• Published 24th Oct 2020
  • 2,780 Views, 221 Comments

The Legionnaire - Vanity



Freed from her stone tomb, Cozy Glow struggles to adapt to the world - and the ponies - she wronged.

  • ...
17
 221
 2,780

VII - The Chariot

It was well past midnight when Cozy was woken and told to pack. In the little time she had, she was able to gather nothing more than some winter clothes, her favourite books, and Luster's amulet, which she stashed in the bottom of her bag. Though she doubted it would come in handy, just having it nearby made her feel a little better.

Luster said nothing on the way down the Castle stairwell, aside from an occasional glance back to ensure Cozy was still following close by, utterly ignoring Cozy's questions. She seemed agitated, uneasy, her eyes scanning every dark hallway, making sure they were alone and unwatched.

A chariot awaited them in the castle courtyard, made of plain wood and iron. Next to the splendour of Canterlot Castle, it looked shabby and unkempt. Unlike any chariot Cozy had ever seen, it had no carriers - when they boarded, it floated into the air of its own accord. Guiding the chariot with a flick of her head, Luster guided the chariot forwards almost effortlessly, sending them into the night with surprising speed. Cozy had never seen Luster cast the simplest of spells without her horn, let alone anything as complex as this.

Canterlot shrank into the distance, and soon disappeared. For the next few minutes, the pair of them sat in silence, with no sound but the roaring of the wind whipping through the air. Cozy wasn't sure what to think. She trusted Luster utterly, of course - but why had she woken her so late, taken her away like a fugitive? Where were they going? What was going on?

"Luster?"

It took Luster a moment to realize Cozy was talking to her. Her mouth stretched into a wide, sly grin that in no way suited her. "Yes, Cozy?"

"What... what's happening? Where are we going?" A dreadful thought struck her. "Are you... are we running away? Is anypony coming after us?"

"No. Nopony is coming after us. Everything has been taken care of. We're going far, far away, to the Griffon Empire. Just you and me. We'll be living amongst them for the foreseeable future, so I hope you've brushed up on your knowledge of Griffon custom." Luster gave a curt nod, causing the chariot to gain altitude. "All part of your training. I'm going to be deciding if you've really changed."

"You... you don't think I have?" Cozy sounded crestfallen. Luster said nothing. She didn't even look at her. "Luster?"

"No. I don't."

Cozy's heart dropped into her stomach. "But why? You said yesterday I was doing so well, that you were sure Princess Twilight would let me... let me..." She blinked furiously, trying to drive back the tears welling in her eyes. "I... Luster, please, look at me!"

Luster didn't budge. "Get some sleep, Cozy. You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow."

"I'm not - what's wrong with you!? Why are you acting so differently all of a sudden?" Cozy stamped her hoof onto the floor of the chariot, causing it to wobble precariously. "What about my students? What about everything you promised me?"

"Cozy!" Luster finally lost her temper. "Sit down and be quiet. I have to focus and think and I can't do that with a little brat whining in my ear all the way!"

Luster had never spoken to her like that. Cozy couldn't stop the tears this time, but she turned away, not wanting to show any weakness. The chariot picked up speed as it sped through the sky. The ground beneath them shifted from thick canopies of trees to a brownish-green blur. All that stayed still was the moon, the stars, and the grim look on Luster's face.


The miserable campfire Luster had conjured from thin air did little to cut into the pitch-black darkness of the night, and Cozy found herself jumping at every snapping twig and owl hoot. She had always been afraid of the dark, and being stuck in the middle of a strange forest clearing in a foreign land did nothing to assuage those fears.

Though Luster had assured her they were indeed in the Griffon Empire, she hadn't seen any Griffons yet. In fact, it seemed Luster had deliberately landed them as far away from civilization as possible. As Cozy watched, Luster focused her gaze on the campfire, causing it to spontaneously leap into the air and brighten. Slightly comforted by the extra warmth and light, Cozy tried asking again.

"Luster, how long are we going to be here?"

"As long as it takes. Maybe a month. This won't be easy, Cozy. The hard part of your studies is only just beginning. I expect you to fail."

"Oh." Cozy hated the way Luster had started to speak to her. Was it an act? Or had everything, every kind word of reassurance and warmth up till this point been an act? She couldn't even tell. It was like she was talking to a different pony. "Well, wh-what happens if I do?"

"If you fail, you won't be going home."

The words hit Cozy like a sledgehammer and sent a current of ice running through her blood. She no longer felt upset - now, she felt afraid. She'd long abandoned her plans of running away, but all of a sudden they came surging back, and she seriously considered the prospect of bolting for the treeline and letting the forest swallow her up.

"C-can't I just go back to the prison? I'll be good, I promise! I won't make any trouble and I'll even stop playing my harmonica, I know it annoyed that guard and I'm sorry - "

"You and I both know that's not an option, Cozy. If you want advice, here it is - get some sleep. We start early tomorrow." With that, Luster extinguished the flame with a wave of her hoof and slipped inside her tent, leaving Cozy behind - cold, unsure and scared.


The sun in the griffon lands was so fierce as to be unbearable. Cozy could barely keep pace behind Luster and collapsed several times, pulling herself to her hooves and soldiering on by force of sheer will. Luster didn't seem to be affected in the slightest. In fact, she didn't even break a sweat.

After what felt like - and probably was - several hours of hiking, they arrived at a small village. It was an ugly backwater, inhabited by griffons covered in scars and battle wounds. A pig was being spit-roasted in the centre of the village, filling the air with the sickening smell of cooking flesh. Cozy was only barely able to keep her breakfast down.

The pair of them couldn't stick out more. Every single eye in the village followed them, filled with wonder at the sight of two ponies so far from Equestrian lands. Visitors were almost unheard of. Yet the larger of the two had an air of danger surrounding her that kept even the burliest of the griffons at a distance.

"Luster? What are we doing here?" Cozy's gaze darted around the village, unable to hide the discomfort in her voice. "What kind of test do you have for me?"

"Relax, Cozy. You're not going to be recognized. And don't think you can rest just yet. We're going to get some supplies, then we're back on the road. It's a good few days walk to Griffonstone."

"Days?" Cozy felt like collapsing right there and then. "Luster, please. I can't walk any further in this weather, let alone another few days."

"Don't be petulant. I'm managing just fine. If you keep playing weakling, I'll just leave you behind in the woods." With that, Luster marched into a supply store. Cozy fidgeted nervously as she waited outside, feeling somewhat vulnerable on her own. A few minutes passed before Luster arrived, wearing a pair of crude straw saddlebags.

The pair of them stopped at a few more shops. Each time, Luster left Cozy outside and entered alone, emerging from the store without remarking on any of her purchases. Cozy could only follow behind her silently. Every time she asked Luster what she was buying, she was met with silence.

Eventually, the pair set off on the road again, much to Cozy's relief. This time, she strode forwards with a determination she never knew she had, just managing to keep pace with Luster without collapsing, so out of breath she couldn't have kept up a conversation if she wanted to. As the sky began to darken and the temperature dropped, Luster's pace improved, meaning it was harder than ever to keep up with her.

The full moon was already high in the night sky before Luster came to a stop. Cozy collapsed, panting, onto the ground beside her, vision flashing red as she fought her instinct to vomit. Somewhere in the background, she heard Luster tut with disgust.

"We should have made much better pace today. I don't want you slowing me down tomorrow."

Cozy couldn't have snapped back if she wanted. Luster pulled a small pouch of water out of her bag and set it down next to her.

"Drink up."

Cozy drained the pouch in one swig, still desperately thirsty. "I'm starving. Can we eat?"

"Of course. Here."

Luster levitated an unpleasant, thick, leather-like object from her bag and passed it to Cozy, who wrinkled her nose at it. Taking a hesitant bite, she almost gagged at the dry, salty taste that seemed to immediately drain all moisture from her mouth. "What's this? Some kind of root?"

"Of course not. You're in the Griffon Empire now, you have to eat the things they eat. It's called beef jerky. It's dehydrated cow meat - "

Cozy couldn't keep her stomach. She was barely able to make it to a bush before she retched, tears streaming down her face as she felt the acidic taste fill her mouth. Behind her, she heard Luster let out an audible sigh. "Don't be so dramatic. Griffons eat this all the time. We might not come across another village for days. I needed food that would last."

"I'm not a griffon!" Cozy spat again and again into the bush, desperate to get as much of the taste out of her mouth as possible. "What's wrong with you, Luster!?"

"Well, I'm afraid this is the only source of protein I have. You'll have to eat some." Luster swallowed her mouthful, to Cozy's amazement. "Unless you'd rather scavenge, I suppose."

Cozy's eyes narrowed. "With pleasure." Striding off into the forest, she felt her blood boil at Luster's cackle.

It took her less than half an hour to come up with enough roots and vegetables for dinner. The flora of the Griffon Empire wasn't too different to that of Equestria, and she'd read plenty of books describing common edible plants. Even Luster was unable to hide a look of grudging admiration when Cozy deposited the collection at her hooves and began to eat.

"How did you... Oh, never mind. Goodnight."

The small campfire was extinguished in an instant, and Cozy was left to eat in the dark.

The following day was much the same, but with no stopping. Cozy's whole body ached from overexertion, and she begged Luster several times to slow down, to no avail. At some point, they joined a major road. Occasionally, they passed signposts written in the claw-like script of the Griffons. The occasional travelling merchants then ran across cast them strange glances, occasionally stopping to try and sell them various trinkets they claimed possessed extraordinary value.

On the third day, Cozy collapsed again - but this time, she couldn't stand. Her legs wouldn't respond, and she felt her body slowly begin to shut down. As she passed out, the last thing she saw was Luster bellowing at her to wake up.

It was nighttime when she regained consciousness. There was a dim fire burning before her. She opened her mouth to speak, but was only able to let out a weak groan. Luster trotted over to her, pulling Cozy upright and placing a container of water to her lips. Cozy watched as Luster produced another strip of meat from her bag.

"Here. I don't think you're in any fit state to do any gathering tonight."

Cozy desperately tried to stand, but she knew it was a losing battle. She would either eat what she was given, or die. Biting her tongue to keep her bile down, she raised the beef to her lips and took a bite.


The two-thousand year old door didn't stand a chance. Blown off its hinges in a shower of wooden shards and splinters, it was sent flying several hundred feet across the throne room, before shattering into pieces against the marble floor. Completely taken aback, the few Guards present weren't able to react until it was too late.

Those few near the door were caught up in the blast; the lucky ones were sent sprawling across the floor in agony, while the less lucky found themselves flying into the pillars and being knocked unconscious, with a few flying straight through the stained glass windows.

Luster strode through the wrecked entrance, mane and eyes wild, breath ragged, surrounded by crackling bolts of pure magical energy. Several Guards hesitated when they saw who their assailant was, but pushed on regardless, bellowing at her to surrender.

None of them stood a chance. The four closest guards were seized by Luster and thrown with tremendous force into the air, coming crashing down a few seconds later in a chorus of bones breaking and screams of agony, causing several Guards to hesitate. As Luster advanced, several of them raised their spears and threw them.

Before they could get within a metre of her, the spears halted in mid air, then melted, the white-hot metal reforming itself into spheres, which were launched straight back at the Guards, knocking several of them unconscious. Most of the Guards were backing away now, and a few had even bolted.

Luster raised her head, a look of pure hatred on her face.

"Where is she!?"

None of the Guards responded. Luster snarled, and seized the nearest stallion in her grip. Raising him high into the air, she began to twist his body in every painful fashion she could think of, amplifying his screams to make sure every one of his fellow Guards could hear.

"I'm gonna ask one more time, and them I'm going to start pulling his legs off! WHERE IS - "

"Luster!"

All of a sudden, Luster was hit with a tremendous force that knocked her off her hooves and sent her sprawling across the room. Out of her peripheral vision, she saw the guard's fall broken by an unseen force. Scrambling to her hooves, she spun around to face her assailant. Standing in front of her throne, wearing an expression of pure horror and shock, was Princess Twilight.

"Leave. All of you." Twilight's voice boomed across the room. "Take your wounded to the medical bay. I will deal with this myself."

"Your majesty, you are in danger - " The captain began, but shut up the second Twilight raised her hoof.

"I am in no danger, Moonlight. My student will not hurt me. Please, obey your Princess and leave."

Most didn't need to be told twice. As they fled, Luster was seized with an overpowering desire to strike them down, to inflict as much pain as she could. Supressing this animal urge, she instead advanced on her tutor, horn glowing so hot it hurt.

"Where. Is. Cozy?"

Every word dripped with venom. Ignoring her, Twilight instead glanced around at the destroyed room, eyes filled with sadness.

"Luster, what have you done?"

"Shut up!" Luster sent a pulse of magical energy into the floor at Twilight's hooves, blasting a chunk of marble out of it. "If you don't tell me where she is, I'm not going to hold back. I mean it."

Twilight shook her head. "Talk to me, Luster. Don't do anything you'll regret."

"WHERE IS SHE?!?" Luster screamed. All of a sudden, she was filled with a hatred for her Princess like she'd never felt before. "Tell me, NOW!"

"Luster, you must understand. There are greater things at stake. It is still not too late to come back from all you have done. Surrender, and you have my word you'll be treated fairly."

Twilight was only barely able to raise a magical shield in time. Luster's spell smashed into it with a force she hadn't known her student was even capable of, sending her staggering backwards and almost falling over. It was followed by a barrage of spells, most of them balls of pure magical energy. Twilight patiently waited for a lull in the assault, then responded with a spell of her own.

Luster jumped out of the way just in time, raising a magical barrier to protect herself. The two mares locked eyes across the room, each waiting for the other to make a move.

"Fool." There was a quiet fury in Twilight's voice now. "You don't know, you have no idea what you're throwing away."

"The throne?" Luster's eyes burned with hatred as she sized up her former teacher. "Keep it. I'd rather be dead then end up like you. Did you sleep well last night, after you had a little filly taken away?"

"You know I would never do anything to hurt her."

"No. You had Discord do it instead!"

Luster sent a surge of magical energy into the ground underneath Twilight, melting the rock into magma in seconds, forcing the Princess to take flight and abandon her magical protection. Twilight was barely able to dodge Luster's first two spells before the third caught her in the right wing, sending her crashing to the ground. Before Luster could move, Twilight seized her and threw her across the room, sending her crashing into a pillar and knocking all the wind out of her.

"So, you're a traitor to Equestria now, too? Cozy Glow is worth betraying everypony and everything you've ever loved and valued?"

"She's just a foal!" Luster snarled, seizing several chunks of rock from the ground and launching them at Twilight. "You never cared about her, and you never cared about me! Starlight was right, we were just your tools!"

"That isn't true. I cared about both of you. That's why I did everything I ever did, Luster! I did it for you!"

"Liar!"

Luster focused on the window behind Twilight, a stained glass depicting the six Elements of Harmony. With a single pulse of energy, she shattered the window into hundreds of fragments and sent them flying towards Twilight, who raised a magical shield - but not quickly enough. Dozens of shards struck the Princess, causing lines of blood to run down her legs and pool onto the floor.

Roaring with pain, Twilight seized Luster in her aura once more and slammed her into the floor. Luster thrashed against the ground, struggling pitifully against her grip, her hearing and vision slowly numbing as the incredible pressure of Twilight's spell began to set in. Desperately, she fired off several spells blindly. By sheer luck, one struck Twilight in the leg, knocking her off-balance. Almost reflexively, Luster grabbed a support pillar next to Twilight and tore it down, sending it collapsing atop the Princess.

Clouds of dust rose high into the air, blocking all vision. As it slowly settled, Luster saw the crippled form of Princess Twilight pinned to the floor. Horn glowing, she advanced. Twilight glanced upwards, eyes filling with genuine fear as she approached.

"Please..." She sounded pathetic, whimpering like a foal. Luster lifted a few of the heavier rocks off her, throwing them aside effortlessly.

"Tell me."

"I... I don't... I don't know..."

"Don't lie!" Luster blasted a hole in the floor, inches from Twilight's head. "I promise you, if you don't, Equestria will be looking for a new heir for a long time."

"I am not... lying!" Twilight coughed, eyes still filled with that awful fear. "Discord took her... away. Didn't say where. Only that it was in... the Griffon Empire." Tears began to stream from her eyes. "Please... don't... kill me."

Luster wanted to do it. To make Twilight - no, all of Equestria, feel the pain she felt in this moment. She wanted them to suffer, to make it slow. But she just... couldn't.

Her horn dimmed.

"I'm leaving Equestria. Forever. If you ever send anypony after me, let them know they're committing suicide first." She spat out a mouthful of blood. "I'm going to find Cozy. I'm going to be a better teacher, a better mentor than you ever were. And if you ever cross me again, I won't show any mercy."

She turned tail and strode away. She had barely made it ten feet before she heard Twilight struggling to free herself. Spinning around, she instinctively raised a reflective shield just in time. Twilight's spell, a blindingly-white bolt of pure magical energy, bounced off it with a bell chime that echoed throughout the throne room, shattering every remaining window into a million rainbow shards that rained down on them.

The spell shot across the room and struck its caster square in the chest. For a moment, Twilight staggered backwards, seemingly unharmed. Then she leaned forwards, falling to her knees. Her mouth dropped open as the light faded from her eyes.

And died.

It was so sudden, so unceremonious, that Luster didn't believe it. Couldn't believe it. The Princess of Equestria, who had reigned since before she had been born, was gone. There was no heir. The royal line was severed, forever. Equestria had, in an instant, been all but thrown into anarchy.

The enormity of her actions struck her like a train. She had killed the Princess. There would be no safe refuge for her, ever again. She would be hunted to the ends of the earth for her crimes. She would never, ever, know peace. All of a sudden, Luster felt every fear and anxiety she had ever experienced rise up and crush her like a vice. Of course, it had been self defence. But she knew that wasn't going to mean a thing.

The sound of hoofsteps caused her to spin around. A squadron of Royal Guards had arrived. As they scanned the room, most of their jaws dropped open at the sight.

Luster's horn lit up once more, but to her relief, she didn't have to spill another drop of blood. Every single guard immediately dropped their weapon and fled, screaming like little fillies. Evidently, none of them wanted to take their chance with the murderer of Princess Twilight. She didn't blame them.

What would become of Equestria? Of the Crystal Empire? As soon as the thoughts arose, Luster dismissed them. She didn't have any time to waste. In a few hours, she would be the most wanted pony in Equestria. Fortunately, she didn't plan on spending a second more in Equestria than she had to. The Griffon Empire was fairly remote, but as long as Cozy was there, she would be there, looking for her. Knowing Cozy, she would have slipped free from Discord's clutches long ago.


Griffonstone was every bit as architecturally hideous as she'd been told. Whereas Canterlot was ordered and neat, Griffonstone was random and chaotic, with every buildings composed of a variety of brick, concrete and metal. The air was thick with smog, and the roads were spiralling and disordered, with many seeming to end nowhere.

Guards were a far more common presence than in Canterlot, and far more brutal. Cozy frequently saw them aim kicks at beggars and homeless wanderers, or anyone who got too close for their comfort. Clad in full-face helmets and shining black armour bearing the insignia of the Emperor, they looked like something out of one of her nightmares.

For the first time in days, she saw other ponies, though they were nowhere near as common a sight as griffons in Canterlot. By contrast, the ponies here seemed to occupy a position of some social esteem, clad in fine clothes and being spared any brutality from the guards - but then again, that made sense. Why else would they have left Equestria for this?

And, of course, there were the slaves. Almost all of them were Hippogriffs, presumably the spoils of some recent war she'd not heard of. They didn't interact with the world around them, nor did they try to escape. They simply stood, frozen to the spot, staring at the ground as if they didn't quite believe where they had found themselves. It turned her stomach to see living, sentient creatures hawked like livestock. Luster, on the other hand, seemed unaffected by the idea.

More and more, she was aware of the looks being cast their way. No, not their way - her way. She had been an unknown quantity in the countryside, but not any more. Plenty of griffons recognized the filly who had almost taken over their world, and it looked as if they were in an even less forgiving mood than Equestria. She wanted nothing more than to go somewhere private and put her necklace on, but she knew she was in no position to make any more demands.

As the sun set - or so Cozy assumed, the sun no longer being visible under the thick smog - Luster directed them towards a tavern. Once inside, she strode up to the bar and exchanged a few words in Griffonian. Passing a sack of bits to the owner, she turned to Cozy and jerked her head in the direction of a set of stairs.

The room was cramped, damp and smelled foul. A single candle illuminated the room, which mercifully had two beds. Cozy collapsed in the nearest one, unbelievably grateful to have even this smallest luxury for the first time in days.

"Don't get too comfortable. I can't afford a place like this every night. We'll be sleeping rougher than this, I promise you." Luster set her saddlebags down by the empty bed and began to rifle through them. "We'll be staying here for a few weeks. You'll be learning about fitting in with the Griffons, who aren't as nice as ponies. We start tomorrow."

"Sure." Cozy was too tired to argue. "I think some of them recognized me. Can I wear my amulet while I'm here?"

"What?" Luster snorted. "I wouldn't wear anything valuable while you're out there. It makes you look like an easy target."

"No, I mean my amulet. The one you gave me. Don't you remember?" Cozy cast a curious glance at Luster. "You... you must remember."

"What? I mean, yes, I remember. But it's still a bad idea. As for being recognized, we'll get your mane cut tomorrow, find something to cover your cutie mark."

A ball of ice began to form in Cozy's stomach as a horrible, awful realization began to dawn.

"Luster, my amulet... it still... We don't need a disguise."

"Well, that's your choice. Get some sleep. It's another long day tomorrow." Luster extinguished the candle and climbed into bed.

It wasn't the first time Cozy had ever seen Luster perform any magic without her horn. But she'd never seen Luster so much as lift a rock without her horn glowing - nor any other unicorn, for that matter. And yet, as she recalled, Luster had been able to conjure entire bonfires and even fly a chariot, all by moving parts of her body at will. There was only one creature Cozy had ever known to be capable of things like that.

"Luster?"

A groan. "Yes?"

"I was thinking about something. From a long time ago. Do you remember what happened to Grogar's Bell?"

"Of course. Discord took it. He returned it to Mount Everhoof."

"Oh."

Discord sighed, and rolled over in his bed. "Go to bed."

Because it could only be him. There were only three other creatures alive who had known Gusty the Great had hidden the Bewitching Bell in Mount Everhoof - Tirek, Chrysalis and Discord. Two of them were still petrified. Which narrowed it down to one shapeshifter.

One who wouldn't need a horn to cast spells. One with limitless endurance, who could walk all day. Who wouldn't turn his nose up at eating meat, or slavery. One who had never trusted her, who despised her, who wouldn't have afforded her any mercy when she was weak and suffering.

Cozy felt sick. She had been tricked, manipulated and controlled using the visage of the pony she trusted more than anything. But all wasn't lost. She had a single trick card left to play.


Discord wasn't surprised to find Cozy had fled when he woke up. He had expected her to try and flee when they were inside the confines of the city, and had made sure he was well prepared. Vanishing in a second, he reappeared outside the city's main guardhouse and gave three curt knocks on the door. An enormous guard answered, easily three times the size of the average Royal Guard, but treated the pony before him with surprising deference.

"Oh. It's you. Yeah, we caught her sneaking around last night and bought her in. She's fine, just a little shaken up."

Discord's smug smile was quickly replaced with fury when he laid eyes on the strange filly the imbeciles had managed to imprison. Through floods of tears, the filly begged Discord not to hurt her and insisted she was just the daughter of one of Griffonstone's foreign workers.

As soon as the filly was released, he rounded on the guards and began to grill them for information, heart sinking as he realized Cozy Glow had slipped clean through his claws and could be anywhere. Princess Twilight would be furious. Luster would look like a hero. Unless he could find her - now.

With every passing hour, his mood grew bleaker as he realized the filly could be anywhere. Of course, the Griffon Empire was a hard place. It was entirely possible she would succumb to the elements - or something else - and his job would be done for him. The more he considered it, the more he warmed to the idea. A horrific accident, a tragedy - but not his fault.


The train was ancient, and the carriage Luster was in jostled so violently she was worried it was going to derail any second. Glancing at her reflection in the night window, she was relieved to see she was no longer recognizable. She knew very little about practical disguise, but she knew enough to know you never half-flank it.

Her entire mane had been shaved, leaving only a faint outline of hair clinging close to her scalp. The clothes she'd selected - simple overalls, the kind that could apply to any number of jobs or trades - covered up not just her cutie mark, but also her tail. A pair of thick glasses both further distorted her appearance. Even her own mother wouldn't have recognized her.

Trains to the Griffon Empire were almost non-existent these days, and the guards at the border would no doubt be the first informed of her potential arrival. Instead, she would travel through Yakyakistan to Luna's Ocean, then set sail from a port chosen at random. Even if they thought to monitor ports on the other side of Equestria, they couldn't possibly cover every single one. It would mean a significant trek through Griffon lands to make it to Griffonstone, but so be it.

With every stop, her breath caught in her throat, always expecting Royal Guards to board the train, arrest her and drag her away. She was approaching the furthest-flung regions of Equestria's domain, where radio was uncommon and news from the capital could take weeks to arrive, but something of this magnitude would no doubt travel faster. The Yaks and Ponies were close allies. She wouldn't truly feel safe until she was in the Griffon Empire.

Cozy was out there. She knew it. All the beasts of Tartarus wouldn't stop Luster from finding her. And anypony... anything that got in the way would wish dearly that they hadn't.

End of Part One

Author's Note:

This story will be split into three parts, each seven chapters (not including the Fool) and should be ~100,000 words when finished. Guess the theme of each part and win a cookie. Protip: the boring stuff is out of the way.