"Hurry up with the artillery unit!" "We're going as fast as we can!" "Get that stallion on his hooves!" "Somepony get a medic!"
"Yes, scurry like ants, waiting to squashed."
A pony grabbed the hero, and pulled him behind a row of sandbags. "Wake up! We need every able hoof on this, now!" "Forget it, we need to retreat." "Retreat?! We can't retreat!" "Shut up, Private, I'm not losing anymore ponies!" "Incoming!" A mare shoved the one in charge out of the way, a blast of light hit the pony. When the flash subsided, a dust outline flew away where the pony had been standing. "Sir, we lost Gold!"
"Hahahaha! How fun! Can you read me the score?"
"Sound the retreat." "But, Sir! If we retreat now, we'll lose all the ground we've made! Gold's death will have been for nothing! We can't just-" "Then get every pony ready to run. We need to make it up to the next trench." The pony slapped the hero a few times. "Come on, we need everypony! What's your name, soldier?"
The world slammed in all at once. Explosions rocked the world around them. Fires blazed in almost every inch, and the sky choked on all of the smoke. The stallion was wearing a white suit of armor, that was tarnished and had marks of soot covering it. Injured ponies were scattered about the trench, moaning in pain. Yet, they all got ready.
"Harmony is dead! Abandon your hope, and bend your will to me! I am supreme! Burn! Burn!"
It saddened Stardust to see Celestia had been afflicted with the very same illness that plagued many of the ponies in the castle, and while many guards had attempted to dissuade him, Stardust was adamant in going to help her. What could have possibly driven a common courier like him? Was it just a blind rush to prove his worth? No, he may be young and inexperienced, but even he knew that would be a dumb reason. Love? Maybe...but the heart of it all was simple; Celestia was his friend, and he wasn't going to just let a friend suffer through this. He understood the risks, and he was still determined to help her. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Entering the dreamworld, the pegasus found himself being slapped by another pony, even when he was already awake. He brought a hoof up to prevent another slap before he was asked for a name. It seemed like he was caught in the continuation of a story. Thrown into a world where the action had already started and it was up to him to put the pieces together.
"My name is Stardust Glimmer, sir." He introduced himself, a confident smile on his face. He knew this was a dream, and that alone would be an asset to him. Explosions roared through the sky, and the pegasus ducked to avoid harm. "Hey! Can anypony bring me up to speed?" he asked, but another burst of power proved this would be difficult unless he did something. Time to get a little creative... he thought, spreading his shimmering wings as he took off into the air with a spin.
To all observers, it looked like a ball of light had shot up into the air, and a shooting star began to soar around the razed field. The rainbow-dust that would come off his wings in reality was further exaggerated in this world, and as it floated in the air and began to cover the ground, it began to work a magic that would only work in the dream world. The smoke was pushed away, and flames were extinguished, at least to a degree. While ahead of them was still a warzone, at least the immediate area was safer. Regardless of the trench-ponies' reaction, Stardust regrouped with them, the dust around him being less concentrated so they could see him properly.
"This may be a stupid question, but where is Princess Celestia?" he asked them simply, almost too casually given the situation they were dealing with. He was determined to change the tide of this nightmare...for Celestia...for his friend.
The soldiers blinked in surprise as the stallion shimmered with light. The entire world reacted to it as the clouds pulsed in closer and an unseen force blared red light from behind them. The wind picked up drastically. The one in charge, a white stallion with a blue gem cutie mark, walked over to him. "Soldier, I don't know where in Tartarus' name you came from, but I'm glad to have you. I'll let Sincerity catch you up." He waved over a white mare, with a pink gem cutie mark, and trotted off to continue speaking with the others. The mare brought Stardust off to the side. "The Nightmare Forces rolled in a few months ago. We lost Princess Celestia in the last battle. It's... affected morale greatly. But, we can't give up! We're so close!"
"I've been unfair... I'll give you a choice. Surrender the pony of light, and I will spare you all."
All of the soldiers paused for a moment. Sincerity turned towards the leader. "Wisdom?" Wisdom held up a hoof to shush her. "Soldier, we're going trench to trench down this hill, to reach their main camp. In it, their's said to be something that's powering the whole army. Now I'm not turning anyone over to that sicko, but you need to pull your weight. Think you can keep up?"
Whatever was assailing them had paused, perhaps in astonishment, perhaps out of caution. Whatever the case, time had been bought and the white stallion in charge came over, only to tell Sincerity to catch him up on it. So Princess Celestia was lost in the last battle with the Nightmare Forces. Taken at face value, it would certainly explain why they are fighting and so demoralized. However...in this world, that would be a paradox. The one who was running the dream could not possibly be wiped away at the same time. It's like trying to water a flower when the flower wasn't there. Celestia was still here, even if the ponies couldn't see her.
Then the request to be surrendered was uttered by the unseen force of red light. Sincerity asked the leader, Wisdom, what they should do. It had been decided that Stardust wasn't going to be surrendered, but he'd also have to pull his own weight. The pegasus was then asked if he thinks he could keep up, which only brought a confident smile. "Do you even need to ask?" he replied, with the confidence of either a complete fool or somepony who knows he can win would have. Pink Gem...Sincerity...Blue Gem...Wisdom... He began to analyze the hints given to him while the ponies got ready for the next push. He needed to compare notes, to figure this out.
"Sincerity, Wisdom. I need to ask; are there any other ponies here with cutie marks like yours." he asked. Blue was Wisdom, Pink was Sincerity...If he was reading things correctly, he knew just who...no, what, they were up against. The driving force behind this dream.
Sincerity and Wisdom shared a look, before Wisdom returned to speaking to his comrades. Sincerity looked down. "The Nightmare Forces captured a stallion with a green gem cutie mark... We think they're holding him and other prisoners in their camp." Wisdom walked back over. "We'll liberate them if we can, but our focus is disrupting their forces and ending this fight before we lose any more. Get ready, we're starting the charge. Stay low, stay smart, and we may pull this off." Sincerity watched Wisdom walk off. "Right. Better wait for the signal."
"I shall take your silence as defiance. Very well! I shall scorch this land until nothing but ash remains!"
Green gem...what does he represent? he mused to himself before nodding, preparing to join in on the charge. As soon as the signal was shot, allowing the ponies to start, the unseen force had proclaimed they'd burn the land until nothing but ashes remained. This prompted Stardust to take a chance and break from the group every now and then. The iridescent dust kicked up as he'd work to intercept the spellwork, using the powder much like a shield.
So long as I can keep this up, I can find and save Celestia...please hang in there... he thought, sticking with Sincerity and Wisdom when he wasn't playing defense. "So who are these Nightmare Forces? This is the first time I've heard of them." the pegasus asked Sincerity.
Sincerity ducked under a blast of fire, and pointed as she ran "That's one of them!" A colossal pony with a red gem for a face stomped towards them, firing off shots of magic and fire. Ponies were shot down left and right, which only fueled a cackling laugh from the Nightmare Force pony. The eye of a rather vicious pony shone from within the red gem. Wisdom leaped into a trench, and ponies followed suit. About a third of their numbers had been wiped out. Sincerity collapsed against the wall of sandbags, breathing heavily.
"Unless you relinquish the stallion, I shall reduce you all to rubble!"
Wisdom wiped sweat from his brow, peeking over the side. "We've got another trench to make it to, and then we can make the final push to the camp." "Sir, I don't know if we'll have enough soldiers to even make a dent in their defenses."
Seeing pony after pony being wiped out...even in a dream, it didn't sit right with him. To the dream ponies, this was reality. Did they know this would all be erased once it ended? Were they merely actors playing their 'We've got another trench to make it to, and then we can make the final push to the camp.' Wisdom tried to encourage the group. 'Sir, I don't know if we'll have enough soldiers to even make a dent in their defenses.' Sincerity voiced her concerns.
Stardust thought long and hard, which translated to only a few seconds in this dream. If he was right about this..."Then we'll minimize the potential damage on the rest of the soldiers..." the stallion declared, looking to Wisdom and Sincerity. "Our adversary has put their attention on me. I'm one huge bulls-eye to them, and it doesn't seem they'll stop at anything in order to get to me." he explained the situation.
'Are you saying you're going to give yourself up?' one of the ponies asked, and Stardust shook his head. "I'm saying I am going to figure out how to finish this ...If I can get a good look at who we're up against, then I'll know... Don't worry, I'll be able to catch up later when the need arises." he stated, but did not allow for either Wisdom or Sincerity to protest. His almost childish enthusiasm faded, and he got more serious about this matter. "I'm here to save somepony very important to me...one so important that it's worth the risk..." he explained, poking his head out to see the Nightmare forces.
"Alright, you made your point! I'm coming out!" he called out to their attacker, nodding to the two and wishing them good luck before the pegasus stepped out of the trench, opposite the direction the ponies were aiming for. This is a dream...this is a dream, that knowledge separates me from them. he thought as he scoped out the opposition. If he could just find that familiar face.
The soldiers looked between themselves, and Sincerity looked like she wanted to stop him, but Wisdom kept a hoof in front of her. "Let us hurry. Hopefully his efforts will not be in vain." As soon as Stardust left the trench, every pony began to smear and fade, like chalk on a sidewalk in the rain. Everything sort of lost color, and the air around the giant gem pony shimmered. It stepped closer and closer to Stardust, leaning forwards. The eye within the gem narrowed.
Suddenly, the gem burst with light, and engulfed Stardust in an explosion of red. Gems flew around him, battering him like a torrent of heavy rain. This continued for what seemed like an eternity, before he was spat out into a dark cave.
"Oh, there you are." The very same white mare from before walked over. "Wisdom's been looking for you. We're going to start the infiltration." Sincerity saluted Stardust, and ran off towards the entrance.
Noting how the world changed around him and the giant gem-pony, the colt almost got the confirmation he needed. The voice told him for certain; something, or someone, was influencing Celestia's dream. The words were aimed at him, much like an actor from a stage-play breaking character to rant at the audience.
He could not react in time, and was caught in the explosion. The storm of red-gems began to punish him, as if reacting to the very fact he was an outsider to this world. It would only make sense; dream-walking was Luna's magic, it would stand to reason that Celestia's dream would not only be aware of it, but know how to react. A gem dug itself into his left eye before retreating back. The pegasus gritted his teeth as the same dust his wings released in both reality and this world began to gather and reform the eye that had just been lost.
More and more...it felt like hours he was being attacked by the gems, but yet he stood his ground, taking every blow and still kept himself ready for more. There was only one thing he had in mind, if he forgot, he might had been lost in the dream. Celestia.
Almost as if responding to his sheer determination, Stardust was spat of the gem-storm and into a dark cave. The white mare from earlier, Sincerity, greeted him with a salute. "Sincerity?" he asked, getting up and following her, keeping himself just audible enough for her to hear.
"How did your side fare? Wisdom and the others, are they alright aswell?" he asked her, more to get some more exposition of this chapter...
They slowly trotted towards a soft light trailing in from the smooth black stones. "What?" Sincerity gave him a confused look. "We haven't even started yet, Stardust. Don't tell me you're going on us now. We've spent months in preparation for this." A voice called down to them. "Come on, we're on a tight schedule!" "Better hurry, sounds like Bravery's getting impatient."
Sincerity walked out into the pale moonlight. Stretching below them, was a dense jungle, that echoed sounds of wildlife and swaying leaves. In the distance, an advanced compound sat surrounded by towers and patrolling flyers with spotlights attached to them. The team sat up on a rocky ridge, overlooking the entire scene. Bravery, a white stallion with a golden crest for a cutie mark, flapped his wings impatiently. "Can we get a move on?"
Another mare, this one a white mare with a green gem cutie mark, was looking over a map of the compound. Wisdom was staring at the base, silently.
He was a bit confused that his question was met with such skepticism. "Sorry, my mistake." he apologized with a smile as he followed the mare. Looking on, he saw both Bravery and the green-gem cutie mark mare. Something felt...right..about working with them. They were going to infiltrate the camp. So this would be it, the final push? Wisdom was looking at the base, Bravery was raring to go, Sincerity was just as ready to follow Wisdom and Bravery.
Stardust wandered over to the green-gem marked mare, glancing over at the map. He couldn't make sense of the map, every time he blinked it always changed on him. But the mare seemed to be able to read it with no trouble. "So what should we expect once we get in?" he asked.
Wisdom turned from his perch, and joined the two ponies by the map. "Flying patrols changing shifts every two hours. Ground patrols accompanied by Watchwolves and Nightmare soldiers. On the outer wall, they have gem sentinels. One blast from one of those, and you're a goner. On the inside... No idea. Could be anything, but we expect it to be heavily fortified."
Bravery smiled at Sincerity. "You're alright?" "I'm fine." "Are you sure?" "My name's not Sincerity for nothing, Bravery." He looked down. "I know." Sincerity's eyes softened, and she placed a hoof on his cheek. "We're ready for this. You know that we can do this. You don't have to worry about me." Bravery leaned over and kissed her cheek. "I always worry."
Wisdom looked away from the two. "At the start of the infiltration, we'll have Sincerity create the disturbance to the west of the fortress. Bravery, you and Stardust will take out the guards who come to check out the scene. Do it as quietly as possible. Hope and I will slip in through the underground, while the three of you walk through the front door dressed as the guards."
The mare looking over the map spoke up. "While Wisdom and I work on finding the Source, Stardust, you'll split off from Bravery and Sincerity to set the prisoners free." Wisdom nodded. "Bravery, you'll go to their weapon storage and sabotage what you can. Sincerity, we need you to find a clear exit for us that won't be swarming with guards by the time we do all this. If any of you find any signs of Celestia, that becomes your mission priority. Nothing else matters... Any questions?"
As Wisdom began to explain just what they were up against, Stardust felt more confident. It was a typical scenario; basically they had to time their movements correctly. He couldn't, however, help but watch Bravery and Sincerity's heartwarming moment. Even if this were a dream, seeing the two like that was very sweet.
Then the plan was revealed. He, Sincerity and Bravery would disguise themselves as the guards, and respectively free the prisoners, secure the exit, and sabatoge the weaponry. They were told to prioritize saving Celestia if they found any sign of her, which sounded simple on paper, but did leave a few things to worry about. However, he was certain Wisdom already have those worries covered, so Stardust shook his head.
"Not me, I'm ready when you are." he smiled. All they had to do was wait for the signal to start everything now. And all he had to do was play along until he found the princess.
"Trespassers will be shot on sight. Any refugees, or escaped prisoners shall be taken in for questioning and processing. Roger Echo Delta."
Every one of them turned towards the sound being broadcast from the compound. Wisdom nodded. "That's our cue. Bravery, Sincerity, Stardust; travel along the cliffs until you're at the crossroads. Wait until you see the flying patrols start to head back towards the compound, then start the diversion. Hope, you're on me."
Wisdom and Hope slid down the rocky face and into the jungle below. Bravery started off on the narrow path against the mountain, and Sincerity waved for Stardust to follow.
The Fun Has Been Doubled! is a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic moderate-to-advanced forum roleplay. Set after the events of the fifth season, we currently have no overarching plot. Instead, we simply have created the world of Equestria for you as a giant playground to have fun in and to explore the magic of friendship. Canon characters and original characters are available for you to play as, both ponies and non-pony species alike! Just remember that we are account-per-character and we'll be fine!
So why don't you stay for a while, look around, and let us know if we should get a welcome party started for you.