Harmony's Warriors: Captain Equestria

by Avenging-Hobbits

Act II - 09 - Fate and Destiny

Act II:
"The Journey Begins"

Chapter Nine:

“Alright, you pussies!” Gilda cawed, dropping down the ground with a thump from her flying position about the nest of now visibly exhausted recruits. She leaned against the flagpole, motioning upwards towards the flag raised above. “You see that flag? I want it.”

There was a pause as the group looked up at the flag. Gilda cocked an eyebrow.

“What? Ya wimping out because of a little jog? We’ve barely run for an hour. Get your asses together, get your flanks up there and get me that flag!” she emphasized her words by kicking the flagpole harshly. Another pause. Her ears perked up at the sound of someone muttering under their breath. Her head whipped towards the source of the noise, a big oaf of a stallion who wore an insufferably smug grin on his face. Gilda grit her teeth.

Great. A smart guy. Yaaaay.

She took a deep breath, marching over towards the smirking stallion, who loomed over her rather small (for a griffin at least) and stocky frame. “What do you find so funny soldier?!” she barked, and the stallion straightened out, still smirking.

“Just that we have to listen to an ugly beakface girl with small tits,” he replied loudly, his voice dripping in sarcasm. Gilda’s eyebrows lowered and her eyes narrowed. She balled her claw into a fist and landed a good hard punch in the stallion’s gut, causing him to bowl over in pain. Before he had a proper chance to react, she landed a good kick between his legs, causing him to let out a girlish yelp of pain as he collapsed to the ground. She then picked him up by the throat in a chokehold.

“Sorry ‘bout that, Slim Jim!” She let out a hearty laugh. “I couldn’t quite hear what you said over the sound of me kicking your ass,” she yelled, leaning down to lean in close to the now humiliated stallion. “Care to repeat what you said for the rest of your unit?”

The stallion, unable to breathe, just shook his head meekly, and Gilda nodded. “Good dumbass! Now,” she stood back up, arms behind her back and once more eying the recruits with anger. “Get up there and get me my flag!”

This time, there was no pause, but a stampede, as the mess of recruits went clambering around the pole, trying their best to climb up the twenty foot flagpole and grab the flag above. “And no magic or flying, ya poozers!” she called out, causing the few unicorn and pegasus of the recruits to suddenly turn and give her a befuddled expression. The white one with the bright yellow mane tilted her head.

“But why? That makes no sense!” she called out. Gilda allowed herself a smug grin at the sound of the mare’s voice exhibiting a tone of voice that wasn’t just manically happy. Gilda then shrugged, ambling over towards a nearby tree.

“Because I say so. Now get to it.”

Surprise’s shoulders sagged. “Darn it,” she murmured as she turned to try and climb up the pole.

Gilda leaned up against a nearby tree, an amused expression on her face as the soldiers wildly leapt up at the flag. She knew full well that the chances of climbing up twenty feet of a slippery flag pole to grab a simple flag was a futile exercise. Of course, that was the whole point. The point of this exercise was the test if a recruit could take an impossible task, and, using his intelligence, figure out a way to make it possible.

Of course, she’d intentionally left that detail out. What good was it explaining to the soldiers what they were supposed to do, when the whole point of the test was figuring out how to do something? On top of that, they obviously didn’t respect her, so a lesson in humility was needed.

Of course, watching a bunch of grown stallions fumble about like immature toddlers got tiresome rather quickly, and Gilda flicked her eyes down at her wristwatch, before letting out a sharp whistle.

“Alright, enough lollygagging!” she called. “If that’s the best you all can do, then we’re done here and I’ve just wasted two minutes. Back on the trail! Hut to, move it!” she ordered, flexing her wings and flapping into the air with a grace that didn’t quite match her personality.

“Wait a sec, Sarge!” came a distinctly accented voice, and Gilda halted in midair. She turned her head to see the orange mare from earlier standing by the pole, studying it closely.

“What is it Apple? You think you can get the flag?” Gilda asked, crossing her arms and cocking an eyebrow. The skinny earth pony saluted.

“Yes ma’am, I think I can.”

Gilda smiled slightly. This should be fun to watch, she thought, holding up a talon to stop the other recruits and flapping down to the ground. “Well then soldier, impress me,” she said as she landed. The thin earth pony nodded, turning towards the flagpole to give it another inspection. She would occasionally stop, pausing to frame the flagpole with her hooves.

“Well? We’re waiting!” Gilda called out, and the young recruit nodded, visibly bracing her wire-thin frame before landing a kick on the small support bar, which bent forward slightly. She then reached down, and with quite a bit of physical effort, pulled the support pin loose, causing the flagpole to start falling over. With a loud clang, it fell to the ground, and a confident Applejack strode forward, untying the flag and handing it over to Gilda, who simply stared at Applejack in surprise. The wimp did it, she thought, her eyes widening slightly.

“Did I do it right, Sarge?” Applejack asked, standing up straight and raising an eyebrow slightly. Gilda quickly nodded, swiftly returning to her authoritative demeanor.

“That you did Apple, that you did. Damn good job,” she then motioned towards the barracks that sat down the road. “Now get back to barracks and haul flank! Day’s a-wasting!”


The sun slowly lowered behind the horizon, and Shining Armor walked besides Applejack, who had just gotten back from her day’s worth of training, and were now heading back to barracks. Inspite of her obvious tiredness in light of almost four hours of non-stop running, she still wore a massive smile on her face and walked with a skip in her step. Her uniform was disheveled and covered in dirt, which stood out in sharp contrast to the pristinely pressed uniform that Shining wore.

“Oh thank Celestia, she’s finally got it!” Applejack beamed, the grin on her face growing. “Apple Bloom done an’ got a cutie mark!”

Shining smiled meekly. “Yeah, yeah she did. Whoopie,” he said, doing his best to sound enthusiastic inspite of himself. For the past ten minutes now, all Applejack had done was go on about how wonderful it was that Apple Bloom ‘found her purpose’ and how she’d be able to go home and ‘be safe and sound’. He was really starting to wish he’d just straight up told Applejack about the exact nature of the cutie mark, instead saying it would be a surprise.

Great. Get her worked up just to see her freak out. Classy. He took in a breath, before clearing his throat slightly. Just try and prepare her for it, just so we don’t have to worry about her freaking out and punching you in the face… or something.

“So… Applejack…” he started, before trailing off as Applejack turned to look at him. He scratched the back of his neck. Applejack tilted her head slightly, giving him a confused look.

“Shinin’? What is it?” she asked, coming to a stop. Shining bit his lip, swallowing slightly before looking skyward.

“Uh, it sure is a nice evening. I mean, look at that sunset,” he said, pointing towards the setting sun. Applejack looked over her shoulder in the direction Shining was pointing, before turning back and giving him a smile.

“Yeah, it is a mighty fine one. Ya should see how it looks like back on tha farm. Ya gots tha light bouncin’ off tha tree tops, an’ if ya look east ya can see Canterlot mountain lookin’ purple like some kinda gemstone or somethin’.”

Shining nodded slightly, still wondering how to break the subject of Apple Bloom’s cutie mark to AJ. Maybe you should ease her into it. Like… talk about the farm or something. Yeah that’s it. talk about her cutie mark!

“Yeah, that probably is pretty nice,” he finally replied. He idly kicked away a stone. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

Applejack shrugged, her eyebrow arching slightly. “Yeah, sure.”

“How’d you get your cutie mark,” he blurted out, immediately wincing at his fumble. Ease her into it, don’t hit her like a steamroller. Applejack’s head tilted slightly and her expression became more confused.

“I mean, you totally don’t have to tell me, I mean, that kinda stuff is pretty personal I’d venture,” he quickly said, holding up his hooves slightly. Applejack was silent for a moment, before shaking her head slightly.

“Um, no, no I don’t mind talkin’ ‘bout it. I mean, Apple Bloom just up an’ got hers, so it’s not like cutie marks’ ain’t a topic of conversation right now, am I right?”

Shining let out a slight laugh. “Yeah, yeah they are…”

Applejack then nodded slightly, her expression loosing some of it’s happiness. Shining’s lips pursed slightly. Great, you probably offended her. Stellar job, Shining! he thought.

“Again, if you don’t want to tell me, I won’t make you.” he added, but Applejack shook her head.

“No, no, I don’t mind tellin’. Just…” she paused, letting out a sigh. “It ain’t exactly a happy story ya know?” she idly pawed at the ground. “I mean, it ain’t depressin’ either… just not… happy happy,” she gave a slight shrug, her hoof idly tracing in the dirt. “It happened when I was ‘bout twelve or there ‘bouts, so after mah momma died. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I remember ma always bein’ optimistic ya know? Always say’n we didn’t need ta worry, an’ that everythin’ was gonna work out…” she voice trailed off, and she wiped a tear from her eye.

Shining frowned. “I’m...I’m sorry…”

Applejack shook her head. “No, no, don’t be. It ain’t yer fault. What happened happened, ain’t no reason ta up an’ get sorry fer somethin’ ya didn’t have a hoof in,” she gave him a pat on the back before sighing again. “I mean, I wanted ta run away fer Celestia’s sake.”

Shining raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

Applejack blushed slightly, rubbing the back of her neck. “Yeah… I mean, it was kinda stupid when I think ‘bout it now, since I’d be leavin’ my family behind like that an’ goin’ on my own. But, back then, I just felt so lonely. I mean, everythin’ in tha house reminded me of her. So, I just up an’ packed mah stuff, an’ was headin’ on tha way out when I heard Purity cryin’.”

“Purity? She your older sister?”

Applejack nodded. “Yeah. After ma died, she kinda took her place. Me an’ ‘Bloom really look up to her. She always knows how ta handle things or what ta do… but that night, I found her in tha kitchen, holdin’ a photo of ma an’ pa, bawlin’ away. I’d never seen her like that before in my life so I kinda just went in an’ gave her a hug…” she paused, opening and closing her mouth. She’d never shared this story with anyone else before, and a part of her worried if she were somehow betraying a family secret.

“Hey,” Shining spoke up, putting a hoof on her shoulder. “If you don’t want to finish, I understand.”

Applejack smiled, but shook her head, “No, I outta finish what I started. Don’t wanna leave ya hangin’ or nuthin’.” She took a deep breath before straightening up slightly. “Me and her just sat there fer awhile, just huggin’ each other. I asked her ‘bout the letter on her lap, an’ she told me it was a letter from one of them fancy colleges. Turns out that before ma an’ pa died, she’d applied ta one. Apparently, they just said she got accepted,” she let out a sad sigh, idly leaning down to pick up a pebble and fiddle with it.

Shining was surprised. “Is that why you didn't run away? To look after your family?”

Applejack shook her head. "Not exactly, no. I mean, sure, I felt sad that Purity had ta go, but there were more important things ta be done. I couldn't leave 'Bloom behind. I had ta be there for her. I told mah sister that'd I'd look after tha farm while she was at college. She gave me the funniest look then. She told me she wasn't leavin' us at all. I was kinda surprised, so I asked, “sis, don't ya wanna get off tha farm? Aren't ya always talkin' 'bout gettin' respect?”” Applejack paused, taking a moment to toss the rock she'd been playing with away. Her shoulders lowered a little, and she smiled wistfully. "It was then that she told me that family was more important than respect ever could be. She told me that somethings are more important, an' how Yahweh puts ya in the right family for whatever reason, an' no matter what, ya stick with 'em," Applejack smiled a little wider now, the advice bringing back fonder memories. "I didn't notice my mark till the next day. Purity was so happy, we had a whole party an' everythin'. I mean, weren't nuthin' all that fancy, but we were still happy." She moved to point at her mark. "I mean, sure, they're apples cause we're Apples. But its three because there are three of us, but we're always gonna be together."

Shining was quiet for a moment. "What do you think it means?" He asked quietly, honestly not having expected such an intimate look into Applejack's life. Applejack shrugged.

"I always took it ta mean that I was gonna keep tha family together ya know? Like, keep everypony safe." She then chuckled. "But then, I ain't no expert. I just do what I feel is the right thing, an' pray it works out right."

By this point, they’d finally reached the barracks. Shining opened the door for Applejack, to reveal, sitting inside, seemingly deeply wrapped up in a game of chess, was Apple Bloom, sitting across from her, obviously on the losing end, was Professor Schultz, who was now rubbing his beak in thought.

“Apple Bloom? What are ya doin’?” Applejack asked in surprise, and Apple Bloom’s head whipped around, the filly’s face exploding to a huge smile.

“Applejack!” she shouted with glee, bounding out of her chair and tackling her sister into a hug. “Didja hear! I got mah cutie mark!”

Applejack nodded, the wind having been knocked out of her by the unexpected tackle. “Yeah, yeah, Shinin’ told me all ‘bout it!”

“Wanna see it?!” Apple Bloom asked excitedly, already spinning around to reveal the complex hammer and gun pattern on her flank. Applejack blinked, her eyes wide.

“Is that a gun?” she asked, her voice worrisome. Apple Bloom looked down at the mark, before nodding slightly.

“Um, yeah, it is. But don’t worry none! The Professor said that we ain’t got nuthin’ ta worry ‘bout!”

Applejack blinked again, slowly standing up. “Uh… wow… it’s…” she stammered, reflexively nibbling her lip and twiddling with her mane. “Sure is… ornate… and… intricate… and a gun.” The mental image of Apple Bloom running around, gun spraying a rain of bullets at her enemies suddenly made Applejack’s eyes grow to the size of dinnerplates. “How am I supposed ta keep ya safe iffin’ yer own damn cutie mark is a gun!” she practically shouted, standing up and running her hooves through her mane. “I mean, what iffin’ tha general finds this! He’ll probably recruit ya right then an’ there an’ next thin’ I know, yer hundreds of miles away in some trench gettin’ shot at by griffin’s an-”

“Applejack, calm down,” Professor Schultz said, standing up and putting a talon on the now panicking pony’s shoulder. Applejack looked up at him.

“Calm down? Why should I calm down! She’s basically destined to become a killin--”

Schultz gently put a talon over Applejack’s mouth. “Now hold on, don’t get yourself worried. I was there when Shining brought us the young stutfohlen as soon as she gained her mark.”

“But-but, guns! Weapons!” Applejack stammered. Schultz camly patted her back, looking down at Apple Bloom.

“Apple Bloom, go with Herr Armor please. I wish to speak with your sister. We’ll finish our game later, ja?”

Apple Bloom, who had been looking up at Applejack with concern, nodded slightly, taking Shining’s hoof and walking outside the barracks, leaving just the Professor and Applejack. Professor Schultz motioned for Applejack to sit down, and the still troubled mare sat down slowly.

“Now, Applejack, tell me why a simple symbol is making you so worried,” he asked, keeping his voice calm and collected. Applejack took in a shaky breath, still obviously bent out of shape.

“Well… it’s just… a gun? Like, I’m happy fer ‘Bloom… but…”

“You’re worried that she’ll let this define her existence completely?” Schultz asked, and Applejack nodded.

“Yeah. I mean, I want her ta have a happy fillyhood. I don’t want her drafted or nuthin’, thrown in front of a bunch of enemies who all wanna kill her. I just want her ta be safe an’ sound, an’ how can that happen’ iffin’ she’s got that kind of a mark?” She sighed heavily, putting her head in her hooves.

Schultz camly patted her back, taking a moment to form his answer carefully. “Well… I don’t let my work in the military define me, do I?”

Applejack let out a groan. “Griffin’s don’t have ta worry ‘bout what their cutie mark tells them. They can just pick whatever job they want! And anyways, yer doin’ a good thing! Ya ain’t shootin’ nopony!”

Schultz sighed, shaking his head. “No, that wasn’t always the case.”

Applejack looked up at Schultz with a raised eyebrow. “Whadda mean?” she asked, her tone growing concerned. Schultz looked down at the floor, and for the first time, Applejack noticed his demeanor loose it’s near omnipresent optimism. Instead, he looked tired and world weary.

“Well, Frau Apple, I wasn’t always working for the forces of good. You see, back in my homeland, everything was-or rather is, very much built on militarism. I suppose, being a nation of claws and talons rather than hooves, we griffins have always allowed ourselves to give into our… darker impulses,” he sighed. “In fact, I was once such a griffin. I was working for HYDRA once myself.”

Applejack didn’t say anything, simply too surprised by this to really form words. The Professor meanwhile, continued speaking.

“Now, I will admit fully to never actually sharing their beliefs. They had simply noticed my scientific research, and had been quick to recruit me and provide me with all the funding I could ever need. I was very much a blind idealist then. I figured, what was the worst that could happen? I only thought of what I had to gain. More funding, more money, more fame. I was selfish. Of course, it didn’t take long for Hoity Toity to take a… personal interest in my work.”

“‘Hoity Toity’? Who’s that?”

“You know him better as Red Skull. He had dragged himself from the depths of poverty to the very peak of power, all by sheer force of will. But, he had no kindness at all. He only wanted the power my serum could give him.”

“Ya mean, he’s…” Applejack began before the Professor waved his talons dismissively.

“No, no. Not a super soldier… at least not the kind I envisioned,” he let out a small sigh. “You see, the serum doesn’t just amplify your body physically. It also amplifies what lies inside of you; your soul, if you are so inclined to think that way. Good becomes great, and bad becomes worse. Hoity’s lust for power grew rampant after the first tests of the serum, and although I tried to hold him back and warn him of the dangers, he continued on regardless of any safety. I soon realized, that I had played a hand in creating a monster. It was then that I realized that, in the wrong hands, my work would only cause death and destruction. I never wished for that. So, I packed my bags, and moved to Equestria, taking my research with me,” he let out another sigh. “I learned that it wasn’t one’s cutie mark or job that defined them, it was their soul. Hoity Toity’s cutie mark was a simple fan, yet, when he took the serum, he turned into a monster.”

Applejack scrunched her brow in thought. “But what does this hafta do with Apple Bloom?”

“Well, from the little time I’ve spent with her, Apple Bloom has a sweet soul. She cares about you. She thinks your the greatest sister she could ever have. Does that sound like a pony who would take a weapon and mercilessly butcher another?”

Applejack shook her head. “Apple Bloom don’t gotta mean bone in her body, I can tell ya that,” she answered quietly. “But… it’s still…”

“Guns are used for defense as well. If you were to shoot a bear who was attacking you, would you be doing a bad thing? If that bear tried to attack Apple Bloom, wouldn’t you try to defend her?”

Applejack nodded. “Yeah. Yeah I would. Without a second thought.”

“Then does that mean if Apple Bloom were put in a similar situation, would that mean she’s a murderer?”

Applejack shook her head. “No sir, it wouldn’t. She’d just be doin’ what she had ta do.”

“Exactly,” Professor Schultz said, giving Applejack a comforting rub on the back. “And that’s what I believe her cutie mark represents. That she’d do what was necessary to defend the one’s she loves. Of course, what I think her cutie mark means, and what she believes it means might be two entirely different things. But we can’t let our fears define her life. She is who she chooses to be, pure and simple.”

“But what if she wants ta join tha army? I couldn’t live with myself if she got hurt,” Applejack responded somberly. The Professor camily placed an arm around her.

“Applejack, the future is not set in stone. But that doesn’t mean we should fear it either. Take heart in the knowledge that your sister cares for you and would never do anything to hurt you. Simply take it a day at a time, and we’ll see what she chooses,” he then slowly stood up. “After all, tomorrow is another day. Now, get some rest,” he said, starting towards the door.

Applejack sighed. “Okay Professor…” she said quietly, slowly sliding herself into bed. As soon as she did so, in walked Apple Bloom, still waiving the Professor goodbye.

“You okay Applejack?” she asked, turning towards Applejack, who simply nodded slightly.

“Yeah… I’m fine.”

Apple Bloom didn’t say anything, instead simply climbing into bed next to Applejack. “Mind iffin’ I bunk wit’ ya?”

Applejack shook her head. “Nah, ‘Bloom. It’s okay.”

Apple Bloom smiled. “Great,” she then snuggled up against Applejack, lazily wrapping her arms around her sister and snuggling close. “G’night sis. Sweet dreams.”

Applejack smiled thinly, still deeply worried over her sister’s fate. “Good night Apple Bloom.”


Gustav walked into the heavily fortified city town hall. He whistled idly, talons in his pockets, nonchalantly shrugging off the rain of bullets that came from the Equestrian guards around him. Every so often, he would take a breath and, with the flick of a wrist, send out a bolt of kinetic energy, knocking asides whomever he deemed particularly troublesome at the moment.

“Are you gentlecolts done yet?” he finally said loudly, sighing deeply and looking down at his watch. “Because it’s getting rather late in the day, and I’d like to have this city under HYDRA control by sundown if you don’t mind me saying.”

He was greeted by another bullet, this time directly into his face. He flinched slightly, before blinking a few times and shaking his head. True, the bullet hadn’t done any actual physical damage, but it still hurt to have a .9 millimeter round impact directly between the eyes.

“Well, I’ll take that as a no,” he called out, reaching down to pick up the bullet that had fallen to the ground. Gustav took a breath, focusing his attention on the bullet, carefully channeling some extra kinetic energy into the small lead object. He smiled slightly as it glowed red, obviously filled to the brim. He looked up at the group of soldiers hunkered on the balcony above, who all carried varying degrees of shock on their faces. His smile grew, taking on a pleased aura, as he held the charged bullet in his talons, carefully aiming it towards the first soldier he saw. He then flicked his talon forward, sending the bullet flying forward, propelled by the internal kinetic energy.

The soldier fell forward, his head now missing most of the top half, which caused his comrades to once more open fire in a wild haze of panicked gunfire and magical bolts. Gustav smiled broadly.

Time for me to have some fun then, he thought, and with a pump of his wings was up in the air, claws extended. The bullets bounced off, flying in random directions as he simply absorbed the energy, which he was quick to fire back in bolts, blowing away parts of the balcony and whatever soldiers he’d taken aim at. A magical bolt however, managed to graze him, taking off some of his coat. He let out an enraged hiss, diving directly at the unicorn who’d fired and pinning him to the ground.

A quick slice of the talons and a small fountain of blood sprayed across Gustav’s face. Without a second thought, Gustav tossed the body asides, already moving to disembowel another soldier while simultaneously picking up an abandoned rifle and firing it, taking out anyone outside of his immediate reach.

Gustav felt another sharp pain at the side of his head, and whipped his head around to see who had taken another shot at him. A couple of feet away, uniform stained by the blood of his comrades, was a particularly inexperienced looking soldier. He was a thin, very young looking earth pony, who was bunched up against the wall. In his trembling hooves was a small pistol, which he kept fixed on the taller griffin.

Gustav sighed slightly, dropping the body of the soldier he’d just decapitated to the floor. He smirked slightly, crossing his arms and tilting his head.

“Really? You really think it’s going to work this time?” he paused to wipe some blood off of his beak. He hated getting dirty. The terrified soldier simply swallowed mutely, his hoof clenching around the trigger.

Gustav braced himself subconsciously for the oncoming bullet despite himself, mostly out of old habit. He knew full well that the bullet would obviously do no real harm, but old habits die hard, and even then, it still was mildly painful to be shot in the face.

The trembling soldier finally pulled the trigger, and both were greeted by the hollow sound of an empty chamber. Seemingly still seized in frantic panic, the pony pulled the trigger a few more times desperately, each time only causing the chamber to click. Gustav rolled his eyes, walking forward and discreetly lifting the pistol out of the horrified pony’s hooves. He glanced down at, before tossing it aside. The soldier, still terrified, reached for his knife, but Gustav grabbed him by the arm and twisted it around, slamming the pony to the floor in one fluid motion.

“Now look here, pony,” Gustav growled, leaning down to speak into the pony’s ear. “I’m going to ask that you do me one little favor. Do you mind?”

The pony below simply whimpered, still struggling against Gustav’s grip. Gustav let out a growl and twisted the pony’s arm sharply.

“I asked if you minded me asking you a favor. Answer the question.” he growled again.

“No! No!” the pony wailed, and Gustav smiled.

“Okay, good. Now, listen carefully. I want you to take your nice little earth pony legs, and I want you to run as fast as you can to the nearest Equestrian base. And I want you to tell them that HYDRA has liberated the city of Stalliongrad from their oppressive grip. Understand?”

The colt nodded rapidly, and Gustav smirked at the sight of tears welling up in the young colt's eyes.

"Alright, just one more itty, bitty favor for me. What's your name?"

"Wh-what?" The colt whelped, and Gustav pressed the colt into the floor harshly.

"I asked what your name was. Now, be a good little colt and tell me what you're name is, and I won't deprive you of your throat."

"G-G-Gild-ded Sp-Spear! My name is Gilded Spear!" the colt replied, his voice tight. Gustav raised an eyebrow slightly, leaning back from the colt and sitting slightly more upright.

"Hm… Gilded Spear… a rather arcane name, yes, but a good one for a soldier." He let out a dark chuckle. "Now, Gilded Spear, I'm going to let you go. Are you going to fulfill your end of our bargain? Are you going to tell Equestria that her tyranny shall soon be destroyed?"

The colt nodded, letting out a stifled sob. Gustav nodded. "Good job, boy. Now, let’s make sure you get off to a good start." Gustav suddenly stood up, grabbing the young stallion by the back of his shirt and hefting him up. The stallion yelped in terror, as Gustav violently lifted him off the ground, the griffin pumping his wings as he flew down to the ground floor, unceremoniously flinging the pony to the ground several feet away. The stallion tumbled violently, ending up on his back. Gustav landed beside him, giving the colt a sharp kick.

"Move!" Gustav barked, and the stallion quickly scrambled out of the room, running as fast as his legs could carry him. Gustav meanwhile, idly reached towards the revolver that was slung on his side, lazily pulling it out and double checking to make sure it was loaded. He nodded in satisfaction, flexed his shoulders and smoothly aimed the revolver towards the running pony.

"You have done a great service to your country, Gilded Spear!" he called out at the top of his lungs, before adjusting his aim slightly and firing, the bullet whizzing past and taking a sizeable chunk out of the earth pony’s ear. The pony stumbled but kept running, even picking up the pace as Gustav fired a few more lazy shots. Run faster, little pony... it’s about all you’re good for.

Gustav exhaled, slipping the revolver back where it belonged, before turning back inside and sauntering along, content at his conquest. He would nonchalantly push a body asides, not really caring if any blood smeared the floor. He knew full well that his whole game with the lone survivor had been unnecessary. He had heard the radio pony's panicked begging for reinforcements the moment he'd begun his assault. But alas, Gustav couldn't resist the opportunity the frightened pony had afforded him. The opportunity to play with his prey, make it feel like it had a chance of freedom. It was fleeting yes, but wonderful none the less. It made Gustav feel powerful.

And there was nothing more that Gustav adored then feeling powerful.