Twilight Gets a Puppy, Season 3

by TDR

The Crescent Empire, Part 4

Twilight Gets a Puppy
Season 3
by TDR

The Crescent Empire,
Part 4

[ Out side the barrier in the snow plains.]

“I'm surprised to see you two here, Rhino, Ascepius, this is a little out of your usual stomping grounds.” Celestia frowned lightly as she and her sister came to a stop at the edge of the group.

“Bleu was kind enough to offer us a lift.” the gray skinned Rhino muttered.” While I am not a fan of the air, I cannot deny that the idea of lost knowledge might have sent me running.”

“While losssst knowledge issss all well and good. Thisssss place has been sssssealed away for over thirteen hundred yearssss. The chance of maladyssss that we have desssstroyed being rampant in thisssss place issss too high for ussss to sssssit back and let it fesssssster.” Ascepius hissed.

“I understand, thank you for the assistance.” Celestia looked up at the towering buffalo mountain standing above them all.

“You know why I am here.” Iinii glowered staring down at Celestia and Luna, his expression still unreadable.

“The problem is, we can't go in. The whole place is rigged to vanish again, probably for another thirteen hundred years.” Lockheed snapped. “And since most of us rushed here we didn't manage to bring any servants of our own to send in. Yet you did Celestia. Curious.”

“The Empire was closest to Equestria and we had a rail line up this way for a resort. When I first heard I sent a Guard contingent and Cadence here. We are just now getting here ourselves with a research team.”Celestia explained.

“And the Elements.” Fledge stated ruffling her feathers, the Raven now the form of a snowy owl.

“Better to have them in case they are needed. I am unsure if this is part of Velkorn's propachy or not. I am skeptical that Chrysalis played the part of Envy, but if so that would make the next Greed.” Celestia explained.

“Perhaps they are more to keep your sister in line?” Teacup questioned staring at the darker alicorn.

“ The Elements have purged her of the darkness...”Celestia began.

“Like they did with Discord?” Kodiak snarled.

“To be fair, Discord is Discord.” Martle sighed. “ They did seal him for a long time and once freed the only one he bothered was his ex. So they might have done something.”

“Forthe had other suggestions for that.” Kodiak snapped.

“And we all know that Forthe certainly doesn't have any ulterior motives, and harbors not a drop of malice towards Luna at all.” Bleu snarked.

“Forthe was here?” Celestia blinked, her ears flattening to her head. “Why was he in the north?”

“A good question.” Rhino pondered.” There is nothing up here but the abominations and now the hidden empire. Even the Yaks and Rams steer clear of this valley.”

[Train station.]

“Alright I want two per civi and three on each of the Element Bearers. Tribe teams, no doubles even If you're working with another Guard unit. All business ponies, this is a high risk area, when the escort gets here we are moving with a purpose, no stopping or lollygagging. If you forgot something we are not coming back for it, we move as fast as the slowest member of the detail. If something happens you are to pick them up and bring them with you. Guards on the Bearers, we are code black, no matter what the happens those mares are to come back alive, everything and everyone else is expendable, am I clear!?” Comet Trail bellowed over the snow.

“YES SIR!” was the barked report from the gathered guards.

A little distance away between the Guards and the train station a gathering of well bundled up ponies, and a Moon Dog stood.

“I for one, am not thrilled with this” Sunburst sighed.

“Ain't sitting well with me either” Applejack muttered.

“Then we simply need to make sure we make sure there's no need for them to risk themselves for us” Rarity frowned.

“Dang... this is heavy stuff.” Spike muttered looking around from his perch on Rahs shoulder, a morose expression on his face. “There's so much that can go wrong here.”

“Not the first time we've been in a situation like that Spike.” Rainbow Dash smirked. “Doubt it's gonna be the last either.”

“Woof.” Rahs responded his ears perked up as he looked up at the dome in the distance.

“You smell something? What is it?” Twilight asked.

Rahs frowned before shrugging lightly. He didn't know what the scent was, but it was coming from the empire. It wasn't pleasant either.

“Looks like the escort's here.” Rainbow Dash pointed out. A long heavily bundled pony strode through the snow towards the group. The Guards quickly moved into position around the research team, the doctors, and the three sleds that were being pulled with them.

The pony wore a strange set of sun glasses that covered his eyes save narrow slits and had a thick scarf wrapped around his face in addition to the bulky coat he wore.

“Halt and order.” The massive form of the Nox-cal, Lodestone approached the newcomer, staring down at the bundled figure.

“Double sized Mocha, with three drops of caramel and a swizzle straw.” the figure called back. “Hold the froth picture.”

“He's clear.” Lodestone called back before turning to the bundled figure with a grin. “Nice to see you're still alive prince.”

“I told you not to call me that.” Shining Armor muttered as he pulled down the scarf and pushed the goggles up over his horn.

“Shining! You're alright!” Twilight called out.

“What? After all I've been through you think a little snow is gonna stop me?”Shining Armor smirked. “Glad you're here though sis, this is a bit of a doozy. And a crappy honeymoon too.”

“Sounds about your luck though Armor. Anything to report or can we move out?” Comet Trail questioned.

“Quite a lot, but we can talk on the move. We've made no progress on the barrier and even before it started closing in we had to put up the shield to keep out the snow. There's also something outside that's been hitting itself against the barrier for the whole time we've been here. Some sort of smoke thing. It shows up around sunset and stays all night. If we head out now we should be able to get back before it shows up. Spells and physical attacks don't do anything to it and even my shields only partially effective against it. The one Cadence has up stops it, but she's had the shield up for three days now. And she hasn't figured out how to set it and just recharge it like mine, she's literally holding the Empire in place. Not sure how much longer she can hold it.”

Shining glanced to the wagons.

“There better be some damn strong coffee on one of those.” the unicorn added.

“Oooh, ooh, I can make some Pie family coffee if that helps.” Pinkie Pie bounced up and down in the snow.

“Pinkie I don't think we need to kill Princess Cadence. You're the only one I've ever seen drink that and not need to be rushed to the hospital.” Fluttershy frowned.

“Alright we're moving now. Talk on the march. Hustle ponies, we've got an empire to save.” Comet Trail called out.

[ Some time later]

Twenty ponies, three carts of supplies, a moon dog, a dragon, fifty guards and Shining Armor made their way through the expanse of snow towards the empire. The groups fliers were grounded due to the snow storm and high winds in the area. The weather making the two miles seem like forever.

Twilight, Moon Dancer, Comet Trail, and Dr. Hospice walked ahead a bit speaking with Shining Armor.

“The barrier has moved in about a mile since we first got here, we're already past the zone of inclusion Those rock towers a bit back were where the compacting of the barrier started when Cadence passed.” Shining Armor explained.

“So the Princesses can't come past that point without making things worse?” Comet Trail sighed.

“As far as we know. No one really wants to risk it.” Twilight theorized, she was heavily cloaked with matching boots and leg warmers, rather stylishly, thanks to Rarity of course. All the other girls were much the same with Rahs wearing a brand new and rather thick bright orange coat. When asked about the near blinding color of the coat, Rarity pointed out it was the material color she had left after making the others, and Sweetiebelle's help.

Rahs didn't mind. It was warm.

Spikes coat was the soft yellow of Applebloom's fur. The others thought it was cute until Spike mentioned it felt like he had skinned Applebloom to wear her flesh. It became slightly unsettling then, but they stopped teasing the little drake wearing something that matched his filly friend, which had been his plan all along.

“You said there was something wrong with the citizens here?” Dr. Hospice asked, the dappled brown and white unicorn stallion was half buried in a thick cloak, though wisps of his gray hair fluttered out from under the hood.

“I'm not sure what is wrong with them. All of them are skittish and with faded and muted colors. “ Shining Armor explained about the ponies they had found in the Empire. “They are all earth ponies but a large number are weak and frail, which is weird, but not unexpected given how they have been living. What is unexpected is that they also have no memories, or it's more like they can't recall anything. Some can't even remember their names or what their jobs are. It's obvious what some are, like the armored ponies were clearly Guards, but they don't recall what they were doing or who they worked for. We've got the lot of them disarmed and secured in their barracks under guard. But it's like they can't process anything.”

“I can understand the fearful given what I've heard about this place, but the rest of it.” Twilight muttered.

“Some sort of dissociation disorder perhaps. “ Dr. Hospice frowned. “I didn't bring a professional psychiatrist on my team, though Jaspers did have a stint in it.”

“I'm inclined to think if it's affecting the whole empire it's magical based and not clinical, doctor.” Moon Dancer added.

“Well the whole place is odd. Everything feels muted. None of the Heart Guard are suffering from anything, just the citizens, so it might be an after effect of the displacement.” Shining Armor added. “ It doesn't explain the rabbits though.”

“Rabbits?” Comet Trail questioned.

A roar from the sky cut off any response.

“Crap. It's early. Talk later, start moving now” Shining barked. “Run... RUN!”

The group took off as a massive smokey shape approached from out of the storm. Two of the cart pullers were starting to lag behind a bit as the others galloped on. Two of the Guard Nocturne thundered up behind the carts, the massive Nox-cal put their shoulders against the back of the cart and started pushing. The sudden increase in speed making the pullers scramble to keep ahead of the carts.
Applejack surged on pulling the third supply cart with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie helping push having no issue keeping up.

Magic blasts lit up the sky firing into the darkness, shields formed in the air trying to deter the thing, the snows melting around the focused fire from the unicorn guards. The shadowy creature screamed out as the shots of light passed harmlessly through through it, the mass chasing after the fleeing ponies flowing around and through the shields raised.

The group thundered towards the barrier shield, the fastest runners of the team passing the edge of it already. The unicorn guards stopping at the edge to turn and face the threat as the others pushed through to protect those on the other side.

“Don't stop just run right through it, it'll be fine.” Shining Armor bellowed turning to add his own energy blasts to the attack. He quickly formed a shield as a dark beam of energy burst from the creature, the energy bouncing off the hastily raised protection. The last of the civilian ponies made it through the shield, the unicorns started falling back though as well.

The smoke beast lashed out a tendril at them, slapping three of the guard into the air sending them flying back through the shield. Another lash of darkness crushed a Nox-cal Kirin to the ground with a horrendous crunch of bone and screaming. Shining grabbed the fallen guard in his magic yanking him back through the shield as the shadowy thing roared slamming bodily into the shield trying to reach the fleeing ponies.