It was the night of the Grand Galloping Gala, and Rainbow Dash and Lyra stood outside in their original Rarity dresses, dreading the monumental task ahead of them.
“You ready, Lyra?”
Lyra gulped. “I guess.”
“Good. Let’s go! And remember, act natural.” Rainbow started walking toward the castle entrance, Guard Ponies carefully watching and checking invitations rigorously. The first test, to see if the tickets Doc got hold of were any good. Fortunately they were, as the two of them were allowed inside. “That wasn’t so bad. Now that hurdles over, let’s get what we came for.”
The two Ponies headed into the Mane Hall, where there was a band playing and so many hundreds of Ponies dancing around to the painfully dull music.
“Hey, Rainbow,” Lyra whispered. “How are we gonna distract all these Ponies?”
“I don’t know…” Rainbow looked around for inspiration. Then a thought struck. “The band!” she whispered back excitedly. “The band will provide the perfect distraction.”
“But they’re so… boring.”
“Hm.” Rainbow looked at the band some more, they had all the right instruments: guitars, pianos, trumpets, saxophones and even a drum kit, but somehow they weren’t using these to their fullest. But Rainbow had a plan. “Lyra, you need to get up on stage and play.”
“What?!” she shouted a little too loud and drew some unwanted attention. Rainbow quickly led them away to the buffet table.
“Those Ponies up there don’t know what they’re doing, but if you were up there you could play some good distracting music, allowing me to slip away and get on with the mission.”
“But… I can’t just go up there and play, that would be far too suspicious! Besides, I don’t even have my Lyre.”
Rainbow looked up again at the band, from her new angle she could make out another Pony playing a Lyre. “Perfect,” she said with a malicious grin curling to her lips. Rainbow took a glass of punch and unfolded her wings. She flew up into the air as daintily as possible, no matter how much she hated doing that, and pretended to admire the architecture whilst sipping at her drink. After Ponies began to stop noticing her she slowly made her way over to the other side of the hall, hovering high above the band, but in particular the Lyre player. She dislodged a fragment of marble from a gargoyle, about the size of her hoof, and aimed carefully, she would only get one shot. She dropped the rock and flew away quickly and landed next to Lyra without a sound. There was a sudden yelp as the Lyre player fell unconscious with a cut on his head and the music stopped, grabbing the attention of the guests. Rainbow did a small celebration and raised her hoof to Lyra, who just left her hanging.
“Oh my gosh!” shouted the pianist. “He’s knocked out cold!” This received a loud gasp from the guests.
“What are we gonna do now?” asked the drummer.
“I don’t know. We can’t keep playing without a Lyre player.”
“I guess there ain’t gonna be no music for the Gala then,” said the guitarist in a very solemn voice.
“Well… not unless you know anypony who can play Lyre.”
“I don’t know anypony. Maybe somepony out in the crowd can,” the pianist thought out loud. He turned to the stupefied audience. “Do any of you Ponies know how to play a Lyre?” his voice boomed out across the hall.
Rainbow jumped in the air and hovered above the heads of everypony. “My friend does!” she shouted excitedly.
“Rainbow! Ssh!” Lyra grabbed Rainbow’s tail and pulled her down to the ground. “I can’t play in front of everypony!”
“Why not? Are you… chicken?” Rainbow said slyly.
“What did you just call me?” Lyra replied angrily.
“Chicken.” Rainbow smiled.
Lyra was up on stage, playing the Lyre effortlessly, it had become second nature to her so she didn’t even have to read the music to be able to join in with the musicians. She was playing one her favourite songs, “Earth Pony”, and all the music Ponies were doing it every bit of justice it deserves, the singer had the perfect voice for it. Lyra looked out over the Gala, most of the Ponies were paired off, dancing slowly, leaning on each others shoulders. It was very romantic, Lyra even saw a cute young couple exchange their first kiss, and she knew they would be together forever. Her gaze continued to pan across the scene, stopping at Rainbow Dash, who gave her a small wave, she seemed very proud of Lyra. Lyra returned the wave, and Rainbow left to go the toilets where she would get changed out of her dress to steal the Flux Capacitor.
The song came to an end and the band was rewarded by the enthusiastic cheering of their audience. Lyra could have cried, she hadn’t preformed to such a large audience before, and they all loved her.
“Well done… Lyra? Is it?” spoke the singer
“Yes. And thanks. You lot did excellent as well.”
The singer looked out over the audience again, they were eager for more. “Well, Lyra, it looks like they’re wantin’ some more. Got anythin’ else up ya sleeves?”
Lyra thought for a second, then she had the best idea she has had in a long time, the perfect song to get everypony good and distracted. Lyra put the Lyre down and instead picked up a guitar, she was less practiced in these but had been told she was just as good. She stepped right up to the microphone. “Alright everypony, this is an oldie… well, it’s an oldie where I come from.” She turned to talk to the band for a quick second. “Alright guys listen, it’s some blues riff in B, watch me for the changes and try to keep up, okay?”
Lyra turned back around to the microphone and broke out into the opening guitar intro of her chosen song, “Johnny B. Hoofed”.
The Ponies starting to feel the beat started to dance wildly, it was an impressive sight to see at the Grand Galloping Gala. Even Princess Luna grabbed her unwilling sister and started to dance enthusiastically with her.
Rainbow was in the grand toilets of the castle when she heard Lyra start shredding the guitar, she never knew she could play that as well. Rainbow checked the other stalls for signs of other Ponies, but there were none. She then proceeded to lock herself in a stall and got changed out of her cumbersome dress and into her ninja-burglar suit, pulling the hood up and hiding any sign of rainbow on her. She sneaked out of the bathroom, cautiously checking everywhere for a guard or some other Pony of importance. Fortunately, their plan worked flawlessly up to this point, everypony, including the Guards, was completely preoccupied by Lyra and her amazing guitar skills. Rainbow flew up and walked along the ceiling, it being the safer and far more awesome method of sneaking into the bowels of the castle. She risked a look in on Lyra, wanting to see with her own eyes that it was in fact Lyra up on stage.
Lyra was getting really into it, playing with much more vigour than she ever did with her Lyre. Mid-solo, the unconscious Lyrist woke up, clutching his throbbing head, but when he saw Lyra playing like she did he didn’t seem to notice it. He stood up and found a phone.
“Yo Buck. This is your cousin Music… Music Berry? Well, you know that new sound you were looking for? Well listen to this!” Music held the phone up to Lyra.
Lyra was getting far too into the groove, her solos were going on far too long and were getting increasingly rock-and-roll-y. And only after she had kicked over an amplifier and power slid across the floor did she realise that everypony had stopped dancing and were shooting her evil and confused stares, while Celestia, on the other hoof, looked at her with a satisfied and humoured smile.
“Err… I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But I bet you will be after a few more drinks.” Lyra smiled weakly at the crowd before taking the guitar off from around her neck and placing it neatly down, waiting for her fate in tonight’s band to be sealed. But fortunately for her and the plan, she was allowed to keep playing, as long as she didn’t do anything like that again.
Rainbow sped off before the guards returned to their posts, fortunately Lyra had given her plenty of time to access the restricted part of the castle, which was unnervingly easy to break into. This section of the castle was blocked by a huge enchanted wooden door, impervious to all forms of attack, but Rainbow just walked up to it and pushed it open with ease.
“That’s not right,” Rainbow whispered to herself as the door opened before her. She stepped over the threshold, it was pitch black, she couldn’t make out her own hoof in front of her face. A few cautious steps forward and she fell, managing to catch the shriek of terror before it left her mouth. She deployed her wings instantly and hovered for a second, trying to squint through the darkness and see something, but nothing was visible. The door silently shut behind her, now there was absolutely no light whatsoever. Rainbow decided that the best thing to do was to fly down, nice and slowly, until she came across something that resembled a floor.
Five minutes of flying brought her to the bottom, and as her hooves struck the hard metal floor the chasm buzzed into life, the magic torches on the walls burst into mesmerising blue flame and looked like fluorescent lights. The floor, too, lit up with the same colour. Rainbow looked down at her hooves, they felt tingly. When she looked back up, a mouth fell open as a sharp gasp escaped her. There, towering before her, was the infamous Canterlot Vault, known to be not only the most impenetrable structure ever built but also housed the most dangerous criminals and the most powerful and intriguing of contraband. Rainbow had absolutely no idea how to get in. She walked up to the door, it seemed to be locked with a special kind of tumbler, obviously magical as appeared as a hologram. She put her hoof on the dial, which brought about a large 3D projection of Princess Celestia’s head that floated behind Rainbow silently.
“And just what do you think you’re doing?!” Celestia’s hologram’s voice boomed, nearly killing Rainbow Dash in the process.
“AAARGH!” Rainbow screamed quickly before clutching at her heart in the hopes to slow it down.
“Password accepted,” The hologram said, but in a much calmer and more computerised voice.
“Huh?” Rainbow managed to say between her heavy panting.
The vault door span aside into the wall, creating a blast of chilling air to fill the chasm. Rainbow shivered, and then walked in.
This vault was huge, to say the least, Rainbow Dash thought she would have a hard time finding anything in there. It was also terrifying, she walked passed hundreds of cages, each containing no more than one Pony, each of which were shackled with glowing chains by hoof and neck to the floor of their respective cells. Rainbow didn’t dawdle in this section, she rapidly headed for the back of the vault where there were no more prisoners, but there were mountains of items, piled up with no discernable filing system.
“This would be Twilight’s worst nightmare,” Rainbow jested as she began to make her way through them. She knew what she was looking for, Doc had given her a rough sketch of the device, depicting a small rectangle with three lines going into the centre of it.
“Right, where are you then?” Rainbow asked out loud while scratching her head. She turned around, and there it was, connected to the wall and glowing brightly. “There it is!” she shouted happily as she blasted towards it. She stopped just in front of it, every single book and film with a scene like this always showed it to be booby trapped and/or alarmed. She eyed it suspiciously, checking the cables, trying to determine what they were linked to, but with no success. In the end, she just ripped it from the wall. The lights went red and flashed. The alarms went off, the volume nearly ripping her ears off. But most worrying of all, the vault door locked tight. She didn’t know what to do.
“INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!” screamed Celestia in her holographic Royal Canterlot Voice.
“This is not good,” rainbow stated. There were some faint noises of Ponies outside trying to get in. Rainbow knew this was her only chance to get out. She placed the Flux Capacitor on her back, tying it down with a belt, and lined herself up with the door and prepared herself for some fast flying.
“ACCESS GRANTED!” shouted Celestia again.
A malicious grin spread over Rainbow’s face. “Perfect.” She launched herself with phenomenal speed, like some kind of jet fighter, breaking the wall she used to push off against. She was halfway across the vault, and still gaining speed, by the time the door opened and revealed a single file line of ten or so guards. Rainbow repositioned herself in the air to have one of her hind legs raised and pointing towards the guards.
“RAINBOW KICK!” she roared as her hoof collided with the first guard, creating a miniature Sonic Rainboom, and as the guard fell into the others in a sort of domino effect it created progressively smaller Sonic Rainbooms. The final guard was fired into the wall behind him, getting completely embedded in the wall so only his head stuck out.
“That was AWESOME!” Rainbow smiled at her handiwork and sped back out of the still open door and into the non-restricted section of the castle. There were many guards already waiting with her, all with spears pointing menacingly at her. She looked around nervously for a split second before exploding away and into the Mane Hall to get Lyra.
“LYRA!” Rainbow shouted repeatedly as she tried to find her, luckily she was still on the stage with the band.
“Rainbow Dash?” Lyra looked around, trying to find the source of her name being shouted, but when she spotted the familiar Pegasus clad in her black ninja-burglar suit being chased by a horde of angry guards she froze with fear.
“LYRA! BREAK THE WINDOWS!” Rainbow shouted whilst avoiding some arrows.
Lyra went into auto-pilot and grabbed the guitar of the stupefied guitarist, she turned the amplifier all the way up to and beyond eleven and strummed the highest note possible for a guitar. All the stain glass windows around them shattered into a million pieces. Lyra dropped the guitar and jumped up onto Rainbow Dash who was flying over her at that moment and grabbed her around the waist. They flew out of the window and into the night. Before the guards could follow them Lyra lit up her horn and preformed a com to life spell on Rainbow Dash, giving a sudden burst of acceleration, increasing their speed to ridiculous levels for a short while, just enough to get out of Canterlot and a significant distance towards Ponyville.
As Rainbow Dash slowed down, Lyra came back to the planet and screamed, clambering up on top of Rainbow and holding on tightly. She wasn’t a fan of heights, or high speed, and definitely not the combination of the two.
“Careful Lyra, you don’t want to break the Flux Capacitor!” Rainbow shouted above the sound of the wind.
Lyra opened her eyes in shock, she didn’t actually realise Rainbow had succeeded in their mission. She pushed herself up a little bit to catch a glimpse of the device strapped to Rainbow’s back. “Oh my gosh, we did it! WE GOT THE FLUX CAPACITOR!” She raised a hoof on celebration before quickly realising where she was and wrapping it back round Rainbow for safety.
“HAY YEAH WE DID!” Rainbow cheered. The two of them celebrated their victory all the way back to Ponyville.
Rainbow Dash landed outside Doc’s lab, certain he would still be there. Lyra was physically stuck to Rainbow’s back with fear and refused to let go, so Rainbow just had to walk in with her there, she was too excited to bother with her now that she was one step closer to her Twilight returning to her.
“DOC! WE GOT IT!” Rainbow shouted as she wrestled the Flux Capacitor from the secure sandwich that was her and Lyra. Once free she held it up triumphantly, but Doc ignored her. Despite the noise of their entry, Doc was fast asleep, resting his head against a fantastic looking machine that was missing just one part…