• Published 23rd Jan 2013
  • 1,065 Views, 29 Comments

Creed: Return of the Alicorns - bossfight1

Thousands of bronies are sent to Equestria... and imprisoned.

  • ...

Chapter 9: Price

Chapter 9: Price

I sat on my balcony under the morning sun, piecing together what I had seen in my dream. I remembered being with someone at the Crystal Empire, the skies turned black, we gathered at the Crystal Palace, Discord came and did... something. What I considered oddest was how vivid my dream had been vivid, too vivid. All signs pointed towards one possibility, but I had trouble accepting it... They were memories.

I found my thoughts constantly drifting back to that yellow-maned mare I was with... I screwed my eyes shut, trying to remember just how she looked. All I could remember was her golden mane, and that she had flown with me; those things were definites. But what other features did she have? What was the color of her coat, what was her cutie mark, what was her name?

I held my head in my forehooves. The anger I’d felt towards Discord the previous day was beginning to flare up again. Whatever I’d felt towards that girl had been real, and he shattered it with no remorse... but I kept my anger at him in check lest I actually try to hurt him again. The door behind me opened as Lily came out to the balcony. “The train’s due to leave in ten minutes.”

I nodded and took one last look out over Canterlot; the view really was quite splendid. I looked down to the streets, watching the ponies head about their daily lives-

My eyes fell upon three ponies marching through the streets towards the castle. I narrowed my eyes and saw that they were Royal Pegasi... at least, they had the armor. I recognized the color of their coats, however.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I said dryly.

“What?” Lily asked.

“They’re here.” I bolted into my room and grabbed my bag. “We gotta get to the train, now!” Lily spread her wings and prepared to take off, but I laid a hoof on her back. “No, no, no; they’ll see us! We need to be discreet about this; we’ll take the rear stairwell.” Lily nodded, and the two of us bolted into the corridor, sprinting for the stairs.

I kept worrying we’d get lost in the twisting hallways since we hadn’t spent a lot of time here, but we simply needed to get to the ground floor and take any exit other than the front door. Upon reaching the ground floor, however, we rounded a corner and nearly trampled Sky Bolt, along with a pair of Royal Guards carrying long golden spears. “Whoa, whoa, where’s the fire?!”

“Please, you gotta help us!” I implored. “The ponies who’ve been chasing us, they’re here!”

Sky Bolt, to my surprise, nodded. “Yes, I know.”

“You... know...?” I asked, but a simple realization made Lily and I drop to a defensive stance. Sky Bolt’s guards, however, lowered their spears, ready to jab at the merest sign of resistance.

“You two had such a good run...” Sky Bolt cooed, condescendingly. “But I’m sad to say you’ll need to return to Camp 89 now.” Her eyes fell on my saddlebag. “Place your bags on the ground.”

Glaring at Sky Bolt, we removed our bags and placed them on the ground in front of us, kicking them towards our captors. Sky Bolt donned a smug grin before turning to her cohorts. “Contact Bulwark, tell him we’ve found our little jailbirds, thankfully, before they could do any real harm.” One of the guards nodded and hurried down the hall and out of sight. Sky Bolt turned back to us. “I feel I should thank you, had you two not escaped I wouldn’t have been able to turn you two in, thus proving my worth to Bulwark and King Sombra. Perhaps once they are finished with you two and your friends back in the camp, they will promote me... ‘General Sky Bolt of the Somber Blade’,” she giggled. “I like the sound of that... But trust me when I offer my sincere gratitude, Mr. Creed.”

Lily’s eyes lit up. Her eyes fell on our bags. “It sounds like Bulwark’s trust means a lot to you,” She said. I threw a confused look her way but she didn’t look back at me.

Sky Bolt chuckled. “Why, yes!” She prepared to monologue again, but Lily interrupted her.

“I hope you don’t betray his trust,” Lily continued, speaking loudly while still staring at the bags. “Losing a friend’s trust is the fastest way to lose a friend!”

“FOREVEEEEERRRRR!!!!!” Pinkie Pie screamed as her head burst out of my bag, startling the three pegasi, causing the two armed ones to drop their spears. Lily looked amazed her plan worked as she used her magic to snatch up our bags; Pinkie withdrew into mine and, as suddenly as she had appeared, vanished.

“MOVE!!” Lily yelled. The two of us spread our wings and took off, kicking off the heads of Sky Bolt and her cronies as we soared down the wide corridor.

“STOP THEM!!” We heard Sky Bolt scream as we dove down the corridors. I didn’t dare look back for fear of losing Lily, but I could hear the sounds of wings flapping behind us. My eyes fell on a tapestry hanging from the ceiling; I snatched it with my magic and flung it behind me. I heard the pegasi grunt as they got caught in the cloth. The sound of heavy body falls told me they had become preoccupied in their pursuit. We finally found the front entrance and, ignoring all the confused and startled glances of the ponies below, bolted out the front door and into the city.

Fwooooooooh! A train whistle blew on the outskirts of town. “The train!” I said.

Stop those two!!” Sky Bolt’s voice rang from the castle behind us. “They seek to bring harm to our Princesses!!

All around us, the various Royal Guards on patrol took flight and soared straight towards us. “Aw, fuck!” I yelled. “The train station!! MOVE!!”

We flew as fast as we could over the city, weaving around towers and beneath bridges in an attempt to lose our pursuers. As we arrived at the station, the multi-colored train was pumping steam out of the smokestack as it prepared to depart. We dove down to the station platform and landed by the train’s caboose. I looked up and could make out the numerous approaching pegasi diving towards the platform. I swung the train car’s door open with my magic.

I bolted into the caboose with Lily right behind me and began running forward towards the front of the train. “We aren’t gonna lose ‘em, what are we gonna do?!” Lily cried.

“Improvise?!” I called back without the merest trace of confidence in my voice. I opened the door to the next car and made to run through it.

Hold it!!” We stopped and looked behind us; Sky Bolt stood in the rear of the car, with her two pegasi cronies holding their spears and advancing slowly. “Now that was real clever, bub, but the game is up. You’re through.”

With a jerk, the train began moving forward. The pegasi didn’t drop their gaze as they slowly crept towards us, scowling. Lily turned to me, despair falling upon her face, but her eyes fell to the floor with interest. I looked down and noticed the train coupling beneath my feet. Initially I thought of removing the pin and leaving these creeps in the dust, but then noticed that Lily was still in the rear car. I hung my head sadly; the jig was up.

“Creed?” Lily asked. I raised my head; Lily had a look of determination about her. “Get to the Princesses.”

I barely managed to say, “What?” before Lily reached down with her magic and removed the coupling pin. “Lily, NO!” I yelled. I took a step forward, but Lily charged her horn. I expected a mere blast of arcane magic, but a big fireball spawned at the tip of her horn and smacked me right in the chest. I was sent flying into the car behind me. I quickly patted out my singed coat and watched as, in the rear car that was falling behind, Lily spun around and blasted the advancing pegasi with another fire blast, sending them tumbling backwards into Sky Bolt. I thought, no, hoped that she would then fly out of the car to catch up, but several more armored pegasi descended upon the caboose, hopelessly surrounding her. “LILY!!” I screamed after her as I stood up and bolted to the door.

“I’ll be fine!!” Lily called. “Get to Celestia!! You’re our last-” She didn’t finish as the pegasi flooded the car and tackled her to the ground, one of them holding a very familiar collar in his mouth. Some of the pegasi began flying after the train as it gathered speed and went around a corner. Not wishing for Lily’s sacrifice to be in vain, I charged my horn and fired a salvo of blasts at the pegasi. Many of them missed, but the few that struck home did so to great effect. The pursuing pegasi plummeted out of the sky and landed painfully on the platform. By the time they recovered, the train was already speeding faster than they could keep up with.

When the train entered a tunnel, I shut the door and sat in one of the rear seats; the entire car was empty. Evidently the trip north wasn’t quite the tourist attraction just yet. I slouched in the seat, my head in my hooves. “Lily...”

- - - - -

For roughly twenty minutes I sat like that, the process of what had just happened playing over and over again in my head. I kept trying to think of ways I could have saved her... If we’d been quicker, maybe I could have removed the coupling pin while she was in the car? Maybe if we had taken off from my room we would have avoided the Somber Blade? Many ways I might have been able to save her occured to me, all silenced by one fact; I had failed. I had failed to protect Lily, and now I was en route to the Crystal Empire all by myself. Why was it me? I should have been the one to stay behind while Lily went to the Frozen North, I should have been on my way back to Camp 89, but here I was; all alone, a miserable failure.

Then I was shown the exact definition of shit meeting the fan.

I felt something in my bag shake. Initially I thought Pinkie was going to poke out of it again, but I opened the flap and saw the orb twitching. I picked it up with my magic, examining it; a small crack had appeared. Was it broken during the escape?

Without warning the red smoke spewed out like air being sucked through a hull breach of a spaceship. Startled, I dropped the orb in the middle of the aisle as the entire car began to quickly flood with the red smoke. I thought of opening a window, worried that I’d choke, but as the smoke rose I found it was quite safe to breathe. Soon I couldn’t see a foot in front of me through the thick red smoke. “What the hell...” I muttered.

“Good day, Mr. Creed,” a familiar voice rang through the smoke. I dropped into a defensive stance and charged my horn when I noticed the silhouettes of about six ponies appearing in front of me. The smoke started to thin out; instead of the train car I now appeared to be in what I recognized as Bulwark’s office back at Camp 89. The desk had been moved off to the side to make room for all of the ponies in front of me. Two of them were tied up on the floor, under close guard by Somber Blade guards; I recognized them immediately.

“No...” I whispered.

“Creed, don’t worry about us!!” Jake yelled as he struggled in his binds.

“Just find the princesses!” Pete screamed. “You’re our only hope!!” One of the ponies that wasn’t tied, whom I realized was Bulwark, stepped forward.

“You can relax a bit, Creed, we’re not actually in each other’s company... for now,” he said. “I believe you were using the orbs wrong, by the way, they are meant to be used once, to relay messages of vital importance among our covert members. Our order has used them since its founding.” Bulwark used his magic to open one of the drawers in his desk to the side, and withdrew a long, curved dagger. “Now, you have had your fun, Mr. Creed, but the time has come for you to return home.” He donned a thin smile that he probably thought was friendly. “We’ve missed you.”

I glared at Bulwark. “Can’t say the feeling has been mutual,” I growled. “You have no right to hold us like this.”

“Ah, but it is the will of our king that grants us the right!” Bulwark said. “He ruled over the Crystal Empire; its far-reaching power would affect the whole of Equestria. As such, he who controls the Empire, controls Equestria. He proved his worth by conquering those pitiful crystal ponies. His right to rule was taken from him by those foolish sisters you would call your princesses.”

“You call them foolish,” I said. “Yet they’re not the ones serving a king who was beaten quite soundly a while ago.”

Bulwark chuckled as he reached into his armor, laying a hoof on something he evidently had on his person. “Beaten, yet not destroyed. My master lives on as a shadow, and free to roam Equestria... He learned of Discord’s return and listened in on his little confession. When he learned of the potential you held, he leapt on the opportunity to intercept the Princesses’ spell to return your kind to Equestria; he scattered you throughout the southern lands, ripe to be gathered by his most loyal servants.”

“And what, pray tell, does your stair-loving patriarch want with us?” I asked; my interruption seemed to annoy Bulwark, which I took pride in.

“You would merely be the means with which we shall retake the Empire! Your rebirth in a world of hatred should have hardened you, made you ripe for King Sombra’s command...” Bulwark explained, rotating the dagger in his magic. “And yet, when you all returned, you came out... wrong. Despite what the draconequus believed, you were not filled with hatred and cruelty upon your return.”

“So you’ve been holding the alicorns, treating them like complete and utter shit in hopes of filling them with the hatred you’d thought would define us,” I finished.

“Precisely!” Bulwark said. “Sadly, progress has been... agonizingly slow. But if we have to spend years planting the seeds of hatred within your hearts, we will do so. After all, we waited generations for our master to return.”

“And yet you weren’t there when he did,” I pointed out, hoping to get under Bulwark’s skin. “If I were him, I’d question your loyalty...”

Bulwark scowled. “The King wasn’t in a position to summon us when the Crystal Empire returned. He believed he could conquer it immediately; he could have, were it not for those interfering ponies!” He stopped and gathered himself. “Now, onto business...” Bulwark approached Jake, holding the dagger close to his throat. “You will leave the train you are riding and return to Canterlot. My men will bring you back to Camp 89, and your friends will be no worse for wear.”

“Don’t do it!!” Jake yelled, receiving a smack across the back of the head from one of the Somber Blade for his trouble.

Don’t you fucking touch him!!” Pete roared at the Blade pony, struggling even harder in his binds. Bulwark raised his eyebrows with interest at his outburst, but turned to face me again.

“Do you see the trouble your friends are in because you couldn’t cooperate?” Bulwark asked, like he was the victim in this whole affair. “Do you believe yourself the hero? The brave stallion who will save the day? What kind of hero can’t even protect his friends?” I glared at Bulwark. Once again the hatred within me flared up despite my best efforts to keep it in check.

“If you hurt them, I will show you what an Earth-born hatred can do, I promise you that,” I snarled.

“That’s it!” Bulwark said, encouragingly. “That’s the hatred we’ve been looking for, Creed! You are already on your way to being part of one of the most devastating forces Equestria has ever known! All you need to do is return here, and, I give you my word, none of your friends will be harmed.”

I wagered that his word wasn’t worth shit, but my eyes fell on Pete and Jake. They were rapidly shaking their heads back and forth, but the thought of leaving them to these bastards, especially now that I knew what trouble they were in, weighed heavily on my heart. Then I thought of Lily, and how the Somber Blade must have been treating her as they brought her back to Camp 89. I could save them, here and now.

Lily’s voice echoed in my mind. “Get to the Princesses.”

I took a breath. “If I return to Camp 89, nopony will be safe from you and your asshole master.” I stepped towards Bulwark and stared him in the eye. “I’m going to the Crystal Empire, I’m going to find the princesses, and we’re going to beat you, and your dipshit king, to a bloody pulp.”

Bulwark seemed unphased. In fact, he seemed to prefer this outcome. “Very well then,” he turned to Jake. “It’s not like one alicorn can stand against the thousands we have at our disposal, especially since I believe I’ve found the secret to unlocking your potential.”

In one swift, casual motion, the dagger swung through the air and slashed Jake’s throat.

“NO!!” I screamed as blood sprayed forth from Jake’s blue throat, spraying Bulwark in the face. Jake’s eyes were wide in surprise as he swayed almost dizzily before falling to the side and moving no more. But my scream paled in comparison to the deafening, almost feral roar of anguish and rage that erupted from Pete. Pete made to stand up, to tackle Bulwark, but one of the Somber Blade stepped forward and held him down. When he found that he couldn’t handle Pete alone, he beckoned for his friends to help him. The three ponies held their front hooves on Pete’s thrashing form, barely keeping him pinned to the floor.

“I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!” Pete screamed at Bulwark, his eyes flooding with the same green haze that had flooded my own when I was furious with Discord.

Bulwark casually wiped the dagger clean of blood on Jake’s coat before turning to Pete, chuckling. “Do you see, Creed? You... ‘bronies’ may hold a code of ‘love and tolerance’, but in the end you, like all humans, still have that burning core of hatred deep within you, waiting for the chance to flourish... One just needs to know where to push.”

Bulwark’s horn began to glow with a venomous green energy as he leaned towards Pete, who was nearly about to break away from the Somber Blades who were holding him down. Bulwark’s horn touched the tip of Pete’s, and the green energy spread across Pete’s head, quickly seeping through his coat and into his skin. Pete immediately stopped thrashing and sat still, yet his expression of uncontrollable fury remained.

Bulwark, pleased with himself, stepped away from Pete and turned back to me. “And now you know the price of defiance, Mr. Creed,” he said. “Go. Flee to your princesses. Within days, we will be in control of an army the likes of which no world, not even the one you call ‘Earth’, has ever seen.”

Bulwark’s office suddenly melted away, and I was left standing in the train car, breathing heavily. I looked down at the orb on the floor, now crystal clear without the red smoke within. It almost looked innocent of what it had just shown me.

Comments ( 3 )

aw hell....mannnnn. :pinkiesad2:

Oh boy...... I did not see ANY of that coming. :rainbowderp:

I think that the bad guys are a bit too op.
Like, way too op.

not hatin' or anything just sayin.... op.... y'know.
How did they get royal guard armo- they probably beat up some guards for that
wouldn't creed 'n lily have like SAID SOMETHING TO THE GUARDS AND SHIT
AND i should stop using capslock so much :/

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