The Battle of La Frontière

by Archive Scribe

First published

A young Fancy Pants wanting to see the world has joined the army not knowing that his time in the town of La Frontière would change his life forever.

A young Fancy Pants joined the Equestrian army's military loan to Prance program with hopes to see the world. However he gets more than he expected when he's assigned to the Prance/Griffin Empire border town of La Frontière.

Note: While this does take place in the same Universe as "The Visitor" it takes place 20 years earlier. So reading it is not needed to enjoy the story.

Fresh off the Train

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Fancy Pants sat in the train with his fellow soldiers looking at the Prench country side with fascination. As he looked out the window he thought back to the circumstances that got him there.

Prance and the Griffin Empire have been uneasy with each other for decades from old border disputes. While there hasn't been a full scale war for a while there have been small skirmishes on the border the two countries share. Now while Equestria has been neutral to this both sides have been hounding them to pick a side. So after many years Equestria has come up with a compromise. The Equestrian Army would allow willing soldiers to go on loan to either country for a single year of service.

That is where Fancy Pants comes in. The son of a tailor in the slums of Manehattan he has always wanted to travel and see the world. When he learned the Army had this chance he jumped at it as soon as he turned 16 and after months of basic training he was now on his way to the Prance/Griffin Empire border town of La Frontière. He then looked at the others with him all fresh soldiers like him dressed in dark blue service blouses with gold buttons and rank insignias on the upper sleeve, a tan campaign hat with the two alicorn symbol of the Equestrian flag, sky blue trousers for warmth and hind leg protection, thigh high black boots, and chain mill underneath their blouses and over their dark blue shirts and white suspenders for protection against sword attacks that were still common on the battlefield. He turned his attention back to the countryside before he notice the train was pulling into a town.

The train pulled to a stop at a train station and a pony stepped into the cabin. He was dressed in a similar uniform to the others, but more ornate with a black hardee hat with a large feather in it and a grey cape on over his uniform. "Alright privates," He stared, "Welcome to La Frontière. I am Lieutenant Ironside and I will be your commanding officer during your stay here. Now while you are here you are to not only follow my instructions but the instructions of anypony in the Prench Army that is above your rank. You are on loan to Prance and thus must show them the respect you would to an officer of your own country. Are there any questions?" He asked to no response. "Great you will get further briefing once you are settled. Now line up orderly and we'll march to your quarters where you will be assigned a cot." As soon as he was done all the soldiers got out of their seats and formed two straight lines and followed Ironside.

They began to march out of the train with Fancy Pants close to the middle of the line he was in. As they exited the train they got a glimpse of the Prench town of La Frontière. It was a small border town with the buildings that look both Griffin and Prench showing its complicated history on the Prench/Griffin Empire border. Unlike the architecture though all the inhabitants were the tall skinny Prench ponies, with them all dressed in the simple clothing one'd expect to see in a small town like this.

As they marched on the fort that they would be stationed in came into view. The fort of La Frontière was a large old fortress built by the Griffin Empire about a century ago in an effort to expand into Prance. However Prance quickly responded and fought back taking La Frontière and it's fort in the process. Since then La Frontière has been considered a high priority fort against any possible invasion from the Griffin Empire. To keep the fort prepared a lot of measures were taken. There were many soldiers both young and old from both Prance and Equestria, enough to ensure the exact same amount was on guard 24/7 and all armed with swords, crossbows and magic beams from unicorn soldiers. Along with that they had enough artillery to level an entire city. With it being a good mixture of muzzle loading cannons that fire all sorts of cannon balls, and new breach loading cannons that fired a self-contained artillery piece. Prance was ready for whatever the Griffin Empire had for them.

They continued to follow Ironside until they reached one of the barrack buildings. "Alright privates" He began, "You have five minutes to go in there and pick a cot. It will be your home for the next (blank) so choose wisely. Now after you have chosen a cot you are to line up single file in the court yard were you will be assigned to your position. Dismissed!" He ordered and all the new soldiers entered the barracks.

Fancy Pants was rather quick at selecting a cot. He picked one towards the center of the room to decrease his chance of getting called out by the Lieutenant. After he was done he went out to the court yard to await further instructions.

"Attention!!" Ironside yelled as soon as everpony was out in the court yard, "Alright privates now that you're here we are now going to go over what you are doing here...." Ironside started.

As Ironside continued with his briefing Fancy Pants glanced around the fort. He looked at the Prench soldiers and how their uniforms looked almost the same but with bright red trousers and different kepis. As he looked around some more he spotted some nurses going into the infirmary and that is when he saw her, the most beautiful mare he has ever seen.

She was a Prench mare who looked about his age dressed in a nurse's dress with a white coat just like his and a soft pink mane. Fancy Pants watched her join the other nurses on their way into the infirmary. He knew right there that he had to meet her and find out her name.

"Private!!!" Ironside voice came in knocking Fancy Pants out of his thought. When he looked back he saw that Ironside was right in his face.

"S...sir?" Fancy Pants responded nervously.

"What is your name?" Ironside demanded.

Fancy Pants gulped, "Fancy Pants sir."

"Ok then private Pants, I was wondering if you would care to repeat what I just asked," Ironside continued to ask.

"Uh....uh.." Fancy Pants stammered.

"I thought so," Ironside said before turning his attention to the other soldiers. "Let this be an example. My word is law and must be listened too always. I say jump you jump. I say fight you fight and if I say die you die am I clear?"

"Yes Sir!!!" All the soldiers said in unison.

"Good," Ironside as he turned back to Fancy Pants. "Now sense you're new I'll let it slide just this once but I don't want any more slipe ups or you will be punished. Am I clear?"

"Yes sir!!" Fancy Pants responded nervously.

"Good," Ironside then got out of Fancy Pants' face and stepped back in front of the soldiers. "Now since not everypony was listening I'll repeat my question. Who here knows how to read and write?" As he asked all the privates had blank looks except for Fancy Pants who raised his hoof. "Ah," Ironside started as he noticed Fancy Pants again. "My new friend. Where did somepony like you learn how to read and write?" Ironside asked diverting attention back to Fancy Pants.

"My mother was a tailor. So she taught me how to read and write to help her order materials sir." Fancy Pants responded nervously.

"Well then. Do you think you can work a telegraph?" Ironside asked.

"I think I can." Fancy Pants said unsurely.

"I hope you're a fast learner because we need a new telegraph operator and you're the most qualified." Ironside said.

"I'll do my best sir." Fancy Pants said.

"Good when we're done here you'll report to Sergeant Relais." Ironside finished.

"Yes Sir" Fancy Pants saluted as Ironside turned to the others to give them their assignments.

Eventually Ironside was done assigning everypony to their post, and now Fancy Pants was heading to the telegraph office. It was relatively easy to spot with it being a small shack with telegraph wires running in and out of it. He entered the shack to see three other ponies, one prench and the other two equestrian, all gathered around various pieces to telegraph equipment. "Hello," he said interrupting the others.

"Hello there?" The Prench unicorn stallion dressed without his coat and chain mail started as he got up from his chair. "Are you here for something?"

"I uh, I've been placed here Sir," Fancy Pants stammered.

"Oh you must be the new recruit we requested," The Stallion started. "Well welcome to the telegraph office, I'm Sergeant Relais, over there is Swift glider," He said pointing a hoof to the Pegasus only wearing the trousers, suspenders and shirt of his uniform with the sleeves rolled up. "and over there is Cypher," He finished pointing to the earth pony wearing his uniform the same way as Swift Glider but his sleeves weren't rolled up and he still had his hat and boots on.

"Nice to meet you all," Fancy Pants said taking his hat off.

"Now that you know our names what's yours?" Relais asked lighting a cigar.

"Private Fancy Pants Sir." A saluting Fancy Pants responded.

"Hahaha, really can you guys believe this," Swift Glider said laughing.

"Come on Swift, He's new give the kid a break," Cypher said idly.

"Did I do something?" Fancy Pants asked nervously.

Relais sighed and shock his head as he approached Fancy Pants, "No you didn't, some ponies here forget what they were like when they first got here," he said as he put some ash from is cigar in the ashtray on the desk while glaring at Swift Glider. "Don't worry about it though you'll get it. Now lets get you started." he stated as he gestured Fancy Pants into the room.

Fancy Pants nodded and followed the Sargent, "What will you have me do Sargent?"

"Well first just Relais is fine, We're all pretty relaxed here being in this shack all day," Relias reassured.

"Yes Sar.. I mean Relais," Fancy Pants said.

Still sighing Relais decided to move on, "Close enough, Now you are on receiving," He pointed a hoof to the desk with the telegraph machines on it, "You and Cypher will receive and decode the telegrams," He gestured the machine printing out a strip of paper, "They are printed on here in morse code, Do you know how to read morse code?" He asked.

"No I don't," Fancy Pants stated.

"Ok I thought so, Don't worry we'll fix that," Relais reassured as he turned to Cypher, "Cypher is that decoding book around here some where?" He asked.

"I think it's somewhere around here," Cypher said as he started going through the drawers of the desk.

As Cypher went though the drawers Relais turned back to Fancy Pants, "Ok while he's doing that I'll explain the rest, you and Cypher will receive and decode the telegrams, then you'll pass them to me where I figure out where in the fort they go, and Swift Glider will deliver them to their destination, Is there any questions?" he asked.

Fancy Pants looked at the desk, "No I don't have any,"

"Alright if you have any problems just ask Cypher," Relais said as he went to his own desk, "Oh and before I forget you're going to want to take the chain mail off,"

"My chain mail?" Fancy Pants asked looking down at his uniform.

Relais sat back down at his desk, "Yeah, you're going to be sitting in this small and humid shack all day so theirs no point in wearing it and trust me no one will yell at you," He said knowing what Fancy Pants was going to ask.

"Ok," Fancy Pants said as he used his magic to take off his coat and chain mail. He breathed a sigh of relief from losing the weight before draping the coat back on over his shoulders.

"That's better now take a seat and Cypher will walk you though ok?" Relais said before returning to his paperwork.

"Thank you," Fancy Pants said as he turned to the desk to see Cypher found the decoding book. He then took a seat and Cypher began to explain morse code.

A Chance Meeting

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Fancy Pants was making his way to the Telegraph Shack, now at the second week of his time in La Frontière. After being introduced to the ponies he would be working with he spent the rest of his first day having Cypher teach him telegraph decoding. It was a simple task and Fancy Pants was able to grasp it with ease. Machinery always fascinated him and the telegraph was no exception. However over the course of the week and once he looked past the novelty, he discovered it was dreadfully boring.

When the Army advertised this opportunity they said it would be an exciting visit to other countries defending forts from possible invaders. Instead he was stuck in a small shack listening to dots and dashes with the only notable thing being that beautiful mare he saw when he first got here and couldn’t get out of his head. He really hoped something would happen to alleviate his boredom or it was going to be a long tour.

“Fancy Pants.” Sargent Realis’ voice came in, knocking Fancy Pants out of his thoughts.

“Sir?” Fancy Pants asked paying undivided attention to avoid an incident like last weeks.

Realis levitated a piece of paper to him. “ Listen this is a message that Doctor Chirurgien has been waiting for and wants immediately. Since Swift Glider is still out delivering the last batch of messages and Cypher is better at receiving telegrams than you. I need you to deliver this for me.”

“Alright …..Sir…” Fancy Pants responded before another thought came to his head. “Where’s the medical wing?”

Realis chuckled. “Oh I forget you don’t know where everything is yet. It’s on the other side of the fort, just look for the building with nurses entering and leaving. Just go in there and ask for Doctor Chirurgien Okay?”

Fancy Pants nodded. “Yes Sir.” He took the paper and put his kepi on before heading to the medical wing.

Finally spotting the building with the nurses entering and leaving Fancy Pants walked over to the front door and went in the building. Once inside the building he found himself in a reception area with a front desk towards the back and a sitting area with other soldiers, both prench and equestrain waiting to see a doctor.

“Excuse me sir, can I help you with something?” A mare’s voice came in as Fancy Pants looked around.

“Why yes you…” Fancy Pants started as he turned around to look at the receptionist. When he turned around he noticed that it was the same prench mare that distracted him when he first got here. “-can. You ….see….umm….I have a ….message for Doctor …..Chirurgien that he wanted immediately. Miss……”

The receptionist raised an eyebrow in confusion at his stuttering. “Uh…. alright, let me go find him, ok?”

“Thank…” Fancy Pants nervously replied as she left for the surgery room.

After she left, Fancy Pants sat down in one of the chairs for waiting patients, fanning himself with his hat, trying to collect his thoughts. He didn’t know why he felt this way, this was the first time he was even within ten feet of her and yet here he was stuttering and nervous when finally meeting her.

As he sat there thinking the mare came back out followed by an older prench unicorn stallion. He had a faded green coat with his mane, tail and finely trimmed goatee turned grey from age. Along with that he was dressed in more civilian clothing of grey wool trousers and vest, a wrinkled white button up shirt with high stand collar, a black bow tie and a white smock over his clothing.

The older stallion approached Fancy Pants and spoke in prench with a gruff voice. “Bonjour. On m'a dit que vous avez un message pour moi.” (Hello. I was told you have a message for me.)

Fancy Pants just stared at him not understanding what he said beyond Bonjour. The older stallion took note of this and sighed under his breath. “ Equestrians baise. Vous ne pouvez pas putain leur enseigner la langue du pays qu'ils séjourner.” (Fucking Equestrians. Can't fucking teach them the language of the country they're staying in.) “Hello. I’m Médecin en chef Champ Chirurgien. Now I was told by my nurse here that you have a message for me.”

Fancy Pants used his magic to take the message out of his blouse and gave it to Champ Chirurgien. “Yes….. Sargent Relis said you wanted it immediately.”

Chirurgien used his own magic to take the paper while taking out a pair of reading glasses. “ Thank you.” He started to read the message his face showing more anger the more he read it. “ Abrutis Damned . Me attend pour exécuter une aile médicale sans fournitures putain .” (Damned morons. Expecting me to run a medical wing with no fucking supplies.) He threw the message on the ground and stormed back into the surgery room.

Fancy Pants and the mare just stared in the direction of the door before she broke the silence. “ Don’t worry about him. He’ll calm down eventually Mr…. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.”

Snapping out of his blank out Fancy Pants realized that she asked for his name . “Oh …..err…. sorry about that, my name’s Fancy Pants.”

She smiled. “ Fancy Pants. What an interesting name. Well I’m Fleur De Lis.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you Miss De Lis.” Fancy Pants said, finally composing himself.

She looked over to the clock on the wall. “ Thank you, but I really need to get back to the front desk, I’m covering for somepony else right now.”

Nodding Fancy Pants looked toward the outside door. “Yes and I must get back to the Telegraph Shack. Thank you for your help and I hope to see you too.”

As Fancy Pants headed for the outside door Fleur called out to him. “ If you get hurt just come to me and I’ll make sure you get treated.”

“I’ll be sure to do that!” Fancy Pants told her as he left the building.

As he stepped outside and headed to the stairs to the ground level of the fort he heard a voice.

“Hey there Greenie.” Swift Glider said flying into his face.

“Gawh!!” Fancy yelled jumping back at the sudden appearance of the pegasus. “Swift Glider what are you doing here?”

Swift snickered “Oh nothing. Realis wanted me to make sure you found the place.”

Fancy Pants adjusted his hat as he looked up to him. “Well don’t worry I’ve found where it was. He wasn’t happy about the message though.”

Swift just shrugged at this. “Oh Old Pod there? Don’t worry he’s never happy.”

“I see. Well I better get back to the shack.” Fancy Pants said as he started towards the stairs.

“Well as long as you didn’t find anything else interesting while you were there, then I suppose you can leave.” Swift said between snickers, stopping Fancy Pants in his tracks.

Fancy Pants turned around to face him, gulping as he did. “ much of that did you see?” He asked nervously.

The Pegasus landed on the ground and started laughing. “Oh, just enough to know you have a thing for one of the nurses.”

Fancy Pants just blushed as he tried to hide himself with his hat.

“Oh don’t worry greenie.” He said putting a foreleg over Fancy Pants’ shoulder. “It happens to the best of us. Cypher had a thing for one for a while but when he finally approached her it turned out she was already engaged.”

Fancy Pants got nervous at the thought of him embarrassing himself only to find she was already taken.

Swift caught on to this. “Don’t worry, I don’t think that one’s taken.” He said thinking. “Do you know her name?”

Fancy Pants nodded. “Yeah, her name’s Fleur De Lis.”

“Alright, you’re already better off than he was.” He said thinking some more before a thought came to his head. “Ok she’s a nurse right.”

“Yeah.” Fancy Pants said, not liking where this was going.

“Well I know how I can get her to talk to you!” Swift said leading Fancy Pants to the stairs.

“How’s that?” Was all Fancy Pants could say before Swift Glider pushed him down the stairs.

“Enjoy the flight, I don’t think so? I’ll be back with the nurse, so just... stay there.” Swift said, leaving Fancy groaning at the bottom of the stairs before he passed out.