• Published 1st Jun 2023
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Guardian of the Bridge Between Nothing and Nowhere - Orderly Disassembly

Between a place without location and a location without a place, a dragon stands guard. However, each time the ponies attack, he loses a little more. How long will he last?

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Ch 3: Day 1190

My name is Ironhide, Paladin of the Order of Ivory Teeth. My hammer is Mjolnir: a sacred weapon granted to me by Lord Typhon to aid in my task. And this bridge and gate are all that separates the kingdom of Nowhere from Oblivion.

I knew all this, of course, but when little occurs between attacks, reminding myself of my purpose here helped pass the time.

I sighed as I stood, joints popping as I moved. The damnable fog was rolling in, so it was time to prepare for my duty, to brace for the fight.

Even if my blood still runs hot in the thick of it, my work has still become dull. Every time I killed them, they just returned and tried the same damned thing again. I’ve lost count of how many times I turned aside the Sun Sister’s lance right into the Moon Sister’s heart. Or how many times I’ve had to bash the worthless “Sun Goddess” into the ground. The ghostly apparitions that they call guards weren’t any better.

They were all like so many sheep to the slaughter. Not like they had many options, though. I’d almost feel bad if I didn’t know why Typhon had left them to rot out there.

I plucked Mjolnir from its resting place and gave it a few test swings. I liked feeling its weight shift in my grasp as it cleaved the air.

I grinned as I remembered the day I received it. I’d just finished slaughtering a dozen Raven Guard assassins before they could reach some insignificant monarch. There was a feast the following day with drinking, music and dancing all around. However, my reverie was halted in place as a monster froze time.

It talked a bit about duty and honor and gratitude before handing me this masterpiece of a weapon. A warhammer cast as a single object from a metal tougher than anything the land had ever known. Dozens of murals plastered the head, and my Order’s creed was emblazoned in flowing metal letters on the haft. Good times.

My reminiscing was broken by dozens of hooves striking the stone of my bridge, their owners hidden by the fog. The obscured procession came to a halt about a dozen paces away, but the weather bank pressed on like the force of nature it was.

What are they waiting for? They don’t have anything to shoot or throw at me. That much was made clear over a hundred days ago. Do they seek to parley, perhaps?

I snorted at the thought as I shook my head. They hadn’t tried such a thing in months, and I doubt they’d return to such a fruitless tactic. Then again…

No, they are nothing if not stubborn, but I doubt they’d try again to charm their way past me. But with no magic or projectiles, what purpose does waiting serve?

I narrowed my eyes, trying to pierce the mists, but no outlines were visible. Did they find a way to hide better? Did they line up to minimize their figure? Are they simply further back than I expected?

The fog encircled me, dragging thick tendrils of water down my blue scales. The air felt crisper now, like I was standing amidst an ocean breeze. My grip on Mjolnir tightened as I tried to find my opponents, but to no avail. No matter how much I spun or how hard I glared, I saw naught but vapor and stone.

Panic began to set in, and I saw shadows where nothing stood. They always came, always. Sometimes they might wait a while, sometimes, they charge in immediately, but they always come eventually. They must be waiting for me to relax, to relax my guard! They’ll find no such opening!

I gritted my teeth as I glared about, but seconds became minutes, and minutes bled into hours. I managed to remain vigilant for a long while, but my mind betrayed me, wandering around in a clearing made of fantasies.

Did they give up? The thought was almost inconceivable. They’d been at this for hundreds of days. Why would they stop so suddenly?

Time trudged on no matter how much I felt it stood still, and eventually, the fog receded. It left behind a single earth pony with a tan coat and sandy mane. A pair of saddlebags hung at his sides.

He was new.

I tilted my head before clearing my throat and calling out. “Where are the others?”

The pony grimaced at my question. As his mane swayed, I spotted a glint of gray poking out from underneath. He answered with a voice full of derision.

“The fools are trying to find another gate. As if he would allow an alternative path.”

Did they seriously think—how stupid are—oh this is rich! I burst out laughing, clutching at my side with a claw as I struggled to remain standing.

“And how exactly do they expect to find their way back? A trail of breadcrumbs? A map for the empty pit?”

The earth pony remained silent as I rambled. Eventually, I calmed down, wiping away a tear before readying my hammer. I kept my toothy grin as I asked.

“So, what do you intend then? Going to try getting by me as well? Or are you here for a chat?”

“I’m leaving.”

I snorted as I pointed behind him.

“Then there’s your exit.”

He studied me briefly before drawing a pair of knives from sheaths hidden in his mane. My smile widened as he awkwardly held them with flats of his hooves.

“Really? You’re going to challenge me like that? Friend, you’re obviously not a warrior, and I’ve handily slaughtered beings you would call gods.”

It’s doubtful that this runt would ever be able to actually make me sweat, but he’d be different at the very least. Before, the sisters would always charge in first, die stupidly, and their guards would follow in behind to stab at me with those glorified toothpicks they call spears.

Maybe this one will surprise me. A new style of combat? A hidden weapon? Perhaps he’s found a way to sneak a shred of magic past Oblivion’s consuming grasp? Whatever he has in store for me, I’ll be seeing it soon.

The pony took a deep breath before stepping forward. He paused at the edge of Mjolnir’s reach. Apprehension tugged at the corners of his eyes, almost like he saw himself before a precipice. In a way, he was, I suppose. I smiled at him, daring him forward anyway.

A spark of determination burned away his fear, and a fire ignited behind his eyes, sending the faint glimmers of confidence across his gray eyes. He spoke again in a soft voice.

“You need to win every time we clash for all eternity. I only need to defeat you once.”

He lunged.

Author's Note:

I told ya I'd post another chapter today.