Mac, I need yer help with someth’n.”
“Eeyup,” came his reply from the apple filled interior of the barn.
The pair prepared to walk into the orchard when Applebloom galloped up to them.
“Ah’am coming with ya.”
“No,” Applejack shook her head. “Ah want ya to go get the others just in case we need em.”
Applebloom’s lower lip quivered. “Okay,” she replied reluctantly.
Her two siblings ran off toward the distant apple tree covered hills as Applebloom slowly made her way toward Ponyville. Applejack and Big Macintosh didn't have to search long for the signs of the monster. They stumbled across a pair of thick parallel lined in the ground.
“Ah wonder what could have made these.” Applejack walked around the trail, studying it intently. “Looks like the tracks a wagon would make buh these are a great deal wider.”
“Big Mac, ya follow the trail that ah way.” Applejack pointed towards the direction that led away from Ponyville, into the distant Whitetail Wood. “Ah’ll follow it towards Ponyville.”
Macintosh nodded and galloped off. Applejack followed the trail for a good five minutes before she heard a strange sound coming from further up the track. It sounded like a large animal was growling non stop. She slowed her pace and started noticing things amiss around her. Bushes were flattened, trees were damaged and apples had been shaken loose from the branches by the passage of something large. The pony’s confidence started to fade as she neared the source of the noise. Applejack could hear plants and branches being crushed. The rumbling was so strong that she could feel it in her legs.
Then she saw it, and to her it did look like a large turtle. It was dark green and it lumbered along slowly all the while growling as if it was perpetually angry. Its shell, she noted, was oddly shaped. It was squared with a small box on top. The box had what appeared to be a large pipe sticking out of it.
‘Well ain't you funny look’n.’
She followed it and noticed that the Turtlezilla ,or whatever it was, seemed lost. It continuously changed direction and in truth had not traveled out of an area three miles wide. There was a sudden loud sputter followed by a rush of steam or smoke from the turtle’s rear and the orchard became deathly quiet. the pony jumped into a nearby bush and hid. The monster sputtered a few times then returned to silence. After a few moments there echoed a voice that Applejack swore came from inside the beast.
“Fuck this tank!”
I do not own MLP: FiM
Twilight was having a lovely day. That was until Applebloom came galloping into her library screaming something about a large monster turtle in the apple orchard.
“A large Tortoise?” Twilight pulled a book about large reptile species from a shelf and brought it over to an already cluttered table.
“It was a massive, noisy turtle!”
“Tortoise or turtle?”
“What?” Applebloom tilted her head in confusion.
“Turtles live in or near water and a tortoise lives on dry land nearly full time.”
Applebloom still looked confused. “A uh tortoise I guess.”
Twilight flipped rapidly through the book as the filly watched her impatiently.
“Could ya hurry it up Twilight?”
Twilight paused and glared at Applebloom. She quickly returned to her readings.
“I don’t want to address the problem without knowing what it even is or how to deal with it.”
“Oh okay,” Applebloom replied quietly.
Twilight quickly finished looking through the book and tossed it to a pile on the far side of the table.
“There was nothing about large tortoises,” she groaned loudly.
“Ya think we should go get the others and check it out for ourselves?”
Twilight sighed. “Yeah, lets go get them.”
“Yeah whatever,” Rainbow Dash peered at Twilight and Applebloom from a small cloud. “A large tortoise, like Tank?”
“Bigger than Tank,” Dash rubbed her chin. “As big as me?”
Twilight wasn't in the mood for a guessing game.
“About the same size as a small house. A very small house. More like a shed. We don’t know if it is dangerous-”
“Cool!” Dash was excited as ever for a potentially hazardous adventure.
“I want you to get Fluttershy and Rarity and I will go get Pinkie Pie.”
Dash nodded in compliance and zoomed off, destroying the cloud that she was laying on. Twilight didn’t have to go far to find Pinkie Pie. The bouncy earth pony was actually on her way to say hello to Rainbow Dash.
“Hello Twilight!” Pinkie cheered. “What cha doin today?”
“Applebloom saw a giant tortoise in their orchard,” she tilted her head in the direction of the young filly. “And we are going to go check it out.”
“Ooh!” Pinkie Pie clapped her hooves together and smiled literally from ear to ear. “That sounds fun! Want me to throw him a party?”
“Do tortoises even like parties?”
Twilight shrugged. “If he is nice then you can give him, or her, a party.”
Immediately after the beast had spoken its pleasant words Applejack noticed a panel in its uppermost shell hinge open and something start to emerge. Afraid of being discovered AJ turned and ran towards her barn to await the arrival of her friends. Granny Smith was waiting by the fence when Applejack returned.
“Now where ya been off to?” She asked.
“We have a mighty large vermin in the orchard Granny,” Applejack replied comically.
“Did ya ask your friends to come over and help?”
“Why yes I did.” AJ nodded. “How did ya know?”
The old mare pointed down the road where her friends and sister were fast approaching.
Twilight was the first to reach her friend.
“Hello AJ.” Twilight looked stressed about something. “Did you see the tortoise?”
“I sure did.”
“Do you think the poor thing is lost,” Fluttershy asked quietly.
“The way it wandered aroun’ made it look like it was lost. But there is is somethin’ mighty interestin' I learned about it.”
“What’s that?” Rainbow Dash asked impatiently. She hovered in the air, front legs crossed in front of her chest.
“Is it hostile?” Twilight bit her lip, hoping that it wasn't.
“Well uh no,” Applejack smiled. “I learned that it can talk.”
“Wow,” Twilight’s eyes bulged slightly.
“What did it say,” Dash landed next to AJ.
Applejack grinned uneasily. “Whell uh... it said fuck this tank.”
“Young lady,” Granny Smith chided. “Don’t ya go sayin’ them bad words! Did I not raise ya propper?”
“But Granny, that's what it said!”
“Why would that tortoise say that about my tortoise,” Rainbow Dash growled. “What did Tank ever do to him?”
The pegasus leaped into the air to go and give the large tortoise a peace of her mind but Applejack stopped her.
“Ah don’t know why he said that ‘bout your pet but we’re all goin’ together and finding out.” Applejack turned to her Grandma. “Has Big Mac came home yet?”
“No he hasn’t but I know he is alright. You six run along now and get that turtle-”
“Tortoise,” Twilight and Fluttershy inquired.
“-out of our orchard. Applebloom, your stayin’ here.”
“But why! I found it!” Applebloom protested.
“I don’t want you being around a large cussing turtle.” Granny Smith noticed the irritation in Twilights eyes. “I mean tortoise.”
Matt stared intently as Bill and Jeff worked on the tank’s engine. An idea slowly crept into his mind. He clambered up the side of the tank, past the sleeping form of Zeus and into the hull. He reached awkwardly past Ian’s hip, who was too busy checking the equipment, and retrieved a box. He climbed out and returned to the others by the engine.
“What’s that?” Bill demanded.
Matt did a little dance with the box. “Pancake powder!”
“Why do you have that?”
Matt smiled at the driver. “For pancakes. What else do you use pancake powder for?”
Bill glared at the loader, contemplating murder. “I meant, how are you going to make them?”
Matt removed his canteen, a small pan and looked at the overheated engine.
“No,” Bill grabbed Matt’s shoulders and pushed him away from the tank. “You are not using Lucky as a stove!”
“But apple pancakes.” Matt put on his best puppy-dog expression. Bill just glared back.
“No. Where did you even get that?”
Matt’s grin spread even wider. “Stole it from the camp a while back.”
Patton noticed the two tankers and joined them.
“I haven't had good pancakes in a while.”
Matt and Bill hadn't noticed the General approach and they both jumped slightly and saluted him. Patton saluted back then looked at the box of pancake mix.
“I await some good apple cakes for all of us.”
“Yes sir,” Matt and Bill replied in unison. Jeff was still busy looking over the tank.
Patton nodded and lumbered away.
“Great,” Bill said angrily. “Now I have to help you make our dinner.”
Walking had never been an activity Rainbow Dash enjoyed. As the friends gradually trekked after the tortoise Dash started to feel edgy. She longed to soar into the sky and find the beast much quicker. The pegasus raked her mind for an excuse to fly ahead.
She finally found her excuse when they crossed over into Whitetail Woods where the ground became packed down and rocky and the tracks became harder to follow. Though the occasional broken tree and flattened bush helped them stay on the trail.
“Hey Twi,” Dash said, landing next to the violet unicorn. “I think I should fly ahead and scout out the monster's location.”
Twilight was about to protest the idea but she decided otherwise.
“Very well.” Dash squealed in excitement as Twilight continued. “But don't go too far ahead just in case you need us.”
“I will. I mean I won’t!” Dash jumped vertically into the air and bolted away over the trees.
She flew for what seemed like five minutes, all the while enjoying the flow of the wind around her wings and body, when she suddenly heard a deep rumbling, growling noise. Dash followed the noise, excitement building. Then she saw it, the massive beast lumbering along. The pegasus landed in a nearby tree just as it ground to a halt and a hatch creaked open. Rainbow Dash was surprised to see a strange ape-like creature clamber out, jump off the tortoise’s sides, though now she realised that it was some sort of vehicle, and rush into the woods all the while mumbling indistinguishable curses under its breath.
She glided out of the tree and followed it closely.
“I knew those fuckin’ pancakes were too good to last,” Matt groaned as he waddled into the woods, out of view from the others and pulled down his pants. “They tasted great but ohhhh yeeaah.”
Matt relieved his upset bowels with a goofy grin on his face.
“Hurry the hell up Shelly!” Ian called. The tank commander’s voice sounded distant and Matt wondered how far he had ran. He stood and prepared to head back to the tank when he heard a nearby bush rustle in the non-existent breeze and what sounded like an angry hiss of someone cursing. His heart froze and he immediately suspected Germans. He raised his grease gun and aimed it towards the bush.
‘What was that damn pass-phrase?' Matt chewed on his lip. Fear rising rapidly. ‘Oh yeah.’
“Baseball!” He called out towards the bush all the while hunkering down closer to the ground. After a long pause and not hearing a reply Matt aimed and laughed.
“The callback of today was hot dog, you fucking kraut! Just thought you should know before I killed you.”
He squeezed the trigger and let loose a burst of .45 rounds into the bushes. Immediately after the bark of the gun echoed away he heard a sound that made his heart sink. A scream that didn't sound like a German soldiers but that of a young teenaged girl. Matt stood rooted to the spot, mouth hanging open, afraid to look. When he heard whoever he shot start moaning and crying in pain he decided to help. He ran to the bush and parted the leaves. In the fading sunlight he saw something that both horrified him and confused him.
Staring back at him with pained and fear filled, rose colored eyes was a blue, rainbow maned pony. Matt then noticed three neat holes, one under her shoulder above her heart the other two in its left-front leg. Blood was rapidly seeping out onto the layer of leaves.
“Matt!” Ian called and the loader could hear several of his crew mates rapidly approaching.
The fear in the pony’s eyes increased and her breathing sped up. Matt instantly felt compelled to comfort the wounded animal. He placed his gloved hand on her head and softly patted the pony.
“It’s okay,” he whispered. “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Shhh, it’s okay.”
The pony squeaked and closed its eyes just as Ian and Zeus arrived. Matt could see the slow rising and falling of her chest so he knew it was still alive.
“What the fuck is that?” Ian ordered.
Zeus just stood there staring.
“I don’t know.” Matt was unexpectedly close to tears and he wiped away his eyes with a blood covered glove. “But we have to help it. We can't let her die.”
I do not own MLP:FiM.
Oh no! Not Dashie! What have I done!?!
Please leave a comment.
Matt cradled the limp body of the pony in his arms as they made their way back to the tank. He didn't understand why he was so upset over shooting the creature. He had been responsible for the death of many German and Italian soldiers and not thought twice about it. There was something about this multicolored pony that twisted something inside of him.
“Why did you shoot it in the first place,” Ian pressed as they reached Lucky.
“I-I thought it was a kraut!” Matt nervously hissed in return.
“You thought that thing was a kraut?”
“I couldn't see it through the bushes.” Matt frowned. “I gave the pass-phrase, there was no reply and so I fired! God damn I am a idiot.”
“Yes you are,” Zeus growled. “You can't just go off and shoot something you can't see. You probably just alerted any nearby Germans to our position.”
Realization of the extent of his folly hit Matt like a wave.
“God damn it! Guys I am so sorry.”
Patton was waiting for them, an expression of pure rage etched painfully across his face.
“What the hell happened?” He demanded.
Ian saluted and answered. “Private Novak shot a miniature horse sir.”
Patton’s eyebrow raised in confusion. He turned his attention to Matt and the rainbow colored pony in his arms.
“Did someone paint the thing?”
“No sir,” Matt replied. “It seems to be its true color.”
“Interesting.” Patton took a closer look. “And it appears someone glued wings onto it.”
“What?” Matt looked back at the pony and for the first time noticed wings. He gently tugged at one and let out a gasp of shock. “I think the wings are real sir.”
There was silence from the others as they stared at the bleeding animal with new found interest.
“Men,” Patton said after a moment. “Save this animal. I love horses and this thing will be a perfect mascot for your battalion. Also, a winged multi-colored pony is something you don't see every day.”
“Yes sir!” They replied in unison.
“But stay on alert.” Patton looked around as if expecting Germans to come charging out of the bushes at any moment. “I don't want any of those pig bastards jumping our asses you hear?”
They saluted and Patton turned and went back inside the tank to man the 50cal while the crew was out saving the animal.
“Fishy!” Ian called for the co-driver.
Jeff’s head emerged from the tank.
“You are our medic for today. Get the kit.”
The distant report of what sounded like loud firecrackers echoed through the trees. The forest, which had been filled with the sound of chirping birds, went deathly quiet.
“Now I wonder what that was?” Applejack said.
The others looked around at each other but no one had the answer.
“Maybe somepony is celebrating!” Pinkie Pie said excitedly after they started walking again..
“Maybe,” Twilight said flatly. But deep down inside she felt like whatever the noise was, it wasn't good. “I think we should walk faster girls.”
As if to spite what she had said, Rarity twisted her ankle.
“Oh my that hurts!” The fashion pony sat down on a rock and nursed her hoof. “I can't see anything in this dreadful darkness. I think we should camp here for the night.”
“But we didn't bring any supplies,” Twilight protested.
“I did!” Pinkie squealed happily as she pulled camping supplies and an entire tent from her saddlebags. “I also brought chocolate and marshmallows for s'mores!”
Twilight frowned but decided that they could catch up with the tortoise tomorrow morning.
“Fine,” she said flatly. “But we are waking up early tomorrow.”
Matt watched the sleeping animal as the tank lumbered along. The surgery had been successful but the loader didn't think that the pony would be walking anytime soon. The rest of the crew, excluding Patton, had been unhappy with having to share precious tank space with her. The pony, which the crew had dubbed Rainbow because it was the obvious name, had not woken up since he shot her.
“Should we stop for the night sir?” Bill called up from the driver seat.
Ian shrugged. “It is up to you. Can you see in the dark?”
As if on cue Lucky hit a tree.
“God damn it!” Bill cursed loudly.
Matt slid forward abruptly and fell out of his seat almost landing on the still slumbering pony.
“Yeah,” Ian said after the crew re-situated themselves. “I think it is time to stop.”
Twilight was the first to wake up. She crawled out of the surprisingly large tent and looked around. Something were bothering her. Rainbow Dash had not returned last night and she was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh what a lovely morning.” Rarity, to the surprise of Twilight, was the second one awake.
“Good morning Rarity,” Twilight said pleasantly. “Did Rainbow Dash stop by last night at any time?”
Rarity shook her head. “No, I didn't see her. Is she still missing?”
Applejack was the next friend to exit the tent followed shortly by Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy.
“Pack up quickly,” Twilight started taking down the tent and her friends joined in. “I think Rainbow Dash is in trouble.”
Rainbow Dash was dreaming about large apes eating her while she screamed in pain. She scrambled to break free of the dream but something was preventing her from waking up. She struggled even harder against the wall of drowsiness as the monsters tore into her. To her relief she emerged from her sleep but found herself in a situation just as terrifying as the last.
Her eyes cracked cautiously open and she looked around. She was laying on a hard metal surface at the feet of the ape that had attacked her. She stifled a squeak of fear and held her breath, afraid that it had heard her. The ape made no sign that he noticed that she was awake, Dash suspected that it was probably probably too loud in the tortoise machine for them to hear. The other apes were arrayed throughout the vehicle and seemed to be preoccupied with whatever tasks they were doing.
She suddenly realised something that she should have noticed earlier. She carefully looked at her bandage covered chest and legs. These monsters had actually helped her. She then remembered the last thing that happened before she passed out. The kind and apologetic words of the ape that shot her. Maybe it was an accident and they didn't mean her harm.
“Hey Zeus,” Rainbow Dash jumped slightly as the nearest ape addressed the one next to him. His voice was barely audible over the machines growls. “Why do you think we haven't reached our lines yet? And how do we got so far away in the first place?”
The other one just shrugged.
“Okay then,” her assailant seemed content with the answer and went back to staring blankly at the metal walls. He then asked another question. “How much chloroform did Fishy use on the pony?”
'Chloroform?' Dash questioned mentally.
“Plenty,” Zeus replied flatly and Matt went back to watching the walls.
Dash found herself examining the peculiar clothing the apes were wearing. A khaki jacket, dark green coveralls, thick goggles and what appeared to be leather helmets adorned all but one of the members. The biggest, in both height and width, wore a black and brown jacket with a green uniform underneath and a shining green helmet with four silver stars in front. Under the jacket Dash could barely make out what appeared to be medals of a strange sort pinned to the uniform.
The previous question that the first ape had asked seemed to have sparked the same puzzlement in one of the others.
“Bill,” the ape sitting higher up, next to the one in the clean uniform and jacket, asked loudly. “I think we are lost again. The countryside doesn't even look like France!”
A voice echoed up from a hidden compartment in the front of the vehicle and Dash couldn't understand what it said. Apparently the other ape had understood and he replied.
“No, I don’t think we died and went to heaven.” There was a long pause and another muffled comment to which the higher up ape replied to as well. “No I don't think we went to hell either.”
The one named Matt laughed. “Are you sure we aren't in hell Momma?”
Dash was surprised that something that appeared to be male had a name like Momma. Momma glared at Matt then his eyes drifted slowly over to her.
“Well look,” he said pleasantly. “Our little friend is awake.”
Rainbow Dash’s heart sped up and she prepared for the worse. Matt and the shiny helmeted ape looked down at her and smiled. Matt reached down to pet her and Dash cringed away.
“Its okay,” he said softly.
She continued to edge away. Her injuries started to scream in pain and she winced in pain.
“Don't move,” Matt continued to reach towards her. “You are just going to reopen the wounds.”
His hand was inches away from her now and she couldn't back away anymore and was pressed up uncomfortably against the hull.
“It’s okay. It’s okay,” he continued to coo. “I am not going to hurt you.”
There was no way she was going to let him touch her. She suddenly snapped at his hand with enough force to bite off a finger. Matt drew back just in time before her teeth could sever anything. The ape called Momma laughed.
“Wow!” Matt said shocked. Like a curious foal he reached out his hand to try petting her again.
“Don’t touch me!” Dash screamed angrily.
Ian watched the whole scenario between Matt and the colorful pony play out. When the pony had tried to bite his fingers he laughed and wished she had succeeded. When Matt reached his hand out once again Ian anticipated the same reaction. It would have been a proper dose of karma for Matt calling him Momma, his hated nickname. But what happened next shattered his world.
“Don’t touch me!”
Ian, Matt, Zachariah and Patton stared open mouthed and wide eyed at the pony. Patton was the first to recover from the surprise.
“Did it just talk?”
Ian slowly nodded his head. “Yes, I think it did sir.”
They continued to stare at the pony who glared hatefully back. They heard Bill's voice crackle in their headphones.
“I knew it,” he hollered. “We died and went to some twisted afterlife with talking, multi-colored animals! Damn it!”
I do not own MLP:FiM
I would like to thank totallynotabrony, Spiffy Mcsquee and mines5 for being my pre-readers.
The tank slowly ground to a halt and the interior became even more silent than it already was. Rainbow continued to glare at them, her sharp eyes darting from face to face, challenging them to come near. The crew stared back, struggling to come up with any response to what had just happened. Rainbow, apparently growing tired of being stared at, spoke again.
“What do you monsters want with me?”
“You're talking!” Matt said excitedly at her and smiled widely.
“So are you,” retorted the Pony.
The others weren't as enthusiastic.
“Holy Mary mother of God,” Ian exclaimed. “Maybe we are dead.”
“Or dreaming,” Zeus was reluctant to believe the death option.
“Are you an angel in pony form?” Matt asked.
“What?” Rainbow tilted her head in confusion.
“Shut up Shelly!” Ian scraped his arm intentionally against a sharp edge of metal on the tank hull and flinched from the pain. “No, I don’t think this is a dream.”
Patton was sitting quietly watching the pony all the while deep in thought. Bill, who had been mumbling the Our Father and other prayers spoke up.
“I say we shoot this abomination and get on our way.”
“No! You can't shoot an angel! Though I did. Sorry pony angel.” He apologised to Rainbow then turned his attention back to Bill. “You will go to hell or something like that!”
“Shut up Shelly,” Ian growled again. “We are not killing it.”
“We are already in hell,” Bill retorted and went back to his prayers. “I knew I shoulda never stole that silver set in Sicily! Lord forgive me!”
“What is wrong with you guys?” Rainbow spoke up. She was extremely confused at the current argument or conversation. Whatever this dialogue could be classified as.
“Quiet,” Ian hissed at her. “You’re an animal and you are not supposed to talk. So start now.”
“You can't tell me to be quiet!”
“Yeah,” Matt agreed. “You can't tell an angel to be quiet.”
“Shut up Matt!” Ian and Zeus echoed.
Patton, growing weary of the increasing panic, finally spoke up.
“Men! Get a-hold of yourselves!” The crew instantly fell silent and Rainbow Dash stared open eyed at him. “It appears a complication has arisen and needs to be resolved. You bastards act coolly under the fire of an enemy tank but when a colorful pony with wings and the ability to talk is found in an unknown land you panic? I am disgusted with your reaction here. Now it appears we aren't dreaming cause I have never been in a dream as real as this. So that leaves two options. We are dead and in some strange afterlife or we are in some God forsaken and forgotten part of France where fairies live.”
He looked around at their confused and worried faces and continued.
“Now I don't know how we came to be here but we are to continue west until we either hit our lines, reach the ocean or arrive at the borders of heaven and hell. Hopefully by then we will learn what is going on.”
“Yes sir,” Ian replied. The others saluted.
“Now, I will be interrogating our guest here as you continue towards the presumed location of our line.”
There was a sudden series of sputtering noises from the idling engine.
“We are nearly out of fuel sir,” Bill groaned through the headset. “Damnit!”
Ian sighed heavily, stress clearly visible in his eyes and face.
“Turn it off.” The lieutenant looked expectantly at Patton as the engine gurgled several times and went silent. “What now sir?”
“Two options, and I will let you men put it up to a vote.” Patton already knew the answer they would give but he continued anyway. “First option is we ditch the tank and proceed on foot. Or we stay here and wait for our lines to reach us.”
There was a quick vote in which led to all of the crew members wanting to stay. Patton agreed, albeit reluctantly.
“All of you except Lieutenant Collins leave the tank and set up a perimeter. We will be staying in here and interrogating this… pony.”
Dash gulped nervously as the others crawled out leaving her alone under the curious eyes of the humans. After several moments of painful silence Patton spoke.
“So, you are a talking pony.” He stated flatly.
“Yep. And you’re talking monkeys. I mean apes.” She replied sharply.
“How did you learn to talk?”
“My mom and dad taught me when I was a foal. Where did you learn to talk?”
“My parents, as well as English class.” Ian nodded as Patton continued. “So there are more of you? You aren’t an escaped circus animal?”
“Yes, there are a lot of us. And I have never been in a circus, though I did go to one recently.”
“Where are we?”
“You are in Equestria. Where are you guys from and what are you?”
“Equestria?” Ian found himself searching his knowledge of religious texts for anything relating to Equestria just in case they were dead and in an afterlife.
“Yeah, Equestria.” Dash adjusted herself to alleviate the growing pain of her wounds and the soreness of lying on the metal floor. “You guys never heard of this place?”
“Equestria doesn’t exist.” Ian stated.
“Yes it does and you are in it.” The pony rolled her eyes. “You never answered my question. What are you and where are you from? ”
“We are humans from the good old United States of America.” Patton replied enthusiastically.
“No more questions from you for now,” Ian said.
Dash frowned but remained quiet.
“Do you have any idea how we got here?” Ian asked but he didn’t expect an informative answer.
“You rode in this thing to get here?”
Ian sighed and shook his head.
“What is your name?” Patton asked.
“I’m Rainbow Dash, the best flyer in all of Equestria.” Dash beamed.
“You can fly?” Ian looked at her wings, doubtful.
“Well of course I can!” Dash laughed. “Why do you think I have these?”
“Along with multicolored talking horses, a flying one is just absurd.”
“I’m a pegasi and I am not absurd!” Dash winced in pain, her injuries were starting to get unbearable. “You are absurd! Hairless apes that have never heard of Equestria traveling around in a metal tortoise. That’s just odd. Cool, but odd.”
They remained silent for a few more moments then Patton rummaged around a pile of maps and chose one of Europe.
“Where on this map is Equestria?”
Dash looked at it in the dim light for a minute then shrugged.
“I don’t see Equestria anywhere on that map,” she said. “I don’t recognize any of the other countries either.”
Ian was about to ask another question but noticed her wince in pain a few more times and her eyes start watering.
“Are you in pain?” He asked sincerely.
She nodded biting her lip.
“Looks like the morphine in wearing off. We didn't give you that much because, well, we didn't think you were going to live.” Ian sighed then smiled. “But you proved to be made of some resilient stuff.”
Ian reached over to a small metal box with the pale white words “First Aid” and retrieved a small syrette.
“This here will help with the pain.”
She looked at him quizzically.
“It’s morphine,” Ian said.
“Is it a needle?”
“Please don't tell me you are afraid of needles,” Ian groaned.
“A little bit.” Dash smiled nervously.
“I should have expected as much from a colorful pony. It’s either the needle or the pain.” Ian remembered how he had refused to use morphine when his leg was injured by shrapnel. It had been excruciating but he wanted to feel all of it. To remember all of it. He returned from his memories and back to the conversation. “And the pain is just starting. It is going to get far worse.”
She stared at the morphine for a few moments as Ian waited impatiently.
“Can you do it outside?” She said slowly. “I think I’ll feel better outside of this stuffy tin can.”
Ian nodded. “Very well, I will carry you outside.”
“I don't want to be carried!”
“How else do you propose we get you out?” Patton asked.
Dash opened her mouth but nothing came to mind.
“Fine,” she grumbled. “but be careful.”
Ian nodded. “I will try.”
He bent down and gently scooped the pony into his arms. She let out a small squeak of pain as her wounds protested the sudden movement. Ian felt a little uncomfortable carrying her and Dash felt the same way being in the arms of a being that had the potential of killing her. He lifted her up to the hatch being held open by Patton. Ian saw Matt lounging on the stump of a tree.
“Matt!” Ian called. “Help me carry Rainbow outside!”
The loader leaped up excitedly and rushed to the lieutenant. When Dash saw who was going to carry her the rest of the way her mood instantly darkened.
“I don’t want him to carry me!” She hissed.
Matt stopped, looked at her sadly and sulked away. Ian sighed and turned to the next closest person.
“I am not carrying that thing,” Bill replied sharply.
Jeff stood silently writing in his journal, oblivious to the surroundings.
“Hoi! Fishy!” Ian hollered.
Jeff looked up and stared blankly at the pony.
“Can you help me carry Rainbow?” Ian’s arms were starting to cramp.
The Texan nodded slowly then made his way up to the tank. Ian handed Dash to the shaky arms of the young man who took her carefully to the wide stump that Matt had been sitting on earlier. The others gathered around the pony as Ian prepared the morphine.
“Back at the farm we shot lame horses.” Bill smirked at Dash who’s ears flattened in a mix of anger and fear.
“Bill,” Ian glared at the driver. “Shut it.”
“Yeah Bill, shut it,” Matt chimed in.
“Shut up Shelly,” Ian rolled his eyes and stooped over, preparing to give the pony the injection. “Are you ready?”
“I don’t know ye-”
Before she could finish Ian drove the needle into the muscle directly under her hip. Dash let out a shrill scream of pain and surprise as he injected the morphine into her body.
“That wasn't so bad now, was it?” Ian smiled.
“Not really,” she whispered in return.
“Wha‘n tarnation is going on!” A voice thick with a southern accent hollered behind them.
“What are you doing to Rainbow Dash!” Cried another.
The humans spun quickly around and stared at the new arrivals. Five more ponies stood glaring at them with looks of fear, anger and horror splayed across their faces. Ian wondered at their hostile looks but then realized why they would be angry. They had just stumbled across six large humans crowded around their friend who had just screamed. It was understandable to be angry. Bill was the first to react.
“God damnit,” he groaned loudly. “There are more of them!”
“Aww,” Matt squealed happily. “They are so cute! And that one has a hat!”
“This is not what it looks like,” Ian reassured the ponies. “We are helping your friend. See?”
He turned back to Rainbow Dash but she was knocked out and sleeping peacefully from the morphine.
“I think you gave her too much,” Matt said with a wide smile.
"Shut up Matt," Ian growled.
Ian looked back at the ponies and smiled awkwardly.
“Well fuck,” he chuckled nervously. “Nice day isn't it?”
“Get away from her,” a purple pony with a horn growled.
The humans backed away from Rainbow Dash and stood by the tank. The ponies rushed to their friend’s side.
“Wha-what did you monsters do to her? “Squeaked a yellow one. The others glared at them, even more hatefully.
"I don't like where this is heading," Zeus whispered to the lieutenant.
Ian chewed his lip and came up with the best answer possible.
“Blame this dumb-ass,” he said, pointing at Matt.
Sorry it took me longer to get this one out, school and work gets wearisome. Next chapter is going to be epic!
Matt shifted uncomfortably as the eyes of the ponies snapped to him.
“It was an accident,” he said quietly. “I thought she was a kraut.”
“Ah what?” The one with a hat asked.
“Why did you attack our friend?” The purple one demanded.
“I already told you!” Matt threw up his arms in desperation. “I thought she was a bad guy.”
“Why would you think that silly?” The pink one apparently had realised that the humans weren't hostile. The same couldn't be said for the others.
“What are you.” the purple one remained persistent. “Tell me why you are here and what your intentions in Equestria are.”
Patton wasn't in the mood for a pointless conversation.
“We are human soldiers of the Third Army of the United States of America. We are lost in your nation and require assistance from your kind.” He stepped forward and stood intimidatingly in front of the ponies who cowered back. “I am General George S. Patton and unless you want to make me and my men your enemies I suggest standing down and listening to us!”
The pink pony took “stand down” seriously and layed down on the grass. The yellow one squeaked in fear and hid behind the one with a hat.
“The wounding of your friend here was an accident. Through our actions we saved her life. The reason why she is unconscious is from the medication we gave her to help with the pain. If you think that we mean you intentional harm then you are gravely mistaken. We could have killed you all many times since your arrival. As a sign of our peacefulness I propose a trade of names to help show you that we mean no harm.”
He pointed to each of the tankers and they gave their names one by one.
“Matthew Novak. But just call me Matt.”
Bill groaned and crossed his arms, refusing to give his name.
“Say your name soldier,” Patton growled quietly. “That is an order.”
“Bill Harper,” he hissed at the ponies.
“But we all have nicknames.” Matt smiled warmly. “I am called Shelly, he is Zeus, Bill... doesn't have a nickname, Jeff is called Fishy.”
Ian glared murderously at Matt but the loader continued. “And our wonderful lieutenant is named Momma or Mother. We have lots of names for the General but-”
The hateful looks from his crewmates finally silenced Matt.
“Now tell us your names.” Patton motioned for them to proceed. “Please.”
Unsurprisingly the pink one spoke first.
“I am Pinkie Pie!” She jumped up, and much to the surprise of the humans, confetti flew in different directions. “It is spectacular to meet you!”
“Where in Sam hell did confetti come from?” Bill, unlike his companions, was liking the ponies less and less.
“Likewise.” Patton smiled at the pink pony’s antics.
“I am Twilight Sparkle.” The unicorn said flatly. The humans could clearly see the distrust lingering in her eyes.
“Ah’m Applejack,” the orange pony said proudly, removing her hat and taking a bow. “And thank yeh for helping our friend here. I can spot a liar ah mile away and ya didn't look like you were lyin’ when ya said that ya didn't mean to hurt Rainbow Dash.”
Matt smiled a goofy grin, happy that somebody wasn't being mean to him
“Ah like that pony,” Jeff whispered to Zeus. The gunner nodded in return, unsurprised that a man with a southern accent would like a pony that spoke the same way.
“I am Rarity, and I must say before we continue any further with this conversation that your uniform is magnificent Mr. Patton. So shiny and clean.”
“Thank you miss,” Patton replied with a wide smile.
Only one pony remained that had yet to say her name. After some expectant glances from the humans and other ponies she finally edged forward and said her name in a voice not audible to everyone else.
“Did she say Fuck a Guy?” Matt questioned.
“Shut up Matt,” Ian sighed.
“I said my name is Fluttershy,” the yellow pony squeaked a little louder.
“Oh,” Matt laughed.
“What a lovely name,” Patton smiled kindly to which Fluttershy forced one in return. The General always knew he was good with horses, who would have guessed that he would be good with talking ones too. “So now that we have introduced ourselves let us get down to business.”
Twilight nodded in agreement.
“I presume that you are wondering why we are here and how we got here?”
“Yes,” Twilight replied. The mistrust in her eyes slowly dissolving into curiosity.
“The truth is we have no idea how we got here. We were trying to get back to our army in our tank.” Patton pointed to the vehicle behind him. “We would be very thankful if you helped us return. I am the General of said army and without my leadership their ability to fight Germans will be greatly hampered.”
Patton smiled craftily. “I also want to be the first to Berlin and I can't beat those damn Russians to the punch if I am stuck here.”
Twilight thought for a moment then smiled. “We would be happy to help you. Follow us back to Ponyville.”
She noticed the sudden depressed looks on several of the humans’ faces. Twilight was about to question why they were sad but the answer was quickly realised when Ian turned and patted the tank softly.
“Goodbye Lucky,” he whispered. “I will come back for you.”
The other humans except Matt and Patton gave their farewells to the tank. Jeff retrieved the small backpack radio that Matt had stolen from a supply tent back when they were still fighting Germans in western France. When they had finished Patton spoke again.
“We shall follow you to your town. From there will we be able to radio or telephone the outside world?” Patton asked.
“Radio?” Asked Twilight.
“What’s ah telemephone?” Applejack scratched her head in confusion. “you mean teleport?”
“I guess I could teleport your machine to Apple Jacks farm,” Twilight continued.
“Teleport?” Ian asked.
“The act of instantly moving an object or pony over a long distance using magic. You never heard of teleportation?”
Bill groaned angrily.
“No,” Ian said sarcastically. “And I would be very happy to see this magic at work.”
“Okay,” Twilight stepped forward as the humans moved out of the way and stood passively by a thick bush. She placed her horn against the hull and concentrated. Soon a purple arora surrounded the tank and a moment later it disappeared in a flash. She turned to the humans but the shocked and awestruck looks on their faces caused her to think that she did something wrong.
“Holy Mary mother of God!” Ian said after a long pause.
“How the fuck did you do that?” Bill demanded.
“Magic,” Twilight replied nervously.
“Wow,” Matt said slowly.
Zeus and Ian stepped forward to where the tank had been and started feeling around with their feet for any sign of a trap door or anything else that would prove to him that magic hadn't happened.
“What are you looking for?” Twilight’s brow furrowed in confusion.
“It has to be a trick,” Ian said, a little upset that he didn't find anything. “How did you make my tank disappear?”
“I just told you.” The unicorn was starting to get annoyed at the disbelieving attitude of the humans. “I used magic.”
“Right,” Ian laughed. “And I am Saint Patrick and I can banish snakes.”
“I thought you said your name was Ian?” Pinkie Pie stated. “And you can banish snakes? Thats amazing!”
“It was sarcasm Pinkie,” Twilight groaned. “Does magic not exist where you come from?”
“Nope,” Ian replied flatly.
“Interesting.” Twilight thought for a moment. “We should be on our way.”
“Agreed,” replied Patton.
“Fishy,” Ian ordered. “You will carry Rainbow.”
The Texan nodded and proceeded with carefully picking up the sleeping pony. They then started off the way they came walking in silence, none of them knew what kind of conversation to make with a pony or a human. After several hours of trekking through the unnaturally silent woods they crossed a small road that cut through the trees. As they crossed it Ian noticed something that made his heart stop. A pair of wide tracks stuck out plainly in the dry dirt of the road.
“Fuck,” he hissed loudly.
“Ya humans swear ah lot,” Applejack said disapprovingly.
Ian and the other humans gave her no heed as they stared darkly at the trail.
“What are you guys looking-”
“Shut up!” Ian growled, cutting Twilight’s question short. He bent down and put his ear to the ground and listened. he could clearly hear the deep rumble of a large tank moving down the road.
“Follow me men and get your guns ready” he said with a twisted smile. “We are going to stalk a tiger. General, do you want to come too?”
“I wouldn't miss the opportunity for a good fight for all the money in the world.”
Fishy laid Dash onto the ground and they took off down the road. Twilight turned to her friends.
“Pinkie and Fluttershy stay here with Rainbow Dash,” she ordered. “Applejack and Rarity come with me.”
The ponies quickly followed the humans who were now disappearing into the bushes on either side of the road.
Frederic stood in the hatch of his tank, glaring at the passing countryside. Felix stood in the hatch next to him, the same unhappy look on his face.
“None of this looks familiar,” the Commander eventually said. “Those mountains, this forest... nothing.”
There was a crackle in their headphones and the voice of their driver echoed in their ears.
“The engine isnt responding very well sir. I think we are running out of fuel.”
“Just keep going Martin until we can't go anymore.”
As it turned out they had enough fuel for another two miles until the large V-12 Maybach engine died. Immediately after the tank grounded to a halt the crew climbed out and set up a perimeter while the driver Martin Fuhrmann and Benjamin Kuefer, the radio operator, set explosives to prevent the tank from falling into enemy hands. But before they could finish the preparations, a loud American voice thundered from the nearby woods.
Patton watched as the German tank rumbled to a halt and the crew leap quickly out into the open. He could see the barely visible hand movements of Ian telling him that the American tankers were in place.
“You German bastards are surrounded and outnumbered! Drop your weapons and you will be taken as prisoners of war and treated fairly!”
Frederic grimaced and looked around at the surrounding trees. He had studied English in college so he replied.
“Fery vell Americans. Ve vill surrender.”
He motioned for his men to lay down their weapons as he did the same. Moments later five American soldiers in tanker uniforms emerged from the trees followed closely by an ecstatic Patton.
“It is un honor, General Patton,” Frederic said with a smirk. “To be captured by one of such a high standing as you.”
“And it is and honor,” Patton replied with a wide smile as he reached the German Commander. “To have captured you.”
Ian was happy that everything seemed to be going so well as he headed towards one of the German’s. But the flow of the situation was disrupted as Zeus reached Felix Brandt. The German Gunner suddenly shot out his arm and knocked the American’s gun aside. In one fluid motion he elbowed Zeus in the ribs and grabbed his Lugar from the dirt. In the sudden flash of confusion the rest of the Germans, except for Frederic, grabbed their guns and aimed them threateningly at the Americans who aimed back.
“Order your men to put their guns down or I will kill you,” Patton growled. The German Commander smiled defiantly back.
“Please stop!” Came a scream from the edge of the nearby woods.
Every eye shifted to the three ponies staring wide eyed and terrified of the scene before them. Their guns suddenly became wrapped in a purple aurora and were yanked from their hands. They floated over to Twilight who continued to look at them fearfully.
“Vat is zis? Vat is going on?”
Matt smiled quickly at the German commander then turned his attention back to the shocked German standing in front of him.
“It appears Toto,” the American gunner laughed. “That we aren't in Kansas anymore!”
I do not own MLP:FiM.
Next chapter... shit starts to get real!
“Miss,” Patton growled. “If you don't give us back our guns, things are going to get ugly.”
“But only give us the guns,” Matt put in. “Not the Germans.”
“No,” Twilight replied flatly.
“I wasn't asking,” Patton threatened.
“I said no!” Twilight dropped the guns behind her in the dirt and marched up to the General. “I don't know what is going on and why you are fighting each other but while you are here act like you are friends.”
The purple pony barely came to Patton’s hip but she stood her ground, staring into his eyes. Patton huffed then nodded his head.
“Very well,” he sighed. “We will not try to kill each other. But I do want my guns back. I love them almost as much as I loved my mother and you just dropped them in the dirt.”
“You will just have to wait untill I trust you all more.”
“I still don’t know vat is going on,” Frederic stated, bewilderment in his eyes as he gawked at the ponies.
“We don’t know what is going on either,” Matt chuckled. “So just go along with it and we can get back to killing each other later when we get out of this place.”
The German Commander thought for several moments as Patton and Twilight continued to glare at each other. Eventually Frederic shrugged.
“Purple pony,” he said, looking distastefully at Patton. “Ve vill agree to remain peaceful with each other as long as the Americans do ze same.”
“Good,” Twilight smiled. “My name is Twilight Sparkle by the way.”
“Was ist los?” asked Felix.
“Waffenstillstand mit den Amerikanern,” Frederic replied.
Felix stared at Twilight for a moment, “Und was ist mit diesen sprechenden bunten Ponies?”
“Ich weiß auch nicht, woher die kommen, aber die Amerikaner scheinen es zu wissen,” Frederic replied, shaking his head.
“Das gefällt mir nicht,” Felix huffed.
“Mir auch nicht,” Frederic looked around at the Americans and ponies. “Aber ich glaube nicht, daß wir eine andere Wahl haben.”
“What are they saying?” Matt asked Zeus.
“Something about not trusting us and how they don’t know what is going on but they might as well not try to kill us,” he replied matter of factly.
“Oh. I didn't know you knew German.”
“You promise that your men vill not attack us?” Frederic asked Patton.
“As long as your men do the same.”
“Do you want me to send this machine to the same place I sent the other one?” Twilight looked at the tank with utmost curiosity.
“Vat is it talking about?”
“Sure,” Patton replied.
“Rarity, I will need your help with this one. It is much larger.”
Matt had a funny thought form in his head from Twilights statement. Rarity nodded and the two unicorns carefully made their way through the crowd of humans to the tank.
Matt nudged the German he was standing next to with his elbow. Benjamin glared back questioningly. The German hadn’t even noticed the American scoot closer.
“Watch this,” he pointed at the ponies as they prepared their spells. “It’s really amazing.”
A moment later the tank disappeared in a purple hued flash and the Germans gasped in shock.
“Wo ist er hin?” Felix screamed.
“Vat have you done with our tank?” Frederic demanded.
“She sent it to the same place she sent our tank,” Ian replied. “To a farm somewhere.”
“Ah wonder how Granny Smith is dealin’ with giant metal contraptions apearin’ in our yard?” Applejack added with a smile.
“Vat happened to ze tank?” Frederic demanded again.
“Magic,” Matt laughed.
“Don't take me for a child american!” Frederic threatened. “Tell me vat really happened or ze deal is off and ve fight you vis our hands!”
“I am serious.” Matt raised his hands in defence, making himself look like a mime stuck behind an invisible wall. “It turns out these ponies can do magic and fly.”
“We are not lying,” Patton said flatly.
“Ya you are!” Frederic rose to his feet and looked Patton in the eyes. “Last chance to tell us ze truth.”
Twilight became uneasy with the growing hostility between the humans. She turned away from Patton and trotted to the guns to teleported them away as well.
‘Better safe than sorry,’ she thought. ‘Without weapons nearby maybe they won't be so inclined to fight.’
The reaction of the humans to the guns disappearing though was not what she had anticipated. Immediately after the guns disappeared the Germans lunged forward, taking the Americans off guard. A brawl erupted in the middle of the dusty road as Twilight and the other ponies watched horrified. Within only a few seconds, Matt and Zeus lay unconscious in the dirt with Ian pinned to the ground being choked and at the same time trying to choke Udo. Benjamin and Udo were the only Germans that appeared to be noticeably injured but they continued to fight. Jeff, Bill and Patton now stood surrounded by four Germans as Ian and Udo continued to struggle. Felix charged the General, was met full force with an iron punch to the nose and he fell to the ground unmoving.
“Who is the next Kraut son of a bitch that wants to take us on huh?” Patton raised his thick arms and smiled hatefully.
“Ve are going to kill you.” Frederic pulled a hidden knife from a pack on his side. But before the fighting could start again, a wave of purple energy washed over them and the humans fell heavily to the ground in a deep sleep.
“They are such dreadfully hot headed creatures, aren't they dear?” Rarity asked Twilight. She was sad to see the General’s well kept uniform get dirty.
“Ah wonder why they want to kill each other so badly?” Applejack shook her head sadly.
The purple unicorn stood poised to release another spell just in case the first one had failed. After several moments of silence, followed by several of the humans starting to snore, she felt assured that they were fully asleep. Twilight sighed.
“They will be unconscious for more than a hour,” she said. “Lets get some help from Big Mac and put them in a few carts... separated. We need to take them to town before they wake up. I also need to send a letter to the Princess.”
The light filtering through the stained glass windows played across the palace floor. Celestia absentmindedly watched the rivulets of color as she paced the hall. She racked her mind, frantic for new answers that could help solve of avert the looming crisis. It had been nearly three days since she performed the ancient spell. Or had it been two days?
Celestia groaned. She had yet to sleep in the last five days and the hours had melded into one long worrisome blurr. Her thoughts were interrupted by her sister entering the hall.
“Tia?” Luna asked cautiously.
“What?” Celestia snapped, irritated that her thoughts had been sidetracked. She saw the hurt in her sister's eyes and she instantly regretted her harshness. “I am sorry little sister. What do you need?”
“I came to see how you were fairing.”
Celestia was happy that her sister was learning the modern way of talking, though her traditional Canterlot voice had been quite entertaining when they attended political meetings. Watching other members of the nobility flinch whenever she spoke had gotten quite enjoyable.
“I am well enough,” Celestia replied, trying to convince her sister but coming up short.
Luna walked up to her sister and placed her head against Celestia's neck in a type of pony hug. Celestia nuzzled her sister in return as her mind started to wander yet again.
“How long has it been since armies last gathered on our borders.”
Luna knew the answer all too well.
“More than a thousand years ago,” the younger Princess replied quietly, backing away from her sister and looking her in the eyes. “When jealousy took my heart and I marched on Equestria, my own home, with an army of similarly twisted and spiteful creatures and ponies. I am glad that history has muddled the story, making it less... terrible and dark.”
“That was not you leading that horde,” Celestia smiled reassuringly. “But a being completely different from the sister I have always loved.”
“So you have told me many times but it was my heart and mind that became that monster and I still feel that everything evil that came forth from that is my fault. The death and the suffering are my responsibility.” The blue alicorn looked down at the floor and watched a red beam of light shimmer from the fading sunlight. Tonight there would be no moon. Only stars and darkness.
Celestia decided to change the subject to more pressing and less personal matters.
“How goes the research on other way of preventing this war or anything that can help us find victory?”
Luna shrugged. “Other than what we have found so far? The outdated spells of war, weapons and military protocol is all we have. So you have finally given up hope that the Cry of Heroes has failed?”
“I had my hopes that ancient spell would work. But I should have known better. “Celestia walked over to the nearest window and peered out at the ponies passing below, so oblivious of the mounting threat to their lives. “That spell had never been tested successfully before now though. Last time it was ever used resulted in the death of our little sister when the Great Strife began. The only thing we received of any use was a elderly ape that died shortly after. At least he gave us some useful information on how a war should be waged.”
Luna winced at the mention of the event that destroyed the majority of their race and the death of Cadence’s mother. The Great Strife had been a massive war between the alicorns loyal to the Royal Family and those loyal to the tyrant Discord. The war lead to most of their race dying off with only a handful spread out all over the world being silent guardians of the innocent or harbingers of doom. Though none of them came close to having the power of the two sisters and none of them dared enter Equestria.
Luna pulled herself free from the painful memories just as a stream of green tinted smoke wafted into the hall and formed into a scroll in front of celestia. The older Princess took it magically, opened it and started to read silently. After a moment she smiled the first smile Luna had seen on her face in over two weeks. The grin unexpectedly sparked memories of when they were still fillies and the world was simple and perfect.
She shoved those memories aside. “What is it sister?”
Celestia trotted past her and towards the doors that lead into the rest of the palace.
“Come Luna,” she said happily. “It turns out hope is not lost after all.”
To my pre-readers. If you didn't get the chance to read this while it was in Google Docs, sorry but I am on a roll.
To anyone who is German or speaks that language fluently please make sure I didn't write the wording wrong and stuff.
Shit is really starting to get real now folks, I even have a background plot... thing, or whatever it is called.
Please leave a comment about this new chapter. I want to read what you guys think so far.
“Oh God, my head,” Ian moaned as he leaned up from the pile of hay in a well lit barn. He looked quickly around and noticed his crewmates were starting to wake up as well. Across the room he could see the German crew doing the same. Frederic noticed the American watching them and he glared back.
“It appears that you vere telling the truth,” Frederic admitted. “Magic does indeed exist. Here at least.”
“Ah good, ya’ll are wakin’ up,” Applejack trotted into the barn followed closely by Pinkie Pie. “Ya guys aint goin’a try and kill each other now are ya?”
“I think we’ve put that all behind us for now,” Ian replied, not taking his eyes off the Germans.
“When you humans eventually get ta leave equestria then ya’ll can go back to tryin’ to kill one another,” Applejack sighed.
“But until then let's have a party,” Pinkie chimed in. She bounced towards the nearest human, which was Matt. “What’s your favorite type of cake?”
“Uh... pineapple upsidedown cake?”
“I love those!” Pinkie said clapping her hooves together and moving on to the next closest human.
“Don’t come any closer or I’ll get angry,” Bill growled as Pinkie stopped a foot in front of him.
“Don’t be such a grumpy, grump pants,” Pinkie smiled. “I’ll go away after you tell me your favorite type of cake.”
Bill remained quiet and continued to glare at the pony.
“He likes angelfood cake,” Ian said quickly, “Just make us all angelfood cake.”
“Angelfood? You mean princess-food cake?”
“Ye- yes, sure.” Ian willed the pony to go away.
“Okey dokey!” She trotted to the Germans. “What kind of cake do you like?”
“Go away pink thing.” Frederic groaned.
“They like German chocolate!” Matt yelled from across the room. “Oh and make some apple pies! That’s the most American food out there!”
“I never heard of German chocolate cake before. Applejack makes better apple pies than even me. How about I make three big cakes and two apple pies. Does that sound good?”
“Yes!” Matt cheered.
“Sure,” Ian said passively.
“Nein,” Frederic groaned.
“You want nine cakes?” Pinkie gasped. “Wow you guys eat almost as much as me!”
Pinkie Pie trotted out of the barn leaving Applejack alone with the ten humans. Ian looked around.
“Where is Patton?”
“He woke up ah full ten minutes before you fellas did.” Applejack said motioning her head in the direction of the house. “He is currently inside having a civil conversation with Granny, Big Mac and the others about his life. It is mighty interestin’.”
“I bet it is,” Ian chuckled.
“Ya guys want to come on inside for some fresh apple cider?”
Bill perked up. “Cider?”
“I had a perfect score too,” Patton explained. “But since I had such a poor time, I placed sixth. I was so close to winning a medal but I guess the whole experience was enough of a prize for me.”
Twilight sat there, writing down everything Patton had been saying. The General’s story about something called the 1912 Olympics had greatly intrigued her.
“So human nations that might not be friendly with each other sent their best athletes to compete in a series of different games all in the hopes to spread peace?” She asked him.
“That’s amazing!” She went back to her writings as the door swung open and the Americans walked in followed shortly after by the Germans.
“Hey Rainbow,” Matt walked immediately to the pegasus lounging on the couch. “How are you doing?”
“I’m feeling awesome!” She smiled and Matt felt relieved that she wasn't mad at him still. But his heart sank as she continued. “Just don’t sit next to me. Okay?”
“Okay.” Matt sulked away and followed Bill to a barrel in the kitchen.
“Are you talking about the 1912 Olympics General?” Ian asked.
“I sure am,” Patton took a swig of his apple cider.
“My father, unlike you, was extremely angry when the judges said that you missed the target in the pistol shooting round.” Matt called from the kitchen.
“I guess I should have used a smaller gun,” Patton laughed.
Bill returned with a cup of cider and he took a drink. He instantly pulled it away from his mouth and stared at it angrily.
“This ain’t hard cider.”
“Well if ya want to freeze it you can put it in the freezer,” Granny Smith said, confusion in her eyes.
“He means alcoholic cider,” Ian sighed, watching the Germans congregate by a far window to talk amongst themselves.
“Alcohol is hard to come by ‘round here and the only pony Ah know that buys the stuff is Berry Punch.” Applejack said.
“God damn it!” Bill mumbled into another mouthful of cider. It might not have been alcoholic but he didn't deny that it was good.
Twilight noticed the distrustful look the Americans were giving the Germans.
“Why do you hate each other so much?” She asked cautiously
Patton sighed as the Germans turned their attention back to the crowd of people and ponies.
“It is a long story and to prevent my biased American mind from telling it falsely would you mind helping me tell it?” Patton pointed towards Frederic.
Frederic knew full well that the General only wanted to lessen the hostilities between them and that he would have gladly told the story from his standpoint just to make them look bad. The German Commander nodded in agreement and edged slightly closer.
“This all begins way back when I was a young man. When an Archduke of Austria was assassinated. That one moment would help set off a chain of events that would create two wars that changed and is changing the course of history.”
The ponies prepared themselves for what they expected to be a thrilling and heroic tale. The humans knew better.
Celestia had always enjoyed the sweet smell of apples. The Princess sniffed the air, momentarily forgetting about her troubles, as she made her way towards the pleasant home of the Apple family. Behind the barn she could barely make out what appeared to be two large metallic shapes but she gave them no heed. Luna and twelve royal guards trailed behind her, looking around at the pleasant countryside. They reached the house but she stopped to listen as voices wafted through the door. What she heard was the end of a story that she found very confusing. She stood there for many minutes as Luna watched her impatiently. Eventually the story came to an end.
“After we broke out of Normandy we took Paris then most of France. Now we are nearing the borders of Germany,” an authoritative voice could be heard saying, “We were heading towards a small French town when we ran into the remnants of an already battered tiger division. We wiped the whole group out except for one tank that hid in the town, picking our tanks off one by one.”
Another voice, thick with a strange accent, cut in. “Und ve took our revenge for the eradication of our division.”
“But before we could bring up more tanks to flank them our tanks burst into purple flame and ended up here.”
There was silence and Celesta waited a few more seconds to see if the dialogue continued. The voice of her faithful student was the first to speak.
“Your world sounds so,” she paused, “Violent and unforgiving.”
“That it is.”
Celestia decided that it was the best time to enter the room, much to the joy of her eager sister.
“Princess!” Twilight exclaimed happily as the royal sisters entered.
The ponies leaped to their hooves and bowed to her. The humans just stared at the Princesses wide eyed and confused.
“Hello Twilight,” Celestia smiled. “I came as soon as I could.”
Matt looked questioningly at Zeus who shrugged in return. Celestia noticed the confusion in their eyes.
“Hello humans,” she said pleasantly. “I am Princess Celestia and this is my sister, Princess Luna. My student sent me a letter explaining what you are, some of your names and that you are confused as to why you are here.”
The humans remained quiet for a moment, then Patton stepped forward. Much to the unease of the two guards that followed the Princesses into the house.
“It is a pleasure to meet you,” he said bowing politely to the sisters.
“You must be General Patton.” She was surprised by the human’s respectfulness.
“Yes I am and it is a pleasure to meet you!” He beamed. Turning to the crew of the Sherman he said, “Men, Introduce yourselves.”
After a quick introduction of each American, with Bill being less than cooperative, Celestia turned her attention to the Germans glaring at her from across the room.
“What might your names be?”
Frederic stepped forward.
“Pony princess,” he said emotionlessly. “Ve vill not tell you our names. Ve have not told ze Americans a thing about us and ve vill not tell you. Even if you torture it out of us.”
“Damn Germans,” Patton groaned quietly.
One of the guards mumbled something under his breath as Frederic continued.
“It appears that you know something about how ve got here. I demand that you tell us, now.”
“How dare you-” one of the guards growled, but he was cut short by a sharp glance from Celestia.
“I will tell you how you all got here If you tell me your names.” Celestia smiled pleasantly but Frederic could see the warning in her eyes.
The German commander chewed the inside of his lip for a moment.
“Very vell,” he said grudgingly. “My name is Frederic, this here is Felix, Benjamin, Udo and Martin. Now tell us vat you know!”
Celestia smiled again. “The reason you are here is because I brought you here.”
The humans and ponies stared at the Princess as her words sank in. There were a few angry murmurs from the Germans as Frederic relayed the information but the crew of the Black Wolf remained primarily silent. Bill’s anger that had been gradually increasing over the past few days finally spilled over.
“You fucking bitch!” He stomped towards Celestia, lifting one of his fist up threateningly. “How dare you take us from our lives and drag us here to this pathetic land full of magic and bull shit! If I had my gun right now-”
One of the royal guard’s horn glowed a dull purple and Bill was lifted into the air and magically pinned against the wall.
“Watch yourself ape!” The guard warned.
“Don't call me an ape you stinking, dirty pony! Or I will kill you first!”
“Calm the fuck down Bill!” Ian screamed.
“Soldier,” Patton growled. “If you don’t stand down this instant I will personally shoot you.”
“Please shoot him,” Frederic sighed.
“I understand why you are angry,” Celestia tried to comfort him. “But we need your help.”
“We do?” Twilight had been watching the proceedings with a look of fear. “What’s happening?”
“Fuck you all!” Bill hollered to no one in particular.
“Don’t make me knock you unconscious,” the unicorn guard hissed.
“Allow me,” Patton smiled. The General walked over to the immobilized man and looked him in the eyes. “I promised that I would stop slapping people but you need it. I am pissed about this too but the least you can do is stay calm! One last chance to cool yourself.”
“Fuck you too old man,” Bill growled.
Patton slammed his fist hard against the side of Bill’s head and the driver slumped to the floor. He felt guilty for hitting the man but in truth he didn't trust the effects magic could have on the human brain. Punching just felt more healthy, for soe strange reason. The event had interrupted the conversation Celestia and Twilight were about to have and they stared at the General shocked. Frederic broke the silence first.
“General Patton, I like you,” he said with a crooked smile.
Patton huffed angrily and turned to the Princess.
“Carry on with what you were going to say ma’am.” he said sharply. The pleasantness in his voice nearly gone.
Celestia shook her head and smiled to herself. This human was perfect, exactly what Equestria needed.
“The reason I brought you here, away from your world-”
“Wait,” Matt raised his hand like a child in a classroom. “We aren't on our world anymore?”
“Shut up Shelly,” Zeus hissed.
“No,” Celestia continued. “You are not in your world or even in your universe. As I was saying-”
“So if we aren't in our universe,” Matt cut in again. “Then how did you get us from there to here?”
“Private Matthew Novak,” Patton growled. “If you speak again you will be joining Bill on the floor.”
“I want to punch him,” Zeus said.
“Sorry sir,” Matt said quietly.
Celestia sighed. “I will explain how I brought you here later. The reason you are here and why we need your help is because an event that has not threatened our nation in more than a thousand years is about to happen yet again.”
She looked around at their faces, lingering on her little ponies. Such innocent and joyful subjects, living their lives mostly in comfort and safety. They knew very little about what she was going to say and for that, she was thankful. The humans were a different matter.
“War is coming to Equestria,” she said heavily. As if the words were made of lead. “And I fear that without your help humans, Equestria will be destroyed and enslaved.”
Enter stage right... the plot.
I have a stronger idea now to how I am going to proceed with this story and I think it is going to be epic.
Leave a comment and a thumb, if you want to.
I do not own MLP:FiM. People with more money do.
Patton nodded his head slowly, stroking the stubble on his chin deep in thought. He needed a shave, all of the humans did. The General needede to have a diplomatic and serios conversation with the princesses and he would be harder to do that with the other humans in the room. Patton sighed loudly then turned to the other humans.
“Men,” he said. “Please step outside while I talk with the Princesses. Frederic, would you like to stay and talk as well?”
“Nein, no.” The German commander shook his head. “I will be with my men by our Panzer. I have no interest in helping these.” He looked distastefully at Celestia. “Ponies.”
With that said the Germans made their way to the back door. Patton watched them go, shaking his head in disappointment.
“My little ponies,” Celestia said to the six friends. “How about you show the humans around Ponyville while we talk. Rainbow Dash, you should get some rest.”
“She can use Apple Bloom’s bed upstairs,” Applejack chimed. “She ain’t home right now. Probably out with her friends.”
Rainbow Dash sighed, sad that she wouldn't be able to go with them. She glared reproachfully at Matt who looked away, unable to meet her gaze. Twilight opened her mouth to ask the Princess a series of questions but stopped herself. Everything was so confusing. A war and the Princess kidnapping humans from their world to help Equestria? What was happening? All of those questions and worries would just have to wait though.
“Yes Princess,” she replied quietly.
“Hey Fishy,” Ian said. “Can you and Shelly pick up Bill and take him to the barn?”
Jeff nodded and Matt sighed unhappily but they both lifted the driver between them and carried him outside. Ian turned to Patton.
“Are you sure you want me to go? I don't feel comfortable leaving you here with five angry Germans and one equally pissed off driver.”
“You can stay if you want to.”
“I shall stay sir.” Ian looked at Zeus but the gunner knew what he was going to ask.
“I will keep an eye on Shelly and Fishy sir.”
Zeus saluted then turned and walked out of the door. The fresh, open air was a much needed change from the crowded farmhouse. Outside he found Fishy and Matt leaving the barn. Matt instantly made a beeline towards the Germans, curiosity overflowing.
“Shelly, where are you going?” Zeus questioned.
“To get something from the tank,” Matt lied.
The Germans looked up as Matt approached. They were scattered around their tank but as the American neared they grouped up and met him halfway in an attempt to block his path.
“Vat do you vant American?” Frederic asked dully. He was growing tired of Matt in particular.
“I just have a question that will determine how I think about you,” Matt replied with a smile.
“I don’t vant to play your silly games.” Frederic crossed his arms and stared intimidatingly at him.
“It is not a game,” Matt stopped smiling. “All I want to know is are you guys Wehrmacht or SS?”
“Ve are all Wehrmacht.” The German commander rolled his eyes. “But Felix here has close ties vis the SS. His brothers are all officers in the SS.”
Felix, at the sound of his name and the mention of the SS, smiled twistedly at Matt who glared back.
“I don’t like you.” Matt said to Felix as he backed away and walked over to the Sherman. “I am getting Bill his smokes that way he won't be as angry when he wakes up.”
“Get mine too,” Zeus said eagerly.
“There ya fellas are,” Applejack exclaimed as the ponies rounded the house corner.
Zeus turned and nodded at the five approaching ponies. Behind him Matt was climbing into the tank, much to the discomfort of the Germans. A few moments later three small packets of cigarettes flew from the open hatch, one of which smacked Zeus in the back of the head. Zeus ground his teeth angrily but remained calm.
“You guys ready for a tour of Ponyville?” Pinkie said excitedly. Apparently what the Princess had said earlier had not dampened her mood. The same could not be said about the other four.
“Hell yeah!” Matt replied as he emerged from the tank.
“What is the third packet of smokes for?” Zeus asked.
“I was going to be nice and give it to the Germans.” Matt leaped off the tank.
“I thank you for the cigarettes,” Frederic picked one up off of the ground and handed it to Felix who removed a cigarette and passed the pack to the other Germans. Frederic continued. “Now go and enjoy your tour.”
The Americans and five ponies started in the direction of Ponyville with Twilight in the lead. Everyone remained silent as they walked, too deep in thought about the events of the day. Everyone except Matt and Pinkie.
“So, will people-I mean ponies be shocked to see us when we get to Pony Town?” Matt asked.
“It’s called Ponyville silly and I’m sure they’ll warm up to you very quickly!” Pinkie walked backwards as she talked to Matt. “You are a nice person, you gave a gift to the people that don’t like you. The ponies in Ponyville will like that about you. But I don’t think they will like Bill that much. He is a little mean.”
“Yeah, Bill is an ass.” Matt laughed. “So where are we going first?”
“We’re going to my library,” Twilight said unexpectedly.
“While you guys hang out there I’ll be getting a party ready!” Pinkie jumped nearly ten feet, paused mid air and then fell back to the ground still radiating excitement.
“How did you do that?” Matt stared open mouthed at Pinkie.
“How did I do what?”
“How did you... never mind.” Matt shook his head. “I’m in a world with talking ponies and magic.”
Pinkie Pie shrugged, dismissing Matt’s strange question as she continued to trot backwards. Very soon the group reached the edge of Ponyville. Matt examined the modest and peaceful town.
“It sort of reminds me of that one town in France. You know the one where that SS decision was dug in?” Matt said to the other humans. “Except full of ponies. And it isn't on fire and bombed out.”
Zeus chuckled to himself as he tried to light a cigarette with his Zippo lighter. Twilight watched him intently as he succeeded in getting it lit. The gunner noticed the unicorn watching him and he stared back.
“Let me guess,” Zeus said flatly. “You don't have tobacco products here.”
She shook her head. “We don’t have that little metal thing that starts fire either.”
“Pity. I didn't start smoking until I joined the navy.” Zeus took a long draw from the cigarette. “And I started smoking even more when I joined the army and got stuck in a metal box with this dumb ass all day. Do you want one?”
Twilight considered the offer momentarily but shook her head.
“It doesn't seem healthy.”
“The doctors, tobacco companies and government say that there isn't anything unhealthy about them,” Zeus shrugged and finished his cigarette. “We have hundreds of them in the tank. They relax you when you are stressed out or angry. Matt stole them whenever he got the chance.”
“You humans must have very low morals,” Rarity said, shaking her head. “You swear excessively, you steal and you are always fighting amongst yourselves. Very barbaric in my opinion.”
“War does that to a person.” Zeus smiled as he lit another cigarette. H tossed the old one into the grass, much to the annoyance of the ponies. “But from what I heard your Princess say, you will soon see for yourself what war can do. To both a nation and an individual.”
After that gloomy statement they entered Ponyville in complete silence. The first ponies they met where none other than Applebloom, Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo.
“Ah told ya I ain't lyin’,” the yellow earth pony said to her friends. “But they are taller than Ah thought they were.”
The other two fillies stared open mouthed at the humans and they stared back.
“Aren't they just the cutest things you have ever seen?” Matt squealed.
“Sure,” Zeus mumbled through his cigarette.
“Don't call me cute!” Scootaloo growled.
“Aww,” Matt smiled. “I made it angry. Now it’s even more cute.”
They started walking again with the fillies following close behind. Ponies stopped and watched them pass. Pinkie separated from the group and headed towards Sugarcube Corner. When they reached Twilight’s library Zeus whistled in wonder.
“Nice house,” he said through a third cigarette. He normally didn't smoke that many in such a short amount of time but the recent events were taxing on his nerves.
“Thank you,” Twilight replied as she opened the door and let them in.
Jeff looked around and immediately started picking through books, trying to find something interesting. He finally settled on a book titled ‘The History of Equestria, Volume 2’. The other two humans found the nearest seats and sat down heavily. Zeus fell asleep but Matt remained awake and looked around the room.
"Twilight what took you so long to get home?" Spike stopped at the base of the stairs and looked at the humans. "I thought you said you were going out to find a giant turtle Twilight?"
"This place just gets queerer and queerer." Zeus sighed and shook his head. He was a little annoyed that his nap was interrupted.
"Wow," Matt stood up and stepped closer to Spike. "A talking lizard."
"I am not a lizard," Spike crossed his arms and smiled proudly "I am a baby dragon."
"I like this place more and more, they have dragons," Matt muttered to himself as he returned to his seat. After a few minutes of sitting quietly he started another conversation.
“So I have seen three races of ponies so far,” he said, looking between the ponies. “Unicorns, normal ponies, and pegasuses.”
“Pegasi,” Fluttershy corrected him politely.
“Oh.” Matt shrugged. ”Are there more? Oh wait, your princesses are a larger mix of unicorns and pegasuses, I mean pegasi.”
“They are commonly referred to as alicorns and they are almost the last two of their kind.” Twilight stated matter of factly.
Jeff looked up from the book he was reading. “Ah thought alicorn was the material that unicorn horns were made out of? Durin’ the middle ages alicorn was believed to cure diseases and remove poison and impurities from water and wine. Later on it became known that it was just the horn of a narwhal that whalers were sellin’ as unicorn horn.”
Twilight looked at him, open mouthed and confused. Matt shook his head.
“Fishy, we don't care what alicorn is in our world.”
Zeus woke up again and hit Matt in the arm.
“Fishy can be smart if he wants to be,” he said and promptly fell back to sleep.
Jeff went back to his reading. Matt looked out of the window and noticed two more humans approaching the town.
“Oh look we have guests!” Matt cheered. He stood, left the library and made his way toward them with Twilight, Applejack and Rarity following. When he got closer to them he realised that they were both German.
“Hallo,” Matt said cheerfully. “Guten Abend!”
Benjamin and Udo glared at the approaching American then returned their attention to a stall of watermelons with a pony standing nervously behind it.
“Can-can I help you,” she squeaked.
“Nein,” Udo said.
“You want to buy nine watermelons?”
Udo sighed and shook his head.
“I would like to buy one watermelon please,” Twilight said as she placed two bits on the counter. The unicorn then magically lifted one of the fruits and held it in front of the Germans. They stared at it hesitantly then Udo took it.
“Uh, zank you,” Udo said slowly, holdiing the mellon under his arm.
“I didn't know you knew english too,” Matt exclaimed.
“A few vords,” Udo replied as Benjamin rolled his eyes. “Frederic uh, decided to talk to die Princess vith Patton. Ve, uh, decided to kommen here und uh, pass time.”
“You want to look around Ponyville with us?” Twilight asked, moving her hoof around to try and demonstrate here comment better.
The Germans thought for a moment but before they could give a response the cutie mark crusaders trotted up, curious about the two new humans.
“Howdy,” Applebloom said.
The Germans looked at her quizzically.
“They don’t speak Equestrian that well,” Applejack stated.
“Or redneck,” Matt chuckled to himself. He looked at the crowd a ponies slowly forming around them. The Germans seemed to have noticed as well.
“Can ve gehen- go inside?” Udo looked uneasily at the ponies surrounding them.
“Sure,” Twilight smiled. “We will head back to the library.”
When they returned Jeff peered up from his journal, looked passively at the Germans then went back to his writings. Zeus opened his eyes and frowned as they entered. Twilight immediately headed towards a pile of books next to Jeff, picked one and started to read it to herself. The others scattered around the room and did their own things.
“Hello Germans,” Zeus said flatly.
“Hallo Amerikaner,” Udo replied with an equal lack of emotion.
They receded into silence with the only sounds being the flipping of paper and the continuous scratching of Jeff’s pencil. After a while Pinkie Pie burst into the room.
“The party starts in a few minutes and I invited everypony in Ponyville!”
“I don’t think that was a good idea Pinkie to invite the whole town,” Twilight groaned.
Pinkie looked hurt but continued to smile. “Why would a party be a bad idea?”
"But parties are always a good idea Twi," Spike frowned.
“Yeah,” Matt said. “Parties are always a good idea.”
Twilight shook her head. “I just don’t know how other ponies will react to these humans.”
“They're gonna have to get used to them sometime.”Applejack stated.
“I could always go for some good food,” Zeus stood up and stretched. “Come Fishy, we are celebrating something and there will be food.”
Jeff stood and the Americans followed the pink pony. Reluctantly the Germans and other ponies followed. The party turned out to be in the town park with several dozen ponies already there, excited to get a close up look at the humans. The Americans gave little heed to the ponies though and made for the large table filled with good looking pies, cakes and drinks. The Germans lingered on the edge of the party, unsure what they should do. Very few ponies tried to strike up a conversation with the humans and when they did, the dialogue was short and vague. The conversations with the Germans died as quickly as they started. The only human that talked openly with the ponies was Matt.
“So when I joined the army the first person I met when I go to boot camp was this nice nurse.” Matt was saying to a group of uncomfortable ponies. ”Now we didn't know each other but later that night she got to know me very well.”
“I don’t understand,” Sweetie Bell said. “Did you two have a conversation?”
“It was sort of like conversation. But you're too young to understand,” Matt said through a mouthful of pie.
“I don’t understand either,” said a grey pegasus with yellow eyes looking in opposite directions.
“Well you're just-“ Matt watched, mesmerized, as her eyes swirl around individually. “You're just odd.”
The pegasus hung her head and ran away from the party.
“Sorry if I hurt your feelings,” he called after her.
“Just give an apology muffin to the poor dear and she will quickly forgive you,” Rarity told him.
Matt was working on his fifth piece of pie when Ian, Frederic and one of Celestia’s royal guards showed up at the party. Both tank commanders looked around at the festivities.
“Men!” Ian thundered over the voices and music. The ponies that hadn’t seen the two new humans approach turned and looked at them with surprise in their eyes.
After the humans turned their attention to him Ian continued. “We are heading back to the farm. Patton has some important information he wants to share with you.”
“Damn,” Matt groaned as he grabbed some cake and pie to eat later. “I was having fun.”
For those of you anxiosly awaiting the moment when shit gets ultimately real then you will not be disapointed when Chapter 10 comes out. After chapter 10 everything will become more fast paced (but not too fast) and will become the amazing Patton baing a boss story you are all waiting for.
“A thousand years without war.” Patton sipped from his mug of apple cider. “That definitely is enough time for a nation to become complacent and weak. Your highness, you summoned the right son of a bitch to get the job done.”
Celestia nodded in agreement though she didn't like how he used the word “weak” to describe her nation. But she wasn't going to deny that it was true.
“So do we have an agreement?” Celestia asked eagerly.
“If you promise that we will be sent back to our world at the moment we left. Then we do,” Patton replied with a wide grin.
Ian, who had been silently watching Frederic for most of the conversation, interjected.
“What about the others?”
“Go round them up,” Patton ordered. “I will tell them about the change in plans.”
Ian saluted. “Yes sir.”
“I vill go with him to retrieve my men,” Frederic said and Patton nodded.
The two tank commanders stood and prepared to leave.
“Ring Mail,” Celestia said to one of her guards. “Go with the two humans and retrieve Twilight and her friends.”
The young pegasus looked startled that he was being picked to travel with the humans. The older unicorn guard raised a questioning brow.
“Wouldn't it be better if I went instead?”
“Ring Mail will be alright.” Celestia smiled reassuringly. “The humans mean no harm.”
“That one named Bill seemed to wish a lot of harm,” he continued. “I think you should have me go instead.”
“I think it is time for lesson number one in military doctrine and procedure,” Patton groaned, glaring at the unicorn. “Do not question your superiors. Even if the things they are asking of you could result in your death.”
The unicorn opened his mouth to retort but Celestia stopped him.
“Captain Stonetower,” Celestia said harshly. “I chose Ring Mail and that decision is final.”
“Yes ma’am,” Stonetower snapped at attention and fell silent.
Frederic, Ian and Ring Mail took their leave and left Patton, Celestia, Luna and Stonetower alone. Eager for more conversation and information from the ponies Patton asked a question that had been bouncing around his mind ever since they found Rainbow Dash.
“I can't help but wonder, but why does every pony I see have a strange picture on their flanks?”
Luna decided to answer. “They are what we call cutie marks. They represent our personal talent.”
Patton looked at the Princesses marks intently. “If they reflect your skills then why do you have a sun and you a moon instead of a crown, throne or some other image relating to royalty?”
Celestia smiled, “I raise the sun and my sister raises the moon.”
Patton raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
“It is true,” Celestia said, noticing his doubt. “My sister and I have the power to move the sun and moon.”
“The Cherokee believed they could summon their ancestors to adjust the weather but that didn't mean that it was ultimately true,” said Patton doubtfully.
“Someday I will show you that our powers are not figments of your imaginations.” Celestia smiled. “How does the sun rise in your world?”
“And what is a Cherokee?” Luna included.
“Our world, Earth, orbits around the sun.” Patton stood and headed into the kitchen to refill his mug as he continued. “The Iroquois were a Native American tribe.”
The princesses looked at him, a tinge of confusion played across their faces.
“Someday I will tell you about my world.” Patton returned and took a long sip before sitting back down.
“That would be a lovely treat,” Celestia nodded. “Why not tell me about it now, untill your men return?”
Patton shrugged. “Very well. Where should I start?”
“Just start from the beginning of your kind’s existence and go from there.”
“That will be a long story.” Patton chuckled. “But I have nothing better to talk about as of now.”
He was reaching the rise of the first empires and major nations when there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” Celestia called, still thinking about the information Patton had been telling her.
The door opened and Ring Mail entered.
“The humans and five elements are all accounted for in the yard.”
“Thank you,” the elder sister replied. “Go wake Rainbowdash and help her outside.”
Patton pondered the use of the word ]elements to describe the five ponies. The word gave them a sort of militaristic feel. Outside he could hear the Americans arguing.
“If you have such a weak stomach then why did you eat so much food at the party!” Ian groaned loudly.
“Because it's so tasty!”
“God damn- Matt you are an idiot.”
“Hey, at least I threw up on the road and not on you!”
“The vomit just kept coming and coming! I didn't think it would ever stop streaming from your mouth.” Zeus laughed.
“That was pretty amazing!” Matt laughed in return.
Patton chuckled, stood and followed the princesses out of the building. The humans and ponies were spread out in three groups. The Americans lingered by the barn, the Germans talked among themselves by their tank and the ponies stood outside the door waiting anxiously. Patton didn't see Bill as he stepped into the fading sunlight. He motioned for the nearest American to come closer.
Matt jogged up to the General and saluted. “Yes sir?”
“Go wake Bill.”
Matt’s face fell and a look of horror filled his eyes.
“Can, can I take Fishy with me?”
Patton nodded and the loader hurried away. When Matt and Jeff entered the barn they automatically knew Bill was awake. The smell of cigarette smoke lay thick in the air.
“Bill?” Matt hissed fearfully. “Bill!”
“The fuck do you want?” Bill demanded flatly as he stepped around a stall door, puffing on his last cigarette.
“Uh, Patton wants us in the yard.”
Matt expected some form of hostile reaction but all Bill did was shrug.
“Sure,” Bill extinguished the cigarette in a trough of water. “Just get me more cigarettes and I’ll promise that I won't react badly to the unholy horses.”
“Deal,” Matt rushed out of the barn followed shortly by his companions.
When he stepped outside the humans and ponies turned and watched him nervously. Bill raised his hands in defense.
“I promised to remain calm and civil,” he smiled. “As long as there is a steady stream of cigarettes and access to alcohol in the future.”
Patton huffed angrily then noticed three small fillies trotting up the road towards the house. Applejack and Rarity noticed them too and she galloped out to meet them.
“What in tarnation are you gals doin’ here?”
“Ah live here!” Applebloom said smartly.
“And we wanted to hear more of the funny stories Matt has to tell!” Scootaloo chimed.
“And we want to meet the others too!” Sweetie Belle peered past Applejack towards the humans.
Applejack sighed. “Fine, you can come to the house. Just stay out of the way.”
“Yay!” The three fillies cheered.
Everyone stood waiting for the two remaining individuals to arrive so the princesses and Patton could start with their announcement. Rainbow Dash was the first one to arrive looking excited for anything other than laying in bed.
“Hey guys!” She called happily as she was helped out of the house by Ring Mail. “What did I miss?”
“A party!” Pinkie sang.
Dash’s smile disappeared and she found herself disliking Matt even more. Matt returned a few minutes later carrying a bottle.
“I didn’t know we had any of the soda you stole from that British convoy left,” Zeus exclaimed.
“I have quite a bit of stuff hidden away throughout the tank that you don’t know about.”
“What is that?” Twilight asked.
“Root beer! Want some?” Matt popped the cap off and held the glass bottle towards the unicorn. “Though it is called beer, it isn’t alcohol.”
Twilight shrugged and magically took the bottle from Matt who quickly pulled a second drink from his coat. Immediately after taking a sip Twilight squealed with joy.
“This stuff is amazing!” She took another sip, savoring the flavor.
Matt smiled and took a drink from his.
“Ponies and humans,” Princess Celestia began to say, her regal voice snapping all eyes to her. “I have much to tell you and from the looks in your eyes you have many questions. Indeed there is the prospects of war looming over our nation and I do not believe we are prepared to defend ourselves. That is why I called the humans here. Their race has much experience with war and how to wage one. From what we know, our enemy is an alliance of many races but they do not seem to be funded by their home nations. Some other power leads them and drives them to our borders in preparation to destroy us. The necessity of having the humans assist us is great. I will now allow General Patton to speak.”
Patton nodded and stepped forward. “Men! I have decided to stay here and assist the Equestrians with their war. Me and Lieutenant Ian have also decided that all of you will be staying as well.” There was an angry sigh from Bill as the General continued. “The Germans have yet to make up their minds on the matter and I will be allowing Frederic to speak when I am finished. The Princess tells me that she has the ability to send us back to our world and it will be as if nothing even happened. We will arrive back at our world at roughly the same time we left so we can get back to our own war. We will be leaving for the pony capitol, Canterlot, tomorrow morning to assist in the training and preparations of the defense of Equestria. I do not think we will be fighting in the war but that has yet to be finalized. The tank will be taken into the barn a kept safe under the watchful eyes of the Apple family. When the war is over you will each receive three bars of gold and a medal as a reward that you can take back with you to Earth. ”
Patton stopped and looked at the Americans. Some of them looked happy to be staying here, away from the more terrible war they had been fighting days earlier but Bill looked like he wanted to kill someone. Though at the mention of a gold bar he did look more interested.
Patton continued. “We will be staying for the entire war and I do not know when it will be over. But, with our assistance we will drag it to a swift victory.”
Patton motioned for Frederic to step forward. The German stepped in front and made his announcement.
“After much talk ve have decided that ve vill be staying as vell,” He said said slowly, as if he didnt believe what he was saying. “The Princess has promised us a fourth gold bar. Ve vere unintentionally dragged here along vis the Americans and for that I asked for more compensation.”
Frederic returned to his men and Celestia spoke again.
“As General Patton has said we will be leaving tomorrow morning for Canterlot. Every pony and human should get their rest, we have a long day ahead of us.”
Matt turned to Zeus. “Three gold bars! My dad is never going to believe this!”
Bill walked past on his way to get more cigarettes from the tank. “Sure, three gold bars as a prize for being good humans that we can sell in our world for money and comfort. That is if we live long enough to go back.”
They disgusted him. The scum of every nation and race he could gather into his army camped out before him. Minotaurs, griffons, diamond dogs, a few dragons, and even an exiled tribe of zebras spread through the desert wilderness. He had promised them so much. A new country for their own. Plenty of land and pony slaves to do their bidding and to be their food. Being a pony himself though raised some questions. Why would he betray his kind?
The answer was easy. The promise of becoming more than just a pony.
Penitent Razor shook his head in disbelief at the size of the army. Penitent Razor hadn't been his true name but one does not gather an army by being named Glimmer Eyes. The army he had gathered was terrifying. He had no idea that there were so many cruel and dark hearted creatures in this world. Back when he was a foal he thought the world was a place empty of evil. Back before he learned the truth about the cruel and dark tendencies of the world outside of equestria. Before he learned of the crimes committed by the Royal Sisters thousands of years ago.
But enough reminiscing of the past, there was a war to wage and Penitent swore he would not stop until the bodies of the sisters lay at his hooves, and his master sat on his rightful throne.
I do not own MLP:FiM. This story is getting good! Sorry it took me longer than usual.
“Wake the fuck up lads!” Ian hollered into the barn.
The Americans shot up and looked around at their dimly lit surroundings.
“What time is it?” Matt groaned.
“Five past four.” Ian helped Jeff to his feet then moved on to Zeus. “We will be boarding a train in Ponyville in three hours.”
“Three hours?” Matt rubbed his eyes and looked at the Lieutenant questioningly. “Why did we wake up so early if we don’t have to be at the town in three hours?”
“Training,” Ian sighed. “Patton wants us to hone our skills and start acting like a real tank crew. Or what he said, I finely oiled killing machine.”
“Fuck,” Matt and Zeus hissed simultaneously.
“Starting now we are to clean our uniforms, polish our boots and wipe our asses.”
“Could you wipe my ass for me Momma?” Matt asked jokingly.
“And smart ass remarks like that will have to stop when we are around Patton and the pony royalty. Understand?”
The other Americans nodded and shrugged.
“Do I make myself clear?” Ian snapped, slightly irritated in his men’s behavior.
“Yes sir!” They replied as one.
“The Germans are already awake and by their tank. We are to join them in exactly one hour for exercises. If we are going to be working together then we better start getting along. But it doesn’t mean we have to become friends. We are still at war, just not right now. We might have to kill them when we get back.”
“I have a question sir,” Matt raised his hand and Ian rolled his eyes.
“Can I still be a smart ass when Patton and the princesses aren’t around?”
Ian glared at the loader before replying. “Sure.”
“Everybody get ready.” Ian headed back out of the barn. “I will be inside the house eating breakfast with Patton and the ponies, and getting some sleep.”
“What do we get to eat?”
“You have K rations right?” Ian chuckled then disappeared into the darkness outside the barn.
“I am going back to sleep,” Matt yawned.
“No,” Zeus growled. “You will be cleaning our uniforms for us.”
“Not this again!” Matt cried. “When we all first met you guys, you instantly made me the work boy!”
“You still are the work boy!” Zeus tussled Matt’s hair. Then in his best Irish accent. “As our lovely Lieutenant would say. Get to work lad or the bad fairies will haunt you forever and you will be forced to clean their knickers.”
“I don’t think Momma would say that,” Matt said quietly. His usual joking mood gone. “And you only hear his Irish accent when he is angry or yelling.”
“Just clean our stuff and get us some K rations from the tank.” Zeus shook his head, annoyed.
“And get us some cigarettes,” Bill put in.
Matt grabbed his jacket and stomped out of the barn. When he stepped into the cool morning air he relaxed. But only momentarily.
Matt turned and noticed Frederic relieving himself by the barn.
“Oh,” Matt said flatly. “Hello Freddy.”
“Do not call me Freddy,” the German said, fastening his pants.
“Whatever you say Fred.” Matt walked away as Frederic contemplated the easiest way to kill the American when the appropriate time arose.
Luna watched the humans from the guest bedroom window. She had elected to stay while her sister prepared Canterlot and the royal guard for the humans’ arrival. Having raised the waxing moon just hours before, she now sat on her bed talking to the only pony at the house other than her four guards and the Apple family.
“The Doc says that I will be almost good as new in a week or two,” Rainbow Dash was saying. “But I still don’t intend on forgiving the one named Matt.”
“He seems to be sorry for doing it,” Luna said quietly. “Mend past hurts so new ones don't arise.”
Dash shrugged. “I guess so.”
Luna smiled then turned her attention back to the humans talking by the barn. She found the bipeds quite interesting. The fact that they were such a disharmonious group yet seem to work together so fluidly boggled her mind. One second they could be threatening to kill each other then moments later they are working together to build a shelter for their war machines because the barn turned out to be too small.
Luna turned and faced rainbow Dash. “Yes?”
“Is- is the enemy Equestria facing really as terrible as Celestia says it is?”
“We think so.”
“What is going to happen if we can’t stop them? Whoever they are.”
Luna smiled, “we are going to stop them, do not fret about that.”
The Princess mentally berated herself. She was starting to sound like her sister and though her sister was the most loving and caring pony she knew. But being too much like her was not a good thing in Luna’s eyes.
Luna noticed that Dash was on the verge of asking another question but couldn't bring herself to say it.
“Is there something else you want to say?”
“Uh,” Dash began slowly. “if we have allies, like the griffins and zebras, then why did you go through all that trouble to bring a small group of apes from another world?”
Luna was about to give another dismissive reply that would keep the pegasus worry free and happy but she decided that would have been something that her sister would have done.
“Because,” Luna said reluctantly. “They refused to help us.”
Rainbow Dash’s mouth dropped. “All of them said they wouldn't help us? Why?”
“In truth we don’t know. But from what we learned they were being held back because something or someone was preventing them.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Neither do we,” Luna said sadly.
Downstairs they heard the door open and human footsteps walk in. Then moments later they hurried out. Luna looked out and saw Matt and Zeus pass by her window carrying an ill-gotten barrel of cider. Luna shook her head and chuckled.
Outside Bill was talking to Zeus next to the recently swiped cider.
“What I need next is some yeast,” Bill said patting the barrel. “I would prefer brewing yeast but bread yeast will work fine enough I guess. And while you are out, get me some honey.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Zeus looked longingly at the cider. “How long will this take?”
“Around nine weeks if we want it to be good.”
“Nine weeks.” The gunner sighed. “Well, I will be back before the sun rises.”
Zeus rushed off, tucking his hands into his pockets to protect them from the cool air. While he was gone the rest of the Americans retrieved their K rations from their tank, gave the Germans a share and situated themselves around the yard. Zeus returned with Bill’s ingredients just as they were getting ready to begin their exercises. Applejack and Rainbow Dash watched them from the front porch as they did pushups, ran laps around the yard and other types of physical activities for an hour. All of which the Germans outperformed their American counterparts. They were finishing up when Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Spike arrived.
“God damn, I feel like an infantryman again,” Bill groaned loudly as he drank from a canteen.
“I hate Patton even more now,” Matt gasped for air. He then noticed Patton watching them in through a window, eyes locked on Matt. The loader guessed that Patton had heard him and he saluted nervously. Patton just nodded passively in return.
“You Americans are out of shape,” Frederic laughed. “Now I feel more confident if I ever need to fight one of you vis my hands.”
“Fuck you,” Bill growled through several gasps of air.
Frederic laughed and walked away, followed by his men. Ian and Patton walked out of the house.
“Clean your uniforms men,” Patton said. “We are leaving soon.”
“Yes sir,” the five lower ranking tankers replied.
Patton went for a walk with Luna and her guards to pass the time. As they disappeared into the apple trees everyone turned to Matt.
“So we all agree that Shelly is cleaning our uniforms?” Ian smiled.
“Yes sir,” Zeus laughed.
“Fuck you guys!” Matt cried.
Fishy ended up helping Matt clean the uniforms while the others helped Bill with the barrel of future hard cider with the ponies watching. The Germans observed from a distance as they cleaned their uniforms.
“Did ya ask to have that barrel of cider?” Applejack inquired.
“Yes,” Zeus replied hesitantly.
“Who did ya ask?”
“I asked the pony with an apple on her ass,” Matt yelled from across the yard and the other Americans chuckled.
Applejack decided to cease with the questions.
Patton returned just as Matt finished up polishing his own boots.
“Alright men,” Patton said happily. He appeared to have enjoyed his conversation with the Princess. “Get your things together and prepare to march to the train station.”
“Did he just say march?” Matt asked Zeus quietly.
The Americans saluted the General and packed anything they believe they needed for the trip. They then formed a double file line on the road, Americans on the right and Germans on the left led by Luna and Patton and followed by the ponies. Matt noticed rainbow Dash limping along.
“Your walking!” Matt exclaimed. “How the heck?”
“My leg is mostly healed up,” She smiled half heartedly.
“But it has only been a few days!”
“We heal quickly,” Dash shrugged.
As they entered Ponyville, ponies stopped to watch them pass in the growing sunlight. To them, they were a mismatched parade of royalty, heroes and otherworldly beings. Luna looked at the curious faces of the ponies and felt a pang of guilt that she could not tell them the true reason the humans were in Equestria. Panic was an all too common reaction. They reached the train station with an entourage of curious ponies close behind.
“Why pink!” Bill groaned when he saw the train. “Why a pink, colorful train?”
“Why not?” Pinkie Pie laughed as she passed him and entered the train first.
They took their seats and as the train lurched forward Ian turned to Patton.
“Sir,” he whispered. “When do we get our guns back?”
“Hopefully soon,” Patton replied. “But I do not know where they are holding them. And they better not have damaged my babies.”
“Also,” Ian continued. “How do you expect to train an entire army of ponies?”
“The same way you were trained.” Patton smiled. “Make them fear me, hate me then I will turn all that hate on their enemies. The pony commanders will do the rest.”
Ian nodded his head in agreement. He did hate the General but it was a type of hate that made you like the guy.
“Is that Canterlot?” Matt exclaimed, pointing at the distant towers and walls set against the mountain side. “I thought that was just part of the mountain!”
“That is Canterlot,” Twilight replied. “Most wonderful city in the world.”
“It’s on a cliff!” Zeus said nervously.
“Zeus has a fear of heights,” Matt stated.
“Comes from his time in the Navy when he had to climb up the mast thing and sit in a box all day,” Ian chimed in.
“No,” Zeus growled. “My fear of height arose when you guys locked me in some old British farmer’s outhouse then called in a crane and lifted me nearly fifty feet in the air!”
“And then we blamed it on Shelly,” Bill chuckled.
“And Zeus tried to kill me with a shovel,” Matt laughed, elbowing an annoyed Zachariah.
“We almost let him too,” Ian pulled a Hershey’s chocolate bar from his jacket and started to chew on it all the while reminiscing.
Patton shook his head, stifling a chuckle. He then turned his attention to the Germans who sat uncomfortably in the back.
“Do you have any stories that you find humorous?”
“There vas this one,” Frederic began with a smile. “Ven I first took command of the my Panzer. Ve were training and Benjamin vent out into the range to chase a donkey out of the vay. Felix decided that he needed help so he fired a shell over Benjamins head, in an attempt to scare the donkey avay. The animal instead turned on Benjamin and chased him around the range all the while screaming for his mother. Felix stood up in the tank and called out. Benjamin, all the beast vants is to get some romance on an equally beautiful ass!”
Everyone except the ponies started laughing.
“I don’t get what's so funny.” Twilight rubbed her head in confusion. The other ponies looked equally puzzled. Except for Luna.
The Princess shook her head, remembering a joke she heard many years ago. From a time when the world was less propper and civil.
“We will be arriving in Canterlot in five minutes!” Called the conductor.
They peered at the imposing city and palace as the train drew near. While everyone was distracted Zeus leaned over to Bill.
“Where did you put the cider?”
“Under a large pile of hay.”
Fifty royal guards stood at attentions as the train pulled up with Celestia at the center. They filed out of the train and Patton and the Americans saluted the Princess.
“Welcome to Canterlot,” Celestia greeted. “I am sorry that we do not have time for a tour because of more pressing matters to attend to.”
“Show me to your army Ma’am,” the General said politely as he followed the Princesses toward the Palace. The guards, humans and other ponies followed behind.
They entered a wide garden courtyard filled with roughly two-hundred pegasi and unicorn guards.
“Before you stands the First Royal Guard,” Celestia beamed. “The Second and Third Guards are stationed at Appleloosa.”
“Are they about the same size as this regiment?” Patton asked as he paced in front of the warrior ponies.
“If by regiment you mean every group of two-hundred soldiers. Yes,” Celestia replied. “Each one of these soldiers comes from very prominent families of warrior ponies.”
“Like the Roman Praetorians?” Jeff asked.
Celestia tilted her head, puzzled.
“The Praetorians were highly trained bodyguards and soldiers of the Roman Empire usually recruited from powerful nobles.”
“Yes,” Celestia replied.
“That explains why they look so much alike and why there are so few,” Patton observed as he paused before the only different looking pony. A unicorn in decorated armor. “Are you the commanding officer of this regiment?”
“Yes sir I am,” the unicorn replied. “My name is Captain Shining Armor.”
“Hello brother!” Twilight called.
Shining waved in reply. Patton turned to the Princess.
“You need to recruit more ponies into your army,” he said matter-of-factly.
“Already preparing to do that.” Celestia nodded. “We are making an announcement in half an hour explaining the looming war, your role here and a call for volunteers. It will be sent out to every city and town.”
“Very good.” Patton turned to the other humans. “Ian and Jeff, you are with me. You two seem to be the most intelligent of the group. The rest of my men get acquainted with the pony soldiers while we are away preparing the announcement. When I return I want a full overview of their training and military ability. Frederic, you can do what you wish.”
“My men vill stay here and I vill come vis you,” Frederic replied.
Celestia, Luna and the humans walked into the palace as the rest of them remained outside. Zeus took command of the situation and started asking Shining Armor questions with Twilight at his side.
“What is the fighting style of your men- ponies?”
“Spears,” Shining replied. “And magic. The pegasi act as lancers while the unicorns back them up and provide magical support.”
“Uh,” Zeus scratched his head. “What does magic suport look like?”
“We send long range spells towards the enemy lines.”
“Can I see a demonstration?”
Shining nodded then aimed his horn at one of his soldiers who was preparing a protective bubble. He fired a bolt of fiery pink energy at the shield and it shattered into many pieces before disintegrating.
“Alrighty then.” The American had no idea what kinds of questions to ask. “Can I see your armory?”
“Sure,” the Captain replied as he turned and walked away with Zeus and Twilight in tow.
Inside a thick walled building Zeus looked around at the pitiful selection of pony weapons. A large assortment of spears lined the walls and on the ground sat five small, rusty cannons. In the back sat an old sleeping pony next to what seemed to be a dusty and cluttered forge and foundry.
“Is this everything?”
“Yes,” Shining replied.
“Is this equal to the weapons of your enemies?”
The pony captain shrugged. “We don’t know. But we can presume that their weapons technology is far greater because they come from more violent places.”
“A tiny army with tiny weapons.” Zeus shook his head. “From what I have seen so far, you guys are doomed.”
“I don’t think so,” Shining stated as he hugged his nervous sister. “We have a secret weapon on our side.”
“Can I see this secret weapon?” Zeus asked, his curiosity peaked.
“You are looking at one of them,” the stallion replied as he squeezed Twilight harder.
Patton stood next to his men, the Princesses, and the six ponies that he had come to learn were a type of weapon called the Elements of Harmony. Below them gathered a large mass of ponies who looked up at them with curious eyes. Next to them a pony jotted down every word that would be spoken so that it could be sent off to other cities.
“My faithfull subjects,” Celestia began. “I stand before you now with terrible news. An enemy stands on the borders of our lands with the intent to destroy Equestria.”
The was a murmur of fear and confusion from the crowd as Celestia continued.
“Our allies have refused to help us and the only assistance I could find was from these beings you see next to me. They are called humans and they are experienced in the waging of war. If we follow their example then we will have a fighting chance. General Patton, would you like to speak?”
Patton nodded and stepped forward. He looked at the ponies and prepared to say the most courage inspiring speech he could think of.
“Ponies of Equestria, I am General George S. Patton of the United States Third Army. Your country stands now on the brink of destruction. Your enemy will not hesitate to destroy everything you hold dear. But the fear I see in your eyes though is the greatest enemy you have. If you overcome your fear you will in turn inspire fear in your enemy’s hearts and you will prevail! Me and my men will work with your army to train you into the most skilled and deadly fighting force on this world. You will protect the land you love and you will be victorious!”
There was a loud murmur from the crowd of ponies as they processed the information they were just told.
Celestia spoke again. “I ask everypony above the age of sixteen and under the age of sixty healthy enough to join to please do so. To join please stop by the local town hall and speak to the military representative. I want the factories and workshops that develop trains, machinery and other metal related products to switch at least half of their production to the war effort. A military representative will be sent to your company to oversee the production. A document with more information will be sent to every city and pamphlets will be in everypony’s mailbox. The future of Equestria is uncertain and your help is greatly needed! Without it I fear we won’t-”
“Your Highness!” A pony yelled from the crowd. The other ponies parted revealing a bruised and bloody pegasus soldier.
“What happened?” Celestia sounded horrified.
“Appleloosa has fallen,” he wobbled unsteadily and gasped for breath. “And the Second and Third Guards have been destroyed!”
He slumped heavily to the ground as his helmet clattered across the cobblestone.
What a very long chapter. Please leave a comment and If you see any mistakes of any kind please tell me. I feel like I forgot something but I just don't know what!
This chapter is the set up for the epic events that will take place next chapter. It will also be a much longer chapter and less all over the place. Please tell me if you find any mistakes. -Altoid
Panic rippled through the crowd of ponies like a stone falling into water. A few ponies rushed to help the fallen soldier but most started to scream and talk amongst themselves in a terrified fervor.
“Everypony stay calm!” Celestia called out. “Panic will only make things worse!”
The crowd calmed but the fear still radiated from them like the sun. Patton, eager to get into action, leaned over to Celestia.
“Permission to mobilise my men in conjunction with your war effort, ma’am?” He asked.
“Permission granted.” Celestia replied. “Luna, assist the General and supply him with anything he needs. I will handle things here and deal with the political part.”
“Yes sister,” Luna turned to the General but he was already walking away followed by the other humans. She rushed to catch up with them with Shining Armor, Twilight and her friends in tow.
“Try to keep up, Princess,” Patton called back to her. They entered the palace and Patton continued. “Here is the plan men, and ponies. I want Bill, Zachariah, and Matthew to go back to Ponyville and find some way to get those tanks active. Ian you are with me. Jefferson, you are my jack of all trades. You will be going wherever I tell you to go and right now I want you to go to Ponyville and help find a way to get the tanks running but don’t stay there for more than two days before coming back here. Frederic and the Germans, you can stay here with me or help my men with the tanks.”
“I vill go and help vis the Panzers,” Frederic replied.
“Very good,” Patton nodded in agreement. “Between getting an army trained and battle worthy and getting the tanks going, I also want to borrow a train factory or two and a foundry-metalworking shop.”
“What for?” Luna asked.
“You need your own tanks.” Patton smiled. “And proper weapons.”
“Preferably things that go boom,” Matt chimed.
“Was it really that easy?”
Penitent Razor worked his way through the carnage as he made his way through the smoldering ruins that were once Appleloosa and looked around at the destruction and death that surrounded him. Bodies filled the streets, nearly all of them ponies, and the only standing building was the town hall. When the attack had started most of the civilians had fled but the Royal Guards in their glittering armor had stood strong, and died swiftly. Now the dead and wounded were food for the carnivorous members of his army and the prisoners, fresh slaves.
His artillery had decimated everything. Two-hundred and thirty of the best cannons the gryphon and minotaur nations had to offer. Well, they hadn’t offered them freely, but persuasion is an art that should not be taken for granted.
As he entered the town hall he witnessed several gryphons tearing apart the corpse of a pony and he quickened his pace. Razor passed a cage and a small hoof reached out and touched him. He looked down and saw the horrified face of a dark-yellow filly staring up at him.
“My-my m-mommy,” she squeaked, flashing a terrified look at the gryphons and their meal.
Realisation hit him like a cold wave and he felt sorry for the foal. The emotion he had struggled so long to eradicate suddenly emerged. He opened the cage and magically lifted her out. She squirmed and cried as he carried her into the building.
“I will keep you safe little one,” he said softly.
‘I have plans for you.’
Jeff stood by the window in the Apple family’s house, silently watching the other humans as they worked on the tanks. Beside him, Twilight and Applejack discussed ways to power the machines. Twilight argued that a magically self sustaining drive would work but it would be difficult to make one strong enough. Applejack believed that a steam engine was the best route to go but making one small enough would also be a challenge. They were the two of the six pony friends that were assigned to be his assistants in understanding pony technology and science. The others would be staying in Ponyville to help the other humans.
“But it is currently impossible, with the motor technology we possess now, to fit a steam engine in the smaller tank,” Twilight was saying. “We might be able to install one in the big tank, but not the small one.”
“And enchanting’ the motors to run off of magic alone will not be enough to power them,” Applejack shot back. "Once you get outside the-what did you call it? The magic drive threshold? Once you get to a certain engine size the magic ceases to be self sustaining and unable to power the motor."
The Texan had been watching them argue for a good thirty minutes before giving his opinion.
“Ah don’t know much about magic powered engines, or magic in general, but is there a way to combine the two? Make a magic-powered-steam-motor or somethin’?”
Twilight thought for a few moments. “Instead of real fire, use magic fire to power a compact steam engine. It would not need fuel other than water to keep the pressure up. The magic would only have to heat the water, leaving the steam to do the rest. The magic drive threshold would not become over taxed.”
“Could ya make a blueprint?” Jeff asked.
“I'll try, but without ponies whose talents are building motors helping us I am afraid our blueprint won't be very good,” Twilight replied, biting her lip. “Come with me to my library and we will work on it.”
They walked outside as the others finished remove the engine from the Sherman. The gasoline motor was now spread out on the grass in nearly a hundred pieces and Bill looked at it sadly.
“Poor Lucky,” he sighed. “Having your heart torn out must feel awful.”
“It’s a tank, Billy,” Matt laughed. “It can’t feel.”
Bill picked up his newly returned and repaired grease gun then pointed it threateningly at the loader.
“Lucky has more feelings than you will ever have!” He growled as Matt raised his hands in fear.
“Calm down Bill!” Zeus hissed. “You can shoot him later.”
Bill lowered his gun and Matt looked at Zeus nervously. “He can shoot me later?”
Zeus smiled then turned his attention back to the tanks. “Pack up the parts into boxes with each part labeled. Pinkie Pie, you got the labels done right?”
“Bill will help you put them with the parts they go with.” Zeus absent mindedly picked up a pipe and looked at it.
Bill stared at Pinkie distastefully. “Do I have to work with the pink one?”
“Yes,” Zeus replied, still looking at the pipe.
“We're going to Ponyville,” Twilight explained. “To develop blueprints for the tank engines.”
“Alright,” Zeus put down the pipe. “I'll try to get you the specifications of both engines as soon as we can.”
“Sounds good,” Applejack remark kindly. “The sooner the better.”
The Jeff and his two pony companions headed towards Ponyville. When they had walked out of earshot Matt turned to Zeus.
“Am I the only one who is confused as to why the two rednecks are part of the science squad?”
“Jeff is a very intelligent person,” Zeus wiped his oily hands on a towel. “And that Applejack-pony seems to be very good at putting together machines and stuff. They are more qualified for the job than you and me are. Especially you.”
“What about Bill?” Matt asked, motioning to the Virginian. “He's good with mechanics.”
“If you haven't noticed,” Zeus rolled his eyes. “Bill doesn't like ponies.”
“He seems to be getting along with-” Matt was cut off by an outburst from Bill.
“No! God damnit! That is a piston, that is a fuel line and that is the carburetor! God damn pony!”
Zeus shook his head as Matt started laughing. Pinkie looked hurt but she continued to help, her smile only wavering for a moment.
“So what do you think Old Blood and Guts has planned?” Matt asked.
Zeus walked towards the Tiger where the Germans were working on removing the engine and Matt followed.
“Don’t know what the Old Man has planned.” Zeus answered as he lit his cigarette then handed one to Frederic.
“Just seems kind of desperate.” Matt leaned against the German tank. “The situation the ponies find themselves in feels hopeless. Ya know?”
Zeus nodded. “But nothing has stopped the Old Man yet.”
The maps laid out on the factory table initially confused Patton but as he memorised each and every hill, valley, forest and stream he quickly formed a plan. The air smelled of hot metal and oil. Around him stood Ian, Luna, Shining Armor and the heads of train, metalworking, airship and firework factories. Firework companies were also in charge of making the gunpowder for the Royal Army. The building he had chosen as the base of his operations was a transportation factory in Detrot called Steel and Stern, Train and Airship Company. The humans had found it strange and quite humorous at the similarities in the names of pony cities and human ones.
Three busy days had past since the humans had split up. A letter had been sent to luna from Twilight explaining that her, Applejack and Jeff were on their way with the blueprints of two new engine prototypes. If the new engines worked they would be the most powerful motors ever built in Equestria. Jeff had also talked about building advanced artillery called dahlgren guns. But by then, it might be too late.
“What are you thinking General?” Luna asked.
Patton rubbed the stubble on his chin, wanting t shave badly. He eventually answered, “We need to slow them down.”
He remained silent, dwelling over the maps and papers in front of him. He pointed at a long ridge that ran across the Equestrian Desert.
“That would be a nice place,” he said absentmindedly.
“To set up a line of defence?” Shining asked.
Patton shook his head. “To stop them long enough to give us a chance.”
“He doesn't like defensive strategies,” Ian whispered to Luna.
“But we don’t have an offensive force,” Shining stated. "At least for another month if you don't care for quality. We have nothing to attack them with."
“And that is where you are wrong,” Patton smiled, a crafty glint in his eyes.
Jeff leaned against the factory office wall as the group of ponies poured over the magic-steam engine blueprints and the crates of the dismembered tank engines.
“The boiler is not big enough,” stated on of the mechanic ponies flatly. “It won’t work.”
Jeff raised an eyebrow in surprise but remained unresponsive.
“Are you sure?” Twilight asked.
“Well shoot,” Applejack removed her hat and rubbed her forehead. “Nah we need ta think of ah new design.”
“Maybe not,” another mechanic spoke up.
“How so?” twilight asked.
“Well,” he continued. “My sister works for a company out in Manehattan, working on a new type of fuel. They think they got it, but she says that they don’t have an engine capable of using it. I think the engines of the tanks could.”
“We might as well try,” Twilight shrugged.
“To the train again,” Applejack sighed. “Don’t know how much more Ah can handle ridin’ that thing.”
Matt looked at the large selection of baked goods at Sugarcube Corner. A chocolate cake caused his stomach to rumble and he wished that he had pony money. The American had been spending most of his day in Ponyville due to the lack of anything productive to do at Sweet Apple Acres. He found himself wandering the town as he waited for Jeff and the ponies to return with the new engines.
“Can I help you?” Pinkie sang from behind the counter.
Matt sighed. “Nope, I don’t have any money.”
“You can have something for free because you are a friend!” The pony replied.
Matt picked up the cake. “Thank you! You already were my favorite pony but now you are undisputedly the best person, human and pony, I know.”
Pinkie smiled even wider as Matt walked out of the building. As he walked down the street, stuffing his mouth with cake the entire time, he noticed something strange in the sky. He turned his face up as several airships past overhead, flying towards Canterlot.
“Wow,” he mumbled disbelievingly.
“Hey Matt,” Zeus called as he walked up to him. “What are you- wow.”
“Where do you think they are going?” Matt asked, his mouth hanging open.
“How the hell should I know,” Zeus shrugged. “Come on, Bill is angry again and I need you to find more of the cigarettes or soda bottles you have hidden around the tank.”
Matt continued to watch the ships until they disappeared behind a cloud. Then he reluctantly followed Zeus back towards the Apple’s house.
Bill was in the middle of his rampage when they arrived.
“If I have to sit around in this shit hole one more day with these God forsaken ponies, I will kill somebody!”
“Why is he so angry?” Matt asked, watching the tank driver stomp around the yard.
“We don’t really know.” Zeus replied.
“Well, did anybody take his gun away before he could kill somebody?” Matt looked around nervously for any sign of a weapon.
“Yep,” Zeus sighed. “Now we are waiting for him to lose steam and calm down.”
“What ticked him off in the first place?”
“No fuckin’ idea.” The gunner chuckled “Just go get him a pack of cigs and a Pepsi.”
Matt retrieved the items and cautiously walked up to Bill who paced back and forth like a caged animal.
“Hey Billy,” Matt said in a soothing voice. “I got you a treat. Cigarettes and Pepsi.”
Bill huffed angrily and snatched the smokes and drink from Matt.
“Thanks,” the driver hissed as he popped the cap off of the bottle. “But if you talk to me like I am a child again, I will cut open your belly and choke you with your guts!”
“Yeesh,” Matt grimaced. “A little over the top don’t you think?”
“Why you so angry?” Matt asked.
Bill drained half of his drink and lit a cigarette before answering. “I feel trapped.”
Matt wasn’t expecting a sincere answer and reeled back for a moment, struggling to think of a response, but Bill continued.
“I never liked being stuck in one place at a time. And now that I am stuck here without anything to do and with a whole buncha talking ponies, I blow my top easily.” Bill took a drag on his cigarette then lit a new one. “Now we got to fight alongside these ponies, and possibly die. Fighting Nazis and Japs is one thing, but fighting against fantasy creatures is another. I am not willing to die for that cause.”
“I understand,” Matt nodded. This was the first time he had ever been in an emotional talk with the Virginian and he felt uncomfortable. “But while we are here we might as well do something good. Right?”
Bill chuckled, “sure.”
Matt looked at the sky and saw seven more airships pass overhead.
“I wonder where they are going?” He stated to nobody in particular.
“Towards that place called Camelot it looks like,” Bill replied matter-of-factly.
A voice rang out through the evening air. “Supper time everypony!”
“I am getting tired of vegetarian meals every day too.”
“You got to admit,” Matt chuckled. “That Granny Smith is a damn good cook.”
“Uh-huh,” Bill nodded in agreement. “But a thick slice of steak is what I crave right now. I have an idea. How bout the three of us, me, you and Zeus, go hunting?”
“I’ve never been,” Matt replied nervously. The image of Bill ‘accidentally’ shooting him in the back and cooking him up for dinner played in his mind.
“Then we are going,” Bill laughed, thumping Matt on the back.
They stood and entered the house where the other humans were sitting around the living room and kitchen with platefuls of food. After getting his food Bill did the second most unexpected thing, he sat next to Frederic. The first most surprising being if he sat next to a pony.
“Frederic, I have a deal to make,” he whispered to the German commander.
Frederic stared at the American with a blank face so Bill continued. “Early tomorrow morning me and my two fellow Americans are going hunting. If you keep the ponies distracted and prevent them from following us we will give you a large share of the goods. Aright?”
Frederic smiled, the only response Bill needed.
“If you kill two animals and give us a whole carcass, I vill give you a gift from my personal store of sweet treats,” Frederic said excitedly.
“What kind of treat?”
“A few bottles of a loveling treat called Schnaps,” the German grinned.
Bill beamed with excitement. “You have yourself a deal.”
“What time is it?” Matt looked up at the sky and sighed.
Zeus lit his lighter and looked at his watch. “Three forty-five.”
“Put that light out and be quiet!” Bill growled. “You're gonna scare away the game.”
“Sorry,” Zeus replied.
Something rustled in a distant bush and Bill raised and cocked his gun. The head of a buck peeped up in curiosity at the sound of clicking metal. A second head appeared, one that of a doe.
“Perfect,” Bill said in a purr-like tone.
“My father never shot the females,” Zeus interjected.
“I ain’t your daddy.” Bill let loose a burst from his M3. Blood splattered against the nearby trees and both animals fell to the ground.
“Hell yeah!” Cheered Bill. “That is how you hunt!”
They rushed excitedly to the animals bodies but stopped short. Lying in the bushes next to her parents was a terrified fawn.
“God dammit Bill!” Zeus rubbed his forehead in anger. “That is why you shouldn’t shoot the females!”
“What should we do with it?” Matt asked.
Bill raised his gun again, “it’s gonna die out her alone anyway.”
“Bill no!” Matt pushed the barrel of the gun away from the fawn. “We are taking it back with us. Maybe fluttershy is willing to take care of it?”
“Fine,” Bill huffed. “But help me dress the carcasses first.”
“How do we do that?” Matt fidgeted with the edge of his shirt.
“Take a knife and do what I do,” Bill proceeded to cut the buck open. “We are feasting tonight boys!”
Matt pulled his knife from his boot and tried not to be sick.
The look on Fluttershy and the other pony’s faces were that of absolute horror. Matt held the fawn in his arms as Bill and Zeus held sacks of meat.
“Don’t say anything,” Bill growled. “Your judgement will be lost on me.”
“You made that poor baby dear an orphan!” Fluttershy screamed, her body shaking uncontrollably. “I understand that you are omnivores but this is horrible! The poor fawn!”
“Then you can be it’s mommy now,” Bill shot back.
“You-you, you are a-a-” Fluttershy was at a loss for words.
“A what huh?” Bill spat. “A murderer? A monster? A piece of worthless shit? No, I am a man who is hungry for some meat and if I was in this world by myself I would have killed you all and ate you long before now!”
The ponies backed away in terror as he continued.
“Now get out of my way, I have a feast to cook.” He trudged past the ponies and towards the waiting Germans by their tank.
Matt stepped forward and placed the shivering fawn on the grass in front of Fluttershy.
“I am sorry,” he was unable to meet Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Rarity’s gaze.
“I think you should stay away from the barn the rest of the day,” Zeus said in an equally depressed tone. “Especially the three Cutie Mark Crusaders.”
“Just go and have your party,” Rarity growled.
“I-I don't want to talk to you right now,” Pinkie looked at Matt sadly. Trust for him had disappeared slightly from her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Matt muttered again as they walked away.
The party ended up not being as great as they hoped it would, and Matt never touched any of the meat or alcohol. All he did was sit by the fire and try to think of a way to heal the image of humans in the pony’s hate filled eyes.
I do not own MLP:FiM or Pepsi.
“This is a ridiculous plan,” Stonetower mumbled as his squad of Guards filed up behind him on the left flank of the pony lines.
The First Royal Guard had been working on constructing an impressive line of defence for that past three days as the enemy army grew closer. Now the hostile horde filled up on the distant ridge and were building defences of their own. Batteries of cannons were being set up on the highest points and a sinking feeling formed in Stonetower’s gut. Their guns could open fire any minute and would rain hundreds of solid iron balls upon their position. Though the pony’s defences were impressive, two-hundred Guards wouldn't last long under that kind of fire.
Stonetower’s orders were to pin the enemy army onto the ridge. To prevent them from moving down from it and to keep the griffins and dragons from taking to the sky.
How? By using the pitiful firepower of long range magic, the four light cannons and two brand new heavy cannons. True, there were other phases to the plan but Stonetower didn’t know them. To the pony commander, it was a faulty and ridiculous plan. A suicide mission.
“Five minutes until we open fire!” Stonetower called down his lines.
A few of the armor clad ponies shifted nervously but the lines remained silent. Beside him he heard his second in command sigh.
“Remain calm Ringmail,” he said quietly.
“Yes sir,” the younger pegasus replied.
Stonetower glanced back at the high plateau behind their lines and at the small town of Dodge Junction. The town was completely evacuated and when their lines collapsed, Stonetower knew they would, there would be no civilian casualties. The same could not be said for the Royal Guard.
Stonetower estimated a 90% casualty rate, if they were lucky. Maybe immediately after the enemy charged his lines Stonetower could order a retreat. More of his soldiers would survive. He glanced up at the sun.
“One minute!” He called again.
Stonetower wiped the sweat from his eyes. It was unbearably hot, even for the desert. Celestia had slowed the movement of the sun to make it harder for the enemy army to move through the heat and so far it had worked. The longer days slowed them long enough for this suicide mission to be enacted. Though the heat affected the ponies as well. Already five of his soldiers had fallen to dehydration and heat stroke.
He took a deep breath, somewhat happy the enemy hadn’t fired first, and gave his final order before Tartarus broke loose.
“Cannons focus your fire on the enemy batteries! Unicorns deny the air above the ridge, don’t let any take off!” He paused before continuing. “Open fire!”
There was a roar as the guns and magic erupted towards the enemy lines. A few of the enemy cannons were knocked out and the air became thick with magic bolts that no griffon was willing to fly through, though dragons would have no problem taking to the sky.
A second series of explosions filled the air as the enemy returned fire. Moments later Stonetower’s world turned upside down and he was knocked unconscious. Ringmail saw his commander collapse and he took over.
“Keep firing!” he screamed as both sides guns continued to roar and iron balls fell around them. “Don’t let up until Shinning Armor orders the retreat.”
He was too caught up in the chaos that he didn’t even notice the squadron of airships passing overhead.
The secret part of the plan had been enacted.
Flying an airship was difficult. Flying one by yourself was close to impossible. Silky Wind directed her craft, The Feathered Hat, the best he could without colliding into the twenty-nine other ships in formation around her. The only two companions she had were the survivors of the Second and Third Royal Guards. Each airship had two of them to repel any gryphon or dragon attackers. Though Silky doubted Royal Guards with spears would be much of a threat to a dragon.
When a representative of the Royal Army, a brand new organization, came to her and asked if she would pilot her craft in the upcoming battle she had initially refused. When they told her that they were still taking The Feathered Hat weather she captained it or not, she gave in. She had told her crew that they were free to choose whether they wanted to join her. Of course none of them did.
“Keep her steady!” One of the guards ordered, a snobbish unicorn.
“Do you think I am trying to swerve?” She shot back. “I would like to see you do better!”
The guard glared at her for a moment but said nothing. He returned his attention to the side of the ship. They were passing over the plateau's edge when the rumble of cannons met their ears.
“Right on time!” A middle aged pegasus guard cheered.
Silky Wind’s heart leaped in her chest. She glanced over at the crates and barrels of explosives.
“In the name of Celestia, pay attention!” One of the guards screamed.
Silky snapped her attention back to the front of her ship just in time to steer it away from its collision course with another vessel.
“Sorry!” She called. Her heart felt like it was beating three-hundred times a minute!
“Get ready!” The unicorn called again as he positioned himself by the bombs. He opened a door in the airship’s railing and lit a strangely designed lantern on the tops of each weapon with magical fire.
Silky couldn't see the ground below her but from the sound of the guns she could tell that they were directly above the battle. The unicorn was about to shove the bombs out of the door when the head of a dragon shot up over the railing and pulled him over the edge. His screams quickly died away. The two remaining ponies stared open mouthed and horrified at the now vacant spot where the unicorn once stood. The pegasus guard edged forward to try and push the explosives over the side but the dragon’s head soon returned.
“Sweet sweet meat,” it hissed through bloodied jaws.
The remaining guard lowered his spear and charged the dragon. “For Equestria!”
The dragon smiled as the spear glanced harmlessly off of his scales. He opened his mouth to enact the same fate of the unicorn upon the now terrified and immobilized pegasus. Silky let go of the steering and rushed towards the pegasus, knocking him aside. But she soon found herself in the same position he had been.
Unlike the guard she wasn’t too afraid to move. She fell flat onto her back as the dragon’s mouth grazed past her chest, snapping at the empty air. The dragon climbed up higher onto the railing, now exposing his chest. Silky Wind took opportunity to kick the bombs with all her might over the edge and into the monster’s body. The combined weight of the explosives rammed into the dragon, pulling his body towards the earth.
But Silky was too busy trying to save her ship to notice. Around her other vessels were meeting the same fate as her’s. She weaved The Feathered Hat through a sky filled with listing and crashing airships. As she turned the vessel to port the sounds of massive explosions filled the air.
“That is how you beat any son-of-a-bitch that’s trying to invade your country.” Patton cheered as the last of the ten surviving airships drifted overhead. “Attack them and kill as many as you can!”
From their position on top of a high plateau Patton, Ian and Luna had watched the battle unfold, and end in a climax of fire and noise.
A unicorn teleported next to them and both humans jumped back, startled.
“The enemy is falling back! Thats what happens when you use cowardly mercenaries!” Shining Armor announced triumphantly. “What should we do your highness?”
Luna looked at Patton who raised an eyebrow in response.
“Up to you,” he replied.
“Have your forces do an orderly retreat,” she answered to the pony captain. “There is nothing else we can do today.”
“Very well your highness.” Shinning bowed then disappeared in a flash of light.
“Congratulations Princess,” Patton beamed. “You just bought your country at most an extra three days.”
“Only three days?” Luna shook her head disbelievingly. “Fifty ponies died and almost a hundred wounded for just three more days.”
“In war,” Patton stated gruffly. “A lot can happen in three extra days. Come Your Highness, we need to get back to Canterlot as soon as we can. We have an army to train and supply.”
The three of them disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.
Penitent Razor observed the burst of light flicker and disappear. He sighed angrily then turned and entered his tent. On the floor a dark-yellow filly built a little house with blocks of wood. Her mind had been wiped clean of her previous life and she even called Razor daddy, much to his amusement.
The unicorn chuckled. “Put your toys away Astral Quake, we are going for a little walk.”
“Hooray,” cheered the filly as she jumped to her hooves and followed him out into the heat.
They slowly made their way through the camp until they reached a circle of his generals relaxing under an awning.
“Lord Razor,” They snapped to attention as he arrived amongst them.
“Have a seat,” he said politely.
The assortment of creatures spread themselves out on the sand around him and waited for their leader to speak.
Razor waited a few moments before speaking. “Tell me, how large is our army?”
“Twenty thousand strong,” Replied a griffon.
“And growing by the day,” chimed a diamond dog.
“How big was the force of ponies we faced today?” Razor continued.
“We believe it was only a few hundred,” the griffon replied again.
“Very favorable odds wouldn't you say?” the unicorn grinned.
The generals shifted uncomfortably.
“Very favorable odds,” replied the same diamond dog.
Razor chuckled. Then his face turned into that of rage and hate.
“Then why are they not dead? Why did you run?” he screamed. The filly next to him jumped in fright. “Why do you not feast on their flesh now instead of sitting idle and dumb in the sunlight?”
“We thought they were going to hit us again with the skyfire!” Whimpered the diamond dog.
“We lost only two-hundred soldiers in that attack and another five-hundred were wounded! If they would have attacked again we would have been upon their lines and the griffons could have joined the dragons in their attacks against the airships!” Razor breathed heavily and tried to calm himself. After a while he spoke in a quieter tone. “If this blatant show of cowardice happens again, I will have you killed. Understand?”
“Yes sir,” they replied in a terrified unison.
Razor prepared to walk away but then stopped. “Oh, one other thing. My master is stopping by in a day or two. Please don’t give him any cause to kill you himself.”
The generals glanced at each other nervously as Penitent Razor walked away, laughing.
Jeff leaned over the vat of familiar smelling liquid. The aroma was the faint fragrance of apples mixed into the overwhelming scent of petrol.
“How did you make this?” The human asked.
The two stallions smiled and replied simultaneously.
“Accidentally,” Flim and Flam beamed.
“Accidentally?” Applejack inquired with distrust in her eyes.
The orange mare’s initial reaction when they had arrived at the Manehattan factory and realized that the two brothers owned it, had nearly sent her into a screaming fit. Jeff had been filled in on the whole story about how Flim and Flam had tried to run the Apple family out of business.
“We were trying to find the best way to create large amounts of alcohol for the large population of ponies in Manehattan that like the stuff,” Flim said.
“We tried to make a new spell that could create it quickly and efficiently,” Flam finished.
“But we ended up creating this stuff.” Flim pointed at the vat.
“Its flammability gave us the idea to use it as a type of fuel.”
“But developing an engine has been quite, troublesome. Isn’t that right brother?”
“Yes it is.”
“But you tell us that there exists a motor that can use this combustible concoction?”
The brothers stared at Jeff who continued to look at the liquid. Eventually he spoke.
“Ah don’t understand how, but Ah think ya managed to turn the apples into, uh, hydrocarbons.” He dipped his finger into the liquid then gave it a small taste before spitting it out. “This actually might work in the engines. Hand over a few barrels so we can test its usefulness.”
“Hand them over?” Flimm laughed.
“You must be mistaken,” Flam smirked.
“If you have the bits.”
“You can have the fuel.”
Jeff groaned. He was already at the end of his nerves due to the continuous rides in the train and Twilights unending curiosity about humans had not helped. He pulled the gun from his belt and pointed it at the two brothers. Applejack and Twilight both jumped back in shock as Flim and Flam yelped in fear.
“Ah’m requisitioning these barrels for the war effort of your nation,” Jeff growled. But there was still a hint of kindness in his voice. “If ya withhold the items we ask for, your actions will be considered treason and Ah will kill you here and now. Also, tell Twilight the spell so we won't have-ta keep coming to you if it works.”
The two brothers were too afraid to speak as Jeff cocked the gun.
Half an hour later, Jeff and his pony companions were pushing the last of the two fuel barrels into the train. Twilight and Applejack had been silent since the events in the factory. eventually Applejack spoke.
“Ah understand why ya did that but Ah don’t think ya should have done it,” she stated quietly.
“Ah didn’t like doing it, but it was either the two ponies or the whole nation,” Jeff replied with a tone of sadness.
“Your species seems inclined to end all predicaments with violence,” Twilight looked at the barrels absentmindedly as they finished pushing them through the cargo door.
Jeff huffed in agreement, but deep down he knew that he wouldn't have been able to shoot the brothers even if they had continued to resist. He only shot things that shot back.
As they sat down for another long ride, Jeff removed his journal from his pack and started to write in it. Something he had done on a regular basis. Twilight had long exhausted her curiosity over it, mostly due to Jeff not giving any answers, but Applejack couldn't help but watch him write.
Jeff felt her eyes on him. He looked up and raised an eyebrow questioningly.
“Are ya writin’ down your adventures?” She asked innocently.
He shrugged passively and went back to writing. But Applejack could see the hint of a blush on his face.
“I’ve noticed that ya don’t talk very much,” the country pony continued. “Ya remind me of my brother.”
Jeff smiled and continued scratching the pencil across the paper. A sudden, quiet snoring sound distracted both of them and they looked at Twilight who had drifted off to sleep.Jeff looked out of the window and was surprised that they had yet to even clear the station. He looked back at the orange mare who smiled back at him. He flashed a smile in return then went back to writing.
Applejack watched him for a few more seconds as the train lumbered away from Manehattan. When Jeff looked up again she quickly looked away and acted like she hadn’t been watching. Applejack looked out the window as curiosity filled her mind.
The last of the deer meat had been eaten when Jeff, Twilight, Applejack, arrived in Ponyville. They immediately set to work assembling the motors. The Texan noticed the silence between the humans and ponies and he asked Zeus and Matt about it.
“Bill killed a mother and father deers,” Matt replied.
Zeus cringed at Matt’s grammar but nodded in agreement.
“Hmm.” Jeff rubbed the small beard on his chin. Everybody had one, albeit different styles, except the Germans who appeared to have been shaving in an attempt to look spic-and-span.
“We will go speak to them,” Twilight said.
The lavender and orange mares walked away leaving the humans alone with the tanks.
“Fuck,” Zeus groaned. “Time to put these things back together.”
As the humans set to work reinstalling the engines, the ponies sat in the farmhouse talking and occasionally looking out of the windows at the humans working on the tanks.
“Well,” Fluttershy said as she held a bottle that the faun was drinking from. “We aren’t really mad at Matt and-um Zeus anymore.”
“Yeah, they weren't the ones that made this poor little guy an orphan.” Pinkie patted the little deer on the head.
“I guess we aren't acquainted with having meat eating friends,” Rarity said with a sigh.
“I know what it is like to have a meat eating friend,” Rainbow Dash put in from her position on the couch. “Guilda ate meat and I got used to it after a while.”
“I guess we owe them an apology.” Rarity looked out of the window absentmindedly.
“Except for Bill,” Dash stood up.
“Agreed,” Rarity nodded. “Until he becomes a nicer person we will not treat him as a friend.”
“Bill use to be a nice person.”
The surprised ponies turned towards Zeus who held a recently filled cup of water in his hand.
“He use to be nice?” Fluttershy squeaked.
“The nicest man I knew.” Zeus took a drink, a sad look on his face. “Then one day while we were in England preparing to head out into France he got a letter and he became the pissed off bastard you know now. He used to be called the battalions uncle. Uncle Bill-Lee we called him.”
“What was in the letter?” Twilight asked.
Zeus shrugged. “No idea.”
The human walked out of the door and the ponies sat deep in thought. Rainbow Dash, not being a fan of sitting around, decided to head to Ponyville. The others followed and they ambled towards the town, still not sure on what to do. Nopony was in the mood to talk, there was too much on their minds.
When they arrived they were surprised to see a long column of ponies marching from the train station and towards the open fields at the edge of town. A large camp could be seen being constructed in the distance. A royal guard trotted past and Twilight stopped him.
“What is going on sir?”
“Due to Ponyville’s high amount of food and supplies we have decided to put our primary military base here,” he replied flatly. “Ponies from all over Equestria are being brought here for training and assignment.”
He started to hurry away but Twilight stopped him again.
“Can you tell me how the war is going?” She asked innocently. “The newspapers have stopped publishing and I have yet to receive any letters from the Princesses.”
The stallion ground his teeth and prepared to walk away then paused.
“Wait,” he said turning back towards the six friends. “You guys aren’t the Elements of Harmony are you?”
“Yes we are,” Rainbow Dash hissed sharply.
The guard sighed and prepared to relent information. “The Princesses don’t want to cause panic, so please don’t go around flaunting this information.”
“We won’t,” Twilight promised.
“The only reason the enemy isn’t in Canterlot right now is because they haven’t tried. They are moving slowly, they have yet to even reach the edge of the desert.”
The six mares sighed in relief but the guard continued.
“But they will arrive in Canterlot,” he growled. “I can promise you that. There is nothing we can do to hold them back. The Princesses and the humans are forming a plan but it is above my pay grade to know what it is. Have a nice day.”
He cantered away leaving the six ponies in their thoughts. Eventually Twilight spoke.
“I need to see the Princess,” she said hurriedly. “You five stay here and help the humans. Only Spike and I need to go.”
Before her friends could protest, she rushed off leaving them among another column of marching Ponies. A human walked up and stood behind them for a few moments before speaking.
“How are you ladies doing?” Ian asked.
“Hi Mr. Ian!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed.
“Hello dear,” Rarity looked at the human with a sense of surprise. “I thought you were in Canterlot?”
“I was, but I have been assigned to be the head assistant trainer of all military forces. My new commanding officer is now Shining Armor.” Ian chuckled. “Never thought I would be taking orders from a pony. Though the orders I receive from General Patton come first.”
There was a sudden eruption of thunderous noise and many of the ponies, including the five friends, covered their ears.
“What the hay was that!” Applejack hollered.
“That was the First Artillery Corps training with their new heavy guns.” The human beamed. “They couldn’t hit the broad side of a German battleship at a hundred yards, but they will be ready when we start the counter offensive. I hope.”
Ian watched the ponies march by. “Well, I better get back to work. Tell the lads I’m here.”
He walked away towards the camp. They didn’t want to say anything, but the war had just become more real to them and a tight feeling was starting to form in the friend’s stomachs.
“Girls,” Applejack said after a few moments. “For the first time I can honestly say Ah am becoming fearful of what is gonna happen to Equestria.”
“It feels as if the revelation that this is all real is hitting me like a brick!” Rarity cried.
“I’m going back to your house now,” Rainbow Dash said flatly to Applejack. “I don’t want to hang around Ponyville anymore.”
“Ah better get to work harvestin’ apples for the ponies arivin’,” Applejack replied. “They look starved!”
“Oh, I should help Mr. and Mrs. Cake make food for them too!” Pinkie bounced away.
“The, uh, faun needs to be fed again,” Fluttershy walked slowly away. “See you girls later.”
Rarity stood alone for a couple seconds before sighing. “I better see how Sweetie Belle is doing.”
Twilight pushed her way through the crowd of arriving ponies. She noticed a military train preparing to leave for Canterlot and jumped on. Twilights train had just left the station when Spike burped up a letter from the Princess.
Dear Twilight Sparkle
Please hurry to Canterlot. There is important information I need to tell you and your friends if they are able to come.
Sorry that Princess Celestia couldn’t contact you herself.
“Luna?” Twilight questioned aloud.
“Celestia might be busy Twilight,” Spike stated as he read the letter.
The train passed a convoy of wagons filled with newly recruited ponies headed for Ponyville.
“Spike,” Twilight asked hesitantly. “Do you have that crushing feeling that we aren't going to win this war?”
“A little,” the dragon replied. “But I don't like to think about it.”
Twilight nodded, “I can’t help thinking about it, and I don’t think we can win.”
Sorry it took me so long to make such a short and uneventful chapter. Been busy with work and the medicine I'm taking makes me not want to do anything but sit around a stare at the wall and sleep. I promise that the next chapter will be much longer, be more eventful and have Patton in it to the maximum. Please continue to be patient with me and you will be rewarded with epic chapters.
The sunlight slowly trickled into the room. The days were longer due to the efforts of Celestia, and though the sun had risen nearly an hour ago it was only two in the morning. The line of sunlight edged across the table, slowing illuminating the three motionless figures standing around it.
Patton chewed the end of a pencil, his blood shot and tired eyes looked over the maps and papers as Luna and Celestia watched from across the table, equally tired looking. The General remained still for a few more minutes before reaching forward very slowly with the pencil. Both princesses leaned anxiously towards the map to see what he was going to write. Patton marked an X on the paper and leaned back.
“There,” he said groggily but his voice still held his authoritative air.
The princesses looked at where the mark was positioned. Luna raised an eyebrow and flattened her ears in confusion as Celestia chuckled, fully understanding what Patton had planned. The X covered a train track that emerged from the side of a plateau, followed the edge of a cliff then after two miles disappeared back into the mountain tunnels.
“The High Plateau Cut?” Luna asked.
“What I can tell from this map, the rail overlooks the area where the desert ends and the Equestrian Grasslands begin.” He replied with a triumphant smile. “It’s another perfect opportunity to slow the bastards down.”
“So we build a fortification on the cliff and plateau?” Luna still looked confused. “But we don’t have the pony-power to build any fortifications.”
“Why build something you already have,” Patton stated, a sly glint in his red eyes. “As the enemy army marches slowly along we fire down upon them from that rise using our new guns.”
“But how are we going to transport cannon rapidly to the top of the cliff, deploy it, fire, then make our escape before the enemy griffins and dragons overwhelm the defences?” Luna was starting to think the lack of sleep was getting to the General’s head.
Patton raised his hand and pulled it down a few times all the while making a familiar sound. “Choo-choo!”
“That would still take too long to unload the guns and soldiers, deploy, then attack and retreat.”
“Not if you turn the train into a mobile fortress,” Patton crossed his arms and puffed out his chest. The proud look on his face momentarily wiping the weariness from his features. “Drive up there with the cannons sticking out of the side like the guns on a steam driven Man-of-War and as the iron beast chugs along, send as many ‘broadsides’ into the enemy sons-of-bitches below! Then disappear back into the mountains as the bastards lick their wounds. It might buy us an extra day... two if we are very luck.”
“I like it,” Celestia smiled. “Lets get to work. I want this ready to go as soon as possible.”
“Turning a train into a mobile fortress could be a good discipline exercise for the new recruits,” Patton stated. “Last time I checked, three-fourths of our engines are down by ponyville along with most of our new guns. I think it would be best to put my boy Ian in charge of it.”
“Very well,” Celestia nodded. “Lets get to work.”
The day was ending when the plans were fully set and finalised. Celestia had sent the plans away and insisted that they get some rest. They had parted their ways and though the General was extremely tired he decided instead to have a walk around Canterlot to reflect on the past few days and what the future might hold.
He now sat at a small café table reading the local newspaper and drinking his third helping of the largest cups of coffee they had.
“I-is there any-anything else I, uh, can get you?” The waitress stuttered nervously.
Patton scooted the empty cup towards her but remained silently transfixed on the newspaper. She hastily took it and shortly returned with a fresh cup. Still not looking at her, Patton pulled a coin from his pocket and placed it gently on the table in front of her. The pony took it and slipped away.
When he was alone Patton huffed. “What I wouldnt give to have the pony media back in America.”
“Why is that?”
Patton continued to read the paper. “It’s about time you came over and talked to me instead of just watching from the doorway.”
He looked up at Celestia as the Princess twitched her ears in surprise.
The General continued. “I’ve came here almost every day since I arrived in this city. That waitress has grown used to me and when I noticed her acting all skittish I knew somebody, er- sompony important was in the room. I guessed it was you because Luna loves getting her sleep and Cadance doesn’t inspire the same sense of awe in the population.”
“You are very observant,” Celestia said as she sat down. Her guards situated themselves around the room. “So have you met Cadance yet?”
“Met her? No.” The human took a deep sip from his coffee. “But I have seen her walking around town and the ponies act like she is one of them. ISn't she married to that one guy? Shining?”
Celestia nodded. “Yes she is. I am very happy for both her and Shining.”
“From what I hear, their wedding was something short of an invasion,” Patton smiled.
“You could call it that.”
“So what brings you here? Keeping your eye on me?” The General laughed.
Celestia gave a half hearted smile, then became serious. “I just wanted to have a serious conversation. I asked you the other day if you thought we could win this war. Your answer was not very straight forward.”
“I told you that you might have to lose it all in order to win it all.” Patton drank the last of his coffee and stood. Celestia followed suit.
“I thought about your words and I don’t like what they could mean.” The Princess said as she walked along Patton’s side down the Canterlot streets. Her guards followed them closely.
Patton smiled. “At the time I was just saying it to sound philosophical. But as the enemy nears I am starting to feel that as our only option. Since you brought it up, now might as well be a good time as any to talk about it.”
“I’m extremely reluctant to abandon my subjects and run to the safety of some far away land,” Celestia stated strongly.
“There is a difference in abandoning them and ensuring that you will be able to save and defend them in the future,” Patton rubbed his recently shaven face. “Plus, you will not be in some faraway land hiding like a coward. There is a large island off the coast that you could pull your forces back to and prepare for a real counter offensive.”
“I'm still hesitant to hoof over my little ponies as slaves to the enemy. Or worse, as food. But I do understand why it might be a necessity.”
“You and your sister have been through war before. You know how a decision can lead to the suffering and deaths of hundreds or thousands, but that decision could also save millions,” Patton glanced back at the guards following them and was shocked to see two lumbering figures closing from behind. “And you also know what it feels like to have someone attempt to take your life.”
“So you noticed them too.” Celestia stated in a quieter voice. “You would think that they would send something more subtle to attack me instead of minotaurs.”
“I think we should head down this alleyway to prevent us from making a mess in public and to keep civilian casualties down.” Patton motioned toward the narrow street that cut between two tall buildings.
“Agreed,” Celestia, Patton and the seven royal guards moved down the alley. She turned to the lead guard. “Keep on alert.”
“Yes your majesty,” he replied quietly.
The group came to an abrupt halt. Two more minotaurs stood at the opposite end of the alleyway, blocking their path. The pair that was following stepped up behind them, preventing any retreat.
“There is no sense running or fighting Sun Princess,” one of the minotaurs in front of them growled. “Submit and prepare to die. We are Kith Kul, the elite sect of warrior-assassins from the grand kingdom of Labyrin. There is no hope for you and we will soon be feasting on your immortal flesh.”
Celestia reeled back slightly from her assailant’s words. “Labyrin Kith Kul? Why is the Bull King's personal warriors fighting for an army of mercenaries?”
“Your question shall not be answered,” the minotaurs started to walk towards them. “Now join your sister, the Moon Princess, in Tartarus.”
“Princess Luna!” One of the guards cried.
“My sister can handle herself,” Celestia hissed.
Patton fiddled with his holstered guns. “Why don’t you just use your sunshine magic to kill these bastards?”
“Do you see the amulets they wear?” Celestia motioned towards the neares minotaur. “Those negate the effects of all light based magic. Even if I engulfed them in a ball of sun-fire they would not be harmed.”
“Stand back your highness,” the lead guard exclaimed valiantly. “We will protect you!”
“I have a better idea,” Patton stated as he stepped forward. “I want to see if these man-cows can best me.”
The lead minotaur seemed to notice the General for the first time. “What is this? A hornless, minotaur calf wished to challenge us and call us cows?”
“I’m not a hornless dairy cow like you,” Patton laughed as dark smile spread across his face. “I’m the son of a bitch that is going to kill you.”
The minotaurs stood in shock for a moment before letting out a chorus of terrifying bellows. They lowered their horns and pulled short swords from the belts on their sides. As they charged at him, no longer paying any heed to the Princess and her guard, Patton drew his Ivory handled .357 magnum in one fluid motion. Four rapid bangs echoed through the alleyway and two of the minotaurs slid to the ground, two bullet holes in each of their skulls.
“He killed our leader!” Screamed one of the minotaurs from behind them. “Kill him!”
Patton spun on his heels and dispatched one of the Kith Kul with the last two shots of the magnum before pulling his .45 from its holster and ending the fourth minotaur with another two bullets to the head. He was about to re-holster it when three more minotaurs jumped down from the roofs above and tried to pounce on Patton. The General dropped to a knee and killed two of the massive beasts, but quickly found himself out of rounds as the last monster loomed over him.
Patton looked up at the minotaur’s raised sword and smiled as the blade slammed into his helmet and glanced painfully off. Patton collapsed backwards in a red colored daze as the minotaur fell forwards over him. The General noticed the amulet dangling in front of his face and he reached out and yanked it from his neck.
“Kill the fucking cow-faced-son-of-a-bitch!” Patton hollered. “I got his fucking, magical necklace!”
Celestia dropped her horn and aimed it at the two figures now struggling in the street. Her horn gowed bright yellow and a fine beam of light shot towards the Kul. It promptly turned the minotaur's head into a fine cloud of ash. The beast collapsed and pinned Patton’s legs to the ground under his dead weight.
“That was fun,” Patton huffed as Celestia’s guards helped pull the body off of him. “But let's not do that again for a while.”
“Come,” Celestia pointed past the growing crowd of curious and terrified ponies, towards the palace above them. “My sister could be in trouble!”
Despite being sore from the fight, Patton hurried with the Princess through the city, into the palace and towards Luna’s room. A lone guard stood outside her door with no sign that anything was wrong evident on his face.However, he did look confused as to why Celestia was standing in front of him with seven armed guards and a weary, yet pissed off looking human.
There was a sudden crash from inside the room and the door blew open. The body of a minotaur sailed through the opening.
“Thou shall now rot within Tartarus henceforth and forever!”
“Told you my sister could handle it,” Celestia chuckled. “She doesn’t use light based magic. She is a little... darker.”
Patton’s eyes grew slightly wider as Luna stepped out of her room. She had transformed into a more terrifying version of herself with a swirling dark-violet mane and hate filled, glowing, catlike eyes. She breathed heavily, like a caged animal hungering to escape, before relaxing and turning back into her usual self.
“They interrupted my sleep!” The younger Princess sighed loudly. “Oh, and they tried to kill me!”
“I can tell what her priorities are,” Patton muttered.
“The Kith Kul are helping the enemy,” Celestia stated as she looked around the room. “This means that we are no longer facing just the rabble of mercenaries. Nations are starting to turn against us.”
“I don’t understand how allies can become enemies within a single year!” Luna groaned. “There must be some other power working here. Something else, a hidden hoof or hand is moving the pieces outside of our view.”
“Many things are outside our view now sister,” Celestia sighed. “I think it is time that I gave a decision on your idea, General Patton.”
“Which one?” He asked tiredly.
“The retreat and form our strength plan,” the elder Princess replied. The lack of sleep was getting to all of them now. “We should set that in motion as soon as possible.”
“Agreed,” he slowly stood up and looked at the map and stared at the island off the coast of Equestria. “What is that island for anyway?”
Celestia looked at the map silently for a few moments before replying. “Long ago, during the Great Strife and the Alicorn-Discord War, that island was where the Great Fortress of the Sky and the Stellar Monks, the wisest of all alicorns, lived. All magic was known to them, even the spell that brought you here. They died along with nearly all of my race but the ruins of their fortress still stand.”
“Then it’s a perfect place,” Patton beamed. “Lets set this in motion now, shall we!”
Celestia nodded then turned to her sister. “Send a letter to Twilight Sparkle for me, telling her to come here. She needs to be informed. Also, send letters to our commanders. If the enemy was so bold as to try and take our lives, what is stopping them from making attempts on, lets say, the recently promoted General Shining Armor?”
“Letters will be sent immediately sister,” Luna replied.
“I'll let you ladies handle the plans for now,” Patton said with a wide yawn. “I need my sleep and my guns need to be cleaned. They got a little blood on them.”
He was about to walk away but stopped. He removed his helmet and placed it on the table. “Oh, can someone fix my helmet? There’s a dent in it now and one of the stars are missing. Thank you.”
Celestia smiled and touched her horn to the helmet and a dull flash of light filled the room. Patton picked up his gleaming helmet and chuckled.
“We will try to find the missing star or make you a new one,” Celestia said.
“Sounds good and thank you,” the General replied, still admiring his repaired headgear. “I’ll never get used to this magic stuff.”
Without waiting for an answer, he ambled away to his sleeping chambers. Already anticipating the feel of the soft bed. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day and Patton wanted to be in his prime.
A nice long chapter full of Patton. I told you that I was going to reward those who are patient. If you see any mistakes please tell me.
“That’s what you said last time.” Matt sat up off of the pile of hay he had been sleeping on.
“Somebody didn’t attach the pistons properly last time,” Bill retorted, his eyes lingering on Matt’s oblivious face. “Fill Lucky up, and let’s see if this apple shit works. I want to hear her purr again!”
Matt shook his head and laughed.
“I love this tank!” Bill hissed. He popped his knuckles threateningly, but quickly went back to admiring the Sherman. “Me and her have been through so much together.”
Matt shrugged and began filling the tank with an entire barrel of the fuel. The Germans, who had been waiting patiently by the Tiger, gathered around the Sherman, and waited anxiously for Matt to finish. When the barrel was empty Jeff emerged from the Apple family’s house where he had been eating breakfast.
“This shit better work,” Bill said as he heaved himself into the driving compartment of the tank. The Virginian disappeared into the vehicle until only the top of his head showed through the hatch. “Gotta get the motor all moist first. All fuel supply valves are open right?”
“Yep,” Matt grinned widely.
“Good. Get back there and start cranking.”
There was a series of clicks and groans before a loud whining-grunting noise filled the air. Several seconds later, Lucky sputtered to life and growled happily.
“Hell yeah!” Matt cheered.
Frederic crossed his arms and smiled triumphantly as he smiled at his Tiger. “Ze Panzer shall hunt again!”
Bill watched the oil pressure climb, and waited for it to reach forty. The others stood impatiently, and they felt a tinge of disappointment when Bill shut the motor down and silently climbed out. But that feeling disappeared when they saw the gleeful expression on his face.
“Let’s suit up and go for a spin,” Bill said, barely able to hold in his excitement. “Shall we?”
Zachariah always wanted a promotion. To command his own men in battle, and make a name for himself. Being a fisherman’s son from Michigan was not going to get him that. But being placed in command of the First Corps’ five artillery regiments was not what he had in mind.
Zeus watch as all two-hundred and fifty brand new 32-pounder guns of the first corps and the one-thousand seven-hundred and fifty ponies crewing them prepared their first volley at the hill designated as their target. The mound was half a mile away, and its peak was even to their position. To someone familiar with artillery, it was an easy target. Too bad Zeus’ troops were anything but.
The three-hundred or more ponies of the First Regiment were the nearest to him. Only the best thirty gun crews would be chosen for the mission. A mission they might not return from.
“Seven ponies to each gun,” Zeus muttered to himself absentmindedly. “Fifty guns per regiment, five regiments-”
“What sir?” Zeus’ second in command, a unicorn by the name of Stand Strong, looked up at the human. Confusion on his face.
A thunderous series of booms started down the line as each gun fired one by one, and marked the shell’s impact on the hill. Many hit their mark but nearly half soared over the hill or landed short at its base. When the volley ended Zeus sighed.
“You couldn’t hit the broadside of a battleship!” He screamed. “Let alone a hill! Try again until all of you score a hit! If even one gun crew hasn’t pulled that off, then nobody gets lunch! Another volley, take aim and gun one, fire when ready!”
Zeus’ voice was unable to reach the furthest battery, so Stand Strong relayed the information by magically increasing his words. The human’s ears were starting to hurt from the continuous loud noises. As the guns started to fire again, he ignored the painful sounds and focused his attention on the ponies firing and the explosions of dirt on the hill. The guns were halfway finished with their salvo when a familiar sound caught his attention. Zeus turned slowly and stared in a mixed reaction of disbelief and joy at the steel monster lumbering towards him. The growl of its engine bringing a smile to his face.
As the tank pulled up alongside Zeus, Matt popped his head out of the turret.
“It’s alive!” The loader cheered over the roar of the guns.
“I never thought I would miss that sound,” Zeus said as he patted the shamrock painted on the behemoth's side.
The engine stopped, followed shortly by the last of the cannons firing at the hill. Bill and Jeff emerged from their positions, climbed out and sat on Lucky’ sides. Bill wore a look on his face that reminded Zeus of a child who had found a lost toy. Captain Stand Strong stared open mouthed at the tank.
“Lovely, isn't she pony?” Bill smirked at Zeus’ second in command.
“More like terrifying.” Stand Strong gulped down a lump in his throat.
Bill smiled at the pony’s obvious fear.
“Where are the Germans?” Zeus asked.
“They got their monster running, but it broke down barely a mile away from the Apple’s house.” Matt laughed. “They are working on it. They’ll be here shortly.”
Zeus chuckled, then turned his attention to Jeff. “Fishy, did you send the blueprints of both tanks guns and shells to those factories that you have developing weapons?”
Jeff nodded, “ I also let them make blueprints of the engines last time we were up there. But I doubt they will make headway anytime soon.”
Zeus nodded passively. “Tell Twilight Sparkle to start making more of that fuel. But ask her to try and make it more... pure. Lucky smells less like a tool of war and more like my mother’s kitchen. Though I could use an apple pie right now. And a shave.”
“Did somepony say apple pie?”
Applejack and her five friends trotted up and admired the tank.
“I see that the liquid worked,” Twilight stated. “I’ll get to work on making more immediately.”
“Good,” Zeus nodded. “Get some other unicorns to help you. These babies drink faster than Bill does on a Saturday. I'm happy to see you girls have forgiven us.”
“Bill is still not forgiven." Twilight eyed Bill why shrugged back. "Should I get started making the fuel now?”
“Not yet,” Matt started to drop back down into the hatch. Zeus jumped up onto the tank and followed him in. Matt’s voice echoed out of the metal hull. “We want to show you what this baby can do!”
The engine was started and the turret swung into action. Everypony, including the members of the artillery regiments, watched the steel monster take aim at a clump of boulders.
“I love this part of the job,” Zeus grinned widely.
“Gun loaded and ready to fire!” Matt opened the hatch and looked at the target. He imitated Ian in his best Irish accent. “Send a lightning bolt down upon those vile rocks Zeus. Send them to Hell!”
“How did you girls even get in here?”
Ian stared at the three fillies, who glared defiantly back. Far away, the sound of cannons could be heard. Behind him, a crane was lowering one of the heavy iron plates into place on a rail coach. Around him, ponies were working diligently on multiple tasks. Either building new rail lines to accommodate the continuous influx of trains and soldiers, creating small field factories and workshops, sorting tools and equipment, or building Patton’s war train.
“We want'a help,” Applebloom looked at Ian with large, sad eyes.
“We feel so useless!” Sweetie Belle continued. An equally heart wrenching look on her face.
“Yeah! What they said!” Scootaloo finished their plead.
“Go home.” Ian crossed his arms and glared at them. The distant sound of guns came to an end.
“Make us!” Scootaloo challenged.
The human shrugged. “Okay.”
In one fluid action, Ian stooped down and scooped the fillies into his arms. They shrieked in surprise and tried to struggle against his strong grip but to no avail. The Lieutenant limped over to a crate and dropped them in before nailing it closed.
“Let us out you big meanie!” Sweetie Belle screamed.
“Don't make me have Rainbow Dash beat you up!” Scootaloo pounded hopelessly on the crate sides.
“You girls are so cute,” Ian muttered. "My girl back home would adore you."
Ian ignored their enraged yells and motioned for one of his unicorn soldiers to come over to him.
“Take this box full of lil’ nippers to the Apple family’s orchard.”
“Yes sir,” he replied sharply, then magically lifted the box and toted it away. All the while the angry screams of the three fillies pierced his ears. He was about to go back to directing the train’s construction when a lone gun fired in the distance. He initially ignored it as nothing more than the artillery regiments training, but recognition quickly formed in his mind.
“Holy Mary!” Ian exclaimed as he darted in the direction of the military camp across town. Ponies jumped in surprise and darted out of his way. “Thats a 76 firing! Lucky lives!”
“And that is how you kill a pile of rocks,” Rainbow Dash said flatly, though an impressed smile spread across her lips.
All around the tank, ponies were rubbing their ears, trying desperately to get the sharp ringing to go away. The engine shut down with a loud gurgle, and the humans emerged.
“Right on time!” Matt exclaimed as he pointed at a figure quickly hobbling up to them. “Hiya mother! The apple stuff works!”
“I noticed that Shelly,” Ian stated dully as he patted the side of the tank. “I’m happy to see her up and running, but I do not approve of you wasting the few shots we have left. How many rounds do we have left for the cannon anyway?”
“Uh.” Matt dropped back into the turret. Seconds later he emerged. “Thirty-seven!”
“That many?” Ian cocked his head in surprise. “How did we use up eighteen of the shells already?”
“You did fire a few vell placed shots at us.” Frederic walked up behind Ian and looked at the Sherman. A disappointed shadow on his face.
“Hey Freddy! Is the Tiger still not working yet?” Matt grinned slyly at the German who glared back.
“Ve got him vorking, but the two barrels of fuel ve received vas... inadequate.”
“Ha!” Matt covered his mouth to stifle the rest of the laugh.
Frederic stared murderously at the American. “Where are you from Matthew Novak?”
“California! Why do you ask?”
“Just like your General.” Frederic rubbed the end on his clean shaven chin.
Matt beamed. “Yep!”
“And yet you are an idiot.”
The smile disappeared from Matt’s face. “What?”
“But I can understand the reasoning behind your lack of intelligence,” Frederic continued. “My wife and I took an, uh, holiday to California and, though ze scenery looked lovely, many of the people vere lacking in their minds.”
“Frederic,” Ian smiled. “I like you more and more. But please, quit insulting my men. You can find idiots anywhere you go.”
“True. Very vell.”
“From now on men, no more wasting ammunition. I don’t think the ponies will be making a breakthrough anytime soon with the two shells we sent for them to study. Do you understand?”
Ian patted the tank one more time before turning to leave.
“Have fun building the choo-choo train Mother!” Matt called after the Lieutenant.
“Shelly,” Ian called back. “Clean the tank. It’s extremely filthy.”
Matt looked at the mud encrusted vehicle. “Fuck.”
“Back to work then.” Zeus turned and faced the artillery regiments. “Another volley! First Battery, fire when ready!”
As the cannons opened up once again, Zeus looked up at the sun lingering directly over them. His eyes fell back onto the hill and watched as a few rounds missed.
“Today is going to be a long day.”
Applejack watched Jeff write in his journal as the sun dropped below the horizon. The six friends and the humans, save for Ian who was still working on the train, sat in the Apple family's living room. Everybody was silent except for Matt who would occasionally spark up a conversation that would slowly die out and start again.
One of the topics Matt talked about had opened Pinkie Pies curiosity about Bill's change of mood and how he became the mean man that he was now. But not wanting to dive straight into the question, she decided to work her way towards the answer.
"So Matt," she pipped up. Starting with the kindest of the bunch was her plan. "What is your story? Actually I want to hear all of your stories!"
"Stories?" Matt asked.
"You know." Pinkie rolled her eyes and smiled. "Families, friends. Where did you live and what did you do?"
Zeus shrugged. "That is going to be a fucked up story for some of us. Are you sure you want to hear them?"
"Yep!" Pinkie nodded her head violently.
"Okay then. Matt you begin."
The ponies settled down and waited for the secret lives of the humans to be revealed to them. Bill glared at Pinkie, and the pony had a strange feeling that he knew what she was trying to do.
Sorry it took so long!
Matt stood and prepared to tell, what he believed, was going to be an amazing story of his life. But when the Californian opened his mouth to start, he had no idea where to begin.
“Uh, I-um.” Matt shifted awkwardly in his stance.
Zeus rolled his eyes. “Just start at the moment you came out of your mother’s-”
“I was born in a small hospital in San Francisco,” Matt said before Zeus could finish his statement. “My mother raised me by herself. She was, what you could call, a street corner girl before I was born. Then she got a real job as maid in downtown San Fran.”
“Street corner woman?” Twilight tilted her head in confusion.
“I think he means a whore, prostitute,” Bill groaned. “Sold her body for money.”
All of the pony’s eyes went wide. Matt glared at Bill, then continued with his story.
“I didn’t go to school because I had to stay home and care for my two brothers and four sisters.”
“Wait.” Zeus shook his head. “If your mother stopped her original business as a prostitute and she was not married... Where did all of your younger siblings come from?”
Matt opened his mouth to make a smart reply but instead continued the story, now wanting to end his turn as quickly as he could. “When I was seventeen I lied to get into the army and now here I am!”
“That was an incredible story Shelly.” Zeus leaned back in his seat. “I was enthralled the whole time.”
“Who wants to go next?” Pinkie Pie asked.
“I guess I will.” Zeus stood. He suddenly smiled widely. “Hello, my name is Zachariah Marshall and I’ve been sober for two months now.”
The ponies looked at his with a blank face but the other Americans chuckled.
“That is good, I guess,” Fluttershy squeaked politely.
Zeus shook his head, dismissing the pony’s misunderstanding. “I’m from Michigan, I’m a fisherman’s son and a fisherman myself. My mother was the best cook in our little town. My life was very boring so I decided to do what my father and his fathers had done through every generation. I joined the navy.”
“I served during peacetime operations though, and I found that even more boring. Then some Japanese bastards blew up some of my friends at Pearl Harbor a few days before my time was up, so I decided to join the army. My know-how of gunnery made me a prime candidate for the armored cavalry and I was the first person of the new bunch to join Ian’s crew along with Fishy. Me and Fishy were put in Mother’s crew to replace the men who were killed in Africa. Shelly is the newest, he replaced Henry who died in Sicily.”
“I do miss Henry,” Bill sighed. “That boy was one hell of a singer.”
“Yep.” Zeus continued. “They call me Zeus because I can hit the MG window of a pillbox from a mile away.”
“And he is part Greek,” Matt chimed.
Zeus nodded in agreement.
“And it is easier to say Zeus than Zachariah.”
“Yep,” Zeus cracked his knuckles in annoyance.
“Oh, and he gets angry very easily.” Matt noticed the hateful look on the gunner’s face and stopped talking.
Zeus rolled his eyes then turned to Jeff.“Your turn Fishy.”
Jeff stood and looked silently at the ponies. “Ah was born in Texas. Ah worked on a ranch with my family. Ah joined the army around the same time Zeus did. And I was put into into Lucky’s crew at the same time too. Right before the invasion of Sicily. That is all.”
“He never talks about his family or life back home to anybody other than Ian,” Matt whispered to the nearest two ponies, Twilight and Pinkie. “We have no idea why.”
All eyes turned to the last American. Bill continued to sit and chew on his lip, ignoring their expectations.
He sighed heavily. “Fine, but don’t expect too much from me.” Bill stood and popped his back. “I’m a Virginian man. My forefathers have always been two things, farmers and soldiers. So it was natural for me to follow in their wake. I have a wife and we own a small farm near Richmond, as if you ponies know where Richmond even is. I have been in the army longer than all of my fellow Americans here, serving as an infantryman for ten years and a tanker for almost four.”
“I have fought through the African, and Sicily campaign alongside Ian before the rest of these boys showed up to replace the friends we lost.”
“Is that why you are angry all the time?” Rainbow Dash challenged.
Bill’s eyes snapped to her with a murderous glare. Dash squeaked as if she had been hurt and sank down on the couch.
“No,” he replied with a growl.
“Why are you so angry then?” Pinkie Pie sat up and met the human’s hateful eyes.
“For reasons you have no right to know.” Bill prepared to leave.
“But I think we should know, Bill.” Zeus stopped him. “You have not been the same since that day before we shipped out of England. The day you got that letter.”
“That letter is none of your business!”
“Bill,” Zeus stared the oldest American down. “Tell us.”
“What?” Bill hollered. His anger overflowing and his face red. “Can’t a man be angry? Can’t a man hate this cruel world, this war and how the lives of so many of my friends have died?”
To the surprise of everyone in the room, tears started to form in Bill’s eyes. “Can’t I hate how I have been away from my home and wife for so long that I can barely remember her face? Can’t-can’t I hate how God took my little girl away from me and my wife before she could take her first breath? How I never got to see her smile at me and live her life with her loving father!”
Bill collapsed to the ground and leaned up against the wall. The humans and ponies remained silent as the Virginian wept. “I just-I just wanted to hold a new life, my little girl, after so much death has happened around me. I just wanted to, to-”
His words disappeared into another onslaught of tears.
Frederic didn’t mind that Bill’s emotional outbreak had prevented him and his crew from telling their stories. He was actually happy. Talking about his wife and kids made him homesick and that was not something a commanding officer needed to feel. Just in case the pink one wanted to continue her little game, the Germans had left a couple minutes after the older American had fallen into tears. Plus, he didn’t feel like translating for his men.
He hated to admit it to people but despite being a successful tank commander, Frederic was a little lazy. An attribute his commanders and, more importantly, his wife hated him for. Rommel had even directly told him one day in Africa, “I told you to move your Panzer over the ridge and hit the English flank!”
Of course, if he had moved those three Cruiser tanks would have hit his tank’s soft underbelly when he breached the sand dune. Instead, he had been the one to do that to them when they came over the rise. Almost the easiest set of kills he had ever done and all of it because he was too lazy to tell his men to go forward. But that was back when he commanded a Panzer III.
Now he commanded the Tiger, and he needed to be more active if he wanted to continue his success.
“I wonder if the baker ponies, what is their names, the Cakes are selling their pastries today.” Udo interrupted Frederics thoughts.
“We could stop by and see.” Felix said before looking at Frederic. “If it is alright with you Sir?”
Frederic shrugged. “Sounds good. I could go for something sweet.”
“Oh, welcome humans!” Mrs. Cake exclaimed hurriedly as she and her husband rushed around the bakery. “Sorry if this place is a mess. We are one of the local suppliers for the military's food. Can I get you anything?”
“Five cinnamon rolls please.”
“Coming right up!” The mare smiled tiredly. “After I get the order of three hundred loaves of bread out of the way first.”
An hour later the Germans sat relaxing on a pile of crates, watching Ian and his ponies finish the war train. Ian noticed them and walked over to the five other humans.
“What brings you bastards out here?” Ian smiled.
“Dinner and a show,” Frederic replied with a passive smile.
“I’m not going to dance and sing if that is what you lads want.”
“Nein, no.” Frederic shook his head and smiled. Of all the Americans, Ian was his favorite. Perhaps it was the fact that he was a tank commander too, or was not a complete annoyance on a day to day basis like Matt. “I’m just interested in this little project your General is having you vork on.”
“I’m not questioning this activity,” Ian shrugged. “I have learned to not question it when your commanding officers ask you to do things. Even if it is building a massive war train alongside a whole bunch of colorful ponies. Though if I was asked to do that back on Earth I would have probably told the Old Man to go fuck himself with a broom.”
Frederic chuckled and looked back at the train. “How much longer until this is done?”
Ian stretched as he looked over the massive machine. “By tomorrow morning this train will be ready to go. Along with the ponies chosen by Zeus to man the guns, this bitch is ready to kick some, er-I don’t know exactly what we're fighting, but it will kick their asses!”
Frederic nodded. “Any news about the shipment of ammunition for our Panzers?”
“Those fairy brained ponies in charge of developing the shells have only made slight progress. They tell me that they will be ready in another week, at the earliest, to go into production. Too bad they are not making the same efficient progress with their tanks.”
“I'm just eager to get back into action instead of spending all day vis you Amerikaner.”
“Same with me,” Ian smiled. “Come, lets go see if we can scrounge up some alcohol and cigarettes from our stockpiles.”
“Sound appealing to me.” Frederic stood along with the other Germans. “I think your driver, Bill, will need a drink or two.”
Ian paused. “How come?”
Frederic shrugged passively. “He told us that his daughter died and the reasoning behind his attitude.”
“Oh,” Ian replied without a hint of surprise. “He finally let it out. Bout time he told other people than me.”
“So you knew?” Frederic stated, unsurprised.
“Why do you think I’m called Momma or Mother?”
“You, uh, have mother attributes, no?” Udo chimed up with a slight smile.
“I keep forgetting you know english too.” Ian pointed at Udo, shaking his head and perturbed. “Come, lets get drunk. Oh, and maybe we can get some of these ponies pissed too for the hell of it!”
“Pissed-angry, as you Americans use the word, or pissed-drunk?” Frederic asked.
Ian shrugged. “Both.”
The mood had yet to improve when the Germans and Ian, arrived at the Apple’s house with all of the alcohol they could scrounge up. A pony had told them about a mare with the largest stockpile of “happy drinks”, as Ian called them, on that side of Canterlot. After requisitioning six armfuls of wine, champagne and other drinks under the pretext that they were taking them for important use in the military.
“Lads, ponies!” Ian cheered, already slightly drunk. “We bring gifts of happiness. You will forget all of your troubles tonight. The war will even seem like a fleeing thought when you drink your fill of this!”
Bill was the first to grab a bottle and start to drink deeply. The other humans quickly joined them. The ponies watched for a good twenty minutes as the humans grew happier and more careless.
“I guess it can't hurt to have a little,” Twilight said.
“No, no no no-no!” Ian garbled repeatedly. “Sing-sing it again but this time, this-this time I want you, Bill, to be bass.”
“Erkay,” Bill burped.
“We don’t know that song- that song as well as you!” Matt waved his bottle of wine around, spilling a little on the floor. Applejack saw the mess but didn’t care. She was too drunk as well.
“Her-em I will start it.” Ian coughed. “You, you lads join in. You German bastards too!”
The Irishman took a breath and started to sing. The other’s joined in including Udo and Frederic. The other Germans and the ponies tapped their feet and hooves to the beat. When they were done they drank some more.
“I-I haven't felt this awesome in, like, forever!” Rainbow Dash squealed.
“Ta mad when ya wake up tomorah you won't remember any uh it and you won't be feelin’ so awesome,” Ian whispered in her ear.
Dash suddenly regretted drinking, but that passed as another bottle was handed to her.
“Another song me lads, and another round of drinks!” Ian raised his arms, as if challenging god. “And may we go to hell on our own terms!”
Tell me if you see any mistakes. Thank you!
Applejack had yet to see a warzone. But she could guess what one looked like from the chaos in her family’s house. The cluttered room was filled with moaning and motionless bodies of both the humans and her friends. If another pony would have walked in they would have thought that a battle worthy of any war had broken out and that the only survivors were Ian, Zeus, Frederic, herself and whoever was rummaging around in the kitchen.
“Dear God,” Ian groaned as he picked up one of the many empty bottles that littered the floor. “Did we drink it all?”
“I think so.” Zeus walked over to Matt who lay motionless in a fetal position. After a swift kick to make sure the loader wasn't dead, to which Matt replied with an angry gurgle, Zeus walked over to the ponies. He shook his head in pity. “Whew, they look fucked up.”
Ian leaned over and softly shook Rainbow Dash. The multicolored pegasi didn’t respond.
“Hey, Rainbow,” Ian whispered. “You're not dead right?”
“Could you stop screaming,” Dash growled without moving, her eyes remaining clamped shut. “It’s making my head split open.”
“I-I feel so awful.” Fluttershy tried to sit up but immediately slumped to the floor. She tried to speak again, but it came out as a pained squeak.
Ian looked around at the ponies and humans and realised that four individuals were missing. Frederic and Applejack noticed their absence as well.
“Where’s Bill?” Ian felt a small surge of panic.
“Fuck,” Zeus sighed.
“Wo ist Udo?” Frederic looked at his men and they just shook their heads or shrugged.
“Girls.” Applejack tried to get a discernible response from her friends. “Do you know where Twilight and Rarity went?”
“Ah saw Bill walk outside this morning with three bottles of wine. Udo was already outside getting sick along with Rarity and Twilight.” They turned to face Jeff who had just entered the room with a mug of coffee. Behind him they could see Pinkie Pie rummaging through the cabinets looking for breakfast.
“Oh, thanks Fishy.” Ian sighed in relief as he exited the house followed by Zeus, Frederic and Applejack.
When they got outside they were surprised to see a mildly drunk Bill chatting to a hungover Udo, Rarity and Twilight as they sat on the wet morning grass. A bottle of wine hung loosely in the Virginian’s hands as he spoke.
“When I was a boy, there was a girl who lived in the town of Richmond,” Bill was saying. “I was sweet on her but she was a city girl originally from New York. She actually was very much like you, er-Rarity, ‘cept less fancy.”
Confusion flashed across Rarity’s face but she continued to listen. Udo looked up at his commander but returned his attention back to Bill. Apparently the American’s life story was interesting and warranted no interruption.
“To get her attention, I would take a piece of chalk and write my name on her fence every morn’. When school started up I was happy to see that she was in my class. When the teacher asked us to stand and introduce ourselves to the class she looked at me with unreadable eyes. After school she walked up to me and ya know what she said?”
“Was it something romantic?” Rarity asked.
“Not really,” Bill chuckled and took a swig from his wine bottle. “She told me that if I ever wrote on her fence again she was going to punch me in the jaw.”
“I bet that relationship died quickly.” Twilight looked up and noticed the other humans and Applejack for the first time. She turned back to Bill. “What happened after that?”
“Well,” Bill laughed softly. “Twelve years later I finally won her heart and I married her.”
“That is so romantic!” Rarity looked at the sky with dreamy eyes.
“I proposed to her by writing on her fence. She said yes... and punched me.” The Virginian rubbed his jaw and grinned widely. He looked up and noticed Ian and the other American’s for the first time. “Hello sir.”
“Good morn’ Bill,” Ian said pleasantly. “Enjoying some casual conversation I see.”
“Yep,” Bill slowly pulled himself to his feet. “But now I am going to get some fuckin' shut eye.”
As Bill walked inside Big Macintosh walked out. The expression on his face confused Applejack.
“What’s wrong Big Mac?” Applejack inquired as the young stallion walked up to them. Unlike the mares, Big Mac had been helping Granny Smith and Apple Bloom take food to the military camps all night. They had arrived home only a couple hours earlier. The three Apple Family members either didn’t notice the mess their house had become or were too tired to care.
“I have come to a decision,” Big Mac said in his trademark, slow accent. “Ah’m joining up with the military.”
Applejack stared at him, expressionless, before replying in a worried tone. “Does- did you tell Granny?”
The stallion nodded and Applejack looked at him with sad eyes.
“When will you be signing up?”
“I already did last night.” He looked towards the distance, through the morning fog, and at the dim campfires of the military camps. “Ah’m headin’ back down there in a few minutes to join one of the new Ponyville regiments they're formin’.”
Applejack thought about everything her brother had said for a few moments. “Did you tell Applebloom what you're planning’ on doing?”
“She is in her room with Granny, both of them are sad to see me go but little Applebloom is bawlin’ her eyes out.” Big Mac looked up towards Applebloom’s window. “I was goin’ to tell ya sooner, but I didn’t want to wake you after your party.”
The two siblings stood in silence, momentarily unable to carry on the conversation. the entire time the onlooking humans and ponies waited with bated breath for the emotions to let loose.
“Well, good luck brother,” Applejack eventually said. She wanted to say more but her emotions choked her. “Please take care of yourself.”
“You too Sis.” Big Mac replied.
After a few more seconds of silence, the dark red stallion slowly turned and walked away. Applejack watched him go until he disappeared down the road, then turned and joined the rest of her family in Applebloom’s bedroom.
“Zeus,” Ian said after both ponies had left. “Wake the others. We have a busy day ahead of us.”
Patton looked over the entirety of his plan once again. He was happy to say this was one of his few retreat strategies but the General still took pride in it. There were four parts to his “strategic withdrawal”, as it was being called now, that both Princesses and their generals had deemed the best course of action.
The first part of the plan, which was being enacted that very morning, was the war train. It’s sole purpose was to strike terror and fear into the enemy and slow them down long enough for the third part of the plan to be enacted successfully. Second part of the plan was of course the evacuation of a large portion of Equestria’s military and supplies, factory equipment and workers, any resources and food they can gather and as many civilians they could save before the enemy pushed them over the sea. The other two parts of the plan were a bit more militaristic that the other two. The last two phases of the plan was to split the now massive, yet still poorly trained, army the ponies had mustered in half.
The first half of the army, General Shining armor’s two better trained Corps, would make up the new Army of Western Equestria. They were to march north then turn east until they reached Rambling Rock Ridge. From there they would be in a position to threaten the enemy’s right flank. This would either bait the enemy into chasing the smaller and more maneuverable pony army or it would cause them to become more cautious and slow as they marched westwards towards Ponyville. The other half, the three barely trained corps under the newly promoted General Stonetower, would act as the primary defensive force for the withdrawal from Equestria. The chances of them seeing action were minimal.
This was the culmination of Patton’s land strategy. His counterpart, the also newly promoted Fleet Admiral Turbulent Waters, had his own plan that went in conjunction with Patton’s though the General didn’t know the details.
‘I probably should speak to him about his plan.’ Patton thought to himself. He had been sitting in the royal dining hall enjoying a cup of coffee and a plate full of pancakes and eggs.
Luna, the only other pony in the hall, looked at him as he left. He gave her a small wave of farewell and walked out of the room. He trudged up the long flight of stairs to the war room in hopes that the other military commanders would be there. He opened the door and was disappointed to see the Flight Admiral of the airship fleets, Windy Wings and her recently promoted niece, Captain Silky Wind. Silky Wind, Patton had learned, was somewhat of a hero during the battle of Appleloosa.
“Hello General,” Windy Wings greeted the human general with a smile. “I would have expected you to be in Ponyville watching your new war train roll away towards victory.”
Patton shook his head. “I wanted to be, but there is too many strategic activities I need to oversee. You wouldn’t happen to know where Admiral Waters is?”
“He left for Baltimare yesterday evening,” the Flight Admiral said. “He insisted on directing the evacuation of the western areas himself.”
“So that is all the navy has planned to do? They are focusing all of their forces on the evacuating the nation?”
“Pretty much. They don’t believe the enemy has a navy of their own so they are dedicating more vessels to evacuation purposes. I‘m doing the same with a large portion of my airships.” Windy Wings noticed the thoughtful look on Patton’s face and she mistook it for worry. “Sir, does this trouble you?”
“Hmm? Oh, no.” Patton walked over to the map of Equestria. “It all seems good. But I can’t help but think that these bastards have a plan, a surprise that they are going to spring on us when we make our first major moves.”
“What makes you think that?”
“A lone army, an army of mercenaries nonetheless, cutting deep into an enemy nation. They don’t have a supply line that we can tell, no nations openly backing them up.” Patton let loose a deep sigh. “A retarded child could figure that it doesn’t feel right.”
“What do you advise we do if there is a surprise waiting for us?” Patton’s uneasiness had now spread to the Flight Admiral, but with greater effect due to her lack of ever being in a war before.
“I would advise you and Turbulent Waters to set aside some of your ships just in case they make a ocean or sky borne attack.” Patton picked up a piece of paper and scribbled down the orders. He then handed it to Captain Silky Wind. “As your first mission as captain, I am entrusting you and the members of your airship with the transport of this letter to Fleet Admiral Turbulent Waters. Understood?”
“Yes sir.” Silky took the letter and looked at it momentarily. “But wouldn’t it get to him faster if we used magic, or even a pegasi courier to send it?”
Patton stared at her for a moment, wrote another letter, retrieved a unicorn guard from outside the room and placed the piece of paper in front of him.
“Send this letter to Fleet Admiral Turbulent Waters please.”
“Yes sir,” the unicorn said and immediately touched his horn to the paper causing it to disappear in a violet flash.
As the guard turned and left the room, Silky Wind looked back at the letter Patton had given her.
“What should I do with this?” She asked.
“I already told you.” Patton sat down and closed his eyes, a sly smile played across his face. “Take that letter to Admiral Waters just in case the first one didn’t arrive. Be off now.”
Both ponies left Patton and he quickly drifted off to sleep in the dim, silent war room. His victory speech already playing through his dreams.
Flower Float had been on a train many times when she and her husband worked as rail delivery ponies before the war. They helped load and unload the heavy packages that the pegasi couldn’t transport by air. The soft clatter of the carriages on the rails and sleepers had a relaxing effect on her. She wasn’t afraid to admit to her close friends, or if she just wanted to embarrass her daughter, that she and her husband had once gotten so relaxed on a train that her child was conceived in the boxcar of one. But the ironclad train that she was in now was nothing like the pre-war ones. With every bump and sway the walls screeched out as if they were in pain.
From her position as the secondary loader of gun number twenty three in carriage four, Flower Float could see the countryside drag by as the hulking war train lumbered towards it’s destination. Her husband stood next to her as the loader of gun twenty two and they watched as the forests turned into grassland, which in turn became the edge of the desert. Then it all disappeared as they entered the tunnel leading up to the High Plateau Cut. It was long past midday at that point. Float didn't know the details of the plan other than the fact that when her officers told her to load the gun, she would. She also know that the moment they exited the tunnel, they would be overlooking the enemy army. The anticipation mixed with the hot, humidity filled carriage made her nauseous.
“Juniper, I don’t feel very good,” she moaned to her husband.
“What?” The stallion leaned closer to her.
“I feel sick!”
“Oh,” Juniper gave her a reassuring smile that the mare could not see in the pitch black darkness. “So do I!”
“I still can’t help but worry, what if we don’t make it?” Float rested her head on the still cool metal of the cannon.
“They say this will be a low risk mission.” Juniper said as he reached out his hoof to search for his wife. He found Float and nuzzled her softly. “We will be fine.”
They stood in silence as the train lurched on. The closer they got to their destination, the more tight the feeling in their stomachs got. After several minutes their commanding officer entered the carriage.
“Five more minutes everypony!”
Floats heart sank, but she tried to make light of the situation. “Five minutes? Wow, time flies when you are scared out of your mind.”
The train became a buzz of excitement and activity. The guns were primed and loaded, officers barked orders, and a few ponies threw up in anxiety. Float was one of them. When she was done releasing her breakfast onto the floor she noticed that the train was slowing down. A sign that they were nearing their destination. Float could also see her husbands face in the very dim sunlight as he looked at her with concern.
“Don’t worry about me,” she waved her hoof around, dismissing her troubles. “Lets just kill these invaders as we can so this war can end and we can see our daughter again.”
Juniper was shocked by his wife’s change in attitude but he nodded in agreement. As the train emerged from the tunnel, the ponies were blinded in the sudden light of the setting sun. When their vision returned they could see the ledge leading down into the canyon pass but nothing more. On top of each carriage though was a lookout box where the artillery commanders could observe the enemy force below. Lieutenant Cinnamon Swirl sat in one of those boxes with a full view of the open canyon below. As a newly promoted member of the 1st Ponyville Artillery Regiment, she was not accustomed to the sight that greeted her eyes. The enemy army lay camped, spread out like a terrible blanket. The pony next to her was Corporal Rangefinder, a veteran of the Second Royal Guard, instantly started to call out distance and elevation statistics to the guns beneath them.
“Anti infantry fire, six thousand yards, angle up two clicks, ten second fuse!” He screamed at the top of his voice.
All along the train similar orders with different variations in yardage and fuse length were being given. The train was barely creeping along now in an effort to give the gunners a stable firing platform. Half a minute later the train was violently rattled by the eruption of fifty 32-pounder cannons. Smoke started to obscure their vision but the guns thundered on. Through all of the noise and smoke they didn’t notice the train screech to a halt. Only when the regimental commander ordered a ceasefire did the ponies in carriage four realise their sudden predicament. The wheels of the first carriage, not designed to take the heavy vibrations of the guns, had slipped off the tracks!
Cinnamon Swirl first looked at the damages wrought by the guns. The enemy camp was up in flames and she could barely make out tiny figures running for what little cover the desert offered. But as her eyes drifted upwards she let out a smoke choked scream. Within the clear blue sky were several dozens of dragons and hundreds of griffons swooping vengefully towards them.
“All guns! All guns, cannister shot-” Rangefinder, trying not to choke on his panic, realised that they hadn’t brought any of the spread shot with them and he quickly changed his command. “Shell shot, short fuse! Aim skywards! Aim towards the sky!”
Moments later another salvo was let loose from the guns and within another moment the sky was filled with innocent looking black puffs of clouds. He felt momentarily reassured as he saw some of the griffins and even a dragon plummet towards the earth. But the hope disappeared as he realised how near the enemy was. There was not enough time to fire another salvo!
Inside the train, Flower Float and Juniper had little view of what was happening. From the small firing port they could barely make out the griffons closing in. But they didn’t give much heed to their nearing foe as they prepared another shell. A shell that they would never get the chance to fire.
The iron wall was suddenly torn by the clawed arm of a dragon as if it were made of tin and it created a wide opening that griffon soldiers poured through. Very few of the ponies were equipped with close ranged weapons and they posed very little threat to their ruthless attackers. As the defenceless ponies were cut down by the vengeful gryphons, Flower looked desperately for her husband. She found him next to his cannon, a wide bleeding wound in his chest. Flower Float knelt next to Juniper, and as the mare wrapped her hooves around him, unsure if he was alive or dead, she felt the cold tip of a spear enter her back.
Hundreds of fears passed through her mind. Fear for herself and her husband. Fear for Equestria, but most of all, she feared for her daughter. But eventually, the only thing that mattered was the cold darkness that quickly overtook her.
I think we got all of the mistakes, but if you see any please tell me.
It was late. The moon was high in the sky and most of the other ponies had stopped waiting and gone off to get some sleep. They were going to need it. Tomorrow would prove to be busy as the army split into parts and began whatever mission it was given. Rose didn’t know what the army was supposed to do. Only those higher up in command had that information. But honestly, she didn’t care. All that mattered was the return of the war train from its mission.
Rose didn’t remember falling asleep, but she was sharply awaken by the familiar smell of cigarette smoke, warning her that one of the humans were near. She opened her eyes and was surprised to see the human called Zeus standing over her, a cigarette hanging loosely in his lips. Behind him, in the dim morning sunlight, she could see the ponies of the Army of Eastern Equestria forming into columns and preparing to move out. Her hopeful eyes lingered momentarily on the train station but quickly became filled with anxiety when she didn’t see the train.
“Why are you laying here and not getting prepared to move out?”
Rose looked back up at Zeus. “What?”
“What regiment are you in?”
“The 3rd Ponyville Volunteers.”
“Ah, your Corps isn’t leaving yet.” Zeus finished his cigarette, coughed and continued. “But that doesn’t give you the excuse to sit around.”
“Oh, I’m sorry sir. I was just waiting for the train to return last night and I guess I fell asleep.” Rose stood. “Has there been any news?”
Zeus shook his head sadly. “No. Was there someone on that train that you knew personally?”
Rose nodded. “My parents.”
Zeus nodded his head thoughtfully. He had been around people who had lost someone dear to them many times. Though he hated to admit that he was terrible at consolidation. When no words of comfort came to his mind he spoke. “Well, you better get back to camp and get yourself ready to move out.”
“Yes sir,” Rose half heartedly replied as she ambled away.
“This world’s starting to become less like the happy-colorful place that it was when we got here.” Matt said as he walked up to his comrade.
Zeus turned to the Californian and nodded. “And it’s going to get worse.”
“Yeah,”Matt sighed. “Just imagine how the Old Man is going to react when he hears that his plan failed.”
They stood in silence and watched the last of the trains carrying Shining Armor’s two Corps rumble away. Matt shook his head and looked up at the sky.
“At least this place still isn’t as bad as Europe,” he chuckled.
Zeus didn’t respond and the loader looked at his friend, curious as to what grabbed his friend’s attention. Matt followed where he was looking and saw the very distant, tell-tale column of smoke that warned of a nearing train.
“Heh,” Matt chuckled as he elbowed Zeus. “Maybe we don’t have anything to fear after all.”
Zeus continued to look at the approaching train. “I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
Patton hadn't been as excited as he was now since he first stepped foot on the shores of France and unleashed his soldiers upon the Germans. He hummed a bouncy tune as he pushed open the war hall just as the sun rose completely over the mountains. But after a swift glance at the ponies faces he instantly knew something was wrong.
“Tell me what happened,” He demanded. “And I swear, if you beat around the bush or sugar coat it, I’ll be far angrier than if you just layed it all out.”
“The train hasn't returned yet,” Flight Admiral Windy Wings replied sharply. “We believe it was taken by the enemy.”
“Are you sure about this?” Patton’s good mood had completely left.
Windy Wings nodded to another officer. The lower ranking pony revealed a sack from a wooden box and brought it over to Patton. As the general took it into his hands Windy Wings continued.
“This was magically sent to us last night. With it was a letter saying ‘We are upon your threshold and we will soon be knocking at your door.’”
Patton finished unraveling the sack and let out a deep growl of a sigh. He placed the decapitated pony head onto the table and fell into deep thought.
“This is, or was, Corporal Rangefinder. One of the officers aboard your train.” Admiral Windy said sadly. “I, as do many others here including both Princesses, believe that the train has been overwhelmed and taken by the enemy along with the ponies on-board. We have yet to inform the rest of the military at Ponyville. We fear it will greatly hurt morale.”
Patton remained quiet and thoughtful until his face abruptly became full of shock. “Quick, bring me a piece of paper! We need to inform the rest of the military post-haste!”
“Why? What is wrong?” The Flight Admiral flew over next the Patton as he took a small piece of parchment and hastily scribbled information. The other ponies moved in closer, puzzled with the general’s sudden switch in behavior.
“If the enemy overtook the train,” He turned to her, a dark and foreboding look on his face. “Then they can drive it back to where it came from.”
“I don’t like this.”
Zeus glared at the war train as it ground to a halt in the ponyville station. The battered and beat up machine slowly became quiet. Ponies started to gather around, excited that their friends had finally returned and many wondered at the terrible shape the train was in. Many called to the other ponies inside and anxiously awaited for a response but the train remained silent.
“I don’t like this at all.”
The door opened in one of the cars and a lone pony stepped out. He wore dull grey armor and he looked over the crowd of ponies with unreadable eyes. Eventually he spoke in a harsh voice.
“Ponies of Equestria, I bring you your judgement!”
The other carriage doors burst open and a wide assortment of frightening creatures rushed out. The two humans had yet to personally see a griffin or minotaur but they instantly recognized them from the reports and Earth’s own mythology. As the enemy indiscriminately cut down fleeing ponies Zeus grabbed Matt’s shoulder and pulled him into the nearby ticket building. They crouched down behind a counter and Zeus looked the Californian in the eye.
“Find Ian and the others.” He tried his best to ignore the screams of the ponies outside. “Bring the tanks and our guns. Don’t stop running until you get back to the Apple Family’s house.”
“What the fuck are you gonna do man? And don’t say ‘I am going to distract them’ so I can escape. You know that never works. I’ve seen it in the movies! The guy always gets killed!”
“Just shut the fuck up Shelly and run when I tell you.” Zeus lightly shook Matt in an effort to get him to focus. “Got it?”
Matt nodded violently and prepared to stand. Zeus crawled across the building’s floor, peered out of the grimy window that faced ponyville and waited for a group of minotaurs to pass. Through the town he could see ponies fleeing for their lives.
“Go now!” He ordered. “I’ll be right behind you!”
Matt nodded once and rushed out of the door. Zeus waited a few moments and followed. The enemy soldiers had mostly passed them up and were focusing on the slaughter of the helpless ponies. Zeus felt his rage growing as each one fell to the monsters’ weapons and claws. Then the thunder of the wartrain’s guns started and shells screamed over their heads towards the far side of town and the military camp.
“Fuck-this-fucking-shit!” Matt screamed as a nearby house exploded as they entered the town.
They took cover inside an alleyway alongside three cowering ponies.
“It’s a good thing their aim is bad.” Zeus hissed. He looked around the corner and groaned. “Alright, we need to cross the next two roads, but they are filled with enemy soldiers.”
“Fahuck.” Matt slammed the back of his head against a crate in frustration.
“But if we run now they probably won't notice us.”
Matt momentarily looked at Zeus with an expression that screamed ‘What? We aren't hiding here?’ but he eventually nodded. “I’m not dead yet, so, what the hell.”
Zeus turned to the three terrified ponies. “Are you coming too?”
They quickly shook their heads and laid down even lower into the dirt.
“Fine, we’ll come back for you.” Zeus pulled a slightly reluctant Matt closer to the alleyways edge. “Alright, you ready?”
Matt nodded then croaked, “yep.”
“Good.” They both looked across the road to the next alleyway. Beyond that they could barely make out the edge of town and the road that lead to the Apple Orchard. “Once we start running, I’m not gonna stop.” He took a deep breath, preparing himself, then said, “Alright, here goes nothing. Three, two, one, go!”
Both humans darted from cover and sprinted across the street with Matt in the lead. Seconds later they reached the other alley, continued through it and into the adjacent road. There was only one more alleyway for them to go through before they reached the road leading to the Apple’s house. Zeus had now passed Matt as they ran into the last corridor.
“Run you dumbass!” Zeus called back to his comrade as two more shells screamed overhead.
The burst out into the open field and made for the dirt road. As Matt emerged from the alley a fleeing pony darted from a nearby house and collided with the Californian’s legs. He tumbled forward and his scream of surprise mixed with the pony’s as they fell to the ground in a tangled heap.
“Please don’t kill me!” cried the young-sounding mare.
“I’m not!” Matt replied. His fear was starting to wear off.
The mare cracked open her eyes and looked instantly relieved. But she instantly became terrified again as a pair of minotaurs charged up to them.
“Move aside calf!” the lead minotaur ordered at Matt. “This kill is mine!”
“Oh fuck!” Matt squeaked as the monster lifted the pony off of him by her mane.
Her ear piercing screams amused the minotaur as he wrapped a massive hand around her ribs and started to squeeze. There was the sound of ribs cracking before something made him stop. Zeus had realised that Matt was no longer behind him, stopped running and now was charging the minotaur with a combat knife in his hand.
“What are you doing young calf?” The minotaure looked curiously at Zeus and dropped the motionless pony. “Wait, you're not even a minotaur!”
He reached behind him and tried to bring his battle axe to bear, but it was too late. Zeus leaped over both Matt and the pony and planted his knife firmly into the monster's heart. The minotaur reeled backwards with the blade still in his chest and collapsed to the ground in front of his companion. The other minotaur looked down at Zeus and growled.
“Matt,” Zeus said without taking his eyes off the monster. “Take the pony and get out of here.”
The younger human was too afraid to say anything as he quickly, yet still softly, lifted the pony and rushed away. He took one quick glance back just as the minotaur reached Zeus and started to lift the human up by his shirt. Zeus was a full foot shorter than the monster and greatly lacking the massive quantity of muscle. Matt had no urge to see his friend die so he turned away and ran with tears forming in his eyes.
“You look like the bastard child of a minotaur and an ape.” The minotaur glared into Zeus’ eyes. “I’m going to enjoy ripping you apart, ape child. Before I kill you though I will thank you. The bull you defeated was my captain and now I have inherited his position, power and wealth. My name is Stone Knuckles, and I will be the one to take your life.”
Stone Knuckles hurdled Zeus into the wall of the nearest house. The human felt his right shoulder pop violently out of place and he let out a sharp hiss of pain. He pushed himself up with his good arm, popped his shoulder back in place and looked back at the minotaur just as the monsters fist slammed into the side of his head. Zeus collapsed heavily to the ground, the scent of the dirt and grass helped to distract him from the pain.
‘Well this is a bullshit way to die.’ he thought to himself. ‘Beat to death by a mythical creature. Who could have guessed?’
Stone Knuckles kicked Zeus onto his back and pressed his hoof down heavily upon the human’s chest. Zeus felt his ribs popping as he tried to push back against the minotaur’s strong leg with his weakened arms. He suddenly felt something pop in the left side of his chest and it became nearly impossible for him to breathe. The minotaure apparently realized that he was close to killing the human and he lifted his hoof off of Zeus. The taste of blood filled the human’s mouth and his hearing was starting to fade.
“Don’t go to the spirit realm just yet ape.” Stone Knuckles chuckled. “I’m not done with you.”
Through his blurry vision, Zeus could see the minotaur looming over him with a cruel looking knife in his hands.
“I’m going to cut out your still beating heart and wear it on my belt.”
Stone Knuckles raised the knife in preparation for the final blow when his chest suddenly exploded open, followed by the single report of a machinegun.
‘Thank God for Ma Deuce,’ Zeus pleasantly thought
Zeus watched with wonder as the minotaur collapsed revealing the blurry shape of the
Sherman on a distant hill behind him. A figure leaped out of the tank and rushed toward
Zeus just as the gunner lost consciousness.
Ian limped up next to his friend’s motionless body and knelt next to him. He felt Zeus’ pulse and turned to the group of armed ponies following the tank.
“He’s still alive! Get a fuckin’ medic!”
The tank drove up next to the two humans and Matt climbed out of the turret.
“Is he going to be okay sir?” the Californian asked in a terrified tone.
“Not if I don’t get a fucking medic right now!” Ian stood. “Shelly, keep an eye on Zeus.”
The Lieutenant rushed away leaving Matt with the gunner. Jeff and Bill climbed out and joined the Californian.
“God damnit.” Bill muttered. “Is he still breathing?”
Matt put his ear over Zeus’ nose. “Barely.”
Ian returned followed by two ponies with red cross cutie marks and hats.
“Help him and don’t let him die. He is a priority patient and that’s an order.”
“Yes sir,” they chimed, but at the same time they looked regretfully at the dead and wounded ponies scattered on the edge of the town.
As the ponies carried the dying human away, Ian turned to the rest of the crew. “Men, mount up. Were going to kill all of these God forsaken sons-of-bitches.”
General Stonetower tried desperately to rally his recruits. But to no avail. His poorly trained or untrained troops had no will to fight well trained and terrifying gryphons and minotaurs.
“I have three Corps that outnumber the enemy fifteen to one and they might as well be a bunch of foals,” he complained to his officers. “If I can't slow the enemy’s advance, the entire army, my Corps and the several hundred-thousand new recruits, will be routed and scattered!”
“Sir, Chainmail was able to rally his brigade by the lake,” an officer stated.
“Has he been attacked?”
“That is probably why his soldiers aren't routing yet.” Stonetower looked at a map. “Send Speartip and Scimitar's brigades to reinforce him. That is our left flank.”
“Alright,” Stonetower looked at the map again. “We have set our left. Now we need to form a center and right. And what in Tartarus is growling?”
The officers looked towards the distant edge of town where a large metallic beast was sitting idle.
“Is that the human’s tank?” an officer asked.
There was a sudden explosion as the tank fired into a two story house sheltering gryphon archers, blowing the downstairs walls out and causing the building to collapse.
“Sir?” the same officer whispered. “Could that be our center?”
Ian’s arms hurt, he had been firing the tanks .50 cal from his commander's hatch non stop at every enemy soldier that came into his line of sight. The Lieutenant wasn’t keeping track, but he guessed that more than twenty had brand new holes in them or missing limbs due to his actions. Nearly every gun on the tank, from Matt’s coaxial and Jeff’s hull mounted .30, was blazing. The main gun, the 76mm, was the only one not continuously firing due to Matt having both loader and gunner jobs. But occasionally it would turn its threatening mouth towards a house or fleeing mass of enemies and release violent destruction upon their foes.
They pursued the remaining enemy forces to the station before they came under fire from the train’s guns. Ian ducked down into the turret as shells exploded around them.
“Oh, thank God!” Bill cheered over the headsets. “No direct hits.”
“Pull back behind the town hall!” Ian ordered.
The tank backed up and took cover behind the largest building in Ponyville. The enemy continued to fire on their location but the building did its job.
“Where the hell are those useless, fucking Germans?” Bill hollered.
“Be patient Americans.” Frederic’s voice said over the radio. “Ve are coming up behind you now.”
“Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with a Tiger coming up behind us?” Bill asked uneasily.
Ian peered out of the Sherman as the Black Wolf trudged by. The ground shook as the massive vehicle passed them and Ian had to hold himself steady. Frederic smiled and waved mockingly at the Americans before sliding into the turret of his own tank.
“Cocky bastard,” Ian grumbled.
The Tiger rumbled into the open and immediately took a hit from the enemy cannons. The shell bounced happily off and exploded in the air.
“Ah, Ziemlich Feuerwerk!” Felix said happily as the turret spun and faced the train. “Zeit für mehr!”
“Come out from hiding Americans,” Frederic radioed in a gleeful tone. “Unless you vant to miss the fireworks!”
“Move forward a little,” Ian said to Bill.
The Sherman rounded the corner and the train came into view just as the Tiger took a few more harmless hits from the enemy guns. It raised its threatening maw of a gun, paused momentarily as the griffins and minotaurs scrambled for cover, then fired. The 8.8cm shell tore through the train and hit a store of powder in one of the cars. A series of violent explosions shook the town as the train, along with the station was turned into a mass of fire, smoke and rubble.
“And now, ve kill the rest.” Frederic laughed.
Matt peered out of the hatch and noticed a wounded pony in dull-grey armor slinking away.
“I think we should capture a few, for interrogation.” Matt said to Ian as he pointed at the pony.
The Lieutenant nodded as he pulled a knife out of his boot. “Right ‘Interrogation’”
As Ian prepared to climb out of the tank a letter suddenly appeared before his face. He grabbed it and tore it open.
“Lieutenant Collins,” Ian read aloud. “We believe the enemy has captured the war train and will be using it to attack Ponyville. Prepare the defences immediately. Signed, General George S. Patton.”
Bill, sighed, “God damn it. This better not be the start of a long line of FUBAR moments.”
Graves. Never before had she seen so many in one place. Rose’s eyes slowly looked over them as she sat on a bench in the old Ponyville park. Though, it was no longer the joyful place it once was. Far from it. Now it was the largest cemetery in Equestria and somewhere in its rows of hastily constructed markers was the mass grave filled with the dismembered remains of her parents along with the other torn bodies of those destroyed in the blast. The grave contained not only the crew of the train but what little remained of the bodies of both the ponies and enemy soldiers pulverised in the explosion. Rose still tried to forget the image of the limbs and body parts being scooped up in shovels like so many pieces of dirt.
If Rose hadn't been crying so hard, she would have gotten sick.
“It reminds me of Arlington.”
Rose lifted her head just as all the humans, including their leader Patton, the Elements of Harmony and the Princesses passed her.
“Arlington?” Celestia asked in a voice weary with sadness.
Patton sighed, appearing to be equally mournful. “During the American Civil War the United States requisitioned the house of Robert E Lee, the General of the enemy army, and turned it into a military cemetery. Many soldiers that have died during that war and since then have been buried there. Its quite larger than this with the headstones stretching as far as the eyes can see.”
Celestia looked over the grave covered fields, trying to imagine one even larger. Her mood had been increasingly sorrowful when they had arrived at Ponyville that morning.
“All Europe is now a grave.” Frederic said absentmindedly.
Patton looked at him and nodded his head. “That it is.”
“How do you humans stand it?” Twilight asked.
“Stand what?” the General turned to face her. “Death?”
“That,” Twilight chewed her lower lip. “And killing each other. How do you grow use to war?”
Patton thought about it then shrugged. “For the soldier, in the end we just grow numb. Death becomes nothing more than a step of life and taking it from someone else nothing more than an action that needs to be done. But I don’t think humanity ever grows use to war, we just accept it as inevitable. As long as there’s something to fight for, we’ll fight for it.”
“What could possible be worth killing each other for?” Twilight asked. She noticed the warning glance from Celestia that now was not the time to ask the darker questions.
Patton answered anyway. “Many things. Conquest, politics, religion, social injustice or hurts against honor.”
“I wonder what this war is about?” Applejack said quietly to no person in particular.
Ian turned and faced her momentarily as they continued walking. “I think we can find out. General, princesses, remember how I told you that we captured a pony who appeared to be one of the enemy?”
“Yes,” Celestia and Patton echoed.
“Well, it seems that he is more than just a member. The others we captured keep telling us that he is their leader.”
They stopped and Patton along with the ponies stared at him with disbelieving eyes.
“Why would a pony lead such terrible actions against his own kind?” Twilight asked, bewildered.
“Why don’t we go ask him?” Ian said. He turned to his fellow crew members and the Germans. “How ‘bout you lads go and see if Zeus is awake and keep him company or do whatever while we go and chat with our new friend.”
There was a murmur of agreement and they split up into three separate groups. Patton, Ian and the Princesses going towards Ponyville, the Germans towards the Apple’s house and the remaining Americans walked away heading for the hospital with the six Elements of Harmony in tow.
Zeus was asleep when they entered the room he shared with twenty wounded ponies. They made their way through the cots and stopped at his bedside. The gunner opened his eyes and coughed.
“Hey,” he said in a barely audible whisper.
“He lives!” Matt cheered.
“Shut the fuck up, Shelly,” Bill hissed and Matt stepped backwards in shock. “Ponies are trying to sleep.”
“Sorry.” Matt stepped closer to Zeus. “So, what’s the damage?”
“That I’m still alive to hear your voice,” the gunner replied with a smile. It was obvious to the others that he was having trouble speaking. “Nah, just a concussion, torn ligaments in my shoulder, five broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Nothin’ serious.”
“You must be made out of some strong stuff.” Bill huffed happily.
“Does it hurt?” Fluttershy asked as she looked over the human’s bandages. The wounded in the room was starting to bring tears to her eyes.
“Hurts like a bitch, but I will recover.” Zeus noticed the tears and he softly tousled her mane. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
“Well, time for news,” Bill stated, accidentally drawing the attention of every conscious pony and human in the room. “The enemy army has stopped and we are going to be moving out sometime today to go to the west coast. Then we are going to board some ships and head to an island.”
“England,” Matt whispered to himself, deep in his own thoughts. Bill rolled his eyes.
“How are they going to evacuate everypony in Equestria and put them on an island?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Thats the only problem.” Twilight answered. “We will have to leave hundreds of thousands behind.”
“Basically the only ponies that are being saved are the ones in the military, government, factory workers and those with their own boats.” Bill stated as he noticed an empty chair and took a seat. He pulled out a small bottle of whiskey and took a sip.
“Are you going to share?” Applejack eyed the bottle of alcohol in Bill's hand.
The human raised an eyebrow in surprise then handed her the bottle. “Don’t drink it all and don’t give Shelly any. That little girl can’t handle alcohol.”
“Fuck you,” Matt growled.
They passed the whiskey around until everyone except for Matt, Fluttershy, Twilight and Rarity had a drink. The ponies that did have some only took a small sip and all of them, except for Pinkie, coughed as the firewater hit their throats.
“Zeus, you can have the rest of it. It’s my last bottle.” Bill gave the half full bottle back to the gunner.
“I might be going crazy but I think Bill is becoming nice.” Matt gave Bill a wary bump on the arm with his fist.
The Virginian turned his head slowly and glared murderously at the younger human. Matt backed away quickly before Bill could punch him. “Touch me again and I will rip out your guts and strangle you with them.”
Zeus sighed, “well, it has been nice being visited by you guys but I really need some sleep. Plus, all of you smell like shit and it is making me sick.”
Rarity let out a gasp of horror and started to smell her mane feverously.
“Not you. You ponies smell fine.” Zeus let out a pained chuckle. “My friends here, I don’t think they have changed their clothes or bathed the whole time we’ve been here.”
“I know Ian and Patton have been.” Matt said flatly. “Both of those bastards are as clean freakish as my mom.”
“We don’t know your mother, Shelly, so that comparison means nothin’ to us.” Bill groaned.
Rarity spoke up. “If you gentle fellows need bathing and temporary clothing, as your current ones are being cleaned, I know just the place.”
“Uh, no, that is fine.” Bill started to back away with his hands up defensively. “We will just go and wash off in the river or something.”
“We would love to accept this offer!” Matt said excitedly. He smiled at Bill who shot a fiery glance at the Californian. “Isn’t that right Bill?”
“Oh, you're right! It’s a wonderful idea,” Bill spat. Sarcasm overflowing alongside the rage.
“Oh this is fabulous!” Rarity squealed, ignoring the sarcasm. “Lotus and Aloe have been busy lately bringing water to the wounded. But some traditional... well, somewhat traditional customers with be just what they need to relax. And while you are getting freshened up I will be making you wonderful new sets of clothes! Oh, maybe a nice pair of dress uniforms too!”
“Rarity,” Twilight interjected. “I don’t think you will have enough time to get all of that done. We are leaving for the west coast tonight.”
“Yes, yes you are right.” Rarity put her hoof to her chin and thought for a moment. “I guess the dress uniforms will have to wait. But I’m still going to make you some relax wear. Oh, come now, let your friend rest and lets get you all cleaned up! I wonder if your German friends would want to join us?”
“Doubt it.” Bill said to no one in particular.
Rarity bounced out of the room and Twilight sighed. Applejack noticed the irritated look on her friends face and the country pony placed her hoof around the lavender unicorns neck.
“Oh sugarcube, let her distract herself. Ah bucked apples for five hours straight just tryin’ to distract myself. Ah think all of us need some form of distraction.”
“I guess so.” Twilight slowly followed after Rarity. “I guess an hour or two at the spa couldn’t hurt.”
“Wait! A spa?” Bill hissed.
“Yep!” Pinkie laughed. “You’ll love it! I love the bubble baths the most!”
As they walked away from the already sleeping Zeus, Bill slid up beside Matt and growled in his ear. “I’m going to kill you and mount your smug head on the side of Lucky.”
Matt walked faster and put Jeff between himself and the vengeful Virginian.
“Protect me Fishy,” Matt whispered.
The Texan shook his head slowly and continued walking.
“How do you say clouds?”
Frederic looked up from a book he had borrowed from twilight’s library and at the little pegasus named Scootaloo. He spoke to the filly and her two friends like a grandfather speaking to his grandchildren. “Wolken.”
“Cool,” the little pony said. “How about apples?”
“How about my name?” Sweetie Belle chimed.
“Wow,” the three fillies chorused with wonder filled eyes.
Sweetie Belle decided to ask a question that was on all three of their minds.
“Mr. Frederic, why wont my sister let us go to ponyville and what was all of that noise yesterday?”
Frederic sighed and decided to tell a watered down version of the truth. “There vas a battle yesterday. A small force of enemy soldiers attacked your town and they vere driven off by us. The city is a mess and there are some injured.”
“I bet we showed them! Right?” Scootaloo beamed.
“Yes,” Frederic replied with a smile. But in his mind the reports from yesterday’s battle played in his head. More than one-hundred ponies dead and three-hundred more were wounded. Staggering casualties for such a quick fight.
Felix walked into the house before the fillies could continue their questions. The young ponies watched with curiosity as the two humans spoke to each other in German.
“Sir, we are done with the routine maintenance check on the Panzer.” Felix stated as he saluted. “The Black Wolf is ready to be loaded onto the train for transport.”
“Very good.” Frederic nodded his head and took a quick sip from a mug of cider. “We will drive it to the town when the Americans get back.”
Felix nodded, saluted then walked out of the room. The German commander returned his attention back to the ponies.
“Do you girls like to sing?” They nodded and Frederic continued. “Vell, how about I teach you a song from Germany. It is a song me and my children would sing together.”
“That sound like fun!” Sweetie Bell smiled widely and the other two nodded.
“I will sing the first part in German then in English, or Equestrian.” He took a deep breath and started to sing softly. “Backe, backe Kuchen, Der Bäcker hat gerufen! Wer will gute Kuchen backen, Der muss sieben Sachen haben,...”
He paused to let the words sink in, then with a smile, repeated in English. “Bake, bake a cake, the baker has called! He who vants to bake good cakes, must have seven things...”
The memories of his children singing the same song played in his head as he continued. Barely visible in the corner of his eye a tear began to form that he wiped away before the three fillies could notice.
“Hey, is anybody home?”
Frederic stopped singing and turned towards the human that stood outside the window. Matt peered through the glass, saw Frederic and came inside.
“Hey Freddy, and you three!” Matt smiled widely.
“What do you vant, American?”
“Oh, I was sent here by the others to see if you guys wanted to join us on a day to the spa. It was Bill’s idea by the way.”
“No, we will find our own ways to stay fresh.” Frederic replied flatly. “Maybe if we were French.”
“Okay then.” Matt turned and left the building.
Udo peered through the kitchen door, a piece of pie in one hand and a confused look on his face. “Did that American just say they are going to a spa?”
Frederic nodded and Udo laughed.
The pony’s eyes stared at them from the other side of the door’s window. Inside them could be seen a hint of something that Celestia could only describe as insanity.
“The town’s small jail is already full of the other prisoners so we just brought him here to the town hall basement and tied him to a chair.” Ian opened up the door. “He was also using magic against us and we didn’t have time to get another unicorn to help us put a spell on him or something, and we were already angry as fuck, so we just broke off his horn. I’m happy the bastard finally stopped screaming.”
“I would imagine,” Celestia said. “A broken horn is the most painful thing a unicorn can experience. And it could have side effects.”
“Side effects?” Patton asked as he stepped closer to the pony.
“It could cause insanity and magic rebound.”
“So the Princesses came to talk to me in my happy little room,” the pony finally spoke in an unstable voice. “Special me, oh special little me! I get special visitors!”
Patton took a step back and allowed Celestia and Luna to get closer.
“Who are you?” Celestia demanded.
“My name is a name, I have a little name, oh yes I do! Call me Razor!”
“This bastard has lost his marbles,” Patton muttered to Ian.
Razor seemed to have heared the human and he looked Patton in the eyes. “And the sisters bring monkeys with her! Big scary monkeys in their iron beasts! Who are you monkeys?”
“You have earned no answers from us,” Patton hissed.
“Oh,” Razor laughed, feigning insult. “You're a mean old monkey!”
“Silence!” Celestia growled. “Tell us why you are attacking Equestria.”
“Hmm, because I want to.” The insane pony smiled widely.
“Tell us the truth!” Celestia’s eyes started to glow brightly in her anger. “Now!”
“That was the truth, but only part of it. Shh! But I can’t tell you the full truth or master will get angry. Angry as a storm!”
The glow lessened in the older princess’ eyes. “Your master?”
“Master is good, and kind. Oh so nice to me. He brings freedom to Equestria!” His eyes darted between Celestia and Luna “Freedom from you!”
“From us?” Luna asked, surprise evident in her tone.
“He told me what you did! Long ago you did bad things and now you hide them behind order and peace! He comes now to rip off your masks and free Equestria!” Razor broke into a wild laugh.
Patton and Ian were surprised with the sudden expression that momentarily crossed the sister’s faces. A look of shock and fear. Razor continued.
“You act as gods in your thrones, high in your shiny towers!” The unicorn spat at Celestia. “Now he comes and your demise is just starting! Fall, fall, fall you will! My master will make you pay!”
“Who is your master?” Celestia screamed as Razor continued laughing.
“We could beat it out of him,” Patton stated.
Their prisoner stopped laughing. “Before you start with your mean old torture, let me show you a magic trick. Get ready for the show!”
The broken stub of Razor’s horn glowed slightly then suddenly exploded inward. The unicorn’s forehead split open and blood splattered across the room and it’s inhabitants.
“The fucking bastard,” Patton growled as he wiped blood from his face. “Damn, now there is blood on my uniform. What did he just do?”
“He most likely used a spell that would rebound,” Celestia said flatly. “Come sister, we need to discuss everything we heard from this traitor.”
“Princess Celestia, Princess Luna,” Patton tried to stop them as the sisters turned to leave. “What was he talking about? What evils did you commit?”
The princesses didn’t reply as they walked away. The two humans stood in silence for a minute, the sound of Razor’s blood dripping onto the floor the only noise in the room.
“Sir?” Ian said quietly. “I don’t like this.”
“Me neither Lieutenant.” Patton fiddled absentmindedly with his revolvers. “From now on we need to be more wary. I have a feeling hell is about to break loose and I bet we are going to be smack dab in the fucking middle of it.”
There it was again, that innocent yet annoying knock at his door. Bill groaned, reached lazily for another bar of soap that was piled up next to his tub and threw it at the entrance to the room.
“How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t want a massage!”
“Oh, good.” Matts voice filtered through the wood. “Because I wasn't going to give you one!”
“Oh,” Bill sighed. “I thought you were those Lotus or Aloe ponies. What do you want?”
“I, uh, need a towel.” Matt paused. “I can’t find mine and the ponies keep staring at me!”
Bill looked down at the pile of towels that he stole from Matt’s room. “Nope, all I have is my towel. Sorry Shelly.”
Bill chuckled as he heard the loader stomp away. Across the hall and in the sauna sat the five pony friends. Rarity had long gone to work on her own projects. They had been silent the entire time until Rainbow Dash entered moments after Matt left the entrance of Bill’s room.
“Wow,” the colorful mare laughed. “Now I know why humans wear clothes all of the time.”
“Oh, why?” Pinkie Pie asked, her curiosity overflowing like always. But it was evident that the recent events were even wearing on her.
“You don’t want to know.”
“Yes I dooo!” The pink pony frowned and had half the mind to go and see for herself why humans wore clothing.
The door suddenly opened and Jeff entered, a towel wrapped around his waist. He noticed the five ponies with a look of surprise on his face. He turned and started to walk away.
“Ya don’t need to go sugarcube,” Applejack said in a pleasant tone. “We won’t mind you sittin’ with us.”
They could barely see the man’s cheeks turn red as he closed the door after exiting. Down the hall they could hear Matt singing in a sharp tone as he bathed.
"Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That's where you'll find me.
La la la la-la la la
La la la la hmm la-la
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?"
“Goddamnit Shelly!” Bill hollered from his room. “I hate that song and your voice so please stop!”
“Nevah!” Matt taunted. "Plus, I think this song is fitting for what happened to us. Here I will sing something else, just for you!"
“I just don’t understand how they can be so carefree after what just happened.” Twilight watched the steam circle around her head when Matt’s voice died away into a different song. “Ponies are dead and more will die and they act as if nothing has happened.”
“Ah don’t reckon we will ever understand these humans.” Applejack leaned back, also deep in thought. After a minute she spoke again. “Ah wonder how Big Mac is doing.”
“Why don’t you go visit him,” Rainbow Dash stated flatly. “He is just down the road “
The orange mare shook her head. “Ah’m afraid to.”
“Afraid to?” Fluttershy tilted her head in confusion along with the other three mares.
“Ya don’t understand the feeling Ah get whenever Ah want to go and visit him. Ah-ah feel like-”
“Like every time you see him will be the last time?”
They turned to face the human that was opening the door. Bill stood there wrapped in a towel, a serious look on his face.
“Yes,” Applejack whispered.
Bill nodded. “I use to get that feeling, but it will go away. What you need to do is visit him and not be afraid of what could happen in the future.”
Applejack looked at the floor, deep in thought as her friends stared at the human.
“I thought you didn’t like us?” Dash piped up.
“I tolerate your existence.” Bill rubbed his scalp awkwardly. “But that also means I like you more than Shelly and even I care for that idiot’s life... most of the time.”
They stared at each other, each in their own thoughts and memories. Bill spoke up when he returned from his own mind and into the moment. “Well, I just stopped by because I heard about what you girls were talking about.”
Bill left and the ponies went back to sitting in silence. Several minutes passed before Twilight spoke again.
“I wonder how Spike and the girls are doing at your house with the other humans, the Germans.”
“Better than they would be if they saw the destruction around town.” Rainbow Dash stated.
Applejack stood and started to leave the room. A determined look etched on her face.
“Where are you going?” Fluttershy pipped.
Without a glance back the orange mare replied. “Ah need to go talk to my brother.”
“Oh, can I come with you? I want to say hi to Big Mac as well!”
Pinkie Pie started to stand and follow her friend but Twilight stopped her. “I think she needs to speak to him alone.”
“Oh, okay,” Pinkie plopped heavily back down on the bench and they watched Applejack leave.
Down the hall they heard Ian greet the orange mare.
“Oi, hello AJ.” the Lieutenant said in a halfway pleasant tone. “Where is the rest of my crew?”
Applejack said something that the four friends could not hear to which Ian replied with a “Thank you.”
Moments later the human’s head rounded the doorframe.
“Uh, hello ladies.” Ian smiled. “Wrong room.”
“Hi-ya Ian!” Pinkie shook her hoof in a violent wave.
Ian looked around the sauna and nodded his head. “Just checking to see if my men were in here. If they were I was going to have to cut their balls off.”
The four mares looked at Ian with confused faces. The Lieutenant turned and walked away with a wave of his hand.
“That sounds painful,” Fluttershy said. “And a little drastic.”
“I think he was being figurative.” Twilight stated.
“Well, I think we have been in here long enough.” Rainbow Dash stood, shook her mane to get the moisture out and left.
The other ponies followed and as they entered the waiting room Patton came in.
“Hello,” the General said. “So this is where my men went. A spa.”
“What is wrong with a spa?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Back on my world, a spa is not a place you would find a man.”
A pink mare with a blue mane and tail ambled past carrying the human’s newly cleaned clothing.
“Hello Lotus,” Fluttershy greeted the mare.
“Hi.” Lotus gave a small smile and continued to walk out of the room.
A second mare came in but with a blue coat and pink mane. She looked at them and and asked in a pleasant tone. “Are you leaving?
“Yes, thank you again Aloe,” Twilight answered. “How many bits do we owe you?”
Aloe shook her head, “Keep the bits, me and my sister don’t need them. We are joining up with the newly formed 19th Ponyville Regiment as nurses.”
“Isn’t the 19th Big Mac’s regiment?” Twilight asked nobody in particular. The others just shrugged. Patton found a chair and sat down to wait for the other humans to come out. The ponies noticed for the first time drops of what appeared to be blood splattered on his coat.
“I think you girls should go get your stuff packed,” he said. “We will be shipping out in a few hours.”
The ponies nodded, said goodbye and left for their own homes. Patton watched them leave with a sad look on his face. Ian walked into the room followed by the rest of the Americans.
“Sir, everybody is accounted for,” the Lieutenant said.
Patton only nodded as he continued to stare through the open door. Ian noticed his off mood and opened his mouth to ask what was bothering him but Patton spoke first.
“It’s amazing how fast a place can change when war rises.” The general leaned back in the chair and looked absentmindedly at the ceiling. “At first I was eager to help this nation with its struggles. I thought this war would be like the inhabitants, simple and quick to pacify. Guess I was wrong.”
The rest of the humans stared at their leader, puzzled. Patton looked at them and smiled.
“Now don’t go thinking that I’m second guessing or regretting my decision! Hell no! I still plan on using American ingenuity and my ability to whip my opponents asses to win this war!” The worried and sad look returned to his face. “But there is something about this war that hurts me in a way unlike the one back home.”
The other humans didn’t say anything as they too were absorbed in thought. After a while Patton stood.
“I think I’m going to visit Corporal Marshal and the other wounded at the hospital.”
“Very well sir, me and the boys will get the tank ready for rail transport.,” Ian replied.
They left the spa and walked in silence until they neared the Apple family’s house when Bill groaned.
“Shelly!” The Virginian turned and faced the younger man with his fist balled. “If you try to smell me or my shirt one more time I will break you goddamn nose!”
“But you smell so nice,” Matt mocked. “Like Californian flowers on a spring morning as the sun is rising over the ocean.”
“The hell?” Bill’s mouth dropped open slightly as he shook his head in confusion.
“Shelly,” Ian said. “Don’t go all poetic over Bill. We will find you a nice boyfriend soon enough, but I don’t think he is your type.”
They started to laugh, including Matt despite his embarrassment. But the mood quickly died away as they entered the orchard. They were surprised to see Frederic by the tanks talking to the three fillies that called themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The dragon named Spike sat under a tree snoozing several apple cores around his feet. The fillies had curious looks on their faces, but Scootaloo seemed the most fascinated.
“This is the carburetor, it is vat helps mix the air vis the fuel so it vill burn.” Frederic noticed the approaching Americans and gave them a polite nod. Then went back to talking with the fillies. “That is it for the engine. Vant me to show you more of the vorkings?”
“How does the cannon work!” Scootaloo replied quickly.
Frederic nodded, a smile played across his face. “You remind me of one of my daughters. So much like a boy and interested in machines. Follow me.”
Frederic climbed the side of his tank, opened the hatch and slid into the turret. The three ponies watched him through the hatch as he showed them the internal workings of the vehicle. The Americans moved on and reached their own tank.
“Hello Lucky,” Bill cooed as he patted the four leaf clover painted to the side. “Did you miss daddy?”
“If you are Lucky’s dad then I guess calling the Lieutenant, Momma, is more accurate than ever.” Matt smiled widely, but the grin was erased when Bill turned and hit the loader in the gut.
“Hit him again for me,” Ian said as he climbed the side of the tank.
Bill turned to hit Matt again, but the Californian had wisely backed away.
“Lets hurry and get Lucky to the trainyard,” Ian ordered. His voice echoing from inside the turret.
They complied and joined Ian inside of the tank.
Applejack watched the other members of her town as they drilled. She asked around and had been led to the camp of the 2nd and 19th Ponyville Regiments. Now she stood and watched ponies that she knew almost her whole life prepare for war alongside her brother. Occasionally she would see him. They drilled for several hours and Applejack found herself drifting off to sleep under a willow tree. The sun was going down when she felt someone nudge her awake.
She looked up at her brother and gave a slight smile. “Ah wanted to talk to you.”
He nodded and sat down next to her. Applejack was quiet for a few seconds, watching the others head to their tents to pack for the evacuation.
“If, if you don’t come back home, what will Ah do!” Applejack eventually blurted. “Ah can’t take care of the farm by myself and-and, Applebloom! Ah don’t think she would be able to handle you never coming back! Our parents already left us, Ah don’t want you to too.”
Big Mac watched his sister silently as she broke into tears. He pulled the sobbing mare into a hug and whispered into her ear.
“I will come home,” he said. “And everything will be the same.”
Applejack shook her head. “You might come home. But it will never be the same.”
They sat in silence, watching the sun go down until a higher ranking member of Big Mac’s regiment walked up.
“Sergeant Macintosh,” the pony said. “I hate to be rude but we need to hurry.”
Big Mac saluted. “Yes sir.”
The higher ranking pony walked away and Applejack turned back to her brother. “You're a Sergeant?”
The stallion nodded and stood, “I need to go sis. Ah’ll see you at Van Hoover when we get there. Goodbye.”
They hugged one more time before Big Macintosh left for his regiment. Applejack was content to watch them pack until the sun went down. Rainbow Dash arrived a little bit later to bring her to the train yard where the others were waiting. She followed reluctantly until a thunderous noise rising from Ponyville distracted her thoughts.
Cheering! Thunderous cheering! Thousands of ponies lined the streets as the tanks rumbled towards the trains. Occasionally flowers flew from windows and some of them trotted alongside the vehicle as they trudged along.
“Feels like Paris,” Ian stated. “After we liberated it.”
Matt was too busy waving to give a reply. Ian looked back at the Tiger tank following them, at the Germans and three fillies sitting on top of the turret with smiling faces.
“Though there isn’t any cute french girls,” Ian continued with a hint of reminiscence in his eyes.
“What are they saying?” Bill crackled over the radio.
“What? Who?” Ian replied.
“The darn ponies. They are chanting something.”
Ian listened closely and sure enough, he could hear it. Mixed in with the general cheers and thundering of hooves he could make out a chant rising amongst the noise.
“Iron Thunder! Iron Thunder! Iron Thunder...”
“Yeah!” Matt smiled widely, pumped his fist into the air and started chanting along with them.
By the time they arrived at the train, that was to take them to the coast, there was a massive crowd of ponies following behind them. They pulled up to a pair of dirt ramps alongside two flat rail cars.
“Drive straight onto the train Bill,” Ian ordered.
It was surprisingly easy to get the tanks onto the train, even with the ponies crowding around. At first they were afraid that the Tiger would be too large, but unexpectedly it fit perfectly. Ian looked down at the crowd of ecstatic ponies and waved.
“Shame not to say some moral boosting words,” he said to Matt.
“Too bad the Old Man isn’t here.” The loader looked around for goodies to throw towards the foals but found nothing.
Ian looked at the private with critical eyes. “What, you don’t think I can give an uplifting speech?”
“I didn’t say that.” The California shrugged passively and went back to waving.
Ian rolled his eyes and turned his attention to the crowd. He raised his arms motioning for silence. “Ponies, ponies! Silence please!”
They quieted and Ian looked at them with happy eyes before continuing.
“Little more than three weeks ago me and my companions arrived in your country. We had been fighting our own war before getting here. Using great machines of steel to tear each other apart. Now I will not go into our war but we saw that you needed our help and now we plan on using our machines of war to protect you and your future and nothing will stand in our way! Follow the Iron Thunder to victory!”
“Patton would have done better,” Matt snarked but Ian didn't hear him over the eruption of applause and cheers.
“Admiral Turbulent Waters,” Silky Wings saluted the leader of Equestria’s navy and gave him Patton’s letter. “Orders for you sir.”
“Yes,” Turbulent nodded and read the paper. A puzzled look played across his face. “I already got this.”
“He wanted me to give you another just in case you didn't get the first.”
“Very well then.” The Admiral nodded and went back to watching his ships load up with supplies and ponies.
“Any reply sir?” Silky asked.
“Hmm, no.” Turbulent Waters spoke to her like an adult talking to a young child. “I doubt there will be any ‘secret plan’ the enemy is going to have. I honestly think this evacuation is a waste of time. Our military outnumbers them. Why not end it now.”
“But wouldn't that create large amounts of casualties?”
He dismissed her words with a wave of the hoof. “Foals can be easily born to take the place of those gallant heroes who died for their country.”
Silky Wings’ stomach churned from his words when a voice suddenly called out from the mast.
“Sails westward ho!”
Everypony scrambled to the seaward facing side of the ship and stared at the forest of sails rising over the horizon. Above the approaching flotilla was an equally massive fleet of airships. The confused and shocked face of Admiral Turbulent Waters almost made Silky Wings smile if not for her own rising fear. The war, they quickly realized, was just beginning.
Next chapter is going to be filled with all kinds of stuff. Like the introduction of the primary antagonist!
It was a weight he never thought he would ever feel. It pulled down on his shoulders like a mountain of responsibility that he struggled to keep up. Shining Armor dwelt over his position as he walked slowly through the tents of the Army of Eastern Equestria's camp along Rambling Rock Ridge. Ponies waved or saluted him but he scarcely gave them any heed. He entered a section of the camp and was momentarily surprised to see that instead of tents and campfires, trenches and breastworks were being constructed along the ridge. He noticed the commanding officer talking to a group of soldiers nearest to him and instantly realised why defensive precautions were being set up.
“General Oakleaf,” Shining Armor said, catching the attention of the pony in beat up royal guard armor. “You prove to me yet once again why I placed you and the First Brigade at my center.”
“Ah, hello sir,” Oakleaf limped over to the younger stallion. “Yes, the First is the best trained rable we got. They aren't going to let those invaders catch the army off guard.”
“So you’ve told me many times on the train ride here.” Shining sat down next to a small campfire and the other stallion joined him.
Oakleaf looked around at the rest of the Equestrian line and frowned. “Sir, may I ask as to why the other brigades have yet to dig in.”
Shining sighed and held his hooves over the fire. “They believe that digging in is not necessary. Seeing as how we are a long distance from the enemy army and our scouts will give us plenty of heads up if they do turn this way.”
“Do you really believe that?”
Shining Armor slowly shook his head.
Oakleaf stared intently at the young general. “I know you. Back at cadet school when I had you in my tactics class you were the brightest and most independent minded officer in that whole group of air brains. Don’t tell your friend Colonel Sprinter that though.”
“Don’t tell me what?”
“By Discords mouth look who it is,” Oakleaf chuckled. “Hello Sprinter. Tell me, how is the 7th Canterlot holding up?”
“Fairly well sir.” Sprinter lazily saluted his friend. “Good evening sir.”
“Hello Sprinter, always good to see you.” Shining Armor chuckled under his breath as memories from cadet school filled his mind. “Would you mind getting the other Colonels of the First Brigade?”
“No problem sir.”
Oakleaf quickly went back to their previous conversation. “You want to know what I think you should say to those thorn pricks that are questioning your decisions? Tell them to shut their mouths and dig in. Better to be safe and stupid looking than stupidly unsafe and dead!”
“I will, I will.”
Colonel Sprinter returned followed by two other ponies. They saluted Shining Armor and he returned one.
“My friends, I’m glad to see your regiments taking everything seriously and acting like better trained soldiers than they are,” Shining said. “Keep up the good work and I hope I can get the rest of the army to act more like your brigade before we see action.”
Shining armor looked up at the regimental flags of the 1st Brigade. The banners of the 3rd, 7th and 12th Canterlot Infantry and the pennant of the 1st Cloudsdale Lancers. He realised that he was missing the commanding officer of the latter regiment.
“Where is colonel Spitfire of the 1st?” he asked.
“Somewhere in the clouds,” Oakleaf said. “She went on a scouting mission with an element of the 1st. Sorry sir, I forgot to tell you.”
“It’s alright.” The young general waved a dismissive hoof. “We probably needed somepony to keep a patrol. Though, I doubt she will run into anything.”
Nopony ever guesses how cold it can get high above the clouds. That is until they actually get there. Spitfire had flown in higher altitudes many times before but for some reason the chill affected her in a deeper measure. Perhaps it was the looming battle she felt in her bones that let the cold in.
The bright yellow pony looked back at the twelve pegasi following her. Each one was once a wonderbolt but now they served her for a more terrifying purpose. Her second in command, Soarin, had stayed behind just in case she didn’t return.
“You smell that ma’am?” Hollered one of her lancers over the wind.
Spitfire took a deep breath and the slight scent of smoke and cooking food was noticeable on the air.
“Campfires!” She yelled back. “We need to check this out.”
The pegasi dived through the clouds and when they exited the masses of vapor the ground became visible. Dotting the land several miles outside the ruins of Dodge City was a field full of campfires. They landed on a rocky hill and looked at the mass of enemy soldiers milling about the area.
“They split their forces!” Spitfire laughed in a giddy voice. She bounced on her hooves in a small excited dance. “Oh this is ripe!”
“Ma’am?” one of the lancers asked. “You seem excited.”
“Of course I’m excited!” Spitfire rolled her eyes, perplexed as to why he didn’t feel the same. “They split their forces like the true idiots they are. Now we have a chance to hit part of their army and end this war!”
She looked at the enemy army with hungry eyes. She had always dreamed of being a soldier defending her country but had failed to get into the royal guards due to the fact that she wasn't’ of noble blood, far from it. Her father was an unsuccessful cloud salespony who ignored his family and especially her. So she settled on the next best thing, a wonderbolt.
“You six, stay here,” she spread her wings in preparation to take off back into the sky. “Keep tabs on their actions and see if you can find out if the other half of the enemy army has moved. But be careful. The rest of you come back with me. We have to tell the General about this.”
The sun was rising when she arrived at Shining Armor’s tent. He seemed slightly surprised to see her and from the look on his face Spitfire guessed that he believed that she bore bad news.
“You have something to report Colonel Spitfire?” He asked in a forced, steady tone.
“I have some tactical information sir!” She smiled widely and Shining Armor started to feel better due to her charisma. “The enemy has split their army into two, if not more parts and is basically prone to attack!”
Shining Armor raised an eyebrow. “Are you saying that we should attack?”
Spitfire suddenly felt confused. He wasn’t excited about her news. “Yes sir.”
“My orders were to hold this position and remain as a possible threat to the enemy army. Not to go chasing after fractions of enemy soldiers when the rest of them could slip away.” Shining didn’t mean to make his response sound so berating. “I trust you Colonel Spitfire, but I don't think an attack would be wise.”
“Sir, I understand that you think this might be a trap but the rest of the enemy are still sitting in the desert.” Spitfire didn’t know the last part for sure. She decided to add more positive information. “They didn’t have any dragons with them either.”
“From what you could tell at least.”
Spitfire bit her lip. “Yes, from what I could tell.”
Shining armor sighed and Spitfire noticed something change within his eyes. “I will give you one day to gather information about the enemy positions to change my mind fully. If you succeed in making me believe that it would be a better tactical option to attack then defend, I will.”
Spitfire raised her hoof and saluted him. “Yes sir.”
She flew out of the tent and Shining Armor sat in silence. His officers stood around him discussing amongst themselves the ridiculousness of going onto the attack. He listened to them for a while, deep in thought with his hooves resting under his chin. Across the tent sat General Oakleaf watching Shining with a curious expression.
The young general looked up at his old teacher and smiled. The older stallion noticed a glimmer in his eye.
Shining turned to his officers. “Prepare the army. We move out tonight. 1st Brigade leads the column.”
His officers stared at him, wide eyed and many with open mouths. Shining looked at them and raised a questioning eyebrow.
“Why are you all standing around for? Get moving!”
Oakleaf slowly stood as the others rushed around. He ambled over to Shining and chuckled.
“You decided quickly.”
The young general stood. “I sent a letter to the Princess for any additional advice and General Patton got back with me. That piece of paper there,” Shining pointed to a scroll on the desk corner. “Is what he sent me. Read it if you want to.”
Oakleaf obliged himself and started to read.
Dear General Shining Armor, Army of Eastern Equestria
Forgive my handwriting, I am currently on a train heading for the coast and the bumpy ride causes much difficulty. You asked how to better make a decision. Well I have learned that if you can’t decide on something within the time it takes you to shit then you probably need to step down. Even if you don’t have all of the information available to you, there still should not be any hesitation. It is better to act in some way instead of sitting on your ass twiddling your thumbs. Or in your case, hooves.
That said, try not to make irrational decisions. That’s the hard part. You will have to learn that on your own.
-General George S. Patton
“Written like a true philosopher,” Oakleaf chuckled. “But I agree with it.”
Shining Armor nodded. “Well, you better get the 1st Brigade ready. Long march ahead of us.”
The airship Storm of Vengeance ploughed through the clouds like a sea born vessel through ocean waves. The triple steam engines were at the edge of their limit, pushing the heavy gunship against the wind. Silky Wings once again found herself transporting a letter but this time it felt much more urgent.
Although the enemy fleet was most likely still sitting where she last saw it, the mare didn’t want to waste time. She was taking the letter herself due to some magical presence preventing their letters from being sent any other way. Something out there didn’t want them crying for help. Though, when she made a run for it none of their airships made pursuit and Silky Wings couldn’t help but feel uneasy about that..
Still she didn’t slow, they entrusted her with bringing the information to any high ranking individual and the young mare had no intention to fail. Apparently the Storm of Vengeance had different plans. Silky Wings’ hair stood on end as the guttural sound of engine one loosing pressure filled the already noisy air. She jumped into action without hesitation.
“Lower altitude!” She jumped off the deck and circled around the hull of her ship to get her voice to the whole crew. “We need to find someplace to land! Don’t overheat the other engine!”
She looped upward and landed on top of the massive balloon holding up the ship. Silky checked for leaks, an activity that she performed on a regular basis since she acquired the brand new but hastily built vessel. After a quick look that showed no fault in the balloon, Silky returned to the deck. The singular put-put-put of the remaining engine was like a hammer pounding on her consciousness. Constantly reminding Silky Wings of the sensitive situation she found herself in.
“I see you’re experiencing some problems,” a voice chuckled from behind her.
Silky Wings spun around and came face to face with a yellow pegasi who was never part of her crew. She wore the blue, lightly armored and aerodynamic uniform of a lancer. A lance hung lazily on the movable bolt and it pointed skyward at the balloon. The captain bit her lip momentarily, hoping that the lancer won't accidentally stab the air filled object.
“Who are...” The moment the words left her mouth, Silky instantly knew. The words spilled out in a flat monotone. “Oh, hello Spitfire. Long time no see. Yes, I’m having some problems and I would very much appreciate your help.”
“Sheesh, if I would have known that you were still angry about the time when I stole Soarin from you back when we were still in school together I would have sent him here instead.” Spitfire rolled her eyes. “Well, follow me and I will have you sky-tub safe and sound. Oh, and If it makes you feel any better. We stopped dating before joining the wonderbolts. I decided that it would be best if I didn’t date a subordinate.”
Before Silky could tell the lancer the the true reason she was mad, Spitfire was already flying ahead of the ship. She huffed loudly then turned to the pony steering the vessel.
“Pilot, follow that pegasi!”
“You brought me a boat?” Shining Armor glanced over at Spitfire before returning his attention to the airship landing besides his marching army. “How kind of you.”
“Thats me, the considerate gift giver.” Spitfire smiled widely. “But I must warn you. The captain of that boat can be a little fiery and short tempered. So be carefull.”
“And you aren't the same way?”
Spitfire chuckled and walked away. Shining made his way to the ship, admiring the impressive firepower it could add to his army. He noticed directing the landing process and he guessed that she was the captain. He walked over to her.
“Excuse me are you the captain of this ship?”
The mare didn’t answer, all she did was hold up a hoof. Shining was about to ask again when a rope hit him square in the face.
“Shimmer Breeze! You can’t throw a rope to save your life!” Silky Wings noticed the stallion rubbing his forehead beside her. “Sorry. Hey, I recognize you! You're Shining Armor! I’m so sorry sir!”
“It’s alright,” he wanted to get straight to business. “I was wondering if you could offer your firepower in the upcoming battle.”
“Of course sir,” Silky quickly replied as she pulled an envelope from a pack on her side. “But I have a more pressing mission to complete.”
She gave him the letter, and he read over it. His already white color seemed to pale slightly.
“I will send a detail to bring this information to the Princesses and other leaders.” He waved over a group of curious that followed him around and gave the letter to them. “Take this to Van Hoover. The Princess should already be there. Hurry!”
They darted up into the sky and Shining Armor returned his attention to the Captain of the airship. She stood there with an expression that made it seem that a great weight had been removed from her.
“You wouldn't happen to be Flight Admiral Windy Wings’ daughter, would you?”
“Yes sir, I am.”
Shining smiled. “I have heard quite a bit about your bravery at the Battle of Appleloosa. I hope you will prove to be a valuable asset once again. I’m happy to have you here”
“Oh, just admit it.” She laughed. The stress of possessing the letter completely gone. “You just want me around because I’m so pretty.”
There is a feeling that grows in the pit of your stomach the closer you are to the enemy and battle. Shining Armor realized this as the sun rose on the last day of their march. He could help remembering the conversation he had with Celestia right after he was promoted to General.
“Why me?” he had asked her. “I have no combat experience. Wouldn’t somepony else be better suited for the position?”
Her reply was short but meant a great deal. “The soldiers love you and you care for them like family. For that I wouldn’t choose anyone other than you.”
And although he still believed somepony else would have been a better choice, Shining Armor agreed with the fact that he did care for his troops and he wanted the best strategy to ensure not only their victory, but their survival. Now he stood with his commanders on a sandy hill as the sun was rising to figure out such a strategy.
Shining preferred to listen to his subordinates ideas first before coming to a conclusion so he stood amongst them silently as they argued with themselves. He took in the shape of the land and the training of his soldiers, added it all together and realised what needed to be done.
The ridge they stood on curved around like a horseshoe with a flat valley below it. A perfect place for a trap.
“My friends,” he said loudly to gain their attention. “Here is where we will make our stand. We will trap the enemy in that valley and crush them from all sides.”
“Yes sir, but how do you expect to draw them in there?” one of them chimed up.
“With bait,” Shining turned to General Oakleaf and smiled. “A bait that can bite back for that matter. The enemy doesn’t know the size of our army so a single brigade will be an irresistible target for them.”
“The first brigade will gladly take this upon themselves.” Oakleaf saluted Shining Armor. “What do you want me to do?”
“Take your brigade and fight a retreating battle towards this valley where we can encircle them with our superior numbers.” Shining Armor waved his hoof over the countryside like an orchestral composer directing a symphony. “But don’t get into a pitched battle. Just draw them here without making it seem like a trap.”
“Naturally sir.” Oakleaf looked at his younger superior with critical eyes. “I have been in this business longer than you.”
“True, but like me this is still your first war.”
Oakleaf smiled widely. “Fair enough.”
The 1st Brigade had left around midday and the rest of the army had stationed themselves behind the full curve of the ridge, ready to rise up and down onto the enemy forces that they hoped would be too surprised to fight back. Shining armor looked uneasily at the distant hills and rocky spires then at the slowly setting sun.
Then he heard it. The faint clashing of metal and the screams of battle growing closer and closer. The first to arrive at their lines was the 7th Regiment who took up a defensive position on the valley’s left. Soon the other regiments of the 1st came pouring into the vale. The last ones to take their position behind the line was Spitfire’s 1st Cloudsdale. Shining Armor could see that they were beat up pretty badly and some of the regiments had last quite a few ponies but he didn’t dare dwell on it because the enemy was rapidly approaching.
The foe drove forward with a zealous lust for battle and what they believed was to be an easy victory. Their demeanor quickly changed when the full force of the pony’s artillery, including Silky Wings’ naval guns, let loose from their concealed positions behind the hill. The enemy force disappeared momentarily in a swarm of fire and smoke before reappearing again on the other side of the tempest. Their momentum only slightly abated.
That was when Shining Armor sprung the trap. The entirety of his army, save for the 1st Brigade that had fallen back to regroup, rushed down the hill and encircled the opposing force. There was little time for the enemy to react as the valley became a pit of bodies seeking the quickest way to kill each other. Griffons leaped into the sky just as his lancers arrived and the air was filled with writhing warriors that would occasionally plummet back to the earth. Shining watched from the crest of the hill, sure of his victory when suddenly he noticed masses of his poorly trained ponies retreating from the field.
Panic gripped his mind and he rushed along the ridge trying to halt the rout himself but to little avail. More and more Equestrian soldiers ran until even whole brigades were falling back. Then the enemy pushed, intending to cut down the fleeing ponies. They now had nearly the entirety of the Equestrian army in full retreat. The horde reached the base of the hill, directly under Shining Armor’s position. The General felt arrows fly over his head from several minotaur archers and he too dropped back.
Then a voice pierced the sound of battle and Shining Armor realised that it was Oakleaf speaking to his brigade.
“Rally on the enemy 1st Brigade! For your friends, families and Equestria! Charge!”
The 1st Brigade charged down the hill as fast as their hooves could take them screaming bloody vengeance as they went. Time seemed to slow as the mass of ponies rushed the enemy. Above the galiantly rushing unicorns and earth ponies flew the 1st Lancers with Spitfire at their front. Her blood covered lance gleaming wickedly in the fading sunlight. They collided with the enemy and a great moan went up along side the cheering 1st Brigade.
Shining Armor took this moment to rally his army. “See the 1st Brigade charge to victory! Be fearless like them and victory will be ours! For Equestria, Charge!”
Shining Armor didn’t care if anypony heard him as he dove headlong towards the enemy. But right before he joined the fray he looked back and was ecstatic to see his ponies following him down the hill. Then he hit the mass of hell bent warriors and joined the struggle.
Brigadier General Oakleaf’s motionless body lay next to the dead of the 1st Brigade. The Charger Brigade, as the Army of Eastern Equestria now called them, had lost the most casualties but had stood strong the entire time. Now the brigade found itself being led by newly promoted General Sprinter.
Shining Armor stood over his teacher’s body and fought the tears.
“More than 800 dead and 500 wounded, to the enemy’s 400 killed and 200 captured.” He sighed silently and looked up at the desert sky. The stars twinkled back at him. “I thought there was going to be less.”
“We won the battle sir,” Spitfire chimed up. “And less than a dozen of the enemy escaped. The army knows what to expect now. We know what to expect. We won’t do so poorly again.”
Shining couldn't bring himself to agree so he just nodded his head slowly. The rest of the army didn't know it yet but there would be no shortage of chances for them to prove themselves. No shortages at all.
The fleets had stood off from each other for a few days. Admiral Turbulent Waters spent most of that time thinking of a plan to get the ships filled with refugees and supplies out of the harbor. But for that he would need wind and for the entire time there was none. That evening a wind blew up but to his dismay it came from behind the enemy sails.
But instead of bearing down on them in a wave of battle ready warships a single vessel floated lazily towards them. A line of signal flags went up the mast and Turbulent Waters read them with ease.
“They want to speak to us?” He turned to his advisor and she shrugged. “They don’t mean us any harm?”
“That’s what they signaled,” the mare replied.
“Fine, I shall indulge them,” he turned to a crewmember nearby. “Signal to our ships to run out the guns and be ready while we go chat.”
Their ship edged up slowly, the steam engines struggling to fight the wind. As they neared the opposing ship Turbulent Waters could make out a wide assortment of creatures moving along its deck. The two vessels pulled up alongside each other and a gangplank was set between the two. Waters stood on the deck of his ship and waited for his presumed enemy to cross.
His jaw slightly dropped when he finally did. A dark-violet stallion with dull gold mane crossed onto his ship with a young dark-yellow filly in tow. It didn’t take long for the Admiral to realise that the stallion was an alicorn. But unlike the princesses, he was barely taller than Turbulent Waters and was not an imposing creature like they were.
“Who are you,” Turbulent demanded in a stern but soft voice. Something about the alicorn made him not want to talk loudly.
The alicorn smiled warmly and he spoke with a sweet voice that made Turbulent instantly want to trust him.
“My name is Blandire," the mysterios pony said, holding out his hoof for the Admiral to shake. "And I offer you your freedom.”
Before you all start to panic, no, the alicorn is not an overpowered Mary Sue. As you will find out he is quite the opposite. If you see any mistakes please tell me. Sorry it took me so long to get this out and sorry for a lack of Patton and the other humans but this is a pony story after all.
The train bounced along at full speed towards the west coast. The sun had long set and the stars shimmered in the heavens. Oddly, no moon could be seen when the previews day it had been high in the sky. The humans, except for Patton, and the six Elements of Harmony sat in contemplative silence. Patton had left when Luna retrieved him for an emergency meeting. The rumble of the tracks was the only noise and it was lulling many of them to sleep. The silence was shattered when Matt sighed loudly.
"The hell was that for?" Bill growled. He had been on the edge of passing out.
"I'm so bored!"
"What, are you five?" Bill shook his head and rolled over onto his side. Hiding his face while trying to sleep. “Read a book. The purple one brought a shit-ton.”
"I hate long trips." The Californian threw his arms up in frustration. "Lets do something to pass the time."
Bill growled and sat up. "Okay, here is a game. Lets each say which one of us we think will become a pony pounder first. The one with the most votes to their name loses or wins, depends on what you think. I vote Matt."
"Pony pounder?" Ian, Matt and the six mares echoed. Jeff looked up from his journal and shook his head disapprovingly.
"Bill," Zeus sighed painfully. He lay by himself on a bench, wrapped in bandages and casts. "The fuck is a pony pounder?"
"I get it," Frederic unexpectedly laughed. "And I agree. Matthew vill be a pony pounder."
"Thanks German." Bill smiled widely.
The others, except for Matt and the ponies, started to realise what Bill meant. The each looked at Matt and nodded their heads in agreement.
"Pony pounder?" Twilight muttered. "I don't think Matt is likely to start attacking us. He seems the most docile of all of you."
"Yeah! I don't want to hurt the cute ponies. They are so adorable and stuff!" Matt was closest to Fluttershy and Pinkie. He pulled them into a strong hug. Fluttershy squeaked in surprise.
"My point exactly." Bill said with a twisted smile.
Matt glared at Bill, the gears turning behind his eyes. Realisation struck him like a punch to the face.
"No!" The loader shrieked causing Fluttershy to jump. “I don’t want to fuck a pony!”
The looks on the ponies faces immediately changed to revulsion.
“That’s disgusting!” Rainbow grimaced. She had involuntarily seen Matt naked at the spa and unwelcome thoughts filled her imagination. The pegasi shook her head trying to get the disturbing images out of her mind.
“You get ‘romantic’ with the locals every other place we go. Why not here? So we all agree that Matt will become a pony pounder?” Bill looked around the car at the multiple different expressions. At the disgusted faces of the ponies, the agreeing nods from the Americans and Frederic then the confused stares from the other Germans who were left out of the conversation.
“I hate you guys.” Matt pouted.
“All in good fun,” Bill laughed. His mission complete. “All in good fun.”
The door to the car slid open and Patton stepped in. He looked troubled and the everyone stared at him with unease. The two princesses followed him inside, the same expressions on their faces.
“Well, we will start with the good news,” Patton said as he sat down and wiped his forehead. “The Army of Eastern Equestria has scored a major victory against the mercenary army. Practically destroying almost half of their force.”
They smiled at the victory, but whatever the bad news was bound to outway the good. Why else would Patton save it for last?
“A fleet has appeared outside Manehattan Harbor.” Celestia took over the announcing. “We don’t know their intentions because no more news has reached us from our evacuation fleet. But we believe they are bent towards an invasion.”
“What are we going to do Princess?” Twilight squeaked.
“We are sticking to our plan but I sent a letter to your brother to cease actions against the enemy and retreat to the west for evacuation.” Celestia looked out of a window and sighed. “I hope the reasons behind this uncertain turn of events is revealed to us soon.”
Magically lifting the cup of tea to his lips, he took a shallow sip and after a quick nod of appreciation for the flavor, Blandire leaned back in his chair and smiled at Turbulent Waters. The Admiral smiled back but was wary of what this alicorn had to say.
The creaking of the ship's hull sounded loud in the captain's chambers as they stared at each other. Finally the alicorn spoke.
“I understand if you are confused and fearful of the reason why I have invaded your nation.” Blandire started the conversation. His soft voice relaxing the Admirals nerves.
“You could say that I am.”
Blandire smiled warmly. “Then I am happy to inform you that I don’t mean you or anypony else harm. I come as a liberator, not an invader.”
Turbulent raised an eyebrow. “A liberator?”
“Yes.” Blandire took another sip of tea. “My quarrel is not with the inhabitants of Equestria but it’s rulers. The Princesses’ reign of tyranny has come to its end.”
“Tyranny?” The Admiral shook his head. “You must be mistaken. We have had nothing but prosperity.”
The alicorn smiled again. “An illusion of prosperity under a cloak of ignorance.”
Turbulent stared blankly at the alicorn. Blandire continued.
“Most of the blame falls upon Celestia but Luna shares in this. They have kept the population ignorant to the struggles of the world." He poured more tea into his cup. "The rest of the world struggles to survive while she keeps you as happy laborers, blind to how life outside Equestria is. Using you to create prosperity."
"I don't believe those lies!" Turbulent thundered. "There has never been a more caring ruler. She would never use us to gain her own ends!"
"She is as we speak." Blandire chuckled warmly and Turbulent calmed. "She flees to the west like a guilty criminal running from judgement as you and your fleet lie helplessly in my path. Your Princesses are nowhere to be seen."
"And you have come here to bring judgement?" The Admiral hissed.
Blandire shook his head. "I bring the judgement of every nation against her. I have unified all the nation of the world to liberate Equestria and bring about a new world order. One of unity and true peace without lies."
Turbulent Waters looked out of the window at the forest of masts. The colors of many different nations adorning their tops.
“So you have all the counties of the world following you? How did you ever manage that?”
Blandire nodded his head and his eyes sparkled happily. “I told them the truth and helped them see reason. Basically what I am doing now for you. So I ask you, will you allow me to free you and your fellow Equestrians?”
Turbulent chewed his lip, deep in concentration. “Your words do sound true and if you were indeed here for darker intent you could have easily destroyed our fleet and taken the port.”
The alicorn nodded and took another sip of tea. “So do you accept?”
The Admiral sighed. “I want to believe you, but I have followed Celestia faithfully my entire life. One does not simply throw that aside. So no, I will not join you and betray Equestria.”
“Hmm, that is unfortunate.” Blandire slowly nodded his head. If he was troubled by Turbulent’s refusal he didn’t show it.
“So, what now?” The Admiral leaned back in his chair. “Will you now proceed to sink our ships full of innocent mares and foals?”
“No.” Blandire stood. “I would never do such a thing. I will let your fleet leave and anypony that wishes to go with you. But I do demand one thing.”
Turbulent raised a questioning and worried eyebrow.
“All weapons, all things that are related to war in any way or fashion, no matter how slight, must be given to us. To deny this would result in the sinking of your fleet. Understand?”
Turbulent Waters slowly nodded. “Understood.”
“Very good.” Blandire smiled one last time. “Thank you for the hospitality and the tea was very nice. I am sorry to go but I need to arrange a meeting with the Princesses. Hopefully they will respond maturely. Good day to you Admiral.”
Turbulent watched in deep contemplation as the alicorn walked away.
General Shining Armor
Due to the unexpected and uncertain change in events you will begin an immediate withdrawal to Van Hoover. Trains have been dispatched to evacuate your army. If the rail system has been compromised then you will be forced to march the entire way. A fleet might be waiting for you when you arrive, but that is not certain. This is a direct order and must be initiated post haste.
-Equestrian Defence Department
Shining Armor looked up from the letter at the only other pony in the room.
“The fleet may or may not be there?” Sprinter shook his head in bewilderment. “They might abandon us? And what is this Equestrian Defence Department?”
“Probably something to organise this ever growing mess we are in.” Shining Armor started to fill out dispatches for the army’s retreat. “Lets get on the move though. I’m not in the mood to be left behind.”
Sprinter nodded. “I’ll get the Charger Brigade up and at em.“
Captain Silky Wings entered just as Sprinter left. She was sweaty and tired looking.
“I will be moving on General,” she said. “Been getting the tub sorted all night and morning. Thank you for your help.”
“No, thank you.” Shining Armor stood and they shook each others hooves. “Your guns made a difference in the battle. And your fiery humor uplifted the camps moral quite a bit more than you realise. We will miss you.”
“Well don’t miss me too much.” Silky turned to leave but she stopped and winked at him “Or I might have to steal you from your princess.”
Shining Armor huffed and shook his head as she left. “I miss my wife.”
Silky immediately leaped into the sky after leaving the tent. The Storm of Vengeance was already heading to Van Hoover and was probably twenty miles ahead of her. With the desert landscape stretching like a tan blanket in all directions before her, she felt she could finally relax after a busy and terrifying week.Though she doubted it would last.
The dry wind whistled around her and occasionally she would tuck her wings in and allow herself to fall just to make the flight more enjoyable. It was such a lovely day and it seemed like a great idea to get the most out of the moment.
But gradually a noise started to pick up in volume in the air. As she followed the sound out of pure curiosity she realised that it was the sound of a distant battle. Silky stopped momentarily, far from eager to fly straight into a battle. But what if her ship had been ambushed? So she pushed herself onward at a greater speed.
Silky flew over a line of rocky mountains and then she saw it. The rest of the enemy army sat in a valley and they had company. Approximately fifty airships hovered over the force and was raining shot and fire into the fleeing masses. The bodies of dragons littered the ground and Silky guessed that they were the first ones eliminated, picked off before they could get into the sky.
The mare felt her heart leap with joy. She dove towards the slaughter, believing that the Equestrian Air Fleet had made a surprise attack on the enemy army. But as she got closer her hopes fell away instantly. They were not Equestrian gunboats but Gryphonian corvettes and fireships along with a few Labyrin cruisers. The flags of the Gold Eagle Claw and the Bull King adorned the aft of the vessels. She had learned their appearance in the navy’s school and now Silky turned and darted full speed back to Shining Armor’s camp.
She peered back and was shocked to see that her presence had not gone unnoticed. From the decks of the nearest ship a squadron of gryphon took off in pursuit. Silky climbed higher into the sky, her wings grabbing at the air and muscles protesting in pain. Looking behind her every so often she could tell that they were gaining on her. Silky began a series of maneuvers to throw them off but to no avail.
In her panic she flew in the wrong direction after one of the maneuvers. The lack of landmarks and the midday sun had confused her sense of direction. The smell of steam and smoke suddenly wrapped around her all the while hoping that is was the Storm of Vengeance and not hostiles. She followed the scent until three specks appeared high above her. Two Gryphon corvettes pursued her ship.
Choosing to return to her ship instead of the army to prevent the gryphons from following her and reporting their position, Silky used her last bit of energy to gain altitude and pull ahead of her assailants. By the time Silky reached her airship her wings burned and she could barely see through the sweat that dripped into her eyes.
“Welcome back ma’am,” her pilot greeted as Silky Wings collapsed onto the deck. “Just in time to save us from this pickle we are in?”
The Captain huffed, trying to get more air into her lungs. “Why haven't we outrun the corvettes? Our gunboat is far quicker!”
“One of the engines cut out on us and we don't want to risk the other two following suit. We are still faster than them but not by much.”
Silky looked into the sky for the gryphons that had been chasing her, but apparently they had gone to the pursuing ships. The vessels chasing them did appear to be falling behind and the captain smiled widely.
Silky looked at her pilot and noticed him pointing to a towering mass of growing clouds looming over the distant mountains that bordered the desert. A fine location to lose the ships chasing them.
“Lose them in those clouds!” Silky ordered.
“But ma’am, the clouds haven't been tended to for quite a while!” the pilot protested. “They could be volatile and wild!”
He was right. There had been more wild clouds in Equestria ever since the evacuation was ordered. Storms were even popping up on their own! But it was a chance they were going to have to take.
“I don’t care!” She wrapped a hoof around a rope and braced herself.
Silky quickly realised wild clouds felt different from the usual fluffy objects that filled the Equestrian sky. Instead of feeling a cotton-like softness, the insides of the cloud was moist, like a thin fog and a electric feel filled the air. After flying a little deeper into the cloud Silky relaxed.
“Stop the engines but keep them hot and see if you can fix the broken one.” The mare let go of the rope she was holding onto for dear life. “ Run out the guns and be ready!”
Moments later the sound of steam engines passing nearby and the voices of gryphons surrounded them. Everypony fell silent and listened to the noises that seemed to come from everywhere. A dark shape suddenly appeared through the clouds roughly fifty yards away and Silky Wings realised that now was her only chance to escape.
“Open fire!” She screamed.
The port side of the airship roared with the hate of the guns. The dark greyness of the cloud became red with fire as the gryphon airship's streamengine was hit and exploded. Above the roar of the fire, the screams of gryphons filled the air as they tried to fly away from their burning vessel.
Suddenly the Storm of Vengeance was rocked from the starboard. The second gryphon ship had rammed her gunboat either accidently or intentionally from the other side. Luckily the starboard was loaded as well and point blank fire raked the enemy corvette which quickly started to drift downward, with gaping holes in the balloon that kept it afloat.
Then the gryphons dove at the Storm of Vengeance. The loss of their two airships sending them into a rage, but they did not attack. The deck of the Vengeance was quickly swarmed with enemy soldiers that far outnumbered the ponies onboard.
“Surrender, immediately!” Ordered a gryphon captain. “Or we will kill all of you!”
“Drop your weapons,” Silky sadly told the other ponies. “No sense throwing our lives away.”
But she wasn’t too keen on being a prisoner of war either. Somewhere nearby lightning flashed and it started to rain.
“Holy fuckin’ shit!” Matt looked at the over populated and busy shore of Sky Island where a makeshift city was being built. Ships unloaded onto a hastily prepared harbor and battalions marched to recently set up barracks. “This place is England!”
“It does look like the English Isles,” Ian agreed as he sat down on a concrete bunker that was still drying. He quickly stood up in surprise. The Lieutenant continued talking as he wiped off his pants. “But instead of a bombed out London you got pony slums. God damn it, now my ass shape is going to be implanted into this bunker!”
“Hahaha!” Matt broke out laughing.
“It wasn’t that funny Shelly,” Bill groaned.
“It was pretty funny.” Matt continued to chuckle.
“Where did General Patton disappear to?” Zeus asked. He sat in a wheelchair, a drowsy look on his face.
“No idea, but he is probably with the Princesses.” Ian wanted to sit down to alleviate his leg but there was nothing nearby other than the wet bunker. “Wherever the royal ponies are, I don’t know. They just disappeared shortly after arriving here. Oh, do you guys know where the krauts went?”
“They wandered off into the countryside somewhere, “Bill replied.
“Hey guys!” Pinkie Pie cheered as the six friends walked up to them. “Want to go explore the old ruins on this island to pass the time?”
“No, I need to wait for the tanks to unload.” Ian absentmindedly rubbed his leg. “And I don’t feel like walking.”
“How about the rest of you?” the pink mare looked at them expectantly. “I hear it’s haunted!”
“Hell yeah! Sign me up!” Matt started to jump up and down excitedly, Pinkie quickly joining him.
Jeff shook his head and went back to writing in his journal but Bill shrugged and reluctantly nodded.
“I guess I’ll go, keep Shelly out of trouble.”
Zeus sighed heavily. “I want to go.”
“I don’t think they make ruins wheelchair accessible,” Matt joked.
“Fuck you Shelly,” the gunner huffed.
“Who all of you six is going?” Ian pointed at the mares.
“Me, Twilight and Rainbow Dash are,” Pinkie replied.
“The Stellar Monks were a mysterious sect of elder alicorns,” Twilight added. “The ruins of their temple is probably the best place to learn about them.”
“And I like adventures.” Rainbow said matter of factly.
“Well, we will see you guys later then,” Zeus sighed sadly. “Maybe you will find the Germans and they could join you. Have fun and don’t die.”
“Uh, thanks.” Twilight frowned. “Very blunt advice.”
“He doesn’t like being left behind when the other kids go on field trips,” Ian said as he tried to stifle a laugh.
They parted and made their way towards the center of the island. Rolling, green, rocky hills and patches of forests filled the countryside. Matt rarely stayed on the broken path and ran around them like a scatterbrained child.
“This is so much like that time I went AWOL and hooked up with that farmers daughter!” The others rolled their eyes as Matt continued, “She was all goo goo over yankee boys and I indulged her for a night.”
“Didn’t her father chase you off of his property the next morning with a shotgun?” Bill stared at the loader with amused eyes. “So if this is just like that time in England where you hooked up with that girl, which one of the ponies is like the farmer’s daughter? Apple Snack or Applejack, whatever her name is, ain't here.”
Matt glared at Bill but then pointed happily at a hill. The others followed his gaze and noticed the Germans standing on the side of the rise. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo sat watching them. The faint sound of singing drifted towards them.
“They hell are they doing?” Bill asked.
“Lets go find out.” Matt ran ahead of them.
As they neared the singing became discernable. One song ended and they quickly started a new one after some quick inaudible conversation. They were coming up behind the Germans so they had yet to see the Americans and ponies approaching. The three fillies noticed them but they were enjoying the song too much to react.
Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein und das heißt Erika.
Heiß von hunderttausend kleinen Bienelein wird umschwärmt Erika
denn ihr Herz ist voller Süßigkeit,
zarter Duft entströmt dem Blütenkleid.
Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein und das heißt: Erika.
In der Heimat wohnt ein kleines Mägdelein und das heißt: Erika.
Dieses Mädel ist mein treues Schätzelein und mein Glück, Erika.
Wenn das Heidekraut rot-lila blüht,
singe ich zum Gruß ihr dieses Lied.
Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein und das heißt: Erika.
In mein'm Kämmerlein blüht auch ein Blümelein und das heißt: Erika.
Schon beim Morgengrau'n sowie beim Dämmerschein schaut's mich an, Erika.
Und dann ist es mir, als spräch' es laut:
"Denkst du auch an deine kleine Braut?"
In der Heimat weint um dich ein Mägdelein und das heißt: Erika.
They finished their songs and the fillies clapped their hooves.
“That was amazing!” They echoed.
“You bastards are good singers.” Bill stated, revealing their arrival.
“Ah,” Frederic turned and nodded. “Hello Amerikaner. Yes, ve vere the musical heart of our battalion before the var started to go against us. Ve vere getting out of practice so ve decided to entertain these young ones.”
“We are going to the ruins!” Matt beamed.
“And they are haunted!” Pinkie added.
“Sounds fun,” Frederic nodded. He turned to the fillies. “Do you three vant to go too?”
“Ja!” The fillies said simultaneously. “Cutie Markierung Kreuzritter ruinieren Abenteurer!”
“Oh look,” Bill muttered to himself. “They’re learning German.”
“Gehen Sie zurück zum Ufer und warten auf die Panzers,” Frederic ordered his men.
They saluted him and ambled away. Matt started to hum a familiar tune as they started off again.
Bill ground his teeth together and called after Matt. ”I swear to god if you sing ‘We Are off to See the Wizard’ I will burn you alive!”
“Love ya too Billy!” Matt called back before running even further ahead. He took a deep breath and started to sing. “Ohhh! We are off to see the wizard! The wonderful wizard of Oz!”
“When we get there,” the driver growled. “Remind me to hide his body in a pit.”
Canterlot Palace was unnervingly quiet. Patton popped his back just to add some noise. The Princesses looked at him and the General shrugged. The room soon returned to silence.
“When did he say he would be here?” Patton grumbled.
Celestia nodded towards a window and Patton heard the sound of a steam engine simultaneously. He looked as an airship dropped down and landed on the large lawn. A ramp was lowered and minotaurs filed out onto both sides. A surprisingly small alicorn followed close behind by a filly. Then what appeared to be royalty from other nations came behind him.
“Should we go out and get this overwith?” Patton asked blandly. He fiddled with the revolvers on his side.
“Yes,” Celestia sighed sadly as they stood. “It’s for the best.”
“Sister,” Luna spoke up. Tears starting to form in her eyes. “I don’t want to do this.”
Patton was surprised to see how terrified and childlike Luna had suddenly become.
Clearly the younger sister but how much younger was she? Patton never asked.
“It will all be fine Luna,” Celestia nuzzled her sister. “Or it will all be over quickly.”
Patton nodded and they stepped into the sunlight.
“When you guys said ruins, I imagined a small castle like the ones in England,” Matt said as he looked up at the crumbling spires and walls. “Not an entire city!”
“This was once the magic center of alicorn culture, if I remember correctly.” Twilight continued walking, unaware that the others had stopped. “Though I too thought it was nothing more than a large temple.”
Frederic covered his eyes, blocking the sun and giving him a clearer view of the spectacular city. “It is like Mecca to the Islamic.”
They all followed after Twilight save for Matt, who hadn’t moved. Bill looked back at the hesitant private and chuckled.
“Don’t tell me you’re wimping out, you little bastard!” He pointed at Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. “These three have more balls than you!”
The fillies looked at each other in confusion then continued next to Frederic.
Matt shook his head violently and rushed to catch up. “Oh no-no! I was just admiring the ruins and architecture.”
“Right...” Bill punched Matt in the shoulder when he rejoined them. “The boy who is afraid of old cities.”
“Old, haunted cities,” Matt whispered to himself.
The older human still heard him. “There are no such thing as ghosts, you big baby.”
“There was no such thing as talking ponies and monsters either,” Matt replied flatly.
Bill nodded, accepting Matt’s point. “Very well, Shelly. But I think our little magic friends here will protect you from Satan.”
“Oh, ha ha.”
They eventually reached the grand archway that led into the ruins, where twenty-foot-tall crumbling statues of alicorns stood on either side like stone sentries. They paused momentarily; all of them except Pinkie Pie seemed slightly afraid of entering. Past the imposing arch, the city disappeared into darkness. Rainbow Dash quickly took the role of the brave one even though fear was evident in her voice.
“Are we going to go in or just stand here like babies?” She flew into the air. “Come on guys!”
Rainbow darted through the arch and disappeared into the darkness. Twilight and Pinkie chased after her.
“Dash!” the violet unicorn called. “Don’t go too far ahead!”
The three little fillies started to pull on Frederic’s pant legs. He chuckled and followed them.
“Come on, Frederic!” Scootaloo cheered. “Lets go exploring!”
Matt and Bill stared into the darkness where everyone else had vanished. The looked at each other with nervous expressions.
“Fuck it,” Bill said, and ran headlong into the city to catch up with the others.
Matt stood alone chewing his lip. Bill called out to him.
“Come on, ya little bitch!”
The loader sighed and shuffled behind them.
“I wonder if we will find ancient magic that will help us win the war?” Twilight mumbled to herself when the others had caught up.
“That would be cool,” Rainbow Dash replied in a whisper.
The crumbling structures loomed over them ominously, making the air feel stifled. The excited fillies no longer appeared to be as energetic and they lingered close to Frederic for comfort. The German held a small Pertrix flashlight in his hands. Bill and Matt followed suit and pulled out their curved angle-heads, both of which had been stolen from a supply dump in England due to a equipment shortage for their battalion. But most of the light came from Twilight’s horn which illuminated the surrounding area in a soft purple glow.
Matt looked up at what little sunlight managed to filter through the towering buildings. “Some of these things are bigger than the skyscrapers in New York!”
Something caught Rainbow Dash’s eye, and she darted into an alleyway. They chased after her.
“Rainbow Dash!” Twilight hissed. “Stop rushing off! You're going to get us lost!”
The rainbow pegasus replied with a grunt, entered a building and looked around curiously. “I wonder what this place was used for?”
“It looks like living quarters,” Frederic answered. He passed through what was once a doorway and entered a small apartment.
“This tower is a giant apartment building.” Bill noticed Rainbow Dash messing with something and approached her. “What’s that?”
“It’s a stone figurine...” The pony picked it up and gave it to Bill.
The human turned it over in his hand. It was crumbling and ancient, but despite its age was clearly a stone representation of a family. The four alicorn figures that it made up were held together in a stony embrace. Bill stared at it sadly for a moment, wondering what these ponies were like in their own time, before putting it down.
“This place is so spooky!” Pinkie Pie said with a shudder, “And not the fun spooky like on Nightmare Night.” Everyone nodded in agreement.
“What happened here?” Bill asked as they walked out of the building.
“I don’t know,” Twilight answered. “One day the alicorns just disappeared, leaving very few of their kind behind. I’ve been wanting to ask the princesses, but it didn’t feel appropriate.”
Frederic stopped abruptly and looked around. “Vere ist the young ones?”
The others halted and searched the area, but sure enough the three fillies had disappeared.
“Goddamn children,” Bill grumbled as he peeked his head into a window. “Can’t take them anywhere.”
“Should we split up?” Dash proposed.
“No!” Bill and Matt echoed. The others looked at them with puzzled expressions.
Matt continued, “In the movies and even in real life, when a group splits up people start to die.”
An image of one of her friends lying dead in the ruins flashed through Twilight's mind. “In that case, we had better stay together.” Twilight started walking and they followed.
After a good hour of wandering the city with little luck and becoming increasingly lost themselves, a small light appeared at the end of a wide street that Matt called Broadway and Frederic called the Dark Unter den Linden.
“Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Apple Bloom!?” Twilight called. The group started to run towards the light.
The light was emanating from a point within the massive doorway leading into a colossal building that sat directly at the end of the road.
“Twilight?” Sweetie Belle’s voice met their ears.
The three fillies galloped towards them. The young ponies around the group excitedly.
Scootaloo made a beeline towards Rainbow Dash. “We thought you guys were inside the building. That’s why we came here.”
“Why did you think we were in there?” Twilight asked.
“We heard voices..” Applebloom pointed through the doorway. “Lots of them.”
The color quickly drained from Matt’s face, and he turned and started to walk briskly away. Bill grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him back.
“Where do ya think you're going, ya little shit?”
The younger human struggled to get away. “I don’t want to have my soul claimed by the Devil!”
“I don’t hear any voices,” Bill pinned Matt to a wall. “It was probably their imagination.”
“Shhh!” Pinkie Pie stepped closer to the building, her ears twitching in every direction. “I hear them.”
Silence engulfed the group and they listened. A faint but easily distinguishable chorus of voices met their ears.
“It sounds like thousands of ponies are talking at once.” Twilight walked towards the building. “Lets go and investigate.”
“Click one in just in case,” Bill stated as he pulled the 1911 out of his belt. Two more metallic clicks filled the air as the humans armed themselves. Matt kissed his M3 and Frederic tapped his finger nervously against the side of his Luger, hoping Twilight would change her mind. But the purple mare continued. The rest of the group eyed the building nervously before pushing on into the structure.
The wide assortment of creatures and talking animals that sat across the table fascinated Patton. If this was not such a fragile situation, he would have been stopping by each one and asking about their history and culture. But alas, his curiosity would have to be restrained and a cold militaristic approach favored.
He sat on the left of Celestia with Luna on her sister’s right. Directly in front of the trio, watching them with cold eyes, was the Alicorn who called himself Blandire. Patton stared back with an equally cold look. Occasionally a whisper would rise from the opposing line of national leaders but silence took most of the air.
Blandire suddenly smiled. “It’s been a long time, princesses. I would love to chat and make up for the lost years but we have business to attend to. Shall we begin with the matter before us?”
Celestia nodded. Luna and Patton sat motionless. A knot formed in the General’s gut. This did not feel like a peace meeting but a court.
Blandire continued. “Both of you have escaped judgement for your crimes for more than a thousand years. The time has finally come for that to end and punishment to be decided.”
Patton decided to break his silence for the first time. “Let me guess, Mr. Bland, you are the judge with a hand picked jury?”
The alicorn raised an eyebrow in surprised, either pleasant or not, Patton could not tell. Blandire spoke a level, calm voice. “Ah, he can speak, your input will be interesting but useless. This is our world and our matters, not yours.”
The General was surprised. As far as he knew, nobody had informed them of what he was or where he had come from. He instantly put two and two together. “I take it that I am not the first to arrive in this place.”
“True.” Blandire nodded and smiled widely. “There was one other who came a long time ago, summoned by the very princesses that sit next to you. Let me guess, they never told you?. Which brings me to the next bit I want to say. Since this is our world and our struggle, you can be spared and allowed to leave.”
Patton shook his head and looked over at Celestia. She still faced Blandire but her eyes momentarily flickered in his direction. “I think I will stay here. I have too much invested here to not see it through and I think you're just talking out of your ass with this judgement shit.”
An angry murmur erupted from the creatures sitting across from them. A minotaur stood up and spat in Patton’s direction. “How dare you talk that way to a being of truth!”
Patton wrapped his hand around one of his revolvers as the minotaur went on. “If this was a council back in my nation you would have been torn apart!”
“Sit down cow-boy,” Patton growled.
The minotaur’s mouth dropped open. “How dare you call me that! Do you not know who-”
“Sit down, Bull King,” Blandires polite voice cut in. The minotaur complied and the alicorn turned his attention to Patton. “Very well, you have now tied your fate with theirs.”
“Understood,” the General replied flatly.
Blandire quickly returned his attention to the sisters. “Without further interruption I shall now list the crimes which you will be punished for. The nations of the Gryphon Empire and the Labyrin Kingdom set forth the charges stating your regime has brought famine to their lands due to your overzealous use of weather manipulating magic.”
The minotaur that had been called a cow-boy by Patton thumped his chest and a griffon, wearing what reminded Patton of a 18th century French uniform, bowed his head.
Blandire continued. “The dragons believe that you have stolen their ancient resting grounds and they are now forced to remain in their overly crowded lands fighting amongst themselves for survival.”
A small humanoid dragon ground his teeth together and a puff of smoke rose from his nostril.
“The Diamond Dogs state that they were forced to remain underground, living in appalling conditions. The list goes on but I am anxious to hear what you have to say, Celestia. You have been quiet the entire time.”
The older Princess sighed. Patton could hear a mix of painful emotions in her breath. “There is nothing I can say that will change your minds. These accusations will neither be affirmed or refuted by me. All I wanted was the safety and happiness of my ponies. They are set against me and this judgment can not be averted.”
“You came here knowing that you and your sister were never leaving.” Blandire shook his head and looked at Patton. “And they dragged you into this.”
“But those accusations by these nations are not what you really want vengeance for, is it.” Celestia’s voice was calm yet threatening. “Say it, Blandire, son of Gold Breath, say why you hate me so.”
The dark alicorn's mood changed so rapidly that Patton sat back in his chair, shocked. Blandire stood, his eyes wide, teeth bared and his words full of hate.
“You killed them! All of them!” He leaned closer to Celestia. “Almost every stallion, mare and foal murdered! Like so many candles in the wind! You and your sister killed them all!”
Patton snapped his attention to Celestia and Luna. The older sister remained motionless but her eyes filled with tears. Luna’s face remained hidden under her mane.
Blandire’s rage continued. “All for what? To create the Elements of Harmony? Were the lives of our friends and family that worthless to you? Were the lives of your mother and father? My family? My children?”
“It had to be done,” Celestia whispered through the tears. “We sacrificed our future so the younger races could survive.”
“You sacrificed our future!” Blandire spat. “No more lies!”
“I am sorry that you lost everything dear to you.” Luna looked up, her eyes also filling with tears. “I regretted it too and turned against my sister but I understand now that it was necessary. Please, will you understand?”
“Only the alicorns that were away or performing the spell survived,” Blandire sat back down, his rage cooling but still evident under the layers of self control. “I should have brought my family with me when I was searching for a new home. But that is in the past and I will have my justice now.”
“The only one you should hate is Discord.” Celestia looked the opposing alicorn in the eyes. “He was the reason why it was necessary.”
Blandire ground his teeth together. “Says the mare who trusted him even after he showed his true colors. You might even do it again if you had the chance.”
“That has nothing to do with this.” Celestia’s mood became hostile. “I will say no more. Let your judgment be complete then.”
“Very well,” Blandire nodded. He motioned for the six minotaurs in the doorway. “The style of your executions has yet to be decided.”
Celestia turned to Luna and whispered. Patton could barely hear what she said.
“Goodbye my sister and good luck. You know what to do. Perhaps we will see each other again.”
Then all hell broke loose. The minotaurs started to move forward menacingly. Patton kicked back from the table, yanking both his revolvers and opening fire at the approaching guards, hitting four of them. Patton grimaced, knowing that the guns he held contained only four more shots each. The small Colt 1903 in his hip pocket held eight, but getting to it in time would be next to impossible.
The stained glass windows behind him shattered and ten grey ponies in violet armor charged in. They protectively surrounded Patton and Luna who were now backing away from the table. The general was surprised to notice that each of the new arrivals had a pair of bat wings. Clearly they were Luna’s personal guard coming to rescue their princess.
Celestia remained motionless in her seat. Patton spared a surprised glance in her direction, wondering why she didn’t try to flee as well. Before he could make another move, the room suddenly disappeared, swallowed in a brilliant, white flash.
“It’s like a cathedral in here,” Bill whispered. “But far larger.”
The dark interior of the temple pushed down on them even though it was so spacious. Massive pillars held up the domed roof and the marble floor shone in the lights.
“How is this still standing?” Twilight murmured to herself. “This place is ancient.”
“Magic,” Matt replied with a hint of humor.
Twilight shrugged. “Perhaps. This place is filled with abnormal amounts of magic.”
“Do you hear the voices clearer now?” Scootaloo pipped up.
“I hear something but it doesn’t really sound like voices anymore,” Rainbow Dash replied. “Sounds more like a small waterfall is in here somewhere.”
Matt tripped on a pile of rubble and fell, letting out a high scream as the floor rushed up to meet his face. His M3 went sliding across the ground and into the surrounding darkness.
“Jesus Christ almighty.” The Virginian roughly picked the younger man up. “I can’t take you anywhere, can I? Now we need to find your fuckin’ gun.”
“Eh thunk eh bruck muh nose,” Matt whimpered as he wiped blood from his face. “Whah does bad sturf alwahs heppen to meh?”
Frederic held out a roll of gauze to the wounded human. “Because you are an idiot.”
“Exactly,” Bill laughed. “Fred, I like you more and more.”
“Please don’t call me Fred.”
Pinkie’s voice called from the darkness. “I found his gun.”
“Oh great.” Bill walked towards the party ponies voice. “The insane one has a weapon now.”
They found Pinkie standing at the base of a large platform with two sets of stairs leading up the sides. Matt picked up his gun and looked up with the others.
“It’s an altar of some sort,” Twilight said absentmindedly as she walked up the steps. “I think I know what this place is.”
The others followed up behind her. A stone slab twenty feet high rose out of the darkness in front of them. On it was six different symbols. The cascading sound of voices seemed to be emanating from it.
“These are the ancient symbols for the Elements of Harmony.” The purple mare put her hoof against it. “I think this is where the Elements were created!”
“Cool,” Matt muttered as he walked around it. He quickly discovered a small stairway that led down into the lower parts of the temple. Without looking back he wandered into the darkness alone.
“I wonder how they did it,” Twilight was still talking aloud to herself.
“It probably took lots and lots of magic,” Sweetie Belle said in awe.
Bill looked around. “Where the fuck did our pet dumbass go?”
“He disappeared behind the rock thingy,” Pinkie bounced to the rear of the slab. “Matt!”
The chamber was suddenly filled with a brilliant white light that faded almost instantly. The humans and ponies looked around their dark surroundings but saw nothing.
A familiar commanding voice cut through the darkness. “You owe me many answers, Princess. First of all, where are we?”
“I don’t know where we are at,” Luna’s voice replied. “I sent us wherever Twilight Sparkle was. Apparently she is in a dark room in...”
Her voice trailed off. Twilight shrieked when Luna appeared out of the darkness directly in front of her.
“Why are you here!” the alicorn demanded. Luna’s guards followed by Patton came up behind her.
“I-I am sorry.” Twilight cowered back. “I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to come here.”
Luna’s expression softened and tears started to form in her eyes. “It’s alright, Twilight Sparkle. Today has been a dark day and seeing this place again is extra painful now.”
“Princess?” Twilight stepped closer to Luna. “What happened? What is wrong?”
Luna shook her head and looked up towards the ceiling. “I fear my sister is gone, or soon will be.”
Twilight could not believe it “Princess Celestia can’t be dead! No. You must be mistaken!”
“I hope that I am.”
“That is another thing that is bugging me,” Patton stepped forward. “Why didn’t we bring Celestia with us?”
Luna remained silent for a while before answering. “She told me not to.”
“Why?” Twilight interjected.
“I don’t know,” the princess paced back and forth. “She always had her own plans and maybe she thought she could save us by offering herself up to appease Blandire’s anger. But I don’t know. I think there is more than just anger driving him.”
“Hey guys!” Matt appeared at the top of the stairs giving no heed to Luna or Patton. “You need to see this.”
“Not now, Private Novack,” Patton growled.
Matt went white in the face, noticing Patton and Luna for the first time. “Sorry sir, but this is important.”
Patton didn't become a senior leader by ignoring his subordinates. Any soldier who believed something strongly enough to brave Patton's fearsome reputation clearly had an important point to make. He gestured for the Private to lead on.
Matt disappeared back into the stairway. The others followed after him until it opened up into a small underground chamber with rocky walls. In the middle was a polished stone sarcophagus with a granite block at the head. On it was inscribed a name and citation.
Patton read it aloud. “Here sleeps Robert Edward Lee, General of the Army of Northern Virginia. Brought here as a savior, he will return home when the beings of this world have come to live in peace.”