The group of ponies who were going to go on the mission met each other on a certain residence on the outskirts of Ponyville.
The member of the night guard who was chosen to go with the Knights was a pegasus mare called Night Time, who, outside of her enchanted armor, turned out to have a dark green coat and mane. Bunker Breaker, for his part, was a unicorn stallion with a light blue coat and grey mane.
As soon as she saw them, Night Time asked the Knights for their autographs, clarifying that she wouldn't be able to do it once they were undercover. Bunker Breaker, seeing the logic in this, followed suit.
Twilight Sparkle, Trixie Lulamoon and Sunset Shimmer were happy to comply. And soon after, Princess Luna appeared, and used her transmutation magic to alter the appearances of the Knights, Squires and Sisters. She only scrambled their colors and changed their features a little, but it was already enough to throw off anyone attempting to identify them.
After that, she wished them good luck and used a powerful spell to teleport all of them to several different places, so they could use the normal travelling systems to get to the town.
And so it was done. The thirteen ponies getting reunited just before the last leg of the voyage to the town, and maintaining their own covers, pretending to not know each other.
Things went according to plan until they got to the guard checkpoint, where they found no guards.
The Knights and Squires had a glance based conversation, but while the Knights had taught their apprentices how to read the language, they were still at a basic level in terms of actually speaking it:
(Twilight: And of course we couldn't even get to the town before something happened.
Rarity: This strange.
Trixie: I agree, none of the reports mentioned checkpoints being emptied of guards, so this is something completely new.
Rainbow: Will fight?
Sunset: If we're attacked, we'll have to try keeping our covers as long as possible to obtain informartion.
Suddenly, a group of cloaked figures appeared out of thin air and rushed towards the undercover ponies.
There were twelve of those figures attacking. Four of them were flying and the others were running, but they managed to maintain a perfect formation.
Applejack, Rarity and Rainbow Dash immediately moved to protect their sisters. If anyone was going to be captured by the group, it wouldn't be the foals.
Bunker Breaker and Night Time almost reacted on instinct to move up and receive the attacks, but they had been ordered to act like civilians unless ordered otherwise by the Knights, so they suppressed their reactions and pretended to be frozen.
Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy moved backwards in apparent fear, letting the three Knights in front, since they would be the ones most likely to be able to deal with any abnormal situations.
Sunset charged a particularly small and unfocused fireball spell (it was difficult, since that was going against her nature) like she had never been in combat before, just to test the reactions of the enemies.
Twilight and Trixie flinched back without actually moving, keeping an eye on the cloaked figures from the corner of their eyes.
As expected, Sunset's spell didn't cause any trouble to the enemies, the four flyers (apparently pegasi) accelerated slightly and flapped their wings, combining their wind manipulation to easily block the weak spell.
But it was then that things stopped following the script.
A huge bolt of lightning struck the earth in between the attackers and the "civilians". The cloaked figures stopped (maintaining formation) and the undercover ponies didn't have to fake their surprise. The lightning lasted for almost an entire second before fading and revealing something even more unexpected.
It was a very pretty pegasus mare, with a light purple coat, orange mane and a cutie mark of lightning forming the shape of a heart. She was slightly crouched and with her head down, but then she got onto her rear legs and raised her head, opening her eyes to reveal they were colored silver. She pointed to the cloaked figures with a hoof and spoke with a musical voice that still managed to be strong and heroic.
"Halt, evildoers! As long as I am here, you won't be able to harm even a single hair of those citizens! For I am Venus, Warrior of Love!" She posed in a manner reminiscent of the more graceful martial arts and a great amount of small bolts of lightning exploded out of her body, forming a short-lived (but very impressive) sphere of lightning.
The reactions to that announcement varied. The undercover guards and squires were completely baffled and unable to react to such an unexpected situation, specially considering that they still had to pretend to be civilians. Trixie allowed some relief to appear in her face, since she was playing a civilian who was happy to have a protector appear, but inwardly she was thinking about the possible repercussions of the appearance of that "Venus" and what it would mean for their mission, while also judging how good the entrance had been (pretty good, but she had kept her back to the audience too much). Sunset and Twilight noted how attractive the pegasus was, but managed to project confusion due to the quickly changing situation (they were not as good as Trixie, but still were good actresses) and Sunset was analysing the power Venus could have based on what she had shown so far, while Twilight tried to figure out the exact mechanics of her movements.
As for the attackers, they were stunned for a moment, but showed their training by shaking that off and attacking the new interloper.
The four fliers went up and attacked with flying wind slashes, mostly aimed up to prevent their opponent from dodging up. Four others (probably unicorns) released spells directly at Venus, while the other four overtook them and stepped forward to act as a defensive line.
It was a particularly well thought out and executed formation, that would cause real trouble to most opponents.
But Venus barely cared.
With a flap of her wings and a flash of lightning, she moved diagonally at super high speed and low altitude, completely avoiding every attack. Then she spread her wings, which flashed with lightning and forced them together in a violent motion directed at the pegasi opponents.
"Venus Love Thunder!" She shouted, her wings creating a visible soundwave that hit the flyers and threw them into disarray.
And she didn't stop moving, immediately flying towards the ground bound enemies with lightning quickly charging on her body. Venus then focused the lightning into a spear held in the middle of her front legs and dived into the middle of the enemy congregation.
"Venus Lightning Dive!" And an explosion rocked the earth and the two closest enemies were sent flying, while the others were staggered, but it only lasted a moment before four blast of magic came screaming in Venus' direction, and two other attacking figures took out bows from their cloaks and fired arrows at her.
Another diagonal flash and Venus evaded all attacks, before creating a whirlwind in between her wings and throwing it at the unicorns.
"Venus Love Wind!" She announced, before spinning in the air and accelerating towards the pegasus, which had already recovered from their stunned state and were trying to create a turbulence in the air to make her crash.
They weren't fast enough and Venus broke through the turbulence zone before accelerating even further and putting her right rear leg in front, and gathering cold air around it.
"Venus Freezing Kick!" She hit one of the pegasi and instantly enhanced the cold air with a flap of her wings and a heavy injection of magic, freezing his wings and dropping him to the ground.
The other three pegasi accelerated towards her, trying for a tackle, their formation well suited to intercept most dodging patterns. But Venus' answer to that was quick and powerful: Spinning her front hooves, she gathered part of the cold air still around and fused it with the humidity in the air to create spheres of hail, which were small but extremely hard due to the speed of the freezing and Venus' control. She threw the spheres at the flying opponents and reversed direction, flying back towards the magic users and archers.
The pegasi were hit and wavered in the air, but managed to recover and try to pursue her, but Venus flashed forwards, accelerating and easily leaving them behind. The archers shot at her, while the unicorns set up a barrier to stop her advance and block any attacks. She ignored them and landed next to one of the earth ponies she had staggered with her lightning (who was already trying to get up) raised him over his head (with some help from her wind manipulation) and threw him at the barrier.
"Venus Love Throw!" And the ballistic pony hit the barrier with a painful thud, making the unicorns cringe from the feedback and making him unconscious.
And the Warrior of Love reached the barrier with a great amount of lightning swirling around her right front hoof.
"Venus Lightning Punch!" The attack was devastating, and it annihilated the barrier, causing such a ridiculous amount of feedback that two of the unicorns outright fainted and the other two had to fight to remain upright. And she didn't waste such an opportunity, moving in their direction with barely a beat of hesitation and landing before focusing a huge amount of magical power into wind manipulation, and with a wave of her hoof, she hammered the two remaining unicorns with a blast of high pressure air, making them fly and fall unconscious.
"Venus Wind Tackle!" She didn't forgot to announce it either.
The remaining earth ponies wouldn't simply let her get away with that, and the two of them that weren't still trying to recover from her earlier attack advanced on her with the grim determination of taking her out even if they got hurt in the process. Venus flew at one of them with a kick aimed at his forehead.
"Venus Wind Reversal!" But before she could get close enough to be grabbed, the powerful pegasus stopped in mid air and then flew backwards, accelerating violently and surprising the pegasi that were trying to get her from behind. She grabbed one of them and stunned him with a quick but overpowered lightning bolt, before carrying him along as she flew towards another earth pony, which was already almost recovered from the lightning attack.
"Venus Love Suplex!" She carried the pegasi into a crash straight on top of the earth pony, enhanced with more wind manipulation, which rendered both of them unconscious.
Now there were only two pegasi and two earth ponies still combat capable, but they were well trained and didn't give up, advancing towards Venus in a square formation.
That would be a good moment to use subtlety, but it seemed like that word wasn't part of Venus' vocabulary, because instead she accelerated with a strong wing beat and headed directly at the enemies, creating a barrier of air and lightning which strenghtened itself quickly in the few seconds the warrior of love had left before collision.
The enemies did everything right. The earth ponies stopped and braced themselves, bringing every bit of magic they could put forward, the pegasi did a loop to gain the maximum possible speed and using their own weather magic to create similar barriers to improve their resilience and power at the critical moment.
"Venus Grand Ram!" And yet Venus' attack made it all for naught, as even their combined strength was unable to resist the overwhelming power she could bring to bear, and they were sent flying as she broke through their formation like it was made of glass.
And the purple pegasus would not lose such an opportunity.
She spread her wings and looked down at the four enemy ponies, who were stunned by the collision but quickly recovering, and decided to nip that little problem in the bud. She spread her wings and gathered four strands of lightning on them, which grew and grew to slightly alarming levels, and them she raised her right front hoof before pointing it down.
"Venus Quadruple Lightning!" And she announced her last attack with an extra dash of relish.
The four overpowered lightning bolts perfectly followed the routes Venus had set for them and hit the four dazed cloaked figures in a manner that seemed extremely painful, causing four mini explosions and rendering the last four enemies unconscious.
And then, Venus showed that she was inexperienced, because she just stopped in the air, like she didn't know what to do now that all enemies were defeated, like she hadn't planned things out quite that far. But it soon turned out to be a moot point, as something unexpected happened to the limp bodies of the cloaked figures.
Beams of light erupted from many parts of their bodies, at first only a few small ones, but they multiplied and grew, until they were all fused and every single body was emitting a huge pillar of light that kept getting brighter and brighter until the bodies couldn't be seen anymore. And then the light flashed and disappeared, together with all of the cloaked figures.
Pretty much every single pony present could feel the magical viabrations and recognize what had happened as the cloaked figures being teleported away. But all of them had different thoughts about it, and about the fight between Venus and them.
The Warrior of Love herself was thinking about what she could have done better in the fight, and speculating about where the opponents had been teleported to. Sunset was trying to engrave the entire fight into her memory, since it had been amazing, but she was also thinking of ways to defeat Venus in a fight and ways to integrate her techniques into Rainbow's style. Her apprentice had similar thoughts, but also felt that putting her own name into every attack was a little uncool. Trixie was trying to figure out how the cloaked figures had been trained and by whom, to be able to display such an amazing teamwork, and what it could mean. Her apprentices Rarity and Applejack were divided in thoughts, with the unicorn focusing more on what Venus had done and what could be her goals while the earth pony had realized the true nature of the cloaked figures, and was starting to make a few disturbing conclusions about the whole situation. Twilight tried to figure out where the teleportation was going but failed, and then started analysing Venus' abilities, realizing something important about them. Fluttershy was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the amount of love she could feel radiating from the powerful pegasus, while Pinkie also realized some of the same things her teacher had about Venus' powers, even though she couldn't understand them as well. The guards were mentally berating themselves for not being able to follow their roles perfectly, and thinking of how they would explain what had happened to Shining Armor.
But then Venus decided to land, turned back to the group and smiled at them.
"Don't worry, citizens! I shall protect you from those threats, but for now I must be off. Venus, AWAY!"
She called upon a massive lightning bolt which hit the spot where she was standing and lasted for quite a few seconds before disappearing and revealing that Venus had also vanished.
There was a beat.
"Well, that was bracing." Trixie turned to the others "It seems like we are safe now, but I'm going to send a message to the guard office to ask for an escort, and also ask why there were no guards at the checkpoint when we got there."
The others nodded, seeing that Trixie was still in character and acting so that they could continue their mission. She sent a message and then it only took a few minutes for a group of guards to arrive, including the guard captain, a stallion with a white coat and a bicolor light blue/dark blue mane, Shining Armor.
Twilight managed to avoid greeting him, but decided she would give him a big hug once everything was over and done with.
And the male unicorn did his part well, managing to avoid letting on that he knew them, or that he knew they were coming. He simply acted like a professional.
"I am sorry, everyone." He said "The guards who were supposed to be here were attacked and we only just found them tied up in one of the warehouses. But I'll take responsibility and lead the entire group to the hotel you'll be staying at."
Sunset took the job of exchanging pleasantries with him, saying that they understood and would follow his instructions as best as they could.
The rest of the way to the city was pretty uneventful, but as they got there and started walking through the streets, Trixie realized that Applejack was becoming more and more tense (it was well-concealed, but Trixie was her teacher and a master of illusions, so she could see it). So the showmare started a common conversation with the farmer about how she expected the hotel's accomodations to be, but also sent a message to her via eye language.
(Trixie: What is the matter?
Applejack: Not now. Pony lot.)
So she wanted to wait until they were in a place without that many ponies, since she wanted to really talk about it, Trixie understood.
Eventually, they got to the Aplacam Hotel and checked in on their rooms, which were pretty much side by side with each other. Then they gathered in a single room (Sunset's) before Trixie started casting lots of spells to prevent eavesdropping.
"So, what have you discovered with your eyes of truth?" Trixie asked.
Applejack sighed "Ah saw that the cloaked figures that attacked us were actually changelings." The room fell into a dead silence at that "And when we got to the town, Ah saw that almost every single pony in the streets in this town is a changeling is disguise."
As soon as everypony worked out the meaning of this, they all realized that this mission had just become a lot more complicated.