Jump to content
FiniteZero

[Starfall] The Long Road to Diplomacy (Closed)

Recommended Posts

A cold breeze ran through Radiant Silver's mane. The sun shone brightly through the stain glass windows, illuminating the castle halls. There was no small amount of glint off of his violet-colored armor. Upon his breastplate, a sacred purple cutie-mark was imprinted. It was a reminder to all that saw him that his duty was to New Equestria and Twilight, Goddess of Friendship. 

It was 9:59 CT, and he was waiting outside the main chamber inside the Castle of Friendship. On either side stood two guards, clad in similar armor. They stood as still as he did.

Radiant had a shining white coat and a silvery mane, along with blood red eyes and a look of seriousness and dedication permanently etched onto his face that aged him by 20 years. Though only an adult for a short amount of time compared to his peers, he earned their respect with his skill in combat.

Also in the room was one other guard, one who was also undertaking the escort mission. Radiant knew the basics of what they had to do: Escort some expert in diplomacy over to the Griffon Kingdom.

He frowned slightly. The Griffons did not deserve their kindness. Nevertheless, he would see this mission through. It was his duty, after all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agile had arrived bright and early...or rather, dark...at the Castle of Friendship.  He stood at abrupt attention, rapt to see who his comrade-in-hooves would be.  This Chief Master Sergeant of the Wonderbolts had been hoofpicked to take on this diplomatic mission...though, hoofpicked by whom was the better question.  The Griffon Kingdom would be the destination, and they were to escort the Minister of Foreign Diplomacy.  He closed his eyes and breathed out.

His armour was ornate but strong, clearly crafted for this mission's entirety.  He was stern, and his long, broad-bladed sword hung at his side.  His wings were well groomed, though a steel plate was fitted around the skeleton of the feathery flights to protect.  He was honoured to have been chosen for this mission.  And he was honored, to be honored by whomever goddess had looked kindly upon him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a moment of silence. Then, the door opened. A rather small-looking brown mare with oversized specticles poked her head out.

"Come in." She said quickly before retreating back into the room. Radiant took a moment to glance once more at Agile, then stepped into the room.

Stain glass murals colored the room, throwing a shattered spectrum of light onto the table and thrones that held the center of the room, the roots of the tree above looming over them. Each throne was marked with symbols of destiny that New Equestrians had come to know very well.

At the back of the room, on a higher pedistal, sat the sacred throne of Twilight Sparkle. Only those who have been permitted into the Council of Friendship were allowed to set hoof on it, and then only to clean it. In its place at the table sat a new throne, with the mark of Twilight's first and only pupil. Sitting in that seat, the Heir of Magic.

His black fur had several white hairs, his blue eyes tired, his hooves restless. On his impeccable suit sat a pin made of the finest gems and silver, resembling the mark above his head. To his right sat the small mare, holding a long scroll and extravagant quill in her tan magic.

On the throne for the Heir of Kindness was the Minister they were protecting. He was tall, thin, and nervous. Dark purple fur and eyes, long blue mane. He wore a suit as well, though it was much more ruffled.

"Gentlecolts, we have a situation." Stated the Heir of Magic. "We are on the brink of a war, one which we only have one last chance to prevent. The Griffon Empire claims that we have taken land from them, and demands it back. Those claims are dubious-"

"W-well, technically-" The minister started.

"Dubious," The heir stressed, "And not only they want that 'back', but they also want the Lands of Exile. That land sits directly between us and them, and we cannot let them take it. No doubt they could use it as a strategic point to invade New Equestria."

Radiant's frowned increased. He knew of this area; South of the Dragon Lands, east of Roughrider Ridge, home of most of New Equestria's industry. Taking that out could lead a serious blow not only to them, but to the other Equestrian nations as well.

"Your task is to escort Mr. Hoof over to them so that he can talk them out of it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He remained silent as their debriefer spoke.  He wasn't much of a politician, but he prided in being one of the best Wonderbolts (his opinion entirely).  The guard beside him changed facial expressions several times during the debrief, but he remained his stoic, cold self.  He used to be charming and quite the romantic, going on treasure hunts and soaring the skies for fun.  But he'd seen more than his young eyes should have...his marefriend dying, being disowned by his parents, watching the once-proud Equestria fall to its knees to the gods above.  

He was a hundred percent dedicated, mastering the art of weapons, flight, and accuracy.  He could nail down a target hundreds of meters in the air.  He could sense an enemy's trail before it appeared.  He could look into the eye of a crying foal and turn away without falter.  He could kill a Gryphon without batting an eye.  Much had changed to the young Sergeant. 

The thought of war didn't penetrate his thick nerves.  It didn't excite him, but it didn't strike fear into his metal heart.  It was too cold now, and he was too old to be facing new challenges.  He faced most of them already.  

As the debriefer finished, he rose to a firm salute, "Yes sir!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radiant matched his salute as the Heir nodded. "Good, good. You will board a private zepplin and take it to Lapis Lazuli, a small city on the edge of the Crystal Empire, near the border. You will need to go by hoof the rest of the way to Talonopolis, as they refuse entry to any of our 'plins. They also insisted that you be unarmed. Be careful, as this might very well be a trap."

The Minister twiddled his hooves nervously.

"At the slightest hint that Mr. Hoof is in danger, you are to retreat back to the Crystal Empire and wait for further orders. Understood?"

"Yes sir!" Radiant replied without hesitation.

"Excellent. The carriage outside will take you to the airport, your 'plin is in hanger #5. Dismissed." The Heir finished. Mr. Hooves got off of his seat, and made his way to the guards.

"My life is in your hooves, so, um, please be careful." He said, his voice quivering slightly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The minister spoke, and requested their retreat lest something happen.  The other guard beamed to attention with both excitement and the fearless look of a newbie straddling into war.  It was funny~  He really did know nothing about this guard, and he really was quite curious.  Is he a cadet?  What's his rank and title? He looked the type to barge into any hoof fight without hesitation, and that worried Agile.  By Wonderbolt rank, he knew he was of higher authority than him, and therefore had all right to be the one in command.  On the other hoof, he saw him as one who thought for herself, by himself-some pony that wouldn't take titles or ranks seriously.  He gritted his teeth, be fore giving a severe nod to the minister. 

As Mr. Hooves walked towards him, he spoke.

On 5/3/2016 at 0:58 AM, FiniteZero said:

"My life is in your hooves, so, um, please be careful." He said, his voice quivering slightly.

He stared at him the way he stared at his Captain: with fire, anger, determination, coldness, and the same neutral, stoic expression.  

He turned to follow Mr. Hooves, gesturing to his fellow guard.

"At attention, cadet,"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radiant shot his fellow guard a scathing look before replacing it with his professional demeanor when he looked back at the VIP. "Right this way, sir." He said before leading Mr. Hooves out of the castle. It did not take a lot to get on his bad side, and Agile had crossed it then continued for several miles just with one word.

"So, um, how much experience have you guys got?" Helping Hooves asked. "J-just curious."

"I've been in Heir Thunderbolt's personal guard for five years." Radiant replied.

"Thunderbolt? The guards I've seen around him look bigger than you. Aren't you a bit young?" Helping said. "N-not that I'm implying that I don't believe you! It's just odd, that's all."

Radiant withheld a sigh. It's going to be a looooooong mission.

Noticing the awkwardness in the air, he turned to his other guard. "And, uh, what about you?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agile blinked, When had ministers talked to the guards? His fellow guard's reply gave him a quick estimate of rank, realizing his mistake at calling him cadet.  He turned to the Minister, "I've been in the Wonderbolts since I reached the age to join the guard,"

The Minister played it casual with his fellow Guard, beginning a conversation that ended as soon as it started.  Awkwardness filled the air, and he stood firm in his hooves.  His fellow guard seemed to have placed a dislike towards him, but that mattered not.  He was here for a job-and he intended to finish it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A Wonderbolt, huh? That's, er, that's pretty cool. I always try to catch their shows, when I get the time I mean." Helping said. They passed the tapestries in the main hall, then reached the front doors. The guards by the doors, bearing armor more basic than Radiant's but bearing same symbol on the front, opened the doors for them to step through.

On the other side was the capital of Ponyville. Unrecognizable from its village roots, the city had tall skyscrapers, large malls, paved streets, and a busy skyline to rival that of Manehattan. The buildings got shorter as they drew closer to The Castle of Friendship, the nearby structures being longer and wider than they are tall.

In front of them was a long lawn, seperating the unusual crystaline tree-shaped building from the rest of the city. A lone road carved through the center of the grassy field and ended in a loop in front of a castle, where their charriot awaited. Smooth black metal and spear-proof glass, it's sleek yet boxy design made it modern, and no doubt become dated in a few short years.

What drew Radiant's attention was the front of the carraige, where instead of having stallions pull it like normal, there was a lone pink mare with a white mane holding a wheel and sitting in front of a complex magic engine. Radiant Silver raised an eyebrow; While he had been in one of these luxorious "automated carriages", he didn't think the Minister was important enough to get one. Perhaps they were slowly starting to become more common.

"I think this is our ride." Helping said as he trotted towards the contraption.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He grimaced, swiveling towards his fellow guard in a single motion-a rather angry look upon his face, "We do a lot more than just put on shows, you know?" 

He knew he should have stayed neutral, and he regretted his words the moment they came out of his mouth.  He was a guard, and he prided himself as being one of the few that stayed strictly to code.

He followed the entourage, stepping into Ponyville.  He hadn't been here too many times, but it didn't seem so special as the history books had told. It wasn't filled with magic, trust, or friendship.  Friendship.  Ha. It was like any other metropolitan city-skyscrapers, buildings, glass, metal, sterilization, and distrust.  So long, history~

The carriage was more of a...locomotive automotive powered by magic. A young mare held the wheel, and wheeling thoughts pushed through his head. Why a mare?  Why so young? Why an automotive carriage? Why magic? Why Ponyville

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, following the Minister at a backhoof distance to keep the entourage safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"O-oh, I'm terribly sorry." The minister fumbled in apology. "I'm just... I'm nervous."

Radiant opened the door for him, allowing Helping Hooves to climb aboard the modern carriage before joining him inside. He kept the door open for his fellow guard.

Something felt off to Radiant, about this whole mission. Their VIP was not acting as professionally as he was expecting, the Heir of Magic pretty much shooed them out with a barebones explanation of their mission, and the fact that they had to go in un-armed. As he stared out the window at the Ponyville skyline, he briefly wondered if this might be the last time he'll ever see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agile was waiting for a moment of privacy with his fellow guard.  He could definitely sense something off-even so from when he first entered the Castle of the Heir of Magic.  

Why did the Heir seem so excited for them to leave?

When did Ponyville become so metropolitan and sterile?  So...quiet?

What's with the carriage and mare directing it?

Why was the Minister so casual?  So shy?  So...nervous?

Why were they escorting the Minister to the Griffon Badlands?  Is Equestria really is such a bad state that it can no longer defend itself against dubious claims?

Why were there only two guards assigned to an "important escort mission"?

Why were the two guards a Chief Master Sergeant of the Wonderbolts and the Heir Thunderbolt's Personal Guards?  What did the two have in particular?  Why them two out of so many Pegasi, Wonderbolts, REG, REA?

He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.  He would question those on board later-right now, he needed to focus.  He knew he was supposed to take on this mission unarmed, but as a smart REG-he made no hesitation to hide a three knives in his horseboots, a real sword instead of a decorative weapon in his armour, and bring along some enchanted "army badges" that would serve it's job as instant shields or bombs well enough.  

He stepped into the carriage, nodding to his fellow guard-and waiting for a moment to question him first.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With a sputter of the engine, the carraige came to life and set off down the road and towards the city.

 

Radiant Silver kept his eyes sharp, looking out the window for any possible threat. Though he knew the chance of an attack on the minister while they were still on Equestrian soil was minimal, he could never be too careful. To keep his mind active, he would give himself two seconds to determine as much about any given pony on the street as he possibly could before moving onto the next one.

 

"This... Oh no... We're going to..."

 

Radiant's ears perked as he overheard a few snippets of something the vip was muttering under his breath.

 

The minister then sighed and put on a smile. "Everything will be alright. I was trained specifically for this sort of situation, to encourage and foster friendship with those outside our nation."

 

Radiant found that extremely naïve. He suppressed a snort; It's exactly the sort of thing he was used to, given who he usually protected.

 

"Even if that nation is full of Gri... No no, that's bigoted. Even if they are a bit..." Helping gulped. "...Mean."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He hated the stupid freaking Minister.  He was so incompetent, so naive and childlike.  He was so shy-even more than Fluttershy herself!  He resisted grumbling, merely squaring his jaw and clenching his hooves. Does he not know how a magical carriage works?  Is he that stupid?!

 

On the other hoof, he began inching towards his fellow guard, now known as Radient.  He leaned in close, pulling out his sword from it's decorative sheath just a little.  But a little was enough for him to see.  He gave him a sideways glace, You have any weapons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radiant Silver turned towards Agile, noticing the hidden blade. He made a small motion with his left wing, revealing a small barrel underneath: A hidden and modified A-7 Mark I Magic Pistol. He also flared his wing slightly, showing a sharp razor on the end hidden by the white plumage.

 

While his hidden Magic Pistols wouldn't be able to kill a griffon, the technology was still in its infancy, it would be able to stun one or two long enough to finish off with his hidden razor-tips. While a griffon's flintlock pistol might be able to take him out at that range, he should be able to defend himself and the Minister before the trigger was ever pulled.

 

This got Radiant thinking about their weapons technology. The Magic Gun program started not long after the Griffons invented fire-arms, and for a long time lagged behind. Currently, however, both Gunpowder and Magic guns were neck-and-neck. Both were fairly complicated to reload, the Griffon's guns requiring using a certain amount of powder then using a rod to shove a metal ball down its barrel onto the powder with more powder needing to be poured into the primer as well. This limited movement when the gun was loaded, and made it prone to failure during rain. However, the bullets move fast and were very deadly, even if they were inaccurate at far distances.

 

The Magic Gun was born of a similar concept. However, it required some changes to account for a lack of dexterity in many Pegasi and most Earth Ponies. Rather than using powder and a ball, it used two crystals: One to hold a basic unicorn attack spell, the other to power and activate the first gem. The gun itself is break-action, requiring the user to place the two crystals into their respective slots. Both crystals were drained after each use, and as it was more difficult to mine and enchant these gems than to produce gunpowder and metal balls, it was generally required for soldiers to have three pouches: Two to hold each gem type, and the third for used gems to be recharged after battle. Reloading was faster than the griffon's flintlock and gunpowder  system, but it was less powerful and ammunition was less plentiful. At the very least, it was more mobile and could be used uner any weather condition.

 

Radiant gave a slight hum as he remembered the first time he trained with a Magic Musket. He kept putting the gems in the wrong spots, requiring him to open the gun up again to switch them. He hoped that kink in the design would be fixed soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radient made no reply to his question, and he quickly hid his weapons once again.  He closed his eyes and took another deep breath.  Might as well try to start some small talk and get to know what was really going on?

 

"How did you get this job?" He asked Radient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"As a Royal Guard? There was an incident five years ago." Radiant Silver explained. "I was serving as a patrol guard at the time. The Heir of Loyalty had an attack on his life. Five ponies, four unicorns armed with halberds, one pegasus with a broken and sloppily repaired cutlass. I do not recall their names. They incapacitated his guards, one died from her injuries. I saw what was happening and stepped in. I had the element of surprise, and used it to the best of my ability. It took me eight seconds to kill all five targets. Heir Thunderbolt requested that I be appointed as one of his personal guards."

 

Radiant Silver scratched his chin with his hoof. "As for this mission, I do not know for certain. My guess is that Hier Thunderbolt recommended me personally. This is assuming that he knows of this mission whatsoever."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He froze.  Radient didn't know how he received this mission?  Well, he himself didn't quite know either...

He needed to sneak his true question someway into the conversation, but how?

"I do not know how I received this mission either.  I am not the highest ranking Wonderbolt, nor the one with best performace.  It is a mystery indeed,"

He turned to glance at the Minister, stepping closer to Radient, "Say-do you sense anything...interesting out of this entire scheme?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It comes off as a rushed last-resort." Radiant admitted. "I do not believe that the Heir of Magic thought this through. Unless..."

 

Radiant supressed a sigh. "If I had to say, I believe that he does not expect this to work. He's stalling for time. We will be going to war, whether now in a few months time. It is not a prospect I look forward to."

 

Radiant let off a humorless chuckle. This whole operation was doomed before the planning stages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He grimaced.  This was not the end of Equestria.  It had lived through so much-lived for so long.  This was beyond unfair!

"But we will fight-like we always have.  Perhaps the good graces of the goddesses will return to us~"

He sighed, the Minister seemed sad and forlorn.  Everypony knew this was the end of Equestria.  Everypony had accepted it.

 

But he refused to go down without a fight.

"We'll still carry on with this mission.  I truly believe we can get somewhere with diplomacy,"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"With a bit of luck and a lot of skill." Radiant said. He gave a small grin. "And if those griffons are itching for a fight, they'll have to deal with Goddesses' wrath. They don't stand a chance."

 

He reached and pulled off a small flask of water built into the armor. He tipped his head back and took a long drink. "Of course, if it comes to that, getting out alive could be somewhat tricky for us."

 

Radiant leaned back. "...Do you know Quicksilver? Kinda short, looks a bit like me?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He froze at the mention of Quicksilver's name.  He froze until his hooves had become icicles, until his mane had hardened and he was nothing more than a pony ice sculpture.  

All of his muscles tightened up as if he had been tazered by magic.  His breath became laboured, and he could hear his heartbeats pounding into his ears.  He clenched and unclenched his jaw, his hooves rooted to the ground.

 

"No,"  

Maybe it was too hard for him to explain...maybe he didn't want to think about it...but...just...

No-he didn't know Quicksilver.  He didn't want to, anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radiant paused a moment. "...You are hiding something." He said.

 

Quicksilver was his little sister, and while she had moved out on her own to become a Wonderbolt, they tried to keep in touch. The letters slowly became further and further apart, from weekly, to monthly, and now only once a year. The two had been very close, and he had raised her since they were little.

 

When she was accepted into the Wonderbolts, it was one of the poudest days of Radiant's life. Much liquid pride was shed to the sister that was always faster and more agile than him.

 

Radiant's face hardened. Something happened to her, and he intended to find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He gritted his teeth, "No more than you are,"

 

He didn't move though-that was cowardice.  He would stand his ground and play along with this...interrogation.

 

"What was she to you?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"My sister." Radiant replied. "My only family."

 

He remained firm. "And she is very important to me."

 

Thunder rolled in the distance as droplets of water hit the windows of the carriage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...