• Published 16th Apr 2019
  • 702 Views, 45 Comments

Taking Back Canterlot - Coyote de La Mancha



Three years after the Sirens' gang war, Twilight wakes from her coma and begins retaking her city from the new gangs infesting Canterlot.

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Episode 1. Prologue: Bowels of the Devil.

She was floating between consciousness and unconsciousness, slowly making her way to the surface of her mind. Her memories drifted in and out, blending unevenly with what she could hear of her surroundings.

How’s the patient…?

I’m Rich Hues... it’s an honor to meet the young lady who handed me the election…

Seeing as how she’s still breathing after being caught in a massive explosion, I’d say pretty good…

No need to be modest… I’m serious... there’s no way I could have beaten Martial Law if it had ever come to a vote, God rest his soul...

Coming through… what happened… shanking… put her over there…

But you made the impossible happen… and for that, I can’t thank you enough…

Has she said anything yet… not yet, but she’s barely regained consciousness…

I mean, if Martial had been the only person killed, attention would definitely have been cast on me…

All vital signs are normal... all things considered...

But after that little fireworks display you pulled at his funeral… it’s become abundantly clear that all these horrible crimes were perpetrated by the Rainbooms…

Be careful, Doctor… You patient’s dangerous…

You know, I have found that as you get older, you realize there are only two kinds of people in this world… chromism, gender, money, none of it matters…

You got anything you wanna say to the judge, you’d better start thinkin’ of it now…

You’re either a winner, or a loser… and now, in order for me to stay a winner, it’s time for me to salt the earth, starting with you…

You’re wasting your time… c’mon, let’s go call the warden, he’ll probably want to get ahold of Armor…

You’re going to die here, little girl… but if it makes you feel any better, I’ll make sure to thank you in my acceptance speech…

As her mind continued to clear, she remembered smiling as his goons surrounded her. They’d thought she was helpless, their guns hadn’t even been out. She remembered thinking, This will be easy. One last clean sweep, and then the war would have been over. The city of Canterlot would have belonged to the Rainbooms. We can rebuild, she remembered thinking. Bury the now-avenged dead, let the people get on with their lives.

Then, she’d seen the silhouette by the harbor. A female form, indistinct in the mist and the darkness. Long hair waving in the wind as the shadow had slumped, shoulders telling a novel’s worth of sorrow and regret.

The figure had held something in her hand. A box, with an antenna.

Hues in front of her, still talking. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a party to—

She remembered seeing Rich Hues’ eyes widen as they both beard the telltale beep of the bomb’s receiver. She remembered reflexively hurling herself away from the boat in an aura of violet, even as the detonation engulfed her in fire and death.

Twilight Sparkle opened her eyes.

Sorting out what she’d overheard, it was obvious where she was. But even if that hadn’t been enough, the dirty white ceiling tiles and cheap walls, the IV in her arm and the orange jumpsuit she wore – not to mention the smell – were all enough to bring her up to speed.

She was in a prison infirmary. She had obviously been deemed too dangerous to keep in a normal hospital. She’d known gangsters who would have grinned at the thought, taking the assessment as a high compliment.

But then, she’d known a lot of stupid people in her time.

From the other side of a dividing curtain, a girl’s excited voice drawled, “Hey, is it really you?”

Twilight’s brow furrowed in irritation. There was literally no one on the entire planet you could ask that of and not get an affirmative answer. But the voice sounded familiar - for all that she couldn’t place it yet - and too young to be there. So instead of responding immediately, she shifted her gaze to her right, towards the sound.

That small movement was almost all she could do. Whatever they had her strapped down with kept her from moving almost at all. Apparently, whoever was running things knew who they were dealing with.

Or at least, they thought they did.

The curtain was jerked away to reveal a teenaged girl with bright yellow skin and red hair, surmounted by a deep purple bow. Twilight frowned, then stared.

“Apple Bloom?” Her voice was almost a croak from disuse.

The girl nodded. “Uh-huh. Listen, my sister told me all about what y’all were doin’ back when, when she was runnin’ with you. But I ain’t th’ only one that knows; half the guards’re takin’ bets to see who gets to you first, them or the convicts.”

Apple Bloom glanced over her shoulder at the doors for a moment, then back to Twilight. “We gotta get you outta here!”

Twilight stared back at the ceiling. “No,” she said.

“What?”

“I said no,” Twilight repeated. She swallowed against her drying throat, then, “There is no ‘we’ in this equation. ‘We’ aren’t doing shit.”

“But—”

Twilight shook her head, still looking up. “Apple Bloom, the Rainbooms started out trying to help people. Hell, we started out making music.

“Then the Sirens came back somehow, each one in control of a different gang. I mean, they took over the town almost literally overnight. They set their gangs fighting each other in the streets along with anyone else who opposed them, feeding off the results.”

“I remember the Dazzlings.”

“Yeah. So, we faced them again. Except this time, it was different,” Twilight went on. “They weren’t just using their music. They’d already gained so much power from the gang war, their voices could kill. And as their gangs kept getting bigger, their magic’s reach kept getting longer. The city kept getting more corrupt, more hopeless. Then the state. And then farther. And the fight just kept getting dirtier, while they got stronger.

“When they blew up the school, we started getting followers. Students who had survived, family members of those who hadn’t. Even some faculty. With their help, we were able to use the social decay to our advantage, get ordinance to match the other gangs. We took over their operations in-town. We took them down, one by one. And we…”

She took a deep breath. “We killed the Sirens,” she said quietly. “We killed them. Them, and... a lot of other people along the way.”

“But I know all that!” Apple Bloom exclaimed. “I tol’ja, Applejack tol’ me all about what was goin’ on, right up until...” her voice trailed off.

Twilight stared at her. “And you want to be part of that? Are you fucking insane?”

“We’re all part of that now, whether we wanna be or not!” Apple Bloom insisted. “You don’t know what it’s like in Canterlot now. Do you even know how long you’ve been out?”

“Well, obviously longer than I think, if you’re asking me that.”

“You’ve been in a coma for over three years,” the younger girl said. “An’ everythin’s just gone more an’ more downhill. The cops’re just another gang now, an’ they’re not th’ only one. An’ it ain’t just here, it’s all over, but this here’s where the worst of it started…”

Twilight sighed, closing her eyes. She remembered when she and her fellow Rainbooms had discussed options after the school had been destroyed. Sunset had been the loudest voice in favor of armed retaliation, backed by Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Fluttershy had been the loudest against, backed by Rarity and Pinkie. Twilight, the swing vote, had stood with Fluttershy… until days later, walking the streets in broad daylight, when she’d gotten caught in a crossfire between the Sirens’ three gangs.

She’d been lucky to survive. And when she’d healed up, she’d changed her vote, becoming one of Sunset’s three lieutenants in the Rainbooms gang. They’d taken on everyone in a three-on-one war – four-on-one, if you counted the police – and ultimately, they’d come out on top. At least, those who’d still been alive had.

And… damn it, after all was said and accounted for, she’d been good at the G-life. Never in her life had Twilight felt so powerful, and yet so in-control, as those days. By the time she was running the Rainbooms herself, she’d finally stopped having nightmares about Midnight Sparkle. She’d finally come to peace with her darkness as much as her light.

When it came right down to it, could she quit the Life? Did she even really want to?

She didn’t know. But she could at least hit the pause button while she figured it out. And that meant not dragging AJ’s kid sister into her gangster shit while she did.

“No,” Twilight said again. Her voice was better now, but still raspy. “You don’t know how bad this can get. And I’m sure as hell not showing you.”

“What’s wrong with you?” Apple Bloom demanded. “You do remember my sister, right?”

“Yeah,” Twilight said, squeezing her eyes shut at the memories. “I remember her.”

“Well, what then? You don’t trust me? I mean, I got myself shanked just to get in here to talk to you! Doesn’t that show I’m loyal?”

Twilight’s eyebrows raised slightly as she flickered her gaze to the younger girl.

“Being an Apple means you’re loyal,” she said. “Being here just means you’re stupid enough to get stabbed.”

“An’ y’all did notice I’m already in prison, right?”

“Not a mark in your favor. Or mine.” Twilight closed her eyes. “The answer is no.”

There was a long pause. Then:

“Twilight,” Apple Bloom’s voice was barely a whisper. “Twilight, the farm’s gone.”

Twilight’s eyes snapped open. “What?”

Apple Bloom’s eyes were full of tears, but her voice was steady and low as she went on, “Razed. Burnt to th’ ground. Applejack had said t’stay outta town, ‘til things got better. An’ we did. But then the cops came by...”

Twilight’s eyes narrowed dangerously.

The girl went on, “Granny tried ta send ‘em packin’ with a shotgun, an’ they shot her fulla holes. Big Mac come a’runnin’ when he heard the shots, an’ they just kept shootin’ him, even after he was down…”

“Alright,” the purple girl said. Her eyes were hard.

“Twilight, I ain’t got nuthin’ left…”

“I said okay,” Twilight repeated, still staring at the ceiling. “You’re right. We’re doing this.” She took a steadying breath, her mind working frantically. “Okay. Apple Bloom. How well do you know the layout of this place?”

“Pretty well,” Apple Bloom said, wiping tears away with a fist. “We’re on an island about five miles off the coast. They got boats on the south side. I can get us there.”

“Then you’re navigator.” Twilight considered, then, “Listen, I know you can shoot, but...”

“My docs got blue laces,” Apple Bloom said, her eyes grim. “Don’t you worry ‘bout me.”

“Well, when we get out of here, you’re changing them to purple,” Twilight said. “I’ve got a brother, too.”

Apple Bloom nodded again. “Fair ‘nuff.”

“Okay, step one,” Twilight said, calculating quickly, “undo my restraints.”

For the first time, Apple Bloom seemed hesitant. “Um, Twilight?”

“What?”

“You ain’t got no restraints.”

Twilight blinked, then sighed. Of course, she thought. Years in a coma. What was I expecting?

“Okay, that’s fine. We can still do this,” she said. “But we’ll need to move fast. When Shining finds out I’m awake, he’ll just make this harder. So you follow my lead. And remember, no unnecessary killing.”

Apple Bloom frowned. “Um, y’know these here’re prison guards, right? They ain’t exactly the good guys.”

Twilight looked sideways at her. “You’re either in the Rainbooms, or you’re out.”

“But—”

“No buts. Some of these people will have families. We’re being civilized about this. And that means getting out quiet, with minimum bloodshed. Understood?”

Apple Bloom looked down. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Good. With any luck, the alarm won’t even sound until we’re already out of here.”

Just then, the door opened, admitting a grey-skinned man with short black hair and beard. He wasn’t tall, but he was broad in the shoulders, and he wore a white lab coat.

“Lie back down!” the doctor snapped at Apple Bloom. “You can’t be that hurt if you’re talking.” He reached out, jerked the curtain back into place. “Anything else out of you, I’m sending you back to GP as-is. Understood?”

Then, he walked over to where Twilight was. “Well, you seem alert,” he nodded. “Good enough to stand trial, anyway. You just keep quiet, I’ll have this little bitch out of here in a few minutes.”

Twilight calculated the odds that her control was enough, after years of inaction, to render the the doctor unconscious without killing or crippling him. She concluded that they were probably close to zero. The odds of Apple Bloom subduing him while unarmed, with even a relatively superficial abdominal wound, also seemed poor. Apple Bloom had always been a scrapper, but he probably outweighed her by a good hundred pounds.

As the grey man walked to the other side of the curtain, Twilight spoke.

“Doctor,” she said, “please step away from the girl. Then lie down on the floor, and put your hands behind your head with your ankles crossed.”

Twilight could hear Apple Bloom’s jumpsuit being unzipped, hear the girl’s hiss of pain as the doctor examined her wound.

“Oh, shut up, you’re not hurt,” he said. “I’ll stitch you up now. Guards’ll be here in just a minute to escort you back to your cell.”

Inwardly, Twilight shrugged. Oh, well.

First, she withdrew the IV from her arm in a light violet glow, letting it fall to the side of her bed with a gentle plink. Then, she enveloped her will around herself, raising her useless body up in an aura of purple and amethyst. With a thought, she tore the curtain away as the doctor whipped his head around and stared at her in disbelief.

“Step away,” Twilight rasped. She floated above the other two like a starving ghost, limbs dangling, head lolling to one side. Hopefully, the physician would be frightened into compliance. “Hands up, and lie down on the floor. Now.”

Staggering back, the grey man fumbled at his coat, quickly bringing a revolver to bear and firing wild, emptying his weapon at the levitating woman before him. Twilight was able to deflect the worst of it, but two of the bullets tore into her emaciated legs.

Twilight grunted in pain. That was harder than it should have been, she thought. My magic’s gotten rustier than I thought.

And then, immediately following on that thought’s heels, Wait, since when do they arm physicians?

Then, she renewed her focus. She drew the pain in, focusing it into more power as she glared at her assailant.

Throughout the prison, an alarm sounded.

The white-coated man flew over Apple Bloom and slammed into the far wall beside the door, spread eagled and helpless, his gun dropping from his hand. Meanwhile, blood ran freely down both Twilight’s legs, soaking into her socks, dripping to the floor.

Apple Bloom stared, her thoughts careening crazily to one of the CMC sleepovers, years ago. The movie of the night had been Fantasia. The three of them had spent close to an hour afterwards, talking about the Night on Bald Mountain scene. None of them had slept that night, keeping all the lights on they could until dawn.

Twilight considered her wide eyes briefly. Either her sister hadn’t quite told her everything, or she just hadn’t believed it all.

The doctor was coughing blood, the left half of his body hanging limp and useless, the left side of his face sagging.

Over the radio on his belt, a voice could be heard: “Shots fired, repeat, shots fired in the west wing...”

“By the way,” Twilight said through gritted teeth. “That thing I just said, about being civilized?”

Blood began to slowly ooze down one of her nostrils, as she flexed her right hand.

The grey man’s torso ducked down like a hand puppet, his waist still pinned to the wall. Then, his head rammed backwards into the concrete with inhuman force. His head burst on impact with a horrible popping sound, blood and brain splashing the wall and part of the ceiling above him. Then, he simply fell. His face crumpled, mask-like and unrecognizable.

“Forget I said that,” Twilight said.

Apple Bloom paled.

Twilight glanced down at her. “Are you still in? This may be your last chance to walk away. No one will ever think less of you if you do, especially me.”

The teenager’s eyes narrowed in determination as she swallowed, then nodded. “I’m in.”

Twilight nodded. “Good. Get his gun and whatever ammo he has, then get behind me. Be quick.” Her eyes glanced back to the door, where they could both hear the sound of running feet approaching.

While Apple Bloom grabbed the revolver and searched the soaking corpse for ammunition, more voices spoke over the radio. Several voices confirmed that the shots had been fired near or in the infirmity, a total of six shots. That there was currently no more gunfire. Then, the dispatcher began giving orders, putting the prison into lockdown, coordinating armed teams to surround the infirmary doors and wait for backup. In the distance, steel portals could be heard, slowly sliding and locking into place.

Then, a new voice broke into the radio. “Dispatch, this is CRT Leader. We are locked and loaded, and headed to the west wing.”

“That’s an affirmative, CRT,” the dispatcher replied. “All units, stand by to support CRT. CR Team Leader, target area is confirmed as the infirmary. Escapee is Twilight Sparkle, charged with the murder of former mayor Martial Law, as well as with multiple counts of first degree murder and police homicide. Suspect’s file also has a note that she is to always be considered armed and very dangerous, regardless of circumstance.”

There was a pause, then the dispatcher spoke again, saying, “Team Leader, do you read me?”

“Loud and clear, Dispatch.”

“Kill that crazy bitch.”

Both women could hear the gritted teeth in the reply, “Roger that.”

Meanwhile, Twilight had been extending her will. All around the room, drawers had opened and trays shifted. Dozens of assorted scalpels and other sharp instruments now arrayed themselves unevenly on the floor, pointed towards her approaching enemies, waiting only for her will to thrust them through the air like arrows of steel.

She glanced back at Apple Bloom. Her expression was not concerned, only grim.

“We’re taking back Canterlot,” she said. “Starting right now.”

Then the doors flew open, and the slaughter began.

Author's Note:

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Ending Credits: Bowels of the Devil, by Body Count. (Audio = NSFW)