5w, 1dHappy Nightmare Night, everyBrony! 0 comments · 9 views
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16w, 3dIgnore this. The universe will be restored in a moment. 1 comments · 70 views
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Dawn came with no sign of any hostiles. As did mid-day, and late afternoon as well. This being the last day everyone and everypony was high-strung and on edge. The slightest sound would make them jump or point a weapon (with the safety on, of course) at it, followed by a sigh of relief when they discovered the actual source. Though the candle had already burned down in Celestia's room, the servant continued to let her sleep with a smile on her face, and instead it was Luna that set the moon and later lifted the sun, which she had no problem with as she suspected that her sister might need rest.
Children were not permitted to play today and were kept inside the city limits, much to their displeasure. They had made many friends with the children of fellow refugees and they very much wanted to spend time with them again today as well, but their relatives were adamant about it.
The Pegasi that were on scouting duty reported back that there was still no sign of any Draconic nor Griffon threat within sight every fifteen minutes, and still tension mounted. When would they come? From where? Would they really wait for the last day to pass without gathering outside the city to assault it? That and many other questions, including the debate on where they could run to now that they had been effectively trapped in this one place should the confrontation go awry. The answer was simple: nowhere except to Earth, and that would only be a temporary victory as weather patterns and the rising and setting of the sun and moon slowed and fell into chaos without the ponies to maintain it. In time weather on Earth would become chaotic as well, and then they would be forced to return or die along with the Human race.
Evening came and went, and night as well with no sign of their enemies. And then, at the stroke of three o'clock in the morning one Pegasus dressed in a blue outfit with yellow lightning bolts on it reported that the enemy had been spotted...
^ ^ ^ ^ ^
I was jolted awake to the sound of a siren alarm that had been set up both in Canterlot proper and outside the palace's remains screaming. Trixie let out a scream herself at the sudden racket and covered her ears. Knowing what this meant I quickly changed into daytime clothing and grabbed my staff from where I had left it and the pistol. On a whim I also decided to add my cape to my outfit and then dashed out of the room with Trixie close behind. While we ran I strapped the gun to my leg and joined a rush of guards that were making their way to their posts. I looked out of the first window I came to but saw nothing. If not for the alarm I would have thought that all was well. Not that I could have seen much anyway as it was still dark out even with a full moon shining bright. I could hear, though. There were multiple shouts echoing up from the city and engines of vehicles and a few generators were being starting. Eight flood lights that had been brought in were switched on and began searching the sky for the first close-sighting of our enemies. I turned away from the window.
“Are they here?” Trixie asked. I shook my head.
“Not yet. Trixie, I think you should stay here.” Trixie frowned.
“I told you before, I may look like a kid, but I'm not! I have a lot more experience than you do with magic, so if anyone is going to stay here it should be you! She pointed up at me.
“I'm not going to win this one, am I?” She shook her head, still frowning.
“I didn't think so. Let's go teach them a lesson then, shall we?” I turned away from her and followed the guards assigned to protecting the bridge.
I did not stay with the bridge guards, but crossed the bridge and headed for the city were most of my people were stationed, as did Trixie. Amongst the guards were several Unicorns whom I assumed would be lending support in the manner of creating shields to block the fire and healing injuries. One of them glanced at me for a moment and then returned to scanning the night-covered lands ahead. Still nothing to be seen.
Once across the bridge we made for the steps and followed them down to the city. We had just reached the wall separating the rich district from the middle class and poor when several flares were fired into the air outside the city limits. The alarms were suddenly turned off and yells and screams from various voices echoed through the city.
“They're coming!” One voice amongst the others warned from the roof of a building above me. I looked up and saw a man with the same model of sniper-rifle that I'd used holding an odd pair of binoculars that I assumed had night-vision. From where I stood there were too many tall buildings in the way for me to see much of anything- Which is probably why he got up on top of that building. – so I called up to him asking how far away they were. “Still too far away to shoot with hopes of hitting. Hey, you're that guy that killed two Dragons already, right?”
“How did you do it? What's their weak points?”
“The first Dragon I shocked with a bolt of lightning, and the second I shot through the eye while it was asleep.”
“....That's not very helpful.”
“Well excuse me for not being Sir Lancelot, I was just trying to survive! If you want something more useful then try aiming at their wings if they have any, or the head. Shooting something in the head usually kills it.”
Our conversation ended when a collective roar filled the air and shook the ground. Windows rattled, civilians screamed and ran to get off the streets, and adrenaline surged through me as my own instincts screamed at me to run for the hills. My knuckles turned white as I froze in place, shivering in fear. What am I doing here?! RUN RUN RUN! But I didn't. I couldn't I was petrified. I was woken back to reality by a slap to the face from Trixie.
“Hey! We're all scared, but you can't show that to the ponies and people around you! You're supposed to be a Hero, remember? Heroes don't get scared!” Only a fool or the dead never get scared! But she's right. I can't show it. I took a shuddered breath and then straightened and with effort wiped the fear from my face to be replaced with grim determination. With a deep breath and Trixie watching me I took a step forward, then another, and another. The walk turned into a jog, and form a jog to a run. I ran through the rest of the rich district and entered the middle class and then headed through alleyways and across tiny yards until I reached the outside of the city. I dodged through some panicked ponies and jumped over others with Trixie close behind run up until we reached the edge of town, where there was no one save for a few soldiers on the rooftops. The roar ended ended just a few moments before we arrived and now a single Dragon was winging its way towards the city. The soldiers leveled their weapons at it, but it was not flying in our direction. It flew towards the palace and Celestia. It roared again and the city became silent.
“Celestia, I gave you a week to surrender your nation to us but you have decided to wage war instead. I offer you one last chance now to give up. If you do so then I shall spare your foolish allies' and allow them to leave with their lives. If you do not, I will-” A single gunshot rang out in the otherwise silent city and the Dragon that I now knew to be Drahngov suddenly screech-roared and began to lose altitude. A single voice yelled through a speaker that had been set up somewhere in the town as well as blared over any walkie talkies that were currently on. I assumed it was on the same pole that the siren speakers had been mounted on.
“Or, how about you shut the hell up and fly back home before we decide to toss your scaly ass on a barbeque grill?! You might have been the biggest and baddest predators before we got here, but there's a new race at the top of the food chain now, and we aren't just going to let you take this city without a fight!” Now a roar came from Canterlot: the collective roar of the city's guards and over a thousand Humans.
“Fools!” He bellowed back. “You shall beg for mercy before this is over!” Drahgov turned and flew as best he could back to his gathered Dragons and commanded them to begin the assault. I gripped my staff and waited, preparing to shield the defenders from the fire that would eventually begin raining down on us.
This rain of fire did not actually come for quite some time. First came a rain of injured Dragons as the longer-ranged weaponry damaged their wings or even occasionally slew them in midair (though them dying only happened about twenty times before the mid-ranged weaponry and pony-rockets began being launched). A few of the faster ones began breaking from their version of a formation and flew higher above the rest so that they could still remain out of range while drawing closer. The rest halved their altitude and spread out so that if (and for a lot of them, when) they lost their ability to fly they would not be hurt as much from a forced landing and could keep coming. As soon as they came within range what few tanks there were began firing at will. Flares were launched and the ground and everything on and above was bathed in red light. For a spectator it might seem that already the world as they knew it had already been bathed in blood.
As soon as they were within range artificial thunder and muffled shouted challenges blocked out all other sounds. Dozens of Dragons dropped from the air and still onward they came, teeth and claws glinting in the artificial light. It might have been seconds, minutes, or perhaps hours before the first of them were able to attain the range to successfully engage the first of the defenders. Humans and ponies alike dove for cover as the fire fell among them.
I raised my arms and redirected the flames from the six Dragons that closed on us and the men and women shooting around us so that they'd go back at their source but other than keeping us alive my efforts had no effect. Other areas were not so lucky and screams of agony occasionally broke through the sound of gunfire.
Pegasi leaped into the air with their weapons of choice ready and began to attack the few flying Dragons that had made it to the city once they stopped breathing fire. Most of them (the Dragons) had broken off from the main group and instead flew to attack the palace while the rest of their brethren assaulted us, which was less defended by weaponry. Their efforts failed when their flames and bodies were stopped by a barrier that Celestia herself erected. The Dragons raged at this and continued trying to break through it over there, but in the meantime the Dragons that had been forced to the ground had arrived and had ripped apart what tanks there had been.
The helicopters fared much better and shredded anything that came near them.
As I observed the carnage and deflected more fire I frowned. I had thought that this would be a complete slaughter! It seemed that Dragon hide had grown much thicker since the Dark Ages, and that was a problem for us. Another thing that concerned me what that I had yet to see any of the snake-like Dragons like the one that had come when Twilight had been kidnapped. Are they really so rare that only one of existed and we killed it? I find that hard to belie- The ground suddenly shook beneath us and I, along with Trixie and a soldier that looked like a medic looked at the cobblestones beneath our feet. After a few seconds it stopped.
“What was that?” Trixie asked. The ground had been vibrating ever since the gunfire had started, but this was different. This felt...deeper, somehow. Then it came again, harder this time. A cracking sound came from behind us and after making sure that nothing was coming our way directly I turned to see something that made no sense to me: The three houses that we stood behind were sinking into the ground like a rock through into quicksand. They kept sinking until they were more than a foot beneath regular ground level, and then they stopped.
“What the hell?!” The medic yelled, finally drawing the attention of the soldiers around us. They too, stared at the buildings that had once stood behind us.
What could have caused this? Surely that little rumble wasn't caused by an earthquake, and even if it had been, why would the buildings alone sink and not the streets?
__ __ __ __ __
All across Canterlot various buildings varying from houses to businesses began to sink into the earth below them. Those inside often were torn between going outside into the hell that awaited them in the streets and the terrifying prospect of being buried alive, normally too long for them to actually escape their houses. The various beings using them as higher ground were shocked to find that their 'higher ground' was now under the ground , and with no idea as to how this could be.
This sudden and unexpected turn of events caused a mixture of panic and confusion, which given the circumstances (though really when is panic and confusion ever a good thing?) was very bad. Ponies began to panic and ran to and fro, though there was really nowhere for them to go. People and ponies alike were trampled trying to find a place of safety where there was none to be found.
__ __ __ __ __
Celestia saw the chaos that her city was falling into and signaled her sister to come using the method that she'd described in her letter to Luna the previous day: She raised both the sun and the moon to sit high in the sky at the same time, both of them shining as if it were their own individual times in the sky. This occasionally happened on Earth, but never with the moon actually shining with its own light, because in Earth's world, the moon had no light of its own. Here this was not the case, and it was unmistakeable, for it had never happened before. For a brief moment the Dragons faltered, suspecting some new trick, and they were not wrong. Luna appeared behind them, the Human's flying weapons already unleashing their fury on them. Their targets first at those that were on the ground, felling them like a lawn mower cuts weeds, though with a lot more roars of pain and brief fountains of blood before they died.
Luna suppressed a shudder of revulsion at one of the grins of pleasure she saw on the face of one of the pilots and informed them that she'd be going on ahead of them to deal with the Dragons that were above and within the city itself. She received a 'thumbs up' and Luna took that to be a unspoken sign that she was understood. Using her power, she warped into the city and began pursuing one of the smaller (and younger) Dragons that was setting fire to the streets. It did not notice her and using telekinetic concentration pulled its wings out of joint. The Dragon youth yelped and dropped like a rock towards the streets below. His head smashed into the streets below, which caved from the impact and revealed a few startled Diamond Dogs underneath. Luna stared at them, and they ran down a tunnel and disappeared form view.
“Diamond Dogs? Why are they-” It was then that Luna took better notice of the city that she was flying over and saw that many of the structures that had once stood were no longer in sight and others closer to the palace were also starting to sink below the ground. “They're sinking our city!” Luna dove for the ground where a fifteen of Earth ponies were busy reloading a rocket silos and firing them at the grounded Dragons that had not yet been killed by the choppers. In another ten twenty seconds they would be deciding on whether to fight them directly or to run away. Luna made that decision for them and levitated the remaining six rockets they had into the air and lit them herself. The Earth ponies turned in confusion and then bowed to her when they realized whom it was. “Gather thine weapons and follow me! The Diamond Dogs art sinking our city! We must stop them! Gather up any others that thee can find within three minutes, and then follow me!” Luna waited where she stood for three minutes. When thirty Earth ponies, two Pegasi and four Humans came back she led them to the hole where the Dragon had crashed into the dug out tunnels below and led then inside in pursuit.
When the tunnel she led them down split several times her forces divided as evenly as possible and kept on running. Luna and two Earth ponies continued to go straight, always straight. As the groups went along they would find sunken building after building. In some were frightened ponies and sometimes a few Humans as well, most of them armed with hunting weapons if they were armed at all. The farther along they went their numbers swelled. Most left back the way their 'rescuers' had come with the intent to climb out again, but most of the poor and middle class ponies were very irate at having their homes buried and came along with for a moderate amount of revenge. They found very few of the rich class until they came to the stone wall that separated the rich districts from the poor, and then the various groups ran into one another again. They ran up and down the walls searching for a way in and did indeed find several, but all of them went down underneath the wall. Some of the pursuers threw themselves into the holes and crawled under and then climbed up onto the other side. Luna found this method to be rather inefficient and used her magic to cut a new door through it into which the others poured through as if there were a fire behind them. Here the ground was mostly solid rock, but the Dogs had dug down underneath it looking for weaknesses in the stone. It was here that they were caught red-pawed with various digging tools for where their own paws would not suffice for the job and a few even had a few sticks of dynamite that were being shoved into cracks they'd made in the bedrock that had proven too sturdy for their tools to break as well.
“Hey! Bad Dogs!! Sit!” One of the children yelled at them from the front of their group. The adults looked at the child and some started laughing at the absurdity of it. The Diamond Dogs on the other hand, a little less than three hundred, turned from their task and reacted in different ways. Some of them growled threateningly, others whimpered at being called 'bad' and sat down as they'd been told, and the more burly ones hefted their tools as weapons and readied to defend themselves. Those that came with Luna did the same (with the exception of those unarmed. Those ones retreated behind the others.) But the number of Diamond Dogs that looked ready to fight was a much smaller number than the others, and Luna gave them a chance to surrender. The Dogs looked at one another first, and then looked at a much smaller group of Diamond Dogs that stood near the rear. They looked nervous.
“I promise that thee shalt not be harmed if thee surrender so long as thee promise to restore our city once this war hath ended.” The group looked at one another and discussed this briefly, and then they stopped and looked at Luna and nodded. “Lower thine weapons, Ponies and People. There shalt not be Dog blood spilled in this place today. Bind their paws and let us return to the surface and rejoin the fight.” Those with her nodded, but halfway back to the way they had come in froze when a loud hiss drew their attention to a rather large hole that led to the west and away (according to Luna) from the city. One of the Humans that had come down with her from the start and one of the earth ponies crept towards it and took a few steps inward, the Human shining a light-creating device into it. At first they were not sure what it was they saw. What it appeared to be was fog, but fog in an underground tunnel recently dug made no sense. The hiss came again, louder this time, and then the two of them were cooked alive in a jet of steam and their remains crushed as the a serpentine Dragon (also known as a Sea-Serpent) slithered over top of them, followed by several others.
__ __ __ __ __
The Griffon Queen observed the spectacle of the mixed-massacre. On one hand much of the city was either on fire or was now underground with various charred bodies littering the ground, and on the other the Dragons that were grounded and had reached the city were beginning to pile up in a loose line outside the city. It seemed the closer they got to it, the more effective this thundering weaponry that the pony's allies used became.
When the battle had first begun it seemed that the Dragons would be butchered as they fell from the sky to the ground, but apparently most the weapons that were being used had not been intended for killing something such as the Dragon race. For a time the odd fireworks that they used had dealt quite a bit of damage, but once the Dragons spread out the blasts became less effective and would only kill the creature that it struck. Still an impressive feat in itself, but sometimes their shots missed as well and were wasted.
Most of the Dragons that were still in flight were above and around the city fighting the Pegasi and trying to stop the noisy flying machines that had appeared seemingly out of nowhere to assault those that had been forced to the ground. A number of the flying machines had ceased making the buzzing sound a few minutes or so ago and had flown away from the fight, leaving cutting their numbers from twenty four down to eleven. Even as she made this observation another turned and flew away. Why are they leaving, I wonder? Perhaps this weaponry they bring has a limit to how long it can be used? That would prove to be a very large weakness indeed! She had sent a few of her number to follow these flying machines that had left. One of them had come back saying that they had landed next to a large dark-colored wagon parked by an abandoned farmhouse a few miles away where the two-legged race were carrying something from the wagon over to the flying machines. Perhaps that is their source of ammunition for the buzzing weapon they're using? The queen had no intention of letting an opportunity to cripple what seemed to be the most effective weapon they'd brought that was still functioning and sent forty of her battle flock to kill those at the resupply site and dispose of or hide whatever had been inside the wagon. Once the flying machines have run out of ammunition for the last time I will begin my own assault. She scanned the fight again and briefly wondered what had become of Drahngov. She could not see him anywhere even with the better light given off by both the sun and the moon.
^ ^ ^ ^ ^
I lifted an abandoned spear that was lying on the ground and launched it with magic at an adolescent Dragon that dove at us. It rolled to one side and kept coming, a smirk on its face and fire leaking around the gaps in its teeth.
We had begun to retreat when the grounded Dragons had arrived at the city's outer limits. We had nearly halved their numbers, but still onward they came, and it had not helped that we had more of them swooping above our heads. With Trixie's help I had managed to keep the soldiers that had stayed with us alive, but we were far from invincible and things were getting hotter with each passing minute both literally and figuratively speaking. If not for most of the buildings no longer being above ground it probably would have been quite a bit hotter.
One of the soldiers tossed me a grenade and told me to feed the it something spicy. I guessed at her meaning and pulled the pin on the grenade and sent it into the Dragon's mouth when it opened it to try roasting us. The Dragon chocked on it for a few seconds, and then its neck exploded, showering the area below it with blood and bits of flesh and bone. The body hit the ground a few seconds later.
“Great idea!” I yelled to her. She nodded and we kept heading towards the rich district followed or sometimes passed by civilians, the defending ponies and soldiers alike. It had taken much more ammunition to kill the larger Dragons than any of us had imagined and now with the largest of the ammo depots burned and many of the caches that had been stored in buildings now buried we now had a significant deficit of bullets and other projectiles. This was not to say that we had nothing to fight back with, but the second-largest ammo-storage site was inside the palace and we'd have to get there or else have someone teleport it to us before we could restock, and right now everyone that could do that was busy with something or someone else.
“Jacob! On your right!” Trixie yelled from the back of one of the soldiers. (She had been slowing us down so one of the other soldiers volunteered to carry her. Nice guy. Knew a bunch of funny jokes.) I looked to my right and saw a Unicorn being picked up from behind. He screamed for help but none of those around him had any weapons except for us. I broke away from our group and ran for him, pointing a finger at the Dragon's neck. There was a sickening crack and the Dragon's claws as well as its body went limp. I held the Dragon long enough for the Unicorn to get out from under it, and then flung the body on top of a sunken building where it would be out of the way and then joined his group rather than rejoining mine.
“Lighthand!” He gasped (for breath, not at seeing me). I did not recognize him, but nodded. “Thank you! I thought I was going to die!”
“We may still!” I replied. “Keep running!” He nodded and focused on the ground ahead of him.
Eventually we reached one of the gates that led into the Rich district, but they were locked from the other side, and barricaded. Apparently the rich living in that area had sealed off the city under the foolish belief that the their walls would stop keep the Dragons on the ground out. All they were doing was assuring that we would die first.
“What the hell!?” I shouted, my voice drowned out amongst the other voices begging or yelling angrily to be let in. I looked behind us to see more people and ponies fleeing the onslaught filing in behind them, and then turned and looked at the gates again. “EVERYPONY MOVE!!!” I yelled, using magic to amplify my voice. Heads turned and seeing me standing behind them with my staff glowing (it did not glow on its own when I used it, but for the sake of adding incentive to move I made it glow) Ponies and people alike backed up as best they could and I gathered my focus and pictured the gate blasting inward with the force of a wrecking ball. The gates were ripped from their hinges and the pile of stuff they had piled up behind it splintered and broke apart, the gates themselves a twisted and bent wreck when they landed. “GO!” I yelled again. The surge of bodies began anew and I ran for the next gate. One gate open alone would mean that some would live, but most would die.
Unfortunately I only had time to demolish a second gate before the ground-bound Dragons came within breathing-range and they stopped all in a line like Civil War soldiers and began inhaling. “Dear Maker- !” I raised my arms and drew on as much magic as my staff would allow me, forming yet another barrier and praying that the amount of energy this would probably cost me would not knock me out afterward: I was going to try and cover half a mile and save as many as I could while they made their escape.
__ __ __ __ __
“Now is our hour of glory, my people!” The queen yelled in a triumphant voice. “The ponies and their allies are trapped, the Dragons close upon them, no longer looking behind themselves, and what few Dragons, Pegasi, and two-leg machinery that yet remain airborne will soon be cut down by us! This day we rid ourselves of the only predators on this world that could ever pose a threat to us! This night, we claim two kingdoms in one assault and add them to our own!” A chorus of cheers, squawks, and other bird-sounds met her in reply. “Deal with the lizards first, for they are the greater threat, and then let us feast upon the weaker prey!” Another round of the same. “Strike!” The battle flock swept towards, and then by her, and finally she pursued them from the real with her personal guard hovering around her.
The first thing they struck were the Dragons that still flew in the sky. Their first-contact was silent and their new foes never knew what hit them, but once the Dragons began fighting back the sky was filled with lion-roars and eagle-shrieks intermixed with Dragon battle roars. The Pegasi, seeing yet more enemies, and these enemies were attacking both themselves and the Dragons, they decided that it was time to them to retreat as well and left the Dragons alone to fend for themselves. The Pegasi were pursued though, and they had not gone far before they were pulled back into combat again.
Rainbow Dash, seeing this from the ground picked up a weapon that had fallen with a slain Pegasi guard and flew up to join the fray, and she was quickly lost from view to any on the ground as she became just another form fighting in the skies above.
More of the Griffons dove down into the remains of the city and began attacking the Dragons and scattered groups of soldiers and Unicorns that had not had the chance to retreat towards the rich district and the palace, and still more flew down to the ground first to pick up small boulders and began carrying them towards the choppers from above with the intent of smashing them. A good portion of these birds were shot down by the choppers, but eventually some of them came within throwing distance and performed a flip and flung the small boulders at them, damaging the blades or outright smashing them until there were only three left, and those three turned and fled back towards Everfree forest. The Griffons that remained turned back to the city and joined their brothers and sisters.
^ ^ ^ ^ ^
I braced for the oncoming flames and then blinked in surprise when a large group of creatures that had both feathers and fur smashed into the Dragons from behind and above and the fire never came. The line of Dragons in front of me (and behind everyone or everypony else) lashed out at their attackers with both their claws and teeth, some having more success with it than others. In minutes they and the road they stood upon were covered with bloody feathers and dismembered limbs, and still more of the bird-things- (Those must be the Griffons!) came at them. I looked behind me to see how the retreat was going. I was standing on the street outside the wall by myself. Yeah. Definitely time to leave! I spun around one hundred and eighty degrees, and fled through the remains of the gate. On the other side it was still fairly empty in the immediate area. Most of the ponies seemed to have had retreated indoors or were heading with the soldiers up to the palace steps. From what little I could see from here there as a huge crowd pushing their way up the steps, and most of them were Humans and armored ponies. Very few others seemed to want to head towards where a fight was still going on. Celestia was still maintaining her shield, and at least fifty if not more Dragons were assaulting her barrier with various methods. Every once in awhile one of them would fall to the ground and not get back up again and I assumed it had either been shot or impaled with something.
The noise on the other side of the wall had intensified, and against my better judgment I levitated myself into the air so that I could see over the top of the wall. The mutilated bodies of Griffons were all over the place and the Dragons that previously had intended to roast us were now burning the Griffons as they dove into the fray from above or attacked from behind. Several Dragons lay dead or dying here and there, their blood staining the ground and mingling with that of those that they themselves had killed, creating one slow river that pooled in the low spots and flowed down the incline that had been naturally created by the mountain's base. It was a gruesome sight that made me want to puke, but I had more pressing matter to concern myself with as three Griffons that had initially been heading for the Dragons changed course and careened towards me instead. I pictured a wall in front of them and all three of them were brought to a stop and fell to the ground, knocked silly. Others saw me and what I had done and also came after me. Why couldn't I have just minded my own business?! I groaned and prepared to defend myself once again. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my trusty lighter and flicked the starter.
__ __ __ __ __
Luna hurled sharp stones at the Serpent, but it did not even seem to faze the creature. If anything, it just made it mad, and that was not the worst of it; more were coming through other large tunnels. Everyone that had come along with her that were not guards (including the Humans) panicked and ran every which way trying to escape. Some ran into the sunken buildings, others ran towards the way they'd come in. Very few stood with the princess and awaited her command with discipline.
Luna had never fought these creatures before, but suspected that they, like every other creature, would be unable to breathe dirt, and she collapsed the ground above them down on top of the first one they'd encountered, trapping it on the other side, and due to the way they moved, effectively trapped it. Luna did the same for the second, but dropped a building that had not sunken like it should have down on its head, crushing its skull. A third was killed when one of the Humans that had fled into a building discovered one of the weapon caches and fired a RPG down its throat as it inhaled to steam-cook those that had run into the building. It's body burst like snake that had swallowed a large firecracker. Quickly the soldier grabbed a reload and used his radio to inform the others that this was an effective method of getting rid of them. The soldier crammed two more into his jacket, reloaded his main weapon, stuffed more ammo for it into his jacket's pockets, and then ran back out of the house again.
Slowly they were forced to retreat back towards the newer tunnels because the Diamond Dogs had not yet dug any large tunnels in that area and it would be easier to defend. When Luna and some others were once more in the room where they had caught the Diamond Dogs and Luna was sure that no one else would be coming other than the Steam-breathers she resealed the stone wall. It might not stop the Dragons, but it might fool them into believing that they were not there. Speaking quietly she asked a Diamond Dog if there was any other way out of the room. He replied in a squeaky voice that they had been working on another when they had been caught. Luna asked where and he pointed at a mound of explosives that had been somehow attached to the ceiling. “Just light fuse, and when it goes boom we get out!” He said proudly. “My pack are best stone-breakers in all world!” he boasted a little too loudly. A growl near the base of the stone wall made them all freeze, but it was too late: they had been found.
“Everyone come close to me.” Luna said quietly. “I'm shalt light it and then teleport us to the surface. Once there, run away!” Luna waited for the wall to crack under an assault and then made a flame on the end of the fuse. Once the fuse started hissing she transported them to the surface and like she had commanded everyone scattered and ran. Thirty seconds later the ground erupted upward and a shower of stones and dirt and dust came flew in all directions. Beneath the ground, the first Serpent that stuck its head into the room was killed from the concussive force. “Now rally!” She called to those that had scattered. “Rally to me!” They returned to her side and steeled themselves as another Steam Serpent pushed through the rubble and slithered out of the hole after them.
__ __ __ __ __
Fluttershy stepped out of the large room in the palace that the city's children were being watched over and went for a brief walk along with Applejack. Rarity was being an assistant to a medical team that were treating injured of both the Pony and Human races.
“How do you think that Rainbow Dash is doing?” Fluttershy asked Applejack. Applejack laughed.
“Knowing that filly, Ah'd say she's flyin' in circles round those big lizards and is makin' 'em regret ever havin' come here!”
“And Twilight?” Neither of them had seen Twilight since the day before, and the same went for Pinkie Pie.
“Don't you worry bout Twi, sugar cube! You saw what she did with that Ursa Minor back home when Trixie was in town. If anypony can handle themselves, it'd be our friends!”
The shrieks of eagles intermixed with the roars of lions broke their train of thought and together they ran out onto a balcony to see where it was coming from, then their mouths dropped as a swarm of Griffons began tearing into the numerous Dragons that had been attacking the palace.
“Wut in the werld?” Applejack wondered, shocked as the creatures that she had thought previously to be allies began slaughtering one another instead. Fluttershy whimpered and took a few steps back as four of the Griffons broke away from the main group and flew straight at them. Like common sparrows crashing into a glass door the Griffons splatted against the barrier and fell over backward. “Come on, Shy. Let's get back inside.” Fluttershy nodded and followed Applejack off the balcony.
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Twilight ducked behind an abandoned overturned Human vehicle and prayed that she had not been spotted. She was still down in the city even after everyone else had pretty much left already for one reason or another. She had been helping the Earth ponies with one of their anti-flying-Dragon weapons when the buildings had started to sink and a potted plant vibrated off a second-story window sill and cracked her on the head and she'd been knocked out. When she came to again she was alone and most of the city's buildings had disappeared. She looked up to see the the three-way free-for-all that was going on between the Griffons, Dragons, and Pegasi, and even occasionally thought she saw a flash of the colors that marked one of the Pegasi as Rainbow Dash, but she did not dare call out to her and risk breaking her concentration. What the hay happened while I was out? Where'd all the buildings go? Where are all the soldiers that came to help us? And why are the Griffons fighting us and the Dragons? Twilight jumped at the sound of footsteps behind her. She turned in time to see a dark-skinned Human (although he could have just been burnt really badly) collapse behind her. She spun and took a the few steps that separated him from her.
“Um, are you alive?” Twilight asked, gently nudging him. He did not respond. Twilight gazed at him with pity. “I guess not.” Twilight looked him over, looking for any sign that she might be wrong. She rolled him over and then placed her ear next to his mouth. He's still breathing! But what should I do? I don't know enough about Humans to heal him! Twilight looked at Celestia's palace. She knew that there were Human doctors there, and decided that the best way to get him some help would be to take him there.
Twilight warped him and herself closer, but because her head hurt from the injury earlier she could not fully concentrate and they reappeared instead on the bridge just outside the barrier that Celestia had put up. Panicking at being suddenly very visible and very vulnerable to attack Twilight grabbed his shirt in her teeth and yanked him backward. His shirt, already weakened from fire, tore off in her mouth. She spit it out and tried again, this time grabbing at his collar. This tore as well, and now she'd been spotted, purple on white being a very visible distinction. A Griffon dove for her, talons out and beak open. Twilight readied a spell and launched it, but missed.
Seconds before it could crash into her Pinkie Pie came out of nowhere and tackled her to the ground. The Griffon passed over them, the talons closing on nothing. While it turned around Pinkie rolled off of Twilight and hauled her to her hooves and then assisted her in dragging the large man across the last few feet between the barrier and them. With one last hard tug they pulled the ends of his feet through and then fell back on their backs. The Griffon however, landed on the bridge and lashed out at the barrier to no avail.
“Thanks, Pinkie! I owe you!” Twilight said, gratitude written on her face.
“No problem, Twilight! I was looking for you anyways!” Twilight raised an eyebrow.
“Looking for me? Why?”
“Because princess Celestia is looking for us! She said she had an idea for stopping this war!” Twilight's face lit up.
“That's great! What's the plan?”Pinkie shrugged.
“No idea! But now I just need to go find Rainbow Dash! You haven't seen her by any chance, have you?” Twilight's eyes became wide and her gaze darted back to the sky-battle taking place.
^ ^ ^ ^ ^
“Is there no end to you things?!” I yelled as I lashed fire around like a whip at one Griffon after another. There were still some Dragons fighting, but most of the grounded ones were dead now, as were over two hundred Griffons lying around them. I myself had slain twenty seven of them and injured a few others that had decided to take their chances elsewhere after I'd singed a wing or a leg or some other body part, but a teaspoon from a five gallon bucket isn't very much taken. I had landed not long after my third kill to conserve energy, and with my output upped by the Alicorn horn my energy seemed slow to drain, but I could feel it starting to creep in.
Two of them came at me from opposite sides. I let them get close, and then teleported a short distance away so they'd crash into each other, which they did. I then roasted them and began at last to retreat for the steps up to Celstia's palace. I had to stop once in awhile to fight, but eventually I came across a sight that made me stop in wonder: Luna in battle. Like Thanatos her horn blazed like a star and her mane, which had glittered like stars against a night sky was still in constant motion as her sister's was, but the dimly twinkling stars that seemed to be in it glowed bright like they were all going super-nova at the same time. She and several ponies and one Human were fighting against the Serpent-Dragons like the one that had attacked the palace before. Luna held two of them suspended in midair, and tore one in half and threw the two parts aside. The creature writhed in agony as it died, and the second Luna hurled back the way that I'd come towards the bloodthirsty Griffons. The others were busy dealing with just one, and Luna turned to it and also hurled it away with magic.
“Luna!” I called from where I stood, and then jogged over to her. “I'm glad to see you're okay. Things really aren't going too well.”
“Not going too well?” Said the Human that had been trying to help the ponies. He looked like he was in his fifties. “That's the understatement of the century! This is going to Hell in a hand-basket REAL fast!” The man was dressed like a soldier, but the uniform was very worn as if he'd had it for a long time. He was also smoking a cigarette and had a white beard. “If those damned Dragons hadn't set fire to our ammo we'd have mopped the floor with 'em!” He pointed at the sky. “Then those giant flying chickens had to show up too!”
“We shouldst head for mine and mine sister's palace.” Luna advised, looking around. Most of the Dragons that were still alive were fleeing and leaving us to our fate with the Griffons. “And we shouldst do it soon before we art overwhelmed. We shalt do no one any good if we die here.”
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Rainbow Dash was tired, scared, and hurting. She had leaped into battle without really considering that there might be a reason why she had been told to stay out of the fighting. Sure, she was fast and she was definitely a good flier, but she had not been trained in combat like the guards had been and she had not been outfitted with the rockets like they had been either. Granted, all of their rockets had been spent not too long after the Dragons had begun doing their burning runs, but they had been effective while they had lasted.
Fighting the Dragons had been tough enough, but now with the smaller and faster and far more numerous Griffons having arrived and everyone on the ground having had to retreat just staying alive and in one piece was nearly impossible. Eventually even she had been forced to admit that she was way out of her league here and as soon as the order to retreat was given she tried to do so, but had found herself surrounded again. So she flew up. Up and up and up, trying to outrun her attackers. This she accomplished with hardly any effort, but the rest of her 'comrades' were still trapped and were one by one being picked off. Having an idea, Rainbow Dash climbed still higher and then turned over and dived, trying to pull off a Sonic Rainboom inside the group of angry bird-lions. Faster and faster she dove, the wind whistling, then screaming around her.
“Come on!” She yelled, trying to coax more speed from her tired wings. And then it happened, and she shot forward with multicolored light flowing along behind her. The midair shock wave sent pony and Griffon alike tumbling out of control and with her speed boost Rainbow Dash caught the few surviving Pegasi guards and zoomed towards the last safe-haven in the city.
When she arrived she'd found it already packed to the brim from the basement to what was left of the attic with ponies looking for safety and Humans looking for ammunition for their guns (which most of them now had. Those that did not were still trying to push through the crowds to get to the ammunition cache). The palace had not been built with housing a good percentage of Equestria's population within it in mind, and it was a miracle that they had fit as many inside as they had.
Is this it? Rainbow Dash wondered as she flew over the endless crowd looking for her friends. Is this where my life and all of Equestria is going to end?
* * * * *
Zandar wandered through the ruins of Canterlot looking for any signs of life at all. None except for the dratted Griffons that periodically attacked him. Time and time again he killed them by either snapping their necks while they dived at him or crushed their hearts inside their chests. He supposed that the city might have changed much since he was imprisoned, but being as he had never actually been inside the city itself, he did not know.
It seemed to him that some sort of conflict had taken place here, as he had suspected when he exited that maze and saw Dragons assaulting it and heard thunder in a place where there were no clouds, and saw the strange flying contraptions that were somehow killing the Dragons that were assaulting the city. Truly either alchemy or magic must have advanced since I was imprisoned. I must wonder which of these it was in the case of the flying contraptions. Zandar ended another batch of overly-bold Griffons and then made himself invisible to avoid further unwanted confrontation and kept walking until he reached the wall where not far away, a huge pile of the dead and demolished lay. The cobblestones had been running red long before he reached this point and he stepped lightly so that he would not fall into it. Zandar stopped at the ruined gate arch in front of him and examined it. It had taken an enormous strength to rip the gates off their hinges. He supposed that a Dragon could have accomplished this, but there was no blood where he stood now, which implied that it had happened beforehand. It might hath been done by a Dragon, I suppose, but then why art there no corpses here? Zandar looked up from the ruined gate and looked up at the palace on top of the mountain. He recalled that mountain from the last time he'd been mortal and his lips twisted into a sneer. It had been from that palace that the horned Pegasi had come. He'd slain the first, but the second one caught him off guard. He would not make that mistake again. The locals had proven that they were far more intelligent than their Earth counterparts, and it had been hundreds of years since his imprisonment, which had given them ample opportunity to become even more clever than they had been before. Perhaps they hath even formed a society. A society that, in their time of need I could exploit... Zandar was very skilled with magic, both for attack and defensive spells, and now he had something better than just a Unicorn's horn.
“Yes...” He said aloud. I shalt offer mine services to their ruler in return for more horns and the materials I require to make a wand, and then I shalt see if my descendant's theory in regards to combining it to it as well!