• Published 21st Jun 2013
  • 858 Views, 29 Comments

On Our Own - kwr2k13



The continuing adventures of Little Horn and her cousin, Harmony Trebleheart, as they meet other ponies and become closer as a family in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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Chapter Ten: Cutie Mark Crusader Rescue Brigade!

On Our Own

Ch. 10: Cutie Mark Crusaders Rescue Brigade!

Little Horn and her cousin Harmony were headed out to the cafe to pick up the food they would need for their guests and themselves in the late afternoon, just in time for dinner. The little tan filly was especially happy that there were ponies her age to interact with. New additions Crankshaft and the Honorable Mayor Mare were also able to provide some adult interaction - barely, in the case of a still-whimpering Mayor Mare - for Harmony, the only older pony in the group.

“I’m really glad we were able to make contact with all those ponies, Harmony. The Cutie Mark Crusaders are all united with Babs Seed, and we found the Mayor of Ponyville!” The young filly proudly said, skipping around her cousin happily.

“Mhmm,” Harmony nodded. “Only problem is… where are we going to put them all? There’s only so much room in the apartment, y’know. We barely have enough space in the bedroom for Duo, Babs, and the Crusaders, which leaves the Mayor sleeping on the couch in front of the heater. Unless Cranky’s willing to start making room in his place, we’re going to start having problems real quickly unless we find a bigger place to put everypony, as well as acquiring more stuff like extra pillows and blankets.”

Little Horn nodded in agreement. “I know we should help any pony in need, but we need to be selective. I feel bad about Midnight Blossom and Amethyst. They could use all the help we can give them.”

“We never really did arrange anything with Midnight, did we?” Harmony mused off-handedly. “I s’pose we should get back to her at some point.”

Little Horn nodded, “We should call her and see if she wants to come over. I think she would be happy to know some pony cares for her.”

*

Little Horn and her cousin picked up the food from the cafe. Ms. Robinson, the proprietor, got to see Little Horn again.

“Hi, Ms. Robinson! My cousin and I are here to place a large food and drink order. Some of my classmates showed up and they are hungry! Oh, and the Mayor of our hometown is here on a diplomatic mission of goodwill. Right, Harmony?” The little unicorn filly smiled as she mentioned Mayor of Ponyville.

After paying for the meals and drinks, the cousins took the food in their magical auras over to Crankshaft first. After accepting the food, Crankshaft went with the group to find the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Duo, Babs, and Mayor Mare.

The meals were distributed and the Mayor began to bite into her burger. Although a Garden Veggie Burger was offered by the Cutie Mark Crusaders, the Mayor opted to try the regular burger. Unfortunately, the beef patty in the burger did not set well with her stomach, as she discovered. The ex-politician held a hoof over her mouth, and her tan face quickly turned pale green. She rushed off in the direction of the bathroom, and then proceeded to throw up in the toilet. After a few moments, she came out of the bathroom, still feeling a bit queasy. She decided she was not feeling well, and searched for some medicine in the bathroom. After taking the medicine, she went to bed early to soothe her upset stomach.

The Crusaders went off to their bedroom, where Little Horn bought out some paper and pencils for a writing project.

“I try to write to my mother every night. I heard you want to write to your family members, so you girls, and young gentlecolt will be able to write a letter.” she looked over at Duo, hoofing each of her friends some paper and pencils, “I am not sure of the exact addresses where you used to live in Equestria, since I only arrived a couple days before Discord showed up, and did not get a chance to visit your apple farm, or that dress shop in Ponyville.” Little Horn pointed a hoof towards Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, referring to Sweet Apple Acres and Carousel Boutique, respectively.

Soon, it was time for bed, and the fillies and colt finished writing the letters. Apple Bloom’s letter was to her grandmother, Granny Smith, her big sister, Applejack, and her brother, Big MacIntosh about finding Babs Seed and Duo, then finding their lost classmate, Little Horn. Sweetie Belle wrote a letter to her elder sister, Rarity, telling her about helping the Crusaders reunite and clean up any messes at their hosts’ home.. Duo chose to compose his letter to his Aunt Luna. Scootaloo decided a letter to Rainbow Dash telling her about meeting Little Horn and finding Duo, as well as the Mayor of Ponyville would be really cool!

After collecting the letters and making sure they were written correctly, Little Horn placed the letters in their individual envelopes, marked with the recipients’ names on them. She hoped there would be a time where these sealed letters would be opened by the pony they were addressed to.

*

The next morning, the weather forecast said that it was going to be a warm, sunny day, so Duo and the Crusaders had decided to go outside after their morning baths and breakfasts and attempt getting their Cutie Marks selling lemonade. Much to their disappointment, Mayor Mare’s illness kept her from coming out to officially make any proclamations about the grand opening of the Cutie Mark Crusaders lemonade sale. It was about 10:00 AM in the morning, and the fillies and young colt got right to work on a crude-but-workable stand. Harmony had suggested the Crusaders start in the mid-morning to earn the most money from thirsty customers who would want to purchase lemonade.

The Crusaders finished the booth by the time the lemons, sugar, juicers, ice, and glasses from Harmony and Little Horn arrived. The Crusaders began to divide the tasks among themselves as to who would provide the lemonade to their first customers. It was decided that since Apple Bloom helped her family during Cider Season, she was in charge of pouring the lemonade into the glasses. Duo and Sweetie Belle took care of mixing the ingredients and collecting the money, respectively. Scootaloo’s job was to attract the customers, but with little to no success.

As soon as Little Horn had woken up, she went outside to check on the progress of the lemonade stand. Since the fillies and colt were just setting up for their first sales, they had no customers.

“Hey everypony!” she smiled cheerfully, “What are you doing today?”

Apple Bloom smiled and motioned Little Horn over. “Oh, howdy, Lil’ Horn! We’re tryin’ ta earn our Cutie Marks in sellin’ lemonade. Ya wanna help us? Ah mean, it can’t be that hard. Just like sellin’ apple cider, am Ah right?”

The unicorn filly nodded as she examined the stand, eyeing the C.MC. symbol on the sign in particular. “Sure! Harmony sent me out here to see what you girls and young colt are up too. Babs said she’d be out later after her bath. You sure did a good job fixing up this stand, Apple Bloom!”

Apple Bloom blushed a bit at the compliment, “Aw, shucks! Ah like ta fix up stuff all the time. Ah even helped fix up mah sister’s old clubhouse with Sweetie Belle an’ Scootaloo back in Ponyville!”

“Sweetie Belle, are you sure there’s a Cutie Mark for selling lemonade like this?” Duo raised an eyebrow while operating the juicer.

“Of course there is! Applejack sells apples and Carrot Top sells carrots, so why not?” Sweetie Belle figured, pouring a dose of sugar into the empty glass with her magic, nearly filling it up completely.

“Oops! Heh, a little too much!” She chuckled sheepishly, carefully pouring the excess to fill the other glasses to the correct amount.

Scootaloo was laying her head on the table with an exaggerated sigh. “Now if only we had any customers…”

The orange Pegasus had been trying her best to attract the attention of passers-by about the lemonade stand, but she only received several “No thank you’s” for her troubles.

“Come on Scootaloo, ya gotta be more positive about this,” Apple Bloom encouraged, “How are we gonna get any customers if everypony is doubting this idea?”

At that point, an unassuming man in a trendy tuxedo walked up to the stand. “Hey there! May I buy a glass?”

Apple Bloom’s eyes lit up as she gave a big toothy grin. “Sure ya can!”

She then filled up a glass and offered it to him, which he accepted.

“That’s twenty-five cents, sir.” Sweetie Belle said politely, gesturing to an empty cup which served as their makeshift till.

The man nodded his head and flicked several coins into the cup, before walking away with his drink. He had to admit that the drink didn’t really taste all that bad, considering it was mixed together by amateurs. A few yards up the road however, he then took his cellphone out of his pocket and punched a number, before holding it up to his ear and letting it ring.

“Yo...The talking pony you heard about in the shopping district? I found four more here… yeah they’re selling lemonade.” After he gave the address, he closed the cellphone and disappeared from sight.

Babs Seed approached the lemonade stand with some more lemons and ingredients, shortly after the man in the suit purchased the lemonade from the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and thus did not see him purchase a drink. Sadly, there were no lemonade selling Cutie Marks to be found on any of the fillies or colt’s flanks.

“Hey cuz, didja get any customers?” The brownish-orange Earth pony asked the others.

“Yeah, but only one so far.” Apple Bloom sighed in disappointment.

Babs Seed nodded with a smile, “Aw, it’s okay Apple Bloom! I brought ya some more lemons and sugar anyway, just in case. Maybe if ya put a sign about how much you charge for lemonade, and fliers, people or ponies will come buy your lemonade. Or, we can send one of us to pretend to be a customer and tell how good the lemonade is.”

“Thanks Babs! That would be very helpful!” Apple Bloom perked up slightly. She then smiled in a big toothy grin. “Go ask Crankshaft if we can use some of the wood he ain’t using anymore.”

“And maybe grab some snacks for us as well, please?” Duo asked, “I’m hungry.”

“You got it!” Babs saluted and headed back inside.

Shortly after Babs disappeared inside, a van marked with the words ‘Vancouver Animal Control’ marked on the side pulled up in front of the lemonade stand. Scootaloo looked up and smiled before turning to face the other Crusaders. “Hey, it seems word got around fast! Here are some more customers!”

Duo glanced warily between the logo on the van and the group of humans jumping out of the back with nets. He audibly swallowed, backing away in fear. “Uh, Scoots… I don’t think those are customers.”

Scootaloo looked at Duo with a raised eyebrow. “What do you mean? Why else would they be here?”

Her question was promptly answered when one of the humans approached her and swung the net down, prompting Apple Bloom to take action.

“Scootaloo, look out!” She ran and body slammed Scootaloo out of the way, only to be caught herself.

“What the Hay! Let go of me!” The feisty red maned filly yelled in frustration, attempting to bite down on the net holding her.

The human chuckled as he started walking to the van with a captured Apple Bloom in tow. “Pipe down, you freak!”

Scootaloo flared her wings and made a bold dash towards the person who captured her friend, screaming “Let her go!”

However, this attempt was in vain as she was quickly zapped with a stick taser and fell to the concrete sidewalk, unconscious. The orange pegasus never saw it coming.

“Scootalo- AARGH!” Sweetie Belle’s charge was stopped dead in her tracks by a taser gun as well. The animal control agents calmly picked up both fillies and placed them down next to a now-restrained and very angry Apple Bloom.

“Sweetie Belle! No!” Duo clenched his teeth into a snarl as he flared his magic. “Let them go!”


His horn lit up and shot a magic blast towards the group. The bolt however was made in haste, and was unfocused, possessing only enough punch to daze one of the agents for merely a few moments.

“What? My magic won’t work on the-” Before he could finish his sentence, a soft *fwip* and a *thup* were the only indications he had of a dart embedding itself into his neck. His vision went hazy as he wobbled from left to right, before eventually falling on the ground out cold.

*

Harmony’s ear twitched, as she sat on the couch reading a newspaper. She glanced across at Crankshaft, who was standing at the bench helping himself to her coffee machine, while Babs and Little Horn were grabbing snack bars from the pantry.

“... Did you hear something?” she murmured, glancing around warily. She peered over her shoulder and out the window to check on the Crusaders. Her gaze twisted into a horrified stare as she identified the van driving off. A secondary glance at the now-vacant lemonade stand confirmed her fears.

Crap! Crankshaft!” She screamed out of the window, helplessly watching as the vehicle turned a bend and disappeared. “Crankshaft, truck! Now!”

“Huh- ow!” the stallion yelped in response, having accidentally moved his hoof into the scalding espresso coming out of the machine. “Harmony, what- ”

Truck! NOW!” Harmony bellowed, the usual decorum fleeing before her desperation. “Animal Control- Animal Control!”

Crankshaft cursed. “On it!” he barked as he zipped back into his room for the keys. “We’ll need every adult against those people! Get Mayor Mare!”

Babs’ eyes widened at the implication. “Wait, what about us?!

Little Horn worriedly glanced about between Babs and her cousin. Something serious had the latter spooked.

“Harmony, what’s going on?” She looked over at the empty lemonade stand. “Where are the Cutie Mark Crusaders?”

Harmony was in no mood for interruption as she swiped up her sunglasses and began dashing around into each room, searching in vain for the ex-politician.

“Mayor! Mayor Mare! Where are you!?” she yelled with increasing anger as each room failed to yield the result she desired. “Mayor, get your flank here right now!”

Little Horn finally grasped the implications of Harmony’s orders. “But Harmony, what about-

“Girls!” the adult unicorn rushed back into view, her eyes dilated with fear and her chest heaving with terror and emotion. “The Mayor! Where is she?”

Babs looked at Little Horn. Little Horn looked at Babs. “Only if you tell us- ” they began.

Where is she?!” she screamed, not in the mood for negotiations. Mayor Mare was going to get a very large piece of Harmony’s mind.

Ahh!” Even Babs Seed slunk back in fear. “I… I think… s-she was walking out the door, and holding her stomach like she was in pain and- ”

“Great,” Harmony muttered. She knew the neighborhood well enough to know where the Mayor would most likely be. “You two stay here and don’t- ”

“But Harmony, what if the bad people come back and get us here?” Babs responded, cutting her off.

The little filly had a point. “... Alright, get in Crankshaft’s van, but don’t move. I’ll be back in a sec’.”

*

Public toilets were dark, damp, mouldy and above all, smelly. Had it been up to Harmony, she wouldn’t have touched the place with a sixty-foot barge pole.

But it was at least better than relieving yourself in the middle of the front yard, right?

“Mayor! Mayor!” the unicorn shouted as she galloped in through the door, stopping in front of the only closed cubicle. “Get out here at once! Animal Control has- ”

“Urgh… my stomach!” Mayor Mare’s voice groaned in agony from within the cubicle. “I’ve been out all morning, Harmony!”

The unicorn wasn’t too sympathetic. “Animal Control has taken the fillies, Mayor! We need to go to their offices, ASAP!”

“Urgh!” Mayor Mare moaned. “It’s too - I can’t go, H-Harmony… it’s just too- ”

“Mayor Mare!” Harmony was insistent, anger once again rearing its ugly head. “You are leaving with us, now!”

The ex-politician was still unwavering. “But- ”

“Now!”

But-

“‘But’ what?! God, you are a total stuck-up pony, aren’t you!” Harmony growled. “Fillies are being taken by Animal Control, and your only response is to say ‘I don’t care’?!

A short silence. “I didn’t say that I didn’t care- ”

“Then get. Out. Now!” Harmony yelled as her horn ignited with blazing energy. The door’s lock groaned as metal twisted and buckled, before failing altogether and tearing clean off, eliciting a frightened shriek from the shocked occupant as the door slammed open.

Mayor Mare was in bad shape - her face was flushing red, hives had broken out all over her body, and she gave off the faint aroma of sweat and sick.

At least she wasn’t lying, Harmony blinked incredulously as she stepped back.

Mayor Mare narrowed her eyes at this flagrant breach of privacy. “There!” she screeched. “Are you happy now? Look at me - how am I supposed to go out like this?!

Deep breaths, Harmony; deep breaths. “Nopony is going to tease you, Mayor-”

“Oh, God. ‘Nopony’, is it?” the gray-maned pony’s frustrations were fast bubbling over. “Am I going to have to change my entire way of speaking around you guys as well? Haven’t I suffered enough already?!

For a moment Harmony could only blink dumbly at this sudden outburst. Sure, she had always known that Mayor Mare was a bit reluctant about this whole affair, but she had always assumed that it was more of a depression, as opposed to a raging resentment.

Whatever. This was not the time for philosophy. “Mayor, please! We can talk this over later once- ”

“Go away!” the tan pony snapped, tears brimming in her eyes. “You wouldn’t understand…”

The anger that Harmony had temporarily suppressed was resurfacing again, faster and stronger. “Mayor,” she warned. “There are fillies-

“I said go away!” Mayor Mare exclaimed.

That’s it. Harmony’s Magic went to work, wrapping the mare’s forelegs in a bright blue aura and roughly dragging her out of the toilet stall. “It wasn’t a question, Mayor. We. Are. LEAVING!”

“Argh!” Mayor Mare snarled, digging her hooves into the ground and resisting the Magic’s tug. “No! Get away from me!”

The unicorn, mind steeled by the adrenalin coursing her veins, could care less about the impotent struggles of her resisting associate. Yank by determined yank, she dragged Mayor Mare across to the washbasins, using her free hooves to turn on the taps to full-volume.

“You wouldn’t have been in this position if you hadn’t ordered a human burger, you idiot!” Harmony scolded the Mayor. “I knew you were going to be allergic to meat!”

The ex-politician cursed back. “I’m not a pony!” she sputtered as Harmony scooped up sink fulls of water and drenched her mane and body. “I don’t want to be a pony! I’m human, darn it-!”

“Argh!” Harmony, above all else, wanted to end this stupid game as soon as possible. She shunted Mayor Mare roughly against the counter and grasped a hoof-full of her hair, jerking it upwards so the mare was eye-level with the mirror behind the sink, gazing upon her own tan, gray-maned, pony visage.

Harmony swore she saw Mayor Mare’s eyes dilate terribly at the horrific sight. Her limbs went limp, her voice ran dry, mouth hanging open in awful terror. The Mayor must have been studiously avoiding mirrors for the past several weeks or so. In any other situation, her determination would have been admirable.

Harmony began talking slowly, making sure Mayor Mare took in every word. “Personally, I don’t care what you think you should be - and frankly, Equestria’s probably not the place for you. But you are a pony now, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.”

No response from the politician, save a rogue shudder and silvery tears rolling down her cheeks.

Bullshit, I wouldn’t understand! Nobody here asked to become a pony, sister!” Harmony continued. “Everything that is happening to you is happening to us as well! Nobody here thinks turning into a pony is all sunshine and pretty flowers!”

Mayor Mare hiccuped, disgorging another torrent of tears.

Harmony sighed. “But we live with what life throws our way, and we try and keep things going. But most of all, we try and stay true to ourselves.

Mayor Mare could only sigh and close her watering eyes, clearly absorbing every word.

“A month ago, you were Ms. Meyer, transport co-ordinator for Vancouver International,” Harmony stated, loosening her grip on the Mayor’s mane. “Now, you are Mayor Mare, mayor of the great town of Ponyville. Both are important jobs. Both involve the safety and welfare of many thousand beings.”

The tan mare twitched, eyes still firmly shut. “I… I… guess… ” she mumbled.

Harmony leaned in. “We have a situation, Mayor. A few kids are right now being held unjustly by people who should have known better. They are scared out of their minds, not knowing what to do, nor knowing what their crime was. Kids that were our responsibility to look after!”

Mayor Mare gulped unsteadily as another torrent of tears cascaded down her face.

“So what are you going to do, Mayor? What would Ms. Meyer do?

The gray-maned pony shivered and gave out a nervous sigh.

Harmony withdrew, confident that the Mayor had made her answer known. “Crankshaft is waiting in the van, Mayor. We need to get moving, fast.”

Mayor Mare nodded slowly, reddened eyes re-opening. Harmony helped the pony back on her hooves, giving her a few more splashes of water for good measure. “This way,” the unicorn gestured gently as she left the pungent room, a quiet earth pony following close behind.

*

Duo slowly woke up, and the first thing he saw was a cage that he was apparently locked inside. His head hurt too much to do any magic, no surprise since the last few times he tried the shock collar would go off on him and the other fillies. “Girls…” He said in a loud whisper.

Sweetie Belle slowly woke up and looked at Duo with fear in her eyes. “Are we going to prison?”

“Why the hay would they do that to us? Ah don’t remember it being illegal to sell lemonade.” Apple Bloom replied with a huff.

“Well it doesn’t matter now, does it? We’re going to a place where nopony will find us… Unless Duo wants to try and get us out of here.” Scootaloo sighed as she stayed laying sideways on the floor, before glaring at him. “Oh, wait. That will only give us more shock therapy!”

“Hey, I didn’t know, okay? Give me a break.” Duo snapped defensively.

“Scootaloo, don’t be so hard on him; at least he tried to help.” Sweetie Belle pleaded.

The van suddenly came to a stop as the back doors opened. A few people grabbed the respective cages they were in and took them inside the Animal Control building, where a bunch of barks, tweets, meows, and hissings can be heard from the various animals. “Dear Princess Luna… please save us.” Duo said in a defeated tone.

*

“Follow that van!” Harmony barked, as she hopped up in the passenger-side seat, while Mayor morosely joined Babs and Little Horn in the back.

“They have a fifteen minute head-start at least. There’s no way we’ll be able to catch them now,” Crankshaft muttered, “Where do you think they would take them?”

“The Animal Control Shelter on Raymur Avenue,” Harmony muttered, buckling up her seat belt. “That’s the only logical place I can think of off the top of my head.”

“Okay, where’s that?” Crankshaft frowned, “I don’t know this city like you do.”

“You turn right off of Main Street onto Union Street, and then another right onto Jackson Street,” she explained briskly, “You follow that through to Malkin Avenue, and Raymur is the third street on the left. The Shelter is on the first block on the right. You can’t miss it.”

He nodded and shifted the van into gear, flooring the accelerator.

“What are we going to do when we get to the Animal Control Shelter, Harmony?” Little Horn spoke up, “We cannot simply walk in and demand the release of four ponies they recently captured.”

Harmony narrowed her eyes with a snort, her horn flickering with static energy as her glasses glinted in the sunlight. “Watch me.”

“That’s suicide, you know that, right?” Crankshaft murmured worriedly, “I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Have you got a better one?” the irate mare snapped, “The greatest asset that you and I possess is our magic, right? I’m no ‘secret-agent-ninja’, so there really is no point in attempting subtlety here.”

“So… what’s the plan?” the Mayor asked.

“The plan in a nutshell is that we walk in, convince them to release Duo and the girls, and run,” Harmony explained, “Crankshaft, I need you to remain in here in the van, so that we can drive off literally as soon as we’re out. Watch over Babs and L-H, and discourage the curious who get too close. Mayor, you’re with me.”

“W-What?! I can’t go in there!” Mayor shrieked, “You’re walking into a death trap in there!”

“Maybe,” Harmony admitted, “But Duo and the Crusaders are worth it, and I’m not going to sit around idle while there’s still time to save them! So I’m going in with or without you.”

Little Horn went over to hug her cousin and give her some encouragement. “Good luck, Harmony! I believe in you!” She nuzzled Harmony warmly. Bring Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Duo home!”

Harmony smiled softly as Crankshaft parked the van out the front of the building, which was marked by a blue sign with white writing.

Vancouver Animal Control Shelter.

“Crankshaft, where do you keep the spare oil rags and stuff like that?” Harmony glanced around.

“In there,” Crankshaft gestured to a metal tool box behind her seat. “Why?”

Her horn lit up as her magic went to work, opening the box and retrieving eight rags, four of which she tied around her hooves with several lengths of string.

“Now hopefully, when I walk around, my hooves won’t make that annoying ‘clip-clop’ sound against the floor anymore. That should make sneaking around a bit easier,” she explained. She exhaled as she offered Mayor the extra rags and dismounted the van, “You comin’ Mayor? Eight hooves are better than four, y’know.”

Mayor stared warily at the large sign through the window, as if it were a sign that spelled the impending apocalypse.

“I…” she swallowed the lump in her throat, before hesitantly accepting the rags and stepping out, “I really hope you know what you’re doing…”

Harmony took a deep breath, steeling herself up as she adjusted the sunglasses on her muzzle. ‘For the foals. No turning back now.

Step by step, the two mares slowly paced towards the front doors.

“S-So, how do you plan to… convince them to release the children back to us?” Mayor asked tentatively.

“I’m only going to ask them nicely once,” Harmony replied matter-of-factly, “And when words fail, we will just have to be quick on our feet and make it up from there.”

“W-What do you mean ‘when’?! H-Harmony, these people are with the local Council!” Mayor hissed in terror, “Are you insane? Walking right into their lair isn’t going to end well for us!”

“This isn’t about ‘us’!” Harmony retorted, gritting her teeth, “This is about the safety of the foals! They’re just children! They don’t deserve to be locked up like common animals!”

“This is madness! I can’t believe you roped me into this!” Mayor grunted as they approached the door. “There must be some other way!”

Harmony opened her mouth to say something, before thinking better of it and opening the door with her magic.

The interior of the building was fairly simple in layout, with the front desk dominating the room directly in front of them.

The clerk at the desk blinked incredulously as Harmony marched straight towards her.

“Hi,” the unicorn forced a polite smile, “I’d like to file a report for a missing pet or four if you don’t mind.”

The clerk rubbed her eyes and pinched herself, unsure of the sight before her.

“Yes, I’m real,” Harmony grinned, “Your girlhood dream of meeting a magical unicorn has just come true. Now, this magical unicorn is under the assumption that your ground-team has brought in a quartet of rather… strange quadruped creatures within the last… oh, I dunno, ten minutes or so? Would that be correct?”

The clerk hastily regained her composure and quickly scanned through the records of all the animals they had brought in off the streets and registered to the system, ranging from dogs, to cats, to even the odd pet bunny. Four files however were marked with exclamation marks, and when the clerk tried to access them, a large warning popped up on her screen demanding security clearance, something she herself didn’t have.

“Erm… well there are four earmarked cases registered here, but they require clearance to access, and I’m not able to-”

“They’re here,” Harmony grunted, briefly glancing at the Mayor. She turned back to the clerk, “Who do we have to ask to get this security clearance?”

“Erm, I don’t actually know, to be honest,” the clerk shrugged sheepishly, “My best guess would have to be the head of one of the ground teams.”

“Where can we find them?” Harmony asked.

“I… I don’t even know, myself,” the clerk shook her head.

Harmony gestured towards a security door off to the right. “Where does that go to?”

“Oh, that’s just the holding area for where we keep the animals we pick up-”

“I want in,” Harmony demanded, “Those ‘four cases’ are ponies, like myself, and they do not deserve to be in here. I respectfully request that you release them from this facility at once.”

“I just told you, they’re earmarked for security clearance that I don’t have,” the clerk protested, “I’m just the chick who runs the front desk and greets people!”

Harmony grit her teeth, “Then this conversation has reached an impasse. Come on Mayor.”

“W-Where are we going?” the mare asked warily, as she followed the unicorn across to the security door. “Y-You can’t go in there, the lady just said-”

“Need I remind you of why we are here?” Harmony abruptly turned about, “Our friends are in danger. I’m nervous about this as much as you are, but we cannot stop for anything until they are out of here in one piece!”

“Er, l-ladies, please,” the clerk spoke up, “If you have no other business here, and nothing more can be done for your friends, then I’ll have to ask you to leave the premises immediately.”

“No ma’am, our business is not done here,” Harmony snapped. Her eyes narrowed as she spied the swipe-card secured to her hip pocket by a bulldog clip. “Let me ask you something real quick. To what lengths would you go, in a theoretical scenario, to protect your child from danger?”

“What? Er, well, I s’pose…” the clerk furrowed her brow in thought and scratched her temple, “... I s’pose I’d do anything, really…”

“Such as?” Harmony murmured off-handedly, her horn aglow with concentration.

“Well… I don’t really want to think about it to be honest,” the clerk mused, “It’s just not a situation that I don’t want to ever happen to me… to have my kids in danger or anything like that…”

“Yeah, well that’s too bad, because guess what? It’s something I have to be considering right now,” Harmony quickly glanced over the security card in her magical grip, “Trust me, it’s not a pretty thing. Thanks for the security card by the way, you liar.”

The clerk blinked dumbly at her now-cardless clip. “Wait, what?! How did you...?”

Harmony winked as she swiped the card over the security lock. It opened up with a loud clack, allowing the door to swing open. “Magic.”

“W-Wait for me!” The Mayor hurriedly followed the unicorn through the door, leaving the shocked clerk behind to muse over what exactly just happened.

Past the security door, there was a short hallway that turned off to the left, which led to another door, this one however not requiring the security pass. Upon opening it up, it let the two mares into a vast warehouse, with an entire network of corridors and cages.

“Aw crap,” The Mayor glanced around warily, “How on earth are we gonna find the children in here?! It’s gonna take forever!”

“Easy,” Harmony muttered, walking straight ahead, “We go straight to the back where all the heavy-duty cages are. That’s where they keep all the large, rare, or dangerous animals they find. Keep close to me, and watch out for guards. We’re better off if we stick together.”

They passed through aisles and aisles of cages, some empty, some not, as they searched around for any sign of the missing foals. With all the animal noises echoing throughout the warehouse which masked the soft thumps of their padded hooves against the bare concrete floor, they were able to sneak around relatively easily.

“Are you sure they’d take them to the high-security section?” The Mayor murmured, “They’re just foals.”

“Yeah. Multi-coloured, magical foals that technically shouldn’t exist,” Harmony muttered, “They’re not exactly an every-day sight, so these guys would first be scratching their heads trying to figure out what they even are.”

“I think it’s pretty obvious what they are, don’t you?” Mayor frowned.

“Yeah, but I highly doubt they will know that,” Harmony clarified as she checked around a corner.

Suddenly, red lights abruptly started flashing and a loud klaxon blared throughout the facility, startling them both.

“Ah crap, the clerk must’ve tipped the alarm,” muttered Harmony, “So much for doing this quietly.”

“W-What do we do now?!” Mayor exclaimed, panicking.

Harmony glanced around her, spotting numerous cages with animals locked up in them.

“We start a prison-break, that’s what,” Harmony looked the mare dead in the eye, “We’ll split up. You find the control room with all the buttons and unlock all the cages. I’ll keep the guards busy to buy you some time. And perhaps try to save the foals as well in the process. We’ll slip out amongst the confusion and chaos.”

“But Harmony-”

Go,” the unicorn shunted the earth pony aside and turned round the corner, breaking into a brisk canter.

Mayor Mare glanced around in a panic. “Harmony, come back! Where’s the control room..?”

The unicorn was gone.

Mayor cringed and started sprinting off in the opposite direction.

“How does she expect me to find the control room in a place like this?!” she muttered under her breath, “What kind of person does she take me for?”

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she found her way towards the far wall, and started following it around the sides, internally wishing that this was all just an absurd dream.

*

Harmony snorted as she stared down the half-dozen guards before her.

She glanced around past the guards, spotting four distinct and sorry-looking foals slumped in their cages. Apple Bloom’s expression lit up as she and Harmony made brief eye contact, which then turned to fear and worry as the guards started circling around the lone unicorn.

“That’s the one from the mall!” One of the guards recognised, “What’s she doing here?”

“Odds are she’s probably here for those four others that we caught,” another one mused.

“This doesn’t need to escalate any further than it already has,” Harmony growled loudly, “If you let the fillies go, we’ll be out of your hair, and you’ll never see us again.”

“Why would we do that?” the team leader frowned, “Who are you to go around making demands of us?”

“I’m just trying to be civil and diplomatic here,” Harmony shuffled about, “I’m not asking that you give up your day jobs. I just want my friends back.”

“Who, these four?” the leader narrowed his eyes, “No can do, I’m afraid. They’re marked to be transported to another facility for study and analysis. Unless you want to join them, I suggest you clear out, or suffer the consequences.”

“Over my dead body,” Harmony glared.

“Look, in all honesty, I don’t want to hurt you,” the leader warned, “We’re just being paid to do a job here, with no emotional investment. But if you’re going to make this difficult for us, then we will use force to subdue you if necessary.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Harmony boldly challenged, her horn flickering with blue energy in tense anticipation.

“Harmony, what are you doing?!” Duo murmured worriedly, “Where are Crankshaft and the others?!”

The lead guard produced a device from his pocket and held it up for her to see. “You see this? At the push of this button here, I can administer two hundred volt electric shocks through the collars strapped around their necks. If you do not leave quietly, then they will not come to any more harm. Take a single step closer, or make any sudden movement, and I will press this button out of reflex. That is your only warning. Leave, or the foals will suffer.”

“First, you have the audacity to kidnap innocent foals in broad daylight, then you lock them up like vermin in cages?” Harmony snarled, “And to top it off, you want to send them off to be experimented on like guinea pigs?! Look at them! Don’t you know My Little Pony characters when you see them?!”

“I never watched that show, to be honest,” a guard answered apologetically.

“My son is a brony…” another guard murmured aloud.

“Well, what would your son think of you if he learned that you were imprisoning and threatening young, innocent foals such as the Cutie Mark Crusaders?” the unicorn turned towards him.

“I dunno,” the man shrugged indifferently, “Nor do I care. I’m paid to do a job, so I don’t ask questions like that. Besides, it’s not like they’re human or anything.”

“These foals used to be people, just like you, you bastard!” Harmony seethed.

“... Seriously?” the leader quirked an eyebrow, “Why do I find that hard to believe?”

“It’s not so hard to believe when you realise that they’re characters from a cartoon show!” the unicorn exclaimed, “Technically, that in itself should indicate that anything’s possible!”

“... Touche,” the leader admitted. “But, it doesn’t matter now. What’s done is done, and there are now events in motion that you will not be able to stop, no matter how hard you try to resist.”

“Is that so?” the unicorn’s muscles visibly tensed up with anticipation. “We’ll never know until I try, will we?”

The guard held the trigger out at arms length as a visual warning. “... Go ahead. See where that gets you and your friends. I dare you.”

She glanced between the guard and the foals, who were staring at her with desperate, pleading looks.

Another klaxon suddenly blared, and all at once, cages everywhere suddenly started opening up, releasing the animals locked inside. Pandemonium broke out as creatures of all shapes, sizes, and colors charged into the open.

“Oh come on, really?!” The guards collectively groaned, “Do you know how long it took to get all of them organised, you jerk?!”

“Not as long as it’s gonna take for the clean-up crew to wipe up the paste off the floor, once I’m done with you,” Harmony growled, her magic flaring. ‘Brilliant work, Mayor.’

The leader suddenly gasped in pain as a tight crushing sensation clamped down on his wrist like a vice, causing him to drop the trigger device and grunt in pain.

“Get her!” the other five guards leaped into action to support their leader.

Amongst the flurry of noisy, panicked animals, Harmony was able to mask the distinct flash and *pop* of her teleport, re-appearing several feet behind the guards. Deciding against taking them head-on, she instead opted to swipe the clerk’s security card through the card slots, unlocking the final four cages.

She quickly held up a hoof for silence, and all four Crusaders strained to keep themselves from joyfully shouting in unison about their new-found freedom as they exited their respective prisons.

It hadn’t taken the guards long to realise Harmony was no longer in front of them, and they spotted the fillies bouncing around out of their peripheral vision, prompting them to fully turn around and face them.

The leader gingerly massaged his sprained wrist as he glared at Harmony with a cold expression of pure hate. “Now look at what you’ve gone and done! All that effort for just four little kids? Admirable as it is, it’s also really dumb. You’ve now gotten yourself and your friends cornered, and...”

With a grunt of concentration, Harmony’s horn lit up brightly once more, interrupting his monologue. A loud *pop* startled them all as Harmony and the fillies disappeared in a bright flash of light. All that was left in the spaces they just occupied were small smatterings of blue particles, drifting like dust on the wind.

“God… dammit!”

*

The clerk blinked incredulously as five ponies spontaneously appeared in the foyer before her in a bright flash of light.

“Run Forrest, run!” Harmony huffed, hurriedly gestured the Crusaders through the front door. “Get to the van now!”

The Crusaders didn’t need to be told twice as they bolted as fast as their little legs could carry them out the door.

Little Horn and Babs Seed watched as the fillies and colt sprinted towards the van. “Come on, girls! Duo! I’m glad you are okay!” Little Horn beamed, giving Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Duo a brief hug as they quickly entered the van.

Babs Seed hugged her cousin warmly, then looked at the collars, “What’s up with those collars, ‘cuz? Some sort o’ fashion statement?”

“Get those things off of them!” Harmony shouted at Crankshaft, “Hurry! I’m gonna go back for the Mayor, and then we’ll be out of here!”

The Crusaders’ heartfelt reunion with their friends had to be put on hold as Crankshaft began analysing the shock-collars around their necks, retrieving a screwdriver and a pair of pliers from the tool box with his magic.

“Get this thing off me!” Scootaloo exclaimed.

“In a jiffy,” the stallion went to work.

Little Horn held Scootaloo’s hoof to comfort her as Crankshaft began to examine the collars. “What did those guys want with you any-hoof?”

Scootaloo shrugged and numbly shook her head. “Stuffed if I know.”

While Crankshaft was busy tending to the needs of the foals, Harmony turned about towards the clerk with a dark glare. She seemed slightly winded from her magical exertion as she wiped a trickle of sweat from her forehead with the back of her arm. “You dare even think about touching that phone, and I will come down on you harder than a runaway freight train!”

My Little Ponies were damn scary when they were angry, the clerk decided, and sagely stepped well away from the counter.

*

Mayor whimpered as she glanced around warily, trying to make her way through the chaotic crowd of animals, using their erratic, flowing movement to try and hide her tracks.

“That must be the one who let all the animals loose!” A guard exclaimed, pointing towards her. “I swear, if we can’t at least get this one…”

Harmony!” Mayor screamed, breaking into a sprint for the door, “Where are you?!”

A guard took aim with his dart gun and pulled the trigger. A dart blasted forward and buried itself into Mayor’s flank with a loud *thup*.

“Agh!” she stumbled and tripped over her own hooves, knocking her head against the smooth concrete floor.

“Gotcha now, ya sneaky little prick!” the guards grinned wickedly as they rushed towards the fallen mare.

“Here, you four pick her up, while you and I will keep watch in case that white bitch comes back,” the leader gestured to his team, keeping his taser gun handy in his left hand as they went to work securing the Mayor’s now-unconscious form.

“There she is!” the other guard on look-out took aim with his own dart gun towards the white unicorn, who was staring at them with an expression colder than ice.

Harmony’s horn flared as the guard pulled the trigger, using her telekinesis to abruptly drag the barrel of the weapon aside to the left, causing the dart to embed itself into the leader’s left forearm.

“Agh, crap!” He hastily tried to extract the dart from his skin, before stumbling about and drowsily dropping to his knees.

“I’ve got you boss- OOF!” The guard bent down to support his leader, before the butt of another dart gun, wrapped up in Harmony’s blue telekinesis, struck the back of his head, disorienting him and knocking him off-balance.

The four other guards quickly dropped what they were doing and hastily drew their side-arms towards her. Harmony paced her laboured breathing as she dropped the gun and struggled to keep all four weapons from pointing at her at once.

“Enough!” A guard reached behind his back with his free hand and produced the shock collars’ trigger device. “Those shock collars are most likely still in range, and I will set them off if you continue resisting!”

Harmony grit her teeth in fury, sweat dripping down the side of her face. ‘Please be done with those collars, Crankshaft!

The guard paused for several seconds, waiting for a reaction. After a few moments, the telekinetic force holding his weapon at bay had not subsided, and increased, if anything.

If I let go, then I’m done for, and this operation will be for nothing!’ Harmony exerted all of her will towards pushing these guys back, and her fatigue was slowly starting to catch up to her.

“Your call,” the guard muttered, and his thumb pressed down on the trigger.

*

Crankshaft sighed in relief as the third shock collar cluttered uselessly to the ground. “Phew! Three down, one to go!”

He gestured towards Apple Bloom, who was the last foal with the devious device still attached. “A-B, if you’ll just step over here for just a sec-”

A small whining sound suddenly emanated from the collar, and four LED lights suddenly lit up as it armed with a faint *click*.

Crankshaft’s eyes dilated. “Oh, that can’t be good.”

*BZZZT!*

The filly screamed and writhed in agony as two hundred volts of power ruthlessly assaulted her small body, and she collapsed to the ground in a heap as smoke wisped from singed patches of fur. Everypony stepped back in wide-eyed horror.

Bastards!” Crankshaft snarled, standing up straight. “Stand back and don’t touch her, or you’ll get zapped along with her!”

“W-What was that?! What’s going on?” Little Horn exclaimed fearfully.

The stallion narrowed his eyes as he wrenched the collar off of the filly’s neck with the pliers. The forceful manner wasn’t exactly gentle or discreet, and the earth pony whined in pain as the device was thrown out the door.

He hopped out of the van and began closing the sliding door on the side. “You six stay in here and don’t move! That shock collar was triggered remotely, which means Harmony and the Mayor must be backed up against the ropes. They’re probably going to give me an earful about leaving you here like this, but they need help! I won’t be long; Duo, you’re in charge.”

“M-me?” Duo blinked, “W-What-”

He was cut off as the door was slammed shut, and he thumped his hoof against the hull in agitation. “Dammit! Where did things become so dangerous all of a sudden?! I don’t get it!”

He glanced at Apple Bloom whimpered under her breath as Little Horn and Babs wrapped her up in a comforting hug from either side. Black scorch marks around her neck provided visual evidence for the collar’s handiwork.

Reluctantly, he sat back on his haunches and rubbed his temples. “I’m too young for this crap.”

*

Something inside Harmony’s head crackled and went *snap*.

She honestly had no idea how she did it, but neither did she really care, as the magical supply channelling through her horn subconsciously switched from her natural magic reserves, and started feeding off of her raw emotions instead.

Emotions of anger, fury, and pure, unadulterated rage triggered a sudden power surge, as both her eye color and her magical aura switched from their usual sky-blue to a much darker navy blue.

With an ear-piercing shriek, a powerful pulse of energy suddenly overloaded the cartridges in the guns, and all four guards reflexively dropped their weapons as the bullets all started going off inside their magazines, ripping the guns apart from the inside-out.

“What the hell?!” The guards all stepped back fearfully, retreating behind the Mayor’s fallen form.

She narrowed her eyes on the guard holding the trigger device, and in an instant, the one hundred and ninety pound man suddenly found himself being lifted off the floor, a navy-blue aura clutching him by the throat and cutting off his windpipe in a classic, Darth Vader-esque Force-choke.

Drop it,” Harmony growled, her tone sounding almost animalistic.

A gurgling sound escaped his mouth as he released his grip on the trigger and let it drop to the floor.

“Harmony!” Crankshaft burst out of the doorway and into the main containment area. His eyes widened as she callously let the man drop, crushing the trigger device underneath his own weight.

“Get the Mayor out of here,” she instructed flatly, without even sparing the stallion a glance. A dart gun levitated and aimed itself at the man’s face.

“Harmony, what’s going on with you? Snap out of it!” He urged, “Look, they’re not going to bother us anymore, so let’s just wrap this up and get out of here!”

“They tortured defenseless foals, Crankshaft,” She quivered, “This apostasy cannot be left unrequited!”

“And lashing out back at them with violence isn’t going to solve the issue! It will only make it worse!” the stallion hissed, “Harmony, the foals are safe now! The mission is a success and we can leave this place for good!”

“And let these thugs go unpunished?!” She snapped, her eyes brimming with tears, “For all the pain and worry that they have caused us?!”

“Harmony, look at me,” Crankshaft placed his hooves gently on her shoulders and stared her dead in the eye. “They’re not worth it. They are but slime and filth way out deep in some dark corner of the back shed that isn’t even worth our time and effort to clean up. They will just sit there and gather dust, out of the way where no-one will be disturbed by them anymore. Please, I can’t stand this place anymore, so let’s just calm down and go home. Please?”

For several moments, both unicorns stood there in relative silence as Harmony’s vicious temper gradually reeled itself back in, and released her grip on the gun. She nodded sullenly as her breathing became strained from the high stress of her magical overexertion, and her eyes returned to to their usual sky-blue color. White smoke wisped from her horn, which was glowing red-hot from the strain of channelling the power surge.

“T-Thank you…” she shivered, “I… I-I was probably about to do something I’d later regret there… so, thank you.”

Shhh,” he hushed softly, “It’s alright. Go out to the van, and I’ll take care of the Mayor.”

She numbly nodded and slowly dragged herself through the hallway, through the foyer and into the passenger seat of the van. Ignoring the relieved exclamations from the foals, she rested her head against the back headrest and promptly passed out from fatigue.

Crankshaft followed close behind, levitating the unconscious Mayor a few feet off the ground. He gently placed her down in the back, shut the door, and hopped into the driver’s seat.

With a heavy sigh of relief, he switched on the ignition and gunned the engine. The old van responded immediately to its driver’s beckoning as he coaxed it through a sharp u-bolt and disappeared around the street corner off into the distance, leaving behind the shattered remains of the Vancouver Animal Control Center, and its workers.

Inside, the leader of the guards grumbled incoherently under his breath.

“I need a vacation.”

Author's Note:

If you have any ideas on how to rescue the Cutie Mark Crusaders from the animal shelter, leave your suggestions in the comment box below. I will discuss with my collaborators, and see what they want to do.