• Published 10th Jun 2020
  • 766 Views, 31 Comments

Splintershard - TheMajorTechie



Once upon a time, Equestria flourished. That time is now long-gone.

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4|1 ◈ A Heist

Author's Note:

Self.

It is a fickle thing.

Often easily shattered, yet so, so hard to fully reassemble.


Welp.

There wasn't gonna be any Fluttershy to help out now.

Time to go with the old-fashioned way.

"Which is..."

"Breaking and entering." Emily smirked. "Let's open another portal."

Starlight's voice audibly sighed in the girl's head. "Why am I not surprised? Listen--remember how draining it is to open portals? Are you absolutely sure you want to go through with that?"

"You're not going to push back against my idea?"

"Your head's already as hard as a brick anyway, so ramming it through a portal might actually help us."

Emily rolled her eyes. "Very funny. So, I'm thinking of going with the mirror portal spell this time instead of the free-floating ones. I don't exactly know enough about the inside of the building for a free-standing portal to work out, y'know? I just need a mirror."

"And we do not have a mirror."

"But we have something better than a mirror. Hold on--"

If Starlight could raise her brow right now, she would've. As for Emily, she fumbled with the clasp on her saddlebags for a moment before pulling a wad of bills out.

"Oh yeah. I forgot about that."


Emily frowned at the back-alley street markets poking from the shadows. Shopping at those places was definitely out of the question. Thankfully, there was no shortage of more legitimate-looking stores. Not to say that there wasn't a chance that she'd end up running for her life after buying something from one of those places either, though. Man, Equestria's a dangerous place.

"Furniture store. On your right. Oh wow, Quills & Sofas? They're still around after this long? And in Canterlot, too."

"Guess so." Emily eyed the hanging sign she was approaching. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, but a furniture store's a furniture store. Do they... uh, sell anything besides quills and sofas, by any chance?"

"I'd certainly hope so, though the one I knew back in Ponyville sold exclusively those two things back in the day from what I remember."

Eh, not like there was much to lose if that was still the case with this place. Emily walked through the doors. If there weren't any mirrors being sold here, she could always wander back out and find another pla--

"Hello there!" A mare waved from the side of Emily. "Looking for anything today at Quills & Sofas? We have a catalog if you'd like to take a look, and plenty of coupons to go with it! From what I remember, there's the usual perpetual sale on quills and sofas, and--"

"Err..." Emily shied away from the store greeter. "Sorry, but I'm just here for a mirror, but thanks for letting me know. I'll check this place out if I ever need... well, quills and sofas."

She could chew on this awkwardness if she wanted to, to be honest.

"Oh, well, alright then. Our mirrors are over in the decor section. Would you like for me to take you there?"

Emily nodded.

"'Kay, just follow me. Though, feel free to let me know if you see anything else you'd like to buy! Here at Quills & Sofas, we strive to give our customers the best service we can!"

...Yeah, okay. That last line was probably ripped straight from some employee handbook or something. Figures.

The greeter silently signaled for another passing employee to take her place before walking past Emily. "C'mon now, let's find you that mirror."


"That's a pretty nice-looking display cabinet, don't you think?"

Emily ignored Starlight's voice. Again.

"Come on, I get bored sometimes, too. This salespony's been snaking us through the entire store, and we still haven't gotten to whatever 'decor' section that she mentioned earlier!"

Huh. Whaddya know, they finally arrived at the mirrors. Only took a mini-marathon through every department in the building to get here.

"We here at Quills & Sofas have a wide variety of mirrors for you to choose from! We have hoof mirrors, bathroom mirrors, standing mirror--"

Emily picked up one of the standing mirrors in her magic and turned around. Magic made carrying things so much easier, come to think of it. Not to mention the benefit of getting away from that salespony mare quicker than she could if she were trying to lug the mirror away with her hands.

Anyway.

She made a quick trot to the checkout counters, checking once or twice along the way to ensure the that salespony had stopped trying to catch up. The sticker on one of the edges had the price listed, so that made it all the easier to prepare for the purchase.

"Just a mirror for today?" The stallion at the register looked up from his book. "Would you like to sign up for our rewards--"

"Nope." Emily placed enough bills on the counter to pay for the mirror, plus any sales tax that might not've been accounted for ahead of time. "Just the mirror. I'm in a rush. Keep the change!"

Starlight certainly seemed impressed by the change in pace. "You do realize that Equestria's always counted sales tax within the price of the items themselves, right? It's not an additional charge."

Keep the change means keep the change, Star.

Emily paused for a moment to scan the streets. Setting up a portal out in the open was going to guarantee suspicion. She had to do it somewhere out of the way.

"You're incredibly focused right now. Any reason for the shift?"

"I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know what I have to do, and once it's done, I can finally go back home. I do like the ability to use magic and all, but--" She scampered across the street, mirror in tow. "--I can't imagine a life stuck as a pony. Once I'm done with this, I'm gonna figure out how to turn myself back permanently, and then I'm going home. For good."

"O-oh, okay..."

She set the mirror down, leaning it carefully against the brick siding of a building behind a dumpster. Here, really the only folks who'd ever see the portal would be the ones to empty the trash, and even then, they probably wouldn't be looking specifically for a mirror behind the thing.

"Don't forget, Emi, the mirror portal spell links to the closest mirror it can find in range of the destination. Be prepared for anything."

"I know." Emily lit her horn. Charging up the portal spell was going to take a good chunk of her mana, so she'd have to be careful on what she spells she casts once she's in.

"Or I could take over while you recover," Starlight voiced. "Just saying."

...Was it just her, or is this portal spell taking far longer to link up than the last time she made a portal?

"Pretty sure it's got something to do with whatever anti-magic field is wrapped around the building. Did you really think that the guards would allow someone to just pop in on a moment's notice?"

"No, I wasn't thinking that. Though, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how long the portal would stay open once it links up, either. Though, hopefully, once the scrolls are destroyed, we won't need a portal to get out."

The surface of the mirror began to ripple. Little by little, the reflection of Emily began to give way to a soft, pulsating blue.

Emily pressed a hoof against the surface, watching it pass through. "Ready, Star?"

"You probably shouldn't be doing that, y'know. We have no idea what's on the other side yet. Don't go poking things into the portal like that."

"Well excuse me for testing the waters, then. I'm going through."

"Wait, Emi--"


...Man.

Figures she'd have another encounter with a bathroom of some kind when it comes to portals. At least the mirror location wouldn't be hard to find once the quest was complete.

Emily pulled herself over the sinks, landing on the floor with a hard thud.

"Shh!" Starlight shushed. "We shouldn't be making any noise. Do you want me to--" her voice abruptly hastened. "--Emi, hide."

"Wha--"

"Now."

Emily's eyes shot to the mirror. It'd take far too long to try and scramble back through the portal. She rushed into an open stall and locked it. From behind the metal door, she could hear someone entering. The faucet came on as she held her breath. Even peeking through the cracks was a dangerous move right now.

Thankfully, the faucet was only on for a few seconds. She listened to the hoofsteps retreating to the bathroom door, then the creak of it opening and closing again.

Disaster averted. She let out a heavy sigh.

"I doubt the portal's going to still be open by now."

Emily raised a brow. She'd just opened the thing. Why would it close so quickly?

"Anti-magic field, remember? It already took a bit more effort than usual to open a portal, so I wouldn't be surprised if the part of the spell keeping the mirrors linked shuts down sooner than expected."

Oh.

Great.

"As for what I was going to say earlier--" Starlight continued as Emily pulled out the tracker. "I was thinking that we could use another cloaking spell to disguise ourselves."

Emily nodded, still staring at the tracker. "Star, how do you think we should escape once this is done? I don't think I have enough mana to even try to open a portal back for a while."

"I don't see very many options beyond the cloaking spell, unfortunately. I'd rather not try to teleport out of what basically amounts to a building-sized magic inhibitor ring. As for the second part, I can take the reins if you'd like."

"Sure."

Emily closed her eyes, letting that familiar buzz wash over her again. Starlight was the one to open them. She tapped on the tracker amulet, though nothing happened. She lit her horn and tapped it again. This time, it pointed to the wall behind her; a good start, but not particularly helpful.

Enough with the tracker for now, though. As far as disguises go... Starlight took a moment to think. A building such as this would be swarming with royal guards, wouldn't it? A generic Canterlot Guard getup probably wouldn't look too out-of-place.

"Beats me. You're the expert here, Star."

Royal Guard it is, then. The glow around Starlight's horn intensified, wrapping around her body and sinking into her coat. Hopefully, that'd be enough.

Now then. Next step, leaving this place. Thankfully, nobody else had entered the restroom during the time she'd spent hiding, and now that she was fully disguised, there wasn't nearly as big of a risk. Starlight opened the stall door, peeking out toward the entrance.

"Coast looks clear, Star."

Starlight nodded, scampering across the floor to the door and opening it. She looked down the hall. Then the other side. The coast was clear for now.

"Y'know, Star, I think trying to hide and stuff is going to make us look more suspicious, not less."

Good point. Starlight paused, taking a moment to calm her breaths.

"You're nervous, aren't you?"

Of course she was nervous! Who in their right mind would not be nervous while breaking into a secure government facility?

"Eh, good point."

Okay. Deep breath, step into the hallway. There, that was easy enough, right? Starlight tucked the amulet inside the "armor" on her disguise. She already knew the general direction that it pointed in, anyway. If it came to it, triangulation was possible if it came to it.

"I wonder how Lizzy's doing up there with Flurry Heart?"

Emi, focus!

"There really isn't much I can do from the backseat, y'know."

Starlight rolled her eyes and continued walking. There were a couple of ponies coming their way, and... well, it seems that the disguise only served to attract their attention, rather than divert it.

How unfortunate.

Thankfully, they seemed to mind their own business as they passed, though she could hear a chuckle behind her moments later.

"Star, you wanna check the amulet again? We're getting close to the end of the hallway."

Not yet. At least, not here out in the open. It was dangerous enough as it was to be wandering the building in a disguise that only seemed to draw more attention. Pulling something out and looking at it might be even greater of a risk.

"Excuse me, ma'am," a voice behind her called, "I don't believe I've seen any royal guards entering the building these past few days. Would you mind explaining why you're doing rounds?"

"Changeling." Starlight silently prayed that the excuse would work. "Not too long ago, I discovered that there seems to be an attempt to infiltrate the building in pursuit of the scrolls by a changeling spy. I am here to assess any possible damage and report on it."

"Oh, okay then. Well... good luck with that, I guess."

Starlight turned her head. The pony who asked was walking away now, thankfully. He seemed to have bought the story.

She turned her attention to the tracker. Here at the end of the hall, it was bound to change direction. She tapped the surface of the device, watching it briefly flicker for a moment before a dim light surfaced on one of the edges. Sure enough, it was now pointing in a wildly different direction. She looked down the next hall after the corner.

"Mare in royal guard uniform," a voice over the intercom began slowly, "Please show identification to the nearest security camera. Failure to do so may result in arrest."

"I--wh...identification?" Starlight's eyes widened. "Emi--"

"It's okay, Star."

Hoofsteps began to echo down both hallways.

"We tried."

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