• Published 3rd Jan 2012
  • 2,349 Views, 43 Comments

Downfall of Equestria - Shadow Storm

A civil war between the Solar Empire and the New Lunar Republic.

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Chapter XV: Surprise Attack

I've never been more nervous in my entire life than this moment. With my mind struggling to keep calm, I continued my way through the mountains alongside my squad towards the final battle that the world has been waiting for. The sky flashed violently, the rain pouring down on us intensely and showing no signs of stopping. With each flash of blinding light it sent me railing back to the day Rainbow Dash and I first met, when she tried to assassinate the very pony I now aim to eliminate.

I never knew why she didn't kill me in the first place, which confused me, but thinking back I saw it as ironic that I no longer support the New Lunar Republic. For ten years I have served them blindly, only to open my eyes recently and realized that it wasn't the New Lunar Republic that was fighting for peace, but it was the Solar Empire that only sought to bring back and reunite Equestria. That's what I now fought for, not the Solar Empire or the new Lunar Republic, but for the reunification of Equestria.

Eagle flew up next to me, his golden armor still shining through the storm's darkness. I looked at him, staring into his eyes as he stared back into mine. We both knew that this was it, and there was no turning back after this. We would either die fighting, or win the war that has been raging on for more than a decade. It wasn't long before he nodded at me silently, gesturing that he was ready for what was to come, and in repliance I nodded back.

"Shadow, we're almost there." Shouted Wolf who also flew up next to me. "About a mile to go and we'll be behind the enemy."

"Good, then let's fly low behind the mountains and prepare for the ambush." I replied with a yell, barely able to even hear myself over the horrific roar of the storm.

We dropped low, almost to the base of the mountains as our squadron continued to follow our lead. Through the rain I saw a faint glow in the distance that caught my attention. I squinted my eyes to get a better glimps when suddenly more glows appeared, and suddenly sprang off up in the air. Without hesitation I told my squadron to halt as I watched the multiple lights in the sky. Then even more appeared and I realized that they were heading towards us. As they grew closer I noticed they were fire arrows being shot, my eyes widening as I turned to my squad.

"Get to the sides of the mountain! Now!" I screamed, watching everypony bolt to the sides as I too took cover from the arrows.

They shot past us and crashed against the ground. Luckily there was cover for us to hide behind, otherwise the narrow passage of the mountains would have made it impossible to find cover. Wolf and Eagle, who were on the other side, were talking before peering past the cover. Wolf took off in the blink of an eye and arrived to my side, staring at me in disbelief.

"It's impossible... but they knew we were coming!" He yelled, which was still covered by the storm even though he was only a few feet from me. "One of us has to go warn Celestia before she is taken by surprise. What are your orders for the squadron?"

I stared at the ground for a bit and then looked back up at him. "It's obvious we have a spy! You go warn Celestia, I'll take care of these archers and whoever else may be hiding over there!"

Without question, he nodded and took off back from where we came from, disappearing behind the wall of rain. I then turned my attention towards Eagle, who was still on the other side giving instruction to his squadron along with Wolf's. My squadron waited for my instruction silently, staring at me in anticipation. Looking back at them, I saw a mixture of fear and bravery in their eyes. They were scared, frightened, even horrified about what was going to happen, yet each one of them I saw a willingness to fight for their cause.

Each one of them I knew to be either a brother, father, son, or husband, just waiting to return home to their family. I, unlike them, had no family, but I had somepony that I cared about and I would do anything to return to her alive. I held up my hoof, giving a halting signal as I moved forward, slowly and cautiously around the cover of the mountain side. I turned my gaze upward towards the location of the fire arrows, and I could make out some sort of dark round shape, which could have been some sort of cave.

There was only one way to get there and it was through the mountain pass, and with the cover of the rain it would be somewhat of an advantage, yet it occured to me that they seemed to have spotted us already and could already see us. The rain only continued to slam down, growing more intensly as the storm raged on. I growled and looked back towards my squadron, a plan suddenly popping up in my head.

"Okay, listen up! There is only one way to get past those arrows up ahead and that's forward!" I started, none of them blinking or moving as I continued. "I have a plan that might result in some casualties, but if you follow your training, you have a better chance at survival! I want half of you to fly up into the air and the other half through the mountain pass! This scatter will confuse them! Move out!"

With that, half of the squadron bolted in the air while the other half charged through the mountain pass. I followed the ones through the mountain as Eagle kept his squadron there. While we grew closer to the cave, the same glows appeared and were shot not only at us but the ones in the air. However the arrows were fiewer in number and were more menueverable than before. We dodged the first wave of arrows and suddenly took off upward, now dangerously close to the cave as we could see Lunar soldiers frantically reloading their arrows and yet again firing them at us. They flew through my ranks as a couple of my soldiers went crashing down, enabling us to take the cave by force.

We flew inside the cave, the rain no longer smacking against my armor as the ponies inside panicked, some taking out their swords but others not being fast enough. I pulled out my blade and thrusted it into an archer's neck, quickly pushing him down to the ground. My squadron soon followed inside and began to engage in combat with the others, quickly overwhelming the enemy in sheer numbers. Before long we took the cave, having captured two Lunar soldiers as hostages. I ordered my squad to signal the others over, and within a minute or so Eagle and his squad came inside the cave, taking any supplies that would later be needed. Eagle slowly made his way towards me, as our team disposed of the dead bodies and went down to try and help any of ours that were hit during the rush.

"Shadow, this whole situation confuses me." He commented quietly. "They knew we were coming. That is completely impossible unless-"

"Unless there is a spy inside the Solar Empire." I finished, leaving him to nod silently as we both turned our attention towards the two Lunar soldiers who were captured.

"Shall I question them, Shadow? Find out who the spy is?" Eagle asked, shooting a glare towards both of the hostages.

"Yes, go find out." I started, stopping Eagle as he started walking over there. "If they aren't cooperate, tell them they'll live... and if one of them confesses who the traitor is, kill them both."

Eagle hesitantly nodded and trotted over to the prisoners. While he interrogated them, I trotted to the mouth of the cave and sat down, looking out past the storm which didn't let up. My thoughts turned towards Rainbow Dash, and my concern for her safety. One of the squad soldiers appeared next to me and sat down alongside me.

"Got something on your mind, sir?" He asked, also staring out into the darkness that infected me with it's bleak empitness.

"A lot of things, actually." I confessed with a deep sigh.

"I know what you mean, sir. I have a lot on my mind too, like my wife." I looked at him, noticing a small smile on his face.

"You're married?" I asked him, his head turning as our eyes met, a faint glimmer being made visible.

"Yes sir, to a beautiful mare named Rose Pedal." He chuckled faintly. "I love her more than anything in the world, and I am fighting not just for Equestria, sir, but for her. If there's one thing I learned during the war, is that no matter what, I cannot doubt my own abilities, or I'll be holding myself back."

I stared at him for a long time, fixing my mind around his words before staring down at the cold stone beneath our hooves. He was right in what he said, and it got him this far in the war. Perhaps he was a better fighter than I was, or perhaps he was a better leader or strategist. The question that continued to bug me, was why I was picked to be the fate of Equestria's future when I had been doubting myself ever since I let Iron Shock and Cosette down.

A few hours had past while we remained in the cave, waiting for Wolf to report back to the cave. Some of the soldiers gathered in their little groups and began to talk, others keeping watch and some just sitting around fiddling with their spears. Eagle and I continued to plan our next move in hopes that we didn't run into another problem.

"-and I think we should move our forces through this corridor here... to get around that open valley." Eagle suggested, placing his hoof on the large map of Equestria that lay in front of us. "That way we don't get ambushed. They would expect us to go to that valley and perhaps we can take them out from behind."

"That's a great suggestion..." I started, looking down at the map, studying every possible detail that could be crucial in times to come. "However, such a narrow area could also prove to be a problem. What if they knew that we knew not to go into the valley? They could be at both areas."

"Ugh, planning this is so difficult!" Eagle murmered to himself, slamming his hooves down. "We need Wolf here. He could be a great help right now."

"He's been gone a great amount of time, and I know Celestia's army isn't that far away." I stated, Eagle's glance turning to me. "Something isn't right. Either he got caught or he's staying over there due to this horrendous storm."

Suddenly, as if summoned, Wolf flew into the cave and directed his attention immediately towards us. He looked a bit rushed, a rush of curiousity overwhelming me as I stood up along with Eagle.

"Wolf! Where have you been?" Eagle asked instantly in a demanding tone.

"I'm sorry, but while I was on my way here I found an amazing short cut leading direcly towards the fort itself. It was hidden out of sight, so they'll never expect it!" Wolf answered cheerfully, the soldiers nearby perking their ears up, now listening into our conversation.

"Then we are headed there now. Squad, get your gear!" I commanded, being answered by a cheer from the soldiers around, the spirit now high.

A few minutes past and we were all ready, now bolting out as a group following Wolf, who was leading us to his discovery. For some reason I felt off about him, but I shook it off. My mind was only focused on killing the pony who has led me astray for over a decade. The pony who killed the mare I loved. I would stop at nothing to have her head. Either I would kill her in this final battle of the war, or I would die trying.

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