81w, 5hSkyrim Equestria
51w, 6dOne year on FimFic, and about three days of that actually spent writing... 0 comments · 66 views
"I feel stupid." Twilight muttered as she got into place behind Applejack.
"You really think I'm gonna judge you on this? Or any of the ponies that'll try an' arrest us?" Applejack test-crouched beneath the box and successfully hid all four hooves. She was in front of Twilight inside the box, and would lead the escapade through to Flim and Flam's warehouse.
The large cardboard box had a small gap, perfect for Applejack to see through and steer 'Boxxy'. The dull brown colours of the box melded well with the grey interior of the warehouse the two mares were in. All they had to do was make it past the next two storehouses, and the third one should have Flim and Flam's project in.
"Ah don't suppose if ah ask, you're gonna be ready for this?"
"N-" Twilight was cut off as Applejack anticipated the response and started Boxxy rolling. They headed slowly towards the main entrance of their current storehouse. The low walking kept the box bouncing with each new step, but hopefully not much notice would be given due to the darkness of the early night.
They reached the entrance and Applejack immediately seized and sat down. Twilight followed in fear. Past Applejack's blond mane, she could see the spotlight drift near them. The country mare had put her signature hat into her saddlebags, Boxxy was surprisingly spacious.
After a few seconds they resumed the slow, but steady pace into the slightly chilling night-air. The distance to the next storehouse was short, but so was the guard's and worker's distance to them. Twilight saw a lone mare carrying cargo pass right by them and into the warehouse while Boxxy stood unwavering. Either scattered boxes were a common sight around here, or the workers simply didn't care. Probably the latter, Twilight assumed they weren't paid to keep the place tidy.
In complete silence Applejack started up again, prompting Twilight to focus and follow. Creeping past the open entrance to the second storehouse, they dared not turn the box even the slightest bit to get a peek of it's possible inhabitants. Twilight knew a single mis-step that was placed either too loudly or too fast could throw them off-balance or bring attention.
So naturally, it was her who stubbed a hoof against the warehouse's side. Twilight cringed in pain and automatically responded with, "owowowow" in hushed, but audible tones. Applejack froze up and bucked Twilight lightly, urging her in anger and worry to stop.
"What was that noise?" Came a generic, monotonous, deep voice from inside the warehouse.
Twilight almost passed out with the amount of inhalation she gasped in. Boxxy was trapped in-between the second and third warehouses. Hearing the hoofsteps gradually increase in volume was almost enough to make Twilight cry. Just once, could something go right?
Like a choir of doom, the hoofsteps reached their crescendo and stopped right next to Twilight and Applejack. Through the gap of Boxxy, only the length of the fuelling depot could be seen. The spotlight's lit up the warehouse ahead of them. Their target. They were mocking them for coming so close and now failing, Twilight was sure.
"Just a box." The voice confirmed. Thank Luna's beautiful night. The hoofsteps faded away, each step quieter than the last, ushering in a new-found relief for Twilight. She would sigh happily, but that would probably bring the worker/guard back. She saw Applejack lower her head, and her lips make a 'phew' motion. Although mostly spacious, It was still too cramped to turn her head, but the orange mare nodded in readiness.
Boxxy continued on, the innocent, 'fragile' cuboid hovering over the ground. Twilight's stubbed hoof pain had subsided for now, but the treading on of gravel was no better. Through Boxxy's view, Twilight could see the target warehouse glimmer in the light of faint oil-lamps on each of it's walls. They were currently at the mid-point of the third warehouse when Applejack stopped and whispered. "Hooves hurt."
Twilight had to agree, they were crouched for what seemed an eternity, the awkward positioning of their hooves straining under the pressure of keeping steady. It must have been a slow night, as all but that one employee had spotted anything out of the ordinary before they reached the fourth building.
"Charge in quietly. Get 'round corner. Observe." Applejack said, keen to not form a flowing sentence to in case of attracting attention. Twilight got the gist of it. They were just outside the storehouse, she wanted to quickly set down in the corner closest to them inside.
Without any indication from her friend, she was swept along into the safehouse. Out of light and watching eyes. Safe in the shadow of the Ultra Agile Cider Smasher 9000. It stood before them, proud. White primary colour with red patterned stripes shining.
Even in night, it's gleaming red stripes could be seen tracking around the vehicle's structure. It still wasn't as big as the Fancy Free, but you wouldn't want to be on the opposing side of it when playing 'chicken'. It had a less menacing look to it as well, wood being the primary material rather than metal. The odd bits of machinery sticking out the back were blackened in the dark, the cider-making parts invisible.
The white-red combo became bolder as the two mares spotted the passenger entrance. There was a small staircase that lead up to the box-shaped part of the vehicle, where the door to the interior was. It gave the impression of the vehicle being shaped like a hammer- the passenger box being the hammer head, and the rest of the rectangular vehicle being the... wooden bit. Grip.
Twilight was pulled out of her admiration when she saw a pegasus mare circle around the vehicle. They stayed still inside Boxxy and observed her path. She repeated the same circling of the prototype for some time, until it was obvious she wasn't going anywhere. The guard appeared to have a whistle around her neck. It would probably be wise to avoid having her use that.
Boxxy looked around the warehouse for anything his inhabitants could use for any purpose of avoiding her. She circled far too fast to get in while she was on the other side. They didn't even know if the door was locked or not. The warehouse looked empty, minus some containers lining the walls. There was, however, a bright, open office full of filing equipment.
It was not the office itself that made it useful, but rather the walls they could hide behind. Both mares must have had the same idea as they both began trotting to the office in sync as soon as the pegasus vanished. They hit the wall with a 'thump', but fortunately the guard was still on the other side of the vehicle.
Boxxy turned sideways to allow view of the prototype and when the mare would pass them by. After a few brief, tense seconds, the mare's green legs came and went. After a few more seconds, Applejack left Boxxy atop Twilight and started to prepare a cider-pie. Twilight brought Boxxy into the office with her and awaited Applejack's attack from the side as she hugged the wall.
She heard the hoofsteps, on the other side of the wall of the office separating them, walk past. Applejack sprung into action and vaulted speedily around the wall. A 'splat' sound followed by silence. Twilight raced to see the results. She was met with Applejack gently lowering the mare in her hooves to avoid noise and/or a concussion with the stone floor.
Applejack placed the mare in a sitting position next to the wall. Turning to Twilight, she made a circle motion with her hoof. Twilight just stood puzzled by the action. Spin? Twilight wondered.
Applejack face-hoofed and spoke up. "Sweep the area." She must have doubted any other presence as her volume was noticeable, possibly out of irritation. Twilight did a swift check around the large vehicle, but met no resistance. She then returned to Applejack who was standing at the bottom of the entrance to the vehicle.
"Ah shouldn't ask but, you ready?" Applejack asked, eagerly awaiting the expected response.
For once, Twilight actually thought about it. Yes. Yes she was ready. She had been through so much in the past few days and had survived all encounters unscathed. She managed to escape Blueblood's guards, she held off dozens of ponies attacking her at Equestrian Innovations and learnt a few amazing spells in the process. What else could this contract throw at her?
"Yes, actually. Let's do this." Twilight said, smiling with confidence at her friend. They went up the wooden stairs to meet a narrow door about half the width of the walkway. Applejack reached for the door handle slowly, and pressed it downwards. The door opened without a creak and the earth pony entered, followed by the unicorn.
The passenger area was fairly nice. It had smooth wooden flooring, only illuminated by a small window ahead letting in some of the office's light. There was a podium, just like the first Cider Squeezy, to their left, which Flim and Flam gave their vocal performances from. To their right were two beds either side of the cabin accompanied by two night-stands.
Two moving beds. Two breathing beds. Flim and Flam were here. Sleeping.
Applejack covered Twilight's mouth and vice versa. Twilight looked at her friend with worry, but the cowpony only had a look of disturbing satisfaction on her face. Applejack released Twilight's mouth and began searching through her saddlebags.
"Applejack! What are you doing?! Don't tell me you're going to do what I think you're going to do!" Twilight pleaded in a loud whisper. A faint snore came from one of the beds, the far one. Applejack pulled out the remaining two cider-pies, they had completely replaced the normal ones. "Applejack..." Twilight warned, but truthfully, she was more apprehensive for her friend than angry.
Applejack looked at Twilight with an almost insane grin. The light through the prototype's window reflected from her eye as she smirked at Twilight. "Don't what, Twi?" She said in a calm demeanour. Twilight realised that 'calm' was only a step away from 'mentally unstable'.
Standing directly over the closest bed, she almost shouted, "Oi! Suzie!"
The non-moustached one shot up like a reanimated corpse in fright. Eyes wide open in shock, he received a hard smack square to his jaw, covering it in the knock-out substance. His maroon and white mane matted with white cream, he fell back onto the pillows.
"Huh, Brother?!" The other stallion rubbed his eyes, still waking up. Upon realising they were being assaulted his eyes went wide in fury and horror. With the speed of a bullet, Applejack removed her hood and bandana. "You!"
"This is fer the damn fence!" Applejack threw the other pie in the air, and roundhouse bucked it with brilliant accuracy. The sound of a successful hit almost resonated from the beige-coated stallion's moustache. Bits of pie spread throughout the dark room, covering the polished cream walls and staining the red bedsheets. It was almost like saying 'the Black Hoof was here'.
Applejack giggled with joy. Honestly, Twilight was rather amused too, but she wanted to plant whatever they had that would disable the vehicle-house and get out. But then her emotions got the better of her. After so much pie-ing of guards and innocents in the face who didn't deserve it, it felt good to see the duo of mischief soaked in fluffy white cream. Not to mention Applejack's enjoyment.
She joined her friend with laughter, finally relaxing and getting back the adrenaline-rush she had with Blueblood. The smell of success was reminiscent of apple pie.
Reality back-hoofed her in the face when she spotted the time on one of their night-stand clocks.
"Applejack! We've got three minutes until the seven o'clock train! Fancypants said they come every hour!" Twilight almost rasped after their laughing fit. This also snapped Applejack back to reality.
"Oh, ponyfeathers! Let's arm that thing then!" Applejack frantically scrounged through her bags for the packaged device. While doing this, Twilight looked for where exactly they should place it. None of the engineering equipment was actually back here.
She caught a glimpse of a door's outline in the middle of the two beds. Upon closer inspection, the handle was also there, blending in with the cream walls. She pushed downwards and in the door, only to become tangled in wires. The room was full of equipment, wires, and currently unlit warning lights. Past the wires were some compact routes in which one could navigate around if needed to fix something. It was a fair bet to say that this is where the magic happened.
"AJ, is it ready?" Twilight asked without turning to check. Once she heard no response, she turned around and saw the mare gazing into a shining blue light.
"Twilight, what's it doing?" Applejack said, captivated by its glow. Sparks of blue magical energy shot from it, and Twilight picked up waves of it's magic through her horn. A faint beeping sounded, each time the blue light sharpening. The cylindrical shape was no longer visible, it had been pressed into a blue sphere.
It was activated.
"Twilight! What the hay's it doing?" Applejack said alarmed.
"You pressed the sides together didn't you?! It's armed!" Twilight exclaimed. "Plant it! Plant it!"
"Ah don't know how to do that! You plant it!" Applejack tossed the explosive to Twilight, who grabbed it with her magic.
"What makes you think I know? You do it!" She flung it back at the mare.
"You're the smart one! You figure it out!" Yet again the device was exchanged. After a few more seconds of playing hot potato, the device started quicken in it's pace of beeps. They sounded louder, and all the while magical energy was flickering off it.
When it ended up back in Applejack's hooves, the mare slid it down the open door into the mess of wires. "That's close enough! We need to get out of here!"
"Will Flim and Flam be alright?" Twilight thought. But the mare was already running out the door, putting back on her hood and bandana.
"Ah don't really care!" Twilight closed the door to the wires just in case, and raced after her friend.
Exiting the prototype for the final time, Twilight made her way to Applejack just outside the warehouse. The spotlight beamed down upon her, and the guards were mobilising. The checkpoint guards had woken up.
Twilight's thoughts were far too distracted for her to be bothered by the amount of security charging her, as they were supposed to be on the exit train in about... twenty seconds ago. The cloaked mares bolted in the direction of the entry checkpoint. It was funny how the four warehouse lengths felt like a few miles. Funny in a cruel, unforgiving way.
Capes gliding in the sprint, the shouts of security and sounds of alarms being raised truly gave Twilight that rush. This is why she liked the Black Hoof. Only doing what heroes in books did was more thrilling than actually reading about them.
Applejack's head went underneath her cape for a split second to bring out an assortment of tots. With no real aim but to slow the chasers down, she lobbed them behind her. Twilight caught view of a smoke bomb blowing up in a guard's face, a cream tot forcing a few to slip and fall down, and a stink tot which did absolutely nothing. Well, for now it did nothing.
The roar of crackling electricity exploded through the sky, originating from Equestrian Innovation's warehouse. It sounded as though lightning had just short-circuited the entire power-grid. That bomb was pretty powerful, hopefully Flim and Flam weren't on fire. It was supposedly a 'contained' explosion.
Twilight was struck by a magical bolt, one used to impair movement and catch criminals. She felt her body grind to a halt. Unable to continue moving, she stopped. The guards continued their assault, preparing to take down the immobilised unicorn. Twilight could break the effects with her own spell, but not under such pressure, and not so quickly. They started surrounding her in an attempt to restrict escape.
That was why she had Applejack. The strong farm-pony back-peddled as soon as she noticed her friend in trouble. Aiding her side, she bucked back pursuers as they came, giving Twilight space to work her magic. It was strenuous, fighting paralytic magic as it consumed you- for any other purpose it would be downright horrifying, having your limbs seize up.
A radial blast erupted from Twilight's horn, knocking down the guards and only staggering Applejack. Her movement was no longer constricted, and so they continued the escape.
On approach to the exit, the way was being barricaded by at least a dozen ponies in armour. With absolutely no coherent thoughts going through her mind, Twilight dashed in front of Applejack and charged up a spell. She was fuelled entirely by adrenaline, and blocking out the thoughts which told her she didn't know what spell she was casting.
A big blast of something!
Twilight's eyes shimmered white, and a tempest of wind, lightning and... chocolate? Yep, that was chocolate. Spewing forth from her horn was a storm of wind, lightning and chocolate. It seems uncontrolled magic is a crazy thing. Had she picked this up from Discord? Or was it due to all the time she spent around desserts?
Either way, the barricade of ponies began to disperse and run from the oncoming spell, only a few holding steadfast with bated breath. The chocolate storm formed a ball and launched itself at the few last guards, knocking them down like pins and melting into a large chocolate puddle.
Past the now-destroyed wooden arm protecting the entrance, the two escapees saw the train begin to pull out of the station. It slowly picked up speed, leaving the station behind with steam in its wake.
"Faster!" Applejack yelled. This had been the most physical activity Twilight had ever endured. With the casting of that spell, and the, what felt like, hours of running, she was ready to collapse. Twilight forged ahead, though, the reward of satisfaction for a job well done was worth more in her eyes than any monetary gain Fancypants could offer.
The retreating train had an empty freight platform sitting at the very back. Luna must have been watching out for them, as in the day she just faced challenge after challenge. They could jump on the back and be home free. They were only just beating the train's speed now, almost alongside the rumbling wheels.
Applejack was behind her, however, the bucking apparently did a number on one's lungs. She was trailing behind, the suit's warmth not helping when combined with the sweat that must of been being produced. Twilight didn't think, as usual, but instead focused on getting Applejack onto the train. With the last ounce of energy she had, magically and physically, she lifted Applejack and catapulted her in the direction of the train.
Twilight felt a hoof grasp her's, and she too was flying through the air before landing on the empty platform. Applejack had brought her along for the ride. They impacted the cold surface, but neither of the mares could complain. Twilight wasn't allowed to make a noble sacrifice of herself as long as Applejack was with her.
The sirens, shouting and sounds of her heartbeat stopped ringing in her ears as they left the Arcadia Fuelling Depot. They lay down, sweating and gave faint hints of laughter.
"Heh, that was pretty awesome, eh?" Applejack remarked tiredly.
"Yea...yeah..." They decided that for now, silence was the best option. After a few serene moments, Applejack spoke up.
"Listen, Twi, ah'm sorry if ah snapped at you at all back there, ah was just so darn focused on gettin' home."
"No, Applejack. You did what you needed to do, you kept me in the game. Kept me safe. We both needed me to stop being an idiot, and just finish the darn mission. Thanks."
"Couldn't a done it without ya, Twi." Applejack said as they gazed into the starry sky. The thick blanket of the night almost called to them both, wanting them to drift off to sleep.
"You're terrible at lying, AJ. You could of."
"As far as ah can recall, ah can't summon chocolate weather spells. Ah ain't lyin', that was some amazing work we did."
They hoof-pumped and went back to appreciating the sky and it's tranquillity. It was a long contract, but it was done. The long-overdue feeling of glory and satisfaction came to Twilight. She was content with just sleeping now, she probably would. It wouldn't be comfortable, but she had earned it.
"Gonna miss Boxxy, though."