58w, 1dLooking for Editors
The bed was comfy and soft. Its squishy mattress molded itself around Sky's wings and abdomen. The pillow absorbed the pegasus's head like a sponge absorbs water, his head being supported and lifted at an acute angle. The bed's quilt acted as a cotton shield; protecting him from all dangers both physically and mentally.
The sunlight pierced the closed curtains and the heat that the rays carried rolled about on Sky's face, pleasantly warming him up.
The light green pegasus tried his best to drift off into subconsciousness but he could not shake the feeling that somepony... or something was watching him. Startling himself at this thought, he slowly opened one eye to check the room. Nopony was present but he couldn't shake the feeling. He carefully got up and trotted slowly across the room to the window. He opened the curtains very slightly but saw nothing apart from empty streets and houses.
He heard something squeak open and quickly spun around to face the direction from which it came. He saw a familiar orange face wearing a large Stetson hat poking her head up from the floor. He quietly sighed with relief.
"It's 'bout time ya were up pardner. Ah see ya've been staring outside. Daydreamin' were ya?" Applejack asked.
"Kinda. What happened during the fight? How long have I been out? I only remember passing out just as Mercy fired at that predator drone.
"Well, the second missile that the drone fired was aimin' for Mercy but it missed an' blew up near us. The explosion pushed us all aside and into some rubble. Ah guess that's what knocked ya out cold. Once the drone was trashed, we gathered ya up and took you down here."
Sky was puzzled. "Down here? Aren't we inside a house? I can see the sun, the sky and everything else."
"Oops, Ah guess Ah forgot to tell ya. Underneath Ponyville is a massive network of tunnels and rooms where we, the resistance, lives. This here's one of the few rooms that are above the surface. Princesses Luna and Celestia used their fancy magic and used some sorta spell that prevents these rooms from being seen from the outside. It takes a lot of energy for them to pull it off more then once at the same time apparently, so that's why everything else is underground."
"So I guess that's why you came in through the floor. I was starting to wonder how I got in here."
"Yeah. Get your gun an' come down here. We're going to plan the rest of Operation Blackbuck, the mission that'll finally free Ponyville from human occupation."
Applejack climbed back down the ladder she was standing on and waited for Sky to complete his descent. When Sky had reached the bottom he was standing in a long, cramped tunnel illuminated dimly by candles along the walls. It seemed to stretch for one hundred metres at least. Applejack started to trot ahead and motioned at Sky to follow her.
"So what's it like living down here all the time?" asked Sky, as he caught up. "Surely it gets a bit boring after a while?"
"It does sometimes but we've got half of Ponyville down here so usually there's no difference from what life used to be like, apart from the fact that we're all underground." replied Applejack.
The orange pony turned left into another tunnel that branched off from the one they were on but this one was much longer and wider, about four pony widths wide. There were several more tunnels branching off this tunnel too with ponies coming out of them and entering other tunnels while others followed the main tunnel. One of these ponies was Twilight Sparkle.
The purple unicorn galloped up to the two. "Hey AJ. How are you feeling Sky? You took quite a knock this morning." Her horn started to glow as she checked Sky for any bodily injures.
"I'm fine, Twilight, really. How's your bullet wound? Will you be out for a bit?"
"Oh, no, I'll be back on the battlefield soon. Rarity and Fluttershy managed to get the bullet out of me during the battle. It embedded itself just above my back right ankle so it didn't cause as much damage as it could've. I'm just out of the hospital wing and I'm on my way to the Operation meeting. Are you going too?"
"Yeah, we are," replied Applejack, "We're on our way to the Town Hall now."
"Wait, Town Hall?" asked Sky. "Isn't that above ground?"
"Ya know when Ah said we've got half of Ponyville down here? We'll I meant, literally. We've rebuilt half o' Ponyville in these tunnels" Applejack beamed at Sky, who stared at her in disbelief.
"How in the hay did you all do that?"
"Well, if you look in front of you instead of looking at us like you've seen a ghost, then maybe you'll understand." Twilight said.
Sky shifted his gaze to look ahead of him and almost fell backwards at the sight which greeted him. A huge hole, at least a kilometre in diameter and several below the surface, lay before him. Inside it was a near perfect replica town square of Ponyville. Sky recognised the Town Hall and the surrounding houses and shops almost instantly. By rebuilding Ponyville, they really meant it!
"How the...? What the...? How did you...?" began Sky while struggling to find breath and come to terms with the sight.
Twilight stood proudly with her chest extended and her smile was enormous, even by Pinkie's standards. Her voice was strong and louder than normal, "This is the work of nearly all of Ponyville's unicorns and the two Princesses! We curved this canyon with our magic and made a copy of the town centre and placed them down here. Isn't it spectacular!"
"When did you do all this?" Sky questioned. In all his years living in Ponyville, he never knew of this endeavour.
It was built a bit before the humans captured Manehatten. We kept as a secret between the unicorns while it was being built, so you may not have heard since you're a pegasus. The only non-unicorns who were told about the construction were the bearers of the Elements of Harmony." Twilight stated.
"That reminds me," said Sky, "Why can't we use the Elements against the humans?"
"We tried to," said Applejack, "But they fail to accept the humans as 'chaotic' or 'corrupt.'"
Sky's face changed from amazement at the underground Ponyville to downright confusion and rage at the reason the orange farmer had given but before he could question, Twilight gave another reason, "We think it's because the humans are not of this world so the Elements have never knew of their existence before the their own creation."
"That's got to be the worst reason ever..." Sky said disappointedly.
"Come on now. Ya'll can complain later. Right now, we've gotta get Ponyville free first." said Applejack. The three ponies started to descend towards the underground Town Hall.
"Quiet! Quiet now, everypony!" Princess Luna's voice reverberated around the Town Hall's meeting room. The ponies that were present at the large, round table fell silent as Luna had ordered. "Thank you," she added, "Now, we just need to wait a few moments for Applejack, Twilight Sparkle and Sky Skimmer to arrive. Where did you say they were again, sister?"
Princess Celestia simply smiled at her younger sibling. "Give them time, Luna. Sky has awoken after taking quite a hit and my student was at the hospital. They should be here any second."
At that moment, three ponies appeared through a door opposite Celestia's chair. They apologised for their tardiness, Celestia said not to worry, and then they sat down beside each other at the table.
Luna stood up again and spoke, "Hello everypony. I am sure you all know why you are here. In the next few hours, we will have devised a plan that will free Ponyville from the vile humans and possibly even change the fate of the war itself. Sister, if you will."
Celestia stood up from her chair as Luna sat in hers. "Thank you, Luna. Now, step one of 'Operation Blackbuck' has already been accomplished. Proof of this triumph is sitting right in front of me." Celestia gestured at Sky. The light green pegasus smiled weakly at his monarch. Even though she was a metre or so away from him, he could feel the power of her aura radiating from her body. It felt warm and like a fan pushing air onto his face. It also reminded him of something. Something deep in his past, but Sky couldn't quite put his hoof on it.
Celestia continued, "Step One has been a success so it is now time to finalize the next steps for the Operation. “Shining Armor, if you would like to remind us of our rough plans."
Shining Armor stood up. His Royal Guard uniform was tattered and drained of it's vibrant colours like it had been at the Royal Wedding a few years ago. He held up a couple of sheets with his magic and read from them. His voice had become harder than it had been from the wedding too. "There are three steps to this Operation. Step One, Operation Blackbuck, was freeing and recruiting of Sky Skimmer to our Resistance. Step Two is to get into the re-education camp and take control of it thereby giving us a major foothold in Ponyville. Step Three is to expand outwards from the camp and free Ponyville; street by street, house by house. Any questions so far?"
Sky saw his chance and stuck up his hoof. Shining Armor nodded at Sky to go ahead. "Why do you need me in this Operation? It sounds like you need hoof-soldiers, not pilots. If you need air support then why don't you use the Pegasi you already have?"
It was Luna's turn to speak, "The humans are not stupid. They have Anti-Pegasi Artillery in place around Ponyville so any pegasus that tries to fly gets… Let's just say there's a big explosion. The only air support we can get, is with the humans' own aircraft."
"Which is where you come in," Celestia interrupted, "You are the only pony we know of that can pilot the humans' machines. The humans have no anti-air defenses set to target their own aircraft, so you will be able to roam free in the air and cover us on the streets."
"That's why we need control of the camp, because that's were the, what's it called, helicopter is kept. Once we have that, nothing can stop us!" Shining Armor finished.
"Sounds like a plan," said Sky, “I just have one question though; How are we going to get in without being shot?"
A few voices piped up at this question. It seemed to Sky that the ponies hadn’t thoroughly thought out this plan. Shining Armor and Princess Luna looked worryingly at each other while the Princess of the Sun simply looked around her. It was Applejack who gave the first suggestion. "We could use the underground passages and tunnels under Ponyville to get into the camp but it would take some time to get everypony in."
Twilight saw another problem in this idea, "Wouldn't it also be suspicious if a lot of ponies seemed to appear out of nowhere, in one place of the camp, too?"
The muttering of various voices continued until the Princess of the Night put forward another idea. "The humans have heard the acts that I carried out as Nightmare Moon and the terror and fear that I caused and spread through the ponies in Equestria. Twilight Sparkle, do the humans still believe that Nightmare Moon still exists?"
The purple unicorn seemed to be taken off-guard by this question as if she had never been asked it before. "Er, I don't really know for sure but the last time I heard the humans talk about Nightmare Moon was a few nights ago. Why do you want to know?" she asked inquisitively.
"Because if the humans believe that Nightmare Moon still exists and they know about the fear that was caused, they might think that Nightmare Moon is fighting against the ponies. If they buy that lie, then I could take Nightmare Moon's form for a few seconds and pretend to be taking in a group of ponies as prisoners. Once inside, we will be able to join our comrades' side in the fight for the camp."
Shining Armour rose from his chair just as Luna had finished her idea. "No! Neither you nor Celestia can be seen on the battlefield! If the humans see you, they'll show absolutely no mercy and if even one of you dies, then there will be no point in fighting any more. We're fighting this war for three reasons; For Equestria, to reinstate you two as monarchs and to avenge the innocent ponies who have fallen. Even if we fail one of-"
"I appreciate your concern for our safety, Shining Armor," Luna interrupted, "But this battle is too important to lose and I feel that the added morale of me being there and fighting alongside my subjects will give us enough momentum to gain a victory."
"I still think it's too risky to have you there, Princess." Shining Armor said in a defeated tone.
"I know the risks, Captain, but under the cover of my creation, I am very hard to see and the light from the Midnight Sun and her servants will illuminate the area so we can see."
"And what will I be doing throughout this time, Luna?" asked Celestia, "I am intrigued by this plan of yours."
"You will be back here and make sure the OP goes smoothly. You will be directing the battle as we go along."
"Sounds like a plan t' me!" Applejack stated.
"Me too!" added Twilight enthusiastically.
Luna could not hide the smile that invaded her face. "All in favour of this plan which we will code name.... Operation ALICORN, raise your hoof."
A mass of hooves, including those belonging to Applejack, Twilight and Sky, shot into air and were easily in the majority. Shining Armor hesitated for a few seconds before eventually raising his hoof in agreement, which made a smile break out over his sister's face.
"Right," Celestia began, "Captain, prepare the resistance fighters both in and outside of the camp and inform them of the plans. Spike; take down, in writing, the steps for the Operation. Luna and Applejack, prepare for the 'Grand Entrance.'"
"Yes, Princess Celestia!" they both said in unison as they bowed before exiting the Town Hall along with the other ponies that had been present at the meeting.
Celestia continued her orders, "Twilight, I want you to be my eyes and ears on this mission. Report everything back to me as it happens, okay?"
"You can count on me, Princess." Twilight answered. She bowed and trotted out of the room.
"Sky? You now know why you're so important, don't you?" Celestia asked softly.
"Yes, Princess, I do." Sky replied reassuringly.
"Please stay safe, Sky Skimmer. Keep Luna and the others safe too. I don't know much about you, but I know that you've suffered more than most from the humans."
Sky was confused by her last comment but decided to shake it off. "I'll keep Luna safe. Don't worry, Ponyville will be free and Equestria will once again be ruled by you and your sister, Princess."
"Thank you, Sky. Now, go and get some rest, it's a big day tomorrow." Celestia gestured to the door and Sky acknowledged her. "Good night, Sky."
"Good night, Princess." Sky replied as he walked towards the door that led out into the underground replica of Ponyville square.
Suddenly it hit him. His head began to ache and his mind started to swim and float in his head as visions blinded his sight. It was like staring at the sun for too long as pictures flashed in front of Sky. He saw two ponies, one was colourful and glowed with an immense light while the other consisted of dark colours, in complete contrast with its counterpart. It seemed to try and become invisible and hide itself from sight. Another image flashed over the previous and it stayed for a few seconds. Only Sky could recognize this pony. "Mother...?" asked Sky.
With that final image, the visions left Sky as quickly as they had came. Celestia tilted her head towards Sky's direction. "Something wrong, Sky?" she asked.
"No...no, I-I-I'm fine.... Good night, Princess."
"Good night, Sky. Sweet dreams." Celestia replied, and with that, she extended her wings and flew out though the open topped roof.
Just what was that? thought Sky. I must be sleep deprived. This has been a long day.