• Published 19th Aug 2013
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Fallen Equestria; Shattered Silence - Endless Nightmares

War breaks out, Celestia and Luna are pushed to the edge..and finally use one final solution.

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Intertwined Hearts Part One

Chapter 11: Intertwined Hearts Part One

Luna yawns tiredly, attempting to cover with her fore hoof. The two have been awake throughout the night, working together in the hangar on the warbird. She was restless about her elder sisters decision, and couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep. Her pilot speaks to her, getting her attention.

"Alright, that seems to be the last one. Your engineers are quite skilled...being able to come up with a few replacement missiles already." He says to her , his gaze still looking into the weapons bay. The engineers hired by Luna some days ago have completed six replacement air-to-air missiles for the warbird. He smiles as he eyes them, happy that once again he's armed enough to defend Canterlot at a moments notice.

Luna looks up at the horizon, seeing her moon nearing its resting point for the night. She sighs wistfully and turns her attention to him. "Yes..that they are. Is there any room left for more? Do we have enough?" She asks, curious.

He looks at her, still smiling. "I believe so. The good thing is, these are all air combat types. So if those dragons do indeed turn out to be pulling a trick, we at least have a way to put a quick end to it. If all else fails, we could rely on the guns. Last count had over five hundred rounds left, that should be plenty if it results in an all out dog fight."

She nods, turning her gaze back to her moon. "I was told by my sister that Legatus and his escorts would be here at dawn. We have only an hour before they arrive. How much fuel do we have right now?"

He climbs out from under the warbird and walks to the fuselage, then climbs up the side steps. Looking in, he checks the screens and powered up displays of the aircraft, flipping through menus to check. "We should have enough for a solid three hours of flight, maybe two if we have to push the edge here. If it is a dog fight, I think this should carry us through it long enough to win, then land safely. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to add more if you could."

Luna nods, then rises from her resting cushion by the door. She stands and stretches, a few audible pops heard from her knees and hips, then sighs happily. After she finishes waking her limbs, she steps to the warbird and bounds up onto the folded canard. Her horn alights, and she opens the fuel filler hatches on both wings. Concentrating, she swishes her horn slowly in the air from side to side, casting her magic. Moonlight pours into the room brighter than before now, condensing into a vapor at first then a liquid mist, funneling down into the tanks. She hums quietly to herself, a smile on her muzzle as she does this. The midnight alicorn is happy, being able to do this for him. She feels needed and wanted, warming her heart at the thought.

He watches her from the steps, listening to her hum her lullaby to herself. This makes the pilot smile. "You really do enjoy this, don't you?"

Still working on her spell, she opens her eyes and looks at him, smiling softly. "Mmhmm, I do!" She replies joyfully. "I'm happy that I can help...And with the aircraft full, it means we can fly longer and spend more time together if there isn't any problems today at the meeting."

He nods, turning his attention back outside and looking at the horizon. "I have to admit...I'm actually hopeful that I won't have to use these missiles today on those dragons. Your sister had stated these were the rulers of the dragon kind, that Legatus lizard an old friend of hers."

Luna giggles, still performing her spell. "Actually, Legatus was my sisters pet some three thousand years ago. I was just a foal at the time, but I somewhat remember him being her assistant back then. As much as a baby dragon could assist with anyway...We didn't have a very large form of any written languages at the time, and this was shortly before that wretched Discord had cropped into power and derailed everything we had built."

He raises an eyebrow and turns to her. "Your sister has been princess for over three thousand years? That's a hell of a reign...I didn't even think she was that old."

She stops for a moment and turns her gaze on him, surprised by his question. "Oh..I guess I never told you all of our history..Mine sister and I were not the rulers of Equestria until about nineteen hundred years ago. Prior to that, the ponies of the land had their own tribes, and we just stayed out of their affairs the best we could. The unicorn tribe was ruled by a very nice mare named Princess Platinum, if I remember right. The pegasus tribe was...not my favorite of the three, I remember the leader of theirs was quite the charmer..in a bad way." She giggles at the thought. "I remember we used to watch them from our cavern entrance, it was quite comical. Since we didn't know their names, Tia had called the leader Captain Shiny Pants."

He laughs at the name. "Really? I thought your kind don't normally wear clothes...well, except for socks.."

"Oh no, their leader didn't actually wear pants, it's just how the armor covered their legs and bodies. It really did look like a shiny pair of pants though." She replied, still laughing. She turns her attention back to the task at hand and shakes her head, still giggling. Her horn alights again, and she resumes creating the moonlight fuel.

"I'll take a guess and say the third tribe was the Earth pony kind, right?" He asks

She nods. "Yes...interestingly enough, they had a leader who wasn't the brightest star so to speak. It was actually the adviser that had done most of the decision making in their tribe. Their ruler, chancellor Pudding Hat was somewhat of a flake." She said dismissively, her eyes on the nearly full tanks.

"Pudding...Hat? Well with a name like that I could only imagine the pony wouldn't exactly be on the cutting edge of things." He muses, watching the alicorn princess work. "So what happened to them all?"

"Well long story short, they all finally came together in a new land and started to work together in harmony. Things were going great for a while...then Discord came to be. Tia and I tried to stop him then...but we couldn't. We just weren't strong enough yet. We left to go heal and train each others magic and abilities, then returned some years later and defeated Discord with the Elements of Harmony." She sighed. "It wasn't easy at first, rebuilding civilization. When we had told the survivors to find their leaders and start reforming, they instead had chosen us to lead them. Over the years it seemed no matter what we had done to step away from power, they kept putting us back here. So we just stayed and did our best for our subjects."

"So what happened to this Discord guy anyway?" He asked, stepping closer to the alicorn and leaning on the wing. "Did he get sent to the moon or some other rock when you used the space pony magic things?" He pulls out a cigarette from his flight jacket pocket and lights it, then takes a pull off of it. He looks at her and ex hails the smoke. "Or did you and your sister just off him?"

Luna shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Had I of had it my way, we would have simply killed him. Neigh, we turned him into stone with the Elements of Harmony. For centuries that wretch remained as a statue in the gardens, until recently when he had broken free. Twilight Sparkle and her friends had defeated and sealed the beast in stone once more very shortly after his return." She muttered. "Effortlessly may I note..." She finishes the fueling process and closes the hatches, then powers down her magic. Turning to him she rests on her haunches while maintaining her gaze into his eyes. The smoke is somewhat bothering her nose, but she ignores it since shes become accustomed to the pilots fire tubes, and she herself has been caught with a few on occasion with him.

"Mine sister released him from his stone imprisonment four years ago. He was to be rehabilitated by the element of kindness, miss Fluttershy." Luna rears up slightly and holds her fore hooves out in quotation at the word rehabilitated, then comes back to rest again. "He seemed like he did turn a good leaf at first, but recently escaped her just this past year. He has not been seen since."

Talon nods slowly, taking another pull off of his cigarette. "So you think he could be behind any of this mess?" He asks dryly.

"Neigh, this would be too planned, too indirect for his tactics. Discord is the embodiment of chaos, mine love. As you would say, this simply isn't his style."

He finishes and puts out his cigarette in the nearby bowl filled with sand on his toolbox, then ex hails the smoke and nods. "Thought I'd ask. Your history shows that the problems that you didn't snuff out has a tendency of coming back to haunt your kind." He holds up his arms and waits for Luna to come closer, then lifts her carefully off of the wing, holding her for a moment. She takes this chance to kiss him lovingly, before she is set down on her hooves again on the ground.

"It seems so...but I do not believe this could be one of those occasions." She yawns tiredly and looks out on the horizon, then turns back to the warbird. "Let us retire to mine chambers, we shalt need our rest in case we are called into battle. Legatus may arrive soon, and I wouldn't want mine hero to be asleep at the controls."

Talon yawns and looks at her, nodding. "Lets just get some coffee and wait this out. I'll sleep better when I know the lizards are on their way back home and I'm not having to blow them out of the sky again. I'd rather save these missiles for the bug."

Luna nods and nuzzles him lovingly, following him as they make their way to the royal kitchens. Ponies passing by them nod and wave, but none slow or stop their walk. When they arrive in the kitchens, it's found to be busy with some of the morning cooks and workers, feverishly working to prepare the sun princesses breakfast. Talon eyes a small cake being decorated with icing and a tray lid close by it on a cart. While Luna is looking away, he grins and sneaks over to the cart, looking over the plain top and tube of decoration icing on the cart. Checking around him quickly, he picks up the tube and quickly writes something on the top of the cake, then puts the silver dome lid on the top. He scoots away and whistles quietly, snickering as an unsuspecting servant pony takes the cart, bound for Celestias chambers.

Luna finishes pouring the cups of Coffee and sits down on a nearby chair and waits for the pilot, seeing all of this unfold. She grins mischievously. "Always the prankster? Mine sister seems to have rubbed off on you." She says with a knowing smile.

He snickers and takes a sip of the coffee, then nods. "Yeah, but someone has to keep your space pony sister on her hooves. No one else here has the brass to pull a prank on her." He takes another sip. "Besides, she may like the new nickname."

She raises an eyebrow. "New nickname?"

He laughs. "You'll see."

* * * * *

Celestia yawns, resting on her haunches at her desk within her chambers. Twilight Sparkle is in the royal washroom, doing her usual routine of waking up, bathing then starting her day. It's still dark outside, the sun not yet needing to be raised for another half hour. The sun princess hears a soft rapping at her door, and turns her attention to the sound. "Enter." She calls out softly, still tired. What greets her is the usual morning routine. Two royal guards leading in one of the palace servants. She smiles when she sees the young mare wheeling in the cart, knowing what is under the lid. "Good morning to you." She smiles sweetly.

The small unicorn mare smiles back at the princess. "Good morning princess. Here is the cake you ordered yesterday after your noon court. Please let me know if there is anything else we can get for you." She replies in a soft and demure voice. Using her magic, she levitates the lid off, her eyes still on Celestia. The unicorn is smiling.

Celestias eyes fall on the cake, a smile upon her muzzle as she looks it over. In the dim light, she can see writing on the top, as though it was decorated like a birthday cake. The alicorn leans forward, reading the top. She stares, holding back a chuckle. "Miss Lemon Hearts..was my sister and the commander in the kitchens at any point this morning?" She asks, chuckling lightly.

The unicorn smiles and nods. "Why yes, how did you.." She looks down, and stares in horror. "Oh dear sweet Celestia! Forgive me princess! I--I didn't!!"

Celestia laughs and smiles, her eyes showing her kindness and joy. "Please calm down miss Hearts, I know full well what pony made this cute message." She smiles looking at it. "And it is indeed true, with what it says."

Lemon Hearts stops cringing for a moment, then looks at the writing. She can't understand the symbols or lettering that is human speak. "Princess...may I ask, what does it say?"

Celestia stifles a laugh and looks at her, trying to hide her joy of the joke behind her calm regal mask. But alas...it's too early in the morning for that. She slips finally and laughs, sighing happily. "It says 'Good morning Sunny Butt.' And obviously the commander knew exactly who was getting this delicious cake."

The guards snicker, unable to hold back after the comment. Things have certainly livened up around the palace with the human around, and for the better. The lunar princess has never been happier, the nights never more beautiful and peaceful. The sun princess has never laughed or smiled so often, some pony finally able to challenge her in earnest with jokes. Moral on both sides was very high, and more enjoyable for all parties involved. Yes, they would definitely have to pat the pilot on the back for this one, having seen first hand the regal alicorns pleasant and welcomed reaction to the small joke. They quickly make a mental note to pass the new nickname around the barracks to their fellow guards once they are off duty.

Lemon Hearts nods slowly, still somewhat horrified by this, but surprised and shocked that the princess is actually happy that her morning cake was defaced by the pilots graffiti. She bows quickly and exits the room after setting the lid down, leaving the cart with the breakfast items and cake behind for Celestia and Princess Twilight to enjoy at their leisure. The guards follow suit, leaving the elder white alicorn to enjoy her meal in peace.

Upon watching them exit, Celestia sighs happily and walks to the balcony, looking out at the kingdom. Soon she knew, she would come face to face with several very old and powerful dragons, her heart slightly in apprehension of what the outcome may bring. Though it's an old friend that is coming to visit today, it's been many many years since the two have spoken. She dosen't know what may come of it, and is held in slight anticipation and anxiety of it.

* * * * *

"Sunny butt?! Talon, thou hast gone mad!" Luna exclaimed in laughter. "And pray tell, why are you looking at mine sisters flank? Is mine no longer pleasing?" She asks wryly with a sultry grin.

"No no! Yours is fine! Heh. It was merely an observation. Kinda hard to miss a giant sun shaped mark on your sisters big butt, that's all." He holds his hands up innocently. "Besides, I'm sure she'll get the joke. With what happened yesterday and now us on edge with the lizards coming, I just figured a small well placed joke would bring a smile to her face and maybe ease some of the tension."

Luna nickers and nods, following Talon back to the hangar. Once they arrive, Luna comes to a rest back on the cushion. Talon steps back to the Warbird and stands on the steps of the fuselage, checking the computer screens for the systems test results.

"Talon.." Luna says softly, looking at him. Her eyes trace the soft blue glow on the bauble, the star spinning lazily and slow inside the orb.

"Yep?" He responds, eyes still on the screens and reading the information on the display.

"I've been wanting to tell you.." She says quietly, a soft blush coming to her muzzle. Her gaze is still on him. Her heart quickens in her barrel as she licks her lips, inhaling softly. "I...I love you. I'm in love with you..and if we do go into battle today and do not survive.."

He pauses for a moment, listening to her. The bauble begins to glow a soft red and spins slower. He notices the color shift, and turns to look at her. Coming down from the steps, he walks slowly to her side and takes a seat next to her on the floor.

"If...we don't survive this..Just know that there is no pony I'd rather take the journey of death with. I do not fear the ever after, now that I have you with me." She finishes, lowering her head into his lap. She breathes deep, inhaling his scent into her nostrils and filling her lungs. She sighs heavily.

"We won't die, princess. Not today, and not for as long as I can fight. I told you I would protect you with everything that I have." He strokes her mane slowly, caressing her neck and head gently. "If these dragons came for a fight...then they came to the right place. You're my mare, and as long as I draw breath I will fight to the last missile and blood in me."

She nuzzles him, burying her muzzle into his flight jacket, enjoying the close contact. She yawns and closes her eyes. The air is chilly outside, causing her to shiver slightly. Her eyes shoot open when she feels something lay ontop of her back all of the sudden. She raises her head, only to find the pilot has draped his jacket onto her back. She turns her head and looks at him, smiling. When he smiles back, she leans forward and kisses him affectionately. Her heart races in her chest, her body feeling warm and genial. She holds the deep kiss for a few moments, then breaks away, panting softly. Her cheeks are flushed and hot.

"I love you.." She says breathlessly.

"And I love you, Luna. I always will." He says, running his fingers through her wispy mane. She nickers very softly from this, smiling sweetly.

She feels the familiar tug on her senses, and alights her horn. Her gaze falls to the moon in the distant horizon. The midnight alicorn then wills the moon to its resting place with her magic, watching the setting. She sighs wistfully, leaning against the pilot now. Her eyes close and she smiles, enjoying the moment. The skies begin to alight in a dim grey, her sisters celestial sun coming over the distant mountains and bringing the day. The two stay like this for what feels like an eternity, watching the sunrise from the hangar.

* * * * *

Two hours pass, Luna nodding off slowly while she lays against the pilots shoulder. Talon sighs, listening intently for any signs that would indicate the dragons are in the area. Thus far the morning has been completely quiet. The skies are clear and calm. He's on his fourth cup of coffee, refills being brought by a very kind palace maid named Dusty Shine. Sitting on the floor there beside the princess, he comes to one painful realization; He's bored out of his skull.

"Sitting down on the job, commander?" Celestia says as she creeps up behind him, startling the pilot. She giggles when she sees him jump to his feet, and Luna falling over on her side from the sudden removal of her resting support.

He salutes the white alicorn. "No ma'am! Just on standby for you in case these dragons came here with bad intentions." He says quickly, in his firm professional tone, as if he were addressing a commanding officer.

Celestia smiles and paws at his chest with her hoof, nickering. When he drops the salute and relaxes somewhat, she steps forward and embraces the pilot in a friendly hug. "I do not feel that they would wish to engage us today, commander. Word has spread far and wide that Equestria is protected by a..oh how did my ponies put it.." She trails off, thinking. "A great banshee that fires the spears of Tatarus." She muses. "I've already stressed to them that it is called an aircraft, but the name banshee seems to have stuck for your machine."

He nods slowly, helping Luna back to her hooves. She yawns then smiles at her elder sister. Talon turns his attention back to Celestia. "Permission to speak freely, princess?"

Celestia raises her eyebrows at this question, taken aback in surprise. "Commander, there is no need to be formal here. You are always welcome to speak your mind with me or any of the palace staff. What is it?" She says with her gentle regal tone.

He licks his lips, looking Celestia in the eyes. "With all do respect, I have come to know an old adage on my world that holds great truth. 'Si vis pacem para bellum. If you want peace- Prepare for War. Us welcoming them here with open arms and no defensive measures in place is suicide. Say the word, and I'll go up the the air right now and circle Canterlot while we wait for them. Luna filled the tanks completely, so I can remain aloft for hours. We should have a plan in place that way if they do attack, we can mount a counter offensive immediately."

She smiles, hearing his willingness to jump to her subjects defense so quickly. Pride fills the white alicorns heart as she gazes at him slowly. "We have measures in place, commander. Legatus is an old friend from my own foal-hood, and I doubt very seriously he would allow any of his subjects or escorts to damage that friendship. Where I need you is right beside Luna during peace talks. Legatus is the ruler of the Dragon Nation, and very rarely ventures away from the capitol city. If he is here, that means that this is a very serious matter and he wants to personally insure the alliance is intact. However...your concern is noted and very appreciated. If things do turn sour, you have my blessing to do whatever you deem necessary to protect this kingdom."

He nods. "Understood ma'am. You will always have me on your wing for support, and I will lay down my life to protect this kingdom and all of its keep, especially including you or your beautiful sister."

Chirping tones and beeps are heard from the warbird, loudly calling attention to the pilot and princesses. Talon rushes to the aircraft and jumps up the fuselage steps, the two alicorns trotting closely behind him. He reaches in and presses the screen controls. "Alert Alert- Unidentified contacts."

He looks down at the two. "We have incoming...Looks to be five total contacts on radar."

"Is it the dragon delegates?" Luna asks, her tone expressing concern. Her features are rigid, uncomfortable and ready for a fight. She's been waiting for this moment since they were told by her elder sister last night in Celestias chambers. She prays it will not result in a fight, but is ready. Grand dragons are nothing to trifle with, and would be a serious fight for even an alicorn.

"It could be...no telling just by looking at the radar. I'm guessing at their rate of speed, and path, they will probably be coming into Canterlot within the next fifteen minutes. Princess Celestia, if we are to launch, now is the time. Are you absolutely sure you don't want us to intercept them?" Talon asks, urgency clear in his voice. "If they attack, this bird is a sitting duck until it's airborne."

Celestia thinks on this, silent for a few moments. She can tell that the pilot and her sister are obviously uncomfortable, holding a baited breath. "Launch right away. Listen in on the radio. If you see them attack or I give the order, you are cleared to engage. Until then do not fire upon or provoke them. "

Talon and Luna nod. "Understood." They both say in unison. Luna bounds from her spot onto the canard, then climbs into the cockpit slowly, getting seated in the seat behind Talon. She uses her magic and levitates her headset on, a determined look on her features as her hooves begin operating her own flight controls.

Celestia eyes Luna with a small smile. 'You're growing up and learning so much from him...little sister. I'm so proud of you.' She thinks to herself. " Good luck you two. I have complete faith in you." Celestia says, pride in her voice. She turns and starts to walk away, heading for the courtyard. "Oh and commander?"

Talon turns to look at her while putting on his flight helmet. "Yes ma'am?" He pauses for a moment, his gaze on her.

"That's Princess Sunny Butt to you. Don't forget it." She says with a wry grin on her muzzle, her eyes alight with alicorn mischief. "Do keep your eyes off of my flank however. You could make lulu jealous..."

He nods, grinning. "Yes Princess Sunny Butt Ma'am! I will dutifully watch your sisters Mooney butt instead!" He throws a mock salute at the white alicorn. She laughs kindheartedly and continues her walk away. He closes the canopy next. "Ready Luna?"

Luna nods, a fierce look of determination on her features. Her ears are rigid and straight up, her wings twitching excitedly as she continues working. "Initiate Scram Jet sequence!" She calls out this time, while hooking herself into her own harness.

He smiles. "I'll take that as a yes!" All around them, they can hear the powerful engines of the warbird begin to spin up and howl. The canopy closes completely and seals, the aircraft making itself flight ready. After a few moments he pushes the throttle forward and begins to taxi out of the hangar. Outside the canopy, the two can see guards scrambling to posts and positions, every pony knowing that if the bird is about to take off this morning, it must be to intercept a possible threat. Luna continues her focus, watching straight ahead as the machine continues its slow crawl to the runway, before it comes to a stop.

"Tia said she would call us over the radio if we need to attack. For now lets just intercept them in flight, and follow them at a safe distance." She says into her headset, her eyes glued to the radar. She pales when she suddenly sees the five dots from before suddenly split off into now ten separate dots, all moving in formation.

He throttles up the aircraft, activating the afterburners as quickly as possible. The engines howl and whine loudly, the concussive force of them powering up causing the windows of the palace and nearby buildings to rattle. The aircraft rockets down the runway and climbs quickly into the air, its twin pillars of fire showing brightly in the morning light.

Celestia watches from the front steps of the palace as the aircraft takes to the skies, ready to shelter her subjects and city under its mysterious black wings. Her heart pounds in her chest, a prayer to her mother that this was unnecessary in its entirety. She knew the commander was indeed correct, and if he was needed to suddenly rush to Canterlots defense that the machine would be vunerable while it was taking off, and could easily be destroyed if attacked. She swallows hard, seeing it climb into the sky. 'Be safe you two..guard him with your heart, dear sister.' she whispers into the wind, her prayer being carried to her sister.

The warbird rockets to the echelons of dragons, seeing them in the distance. Talon switches the flight weapons control to missiles, arming a sidewinder. "Fuel Air explosive armed. Missile Lock. Missile Lock." The computer chirps. The weapons rack rolls down from the warbirds belly, the missile exposed and aimed.

"Talon one to control, verified ten contacts. These seem to be your delegates. Weapons are hot and locked, please advise." He calls into the radio. They hear static for a moment, before a voice comes over the radio.

'Talon, this is Twilight. Celestia is down below still watching events unfold. Do not engage the dragons, those are the delegates.' Silence for a moment. 'Umm...switch over to observation only until you yourself are engaged. Escort them in and keep watch.'

"Wilco. We'll follow instructions control. Out." He bites out into the headset. He turns and glances at Luna. "Keep an eye on them, if they sneeze wrong tell me, we'll blow them straight to Hell." He says sternly.

Luna nods, peering out the canopy and looking for the dragons ahead. When they see them come into range, Talon backs off the throttle and banks hard, rolling the aircraft into the turn. The warbird lines up and rolls on its side, blading itself and flying in between the two echelons of incoming dragons. He activates the afterburners again and whips the tail of the aircraft out, pitching to trail the dragons now. They seem bewildered of the aircraft, breaking formation and swarming around the largest of the group, while maintaining their course for Canterlot. They do not attack the warbird that is quickly gaining on them and pulling up along side of the cluster.

The largest of the dragons, a brushed blue scaled behemoth with a gold belly and trim eyes the machine wairly, its massive jaws large enough to swallow the warbird whole in a single bite. Legatus looks into the glass canopy from his position and sees the blue alicorn in the back, staring at him with some degree of fear. He smiles a big toothy grin at her, maintaining his course as they slowly approach Canterlot. He is somewhat confused however, when he watches the mysterious loud machine suddenly tip its left wing down and show off its belly quickly, a spear like object hanging out side of its body. The craft rights itself again and maintains its flight beside him, off to one side. The dragons all come in to land, some perching upon the mountain side behind the castle. Legatus lands in the courtyard near the front of the palace, and folds his wings. The aircraft circles overhead in a wide bank, circling the cluster of dragons and around the palace.

"Legatus!" Celestia calls out, calmly walking up to the dragon. Legatus lowers his head to the ground and comes eye level to the regal white alicorn.

"Why if it isn't Celestia! Last time I had really seen you, you had a bright pink mane and tail, and were a chubby, irritable foal who always ate my cakes I baked." The great dragon bellows in his booming voice. "Still playing princess dress up I see, you never grow up Celly."

Celestia trots up to him, glaring. "And last time I seen you, you were a hatch-ling lizard that always ate my jewelry and set my favorite dress on fire!" She shoots back in a stern voice. The dragon growls at her loudly, exposing its massive fangs.

The two seem to be at odds and off to a bad start seemingly for a few moments. Suddenly the dragon begins to snicker, unable to hold it in any longer, before finally laughing a deep and friendly laugh. Celestia joins him in the laughter, smiling genuinely.

"It's good to see you old friend! Why did you bring so many escorts with you, may I ask?" Celestia asks loudly, almost having to shout for the great dragon before her to hear her normally soft voice.

"They have come to show respect to our ally, and to insure no further attacks will occur while I am here, Princess. There has been great unrest within the empire, a seperatist faction has been attacking our allies. They have come to call themselves the Sons of Discord, and believe that we the Dragon Nation should be the rulers of the world. It was that faction that had attacked your city." He says in a low voice, keeping his eyes focused on the alicorn. The aircraft continues to circle overhead, causing him to look up. "So that is the banshee of legend that I've come to hear about? That is the creature that had put down eight of my nations worst criminals?"

Celestia nodded, smiling. "Yes, old friend! The aircraft is Equestrias guardian, and in turn a friend of your nation as well! I had faith that you were not responsible for the attacks, as we have been close friends for all these years!" She calls out to Legatus. "I'll ask them to land so you can meet them!"

The dragon bellows a laugh, nodding slowly. "That sounds as a wondrous plan then! It is even regarded as a hero in our land, by eliminating our most dangerous criminals. I would like to thank the banshee face to face, even if it does eat ponies."

Celestia cocks her head to the side and raises an eyebrow at this. "Eats ponies? Whatever do you mean?"

Legatus smiles a large toothy grin at the small alicorn before him. "Your young-ling sister is in its jaws now! The most recent of its meals. I had seen her myself only moments before landing. My comrades would be more than happy to free her from its maw and punish it if you so desire...or was she your sacrifice to the banshee?" The grand dragon bellows, its eyes tracing the slowly circling craft in the sky. The dragons on the cliff side all gaze upwards as well, some screeching loudly at it, one blowing a small plume of flame from its mouth, directed at the warbird.

The alicorn shakes her head, laughing quite loudly. "It does not eat ponies, I can assure you! My sister is perfectly fine and healthy, and merely riding with the pilot of the aircraft!" She takes to wing and hovers in air, looking at Legatus. "I will instruct them to land, so you can see for yourself. Do calm your escorts down, however..The one breathing fire may provoke the pilot into defending himself!"

Legatus raises his head and turns to the smaller black dragon who had released the plume, and roars loudly. The perched smaller dragons all cower in fear, lowering their heads and splaying their wings out in submission. Once this satisfies Legatus, he turns back to Celestia who is hovering in air. "It is done...I will await here for your return. My comrades will do nothing to the banshee, you have my word of honor."

Celestia nods and pumps her powerful wings, gaining altitude and flying up. She lands on the balcony of her chambers with all of her grace, and folds her wings down to her sides, then steps inside.

* * * * *

Talon rolls the aircraft to dodge the small plume of fire released, then pulls the aircraft into a steep climb. "Looks like we have their answer!" He yells into the headset. Luna looks out in terror at the small dragon continuing to release the plume.

"Use guns! It's too close to the castle for missiles!" She shouts back to him, eyeing the dragon through the canopy. She swallows hard as the aircraft banks hard and pulls into a dive, lining up with its target. The weapons bay door closes, the missile rack rolling back inside. The warbirds canards spread back open as it begins to slow into the dive, aligning with the target.

Talon switches over the weapons control to guns, watching the HUD for the range to target for guns. The dragon is locked onto. As he approaches, they hear a roar so loud, it overtakes the warbirds engines, resonating within the cockpit. To his surprise, the dragons all stop and cower in fear, lowering themselves flat against the mountain side.

'Talon, disengage your attack vector and land immediately. That was not an attack and you have been requested to meet with Legatus.' Celestias calm voice comes over the radio. 'We are not under attack, please land immediately.'

Talon pulls the aircraft into a climb again, banking and rolling the aircraft around. "Rodger that ma'am. Disengaging all targets and preparing to land." He responds, then switches over to internal radio. "Luna, what do you think we should do? Should we listen?"

The midnight alicorn looks on, seeing everything unfold below and spots her sister waiving happily with her hoof from her balcony. "I can feel Tia's relief, Talon. I think she's right and they didn't come to start trouble." She says, sounding unsure. She watches everything below for a moment, then speaks again. "Lets land. I'll shield us with my magic while we are on the pathway, so we can return to the hangar safely."

He nods, turning the warbird and lining up with the runway. He slows the aircraft and lowers the landing gear, then lowers the flaps. As the aircraft comes closer to the ground, he opens the air speed brake and lowers the tail hook. The rear wheels touch first, the hook catching the catch cables below, then the forward gear touches with a soft bump. Luna alights her horn, a large umbrella of magic forming over the warbird, shielding its dorsal sections and wings. After releasing the tail hook, he lowers the air speed brake and throttles up slowly, the warbird begins to taxi back to the hangar. This takes a few minutes, the pilot taking his time to insure he doesn't need to take off again suddenly. He eyes the dragons all on the cliff side, watching his every move. "Luna...this is a bad idea...we're exposed like this.." He says into his headset.

The alicorn swallows hard, warily eyeing the dragons. She shudders when one of them smiles, exposing its jagged and sharp fangs in a wide toothy grin. A chill races up her spine at this. "Just be ready to take off again if we need to..." She whispers back into the headset.

They finally reach the hangar, the canards closed and the aircraft slowing as it approaches the massive double doors. The opening has since been expanded in recent weeks, the warbird now easily entering the bay with no clearance issues. The bird taxis in slowly and swings its nose around inside the room, coming to rest once it faces outdoors again. Luna lowers the shield and releases a breath she never knew she was holding when the aircrafts engines wind down to a whisper. The two sit there in silence for a few moments, before he opens the canopy. Not a word is said between them as they unbuckle the harnesses and exit the craft. Climbing out, they see Twilight Sparkle there, her features betraying her apprehension.

"Celestia said we need to head to her study, where we can better talk to Legatus from the high up balcony..." She says, uneasy as she's looking past them through the doors openings, eyeing the dragons outside. A few dragons have moved from their perch to get a better look at the war machine they call the banshee, yet keep their distance out of fear.

Luna nods, her features rigid and stoic. "Mine sister always had the knack for negotiations..In this case however I question her judgement...telling us to give up our best defensive position is suicide!"

The purple alicorn nods quickly, eyeing the dragons still. Beads of sweat are running down her neck and face, her breath unsteady. "Normally I'd disagree with you...Princess Celestia always seems to know the right thing to do...but in this case I'll make the exception.." Twilight says shakily, then gulps. "I...I was never worried about Spike being a scary dragon...but these ones all look as scary as an Ursa Major...I don't like how there's so many of them around the palace...we would be defenseless if they strike now!" She whispers hurriedly, glancing back to the pilot and dark alicorn.

Talon grabs the assault rifle out of the cockpit and checks the breach bolt, cambering a round. "I doubt this will do more than piss them off, but the bullets should still be able to render these lizards blind if they try anything. Lets just follow orders and get up there. Higher ground would give us a better tactical vantage point, and at least give us the advantage of sniping the leader. With any army or enemy cell the simple fact is, take out their leader and the ranks fall to pieces. The big one is their leader, and his eyes are huge. I shouldn't miss no matter how hard he makes it to aim."

They all turn to walk into the palace, heading to Princess Celestias study. Guards all around them in the hallways are scrambling to posts, making ready with weapons and taking defensive positions. Palace staff and civilians are hurriedly rushing to safe points within the palace, to get out of the way if an emergency takes place. It becomes very obvious to the three making way for the study; no pony is comfortable with the amount of dragons nearby, let alone next to the castle like this. They pick up the pace and walk faster, climbing the stairs within the hallways and corridors of the palace, finding the doors to Celestias Study, where she's waiting patiently inside.

Once they enter the room, Luna rushes forward and embraces her elder sister. The dark alicorns breaths are ragged and shallow, her heart racing. "Sister...thou art foalish to give them the advantage here...allies or not, thou bequeath them as fere, wist thou knows only yere memory of them."

Celestia backs up, eyeing Luna carefully. "Sister...we must have faith that Legatus is a honorable dragon. We have had peace with their nation for over two hundred years, and he has come to our aid when the Griffon Nation attempted to overtake our borders before your return. I believe they come with no malice, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Though his numbers were greatly understated, we should use this chance to sure up the alliance, and get answers. He has already informed me of the separatist faction within his empire, and assured me that they will prevent any further attacks on our nation...Sister, this is the same Legatus who you loved and played with as a filly...please be calm and remember that." She says calmly and in a hushed voice.

"We remember well, mine sister...especially where the hatch-ling lizard set mine sock drawer and saddles on fire when he sneezed from your perfumes." Luna bites out, her eye twitching. She never did like that dragon after that.

Celestia nods quickly, holding back a chuckle despite the situation. "Lets go to the balcony so we can speak with him face to face. I have the rail enchanted with fire proofing magic, so if he tries anything, we will be shielded long enough to escape and counter." She whispers in Lunas ear, then turns to the doors. Talon and Luna follow her as she exits to the outside, Twilight Sparkle already standing on the balcony and observing everything.

Legatus raises his head, coming to eye level with the balcony from his sitting position. The massive grand dragon eyes them and smiles, seeing the odd non pony creature standing beside the midnight alicorn. "You speak the truth I see, Celestia. Little Luna is indeed as healthy and unscathed as can be." The dragon smiles, then looks to the pilot. Talon backs up slowly, his hand tightening on the handle of the assault rifle, his finger moving to the trigger. From its hanging position on his side, he points the barrel of the gun straight ahead, taking aim at the dragons eyes discreetly. Legatus does not notice. "Curious creature...are you the banshees master?"

Talon steps forward, his face stoic and not betraying his apprehension and fear. "I am the pilot, yes." He calls out, using all of his military training and experience to remain calm. It's not every day you can stand in front of a dragon bigger than most buildings on your home world, and not be eaten.

The dragon bellows a deep guttural laugh, then smiles. "Calm yourself, Banshee rider. I have no interest in bringing any harm to this kingdom. I was sure that my comrades ate large filling meals before our journey here, and only selected my best and most loyal of companions for this outing. They will all follow my orders, which are to be friendly and honorable in this land. You have my word and oath, you may relax." His voice booming, the rumbling tone of it causing the pilot to feel the vibrations of it in his own chest.

Talon eyes the dragon through his sunglasses, taking a breath. "I'm glad to hear that. I am Lt. Commander Masters of the United States Navy. You may call me Talon." He calls out to Legatus, keeping his rifle trained on target.

"And you may call me Legatus. I am the king and ruler of all that is the Dragon Empire. It is an honor and privilege to meet the slayer who protected my old friend, and defeated our nations most ruthless criminals. It is my deepest regret that the heretics had attacked this land, and allowed my great nations problems to cross these majestic borders. Please harbor no anger, Talon of the Banshee." The dragon speaks, his tone calm and friendly for a massive dragon.

Talon nods, then looks to his side. Luna has stepped closer to him, her wing wrapping around his back and embracing him gently. She looks to him and nods reassuringly, leaning into him for support. Her heart is racing within her chest as she stares up at Legatus, quietly watching his movements. Her tail flicks and swishes, displaying her apprehension and emotional state.

"Celestia...I can see now the Banshee is not an entity, but a great and powerful weapon that you have. As part of our alliance treaty, you agreed to share any advancements of technology and knowledge with us, as we would you. I ask that you allow my comrades to examine it closely for ourselves." Legatus says in a somewhat firm voice, his gaze falling to Celestia.

She blanched at this, forgetting that minor detail of the treaty. "Legatus...I'm...I'm afraid I cannot simply allow that..It's not something I can simply hand over to any pony!" She calls out, resting on her haunches. Her wings twitch nervously at her sides.

Legatus raises an eyebrow to this. "And why can you simply not? We have an agreement, and this is clearly a weapon we could use to settle the unrest within the empire." He bellows, his thunderous voice rumbling deeply.

Celestia swallows hard, smiling nervously. A sheen of sweat can be seen forming on her coat, as she struggles with an answer. She begins to stammer, her calm and regal facade lost as she faces the dragon. A Goddess cannot lie very easily after all.

Twilight notices her and thinks, her mind blurred with information of the treaty she stayed up most of the night reading over. Facts blaze through her mind one after another until she finds the right one. She in hails deep and speaks up, rescuing Celestia. "We cannot, because the machine is the product of the royal family! It belongs to Princess Luna, Regent of the stars and moon, Goddess of the Night! It is a product of hers and her beloveds!" She calls out loudly to Legatus.

Legatus raises his brow to this, looking over the pilot and night alicorn, silent for a moment. Celestia whips her head to look at Twilight, who is pawing at the ground resolutely. Alicorn mischief dances in her eyes as she gets what Twilight is trying to do. 'Oh Twilight! You're such a clever mare! Good idea!' Celestia thinks, grinning inwardly. This is just what she needed. "That's right! That was created as the product of hard work between my sister and her husband! Yes, it's theirs, and thus not fair game for the alliance pact!"

Luna and Talon both look to Celestia in absolute confusion. Lunas face feels hot as it becomes flushed with a furious blush, while the pilots jaw very nearly slams to the floor. They have no idea where this came from.

"They're married, happily! That's right, the commander here is a prince from a very foreign land, and my sister took a real shine to him! She has even stated REPEATEDLY how she looks forward to bearing foals, she's so happy with their marriage! It would be against the alliance to share the product of their love made just for them!"

Whatever resolve Luna had, it just broke. Her eyes roll back in her head and she keels over on the spot, her heart thumping loudly and ragged in her barrel. She faints, blushing brightly as her mind short circuits. Talon stands there in shocked silence, unable to take his eyes off of Celestia in just pure, absolute shock. He never in a million years seen this coming. 'The hell?! Marriage!! I never agreed to that!' he thinks. Celestia looks at him with a grin, winking at him. It comes together. 'Ooh I get it...she's protecting the bird. Fucking crafty space ponies...seriously fucking crafty.' He thinks, understanding what's going on.

Legatus considers this for as moment, remembering the treaty well. He himself listed that clause in the agreement, two centuries ago. He nods, understanding, then speaks. "Do you have proof of this, princess? I see no clear display of this upon their form. Your sister does not wear the band of a taken mare, and seems to have fainted at this coming to light...show me the marriage contract, and I will agree to this as proof."

Celestia turns to see Talon lifting Luna in his arms, cradling her and trying to awaken her sister. She turns back to Legatus. "The papers are in my study, and their bands are simply inside! They chosen not to wear them for their flight this morning it appears. We will retrieve the contract right away, please wait for a moment!" She calls out loudly, still grinning a wide Cheshire grin. She alights her horn and opens the study doors, motioning with her hoof for the group to quickly rush into the study. They do, and she shuts the doors behind her, sealing them with her magic. Talon carries the alicorn to the nearby couch and sets her down, shaking her awake.

"Dammit sunny butt! Are you fucking insane?! We're not married!" He turns to her, his eyes still wide with shock. "He's going to see this as a sham and fry us all! Good going!" He snaps angrily.

Luna awakens with a jump and shakes the daze out of her eyes, still blushing brightly. She stammers. "T..Tia! This..This is so sudden! I mean I wantedmarriageandfoalsand..." She trails off, blabbering quickly.

"Trust me you two, it's the only way. Twilight, make some wedding bands quickly and out of sight of the doors, fit it on these two right away." Celestia says as she's digging through mountains of papers, scattering scrolls and documents around feverishly. She finds the blank marriage scrolls finally after a few moments of searching, and grabs a quill in a rush, she begins to fill it out with her magic.

Twilight stands in the corner, using her magic to conjure the wedding bands of silver and steel. She works quickly, inscribing Lunas cutie mark on all the of the bands, then rushes to them with the bands in her levitation magic. Before the pilot or the obviously far off midnight princess could react, the bands are sealed on their forms. One band adorns Lunas horn at the base, weaving tightly around its form and sealing with magic. Another snakes to her left fore hoof and wraps around her delicate leg just above her bracer regalia. The other band finds its way to the pilots hand, placed in his palm. "Just put that wherever humans wear a ring, and it'll conform to the right shape and size. Hurry!" Twilight says in a hushed voice, keeping her back turned to the balcony doors and her wings opened wide to cover them. Talon follows her urgent orders and places the over sized ring on his finger, where it quickly shrinks down and seals with Twilight's magic.

Celestia finishes the scrolls and looks to Luna and the pilot, grinning wide. "No time, sign these, and quickly!" She motions with her hoof, levitating a quill in her magic.

"This is nuts...you know this right? They're going to know this is a fake." Talon mutters under his breath as he gets up and starts to sign the document. Luna does the same, taking the quill from him in her magic and signs, blushing brightly. She stares at the document noticing one thing...this is an official and real document, complete with the solar princesses royal seal. When she finishes signing, Celestia stamps the scroll hard with her stamp, burning the crest into the scroll with her magic.

"Tia...This is a real contract! Thou hath gone indeed mad!" Luna says, her eyes glued to the document. "We...I was never prepared for this mine sister...we never considered this so soon!" Luna looks up to her sister, jaw agape in surprise.

"We just need it to look real sister, or Legatus and his friends out there are going to rip that machine to pieces, taking the weapons and your nuclear device with them. I can't let that fall into any ponies hooves, especially after yesterday." Celestia says, taking the scroll in her magic. "You two can discuss how you want to go about this later. For now just go with it and play along."

Talon leans down to Luna and whispers in her ear "Remind me never to prank her again..." He bites out, overly annoyed with the sudden change in events. This was something that he never once considered, let alone knew was even possible. He woke up a single, free man yesterday, and now all of the sudden he's rushed into this.

Luna nods furiously, her muzzle still blushing brightly. She was wanting this...just not so quickly. Not like this. They follow Celestia back to the balcony, staring at Legatus resolutely. "Here is the documents you wished to see, Legatus. Proof of mine nuptials. We expect everything is in order?"

Legatus leans forward, his hot breath blowing on the group. It takes everything Luna has to maintain her stance, his breath so foul it almost renders her unconscious. He peers at the small text, barely able to make out the small writing of the sun princess. His eyes fall to the royal seal, and he grunts in approval. He traces the form of the midnight alicorn and nods in approval upon seeing her bands adorning her. "Very well...I see this is binding and the two are indeed intertwined. Word was never spread of your union to our land, but I will insure that it is welcomed greatly to all." He bellows. He leans back and roars a loud cry in his language, all of the nearby dragons screeching and chattering at this. They understand the message clearly, and know everything about the mysterious banshee is to be left alone..for fear of the kings wrath awaits any that disobey his resolute order.

Celestia slumps in relief at this, then regains her calm regal composure. "We will continue our talks after a grand lunch, Legatus. I will see to it that a tribute meal is fed to your escorts and you...though I hope you are willing to except gems, for we do not eat meat here in this kingdom." She calls out with a smile.

Legatus rumbles a loud chuckle of approval and nods. "Comrades! Come to rest in the open field near the palace! The Sun Princess offers us a meal for our talks! We will feast in joy to celebrate our alliance, and welcoming the nuptials of the Night Goddess!" He exclaims loudly to the others. The smaller dragons all nod and chatter in approval of the message, taking to wing and landing in the open field behind the palace. They all come to rest on their rears, wings folded in calmly and loose. Legatus rises to his massive legs and clawed feet, then slowly walks to the area, the ground shaking with his every thunderous step under his massive weight.

The group breathes a sigh of relief, then all look to Celestia who has a smug grin on her muzzle. She looks to Luna and grins. "Don't you two have a honeymoon to plan?" She says in a sing song happy voice. Talon and Luna shake their heads slowly in unison, clearly not approving of this.

* * * * *

"I'm married...to a space pony." He deadpanned, looking out from the balcony of Lunas chambers. He ex hails the smoke from his cigarette, shaking his head. Luna slowly creeps to his side, sharing much the same view.

"Not quite how I pictured this...Mine sister is indeed the master trickster indeed." She says dryly. She turns away, staring at her reflection in the mirror hanging on the wall near the door, her gaze falling to the wedding bands on her form. She is however, admiring the craftsmanship and the work, the thoughts of this finally hitting home. She does love the pilot, and her sister did not tell a lie. The truth very much being Luna did indeed wish for this, albeit not this soon or in this fashion...the idea of her claiming she wanted foals however...made her feel queasy. She wasn't quite ready for that step anytime within the next several years..or possibly longer.

Talon sighs and flicks the depleted cigarette off the balcony's edge, looking out at the dragons in the fields feasting on a pile of gems that easily towered over him. Where Celestia had stashed so many jewels and stones, he had no idea. The talks from here however, appeared to be going quite well. He looks at Luna, who seems to be lost in her reflection as she's smiling a soft smile, her hoof tracing the band on her horn. "I get why she did it...but making us take off and not sit in on the talks is going a bit far. This deals with your national security, and having us run off when there is the possibility of the bugs attacking is a bad idea, Luna."

Luna nods, still smiling at the bands and her reflection. She doesn't really hear the pilot, her own thoughts on the events instead of his words.

"We should get down there, and start demanding answers. We could use this as a chance to talk Celestia into letting us beat the answers out of the captured bug, so we can go drop off a gift to the queen." He says, tension in his voice. He shakes Luna and gets her attention. "Are you even listening?!" He snaps.

She jumps at his touch, her mind brought back to reality. "Horseshoe bay!" She exclaims loudly. She startles the pilot. "We should go there, to Horseshoe bay!"

He eyes her warily. "You think the insects are hiding there?" He asks, sounding unsure.

She nods, a smirk forming on her muzzle. She has much different plans than her flame does. "We should travel there. We could find answers, and possibly gain an insight as to any activity that could be taking place. It's as good of a chance as any."

He peers at her, gazing slowly. He's never heard of the place she just listed. Sighing, he folds his arms. "Alright...we'll fly there then. So lets get going." He says, making his way for the door. He stops when he reaches it, not hearing Lunas clip clop against the marble floors of her hoof steps. "Coming...wife?" He says, a smirk on his lips. He's going to at least have some fun with this.

Luna blushes and nods furiously, galloping after him.