“I’m going out for a flight,” Rainbow Dash excused herself from the room without turning to look at her friends. “I’ll be back in a dash!”
Rainbow Dash smiled proudly as she heard Pinkie Pie laugh at the pun that she made. She was even chipper when she heard the rest of her friends join into the laughter for a little bit. But what really made her day was that Twilight joined them in their cheering. It had been a while since the trial and Twilight had been sulking for the rest of the day. It was a victory for Rainbow Dash to snap Twilight out of her bad mood, even if it was for a few seconds.
It’s a good start.
“I’ll settle with just a few laps around the castle,” Rainbow Dash told herself as she started her laps. If she was going to be a Wonderbolt, she had to dedicate some time to her flying, just to make sure she remained on shape. The sensation of air flowing across her body as she flew in the sky refreshed her and erased trouble from her mind. That was one of the best issues with flying: your head was literally in the clouds.
The prismatic mare lowered her eyes to Canterlot, watching the scenery carefully. A pegasus always needs to keep her eyes alert to prevent crashes. A Wonderbolt, however, needs to maintain her eyes open if she is to save anypony. Everything around the city was peaceful to say the least. All of the nobles were walking with their heads turned up and their eyes closed. If it weren’t for the fact that they were snobs, Rainbow Dash would feel at least some respect for them for never having accidents with their walking style.
Her eyes shifted back to the castle, noticing some royal guards talking hurryingly with each other. The rainbow pony smiled and flew to them, close enough to hear them but far enough to remain unnoticed. She made sure to diminish her speed to prevent her rainbow trail from giving away her location. Spying was wrong. She was aware that it was an invasion of privacy. But how often was she able to see the royal guards breaking their stoic faces? Besides, if the royal guards were panicking, then that meant that there was probably some threat coming after Equestria and that she and the girls would have to eliminate it. She was bound to find out one way or another.
It may not be my business now but it WILL be later.
“Can you believe that the prisoner escaped?” a royal guard asked another.
“To be honest, I can’t believe it,” the second royal guard shook his head. “I just can’t believe that he got out of his prison and then held his own against Captain Shining Armor before escaping.”
“He didn’t escape,” a female royal guard corrected them. “He is still out there in Canterlot. Captain Shining Armor wants us to find him but you must avoid confrontation. The prisoner can only be taken down by somepony of the same caliber as Captain Shining Armor.”
Rainbow Dash covered her mouth with her hooves to prevent a gasp from coming out of her mouth. Statice had escaped! Not only that, he fought Shining Armor to a draw if what she heard was right. The worst part was that he was out there. It was hard for her to think what kind of destruction the green unicorn was capable of unleashing.
“I have to tell Twilight and the others,” Rainbow Dash flew out of her hiding spot without being noticed by the royal guards. She flew back to her room but stopped before she knocked on the door. A thought crossed her mind. How was Twilight going to react when she found out about Statice’s escape?
Rainbow Dash gulped when she remembered the beating Twilight gave Statice when he bit her horn and sucked on it. As much as she disliked the stallion, even she felt bad for him when Twilight was pummeling him. With Statice’s fight against Shining Armor, she couldn’t imagine what Twilight was going to do to him if she found out.
Forget about Statice, Twilight is gonna destroy Canterlot if that means capturing him! I don’t think he’s gonna need a dungeon as much as he is gonna need a hospital
“Maybe I should try to do this on my own,” Rainbow Dash turned around and flew again. If what the royal guards said was true, Statice was probably exhausted from his fight with Shining Armor. He was going to be too weak to pose much of a threat against her. Although Statice proved to be a formidable adversary during their first meeting, Rainbow Dash was not the type of chump who loses twice to the same rival. Even with her new advantage, she was not going to underestimate him.
I can do this! With the way he is now, I can capture him before Twilight finds out. I get to pay him back for our previous fight, Statice gets what he has coming to him, and Twilight won’t be mad anymore.
“Prepare yourself, Statice!” Rainbow Dash darkly promised. “Today your flank is mine to kick!” With that oath made, the prismatic pegasus forced her eyes into overdrive to search for her prey.
Shining Armor was standing at the entrance of his sister’s room. The Elements of Harmony, his wife, and probably the other two princesses were going to be there. As much as it pained him to tell them about his failure, especially in front of Twilight and Cadence, he was aware that he needed help. He needed accomplices of his caliber and above, and who was a better choice than the saviors of Equestria?
Taking a deep breath the same way Cadence taught him, Shining Armor knocked on the door. He was met with the loving face of his wife, who greeted him with a kiss on the cheek.
“I am so happy to see you, Shining Armor!” Cadence added more love to the mix with a warm hug. The white stallion smiled at the gesture. One of the best things of being married to the Princess of Love is that you were often the recipient of the best hugs and kisses that Equestria had to offer.
“Me too,” Shining Armor smiled nervously.
“Are you feeling shy because we have company?” Cadence teasingly tilted her head to let Shining Armor see that the Elements of Harmony were smiling and giggling at him.
“I’m not ashamed of showing our love in public, Cadence,” Shining Armor shook his head dismissively. He loved his wife and was always happy to prove it to anypony who saw them.
“But there is something that is troubling you?” Cadence asked with a worried tone.
It hurt Shining Armor to see his wife make such a face. And it hurt him more to see that the smile that Twilight had a few seconds ago, probably the only smile that she had made for the whole day, had vanished when she heard about his problem.
“Is there anything wrong, Shining Armor?” Twilight asked as she stood up.
Taking a deep breath, Shining Armor prepared to let the news go. “Statice escaped from his dungeon cell.”
“WHAT!” Shining Armor covered his ears as he was greeted by a loud and simultaneous chorus from the rest of the ponies in the room.
“I said that Statice escaped from the dungeon on which we put him,” Shining Armor explained as he rubbed a hoof against his sore ear. “He got out and disguised himself as a royal guard. I managed to confront him but he succeeded at escaping during our fight?”
“DID HE HURT YOU?” Cadence and Twilight asked at the same time but in different tones. Cadence was alarmed and horrified, not even wanting to imagine the pain her husband was suffering. Twilight, on the other hoof, was enraged and ready to kill Statice if possible.
“I’m okay!” Shining Armor waved his hooves at both alicorns. “Other than destroying my office there was nothing serious between us.”
Except some rare collector books…
Cadence was pleased and relieved with the answer but Twilight was still livid and ready to bust some skulls, more specifically one belonging to a certain green unicorn that made the mistake of awakening her ire. The purple alicorn walked to him and stared into his eyes.
“Where is he?” she practically demanded.
“I don’t know,” Shining Armor admitted, trying to resist his shame long enough to look tough in front of his sister. “That’s why I came here. I need your help in finding Statice before he escapes from Canterlot.”
“You can count on us!” Twilight nodded her head at him. Despite her anger, she managed to give him a little smile to let him know that she was glad that he was okay. The white unicorn was happy that his sister was not mad at him for failing to stop Statice. He may not show it often, but he was just as afraid of failing and disappointing his loved ones the same way Twilight was.
“Wait a second?” Shining Armor frowned. “Where is Rainbow Dash? Wasn’t she supposed to be with you girls?”
“She went flying,” Fluttershy meekly explained. “Rainbow Dash takes her flying training seriously so she always flies around towns that she visits just to maintain her abilities.”
“That means that she is the only one of Elements who doesn’t know about Statice’s escape,” Shining Armor crossed his forelegs, annoyed at the complication.
“Don’t worry about it, Shining Armor!” Pinkie Pie popped out next to the Captain, startling him into casting a shield. “Rainbow Dash will find Statice in no time, even if she doesn’t know that he is out there.”
“How can you be so sure?” Shining Armor asked as he dissipated the shield.
“Rainbow Dash’s eyes are specifically trained to not miss a single detail while she is flying,” Pinkie Pie explained as she stretched her eyes to ridiculous proportions. “She can even tell what you’re eating on your way out of Sugarcube Corner from the sky.”
“That’s kind of impressive,” Shining Armor awkwardly admitted. He would have shown more admiration at Rainbow’s skill if it weren’t for Pinkie Pie’s eyes stretching in front of him. That was disturbing as Tartarus!
“Well what are we doin’ here?” Applejack reared on her hind legs and kicked out her forelegs. “We got a criminal to catch!” Her declaration was followed with cheers from the rest of her friends.
“Hold on!” Shining Armor stretched his foreleg in an attempt to calm the mares down. “He may not look like much, but Statice can be quite problematic in combat. It’s not wise to underestimate him.”
“We’ll be alright, Shining Armor,” Rarity affirmed as she stroked her mane vainly and relaxed. “I am confident that Rainbow Dash can take out this ruffian if the situation demands it. We’ve been taking out lots of villains lately. I am sure that we can capture a hoodlum if we put our minds into it.”
“Yeah!” Pinkie Pie chirped happily. “Do you remember how Twilight slammed him down? Wait! You were not there! You should have seen it Shining Armor! Statice had no shot against Twilight! The fight was over as soon as she got serious! It was like Bam and Wham all over the streets!”
“I can’t believe I missed that!” Spike groaned. Why was he always the one who’s never there to see the good stuff?
“Believe me, you’d be glad you missed it,” Fluttershy trembled as she remembered the beating that Twilight gave Statice on their first fight. She didn’t dare to imagine what was going to happen to the green stallion on their rematch.
“We’re wasting time!” Twilight stomped her hoof on the floor in frustration. “We’re moving out right now!”
Having spoken her mind, Twilight spread her wings and flew out of the window. Fluttershy gulped before she followed the purple alicorn behind. The rest of the girls and Spike left through the door. Only Shining Armor and Cadence remained in the room. The white unicorn brought a hoof to his forehead and sighed at how things went out of control with the news.
“Are you okay, dear?” Cadence asked in a concerned tone. She put a hoof on his shoulder and gave him a tender look.
“No,” Shining Armor admitted. No matter how much he wanted to hide something from his wife, that look from her eyes was always going to make him spill out his secrets and insecurities to her. “I messed up, Cadence. I let him escape. I had him on my office and I let him escape!”
A kiss on his cheek brought his rant to an end. “You did the best you could, Shining Armor. You can’t beat yourself up just because things did not go the way you wanted them to be.”
“I know,” Shining Armor lowered his head in resignation. “I guess I should let Twily and the girls deal with this problem.”
“Or we can solve your problem together,” Cadence lifted Shining’s chin with her hoof and gave him a mischievous look. “You didn’t think I was going to shy away from adventure when my husband is in trouble, right?”
A smile curved across Shining’s face. “I love you.”
Cadence bopped her nose against his. “I know.”
With renewed vigor, the couple left the room and began the hunt for the green stallion. Shining Armor was more than ready this time. He always fought better with Cadence by his side. This time, he was going to beat Statice. He was going to capture him no matter what.
“Darn it!” Statice swore as he was met with another loose end. His Echo Spell was detecting everything below Canterlot but he still couldn’t find the catacombs. He had to add more magic to get more depth on his readings. So far, he had made little problem with his search. With his current progress, he was sure to exhaust his magic reserves again. He would have to use Hammerspace to get another one of his enchanted gems to recharge his magic if that were to happen.
“This is getting me nowhere,” Statice muttered to himself. “Maybe I should try to see if the catacombs are at the borders of the city. Perhaps I can find a hole there if my calculations are correct.”
As he sneaked across Canterlot, Statice couldn’t help but notice how different it was than the previous day. The nobles were absent. There was no living soul walking on the streets. It felt as if Statice was in a ghost town. Although the green stallion would have been happy for having no ponies acting as obstacles on his escape attempt, he knew from experience that lack of citizens in a place was always a bad signal.
“It’s a trap,” Statice slapped a hoof on his forehead. “The absence of citizens means that there are not going to be any casualties when a trap is set on the city. The worst part is that no matter where I go I’m going to fall anyway.”
Now he was making a monologue. That was also a bad sign.
“Might as well go,” Statice sighed as he walked to the streets. The walk was awkward despite the perfect climate. It was a sunny day with no clouds and no chance of rain. It was the most appropriate setting for a walk on the park. Only the impending sense of doom was preventing his mood from lightening.
As he walked on the streets, he checked on everything around him. It was a reflex taught to him to make sure he was not being followed or to ensure that he could gather information on any location that he visited. The skill paid off when he got in front of a paper with his name and picture. He levitated the offending paper and read its contents. His mouth curled into a small frown when he noticed that the picture was taken right after he was knocked unconscious the previous day. He looked more like a hobo than a criminal, which certainly didn’t fit with the charges below the picture.
“Searched for assault against royalty and escape from the dungeons,” Statice read the paper out loud before dropping it to the ground. “That explains why there is nopony here.”
Let it to nobles to run away and hide as soon as they find out that there is a criminal on the loose. Well that works better for me. If they were hiding out of cowardice then that means there is a reduced chance to find a trap waiting for me.
Statice smirked now that the odds were slightly on his favor. He just had to sneak on the borders of Canterlot and try to search for the catacombs there. The green unicorn galloped past the streets in a hurry, trying to exploit his advantage before it was taken away from him.
A rainbow blur was all that he saw as he felt something hit his chest and send him flying into the air. He landed painfully to the ground on his back with a hoof clutching his chest. He removed his foreleg to reveal two hoof prints in the afflicted area. The green unicorn winced as he reflexively used his Healing Spell to remove the bruises out of him. He groaned as he stood up and faced his attacker.
“Heard that you escaped from the dungeon,” Rainbow Dash smiled threateningly as she lowered her raised hind legs back to the ground and turned around to face him. “I just wanted to come by and finish our fight from yesterday.”
Statice swore mentally. Of all the ponies that he had to face, why did he have to fight somepony like her? He was too magically exhausted to use any attack spells on Rainbow Dash. The worst part was that she was probably too fast for him to give him time to recharge on a fight. If anything, he would have to rely on his hoof-to-hoof abilities to have a chance against her.
He assumed a defensive stance while Rainbow Dash did the same. The rainbow mare was fast, too fast for him to dodge if he gave her the time to attack. He was going to throw the first blow.
Statice charged at Rainbow Dash, who crouched and delivered a jumping uppercut when he got close to her. The green unicorn barely dodged the attack, with the hoof grazing his chin. Rainbow Dash followed her attack with a diving kick that he barely avoided. The prismatic mare flew in biped position and started doing boxing gestures with her front hooves.
“What’s the matter, Statice?” she teased as she continued throwing punches in the air. “Are you scared of me?”
“Yes,” Statice admitted in annoyance. It was humiliating but he was not going to act tough only to get beat up easily. That was way more demeaning than admitting his fear for his adversaries.
“You should be!” Rainbow Dash gave him a predator grin.
She charged right at him and attacked with two jabs of her front hooves. He backpedaled away from her.
She delivered a front kick at his face. The tip of her rear hoof hit the stallion’s nose, causing him to yelp in pain. He stood up on his hind legs to rub his nose with his front hooves.
Rainbow Dash grinned triumphantly as she turned around to deliver a spinning side kick to Statice’s gut. The unicorn’s air was forced out of him as he felt her hoof hit his stomach. He was once again sent into the air and landing on his back, this time clutching his sore belly.
“How’s that, Statice?” Rainbow Dash teased him in a celebratory tone.
“That smarted,” Statice groaned as he stood up. As much as the kick hurt, he had dealt with worse pains throughout his whole life. He assumed his fighting stance again and waited for Rainbow Dash to attack.
The cyan mare flew at him and spun vertically in an attempt to deliver an ax kick at his head. Statice stood up on his hind legs and crossed his forelegs above his head to block the strike. It was a powerful blow that sent a hard pressure all over his body, but he still managed to stop it. Taking the chance, Statice wrapped his hooves around Rainbow Dash’s leg and used it to slam her on the floor. This time, it was Rainbow Dash’s air that came out of her as the slamming bounced her body. Not wasting the opportunity, Statice stood biped style and spread his hind legs to the sides so that he could deliver a straight punch with one hoof. The blow caught Rainbow Dash in the stomach and sent her several feet away from her opponent. She bounced across the street a couple of times before she stopped and stood up to glare at her opponent.
“It’s not that awesome when it’s you getting beat up, right?” Statice teased as he returned to his quadruped stance.
“You’re the one who’s getting beaten!” Rainbow Dash snarled. All that she saw was shades of red as the target of her ire was mocking her. She was going to punch that arrogant tone right out of his mouth. Putting all of her strength on her wings, the pegasus flew at the unicorn as fast as she could.
“I won’t be beaten that easily!” Statice reared on his hind legs as he stood up and prepared to hit her with a lariat. At the speed at which she was flying, getting a foreleg wrapped around her neck was going to knock her out.
Time slowed down between the two warriors as the distance between them was growing smaller the closer they got to each other. Meters were being crossed in seconds. It was a clash that was bound to happen between them. Whoever managed to deliver the blow first was destined to be the victor.
The attention between Statice and Rainbow Dash was cut short at the sudden outburst. They simultaneously turned their heads to the side to see Pinkie Pie running towards them from afar.
“WE’RE COMING TO HELP YOU, RAINBOW DASH!” Pinkie Pie declared as she continued running. “JUST HOLD ON!”
Rainbow Dash was about to say something but stopped when she felt her body hit something. At the speed at which she was flying, her body was a projectile that was unable to stop until it completely decelerated. All that Pinkie Pie saw was a rainbow trail that ended with a crashing sound and a large burrow trail that led to a dust cloud.
“I’m coming for you, Dashie!” Pinkie gasped at the possibility of her friend and prank partner getting hurt. Taking out her party cannon and pointing it at the dust cloud, Pinkie Pie shot herself into Rainbow Dash’s new location. As she flew by the air, she noticed two familiar shapes flying next to her.
“Hi, Twilight! Hi, Fluttershy!” she waves at both of them. “How are you two doing?”
“We saw a dust cloud and we assumed that Statice and Rainbow Dash had something to do with it!” Twilight explained as a matter of fact.
“Rarity and Applejack are on their way,” Fluttershy added as she pointed at the ground.
Pinkie Pie lowered her head and noticed the fashionista and the apple farmer going in the same direction as her. She gave Twilight and Fluttershy a grin followed by a group hug. Both mares gasped at the strength of Pinkie’s grip as they fell to the ground because of their combined weight. Luckily for them, they succeeded in breaking the hug to grab Pinkie by a foreleg each and fly before they landed. Much to their relief, they were now within speaking distance of Applejack and Rarity.
“We found the vermin!” Applejack declared.
“Just follow the messy dust cloud in front of you!” Rarity instructed with a disgusted tone but still keeping a determined expression on her face.
“We already figured that out,” Twilight smiled at her friends as they finally arrived to their destination.
The dust cloud was big and there was no way to see what was inside of it. There were no hitting sounds that indicated struggles and there were no limbs popping out that could show who was fighting. The only thing that was certain was that Rainbow Dash and Statice were there and that there was no way to know what was happening there.
“We gotta help Rainbow Dash,” Applejack took a step forward but was covered in a magenta aura that stopped her.
“We can’t just barge in like that, Applejack,” Twilight instructed her sternly. “We may end up becoming a liability to Rainbow Dash in these conditions. We have to wait until the dust settles before we can provide any assistance.”
“I hope Rainbow Dash is okay,” Fluttershy turned her head away. The thought of her oldest friend in danger unnerved her to no end.
“Did I miss anything?” Spike asked as he suddenly ran into the group, carrying a camera with him.
“You didn’t miss anything yet, Spike,” Rarity smiled at the dragon kindly but frowned in confusion at the camera. “Can you explain why you brought a camera with you?”
“I’m sick and tired of always missing all the good stuff so I decided to bring a camera to take cool pictures,” Spike smiled as he prepared to take a picture, pointing it at the dust cloud. “And my first picture is gonna be the first thing that comes out of that dust cloud.”
“Ooh, send me copies when you’re done, Spike!” Pinkie Pie bounced happily close the dragon. “I want to remember every detail of this day!”
She had no chance of continuing her tirade as the dust dissipated. Spike turned around and placed a finger on the camera, ready to see some action. The dust dissipated and an outline was starting to show. Spike wasted no time in pressing the button to take the picture. The image that he got in front of him was so surprising that he didn’t even bother to check the picture.
Rainbow Dash was on top of Statice with his foreleg gently wrapped around her neck. Her eyes were closed, almost as if she were asleep. Underneath her, Statice had Rainbow’s hoof resting on his cheek and his eyes were just as closed as hers. The most unbelievable part of the image was that their lips were touching.
Rainbow Dash and Statice were kissing!
Spike’s jaw dropped as he watched the gesture in front of him. He was aware that ponies fell in love and kissed. He had seen Shining Armor and Cadence kiss a lot since they got married. He knew that eventually Twilight and his friends would get coltfriends and kiss with them when they got romantic. What he didn’t expect to see was Rainbow Dash being the first of his friends to kiss somepony else. The reactions that Spike saw behind him added additional surprise.
Twilight had a twitching eye, almost as if she was refusing to believe what her eyes were seeing. Fluttershy was covering herself with her mane, blushing profoundly and making whimpering noises. Rarity had fainted, using the last of her conscious control of magic to bring a fainting couch to her. Applejack turned her head away and covered her eyes with her hat with a hint of pink noticeable on her cheeks. Even Pinkie Pie, who took this kind of moments lightly, was too shocked to say anything. Her jaw was comically dropped into the floor.
Snapping out of his shock, Spike looked at the picture. Even now, what he saw coming out of the camera looked just as improbable at what he was seeing. He snapped out of his second shock and noticed that the girls were still unresponsive for what was happening around them. Deciding that there was not going to be another moment like this, Spike took a picture of his friends’ faces before he focused his camera again on Rainbow Dash and Statice.
Maybe the next picture of them will be worth something.
Sounds were coming out of the kissing ponies, snapping the rest of the girls out of their trances. They all watched as Rainbow Dash and Statice opened their eyes. They both blinked weakly and stared at each other for a few seconds. They were both drowsy and unaware of their situation. It took a few more seconds for them to fully awaken and realize what they were doing. Their eyes contracted and left them with pinprick pupils as they broke the kiss and displayed their disgust.
Statice gagged and wiped his mouth with one foreleg as he pushed Rainbow Dash away with the other one. Rainbow Dash’s reaction was more dynamic as she screamed hysterically into the sky. None of them noticed the flash of a camera as Spike took a photo of the moment.
“STAY AWAY FROM ME!” Rainbow Dash screeched in horror and anger. She took Statice’s forelegs on her own and flapped her wings to send them both into the air. She then kicked her hind legs into his stomach and spun midair, pushing the unicorn with all of her might.
Statice screamed in surprise as he was kicked off and knocked into the sky at a greater distance than before. The event snapped the girls out of their shock as they were now blinking. Rainbow Dash landed on the ground and rushed to them.
“That didn’t count!” she cried desperately. “It was an accident!”
“It’s okay, darling,” Rarity muttered, trying to sound supportive. “Nopony thinks that…”
“It was my first kiss!” Rainbow Dash got on her hind knees and started pounding the ground with a hoof. “It was my first kiss and I gave it to that jerk!”
Rarity winced. She knew how special a first kiss was. She felt sympathy for her friend losing the chance to spend such meaningful event with the stallion she loved. She started petting the hysterical mare in sympathy for what she lost.
“Ah don’t want to sound rude…” Applejack awkwardly spoke. “But we need to find Statice and catch him.”
Rainbow Dash groaned. “Aw, I was supposed to capture him! Instead of that I kicked him away from Canterlot. He’s escaped.”
“He may be unconscious,” Fluttershy suggested. “We can see where he landed and give him medical assistance.”
“Or maybe he fell out of Canterlot,” Spike suggested. “He may have fallen out of the mountain when Rainbow Dash kicked him.”
All of the girls, especially Rainbow Dash, gasped at the implication.
“Spike!” Twilight yelled at the dragon in an admonishing tone.
“I’m sorry,” Spike apologized immediately.
“We better start looking for him,” Twilight ordered sternly. “If he is still conscious then he’s probably thinking on his escape plan.”
“She stole my first kiss!” Statice angrily swore. Life had taken a lot from him since he was a foal. Now that he was starting over again, it dared to steal his first kiss?
“It was my first kiss!” Statice snarled. “It was supposed to be with my special somepony. Why did it have to be with the rainbow mare?”
He had been a criminal to get a life and, now that he got a life outside of being a criminal, he had already planned what he wanted. He wanted to get a home, make friends, get a marefriend, marry, and have a family. He had even planned for his first dates on which he was supposed to get his first kiss. Now he was going to miss that event because of a fighting accident.
He tasted his mouth. The flavor that he got was oatmeal and hay from breakfast. There was no magical aftertaste that was expected from kisses that he read in romance novels. There were no fireworks inside his head. All that he would remember was a tomboy mashing her lips on his by accident.
Ugh, all of those romance books and movies lied to me!
“Change the thought!” Statice slapped his cheeks with his hooves. “Change the thought! Think of something else!”
To his dismay, the new thought was the reminder that he was on the run. He didn’t have the privilege to sit and mope about his lost first kiss. He checked on his surroundings and noticed that he was at the borders of Canterlot. He went to a ledge and looked down, seeing a forest below the mountain on which it was sitting. He gulped at the large height, taking a few steps back to make a plan.
He could try to use the Echo Spell again but he was going to look out from the sides to make sure that the girls won’t catch up to him. On top of it all, his gut still hurt from Rainbow’s last kick. He was grateful that her kick was more to shove him away from her than to hurt him or he would have been in a lot more pain than in his current situation. It wasn’t anything serious, so it wasn’t necessary to waste magic on a Healing Spell, but it was still annoying, almost like an itch that would keep anypony scratching for minutes before it went away.
“I’ll start over fast,” Statice lit his horn with magic and started using his Echo Spell, making more mental maps inside his head every time the spell hit the ground. He was satisfied to feel the presence of a tunnel nearby, but he was going to need to continue the spell if he was to find the entrance.
The stallion walked around the edge of Canterlot repeating the spell on trial and error. He was getting closer with each try. All he needed to do was to persist until…
“I got you!” Statice shouted triumphantly as his Echo Spell revealed a hole that led inside the mountain and into the catacombs right below his hooves. If he started climbing down, there was a chance that he may reach the entrance in no time.
“Stop right there!”
Statice groaned, recognizing the familiar voice as he turned around and saw Shining Armor, scrapping a hoof against the floor and ready to fight. Next to him was Cadence, who looked at Statice sternly, but in a different way than her husband. Shining looked ready to pound him, but Cadence’s gaze was that of a mother who was losing patience with her child and was about to establish some discipline.
“I see that you’re going to enact round two on me,” Statice glared at the white unicorn. Of all the times that he had to come out, he had to do it right when he was going to do the last step of his escape.
“You’re not going to escape from me this time,” Shining Armor promised. “I have a plan for this occasion.”
“You’re gonna tag team with your wife, dude!” Statice glared at Shining. “That’s not a plan but an unfair advantage, especially when your wife is an alicorn. Don’t pretend that you’re some hero just because your wife is gonna make it easier for you.”
“Why you…” Shining advanced threateningly at Statice. He was not going to put up with his insults any longer. Only the outstretched hoof of his wife prevented him from attacking the green unicorn.
“Let me talk some sense into him,” Cadence turned around, changing her stern expression into a loving one.
“What?” Shining Armor and Statice asked in unison.
“Despite his actions, I can sense no evil in this pony,” Cadence looked at Statice sadly. “There is a chance that he is just a misguided little colt on the inside.”
“Excuse me, but I’m a grown stallion and standing right here!” Statice protested. As grateful as he felt for Cadence’s intentions, it was hard not to feel offended at the words that she used to describe him.
“Trust me,” Cadence looked at her husband, ignoring the negative response that she got from Statice.
“Fine,” Shining Armor sighed. “Go talk to him.”
The couple shared a brief kiss between them. Statice scowled at the display of affection. He didn’t have anything against married couples and their kisses. He only had disgust for this one because it reminded him that Shining Armor had a hot wife while he didn’t have a girl of his own. Seriously, why was life so unfair to him?
Breaking their kiss, Cadence turned around to give Statice that scolding mother glare that she had used previously on him. “You’re in a lot of trouble, young man.”
“Tell me something that I don’t know,” Statice replied, more out of reflex than conscious choice to be defiant. Despite his challenging response, he didn’t display the usual rebel spirit that usually came with his words. This mare was triggering some awkward feelings on him.
“Turn yourself in, and maybe I can convince my aunts to let you go,” Cadence spoke calmly and soothingly with a slight smile at the end. “I can give you sanctuary at the Crystal Empire and help you reintegrate, or in this case integrate, into the Equestrian society.”
Statice felt his jaw drop and so did Shining Armor. He just committed assault on royalty, resisted arrest, and escaped the dungeons! Despite all that, she was going to give him a second chance! It was unbelievable and too good to be truth. But…why did she sound so convincing? Why did he feel safe with her offer?
Those beautiful purple eyes of hers, they shone with caring and affection. They were offering a second chance. The most surprising aspect of them was that they were sincere. She really meant to keep her promise.
He shook his head. No. There was no way that anypony would feel sympathy for him. Only Discord knew about the true horrors of his past. It was impossible for Cadence to find out about the struggles that he surpassed on his darker days.
He looked in front and behind him. In front of him was the Princess of Love, willing to forget and forgive for a new start. Behind him was his jump to freedom. Both options could be the wrong ones. A step forward was going to get him arrested in an instant and a step back…well, he didn’t mean to think about it if he made a mistake on the way down.
He focused his eyes on Shining Armor, trying to see if he had a plan. The white unicorn glared at him threateningly and assumed a fighting position. His glare intensified when one of Statice’s eyes focused on Cadence. Rather than scowl back at him, Statice smiled as the Captain of the Royal Guard helped him out of his indecision.
“Sorry, but I’ll take my chances,” Statice bowed at the Princess of Love respectfully, his first and so far only act of genuine appreciation towards royalty before taking a step back into the empty air.
The married couple gasped as they saw Statice fall out of Canterlot. Wasting no time, Cadence leapt over the precipice and dived in to save him. Much to her surprise, Statice was flipped upside down with his head pointing toward the ground and his eyes looking at the wall. It was as if he were not afraid of dying!
“Hold on!” Cadence hollered as she flapped her wings faster. Her fall was accelerating with the movement of her wings. She was getting closer to the green stallion, her hooves nearly reaching his tail.
I just need to get a little closer to him!
The stallion flipped himself onto his back to look at Cadence. He seemed confident on himself as he beat his chest with one hoof and offered it to her. The pink alicorn grunted as she pushed herself close to him and attempted to grab his hoof.
Remember your lessons at flight camp. Grab his hoof, pull him close to you, and then hold his body in both of your forelegs.
She didn’t see the green light on his horn until it engulfed his body. She didn’t feel a thing as she passed through the light when it vanished. She was now floating in the air, suspended by the flapping of her wings. She was alone, and there was no trace of Statice falling to the ground.
“Statice!” Cadence called loudly. “Where are you? Are you here? Are you hurt? Answer me!”
Silence was the answer she got. The pink alicorn looked dejected. She sighed sadly before flying upwards to Canterlot. She had failed Shining Armor. She had failed Twilight. She had failed her aunts. Above all else, she had failed Statice. She only hoped that wherever he went, he could get the help that he needed.
As she flew on her way up, she didn’t notice a small fissure at the side of the mountain. Inside that fissure, there was a green light from the magic coming from a unicorn’s horn.
“That was close,” Statice panted. “I hate to teleport during a free fall! I’m never sure when it’s the right moment to use the spell.”
Excluding his palpitating heart, Statice felt okay. He had escaped them all for the time being. He was going to rest and replenish his energy. Once he was in better conditions, Statice could move on with his life…or his attempts to get a life.
He popped his head out of the entrance, seeing a speck of pink returning to Canterlot. He felt some shame at refusing Cadence’s offer and it got worse when he heard her call his name when she was searching for him. For a brief second, he felt the need to come out of his hole and shout that he was okay. It scared him that she was able to wake up such feelings inside of him.
Note to self, stay away from alicorns MORE than ever.
Shaking his head, Statice went into the cave, reaching the crystal catacombs. This was the place where Cadence was locked away when Queen Chrysalis abducted her and replaced her at the wedding. This was the same place where Twilight rescued the Princess of Love after she herself was abducted by the impersonator. He felt a little sick to use this sanctuary of war crimes as his base of operations. There were many harsh memories there and he was going to sleep at their place of origin.
“Good thing you don’t dream in hibernation,” Statice encouraged himself. He closed his eyes and lighted his horn in magic.
The Hibernation Spell was like his Healing Spell, but it was designed to replenish both health and magic by putting himself in deep sleep. Like its name implied, the spell put the caster out of commission for days and as such it was recommendable to use on a deserted place. The crystal catacombs were the perfect place on which to use the spell because there would be nopony there.
The green unicorn lied on his side and used the spell on himself. He felt his body being encased by his green magic. He lost sense of his body as darkness was the only thing that his eyes were seeing.
He didn’t know for how long he was going to be out. The spell depended on things such as the damage on his body or how nourished he was at the time of the casting. He could be out for days, weeks, or maybe a month or two. Whatever day on which he was bound to wake up, he was certain that things were going to be different when he opened his eyes.
He was seeing pitch black now. His body was numb. The only consolation was that when he opened his eyes things were going to be different.