• Published 15th Jul 2017
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The Black Sheep - Irrespective



How far are four Guards willing to go to ensure the safety of the Kingdom and the Crown?

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III - The Heist

Private Light Hooves was really feeling the depression now.

Why?

Because it was ridiculously easy to sneak around the Palace.

The four of them moved through the hallways with only the bare minimum of stealth. Pokey had provided all of them with saddlebags and canvas shoes that made their footfalls silent on the marble floors in place of their usual golden armor but they had taken no other precautions.

Occasionally they would duck and cover as a Guard would walk by, but other than that they pretty much walked through unopposed. Pokey himself seemed to practically skipping through, as if it was just a pleasant walk through a sunny park on a mild spring day.

During the planning, Pokey had said this would be the easiest part. He had watched and mapped out patrols during his days off, and he knew every schedule and every rotation, down to who was in what squad. He had also surmised the cleaning schedule, so they knew when the support and cleaning staff would be working and when they would finish. Light Hooves hadn’t totally believed him when he’d shown them all this, but now it was glaringly obvious how right he was and how deficient the Guard really was. He could see, in his mind’s eye, some pony just hopping through the defenses despite being bright pink and singing show tunes.

Onward they pushed, however, and upward until they reached Celestia’s private wing. This was the middle, and slightly more difficult part. Two guards stood on either side of her doors, their eyes sweeping the hallways for any intruders. Hidden in a perpendicular hallway, the four stopped and then paused as Pokey surveyed around the corner carefully.

“All right.” He whispered. “Two guards, easy enough. Time for the Smog.”

Hooves pulled out two golf ball sized pellets from a pocket on his stealth boots. Light Wing and Clover began flapping their wings as gently as if they were providing a Breezie breeze, and they adjusted the angle of thrust at Pokey’s instructions to ensure the breeze would drift down the right hallway. Once all was ready, Pokey nodded to Hooves and he popped the pellets right in front of the two pegasi.

The only indication that the pellets had worked was that they quickly began to disintegrate. Pokey had warned them that the sleeping gas pellets were tasteless, odorless, and completely undetectable, so with the pegasi breeze it made knocking the two guards out a cinch. No pony moved until they heard armor and spears crumple to the ground, and a quick peek around confirmed that the two were out like midnight.

The Pegasi flapped a bit harder to clear the remaining fumes and then the four walked down the hallway and up to Celestia’s doors. The third part was going to be the hardest, and Hooves took a moment to pull another pellet out of his boot while Pokey put his ear against the door.
After a few anxious moments, he nodded to the others and then gently pushed the left door open.

Light Hooves found Celestia’s personal chambers to be unchanged from the tour he had been given as a Cadet back in Basic. The soft crackle from the fireplace accented the serene mood quite nicely, so much so that they found Celestia herself snoring softly and peacefully from behind a desk, having somehow fallen asleep standing up. A stack of papers and scrolls were scattered before her, and her horn was mere millimeters from impaling some dreadfully dry proposal. Her regalia had been thrown haphazardly across her bed and without it, she looked almost like a normal, mortal pony, one who lived a normal life and had normal dreams and did normal things.

The thought was interesting, but Hooves shook it away as he pocketed the pellet. The four then crept around Celestia and took up their positions. Pokey had been quite through in this stage of planning, and each member of his squad now had something specific to do. Pokey’s instructions began playing in his head again as they made their moves.

The largest threat will be Celestia’s mouth. He recalled, as Clover went airborne and carefully and silently slipped a muzzle over hers. The first instinct anypony has when they find themselves being assaulted is to scream, and Celestia can scream, especially since she perfected the Royal Canterlot Voice. If she opens her mouth, it’s all over.

The second threat is her horn, as Wing also silently flew up to gently slip on a suppressor ring. The next natural instinct for her will be to use a repulse spell, anything that shoves the attacker away from her. I don’t need to tell you how powerful her magic is. We’ll find ourselves in Los Pegasus if she gets a magic blast off.

Next will be her legs. He recalled, as everypony pulled two halves of a shackle out of their bags. You might think it would be her wings, but she hasn’t flown in ages and her wings, though powerful, aren’t going to cause the amount of damage her legs are.

On the silent count of three, four pairs of shackles moved to clasp around Celestia’s knees. This part of the instructions had confused Hooves, but Pokey had been patient in his explanation:
Wrapping up her ankles works fine if the shackles are tied to a post or a wall or if we could chain them together; but chains are too noisy for what we’re doing and without them there’s nothing to stop the movement of her legs. By restricting her knees, we take out her ability to both kick and run. The worst she could do is hobble away from us, if she can get upright.

Hooves held his breath as his shackle softly closed, then clinked as the lock engaged.

And then Celestia’s eyes popped open.

The sequence of events that followed happened with such dizzying speed that it was only after everything was over that Hooves managed to get a hold of what had occurred.

Sure enough, Celestia had first tried to open her mouth to scream, while simultaneously trying to fire off a spell. The muzzle held firm against her, preventing the Royal Voice, and Hooves had seen extra magic pour into the bottom of Celestia’s horn before it flowed up, hit the suppressor ring, then ran back straight into Celestia. Her eyes somehow got wider after the one one-hundredth of a second it took her to realize her voice and magic had failed her, and it took another three one-hundredths of a second for her to both flare her wings and kick with her legs.

The attempt at kicking with a rear hoof knocked off Celestia’s balance and sent her down hard in reverse and to her left side. Her eyes somehow went wider, but she still thrashed as much as she could with her legs and began to sweep her wings in a wide and furious arc.

Clover and Wing had to gain altitude quickly to avoid the furious flapping, Hooves was forced to retreat a step back to keep from being impaled, but Pokey was not so fortunate and he caught the leading edge of one wing square in the chest, sending him airborne for a few moments before he landed with a crunchy sounding thud by the fireplace. This motivated Celestia to thrash harder, and she now looked something like a bird who had hit a pane of glass. Hooves, however, saw what was trying to do: Her wings were providing lift and she was trying to fly. All she had to do was move ten feet to her balcony, and one of the perimeter patrol pegasi were bound to see her and come to her rescue. In the half-second he had to contemplate this, Hooves realized he needed to pop a sleeping pellet and get her knocked out.

What actually happened made Private Light Hooves an inglorious legend.

He pulled the pellet quickly from his pouch, deftly swept down and under a wing then reached up quickly, but instead of popping it in her face he managed to shove it right up Celestia's left nostril with a squelchy sounding hhnph!

Celestia continued to flail and thrash as much as she could, but now her left eye twitched violently and she tried – vainly – to reach up and remove the obstruction that was assaulting her royal nose. After five or six seconds of this, her eyes rolled back in her head and she flopped with no further protest.

The two pegasi landed next to Hooves and Pokey slowly approached from behind. Each took a moment to admire Hooves’ hoofwork, and then all three turned to look at him. Clover and Wing both looked like they might explode with laughter; and Pokey gave the Private a look that was both amused and horrified.

“You shoved the pellet up her nose?!” he whispered harshly.

“I wasn’t trying to!” he whispered back in defense. “She moved right into it!”

“That’s not going to injure her, is it?” Clover whisper-asked.

“No. She might sleep for twenty-four hours or so and have a severe case of dry nostril but she’ll be fine otherwise.” Pokey whispered back. “Let’s get her out of here.”
The wing restraints were added quickly, and then a Celestia-sized burlap bag was produced and she was not-so-gently placed within it. Having completed that, Pokey nodded to Clover, but she pouted and groaned softly.

“Are you seriously going to make me do that?!” she quietly protested.

“Yes I am. Hurry up; perimeter patrol will be swinging around soon. It’ll work, trust me.”

“Trust him.” She muttered, as she silently walked out to the balcony. After scanning the sky and finding no patrol, she moved out a little further and then glanced towards Checkpoint Beta. A lone guard, looking bored and almost asleep, stood by the gate; his spear nearly slipping from his grasp. Clover went airborne by a foot or two, focused on the guard and then shook her head.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” She muttered. Refocusing on the guard, she gasped theatrically, feigned surprise, pointed to the sleepy guard, and then whispered in a hopefully convincing tone of shock:

“You broke a Pinkie Promise!”

Instantly, the bushes next to the guard began rustling. Clover couldn’t believe it! That had actually worked?!

“WHO BROKE A PINKIE PROMISE?!” the bush shouted. A bright pink pony suddenly launched out of the bush as if shot from some sort of party cannon, and the poor guard was knocked head over hooves for a good five feet before landing on his rump. The pink mare grabbed both of his shoulders, and with fire in her eyes, began to shake him violently.

“It was you, wasn’t it?!” she shouted at him. “C’mon, buster! Confess! I’ve caught you red-hooved! Don’t deny it!”

“I don’t even know what I did!” he blubbered with the shaking.

“Clover!” Pokey hissed. “Get back here!”

Clover flew quickly back in, and the four waited for a few moments as they heard foot guards move towards the commotion. After another few moments, the pegasi on duty flapped by their field of view, and they could hear the poor guard still getting the sense shook out of him as more guards tried to pull the manic pink pony off of him. Their shouting was so intermingled that they couldn’t make out what exactly was being said, but once they heard wings flapping furiously they knew it was time to move.

“Remember, take her to the safe house as quickly as possible.” Pokey instructed, as Clover and Wing grabbed a corner of the sack, thus making it look like a giant brown banana with four white legs. “We’ll be there as soon as we can to help you get her tied down.”

They nodded, and then took off. Hooves and Pokey moved to the archway between the balcony and the room and watched as they dropped low, cleared the outer fence, and then silently flew away into Canterlot’s night. Once out of sight, the two of them moved back through the room, but Pokey paused for a moment to place a single piece of paper by Celestia’s regalia.

“What’s that?”

“Just a note so they don’t worry about the Princess.” Pokey replied. “Let’s go. Pinkie Pie is going to be irate when she finds out that Pinkie Promise was a false alarm.”

The two slipped out of the palace the same way they snuck in, but with even less stealth since it appeared that every guard pony on duty had responded to the ‘incident’ out by Checkpoint Beta. With none the wiser, the two moved through the empty Checkpoint Charlie and off towards the safe house.

“Sarge? Did we actually just pull off the Black Sheep?” Hooves had to ask, as they moved into a steady trot.

“Yes, Private. We did.” He replied with pride.