The pegasus mare Indigo Breeze smiled triumphantly at the mercenary in front of her. She may have been pinned to the wall by her magical shackles with the rest of her guards, but that didn’t mean she was helpless. A royal guard of Canterlot was never helpless.
The captured guard pulled her left wing taut, tugging a wire thin thread. The thread connected with the greyish blanket it had been ripped from, along with the rest of the blankets and bowls collected. The guards had piled the bowls collected into three blankets and using the other blankets they tied them to the ceiling into a falling booby-trap.
The mercenary unicorn yelled out as a blanket and several bowls fell on him. It was nowhere near enough to actually harm the stallion in any way, but it still did its job: knocking him off balance and breaking his concentration. The magic spilled from Indigo’s shackles and the mare dropped to the ground.
Following this up, Indigo charged the stallion, ramming her head into his chest and knocking the wind out of him. The heavy merc was about to recover and counterattack but Indigo slammed her hoof into his chin. The stallion’s head jerked up just in time for Indigo to bring her other hoof down onto the top of his head, stealing consciousness from him.
Indigo checked to make sure he was out cold and turned to the other mercenaries. One, an Earth pony, was already knocked out. The other, also an Earth pony, was wrestling on the ground with one of Indigo’s pegasi guards. The pegasus had finally gotten on top of the Earth pony and took his head in his hooves, slamming on the ground several times to incapacitate the pony. The merc had almost lost consciousness when the guard grasped one hoof in the other and brought them over his head and swung them downward.
“STOP!” Indigo shouted, grabbing the other pegasi’s foreleg and halting what would have been a fatal blow. “No, stop. They could have killed us anytime they wanted, but they didn't. Mercy for mercy, we owe them that much.”
The guard looked down on the bloodied mercenary and sighed, getting off the stallion, the merc lost consciousness soon after. The pegasus mare looked at her Lieutenant. “Yes ma’am. So, what’s the next phase of the plan?”
Indigo cracked her neck. “We find Chrysalis, rescue her, then get the hell out of here.” She turned to the other six guards. “Tie up the mercenaries and get ready to move! Salvage any weapons they have that we could use!” Indigo walked up to the door and stuck her head out. As far as she could tell, there weren’t any more ponies down this hallway.
“Ma’am! They don’t have any weapons on them, but one has a map of the facility.”
Indigo cocked her head around and furrowed her eyebrows. “What? That can’t be true. What idiot would keep a map of their building while visiting the prison… and oh my god they brought a map down here.” The highly trained guard in Indigo cringed as one of her guard showed her a detailed map of the mercenary’s base.
“Looks like there’s an armory not too far off. If we could get to it, we’d be set.”
Indigo nodded. “Agreed. Ok parasprites, let’s move!”
The guards checked to make sure the hallway was clear and then bolted, head left down the cell littered wall towards the armory. Stopping at a four-way intersection, the ponies checked their corners and moved on. They met no opposition until they made it to their destination. Two guards stood outside the entrance, conversing with each other.
“Everypony else gets to sleep and we have to be on guard duty, what kinda bull is that?!” Asked the one on the left, a unicorn mare.
“Most of the company’s been working overtime since we kidnapped Chrysalis, they deserve a little rest.” Responded the pegasus stallion on the right.
“It’s still a stupid idea to leave the base unoccupied like this.” The mare pouted back.
The stallion’s eyes rolled. “Less of the sass.”
Back at the guard’s hiding spot, Indigo turned to strategize with her fellows. “Alright, how do we take them down without alerting them and waking up the rest of the mercs? Suggestions?”
An Earth pony stallion stuck his head out to survey the situation and then pulled back in. “I don’t see how, there’s no cover and they could easily bolt if they saw us.”
“Yeah.” A pegasus mare agreed. “We’re in a tight spot here.”
Indigo shook her head. “I know that, but we’ve got to try something! We can’t just sit here and wait… Hold on…” The lieutenant scanned her guards. “Where’s Valorous Honor?”
A loud thumping sound filled the air twice, followed by two loud thuds to the ground. Indigo and the guards popped their heads out to see the Earth pony Valorous Honor, dusting off his hooves after knocking out the two mercs. “Done.” He said plainly.
“Valorous!” Indigo whispered loudly. “What are you doing?! You could have alerted the whole base we’re here!”
“But I didn’t.” The stallion replied.
“But you could have!”
“But. I. Didn’t.” The Earth pony said sternly, opening the door to the armory and stepping inside.
Indigo face-hoofed. “Gonna give me a heart attack.”
“More than being smack-dab in the middle of an enemy’s base with no armor, no weapons, and no real escape plan?” Asked the same pegasus mare guard.
“Much more.” Indigo replied.
A fully armored Valorous returned from the armory, several pounds of heavy mining explosives packed onto his back. “Don’t mind me, just steppin’ through…”
Indigo’s mouth almost fell to the floor. “What are you going to do with those?!”
“Spring cleaning ma’am.” Valorous replied, walking off down a hall and out of sight.
Indigo shook her head. “Whatever, we need to get some armor and weapons and then get Chrysalis out of here. Let’s move guards-ponies! Find what you need and meet back up here!”
It took several minutes for the guards to find fitting armor and acceptable weapons. Armoring up in what they believed to be mass-produced leather armor, studded to provide a more secure fit, the guards filed back out into the hallway. Each one checked their equipment again before nodding to show they were ready.
Indigo sheathed two wing-held blades to her sides and rallied her guards. “Alright, so on this map there’s a section of the map called VIP prison block. Chrysalis has got to be there! Let’s move before more mercs show up.”
Valorous Honor skidded from out of the corner he had originally left from. The stallion huffed as he ran back to his Lieutenant and fellows. “Reporting for duty ma’am!” He said, saluting and panting.
Indigo cocked an eyebrow, noticing Valorous didn’t have the volatile payload he left with. “Uh, Valorous? Where are the explosives?”
“Places.” The stallion replied.
Indigo squinted at him. “Should I even ask, or am I about to be cut off by a loud boom?”
Valorous shook his head. “Uh, nope, we still have like three minutes.”
An Earth pony guard stepped forward. “Then let’s find Chrysalis before the explosives go off, we can use them as a cover.”
Indigo nodded. “Agreed. Let’s move!”
Chrysalis jumped up from her fitful sleep by a series of loud explosions. Walking up to the door of her pitch-black cell, she leaned in to listen while staying out of sight. Two mercs talked nervously to each other.
“The hell was that?!” One asked.
“You think I know?! Maybe the guards found our hideout!” Shouted the other.
“Well… it doesn’t matter! We’ve got to stay here and guard the prisoner!”
Another series of explosions sounded through the base, startling the mercs even more. Chrysalis took this opportunity and started ramming herself against the door, over and over.
“HEY! Stop that!” A merc cried.
Chrysalis didn’t heed him and kept ramming against the door in an increasingly hard manner. The Changeling Queen was tired from the past week of torture and interrogation, but the thought that her lover’s guards had finally come gave her a second wind. Finally, she rammed the door and made it visibly move.
The merc from before had had enough. “That’s it! I’m putting a stop to you!” The mercenary opened the door and readied a baton to beat Chrysalis into submission. Once he stepped into the cell, however, he got a nasty shock.
Chrysalis had laid in wait, and the moment the guard was in range she attacked. The Changeling went for the neck and bit down hard. No blood spill from the wound, but a greenish aura enveloped the stallion and flowed out of his wound and into Chrysalis. The Changeling’s eyes glowed bright green. Her horn’s magical inhibitor cracked and strained, until finally snapping in two. Chrysalis’s shackles fell into pieces as well as love filled the Changeling and refueled her power, as well as healing her wounds.
The drained stallion fell to the ground unconscious, and Chrysalis wiped her lips. “Bleh, I hate getting love like that, so barbaric.” The Changeling turned to the other merc, visibly shaking and eyes wide in terror at seeing a Changeling feed. Chrysalis chuckled. “I’d leave if I were you.”
The stallion nodded, grabbed his fallen fellow, and bolted down a hallway. Chrysalis stepped out of her cell and cracked her neck. The sound of hooves hitting the base’s stone floor coming from the opposite hallway caught her attention, and she turned to ready herself for conflict. Instead, she was met by Indigo Breeze and her guards.
Chrysalis sighed with relief. “Oh, it is good to see you! I heard the explosions, were those your doings?”
Indigo nodded. “Yeah, sort of.”
Chrysalis made a face. “I see… good.” The Changeling had hoped that Celestia had found her, but this was the next best thing. “Do you have an escape plan?”
Indigo smiled. “Actually we do. We have a map of the base. It shows us exactly where the exit is. Luckily, the mercenaries are still worried about saving their burning base.”
“Where did you plant the bombs?” Chrysalis asked curiously.
“In empty hallways mostly.” Valorous replied. “Indigo didn’t want us to kill any of the mercenaries, so I stuck them in hallways to make travel around the base difficult.”
“Merciful.” Chrysalis said. “Not many would do so.”
“Petty vengeance solves nothing ma’am.” Indigo replied.
Valorous Honor stepped up next to his Lieutenant. “Great moral lesson Lt. but can we please leave before our gracious hosts recompose themselves?”
Chrysalis nodded at that. “He’s right, let’s get to the entrance and leave this awful place.”
With their charge safely in hoof, the guards exited the VIP prisoner block with Chrysalis, running desperately towards the exit.
The entrance to the mercenary’s base was more or less a gigantic cave; the base had been built inside the hollowed caverns deep within. A large metal wall had been used to cover the gaping mouth of the cave, but it was easy to see a equally large gate cut out from the makeshift wall, which had holes in it that allowed tiny rays of sunshine to escape inward.
The guard’s desperate run for the exit had not gone off without a hitch, however. A well-built unicorn mare stood at the exit to greet them, along with a large number of her mercenaries. Every single one of them had on the magical disguise.
The unicorn smiled confidently. “I’m our Captain’s top lieutenant and I’ve got to say I’ve never seen a sadder sight. You honestly thought you could escape through the front door? I commend you for your brilliant distraction but this? This is just insulting to your own intelligence.”
“Why are you holding us?!” Chrysalis asked intently, stepping in front of her guards. “Who paid you to kidnap us?!”
“We were paid to kidnap you Chrissie.” The unicorn’s artificially deep voice responded. “The guards were just an inconvenience.” The mare smiled. “As for who paid us? Well, not all in Equestria are about love and tolerance Changeling. There are those that won’t forgive you for what you’ve done.”
“We’ll pay you triple what your employers paid to let us go! Let’s us talk to your Captain and…” Indigo suddenly blurted out, trying to avoid a conflict she knew they’d lose.
The pony laughed again, cutting Indigo off. “Sorry guards-mare, but our Captain’s getting more from this deal than just money. Besides, a mercenary group with a reputation for betraying their employers doesn’t see much work.” The mare lit up her horn and teleported to a rocky balcony higher up in the cave. “I’m going to find the Captain, you lot deal with them. Keep them all alive if possible. Chrysalis must survive, understood?”
The mercs nodded and cheered at their Captain’s lieutenant, who smiled. “Good to hear.” With that, the mare left to find Lightning Dust.
Back on the cave floor, Chrysalis and the guards found themselves surrounded by big, bulky mercenary scum with no way to escape. Even the most optimistic guards would know there was no way they could defeat this many enemies in this particular situation.
“Really can’t wait for that dues ex machina to come gallivanting in to save our hides!” Valorous Honor blurted out.
“What?” Indigo asked.
The guard turned to her. “Well, if this were a story, right about now some out of nowhere plot device would come in and save us from this! Really hoping it comes soon, I bruise easily.”
Indigo gritted her teeth. “Valorous, that isn’t going to happen! You need to stop reading so many fairy tales!”
The guard snorted. “But then what will I do with my Saturday nights? Go out and socialize? Screw that!”
Several mercs stepped forward, dark grins on their faces. A dark red one drew his sword with magic. “Alright Changeling, how about you just stand down and nopony gets hurt?”
“How about you bite me.” Chrysalis responded, venom in her words.
“Sorry I’m not into love sucking whores.” The merc responded.
“Of course you’re not.” Chrysalis mocked. “I can tell you and that stallion over there are avid butt-buddies.”
The merc frowned heavily. He lunged at Chrysalis. “I’ll cut out your tongue you…!”
A bolt of magic surged through the makeshift metal wall and struck the attacking merc right in the back of the head. The scumbag fell to the ground with a thud, unconscious. Silence enveloped the cavern as mercenary and guard alike looked on in shock and confusion.
Valorous nodded slightly to himself. “Well that was really convenient.”
As if on cue, the makeshift wall exploded, sending shrapnel and dust everywhere and forcing everyone to the ground. No one was caught in the blast but as soon as the wall was gone magical bolts flew into the cavern and struck down mercenary after mercenary.
“We’re under attack! Return fire! Return fire!”
It was soon chaos, with magic flying in all directions and mercenaries running about madly as none other than Elite Canterlot Royal Guards poured into the cave. Mercenary and guard forces collided in a mess of bodies and magic as each side tried to push forward in opposing directions. It was clear very quickly that the guards were going to win, and they easily beat back their mercenary opponents.
Chrysalis and her captured guards had rolled up into balls and covered their heads to avoid injury. Closing her eyes tightly, Chrysalis could only hear the intense battle happening all around her. Her ears perked up into an erect position as she heard hoof steps approaching her. The steps ended right in front of her. Chrysalis dared to open an eye and look to see an armored boot. The changeling lifted up her head and blinked at the Alicorn before her.
Cadence smiled warmly, though she looked quite intimidating in her battle armor. “Hey there, long time no see huh?” She said casually.
“C-Cadence?” Chrysalis asked, unbelieving.
“Were you expecting Discord?” The pink Alicorn jested.
Before Cadence could react Chrysalis jumped up and hugged her. “Oh thank the Maker you’ve come! I thought we were doomed!”
Cadence chuckled. “Well, yeah, of course I came. I promised Aunt Celestia that I’d find you and meant it.” Cadence gingerly pushed Chrysalis off of her. “Would have gotten here sooner, but we had to stop and ask for directions.” Chrysalis chuckled at the joking despite herself.
A bulky guard stallion trotted up to the two mares and saluted. “Ma’am, we’ve pushed the mercenaries farther into the base. We should have it secured by the end of the hour.”
Cadence nodded. “Good work Tested Tactics, keep pushing these scum back into their hole. I’m going to escort Lady Chrysalis back to Canterlot, understood?”
Tactics nodded. “Yes ma’am, we can handle the clean up.” The stallion dropped his salute and trotted off the way he came.
"Always so efficient and formal." Cadence said under her breath as the guard left. The Alicorn returned her gaze to Chrysalis, smiling wider still. “So Chrysalis, ready to go home?”
Chrysalis felt tears in her eyes, this horrible ordeal was over and she was getting out of this hellhole. It was like a dream come true!