• Published 29th Nov 2015
  • 3,736 Views, 124 Comments

Iron Wing and the Demolition Crew - QueenMoriarty



The Crystal War, as seen through the eyes of its most formidable soldiers.

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Maud - I Am the Siege Weapon

Whatever else you want to say about the crystal ponies, you have to admit their armor is pretty good. The steel is strong, the joints are well-articulated, and the helmets look pretty roomy. I've seen magic bounce off this stuff like pebbles off a wall, so we know that Sombra at least cares enough to magic-proof his grunts.

Of course, magic-proofing won't protect them from me.

Right now, I'm not fighting. My orders are to bring up the rear and probe for weak points, and that's what I'm doing. I let the other soldiers throw themselves at the crystal slaves. I look past the horde at the cloud of smoke. I know Sombra's hiding back there, biding his time until somepony breaches his defenses. From this distance, I could probably take him down with one shot. But that's not my mission.

There's a crunch of snow beside me. I look out the corner of my eye and see her. It's Pinkamena. She's scowling again, glaring at the enemy. She hasn't acted yet, though. She's sticking to orders, same as me. Her glare tightens at something, and I face front.

I see him. He's charging at us, his head lowered and eyes glowing green. I wonder what he's seeing. He's moving a little faster than I would like.

I reach back into my right saddlebag. I take a rock in my hoof, and throw it. It hits him right between the eyes, punching through the metal and burying itself in his head. He keeps charging for a few seconds, but he gets very slow very quickly. He stumbles up to us, and Pinkamena punches him square in the jaw. The helmet warps and bends beneath her hoof, and he falls to the ground like a crumbling pillar. I watch Pinkamena spit on the corpse, then she takes off.

I try to hang back a bit more. We aren't supposed to get involved unless we have to. Our mission is to scan for weakness and strike where the iron is hot, not rush blindly into the melee. But subtlety and my little sister aren't very good friends, and they haven't been on speaking terms for quite a while. I see her now, trying to hold back, less for the slaves' sake and more for me.

As if I care about appearances. All I want to do is keep them safe.

She doesn't see this one, coming at her from the side. I take a rock in my hoof, and throw it. The throat shatters, and the slave stumbles into a wild kick from Pinkamena. Now I charge; she's wound up now, and the mission has changed. Strategy be damned, nopony messes with my sister.

As my hoof sinks an inch into the snow and meets the earth, I see. I blink, and still I see the enemy in all of their sparkle and shine. This is my talent, the reason why I wear the brown cover-all while everypony else is decked out in gold-painted steel alloys. My cutie mark is a rock. I know everything about rocks. I know how to hold rocks, how to touch rocks, how to break rocks.

The crystal ponies are exactly what the name implies. They are living crystal, and even though Sombra's slaves have lost their luster, they're still the walking, talking jewels from my bedtime stories. Their facets, their cleavage points, everything that makes cut gems brittle, they have in abundance. And just as almost every earth pony can feel their deep connection with the soil, I can feel the crystal ponies.

I see one of them, headed straight for Pinkamena. He's hidden from normal eyes by all the other small fights, but I can feel the direction he's going, see the way that he's looking, sense almost everything except for his exact thoughts. I take a rock in my hoof, and throw it. I know where the rock has to go, and I know where the target will be. My missile shoots between the hooves of two ponies a mere second before they clash, and knocks the slave off balance. I take another rock in my hoof, and afford myself a second to see if he will get back up. I catch a glimpse with my eyes of a unicorn's magic closing around him, and I turn my attention elsewhere.

A hoof comes out of nowhere, headed right for my face. A small part of my mind curses Pinkamena for distracting me, but I don't listen to it. I can look after myself. I'm not sure if she's even aware that she can be hurt.

The hoof connects, but I do not yield. It is a desperate punch, the strike of a pony who knows they cannot win, but refuses to surrender. In that first instant, I feel the weakness in it, but more than that, I feel the opening. The tiny fissures and facets that make up a cut gemstone are all on display, and they have just made contact with my skin.

Break.

The thought is all I need. The wish becomes a command, and the hoof shatters against my jaw. The splintering shards fly past me, and the crystal pony falls to her knees, clutching the shattered remains of her leg. It is muffled by the helmet, but I hear a scream of pain. I feel a pang of sympathy. I will be merciful.

I smash her neck with my elbow. The green glow is gone from her eyes, and I am looking toward the next enemy.

A unicorn is overwhelmed. I take a rock in my hoof, and throw it. The unicorn is struggling back to their feet, shoving the corpse away.

I see three crystal ponies converging on two earth ponies. I take a rock in my hoof, and throw it. The odds are even.

Pinkamena is pushing forward. I follow, picking up the pace and letting the rocks rest in my saddlebags. Now, I use my hooves.

Two dueling ponies collide with me. I break the neck of the crystal one, and shove my ally away as gently as possible.

I suddenly stare into empty green eyes, and my hooves are not fast enough. Rather than waste time waiting for my punches to connect, I close my eyes and push my head through the helmet. I feel the brain scrape at my skin. I feel a small tear open on my cheek, but I pull back and ignore it.

A crystal pony lunges at me, their hooves raise to tackle. I look and see a weakness, and swipe with my foreleg. The head flies off. The shards that sparkle in the air between stump and head are pretty. I see a pony charging at me, and my other hoof lashes out. The head becomes another rock, smashing into my enemy.

I reach out for Pinkamena. There is a path torn through the battlefield, littered with the extremely recently dead. She would seem to be alright. I take a guess at where she is, and look to see her all but walk through a pony. There is something behind me. I put my hind leg through their chest.

But then I feel something different. It is huge. It is moving. It is not crystal.

I feel, I look, I see. A boulder crests the top of a cliff. I know there are two ponies pushing it. It will go over the edge. It will fall. They mean to do this. They mean to kill somepony.

I look down. My heart drops like the boulder is sure to. There is a pegasus in the shadow of a cliff, but not just a pegasus. It is the Iron Wing.

"No."

She cannot die. I cannot let that happen. I bring my hoof down on the earth, sending a vibration that only Pinkamena can recognize: she is in trouble. There is no room for confusion; there's only one pony the message ever refers to.

My hooves meet the earth, and rather than crack it, I ride it. Each step has the kick of an earthquake behind it. I cease to walk and begin to run. Then I cease to run, and seem to fly.

My sister has seen, felt, and knows what to do. As I move, she moves. I fly, and she echoes it. We meet the boulder together.

My left hoof strikes the boulder. A thousand tiny shards fly away from the point of impact. Then my right hoof strikes the boulder. Another thousand shards take flight. I strike with my left. I strike with my right. Time ceases to be a factor.

For the first time this battle, I feel my leg braces. I feel them creak, I feel them strain. With each pull back, with each strike, I feel them shudder. I wonder if they will break. I wonder when they will break. I wonder what will happen without them. I wonder how much of my strength is my own, and how much of it lies in these braces.

Then there is not a boulder. There is a moment before I feel time pass, where I float. I cannot feel the earth, the crystals, even my sister seems a million miles away. I am blind and deaf, and there is a strange peace in it. I wonder if this is what the Iron Wing feels when she flies.

My hooves return to the earth, and my world comes rushing back. I feel the Iron Wing's hooves dig into the earth, and the slightest whisper of her metal lies on the edge of my senses. I blink, and see the wing. I see the delicate feathers, I see a hint of the tightly wound springs, I see the hard frame. So much of me wants to feel it, the way I feel the earth or the enemy, but I must remain steadfast.

She turns to look at me. I salute, and I see Pinkamena mirror the gesture. I see something warm in the Iron Wing's eyes, something that reminds me of a summer solstice that seems like a lifetime ago. Then I feel the enemy, and the beginnings of a pincer formation around the cliff. In a moment, it will be the end of them. I turn my back on the Iron Wing, and return to my duty.

I feel them. I charge at them. They are gemstones, living jewels, organic quartz. But I am corundum.

Author's Note:

No matter what universe she's in, Maud Pie rocks. She's also laconic in all but one reality.

Up next, Pinkamena Diane Pie.