• Published 2nd Jan 2012
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Once More unto the Breach - Wheller

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Rainbow Dash had no idea what to think of this. Applejack had died. Rainbow Dash had watched her die. She had checked her vitals, they weren’t there! Applejack had died!

And yet, here she was standing before her, looking as if she was about ready to break down. Rainbow Dash knew what it was like. She had died once too, the difference being, Rainbow Dash hadn’t gotten right back up after her death.

‘Rainbow Dash... please, tell me ya know somethin’!’ Applejack said weakly, her voice was beginning to tremble.

‘I... I...’ Rainbow Dash said, searching her brain for anything that she could to explain the situation. She heard an explosion off in the distance, and turned her head towards it. Quickly followed by another, and another. ‘That’s got to be the Sinsac! they’re bombarding the island!’ Rainbow Dash turned back to Applejack, who was still more than a little confused about the situation and frowned at her. ‘I don’t know how either Applejack... but I promise, we’ll find out. We need to go!’

Applejack nodded her head slowly, she straightened her hat, and then a small smile formed on her face. ‘Race ya to the beach?’ she asked.

Rainbow Dash grinned back at her. ‘Last one there’s a rotten egg!’

...

Pinkie Pie, Princess Luna, and Spike took cover in the trees the when they heard the shelling start. They didn’t take their eyes off the beach for a single second, of course, the problem with staring at a single spot for so long is that you end up developing tunnel vision, all three in the group jumped in surprise when a boat slammed against the shore, the boat in question looked something like an open topped shipping container, a large metal door opened on the front, allowing it’s occupant to exit.

They had been expecting people; this however, was a tank, and not just any kind of tank. This was a monster of a tank, a Mark IV Spencer Infantry tank, named after Welaran Prime Minister Leonard Spencer, the tank roared to life as it slowly and deliberately rolled off the boat and up onto the beach towards the jungle.

During their trip to Trotterdam, Benjamin Willoughby had described these tanks to Pinkie Pie and the rest of their friends, along with several others; he had not done them justice. The tank rolled up to the edge of the jungle and stopped. Pinkie Pie realised that they had no way of getting through the thick foliage, they’d need a plough or something to keep the thick underbrush from getting caught up in the treads.

Fire burst from the Spencer, a flame thrower attached to the front hull of the tank spat fire out into the jungle burning itself a path through the thick foliage and continued to roll on.

More boats landed on the beach, these ones containing a mix of kangaroo infantry and more Spencer tanks.

‘Get those Spencer Crocodiles up and in front! First section, fall in behind me’, a kangaroo wearing a red beret and holding a submachine gun cried out as he hopped around from boat to boat, shouting out his orders. The kangaroo’s head turned, and his eyes fell right on them. He rose up his submachine gun and hopped right towards them. ‘All right you lot! Out of those trees and into the open where I can see you’.

Pinkie Pie, Luna, and Spike were hardly in a position to argue, and slowly stepped out of the trees, Spike went as far as raising his hands in the air in surrender. The kangaroo looked at them in confusion. ‘You’re not cheval...’ he said, and then looked down at Spike. ‘And I don’t even know what you are’.

‘I’m a dragon’, Spike said in a huff.

‘Yeah, sure, and I’m the bloody Queen of Welara’, the kangaroo said, rolling his eyes, and taking his attention back to Luna and Pinkie Pie. ‘So then, who are you lot? One of you the... oh... what was it? The “Rainbow Dash” we were told about?’

‘Rainbow Dash? I... no, I’m Pinkie Pie!’ Pinkie Pie said, and then introduced Spike and Luna to the kangaroo. ‘We’re friends with Rainbow Dash though... how do you know her?’

‘I don’t, your friend called us, we didn’t call her’, he said with a shrug. ‘I’m First Lef-tenant William Cutting, Royal South Island Regiment, now, how about you step aside and let my jacks do their bleeding jobs, eh what? You can wait on the boat’.

‘But... our friends...’ Pinkie Pie began to protest, only for Cutting to silence her.

‘We’ll bring them back, they shouldn’t be too hard to spot, assuming that they’re like you and are candy-coloured marshmallow horses’, Cutting said, and pointed to the boat he’d came on. ‘March, it’s for your own safety, we’re professionals’.

Pinkie Pie looked to Luna. Luna looked back to Pinkie Pie. Cutting did have a point, they may not have liked it, but he did have a point, and the two of them, alongside Spike, hesitantly trotted over to the boat and stepped on it. Their part was over, now it was nothing more than a waiting game.

...

Rainbow Dash and Applejack kept running, out of all their friends, they were the most athletic, and were in the best shape, and although they’d been running non-stop for the last ten minutes, both of them felt as if they could continue all the way back home to Equestria. They only stopped, however when they heard a low flying rumble from above them. The two mares looked up and what looked like several large, metal, bird-like creatures swarmed over their heads, nearly touching the tallest trees in the jungle. Rainbow Dash and Applejack watched as the zoomed off by them, and began to climb up.

‘The hay they doin’?’ Applejack asked. ‘They gotta know about that gun in the jungle! It’s gonna kill ‘em!’

‘I’m sure the kangaroos know what they’re doing, Applejack’, Rainbow Dash reassured her; they wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.

Pom pom pom! Pom pom pom!

They heard the roar of the Canon d’HÉLIX off in the background and the two of them looked at each other nervously.

‘They’re fine right?’ Applejack asked.

‘Yeah...’ Rainbow Dash said, swallowing hard, as much trying to convince herself that they would be fine.

It wasn’t like the kangaroos had waded into a death trap to help them or anything. Rainbow Dash thought to herself sarcastically. It wasn’t helping, and she knew already, that if any one of their saviours died here today, it was going to be her fault.

...

Rarity and Fluttershy kept running, Fluttershy was struggling to breath, her breaths were short, her body ached, her legs felt like they were on fire, the meek Pegasus had never put this much strain on body before and didn’t know how much more she had in her. Her mind was telling her to stop, take a deep breath, rest for a moment, and regain her composure.

Her legs, on the other hoof, clearly had differing ideas, and as much as her mind wanted to stop, they did not. Fluttershy kept running, staying no more than a metre behind Rarity at all times, were they to get separated... Fluttershy didn’t want to think about it.

Rarity too, was in a similar situation, her mind too, wanted her legs to stop, and they burned like she’d been banished to the sun for the creation of several awful dresses for the princesses. Rarity shut her eyes tight and gritted her teeth. She would not stop, she could not stop, their lives depended on the fact that they could and would continue to move their legs, no matter how much the rest of their bodies hated them for it. They couldn’t stop until they got to the beach, and, Celestia as her witness, Rarity was getting herself and Fluttershy there.

Or was so the plan, until Rarity opened her eyes again and found herself colliding head on with another individual, causing her to drop the MAE-28 Submachine gun that she was carrying in surprise. Rarity raised a hoof to her head and began to rub it gently, it was throbbing in pain. She opened her eyes again, and blinked several times before looking at who she had run into. ‘Rainbow Dash?’ Rarity asked in surprise. ‘Applejack?’

Low and behold, Rainbow Dash and Applejack were both lying on the ground in front of them, each clutching their foreheads for running into Rarity and Fluttershy respectively.

‘Rarity?’ Rainbow Dash asked. ‘You’re all right!’

‘We’re fine, we’re both fine’, Rarity said with a smile. ‘We just want off this island’.

‘Ya’ll and me both’, Applejack said with a nod.

They heard a rustle through the bushes, and the four of them looked up, through the bushes hulked the figure of a Pegasus before them, he had a pitch black coat, his mane was the colour of steel, he had no cutie mark. Most importantly, however were his eyes, the bright, but cold amber, full of hate towards them, he was clad in a storm harness, and clipped into it was a light machine gun. Duval de Cheval himself, breathing heavily and madder than the collective force of hell itself.

He said nothing, instead he leaned his head forward and grabbed the storm harness’ control yoke and bit down on the chomp trigger.

The four mares heard nothing but gunshots.