• Published 21st Mar 2024
  • 1,281 Views, 29 Comments

Saved!!! - ArchoPony



A human fell through one of Midnight's portals; and now he's in a 7,000 foot free fall while slowing transforming into a horse.

  • ...
10
 29
 1,281

10 - Gaunlet of Espionage - Part 2

Their conversation was taking too long. Twilight thought about stepping in. In all logic, she had too. She was the only one here who knew about Equestrian inner workings and international relations.

But what about making sure Spike was ok? Actually invincible?

And also her previous argument with Discord, will he leave or disappear on her approach, leaving them doomed?

And what of her previous blunder, surely she would just make things worse with her excessive worrisome self.

The planning session had finished. They were all snapped somewhere else.
Twilight had ' snapped ' back to reality.


She wanted to at least be a part of the plan, but she was too late.
And she didn't want to call another meeting, as the dragons were already starting to gather again.

She noticed Spike was gone.
Before having time for another thought, Discord suddenly appeared and snapped her away.

She was immediately met by two, massive dragons. With very familiar color schemes.
Discord wasn't seeming like himself. He immediately burst into words:
“ That there -” He pointed to the larger dragon.
“ Is PonderBright. “

“ WHAT? “ Twilight was very confused; but at least she now knew why Ponder had asked about the dragon thing.
“ That's Rarity. “ Discord pointed to the longer, smaller, more regal looking one.

“ Etirawr. “ Corrected PonderBright.

“ My code name is Nova. “ He further explained.
“ The general plan is for me to make a show about how I'm going to win, and then loose to the more critically thinking Etirawr. “

“ Yes. “ Rarity sounded rather tired; swept up in the action a bit too much.
“ Then I shall describe the wonders of soft bedding, free trade, and indoor plumbing as reason to not destroy the ponies. “
She looked to Ponder for approval.

He nodded.
“ And then... I give the staff away after - “ She clear her throat “ ' getting board after a few weeks? ' “
She said with a forced smile.

Ponder shrugged as much as a fully grown dragon could shrug :
“ Sure. Whatever. Doesn't interfere with the plan. “
He replied.


Twilight was impressed.
Their plan was solid. Very solid.

She was somewhat relived, even though she barely knew the first in and out of this plan.
She still couldn't help a bad gut feeling per the inherit deception, but she had asked Discord to do the same, so she couldn't complain.

“ Twilight, can you disguise yourself like earlier and continue to lead from the shadows? “
She almost thought that last response funny. but this was too serious a situation.

“ Um- I'll try. “ She said with fabricated confidence.

Discord's voice rang in her brain.
“ TESTING testing... 1 2 3... “ She heard, almost as if it was one of her own thoughts.
This startled her tremendously, as she jumped back a bit.


“ Maybe we could- slow down a bit “
She considered herself lucky. Ponder had let her finish a sentence that time.
Ponder pointed to the dragon gathering at the ledge of a cliff.

“ They're starting. “

He jumped, and took off.
Rarity, having no experience with wings, struggled greatly.

Discord noticed this and made her levitate; the illusion of her flying.
It was not that convincing.

Twilight was close to saying something, but she wasn't sure what.
She prepared her magic. This was going to be a bumpy ride.



Ponder landed nearby the gathering. Rarity shortly afterward. They were now glowing, courtesy of the lord of chaos.
The current dragon lord turned around to acknowledge the new presence.

“ Oi? Who are you? And why are you still glowing? “
“ We're here for the passing of the dragon lord title. Isn't that why you summoned us? “ Ponder had started acting the part.

Rarity stayed silent.
“ I haven't seen you around these parts... Or anywhere. For that matter. “ The big dragon's eyes squinted a bit.
“ You wouldn't. Were basically from the other side of the planet! “ Ponder confidently stated with vigor.
“ Planet? “ Questioned the big dragon.

“ Yeah, what do you call it? “ Ponder had saved face.
“ Land. “ The big dragon bellowed.


The big dragon looked at them both in contemplation.
“ Well, you lot sure are weird. You use strange words and keep glowing even after I should have put a stop to it. “

There was a slight, very slight, noticeable frown growing on PonderBright.
“ But I guess since your here, The more the merrier! “
“ Plus, you do look like formidable young dragons. Unlike these lot. “

He looked over to the current competitors, doing a waving hand motion above their heads.
He noticed a familiar small green dragon.

“ You. “ He pointed to Spike.
“ I thought I released you. “ He said in an intimidating tone.

“ Yes. “ Said Spike, not intimated or phased in the slightest.

“ But I've decided to stay here and compete. “
“ I am a dragon after all. “

The other competitors were already looking bewildered and confused.

The big dragon chuckled.
“ Fine. If these two “, “ weirdos ”, “ get to compete, then you can too. “

“ All dragons are welcome to compete. “
“ But they do so at their own peril. “ He said with intimidation as his goal.
“ Now, all of you... “

He reared back.
Go on and be the first to find the Blood Stone Scepter!
He breathed fire.

Rarity and Ponder had not started with the others; missing the que.
The big dragon was looking at them, raising an eyebrow.
They both got the picture and flew off.

Things started off as one might expect, with Spike with getting shoved into the rock-filled ocean by one of the larger dragons.

“ Thanks GARBLE
“ I was planning on swimming anyway! “
Twilight heard, as she creeped up from behind some rocks dressed in seaweed.


“ Spike, do you know if your, actually invincible? “ she said with worry in her voice.
“ Yeah. “ He responded with a sigh, starting to swim.

“ I pinched myself earlier, and my fingers just slid off, like, no damage what-so-ever. “ He said with certainty, surely to boost Twilight's moral.

“ Good luck spike. “
Twilight softly said.


Spike smiled.

He was distracted by an armored dragon falling into the water, and sinking.
He, of course, went under to save them.

Twilight had still had her minor concerns, but Discord did good work.
She still wanted to check with him just to make sure.

“ Discord's Dialing, how may I connect your call? “ She heard from Discord, while a mental image of strange machines with many holes and wires flooded her mind.

Many different Discords were running around frantically, like chickens with their heads cut off. Most were talking up a storm in a meeting room in the back of the hallway.

“ Um- Did you remember to make Spike unable to drown? “


All the Discords stopped in place.


They immediately resumed after a short snapping sound.
Twilight lowered her eyes a bit.

“ Discord, is something the matter? You seem off. “ Twilight asked inside her mind.

“ Oh well. I don't know. I've never felt this way before, and to be honest... It's kind of driving me - “
Another Discord walked up to the one she was talking with.

“ We need an entire map drawn up of the maze section, STAT! “ It said with papers falling from it's hands.
“ Oh- Well uh- Got to go. “ He said as the connection was ended.

Spike surfaced.

No comedic remarks about he suddenly gained a bunch of breathing capacity or strength to swim with a dragon 5 times his size. He was solely focused on saving the armored dragon.


They both swam to the island.



Ponder flew with all the grace of a derailed train. Luckily, he was thinking, as it let him fit in. Something was different about flying with these wings, he just couldn't figure out what.

Oh well. With Discord on our side, the outcome was certain.
Equestria was safe.

And he himself was helping the only way he knew how:
Violence and subterfuge.

Not against any other dragon or pony, no, but just in a general sense.

No victims.
No victims allowed.
He thought to himself, as he flew near a cave opening.


He was very careful to not accidentally kill another dragon, but the occasional bump-them-into-a-into-a-pile-of-rocks was ok.
Take your lumps like a man; you big bullies.

Or like a dragon.

Whatever.



Rarity was not taking this well, falling far behind PonderBright without letting him know. She had caught herself saying “ Sorry! “ one too many times, and getting odd looks from the other dragons.

This state of affairs started to spiral when she just didn't know where to go, as racing wasn't her forte.
She had to ask Discord where to go; putting further burden on him.


Ponder was wondering where Rarity was, as she was supposed to follow exactly 27 meters behind him, before “ causing “ (discord) a rock slide at the finish line to bury him.

He flew to what looked like to be the cave entrance, and looked around.
A small blue dragon was pointing at Twilight, with no disguise.
Spike was nearby.

Had he remembered to confirm if Discord had made everyone invincible? Not just the competitors?

No.

He swooped in, calling himself every synonym of ' stupid ' he knew of while flooding Discord's com lines.


After no response, he found himself landing very hard and steep (but sticking it) very nearby the 3.
He overheard from the blue one: “ Dragons, don't do ' friends ' “

A loud thud.

Ponder had a put an arm between Twilight and Ember, almost large enough to block their vision.
Spike turned to look at him.

He turned back to the blue one: “ Well this dragon does. “ He said as he poked his head between Ponder's claws.
“ And we do too. “ Ponder menacingly said, in hopes of scaring off the blue dragon, Rarity landing not far from them.

“ I knew it! “ The blue dragon said.
“ That you were somehow connected; working together! “
Everyone but Spike had a ' we got got ' look on their face.

The blue one smiled.
“ Just wait until the other dragons hear about this! “
“ There's no way they will accept a weak pony loving dragon! “


She attempted to fly off, but was caught in the hand of Ponder.

He slammed her back down into the sand, his slightly agape mouth starting to flare up.
Twilight teleported in front of Ponder, wings outstretched, and shouted, “ NO! “ while releasing a magic blast that pushed him back.

Ponder was taken aback. He lifted a claw up to his open mouth, not knowing he had been creating a flame.
Twilight had a disappointed look as she flew back down to Spike and the others.

The blue dragon was completely ok. He had not meant her any harm after all.
“ What's your name? “ She asked.
“ Ember. “ She said, still shaken from the slam. She was still able to move, which entails that the big golden dragon did not mean her harm. It's something, at least.

“ You, really don't know what your doing here, don't you? “ She said while looking at Ponder; still looking defeated and submissive to the much larger dragon.

Twilight responded
“ No. But I do know one thing: “
“ If any of those other dragons win this gauntlet, It will endanger Equestria. My home. “
She pleaded.

Ember looked frusteratedly angry.
“ I thought, If I won this gauntlet, that I would show every dragon that there are better things then just being big and strong! “

She scowled and looked down, and away.
“ That I'm not just some princess who needs daddy's protection. “

Spike seemed to respond to that.
Too bad Ponder had to be stupid again.

He drew closer to Ember, her drawing back a bit. Not too close to set off Twilight, but just close enough for him to whisper, and much as a dragon his size could.

“ Indeed, It could be. “
Ember looked confused. Twilight looked annoyed.

“ You could win this gauntlet, right here, right now. In under a second. Like magic.
The words oozed out of his mouth like poison from a snake, something a dragon of his size should not be capable of.

“ Then what would I represent? “ Ember argued.

“ Cheating? “, “ Pony superiority? “

“ Subterfuge. Diplomacy. Slight of hand. That other things are mightier then claws. “ He pointed to her arms, then to her head. His claw lingered a bit near her head.

“ The cognitive ability to recognize an advantage, and take it.



“ No. “ She refused, turned away, and flew off.
She had stormed off so harshly and suddenly, she had forgotten her helmet.
Twilight looked furious. But not angry kind of furious.

A rock crushed a nearby red dragon, and Spike being spike, went over to help.

The three other dragons seemed to be distracted so Twilight marched over to Ponder.
He tried to speak up.

“ I- “ This time she interrupted him.
“ PONDERBRIGHT, Stop. “ She said sternly with anger in her voice.

He leaned back a bit.

He instinctively looked around for more threats in the area.
“ Look at me. “ She almost yelled.

She was angry. A first time for everything.
“ Listen to me. “

He sat up straight, and looked down at her.
“ You are in no position to lead anything. “ She said with cold anger.
“ I thought you would have learned that by now... “ She said with a much softer voice, seeing his posture.

He felt something. Something on the tip of his tongue that he had not felt in a long, long time. Sure, he was hurt, but it was something else. Unidentified.

He started to act like Discord.
The uncertainty and sheepishness included.

“ I wasn't trying to - “ He paused.

“ Then what should I do? “ He said apologetically.

Twilight looked downward slightly, and after a short time looked back to him with sorrowful authority:
“ Finish the gauntlet. “, “ We can't let all of dragonkind know this race was rigged. “

“ Don't win. “

The words were monotone. Another first for Twilight, as far as Ponder was concerned.

“ You've... “ Twilight seemed to debate voicing her next words. “ Done enough damage already. “


Ponder just stared. Not at her, more akin to the ground before her.
She turned back and put on her seaweed disguise.

Rarity clumsily waddled up to him.

She put a wing on his shoulder, and asked:
“ Are you alright? “


He rotated his head just enough for her to see his purified divine drive and determination, causing her to reel back. The desired effect.

He took off.
He didn't know where he was going, he just wanted to go.


The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the converted spy. Hence it is essential that the converted spy be treated with the utmost liberality.

- Sun Tzu, Art of war.

Author's Note:

I am open to PM. No discord or email. Do not use email. Please.
I am open to work, even collaborations. I can't draw. Muscle condition.

I find it very funny that the first written record of how to wage war references the magic of friendship. (In Sun Tzu's own demented way)
Unfortunately the art of war is only so long, and my chapters are numerous.
No more quotes. ;(

Want to test my writing with this one. Will try to write more and more challenging subjects as time goes on.
All criticism minus something that can only be seen as a nitpick will be appreciated.


Ponder is legitimately confused as to why Twilight was angry with him.
Twilight was the same.

Culture clashes aren't solved by the magic of friendship when in hostile situations.
AVOID them sure. After the fact? Yup.
But not while your in them.