Far North away from the capital of Equestria, Celestia's sun beats down on the world below its strong rays of light penetrating through the dried brown leaves and trees atop Yeket Range that stood behind the Crystal Mountains which hid its presence from Canterlot and the rest of the major cities and towns. Atop Yeket Range was a town of its own, a wonderful place where rainbow falls would litter the skies the clouds and the ground beneath it. Sightseers would gaze at the amazing display with reverence, taking pictures and photos of the beautiful scenery with their cameras tightly wrapped around their necks who either held them up with their hooves, wings, or magic. The environment on this high rock was cool and mildly windy leaving those who ventured out into the cold embrace with a numbing sensation on their face and hooves.
The locals of the town freely danced, played, and galloped through the falling leaves and twigs that fell from the old trees that were planted on the range many ages ago. Most ponies performed their daily chores and toil for the day while others, such as the colts and fillies, went to school to learn how to prepare for their future. Today was a beautiful day for the towns folks, a day to welcome the coming of fall, a day which no pony suspected to go awry.
The whistle of a steam powered train sounds through Yeket Station signaling the passengers inside the train to exit the train wagons. Ponies of all different colors, shapes, and sizes exit the wagons with a smile before being greeted by the sight of fully armed Crystal guards surrounding both the train station and the train itself. The civilians lively disposition quickly turn into upsetting stares.
"Everypony stay calm!" A crystal guard exclaims to the crowd, he stood in the middle of the station striving to pacify the locals. "Leave all belongings and luggage on the train and exit in an orderly manner!" He states as two crystal guards entered the train. "We are conducting an investigation!"
"Mommy, why are they going inside the train?" A young foal askes her mother who held her close to her chest with care.
The mother watches the guards from outside the train through the windows as they search through the ponies luggage and seats. "I'm not sure sweetie, but I'm certain they have a very good reason,"
"Are you sure mommy?"
"I'm sure my little pear."
"Hey!" A masculine voice within the whispering crowd of ponies called out to the guards. "We want answers! Why are you crystal guards here, shouldn't you be at the Crystal Empire!?" The crowd, hearing the spokesman's words, nod their heads in agreement asking questions of their own. "What right do you have to search our belongings and keep us here!?"
The crowd pelts the center guard with a frenzy of accusations and questions. His facial features remain unchanged and unmoving at the riot before him. The guard’s eyes slowly scan the exterior of the train but nothing suspicious seized his gaze. He grits his teeth with irritation and annoyance at both the ponies in front of him and the criminal who escaped his grasps.
“Why are you keeping us here!” The crowd continues to lash out with hate. “Why are you looking through our stuff man!”
As the crowd continues to threaten and scold at the peacekeeper, a crystal guard exits the train and approaches his commanding officer who sat in the middle of the station in front of the crowd. "Sir!" The guard salutes with respect before leaning into his commander's ear, hoping no pony would eavesdrop on their conversation. "We found no evidence of the assassin being on board, what should we do?"
The captain slams his hoof down on the wooden boards of the station platform with great fury, his eyes burning with resentment. "Did you check the luggage?" He said with a raised brow still holding onto hope that the wrongdoer left evidence behind.
"Yes! But am afraid we found nothing out of the ordinary, Sir!"
"Blast!" He shouts, the ponies around him could sense his anger building up which lowered the voices and claims of the crowd. Before the captain of the crystal guards could let out another wave of anger he noticed a green blur hanging from the bottom of the wagon of the train. "...Check under the train."
"Now Sargent, and have the rest of the platoon do the same." The captain's voice quickly turning into a lower tone than its original. The guard notices this and nods his head in acknowledgment.
The guard swiftly turned around from where he stood and focuses on tracks under the train. He signals for the other guards to follow his lead with a wave of a hoof. The platoon, all together nod their heads, pointing their spears and swords at the tracks. They slowly close in on the sides of the train blocking any means of escape the assassin could use to leave his standpoint. A selected few of the guard in the platoon began to sweat from their foreheads under their gold helmets as the thought of confronting the deadly assassin slowly sank in, those who remain unmoving or confident in their pursuit stood strong with chests puffed out and swords ready to be unsheathed.
Ponies eyes from the backline on the train station foundation could be seen peering over the guard's shoulders from a distance, their curiosity was evident and their thirst for answers was apparent. The head of a brave soul suddenly dove under the train with his spear in hoof, he points it near the area of the green blur only to bear witness to a ripped green and brown stripe cotton sweatshirt hanging from the bottom of the train's metal tubes and wires.
"False alarm!" Said the guard who crawled out from under the train.
A groan of annoyance came from the crowd of civilians while a sigh of relief and disappointment came from the guards.
The Sargent who commissioned the act faced his commanding officer. "Nothing unusual to report sir!"
"Buck," The Captain quietly mutters under his breath he stares back at the crowd before turning his attention towards his platoon, unsure of his next approach should be. The Captain slowly began to trot towards Yeket hall, ready to inform the mayor of their current situation. "Any word from the capital, Sargent Ember Wing?" He called to the Sargent behind him.
The Sargent; Ember Wing, quickly gallops over to his commander's side. "No Sir,” He said in a steady tone of voice.
"We can't leave these civilians alone with that monster still out there! We need to establish a group of guards to overlook this town until the assassin has been found!"
"What do you recommend sir?"
"Right now I am going to check with the Mayor of Yeket Range and informing her of the recent events that transpired today," The commander's eyes glance at the stallion trotting next to him. "You, Light Shine, and Brisk Tail are to patrol this area and report anything suspicious until further notice."
"Sir, you can count on us!"
"Good, these ponies need to feel safe and protected until the capital knows what happened."
"Yes, Sir." Ember saluted before departing from his commander's side.
With a wave of a hoof from one of the many crystal guards, he signals to the conductor that their search had been done and that the train could continue its original route. The conductor exasperated and annoyed about the delay continued towards their next destination. With a pull of a lone dangling rope, the train’s whistle sprung to life and sung loudly.
As the steam-powered contraption continued on the tracks a dark spring green cloak flashes between the two cars at the end of the train, it was old and shabby due to the elements which torture and mock it. Behind this cloak stood a small humanoid figure dressed in a dark gray and black sleeveless military combat uniform with a burlywood black surplus pack which covers the majority of his back with an assortment of weapons and military equipment that hung out into view while also weighing the back of his cloak down near his hips. He stood straight staring out into the open world that was laid before him.
The small figure grips the iron railing to his left with his black fingerless glove covered hand with four fur-covered fingers, at the ends of these appendages were small claws easily capable of cutting through tough rope. His fur is a dirt brown and a dark silver mask covers his entire face revealing only the eyes in a digital yellow state, strongly pointed ears adorn the top of his head along with black leather strap goggles with two green magnified glowing lenses.
As the small figure watches the mountains gently pass by; the train gradually speeding up, his mind was drawn to the past. Under his mask, a dark look of fury formed. He clenches the metal railing hard jerking it left and right out of rage, his left digital eye twitching ever so slightly. The concept of failure was an unthinkable course of action to him. He takes in a deep breath before slowly exhaling through his nose.
He lets go of the now bent railing, stepping away from the edge of the train. He bends down into a running stance and puts his arms near his side. He quickly scans the passing homes and shops of the small town before finding a suitable landing locality. A light near the top of his surplus pack begins to glow a bright green while being accompanied by a swift energizing sound.
He sprints forward and jumps off the train.
The small figure sails through the air with his cape flapping silently behind him and the wind whistling past his ears before crashing into two silver trash bins and landing on three black plastic trash bags. A soft landing but as a result created a great deal of much-unneeded noise. As he rose from his position he caught sight of an approaching guard. He immediately took action and crouched in the garbage around him, his uniform, fur, mask, and pack perfectly blending in with its surroundings after being enveloped by a green mist.
The guard drew closer as his hoof steps on the dry dirt grew louder. The guard trots near the soldier's ground unaware of what made the sudden noise. He stares at the empty silver tin bins and the all to full trash bags. He points his spear at the bags and trash littering the ground, moving small objects hoping to uncover any abnormal phenomenon. The soldier did not like his current situation, he quickly pulls his iconic blinding knife from his pack and holds it between the guard and his chest. As the guard points his spear in the soldier's vicinity, the soldier strengthens the grip on his knife's handle ready to commit to battle. The guard rears his spear back with his magic...
"Sprint, anything to report!?" Another guard hollers from the background near the tracks of the train station.
The guard in front of the small soldier continues to glimpse back at his fellow comrade and the trash laid out before him. "No." He said in a regretful tone, slamming the butt of his spear on the ground next to him which he continued to levitate before returning to his original post.
As the guard trots back to his post the soldier abandons his position quickly sprinting between two colorful building. He throws himself against the building's wall, he later feels a slight bump on his side and reaches under his cloak to finds a half eaten sandwich wedged between his pack. He lazily throws it onto the floor with no intention of eating its contents. The soldier slowly walks over to the edge of the building peeking his head out to scan his surroundings.
Before the soldier was able to retreat back between the two buildings to plot his next move his ears rose into the air and swerve in the direction across the street where an ample of voices and shouts were apparent. He places his hand on the wall next to him using it as leverage and leans in closer to the noise. There were sounds of joy and music in the building across the street, the soldier glances at the structure's front still keeping watch about his surroundings and notices it was an old wood made bar.
The soldier observed the locals of the town leave and enter the bar with a smile on their faces or a drink in their magic, wings, or hooves. With a twitch of an ear, he tilts his head to his right, opens a pocket near the side of his pack and brings forth a green canister. The soldier twists the top of the container off before staring into the canister with only a drops worth of rusty water. He gazes at the dirt beneath his boots deep in thought before coming to a decision.
The soldier places the canister back in the side pocket of his pack. He needed water, it had been more than 2 months drinking out of the same river, the same unclean cave water, and the same swamp filled ponds in the cursed war free world. He glances behind him in between the two buildings searching for an empty box or case to disguise himself as he crosses the street. Finding a suitable cardboard box he throws it over his head, cuts two holes in the front with his knife and walks in the direction of the bar.
As the soldier ran into the street he dove onto the side of the road, laying flat on his chest. The soldier peers through the 2 holes in the box and notices two guards staring at him, they look at each other shrugging their shoulders, walking in the opposite direction of the box. He grabs the box on top of his head and discards it with ill intention and stares at the guards with a disapproving look of anger.
Idiots. He thought.
He eyes the sign above the bar, it reads out "Cloud Bottle" he scoffs at the poorly named structure. He advances towards the front door made from light wood, he reaches for the door handle, twists it and pushes it open. The light coming from the sun beams on the soldiers back causing a warm feeling to flow throughout his body and his shadow to cast across the wooden floor. Ponies inside held their hooves and forearms up to their eyes as the light from outside blinds them from seeing the figure in the door's frame. Their eyes adjust to the light and were to make out the figure in the doorway.
The soldier takes in the setting of the bar, it was bare, even the cupboard which was supposed to be filled with liquor was bereft and replaced with sodas, water, and cider. He takes a step forward, his heavy boot echoes throughout the room.
"What is it?" A pony sitting in a booth in the left corner of the bar whispers to her companion sitting across from her.
"I don't know? What do you think it is?" The pony replies with curiosity.
"I don't know?"
The soldier takes another step forward, walking ever closer to the bar counter.
"Hey don't be so rude!"
His ears twitch.
"He's really small ain't he."
He clenches his fists, the leather on them stretching.
"Who is he? Is he a new guard or something?"
Wouldn't be caught dead with them.
"Look at all those weapons! Crazy eh!?"
Under the soldiers mask, a grin stretches across the right side of his face.
He pulls out a stool from in front of the bar counter, due to his size the soldier has no other choice but to jump up on top of the stool and stand on it to be able to keep eye level with the distributor.
"What'd you like to drink?" Said the bartender who is washing a greasy glass cup.
"Water." The soldier replies.
"Comin right up."
As the bartender turns to face the sink the soldier stands on the counter, pulls out a green coated stainless steel oasis canteen and dangles it from the strap in front of the stallion, "In here." he said bluntly.
The stallion grabs the canteen hanging in the air in front of him with a single hoof, "In," he hesitantly points at the canteen. "Here?"
"Yes," The soldier mimics the bartender's action. "In there."
"Not to be, uhh. Not to get in your way, sir but wouldn't it be a little easier to drink here?"
The soldier glances at the bartender with indifference. "Do you know how to open it."
"I think I do, but sir..."
"Then open it." He said in a stern tone of voice.
The bartender gulps at the request of the small being. "Y-yea sure," He rotates the canteen studying the alien like container. "J-just gotta... um." He again rotates the canteen attempting to open it from the bottom with his hoof.
As the bartender struggles with the item; each tug and pull yielding no effect, the soldier stood there with a blank expression unsure what he was witnessing was real. He held out his hand, the bartender sighs in defeat as he gives the owner back his canteen. The soldier: with his other hand places it on the top part of the canteen, twists it, and pulls the cap off followed by a *pop* sound.
He gave the bartender back the canteen, again, requesting water.
The bartender quickly fills the canteen with shaky hooves and returns it, the soldier snatches it from the hooves of the stallion. "S-sorry I um..."
"Thanks... Do you have a back door?"
"Ye-yea... Just go down that hall right there," The stallion pointed at the end of the structure where a door stood open with light seeping through it. "But why do you..."
When the stallion looked back at the spot where the soldier was, he was missing. What remains on the counter were two gold coins and a few droplets of water which escaped the airtight lid on the canteen.
The bartender sat in his chair with his elbows on the table, resting his head on his hooves, "Hope we don't turn into Ponyville." he sighs, closing his eyes for the remainder of his shift.