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Pony POV Series Shining Armor Part 10 1/2
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series
Written By lz0291 lz0291.deviantart.com/
tunH dnoceS

Getting out of the embassy once we returned was much easier than expected. Bond was waiting for me, not in navy uniform but a dark blue hooded sweatshirt with a messenger saddle. He asked to discuss a few matters with me and the Princess. Before that though, we bid the other Air Navy officers with us goodnight as they left. Ace was also advised he'd be needed tomorrow as apparently I was getting another day off.

Assuming I survived the evening.

"Well then, Princess, please have the kitchen toast me a muffin, I'll be back for breakfast," he said as he left.

"...What a guy!" Twinkle Shine giggled, not nearly as quietly as she probably hoped.

"That's the first time he's said that when breakfast was actually the next meal," Bond noted.

Candence ordered trio to bed which they reluctantly complied. Cadence and I followed Bond to a spot away from prying ears, with Bond's anti-listening spell up for good measure.

"Princess, I'm going to tell the door guards that me and Shining have gone out to a party I've been invited to. You should change your clothes and sneak out and meet us at the end of the street so no one sees you getting in the cart. We'll wait with the carriage around the corner," Bond said.

She agreed to this, then made a show of bidding us goodnight and hoping we enjoyed the party. Bond and I went out the front door.

"Wait there, I'll bring the cart around," he said, before trotting off around a corner.

"Er, Bond, who's going to PULL the cart?" I asked, but he was gone.

I was assuming he'd planned for the Princess to ride inside and us to pull. It made sense, I guess, but I was never a very good carthorse. Still, it had to be a light cart if he was pulling it around by himself. I looked the other way from where he had went... and then I heard a deep, rumbling growl coming up behind me. Like an angry wolf.

I turned almost in a panic, only to see Bond sitting inside a bizarre... thing. A black-metal cart-like thing with a stretched out front and a rather small looking cabin. He sat behind an odd thing that looked like a ships wheel, in the faint glow of his magic. It was making the rumbling noise. I stared at the odd contraption. As it stopped the rumble drew down to a faint but low purr.

"Commander Bond... What is that thing?" I asked, as he climbed out.

"It's a magic-powered self-propelled carriage. A Gaston-Maretin, to be precise. This will get us there fast and inconspicuous. No one builds a cart like Gaston," he said as if this explained anything.

"...Er... good for Gaston."

I looked it over with a raised eyebrow. Bright silver, looking like it came from another planet...

"Yes, Commander. Inconspicuous...."

Soon enough, I'd realize he was right: this WAS inconspicuous. The only reason our Gaston-Maretin would have stood out at all, was for looking cheap compared to some of the more modern Itallion and Columbian 'sports carts' parked outside Mason's apartment. When did these mechanical monsters come about?

"Shame there's only two seats," I pointed out another fault.

"Look in the back."

I did. All I saw was a rather cramped space with a bench.

"...Are you proposing we stuff a Princess of Equestria into the rear luggage compartment?!"

"No, not at all. First, those are seats, and second, I'm proposing we stuff a Captain of the Royal Guard in there. Besides, I put all my gear in the rear luggage compartment."

"...Oh."

He duly had me stuff myself in the back. I had to sit on the rear seats like it was a bench. Still, the short ride to go wait for Cadence down the street was smooth. And I suppose it did make sense to put the guy Makarov actually cared about where he wouldn't be noticed as easily. A few moments later there was a gasp from behind us. We turned to see a purple pegasus in a hooded shirt, and thanks to that hood I never recognized her until she spoke.

"...Is that a Gaston-Maretin?!" A familiar voice asked as the hood was pulled down.

I noted that it seemed to have been resting on an invisible horn, so clearly it was just a sort of glamour spell. With the hood down I saw her eyes were also purple.

"...Cadence?"

"Yes, it's me, figured the hoody would help a bit once I was out of the Germane Embassy. But... Wow. I can see why the Conserve Canterlot's Beauty Committee had these banned, they'd make the rest of the city look ugly..."




Once we were inside the apartment, I wasn't surprised to discover the cover-story was in full swing. Cadence removed her disguise as soon as the door was closed, and the soldiers inside saluted upon seeing her. Otherwise they seemed remarkably cool about the whole thing.

It was a very large penthouse apartment, and the living area was well-stocked. A nice stereo system, a well-stocked fridge - there was a door leading to a patio, but it faced the wrong way to look to the hospital, but it gave a very nice view of the city behind us, not to mention an easy way for the flying squad to take off.

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Nice digs for a Navy Lieutenant Commander...)

Actually, it belonged to his cousin, remember? Toneigh, a female deer, owned two of nightclubs - Maisonette Neigh and Firefly. The latter was, er, restricted to males without an invite...

(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Oh, it was a lesbian club?)

...I'm not sure I want to know how she guessed that. But the point was, she was fairly rich. Dai took me over to the windows as Cadence spoke with the troopers, while Bond carried a luggage chest from the back of his carriage through to another room.

"Now, Captain, you've got a good view from this window of things..." Dai explained.

Two large windows gave the vantage of the destination. Colony Island lay about a hundred meters off our side of the river, and Broker lay across the way from us. A large bridge crossed the island lower down, but didn't seem to have any off-ramps for land traffic. There was a small two-lane bridge that led towards the tower block where Baseplate and Price were already in place. I couldn't see them though. The ruined hospital lay there, as dark and foreboding as advertised. It gave me chills just looking at it.

"And also, these four will be covering you with rifles from up here. The Unit Metal guys you know, but these are my girls..."

One of the Navy snipers was a female Unicorn, dark blue with a cutie mark of a bird - a snipe, of course, named Hawk. The other was a female Griffin named Horse. They seemed polite enough.

"How's your wing, Grinch?" I asked to change the subject after saying hello to the Navy sharpshooters.

"Oh, it's cool, just a scratch. Can't fly on it though."

"Gullshit, dude, you were flying this morning," Truck shouted from across the room.

"Doc doesn't know that, bro."

"Anyway, Captain, I think we should get you better equipped, more fitting gear for starters..." Bond said, coming over.

"Why does he need to get better gear? Aren't tuxedos what spies wear?" Cadence tried to joke.

Despite being a Princess, Bond gave her a very disapproving look.

"You think real espionage is like Con Mane, don't you, ma'am?" He sighed.

"Er, well..." She trailed off.

"Permission to speak freely?"

"...Granted, Lieutenant Commander."

He took a deep breath.

"Con Mane is a load of rubbish about a spy who steals cake recipes from ridiculous places! A tuxedo is NOT adequate equipment for a jungle, it's not even an adequate disguise for a party if you go around telling everyone your real name and asking for Vanilla milk, shaken not stirred! And a crossbow bolt with a head made of meringue would still have a wooden shaft to penetrate the target at high velocity even if the ballistics weren't shot to hay! Quite apart from being absurd, if he's stealing the cakes for Princess Celestia, what's that trying to imply? That she eats a lot of cake? And don't get me started on that Daring Do crossover radio drama they did..."

(Interviewer's Notes(Pegasus and Earth Pony): Don't diss Daring Do!)

Strange, he stiffened slightly at that time, like he felt a shiver down his spine.

"Um, Commander Bond... She actually does enjoy cake a lot. But I agree, that Daring Do crossover was just silly."

(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): That is unfortunately true.)

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Yeah, they SO played down Ahuizotl as a threat.)

(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Yeah, why do they always have one side of a crossover overshadow the other?)

"Yes, sorry, it's just it's kind of a sore point. I just hope that Neighson Airborne book doesn't take off, no pun intended."

"Can't say I've read it myself. Probably just as well, for some reason anything I'm seen reading becomes popular..." Cadence said.

"Well, when I write that novel I know who to ask to proof-read it," I noted.

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): What was the idea for your novel anyway?)

Science fiction. It's about a special multinational task force trying to fight against invaders from another dimension, about a century in the future. Since they fight extradimensional aliens and the unit the book would be about were called E-Com. Also, the title of the story is Enemy Unknown, because they don't even know the species name of the aliens: They just call them EDs, short for extradimensionals.

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): ...X would be cooler.)

Funny, Thunderchild and Audience said the same thing. Anyway, Bond led me off into another room, where it turned out his luggage had been holding a lot of actual spy equipment.

"We've got you some more useful clothes..." He began to explain.

"That's a turtleneck," I don't even know why I was complaining, it was better than the tuxedo...

"It's a tactical garment and it'll help you look a bit less obvious. I'm usually on the receiving end of these things and I'm starting to see why Major Hoofroyd is so sick of me already. Now shut up and listen. That will help cover up this stab vest, which is basically just a pouch-less Neighponese flak vest. You'll also be wearing under-armor, but this is slightly improved over standard issue."

"Good, I'd rather not risk Makarov going for another low blow if he does show up," I said in appreciation.

"You'll also have a saddlebag. That'll fit any gear you want to carry other than your main radio, which I'll explain in a minute."

I was shown a selection of things for the saddlebag. Night-vision goggles (I had a spell), flaregun for emergencies (I had a spell), a selection of knives...

"Butterfly knife, small and can fit in the turtleneck's pocket. Talon Combat Knife, bigger and you can slip it below your saddlebag. As for ranged weapons... well, I suppose that you've got stun spells, right?"

"Yes, I would rather use my horn. If I can stun an attacker rather than kill him, I will."

"So what if you're caught in a Death Dome spell again with only your hooves against someone who's already kicked your flank without breaking a sweat? Even a mouthgun or a knife would be better than nothing. First rule of unarmed combat?"

"...Get armed quickly. Okay, I see your point. But I'm a terrible shot!"

"Don't worry, these things are short ranged anyway, I doubt even you could miss. First up, Wheatley Revolver, six shot muzzle loading percussion cap you can fire with the mouth. But if you don't want to try get used to the recoil and taste of blackpowder we've got airguns too. Colt Single Action Airgun, six shot air-revolver. Or you can use my PPK. Air-powered Spiriling type weapon, means Pneumatic Pistol Short in Germane. Actually, Price has a rifle airgun like this right now, the Austneighians, Germanes, and Lindblumians really like these. Same range as bows, but they can be semi-automatic. Or even full auto if you've got a big air tank. In fact, Columbian Generation 3.5 Tanks have them, and I think the new G4 ones will be able to mount them too..."

Had I been under a rock? When did all these weapons come out of R&D? I'd never seen an Equestrian carrying anything more advanced than a clockwork crossbow.

"Uh, I have no idea what the difference is, Bond. Or what you're on about with this Generation three point five rubbish."

"I'm referring to Tank generations. Not too major for us Equestrians, we don't have tanks. Anyway, the Wheatley will not be fun to fire but it'll drop anything short of heavy armor at short range, the SAA might not manage stronger armor, and the PPK is slimmer so you could hide it below the shirt. However, you might hurt yourself with the slide and jam it."

"...The revolver airgun sounds simpler," I conceded.

"Good choice. Look, I KNOW you're not going to like this, but Makarov is a deer, so if you DO end up having to pull a gun on him, aim for the neck. Most instinct would be for the head, but their skull is thick, the area for an instant kill is surprisingly small, you're not a good shot, and you don't have a high powered enough weapon. And his chest will probably be protected by armor rated for arrows, so the neck is your best bet since there's lots of stuff to damage there and less likely to be any armor."

Yes, it did make me uneasy to talk about actually shooting Makarov, but since it was Makarov, it was best that I knew all my options. "...Got it, aim for the neck if I HAVE to."

"Now, it's about forty minutes until you need to get down there, so you should do your best to memorize the layout of the hospital..."

"And make up my mind if I really want to go in," I said.

He nodded. "I understand. Even if he does claim to know about the Defiant, something smells fishy. And not just the tuna sandwiches some of the Griffins were eating. Anyway, the radio..."

It turned out they'd planned quite a bit. The radio was designed to stop anyone listening in because it was actually very weak. The receiver I carried would only work with more or less line of sight to one of the receiver dishes, either in the apartment or on the tower block. Unless I went in the basement I should have been able to get some form of reception.

Of course, it also meant I could only talk to people who had a visual on me. If things went wrong I had a normal radio too, with advice to use 'misfit' as a callsign on it if things went flanks-up, but I was warned to be careful because there was a police exercise underway that might be on similar frequencies. And I also had a flaregun.

As for the hospital itself, much of the second floor had collapsed, long ago, into the first. It had been a two-story brick structure before abandonment, and more or less an empty shell in places now. Reznov wanted to meet me in the main lobby, right in the middle of the place. There was only one ground entrance not boarded up other than coming in by air, and it was at the near end. Luckily, the lobby was open enough that both groups of my sniper coverage could see in. The rest was a maze of crumbling and graffiti-covered walls, and the second floor was the remains of rotting floorboards and crumbled brick.

However, there was another 'entrance' - A tunnel in the basement led to the riverside where there had been a small boathouse. It was gone now, but the way in wasn't. It was exposed though, so the three sniper teams could see it very clearly. As for why the tunnel was there, well, the hospital had started life as a general infirmary. And then it became a hospital for infectious diseases. The tunnel was used to remove bodies discreetly. It maintained that function even when the hospital switched over to become a mental ward. I had no desire to go anywhere near it.




The time approached... and I wimped out and ran away LIKE A HOSS!

(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus):...)

Kidding again. Of course I went down there. The walk was fairly short, but played upon my paranoia.

"A'right, laddie, we can see ye noo. Can ye hear us?" Baseplate's voice rang out as I began to cross the small land bridge to Colony Island.

It wasn't the best reception even with clear lines. On top of that, Baseplate had decided to let his accent run wild.

"Yeah. How long have you been watching the ruins?" I kept my voice low, so I didn't seem suspicious.

""Few hours. Some of mah lads had a quick scout aroon, scanned it frae a distance. No' a soul been in or out that we've spotted. Haud oan... Whit the..."

"What's wrong?" I asked. I was about to start heading around the tower block to reach the hospital entrance.

"Target just walked into the main lobby. Unless he teleported I think he's good at sneaking. " Price then cut in.

"...Normal Deer can't teleport. Apart from the telekinesis, they're basically Earth ponies," I noted.

Once upon a time, the deer had been a techno-minimalist, nature-loving people. The rise of the old Roedinian Empire, the battles between noble tribes, and the emergence of the Tsars led to much of that being nullified. By the Hooviet era, the Deer regarded themselves as pioneers of technology. Yet, to my knowledge, none of them had invented a non-magical answer to teleportation or invisibility.

"They've also got stronger grips with fully grown horns even if they can only grasp two things at once." I was helpfully reminded.

"Just keep the motherbucker in your crosshairs and tell me if anything looks suspicious."

"...Roger that. I don't see a weapon on him. Bugger needs a shave, though..."

"With your facial hair, Price, you've no room to talk. Are you SURE it's not Makarov in disguise? I know HE can teleport."

"Nope, not him, wrong body type."

"All things considered, I wouldn't put shapeshifting past him, keep a sniper on him. I'm going around the building now, let the others know I'll be dark for a moment..."

As I walked around the corner, the tower block got in the way of the directional radios, Luna's moon hung over the city, brighter than ever, making the river into a silver mirror, reflecting the lights of the bridges and cloudscrapers. It felt strange to see it without the Mare in the Moon across her surface any longer. Gas lamps helped to throw more shadows behind me and I tried to fight the urge to look into them. The hospital, however, looked like pure blackness.

"Hello! We can see you again!" Cadence cheerfully spoke.

"...Good to know," Thankfully she'd had the presence of mind not to use my real name. I felt safer.

Was it the sniper coverage, or just the fact that any potential attacker would have an Alicorn to deal with? Sorry, but I'm afraid it was the snipers. I trust Cadence but she's the Goddess of Harmony and Music, not War.

"Okay, I might have bad reception now, I'm not looking up at any of you," I warned, and readied my night-vision spell.

It relied on my horn to emit infra-red light, so it was really just a form of hornlight only I (or someone else with their own night-vision spell or equipment) could see. I saw a window that had obviously once been boarded up, but now wasn't: this was my way in. It led into what looked like a former ward, with nothing but trash and rude slogans graffitied on the wall. I didn't stop to investigate anything.

"Why'd they leave this place standing in a city like this..." I muttered into the radio.

"Ghost stories, dude. Well, no, not really, there's been a campaign for years to designate it as a historic place." Grinch replied.

I noticed a half-open steel door leading into a stairwell was in the corridor outside. The way to the basement. Certainly not a place I wanted to go. The corridor here, as long, dark, and spooky as it was, led me to Reznov.

"You guys hear me?" I asked.

There was a faint crackle, but nothing. I walked down the corridor, and paused halfway there. I had this sensation there was something coming up behind me.

"...Can you hear me now? I could have sworn I heard something behind me."

"No' a thing there, laddie. Nae ghosts, nae hooviets, no even a hobo wi' a knife. Wan wi' a shotgun though..."

I turned in panic. Nothing.

"You bastard..."

"Ye say it like ye never met me."

I continued, reaching the lobby. Reznov in the middle. I took a moment to make absolutely sure it wasn't Makarov in disguise before continuing.

"Greetings, Captain Sparkle. I am glad you came."

"Hello to you to. What's this about?" I asked.

He tutted. "Oh, Captain, you know very well what I have to say to you. But I will say it only to you. Please drop the transmitter. You can retain any normal radios, but I am familiar with how your allies operate. What changes there have been to the game, I have paid attention to."

"Sh... Don't. It's some sort of trick!"

"Have them check. There is nothing around. There are no airships swooping in from the Hooviet Embassy. No Spetsnaz lurking in the shadows. We are safe here, Captain, and you are safest under HER gaze."

"...Whose gaze?" I asked, after letting my team know to have a look.

"Princess Cadenza, of course. It is really quite remarkable... And incredibly fortunate. But please, just trust me, Captain."

"Clear, no one around. Just you two. You can drop the transmitter, we've got you covered." I was then told by Dai.

After reassuring Cadence I'd be fine, I put the transmitter down. Reznov promptly placed a piece of slate on it.

"That will be enough to block things. Now... You must have questions."

"Yeah. Who are you really and who working for? Why are you here?"

"Hm. Simple questions. I am here with a warning that your government and the Columbians would both do well to heed. Makarov is planning a large-scale attack on his enemies, at home and abroad. His influence spreads like a cancer. Even the leaders in Mosroe do not know what he is truly planning, even though he plays them like puppets. He is not just a deer with desire for conquest, he's a monster that will not rest until he's consumed all he desires. He must be stopped, Captain."

"Okay, got that, so... the rest?" I urged.

"I work for... not quite myself, but for the many who cry out in suffering. As for who I am... We Deer believed once that, with death, we returned to the soil. But what calls itself 'Makarov' has denied this peace to many. Many of those the Hooviets use as pawns are still trapped above the earth, their souls unable to move on. I am one amongst many who hear the cries of the dead and seek vengeance for them."

"Are you speaking of some form of... necromancy? Body reanimation?"

Good actor or real traitor, I thought, as he paused for a second.

"Captain, I must be honest with you here. You are asking simple questions in the hope of simple answers. I can provide you simple answers that are true, or I can give you complex answers that are truer still but rely on additional information."

"What's the catch for the true-true answers?"

He laughed. "There is not a catch, as such. You simply need to not trust me."

"Not trust you? Look, if your Equestrian is poor I can switch to Roedinian..."

"No, Captain, I mean precisely what I said. Your distrust of me is good. Perfect for me to show you the full truth."

"...Explain?"

"You know of Ley Lines?"

"Yeah. Ley Lines are a sort of mana-flow that crosses the world. I think Earth Pony rock farmers try to build on them as much as they can, but they're either as wide as raging rivers or as thin as threads. They change as magic changes. They're used a lot in Zebra magic I think."

Thanks for rambling on about your studies into other magics last Hearths-Warming, Twiley!

"Correct. Ley Lines are a flow of magic. There are places around the world where Ley Lines can converge. Those who stand at such waypoints are said to reach incredible epiphanies... gain hidden knowledge. Zebras, Minotaurs, Deer... Yes, you may think we are just Earth ponies with antler telekinesis. But the truth is we are closer to Zebra than Earth ponies in how our magic works. Other than growing of seeds and plants, our magic lets us explore knowledge and imagination with the right circumstances. And it lets me show you directly the 'true truths' as you call them. But first I must tell you the simple truths. Facts that can be proven."

"...Sounds like you're planning to take me on a vision quest."

"Something like that. 'Vision quest' is as close an approximation as any. This is a place where many ley lines converge - nine, in total. Currently, there are but two other places like this, with nine intercrossing ley lines: One is in the Everfree Forest of your own Equestria, where the Princesses built their first castle. The other is in Chernobull. Many places see eight converge. Many more see seven. Most see less, two is common. But only three places see nine lines cross. What's more, they came together since after the hospital was built. Just three ley lines can allow one's knowledge and imagination to open to an unimaginable degree of depth. A novelist could pen his magnum opus, a weapon designer could leave his competitors in the arms race eating his dust for DECADES! You can only imagine what nine ley lines can do to the mind."

"...Hang on, I've heard rumors about something deep in Canterlot..."

"Oh, that. I think I know what you speak of, and it is something completely different. It is more focused, and shows a far broader spectrum of time and space. Ley lines merely work with time, and let one see all existence as applicable to them. Except, for most ponies and griffins. They instead may see shades of the past, shades of what could have been in other timelines applicable to them... but they cannot focus. "

"So... the ghost stories about this hospital...?"

"The magically-sensitive seeing and sharing visions. Delusional unicorns are especially susceptible. If you have ever been truly ill, yourself, you may recall strange visions..."

"Yeah. When I was a foal, I was pretty ill one time. I was nine or ten, not sure. For some reason my dad and uncle couldn't find a doctor at all during a snowstorm, and they couldn't take me out in it. Anyway, I think I get it. You can use Deer voodoo..."

"Voodoo is one of the Zebra animist spiritualities. Deer call it Divination."

"Oh, sorry. You can use Deer Divination to show me stuff. And apparently because I DON'T trust you, that's a good thing?"

"Your distrust shows you are blessed with strong mental defenses, Captain. A natural strength against deceptive magics. A backstabber could trap you in a genjustu or a geass and even then they'd probably need to make eye contact, maybe even direct horn contact..."

I had NO IDEA how much of all this was true. That WOULD explain that why everyone else was falling for Makarov's spell except me. But when different magic schools usually compare notes, 'That's impossible!' is traditionally the first thing out of their mouths. Either way, I wasn't about to put much stock in it.

"So when I offer to show you what I saw, know that it will be the truth. I cannot show you a falsehood even if I wanted to."

"...So for me to believe you I have to distrust you? Seems a bit paradoxical."

"Indeed. Paradoxical is a perfect word. But now I must ask: what is it your truly wish to know?"

"I want to know about the Defiant, about Makarov... And you said you knew what the monster that chased me was. I want to know what that means."

"More simple questions. But I cannot give you the simple answers to all of them right away. What I shall first tell you is about Chernobull. About betrayals the Hooviet Empire performed in a desperate attempt to save itself. And I will tell you of 'Makarov.' Or what calls itself that. And I will tell you of the Defiant. And once I finish with those, I shall tell you of yourself."

"Myself? Why would that tell me what the beast-thing meant?"

"A unicorn philosopher of Zhongguo's Qilin tribe once said that 'if you know the enemy and know yourself'..."

"....'you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.' We're made to read that as Officer Cadets."

"Very good, Captain. You do not know your enemy nor do you truly know yourself. But that is for later. First, the truths that apply to the here-and-now. The truths you can confirm with yourself as you are now."

"'With myself as I am now?' What is that even supposed...?!"

"...We must start at Chernobull."

"Okay, fine." I tried not to sigh.

"Chernobull was a magical research facility. It was built on the convergence point of nine ley lines. Their aim, of course, was to draw upon its magics, and enhance the knowledge and imagination of the facility's scientists. Roughly thirteen years ago, it exploded. Many were killed, but from the ruins of that disaster, a... hero of the Empire was born, in a manner of speaking. A seventeen year old Captain-Lieutenant of the Spetsnaz, who displayed great heroism, rescuing trapped comrades and preventing the loss of key resources."

"Makarov."

"Correct. His star began to rise after the Chernobull incident. This is a truth. But he was actually born there TWICE before... And not metaphorically. Chernobull was the site of many magical research projects. One that succeeded was the creation of unicorn-deer hybrids with exceptional talents in both Deer and Unicorn magics. Curiously, only one such hybrid of this project still lives to this day..."

Wonder how. I imagine Chronic Backstabbing Disorder may have been in play.

"So he is a genetically engineered super soldier born at a magical ley line 'super genius zone' ...and that's how he knows so much? He can use ley lines to scry... divinate... whatever?"

"Yes. Or at least, that is the scientifically-accepted 'justification' for all Makarov is able to do. It's not precisely a falsehood, either. But it only scratches the surface of Makarov's birth."

"...Please, go ahead and tell me."

"I will show you. But first, I must tell you the truth that applies here-and-now about the Defiant. She was shot down in the jungles of Kundu."

Not an accident then.

"Makarov claims YOU were involved in the Defiant's disappearance. Said you went rouge, killed spies and agents of foreign powers without authority," I told him.

"Technically, all of this is correct. The shoot-down... I was not the one who pulled the trigger, but in a way, I was responsible. Work I did had identified a number of spies and agents working against the Empire's interests. One of them..."

"Saltire Bond? So you shot the whole ship down to get him?"

"No. Captain Bond was not the target of the attackers. His wife was, for she interfered in matters of interest to the Hooviets."

"...What?"

"Mrs. Bond was a specialist in Zebrafrican affairs. I supplied information to the Columbians, who supplied it to the Equestrians. And she was the agent who oversaw it all. The Hooviets wanted to be rid of her, so they had Kundu rebels attack the ship after severing communications."

"Wait... You're one of ours?!"

"...If you mean I supplied information to Equestria's allies, yes. Most of the spies and agents of foreign powers I had killed were Hooviets and Hooviet Allies. For the last twenty-five years I have been secretly passing on what information I can to Hooviet enemies. But Makarov's goals have accelerated. That is the truth as it applies here and now."

"...And what about the... other truth?"

"I can tell you the other truth of the Defiant. She was never shot down. Makarov should not have been born. Chernobull should have exploded twenty-five years ago. Something changed."

"...You're saying a time traveler changed the past?" I whispered. I might've accused him of being a complete nutjob... except I knew that time travel spells had been in existence since the days of Starswirl the Bearded.

"Not precisely. Time travelers who journey to the past with the aim of changing it, for good or ill, end up creating temporal loops, creating their own past. Stable loops, most of the time... and very fortunately so! No, what happened with Makarov was that a branch in a timeline was made that technically had no right to exist. That branch, we will discuss more of later, but for now, the unforeseen consequences of it, most notably on a global scale, was that it provided an opening... for LATER changes. To something that should never have been sent to this world."

"...When did Chernobull explode exactly? When 'should' it have, rather?"

He told me a date.

"What a coincidence. That's pretty close to my birthday."

"Indeed... A coincidence, indeed. Now... to explain the true truth, I must show you what should have been. I must show you what WAS instead, in the averted timeline. But first, I must know how you know yourself. The simple truth that applies here and now."

"Uh, okay... What do you already know?"

"You are a soldier. You are loyal to your people and your nation. Like all wise beings you have fear... but not for yourself. You never fear for yourself as such, do you? You are a shield. You wish to block attackers from harming others. You wish to defend. If you must die to defend, you will. That is all you desire, is it not? To do your duty for that which matters."

"...I want to be remembered. I want to know that if I were to fall it would matter, that I'd saved others. That someone would remember my name, that what I did was a success. I guess that's a little selfish but... "

"Hm. Selfish. Is it now? With all you would do for ponies, is it truly selfish that the only price you ask is that they remember you? The only price you ask if you were to give your life for them? I think not. I am biased, of course. Hooviet warriors... Red Deer of the Fire Caste... we dream of serving the Empire as fawns. We dream of being remembered as heroes. In a way, what we are told in the Empire is similar to what you actually live in Equestria. Our Greater Good speaks of peace and harmony, though it does anything but. It speaks of remembering heroes and heroics, but all too often we die forgotten. No names on memorials or in booklets. Only Generals, only the Roe Deer, are ever remembered for 'heroism'. The rivers of blood they spill on their own side be damned..."

He paused.

"You are both simple and complex, Captain. You desire to protect and serve, and all you want is to know it is appreciated. You feel you were born to be a shield. Born to protect others from that which would harm them, to help them when they are in need. From letting a sister smile to being there for a Princess who often feels alone in a crowd. You live for others. This is good. It will mean you can emphasize with what I was... When I was foolish enough to trust the Greater Good. But first... have you ever heard of Basilisks?"

"Basilisks... The animal, not the Germane cannons? They're similar to Cockatrices, right?"

"Indeed."

"I bucking hate Cockatrices..."

"Indeed? Tell me, Captain, why do you hate those creatures so? Have you ever encountered one? Have your relatives? It cannot simply be a matter of Hoofball, as seriously as you take the sport. It is something deeper, is it not?"

"I..."

This... this isn't what the books said would happen! It was supposed to be a zenlike state, a trance. Some ponies enjoy it... Why am I...

I tried to cast a spell.

I tried to fight. I tried to draw magic! It couldn't affect my mind, it didn't manage to hypnotize me first! Of course! Huh, that's actually kind of interesting... I'll need to tell somepony when I...

Oh no... the cures... The cures work by waking you up. If I'm awake already how do I wake up again!? And... Why can I still feel my magic draining into the spell I was going to cast?


'Where the hay did that come from? And why did it sound like....'

"...I don't know. I've just never liked them or the idea of what they do. It might be... I heard about a Pegasus who went into the Everfree, back when I was only about nine or ten, and they put his statue in the Hall Of Heroes. I felt the whole idea was sick, like putting a corpse on display."

(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): There ARE cultures who do that and consider it a sign of respect you know.)

Not now, please.

"They turned him back a few weeks later, but... he'd changed. He'd become addicted to the zen state petrification is supposed to cause. He went AWOL. They searched Everfree. They never found him again. The tabloids stupidly claimed Celestia gave him his wish about wanting to witness the rest of Equestria's history as an immortal observer. But what does this have to do with... changing the past?" I wondered.

"Well, according to the Empire, a basilisk's gaze is instantly fatal. All that is left is lifeless rock, a particularly severe and permanent case of rigor mortis. In fact, they're more like Cockatrices. Unless you are a Deer. No zenlike state if you have antlers."

"...Why?"

"Do you know that petrification actually is two spells?" He began to answer.

"One to bind the soul to the body and one to petrify it?" I guessed.

"With cockatrices, yes, but the practical effects are the same. Most creatures that petrify feed off the life-force of the petrified being. The binding causes inner-peace because one is part of the greater soul of the universe, but if one has immunity or another blockage, be it a natural one or an attempt to use magic causing interference, one does not get that far. Like the fact that we deer constantly have a sufficient flow of magic to get in the way thanks to the way our magic and antlers work."

Not for the first time I was glad I was a unicorn. And then I remembered I'd probably try to cast a spell at any cockatrice I met, meaning....

"One is bound, aware and not remotely at the normal state of inner peace, into their own body. And feeding off their own life-force in order to sustain the partial soul-binding until it's all gone. Perhaps this is part of why you fear them. You actually would have to deliberately surrender to them to not risk eating away at your own life-force."

Oh good, so I was in trouble either way. Still, I felt a slow lingering death preferable to being an immortal one-pony zen rock garden... But I'd prefer the slow lingering death caused by that fatal condition known as mortal life.

"This is all very good and making me want to level every forest with basilisks, cockatrices, rock dogs, gorgonsnakes and catoblepae on the planet..."

"...Rock dogs live on mountains." I was corrected

"Whatever. Point is... what's your point?" I snapped.

"Thirty years ago, the Department of Truth changed the books in an effort to change the present. Easy enough, few Deer had ever read the real story and anyone arguing about the updated version was quickly was silenced. They tried to erase the past to cover up the fact that any Deer petrified is effectively doomed to a slow lingering death until they finally drain themselves of all their magic. The process can take decades."

"Why? What reason would they even need for that?"

"They changed 'history' to suit their own goals, of course. It would hard to motivate even conscripts to seek basilisk's venom with a risk like that. For some reason an instant death and being told you would be placed as a monument to your own bravery was a far better motivator... Not that many of them even were placed as proper monuments. More than a few Roe Deer generals and politicals decided to decorate the lawns of their dachas with the... waste materials. A few numbers off the casualty figures here and there..."

I felt sick. They'd not put glorified mummies on display, but the slowly dying instead. After telling them it would be quick and painless, that you'd live forever as a hero. Instead you'd die forever as a garden gnome...

(Interviewer's Note (Unicorn): You know there are cultures where elderly monks intentionally petrify themselves and put themselves on display as a spiritual inspiration for the younger generation yes?)

That's nothing like this. These soldiers were told big fat lies so they'd throw their lives away!

(Interviewer's Note (Pegasus): Hey, we're with you. We know more than one pony who was lied to and believed they were doing the right thing...The worst part was probably realizing it was just the opposite.)

"Why did they even want the venom?" I managed to say.

"To kill dragons, of course. It is corrosive and poisonous...And has a shelf life of about three weeks. So plenty was needed for study. This was just one experiment conducted at Chernobull. Just one of the eggs placed in that basket. Just some of the bodies piled up in the name of devising a dragon-slaying superweapon. And at the time, the project to create the perfect warriors was failing. Every single hybrid was dying. That project was abandoned. Research into the other projects was doubled. The imaginations of the deer there, the money and resource put in... It was a massive concentration of thoughts and dreams. But it wasn't just sweet little 'ivory tower' 'pie-in-the-sky' brainwaves. There were also dark thoughts, nightmares, all the ugliness residing in wicked hearts. Amplified eighty-one fold."

He then drew a little closer, antlers flanking my horn but not touching. Which was fortunate as I was getting kind of weirded out already. Then again, he claimed to want me not to trust him...

"I will show you, Captain. I would like you to relax, but you won't. So this may sting a little since you will resist... Oh, and maybe start a stopwatch."

Great, the one useful spy gadget Bond could have given me and he didn't.

"If you try anything funny, remember, I've got an Alicorn watching me."

"Oh, indeed. She watches over your heart. And some other bits, but she is only young..."

"...Eh?"

Before he answered though, there was a flash of white light, and a bit of pain...




To Be Continued In Part 2
(TELL LZ YOU LOVE THIS IF YOU DO!!! lz0291.deviantart.com/)
Written by LZ0291 [link]
Written by LZ0291 [link]
WRITTEN BY LZ0291!!!!! [link]
BE SURE TO TELL 'EM YOU LOVE IT! That he does a great job! And that you recognize him for that! He thinks no one is reading it! He thinks no one cares about it! He thinks the ENTIRE SERIES is better off without him!!!! That's right! LZ0291 NEEDS BUCKING SUPPORT RIGHT NOW! Tell him he's done a great job if you think so!!!! He wants to know how he's doing! [link]

And since the story is posted on my account and not his, he feels he's not being given credit for his hard work! SO ABOUT YOU TELL 'EM THAT YOU DO LIKE THIS STORY!!!!? [link]

Shining Armor is given a two year tour of the world to be the captain of Princess Cadence's body guard. Yeah. That's all. That's everything Yep. Nothing what so ever else. *AJ's Liar face*

"Time is an ocean in a storm."

This storyline runs PARALLEL to the events in the Dark World storyline narrative wise.

Previous Chapter: [link]

Next Chapter: [link]

First Chapter: [link]

Music suggestions by LZ.

Part 10...
Entering the Hospital
The First Floor, Masami Ueda/Shusaku Uchiyama/Shun Nishigaki, Resident Evil 2
When Reznov Appears
Shadow of Chernobyl, Stephen Barton/Harry Gregson-Williams , Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Notes written by LZ0 the author of this chapter.

Political Map By LZ.
[link]

Political Map for Zebrafrica
[link]

The Deer Caste System of the Hooviet Empire
The Hooviet Social and Ideological System, The Greater Good, sees Deer split by caste and sepcies to a specific role. Interbreeding between castes and species is forbidden without Government authorisation, as indeed is all breeding in general due to efforts to ensure strong genetic harmony in future generations and ensure the ultimate purity of all Deer species. The exception is the Noble caste of the Roe Deer, already deemed to have achieved sufficient purity of genetic lineage.
Fire Caste - Red/Noble Deer [Common Soldier/Police Caste]
Water Caste - Reindeer [Weather/Administrative Caste]
Earth Caste - Moose [Farmer/Worker Caste]
Wood Caste - Musk Deer [Merchant/Messenger Caste]
Noble Caste - Roe Deer [Officer/Leader Caste]
Note that Father Deer is officially in the Noble Caste, but as supposedly the only Peryton or Winged Deer in existence, he does not constitute an entire Deer species unto himself.
The Empire is not all Deer, however, and other species have been assigned membership to other castes, though interspecies breeding with other caste-species or Deer is forbidden without Government approval as previously noted.
Fire - Griffins, Unicorns, Diamond Dogs, Minotaurs, Pegasi
Water - Pegasi Weather only], Unicorns [Administrative only]
Earth - Earth [Farm and Smith/Manufacturing only], Zebra [Medicine and Chemical only], Donkeys, Cows, Sheep.
Wood - Minotaurs, Pegasi
Noble - None within the boundaries of the Empire, thought the Hooviets maintain that Alicorns are regarded as members of the Noble caste for being on a par with Father Deer.
A Note Upon The Sika Deer and Deer outside the Empire
A Sixth Deer Species, the Sika, exists outside of the Empire. Most Sika presently live in Nara, Neighpon, though small groups of them can be found in amongst most Deer populations elsewhere as the Sika often undertake spiritual journeys. The Sika within the Empire were persecuted as witches centuries ago, and by and large seem to have died out within the borders of the Deer empire.
Sika have the strongest affinity for Ley Lines of all Deer, and for centuries the Neighponese Sika have been regarded as a divine monastic species by the Neighponese Ponies and other species. To this day, many Ponies seek the blessings or advice of Sika Deer in Neighpon and venerate them as spiritual advisers and guides. The Empress often seeks advice from any Sika deer that pass her court, and it is reputed that she would take the word of any Sika deer over even the words of Princess Celestia.
This is not true, however, as usually the Sika and Princess Celestia say the same thing, excepting one time where Celestia accidentally said cherry pancake instead of dough-nut.
Deer outside the empire have largely found themselves concentrating in Germaney, Prance, Caledonia (Northern Equestria), Columbia, and Whales. The native Whalesean Red Deer have been welcoming to all newcomers, as have the Griffins, Ponies, and the Dragon King of Whales (Who is of course an actual Dragon). Whales, it must be noted, declared war upon the Hooviet Empire during the Draco-Hooviet war in part thanks to their King, and in part thanks to their large Deer population.

MLP:FiM: Is Copyrighted By Habro
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The chapter begins with Shining and Bond (in a less suspicious outfit) leaving the embassy. Shining will also get the next day off but even he wonders if he manages to survive that long. So Ace will continue to keep this position for a while and it seems that Twinkle Shine starts to admire the pegasus. Their plan is simple: At first the hoofmaidens have to go to bed and then Shining and Bond will claim to leave for a party. Cadence will sneak out in her disguise and will meet up with them at the end of the street. Outside Bond goes to get their cart and Shining wonders what kind of cart it will be and who will have to pull it. Suddenly he hears a deep and loud noise behind himself but thankfully it just turns out to be Bond inside a black car and not the wolf that is hunting him. From his description it seems that Shining had never seen anything like that and Bond tells him that it is a Gaston-Maretin. No one builds a cart like Gaston, no one sings a villain song like Gaston and no reference flies over Shining’s head like Gaston. At first the unicorn doesn’t think that this car is inconspicuous enough for the mission ahead but then the entire town seems to be filled with even more expensive cars. How could he overlook all of them so far? Shining slips into the back and thinks that it might be the best choice to hide there from Mr. Makarov. Meanwhile Cadence disguised herself as a purple pegasus and also wears a hooded shirt. Twilight’s brother does notice that the horn of the Alicorn seems to be merely invisible and suspects that it is some sort of glamour spell. So far the plan works flawlessly and they manage to get to the apartment without alerting anybody.

As the preparations go on, Shining can see the ominous location through a window. The snipers and the Unit Metal are ready for the big scene. Bond is about to give Shining his equipment and Cadence jokingly suggests a tuxedo for this spy mission. It seems real spies absolutely hate Con Mane for getting about everything about their work wrong: stealing cake recipes, wearing tuxedos in the middle of a jungle, telling everybody your real name, always asking for your trademark food, nonsensical weapons and gadgets, the entire premise of stealing cake for Princess Celestia and even a crossover with Daring Do. Both the pegasus and the earth pony interviewer object to that instantly and somehow Bond seems to have felt that. But the unicorn interviewer and Cadence both thought that the crossover was a silly idea. The other two interviewers blame it mostly on the execution and not the idea itself. Besides that Bond should be HAPPY that Con Mane gets spy work so wrong, because if the popular book would actually make real spy tactics and work public, then it would also make their work harder to do. Bond hopes that the next book will not be another success and Cadence muses that everything she reads in public becomes popular. Shining realises that if he can get her to proof-read his upcoming novel, then it will be a huge success. When asked he reveals that he plans to write a story about a task force trying to fight against invaders from another dimension (surely a reference to X-Com).

His possible equipment contains clothes that will hide the stab-vest and under armor, a saddlebag for his other gear, Night-vision goggles, a flaregun and a selection of knifes. He doesn’t think that he will need these items but they could be very useful to conserve mana and he doesn’t want to mortally wound anybody. Bond points out that he needs to be able to survive in combat without magic. And Mr. Makarov fights so dirty that he can’t afford to hesitate if he wants to come out of it alive. Shining can’t always rely on his friends saving him. Then Bond lists all the weapons Shining could take and the unicorn is shocked of how he as a Captain of the Royal Guard can not know all of these things and developments in weaponry. Eventually he decides to take a revolver airgun with him. The spy also gives him the advice to aim for the neck of a Deer if he has to shot, anything else would not work since Shining is so horrible with aiming and the body is usually protected. They also prepare him with the layout of the hospital and Bond admits that he thinks the entire thing is very strange. The radio stops anybody from listening in but has a very weak reach, on the other side he still has a normal radio but that isn’t as secure. He also has his flaregun, which often makes a decent emergency weapon.
He will meet Reznov in the main lobby, which is easy to cover but the rest of the abandoned hospital is a broken maze. There is also another way inside in the form of a tunnel that was once used to remove bodies discreetly. But even that will be covered by the snipers. When the time comes Shining jokes about running away LIKE A BOSS… but the interviewers no longer fall for it. Baseplate is with him over the radio and suddenly Reznov is standing in the main lobby. Shining doesn’t know how this could be possible and reminisces how the Deer changed from nature-loving people to pioneers of technology over time. There doesn’t seem to be a weapon on Reznov and by now Shining wonders if it is Mr. Makarov using shapeshifting to lay a trap. But he keeps walking forward to finally learn what all of this is about. Having this entire backup including snipers and an Alicorn manages to calm Twilight’s brother down.

Finally he is standing before Reznov. The Deer knows exactly that he is carrying a transmitter and tells him to drop it. There seem to be no ambushes hidden nearby and Reznov even knows about Princess Cadence’s presence and is quite happy about that. Eventually he drops the transmitter and Reznov blocks it. Then when asked he reveals that he is here to warn them about a large-scale attack Mr. Makarov had planed on his enemies both in the Hooviet Empire and outside of it. He sees Mr. Makarov as a global threat and considering what we already have seen about him so far that might be true. Reznov claims to work for all the Deer that are unable to move on to the afterlife as they were not buried and suffer now a fate worse then death. Eventually he says that to understand the full truth Shining shouldn’t trust him. It involves the ley lines, the mana-flow of this world, and standing where such lines cross can allow people to make incredible discoveries and gain hidden knowledge. Zebras, Minotaurs and Deer all know about this technique. This place is not only a fittingly creepy background for a shocking reveal but also where nine ley lines cross. There are only two other such places: The old castle of Celestia and Luna within the Everfree Forest and Chernobull (Chernobyl).

Shining wonders if it is somewhat like what is rumoured to be under the Canterlot Castle. Reznov seems to even know about Truth but says that this is something very different. Instead of showing a wide spectrum of time and space, ley lines work with time and show you all of its current existence. But most ponies and griffins see shades of the past or of what they could have been, like an incomplete look into Truth. This was the origin of the ghost stories of this hospital since delusional unicorns are very susceptible to such visions. Reznov tells him that Shining is blessed with strong mental defences against deceptive magic. That admittingly almost sounds like it could ruin the plans of the Changeling Queen from the very start. But Reznov explains that under eye contact or horn contact such magic could still work on him. Shining doesn’t quite know how much of that is actually true. So his mistrust and resistance means that Reznov has to show him the truth but he could still show him an incomplete picture by not explaining certain events that only make sense if you combine them with something else. Now more then ever before Shining wants to know about the Defiant, Mr. Makarov and the wolf that is chasing him.

To fully understand what is going on, they will have to start with Chernobull. It was a magical research facility that exploded 13 years ago and Mr. Makarov’s career started there when he rescued many trapped deer and secured key resources. Chernobull was also the place where unicorn-deer hybrids with exceptional talents in both kinds of magic where created. By now Mr. Makarov is the only hybrid left alive and Shining suspects that he might be responsible for that as well. But there is more to Mr. Makarov then that. Reznov claims that the Defiant was shot down over the jungles of Kundu. Shining takes the chance to mention what Mr. Makarov told him and Reznov admits being partly responsible for that. Mrs. Bond was the agent who oversaw Reznov’s activities of sending information about the Hooviets to the Columbians and from there to the Equestrians. He claims that most of the spies and agents who died because of Reznov were Hooviets or their allies. But with the loss of Mrs. Bond, Reznov lost his connection to Equestria.

But it could have been differently, the Defiant could have never been shot down, Mr. Makarov not even be born and Chernobull would have exploded at a different time. Shining’s first suspicion is that time travel could have been involved but most of the time that thankfully only ends in a stable loop. Here a new timeline was created that was open for later changes, including sending something that shouldn’t exist at all into this world. The original date on which Chernobull should have exploded is very close to Shining’s birthday and that is surely more then a coincidence.

Then the topic shifts to Shining himself. Reznov knows that he is an incredibly loyal soldier both to his friends and his nation. His worst fear is failing to protect others and he is willing to sacrifice his own life for that. Shining admits that if that would happen he wishes to be remembered and that it would have been for a good cause. The unicorn sees this as selfish but Reznov thinks this is a very small prize in return for offering your own life. He understands that better than Shining thinks, since he was raised in the belief that the Greater Good was worth any sacrifice and that they would have been remembered for that. But the truth is very different. In the name of the Greater Good horrible atrocities were committed and those who sacrifice themselves are forgotten. To be remembered is a right only for Generals and Roe Deer. Reznov summarises that Shining can feel that he was BORN as a shield to protect others, especially his sister. But such belief can be exploited like the Hooviet Empire shows.

Suddenly Reznov speaks about Basilisks and Shining remembers hating Cockatrices. This intrigues Reznov and he asks the unicorn why he hates them so much. As far as we know he never encountered one but somebody else had a very unpleasant encounter: Twilight. And the agent even knows about Shining’s obsession with Hoofball. Suddenly the unicorn has a flash back to Twilight’s experience. At first she was frustrated that it was nothing like what the books told her but then she realised that it couldn’t affect her mind since she was trying to cast a spell. Only then did she realise that most cures for this case involve waking her up and since she is already awake that doesn’t work. Even worse her magic is still drained away. Shining does not understand why he feels such hatred for these creatures and suspects that the story of the pegasus who was turned into stone and had become addicted to the state is responsible. In the end the soldier ran away to return to the state. But he was never found again. According to him the story that Celestia did grant him his wish of becoming an immortal observer was wrong. Basilisks work similar but their gaze is instantly fatal and leaves only lifeless rock behind but there is no zenlike state if you are a Deer. Trying to cast a spell or having an immunity like the constant flow of mana in the antlers means that the soul doesn’t reach inner peace but the body is still petrified with the soul inside. And this incomplete union drains the life-force to keep the soul-binding running until it is gone completely.

In the Hooviet Empire the fittingly named Department of Truth changed the books to hide the fact that every Deer that is petrified is doomed to a slow lingering death that can takes several decades. Instead they are told that it is instantly fatal and that they will be placed as monuments. Instead they end up decorating the lawns of dachas of higher Generals and politicians. Shining sees it as a horrible mockery of their sacrifice. The unicorn interviewer brings up cases where elderly monks do this willingly to inspire younger generations but the difference is that they know exactly what is happening to them and surely manage to reach the zenlike state. These soldiers are just pawns that are mocked in their long suffering afterwards. It would have been kinder to just smash them to pieces to kill them and then burry the remains afterwards. The pegasus interviewer can understand why Shining is so angry. She knows what it is like to struggle for a noble goal only to find out that you were doing the exact opposite of what you wanted to achieve. The strong venom was meant to become part of a dragon-slaying superweapon and since its shelf life was so short, many, many, far too many lives were sacrificed. In the end the project was a failure and all the horrible and slow deaths were in vain. Nothing was accomplished besides amusing a few Deer with a very sick sense of humor.

While talking Reznov moved closer to Shining so that right now his antlers are almost touching his horn. Since the unicorn will resist this, it will be more painful then it has to be. The Deer mentions that he should start a stopwatch, likely this is one of these events that seem to take very long while outside only a second passes. Twilight’s brother reminds him that an Alicorn is watching him but Reznov takes this with humor and seems to already know about their connection. Then everything goes white.

Overall this was an introduction with tons of interesting exposition that makes you want to learn more about this mystery. Shining and the reader are drawn in what this could be all about and what was the event that made this world so different. Blocking the transmitter also makes sense since anybody besides Shining who experienced all these strange things will likely not believe Reznov but maybe there are other reasons for him to do this. And considering that the wolf seems to want to purge Shining from this timeline, he might be the “something that shouldn’t exist” that Reznov mentioned.
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Allanpike Feb 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
X-Com reference. Tick.

And some other bits? XD
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:iconsoradical:

Toneigh, a female deer, owned two of nightclubs - Maisonette Neigh and Firefly. The latter was, er, restricted to males without an invite...

(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Oh, it was a lesbian club?)

...I'm not sure I want to know how she guessed that.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Considering how she seems unable to comprehend any sexual innuendos that are thrown around and both of her "sisters" and shining refuse to explain them to her I don't think I want to either. 

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:iconalexwarlorn:
Be sure to copy and past this comment to LZ 
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:iconeric-emanwu:
From a shadow about to go on vacation: hey master shadow! How are ya? I just thought I should let you know that I’m going on vacation for 40 days starting on Wednesday. It’s something that some shadows do: they give up something in order to focus on other things. And right now, I need a break from stressing about the stories to focus on the alicorns.

Also, didn't want to post this as a comment, but the critique button won't work.

That being said, this chapter has a lot of good things going for it, and really ups the tension around who Shining Armor is, and why he’s so significant in the reharmonized world.

So we begin with sneaking out, with Cadence seeking to keep her hoofmaidens out of it. And it’s here we get some nice comedy before the darkness. And it’s here that we learn that technological progress in Columbia is working well. It appears that they’ve invented the model T. I foresee the rise of cars in equestria! And on top of that, I love the girlish squee cadence gave when she saw the car.

So they kept moving forward for the operation, and Shining Armor had to load up. Incidentally, the James Bond rant was fairly enjoyable, even if it was rather unnecessary. And now, I present a defense of 007.

He uses his real name to make himself feared among the criminal underworld, and I have another theory that the name James Bond is in fact a code name as well: to frighten the supervillains when the next 00 takes the slot. And tuxes work fine in urban settings. Actually the part about cake is rather funny also. Reminds me of a fandom in joke fanfic on celestia eating too much cake and becoming fat.

(why do they always have one side of a crossover overshadow the other?) (My young interviewer, It’s because the writers are writing from one side’s point of view, and thus can write that view far more competently than the other point, no matter how much love they might show it. However, it’s not impossible to do a balanced crossover. For one example, I suggest looking at Pony Rangers Wild Force: Reinforcements from the future. Both teams fight hard, both teams fight well together, and the threat is literally a balance of both bad guys: mutants and orgs. Check it out.)

And shining’s a sci-fi buff? Who knew?

Actually though, all things aside, I did find the military jargon to be a pinch unnecessary. I realize LZ0’s trying to play this as realistic as possible, but this seems a bit excessive. Also, liked the G3.5 jab.

Also, the bit about the dears being old nature loving people was a nice meta-commentary on how once the tsars took power in Russia, their attempts to copy the west lead them to becoming much more tech oriented compared to the scattered tribes they had beforehand.

“I trust Cadence but she's the Goddess of Harmony and Music, not War.” (Oh Shining, if only you knew the truth: harmony is one of the most powerful magics ever. She mortally wounded fear incarnate (well, a part of it) with that power. True, cadence probably doesn’t know anything like that right now, but it’s a reality that did happen once upon a time.)

So Shining made his way to Resnov, and he makes a great first impression: cool, collected, self-aware of the situations they’re in.

And with his coming, he brought a warning: “Makarov is planning a large-scale attack on his enemies, at home and abroad.” A coup d’état on the whole world. Crazy, and something that…will probably happen before this story’s over, won’t it?...?
He worked for himself, but also for others. And actually, I have to ask: are Ley lines based at all on the norse mythology as they’re points where the flows of magic are strongest? There’s even 9 of them to connect each realm. Also, is this doing in the wizard? Is THIS the real explanation for why Celestia has the pool of truths under her castle? It’s probably not, and still mimic’s shoe, but I got to be sure.

(I read further) Ooooohhh, ok. Time only. And the alternate timelines? Maybe?

"Your distrust shows you are blessed with strong mental defenses, Captain. A natural strength against deceptive magics.” Bingo! Magic resist. The element of magic has a brother with magic resist? SYMBOLISM!

“Chernobull” (subtle) “it exploded.” (more subtle) “a... hero of the Empire was born, in a manner of speaking.” (wat?)

And the web of spies work around. Defiant was shot down to get rid of an administrator, and Reznov’s an associate, seeking to stop Makarov. And the other truth is that something has changed in the timeline. (beat) (something has changed? What? The doctor?....A stable time loop? So the timestream will always correct itself? Hmmm, H.G. Wells’s The time machine metaphysics?)

Wait…A time line with no right to exist? Wait, but there’s only one timeline that we saw in the entire origins stories that merited that way back in the time of gods……G3. Uh oh.

But, G3 was rolled back thousands of years. It can’t be G3. But something changed things a while back but not that far? What’s going on?

I also like what was said of Shining Armor: A soldier, a potential element of loyalty, a brave but still fearful man who fears for others, and wants to be remembered. Which is far more noble than you might think. Hmmm. Curris?

“Born to protect others from that which would harm them, to help them when they are in need. From letting a sister smile to being there for a Princess who often feels alone in a crowd. You live for others. This is good. It will mean you can emphasize with what I was..."

That is so sweet. (even if it is a matter of the timeline, life and death)

And what is this mysterious flash sideways to being petrified?

"To kill dragons” (sacre bleu! The war with the dragons! Fighting the old wars again!)

"Oh, indeed. She watches over your heart. And some other bits, but she is only young..." (Oh reznov…Don’t tell me you know about the wedding as well?!!)

To be continued.

The suspense here is fantastic. It you’d cut down on the military jargon just a little LZO, it would have been a 5 star chapter all the way. As it is though, I must hold on to my reservations, and give you a diminished grade. Still though, Can’t wait to see what the second hunt is really about. (I can read backwards! (in a sing-song voice))

But that’s only counting on me actually getting to them. If I don’t finish by tomorrow, it’ll have to wait a while. Cheers!
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:iconalexwarlorn:
Thanks for the long in-depth review. I'm sure LZ will appreciate it when he reads it.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
I'm giving up sweets and video games for lent.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
Be sure to tell LZ what you think!
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:iconkurseofkings:
"This... this isn't what the books said would happen! It was supposed to be a zenlike state, a trance. Some ponies enjoy it... Why am I...

I tried to cast a spell.

I tried to fight. I tried to draw magic! It couldn't affect my mind, it didn't manage to hypnotize me first! Of course! Huh, that's actually kind of interesting... I'll need to tell somepony when I...

Oh no... the cures... The cures work by waking you up. If I'm awake already how do I wake up again!? And... Why can I still feel my magic draining into the spell I was going to cast?

'Where the hay did that come from? And why did it sound like....'" ...Where did this part come from, again? It feels like I just walked into a completely different fanfic.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
It was supposed to be a flash to what happened to Twilight in Stare Master.
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