“By the time I was born, the Empire had already come around,” Jazz said as they headed towards the city. “At the time, most earth ponies were either farmers or businessmen. I, on the other hand, was obsessed with flying. Maybe I got it from my mother, she’s actually a pegasus. Anyway, as soon as I got old enough, I got my flying license. Didn’t think I’d be helping a rebellion at the time though.”
As they got closer, they saw, once again, that there were security checkpoints. No doubt if they were wanted in Fillydelphia, the soldiers by now had been notified. “So how do we get in this time?” Applejack asked.
“Lucky for you, I happen to know a shortcut,” Jazz said, smiling. She motioned them towards a manhole. “When the city was being developed they had to redo the sewer lines. Most of these lines go throughout the city and if we’re lucky we won’t end up in the Imperial garrison.”
“Ugh,” Rarity said, smelling the waste that was down below. “You can’t expect me to go down into a filthy dump like that.”
“Well unless you wanna sweet-talk security up there I don’t think ya got much of a choice,” Applejack replied.
Rarity would’ve loved to take her chances, but the odds were most likely not in her favor. “And to think I just went to the salon the other day…” she muttered.
The sewer lines were dark and certainly smelly, as Twilight and Rarity used their magic to light their way through. “I sure hope there aren’t any alligators or crocodiles down here…” Fluttershy said softly.
“Oh come on Fluttershy that’s just an urban myth,” Rainbow said.
“Myth or not, they’re the least of our worries,” Jazz said. “Soldiers used to come down here due to all the ponies that would use this way to sneak into the city but soon monsters started appearing and the soldiers cleared out, thinking anypony going down here would be out of their mind.”
“Oh… well…that’s certainly reassuring,” Fluttershy replied.
“Suddenly I don’t feel so good about this,” Twilight said. Little did they know behind them, the water started rippling.
“There should be a ladder up ahead,” Jazz said. “And I believe it leads to the main plaza so we’ll have to do this quick so we’re not spotted.”
“Uh… Miss Jazz?” Applejack said. “I don’t suppose we’re causing the water to bubble next to us, are we?” Suddenly, they were sprayed with water as a gator shot out of the water. But Jazz expected as much and quickly pulled out her weapon, sending it back with a shot to the head. It didn’t resurface.
“Never leave home without it,” Jazz said, blowing off the smoke from the barrel. Meanwhile, the rest of them were soaking wet.
“Lovely…” Rarity said testily.
Unknown to anypony who may have been outside in the main plaza, a manhole cover lifted up slightly as eyes peered out, looking around. It closed and then was lifted up as Jazz came out. “All clear,” she said.
As the six ponies came out and got used to their surroundings, they realized what they were seeing now had once been their home. “It really has changed,” Rainbow said.
Now stood large buildings where most of the houses used to be. Even City Hall had a new makeover, the old townhouse gone and a new dome-shaped capital building in its place. “So, still sure you want to go through with this?” Jazz asked.
“We’ve no other choice,” Twilight responded simply.
“Then I suppose you’re gonna need my help once more,” Jazz said. She pointed east. “That direction leads to the research facility but it’s guarded. However, the top of the building has a venting system that will lead you inside. But you’re gonna need to climb across the scaffolding to get there. I’ll do my best to distract the guards but you’ll have to be quick.”
Once the plan was set in motion, they got into their positions. Indeed the front part of the facility was guarded but it shouldn’t be too hard for Jazz.
“Guards, guards!” Jazz shouted, running towards them. “My foal, did you see him!?”
“Calm down ma’am, what appears to be the problem?” one of the guards asked.
“My foal ran away from home and he was heading in this direction, please tell me you saw him!?”
“We haven’t seen anypony,” the second guard said calmly. “But we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for him.”
As they diverted their attention towards her, the six ponies quickly made their way towards the venting system. Lucky for them the fans appeared to be off. Using her magic, Twilight quietly removed the grating and set it down. “Thank you Jazz,” she said quietly before crawling inside.
(A/N: For this part, the song I’m using is “Magitek Research Facility” from Final Fantasy VI.)
*As soon as they got inside, they could hear the sound of machinery. Back in their time, machines were almost nonexistent, making what they saw before them startling. A production line was operating as parts of the mechs that Basil and the others had mentioned were being created and put together. The question now was what was their source of magic?
“So where could they be holding the Princess?” Applejack asked.
“They must have some sort of detention cell around here somewhere,” Twilight said. She realized there was no other way out so… “Looks like we’ll have to take a trip on the conveyor belt.” Unfortunately, as they got on, they failed to realize until the only way to go was down. Fortunately, Twilight used a levitation spell before they then crashed into a junk pile of metal.
“Hey, did you hear something?” They all froze. Most likely this came from one of the workers or the guards.
“I didn’t hear anything.” They were about to get out when they heard a third voice.
“G-General Bellatrix!” one of the workers exclaimed. “We were not expecting you!” Twilight couldn’t see well but between the gaps she saw a pegasus with a red mane and white wings.
“Well, now that my presence is known,” Bellatrix said impatiently. “I am hoping you can give me a report for Emperor Ghidious.”
“Oh of course!” the other worker said. “Production is moving along perfectly, and we’ll have another thirty thousand units by this morning.”
“Thirty thousand units of what?” Twilight wondered.
“Perfect,” Bellatrix said with a smile. “I’ve just spoken to our prisoner down in the prison bloc, and she’s ‘more than capable’ of helping us continue our work. That is all.” And with that she teleported away.
“Did you just see that?” Rainbow asked quietly.
“Since when can pegasi use magic?” Applejack asked. “Unless she’s an alicorn or something.”
“No, I didn’t see a horn,” Twilight said. “Regardless, something strange is going on here. But from what it sounds like, the Princess can’t be far now.”
As soon as the coast was clear, they crept out and headed towards the detention bloc. It wasn’t hard to find but unfortunately they saw that the main cell was guarded by a soldier. “Oh come on, we can take him!” Rainbow said.
“No,” Twilight said. “If we go at once he may sound an alarm. I have an idea and Pinkie Pie, I’m gonna need your help.”
“I thought you’d never ask,” Pinkie Pie said with a smile.
For the soldier standing guard, it was rather boring just standing there watching while all the others got all the action. He didn’t know how to feel. He felt slightly guilty that the prisoner he was guarding was his former ruler and that she said nothing to him made him feel worse. He dared not speak to her, worried she may somehow try to turn him against Ghidious’ orders and free her.
“If I didn’t need the pay, perhaps I’d join that rebellion after all.” He winced, realizing even in his mind he should not be saying such things. Perhaps it was wrong, but a job’s a job.
“HELLO THERE!” The pink pony who was suddenly in his face was enough for him to jump out of his skin.
“What the-!? Who are you!?” he said, grabbing his lance.
“I’m Pinkie Pie!” the pony said, moving all over the place around him. “What’s yours!? Huh? Huh!? HUH!?”
The soldier was a bright pony, but his brain could not even possibly register what was going on right now? “Am I hallucinating? Have I been inhaling too much of the fumes around here?” “Now hold it right there! I don’t know who you are but this is a restricted area and you will have to come with me!”
“Oh sorry I can’t!” Pinkie said sincerely. “By the way you might want to look behind you.”
“Huh?” He turned around and the last thing he saw was a smirking cyan pegasus bucking him in the face before his vision went black.
“Nice work Pinkie Pie,” Rarity said.
“What about me?” Rainbow asked.
“Oh, and you too Rainbow Dash.”
Twilight peered inside the cell and she saw her, lying on the ground in the corner resting. “Princess Celestia!”
Perhaps the name or the voice startled her, but Celestia quickly opened her eyes and looked towards the door. The surprise on her face was evident. “Do my eyes deceive me?” she asked. “By sun and moon, is that you Twilight Sparkle?”
(A/N: Just wanted to let everyone know that next week during Memorial Day I’m going to Catalina Islands for a couple days so I may or may not have a chapter posted next week to give you all a heads up.)