"Hmm... no, no, not there! Argh... try moving it to the left... no, a little bit more to the middle."
He slapped his face into a hand in frustration. "Can you groveling grubs do anything right?! My new Sub-Zero outpost MUST be completed on time and before Lightyear shows up! He's often quick on the draw to finding out my plans, y'know."
But even with that friendly reminder, the grubs continued to struggle lifting another piece of architecture. They've been at it for a few hours, and while they made solid progress with their work, they still had a way to go before they could officially finish Zurg's latest design.
Needless to say, Zurg's patience was slowly slipping.
He sighed in exasperation; why couldn't these worthless worms work any faster?!
As fast as...
"Evil Emperor Zurg, an unidentified flying object is invading your working space!"
At the mention of his name, he turned around to face the grub. The sniveling slug was rapidly coming in through the white blanket of snow, with arms flailing and alarm written across his face.
"A U.F.O.? Don't be ridiculous. Who would want to fly by here, into MY working space?" He motioned with a sweeping hand to indicate the sight before him. Grubs hustled with their various tasks, moving to and fro with maneuvering objects, wiring veins of technology into each other, and tightening up screws and bolts.
They were accompanied by purple-clad pieces of machinery that go around on three legs; they were known as Brain Pods. Anyone who looked through their clear glass tanks could see their yellow eyes and giant brains and know that they were sentient creatures. These creatures were also out and about, helping the grubs with their chores to ease the workload, but only when it came to configuring the technological side of Zurg's creations.
So far, the structure itself was standing. A large dome was the first thing that would be noticed, on account of a large Z branded on its clear surface. The structure underneath was a large square, with half of its walls and support systems were still missing from its maroon and purple exteriors. Machines were slowly brought in by large cranes operated by grubs.
The howling wind, which picked up from time to time, failed to cease anyone from working as much as some of them didn't want to go through the plan. But the weather was getting worse. Some of them even wondered if Zurg himself was aware of the weather conditions.
Nonetheless, the grub explained, "But my evil Lordship, a large blue thing with wings is flying into your territory!"
Zurg raised a brow. And quite unexpectedly, he lowered himself to meet eye levels with the tiny worker.
The grub immediately flinched in fear as he peeked out of his closed eyes to see Zurg fiercely glowering at him with bright red eyes.
The worker whimpered at that dangerous tone, but answered as bravely as he could, "A-about n-north of here, y-your Supremeness. I-It was too far away for me to see, b-but it came from the mountains."
He braced himself for whatever temper tantrum Zurg would throw.
But instead, the opposite happened.
Zurg stood straight up and tapped a claw to his green teeth. "Hmm... this is a peculiar strange of events." He gripped his fists as a thought occurred to him. "Well, whether it's a Star Command device or some uninvited TOURIST, we must keep them out! NO PEEPING TOMS ALLOWED!"
He yelled over the snow to anybody who wasn't doing anything useful, "Dispatch the Hornets!"
It was time for a little hunting game.
A frustrated sigh escaped Luna's lips.
There was STILL no sign of the Crystal Empire. She should have spotted it by now...
Feeling the need to rest her wings for a minute or two, Luna dived down to land on a snow-covered rock. She gently landed on all fours, shifting her weight from her feet back to her legs. She folded them underneath her form and tucked her wings in.
Although she wanted to keep going, she was glad she found a safe and small spot for her to take a break from flying until she felt like taking off again. Away from the weight off her wings and from the incoming storm.
Not that it took her mind off of her situation.
Staring forlornly at the silent space around her, her mind wandered aimlessly. She laid there in such a still manner, one could almost have mistaken her for an art sculpture.
Thoughts about her home plagued her...
She had to find a way back. Wherever she was, this was, in no doubt, a good lesson to learn:
Never experiment with dangerous magical portals.
The scene replayed itself over and over in her mind.
She unconsciously trailed a hoof into the snow to trail patterns into the snow as she tried to recollect every action she took to tame that portal before she ended up here.
But all she could remember was trying to shrink the vortex's size and thus reduce its power. Its power was greater than she ever predicted; it nearly cost her all her magical strength to take it down. And had it not been for that mysterious flash of light she would have been able to-...
A flash of light...
She paused in her tracing and sat up from her resting position. "Of course..."
Before she ended up here, she saw a strange flash of light and then... she didn't remember anything after that.
That light definitely had something to do with all of this. But what?
Any logical explanations that could have come to mind were interrupted. Interrupted by a foreign whir. No... a couple of whirs.
Her ears flickered; that wasn't a sound she wasn't familiar with."What in the world is that?"
She got onto her hooves and leaned forward to pick up the sounds. Luna couldn't see whomever... or whatever, was making that noise, but she was alert and ready to do battle if it came to it.
And she soon would.
Quick as lightning, she leapt out of the way and successfully dodged some strange green blasts! They hit her spot on the rock while she landed in the snow on all fours. Smoke rose in the air; that could have been her had she stayed.
Her senses serving her well, she looked upwards to find...
Tall, slim and yellow creatures, whose arms flowed grey and out into the air.
It didn't make them any more friendly.
Putting on her fighting face, her horn glowed a fierce light blue.
Whatever they were, she didn't want to hurt them, but if necessary...
"Welllll, wellll... what do we have here?... "
Luna saw a mysterious figure floating. Floating on some kind of purple hovering device, coming to float in front of the swarm of yellow things.
"It seems we have ourselves an ADORABLE pony. Complete with wings, a horn and cutesy-wutesy regal wear! I can't say I've ever seen one up close before. I guess fairy tale creatures like you really do exist. Although I can't tell what you are. An alicorn, perhaps? Or maybe a pegacorn? Ah well, semantics."
"So... what's the matter, little pony? Lost your way from your castle?"
Luna would only give a cold stare in response.
"Oooohohohoho, it seems I made the poor thing angry. Well... IT IS I WHO SHOULD BE ANGRY! YOU INVADED MY WORKING SPACE, YOU BOTHERSOME BEAST!"
His eyes may have glowed blood red, but that did little to scare Luna. Instead...
Just as before before the great abyss, she stared into the evil one's eyes and snorted out of defiance. Who was he to talk to HER like that?!
"Oh I see. We've got ourselves a stubborn horsey here. We'll see if we can't change that... HORNETS, DESTROY THAT PONY!"
The things called Hornets descended downwards, their arms out in front of them. They shot forth green blasts once more.
She leapt off to the side away from the blasts...
And that was when she made her first strike.
Her horn glowed and out from its tip, a burst of lightning blue energy shot forth and collided with the Hornets. The energy shoved them backwards in the air, so far off that they lost their sense of flying and landed downwards in the snow. Many of them laid on the earths' frozen crust, lifeless.
Luna could only assume that the purple being never witnessed anything like her power before by the way he uttered that lone word. But she didn't care. She needed to get out of there and fast.
She ran through the snow away from the swarm before flapping her wings and trying to get air to move beneath them.
One jump into the wind later, she was airborne.
"AFTER THAT ANIMAL!"
The Hornets obeyed their master's commands and took after her, with weapons blazing. She dove downwards and upwards, letting the wind carry her up, high enough away from these minions and their blasts. For a grand army, though, these fighters' aims were way off. They managed to hit snow and earth, but she was too fast for them.
They continued to shoot at her until...
"Oh for the love of-if you want something done right, do it yourself!"
That didn't sound good.
She peeked over her shoulder to see the purple figure place something large and clunky on his clawed hand, and she didn't like it.
After he fit it onto his hand like a literal glove, he aimed it at her and released a yellow-greenish fireball!
Withholding a gasp, she barely dodged his aim by about an inch. It almost hit her wing.
Oh, hayseed... he had accurate aim!
Now she'd have to fight back in her flight. Despite her ability to wield all-powerful spells, she was still only one pony and she didn't know how to deal with these Hornet things and their master, whoever or whatever he was. But she'd still try to slow them down at the very least.
And so, quickly maneuvering onto her back for a brief moment, she directed another blast of blue energy towards the attackers. The blast managed to bring down a few Hornets, but their leader was no fool. He ducked underneath the shot and tried to shoot at her again. Once again, she was successfully in dodging his hits. She tried to slow him down again by shooting her magic at him, but he was swift as she.
This shooting contest seemed to go on forever and ever.
Until... one of them was shot.
He hit her wing! That brute hit her wing!
Luna descended, down, down, down.
The pain in her wing was so great to bear, it was as if a dragon was burning her alive. Only this shot was worse than a dragon's breath of flame.
Luckily, with the snow to cushion her fall, the snow also acted as a lifesaver in cooling down her wing... for now.
She sat up, shook off loose snow and rapidly looked over her injury. A nasty rash of a burn scorched the tip of her feathered ligament and bent a few of her feathers.
She gently held her injury, only for it to spike up in pain.
Her wing was not only burned, it was also broken.
"Ha ha! Now I gotcha, you puny pony!"
She growled under her breath before mumbling, "Not if I have anything to say about it."
Luna stood up from her fallen position and faced the swarm again, horn and eyes glowing in fury.
She might not be able to fly, but she was not going to let them take her down.
In a last-ditch effort, she charged her magic up and unleashed a large energy ball, as big as a boulder and hurled it towards them all!
Needless to say, many of the Hornets fell and their leader was forced to pull back the rest of his army.
Now was her chance to get away!
She swerved and galloped, through thick and thin snow, as fast as she could go, with her broken wing carefully nestled away from further harm.
It was no longer the time for fight, but for flight...er, on hoof so to speak.
But just as she wasn't one to give in that easily, neither was the sniper behind and above her.
She gasped and panted in vain as she ran away, her heart beating in tune with her hoof steps.
"You think you're SO smart that you can get away that easily from the Evil Emperor Zurg, do you? Well, this time, you WON'T be getting away! I WILL take you down, little wench!
And not even Buzz Lightyear will be able to save you!"
"Not on my watch, Zurg!"
As she fled from the being called Zurg, she looked around for the owner of that heroic voice. It came out of nowhere, but it didn't.
Because coming over a hill, two new figures in white flew with large wings of their own. Strange wings at that!
Would she be safe?
The two men hopped off their ship ladder and into the snow.
"Alright, Ranger, let's go after Zurg."
Ty nodded and followed after Buzz.
The snowy veil covering the earth crunched underneath their boots.
The duo scanned the scenery.
"I think we'd better stick to the ground for now, Buzz. I don't like how the wind's acting up, and I don't want to have to struggle against it."
Buzz trailed a few feet away from their ship before he suggested, "Good idea. And while we're out here, let's put up our helmets in case Mother Nature makes a sneak attack on us."
The scorching wind brushed against the man's face like a steely blade, giving no reason for Ty to argue back. He activated his helmet and it encased his head to protect him against the elements.
Likewise, Buzz did the same.
Now that they were ready to brave the planet's wild landmarks, they trekked again.
They pushed through the force of the wind as they scouted around for any hints of the infamous criminal.
No Zurg or Hornets, just a lot of snow and ice.
The force of nature was determined to slow them down. Every step was like walking through thick mud. They didn't stop.
They walked one mile.
The sun slowly blazed over them as it moved inch by inch over their heads, lighting their path and making the white canvas shine before them.
But Ty was feeling low on his strength again in spite of the sun's warm and benevolent rays. Even as his will forced him to keep going, his body was nearing on empty.
He mentally berated himself. Not now... why did he HAVE to start feeling like sitting down and sleeping? In the middle of the frost?!
The grueling spell was working too strongly on him. He needed to do something to keep himself awake on the job. He looked up ahead to see Buzz pushing through with no signs of stopping.
He wasn't feeling particularly chatty, but at this point, he had to do anything to keep going and be focused on the job.
Buzz turned his head to give Ty a side glance. "You yell?"
Oh, what was he going to say? His mind blanked.
But there was no need to say anything. Buzz was on the ball.
"Hey... are you alright, Ranger? You look like you need to take a rest."
Although he was sorely tempted to say yes, he firmly pushed his own needs in favor of the mission's. "I'll be alright. What I was going to say was-Sweet Mother of Venus, what's that?!"
Buzz followed Ty's line of sight to see smoke rising over a small hill, not too far from them. That inspired him to spring into action.
"I don't know, but whatever it is, I think now's a good time for flying. Let's take to the sky!"
The energy kicked in again and Ty's exhaustion was gone. Following his friend's example, Ty pushed the red button situated on his suit chest plate to activate a pair of white airplane-like wings. They opened from his jet pack and after he jumped into the air after Buzz, he was airborne.
They soared over to the hill to come across the galaxy's most dreaded enemy.
And he was already firing away at some innocent creature with his ion blaster. The fiend!
"And not even Buzz Lightyear will be able to save you!"
Seemingly right on cue, Buzz retorted to Zurg's own threat.
"Not on my watch, Zurg!"
And the fireworks commenced.
Buzz and Ty dove into the battlefield.
She was safe for the moment.
Now was her chance to escape!
Luna ran and climbed up the hill and didn't look back. She huffed and puffed as adrenaline rushed through her veins. She neared the top of the hill.
Behind her, she could hear the sounds of fire and light and electricity and metal as the opponents clashed with each other.
It was safe to say that these two figures, whomever they were, had more experience in dealing with this Zurg than she did. She faced against many dangerous opponents before, but Zurg...
He was in a league all his own. He and the flyers in white.
What side they appointed themselves to was her guess. But she knew one thing: The two figures would be off fighting Zurg while she could make her getaway.
By the time she reached the top, she looked back.
And something in her felt a little off. As if...she yearned to go back into battle to assist them, now that she wasn't alone.
Perhaps she could at least give some ground support.
But... was it wise to intervene when the figures in white already had things under control?
The being called Zurg was already being forced back by the flyers with their own brands of weaponry. They slammed their forearms with their... extremities and from their arms, red beams of light were shot forth and into the Hornets. But they could win with one hit if they had her to help out. Oh in the name of Equestria, what could she do in a strange situation like this?
Luna looked back and forth between the two sides on the battlefield.
But a sudden and strong wind kicked up from behind, blazing against her wings. She shrieked a little at the pain that shot up when the wind touched her broken wing. She turned her attention to her ailment and held her wing with a hoof to try and soothe the pain away. But she immediately regretted it; the injury was still fresh and too fractured out of shape to try and heal on her own. She was going to need help.
And she especially needed it now.
"Oh isn't THIS my lucky day; I get to face off against the Pride of Star Command and the Reject of Star Command. Well, at least it'll make this villain day a little better!"
Both men growled and muttered under their respective breaths. Buzz about Zurg planning something and Ty being called a reject.
They'd show him!
The two Rangers dived and swooped in the air as they fought fire with fire.
Buzz led the way, leading the attack while Ty came in as the defense. But both of them made their way through the swarm of Hornets to their target.
Three Hornets tried to fire from underneath, but the two took them out with a hit or two. The pieces of the Hornets fell down. Down. Down.
"So Zurg, you WERE up to something here. Whatever your dastardly plan is, you won't get away with it!"
Buzz dodged off to the side as a Hornet tried to attack him with a green blast. Ty managed to take out the attacker, earning a quick 'thanks' from Buzz.
Zurg glared at his hated enemy. "Well, if it weren't for that little wench who was invading MY working space for my secret project, which I won't be telling you by the way, then yes, I WOULD have been up to something. But now, all of that is gone! Gone thanks to that putrid pony!"
Buzz and Ty quickly exchanged bewildered glances.
Their exchange didn't go amiss by Zurg. "Oh, you two are confused. Well, the pony's standing over there, in full view!"
The duo peeked over their shoulders, not wanting to fully take their eyes off Zurg, to see what the purple loon was pointing a claw at.
When they saw the creature the evil lord was indicating, the blue creature-er...pony... itself was busy tending to its wing. It was relatively tall in height, possessing blue fur, a pair of wings, and a horn nestled in its...unique mane. It also seemed to wear some kind of attire, some of which the duo weren't accustomed to seeing put on a pony. The attire seemed more fit for a kid's toy than an actual equine. The pony wasn't quite anything like the two had ever seen before, as shown by their curious expressions.
Ty was the first to notice that the creature's wing seemed to be hanging uselessly by its side. Withholding a gape, he immediately turned to his friend. "Buzz, that pony's wing is broken. It looks like it was burned by something."
Buzz whipped a hand to point accusingly at Zurg. "You're cruel, Zurg! Picking on that innocent pony when it didn't do anything to bother you!"
If all three fighters were paying any attention, they would have seen a quick indignant scowl sent to them by the equine.
"But it DID bother me, Lightyear. In more ways than one, mind you... so I'm gonna bother it back!"
He charged up his blaster.
Upon seeing what the emperor was planning, Buzz rapidly formulated a plan. He ordered in a quiet tone so that Zurg wouldn't hear him, "Ty, go back and protect that pony. I'll keep Zurg and the Hornets busy."
"Got it, Buzz."
Ty flew back to the hill to act as the pony's guardian while Buzz fired a quick red blast at Zurg's face.
"Hey, Zurg! You'll have to fight me if you wanna get to the pony!"
"We'll see about that! Try and stop this!"
Before Buzz could make any sudden movement, the evil emperor maneuvered upwards, charged his blaster again and shot off a large energy blast.
It was headed right for Ty and the pony!
"Ty! Look out!"
Ty flew downwards, his Ranger spirit fueling him up and keeping him determined to do the saving here.
He closed in on the creature and the hill. The poor thing... that creep must have severely damaged its wing. The pony was busy trying to tend to it, but it was a clear sight that the wing was going to need some medical help.
The agony on the creature's face didn't help the dire situation any further.
"Ty! Look out!"
The stakes grew.
He looked over his shoulder to see what his friend was talking about, but Zurg's giant blast answered that inquiry. And it was heading right towards him and the pony!
He held back a gasp and flew ahead to where the pony was to keep it out of harm's way.
The creature itself looked up to see Ty coming toward it, as well as the blast! The attack was coming in faster than the Ranger anticipated...as did Luna.
What was she to do with an attack coming in that fast? Luckily, Luna was just as fast when thinking of plans and did the first thing that came to mind.
Gathering her energy within her horn, she produced a large energy shield all around her space. The blue shield was effective; Zurg's blast hit the shield, but it couldn't overcome her own power. The blast was weak in power compared to her own. But that did not mean that she was left unaffected. For as soon as the blast's power faded away, Luna's shield faded away as well now that it succeeded in protecting her.
She was still standing, boldly glaring at the ruthless shooter.
She didn't even notice the flyer in white, named Ty, who was trying to aid her halt in mid-flight to take in the shocking display of power he just witnessed.
"There! You see, Lightyear?! That horrendous horse bothered me first! So I'm gonna make sure that it...and YOU two Rangers, are out of my WORKING SPACE PERMANENTLY!"
"Not today, Zurg!"
Buzz ascended upwards into the sky to shoot off a series of red attacks towards the emperor and Hornets again. The game of cat and mouse was on again, with the mighty mouse taking on the cat bully. Zurg opted to shoot a few rounds towards Buzz, but to his rising agitation, Buzz kept on avoiding his blasts and successfully dodging the Hornets and taking them out one by one.
Meanwhile, Ty slowly hovered down a few feet away in front of the pony to act as its bodyguard, and it was by this time that the pony noticed him for the first time.
She turned her attention to face Ty and her glare lifted as she saw him approach her slowly and cautiously. Was he afraid of her?
The Ranger himself blinked when the creature seemed...surprised at seeing him advancing so carefully. Was she scared of him?
Ty and Luna's eyes met.
They looked over each other for a few minutes, studying one another.
They studied over each other's physical features. Ty observed that the relatively shorter pony appeared feminine, having thin eyelashes and what appeared to be eye shadow situated over her teal eyes. Luna observed that the figure was taller than she and was obviously a male, given his voiced statement about her broken wing. He had no mane or tail. Her, oddly floating, mane and tail were dipped into a can of cobalt blue paint and decorated with stars.
He had an emblem of spiked wings branded on his chest. She had a mark of some sort on her flank and necklace, the mark in the shape of a bright white crescent moon.
This was a strange meeting.
Their eye contact was broken when a Hornet fell apart and fell down a few feet to where Ty was standing.
The robot's crash jarred him out of his observation and turned back to defend the little pony, with his laser at the ready. And ready he was.
Three Hornets noticed him standing in the snow and jetted down to blast away at him.
But three smoking piles of metal later, they met the same fate as their fallen comrade.
Luna glanced down at the three heaps all scattered across the land before looking up to meet Ty's face.
The Ranger himself caught onto the pony's glance. It was a mixture of various emotions: wonder, shock, curiosity, determination, uncertainty...
The same kind of emotions that he felt regarding her.
The look on Ty's face, in his own eyes, was enough to, for now at least, convince Luna that he was on her side.
But would it be enough to face the storm that lay ahead?
The same chilly wind that both parties felt returned. It burned against their bodies. But Luna, out of the two, took the blunt impact of the wind.
She gritted her teeth and shivered as the wind shrilled in her ears.
This didn't go amiss by Ty. "Hey... listen."
She managed to resist the wind's power as she gazed upwards into the creature who was going out of his own way to protect her.
And she saw a hint of a grimly determined but clearly concerned look as he peeked over his shoulder. "I don't know if you can understand me, but right now, you'd better beat it while you can. Zurg's a dangerous enemy and once he sets his eye on something, he won't stop. At all.
So run as fast as you can, AWAY from here and find a safe place to hide. We'll take care of this and then come back for you."
Ty took down five incoming Hornets, and once they fell, he snapped, "GO! RUN! You're in danger as long as you're here!"
The yellow army seemed to grow, even with Ty's friend, apparently named Lightyear, trying to take the rest of the robots and Zurg out.
Luna creased her eyebrows at that command. She understood why he ordered to run, but to leave him off like that?!
She struggled from within, unsure of what to do.
"I SAID GO! NOW!"
The stern desperation in his voice convinced Luna despite her hesitation. She took a few step backwards before turning right around and galloping off away from the battle. She ran and ran, further into the horizon as the sounds of battle grew silent and gradually faded into the background. They became echoes in the midst of the snowy landscape.
She couldn't look back. She didn't look back. Not when Ty told her to go and run.
Wait... those were the same words that Luna directed to Twilight and Spike before-
She was hit in the face with a thick blanket of ice, causing her to halt in her tracks.
It was so cold it almost felt her face was being torn off. She peeked one eye into the horizon...
Large and dark clouds filled the sky. The wind wailed as it carried the snow, blowing its cold contents all over the place. It swirled and blew and smashed against rocks and earth. The horizon ahead was a thick veil of white, burying the warm sun underneath the rigid change of weather.
It was the blizzard.