My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV series
Mighty Hercules Part 3 of 3
The ponies all held their breath as Hercules Beetle eyed their changeling friends.
"Your magic color...it's the same as the Sun Queen's."
The triplets looked at each other, they hadn't been put much stock in being able to bluff Hercules, but it was already out the window.
Weaver tried anyway, "That's just because of the technique Master Digger Wasp showed us and-"
"How'd you figure it out?" Weaver asked flatly.
"You just told me." Everypony groaned. "And more importantly your body language isn't to protect me. So Kabuto and Digger Wasp vanishing wasn't them going AWOL was it? It was you?"
Weaver actually felt a little small, Kabuto was a boogie-stallion, Digger Wasp was almost always away from the hive, but this was the Queen's Right Forehoof before her. She took a trot forward.
"We helped. We helped the ponies protect their home, OUR HOME, we didn't do any of it alone, we were part of a team, part of a new swarm, THIS SWARM! We took them prisoner TOGETHER! All of what the Queens say is a lie Master Hercules Beetle! Ponies and changelings CAN live together! We don't need to be parasites or predators! We've been living in FAMILIES, shared love makes us stronger, not weaker, this war doesn't need to be happening! Just surrender right now and we can all have our home in the sun right now!"
Misfit Actual stood back to give the triplets a possible chance to end this peacefully.
Hercules stood calmly, and regarded the triplets calmly. "Just one question first. Were you born here in Equestria? Were your parents? Were your parents parents? We never recovered a number of infiltrators who went AWOL over the last few decades. The unconfirmed reports said some were even having hybrid foals, half or quarter changeling. Digger Wasp even told me a family in Cloudsdale he suspected of one of its members being a defector or the child of one left their house without even packing hours before he sent loyal guards to investigate. You wouldn't happen to be part of that family would you?"
"No," Weaver said, "We left the Hive when we were nymphs, when we realized zebra WEREN'T better off as our slaves. And we came here to Equestria to warn everypony of Chrysalis' insane scheme, but we stupidly thought to try and wait for when our being silenced would have blown the cover off things."
"Thank you. That's all I wanted to know." Hercules launched himself at Weaver, his body glowed and he put his entire he body weight into a single punch that sent her flying through a building, not into, through. The shockwave from the burst of magic rippled through the air. Weaver lay on the ground on the other side of the hole, her legs twitching.
Ellis had to bite into Bombardier's tail before she could throw herself on changeling General's waiting horns. Garnet at Weaver's side in moments, that made three teammates she had to do battlefield medicine on. The others trained their weapons on him.
"Weaver!" Diver stood shocked and in horror. "WHY!? Do you think we're lying?!"
"No. I don't. Not in the least. But it isn't the point. You betrayed the Hive, the Swarm, your Queen, your fellow Changelings, every changeling old enough to speak promises to be loyal to the Queen and the swarm. Tell me, did you even TRY to speak with your FAMILY about what you thought? Did you even TRY to speak with other changelings about your point of view? We no longer execute changelings for having different points of view after all."
"We were presenting PROOF!!" Diver said, "We'd BE the proof that changelings and ponies could live together!"
"Live together you say? So tell me, how many changelings were GOING TO DIE when you betrayed the swarm?"
"You already said you were going to try and expose it at the moment it was too late to turn back! The swarm would have to settle for a desperate battle instead. How many would have been SLAUGHTERED?"
"NONE! PONIES AREN'T LIKE THAT ALL!"
"...How many ponies here know what Black Thistle is? Ah I see. Makes sense the civilian ponies would be ignorant they even exist. You know traitor? So tell me, do you REALLY THINK with their hive on the line, that the ponies WOULDN'T USE all the weapons at their disposal to survive? You think those ponies WOULDN'T kill? Against changelings with everything to lose?"
Trixie, Lemon Hearts, and Screwball gave the guards looks of suspicion, disapproval, and confusion respectively.
"I'll admit now it was stupid! But you can't twist it like this! It was- it was-"
"For the greater good?"
"You took Kabtuo's victims with you yes? Did you speak with General Lone Ranger? That look on most of your faces says everything. He believed what he did was for the greater good."
Again the civilian ponies felt like they were missing half the conversation.
"Oh come on!" Thunderchild said, still hoping they could potentially get the general to stand down. "That's weak! Lone Ranger did what he did for his ego and petty jealousy!"
"The traitors didn't meet him did he? You know what drove him? Love for the guard, and love for Equestria. He didn't have a whiff of greed or cowardice on him. He didn't truly 'hate' us changelings, ANY ENEMY would have worked. He wanted all Guards to be Black Thistle. For him, we were just an object lesson for Equestria's people. Like a parent who loves their nymph and gives them a harsh lesson they need to learn. He felt the Equestria he loved would be destroyed if he didn't force it to 'grow up.' THAT is where love led him, THAT is what drove him to betray his own people and work alongside an enemy, all in the name of the greater good."
The civilians ponies were horrified and bewildered at the implication that a pony had willingly sided with the invaders.
Diver fell to his knees, his head low, shaking. To Lemon Hearts, he looked like like a victim of Applejack's truth vision.
Trixie had an idea and gave Thunderchild a look that said 'keep him talking'. The Sergeant gave a small nod.
Thunderchild put a hoof on Diver's shoulder. "...You know, maybe I did misunderstand Lone Ranger, but there's one BIG difference between Black Thistle and him, and I personally have seen BOTH of them," said the Gifted Pegasus, looking at the bug titan. "There's a Black Thistle member in my squad, you know what he's never done? Kill somecreature in cold blood. In fact he's yet to actually kill anyone. Because he's trained to ONLY do it as a last resort and he's yet to see a situation where he had to. I can't say NO Changelings would have died, I can't see alternate futures, but I can assure you we'd exhaust every option before we did. And we've seen more action than most guards, so I'm speaking from experience. Lone Ranger? Killing to him was the ONLY way he saw to deal with you Changelings. You seem to be a reasonable guy, so I'm hoping you understand this: these three know ponies well enough to bank on one thing: that once we know a peaceful way is possible, we'll do anything to make it happen. They were trying to offer us the most peaceful solution they could. And another thing? We've done all the damage to your plans we've done without killing one Changeling. Even that sicko Kabuto. Even to our 'killers' killing is a LAST RESORT they never want to have to use. We're ponies, we don't LIKE to kill nor do we need to most of the time… And they know that."
"You are naive." And those words, were like a shockwave, and held more force than an any speech could have.
"Are you that fixated on war?" Bombardier asked.
"No. You're not naive for believing a bloodless solution, I want one as badly as you, but that somehow Black Thistle's presence here would have had a minimal effect on fate. Once the first changeling died, my guards would have then fought with true lethal force in return, which would have encouraged similar counter-responses, in an ever expanding sphere of killing. I don't need superpowers to see that."
"...And who's fault would that be?" Trixie said bluntly, causing blinks. The unicorn's eyes kept scanning the situation covertly as she spoke, as did Thunderchild's. "Certainly not the three Changelings who did their best to provide an object lesson that the Changelings are not irredeemable and perfectly capable of living in peace with ponies. I'm not Princess Celestia's apprentice, I don't know her like Twilight Sparkle, but I do know she is the single most forgiving being on the face of this planet. If these three had presented her with proof this could end peacefully and without bloodshed? She'd offer you each and every offer of peace she had BEFORE letting things come to blows, let alone order any of you killed."
Thunderchild gave a smirk and a nod. He tried to remember everything he'd seen Cadence do diplomatically on the tour or otherwise. "Lady's right, Hercules. Thanks to the triplets, you would have gotten every chance at a peaceful way out of this before a shot was fired, let alone a lethal one. And if ponies would try their hardest to kill only as an absolute last resort, you'd have to push pretty hard for us to actually start killing. So if what you're saying ended up happening, is it the three Changelings who tried to make themselves a living symbol of peace's fault? Or the Changelings who can be told 'come play in the sun, we don't need to fight' and keep on fighting until one of them gets killed?"
Hercules' face was unreadable. "That doesn't change the fact that Changelings still might have been killed because of their actions."
"...Yeah, some MAYBE. But if Lone Ranger had succeeded? ALL of you would have been killed," Ellis pointed out.
"And didn't you yourself tell Fleur you didn't enjoy any of this?" Trixie asked.
"I don't, that doesn't mean that I can't be realistic."
"How's this for realism? You could stop this at any time," the azure mare replied. "So why don't you? Just call off your men and begin peace talks and this can end without another punch thrown. We get an end to this war, you Changelings get the 'sun on your face' as you've desired. Win win."
"...I swore my loyalty to the Queen and the Hive twice over, until the Queen orders it or I'm the highest ranking Changeling standing, I'm following her orders."
Ellis sighed. "You remind me of my family sometimes…"
Trixie nodded. "Yes, Applejack has done similar things if Trixie remembers...You're just so obsessed with following that oath of yours to the letter you refuse to see you could just follow the spirit of it. You swore to protect your people and your queen, not do everything your queen says."
That one seemed to rattle Hercules more than anything else that could have been said.
"None of that changes the fact those three are as big of traitors as Lone Ranger is."
"You've got a point there," Thunderchild interjected, eyes falling on the scorch mark left by Ellis' attack. "You're right, there is a bit of a double standard when it comes to traitors, but you know what? I know some former Hooviets that betrayed the Empire back when it was still around. I don't think less of them. I don't think less of the triplets. But I still think Lone Ranger is a nut job. You know why? Because the triplets and those former Hooviets saved innocent people, Lone Ranger hurt them. And planned to hurt your innocent civilians that had nothing to do with this mess, who we wouldn't have touched if we had anything to say about it. That's why the triplets are in the right and Lone Ranger was in the wrong: the triplets NEVER intended to hurt a soul, and their actions protected people while his did nothing but hurt them."
"You should have been a politician."
Lemon Heart shouted, "LOOK! Neither side is gonna give! So let's toss the talking, and get back to fighting!"
"We were trying to keep him talking while we figured out a plan," Trixie whispered under her breath. The unicorn's eye fell on the scorched armor on the Changeling General's chest and felt a thought form in her mind.
"Oh…" Lemon whispered.
Thunderchild looked at the General. "...You know, I think we do need to stop talking, but start fighting? Maybe not," he said, not making a move for the weapon or to blast the general with electricity. "I'm not asking you to surrender...just sit down with Captain Coke in that little building over there, and lets hash out a peace treaty. You're the second highest ranked Changeling around, he's technically the highest ranked Guard in Canterlot at present. You have the authority. Which would you rather do? End this peacefully and spend the rest of the day rebuilding and living in peace or fight a war these three just proved never needed to happen?"
Hercules growled. "...I will NEVER betray my queen. Get ready to fight, Thunderchild, because the only way I'll back down is if you beat me."
The General charged up his energy beam.
"Don't move!" yelled Trixie as the beam fired.
In its way formed two mirrors, letting the beam go in one and come back out the other. Hercules' eyes widened and the beam slammed into Hercules' chest in the exact same spot Ellis had blasted with his bazooka. While the General wasn't hurt, he was sent flying by the blast, slamming into the pavement a couple blocks away.
"Trixie has a plan. Trixie admits it's not the best plan, but it is a plan," Trixie reported in a light whisper just in case.
"Listening," Thunderchild said, keeping his eyes on the surprised General. "I think I might have some idea what you're thinking."
"His carapace was scorched," the azure unicorn stated. "If it can be scorched, that mean even if fireballs can't break it, it's not immune to them. You've got lightning and explosives, both make lots of heat. Trixie has ice spells."
"I remember my physics classes. Maybe the best plan we got of short of holding him off until Princess Luna shows," the Sergeant replied. "Ellis, Bombardier?"
"Whip up the strongest but compact bomb you can," Thunderchild ordered. "It won't be easy, but we'll need to plant it on the spot we've marked and we can punch through."
"Maybe not that impossible," Screwball reported. "If he can't feel attacks through his armor, maybe he won't feel a bomb planted on him he doesn't see… I know from experience."
Ellis gave it thought. "I'll need more gunpowder."
Trixie teleported away and returned with several bags of it. "Here you go...long story, it involves Pinkie's 'in case of gunpowder emergencies' stash and fireworks."
"Okay, just buy us some time."
"Okay! Finally," the second Element of Magic said. "Set the bomb so it goes off when a powerful beam hits it. Big bang."
"Can do," Ellis handed his bazooka and the ammo to Caramel. "Make sure the shell's pointy end is pointing this way and there's no pony near him, and pull that lever right there. There's no recoil so don't worry, but for Celestia's sake be careful no pony's behind you, the back blast can kill a pony."
Caramel nodded. "Got it."
Hercules got out of the crater he'd ended up in and spread his wings.
"Garnet, where do we aim?" Thunderchild ordered.
"Where we've already singed it in an area that needs to be thinner due to what's behind and around it if he's still got an endoskeleton," Garnet reported. "I'd bet that's the weakest part of his shell and we'd already began to hammer away at it."
"Alright...let's wrap this up. This doesn't work, we'll have to endure until Princess Luna shows."
He looked to Diver. "You alright, Diver?"
"What are squadmates for?"
As Ellis and Bombardier fell back, Hercules landed back on the battlefield. "No more speeches."
"We're done too."
The Changeling General charged the group like a rampaging Rhino, but this time Trixie teleported herself and Thunderchild to evade the charge.
The two reappeared at the side and sent several repeated bolts of lightning and ice beams into his chest in quick succession before having to dodge a beam shot their way by the titan. Trixie worked through the strain of teleporting a passenger.
Running Gag ducked a punch from Hercules and gave several slashes to the same spot with his sword on Hercules' chest where Ellis' bazooka shell hit before until Hercules managed several punches and knocked him a good distance away. Caramel didn't miss a beat and took the chance to fire and strike his chest with a bazooka shell.
The Angry Great Mother Lemon quickly pounced on Lemon Hearts' command and swung one of its arms, slamming into Hercules' chest before Lemon Hearts shot a stream of cold lemon juice onto him while it was hot from the explosion, until the familiar was forced back by the Changeling's horn beam leaving a large slice of its 'head' missing.
Trixie teleported in and did a rapid sequence of fire blasts and ice blasts, all aimed at Hercules' chest. She also struck him with several bolts of lightning from behind.
Hercules merely plowed through the assault and gave her a haymaker to the jaw, knocking her on her back. His mouth plate opened and he bit down on her tail, swinging her around and throwing her at a wall, but thankfully the second Element of Magic teleported to evade.
Garnet and Screwball took advantage and hammered away at Hercules' chest with their innate strength before the juggernaut Changeling counterattacked by picking them both up by the neck and slamming them into the ground before throwing them away. Noteworthy and Lemon Hearts threw a smoke bomb and lemon smoke bomb respectively, surrounding the Changeling with a thick black and yellow smoke.
Noteworthy took advantage of his hearing ability and charged in, finding Hercules and hammering away at his chest with a sword before the General managed to find him and punch him several times, throwing him clear out of the smoke.
Diver charged in, holding his breath against the, to him, putrid lemon scent and surrounding his horn in orange flames, slashing Hercules' chest repeatedly. The General gave a snarl and smacked the 'traitor' in the sides of the head with his legs, dazing him. He punched him repeatedly, but before he could finish him, Thunderchild flew in and kicked him in the face, protecting his teammate.
The Pegasus grabbed Diver and flew back as the smoke cleared, giving Caramel a clear shot with the bazooka, causing a massive explosion when it connected to Hercules' chest.
Caramel then had to take cover from a horn beam through the smoke that blew up where he'd been standing moments before, the blast still knocking him head over hooves before he landed.
Trixie delivered an ice blast to Hercules chest while it was still smoking from the bazooka shell, then teleported back while he smashed the ice off.
Trixie shouted to the soldiers. "Anypony war hammer savvy?"
Garnet raised a hoof. "Rock Farmer!"
Trixie transformed some rubble into a sledge hammer and levitated it to Garnet.
Gag charged along with his fiancee and blocked Hercules blows to guard her, giving her a chance to slam the hammer into the mutated Changeling's chest with as much force that Earth Pony strength could manage. While it didn't hurt, the force of the impact forced him back.
Garnet then used the hammer to knock an attempt by Hercules' to smash Gag with his horn off course, allowing Gag to get in some shots with his sword to their target.
Hercules caught another strike from the hammer in his horns and snapped the weapon in two, then bashed both away with his horn.
Thunderchild flew over Hercules and burned a white hot lightning bolt into the General's chest right before Trixie teleported in front of the Changeling and blasted away with a massive ice beam point blank into his chest.
The General forced his way through the assault and punched her in the horn, giving her a massive horn ache, seeing spots.
Before he could strike again and break her horn, Thunderchild leapt in and parried his blows before slashing him across the chest several times. The Changeling's invincible shell threw the Sergeant's weapon back and gave him a series of brutal punches while ignoring his strikes, knocking him back with one last one that would blacken Thunderchild's eye.
Trixie caught Thunderchild and teleported back despite the pain in her horn, letting Caramel blast the Changeling with another bazooka shell to the chest. This time, Hercules leapt out of the smoke and slammed down in front of Caramel, knocking him into the air with the shockwave and leaping up before driving the Earth Pony into the ground.
Running Gag fired an explosive crossbow bolt into Hercules' chest before the Changeling second in command of the landed. Hercules flew at Gag full force and tackled him...or would have if Garnet hadn't intercepted him and put every ounce of her strength into holding him back, skidding several feet with a large amount of effort. Her muscles burned in the process, but it allowed Gag to jump over her and give a jumping headbutt to the General driving him back and allowing both to deliver several slashes with their knife and sword respectively before Hercules counter attacked and gave Garnet a couple hard punches, knocking her away with an uppercut. He ducked a slash from Gag and bucked the pegasus hard in the side where his wing was folded, sending him flying with a scream of pain.
Garnet rushed to his side. "Gag are you okay?!" she asked in panic, looking at his wing. The thought his wing might be severely hurt filled her with dread.
"W-won't be flying, but can still fight," Gag replied, despite cringing in clear pain.
Garnet checked his wing. "...It's broken, but you'll live," she said with mild relief it wasn't worse.
"Still got four legs to fight."
"...If I say no you'll do it anyway?"
"Everypony in danger, can't sit. Not Couch Gag: that's my bro."
"...Let me patch you up and don't you dare try flying or I'll KO you."
Several grenades rolled between Hercules' forelegs and exploded, doing little more than get his attention. He looked up in time to see Ellis jump in with the improvised club he'd been wielding and smash it hard against his chest with every ounce of Earth Pony strength he could manage, breaking the improvised club. Screwball charged in a moment later with several quick spin kicks to the chest, budging the powerful Changeling by a few inches before he tackled her to the ground. He picked her up and threw her as hard as he could into Ellis, knocking both through a nearby window, Ellis forcing his bardening to absorb most of the shards to protect both of them.
Bombardier and Diver flew in, burning beams into the Changeling's chest. Not flinching, he punched Bombardier hard in the jaw, knocking her backwards and into a wall.
Diver however duck under in a flash of orange flame, turning into a female musk deer in guard barding and performing a series of flip kicks into the bigger changeling's chest.
Hercules barely took a step back, but reared back, slamming a hoof full force into the ground and sending Diver flying back with the shockwave.
Lemon Hearts showered Hercules' chest with cold lemon juice once more, before having the Great Mother Lemon strike him with its arm in the same spot, forcing him back through blunt impact alone. It attempted again, but roared out in pain as its hand was severed by his horn.
Trixie produced some thunder clouds for Thunderchild to work with using her magic and both began to charge up. Thunderchild grabbed the clouds, manipulating the lightning and adding his own until it began to glow violet in color (the hottest it could be) and fired while a vortex of cold energy formed around Trixie's horn.
Hercules took aim at the charging pair and prepared to fire his (faster charging) horn beam, but Gag (his wing now splinted and bandaged to his side) and Garnet charged in, throwing off his concentration. Gag was forced to block a strike from the changeling general's horn with his sword, Garnet bracing him against the strength of the massive Changeling and his own pain with her own strength.
An idea made it through the pain into Gag's brain. "This the fight you were hoping for?" he asked in Changeling.
Hearing his species' language coming out of a pegasus took the massive Changeling off guard for a moment, long enough for the couple to force back his horn and spin around, double bucking him in the chest with all their might, knocking him backwards from force.
Thunderchild and Trixie finally finished charging and the pegasus gave the cloud a buck once Hercules was forced backwards and his squadmates got out of the way, the resulting bolt roaring like thunder as it struck the massive Changeling's chest. Trixie unleashed a stream of pure, sheer cold, freezing the ground it passed over and slamming into his chest, covering him in ice. His superheated armor cooling as it melted the ice produced a massive amount of steam even as he broke free.
It also left Thunderchild with blackened wing feathers and Trixie a massive case of brain freeze.
Noteworthy, Ellis, and Screwball rushed through the steam and delivered with bucks using every bit of power their tired bodies could manage, sending him sailing a good ways by sheer Earth Pony strength and crashing to the ground.
Hercules rose back to his hooves as soon as he hit and swore for a moment he heard a small crack.
An exhausted Thunderchild rushed in and punched him several times in the chest, ending with using both in an attempt to push him back before getting knocked away by a ram from the mammoth Changeling.
Hercules looked over his rivals, who were all battered and bruised while they'd yet to scratch him. Diver and Bombardier, back in their true forms, spat Changeling slime, gluing Hercules' hooves down for a moment, Trixie teleporting closer and charging her magic. He charged up his horn beam and prepared to fire to give himself time to free himself.
Trixie smirked and as the beam fired, vanishing when it hit 'her'...revealing 'Trixie' to be another magic mirror hidden by an illusion, the real Trixie having never moved.
"That didn't work the last time, why do you think it will this time?"
Trixie gave a confident smirk as she formed the second mirror to deflect it. "Because this time Trixie has co-stars. Everypony! Now! Fire all weapons!"
Caramel took aim with the last round of the bazooka.
The Changeling duo crossed their horns and began building up energy in their crossed horns.
Running Gag took aim with an explosive crossbow bolt, with Garnet helping to make up for his broken wing.
Lemon Hearts produced a large lemon that Thunderchild lit the stem of with a little bit of lightning. The Pegasus flew up and prepared to kick what was left of the supercharged lightning in the cloud.
Moon Dancer's eyes meanwhile forced themselves open. The mare lifted her head between Coke and Weaver, and charged up her horn from where she was laying, right at the damaged spot of the changeling's armor, a line of moonlight guiding her shot.
Hercules looked down at his chest to notice a compact, makeshift explosive device had been slipped onto it over top a thin crack in his exoskeleton, his thick armor leaving him unable to feel it. "When did-"
Thunderchild rushed in and punched him several times in the chest, ending with using both in an attempt to push him back before getting knocked away by a ram from the mammoth Changeling.
'That was when he planted it,' the Changeling thought as his own beam was returned, in sync with the barrage.
The attacks impacted at the same time and exploded in a gigantic fireball, visible from the main battlefield.
Hercules screamed in agony and was sent sailing through the air, crashing hard to the ground, a sizable hole blown in his chest armor, exposing soft, bleeding tissue.
The group panted heavily, their sore bodies slumping down as they saw the superpowered general's armor finally pierced.
The stunned Changeling panted, in a great deal of pain. He laid on his back, feeling the chest wound and looking at the blood. "Incredible...you...you broke armor that couldn't be broken," he said, not simply in disbelief, but out of genuinely being impressed.
"Yeah…" Ellis panted. "It took enough firepower to sink an airship, but we did."
"Trixie…never wishes to see another ice spell as long as she lives."
"But...even that much force shouldn't have pierced my shield...how did you…" the perplexed Hercules asked.
The General thought back to the battle and ran through it in his head, the endless blasts of hot and cold together. "...I see...you were weakening my armor the entire way...Hehe...that was smart…No less than I'd expect from you."
Hercules slowly got back to his hooves. The Equestrians all braced themselves. He took a trot forward, cracks spread from the bleeding hole like a spider's web. Hercules looked down. He sighed.
"So that's how it is."
He kept trotting towards them. The Equestrians just stared in uncertainty. Unsure if the Changeling was dying or something else.
Sparks of green flames flickered across his entire body. He continued to trot towards them, more like dragging his hooves.
The green sparks ignited and covered him like a brush fire.
Hercules didn't even react.
The flames faded, and the silver gray armor faded back to black, his joints no longer quicksilver, and his wings again transparent, his horns shrank down to a single stubby piece again. His entire body shrinking down to the size it had been before in an aura of green flames that faded like embers.
Tired eyes focused on the ponies. He moved like his own carapace was now too heavy for him.
"...for Queen and Hive...for Queen and Hive...for Queen...and Hive..." He weakly spoke.
He left skid marks in the ground as he moved towards them slowly.
His horn sparked, but there was nothing. The Equestrians were afraid to try to subdue him, least they accidentally crush what life remained.
"We are not done...as long as I can stand, I'll...I'll...As long as I have something left...to give...I'll sacrifice everything for Queen and Hive..." He body wavered from left to right as he continued towards the heroes.
"Stop it!" Lemon Heart said, "You have nothing left! Just lay down and stop!"
" ...Predators almost always lose, that is nature...but…they never give a win to their prey...you want this to end...you have to end it yourself."
Hercules took a slow, tired swing at Bombardier, who dodged it easily, the hoof struck the ground, causing it to shake, bits of pavements going everywhere. A new crack formed along his leg, bleeding. It wasn't like the empty hollowing that Weaver had suffered when her loved had been exhausted, this was simply injury.
Dragging his body, he threw his hoof more than punched at Diver, who duck the sluggish attack with enough time to drink tea, but piece of debris that was hit instead split in two. Blood began to flow from Hercules' cracked hooves.
"This is ridiculous! You're in no shape to fight anything! Stop!" This time it was Garnet, already having gotten her medical supplies.
"I told you...you have to end this...that is the responsibility, of the one who claims victory..." The changeling beast said between breaths. "So who is it going to be?"
The Grand Angry Mother Lemon picked him up with its remaining hand, he bit it. It had all the damage as a bee sting, but enough to make it drop him, he landed with a thud, the wind knocked out of him, he forced his body to stand.
Trixie and Thunderchild looked at each other, nodded, and both zapped Hercules with all the combined electrical charge of a shaggy carpet. The changeling general fell, he couldn't have gotten back up if he wanted to.
"The gazelles win, and I failed again. Goliath, my Guards, Your Majesty, it is up to you now," he said simply, conscious, but not moving. "...At least this time I was defeated defending you…"
He didn't struggle as he was restrained (just in case) and Garnet tended to his wounds. Gag stood near by protectively.
Screwball turned her head, something about the brutal way the general look reminded her escapes from the ayslum.
"Trixie thinks she's never been this sore in her entire life," Trixie muttered, her body bruised and battered, the entire group in the same condition. "And that includes the recovering from having spent several weeks in a catatonic state."
"Ditto," Thunderchild replied, too worn to question the last part. "...But this whole mess isn't finished yet," he said, looking to the battle, noting it was still going on, though he believed the rebels were slowly gaining ground.
"I wish it was," Caramel lamented. "I miss Sassaflash."
"I miss writing songs with Banjo," Note Worthy said.
Lemon Hearts sighed. "I miss it when the worst thing I had to worry about was slacking rookies trying to get lemons from me to fake being sick…"
Screwball thought to herself, 'What I miss, I lost a lot sooner than this war. UGH! . . . I think I also lost count of how many broken bones I have now . . . But for all the foals in this city, I have to keep going.'
Bombardier and Diver had gone to check on their sister, who was slowly regaining consciousness.
Trixie nodded. "Trixie think we need to head to the medical tent if we plan to help any more today. We all need some of Bon Bon's help."
Moon Dancer nodded, helping slowly get Cherry Coke over. "And Minuette's."
"Minuette?!" asked Ellis, looking over. "...Good, she'll be a sight for sore eyes…"
Thunderchild looked to the defeated General. "...For what it's worth...I think you'd make a better guard than an invader...I mean that."
"...Thanks...Maybe if this ends peacefully...next time we'll be on the same team…I mean that."
"Yeah…I hope so..."
"...Ironic, isn't it?"
"...We beat the Tartarus out of each other...we beat each other literally across Canterlot...But now that it's over, we're already hoping we can be comrades in the future…"
Trixie was the one to chuckle. "...Hercules...that's not ironic...that's just how ponies work...Even if Trixie took a long time to learn…"
Thunderchild nodded. "...That's the pony way…"
"...I'm not a pony…"
"Neither is Griffen," said Gag, then realized only Misfit Actual knew who that was. "Uh...that's a Griffin in our platoon…"
"My fawnfriend is a Musk Deer," pointed out Diver, helping his sister back to her hooves.
"Actually I can appreciate that," Hercules said.
"Point is, we don't care about species," said Thunderchild. "We just want to be friends with the world. That's what that whole world tour was about."
The general chuckled slowly. "...That's one thing we Changelings never understood...how you won your war with the Griffins...now I know...you befriended them…you ponies, you really will try to make friends with anything..."
"Hey, to our credit the only sapient species on the planet a pony hasn't befriended is a Draconequus," Gag pointed out. "And we're not even sure if that's a species."
"We win?" Weaver asked groggy.
"We beat Hercules," Diver said.
"Still got Canterlot to save," Bombardir said.
Garnet finished patching up the beaten Changeling and nodded.
"...Please get me out of here before my men arrive…"
"Why? You're embarrassed?"
"No...because I'm not a sore loser and thought it was helpful advice."
"Trixie agrees with that point."
(Interviewer's Notes (Noon): Too bad we can't tell them.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Dusk): Indeed...In our world, they truly were allies.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Dawn): ...It's weird...this isn't like some of those nasty worlds where people are enemies because one of them turned evil...Hercules wasn't any different from ours.)
(Interviewer's Notes (Dusk): That's how it is sometimes...sometimes an enemy soldier is just that...an enemy soldier...and who's the enemy can change world to world simply by circumstance...Come now...Misfit's solo journey has ended...it is time to see this to its conclusion.)