"You idiots! What in the name of Cinch were you all trying to accomplish with that?!" In a darkened Science Lab, Starlight yelled at the Defectors that had aided her and Blueblood back at CHS. Her teeth were gritted and her hands were balled up into tight fists as she glared at each and every one of her accomplices.
"The destruction of the Rainbooms' wills to fight back against us!" Red Letter stomped his foot violently. "Those thumb-sucking toddlers have done us a great deal of trouble and inconvenience! It was only right that we punished them for interfering with our plans to rectify the damage that has befallen Crystal Prep!"
"Because of what you all did, the school is now under watch by the Canterlot PD, and they are already in league with the Changelings," Starlight looked out and saw the uniformed cops helping other students repel the Defectors. "I don't care if it was to exact revenge. This was not what we wanted, and has now made our job of bettering the school even harder!"
"I concur with Queen Starlight," Blueblood folded his arms. "This is a massive problem for not just CPA, but for all of the Defectors in this very academy. Our victory lies in the downfall of Chrysalis, and your actions have only served to boost her morale and give her a chance to bolster her defences!" he scolded. "The last thing we need is our enemy getting stronger and stronger with outside help! This is even more infuriating than magic being involved at the games, and it's all. Your. Faults!"
Red Letter stepped forward. "Starlight Glimmer, Blueblood. With all due respect, I would like to—"
"Forget it!" Starlight turned her back to the asian student. "You have disobeyed our wills, and for that, it's only fitting that proper punishments are due for your treasonous actions." She then looked at the lockets that they had all brought back, each one loaded with magic from Sunset Shimmer and her friends. "But since you did bring back the Magic of Friendship for analysis, I'm feeling a little... generous."
"For now, we will let you all off with warnings," Blueblood addressed each of his allies. "Break the rules again, and you will end up just like the students we hurt with our ways. Understand?"
"Yes, King Blueblood!" the team of teenagers all spoke as if they were being ordered by a drill sergeant.
"Anyway. Now that we've got what we need to secure our victory, we need some help in cracking the inner machinations of this so-called Magic of Friendship," Starlight said. "Red Letter, Night Glider, and Sugar Belle. You'll be with me and Blueblood on research duty," she watched the students she had called nodded. "The rest of you may leave."
As Red Letter, Sugar Belle, and Night Glider stepped forward, the rest of the Defectors immediately walked out the door.
"You know, it's kinda weird that we've got all these police watching the school now, but I'm on board with it if it stops the Defectors from trying to attack the students again." Indigo Zap said as she and Sunny Flare walked down a corridor with Canterlot PD officers guarding each and every corner.
"While it does take a lot of pressure off of the students, I can't help but feel that this could've been avoided." Sunny Flare gently scratched her chin. "From the way Sunset described it, they actually threatened Principal Celestia, Vice-Principal Luna, and Dean Cadence with their assault. If that's true then..."
"It'd paint a bad picture for Chrysalis, I agree, but if the Defectors own up to what they did, then it'd be them in the wrong, not her," Indigo said. "And knowing them and what Starlight drilled into their heads, they're gonna be spilling the beans faster than you can say expelled."
"I've even heard that some Defectors are breaking off and joining the Changelings." Sunny Flare looked at some of the uniformed students, who were drawing back for a punch, but stopped when they caught a glimpse of the officers in the hallway. "If this keeps up, the tables will be turned in Chrysalis's favour."
"You know they'll find a way around this, right?" Sugarcoat pulled out a book from her locker and shut it before turning to face Indigo and Sunny. "The Defectors are adaptable, and Starlight and Blueblood are probably already working out a way to avoid getting into trouble with the police and still have their allies bully the students."
"But why? What reason does Starlight have for declaring war against change?" Indigo raised an eyebrow.
"I'm still not sure, but we can safely assume that it has something to do with Twilight leaving Crystal Prep for Canterlot High," Sugarcoat said. "The three of us were inseparable until that day, and I feel that her sorrow has now whittled down into hate. Hate for everyone at CHS, and everyone who moved on when Cinch got fired."
"If she doesn't get over her grudge, then she's only hurting herself." Sunny Flare brushed her skirt with the backs of her hands. "Anger can cause you to do things that are almost impossible to take back. Cinch made her own concern into anger, and that drove her to cause that monster to attack both of our schools at the end of the Friendship Games. And now I'm concerned that Starlight is going to follow that exact same route, but lead her team to victory over us and the Rainbooms."
"But if she does, then what's the chance that she could actually defeat Sunset and her friends?" Indigo turned her head towards Sunny, almost bumping into one of the officers. "I'm no egghead, but I'm pretty sure that the magic only responds to good people, and makes monsters out of bad guys. Sunset used it, and she became an angel, so I know she's a good person deep down. But if Starlight uses it, then who knows what she could become?"
"Starlight's not stupid, Indigo." Sugarcoat opened a book and began to flip through the pages. "Principal Cinch unleashed the magic because she was running out of time at the Friendship Games and wanted victory by any means necessary. This is a civil war we're facing, and Starlight's probably biding her time to study how it really works. If anything, she's much smarter than Cinch was."
"Magic or no magic, she's still gonna lose." Indigo crossed her arms. "Sunset and her friends'll be able to handle her. They know how it really works already, and Starlight's probably just getting ready to dig. If we can find her, shut down her little operation, and see whether or not she's actually got it, then we'll have more time to try patch things up between the two factions."
"Let's just hope you're right, Indigo." Sunny swallowed and tugged at her collar. "For all we know, she could already have cracked the code..."
Starlight, Blueblood, Red Letter, Night Glider, and Sugar Belle were all wearing lab coats and safety visors as they worked in the lab alone. There was now a massive network of tubes, beakers, and other science equipment that now created a web around a stable ball of magic that had been safely extracted from the locket.
Every time the magic pulsated, light swirled across the infrastructure and touched the chemicals that had been laid out on one of the tables. Many different results came from every element that bathed in the pink light, but most of them evaporated instantaneously, with a few more becoming coated in yellow, blue, red, orange, purple, and pink auras.
Starlight and Blueblood were working mostly on a chalkboard, writing down the scientific algorithm for how the magic was functioning. With every new discovery that occured, the two Defectors smiled and extended the formula until the board was devoid of any more space to draw on.
"Interesting..." She said as she rewrote different parts of the equation. "The Magic of Friendship is nothing more than the distortion of electromagnetic particles in the air, giving the users the ability to rewrite the fabric of reality itself!" She put the chalk she was holding down and hopped over towards the ball at the centre of the web. "If these girls could tap into how it truly works, they'd have the building blocks of the universe in their hands! Time, space, matter— all controlled by Sunset Shimmer and her friends!"
"But how can something childish-sounding like the Magic of Friendship possibly have the power to re-shape the world?" Red Letter asked.
"Sunset Shimmer and her friends use it whenever there's a catastrophe. Ergo, the Fall Formal, Battle of the Bands, and Friendship Games that all happened at CHS over the past year." Starlight pulled out three newspapers that showed each of the events. "These were published in secret and were never released to the public for a number of reasons. Only a select few ever managed to make it out into the real world, and at auction they'd fetch a lot of money, but that's beside the point!"
"The point is that the Rainbooms are special teenage girls, capable of things that no Defector could ever pull off, even if they were the result of a flawed experiment to grow wings, bigger ears, and some extra hair." Blueblood stepped forward and cracked his knuckles. "Which makes it all the more fitting that we crush them with the very power that saved them and their weak and pathetic classmates!"
"Blueblood is right. This rebellion cannot succeed unless those Rainbooms are taken out of the equation permanently." Starlight pulled out a red marker and crossed out the faces of Sunset Shimmer and her friends. "As long as they continue to fight for the benefit of the Shadowbolts, then our perfect plan has a margin of error. And as such, our hard work at trying to save this school could very well have been for naught."
"When certain students build themselves up on principles that can ultimately fail or be turned against them, then they are not truly perfect." Red Letter stepped forward. "Only through following the natural order of life that is handed out to them can a person truly be flawless. Running after impossible dreams and not taking into account the reprocussions of each can cause your own self-destruction; something that Abacus Cinch learned the hard way back at the Games.
"But at the same time, there are some people who really can change the world for the better, and if the only way to achieve utopia is through violence – and in some cases, death – then it is something that we must accept, even though we fell a pang of regret afterwards." He looked down at his uniform and brushed some dust off. "These uniforms not only serve as a memoir of our former principal, but they showcase our hearts and souls all beating as a single unified force; one that when we all come together, cannot be defeated!"
"Together, we will overcome any and all adversity that threatens the peaceful nature of Crystal Prep, including the ones that come from other schools or other lines of work." Starlight held hands with Red Letter. "Our methods may make us seem like the villains, but deep down, we hurt others because we want to protect them; to save them from the harm that they, the Shadowbolts, and the Rainbooms are inflicting on themselves."
"Those meddlesome twelve girls are a cancer on the equality of students at Crystal Prep, and we Defectors are the vaccine." Blueblood also joined hands with his allies, tightening his grip as he spoke. "For everyone at Crystal Prep to remain happy, they must all be the same, and change must be destroyed in order for that unity and uniformity to stand proud!"
"Change took everything from me, and likewise, it will do the same to you unless we crush it with the Magic of Friendship!" Starlight shouted, her hair falling in front of her face. "Together, the Defectors will stand tall, and those children who soured this place's reputation shall feel the full weight of our hopes and dreams, crashing down on them like a tsunami washing a city off the map!"
"Glory to the Defectors!" Blueblood cried, throwing his hands in the air.
"Glory to the Defectors!" Everyone else in the room mimicked.
"Principal Chrysalis?" Indigo Zap walked into the office with her friends by her side. "We wanted to talk to you about something."
"Whatever it is, I'm afraid it will have to wait." Chrysalis shuffled some papers into an organized stack before she began to write her signature on the boxes in each. "Because of the Defectors' recent excursion to Canterlot High, I've had to sign extra paperwork to make sure that this school and all of the students are watched by the Canterlot PD."
"It's about that exactly." Sugarcoat readjusted her glasses once again and sighed. "Don't you think that it's overkill to rely on the police when the Changelings are already on the case?"
"The Defectors left Crystal Prep to attack students at Canterlot High, Sugarcoat." Shining Armour, dressed in his uniform laid a hand on her shoulder. "We're authorized to make sure that no-one leaves the school until it's out, and even then, each student is closely monitored until they get to their houses."
"It's a violation of their privacy, but after what Starlight and Blueblood pulled at CHS, we cannot tolerate any more of their rambunctious behaviour!" Chrysalis gnashed her teeth before shaking her head and recomposing herself. "I know that if this goes south, we'll lose most of our students, but the good men and women of Canterlot PD have promised me that if that happens, then we'll ensure that the Defectors take the full brunt of the consequences instead. And we'll simply have a mass recruitment drive if that happens to be the case."
"But they're not just causing pain out of the blue like they want to be made the villains!" Lemon Zest threw her arms out forward. "They're hurting students because they're changing. After Cinch left CPA, any student that wanted to do good deeds and be more friendly was attacked, and I have a feeling that the Defectors have a reason for doing it!"
"Really? And what is that reason, miss Zest?" Chrysalis crossed her arms and lowered her brows.
"Uhh..." Lemon's forehead began to sweat vigourously. "I don't know, but I do know it's got something to do with the fact that the students don't want to live in the past anymore."
"Wild speculation won't help in trying to settle this little dispute, girls." Chrysalis returned to her paperwork, putting the signed paper into a separate pile as she went onto a new sheet. "I do appreciate that you're trying to get to the bottom of the Defectors' hate yourselves, but you have no evidence to prove that they really are fighting because they want the school to remain how it was before the Friendship Games." She pulled out a small stack of post-it notes which she wrote down the Shadowbolts' story onto. "But, because you girls are the most well behaved, and highest scoring students in the school now, I'm saving your theory for future reference. Whether or not it's true remains to be seen."
"But it IS true!" Indigo Zap slammed her hands on the desk. "We'll even bring back a Defector who'll confess! That'll make you believe us!"
"As much as I appreciate your resolves, I must say that for your safety and that of the other students that you don't, and just get back to your classes." Chrysalis sharpened a pencil and placed it in a little aluminum pot with a few others. "Though everyone has their moment to be a hero, there is a time and a place after all. With the Defectors, you are nothing more than five girls standing against an entire army of students in uniform. You won't survive, even if you decide to keep fighting regardless."
"You don't know us, Chrysalis." Sour Sweet balled up her hands into fists. "If I didn't believe in a better way to stop the fighting, I'd pound each and every Defector I saw until they'd be the ones scared of me!"
"Even with your hatred for them, I agree with Chrysalis, Sour Sweet." Sugarcoat gently rubbed Sour's shoulders to quell her tension. "The most logical thing we can do now is rely on Sunset Shimmer and the Rainbooms to help us sort this mess out."
"Girls, allow me to tell you something." Chrysalis stood up and walked around the desk. "Sometimes, friends can't solve your problems. Sure, they can help you through the pain and discomfort, but they can't fix something that is beyond them," she said. "I once had a friend called Metamorphosis, and when we were little, we used to play together in the park every day. We would play hide-and-seek, tag, even ball games if we had the time.
"But one day, he left to work for some big company in Aneigheim, and I haven't seen him since." Chrysalis reached into one of the drawers on her desk and pulled out a picture of her with another black-skinned boy with dark blue hair. "Even though I've got a lot of problems at Crystal Prep with the Defectors, I can't just call him up and ask him to fix my problems for me. Instead, I soldier on with my Changelings and now the help of Shining Armour and his squad of officers."
"But that doesn't mean that you should give up hope either, girls," Shining Armour said. "Even if you think that the situation's hopeless, you'll always have yourselves, and your friends from Canterlot High to help you out."
"And if you think that there's even the slightest chance that you can stop the Defectors from fighting with us, then by all means, I say go for it." Black gave the Shadowbolts a thumbs-up.
"Thank you for your time, ladies and gentlemen. We'll be on our way now." Sunny Flare stood up from the chair and walked out of the room with the other Shadowbolts close behind.
"One more thing, girls," Chrysalis spoke up before they got out of the door. "There's no school tomorrow."
"Oh?" Sugarcoat's left eyebrow was raised. "Why not?"
"Yeah. Crystal Prep's never had to have a day off since it was opened." Indigo shrugged as her eyes darted to her friends and then back to Chrysalis. "What's up with that?"
"The school's gonna be in lockdown because there's been a number of cases involving these Defector punks in the past from what other students have told us." Shining Armour pulled out a baton and tightened his grip on it. "We'll have a forensic team on site to collect evidence and the Changelings are going to be giving us each and every report of previous violence in the school."
"That's an obvious lie." Sugarcoat's eyebrows lifted once again. "Your fingers were twitching until you pulled out that baton, and when you did, you began to tap your feet." She pulled out a book from her backpack and flipped through it to show him the proof. "See? Right here. Page fifty-eight of 'How to Find a Liar' by Shadow Spade herself. There's a number of signs, but you only showed two."
"Heh, there's no fooling you, is there?" Shining Armour chuckled. "But yeah, total honesty this time, the Defectors are all coming in tomorrow, but none of the other students will."
"What?!" The Shadowbolts all chorused.
"It's called Operation: Silence." Chrysalis pulled out a dossier showing all the details. "The boys from Canterlot PD were very generous to allow us to do this, as this is usually frowned upon by the law. But given what the Defectors have done in the past, they've classified the students in uniforms as rioters, and are allowing the use of force."
"The Defectors will meet with the Changelings and with the men and women of the police force, and when they attack us for being tricked, we'll be aided by a riot suppression team." Black stood up from his chair and threw a few punches that hit thin air. "Together, we'll silence the Defectors and demoralize them into even thinking of hurting another student!"
"It's a cruel way of doing things, but it is the law, and all rioters must be subdued and if needs be, hurt for their crimes." Shining hung his head. "We're not going to kill them by any means, but we are going to show them what happens when they mess with the school—and more importantly—the students."
"When one person does something bad, it's easy to handle. When two do something bad, it can be a challenge." Chrysalis stood next to Shining. "But when a whole group of people start to commit heinous acts, then it's clear that we must get the police to sort out the problem—even if it means having the majority of our students serve prison sentences for what they did and are about to do..."
"That's a bit drastic, isn't it?" Sunny Flare asked.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures, Sunny." Chrysalis walked over and gave Sunny a few pats on the back. "I know that you and your friends hate the idea, but it's the best we can do for the time being, and there's no better plans we can think of at the moment."
"Now you head off to your classes whilst we go through the final preparations for Operation: Silence." Shining Armour closed the door on the girls and locked it.
"We'd better tell the Rainbooms about this..." Sugarcoat walked down the stairs and pulled out her phone before punching in Sunset's phone numbers. If this doesn't get resolved quickly, then the Defectors might retaliate. And knowing them, they'll hit back harder than ever.
"I agree completely, Sugarcoat." Sunny Flare furrowed her pigtails as she clutched onto the rails for support as she followed the rest of the Shadowbolts down the stairs. "Things are going from bad to worse and unless we sort this out, our school could turn into an even worse mess..."