Terror Puppet

by Windrunner

Battle Lines

"Princess Luna, what is happening? Two of the heavy magic barriers fell in less than twenty seconds!" Twilight looked over to where Luna was surveying the situation. Celestia had leaped into action to uphold the outer barriers herself the instant they fell, her horn could be seen sheerly aglow in the distance. This was already going wrong.
"This should not be happening. Those barriers are the most powerful we could emplace. Our enemy is even more powerful than imagined. What I assume are the main puppets are hanging far back." Luna looked extremely worried.

Luna reached over and launched an attack flare to signal the pegasi above to begin a run on the approaching throng of ponies. It would be best to keep any fighting off the ground if at all possible. Each carried a small metal cylinder which they dropped between the approaching forces and flew off before they could be attacked themselves. When they landed the metal bombs shot off sparks which tore through the puppets made of the formerly living, sending some flying and scattering in pieces as the odd ethereal cables that still seemed to come from nowhere were cut asunder. The pegasi were told not to get near the four behind the rest. Those ones were likely the most dangerous of all. One did fly a little too close.

No one even saw what happened to them. They simply did not return. Things were not proceeding at all as anticipated. Several of the elite unicorn guards had been forced to engage already at the edges of the barrier walls and finding it far more difficult to tear the cables apart than expected either. Some had taken serious injury and were slowly being driven backwards even with their generally heavier armor. The veritable wall of dead ponies approaching seemed to be much more than were thought to be in Canterlot when it was taken. Some were completely skeletal. Walking husks of themselves.
"I sense vastly more dark magic at work here than before." Luna said, sounding a bit taken aback herself.

"How can they be controlling so many of these all at once? This doesn't seem possible." Twilight, already nervous about this was getting the worst feeling in her stomach and was on the edge of jumping in to fight herself. Luna placed a hoof over her shoulder.
"Stand fast. You must save yourself as long as possible before getting into the thick of it." Her touch was reassuring.
"But, Celestia.." Twilight looked over to her holding up four separate barriers now, and encouraging the guards to fight off their attackers with all their might. Why should she hold back?

"Let us take the brunt of it first. I hate to admit this but in reality, both of us are..very old. It took a lot out of us earlier as well. You must hold off." Luna explained her reasoning.
"I guess that makes sense, but I feel so useless just sitting here." Twilight shook her head. In the dark of night ponies below the command platform were fighting, being hurt. Dying to protect their leaders, their country and others lives. Some night guards were in the fray, fighting absolutely viciously to hold hordes off the unicorns as magic blasts flew everywhere. A second wave of pegasi was dropping their bombs below. An unfortunate amount were proving to be duds.

"Shoot. Looks like a whole heap of those things aren't working Twi. As much as ah hate to see any ponies bein torn up like this, that ain't good at all." Applejack called up. It certainly wasn't. Everything from old museum piece weapons and catapults sending rocks crashing down were being employed to hold off this tide of walking dead things from getting into the town proper. Retrofitted cannons were being reloaded and firing continually at high angles. The accuracy of most of these was abysmal. The best they could do was not hit their own forces and delay the advancing menace before them. Among the deathly puppets there were some griffons who in death were proving to be still quite lethal fighters.

Those amongst them that were unicorns in life still wielded whatever magical skill they had in their lifetime. This was making things more difficult still. Some of these skills were not necessarily useful in direct combat, but were proving to be a surprisingly good support to the puppets being marched ahead of the rest. None were displaying tremendous power as yet. Those four in the back were becoming ever more worrisome. Why were they not joining in the attack?
"I..don't like this. I just can't look." Fluttershy said off to the side on the platform.
"You don't have to be here. Flee to somewhere safe." Twilight told her quite clearly.

"This..this is my home too. I'll stay with you, to the end." She sort of squeaked out, and remained. Twilight felt to be on the edge of tears hearing this. The battle was just beginning to really intensify as already dead and living alike were falling. Celestia had been forced to abandon one of the barriers already, this was allowing more of the things to get closer at a more rapid pace. They looked slow, but the steady and sickening way they moved forward in a bobbing kind of ceaseless march was enough to keep a steady flow of them walking into battle no matter how many were destroyed. At this pace, they would be overrun far more quickly than hoped. The reinforcements held back might need to be called in to assist.

"Purposely putting more ponies and our allies in harms way is the last thing I ever thought I would have to do." Twilight lamented.
"None of that now yea hear, we've got a job to do right and we're gonna do it ain't we?" Applejack was oddly confident-sounding about this, standing under the raised platform. That actually helped. Dash trailed past overhead once more.
"You're right. We have to win this. We are going to win this. Whatever it takes." Twilight looked on, more determined than ever to put an end to this insanity overtaking the world.


Sometimes it takes more than just strength to hold on when facing things stepping out of the darkness.