"Well? Speak, young one," Celestia repeated.
The griffon steadily righted himself, trying to stand proudly, but horribly failing. His fear was plainly obvious: his legs were shaking and his eyes were darting all over the room, trying to keep track between the soldiers and the Princesses that stood before him.
"M-my name is Snowfeather. I--I am... a scribe of the Grif--Griffon Empire... and I have come to deliver a m-message on behalf of Ambassador Quillfeather... m-my father..."
Celestia's eyes widened at the mention of Quillfeather. "Yes? Speak, young one. Has something happened within the Empire?"
"I... I'm afraid I don't know, Your... Your Majesty. My father spoke to me one day, and had me prepare for a long journey out of the kingdom without using transportation. He said that it was extremely important that I deliver a letter to you... and that I should not be seen by anyone, griffon or pony."
"Really? May I see this letter?" Snowfeather nodded, and pulled out a plain white letter sealed with the insignia of the office of the Griffon Empire. He stepped forward once, but glanced at the soldiers before returning a worrying gaze to Celestia.
She sighed. "Very well. Please, Captains, and Ghosts, holster your weapons."
"Understood, Your Majesty," Shining said, his horn's energy dissipating.
Talbot and the Ghosts also followed the order, but he maintained a hand on his pistol grip. They watched as Celestia floated the letter away from Snowfeather's grip, opening it and reading the contents out loud.
I fear that my time is approaching rapidly. You must prepare your ponies for war, it's the only recourse that they have left. There has been a coup within our ranks. General Strongbeak has accused Emperor Arcus of being weak, too soft-willed, and through means completely unimaginable to me, imprisoned him within Iron Mountain. The griffon capital city of Tesseraka is no longer safe, and I have arranged for your embassy staff here to be escorted out in secret. They will return home within the week.
On the matter of the coup: many of the council have been accused of idle treason by Strongbeak. He's ordered us all to be round up and... executed. As chief advisor for Arcus, I am sending you as much information as you can use in order to best fight back against our army. We are strong, well-trained, and number in the several tens of thousands. Strongbeak is the general of all the Griffon Empire's militaries, and if he should so wish to go to war, after our elimination, there will be nothing to stop him.
By the time you receive this letter, I am most likely dead. Enclosed with my son's belongings are a number of files containing details on Strongbeak and the generals who initiated the coup with him that I gathered before I had to flee from the palace. They are the ones who need to be taken down... for what good it might do you. They all lead their own armies, specific branches within the military, as generals with specialized roles. If you somehow manage to defeat or kill them, then the public opinion of the war will shift drastically. That's not withstanding that the public opinion of the war was already negative to begin with, but Strongbeak has exercised his power and declared martial law. Dissent is put down with lethal force.
There are those who would still help, however. We have a number of griffons loyal to the crown in various rural towns near the borders, willing to rise against Strongbeak's oppressive rule, and many stay within the cities to monitor and maintain watch over the military's movements. Should you decide to try directly for the generals, the rural town of Ardmis is a good place to start. It resides very close to Equestrian borders, and Snowfeather will know the leader of the loyalists who resides there... it's his uncle.
Arcus's family is currently at risk. I admit that I do not know of their current whereabouts, but I do recall arranging for transport for them to escape the country to avoid being leveraged as a resource against Arcus. They will be traveling to Equestria in a single guarded carriage, and they will bear the seal of the Ambassadorial Office with them. That will be your key to knowing who they are. The guards have explicit orders to return to loyalist hideouts once their escort is complete, so you do not have to fear letting griffon soldiers into your borders.
Beware of any new ambassador that the generals put into office. They will most likely try to assure you that everything is fine, and try to deny any sort of secretive operations that they will most undoubtedly do in Equestria. Do not reveal any of your knowledge: you must show your ignorance and be cautious. It will be the only way to buy you time as you prepare. I know from the immigration rates that there are almost little to no griffons within your borders, but you must be careful for spies regardless. They will hide in the shadows and watch you from afar.
Finally, there is something that I must warn you about: we have these new objects, powerful things that explode and spit fire, raining hell from the skies. It's something that Strongbeak has only brought out only recently, though how he created or learned of this strange new weaponry is beyond me. It is dangerous, and it allow him to rain down fire upon his enemies from afar, without risk of putting his troop at harm. I have stolen some plans for this strange new weapon. Please study it thoroughly.
War is imminent, Your Majesty, and I fear that many lives on both sides will be lost. The generals want to restore the Griffon Empire to the glory days when they conquered most of the unclaimed lands and held an army that shook fear into every nation, and they will not resort to parleying in order to do so.
In the words of my ancestors: strength and honor be with you.
And to Snowfeather, who will most undoubtedly learn of this letter: be strong. Your parents are proud of you.
Celestia raised her gaze from the letter to look at a distraught Snowfeather.
"Father... dead...?" he said, stumbling backwards and sitting down. "He didn't tell me anything about this... how could he have been..." He stopped as he lowered his head, simply staring at the ground.
"Captain Shining..." Celestia said. "...could you please help our friend here to his own quarters? I believe he needs some time alone." She deftly removed the travel bags from Snowfeather, leaving them next to the wall as Shining saluted her.
"Of course, Princess." Shining carefully helped the griffon to his feet, before slowly leading him back outside. Watch, however, was less than enthused, his scowl merely turning into a frown following the letter. He watched the two leave with mild interest, before remaining at attention.
"Wait... weapons that 'explode and spit fire'?" Mendoza said. "That can't be good... and if what I think is correct..."
"Yes," Luna said. "It is remarkably similar to how Doctor Harvey described human weaponry."
"I don't know whether to be happy or shocked. I mean, if it's true, then that means they have gunpowder... but on the other hand, it means that they have gunpowder... good for me, bad for us." Mendoza nervously played around with a few bits on his MR8.
"Let's see those plans, Your Majesty," Talbot said. Celestia opened the travel bags and pulled out several thick scrolls as they began to converge around a table. She unrolled it and lay it flat before all to see. The plans appeared to detail some sort of large metal cylinder attached to wheels.
"That's... that's a cannon," Mendoza said. "Judging by the designs, it looks like something from the Civil War... but I don't think I need to hold a history lesson to tell you that these things are absolutely dangerous. How the hell did griffons get their hands on gunpowder?"
"I suppose we'll find out about that soon enough. Someone's going to have to go in and put one through these bastards' heads, and I'm pretty sure it'll be us," Pastor said. "And look there, at the corner. Some designs for a vehicle?"
Luna read it over. "Battle wagon... pushed by manual labor. It's a device that they intend to use to storm our lines. The cannons are supposed to cover the advance of the wagons, and they push through our lines without taking so much as a hit. Rather ingenious, but I am worried as to how we will fight them."
"Judging by the plans here..." Raymond said, pointing at a picture of several thick metal plates with arrows pointing at the wagon. "...they intend to make the wagons as heavily armored as possible. That makes any standard infantry attack against it pointless."
"We could do with some Razorback support right about now, I'll say that much," Mendoza said. "Aside from my rockets and explosives, I don't think our pony friends here have much in the way of fighting against them."
"Not entirely correct, Corporal," Celestia said. "We do have heavy ballistae that can have magic infused into their bolts to ensure an explosion on contact. I believe that they will be our best hope against this strange new contraption, but they do take a considerable amount of time to set up."
"I'd assume that they intend to bring these things out when you least expect them, especially when you don't have the ballistae out," Talbot said. "If you aren't prepared, they can easily break through your lines without taking much damage."
"But now that we know of them, we can prepare in advance. Quillfeather was wise in bringing this to our attention," Celestia noted. "How should we deal with the cannons?"
"Flank them," Talbot said. "Such devices are usually kept behind the front lines and fired at a distance. Most of their main troops will be engaging your forces, so I'd say it's best to use a group of your pegasus soldiers to initiate a flanking attack, blindsiding the cannons and eliminating the soldiers manning them."
"You do realize that the griffons have air cavalry like we do," Luna said.
"Well, that'll be a problem, then..." Talbot put his MR8 on safety, placing it on the desk, before picking up the scroll for a closer look. "It's a shame that we didn't get any better details on the wagons. We don't know the armor caliber on them, so maybe even using our rockets might not do much."
"Please, sir," Mendoza responded. "Those babies are specifically designed to lock on and fire at any weak points. I don't think a giant welded tin can is going to do much against them. And if that doesn't work, some good old C4 will do the job just fine..."
"So you did sneak them in!" Pastor said.
"Hey, the boss said it was fine! And I thought we would have to blow some doors up or something, okay? You can never be too sure, and they gave us the whole arsenal to take! It's like getting access to the candy store and the only thing you take is a single bar of chocolate."
"Shut your damn traps, you idiots," Raymond said. "Can't you see we're in the middle of a session here?"
"Oh, right, right," Mendoza said. "So what's the attack plan against those cannons? I wonder if the unicorns can make some magical artillery doohickey with those horns of theirs."
"That might be possible, if a bit tricky to pull off," Celestia said. "I will have to speak to my Captains later, and discuss whether this is actually possible. Otherwise, I fear that the cannons may be too well-protected to do anything substantial against them."
Mendoza's face furrowed in thought. "Well, they told me that you can do fireworks with them, right? Why not just make a really big firework, so to speak, that fires towards one direction and make a really big explosion when it lands?"
"Yes, that could be manageable. The unicorns of the old days used to be capable of lifting the celestial bodies until my sister and I took the task upon ourselves," Luna said. "Perhaps directing a magical charge towards the enemy isn't out of our hooves, after all. But, that discussion will be held among the Captains at a later time. For now, let us continue."
"Right. Now about the files on the generals..." Talbot said. Celestia floated out several large envelopes, and pulled out the papers. "Well... how many..." Talbot flipped through the pages. "There are seven. Seven generals. This is going to be interesting."
"Would like to take a further look at these, Captain?" Celestia asked. "I must admit that I am not entirely up to date on matters of wartime intelligence. Perhaps you could glean more information off of these pages than I can."
"That would be appreciated," Talbot said, looking at the picture of General Strongbeak on the top page. "I'll have you all convene tomorrow, and I can explain the details of the generals then. Be sure to bring all the officers, they're going to need to know about this."
"Uh, I don't think all the guards know about us yet, boss," Mendoza said.
"Oh, don't worry," Watch said, his sour mood having cleared up. "Pretty much every single guard in the castle knows about you guys now. They also know that one of you ran down nearly half a company's worth of armored diamond dogs as well as a griffon. You won't find many complaints from us."
"Very well, then," Talbot said. "Anvil, return to your quarters. I'll stay here for the time being. These documents are to remain with the Princesses at all times, no exceptions." The rest of the Ghosts nodded, leaving their Captain to continue his analysis.
"We cannot be present at all times, Captain," Celestia said. "But either I or my sister shall remain here at any given time to aid you, should you need our help."
"Thank you both, Your Majesties. And of Sky Watch?" Talbot said, looking at the waiting royal guard.
Celestia drew her attention to him. "Your guard is not needed here, Sky Watch, but it is appreciated. We commend you for your foresight in apprehending a possible intruder. You may leave now." Watch saluted, and walked out the door as Luna exited along with him. From what Talbot could see, the guards present outside the quarters were still there, as were a few pegasi guards still doing last-minute sweeps of the castle grounds.
"For the time being, I will be available to aid you, Captain," Celestia said. "My sister must see to the rising of the moon now, and attend her Night Court."
He chuckled, shaking his head. "I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing unicorns raise the sun and moon..."
"First order of business: Griffon General Strongbeak," Talbot said, looking out at the assembly hall half-filled with royal guard officers, as well as the Princesses, the Ghosts, and Doctor Harvey. "He's the one who led the coup. According to information gleaned from documents provided to us, he's had this business under wraps for a very long time, and only recently has he come to initiate it."
One of the officers raised his hoof. "If he's the one at the head, why don't we just simply take him out and end the war?"
Talbot shook his head. "It can't be done. The documents state that the other six generals are all in on this, as well. Taking out one won't do well to fend off the war since it's a consolidated effort. We have to take them all out in order for this to work, otherwise another one will just pick up where the others left off."
"Do we have a plan for dealing with them?"
"Not at the moment. But the greater possibility of being able to gain public support for Equestria in the Empire if we happen to take out key figureheads from the coup is just too great to ignore. The people of the Empire are oppressed by General Strongbeak, and they won't dare try fighting back so long as the military and martial law is in place. If we can pull it off, we can prevent further deaths on both sides."
"Well, if you need a pony for that one, you know who to call," the officer said sitting down. There were some laughs shared throughout the hall.
Talbot smiled as he looked across the benches. "Any other questions? Alright, then, on to the second general: General Gravelclaw, the griffon of ground cavalry. The files say that his griffons specialize in using these new contraptions, called battle wagons, to advance across the battlefield, assisting the infantry in closing the distance to engage in close combat. The wagons are essentially a large covered wagon with plates mounted on to it, making any conventional attacks against their users pointless."
"Do we have something to stop them?" asked another officer.
"We do," Talbot said. "The Princesses has suggested that we use heavy ballistae, deployed in advance of the battle, to destroy them. Conventionally, the bolts might just only be able to pierce the armor, but not much else, so the initial suggestion is to infuse the bolts with magic, and once they come into contact with the wagons, the resulting explosion would be enough to get rid of them."
There was a murmur of conversation as officers discussed the new method of combat, as well as dealing with a new type of warfare they'd never dealt with before. Talbot could pick up traces of concern dealing with magically-infused weaponry.
"Now..." he continued. "...to the third general: General Castshot." He pointed to several of the drawn cannon designs on the chalkboard. "He uses cannons, a new type that can fire an explosive projectile over extremely long distances. The best we could glean off of the information provided shows that the cannons are slow to move and take time to set up, but can be devastating against infantry or any other ground force. Our assumptions are that they will be used to cover the advance of the battle wagons, under their assumption that we won't be prepared for them."
"Do we have anything in place to deal with those?" the same officer asked.
"Any pegasus guards willing to fight through a line of griffon air cavalry to deal with them?" Talbot responded. No hooves were raised as the officers realized that they didn't really have much to use against the cannons. "No? Well, we've come up for another solution for that. This one was proposed by one of my own, who noticed that you all happened to use a basic, but harmless, explosive magic for fireworks. The solution, is to create a potent magic projectile, which is pushed through the air in an arc, before it lands on its target and explodes. Our solution to their cannons, essentially, is to use our own long-distance projectiles to fight against them."
"Sounds good to me! Magic can outperform anything those damned griffons can fire at us!" shouted a unicorn officer in the back. "Where do we sign up?" he ended, earning a laugh from the crowd of officers.
"Perhaps tomorrow!" Talbot shouted to the back. "It's going to take training to hurl a giant ball of magic through the sky, after all!"
"And I'll be looking forward to it!" the unicorn shouted.
"Right, then!" Talbot said, waving his hands to get the attention of the talking crowd. "On to the fourth general: General Red Talon. I expect a lot of you to be cursing his name after this is all said and done, because he's the general of the infantry. He's the one that sends all the soldiers into battle on the front lines, and from what the files say, he's been pushing all his griffons into training overtime to make them lean and tough."
"No match for royal guard training, or an earth pony's buck!" said a pegasus officer at the front row. "We'll meet them head on with our army and kick their flanks!"
"That may be, but you also forget that the griffons hold the advantage in numbers. It's going to take more than just good training and a hard kick to fight them off."
"Then train harder, we will! We'll not let the griffons outshine us when it comes to combat!" said another officer, another pegasus.
"Good to see that you're all willing and ready to protect Equestria," Talbot joked. "But the next few might present some problems. The fifth general's the one that the pegasi are going to be cursing: General Highcloud, in charge of the griffon air cavalry. Unlike the ground infantry, the air cavalry are more lightly armored, and will be well-trained in aerial combat. The files detail a number of their flight formation and combat tactics. We can put those to good use against them."
"We'll kick their flanks in the air, too!" shouted another officer.
"Yeah! We'll show those griffons what for!" The hall erupted into yet another round of cheers and agreements, growing ever more louder as Talbot merely put his hands on the sides of his hips and rolled his eyes.
"Hey, shut it!" Mendoza shouted, standing and turning around, the eyes of the ponies in the room upon him. "In case you haven't noticed, we're kind of in the middle of a really important meeting here? This stuff's kind of important, 'kay? Probably a good idea to listen up!" Looking around again and receiving no answers, he nodded and sat back down. "Feel free to continue, boss."
"Right. On to the sixth, and something you ponies may not be familiar with: General Quickwing, of the Griffon Navy. Apparently, they have some pretty expensive and powerful airships that they intend to use for quick hit-and-run operations within Equestrian lands. They only number around three, but the files say that it'll be several months into the war before they'll be able to deploy. We'll just have to hope everything solves itself by then."
"Is there any way of fighting back against these airships, Captain?" Luna asked.
"You could use retrofit the magic artillery to fire into the skies instead of the ground and have the projectiles explode mid-air to catch them with a hit, but the design plans for the airships show that they're quite maneuverable, on top of being mounted with at least a dozen of the cannons mentioned earlier. The purported information also says that they're to deploy with several wings of griffon air cavalry. If they reach the borders, it could be disastrous."
"Then perhaps we should be glad that they will not be deploying at the beginning of the war," Celestia said. "This will give us an ample amount of time to develop proper countermeasures against them."
"Agreed," Talbot said. "And the last order of business on the list: General Gale Whisper. He's the military intelligence chief, and he has eyes and ears everywhere. Among other things, he's distrustful of his subordinates, hates being out in the open, and likes using doubles to pull public face for him. Well, that's going to be a real pain."
"So, what?" Mendoza said, shrugging in the front row. "He just stays in his little hidey-hole all the time?"
Talbot nodded. "And has other griffons that may or may not be him running the show in his place. He doesn't have an army, but everything points to him being the most hardest to deal with. On top of that, we most likely won't be able to act on the other generals until he's out of the question. He's said to be shrewd and extremely clever. He'll most likely anticipate our moves if we try anything else."
"And what of the Emperor? What course of action should we take to help him?" Luna asked.
"That's thinking ahead, Princess, and unfortunately, I haven't actually thought about that yet. So long as the threat of the generals still hangs, I'm afraid trying to rescue him is far too dangerous... Iron Mountain, as the ambassador called it, is General Strongbeak's own fortress, and he has his own personal guard manning the walls. It's just too risky."
She nodded. "I understand. Is that all that the ambassador had sent with his son?"
"I'm afraid so. So until this damn war begins, it's best to start preparations. This meeting is over. You're all dismissed." The officers stood and began to exit along the center pathway, discussing the future training implications and the upcoming fight against the griffons. He watched as the last of the officers passed through the doors. "Well, that's a lot of officers. I didn't expect the royal guard to have so many."
"There are many more in Stalliongrad, Captain," Celestia laughed. "You are fortunate that this was only Canterlot's share of the royal guard. The rest of the commanding officers, however, will be briefed when they arrive here to move on to the front lines when our mobilization begins."
"I see. And if you would now, since everyone's gone..." Talbot looked around the empty assembly hall. "...I believe we have the matter of plans to discuss."
"Of course. We should move to Celestia's chambers immediately," Luna said.
"You are suggesting that you send the Ghosts in to... assassinate the generals?" Luna said. "But would it not be better to have your squad here to help train our guards? Why risk putting yourself in danger by attempting something that may not even succeed?"
"Trust me when I say that we can definitely pull this off," Talbot said. "Like I explained a while back, all you need to do is hold them off. We can handle the rest. We have sufficient training for operating deep in enemy territory without backup, and none of your royal guards are well-equipped enough to tackle this mission, even as a group. We're the best chance at stopping this war from turning into a long and bloody conflict. Give us this chance. We do owe you, after all."
"Just how much thought have you given this?" She turned his head, eyeing him suspiciously.
"Enough that I already know, Luna," Celestia said. "I trust your judgment, Captain. Should you so wish to go through with this, then perhaps it would be wise to initiate contact with the loyalist forces. They will most certainly be helpful in aiding you with transportation."
"Maybe Snowfeather can assist us. He obviously knows more than us about the Empire, and his uncle is the leader of the loyalist movement. Perhaps we can have him put us in contact with him."
"Hmm, a good idea. Have you taken a further look at the town of Ardmis?" Celestia had remembered the city being mentioned in Quillfeather's letter, though she had to admit that she wasn't entirely informed on the locations and magnitudes of griffon cities.
"I have. It's located just west of the southern pass at the Equestrian border. It's a little bit out of the way, though. There doesn't seem to be any major trade routes that lead there, though I believe that may work in our favor."
"I see... since it is a small settlement, it can easily elude the gaze of the military and work towards the favor of your Ghosts."
"It will. As sophisticated as our camouflage technology is, it's not exactly complete invisibility. In plain daylight, our forms are still visible at close range and our shadows are still present. It would work out much better if the loyalists can sneak us between cities and provide us with places to hide in during the day. We can take the opportunity to operate during the night and strike from the shadows."
"I can understand why using ponies would work against this operation. I must admit, Captain, not even our own guards have as much thorough training as you and your Ghosts do," Luna said.
"Taxpayer dollars at work," Mendoza laughed.
"The finalization for the plans will be held later today or tomorrow. I'll have to speak to Snowfeather about getting us into contact with the loyalists," Talbot said. "Their decision to help may have a greater effect on our operation than previously thought, since I'm not sure how well we can operate without safe havens within cities. The griffons would most likely find us sooner or later, and I'd rather avoid that risk. Hopefully Snowfeather will understand."
"I am sure he will," Celestia said. "If he has as much dedication to the crown as his father did, then he will not turn down a chance to aid in freeing his nation from the claws of the generals."
Snowfeather had been taken to the infirmary, and then treated before being brought to his own quarters. There were guards standing outside, though; Celestia had stated that while his assistance was appreciated, she could not entirely trust the griffon to his own affairs. He was to be monitored at all times, and Snowfeather had even consented. The Ghosts parted with the Princesses and brought the plans to contact the loyalists to him.
"Is that what you ask of me?" Snowfeather said, sitting on a few cushions. His minor wounds had been treated, and he wore several bandages wrapped around his torso. "If my father says the movement leader is my uncle, then it is for sure Scarclaw. He was the former General of the Bastion within Iron Mountain, prior to retiring and having Strongbeak succeed him. Our family has strong ties to the crown, and we have been close friends for generations."
"Do you think he'll agree to help us?" Talbot asked.
"Perhaps, though I am sure many of the loyalists will be intrigued at the sight of strange new creatures willing to aid the Equestrians."
"Let's just say we owe them big time," Raymond said, folding his arms.
"I understand. My father had always told me in my youth to be faithful to the emperor and the crown. I suppose these trying times are when our allegiances are truly put to the test. Prior to my departure from Tesseraka, there were... riots. Uprisings, by the populace. When I flew away from my home in the cover of night, the light from the burning buildings and the sound of fighting could be heard from miles around. I can only imagine what other manner of control Strongbeak has exercised in the other cities."
"But can we rest assured that your uncle will help us?" Talbot asked.
Snowfeather nodded. "He will. He'll also be very happy to know that I'm safe. He won't relinquish a chance to put Strongbeak in his place. Uncle was never a patient man when it came to matters of... treason."
"You say he's a general?" Pastor asked. "And the one who came before Strongbeak, no less. How much of an influence did he have prior to leaving the military?"
"Enough that I heard that he convinced nearly a quarter of the military to throw down their imperial sigils in protest when the coup was made public, and then they all disappeared for parts unknown. I assume many of them are in hiding now, planning to take down Strongbeak through their own means."
Pastor turned his head questioningly. "A quarter? Just how many griffons do you think that is?"
"Roughly at least seven to ten thousand, easily. My uncle was an honorable and inspiring leader. Many of the griffons in the service now served under his command for years. It is griffon military tradition to always trust your commanding officers, at least those that earn your respect, and my uncle was practically the spitting image of loyalty."
"That's pretty impressive," Mendoza said. "Maybe there's a chance we can convince the loyalists to fight alongside the ponies? I can imagine the odds being evened out if ten thousand griffons fought alongside them."
"They won't fight with the Equestrians," Snowfeather disagreed. "Treason is tantamount to civil war in griffon tradition. We do not take transgressions from our own kind very lightly. We view the Equestrians' fight as the ponies', and our own fight as belonging only to us. They won't agree to help, at least not in substantial numbers, and even then, that only applies to those that actually want to help."
"So we can't count on the deserters to help, but will you help us?" Talbot said.
Snowfeather looked to the ground, contemplating the decision, before looking at him and nodding. "Yes. I will help you. As much as I am not a fighter, I still have griffon tradition bred strongly into me. My father's death at the hands of the dishonorable Strongbeak demands vengeance, and while I cannot achieve that myself... I can send you to exact it for me. I will go with you to Ardmis."
Talbot nodded. "Good. Now let's talk about transportation..." The rest of the day was spent deep in planning, and eventual lessons by Snowfeather on tradition and military affairs, as well as the cities that each of the generals resided in. The operation began to come into clear focus as the initial objectives were laid out by the Ghosts, and they decided to hold a top-secret meeting the next day to inform the Princesses before they continued their training for at least two weeks, training with the crossbows before entering griffon lands.
In due time, the Griffon Empire would be the new haunting grounds for the Ghosts.