• Published 3rd Jul 2022
  • 3,129 Views, 55 Comments

The Countryside Knight - Dark Krystal



Twilight is tasked by Princess Celestia to help the Lunar Captain make some friends.

  • ...
6
 55
 3,129

XIII - A New Start

Twilight snapped her eyes open, a gasp leaving her mouth as her senses awakened. Her brain picks up on the odd sensation of sogginess in her fur, raising her right foreleg and brushing her hoof against her face to confirm that her face was soaked. A small ‘Eep!’ leaves her mouth as the chilling sensation of the passive air brushes against her wet fur. Twilight rolls onto her side and quickly gets off the floor, immediately shaking her head to throw the water off to obtain her previous dryness.

Feeling warmth once again after shaking most of the water off Twilight began to realize that she was passed out on the floor; the fearful question of “Wait… why was I on the floor!?” Bounces around in her skull along with a sense of fearful panic starting to rise. Twilight quickly ignites her horn, her eyes frantically looking around to take and soak in the details of her surroundings.

“Where am I? What’s going on!? Who's there!?” Twilight yelped out.

“Woah, woah! Relax, Twilight Sparkle!” spoke a somewhat familiar voice to her left side. Twilight snaps her head towards the voice, a sigh of relief leaving her as she sees Moonfall. Her nerves calmed down upon seeing Moonfall’s worried face bringing a faint sense of embarrassment when her eyes spotted Fallen Shine and Dusk Blade at her right side, both carrying somewhat worried yet bemused expressions on their faces.

Twilight takes a couple of slow breaths. Her eyes looking down and seeing a small bucket laying on the floor, quickly, the unicorn made a hypothesis of what had happened and brought a hoof over her face in an attempt to cover the heat she was feeling on her cheeks. “I... I passed out, didn’t I?” The guards nodded together. Twilight lets out a groan.

“Mhmm. If you want to know the cause…” Moonfall points over at Dusk Blade. “ It was after you heard what Dusk Blade said to the captain.”

Fallen Shine quickly walked to Moonfall and smacked him upside the head with a look of disapproval. “Ow! What was that for?” Moonfall grumbled as he rubbed the back of his head

Twilight’s gaze slowly went over to Dusk Blade, the small bat-pony giving her best innocent smile. Mild irritation slowly swelling upon seeing her face until the irritation grew into a tumor of bafflement and anger as the memory resurfaces back into her head. Twilight scowls and marches up to Dusk Blade.

“That's right… Dusk Blade… Mind explaining to me… What. The. Hay. Was. THAT!?” Twilight stomps the floor as the last word leaves her mouth.

“How… how could you even!” She points her hoof at Dusk Blade. “I can’t even!” Twilight throws her left foreleg up in the air. “When did you!? Huh!? I... !... Uggh!” Twilight throws both her forelegs up in the air, falling backwards onto her haunches and holding her head in her hooves as she lets out a groan of frustration.

Fallen Shine and Moonfall stare at Twilight for a moment before looking over at Dusk Blade and giving the small bat-pony a questioning look.

“True… Why did you say that, Dusk Blade? I mean, you could've literally said anything else, but you settled on that.” Moonfall asks. Dusk Blade tenses up slightly upon being thrown into the spotlight; slowly she turns her head to the side as a faint blush spreads on her cheeks along with a small smile. The stallions narrow their eyes together at her while Twilight moves her hooves from her face and looks at her in disbelief.

“Dusk Blade… What is that face? Stop that! What is that face you’re making!?” Twilight says fearfully.

“W-well... it’s just... u-um...” Dusk Blade looks down at the ground and plays with the floor with the tips of her hooves, her eyes averting meeting Twilight’s or the stallions. Twilight’s eyes widen fearfully, briefly; she glances over to Ratimir, talking to Faded Light, then back to Dusk Blade. Twilight feels anxiety rise in the chest as panic starts to settle in her.

` What do I do!? Can I do anything!? Am I supposed to do anything about this!? I-i should, right!? There's no way this could be good, right? So, I should stop it, right!? But... What if it is good!? What if I just mess it up!? What if I ruin Princess Celestia's task because I stopped this!? No, no, no! What do I do!? What do I…`

Fallen Shine eyes linger on Twilight, then back to Dusk Blade, a frown managing to form on his lips. Silently, the stallion walks over to the timid Dusk Blade and smacks her upside the head.

“Ow!” Dusk Blade hisses and glares at the Sergeant.

Fallen Shine leans down, nearly pressing snouts with the mare. “The truth, Dusk Blade.” He says rather bluntly. Dusk Blade glaring at him for a moment before looking at Twilight and noticing the state she was going into. The small bat-pony lets out a reluctant sigh and walks over to Twilight, putting a hoof on her shoulder. Twilight snaps her attention back to Dusk Blade, staring at her in a mixture of confusion and nervousness.

“I was just messing you with…” Dusk Blade says sorrowfully. “The captain was teaching us how to taunt and deal with taunts. He started us off by making us say something to try and throw him off guard and… I went with a love confession... because… well, if someone were to say they love you in the middle of a fight, that would catch you off guard! There was nothing more to it.”

“You sure? You seem kind-” Moonfall pauses as Fallen Shine walks back over with a raised hoof.

“Nevermind! If it makes you feel any better, she got rejected… like instantly! I mean instantly! The moment she finished her sentence, instantly! Absolutely no hesitation from him.” Moonfall adds on with a snicker. Dusk Blade snaps her head at Moonfall and lets out a sharp hiss.

“Oh! Oooh… oh thank Celestia… Good! That’s soooo much better…!” Twilight lets out a sigh and puts a hoof over her chest, a simile finding its way onto her face as she relishes in the truth.

“What!?” Dusk Blade snaps her attention back to Twilight. “Why are you relieved about that!? Is the thought of me confessing love to him so bad!?” Dusk Blade asks angrily.

Twilight stares at Dusk Blade in silence, with the best poker face she could muster before looking off to the side, her muzzle scrunching up. Dusk Blade gives the unicorn a deadpan glare. “Hey! I’m not that bad!”

The small mare takes a couple of steps back and poses. “I’m small, stallions like small mares! I’m cute, and... uh…” Dusk Blade pauses as she thinks to herself for a moment.

“...That’s all that matters to stallions!” Dusk Blade smirks and sticks her chest out. Letting her words sink in before her smirk falters slightly, her head turning slightly to glance over to the male guards. “Even you guys have to admit I'm quite the catch!”

Fallen Shine and Moonfall stare at Dusk Blade blankly for a moment before looking off in opposite directions with scrunched muzzles. Dusk Blade smirk drops, staring at the stallions in silence. Eventually stopping her flaunting and walking over to Moonfall, a deadpan expression on her face as she enters into his line of sight.

“Hey.” She says coldly. Moonfall quickly averts his gaze away from her. Dusk Blade mouth twitches momentarily. She takes a step closer and leans up closer to his face until their muzzles are only an inch apart.

Hey.” She says colder, with a mix of anger spilling out.

“So!” Twilight smacks her front hooves together, pulling the guard's attention back to her. “Any reason for this training!?”

“It’s part of tonight’s special training.” Fallen Shine answers.

“Yep, I'm pretty sure it’s related to Princess Luna’s announcement later.” Moonfall hastily follows up while quickly pulling away from Dusk Blade. Dusk Blade scowls as she looks between the trio.

“Don’t ignore me!” Dusk Blade hisses.

“Oh look, Faded Light and the Captain are about to go at it!” Moonfall throws his hoof past Dusk Blade and points over to the training mat. Dusk Blade hisses at the stallion before following along with everypony's gaze. Across them on the training mat was the highest ranked duo, Faded Light and Ratimir. Faded Light was lowered to the ground as she stretched out her wings, a soft sound leaving Twilight as she is able to see the full design of wooden wingblades for their kind.

Twilight stares at the bat pony’s wing blades before obeying her instincts, pulling out her notepad from her saddlebags and begins to write.

` A harness of …Hydra leather… that goes around her barrel. Connected to the harness is a wood beam that seems to be cut out on the other side, so that it smoothly covers the arm arm of the wing. Around the dactylopatagium brevis is a circular wooden cover that connects the wooden beam of the forearm to the dactylopatagium medius beam. Probably has cut rings on the inside and the wooden beam ends there are probably designed to go along those carved in rings to give wing flexibility. `

Twilight finishes her writing and looks over her notes. Nodding silently to her written hypothesis, along with a reminder to ask them to look at their design later. Especially the hydra leather. An involuntary shiver runs down her spine as she looks over at it once again.

‘ To k-k-kill and… skin a hydra… eugh… `

Twilight grimaces before shaking her head. Moving on from the grim thought, she goes onto an observation she notices. Staring at the wingblade and reminiscing on the combat styles of the other guards, curiosity fueling her, she turns to look at Fallen Shine and speaks up.“I noticed when I first came here but didn’t think much about it... but why is Faded Light the only one who uses those?”

Fallen Shine momentarily looks at Twilight then to Faded Light. “Wingblades?” Twilight nods.

“Wingblades are good for aerial focused types, relying on speed instead of damage. Faded Light is the fastest out of all of us, on both air and ground. So, it really suits her... but...” The stallion hesitates for a moment, glancing at Faded Light’s ears for a moment. Hesitantly, he leans his head down over Twilight's ear and whispers. “It’s also because she admires the Captain’s combat style… She wishes to mimic it in her own way…”

‘ Ratimir’s combat style...’

Twilight’s eyes move away from the lieutenant and onto the captain. Ratimir stood there with the same stoic yet tired expression on his face. Her eyes travel downwards to his hands, widening slightly upon seeing what was in his hands; a wooden sword in his right hand and a wooden dagger in his left hand.

Twilight brings a hoof up to her mouth as she looks down to the floor in thought.

‘ He’s a duelist? No... he's similar… but different from the books about famous warriors. All of the famed duelists were unicorns and they always took up two swords or axes; unicorn rogues took up dual daggers, but a sword and dagger combination? Does that work? Can that work? How does he make it work? ‘

With her curiosity piqued, Twilight steps away from the center and sits down by the wall. The guard trio joined shortly after. Twilight keeps her gaze on the captain's weaponry, her mind creating various scenarios of how he could make use of them to the best of her knowledge.

“A sword and dagger...” leaks out of Twilight’s mouth.

“Correct.” Fallen Shine answers, startling Twilight for a moment before letting out an embarrassed cough and looking away.

“Sorry I was.. just.. Thinking to myself and It leaked out…” Twilight says meekly.

“Mhmm.” Fallen Shine nods while keeping his gaze forward. Twilight looks at the stallion then back to the training mat. Letting silence come down and create an air of awkwardness between the two.

‘ So… uncomfortable…!… I have to say something..! I started the topic, after all… `

“Um… the uh… reason I uh.. Mention his weapons were b-because most Equestrian duelists use swords... some did use daggers… b-but they all have a common factor! That being, the weapons were always the same length. I was just… er… w-wondering how he made a sword and dagger work?” Twilight says with a mixture of nervousness and panic in her voice. Her eyes focused onto the stallion to gauge his reaction.

“Watch and you’ll see.” The stallion answers tersely, not even giving a glance to Twilight.

“O-okay…” Twilight brings her attention back to the training mat. There Ratimir and Faded Light stood across from each other; the two higher ranks staring at each other before walking forward until the two were only a foot away from each other. Faded Light threw out her right wing and stretched it forward. Ratimir reacts by bringing his sword forward and putting the wooden blade on top of her wooden blades.

The two nod to each other and pull their weapons back. Immediately, the two quickly fell back to the edge of the mat, putting distance between each other. Faded Light goes into a wide stance and opens her wings up, Ratimir on the other end, turns his body to the side and points his wooden sword at her.

“Don’t disappoint me like usual, Lieutenant Light.” He says grimly. Twilight slightly cringes from that comment, an echo of Faded Lights praises of her captain in her head.

“I didn’t know he saw her like that...” Twilight mumbles.

“He doesn’t.” Fallen Shine speaks up, drawing the unicorn's attention.

“That was a taunt to upset her. Remember, he’s teaching us how to give taunts and also how to deal with them.”

“Mhmm! In the captains' words…” Dusk Blade briefly coughs into her hoof before crossing her forelegs and putting on a neutral look. “When it comes to fighting, everything is a weapon at your disposal. Even words.” Dusk Blade says in the best deep voice she could muster. Twilight gives a silent nod before looking back at the match.

Faded Light scowls. Without saying nothing, she lowers her body closer to the floor and points her wings upwards. Ratimir in turn, pulls his sword back and spins his dagger in his other hand, stopping the motion when he is able to hold the dagger upside down; yet despite the action he moves his body slightly so his right side to focus more on his sword. Silence filled the room as the two were glaring at each other.

Twilight tenses up, her teeth clenched together as her eyes dart between Ratimir and Faded Light. The two make no moves at the start, opting to stand as still as possible. Eventually the silent pact of no aggression breaks. Twilight eyes snapped onto Faded Light; the mare pulled back slightly in the startup of a forward charge. However, her attention is broken as rapid steps break the silence.

Twilight darts her gaze over to Ratimir, widening as she sees what he has done. In the brief moment she had looked away, Ratimir had decided to make the first move by rushing in, closing the distance between them within seconds. Twilight lets out a small gasp at the acknowledgement of his speed.

‘ T-that was fast! `

Ratimir stops midway, stretching out his right arm and delivering a wide strike at Faded Light. She quickly moved her wings and covered her front, blocking the hit at the cost of being pushed back slightly. A loud impact rings out throughout the room, Twilight flinches and her ears to press against her head.

‘ F-fast and strong!? ‘

Despite the two clashing Ratimir pushes forward, pulling his sword back, running at her. Faded Light raises her guard and prepares for another block. However, that blow never comes. Twilight raises a brow, along with Faded Light as the man runs past her.

‘ A hit-and-run strategy? ’

Faded Light seems to come to the same conclusions and spins around to give chase. She pauses for herself as she watches the captain run up to the wooden pillar that was behind her, jumping up and putting his foot against the pillar. Everypony's eyes widened as the man hops off the pillar with his foot, turning his body mid-air back to Faded Light and stretching his sword arm once again. Faded Light quickly brings her guard back up, blocking the strike when he lands.

He immediately followed up his attack with a straight left kick, breaking through her guard and knocking the mare backwards. Faded Light grunts and quickly opens her wings to prevent herself from falling over onto her back, using her delayed fall to kick up and flip midair. She brought her wings back to the other side so she could quickly land back onto the mat, but despite her recovery, the human had already covered the distance between them, stopping in front of her and stretching his sword arm again.

He delivers a low horizontal swing aiming at her front legs. Faded Light reacts with a timed jump, twirling her body midair and stretching out her wings. Swiftly he reels his head back and dodges the ends of the wingblades from hitting his throat, taking a step back from his reeling. He lowers his body slightly and brings his dagger to his chest, delivering a quick thrust towards her barrel.

Flapping her wings, Faded Light dodges to the right. She quickly brings her body up to be horizontal and rushes at him. As Ratimir pulls his arm to recover from his whiff Faded Light goes in and spins, her wing raising up to hit the underside of his left wrist. The captain pulled his dagger arm up and brought it down, catching her wingblade using the hilt of the dagger.

Faded Light’s eyes widened. She attempts to spin once more to break through his hilt block but the strength of his dagger against her wing locks her wing in place. Her pupils shrink as she sees his sword positioned underneath his left; with no hesitation he thrusts his sword towards her face. Faded Light curses flaps her other wind upwards, bringing the air onto her and throwing her out of the sword's thrust and bringing herself belly first onto the mat.

Thankfully, because of how awkward an angle he had thrust in, she was given some time to get off the mat and dash back. Ratimir gives out a “Tch.” As he recovers from his attack and returns back to his stance, with a small addition of spinning his dagger again until it was upwards in his hand. Faded Light glares at him, breathing heavily through her nose as the two begin to their second stare-off.

Twilight stares at the scene before here in pure bewilderment; her mind slowed due to the amount of information being processed in the short amount of time. Her process gets interrupted as the familiar snicker of an awfully small mare reaches her ears. Turning her head to the source, she finds all of the guards looking at her with amused looks. Twilight looks away, a blush spread over her cheeks.

“You should’ve seen your face, Twilight! Kehehe~!” Dusk Blade chuckles. “Were you really that surprised to see our captain fight?” Dusk Blade asks with a grin on her face. Twilight opens her mouth, finding her voice refusing to come out. She takes a moment to collect her thoughts by shaking her head, bringing her gaze back to the guards, she nods.

“Y-yeah... I mean... he’s so big…” Twilight stops herself upon realizing what she said, quickly delivering a glare to the grinning Dusk Blade.

“Don’t.” Twilight warns, making the mare only grin wider.

“Don’t.” Fallen Shine orders as he narrows his eyes at Dusk Blade. The mare chuckles to herself and closes her mouth.

“So…” Twilight continues. “I assumed he functioned like a minotaur in terms of speed, but... going by that I realized his legs gave him an advantage compared to a Minotaurs...” Twilight looks back at the battle, wincing once again as the captain gives Faded Light a strong blow against her guard that sends her stumbling back once again and him easily closing the distance.

“His legs?” Dusk Blade looks back to the fight as well, taking a glance at his legs, bringing the other two guards to take a look as well.

“Yes… Minotaurs have unguligrade legs… like us, it lets them run long distances while being able to carry heavy loads, such as their weight due to their muscle growth, while not affecting their stability...” Twilight explains as she focuses on Ratimir’s long legs as he strides over to Faded Light after knocking her around once again.

“Ratimir’s legs, in comparison, are different. His legs are plantigrade, from what I've seen… he has a larger surface area, giving him more stability than we do despite having only two legs.” Twilight glances at her hoof, turning it over and looking at her frogs for a moment. “Each time he strikes, his body doesn’t move… and has more variety of movement than we do. Combined with their length… just by walking he is faster than minotaurs and ponies due to the distance his legs can cover.”

“I didn’t know legs had names other than legs… and that our Captain has better legs than us…” Dusk Blade mumbles as she watches the captain move again.

“Yeah, huh…” Moonfall tilts his head as he watches the man move. “You’re right... compared to us, the captain moves in wide strides... no wonder it felt like he got over to me in like... two steps... he literally did.” Moonfall mumbles.”

“Mn. Is there anything else you noticed, Twilight Sparkle?” Fallen Shine looks down at the unicorn.

Twilight perks up and brings a hoof up to her chin, looking down in thought before opening her mouth. “Well, I think I see why the captain uses a sword and a dagger…”

“Really!?” Dusk Blade turns her head back to Twilight with a look of interest on her face.

“Yeah. It seems to tie in with the range of his weapons… the sword gives him more reach, while the dagger gives him—”

“Defense for when the opponent gets past the range of his sword, correct?” Fallen Shine interrupts. Twilight perks up and looks at Fallen Shine with surprise.

“Y-yeah..!” Twilight says hesitantly.

“His style is deceitful, because of how unusual it is you get the sense that it doesn’t work and even if it did… you’d only have to worry about his sword. Howe—”

“However, because of the difference between the length of his weapons, it gives him the ability to fight mid-range and up close! Making it clear that his own real weakness is long range weapons such as spears or bows!” Twilight excitedly cuts the stallion off. Fallen Shine looks at her with his stoic expression before a small smile appears on his face as he nods.

“He even has adaptability with his—”

“Your reactions are too slow, Lieutenant.” Ratimir’s voice cuts off Twilight. Everypony’s attention came back to him. Faded Light panted as she shook her head, while Ratimir showed no sign of fatigue. Ratimir sighed and raised his sword, letting the back of the blade rest on his shoulder and looking at her with a bored look.

“But as usual that’s to be expected of you... I really need to stop having expectations on you... tch...” Ratimir says icily as he looks off to the other wall. Faded Light flares up, gritting her teeth before letting out a heavy sigh and taking deep breaths in and out.

“Oooooooooo... That was good! He almost got her!” Dusk Blade claps her hooves together.

“Mixing a taunt with criticism... Impressive...” Fallen Shine mumbles as he nods.

Faded Light huffs and rushes forward, her wings open midway as her eyes aim for his legs. Unhesitatingly Ratimir swings his sword downwards for a low sweep with his sword, Faded Light reacts quickly and stops herself just barely out of his sword's range. For a brief moment Ratimir’s eyes widen slightly as she throws her right hoof on the side of his sword and pins it down to the ground.

“Oh!” Dusk Blade exclaims with a grin. A look of interest appeared on the faces of everypony against the wall. Faded Light narrows her eyes and hops up into the air, turning her body again and throwing her wing towards his neck. Ratimir, on reaction thrusts his dagger forward, forcing the mare to change for action by having to purposefully whiff her attack to twist her neck out of his dagger's path.

“Damn it!” Faded Light yells out. Quickly she throws herself back to the ground with her wings, landing back on his sword. The captain's eyes narrowed, and he kicked up the other side of the blade, a yelp leaving the mare as she launched off the pinned sword. Faded Light flaps her wings and catches herself mid-air, going into a hovering state momentarily before preparing an aerial charge.

Once again her plan of action is halted, her eyes widened upon seeing the dagger flying towards her face. With a hiss she knocks the dagger out of the air with her wings, allowing her to see the captain already within striking distance. Faded Light prepares to fly upwards out of reach as Ratimir catches the dagger with his left hand; quickly he swings his sword in an upwards horizontal swing to cut off her vertical exit. Faded Light quickly ducks down with a hiss and challenges his dagger follow-up with her wing, pushing the two into a close combat slugfest.

Fallen Shine lets out a whistle. “That wasn’t a bad move...”

“Yeah! She was close at that time!” Dusk Blade chirps up, looking at Moonfall and getting a nod from him.

“No, she wasn’t…” The guards collectively turned their heads to Twilight, finding the unicorn furiously writing down notes in her notepad.

“What do you mean?” Moonfall asks.

“Well...” Twilight finishes writing one more thing down before looking up at Moonfall. “I noticed another thing about Ratimir...” Twilight looks back to Ratimir, focusing solely on his stoic face. “His eyes...”

“His eyes...?” Dusk Blade parrots as she follows her gaze, staying silent for a minute before tilting her head. “Okay, the legs, I get… but his eyes? I don’t get it...”

“Well.. His eyes are different from ours... while we both face the front, his eyes are smaller and thus solely focus on what's in front of him while ours are larger, so we have a larger line of sight than he does. For example, we can see those at our sides, and we can just simply glance behind us to see if anyone’s there, but for Ratimir... he’d have to turn his head around... ninety-degrees to see if anyone is behind him.” Twilight brings her pencil to her chin and thinks before nodding. “Around ninety-degrees, I think...”

“So... You're saying that the captain's sight is smaller than ours? Meaning you can easily get behind him and if you do then it’d be really easy to tell when he’s about to look behind him? Am I right or am I overthinking it?” Moonfall says while cocking up an eyebrow.
“No, you're right.” Twilight gives a small smile of assurance.

“Okay, so… if we have an advantage in sight than he does, why did you say Faded Light wasn’t close?” Moonfall follows up.

“Because I believe he knows this... I’ve noticed that he has always put Faded Light in his direct line of sight. Whenever she moves to the corner of his vision or almost out of his line of sight. he’ll try to stop her bec—”

“Because she’s fast… So she could easily get around him and enter his blind spots.” Fallen Shine interrupts with a thoughtful mumble. “I thought it was how he fought at first but… I noticed that when he fights the rest of us he seems more… relaxed, but when he’s sparring with Faded Light he is more aggressive and focuses on locking down her movement or quickly knocking her out of the air rather than going for a lethal blow.”

Moonfall and Dusk Blade let out a soft, thoughtful “ahh'' as they both look back to the fight and start noticing the way he’s been controlling her movements. Fallen Shine looks down at Twilight. “But that’s not all, is it?”

“Y-yeah!“ Twilight beams and looks back at her notes. “I have a hypothesis that despite his sight disadvantage... His brain may process everything faster than us, visually. Making him able to react or make decisions faster. Combine that with predictions he’s probably making, it makes him feel as if he is using foresight. Every move Faded Light made. he was able to stop or react quickly, even when she did something he didn’t predict.” Twilight looks back up, finding Moonfall and Dusk Blade staring at her with bewildered looks. “W-was that too much…?”

“No… it’s just uh…have you gotten into fights before, Twilight?” Dusk Blade asks before leaning past Moonfall and giving a grin. “You seem to be awfully interested in them, with how you seem to be watching our captain’s every move and giving us the deets~.”

“W-well…” Twilight looks away, her ears folding against her head as embarrassment mixed with some shame fills her. “O-only with creatures, never another pony...” Twilight rubs her foreleg. “I’ve just been uh... well... since I've been here, I uh… decided to start looking in guard books, battle stories... you know uh...” Twilight fiddles with her hooves, her blush growing.

“To connect with us more...?” Moonfall asks with a gentle smile on his face. Twilight nods hesitantly, earning a small chuckle from. Dusk Blade crawls over past the two stallions and hugs Twilight’s barrel. “Awww! I didn’t know Celestia’s students were this cute! Kehehehe~”

“C-cute!?” A strong blush flared up on Twilight’s face. “I am not! G-get off me!” Twilight tries to shove the small mare off her, a grunt coming out from her as she challenges the mare's grappling strength.

“Can’t get rid of me so easily~” Dusk Blade snickers as she nuzzles Twilight’s barrel.
“Augh!” Twilight moans. Moonfall chuckles while Fallen Shine gives a small smile.

“Tch!” Everypony pauses and looks back at the mat, finding the two having put distance between each other once again with Ratimir on the other end. He looks at the panting mare with a stoic gaze. Faded Light shakes her head, roughly and bares her fangs, as she prepares for another charge.

“Is this really... all you have? Hmpf.” Ratimir clicks his teeth and looks up thoughtfully for a second.“I really shouldn’t have held such high expectations for a damned…” Ratimir narrows his eyes. “Thestral.”

Twilight cocks her head as a cold silence fills the room.

` Thestral? That words is… familiar, but w-`

“Mhpf!” Twilight yelps as a strong pain is felt around her waist, looking down at Dusk Blade with a glare, only to freeze upon seeing the mare's expression. Her happiness from before had vanished, replaced by a look of irritation. Slowly, Twilight looked over at the other two and found them in similar states, Moonfall with a hateful glare, while Fallen Shine was scowling strongly with furrowed brows. Twilight stared at them for the moment, taking in their sudden emotional switch.

“Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssss” Her attention is eventually drawn upon hearing the most loud and violent hiss she's ever heard. Moving her gaze over to the source; Faded Light. Faded Light showed visible rage with bared fangs, and her pupils shrunken; without hesitation, the batpony shot herself forward at the captain. Twilight couldn’t help but feel pain in her heart, the move was simple... too simple, it was predictable and avoidable if Ratimir reacted at the last second to bait her.

Twilight slowly moved her eyes over to Ratimir and found him already preparing to react at the last second, his body movements ready to take a step back, raise his sword and knock her down in one fair motion. Twilight couldn’t help but close her eyes, unable to see Faded Light get brought down after doing her best.

Thwump!

“Opf!”

Twilight flinches upon hearing the impact. Slowly she opens her eyes and lets out a sigh as she sees Faded Light laying on her stomach, a foot away from Ratimir. Ratimir stares at her in silence for a while, tapping his sword against his shoulder before walking over to the fallen lieutenant and squatting down by her side, looking at her with a blank expression, before prodding her cheek with the tip of his sword.

“You failed.” He says bluntly before standing up and popping his neck. Faded Light rolls over onto her side and lays there motionless for a while.

“I hate you.” She says after a moment of silence.

“Wish you used that hate to actually land a hit and not get mad over a simple name.” Ratimir says with a scoff.

“I really hate you…” Faded Light rolls onto her back, a resigned yet thoughtful look on her face as she stares up at the ceiling.

“Hmpf.” Ratimir looks over to the rest of the guards and opens his mouth to say something, closing upon hearing loud knocks against the main doorway. Everyone turns their direction towards the door and listens along to the known knock pattern. Moonfall lets out a sigh when the pattern is finished and stands up, quickly making his way to the door and opening it.

“Great Star, your back! Where’d yo—” Moonfall’s voice falls as the muscular batpony walks past him with a disgruntled look. Moonfall raises his brow for a moment before looking behind the stallion, a look of surprise appearing on his face.

“Y-you! Long time no see!” Moonfall says somewhat cheerfully.

“Picked up the... package, Captain...” Great Star says as he walks into the building. Dusk Blade frowns slightly upon seeing Great Star before raising an eyebrow upon seeing the prideful stallion seemingly annoyed, deciding to draw her eyes back to the door and immediately join his mood band.

“Ugh... she's here....” Dusk Blade grumbles and quickly removes herself from Twilight.

Twilight raises a brow and focuses her attention on the new arrival; her eyes slowly widening upon seeing the newcomer. Walking into the training was a living bundle of scarves and winter cloaks, so many, in fact, that it almost looked like a moving, colorful tent, or one of Rarity’s dress piles had become alive.

“Who’s... that?” Twilight says with a mixture of confusion and worry.

“Our specialist...” Dusk Blade says with clear displeasure in her voice. Twilight perks up and a look of surprise dawns on her face.

‘ The… Specialist!? `

Quickly, Twilight flips through notes to one of her first pages, her eyes moving down the page and pointing her hoof at one of the names she wrote down.
` Northern Light! `

Twilight couldn’t help but feel a tinge of excitement rise into her as she watches the bundle step further into the room.

Ratimir lets out a sigh and fully turns to face the cloaked specialist. “I appreciate your arrival at my sudden notice, Northern Light.”

“Mmpf-” As the specialist steps closer to the captain, the ends of one of the many scarves slip its way down to the ground in front of her. One of her hooves underneath the bundle steps onto it and slips; a muffled yelp rings out and the bundle collapses onto the floor. Everypony wincing at the sight and loudness of the impact.

“That's what you get for over-dressing as usual.” Ratimir says mercilessly.

“Mpf!” The bundle gives a muffled grunt.

Twilight lets out a sigh and stands up, quickly trotting over to the bundle.“Let me help you back uppp?” Twilight freezes.

Appearing out of nowhere, an azure aura surrounds the bundle of clothing. Twilight quickly takes a step back as the bundle of clothing erupts into the air, and uncovers the being underneath. Twilight's jaw dropped as she witnessed a female unicorn rise from the floor, looking to be the same age or slightly older than Twilight as well, while being slightly taller than her.

She was... unique, or at least she seemed unique due to her design standing out compared to the rest of the Lunar guards darker coat scheme. She had a tall, thin build that spoke to Twilight that she was born in Canterlot like her, most likely in the upper class of Canterlot’s elites. She had a short furred light ceruleanish gray coat with pale, light grayish amber eyes, and a wavy long dark azure mane and tail. As Twilights took in the sights of the new unicorn, her eyes stopped at her Cutie Mark; A crystalline tower with a great light on top.

“You made the letter sound urgent, o’ great leader! I came as fast as I could!” Northern Light responds while quickly folding and organizing her mass of clothing. Twilight takes a couple of steps back until her rear hits the wall.

` She's… She’s…. She's a UNICORN!? `

“Are you really that surprised to see your own kind here...?” Twilight looks over to the left to an amused Dusk Blade.

“I... Ah... no one told me she was a unicorn!” Twilight whispers to Dusk Blade while taking multiple glances at Northern Light.

“Huh?” Dusk Blade tilts her head. But she’s a specialist... it was pretty obvious.”

“What!? Specialist doesn’t even remotely connect to—”

“Twilight Sparkle! Here in the flesh!” Twilight yelps and quickly spins around to see the fellow unicorn approaching with a grin.

“Yep! T-that’s me!” Twilight perks up and gives a nervous smile.

“Looks like you’ll get to see why she’s special...” Dusk Blade mumbles within Twilight’s earshot before trotting away.

“Ah! Dusk Blade!” Northern Light quickly beelines for the small mare. “I missed you, you little cuti—” Dusk Blade spins around and lets out a sharp hiss.

“I don’t want YOU calling me cute!” The small mare quickly retreats over to the Faded Light, helping the mare up as an excuse.

“Feisty as usual~” Northern Light lets out a small chuckle while narrowing her eyes.

Finishing her chuckles, she resumes her attention back to Twilight and takes a small bow. “Greetings, faithful student of the solar diarchy, Princess Celestia of the grand sun and day.” Rising from her bow, the unicorn gives a warm smile. “I am Northern Light, Specialist of the Lunar Guard. I specialize in scouting locations, giving my knowledge of magic to the guard, and researching the history of my long-lost home.”

“Nice to um.. Meet you. What do you mean by your long-lost home?” Twilight asks with a puzzled look on her face. In the corner of her vision she could’ve sworn she saw Moonfall returning, only to quickly back away as fast and as quietly as possible.

Northern Light beams up, a large simile on her face as she takes a step closer to Twilight. “Yes! I am looking into my place of belonging! The Crystal Empire!”

“.................” Twilight blinked.

“Wha, h-huh!?” Twilight looks at her with bewilderment.

“Mhmm! I am sure a scholar like you can tell that I am a crystal pony! A noble descendent of one of the noble bloodlines of the great Crystal Empire of the frozen north!” Northern Light looks off to the side and points her hoof north.

“Uh... huh!?” Twilight raises a brow. “B-but… how!? The crystal empire vanished... centuries ago! Along with all of its denizens!” Twilight pondered out loud.

“A common misconception created by those... stuck up, foolish, ignorant “researchers” in Canterlot...!” Northern Light says with strong venom. “Not you of course!” She gives an apologetic look. Twilight simply nods, still dumbfounded by her claim.

“You see… my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great ancestor was out trading with Equestria on the day the Crystal Empire vanished. She was locked away from the rest of her family due to the dreaded, petty curse from Slave King, Sombra..” Northern Light balls her hoof up and shakes it up in the air as she glares at the ceiling before returning to her normal gleeful state. “Thus she spent her years in Equestria, found looove~… and started a family of her own.”

“I... uh… I see...” Twilight says with some skepticism. She knew one fact for sure about crystal ponies, that being that they were hornless and wingless, being more attuned to crystals, heat, and winter magic. After all, supposedly the empire was made of crystal itself, so it was their natural environment and they attuned to it like earth ponies and the ground. Add on the legend of the crystal heart, protecting the empire from the dangerous endless winter of the north; they never needed to really use magic like unicorns do.

` To claim she is a crystal pony… it has to be incorrect! But… it is possible that her ancestor was a crystal pony… so maybe she has the blood in her, but s-still she’s a unicorn! It just… but it could.. But `

Twilight stared at her for a moment before shaking her head. “O-okay... so, um... why is a... crystal pony in the Lunar Guard?”

“A wonderful question!” Northern Lights says enthusiastically before suddenly leaning down, touching noses with Twilight. “You see, Twilight Sparkle! When I discovered my family bloodline, I became determined to uncover and learn more about my true homeland! For that I needed a way to go up to the Frozen North, funds, and a back net in case something happened to me.”

Northern Light began to pace back and forth in front of Twilight. “Sooo, I went to join the Solar History department... but those... stuck up... ignorant... pieces of...“ Northern Light abruptly coughs into her hoof and shakes her head. “...Other historians... mocked and declined me. I even made a request to Princess Celestia herself and was also... declined, due to her feeling uncomfortable with her sending a group to the Frozen North.”

Northern Light stops and lets out a huff. “Being declined from looking into my homeland… was…depressing… But! I stayed determined, I spent countless moons pondering if I should go alone... until! While rereading the fall of King Sombra for the fortieth time, I remembered Princess Luna, and how she most likely had a lunar side to royalty… including a guard unit. Of course Princess Luna wasn’t around, but I was sure that side still existed. So, after countless moons of research, cross-researching of historic accounts, and—”

“Stalking us?” Fallen Shine says as he passes by the unicorns.

“It wasn’t stalking! It was simply observing your Flight patterns, listening to your conversations, and making sure you were Lunar guard while hiding in brush for moons, connecting all your flight patterns to a single location.” She says proudly, getting a look of concern from Twilight.

` I think I’m starting to understand why she’s a specialist…`

Moonfall and the other guard gave her a deadpan stare. Northern Light turns her head, and continues her tale. “I charged in, determined, and asked our wonderful leader to allow me into the guard! After tasking me with harsh trials that I passed, he allowed me into the Lunar Guard, and made me a specialist! Giving me the ability to research my homeland with everything I needed!” Northern Light gives a closed eye smirk.

Twilight nods, concern still on her face as she glances at the other guards. Taking note that everyone in the room was watching her with amusement on their faces.

“Uh…Have you discovered anything while you were up there?” Twilight dreadfully asks.

Northern Light lights up and prances in place. “Yes! Yes! I have! Here! I can show you some spells I discovered right—” Northern Light pauses as a bright flash behind her brightens the room for a moment. Twilight blinks twice to adjust her eyes and looks past the unicorn, a smile growing on her face upon seeing the Lunar Princess. Straightaway the bat-ponies stop what they're doing and bow, Northern Light on the other hoof squeaked and panickily pranced in place before jumping up and bowing.

“Apologies, our guardians! We did not expect our patrol through the realm of dreams to take that long!” Princess Luna says apologetically.

“Princess Luna!” The princess looks over and smiles upon seeing Twilight walk up to her.

“Ah! Twilight Sparkle! We did not foresee thou arrival on this night but we are pleased to have you here on this great night!” Princess Luna beams. “ Tonight will be our first official step into a new era for the Lunar Guard! In fact,...” Princess Luna quickly turns around to face all of the guards. “That is something we must announce! Rise my guardians!”

Immediately the guards obey and stand to attention. Princess Luna gives a small hum while wearing a smile on her face until her eyes land on Ratimir. Her smile falls a bit as the two stare at each other, before she motions the captain with her hoof to come over. He shakes his head, only for the princess to motion him faster; in turn he shakes his head faster. An exchange of motions and headshakes occur until the princess glares at the man and ignites her horn.

Ratimir stops and squints at her, the two going into a brief staring contest before he sighs. Hesitantly he slowly walks over and stands by Princess Luna’s side. Princess Luna coughs into her hoof, and puts her smile back on. “Now then, our guardians. We have ordered thy captain to summon all of ye tonight for the most wonderful of announcements that relate to the future of this order!” The Lunar Guard glances at Ratimir, finding the human looking off to the side with a bored look.

“With the consultation of our sister, we have organized a sparring match between the Lunar Guard and Solar Guard!” Princess Luna announces joyfully.

Twilight blinked before looking up at Princess Luna “.....Huh?”

Like a string being used to its absolute limits... Her announcement snapped the string that held everypony's thoughts to themselves. One by one, all the guard's eyes widened and their jaws dropped.

“Mhmm! It shall be an event of our unit versus my sisters best in a grand match! Showcasing out strengths and bonding the guard units together!” Princess Luna says proudly. “It shall take place on the eighth moon at Canterlot. We and our sister will personally be overseeing the event.”

Princess Luna looks over at Ratimir, her smile twitching slightly and nudging his side, briefly; he looks back at her and scowls. The two exchange whispers before the man grunts and crosses his arms, looking at the guard with a more stern expression.

“It’ll be an opportunity for you guys to have more fighting experience against trained foes. So, no complaints.” Ratimir says quickly before going back to look at the wall, though briefly he eyes a visibility distraught Moonfall.

“S-so… will all of us be going… to Canterlot?” Faded Light speaks up and motions with her hoof at the rest of the guard.

“Mhmm! Including thy captain!”

Instantly, Ratimir’s composure breaks, snapping his head over to the Princess. “Huh!? Hell no! Why must I come along with them!? I do not want to step a damn foot in the hellhole of a capital!” Ratimir yells furiously.

Princess Luna cackled and jabbed his chest with her hoof. “Did thou think we would let the captain of our guard sit in his office while his guard is off? How foolish of thou…” Princess Luna says with a grin, earning a sharp glare from the man. “If the captain of Solar Guard is participating then the captain of our guard must be there… As ordered by us and our sister, feel free to ask her. She will send you a signed order of our decision.”

“You jest…” Ratimir says through gritted teeth.

“Worry not, our dear captain. Thou will be there more so for support than anything. Our sister was… very adamant about not letting you be seen in public nor participating in fighting... due to your…” Princess Luna coughs into her hoof and quotes. “Unfairness and tenacity to break the motive of others”...” Ratimir narrows his eyes and lets out an irritated “tch!”

“Our sister says she is looking forward to seeing you at the castle again, Ratimir~” Princess Luna says with a grin.

Moving her attention back to the guards. “To finish off... Due to thy Captain coming along and his inability to fly or use magic, the Lunar Guard will arrive in Canterlot by train in the midst of our night. It shall be disguised as a prisoner transport, from Tartarus to the Dungeon of Canterlot.”

“Huh? Why disguise it and who’ll be the prisoner?” Northern Light asks.

“Oh! A unicorn among our guardians, apologies we did not notice thou.” Princess Luna gives an apologetic bow towards her. “As for thou question, it is mainly to prevent the public from seeing thou guards, as fear of thou kind is still strong within Canterlot… and for him.” Princess Luna points at the human.

“Our sister fears that citizens seeing him amidst a squad of thy kind will incur a… large scale panic.” Northern Light looks over at the batponies, the ponies frowning but nod in understandment.

“Hm… What is a train?” Ratimir asks, silencing the room. Everypony stared at the human with mild surprise before letting out a collective sigh. The bat ponies turn their gaze to Twilight, motioning with their eyes to explain it, only for her to turn to Northern Light. Northern Light frowns but nods.

“I will explain it to you later, captain...” Northern Light says with some tiredness in her voice.

“Ah! That does remind me!” Princess Luna turns to Twilight. “While the event will be private… invited family and other high-ranking officials will be allowed to spectate, and seeing that thou are related to Captain Shining Armor and have a relationship in keeping tabs of our Captain, while also being a student of our sister and friend to us. We allow you to attend Twilight Sparkle.”

“O-okay...” Twilight says hesitantly.

“With that said… we shall take our leave to prepare.” Princess Luna ignites her horn. “We shall see you all again on the eighth moon in Canterlot! Let us reforge our relationship with the Solar Guard!” Finishing up, Princess Luna says her goodbyes and teleports out of the room. A cold silence fills the room for a while, the guards holding bewildered expressions and Twilight bringing out her notepad and writing down this new information, stopping mid-way when she notices Dusk Blade and Faded Light giving worried glances to a very unhappy Moonfall.

Eventually everyone's attention shifts when Ratimir grunts and walks up to take the center of the room.

“Okay... So, that’s happening... Wasn’t told I'd be going...” He says bitterly, letting out a sigh. “But I can’t stop it... however...” Ratimir smirks. Twilight instantly feels her stomach start to knot up at the sight.

` Oh Celestia, what is he going to do… `

“We’ll reforge our bond with those… Solar Pricks. Will reforge it all right…” Ratimir clasps his hands together and… smiles. “This is our chance.”

The guard's ears flick once, and they look at their captain with a mixture of confusion and curiosity. “This is our chance to finally show up those stuck-up pieces of trash... Those self-absorbed, prideful, useless, armor stands! To show them who's actually superior, show them that a handful of…” He pauses and narrows his eyes at the bat ponies. “Thestral’s outclass them...” The bat-ponies glare at the man before looking at him with thought, slowly starting to wear devious smiles on their faces.

Twilight frowns and takes a step back, glancing between the guards and Ratimir with a look of worry.

` I don’t like this. I don’t like where this is going… `

“This will not be the friendly match that your princess desires... no... This will be a Solar guard’s…” Ratimir looks up in thought for a moment. “Execution… yes, execution… and execution of their beliefs, their dumb morale, and their foolish pride! This is our moment to crush the damned Solar trash that call themselves “warriors of the sun!”

“Yeah!” Moonfall shouts and stomps his hoof, a strong look of determination on his face.

Great Star letting a bellowing laugh. “Hahaha! Now this sounds fun!”

“I wonder how they’ll feel when they lose to this small mare...~” Dusk Blade ponders out loud with a grin on her face..

“It's been a while since I faced another pony... Ooh! This will be a great opportunity to test some crystal empire spells on living targets! Ehehehehe!” Northern Light snickers deviously as claps her front hooves together. Faded Light and Fallen Shine give each other a look and make a silent agreement with a nod, the two wearing smiles on their faces.

“Good, we’re all on the same page. Let's start preparing for our victory! No, our one-sided slaughter.” Ratimir declares as he walks over to the weapons rack. “First thing we’re training in! How to counter their stupid, repetitive, simple, spear style!”

The guards let out a synchronized cheer of agreement and followed the captain. Twilight stays back by herself, watching the guards cheerfully talk among themselves with a look of concern.

‘ Princess Luna... I don’t think this is going to go the way you hoped it would...’

Author's Note:

I'm back, well not really. I've always been around just haven't posted anything, Why? Well it simple, my life was a little busy... but I decided to change my style of writing, instead of going by deadlines for twice a month on Friday or Monday... I decided to take a slower style, making my story more developed, longer, and more interesting. As evidence of this chapter being the biggest.

Before I pushed stories against a deadline to keep reader's interest high, as if you put chapter after chapter per week then the reader's interest will always been constant, but of course this affected my writing quality and I started to feel unsatisfied with that. So, I changed to now the chapter production will be slower and if I finish then I'll publish them on a Friday, Monday, or maybe Wednesday.

With that out of the way, here is the start of the first arc! Solar vs Lunar, in Canterlot. An interesting start that will reveal secrets, the Lunars reputation, and some of our dearest captain's time as a Solar Guard, I hoped you enjoy it. To end this tangent, I have a BTM blog post regarding the origins of this story, concepts, and my thought process and release it later today. Feel free to look at it if your interested in seeing other's thought processes regarding stories. Anyway, have a good day.