• Published 4th Apr 2019
  • 476 Views, 32 Comments

Errors - The Cloptimist



Three unlikely heroines are accidentally sent halfway across the world. How will they get home?

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Maretonia, A Land I (Don't) Love

A fly buzzed against the fine mesh wire grille covering the tiny window slot.

Buzz, smack. Buzz, smack.

Diamond Tiara watched it, saw how it never changed its trajectory, never stopped to investigate, just kept on flying towards the freedom of the desert outside, and then smacking into the grille.

She shifted her weight on the uncomfortable cheap wicker chair, and looked at the bored guard pony sitting by the door. The young-looking stallion with the golden moon badge noticed her movement, and stopped watching the fly to look over at her.

For the umpteenth time, Diamond Tiara and Constable Aziz shared an exasperated look, trying to convey their apologetic boredom through facial gestures alone.

---

Aziz gave a shrug, not wanting to get stuck in another round of the two of them talking incomprehensible gibberish at each other, two melodic languages grinding like rusty hinges when they clashed, two voices getting heated in frustration, before they somehow mutually agreed to just sit quietly.

The translator would be here soon, he reasoned, and then the Captain could work out where these strange ponies came from and what they were doing walking around in the desert, as well as why they seemed to have taken a filly as their leader. He watched the said filly puff out her cheeks and shrug her shoulders, and so he gave her what he hoped was his least threatening smile in return, to let her know he was as bored and confused as she was.

---

Diamond took a slow, deep breath, and exhaled with a pronounced puff of her cheeks, before looking at the guard pony and giving an exaggerated shrug. The guard grimaced and gave a weird scowling expression Diamond wasn't sure she'd ever seen a pony make before, so she rolled her eyes and started examining the bare adobe walls yet again, trying to tune out the sound of that escapist fly.

Buzz, smack. Buzz, smack.

She thought to herself. These ponies had captured her and her two companions in the desert, and there'd been a lot of shouting and prodding before the three of them were pushed inside this little building, split up, and herded into separate cells. They were obviously guards or soldiers, from the armor they'd worn in the desert and the badges they wore now. They obviously weren't hostile, because the first thing they'd done upon arrival was bring her a pitcher of ice-water with sliced lemons and a plate of folded flatbreads. There had been a lot more shouting between the young guard pony and somepony else out in the corridor, and then... nothing, save the occasional sound of a pony trotting past somewhere nearby.

This place was a dump, she thought, and probably a prison or holding cell or something, but she didn't think she'd been arrested; the guard was bored, even embarrassed, but not hostile. Either way, their arrival would need to be processed, an interpreter found, and that meant, eventually, rescue. She wondered, idly, if she'd have to convince her father to pay some sort of bribe. She wondered, idly, if that might cause him problems with the election.

A huge pony with some sort of telescopic baton strapped to his hoof stomped down the corridor, rattling the door bars with his nightstick, making Diamond jump. Forget the election for now, she thought, we need to get out of here.


The strange gray pegasus balanced the dried date on her muzzle, trying her best to fix her eyes on it, before flicking it up towards the ceiling and catching it in her mouth with a giggle. Constable Aysha giggled too, unable to stop herself. She picked another date from the tray and held it up in her hoof in front of the pegasus, who stuck out her tongue while she concentrated on it, her eyes slowly drifting into focus.

Aysha raised an eyebrow and threw the date up in the air, whereupon the pegasus squinted and caught it on her muzzle again, holding it there before flipping it up in the air.

The Captain had drilled Aysha repeatedly to be on her guard with this strange pony. "Look at those eyes," he'd said; "a possible sign of evil enchantment, maybe? Be alert. She looks innocent enough, but then that's exactly how she'd act if she was planning something..." And on it had gone. Although there were no windows for her to escape, if the pegasus suddenly decided to launch herself into the air and attack from above, Aysha's defensive position would be very weak until she could predict the attacks, and...

...and Aysha found it impossible to reconcile the idea of the deranged pegasus raining down iron-shod hoofbeats on her flimsy dress uniform skullcap from multiple angles above, with the sweet creature sitting obediently in front of her now, panting like an excited puppy as she waited for Aysha to throw another date. The Ducal Guard Academy had had that whole semester devoted to countering cuteness as an effective tactic, but right here, right now, Aysha was starting to feel that if the pegasus really was an enemy, well... this much cuteness deserved to best her in battle.

She flicked another date up in the air, and the pegasus gave another pleased little giggle, almost like a cat's miaow. There were worse guard duties she could have been assigned, thought Aysha; it would almost be a shame when the interpreter came and inevitably took her pegasus pet away. She began to sigh, but then caught sight of the pegasus blowing a raspberry at her, and Aysha broke down into giggles once again.

---

Derpy could not remember why she'd found these ponies so frightening before. This one was so nice! The way she gave her all this extra fruit, and the unmistakeable, cute, strangely-accented giggles whenever Derpy did her fun trick... this was a nice pony. These must be nice ponies, and that meant they would all be going home soon!


The mean-eyed guard mare had stopped barking things in her strange language, and now she sat on the opposite side of the cheap folding card table, forehooves crossed, staring straight at Trixie.

Trixie knew better than to try and lash out again. The moment she'd realised her smoke bombs had been confiscated, she'd known they were in trouble. As her friends were led off in different directions as soon as the party got inside this building, her fears had grown substantially. As she was directed to sit on a rickety-looking wooden stool by the wall of a dingy cell, she'd realised this might be her only chance, and made a lunge for freedom.

Trixie estimated she made it somewhere around three feet before being pounced on by this gruff mare, and now she found her left foreleg chained and padlocked around the stool, pulled up next to a table, as if she was being interrogated by the pony who'd flattened her during her big break for it. Pointless, beacause neither of them could understand the other, so she might as well be describing a six-legged pony with a purple polka-dotted mane...

She'd had some choice words about this state of affairs, explaining to the guard mare exactly how much trouble she was in for detaining the Great and Powerful Trixie, Official Provider of Entertainments to the Crowned Heads of Equestria! And also how her best friend was one of the most powerful unicorns in the world, and could totally take out their whole place if she wanted to! And she also knew one of the Princesses, yes siree! And a powerful enchanter in the Crystal Empire! Oh, these weird foreign ponies did NOT want to be making an enemy of the Great and Powerful Trixie, oh, no, definitely, they did not want to do that, because that was a surefirrrr wayy t'get... throwed... Tart'ruszzzzzzzz...


Once the tranquilizer dart had worn off, Trixie was still chained to the stool, and the mare looked even less friendly than before. Trixie had wanted to mouth off some more, but decided maybe it was time to play it cool. This mare would crack eventually.


By the positions of the shadows on the walls cast by the desert sun outside, Trixie could deduce that several hours had passed. The frowning mare had not cracked yet.

Give it time, thought Trixie. Little does she know, two can play this game.

---

Corporal Fatima was bored out of her mind. She wondered if she could find an excuse to tranq this infuriating blue unicorn again, just for the fun of it. The idea of a few weeks of KP duty and cleaning out the stables was starting to sound less discouraging than it had before. It certainly sounded better than having to watch this crazy idiot like a falcon, staring straight into her bored, listless eyes, watching keenly for the first sign of any sudden move, or any illumination of the horn. She wondered if she could convince the Captain that she thought she'd seen that horn starting to light up, and, well, tranq first, ask questions later, right...?

Fortunately for the unicorn, somepony chose that moment to bang on the cell door. The Corporal slowly stood up from her chair, eyes never leaving her prisoner, but the unicorn's eyes were glazed over, eyelids starting to droop; she'd barely even acknowledged the noise of the hoof rapping on the metal door.

"You're not going to do anything stupid, are you?", she asked the unicorn, knowing she wouldn't be understood. A pair of pink eyes briefly flicked up to meet hers as she broke the silence, but then flitted back down to the card table as the unicorn gently lay her head down on it.

"Don't go anywhere," smirked Corporal Fatima, before turning to open the door. "What do you want?", she barked at Constable Aziz, who was waiting nervously on the other side.

"It's the interpreter," said Aziz, scratching the back of his head. "He's finished talking to the other two and now he wants to ask the unicorn some questions."

"Finally", groaned the Corporal, "I've been waiting for this all day. Has he been able to discover anything useful?"

"Oh, yes!", beamed Aziz. "It turns out -"

A surging wave of pink magical energy blasted into the two of them from inside the cell, and the Corporal was bundled physically into Aziz, the pair of them landing in a dazed heap in the corridor. The Corporal looked up just in time to see the unicorn smirking at her, before being obscured as the cell door swung to.


Trixie worked fast. She knew she had maybe a few seconds to spare, if that, and her plan immediately kicked into action. She nipped at her cloak with her teeth, pulling the Pink Heart of Courage from the secret handkerchief pocket. Not having the time to congratulate herself on how she'd annoyed the angry mare so much she'd not frisked Trixie properly, she deftly unfastened the pin and quickly set to work with it in her mouth, jamming it into the padlock.

Come on, come on, come on...!

Within two seconds, the lock sprang open, and Trixie immediately teleported herself behind the door. As soon as she heard hooves moving on the other side, she grabbed the door in her magic, pulled it back open towards her, closed her eyes, and slammed it forwards as hard as she could, hearing the crunch of metal against bone. Not bothering to look at who she'd laid out, she concentrated all her magic on teleporting past them and into the corridor; with a bright pink flash, she reappeared several yards away from the cell door where the angry mare and a younger-looking guard colt, barely a stallion, lay nursing their heads.

She hoped she could remember where they took Diamond Tiara, and that Diamond in turn would have seen where they'd taken Muffins. She briefly thought about how this could all be so much easier if she teleported to the other side of the building's outer wall and made a run for it on her own, but her hooves didn't waver from galloping down the corridor in the direction of what she hoped was Diamond's cell.

Still no alarm, she thought, charging as fast as she could. Skidding around a corner as her hooves slid on the well-worn flagstones, she came face to face with an astonished female guard pony, who shouted something at her before nervously lowering her shaking spear.

Trixie didn't have time to stop herself. Working on autopilot, she reached out with her magic and noted the strange succession of mental images flitting through her mind for a fraction of a second at a time... her life flashing before her eyes, maybe? No, no, these were just abstract concepts... bone china... pink... decorated, glazed porcelain... dainty handle...

The stunned guard pony's spear fell from her grip and shattered on the floor, pieces of broken teacup lying all around as Trixie crashed into her at full pelt, and the two of them rolled straight through the unlocked cell door as it pushed open.

Diamond Tiara stood up from her chair, her jaw wide open, and yelled:

"...Trixie, what did you do?!"

"No prison can hold the Great and Powerful Trixie! We're making a jailbreak! Come on!", said Trixie, panting, surging with adrenaline as she lifted a bewildered Diamond onto her back with her magic.

"What?", asked Diamond, flabbergasted.

"We're getting out of here! Now, where is Muffins?", declared Trixie, grandly, though still panting.

"No, no, it's not like that!", gasped Diamond. "I just finished talking to the translator, and he says we're, like, in a police station in Maretonia."

Trixie's eyes narrowed as she processed this information.

"...What."

"Yeah, he said we somehow ended up a couple of thousand miles off course, but that he's gonna speak to the officers, explain what's happened, and, like, sort out this whole mess, so long as we don't cause..."

Suddenly, an ear-piercing siren blasted across the air, causing both ponies to cover their ears.

"...any trouble," finished Diamond, glaring at Trixie.

"Well.. I mean... Oh, come on!", shouted Trixie, exasperated. "How was Trixie supposed to know any of that? And, furthermore, how do we even know we can trust this... "interpreter" was telling you the truth, hmmm? Did you think of that, Diamond Tiara?"

Diamond opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by a whinnying snort from the doorway. A tall, pale blue unicorn with a dark blue mane and dirty, sand-spattered robes stared in disbelief at the scene in front of him, and Trixie's heart sank down to her hooves.

"...Miss Powerful?!"