• Published 6th Feb 2013
  • 2,798 Views, 40 Comments

The Cutters - Priceless911

During an era of war, Three Mercenaries with unknown pasts have rule over all battlefields of every nation... yet there was good reason they were so feared.

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The Crystal Empire Traitor

The soldier stood at attention in the middle of the royal hall, with his king watching from his thorn, as his general paced around him, “Soldier! I called you here because of all the kings soldiers, you seemed to be the most loyal, trustworthy, and strong… however, that won’t stop me from asking you a series of questions to prove your loyalty… What is your name?”
The soldier replied, “My name is Major Traipse, Sir!”
the general looked at the king who watched with no expression, then the general looked back at the soldier and asked, “Is that your real name?”
“No, Sir!”
“What is your real name?”
Traipse replied without hesitation, “I don’t know sir!”

The General smiled as he looked at the curious look on the kings face, then he looked back and replied, “Then why do you call yourself Traipse?”
Traipse replied without expression and without hesitation, “That was a nickname given to me the day I made my first kill… since that was a nickname given to a soldier, that what I went by as a soldier, because that is the only life I know.. and the only life I wish to know. Sir!”
The general smiled, “Whose orders do you follow?”
“The king, sir!”
“Would you Die for the king?”
“Yes, Sir!’
“Would you Kill for the king?”
“Yes, Sir!”
“If ordered, would you kill a fellow soldier?”
“Yes, Sir!”
“If ordered would you kill a civilian?”
“Yes Sir!”
“Even if the civilian did nothing wrong?”
“Yes Sir!”
“If ordered… would you kill yourself?”
Like before with no hesitation or expression Traipse replied, “Yes, Sir!”

The general quickly looked back at the king as the kings applauding echoed through the hall, “Excellent, he is an exceptional soldier… he is absolutely perfect for the task at hoof… now I want to ask him a few questions?”
The king stood up from his throne and began trotting toward Traipse. As the king paced, Traipse held his stance and expression as the king spoke, “Your Loyalty is apparent… however I must ask. You were part of my foal soldier program correct?”
Traipse Replied, “Yes your majesty!”

The king changed his expression, “You’re a half blood I see, tell me which of your parents was a Crystal pony, your mother or your father?”
Traipse replied, “I don’t know your majesty. I don’t remember them.”
“So… you feel no resentment to me for taking you from your family as a foal?”
“No your Majesty. I don’t.”
The King smiled, “And why is that?”
Traipse replied, “It was your word that had me taken from them… and your word is not only absolute… its law. If you took me from my parents, then it was my fate to be taken from them.”

The king nodded his head, “They broke you in pretty well I see… it good to see that your loyalty knows no bound. The best of my knights are part of the Crystal jousting tournaments… Tell me… Why haven’t I seen you compete?”
Traipse replied, “I am a soldier whose purpose is to follow the king’s orders… I'm not meant to perform and entertain the peasants of this empire. I'll leave the performances to the show ponies and stick to protecting my king.”
The king smiled, “And who is this king that you set your soul devotion to? Who is this lord that you follow? This… God?”
Traipse replied without expression and without hesitation, “King Sombra, of the Crystal Empire!”

King Sombra smiled, “He’ll do… General Leave us, I have a mission for my devoted soldier, here that only he and I should know about.”
The general was disappointed that he wouldn’t hear about the mission but as he was ordered, he nodded his head and left the royal hall leaving both King Sombra and Traipse alone. King Sombra waited before the doors were completely shut before he spoke, “Major… I have a mission for you that is of the upmost importance, this mission will only be known between you and me, and if anypony else finds out about it… then they must be killed before they have a chance to tell more. But if they do tell more, then you will die with them… am I understood?”
“Yes Your majesty”
“And you still want to carry it out?”
“I follow my king’s orders, even if it leads me to my end.”

King Sombra smiled, “I want you to find out as much as you can from the slaves of this wretched city… I want you to find out what gives them hope and happiness. And when you do… I want you to take it from them. But I'll warn you now. If you are seen taking it from them, You will die. If you tell anypony about your task, you will die. If rumor of your involvement in this action is even mumbled in the tiniest aspect of this empire… you will die. Am I clear?”
Traipses replied, “Yes your majesty!”
The king then looked him in the eye and continued, “When this task is complete, then you will be rewarded. If you succeed, I'll give you a position on my royal council, plus a promotion to colonel. I bet you were thinking I had no heart, and was going to let this mission go unrewarded, right? Well I believe all loyal soldiers should be praised for their actions.”

Traipse nodded his head but kept his expression as he replied, “Thank you your majesty!”
King Sombra turned around to trot to his throne as he spoke, “You may leave now… remember nopony should ever discover this plan… oh, and by the way… I'm giving you two weeks to complete this task. If you fail to have the object that gives this ponies their hop by Sunday of the final week… then guess what will happen to you. Because I grow tired of repeating myself.”
Traipse replied, “Understood your majesty, death awaits failure. I will not fail you, your majesty. of this I guarantee.”
King Sombra sat on his throne and replied, “See to it you don’t. I would hate to see such loyal blood spilled due to insolence… now be gone!”

For the rest of the day Traipse spent his time trying to find out what interested the civilians in the Crystal Empire. Since he never once tried to converse with anypony other than soldiers, he knew very little about the daily activities of the common pony. While observing them in the streets, they seemed very quaint, yet at peace. While paying attention to many ponies’ conversations, he learned that most didn’t like the actions that King Sombra made but since he was supposed to keep his mission secret, he didn’t comment on the ponies’ words. Traipse took note of every major event that the Crystal ponies talked about, Jousting had an impact on the Crystal ponies but it seemed minimal at best. The bands that had Flugelhorns as primary instruments also had a little fame throughout the city but of all, the Crystal festival… and the even to end each festival took the highest attention amongst the ponies.

Traipse discovered that what it was that made the festival so famous was an ancient relic Called the Crystal Heart. Traipse knew that if this was truly the source of their hope and happiness then this was what he needed to steal, so he made his decision and decided to wait till the next day to form a plan. That night as he slept, Traipse found himself in an unusual dream that seemed to have him standing in emptiness with nothing around him. Being the well-trained soldier that he is, he looked around without showing any concern or worry in all the questions that were running through his mind, Questions like, “Where am I? What is this place? How did I get here, and how do I get back?”
As Traipse looked around he saw something in the distance so he began trotting towards it. as he got closer and closer, he realized it was the Crystal Heart… the very item that brought hope to the crystal ponies, and the same item that he had to steal.

As Traipse approached the Crystal Heart, he could see his reflection in it, “It’s a beautiful artifact… I can see why the Crystal ponies cherish it so.”
As he looked at is reflection he noticed something strange. It looked like the reflection started to age… not only that. The reflection started to decay making it look like his face was decomposing before his very eyes. Feeling an abundant amount of fear, he looked away and started feeling his face to see if the reflection was real. luckily his face felt fine and when he looked back at his reflection it was normal again. giving a sigh of relief, Traipse continued looking at the reflection, then the reflection of a mare approached him from behind.

Traipse thought the Mare was just another illusion but he studied the reflection very closely, this mare was tall with a dark blue pelt and a mystic flowing blue Mane. he didn’t understand who it was but he did notice that she was an alicorn, and she was wearing the crown of a princess. The mare gave him a disappointed look and spoke, “Are you going to really attempt this?”
Traipse turned and found that the reflection was real, the mare was standing next to him, so he replied, “And who are you to be asking such a question?”
The mare Replied, “My name is Princess Luna of Equestria, I am the ruler of the night… and as ruler I can see into your dreams… You plan to steal the Crystal Heart don’t you?”

Traipse tried to show as much disrespect in his voice as he could when he replied, “This doesn’t concern a Princess… the best thing you can do is stay out of it!”
Princess Lune was deeply offended, but she held her composure as she replied, “On the contrary, The Crystal Empire is a neighboring state of Equestria, to have such a heartless king rule the ponies there is nothing more than disrespectful to both my sister and myself. His actions are unacceptable and if they continue… we will put a stop to them.”

Traipse ignored the princes and replied, “If you are a threat to the king and his plans, then you're my enemy… I suggest you stop giving me dreams of fear, and leave immediately before you get hurt… Princess.”
Luna turned to trot away, “If that is what you wish, then I'll take my leave. However, I'm not the one giving you nightmares… your own subconscious is doing that by itself. Something in your mind and heart is telling you that this is a bad idea, and it’s trying to stop you before you make a terrible Mistake. If I were you I’d listen to it before it’s too late. It could save your life.”
Traipse replied as he turned back to the Crystal Heart, “The king’s orders are law, and I must obey th…”
Traipse stopped talking when he looked at his reflection and saw a skeleton in his place.

Reacting quickly out of fear Traipse punched the Crystal Heart causing it to shatter into a million pieces of crystal dust. Then he heard a voice come from behind him, “Excellent work Major… you’ve served your king well. Thanks to you, the pathetic slaves of the empire are now completely hopeless and will never have the courage to stand up to me and my power, now nothing will stop me from enslaving the entire empire.”
Traipse quickly turned around and bowed to King Sombra who was standing behind him, “I… uh… I only followed your order your majesty.”
King Sombra smiled, “Yes, and with that order carried out, I have no further use for you.”

All of a sudden king Sombra pulled a dagger from behind his back and stabbed Traipse in his chest. With the unbearable pain he felt Traipse fell to the ground and looked up at his king, “Y-your majesty… but… I…”
king Sombra approached him on the ground and held a sword above his head, “You followed your orders well, and you will be rewarded in the next life, but I have no use of you, so there isn’t any reason to keep you under me. Good bye Major.”
Then King Sombra dropped the sword on his neck but as soon as the blade hit his throat Traipse opened his eyes and sat up in his bunk, breathing deeply, and with a cold sweat.

Traipse looked around at his surroundings, all his fellow soldiers in the barracks were sound asleep completely unaware of his sudden awakening of fear. As Traipse laid back down, he couldn’t stop thinking about what that princess said. He knew that what the king was doing was in every sense of the word, wrong… but he knew that it didn’t matter what he thought. The kings word is law, to defy the king is to defy the inevitable, to defy the inevitable is blasphemy and should result with immediate death and eternal torment. These are the words that were pounded into his head as a foal, and repeated every night before lights out. Why would he have to recite them if they weren’t true?

Traipse decided to forget about it and try to get some sleep. The next morning Traipse still had his dream and doubts in his mind but he put those aside to deal with his planning. As he thought about what he could do he observed the Crystal Heart and the activity around it. it always sat at the heart of the city in the open. Since there was no guard it would be easy to take however its location was too open, it was impossible to just trot up and take it without anypony seeing him. therefore, he thought about what he needed to carry this plan out. First he would need something to distract the surrounding ponies. then there is a chance he would need some help in taking it, though of course he would have to silence them once the heart was stashed away.

Finally after a few day of planning while ignoring the same nightmare every night, he thought of a perfect way to steal the Crystal Heart. He enlisted the help of two new soldiers to help him create flyers to hold a surprise jousting tournament in the stadium furthest from the Crystal Heart’s courtyard. The king was displeased with this unexpected gathering but knowing who was responsible for organizing such an event only gave him confidence that this tournament was for a good purpose. On the day of the tournament just as he expected almost every pony took a day off of their normal duties to attempt it. while everypony was at the tournament, Traipse and the two soldiers he recruited went to the courtyard where the Crystal Heart was kept. As his soldiers were putting a tarp over the heart, an elderly mare yelled to them, “Hey! What are you doing with the Crystal Heart!”

Traipse looked at the elderly mare then he spoke to his soldiers, “Continue with the plan take the heart to the castle and wait for me outside the kings chambers, but whatever you do, don’t let anypony know what’s under the tarp or let anypony remove it. this is an order from the king himself.”
The soldiers replied, “Yes Sir!”
As the soldiers continued their actions, Traipse lead the old mare to an unfinished building that was being built near the plaza, “My dear madam, the king has ordered us to bring the Crystal Heart to a special area where we can have it thoroughly polished by gem casters from Canterlot.”
The mare was suspicious, “Really? Why would Canterlot care about our city when they have a lot more to deal with?”

Traipse nodded his head, “You know… that’s exactly what I said… too bad right?”
the old mare replied, “Too bad what are you talking abo…”
Before she could finish her sentences, Traipse pushed her into a support beam then punched it with enough force to break it. As the unfinished roof collapsed on the elderly pony, Traipse took a step back knowing that an elderly pony would be too frail to survive such a horrible accident. He also knew that nopony would ask questions about an unsupported support beam falling over and causing the roof to collapse… it was too bad this elderly pony was on her way home at the time.

Traipse felt a little guilty for his actions and the sneakiness of his alibi but he knew that he was only following his orders. When Traipse approached the king’s chambers he met his soldiers outside the doors as they stood beside a tarp covered wagon. Traipse approached them and spoke, “Is that it?”
one of the soldiers replied “Yes Sir, and as you ordered nopony knows what it is, or saw us come here with it.”
Traipse smiled, “Good then, I believe it’s time we meet with the king… shall we.”
The three ponies opened the doors to the king’s chambers and pulled the cart in, then they approached the front of the king’s throne then bowed as Traipse spoke, “Your majesty I'm here about the mission you gave me… I will give you a full report as soon as I complete it.”

The two soldiers who were with Traipse were confused as the king smiled and replied, “Very well then… Complete it.”
Traipse nodded his head, “As you wish your majesty.”
Traipse reached up and grabbed the first guards spear with one hoof then drew the guards dagger with his other hoof. Moving quickly Traipse used the dagger to stabbed the first soldier in the back of his neck. As the other soldier took a few steps back in fear, Traipse held the spear at the very bottom of the shaft and jabbed the blade towards the second soldier stabbing him in his face and killing him instantly. As he pulled the blade from the dead soldier, Traipse put the spear in an upright position and bowed to the king as he spoke completely ignoring the blood from the blade as it rolled down the spear and over his hooves, “Your majesty… The mission is complete. All ponies who know of our… Your plan are dead. Here under this tarp. I have the hope of the Crystal Ponies… The Crystal Heart.”

King Sombra smiled, “So you have… and I'll say you performed exceptionally well. you lead the citizens away from their precious heart with a ruse, that’s cruel. To kill a helpless elderly mare who spotted you, that’s disgraceful to ponykind. But to have two unknown soldiers deliver the heart to me then kill them after they followed your order to your exact specification. That’s just plain heartless. You belong on my council… you’re just the type of stallion who deserves the position. I can’t think of a better soldier for the job.”
Traipse was surprised that the king knew about the elderly mare… but his surprise was overshadowed by the guilt he felt with each detail of his action, but he was able to hide it as he replied, “Thank you your majesty… I will not disappoint you.”

Later that night Trips had another dream, He stood in the plaza where the Crystal Heart used to sit and watching the ponies around him talk amongst themselves, “Who did this? Who is responsible? Why would anypony be so cruel?”
With the city asking questions Traipse kept his mouth shut about the crime until a very familiar voice spoke up, “HE IS RESPONSIBLE!”
Traipse looked in the direction the voice came from but fear over took him as he laid his eyes in the standing corpse that used to be the elderly mare. she stood in front of him with her head caved in and a missing limb.

Traipse took a few steps back in fear as everypony in the plaza looked at him, then two more familiar voices called out, “He is the one responsible!”
“Yea he had us steal it for him, then he killed us and took the credit!”
Traipse turned around to see the two soldiers he killed standing there with the wounds that they died from still on them. Traipse tried to explain, “But… but I…”
The elderly mare yelled again, “Don’t even think about denying it! the blood is still on your hoof!”
Traipse looked down at his hoof to see the blood still there after it rolled down the spear.

Then another familiar voice called over the crowd, “It’s not his fault! He was only following the orders of his king!”
Traipse looked where the voice came from to see Princess Luna approaching them, “Your… your majesty? I…”
one of the dead soldier spoke up, “That doesn’t mean anything! We were only following orders too… His order, and for that we paid for it with our lives! What about us!!!”
Princess Luna yelled again, “IF YOU WANT JUSTICE THEN GIVE HIM TIME!!! I'm here to speak with him of a matter of great importance. This matter will decide the fate of your families and friend, so if you want justice then allow me to talk with him.”
the three corpses looked at each other nodded their heads then replied, “As you wish your majesty. we wish you luck in reforming this… murderer.”

With that said the three corpses disappeared from their sight. Traipse found it hard to look Luna in the eye as he spoke, “If you’re wanting me to thank you for saving me from figments of my own imagination… then you’ve got another thing coming.”
Princess Luna gave Traipse a look of pity, “You feel even more guilty than you’re letting on to be. You subconscious isn’t playing fair anymore. From this moment on your dreams will get worse and worse until you atone for your crime.”
Traipse was in deep denial, “I’ve committed no crime. I’ve nothing to atone for.”
Princess Luna gave him a blank stare, “So you say… but as a merciful princess… I'll give you a chance to prove your pride wrong. In three days’ time, one of my most trusted soldiers will arrive in the Crystal Empire. His name is Captain Mist he will be accompanied by a Cadet Dust. They will not be wearing any armor of any king since they are posing as a newlywed couple but they will be observing the empire and its subjects while preparing for me and my sisters arrival.”

Traipse was concerned, “Arrival? What are you talking about? you’re coming here to the Crystal Empire?”
Princess Luna spoke to him seriously, “Yes… the king went too far this time. he must be dealt with. If you want to assist us in bringing an end to his tyranny, then meet Captain Mist at the café that sits on the edge of the plaza where the Crystal Heart used to sit. This is the only chance you will get to save yourself Traipse, I know that you can do good, you just need the chance. Remember… Three days they will be there between noon and sunset, I would suggest you not wear any uniform so that you don’t attract attention.”
Traipse tried to reply with an unamused expression, but it was easy to see that he had interest in the offer, “And if I refuse?”
Princess Luna turned around and trotted away from him as she replied, “Then you, your soldiers, and your king will fall together.”
And with those words, Princess Luna vanished before his very eyes, then he awoke with the morning sun.

The next day was spent being processed into the Crystal Empire’s counsel, then Traipse and the rest of the council members joined the king as he made a royal announcement to his subjects, “To all my… loyal subjects! I have recently discovered that rather than putting your devotion and hope in your king who so selflessly watches over you… you have placed it upon an ancient relic that seems to glow brightly in the sun. So to keep your devotion, I have taken the Crystal Heart away and placed it in a secret location so that your loyalty can turn to me from this moment on. If you so wish to see your precious Crystal Heart again… then I'm afraid you’re wasting your time and life. The heart is in a place where nopony will ever find it. thank you… and long live your king!”
An uproar of gasps, and crying came from the crowd as the king turned to enter the castle. As the king trotted past Traipse he looked at him and spoke, “I think that went well… don’t you… Colonel.”

As the king continued into the castle, Traipse looked over the crowd. One by one, the Crystal Ponies started to lose their glow, and their happiness. Traipse couldn’t help but feel sorry for the ponies but he just hid his feeling and followed the king back into the royal hall with the rest of the council. Throughout the rest of the day, Traipse sat with the rest of the council as they dealt with matters concerning the subjects. It was easy to tell that everypony who entered the hall was unhappy about the Crystal Heart though many of the complaints were the lack of food, water or medicine amongst the empire. There were also groups that pleaded and begged that the Crystal Heart was returned, but it wasn’t long before the king became tired of the begging and had everypony from that point on severely punished then forced to work under him as his personal slaves.

With each passing pony, Traipse became more and more unhappy with his actions, now not only was he thinking about Princess Luna’s offer, he was guaranteeing his participation in her plan. That night on his way back to his barracks he noticed that everypony he passed seemed depressed. It was as if the energy was completely drained from their bodies. He even had one pony recognize his uniform and asked, “Why?... why would the king do something so cruel. What did we ever do to deserve this?”
Traipse couldn’t bear to look at him, he couldn’t even answer, he just lowered his head and trotted around the poor tormented pony. It appeared that not only did the Crystal Heart give them hope… but it completed them in some way.

On the second day, nothing changed, the ponies still were depressed, the complaints about the Crystal Heart continued to pour in, despite the harsh punishment that befell them. This day seemed like the longest day of Traipse life. The constant reminder of his actions was implanted on every face in the empire… that is every face except King Sombra. Traipse knew that it was no longer an act of loyalty that made him obey the king’s orders… but it was brainwash. Now, with the Princess’s spies, ready to meet him on the next day. He would be able to make up for all the wrong he did, not only with the Crystal Heart… but with everything else he did long before that mission, the lives he took… the nations that fell to his soldiers actions... he had to answer for them all.

The night passed without a dream or nightmare. The next morning he decided to be there early and wait for Princess Luna’s soldiers to arrive rather than meet them after words. As he sat there he closely observed the ponies in the café, each one was moping around as they have been doing since the Crystal Heart was taken. But then a noisy couple entered the café, the mare looked over at the stallion, “Come on honey, this looks like a nice place to eat. Then you can take me sightseeing. I’ve always wanted to see the Crystal Empire in the summer, it’s just so beautiful.”
The stallion sighed, “Dust yo…”
“MRS. MIST!... honey…”
The stallion sighed again, “Amber… you’re taking this whole marriage thing way too seriously. You know we are just undercover right?”

The Mare pouted and replied, “That’s not a very nice thing to say about this marriage, what do you think the kids would say?”
the stallion shook his head, “Ok… first off. We aren’t supposed to have kids in this disguise… and second you need to stop talking to me like we are actually married… it's getting little creepy.”
The mare nudged him and smiled, “Why? Do you want to make it real or something… does the wise captain have feelings for his faithful student? Does he want to make her his bride? Hmm.”
the stallions face turned red as he replied, “Wha… I… uh… no! of course not… that’s why it’s so creepy.”
The mare looked at him and pouted, “That was almost insulting how quickly you answered that. What’s wrong with me?”

As entertaining as the couple seemed Traipse knew that these ponies where his contacts, so he approached them before the stallion was to dig his own grave with his answer to the mare’s question, “Good afternoon? My name is Colonel Traipse of the Crystal Empire. Am I to understand you’re from Canterlot?”
The stallion replied, “Yes we are, my name is Chrome Mist and this is my comp…”
“Wife… Mrs. Amber Mist. We are on our honeymoon, isn’t that right dear?”
Captain Mist looked at His associate and sighed, “Celestia strike me down now while I'm still young…”
Captain Mist continued, “This eccentric little firecracker is Cadet Dust… don’t mind her, this is her first mission.”
Traipse smiled, “Ok well, since you are here now, let’s find a quiet place to talk.

Captain Mist replied, This place is fine, thank you. now to the matter at hoof. As you are already aware, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are going to be here soon, so what we need from you is a little help with the castle guards. Being a colonel, you already have rank over most of the guards so it will be easy for you to help us get into the castle. From there Princess Celestia will do the rest.”
Traipse Replied, “And Princess Luna? what is it she will be doing?”
Cadet Dust asked, “Why are you concerned with Princess Luna?”
Traipse replied, “I just want to make sure she is involved in this too… she spoke to me in a rather cautious tone. I was just hoping she wasn’t going to duck out as soon as the blade is drawn.”

Captain Mist replied, “Don’t worry about a thing. Both Princess Luna and Princess Celestia are in on this. Neither one will hold back when they begin the assault.”
Traipse nodded his head, “Alright then when will they be here?”
“Tomorrow? Why so soon?”
Cadet Dust answered, “Well they were going to be here next week, but with the condition the crystal ponies are in, we can’t wait another day. This has to be taken care of now.”
Traipse agreed, “Very well then I'll mix up the guard schedule so that there is major misunderstanding, this will allow you small opening in the time table. But I think I can only give you an hour tops. Do you think you can get in in that time?”

Captain Mist replied, “It will have to do, say between two and three o’clock?”
Traipse nodded his head, “Done, but I have to ask. When this is all said and done… what’s next?”
Cadet Dust though for a second then answered, “I'm not sure… what is next captain?”
Captain Mist thought to himself and replied, “Well, I suppose things would go back to normal. Only this time another pony would be put in charge of the Crystal Empire… how about you Traipse? You definitely fit the qualifications of a born leader. Why not take charge of the empire?”
Traipse replied, “Thanks but no thanks, I think this would be a time to search for the Crystal Princess.”

Both Captain Mist and Cadet Dust were confused, “Crystal Princess?”
Traipse explained, “Yes, a number of years ago the Empire was ruled by a princess. However, one day she left to travel the world, and hasn’t been heard from since. We all presumed her dead. But its compactly unknown what happened to her. Till then I guess one of the equestrians princesses can take over. Either way I intend to keep my position as Colonel, I'll gladly give up the council though. There is just too much work in it.”
Captain Mist nodded his head and replied, “That sounds like a simple plan to me. but it’s time we get going. Tomorrow around two o’clock we will be waiting for you at the city border. From there we hope you will escort us into the city safely.”
Traipse smiled, “Don’t worry about a thing, I'll do my part… but I expect to meet your princess face to face… not that I don’t trust you… but I'm still confused as to how Princess Luna was able to get into my dreams.”

As the three parted ways Traipse spent what’s left of the day making three different guard schedules making it so confusing that there would actually be an hour with nopony on shift. This made it very easy to assure that there would be no distractions. The next day at about two o’clock Traipse went to the city’s edge were he saw Princess Luna, and another alicorn that he had never met before. They stood with a large number of soldiers around them. As Princess Luna approached him, “It’s nice to finally meet you in the flesh. Did everything go as planned?”
Traipse nodded his head, “Yep, the kings personal guards are the only ones on duty right now. So are we just going to trot through the front doors like you own the place?”
Princess Luna smiled, “Probably.”

There was a brief moment of silence were everypony in the conversation knew it wasn’t the best strategy, until finally Traipse shrugged his shoulders, “Ok, well then let’s get moving, am I to assume your soldiers will join us?”
Princess Luna Replied, “Yes they will split off into the streets to keep the citizens calm, while Captain Mist, Cadet Dust, sister and I will go in and meet the king.”
Traipse could only assume that the Mare standing with Luna was her sister Princess Celestia so he replied, “I never thought I would attempt anything like this… but I completely agree with your choice, He must be stopped. But don’t you have a commander too?”
Princess Celestia replied, “He is watching over Canterlot while we are here. Luna and I will have no trouble taking care of king Sombra on our own.”
Traipse nodded his head, “Ok then let’s go before the guards notice there isn’t anypony on duty.”

Traipse lead both princesses and their soldiers threw the city and to King Sombra’s castle. With each passing street a large number of soldiers broke off of the main group and started securing the homes so that the citizens would stay where they were safe. As they continued Princess Celestia spoke to Traipse, “I’ve heard many things about your skills as a soldier Colonel, perhaps when this is all over you can come to Canterlot and continue your service under my royal guard.”
Traipse nodded his head but answered with only one word, “Perhaps...”
It was easy to see that all of his attention was on their current task.

As Traipse opened the large doors into the throne room, he entered with no hesitation or yielding to the king when the king and his two guards looked his way, “Colonel? May I ask why you have entered my presence with not one, but two Equestrian Princesses?”
Traipse kept his expression of confidence as Princess Celestia spoke, “King Sombra! Your reign of terror has come to an end. Surrender now and your punishment will be minimal.”
The King began to laugh as he replied, “You continue to amaze me Colonel… after everything I’ve done to make you strong, your heart is even black enough to betray me… very well… KILL THE TRAITOR!!!”
The two guards charged forward as Traipse charged at them.

The first guard who was carrying an axe swung vertically at Traipse, but Traipse dodged to the left then punched the guard making him let go of the axe. With the axe still sitting upright on the floor inside the gash it had made, Traipse grabbed the axe handle and spun around removing the soldiers head in a horrifying way.. The next guard drew his sword and swung a number of times trying to hit Traipse, but with each swing Traipse managed to dodge the blade. Finally using the Iron horseshoes on his hooves, Traipse managed to catch the blade then he yanked it from the soldier’s hooves and stabbed the surprised soldier before he could react. As the soldier fell to the ground dead, Traipse looked at King Sombra, “ITS OVER YOUR MAJESTY SURRENDER NOW!”
King Sombra smiled, “You know if I had a son… I’d expect him to be just as heartless as you, you kill your own soldiers, you kill innocents, you stole hope and happiness from thousands, and you betray the king and home you are sworn to protect. You’re just like me, a heartless beast. For that alone… I'll gladly hand over my Empire… but it appears I have better plans for it.”

King Sombra’s horn started to glow brightly as Princess Celestia yelled, “Now sister! He is about to cast some kind of spell!”
Both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna put their horns together and generated a spell using both their magic to fire some kind of beam at King Sombra, just before the Princesses’ beam hit the king, he stomped the ground causing it to shake the entire castle… but that’s all it seemed to do. slowly he start to evaporate into a black smoke. As the smoke slowly made its way up his body, the last thing Traipse could see of the king was his face evaporating with a menacingly evil smile on it.

After the last bit of King Sombra’s horn vanished into the black smoke, the ground started to shake again. Traipse quickly ran to a nearby window, but he couldn’t believe his eyes, “The Empire! Its… Disappearing!”
slowly a wall of light started from the outside of the city and made its way back in. as the light continued to close in on the castle Princess Luna rushed to Traipse and covered him with her wings while Princess Celestia did the same with Captain Mist and Cadet Dust. As soon as the light hit the castle, the floor beneath Traipse vanished and he began to fall from the two stories that the floor originally sat at. As he fell Princess Luna opened her wings and glided them both safely to the ground, Just as Princess Celestia did the same for the other two soldiers. As soon as they landed Traipse looked around.

The entire Crystal Empire was gone… and in its place was a frozen wasteland. All the soldiers that entered the city with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were still here, but everything else was gone. Traipse was stunned, “Where… where is… the castle? Where are the streets? The buildings? The crystal ponies? Where is the empire?”
Captain Mist trotted up to Traipse,” I guess… the spell he used took the kingdom with it.”
Traipse looked at Captain Mist, “Y-you guess? YOU GUESS! What do you mean you guess?! Where is everypony!?! Where is the Empire! What happened to them!?!”
Captain Mist replied, “The spell he used before he was turned into shadows. He decided to take the kingdom with him. this is completely unexpected.”
“UNEXPECTED!?! You said you were here to help the Crystal Ponies!”

Cadet Dust spoke next, “Calm down Traipse this isn’t the time to panic.”
Captain Mist added, “If we start now I'm sure we can find a way to bring them ba…”
Traipse pulled Captain Mist to the ground and pinned him there, “SHUT UP!!! I bet you planed this didn’t you! You all did! YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN KING SOMBRA!!!”
Captain Mist replied, “Easy now, that’s a little harsh isn’t it? we came to help you, if you come back with us to Canterlot then we can figure this out together…”
Princess Luna, Princess Celestia and Cadet Dust all together grabbed Traipse with their magic, pulled him off of Captain Mist, and held him in the air, as Princess Celestia tried to calm him down, “Colonel please! This isn’t the time t…”

Traipse yelled to the group, “ENOUGH! You’re no better than king Sombra! I should have known better than to trust ponies from Equestria! You claim you care about the crystal ponies, you claim that you are here to help them! Well answer me this? WHERE ARE THEY!!! Give me proof that you meant to help them! Show me a pony that you have helped through all this!”
As Cadet Dust helped Captain Mist up from the ground, they all lowered their heads in shame, as Princess Luna replied, Traipse… we meant well. we wanted nothing more than to help them… but this was completely unex…”
“…pected? Yea… I’ve heard that excuse already… just answer me this, why am I still here?”
Princess Celestia replied, “Since you’re only a half blood… maybe the spell was directed toward full blooded crystal ponies, that would explain why my soldiers are still here too.”
“And the king… what happened to him?”
“He was turned to shadow and banished to the Ice of the arctic north…”

Traipse lowered his head, “You can let me down now… I'm not going to attack you.”
The three stopped using their unicorn magic to let Traipse down then Princess Celestia spoke, “Come Traipse, we will go back to Equestria and find out ho…”
“With all due Disrespect, your majesty… I don’t want to go anywhere with the likes of you, your dream corrupting sister, and your pathetic excuse for a captain… in fact. I'm going to leave and I hope to never see any of you… or even step hoof in Equestria for along as I live.”
Captain Mist wiped he blood from his face as he yelled in in rage, “GOOD!!! THEN GO!!!”
Cadet Dust looked at Captain Mist, “Captain… please don’t make thing worse!”

Traipse turned around to trot away, “Very well… Good bye.”
As Traipse trotted by Princess Luna he stopped and looked her in the eye, “And you… if you appear in anymore of my dreams from this moment on… I'll hunt you down, and kill every subject I have to, until I find, and kill you… am I understood… Princess?”
Princess Luna lowered her head in shame, “You won’t see me again Traipse… I promise.”
Traipse continued trotting away as he replied, “Good.”
As Traipse trotted away, Captain Mist spoke to Princess Celestia, “Are you going to let him disrespect you in such a manner? He should be pun…”
Princess Luna interrupted him, “No… it’s us that should be punished… what we did to him… it’s as if we banished him from his home for no reason… we literally destroyed his life”
“Yea, but…”
Princess Celestia added, “Think of it like this captain… say somepony killed both me and Princess Luna, then destroyed Equestria… what would you do then?... You don’t know because that’s exactly what he is trying to figure out for himself.”

Captain Mist looked at Traipse as he disappeared over the horizon, “I… I guess I understand… but isn’t that what a traitor like him deserves?”
Princess Luna replied, “he isn’t a traitor, he only followed his orders as any soldier would. In fact I believe that somewhere in his heart there is some good. Otherwise he would have never helped us. I hope someday he finds it.”
and from that moment on… Traipse left Equestria and vowed never to have anything to do with The kingdom or its princesses ever again.