• Published 29th Jul 2014
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Fallout Equestria: Tales of Transylvania. - MeetSouder



Midnight Wind and Scarlet Rose find themselves in a new world when the inhabitants of Stable 17, forced them to leave. Now in their native land of Thestra "batponies", they begin their journey uncovering the secrets that make up Transylvania

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Chapter Nine: Deception

Chapter Nine: Deception

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A sudden flash outside lit up my eyelids, igniting my world with red. A fraction of a second later, the sound of the explosion ripped through the Vertibuck and I jumped in my seat in surprise. I rapidly blinked to try and clear the sleep from my eyes, the world slowly came into focus, and I felt my eyes tense as I struggled to get used to the bright early morning sun.

I looked out the open crew door to my right, I saw one of the Airponies flying in formation with us, his visor still obscuring his expression, he looked like a machine, doing what needed to be done.

Without warning, out of the dense forest below, I watched a smouldering yellow orb rocket right towards us.The vapor trail from the artillery shell pointed to a white puff of smoke, an anti aircraft cannon.

The round ripped through the Airpony outside and exploded violently. Whatever remained of the poor bloke was nothing but pink mist behind us. The explosive wave racked my bones and I clenched my teeth, I felt Momo jerk the Vertibuck down to try and evade anymore fire. The report of the cannon soon followed and echoed off the mountains.

Luna almighty… I moaned internally.

I started to feel myself shaking. I tried to steel my nerves, but this was already becoming too much for me. The volume of cannon fire increased and soon became multiple explosions per second. Black clouds popcorned around us and I heard shrapnel ping off of the Vertibuck’s armor. I clung onto Midnight with all my strength.

“Shit! Oka-... -vry pony, hang on. I’m gonna bri-... her down below the treeline to brea- … line of fire.” Momo’s modulated voice crackled over the speakers. Every explosive wave that wracked the aircraft caused the speakers to momentarily fuzz up.

The Vertibuck’s engines suddenly whined as they spooled down, and we dropped out of the sky like a rock. I felt my flanks rise off of the seat a few inches and I instinctively began to spread my wings to try and stop the fall. The Vertibuck’s engines suddenly erupted with power and I slammed into the bench hard, nearly falling off of the bloody thing!

I looked outside and saw we were skimming a river, just maybe ten hooves off the ground. Icy water sprayed around us from the powerful blades, a few droplets landed on my face and tingled on my fur. The cloud of explosions continued to fire above the treeline for a brief moment, even striking a few trees and showering the river below with splintered wood. Then as quick as it all begun, the explosions stopped and it was deafeningly silent save for the chopping of the Vertibuck’s rotors. I guessed they all stopped firing simultaneously.

I looked at the stallions in the crew compartment with me. Ballpoint and Midnight were clearly shaken up, but recovering quickly. Silver wore a strained expression, but his body was relaxed, he could be one tough nut to crack sometimes. I looked left once more and met Midnight’s golden eyes, his were filled with concern. He placed a hoof on mine, and nodded. It honestly helped me calm down more that I’d ever like to admit.

“Is everypony okay back there?” Momo’s amplified voice split the mute compartment.

SIlver fumbled with the hoofheld radio, finally turning a nob with his teeth and pushing a switch with his nose.

“Affirmative Sergeant, we’re all good. What’s the sitrep?” Silver replied professionally.

I saw Momo lean back around her chair and check the Vertibuck’s tail through the cockpit’s windshield, then doing the same on the other side.

“She’s looking good, and controls feel responsive, I don’t think we took any direct hits.” Momo paused. “We lost both of our escorts though.” She finished, sorrow dripping in her tone.

“There will be time to mourn later. For now, we need to stay on task Momo, do you think we can reach the Narrows if we stay on the Serpent’s Tail?” Silver asked, peeking his head out the open door and looking up and down stream. His white mane fluttered over his face, and he quickly ducked back inside. I assumed the ‘Serpent's Tail’ was the river.

“I dunno Captain, uhh…” Momo replied, she looked down at the map on her dashboard. “Looks like the closest I can get is on a riverbank, maybe three kilos from the edge of town.” She finished, once more looking out the cockpit.

“That’ll do, looks like the scouts were wrong about the artillery.” Silver sighed.

“Aye sir, I’m feeling a bit worried that they’ve gotten this dug in over such a short time. Seems odd eh?” Ballpoint hollard over the engines.

“Definitely, we’re going to have to be extra careful here everypony. If they didn’t know we were coming, they bloody do now. Let’s just hope to Luna that they don’t suspect a ground mission from us.” Silver added.

“Thirty seconds out, check your gear everypony, and get ready to disembark.” Momo chimed in over the speakers.

I unslung my IS4 from the back, and ejected the magazine with my hoof, it looked and felt full. I used my mouth to slide it back into place and then used my teeth to yank the charging handle located just under the rear sights. The carbine slammed a round home, and a flicked the safety to the ‘on’ position. I then let it rest against my chest, and tightened the straps on my saddle bags.

Once we were all cocked locked and ready to rock, I once more focused my gaze outside the Vertibuck.

“Ten seconds, I’m gonna make this a touch and go, then I’ll swing southbound and set her down on a riverbank and to save fuel. Let me know when you need the extraction, and I’ll be there in a jiffy!” Momo explained.

The Vertibuck banked right and I held onto Midnight and the bench with both hoofs as I saw the deep calm water engulf my entire view. Momo yanked on the stick and leveled out, then suddenly pitched up at a forty-five degree angle to slow us down. The Vertibuck dropped quickly, and the landing gear dug into the soft sand below.

“Alright, go, go, go!” Momo cried out over the speakers.

Silver leapt out of the crew compartment and quickly galloped several hooves away, he then crouched and held his IS16 in his mouth, ready to cover if necessary. I quickly followed with my IS4, and then Midnight and Ballpoint with their rifles.

Momo lived up to her word, and as soon as Ballpoint’s tail left the aircraft, she gunned the engines, and banked hard to the left, over the river. The roar of her engines slowly died down until it was lost in the surrounding forest. Soon, nothing but the sound of the rustling wind and gentle gurgle of the river surrounded us.

“Can I say that was entirely badass?” Midnight broke the silence.

I sighed and facehooved, “Can you take anything seriously mate?” I asked sarcastically.

“Hey, when would I ever get a chance to do something like that? Maybe if I were born two-hundred years earlier and joined the Equestrian Air Force. Come on, you have to admit it was cool!” Midnight looked over his shoulder to me defensively.

“For once, I’m with the blue one here. I always wanted to fly in an aircraft, it’s so much faster than flying normally.” Ballpoint piped in.

“Hey cut the chatter mates, we need to get to the town and locate the target. The sooner we get moving, the sooner we can get out.” Silver intervened the shenanigans.

“Aye Captain.” Ballpoint boredly responded. And trotted over towards Silver.

Midnight and I quickly cantered up to them and sat down.

“Right, so we’re roughly three kilometers northwest of the town. Our best bet is to avoid any close urban alleys and stick to the main road that goes right into the town centre.” Silver used his hoof to draw a simple diagram into the sand. “Then we can set up, and make observations, hopefully the bloke will just be sitting smack dab in the middle on a throne or something.” He chuckled.

“Well, all I see around us is trees. How’re we gonna find the road that leads to Narrows if we can’t fly?” Midnight asked.

“Shite, I didn’t think of that. We’d be lit up like bloody hearthswarming trees. Especially in this daylight, they’ll spot us easily.” Ballpoint frowned.

“Aye, we’ll need to hoof it. There’s a bridge not far downstream from here, I spotted it from the vertibuck. If we stick to the shoreline, we’ll reach it, and maybe make some sense about what to do next.” Dusk nodded, and motioned behind him down the shoreline.

“Let’s get to it then!” Midnight cried excitedly and jumped to his hooves. He and I have very different ideas of what could be fun, I swear.

We stood up to all fours and began a light canter along the riverside. I really hoped we would simply get in, take out the bloody stallion and get out without conflict. Luna above was I wrong.

<><><>

I leveled the red chevron of my low power scope onto the back of one of the soldiers, the black lines and numbers imprinted on the lense making a “T” shape around the glowing element. I slowly exhaled and watched my breath float lazily to the right.

We had found a road that would possibly connect to the main road. Okay it was more like a dirt path that cut through the dense pine forest, probably used by hikers before the war. But there was one little problem. A patrol of five soldiers were currently stopped right where we needed to go.

The sun cast short shadows, and rays of light gently sprinkled through the thin pine canopy above, it was a clear day, and that meant plenty of light; we would be spotted if we didn’t act fast.

I glanced to my right where SIlver and Ballpoint were laying on their stomachs on the opposite side of the road from me, rifles pointed at targets. We had split up on either side and hid within the treeline, we were going to try and take out four of the soldiers at once, and then follow up with the fifth.

Something seemed different about these soldiers however, for a moment I realized these ponies were all unicorns, and they had a certain level of professionalism to them, something unlike what we’ve seen before. Their armor was trimmed in blue, with white plates instead of black. They had faded blue capes hanging off the left shoulder, half obscuring their rifles on their backs. I looked over to Silver with concern.

Silver nodded, and tapped the ground three times. That meant we would fire in three seconds. I faced forward and refocused my aim, right dead center on the blokes back. I caught a glimpse of Midnight to my left doing the same with his target. I guessed they must’ve been private guards to Western Sun, maybe more elite than the regular grunt.

One…. Two… Three! I counted, and pressed on the plate with my teeth.

Nothing happened. The plate didn’t even depress! I felt the heavy blast of Midnight’s rifle fire push the fur on my face, quickly followed by Silver’s and Ballpoint’s sharp crack. Three of the soldiers fell over mortally wounded, but now two were left standing!

I let go of my carbine and desperately tried to figure out why it didn’t fire.

Was it not chambered?! No, the pin didn’t release. Nor the internal hammer… Shit the safety! I realized my mistake and quickly hit the safety to ‘semi’. How could have I forgotten such a bloody simple thing?

I grabbed the bit once more and brought the gun up to bear, but by the time I did this, the two soldiers were already taking cover behind trees. One of them poked his rifle out and sprayed automatic fire in my general direction, using his levitation to remain behind cover. I ducked and heard bullets whiz overhead and strike the ground in front of me, showering me with dirt.

Midnight fired once more, and splintered a chunk out of the tree the Black Daylight soldier was hiding behind, causing him to duck behind cover again. I raised my head and put the chevron onto the tree and fired three rounds, the satisfying recoil and sharp report of my carbine helped steel my nerves.

With me suppressing the soldier, Silver leapt forward and began flanking both of them. But the second soldier was taking aim! Silver didn’t see him!

I snapped my scope onto the second soldier, who was peeking his head over a fallen log to take a shot. I rapidly shot five rounds, two of which struck him in the shoulder barding causing him to stagger, suddenly a thick vapor trail erupted through his head, and split his helmet and skull in half. The report of Ballpoint’s rifle echoed deeply throughout the forest. The soldier slumped over the log, blood began to trickle down it’s surface.

I stood up and leaned against the tree I was lying prone behind, hoping to give some cover to Silver. But by the time I put my eye on the scope, I saw Silver place a three round burst right into the chest of the first soldier. Dropping him like dead weight.

That was too freakin’ close for comfort. I needed to be ten times more bloody careful in the future. I let go of my IS4 and sighed, thinking to myself.

Silver cantered over to me with a confused expression, Ballpoint and Midnight soon returned to all fours and grouped up as well.

“What the bloody hell happened Scarlet? You didn’t shoot!” Silver sternly asked, giving me a glare.

“I- I know! I’m sorry… I forgot to take the bloody safety off.” I trailed off, trying to hide behind my mane in shame.

“Hey, cut her some slack Silver, she helped save your sorry ass after pulling that hero shit back there.” Midnight stepped in front of me, poking Silver in the chest.

“That hero shit was a tactical maneuver, thank you very much.” Silver spat, then turned to me, “Regardless, try to pay more attention in the future. It’s okay to make mistakes outside of combat, that’s why we train, but the mistakes caused in combat could cost us lives.” He sighed and turned around. “Let’s get moving.”

I sighed and began cantering behind him. Ballpoint gave me an apologetic look and galloped to canter next to Silver.

I never knew Silver would lose his temper like that, he was counting on me… I can’t let this happen again, it could be much worse if it does...

“I fired two shots you know.” Midnight quietly piped up, taking me from my thoughts.

“What?” I asked, looking at him.

“Yeah, and I hit a tree. I’d say I’m a pretty crack shot if you ask me.” He grinned.

I bumped my hip against his giggling.

“Well I think you’re a crack shot Middy.” I smiled warmly to him.

We continued to lightly canter down the road, a dozen or so hooves behind Silver and Ballpoint. Soon the road came to a ‘T’ intersection and the dirt turned to cracked pavement with a faded double yellow line going down the middle.

Silver stopped and looked up and down the road, scratching his mane with a hoof.

“This doesn’t look like a main highway, more like a tertiary street.” He quietly observed, sitting down and rummaging through his combat vest pockets.

He pulled out a clunky looking compass and fiddled it with his hooves.

“Well it looks like it’s about, I don’t know how to estimate… it’s in the next box over.” Midnight spoke up, looking at the map function on his pipbuck.

Oh well shite, I totally forgot these bloody things have a map. I looked down at the computer on my foreleg with disdain, recently I’ve completely ignored all the functions it had to offer. Back in Stable 17 the only things we used them for was music and education.

“Wait, wait, wait, let me see that mate, if I could?” Silver quickly stood up and placed his compass back into his pocket.

He trotted up to Midnight who lifted his foreleg up for him to see, Silver stuck his head between Midnight and his foreleg. Midnight awkwardly stood there looking at the sky, trying not to look at the pony standing literally inches from him.

“Huh, we’re exactly parallel to the highway, we can just cut through the forest, and we can’t miss it.” SIlver explained, either he didn’t notice or didn’t care he basically forced Midnight to hug him.

“Let’s get moving then.” He ordered and ducked under Midnight’s foreleg and began quickly trotting into the sparse forest ahead of us.

We all began trotting after him, dodging trees and the occasional bare shrub here and there. The pine needles felt soft and quite lovely underhoof.

The forest came to a sudden stop and cleared immediately to a wide expanse of asphalt and concrete ahead of us. A huge six lane highway split through the forest, probably leading straight out of Transylvania!

I looked up and down the road, the six lanes were split by concrete dividers, and then white dashed lines on each side. On either side, wrecks of ancient rusted out vehicles and abandoned possessions littered the road. The slight breeze blowing down the road picked up dust, and caused the occasional metal object to groan from stress, I had an unsettling feeling in my stomach as I took it all in.

“Spooky eh?” Ballpoint nudged my side and chuckled. “I’m gonna honest lass, the Sixty Two has always sent an uneasy pang down me spine to.” He shrugged, and adjusted his rifle hanging on his chest.

“Sixty Two?” Midnight spoke up and asked.

“Aye laddie, that be the name of this highway, supposedly it leads straight clean through Transylvania, all the way to Hollow Shades and then to Canterlot. Down the other way, it leads to Vanhoover, and ultimately the ocean! She’s one of the major trans-equestrian roads.” Ballpoint explained excitedly. “I always wanted to get some excuse to leave Transylvania, yanno? See what the rest of Equestria looks like!” His excitement grew as he looked towards the west.

“There’s no chance in tartarus that there’s anything good beyond those mountains Ballpoint, you know that. Reports say that they’ve got it ten times worse than us, the radiation levels are incredible, and the wasteland’s wiped bloody clean from the explosions.” Silver shot, cutting Ballpoint’s excitement in pieces.

“A-aye but ye gotta think, maybe there’s a few places where it’s nice, places left relatively untouched like here, maybe even better!” Ballpoint’s hope returned. Now that’s more fitting, a colt is still a colt at heart, even if hidden behind a facade of hubris and bravado.

I couldn’t help but agree with him though, maybe there’s somewhere out there where ponies have structure, government, creativity… After so many years, ponies can’t seriously just be only barely surviving, could they?

A gust of cold wind rustled the trees and lifted dust off the road in a spiral, I shivered and tried to snuggle a little closer into my parka jacket.

“Look, it doesn’t change anything now, we need to head west two kilometers and take the first exit, that road leads to Narrows. We can dream and hope, but we have a mission. There won’t be much hoping if we’re all killed by these looney ponies.” Silver spoke up, once more bringing us on task. He seemed so stiff, not like his usual self, the very air here felt odd when I thought about it.

We all nodded and began trotting down the center of the highway where a path had been cleared through the ruin, probably for traders or the like. As we continued down the road, I looked down at the ground and suddenly noticed something very unsettling, I felt my coat stand on end and I jumped back, unintentionally letting out an “eep”.

In the wreck of a rusty steel chariot in front of me, a skeleton of a pony sat grinning up at me, scratch that, all of the wrecks were littered with some form of dead pony. The remains of hundreds of ponies sat splayed across the road, I hadn’t noticed them before because their dark bones blended with the wrecks!

“Sweet Luna above…” Midnight mumbled behind me, probably noticing them too.

“I don’t remember there being this many corpses on the road. A lot of the ponies managed to escape their vehicles before dying off in the forests or surrounding towns from radiation?” Silver mumbled, not helping my nerves one bit!

“Aye, me either, maybe there was a flash of radiation here opposed to other parts of the highway?” Ballpoint piped up. I liked that, sounds good, nothing out of tartarus happening here right?

I glanced down at the skeletons again, and this time I shrieked at the top of my lungs and leapt back, fumbling to grab my IS4 with shaking teeth. The skeletons were all standing now, every single bloody one of them, looking right at us with glowing red flames in their eye sockets. I hadn’t seen or heard them move! Hay, how were they even standing? Their bones weren’t connected to any muscles!

I quickly pointed my carbine in the general direction, flicked it to “auto” and unloaded ten or so rounds into the closest one. The bones splintered and shattered, causing the skeleton to collapse like… well like a pile of bones.

“Well shite! Now this is not bloody normal!” Ballpoint hollard and pointed his rifle at another skeleton and fired, completely shattering its skull..

“Hold your fire!” Silver roared, and took a breath. “They’re not moving, I don’t think they’re hostile…” He pointed his IS16 around him at the handful of closest skeletons. It looked like maybe thirty or some were surrounding us, beyond these standing however, the other skeletons along the road lay unmoving, undisturbed. Not bloody possessed.

Suddenly there was a blood curdling, unequine screech from all around us, I lept back once more in fear and felt my flank run into Midnight who was behind me. He was facing backwards watching our rear, I saw him flinch and tense up, donning a serious expression. He saw something, I could tell, he was tracking something with his eyes. Was this something to do with his “Guardian” stuff he was talking about?

Suddenly Midnight flashed in a burst of blue flame and smoke, and appeared about ten hooves in front of me, leaping out of more smoke and fire. A thin stream of blood coated his left side and he was out of breath. I yelped as I felt myself tumble over from his sudden absence and and nearly fell on my flank, bloody madness this all was!

“What the bloody hell?” Silver called out, facing Midnight.

Midnight, for his part, flinched and dove off to the side. Suddenly an enormous explosion of red fire erupted where he was, a shockwave obliterated a few skeletons around him. I felt the wave rack my body and I fell on my flanks this time, shaking in fear. Out of the flames, a black unicorn skeleton rose, small swirls of fire rose out of its joints, and it’s horn was engulfed in a powerful red magic aurora.

“I give up mates, we’re either all mad, or the wasteland has finally killed us and we’re in bloody tartarus.” Ballpoint moaned, staring wide eyed at the spectacle before us.

The unicorn’s head suddenly snapped on me and I felt a cold sweat run down my sides, it was seething with evil, why the buck was it looking at me?! Without warning, Midnight leapt at the unicorn with full force, and momentarily, I saw his body flash into the translucent form of a timberwolf, powerful jaws open and razor teeth ready for an attack. He connected with the neck of the distracted unicorn and they both disappeared once more in an eruption of flames, this time purple.

Right as they disappeared, the skeletons around us all began galloping towards us! I quickly got to all fours and dove to where Silver and Ballpoint were standing. I placed my back to theirs and pointed my carbine at the nearest one headed towards us, it’s cracked and sharpened bones would be more than enough to cause some serious damage to us!

“Shite! Okay lite em’ up!” Silver hollard and was quickly drowned by the roar of our firearms cutting down the skeletons as they piled up over one another.

I was careful to only put three or four round bursts into each one, the last thing I needed was to run out of ammunition! I pressed the plate and the carbine suddenly stopped firing, I quickly lowered it and dropped the mag with a hoof, fumbling to put a new one into the gun. Once it was in, I slammed the bolt release with a hoof and felt the satisfying jerk of the bolt slamming another round in the chamber.

I raised my carbine just in time to catch a blow against the barrel, knocking the IS4 out of my mouth painfully. I yelped and fell onto my back, the skeleton was much bloody quicker than I thought it was! A bright flash of blue smoke appeared just to the right of the skeleton, and Midnight’s translucent timber wolf form leapt over me and tore the skeleton to pieces, quickly flashing away in another flame before reaching the ground.

“Bloody, fucking hell…” I groaned and got to all fours, grabbing my carbine to bear once more.

I love that bloody stallion with all my heart. I thought as I began firing once more.

Unending wave after wave of skeletons came upon us, more skeletons from down the road replacing those that we slaughtered, I noticed that those that came from further away were much weaker, their eyes barely lit with dim flames. Whatever that unicorn was, I guessed it was the reason for all of this, and it was stretching its spell across too far a distance to keep these skeletons moving.

Ballpoint had switched to his IS Five-Seven pistol, his sniper rifle just wasn’t fast enough for the never ceasing skeletons. My jaw was sore from so much sustained fire, and my barrel was smoking so much, it was beginning to be difficult getting a good sight picture on what I was aiming at! The cold air didn’t help at all either and I felt my hooves were numb and stiff.

Midnight and the unicorn exploded into view once more just behind me, where Silver was facing. The skeletons all crumbled to the ground, not an ounce of life in their ancient bones once more. We all turned to face the two, Midnight was covered head to tail in small gashes and panting heavily. The unicorn’s horn was shattered at the base, and several of the bones were shattered or missing. Midnight kept flashing from pony to translucent wolf, he looked utterly exhausted. He quickly looked to us.

“Well?! Shoot the damn fucker!” He hollered and pointed with a hoof.

Oh! I hadn’t realized that he had managed to force the unicorn to our world! That probably meant it was vulnerable to us.

We all pointed our guns and opened up with all we had. I held down the firing plate, and tried to control the recoil of the carbine as I unloaded the remainder of my third magazine into the unicorn. It’s blackened bones shattered and tore to powder as Silver and I peppered it with automatic fire. Ballpoint had grabbed his rifle and fired a single shot, rupturing it’s skull, and causing the unicorn to crumple unceremoniously to the ground as a pile of dark bones.

We ceased fire, our gunshots echoed for a few seconds into the forest. The remains of the unicorn were no longer glowing, and the highway finally settled down to silence once more. The black bones slowly crumbled to dust and were picked up by the breeze, blowing off down the road, no different from ashes in a fire.

An enormously bright red light shot out of the ground and slammed into Midnight’s chest. Midnight let out a grunt and collapsed to on his side, breathing heavily.

“Middy!” I screamed and rushed forward, leaping over the pile of broken bones and shell casings that littered the asphalt where we held our defense.

I glided over to where Midnight lay and I quickly grabbed his pipbuck looking at the medical screen.

“Oh thank the princesses!” I yelled out in relief, he had little more than superficial lacerations and exhaustion. Thankfully nothing too life threatening. The deep gash on his side seemed pretty serious though.

“You’re not enchanted by evil unicorn stuff right?! What was that? Why’d it hit you? Was it a spell?!” I hollered at him, poking his chest with a hoof.

“I- ow. It wa-. ow. Quit it!” Midnight moaned trying to swat my pokes away. He let out a huge sigh, and sat up.

I quickly rummaged through my saddlebags and found one of the health potions. I uncorked it with my hooves and teeth and popped that sucker right into Middy’s mouth.

“As I wa-” He was cut short by the healthy goodness and his eyes began to water and I tilted the potion up and forced him to drink.

I felt myself unable to control a giggle, and I finally let myself give in. I rushed forward and gave him a huge hug, resting my head on his shoulder.

“I’m so glad you’re okay Middy.” I whispered into his ear. I heard him spit out the potion bottle, letting it clack against the asphalt.

“Same for you scar...” He sighed and hugged me back tightly.

We finally broke our hug and I helped him to all fours. He groaned, but it looked like the position helped stop the bleeding and return some of his strength.

Silver and Ballpoint glided over to us, and came to a stop around Midnight. They looked just as beat up as I felt, thankfully nopony was badly injured. Their guns were still slightly smoking in the chilly air.

“Well I’ll be bloody damned, that wasn’t what I was expecting to happen on this mission.” Silver sighed and stroked his mane to the side.

“Aye…” Ballpoint trailed off, as he began to light a cigarette with shaking hooves.

“So, any idea what that was?” I asked, looking over to Midnight.

“Necromancer.” He answered quickly. Meeting our confused expressions. “Ignis was coaching me through that fight, he told me that that was a Necromancer. A spirit that is capable of harnessing the dead to its bidding. Something nearby caused a rift in the world where they normally reside, and it entered our world.” He explained.

“Damn laddie, never heard of such things like that before… There’s always been tails of particular anomalies happening about, but never of such a monster. ” Ballpoint pondered.

“Me neither, it certainly wasn’t a result of radiation. Why would it attack us like this? Didn’t you say earlier that these… spirits… ignore most ponies?” Silver questioned further.

“Ignis told me a while ago that it has something to do with Scarlet, something about her purpose…” Midnight looked over at me with a concerned expression. “Something that she is capable of doing that will put an end to whatever is to come?” He cocked his head.

“That was… vague.” Ballpoint added.

“Hey, look I don’t know anymore about this damn prophecy than you guys.” Midnight sat down and raised his hooves defensively.

“Alright mates, alright, we’re done interrogating the bloke.” I intervened. “In the end, he saved us, we can at least show him some appreciation. I’m thankful for sure.” I gave Midnight a loving look. I quickly leaned forward and gave him a peck on the lips.

Silver sighed and nodded. “Thanks mate, if anything, you’re probably the only pony that could have dealt with that.” Silver awkwardly admitted.

“Aye, that was a damn impressive display lad, good on ye.” Ballpoint nodded. And began to reload his pistol magazines and rifle.

We all followed suit and began the slow recovery process of reloading spent magazines and patching minor wounds with bandages. As I returned my now full magazines back into my saddlebags, I heard Silver’s hoof radio crackle to life from its chest strap.

“Captain, do you copy? I heard a ton of explosions and gunfire all the way from here!” Momo’s voice shook over the tiny speaker.

Silver quickly hoofed the button, fumbling with the tiny dial to try and raise the volume.

“Affirmative Sergeant, we’re okay. We had a run in with an... anomaly... and quickly dispatched it. We’re en route to the city.” He reported as he spread his wings and hovered a few hooves off the ground.

“We need to get moving faster than this, with the clearing from the road, we can fly below the trees. We should avoid being spotted by flak.” Silver quickly spoke to us. We all nodded and took off with him.

“Roger that Capt’! I’ll be hangin’ around here-” Momo cut off her communication briefly. “Be advised, long range radar’s got three fast movers headed towards the city.” She resumed, more professionally this time.

“That doesn’t sound too good.” Midnight chimed in from my right, we were flying at a steady pace down the road. It felt absolutely wonderful being able to fly with my coltfriend like this.

“Gimme that!” Ballpoint reached and yanked the radio out of Silver’s hooves.

“Hey!” Silver was cut off by Ballpoint beginning to talk.

“Do ye have a positive confirmation of what they might be lass?” He asked.

“Oh! Hi Ballpoint.” Momo excitedly spoke “Right, uh, I think they’ll come into my view for a sec’ here, I might be able to see em’ over the treetops.” She added..

We continued to fly swiftly, taking the off ramp onto a secondary road. I refocused my eyes in front of me. Silver’s white tail flapped in the wind, I could see dark buildings growing closer. So far, it looked like we would be able to enter the city without trouble.

“Ya still there Sir?” Momo chimed up, breaking our silence.

“Affirmative love, what do ye have?” Ballpoint replied, oh wow, he’s a flirt.

“They should be over me right about… Oh shit Ballpoint, you ain’t gonna believe this...” Momo’s voice dropped to a worried whisper.

“What’s wrong lass?”” Ballpoint hurriedly asked. Stealing a nervous glance to us.

“Th-three Alicorns just flew overhead…” Momo stuttered quickly.

“Three bloody what?” I exclaimed. Weren’t Alicorns just a myth? Something only the Princesses were?

“Oh you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me, what’re they doing here?” Silver groaned.

Wait seriously, Alicorns? I glanced at Midnight, he wore a similar expression of confusion.

“Momo, can ye confirm that? Are ye certain they be Alicorns?” Ballpoint asked with haste.

“I... I gotta move, they’ve had’ta have seen my bird, they’re swinging around. I’m gonna ditch her and head into the treeline. Switch frequencies to zero-point-twenty-seven that’s my hoof radio.” Momo quickly interrupted, I could hear the clinking of her seatbelt coming undone as she spoke.

“Ahh shite.” Ballpoint cursed, and fumbled with the dinky radio to try and switch frequencies.

We passed the first few buildings of the town, and immediately we found ourselves in the heart of a tight urban township. The architecture was somewhat similar to Renaissance, though more modernized, sporting shingled roofs and sliding broken glass doors. We flew below the rooftop level, following the main road towards the center of town. To either side tight alleyways flashed by us, the majority of buildings nothing more than rubble and burnt husks.

“Hold up mates, please for a moment will ye?” Ballpoint begged as he flared his wings and let down on the side of the road. We all followed suit and glided back to him.

“Ballpoint we have a mission, we have to kee-” Silver was quickly interrupted..

“Take me rifle, whatever ye need, I’m going back to get Momo. She’s not trained to fight like us!” Ballpoint hollard, throwing his custom rifle onto the road without care, his tone was dripping with concern and determination.

“Nopony can take the shot like you! This could compromise the whole mission!” Silver stepped forward angrily.

“Fuck the bloody mission! I would rather suffer insubordination than see the one lass I ever cared about get turned to ash by bastard Alicorns!” Ballpoint hollard as his voice cracked, tears were starting to well in his eyes.

Silver opened his mouth, about to say something, but he quickly held his tongue and nodded. Something I don’t think any of us were expecting. He reached down and took Ballpoint’s rifle in his teeth and threw it over his shoulder.

“Go.” Silver spoke gently. “Give me the radio and tell us immediately through Moon Glider’s radio when you two are safe.” He added, not professionally, not automatically. But as a friend. Possibly one of the rarest time’s I’ve seen him behave like this.

“A- Aye sir! Thank you!” Ballpoint quickly stammered and flared his wings out, quickly bursting into the air once more, twisting over and speeding back out of town the way we came.

Silver activated the radio and quickly spoke,

“Momo, this is Captain Silver, Lieutenant Ballpoint is on his way to your last known location to help you, Hold tight, how copy?” Silver asked.

“R- really? I mean... Affirmative, I’ll remain hidden in the area until he arrives.” Momo fumbled, the radio signal was much weaker, a whirr of feedback nearly drowned her voice. Silver placed the radio in one of his combat vest pockets and faced us.

“You-” Midnight began to speak.

“Shut your trapper, move out.” Silver ordered coldly, and took off on our original path again.

“Alright, alright jeez.” Midnight defended as he and I took off behind Silver.

We continued to fly further and further into the town, and it dawned upon me how large this suburb actually was. It seemed to stretch for kilometers on all ends! A thought suddenly struck me as we continued to dodge buildings, trying to stay below rooftop level.

“Hey Silver.” I asked timidly, after hearing how he treated Midnight.

Silver grunted. I guessed that was acknowledgement to continue.

“Shouldn’t one of us have gone with Ballpoint to cover him? He’s gonna be all by himself looking for Momo.” I asked. I was concerned for the little mare, not to mention Ballpoint as well. I knew he could care for himself, but after encountering the Necromancer, I doubted even Silver could handle that alone.

“We don’t have a choice Scarlet, somepony needs to spot for me and somepony else needs to cover us while we wait. Ballpoint may be brash but he’s not stupid, he’ll handle his own.” Silver shrugged, and took a sudden turn down an alleyway. Me and Midnight deftly followed suit.

“Why’d you let him go?” Midnight piped up.

“Long story.” Silver cut him down.

“Spare me a summary? We can talk about it when this is all over.” Midnight quickly suggested.

Silver sighed and slowed down, matching pace with my coltfriend and I.

“Ballpoint and I have been working together since he first joined ten years old. I trained him myself after I convinced Aurora to let him in the guard, I’ve never seen such a talented bloke.” He trailed off. “That was six years ago. Now? I guess I see him as a kid brother more than anything, there’s more to him under that tough skin than you’d believe. I’ve never seen him really care for ponies, nothing like Momo… The way he acted, hearing she might be in trouble, was something I’ve always hoped he would act one day. He needs her, and I can bet a million caps she needs him too. For their sake, I let this slide.” Silver paused. “That answer your question Midnight?” he cast a sideways glance to him.

“Yeah…” Midnight quietly answered.

“Okay, let’s keep going. I think I have an idea of where to set up. Let’s just hope our unexpected mutated visitors don’t show up.” Silver changed tone back to his professional calmness.

“About that…” I added quickly.

“Yeah…” Midnight simultaneously spoke.

“Later, later mates. I know you two probably thought there weren’t Alicorns anymore, and you’re right. But for now, let’s focus.” Silver pleaded, and he unslung the rifle from his shoulder, letting it rest on his chest.

This Luna damned wasteland… I thought to myself.

***

I glanced nervously down below to the dark alley from the lip of the rooftop once more. We were situated on a triangular rooftop overlooking the town square. Silver had removed some roofing shingles and placed the barrel of Ballpoint’s rifle flush with the peak of the roof, Scarlet did likewise for the spotter’s scope. Both of them lay on their stomachs watching the streets. I, of course, was left with the duty of watching our six-o-clock while we waiting to see if we could sport Western Sun.

Over the past half hour or so, I could see the occasional Spectre shimmer in the near pitch blackness far below. I was pretty damn sure only I could see them, and I was almost entirely sure I was the only one who could stop them if they decided to attack. For the time being, they were just wandering aimlessly throughout the alleys.

So this is where Ignis teleported me for the training… I thought to myself as I let my eyes follow one of the glowing phantoms below, before it winked away as it reentered the spirit realm.

I had been wondering, with what he taught me about absorbing powers, what had the Necromancer given me? I felt a pang of fear grip my stomach as I thought of what horrors I could experience if I absorbed an evil ability.

“...aptain do ye read me? I say again, do ye read me?” Ballpoint’s modulated voice called out over the tiny speaker of Silver’s radio, tearing me away from my thoughts.

“Affirmative Ballpoint, is everything okay?” Silver quietly asked.

“Aye sir, but we have a wee bit of a problem here.” Ballpoint nervously answered. “The Alicorns did indeed spot the Vertibuck, and now they’re eh… inspecting it?” Ballpoint explained.

“Bloody hell.” Silver moaned to himself, and clicked the send button on the radio once more. “Okay, just try to get you and Moon Glider out of there. We’re just outside the town center of Narrows, I’ll relay you our coordinates soon.” Silver paused. “And be careful, the mutated one’s have incredible senses, try to sneak away for at least four hundred hooves.” he finished.

“Aye aye.” Ballpoint quietly responded.

I turned around and watched as Silver unfolded a dirty map from one of his combat vest pockets, he carefully used his hoof to trace a line from where we came from, occasionally looking up at the roads around us to try and fixate our location. He then picked up the radio once more.

“Ballpoint, we’re in grid square Tango Four, on the rectangular building across from the Lunar Chapel. How copy?” He asked.

Affirmative sir, me and the lass are out of danger for now. We’ll link up with ye as soon as possible. Out.” Ballpoint concluded and the radio’s fell silent once more.

I watched as Silver and Scarlet continued to spot the road. I couldn’t help but notice as Scarlet flicked her tail occasionally, I got another excellent view of her… Right, back to watching her rear… No wait, I mean our rear… Like our six-o-clock… Forget it.

I quickly turned around and repositioned my rifle in front of me, scanning the horizon and rooftops with my eyes. We were across from a Chapel dedicated to the Princess of the Night, the building looked recently used so we figured if any religious meeting were to happen it would be here.

A slight gleam of white and blue caught my eye, and I quickly focused to my left. Through the gaps of the alleys, I could see a lot of soldiers, similarly dressed to the one’s we encountered in the forest, escorting a unicorn dressed in a white robe. The setting sun to my right reflected off their armor and sparkled right into my eyes.

“Hey guys, check it out, I think they’re coming.” I quietly called over my shoulder, and pointed with a hoof.

Both Silver and Scarlet followed my gesture and repositioned their equipment.

“Huh, I guess we actually did choose the right spot.” Scarlet sarcastically smirked.

“Of course we chose the bloody right spot!” Silver huffed, and watched as the armed parade made their way to the town square.

“Are you gonna take the shot?” I asked, eagerly watching over Silver’s shoulder.

“I want to asses the situation first.” Silver waved a hoof and peered down his scope.

The parade came to a halt outside the chapel. The soldiers quickly fanned out and set up a perimeter around the building, cleverly using cover and not just standing in the open. Their blue capes softly blew in the chilly wind. With evening approaching, the temperature was sure to drop to freezing soon.

“Odd armour eh? You sure he’s the one?” Scarlet asked quietly, using the spotters scope as well. She flicked her mane out of the way as a breeze began to pick up.

“He’s gotta be. Most priestly looking pony I’ve ever seen.” Silver nonchalantly observed.

The priest entered the chapel and closed the door. A candle or something was probably lit as the window was bathed with a warm yellow glow. The town square fell deathly still, save for the subtle breeze and flapping of blue cloth.

The temperature seemed to drop dramatically and I saw the breath from my muzzle quickly turn to vapor, drifting off into the air.

“Shite, my scope is fogging up. Bloody thing.” Silver cursed as he tried to wipe the scope with a hoof.

“H- Hey, you guys felt it get cold too right?” I nervously asked.

“Yeah, I did… What do you think it is?” Scarlet gave me a nervous look.

Silver scoffed as he finally wiped his scope clear,

“Autumn, that’s what it is, out here, unlike a Stable, the weather just does stuff like that. Nothing to worry about.” Silver explained, though he didn’t sound too confident.

Down below, the white armor-clad ponies all simultaneously swapped out their magazines, it was so bizarre I had to blink my eyes to make sure I wasn’t just imagining things. Even with their armored helmets, mimicking the fancy closed helmets found in tales about Canterlot, I could see each soldier was breathing heavily, their breaths carrying away in the wind. They knew something was up as well.

“What the blood-” Silver was mid sentence when the soldiers began firing into the alleys below us.

I flinched and held myself down close to the rooftop, grabbing Scarlet’s saddlebags and yanking her down from the crest to me. She yelped and nearly stumbled past me before I caught her and held her close.

“What the hell are they shooting at?!” She asked in panic.

“Not us, but something below.” Silver called out as he too took care to not appear above the crest of the roof.

“Spectres…” I said carefully. “There’s a bunch of Spectres roaming the alleys below us. Something going on in that Chapel must be attracting them…” I explained.

The soldiers kept a steady stream of disciplined fire, not taking too many shots. The sounds of inequine shrieks and yowls filled the evening air.

“You mean like bloody ghosts? Like what Ignis was teaching you about?” Scarlet asked worriedly.

“Yeah, exactly. But the thing is, spectres can’t be harmed unless called from the spirit realm… It sounds like those soldiers are doing a number on them. How?” I asked rhetorically.

“Like bloody hell if we know! We need to get back into position. Take the shot while they’re distracted and high tail it out of here.” SIlver barked and slowly climbed back up to his rifle, followed by a very nervous Scarlet.

I peeked back over the crest as well and witnessed the slaughter of spirits below me. It was quite the sight to behold, the soldiers stood confidently, taking well placed shots. Ethereal heads and limbs were ripped off of the spectres are they attempted to enter the town square. Each soldier was disciplined and well trained, completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

“Okay we’ll wait till he appears in the window, give me a firing solution Scarlet.” Silver calmly ordered as he steadied the rifle on the Chapel.

“Oh goddesses, I don’t know how to use this thing! Uh, uh, hang on.” Scarlet frantically peered down the scope and messed with the dials on either side of the scope’s housing. “Um, carry the two, minus fourteen. Nine-point-eight divided by… how high are we? Two stories? What’s the windspeed. Anypony?” She asked.

I licked my hoof and felt the air.

“Yeah, I got nothing.” I shrugged.

Scarlet facehooved and peered down the scope once more.

“I’ll have to guess, okay Silve,. Elevation: twelve-point-six-four, Windage: try... seven.” Scarlet shrugged.

Silver nodded and adjusted his scope to match Scarlet’s. We waited for maybe fifteen seconds, listening to the sporadic gunfire and shrieks down below. There must have been almost a hundred of those spectres.

A figure briefly appeared in the window, Silver let out an exhale and slowly focused his rifle onto his target-
Suddenly an enormous crackle of lightning and blue fire erupted behind us, causing us all to flinch. Silver jumped and accidentally jerked the firing plate to the right, letting loose a round. Ballpoint’s rifle erupted a bright flash and sharp crack, the supersonic bullet flew directly into the window. A splatter of blood covered the shattered glass.

Looks like Scarlet’s windage calculation was a little off.

“WAIT!” Ignis hollard too late from behind us as he appeared in physical form.

We all spun around and the white wolf was standing for the first time before me, physically, fully present. A look of concern was sewn across his face as he quickly leaped forward and grabbed Silver by his armor, tossing him to back from the edge. A hail of gunfire followed where he once was and shattered the roof shingles into dust. Scarlet quickly scampered down to us from the edge.

“Wha- Ignis, y- you, but how?” I stammered looking at him in awe. He was a few inches taller than I, legs spread apart and ready to move.

“No! I was too late!” He cried out, frantically pacing back and forth shaking his head.

The gunfire ceased, and I heard one of the soldiers cry out in a gravely voice far below. They probably just discovered the body.

“What are you talking about?” I questioned further.

“Fools! Did you not take notice these ponies look and behave differently from the Black ones? Did you not investigate further into your target? Would you so blindly follow the orders of anyone who claims to be in charge?” Ignis hollard at us and bared his fangs.

Silver, Scarlet and I bunched close together and slowly back stepped. To say his display was terrifying would be an understatement.

“Western Sun still lives! Your mission was not only a failure, but has indeed hurt you all more than you could ever try to conceive!” He roared and took another menacing step forward.

“Wh-what are you trying to say, Ignis?” Scarlet asked, quivering behind me.

“After I assisted the Guardian in defeating the Necromancer, I went to try and uncover the reason why it appeared. I traced back your steps into the forest and discovered you fools had blindly murdered members of the Praetorians! Not soldiers of the Black Daylight, but your very allies! Soldiers whose prowess far exceeds any other ally you may have! This meaningless bloodshed was enough to release the necromancer whom had been stalking the Angel from another realm!” Ignis explained with fury.
I felt Scarlet tense up and press harder against me, she was probably terrified at this point, not only from Ignis’s display, but also probably from the idea that there are evil spirits constantly on her tail.

“What do you mean? These soldiers, who are they? Western Sun is still alive?” Silver asked animatedly.

“Yes he still lives! Think! How do the soldiers fight Spectres, if not without summoning them to your world? Their equipment. Their tactics, their discipline! They are far different from the barbarians you witnessed. These ponies use silver bullets to fight the spirits, they have an understanding far beyond some pseudo religious organization!” Ignis took a deep breath and sat down, his muscles were still tensed with anger.

Behind us a loud explosion rang out, followed by a bright orange light. We all turned around to see a gigantic translucent orange sphere, crackling with what looked like electricity, appear around the square. Some type of magic shield? I turned around and looked at Ignis once more.

“If Western Sun still lives… Who did we kill?” I asked, an empty feeling of fear began to grip my chest.

“You insolent fools, you just assassinated Starry Eclipse...A member of the Order of the Rising Moon.”

***

Ignis sighed and sat down next to the table, looking solemnly at the body of Starry Eclipse. Prior to entering the Chapel, where the now dead member lay, Ignis had us all go down to street level and try to explain to the Praetorians what had happened.

As soon as the guards saw him, they lowered their weapons and allowed us to enter the magic shield. After much explaining and regret, it was concluded that we were tricked into thinking that Starry Eclipse was Western Sun. A terrible mistake, and I had not yet even the slightest idea of the repercussions that would ensue.

“We should bury him…” I quietly suggested.

Ignis and I were the last sitting by the table where Eclipse lay, the unicorn’s orange coat was splattered with blood, a lucky shot, right into the chest. His golden mane was scattered across the wooden furniture, and his once white robes were now drenched in the blood of guilt.

“No, we will liberate his soul and burn his body in cremation.” Ignis sighed and stood to all fours and exited the building. I trotted close behind him.

Ballpoint and Momo had joined soon after we had gained entrance to the shield. After a very tough explanation to Ballpoint about the false mission, and an even tougher explanation to Momo about, well, everything, both ponies were up to speed. Relatively. All the ponies were waiting outside.

“If I had been faster, I could’ve prevented this… Damnations.” Ignis cursed and sat down outside the Chapel, staring up at the now rising crescent waning moon. Pretty ironic. The magical shield had been lowered once it was deemed safe from any sneaking spectres.

“Hey, don’t blame yourself for this. Nopony knew right away. Hay, even you witnessed what General Falcon ordered and didn’t believe he would be tricking us like this.” I offered, placing a hoof on Ignis’s shoulder.

He met my eyes with his own and nodded solemnly.

“You are correct Midnight, but I still would like to think had I been faster in conjuring the teleportation, I could have warned you all sooner. With Eclipses death, we may have lost a significant lead on discovering the secrets of the Prophacy” He frowned, looking at the ponies who had come with me to the Narrows.

He gestured with his head for me to follow him and we trotted over to where my friends were all gathered awkwardly. Everypony knew something terrible had happened, but to what extent, it was unknown.

“So what now eh?” Ballpoint asked immediately.

Momo was leaning up against Ballpoint’s side. She had tripped and sprained her hoof in the forest when they were fleeing the Alicorns’ range of detection. Her left hoof was bandaged up and she held it in the air to keep her weight off of it. Both ponies seemed pretty shy, but thankful that they could have the physical contact with each other.

“I’m not sure.” Ignis shrugged and sat down before us all.

“Really? Aren’t ye like, all knowing and such?” Ballpoint prodded further.

I saw Ignis’s mouth curl into a faint smile as he nodded slowly.

“I guess you’re right young one. For now, we need to think. Think of what Eclipse was doing, and why the General wanted him dead.” Ignis explained.

Ballpoint scoffed at the name Ignis gave him but nodded nonetheless. Momo let out a small chuckle and prodded Ballpoints side lightly with her injured hoof.

“Young one.” She whispered as she poked him.

“Aw quit it! I won’t hesitate to drop ye, ye know!” Ballpoint gently swatted at Momo’s teasing hoof.

“Yes you will.” Momo batted her eyes at him and flashed a bright smile.

Ballpoint groaned, accepting defeat for now.

“Why would General Falcon order us to assassinate a potential ally? That just seems like a strategic failure.” Silver pondered.

“I never trusted that pigeon since the day I first say ‘im .” Momo scoffed, tearing her eyes from Ballpoint’s. “He’s a prick.” She flicked her mane.

“I gotta say, I’m with you on that one.” I smirked.

“Obviously it wasn’t in terms of defeating the Black Daylight. Perhaps he had ulterior motives?” Ignis suggested.

“I bet General Breeze would have a good idea!” Scarlet exclaimed. “She’s been on his case this whole time, maybe she’s gotten a lead? I doubt confronting Falcon would be a smart idea, not without support from another pony in charge.”

“That… actually wouldn’t be too bad of a place to start.” Silver agreed, surprisingly. He never agrees to anything he doesn’t come up with.

“Then that is your next objective, discover what Falcon is up to, but do so in secret before confronting him. Besides, I would feel much better knowing Breeze was in charge of the campaign against the Black One’s when Falcon is removed from power.” Ignis explained. “As for what Eclipse was up to, we should find which Praetorian is in charge, and gather more informa-” He paused and stiffened.

Ignis’s ears perked up and he quickly faced to his left, where we had originally came from highway sixty-two.

“Something is coming.” He spoke urgently. And quickly flashed into a puff of smoke and blue fire. Appearing atop one of the rooftops at the edge of the square. He peered off into the night, and suddenly teleported back to us.

“Brace yourselves, the Alicorns have discovered our location. I do not know what intention they have, but I fear they are not here for friendly terms.” Ignis quickly explained then turned around and went to the Praetorians standing near by.

“Prepare your arms, these incoming mutants may be hostile immediately!” He ordered, and quickly teleported back to the spot he previously stood on the lookout.

We all drew our weapons and spread out a little, finding bits of cover behind upturned wagons and large boulders spread near the Chapel. I stood next to Scarlet as usual, and I pulled the bolt of my rifle back partially to make sure it was chambered. Hey I was starting to learn a thing or two about guns!

I felt my ears twitch as I heard the distant flapping of feathered wings. Pretty distinct if you grew up mostly hearing the leathery bat wings all your life. Scarlet and I peered over the upturned wagon we were behind and I caught a glimpse of the three Alicorns as they lazily approached the square over the rooftops at a crawling pace.

They were silhouetted in front of the rising moon, but I could easily tell they were larger than normal ponies, with giant wings and elongated horns.

“Luna’s moon, Middy. It’s like it’s the goddesses themselves… coming to greet us.” Scarlet whispered in awe. I couldn't help but agree, these mares resembled the princesses of the olden days. A time where equestria was peaceful, before the war.

“Don’t let that fool ya, these freaks are just mutated magical monsters. They say the alicorns appeared out of nowhere after the bombs, and there’s thousands of em’!” Momo whispered from behind us, where Ballpoint set up his Rifle over a boulder.

“Aye, these lassies are ruthless and attack on sight. They don’t communicate ever, hell I doubt the bloody beasts can. They hardly visit Transylvania, but when they do, we take extra care to avoid em’.” Ballpoint paused. “Some say they’re invincible.” He added cautiously.

“Nonsense, they can bleed, so they can die. They just teleport away before anything gets serious.” Silver called out from our right.

“Oh hell ya they can die! We blasted the mutants out of the sky every time we saw em’!” Momo whooped and made a smashing gesture with her hoof. “Not much can stand against the Hailstorm’s main battery.” She grinned.

“Aye, but there’s no Hailstorm here, now is there?” Ballpoint sarcastically reminded her.

“R- Right…” Momo trailed off, falling silent. She reached back and drew her pistol from a holster on her flight suit. I noticed a small quiver in her jaw as her little fangs poked over the pistol grip. So much for bravado.

We watched as the three Alicorns gently let down on a building across an alley from where Ignis stood. The moon slowly rising into the sky encaptured the scene, rendering both members a silhouette before it. It looked almost surreal, the bright blue light of the moon bathing the white wolf, his calm demeanor not overshadowing an ounce of his might.
The middle Alicorn stepped forward, stopping mere inches from the lip of the rooftop, ignis nodded and gestured towards us. The Alicorn then pointed past us, possibly as a direction?

“Are… they talking? I can’t tell, their bloody lips aren’t moving.” Scarlet whispered from my right.

I gave her a confused shrug and locked my eyes back on the scene.

“Luna’s moon, I’ve only ever seen Alicorns twice, years ago, while patrolling the mountains, and in neither case have I seen them without casting a shield, let alone communicating.” Silver spoke from beyond Scarlet.

We wish no harm, our intentions are only that to provide aid. A mare’s voice spoke in my head without warning. I flinched, but remained relatively unphased. With ignis always popping into my head, I guess I just got used to it.

Everypony else, however, flipped the fuck out.

“What the bloody hell? Do you guys hear that?!” Scarlet cried out, looking around her in panic.

“Shite, I thought I was going mad!” Ballpoint added.

“Aye, what is this? Ignis!” Silver hollard, drawing the wolf’s attention.

Ignis teleported back to us, followed by a bright purple flash, and the three Alicorns teleporting behind him. We all took timid steps back as the mares towered a head or two above us.

“Don’t be afraid, it appears these kind mares are not hostile, they are no longer a part of their… family? Is that how you described it?” Ignis asked the middle Alicorn.

Now that they were no longer silhouetted I could see they were three colors, the middle one was a dark purple, the one on my right a dark blue and the one on my left a dark green. Oddly enough, they all didn’t have cutiemarks.

The purple mare, who I assumed was in charge, nodded solemnly.

Me and my two sisters are on our own. Many moons ago, on the far side of equestria, somepony destroyed what was our identity… I do not know how to explain it, nor is it worthy to mention. But know that whatever atrocities our kind has commit in the past, was commit unknowingly and not under our own… individual... control. She spoke calmly into our minds, it seemed like the word “individual” was distasteful. Her voice, however, was actually quite beautiful and sweet, not anything I’d imagine a ‘mutant’ to sound like.

Ballpoint absently scratched at his head, obviously this telecommunication wasn’t all that natural to him. Scarlet was no better, she clung to my side with nervous curiosity, not unlike a filly meeting a new stranger. Momo however, sat silent with a scowl, she had put away his pistol, but it was clear she would not hesitate to draw it in a moment.

“So… What is it that you want then?” Silver asked, quickly getting over the odd magical phenomenon.

We were traveling as far as we could to get away from the east, especially from Maripony, our former home. It was here that we stumbled upon word of a powerful magical being named Eclipse. We wished to assist him on his endeavors with our wide knowledge of magic, hopefully gaining a friend, if not only for the purpose to give us hope that we may lead normal lives. She sadly explained.

Unfortunately, another mare’s voice quietly spoke up, this one similar in sound though more timid. It looks like we arrived too late. The green one nodded from my left.

“Indeed my fair lady, you came at the most unfortunate of times.” Ignis sighed and sat down.

By this point everypony seemed to get over the fact that there were impressions of the goddesses before us, and we all stowed out weapons and took a seat in a circle. One of the Praetorians approached us, his armor identical to the others, with white metal plates. His cape was trimmed in gold and his helmet sported a yellow plume.

“Greetings master Ignis, it is an honor to finally meet you in person. I apologize for not giving introductions sooner, but I was preoccupied with securing our parameter and distributing new owners after the… accident.” The head Praetorian shot us a dirty look, or what I would assume would be one. His helmet completely obscured his face, only a thin horizontal slit in the visor provided space for him to see.

“As to you.” Ignis bowed his head in greeting. “I’m sure you recognize the angel and her guardian, the rest of these ponies are their friends, they are to be trusted and treated as members of the order themselves. Your name, Praetorian?” Ignis introduced us, asking.

“William. But just call me Bob.” The Praetorian replied with pride. Bowing to Scarlet, who for her part blushed slightly with embarrassment.

What the hell kind of name is “Bob”? I thought to myself, shaking my head.

“I am in command of the first cohort, my subordinates in charge are Joe, Mike, John and Stacey.” Bill pointed to various Praetorians scattered in the parameter, their helmets and trim were red instead of gold.

Ballpoint let out a small snicker, and was quickly silenced by Silver’s hoof smacking the back of his head. Quietly hushing him. I couldn’t help but smile too, these guys had such ridiculous names for how powerful they were. I would have gone with “Chocolate Shake” or “Star Shine.” hay, even “Flower Power” was less silly than these names.

“Praetorian Bob, we have much to discuss, as well as the fates of these mares here. Will you gather your Cohort and meet with me outside the Chapel?” Ignis asked, gesturing to the Alicorns.

“Yes sir! Certainly.” Bob nodded and gave a salute by crossing his right hoof horizontally across his chest. He then gave me a brisk nod and bowed once more for Scarlet. He turned around and trotted away towards the other Praetorians. The Alicorns followed suit, giving us nods of farewell.

“The hay was that all about.” Momo bluntly asked.

“It is probably appropriate I give you the full story now hmm?” Ignis chuckled. Giving me a wink. I rolled my eyes and nodded. Finally.

“We will start with the Praetorians. The Praetorians are the ancient guardians of The Order of the RIsing Moon. Their skills are passed down generation to generation. They are not from this world, and are only in Equestria for the sake of protecting members of The Order who are attempting to unravel the mystery of the Prophecy. The Order of the Rising Moon is an organization from a world parallel but not equal to this one, their world was destroyed long ago in civil war, in a fashion very similar to this.” Ignis explained letting that soak it. So apparently, since they’re parallel with us, they also suffered a similar fate. That sucks some serious ass.

"The Order was originally a school of mages who were studying the parallel worlds that connect us all. They stumbled upon a Prophecy that had connections to this Equestria, one that spelled the end of both Equestrias if not dealt with properly. After the destruction of both worlds, what remained of our Order interpreted that the Prophecy had run its course. However, that all changed when I stepped forward and revealed that there was a third universe attached to it. Lupus. As you have seen Midnight.” Ignis gave me a nod, which I returned.

“I had witnessed and reported similar stories and events that took place within Lupus, and this sparked a deeper mystery to be uncovered about the Prophecy. It so happens that this Equestira is the world that the action will take place in, with the rise of the Black Daylight. Their motives may seem simple; genocide of the Thestral species. But their actions follow a path that will ultimately unleash something tremendously destructive across all of our universe. We do not know what or how this may happen. But we do know; the birth of the scarlet maned Thestral, the guardian with the soul of a Lupus, and the rise of the Black Ones are all occurring in this Equestria. We all conviene here to solve the Prophecy, and prevent complete destruction. Not only for the ponies inhabiting here, but also the wolves of Lupus and the Ponies of Equestria’s sister world.” Ignis took a breath and nodded. Everypony sat in silence, trying to digest the information.


So there’s two Equestria’s, borth sharing very similar fates. And there was some organisation built around the study of parallel worlds… They figured out shit was gonna go down, and thought it already did when the war happened. But turns out they're wrong and shit’s still gonna go down. Ignis joined up telling them why they were wrong, cause Lupus was still experiencing events similar. Now everypony is here because THIS Equestria is the one where shit is gonna down in. Cause, the Black Daylight are a bunch of nutbags and are gonna try something stupid. Okay, I get it. Kinda. I thought to myself, trying to lay it all out.

“Well shiiiit.” Momo droned, flicking her black and blue mane out of her eyes.

“I couldn’t have put it in better terms myself.” Ignis chuckled.

“This is way more serious than anything I could have imagined…” Silver spoke softly. Then perked up. “Blast, how are we going to explain this all to Penny? Poor mare’s been left out of this whole thing.” He sighed.

“It’ll give you a good excuse to talk to her for a long time Silver~” Scarlet teased.

“Oh what wonderful terms to talk about.” Silver signed once more.

Scarlet smiled, then looked to Ignis more seriously. She didn’t seem nervous, or scared about all of this really. Something I’ve noticed she’s slowly becoming less of.

“So what does this have to do with me? Why am I so significant to all of this?” She asked, cocking her head in confusion.

“That, Angel, I do not know. All we know is that it is absolutely imperative that you remain alive. I only hope that time will reveal to you what your destiny is.” Ignis frowned, rolling a paw in mid air to try and explain. He then stood up and shook his fur free of dirt.

“This is all we know. I must speak with the Praetorians about other members of The Order, as well as what Eclipse was up to. You five need to return to Falcon and lie through your teeth that the deed has been done. Try your best to remove him from power, by whatever means. I wish the best, and I will communicate with all of you once something of importance comes up.” Ignis gave a bow and cantered off briskly toward the group of white knights and Alicorns.

“You guys ready?” I looked around me at my friends; we were tired, hungry, beaten and bruised. But there was life in each of our souls.

This news that Ignis gave us as dark and difficult to process, but we all knew that we were playing significant roles to stop the Black Daylight at all costs. We knew that this was no longer a matter of protecting our race, but for the protection of countless others across our worlds. I couldn’t have asked for more honest, trustworthy ponies to work alongside with.

“Hell yeah! Let’s finally put an end to that cocksucker’s command, and start to do some real damage against the Daylight!” Momo exclaimed excitedly.

“Now that’s a lass I like.” Ballpoint whispered and gave Momo a bright smile.

“Alright then, we have our orders, let’s move out. We need to make it back to the Vertibuck.” Silver commanded and spread his wings. “From that anti aircraft fire we got, we know there’s at least some Daylight forces near by, maybe not the one’s we thought we were going after, but a threat no less. Let’s fly swiftly under the tree line and get back to base.” He then took off, followed by the rest of us quickly followed suit and made our way back the way we came.

I glided next to Scarlet, and did a playful roll over her onto her other side, eliciting a giggle from the beautiful mare. We were in such a positive mood, I had expected everypony to take this more heavily, but something about the way Ignis explained it. Something about the way Scarlet handled it, her mood maybe, it resonated off of her. I couldn’t help but feel hopeful, hopeful that we could make a difference, that we could stop the Black Daylight before anything begins. If what Ignis said was true, then the Prophecy could end immediately if we prevent the Black Daylight from doing whatever crazy stunt they were going to pull.

I leaned to my left and planted a gentle kiss on Scarlet’s cheek, causing her to blush adorably and smile. Whatever it was about her, it was working. She inspired hope and courage, I could feel it, see it in the others. Maybe this is the role she plays? Maybe she alone could influence the Daylight’s forces to drop their weapons and seek peace? Only Luna knows at this point.

What I knew? I love her, and she loves me too. That alone was the sole driving force that would grant me courage to face whatever lies ahead.

X X X

L-L-L-LEVEL UP! (John Cena trumpets)

Author's Note:

The plot thickens~ OOOOooooOOoooooh