• Published 18th Apr 2016
  • 5,660 Views, 165 Comments

The Terror of Death - FrostTheWolf



[Displaced][.hack//G.U. Crossover] When one mare decides to run away from her destiny, she reawakens a legend that was once a protector to the Crystal Empire... Until Sombra betrayed both him and the ones he swore to protect.

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4- Day and Night

Author's Note:

Two things first. One, thank you everyone for being EXTREMELY patient with this next chapter. I have worked very hard on it and I really would appreciate the feedback with it. Second, thanks again to ShadowInTheDark (For helping come up with two... interesting characters for this chapter) and BronyParasite to help with the ending. Thanks for everything so far and have a great day!
-Frost

The Terror of Death- Day and Night


Canterlot

It was early morning in Equestria with the rising sun shining in the distance, courtesy of Princess Celestia herself from the highest point in Canterlot as the Alicorn yawned and smiled with the start of a new day. It had only been a week ago that she had sent the Elements of Harmony, the captain of the guard; Shining Armor, and her niece to the Crystal Empire in the north to reclaim it from the mad grasp of the tyrant king named Sombra and like her sister Luna, they hoped for the best with their journey. And just this morning, as both of them walked into the room, they happened to find one of her student’s friendship reports on her throne this morning… Which was strange to them because they had only received a letter from Twilight Sparkle last night about their success in the Crystal Empire.

“This is rather… odd,” Luna replied, looking back at her sister as Celestia channeled her magic and began to open the letter. “Normally, Ms. Sparkle’s letters don’t exactly arrive so soon after her last report.” Celestia knew what her sister was talking about and she wasn’t wrong. Usually, it would be a couple of days until they would receive another letter from Twilight instead of a few hours. Nevertheless though, the Princess focused on staying optimistic.

“It’s not odd for Twilight to write, Luna. Perhaps this is a follow up report on something she had forgot to mention previously.” Celestia advised her sister. “There are times where my student can rush herself and forget to mention certain things in the process. It’s happened more than once here in Canterlot before I allowed her to stay in Ponyville… Mostly it involved her forgetting her library card.” That caused Luna to raise an eyebrow as her sister’s eyes scanned the piece of parchment. But it was only after a few moments that those same eyes widened.

“Sister? Is something the matter?” For a few moments, Princess Celestia herself looked like she was frozen in fear. Until a gentle tap from Luna caused her to snap out of her trance as she looked back at her. “Tia, you’re making me worried.”

“S-sorry Luna… It’s just… Remember when I previously mentioned The Terror of Death to Twilight and the others shortly before their departure?” Luna’s response was a silent nod of approval as her sister took a deep breath and looked back at her. “Well, according to this letter from Twilight… there’s more to it than we realize.”

“How can she be so sure?” The Alicorn of the Night asked, gesturing with her hoof for a moment before setting it back down. “I mean… this is about an unknown creature… even to us. A legend that’s used to scare fillies and colts for star’s sake.”

“Yes… But as Starswirl the Bearded once told me a long time ago sister,” The Alicorn replied back to her, putting the letter away. “There is always a bit of truth to legends. Cadence herself knows it too from the looks of it.” With that, the Princess looked around for a brief moment before looking back at Luna. “Where’s that new Scribe that replaced Ink Scroll a couple of weeks ago?”

That thought, caused the lunar princess to look back at her sister in shock. “Wait, Ink Scroll was replaced? Since when?”

“Replaced wouldn’t exactly be the right term… She gave me her resignation from service after the events of the Canterlot Wedding when the Changeling’s attacked… Which reminds me, where were you when Chrysalis invaded?” All that caused Luna to do was look in the opposite direction as her sister face-hoofed herself. “You were on your Haystation 3, weren’t you?”

“Oh come on, sister! If you were in my position, you would’ve done the same thing.” All that did was cause Celestia to groan to herself before a small flash of light went off and a yellow stallion with a Orange fire like mane soon arrived. He was wearing a navy cloak and also wearing a pair of glasses as he readjusted them before addressing the princesses.

“I-i’m terribly sorry for running late, your majesty. There was a lot of hoof traffic in the main square after news got out about the Crystal Empire returning.” The Stallion apologized, before Celestia set a hoof on his shoulder and had him calm down.

“You do not need to apologize, Sunburst. I’m actually glad that you arrived here when you did,” Celestia spoke to him as she looked at her sister briefly before returning her gaze to the young stallion. He was almost similar to Twilight. A hard worker who carefully used his studies and skills with magic to help Canterlot when in need. Now that everything was secure with Canterlot, the princess thought that Sunburst would be better off applying his skills… elsewhere. “We would like for you to come with my sister and I on a trip to the Crystal Empire.”

“The Crystal Empire?” The Stallion replied, his eyes lighting up a little before shaking his head for a moment to refocus himself. “My apologies for being so bold, princess, but why exactly are we going there?”

“Well, we will be meeting Princess Cadence, Shining Armor… and something else that many of Ponykind would possibly see as only a legend.”


Crystal Empire

Haseo’s wakeup call on this particular morning wasn’t exactly what you may consider as… friendly. He was trying to sleep normally, without a care in the world and trying to find some peace… Until he felt a bucket filled with Ice Cold water smack him directly in the face. Startling him awake as he saw Shining Armor holding the bucket while trying to recover from almost falling on the floor. “Shining… what the hell was that for?”

“It’s time to get up.” The Stallion bluntly told him as the Adept Rogue tried to dry off his face and wipe his eyes before saying a response to him.

“Get up?” Haseo asked, looking at the same alarm clock that Shining had put there a few days before. “It’s only six thirty. What’s the big deal?”

“I was told to get you up and for you to see Cadence.” Shining Armor replied back as he used his levitation to set the bucket down outside before handing him a towel with the same spell. “We got some important ponies coming over today.”

“Are they potential recruits?” Haseo questioned, taking the towel and using it to wipe off his face as he then heard the Stallion’s response before speaking himself

“No.”

“And by that, you lost me.”

“What I mean is we have recruits… Just not what I’d like to call my first choice.”

Haseo then raised an eyebrow as he looked back at the stallion and walked into the kitchen. “Okay, so you first say they aren’t recruits… but that they are recruits… Dude, you’re just contradicting yourself left and right.”

“Look there ponies who want to join the guard, but they’re not what I would call the finest equestria has to offer. I think one of them a changeling...”

Haseo heard about them before from Cadence as they were the creatures that ruined her wedding. But a changeling wanting to be a part of the empire? That was either a security risk or Shining Armor just being straight up paranoid. “Shining, we’re not trying to judge a book by it’s cover here. We’re not going to be excluding potential recruits because of superstitions. Besides, how would you know that it is one? Is it some sort of detection spell or something you have in that head of yours?”

“Good point to everything, but this one pony is, odd. I made the new recruits do laps to the gate and back,” Shining spoke up, recalling when he was having the recruits train the other day before they were to get some sleep. “He asked if he could do more work. I don’t know what he was thinking but by the time I had a list, he was already cleaning the barracks.”

“First impressions possibly?” Haseo suggested. “If anypony was eager enough to go for a job or position, they would try to impress the pony that was in charge… Was this pony a unicorn by chance?”

“No he wasn’t, and the fact he got everything cleaned so fast, had me wonder how he did it. After that he wanted to clean the armory and the castle, he didn’t stop until I ordered him to go to bed.”

“Hmm…” Haseo thought to himself as he looked back at the Unicorn. “All that does honestly is just remind me of a eager version of your sister’s friend… The Pink earth pony… what’s her name again?”

“Pinkie Pie? Huh, maybe they're related or something. I’ll asked Twilight to ask her friend next time I see her.” The Stallion replied as he looked back at the Adept Rogue. What he said next though surprised him.

“Would you happen to have the applications for the recruits? I wanna see something real fast.” He asked the Stallion as the pony returned with a stack of papers in his levitation grip.

“Yes, what did you want to look at? I’ve gone through them and found half of them had a lot of holes in their stories.”

“Well, I want to look at them myself. It’s always a good idea to look at things from a second point of view. Besides… I’m thinking a lot of the idea behind your method of recruiting involves the overall safety of Cadence… like being the protective parent in a relationship.” Haseo told him, just as the Stallion came back with what he requested.

“I guess you’re right. Maybe I’m just worrying over nothing.”

“Maybe…… When was the last time that you got some sleep?” The Adept Rogue then asked, wondering what the Stallion’s response would be to his question.

“Two days ago, I’ve drank nothing but coffee for the past three days.”

At this, Haseo just facepalmed himself. “Shining… you need to get some rest. The lack of sleep is affecting your judgement. Plus, what would Cadence say if you told her what you just told me?”

“It’s not what she’d say that I’m worried about, Last time I did this, I don’t remember what happened.” Shining Armor replied, which Haseo saw as a bit of protesting. “Sleep is the enemy of securi-.”

Haseo then cleared his throat, but the next words that came out was not what the stallion expected as he soon fell asleep. “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur… Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, pur pur pur…” With that, Shining Armor began to start snoring abruptly on the couch as Haseo sighed to himself. “Holy crap, I can’t believe that actually worked.” Now that he did not have to worry so much about Shining Armor, Haseo soon began to look through the application papers that were submitted for being new recruits of the guard. Scanning through each of the papers as he carefully inspected the applications and read through them to every last important detail. Some may seem normal, but there was one in particular that caught Haseo’s attention.

“Bite...Chop?” Haseo repeated as he looked at the rest of the application. “Why would somepony be named to make it sound like they’re a cannibal?” Looking through the rest of it, Haseo was curious by a few of the details that were put on the application that didn’t quite make sense to him. Including details about certain geographical locations that this pony said that they had been too. Turn out this pony been a guard before, but to way he hasn’t stay in one place was confusing.

Then he cracked open an Equestrian atlas… and realized that a third of the locations that the pony had said to have served in… were fake. If that was the case, then there were two possibilities… either this pony was the changeling that Shining Armor was stressing about… or it was somepony who was really desperate in order to be a part of the guard.

Just who are you?” He asked himself before getting up out of his seat and quietly leaving the room to go to the barracks as he made his way through the hall. After some asking around, he was informed by Radiant Hope that the pony he was looking for was in one of the smaller barracks, where he was sleeping peacefully after insisting on cleaning ALL of the supplies for the barracks and the floor of the mess hall. Definitely the case of a workaholic.

Finding the door, he soon crept inside carefully as he walked over and saw the pony asleep on the bed. It looked fine for the most part. But a small sneeze changed that as it’s magic flickered a little, revealing a small changeling drone with a small curl of a mane on it’s forehead. Haseo only had to poke it once before it woke up. But the response he got was not quite what he expected.

GOOD MORNING!” It jumped up as it yelled then took a pose.

“Uhh… hello?” Haseo asked, shortly before the drone noticed that it’s disguise had faded away as it looked back at Haseo.

“How were you able to dismiss my clever disguise! It’s been a talent along my family bloodline FOR GENERATIONS!!!” It proclaimed, trying to flex it’s small forelegs as Haseo just stared in disbelief. “I’m terribly sorry for this but may I ask your name?”

“Certainly, my name is Haseo.” He replied back. “Would you happen to have a name other than… Bite?”

“I do, for that dreaded name is a horrible one and my true name has been passed down from my family FOR GENERATIONS!!!” He yelled again before striking another pose. “I am, Hoofstrong Belas Barge Ironlegs the 4th!”

Haseo again stared in disbelief, but just rolled with it as he looked back at the changeling. “Okay um… Hoofstrong… May I ask you something? What is a changeling like yourself doing within the Crystal Empire?”

“It is a sad story, of one changelings love of beauty. And a queen who could never understand my taste of love. I was kicked out for I could not follow their villanious ways, there was no beauty in it. There was nothing MANLY ABOUT IT! So I searched the lands hoping to find what my heart was seeking and I did. THE ROYAL GUARD!... Or however it is described in the Crystal Empire.”

Okay, if this guy is trying to remind me of Major Armstrong, he’s hitting all the right notes.” Haseo thought to himself as he looked back at him. “So you were exiled and came here to start a new life? I can understand that… However, one of my subordinates, Prince Shining Armor, thought that if a changeling were here, they were somehow a spy.”

“I can understand that poor fellow, I was hoping by completing those tasks so easily. It’d take his mind off of such things. It not easy being a changeling nowadays, I’ll have to leave again and try again to. WILL I EVER FIND MY PLACE NEXT TO SUCH A FINE STALLION!

“I don’t want you to leave… in fact, I would like you to stay,” Haseo insisted. “To be honest, the Crystal Empire could use more hard working ponies like yourself… I just recommend that you don’t try to overdo it. I’m still going to have to explain to his wife how he passed out in the middle of the palace.”

Next thing Hasao knew he was in a bone crushing hug. “Oh thank you Haseo! You have no idea how happy you made this lost soul, truly this is the beauty of MANLINESS!” The Adept Rogue was personally thinking in his head for someone to please PK him now before things were to get out of control. But it was in this moment that he heard Hoofstrong mention something else in the process.

“Oh, by the way, watch out for my older sister, I’m not sure where she is or who she designed as. But whatever you do never get on her bad side, if you want to live.” Hoofstrong said with fear in his voice. “But we should have nothing to worry about, I heard from mother she on the other side of the world so we should be fine.”

How is that suppose to make me feel any better-!?” Haseo shouted mentally before hearing the door open up… and turning to see a ticked off mare glaring daggers straight at Hoofstrong.

“Brother, put your disguise on now-.” She ordered as she walked in, only to see the changeling clasped onto Haseo as he gulped a little.

“Oh Sister, it so nice to see you.” Hoofstrong said before letting Haseo go and changing his form. “I didn’t expect you-.” His sentence was cut off the second that her hoof met his face and she snarled a little in response.

“You were found out AGAIN!” She growled before sending him flying through a wall. The mare didn’t even care that Haseo was there as she followed after her brother. “By the stars, I feel like sometimes I have to babysit you because of your foolishness!!”

“Wait sister, let me explain!” Hoofstrong yelled as he got up and backed away from the pegasus. “This is just a simple misunderstanding.”

“A misunderstanding that would get YOU KILLED!” She snarled again, now drawing the sword she had at her side as she pointed it at her brother’s throat. “Would you ever expect someling to grant you mercy for your mistakes!?”

“Okay, can both of you please calm down, you’re going to make a scene like this-.” Haseo asked them, only for the pegasus to ignore him as he sighed a little. “Okay, look… we can either do this the easy way or-.”

Haseo ducked in time to avoid getting his head cut off by the staren looking mare. “Stay out of this, this is a family matter and does not concern you.” She said glaring at him, then smirked. “Or do you have the skills to test me?”

“Do I now?” Haseo growled, responding to the mare just as she tried to land another strike on her brother by summoning his blades and using the skill Gale Blade to block and hopefully disarm her. “Miss, do you even know who you are dealing with?”

“I could ask the same to you.” She replied, looking at him as she saw the pair of blades that he held in his hands.

“I’m one of the ones in charge of helping organize the guard in the crystal empire,” Haseo replied back. “And the Guardian of Princess Amore before her passing… Would that somehow ring a bell for you?”

“Why should I care about lofty titles, they mean nothing on the battlefield. But I’ll give you my name, I am General Hoofstrong Belas Barge Ironwings the 3th. Head of the northern defense of equestria.”

“Fair enough,” The Adept Rogue replied. “I am Haseo…” Unlike Ironwings, his name was all it took for the mare’s eyes to widen and for her to stare at him in shock.

“The Terror of death?” She asked staring at him.

“In the flesh… However, that title is a burden and something that King Sombra had lied to his people about. Whatever the case may be, that is me and I am here now as Guardian of the Crystal Empire and protector of Princess Cadence.”

“I’d thought you’d be taller and have more muscle on you. You're a scrawny as a stick.” In response, Haseo dismissed both of his blades and instead summoned another weapon. Only to dismiss it a few seconds later and tilt his head in a taunting manner, causing Ironwings to try and charge at him. All before another voice spoke up.

“Ironwings!!!” The mare turned around, alarmed at the sound of Princess Cadence as she walked into the courtyard to see the scuffle. “What in the Empire do you think you are doing?”

“My apologies Princess Cadence, I just wanted to test the so called terror of death. I have to say he past for the most part. But I am not here for him, I’m here to take my brother home.”

“Yeah right. If you mean take him home, you mean beat the ever living crap out of him for just a simple mistake,” Haseo interjected. “Plus, we never actually fought. Most of it was actually Ironwings going after her brother.” With that, Cadence looked at the two of them and then redirected her attention to Ironwings.

“Is this true?” She asked, narrowing her gaze a little in the process.

“It was a family matter between siblings. Besides, we do things like this all the time.” She replied coldly.

“As much as I hate to admit it true, our family is a long line of fighters.” Hoofstrong explained, causing Haseo to sigh a little as he looked back at them.

“Can we take this talk inside… you know… in private?” Haseo asked Cadence, who nodded her head in acknowledgement as she had both the brother and sister follow them inside the palace behind closed doors to where the four of them could discuss this politely.

“You must understand, my family worries over my brother and his safety. We just don’t feel he's ready to join the guard.” Ironwings explained as she drank some tea that was offered to her.

“I think it’s more then that…” The Adept Rogue spoke up. “I think it’s also the fact that both of you are changeling exiles.” The mentioning of that had Cadence caught off guard and almost caused Hoofstrong to fall out of the chair that he was sitting in.

“Is that so?” Ironwings asked smiling. “What proof do you have that we’re changelings?”

“Other than seeing your brothers actual form, his application containing a list of towns in which half of them were completely fake and him mentioning that he had a sister that would try to kill him?” Haseo asked before he lightly sighed. “Just a suspicion… other than Shining Armor telling me, but he hasn’t slept in two days.”

“Hmmm, I see. The worst I wouldn’t have done to my brother would be to break his legs and drag him home by his tongue.” She said calmly as she took another sip of tea. “But it looks like you have some care for his wellbeing, even if he is a spineless maggot.”

“Honestly, I believe we could use ponies like you to help the Empire get back on it’s hooves… But I must ask though,” Haseo spoke as he looked at Cadence, saying the one question on both of their minds. “Why were you two exiled?”

“Well if you must know, I do not share in our queen taste in discipline. My brother most likely told you why he left. The truth is we left because we was sick of our old queen acting like a spoiled brat. I even cut off her horn just to make a point not to come after us.” Ironwings smiled at that.

“But she still had her horn during the wedding… Did you leave before or after?” Cadence then asked, attempting to inquire more information from Ironwings in the process.

“What make you think that fool is our Queen?” Ironwings said with a knowing smark. “Unfortunately though, I can not tell you more. I may not like our old queen, but that doesn't mean I’ll tell you where the hive is.”

“I wasn’t asking about the hive…” Cadence asked, before realizing what Ironwings said. “Hang on a minute… Old queen?”

“Cadence, I know you’re eager to have some questions answered, but I think maybe we should save that discussion for some other time.” Haseo interjected, looking back at the two changelings as he adjusted himself in his chair. “Right now, the question at hand I have for both of you is how can you contribute to helping the Crystal Empire?” Both Changelings looked at one another, before Ironwings herself took initiative in order to speak first.

“Both my brother and I have military experience that we have gained by being soldiers in the Guard of the Hive as well as the short time that we were part of the Guard in Canterlot before being assigned here… My brother though is just… eager to impress other ponies.”

“My dear sister… it is more then that. I wish to see the beauty in manliness that is called, THE LOVE OF ONE COMRADES IN ARMS! LOOK AT THESE MUSCLES!!! THEY CALL OUT TO SHOW THE TRUE BEAUTY THAT IS LOVE!” Hoofstrong yelled, as the carren on his chest somehow flexed like muscles. Only just causing Haseo to stare in disbelief.

“No wonder Shining felt like he was overdoing it with the coffee…” Haseo mumbled.

“Anyway what did you have in mind.” Ironwings asked staring at Haseo. “Know this… if I am staying here, I’ll expect you to train as hard as the new meatbags. Understand?”

Haseo nodded his head, looking back at both of them before speaking. “Well, I believe we can use someone like yourself, who has had previous military experience, to good use in helping the newcomers. You see, we’re doing things differently from how it would work in Canterlot or the hive because we’re doing recruitment and training of guards and other ponies through a job based system.”

“Explain.” Asked Ironwings as she looked at Haseo with interest.

“We have ten different jobs that have different skills and abilities that could work depending on the different talents certain ponies have. For example, somepony who is skilled with magic would consider either being a Harvest Cleric or Shadow Warlock since both of those revolve around different forms of spellcasting. If it’s somepony who prefers to fight and use a weapon, like a sword, there are occupations such as Blade Brandier, Edge Punisher, Flick Reaper, Lord Partizan, and Twin Blade just to name a few,” The Adept Rogue explained, holding out index cards with the different examples of the jobs on each of the cards for better understanding. “There’s also other professions on the side including Alchemy and Blacksmithing for those who want to contribute to helping the empire, but rather not have themselves get involved in combat. I must note though that each job class has different skills and weapons depending on which one you choose, so it’s best for anypony looking for a position to choose wisely.”

“Hmmm, are there any jobs for hoof to hoof combat?” Asked Hoofstrong looking through the cards. “It’s something I took a lot of time to master.”

“Why yes actually,” The Adept Rogue replied, holding up a certain card as he looked back at Hoofstrong. “Tribal Grapplers are combat experts that use gauntlets in battle and are experts in martial arts.”

“That’s more like it. What about you sister?” Hoofstrong asked. As Ironwings was looking through the cards, she then smiled at one in particular, grinning menacingly. “Ummm, Sister?”

“Tell me Haseo, is this class for one winged sword fighting.” She asked showing him the card, which made Haseo grin a little as he looked at which one she had in mind.

“Ah, if you are looking for using a blade such as yours, then the Blade Brandier is the best choice,” Haseo explained, showing the card. “It’s said that all warrior classes originated from this one and that even if it may look average on the outside, Blade Brandiers can adapt to numerous situations.”

“I see, so when do we began training.” Ironwings asked, as she smarked at Haseo. “I’d rather think that we start immediately.” Haseo was going to speak, but a panicked Radiant Hope soon interrupted their conversation as she burst through the door.

“C-cadence!! We have a p-problem!” She panted, handing a scroll to Cadence as she opened it with her magic. A few moments after reading it though, her own eyes soon widened.

“Oh dear…” She muttered, looking at all three of them. “Everypony… we may have some unexpected company soon.”

“Like what your highness?” Asked Hoofstrong.

“It’s my Aunt… She’s coming to visit the Empire.” Cadence explained. Only to add a little more confusion to the subject.

“I don’t see what the problem is, I’m sure Celestia just seeing how things are going.” Said Ironwings as she drinks some tea.

“I understand that… but my concern is of two things. First, there's the fact that she’s… not to open on the subject regarding changelings… But the second thing I’m concerned about is Haseo,” That statement alone caught the Rogue off guard immediately, but before he could ask, the alicorn began to explain her reasons why. “She doesn’t know the truth about him. All she knows about is The Terror of Death fiction that was conjured up by Sombra in response to his rage all those years ago. Not only that, but it’s both of my aunts. Celestia and Luna.”

“Oh, well it shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve be working for her for years.” Ironwings said smiling confidently. At the same time her brother was sweating bullets.

“Miss Luna is coming here? I can’t meet her! I’M NOT READY!!!!” Hoofstrong yelled before running off, and being cut off as the doors slam shut, Ironwings was smirking as a glowing horn was not on her head, but still shimmered anyways.

“Forgive my brother, but he’s had a crush on miss Luna for years.” Said Ironwings as she looked at Haseo. “More tea please.” The Adept Rogue complied, pouring another cup for her as they sat down.

“Trust me… My family is a strange one it itself… You would not want to know who I have as an uncle.” Cadence replied, only causing Ironwings and Haseo to become a little more curious.

“And who would that be?” Ironwings asked as she took a sip.

“My aunt’s adoptive brother…… Discord.” Ironwings spat her tea out of her mouth after hearing that. That same tea landing on Haseo as he looked back at her and groaned.

“Really now?” He said, taking a small towel to wipe his face off.

“Sorry, it just… Discord is known for his… Pranks…” Ironwings growled softly.

“Yes… and how he’s related to my Aunts is a long story in itself.” Cadence replied. “He was raised alongside them since foalhood after Celestia’s mother found him abandoned on the front doorstep of the castle. No one knows why though that he went… well… crazy.”

“I thought he was always crazy?” Asked Ironwings.

“Not exactly.”

“What do you mean?” Asked Hoofstrong.

“It was said that he went crazy during a time where there was a lot of personal conflict between my aunts. They were blaming one another for the failure to rescue the Crystal Empire from Sombra and… well, I don’t know exactly the full story, but something in him from the sounds of it snapped,” The Alicorn explained. “Our primary focus right now though should be in getting ready to see the Princesses for when they arrive… Haseo, where’s Shining Armor?”

Haseo sighed as he looked at Cadence. “Passed out in your room. He had been driving himself crazy the past few days and had not gotten any sleep.”

“Darn it, and just when we needed him the most…” The Alicorn mumbled. “I guess we’ll just need to improvise right now for the time being. My best guess is that they’ll be here within the hour. If not, earlier than that, so please be ready for anything.” Haseo nodded his head, looking back at the others as he acknowledged what Cadence just said to them.

“Do not worry, your highness…” She assured Cadence before making a prideful declaration. “I’ll whip the troops into shape before they get here.” In response, the General’s words caused her brother Hoofstrong to sigh after hearing that.

“What about you, Hoofstrong?” Haseo asked. “What do you plan to do before the Princess’s arrive?”

“Well, I plan on helping the troops too. My sister can be heavy hoofed sometimes.” Hoofstrong replied as he went after his sister. Haseo himself was told that Cadence was going to see if Shining was awake and try to catch him up to speed on the present situation. But as he waited, something made him feel as if he was on edge. Which didn’t help when he heard the sound of unexpected hoofsteps echo throughout the hall.

Thinking that an uninvited guest somehow got past the guards stationed outside, Haseo cleared up his throat and spoke firmly. “Who’s there?” He waited, only to not hear a response and instead, the hoofsteps continued. Based on his hearing, it sounded like there were two, possibly three individuals trotting towards the end of the hall. And since none of them seemed to stop to answer his question, Haseo’s concern was on Cadence’s safety. Taking a deep breath, he held out his right hand behind him as he had the front left side of his body facing towards where the sounds came from. His hand soon grabbed hold of one of his weapons from before as he acted with the utmost of caution. Shining was probably asleep, so it was his turn to act in his place.

“I said… Who’s there?” he repeated himself. His eyes scanning around the room to try and find out what was causing all the racket. Soon, he turned to see Cadence walk out of her room to look at the guardian with a confused expression present on her face.

“Haseo, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’ve just been hearing three sets of hoofsteps for the past few minutes,” He explained to the Alicorn. “I asked them to show themselves, but either they are trying to hide themselves or my hearing is playing tricks on me.” That just got the Alicorn to raise her eyebrow as she looked back at the hallway before looking towards Haseo. Letting out a deep sigh, she cleared her throat before looking back at the Adept Rogue. Telling him to put away his weapon, which he did as soon as she told him too before looking back out in the hallway.

“Auntie… I know you like to surprise us with your unexpected arrivals, but we already know that you’re here… please come on out.” Cadence firmly stated. Shortly afterwards, a small portion of the room soon glowed a little as it showed three ponies standing there. Two that were similar to Cadence, just a bit taller while the last one was a stallion with a navy cloak and a light flame colored fur with an dark orange mane and tail.

“Just as perceptive as always my niece,” The white alicorn with a flowing teal colored mane and tail replied. “No wonder I see a lot of traits from you in Twilight nowadays.”

“Nah, Haseo had a feeling that you were already here… and since you do have a habit of dropping by unannounced, I just put two and two together. Even if you did send a letter saying you were coming, you never specified when.” Cadence explained. “So if that meant you were here now, then you would be here analyzing Haseo’s actions.”

“Haseo?” Luna asked, a bit curious. “You know the name of this… Terror of Death?”

“That alias was given to me by Sombra as a way to spread fear amongst his people. I was once Princess Amore’s protector in the past,” Haseo told them, looking at the princesses before looking at Cadence. “But now I serve as Cadence’s guardian. Still, it is an honor to meet the both of you.” With the last statement, he took a moment to bow as he got on one knee, using that as a way to show kindness and respect to both of the Princesses that had just made their presence known.

“My… I never expected one to be feared as a monster to actually be a Gentlestallion at heart, sister.” Luna replied, chuckling a little as Celestia looked back at the alicorn of the night. Haseo could tell at first glance that Celestia, the Alicorn of the Day, was a lot more serious than her sister, Luna; who was the Alicorn of the Night. Cadence had taken the time with Haseo over the past few days to explain to him all the things that had changed over the course of the thousand years that he had been encased in ice. Reflecting on the history of the past and also the events of the present so he was up to speed on everything.

“Aunt Celestia… Who is the pony that’s with you?” Cadence then asked, pointing a hoof at the stallion as he blushed a little from being mentioned.

“Ah yes, I almost forgot,” The Sun Alicorn remembered as she turned to face him as he trotted up next to the Alicorn. “This here is Sunburst. He’s an exceptional student at my school for Gifted Unicorns who I believe can do lots of good here in the empire. With your permission of course, I would like for him to stay in the Crystal Empire and try to help you as much as possible.” The Unicorn himself looked nervous, but still tried his best to keep his composure as he looked at Cadence and Haseo.

“Of course, many hooves here make light work,” The Alicorn replied as she looked back at the Unicorn. “Welcome to the Crystal Empire, Sunburst.” She then redirected her attention to the two alicorns as she looked back at them. “I’m sorry if Shining isn’t present right now. He’s been so busy with trying to start up the guard here that he hasn’t been sleeping lately. Haseo’s been helping him simplify things a little.”

“Along with finally convincing him to get some sleep,” He added on. “Seriously, he had been awake for the last two days because he was drinking nothing but coffee.”

“What can you expect from the fool? His passion has gone to his head.” The voice of Ironwings boomed from the other end of the hallway as she trotted up to them. “Ma’am.”

“My, General Ironwings… I honestly never expected you to be here.” Celestia replied to her, turning around to face her. “How are you and your brother doing?”

“My worm of a brother is fine. In fact, he’ll be helping out with things here, if that alright with you your highness.” She asked, looking at the Princess.

“It’s fine by me. The more the merrier… But remember, since you are in the Empire, any suggestions you may have for future activities or training with the troops needs to be verified by Cadence and Shining instead of me,” The Alicorn reminded her. “Also, Sunburst here will be helping Cadence with some of the other tasks around the city as well.”

“I see, thank you.” Ironwings replied, smiling to herself. “Brother! Take care of things here, I need to deal with some business.”

“Of course sister.” Hoofstrong said with a sigh as he returned back outside. With that, Haseo looked back around and looked at both of the Alicorns and the general as he watched them walk over to the dining room for tea. He took the time to help Sunburst with bringing things up to speed and with how things were being run in the Empire nowadays. To his surprise, it turned out that the Unicorn was not only a strong magic user, but also a historian. He was fascinated by the Crystal Empire and wanted to learn more about the Empire before Sombra came into power. Haseo’s memory of that time was short because he was only around almost four months or so before Sombra seized control and murdered Amore in cold blood, but nevertheless, he did try his best to help explain everything the best he could. It got a little bit confusing when trying to explain recent events, but Haseo approached the subject calmly and tried his best to explain everything that he could.

Yet, even that didn’t last long as they heard a loud crash from the training barracks. “What the buck was that?” Sunburst asked as Haseo lept to his feet.

“I don’t know, but something tells me we’re going to find out. Come on,” He insisted, both of them running over to the sight of the impact as the dust was finally beginning to clear up. “Thank god that whatever it was didn’t hit any civilians.” His attention was reverted back to the smoke when he saw the shadows of two figures from inside. Thinking the worse case scenario, Haseo summoned his punisher blade and Sunburst’s horn lit up with magic as they stood firmly amongst the present chaos.

“Where are we?” A familiar voice asked. The voice in itself stunned Haseo for a moment, causing him to shake his head a little. He must’ve been hearing things. There was no way that it could possibly be-.

When it was finally clear, Haseo saw who the two were. The closest to him was a dark skinned girl with white, short hair, and had white tattoos. She wore little armor, but what was there was different shades of purple with gold. She held a large sword that was almost or as big as her. Not to mention that she seemed surprised when she saw Haseo.

The other one was a male with pale skin and blue hair, and had orange tattoos on his cheeks. He wore some kind of orange leather, and wielded a pair of Twin Blades as well along with wearing a hat that was made of the same color of leather. Haseo couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Both of these two were like him… Humans who ended up here somehow… but these two ended up as Kite and BlackRose. How was something like this possible!?

“Crap! Another one!” BlackRose yelped, pointing her sword at Sunburst. “Why can’t we find a non-pony area!?”

Haseo couldn’t put his finger on it, but the Kite guy seemed… off. He looked almost deranged. Only one thing came to mind as he looked at him. “Who are you two… and why are you here? You look like Tri-Edge… yet, your appearance does not match that… So,” He said, looking to BlackRose as he changed weapons from his Punisher Edge to his Twin blades. “Who are you?”

“Oh thank gosh, another human!” BlackRose said in relief. She was about to walk over, but Kite stopped her with an arm.

“Sunburst, stand down,” Haseo insisted. “These… travelers mean no harm.” Sunburst nodded, dismissing the magic and apologizing for his hasty actions earlier.

“Who are you?” BlackRose asked.

“My name is Haseo. Adept Rogue and the current guardian of the Crystal Empire now that Sombra is slained. Both of you are welcomed here, but I believe it would be appropriate to know your names as well.” He told them in response to the gladiator’s question as he looked at both of them.

“I’m Tessa and this is Seabus.” BlackRose said. However, those names triggered something in Haseo’s mind as he stepped back, eyes widening in response as he dropped his two blades to the ground and fell onto one knee. Stunned by the shock of what he just heard.

“T-tessa? S-seabus?” He said after a minute, still trying to come to his senses. “Is that you?”

“She just said-.” Kite, or Seabus, said. Until he realized the other half of what the Adept Rogue just asked. “Yeah… Why?”

“I-it’s me……” Haseo said, shortly before saying the name that he never thought he would use again. “Ryou-.”

“Dude!” BlackRose shouted, jumping Haseo and tackling him to the ground.

“Oww! That… was a little unexpected.” He said, scratching the back of his head where it hit the crystalline ground that they were on. “J-just… How the hell did you two get here?”

“Are they friends of yours?” Sunburst asked.

“Yeah… it’s a bit difficult to explain…” Haseo replied as he looked at the two of them, still waiting on their reply back. “But still… How did you get here?”

“We… Don’t remember.” BlackRose said.

“Last thing I remember is saying I’d meet you later.” Kite said. “Then we woke up in a Manhattan pun of a city.”

“For me… It’s a lot different… I woke up here in the past… Well, maybe you two should see for yourself.” From the pouch that he had on his back, he gave them a memory crystal. But this one was a lot different. It contained everything. All the memories, good and bad. The full story all the way to the present… and what happened because of it.

“Ow…” Kite groaned. “I have a headache. Thanks.”

“Unintentional… But hopefully, this can help you with understanding.” Haseo told them, offering a hand to them. “Come along… I believe we have some catching up to do.”


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