• Published 29th Oct 2015
  • 2,144 Views, 82 Comments

Crystal Heart Solid: The Twin Crysis - MagnetBolt

What if: Instead of replacing Princess Cadance on her wedding day, Chrysalis goes after Shining Armor another way - by infiltrating the Royal Guard!

  • ...

Chapter Four - Wet Ops

Chrysalis sat at the back of a room, deep in the palace. There were no windows, and it was hot and stuffy from the number of ponies packed into it. It reminded her of the hive. Not just how crowded it was, but the way she was being treated like an idiot.

A hoof rapped on the table in the middle of the room, quieting the conversations as the head of the palace guards, a badly scarred earth pony named Thunderbolt, brought the room to attention.

“We have confirmation. The kidnappers are from a group called the Midnight Club.” The conversations around the room started up again. Thunderbolt scowled and slammed his hoof down, quieting them. “For those of you not already informed about them, the Midnight Club have been a thorn in the side of Equestria for centuries.”

Thunderbolt looked around the room, making sure ponies were still paying attention to him.

“They worship Nightmare Moon. On the surface, they look like a social club, just playing at it in the same way rebellious teens do. Dig a little deeper, and you see the true face of it. Subversives, all of them, trying to undermine Celestia’s authority and cementing their place with blackmail and an underground trade in artifacts and books of dark magic.”

“The lot of them should have been thrown in prison,” another pony muttered.

“That’s not our decision to make,” Thunderbolt said. “Celestia has turned a blind eye to them for some reason. She refuses to make that kind of group outright illegal, and so we’ve had to put up with them for this long.”

He tapped a hoof on the map in front of him.

“From what we can tell, agents broke in from outside and captured Princess Mi Amore Cadenza while her personal guard was sleeping.” He shot a look at Chrysalis, glaring at her. “After subduing her, they smuggled her out and through the city. We’ve caught a few of the ponies that made their escape possible, and we’re interrogating them now for details on the group and how they found the Princess’ room, and more importantly how they were able to evade palace security.”

“Do we suspect they’re working with somepony on the inside?” Asked a pony next to Chrysalis, nodding subtly towards her.

“We don’t know, yet,” Thunderbolt said. “But we’re going to find out. Right now, I want all non-essential personnel cleared out of this room. Those of you in the palace guard, report to your direct report and remain on-duty. The rest of you…” he met Chrysalis’ gaze. “Get back to your quarters and stay there.”

Chrysalis slammed the door closed behind her, teeth bared in irritation.

“Be careful. That’s fairly good oak, and you already broke the one across the hall.”

Chrysalis froze at the voice, spinning to the left to find Grain Miller sitting at the desk in her room, drinking from a small flask and reading over papers that hadn’t been there before.

“What are you doing here?” She asked, narrowing her eyes.

“I should ask you the same thing,” Miller said. “You’re supposed to be protecting Cadance, not moping around this drafty old place.” He put down the papers. The one on top was the same map that Thunderbolt had had, with the same annotations. He'd lost the easy-going accent he'd had before, and sounded almost like a proper Canterlot noble. It made Chrysalis trust him even less.

“I’ve been ordered to stay here and sit, since I’m such a failure,” Chrysalis growled.

“That won’t do at all,” Miller frowned, shaking his head. “I think I should introduce myself. When I said I was a farmer, I wasn’t telling the whole truth.”

“You weren’t telling any of the truth,” Chrysalis corrected. “You’re a good liar, for a pony, but I could tell it was an act. I thought you were just trying to scam the yaks out of a lot of money, but I’m guessing that’s not the case.”

“Mm. Suspicious.” Miller nodded in approval. “That’s good! I’ll have to work on my story for next time I do something like this. The grain trade is typically dull enough that ponies won’t ask for details, and saying I’m a landlord instead of a farmer keeps the ponies who actually care about farming techniques away.”

“So let me guess. You’re a member of the cult.” Chrysalis stalked closer.

“Quite the opposite,” Miller said. He stood up. “I’m a member of SECT. Special Equestrian Combat Troop. We handle the kind of black ops that the Royal Guard can’t be a part of. Monster hunting, for example.”

Chrysalis felt her white coat bristle at that, and her ears folded back. “And?”

“And I’m here to help,” Miller said, simply. “Someone on the inside probably is helping the cultists, but it’s anypony’s guess who. The only one I know for sure has a vested interest in Cadance’s safety is you, and frankly, you don’t know enough about the situation to actually be a member of the cult yourself.”

“So you’re saying my best alibi is that I’m too stupid to be a part of the evil plot?”

“Well, I just think somepony with such a hopeless crush on our young princess as you probably isn’t going to get her sacrificed to Nightmare Moon.” He chuckled as Chrysalis’ cheeks reddened.

“If you want to help, then you should be talking to Thunderbolt.”

“Not my style,” Miller shook his head. “I already know what he’s planning. A display of overwhelming force, and he’s far away enough from Canterlot that they won’t be able to tell him not to until it’s already all over.”

“That’s insane!” Chrysalis hissed. ‘They have a hostage!”

“That they do. And they’ve already made their demands.” Miller stepped back to the desk and pulled out a scroll, passing it off to Chrysalis.

“Thirty million, two hundred twenty-one thousand bits?” Chrysalis frowned. “Why such a specific number?”

“We’re working on that, but we suspect it’s supposed to be a message to their agents. If we pass along the demand, we pass along the message. There’s one other demand, too.” He nodded to the scroll.

“The establishment of a New Lunar Republic?” Chrysalis snorted. “They must know that we’ll never agree to this.”

“Of course not,” Miller agreed. “It’s absurd. We aren’t going to go cutting up Equestria just because some extremists want to play at resurrecting a demon buried for a millennium. With Cadance as a bargaining chip they have leverage, but not nearly that much.”

“Terms like that… they’re a cover for something else,” Chrysalis frowned.

“It’s possible. But no matter what they’re planning, a frontal assault is going to put Cadance at risk.” Miller nodded for Chrysalis to follow him, stepping into her bedroom. A metal locker sat on her bed.

“What’s this?” Chrysalis asked.

“A new outfit for you. That armor you’ve got won’t do if you’re going to go after the princess on your own.”

Chrysalis stopped with her hoof on the case. “On my own?”

“A frontal assault is too obvious. It’s exactly what they’re going to be watching for.” Miller sipped from his flask. “This is the exact kind of mission SECT was put together for - one pony, operating on their own.”

“You said you’re a member, though,” Chrysalis frowned. “Shouldn’t you be doing this? I already failed her once.”

“A pony who has failed once is more reliable than one that’s always succeeded. You know what it’s like to taste defeat, and you’ve got something to prove.” Miller smiled. “I’m too old for a field operation.”

“And I’m barely trained,” Chrysalis shot back. “How do you know I won’t screw this up?”

“You have more at stake than most ponies.” He smiled. “Now let’s go over the plan.”

“I can’t get too close,” Stone Soup warned. “They’ll be watching for an attack from the air.” He looked down at the map in his cabin, considering the lay of the land.

“And going in by land is impossible,” Miller noted. “Shadow Star Island hasn’t been inhabited for a very long time. The bridges that were there a thousand years ago are just rubble at the bottom of the sea.”

“From what I hear, there’s some kind of archaeology team that was busy doing excavations there. Looking for old Lunar artifacts, that sort of thing. They’re rather in vogue at the moment.” Stone Soup rubbed his chin. “From what I hear, the Royal Historical Society is paying quite a bounty.”

“Do you think that team was part of the cult?” Chrysalis asked.

“That’s very suspicious thinking, which means it’s wise.” Miller smiled. “I’d say that it’s a safe bet. They were probably using the expedition as a cover to secure the area as a base of operations, while funding their activities by selling whatever trinkets they didn’t want to keep on-hoof.”

“But if they’re really paying that much for Lunar artifacts, why ask for money at all?” Chrysalis frowned.

“Their demands are just a sham. If bits could get Princess Cadance back, we’d pay it in a heartbeat,” Miller shrugged. “All of us would rather be trying to rescue a few chests of gold instead of a princess.”

“Most likely what they wanted was for us to sit around and debate the terms,” Stone Soup said. “The bits are a hefty chunk of the royal treasury, but they’re just bits. The attempt to secede from Equestria, that’s to make sure we don’t agree to it too quickly.”

“So they stall in a way where diplomacy is impossible, and then what?” Chrysalis tilted her head. “Thunderbolt goes in and crushes them.”

“They’ve implied they have some way to kill Princess Cadance, despite the alicorn talent for immortality,” Miller said. “I don’t know how viable that is, but we need to find out. If it’s a bluff, then the frontal attack will end up killing a lot of ponies, but Cadance will be safe. If not…”

“Then it could end up with a dead princess and ponies wondering if the same thing could happen to Celestia,” Chrysalis muttered.

“More than that, other nations will see it as a drastic change in policy. If Celestia sanctioned it, then she’s willing to kill her own family to put down some otherwise harmless cultists. If she doesn’t, then the military is operating outside of her control and she’s just a figurehead. Either way could lead to war.”

“And the best answer is for somepony to get Cadance out of there so the whole thing can be called off,” Stone Soup said.

“I have to save her,” Chrysalis said, standing. “Okay. Do we have a map of the island?”

Stone Soup pulled one of the maps out of the stack, laying it down on top. “Shadow Star Island. It’s shaped roughly like a kidney bean.” He traced around it with a hoof. “Cliffs on most edges, which is pretty typical for islands in this area. Rocky beach in some places, but no easy ascent paths.”

“Were the archaeologists getting everything delivered by airship?” Chrysalis frowned.

“No. They mostly used a small dock here.” He pointed. “It’s built into a natural cave in the cliffside and provides protection from the elements for most ships. It’s almost inaccessible at high tide, which unfortunately-”

“Is right now,” Chrysalis guessed.

“Right. So you can’t get a boat in,” Stone Soup said. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t get yourself in. We’re pretty sure the cultists have at least one airship, which they used to get Cadance to the island, but with the sea at high tide, the dock should be almost entirely unguarded.”

“You want me to swim?” Chrysalis snorted. “There’s a snowstorm outside. That water’s going to be cold enough to kill.”

“That’s where this comes in,” Miller said. He opened up the locker he’d brought with him. He held up a black bodysuit. “This is a bit old, but still cutting edge compared to what you’re used to.”

Chrysalis took it, running a hoof along the weave. “I’ve never seen material like this before.”

“It’s called the G2 tactical suit, developed to be lighter and lower-profile than currently available Royal Guard equipment, and designed with SECT’s needs in mind.” Miller nodded to the suit. “It’s made of a type of magically woven synthetic material, and extremely strong without being rigid.”

“It looks small.” Chrysalis put it down on the table. “I don’t know if this is going to fit.”

“It has to be skin-tight to be effective,” Miller explained. “SECT fights monsters, and that means one of our primary concerns is extreme environmental effects. The tactical suit is waterproof, doesn’t burn, and provides excellent insulation from heat and cold.”

“I get it,” Chrysalis muttered. “So it’ll keep me from freezing to death in the water.”

“Just so. There’s an enchantment in the seams that will resize it to fit you.” He tapped the zipper, and the material loosened. “It’s a burst effect, not a continuous one, so you don’t have to worry about it restraining you if you end up in a null-magic field. The suit will stay permanently at your size until you activate it, and won’t give off a magical aura.”

“That’s good, at least.” Chrysalis picked it up again and looked around. “Where can I change?”

Chrysalis struggled her way into the suit, the material clinging to her. It even covered her hooves, the bottom surface having a rubbery, soft surface that made her steps almost silent. It felt oddly restricting, even though it wasn’t actually affecting her movement at all.

“This feels strange,” Chrysalis said, as she stepped out from behind of the paper curtain that Stone Soup had set up for her before disappearing up to the bridge to get the Defiant moving. “It’s squeezing me.”

“It’s designed to apply pressure to maintain a seal against your skin and help minimize bleeding,” Miller explained. “You’ll get used to it. We need to get you the rest of your equipment.” He had a small pile of gear on the table.

“I don’t need all of this,” Chrysalis said, putting a crossbow and several weapons aside. “I’m not going to go in there and storm the place.”

“You’re a battle mage, yes?” Miller asked. “Then no, I suppose the weapons are a bit redundant, but they are here if you want them.”

“The crossbow won’t survive the water very well, and I’d rather minimize the amount that I have to carry with me if I have to make a long swim,” Chrysalis explained.

“It should only be a kilometer or so, in relatively calm water,” Miller said. “We’re going to keep low over the treeline and approach this way…” He swept a hoof up from the South towards the West of the island. “And we’ll drop you off here.” He tapped a spot on the map.

“And the dock is on the East side,” Chrysalis muttered. “So they’ll be watching you while I approach on the opposite side of the island.”

“Exactly,” Miller smiled. “This-” he picked up a pendant. “Has a water breathing effect on it. It won’t last for long, just a few hours, but it’s more than enough to last for this purpose. It’s a standard piece of equipment for underwater work.”

“You seem oddly well-prepared for this.”

“It comes with the territory,” Miller sighed. “You’ll understand once you’ve been with the Guard for a while. Eventually you just start hanging onto useful things. You never know when you’ll need them.”

“We’re at the drop-off point,” Stone Soup yelled over the wind.

“Good luck,” Miller said, patting Chrysalis on the back. She took a deep breath and freed a hood from the collar of the suit she was wearing, tucking her mane in and pulling it over her face.

With one last look back, Chrysalis jumped over the edge of the deck. It was only a dozen paces down to the water, Stone Soup having brought it low over the waves to make sure she’d land safely.

The water still hit her like an ice-cold brick, even through the suit. She would have started cursing if she wasn’t struggling to breathe. A hoof frantically went to the charm around her neck and touched it, the waterbreathing charm kicking in.

“This is a terrible idea,” Chrysalis burbled. She started swimming. Most ponies were not particularly great in the water, pegasai aside (though with how buoyant they were, it barely counted as swimming). Chrysalis had never even tried swimming until she was forced to learn in basic training. That sort of physical activity was wasteful, and not something a royal changeling should be seen doing.

She was starting to wish she’d spent a little more time learning how to swim properly. The pony paddle was good for staying above water, but not for moving very quickly.

Chrysalis watched as the Defiant swerved up and away from the water, leaving her behind. It was going to be a long swim.

An hour later, she slipped into the underwater cave. Light filtered through from within, making it at least navigable, even if it was still gloomy. It had clearly been expanded and the walls smoothed at some point in the past, tool marks still visible in places where the tide hadn’t eroded them away over the centuries.

She kept near the wall as the passage expanded, swimming up towards the surface as the ceiling suddenly expanded up and away.

“-your eyes open. She’ll be through here. I can feel it.” Said a raspy voice. Chrysalis froze, looking for the source. The cavern was built out into a wide U shape around the water, a small ship docked on one of the long edges.

Chrysalis crept along the edge towards the end of the unoccupied dock, pulling herself onto dry land behind a pile of wooden crates.

“Where are you going, Ma’am?” Asked a second voice. Chrysalis leaned out carefully. Enchanted lights were set into the far wall, providing the light in the small cavern. She could see a tall, cloaked figure speaking with another pony.

“I’ve been alerted that an airship is scouting out the island,” the cloaked figure replied. “I’m off to swat down an annoying fly.”

The pony saluted, and the cloaked figure walked past to a stairwell, disappearing as it - she? The other pony had said Ma’am - turned the corner.

Chrysalis let her senses expand, trying to feel out the area. In her disguised form, her senses were dulled, but she wasn’t going to risk changing right now. She’d freeze to death even more quickly than she would as a pony, and there was no telling what it would do to the G2 armor.

She pulled the hood away from her face, shaking out her mane. Only one guard. Probably just supposed to raise an alert on the off-chance that somepony tried to get through the water.

Chrysalis crept closer, pulling a knife from the sheath on her back with telekinesis. He was an enemy, but he could be useful, too. There were enough boxes around that she could work her way up to him without being seen, and the stallion was either untrained or he didn’t take his job seriously enough, just pacing from one end of the cavern to the other.

“Freeze,” Chrysalis hissed, holding the blade to his throat. The stallion stiffened. “Drop the crossbow.” He was wearing one slung around his neck. It looked like a griffon design, awkward for an earth pony like him to use. He dropped it carefully, the knife staying along his throat as he moved.

“Please don’t kill me!” He pleased.

“You’ve got a hostage. Where is she?” Chrysalis waited a moment for him to answer, and when he didn’t immediately fold, she pushed the knife just a little harder, almost cutting into him. “Where is she?!” Chrysalis repeated.

“Upstairs!” The guard yelled. “Probably in the holding cells!”

“And where are those?” Chrysalis pressed, leaning closer to his ear.

“Warehouse. The new one. The holding cells are on the second floor.” He sniffled. “Please, I’ve got a-”

Before he could finish, she hit him with a sleeping spell, dropping him where he stood. It wasn’t as effective as a stun bolt in some ways - less effective on really dangerous opponents, sleeping foes could be woken up relatively easily - he’d be out for hours as long as he wasn’t disturbed. She dragged him over to where she’d slipped onto the dock.

“There. No one should find you here. And if you stay out of trouble, the worst that’ll happen to you is a nap.” Chrysalis patted him gently on the head and walked towards the stairs, her hoofsteps muffled by the padded boots of the tactical suit.

She stopped at the doorway, looking around the corner. The cloaked figure had left only a few minutes ago, and the last thing she wanted was to stumble right into her.

“That’s a long way up,” Chrysalis muttered, looking up at the spiral staircase. From the bottom, she couldn’t see exactly how far it was. She could, though, tell that it was as silent as a grave.

She started up the stairs, sticking close to the inner wall and creeping around corners, ready to duck back at a moment’s notice. It ran up a dozen twisting flights before she felt a cold breeze from outside.

Chrysalis ducked out of the doorway, throwing herself behind the first cover she found. A high-pitched whine filled the air, snow blasting past in a sudden gust of wind as a sleek ship rose up into the air, the edges of wide wings glowing with magical energy as it defied gravity.

“That’s a griffon airship…” Chrysalis muttered. The wings were a dead giveaway. “Why would there be an airship from Griffonstone here?”

It shot off at high speed towards the west. Chrysalis covered her eyes as the backwash from the engines drove snow over her in a wave.

As the airship left, and her eyes cleared, she could make out a path past the airship’s landing zone, lit by more magelights and leading to a much newer building.

“That must be the warehouse,” Chrysalis muttered. As she stood up, the label on the shipping containers caught her eye. “Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns?” She recoiled. “That’s… a magic school in Canterlot. What in Tartarus is going on here?”

Chrysalis slipped inside the warehouse, a wave of warmth washing over her and melting the snow that had stuck to her. It was so cold outside she could feel her wet mane start to freeze against her neck, and it was not a pleasant experience.

The warehouse itself was clearly only a few years old, built quickly and cheaply, the walls little more than plates of corrugated metal covered with rolls of insulation.

“Did you hear something?” A voice asked, echoing among the pallets of wood and bales of hay packed into the warehouse. Chrysalis ducked into the shadows between two crates as hoofsteps came closer.

“I didn’t hear anything,” said a second voice. “It was probably just the rats. You know they’re everywhere around here.”

Two ponies stopped in front of Chrysalis’ hiding place. They were both dressed in the same winter gear as the one she’d put to sleep in the underground dock, with the same griffon-designed crossbows.

“We could get one of the unicorns to get rid of them,” the first suggested. “They could probably cast some kind of spell to do it, right?”

“Are you kidding? Those firebrands would rather burn us for complaining!” The second scoffed. “Come on. We need to make sure everything is ready for the sacrifice.” He nudged the other pony, and the two walked off.

“Sacrifice?” Chrysalis whispered. She didn’t like the sound of that.

She crept out of the shadows, trailing them as they circled around to the back of the warehouse. A simple metal staircase led up to the upper level, and even from the lower level Chrysalis could see the bars of a secure cargo area, the same kind of cage that the Guard used to secure their weapons and armor.

“Cadance?” Chrysalis whispered, as she padded upstairs. She could feel somepony there in the shadows.

“Aren’t you a little tall to be a cultist?” Asked a raspy voice. Something shifted in the darkness, and a pony stepped to the front of the cell, a young pegasus mare with a tan coat and monochrome mane.

“And you’re a little short to be the Princess,” Chrysalis frowned.

“Since I haven’t seen you around before I’ll assume you’re not with them?” The pegasus tilted her head.

“There’s nopony else here,” Chrysalis said. “Where’s the Princess?”

“You’re lucky,” the pony said. “I’ve been stuck in here ever since they stopped pretending to be archaeologists. They did mention where she was being held, though. Let me out and I’ll lead you to her.”

Chrysalis shook her head. “This is a dangerous mission. I can’t take a rookie.”

“Really? You’re going to call me a rookie?” The pegasus snorted. “Do you know who I am?”

“You’re the pony who’s been locked in a little cage for days,” Chrysalis said. “I would have been out of there in minutes.”

“Have you ever had to pull yourself out of quicksand using only a venomous snake and one wing?” The pegasus glared through the bars. “Have you ever had to outfly the flaming magic pythons guarding the burial vaults of reptilian shapeshifters?”

“Well, no, but those are really specific examples…”

“Have you ever seen what happens when a pony becomes a mare-rattlesnake and you have to track her through the desert by the sound of her tail because she blinded you with venom?!”

Chrysalis frowned. “All of your examples are snakes.”

“It’s always snakes,” the pegasus muttered. “I don’t know why it’s always got to be snakes.”

“And some of those stories sound familiar,” Chrysalis said.

“Well, you might have heard of me,” the pegasus smirked. “I’ve been publishing stories of my exploits to fund expeditions when the Canterlot History Museum can’t or won’t.” She stuck a hoof through the bars. “Daring Do, at your service. And you’re with SECT, if I recognize that uniform.”

“I’m surprised you heard of SECT.”

“In my line of work, you meet a lot of people.” Daring Do stepped away from the door. “So how about getting me out?”

Chrysalis nodded and started working at the lock. She couldn’t produce enough force to break a metal lock on a metal door.

“You’ll need to figure out some way to get the artifact out of here, too,” Daring Do said, as Chrysalis slowly clicked the tumblers into place.

“What artifact?” Chrysalis asked.

“You mean you don’t know?!” Daring Do looked shocked. “But that’s the whole reason they’re here in the first place!”

“What are you talking about?” Chrysalis frowned. “They’re demanding secession from Equestria and threatening to kill Princess Cadance.” The lock clicked open, and Chrysalis pushed the door open.

“I don’t think we’re on the same page,” Daring Do frowned, as she walked out of the cell.

They were interrupted by the sound of the door on the lower level opening. Chrysalis leaned over the edge to see three stallions step in, holding their crossbows at the ready.

“Horseapples,” Chrysalis whispered.

“I thought SECT agents were supposed to be good,” Daring Do muttered. “You take the one on the right, I’ll take the one on the left, and we’ll share the one in the middle.”

“You don’t have any weapons!” Chrysalis hissed.

“I’m gonna have to be a little rough,” Daring Do agreed. Before Chrysalis could tell her to hide, she flew up into the rafters.

“Idiot!” Chrysalis hissed through her teeth. No choice now. If she attacked and Chrysalis didn’t back her up, she’d be more full of holes than Queen Morpha’s legs.

Chrysalis waited at the top of the stairs, crouched and using the railing as cover. She heard them coming up the stairs. Two sets of hoofsteps on metal. Where was the third? As they neared the top, she ran out of time to worry about that. The first came into view, and she grabbed him with her telekinesis, making him stumble towards her.

The moment he was off-balance, she forced him to the ground and hit him with a sleep spell, knocking him out.

“What the-!” The second guard was at the top of the stairs. Chrysalis threw herself at her, tumbling down the stairs with the stallion. The crossbow went off, shooting right past her face, close enough that she felt it nick her ear.

They landed heavily on the landing below, Chrysalis on top. He grunted, going limp as the fall stunned him.

“Hold it right there!” Chrysalis froze. Apparently she’d found the third guard. She started turning around. “Don’t move!”

She swore under her breath. This was not going as planned.

There was a crack behind her. She hesitated for a moment longer, then turned. Daring Do was standing over the prone cultist, an eyebrow raised.

“I have to say, you really are enthusiastic,” Daring Do said. “I was expecting somewhat more in the way of… tactics, though.”

“If you had been willing to spend a moment discussing tactics, we could have arranged something.” Chrysalis huffed. “Were you expecting me to read your mind?”

“No, but I did expect a SECT agent to be able to manage herself.”

“Shut up and help me get these idiots into a cell,” Chrysalis growled, picking up the guard she’d stunned.

Daring Do shut the cell door, putting the key into the lock and breaking it off.

“That should hold them. How long will your spell keep them out?” She looked up at Chrysalis.

“Assuming no one gives them a swift kick or throws a bucket of water at them? Maybe a full day.” Chrysalis shrugged. “They won’t wake up before it’s all over.”

“Good,” Daring Do sighed. “That should keep them from raising an alarm.”

“I don’t know how they knew I was here in the first place,” Chrysalis frowned. “Maybe the guard I knocked out in the docks got woken up.”

“No sense worrying about it,” Daring Do said. “We need to get to the temple. Since they don’t have your Princess here, she’s got to be down there.”

“You’ve seen it, right?” Chrysalis asked.

“Yeah. I got a look at it. It’s pretty standard for a post-banishment temple to Nightmare Moon. Hidden, inaccessible location, booby traps to protect the inner sanctum. Pretty normal stuff for a nexus of eternal evil.” Daring Do shrugged.

“Reminds me of home,” Chrysalis muttered. “You’ve been there, so you lead the way.”

“Sure,” Daring Do smiled. “I’ll show you how much a ‘rookie’ knows. Try not to fall into any pit traps. They’ve usually got something nasty at the bottom.”

“Glorious,” Chrysalis muttered. She was going to demand a pay increase once this was over.

Author's Note:

Chrysalis is a bad enough dude to rescue the Princess.

Or at least that's what she's telling herself. She's been starved for love for years now, barely scraping by, and now she has to deal with an actual combat situation using what dregs she has left in her tank. Maybe she'll live long enough to apologize to Cadance for getting her kidnapped.

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