• Published 2nd Jul 2017
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Stories in Stone, Last Dance - TDR

All stories must end, even those in stone. The final book of the Stories in Stone series.

  • ...

Last Meal

Stories in Stone
Last Dance

Last Meal

[21 years after Tirek's defeat. Manehatten ]

Chief Keystone hated nights like this.

Sure it had started out innocent enough. He got up and got ready, kissed the wife goodbye and popped into Pony Joe's for a cup of coffee, a doughnut his diet didn't allow, and some small talk about how Joe's family was doing. Afterwords he came into the station, relieved the day shift, briefed the night crew on the patrol routes for the evening and then settled in to the front desk to listen to complaints about noise and ponies trying to argue their way out of tickets.

That had been his normal night for the last twenty years. Sure there had been the issue with the zombies, but that hadn't really affected the local Guard much at least not his station beyond some coordination with the more militant branch of the Guard. And that coordination was simply keep ponies away from the area and otherwise just to stay out of their way.

But every so often he had a night like this. It had started as normal until ten. Once the bell on the station tower struck ten the shit hit the fan and went down hill from there.

They were now dealing with a double homicide and a screaming foal who was now an orphan. The colt also hadn't stopped screaming and crying yet and it was now three in the morning.

Three hours left on his shift, this seriously couldn't get worse.

The Chief winced as he thought that looking around as words like that even silently mused tended to bring more trouble.

Of course that's when the officer who brought the foal in showed up along with her partner.

Copper and Flatfoot were good cops, but they sometimes took the job personally. While not a bad thing normally, these two had a tendency to ignore the book when it came to proceed. While not total loose cannons they moved dangerously close to that sometimes and only their rather exemplary records otherwise kept him and the morning shifts Chief Bobby from taking their badges.

Keystone shouldn't really be surprised at their actions though, given they both transferred here from the six sixty sixth division after Flatfoot lost an eye and most of his left ear in a encounter. Not that it slowed the stallion down, and given he preferred playing the 'good' cop in interrogations while the sweet looking little mare Copper loved playing the 'bad' cop simply made things both amusing and unsettling.

While the Manehatten Royal Guard was affiliated with the Canterlot Guard, they had their own rules and hiring practices and were more police than Guard at the best of times. These two found that a little odd but had adapted to the less than strict structure of the place rather well.

“What have you got for me?” Chief Keystone asked, forty years on the force and he was never ready for things like this. While he expected Copper to have the information sooner she was rather meticulous with her reports and the extra time was often worth it with the detail.

The light blue mare ruffled some papers in the air, holding them before her with her blue tinged magic before speaking.

“Victims were an Earth Pony couple. A one Babs Seed Smith, and a one Silver Smith. Silver owned a small repair and jewelry shop on the east side and Babs was head chief at La Hooife in mid town. Her coworkers report that Silver and their four year old colt Thistle had arrived to walk Babs home from work, evidently it was a common enough thing most days. They had made it to Elm and Third when a street sweeper noticed the trio get stopped by a rather large Diamond Dog. The sweeper couldn't hear what they were saying, but it only took a moment or two before the Diamond Dog pulled out a Crossbow and put two bolts in Silver's chest. Babs moved to protect the foal and was cut down as well. The Dog ignored the foal and looted the parents bodies before rushing off into the night. “Copper sighed.” The sweeper had another crew member call it in and went to help. The parents were DOA and the foal was screaming before he even crossed the street.”

“I know that tone.... there's more isn't there?” Keystone sighed.

“The perp was Clyde Barker, Chief.” Flatfoot growled his wings ruffling.

“Buck.......” Keystone swore.”He's already back in the embassy isn't he? His sister swearing he's been there all night.”

“And screaming about suing because of all these false charges against her brother.” Copper snapped.” Despite the fact we got him dead to rights. Witnesses and even some blood on the mares hoof, seems she got at least one good hit before he clawed her throat out.”

“What about the kid?” Keystone asked waving a hood in the air, the foals screaming still heard despite the fact he was in one of the back offices with a few officers trying to calm him down with no luck even after all this time.

“No immediate local family in Manehatten. Closest we have on record is a second cousin in New Canterlot. Applejack Apple.................” Flatfoot reported looking up with a worried expression that was mirrored by the other two.”It can't be that Apple can it? It's a big family......”

“... The Element of Honesty?” Copper winced. “I think it is... but I'm not sure.”

“I bet my badge it is. I'm not that lucky.” Chief Keystone sighed hearing galloping coming from upstairs as some one tore across the second floor and down the stairs stumbling over himself.

The sea blue colored stallion on tower watch panted hard as he caught his breath pointing one hoof upwards before he choked on his own breathing.

“Calm down Fuzz. Take a slow breath and just tell me whats going on.” the Chief sighed as the young officer caught his breath finally.

“Sir.. there's an air ship bearing down on the station at top speed, It's ignoring the requests to stop by the patrol officers in the air.” Fuzz gasped.

“Did you see a name on it?” Flatfoot asked.

“The Storm Cloud sir.”Fuzz responded.

“And so it begins.”the Chief sighed.

Moments after the words left his mouth the front door to the station house burst open with enough force that the old doors slammed into the walls on either side of the opening, popping out of their hinges and crashing to the floor.

The underside of an airship could be seen taking up most of the street in front of the station and a brown earth pony in a ball cap was darting between the parking meters stuffing bits in.

That wasn't hat drew every ones attention however, what drew the eye more than anything else was the lithe white unicorn mare storming into the station, her eyes blazing as her lavender and pink streaked hair flowed over her back like a cape as she advanced on the desk. The mares expression was of clear unrestrained anger.

“Where is he?!” the mare demanded, her voice booming in the hall with enough force to rattle the windows, despite the fact she seemed to be talking normally.

Chief Keystone winced. He recognized the mare, buck any one would recognize the mare. Sweetiebelle Reignolds Mash was not a mare any one could forget. Particularly in Manhatten after the events that happened here with the zombies. The Mayor had seen two more terms from that event and the Rarities popularity had soared.

“Who?” Copper was the one to break the silence and as such drew the attention of the mare.

“Thistle Smith.” Sweetiebelle snapped at the other mare.

“He's safe ma'am but we are waiting for the family to contact us before we allow any one else to see him...” Flatfoot started to explain before taking a step back as the mare advanced on him, clearly taking his words to mean that he wanted to be the target of her ire.

“BELLE!” shouted another voice. The white mare paused looking back at the door with a wince as another pony entered the station.

Chief Keystone wished he could sink down behind his desk as the uniformed Earth pony stepped into the light before the desk. The brown and white pony was short, though even the dress uniform he wore didn't hide the ripple of muscle under his skin with every step he took. His hooves struck the floor as he walked with dull thuds and military percussion that seemed to reverberate in the bones of those around him. His eyes were locked with the Chief's and the older pony found he couldn't move or look away.

“G..Guard Captain Kaisur sir... what are you doing here?” Copper gasped snapping into a salute with Flatfoot and Fuzz doing the same immediately.

“Sweetiebelle Reighnolds Mash is one of Thistle Smith's God Mothers. You will allow her to see to and collect the foal immediately.”Pip stated in a tone that dared any of them to tell him no. He raised a hoof pointing at Flatfoot. “You. Sergeant Escort her to him.”

Flatfoot saluted and walked off towards the back beckoning Sweetiebelle to follow though the mare was already hot on his hooves.

“You. Go out there and validate Button Mash's parking, the ship was commandeered on Guard business.” Pip ordered gesturing to Fuzz who rushed off tripping over his own legs.

Pip holds out a hoof to Copper who hands him the paper work she was carrying. The Guard Captain flipped through them with a small nod.”And this all happened tonight then?”

“Yes Sir.” Copper stated.

“You were the one who sent me the information on the perpetrator that is suspected in this crime?” Pip asked Copper.

“Yes sir. I was trying to find a way to get past the embassy protections on Clyde before so we could arrest him for other crimes he's committed. While I didn't send them specifically to you Sir but....”

“It's fine. It's something I should have responded to earlier, but paper work tends to go through far too many other offices before coming to mine. I saw the document before I came out here however, very thorough. Chief this is no longer an issue for the local government. The Royal Guard is taking over this case.”

“Err no offense sir but is that wise? There's a number of issues regarding Clyde Barker. “Keystone spoke up. “Not the least of which is Clyde's diplomatic immunity in regards to this sort of thing. We've had him dead to rights before and between the ambassadors legal department, and the bit trail to local nobles and regional delegates we have never been able to make anything stick enough to even get a warrant.”

The Guard Captain's ears perk up at the sound of what seems to be howling and he moves away from the desk gesturing for Copper to do the same.

“Well then it is lucky for me given the situation I don't need a warrant.” Pip stated flatly as the screaming grew louder.

The massive form of a Diamond Dog bound in chains hits the stoop at the front door with a thud, the screaming mutt bounced across the tile floor before slamming bodily into the front desk with a whimper. The impact cracked the old wooden structure and sent Keystone leaping from his perch as papers flew into the air.

Copper blinked looking down at the whimpering hogtied Diamond Dog recognition on her features.

“Clyde Barker?”

“That was a bit much dear.” Pip stated looking at the door.

“He resisted arrest.” Another voice stated followed by the clack of hooves as the figure landed.

Looking to the door all Keystone and Copper could see was a wreath of green fire with a pony walking through it. The orange mare was tall and nearly as muscled as Guard Captain Pip. She wore a combat harness over top a Shadowbolts uniform and was recognized immediately as the Guard Captain of the Six Sixty Sixth, Scootaloo Fire Kaisur.

“Oh bollocks.”Keystone muttered crawling back up behind his desk.

“Resisted or not you were not supposed to harm him.”Pip stated getting a bit of a scoff. From the Pegasus.

“Pippy you know I love you, but stuff it! It took everything I had to not leave bits of this guy all over the city.” Scootaloo growled. “Also I'm not on duty. So where is he?”

“In the back, Sweetiebelle's already back there, just look for her.” Pip stated as Scootaloo walked off towards the back offices sparing only a glare at the bound and beaten Diamond Dog.

Pip sighed moving over to the Diamond Dog picking him up with a hoof and setting him upright as he checked him over.

“nothing broken, no obvious scorch marks, a few bruises. Hmm I need to apologize she did hold back.” Pip muttered before pushing Clyde back to the ground.

“What...?” Key stone stammered.

“Do forgive her Chief, she's a lot like her mother and took far to quickly to Da's methods after training in regard what one can do with proper protocol in certain situations. Though from my understanding the Six Sixty Sixth always tend to be a bit crass.” Pip comments noting the smirk briefly crossing Copper's face. “Guard Captain Scootaloo is another of Thistle's God Mothers. I suppose if you went by the old foals tales about God mothers she'd be the one of strength while Sweetiebelle would be the one of grace.”

“Didn't that tale have three fairy godmothers?” Copper began before a pair of massive Diamond Dogs strode into the police station taking positions on either side of the door before a gilt and fancy carriage rolled up in front of the station and a massive Diamond Dog bitch stepped out, brushing past Fuzz and ignoring Button who was yelling at the carriage driver about being double parked.

“And here's Ambassador Bonnie Barker.” Keystone sighed digging around in his desk for some aspirin or something for his rapidly growing headache.

“What is the meaning of this!? How dare you break the sanctity of our soil with this blatant kidnapping and abuse I will see you all hung for this breach of rights. This could bring war!!”

“It already has. And to be honest if it does Da has been getting bored any way.” Pip turned whirling on the massive Diamond Dog bitch, making her flinch with his movement even though he barely came up to her thigh.

“You are Guard Captain Kaisur.... I know of your father, and I am not afraid of a threat such as that. Princess Celestia will bend over backwards to prevent a declaration of war which means that each and every one of you will be made an example of.”She growls gesturing to the station as a whole. “Do not try to intimidate me Guard Captain I have been playing this game far longer than you have been alive.”

“And I was taught chess by Auntie Celestia.” Pip stated flatly with a shrug. Bonny looked confused at the statement as did Copper and the Chief, though the sudden sounds of impacts followed by a gurgled cry and a loud whimper from the door brought every ones attention away from Pip to the front of the building.

With the exception of Pip who simply sighed, everyone's eyes widened at the sight before them. Four figures stood inside the station. Two of them were positioned over the Ambassador's guards, the Dogs pinned to the floor with arrows and spears.

The black armor the group wore didn't seem to be of any kind of metal, it seemed more like stone or chitin, though these were no changelings. The armor covered the figures from head to hoof, though dark curved horns came up from the tops of their helmets and the white hair of their tails was visible on all four. The armor looked to be interlocking plates full of jagged edges that were tinged red as if dipped in blood. The full covering face masks were stylized like a spiders maw with far too many fangs. The armor was lightly decorated with what appeared to be spider web etchings and two of the figures had rather large Spider like creatures on their backs, similarly armored and each of them working a pair of what seemed like repeating Griffonese crossbows also done in the same style, though the tips of the loaded bolts glimmered a sickly purple as if poisoned. The most unsettling thing however was that no matter how they moved or shifted they made no sound at all.

A good two dozen more stood outside surrounding the carriage their weapons trained on the driver and Fuzz. Button however was mostly being ignored as he nonchalantly tried to talk with one of them.

“W.... Watipi!” Bonny stated as her brother whimpered.

“Yes... but it's a little worse than that.”Pip offered stepping around the Diamond Dog bitch.

One of the figures took note of his movements and barked out an odd warbled cry towards the door.

Another figure strode in at the call.

This figure was lithe and clearly a mare with how her armor fit her. She was easily as tall as Princess Celestia and her armor was far more ornate than the others etched with numerous symbols mixed in among the webbed pattern of the interlocking plates. She strode past Bonny with out a glance looking down at Guard Captain Pip before reaching a hoof up and pulling off her helmet revealing a tightly bound red mane and yellowish fur that seemed to contain a mix of Elk and Pony features. Her green eyes burned with barely contained anger as they darted between the small Earth Pony and the bound Diamond Dog.

“Elder Apple.” Pip offered a small dip of his head.

“This is him?” Applebloom snarled staring at the Diamond Dog on the floor, her question not seeming to be directed towards Pip.

“It is. Delivered as I promised you. As per our agreement Elder. Now I would ask that you hold up your end of things and send the Elk you have positioned around the city back home.” Pip stated.

Applebloom strode forward her armor seeming to draw the very sound from the air as she lowered her head, her gaze meeting Clyde's as she snarled. She turned back to another large armored Watipi that had followed her in stating something in the odd guttural tongue that the other Watipi had spoken earlier.

The Watipi in question moved to the Diamond Dog offering a small nod to Pip who returned the nod to Drakast as the large Elk grabbed the Diamond Dog with a hoof flipping him up onto his back without any effort and strode back towards the door as the Ambassador sputtered a protest.

“How is he?” Applebloom asked Pip as her tone softened, completely ignoring the ambassador.

“As to be expected with a colt that lost his parents. But Sweetiebelle and Scootaloo are with him. We'll bring him by your sisters when every things settled here. Shouldn't be more than a few days to get all the affairs in order. Tell Babs and Silver we will take care of him.” Pip sighed.

“They know, though they have to leave soon.” Applebloom responded looking off to the side at something Pip couldn't see.

The Earth Pony blinked a moment catching the reflection of what looked like a black alicorn in the reflection of one of the stations windows, but it was gone before he could get a good look at it. Perhaps just another Watipi.

“Good, is that everything then?” Pip asked.

“It'll do....... “Applebloom turned her green eyes staring down the Diamond Dog ambassador. Unlike Pip the tall mare met the ambassador eye to eye and didn't break the glare until the bitch flinched.” …....... for now at least...”

Applebloom shouted something to the other Elk around her in the guttural tongue as she put the helmet back on. The ones holding the Diamond Dog body guards shoved them aside as the whole group strode out of the Police station and vanished into the night without a sound taking Clyde Barker with them.

“Sir?”Keystone asked hesitantly trying to figure out what had happened.

“You are wondering what is going on I take?” Pip cleared his throat. “ Scootaloo, myself, and Sweetiebelle were on vacation visiting the Elk territories when we got the news of Babs and Silver Smith's murder. From Babs and Silver themselves. One of Elder Applebloom's powers is the ability to see and speak with the spirits of those departed. There are a few other shaman and the like who can do the same. I don't know the specifics of it but what was said to the Elder was enough for her to mobilize the entirety of the Elk fighting force and bring them to Manehatten before we even managed to get here. Three tribes the Watipi, the Avarials, and the Kelpie were in position to respond to her order immediately. The rest of the War Band is likely on it's way here.”

Pip sighed looking at the door.

“We made a brief stop in Canterlot to let the Princesses know the situation and Princess Twilight allowed their passage within reason. When I left she and Princess Celestia were still haggling the details with the Elk ambassador so I was forced to take matters into my own hooves.” Pip explained. “ I managed to convince Applebloom to keep the Elk she already had outside the city until Scootaloo found the the killer. We were given three hours before the Elk would have come in themselves and drug every Diamond Dog in the city before, her so that the killer could be identified. Luckily because of Sargent Copper's request and documentation we knew exactly who we were looking for and where he would be. Thank you for that Sergeant. The Royal Guard will be fully investigating this matter along with the Equestrian Ambassadors Guide to determine the best course of action in regards to everything. Likely you will be working with them closely once everything starts and a promotion will also be in the works for you and your partner.”

Copper blinked rubbing the back of her head a little.

“What is going to happen to my brother!?” Bonny demanded.

“He will be tried in the Elk court and if found guilty executed. Until the trial can be held, which may take some time due to Elder Applebloom's emotional state and the need of finding a impartial judge he will be turned over to Watipi.....”

“WHAT THE SLAVERS!!!?!?!” The Ambassador shrieked.

“They were slavers. Elder Applebloom's leader ship has ended that practice with the Watipi. To be honest having visited their lands myself I think if he was only going to be a slave it would be a improvement.” Pip stated flatly.

“How can you let them do this to him what sort of a Guard Captain are you?!” Bonny cried out again.

“One who has lost a cousin and a friend due to the actions of your brother. One who is trying very hard to be the voice of reason and stability right now despite wanting nothing more to cut loose and vent.”Pip lowered his voice as he looked up at the Ambassador his eyes narrowing. “One who knows a hundred and seven ways to kill some one and is trying very hard to not show an aggravating Diamond Dog at least three of them right now if she doesn't go back to her compound, and that's just so it remains a humane death which you wouldn't get from any of the others with me right now. Your brother started a international incident with a protected race. One that the Diamond Dogs themselves prompted the vote for after the attack by Tirek. When news of this incident and how you have been protecting the criminal comes to light I think you will be lucky to be allowed back into your own homeland. So pick your words carefully from this point on Bonny because at this point my word can have you escorted to the edges of Equestria and evicted without so much as allowing you a change of clothes first.”

Keystone flinched feeling the room grow easily several degrees colder.

“Sergeant Copper escort the Ambassador and her guards back to the Diamond Dog Embassy. I'm going to check on my wife and godson......” Pip stated.

“Godson sir?” Keystone asked.

“Yes. I'm thistles godfather. And before you ask, I'm so much worse than that movie.”Pip stated turning to walk into the back, the foals crying having finally ceased.

Author's Note:

This one started as a small blurb in a later chapter, but the ideas came up that made it both terrible and wonderful and thus you have this chapter with Pip once again being the only one remaining calm among the CMC, though admittedly barely.

While thistle was mentioned in a previous chapter it wasn't brought up in Applejack's chapter what he became. He became his Godfathers successor. that far in the future the stallion had become the Guard Captain after Pip's successor with a record of accomplishments that actually exceeded his Godfathers and Godmothers in the Guard and fell just shy of Jer'rahd's only by virtue of there not being any wars to fight in.