• Published 21st May 2016
  • 995 Views, 30 Comments

Gems - Moheart7



Created from gems by an evil being, six chaotic creatures suddenly find themselves under the watchful eyes of the Mane Six as they discover that they may very well have a choice between following their evil purpose, or becoming something better.

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Chapter 5: Tak's Hostile Takeover

By the time Rainbow dash and Twilight managed to make a landing, though in Twilight’s case it was more like crashing since she still hasn’t gotten used to speedy entrances yet, the Entire City of Canterlot looked more like a ghost town rather that the bustling metropolis both of them were used to, and needless to say the very atmosphere made both ponies extremely uneasy.

“Sweet Celestia,” Twilight gasped, gazing upon the vast emptiness of her surroundings. “This place really IS empty.”

That was putting it mildly in Rainbow’s opinion, even with her keen senses, she could find a single soul in these empty streets, no matter where she looked there was nothing, the roads: nothing, the parks: no one, it had to be one of the most unnerving scenarios Rainbow Dash had ever found herself in… not that she would actually admit it, of course. Shaking off any shivers they had, Twilight and Rainbow then proceeded to walk towards the direction of the castle, of course the reason as to why they didn’t FLY directly there instead of making the landing in a nearby park was mostly because they didn’t want to cause any panic. After all, with an evacuation THIS big, then anyone who might have still been here would have definitely been on edge, and a pair of ponies just flying up to the castle wouldn’t have made things easier for them. Still, even if they did fly directly there, it still wouldn’t have made things any easier on their nerves.

“So why do you think Celestia wanted the whole city evacuated anyway?” Rainbow asked, mostly wanting to start a conversation in order to bring some sound to the vast silence that surrounded them.

“I have no idea,” Twilight admitted. “But that’s what we’re here to find out.”

Seeing the stern gaze upon the Alicorn’s face, Rainbow Dash knew that Twilight was dead-set on finding answers, and every pony knows that when Twilight is on a mission then there was no stopping her. After a few minutes of walking, the tension in the air wasn’t becoming any easier on the two ponies, suddenly Rainbow Dash managed to spot something from the corner of her eye, something which caused her to react by raising her hoof and blocking Twilight’s path.

“Hey what are you…?” Twilight tried to protest, only to have Rainbow Dash’s hoof cover her mouth and silence her.

“Quick!” Rainbow Dash snapped in a hushed tone. “Behind the bench!”

Before Twilight could object, she suddenly found herself being pushed away by the Pegasus, soon being pulled behind a nearby street bench. Needless to say, Twilight was instantly confused as to why Rainbow felt the need to hide in an empty street, however as soon as she took a quick peak over the top of the bench she realised that the street WASN’T as empty as she first thought.

“What the hay?” she gasped as she saw the strange assortment of creatures that came strolling around the corner.

Needless to say, seeing these little creatures in the flesh was nothing short of astounding, granted she and her friends read about them in the newspapers recently, but actually seeing them strolling by made Twilight feel like she could just grab one and examine it just to learn everything she could about them. However curiosity aside, she also knew that despite their sparkly appearance, she also knew that they were also dangerous, given the exact details of what she read in the paper.

“It’s those creatures from the papers,” Rainbow Dash uttered, also recognising the creatures for what they are. “The ones who trashed Manehattan.”

“Some of them anyway,” Twilight added, giving a small nod.

That certainly was the best way to describe the group of Gemnites that were walking past the bench at this very moment, to be more accurate there were only six of them in total but still even at those numbers they still outnumbered Twilight and Rainbow Dash three-to-one. And even though they could take on a whole hoard of Changelings at a certain point, they had no idea just what these gem-encrusted canines were capable of, so for the moment the best choice of action was to stay hidden. It wasn’t much in terms of cover, but thankfully the bench was enough to avoid their gaze due to them being too preoccupied with their own conversation.

“Come on Topaz!” the whited-furred one called out from behind her, judging from the way was heading the group Twilight assumed she was the leader. “You’re gonna make us late again!”

It was then that the blue-furred one, wearing sunglasses made from Sapphires pinched the bridge of her nose in annoyance.

“Tell me, Crystal,” she said with an irritated tone in her voice. “Why do WE get stuck with the crazy one again?”

At those words the leader, who Twilight now knew was named Crystal, rolled her eyes.

“Because no one else could handle him,” she replied bluntly, as if she had answered this question so often that the subject of the matter was becoming boring for her.

Neither Twilight nor Rainbow dash could believe what they were witnessing, not only were these creatures intelligent enough to hold up a decent conversation with each, in a language both of them understand no less, but they also have names and recognise that one of their own is somewhat bizarre, it certainly was a far different display than the hordes of manic little monsters they have read about in the newspapers. One by one the Gemnites simply walked by without a care in the world, leading the pack was their leader, Crystal, followed by the blue-furred one, then one with purple fur that what could only be described as a giant compared to the others, making him look more like a regular diamond dog. Then there were the trio of canines that brought up the rear, namely a lanky green one wearing a brown fedora, a red-furred one with an expression so timid-looking that it would give Fluttershy a run for her money, and finally there was the shortest one with the bright-orange fur, given the fact that the very same stones had encrusted most of his body, both Twilight and Rainbow assumed that THIS must have been Topaz.

“Topaz do this, Topaz do that,” he rambled before shouting at the top of his lungs. “I’m not a trained pet, you know!”

At those words, the green one encrusted with emeralds merely chuckled.

“No buddy,” he said, playfully giving Topaz a small noogie. “You need WAY more maintenance than any pet.”

After Topaz managed to free himself from the chokehold he found himself in, he couldn’t help but let his insanity shine through as a small cackle.

“Heck yeah I do!” he stated. “Yahahahahahahahaha!!!”

It was at this point, Topaz felt the need to start running ahead of the group like a lunatic and start kicking random objects, causing most of his comrades to roll their eyes with discomfiture.

“Oh Topaz,” the red one sighed, placing a paw over her eyes to shield her embarrassment.

The green one on the other hand, merely chuckled with delight.

“Oh lighten up Rubes,” he said, delightfully wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Let the joker have his fun.”

At those words, the blue Gemnite scoffed.

“Oh yeah, says the guy who’s still drunk from that case of wine he stole yesterday,” she said sarcastically, causing the green one’s eye to twitch with aggravation.

“It was CRYSTAL BERRY CRÈME!" he snapped. “Do you have any idea how hard that is to come by at this…”

It was then that their voices began to fade as they walked further away from where Twilight and Rainbow Dash were hiding, once both ponies were sure that they were once again alone in the street, they finally came out of hiding.

“Creepy things aren’t they?” Rainbow Dash asked, feeling the need to make comment of the situation.

Twilight merely nodded at that, indicating that she agreed, however there was something a bit more pressing upon her mind right now to think on the Gemnites themselves.

“Looks like they came from the castle,” she stated, taking note as to the exact direction the creatures were walking away from.

“You sure?” Rainbow Dash asked, her eyes widening with surprise.

Once again Twilight nodded, she may not have had as good an observation skill as Rainbow Dash when it came to her surroundings but she knew the streets of Canterlot like the back of her own hoof, and there was no denying the direction of where those creatures came from. And if those creatures WERE at the castle, then it could only mean that the situation must be worse than either Twilight or Rainbow first imagined, which means that they needed to get to the castle NOW. Now breaking into a small run, both ponies wasted no time in getting themselves in the direction of said castle, however just as soon as they finally reached a few yards away from the main drawbridge, that was when they both hit yet another snag in their plans.

“Hold up Twilight!” Rainbow Dash blurted out, dragging the Alicorn behind yet another bench. “Look!”

Now that they were closer to the actual building, it soon became clear that neither pony was going to get into the castle so easily, especially given the fact that instead of the usual royal guards, someone Twilight EXPECTED to still be here, even more of the same gem-encrusted Canines seemed to be mucking around just outside the front gate.

“More of them?” Twilight exclaimed, feeling the need to smack herself upside the head for not expecting such a thing. “How are we gonna get inside?”

Hearing this, Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but give out a small smirk.

“Well, they don’t have wings, do they?” she asked, smugly flapping one of her wings for emphasis.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out just what Rainbow Dash was implying, after all Twilight was the one who suggested the same method to get to Canterlot in the first place, so why not use it to get inside? Still, even as both she and Rainbow scrabbled to find a safe spot that was secluded enough to take flight from, Twilight’s mind continued to be plagued with thoughts of her mentor, why were monsters sitting at her front door? Were they what possessed her to evacuate EVERYPONY, including her own royal guard? And most important of all, was she okay?

#

“Oh my…”

Thought were the only words Twilight could muster upon seeing just what had become of the interior of Canterlot Castle. After taking off a few buildings away and flying through the air for about ten minutes, both she and Rainbow Dash finally managed to find a way in a few floors up, to be more specific, they found one of many shattered windows that seemed to riddle the entire floor and then some. What’s worse, as soon as they were able to fit through one of the larger holes, careful as to not cut themselves on the broken glass, they were both met with the horrific sight of a destroyed hallway, not only were suits of armour and furniture scattered all over the place, many of which were also broken due to the fact that someone decided to either throw them against the wall or out of the broken windows, but also any paintings that decorated the walls were now victims of terrible vandalism from spray-paint marks to deep gashes made by claw marks. Needless to say, the entire atmosphere reeked of a scenario gone terribly wrong.

“Whoa,” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, her jaw dropping in shock. “This place is totally trashed.”

In Twilight’s opinion, Rainbow was only putting it mildly for she had never seen such devastation since her old library was burnt to oblivion a while back. What’s more, upon seeing such destruction, such chaotic disorder, both Twilight’s mind and heart knew just what it had to mean, if she wasn’t sure about it before she certainly was now. Celestia KNEW something was wrong, she knew and she sent the entire City away just for their own protection, yes, that must have been it! But even if everyone else had been evacuated, there was no knowledge that SHE evacuated with them, which only meant one thing…

“Princess Celestia!!!” Twilight yelled, her eyes filling up with tears of terror at the very idea that her mentor was in danger.

And just like that, before her friend had any chance to even blink, Twilight broke into a gallop and began running towards the direction of the throne room, where she hoped she would find Celestia, undaunted by the amount of danger that may lay before her.

“Twilight, wait!!!” Rainbow Dash yelled out, running after her.

However no matter how many times the Pegasus called out to Twilight, her cries fell upon deaf ears as the Alicorn continued to run through the halls of the castle. Finally after an unmeasured amount of time, Twilight finally stopped running and came to a stop just outside the large double doors leading to the throne room, she didn’t know whether it was her own personal respect for the Princess’s grandest room that made her stop, or the fear of what she may find on the other side of the doors coursing through her body, but either way, Twilight couldn’t help but dread going inside. Rainbow Dash on the other hand, was more than eager to go in there and beat the living tar out of whatever beast is standing in their way, so naturally she was the one who stepped up and took the lead after finally catching up with Twilight.

“Well, at least those little freaks aren’t guarding THIS door,” she said, forcing a small smile. “Come on.”

Of course Rainbow wasn’t going to let Twilight know how terrified she really was, she had too much of an ego for that, still, that didn’t mean she was going to be reckless so obviously she was going to take the sneaky approach… especially since she could hear a few muffled voice coming from the other side. Upon carefully pushing one of the doors a few inches, Rainbow Dash was able to create a small gap just big enough to take a small peak into the room, her jaw dropping the instant she saw just what was going on inside.

“Whoa,” she exclaimed. “Twi, you gotta see this.”

Instantly reacting to her friend’s request, Twilight wasted no time in lowering her head closer to the floor and also taking a peak into the room. Much like Rainbow Dash, she too couldn’t help but feel somewhat surprised as she saw just who was occupying the room, to both of them the best way to describe the scenario that was happening before their eyes was as if Pinkie Pie threw one of her parties and it went seriously wrong on so many levels, not only was the room itself just as trashed as the rest of the castle was, but also the amount of carnage that was STILL occurring was just as hard to watch. What’s more, there even more of those gem-encrusted monsters dancing around and acting like they didn’t have a care in the world, however as it turned out, they weren’t the only ones in the room.

“You know, I recognise a lot of these guys,” Rainbow Dash commented, her gaze fixated on some of the ponies that occupied the room.

Now that Rainbow had brought it up, Twilight also had to admit that she too recognised a few faces here, though not from personal interaction, much to her relief.

“Yeah,” she replied, fixated her gaze on the zebra wearing blue sunglasses. “Isn’t that the Zebra who was in the papers 20 years ago, but I thought he was supposed to be in prison.”

Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but roll her eyes at that.

“You know, only YOU would know about a newspaper from 20 years ago,” she remarked, her gaze once again returning to the individuals in the throne room, specifically a trio of earth ponies that seemed to be sharing a large jug of booze amongst each other. “But I do recognise THOSE three, Applejack told me about some bandits her cousin, Braeburn rounded up a couple of years back, and those three kinda look like how she described them.”

It was at this point that Twilight began to wonder just how deep this whole situation went, because Rainbow’s observation seemed to be right on the money in her opinion, first a bunch of creatures take over the castle and now a few known-criminals were thrown into the mix? Just what was going on here?

“This is insane,” she uttered, her head pounding with so much information and confusion simultaneously being thrown at her all at once. “I think every low-life in Equestria must all be in this room.”

“Yeah, but where’s the Princess?” Rainbow Dash asked in response, her mind focusing on the one pony who SHOULD be in that room instead.

However Twilight wasn’t able to give an answer to that, firstly, because she couldn’t figure it out herself, and secondly, because all of a sudden both the doors began to slowly open, causing both of them to quickly jump out of the way as to not be seen by the one who opened them. Thankfully both mares were able to dive behind the door itself just in the nick of time as two individuals came casually strolling into the hallway, of course due to their new hiding place, they couldn’t actually see them, instead, all they had to go on to discover their identity was their voices.

“Now, you remember your task, Charlatan?” one of them asked, his voice all low and slippery, sending a shiver to both Twilight and Rainbow Dash’s spines.

“Yes Tak,” replied the other, this voice more calm and carried a slight accent that neither pony could clearly make out. “I assure you my efforts will not be in vain.”

At those words, the first voice chuckled.

“Good,” it said. “Now you and Razorbeak better waddle off, don’t want to miss your train, do you?”

And with that the second voice chuckled himself and began to fade away as though more and more distance was getting between the two, after a few moments the second voice vanished completely, indicating that whoever spoke was now gone. At first it seemed that it may have been safe to come out of hiding after that, however neither Twilight nor Rainbow had any confidence that the first individual was gone too, so of course they were hesitant, which in turn seemed to end up being in their benefit when they heard yet another voice coming towards them.

“I still don’t get why you brought that fat tub of lard with us,” it said. “I mean, I know he has connections and all, but he didn’t exactly do much when we took over this place.”

It was then that, the owner of the first voice, now known as Tak to the two ponies in hiding, chuckled again.

“You all have your uses, Mister Zeb,” he said, giving identity to the new voice. “YOU have your shadows, the Gemnites have their destructive capabilities, and Charlatan has… let’s just say he has a more discrete assortment of talents, many of which we will need for the future.”

“And what future are you planning exactly?” Zeb’s voice asked, a clear tone of suspicion emanating in Twilight’s ears. “I’ve spent too many years in the dark back in prison and I don’t want to STILL be in the dark when my newly found freedom is being put at risk, which I’m now certain it is thanks to our little… seizure.”

“Have a little faith Zeb,” Tak’s voice responded. “You’ll have all the information you need WHEN you need to know it. Oh by the way, are our guests all tucked up nice and safe?”

Now it’s was Zeb’s turn to chuckle.

“They didn’t even stir when I dumped their sleeping carcases in the dungeons earlier,” he sniggered. “Though I must admit Tak, I never thought someone would have been able to take those Princesses down so easily.”

Upon hearing those words, both Twilight and Rainbow Dash gasped in horror, if they had any suspicions before, then they certainly were confirmed at this point.

“What!?!” Twilight tried to snap, only to have her voice silence by Rainbow Dash wrapping a hoof around her mouth.

“SHH!!!” she retorted, scolding the Alicorn for her sudden burst of foolishness.

As much as Twilight’s reaction was understandable given the circumstances, it was still something that could have put both her and Rainbow Dash in immediate danger, but thankfully neither individual seemed to take notice of their presence and proceeded to continue with their conversation.

“By the way, I gotta ask, why keep them alive?” Zeb voice asked, causing both ponies to look at each other with surprise from their hiding spot. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not usually one to get blood on my hooves or anything, but all you’ve been taking about since you sprang me from the clink is how you’re gonna make Celestia pay for what she did. No offence but I would have thought you would have… well done a lot worse.”

At those words, both Rainbow Dash and Twilight clearly heard an angry growl coming from this Tak-person, clearly something Zeb said had touched a nerve.

“Believe me Zeb, had this been for my own personal benefit I would have eaten all three of them in one sitting,” he said, earning himself a gulp of fear from both mares behind the door. “However it is not MY vengeance to take, there is… another who deserves to make the final blow. Until then, all three of them stay alive, understood?”

That last part of the sentence, Tak’s voice raised in volume, almost as if he were shouting, not so loud as to cause an echo within the halls but enough to cause Zeb’s voice to utter a small whimper.

“Y… yes sir,” he said fearfully.

After that no other words were said, for the next few minutes there was nothing but silence from the other side of the door and needless to say, both mares quickly became more anxious, finally unable to take any more waiting, both of them then decided to take the risk and step out of their hiding place, thankfully to their relief since Tak and Zeb were now nowhere to be found. After getting some distance between themselves and the throne room, only one thing was etched into their minds now.

“Please tell me I was just hearing things back there,” Rainbow Dash asked, desperately wishing that whatever came out of Zeb’s mouth was a lie.

Of course Twilight wasn’t going to let this bit of news slide, in her mind, there was now only one course of action.

“We’ve got to get down to the dungeons, NOW!”

#

Unlike the rest of Canterlot Castle, the dungeons wasn’t what one would call a decent place to hang round, in fact one could say that it was the polar opposite of the normally regal atmosphere of the city outside, it was dark, it was damp, and it stank like a sewer whenever it rained for some reason. Of course there wasn’t a lot of need for such a place since it was quite rare that any pony would even dare try to commit any kind of crime within the confines of the castle itself, thus the main reason why it was so small compared to the rest of the rooms in the building. However at this point in time, at least one of the cells were occupied, namely three certain Princesses that now lay unconscious in the shadowed corner of a single cell, and just outside it’s door, a single Gemnite that was tasked for guard duty. He was a stout little Gemnite, a bulldog-like canine with muddy brown fur that was encrusted with yellow garnets, and a large underbite that for some reason he felt the need to use as a hook for the keys, with the flabby parts of his face drooping down like curtains, it was very hard to tell whether the large iron ring filled with keys were actually there or not. After being given the duty as a guard, the Gemnite in question was obviously going to become bored very quickly, so it was only natural that at this moment in time, he decided to pass the time by hacking up loogies and seeing how far he could spit them before they hit the ceiling above him, that is until he heard a faint whistle coming from the main door to the dungeons, followed by a whisper.

“Come on doggy,” it said, beckoning him over like he was a lost puppy. “Come on, that’s it, good boy, yes, we’ve got a nice bone for you.”

Needless to say, the Gemnite was curious, and as much as he hated being treated like an actual dog, his curiosity wasn’t going to allow him to ignore the voice, especially if it meant escaping his boredom.

“There you go,” the voice continued. “Bit closer, bit closer, attaboy, come on, you filthy, slimy mangy, little… Oh.”

At was at this point, that the Gemnite growled in anger and hurriedly opened the door, revealing the lavender Alicorn giving him a sheepish smile upon seeing that she had been caught.

“Ooh, you gonna pay for THAT little comment, missy!” the Gemnite growled, cracking his knuckles.

But then, Twilight’s sheepish smile was instantly replaced with smug grin, thus bringing some confusion to the Gemnite.

“You first,” she said, confusing the Gemnite even more.

It was then that the Gemnite soon found out just what Twilight meant when she said such a thing, for at that moment he sudden found himself get kicked in the face by a sudden blur of colour, within a matter of seconds, Rainbow Dash had then pinned the Gemnite against the stone floor and began yanking the keys out of his mouth, much to her disgust when she realised how much of a tendency the mutt had to drool.

“Man, these guys are total idiots,” she commented, shaking off the slobber off the ring of keys. “Whose bright idea was it to put THIS guy in charge of security anyway?”

Twilight couldn’t help but roll her eyes at that, however she couldn’t dwell on it now, the main objective was still to find the Princesses and get out of the Castle before they were discovered by anyone else. Finally after a few moments of searching each cell, both mares finally found a certain white shape sticking out of the shadows inside one of them.

“Princess Celestia!” Twilight exclaimed, instantly recognising the purity of her mentor’s coat even in a place like this.

However even as she turned the key and opened the cell door, something seemed… off about this whole situation, at least in Rainbow Dash’s opinion, it was only until she got a little closer to Celestia’s sleeping body, that she fully realised how bad it truly was.

“Uh… Twilight?” she said, looking over her shoulder at Twilight with an expression of horror plastered across her face.

Needless to say, that look alone put Twilight on edge, and as such she needed to see just why Rainbow Dash had such an expression. Using her horn to bring some light into the cell, Twilight’s eyes widened with horror as she saw just what had become of both her mentor and the other two Alicorns that lay beside her. Actually, Alicorns was a word that could NOT be used to label any of them now, for there was nothing about their new forms that could give them such identification, anything Alicorn about them was all but gone. Looking over their sleeping bodies, Twilight could see no horns nor wings, not even their royal jewellery and crowns on either Celestia, Luna OR Cadence, not only that but while Cadence’s appearance was pretty much the same save for the wings and horn, both Luna and Celestia were altered in a far more drastic manner. In Luna’s case, she basically appeared like she had when Twilight first met her after Nightmare Moon’s defeat, her coat was a little fairer in colour, and her mane and tail were no longer a flow of stars but rather a simple mop of light blue hair, not only that but she also seemed to have shrunk down in size, if she were to stand up she would most likely be the same height as Twilight. Celestia on the other hand, had changes that were far worse, not only was she now the same size as Twilight, but she too was now baring a regular mane and tail instead of her usual flow of colours, to be more specific, all that was left now was a mop of long, regular hair that consisted of only one colour, a light shade of blue that used to be part of her original mane but now completely overwhelmed it. But worst of all, each and every one of them had a blank flank, not a single one of them had a Cutie Mark between them, in a nutshell, the three no longer looked like regal Alicorns, but rather nothing more than regular, markless Earth Ponies, and needless to say, the shock of it all was becoming too much to take.

“Oh my…” Twilight uttered, tears of terror welling up in her eyes as she couldn’t find any other words to say.

Was THIS what that Zeb character meant when he said that Tak took the Princesses down? Just what did he DO to them? Whatever it was, it obviously put all three of them into a state of exhaustion, almost as though every ounce of energy had been drained from them, and why was CADENCE here? Was the situation so dire that Celestia needed to summon her for extra support? Either way, the appearance of her sister-in-law only worsened the emotional blow Twilight was taking at the moment. Obviously Rainbow Dash was feeling the fear too, albeit not as much as Twilight was, but still it was bad.

“Are they…?” she asked, not really wanting to say the words that plagued her curiosity.

Thankfully Twilight managed to put at least some of the Pegasus’s fears to rest with a shake of her head.

“No,” she said. “They’re still breathing, a little worse for wear but alive.”

Rainbow couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief upon hearing that, still that didn’t stop her from worrying about the Princesses current condition.

“What could have done this?” she thought aloud.

Upon hearing those particular words, Twilight’s look of fear changed to a scowl of anger.

“Not what, WHO!” she growled, grinding her teeth with fury ad she turned her head towards her friend. “It was that Tak character, the one who was talking to Zeb upstairs, HE did this!”

Now it was Rainbow Dash’s turn to scowl, for she shared in her friend’s anger, as a Wonderbolt AND an Element of Harmony, there was absolutely no way that she was going to let some invader get away with something like this.

“Well then,” she said. “I say we find him and beat the living tar out of him, make him reverse whatever he did!”

Granted it was a vague, somewhat reckless plan, but Rainbow Dash’s determination was still admirable, and it was certainly an attitude that Twilight could easily get behind given the circumstances. However it was then that both of them heard yet another voice enter the conversation.

“NO!” it snapped, instantly surprising the two mares.

It may have sounded hoarse, almost out of breath even, but the moment she heard those words, Twilight recognised the voice in an instant. Quickly turning her head back towards Princess Celestia, who at this moment was beginning to open her eyes, she may have been severely weakened but her spirit was just as strong as ever.

“Princess Celestia?” Twilight uttered, instantly kneeling down at her mentor’s side.

But even though that Celestia’s spirit may be unbroken, her body was still trying to recover for what has been done to her, so for the moment she was feeling a little disoriented.

“T… Twilight?” she uttered weakly, forgetting for a brief moment that her student was even there. “No… you… you need to run, now!”

However, Twilight wasn’t going to have any of that.

“No Princess, we’re not leaving you!” she retorted, her determination to free her and the other Princesses remaining unshaken.

Of course what neither Twilight nor Rainbow Dash knew at the time was the fact that Celestia wasn’t referring to the current situation of the castle, but rather the situation that was happening right now in the dungeons with them.

“Well, ain’t that just a pretty picture,” said an unfamiliar voice.

Before either pony had a chance to react, Rainbow Dash suddenly found herself being bucked into the side by an unseen attacker, sending her flying into Twilight in a heap on the floor, after that both ponies heard the loud clang of metal from the door behind them. After quickly recovering, both ponies were shocked to see a trio of Earth Ponies standing just on the other side of the bars, namely a certain gang of Appleoosan bandits that were enjoying a drink upstairs but a few minutes ago.

“Looks like that Zebra’s shadow-spies made good on their usefulness,” May Bell stated smugly. “Seems like we missed one of them Princesses, Pa.”

At those words, Twilight couldn’t help but smack herself for being so careless, of course breaking the princesses out wasn’t going to be this easy, after all, why would the only security guarding the true rulers of Equestria be just a dog with a key in his mouth. There must have been some kind of spell or something that she overlooked, whatever the reason, it had clearly alerted some of the villains that were partying upstairs and thus decided to lead them down here. Although if she had to be honest, Twilight actually wished that it was someone other than these foul-smelling ponies, seriously, do they even know what a bar of soap is?

“And ah dare say, that there Pegasus is darn purty,” Cornpoke chuckled, giving Rainbow Dash a goofy grin, causing Rainbow Dash to physically gag at the very sight of his yellow teeth. “Hey, can ah keep her, Pa?”

However that little question only earned Cornpoke two responses, a look of disgust from Rainbow Dash, and a smack across the head from his father.

“NO!” Moonshine snapped, making sure his son felt that whack across the head for his trouble. “Y’all can head up and tell Tak we found ourselves another Alicorn all penned up in here! Maybe you can have her if he don’t want her for dinner or something.”

Needless to say that statement only made Rainbow Dash’s stomach turn even more, not only was some repulsive Earth Pony seeing her like she was some pretty object to play with, but his father didn’t seem to be all that different in his attitude. What’s worse, the two now seemed to be concerned with bringing the big boss down here, and obviously Twilight wasn’t just going to just stand here and wait to be this Tak’s next victim.

“If you think that we’re just gonna sit here, you’ve got another thing coming!” she stated, earning a loud snort from May Bell in response.

“Oh yeah?” she chuckled. “And what makes y’all think that you are gonna go anywhere?”

At those words Twilight couldn’t help but smirk, granted she may have overlooked the potential threat whilst coming in, but there was one thing she knew that the Brittles didn’t.

“Because you’ve all failed to realise something,” she said, her grin growing ever more so with each passing moment. “While these cells were built to keep anyone inside no matter what magic they may have… the security spells only work if you actually lock the door.”

Then at that very moment Twilight’s horn began to pulsate violent with her magical aura, seconds later a blinding light flashed within the entire dungeon, blinding the Brittles for a brief moment, when they were finally able to open there eyes again, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and to their infinite horror, even the three Princess had all vanished. It was then that both Moonshine and May Bell realised what Twilight meant when she said her parting words, and looked at Cornpoke with a stern glare since HE was the one who was still holding the keys to the cell door he had failed to lock after kicking Rainbow Dash in.

“Oops,”

That was all Cornpoke had to say in a sheepish manner before receiving yet another whack across the head from his father.

“Dagnabbit, Cornpoke!” Moonshine yelled, hitting his son a second time. “Can’t you do nothing right!”

“Sweet Nelly, Tak’s gonna have our hides for this!” May Bell whimpered, frantically chewing her own hoof out of stress.

However Moonshine wasn’t going to give in just yet.

“They won’t get far,” he declared, his gold tooth showing in full view as he grit his teeth with anger. “Even them fancy Alicorn Magics got their limits, they won’t even make it past the castle walls.”

Both May Bell and Cornpoke couldn’t help but gasp upon hearing that.

“You sure, Pa?” May Bell asked hopefully.

In response, Moonshine scowl quickly turned into a wicked smile, a plan of action quickly formulating in his mind.

“Oh absotivly,” he said. “So… shall we have ourselves some sport, youngins?”

Upon hearing this, Moonshine’s son and daughter instantly put on a smirk of their own. If there was one thing they liked more than anything it was whenever Moonshine said those exact words, because it always meant something exciting was about to happen for them, better still, if it meant that if it would get them out of trouble with Tak then they were obviously going to jump at the chance.

“Hehe, ah likes it when they run,” Cornpoke chuckled, feeling the need to dance of the spot in a goofy manner.

Seeing that his two children were rearing to go, Moonshine then wasted no time in giving his instruction.

“May Bell, give the holler!” he cried.

And with that his daughter’s smiled widened and she screamed two words.

“HABADIHOO, GEMNITES!!!”

As soon as those words left the Earth Pony’s mouth, every hall in the castle above them began to echo with the snarls and inane laughter of the oncoming swarm.

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