Vex failed to notice the approach of a Diamond Dog until he felt the cold steel of a revolver pressed to his head and the sound of a hammer being cocked back.
So this is how it ends? Vex thought as he screwed his eyes shut and prayed that it would be quick. Vex heard a pop and then a yelp followed by the sound of something heavy hitting the forest floor. Vex kept his eyes shut as more pops rang out, each of which was followed by a yelp almost as if they were having a conversation in alien language. It took a few minutes to register the entire forest had gone still except for the sound of approaching hooves. Opening his eyes, Vex spotted Nova sauntering towards him with a cocky grin on her face.
“Looks like somepony owes me now.” Nova said with a giggle.
Rolling his eyes, Vex stood back up only to come crashing back down.
“Boss you don’t look so good… Maybe we should go see Stitches.” Nova motioned to two of the Pegasi in her squad to help her take Vex back to the Eclipse.
Once they had landed on the Eclipse, Vex had been ushered to the infirmary where Stitches had immediately gone to work cleaning and patching up the wounds Vex had received.
“You’re lucky those mutts weren’t the best shots because this could have been a lot worse.” Stitches commented as he closed the wound in Vex’s wing membrane.
Vex gritted his teeth as his friend continued to work. “How’s our stowaway?” Vex asked in an attempt to get his mind off the fact that a needle was piercing his skin.
“Hmmm… Oh she woke up while you were off playing soldier… I had to sedate her so she would not hurt herself in a foolish escape attempt.” Stitches said as he put the last line of thread in place and tied it shut.
“There, that should hold but you’re not going to like what I’m about to say.”
Vex looked at Stitches with a wary gaze. “Go on.”
“Well you twisted your hoof really bad, so you can’t go running on it for a bit and because you have stitches in your wing, you can’t fly around either.”
“Perfect, so I am basically bedridden for how long?”
“Two, maybe three days.” Stitches said with an innocent smile and a mad gleam in his eyes.
Letting out a sigh of defeat, Vex let his head fall back into the pillow of the infirmary cot and just as he was about to fall asleep the intercom came to life.
“Vex, you have a message waiting for you in your cabin.”
Handing him a pair of crutches, Stitches sent Vex on his way.
After a “fun” walk to his cabin, Vex had learned that he was going to loath the next few days. Opening the door to his cabin, Vex was greeted by the sight of Princess Luna sitting on his bed once again.
“We have read your report and wish to ask what happened to the ship you had encountered.”
Bowing his head, Vex prepared to deliver the bad news. “We lost them once we came under attack.”
“We see... and were they able to take anypony?”
“Yes, they were.” Vex said, barely hiding his shame.
“Very well then… We have a new assignment for thee.”
“We need thee to go to Greystone gorge where you will meet with a group of changelings who will help you on the rest of your mission.”
“Of course milady.”
In a flash of light, Luna disappeared leaving a fuming Vex behind.
“The crew will not like this.”
It had been days since Shale’s beating and he had not improved much. No matter what Little Strongheart tried, her friend only seemed to get worse.
“Oh Shale, what did they do to you.” She cried softly as her friend whimpered in pain for what seemed to be the hundredth time that day. Strongheart went to clean her friend’s wounds once again when she heard the sound of a ship docking.
Great. She thought to herself. They’re bringing in more workers the replace the ones they lost.
She could hear the voice of the dogs as they tried to break the will of the new arrivals.
“No pony knows where you are; to them you are dead!” one of the dogs shouted.
“I won’t work for you!” Another voice shouted out eliciting surprised gasps from those who had been in the mines for ages.
“Then you will be the first example.” The dog said as he charged at the unicorn that had dared to speak.
The unicorn tried to light up his horn but it was too late as the dog sunk his teeth into the unicorn’s neck, choking the life out of him for all to see. Finally the unicorn stopped struggling as the light left his eyes and his body went limp. The others who were around him quaked in fear as the rest of the dogs restrained them in chains and lead them to their cells.
Somewhere in the Red Stone mountain range
“Master, the Siege Master has reported in.”
“Oh? and what does he have to say?”
“He said that the operation was cut short after he and his men were engaged by a force of ponies and griffins who were not flying a nation’s flag.”
“Hmmmm, so it would seem a third party has joined the game… How interesting.”
“What do you want me to do with the Siege Master?”
“Have him hanged from the spire for all to see and appoint a new Siege Master and make sure this one will not fail me or else you will be joining your brother in the dungeon.”
The little dog scampered off as the larger dog stared out over his kingdom, lost in thought.
So there are those willing to stand against me and defy me at every turn… Well then I will just have to teach them what happens when you play with fire.