A Forgotten Trooper

by SonicTeam34

Chapter 18: Mountain Climbing

Strider had been wrong. VERY wrong.

When he had begun climbing, Fluttershy seemed to weigh the same as one of the backpacks that troopers sometimes wore. He hadn't noticed that Fluttershy had been using her wings slightly to make his job easier.

But the Dragon above decided to snore again, startling Fluttershy so badly that her wings had locked up again, nearly pulling Strider off the cliff from the sudden weight increase.

Now, Strider felt like he had the Z-6 strapped on his back. Still not bad, but he couldn't do this forever.

After a solid 10 minutes of climbing, Strider finally reached what felt like a path in the cliff. He pulled himself up onto the path, before falling to the ground from exhaustion.

Fluttershy instantly got off of Strider's back and looked down at him.

"S-Sorry." She mumbled.

Strider held up a finger, signalling that he was ok. Once he had done that, Rainbow Dash couldn't help herself but laugh. Strider remained silent, but stuck up another finger towards Rainbow Dash. He had seen a Jedi do this to some of his brothers, and due to Matt's information gathering, he figure out what it meant. But Rainbow Dash didn't know that.

It took a few seconds before Strider got back up to his feet and stretched his back.

"Rainbow Dash, give me the blaster back." Strider instructed.

Rainbow Dash dropped the blaster carelessly, finding out half way up the climb that it was broken. Strider caught the DC-15S and switched off the safety. He then pointed it out at the sky, and pulled the trigger.

A blue bolt shot from the chamber and through the air, giving Strider the satisfaction of knowing that Rainbow Dash hadn't broke it. That, and the fact that he wanted to see her face after seeing the blaster work perfectly.

When he turned to face the pegasus, he was greeted with exactly that, followed by a chuckle under his breath. Strider walked away from the pegasus and took a look out at the horizon. The amount of mountain they had climbed wasn't enough to look over a few tall trees, but it still gave sight across the forest and a little beyond.

"Probably a better view from the cave. No wonder that dragon set up camp here." Strider claimed, looking out across the tree tops.

Twilight rolled up the map she was holding in her magic and put it back in her saddlebag. She turned around to face the group, before clearing her throat.

"I've mapped out a quick path up to the top. Let's get a move on, every second waiting is another puff of smoke from that cave." Twilight exclaimed.

"Finally!" Rainbow Dash said in an annoyed tone.

The group started down the path quickly, Twilight at the front with the map ready to use, while Strider took up the rear, DC-15S charged.

After a solid ten minutes of walking, and helping Fluttershy get over a disproportionately small gap between cliff sides. A conversation eventually broke out between the group and the trooper.

"Ya really caught the attention of mah sister," Applejack stated suddenly.

The memory of Applejack glaring at Apple Bloom after she had used the Z-6 flashed into Strider's mind.

"I guess so." Strider answered.

"She, doesn't have that many friends at school. She has also been targeted for bullying due ta her not hav'n her cutie mark." Applejack exclaimed.

"Cutie Mark?" Strider asked out loud.

"The image on our flanks, it shows our special talents. Some fillies and colts tease others because they don't have their cutie marks." Applejack explained.

Now that Strider thought about it, it did sort of make sense. Fluttershy's cutie mark was three butterflies, showing her skill will taking care of animals. Applejack's was of three apples and Fluttershy had told him that she was a farmer on an apple orchard.

"But then, one night at the dinner table, she seemed much happier than before. Next thing mah family knew, she described your armor and your conversation. Ta say she was happy about your statement would be an understatement." Applejack said.

Strider couldn't help but smile as he pictured the filly smiling at their dinner table while describing her little adventure.

"But, I do have ta ask ya somth'n," Applejack stated, her tone changing. "If she ends up hurt because of you, or lost somewhere all alone,"

Strider's smile vanished as the pony turned to face him dead in the eye. "Y'all will have a VERY bad time." She finished.

Now, Strider wasn't planning on ending up in a dangerous situation with Apple Bloom. but he knew that if it somehow ended up happening, and Apple Bloom got injured or lost, then he would most likely end up dead where he was standing.

"I understand Applejack, and I don't exactly plan on that happening." Strider claimed.

Applejack's blank expression turned into relief, before she turned away from the trooper and continued to look ahead at the trail.

Strider couldn't help but shutter under his armor, Applejack's glare burned into his mind. That was a glare that he wouldn't be forgetting anytime soon. But still, Strider knew that if he was really in danger from these ponies, he had the upper hand in combat and weaponry.

Still, he highly doubted that it would come to that.

After another ten minutes of walking, the group had made their way further up the mountain and were now walking alongside a very steep slope next to the path. Twilight stopped and turned to face the group.

"Alright everypony plus Strider, we're entering an avalanche zone. The slightest of loud noises could cause a rock slide to fall right down onto us, so keep quiet." Twilight instructed.

The group followed the unicorn's instructions, not saying a word as the made their way down the path. Every second of silence dragged on, giving a feeling of unease at all times.

Rainbow Dash hovered under a low hanging branch from a tree as she flew past it. However, she didn't notice her tail touch part of the branch, freeing a leaf which floated towards the ground.

That one leaf landed silently on Fluttershy's back, causing her to scream out in surprise. "AVALAN-" She was cut off as Strider and Applejack both covered up the pegasi's mouth.

However, the damage had already been done. Fluttershy's yelp echoed throughout the cliff, causing a rock slide to trigger. Several massive boulders flew down the cliff side towards the path, and the group of ponies and Strider who were standing on it.

"RUN!" Strider shouted before taking off running down the path.

The rest of the group followed the trooper, dodging falling rocks as they landing in front of them. A few massive rocks caused Applejack to stop abruptly, narrowly avoiding being crushed by the boulder.

Strider glanced over his shoulder, but even that small glance had caused him to spot a massive boulder falling right towards a frozen in fear Fluttershy.

Strider stopped mid run, aiming the DC-15S at the boulder, and pulled the trigger. A blue bolt shot from the chamber and flew through the air, however it stuck another falling rock. Strider's eyes widened as the boulder got closer to Fluttershy. He pulled the trigger again, sending a few more blue bolts flying towards the boulder.

The first bolt struck another falling rock, the second hit the boulder he was targeting, but only cracked it. The third one however, struck the crack, breaking the boulder into small pieces.

Strider sighed with relief, temporarily forgetting his surroundings. While he stood their, another boulder rolled down the cliff side right towards him.

At the last second, Strider snapped out of his thoughts as Applejack tackled him out of the way. He watched as the boulder shot right through the area he had been standing.

"THAT, was close." Strider muttered, realizing how close he was to being a clone pancake.

"Ya don't say." Applejack agreed, getting to her hooves.

Strider did the same, except without hooves. He looked around area which was now filled with rocks and stones everywhere, as well as a mountain of rocks and dirt that now blocked the path.

The Trooper stared at the new road block for a few seconds, before his mind finally processed the situation.

"That's gonna be a problem." Strider stated, looking up at the hill of rock and dirt.

Twilight went over to Strider, glancing at the hill. "Not really, we just need to, climb." She muttered, the last word dragging a little.

Strider slowly made his way down the other side of the dirt hill, his white armor now coated with dust and dirt. Once he had made it back on the path, he dusted off some of his armor and checked the DC-15S for any damage. When he was sure the blaster was still in working order, he wiped off some dirt on it and grinned.

That grin however of knowing the weapon was still in very good condition faded once he was knocked to the ground as a group of ponies slammed into the bottom of his legs.

Strider stumbled, barely stopping himself from falling. He looked over at the group of ponies that had landed at the base of the hill. Rarity and Applejack on all four hooves while Fluttershy sat on top of them, looking down at the ground.

Strider went over to the three ponies and helped them to their hooves. When they were all back on their hooves, they went over towards Twilight and Rainbow Dash, who were looking at a cave.

They had made it to the dragon's layer.