• Published 19th Sep 2020
  • 2,236 Views, 67 Comments

A Third Front Has Opened Up - waywardfallout

Twilight Sparkle the greatest strategist of Celestia’s army and Rainbow Dash the greatest warrior in Luna’s army start a rebellion.

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Chapter 7 Cold Stone Fort

“High Priestess you're needed at Cold Stone to command the garrison as commander Clear Sky is dead and Starlight Glimmer’s forces are moving in. The order’s from Goddess Celestia herself.” Twilight sighed internally there was no way she was getting out of orders directly from Celestia. No matter how much she wanted to stay and make sure Rainbow was safe.

Twilight looked at Sunset. “Sunset I’m going to need you to act as my champion normally Applejack would but she is busy at the moment.” Twilight ordered. Sunset was both ecstatic and terrified at the order to be Twilight’s champion in Applejack’s place. “High Priestess I’m honored.” The hesitation in the amber mares voice tipped off Twilight. “But?”

Sunset sighed “It's that just I’m a fire artillery mage not a duelist.” Twilight disagreed with her. “Sunset don’t sell yourself short, you’re my best fire mage for a reason. We both know you can easily duel another pony if needed to.” Shimmer felt her confidence come back to some degree. Twilight continued talking “ and Starlight loves calling for an honor duel and I need you to accept the duel so I can continue commanding the army.” Sunset nodded, she could keep Starlight Glimmer busy in an honor duel.

In a Honor Duel it was seen as dishonorable to kill your opponent. So Sunset didn’t need to worry about getting killed. But if she lost the duel or was forced to retreat, it would be a huge moral loss for Twilight’s forces.

“I’m going to teleport us outside Cold Stone Fort, Ready?”
Sunset nodded. “Ready.”

Cold Stone Fortress
Outside east gate

Cold Stone was built on the highest hill that overlooked a large flat forest that ended in a large open field. The forest was heavily snowed in because of a blizzard that happened the night before, leaving fresh snow everywhere. All of this snow got in Twilight's way as she needed some of the land in front of the east gate to be cleared, so she could have room to organize the Fort’s garrison and the reinforcements that had been sent from North Point a few days ago.

So Twilight ordered the land in front of the east gate to be cleared of snow and trees and thanks to unicorn magic it was easily done in 30 minutes. With that done Twilight looked over what forces she had to defend the fort. What she found wasn’t great but not terrible either.

She had two EPGs (earth pony groups) made of 300 ponies each making 600 earth ponies in total. Of the earth ponies there were 49 Steadfasts. Which meant that she was missing one, as tewtiy five Steadfasts came with each earth pony group. She had two EPGs so she should have 50. When she demanded to know why she was missing a pony, she was informed that he was found dead in the mess hall last night.

Annoyed that she was down a Steadfast. She checked what weapons they were armed with. She found a mix of spears and mouth held swords. Then she briefly looked over their armor finding most of the soldiers were wearing standard gold colored iron armor. With some of the earth ponies having banners with Celestia’s cutie mark on it attached to their back by a pole.

The realization that Twilight would not have to wait too much longer to replace those banners with her own made her smile. Which she had to quickly suppress as she moved on to the pegasi.

She had two pegasus groups numbering 150 each. One unit was a pegasus vs pegasus equipped with leg blades. Leg blades are different from hoof blades as they can not retract and let the user walk correctly on all four hooves.

The other was a mix of 50 archers and 100 spear droppers. A decent number for the winter. But their usefulness would be limited due to the cold. While pegasi were resistant to the cold a fair bit. It got way too cold for them to fight effectively above 100 meters.

When she moved on to the unicorns and what she found made her less than pleased. She had one half of a unicorn unit totaling 50 unicorns. When she asked why she had half an unicorn group a pony had informed her that they were needed elsewhere. At this she had nearly lost her cool. Who the hell ordered that and why?! Better, who had the authority to do that!

But Twilight had an appearance to maintain so she refocused back on the half unicorn unit. 40 were magical artillery unicorns and seven barrier unicorns. She also had three unicorns who would cast flare spells to relay her orders to their assigned units, as blindly teleporting around the battlefield to each unit to give orders was a sure fire way to end up materializing with an arrow in your body.

With there being only 47 unicorns who were trained for battle at the Fort. Twilight knew another reason she was ordered here. It was to patch the hole that was the lack of unicorns.

With Twilight being an alicorn who had ridiculously deep magic reserves, then combine that with her special talent being literally the use of magic in all its forms. The lavender alicorn had the equivalent magical power of about 200 to 300 artillery unicorns. That fact made Twilight a piece on the board that had to be accounted for, as she could swing the battle with a well placed spell.

After Twilight analyzed her forces she waited for the scout pegasi to come back with information on what Starlight Glimmer would be arriving with. But regardless of what Starlight brought the alicorn knew she needed to keep at least half of a unit of earth ponies back to protect her unicorn line.

When Twilight finished giving that order to the army the scout pegasus arrived. He looked like he was freezing cold even with the jacket he was wearing.

“High Priestess I have scouted the enemy’s forces. Starlight has two pegasus groups estimated at 300 ponies. Two earth pony groups, the best estimate I could get was 500. I have no counts on how many Steadfasts they had.” The pegasus took a breath of the winter air then continued.

“Finally Glimmer brought three unicorn groups I estimated about 300 ponies. The enemy should be arriving in one hour and 30 minutes.” Twilight put a hoof on his shoulder and smiled warmly. “Well done scout now go warm up in the fort you have earned it.” His eyes lit up slightly, surprised. “Thank you High Priestess.” He flew towards the fort afterwards.

At hearing what Starlight was bringing Twilight though for a second. Why would Starlight bring 300 unicorns, 150 to 200 Twilight could understand but 300? In the middle of winter no less. The cold air would make fire based spells significantly weaker the longer they flew towards their target and if they took too long to get to their target they'd be snuffed out entirely before they reached it. Twilight looked at her measy seven magic barrier unicorns and figured out why Starlight had brought 300 unicorns.

Starlight had most likely come to this battle expecting to be able to freely fire magical artillery uncontested by enemy artillery unicorns or barrier spells and batter the fort into submission.

Twilight couldn’t hide the almost evil smirk that formed on her muzzle at realizing Starlight’s simple plan and how her mere presence ruined it. As Twilight would not let Starlight fire freely and with that Twilight called over the commanders of each group and started giving her orders. Starlight had to come to her and she would use that to her advantage.

She told the commander of the one full earth pony unit she had left to move up into a clearing that was past the tree line. The forward unit of earth ponies were given five barrier unicorns to protect against magicly artillery sent their way and orders to hold position and charge when given the order. Twilight had the 50 archer pegasi back them up giving the earth ponies some minor projectile cover.

Next she gave the remaining earth ponies the order to act as reserves for the first group. Twilight didn’t expect any massive earth pony based flanks by Starlight due to the 10 inches of snow that covered the ground. The snow would make any flank take ages to reach their target and by then the battle may be over. But having the earth ponies in reserves would help her push back a flank from Glimmer if she tried one.

Next she told the pegasus vs pegasus unit to do what they were trained to do. Stop any pegasus units from getting too close and attacking any of her forces from the sky. Finally she ordered the spear droppers to hide in the tree line and wait for further orders. Now Twilight was at the hardest part, waiting for Starlight to arrive.

Sunset, having watched Twilight give out her orders to the small army. Had a question as the commanders left to go to their respective units and relay the alicorn’s orders to their ponies. “Twilight I have always wanted to know how you do this.” Sunset asked as she waved a hoof towards the army around them that was moving into position. “What do you mean?” Twilight turned her head to look at Sunset, not fully understanding the question the amber mare had asked.

“You give out orders like it’s nothing. Make battle plans on the fly without cracking under the pressure. Twilight you, in a way, send ponies to their deaths with each choice you make. How do you deal with it all?”

Twilight Sparkle sighed. “Sunset you have to understand I was groomed from the moment I was born to command Celestia’s armys. There’s a reason that if you asked me what any of the commanders I just talked to looked like, I would not be able to tell you. My brain has been designed not to care. Cause if I did care I might make a bad choice based on emotion. To be honest Sunset all of these ponies are just numbers.”

Twilight pointed her hoof at the sea of ponies clad in gold armor. “Numbers that I put in some equation to equal victory. I have tried to care about each pony I send out to fight, but I just can’t. It's like something in me just doesn’t care.” Twilight took a breath of the winter air.

“So what makes you care about me?” Sunset asked as she wanted to know what made her, a simple fire mage, special.

“I don’t know Sunset. I don’t know why I care about you or Applejack so much. I don’t understand why after Rainbow tried to kill me and only having talked to her a few times after, I care about her like I care about you two. But it's weird I want to be with Rainbow every chance I get. Maybe you know why?” Twilight asked with hope in her voice.

Sunset couldn’t believe what she had heard. Twilight Sparkle, the greatest general in Celestia’s army and the one planning a rebellion. Might have a crush on the Rainbow demon. Twilight had just described the beginning stages of a crush (plus if what Applejack told her about Twilight saying Rainbow is ‘sexy’ was true). Sunset had her fair share of coltfriends when she was younger and even one marefriend though it didn’t last long.

But Sunset couldn’t be sure, as this could be her simply overthinking Twilight’s words and she didn’t want to add another thing to Twilight’s list of things to worry about. Although at the same time she couldn’t say no helping the alicorn after all she’d done for her. So Shimmer in the end chose a middle ground.

Sunset answered the general. “I don’t Twilight. But let me know if it gets worse.” Then Sunset added on sarcastically hoping to lighten the atmosphere. “Now we wait. Woo!” Twilight snickered at that. “Yea I know.”

A pegasus landed near Twilight. “High Priestess Twilight, Starlight Glimmer's forces are within sight.” Twilight nodded and dismissed the pegasus.

Sunset groaned as she got off the ground stretchIng as she did so. “Finally! One hour and 30 minutes my ass. It’s nearly my namesake.” Twilight rolled her eyes at the amber mare. “Sunset quit your whining.” Her tone held no room for arguing.

Twilight opened her wings and flew up just over the tree line so she could just barely get a look at how Starlight Glimmer had organized her forces. Starlight had put her forces into two parallel lines. The closer of the two lines were made up of earth ponies and pegasus units wearing the Lunar Kingdom’s black armor that stood out against the snow making them easy to see. Behind the first line was the artillery unicorns.

Starlight was clearly planning on just firing artillery spells from a safe distance of 2-3 kilometers away. Twilight, happy that her guess was right, landed next to Sunset. “Sunset I need you to fire a single spell so-” Twilight was cut off by the sound of thunder cracking across the battlefield.

Both ponies watched as hundreds of lines of blue magic flew into the sky all going different directions. Twilight could tell that this volley of magic was an attempt to get the defenders to raise magic barriers and reveal their locations.

“No barriers!” Twilight ordered. The spells landed all over the battlefield leaving small holes in the ground where they landed.

Twilight after running some calculations in her head, had a rough idea were Starlight’s unicorns were located.

“Sunset, act as artillery.” Twilight ordered. The fire mage nodded saying “Got it“.

“Prepare to return fire. Spell type Magic Missile, follow my spell.” The unicorn unit in front of her replied. “Yes High Priestess!”

Twilight started charging her horn causing the ground under her hooves to shake slightly. Twilight could see a few unicorns sneak glances in awe at her power.

After ten seconds the alicorn‘s spell was ready. She aimed her horn towards the sky and released the spell. The world turned purple for a few seconds as a line of purple magic flew into the air. Then after a second it slowly arched back down towards the enemy’s lines.

Twilight watched as Starlight’s unicorns raised magic barriers to try to block the alicorn’s spell. The attempt was laughable as Twilight watched the barrier she hit shatter into thousands of pieces letting the spell through and explode in a flash of purple on one of Starlight's unicorn groups.

“By The Sun!” Twilight watched her unicorn unit plus Sunset fire a follow up volley of dozens of green Magic Missiles that simply added insult to injury.

“How long till the next volley?” Twilight asked her unicorn unit.“Three minutes at most, High Priestess.” Replied some pony from the unit. Twilight was fine with that as she would need a minute as well.

“Sunset, Starlight may challenge you to an honor duel soon so save your magic also from what AJ tells me Starlight loves to teleport.“ Twilight told the amber mare. Sunset hesitated slightly then spoke. “Understood High Priestess.” Twilight could tell Sunset was nervous about the prospect of her dueling Starlight. Twilight wanted to say something but she knew she didn’t have the time to comfort her.

As Twilight needed to know the state of the enemy lines. “Somepony get me a scout pegasus!” After a second a pegasus landed and saluted. “Orders? High Priestess.” Twilight pointed east, towards the enemy lines. “Find out the state of the enemy.”
The pegasus saluted and flew off.

Twilight heard the sound of another volley being fired by Starlight’s unicorns. This time the sky filled with hundreds of yellow spheres of magic that would land near the tree line. “Barriers up!” Twilight ordered as she put up her own purple barrier blocking some of the spells as they exploded harmlessly against her shield. She lowered her barrier when the volley ended.

A bright continuous beam containing Starlight’s cutie mark appeared over the enemy lines signaling that she wanted to challenge the enemy to an honor duel. Twilight turned her head to look at Sunset “Sunset that’s your cue.” She nodded nervously then lit the sky with her own beam that held her cutie mark and started to move forward hesitantly. Then when Starlights beam started moving closer Sunset knew there was no going back and went into a full gallop to meet Starlights in the middle of the snowy battlefield.

The earth ponies in front of the amber mare parted giving her room to pass through. When Sunset hit the leftover snow that separated the two sides she quickly casted a spell that heated her hooves hot enough that they melted through the snow that her hooves touched. Allowing the fire mage to not slow down and keep her pace.

A few seconds later Sunset saw Starlight come into view. Starlight was wearing black robes that had a crescent moon design on the front. She was also wearing a pendant that held a gem that was glowing a soft blue.

Both unicorns stopped signaling their position as they got closer and started to ready their first spells. The fire mage chose to go with a simple fireball as her first spell. Sunset’s heart started to race as she got closer to Starlight. Once they were ten meters apart, Starlight yelled out “In Luna’s name!” And fired a beam of light turquoise magic at Sunset.

At her opponent's war cry Sunset remembered she was supposed to do one as well. “In the name of Celestia!” Sunset hated each word as it left her mouth. Then she released her fireball towards Starlight’s spell hoping to overpower it.

However the amber mare had underestimated just how much power Glimmer charged her spell with. As it ripped straight through her fireball snuffing it out like a bucket of water to a candle and hit her on the right side of her chest. Sunset’s robes removed some of the spell's power thanks to the enchantments. But didn’t stop it entirely and Sunset knew that hit was definitely going to bruise as the hit sent her to the ground.

Sunset got up as fast as she was expecting Starlight to press the attack but when she looked at the mare she looked confused. “Where’s the orange earth pony?”

Sunset had also not expected to be asked a question leading her to answer dumbly. “S-she’s not here.” Sunset watched as the lilac mare inspected her. “And you are?” It was less of a question and more of a demand. “Sunset Shimmer.” Starlight replied “This should be quick.” With that Starlight teleported.

Sunset remembered that Starlight loved to teleport and got ready. When the pop of reemergence sounded to her right she swung her head in that direction sending out a wave of fire to Starlights perceived location.

Sunset had been a fire mage long enough to know what it sounded like when her fire magic hit. She heard that sound play out which was followed by the pop of teleportation.

Starlight reappeared in front of Sunset a meter away with a loud pop scaring Sunset half to death, causing her to inadvertently duck under the lightning bolt Starlight had prepared. Then Sunset threw a quick fireball at the lilac mare who blasted it with another lightning bolt, canceling both spells.

Both mares were interrupted from firing more spells by one Twilight’s artillery spells roaring overhead shaking the ground as it passed. Both mares ducked instinctively as the ridiculously powerful spell flew by.

“Stupid alicorn.” Starlight growled as she got up. Sunset saw an opening and threw a fireball directly at Starlight’s front. The fireball landed, sending Starlight back a few feet and landing in the snow.
Starlight teleported as soon as she hit the ground. Then reappeared directly behind Sunset and fired a light turquoise beam at her back. Shimmer didn’t have time to react as the beam hit the back of her neck knocking the amber mare over and face first into the snow.

“There, now we’re even.” Starlight gloated.
Sunset got up and turned to look at Starlight who had snow in her mane and covering her black robes. Sunset knew she was probably the same way as she could feel the snow in her mane. “Eh, fair enough.” Sunset replied then continued awkwardly “So do we just continue fighting? I’ve never done an honor duel before.”

“I can tell.” Starlight replied with neutrality then fired a lightning bolt spell which Sunset blocked using a fire spell. Sunset decided to step up her game.

Sunset lit her horn and raised her front legs then she stomped them on the snow covered ground, causing a crack in the ground to start to form. The split in the ground raced towards Starlight shooting fire as it traveled.

Starlight dodged right and retaliated with a light turquoise barrier wall that she threw toward the fire mage. Sunset fired a steam of flames at the barrier melting it in the middle so it passed her harmlessly. Then Shimmer backed up as she fired a wall of flames, Sunset hoped she could make some space between them.

Starlight didn’t let that happen as she charged around the flame wall and fired three beams of magic at the fire mage. One beam bounced off her robes, the enchantments holding. The second beam missed Sunset entirely and flew off into the distance. The Third hit her barrel knocking air out of the fire mage’s lungs.

Sunset was now back peddling, trying to get air back in her lungs as Starlight continued to close the distance between both mares. Starlight released even more light turquoise magic beams towards the amber unicorn as she got closer overwhelming Sunset with sheer numbers.

Sunset managed to block a few of the beams but with her focus on blocking the spells she didn’t notice Starlight throw a punch at her face shouting “Luna’s Frost!” Sunset was sent rolling through the snow by the unnaturally cold punch.

Sunset had heard of spells that had a vocal component to casting such as Luna’s Frost and usually those spells were quite strong. One could also shout the name of some spells to give it more power, but this came at the cost of telling your opponent what spell you were casting.

Sunset was forced to melt the ice now covering the right side of her face using her magic. As she got back on her hooves Starlight teleported next to her. “Are you done yet?” Sunset wasn’t sure about her answer but she wouldn’t let her friend down.
“Not yet.”

Author's Note:

Comments and criticism are always appreciated.