• Published 19th May 2013
  • 2,314 Views, 94 Comments

Pony Und Panzer! - Diceman



Cutie Mark Crusaders pilot Silly weapons of war.

  • ...
3
 94
 2,314

Chapter XI: Sisterly Sacrifice

Chapter XI:Sisterly Sacrifice

Wild Fire blushed momentarily, quickly changing her tone to appear as if she misheard Scootaloo. "Are you lost, little filly? Are you looking for your parents maybe?" Wild Fire took a step back, trying her best to appear confused.

"N-no." Scootaloo replied, holding her head as if she were in great pain. "I- I think you're my big sister."

"That's not possible. I uhhh...never even seen you before." Wild Fire replied though she wasn't to sure of her own ability to lie.

I swear Gerald, I'm going to kick you square in the bean bags if that spell breaks. Wild Fire thought as she approached Scootaloo.

Scootaloo stumbled back. "No- I know you." Scootaloo closed her eyes and flash of a memories of her being hugged tightly by the pony in front of her. She started to remember a name when she heard a call in the back of her mind, the sound of her mother calling a name...

"Elly, Scootaloo, it's almost lunch time." The voice said.

"Y-you're real name, is Elly Loo." A surge of details flooded her mind, making her nearly collapse from the strain. "You're the eldest daughter of Vespa Loo and my older sister." Scootaloo stumbled and fell over, being caught by Wild Fire before she landed face first in some grease on the shop floor.

"You okay Scoo- I mean, kiddo." Wild Fire had look on her face of pure horror. She knew Scootaloo knew exactly who she was, still she had to keep up the charade just in case the spell protections triggered.

"Who are you trying to fool here? Me...or yourself." Scootaloo said wearily.

"Oh, what to do. What to do." Wild Fire realized she wasn't going to fool anypony. "Listen. I need to get you to a special doctor very soon. If you are remembering me forcefully then there's a very real chance you are going to get sick."

"I- I don't care. I finally found a living family member. I finally found out that I have a sister." Scootaloo hugged Elly, tears drenching her coat. "Why did you leave me alone all those years? Didn't you even remember me?"

Elly bit her tongue. One part of her wanted to spill the beans, to be with her sister after such a long separation but the other part was a surge of duty. Staying hidden was the best way to protect Scootaloo from the enemies she didn't even know she had.

"Spread out, find her! Our informants told us she would be somewhere in this district today. If we find the eldest then the younger will not be far off." Something was shouting outside, it sounded as if it came from above.

Elly's ears stood up and her feathers fluffed out. "That's not good, if they find me here they will definitely find her."

"Find who?" Scootaloo asked.

"No time to explain now. I need you to follow me." Elly stuck her head out the shop briefly, a trio of griffons were flying above, occasionally diving down to check on random shops all down the street. "Scootaloo, press that green button to the left of the battery. I want you to press it hard then tap the button twice."

Scootaloo looked around the floor for something green and indeed found it under a workbench by an old battery, just as Elly said. "What's going on? I don't understand." Scootaloo said.

"Listen, there are some very bad griffons after me. We need to get out of here." Elly slowly closed the bay door and locked it from the inside. "I'll explain once we are safe."

Scootaloo nodded and pressed the button as instructed. A door on the bay floor opened up, revealing what looked like and old storage cellar of some kind. Before Scootaloo could ask what was down there she felt herself be grabbed around the midsection and tossed down into the cellar where she landed with a thud. She looked up to see Elly jump down and frantically press a red button on a panel on the wall.

"Close, close damn you!" The ceiling above slowly closed, closing just as a loud bang hit the bay door.

"What's wrong?" Scootaloo said.

"Shhh, keep your voice down. One of them spotted me through little window on the bay door." Elly said as she looked toward the back of the cellar. "Keep quiet and follow me." Elly moved toward an old brown and grey door at the back of the cellar. "This used to be an old war shelter, there's a tunnel that leads out of the city and into the old mine system below it."

Next to the door was a red lever. Elly pulled on it with all her might but to no avail. "Help me with this will you?"

"Okay." Scootaloo hopped up and pulled on the lever with all her weight within moments the lever began to move but not in the way either intended it to. Instead of it coming down and opening the door the lever snapped like a twig, sending Scootaloo crashing to the ground and shards of rust all over the cellar.

"You okay?" Elly said while picking Scootaloo up, checking her for injuries.

"I'm fine but was that lever the only way out?" Scootaloo stared at the door, upon further inspection it looked horribly rusted.

*Clang*Clang*

A noise above brought Elly's attention to the room above. "Shit, they are tearing through the aluminum door." Sure enough the clangs were being replaced with the sound of sheering metal, like talons on a chalkboard.

"This isn't good." Elly backed up toward the rear of the cellar, motioning Scootaloo to follow.

"Who are those griffons?" Scootaloo asked.

"They are class S tracking agents, assassins and kidnappers if you will. They are here to take me and you, away." Elly sat down next to Scootaloo and embraced her in a hug. "Listen Scootaloo, if they find us down here I'll do my best to fight them Off. I want you to make a run to the nearest city guard you can find. No matter what don't look back and don't help me."

*Kring*

The sound of the hinges on the bay door echoed throughout the shop and soon Elly and Scootaloo could hear the sound of talons colliding with the floor above.

"Fan out, I can smell the scoundrel was here recently...or maybe she is still here."

***Meanwhile***

Luna leaned closer to the door, resiting the urge to kick the door down and confront Gerald's guest about Scootaloo. The way he was speaking about her was suspicious, but until she knew more it would be improper to ignite a confrontation.

"Come on Gerald, think of the treasures that will open once we have the keys, you could be an exceptionally rich and powerful pony." The deep angry voice said.

"That heirloom somehow found its way into your dirty claws but without Elly's cooperation it will never work. I dare say you should just return it to her family, it was never yours to take from the ruins of their home to begin with." Gerald replied, sounding extremely agitated and protective. "Now if you will please leave me to my work. We have nothing else to discuss."

Luna wondered what he could mean by heirloom, there was nothing in the history books that even mentioned such a thing. Why would the Loo family not put it in a bank where it would be safe?

"You know Gerald, our agents have discovered a few of the safe-houses of the elder sister, Elly Loo. If we cannot get the information from you then I am sure we can 'persuade' her to give us what we need."

Luna gritted her teeth angrily. She knew a threat when she heard it.The idea of Scootaloo's sister being threatened or hurt infuriated her to no end. Black shadows began to flow around Luna's horn, the floor began to warp under her and even the paint on the walls was peeling off and setting fire. Luna focused her magic on the door and with a twist of her head ripped it clean off the hinges.

"You will do no such thing!"Luna roar. Luna stomped into the room, her magic singeing some of the papers around her. Some of the older books began to smoulder.

"P-princess Luna! Calm down please, some of these records are irreplaceable!" Gerald shouted as he tried to stamp out some fo the flames.

Luna noticed a flash of feathers make for the window but she quickly grabbed whatever it was with her magic and flung it out into the hallway, slamming it up against the wall behind her. Luna turned around to confront a large muscular built orange and grey griffon in what looked like military attire.

The griffon coughed, clutching his chest in pain. "H-how dare you attack a delegate of the griffon kingdom, I have diplomatic immunity! I will see you hang-" The griffon looked up into the white glowing eyes of Luna and went silent, his beak quivering with fear.

"No, Please go on about how you Equestrian granted immunity protects you getting your hide roasted by me." Luna said. Luna scorched the wall next to the griffon with her magic. "No, please. by all means attack me. I dare you."

"Luna, don't. Breaking diplomatic immunity would cause an international incident of astronomical proportions." Gerald complained.

Luna turned to Gerald. "I don't care Gerald. You may be willing to let this scoundrel threaten an Equestrian citizen but I will not stand for it." Luna turned her head back to the terrified griffon. "You have exactly thirty seconds to tell me where your companions are before I teleport you to the dungeons and forget where I placed the key."

"I-I can't, I'm not privy to the location of *gurk*"

Luna lifted the griffon up by the throat with her magic and slammed his head into the wall.

"Please stop, I don't know anything!" The griffon begged.

"Princess Luna! I will not have you doing such barbarous things in this law firm! I demand you cease this at once!" Gerald stepped forward, his chest puffed out only to receive an angry glare from Luna, making him step back fearfully.

"If you cooperate I will let you go free, but if I so much as get a hint that you are lying, it's off to the dungeons with you." Luna sat down staring angrily at the griffon who just barely managed to pull himself up from the crumpled heap he was earlier.

"T-They said they were starting with the safe-house in this district then moving on the the shop district and eventually the airship docks. We heard she has multiple safe houses in this city and in the countryside." The griffon looked at the open window behind Luna but thought better of trying to escape, less he end up slammed against another wall.

Luna fired a spell at the griffon and in an instant he was gone.

"Luna! What did you do to him!" Gerald protested.

Luna turned to Gerald, her eyes going back to normal. "I wiped his memories of this event and sent him back to the border between Equestria and the griffon lands, without any of his identification or passports." Luna levitated a passport and a diplomat ID card in front of her and set it on fire with her magic.

"I am astonished at your lack of manners, Luna." Gerald protested.

"Good, but you should be disgusted at yourself for letting him threaten an equestrian citizen like that." Luna said.

"I deal with some of the worst of the worst criminals in Equestria, I hear talk like that all the time. So much so that the royal guard stopped bothering to investigate such things but that aside who is going to pay for the damages you caused?" Gerald pointed to the singed papers behind him and then to busted wall opposite the door.

"I'll deal with that later. I need to make an appointment with your for this afternoon. You can work out the specifics but it needs to be today. In the meantime I need to find Scootaloo." Luna Closed her eyes and searched for the location of the necklace Scootaloo was wearing.

"Princess? Is this to do with the Loo estate by chance? You know I'm not allowed to say certain things about it, at least not while under contract." Gerald said.

"I don't care Gerald, Scootaloo's safety is my primary concern. I will grant whatever immunities you need to spill the beans." Luna found a trace of the necklaces magic on the opposite side of Canterlot. It seemed to be underground slightly and the condition of the user was...panic. Pure panic.

"Very well Luna I-" before Gerald could finish his sentence, Luna disappeared in a puff on blue smoke.

"Well then, I guess I get the fun part of cleaning feathers, ash and blood off the floors and walls." Gerald grumbled.

***

"Sir I have found a switch of some sort." One of the griffons yelled, pointing at a switch on the floor near an old battery. "Shall I press it?"

"Hold it, the last time we pressed one of her hidden switches I was tared and feathered by the triggered trap. You know how hard it was to discern the tarred feathers from my own? I spent the next week in pain trying to get it all off of me." One of the other griffons complained.

"Stand aside, I will press the button." The griffon stepped on the switch and the floor moved under them ever so slightly.

"A Hidden room perhaps?" One of them asked another.

"I don't know, this is an engineering bay. Maybe it is just a broken jack of some sorts?" Another pondered.

Below them Scootaloo and Elly had their ears up against the wall, listening in on the griffons conversations.

"Well at least the override held out, but if they keep jabbing at it it just may give anyhow." Elly said in a low whisper.

"Why's that?" Scootaloo asked.

"The circuitry and hydraulics for this building are close to fifty years old now. They could short it out and it would go to emergency mode, meaning it will open up." Elly looked over at the old circuit box on the wall.

"Couldn't you fix it to where it doesn't?" Scootaloo said while staring at the circuit box across the room.

"Maybe if I had been smart enough to bring a tool or two with me down here, but even if I did it would leave us with another problem, being trapped down here." Elly put her ear back on the wall.

"Sir the switch is sparking, I think we may have shorted it out!" One of the griffons said in surprise.

"Well don't stand near it you imbecile. The last thing I need is to have to carry one of your hides to the infirmary for electrical shock."

"Shit!" Elly said louder than she wanted, quickly covering her mouth. "Double shit!" she whispered soon after.

"Did you hear that commander? I think there's something below us." One of the griffons said and is clawed at the floor.

"I heard it, and I would know that foul mouthed voice anywhere. You hear me 'Wild Fire' you will not get away like last time." The largest and most decorated of the griffons began to stamp on the button under the table and slowly the floor began to slide back bit by bit. Enough to where one of them could get a claw down to help pry it back.

"Listen, the second that thing is open enough I'm going to fight them, I want you to fly away as fast as you possibly can." Elly walked up underneath the claw that was pressing the ceiling back, jumped up and bit down on the griffons leg, hard.

"Ahhh! Dirty little!" One of the griffons pulled his leg out from the opening and blew on his leg. "She bit me sir, that little runt bit me!"

"Sis I can't fly!" Scootaloo whispered.

"Sonuva... okay then plan B, bluffing them, then you run." Elly whispered back.

"Hey jerkfaces! I have a ten thousand watt Tesla coil down here with your name on it if you open up that door any further." Elly yelled.

"Sir? How should we proceed?" One of the griffons asked, a hint of nervousness in his voice.

"You won't be." Another deep, female voice came from behind them and when the griffons turned around they were within spitting distance of Luna.

"You have exactly ten seconds to run before I put my size eight horse shoe right up each and every one of your behinds." Luna stepped forward, her eyes beginning to glow hot white.

"I don't know what you're talking about Princess. As you can see me and my consulate members were just investigating this abandoned shop for a possible purchase. The old embassy is getting a bit cramped lately." The commander of the griffons said as he stepped forward, flashing his diplomatic badge.

"You are not fooling anypony here. I managed to extract some information from one of your comrades about your purpose here. like I said, you have ten seconds to leave before I start busting heads." Luna said as she began to mouth a countdown.

"Don't be fooled, she's just the weaker pampered younger sister of Celestia, she's no threat to us. Besides, we have diplomatic immunity, she can't do anything to us without causing an international incident." One of the lower rank griffons said arrogantly.

"You have a point. There are four of us and only one of her. There is no way a pampered princess can beat the griffon kingdoms finest." The griffons quickly spread out in a frontal arc across the bay doorway as to not all be directly in Luna's line of fire.

"Back down princess or we will be forced to ...deal with you in the most unpleasant of manners." One of the griffons flashed his large sharp talons in a threatening manner.

"Are you all touched in the head?" Luna smiled. "You have no idea what you're getting yourself into."

Down below, Elly and Scootaloo were listening through the crack in the ceiling.

"Is that princess Luna? What in blazes is she doing here?" Elly asked.

Scootaloo shrugged and then remembered the necklace she was wearing. "Oh, I think she sensed I was in distress from the necklace she gave me."

"Oh, you're friends with the princess? I thought you just had gaudy fashion sense." Elly said jokingly.

"We have to get out there and help her. I don't want to see her get hurt." Scootaloo said while staring at the over ride button.

"And what do you expect to do exactly? The only reason I was going to attack them is they need me and you both alive and can't use full force. Normal griffons are bad enough but those agents could seriously injure, even kill a full grown pegasus with ease." Elly said.

"She's most certainly right, Scootaloo." Scootaloo jumped up, looking for where the voice she just heard came from.

"Settle down sis, it came from your necklace." Elly said while pointing at the gem in the necklace, which had taken on a red glow.

"Luna? Are you sure you shouldn't just run away or call some guards or something?" Scootaloo asked.

"No, these mongrels will learn the hard way." Luna replied.

Up above the ground began to shake, arcs of black lightning began to dance across the street around Luna's hooves. The griffons around her suddenly had a change of heart, a couple of them backing away.

"Sir, she looks dangerous." One of them said.

"Non-sense, our unicorn power index put her at just over a thousand points, much stronger than normal but still only enough to take on a couple of our agents at most." The lead griffon charged forward only to be knocked back but a blue bubble of purest black that had formed around Luna.

A pair of white hot eyes shined though the black mist around Luna's body and soon a piecing cold voice echoed though the street. "Do you really think your trinkets can judge the true nature of my power? That toys made in a single mortal lifetime can even fathom the kind of power obtained through centuries of discipline?" A cruel laugh echoed down the street, sending shivers down the griffons spines. Some of the shop owners down the street stepped out to see what all the commotion was only to immediately retreat into their shops, closing the metal shutters with utmost haste.

"Screw the theatrics, take her!" The lead griffon commander charged forward with two other agents, the fourth taking to the skies for a possible aerial attack but as the group got to the outside of Luna's bubble it popped, sending a wave of shadow in all directions. Large chunks of concrete and asphalt where flung clear though building walls, steel shutter doors whined and warped with the pressure wave given off by Luna and her attackers ended up scattered around the street. Moments later her body erupted in a puff of black smoke and the night sky above began to grow dark.

***

Celestia picked up her cup of tea as she settled down to read the newspaper when she felt a surge of magic around her horn, snapping the teacup into little pieces.

"Luna?"

Celestia ran to the nearest window and opened it, she had felt this surge of power before, knew it all too well the first time it happened. Looking over the city she could see dark clouds forming not to far from the airship docks. "No, she's out of her mind, she's letting her emotions get the best of her!" Celestia dived out the window, spreading her wings and flying as fast as she could toward the airship docks.

I pray she doesn't lose control. I told her not to use that power unless her life is threatened.

Elsewhere other Unicorns where beginning to feel the same thing as Celestia. Dinky, while working her duties for extra credit dropped a cake on the floor in the hallway.

"What's wrong lassie?" Red asked as she helped the filly up.

"I feel something...something terrible and heavy. It feels like it can suck the sun right out of the sky!" Dinky began to sweat nervously.

"I think yer just feeling the effects of too much pie, I told ya that last bit of pumpkin pie looked funny." Red said as she picked up Dinky and set her on her back. "I'll get ya to the infirmary."

***

*Pffft* Fancy Pants spewed out tea onto the ground and began to cough uncontrollably.

"Dear are you alright..." Fleur Dis Lee began to stumble but was quickly caught by a still coughing Fancy Pants.

"You feel it too don't you dear?" Fancy Pants said as he managed to walk Fleur over to a chair, setting her down before pulling out a handkerchief to clean around his mouth.

"What is that, it's...so overwhelming." Fleur felt a tingling feeling in her horn coming from the other side of town.

"It kind of feels like Princess Luna but far more primal and far heavier." Fancy Pants set his handkerchief on the table and looked up, the sky above the other side of Canterlot was turning black as night.

"Oh my..."

***

"Ow, what was that for, egghead?" Rainbow Dash said as she rubbed a spot on her head where a wrench just hit her from above.

"You're not feeling what I am Rainbow. I remember feeling this before, in the Everfree Forrest, a terrible power the evening of the day we first met. But this time it feels stronger, far more heavy than before. It even dwarfs Celestia's power..." Twilight Sparkle stared out the garage door toward Canterlot, sweat running down her face.

"Hey egghead, I came here to help you with the suspension on this wreck, not stare starry eyed out the- oh, wow..." Rainbow Dash stared out the garage door at Canterlot and the ominous black cloud that had formed over one side of the city. "What is that, Twilight?"

"Luna." Twilight replied as she looked down on Rainbow Dash. "Or more accurately, Nightmare Moon."

***

The lead griffon fell the the ground, gasping for air as the whole atmosphere around him felt as it it was made of liquid iron. It was unbearably hot, as if they were in a volcano and as the smoke cleared he saw his comrades were faring no better. One of them was out cold, struck in the head by what looked like a solid fragment of concrete from the street. His other two comrades were nursing injuries of their own, one had a toe on his claw blown clear off and the other seemed to be pulling himself out the side of a building or; judging by how warped the building was, a former building.

The smoke in front of him was popping and cracking. Bolts of black electricity shot out, occasionally knocking out a street light or blowing out a tail light on someones parked scooter. As he staggered to his feet he began to perform the silent signal to his companions for a full retreat when a voice called out from the smoke cloud in front of him. A voice so cold that it made him freeze in something he had not felt in a long time; fear.

"Leaving so soon?" the voice said, making his heart skip a beat.

The smoke cleared and before him stood not princess Luna but a mare of blackest night, one much taller and thinner than Luna. not only was she taller and lightly built but she donned ornate light blue armor, a helmet that covered the top of her head down to her snout and all the way back down her neck. It had little openings on the top for her ears and horn, which was far different to Luna's; it was thinner, longer and ended in a sharp point. Her chest was covered by armor that had many open spots on it and a crescent moon in the center. Her legs also had what appeared to be shin guards.

"Sir, that isn't Princess Luna. We have no data on reports of such a creature." One of the griffons said as he pulled out a strange looking scanning device.

The commander wasn't convinced. It had the same mane as Luna and he had heard rumors that the Princess could transform but not exactly what she looked like when she did.

"Not Luna you say?" The black mare said as she spread her black wings and opened her eyes. "There are only three known Alicorns in existence. My sister Celestia, Princess Cadence and myself, although I go by another name while in this form."

"So that old tale is true, Nightmare Moon does exist." The commander said.

"Sir? I don't follow." on of the other griffons said as he scanned the air with a strange device.

"There is a legend that there was a creature that nearly killed Celestia many centuries ago. I believe this is the creature in question."

"Sir, you're overreacting. My scanner puts her power index at only one thousand and six. There are high range unicorns stronger than that." The griffon looked at his device, something was off.

"Hah! One thousand and six? I can take something that weak in my sleep!" The griffon missing a toe lunged forward, his front leg outstretched as he reached for Nightmare Moon's throat.

"No, stop!" The commanding griffon yelled.

"Impudent mortal!" A flash of black light hit the charging griffon, lifted him into the air and slammed him into the street so hard that his body slid back a couple yards, taking several inches of asphalt with him before he came to a rest next to the commander.

"I figured, she was hiding the bulk of her power to lure us into a false sense of security." The commander leaned over his fallen comrade and checked his pulse.

"Sir, it appears in my dazed condition that I ummm, fumbled the power index calculation a bit. I uhhh...was kind of holding it upside down. her power index is over nine thousand."

"What!? Nine thousand!" The commander shouted.

"And I'm not even remotely warmed up." Nightmare Moon jogged in place, clearly mocking her attackers. "Come now, you can do much better than that."

Sweat began to roll down the commanders face. There are greater elder dragons, ones thousands of years old that can't even hold a candle to her power. He stared into Nightmare Moon's eyes, her snake-like unblinking and cold emerald eyes. This wasn't anything like Luna. Those were not the eyes of a benevolent ruler, but those of a mare that would kill them without so much as a second thought. There were two options left for him and his still functional comrade; fight a losing battle or retreat and leave the others to this creatures mercy.

"Retreat, there is no victory here." The commander said.

"But sir, what about our comrades?" The other griffon said as he pointed out the other two unconscious griffons.

"Leave them, Equestrian interrogation tactics are weak and even if they managed to get info out of them it's not like they know anything anyhow." The commander nodded at his subordinate and they both took to the air.

"Really now? You act all tough, attack a being many times more powerful than you, try to kidnap a filly under my supervision and yet you still think you can get away with it." Nightmare Moon unfurled her wings and arched her back legs when a shout from behind her made her stop cold.

"Princess Luna!" Celestia was up in the sky, glaring down on Luna with white hot eyes.

Nightmare Moon turned around and glared at Celestia. "Do you mind? I was busy capturing fillynappers."

Scootaloo peeked out the floor to see what was going on. Celestia was angry, really angry. Her mane and tail where completely different, they looked as if they were made of fire. Her body changed as well, little sparks of white fire occasionally licked of her coat and her body was covered in what looked like armor made of dried lava covering her body in the same way Luna's armor did.

"Even so, did you need to resort to using THAT power? You know how hard it is for you to control yourself in that form." Celestia said sternly.

"Why do you always underestimate me? I was using my power for the greater good and yet you still berate me?" Luna replied with a snarl.

"Look around you. If you had been just a second late with reining in your power at the end of the transformation you would have injured every pony within a city block, even killed some of the ones closer to you." Celestia pointed to how all the building around Luna had started to buckle forward, many of them missing doors and windows.

While Luna's attention was centered on Celestia the two remaining griffons took flight. Moving though the sky with the utmost haste.

"But I didn't now did I? Your pestering allowed those fillynappers to get away." Luna puffed her wings angrily.

Scootaloo crawled out of the hidden room, much to Elly's surprise. "Are you out of your mind? It's super dangerous out there. Those two look like they are about to butt heads and you will be in the middle of it!"

"I know, I fight with my friends sometimes too. That's why I have to break this up before it gets past arguing." Scootaloo ran into the street and inhaled deeply.

"Are you stupid or something!?" Elly Yelled behind Scootaloo, trying to fit through the small opening but unable to get through.

"Stop IT!" Scootaloo yelled.

Nightmare Moon turned around, her eyes glowing white. "Who dares yells at me to-" She stopped mid sentence. In the middle of the street was the very filly she nearly committed murder to protect. "I- I'm." Nightmare Moon closed her eyes. Her black coat slowly fading back to the night blue, her armor falling off and evaporating in a puff of smoke and when she opened her eyes it was not the cold sharp emerald eyes, replaced with the soft dark cyan of Princess Luna.

"Luna?" Scootaloo asked apprehensively.

"Yes. I'm...sorry for that outburst. Keeping my temper in check in that form is...difficult, to say the least." Luna smiled as she approached Scootaloo. "But I'm glad to know you're safe from those filly nappe-"

Before either Luna or Celestia could react one of the formerly knocked out griffons grabbed Scootaloo around the waist and held a single talon to the young fillies throat.

"Stay where you are or the filly gets it!" The griffon pressed his talon against Scootaloo's throat, drawing a small amount of blood in the process.

Luna bared her teeth and her coat began to darken again. Her cold voice echoing down the street as she gritted her teeth in rage. "If you so much as even move to execute your plan...let's just say that I will leave you in a void, begging for death for the rest of eternity!"

Celestia swooped down, her molten armor blocking Luna's approach. "Calm yourself Luna! This is not the kind of situation to be using brute force."

Luna paused then sat down on her haunches seeming to realize that her power wouldn't make a hostage situation any better.

"Good, allow me to handle this." Celestia turned to the griffon and began to transform back into her usual self. First the molten armor falling off and evaporating. Then followed by her mane, tail and eyes returning to their normal, rainbow colors. "Tell me what I need to do for you to let that filly go."

The griffon thought for a moment, moving his claw from Scootaloo's throat. "My wing is busted. I need a flight out of here. I let the kid go and umm...." the griffon looked around until he spotted a small, single engine prop plane parked in a garage on the opposite end of the street.

The griffon pointed down the street at the plane. "I want that vehicle towed to the edge of this district to the runway, provisions for a couple days an-"

*Thunk*

The griffon swayed back and forth and then collapsed on his side, unconscious. Luna taking advantage of the moment, fired a beam from her horn, quickly teleporting Scootaloo to her side.

"Why do the bad guys always have to be long winded and never check their backs?" Elly was standing up on her back legs with what looked like a bumper jack grasped firmly between her front legs. "I mean really, I couldn't possibly have been louder lugging this thing around." Elly tossed the bumper jack on the ground and spit on the unconscious body of the griffon she had just knocked out. "Jerk, lucky I couldn't find the bolt gun in my shop. No pony threatens my little sister like that."

Luna stared at this pompous pegasus for a moment. She knew she had seen her somewhere...or sometime before. "Wait, I know you."

"As do I. Luna, I want you to get them to a safe place in the castle. I need to stay here and deal with the torrent of reporters that's bound to show up." Celestia looked up and down the street and sighed. "And all the property damage."

"Agreed. Shall I summon the guards to pick up the would be filly nappers?" Luna said as she stared at the two unconscious griffons on the street.

"No, if I know my elite guard they should be here right about..."

Suddenly a dozen gold armored Pegasus swooped down from the sky and landed right next to Celestia, each one standing at attention and saluting her.

"Now." Celestia said while smiling. "Sargent Bricks, you're all of half a second late. What kept you?"

"Sorry your majesty, me and the men had taco night last night and lets just say the latrine is going to need a plumber soon." The Sargent looked around the street. "I'm assuming these griffons are the trouble makers?"

"Yes. I want them in class S lock down after you have a medic treat their wounds." Celestia said.

"And the mare next to the bumper jack?" Bricks asked.

"She is under Royal protection until further notice, same goes for the filly next to Luna as well." Celestia pointed at Scootaloo and the Sergeant nodded in agreement.

"As you wish." The royal guards said in unison.

"Luna, move both of them to my personal quarters. I will need to speak with them shortly about...well, where she has been." Celestia glanced towards Elly.

Luna nodded in agreement.

Elly seemed apprehensive, as if she knew explaining herself was going to be difficult but a welcoming wave from Scootaloo eased her nerves and she approached Luna.

"Don't worry Elly. Luna is not a bad pony, she doesn't bite...well, I guess she more explodes but that's ...kind of a different thing." Scootaloo said as she tried to reassure Elly that nothing bad was going to happen.

Luna turned away, blushing. "Well, I ummm...I guess filly napping is one of my buttons."

Elly walked up beside Luna and bowed gracefully before her. "If you hadn't shown up when you did, I'm not sure I could have fended them off. I can always out fly them but I wasn't expecting my sister to find me today."

"You are welcome but you have some explaining to do, come." Luna nodded for Elly to get on her right side.

Elly apprehensively got on the other side of Luna and closed her eyes. "Make it quick, I never did get used to moving around this way.

Luna nodded and with a puff of smoke they teleported away.

Celestia sighed, Crowds of reporters began to flood down the street as well as ponies coming out of their buildings. Some of them distraught, others absolutely livid about the damage Luna had caused. "Bricks, you did bring my royal checkbook with you right?"

Bricks pulled out a gold and silver checkbook from under his breastplate. "I grabbed it when I was informed your sister was involved. Property damage is kind of her thing I hear."

Celestia rolled her eyes as the first few reporter ponies began to shove microphones in her general direction. "Undoubtedly."

***

"So, can't you just tell me why you never visited? Or why being my older sister you didn't try and live with me? Or why you so much as didn't send a letter? Or why I didn't even-" Scootaloo was cut off by a popping sound behind her. She turned her head to the sound to find Celestia had entered the room, her mane ragged and bags beginning to form under her eyes.

"Luna, you allowance will have to be cut. Mine as well, my hoof is killing me from writing all the checks to fix the damage you caused." Celestia walked over to a pillow on the floor and collapsed into it.

"We have been waiting patiently for your arrival. Elly had requested a elderly unicorn to come and cast a spell on her. At first I didn't allow it but she told me that a spell she put on herself disallowed her to speak of certain events. A binding silence spell of sorts." Luna looked at Elly suspiciously. "Or a way to erase memories."

"Enough of that Luna, conspiracy theories will not help anypony here. Elly, after the fire killed most of your family, you disappeared. Can you tell us why you left when your family needed you?" Celestia said softly.

Elly sat up, her ears folded back. "What I say must not leave this room, if it ever got out me..and my sister would never have a moments peace."

Celestia's eyes fell on Luna whom nodded in agreement at the same time with her.

Elly took a deep breath. "Soon after the fire and funerals I had an argument with grandma over who would take care of Scootaloo. She told me that she was the better candidate for the job, due to a misprint in the paper stating she had also perished in the fire, that I would be a prime suspect for the griffons pursuing me and Scootaloo."

"Wait...those griffons today have been pursuing you for that long? " Luna asked.

"I am intrigued as well. More so as to why then how long. Or why you never bothered to contact me personally. You must have known your parents could call an audience with me at any time of the day or night and that I would afford you that courtesy as well." Celestia added.

Elly sighed. "Before the fire, dad had completed his prototype airship. A ship he said he should of never designed but did so on your behalf, Celestia."

Celestia stood up and shook her head. "I remember that day, he was vehemently against my request."

"Request? What request?" Luna asked.

Celestia sighed and walked up to the fire on the far side of the room. "A few years before the disaster that befell the Loo family we were having...troubles with the dragon clans south of our borders. Our tacticians and informants told me that even with my power as a fallback for our forces that we couldn't hope to win if they declared war." Celestia lowered her head somberly. "The senate had come to a unanimous decision but I was the one who had to make the final decision. The decision to fund the design of an airship of war."

Luna gasped and stood up angrily. "But the agreement between the griffon kingdoms and Equestria doesn't permit such a thing to be created. I was there when we signed that blasted document!"

"Calm yourself Luna. I am well aware that I was breaking agreements. I didn't want to but at the time the dragons were massing their forces for war. We had to make preparations for the worse case scenario. A scenario that I managed to solve a few months later."

"Explain." Luna said, laying down on a pillow.

"I learned that the leader of the dragons, Tiamat, was a prideful leader and would duel any challenger. So I challenged him to a duel over the Sah'kris desert and he accepted." Celestia said.

"Why such an open battlefield? Dragons are very fast fliers and even an adolescents breath can melt stone, surely that would be the last thing you would like to...oh wait." Luna put her hoof over her face. "I almost forgot about that."

Celestia smiled. "Dragons fire may be lethal but I can absorb it without a sweat in my other form. I picked an open field becuase I knew he couldn't resist taking shots at a large white target in the open air. That he would continue to try and bake me with his fire. That even though elder dragons are fast, they turn like a cow in a shopping cart."

"I suspect you won?" Luna said.

"Barely. I managed to use his own fire on him but her managed to hit me with a large stone before my victory, leaving a large cut under my right wing." Celestia lifted up her right wing and parted the fur and feathers to show a deep scar going down the length of her wingspan. "Only Luna has ever wounded me worse than this. It is only the second time in my life that I had bled."

Luna tried to look away from the wound, although the other two were quite interested in her story and her wound.

"After I had defeated him I had him agree to a binding contract spell. Him and his followers were bound to never make war with Equestria or any nation allied with us for as long as he lives or maintained leadership." Celestia sat back down on her pillow. "Sadly the senate had already allocated the funds and the ship was very far into the design process."

"Dad called it 'Project Ragnarok'. He tried many times to derail it but in the end the senate pushed him to complete it with the funds they allocated." Elly interrupted.

"Exactly, but before it was due to go though testing I put my hoof down. We did not need a war machine and even though the senate resisted I managed to pull enough votes to have the airship stored in a safe place." Celestia said.

"Why not just outright veto it?" Luna asked.

"I try to do things in a less monarch way that in the past Luna. A veto in this day and age would be a right pain in the flank to deal with. I would lose many allies in the senate doing that. Though if I needed to I would have." Celestia said.

"Dad, never the one to waste things created two halves of a locket. Both of them magically sealed unless two members of the Loo family willfully put them together. Doing so would reveal the hidden location of the airship." Elly explained.

"When did they come up missing?" Celestia asked.

"The lockets were in our home the night the fire started. They disappeared after the fire had settled." Elly said in an aggravated tone. "Some unknown faction of the griffons have both lockets, that is why they are after me and you."

"I don't understand. How did they find out about such a device?"

"I don't know. A lot of things never made sense to me or grandma but we had a suspicion that your court had spies in it. What's worse is whomever is pulling the strings of those griffons today has possession of both lockets." Elly said.

"Wait, the only griffon anywhere near your home during the time of the fire was-" Luna stopped mid sentence and watched as Celestia grit her teeth.

"General Ivan Vukov, it must be him. He was one of the few foreign customers your parents had. Exporting dozens of commercial airships to the griffon kingdoms." Celestia said.

"I thought that too at first but it turns out he was being inspected by customs at the boarder when the fire started. He was nowhere near our home. At least, that's what the Police ponies told us when I asked about it." Elly said. "I don't believe it though. Mom did hand him his ass on a platter earlier that day. Still It's kind of hard to set a fire yourself from hundred of miles away."

Everypony fell silent for a short time, each trying to figure out what griffons aside from Vukov could have possibly gotten a hold of the lockets. Each time one of them had an idea it was immediately shot down due to logistical issues. Either the griffon in question was already accounted for or far away from Equestrian soil. The only griffon near that might have known about the project was Vukov.

"I guess we will have to figure the who later." Luna said as she rubbed her temples.

"Agreed. Though I think Vukov is good start." Celestia said.

"I have a few questions of my own for big sis." Scootaloo said. "Like why I couldn't remember you until I met you in person.

"Scootaloo I...I had your memories of me erased in their entirety or at least I thought they were. Gerald hired the mage and he seemed to do a less than admirable job." Elly said glumly.

"Why?! Why would you do such a terrible thing!" Scootaloo cried as she grabbed Elly around the shoulders and shook her.

"Clam down Scootaloo, allow her the room to explain." Celestia said softly.

"After the funeral me and grandma had...something of a falling out. I wanted to take on the burden of raising you myself but she kept telling me that doing so would destroy my career as a mechanic as there was practically no work for my specialty in Ponyville. I tried to argue the point when it was revealed that the lockets were missing. No pony but a few family members knew the secret behind it but the lockets could only ward discovery spells for so long. Whoever stole them would find out what they needed to do within a couple years at best." Elly sighed.

"You...wanted to be with me?" Scootaloo said tearfully.

A tear ran down Elly's face. "Yes, but duty prohibited it. I hired a lawyer though a law firm to go about purging your memories of me. I then set up a un-plotable spell on you, granny and made myself the secret keeper. I then put a binding contract spell between myself and granny, meaning that even if I was discovered I couldn't give the location of Scootaloo or grandma." Elly explained.

"That explains the mage you had in here earlier. You needed to remove certain protections from yourself or face the consequences." Luna said.

"She didn't avoid the consequences Luna. She broke a fundamental law of magic with all those crossed spells; a spell must always have a counter, be it physical or magical. Locking it the way she did created a loop that made it unbreakable so long as neither of them ever spoke." Celestia interjected.

"She's right. There is a very terrible consequence that combination of spells has, accelerated aging. Grandma aged four times faster than she normally would have. This eventually broke the un-plotable spell at the cost of grannies life." Elly wiped a tear away from her eye.

The room was silent for what seemed like an eternity until Scootaloo spoke up. "So...grandma died becuase of me?"

Elly stood up, her ears perked. "No, no, no! Never think such things! Granny knew the risks associated before that loop was made. She did it of her own volition to protect you. The griffons stopped searching Ponyville for you becuase of her sacrifice."

"You made a dangerous sacrifice yourself, Elly Loo." Celestia said. "Instead of finding a secret keeper yourself, you made yourself bait for them to chase after."

Elly nodded. "I had to. After grandma died I set up a living expenses account in my name but had the money delivered though multiple agencies to Scootaloo every month. Even the royal bank of Equestria has its spies. If the money from our inheritance was disappearing with no trace of me then said bankers could be threatened to reveal Scootaloo's location."

"But since it was moving at a slow pace and though different hooves it was difficult to trace." Luna said.

"That and I revealed myself to them intentionally. Having them go after a much harder target instead of filly napping what they would consider target practice." Elly nuzzled up against Scootaloo. "No offense but a pegasus that can't fly is kind of lacking means of escape."

"So...now that the cat's out of the bag does that mean these griffons will chase after us both?" Scootaloo asked.

"No, it means the exact opposite. Elly Loo, you should have trusted me to handle her protection in the first place. What you did could have not only caused irreparable damage to Scootaloo's mind but put others in harms way." Celestia said sternly as she stood up. "However, to keep Scootaloo's identity not only a secret but evade forces that work in the shadows for so long is admirable."

"I think what my long winded sister is getting at is that you made a great sacrifice that you never needed to make to begin with. The royal guard would have easily handed those griffons their rear ends on a bun if we had known she was being chased." Luna stood up as well, stretching her wings.

"You don't get it do you?" Elly said pridefully. "The Loo family has always valued individualism over anything else, I even had my father write me out of his will becuase true Loo's do not like handouts. I wanted my little sister to at least grow up in a peaceful town where the press, royalty, enemies and beggars wouldn't harm or spoil her. I could have used the royal guard as a crutch but if Scootaloo hadn't found me then they would still be chasing me and she would be nothing but an afterthought, a phantom they could never track down."

Elly folded her ears back. "No. Though all those reasons are valid the real reason I did them is becuase I was stupid. I was just a young pony, barely of age to work full time jobs. The combination of my own stupid pride and the loss of everypony I ever loved scared me. I kept making one stupid decision after another. My fear and pride is what made everything worse. I didn't realize that I was playing right into their claws, that they knew exactly how I would have reacted."

Celestia and Luna glanced at one another and then back at Elly. "Everypony makes mistakes. We both have made terrible mistakes, ones we still regret to this very day. The important part is that you learn from those mistakes." Celestia said softly.

"No! I continued to hurt myself for Scootaloo's sake. I was hoping that one day I..I would die so I would stop hurting and they would stop chasing after us. I...I..." Elly began to sob uncontrollably.

Scootaloo edged up close to Elly and embraced her in a hug. "It's alright. I know that feeling, the feeling of keeping all those emotions bottled up for so long. You never got over our parents deaths did you?"

Elly wiped her tears, still sobbing sporadically. "N-no. Grandma was set in the old ways and kept telling me that I had to be strong. That I couldn't show the world an ounce of weakness or it would eat me alive. I had nothing of my parents or family left. They didn't even find the corpses after the fire. I just kept it bottled up inside."

Luna raised an eyebrow for a moment, Celestia noticing her reaction and nodding as well.

Elly hugged her sister tightly. "That's in the past now though. I promise to never leave your side ever again." Elly dried her tears when she remembered something. "Odd question, how did you find me? Or even remember me for that matter? I was told that forcefully remembering me could trigger a coma."

"If my knowledge of spells remains correct. I believe it requires the presence of Celestial level magic to weakest the after effects of certain spells. Maybe Luna's proximity to Scootaloo softened the blow, maybe even repaired the memories passively." Celestia said while winking slyly at Luna.

Luna blushed slightly but quickly turned her head away, doing her best to look innocent. Shit...she knows there's only a couple of ways that happens for a mental spell. I"m so getting a lecture from her later. Luna thought to herself as she tried to avoid eye contact with Celestia.

"That explains the how but doesn't really explain why."

"I started to have dreams about the district you were in. Really fuzzy ones and I figured if I went there I could find a solution to our engineering woes. You didn't appear in any of my dreams until I had a dream while sleeping on Luna's bed." Scootaloo said. "It was really vivid too. Mom was there but there was a scary part that was hot and really really blurry too."

Luna continued to avoid eye contact from Celestia. Well...fuck. She thought to herself.

Originally I was gonna just hire any old engineer to help but after that dream I had to find you. I knew somewhere deep down you were in Canterlot. Luna told me needed an extra crew member for my team and that it had to be an adult, for supervision purposes. I figured if mom knew you then you might know me too. So I asked around Canterlot and somepony with an eye patch directed me to your shop. I was hoping to hire you to help us with construction and testing." Scootaloo explained.

"That would be old Dale. I know almost every mechanic in Equestria by name, I tell them only to send me reputable customers. I guess he saw a little filly as reputable. Or at least not a threat." Elly said.

"I was wondering why you went to such an odd district but sadly I will have to disband your team entirely." Luna said.

"Why!?" Scootaloo said.

"We can't have you at a set place everyday working on a vehicle for a silly competition. Targets that are creatures of habit will always end up as easy targets." Luna said.

"Where did you hear that from?" Elly asked.

"A spy novel of course." Luna replied.

"Actually no, that's a perfect idea." Celestia said with a sly grin on her face.

"What? Have you gone mad?" Luna yelled.

"No, hear me out on this. Hiding her away is exactly what they would expect us to do. If she's out in the open under say, your watchful eye. Well let's just say that demonstration of power you pulled earlier would scare off an army, let alone a few griffons." Celestia said.

"While it is true that I am watching over the competition, but I cannot be in all towns at once." Luna paused. "Wait, I can in a way. I can make illusion duplicates in my stead."

"Exactly. They wouldn't dare to strike again with you there. Even if they know illusions are about, they won't risk it." Celestia said.

"We could also set up protections on their home. I could make it un-plotable again, set up multiple tracking spells, have hidden guards all over town." Luna put her hoof to her chin. "Do you think all of this might be a tad excessive? I don't even think our witness protection programs have that kind of budget."

"You can use our family vault if you need extra funds. It's not like either of us really use our inheritance, short of Scootaloo's living striped that is." Elly added.

"That's very kind of you Elly but I owe your parents a monstrous debt and even if that wasn't true I would do the same for any citizen, regardless of status." Celestia said with a smile.

"It's settled then tomorrow we will-" An urgent knock at the door interrupted Luna.

"Your highness, I have urgent news to report." A deep muffled voice said from the other side of the door.

"You may enter." Celestia said calmly.

A guard that looked like he just ran a marathon entered the room. "Your highness, look what we found on the prisoners!" The guard pulled out a small piece of square gold metal and set it on the floor.

"We found this on one of the griffons we brought in this afternoon." The guard said.

"What is it? Some kind of identifying badge or communication device?" Luna asked.

"We...ran a magical analysis on it. It's worse than that, it's a mind control device." The guard said.

Luna and Celestia stared at the square of gold on the floor and then at one another.

"Things just got a LOTmore complicated, little sis." Elly said glumly.

***Elsewhere***

A tall griffon stood by a window where he watched the sun set. He was an older griffon, probably in his late fifties with jet black feathers and a beak that was oddly missing the point on the end. He wore a dark grey military jacket adorned with countless medals including a single black cross on the shoulder area with a skull in the center. He slowly picked up a cigar on the table and put it in his beak. Her then lifted her right leg off the floor and snapped his talons together, creating a spark that lit his cigar up. He took a long slow drag of his cigar and then turned around, setting it in an astray made of pure silver.

He pulled up a large leather chair and sat in it at a large oak desk. He reached over with his right claw and pressed a green button, a speaker crackled in the silent room. "Bring her in." The black griffon said in a deep voice.

The griffon sat back in his chair, watching his door. Moments later three shadows appeared in the light at the base of the door. The knob turned slowly and two large griffons walked in slowly with a mare in between them. She had a long flowing brown mane, green eyes and a light orange coat. As she walked in the other two closed the door behind her.

"I want you to deactivate the free will blocker in the head region only, turn the other region to hold mode. I don't want any accidents." The black griffon said sternly.

The two other griffons at her side nodded and one of them pressed a very small button on a gold square behind the mare's ear.

The mare closed her eyes and shook her head. "Ow, I felt like a bus hit me...where am I?" The mare looked around and spotted the black griffon at the desk. "Now I remember...You!" The mare tried to charge at the griffon but her body was stiff and unresponsive.

"Let's not have any of that. I am here with a peaceful proposition." The black griffon opened up a drawer on the right side of his desk and pulled out two halves of a golden locket and set them on the table.

"I think we been over this before. That spell only breaks if the two willingly put them together, it knows if we are being forced." The mare said angrily.

"Oh, I am quite aware of that little hiccup. That is why I have decided to give you a gift of sorts. Earlier today some of my men came across a filly that you would be particularly happy to know is quite alive." The black griffon smiled as he slid the locket halves to the other side of the desk.

The mare seemed speechless, her eyes tearing up and her mouth wide open in shock. "S-she made it out of the fire?You must be lying."

"Better yet we found her with her older sister if I recall correctly. Think about it, you merge the locket and train my troops to pilot that prototype and I let you and your whole family reunite under my rule. I mean c'mon, it's not like I'm unreasonable." The griffon said.

The mares face contorted in anger and she spat out a loogie, hitting the black griffon on the beak. "I know for a fact that is a load of griffon shit, I read your book. You want to treat all ponies as second class citizens, fit only for work camps and cheap labor."

The griffon grabbed a handkerchief from his desk and wiped the spit and mucus off his beak. "I do remember writing that but the fact remains that a second class citizen under griffon rule is where ponies belong. At least as a second class citizen you have some freedoms as opposed to what you currently have, none."

"I will never help you. The Loo's would rather die than to ever allow scum like you to destabilize the harmony built by the sweat and blood of Equestrian citizens. You know the saying, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." The mare declared triumphantly. "Go ahead and put that device back on. I would rather not listen to you lies any longer."

"Such a fire cracker, it's the very reason it had your body paralyzed for this little encounter. I would rather not let a repeat of a previous meeting occur." The black griffon pointed to the blunt tip of his beak. "You have a really vicious kick."

The griffon reached into his desk and pulled out some photos and tossed them on top of the desk face up. "You may want to reconsider. These were taken by the Equestria air press earlier today."

The mare looked down on the photo and tears began to form in her eyes. "S-scootaloo? Elly?"

"Soldiers, take her to a isolation room and give her full movement privileges. Lock her in there for a day or so with these photos. She needs time to herself to make a real informed decision." The black griffon handed one of the other griffons the photos and the other one pressed a button on the mare's ear, putting her back into an obedient mode.

The griffons and the mare left the room, closing the door behind them. The black griffon grabbed his now almost half gone cigar and took a long drag from it.

"Checkmate, Vespa Loo."