• Published 20th Mar 2018
  • 12,055 Views, 800 Comments

Serpent of the south - J-90

There is a creature in southern land's, that is nearly as old as the nation of Equestria. Once referred as the queen of the forbidden jungle, later imprisoned in Tartarus. Now it's free to roam the land once more.

  • ...

Chapter 7 A Princess, A snake and A Sanctus Machina.

Chapter 7 A Princess, A snake and A Sanctus Machina.

"Sister? Are you sure we are even needed here? To visit some far off town? Why can't we just rest a while? Especially after our failure at the Crystal Empire."

"Luna, I know it was a hard loss to swallow, but these are the kind of things the rulers must do occasionally."

"But with a contingent of our soldiers and a Archbishop with some of his personal guard? What kind of message would this deliver to the locals? That we attempt to bring them to our fold trough force??"

"Once again sister, they are purely a security measure. And we must tell them that Equestria has not abandoned them to the threats beyond of our borders."

"But what the friar, paladin and the nun, who where sent to this trip originally, told me personally, was that the locals seemed very happy living there..."

"And soon they continue to be happy, under our shared guidance."

With those words, the two sisters fell silent for a little while, inside their royal wagon, on their way to the town that was located in just a smidgen away from their southern border. The news of it where interesting for the both of them, which resulted both of them wanting to see it personally.
The eldest wished to spread the teachings of Harmony for the ponies there too, like their parents most likely would have wished for. The younger, while also having hopes for harmonious living, was more interested on the fact that so many beings where living there alongside ponies peacefully, despite the many of the books at the capital, and scriptures of the church saying that many creatures outside of Equestria where also outside of harmony.
Luckily their mothers teachings where well ingrained in the memory of the younger sister. The father... Well she did not really remember him. Mother, before her disappearance, did not talk all that much about him, and older sister could not talk about him without tearing up or sometimes without breaking something. The score was probably around two hundred and thirty-six of various vases and pieces of tea wares for the sister. And five flowerpots for the pottery, which mysteriously dropped onto her head. Those pottery breaking's where usually accompanied with mutters of snakes and revenge for some reason.

"What about the other creatures living there?" younger sister finally asked.

"If they are not a danger to our little ponies, I guess they can remain in the town as-" Older sister answered, before being cut off by younger
"Does that apply to the children too? If one griffon chick tosses a pebble at a pony, will they be tossed out of the town?"

Before the older sister could form an answer, their wagon suddenly stopped, followed by a knock. "Your majesties! Were at the suitable place to get off safely!"

Soon both sisters had exited royal wagon, seeing a beach line and an edge of an dense forest, explaining of them stopping. Troops were unloading some equipment and archbishop was overseeing them at the moment. Mostly yelling at them to hurry up, while doing little to nothing to help.
"Ah, your majesties. We have arrive at the suitable spot to put up a temporary camp, until we have put up more permanent residence in the town." Archbishop Zealous Soul, a dark blue unicorn with an cutiemark of a sun encircled with outwards pointing swords, greeted the two monarchs politely, bowing low, wearing very fancy looking robes.

"Have the scout found a way to this town?" Older sister questioned with authority.

"Yes, we located some upturned boats further along the shore, along with some manner of rough cobblestone path to the woods." came answer from pegasus scout saluting them. The Archbishop did not seem to like the scout giving the answer to the question, but managed to stay silent about it.

"Good. Let us then proceed with a small token group of guards for security. We don't want to scare the locals. RIGHT, Archbishop?" younger sister said, while giving the fancily robed unicorn a pointed look, making him flinch a little.

"Y-yes your highness. The rest will work on the camp then..."

"Good. Then gather some volunteers, and let us be off."

One session of un-eventful walking later...

"Fine looking gate. Don't you think sister?"

"Perhaps. But it will be even better soon."

With that exchange, the sisters approached the gates slowly, with about a dozen troops behind them, Archbishop Zealous Soul walking among them. They had only taken few steps, when there was movement in the watchtowers on sides of the gate.
"Halt! Who goes there?!" came a gruff voice, along with some cranking of gears of what appeared to be a small ballista.

"I am Princess Celestia of the Equestrian Diarchy! With me are my sister, Princess Luna of the Equestrian Diarchy, and the Archbishop Zealous Soul of the Church of the Two Sisters, along with some troops for our security!"

"And what is your purpose here?!" another voice inquired from other watchtower, where also some cranking of gears could be heard. Seemed like locals where a bit careful. And the few scout reports about some of the local wildlife, it seemed somewhat reasonable.

"We heard of your settlement, and arrived to see it by our own eyes! On a peaceful visit!" Luna continued calmly.

"Wait there! We have to ask the council first!" came an answer from the gate guards. And with that the Princesses and their entourage waited right there, in front of the gate, with two watchtowers, equipped with ballista. Both of which where most likely loaded.
About a half of an hour later guards voice returned.

"You may enter! But if ANY of you causes trouble, you all will be kicked out! Is that clear?! This place is not exactly within Equestria's borders!"
With that, technical but true, line causing slight stuttering among the entourage, Archbishop especially, the gate opened up, allowing entry for all of them.

And they where greeted with an interesting sight of mix of exotic looking buildings, with equally exotic mix of creatures along with ponies moving around, working and some even staring at them with suspiciously. Maybe because they where outsiders to their town?...
After some walking, they arrived at the town square, if a fountain and a little bit larger tower-like building was any indication. There where also several creatures waiting at the towers doors, wearing humble looking sashes; three ponies, thestral, griffin, minotaur, zebra, hippogriff, drake, kirin and a diamond dog.

"I guess this is the council." Luna whispered, while looking at all the creatures in slight awe.

"Yes, and we can hear you well from here." notified the unicorn councilor, who also wore a hood covering her face. "Now will you tell us why have you come here?"

"We came to see your settlement after hearing about it. And also to offer a place for everypony here in our kingdom, for continued prosperity for all." was Celestias very proud sounding answer, due to her being hopeful for a successful political trip after the failure in the far north... Resulting loss of an empire in there.

"And what of the rest of us then?" griffin councilor piped in, sounding offended and somewhat worried. "Will you just drive us non-ponies away through force, like your late father did to most of our kind, when expanding his kingdom from shore to shore? Even plucking some of the caught hatchlings for fun, according to many, many, MANY eyewitness accounts..."
This comment cause plenty of ruffled feathers among equestrians, especially on Celestia.

"I don't understand how that is..." elder princess tried to start, only to be interrupted by the minotaur councilor.
"He even de-horned some of our emissaries, if they said something he did not like. And that was sometimes before the actual talks even began."

This also made other councilors mention their bad experiences with the late king, even the three ponies among them, many involving varied cases of racism, mutilation, false promises and broken agreements with other species outside of "normal" ponies. And Celestia was not very happy for such accusations, Archbishop Zealous even more so. Luna on the other hand mostly just listened to the stories, while learning about the ol' ded daddy from outside perspective. And she was starting to be happy that she never met him.

"How dare you speak such slander of our Brilliant Shining King..."

"Oh, put a sock in it Zello!"

That interruption from unicorn councilor silenced Zealous Soul near instantly. After that, the unicorn pulled her hood down, revealing her face. This made Zealous's face light up upon recognizing the mare.

"Shadow Petal?..."

"Hello... Deedle Nick. How have the heresy trials been?"

"I don't need to take this from a traitor..."

"Big words from somepony who abused his position and connections to get favour's and to rise up the ranks. And going against some of the oh-so-holy commandments."

"Enough!!" elder princess yelled out, while stomping ground loudly, silencing the reunion argument. "We did not come here, so you could ruin another negotiation Archbishop!"

"Well... Great to hear that the little princess has grown in some aspect at least..." came out another voice, seemingly out of nowhere, making almost everyone to look around. Finally Celestias eyes located something strange... An pegasus filly, just floating there in sitting position... Without any wing movement. And something on that voice made hair in the nape of her neck rise up...

"Lady Naja. Great for you to join us."

"No problem Shadow. Timid Flicker, could you maybe get down from my back?"


And with that the filly fluttered down from something unseen, and joined the other townsfolk, who where all watching the visitors. And that was making some of the guards a little nervous.
"Now, I guess I should reveal myself." came the voice again, followed by light glow of something moving. The glow soon spreaded upon of something tall and started to flow downwards, causing some manner of invisibility layer to peel off of something, revealing a feminine humanoid head, with a bluish skin, pair of arms, a second pair of arms... And a third pair of arms. Along with very feminine curves.
This was followed by a reveal of a huge purple serpent tail.

"Welcome to the Tanah Kahijian." the serpent creature seemingly welcomed the equestrian ponies, with arms held in a wide introductory-like position, most likely also telling them a villages name. "It means 'land of unity'. Very fitting with our current population."

"What manner of a monster are you!!??" Archbishop Zealous Soul yelled out after finding his voice.

"And what manner of offensive diminutive equine might you be?" was the serpents answer, seemingly brushing aside the insult. "But to answer to you question, I am an marilith and my name is Naja. In case you missed it earlier."

"And you lead these ponies and allow savages and halfblooded freaks here??!"

"And you sound like you have a highly mighty personal bias towards the non-ponies."

"Archbishop, please cease thy yelling. We are here to talk, not to agitate exotic individuals for no reason. Right Sister?... Sister??" Luna interrupted the verbal-fencing before it could escalate any further, trying to get her sister's opinion. Only to find her just standing there... Staring at the marilith quite intensively. And said serpentine being staring back, in a calm manner.

"Sooo... Are you going to say something, or just keep staring me? Because the latter is getting awkward at a very rabid pace." Naja quipped somewhat nonchalantly to older sister.

"You..." was the only thing Celestia could half-whisper, while her mind was remembering a scene of fire, of this serpentine being just standing there... And a dead father.

"Me... And you're getting a little floatiness on your mane. Still rocking the pink I see." came a simple, even polite sounding answer, followed by a hand movement through marilith's hair. At the same spot from once a piece zapped off.
Celestia did not bother to answer. She just charged her horn and tried to blast the offending worms head off. Only for it to tilt its head to the side, causing the beam to cut few strands of hair off and hit a roof of a building behind it.

"Sister! What are you doing?!" Luna yelled for a good reason. Many others, among both the villagers and many of the dozen guards in the entourage, where aghast of the sun princesses behaviour. Even the Archbishop seemed a little bit amazed about this, and not really in a good way.

"Is this how an Equestrian royalty greets another high authority figure these days? Even though I personally don't see myself as one." Naja gave oddly calm comment, while casually flicking her hair a bit and now folding her arms... All six of them.
"If you absolutely must insist on fighting me on sight because of something that happened waaay over a decade ago, then try taking few deep breaths first and THEN issue a challenge to a duel or a another kind of a match, after which the terms can be settled. That is how the ones with authority do it and tact do it. Right?"

"She's right sister. Even our late father did so according to the stories." Luna piped in with a point that seemed to temper the sun princess from further attacking, sparing village from further collateral damage. After taking few deep breaths to calm down, Celestia casted a determined look upon the marilith.
"Very well, I issue a challenge to a trial by combat, with me and my sister as your opponent's."

"Wait what?"

"Well then, I accept. Have to get this problem to go away eventually... So what are the terms?"

"The challenged one decides the place, the weapons used and one special term for all to follow. And these duels are to go until one side either incapacitated... Or dead..." came an explanation from the Celestia, who still looked very determined. And also kept ignoring her sisters "seriously?!"-expression, for pulling her into this apparent feud.

"All right then. We can use a cleared out area next to the village. As for the weapons, we will use what magic and weapons we have on or with us. I mean, all three of us most likely have battle gear stashed in some pocket-dimension, right?"
After getting confirming nod from both sisters, they began to move out from another gate, to the wide cleared up area next to the village, empty of trees and tree stumps. Obviously this area was to be an expansion area for the village.
Villagers and the equestrian entourage gathered up on the walls of Tanah Kahijian. Luckily the walls where wide enough to be an impromptu crowd-stand to watch the battle.

"Oh, and just so you know; if ANY of your entourage try ANYTHING, you all will be tossed out of the village, since you pretty much used up your one free-pass earlier." Naja mentioned, while summoning her six swords, and stabbing them to the ground to wait a little.
Two sisters nodded in understanding... Well Luna did, while Celestia did so little stiffly.After which they lit their horns, and with a flash of light ad their armors on. Sun princess was now in a bright golden plate armor, with an equally golden halberd, a warhammer (also golden) and two bladed sun-themed chakrams, floating next to her. Moon princess was wearing an steel-colored armor with some manner of silvery rune-embroidery on it, and had a single longsword, which also had silvery rune embroidery, with a light moon theme.
At a first glance, older sisters armor seemed a little more flashy and ceremonial like, while younger sisters armor was clearly made for mobility and to actually protect or lessen potential damage to her body.

"Now... How about all of us do first some last minute preparations? And if possible, would you put up some manner of a barrier? So that none of us tries to leave, or that anyone outside gets hurt? Let that be the one special term for this battle." Naja asked in a polite tone, while doing some hand gestures resembling the 'Nine cuts'. This was to help in calming her nerves, and to sneakily cast a couple of spells with help of few materia-crystals woven in hidden pockets in her vambraces.
'Shell... Wall... Haste... Regen... Reflect... Those should help a little... And hopefully I do not need to call upon the BIG guy...' Naja thought while going through some of the enhancement's that she had at her disposal, along with her base-spells.

On the princess side, Celestia began to weave a barrier-spell, that would cover the entire open are, and it also would not break, or allow anything enter or leave, until only one of them would be conscious. She would have liked it be two remaining conscious, but with the spells craft and the amount of combatants, it just was not possible.
Luna was doing pretty much similar preparation like Naja; few boosting enhancement spells, only these where more of the runic sort, but purpose was the same.

"As a little courtesy, we allow you to make the first attack, no matter what kind it is." sun princess said, trying to be an honorable sort, even though she would have rather wanted to try and wring serpent creatures neck. She did keep all of her weapons at the ready.

"Very well then. I think I have juust the right starter move, brought forth with some training with my friends..." was Naja's simple answer, while coiling up a little into a better standing position. This was followed with deep breath and positioning all of her six arms, now holding swords once more, in an wide arc.
Suddenly Naja, now in some manner of meditative state, let go of the blades, which began to circle her, moving increasingly faster, until they stopped and flew up to the sky in a blink of an eye... And seemed to fall back down in random locations within their battle-area...

"...That's it? Magically toss your blades somewhere high?" Celestia said, sounding slightly amused, maybe expecting more from the thing that killed her father. At the same time she began to magically prime her chakrams, making them spin extremely fast and to gain flaming aura on them.
Luna on her part, noticed that the fallen blades, now sticking up on the ground, where completely different design than the ones marilith had held earlier. This sent several red flags in her mind.

"Sister, wait!" Luna tried to yell, but Celestia already had sent her flaming chakrams flying towards Naja, who just kept standing there on her coils, still keeping her meditative stance.
Before chakrams could even make contact with serpentine being, they where stopped by couple of more falling blades, first breaking their spinning momentum, and finally couple more broke them apart, sending pieces of their enchanted metal flying around.

And this was very soon followed by many, many more of swords of varying design and size, falling randomly around the field, several of them falling dangerously close to them. And at increasing intervals, like a rain that was picking up speed.

"Sister... We need to keep moving or get to cover, NOW!" Luna suggested, at the end of it pushing her sister out of the way of humongous sword, that was maybe a three stories long, breaking through Celestia's personal barrier. Moon princess also luckily managed to dodge it too.
"Thank you sis- WOW!" was all Celestia could say, until another sword, this one several meters long, fell where she just stood a couple of seconds ago. Very soon both of the sisters became VERY busy at dodging raining swords, either blocking them with barrier's or, in Luna's case, using their own weapons to redirect them.
All the while Naja merely held her meditative stance, seemingly keeping up the ever increasing rain of swords. The villagers and Equestrian entourage kept watching, all being pretty amazed by such an 'overkill' opening move.

'At this rate, we get nothing done...' Luna racked her brain for any ideas, while dodging and deflecting falling swords. finally she managed to take over under one of the huge ones, which had tilted juuust right to be used as a cover. Luckily it was also capable to withstand other raining swords. It took a minute for Celestia to come under the same cover. Both of their armors had taken some damage, but where still serving their purpose.
"Alright, I think we should make Naja lose her concentration. That might stop this rain. But we need a pla-" "Solar bolt!" Luna tried to strategize, only for Celestia to conjure a slender magical bolt of sun magic, and send it flying towards Naja's face.

Then the bolt impacted... A barrier? Followed by the bolt literally bouncing back towards the solar allcorn. She answered to this with a swift swing of her warhammer, and with some effort sending the bolt flying at the barrier-spell, where it blew up harmlessly. Only bigger than it would have been normally.
"It has a personal barrier?! How do we get past that in this constant death-rain?!" Celestia shouted angrily, while Luna was brainstorming a strategy.
"We'll use you'r hammer:" she said, just grabbing her sisters warhammer, and with a help from some conjured runes, sent it flying towards Naja. It received few dent's from falling blades, but kept flying steadily like a heavy weight blunt spear.

Golden hammers flying trip ended upon marilith's re-summoned blades, with three slamming away it's momentum, the other three striking it harder, making it crack on several places, and finally shattering it with a combined attack with ALL six blades.
"Clever girl. Excellent usage of meditation breaking and improvised tactic's." Naja commented, while broken pieces of Celestias hammer fell to the ground and all of the fallen blades started to rust at a accelerated rate, soon being nothing but dust in the wind.
"Now, how about we get on with this? There's collateral alicorn caused damage that needs fixing."

"DIEE!!!!" Celestia literally roared, rushing towards Naja, with her halberd raised. Only to have her weapon to be leisurely blocked with one blade, and then receive a slap on her face... From Naja's tail, which sent her flying at the barrier with an audible smack.
"*Tsk* No strength at all behind that attack." was all marilith could say, before the younger sister came with her attack. With five extra swords, made out of conjured blue crystal-like substance.

Crystal blades went for marilith's blades, while Luna went for remaining one with her main sword. This resulted clear struggle on both sides, with all blades locked together.
"Admirable strength on you sword. You are not just levitating it with telekinesis, are ya?"

"Dueling spell. Allow's caster to wield weapons, as if they are actually holding them. Magical grip on the item is much, much stronger than normal levitation, but effective range is very limited." Luna gave her answer, while trying to push in a little bit closer to Naja's face.
"And the crystal blades are there to keep your other blades busy."

"Smart move. And you probably know that my tail isn't threat to you, since I keep it ready for your sis-" "GYAAAAAH!!!-" Naja commented, only to be interrupted by Celestia's warcry, which in turn was interrupted by another tail slam to the face, followed by a short flight and ending in another smack at the barrier. Only this one was followed by a squeaky sliding noise. Few observers among the villagers and Equestrian entourage made an audible "oooww.."-noise.
"...Yes. Celly is a bit of a loose cannon when overly motivated." was all Luna could say.

"BUT, you forgot something very simple... Using ones HEAD!" Naja continued, before slamming her head against Luna's, seriously denting her helmet and dazing momentarily. This disrupted the floating crystal blades, making two of them, keeping marilith's middle hands occupied, crack and falter.
With swift wrist movement's, Naja managed to partially break the said crystal blades, making them fall to the ground. This was followed by a de-summoning of two of Naja's blades(, the middle ones,) and being replaced by a controlled flame on her palm's.
By the time Luna came out of being dazed, she noticed marilith's flaming hands... right in front of her face.

Luna barely had time to put up a shield spell, when it received two jets of flame, in such a pressure it actually pushed her back, along with remaining crystal blades still hovering near her. This was followed by Luna discarding her helmet and Naja calling her middle-hand swords back.
Then marilith went on the offensive, rushing towards the blue alicorn. Luna sent the crystal blades flying at Naja in attempt to slow her down a little, with moderate success. While Naja was shattering crystal blades, Luna was casting a rune-spell for speed.

Time seemed to slow down from Luna's point of view, even though Naja still moved quite fast with her attack's. It was still enough to allow moon alicorn to use her sword to block and deflect marilith's attack's, while managing to physically dodge some of them.
The whole thing took some effort on both of them. Celestia was in the background regaining her consciousness and tossing her wrecked helmet away.

"You certainly have skill with the blade princess, and if I had to guess, rune magic of some sort?" Naja almost casually commented, while holding Luna's sword in a hold, with all of her's.

"Indeed, as you seem to have power to wield fire. And you seem to be somewhat enchanted, when looking at your speed for some... Being of your size, and the personal barrier you had." was Moon princesses comment back.

"Right on the mark--- Excuse me... Think I got something down my throat..." marilith was saying back, but suddenly seemed double over a little, without breaking the sword hold. Like she was about to hurl for some reason. Luna seemed both worried and curious about this turn of event's for reasons unknown.

Then Naja suddenly hacked some kind of saliva covered lump out of her mouth. And said lump impacted Luna's snout, turning into heavily mustard smelling cloud of gaseous matter, causing her to cough out of instinct, while getting couple of lung-full's of said gas.
This was followed by a tail swing at the princess, who was sent flying on the side. But unlike the older sister, younger seemingly managed to get a shield spell up to dampen the impact.
"Sorry about that, but at least I did it face-to-face, with mild eye-contact." Naja called out an apology to still coughing Moon princess, sounding sorry for using so called "cheap-trick".
Then marilith's ears heard a noise of flapping wing's, making her turn just in time to see Celestia taking a swing with her halberd towards her.

Naja's first instinct was to dodge, but Sun princesses attack was already happening at the close range. The result of these circumstances was Celestia's halberd's bladed tip cutting in the middle of marilith's face, leaving behind a nicely bleeding gash. And it also caused Naja to let out a painful grunt.
"So you do feel pain. And here I thought that a monster like you does not feel anything." Sun princess commented aloud, sounding both proud for successful attack and condescending towards marilith. She also took a short moment to eye her weapon with serpent's blood on it, like it was an achievement of sorts.

And while Celestia was busy with her gloating, Naja was holding her bleeding face with one hand, followed by a short check on it by reflection on her blade. The gash went from her right forehead, and down to her left cheek, situated right between her eyes. Seemed that the Regen-spell casted earlier was enough to stem any extra bleeding.
"You wish for a monster as your opponent, little princess?..." Naja asked in a slightly menacing tone, turning torwards white, gold armored alicorn, then proceeded to slide all of her six blades slowly against each other, causing few sparks to fly off of them.
"... Then I'll give you one!!" she yelled, while her swords where set ablaze. After that was done, Naja then rushed towards Celestia at alarming speed with a warcry to accompanying it.

This move visibly startled the white alicorn. Maybe with the obvious fierceness of the attack, or perhaps she relived some of her mild nightmares about this creature, from the few night's that followed her father's death.
Only thing managed to do was cast a shield-bubble around herself, which seemed to hold the first flaming swords attacks without any trouble. But because there where six of them, and marilith was advancing while attacking, Celestia was being driven in to the corner, making keeping the shield-bubble up a major challenge. Very soon a combined strike of three blades shattered the shield, like it was made of glass.
While the shield breaking dazed her movement momentarily, it did not hinder Celestia's vision. Which helped her to see serpents tail coming right for her.
"Not again..." Celestia muttered, before being sent flying AGAIN by that flexible two-ton mass of muscle. Only this time she did not fly at the barrier, just landing few meters short from it, head first to the dirt.

Naja did not bother to comment. She just de-spelled her sword flames , while keeping an eye at the sun alicorn. Even though the white posterior was slightly distracting, it did not cause any specific reaction from her.
"Oi!! Incoming!!" came Lunas voice, making Naja to turn her head, looking over her shoulder. Just in time to see an large ice-blue bolt of magic coming towards her. It impacted her right in to her right shoulder blade.

The feeling of extreme cold spreaded from the point of impact, flowing through mariliths body. causing her to fall down with serious shivering and a loud thud, about three of her swords falling to the ground during it, with the rest remaining in her grip, that had turned much tighter from the cold feeling. Even her breath was turning visibly vaporous.
'So c-c-cold...' was only thing Naja could think, while feeling something frosty forming on her shoulder blade.
"I'm sorry for attacking you from behind..." she heard Luna say, who sounded genuinely sorry about the so-called "cheap-shot". This was followed by a thud of body falling to the ground. With some effort Naja could see the Moon princess laying on the ground, clearly unconscious from the effect's of the Mustard bomb received right in her face.

While Naja was shivering there, instinctively trying, and failing, to fully coil up for even a little bit of warmth. All she managed to hear where shouts of shock from the villagers, the cheers from the equestrian entourage... And hoofsteps, that stopped near her head.
And a single glance revealed Celestia standing there, somewhat dirty, but standing tall there, with a smuggish like smile on her face.

"You put up a good battle, you serpentine beast... But since the barrier is still up, it is time to fully end it, and free the villagers from your corrupting influence." she borderline monologued while standing there, even lifting Naja's hair out of the way of her eyes with halberg's blade.
Then the white alicorn brought fort something little... A lock of hair, held together with a gray ribbon, and proceeded to toss it before marilith's face.
"Something I held onto, for you to take with you in afterlife..."

With those words said, Celestia took few step back, while beginning to conjure up a much more potent spell. This caused an magical circle, with amble sun motif on it, to appear above them, covering the area above still shivering Naja.

"... Burn..."

And those venom filled words, where followed by an eruption of solar flames from the magic circle, descending with a violent roaring upon Naja's form, seemingly consuming it completely...

"I have avenged you...Father..."




















'So is this it then? Getting burned to ashes after receiving some frostbite, for trying to defend my friends from zealots?' Naja thought while her vision was full of flames, with a faint outline of the Sun princesses form barely visible short distance away.

'*sigh* At least this is painless death... Juuust that ol' Grim Reaper sure is taking it's time coming... Wait... The flames don't even feel burning on me... Even the chill is gone...' she came to realize, now even managing to rise in upwards position, while still being bathed in flames. Guess the Princess sunshine wanted to be very thorough in this.

'Actually... I begin to feel even better...' with that thought, her sword free hands reached towards her injuries; both felt like they where healed, despite having obvious scar-tissue-feel on them.
'By Shiva's frosty cans! I freaking heal from fire!' Naja mentally exclaimed with a cheery revelations feeling, which pulled three fallen blades back to her free hands. 'Now... How to best cover this fact from our miss sunshine?'

Very short moment of thinking later, Naja moved her blades in a theatrically choreographic position, and mentally commanded. 'Runic-blade... ACTIVATE!'

'Just a few moments longer, and there should not be nothing earthly to remember from that snake. Then we can concentrate in curing the village from any remaining influence left behind, and to upkeep Harmony...' Celestia thought while keeping the Solar flame spell going, now with pure determination to erase the beast, that had haunted her many years, from existence.

Suddenly the surging flames began to move inwards the targeted area, like something was pulling them in. Noticing that, princess ended her spell, with some sweat drops on her forehead. She may be the Princess of the Sun, but she is not completely immune to the heat of the fire. That would make enjoying warmth of the fireplace boring.

With the spell ended, the remaining fire that had surged out of the circle, joined in this odd behaviour. Finally the cause was revealed to be... Six blades, held by six arms of serpentine being, seemingly sucking the flames within themselves.
'Wait... Those blades... They must the source of its power! I just have to-' Celestias inner thoughts where interrupted by the ting of metal, coming from marilith's blades hitting each other, now starting to spark with lightning's. But what made Celestia fearful that, where the marilith's eyes... Bringing back memories from years ago...

Celestia barely had enough time to raise her weapon to defend herself, when marilith rushed her with multiple attacks, each swing of a blade sending sparks of electricity flying. But using levitating halberd to defend from six swords was not that easy, yet luck seemed to be on white alicorn's side, with her block's and dodge's going well for now...
Blow after blow electrified blades landed on the halberd, one right after the other, causing crack's on it, without leaving an opening to a counter-attacks. And finally combined strike of three blades shattered the golden halberd into multiple pieces.

"Try blocking this!!!" Naja yelled, followed by her literally springing with a spin towards Celestia, who tried to dodge upcoming attack. She would have completely succeeded if her armor was made for mobility.
This combination resulted Naja's swords slicing in to Celestia's collarbone area... Tip area of the each one of the six swords slicing through her armor, skin and muscle, all of them shedding blood. And sending who knows how many volts of electricity through her body. Overall, it was extremely painful experience for Celestia, sending her spazzing on the ground, her consciousness starting to slip away, finally making her see blackness.

Naja kept her eye on the Sun princess, while steadying her breath. Looked like she was not getting up from that level of shock treatment. With that she slithered near Celestia, grabbing her from her mane, then went to also grab Luna, putting arm around her stomach.
The barrier had also come down, meaning that the battle's ending terms where fulfilled.

After slithering nearer the village wall, where everyone where still standing, pretty much tossing Celestia on the entourage side, while lowering Luna on the same side.
"There, take your princesses and leave..." was all Naja said towards the equestrian soldiers, the zealous one still among them. And they did come down to grab their monarch's. But then the zealous one began grinning.

"You are strong... But I bet you are tired after that..." Archbishop Zealous Soul commented menacingly. And as if on que, more equestrian soldier began to appear behind the treeline, surprising even the villagers. Most likely one of them had went to get reinforcements. "And I think we can finish what our shining holy majesties started here!"

'Oh for the love of... They still want to try go all 'deus vult' on us... Need to make them even more demoralized and fast...' Naja was somewhat panicking, since she was a little tired from the battle, despite being healed by flames, while the equestrians where trying to form a feasible battle line for the situation.


"Call my name..."


'Call my name... Name my target...' came the odd voice once again, sounding like some kind of machine. And Naja was starting to feel a powerful presence... On her upper left wrist, where she had equipped the BIG guy...
"Very well..." Naja whispered calmly, while taking a meditative stance, raising her upper left blade up high on two-hand hold, while the rest took ritualistic positions on her sides.

"What is it doing?"

"I does not matter! Just attack it already!! For the Princesses!!"

"We still need their order's for it."

Arguments between troops and the Archbishop started to wake the sisters. But even thought they regained their consciousness, they where not in battle condition; Celestia was still bleeding lightly with some electric spazzing, and Luna was still feeling woozy from the mustardy gas.
But they could feel the gathering of powerful magic, right where the serpent was standing, holding one of it's blades upwards. At that moment glowing orbs, with odd markings on them. began to appear around Naja, who seemed to be in trance of sort.

"W-wait... Do not engage her..." Luna managed to croak out, clearly having a sore throat, and luckily the soldier held their position, much to Archbishops annoyance, but he still stayed quiet. Even Celestia held her tongue... She did not want to risk equestrian lives. She was also a bit busy looking at the glow that seemed to originate from the sword that serpent was holding up, from where she was seeing it.
On the background , the villagers just prepared for whatever was coming...

And then marilith seemed to speak a chant...

"Mukashi no idaina kikai wa, watashi no teki ni shi o motarasu! Arekusandā!"

With those word spoken aloud, a ginourmous magic-circle appeared at a distance behind Naja, looking like some manner of true celestial clockwork, with all of the moving portions of it moving around in perfect sync. Far more intricate than any other magic-circle ever done before.
Then two gargantuan metallic limb's came into existence through the circle, both of them having a some manner of hand, followed by an huge fortress-like structure, followed by another similar structure, only this time they continued higher, forming shoulder-like form attached to now appearing front of this gargantuan metal being.
It's presumed face resembled that of a frog-mouth helmet, holding several tower-like extensions on it's back. Or what was visible of it.

When it took a forward standing position, couple of magic circles appeared beneath its limb's, just above the tree tops, taking role of platforms to stand on. And the magical pressure felt from its very presence, was more than overwhelming to all who could sense magical energies. Even those that did not have strong magical connections, still felt it's enormous power.

'Name my target...' sounded the voice in Najas head once more.

'Show them your might with a warning shot, but do not kill anything if possible...' was Naja's mentally given answer.

'Scanning surrounding's... Suitable target located... Commence Judgement?' came another request, now showing an image of an huge mountain, that could actually be seen from village on a clear day. The Desolate Mountain, they simply called it, and apparently nothing bothered to live there. Not even the weeds, or even livable soil component's.

'...Do it...'

'Acknowledged... Charging Judgement... Charge completed, initiating Judgement...'

What followed that telepathic conversation, was slight opening of the Machines presumed face, barely revealing an instrument of sort, which began to charge magical energies. And after a tense moment, it fired it in a form of a thin beam waaay past the village, towards the mountain at a distance.

"H-heh... S-see? It can not even hit a t-target near i-it..."Archbishop stuttered.

And then a gigantic pillar of HOLY fire erupted at a distance, lighting up the area around it for miles, swallowing up The Desolate Mountain in its entirety, quite literally erasing it from existence, leaving behind a visibly smoking burned up slab of land, with a few enduring rock formations. Thus the scorched region of land, later known as Badlands, where born.
That was all what was required to wreck any of the remaining fighting morale for equestrians and making them grab the Princesses and to run away in reasonable panic. And they did not stop running until they where at the southern edge of the Hayseed swamps. They did remember take their wagons and supplies with them.

With the threat over, the giant metallic being faded away, with some golden white sparkles for added effect. And finally fatigue caught up with Naja, with her collapsing down. The villagers where quick to go to help. With Hermes, Zica and Timid Flicker at front of the group.

"Miss Naja! Are you alright?!"

"Are ya hurt?!"

"Should I get Fluffy to help get you up?!"

"To answer in order Yes. Mildly and would appreciate it..." Naja answered to young ones rabid questions, while just out of instinct letting her body to relax after the fight.
It did not take long to have Naja dragged back to the village, with the help from Fluffy and couple of more behemoths, and to fix up the damage Sun princess did earlier.

"So Shadow Petal? Sounded like you and the head zealot had a history there. Care to elaborate?"

"Zealous Soul. He and I used to be associates once, back when I served in churches militia. But he wanted to have more power... And me. so he went to support nearly anything the late king decided to garner his favor." Petal talked in somber tone.
"I left after they changed militia into paladins, and after he even tried to forcefully claim me, going against one the commandments of the church. But like many in high position there, they 'conveniently' gloss over certain parts in the rules, while blowing other rules out of the proportions. After beating him up good, I hid in old Greyhorn's mercenary group, where I met my dear Falgo. The rest is history."

"Any chance he will leave all of us alone?"

"There is a chance... A very minimalistic, but still a chance of it..."

Equestrian camp, The royal tent...

"We will first return back to Canterlot, Archbishop. And that is final!" Celestia yelled at the Zealous Soul, while being treated for her injuries.

"A-as you wish your majesty..." he said and left the tent while bowing low, with shaky steps. Most likely still shaken from the metallic giant.

"What do you intent to do sister?" asked Luna, who had fewer bandages on her body, sipping some herbal tea for her sore throat. "You saw that gigantic metal being the marilith summoned, right? It even leveled The Desolate Mountain in a single shot, and I have a hunch it was not using it's full power..."

"... I'll tell once we make it back to the capital, sister. But it maybe-" Celestia's answer was interrupted by a miniature electric surge visibly flowing through her. "...It maybe eve better to talk about it at our shared castle. Lesser change of potential spies... Does this sound alright?"

"Yes sister. I just hope we don't end up doing anything rash... We don't want another Crystal Empire-level of disappearance."

"Don't worry, I already have a plan brewing up. In the mean time, we should send some scouts to the area that held The Desolate Mountain, just in case."

Author's Note:

FINALLY got this chapter done! Tried to get it out before December... And failed... Partially due to this weird thing called "need to sleep".:rainbowhuh:

But anyway, hopefully you all enjoy it.:twilightsmile:
Also the summon chant is Japanese (written in English: A mighty machine built long ago, bring death to my enemies! Alexander!)... Thanks google translate.