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

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Fluttershy trailed cautiously behind Rarity and their new friend, Danielle Voltaire. She kept her ears open, and noticed that it was remarkably quiet for the wilderness. Many a pony always associated the wilderness with peace and quiet, but this was hardly the case.

For anypony that payed attention, the wilderness was just as bustling and busy as towns were. Birds would be chirping, bees buzzing, bunnies tearing through underbrush as they hopped about their business. It was a different kind of hustle and bustle, it wasn’t as loud as civilisation, but it was still there. As Fluttershy listened, however, things were horribly and uncharacteristically quiet for such an environment. They were in the middle of a jungle, they should be hearing tropical birds, or snakes, or something! But there was nothing, only the sounds of hoof steps made by her, Rarity, and Danielle.

Fluttershy looked up at Danielle; she wasn’t sure how she felt about the Pegasus mare. She’d never met a cheval before, she assumed that they would be a pleasant enough people, but her... it was clear that Danielle was the type to resort to violence as a first measure, Fluttershy found it difficult to be comfortable around somepony like that. She was helping them, sure, but that only went so far. Fluttershy abhorred violence. It was never the answer!

Fluttershy had remembered reading a few books about the other nations in the world, and how very few of them got along with each other. Historically, Welara and the Cheval had been long hated enemies. Though relations between the current Fourth Republic and the Kingdom of United Welara were warmer, likewise, relations between the Cheval Fourth Republic and Bundesrepublik Schäferhund were often described as ice cold. Though not cold enough for them to fight with each other, due to the Schäferhund’s main export, the Storm Harness, a tool of war used by all races that walked on all fours. Then there were the gryphons, who no one in the world liked, and likewise, the gryphons didn’t like anyone else.

It disgusted Fluttershy to no end. Or at least, as much as she could be disgusted by something, and as a result, Fluttershy disapproved of most of the other governments in the world. Not that her opinion mattered to them, of course. She wasn’t a citizen of any of them.

The more Fluttershy thought about it though, the more she realised that she barely knew how her own government worked, let alone how any of the other ones did. She figured it might be worth looking into if they were ever to get off this cursed island.

That brought Fluttershy’s thoughts back to their current situation. She looked up to notice that Danielle and Rarity had stopped, and as a result Fluttershy stopped too. ‘What’s going on?’ Fluttershy asked.

Danielle hushed her. ‘I am not sure, stay here; I am going to take a look ahead’.

Rarity and Fluttershy nodded and Danielle disappeared into the thick foliage of the jungle.

‘Rarity?’ Fluttershy asked. ‘I’ve been thinking...’

‘Yes? Fluttershy?’ Rarity said turning to her friend.

‘I’m not sure I trust Danielle...’ Fluttershy said with a frown.

‘Fluttershy! I am surprised at you! Danielle has done nothing but help us and wants nothing more than to get off this island, and can you blame her? All those uncouth ruffians running around?’ Rarity said shuddering to herself.

‘That’s just it Rarity’, Fluttershy said with a frown. ‘I mean, let’s stop and think about it for a moment. This island is controlled by the Cheval Fourth Republic, as a prison for its most dangerous criminals’.

‘Yes...’ Rarity said nodded her head.

‘Well, the cheval are all pegasi right?’ Fluttershy said. ‘They can’t fly away because of that big cannon that’s keeping them all trapped here’.

‘Yes...’ Rarity said, nodding her head again, unsure of where Fluttershy was going with this.

‘Well... Danielle is cheval... and she’s here, on the island’, Fluttershy said.

‘Yes...’ Rarity said as she was starting to understand what Fluttershy was getting at.

‘So... what is she doing on the island?’ Fluttershy asked.

Rarity swallowed hard, they heard rustling in the bushed behind her, and Rarity slowly turned to see Danielle standing behind them, looking incredibly angry. ‘Couldn’t leave well enough alone could you?’

Rarity drew the rifle and pointed it at Danielle. ‘St... stay back!’ she cried out. Danielle took a step forward, undaunted by Rarity, who, as intimidating as she was trying to be, was not working out very well for the unicorn mare. Rarity pulled the trigger of the rifle with her magic.

click!

‘Wha!?’ Rarity cried out, pulling the trigger again.

click!

‘Do you think I would be stupid enough to give you a fully loaded weapon?’ Danielle sneered, she reared up and swung her hind legs, landing a blow into Rarity’s face and sending her toppling to the ground. ‘I would have taken you with me when I got off the island! I would have let you go! But you couldn’t just leave well enough alone!’

Fluttershy froze, slowly backing away from the enraged Pegasus mare.

‘Mon Dieu! Five years! Five years of my life, wasted on this island! I will be free, and you will not stop me!’ Danielle sneered.

Fluttershy backed into a tree root, tripping over it and falling onto the ground. Danielle moved in and stood over her, pointing her submachine guns at Fluttershy menacingly. ‘P... please don’t hurt me!’ Fluttershy cried out.

‘Hurt you?’ Danielle asked. ‘You say that like I was not sent here for murder...’ she said adding a grin, she kicked her left leg outward, the storm harness’ levers went to work and slid a new magazine into her submachine guns. ‘Can’t exactly let you tell anyone who I am and what I did...’ Danielle took the storm harness’s control yoke in her teeth, cocking the weapon. Fluttershy covered her eyes, she couldn’t bear to watch.

There was a loud crack! Fluttershy’s heart stopped.

Or at least she had thought it did. Fluttershy was surprised to discover that her heart was not only still beating, and she was still breathing. She peered out from behind her hooves to discover that Rarity was standing over her, holding the end of the cheval rifle like a club, the stock of the rifle was covered in blood. Fluttershy looked to discover that Danielle was laying on the ground, unconscious, her head split open and a trickle of blood rolling down her face from where Rarity had hit her.

Rarity tossed the useless rifle aside, and enveloped her magic in the submachine guns that adorned Danielle’s flanks, wrenching them free, not caring in the slightest that she had damaged the storm harness permanently inoperable.

‘Fluttershy? We really should be leaving now’, Rarity said, hoisting the submachine gun above her head. Fluttershy looked up to discover that Rarity too was bleeding, a light trickle that rain down from her forehead, staining her pristine coat.

‘Rarity... you’re hurt!’ Fluttershy squeaked.

‘That’s not important right now Fluttershy, it’s superficial’, Rarity said. ‘Now come! Before she wakes up!’

Fluttershy nodded and got to her hooves and the two mares ran into the jungle, neither of them entirely sure where they were going, but it was a lot better than being here.

...

Danielle’s eyes popped open, and she rolled over onto her back, her head was killing her, she took a hoof and felt her head, a sharp stinging sensation ran throughout her entire body. She looked at her hoof, there was blood on it.

Blood... blood was a fickle thing; she had many memories of blood. She’d been imprisoned on this forsaken island for murder.

Five years ago. She had been raped at knife point. After the event was over, Danielle should have gone to the Gendarmerie Nationale, she should have reported it, and there would have been enough evidence to convict him. He would have been sent to Sainte-Hélène, but no. Danielle was ashamed, she hid the event from everyone, she was embarrassed, she wanted to just forget, but she couldn’t. She never could.

Her shame turned to anger. It wasn’t her fault, she hadn’t asked for it. And soon enough, her thoughts turned only to revenge. She sought out a schäferhund that dealt weapons on the black market, and purchased a storm harness, which were illegal to own in the Fourth Republic without being registered, along with a single schäferhund MP9 submachine gun and a single magazine of 9x19 ammunition, costing her nearly a thousand cheval francs most of her life savings. She spent several weeks hunting her rapist and found him pretty much as she expected she would, raping another mare.

Danielle has swooped down upon him and filled him full of lead. The other mare had been less than thankful and ran off without even so much as a ‘merci’. It wasn’t long before the Gendarmerie Nationale showed up, and she was arrested, charged with murder, and sent off to this island. All evidence that she had been raped was gone; she couldn’t even use that in her defence anymore.

Danielle had since vowed that she would escape, and she wasn’t about to let Rarity and Fluttershy take that away from her.

Her ears began to twitch, off in the distance; there was a quiet booming noise. Danielle was confused as to what it was, it sounded familiar, but she couldn’t put her hoof on it.

Then she had the thought, she knew what it was. Cheval naval guns, the fourth republic’s navy had shown up and they were shelling the island.

Took them long enough.

Danielle looked up and saw an object cut across the sun. That would be the first shot.

It landed on top of her.