Dusk and Dawn

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Chapter 14

Moonlight had her full armor on, and the mark of the Captain was emblazoned where her cutie mark would be. Luna said that if she was going to be heading into a warzone, then she had might as well give the filly the spot that was waiting for her if only to keep the idiots in line.

Twenty unicorns from the battle division, ten medics, and thirty pegasi were awaiting her orders. Among them was Sirius Black himself. He wasn't letting her go in alone.

"Stallions and Mares, we are on the brink of battle. I'm not going to sugar coat the truth. We are heading into a world where violence is common and reason is struggling to be heard. The humans we are going to be dealing with believe themselves to be the cream of the crop, that any first generation magical isn't worthy of living, let alone learning magic. All of you are volunteers, some of you hoping to make a name for yourselves or the possibility of advancement. I have only one order to those of you who haven't yet blooded your hooves in battle. Keep your ego in check or I will put it in place for you. I'll not tolerate loose cannons in this group when we are in a world where the enemy won't hesitate to kill and strip your corpse," said Moonlight crisply.

Several stood at attention hearing that.

Moonlight looked at the nearest cocky unicorn.

"I'll not lie to you. This is a dangerous mission and we are only going into battle to keep any more of their mess from spilling back into Equestria. We are the first line of defense against these magicals and their society and I will not allow any more of them trying to come into our world."

One unicorn was brave enough to raise a hoof.

"Lieutenant Fair Skies, you may speak."

"Captain Sparkle, why did the Princess' change their mind about allowing the magicals in?"

"The last one to appear without permission is the one who kidnapped one of our own seventeen years ago. If that human can find his way here, then so can the Dark Lord that's causing so much trouble over there. I will never allow that creature to take one breath of Equestrian air, or step one hoof on it's soil."

She looked at her soldiers.

"Are there any other questions?"

They were silent.

"Very well. Prepare for march!" said Moonlight.

The Guard lined up in threes. One to guard either side of the medics and give them time to use their spells.

"Forward!" said Moonlight.

She walked through the portal first, leading to the Black Ancestral Home which Sirius had offered as a base camp. With Dumbledore missing the Order had fled the house believing it to be compromised.

"Secure the house and don't skimp out on any charms to clean. If the portrait gives you trouble blast it," said Moonlight.

"Sir, yes sir!" they saluted.

Time to make base camp secure.

Sirius looked at Moonlight.

"What's the plan?"

"Secure an extra safe house. Care to join me in visiting the Longbottom clan?"

"Gladly. I'll be your support," said Sirius without hesitation.

"Dawn!" said Neville in surprise.

"Hello Neville. Is your grandmother home?" asked Moonlight.

"I am. May I ask the purpose of barging into my home Ms. Potter?"

"Sparkle, actually. I'm only a Potter by blood adoption. I'm here to offer an alliance and front row seats to the end of the Lestrange family."

"Go on," said Augusta.

"I've been given full amnesty in exchange for...cleaning house...so to speak of the pure blood families. My group will be capturing the Death Eaters and any Light side idiots stupid enough to try something and handing them over to the muggles. The Queen is planning to reopen one of the Towers in London as a message to the pure blood factions that she isn't tolerating this behavior any more. I've heard that she's had some of her spies brushing up on the older tools and their use for the Death Eaters."

"Sensible. May I ask what the house of Longbottom can do for your group?"

"Supply the food and give us an extra safe house to come should our base be compromised. An alliance would give you a bit of leeway when the Queen retakes the Ministry and reminds them that they serve the Crown, not the other way around. And it would insure that the House of Longbottom finally has it's due when it comes to the Lestrange family trying to end it's next head and the heir in the same night," said Moonlight bluntly.

Neville's eyes lit up in realization.

"Are your troops all vegetarians like you?" he asked.

"More or less, aside from Sirius here."

"I'd kill for some bacon, but unfortunately they're more or less plant eaters in Moonlight's home," said Sirius wistfully.

"I would have to talk it over with the family, but an alliance sounds likely," said Augusta calmly.

"So what's your real name?" asked Neville. Moonlight had always been kind to him.

"Moonlight Sparkle. I even have a twin that's the pony version of Hermione, including her insane study habits," said Moonlight. Neville winced.

He remembered Hermione's insane study guides.

A few hours later Augusta approached them.

"The House of Longbottom is in agreement. We will agree to an alliance in exchange for the end of the Lestrange family and protection from the Muggles once they take over," said Augusta.

Moonlight handed over a piece of parchment. The alliance was straightforward enough, but it was always better to get it in writing.

Neville, however, wasn't interested in just supplying the food. He wanted to do his part as well, and Moonlight had always been a friend to him.

"Yes Neville?"

"Can I come join you at your base? It wouldn't feel right to let outsiders do all the work," he said.

"Hmm...some of the Apple clan have been wanting to meet the infamous Green Mage I told them about... and one of the medics in my team is from that family. Come along then."

"Just to warn you lad, they might look cute and cuddly but a more dangerous group of fighters you'll never see again," warned Sirius.

"Cute and cuddly?"

"You'll see in a minute. We promise to keep him safe," said Sirius to Augusta.

"Do. Or else Black," she growled.

He gave her a salute before they apparated to Grimmauld Place.

Moonlight did a quick inspection of the house. It was acceptable but that was it.

"Status?" she barked.

"The base is in decent condition Captain. Supplies are in poor state, we'll have to restock soon."

"I've gotten an alliance that should deal with that. Everyone, meet Neville Longbottom...in pony terms he's like a unicorn who specializes in Earth pony magic," said Moonlight.

"Wonder if he would get along with the Apple clan," said Night Shield.

Moonlight considered that, before she had an open grin.

"Applejack would probably love meeting him," she admitted.

"Are you trying to set up all the available ponies in Ponyville?" joked Star Jumper, one of the newer ponies in the Night Guard.

"Only my friends. Besides, Applejack would be good for him," said Moonlight grinning.

Moonlight's first act was to find a Death Eater base through one of their newer recruits...and raid it. Seeing the shocked looks of the murderers and rapists, she felt dark satisfaction revealing her human form. Neville gravitated towards the medics under her command and learning how to heal through plants and magic.

She had always suspected he would do better as a healer rather than a fighter.

Over the course of several weeks, Moonlight cleared out minor bases. Then she got a message from Princess Luna.

Discord, the spirit of chaos and disharmony in Equestria, had escaped his stone prison. Moonlight had to return at once in the event Twilight and the others had to use the Elements of Harmony.

As the Element of Balance, she might be able to stop Discord without them.

She got a bit of a surprise when she made it to Canterlot though.

"Momma! Look, look!" said Storm dancing around Moonlight excitedly.

"What is it, my little Storm?" asked Moonlight.

Storm moved his wings so she could see his flank.

"I got my Cutie Mark!"

Storm's Cutie Mark was highly unusual. It looked like one of the rain makers the pegasi used to create new rain clouds. Except there was something odd about it.

As far as Moonlight was aware, the rain makers brought forth rain clouds, not rainbow clouds.

"What is that?" she asked, honestly curious.

"Your son," said Princess Luna with some amusement, "Apparently has the ability to combine potions with rain clouds. He and Dreamer were on a field trip with Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo to Cloudsdale and during a tour of the weather making facilities he accidentally dropped one of the potions he's been making for the Apple family into one of the machines to make clouds. The next thing the manager knew, there were multicolored clouds hovering over the farmlands raining potion-filled drops of water that made the plants grow faster."

"I was arguing with one of the other Pegasus colts who was making fun of my stripes," said Storm embarrassed.

"Well I think it's amazing. How many Pegasi can change the weather? Can you imagine how useful potion clouds can be if used correctly? You could rain an antidote on ponies who are sick with the feather flu, or play pranks with temporary potions," said Moonlight.

"That's what I said when I heard what happened," said Princess Luna. She was fond of Storm Dancer, mostly because he was like a brother to Dreamer.

"Now where's my sister and the others?"

"Celestia has sent them down to the maze to try and retrieve the Elements. Frankly I think it's waste of time, but I was half asleep when they arrived," said Luna.

"Right. You two stay with the Princess and I'll see if I can't sort out this mess," said Moonlight.

What she found was sheer chaos. Discord had made everyone Earth ponies (except Pinkie and Applejack naturally) and separated them.

"Twilight, where are you?" shouted Moonlight.

She barreled into the maze, ignoring the branches completely. She had her armor on after all.

Immediately her horn disappeared. She paid it no mind.

Moonlight continued to call for Twilight and the others. That is, until Discord finally took note of her presence.

"What have we here? Another unicorn trying to ruin my fun? You're not allowed to break through the hedges like that," smirked Discord.

"What have you done to my sister and the others?" said Moonlight.

"Really Twilight, you should know where the others are!"

"My name is Moonlight Sparkle. Twilight's my twin sister!" growled Moonlight, "Now what have you done to them?"

"Which element are you anyway? I can only assume Celestia summoned you because you have one," said Discord. He looked honestly curious.

"Balance. And it was Luna who called me back because she wanted to be sure you were dealt with, one way or another," said Moonlight.

It was clear Discord thought she was like any other Pony, though a bit more violent since he definitely spotted the Captain's insignia on her cloak. As far as he was concerned, she was like any other captain of the guard.

He was going to be in for a rude awakening.

Twilight looked very relieved to see her twin in the maze with them, even if her friends were all acting weirdly today. And Rainbow Dash was completely missing!

Discord went to mess with Moonlight's Element (even if he didn't know how 'Balance' could be an Element of Harmony) when Moonlight displayed something he had yet to encounter.

Human magic.

One minute Discord was next to a rather irritated Moonlight, the next he was being thrown into the rock Rarity seemed to think was some sort of diamond by a punch courtesy of Moonlight!

"What in the name of Chaos?!" said Discord in shock. Moonlight proceeded to display her feelings towards Discord's tricks by beating the ever-living snot out of him. Of course she had to make some on-the-fly adjustments for her pony fighting skills to apply them to her human form.

Discord had to pop up into a cloud to get away from Moonlight before she really got serious with him.

"Your first mistake, Discord, was assuming I was raised in Equestria," said Moonlight tersely.

"Your second mistake," added Twilight, "Was underestimating the Captain of the Night Guard who specializes in Earth Pony fighting."

"But the worst mistake you made was trying to trick someone who's element is Balance. I can use both unicorn and chaos magic, which means your powers won't be as effective on me," said Moonlight glaring.

"A pony who can use Chaos magic? I'll believe that when I see it!" sniffed Discord.

Moonlight channeled her human magic into her hands.

"Serpensortia!"

A massive snake came out of the circle she made of her hands, and hissed at Discord. Twilight 'eeped' and hid behind her sister...who started hissing. Since Discord was part snake, he understood the mare's command. He yelped as he dodged the snake's fangs.

~Cut that out!~

The snake paused, before it gave him a flat look.

"I can see there's no way I'll be able to deal with you just yet. But you still don't have the Elements of Harmony~!" he sang. Then he disappeared.

Moonlight sighed. This was going to be a long day, she just knew it.

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