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4d, 7hFallen's Library
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Twilight and the Spartan Stallion
Part 5: At the Tree House
They called him Cinderblock the Immovable. He was an earth pony, and a Lunar Stallion. He wore thick moonsteel armor about himself and his skin was hard like stone. Ponies often said it was impossible to injure him, and that drinking his blood could make a stallion out of even the most pathetic foal. Too bad he never bled. When Celestia herself goes to bed, they say, she checks under her bed for Cinderblock the Immovable. When he did push-ups at military training, they say, he didn’t push himself up—he pushed Equestria down. When he walked, the earth shook and his armor shuddered at his majesty.
Cinderblock was one of the only Lunar Stallions to retain his mind after being flesh-shaped into a monster by Nightmare Moon. His will was like steel, and not even her Majesty’s twisting magic could conquer him. It did however give him sharper teeth and even bigger muscles. When referring to him in military documents, he was only ever called ‘Titan,’ for there were none bigger than he and all stallions had to crane their necks to look up at him. They treated him like a secret weapon, and rumor had it he was the only pony whose stature might match Nightmare Moon’s in the bedroom. Though, that was surely just rumor.
When Cinderblock emerged onto the battlefield with his fellows, it drew up the eyebrows of the Spartan Stallions. They’d never seen anything like him. Spartan Shield stood high on his lookout boulder, squinting through the slits in his helm. With spear in one hoof and shield in the other, he observed the oncoming wave and the titan that followed with them. Snorting hot air, he ordered the phalanx wall closed. Many shields, side by side, made themselves into a long barrier. Then, he leapt over the front line and stood out in the open! “Spartan Shield! Get back into the phalanx! You are exposed!” his captain shouted, lifting his head over the shield wall. “What are you doing?!”
Spartan Shield dropped his round shield to one side, cocking his spear-arm back. He waited. The thundering of hooves drew ever-closer. He would only get one shot. The titanic earth pony drew ever-closer, easily two heads taller than his fellows. The armor would make it even harder to hit him. He could see the crazed battle lust in his enemy’s eyes. The lesser Lunar Stallions saw Spartan Shield, closing ranks together as they ran. They intended to trample the solar stallion leader where he stood, then mow down his allies. Spartan Shield waited, stoic. Not until he could see the whites… of… his…
He threw his spear. It spun in the air like the perfect projectile it had always been. Cinderblock saw it coming and, in midstride, turned to deflect it with the side of his face! No way was something as large as a spear getting through the eye holes of his helm. Spartan Shield smiled murderously and leapt upon the massive stallion. He pulled him into a headlock mid-leap, held his muzzle, and his sheer weight SNAPPED the monsters neck like a great branch! He didn’t even cry out, only grunted and fell forward onto his chest. The monster went skidding along the ground like a sled made of flesh and muscle. Spartan Shield rode on his wide back, pressing him down into the dirt as they went to make sure he was dead.
The Lunar Stallion soldiers were so distracted by this impossibility, so thoroughly terrified that they ran straight into the phalanx with their heads turned, straight into Spartan Stallion spears. Another failed wave of assault. While the silence fell and the dust began to settle, Spartan Shield’s fellows looked upon their glorious leader as he pressed a hoof firmly upon the head of the titan he’d just slain. “Nightmare Moon sends us monsters!” he shouted, grinning like only a victorious warrior can. “Clumsy things!” there was a congratulatory stomping of hooves and banging against shields. Impressive! He hopped gracefully down and went to reclaim his spear and shield. He sighed in mild disappointment, for he’d broken the spearhead on Cinderblock’s the Immovable’s faceplate. When he looked over at his comrades, showing them the broken spear point, there was instant wild cackling that rushed through the ranks. He joined them, throwing his head back uproariously.
“He broke it on his FACE! Ahhh-hahaha!”
“Sweet Celestia! Somepony do a painting of this!”
“My sides! Ohh, my sides! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”
Soresaddle Canyon echoed their laughter so well that even Celestia could hear it while she fought he sister in the sky. It gave her hope, and drew Nightmare Moon’s eye. It gave the sun princess a free buck to her little sister’s face, sending her careening across the sky with an angry roar.
1,002 Years Later…
Twilight Sparkle moaned softly as Spike shook her away gently. There were books strewn all around her covering the subject of Greek and Roman culture. “You fell asleep studying again, Twilight.” He said with concern. “How was your trip to Canterlot? Did you like the exhibit?” he waved some strong tea under her muzzle to help revive her.
“It was more than I imagined, Spike.” She croaked in her just waking voice. He smiled at her patiently while she took a deep drink of her tea. “Hhh, that’s good.” She murmured, standing with a rather painful crackle of bones. “I need to stop sleeping on my desk.” She mumbled, tilting her head until her neck crackled too. Spike winced. “We have a guest coming, today.” She said to her assistant.
“A guest? Who?” Spike said. “Do I need to lay out the guest bed?” The baby dragon cocked his head, ever-eager to help.
“Well, he’s a… he’s a…” Twilight tried to think of a gentle way to put it, but she just couldn’t. It was too early in the morning for subtlety. “He’s a one thousand year old war leader from the Nightmare Moon era, brought back to life from stone by a restoration spell. He got into a fight with Big Macintosh and he spent the night in jail last night, but I intend to keep him here for everypony’s safety until he adjusts to modern life.”
Spike stared at her for a long time while she sorely sipped at her tea. He frowned, trying to take all that in. “So you… brought home a statue? From the Canterlot exhibit?” he said slowly.
“He was a statue, I brought him back to life.”
“So you made a golem, then? A stone pony?” Spike asked, furrowing his brow.
“No no, he was turned to stone a thousand years ago. I revived him on accident.” Twilight said.
“How did you know he wasn’t just a statue?”
“I broke his hoof off.” said Twilight a little guiltily. When she saw Spike’s look, she quickly added, “When he was a statue, that is! Not when he was alive! When I went to fix him while nopony was looking, the restoration spell must’ve taken off the turn-to-stone spell by accident.” She tried to explain as best she could.
“Huh. Yeah.” Spike clearly did not believe that his mistress had brought a one thousand year old warrior home from an Ancient Equestrian museum exhibit. Much less that he was here in Ponyville, had fought with Big Macintosh and lived to tell the tale. The stallion was huge! Nopony could take him on!
“Just prepare the guest bed.” Twilight huffed. “I need to go fetch him from jail, before they let him out and he wanders away on his own. No good would come of it, let me tell you.” The purple mare shuddered at the idea of what would happen if the Spartan Stallion were given the chance to wander around town on his own. Violence and trouble seemed to follow him everywhere he went anyway.
Twilight finished her tea and the hay toast Spike had set out for her while he crunched on a few gems nearby. The purple dragon noticed the theme of the books around her with a ‘hmm’, not daring to go near them while he was eating. Twilight would have kittens if he got gem dust or slobber on her precious books. After he was done he went to go do as he was asked. If he wanted his allowance this week he couldn’t afford to laze around the library and do nothing.
Twilight got her saddlebags from their hook on the wall, throwing them on and stepping outside onto her stoop. Turning about, she inhaled the crisp morning air. Lifting her hoof, she stopped. Big Macintosh and Spartan Shield stood before her. “Oh there you are!” She smiled. “I was just about to come get you!” she giggled a little. “Thanks for bringing him to me, Big Macintosh.”
“Eeyup!” The red stallion beamed. Twilight looked back and forth between them. Well, they certainly seemed friendlier than they’d been yesterday. Perhaps sitting in a pair of cages had given them plenty of time to talk?
“We shalt brawl again together soon, Big Macintosh.” Spartan Shield shattered Twilight’s peaceful thoughts with a single sentence. She stared at him in open-mouthed horror. “Eh, perhaps in a more open space next time.” He amended, seeing Twilight’s look.
“Eeyup.” said Big Mac, chuckling and waving farewell before he turned to leave.
“So you beat the stuffing out of each other and now you’re friends?” said Twilight incredulously. He nodded, as though it were not a big deal. “Ugh, stallions…” she rubbed her forehead for a few moments. “Er… anyway, this is my home. The Ponyville library.” She smiled.
“You live in a tree?” Spartan Shield asked, cocking his head back and coming closer. Standing on the stoop with her, he pawed at the bark a little as though to see if it were real or not. “Interesting. Dost it grow extra rooms as time goes on?”
Twilight giggled a little at the idea. “It grows like a normal tree. But that would be interesting if it did!” she marveled at the thought of another room just appearing in her home one day because the tree willed it so. Wouldn’t that be grand?
Suddenly the door slammed open, pan-caking Spartan Shield’s face and pushing him back against the tree itself! He grunted aloud, flailing a little. “TWILIII… oh you haven’t left yet.” Spike smiled, stopping mid-yell. “You forgot your bits purse! Here you go!” he stuffed it in her saddlebags before going back inside and shutting the door. Twilight winced as the Spartan Stallion shook his head to recover himself. WHAP, the door came open a second time, slamming him into the tree again. “Oh hey, you said our guest was going to be a stallion, do I need to break out the manila comforters? Some guys don’t like sleeping under flower designs, y’know.” He raised a very good point.
“Er, yes, that’s fine, but--!” Twilight watched her ever-eager assistant shut the door again and vanish into the library to do her bidding. She looked down at the swirly-eyed Spartan, who held his face for a few seconds before recovering himself. “Are you oka-!”
WHA-PAMPH! The door jumped open again, knocking the Spartan Stallion over onto his back. “Oh hey Twilight, do we need--!”
“I will END you, purple hellspawn!” Spartan Shield , bleeding from the nose, thrust himself around the door and grabbed the baby dragon by the neck with both hooves. Lifting him bodily he began to violently wring his neck! Spike gagged and flailed about, his face turning a deeper shade of purple.
“Stop! Stop it!” Twilight rammed herself into him, igniting her horn and tazing him with a jolt of magical energy. Spartan Shield’s joints locked up and he fell, smoking. Spike splayed out on the ground, gasping for air. There was a long, gasping fit of heaving lungs for both of them. Twilight stood over them, looking back and forth as they took the time to calm down. “Er, Spike? This is Spartan Shield. He’s going to be staying with us.” The baby dragon looked over at the panting, smoking stallion rather fearfully. He glared back, pointing at him with a threatening hoof. “Spartan Shield, this is Spike. He’s my assistant. He helps me run the library.”
Spartan Shield heaved himself upright, trying to retain some shred of his dignity after being bested by a door. “Oh, your servant then. I understand. Being her Shining Immortal Majesty’s protégé makes you a scholar. Of course.” He peered into the library from the doorway. “And you’ve been given a servant to help you. Reasonable.” He poked his head in, looking around.
“He’s my assistant.” Twilight insisted before Spike opened his mouth to yell. “He lives here with me and he gets paid for all his work. He’s my friend, like a little brother to me.”
“…Oh.” It was plain that Spartan Shield didn’t understand, but was trying to. Twilight knew the situation was rather unique, keeping a baby dragon in her home. Well, at least he wasn’t trying to choke the poor thing anymore. She noticed, however, that the stallion was leaning on the threshold but not going inside. “Where is your household matron?” he asked, peering about.
“My what?” Twilight frowned, peering in like she might see it somewhere.
“Your household matron. The mare in charge of the house.” He gestured vaguely. “Surely that is not you. We established your virginity when we first met. You have no foals and no husband.” Twilight flushed hot and noticed Spike looking up at her curiously.
“Twilight, what’s virginity?”
“Nothing-you-need-to-worry-about-now-go-fix-the-guest-bed!” Twilight said the sentence rapid-fire, rather rudely SHOVING Spike inside and towards the stairs. “Go on now!” she coaxed, sending him scampering a little more harshly than she meant. When they were alone, she rounded on him just a little bit angrily. “Listen now. I live alone here. Mares are allowed to live alone and be in charge of their own lives in this era.” She eyed him, but he was listening carefully. “I’ve been reading up on the way that Spartan Stallions and their wives lived.” She invited him into the library with a sweeping gesture of her hoof. “They were in charge of the household and decided who came in and who didn’t.” the purple mare said. “I don’t have a husband or foals or anything, but you could say I’m in charge of this place. Okay?”
“Okay…” Spartan Shield said mildly, looking around. “Suppose somepony wants to marry you, though? Who would repel unwanted suitors?” he frowned around the room until he saw the desk covered with books. Feeling safe now that he'd been invited in, he entered. Going over to it and leaning with interest, he saw what she’d been studying. Greek and Roman Era Equestria, the articles said. She’d been researching his time.
“Well, me I guess.” Twilight blushed and ignited her horn, quickly shutting all the books he was leaning over. “Things aren’t nearly so gender-oriented anymore.” She spent a long time trying to describe gender equality to the ancient era stallion, who sat staring at her in open shock. He’d come from a culture in which the women were revered, it was true. They had the right to vote, own land, and were counted as full citizens for many purpose. Hay, they were even considered better at handling money and businesses (thusly were elder mares also the heads of their households). But complete gender equality? That was just silly.
“So you tell me if a mare wants to be a soldier, she can? And if a stallion wishes to prance about and arrange flowers all day for a living, he may?” Spartan Shield said after a long time, staring at her in disbelief.
“Pretty much.” Said Twilight.
He started furiously pacing. Oh this was wrong. This was so very, very wrong. This would not do at all. This was not how society was supposed to be. The stallions had their place, and the mares had their place too. It had been fine the way it was! It wasn’t as though anypony was looked down upon! Unless they were servants of course. Or didn’t own land. Or weren’t full citizens. There was a right of passage to be had! You had to earn it! That was fine the way it was!
Twilight watched him huff and mutter and growl to himself as he went back and forth. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Do you need to sit down?”
“I need to… I need to…” he just didn’t know what to make of this madness. He felt the furious male urge to smash something. Anything at all to assure himself of his virility, that hope was not lost for his gender. He glanced out the window and saw a woodpile and stump. “I need to chop wood!” He decided loudly, not letting there be any more conversation after that.
Twilight went to the window, peering out at him. It was late June, it wasn’t like she needed wood for anything… but she saw the sand-colored stallion rush out and grab the axe from its resting place. Working the clasps of his breastplate he thrust it aside to expose his positively glorious chest and torso. Twilight’s mouth made a little o-shape, and her tail tucked. Getting the first piece of wood, he set it on the stump and took the axe in his hooves. Coiling his muscles he swung. Spck-clatter. The twin pieces fell to either side. He took the bigger one and set it up again. Spck-clatter. He made smaller pieces, ones that would easily fit in any wood stove or fireplace. She watched him through the window, rather mesmerized.
Rainbow Dash zipped along the sky, carting a storm cloud with her. Being on the weather team was a tough job, but somepony had to do it. Tonight was supposed to be heavy rain with some hard winds, and that meant plenty of clouds to cover Ponyville. She was running a little behind schedule, but hey, she’d needed that nap earlier today. It was no good heading to work without being at the top of her game!
Leaving a little rainbow streak behind herself, she went over the locations she was supposed to cover with clouds. Town Hall, check. Couches and Quills, check. The library… not check! The checkerboard fashion of the storm’s creation was supposed to emulate a natural storm, but there were certain places that always needed rain. The magical tree-house was one of them. If it died, Twilight’s home would come apart. Nodding dutifully, she steered her cloud that way. The library swam into view and she stopped above it, searching for the perfect spot to leave it for the night’s storm. The cyan Pegasus frowned, however, at the noise that was going on below. She peered down, and saw a massive muscled stallion furiously chopping wood in Twilight Sparkle’s side yard. She arched her eyebrow, leaving the cloud to drift.
Landing shortly, she almost ran right into Applejack. “Hey Applejack, whossat?” Rainbow Dash gestured.
“Ah can’t rightly say, Rainbow.” Applejack said. “But unless ah miss mah guess, that’s the reason Big Mac was in jail last night for brawlin’.”
“Brawling?” Rainbow gasped, turning and looking at Spartan Shield again. “Wow. Didn’t think anypony was tough enough to really fight with Big Macintosh.” She peered at him, but soon found her statement false. He did look pretty big. And the coiling, shining working of his shoulder muscles and back was pretty cool to watch. And the beads of stallion sweat going down his flanks and cutie mark too. And the… Pommph, Rainbow’s wings sprang open into a glorious display of carnal feminine interest. “S-so…” Rainbow Dash looked over at Applejack, gulping a little. “How long have you been here?”
“Ah don’t rightly know.” Mumbled Applejack, staring at the stallion meat in front of them working. “But I uh… uh… can’t bring mahself to halt a hard-workin’ pony in the middle of his work. S’rude, y’know?” she didn’t take her eyes off of Spartan Shield while he was chopping wood.
“Yeah. Yeah you’re right.” Rainbow Dash said mildly, eyeballing his backside. She could watch that backside all day. Her wings ached.
Suddenly Spartan Shield looked over his shoulder, “Huhm?” he hefted the axe down. “What?” he asked them both a little aggressively. They leaned back a bit.
Twilight Sparkle suddenly appeared, coming quickly outside. “Hey girls!” she said animatedly. “Glad you dropped by! This is Spartan Shield!” she introduced him quickly. “He’ll be staying with me for awhile. Say hello?” she coached him.
“Hello.” He set his axe on his broad shoulder, eyeing the farming mare and Pegasus weather pony. “Good to meet you.” He said very carefully. Twilight could tell he was trying, for his face was set in an odd jaw-clenching sort of way.
“Is he your new coltfriend?” Rainbow Dash blurted before Applejack could stop her. The farming pony face-hoofed.
“N-no!” Twilight said quickly, blushing. “H-he’s just staying with me.” She gulped a little, looking back and forth as both mares inspected him. He stared back with his usual hawkish, frowning stare.
“Well boy howdy, welcome to Ponyville then, Spartan Shield!” Applejack stepped up to end the awkwardness quickly, seizing his hoof and shaking it firmly. “Names Applejack! I’m Big Macintosh’s big sister, from Sweet Apple Acres!” she smiled broadly, letting go of him and watching his hoof continue to flail up and down. She loved doing that.
“I am Spartan Shield.” He threw out his chest impressively. All eyes flicked to that gorgeous barrel chest, just for a few moments. “Leader of her Shining Immortal Majesty’s Spartan Stallions.” They all stared at him a little blankly.
“Beg’r’pardon?” Applejack tilted her head a little to end the awkward silence.
“It’s a long story.” Twilight said painfully, smiling in an apologetic way.
“Name’s Rainbow Dash!” she took his hoof also, pumping it up and down. “Ponyville’s coolest, most athletic pony! Winner of the young flyer’s competition, and the iron pony race!” she puffed herself up before him with all her greatest titles and accomplishments.
Spartan Shield looked over at Twilight Sparkle for answers. “It’s like a… small Olympics.” She tried to explain.
“In my era only stallions could participate in the Olympics.” He said with a mild frown, eyeing Rainbow Dash up and down. “You must be formidable indeed to beat out so many other athletes.” There was a flicker of respect in his eyes, though it didn’t stay long.
“Why, thank you!” Rainbow Dash planted her butt and shined her hoof on her chest for a moment. “I am pretty awesome, you know.”
“What’s he mean, his era, Twiligh’?” Applejack asked.
A long line of ducks suddenly walked across Spartan Shield’s front hooves, making him look down. A momma duck, a daddy duck, and a long line of baby ducks. Behind them strode a butter-colored Pegasus. She had her head down, nosing the one at the end of the line along. “Go on now, you can do it.” She murmured soothingly.
“Celestia’s teats, a druid!” Spartan Shield pointed to the line of ducks, then to her, obviously impressed. “Hail oracle!” he strode enthusiastically away from Rainbow Dash (who looked completely crestfallen) and over to Fluttershy. “What news from the future have you divined that brings you into town from the wood?” He leaned at her with interest. “Harvest? A coming plague? An eclipse?” he seemed genuinely excited for whatever the duck herder had to say.
Fluttershy startled back and the gaggle of ducks went every which way, quacking wildly. “Oh-h-h my!” she looked up at Spartan Shield with tiny pupils. What an imposing stallion, he was huge! “H-hello there.” Twilight quickly stepped forward to do the introductions.
“Spartan Shield, this is Fluttershy.” Twilight said. “She’s our local animal enthusiast. Sort of like a vet.”
Fluttershy let out a little squeak of confirmation. “Oh-hh, come back little ducks!” she called meekly. “We still have to make it to the pond together…” her voice was whispery and shy, but the animals responded.
“You mean she cannot divine the future?” Spartan Shield asked, looking disappointed. He wilted a little, but nodded none the less. “Well, the animals listen to her words.” He gestured as the ducks milled about, but began moving in Fluttershy’s general direction for protection. He watched the gaggle gather under her undercarriage like a group of foals. He looked over at Twilight Sparkle, “You have strange and powerful friends, mage.” He chuckled in delight at the quacking ducks. Fluttershy went scarlet at being called ‘powerful’. Applejack snickered at her expression. Maybe this Spartan Shield guy wasn’t so bad after all.
End of Part 5