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Sound. Light. Explosion. Death. Pain.
That was my first few seconds of pitched battle. I was dazed, confused, acting on my instincts and the drills that the instructors taught me at the Savaneigh. I dodged behind a rock, reloading my magical carbine and aiming at the Legion soldiers across the highway. I pulled the variable trigger, spraying wildly in the general direction of the enemy. I didn’t manage to hit anything, with my eyes closed.
PAIN! Sudden, lurching pain! My wings fell to the side of my barding as I struggled with the wave of nausea. I swung the rifle out of cover and fired again, not aiming. I managed to bring myself to examine the wound on my left wing. Blood flowed slowly down my cyan coat, mixing with my chromatic mane. Nausea again. I couldn’t wrap gauze around it until the battle was over, not that my wing would bleed much more than it already had. Nausea, this time along with blotches of dizziness. I couldn’t see, but I shot anyway. I couldn’t think of anything else to do.
I screamed. From terror and pent up frustration as none of my shots hit anywhere near the Lunar Legion soldiers coming down on my position. I had to hold out. I had to survive. I looked at the rifle that floated in front of me. It was a Colt manufactured rifle, a magical carbine that was built to react to its wielders thoughts. This was mine, the one I got when I enlisted in the Equestrian Special Air Service. I had kept it since then, through an outpost near the border, to the dispute with the Gyphons, to today. My first battle.
It exhilarates you, and scares the shit out of you, that first battle. Your every instinct is to run, get away. But you are trained to go against that, to put your body in front of the moving pieces of lead and brass. Your first shots almost NEVER hit anything, so much is happening at once. I hear a sudden shouting from my rear, and several other ponies join my rocky position. One of them yells over the din. “FLANK THOSE BASTARDS! SHOOT!”
I followed orders and shot, covering the advance of several stealthier ponies than myself. After all, having a mane like a rainbow isn’t the best for stealth combat. I emptied the clip into the enemy position, feeling the gun get subsequently lighter. I reloaded, hefting a magazine from my barding pouches, and slid it in, rewarded with a resound click and magical auto cocking. I aimed at several of the blue clad ponies in front of me.
They fired back with normal terrorist weapons, the Avtomat Kolashnikov 1947 chief among them. There heads slid back when I fired, a puff of pink smoke a solid response to the bullets impact with pony skin. I could feel myself recoil at the sight, but I had to keep moving, keep firing. I leapt from my rock, taking up a position near one of the wrecked vehicles on the highway. From this position I had better cover and a better way to cover the sneaking ponies of the squad. I fired more, filling the enemy position with lead as the last few of the stealth ponies got into position. And they opened fire.
The din of booms and crackle could have been heard around Equestria, it was so loud. I didn’t think when I added my own sounds, my own crackle. I just started. The loud sounds resounded for a good few seconds before dying off slowly. I was the last to release the trigger.
I had killed somepony. I saw them drop into the grass, I saw their blood spurt like a riser from a wound in their side, coating the grass and dirt around them a red color. I watched them tumble into the grass, to weak to support themselves. I had seen other such scenes from where the hidden ponies had flanked them and it was just as gruesome.
Return fire had stopped, so I galloped forward to look at the pony I had shot. It would be simple, to finish them off. Just one shot. I could tell that they were going to suffer from the way my bullet impacted. I came upon where they fell and…
I was shocked. What was she doing in the Lunar Rebellion armor?! What was she doing attacking US?! What was her reasoning? What was mine?
I had always assumed I was being loyal to my friends by being in the military. It was the way I was justifying shooting at the soldiers across the highway, across the line, across the spectrum. I always justified my fighting, my war, with just the thoughts of my friends. And now, because of that justification, I had shot one of those friends that I had been fighting for.
“F-Fluttershy?” I finally stuttered, disbelieving. Her yellow coat was now a pale orange, the mix of blood and her natural color changing her horribly. Her three butterfly cutie-mark was stained with blood, now only barely legible from the smears. Red ran down from her medics barding along her side and another dribble came down from her face, where her snout was bleeding. Her mane had either been dyed red or was turned so in the battle.
Her eyes opened slightly and looked at me, with forgiveness. Forgiveness and Kindness that I never deserved for what I had done to her. Abandoning her and my friends, to fight a war that no one enjoyed, no one thought worth it. For having shot her myself. “Oh, hi Dashie…” That look ate at me. It made me crazy with guilt and remorse, as I called, pleadingly, for a medic. One came eventually, but she shook her head at me as I tried to lift her.
“You have to leave her. She will die if you move her.”
“She will die if I don’t. Wrap her. Please…”
The medic sighed. “Alright…”