New Tricks

by Furzfanger

Chapter 1: The Chain

How could this have happened?

One moment we're drinking fresh apple cider, the next we're on our way to see the Princess herself. I suppose this had to happen eventually. I just never thought they would find us so soon. I knew I should never have trusted that damn settler pony, but his smile and brown leather vest just seemed so inviting at the time. Leave it to a pony to stab you in the back.

Well, I guess we should be arriving in Canterlot any time now. I hope this Princess Celestia is as kindhearted as they say she is. With all that we've done over the past few months, it would be no surprise if she sent each of us straight to the moon. I can't say that I wouldn't deserve it. I've hurt everyone I've ever known. I just don't want to watch my comrades suffer whatever punishment she has in store for us. They are the only family that I've got.

"Uh... Boss Rover?", woofs a familiar voice.

I pause for a brief moment. "What is it, Fido?"

My large friend is trembling violently. "Are they going to kill us?", he whimpers pitifully.

"They aren't going to kill us.", I say, patting my partner's shoulder.

Little do I know, our sentence is a fate far worse than that of eternal slumber. As our carriage pulls into the castle, the earth rumbles behind us as the heavy portcullis crashes to the ground. There is no turning back now. Our fate lies tightly in one Alicorn's hooves.


As the large metal doors of the prison train open, we find ourselves being drug out by the heavy steel chains around our ankles. Guards with needle-sharp spears line the way to the corridors of the dark, cramped dungeon.

"We shall all die in here!", shouts one of my workers.

"Not me!", shouts another, as he is beaten for trying to break the formation.

"I never thought it would end like this...", Spot mutters to me. "Not so soon..."

"Nobody's dying here!", I shout angrily.

Spot points his emotionless face to the ground, as a single tear falls to the cold, stone floor. Sadly, this despair has consumed each and every one of us. All seems to be at an end, as we find ourselves being herded like sheep into rusty, dark cells. Whimpers and moans echo through the quiet dungeon. Regret and despair pour from the hearts of its captives.

"Quiet in there!", shouts a guard to a whining cell.

The whimpers cease in a flash, as the shivering dogs contemplate this being their final few hours alive. Despair strokes our brown and grey coats, while tears pitter-patter upon the stones at our paws. Turning my head, I notice one dog lose control of his bladder when met with a stare from a stern, muscular stallion outside. It rips me apart seeing my family suffer like this. The only ones who ever had any admiration for me are being punished for following my orders. All of this misery is my fault, and I cannot take it back.

Hours pass as the orange glow from the small, barred window at the end of the corridor fades to a deep, forlorn blue. Night had fallen on this dark day. Surely we will meet our ends when the new sun rises. The fear of death now licks at my heart like a dancing flame to a dead field of grass. I finally joined the rest of the pack as a dead dog walking.

"Alright you dogs!", a gruff voice shouts. "Princess wants to see you all!"

Every beating, canine heart in that prison skips a beat upon the dropping of these words. Our time of judgement has finally come. We are now on our way to speak to the one pony in Equestria who could deal us any fate she so desired, and there was nothing we can to do to protest. There is no going back now. We will soon be in the presence of Princess Celestia, Goddess of the Day.

Blinding colors burn our sensitive, dilated eyes, as our chains clack and jingle down the castle's hallways. The distant ceiling catches everyone's gaze. Gems of all sizes and hues sparkle majestically down upon us. Never before had we witnessed such beauty in one place. Ironic that the one thing that drove us into the abyss was the one thing that would watch us burn for it.

"Princess!", announces one of the guards. "The prisoners..."

"Oh worms...", a voice lightly curses behind me.

"Let them come!", thunders a terrifying roar.

I find a razor-sharp spear graze my back, forcing me into the chamber from which came the booming howl. Behind me follows a train of panicking mutts, overcome by the fear of their impending doom. I now gaze upon the voice's powerful owner.

"Rover Berylav...", hums the princess. "You and your party have been charged with crimes against Equestria and its ponies. Do you deny this accusation?"

I pause for a moment. "N-no... your highness..."

"And are you aware of the penalties for stealing in Equestria?", she asks heartlessly.

"N-no... your highness.", I answer back, tears streaming down my cheeks.

"Exile... Mr. Berylav.", breathes the princess. "Eternal banishment."

A massive sigh of relief echoed within each of our minds. Although banishment was a horrible punishment, it was far better than execution. One question did, however, remain unanswered. Where were we to go?

"Um... your h-highness?", I mutter under my breath.

"Speak felon.", she retorts coldly.

"Where shall we be sent?", I prod inquisitively.

"To the wastelands of the north.", she speaks. "And you are never to return."

Displeased with the news, I choose still to be polite in the presence of our judge. "Thank you, Princess Celestia."

Raising an eyebrow, the princess gives me a peculiar look. "I believe you have mistaken me for my dearest sister. Please, call me Luna."

"A thousand pardons, your majesty...", I whimper back.

As we are herded back towards the black dungeons below, I am met with an unexpected reply.

"I am so sorry, my troubled friend. May the aura of the moon light your path."