Silver Spoon opened the door only to be assaulted with the stench of rotting meat. She saw the figures of two humans in the bed, still clothed, but they didn’t look anything like any human she had encountered as of yet, their skin blackening and growing fetid… These weren’t humans any more, these were the corpses of humans, must have been dead for a while, but certainly not long enough to have desiccated and lost their stench.
She sighed, even with how tired she was, she wasn’t going to stay here, at least until she figured out the cause of these human’s deaths. “It seems I owe Dinky an apology,” she said once she had found the others, starting a fire in the living room. “Clearly, there is something dangerous in this place, as I found two corpses up in the bedroom.” That got everyone’s attention, particularly Rumble, who made a move for his weapon. “I suggest, as horrible as it is out there, that we leave.”
Rumble grumbled something then said, “Well, before we go, there’s something I need to do first.” Rumble’s weapon had the basic shape of a water-cooled machine gun, with a drum magazine, a handle on the back where the trigger rested, and a frame on the middle of the barrel where another handle was mounted, featuring a secondary trigger. Despite having a water jacket, the gun wasn’t filled with water, and Rumble demonstrated this as he marched into a cellar lined with bottles that Silver Spoon could only assume were some kind of alcoholic drink.
He grabbed his respirator mask from his bag, raised his gun, pulled the secondary trigger, and from a second barrel mounted atop the actual machine gun barrel flowed a stream of burning fire dust that soon engulfed the room in flames and set alight the flammable liquids stored inside the bottles, the inferno rising up to the ceiling and setting the building alight. “I was in here earlier, with Button Mash… As we were leaving with what food we found, I heard something coming from the cellar, I’m not getting mauled by monsters in my sleep,” He said, words a little muffled by the rubberized gas mask he wore when using the flamethrower.
Silver Spoon thought his reaction a bit extreme, but certainly well-intentioned. Thus they grabbed their sleeping bags and opted to sleep as far from this place as they could walk.
As the morning light of Celestia’s sun shone through the window, there came a knock at Twilight’s front door… Rarity, most likely. She approached the door and threw it open to see a bright orange pony. It took her a moment to recognize the mare, she had let her mane hang down to the side, rather than the way it normally stuck straight up… Twilight felt a pang of envy at how pretty she looked. “Spitfire?”
“Hey, could you come up to the base with me… See, I think Scootaloo disappearing like that has really messed Rainbow up, and I haven’t been able to help… In fact, I think I’m making it worse.”
Twilight’s eyes went wide, “I had already planned something with Rarity today, but this is way more important, let me just get a few things and I’ll head out, right away!”
“Actually, let’s wait for Rarity to show up too, we can take her with us, and she might be able to help.”
Twilight nodded, “So, what exactly is wrong with Rainbow Dash.”
“She said something about Discord and how he wouldn’t let her go see Scootaloo on account of how dangerous the world she’s on now is… So now she’s been spending all her time training, I can hardly separate her from her crossbow, and she’s ruthless when we try hoof-to-hoof combat… At least she’s actually practising for once, but she’s hardly been sleeping or eating. I found her passed out on the firing range’s floor just two days ago.”
“Yang Xiao Long! Prepare your kingdom for battle!” Ruby shouted through the living room.
“Bring it on!”
“I deploy Mistrallian Shinobi! Looks like I get to sneak past your walls and start assassinating your political figures!”
Four girls were clustered around a tabled covered in maps, models, and rulebooks… While Scootaloo and Apple Bloom trained with Tai outside, the sounds of their weapons echoing through the house. Yang and Ruby took Sweetie Belle and Diamond Tiara and introduced them to The Great War. While Ruby and Yang played their first game on their own, Diamond and Sweetie looked through the rulebook and took plenty of notes.
“Pretty smart sis… But you forget, as the kingdom of Vacuo, I can opt to reroll any attempts at subterfuge!” Four D6 rolled across the table, “And look at that, looks like you’ve only gotten two of my five leaders!”
Ruby smiled, “I’ll reinforce my eastern flank, you can’t counterattack.”
“I believe it’s my turn now,” Diamond said, smiling.
“Yep,” Yang replied, “I’ll try to go easy on you.”
Diamond smirked, “I’ll deploy the Atlesian Stormtrooper Battalions,” At this, Yang smirked and started pulling out what was no doubt a trap card she had set earlier, “Against Mistral’s undefended southern flank.” Yang bore an expression of shock and put her card back down, meanwhile, Ruby sat there, mouth agape.
“I-I, my capitol still has two HP! You won’t be able to finish me off this turn!”
Sweetie Belle was next to smirk, “Sweetie?” Diamond asked.
Sweetie Belle replied, “I deploy the Knights of Vale against Ruby’s exposed northern flank… I believe this means that Mistral capitulates to me… And, as the Kingdom of Vale, I hereby give over control of Mistral to Atlas.”
The entire table turned, aghast, to stare at Diamond Tiara, “I’ll recall the Atlesian Stormtroopers to defend my southern flank, I’ll also set a trap card this turn… And, thanks to my trade route with Vale, I now have full control over the great northern ocean… With that, I can deploy the Atlesian Navy to the northern border of Vacuo.”
Diamond smiled… Ruby was clearly playing to have fun, not to win, and Yang had expected all four kingdoms to be at each other’s throats… Diamond, by having just a single trusted ally in the form of Sweetie Belle and her kingdom of Vale, had turned the game in favour of Atlas almost turn one.
Yang was sputtering, she drew another card, “I used sandstorm to disable the blockade and move the Desert Raiders to attack your eastern flank!”
Diamond simply raised both of her trap cards, Atlesian Smart-Minefield, and Wall-Mounted Artillery. “T-That’s my move!” Yang shouted as she was forced to throw away her Desert Raiders. Sweetie moved her Knights of Vale to invade Vacuo’s south, and Diamond sent her Stormtroopers to Vacuo’s north.
“Rainbow Dash!” Rarity’s voice came from down the hall. Rainbow shook herself awake… She had fallen asleep in the Firing Range again, all of the targets, from the closest to the furthest, were covered in crossbow bolts, not a single one had missed.
“R-Rara? H-Howd you get ere?”
“Twilight and Spitfire hauled me up here, Rainbow, I know you miss Scootaloo, but you can’t do this to yourself…”
“You’re one to talk! Every time something goes wrong, you barricade yourself in your house and shove as much icecream as you can into your mouth!”
“Rainbow Dash!” Came Twilight’s voice.
“Dash,” Said Spitfire, as the two mares raced to catch up with Rarity.
Dash sighed, “Look, girls… I know you’re worried about me, but I’m not going to leave Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, I’m not going to leave any of them alone, I can’t, I can’t leave them, they’re in danger every moment I’m not with them-” Rainbow ranted.
“Rainbow!” Twilight shouted, “We won’t let you punish yourself for nothing!”
“I’m going to find them, and you can’t stop me! None of you!”
“I know that… You think you can go into danger without your friends?” Spitfire said.
“We can’t let you go without us, darling, so, since we can’t stop you, we’re coming with you,” Rarity replied.
“What! No! I can’t endanger you like that!”
Spitfire trotted up and placed a hoof on Rainbow’s back, “I know you think you’re being selfless… But you’re not.”
Rainbow growled, “I’ve made my choice!”
“And now we’re making ours,” The others replied in unison.
Rainbow sighed, but leaned into Spitfire’s embrace, as she started to drift off to sleep again. From behind them came another voice, “That’s what I was hoping you would say.” The serpentine form of Discord came slithering out of the floor.
“Gah!” Yang shouted, “We should have never let them play!”
“You’re just mad because they teamed up on you,” Ruby replied.
They still remembered the scene that played just after Yang was forced to capitulate Vacuo. The two were waiting to see how Diamond’s Atlas and Sweetie’s Vale would fight one another, and who would ultimately win. On Diamond’s turn, she left her kingdoms completely defenceless, a move that had stunned the two girls… The move that stunned them even more was when, during Sweetie Belle’s next turn, she got up from the table, moved over to Diamond, and got down on one knee, saying, “As queen of Vale, I hereby give over my kingdoms and territory over to general Diamond Tiara of Atlas,” And like that, the game was over. When interrogated why she did that by Ruby and Yang, she simply replied, “Why would I keep on fighting… An allied nation had conquered a great portion of the world, both of our kingdoms were now prospering after our people had suffered through years of war, and by unifying our nations, we could ensure a long and peaceful future, rather than further squandering lives and resources on a war that was already over.”
All the girls and Tai had gathered themselves in the living room, “Hey!” Ruby said to her dad, “I’m going over to the mainland tomorrow to get more dust and show the girls around town some more.”
“Yeah!” Apple Bloom said, “I can get some dust rounds for Applebuck!”
“Applebuck?” Sweetie snickered.
“Yeah, every time I pull the trigger it feels like I’m getting bucked in the side, so I’m calling him Applebuck! What are you calling yours?”
“Lapis Luminatus,” Sweetie said.
“Lapa Lumi-Nuts?” Scootaloo replied.
“Lapis Luminatus, it’s ancient Pegasus for: Illuminating Diamond. I’m sure you have a good name for those pistols of yours.”
“Rainbow Flame and Fire Dash!” Scootaloo grinned.
The others stared at her, “Really?” Diamond intoned.
“What!” Scootaloo replied.
“Well, I am naming mine Silverglow, because it’s made from silver, and it glows when I use it… Plus, it’s a wonderful name, unlike Rainbow Flame and Fire Dash,” Diamond replied. “None the less, I would like to try different kinds of dust with Silverglow’s dust cannon.”
“Yeah, and I can get some more fire dust for Rainbow Flame and Fire Dash,” Scootaloo continued.
“Honestly,” Apple Bloom began, “That name’s a bit of a mouthful, why don’t you just call them Fire and Flames.”
Scootaloo looked thoughtful for a moment, then simply replied, “Nah.”
Glynda Goodwitch marched over to the airdocks at the end of Beacon cliff. She intended to spend a nice calm day in the city, away from all the activity going on in Beacon, all the teachers rushing to get everything prepared for the students who would be arriving in just a few short days, right at the beginning of next month. That month would be the last in summer, and Glynda couldn’t help but wish that winter break could arrive already, even though it was still technically the summer break.
A single day away from the chaos going on in the school, a single day away from Ozpin’s secret war, and a single day where she could sit down and rest in a nice restaurant or cafe and not worry about the world falling apart around them. The news that Amber had been attacked was not welcome, particularly now, right as the chaos of trying to get classes started weighing heavily on the minds of the teachers, and it was made all the worse when she had been brought in, spine severed, face scarred, and worst of all, aura damaged… After Ironwood showed up and installed the stasis devices, the scans he made proved everyone’s fears, part of her power was missing.
Glynda sighed as she took a seat aboard the airship and flew off down to the city below.