by Mr101

Chapter IX - Trouble brewing on the Horizon.


Chapter IX - Trouble brewing on the Horizon.

“Well, I must say it is a vast improvement!” Luna smiled.

“You really think so?” Archimedes asked.

“I must agree, you look so much better now, Archimedes. Much younger looking, I think I’m rather jealous,” Celestia added.

“Nonsense, my dear. You look as young as ever,” Archimedes chuckled before whispering to her, “Maybe more so than Luna.”

“Hey!” Luna pouted.

“I’m just teasing, you silly little alicorn,” Archimedes chuckled, ruffling Luna’s mane as Celestia giggled beside him.

“But still, do you really think I look that great?” Archimedes asked, going over his appearance in the mirror. Albeit with a little difficulty due to his height and the position of the mirror.

No longer was he covered in rust and grime. His iron body glistened slightly, each part of him looking brand new and polished, reflecting the light much like the armor of the royal guard. The bulbs dotting his gauntlets along with his eyes and wiring seemed to glow brighter than they once did. The once dark and gloomy grey steam that vacated from his back was replaced with a much lighter shading, one that evaporated into the air quicker.

Celestia rolled her eyes as Moon Dancer floated behind the robot and gave his head a gentle smack.

“Stop asking that, you vain git,” the bat pony said, “we think and know you look fine so stop it.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry, Miss Moon. I just want to look my best for my beloved,” Archimedes replied, winking at Celestia who couldn’t help giggle slightly.

“I swear, how does a giant walking tin can get this vain? He puts Prince Blueblood to shame!”

Luna snorted loudly as she forced a laugh back down her mouth, “Y-yes, quite.”

“Well, shall we get going? I believe I have some community service to be doing and I—”

Archimedes was interrupted by a flash of a camera and a grinning Discord hovering by the door.

“One for the album,” the draconequus said.

“What do you want, Discord?” Archimedes asked, crossing his arms.

“Who, moi?” Discord replied, faking a shocked expression, “Why, I just came to admire your new body work and might I say you are just dashing!”

Archimedes blinked as Discord appeared on his shoulder, admiring himself with a hand mirror.

“If this handsome rogue hadn’t caught my eye all those years ago, I’d be willing to take you on the most romantic of dates chaos could buy!” Discord said, winking at his reflection.

“Oh you charmer, you,” Discord’s reflection giggled back and fluttered his eyes.

“You… are a strange one, Discord,” Archimedes said as he shook his head.

“Why are you really here, Discord?” Celestia asked.

“Hmm?” Discord replied, still gazing at his reflection, “Oh yes, that’s right. I found this on the floor, discarded by some careless servant.”

Discord snapped his talons and a rolled up scroll bearing the seal of the Gryphus Emperor before he handed it to Celestia who opened it with her magic.

My dear friend, Princess Celestia—


Before she could continue, the door burst open and a guard ran in, looking worse for wear as his helmet sat on his head askew, his body wrapped in loose ropes and his chest heaving. His eyes wide as he tried to regain control of his breath.


“Calm yourself, Lieutenant. Catch your breath first,” Celestia said with a warm smile.

The lieutenant nodded as he panted, taking deep and heavy breaths before regaining his composure, “Princess Celestia, we have an emergency!”

“What is it, Lieutenant?” shea asked.

“I was ambushed, your highness, whilst trying to deliver a scroll that came for you straight from the Griffon empire!”

“Oh?” Celestia replied as Luna and Moon tried not to snicker.

“With all due respect, your highness. How can you be this calm!?” the lieutenant cried, “I was blindfolded, hogtied and left dangling from the ceiling! I never saw the attacker so who knows who has that vital information! We need to scramble the guards, find the culprit and—”

“Is this the scroll?” Celestia asked sweetly, waving the scroll in her magic gently.

The lieutenant blinked as he stared at the scroll, wondering why he had only just noticed it, “Y-yes… but how did, I was, you have…”

“Why don’t you have a lie down, Lieutenant?” Celestia smiled softly, “you seem to be under some stress.”

Moon snickered and handed the lieutenant a couple of bits, “Go get a cup of tea, Lieutenant Sky High. My treat.”

“Yes… tea… tea is good…” he mumbled.

The four of them watched as the guards stallion turned around and slowly made his way out of the room, mumbling to himself softly before Celestia turned to give Discord a glare.

“Was that really necessary, Discord?” she asked.

“Well, why come visit my bestest-westest robot pal without a reason?” Discord grinned, wrapping his arms around Archimedes who tried to pry him off.

“I’ll be talking to Fluttershy about this,” Celestia replied, giving him a stern look, “I don’t think she’d be happy you’ve been messing with the guards. Again.”

Discord immediately let go of Archimedes and looked at Celestia with fear as sweat began to drip from his body, falling with the speed of rain and creating a floating yet slightly smelly lake around his body.

As the draconequus shook, a little black and white steamboat came around from behind him, puffing around the lake in a circle whilst a small black and white mouse saling it whistled a merry tune.

“Oh yes, Discord. She will be most displeased…” Celestia sighed, “shame really, she said you were doing just fine as of late. Doing nothing mean to anypony.”

“Tia, for the love of me. Please don’t tell Fluttershy!” Discord pleased.

Archimedes, Luna and Moon Dancer all shared an equally shared look of confusion before Archimedes scratched his head.

“Discord, why are you so afraid of her telling Miss Fluttershy?” he asked the draconequus.

“S-she’s quite the uh… scary one when riled, shall we say?” Discord replied, his frame shaking a little.

“Miss Fluttershy? Preposterous! Why, she’s one of the kindest and loving mares I’ve ever—”

Archimedes was interrupted as the draconequus grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. Glaring at him and growling a little.

“You haven’t seen her angry, man! You don’t know what she’s capable of, it’s always the quiet ones! You ain’t seen what I’ve seen, man! I remember the last time…”

Discord trailed off and turned his head, looking into the distance with a thousand yard stare. The sounds of faint whirring blades, explosions and gunfire filling the room along with someone shouting ‘There In the trees!’

“Discord, I doubt I’m ever going to understand you, my friend…” Archimedes sighed and closed his eyes before he shook his head.

The robot looked up to see everyone looking at him with a shocked expression.

“What? Is there something on my helmet?” he asked.

“You… you called me friend…” Discord said softly.

“I did?” he asked, getting a nod from everyone as a reply, “Huh… guess I did.”

Discords’ lower lip began to quiver slightly and his eyes watered up. Archimedes took a step back before yelling in alarm as the draconequus burst into hysterical tears and pounced the robot, clinging tightly to his metal frame.

“Oh, Archy! You finally called me your friend!” Discord wailed, “I’m just so happy!”

He stopped crying for a second as he turned and wrapped an arm around Archimedes before ginning and giving a thumbs up. A second later a large old fashioned camera appeared with another smaller Discord in a black and white tuxedo operating it.

“Say ham,” the camera Discord said.

“Olives!” Discord replied

The camera made a click as the bulb went off and a bright light enveloped the area, blinding both the draconequus and robot. The smaller Discord disappeared leaving behind a polaroid.

The photo had a confused looking Archimedes who for some reason had a large stove top hat, a pipe sticking to the lower half of his helmet just below his eyes and a monocle. Whereas Discord was wearing some odd looking white shades with one glass red and the other blue, a brown tailcoat around his body with a suit and tie underneath. A small caption titled ‘bst buds 4 lyfe’ was at the top.

“Gosh, darnit.” Discord grumbled, “they never get my good side. Oh well.”

He snapped his talons and the photo appeared in a photo album which in turn vanished. Celestia shook her head as she looked back at the scroll.

“Now that that’s over with…”

She cleared her throat and began to read.

My dear friend, Princess Celestia.

Firstly, I hope this message finds you well and you are doing wonderfully. I hope you enjoyed the Summer Solstice celebration this year. If I remember correctly your young student was in charge of it down in her new little Kingdom, how is she doing? I haven’t seen her since the last gathering of nations, would she be attending our little meeting as well? I do hope so, she was a delightful little unicorn.

Secondly, I hope that you do not mind. But I must insist we move our meeting forward. I have matters of grave urgency to discuss with you regarding both our nation's safety. As much as I’d hate to admit it, I fear I may have some traitors within my beloved Empire’s military ranks and I fear a plot against my crown.

This letter is more of a forewarning. By the time you have received this, I will have already made my way to your capital along with two of my advisors and Grand General Buckbeak.

I apologise for this sudden turn of events, but you know I would not be doing this if it wasn’t very serious indeed. I shall see you and your sister in a couple of days time.

Warmest regards,

Your friend, Emperor Ironclaw III.”

Celestia lowered the scroll and frowned, “Oh my… that doesn't sound good, does it?”

“Sister, are you sure about this?” Luna asked.

“Ironclaw has been a dear friend for many years, Luna. I do not believe this is a ploy.”

“That old fart?” Discord asked, “he seems pretty solid to me, if you ask me. Which, by the way, no one did!” he finished with a huff.

Celestia ignored him as she once again scanned over the scroll. Quickly rolling it up, she turned to the others.

“Luna, we need to find Twilight and inform her of these events as well as Cadence,” Celestia said.

Luna nodded, “Of course, Tia. I’ll contact our niece and you can contact Twilight.”

“Archimedes,” Celestia said, turning to the robot in question.”You may go and begin your community service by assisting in the repairs of the castle.”

“Will do, my dear.” Archimedes replied.

“Private Dancer, you are to stay with Archimedes and make sure everything goes smoothly,” Luna added.

“By your command,” Moon replied with a salute.

Celestia smiled as she and Luna turned to head out of the room but stopped when a loud, throaty cough filled the room.

“And what about me?” Discord asked.

“Hmm, you can assist in the repairs,” Celestia replied.

Discord grinned, “No problemski, comrade! One click of the ol’ talons and—”

“No, no magic. You will help repair with manual labour.”

“Manual… labour?” Discord asked, tilting his head in confusion.

“Yes,” Celestia asked.

Discord tapped his chin,” Manual labour…”

The draconequus snapped his talons, making a pair of spectacles appeared on his face followed by a book titled ‘Definitions for dummies;’. After flicking through the book, muttering to himself. Discord stopped at a page and nodded.

“Manual labour… the act that sees an individual or more performing tasks by—”

Discord shrieked and threw the book at the wall with a loud thud as he wrapped around Archimedes arm and shook in fear.

“W-what are you doing?!” Archimedes spluttered.

“Those words! The horror, the utter horror!” Discord wailed, “I refuse to do work without my magic. So nyeh!”

“Oh, alright,” Celestia smiled sweetly, “I guess I’ll just send a scroll to Fluttershy and let her deal with your punishment for messing with the guard—”

“Wait! L-let’s not be too hasty now, Celestia.” Discord nervously chuckled, tugging on his neck like a shirt collar as he started to sweat, “I’ll not use my magic, Pinkie swear.”

Celestia nodded happily. For whatever reason, ponies feared that particular promise. turning away again, she and Luna departed from the room leaving the bat pony, draconequus and robot alone.

“So… shall we, my friends?” Archimedes asked.

“Lead the way, tin can,” Moon replied as she flew up to his shoulder and rested on it.

“Onwards!” Discord declared, sitting on the other shoulder, dressed to the nines in a pirates outfit complete with inflatable cutlass.

Archimedes shook his head as he began to head out of the room, his heavy feet making a low boom as they connected with the floor.

“So… ever thought about manning up?” Moon smirked as Discord, “Fluttershy can't be that bad.”

“It’s not that easy… trust me. After last time… lets just say, never turn her rabbit into a carrot head. It isn’t pretty…”

Moon just blinked at Discord as the draconequus placed his paw and talon over his crotch in painful remembrance.

“I don’t understand you organics one bit…” he sighed.

Just beyond the borders of Equestria to the east lay a small town by the name of New Finiceway. It was a decent enough town, made up of a mix of races from ponies to changelings and even the odd kobold or two. For any adventurer or a mere traveller of the roads, the best place to stay was ‘The Smuggler’s Return’. A quaint little tavern that was situated near the town center that didn’t care what race you were so long as your gold was good.

As townsfolk and travellers continued their daily routines, a carriage pulled up just outside of the tavern. The door opened and the hooded figures disembarked, paid the driver and made their way inside.

Once inside, they lowered their hoods to reveal a changeling with yellow eyes and a scar over his left, a red feathered griffon with a black bandana around her neck and a blue pegasus. They approached the bar were and elderly, yet muscular stallion was currently wiping a solitary glass, despite all the dirty once around him.

“What can ah do for you—” the stallion paused and smiled recognizing the griffon, “Ah, Red. Good to see ya lass.”

“And you, Mister Daniels,” the griffon replied.

“He’s been expectin’ ya. Usual place, second room on the left as ya go up the stairs.”

Red nodded to the stallion as she and her three partners moved away from the bar and towards the stairs, the loud ruckus from the bar fading as they ascended.

Soon, the three came to the room in question and the griffon knocked twice, then thrice, then once followed by two bangs. One on the top of the door and the other on the bottom.

She took a step back as a series of locks were unfastened before the door opened and they walked inside past a griffon who had opened the door. In a chair near the window, was another hooded figure, watching them approach it.

Red swallowed a lump in her throat as she approached, “S-sorry we’re late. Sir.”

No reply.

“We uh… had a little trouble with the border guards, you know those ponies. Always thinking there’s gunna be another inva—”

“Do you have them?” the figure interrupted.

“H-huh? Oh, yeah course we do!” Red beamed as she nodded to the changeling.

The changeling levitated the documents the dark blue documents over to the figure who picked them up with their talons and carefully scanned them. There was a stagnant silence before the figure spoke up again.

“There’s one missing…” it growled.

“W-what?” Red asked.

“You had one job!” The figure shouted, throwing a bottle of alcohol that soared over the groups heads, narrowly missing them.

“”L-look, how about, we get the last document for ya? Free of charge?” Red offered with a nervous grin.

Once more, silence filled the room before the figure spoke again.

“Fine… but fail to do so… and it won’t be your paycheck you’ll be worrying about losing,”

Red and the other two didn’t need telling as they quickly made their way out of the room, leaving the two in the room as the figure in the chair turned it to face the window. It lit a cigarette up which caused part of their face to light up as it inhaled deeply and flicking their tail.