• Published 9th Aug 2012
  • 5,195 Views, 163 Comments

Horn and Hammer - Lancer



Warhammer meets MLP. Two forces for good, two opposite ways of life, forced to stand together.

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Chapter Six- The Everfree

Chapter Six

The Everfree

Everfree Forest, Equestria

The clearing around the gateway had become a hive of activity in the wake of the two nation’s first formal meeting. Barricades were being erected, the last remaining Cannon was in the process of being deployed and the Equestrian Royal Guard took up positions alongside their Empire counterparts. Unicorn guards, unable to utilise their magic too close to the gateway, were employed lifting the trees felled by the Soldiers of Sigmar telekinetically.

Arch Lector Markus along with Magister Willhelm stood on the edge of the newly created clearing with their counterparts, Princesses Celestia and Luna. The four leaders spent their time explaining their recent histories, customs, their races capabilities and other information vital to aiding their understanding of one another.

Some distance away the two Captains were engaged in a similar conversation but this one was largely orientated around the two’s military experiences and tactics for the protection of the six mares they had volunteered to escort.

“So these six bearers have any experience with this sort of situation then?” asked Pieter.

“Well yeh actually, as a captain I get to hear a lot of what those six have got up to. They defeated Discord on their own you know?” Forlorn said, then noticing Pieter’s confused expression continued. “Oh he’s a great big thing made up of a load of different animals and loves to generally cause chaos. I was in Trottingham at the time so we had no warning when it randomly started throwing it down with chocolate rain. Oh and rabbits with legs as long as you started rampaging through the city centre, of course that was nothing compared to what happened to the barracks.”

“Why what happened?”

“Our armour came to life and trapped the recruits in the bath house then raided the zoo. Took us three days to get those monkeys out of the ventilation system and I don’t even know how the elephant ended up on the roof of the armoury.”

“That does sound like some pretty serious magic” said Pieter, laughing at the mental image.

“Oh aye, miracle nopony was badly hurt in all honesty. But anyway those six mares beat him with the Elements of Harmony, turned him to stone.”

“So all we need to do is get line of sight then let them lot turn them to stone?”

“Pretty much how I understand it yep.”

“You know it won’t be that easy right?”

“Never is” laughed Forlorn.

“Ha, a man, erm, pony after my own heart. Come on we should get going, if you want to round up the Bearers I need to go see Willhelm. He said he had something to help deal with that sorcerer. When you have them prepared meet me behind the Halberdier regiment, they are the ones with the bladed heads on the poles.”

“I know what a halberd is captain.”

“Really? I did not think you would what with your species lacking, well hands” replied Pieter, flexing his fingers and hefting an imaginary pole arm.

Forlorn smirked at his fellow captain’s demonstration. “True but other species do. Anyway I’ll go gather the bearers and give them a quick briefing.” Forlorn took wing, gliding across the clearing to the six pony mares. They were milling around looking uncertain of their purpose amidst the soldiers, both human and pony, who were working frantically.

Pieter walked through the hastily erected camp, taking a direct line to the White Wizard took him through the centre of the rapidly expanding clearing. To his left both of the pegasi guard units, each twenty strong stood beside the two Empire regiments keeping vigil over the Saarls back in the Old World. To his right Captain Forlorn Wind had gathered the Elements and was deep in discussion. Ahead lay his destination; Markus and Willhelm who were talking amiably with the two pony princesses. It was most curious that the white one was now slightly smaller than her sister. As Pieter drew closer he could hear some of their conversation.

“Are you sure the dark gods have no presence here? Discord, Changelings, Nightmare Moon, all those beings have strong Tzeentchian traits” began Markus, addressing Luna with a look of consternation written across his face.

“I am sure Markus. When I succumbed to the Nightmare it was my own doing, I felt no presence like you described the followers of the dark gods feeling. While I cannot speak for Discord or Chrysalis there has never been any record of them mentioning this Tzeentch god of which you speak” Princess Luna replied defensively, clearly uncomfortable at addressing her own past.

Pieter’s arrival caught the attention of the White Wizard, and with a quick gesture they departed, Willhelm leading Pieter towards his cart amongst the other supply carts. Neither of them traded words for some time as the wizard dug through heaps of scrolls, books and miscellaneous objects. Barely a minute passed before Willhelm emerged from behind his carts canvas cover. In his grasp was a small black orb, perfectly smooth and nestled snugly in the palm of his hand.

“So, we are resorting to throwing rocks at the enemy now?” Pieter joked, causing Willhelm to raise an eyebrow in turn.

“Do you want my help or not captain?”

“Ok, ok, what does the ‘Little Black Rock of Doom’ do then?”

“Ha, this is not a weapon my friend. No, this is the ‘Obsidian Orb of Obfuscation’.”

“Seriously?”

“I can put it back in the cart you know?” Willhelm snapped back causing to Pieter to raise his hands in acquiescence.

“Right, well basically it produces a localised anti-magic field, very small area of effect but essentially any magic targeted at you is partially diffused. Bear in mind this applies to any and all magic except innate magic, such as priest powers, enchanted items including your runed armour and so on. Friendly spells will be diminished the same as any attempts by your foe’s.”

“So magic resistance then. Sounds good to me magister, I appreciate the offer.”

“No problem, just do not lose it alright. That little rock is worth more than what your family's land holdings make in a year.”

The two officers exchanged thanks and went their separate ways. Willhelm returned to the discussion between Markus and the two princesses while Pieter went to join the seven ponies readying themselves for the journey ahead.


Captain Forlorn shook his head, simultaneously giving a sigh of frustration. The briefing was taking much longer than he had expected, he had planned to get protocol and equipment sorted within three minutes. However these six mares were making it hard to get anything done.

“Right, I’m sorry Miss Rarity but these are the saddlebags the Royal Guard use. There are no alternatives and frankly what does it matter how they look? Practicality comes first and it’s just gonna be us walking through the Everfree for a day or two.”

“But they are so tacky, there’s no grace, no style, it simply will not do” replied Rarity. She held the bags with her telekinesis, a look of distaste contorting her elegant features.

“Gosh darn it Rarity, if it’s that much of a problem ah’ll carry them” said Applejack exasperatedly.

“Oh I could not ask you to do that my dear Applejack.”

“Argh! Miss Rarity, please, for the love of Celestia, just put it on. Look I’m sure that the saddlebags will only serve to make you appear even lovelier compared to the rest of us who also have to wear them.”

The other five mares looked across at Forlorn with a varying degree of vexed expressions, causing Forlorn to immediately backtrack. “Not that the rest of you look bad at all, you all look great, any stallion would be lucky to know you.” The expressions turned to glares. “You know what just everypony stay here, I’ll be right back.”

With that Forlorn quickly shot off into the air toward the lines of troops around the gateway. He turned back to see the six mares talking amiably and laughing amongst themselves. ‘I swear they’re making fun of me’ he thought.

Slowing himself with his wings he dropped down beside his sergeant, for the first time he saw the carnage that had been wrought by the Empire troops during their retreat into Equestria. Some fifty mangled corpses littered the ground beyond the gateway’s threshold. Tribesmen wearily dragged corpses away under the eyes of the two allied races from within the forest, blood stains on the ground marked where bodies had been dragged out of view.

“By the sun and the moon that’s disgusting” exclaimed Forlorn, his expression of revulsion evident in his eyes.

“Aye it is captain, the lads are holding together well though, suppose it’s easier since they aint ponies out there” replied Sergeant Summer Gale. “So how’s it going with your new assignment, noticed you were quick to volunteer, those six pretty mares finally getting you to put yourself out there ey? Bit unprofessional while on duty but I’m sure it’ll be worth it” he continued, jabbing him in the shoulder playfully while laughing underneath his faceless helmet.

“Duty first, you know that. Anyway that human captain volunteered and I wasn’t about to be outdone and those six mares are driving me insane already, and I meant it when I said they’re gonna need a Royal Guard officer, and if you say that to my dad I will kill you, and stop laughing Summer.”

“And, and, and, sounds like excuses to me captain.”

“Just, look after this lot while I’m gone ok. But seriously do not say that to my father. That grim old codger listens to you and the last thing I need is both you oldies ganging up on me” countered Forlorn in mock seriousness.

“You can rely on me as always captain and I’m sure you’ll do him proud. You always have done.”

“Now that’s a lie” scoffed Forlorn.

“It’s the truth. But really, look after yourself out there and show these humans just what a Trottingham pony can do.”

With a hoof bump the two guardsponies bid farewell and Captain Forlorn returned to his prepping of the six Bearers. He noticed the white unicorn, Rarity, had finally put on her saddlebags much to his relief. Now he just had to run through the contact defence protocol and they could eventually set off.


Everfree Forest, Equestria, seven miles from the Empire camp

The seven ponies and one human plodded onwards in reasonably high spirits. Two races from different planets meant there was plenty to talk about and the Equestrians natural cheery inquisitiveness kept conversation flowing. Even the perpetual shadow created by the dense canopy of the Everfree Forest failed to dampen the mood.

Twilight telekinetically lifted a notebook and quill out of her saddlebags. “Right so I want to get this recorded. Both planets have griffons, numerous equine species, dogs, cats, cows, manticore, cockatrice, dragons, phoenix, hydra, minotaur and all manner of critters. That’s amazing, how can two completely different planets have so much in common?”

“It is when you think about it, although from the way I understand it half of those creatures have built civilisations; the griffons, the dogs, or diamond dogs or whatever you call them, the dragons, equines, minotaur’s. On our planet they are just mindless beasts for the most part, no offense.” Pieter replied.

“None taken” beamed Applejack.

“Hey I was wondering, how come Captain Forlorn here has a similar accent to me?” Pieter asked.

“Yeh I’ve been wondering about that myself” agreed Forlorn.

“No idea, probably just chance but he’s a Trottingham pony, from Equestria Minor, which is why his accent is so different from ours” replied Twilight. “That reminds me, Captain Forlorn, if you don’t mind me asking how come you have such a unique coat colouration?”

“Yeh I get that a lot Miss Twilight, actually it’s because my mum wasn’t from Equestria Minor. She was from Baltimare so she was from the mainland originally but moved to Trottingham and met my dad. So yeh the blue with navy blue splotches is because of that.”

“Wait what did that all mean?” asked a thoroughly confused Pieter.

“Basically ponies from Equestria Minor have a very distinctive coat, white with brown patches and brown manes and tails. Captain Forlorn Wind here has a mother from the mainland where ponies have single colour coats of varying colour and a father from overseas, Equestria Minor” elaborated Twilight.

“Ah that makes sense” Pieter replied.

Pinkie Pie started hopping on the spot drawing looks from everybody present. “Ooh ooh, itchy knee, itchy knee!”

Just then a series of bestial roars interrupted the conversation. The group stopped dead in their tracks, staring around them frantically, some worried, some grim-faced.

“Eep!” uttered Fluttershy, disappearing behind Applejack immediately.

Rainbow Dash flapped her wings a shade faster, propelling herself into line with the two captains at the fore of the group. “I’ve heard that sound before, those are manticores!”

The roars grew louder, with a mournful wail emanating from in front of them amidst the trees.

“Everypony run!” Pinkie Pie yelled, legs whirring without actually propelling her anywhere.

“No! It’s too late for that, we’re downwind of them and they can fly. They know we are here, the best we can do is prepare for them. Fleeing is certain death against a manticore!” replied Pieter, grabbing Pinkie at the tail to stop her actually running off.

Forlorn and Pieter moved forward. One flapping his wings steadily while extending both blades attached to his hooves, the other readying his giant sword with one hand, resting it against his pauldrons as he drew his pistol from its holster.

“Remember the defence protocol Twilight Sparkle? Keep your friends inside the shield at all times please, we will deal with this.”

“Erm, excuse me, I’m sure there’s no need for violence please, erm, eep” whimpered Fluttershy, her head craning outwards from behind Applejack timidly. Fluttershy’s plea went unheard as the two captains took up defensive stances. The human tightened his grip on his sword, his right arm extended; pistol pointed towards the rustling bushes barely six metres away.

Without warning a manticore burst from the bushes to Forlorn right, fangs bared and limbs outstretched. The animal was a mix of different creatures; the head and body of a lion, vast bat like wings and a stinging scorpion tail.

The beast was too quick, it’s appearance too sudden. Forlorn lifted his hoof blades, his wings blurring in a vain attempt to pull him out of the charging creatures grasp.

Crack!


Pieter’s pistol discharged, lead shot smashing into the manticore’s skull and killing the creature outright. The dead animal continued on its course, the corpse impaling itself on Forlorn’s sword and falling limply on the pegasus captain, pinning him to the ground. Forlorn Wind cried out in shock, trying to push the stricken manticore off of him. The dead weight however was going nowhere fast.

All the while the six Bearers, safe inside Twilight’s shield spell screamed and yelled from a mixture of fright and shock. Some shouted advice and warning, others incomprehensible in comparison.

Pieter holstered his pistol quickly, switching to a firm two handed hold on his sword. Secretly he was relieved the manticores here, while ferocious were nowhere near the size of the ones in the Old World. However if the rustling in the bushes and trees were anything to go by they appeared to be much more common.

“Captain Wind!” yelled Twilight, starting forward to the edge of the purple bubble shield.

“No, stay in the shield, I’ll be fine!” Forlorn yelled in return, heaving on the corpse in an ironically forlorn attempt to lever the dead beast off him.

“Stop please!” pleaded Fluttershy, hooves covering her eyes and ears flat against the back of her head. Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie tore their eyes away to comfort their crying friend.

Outside Twilight’s force field the fight continued. Pieter sidestepped a charging manticore leaving his zweihander trailing behind him in an effort to counterattack the enraged beast. The sword cut into the manticore’s wing, severing the appendage and sending the manticore toppling over to the left while roaring in pain.

Pieter scanned his surroundings quickly to check for other attackers. Seeing none he capitalised on the situation and charged towards the writhing manticore. Swinging the blade overhead he brought it down in a controlled swing aimed at the monster’s neck. With surprising speed the beast threw itself sideways out of the way of the falling blade, rising onto its hind legs the manticore roared its fury. It stood at one and a half times Pieter’s height when on two legs but the impressive display of size had put it off balance for Pieter’s pressed attack.

With expert precision the captain controlled the momentum of the strike, stepping forward to counter the manticore’s stride backwards he gripped the leather sheathe below the lug with his left hand and thrust forward while the creature was reared up. The manticore, unaccustomed to a bipedal fighting style and taken off guard stumbled backwards, limbs flailing in an attempt to stop it tumbling onto its back. Pieter turned the feint into a killing strike, pulling it back for another overhead blow. This one struck true, the already off balance manticore was unable to avoid the swing and the zweihander crushed the beast’s ribcage, splitting bone and spilling entrails by Pieter’s feet. With a pitiful whine the manticore toppled backwards, legs spasming slightly as the creature’s punctured lungs gave out.

Pieter let out an exultant shout after his victory, he scanned the immediate area again, mindful of the speed of his opponents. Listening to the roars he had counted two to three and years of experience told him something still was not right. These creatures were evidently working as a pack and the last one would probably seek easier pickings. With the six female ponies safely within the magic shield, that only left one other option.

“Pieter!” yelled both Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle, gesturing frantically with their hooves towards the still pinned Captain Forlorn. Emerging from behind the manticore body was the final member of the pack, although slightly smaller than its compatriots. Forlorn had seen it coming and had lowered his one free hoof blade in readiness.

Twilight could see events unfolding before her; Captain Pieter was too far away to reach Captain Forlorn and the Royal Guard was pinned with just one limb to defend himself with. Seeing the predicament Twilight decided to act. Dropping the shield spell she fired a purple beam of magic straight into the manticore’s face as it leered over Forlorn Wind, the creature thrashed about shaking its head free of the dizzying blow before thrusting forward once again. This time she grabbed the manticore with her telekinesis, forcibly preventing it from lunging with its bared teeth.

The struggle felt like it went on for an age to Twilight, she knew she had more than enough power to hold it back, she just had to wait for the running Pieter to reach the fight. Behind her she heard Fluttershy screaming for everything to stop, for the killing to end. A strange morbid fascination overcame her as she held the manticore securely with her magic, unsure of what to do with the monster, however that question was about to be answered.

Forlorn had been readying himself for a desperate parry with his right hoof blade, hoping the thick plate armour across his leg would buy him the time he needed. With the manticore’s attack halted he seized his chance. With all of his strength, his four armour clad legs, his two splayed out wings, he heaved the corpse pinning him to the left. Freeing up enough room he stabbed his right hoof blade forward into the monster’s gaping maw. Forlorn felt hot blood trickling down the blade onto his leg and seeping into the padding between armour plating and skin.

The light went out in the beast’s eyes as Forlorn’s own eyes stared into them both wide and frightened. The dead creature's stare was broken by a steel plated boot kicking the head sideways, the purple glow that held it flickering off as Twilight released her hold. With a sickening sound of metal on flesh the embedded blade came free. Forlorn snorted in relief, his one free limb falling to the leaf strewn ground.

The manticore on top of Forlorn easily weighed half a ton, only the pegasus guard's armour had prevented him from being suffocated due to the weight and the strain on him. After Twilight had hesitantly lifted the beast’s body off of him, he rolled over onto his stomach, retracting the two blood stained blades and lying still as his beating heart pounded hard against his chest. A pat on his back told him that Captain Pieter von Grunberg was next to him. Glancing left the two captain's exchanged relieved looks, Pieter laughed first, patting Forlorn more firmly on his steel plated back as the two began to laugh together in relief.

“How dare you!”

Both captains turned suddenly to see who was shouting with such ferocity. To both of theirs surprise the timid yellow coated, pink maned pegasus, Fluttershy, flew directly up to Pieter’s stunned face.

“You killed them! Those poor little manticores, you killed them and you’re laughing about it. You evil human, you enjoyed killing them didn’t you?” raged Fluttershy.

A deathly silence descended over the group as everyone, human and pony alike held their collective breaths in shock.

“I” began Pieter, but the words caught in his mouth as Fluttershy’s wide, angry eyes suddenly changed their intensity.

Pieter’s gaze locked with the pegasus’, the beautiful turquoise colouration turned steely as they bored into him. Everything suddenly went cold, like he had fallen through a Kislev ice lake and the water was dragging him into the abyss.

The trees around him disappeared as ‘The Stare’ became the only thing he could perceive, light faded to blackness and all that remained was those eyes, those merciless, terrifying eyes. Pieter’s mind was frozen in fear and the fight or flight reaction took precedence over every other coherant thought in his head.

Unaware of events around him, Pieter’s sword fell from his gauntleted hand, clattering to the blood soaked ground. He was on his knees, arms limp at his sides. The urge to run away was almost absolute, but deeper than that was something more, something darker. Instinctively, of their own accord the captains steel clad hands formed into fists. Pieter’s vision became tinted with a strange red mist. He reacted on base instinct, the instinct to fight when nothing else was left.

Pieter’s steel fist connected viciously with the side of Fluttershy’s head.


When Fluttershy came round, everything was a blur of green to her. She had a splitting headache and her memory of what had happened was vague. Tossing her head to the left in a panic and throwing her pink mane off of her face caused her to grunt softly in pain from the sudden movement.

“I think she’s awake” a voice came from nearby. The proximity of the voice was close and directly above her. It was then that Fluttershy noticed she was being carried; she was being cradled in someponies arms. But ponies could not walk on their hind legs, so that meant . . . .

With a start she began to struggle and quickly felt the sensation of air passing over her stop as she was delicately placed on the hard packed ground.

“Shhhh, it’s alright. All your friends are here, you are perfectly safe.”

Her eyes focused finally to take in her surroundings properly, the first thing she saw was Captain Pieter’s face framed by the green canopy. His expression spoke volumes, there was hurt in his eyes, shame and regret melded into one.

Other faces became visible; her friends were looking down on her with pained looks on their collective faces.

“I just wanted to say, I am really, really sorry that I struck you. I was not in control and I just reacted. That look, that stare, it scared me half to death.”

Fluttershy mumbled incoherently, rolling on her back and angling her wings she righted herself into a laying position. From there warmth surrounded her as Rarity gave her a sympathetic hug, closely followed by the rest of her friends. Snared in a hug from all five of her friends she calmed down enough to fully regain her wits.

“Er right well this seems as good a place as any to set up camp for the night, it has been a long day and I think we all need a rest and some warm food” said Pieter, nervously fumbling with the bag of provisions he held.

“Agreed” stated Captain Forlorn simply.

Both captains stood for a second as the six mares finished their group hug and the sniffing Fluttershy was revealed from beneath the pile. Without another word the two captains went about preparing camp and leaving the six friends to sort themselves out for a little while.

“Oh Fluttershy darling are you ok? You have the nastiest bruise my dear” Rarity said. She brought her pristine white hoof up to lightly touch the spot beneath where Pieter had hit her with his fist. The sudden reminder of the blow caused the pain of it to flare up again causing Fluttershy to wince in return at her friends touch.

“Yes, yes I’ll be ok Rarity. It just hurts a lot right now” replied Fluttershy, sniffing slightly to hold back the sensation of tears. A thought struck her suddenly causing her to focus on Rarity and the others as they sat down beside her on the forest floor. “Erm what happened to the manticores?”

The nervous looks of her friends as they exchanged glances immediately told her the truth of the matter, her tears fell to the floor with the softest of thumps. Once again Fluttershy opened her eyes to find her friends comforting her tentatively. Each of them spoke soft words of condolences and sympathy with the grief stricken, tender hearted pegasus. They sat there for another three minutes together before one by one they each went about helping to set up camp for the night ahead leaving Fluttershy on her own with her thoughts.

Sometime later a strong fire was crackling as Luna’s night finally descended, marking the end of the day. The atmosphere was subdued and everyone, both human and pony was meticulously interested in their own food. Pieter in particular was careful, being the only omnivore amongst a group of equine herbivores had lead him to concealing his salted pork within two slices of bread which was suitably fleshed out with vegetables to hide the offending meat. The overall effect however was most pleasing, definitely something to remember in the future.

Conversation had been brief and tame for the last thirty minutes. No-one had been willing to bring up the fight with the manticores for fear of reigniting the incident that followed it. Twilight looked around with worry; Fluttershy had been withdrawn ever since she had come to. Rarity was loathe to leave her in her current state and so sat close by her. The two captains had also taken seats together apart from the rest of the group, Pieter was evidently torn over what he had done and while a part of Twilight hated what he had done, another more logical part had to admire it. To fight and defend those who could not or would not with such dedication was, admirable. He spent his shot from that miniature cannon of his to save Captain Forlorn rather than protect himself even if the results were horrible and fatal. It was kill or be killed and the moral dilemma raging within Twilight had her torn.

Summoning her resolve she stood up, immediately garnering the attention of everybody present. “Right, I just wanted to say a few things. Firstly; thank you Captains Pieter von Grunberg and Forlorn Wind, you put your lives on the line to protect us whatever the cost. Secondly; Fluttershy . . .” she turned her gaze to her pale yellow friend, with a soft and what she hoped was an understanding expression. “I am so sorry for what happened, I know Captain Pieter is sorry too, but I hope you can see that our lives are on the line here. This isn’t like Discord or Nightmare Moon who play games to test us without actively trying to hurt us outright. We are mixed up in another world’s war whether we like it or not.”

Twilight walked across to Fluttershy and nuzzled her affectionately; they smiled at each other briefly before Twilight returned to her seat between the two captains and Fluttershy. With those words the atmosphere softened considerably and each member of the group began to open up and join in with the growing laughter and merriment despite the day’s ordeals.

When it became time to turn in for the night Pieter volunteered to take first watch, Forlorn Wind the second and Rainbow Dash volunteered to take third. Each pony unrolled their sleeping bag and laid up in a circle around the warming fire. Before Fluttershy could nestle in to her sleeping bag she caught the eye of the watchful Captain Pieter. He cast a much less imposing figure out of his armour. The plain brown shirt and trousers made him look almost like an average civilian and not like a soldier at all, with the exception of the short sword and pistols around his hips.

Rising from her bed and walking silently up to the human she sat down next to him on the very edge of the fire’s effective heating range. The two sat quietly together for a short while, neither wanting to say something in case they ruined the moment.

“I am so very sorry I struck you Fluttershy, I know I said it before but it goes against everything I believe in to attack an innocent, human or not. I realise you ponies are not used to the kind of violence we are typically subjected to and it must be a major shock for you so I do not blame you at all.”

“Oh no please don’t apologise, if anything I’m the one who should be sorry. I could have acted sooner, I’ve calmed down a manticore before after all. I didn’t see you save Captain Forlorn’s life at the risk of your own. I just concentrated on what I thought and not about others; I should be better than that. So I’m sorry, it’s just I saw you laughing and something inside me just . . . .” with a heavy sigh she lent her head softly against Pieter’s side. To which Pieter replied in kind, resting his arm around the weary pegasus.

“It’s a way of defending myself from it you know?” said Pieter his eyes looking into the dark treeline beyond. “I have seen such terrible things, fought so many evil foes, witnessed so many innocent deaths. The fear never leaves you, you just have to accept it and control it however you can. So that’s why I laugh and joke at times even when my life is in peril, because it makes the fear manageable, so I can go on and do what needs to be done.”

Fluttershy looked over her shoulder at the form of Pinkie Pie sleeping peacefully in her bed. A faint smile began to cross her face and she looked up to Pieter. “I think I understand, thank you captain.”

“Pieter will do please Fluttershy.”

“Thank you Pieter” beamed Fluttershy. Rising to her hooves she gave the human a parting hug before walking back to her bed for a peaceful night’s sleep.