Greetings, readers! Here’s the unicorn chapter, and with that, magic combat. This was trickier to come up with than the previous chapter’s battle, but still, hope you enjoy!
The Blizzard, Part Two: Unicorns vs. Earth Ponies
Princess Platinum sipped delicately from her levitating, bejeweled goblet. She took her time to enjoy the wine’s two decade-old flavor, all the while pointedly ignoring the nervous pegasus at the base of her raised throne. She waited several long minutes to finish drinking before addressing the visitor.
“Commander Hurricane better have good cause for sending this quivering, useless lump instead of a proper messenger,” Platinum said with undisguised contempt. “Speak now, and make your visit worth my time.”
The yellow pegasus gulped. “I-I am Captain Pansy, and I speak on the behalf of Commander Squall…” The messenger explained how the earth ponies had not only refused to surrender their food, but had ambushed and defeated the pegasus army. She didn’t elaborate on how many casualties they had sustained, but it was obvious that their losses had been heavy. The unfamiliar name of the new pegasus leader was already proof of that.
“…and um, if it’s okay with you, Your Highness, Commander Squall offers his hoof in friendship and an alliance against the Earth Pony Tribe,” Pansy recited, shrinking under the unicorn princess’ gaze. “He proposes that our combined armies sortie against the earth ponies and split the food evenly once it is secured.”
The white unicorn laughed. “So the unconquerable masters of the air have crawled here to grovel for aid? Now, isn’t this just precious? Servant, more wine.” She drank from her refilled goblet and continued. “Inform your commander that the pegasi deserve whatever fate they get for being too incompetent to quash mere dirt ponies. We unicorns will seize the provisions ourselves in two days time, and we will not be sharing. Any interference from your undoubtedly invincible army will be dealt with most severely. Now be gone.”
Captain Pansy did not hesitate to oblige.
“Wakey wakey, sleepy head!”
With some coaxing from a very loud and enthusiastic pink pony, Smart Cookie opened her bleary eyes. She was not at all surprised to see two fuzzy Chancellor Puddingheads swim into view and drift in circles around some distant lamp. The secretary’s brain was similarly doing drunken pirouettes in her strangely heavy head. She sat up in the bed she was lying on. “Whuh happened?” she slurred.
“Some mean pegasus bopped you good on the head,” the two overlapping Puddingheads answered. “But that pony didn’t know that nothing can get through Smart Cookie’s thick skull!”
That would have been an insult coming from anypony else. Smart Cookie smiled weakly.
The blurry earth pony chancellors finally coalesced into a single body. “Now that you’re awake, you need to get your strength back. So eat up!” She offered a bowl of pleasantly warm and steamy oatmeal.
Food. Chancellor Puddinghead was giving her food. “WE WON?” Smart Cookie yelped with sudden realization.
“Yep!” the pink pony bounced and smiled. “We beat their skinny tooties good, so we still have all the food. Well, not all of it anymore, since we ate a bit more than usual at the party after the battle, but I thought it would be a good idea if everypony could celebrate a little, since we did just fight a big nasty battle and a bunch of good ponies died and some are hurt and won’t make it, and I think letting everypony eat a little extra was worth it, so I hope you understan–”
Smart Cookie held up a hoof to her boss’ mouth. “Yer Excellency, Ah understand perfectly. Ah’m just glad we won. And…” She sighed. “Ah’m sorry Ah doubted you. Ah didn’t exactly say it to yer face, but Ah thought you were gonna get us all killed. ‘Suppose Ah should’ve had more trust in yer plan.”
Chancellor Puddinghead ruffled her secretary’s mane with uncharacteristic care to avoid touching the swollen lump behind her ears. “Aww, no need to say sorry to me Cookie. I thought we were all going to die too, but luckily I had you and Mr. Sledgie at my side!”
Mr. Sledgie? The orange pony wanted to say something sarcastic, but she thought the better of it. That infamous sledgehammer probably deserved a name, and maybe a title of nobility to boot for everything it had done for their tribe.
“So what happens now?” Smart Cookie asked after gulping down some of her oatmeal. She then realized the answer was obvious.
“We fight again, silly. The pegasi and unicorns still need to eat, and they’ll come knocking. So eat up! We have some crazy cunning planning to do!”
“Are you sure this is good idea, Your Highness?” questioned the purple unicorn in a humble hemp cloak. She trudged through the snow alongside Princess Platinum, who lay on an extravagant litter supported by four large stallions. They led a column of unicorns bedecked in colorful and polished martial splendor.
“What makes you think it isn’t, Clover the Clever?” the regent of the unicorns answered, looking down at her advisor from her perch.
Clover, unlike most other ponies at the court, spoke her mind. Whether or not the princess heeded her advice was another matter. “We haven’t properly considered alternative courses of action, Your Highness. I believe negotiating with the earth pony representatives would be a wiser and more productive strategy.”
Princess Platinum dismissed the suggestion. “Diplomacy is wasted on the lesser pony races meant to serve us. We shall simply take the provisions that are ours by natural right.”
The purple unicorn grimaced. “We should not underestimate the earth ponies’ capabilities. The Pegasus Tribe learned that the hard way two days ago.”
“Your pessimism is unwarranted, Clover the Clever. That was a mere brawl between brutes and vermin. The dirt dwellers have not encountered real fighters. Our fine unicorn knights shall easily brush them aside.” Indistinct dark shapes slowly appeared through the freezing haze, indicating they were nearing their destination.
“Surely you should at least try to reason with them? We could prevent unnecessary bloodshed.”
The princess thought for a moment. “I suppose I shall humor your suggestion, Clover. I will demand that the earth ponies surrender the food first before we seize it by force.”
That wasn’t exactly what the purple unicorn had in mind.
An earth pony sentry furiously rang the bell mounted on top of the town hall. “RING RING RING RING RING!” he hollered.
Well-organized, purposeful pandemonium ensued. Those ponies who were lucky enough to have scavenged pegasus armor that fit them wrestled them on. Everypony else grabbed their weapons in their mouths and assumed their assigned positions. Smart Cookie galloped from the town hall to the outer barricades with her billhook, which a blacksmith had improved by adding a spearhead to the tip. Chancellor Puddinghead was already waiting at the entrance to the village.
“What’s the situation, yer Excellency?”
“It’s snowing!” the doublet, ruff, and hat-wearing pink pony answered. “And the unicorns are coming to take our food!”
Smart Cookie peered over the barricade and saw a dark mass looming on the horizon. “Well, we’re not gonna give ‘em any. Ain’t that right, Chancellor?”
Chancellor Puddinghead smiled. “Yep! Inspect the troops, Smart Cookie. And be quick! We’re going to have a battle soon!”
The secretary left the outer perimeter. She wound her way through a village now choked with improvised defenses, which included the pine trees recycled from the last battle. Her comrades carried themselves very differently from just three days before. Then, they had fought out of fearful desperation like cornered animals. Now however, she could see pride and confidence on their faces. They had done the unthinkable and defeated the pegasus host, so they surely had a good chance against the unicorns. Smart Cookie smiled and offered words of encouragement to the ponies behind the barricades and on the rooftops, and to her pleasant surprise, cheers followed her.
“The barriers are up and everypony is in position, yer Excellency,” she announced when she returned to the main entrance.
“Super! Now get ready; we’re going to have company!”
Scores of heraldic banners flapped and twisted in the snowstorm. The unicorn army finished its march and formed a line abreast two hundred yards from the earth pony village. At the front stood the Unicorn Tribe’s finest knights, and directly behind them were their apprentices in war magic. A host of unicorn commoners levied for logistical duty occupied the rear.
Princess Platinum’s litter and her retinue made for the peasant settlement. “Your Highness, I entreat you to reconsider,” Clover the Clever said from the ground. “This village is well fortified. Assaulting it will be costly.”
“If I want your advice, I will ask for it. Now be quiet, Clover. I need to parlay with these dirt ponies. Porters, stop here.” The standard bearers and ponies carrying the royal litter halted halfway between their army and the earth pony village. They waited for the enemy delegation to approach.
Nopony greeted them. Minutes passed, and still nothing happened. “Do I really have to ask?” Princess Platinum complained. She waited a few beats. Then, with her horn aglow in blue energy, she projected her voice with unnatural volume. “MUCK PONIES! I, HER HIGHNESS PLATINUM, REGENT TO KING AURUM AND PRINCESS OF THE UNICORN TRIBE, DEMAND AN AUDIENCE!”
A pink pony wearing a strange hat answered cheekily from behind the barricades. “We can hear you just fine from here, Princess Marshmallow! And the answer is ‘NO!’ We know you’re here for the food, and we’re not giving you any, your Royal Rotundity!”
The supple white unicorn maintained her composure, but her irritation was evident from the twitch in her ears. She had to keep her concentration on the voice-projecting spell. “THE PRINCESS AND REGENT OF UNICORNS WILL NOT BE SPOKEN TO THAT WAY! I HAVE COME TO COLLECT THE PROVISIONS THAT ARE RIGHTFULLY MINE. SUBMIT! SURRENDER YOUR VICTUALS, AND HER HIGHNESS WILL SHOW MERCY AND SPARE YOUR MISERABLE LIVES!”
“You sound funny!” the pink pony replied. “You should try screaming normally. But NOPE! If you want the food, come and get it!” The earth pony’s defiance was followed by a storm of catcalls and jeers from the village.
“SO BE IT!” the unicorn princess finished, and the magic surrounding her horn faded. “Porters, take me back to–”
Blood splattered onto Princess Platinum’s face. She shrieked at its warm, sticky wetness and at the sight of the unicorn standard-bearer collapsing into the snow with a stone lodged into her skull. More sling bullets bounced off the magical shield Clover the Clever erected, but the advisor was not fast enough to save the life of a retainer, who caught a stone in the chest.
The porters wasted no time in running the princess’s litter back towards the unicorn lines, and a squad of knights intercepted them to protect Platinum with their own magic shields. After a brief but harrowing and bumpy journey, the royal train retreated to safety beyond sling range and behind the army. Her surviving servants worked furiously to wipe the gore off her face.
“I warned you about–”
“Do not lecture me, Clover!” Platinum snapped at the purple unicorn in the plain cloak. “I told you diplomacy was wasted on those savages, and those two unicorns are now dead because of your suggestion. Now, silence!”
A knight with a torch coat of arms and fluted, gold-inlayed armor nudged past the retainers still fussing with the princess’ face. “Your Highness, thank goodness you are safe! We await only your order to attack.”
Princess Platinum shooed away the servants. “Thank you, Marshal Phlogiston. But you will not attack. You will only hold your current positions.” She held up a hoof, stopping his protests. “Now, Clover the Clever?”
“Yes… Your Highness?”
“Do you know why I brought you here? Here’s a hint – it was not for your advice.”
“I do not know, Princess,” Clover answered levelly. “I simply serve you and the kingdom.”
The alabaster unicorn smiled. “Good. I am very glad to hear that. You see Clover, I brought you here because you are a unicorn of prodigious magical talent; one personally tutored by the great Starswirl the Bearded. See that granary over there?” Princess Platinum pointed a hoof at the round tower secured behind multiple layers of barricades. “Empty it. Levitate the food over to our levy, so they may carry it back to the castle.”
Clover the Clever protested. “But, Your Highness, we can’t just take–”
“Yes we can, and we will,” Princess Platinum interrupted with uncompromising severity. “Did you not say you serve me? You will do your duty to your sovereign, Clover the Clever. Besides, isn’t this one of those non-violent ‘alternatives’ you suggested? Don’t go back on your own advice, Clover. So do it!”
The earth ponies waited for the unicorns’ next move, but there was surprisingly little activity in front of the barricades.
What nopony expected was the threat to come from the rear. Frightened shouts spread throughout the earth pony village as the defenders realized what was happening to the granary – a maroon magical field enveloped the tower’s roof, which splintered and unraveled. What had been a granary was now an absurd, oversized chimney as the stacks of hay and assorted sacks inside started billowing out and floating over to the unicorn lines.
This was not how things were supposed to go at all. The earth ponies’ plan was to lure the enemy into the village and funnel them with the barricades into killing zones where they could be surrounded, but that wasn’t going to happen now. A small part of Smart Cookie was impressed by the unicorns’ ingenuity. The rest of her was distraught that all of their preparations had gone to waste, and there wasn’t a thing the earth ponies could do about it.
“Cookie! Secure all the food you can! I’ll organize the counter-attack!” Chancellor Puddinghead ordered, her voice betraying some panic. The secretary nodded and ran back to the center of the village, mentally cursing the unicorns along the way.
Unlike Smart Cookie, a few ponies let their distress get the better of them. They hurdled over the outer barricades and charged the unicorns in a foolhardy attempt to rescue their food. Predictably, they were cut down with contemptuous ease, and with a shockingly diverse variety of methods. One of the unicorn knights even toyed with an earth pony using a telekinetically wielded whip before strangling him to death.
Discipline had to be restored. Chancellor Puddinghead hopped on top of a nearby house and whipped out her trusty sledgehammer. She had also mysteriously acquired a small gong, and gave it a few thunderous whacks to attract attention. “We need to get that food back, so everypony listen up! Red and Yellow Groups will form up outside the outer barricade on the right…”
Back at the granary, Smart Cookie was lucky to find that somepony had kept his or her wits about and started evacuating food from the round tower. The secretary volunteered some nearby defense groups to the effort, but it wasn’t enough. The unicorn magic was emptying the granary faster from the top than the earth ponies could from the bottom. After what felt like years, but was in reality only a few agonizing minutes, the tower was completely cleared of food. The defenders only managed to save disappointingly little, and now almost three fifths of their entire reserves were gone.
Smart Cookie had to keep her ponies focused. “Y’all did what ya could here. Now we’re gonna get the rest of the food back, so follow me!” She galloped back to the main entrance.
Dismantling a roof and levitating tons of hay bales and sacked grain had required every ounce of concentration Clover the Clever could muster. Once the great theft was over, she collapsed into the snow out of exhaustion. “Now Clover, save your nap time for later,” Princess Platinum teased. “Do take care of her,” she instructed a servant who lifted the scholar onto his back.
The last of the requisitioned food was loaded amongst the unicorn levy, but the earth ponies were in no mood to let the theft go unpunished. They spilled out of their fortified village like a disturbed ants’ nest, and this time they were organized. They formed a broad line composed of individual blocks of ponies, each with a different colored flag.
“The dirt ponies look rather cross,” Princess Platinum observed dryly. She beckoned the commander of her knights to her litter. “Marshal Phlogiston, we have accomplished what we came here for. I will take the food back to the castle. Hold the enemy here and rejoin us when they are defeated.”
The armored unicorn bowed and snapped the visor of his helmet shut, leaving only his red horn exposed. A trumpet blew, and the unicorn levy, the princess’ retinue, and a small escort of knights detached itself from the line of war mages at the front. They retired as quickly as they could without the porters jostling Platinum’s litter too much.
Meanwhile, the earth ponies were not standing idle. They advanced cautiously and broadened their line further and further.
The unicorn knights were masters of their craft, each having spent their entire lives honing their individual magical talents towards the combat arts. Their squires were no small threats either. As powerful as they were however, both masters and apprentices were vastly outnumbered by the earth ponies, perhaps by a margin in excess of twenty to one.
Fair enough odds, Marshal Phlogiston thought confidently.
A couple volleys of sling bullets let loose, but the stones did little more than annoy the armored unicorns. “Well, ain’t that just dandy?” Smart Cookie breathed unhappily. Her herdsponies would be effectively useless in this engagement, but they could still be used elsewhere. She barked orders to the slinger group leaders to save ammunition, loop around the knights, and harass the unicorns running away with the food instead.
The rest of the earth pony force could not do the same. Arcing around the unicorn delaying force to chase their main detachment would leave the village and the provisions they still had vulnerable. Splitting their ponies to simultaneously engage the knights and pursue the unicorn levy risked either group being defeated in detail. That left only one option. Defeat the knights as quickly as possible, then give chase.
Chancellor Puddinghead led a quarter of the earth ponies to circle around the knights for a strike from behind, and the enemy seemed unperturbed by this development. Even with the flanking element having gone it’s separate way, the main body of earth ponies could still handily surround the unicorns, even with a frontal charge. Their lines were twice a wide as the enemy’s, plus much deeper and denser.
“Here goes nothin’.” Smart Cookie chomped down on her billhook. Flags waved and great kazoos hummed as the signal, and with a resounding shout, the earth pony center charged through the snow. The unicorns were two hundred yards away, and sooner than she thought possible, they were at a hundred yards. The enemy knights dug their hooves into the snow and braced for impact. Only a few more seconds and they would make contact–
The secretary and the ponies at her side crashed headlong not into armored unicorns, but a shimmering, shallowly curved blue barrier projected some ten yards ahead. The magic shield exploded with a burst of sparks under the mass of onrushing ponies, but it had done its job well. All along the length of the unicorn line, various barriers of magical energy, fire, ice, and even flying knives disrupted the earth pony militia’s attack. Ponies at the front halted or stumbled, and following ranks smacked into them from behind. With only trickles of ponies meeting the enemy instead of all at once, the charge was a light slap instead of a true hammer blow.
Smart Cookie struggled back to her hooves, and the unicorn in front of her did the same – the now vanished magical barrier had transmitted some of the force of the impact to its original caster. The secretary was not fast enough however to strike the knight while he (or she, as it was impossible to tell with the armor) was still down. She rushed forwards, but a blue magical aura seized the orange earth pony by the hooves and flung her into the air. Her stomach lurched and contemplated cohabitation with her lungs in the short second she was airborne. She crashed into a pony and her flailing hooves broke the jaw of another, knocking the three of them down into the snow. Ever tenacious, Smart Cookie ignored the pain in her rear, retrieved her weapon, and leaped up again.
A flying sword ran through the neck of the pony in front of her. Another earth pony fell to the unicorn’s blade when Smart Cookie took her place in the fighting line. She hooked her billhook behind one of the knight’s armored forelegs, but she had neither the strength nor leverage to pull the plate-clad pony down. All she accomplished was attract the unicorn’s attention. The glowing blue sword lunged, and Cookie was forced to drop her weapon to get out of the way. She dodged fast enough to avoid getting skewered, but not fast enough to avoid a glancing cut on her flank. She cried out of pain, and the sword lunged again.
It did not connect. An earth pony stallion tackled the knight from the side, breaking the unicorn’s concentration on the levitating sword. Smart Cookie seized her chance. She galloped forwards, rotated on her front hooves, and kicked out with her hind legs. Hoof met helmet, but the impact probably caused the secretary more pain than her target. The knight nevertheless staggered under the blow, and an earth pony coming in from the other side pushed the already unbalanced unicorn to the ground. Smart Cookie stomped on the fallen knight’s horn, cracking it and prompting a muffled scream from inside the helmet. “Somepony open his visor,” the orange mare panted. She retrieved her billhook, and one of her comrades opened the helmet.
Smart Cookie didn’t let the green unicorn finish his plea for mercy. She plunged the spearhead at the end of her billhook through the stallion’s eye socket. The angle was bad and the knight gave a gurgling shriek, so the secretary jabbed through the eye again, this time orienting her spear point upwards towards the unicorn’s brain. He fell silent. Smart Cookie unceremoniously yanked out her billhook and sought out another enemy.
The unicorn knights exacted a fearsome toll on the earth ponies, but their prodigious skill could not hold up against sheer numbers for long. Like a wave, the earth ponies flooded through every gap in the unicorns’ shallow and porous formation, and not just from the front. The wings of the earth pony formation folded over and crashed into the enemy from the rear. The flanking force led by Chancellor Puddinghead also threw itself into the mix, and the pink pony happily went to work with her sledgehammer.
Although each unicorn could easily handle any single earth pony visible through their helmets’ vision slits, there was little they could do against the mobs of ponies dragging them down from all sides. Scythes, sickles, pitchforks, and a myriad of other improvised weapons were useless against full plate, but that did not matter. The unicorn knights still died. Some suffocated when their helmets were pushed into the snow. The unluckier ones had their faces stabbed or bludgeoned after their horns had been hacked off.
In the center of chaos that was once the unicorn line, a trumpet blared over the din of battle.
Marshal Phlogiston roasted yet another earth pony alive, but he found no satisfaction in that. Inwardly, he cursed himself. He had spread his knights thinly in traditional unicorn fashion, so each pony-at-arms had space to perform his or her war magic without interfering with each other. But earth ponies didn’t fight that way. They did not engage in individual duels with their opposite numbers. They swarmed like the insects they were and pulled his ponies apart from all directions. He gave the order to regroup in close order, and hoped it wasn’t too late.
A squire with an open-faced helmet shot a burst of air to cover her retreat. Smart Cookie was exhausted and bleeding, but she still had the fight in her and no intention of letting the unicorn get away. With what had by now become a well-practiced move, she tripped the fleeing mare by snagging one of her legs with her billhook. The grounded unicorn managed to wound an earth pony with a concentrated sonic blast before Smart Cookie jammed her weapon into her face.
The surviving unicorns fought their way to the center to rally around their flag. More unicorns fell in the confusing melee but with difficulty they managed to form a compact circle. Although they were still surrounded as a whole, their formation offered the least possible surface area for their numbers and had no gaps or corners to exploit. The earth ponies discovered that at great cost.
Militia ponies involuntarily backed away, leaving behind scores of dead and dying. For a few short minutes, the battle was peaceful as both sides stopped to catch their breaths. Then the earth ponies charged the dense unicorn circle, only to be bloodily repulsed after ten minutes of carnage with little to show for their efforts. A second attack met with similar results, but the third try was the proverbial charm.
Chancellor Puddinghead leaped into the unicorn formation and landed on a knight’s back, knocking him down. She swung wildly with her sledgehammer, and armor counted for nothing against its crushing blows. A unicorn went down with a broken neck, and another with a cracked skull. The small cut in the enemy formation became an open wound as more and more earth ponies forced themselves in after the chancellor, who now faced the unicorn standard bearer.
He had the flagpole fixed to a special saddle, and the floating sword in front of him glowed with purple magic. He swung his weapon down in an overhead strike, but upon meeting the pink pony’s parry it went spinning and sank into the snow. A telekinetically wielded sword had speed and maneuverability, but without a physical fulcrum, it had little leverage. The standard bearer seized his sword with his mind, but he was not fast enough to avoid Chancellor Puddinghead’s impromptu lesson in mechanical advantage. She pressed her front right hoof on the handle to give her swing extra power, and Mr. Sledgie came crashing down on the knight’s head, inverting the crown of his helmet and squeezing blood out of the eye slits and air holes.
Earth ponies were now in the center of the circle, and within minutes unicorn resistance collapsed. The knights and squires were too tightly packed to turn around, and their formation was eaten from the inside out.
A few unicorns managed to surrender, which was no easy feat considering the earth ponies’ vengeful moods. They lowered their flags and removed their helmets, and a red unicorn wearing highly decorated armor spoke on their behalf. “Chancellor Puddinghead. I am Phlogiston, High War Mage and Marshal to Her Highness Princess Platinum’s army. I… congratulate you on your victory.” He kept his face impassive. “We are now your prisoners. Her Highness will pay a generous ransom for our safe return to unicorn lands.”
Chancellor Puddinghead’s response was not what he wanted to hear. “You pinheads are sure silly. You can’t eat gold, and I don’t want to waste any food on enemies. So… nice knowing you!”
Faster than anypony thought possible, the pink chancellor grabbed her sledgehammer and with a vicious uppercut shattered the marshal’s jaw and snapped his head backwards with a sickening crack. The ponies guarding the other surrendered knights took their cue to murder their charges. With splurts of blood from slit throats or the smashing of bone and brain underhoof, the flower of unicorn knighthood was extinguished.
“How much closer?” Princess Platinum asked irritably. A stone thunked against a magical shield.
“We’re already in the foothills, Your Highness,” a knight escorting the princess’ litter answered. “It shouldn’t take long before we’re in the mountains.” He angled his shimmering shield to deflect another incoming stone. Fast earth pony slingers had been harassing their column ever since they left the village with the food. Nopony in the princess’ retinue was in danger thanks to the knights’ protection, but the levy wasn’t so fortunate. They were ordinary unicorns, and none of those traders, artisans, or artists knew the slightest thing about conjuring a magical shield. The sacks of grain or hay bales lashed to their backs offered rudimentary protection, but they were slow and defenseless targets. Every other minute or so, a food porter would be killed or wounded by a sling bullet, forcing a hurried redistribution of the load to other ponies or its simple abandonment.
A small squad of knights turned around and charged the irritating equine mosquitoes, but the earth pony slingers were too fast and nimble to be caught by the assortment of fireballs and magic bolts thrown in their direction. They fell back a little bit, but they would return to hurl another few volleys shortly.
A dark mass slowly loomed in the distance through the snowfall. Finally, the rest of the unicorn knights were returning. They were late from what should have been a simple battle. As the ponies neared however, it became apparent that they were not unicorn knights. There were no glints from polished armor, and there were far too many of them.
Princess Platinum’s pupils shrank. It was impossible. Her knights must have been victorious. Anything less was unthinkable. The illusory earth pony army didn’t care what she thought and came closer anyways.
“Servant!” she pointed a hoof at a startled retainer. “You’re not carrying anything, so you’ll be quick. Run to the castle and tell the garrison to reinforce us!” The stallion nervously nodded and galloped off. A skeleton crew of knights had stayed behind, and the princess never imagined she would ever be desperate enough to draw upon them.
The unicorns quickened their pace to stay ahead, but it was a race they could not win, despite their enormous lead. Their levy was burdened with the weight of the stolen provisions, whereas the earth ponies had only the improvised weapons in their jaws encumbering them. Even those few wearing captured pegasus cuirasses could keep pace with their comrades owing to the armor’s relative lightness.
The unicorn army made it into the mountains, and the earth ponies were not far behind. The vengeful peasants ignored their exhaustion and galloped up the path. Then they made contact.
A mere dozen knights remained in the unicorn army, but that proved to be perfectly adequate to defend the narrow chokepoint. Skillfully wielded telekinetic swords ran the first ranks of earth ponies through, and blasts of flame shielded the unicorns’ retreat. The enemy nonetheless followed, keeping just out of the range of the knights’ fire.
The earth ponies’ massive numbers were all but useless in the narrow path, so they decided to circumvent the unicorn rearguard from above. Hundreds of them left the path and struggled uphill so they might form a line parallel to the unicorns’ and attack along its whole length. It was, in theory, a good plan.
But it was winter. And not just any winter, but the coldest and most brutal in centuries. Crops wilted, livestock died, and the soil froze, all smothered under layers upon layers of snow. The compacted snow loosened and fractured as thousands of hooves trod not on the path but on the bare mountainside.
The mountain groaned. Everypony froze, and for the briefest of moments, all was silent. Then the rumbling started, and sheets of snow peeled away and slid down the slope.
Unicorns galloped up the pathway. Earth ponies on the incline shouted in panic and vainly tried running away, but they could not outrun the white wave. The avalanche surged downhill with a roaring crescendo, and ponies of all colors and shapes disappeared underneath its crushing, onrushing weight.
The knights and commoners in the levy collapsed out of exhaustion. Even the royal litter bearers fell to the ground, spilling Princess Platinum into the snow. They had run the hardest sprint in their lives and survived. The same could not be said for many earth ponies, who now lay buried underneath tons of snow and a cloud of pulverized ice.
High above, a horrified butter yellow pegasus flew away to report what she had seen.
A/N: Fun fact! By adding a spearhead, Smart Cookie’s billhook would technically be called a ‘Bill-Guisarme.’ I didn’t expect her to know or use that term, though.