• Published 19th Jul 2020
  • 326 Views, 21 Comments

Equestrian Service - Stinium_Ruide

In an alternate universe where King Sombra took over the Crystal Empire even before Luna was reunited with her sister, Twilight must be pressed into military service.

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Chapter 1: Reality


“Yes?” Twilight Velvet glanced up to see her little mare trot forth hurriedly towards her with a beaming, wide smile emerging from her face. “What is it?”

“I managed to pass my final examination for this final school year!” Twilight Sparkle exclaimed enthusiastically as she levitated a parchment revealing her stellar grades of that year for her mother to glean.

“I’m so proud of you!” Twilight Velvet praised as she shifted her position on the couch to obtain a better view of the report card. A seemingly endless line of perfect grades that graced the lines of the parchment greeted her, causing her to gaze with her jaws dropped.

“Mum, where’s dad and Shining? Are they still out there for the cause?” Twilight Sparkle asked, wishing to share the joy of her academic success to her dear father. “I really want to show him this; it would really make him happy!”

At that, Twilight Velvet gave out a heavy sigh when her mind drifted to the thought of her husband. She shifted her eyes inadvertently to stare at the pile of newspapers that was littered on the coffee table in front of her. Immediately, the headlines catch her eyes’ attention, causing her to stare blankly at the narrow, bolded text. “THE BATTLE FOR GALLOPING GORGE BEGINS!” reads the headlines, though the enormity of the words printed suggested that it was more of a declaration than anything.

She knew that her dearly beloved husband was out there fighting, risking his life for the Equestrian standard, while she remained here in Canterlot to handle the logistics of fielding such an army under the general staff. That sorrow she felt when she was told that she was not allowed to join her husband to fight alongside him came back in a wave of emotions that hit her soul to the very core. It pained her heart to think that her relationship with her husband was dissected because of one tyrannical overlord in the Crystal Empire. She would rather suffer with him at the battlefield like the other families she knew were doing, for no amount of blood, sweat and tears could ever make up for her love for her husband.

A tear slid down from the side of her right eye, prompting her to quickly bring her forehoof up to wipe it away before her daughter could see it.

“Mum? Are you alright?” Twilight Sparkle gingerly placed her report card onto the coffee table, unknowingly covering the newspaper’s headlines as she leapt onto the couch to embrace her mother.

“Of course, of course, I’m alright!” Twilight Velvet replied, though her words came out in a slightly forced manner which she knew betrayed her true feelings on the matter at hoof. She frantically brought her eyes back to her cute little daughter while she returned the embrace.

The warmth coming from her daughter brought some solace to her heart, but her mind was still unable to accept the reality before her, even though it has been many moons since her husband was pressed into service. She desperately tried to clear her mind of these thoughts, but another solemn thought popped into her mind to replace the void.

Shining Armor. How was he? Was he coping well in Cadet School? Would he survive the arduous training he had to go through day in, day out?

Again, it has been moons since he was sent to train as an officer in the Equestrian army, yet it seemed as though the day he left for his journey happened yesterday. She could see him stepping off the front porch with a saddlebag filled with necessities in absolute crystal clarity happening right in front of her. She could almost hear the final goodbyes he shouted across echoing in her thoughts for she knew that he might not make it. There was a chance, however huge or slim, that that would be the last time she could hear or even see her son.

And that same cruel logic applied to her husband too.

“You know, Mum,” her daughter remarked slightly sorrowfully. “I really miss dad and Shining…I hope they can come back safely…”

Another tear glided off the side of her right cheek while she gripped onto her daughter’s body tightly. “Yes, I miss them too…”

As her eyes became moist with tears, she forced herself to clasp her eyes shut to bring herself together for the sake of her daughter. She could hear the slightest sniffle from her daughter just right by her side, implying that her daughter must be feeling something similar to what she was too. After all, they both witnessed their loved ones leave the relative safety of Canterlot to venture out to train further and fight for their liberty, like how Shining Armour was enlisted when he became of age.

Wait, how about her daughter? Wasn’t she now of age after her finals? Did she have to go and serve in the military, even if she was Princess Celestia own personal protégé?

Instinctively, Twilight Velvet glanced up into the upper storey of their home as she could hear the hustle and bustle of a certain baby dragon rearranging the books of her daughter’s massive library of thousands of books into some predetermined order from the stairway.

And how about Spike?

As a multitude of questions flooded into her mind, Twilight Velvet exhaled deeply to recompose herself. She had to stay strong in such a crisis, especially in front of her daughter because every inch of psychological and mental weakness or doubt would hurt the morale of everypony aiding the war effort. Basic training had drilled that philosophy into her, and she had to remain steadfast and valiant even in such challenging times. King Sombra sought to replace their spirit of compassion, kindness and love with the darkness and the void. She could not let him sow the seeds of terror and fear in her soul from miles away, for that must be his very intention.

“Hey, Twilight! There’s a message from the princess!”

The mother and daughter somewhat released each other from their strong embrace slowly to turn and face the stairway, where they could see Spike dashing down the carpeted steps with a scroll in his claws cautiously.

“What does it say?” Twilight Sparkle asked excitedly as she slid off the side of the couch to trot towards Spike. Frantically, her mother brought her forehoof to wipe away the thin stream of tears on her cheek before she could notice.

Spike cleared his throat as he unravelled the regal scroll. “My dearest and most faithful student Twilight, I would like to congratulate you for your amazing results in your examination! However, there is an issue that we need to discuss urgently. Please come and see me in the castle immediately.”

“See me immediately?” Twilight Sparkle exclaimed loudly as she frowned with a puzzled look on her face. “There must be a big problem! We need to rush to the castle now!”

Even before her mother could blink, she galloped out of the living room and nearly smashed the front door of her house open into smithereens.

“Hey, wait for me!” Spike called out, rushing out of the door as fast as he could, as he tried to catch up with her. “Slow down!”

Twilight and Spike bolted through the entrance of the throne room of the magnificent castle after the royal escorts dutifully and carefully opened the shimmering crystal door to reveal a marvelling sight. Ornate, sculptured pillars of marble lined the sides of the hallway of throne in style, while panes of stained glass embellished the room with great chromatic vibrancy. A single, maroon carpet extended from the entrance to the gilded throne with the golden, radiant symbol of the sun. And majestically seated on the velvet, cushioned throne was none other than Princess Celestia.

“Twilight Sparkle!” Princess Celestia stood up from the comfort of her throne to greet her most loyal student. “Thank you for coming over so quickly at just a moment’s notice.”

“Princess Celestia!” Twilight and Spike courteously bowed down for a moment as a sign of reverence and respect as they greeted her. “We came as fast as we could; what happened now? Is the war with the Crystal Empire going badly?”

“Not exactly,” Celestia trotted forth to the young unicorn. “But I do want to discuss about something pertaining to this war.”

“What is it?” Twilight tilted her head up at a skyward angle to meet Princess Celestia’s eyes as she stepped down from the steps of her throne.

“Twilight, do you realise that you are now of age to play your role in this struggle?” Princess Celestia stated, her stoicism evident in not only her solemn tone, but also in the glint of seriousness in her eyes.

“Erm…but I haven’t received any letter from the Enlistment Bureau,” Twilight frowned, wondering whether the department had accidentally forgot to send her the crucial letter that would give her the critical details of her role. “Isn’t the Enlistment Bureau supposed to send this letter thirty moons before I am enlisted?”

“I understand,” Princess Celestia began, her eyes deflecting slightly away from Twilight’s, as she stared down hard on the carpet in deep contemplation before continuing. “I was hesitating…but I must tell you now that I will have to send you to basic training tomorrow.”

“TOMORROW!” Twilight and Spike exclaimed in unison, their eyebrows shooting up. “But there’s not enough to time to prepare!”

Princess Celestia exhaled deeply. “I’m sorry, but any delay in your training would impact our military capabilities and it’s all my fault for hesitating…”

Twilight was speechless. Her mind was frozen in panic as she simply stared into the carpet, her eyes unblinking. She could only gape with anxiety at the sudden turn of events, with the rest of her facial apparatus in a state of virtual inactivity, for she did not know what to say to her teacher.

“But what about me?” Spike asked after quickly getting over his shock of the situation, though the tone in his voice made his remark sound more like a demand than a simple inquiry. “Can I go with Twilight?”

“I’m sorry, Spike,” Princess Celestia responded to the obvious dismay portrayed on his face, as she raised her right forehoof. “But every soldier needs to be independent in the battlefield and I can’t allow you to assist Twilight in her training.”

Princess Celestia turned back to her faithful student who, thanks to her astonishment and anxiety, was actually trembling rather spasmodically. It was evidently telling that her student was shuddering and almost cowering to the fear of failure at the thought of rising to the challenge bestowed upon her.

She needed confidence.

“Twilight, I understand that this is a task that I have thrust upon you almost without warning, but you have overcome every challenge that you had been through, no matter the odds. I am more than certain that you will be able to go through this rite of passage and contribute to our fight against oppression and tyranny,” Princess Celestia reassured, as she raised Twilight’s head up to enable Twilight to face her right into her magnificent eyes. “I believe in you.”

“Thank…thank you, Princess Celestia,” Twilight replied, her lips visibly shaking as she spoke. “But I don’t know how I can adapt to the hierarchical environment there…”

“Twilight, I understand your fears. It’s normal to be afraid of the unknown that lies ahead. But many have been through this basic training when it became mandatory since this war started, including your own family members,” Princess Celestia affirmed while placing a hoof over Twilight’s back. “If they can make it, so could you.”

“All right,” Twilight relented weakly, after letting out a deep breath. “As a citizen of Equestria, I will have to play my part in the war effort. But as your student, I will do my best not to let you down...Princess Celestia.”

“Thank you, Twilight,” Princess Celestia responded favourably, as she brought a scroll over from the side of her throne over to her student. “Here, take this. Its contents reveal when and where you are to report tomorrow. You should start preparing for the journey ahead, Twilight.”

After Twilight took over control of the levitating scroll, she turned to her left to see Spike collapsing onto the pristine, carpeted floor, his claws clasping over his knees as he began to tear up. She slowly stepped forth towards Spike, the strength in her legs seemingly weakening with her resolve.

Spike could see the Twilight’s shadow moving towards him through his clouded eyes. He pierced his eyes open, tears leaking out, only to find Twilight crying alongside him as she trotted over.

But before Twilight could come by his side, Spike ran forward as fast as his legs could carry him and hugged Twilight for all it was worth.

Author's Note:

Thanks for checking this story out! I hope to follow a rough schedule of a chapter a week, but no guarantees...

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