Quin took in the scene around him. The house he was in was trashed by animals; he was currently breaking and entering said trashed house and a semi conscious dragon was rolling around on the floor in front of him. Why was he rolling? Who knows, the stupefaction spell is just weird like that. After taking it all in, the result was official. This day was weird, even for the young squad captain of Umbra.
Umbra—Princess Luna’s secret task force, the silent sentinels of Equestria. They were the shadows of the moon, always there but ever hidden. When nopony else could handle the job, Umbra was called in. Whether it be dragons, Ursas, or even covering up the political wreckage that formed in the wake of Prince Blueblood. The members of Umbra were a peerless group of ponies. What’s more, they managed to do it all in secret. Quin had been a member of Umbra for the past 11 years; almost half his life had been spent serving and upholding the values of Umbra. The associate director and third in command, Commander Shadowhorn, had been more of a father to Quin than his real father had ever been. In truth, Quin found in Umbra the family he had been longing for, which made reading Luna’s reply all the more painful.
(Decoded from the original text):
We have considered your request for reinforcements, and we are sorry to report that we simply cannot mount a largescale rescue at this time, especially so close to Ponyville. Help will arrive in four to seven days, depending on the situation. Sorry for the delay and good luck on your mission.
Luna (decoded from Nightmother)
Quin couldn’t believe his eyes. Four to seven days!? In that godforsaken place? That was a death sentence and they damn well knew it! How could Luna condone this? He stomped his hoof on the ground and glared at the signature. Shadowhorn was right. Luna was not to be trusted. This sort of decision never would have been made in the days before Luna’s return, when Director-General Silverglow and Commander Shadowhorn were in charge.
“1,000 years in isolation has made her as bitter and cold as the moon itself” shouted Quin.
“Quin, you mustn’t say such things” said Riposte.
“Or what!? shouted Quin, outraged at the situation. “Will I be left to die in some god awful hole too? I mean, what are we, insane? We’re following a pony who, not too long ago, called herself Nightmare Moon and threatened to destroy daylight forever!”
“I see you as more of a night person anyway” joked Riposte, but the comment was devoid of the unicorn’s typical flair. Try as he might to cover his pain with sarcasm and humor, Riposte was hurting inside. To think he would never see Crush alive again? And what of Sparks? The thought of her watching Crush die…it was too painful to think about.
Quin ignited the letter into ashes and stepped on them angrily. He looked back at Riposte, who noted that Quin had that look about him. Every so often, Riposte had noticed that those eyes, usually carefree and calm, gave way to something dark. It was a look that, as Riposte envisioned it, betrayed a desire to burn the whole world to the ground. One time Riposte even joked that somepony like Quin may even succeed in such an endeavor. That joke seemed a lot less funny now.
“Captain, what are we going to do?”
Quin looked to the window defiantly. “I’ll tell you what we’re gonna do. We’re—“
Suddenly a bright flash of white burst throughout the room. Blinded for only a moment, Quin looked back to the source. Twilight and a slightly crisped Fluttershy were swaying back and forth, readjusting themselves after the teleportation. For a moment, confusion gripped everyone in the room, except of course Spike, who was otherwise preoccupied making spit bubbles. Then the tensions flew higher than Cloudsdale.
“What the heck happened here!?” shouted Twilight.
Riposte looked to Quin for guidance, but he was just staring dumbfounded at Twilight. Riposte even thought he saw a bit of admiration somewhere in there. At any rate, it seemed Riposte was on his own this time.
“Well ladies” he said. “You see it’s kind of a funny story…” he waited for his captain to signal a retreat but no signal came. Riposte was treading water in a tank full of sharks. “Anypony hungry? I saw a marvelous little deli on the way here.”
Fluttershy said nothing, just whimpered behind Twilight in the havoc of her home. That’s when Twilight noticed Spike.
“Spike? SPIKE?” she called to him.
“Mommy can I have a cookie?” responded the dazed and confused dragon.
“Alright no more messing around. Who are you ponies, what have you done to Spike? Why is this place such a mess?”
“Ugh…well to be fair it was like this when we got here” responded Riposte sheepishly.
“Yeah, uh huh” said Twilight. “And Spike? Was he like this when you got here too!?”
“Oh him” said Riposte nervously while laughing. “Well you see he… um… mood swings?” He inched even closer to the door.
Twilight slammed the door shut magically. “Nopony’s leaving until I know what the hay is going on here! I want answers NOW!”
“The dragon will be fine in a few minutes, but his memory will be a little hazy” said Quin, finally breaking out of his trance.
“Sorry, not buying it. Fluttershy!” Fluttershy snapped to attention. “Take Spike and get out of here.”
“But Twiligh-” protested Fluttershy.
“GO” yelled Twilight, and quick as a whip Fluttershy scooped up Spike and raced out the window.
“Captain this is bad” said Riposte.
“No this is good, we have her alone.” A pink flash became visible under Quin’s hood.
“Uh… Captain?” said Riposte. “It’s against our code to harm civilians.”
“Umbra has abandoned us. Until we get our friend back, to hay with the codes.”
The two expert fighters approached slowly, as Twilight backed into a corner and gulped.
Meanwhile Fluttershy was zipping through Ponyville, beating her small wings as fast as she could in a rush to get Spike to the hospital.
“F-Fluttershy?” asked the dragon.
“Hang on Spike, it’s going to be alright,” said Fluttershy anxiously. “Oh dear oh dear oh…”
“FLUTTERSHY!” shrieked Pinkie Pie.
The sudden shock was just too much for the gentle pegasus to take. She flopped over on her back and fainted.
Time passed, and after a while Fluttershy thought she heard something in the darkness.
“Fluttershy…Fluttershy…” Fluttershy began to stir. Was that…Rarity?
“Fluttershy, darling please do wake up…Fluttershy--”
“I’ve had it!” cried Rainbow Dash, and she began shaking Fluttershy. “Waaaaaaaake uuuuuuuuup”
“I'm…a….wake…” said Fluttershy as she shook.
“Glad to see yer awake sugarcube” said Applejack.
“Yeah yeah, can we get on with this? Derpy has rain duty today and if I’m not there to supervise Equestria will be underwater in 10 seconds flat!”
“Or worse” agreed Rarity.
“What…what’s…where…” said Fluttershy, still trying to shake off drowsiness.
“Oh look, the poor girl’s hardly even outa the hay” said Applejack. “I swear Rainbow Dash you can be so thoughtless at times.”
“Derpy. Major weather movement. Downfall of Equestria!”
“What’s going on?” asked Fluttershy as she began to fully recover.
“What’s going on?” asked Pinke Pie “What’s going on is a party for you silly willy nilly. I saw some of your animals in the town gardens, and the other ponies were all like ‘nuuuu my plants’ but I was all like ‘oh no poor Fluttershy must be worried sick about her animals’! Then I started to think about you being sad and it started to make me sad too so I decided I wanted to have a party to cheer myself up. But then I had an even better idea to throw you one instead so that way I wouldn’t have to think of you being sad at all ‘cause you wouldn’t be sad ‘cause you would be at a PARTY!”
“A party? Oh I can’t, sorry Pinkie” said Fluttershy. “I just have the feeling I was doing something really important…”
“See she says she can’t stay. Ok gotta go!” said dash as she started to head out towards the door.
“Hold it Dash” said Applejack. “Ya can’t just leave the poor girl all messed up in the head like this. Come on, think Fluttershy what were you doin before Pinkie Pie startled you.”
“Well, it was…SPIKE!” she cried.
“What? I’m sorry I didn’t think anyone would mind if I just helped myself! After all you guys are just standing around. At least let a guy grab some cake!” said Spike.
“Fluttershy looked past Applejack to see Spike, cake frosting all over his face. The young dragon looked completely fine to her save for the slight look of embarrassment.
“Spike are you ok?” asked Fluttershy.
“Well of course he’s ok darling” said Rarity. “Like you, he seemed a little… shaken up shall we say at first after SOMEPONY caused your crash landing.” Pinkie Pie just smiled brightly and Rarity rolled her eyes.
“No, you guys this is serious” protested Fluttershy. “Something was wrong with Spike and-“
“I’ll say something is wrong with Spike, he ate all my cake!” shouted Pinkie Pie.
“It was more than that, there was something really wrong with Spike and-“
“Oh no! The rain is starting early!” shouted Rainbow Dash. “Can we wrap this up?”
“TWIGHLIGHT IS IN DANGER!” screamed Fluttershy.
“What!?” cried every pony in unison.
Before long, the whole gang was in a full gallop to Fluttershy’s. They ran through the rain as Fluttershy explained the situation.
“I don’t remember any of this” said Spike, who was being carried in Rainbow dashes hooves. “I don’t even remember being at your house Fluttershy.”
“Well I’ll be hogtied before I believe that anypony like Fluttershy would fib about something like this!” said Applejack.
“Oh this is horrible, just horrible!” cried Rarity.
“If they hurt one hair in Twilight’s mane I’ll knock those ponies into next week, or next month! Just lemme at em!” Rainbow Dash put up her dukes for a few quick jabs, dropping Spike.
“Woah” shouted Spike in surprise, but he was quickly caught by Pinkie Pie.
“Thanks Pinkie I owe you one” said Spike.
“Grrrrrrrrr” was all Pinkie said in response. Fight mode had been activated.
As their journey to Fluttershy’s neared an end, Rainbow Dash sped ahead of the pack, barging into the house.
“Alright” she said. “You ponies better get ready for the fastest beat down of your…what?” Rainbow dash just hovered inside the home, dumbfounded.
“What is it Dash?” called Applejack. “What’s wrong?”
There’s…nothing wrong at all!” Dash relied in surprise.