We Serve

Jun 8th, 2016
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  2. BOOM!
  4. BANG!
  6. BOOM!
  8. BOOM!
  10. BOOM!
  12. >Canterlot castle, one of the greatest and most lasting structures of ponykind, shook like some shoddy shack in the wind as another explosion sounded off in the distance
  13. >You watched as cracks formed on the stone floors and walls of the hallway, webbing out into smaller and smaller cracks
  14. >There wasn't a single window that wasn't broken or cracked in some way
  15. >There were pieces of glass scenery, some of them having been crafted more than two hundred years ago, laid all along the hallway, destroyed beyond repair
  16. >Through the window you could hear the screaming of ponies; the ones that had either been too stubborn to leave or who the guard hadn't been able to get to in time to evacuate
  17. >You didn't know; it didn't matter
  18. >All you knew was that HE was coming
  19. >Tirek: The Lord of all Evil, the Eater of Souls, The King of Lies, the Vanguard of Destruction
  20. >Pretty much the WORST, most powerful and most evil creature in the history of forever was making his way toward the castle
  21. >He had come to take the magic of Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and your wonderful, amazing wife Cadence, and he was going to do it even if he had to rip the city off the mountain
  22. >"Captain! Shining! We need to go! WE NEED TO GO RIGHT NOW!"
  23. >Smoked was creeping in through the ruined windows
  24. >Though nearly every building in Canterlot had been carved from the mountain itself it still seemed that the city was burning
  26. >Far off in the distance you could hear Discord's deranged laughter, along with more screaming and more explosions
  27. >This was all of HIS fault
  28. >You had TOLD Princess Celestia that he couldn't be trusted but--
  30. >A hoof slapped against your armor but you ignored it, keeping your hooves firmly planted against the floor, a spear gripped tightly in your magic
  31. >On either side of you were two stallions
  32. >On your right was lieutenant Steel Spark, on your left was Sergeant Flash Sentry
  33. >Both stallions looked tired, ragged and absolutely terrified
  34. >At that moment you three were the only guard left in the castle
  35. >Princess Celestia herself had ordered that not only the civilians be evacuated but the guard as well, since they weren't in any way trained to deal with something of this magnitude
  36. >Your ears perked up slightly as another explosion shook the castle
  37. >Since it still sounded rather far away, you spared a glance over to your lieutenant
  38. "I already told you two to get out of here," you calmly said.
  39. >"Shining, I know that you're worried about your wife, but THIS IS BUCKING TIREK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT!" Flash screamed shrilly, his eyes wide
  40. "As guards it is our duty to protect and serve the princesses," you said, looking back at the giant doors behind you. "So that's what I'm going to do."
  41. >They were the doors to the throne room, where the princesses and your wife were currently staying
  42. >WHY they were holed up in there you couldn't even begin to guess, but you honestly didn't care at this point
  43. >As long as you stood there Tirek and Discord WERE NOT getting in there
  44. >Steel Spark looked at you like you had just declined a new Neighton saddle bag
  45. >"Colt, you know as well as I do we're not properly trained for this. For Celestia's sake, we're BARELY trained at all!"
  46. >Sadly enough, what he said was true
  47. >Unlike the Equestria Legion, the countries true fighting force, the Royal Guard were mostly for ceremony
  49. >Ponies liked to see stallions dressed up in armor "protecting" the princesses from possible harm what had turned into a joke hundreds of years ago had turned into a "proud" tradition
  50. >If you'd even call it that...
  51. >Though many had speculated that the princesses just kept you all in the castle as their personal harem you knew better
  52. >Princess Celestia, bless her heart, had turned this joke into "career" where stallions of all classes could just get... away
  53. >She gave them a job, a wage, something to look forward to every morning
  54. >But, because of the "old guard" of nobles in Canterlot, the one thing that you DIDN'T have was proper training
  55. "If you two go through the servants exit you should be able to get away without Tirek or Discord seeing you."
  56. >Flash tried to shove you again but you didn't move
  57. >"Shining! Let the mares handle this! This isn't a problem that we can solve!"
  58. >He shoved you again, causing you to grunt
  60. >Flash tried to push you again but Steel Spark roughly grabbed him
  61. >"Buck it, if the colt wants to die then he can die. I'm too pretty to get murdered by some weird Frankenstein and a magic-sucking monster. Come on Flash."
  62. >Flash tried to struggle in your lieutenant's grasp as he began to drag him over to the small servants hallway that ran adjacent to the throne room
  64. >You could resist smiling, giving your head a slight shake
  65. >You don't care what the other fellas said about Flash; he was a good stallion and you'd boop anypony that said otherwise
  66. >You'd boop the SHIT out of them
  67. BOOM!
  69. >You took in a deep breath as another chunk of glass fell from one of the windows and exploded as it hit the floor
  70. >Alright Shining
  72. >Twilight and her friends were nowhere to be seen, Tirek had sent the Eastern army running for Baltimare, Canterlot was most likely in ruins AND on fire and two demi-gods with powers beyond your comprehension were coming here to kill your rulers and do Celestia knows what else
  73. >You could do this...
  74. >You were GOING to do this...
  75. >You exhaled and closed your eyes, keeping your spear pressed tightly against your side...
  77. >Be Shining Armor
  78. >Private Shining Armor of Celestia's Royal Guard to be exact
  79. >Yep, that's right, YOU were in the royal guard!
  80. >Newly graduated in fact!
  81. >No being a lowly housecolt for you!
  82. >Nope, you were tasked to protect Princess Celestia herself!
  83. >It was your job to protect the most powerful mare in the world from any that would harm her
  84. >And she TRUSTED that you'd do it!
  85. >Take THAT matriarchy!
  86. >Wewillhaveacoltinoffice.scroll
  87. >It was a bright and sunny day in Canterlot
  88. >You were making your way through the hallways of Canterlot castle--the place where you were NOW working at by the by-- to go and see Princess Celestia
  89. >While seeing the princess was nothing new, you pretty much got to see her every single day, the reason that the princess had called you to the throne room had put one heck of a pip in your step
  90. >There was a visitor that had come to Canterlot; a visitor who had personally requested to see you
  91. >He was the Lion of the West, Celestia's Shadow, the Hero Amongst Stallions EVERYWHERE!
  92. >He was Lord Anonymous, the first, and only, male general in the Equestrian Legion
  93. >Ever since you were little you had been hearing stories about this stallion
  94. >How he had seemingly come out of nowhere and had not only managed to become a legionnaire, something which stallions were NOT allowed to do, but he had quickly climbed the ranks to become one of Equestria's most steadfast and mighty guardians
  95. >Many a night you had gone to bed listening to your mom tell you stories of his exploits that she had read from the paper
  97. >You and your friends had nearly come to blows trying to figure out who was going to be Lord Anon whenever you played pretend
  98. >Sweet Celestia above, you had even dressed up as him once or twice for Nightmare Night
  99. >Andtodayyouweregoingtomeethim!
  101. >YouwereSOEXCITED!
  102. >While a part of you wanted to SKIP toward the throne room you managed to reel yourself in
  103. >Today you were going to meet probably one of the most powerful and amazing and tough stallions in the whole wide world
  104. >You wanted to make a good impression
  105. >No, scratch that, you NEEDED to make THE BEST impression EVER
  106. >So you made your way to the throne room with calm, measured steps, all the while wondering why lord Anonymous wanted to see you of all ponies
  107. >Was he trying to recruit more stallions into the legion?
  108. >Had he seen you during boot camp and thought that you were good enough?
  109. >You could see it now
  110. >General Shining Armor, the second stallion to shatter the glass ceiling and win victories for all of stallionkind
  111. >And looking FABULOUS while doing it!
  112. >You salute to the guards standing on either side of the throne room doors
  113. >They salute back, their horns glowing
  114. >The door opened, and with your head held high you stepped into the throne room
  115. >"Good morning, Shining Armor. I hope that you slept well."
  116. >You could see Princess Celestia sitting on her throne, looking down at you with a small smile on her face
  117. >Beside her you could see your fillyfriend Cadence nervously fidgeting on a small chair next to her
  118. >Like she always was, your fillyfriend was wearing her thick-rimmed glasses and a slightly too big sweater
  119. >A lot of the stallions might have said that she was the queen of all dorks, somepony who most DEFINITELY shouldn't be a princess, but you thought she was cute
  120. >Your cutest-wootsy, honey bear
  122. "Good morning, Princess," you said, looking around the room as you trotted forward, taking off your helmet and placing it under your leg. "Hello honey."
  123. >Celestia grinned as Cadence blushed, her wings ruffling against her sides
  124. >"M-Morning, Shiny," she mumbled as you grew closer
  125. >While she would usually have hopped out off her makeshift throne to come and get some nuzzles from you she stayed put, eyeing the door
  126. >Lord Anonymous wasn't in the room yet, oddly enough
  127. >He was probably off beating off a mess of hot mares trying to get to the throne room...
  128. >Yeah... that's probably why he wasn't here yet
  129. >You stopped at the foot of Celestia's throne, eyeing the door
  130. "So, Princess, since Lord Anonymous isn't here yet could you tell me WHY he wanted to see me specifically?"
  131. >You make sure to flutter your eyelashes at her
  132. >Mares ALWAYS broke down when you gave them the ol' eyelash flutter
  133. >"Please? Just a hint?"
  134. >Celestia's smile became just a tad more forced
  135. >"I promise that you shall see in a few moments, my little pony," she promised
  136. >Her nose scrunched up slightly
  137. >"Sweet sun above I hope he likes you better than the others..."
  138. >...Wait
  139. >What did she ju--"
  140. >"My lady, Lord Anonymous wishes to enter the throne room!" one of the guards called
  141. >Celestia's smile came back in full force
  142. >"Please send him in, Hoplite."
  143. >Ohmygoshhe'sbuckingcomingcolt!
  144. >You all but slammed your helmet back onto your head, standing as tall as you could and holding your head up high
  145. >Makeagoodimpression
  146. >Makeagoodimpression!
  147. >Youdon'twanttoruinthisstallion!
  148. >The doors once again opened, revealing two figures
  149. >But, at that moment, you only had eyes for one of them
  150. >He was a giant, at least twice as large as a normal sized stallion, and he was wearing the dull-grayish plate armor that the soldiers of the legion were known for
  151. >Under his arm was a helmet that showed his rank of general
  152. >On his chest was the sigil of the sun, and on his side was a longsword
  154. >A grizzled, scarred face was the only thing that wasn't covered by some sort of armor
  155. >You couldn't help but shiver when you saw his eyes
  156. >Though they were small, MUCH smaller than a ponies, they almost seemed to glow with this... something
  157. >Determination, intensity, bucking stallion pride, you didn't know
  158. >But it was BUCKING AWESOME!
  159. >Both him and the mare standing next to him, whoever the buck she was, strode into the throne room
  160. >Celestia's smile widened and a look that you've never seen her wear came to her face
  161. >"Hello, my lord. I trust that the journey here was a calm one?"
  162. >Coming to the foot of the Princess's throne--and ignoring you completely you couldn't help but notice-- lord Anonymous got down on one knee
  163. >"My lady, the west holds," he said, bowing his head
  164. >Though you didn't say anything, your nose scrunched up just a hair at seeing the toughest, brightest stallion bowing to Princess Celestia like that
  165. >Don't get it twisted, Princess Celestia was one heck of a mare, but scraping and bowing like THAT?!
  166. >You'resettingusbackcolt.jpg
  167. >"Please, please, none of that, Anonymous," Princess Celestia said with a wave of the hoof. "Rise. Rise. Come and say hello to your god-niece."
  168. >...God-niece?
  169. >As lord Anonymous rose, Cadence was making her way down toward him with a bright smile on her face
  170. >The Lion of the West raised an eyebrow as he stared down at the pink alicorn
  171. >"My lady Cadenza," he loftily said
  172. >"My lord Nonny," Cadence loftily responded, puffing her chest out
  173. >The two stared at each other for a moment or two before lord Anonymous smiled
  174. >"How's my little Candy doing?" he asked, kneeling back down to pull your fillyfriend into a hug
  175. >With a quiet, happy giggle, Cadence wrapped her hooves around his neck
  176. >"I'm doing alright, Nonny," she said, nuzzling his scarred cheek. "Did you get those letters I send you?"
  178. >"Of course, and I assume that your aunt gave you the taffy I sent to you? I made sure to send her as much of it as I could but you know how my lady is with her sweets."
  179. >Cadence giggled again as Princess Celestia huffed quietly
  180. >You, for your part, were just standing there with your mouth agape
  181. >OMG
  182. >OMG colt!
  183. >Lord Anonymous, THE LORD ANONYMOUS, was the god-father to your fillyfriend?!
  184. >Whyhadn'tshetoldyou?!
  185. >SheknewhowmuchyoulovedlordAnonymousandsheknewhowmuchyouwantedtobelikehim!
  186. >Oh.My.Celestia.ifyouandCadencegotmarriedwouldthatmeanthatyou'dberelatedtolordAnonymous?!
  187. >Ohthat'dbesobuckingawsomecolt!
  188. >You must have made a noise, because Celestia, your marefriend and lord Anonymous turned to look at you
  189. >The general's expression, which had almost looked fatherly, instantly hardened in such a way that made you take a nervous step back
  190. >His gaze snapped over to the mare that had come into the throne room with him
  191. >"Captain Raven, please, who is this stallion standing in front of me?"
  192. >The mare now known as Raven, who had her mane in a tight bun and who was wearing a pair of red wire-framed glasses, looked at you with an almost bored expression
  193. >"That is Shining Armor of the Sparkle Clam, my lord. Son of Velvet Sparkle and Nightlight."
  194. >The general's eyes narrowed ever so slightly
  195. >"Noble?" he grumbled
  196. >The captain nodded
  197. >"Yes, my lord. His mother is a countess if I'm not mistaken."
  198. >How the hay did she--
  199. >Standing back up to his full, impressive height, the general made his way over to you
  200. >You just stood there wide-eyed, frozen
  201. >Ohmygosh
  202. >Hewascomingthiswayandhedidn'tlookhappy!
  203. >Youweren'tmakingagoodimpressionShining!
  204. >Saveit!
  206. >Your hooves clicked together as you saluted
  207. >"Private Shining Armor of the Third Division reporting SIR!" you yelled, your voice slightly shrill
  208. >The general stopped just a few feet from you, CRUSHING you with his presence alone
  209. >"A Solar Guard eh?" he growled, leaning down to get a good look at you
  211. >Itsnotrapeifcoltsdoit.awwwwww
  212. "S-Sir yes si--epp!"
  213. >You flinched as the general quickly squatted down and grabbed your face
  214. >You could feel one of his rough hands move your head back and forth as the other fiddled with your armor
  215. >Sweet Celestia, didn't this colt use LOTION?!
  216. >"So this is the one that I had to come all of the way out here to see," the general mused, looking over his shoulder at a now CLEARLY nervous Cadence. "Candy, you're letters didn't do this... fine stallion... justice."
  217. >W-Was...
  218. >Was he comple--
  219. >The general stood back up and walked over to your fillyfriend
  220. >"Candy, could you leave us for a little bit?" he asked, placing a hand on her withers. "I need to speak to your... stallionfriend for a moment. Alone."
  221. >"Alright, Nonny," she said with a happy wiggle, leaning up and kissing him on the cheek
  222. >Lord Anonymous smiled at that
  223. >"Good girl. How about we go to the market after I finish up here? I heard that one of the stalls is selling Blackberries."
  224. >Cadence's eyes widened
  225. >"Blackberries?!"
  226. >"And we can get pizza afterward if you so wish."
  227. >"PEETZ--I mean PIZZA?!"
  228. >With another happy wiggle, she raced away, stopping only to give you a peck on the cheek
  229. >"I'llseeyoulaterhoneyBYE!"
  230. >Your lips twitched upward as Cadence raced out of the throne room
  231. >ADORABLE...
  232. >It wasn't until Cadence had left and the doors had closed behind her did you look back at lord Anonymous and Princess Celestia, who had climbed off her throne to stand next to him
  233. >"Shining? Could you come over here please?"she asked, her smile now gone
  234. >...
  235. >Ohcoltwhat'sgoingtohappen?!
  236. >Feeling nervous, more nervous than you had ever felt in your life, you did as you were asked
  237. "Y-Yes, princess?"
  238. >Giving lord Anonymous a look, one which he refused to acknowledge, opting to just STARE at you, the princess walked over to you
  240. >"Shining Armor, for nearly a year you've brightened up my niece's life by being her stallionfriend," the princess began, her smile, though diminished, returning. "Though I was... leery at first about you--"
  241. >Oh, that's nice
  242. >"--I have to admit that I've more than warmed up to you. Your character and upstanding nature make you one of the best young stallions that I have had the pleasure of meeting in a number of years. The remarkable talent that you showed during training camp has only strengthen my opinion of you."
  243. >Celestia's smile widened as you flushed slightly under her praise
  244. >"You are, in my most humble opinion, one of the best stallions that my little Mi Amore has ever brought home with her and, while the thought is still FAR off, I wouldn't mind calling you nephew someday."
  245. >...
  246. >W-Wow...
  247. >You don't...
  248. >You don't k-know what to s-say...
  249. >You opened your mouth to thank her, to tell her that you'd be HONORED to be her nephew if you were lucky enough for Cadence to ask for your hoof in marriage, when a hand came into your field of view
  250. >It clamped down on your mouth HARD, and before you could so much as bat an eye you found yourself in the air
  251. >Lord Anonymous said nothing as he looked into your eyes
  252. >He didn't look angry, or happy, or irritated, or bemused
  253. >He didn't look like he wanted to yell or scream or anything like that
  254. >No, the look that he was giving you was devoid of any emotion, but even still it carried this kind of... warning to it
  255. >You tried to look away from him but his gaze hardened
  256. >"Though I am the Guardian of the West it is my duty as a general of the Equestrian Legion to protect the realm from those who would threatened her majesty's kingdom." he said. "From what I have been told, Dodge Junction has been having troubles with a rather large group of bandits."
  257. >His grip on your muzzle tightened ever so slightly
  259. >"Since Lady Delicious can't seem to get a handle on the bandits I have come in to see if I can help. SO, I am taking the thirty-third to Rumbling Rocky Ridge, where these bandits are said to reside, while Lady Delicious comes around with the Fifty-eighth from Baltimare to cut off their retreat."
  260. >You grunted as he let you go, your rump painfully hitting the marble floor
  261. >"In two days we will be making the journey. You will be accompanying us."
  262. >Turning back toward Princess Celestia, lord Anonymous inclined his head
  263. >"My lady."
  264. >Though she looked frustrated, Celestia nodded
  265. >"We will speak later, Anonymous, but you are free to leave."
  266. >"I will make sure that Cadence and I get you something from the market," lord Anonymous promised, looking over to his subordinate. "Raven, come."
  267. >"Sir yes sir."
  268. >Neither of them acknowledged you as they walked past, you rubbing your muzzle as you watched them leave with wide, and slightly teary, eyes
  269. >You looked over at Celestia, who smiled nervously back
  270. >"I think that he likes you."
  272. ~-~-~-
  274. >It had been ten days since you had been shipped of with the general and his force of five hundred mares
  275. >And sweet Celestia above were you NOT happy
  276. >Your hooves had blisters on their blisters
  277. >Your body ached from all of the walking that you had to do
  278. >Your armor and pack were HEAVY
  279. >You were filthy, you've barely gotten ANY sleep and you were pretty sure that you were never going to look at a bush the same way again
  280. >...
  281. >That poor bush...
  282. >It had taken a day or two, but eventually you figured out what the hay was going on
  283. >This was just like when your mom had sat in your living room cleaning off her old war mace when Cadence came over to pick you up for your first date
  284. >The general wanted to make sure that you weren't just some no good gold digging stallion that only wanted to be with her for the title
  285. >So he had brought you out here to try to scare you, to drive you away from your marefriend
  287. >And, while it hurt just a little bit that he hadn't brought you out here so that the two of you could become besties, you understood why that he did it
  288. >There probably weren't even any bandits around Dodge Junction
  289. >You bet your entire collection of lacy ball bras that the general was just leading you around in circles, making you march and eat this HORRIBLE food and use the bathroom in... places to intimidate you so much that you'd run for the hills
  290. >And you know what?
  291. >Lord Anonymous might not have liked you, he might have even hated your guts, but you were going to show him that you were a good stallion!
  292. >This might be a little different from the guard-- they didn't even have NAP TIME or SHOWERS or ANY of that-- but you could handle it
  293. >In fact, you could more than handle it!
  294. >So you had thrown yourself at whatever duties that you could get your hooves on
  295. >They needed somepony to patrol your camps at night?
  296. >You were the stallion
  297. >They needed help moving a fallen tree or a bunch of rocks away from the road you were traveling on?
  298. >You had more than enough magic
  299. >Did these grouchy, grumpy mares need somepony to talk to?
  300. >...
  301. >Well... if anypony was asking you'd be happy to help with that too
  302. >Though many of the legionnaires had been leery of you, your stallion charm and can do attitude slowly began to win many of them over
  303. >They started talking to you, a few of them began helping you set up your tent at night, when it was dinner time many would make their way over to you, chatting and teasing and even sometimes showing you these neat little tricks on how to clean your armor or how to tie a knot
  304. >Though the general mostly ignored you, staying at the front of his column and retreating into his MASSIVE tent at night withthe CO's, you were starting to win the common soldier over
  305. >Soon lord Anonymous would HAVE to see that you weren't some whiny stallion that let a mare do the heavy lifting when things got tough
  306. >You were tough!
  307. >You were reliable!
  308. >You could hang with any of the mares!
  309. >You could get down and dirty and tough it out like the best of them!
  310. >In your confidence you found yourself getting a little... cocky
  311. >During the start of every day you could yourself getting closer and closer to the front of the column
  312. >You wanted the general to see just how tough you were, even if he was doing everything that he could to stay away from you
  313. >Show him that there was more than one bad ass stallion out in these neck of the woods!
  314. >As you came upon the Rambling Rock Ruins, said to be the last stronghold of Commander Hurricane before she succumbed to feather flu at the old age of a hundred and three, you finally got the chance to stand next to him
  315. "Good morning, lord Anonymous!" you chirped, making sure that your pack was tied securely on your back
  316. >The other day one of the bands that held the top together snapped but you think your knot was going to hold...
  318. >It was a double overhand knot
  319. >Whatchaknowaboutknotscolt.scroll
  320. >"Say that when the sun pokes over those blasted mountains, boy," the general muttered as he yawned hugely, adjusting the pack on his shoulders
  321. >...
  322. >Oh...
  323. >So he's just going to ignore the fact that he dragged you all the way out here and basically left you on your own with hundreds of big, smelly, lonely mares?
  324. >#throwingshadecolt
  325. >"Raven, did our scouts meet up with Delicious's troop yet?"
  326. >Captain Raven, who looked just as tired as the general, shook her head
  327. >"I only sent them out a few hours ago, my lord."
  328. >"They were pegasi, Captain, and Fifty-eighth shouldn't be more than twenty miles away from us."
  329. >"Should I send out a party to see where they ran off to, my lord?"
  330. >You couldn't help but roll your eyes
  331. >Were these two seriously acting like you were actually LOOKING for something out here?
  332. >Ohcoltpls...
  333. >Lord Anonymous, for the first time since he had dragged you out here, looked over at you, his brow furrowed
  334. >"...Captain, I want the entire column battle-ready within the hour. Tell the girls to bring only their weapons and their canteens."
  335. >He gestured at you
  336. >"And make sure that this one gets a shield and a spear. I promised our lady that he'd come home alive and I mean to keep that promise."
  337. >You snorted quietly
  338. >Lookatdisherecolt
  339. >"COLUMN STOP!" Raven roared
  340. >A small frown came to your face as, all along the line, officers were shouting for the troops to stop
  341. >"Boy, I want you to get in the center of the column," lord Anonymous said, pulling off his pack. "I have a feeling that we're about to walk into something unpleasant and you don't have nearly enough training to hold the line with us."
  342. >REALLY NOW?
  344. >You huffed quietly, your nose scrunching up, as the general turned to Captain Raven
  346. >"Raven, make sure that he gets his equipment and that he gets back to where he's supposed to be."
  347. >Raven saluted
  348. >"I'll make sure to carry your orders are carried out while doing so, sir."
  349. >"Good lass. Now get going. I want to have this column in battle formation before the sun's up."
  350. >Ugh...
  351. >Here we bucking go...
  352. >Within the hour everypony was ready for "battle ready" and walking toward the mountains
  353. >You had asked the mare next to you what was going to happen to all of the packs that you had left back at camp and she had told you, with the FAKEST thousand yard stare that you've ever seen, that the survivors would get them after the "battle" was over
  354. >What, did lord Anonymous have every single pony in one this?
  355. >You bet that he and that captain of his were walking ahead of the column laughing themselves silly
  356. >You bet they thought you were back here SHAKING in your horseshoes
  357. >...
  358. >Well you WEREN'T!
  359. >You knew the little game that the general was playing and you didn't like it one little bit
  360. >You understood that he wanted the best mare for Cadence
  361. >You understood that he was just being protective
  362. >But going this far?
  363. >Really?
  364. >REALLY?
  365. >Well you weren't going to just sit back and take this!
  366. >You were a strong, confident stallion!
  367. >You were going to go BACK to the front of the column and call lord Anonymous out on his horse apples!
  368. >If that colt wanted to throw shade you'd throw bucking shade
  369. >You'd throw so much shade they'd have to start calling you Shading Armor
  370. >Though the mares that you were standing next to shouted for you to stay in formation you ignored them, pushing through the ranks while you grumbled to yourself
  371. "Bucking... frazzling... thinks he's so tough with his bucking army... horse apples... making us walk all the way out here for nothing..."
  372. >It took a while, with a lot more shoving than you were used to, but eventually you made it to the front of the column
  374. "Anonymous! I need to speak with you!"
  375. >Lord Anonymous, dressed in full battle armor, turned to look at you
  376. >"Boy, what did I tell you?" he snapped, his face contorting in fury. "Get your ass back in the middle of the line!"
  377. "No! I'm SICK of you walking around like you have a pair of teats! Stallions are supposed to stick together! We're supposed to be a bucking brotherhood and you're going out of your way to buck with me!"
  378. >"Boy, I'm not asking you I'm telling you to get back in line. We're about to--"
  379. >And that's when you heard it
  380. >Somewhere, deep behind the trees, a lone horn sounded out, then another, then another
  382. >Grabbing you by the back of your chest plate, lord Anonymous forced your behind him
  383. >"Raven! Keep this stupid fuck from dying! SHIELDS!"
  384. >You jumped as the column let out a shout
  385. >Shields went up and spears were readied as what sounded like a hundred horns continued to blow
  386. >...
  387. >What was...
  388. >Were they really...
  389. >"Make sure to take a step back with everypony else."
  390. >Your head snapped over to the Captain, who's shield and spear were raised like everypony elses, who was staring steely-eyed into the heavily wooded area in front of you
  391. "W-What?" you squeaked, clutching your shield tightly against your chest
  392. >"From my reports we're going to be fighting gryphons and diamond dogs. Since they like to slam into their enemies we always take a step backward to trip them up before we slam into them."
  393. >All at once the horns stopped
  394. >The only sounds that could be heard was the breathing of the mares around you
  395. >You looked all around, trying to see if this was some kind of joke
  396. >Lord Anonymous had dragged you out this far, why wouldn't he try something like this?
  397. >But, to your horror, it didn't look like this was some kind of prank
  398. >You could see fear, determination, resolution, along with a dozen other emotions on the mares faces
  400. >They were holding their weapons too tightly, you noticed, they looked too... ready for this to be fake
  401. >"Come on... Come on... Come on you buckers..."
  402. >"As the Harmony in our hearts soars, I prithee, Celestia, keep us from harm..."
  404. >You gagged as a... smell filled your nostrils
  405. >Was that...
  406. >Did somepony...
  407. >...
  408. "R-Raven, what's g-goin on?" you asked, beginning to shake
  409. >You could hear movement in the trees
  410. >Shouting and growling and the metal clangs of weapons hitting shields
  411. >"GET READY!" lord Anonymous roared
  412. >Raven looked over at you, her mouth set in a thin line
  413. >"Just stay close to me and you'll be fine," she promised, before once again turning her attention forward
  414. >...
  415. >Oh buck...
  416. >This was happening wasn't it?
  417. >This wasn't just come kind of sick prank
  418. >You all were actually going to be fighting bandits and Celestia knows what else...
  419. >Whatever emotions that you felt coming to the front of the column drained away
  420. >Fear, primal, overpowering fear replaced it
  421. >You shouldn't be here
  422. >You needed to get away
  423. >Why had you been so bucking stubborn to get up here to yell at the general?
  424. >You were too close to the lin--
  425. >An ear splitting shout came from the woods
  426. >You could see figures lining up at the edge of the forest
  427. >There were hundreds them
  428. >Oh buck...
  429. >Oh buck...
  430. >OhbuckohbuckohbuckohbuckohbuckOHBUCKOHBUCKOHBUCKOHBUCK!
  431. >You jumped again as the mares around you let out a shout, slamming their spears against their shields
  432. >"Just make sure to keep that shield up, you'll be fine."
  434. >On and on and on the opposing side grew in number
  435. >Diamond dogs, gryphons, you even think you could make out a pony or two in the distance
  436. >They were shouting, jeering at you as they slammed their weapons together
  437. >The mares around you were silent, calmly holding their ground, their shields up and their weapons raised
  438. >"Come on your buckers! COME ON..."
  439. >"--And so I ask, if I fall upon this day, that my soul I may take to--"
  440. >You jumped once more as you heard what sounded like a hundred rubber bands snapping against somepony's leg
  441. >"CROSSBOWS!" somepony yelled
  442. >"SHIELDS UP!" lord Anonymous snapped
  443. >As one, your troop raised their shields
  444. >A moment later you, shaking like a leaf, hastily did the same
  445. >For a moment nothing happened as you stood there raising your slightly too heavy shield
  446. >But then, just when you were bout to lower your shield, you could hear metal slamming against metal
  447. >"BUCKING-"
  448. >"I'M HIT!"
  450. >All at once bolts seemed to be coming down on you like rain
  451. >You could see sparks coming off of the other mares' shields and armor as the bolts hit them
  452. >Ohbuckohbuckohbuckoh--
  453. >You yelped as a bolt slammed into your shield with a surprising amount of force
  454. >Thrown off balance, you were about to stumble, when an unseen force quickly yanked you back up
  455. >"Keep on your hooves, Private!"
  456. >You could hear screaming over the rain of bolts, and, to your horror, you could hear laughter as well
  457. >You shut your eyes as tight as you could, holding your shield over your head and praying to anything and everything that you could think of, too scared to even soil yourself
  458. >Ohbuckyouweregoingtodiehereandwhydidn'tyoujustlistentolordAnonymousyoustupiddummyheadand--
  460. >Your eyes snapped open and your ears perked up
  461. >...What?
  463. >It took a second, but you noticed that the arrows were coming down anymore
  464. >Thank Celestia
  465. >What did lord Anonymous say, something about--"
  466. >With a shout, everypony around you lowered their shields, interlocking them, and raised their spears
  467. >Ohbuckinghorseapplescolt!
  468. >As you brought your shield down, nearly impaling lord Anonymous with your spear as you did so, you could hear the enemy's shouting getting louder and louder
  469. >"Remember: you need to take a step back with us," Raven yelled in your ear. "I'll tell you when!
  470. >Wha--
  471. >Who--
  472. >Right!
  473. >Oh RIGHT!
  474. >You shook your head, looking straight forward
  475. >You couldn't really see anything, what with lord Anonymous standing in front of you like he was
  476. >So you just stood there and waited
  477. >"GET READY, LADIES!"
  478. >You could still hear mares all around you screaming
  480. >The screaming got louder and louder and louder, until it seemed to be the only thing that you could hear in your helmet
  481. >The ground underneath you began to shake as the bandits got closer and closer
  482. >You gagged as the smell of blood filled your nose
  483. >OhbuckingbuckbuckBUCK!
  484. >With a whimper, you closed your eyes once more
  485. >You could see your father smiling back at you
  486. >There was your mother, carrying you to bed to read you a bedtime story
  487. >There was your little sister, hiding in that book fort that you had helped make her the last time that you were--
  488. >"Step back! STEP BACK!"
  489. >Not twenty feet in front of you you heard a shout that nearly busted your eardrums
  490. >Your own troops, who hadn't moved an inch since the bandits had advanced, answered the shout with a war cry of their own
  492. >"STEP BACK!"
  493. >As one, you all took a step back
  494. >Though you didn't see it, the enemy stumbled, many finding that their attacks had hit empty air
  495. >"ADVANCE!"
  496. >An unseen force grabbed you by your armor and forced you forward
  497. >As that happened the front row launched themselves forward, their spear darting out through their shields
  499. >You could hear screams of pain as Raven, keeping you close in hoof with her magic, forced you to take another step forward
  501. >Another war cry sprang up from the enemy
  502. >You weren't able to take another two steps when the bandits SLAMMED into the front row
  503. >Your row kept running forward, slamming into the front row so that it didn't topple
  507. >To your right a mare went down in a spray of b-blood, a rusty knife sticking out of her chest
  508. >From behind you a mare began screaming as a crossbow bolt pierced her leg
  510. >You could see them now
  511. >The bandits
  512. >They were yelling, cursing at you as they swing their weapons, charged forward, and fell to a flurry of spear thrusts
  513. >Mares were falling left and right, but for every one that fell another would take their place, the same look of grim determination on their face that had been on the mare who had just fallen
  514. >With another yelp, you thrusted your spear forward as hard as you could, trying to do... something
  515. >You could feel somepony grabbing onto it and trying to pull it away from you
  517. >You nearly slammed into lord Anonymous as the spear was eventually yanked out of your hoof
  519. >Luckily, Raven was there to yank you back toward her
  520. >"STAY BESID--"
  521. >"MANTICORE!"
  522. >Cursing, Raven once again grabbed you as the shield wall collapsed, mares rushing to get out of the way even as an ear-shattering roar filled the air
  523. >You could see it, a MASSIVE, bloody, scarred manticore
  524. >It was charging through a gap made by the bandits, its wings spread and its lips drawn back into a snarl
  528. >Dozens of horns sparked to life, and in an instant spell upon spell began raining down on the manticore
  529. >Fireballs hit it square in the face
  530. >It stumbled as an arcane bolt slammed through its shoulder
  531. >You could see ice staring to form on its ruined mane as an ice spell hit it square in the face
  532. >But still, with all of that it didn't slow down
  533. >It let out another crazed roar, its bloodshot eyes focused on lord Anonymous, who hadn't moved an inch from his current position
  534. >The general was busy with a trio of bandits, stabbing with and swinging around his spear as he used his shield like a battering ram
  540. >A diamond dog went down with a yelp as the general slammed its shield into its face
  541. >Swinging his spear at a gryphon with a sword and a dirty, mangy earth pony with an axe, he took a step back, readied his spear, and threw it as hard as he could
  542. >You could practically HEAR it whizzing through the air toward the manticore
  543. >The manticore let out its loudest roar yet as the spear found its mark and pierced its side, causing it to lose its footing and fall to the ground
  544. >It's tail darted out, slamming into a group of bandits, going through the b-belly of...
  546. >Ohyou'regoingtobesick!
  547. >Without missing a beat, lord Anonymous pulled his longsword from its sheath and stabbed at the earth pony
  550. >You found yourself on the ground as mares launched themselves forward back into the fray
  551. >Your helmet rolled off your head as you covered your head with your hooves, only to accidentally smack yourself with your shield
  552. >OW!
  553. >MOTHER--
  554. >THAT'S BLOOD!
  556. >YOU'REDYING!
  557. >YOU'RE...
  558. >You looked around to see the cold, lifeless eyes of a dead unicorn staring back at you
  559. >With a whinny, you found yourself jumping to your hooves
  560. "Ohgoshohgoshohgosh!"
  561. >You throw your shield away as you begin to desperately search for Raven amidst the dozens of small battles that were going all around you
  562. >You nearly slipped on a pool of blood as a spear whizzed past your head and slammed into a diamond dog
  563. >WherewasRaven?!
  564. >Youneededtofindthecaptainrightnow!
  565. >Youcouldn'tbeoutintheopenlikethis!
  566. >You were about to hop over another body when a shield slammed into your side, sending you headlong into the air
  567. "UGH--!"
  568. >You hit the ground HARD, wheezing in pain, with tears in your eyes
  569. >There was a gryphon, who had a rather nasty cut under her left eye, flying toward you with a mace ready to swing
  570. >It took a second, but you eventually realized that she was going to hit you with that mace
  571. >She was going to hit you with ithardandyouweregoingtodieandyouneededtodosomethingRIGHTNOWBECAUSEYOUDIDN'TWANTTOBUCKINGDIE!
  573. >Your head darted back and forth, trying to find something to protect yourself with
  574. >About five feet away from you, covered in mud, with a not-moving earth pony laying over it, was a sword
  575. >Though it felt like every bone in your body was broken, you forced yourself to roll onto your stomach
  576. >You then began to crawl
  577. >Gettoitcoltgettoitoryou'regoingtobuckingdie
  578. >The gryphon, probably thinking that you were just trying to run away, let out a screech of victory, increasing her pace
  579. >You knew she was close
  580. >Her mace was just about to hit you
  581. >If it hit you your armor wouldn't do diddly-squat
  582. >Youneededtograbthatswordrightnow!
  583. >Blinking away tears, you awkwardly jumped forward
  584. >Violently shoving the body off of the sword, you spun around and held it up nice and high
  585. >You found yourself closing your eyes just as the gryphon let out another shrill cry
  586. >Thiswastheend!
  587. >Youweregoingtodieoutherealllonewithnopony--
  588. >Your eyes snapped open as the tip of your sword caught something
  589. >Screaming, you shoved it forward with all of your might
  590. >The gryphon, who had missed your head by a bucking INCH, looked shocked as the sword went through her stomach
  591. >...
  592. >You could only stare at the hen dirty, long-feathered hen as she stared back at you with big, disbelieving eyes
  593. >She coughed, and you flinched as a glob of blood hit your muzzle
  594. >WHAT DID--
  595. >DID YOU JUST--
  596. >Y-YOU WERE ONLY--
  597. >The gryphon's eyes widened as an armored hand grabbed her by the back of the neck
  598. >You blinked as she was tossed through the air
  599. >"On your feet, boy."
  600. >Though he was covered in blood and gore, lord Anonymous looked calm as he reached down and--
  602. "Brrrrrruuuuuugugggggghhhhhhhh!"
  603. >You closed your eyes once again as you found yourself puking your guts out
  604. >You could see the gryphon's face again
  605. >There had been some resistance when you had stabbed her, almost like she was that sack of flour that you and the boys had practiced on back in boot camp...
  606. >Except the flour sack didn't make noise when you stabbed it
  607. >It's eyes didn't widen
  608. >It didn't bleed or twitch
  609. It was--
  610. "Brrrrrruuuuuuugggggghhhhhhh!"
  611. >As you puked your guts out, sweaty and smelly and covered in b-blood that wasn't yours, lord Anonymous stood guard over you
  614. >"WHOO! MURDER!"
  615. >After purging everything in your stomach, you weakly tried to wipe your mouth, looking up just in time to see a pegasus, in full battle armor, flying down to you
  616. >"Sergeant Spitfire of the Fifty-Eighth reporting, general Anonymous!" the mare chirped, saluting smartly. "General Golden Delicious sent my squad forward to see what all of the ruckus was about."
  617. >She looked around at the battlefield, seemingly unfazed
  618. >"It looks like you started the fun before us."
  619. >Grunting, lord Anonymous sheathed his bloody and chipped sword
  620. >"Sergeant, the enemy is about to break. I'd very much appreciate it if you and your's made sure that none of the flyers got away. My girls on the ground will get everyone else."
  621. >The mare grinned
  622. >"I love it when a colt puts a mare to work," she said, before taking off into the air. "Come on girls! First one that draws blood free drinks tonight!"
  623. >You could hear dozens of ponies cheering above you as lord Anonymous knelt down beside you
  624. >"Your canteen. Let me see it," he said, reaching into his armor and pulling a handkerchief out of all things
  625. >You, still shaking like a leaf, fumbled with your canteen for about a minute before you managed to untie it from your belt
  626. "H-Here," you mumbled, feeling sick to your stomach
  628. >Popping off the top, the general took a big swig of the water before dumping the rest of it into the handkerchief
  629. >"Come here lad," he said, almost gently. "Let's see if any of that blood is yours."
  630. >You took a robotic step forward
  631. >As the general began washing your face and neck off you couldn't help but think about that gryphon
  632. >Maybe she was still alive
  633. >Maybe somepony could help her
  634. >Maybe if you j-just--
  635. >If you j-just...
  636. >You could hear lord Anonymous saying something, but you didn't pay attention enough to get a single word
  637. >You just stood there, staring off into space
  638. >Unbeknownst to you, the general grabbed you and lifted you up into the air, carrying you like a newborn foal
  639. >W-Why didn't you just say n-no...
  640. >You should have told him t-that you didn't w-want to come with h-him
  641. >H-He shouldn't have brought you h-here
  642. >Y-You should be back a-at the castle, g-going out w-with Cadence a-and your little s-sister getting pizza a-at that place you a-all like
  643. >...T-That shouldn't h-have happened...
  644. >...
  645. >W-Why couldn't they h-have just talked?
  646. >C-Couldn't they have just t-talked?
  647. >W-Why did all of those ponies have t-to die like t-that?
  648. >Your hoof twitched, remembering how the gryphon seemed to stiffen as the sword went through her...
  649. >You could still see her face
  650. >...
  651. >You don't think you'll ever be able to unsee her face...
  652. CLANG!
  653. >You jumped, looking up
  654. >You were no longer on the battlefield, surrounded by blood and bodies
  655. >You were inside of a tent of some sort
  657. >You, still wearing your armor, were sitting on what felt like a bed
  658. >Though it wasn't a very nice bed but, since you've been sleeping on the dirt for what felt like forever, it felt wonderful
  659. >You were even about to flop on your back, close your eyes and try to forget... what had happened when something caught your eye
  660. >Lord Anonymous was standing in front of a mirror not five feet away from you
  661. >His chest plate was lying discarded on the floor, revealing his bare chest and back
  662. >The only light source was a lone candle sitting on a rough wooden desk
  663. >The light flickered, twisting and warping the general's shadow as he untied his arm guards
  664. >There were scars, dozens of them, on his back and arms, some tiny, many long ugly things
  665. >It looked like a manticore had bitten down on his shoulder long ago, and on his lower back you could see what looked like old burn scars
  666. "...Um, lord Anonymous?"
  667. >The general perked up, slipping off and arm guard as he turned toward you
  668. >"Aw, it seems that you've finally regained your senses," he said, letting the armor in his hands drop gracelessly to the ground. "Good, I was wondering if I'd have to take you to the ward to have one of our medics look at you
  669. >You bit your lip, tears coming to your eyes
  670. "...Did I pee myself?"
  671. >To your surprise, the general chuckled
  672. >"I wouldn't worry about it," he said, pulling off his other arm guard. "I've seen ponies do worse during their first battle."
  673. >Noticing that you were staring at his ruined shoulder, he touched it with a hand
  674. >"...You did well, boy. You shouldn't have been at the front lines like that and if you were one of mine I'd have had you whipped for pulling what you pulled but you did well."
  675. >You looked down at your hooves
  676. >The same hooves that drove that sword through that gryphon
  677. "...Did I... Did she..."
  678. >Pulling off his boots, lord Anonymous walked over to where a tub of water was sitting
  679. >Cupping his hands, he dunked them into the water and began cleaning his face
  681. >"She was dead before she hit the ground, boy," he said
  682. >Since you didn't have anything in your stomach to throw up, you instead looked down
  683. "O-Oh..."
  684. >After that the only sounds that could be heard were the sounds of the general cleaning the blood, the blood of the bandits that he had killed, off of his body
  685. >"...She would have caved your head in with that mace if you wouldn't have gotten her first, boy," lord Anonymous finally said, looking over at you
  686. >You nodded, still looking at the ground
  687. "...I killed somepony today," you muttered to no one in particular, feeling numb
  688. >"Aye, you did," the general agreed, walking over and sitting down on the bed beside you
  689. "I... I don't feel very good. I feel like I did a bad thing."
  690. >"As you should. There's no more heinous act than taking the life of another."
  691. >You found yourself turning to look up at the general
  692. >Though he was still as massive as ever, for some reason he didn't seem QUITE as big
  693. >It was almost like he, scars and old battle wounds and all, had shrunken down just a hair
  694. "...Then why do you do it?" you asked, your voice quivering. "Why do you come out here and kill ponies even though you know that it's wrong?"
  695. >The general cocked his head, almost as if he didn't know what to make of you
  696. >"Because I know a princess," he said, looking you square in the eye. "I know a princess who has a small kingdom. The people of this kingdom, much like this princess, do not like to fight. In fact, for many, the very thought of fighting and hurting others makes them sick."
  697. >He looked down at his hands, slowly opening and closing them
  698. >"Now, a long time ago, this princess took me into her little kingdom. When others turned me away she housed me, when others drove me away with pitchforks and blades she fed and clothed me."
  699. >Reaching over, he wiped a tear from your cheek
  701. >"It wasn't long before I became very good friends with this princess and her subjects, all of which wanted nothing more than to spread love and harmony to any and all. But, as I grew older, I noticed that there were those that didn't have the same morals as the princess and her subjects. Some wanted to take from the little kingdom, hurt its people and kill the princess. Others simply wanted to steal, burn, destroy. "
  702. >Lord Anonymous shrugged, dismissively waving when he saw your expression
  703. >"I went to her majesty and told her what I wanted to do. Though, at first, she had her reservations she ended up making me a knight that would do what others could not and protect this little kingdom. The rest, as they say, is history."
  704. >...
  705. "...You do it for the princess?"
  706. >"I do it for her. I do it for you and your family. I do it so that others don't have to. Me and every single mare in the legion."
  707. >He looked into your eyes, as if searching for something
  708. >You stared back, the sickening feeling in your gut lessening somewhat
  709. "Lord Anonymous"
  710. >"Yes boy?"
  711. "Are the stories true? Are you and princess..."
  712. >A ghost of a smile came to the old general's face
  713. >"I am her knight, boy," he told you. "Though you call me general I am nothing more than her faithful knight. And it is a knight's duty, be they male, female, giant or dwarf, peasant or lord, to protect their princess."
  715. BOOM!
  716. >You opened your eyes
  717. >"Oh, hello Shining! Fancy meeting you here!"
  718. >You gritted your teeth as Discord came into view, a great big smile on his face as he waved at you
  719. "Discord," you growled
  720. >The draconequus dramatically gasped
  721. >"It seems like SOMEPONY woke up on the wrong side of the bed today," he said, looking past you. "Say, you wouldn't happen to know what Celestia and her fellow pegacorns are hiding do you?"
  722. BOOM!
  723. >You took a nervous step back as a wall exploded, revealing Tirek
  724. >The Lord of Evil seemed to be crackling with power as he loomed over you, his yellow eyes burning with hate
  725. >"CELESTIA!" he roared, shaking the very walls themselves. "CELESTIA! YOU SEND ONE OF YOUR WEAKLING STALLIONS TO FACE ME?! ENOUGH OF YOUR GAMES! COME AND--"
  726. >Tirek's head snapped to the side as your spell hit him square in the cheek
  727. >The centaur's eyes widened, and even Discord looked surprised as you readied your spear
  728. "I wouldn't worry about them if I were you," you calmly said, crouching down. "Right now you two have to deal with me."
  729. >You weren't going to win
  730. >There was no way that you were going to beat two of the most powerful creatures in the world
  731. >In fact there was a good chance that you weren't going to walk away with thi
  732. >But you were going to still fight
  733. >Because, even though you were nothing more than some stallion you were a soldier, a knight
  734. >Your loving, wonderful wife, your princess, needed her knight to protect her
  735. >And you were going to do your bucking job
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