A griffon calmly read a book as he laid in his hospital bed.
The griffon didn't answer back and continued on reading his book.
The griffon closed his book and looked up. In front of him, he saw a pair of heavily built griffons. They wore the same style of brown trench coat and red scarf. Both had rifles slung over their back and were carrying a full-faced helmet under one arm. The griffon looked down at the remains of his left leg; The surgeons weren't able to reattach the leg. "You have your orders," he said with a calm but rage-filled voice.
Both griffons nodded and donned their helmets. The instant their helmets were fully on their head, they disappeared in thin air.
Spitfire looked at the filly sitting on the train bench in front of her. The little filly was clearly too young for the uniform she was wearing but here she was, wearing it like it wasn't a costume. During the entirety of the train ride, the little orange filly hadn't looked away from the floor nor did she move. "Scootaloo," Spitfire called out. The filly didn't move, acting like she didn't hear the call. Spitfire felt guilt well up in her heart. Children were not supposed to be soldiers. Hell, nopony is supposed to be a soldier. "I'll get you discharged as soon as we get there."
Spitfire got up from her own bench and trotted into the next car down. This car was significantly larger than the one she just came from and was filled a half dozen numerous metal cages, each one holding dozens of griffons. At each cage were a trio of ponies, all armed with shotguns. A few of the guards noticed their new guest and saluted. Spitfire saluted back. Spitfire looked at the prisoners of war(POW) who just calmly sat in their makeshift jails. "So, why are we taking them to Ponyville? I've never been with POWs long enough to know what happens to them," Spitfire asked.
One of the guards looked at the captain and replied with, "They have to be properly processed and documented before they're divided up and sent to a proper penal facility."
Spitfire nodded and decided to go back to the previous car. There was nothing of entertainment here. She trotted over to the exit and went through the door. Before she could enter the next car over, her ears picked up something. It sounded like... A long strip of cloth, fluttering in the wind. The sound a scarf would make when exposed to high velocity winds. She rubbed her ears with a hoof. Impossible. They were three quarters of the way to Ponyville, there'd be no reason for one to be here.
She opened up the door to the next car and sat down, deciding to look at the filly again. Scootaloo finally moved and looked up at the captain. "You heard it too, right?"
Spitfire froze. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Scootaloo narrowed her eyes. "The sound a scarf makes when it flies through the air."
Princess Celestia looked at the humans inside the house. Based on what had been described in field reports, all four of them were quite a strange group. From what she had seen so far, it was true. She knew this the instant she saw them.
One was angry. No, he wasn't emotionally angry at the current moment. He was, however, angry with life. He was angry with the hand that life had dealt him. Why did everything that had happened to him have to happen to him? Why did he have to work harder than everyone else? Why did he have to endure more suffering than some pansy who had a silver spoon up his ass?
Another was bored. While it was a bit arrogant of him to assume, he believed that he had experienced enough in the few years (comparatively) of life that he had lived so far. Anything that is thrown to him, he can accomplish. He was here for the ride. No need to plan anything, he can just make things up as he goes along.
The third was unsure of himself. Unlike the other three, everything he did was to be done carefully. He had to be ALWAYS prepared for anything and everything. If there's a surprise, something has gone wrong. If it's his ass on the line, no risks should be taken. While it was not the most excitable life to live, at least he would be alive.
The last one... He was dead inside. She could see it in his eyes. Why? She had no idea. Unphased by anything, he could be shot in the leg and he would try to walk it off. Hell, she wouldn't doubt if it he had done something like that before. What was motivating him to keep on moving? "That would be me," said Tran.
Princess Celestia smiled. "Yes, I've read reports of what you've done to defend our country and I would like to thank you for being a key part in repelling the griffons from Baltimare." She eyed the other three humans. "And I can't forget to thank your friends too. They must have also been instrumental in that battle."
Logan crossed his arms. "Fuck yeah, we were."
Princess Celestia stifled a giggle. "It is everypony's duty to fight for their country but to fight for somepony else's country? That is admirable to the highest degree."
Wilson frowned. "I'll be honest. I don't fucking care about your country and I just want to go home."
Princess Celestia's smile faltered slightly. She had also read about how these four had arrived. A summons by a supposedly dead chaos lord. It wasn't too much of a surprise. "Yes, that's also why I'm here. I'll also be honest. I have no idea how to get you four home and I am arguably one of the most powerful magical beings on this planet."
A vein on Wilson's head momentarily appeared but disappeared shortly afterwards. He understood as did the other three. She wasn't the one who brought him here so it wasn't her duty.
Princess Celestia was quite surprised that they handled the news in such a civilized manner. "I can only see this going about in two ways. I can send you to the western portion of my country, the furtherst from the war that you can go. The other option." She narrowed her eyes. "Is to join up and continue fighting."
The four humans looked at each other. They all knew how this was going to go. They would not have been brought here if the help was not absolutely needed and they were no doubt a major enemy of the griffons for what they had done in Baltimare. Tran was the first to look back at Celestia. "I think you already know what we're going to say."
Celestia raised an eyebrow. "That you'll join up but not without terms and conditions?"All four of them simultanously nodded. "Five times the pay of a starting infantry officer for each of you, and not falling under anypony's authority?" The four humans looked at each other before looking back at the Princess. "Ten times the pay it is."
The four humans shared one final look before nodding. "We'll also need someone to make ammo for our arms, general supplies, and access to otherwise restricted materials like explosives or drugs," said Tran.
Celestia thought about it for a second before lightly nodding. "Done." Celestia had noticed that there were actually other ponies in the room with them and noticed that they were bowing and possibly had been the whole time. "Oh, sorry. You all may rise."
Octavia, Vinyl Scratch, Blueblood, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack all stood up from their extended show of respect.
Blueblood was frankly, pissed. That was not how you speak to royalty! He looked at his great (many times over) aunt and was amazed at how she was still smiling (it was a genuine smile too, not that politician's facade that she usually puts up). "They could not possibly be worth that much." The other four ponies in the room stared at Blueblood. He noticed their disapproval and crossed his arms. "That's easily a thousand bits per pony a month. They could buy a small house every month if they wanted to. Are they really worth it?"
Rainbow Dash looked at Tran. He had taken out not one but two Jaegers. He had killed a war chief and captured another. He had successfully aimed and hit a target from a kilometer away, taking out a general. He had forgiven her for shooting him. He rescued Scootaloo. She gave Blueblood an angry glare. "Yes. Yes they're worth it."
Applejack thought about both of the times she was rescued by them. She owed her hide to both Eric and Wilson. "Cause they're very good at what they do."
Vinyl smirked. "And they're mad crazy!" Octavia smacked her upside the head. Vinyl looked at her partner, seeing her glare and straightened herself up. "They provided much needed assistance to the ESS."
Octy (Celestia damn it) nodded in agreement. "They played a key role in foiling Ponyville's black market."
Princess Celestia looked at each of the four humans. "I'm glad you four have made such an impact so far."
Blueblood, however, was angry. "They stole my coin purse! For alcohol!"
Princess Celestia looked at Logan. "Please return it."
Logan recoiled. "Why did you assume it was me?" He pointed to Tran, who was now presenting the stolen coin purse.
Celestia looked at the stolen coin purse and the person who was holding it. "I apologize. Out of the four, you seemed like the one to do something like that."
Logan smirked. "Yeah," he agreed. He pointed back at Tran. "He beat me to it." Tran tossed the coin purse to Blueblood, happy to finally have his money back.
Celestia dropped her real smile for a politician's smile, a change that was noticed only by Blueblood and Tran. "There is one last thing to discuss." She slowly approached Tran, who instinctively moved his hand towards his sidearm. "I believe you almost shot my fellow princess."
She had read Twilight's personal account of the experience. Supposedly, this human had brandished his sidearm (an enormous hand cannon of a sidearm at that) towards her once-student. Twilight had explained that it was mostly due to the surprise of a teleportation. Nothing too surprising about that. What had really caught Celestia's attention was the fact that Twilight had attempted to teleport away said sidearm and failed. She doubted that Twilight had failed the simple spell which meant a much more interesting conclusion, were they immune to regular magic? If so, it meant one of two things. Either they were magical golems made of a magic absorbing rock or were chaos beings. Both were just as likely.
Celestia adopted a mischievous smile. "Tell me, do you bleed?"
Tran most certainly had his hand on his sidearm, something everyone noticed. His human friends most certainly noticed and had their hands on their sidearms (except Logan who eyed Wilson's KRISS). The ponies in the room responded by doing the same, they had their hooves ready to grab their sidearms (minus Blueblood who wrapped the handle of his sword with his magic). Tran, narrowing his eyes, asked back, "Let's say I do, what then?"
Celestia's horn lit up and grabbed one of the bottles of whiskey that they had 'liberated', slowly bringing it over. As the bottle floated over, she knew what they weren't; They weren't golems. Otherwise, her magic would have been instantly sucked away. "Then, you can get drunk."
Tran, who's left hand was holding the handle of his sidearm, grabbed the bottle out of the air with his right handle. "I suppose that was some kind of test?"
Celestia, who had been staring directly into Tran's eyes this whole time without blinking, smirked. "You could say that."
Tran, who had been keeping up with the staring contest, took his hand off of the sidearm. Everyone did the same, thankful that the situation was de-escalated. "What for?" Tran asked.
Celestia thought about the possibilities. She doubted that they were true chaos beings, a creature born out of the desire for the world to change. They were probably supercharged with chaos magic. Considering they were supposedly brought in from another universe by Discord, who had been a very powerful chaos being, this idea was much more believable. "Just testing your sense of humor," Celestia replied.
Wilson snorted. "Fucked up humor."
While everyone was calming down, It was the exact moment that somepony had teleported in. To everypony's surprise, the same purple princess pony previously from the last teleportation incident was once again the culprit.
Once again, Twilight found a S&W Model 500 pointed at her face. Applejack immediately drew her Colt Single Action Army and aimed it at Tran, hammer cocked back. Wilson responded by drawing his Glock and aimed it at Applejack. Rainbow Dash drew her Model 92 and aimed it Wilson. Eric responded by drawing his S&W Model 8 and aimed it at Rainbow Dash. Octavia responded by drawing a Model 92 and aimed it at Eric. Logan responded by picking up Wilson's KRISS and aimed it at Octavia. Blueblood teleported his sword out of his sheath and at the throat of Logan. Tran drew his Colt Walker with his right hand and aimed it at Blueblood, hammer cocked back. Eric, taking a cue from Tran, drew his Walther PPW and aimed it at Vinyl. Vinyl simply threw her hooves into the air, deciding that had been the best course of action. Wilson, who got the same idea as Eric and Tran, aimed his Serbu Shorty with his free hand at Princess Celestia.
Twilight, like Vinyl, threw her hooves and her wings into the air. Tran let out a frustrated breath. "Again, really?" he asked.
Celestia, not caring at the tiny shotgun pointed at her face, looked at Tran. "I can see why you brandished a firearm at her," she deadpanned. She looked at all of the firearms still up in the air, primed and ready to drop whoever it was aimed at. "This is quite the stand off we're in."
"Yep," Tran deadpanned back. He slowly and carefully holstered his revolvers, soon being followed by everyone else in the room. Tran looked at their new guest, who still had her hooves and wings in the air. "Seriously, again, really?"
Twilight slowly nodded and brought her hooves and wings down. "Sorry," she softly (Fluttershy would have been proud) said.
Tran lightly glared at the purple pastel pony princess. "Please stop doing that." Twilight nodded in agreement. This was the moment that he, as did his other cohorts, noticed something about the princess. "You have wings?"
This was also the moment that an explosion rattled all of Ponyville.
Five Minutes Ago
Spitfire felt their train slowing down. She looked out the window of their train car and was filled with the view of Ponyville's military-only train station. "We're here," she stated. She looked back at the squirt. "Grab your stuff." Scootaloo just stayed frozen in place, still staring at the floor. She scowled and stepped closer to the filly. "Listen, I know you-" She froze. Her ears twitched. She grabbed the squirt and shoved her to the ground, covering the filly's body with her own. A split second later, something from the front of the train exploded. Not long after that, the sound of gunfire filled the air.
All four humans immediately grabbed whatever gear and weapons they had. Applejack, having supplied her own weapons to use in the war, grabbed her two double barrel shotguns. Everypony else, minus Princess Celestia, drew revolvers. Hell, even Blueblood had drawn a revolver.
Rainbow Dash looked at Blueblood's sidearm, a Model 73. "You've had a gun this whole time?" she asked.
Wilson was more interested in something much bigger. "Are we just gonna ignore that?" he asked, pointing at Princess Celestia. The princess in question was also armed, but not with a handgun. Held in her hooves was a full on machine gun. Not a light machine gun either, it was a full-sized machine that looked like it was intended for a static emplacement. Where she got this from, the world may never know.
The princess of the sun smirked. "What? Is something wrong with my hair?" While her permanently flowing hair was an interesting sight, she knew he was talking about her Model 14 HotKiss machine gun. The machine gun in question was an air-cooled 25 kilogram machine gun that was meant to be fired from an emplaced tripod (not that she cared). At 450 rounds per minute, it fired the older but more powerful 8x50mm Equestrian Ordnance round instead of the more modern but weaker 6.5x50mm Stomper. To make things even weirder, it was not fed from a flexible ammunition belt nor was it fed from a magazine. Instead, it was fed from a long metallic strip that held 40 rounds that literally stuck out of the right side of the gun. Speaking of which, she wore a saddlebag that was literally filled with more ammunition strips.
Tran looked at the machine gun. "Who cares, it'll be useful." He shoved past everyone and went out the front door. Immediately upon stepping out of the house, he noticed all of the griffons flying through the air. Unfortunately for him, they noticed him. "Out of the frying pan." He raised his rifle and snapped off a shot, hitting one lone griffon and knocking him out of the air. Naturally, they returned fire.
Luckily for the human, Princess Celestia had stepped outside and had thrown up a shield. The shield effortlessly bounced all of the incoming bullets, giving enough time for everyone else to step outside. Everyone raised their weapons. "And into the fire."