• Published 15th Mar 2012
  • 1,330 Views, 40 Comments

End of the Line - Wheller

  • ...
12
 40
 1,330

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Empty.

Princess Celestia could not get over the fact of how empty everything felt as she looked down from the castle balcony, so high up in the mountains towards Ponyville. The town had still not stopped smoking, even after the fires had all been put out. The Cultus Mechanius was at her doorstep, and she could do nothing about it. Luna had berated her for hours yesterday for not responding, ‘should have sent in the Royal Guard!’ and ‘at least do something!’ and other things. Celestia however, knew that she could do nothing.

The Cultus Mechanius that had taken control of Ponyvile was small, compared to her Royal Guard. Luna had pleaded, and begged for Celestia to send them in, but Celestia would not, she could not. What could her Royal Guard possibly even do against them? A single Fillydelphian paladin was worth an entire phalanx of her Royal Guards. While they were highly respected in Equestrian society, as a practical fighting force and peace keeping organisation, the Royal Guard were useless. If she had the Royal Guard march into Ponyville, the entirety of them would be slaughtered by a paladin assault section before coming within a hundred metres of them. She would have better luck sending in the Canterlot Police Service. They would still all get slaughtered, but they would get within ten metres instead of a hundred before doing so.

A thousand years ago, in times of civil unrest, the Canterlot Police Service was well equipped to deal with it. A thousand years ago, they had the CO19 specialist units to handle any threats to those streets. Until Celestia herself had disbanded them, for the safety of all, she reminded herself. All of CO19’s gear was impounded at a secure location within the city. Secure, at least, until two hundred years later, when Nephites broke into the storage facility and made off with all of it. Guns, ammunition, riot barding. Taking everything for themselves and running. Celestia thought about it for a moment, then looked back down to Ponyville, she began to wonder if disbanding CO19 was the right choice...

No.

No, Celestia knew in her heart that she had made the right choice, better that the Nephites came and took all of it away. It was part of the reason why she let them go. Why she didn’t send anypony after the Nephites to take it back. The Nephites believed that she had sent an assassin to kill their founder, a pony called Silversmith, who had stolen several powerful magical artefacts from the royal family at the insistence of an Other. Celestia did not know who this Other had been, she knew of their existence, of course, how could she not? The Others and the royal family have been at odds with each other for the last five thousand years. In the past, the Others had gone to great lengths to destabilise their rule in Equestria. They saw the royal family as wrong, a group that should not exist, should never have existed.

But they were wrong. Celestia knew that they were wrong, but what was worse, they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand why she had done everything that she had done. She was protecting the ponies of Equestria from the most dangerous thing ever to grace existence.

‘Luna’, Princess Celestia said, shaking herself from her thoughts as she heard her sister’s hoofsteps approaching her.

‘Tia’, she said simply as she walked into Celestia’s bedroom, closing the door behind her. ‘Have you given any more thought on to what I said?’

‘I cannot send the Royal Guard into Ponyville, I will not, the cost of lives will be to great’, Celestia said with a sigh. Here we go, she thought to herself as she could tell that Luna was about to get angry.

‘So you will do NOTHING!?’ Luna cried out, slipping into the Royal Canterlot Voice, as she did when she became angry. ‘TYPICAL TIA, DO NOTHING AS ALWAYS!’

‘Inside voice, please, Luna’, Celestia said.

Luna snorted in annoyance. ‘Changes nothing, typical for you, I swear, had I not turned into Nightmare Moon right in front of you, I am sure that you would have allowed me to run around unchecked’.

‘Don’t be ridiculous’, Celestia said. ‘You were a danger to yourself and others, I would have acted accordingly’.

Luna snorted again. ‘Nothing has changed sense then’.

‘I know, it is my fault, I should have tried harder’, Celestia said with a small sigh. ‘It may please you to know, I have taken an action on the situation’.

‘What?!’ Luna cried out in surprise. ‘I thought you said you were not sending in the Royal Guard!?’

‘I’m not’, Celestia said. ‘I have different plans’.

A small smile formed on Luna’s face. ‘Well this is a welcome surprise, something happens in the Principality, and Tia takes action on an incident, and even a plan that does not involve ‘throw Twilight Sparkle and her friends at the problem and hope they fix it’, I’m impressed!’

‘I sent the guard away’, Celestia said. ‘Along with the entire population of Canterlot’.

‘You... what?’ Luna asked as her mouth fell open. ‘You did WHAT!?’

‘I sent them away to Manehattan for their own safety’, Celestia said. ‘I watched as a train left from Ponyville for the Vermillion Mesa. I know exactly what will happen when it returns; the citizens of Canterlot must not be put into harm’s way’.

Luna sighed, shaking her head, and saying nothing as she turned around, opened the door, and walked out, shutting the door behind her without a word.

Celestia sighed too, it was becoming late in the day, soon enough, it would be time to sleep. She would need to be well rested for what was to come.

...

Twilight and company had been taken into a side room, where a group of ponies had been gathered around a table. At the head of the table was Order Master Darius himself, to his direct left was Graham Cracker. There were three others in the room that they did not recognise.

Darius was quick to introduce them, sitting across from each other were two unicorn mares, twins. One of them clad in the blue Saracen robes, her coat was a cobalt colour, while her mane was a dark ultramarine. She was tall and slender, one could figure that where she not a member of the Cultus Mechanius, that she would belong in the high society of Canterlot or Manehattan, eventually she was introduced to the group as Cathode, head of the Saracens.

Her sister however wore the dark grey robes of the Hospitallers, her coat was cinnabar, and her mane a deep carmine. She was introduced as Anode, the head of the Hospitallers.

The last one was one of the largest ponies that anypony could have ever seen. A draught pony, who’s body structure reminded Twilight much of Big McIntosh. His coat was a light brown, though it could barely be seen as he was clad in Templar combat armour from the neck down, a red cloak flowing over him, his mane, nearly matching. This was Crankshaft, the head of the Templars.

The three orders of the Cultus Mechanius were all before them, the Templar, the fighting arm of the Cult, the Hospitaller, and the builders of their technology. And the Saracen, record keepers, scouts, combat auxiliaries for the Templars.

Twilight couldn’t help but notice that the heavily bandaged Nephite that sat beside Darius seemed oddly out of place. ‘You’ll forgive me if this sounds rude Graham Cracker...’

‘It seems odd for me to be here?’ Graham Cracker asked, smiling with his eyes from behind the bandages. ‘You are not the first to say so, I have sat at this table many times, and even I too feel out of place. The Nephites and the Cultus Mechanius have been allies for centuries, but one such as myself never gets used to being here. Vermillion Mesa is unlike any other place, not only in Equestria, but in the entire world’.

‘No arguments from here’, Twilight said, nodding her head.

‘To the matter at hand, FutureTec’, Darius said. ‘Archimedes and his people cannot be allowed to maintain their hold over it, to allow such a thing would have catastrophic results. Archimedes is insane... and when FutureTec is still fully stocked with a full complement of Crusader IX nuclear missiles... It’s enough firepower to decimate the entire planet’.

‘You don’t think he would do that... do you?’ Twilight asked nervously.

‘With Archimedes... you can never be sure’, Darius said with a frown as his ocular implants blinked several times. ‘FutureTec must be retaken. Are you all willing to do what is necessary?’

Twilight looked to Rainbow Dash on her left. ‘Hell yeah! Not about to let some jerk take over our home town and use it!’

Twilight smiled and turned to her right. Vinyl Scratch merely grinned, Surprise smiled widely. Twilight smiled back and looked towards the rest of her friends. All of them gave her approving glances and nods of affirmation, even Fluttershy.

‘Can’t let him be a bully!’ Fluttershy said with determination under her breath.

Twilight nodded her head in affirmation. ‘Yes, we are’.

‘Then you shall have our rifle sections at your back’, Graham Cracker said.

‘And the Cult at your front’, Darius said. ‘It is settled then, tomorrow morning, we shall take the fight to Archimedes himself’.