One Last Quest

by Vanner

The Heist

Chapter Fifteen: The Heist
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Revenge is sweet. So it’s kind of like ice cream.

“I’m telling you, he cheated,” cursed Pokey.

“I believe you, I really do,” said South Pole. “But I didn’t see it, and neither did any of the other ponies.”

They stood outside a cafe, now two stones short of their goal instead of just one. Rain had had been ordered to roll in, and pegasi filled the sky with unhappy grey clouds. The scratch on Pokey’s shoulder had stopped bleeding almost as soon as it had started. It was no worse than a paper cut, but it had been enough to lose both the stones to the cheering of Bluebloods cronies.

“I’ll challenge him again,” demanded Pokey. “Two stones for two stones.”

“I doubt he’ll go for that,” replied Cheerilee. “Did you see how angry he got when you took off part of his tail?”

“Then what are we going to do?” asked Medley. “Break in and steal the stones?” The table fell silent at the remark. They all turned to look at South Pole. He put up his hooves in defense.

“Oh no,” he said. “I would definitely lose my job if I helped you plan a heist.”

“Then I’m going to steal your keys,” said Cheerilee.

“I thought you hated your job?” asked Medley.

“I do,” admitted South. “But I can’t just go throwing away the past few years of work because some group of ponies and my old girlfriend asked me too.” Cheerilee pouted at the unicorn and tried her best to look heartbroken. “Look, I can’t give you keys to the stones because I don’t have them,” he said. “I know how to get on the grounds, and I can get you inside, but after that, it’s up to you to get the stones. I suggest that you do whatever it is you’re planning on doing tonight before he moves them to his main mansion. You’ll never get past his security there.”

“Just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean it can’t be done,” said Medley. “Still, I think I can get into that case.”

“What?” asked Pokey. “Medley, if you think you’re going to participate in this heist, you’re out of your pony mind.”

“And why not?” asked Medley. “I’m quiet. I can fly. And I can pick locks.”

“Since when?” asked Cheerilee.

“Since I saw War Jenny do it,” she replied. “It turns out it’s not that hard. I got those cuffs off didn’t I?”

“A Diamond Dog’s cuff and a jewel case are two completely different things,” said Pokey. “Plus you’re pregnant. Why do I have to keep reminding you of this?”

“I’ve been practicing!” said Medley. She dumped a saddle bag full of opened pad locks and hair pins onto the table. Some of the pins were broken, but the locks were all otherwise undamaged. “I can do this, I know I can. Besides, this isn’t my first ride into motherhood. A mare can stay happy and active until her eighth month of gestation. Nine in my case.” Pokey rolled his eyes.

“I’m pretty sure ‘healthy pregnancy exercise’ doesn’t include burglary,” said Pokey.

“Alright, hold on now, let’s think,” said Cheerilee. She tapped a hoof to her temple. “You say you’re fine, Medley, and I’m guessing you’ve got the experience that would tell you otherwise. What important is we need to see if you can open a jewel case.” She thought for a minute till an idea came to her. “If you can get the Hamite case at the Archive opened, then you should be able to open the jewel case. Otherwise, Pokey’s going to have to pull a smash and grab.”

“That’s not going to work,” said South. “If the case is broken, it will trip the alarms.”

“So?” asked Pokey.

“So, parts of the alarms are giant metal plates that slide over the windows,” said South. “Blueblood isn’t the type to call the police at the first sign of trouble. He sends his goons in first, and then calls for the royal guard to clean up what’s left.”

“We’re just going to have to not set off those alarms then.” said Medley.

“Right,” said South. “I don’t even want to think about what will happen if you get caught in there.”

“Oh, Southie,” giggled Cheerilee. “You mean ‘we’ don’t you? Now you’re an accomplice to grand larceny.” South stood speechless for a moment as he realized that he had just committed a felony.

The four ponies found themselves again at the squat stone building housing the Ancient Artifacts Archives. Cheerilee flashed her forged student ID at the pegasus working the counter. She waved them through without even turning away from her fashion magazine. Pokey recognized it as the same one the nurse in Bridleburg had. As the gilded brass elevator sank into the stacks, South looked around remembering all the time he had spent here.

“Wow,” said South. “This brings back memories.”

“Good ones?” asked Medley. South Pole thought a minute. He recalled falling off a balcony after three straight all-nighters.

“Not really,” he replied.

The elevator doors clanged open, and the ponies got off. They trotted through the stacks, Cheerilee’s sense of direction lead them right back to the Hamite artifact case. Medley looked around for a moment to see if any other pony was nearby. The other ponies stood with their flanks to her to block the sight of the pilfering pegasus from any pony who might walk by.

After an agonizing minute, the sound of a click echoed through the empty halls. The ponies turned around to see Medley. She was holding one of the Hamite masks to her face.

“Booga booga,” she chanted. Cheerilee shot her an aggravated look.

“Put that back,” admonished Cheerilee. “I thought you had more respect for Hamite culture than that.”

“I do,” said Medley. She took off the mask and flipped it around to show Cheerilee the card on the back. “This one is for good luck. I figured we could use all we could get.” Medley put it back in the case, and closed it. She rubbed her hooves together in glee. “Now let’s go pilfer us some jewelry.”

“I’m going to get disbarred,” whined South.

“It’ll be fun, I promise,” said Cheerilee.

They rode back up the elevator, and a minute later, spilled into the foyer. Now they were ready to start planning the heist in detail. South Pole saw the front double doors opening. He recognized several of Blueblood’s entourage walking in. South pushed the Ponyville Trio into a corridor, and shushed them.

“What are you...” asked Cheerilee.

“It’s Blueblood,” he said. “Hold on.” South trotted into the open, and greeted the white stallion with a bow.

“Ah!” said Blueblood. “South Pole, my devoted second, I trust you approved of my fine hornsponyship this afternoon?” South ground his teeth.

“Never better, sir,” said South.

“I am having a masquerade this evening to commemorate my victory over that Kin,” he said. “Bring a date, won’t you? And not that horrid candy maned mare you had your eyes on this afternoon. Really, South, try to have some dignity. She looked like a school marm, for Celestia’s sake.” South tried to hide his shock. Did Bluebood really see him staring at Cheerilee’s flanks during the duel? His mind churned as he tried to come up with a plausible story.

“Sir, she was a slave to that... Kin,” spat South. “He cut off her horn, and forced her into servitude. She escaped with me after the duel, and asked me to pass on her eternal gratitude for saving her.” South put on his best aires of disgust.

“How dare he defile our proud horns?” shouted Blueblood. “I’d have killed him if I known that!” He scoffed, annoyed that he had missed an opportunity to slay an enemy of unicorns. “Very well, bring her if you wish. Your other friends, too, if you have any. Be sure to wear your most amusing costumes; I want to laugh this evening.”

“Very well, sir,” replied South. “We shall see you at the north residence then?”

“Oh no,” replied Blueblood. “That’s still being repaired from last week’s gala. We’ll see you at the Southtown manor.” Blueblood perked up his ears. “Did I just hear some pony swear?”

“Probably some poor pegasus student who can’t hack it,” said South. “If there’s nothing else, I’ll let you be on your way.” Blueblood and his entourage trotted past South Pole, leaving the grey stallion to mull his thoughts. South retrieved the Ponyville trio, and shuffled them out the door before any pony could see them. Pokey looked back at the archive in disgust.

“Are you bucking kidding me?” demanded Pokey.

“Language!” chided Medley.

“And really? A unicorn?” scoffed Cheerilee. “I’m proud to be an earth pony.”

“I panicked!” admitted South. “How was I supposed to know he actually paid attention to what I was doing? He should have been paying attention to the duel.”

“You should have too,” said Pokey. “I realize Cheerilee’s easy on the eyes, but if you had been paying attention, you could have caught him cheating and we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“I’m sorry!” said South. “Look, give me a break, I didn’t expect you to lose.”

“Well I didn’t expect him to cheat,” said Pokey. “Thanks for the heads up.”

“Colts, stop fighting,” interrupted Cheerilee. “We can’t pull off this heist now. Burglarizing a jewel case with a house full of ponies? It’s insane.”

“Unicorns,” corrected South Pole. “He doesn’t invite other ponies to this kind of shindig.” They walked in silence away from the archives for a bit before anypony spoke again.

“You know what?” said Pokey. “This might actually work to our advantage. You two go as guests. Medley and I will come in over the hedges and pull off the heist. You get to keep your job, we get the gems. Every pony’s happy, except Blueblood, but he can take a flying leap.”

“Sounds dangerous,” said Medley. “You think it’ll work?”

“Here’s hoping,” said Pokey. He looked over Medley for a minute.“But you’re not going to be sneaking anywhere with those colors.” Medley looked back at her coat.

“What’s wrong with turquoise?” she asked. “I’ve been this color my entire life.”

“Yes, but have you ever tried to sneak out of your house in the middle of the night?” asked South. “You stick out like a sore hoof. You’ll need a disguise.”

“Ooh! Can I get a ninja outfit?” she asked. “I always wanted to be a ninja.”

“Now you’re thinking like a thief,” said Pokey. “A ninja costume will be perfect. In fact, we should all hit the costume store. We’re going to make this a night Blueblood won’t forget.”

The costume shop wasn’t that busy, and the ponies found themselves enjoying the selection a bit too much. Medley found a ninja costume that covered most of her body, leaving only a few tantalizing patches of her coat exposed. Cheerilee suggested taking it home as a gift for Snow Catcher once they were done. Pokey didn’t really need a costume, but chose a black carapasion to cover his armor, and a charcoal face powder to dull his coat. It was Cheerilee that took the longest to decide.

She first tried on a similar ninja costume to Medley’s but found the idea of playing a thief a bit too much like showing her hoof. She also tried a maid costume to tease South. Cheerilee came from behind the curtain, holding a feather duster in her teeth. She winked at South.

“Je suis un peu Pouliche,” she said. The grey unicorn was far too shocked to react, and Cheerilee flounced back behind the curtain with a giggle. To continue her torment of the stallion, she came out in a uniform resembling the one she wore as a school filly. All three of the ponies stared at her as she spun about in her skirt and blouse. Medley’s turquoise cheeks turned bright red, and she looked away in embarrassment.

“I can see why the mares liked her,” said Medley.

“Well, I can’t go attracting that much attention,” said Cheerilee as she disappeared behind the curtain. “Pity, I look great in this outfit.” She finally settled on an explorer’s costume. She enjoyed the pith helmet and vest, and vowed to wear it more often once she got back to Ponyville.

“Go back to the school filly outfit,” insisted Pokey. He was met with an angry stare from South Pole. The grey stallion paid for the purchases, and they left the store. South floated the bill of sale into his pocket as they walked.

“Why were there five costumes on that receipt?” asked Pokey. South Pole ignored the question, and tried not to blush.

After a brief walk, the four ponies found themselves back at the Canterlot Carriage Inn. Cheerilee and South worked together for a few minutes on a crude map of Blueprint’s manor. They laid it on the bed. Cheerilee produced chess pieces from somewhere, and used them to represent the ponies.

“Once I see the coast is clear,” explained Cheerilee, moving a queen into position on the map, “I’ll come to this hallway, and South,” she moved a bishop in front of her queen, “will signal you from the window.”

“Why am I a bishop?” asked South. “I’d rather be a rook.”

“Medley’s the rook, that’s why,” said Pokey.

“Well you get to be the knight,” complained South. “That’s clearly superior to a bishop.”

“I am a knight,” shot back Pokey. “Of sorts.”

“I’ll make you both pawns if you won’t behave,” threatened Cheerilee. “Now, once we make the signal, it’s up to South and me to distract Blueblood,” she moved the black king into place, “long enough for Medley and Pokey,” she moved the knight and the rook over the hedgerow and into the study, “to make the grab. We only get one shot at this, and if we blow it, Medley's in serious trouble.”

“The party works to our advantage,” said South as he pointed to the King. “Blueblood’s not likely to assault some pony in the middle of a gala. He’ll probably let his guards handle it. I can get you out of jail with minimal fuss.”

“What about the guards?” asked Medley.

“They shouldn’t be able to see you,” said Cheerilee. “And if they do, well that’s what Pokey’s there for. Don’t let them get away to raise the alarm, though.”

“You are to fly away at the first sign that everything has gone south,” said Pokey.

“Gone me?” asked South Pole.

“Uh, haywire,” corrected Pokey. “Hinky. Stale.” He struggled to come up with synonyms. “The plan falls apart. Anyway, you’re to run at the first sign of trouble, do you understand me?”

“Loud and clear,” saluted Medley sarcastically.

“Once you make the grab,” continued Cheerilee, “Fly the stones to the castle, and Pokey will allow himself to be arrested. I’m sure a royal pardon will be easy to come by once we’re done.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve found myself in the slammer,” muttered Pokey. He glanced at a clock on the night stand. “Alright, this all goes down in an hour; let’s synchronize our watches.” The ponies all looked at their fetlocks. Pokey blinked in embarrassment. He had never worn a watch. “Okay, never mind.”

“I’ve got to get this fake horn scar on,” said Cheerilee. “The rest of you get into your costumes. The carriage should be outside in a few minutes waiting to take us to the manor.”

“Medley and I will walk there,” said Pokey. “We’ll watch for your signal starting in exactly two hours. If the plan’s a bust, break a window.” The ponies all put hoof in the center, and shook. There was no turning back now; every one of them was going to leave this hotel room a criminal. They dispersed to work on their own parts of the plan.

The carriage ride was quiet and uneventful. Both ponies inside the carriage remained in silence on the way there. Once again, South and Cheerilee rolled up to the manor, and once more, they were unimpressed by its architecture.

“I really can’t wait to leave this city,” groused South. “I never thought I’d get tired of spirals and domes, but I find myself wishing for the concrete slabs of Manehatten.”

“You’ll get there soon enough,” said Cheerilee. “Just make it through tonight, and we’ll be fine.”

“We?” asked South. His voice was hopeful.

“Don’t get your hopes too far up,” Cheerilee replied with a smirk. “Let’s just see how things work out, alright?”

Cheerilee brushed her candy striped hair down her head to hide the horn scar that she and Medley had carefully applied. They stepped out of the carriage and down the receiving line where they shook hooves with a few of Blueblood’s esteemed guests. They came finally to the white stallion himself. He was sporting the Archive’s ancient unicorn armor. He also had gotten a hair cut to hide the damage Pokey had caused to his mane and tail.

“So good to see you,” he sneered. “And I heard what happened to you my poor dear. If I had only known, I’d have made that fool pay with his life. You will let me help you, of course?” Cheerilee bowed to the prince.

“Thank you, your highness,” she said. “Your generosity knows no bounds.”

They walked through the arched foyer to find an array of costumes. Some ponies wore complicated masks of feathers and furs. Others used their magic to play with the light and created fantastic illusions of dragons or griffons. The two ponies mingled for a while. Cheerilee caught a glimpse of Hinny and Garson disappearing from the dining room.

Cheerilee found herself being complimented on her costume, and questioned about her horn. A few tears convinced them that it was a sore subject, and they left it at that. One unicorn dressed as a ghost seemed to be following Cheerilee and South throughout the party. Every time she went to the punch bowl, the ghost tried to get closer. She managed to duck under a table and loose him. She trotted back to South Pole.

“I think we’re being followed,” whispered Cheerilee. South tossed his head back in a hearty laughter, and caught a glimpse of the offending unicorn.

“I think you’re right,” he muttered.

Some pony questioned where South Pole’s costume was. He replied that he was dressed as a lawyer, and handed out fake subpoenas. Most of the unicorns got a kick out of the gag. Many had been recipients of the real deal themselves.

An hour into the party, Cheerilee had managed to lose her tail. The ghost unicorn was nowhere to be seen, but Cheerilee could feel him closing on her. Blueblood stood before the crowd. He lifted a glass, and clanged on it with his horn.

“Fillies and Gentlecolts,” he announced with a sweeping bow. “I bring you here today to celebrate your great Prince, none other than myself, Blueblood.” Polite stomping filled the room. “But to the point, we are here to celebrate victory on the field of honor!” Cheers filled the hall, as did the stomping of feet. “My victory? Why it was triumph over a so called noble of aKin of Luna,” announced Blueblood. The room filled with boos and hisses

“Death to the savages!” yelled some pony.

“And what is worse?” continued Blueblood. “This Kin was one of us, the glorious race of unicorns.” More boos and hisses filled the room. “And to add to his treachery and treason, this Kin of Luna has maimed one of our own.” Shocked gasps filled the room. A murmur ran through the crowd. Cheerilee shrank to a back wall, as she fiddled with one of the hidden servants exits as she tried to escape the hall. “My dear Cheerilee, will you please come forward?”

The room turned to face her. Cheerilee looked around in panic. She tried to come forward, but found her legs heavy. Her heart pounded in fear as she made her way to Blueblood. His entourage cleared a small circle for her.

“The finest minds of magic are here this evening,” he said to Cheerilee. “Surely some pony here can help this poor mare?”

“I’ve... grown to accept my fate,” said Cheerilee. Her voice quaked in what sound like fear. “I dare not show my scars to such regal ponies...” The room filled with pitying murmurs.

“Surely some pony here as the skill to help her?” demanded Blueblood. “Are we not unicorns? Do we not command the greatest magic in Equestria?”

“I’ll help her,” said a familiar voice. The unicorn dressed in a simple sheet that covered all but her caring blue eyes appeared from the crowd. “Cheerilee, was it? Come with me, dear, and we'll fix that horn of yours.” The crowd stomped and applauded as they walked from the dining room. South Pole took the opportunity to slip out of the room and around to where he was supposed to signal for Medley.

Cheerilee followed the ghost unicorn to one of the guest bedrooms. She shut the door behind him, and pulled off the sheet. Underneath it stood a white earth pony sporting a fake horn, and a candy floss mane.

“Redheart!” gasped Cheerilee. “What are you doing here?”

“The better question is, what are you doing here?” she demanded. “What do you think you’re doing sneaking around pretending to be a unicorn?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” said Cheerilee. “I came after the last two Stones of Brilliance. How did we even know we were here?”

“I’ve been two steps behind you for a day now. The doorman at your hotel told me where you were headed, so I snuck in around the side.” said Redheart. She glared at Cheerilee. “By the way, thanks for leaving in the middle of the night.”

“Sorry,” sighed Cheerilee. “That was Pokey’s idea. I think he was just too devastated by you leaving to hang around any longer.” Redheart sighed.

“Well, we’ve got no time to worry about that,” said Redheart. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Absolutely not,” protested Cheerilee. “I’ve got Medley and Pokey coming in to steal those stones.”

“Are you serious?” demanded Redheart. “I thought we send that pregnant filly home?”

“Believe me,” groused Cheerilee. “We sure did try. Now she’s going to pick the lock on the case and get the stones.” Redheart looked completely shocked.

“Where would she even learn a thing like that?” asked Redheart.

“Long story,” said Cheerlee. She peered out into the hallway.

“Why would you steal the stones?” asked Redheart. “Why didn’t you just tell him that Celestia sent you after them? Or have Celestia come and get them herself? Why the cloak and dagger routine?”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” admitted Cheerilee. “I mean, after we lost the sapphire by betting it on the duel...” Redheart put a hoof to her face in frustration.

“Now I’m really sorry I didn’t catch up with you sooner,” said Redheart. “Alright, what was your plan once you got in?”

“I was supposed to distract Blueblood,” replied Cheerilee.

“Oh,” gasped Redheart. “I’ve gone and botched your whole plan haven’t I?”

“I think we can recover,” said Cheerilee. “Put your costume back on, and let’s get out of here.”

They trotted out of the bedroom and toward the study. The hall was barren, save for one grey unicorn pacing near the window. He saw the Cheerilee and the ghost approaching.

“So...” he asked, nervously. “How’s your horn regrowing?”

“She’s with me,” whispered Cheerilee. “Get in, quick.” South checked the hallways, and the three slipped inside.

Medley fluttered above the hedgerow just high enough to see the light from the window. Her black outfit helped hide her in the cloud filled sky. About ten minutes after the appointed time, she saw a light flash twice, then twice again. Medley pulled her hood over her mane, and Pokey tossed his carapison over his armor. Pokey nodded to the Medley.

“Show time.”

Medley hefted Pokey over the hedgerow. She found him easier to lift this time as they touched down silently in the gardens. Pokey scanned the area, and Medley took to the sky again. She fluttered near the treetops and motioned to Pokey positions of the royal guards patrolling the grounds. Most of the guards out here were earth ponies for some reason, and they didn’t bother to look up.

Pokey easily slipped past the guards as Medley made her way to the door. She shrank into the shadows as Pokey passed the hedge maze. A dark coated earth pony trotted around the corner of the hedges. His helm was askew, and lipstick stained his bronze collar. Pokey nearly ran into him. A swift right hoof sent him tumbling to the ground. A unicorn mare emerged from the bushes; her costume disheveled, and mane in tangles.

“Polaris?” she asked. “Where did you get off too?”

The unicorn mare trotted past Pokey. He held his breath, the mare only inches away from stepping on him. She trotted off, and found her way back into the manner via the kitchen door. Pokey stood, and breathed a sigh of relief. He dragged the guard from under his carapison, and stashed the unconscious pony in the hedge maze. Pokey made his way across the lawn to the study. Medley floated down from the parapets as Pokey unlocked the door with a quiet click.

“It’s all you,” whispered Pokey. “I’ll wait out here in case anything goes wrong.” He sank into the shadowy corner of the study; his yellow eyes were only just visible in the darkness. Medley nodded and flew inside.

Medley fluttered into the darkened study. The two stones glowed in the case together; they filled the room with a pulsing violet light. Medley floated above the floor to the case. She pulled her pins from her clothing and bent down to start on the lock. This one was tougher than the artifact case, but she was confident she could do it. Medley held the pin in her teeth and jiggled left and right. She heard a click, but it wasn’t from the case. It had come from the door. She cursed quietly and ducked behind the display.

Light poured in from the party outside. Two unicorns and Cheerilee walked into the study. Medley’s hooded face peered from behind the case.

“Where is she?” asked South. Redheart lifted the sheet of her disguise. Medley saw the two ponies she was expecting, and the one she wasn’t. She breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m so glad to see you,” said Medley. South stared at the door nervously.

“How much longer?” asked South.

“Another minute,” whispered Medley. “I’ve almost got it.”

“We should go out there and run interference with Blueblood,” suggested suouth. He moved for the study door. A voice echoed in from the hallway.

“Well, my fine young filly, allow me to show you what I won from that duel.”

Blueblood opened the study door. The lock clicked open just as the white stallion entered the room. A unicorn, barely older than a filly and dressed in a nurses hat stood by his side. Blueblood stared in disbelief at the pegasus breaking into his case.

“How dare you, you worthless savage!” bellowed Blueblood. “Guards!”

“I can explain!” said Cheerilee.

“And you!” he shot at South Pole and Cheerilee. “How dare you come into my home and help this swine! You’re fired!”

“You can’t fire me!” shouted back South Pole. “I quit! En guarde!” The grey stallion dashed at Blueblood and crossed horns with the aristocrat. The sounds of the fight echoed into the receiving hall, and the thundering hooves of Blueblood’s entourage soon closed in on the study.

Medley bucked and kicked the case free. The glass fell open, but it set off alarms of panic throughout the manor. The snap of a cable came from somewhere in the walls, and the massive iron slabs fell from the walls outside. They impacted the ground like the ringing of a school bell; each one blocked any hope of exit. Pokey nearly jumped out of his skin as they crashed into place. He stared at the thick iron plating for only a moment before his horn flared with dark light.

Medley grabbed the two stones and franticly searched for an exit. Cheerliee shoved the unicorn filly out of the way just in time to prevent her from getting trampled by the barreling entourage.

The iron plate on the south wall screamed in protest as Pokey’s impossibly sharp horn shredded the metal. It took a second, but he had cut a hole large enough for Medley to fly out. The plate fell backward into the garden, and crashed to the ground like a gong. One of the unicorn guards ran around the corner to investigate. He saw Pokey, and charged the armored unicorn. Pokey caught the horn with his own, and sent him spiraling flank over mane into the fountain.

South Pole valiantly dueled with Blueblood. He ducked and weaved to avoid even the touch of the white stallion’s now glowing horn. The entourage closed in to surround the two unicorns. A red unicorn stabbed at South, only to receive a buck to the face from the Redheart. She kicked and bit at the armored opponents to drive them back from the two duelists.

“Kill them all!” shouted Blueblood. He stabbed at South Pole, threw a hoof. “Cleanse my home of their savage filth!”

Pokey smashed horn first through the windows. A shower of glass shards peppered the flanks of the unicorns fighting with Redheart. He rolled between them, and slashed at the straps of their barding. In the same maneuver, he leapt across the room at Blueblood.

The unicorns’ armor fell away, and for a second they stood in shock. Redheart spun in place and bucked, knocking the unicorns off their feet and into the book cases. Pokey dodged under one horn and kicked another unicorn in the teeth. Another caught a horn on his armor, and received a vicious head-butt for his troubles.

“Get the stones outta here!” yelled Pokey.

With the gems clenched in her teeth, Medley galloped for the glass and dashed out into the night sky. She spiraled through a exit and blew past two pegasus guards who had come to investigate. They bolted after her; the pegasi guards were much faster than Medley ever could. She looked around desperately. They were only seconds behind her now; she needed a distraction. She dove into the hedge maze. The explosion of branches sent bits of shrubbery everywhere. The two pegasus guards landed, and dashed in after her.

“Where do you think she got off to?” asked one. He looked around the corner, ready to attack/

“I don’t know,” said the other. “Keep an eye to the sky, she may try to bolt.”

“Please,” scoffed the other pegasus. “She’s not fast enough to out run either one of us.” Something reached from the darkness and smashed the two armored helms together. The pegasi clattered to the ground in a heap of armor and feathers.

“I’m fast enough to outsmart you two,” said Medley. She stood from the bushes. And took to the sky toward Canterlot Palace. She prayed to Celestia that her friends would make it out of there in one piece.

Redheart kicked out the legs of the remaining entourage. South Pole was having a difficult time keeping ahead of Blueblood and had suffered several small gashes from Blueblood’s magically enhanced horn. His horn twinkled again, and South went bling. Blueblood charged in for the kill when he was blindsided by a crushing buck from Cheerilee. The kick sent him careening into the fireplace, and the mantle cracked under the impact of unicorn and armor.

“You think you can hurt me, earth pony?” demanded Blueblood. “I’ll have your head!” He charged at Cheerilee only to be slammed into the wall by Pokey telekinesis. South’s vision returned, and he joined Pokey in holding Blueblood in place.

“Cheerilee, run!” yelled South Pole. A burst of magic pulsed from Bloodblood’s horn. His spell broke the unicorns’ spell. Blueblood stood up and stamped a hoof at them. Cheerilee refused to run; she stood in defiance across from Redheart. The four ponies moves sideways to circle the aristocrat.

“You hit him high, we’ll hit him low,” said Pokey.

“Four on one?” snorted Blueblood. “Typical cowardice from the Kin of Luna.”

“I told you once that you don’t want to fight dirty with me,” warned Pokey. “Let us walk out of here, and we won’t hurt you. I can promise you this won’t end well otherwise.” He stomped a hoof. “And ponies don’t break promises.”

“I’ll see your head mounted above my mantle before I do that, Kin,” spat Blueblood.

Cheerilee dashed at Blueblood. He rolled past her as horn twinkled again. Cheerilee cried out in shock as he vision left her. She tried to stop herself, but ran head first into a desk; scrolls and papers went flying everywhere.

South charged at Blueblood. The aristocrat parried the charge and stabbed South Pole in the flank with a glowing blue horn. South staggered for a moment and tried to swear. He tumbled to the ground; his legs twitched as his body went numb. Redheart dashed in to help Cheerilee, and was met with a crushing buck that sent her tumbling.

“Such is the fate of those who fight the crown,” spat Blueblood. He stepped over the defeated ponies to come hoof to hoof with Pokey. “Worse is the fate of those who are traitors to their own kind.” Pokey looked down at the defeated ponies, and his heart swelled with rage. The last time he’d felt this fury, he’d taken the head off a Diamond Dog. Maybe he’d get that lucky again.

The two horns clashed. Pokey’s razor sharp horn taking shavings off Blueblood's. The white stallion’s horn glowed a dangerous blue. He head butted Pokey and threw a spray of books from the shelves with a burst of magic. Pokey dodged the books and grabbed a chair in his teeth. He swung and smashed the side of the unicorn’s armor with thirty pounds of mahogany. Blueblood staggered back, and then lunged forward.

His horn caught on Pokey’s armor and bounced off. Pokey responded with a head butt of his own that sent Blueblood reeling. Pokey reared onto his back legs, and clapped both hooves to the sides of Blueblood’s head. He spun, delivering a roundhouse kick that sent Blueblood to the ground.

The stallion spun to his feet. His horn slashed, catching Pokey’s fetlock. His armored shoe prevented injury, but the impact knocked him off balance and to the ground. Pokey rolled away from the thrust at his exposed underbelly. He bounded to his feet, and threw a left hoof. The impact dented the unicorn’s helm and staggered the white stallion. Pokey moved in to finish the fight as Blueblood’s horn twinkled.

Pokey again found himself blinded. He was prepared this time, and hee listened for the heavy breathing of his opponent and stepped. Pokey played back in his mind how Blueblood always attacked. Slash, slash, step, thrust, step. He counted to himself.

Pokey’s horn flashed black and sliced the air with its impossibly sharpness. He felt contact, then familiar sensation of his horn bisecting all it touched. He heard only screaming, and he knew his horn had found its mark.

The top three inches of Blueblood’s impressive horn clattered to the walnut floor. He dropped to the floor in a convulsing heap. The aristocrat wailed in pain as he clutched his face. With his horn broken, his spells began to fade. South Pole pushed himself to his feet as Pokey’s vision returned. The blue unicorn stallion looked down at Blueblood. The stallion rolled along the floor in agony.

“Damnit,” said Pokey. “I was aiming for his throat.” He looked at the tip of the unicorn’s horn as it rolled across the floor. “Well, I guess his blood’s not so blue after all.”