This story is a fan-fiction of MLP:FiM. I don't own any of it. It belongs to Hasbro, etc, etc.
Don't sue. Seriously. That would be so uncouth.
“It was an escort mission.” I told them letting myself slip back into my memories.
The desert winds blew warm sand across my coat. Growing up in Stalliongrad, I had only ever felt snow blow in the wind against my coat. This sand was surprising and new to me. It's not that I didn't know what sand was, it was just that I had never seen so much of it.
Puck unit was out in the middle of the Neighvada desert, far away from Las Pegasas, or any civilization for that matter. Everything was sand, for as far as the eye could see. Well, everything except our tents and the magic powered sand riders we used.
We were ordered on this mission to protect archeologists of the Royal Canterlot Museum. Recently, archeologists had been attacked by a mysterious group of bandits. They were most likely common tomb raiders who just wanted the artifacts the archeologists had excavated. However, the attacks were mostly centralized around a small dig site. The archeologists were often found dehydrated and on the verge of death, all muttering something about alchemy. It was our job to protect the newest archeological team, consisting of ponies and bison, that was going into the area and working at the site.
I was told that the archeologist leading the new expedition was the Museum's best, but she was seclusive and like to work only on the fringes of civilization. Luna also hinted that she was famous and I might even know her. I didn't know what to make of that, but Puck unit rode in to the meet-up point 70 miles away from the excavation early in the morning.
The tents set up by the group were mad of green canvas and flapped in the wind, but must have provided ample cover for the ponies and bisons inside. I parked my sand rider next to the largest tent at the end and my unit followed suit. We dismounted and started walking to the tent.
Solitary Shadow came along side me and said “Great day to go play in the sand, righty boss?” through the scarf wrapped around his mouth. My whole unit was dressed in similar fashion, scarves around our mouths to prevent sand from getting in, along with tinted goggles that shielded our eyes from the harsh sand-wind and allowed us to keep some of our night vision/ see through the bright desert.
We entered the tent and I removed my scarf and put my goggles atop my head. My eyes adjusted to the dim light in the tent quickly. Around a table with a map and other notes on it stood three bisons and five ponies. Of the ponies, half were earth ponies and two were unicorns. All of them were now looking at us, except for the lone pegasus and last pony, who was staring at the map. Her gray and black streaked mane hung off to one side, while her sand colored coat showed the tenseness of her body. She wore a green jungle vest, while a safari hat, goggles, and a scarf were laid on the table off to her side.
She ran a hoof through her mane before one of her compatriots spoke up. “Dr. Doo” said the bison “I believe our bodyguards are here.” Her head snapped to attention, looking in our direction and giving us a broad smile. She waved us over to the map while her team made room for us. I walked up to the map and stood directly across the table from her. She extended a hoof. I shook it.
“I'm Dr. Daring Doo. I believe you've heard of me.” she said animatedly.
She shrugged it off. “Most of the cultures I work with.”
“So who's on your team?”
She pointed to the bison who had spoke up. “Dr. Thunder Stomp and his associate Mr. River Flow.” Next she pointed to a deep blue unicorn “This is Dr. Cartography Stamp and his dig team.” she pointed to the remaining ponies who gave us courteous nods.
“So Miss....Sorry, Dr. , do you know what the plan is?”
“Been working on that since I woke up this morning.” she pointed to the map. “We are over here, 70 miles away from the dig site. We'll break camp and move in within the hour. With any luck these winds will die down and we'll only be out there for a little over two days. We'll follow the route I drew out in red, avoiding the rock formations. Sure, it'll take longer, but I don't want to be ambushed over there.”
“Good thinking. Do we know why these bandits are only attacking this excavation?”
“There are a few rumors, and I have a inkling of why, but I need to go to the site first. So, let's get packed up!” she said as she gathered up her notes and map.
My team and I left the scholars to pack their equipment and went outside to check on our mode of transportation. The archeological team had sand riders much like our own, but theirs were newer. Where we got our from a contact in Las Pegasus and rode them all the way here, the scholars had been airlifted here with brand new equipment. They even had a sand truck to carry all the dig team's excavation equipment.
After we had checked all the magical batteries, engines, and treads, Daring Doo came out of the tent with her scarf, goggles, and trademark safari hat on. She was flanked by her colleagues. The Bisons and Doctors stood over by the transportation and talked about their research while the dig team went off to break down the smaller sleeping tents, leaving Puck unit to deal with the large tent. It wasn't that hard to get down since the winds had slowly come to a halt. However, with out the winds, we realized how hot the desert really was. The heat radiated from everything and everywhere. When we were done with the tents, we all looked as if we had just been caught in the rain, from the amount we had perspired. Everypony mounted their sand rider gladly and we sped off onto the hazy horizon.
20 miles from the dig site we passed a large mesa that jutted out from the sand like a kind of desert colossus. We gave it a wide berth and followed our arcing path to the dig site. I stopped us a mile away from it.
“What's wrong?” Daring inquisitioned.
I called forth the four pegasi in the unit. “Floating Leaf, Raging Winds, Southern Tempest, Lightning Strike, I want aerial recon on the dig site, now.” The pegasi saluted and flew off. “Solitary, Syringe, Oakleaf scan for any life hiding in the ruins.”
“Got it boss-man” Solitary said, his normal foolish twinge gone. When I spoke in my commanding voice, they listened. They knew that I had saved them one too many times from my directions, but I also knew they could be harmed or worse if I ever gave them bad directions. That was the life of the Captain.
“I got nothin' cap.” Solitary said.
“Negative on life. Either there's nothing there or they're already dead.” Syringe told me.
“Same here Crimson.” Oakleaf
The pegasi returned and the “leader” of the group, Lightning Strike said “We didn't see anything Captain.”
“But damn, was that thing huge!” the energetic Floating leaf said.
“Ok. Let's move.” I told them as I mounted my sand rider one more time.
The fragmented ruins laid out in the sand as rock outcroppings and pillars that once held a roof to shield from the unforgiving desert sun. I and my team marveled at the broken pillars and the walls that were all that was left of this glorious building. We parked the sand riders on the northern side, the side which we entered. Immediately after Daring Doo and her other doctor friends ran off into the ruins. Puck unit followed them closely. I was aggravated at the foolish mare, she knew we were her protective force. Why would she insist on acting brash?
We found her doing a celebratory dance, swinging Dr. Stomp around and laughing in glee with Dr. Stamp, in front of a large metal obelisk in the ground. It was slanted at an angle, making it look like a plaque, describing what the ruins were once used for. However, it was larger than the doors to the Royal Throne Room. Also, it was inscribed with strange ruins and a large sun in the middle. Amazed as I was, I still remembered I had priorities. I strode up to the foolishly brave mare.
“What the buck do you think you're doing?” I yelled at her.
“Relax, I'm fine. Plus, it's not like I haven't had to go it alone on some digs.” she said, not caring.
“How many archeologists have gone missing or turned up close to death after 'going it alone' here?!?” I exploded at her.
“Wait, wait, wait. Let me get this right, not only is Daring Doo a real pony, but you yelled in her face?!” Rainbow interrupted.
“I find it a little hard to believe Daring Doo is a real pony, too.” Twilight said skeptically.
“Go to the Royal Canterlot Museum and go to the 'Load Stone' gallery. Everything in there was all found be Daring.”
Twilight gasped “I used to spend hours in there as a filly. But why would Daring Doo donate all those discoveries under a false name?”
“Because she asked too. Think about how famous she is. If ponies knew she was a real pony....” I explained.
“Yeah, no back ta the story.” Big Mac said lazily, sitting next to and holding. Fluttershy
By high noon, the tents had been set up close to the metal engraving. I had Puck split up into teams and choose patrolling hours. I was asleep, but the two ponies on guard duty wrote down that Daring's dig teams had found out the obelisk covered up a hallway dug from the bedrock in the area. As far as we knew the door was sealed with magic indefinitely.
I was woken up for my shift, my team mate being Syringe Poultice. I was originally going with Oakleaf of course, but she was asked to help in the digging because of her telekinetic skills. So was Solitary, so he took my place as her patrol partner for the time being. I put my gauntlets on and went outside into pitch black to greet Syringe. Syringe was a scholarly unicorn, but was strangely not fussy. He was shorter than I and had a white coat and a salt and pepper mane. He wore a pair of glasses that made him look like he was always thinking.
We greeted each other silently in the darkness, how Lunar Soldiers should. We started our rounds but before we could we noticed that someone was still at the door. The lamp they had with them was like a beacon throughout the dark night, sending a signal to everything that there were ponies here at the excavation.
I signaled to Syringe to follow me and find out who it was. It turned out to be the same stubborn mare who led this expedition. She had a lamp on the door and she laid against it, a small brush in her hand. She brushed away at the cracks and engraved runes in the metal with a puzzled look.
“Good Night Daring.” I said waltzing out of the shadows as she jumped into the air and fluttered there, surprised. Syringe followed me smiling at the small prank I pulled on Daring.
“Why are you still up? You can get back to the research in the morning. Plus, I don't like that lamp giving away our position to the whole desert.”
She looked at me and I saw the bags under her eyes. “I'm so close to opening this.”
“Worry about it in the morning.” I said sternly.
She flew up to me and smacked me right in the face. Syringe was never one for up-close-and-personal things, so he stepped off to the side and looked at the door absentmidedly.
“NO!” screamed Daring. “I....I just know that this door is about to open. I will not stop until I solve this. Just, leave me alone.”
I held my temper in check as I spoke slowly. “We have been assigned to protect you. We can't do that if you're throwing yourself into danger.”
“Yeah, because sitting here in the middle of the night is dangerous.”
“It is when you know there are enemies around, but not where they will come from or when they'll attack.”
She closed her eyes and rubbed her face with her hooves. “I....it's.....I'm sorry. I didn't mean to smack you.” she said suddenly sounding weak. “I've just had a long week and now this. I have this gut feeling that this puzzled is about to be revealed, but I just need to focus on it. So, please just let me work on this.” she pleaded.
I conceded. “Alright, but we're going to stay with you.”
She went back to the position we found her in and I followed her, but stood looking at the door with Syringe.
Syringe spoke up. “Ahhem. Dr. Doo, what are these ruins anyways?” he asked politely as always.
She talked as she got out some notes and scribbled things down. “These ruins belonged to an ancient people that once boasted they could become stronger than the immortal alicorns with just a drink. They were a highly advanced society of ponies. For instance, while Equestria was still being founded, this culture had already excepted equality among all the pony races and were working on scientific advancements. They had a common surgery practice far before any other culture had more than medicine ponies and tribal dances.”
“Sounds like they were well educated. So why won't the door open?” he said with a twinkle in his eye. I knew that look. He got that whenever he was going to whop my flank in a game of chess. It meant he knew something that nopony else knew.
“Well, I've discovered something that would lead the door to open, if I knew what to do with it.” she pointed at the sun in the middle of the door. Looking at the door closely, we could see the sun had millions of tiny rays that came out of it in all directions, heading to the sides of the door. In the middle of the sun there was a small circle cut into it.
“You two see the circle?” she asked “I found out when you turn it, it pops out. Furthermore, the whole sun is empty. But I don't know what to do with it.”
“Why not?” I asked her.
She gave me a dirty look and then collapsed onto the door sighing. “I can't read the ancient runes. In all the ancient languages I know of, not one looks even remotely like this. I can't even pick up on consonants or vowels.” she said from between her hooves.
Her anguish was met by a loud cheery laugh from Syringe. Not only did it surprise Daring, but it surprised me too. Syringe was a shy quiet pony. I learned that he would smile candidly at our antics when we fooled around, but he never laughed.
“Dr. Doo; Daring, if I may? Let me ask you something: What did you get your doctorate in?”
She looked as confused as she sounded, but I knew Syringe had found something. “Ancient cultures of course. Why do you ask?”
“Well, as anypony who is working on their chemistry doctorate can tell you, these runes aren't a language, perse, but a series of symbols.” he said his eyes glowing in the firelight of the lantern. “They symbolize certain chemicals, elements, and a recipe to mix them. These are what we chemists like to call Alchemy symbols. The ancient culture was a symposium of Alchemists!”
Daring jumped off of the door and looked wide awake now. “So you know what these are saying?” she said excitedly waving her hoof at the runes.
He nodded wearing a wide smile. “I know what they are asking for, and it's a compound. What's better yet, is that I can make the compound from the things in my medicine bag!” he finished ecstatically.
Daring flew at him, and tackled him in a flying kiss. She broke away and shouted “You are wonderful!”. She was about to say more but shockingly, Syringe pulled her into another kiss. I was absolutely stunned. I stood there with my eyes pooping out of my head and jaw touching the sandy ground. Where had shy, refined Syringe gone?
Syringe pulled out of the kiss and left Daring swooning. “Be right back dear.” he told her.
He turned around to leave, but Daring smacked him on the flank. “Hurry it up!” she said delighted.
I walked over to Daring in a daze and muttered “I never thought he had it in him....”
“What?” she said.
“He just......and then.....and the laugh.....never mind.”
Daring rose into the air, and did a lazy flip that landed her on the sun, next to the circle. I was still so stunned that I thought I heard music coming from out in the desert, when I saw Syringe come out of the night carrying his bag of medical supplies. He was humming. Humming! What had gotten into him?!? He brought it over to the the door and stared at it with a hoof to his chin. He was humming the whole time he was reading the door. He put the bag down and started to dig through it. Daring landed beside him and sidled up next to him, watching as found the ingredients he was looking for and he mixed them into a compound.
He handed over the cup filled with the compound to Daring. “Add this to the chamber first, then I'll need some help for the second part.” Daring started to fly away, but Syringe pulled her back. “Forgot something.” he said as he grabbed a hoofful of sand and but it into the compound.
“I'll say” said Daring as she kissed him again before flying up to the door to dump the compound in the sun.
I looked on, not sure what to do as Syringe started to mix liquids in a flask. Daring didn't seem to share my insecurity, as she watched every move Syringe made with wonder and delight. He handed her the flask, but held her hoof.
“When the solution and the compound combine, it will be volatile. Right after you pour in the solution, cap the sun.” he pulled the flying pegasus “Be careful.” he warned her as he went in for another kiss.
“Ok, let's get the show on the road. Acting like schoolyard sweethearts. Jessh.” I said.
“Then what would you and Oakleaf be, sir?” Syringe asked politely.
I would have expected that to come from Solitary. I would have even expected Daring to throw something at me after I stopped them. But not in my whole life would I have guessed that Syringe would be giving me sass. It was Syringe for Faust's sake!
Daring flew up to the sun and poured the contents of the flask into it, and she shut the cap quickly. She landed next to Syringe and I just as the chemicals reacted.
The sun started to glow. I started to shine from withing, starting as a hazy yellow, then growing hotter and changing colors. It changed from yellow, to cherry red, to bright white. Each ray connected to the sun glowed along with the heat change, but as the rays got hotter, steam started to billow out of them.
The reaction lasted for a few minutes, but slowly the color faded from the metal and the heat went out into the cold desert night. As the sun cooled back to it's metallic silver, we heard a loud 'pop!'
We all rushed to the door to find it was ajar. We pushed the door and found out it was much lighter than it appeared. I alone was able to push it off the entrance into a musty, dark, and cold corridor. We all stood at the entrance.
I know I should have gone and woken up the next pair, so they would be able to stand guard over the entrance, but I knew what would happen if I left those two alone.
I threw the lantern to Syringe who caught it with telekinesis. Daring picked up his medicine bag.
“Let's go.” I said to them as I ventured into the darkness.
I took a break to catch my breath and was barraged with questions.
“Did Syringe and Daring become a couple?”
“What was that compound? Or the solution?”
“What did you guys find in there?”
“What was the door made out of?”
“Were there mummies?”
“Pinkie, there were no mummies. I don't know what the solution or compound was. I never really cared to find out. The door was made our of Damarescus steel, a really light and tough metal. And finally yes, Daring and Syringe have been dating ever since. They meet up every time Syringe is off duty.”
I took a deep breath. “Any more questions?” it was like telling little foals a story before they go to bed. I continued on with my story.
Daring grabbed Syringe and pulled him ahead of me, so she could lead down the corridor. It seems she had gotten over her 'lovestruck filly' condition and regained some of her famous adventurous spirit. I had to canter to keep up with the couple and the light from the lantern, until I saw a glint in the shadows. Daring saw it too, and slowed up. It was another door.
It was made from the same metal, but instead of a sun, it had a large crescent moon shining in the middle. It didn't have rays spreading out from it, but it had stars that surrounded it, and underneath the moon and stars engraved grass blew in the non-existent wind.. Another difference was that it was covered with different runes than that of it's twin from above ground.
Daring shoved the lantern up to the door, her maroon eye alive with the heat of the moment. This was her element, and it was apparent to all of us. She followed the runes, right to left, line after line, her mouth wordlessly moving along with the sounds of the words. After she finished reading she looked back to us, flushed yet confused.
“It's another magically sealed door, like the one above, but it has different keys. The writing on it said that there are three keys, one from each pony. Now I think it means that as in one of each pony race, but then it goes onto the magic of each race.” she said putting a hoof underneath her chin.
“Well what does it tell us about the magic?” Syringe asked.
Daring grimaced. “It says 'the winged folk shall create the wind to turn the world, the horned ones shall make the night glow with power, and the ponies of stone shall create life for us all.'” I get the first two parts, but I don't know if we can do the last part.
“I'm not following. Could you explain?” I asked her confounded.
“Ok. The first part, 'winged folk shall create wind' basically tells me to flap my wings to make wind on the door. The next part 'horned ones shall make the night glow' tells Syringe that he needs to make the moon and stars on the door glow. Now for the hard part. 'The ponies of stone shall create life'. Earth pony magic is hard to manifest as it is, and there's nothing like plants or anything we could use.”
“So you two get the sky and stars and moon. So that means I get the grass, right?”
“Could we use something other than grass?”
Daring's eyes lit up, then faded again. “Even if we could, it has to be earth pony magic. If we had Syringe put some rocks into the indents, it wouldn't work.”
“Thank Luna for my gauntlets.” I said smiling.
“What?” Daring said surprised.
“Are you sure you can handle it Captain?” Syringe asked concerned. “I remember the amount of stress you put on yourself when we needed a bridge. You could barely walk afterwards.”
“This is different. It's small and easy.” I said, with a tone that ended any of his arguing.
Daring looked confused the whole time but shrugged it off.
“Start doing what you need to do.” I told them as I planted my hooves into the hard bedrock underneath me. I opened up myself to it, to the earth, and started to feel the rock closest to the indents. I felt Daring start to make a wind, and I could feel Syringe's power from his telekinetic spell. Now it was my turn. I forced my will unto the stubborn rock, making it have that same liquid-like consistency. I moved it up from the ground, never breaking the connection. When I needed more rock, I forced it to feed into the earthen tendrils, until it reached the door. I opened my eyes and fell to the ground out of exhaustion, but I saw the door open. For a minute the scene on the door moved on it's own being fed from a mixture of our magic and the magic that held it shut. The moon glowed with the stars and the grass blew in the wind. Then the door fell away inwards on it's hinge. All I could do was look and pant from the ground.
Syringe rushed over to me and beckoned to Daring to give him his medical bag. Daring looked shocked, amazed, and scared. She didn't know what just happened, but she did as Syringe asked. Syringe worked diligently, staying by my side as he mixed some chemicals together. Then he poured the mixture into a cup of water. He stirred it all, and then took a sip of it. He swigged it in his mouth, and then swallowed. He gently lifted my head and poured the strange drink in a slow stream into my mouth.
“Come on Captain, just drink it.” he said to me softly.
I drank it and started to feel better. My energy was slowly coming back. Daring gasped when she saw me rise up on an elbow and chug the rest of the drink.
“What the hell was that Medic Poultice?” I asked him when I finished.
“Just some electrolytes, amino acids, sugar, and water. It was an old trick one of my teachers taught me. He was an alligator from Zebrana. The only aid gator in all of Canterlot too.....”
I laughed. “I have not idea what the buck you're talking about Syringe, but thanks. Would you mind helping me up?” I asked, still feeling too weak to trust myself.
He smiled. “No problem Captain.” he said as he pulled me to my hooves.
I swayed a bit, but then was caught by both Daring and Syringe. “Captain, we should really take you back up.”
“Say something like that again, and I'll demote you to corporal.”
He laughed as we slowly walked through the newly opened door. “And who will take my place? Thick Brick?”
I shook my head and was about to say something, but all our merriment was replaced by awe as we entered the new room. It was lined by statues and columns, all leading down to a small altar. The altar was lit up by moonlight which streamed in from unidentifiable point in the ceiling. The altar held a large glass flask of a red liquid. On the wall behind it stood a large disk of the same metal the doors were made out of. Engraved in the metal disk was stars that all interconnected into one large circle. The insignia in the middle was one we all knew by hearts, the Royal Seal of Equestria.
“The drink of the gods created by those who disobeyed Chaos and looked to Harmony. The Philosopher's Draught.” daring read off of the altar. We all looked at each other in confusion, so I did the only thing I could, I took the corked flask in my mouth and turned around.
We all expected the ruins to come tumbling down around us, triggered by the trap that we all thought was connected to the flask. We all sighed a breath of relief that there was none, and started to walk out of the ruins, felling accomplished.
That feeling disappeared though, when Dr. Stomp's associate, River Flow, came running into the room bloody and frantic.
“Daring! Daring!” he cried running up to us, before tripping over his own hooves, falling to the ground and staying there.
“The bandits! They attacked!” he gasped.
“Syringe, quickly treat him!” I told him as he was already checking the young bison.
“They overwhelmed the bodyguards and now have them hostage along with Dr. Stamp and his crew.” he continued, valiantly trying to stay conscious.
I felt sick and Daring looked horrified.
“Where's Dr. Stomp?” she asked quietly, both hooves to her mouth.
“They killed him when he tried to stop them. That's how I got this sla....” he said as he fainted.
I felt the anger rise in me and looked over to see Daring just as angry, only tears were running down her face.
I nodded to her “Let's go.”
I put the flask in my saddlebags and we started to run, but my vision became blurry and I a stumbled before catching myself.
“You're still to weak Captain! If you go you might die!” screamed Syringe at me while he sewed up the bison's wound.
“If I don't go, they will!” I shouted and I charged out the door after Daring.
I reached the entrance of the corridor to the surface, but held back as I heard Daring's voice.
“...Bastards! Kill a poor professor in cold blood!” I heard her spit, and then she was smacked by somepony.
“Now tell me where the drink of the gods is.” said an angry voice in a thick-accent. “I know who you are, Daring Doo, and I know you saw it down there. Now you will tell me where it is or I start killing your friends.” I heard the voice threaten as I heard a sword being drawn.
I pulled the flask out from my saddlebags and jumped out of the corridor.
“ Release everypony, or I break the glass!” I shouted, between my teeth.
My friends were all held hostage off to the left near the tents by ponies holding swords and wearing thick, black scarves around their heads. I knew my unit could escape, but not without having the other hostages killed. The other hostages, which were Dr. Stamp, his crew, and now Daring, were held off to the right, by a smaller contingent of the black scarfed ponies. However, one pony wasn't wearing a scarf, and from the way he held himself, he was the leader. He had a brown and black coat with and orange mane, was easily three times bigger than me, and was missing an ear. He looked at me in shock, but calmed down to try to play it cool.
“Now, now friend, you break the flask, we kill your friends.” he said in a threateningly sweet voice. “Just give it to me and everypony is let go.”
“Let them go first” I said as I slowly started to circle to the left of him. My head spun with each step, but I knew they wouldn't attack me for fear of me breaking their goods.
“I give you my word” he lied “they will be let go when I get the flask.”
I had now sidestepped 180 degrees around him, so my back was to the open desert night.
“Why do you want this so badly anyway? What is so valuable that somepony would leave archeologists to die in the desert?”
The leader of the bandits looked genuinely taken aback. “You mean you have no idea what you have risked your life for? Your Adventurous friend has not tole you?” he said glancing wide eyed at Daring.
“What you and your friends almost died for is the drink that made Celestia and Luna immortal. It gave them powers beyond the might of any being. If you give it to me, I will free your friends and offer you a spot with my marauders.”
“I'm listening.” I said as I uncorked the bottle.
He started to loose his nerve. “Give it to me! Give it to me now! Or they all die!”
“You really want it so much?”
“GIVE IT TO ME NOW!” he said unsheathing his sword.
“Come an' get it.” I said as I threw my head back and chugged the drink in two gulps.
“Wait? Why aren't you super-powered now, then?”
“RAINBOW DASH, SHUT UP!!!” said everypony.
Rainbow shrank under their gazes, but I stopped them.
“The doctors said the drink was way less potent after a couple thousand years, so alas no superpowers.”
“So what happened?”
“RAINBOW DASH, SHUT UP SO HE CAN FINISH THE STORY!!!” everypony said again.
I chuckled and continued.
“KILL HIM NOW!” screamed the leader of the bandits after I spat the bottle out of my mouth. I felt funky so I fell to the sand, curling up into a ball. My team must have distracted the bandits, because nopony came at for a bit, until I hear the leader shout again.
“FORGET THE HOSTAGES! THE FIRST ONE TO BRING ME HIS HEAD WILL BECOME A GOD IN OUR NEW WORLD!!!!”
I thought he was crazy as he said all this stupid stuff. And this was the guy who killed the poor, nice, friendly, old Bison?! That just made me sick. I felt the anger claw its way into my mouth and I rose.
I saw almost all the bandits charging me, the leader at the back letting his men go first. So he was a coward too? That made me even more angry. This anger coursed through my veins, setting my body ablaze with energy. They started to get closer and I realized I wouldn't be able to fight them all with nothing but my hooves. I looked at them quickly, and realized I was standing in sand.
I opened myself up to the earth. Sure, I might not be able to fight them alone, but with the help of the Earth itself, they would be beaten easily. I hoped that sand was 'earthy' enough to fall under my jurisdiction, and I went to it.
I heard the first of the bandits run up to me and utter a horrible war-whinny, but this didn't distract me. He flew up into the air as a sand-geyser launched him away from me. I opened my eyes to see the horde slow and stop charging at me. I gave them the devil's smile and let all my fury take them.
Some shot off in different directions by sand-geysers, some were swallowed whole by the sands , but most were whipped to and fro by small dust devils I summoned. I walked through the horde, thinning their numbers, until I reached the leader. His legs shook with fear, but his mouth twitched with anger and malice. I had something special I thought up for him as I walked through the horde.
I stopped a few feet from him and focused. Dust devils formed around me, and then surrounded all four of my hooves. I took my fighting stance and beckoned him forward. He rose his sword in his mouth and gave me the scariest war-whinny I've heard to date.
He was beaten quickly and fiercely. He dared to attack my friends? Then he would pay with his body. He dared to kill the innocent for personal gain? Then he would pay with his life. This was the job given to me by Princess Luna; I planned to finish it to the brutal end.
When I was done with him, I let his body sink under the shifting sands and I went back to my friends. Everypony was fine, including young River Flow. I felt fine, but extremely tired. I let the unit help pack up. We found the body of Dr. Stomp and we held a small funeral for him. The last thing I did with my power was to make a tomb of glass around him. River Flow said he would take the body back to his people and he would never forget me. We all said our goodbyes after our small service. Daring's and Syringe's goodbye was the most disgusting show of love I had ever seen, the crying and the kissing mixed and was just horrible. And yet I held Oakleaf and looked at them, not disgusted, but happy for them. A love like that happens only once in a life time.
We departed and went our separate ways, speeding across the desert in different directions, hopefully to meet again one day.
I was riding back to back with Oakleaf since I was too tired to drive my own rider. We had mine hooked up to Solitary's so he could drag it along.
The sun was just rising as we left the ruins in the distance, their shape forever on the horizon in my mind.
Everypony started to clap quietly when I was done telling my story. I didn't realize it but not only had everypony been enthralled by my story, the Cake babies had fallen asleep on me. Pound was curled up in a ball of comfort on my lap, while Pumpkin hung on my head, still sucking on my mane in her sleep.
I quietly bid everypony goodnight until the only adult ponies left were Pinkie, Twilight, and I. Pinkie gently scooped up Pumpkin from my head and I picked up Pound just as gently. We carried them up the stairs carefully and put them in their beds silently, not wanting to disturb their bliss. As I looked at them asleep, I realized that, they were the true reason I went into the Battalion. Sure, I initially joined to serve the lovely princess of the night, but as I went through more time in the Battalion, and more time with Oakleaf, I realized I fought for them. My future child, my future wife, my friends, my family, the lives of ponies I don't even know. I had fought in the Battalion for them. And now, I need to stay sane for them too.
Pinkie and I left the room and she seemed to have read my mind. She gave me a big hug and whispered “Thank you for being such a good foalsitter. Now I know who to call when I need help, that is if you're not busy with Twilight.” she finished with a wink.
“I don't think Twilight would like you talking about us that way.” I said amused
“'Us'! Ha! You two are a couple!”
I shook my head and hugged the pink mare tighter. "Goodnight Pinkie.”
She returned my hug. “Goodnight Crimson.”
I went down the stairs and saw Twilight waiting at the bottom. I smiled at her and we left Sugarcube Corner.
We started walking home, and I sidled up next to Twilight, and held her hoof as we walked. I looked at her and saw her looking at the ground, while blushing.
“So how'd you like my story?”
She laughed, her blush subsiding a bit. “I have got to stop staying out so late with you. Look at the time.” she said waiving our joined hooves to the sky.
I looked up at the stars. “2:34 am. A beautiful time for a walk home.”
“You can tell the time just by looking at the stars?” she asked incredulously.
“Check when we get home.”
We kept on walking and flirting until we reached the library. We parted for a moment, Twilight going to put her saddlebags away, me to my room to make sure my gauntlets were put away from earlier.
Then Twilight came back to my room. I went up to her and held her.
“This is where we say goodnight.” I said to her after we stared into each others eyes for a couple of minutes. Twilight surprised my by pulling me into a kiss. I stumbled into my room, and we fell into my bed. We kept on kissing, and I didn't realize where we were until I separated.
There she was laid out on my bed and I felt like I loved her. But, something held me back. It was past coming back to me again. I saw her there and I realized, I was taking this too fast. I had just lost my wife and unborn son, two months ago. Two! Bucking! Months! I knew I was rushing this so that I could escape the pain. If I could get somepony else to fill the void, then I could move on, right? But I knew it didn't work that way. I knew I would always love Oakleaf no matter what.
“I'm sorry Twilight, I can't do this. It's too soon.” I said softly, so my voice wouldn't crack. I hoped she couldn't see the tears on my face.
She looked disappointed, but understanding. “It's alright Crimson. I.....I'll come back when you're ready, I guess.” she said as she left the room quickly.
No! I didn't want it to be this way. But I couldn't love her. Not yet anyways.
“Yes?” answered a meek voice.
“Buona......Goodnight.” I said in a broken voice as I closed my bedroom door.
I went to my bed and laid there wait for sleep that never came. I thought about my old love and my new love and would could happen in the future, if my past was able to leave me alone. I kept on thinking a conglomeration of sad and painful thoughts until, I came to a conclusion: I was a coward and I betrayed my wife's memory by seeking this comfort with another mare. With that thought, I cried myself to sleep.