• Published 7th Aug 2014
  • 8,301 Views, 236 Comments

The Final Days of Man - Anima Reaper



Armies clash in Equestria over an ancient feud between two powerful races. Ajax ,the last human, holds Celestia accountable for the extinction of his race. He will go to any lengths to see her brought to justice.

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Chapter Two

The Canterlot garden was brimming with life on a beautiful morning as the sun sat high in the sky. The luscious green garden was filled with exotic plants, critters and the fresh scent of flowers. Celestia and Twilight were taking a morning stroll through the beautiful garden.

“Thank you for taking the time to stay here with me while we try to find Ajax’s whereabouts. I know it must not be easy for you to be so far from home.” said Celestia

Twilight was leaning over to smell a large exotic flower, but she it didn't smell as good as it looked.

“N-no problem I-I'm glad that I could b-be of assistance.”

Twilight was trying her best to fight back a massive sneeze, but couldn't hold it in any longer.

“ACHOO!”

Celestia chuckled as the purple alicorn began to have a sneezing fit. The two princesses continued walk, and talked about simpler things, until a royal guard interrupted their moment of peace and quiet. The stallion bowed before the two princesses hoping he hadn’t interrupted anything too important.

“Princess Celestia, Princess Twilight we still have not been able to find anything on the whereabouts of the human.”

Celestia nodded and dismissed the guard. Twilight followed Celestia back into the castle. Twilight wished that she could have talked with her old mentor for a little while longer, but now she knew their alone time was over. She knew that Celestia wanted to find Ajax as quick as possible, she could tell that Celestia was losing sleep over the matter.

“Do you think he might have escaped to a different land? Maybe he just wants to be left alone and doesn't want to bother Equestria any further.” said Twilight.

Celestia shook her head.

“He will be back, it is only a matter of time. I am sure of it.”

Celestia and Twilight entered a large room decorated with maps of Equestria, large banners and ancient armor adorned the ancient walls. Twilight’s eyes were caught on every object in the room, she had a love for history and this room had plenty of it.

“Why have I never seen this room before Celestia?” asked Twilight as she spun a globe.

Celestia walked over to her and placed a hoof on the globe.

“This is the Canterlot War Room, no pony has been in this room for quite some time, since we haven’t seen a war in Equestria in over six-hundred years. We, for the most part, have been living in quite a peaceful time.”

“Until now.”

A figure had entered the room unnoticed, he was an earth pony dressed as a royal guard, but his armor was different. It was white with gold plating and had four golden stars drilled into its side. He had blue eyes and a white coat with a cutie mark depicting a sunset. His mane was black and short, trimmed to replicate the hair on the royal guard’s helmet. Shining Armor stood behind the stranger, he also was wearing his purple plated regal armor, ready for battle. The two ponies saluted the princesses as she addressed them. Twilight smiled at Shining Armor, but she seemed to have gone on unnoticed. Celestia turned toward Twilight as she motioned for stallion in white armor to step forward.

“Twilight I would like you to meet a very important pony. Celestia pointed to the stallion in white armor. This is Horizon Star, he is the highest ranking general in all of Equestria.”

Horizon Star bowed before Twilight.

“It is an honor to meet you princess Twilight. I look forward to being of assistance to you.”

She blushed seeing the stallion bow before her, she still wasn't used to the royal treatment.

"Nice to meet you, I am Twilight Sparkle." Just then Twilight noticed that Horizon Star was an earth pony. The alicorn wondered how the highest ranking general could be an earth pony. Usually those types of rankings belonged to unicorns, sometimes even pegasus ponies on rare occasions, but never an earth pony. She withheld all her questions, since she wanted to be polite towards the earth pony. Celestia addressed the two armored ponies.

“Now then as you two are aware, Equestria is under attack by the human known as Ajax. I will share with you all that I know about him in the hopes it will help you defeat him. ”

Celestia began to pace back and forth as she listed everything she could recall off the top of her head.

“As you know he wields two massive large swords and has the power to control black fire, but there are a few other things you should know. Like all humans he is incapable of using magic, but he will most likely be equipped with technology beyond our understanding. His black fire can also form protective barriers and when he reaches his limit, his curse will only become stronger.”

Shining Armor saluted the princess.

“Do we know of any weaknesses?”

Celestia shook her head slowly.

“He rushed here blindly in a fit of rage, but I doubt he will let his anger get the best of him again. He is a renowned tactical genius therefore we must assume he will make no more mistakes.”

Shining Armor nodded.

“You have my word that the royal guards will be on double watch, nothing will get past us princess, I swear my life on it. Canterlot will be a solid fortress that no human could ever infiltrate.”

"Thank you. You are dismissed, Shining Armor."

Shining Armor saluted the princess and exited the room while Horizon Star awaited further orders.

“Horizon Star you have been trained for years by the academy in battlefield tactics and leadership. You are prepared more than anyone else to lead an army against Ajax. I hope it goes without saying saying that Ajax could strike anywhere at any time. You must be there when he attacks...This medallion will give you absolute authority in any matter pertaining to the human.”

Celestia handed Horizon Star a pendant, it had a glowing symbol of Celestia's cutie mark. On the back it listed all of the authorities granted to him.

“Why wouldn’t he just attack Canterlot if he was after you?” asked Twilight.

“He knows that Canterlot most likely will be heavily guarded, if he was to attack other cities in Equestria he would force me to spread out my defenses, making it easier to claim a victory in Canterlot."

Horizon Star saluted the princesses

“I assure you princess that despite Equestria not seeing a war in nearly six hundred years, I am fully prepared to lead an army of any size whenever and wherever”

Horizon Star gave the princess one last salute before taking his leave. Celestia looked over at Twilight, who continued to spin the same globe from before. The purple alicorn's face was full of sorrow, she would rather be back in Ponyville rather than preparing for war.

“Twilight I hope you understand that I need you more than ever for this. Equestria might need the elements of harmony to deliver us from this evil.”

Twilight looked up at Celestia.

“I understand that it is extremely important that I stay here in Canterlot and all, but I miss Spike and all my friends back in Ponville.”

Twilight frowned as she started to spin the globe again.

“I guess I must sound pretty selfish, huh?”

Celestia was disheartened to see her old pupil so upset. She took a moment to think things over before speaking.

“I never meant to keep you from your friends Twilight. Why don’t you go back to Ponyville and I will call for you if I need your assistance.”

Twilight had a joyous expression on her face, but she tried her best to act casual as she gratefully accepted Celestia’s offer. The moment she left the palace she went straight to the train station and headed back to Ponyville. She was worried that Spike might have made a mess of her new home, but none of that mattered now, because soon she would be back in Ponyville. Deep down in her heart she wasn’t too worried about the human, she and her friends had defeated Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis, Discord and even Tirek.

No way a single human could be a greater threat than any of those villains. Twilight Sparke stared out the train window as she let her mind wander off.

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A snowstorm blew viciously across the snowy plains, blocking out the distant sunrise. Snow blew in all directions as two figures pressed through the thick wall of white. Trixie tried her best to hold the map steady, but the wind was far too strong and swept it right out of her hooves. Ajax lept into the air and snatched the dancing parchment, he slammed down deep into the snow. As he stood up, his cloak was torn away by the violent winds, disappearing into the snowstorm. Trixie had never seen the armor of the ancient warrior, she stared at him for a while trying to figure out who or what he really was. Ajax brushed off snow from his shoulders as he approached the unicorn.

“Maybe you should grow some thumbs next time.” He said mockingly as he handed the map back to Trixie.

“Maybe you should grow your own magic horn next time” said Trixie as she opened the map again.

The two pressed on deeper into the snowstorm when Trixie finally stopped.

“Why did you stop?”

Trixie had a perplexed look upon her face, as she continued to stare at the map. She flipped the paper over as if she was looking for something.

“This isn’t right, we are in the middle of nowhere, but the map ends here…”

Ajax looked around, she was right, they were indeed in the middle of nowhere, not a single town or small village was within a thirty mile radius. A large gust of wind caught Trixie off guard ripping the map out of her hooves for a second time. The map sailed through the air and flew right into Ajax’s chest. Trixie let out a sigh of relief.

Ajax slowly looked down at the paper pushing against him and brushed it away. The piece of paper disappeared into the thick storm. Trixie began to scream at the top of her lungs, her voice dwarfed by the raging snowstorm.

“YOU LOST THE MAP! NOW HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET BACK TO CIVILIZATION! WE ARE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE!”

The pony flailed her hooves about in a fit of rage, but Ajax flat out ignored her. Trixie continued to call him all sorts of names, when Ajax turned to her and drew his sword.

“Hush.”

Trixie froze as the man whispered the command to her, she watched as he stood there sword in hand peering into the distance. Trixie thought that if the cold wasn't going to kill her, this psycho would surely do. Ajax walked over to Trixie and jabbed his sword deep into the snow. Trixie flinched, startled by the sudden action.

“You said the map ended here right?” Trixie backed up eyeing the massive sword, she wondered if the man blamed her for the outcome of the map.

“I even double checked it and everything. I am certain this is where it ended.”

Ajax picked up his blade and began walking around thrusting it into the snow. Trixie sat and watched as the man continued to stab the snow, in the middle of nowhere, during a snowstorm. Trixie was sure that he was indeed crazy and now she was going to die out here in the middle of nowhere with this lunatic. Suddenly she heard Ajax call out to her, she looked up to see him quite a ways off signaling for her to come over. Trixie walked over to him and saw that he was still poking the snow with his sword.

“Please, do tell me why you keep pushing your sword into the snow?”

Ajax looked up and lifted his sword out of the snow, he moved it over a few inches before pushing it back in, but the sword stopped, it had hit something solid.

“That’s why. We made to the treasure at the end of the map. All we needed to do was a bit of digging. You might want to a few step backs for this.”

Ajax knelt down and wiped away snow to reveal a thick reinforced screen. He ripped off a rusted panel to reveal an ancient keyboard. The man typed away as Trixie hopped up and down trying to peer over his shoulder to see exactly what he was doing. She could see green letters fly by as the man typed away. Finally everything stopped and a question appeared in solid green letters.

“Unlock J.A.X.-034? Y/N”.

When Ajax hit the key, the earth began to shake. The screen sank back into the ground as a massive pylon of steel emerged from the snow, slowly rotating up into the sky. The tower had a diameter that was easily a quarter of a mile long, however the metal obstruction didn't stop growing in height. Ajax turned to Trixie who was still hypnotized by the sheer structure size.

“Are you going to stare at it until it is fully out of the ground? Trust me it’s at least going to be a couple of minutes till it’s done.”

“What the hell is this thing exactly!?” shouted Trixie.

She had never seen any tower or castle that compared to the structures height. Not even the tallest skyscraper in Manehatten was this tall. Ajax thought about it for a moment trying to think of a good explanation for the huge pylon of steel.

“Well think of it like a vault that goes deep into the ground waiting to be of use to me or anyone else with the pass code. If I was leading an army out in these parts where there is no human city nearby, we could come here to rest and resupply. It isn't the only one of its kind though, there are plenty throughout Equestria, buried deep under the ground. The maps leading to these vaults were written in magic since the only people who we were afraid breaking into them were other humans. Unfortunately I didn’t have the device needed to decipher the magical writing so I had to find someone with natural talent. Which is why I needed you."

Trixie thought that maybe the human wasn't crazy after all.

“So, what exactly are you expecting to find in there?”

Ajax scratched the back of his head. He wished he knew what was inside the tower himself.

“Well, its purpose is to serve as an outpost for an army, I can only hope that there are more weapons than supplies inside. Then we have to figure out which weapons haven’t turned to junk over the last one-thousand years.”

Ajax sighed, he was hopeful at first , but now he wasn’t so sure he was going to find anything of value.

“Whatever is inside will be all the help I get in starting my war, so hopefully I hit the jackpot.”

A rectangular passage opened in the side of the towering structure, Ajax stepped through the passage. Trixie followed after him, since she had no way of returning home herself she figured it was better to be inside. However it was still freezing inside the tower, but at least there was no wind-chill and snow indoors. The floor began to move as they were lifted up through the tower. Trixie looked down at the platform and pressed a hoof against the hard steel.

“This is a lot better than stairs, how marvelous!”

She looked over at Ajax who was typing away on a computer in the corner of the elevator. He began listing a bunch of things in the vault with a smile on his face, but Trixie didn’t understand a single thing he said. However it wasn’t hard to tell that whatever was in the vault made him very happy.

“I can’t believe that all of this stuff is here, especially that it’s all still functional, Jack always did take really good care of his stuff."

The elevator finally stopped, the doors opened to reveal a dark empty hallway. Trixie analyzed the interior of the hallway. The walls were made out of solid steel with empty weapon racks running up and down every other hallway. Trixie didn't even notice that Ajax had disappeared leaving her alone to explore by herself. He most likely went off to look at all the stuff he had been so excited about. Trixie began to wander the halls looking at a variety of weapons and banners.

The unicorn wandered into a grand room with trophies and exotic weapons, but one object in particular caught her eye above all. A blue hat stitched with crescent moons and stars sat atop a podium in the middle of the room, the rim of the hat was adorned with small bells complimenting its fine embroidery. Trixie didn't believe her eyes.

‘Could it really be? Is it his hat?!’

Trixie was slowly approached the headpeace when she heard footsteps behind her. She quickly turned around expecting to see Ajax, but standing before her was a completely different human than before. It was Ajax, but his hair was no longer jagged and rough, but now was long and smooth, his armor brand new and polished. His wrapped up arm no longer had the bandage wrapping, his right arm was a thick bronze gleaming gauntlet. He was a brand new man. He slowly approached the pony and looked past her to see the wizard’s cap.

“Oh? I suppose that would catch your eye. I am sure a unicorn such as yourself must have read a few books about him."

Trixie still couldn’t believe that Star Swirl’s hat was here of all places.

“How in the world did you happen to come by a hat like that?”

Ajax smiled and picked up the hat and placed it over his head.

“You mean this silly thing? It is a trophy of course, a reminder of mankind’s victory over Starswirl the Bearded.”

Trixie’s face turned soured as she realized what the human meant. She had to get out of here while she had a chance.

“Oh well I guess I should leave you to your vault. It’s quite a lovely place and I am sure that I am just taking away from it all.”

She quickly walked passed him in a dash for the exit. A large sword blocked the pony’s path, she stared at Ajax's cold eyes as he slowly pushed her back into the room.

“Sorry Trixie, you aren't leaving this place. I just can’t risk word getting out about where I am. I hope you understand that it’s nothing personal.”

Black fire rushed around the room as the sky blue pony tried to back away from the flames. She could tell that despite being the Great and Powerful Trixie this man was by far too powerful for her to take on. He had bested Star Swirl the Bearded for Celestia’s sake!

The man’s walk turned into a sprint as he lashed out at the pony slamming one of his swords into the steel floor. Trixie screamed, but had managed to roll out of the way just in time. Ajax propelled himself forward using the sword that was dug into the ground. He raised his second sword behind his head and smashed a purple barrier conjured by Trixie. She flew against the wall and fell to the floor.

Artifacts and trinkets bombarded her as they fell off the wall. She put her hooves down and tried to pick herself up. Fear coursed through every vein in her body, its strong grip paralyzed the pony. Thoughts of dying began to rush through her head, she didn’t want to die, she wasn’t ready yet. Her eyes met Ajax’s unsympathetic jade eyes as he slowly approached to deliver the final blow. Trixie’s voice quivered as she begged for her life.

“WAIT! I-i-i can be of use t-to you!”

The pony threw her hooves up in a last attempt to shield herself. She waited, but a final blow never came. Trixie hesitantly looked up and saw the man standing still, with his head tilted at an angle. Whatever she had just said had caught his attention.

Trixie tried to stand, but her legs were shaking so violently she just collapsed again. She started talking again knowing that it was her only hope.

“You want revenge right?! You want vengeance on Celestia? Well I want revenge on Twilight Sparkle! We can work together you and me. Equestria has changed over the past one-thousand years, you need someone who is knowledgeable in current matters. Please, spare me and we can take down Canterlot, together!”

Ajax folded one arm and placed a hand on his cheek, he smiled at the pony begging for her life.

“A tempting offer, too bad you are far too weak to be of any assistance to me.”

Trixie closed her eyes… At least she had tried, she awaited her fate when suddenly she was swooped off the ground and placed back onto her hooves. She looked up and saw Ajax sheathing the swords onto his back.

“I will accept your offer, but be warned if you fail me I will not hesitate to get rid of you, I care not for trash.”

Trixie weakly nodded, still traumatized from a few seconds ago.

“However if you are successful I will see to it that you are rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Whatever you desire shall be yours. They shall build monuments, hundreds of feet high that still undersell 'The Great and Powerful Trixie'.”

Ajax placed Star Swirl’s hat on her head, Trixie thought about what he had said and dreamt about what it would be like to be the most revered pony in all of Equestria. She tried to walk, but she still couldn't stop trembling. Ajax rolled his eyes and picked up the unicorn and threw her on top of his right shoulder.

“Well then, let me show you where you will be spending most of your time here.”

Ajax carried the unicorn to a room filled with bookcases each easily fifty feet high, stuffed with books. Trixie couldn’t believe what she saw, never in her life had she ever seen such a large collection of magical tomes in one place.

“Impressive, huh? We kept all rare books regarding to magic from races we conquered throughout Equestria. I thought such a practice was pointless, but I guess they might be useful to you. Hopefully something in here will be able to help you improve you magic.”

Trixie finally had regained her ability to walk, she slowly started to take books off the shelves and read their titles. A lot of first editions books regarding magic long lost to Equestria were here. Trixie had access to magic that few even remembered had ever existed.

“These books are textbooks, encyclopedias and anthologies regarding to arcane magic. Magic like this no longer exists in Equestria today.”

Trixie couldn’t help herself, she began taking books off the shelves by the dozen.

“I am not surprised that it disappeared from Equestria, by the looks of it we gathered every last page regarding to the subject.”

Ajax watched as Trixie continued to take book after book from the shelves stacking them on top of a table.

“Well, I can see that you are busy, but don’t get too comfortable, we got a lot of work to do today."

When Ajax left, Trixie sat down at a nearby table and sighed, thinking of what she had just gotten herself into. She didn’t like Twilight, but she would never go so far as to kill her. Trixie began to think about the life she could never return to. It didn’t take long for her to remember that her old life sucked, she was in debt and her talent was never appreciated by anyone whenever she performed.

‘Maybe this won’t be too bad’ she thought to herself.

After all she had a large collection of books to read, a roof over her head, and she no longer had to pay off her debts or put on any shows. Trixie started to look on the bright side of things when she heard a loud noise from down the hall. She poked her head out the door, but couldn’t see anything down the dark hallway.

“Hello? Ajax?”

Trixie listened for a while, but no answer came. She heard a whisper from down the hall and decided to check it out. Trixie took light steps using her horn to light the path. The voice grew louder, whatever it was, was right around the corner. Trixie took a deep breath and mustered her courage before she popped out from behind the wall.

“Who’s there!” shouted the unicorn.

Trixie’s horn illuminated a metallic robot that was being crushed under a broken support beam. The robot kept repeating the same sentence.

“Error JAX-004 under intense pressure, initiating system reboot.”

“Error JAX-004 under intense pressure, initiating system reboot.”

“Error JAX-004 under intense pressure, initiating system reboot.”

“Error JAX-004 under intense pressure, initiating system reboot.”

Trixie slowly approached the automaton, she had never seen anything like it before. It had a similar body shape to that of a human, but its body was made out of a smooth metal. Trixie rolled the pillar off of the robot as it repeated the same sentence one last time.

“Error JAX-004 under pressure, initiating system reboot.”

The robot went silent for a bit before reawakening. It slowly stood on its feet as its head slowly rotated clockwise, scanning the room. The robot had an extremely thin skeletal frame except for its large cylindrical shins and forearms. The robotic head was a smooth cylinder that had two eyes and a straight line for a mouth. A small disk emerged from the robot's forearm and spread itself outward tripling its radius.

The robot placed the disk on its head, the disk bended forming a conical hat that covered the robot’s eyes. When the robot faced Trixie, it stopped. The robot’s thick shin shot up a long thin samurai sword. The machine caught the sword with lightning speed and drew the blade and pointing it at Trixie.

“You, pony. Why are you here? What is your purpose?”

The robot’s words all followed the same rhythm. Trixie’s horn glowed with magic, she had a long day and wasn't in the best of moods. The robot swung at the pony. Trixie fired a bright purple magic missle. Suddenly a figure appeared between the robot and the pony and caught the robot by the neck with one hand and crushed the magic missile with his gauntlet. Ajax stood for a moment and stared at the robot as he shook his smoldering metal hand.

“What exactly is this thing?” asked Ajax.

“I was hoping that you were going to tell me.” said Trixie.

The robot empty eyes stared at Ajax for a moment.

“I am J.A.X-004. My directory lists you have the commanding authority.”

Ajax looked back at the robot for a while before he dropped it. Trixie horn lit-up with magic, ready to strike.

“Hold on a moment Trixie. If this thing is really X-4 then you might have just found the most valuable thing in here. Jack numbered his creations according to their value, so if we found number four then we are in luck.”

The robot slowly stood up on its thick cylinders, and placed the samurai sword back into its leg.

“My calendar says it has been nearly a thousand years since this vault was last opened. Will I be needing repairs?”

“No, you’re fine, it 'has' been a thousand years.”

“Why are you traveling alone?” questioned the robot.

Ajax told the robot how Celestia had tricked him into guarding the Everfree Scar under the pretense that she would give humans a second chance. Then she exterminated the human race despite their contract and now was trying to kill him as well.

“If you are the last human that means Jack is no longer alive therefore I suppose you are in command of all his machinery. If you wish to start a war, I suggest you reactivate the factory below the tower.”

Ajax smiled.

“Did you say a factory?”

The robot began leading them to the lowest part of the vault, deep under the ground.

“Wait so there is more stuff still under the ground?!” exclaimed Trixie.

Ajax shrugged.

“I am honestly surprised myself. This is by far the largest vault that I have ever seen. I am starting to think an old friend of mine hid the best of his toys from me.”

The robot led them into a dark room, Ajax hit a light switch lighting up a giant construction of steel.

“Well, what does this thing do?” said Trixie sluggishly.

Trixie had become jaded by too many marvelous things. Ajax approached a panel and began to flip a bunch of switches before pulling a giant lever. They watched as the giant machine slowly hummed to life. The earth shook as drills pierced the ground, small appendages emerged from slots in the machine and began shoveling chunks of earth onto a conveyor belt. JAX-4 approached the console and stood next to Ajax.

“This factory is self-sustaining, drilling deeper and deeper into the earth to provide the necessary material for its product.” said the robot.

“What is its product exactly?” said Ajax as he raised an eyebrow.

“The output can be changed to a few different things, I have set the output to be soldiers.”

Ajax gasped.

“Soldiers?! Like sentient order driven beings? Like the ones you build an army with?!”

“Look for yourself. The first one should be produced shortly.”

A figured rolled out on a conveyor belt. Ajax hopped over the metal railing and landed down on the production floor. He approached the figure and lifted it off of the conveyor belt. The robot resembled a human, but was extremely light and only about five feet tall. Its arms and legs were just a series of steel tubes connected to ball joints.

“They aren't high quality, but I can’t say that surprises me. They will get the job done though.”

Ajax looked around the place and saw an old pair of twin doors. He pushed the ancient doors open, dust filled the air, as the smell of ancient fuel ravaged his nostrils. The lights of the factory casted the man's shadow upon rows and rows of deactivated robots. He started to chuckle, but soon it evolved into a sinister laugh. He had hoped to find something valuable in the vault, but never expected to find an endless robotic army. Ajax closed the doors and stepped back into the factory.

“I want this machine running at all times. I want it producing soldiers twenty-four, seven!"

JAX-4 saluted and began inputting the commands into the console.

“Trixie!” shouted the human.

The pony peered over the railing awaiting to hear what he had to say.

“The Crystal Empire isn’t far from here, correct?”

Trixie gave a reassuring nod.

“It’s only a couple of miles away…”

Ajax jumped back onto the railing above the factory he had a devilish grin on his face.

“Let’s test out the waters a bit. I wonder how Celestia's ally's will fair against my new army. Let's go pay the Crystal Princess a small visit.”

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The sun peeped over a distant mountain range, its bright light hit the top of the crystal palace and slowly trickled down upon the rest of the city. Sunlight entered through a window waking up Princess Cadence. When she woke up, she reached over for something in her bed, but whatever she was reaching for wasn’t there. Her eyes slowly opened as she let out a sigh. She sat up in her bed still wrapped in blankets. Shining Armor had been in Canterlot for nearly two weeks. The royal guards were still on full alert despite no sign of Ajax anywhere. She groaned as she pulled herself out of bed and into the bathroom. A toothbrush slowly lifted off the counter and began brushing her teeth as a comb fixed her hair. There was a knock on her door.

“Come in!” shouted Cadence.

She spat out into the sink and began rinsing her mouth with water. A crystal unicorn entered with a clipboard in hoof. She had large rimmed glasses and her main was twisted into twin braided tails. She was busy writing something down as she paced back and forth.

“This isn’t good we only have five minutes until the grand Crystal Parade.”

Cadence emerged from the bathroom ready for her day.

“Relax Timestamp the world isn’t going to end if I am a few minutes late.”

“MY WORLD WILL THOUGH!”

The pony nearly ripped her hair out at the thought about being late. Cadence rolled her eyes as she placed her crown upon her head.

“Look, I am ready, so let’s get going.”

The streets of the Crystal Empire were alive with ponies that had gathered to see the parade. Ponies from all across Equestria crowded around to see the legendary spectacle. Trumpets blew as crystal guards emerged from the palace making a path for Princess Cadence. She smiled and waved to the crystal ponies and tourists who had gathered to see the parade. She took a spot on top of the largest float and began leading the ponies in the Crystal Kingdom anthem. After the ponies finished, fireworks shot into the air signaling the start of the parade. Ponies had a joyous time playing flugelhorns and waving the crystal empire flag. Cadence loved seeing her empire so full of life. She continued to smile and wave when a crystal guard landed next to her. She looked over at the crystal pegasus who obviously had something important to tell her. She continued her routine of smiling and waving as she whispered to the guard.

“What are you doing? Can’t you see that I am in the middle of something?”

The crystal pony tried to act casual as he whispered back.

“I am deeply sorry for the intrusion princess, but something has come up that could jeopardize the security of the kingdom.”

Cadence froze for a moment, but continued her smile and wave routine.

“What would you have me do? Leave in the middle of the parade with everypony watching?”

The crystal guard shrugged, he couldn’t think of anything. If she left during the middle of the parade the whole ceremony would be ruined.

“Please, come to the observatory as soon as you can princess.”

The crystal pegasus flapped his wings and disappeared into the crowd, leaving the princess stranded on her float. For the rest of the celebration Cadence couldn’t stop thinking about what-had-to-be so important that the guard couldn’t wait till the parade was over. In the corner of her eye she could see royal guards galloping through the streets, as pegasus ponies patrolled the sky. She knew something wasn’t right, but she was stuck on her float till the parade ended. There were only a few minutes left when the same pegasus from before landed on her float, but this time he was accompanied by three other crystal guards.

“Are you going to keep me in the dark or are you finally going to tell me what exactly is going on?”

If the Crystal Kingdom was in danger she shouldn’t be sitting on a float, she didn’t care if her absence would ruin the festival. She held the safety of her people above everything else, including herself. The crystal pony bowed before Cadence.

“Sorry fo-“

“Yes, yes, yes, please, just tell me what is going on already.”

Cadence had stopped trying to act so casual, she wanted to know why the crystal guards were so alarmed.

“I am the crystal princess and I have the right to know if something is threatening my kingdom.”

The crowd began to whisper to one another curious as to why Cadence seemed frustrated with the crystal guards.

“We have detected…well…some large kind of formation that seems to be approaching the kingdom. We aren’t sure what it is exactly, but we are taking all necessary precautions.”

“WHAT?!”

Cadence placed a hoof over her mouth, before whispering to the guard.

“what?”

Cadence looked around and saw ponies in the crowd staring at her and the guards. She started to smiled and wave again, hoping to make up for her outburst.

“I am going to the observatory and figuring out what exactly is going on. Here take over for me.”

Cadence spread her wings and shot into the sky leaving the guards on top of her float. They looked at each other confused, one guard shrugged and began to smile and wave. The other guards decided to follow his example.

Cadence landed on a balcony and entered a dim lit room with crystal ponies fighting over a large telescope
.

“Maybe it’s a migration of emperor penguins.”

“No way it’s they’re too large to be penguins.”

“Maybe they are windigos migrating north.”

They continued to rabble with one another not noticing the princess who had just entered the room.

“Ahem.” Cadence let out a cough to inform the ponies of her presence.

The crystal ponies turned around and saw Cadence waiting for somepony to explain the situation. The crystal ponies looked at each other and stepped away from the telescope.

“Excuse us your majesty, please take a look and tell us what you think it is.”

Cadence closed one eye and peered into the telescope. Whatever it was, was still too far off in the distance to make out exactly what it was. It had to be large and moving at a decent pace since it was knocking up so much snow. She wasn’t going to take any chances however since the foreign entity was headed straight for the kingdom. Cadence stepped back from the telescope, and addressed the crystal ponies.

“I want eyes on that thing at all times. Make sure that every crystal guard is suited up and on standby. Try to be as discreet as possible though, we don’t want to alarm the city.”

The crystal ponies saluted their princess and started to prepare for the worst case scenario. Cadence pulled a crystal guard out of his squad and over to the side.

“I need you to send word to Canterlot, tell princess Celestia that the crystal kingdom might be under attack.”

The crystal pony saluted the princess and rushed off to send the message.

“We are starting to get a visual princess!”

A pony was adjusting the telescope trying to get a better look. He reared back from the telescope with a confused look before he took a second glance.

“It looks like…troop formations?”

Cadence rushed forward nearly knocking the pony over. She wanted to believe that the pony had made a mistake, that maybe the sun got in his eyes or he might not have gotten enough sleep last night. She adjusted the telescope when suddenly she hit the perfect focus. She saw the sun’s rays reflecting off metallic humanoids marching in formation towards her kingdom. She knew that it must be Ajax, but how did he find an army in only a few weeks’ notice. None of that mattered now though, she slowly stepped away from the telescope, still in disbelief. The crystal ponies all looked at one another worried about what the princess saw.

“The Crystal Kingdom is under attack…” whispered Cadence.

Cadence waited, but the crystal ponies were too stunned to make any comments.

“Go! I want every pony that isn’t associated with the crystal guard in a shelter. I want every crystal guard at the ready. Send message throughout Equestria that Ajax is attacking the Crystal Kingdom!” shouted the princess.

Cadence’s horn glowed with her bright blue magic. Sparks of pure energy fizzled off her horn as she began to place the entire kingdom inside a massive blue barrier.

“Princess! The enemy has stopped moving!” shouted one of the crystal ponies.

Cadence nodded, she still was trying to catch her breath from creating the massive force field.

“Let’s wait and see what he does first, the longer we wait, the more time reinforcements have to arrive.”

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Ajax stood on top of a massive war machine that was easily fifteen feet tall. The construction of steel steadily moved towards the kingdom. Ajax placed his fists on his sides, his eyes fixated on the Crystal Kingdom.

“Impressive, I have only heard stories about the Empire, but they all surely fall short of the wondrous city.”

JAX-4 and Trixie were sitting behind Ajax on the edge of the giant machine, JAX-4 looked at the display screen in his forearm.

“King Sombra took the city from the crystal princess over a thousand years ago. However he lost dominion over the city when Luna and Celestia banished him for the way he treated his citizens. When he was banished he placed a curse on the kingdom which caused it to vanish never to be seen again. Some say the king still remains dormant under the land, frozen in ice, waiting for a chance to retake his kingdom. I have no information regarding as to why the kingdom has returned though...”

JAX-4 continued to search information, but obviously the robot’s database had nothing else. The screen sank back and disappeared into the metallic arm. Trixie closed a book that she had brought along with her from the library. She stood up on her hooves and approached the man and machine.

“King Sombra is no more, Twilight and her friends banished him and saved the Crystal Kingdom from the Tyrant King not to long ago. However your history lesson was a riveting tale.” remarked Trixie with a sarcastic tone.

The robot looked at the pony with his blank expression. The robot had no facial features that could convey emotion even if he had any.

“I am glad that you enjoyed it.”

Trixie rolled her eyes, as Ajax let out a slight chuckle. The robot turned to him curious as to why he was laughing.

“What’s so funny?” inquired the machine.

Ajax shook his head, the clueless machine obviously wasn't programmed for humor.

“She was being sarcastic, it’s kind of like she didn’t mean it.”

The machine stood like a statue staring at Ajax.

“So she lied to me?”

“Well yes and no.”

“How is that possible?"

Ajax turned away and waved him off.

“Just forget it. Anyways, Trixie, care to shed some light on why the crystal kingdom has returned?”

“Well, as you are aware the Crystal Kingdom is ruled by Princess Cadence who recently came into power after she married Shining Armor, captain of the royal guard. Recently Sombra tried to take back the kingdom, but Twilight and her friends stopped them.”

Ajax raised an eyebrow.

“You mean Twilight Sparkle and her five friends stopped King Sombra. The tyrant of the north? He must have been a complete joke, or maybe those ponies were stronger than they looked.”

“Wait a second. You met Twilight and her friends?”

Ajax hopped off the machine and drew his sword.

“We chatted for a bit…”

He knelt down and rubbed his hand across the grass. He gripped soil and watched it slowly drain from his fist.

“Amazing, out here in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a barren, cold, wasteland, no civilization for hundreds of miles, and yet the kingdom still flourishes. Magic will never cease to amaze me.”

Ajax looked up and saw that the Crystal Empire now was surrounded by a light blue bubble.

“Well, look at that. I guess they must have seen us coming.”

JAX-4 jumped down next to him and drew his samurai sword.

“We should show them why we are here.” said the robot.

Ajax drew his sword and walked back to the machine that they had been riding.

“Trixie, you still up there?”

The unicorn poked her head over.

“I suggest you get down from there.”

Ajax started to mess with machine from below. Trixie hopped off and landed next to JAX-4. They both watched as Ajax input something into a computer. The man stepped back and placed a small device into his ear. He tossed something similar too it over to Trixie.

“What’s this supposed to be?” asked Trixie

“Put it in your ear and you will see.”

Ajax hit a giant red button on the side of the machine. Steel rods extended outward and began to drill into the ground. A long thin barrel extended outwards and pointed into the sky. When Trixie finally got the earpiece to fit inside her ear she could hear Ajax’s voice. Trixie had already grown accustomed to the futuristic technology and decided to just roll with it.

“Load up!” shouted Ajax.

He stepped forward and lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes.

“It looks like they’re going to let us make the first move, let's not dissapoint.”

The robots began to place large metal shells into the cannons. When the clanging of hatches and whirling of cogwheels finally faded Ajax lifted his metal fist into the air.

“Ready…Aim…Fire!”

The long range artillery shook the ground as eardrums shattered. Ajax looked over at Trixie while holding his palms over his ears. He said something, but Trixie could only hear a high pitch ringing.

“WHAT?!” shouted the unicorn.

Ajax shook his head and continued to firmly clamp his hands on his ears as the second round of shots began to fire. Just as the cannons began to fire for a second time the first wave of shells began to impact the Crystal Kingdom. The explosive rounds sent ripples across the magical dome, but despite the high explosive power the barrier held strong. The smoldering cannons continued to fire as Ajax placed a finger against his earpiece.

“Hold fire!”

The cannonfire stopped as Trixie cautiously took her hooves off of her ears. Ajax placed his sword into the grass watching as the last wave of artillery crashed into the light blue dome.

“The shield isn’t even weakened, why did you give the order to cease fire? All we did was reveal our weapons to the enemy. Now they know we have long range artillery” said Jax-4

Jax-4 took a few steps back when Ajax suddenly turned around and approached him.

“Is there a problem with your programming robot? I think you have forgotten why we are here, we came to test the Crystal Princess and start the war. We don't plan on finishing it today! You question me again and I will have you placed into that vault for another thousand years.”

Jax-4 slowly nodded and backed away slowly from Ajax.

“My apologies I didn’t mean to offend you…”

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The sounds of explosions filled the Crystal Empire as waves of fire engulfed the barrier overhead. Cadence had to place more of her magic into the shield in order to maintain its integrity.

“What the buck just happened!?” shouted a crystal guard.

A different guard looked through the telescope and did his best to hold it steady as he described what he was looking at.

“It’s some kind of long range weapon princess. They are way too far for any of our weapons to return fire. What shall you have us do?”

Cadence had never been in a situation where she had to command an army, she knew that she couldn’t show any uncertainty, she had to keep a calm composure in this situation since everyone would look to her for guidance. Cadence tried her best to focus despite holding up a massive shield that protected the entire kingdom. She remembered Celestia talking about the human having technology beyond their understanding, but she never thought he would have an entire metal human army. She couldn’t hold the shield forever against the human’s long range weapons, she must take immediate action.

“I want pegasi at the ready! We are going to take those long range weapons out!”

She was in command, the safety of her people rested solely on her choices. Cadence didn’t want to start a battle ,but her hoof had been forced.

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Ajax continued to observe the Crystal Kingdom through his binoculars as Trixie drew circles in the grass with her hooves. Jax-4 practiced strikes with his sword eager to test his metal after so many years. Trixie was about to take out a book to read when Ajax’s boot ruined her grass artwork.

“Pegasi are approaching dead ahead. I want three A.P.W.s out here immediately.”

“Finally some action… I have been waiting far too long for this.” said Jax-4 eagerly.

Jax-4 quickly sheathed his blade as he instructed soldiers to wheel out several cannons. They had short barrels that were extremely wide. Trixie stood up and rearranged her hat.

“I don’t think you are going to hit much with cannons like that...especially pegasi...” chuckled Trixie.

“Well these cannons were originally designed to take out the wonderbolts, Trixie.” said Ajax.

Trixie smirked and did her best to hold in her laughter, but she couldn’t help letting out a quick snort.

“Is that so?” said Trixie still holding a hoof over her mouth.

Ajax rolled his eyes while he twisted his metal gauntlet into a more comfortable position.

“Well, I did use them to shoot Firefly out of the sky...let me tell you these cannons are a godsend, before these things were invented, pegasus ponies could do whatever they please on the battlefield.”

Trixie cleared her throat and took a step back, taking another glance at the cannons.

“Firefly? Like general Firefly? Who didn’t you fight…?”

Ajax stepped forward as if he did not hear Trixie, his eyes fixated on the line of pegasi approaching at an alarming speed.

“Looks like they are starting to get close, lets not miss our window of opportunity.”

Ajax raised his hand, ready to give the command to open fire.There were easily fifty crystal pegasi flying towards them with lances attached to the sides of their armor.

“Fire! Now!”

Ajax thrust his fist forward as the cannons fired shrapnel that filled the sky. The crystal guards took evasive action, but before anyone could see the outcome the entire sky was illuminated with a bright light. Both sides covered shielded their eyes from the blinding light. Ajax stood with his white hair covering half his face disorganized by the cannonfire his lips pulled back in a devilish grin. The crystal guards were no more. Small shards of crystal reflecting the sunlight slowly pinged down to the ground.

Cadence slowly backed away from the telescope dazed, she could see that everyone was talking to her, but she couldn’t hear a word. Everything had gone quiet as her world slowly started to spin. Everything was inaudible except her own thoughts, she realized that the monster at her door intended to do harm to her people, unlike the other villains before him Ajax only wanted to create bloodshed. She hadn’t been a princess for long, she never had any military experience, but she wasn’t going to let him get away, not now.

“I WANT EVERY GUARD AVAILABLE TO GO OUT THERE AND CRUSH HIM NOW!”

The other ponies stood baffled, they had never seen their princess in a fit of rage, but she was in control and she wanted Ajax dead.

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Ajax ran his hand through his hair and regained his composure.

“Now then let’s see how the princess handles a few casualties. I am sure we have more time to play before the cavalry arrives.”

Trixie slowly raised a hoof and pointed into the distance. Ajax raised his eyebrows as his mouth slowly fell open.

“I guess you’re up Jax” said Ajax as he patted him on the shoulder and took a step back.

“Yes! Finally! I can do what I was programmed to do! KILL!”

The death-machine drew his sword and slowly stepped towards the approaching army.

Ajax turned to Trixie.

“You wanna help him? We have yet to see what the 'great and powerful' Trixie can do.”

Trixie coughed nervously.

“Well uh, you see, today is the day that I must rest because all of my magic has gone to the Ether plane so I would be of no help to him.”

“The Ether plane?”

“Yes, the Ether plane…”

Ajax stared at her. The unicorn shifted uncomfortably, his gaze made her uneasy, but she was no killer, she wasn’t going to be another one of his weapons.

“You know one day you are going to have to step onto the battlefield.”

Ajax flicked Trixie’s hat off her head as he walked away. Trixie’s silver hair covered her face as she picked up her hat and pulled it onto her head. Her eyebrows furrowed as she thought about what Ajax had just said.

“Now then let’s show the Crystal Empire how mankind handles things!”

Ajax drew both of his swords and directed his soldiers to take formations. Crystal ponies rushed across the battlefield as explosive shells rained down overhead. The beautiful green plain of the Crystal Empire slowly turned into a battlefield as pony and robot clashed. The robot soldiers, although large in number, were being held at bay by the crystal army.

Jax-4 dashed through the battlefield, sword in hand, shattering crystal pony left and right. A crystal unicorn shot a blast of bright blue energy from her horn knocking Jax-4 onto the ground. The machine slowly rose and pointed his arm towards the pony. The plating around his thick forearm opened up revealing seven barrels, a shell shot out towards the pony and bursted with bright purple energy. The crystal unicorn struggled to breath, but the poison attacked her lungs, killing her instantly.

Cadence watched helplessly from her tower as the guards she sent perished on the battlefield. She wanted more than anything to be able to go and help them, but she would be held against her will if she tried. She could only sit and watch the battle as pure hatred built up inside her.

Metal and crystal remains covered the battlefield, Ajax cleaved through waves of ponies with each swing of his massive swords. A path of burning black footsteps trailed behind him as his boots crunched crystal shards beneath his feet. He stopped and raised both swords behind his head. Before any pony knew what was going on, the man smashed both swords forward creating a massive cone of explosive black fire destroying both robot and pony. He had no remorse for pony or robot on the battlefield.

A flugelhorn sounded signaling for the remaining forces of the crystal empire to retreat. The crystal ponies scrambled over each other as they tried to escape the battlefield. Ajax slowly sheathed his swords, he enjoyed watching the ponies flee in terror. Jax-4 landed next to Ajax, the robot dropped down out of nowhere.

“Nice of you to drop in.” said Ajax with a slight smile.

Jax-4’s head tilted slightly.

“What so funny?”

“...Nothing...Nevermind, I am just enjoying the victory.”

Jax-4 stepped forward sword in hand.

“It isn’t over yet. We must press forward and wipe them out.”

Ajax held up his sword and blocked the robot from chasing after the ponies, Jax-4 turned back towards Ajax.

“I don’t understand why are you letting them go?”

“We aren’t letting them go. We are going to test this crystal princess one last time. I want every cannon loaded and ready to fire on my command.”

Ajax raised his sword into the air and pointed it toward the ponies.

“Surround them let none escape!”

Cadence was sitting against a wall as all the other ponies watched the battle and whispered amongst each other. She couldn’t bring herself to see any more deaths, she clenched her eyes as tears slowly rolled down her cheeks. An image shot out from a large crystal hanging in the middle of the room. A projection of a pegasus guard stuck on the battlefield could be seen. The sounds of battle echoed in the background as the image of the pegasus shook violently. She tried to hold whatever she was using to transmit her message still. Every pony in the room gave her their full attention.

“Hello!? is-s Anyone there?! This is commander Gale Force! You have to h-help us we are holding out as best we can, but it won’t be for much longer!”

Cadence stood up and rushed towards the projection, she had a wavering smile on her face.

“Hold on we are going to send an extraction team! Just hold on! PLEASE!”

“Thank you princess! I know we could count on you!”

The image of the pegasus disappeared.

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The crystal army was surrounded trying their best to hold their ground. Robots pinned them down from all sides, pegasus were shot down trying to flee the battlefield with only a few escaping. A medium sized force of ponies approached from the crystal kingdom.

“Looks like she sent reinforcements after all…” said Jax-4 as Ajax turned and face the new pony force.

“We loaded every cannon just for this moment...Go ahead and wipe them out.”

The pony battalion halted as the sky filled with the streams of artillery shells. The explosives rained down engulfing every last pony in fire that had been sent to rescue their military forces.

“Perfect! Now we push forward and wipe out the remaining forces!”

Ajax grabbed Jax-4 by the neck and threw him to the ground.

“Your orders are to hold the enemy at bay do not press forward!”

Ajax pointed toward Jax-4 who was still on the ground.

“If I am to defeat Celestia every order I give must be followed! I will not allow you to mess this up even if you are one of Jack’s best creations. I will not hesitate to trash you for scrap. Till further notice you are on permanent mute. Understood?”

Jax-4 slowly nodded as he got onto a knee bowing before Ajax. Ajax waved his hand and Jax-4 slowly stood up and sheathed his sword.

“Load every cannon again…”whispered Ajax.

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“Princess Cadence! We have word that Canterlot forces have just arrived. We-”

The crystal guard was interrupted by a projection of a unicorn in the center of the room.

“This is co-commander Shooting Star! The extraction team was wiped out! I repeat the extraction team was wiped out! We require immediate assistance or we are doomed! Please save us!”

Princess Cadence slammed a hoof down on the ground.

“They need our help! No pony left behind! As long as I am princess I will not allow us to sit idly by and watch our soldiers suffer. Send out another extraction team! Use our city guards if we must!”

“But princess he is clearly leading us into another one of his traps” blurted a random bystander.

“You have your orders! I will do everything in my power to help my people. Even if I must go out there myself!”

The ponies looked at each other still hesitant about following the command, but she was in charge and she really wanted Ajax dead.

“Hold that order!”

A pony entered through the twin doors and halted the messenger pony before he could relay the order. He stepped forward and cut off the emergency transmission. Cadence, blinded by her emotions, stomped up in front of the pony.

“Under what authority do you dare revoke my orders and command my guards!?”

“The name is Horizon Star and I have been given overruling authority in all matters regarding to the human named Ajax.”

The pony held out the insignia given to him by Princess Celestia. Cadence inspected the insignia and read the writing on the back as Horizon Star began to pace back and forth.

“You see princess I had to stop you from making any more foolish mistakes because Ajax was playing you fo-”

Cadence lifted the pony into the air with her magic and held him in front of her.

“Listen here you-”

Before Cadence could finish whatever threat she had ready for the pony she heard a familiar voice.

“Cadence! Oh thank Celestia you are ok!”

Cadence slowly looked over to see Shining Armor captain of the royal guard...her husband. She dropped Horizon Star to the ground and rushed over to him. The two ponies hugged each other and nuzzled their noses together.

“Shining Armor I am so glad you are here. Ajax has attacked the Crystal Empire with an army of metal humans.”

“I know, we came as soon as we heard. Canterlot has sent a massive force to put a stop to him.”

“No need…” said Horizon Star who was peering through the telescope.

“Seems like he is retreating now that he knows that we are here…”

When Cadence heard the strangers voice she was reminded about how he had stopped her orders and cut off the emergency transmission.

“Guards! Throw this pony into the dungeon!”

Crystal guards surrounded Horizon Star.

“If I hadn’t shown up in time you would be sweeping up even more ponies! He was obviously leading you into a trap. Celestia put me in charge for situation just like this!"

“Well if tha-”

Cadence froze as she turned to see Princess Celestia walk through the twin doors followed by Princess Luna.

“He is right. I put him in charge for situations like these.” said the white alicorn.

Cadence pushed aside shining armor and walked up to Celestia, she had a stern face that Shining Armor had never seen before.

“How dare you give somepony that amount of authority without even telling me!"

Celestia cleary was not phased by Cadence’s tone. She looked toward the guards and signaled for them to let Horizon Star go.

“If it was not for him you would have marched even more soldiers to their doom. You owe him your gratitude if anything.”

“Celestia!” shouted Luna shocked by her sister’s remark.

Cadence’s horn glowed with magic followed by Celestia. Both stared at each other waiting for the other to make the first mistake. Shining Armor dashed in between the two alicorns and pushed them apart with his hooves.

“We can’t fight among each other! This is exactly what Ajax would want!” Celestia looked down at Shining Armor and took a step back. Shining looked towards Cadence with a grim smile.

“Please Cadence…”

“Are you taking her side?! I am your wife!” said Cadence

“He is captain of the royal guard!” claimed Celestia.

“I am both!...so please stop fighting…”

The two alicorns glared at each other. Cadence slowly turned away and trotted off.

“I bet she wouldn’t be against having an execution now…”

Shining Armor turned to Celestia gritting his teeth.

“Listen, I am the captain of the royal guard, but I am her husband first! Cadence hasn’t been the crystal princess for long and has no previous experience with leading an army. She just watched thousands of her people DIE! She obviously feels responsible for each and every one of them, so now if you'll excuse me I will go check up on her.”

Shining armor gave a weak salute before dashing after Cadence. Celestia was speechless just realising how she had acted towards Cadence. Luna slowly approached her sister.

“I don’t like what this war is doing to you sister...You seem different, like how you were back in the old days. You must remember that we all are on your side here…”

Celestia nodded.

“I will apologize next time I see her…”