• Published 30th Oct 2018
  • 1,185 Views, 582 Comments

Ponyville Noire: Kriegspiel—Black, White, and Scarlet - PonyJosiah13



War has come to Ponyville. As a criminal mastermind, a cruel pirate, and a mare with mysterious motives fight for control, Daring Do and Phillip Finder are put to the test with new cases and new foes.

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Case Eight, Chapter Six: Cavalry

The barrel of Star Cluster’s gun stared down at her menacingly, a doorway into oblivion. The same doorway that Daring had stared at a hundred times before. This one was no different. Same strategy: make an opening, take the first opportunity to escape. And try not to think about the fact that a single twitch of his hoof will send you to the next life.

“Wait,” she said, keeping her breathing steady. “The police are surrounding this place. You’ve got no way out.”

“Impossible,” Star Cluster sneered.

“How do you think we found you, dumbass?” Daring snarled. “You think we wandered in here looking to borrow a cup of sugar?”

“She’s right,” Bentley commented, pushing Star’s gun down. “If they're here, the cops aren't far behind.”

A nervous murmur arose from the gathered thugs. “So what the hell do we do?!” one of them asked.

“Hold them,” Bentley instructed. “If we—”

“Hey, you’re not the boss here, jackass!” Star Cluster snapped at him, taking a threatening step towards him. “I’m the boss of the Nightmare Moon Disciples: I’m the one who killed the old bosses! You wanna be a part of this gang, you gotta get used to taking orders from me!”

Bentley held his ground, scowling. Daring started to lift herself to her hooves, but somepony behind her firmly held her down with a hoof on her back and she felt the cold touch of a gun barrel on the back of her head. Gritting her teeth, she forced herself to go still.

“We waste time arguing,” Bentley pointed out. “They're no use to us dead. Alive, they make excellent hostages: the cops wouldn't dare come near us.”

There was a murmur of agreement around the room, which was abruptly silenced when Star Cluster shot them all a glare. “Fine,” he muttered, lighting up his horn. Daring’s pistol was plucked from her holster in an orange aura and deposited into an inner pocket in Star’s coat. “Tie 'em up and —”

The growing howl of police sirens outside arrested everypony’s attention; heads snapped upwards towards the door, cries of alarm rising from throats. One of the Disciples rushed to a peephole in the front wall and peered through it. “Cops!” he cried in alarm.

But underneath all the noise, Daring detected the creak of wood. She looked up. Rainbow Dash was peeking over the edge of the railing, looking down at them. Her eyes darted from thug to thug, as if calculating trajectories and distances.

Daring shook her head firmly, bringing Rainbow’s attention to her. She gestured firmly towards Shoe Shine and Dimmig. The two captives were both trembling in fear, desperate hope shining in their eyes. The huge earth pony aimed his gun at the hostages, teeth gritted.

Daring looked up at Rainbow and emphatically mouthed Wait. Rainbow Dash nodded and ducked down out of sight slightly. Outside, the sirens stopped as vehicles braked outside the warehouse.

This is the Police!” a magically magnified voice that she recognized as Trace’s bellowed. “The building is surrounded! Come out with your hooves up!

“Crap, what do we do?” the pony holding Daring down muttered. She glanced up to see the gun barrel wavering, still pointed in her direction.

“Hold ground,” Star Cluster growled, edging slightly towards the back of the warehouse. “They won’t come in here while we still have hostages.”

Daring looked towards Shoe Shine and Dimmig; the two of them were looking at her, both of them still and quiet, as if knowing that she had something planned. She looked towards the gunpony, who was still focused on the door, considering distance and time. There was, she realized, little chance that she could just tackle him; even at her top speed, he’d have enough time to react, either counterattacking her or killing his captives. She had to stun him for at least a moment…

The boomerang. She felt its weight, tucked into a pocket on her lower left chest. She’d have to get up slightly to reach it, but it was her best option.

Daring turned to Phillip, who was looking at her. His eyes darted up to where Rainbow Dash was hiding, then back to her. She glanced down at the pocket where her boomerang was hidden, then tilted her head at Dimmig and Shoe. He frowned for a moment, hesitation in his eyes, then his face set into determination and he nodded.

"You have to know, with every fiber of your being, that you'll hit it," he whispered. "No doubt. No fear. Make it obey you, just like your own hoof."

Daring nodded and took a breath. She pictured the weapon flying through the air, striking the gunpony in the forehead, stunning him.

Daring felt the hoof holding her down shift slightly, noted the gun pointing away from her. Now! She pushed up with a sudden motion, using all four hooves and her wings. The pony on top of her grunted in surprise and fell off. In a single motion, one that she’d practiced a hundred times before, she reached into her pocket with her right hoof, extracting two items. One, a smoke bomb wrapped in tinfoil, went up into the air: a few eyes that had turned towards them focused on the shiny, moving object.

The second object was the flat carved wooden stick. She held this in her right hoof, gripping it like a pistol; for a strange second, she thought she felt a strange tingle run down her foreleg as she cocked it back, like a ripple of cold water down her skin. She focused on the gunpony: his eyes, pupils nearly eclipsing his purple irides, were narrowed at her, his weapon swinging around to bear.

Don’t fucking miss! she ordered herself and threw the weapon. An electric tingle seemed to leap from her hoof to the weapon as the boomerang left her hoof: even as it flew through the air, she could still feel the smooth, carved wood in her hoof, slightly warm from being in her pocket, and she directed all her will towards directing that spinning stick towards its target even as she dived aside.

With a satisfying thwack, the boomerang struck the stallion dead in the forehead, causing him to stagger; at the same moment, the smoke bomb detonated, causing a thick cloud of smoke to spread amongst herself and the goons. Daring closed her mouth and held her breath as the smoke passed her over, but the Disciples, having been caught off guard, were sent into fits of coughing and choking.

Phillip let out a bark and pushed himself up off the ground with all four hooves, one of his elbows rocketing upwards to meet the jaw of the stallion who had been holding him down; his teeth crashed together and blood flew from his mouth as he reeled away.

Seizing the shotgun that the pony had been holding and twisting it away, Phillip twisted around, swinging the weapon like a baseball bat. The stock crashed against the skull of a dark brown griffon, sending him spiraling to the floor.

With a rush of wind, a rainbow streak sailed down from the balcony and snatched up Dimmig and Shoe Shine, banking around to crash right through the boarded up window. Daring spread her wings and dove at Phillip, but a pegasus Disciple tackled her, trapping her wings. They scuffled, hooves shoving and grabbing, grunts and oaths tumbling from both their lips.

One of his hooves detached itself from her foreleg and went into the pocket of his jacket, drawing a pistol. She seized it in her hoof as she drove her forehead into his face. His nose exploded in a shower of crimson and he reeled away with a howl, his grip on his weapon failing.

Daring reached into her pack; her hoof closed around something cold and hard and she drew it out with a snap of her elbow. The weight struck the pony she was fighting in the jaw with a wet, loud smack and he staggered, jaw dropping and wide eyes staring as he brought a hoof up to his face. There was a pause as both ponies stared in confusion and disbelief at the fish in Daring's hoof.

"Eh, whatever," Daring grunted, and smacked the stallion again, sending him sprawling. Turning, she spotted another pony diving for the dropped pistol. She flung the fish at him, smacking him in the face and blinding him long enough to make him stumble over his own hooves. Guess I'll have to find something else for dinner, Daring thought as she dived for and snatched up the pistol.

"Phil, let's go!" she shouted, spiraling into the air. Phillip grunted in acknowledgment as he deflected a blind knife thrust with his baton, sending his attacker tumbling to the floor with a takedown. Turning, he sprinted at a unicorn stallion who was rubbing his eyes and lifting his gaze upwards, reaching for his weapon. Phillip's baton snapped out and cracked into the stallion's nose, bloodying it and sending him reeling. In a single motion, Phillip leaped onto the dazed unicorn's back and launched himself up off the ground.

Both his hooves grasped Daring's outstretched one. With a grunt, she heaved him up onto the balcony; he tumbled across the floor and sprinted for the open window.

Sensing movement behind her, Daring turned and fired twice as she flew for the exit, striking two Disciples who were drawing their weapons: both of them fell, crying out in pain and clutching their wounds. Thinking fast, Daring then fired two more bullets at the truck, hitting both the rear tires and flattening them.

Phillip dived right out the window, with Daring right behind him. As he fell towards the ground, Daring seized his hoof again, stopping his fall for a brief moment, then dropped him again. He grunted as he hit the ground, rolling to dissipate his momentum, then sprinted for the front of the warehouse, with Daring flying overhead.

A line of black and whites and a familiar Hayson Commander, their blue and red lights spinning, greeted her. Officers were crouched behind the line, as was Rainbow Dash, who Daring noted was untying the unharmed Dimmig and Shoe Shine. She flew down behind a cruiser and pressed her back against the side of the vehicle, suddenly aware of just how fast and hard her breathing was. Phillip vaulted over the top of the cruiser and landed behind her, panting.

"Phil! Daring! You guys okay?" a familiar voice asked. Turning, she saw Red Herring crouching behind another cruiser, with Trace Evidence and Flash Sentry beside him, their weapons drawn.

"We're okay," Phillip nodded.

“How many?” Trace Evidence asked tersely.

“Missed you too,” Daring replied. “A dozen plus. Think I got a couple of them on my way out.”

Trace turned towards the building and lit up his horn. “I REPEAT, YOU ARE SURROUNDED!” he bellowed in his magically magnified voice. “COME OUT WITH YOUR HOOVES UP!”

Suck dick, pigs!” a voice yelled from within the warehouse, his taunt accompanied by the roaring of a Trotson .45. Bullets ricocheted off the cruisers and the asphalt. Flash yelped and covered his head with his foreleg.

Daring crouched behind her cover as sparks flew off the hood of the vehicle; out of the corner of her gaze, she noticed Rainbow Dash crouching in front of Dimmig and Shoe Shine, her wings spread like they were shields for the civilians to hide behind. Her shoulders trembled in shock, but she did not move from her position. A strange rush of pride flew up Daring’s spine; the kid might be young and inexperienced, but she had guts, and she knew what the priority was.

“They never take us up on that offer!” Red snarled.

“All right, we do this the hard way,” Trace commented. “Gas and smash operation, team.”

Two officers plucked silver tear gas grenades from the trunk of their cruiser as everyone else donned small gas masks that they retrieved from pockets on their duty belts. Red pulled two spare masks from the trunk of the Commander and tossed them to Phillip and Daring. She strapped hers on and tested the seal, recalling the simple government-issued mask that she’d taken for herself during the Crystal War. This one, she decided, was far more comfortable, didn’t smell as strongly of rubber, and offered a much better field of view. Phillip strapped his on snugly, then assisted Flash with his; the younger pegasus’ hooves were shaking.

Trace lit up his horn: a small sphere of light hovered at the tip of his appendage, sparkling and crackling with energy. “Stand by!” he shouted, his voice muffled by the mask.

With a chorus of clicks, officers readied their weapons. Phillip drew his own revolver and cocked the hammer, giving Daring a nod. She nodded back, then turned to Rainbow Dash. “Stay here,” she ordered.

Rainbow Dash nodded, continuing to shield Dimmig and Shoe Shine with her wings. The two captives huddled together, trembling.

The sphere of light grew to the size of a basketball. With a grunt, Trace threw it out into the street with a jerk of his head. The sphere struck the ground and exploded into a flare of blinding light directed towards the warehouse, which was suddenly awash with a bright golden light like the sun. Howls of surprise and pain sounded from inside.

“Pincer formation, move!” Trace barked. The officers moved in quickly in two lines, from the right and the left, winding around the wall of cars like ants in formation. Their weapons were trained on the wooden walls of the hideout; in front of each column marched an officer bearing a ballistic shield, the strengthening runes around the edges of the shields glowing faintly. Flash, Trace, and Phillip followed at the tail of the column on the left, while Red and Daring followed the one on the right. The groups stacked up at the garage door, the sphere of light still shining its blinding radiance.

“On three,” Trace announced, nodding to a bulky blue unicorn officer. He grunted and lit up his horn; the air in front of the garage door seemed to harden, and Daring got a strange feeling like she was about to watch a cockroach be squashed by an iron.

“One…”

Weapons were leveled.

“Two…”

The two officers carrying tear gas grenades pulled out the safety pins. A bead of sweat ran down Daring’s brow.

“Three!”

The bulky unicorn shouted and cast his spell. With a great crash, the doorway was smashed inwards as if by a great battering ram, splinters flying everywhere. The tear gas grenades followed up a moment later, filling the warehouse with choking gas. Trace doused the light as they moved in, shieldbearers in front.

The thugs stood in a shocked cluster, coughing and choking on the fumes. The three ponies that Daring had wounded were still lying on the floor, clutching their wounds. One Disciple was stumbling out of the cab of the truck, having obviously been trying to start it. One by one, each of them was shoved to the ground and cuffed. The gas slowly dissipated as the chaos of the arrest ended as quickly as it began.

“That everypony?” Red asked, taking his gas mask off and signaling another officer to head back to his cruiser to radio for an ambulance and a paddy wagon.

Daring cast her eyes about the warehouse, pulling her mask off. Something caught her eye: her boomerang, still laying on the floor where she’d dropped it. She walked over and picked it up: that same tingle of warmth ran down her hoof and she felt herself smiling faintly as she pocketed it.

She glanced around the room again, taking in the faces of the thugs. Everypony seemed to be present, but…

“Where’s Bentley?” she asked. “And Star?”

She glared at one of the Disciples, a green pegasus. He scowled at her, but his eyes darted to the far corner. She looked over into the corner and spotted a faint outline in the dust on the floor.

A trapdoor! She almost rolled her eyes; since when did she start battling villains from Hayana Pones?

“Down there,” an earth pony officer declared, spotting the trapdoor as well. He trotted over and yanked the trapdoor open, aiming his weapon down inside. The tunnel beneath seemed to lead directly into a storm drain, judging by the smell of grimy water and mold coming from within. The officer grunted and started to clamber down into the tunnel.

Daring’s mind was still on Hayana Pones; she was just remembering a chapter where the hero’s sidekick had discovered a similar secret passageway in the villain’s headquarters. And then she remembered another crucial detail from the story just as she noted a faint silver line across the trapdoor.

“Trap!” she shouted, diving forward and shoving the officer aside. She took a closer look at the trapdoor. A trio of very thin strings was strung across the trapdoor, so thin that they could just barely be seen from the right angle.

“Holy shit,” Red Herring breathed. “How’d you notice that?”

Daring smirked at Phillip. “See, Phil? Even cheesy adventure novels have their uses.”

Phillip just rolled his eyes.

With the aid of a flashlight, Daring carefully removed the tripwires from their mountings, clearing the pathway. Donning her night vision contacts, she slipped down into the hole. A short drop and she landed on the walkway of a storm drain about eight feet in diameter. Water roared and grumbled its way past mere inches from her hooves; the brick walls, nearly as old as the city itself, were slick with moss, the mortar crumbling away in many places. She looked up and spotted the trap that the tripwires had been attached to: a set of sawn-off shotguns mounted onto the ceiling of the tunnel, all aimed inwards. She winced to herself.

“Come on in!” she called up. “The water’s ice cold and there are no alligators!”

Phillip lowered himself into the hole, followed by Trace, who lit up his horn bright enough to illuminate the interior for the others. “Sentry! Windgust! Ironside! Jacket! Move it!” he called.

Officers Windgust, Ironside, and Jacket all climbed down the hole after them, clipping on headlamps and switching them on as they landed, but Flash hesitated at the trapdoor, looking down into the darkness nervously.

“Come on, jackaroo,” Phillip said, waiting for him.

Flash gulped and jumped down, gripping his service revolver tight in his hooves. Trace cast a tracking spell on the ground, causing sets of hoofprints to start glowing in the concrete.

“Let’s move,” Trace ordered, leading them all forward. They proceeded down the narrow pathway in single file, with Ironside in the lead, the broad-shouldered gray earth pony carrying his shield at the ready. Trace was behind him, keeping the tracking spell going, with Daring on his tail. Windgust, Jacket, and Flash followed behind, with Phillip bringing up the rear.

Phillip studied the young pegasus, noting his tense shoulders, the way he kept licking his lips and glancing around, double-checking every shadow and crevice, eying the water suspiciously as though he suspected some monster to be lurking beneath the surface. “You okay, mate?” he asked quietly.

Flash took in a shaky breath. “Just...just nervous,” he admitted.

“You’re gonna be fine,” Phillip reassured him. “There’s all of us here with you.”

Flash shot him a very stiff smile that did not come anywhere near his eyes and kept moving forward.

The trail of hoofprints led to a large storm drain, large enough for a pony to squeeze through. A makeshift ladder made of rebar crudely pressed into the stone wall led up to the drain, which a close examination revealed was not set into the concrete firmly.

“Sentry, check it,” Trace instructed.

Flash gulped but nodded. “Yes, sir,” he said quietly, flying over the heads of the others. He flew up to the drain and pushed it up, easily moving it out of the way. He stuck his head out and looked around. “Looks clear—waaah!” he screamed as something grabbed him and yanked him all the way out through the grate.

“C’mere, partner!” a familiar voice snarled.

“Flash!” Daring and Phillip both shouted. Daring shot up the grate and spun around.

Star Cluster was dragging Flash down the alleyway, one foreleg wrapped around his throat, and the other hoof holding a gun to his forehead. “Not another move, Daring, or the kid paints the wall with his brains!” the leader of the Nightmare Moon Disciples sneered.

Daring glared, but held a warning hoof towards the grate, staying the others from following. Star Cluster continued to back down the alleyway towards a van with the passenger door already open. Bentley Browndust was sitting in the driver’s seat, aiming a pistol at her.

“Here’s how this is gonna work,” Star Cluster said, continuing to walk backward. “I’m gonna get into the back with lover boy here, and drive off. You are gonna stay where you are.” He sneered at Flash. “Maybe we should drop by your marefriend’s place and say hi to her.”

“F-fuck you,” Flash stammered.

The comment earned him a tighter foreleg around the neck, causing him to choke and splutter. “I’d be more careful about what I said if I were you, boy,” Star snarled. “I know where you and your mum live, remember.”

“You know this won’t end well for you, Cluster,” Daring said, taking a small step forward. If she could just keep his attention on her…

“I have a habit of surviving,” Star Cluster said. “You know how I got to the top of the Disciples? I killed all the other bosses. Myself. Me!”

“You think that impresses me?” Daring asks. Flash’s wing was slowly drifting towards his utility belt, but Cluster was only a few feet from the van…

“It should,” Cluster smirked. “How many ponies do you know who can pull that off?”

“Lots,” Daring said, adding a dangerous edge to her tone. “Myself included.” She smirked at him. “You know what I’m capable of, Cluster. I've killed ponies. A lot of them as bad as you. Some of them worse. You really want to cross me?”

A flicker of fear danced in Cluster’s eyes, but he quickly doused it. “You sure you want to see the inside of his skull?” he snarled, pressing the gun tighter against Flash’s head. He let out a yelp, but his wing had clasped around a pocket on his belt…

“You kill him, you die slow and painful, I promise you,” Daring snarled.

Star Cluster lifted the gun from Flash’s head and aimed it at her. “You take another step and--”

In a single movement, Flash lifted his wing up to Star Cluster’s face. The can of pepper spray that he’d managed to grab fired a stream of its liquid into Star’s face, coating the left side. Star Cluster howled and reeled back, clutching his face, releasing Flash, who instantly dived to the ground. Daring started to draw her own weapon, but Star began firing wildly, forcing her to duck.

“Daring!” Trace called from below.

Star Cluster dived into the van and slammed the door shut as the other officers climbed up the grate. With a screeching of tires, the vehicle pulled away as the officers opened fire. Phillip immediately dashed over to Flash, who was still laying on the ground with his head covered, and pulled him out of the line of fire.

“You wanna know how I killed the old bosses?!” Star Cluster yelled, leaning out of the window and lighting up his horn. “This is how!”

Orange spheres of light began to fly from his horn, flying towards the group. As soon as each one struck a solid object, it exploded in a burst of orange lightning, crackling violently. Brick and asphalt exploded into dust when struck, and the windows of the surrounding buildings shattered.

Phillip heaved Flash up onto his back and dived back into the hole, hiding underground. The other officers followed, with Trace keeping a makeshift shield up to protect them.

But Daring had taken off into the air and was chasing after the van. Bentley weaved the vehicle in and out of traffic with supreme confidence, hopping on and off the curb, shooting through stop signs and red lights, and performing slides through narrow gaps between obstacles that Daring wouldn’t have believed if she hadn’t seen for herself. Cruisers joined the chase, but Star Cluster fended them off with more exploding spheres, while also using them to keep her at a distance. Again and again, Daring Do swooped down towards her prey but was always forced away by an arc of lightning or missed as Bentley pulled off an impossible dodge.

Suddenly, the van swerved and went through a narrow tunnel underneath a bridge. Daring started to follow, but the headlights of an approaching truck forced her to go over the tunnel instead. As she passed over the bridge, the van emerged from the tunnel, barreling straight forward. Daring dived and managed to seize the driver’s side door. With a jerk, she yanked the door open. “Gotcha!” she yelled, then paused and stared.

The car was empty; a brick sat on the gas pedal, holding it down. Looking up, Daring saw that the van was now headed right for a crosswalk, with several creatures flowing back and forth across the asphalt. Several ponies and griffons stopped and stared at the oncoming van.

“Shit!” Daring shouted, climbing into the van. Kicking the brick away from the gas pedal, she slammed on the brake, honking the horn wildly. Ponies scattered out of the way as the smell of burning rubber and the sound of howling tires filled the air. After skidding for several feet, the van came to a stop in the midst of the crosswalk. Daring breathed a sigh of relief and parked the vehicle, removing the key from the ignition.

“Anyone hurt?” she asked, climbing out of the vehicle. No one was. Daring flew back to the tunnel to look around. But there was no sign of Star Cluster or Bentley Browndust amidst the darkness of the narrow tunnel.

“Damn,” she muttered to herself, then took a breath. It wasn’t all bad: they’d caught several Disciples, and most importantly, rescued Dimmig Morgon and Shoe Shine with no casualties. She flew back out of the tunnel; she’d best head back to the others and regroup.

She paused in midair, frowning. Now, where exactly were they…?

Author's Note:

Fun fact: the scene where Daring slaps the guy with a fish was a throw-it-in. I came up with it after publishing the last chapter.

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