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Under normal circumstances, they would have been considered quite a large group. Twilight and her five friends, Applejack’s two siblings and grandmother, Apple Bloom’s two best friends, and Spike. All together, yes, a large group. But when compared to the vast army of birds soaring through the sky by the thousands, they were little more than a tiny band of do-gooders, hardly of any consequence to the unstoppable hoards overhead.
“Well, we lost. See you all later,” Spike announced, turning around.
“Hang on a minute Spike,” Twilight stepped on his tail to stop him. “We can’t leave now. Ponyville is in danger if we give up here.”
“Yeah? And what do you expect to do against that? Their numbers are blotting out the sun.”
Twilight looked at the sky, but remained silent. What could they do? She tried to reason out a plan but panic had set in among her friends and everypony was talking at once, arguing about what to do about the legions of birds overhead. Only Big Macintosh and Granny Smith remained calm, Big Macintosh because that was his way and Granny because it was nearing her naptime.
“Hold up!” Big Macintosh commanded loudly. The ponies all stopped talking at his out of character bellow. Well, almost all of them.
“So what’s wrong with oatmeal anyway?” Scootaloo argued with Pinkie Pie. When she realized everpony had stopped talking but her, she smiled and pretended to look at something far away.
“Anyway…,” Big Macintosh cleared his throat. “Ya’ll got to stay calm. Twilight is right. We can’t let the Sparows get any further than Sweet Apple Acres. Now does anypony have an idea? Any idea’ll be appreciated at this point.”
The ponies were all silent. Tension grew in the air as they all knew the angry birds were getting ever closer.
“Hey, you guys aren’t going to believe this, but I’ve got an idea,” Rainbow suddenly announced.
“I don’t think charging into combat is going to help with this one, Rainbow,” Twilight immediately retorted.
“Not that. Not now anyway. What about that spell you were working on, Twilight?”
“The… oh that’s right. I totally forgot about that.”
“What’s this spell?” Applejack asked hurriedly.
“It’s a spell to take away a creature’s wings,” Twilight announced proudly.
“But you can’t do that. How will the birds live?” Fluttershy spoke up.
“Don’t worry. It will only last for about three days. I’m sure we can work something out with them by then.”
“Then hurry up and make with the magic, cause here they come!” Spike said, pointing.
“Here goes nothing.” Twilight stood up tall as light began to gather on the end of her horn.
“That’s our Twilight. You’ve always got the most plot convenient magic ready to go,” Pinkie Pie cheered.
“Uh… thanks… I think…,” Twilight answered, not sure what Pinkie was talking about.
In any case, Twilight decided to forget Pinkie’s odd remark and concentrated on the spell. The white light on her horn slowly amplified and Twilight stood on her hind hooves and pointed at the sky. This was going to be big. She emitted a beam of light from her horn straight at the birds. She radiated so much magical energy that her eyes glowed white. The sky ignited in brightness and for almost a full minute, Twilight let her spell loose. When it seemed the sky couldn’t get any more luminescent, Twilight stopped.
“Did it… did it work?” Twilight said slowly, breathing heavily.
“Look, they’re falling!” Sweetie Belle pointed out.
“Oh my gosh! Twilight, you have to save them!” Fluttershy shouted.
Twilight looked at the thousands of birds and agreed. She certainly didn’t want to kill them. Again, light ignited on her horn and she aimed her magic at the falling birds. A gentler light enveloped and caught them but she wasn’t catching all of them.
“Rarity… help me…,” Twilight strained.
“I’m right with you.” Rarity’s horn lit up and she joined her magic with Twilight’s, catching every last bird and dropping them gently on the ground. As soon as the last bird was safely grounded, the two unicorns let up.
“We… did it…,” Twilight dropped to her knees, breathing heavier than Spike had ever seen her, even when she was sick.
“Twilight!” Spike screamed with concern. The other ponies all joined him, shouting her name and asking if she was all right.
“I’m… okay…,” Twilight said slowly, still breathing hard. “I’m burnt out… I can’t… I don’t think I can use magic for a little while at least…,”
“Just rest Twilight. Ya’ll have done more than enough,” Big Macintosh said, smiling gently.
“Thank you so much Twi. Because of you, we won,” Applejack said triumphantly.
“Wait. Wait a minute.” Rarity squinted her eyes towards where they had dropped the birds. She used her magic to pull out a pair of binoculars from her saddlebag and looked through them. “They’re running into the bushes…,” Rarity’s horn glowed brighter, and she took a long look. “I can see them. Quite a number of the smaller birds are running away, but not all of them.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” Rainbow shouted. “Let’s go kick their little bird butts! Charge!” She took off and flew across the grass to the birds.
“Rainbow Dash, come back here!” Applejack commanded, but Rainbow had already disappeared through the bushes and apple orchards.
A few moments later, they heard her yelling, “Ow! Ow! Ouch!”
“Rainbow!?” Applejack called.
“I see her,” Rarity said, still looking through her binoculars. “The birds are… they’re chucking apples at her.”
“They can do that without wings?” Applejack asked her.
Abruptly, Rainbow Dash galloped back as a hailstorm of apples rocketed from behind her. Who knew the Sparows could throw so far without wings?
“Rainbow! Are you okay?” Fluttershy asked her as soon as she arrived safely in the trench behind the sandbags.
“Darn those birds,” Rainbow growled. “I swear I’m going to- awww!” Rainbow tried to fly, but she fell back down almost instantly. She stood up slowly. “My… my wing…,”
Taking a close look at her, Rarity noted that one of her wings was slightly bent in a way it shouldn’t have been bending.
“That looks bad. Can you move it at all?” Rarity asked.
Rainbow attempted to stretch it, but she winced and froze.
“Your wing might be broken,” Fluttershy announced, taking a closer look herself. “You shouldn’t fly until you have it looked at.”
Rainbow stared at Fluttershy in shock. Of all the things the Sparows could have taken away from her, why did it have to be that? “Stinking birds,” Rainbow said bitterly.
“I still think you’re the coolest pegasus ever,” Scootaloo told her. “Especially the way you charged those birds. Hiya!” She made a chopping motion with her hoof.
Rainbow smiled. “Thanks squirt.”
“Dagnab birds. How dare they use my apples against us,” Applejack fumed.
“So what now?” Rarity asked, looking through her binoculars again. “I still see some of the smaller ones running away, but it doesn’t look like those big ones are leaving.”
“Those big ones are probably the Sparows.” Applejack borrowed Rarity’s binoculars and checked the scene out herself. “Yep. It’s those dern Sparows all right. I can’t believe how stubborn they are. What do they think they can do without wings?”
“They do have plenty of apples to defend themselves with out in those orchards,” Big Macintosh added. “Probably shouldn’t get too close.”
The ponies sat in silence for a few moments, deciding how best to approach their bird problem when Fluttershy suddenly stood up.
“I know the leader of the Sparows. He might talk to me, if I go over there.”
“But Fluttershy, isn’t that dangerous?” Rarity worried.
“I have to try.” What had really gotten Fluttershy’s courage up was that she still hadn’t forgiven herself for accidentally spurring the birds on before. She absolutely had to make up for it. She just had to show a little kindness and maybe Big Red would see the error and pointlessness of their conflict.
Fluttershy slowly peeked her head over the top of the sandbags.
“Should I go with you?” Rarity asked.
“It’s okay. It might be better if I go alone so that they don’t think we’re going to try something.”
Before Rarity could disagree, Fluttershy hopped out of the trench and stepped onto open land. As soon she did, several Sparows appeared from behind the bushes, toting apples in their beaks. Fluttershy froze. Before the Sparows could do anything, another red bird, slightly larger than the rest, jumped out of the bushes and bellowed a command to hold. The sight of him and his fellow birds without wings was quite shocking.
Getting up her courage, Fluttershy made a slow advance towards them. Big Red and the rest made no move to stop her, though they all watched the bunker behind her closely. It seemed they were willing to let Fluttershy come into their midst.
“I’m not sure how I feel about this, but Fluttershy is in safely,” Rarity announced.
“Great. So now what?” Rainbow pouted.
“We watch and wait,” Applejack announced. “After what Twilight’s done to em, the Sparrows have to listen now. Besides, the other birds are still runnin’ back there, so we’ll see how those Sparows feel when they don’t got the numbers to back’em up anymore.”
With little else they could really do, the ponies sat down hoping for Fluttershy’s success.
Day 22, our food is running low and the enemy refuses to give up. Many of our comrades have fallen and now I finally know the meaning behind the words, war is heck. I don’t know how much longer we can last in this barren land, deprived of all good pony things. If this should be my very last letter, then know that I and many others died, defending what we believed in. For honor, for glory, for Equestria, for
“Spike, what are you writing?” Twilight asked the baby dragon as she peered over his shoulder.
Spike looked up from his letter. “Oh, uh… just some memoirs.”
Twilight read the contents of his letters and grimaced. “Spike, nothing has happened for over two hours now. You can’t just make a bunch of stuff up.”
“Hey, don’t diss my memoirs. You won’t be saying that when this becomes a bestseller.”
“Uh huh,” Twilight said dismissively. She looked around at all her friends. Since she had cast the spell to make all the birds wingless, her friends had been sitting around, waiting for something, anything, to happen with the angry birds. So far at least, it didn’t seem the birds intended to surrender, though what else they could possibly do without wings was a mystery.
Scootaloo had fallen asleep nuzzled up against an also sleeping Rainbow Dash. Both of them had apparently grown bored of the situation. Nearby them was Granny Smith, sleeping, not out of boredom, but because this was her usual naptime. Rarity lay behind a camouflage she had erected, built specifically above the trench and to the side of the sandbags. She was still eyeing the orchards for signs of what the birds were up too. Sweetie Belle lay right next to her, using crayons to color in a coloring book. Every now and then, she would ask Rarity if she could try looking for the birds and with nothing better to do, Rarity had let her try, though so far, with no more success than she had. Twilight herself had been waiting for Pinkie Pie and Big Macintosh to finish a game of chess in order to play the winner. The game however was so intense that even after two hours, it still looked as if no winner was in sight and Twilight had given up on the idea of playing at all. Applejack stood by vigilantly, ready to cream any birds with her stockpile of apples. Apple Bloom stood ready to do the same, though she looked more worried than determined. It seemed she didn’t like the idea of hurting the birds anymore than Fluttershy had. In fact, the afore mentioned yellow Pegasus was still over in the birds’ camp trying to talk them out of attacking or whatever they planned to do.
“Sure has been quiet over there,” Applejack suddenly broke her silence. “Rarity, have you seen anythin’ yet?”
The light from Rarity’s horn grew slightly brighter as she tried to find the birds behind the trees. Though she couldn’t actually see specifically what was going on behind the apple orchards and bushes, she was using her unicorn magic to detect heat signals from the birds. “I’m not sure what they’re doing back there, but most of them have definitely run away.”
“It’s soundin’ better all the time. How many are left?”
Rarity silently counted for a moment. “It looks to me like 300 exactly, all of them Sparows. The smaller birds are all gone,” she concluded.
“That’s still a lot, but I can’t imagine they can do much without their wings,” Applejack said confidently.
“Wait! Wait! Fluttershy’s moving again. I think she’s coming back,” Rarity dropped her binoculars and stuck her head over her camouflage for a better look. “She is.”
The ponies all stopped what they were doing while Rainbow Dash rubbed sleep from her eyes. Fluttershy made her way back more quickly than she had walked over and the ponies greeted her with excitement.
“Well, how’d it go?” Applejack immediately asked. “You all right? Are the birds surrenderin’?”
The ponies all smiled, looking hopeful. However, Fluttershy lowered her head, her long pink mane slightly obscuring her face. “I tried everything I know, reasoning, and pleading, and begging, and-”
“So in other words, they still want to attack,” Twilight finished for her.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t convince him.”
A feeling of sinking hearts spread among the group and Applejack stamped her hoof on the ground. “That stupid bird. Doesn’t he know he can’t do nothin’ else?”
“Big Red said that he and his warriors won’t back down, and that by the end of the day, even if the Sparows are no more, the pigs will… die…,” The sound of that last word coming from Fluttershy’s mouth sounded unnatural and pained.
“They’ve sure got guts. I’ll give them that,” Rainbow said.
“But how do they expect to do that? Did you see what they were planning?” Twilight asked.
Fluttershy shook her head. “They were doing something, but Big Red kept me away so I couldn’t see what it was.”
“Anythin’ else? Did he say anythin’ else at all?” Applejack questioned her.
Fluttershy’s eyes shifted from side to side as if she wasn’t sure what to say until she finally answered, “He also called you some words I don’t want to repeat.”
“Ooooh. Burn,” Rainbow said with amusement. Applejack on the other hoof was not amused.
“It’s like Granny Smith taught me: Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will get your teeth kicked in.” Applejack turned her attention back to the Sparows’ side. “In other words, he can say whatever he wants, but it ain’t gonna do him any good.” Applejack stood up on her hind legs to get a better view above the sandbags and barbed wire. “No matter what they decide to do, I ain’t letting’ em near those pigs.”
“Hey, does anypony else hear something?” Sweetie Belle suddenly asked.
The ponies all perked their ears and listened. She was right. There was a strange sound. It sounded sort of like a long birdcall. And it was getting closer.
Abruptly, something smacked into the barricade and some of Applejack’s carefully placed sandbags fell over.
“Great Celestia, what the hay was that?” Applejack said in shock. Then she heard another noise, just like the first.
“Incoming!” Pinkie Pie shouted.
Applejack looked up and nearly bugged out from what she saw. A red bird came flying through the air and crashed into the barricade right in front of her. Applejack quickly backed away as more sandbags tumbled down and landed right where she had been standing.
“It… it flew. How’d it fly? Did the spell wear off?”
“Oh my stars,” Rarity exclaimed looking through her binoculars. “I can see them. They… they’ve erected some kind of giant slingshot. Several of them.”
“Say what?” Applejack grabbed the binoculars from Rarity and looked through them herself. “I don’t believe it. Their usin’ themselves as ammo?”
“You mean like kamikaze? That’s nuts… and yet strangely awesome,” Rainbow commented.
“I suddenly have the urge to command an army of kamikaze birds,” Pinkie Pie said.
“I know, right?” Rainbow agreed.
“Would you two stop talkin’ nonsense and focus? We’ve got a real problem on our hooves,” Applejack scolded them.
“Oh come on. They’re just birds. How much damage can they do? I say we return fire and kick their butts,” Rainbow said enthusiastically. Abruptly, they ponies heard the sound of yet another bird flying through the air. By the time they looked up, another red Sparow was already on top of them.
The red bird collided with Rainbow Dash, knocking her away. She landed hard on her back, while the bird bounced off and landed softly on the ground.
“Okay… I’m done,” Rainbow uttered before laying her head back and passing out.
Fluttershy gaped at the sight of Rainbow Dash, lying injured on the ground. Then her shock turned into something akin to anger. “You hurt my friend!” She started yelling at the red bird. “Look here mister, trying to harm innocent pigs is one thing, but if you think you can just come over here and hurt my friends…,” Fluttershy stopped. The red bird was lying on the ground, swirls gracing his eyes. Like Rainbow Dash, he was also knocked out. “Oh my goodness,” Fluttershy’s anger faded and she covered her mouth with her hooves in horror. “You’re… you’re really willing to sacrifice yourselves for your cause? Oh, this is awful.”
Abruptly the sound of another bird screamed through the air. The ponies looked skyward, this time seeing three blue birds flying together like a bundle. Just before they got close, the three birds split. Two hit the barricade and another nearly hit Fluttershy. All three passed out upon impact.
“I said it before and I’ll say it again… this is crazy!” Applejack shouted.
“There’s more!” Twilight shouted, pointing to the sky at two red birds and another bundle of blue ones.
“Scatter!” Big Macintosh ordered. “Protect the kids!” Big Macintosh immediately rounded up Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle and stood over them protectively. But where was Scootaloo?
“Scootaloo!” Fluttershy shouted, running over to the still sleeping filly.
“Huh?” Scootaloo woke up from her nap groggily. She was bowled over when Fluttershy jumped on top of her just as a red bird descended right for them.
The sound of four birds bombing all around them, made Fluttershy flinch as she braced for the impact of the bird above her. But she never felt it. Looking up, she saw the bird floating just above her, embraced in a magical glow. Rarity had caught the bird in a weave of magic.
“Pesky little bird,” She said nonchalantly and tossed it back over the barricade.
“Here come some more!” Pinkie Pie shouted, pointing at three more sets of blue birds.
The ponies scattered again, with the exception of Rarity. “Oh please,” She said haughtily.
As the blue birds separated into a blazing rain of nine, Rarity’s horn ignited in light. She caught all nine and thrust them back the way they had come. Another bombardment of two sets of blue birds and a red one flew over, but Rarity caught those as well.
“Come now felons, you’re making this too easy,” Rarity mocked. “I could keep this up all day.” Truly, her eye for precision and years of weaving many fabrics and materials together had made her an unexpected expert at anti-aerial bombing.
“Come on now ya’ll! Let’s back her up!” Applejack shouted as she tossed several apples in the air and bucked them over the barricade straight at the birds’ camp.
“Direct hit! You creamed some of them!” Pinkie Pie cheered, using Rarity’s binoculars to spy on the birds.
“I don’t know about this,” Twilight said as she tried to weave her magic and throw some more apples over the side. Even though she had had plenty of rest, her magic wasn’t back up to 100% yet, and she could only pick up a few at a time.
“All right! Counterattack!” Spike shouted, tossing a few apples as well. However, since it was a relatively long distance to their enemy, the apples fell quite short of their target and landed lazily on the ground. “Or not…,”
“More incoming!” Pinkie Pie announced.
“I see them,” Rarity answered.
There were two more sets of blue, one red, and strangely enough, a yellow one. As the blue birds separated, she easily caught them again and set her sights on catching the yellow one. However, the yellow Sparow abruptly sped up, as if suddenly propelled by an incredibly powerful fart. It proved too fast even for Rarity to catch in time. It took direct aim and slammed right into her.
“Sis!” Sweetie Belle screamed as the red bird came down and landed on top of Rarity as well. She skidded across the ground, swirls forming in her eyes. The birds had managed to knock her out cold.
“Noooooooooo! Not Rarity!” Spike cried out! Then he stopped shouting and turned to Twilight. “You know, on the other hand, my memoirs aren’t so inaccurate anymore.” Twilight just glared at him. “But still… Nooooooooooo! Take me instead you accursed birds!” As he finished shouting, two more yellows and a red bird came soaring through the sky. “I wasn’t being literal!” Spike covered his head, but the birds weren’t aimed at him.
The two yellow Sparows sped off ahead of the red and aimed straight for the barn where the pigs were being housed. They rammed into the roof, but otherwise bounced off it, doing no real damage. A few moments later, the red one hit the roof as well, but bounced off.
“This is gettin’ bad, but at least they can’t get into the barn,” Applejack said, watching the birds roll off the roof, unconscious.
“What are we going to do? Everyone is getting hurt,” Fluttershy worried. “How do we stop this?”
“We do what Rainbow Dash would do and kick their butts!” Scootaloo jumped up and down excitedly.
“I… I don’t know…,” Fluttershy answered her miserably.
“I think it might be best if we move into the barn,” Big Macintosh suggested, still standing firmly over Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. “As long as they can’t get in-”
“New Sparow!” Pinkie shouted.
As she had stated, a single black Sparow came shooting through the air towards the barn.
“What are they up to now?” Twilight asked nopony in particular.
The black bird hit the roof… and shockingly exploded. Black feathers rained down on the ponies. The pigs in the barn started to squeal. There was now a sizable hole in the barn roof.
“I don’t… I don’t believe it… did that bird really just blow up?” Twilight asked aloud.
“B-blow up? You mean he…,” Fluttershy clutched her heart and fell over.
“Hey wait, isn’t that the Sparow right there?” Spike pointed out. There was a little bird lying on the ground nearby. It had swirls in its eyes, just like the other birds and was completely devoid of feathers.
“Wow. That was cool. Can I learn that trick?” Scootaloo asked.
“If you do, I’ll be really surprised,” Twilight said a little annoyed as she helped Fluttershy up off the ground.
“So he’s all right?” Fluttershy asked, though she could clearly see the Sparow lying unconscious on the ground.
“These Sparows have some pretty amazing and unconventional powers. What else do you think they’ll do?” Twilight wondered.
As if in answer, three white birds soared overhead. Right there in the air, the three birds laid a single egg each that dropped and exploded on the barn roof. Though the explosions were very minor compared to the black bird, it was enough to expand the hole that was already there.
“This is bad,” Twilight concluded. “We’re dropping like flies out here, and with powers like that, there’s no place for us to take cover.”
By her calculations, some forty-two birds were now laying unconscious all around them assuming the ones Rarity had tossed back weren’t conscious. Add that to however many Applejack had hit with her apples and there were close to fifty birds already incapacitated. Only about two hundred and fifty to go, and at this rate, it probably wouldn’t take that long, but the Sparows might easily take them out in that short amount of time as well. The odds didn’t look good at all.