• Published 15th Apr 2021
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The Fall of the Anoian - bookhorse125



Equestria is not the only land full of magical creatures. Welcome to Anoia.

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Chapter Eleven - Lupines

“Your Majesty, with all due respect, what exactly am I here for?” Red asked politely, inclining her head in acknowledgment of the other commanders.

“A good question, but you will understand in a bit.” Lupines turned to his generals. “We are here to discuss strategy. Lieutenant Gooseberry, take your and Commander Sea Spray’s forces to the southern canal. Travel under the cover of the night. You will meet Generals Pepper, Stone, and Flaken at the fork. These generals will travel through the other entrance to the canal.

“Lieutenant Sands, you will take your forces to the southern border. Do not attack until any armies that may be there have left to fortify the eastern front. Avoid any armies and guards at all costs. Wait until the other generals meet up with you outside the capital.

“Commander Samuel, you and Second-in-Command Nutberry will attack from the north. Use soldiers that are trained to fight in the cold. Push forward until you meet with Lieutenant Sands. You shouldn’t encounter too many armies, and if you do, they won’t be very big or strong. Everyone else will hopefully be over in the east.

“Finally, General Phillip and Commander Aaron will take your armies and come in from the west. When you meet up with Lieutenant Sands and Commander Samuel outside of the capital, attack it. Once you have the capital, the country will fall. Take any royalty you find and hold them captive, as well as anypony that could help you get to the rulers. Once the country is in my hooves, we will use their forces combined with ours to finally take those bratty Soliouns and their precious island. At last, the whole world will be under my total control!”

The generals cheered as Lupines declared this. The relishing feeling he got from simply thinking about it was wonderful. Imagine, the whole world obeying his orders and commands. Any resisters would be executed and destroyed, and he would bring the planet into a golden age led by him, the great Emperor Lupines, the savior of all of pony kind. And those… those other creatures… well, let’s just say they’ll be taken care of.

“Your Highness.”

Lupines spun in the direction of the voice. He glared at Red, who laid back her ears but held her steady gaze. The pegacorn had changed since she came back, Lupines was sure of that. She was calmer and seemed more in control, instead of the stammering, shy little filly she once was. Lupines had a suspicion that it was those pesky Equestrians. They always ruined everything.

“What?” he snarled.

“I still don’t see how I come into any of this.”

“Do you want to come into any of this?” Lupines demanded.

“Of course, Your Majesty. I would be truly honored to serve his Highness in such a noble cause.” Red didn’t hesitate in her line. If she was bluffing, she was doing a very good job. Lupines had been monitoring the pegacorn for a while, but he didn’t see anything suspicious or worth worrying about.

Lupines sniffed. “All right. I need somepony to monitor things here while I’m gone, and make sure those Equestrians don’t stage an invasion to come and rescue their ponies and other creatures. So…”

“What are you saying, Your Highness?” Red asked.

“I’m saying I’m promoting you, Red Berry. As of this day, you are now Lieutenant Berry, and you will be assigned a legion of ponies to guard the mainland in my absence.”

Red blinked, her eyes large and frightened. This was the kind of reaction that would be expected of her. Once again, Lupines’s suspicions that Red was working against him flickered.

“Aren’t… aren’t you staying here, Your Majesty?” Red said slowly. “I mean, wouldn’t it be wiser?”

“Please. Those Equestrians couldn’t successfully attack us if we were all sleepwalking. No, I’m not worried about them. However, I do want the ponies of Anoia to believe that they will be protected if anything were to happen. So I need you to command a small group of soldiers to protect the capital. Who knows. Maybe these Equestrians will get the Soliouns on their side. The creatures of Solious have been wanting to stage an attack on us for years, and they know our weaknesses. You need to be prepared for that scenario, as well as any attempted rescue missions to the test subjects.” Lupines strode down to stand in front of Red, towering over her. The cherry-red pegacorn was trembling underneath the emperor’s cold stare. Typical. These ponies could never get a grip. “And let me make it perfectly clear that any suspected treason or betrayal will result in death.”

Lupines was trying to trip her up. If she acted too confident, she probably was giving information to the Equestrians to help them win the war, meaning she would be under their protection and would not be killed. If she acted too scared, she knew that she was going to get caught in the act of smuggling information to the enemy side, and would be killed. If she acted in between, it was most likely that she was innocent. She should be scared that if she was suspected of doing these treasonous things, she would be killed, but she was hoping that she would do a good enough job that she would pass.

A flicker of fear appeared behind Red’s intense green eyes, but it was quickly squashed. Red stood up straight and saluted to the emperor.

“Yessir!” she barked. Lupines stared into her eyes, hoping she would waver or even break. Red held her gaze steady. There was something about Red’s eyes that scared Lupines. If he had seen that kind of intensity in his dead children’s eyes, he would know for a fact that they would try to overthrow him. That was why he had all his children killed, and his wife as well, so no secret heirs would appear out of nowhere to challenge him. Red couldn’t challenge him, but Lupines had an unsettling feeling whenever she looked him in the eyes. No matter how she tried to hide behind her mop of a mane, her eyes shone bright and intense. She would make a good leader. Lupines hoped he could control her and use her leadership skills to his advantage. This pony was too dangerous to be left alone.

Lupines dismissed his commanders and called Marylyn in. He ordered Red to wait outside; he would have some more instructions for her after his discussion with Marylyn.

“You promoted her?” Marylyn whispered.

“Of course. I need to either use her or dispose of her, and she’s too valuable to just discard.” Lupines settled back on his stone and black crystal throne and stared hard at Marylyn, who shook under the weight of his heavy stare. “She is dangerous, though.”

“Indeed,” Marylyn murmured, nodding.

“Which is why I need you to watch her.”

Marylyn’s head snapped up and her eyes were as wide as moons. “What?”

“I need you to watch her. Every waking second. Never leave her side. When she’s supposedly sleeping, post a guard outside her door that would intercept at any sound of something suspicious. I don’t want to risk anything. Do you understand?”

Marylyn nodded slowly, a strand of hair slipping from her bun. She hurried and fixed it, avoiding the emperor’s eyes.

“Do you have any questions or contradictions?”

Marylyn shook her head vigorously.

“Thank you. Then you may leave.” Marylyn nodded again and trotted backwards out of the room. Red peeked through the crack in the door.

“Lieutenant Berry.” Red pushed the door open gently with her hoof and stepped inside the room.

“Yes, Emperor Lupines?”

“You’re Second-in-Command is Marylyn. I have instructed her to never leave your side, so if you’re thinking of trying anything, you may want to think again.”

“I would never betray His Majesty,” Red said placidly. Once again, Lupines couldn’t tell if she was telling the truth or bluffing.

“Good. You will have access to the commander’s office in the local guardhouse. The legion of soldiers that normally guard the city will be under your control. Use your position wisely. Do not make me regret this decision. The moment I do, the punishment will be severe.”

Red gulped. “Death?”

“Worse.” Lupines chuckled without any humor or warmth in his voice. “I will make you watch as I slowly take away everything you hold dear, and then I will slowly kill you in a great amount of pain.”

Sweat beaded on Red’s forehead, but she exhaled and nodded firmly.

“Yessir.”

“You are dismissed.”

Author's Note:

Constructive criticism is appreciated.