Downfall of Equestria

by Shadow Storm

Chapter IV: Countdown

The next day I woke up in a very good mood. I rubbed my eyes and got ready for the day ahead. Upon exiting my tent, I noticed Iron Shock talking with some friends near the entrance of the fort. I began to walk over to them until my eyes noticed none other than Cosette, looking as stunning as ever. She was eating her breakfast with another friend of hers. I looked back at Iron and then to Cosette, before deciding to talk to Cosette.
I walked over to her and sat down. She noticed me and smiled, swallowing her food and looking at me. I smiled back, noticing that her friend was looking at me strangely.
“Good morning Cosette.”
“Good morning Shadow.” She said, before taking another bite of her breakfast.
“Did you sleep well?” I asked, rubbing my hooves nervously together.
I didn’t know why I was nervous. I didn’t know what was making me feel so weird around her. I did know that she was a great friend to have, and I would do anything to keep her safe.
“I slept okay, how did you sleep?” She asked back to me.
“I couldn’t necessarily sleep all that well.” I said, chuckling as I thought about the events that have taken place last night.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Shadow.” She admitted, a small frown appearing on her face.
“It’s okay. I was guarding most of the night. Better to keep everypony safe. So, I was wondering something…”
“What is it?” She said, halting her eating as she tilted her head to the side, facing me.
“Are you… doing anything later? I was wondering if we could take a walk together. Get to hang out and talk.” I said, blushing just slightly, not noticeable.
Her friend poked her, whispering in her ear. Cosette looked at her and then back at me, a small blush appearing on her face too as a smile appeared.
“I’m free today… so yeah. I’d love to hang out with you, Shadow.”
A smile glistened on my face, my heart racing again like it did the first time I met her, like every other time we hung out.
“That’s great! So when do you think we should meet up?” I asked, more impatient to hang out with her than any other time.
“After breakfast.” She answered, looking at her food, which was almost gone.
“I’ll see you after breakfast then. I have to meet up with Eagle.” I chuckled, getting up and walking away towards Eagle’s tent.
I walked in and saw him polishing his blade. He noticed me and smiled, continuing to polish his blade.
“Hey Ozone, how are you?”
“I’m good, Eagle. I see you’re occupied this morning.”
“I’m just getting ready for our mission. Wolf is getting ready too.”
I couldn’t help but laugh, making him chuckle a bit too.
“It’s six days away! Why get ready now?” I asked as he shrugged.
“I’ll just prepare now and be ready when the time comes. You should do the same.”
“I can’t. Not today anyways. I’m going out to take a walk with Cosette.”
He stopped polishing his blade, now staring at me fully with a smug smile.
“Cosette? Luna’s daughter?”
“Yeah.” I nodded my head, his smile growing wider.
“I didn’t know you had a thing with her. As a matter of fact, now it makes sense. You have been hanging out with her a lot.”
“H-How do you know we hang out?” I asked, demanding an answer, making him laugh.
“I notice you talking with her all the time. It’s obvious.”
“Keep polishing your blade.” I ordered embarrassingly, marching out of the tent.
I slowly halted to a stop, looking for Cosette who was now gone from her original spot. Just then a felt a poke on my side, causing me to jump. I quickly looked over and saw Cosette, who began to giggle.
“Ticklish?” She smiled, a blush appearing on my face.
“N-No. You just surprised me. That’s all.”
“Well let’s take a walk, silly. No use standing here doing nothing.” She smiled excitingly.
I smiled as we walked to the entrance and left the fort, now walking down the narrow passage. We began to talk about how life was, and what our views were on the future of Equestria. Her views were a lot like mine. We both believed that the war would end and both factions would become one again. However she believed it would be peacefully and not through force, which is what I believed would happen.
The sun began to set, when we eventually made it to the top of a mountain and looked out ahead, sitting down to rest. With the quietness setting in, I started to think about the mission. A part of me wanted to tell Cosette about the assassination plan. She didn’t know about the plan Luna had, at least I didn’t think so. I decided to tell her.
“Cosette, did you know that in six days a select group of Black Squadron fighters are going to go on a mission to assassinate Celestia?”
She looked at me with a frown, her ears lowering.
“Really…? Are… you in that select group?” She asked, fearing the obvious answer, which I answered silently with a nod.
“Why are you doing it? Why can’t somepony else do it?” She asked bluntly, obviously upset with me, which was surprising.
“I volunteered to do it. Anything to end the war.” I admitted, her look now saddened.
“What if… you don’t come back…?” She said quietly, sending me through a spiraling realization that this mission was near impossible and that I probably wouldn’t be coming back.
“I won’t die Cosette. I promise you. I’ll come back.” I tried to reassure her, but it didn’t work.
She looked on the verge of tears, which made the pounding of my heart start to hurt. The feeling was coming back again. Something that made me feel strange, only this time it wasn’t a good one, it was a bad feeling. Seeing her this upset was killing me, for a reason I couldn’t explain. Without a word, she got up and looked down at me.
“I have to go Shadow.. It’s getting dark.” She said, turning around and flying off without hesitation.
Alone and shocked, I watched her fly back to the fort. I looked down and noticed a small wet dot on the ground, which I assumed was a tear. She… shed a tear? I stared at it for a long time until I decided to head back to the fort. It was dark outside and I was getting pretty tired.
That night, I couldn’t sleep at all. I stayed up all night thinking about Cosette. I didn’t mean for her to be upset, nor did I ever expect that she would. I wanted her to be happy, but this made me feel horrible. Tomorrow I hoped to make it better.
For the next six days, Cosette avoided me. Everytime I saw her she looked at me then looked away, turning away from my direction. Each time made me feel worse and worse, and for some reason I started to feel alone. I knew I had friends, but this alone feeling went beyond that. All I could do was prepare for the upcoming mission that would ultimately decide the direction of the war, and the fate of my friendship with Cosette.

The day arrived very quickly when Iron Shock, myself, Wolf and Eagle, flew out of the camp to fly directly to the capitol of the Solar Empire: Canterlot. Our flight would take several hours, so we decided to waste the time away by talking about what we would do after the war ended.

“Well, I always thought about opening a pie shop.” Wolf said, licking his chaps in the process.
Everypony laughed, including himself. They looked at me, expecting me to give my story of what I wanted to do after the war. I looked down and sighed.

“Well, I thought I knew but now I just don’t know anymore...”

“What was it, Shadow?” Iron Shock asked me.
“Well there’s this mare… and… I just wanted to improve our friendship.” I confessed, hearing the hoots of everypony.
“I knew it Shadow! It’s Cosette isn’t it?” Eagle said, chuckling.
I looked at him, nodding and sighing.

“Yeah… it’s Cosette. I don’t know what it is about her, but she makes me feel…”

“Happy?” Iron Shock finished for me.

I looked towards Iron and shrugged.

“Well, kinda, but no...”

“Cheerful?” Wolf questioned, causing me to stare at him.

“Still no. She makes me feel… important. Like she knows I exist. Everytime we have hung out she was always interested in my stories of my experiences, no matter how boring they were. I always enjoyed her company and... I think.. I really like her.”

The others gasped and laughed simultaneously. I looked at all of them angrily. They saw how serious I was, and stopped laughing. Then I stared back at Iron Shock, who began to talk.

“Okay, well look Shadow: if you love her, then go after her. Let’s just hope this war ends today. After this, let’s get a drink. On me.”
It’s been awhile since we got a drink. We only did it on special occasions, and it’s been a long time since anything major happened. This event wouldn’t just be major, but history in the making. The only thing I cared about at the moment, was Cosette. I never got to say goodbye to her, and I never got to tell her my confirmed feelings. It would all be decided soon.

The time came when we landed on a mountain across from the caste of Canterlot. I looked around and found Ponyville, or what was left of it. There were barely any buildings except for some watch towers and leftover houses. There was a tree house that seemed to be heavily guarded in the middle of the town, which looked to be important.

“Hey, Iron Shock, look over there. Do you see Ponyville?” I asked, pointing over to the town.

Iron Shock walked over next to me, staring down at Ponyville. His face went cold.

“Yes, I see it.”

“Look over at that tree in the middle of the town, it’s heavily guarded. Do you know if anypony lives there?”

“I don’t know. I bet it’s someone important and close to Celestia.” Eagle suggested, with a nod from Iron.

I stared Wolf and Eagle, their faces looking around at the place they once called home. Like me, I too lived here. I had flashbacks about Ponyville back when I was a colt. That was when we heard news of Luna possibly seceding from Equestria. My father, Azure Storm, was a part of Celestia’s military once, before it turned into an Empire. However, both my father and my mother were killed by a griffin, leaving me orphaned. None of that mattered to me anymore. I sighed heavily as my thoughts disappeared. I looked around below the mountain and saw nothing but flat land.

“Okay, let’s head down there and sneak up to the castle.” I suggested.

We flew down quickly and quietly. We landed and began to walk in a stealthy fashion. I turned my head to face Iron shock, who was staring down the entire time we walked. I frowned and stared forward. We approached the other mountain and began to fly up, getting closer to the castle. Eventually we were right under it. I told the others to stay there as I flew around to the edge of the cliff to look for any Solar Guards. We were right next to the courtyard, which happened to be empty. I flew back down, bringing the others up with me. Strangely as I looked around I spotted conveniently found an open door leading into the castle.

We snuck our way past and entered through the door, walking into what seemed to be a kitchen area. I only assumed the cook probably took a break as I snuck around to a doorway to find the main hall. Nopony was there, so I quickly entered the hall, trying to find my way through the maze of the castle. We looked in every room, but found nothing. Not a soul was around. I began to grow confused as we finally entered what seemed like Celestia’s royal chamber. Her royal seat was at the end of the room, sitting alone and empty. I grew frustrated as I turned around, slamming my hoof on the ground.

“Come on! Where is everypony?” I couldn’t help but shout loud enough to hear my echo.
Realizing what I have done, I looked around for somepony to come out and yell for reinforcements, but I as I waited there was silence. I sighed, staring back at the group of soldiers that seemed almost as confused as I did. Then I felt myself lifting off the ground, unable to move. Panicking I found myself flying across the room hitting one of the large support pillars. Falling to the ground, I laid there on the ground in pain as I looked and saw a purple pony emerging from the shadows. Her hair was a darker violet, and her eyes were a lighter purple.

The others stood looking at me and then back at her. That’s when a bunch of Solar Guards came in and began to fight with my friends. All but Iron Shock, who stood there looking at the purple pony with a strong hatred in his eyes. I suddenly remembered my dream. The purple pony looked exactly like the one in my dream! I wasn’t sure if it was the same mare though.

Iron Shock stepped forward, still looking at the unicorn. I stared at their confrontation, neither of them blinking. She gasped as he frowned angrily. As if things couldn’t be any more confusing, I didn’t know what was going on. My mind beginning to burst out in thought. Who was she? What was going on? Did Iron Shock know her? How did he know her? The constant thoughts running through my head disabled me to think straight. I watched as Wolf and Eagle continued their fight against the Solar Guards.

“I know you…” Iron Shock began to speak as my ears perked up, trying to listen to him over the commotion the fighting was producing.

“You know me? How do you know me? Have we met before?” I heard her ask as Iron Shock began to growl.

“How could I forget the one who killed my daughter? You’re none other than Twilight Sparkle.” Iron Shock exclaimed, my eyes widening as I struggled to stand.