Fallout Equestria: Sins of an Alicorn

by Alchemystudent


“You were trying to be a good guardspony. You were trying to save lives.”

        The rain flowed from the sky, creating a curtain of rain that partially obscured my vision. I was glad for Ditzy’s little book, for its ideas on what would make a  good makeshift umbrella. I muttered a small thank you to Ditzy as I watched the rain hit the dead tree limbs that I had gathered, leaving me dry. The rain above me kept hitting the thick wooden branches in a rhythmic fashion, almost musically; it was like a large drum playing in a four-beat stanza. With a childish giggle, I began to sway my head side-to-side and started to hum along with the steady beat. I had to hold back the urge to break into a random song. After all, I am not Pinkie Pie.

        Looking up at the rain curtain again, I let out a small longing sigh. I used to like rainy days; they were something fun for me to look forward to. I remember running out into the rain storm, playing in the puddles, and waiting for the pegasi to end it so the sun could come out to dry the rain. I could remember the experiments I did back then too, and how I tried to get a fan cutie mark for blow-drying my friends by using my magic. It didn’t work, but Sweetie Belle got a lovely new hairdo, courtesy of gale-force conjured winds. The world just always seemed so… different in the rain, and always seemed to be brand new afterwards.

Not so much now.

Now it was always covered in this thick, dark-grey cloud cover, and the rain just seemed to highlight how dead this world had become. Not even the rain could wash away the damage that had been done to Equestria. Even more disappointing is that after this, the cloud cover would still be there, blocking out the sun to dry the rain. I would probably not feel the warmth of the sun down here. The bright sun would never dry up the rain and just leave everything muggy and wet. I began to feel sorry for all of the creatures living down here, living with that fact.

“Soft Breeze!” I snapped out of my thinking about the rain and turned to where I heard the scream. I dropped my makeshift umbrella and looked around; I saw a mother trying to push some rocks off her daughter.

“Just hold on, sweetie, Mommy’s going to save you,” the dark blue mare said, struggling to get the rocks off her daughter.

Without a second thought, I ran to the mother’s side. The mother fell back on her haunches, wide-eyed in shock to see a jet black alicorn out of nowhere. I could see the fear and shock in her eyes, but she wasn’t about to go anywhere without her daughter. My horn began to glow, as I used my magic to lift the boulders.

“Don’t worry ma’am, I’ve got this.” I was so focused in my concentration and moving the rocks, I didn’t really notice her whimpering in fear. In a few short moments I had lifted the rocks away from the child and levitated her back to her mom.

“Thank you!” the filly squealed after I levitated her back to her mother.

“She doesn’t look too hurt, so she should be fin-” it was then I finally noticed the look on the mare’s face as I handed her daughter to her. A look that I hadn’t seen since I was Nightmare Moon, since I had terrorized Ponyville with my presence. A look of utter terror. “Miss?”

“A-a-a alicorn! No! STAY AWAY!” the mare began to scream as she picked up her foal to put her on her back and began to run away, “No, stay back! Don’t come near me!”

“No, wait ma’am, it’s ok! I’m here to help you! Please, don’t… don’t run away,” I said, feeling my voice becoming faint as the mare disappeared into the distance. Damn it. “I-I only wanted to help you. I’m not a monster… I’m not.” I collapsed to my stomach as I said this, shaking my head in disbelief at the reaction.

“Why was she so afraid of me?” I asked myself before turning to look at my wings. “Oh yeah, you guys.” I tried going crosseyed to look up at my horn. “Or you. Both by the looks of it.” She probably saw them, my coat and draconic eyes, and made the connection to the fables of Nightmare Moon. I sighed and stood back up, thinking of just how horrifying the legend of Nightmare Moon must have become in the wasteland. Maybe they made up some other horrors that I supposedly did during those two weeks of darkness I caused. Like I made ponies into cannibals, or I corrupted ponies minds. Ok, that last one was partially true because of my evil Nightmare Moon essence, which I defeated. Maybe they added that I was the cause of the war, or I was the one responsible for Equestria becoming this wasteland of a world.

I quickly stopped that train of thought before going any further down my little rabbit hole. I let out a deep breath and began walking away, knowing that sometimes, things don’t change. One quick look at a puddle from the rain earlier, reflecting my nightmarish image to me, was all the reminder that I needed of that. “Monster.”

After a few miles of walking, I could see Manehatten just a little bit off into the distance. I guessed it would take me another two days to make it there, that is if I decided not to rest for the next day.

My ears twitched at sudden sound of flapping wings from above and turned my head to look up. As I gazed into the cloudy sky for the source, an outline of a slowly approaching winged creature came into view. At first, the equine shape and body of the being made me believe that it was a pegasus, but there was something unusual about the shape.

“Ah, greetings sister,” a voice said, from above. “I was not expecting another one of us out here today. I usually fly these roads alone.“Sister? What is the matter,  why can I not sense your thoughts?”

I looked up at the sound of the voice and let out a gasp of shock as I looked at her. “Oh, my goddess. I-I don’t believe it,” I said, shocked at what I saw. At first glance, this blue coated mare in front of me could’ve been confused for a slightly bigger than normal pegasus; however, when I looked closely at her body I saw a horn on top of her head, “Y-you’re an alicorn! An actual alicorn! How is that even-I mean, I knew Cadence said she-Never mind, I have SO many questions about you!”

“Were you born this way?” my interrogation began, “Did you ascend? I was born this way myself; well, more precisely I was created. Can you consider yourself born when you were made from magic and blood by a possessed unicorn? Are there others like you? Are you Celestia’s daugh-”

As I continued my rambling questions, I noticed that the alicorn’s eyes began to glow with a bright light, “Whatever is the matter, sister? You are acting quite peculiar.”

“-Maybe Luna’s daughter? Makes sense, you are blue after all. Are there more of you? Where did you all come from? How many are there? Wait! Why did you call me sister? Are we related? Is mom alive?! Do you consider me your sister because we are both alicorns?”

I stopped my interrogation as I watched the strange glow fade from her eyes, “You-you are not connected to the Unity. I cannot feel your presence at all. Who… are you?”

“My name is Nyx Sparkle,” I started, showing a little pride in my family’s name. “And you are?”

“We of the Unity, have no names. We are as one,” the alicorn said, looking straight at me, almost into my eyes like she wanted to get into my head.

“That’s weird, why would you not have a name and,” it was at this point, I noticed a distinct lack of a cutie mark. “Oh, I am so sorry. I know what’s it is like to be an adult mare without a cutie mark.” I let out a small shudder, those two weeks always give me bad memories.

I looked back up to her eyes from her flank to see a glow dissipating from her eyes, “It seems that The Goddess is interested in you. She wishes to have a meeting with you at Maripony.”

I let out a small gasp at the name, “Maripony, that was where mom worked. It was where she told me that she was going to do some experiments a few days before the bombs fell. If I have any chance to find out what happened to mom, I could start there. Maybe mom is there! I let out an internal squee at the thought. “Sure, I’ll go with you,” I responded with a nod.

“Good,” the alicorn said, turning around. “Follow, now.”

I took a few steps back from the alicorn, watching her unfold her light blue wings. After she gave her wings a few flaps, she bent her legs and took off into the air. Standing there, my eyes could only watch in awe at the alicorn’s flight, almost like she was an expert at it. Her graceful and powerful take off, the way she almost danced through the air as she flew, gave her the air of a graceful dancer. Smiling, I began to crouch low to the ground, enough so my belly touched the dirt beneath me and with a grunt, I took off after her. True, it wasn’t as graceful or soft as hers, but Rainbow Dash taught me skill, strength, and speed- not so much on grace.

After about two hours of flying, I caught the sight of something gleaming on the ground, “Hey! What’s that on the ground?”

“Nothing important, the goddess is requesting our presance at Maripony immead-what are you doing?” she asked as I flew to the ground.

“It’s just a few minutes, I am curious about this,” I called back, looking over my shoulder as I landed on the ground. Once down on the ground, I took a look at the object that caught my interest. It was like a giant ring, big enough for a pony’s neck to be put in “A collar?”

The alicorn landed behind me with a soft landing aand looked at the collar that floated in my magic, “A slave collar. Seems that a slave has broken free and is on the run. We will notifiy one of the local slavers and have them hunt this runaway down.”

“Wait, you’re working with ponies who own slaves?!”

“We of the goddesss have enjoyed a mutual cooperation with the slavers for a few years yes. But,” the alicorn brushed this news off like she was just telling me the weather. “That is unimporant right now. We must head to Maripony.”

I shook my head and took a few steps back, “No, won’t go with you.”

“What?” the alicorn asked, her eyes opened in surprise.

My face narrowing into a frown and eyes looking at her, I responded back with a rather definate, “I said, I am not going with you. I am not going to be a part of any group of ponies that works with slavers.” With that, I turned and walked away.

“I am afraid that the goddess’s order to bring you to Maripony was not a request, it was an order,” the alicorn said, her voice deepening with a low growl.

        “Well, I am afraid that you are going to dissappoint your superior officer,” I stated coldly as I unfurled my wings.

“That is not an option,” she said, her horn beginning to glow. “ I am afraid that I must insist.”

I looked back at her as I heard this, and smirked defiantly “You can try,” and upon saying this, I took off into the sky. I flew higher and higher, away from the alicorn, I turned my head to my shoulder to see if she was following me. To my surprise, she wasn’t. Curiously, I began to look around the area for my pursuer.

“As I said, you are coming with me,” the alicorn said, as I let out a gasp of surprise at her appearance.

“How did you-” was the only thing I could say before the alicorn wrapped her forelegs around my neck and tightened. In the air I struggled for a few terrifying moments, trying my best to get air in my lungs to prevent blacking out. Deciding to take a lesson from Rainbow Dash, I drove my hind leg into her groin.

A satisfied smirk appeared on my face as the alicorn released her hold on my neck, allowing me to breathe. Not wanting to let her recover, I bucked her in the chest spun around to face her, and  delivered my left forehoof into her muzzle. As the blue alicorn tried to recover, I slammed both of my forehooves into the stomach I then backed off and flew away from her to get my bearings. As I turned to face her again, I let out a gasp as I saw her gone. “Can she teleport?”

No sooner had I asked that question when I felt a bolt of energy hit me in the back. I turned around to find where it came from, but was taken by surprise when a small barrage of rocks came up from the ground to hit me, barely giving me a chance to dodge. I winced as I hovered for a few moments, feeling the pain of the rocks that managed to cut into my side.

Taking a quick look around me, I got the sight of another rock being thrown at me  from the side and moved to dodge out of the way quickly. As I flew below the large projectile, I looked up to watch a faint shimmer  of magic in front of me. “Invisibility?” I gasped aloud to myself as I watched the shimmer fade, throwing two more bolts of energy at me. “SHIT!” I hate to cuss, but this was special. After I dodged a few more rocks and spells, I began to realize what she was doing to me. She was trying to lure me into a corner and hit me with a big spell to knock me out of the fight. Deciding to change tactics on her, I looked up to the sky and flew into the cloud barrier.

As my head and body breached the barrier, I kept myself inside the clouds and flew through it as if it was a small lake. While I kept on swimming, I looked over my shoulder to watch as the alicorn did the same thing, looking like she was enjoying this. As if she was on the hunt and was relishing coming at me.  After a few minutes of doing this, I dived back down under the barrier and waited for the alicorn to come out. “Question,” I asked as I watched her fly out.

“What is it?” the alicorn asked as she decloaked.

“Do you know what clouds are? Answer: water vapour,” I said, silently charging my horn. “Pegasi use the water from towns to condense the liquid into small pockets of ‘fluff’ known as clouds that pegasi then use for weather or building. This is why earth and unicorn ponies can’t touch it without magic.”

“What is the point of this little lecture? To stall, or to show off?” the alicorn asked.

“A little of both actually,” I said, keeping my horn charged with lighting. “See, when Rainbow Dash took me and Scoots flying, she always told us to dry off if we flew in the clouds for a while, because the water would condense on our wings.” I slowly raised my hoof, as if I was in class, “That is why you dry off afterwards, don’t want to have ice on your wings when you are one-thousand feet up. Now, last question.”

“Final one, then I take you in,” she said, pointing her horn at me.

“What is a really bad thing to be in the middle of a lighting storm. Answer: wet,” I then lowered my horn at her, the electricity cascading on my horn like a wild snake. “And look at that, you are are soaked. What a shocking twist,” I said calmly as I fired my lightning bolt at full power into the alicorn.

There was something of a sick, satisfactory smile coming to my lips as I watched the alicorn get electrocuted, the bolts of energy zigzagging their way over her body, and fall to the ground. Being an alicorn myself, I knew just how much lighting that an alicorn body could take, and it is definitely more than any normal pony, otherwise I wouldn’t have unleashed my full power at her. As I landed, I looked at the charred body and breathed a sigh of relief as the chest rose and fell with her breathing, “Unconscious, but her regeneration should fix her up soon. Until then, what am I-” I stopped speaking out loud when I noticed where we had landed, near stable sixteen.

Now, I am not one for pranking. When I was a teenager, I would be the voice of reason along with Sweetie Belle whenever Scootaloo decided to prank the school or teachers. In this case, however, it would be a fitting punishment for this alicorn and I have to hold her somewhere. Lifting her up with my magic, I dragged her unconscious body to the Stable, opened it up, and threw her inside. Taking the time to seal the door and lock it up, I took a few steps back to admire my work.

Granted, it would not keep her trapped for long, it would keep her stuck there just long enough for whatever deal she had planned to fall through. It would also tick off the so-called goddess.

I let out a small chuckle and held back the urge to tell the alicorn about how to find the code to get out. After all, she seemed smart; she could find the Overmare’s office soon, find the code and then get out.

After a few more hours of flying, I was ready to find a place to touch down and rest. Looking down, I spotted a little shack that was a bit off my flight path. Wanting to see if there was anything I could pick up for the rest of my journey, I landed near the cabin. From the ramshackle way it was put together, the place looked like it couldn’t have held three ponies at most with in. Though to be honest, with how it was able to put metal sliding on the walls did make it stand out. Taking a few steps further, I spotted what looked to be a furnace  next to the shack. Stepping forward a few more feet, and the way that it was sitting also impressed me. As if somepony wanted to make it easily defensible. However, stepping towards the hut turned out to be a big mistake as an ear piercing screech sounded through the air. At first, I thought it was a malfunctioning radio, but I was wrong and began to fall to my knees in immense pain, as if somepony was cutting through my ears with a small dagger. I wasn’t too far off as I began to feel a warm liquid dribble from my ears and down the side of my head. I could then feel  blood run down my eyes.

Struggling, I tried to beat the pain and rise up again, but that horrible ringing started to intensify by the second. Every passing moment seemed to kill any sense of feeling left in my ears, not to mention that I began to lose vision thanks to the blood slowly leaking out. It soon became too much as I could feel myself lower to my knees, howling in pain.

I could see a figure coming closer to me as I squirmed in pain, “H-help… me,” was the last thing I could utter before darkness eclipsed my vision and I lost all attachment to the waking world.

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“Atten-HUT!” the colonel bellowed out as he strolled in front of the new recruits, which also included me. “Royal guard captain Prince Shining Armor to look over the new meat!”

Turning my head, I watched as uncle Shining Armor strolled in, his white chest puffed out. Even though he hasn’t seen nearly as much action as he used to, the way he carried himself, and the way his blue mane flapped in the breeze demonstrated just how princely he was. All of us stood in perfect formation as the white unicorn walked by us.

I held back a gasp and gulped in worry as I stuck out my chest, praying to the princesses and anything else I could think of that the enchantments that Rarity and Dinky put on me would keep me hidden from my uncle

you are now the only thing standing between ponies and the darkest depths of pony society. There are right now three princesses that rely on you to protect them from the vile monsters and demons that plague our world.” I was repressing the urge to chuckle at that.

“Now, I know that some of you cadets might have heard the words ‘useless’, ‘pointless’, and ‘the Element Bearers will keep us safe.’ Well, guess what… they are WRONG!” I smiled as Shining did this, acting so different from the goofball that he acts like when he is around me, Mom, or Aunt Cadence. I guess Mom’s right: when he’s around us, DORK! But on duty? Well, he didn’t get to be captain for nothing.

“My sister, her friends, and the princesses may be powerful and may be there for all the heavy stuff. However, they are not omnipresent! They cannot be everywhere at once, and there are still crimes that fall beneath their jurisdiction. That is where we come in! We are their eyes, ears, voice, sword, and SHIELD! We may not get the glory, we may not get the medals, and we may even be looked down upon because we don’t save the day or might get beaten by an omnipotent god,” Shining continued. “But if you are here for medals or impressing your lover with that shiny new armor, then get the fuck out of my guard right now! I know it might seem cool to have that armor on and be impressive to all your friends and the mare you had a crush on since high school, but I have seen more than my fair share of rookies get critically injured because they thought that this job was just for show! Now you,” his blue eyes turned to me and I held back a shudder, “What is your first duty!”

“To the ponies and princesses, sir!” I said, praying that he didn’t single me out because he knew who I was.

“Very good…”

“Helios Twinkle, sir!”

“And where are you from?” Shining asked, looking me over, as if he was trying to look beyond my new sea-green coat.

“Vanhoover! My family was rescued by a bunch of guards during the Tirek incident!” I shuddered at the thought of that centaur, his eyes and name were still haunting me to this day. “I decided to join to honor those brave mares and stallions!”

“Now she has the right motivation! We come here because we want to protect our loved ones, to honor those who came before us, or because it’s our destiny,” Shining said, getting a good look at my cutie mark. I looked back and hoped that it was different enough to trick him, “Now, fall in! You are all to return to your barracks and unpack… except you Helios.”

“Me sir?” I asked timidly.

“I want you in my office ASAP!”Shining said.

Without asking why, I followed him, soon heading past the ‘hallway of doom’ and into the office of Shining Armor. I smiled a little as I looked at the lightly decorated room, pictures of Shining’s medals lining some of the walls while several books sat behind his desk (Some Mom bought, others were his, and I did see a few O&O books). Silently, I took my seat, “Nyx,” Shining asked, “What are you doing here?”

“I-uh, don’t know what you mean sir!” I exclaimed, trying not to look in his eyes, looking to the picture of his wedding day instead.

“Nyx, first lesson while under cover, don’t make a pseudonym so close to your real name. I mean, the first name was good, but Twinkle?” he said, glaring at me like I had made the worst mistake. “Now, why are you here? You know your mom doesn’t want you in the guard.”

“I know, I know,” I sighed as I looked to a picture of me, Spike, Cadence, Shining, and my mom. “I heard the speech before,” I then said the speech in unison with Shining: “Bad enough that I have to worry about your uncle dying in the guard, I refuse to have my only daughter out there risking her life. Why not try and become an archmage instead?”

“She even showed me schools I could go to where I could learn how to become one,” gritting my teeth, I looked up at my uncle. “She even believes that I am at one of those schools now!”

“So, why are you here then?” he asked, putting his forehooves together in a thoughtful pose.

“Because,” I stated, looking at him with pleading eyes, “I can’t just stand back and just play support while there are ponies out on the front lines fighting. I have to be out there, fighting with you guys. I am an alicorn, I can take punishment and pain that no other pony can take. Even my cutie mark,” turning my flank to show him the shield enveloping a crescent moon, “shows that I am meant to be a guardian of ponies.”

“Mages do the same thing, you know,” Shining said, using his magic to pull out a few slips of paper.

“Yeah, from the sidelines,” I argued. “Some of them don’t even see a battle for most of their lives. I don’t want that! I want to be out there where my powers can do some good, protecting ponies who can’t protect themselves. If my durability, my power, or my life can make it so that everypony comes home alive, then I’ll do it.” I shook my head and looked back up to Shining with the same eyes I gave Celestia so long ago. “I can’t do that on the sidelines, offering support when I’m ‘needed’. But as a guard? Then there is no way I’d let anypony die if I could help it.”

“But you can’t protect everypony, ponies die you know,” he stated plainly, looking at a photo of him with two other stallions. “There will be times when you’ll find that there is little you can do to stop it. You’ll find that, no matter what you do, you’ll won’t be able to save everypony and you’ll fail a mission.

My eyes then narrowed in determination, feeling as if I was being tried by this stallion, “Then I’ll do my best to save as many as I can. Because, even if I can only save one life it’ll be worth it.”

A soft and approving smile came to Shining’s lips as he listened to me, “That, had to be one of the more impressive speeches I had ever heard in my life. All right,” he gave a quick nod before looking behind me, “You’re in, but first… I think you’ll need to convince your mother.”

My eyes shot up at this as I turned around slowly and looked into a pair of angry purple eyes, “M-mother!” There is only two things I fear the most in this world: Tirek, and my mother when she is angry. I can bet that Discord himself would tremble at seeing those eyes, and I have seen Fluttershy’s stare in action.

“Nyx Hemera Sparkle, you step outside now young lady! Your uncle and I need to have a few words,” Mom said, the rage and disappointment evident in her voice.

        “Y-yes, Mom,” I nervously said as I walked out of the room, leaving my mother behind with my uncle. As soon as I closed the door, I put my ear to the door in order to try and hear the conversation.

It seems that I didn’t need to try too hard as I could hear my mother’s voice becoming louder and louder. “What in Equestria do you think you are doing, Shining!? Letting her go into the guard like this!?”

“Twily, please under-” Shining began, but was interrupted by my mom.

“Don’t you ‘Twily’ me, Shining Armor!” I knew it was bad, she used his full name. “You know how I feel about her risking her life like this! Do you know how happy I was when I had first found out you got into the guard? Ecstatic! But, then I began to hear stories of ponies being KIA or coming home traumatized for the rest of their lives. I began to worry that I would never see my BBBFF ever again, or worse, that you would come home missing a leg and becoming an invalid! I still worry that I am going to get a letter from Celestia one day saying ‘Dear Twilight, sorry, but your brother was KIA’, then again, knowing how long it takes for this family to get information, I would find out on Hearth's Warming EVE!”


“Oh, what is she thinking, doing this Shining? The girl is still in high school, for Celestia’s sake. She has her whole life ahead of her and she is going to risk it by going off to get herself killed!? She isn’t ready, her magic still needs to grow, and she still needs to learn how to weild it properly. What if a war starts up, she is going to be a killer! I will not have my daughter grow up to be a killer.”

“Twiley-” I could here the frustration in Shining’s voice increasing.

“What if something happens to her? What am I supposed to to tell her friends? Am I just going to tell Spike that he will never see his little sister again? I couldn’t bear it if somethin-”

“TWILIGHT ELIZABETH SPARKLE!” Shining yelled, followed by a sound that probably was his hooves slamming a table, “You have my word that nothing will happen to her. Not while under my watch.”

My mom retorted with a very serious, although quiet tone, “You can’t promise that.”

“Look, Twilight, you are a mother, I can understand that. Don’t you think our mom was scared for me too? She probably felt just the same as you do right now. Scared and worried about her little foal.” I could hear him sigh softly. “Twilight, she is just following her call. It’s just what her cutie mark is telling her. How would you feel if I told you that you couldn’t study anymore or cast magic? You would feel horrible, wouldn’t you? Do you really think she would be happy being away from ponies that could use her help?”

I could hear my mother sigh before continuing, “All right, she can stay, but a few rules. First! She is not allowed to train in the use of guns.”

“What!? Twily, guns are quickly being used by all of the guardsponies. It is standard procedure,” Argued Shining.

“I don’t care. I’ve seen those… ‘things’,” she spat with venom in her voice, “in action and I won’t have my daughter using something so unnatural. Besides, you know how she feels about guns. She has magic, let her use that.”

“She doesn’t have your mana reserve, Twilight. She’ll run out,” Shining argued.

“Then train her in spears or bows, but no guns,” Twilight said.

Shining let out an aggravated sigh, “Fine. Rule two, my guard my rules. I train her how I want, in whatever way I want, no matter how hard it is or how bad it seems. She can’t be babied in this, considering how things between the zebras are heating up. She’ll have to be prepared.”

Things between the zebras? What does he mean?I asked myself.

“Right, rule 3, I reserve the right to pull her out of this whenever I see fit. If I feel like she is in over her head, then I want her out.”

“Fine,” Shining said, I could only assume flashing mom a smile, the same charming smile that won him the heart of a princess. “But, what are you going to do when she’s older?”

“ I still want that right,” Mom sighed.

“Twilight aren’t worried about being too controlling? Do you really want her to hate you and think you as this dominating overprotective freak that won’t let her grow up? She’s seventeen, Twily, she won’t be young forever,”

I heard my mother let out a shuddering sigh, “I know Shining, I know. I just...don’t want her to become a killer or some tool to be used by the military.”

“Twiley, you know I would never-”

“You won’t! But, what about the next commander? You won’t be a leader forever and soon some pony is going to look at Nyx and go, “Now, there is my next weapon’  I want her to live her dreams, I want her to fly away from home and live a wonderful life, but I’m so afraid that she’ll turn into a killer.”

I could head hoof steps leaving the desk, and the sound of somepony being pulled into an embrace, “Twiley, I know how you feel.  I look at some of these young cadets and I think about how young and hopeful they are. They don’t know what really lies in store for them, because they haven’t killed yet,” another sigh escaped my uncle’s lips. “Look, if you feel like she is in ayway in danger, then come to me...we’ll talk.”

“You are a determined negotiator, BBBFF,” Mom said.

“I have dealt with my fair share of mothers in my time, Twily,” Shining said. “Now how about you tell your daughter the good news?”

“Oh, she knows… she’s been listening in the whole time,” Mom said with a small giggle.

“HOW DOES SHE DO THAT?” I said out loud before walking into the room and hugging my mother as tight as I could. “Oh Mom, thank you.”

“Just promise me, that you’ll survive…”

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        “I will Momma, I promise,” I whimpered as I began to slowly awaken from the dream. A soft smile slowly crept to my lips as the memories of my mother’s soft coat and warm body left me. The harsh reality of the world came quickly came back into focus. A small shiver came about due to the cold feeling that the room gave off. Blinking the sleep out of my eyes, I slowly sat up in the bed I found myself in. Looking around, I began to figure out that I was in the shack that I had found earlier. It was small, from what I could see, about three rooms at most. I must have been in the bedroom, judging from my bed (rough though it was, certainly better than the ground I had slept on before) and the small lamp next to me. Looking around, I saw that the only thing that decorated the room was a broken and rotten bookshelf with only a few, “BOOKS!” I squealed, getting ready to levitate one to read.

“You’re awake, good. Was afraid I was going to sleep in that cushion I call a sofa fer eternity,” a stallion’s voice spoke as he walked in. A golden tanned unicorn strolled in, carrying some health potions in his magic. “Here, drink this. Yer probably still hurtin’ after that trap.”

I took the healing potion from the pony with my magic and looked up at him, “Thank you, but who are you, why did you help me?”

“The name’s Guiding Light,” he spoke in a voice that reminded me of some of those old western gunslingers in those old movies I would watch with the girls. As he turned from me, I got a quick look at his cutie mark, a sword being parried.“I helped ya, because you are the only alicorn that I have seen that asked fer help. The last one that got hit cussed me out before fainting. I don’t know what happened  to her after I left her  unconsious body out somewhere.”

Probably had a run in with me,” I thought to myself. “What are those alicorns? And what was that trap I fell into?”

“Nopony really knows about the alicorns, only that they serve somepony called the Goddess and they help slavers. As for the trap, that was a broadcaster. Pretty good fer takin down an alicorn or if you want raiders to stay off yer territory. Luckily, I stay pretty far away from the trap to keep myself  safe. But I wouldn’t advise looking for any, not unless ya want to deal with Pink Cloud,” it was then I noticed that his sleeve was fused into his right and left forelegs. My body slightly shuddered at the memory of Pink cloud, the stuff that took away my friend Dinky “Now, just who are you? I never heard of any alicorn pleading for help like you did.”

“My name is Nyx Sparkle. I am the daughter of the head of the Ministry of Arcane Sciences, Twilight Sparkle,” I said, a bit of pride coming into my voice.

Daughter?” Guiding asked, his green eyes widening in shock and causing his yellow mane to shoot up. “How by the goddesses does an alicorn become the daughter of a ministry mare?”

I sighed, “You must not have scavenged up the book about my life.” With a deep breath I began my story.

I will not bore you, dear reader, with everything I told him. After all, if you are reading this tale, then you must already know of the main events and the grand story of how I came to be. Of course, as I told him, he had the usual questions that came from the retelling: “Who’s Trixie? What were the bearers doing while Mom was captured?” And my favorite: “How did I take down a goddess?” Of course, I was saddened by the fact that I will never be able to find those authors who wrote down my story and how they knew so much. “And that is where I am now, on a mission to find what happened to the bearers.”

“Yer story is indeed a long one of heartbreak and success. I’m impressed,” Guiding said, drinking some Sparkle Cola he had picked up.

“Thank you,” I nodded as I got up from the bed. “Thank you for helping me, but I need to go.”

“Now? Kid, you still need to rest a little more,” Guiding said as he stood up.

“Alicorn, remember? I’m fine, and I should really go,” I said, turning to walk away but was stopped by Guiding’s hoof.

“Fine, I can’t stop ya, but at least take this,” he requested, using his magic to lift a gun to me. “I saw that yo lacked a weapon in yer bags.”

My eyes looked down at the gun and I suddenly froze. All I could see in my head was that raider being shot, lying in a pool of his own blood. The images in my head then changed to my friends and family being killed by the same way, “NO!” I refused, backing away from the firearm,  ” not now, not ever!”

“You can’t be serious, going out there without weapons?” Guiding asked, looking at me like I had mutated.

“I have magic,” I argued.

“Mana runs out, even alicorns know that,” Guiding then groaned and pleaded. “Look, if you aren’t going to use guns, then at least let me offer ya a substitute.”

“What do you mean?”

“Come with me,” he said, leading me to his living room. Once there, he levitated a long and thick steel blade.

“What is that?” I asked, looking at the sword with the long blade. The hilt was probably the more interesting part of it, as while the blade was typical for a long sword, the hilt was decorated with the words “my light, my pride”.

“A blade, a more elegant weapon from a more elegant time.” He began to move the blade in front of me, allowing me to see every edge of thebeing held by glowing magic. “Time was, a pony could solve his problems with this on a field of honor; then some idiot invented the gun, and an even bigger idiot invented the megaspell.”

I bit my tongue to hold back the desire to yell how that was Fluttershy, “I’ve used a blade before, I don’t see-” I was interrupted by Guiding coming up close to me before I could see him moving, bringing the side of the long blade to my throat.

“When was the last time you used a sword, kid?” Guiding said, backing up and lowering his blade. “Skills have this tendency to diminish over time the less you use them. Also, yer last swordfight was against two goddesses. Two of them, mind you, who knew yer mother. Ever thought they were holding back against you? If they had their real weapons… you’d be dead.”

I trembled a little as he said this, and looked up at him, a part of me wanted to tell him they gave it their all. The other part of me didn’t want to ruin his belief in the princesses, “Really?”

“Yeah. Shame that swordsmanship fell out of favor to guns. Somepony should have taught the art,” Guiding said with a sigh.

“Well, I do know a little bit of swordsmareship and I know a little of its history. One of my friends on the guard talked about how he used to be good at it but, overtime, it became more of a ceremonial thing. How do you know about it?” I asked.

“My family was from a long line of swordsponies, my great grandpa passed down the teachings when they were in the stable, and when he left, he passed it down to Pa and then Pa to me,” he then let out a sorrowful sigh as he looked at out the window. “Now, I guess I can pass it onto you. Let me train you for a month in the art and then you can go, a little bit better.”

“A month? But, I need to get-” I complained.

“Look, do you want to get good at this and survive, or do you want to go out there and die before ya even get yer little mission done?” Guiding asked, his eyes narrowing at me,

I sighed, “You’re right, I do need something to fight with other than my magic, and I won’t use a gun. Ok, I’ll do it.”

After a few minutes, we were outside in the back of his shack in the middle of a large circle, “First, before we start, catch,” Guiding said, throwing a  wooden sword at me. With ease, I caught it in my telekinesis, While looking at the strong wooden blade,  I heard Guiding call to me, “Good, now put it in yer mouth.”

“What?” I asked plainly.

“Put it in yer mouth and hold it,” Guiding said, holding up his wooden blade as I did as I was told. “This is yer first lesson, understand that a blade, even when it is held by magic, is an extension of yerself.”

“Dn’t see, hw thish will teash me anthinth,” I mumbled through the handle, and immediately removed my complaint as Guiding slashed at my blade with a downward slash. “Ahhh!” I groaned as I dropped the blade from my mouth, my jaw throbbing.

“Too often,” Guiding said, spinning his  own wooden sword in a small circle, “unicorns will forget that they’re jus’ using magic to help with a normal task. Like cleaning and opening doors, they ferget that all of those things have weight. That blade, and by extension a real sword, has a similar weight, if not more.”

“More?” I asked,picking up the sword and putting it in my mouth.

“It’s something that Earth ponies and pegasi learned a long time ago. The blade of yers, it holds a lot of weight, a pony’s life and yer own. Sure, it’s easy to pull the trigger but it’s a lot harder to push that blade through a pony’s body.”

I nodded, slowly starting to understand the lesson, while I got myself into a ready stance for his next attack. As expected, he came at me in a downward strike, and, for a moment, I held my ground. It was then he attacked with a side slash, followed by a thrust that caused me to feel the pain in my jaw return, forcing me to drop the blade, “Ah… it hurts. It’s hard to fight like this.”

“Why do you think guns are made the way they are?” Guiding asked. “So the earth and pegasus ponies can hold them easier. Swords made for earth ponies are made in the same fashion, while pegasi made wing blades to conform to their wings or a battle saddle to fire their guns while flying. Each race made their own weapons to their own unique advantages. But, what is a unicorn’s?”

Slowly I got up, panting, “Magic?”

“Yes, but there are times a unicorn forgets that magic is a tool like any other,” Guiding said, watching me put the hilt of the blade back into my mouth. “This means that they soon treat a weapon like it was nothing special,” he continued, bringing his sword down at me in an overhead downward slash, leaving me to block his every blow. “They forget what an earth pony and a pegasus both learn by touching a weapon, holding it, and feeling the weight of it.”

After a barrage of several attacks, I dropped to my knees panting, the blade falling out of my sore mouth, “That…” I moaned in pain, turned  up to look at  my teacher, rubbed the throbbing jaw. “that each weapon we hold, is just an extension of ourselves. My magic, is just holding a sword like another pony would hold it with their mouth. So, I need to remember that I am holding a part of myself out there in the fight.”

In response, Guiding threw an ice pack my way. “Hold this to your jaw for a bit, until it gets better. It’ll soothe you.”

“How much longer do I need to hold the sword like this?” I asked, letting the coolness of the pack rest against my jaw.

“Until, you can actually score a nick on me,” Guiding said, holding his blade horizontally.

I swallowed a little at this, my mind drifting back to some of the more harsher moments of my training with the royal guard. My knees gave a little shake as the stallion charged at me at full speed, swiping his sword at me from the side. Gasping through the handle at his speed, I  turned quickly in order to block the strike. Reeling back from the block, I took the advantage and swiped the legs. A grunt came from him as he raised his forelegs to dodge the swipe, and attack with an overhead strike.

For the next few minutes, we almost danced with our blades. Each strike that came from him, I just bearly managed to parry. As we fought, I could feel myself starting to pant and tire, it was obivious that Guiding began to see it too, “Tired kid?”
I could feel the sweat roll down my face and down my muzzle, “A little.”

“Good,” Guiding smirked as he continued his assualt, like he was tryign to see how far I could go.

For what felt like an entire day (when it had really been only three hours) me and Guiding dueled on that field. It wasn’t until he managed to score one last shot on me, and sent me to the ground did he finally put the wooden sword  away to the side. Walking over to a small rack that he had, Guiding picked up a towel with his magic and threw it at me, “Dry off.”

“We’re done?” I asked, lifting the white towel off of my head with magic. Slowly getting up, I started to wipe myself off.

“Fer today,” Guiding said, walking away. “Tomorrow, we start working on focus and speed. Then we go back to dueling on Wendsday. Thursday, focus training, then we’ll spend Fridays reading up on particular forms,” as he neared the door, he smiled a little at me. “I picked up some books on forms from my travels.”

Entering his little cabin, I got another look at the livign room that accompained the room I  slept in from before. It wasn’t too badly decorated, a small sofa in the corner and another bookcase sat in the wall furthest from the entrance. To the right, next to the entry way of the bedroom, was a small tower of Sparkle cola bottles, “Nice art,” I joked.

“Hey, a stallion has to have a hobby or he’d go mad,” Guiding chuckled as he walked to the sofa.

I looked at the small cushion and the back to my own bedroom, “So, where am I going to sleep?”

“On the bed, I haven't been using it all that much,” he said with a sigh before streaching out on the sofa.

With a small nod of understanding, I went into the bedroom and began to try to sleep. It wasn’t all that easy, it quickly became appearent that sleep was not to come easy to me.  It wasn’t that the bed was uncomfortable or that anything was wrong with it, there was just something that kept me awake. Sighing, I rolled out of the bed and walked out of the small cabin.

 The win blew just a little bit colder as I stepped out, the cloud cover hanging gloomily overhead as another reminder of just how alien my old home had become. Taking a few soft steps away from the cabin, my mind tried to remember what it used to be like years ago. It wasn’t a place that I normally traveled with my friends to and it wasn’t excatly a place you would spot while walking the road. A chuckle came out as a story about Applebloom going to meet her aunt Golden Delicious came to mind.

Looking around me, I noted that there was a couple of dead trees next to the training area, “Must be where he got some of the wood for the wooden swords,” I guessed to myself. Though it was hard for me to see fully, partially thanks to the cloud cover overhead, I did take the time to sit and look around the perimeter of the small cabin. Taking a trek to the small furnace that I had  caught earlier, I discovered it to be a small scale forge. There was a hammer, makeshift anvil, a place to temper the metal, and the furnace, “I hope I can use it,” I said, running a hoof along the hammer.

Finishing my walk around the outside of the cabin, reminding myself to head down that path that was behind the cabin later, I walked back to the front of the cabin and sat down. Looking up back at the detestable cloud barrier, I growled a little at  it. Deep down, I wished somepony out there would just sweep it all away to reveal the beautiful night, “Can’t sleep kid?”

I took a long and sad sigh, “No, I can’t. How do you ponies live like this? You can’t see the sky in the daytime and you can’t see the beautiful stars or the moon.”

“One day at a time kid, its all we can do. Its how we live,” Guiding said, sitting next to me.

“Find a way to live,” those were my mom’s final words to me in the memory orb, “but, how am I supposed to live in this wasteland when I don’t anything to live for anymore?”

“Hey,” Guiding called out, rubbing my shoulder to take me out of my thoughts. “Ready to go to bed?”

I shook my head, “No, not yet. I just can’t sleep tonight.”

“Ya need yer rest,” Guiding said.

“Well, mom would sometimes tell me stories when I had restless nights like this,” I giggled.

Almost as he had come with one prepared, Guiding began, “A long time ago, back when the goddesses we young, there was a great and noble monster.”

“A nobel monster?” I asked.

“Well, that was how he was described by some, a monster. To others he was a hero, a swordspony capable of helping them in need, “Giding continued. “See, when he was very young, he made some mistakes, and that earned him a repttion of being a beast and  a monster. But he did not care, for he let history and his legacy speak for him. For him, he was doing what he considered the right thing, helping ponies-”

I could not hear the rest, I fell asleep soon after.

“Now, next lesson,” he said, having me hold a ball of water with my telekinesis. “The art of the sword is all about control, focus, and skill, something that is hard to perform on a battlefield. As your skills grow, focus will become easier; you’re training your body to treat the weapon as an extension of yourself.” Guiding continued his lesson as I began to slowly form the water ball into a swor. “When your weapon becomes part of you, it becomes second nature to use it effectively.” He paused in his speaking, breathing a little hard, “I want you to practice swinging with that. Become offensive, and not just defensive. A good defense is a good offence; keep attacking, pushing your enemy back and they’ll retreat. You’re training in focus will come from being able to keep that water in a  sword form..”

“Yes sir!” I said, nodding slowly as I began to mold the ball of water into various shapes, getting more complicated as I went on.

“Meanwhile, I will be attacking you,” Guiding said plainly, drawing from the same irradiated pool of water I got the glob from, and formed ice spikes which he then pointed at me.

“What?!” I exclaimed, watching him form ten ice spikes, each about as long and sharp as a spear, and looked just as deadly

 “One of the more important lessons you’ll learn in a swordfight, especially when its in a scenario with guns, is that you’ll have to be ready to intercept an attack from any direction. At the same time, you’ll be focusing on holding that blade, practicing and forming that sword” he spoke calmly, using his magic to throw more ice spikes at me.

As those words boomed out of his mouth, he launched three spikes at me, one from above and two at my side. , “AH! Are. You. Expecting. Me. To. Practice. Forming.  Objects. While. You. Are. Trying. To. Kill. Me!?” Each word was punctuated with a dodge, although, he manage to strike a blow on my chest, shoulder, and foreleg, the pointy icicles grazing and nicking me.

“Not kill, hurt,” he said plainly. “Yer an alicorn, you’ll be able to heal from any cuts I might lay on you.”

That isn’t exactly reassuring,” I thought to myself as a I barely ducked under a spike.

Almost as if he could read my thoughts, Guiding replied, “I ain’t here to reassure ya, I’m here to make sure ya survive out there.”

I swallowed hard at the thought that this was where things were going to get a little bit harder for me.

And for the next few days, I was proven right. If I was not busy dodging the ice spikes from Sensei, then I was busy trying to concentrate on keeping the water ball in a sword shape and trying to concentrate on holding it in my magic like a sword.

As I dodged and weaved through his various attacks, I could’ve sworn that a smile came across Guiding’s lips. Maybe he was becoming proud of my progress, or maybe there was something in the training that was getting him excited. But, whatever it was that got him excited, it seemed to spur him on in his attacks and to get creative with how he would attack. Like sending two separate ice spikes coming at my side and back in a ninety degree angle.

However, our focus training ended a lot sooner than our duel, as after about two hours of this I collapsed to the ground panting, “Ok, that’s enough fer now. Let’s head back inside.”

“W-Why, am I so tired?” Panting, I asked, trying to follow him.

“You ehausted your mana, that’s what happened. You may be an alicorn, but you still have normal mana reserves like every other unicorn,” Guiding said, walking to me to help me up.

I shook my head, trying to disagree. Then I began to think, “Luna drained most of my magic when I was a filly wich put me back on step one. Alicorn’s magic increases as they age, and I am about thirty-six now. Mom did the calculations once, I would be normal when I reached one hundred and right now I’m only as powerful as mom was when she was a teenager. Not bad, considering she broke every scale on record when she was a filly.” Getting up, I began to follow him in, “Doesn’t help that I was concentrating on forming an object while dodging spikes.”

“It’ll get easier as you get better,” he said, sitting down on the sofa. Taking a few deep hard breaths, he continued, “I can’t promise yer mana will increase, but you will learn how to fight while expending little mana.”

“I see,” I nodded, realizing what this particular skill would teach me. Tired I collasped on the couch with Guiding.

“Want to hear another story?” Guiding asked, looking at my tired face. I was so tired at this point, I could bearly nod. “In the wasteland there is this story about a young ghost-”

Over the course of that week, I found myself being trained early and quickly got accustomed to the schedule. There were also times where I would forego sleep entirely, in order to practice with the blade to make sure I had it down perfectly.

Many were the nights where I would walk out onto the training field, lifting an individual water blade to spend an hour practicing my sword forms. Then after that, I would generate a clone of me and give her a blade of her own to use. We would then spend up to two hours sparring until I could score three hits on her. The rest of my night would be spent focusing and harnessing my magic to make it so I had complete  control over the sword’s watery form or studying the book on swordsmanship that was in the bed room that Guiding let me sleep in.

There were so many interesting skills and techniques in that book, I couldn’t wait to explore each one. Those, however, would have to wait until later, at least until I felt more confident with my sword and not  barely able to hold my own against Guiding. This is what I focused on— Focus, skill, strength, and speed.

The problem, however, is these all-nighters would come right before a harsh training session from Guiding. This had me operating with one hour of sleep at a time, which soon took its toll. When I woke up on the eighth day of my training I began to feel woozy and tired. Everything began to swirl around me as I stepped out onto the training ground. This seemed to attract the attention of Guiding as he watched me walk out, “Nyx? Are you ok? NYX!” he yelled out and ran towards me.

I, on the other hand, could barely hear his screams of concern as I began to watch the darkness creep slowly into my vision and I lost any desire to remain in the waking world.

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        “What were you thinking, Nyx?” my uncle asked me as he sat next to my bed in the infirmary. “Some of the guard said you passed out during drills today.”

        I shook my head a little, trying my best to regain my bearings. “I’m sorry, Captain.”

        “Hey, out there, I’m your captain. But alone? I’m your uncle, got it?” Shining asked, looking at me with concerned eyes.

        “Sorry,” I whispered. “I guess I just overworked myself. I really wanted to get my drills perfected and I thought I was falling behind everypony else so I have been working day and night and… kind of,” a small hint of embarrassment came to me as I finished. “Been missing sleep.”

        “WHAT?!” Shining exclaimed. “Why would you do something so stupid?”

        “Well, it’s just that mom pulls all-nighters all the time when she studies and I thought I could do the same with my training,” I sighed.

        “Look, Nyx,” Shining laid a hoof on my shoulder and pulled me into a hug, resting his forehead to mine. “It nice that you really want to focus on being a great guardspony and that you want to push yourself, but you have to realize that even you have limits. I would rather have you understand that and be ok, rather than having you work yourself to death. Got it?”

        I softly giggle as Shining rubbed his nose with mine, “Sure thing, Uncle Shining.”


        “Yes sir, Captain,” I muttered softly as I sat back up in the bed.

        “Mind telling me why I had to carry you back to bed and watch you sleep for the past day?” Guiding asked, handing me something brown and dry.

        Taking the food in my magic I began to eat slowly, “I guess I was pushing myself too hard again. Old habit.”

        “Really?” Guiding asked as he sat next to me.

        “When I find something I’m really interested in, I tend to push myself into exploring every aspect until I get a perfect understanding of it,” I said, smiling with the realization of how much like my mom I could be.

        Guiding sighed. “Look kid, I can understand that, but even you got limits, right? Being a good swordsmare is all about control and technique. Something that you have to understand. Now, rest up and I’ll get ya back onto training tomorrow.”

        I nodded before turning my head to look at a small crayon drawing next to my bed. It was of two unicorns, one in guard armor marked ‘daddy’ and the other of a little filly, “You had kids?”

        “One kid, a filly,” Guiding said, a soft grin came to his face. “See, twenty years ago, I met this mare who ran a trading cart. She needed somepony to protect her as she made her trips and hired me back when I was a merc. Fer a long while we traveled together and well, when two ponies travel together fer a while, things tend to happen. You start to feel things for each other, sometimes it can be friendship and other times… love. One night, as we hid in a cave from the rain, we confided in each other. I told her how she made me feel, alive as  if I had something to live for. She made my world worth it. At the same time, she confessed that she felt safe around me, protected. She felt at home with me, that no matter what happened next, I would be there for her always. She leaned closer to me, and I to her and we shared a deep loving kiss.  I don’t think I need to tell you what happened then.”

        I blushed a little as I felt my wings extend involuntarily with an audible pomf. “Uh, no you don’t.”

        A small chuckle came from Guiding as he continued his story, “Eleven months later, my daughter was born. Her name was Peaceful Light and was the cutest thing you ever saw. Me, her, and her mother live happily fer a few years until…”

        “Until what?” I asked, fearing the answer.

        “Raiders,” he said plainly. A small growl came to his voice, “My wife went out one day to do some trading. She wanted to get some caps, maybe find a new book for me.”

        “There’s a town nearby?” I asked.

        “Used to be, some ponies tried to set a settlement down the path behind us. But, then raiders came to the village befor my wife went off on her trip,” he shuddered and I instantly had a bad feeling where this was going. With a long sigh, he continued, “I don’t know when they ambushed her, but the moment my wife made it to town she never came back. I waited for her to come home, but after two hours of waiting, I went looking fer her,” as the memory came to him, his breathing became ragged and shallow, holding back every rage building moment that memory brought him. “When...when I got there, I saw they had strung her corpse outside their camp. I could over hear them, about how they had violated her body, how they enjoyed her screams as they did it.” His breathing became ragged as he slammed his hoof to the ground in anger, “I could only see red after that, as I became so filled with rage that I went to make sure they wouldn’t hurt anypony again. Then I spent the next few years raising and taking care of my daughter best I could, and even teaching her the skills I knew of the sword. But, ya know how teenagers get. You raise them, train them, and then, one day, they decide it’s time to move on with life and start with their own destiny.”

        “Do you know where she is now?” I asked, finishing my meal.

        “No, I don’t. We didn’t exactly leave on the best terms,” he sighed, wincing a little bit at a sudden pain. It was something that seemed better to put under ‘ask later’,“But, I do know she’s alright, and alive. I only hope that I did a good job raising her.”

        I placed a hoof onto his shoulder and rubbed it gently, “ I believe you did.”

        “How ya figure?” Guiding asked.

        “Because you have been doing a great job with me, so far. Even if I am a little too hardheaded,” I chuckled as Guiding returned the laugh.

        “Go to sleep, kid. Tomorrow I start ya on some light training,” Guiding smiled as he pushed me lightly onto the bed.

        “Yes sir!” I said, snuggling myself back into the bed.

        About three days after my little fainting spell, I found myself in a small shed near the hut. As I began to walk and look over the small collection of blades, I could hear him speak. “Well kid, here it is. This is your big moment, the day you can claim yer own sword,” Guiding began. “What you see around you, are some of the best blades in my collection. This was all I could scavenge from my travels back when I was a merc, well… some of it was procured by my wife and me. You can pick any one of these swords to be yours, I give them to you freely.”

        “Yes, master,” I said, nodding in agreement before closing my eyes and focusing my magic. I began to use my magic to sort out the different types of blades, letting my mind feel out which one felt the most right to me. After I had picked one, I would look over it and then put it back if I didn’t like the look of it. Some of the swords I picked up had a weird looking hilt with a bulb at the end. Others, looked too wide or too bulky for my tastes. After some time searching, I found one that matched my tastes. The blade was nice and long, curved in a fasion that resembled a moon cresent. The hilt began at the guard and curved in a small club; while the markings on the wooden handle had some writing in what looked like Saddle Arabian. A small chuckle came to. The sword could be fast in the hooves of a pegasus, unicorn, or an earth pony, a perfect blade for me.

        “A Shamshir, shaped in the form of a cresent moon,” Guiding chuckled. “You picke it on purpose didn’t ya?”

        “Well, yeah,” I smiled, holding the blade in my magic and examining it closely. “It’s curved, so there is a sharp edge along with a dull edge. It goes well with my dual nature, a monster one day and innocent the next.”

        “Not a bad choice, I kind of like it,” Guiding said.

        “Thank you,” I smiled softly.
        “Now, a good swordspony is only as good as their faith in what they believe in. Now… what do you fight for?”

        I turned my head down and looked down at the light as it enveloped my sword, “ I fight to protect the ponies that I have met in the past and present. I fight for the memories of my mother, my aunts, and my friends. As such, I make a vow to never take another creature’s life no matter what the cost.”

        “WHAT?!” Guiding exclaimed as he heard my vow. “Are you crazy kid? You can’t really expect to go through the wasteland without killing, it don’t work that way!”

        “Then I’ll find a way,” I said, looking up at him with every bit of determination I had. “Look at my mark, it means that I am meant to protect those who cannot defend themselves. As an alicorn, I have to ability to take on the pain that nopony else can. How can you expect me to be a guardian if I kill others.”
“How do you expect to protect anypony, without killing?” Guiding asked me, somberly.

        “Because I refuse to believe that I have to kill in order to protect others,” I argued. “You don’t need to kill in order to save ponies.”

        “The wasteland doesn’t work like that. It is all about give and take, kid, you have to give a little of yourself in order to survive. And the thing that usually goes first? Your ideals.”

        As he told me this, I immediately could see in my head the raider I had killed. How he laid in a pool of his own blood after I had shot him, and how he looked so pitiful laying there, “NO! I refuse to believe that this accursed place is so corrupt that I have to give up my beliefs in order to survive. I have to believe in a better way, that my opponents can become better after I beat them. I have to.”

        Guiding let out a sigh as he looked at me, “Ya speak like a mad mare kid, but I kind of want to believe in ya. I think you can actually do it. Now,” he continued, summoning his bladecast. “How about you tell me what is the name of your blade?”

        I gave my sword a quick look, remembering something that a book I once read had to say about naming a sword, ‘it gives your blade a personality, it makes it a part of you.’ Turning back to look at my sensei, a smile came to my lips as I said the sword’s name, “Dusk. My sword’s name is Dusk.”

        “Naming it after yer mom. Nice sentiment,” Guiding chuckled as he brought out his sword. “Now, let’s get all of this sentimental stuff out of the way, and focus on the real work. Welcome to hell kid.”

        I swallowed hard, knowing that he wasn’t kidding when he said that.

        It was grueling few days, I was continually pushed to my limits and beyond. If I wasn’t training with the sword, then it was eating or sleeping. I would’ve been reading as well, but I had already read his small book collection by the first week. I would be remiss, though, if I told you that it was nothing but grueling work, because it wasn’t. There were quite a few times where we would sit back behind his shed, watching the cloud barrier, and talk about our families. It was kind of nice, talking to a guy like that. We both had lost our loved ones and now are just getting by, bonding with a love of the sword. For the first time in a while, I felt like I had a reason to keep going, a home to go back to.

        It was a shame that it all came crashing down around me a week later.

        It was at the end of my training and Guiding took me into the training circle, “Well done Nyx, you have become a wonderful swordsmare. You may not be an expert yet, but you can certainly hold yer own with most graduates. I don’t know if you’ll find other books to help ya become better at it, but I hope ya do.  You’ll be a great swordsmare kid,” Guiding said with a shudder, before turning and walking back into the house as I stepped out.

        “Thanks sensei, that means,” I stopped as I watched him walk back into the house, trembling and shaking. “Sensei? Sensei? Guiding?” nervous and worried about my sensei’s well-being, I followed into the house.

        Stepping in, my eyes widened in horror as the unicorn stumbled into the bedroom, his breathing becoming ragged, “Oh, please no.” I wispered.

        “Oh, h-hey kid,” Guiding said, falling into the bed and holding his left foreleg. Sweat began to bead and run down his face, while it looked like he was panting now.

        It didn’t take me long to realize just what was happening,“Guiding, please don’t die!” I pleaded, tears streaming down my face.

        “Hey, death happens kid. Ya have to accept that, sometimes, there will be days where ya can’t save everypony. You will have to just buck up and accept that fact of life, and then move on the best ya can. At that point you just,” he wheezed and coughed, “need to realize that ya aint perfect. You can’t be everywhere. Now, I’m gonna leave ya something. In the back, there is some old guard armor my wife found on her travels. Take it, and there is a robe to hide yer extra appendages.”

        “Thank you,” I said, tears welling up in my face as I looked at the fallen swordspony.

        “Also, could you grant me one little request. Sorry fer being selfish but I-” his breathing became harder, coming out in short pants. “I-I need you to go and find my daughter fer me. See how she’s doing, and tell her… that I’m proud of her. That I love her so much. Heh, look at my wife, just a beautiful as the day we… met,” Guiding finished, closing his eyes and letting out one final breath.

        “I will, Guiding. Guiding?” I asked, looking at his now motionless body. With a heavy and sorrowful sigh, I lowered my head, and whispered, “Goodbye, and thank you.”

        Steeling myself, I stood up and walked ot of the house to a spot just a few feet away from the shed and began to moving the dirt to make a hole. I would grieve, yes, but I first needed to honor my mentor’s death with a proper funeral. As I dug, I tried my best to hold back my tears over the death of my friend, one of the few ponies I met in this hellhole worth a damn. I continued to dig faster and faster, making sure that it was deep enough for him. It was only after the hole was dug and I stood up, did I begin to feel wet tears rolling down the sides of my cheek, “Come on, Nyx, you have work to do. Stop your crying.” I chided myself as I walked back to the body.

        Using my magic, I lifted up my mentor and lowered him into the makeshift grave, marking it with some rocks and engraving it with his cutie mark. Finishing my job, I turned and walked into the hut to search for his last gift for me. It didn’t take long, it was in a large box in the foot of the bed. I opened the box and looked at the armor. It was a good size, a little distended from some blows, but otherwise it was salvageable. I could wear it and it would at least protect me from some of the bullets coming at me. The cloak was also nice, covering my wings perfectly in its midnight blue color.

        After taking a few minutes to put on the armor and cloak, I used a duplication spell to look at myself with the ensemble on. Aunt Rarity might have had a few complaints about it but I liked it. The dark bronze that covered my chest and flank meshed perfectly with the blue cloak, matching my draconic eyes to a T. With this, I don’t think anypony could tell if I was an alicorn or not.

        Dispelling my clone, I took one last look at the grave where my friend laid, took a deep breath and whispered, “Goodbye, Guiding Light. Thanks for everything,” and with that, I left, tears still flowing from my eyes.

        After about a few hours of walking, I heard a panicked, “HELP ME! Oh, goddesses, HELP!” ears shooting up at this, I turned my head quickly to where the call came from. Getting my bearings quickly, I ran to where the noise had popped up. When I reached the location, what I saw disgusted me. It was a young mare, barely older than twenty I guess, surrounded by a small band of six raiders.

        I watched with a slowly building rage as two of the monsters slammed her to the ground and forcefully hiked her tail up. As I listened to her pleas of mercy, I watched as one raider walked up right behind her with his intent obvious for all to see. With a growl, I drew out Dusk and sent it flying through the air and into the stallion’s nether areas, slicing the hardened tool off. A sick smile came to me as I watched the raider’s now useless tool fly away from him and to who knows where, “Who the fuck-” the raider never got to finish as his legs were cut out from under him by my slice.

        “Me,” I said plainly as I stepped out from the shadows, pulling Dusk to me with my magic.

        “Well, look at this. It’s a pretty unicorn,” one of the raiders sneered, pulling out his knife while others pulled out guns.

        “I wonder how she tastes,” another one said, licking his knife.

        “Bet she moans like a little slut when we put that sword of hers into her cu-” he never finished as his back and front was cut deeply, sending him to the ground. Counting off, I sent three of my motes into the other raider’s mouths, cutting their jaws to cause them to drop their guns. Without missing a beat, I block one of the raiders knives with my sword and decked a third coming to my left.

        The two remaining raiders backed up and charged at me, only to feel the wrong end of my blade and fall to the ground in pain. When I watched the last raider fall from my sword, I used my magic to throw them into a pile and went to the young mare, “Are you going to be all right?”

        “Maybe,” she said, trembling as she looked to the pile of raiders. “Why didn’t you kill them?”

        “Because of a promise I made to myself,” I said as I walked to a fallen gun.

        “You shouldn’t have let them live, they deserved to die. You should’ve-” she was stopped by me throwing a gun to her.

        “I beat them, I made it so they won’t hurt you again, what happens next? It is all up to you. If they live or die, it’s your choice,” I said before quietly walking away.

        To this day, I do not know if the mare let the raiders live or if she became their executioner. I can only hope, that whatever decision she made… she can live with it.

        Meanwhile, I just walked on towards Manehatten, my heart a little heavier at having lost a friend. But, I had a small hope that I could find out what had happened to one of my aunts, and maybe I can hope that they had a happy ending.

Footnote: Level Up!

New Perk: Swordsmare: Who needs guns when you have a blade? +5% more damage with bladed weapons.