The charcoal-coated stallion took several heavy breaths as he tugged his sword free from bone with a tired grunt.
A hammer clattered to the ground and a light-amber stallion fell onto his haunches, “Captain, I fear we cannot endure much longer!”
“Cursed sods, the timing of their attack was immaculate…” A cream colored pegasus drifted to the ground, wings falling limply to her sides.
The unicorn glanced around at the haggard ponies surrounding him; two pegasi, fatigued wings slack and brows matted with sweat, and a pair of earth ponies, eyes lidded ever-so-slightly and still working to catch their breath.
Almost directly in front of them were two-dozen or so thestrals remaining. The only thing keeping them alive was the narrow hallway that served as a choke-point between their location and the throne-room. Only four or so thestrals could fight comfortably in the cramped hallway with an equal amount able to take to the air, for all the good it did them.
“Ye honorless bastards, Sombra is a saint when cast in the shadow of your treachery!” Magic Barrier yelled out towards the bat-ponies. “Hear me: ye art damned monsters! Abominations!” Several of the thestrals snorted and another group moved forward, stepping over the corpses of their fallen comrades..
“Just had to taunt ’em and gall their hearts. huh Cap?” The amber earth-pony hefted himself upright, hauling the massive maul along with him. “Wrll, crmon yr bstrds!” The stallion yelled out around his mace, both of the pegasi - one cream colored with fiery orange mane, and the other a light-orange with a dark-blue mane - taking to the air. As things started again the walls and ground began to shake violently. No doubt caused by the literal embodiments of the sun and moon duking it out almost directly behind them.
Glancing uncertainly towards the throne-room behind him, Magic Barrier looked back to his ponies. “Can you warriors hold them here?”
“Tch, what manner of question is that?” the orange pegasus began. “Of course, we can hold them here. Render aid to the princess! Sooner this is concluded, the better!”
“Very good! Braeburn, procurest some rocks for me..”
In response, the amber pony slammed his warhammer into the wall, crumbling one of the large stones and leaving a noticeable dip where the weapon had stuck.
“Flash, Brae,” Magic Barrier began, driving his sword between the stones in favor of the hundreds of small rocks. “If I fail to emerge from this with mine heart still a-beating, look after little Sparkle and her father in my stead. Promise me that.” Sweat beaded on his brow as he struggled to concentrate on so many individual rocks at once as he sharpened them down into arrowheads.
“It will be done, sir,” both stallions stated firmly.
“Alright ponies, sunder these traitorous bastards!” As he yelled the order, he sent many of the arrowheads speeding forward, dropping his magic grip on them as they picked up to a dangerous speed and dropping a number of them as his magic failed him and the headache of overuse set in. Without waiting to see the results, the stallion turned and sprinted away.
With a grunt, Magic Barrier threw his shoulder into the throne-room door, forcing it open. The sight that met him was worrisome to say the least.
Standing over the regal form of the Sun Princess was the familiar twisted visage of Princess Luna - Nightmare Moon, as she had taken to being called - cackling madly, completely oblivious to his presence.
“And now, Sister,” she sneered, “for thine arrogance,” her horn flared to life, thrumming with unimaginable power, “I sentence thee to exe-” the psychotic lunar princess was silenced as Magic Barrier collided into her, throwing his full weight into her side.
“Why must you degenerates always make love to your own tongues?” Magic Barrier asked as he lept backwards in preparation of what was to come.
The lunar diarch, using the momentum of the wild charge and subsequent knockdown, rolled upright and set herself in a single fluid movement all before rapidly firing a beam of magic, warping the air and ground where the stallion had stood moments prior, violently bending and twisting the solid stones without actually breaking them.
Huh. Would hate to get hit by that… Barrier briefly thought, firing a beam of his own in retaliation and quickly regretting it as pain lanced through his skull, as well as Nightmare Moon simply letting it disperse across her chest, completely unphased.
“We shall slay thee slowly for that, Captain," the mare spat.
“Peradventure,” the Captain chuckled hollowly. “But fret not, I’ll ensure with all my being that it’s something worthy of memory.” The stallion rolled his neck and shoulders, stifling a groan of satisfaction as a particularly tight knot loosened.
“Hmph, we hope thou dost not disappoint.” The nightmare tapped the ground with her hoof, lowering her head ever-so-slightly, eyes remaining on the stallion who had assaulted her.
“My hope dwells in whatever plan thou might have, princess,” he mouthed softly towards the Solar Diarch as he lowered his own horn, eyes narrowing as magic began to charge at his horn-tip.
“Thou art a-jesting, surely?” the nightmare scoffed, magic building in her own horn. “Very well, if thou wishest to die like a fool, then so be it!” Another beam of magic, similar to the energy that had warped the stone moments prior, loosed itself.
In response, a beam of magic erupted out of the captain’s horn, nowhere near as impressive. As the two connected, the room burst into a blinding light as his own beam was obliterated and he vanished in a pop of magic, reappearing into space directly behind the lunar princess.
“No ill will, princess!” the stallion called out as he drove both of his front his hooves into the back of her legs, causing the princess to gasp out as she fell backwards onto her flanks and the stallion mounted her, climbing over her wings and wrapping one forehoof around her neck, bracing it with the other.
Nightmare scrabbled desperately at the vice-like grip, her eyes widening. As her horn lit up. the stallion rapidly freed his bracing hoof and struck her with it, the hard blow causing the magic to dissipate and the mare to cry out in pain as the energy forced itself back down her spear of a horn.
Oh, rutt me asunder with a well-rusted mace… The unicorn’s own eyes widened as the alicorn’s wings flared out and the pair left the ground.
As expected, the two got fairly well off the ground before the lunar diarch closed one wing and shifted, putting her back - and assailant - to the ground before going into freefall.
Making to flare his horn, the stallion yelped as the mare threw her head back, driving her skull in to muzzle and breaking his concentration.
The stallion didn’t even have the strength in him to grunt as he felt multiple bones through his back shift violently, his hooves falling limp from her throat. Accursed whorse is heavy… The stallion’s mind idly noted.
With a grunt, the alicorn rolled upright, staring down at him in contempt. “A valiant effort, Captain Barrier, but thou hast failed. Have thou any last words?” She raised a hoof over his face, tensing her muscles.
Magic Barrier winced as his sight was obscured by all the different shades of the rainbow. As it disappeared, there stood…empty air, and ten feet away, smoke roiling off her body, stood the intended target.
“Are you able, captain?” the regal voice of Princess Celestia asked, stepping protectively in front of him.
Glancing up at the mare - a solid head taller than him - he nodded, hissing as he rolled upright, loose bones shifting in his back.
“I shall be fine enough, Your Highness,” Magic Barrier glanced at Nightmare Moon who was staring at the pair, horn flared with magic. “Can you bring the Elements to bear against her, princess?”
“Mayhaps if she’d remain still long enough to charge them…” Celestia began, horn flaring as Nightmare Moon began to stalk towards the pair, her own horn charging.
“Well,” Barrier lit his own horn, wincing as lances of pain speared through his head once more, “Pray give them charge then, princess. And if it is no titanic burden to adjure of you, please, keep watch over my family.”
With a solemn nod, the elements once more began to circle around the solar princess as the unicorn trotted awkwardly forward, clearly favoring his right side.
Nightmare Moon flared both wings and took to the air; With a single hard flap, she launched herself out of range of the earthbound unicorn and focused her eyes on the charging artifacts.
Closing his eyes and ignoring the painful magical feedback, Magic Barrier’s horn faltered briefly before flaring to life. With a burst of magic, the stallion disappeared in a pop of light before, for the second time that morning, he mounted the lunar diarch. Winking into existence in the space directly above her, the weary stallion wrapped both hooves around her barrel and began to grunt with effort as the mare thrashed at the sudden weight unbalancing her.
The last thing the stallion felt was an unbearable burning sensation radiating from every ounce of his being, and a brief thought of Alack, this was not such a good idea, followed by darkness.