Twilight Gets a Puppy.
Surveyor 1 at Your Service,
[Ponyville hospital, two days later, early evening.]
“So how bad is it?” Princess Cadence asked with a frown. Her eyes looking over those in the small waiting room with her.
Big Mac, Twilight, Granny Smith, and Rainbow Dash were all in the room with her. Granny was out cold on a bed that had been wheeled in for her, Big Mac was passed out on a large couch with Twilight sitting beside him letting his head rest against her barrel as she stroked his mane idly with her hoof.
Rainbow Dash was sitting on one of the chairs having tried not to fall asleep before she was sure her best friend was alright, only to fail.
“To be honest it could have been a lot worse. Most of the bite was tissue damage. She had her small intestine punctured as well as one of her lungs. We got her here near instantly and those major wounds were treated quickly. She lost a lot of blood, but Big Mac has the same blood type as her and had donated plenty. She's going to take a while to recover, but with her being the tough farm pony she is, she'll be ready to start work again next season.” Twilight explained and paused her head drooping a little as she thought.. “Some of that might be from the Element of Honesty, but I can't be sure, I brought it with me just in case, the Elements do..... a lot of things, and I'm hoping helping their bearers recover faster is one of those.”
“They checked her out to make sure there were no poisons, diseases, or any sort of plant based spores or infection. Stars, one of them even did a check for any sort of hex or curse thinking she might turn into a … I dunno a timber-jack or something. It was stupid, but they were very thorough. All came up negative.”
“I sense a 'but ' there.” Cadence frowned.
“There's a lot of 'buts' in this.” Twilight yawned. “This years crops are ruined, we nearly had all of the trees harvested and between burning timber wolves, the fact some of them incorporated the apples and carts into themselves when they reformed,and the general rampaging.... I'm not sure how much of this years harvest is salvageable. A good portion of this years was going to help the Empire as well. A lot of ponies might starve because of this.”
“We'll make do.” Cadence smiled.” We came to a bit of an agreement with Chrysalis, don't worry about the harvest. Do you have any idea why they even attacked like that?”
“No and that's one of the other 'buts'. Luna and Rahs, as well as the entire six sixty sixth are scouring the area hunting down any stragglers and trying to see if there was anything directing them. I was questioned by a few of them and I suggested a group of battle mages go over the spire to see if we might have missed anything in there, they checked, but no, it's all just crystal.”Twilight yawned again. “Spike and Applebloom are staying with Sweetiebelle and Rarity. Applebloom caused a great deal of disruption when she was here earlier. Spike managed to get her calmed down before they kicked her out, but the less she's here the better. I can send Spike a message when Applejack wakes up and they can all show up then. Dunno where any one else is though.”
“Aunt Tia is back in Canterlot, she's putting together a group to investigate fully. She's also sent word to Zecora about finding out what she uses to keep the beasts away from her home in the Everfree....”
“That won't help. Applebloom already found that out and set up their own wards on the edges of the farm. The timber wolves went right past them. That big one bothers me, it seemed to be driving the others. I've never heard of anything like this happening before.” Twilight sighed.
“That's not all that's bothering you. When was the last time you slept?”
“Two days ago. We've had a lot of close calls, but this..... As if freeing the Empire wasn't bad enough for us, now Applejack's hurt from something stupid that I can't even explain. There's something there , there's some reason for this, there has to be. I feel I should know what it is, but I can't think of it.”
“Calm down Twilight. You know you don't do well when you're stressed. You need to sleep.” Cadence placated.
“I don't need sleep, I need to figure this out. I need to find out why so I can fix it and stop this from every happening again. I need to find out who or what did this and show them exactly how bad they screwed up messing with my friends and family...”
“I wasn't suggesting sleep Twilight. I was telling you to sleep.” Cadence stated flatly, her horn glowing.
Twilight's eyes widened, then grew heavier as she tried to fight it. Had she not been awake for nearly three days straight already she probably could have shrugged the spell off with no issue. Now her head lowered as she tried to fight laying over Big Mac's fore legs as she was put to sleep.
Cadence finished the spell rising slowly to her hooves. She adjusted the chairs so Rainbow Dash was more comfortable and let the spell linger on the four of them as she stepped out of the room tying the spell to the door.
A Night Guard and a Heart Guard stiffened as she stepped out, one on either side of the door, a third glancing towards her from his position down the hall.
“No pony is to enter this room until tomorrow morning unless it's an emergency, or Applejack wakes up. They need to catch up on their sleep.” Cadence sighed.
“Yes princess.” The guards stated quietly.
Cadence moved quickly to the front door of the hospital, noting two other Heart Guards moving to flank her. E frowned at the stallion who simply returned her expression as the three of them stepped out of the front doors of the hospital and took to the air, heading for Sweet apple Acres to find Princess Luna.
[Edge of the Everfree Forest]
The timber wolf howled as claws dug into it and yanked. The sticks and logs holding the creature together tore apart in a shower of wood and leaves. The energy that allowed the creature to animate was quickly snapped up by a pair of sharp fangs.
The moon dog stood in the rubble of the corpse for a moment, sniffing the air for any further sign of it in case that mote of magic had escaped him even slightly. Finding no other scent of it's magic in the area, Rahs nodded to himself and skulked off into the trees following the older scent.
Princess Luna glided through the night above him, her horn glowing lightly as she followed Rahs through the Everfree, Occasionally a blast of moon light brightened the night a bit and something would cry out in panic and run or it would be deathly silent after the impact.
They had found quite a few timber wolves still roaming around in the forest and had set upon them rather quickly. Every one he took down however only made Rahs madder.
He had been training to protect everyone and then this happened. His siblings got hurt in the Crystal Empire and he could do nothing about that. Then they were attacked again here at home where they should have been safe and he couldn't do anything but wait for some one else to save him. If he had done better Applejack might not have been hurt.
A light thud next to him announced Princess Luna landing.
“Have you found any other scents?”
“Wuff.” Rahs grumbled.
“Just the one old one humm? Truly. Thine nose is quite good if you can track them this well. We figured they would simply smell like plants.”
“Ruff.” Rahs corrected.
“The magic animating them has different flavors? That reduces the likely hood that it is one thing controlling them then. We don't doubt thine nose in this sort of thing, nor thine taste, but it is annoying we do not have a reason yet.” Luna nodded. “We doubt weather would make that trail of magic fade as quickly either.”
“ Grrrrrr.” Rahs grumbled.
“Thee are too hard on thee self Rahs. This was hardly a failure. Had thee not been there the situation may have been that much worse. If thee had not been there at all the first to be attacked may have been Rainbow Dash or Fluttershy, or any of the others. They would not have fared as well and thou did.” Luna stated walking along beside the moon dog as he sulked.
“Bark.” Rahs sighed.
“We are not simply trying to cheer thee up. We speak the truth. Thee might think thee were no help in this odd situation, but thee have been far more help then thou seems to realize.”Luna smiles. “ One cannot be every where and do everything Rahs. We must simply do what we can.”
Rahs sighed and moved on a bit further with a few more sniffs to the air before he rushed forward, Luna hot on his heels, ending the conversation.
The area ahead of them looked like a tornado had blown through. Trees were destroyed the ground ripped up and roots exposed and shredded. Claw and bite marks were covering everything and most of the wood and branches had been stripped away from the trees leaving stumps and fallen logs but little else remained intact in the clearing.
“Wuff.” Rahs pointed out.
“So this is where the timber wolves came from?” Luna offered looking around her horn lighting up with magic as she scanned the area. “This place feels familiar.”
Rahs didn't move any further into the area. He simply stopped suddenly, got an odd look on his face like he swallowed a bug, made a questioning noise about 'chocolate', and then promptly passed out with a crash into the dirt.
“RAHS!” Luna shouted rushing over to where he fell, the area scan forgotten as the moon dog fell. Her horn lit up forming a shield around them as she scanned over him, her ears flattening to her head as she looked around curiously, wondering where the sleep spell had come from.
Luna frowned, her horn glowing brightly as she scanned the area standing over the snoring Rahs. She could sense unknown magic through the flow of the link. It was a complex spell, a perpetual sleep spell that kept the target in slumber. It was oft used as a way to knock a patient out and keep them under. Given it was coming through the link, Luna assumed a doctor had finally had enough of Twilight staying awake and managed to distract her long enough to make her finally get some sleep.
The thought of that amused her a little.
Lifting her grand pup onto her back she was about to return him home when another presence made her stop and look up to the moon lit sky as a pink alicorn flanked by two guards drifted over. Spotting the Lunar princess Cadence glided down with the two guards, landing lightly among the carnage of trees.
“Was there a fight we missed?” Cadence demanded taking note of Rahs.
“Nay. Twilight was evidently finally weak enough to be put to bed. The link carried it to him.” Luna shook her head.
“Crud.. I forgot about that when I cast it on Twilight. I had to talk to her for hours to get her distracted enough for it to work.” Cadence sighed
“Thou cast the spell?”Luna asked raising an eyebrow.
“It's not that hard of a spell Luna. Celestia taught me......” Cadence began before a flare of magic from Luna cut her off.
“Whom art thou and what have thee done with our niece?” Luna demanded her horn glowing brighter as her large ax appeared before her, wrapped in her glowing aura.
“ What?” Cadence questioned.
“Thou art not mine niece. That was not her magic along the link and though never calls our sister Celestia.” Luna growled.
“Well shit.” Cadence sighed, before a flare of green flame enveloped her, leaving Chrysalis standing there. Luna took note that neither of the Heart Guard seemed surprised. “Second time in my life I've been given permission to take some ponies form and I'm found out in six hours. Add that to the fact Rahs is gonna be super pissed at me and this hasn't been a good day all around.”
“That does not answer our question.” Luna snapped.
“Cady is fine. “ Chrysalis quickly placated. “She and Shining couldn't make it out here due to the crap with the empire and I had some business in Ponyville so I offered to come in her stead. I'll be sending a message back later to let them know what happened.”
“We find we are having a hard time believing thee.” Luna menaced.
“Sweet Tail.... now might be a good time....” Chrysalis took a step back behind the two guards.
“It's Sword Tail.” the pegasus stallion sighed. He was a silvery gray coated stallion with hints of orange fur around his back legs. Hi cutie mark was of some sort of fish and his black mane and tail were short cropped.
“Not from where I'm standing .”Chrysalis whistled and the stallion sighed once again.”
“Seriously, you manage to get the Emperor and Empress and you're still letting your eyes wander?”
“It doesn't matter where I work up an appetite so long as I go home to eat.” Chrysalis grinned.
Luna blinked as the guard sighed again, the other pegasus with them giggling.
“Coffee me.” Sword Tail offered, looking at Luna.
“Order when ready.” Luna frowned responding to the key words.
“Double black mocha with three sugar cubes and a drop of honey, stirred twice to the left.” Sword Tail listed.
Luna raised an eyebrow at the identification. The order itself changed every so often among the guards, but the order was hardly the identifier. The inflection and tone he used were what were the real identification code was. While most guards would know the phrase, only a select few would know the proper words to add more inflection to. This one checked out.
“She is telling the truth Princess Luna. An agreement was made between Chrysalis and the Emperor and Empress. While I won't go into the details, as they will haunt my dreams for years, you can check them for yourself if you're feeling particularly self loathing, suffice to say it's fairly official.”
“Celestia and I can't be in the same area without wanting and trying to kill one another. I would rather avoid having another hated rival, thank you very much, so I am trying to be peaceable here.” Chrysalis offered.
“ The current theory is that they should just fuck and get it over with.” Sword Tail offered.
Chrysalis winced. “Your tail is suddenly a lot less sweet.... shouldn't you be bowing and scraping to me like you do Cady?”
“The Empress would prefer if we didn't do all the bowing and scraping with her. Neither she nor her husband are that fond of it. Besides both of them told me to keep you on a short leash.” Sword Tail smirked.
Chrysalis rolled her eyes though she paused and tapped her hoof thoughtfully to her chin. “ June Bug remind me to stop by the pet store before we leave.”
“Of course my queen.” The nondescript green pegasus mare smirked as Sword Tail cursed under his breath.
“Now then would you mind not threatening me with the ax any more?” Chrysalis grinned trying to look friendly, but baring her fangs instead.
“We still do not trust you.”
“I don't expect you to trust me. Well not yet any way, I did show up to try and make a deal with you, though if everything works out in the Empire I won't need to, still better to be on at least amiable terms with one Princess.”
“This is hardly the time to discuss this sort of thing.” Luna frowned, though she did lower Dr Choppy.
“I know. Which is why I planned to stay as Cadence and help you out with what ever attacked the Sparkles.” Chrysalis sighed looking around.
“Thou does not think it was after the Apples?” Luna questioned.
“The Sparkles are a bit more of a threat to any thing looking to cause problems. If this was something after one of the Elements of Harmony it could have gone for much easier targets. Rarity would let any one into her house, shop, thing if she thought they wanted a dress. Pinkie Pie greets every one who even remotely comes near the town, usually by herself. Rainbow Dash is doing plenty of extreme sports with her colt friend and one slight error and she wouldn't be a problem.”
“Seems thou has thought of this.” Luna growled.” And thou hast not mentioned Fluttershy.”
“Okay first off I am all for there being six super powered artifact wielders between me and what ever else your sister locked away and forgot about. Second, no one sane would go after Fluttershy. From what I heard even Discord didn't say anything bad about her.”
“Any way, Nightmare Moon, Discord, me, the Crystal Empire, and from what I hear dozens of other little problems, have met and been crushed by the Sparkles both with, and without, help. My goal was to keep them away from my plans, and that nearly worked. So clearly something else must have decided to simply try and get rid of them. Besides, Twilight said the big one was going for Rahs mostly and Applejack got in the way.”
“So, was there a fight here?” Chrysalis asked.
“Nay, not that we are aware of, but we have not seen the like of this effect before. Rahs tracked a scent of magic out to here.” Luna continued to watch the three, though she was more relaxed.
The two guards started moving around looking over the area as Chrysalis did the same, trying not to turn her back to Luna, though making a bit of a show that she was putting herself at a disadvantage in position.
“Twilight said it was a massive pack of timber wolves that attacked. I've heard of them attacking smaller settlements and lone travelers, but as busy as a farm is, as well as Rahs' predator scent, I don't think they would have attacked normally.” Chrysalis sighed.
“We confess our knowledge of timber wolves is limited. No such creature existed back before we fell and we do not recall Solomon making any.”Luna explained.
“Really? Hmm I don't recall them either before my unlawful imprisonment, but they were every where after I got out. I figured it was a rogue druid or something.”
“They were explained to me as being a gathering of wild dark magics and chaos magics that build a body out of what ever is around, usually sticks and wood, sometimes stone or other materials.”
“Yeah something like that I guess. But they aren't just magic. Changelings can feel them. They are almost allays full of hate and spite. They're more like angry spirits than shapeless balls of magic wrapped in debris.” Chrysalis frowned kicking at a fallen chunk of tree with a hoof.
“Thou art rather helpful with this.”
“Like I said before, I am looking to try and get on your good side. Besides I have a vested interest in making sure nothing happens to that grand pup of yours.” Chrysalis smirked.
“And why is that?” Luna demanded.
“Because my daughters got a crush on him and I wanna see how that goes.” Chrysalis grinned wider.
Luna blinked. “We did not expect that.”
“No one expects the Changeling infatuation. It's chiefly a surprise. And fanatical devotion. Why the heck do you think I'm so insistent about Cady?”
“Because she is the goddess of food for thine kind?” Luna snarked.
Chrysalis snorted in amusement.”Okay I'm going to have to remember that one.”
“Princess. Chrysalis. We found something.” Sword Tail called out prompting the two gods to approach where June Bug stood. The pair trotted over looking down at a broken stone monument in the rubble of the trees.
“ A stone column?” Chrysalis questioned.
“Ah, this is where we are.” Luna frowned looking down at the monolith.
“Hmm?” Chrysalis glanced to the alicorn.
“The theory of the timber wolves being malevolent spirits has gotten a bit more likely. “Luna explained pointing a hoof at the obelisk. “ This is where we ended a warren full of Diamond Dogs that had foal napped Rahs.”
The pair of changelings froze and took a small step away from the dark alicorn. Sword Tail glanced at the others not quite understanding.
Saturnia and the scout's terror of what Luna had done here had spread through the Changelings well before the invasion of Canterlot, with many refusing to do anything in the city until Luna was some where else. To hear her simple say what she did without the two lings feeling any sort of remorse or any other feeling but a mild anger come from the mare worried them both.
“Well... that would explain their issue with Rahs.” Chrysalis spoke finally.”Upsetting to think they are little more than ghosts, but at least there is no sole villain responsible for the attack. Of course how do you put down malevolent spirits?”
“Magic primarily. We have faced a number of haunts in our time and have considered ways to deal with one particularly annoying one, though we refrain from doing anything about him. Granted it seems Rahs can feed on the energy as well.” Luna frowned. “Pity it is something like this. We were looking forward to finding some thing's skull to invert.”
“Just to reiterate, I come in peace.” Chrysalis added.
“We know.” Luna smiled “At any rate, we need to return Rahs home to sleep this off as I fear waking him would also wake Twilight as well as any natural slumber his brothers are having. It is not as if he has not been awake as long as his sister.”
“Some insane stamina the Sparkles have there.” June Bug commented.
“Oh you have no idea...” Chrysalis purred.
“The whole damn empire has a pretty good idea. None of you are quiet!” Sword Tail cursed.
“Questions about my niece and her husbands skills aside. We are curious as to why your daughter is suddenly interested in Rahs.” Luna asked walking away from the marker with Rahs rather than flying.
“Oh it's not sudden. She's been after him for a little over a year now.” Chrysalis cackles. “She's a shy sort, takes after me a little bit in wanting things to go perfect. But she's not that good on planning on the fly if something goes wrong.”
“We see. And whom is the father?” Luna asked.
“Cady.” Chrysalis says flatly, grinning wide as Luna stumbled and had to catch Rahs in her magic before he hit the ground.
“What? Thee jests. How is that even possible?” Luna protests.
“Well when a mommy alicorn and a mommy changeling decide to get their freak on, and the mommy alicorn decides to get a little more freaky and cast a spell to grow some parts that normally are only on stallions ….” Chrysalis began.