• 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 Mission

Stories in Stone
Last Dance

Last Mission

[64 years after Tireks defeat]

The wind howled as tore through the trees at the edge of the forest. The wild storm battering the small town built just beyond White Tail woods. Carrot Glade was a small trading hub that nearly all of the Elk's imports and exports went though. There were a few shops, farms, and houses, but most of the income came from caravans forced to stop at the edge of the woods before being granted permission by the Elk to come into their lands, something that could take as long as a week. Several bars and a large hotel at the edge of town sprouted up due to this forced stop.

Still with the trade routes profits, most merchants didn't mind the small layover.

Today however the small town was in a crisis situation.

“Team beta I need a sit-rep now!” a armored pony shouted into a com system set up in the town hall. A large number of other ponies milled around him. The wind continued to scream outside as rain and hail beat against side of the building, the whole structure creaking in the strong wind causing a number of the families that had gathered here to cry out at the noise.

Captain Cobb and his team had shown up at the beginning of the storm, they had been out on maneuvers and had been the closest to the town to be able to offer aid, and seek shelter themselves. They hadn't expected the storm to gain the ferocity it had coming off over Whitetail. The locals called this sort of storm 'Tirek's rage' and looking outside the Earth Pony Guard could tell why.

“Given the lightning I would think the crystal would be mostly static Captain.” A older mare chuckled from where she sat nearby.

“Now now dear, these might be some of the newer ones... you know the crystals that can't even hold a charge in perfect weather.” An older stallion added from the other side of the table. “ It might not be the weather that's causing issue it just might be garbage.”

“Oh right. They switched from the older systems that worked because the new ones were cheaper...” the mare chuckled. “And hows that working out for you Captain?”

What he hadn't expected when he came to town was the two ponies who had joined up with his unit as soon as they arrived. A Pegasus and an Earth Pony, and old married couple, probably in their eighties from the looks of it.

Both of them were decked out in Guard tac gear and both were armed. One with an odd ring ended sword and the other with a pair of crystal blades that attached to her fore hooves not her wings like most Pegasus preferred. Granted with her tiny wings there wasn't much there to attach to.

Still Cobb hadn't made Captain by being an idiot. It was easy to recognize the pair as retired Guard, and easier still to recognize who the pair were, and even at their advanced age it nearly made him shit himself. Of all the towns in Equestria, this was the one he got stuck in during a time when his leadership would be put to the test.

Former General of the Six Sixty Sixth monster hunters, the last pony in Equestria's history to be granted the rank of General.

Pip Kaisur.

The mare was the former General of the 63rd air wing and the second to last pony ever to be granted the rank of General.

Scootaloo Kaisur

Both had earned the rank in the short but memorable third invasion of New Canterlot by the forces of the Storm King. The conflict was also called the 'Thirty four hour war', though in truth it lasted only thirty two, two of those hours were spent traveling to the Storm Kings lair before ultimately destroying it and all of the forces the Yeti had gathered.

General Kaisur and Queen Luna also professed to be very cross that they missed the fight.

The pair had been quite helpful in gathering up the towns folk here and helping the Guards figure out the lay of the land as well as the number of ponies present in the town and likely escape routes.

There were currently fifty four civilians in the town hall and another dozen or so who had hunkered down in their homes. Of his ten Pony and one Griffon unit, Cobb and three others were stationed in the town hall. The basement of the town hall was fairly sizable and more than large enough to hold the towns population.

Three other members of his team had set up a triage in the basement and were treating a number of the small injuries that had resulted from the high winds and blown debris. With the wind as it was now many of the shops and homes were already showing signs of damage.

The final three were the ones he was trying to contact, his aerial scout team. The Griffon and the two pegasi were good, but he was worried with this storm.

“HQ this is beta, I hope everyone down there is in a shelter because there's problems up here.” the radio crackled. “ We've spotted at least two funnels forming at various points around town and there's at least three more across the fields to the north of town. We don't think those are headed this way but the other three look like they are going to touch down any time now. We've got a secure cloud above everything, but it looks like we'll be stuck here, it's too dangerous to fly below the cloud line right now.”

“There are still ponies trying to shelter in their homes.” Pip muttered.

“The Hearthstones, Seasprays, and Roses. “ Scootaloo pondered. “ Not to mention those three staying out at the merchant hotel on the east side.”

“It's too late to get to any of them.” Cobb muttered looking at the door as it rattled.

“You're a Guard Cobb act like it. You don't give up.” Scootaloo scoffed as she rose to her hooves with a stretch, Cobb was certain he heard more than a few pops.

“Right, shall we get going then dear?” Pip asked looking back at Scootaloo as he made his way towards the door. We can run the Roses and Hearthstones back here on the way to the merchant hotel.” Pip said cheerfully heading to the door.

“Not worried about the Seasprays?” Scootaloo asked following after him.

“Nah remember Wake is a prepper. I've seen his basement it's better supplied than the town hall.”Pip responded.

“Wait a minute you can't go out there you'll be killed.” Cobb stammered.

“ Sorry Captain, I've taken a bit too much after my father since retirement.” Pip smiled throwing open the door and lowering his head at the sudden explosion of wind into the building. “Meaning I do what I want. Keep things secure here. We'll be back.”

The pair of old ponies stepped out the door letting it slam shut behind them.

Checking on the Roses and the Hearthstones went by fairly quickly. The Hearthstones were only two doors down from the shelter and quickly rushed out towards the shelter after looking down the road at the now four funnels forming around the town.

The Roses were a bigger issue as a good portion of their home had already collapsed from the high winds and Pip and Scootaloo couldn't get a response from any one inside the flattened structure. Either they were in their basement trapped or the family of three was dead. In both cases the pair didn't have the time or the personnel to try to find out which right now.

Despite their age both of the former Guards moved swiftly along the path keeping both eyes on the sky as the first of the tornadoes touched down,tearing through the treeline at the forests edge and some of the farmland nearby. The howl of them filled the air and Pip could see Scootaloo stiffening and on edge with want to try and fix the problem directly, though it would take a whole team plus to stop or even stall this storm. Pegasi and Guard instincts were hard to resist. As such they both continued, slipping into a drainage ditch to walk with some cover towards the merchant hotel at the edge of town.

The pair of them paused when Scootaloo spotted something in the storm. Looking Peeking out of the ditch the pair of them saw a dark figure in the distance that looked like Queen Luna. The figure seemed to vanish as soon as it was spotted so the two of them ignored the black alicorn and continued sloshing along in the drainage ditch towards the outskirts of town.

The Trader Roadside Inn seemed to be swaying in the winds as several large funnels formed over the caravan grounds behind it dancing in the air. A pile of debris plastered to the side of the place showed one of the funnels had already touched down briefly, thankfully not seeming to have done more than make a mess.

The three story structure was well built, but with the weather as was, the place had no basement to seek shelter in so it was unsafe.

“That's a problem.” Scootaloo shouted pointing at the trio of funnel clouds that had started to circle each other. “ Those things are going to join up to a big one soon. She yelled to Pip who nodded and ran towards the structure, much to Scootaloo's annoyance, though his wife followed him.

Age had not diminished the small Earth Pony's mass as much as it had other elderly ponies. Neither he nor Scootaloo had slacked in their training PT regardless of their rank or situation. The notable exception was Scootaloo's down times while she had been heavy with foals years ago, and once the foals were born she was right back into it.

That had only happened twice, a filly and colt The colt had been named after his grandfather Amano, the filly after Babs. Scootaloo's parents had spoiled the fool out of them before they passed years ago with near simultaneous heart attacks. Spitfire had one and died three days later in her hospital bed while her father Soarin had had one while stressing over Spitfire and died a day before her. It was sad but neither had wanted to live if the other died, it was just a depressing way for that to happen.

Both of their own foals were grown now, with their own lives now and their own foals, which Scootaloo and Pip spoiled rotten when they visited.

Jer'rahd and Luna just spoiled the fool out of all of them.

The front door splinted and crashed inward after only two blows from Pip though the older stallion winced as he strode into the building reaching up to rub his shoulder. Scootaloo was hot on his hooves but rushed past them at the sound of screaming from another part of the building, Pip was after her a moment later as she burst into the kitchen of the hotel.

Curled up in the large brick fireplace were a pair of soot covered earth pony foals. A little white furred filly with a green mane, who might be about four or five and a bundled green furred infant who couldn't have been more than a year. The infant was the one screaming and the filly was holding him tight as she looked at the old ponies with worry.

Pip glanced to Scootaloo who nodded and moved over to the pair speaking with them softly trying to get them to calm down with a grandmotherly tone. Pip moved to check the other rooms wincing as he pushed open the door to the dining area next to the kitchen.

What was left of the foals mother was pinned to the floor of the room. A wooden fence post ripped up from the storm had burst in through the window impaling the young mare, probably killing her instantly. Another crash snapped Pip's gaze to the wall as a piece of lumber speared half way through the wooden wall with the sound of many others hitting the railing outside. The windows in the room were all busted out and the pile of debris outside was rattling and starting to move about as the wind picked up again. Pip winced watching as the garbage started to pull away from the building towards a vortex of dust that was picking up in the yard.

Pip ducked back into the kitchen with a shake of his head. Scootaloo frowned and gathered up the foals from the fireplace.

“We can't stay here the walls are too thin the winds throwing things through them.” Pip stated. A sudden crash drew both their eyes to the chimney as a rain of bricks crashed down where the foals had been as the upper stack of the chimney had been broken off, the howling wind getting even louder.

“We should try for that drainage ditch by the road, should be deep enough for us to hide in.”Scootaloo added as she pushed out of the kitchen hobbling a little as she held the infant in one fore limb, the younger pony clinging to her legs.

The entire building suddenly lurched sending the filly stumbling. Green fire flared as Scootaloo fanned her burning wings to keep her balance, dousing them as the filly clung tighter to her leg. Looking over at Pip she frowned as the whole building screamed and creaked. Windows shattered and things fell every where with loud thuds and crashes. Pip stumbled looking out the broken front door with a wince.

“What is it?” Scootaloo demanded.

“We're airborne.” Pip frowned.

“Horse feathers.” Scootaloo snapped.

The house slowly spun in the air from the massive twister that had formed around it and ripped it from the foundations. The weight of the three story building eventually proved more than the storm was willing to carry off and gravity soon took over, dropping the massive structure back to the ground with a horrendous crash.

“.......Hey..... hey.... kid......... are you okay?”

The filly whimpered shifting feeling dirt and dust slid off her fur. Her back legs hurt and she felt icky. She still smelled the ash of the fireplace she had been in but there was a bitter coppery scent in the air too.

She whimpered softly trying to stand up and feeling the furred underbelly of some pony above her.

“Well she's moving at least.” A stallions voice stated.

“A good sign, I can feel the little one breathing against my leg too.” a mares voice stated.

“Where's mommy?” the filly asked looking around at the darkness surrounding her. It was quiet though she heard wind in the distance and there was faint breathing below her but it was silent other wise.

“I'm sure she's fine kid.” the stallion stated with a tone that reminded her of when adults fibbed.

“So what's your name?” the mare asked from a little further away.

“Sweetpea....” she muttered.

“Hello Sweetpea. My name is Pip... my wife here is Scootaloo. Are you feeling alright?”

“Feel icky...” Sweetpea complained.

“Any boo boos?” Pip asked.

“Legs have owwies, but mostly icky.”

“I could use a bath myself.” Scootaloo snarked. “Hey can you check on your little brother for me?”

“Where is he?” Sweetpea gasped. “Momma said I needed to watch him....”

“He's right in front of you hun. Just move forward under me a little and he'll be right at your...” Scootaloo's voice was cut off as there was a ear shattering wail from the swaddled colt. “....hooves.”

“Losing your touch with foals dear?” Pip asked far too sweetly.

“Stuff it you... wow that one's got a set of lungs” Scootaloo complained. “ I let you convince me to have two foals Pip, just two and each time you seemed to forget this is what they did all the time.....”

Sweetpea ignored the adult ponys talking above her sitting down and picking up her brother rocking him a little as he slowly started to calm down sniffling and whining.

“So what's his name?” Pip asked.

“Momma named him Green Bean cause of his fur , but I call him booger cause he's always snotty.”

“Ah yes the nicknames of foals. So mean and yet so accurate.. isn't that right dodo?” Pip stated and Sweatpea could just feel the evil smirk on his face even if she couldn't see it.

“Pip I love you, but by your mom's moon covered butt, I will end you if you continue.” Scootaloo growled getting a laugh from the other pony.

“Where are we?” Sweetpea asked.

“Safe... ish. Scoots here got in contact with a friend of ours while you were napping soon as the storm lets up outside I’m sure she'll be here to get us out.” Pip stated. “ You hungry? I think I have some oaty bars still in my saddle bag.”

“The doctor said you weren’t supposed to have any of those.” Scootaloo fussed.” He said you need to cut down on the fat and sugar.”

“Blah blah blah. I'm super fit for my age and can bench press a wagon and he still says I need to lose weight.” Pip grumbled. “ What does he want me to do amputate a leg?”

“Well now, what happened to the super rules following Pipsqueak I used to know?” Scootaloo scoffed.

“He married a reckless maverick who rubbed off on him.” Pip chuckled. “No the lower pocket hun all that's in that one is rope.”

Sweetpea had set her brother down and was digging through the side pouch of the pony. He was old , but he had been wearing a Guard uniform just like the mare with him. It looked old and it didn't have any armor on it like all the ones she had seen earlier in the day but momma had said to listen to Guards and they had oaty bars......

[Several hours later.]

“Still with us Sweetpea?” Pip asked.

“Uh huh tired.....”Sweetpea muttered.” And still icky... booger threw up....”

“Air's getting stale.” Scootaloo grumbled. “ Bloom better hurry up.”

“Storms cleared any way from the sound of it.” Pip offered.

“Well that's good.” Scootaloo sighed.

“Shouldn't be long now..... uh oh....” Pip muttered.

“What?” Scootaloo asked.” What's uh oh I hate when you say uh oh.”

“I think I hear Da.”Pip muttered.

“Crud. Those two were supposed to be in Canterlot still.” Scootaloo sighed. “Well at least that means you'll be out of here soon Sweetpea. Pip's parents are crazy strong and won't let some fallen building stop them.”

The foal Green Bean took this moment to start wailing again though neither of the adults tried to shush him. In fact both of them had gone quiet and Sweetpea was starting to get worried when the wood and dirt above her shifted and dust started falling down over her which only made Green Bean scream louder.

A moment later a green glow lit the area briefly and a massive chunk of roof was pulled free from over them and flung into the distance with a crash. A gray furred stallion with an amber mane poked his head in, a green glow of his horn shining on the small filly and her brother. One green eye and one red eye regarded the pair before he looked to Pip and Scootaloo standing on ether side of the small pair. He winced a frown forming on his face though he quickly picked up the foals in his magic pulling them out of the hole.

“MEDIC!” Jer'rahd bellowed over the crying blood soaked infant and filly.

“So the mothers dead?” Luna asked with a small frown.” No other relatives?”

“Not sure about that second question, but yeah she's dead.” Applebloom sighed watching a large number of her Elk wander around the remains of the town. “Storm like that and only four died......”

“They pulled most of the Roses out of their collapsed home.” Pip offered.

“Good to know, I bet they'll listen next time when told to get to shelter.”Scootaloo scoffed.

“So what now?” Jer'rahd asked his head dipped and his eyes closed.

“Probably a long needed vacation. Visit a few friends and relatives.” Pip commented. “Lot of rebuilding here.”

“Yeah my garden's shot.” Scootaloo sighed.

“Nothing grew in that but weeds any way Scoots.” Applebloom smirked softly getting a look from Jer'rahd and Luna.

“Pfft I was gonna have a watermelon this year.” Scootaloo scoffed.

“Yeah sure, probably gonna send me off to the store to buy one again and try to fool every pony.” Pip chuckled.

“So about the filly and her brother.” Luna stated changing the subject.

“Ah'm gonna take her and her brother.”Applebloom stated. “Unless another relative comes forward.”

“Not sure you can legally do that.” Pip offered.

“Sweetpea's got a gift. One ah only seen with a few of tha Elk.” Applebloom stated.” An me of course.”

“The ability to speak with the dead.....” Jer'rahd filled in.

“Yeah.” Applebloom sighed.

“I can't believe my last words were horse feathers.” Scootaloo sighed looking at Pip.

The pair of them were much younger now as they stood on either side of Applebloom the two of them seemingly immune to the depression that filled the other three in the room. When the structure fell they both rushed to cover the foals and they managed to keep their bodies stiff enough for the small bit of space under their legs to keep the pair of them safe, despite the impact of multiple tons of ruined building collapsing atop of them.

“Are they still here?”Luna asked.

“Yeah... they're talking shit, like always.”Applebloom smiled a little.

“We should have come sooner..” Luna muttered.

“Oh crap here we go. No. You can't be everywhere Luna. You agreed to let us live our own lives so we did.” Scootaloo ranted.

“Honestly we went out properly as well. Protecting some ponies like a Guard should rather than in bed wasting away to some sickness.” Pip added waiting for Applebloom to pass it on before he continued.” This wasn't a bad death. It could have been worse, it's not like we suffered or anything.”

Jer'rahd listened as Applebloom continued nodding softly as she spoke. Luna was taking it far harder recalling the little foal she had met on that first Nightmare Night, she couldn't stop crying, and neither could any other Changeling across Equss.

Jer'rahd slowly stood up looking to Applebloom and glancing at the two spots she had been looking when she spoke to the departed spirits. He snapped suddenly to attention and offered a sharp salute to the pair of them despite not being able to see them.

“Go ahead to your deserved rest.” Jer'rahd stated holding the pose. “We'll handle everything here.”

Pip and Scootaloo glanced at each other before both snapped to attention returning the salute.

“Dismissed.” Jer'rahd muttered dropping his foreleg.

The pair of ghosts looked to each other before turning to head off across the field slowly fading from view.

“So who do we go see first?” Pip asked.

“Babs and Silver.” Scootaloo responded.

“What, not your parents?”

Do you really want to deal with my dad freaking out and blaming you for my death?”


And so with their last mission completed Scootaloo and Pipsqueak Kaisur, departed Equss

Author's Note:

And here we go another chapter of this story. It takes me a while to do these as i need to be in the right frame of mind for it.