Thieves' Gala

by DarkStarWolf53

First published

What would happen if a bounty hunter thief and the Chaos Demon in disguise went to the Grand Galloping Gala? Nothing good, that's for sure. AviaVerse story.

Storm is a thief and bounty hunter. The Gala is full of rich ponies with fancy jewels.
Discord is the Chaos Demon and a carnivore. He's looking for easy prey.
There is no way this will end well.

This is part of the AviaVerse universe and takes place early in Kingdom of Avia, between the chapters "Trouble's Waking" and "Alliances". I highly recommend you read Kingdom of Avia first, or at least the first few chapters, to understand more about the characters and situations in here.

AMAZING coverart by Mongoosegoose and used with permission.

A note on the cover: Storm (the unicorn) painted her fur on her front half to look like a suit so she could get into the Gala- she's actually a pinto.

Other AviaVerse stories:

Main Stories:
Kingdom of Avia- the start of it all
The Eighth Sea- Sequel to Avia
(I have 2 more sequels in the works as well, but they aren't yet published)
I have quite a number of these in progress, though none are published yet.
Other AviaVerse Sidestories:
Dr. Bobtail

Want to know more about the AviaVerse? Here's the AviaVerse group. It has much more worldbuilding/side info that aren't in the stories so they don't take away from the action. At the moment, it's invite-only to join, but if you want to see more AviaVerse info, look in the forums.

Enemies to Allies

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A black-and-white pinto unicorn is racing through the Everfree.

"Argh! Stupid bucking diamond dogs! Just take a few of the things they stole, and they want to eat you!"

She screeches to a halt as a diamond dog leaps in front of her.

"Give back the jewels, pony. Then we let you live. If not, we eat you."

"Sorry. beastie, but you got my species wrong. That always ticks me off. And by the way, these jewels aren't yours! They're from the Griffin Kingdom- I'd know them anywhere! Lucky they sent me and not Goldfeather. She'd eat you for lunch!"

"Give me the jewels!"

"No way, you blasted thief! By the way, I'm a HORSE rather than a pony. Now back off unless you want a muzzle full of broken teeth!"

"Not afraid of you."

"Well, you should be. I was hoping to settle this without violence, but looks like I don't have a choice!"

"What-" The dog is cut off by incredibly hard hooves slamming into his jaw.

He staggers back a few steps, then falls to the ground. The rest of his pack, seeing this particular prey is a much better fighter than they anticipated, decide to leave.

The pinto smirks, then trots off.

Well, that was fun! But I need some real excitement.

She notices a flier tacked onto a tree.

"'Grand Galloping Gala'? What in Tartarus is that?"

"A dance those fool Equestrian ponies have every year," comes a voice from above.

"Eh? I recognize your voice, but... Oh Cerberus, not you again..."

"Yes, me again."

A chimerical creature snakes down from above.

"Discord?! Why aren't you dead?!"

"I'm not an easy mark, something you can surely understand."

"Yes, I can understand. Still hate you though."

"Yes, I know, and the feeling is mutual."

"Want a fight, beastie?"

"No thank you."

"Then why are you talking to me?"

"I was originally hoping you'd surrender to my control-"

"You know I don't surrender."

"Yes. Rather foolish."

"So I'll ask again. What in Tartarus do you want? Several broken bones? Being torn to shreds by knife and horn?"

"No and no. Actually, I came to kill you."

"Perfect! I was hoping for some excitement! Got a reason, or want to strike now?"

"I do, in fact, have a reason. You crossed me and humiliated me, as I recall."

"Considering that if I hadn't, you'd have eaten me, I believe I have an excuse. And by the way, you crossed me first. Hired me and then tried to kill me."

"I'm the Chaos Demon. Did you really expect me to be honest?"

"Nope. I just thought you'd be smart enough not to double-cross a bounty hunter. You're lucky there's not a reward on you, or I'd slice off your head and use your hide for a rug."

"Violent as always, little horse."

"Whatever. Ready for a fight then?"

"Of course."

"What's the stakes this time, besides my life as always?"

"I saw you got some treasure from the Diamond Dogs. If I win but spare you, I want those crystals."

"Sorry beastie. Got a 'fence' waiting on these. No deal."

"The same 'fence' as last time? That she-griffin?"

"Yup! The gems I have were stolen from her, so I'm just giving them back."

"I see. You and that griffin... Anyway, that means that if I try to take those crystals, you'll attack as long as you're alive?"

"Basically yes."

"Then you die."

"Feel free to try it, but we both know who tends to win..."

She rears up on her back legs as a challenge, and Discord bares his fangs and unsheathes his claws.

"Make your move, beastie!"

He swipes at the mare with his claws, aiming at her neck, but she dodges a killing blow, ignoring her slight cuts.

"First blood to you this time, beastie."

"And this time I'll have last blood as well, pinto."

Hooves slam into his back leg, tripping him, and then Storm moves out of range.

"Argh! What kind of horse uses a move like that?! That's what lions and griffins do to trip running prey, not what horses do in fights!"

"We've gone over this before. I'm not a normal horse!"

"Yes, I've noticed!"

"Let's end this quick, beastie."

He leaps to attack rather than answer, and is met halfway by steel-shod hooves to his chest.

Discord falls back, wind knocked out of him, and before he can move, Storm pins him down and holds a very sharp knife at his throat.

"You lost again, beastie. Surrender or die."

"I *cough* surrender! Get off me!"

"Very well. Looks like I won again, beastie."

"Yes, so I'll have spare you, blast it. One day I swear I will win and watch you bleed as I tear the flesh from your bones!"

" If you are trying to intimidate me, you've failed miserably. And you're forgetting something, beastie. I won, so..."

"I know, I know. As per our deal, now I owe you something, since you spared my life... I've already given you a lot of cash and jewels in our previous fights, so what will it be this time? Another rare crystal? Bag of gold?"

"None of the above. Tell me all you know about that Gala-whatever."


"Because a place like that sounds fancy-formal. Fancy-formal means jewels, and lots of them!" The pinto mare licks her lips at the thought of all the things she can steal.

"Ugh, yes it is. Prissy, fancy-looking ponies, each as stupid and worthless as the last. What are those ponies good for anyway, besides easy meat?"

"Don't know. Anyway, security will probably be tight, so how does one get a ticket for this stuffed-shirt event?"

"Actually, I have a ticket right here."

"Why in the name of equine would those sissy-foals give a beast that tries to eat them tickets to a party?"

"I tricked them. A simple illusory spell made me look like a pony, an assumed name and address and 'needing to make new friends' as that irritating sun-flank Celestia forces outlanders to do, and now..."

"No idea what a 'sun-flank Celestia' is. So, how do I get one?"

"Not surprised by that. Anyway, the ticket reads Drocsid +1."

"Isn't 'Drocsid' your real name backwards?"

"Yes, and those ponies are so incredibly stupid, they didn't catch on. Would you like to come as my '+1', pinto?"

"All right, what's the catch? We both know that, if given half a chance, we'll kill each other. Why are you inviting me to a sissy-foal party thing when you want to eat me?"

"Well, knowing you, you'll be stealing jewelry right?"

"Of course."

"That will cause a definite distraction. The ponies will be too confused to notice me transforming into my true self, and will be so positively unaware, I can probably catch at least a dozen of them, some for that moment, and some for later. Should give me enough food for a couple weeks or longer. And since I'll have meat at the ready, I won't need to hunt the wild horses, including you."

"Hmm, and I keep all the jewels and money?"

"Of course."

"And you won't go back on your word so you don't end up as griffin food?"

"I swear I won't cross you, not this time."

"Better not, beastie."

"So it's a deal?"

"Yes. Just don't try anything, or you're dog meat."

"I won't I won't. So suspicious (though, I can't really blame you). Unfortunately, pinto, you'll need a dress."

"A WHAT?!"

"The place is formal, and they expect you to wear fancy attire..."

"By Tirek, I'm a horse! Why would a horse wear anything other than her natural-born fur?"

"Because these ponies are morons."

"I refuse to wear a pony-bucking dress. I need something I can run in. Do you know how fast the guards can be?!"

"Hmm, if you want to go to a tailor, we can get you fitted for a suit then..."

"Still too much- cloth slows me down. Can't you cast an illusion so I look dressed up?"

"No. My illusory spells only affect me."

"Got any washable paint then?"


"I can paint some of my fur in black or whatever, make it look like a suit, and wash off my fur when it's done."

"Clever girl. Come to my house and I'll get you fixed up."

"I trust you as far as I can throw you by the tail. How do I know you won't just cage me to eat later?"

"Because in order for this to work, I need your help."

"Very well. But try anything toward me, and you're dog meat."


Discord snaps his claws, teleporting the rather irritated mare and himself to his home.


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The draconequus and unicorn end up in a bizarre dimension where the laws of physics seem not to apply.

"This your home, beastie?"

"Yes it is. And before you get any ideas about killing me while I sleep, no one can get here unless I bring them here. It's in a separate reality."

"You think I would attack you when your guard is down?"

"As a matter of fact, yes."

"Oh come now, beastie, even I have some morals."

"It's not 'beastie', it's Discord!"

"You keep calling me a pony when I'm a horse, so I'm just returning the favor."

"I hate you."

"Feeling's mutual. Now then, do you have any black paint that will wash off my fur and not hinder my running?"

"No, but I can magic up some."

"And how do I know the stuff you use won't be poison?"

"Look, pinto, if I planned to kill you, I'd have done it by now."

"Perhaps, but perhaps not. We both know you are a demonic trickster."

"Look, I swear by all the powers of chaos this isn't a trap or a trick."

"Then I suppose I can trust you, at least temporarily."

"Just until the gala is over, then it's back to trying to kill each other. Which you seem to get some perverse pleasure out of."

"Look who's talking, Mr. 'I'll tear the flesh from your bones and watch you bleed'! Can't deny you said that to me, now, can you?"

"Touche." Discord snaps his claws and a can of black paint materializes.

"Ok, pinto. You go through with your plan, I'll get ready for mine."


The pinto carefully paints the fur on the front half of her body black, from the base of her neck to the top of her hooves. Meanwhile, Discord snaps his claws and turns into an unassuming earth pony, the only sign of who he really is in his red-and-golden eyes.

"You about ready, beastie?" asks Storm, finishing up the last touches of her 'outfit' and grabbing her saddlebags.

"Almost," comes the reply.

After a moment, Discord-in-disguise comes out of nowhere. He's wearing a very loud suit of plaid and stripes.

"You aren't going to blend in one bit in that outfit, beastie. Though, I must admit being an earth pony is a good idea- seems these sissy-ponies don't have as much respect for those without wings or magic."

"I know I won't blend in. But I need to express myself somewhere."

"Whatever. Incidentally, what's with the decor?"


"The skulls and bones of your victims by the welcome mat, really?"

"That's to scare off any fool who tries to attack me."

"I thought you said only you can get in here."

"You would remember that..."

"So what's the catch, huh?"

"Why should I tell you? I know you want me dead."

"Yes, but it's against my code to attack someone in their own den (not to mention stupid, since I wouldn't have the advantage). And considering you want me dead too..."

"Hmph. I don't trust you."

"You know you just repeated what I said earlier."

"Stop being logical! Logic has no place in the House of Discord!"

"Seriously, I'm curious. How could one get in besides you?"

"All I will tell you is the portal to my dimension constantly moves. And only I know where it is at any given time."

"Nice non-answer."

"You aren't getting any more information."

"Hmm, fine. So shall we leave to that gala-whatever?"

"Yes. It should be just starting, so..."

"Then come in! Let's get there before they close the doors!"

"Bit over eager..."

"If there's jewels and cash to steal, you bet I'll be eager!"

"Yes, I know. You are a strange little horse."

"And you're a demon-god of chaos. What's your point?"

"Nothing. I'll teleport us there."

At the gala, a white unicorn with a violet mane and tail is greeted by an odd sight- a tall black-and-white unicorn, and an earth pony in an outfit the fashionista mare would call horrifying.

The white mare comes over curiously, keeping her gaze away from the strange earth pony and focusing on the other unicorn.

"You're new around here, aren't you?"

"Indeed I am."

"You're a mare?"

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

"You must be fitted for a proper dress!"

"I don't do dresses."

"At least let me get you a more in-style suit!"

"Not interested. By the way, I see you have a lot of jewelry..."

"Oh, yes, yes I do." She points at a large red ruby around her neck. "This was a gift from a very special friend of mine."

"I see." The pinto circles this new mare, an odd look in her eyes.

"Um, excuse me, but what are you doing?"

"Just inspecting the gems on your dress."


"Why not?"


As a reply, the pinto mare yanks the jewels off the strange unicorn's dress (though she doesn't touch the ruby necklace), and before the pony has a chance to scream, she's gagged and bound.

Discord appears before the trapped pony.

"Hello, Rarity."

Rarity promptly faints.

"That was so easy," mutters Discord. He touches a claw to the mare's forehead. "Now you will forget." And soon I'll steal and corrupt your friends' and your magic elements. Without the elements, you will be helpless against me.

He turns back into a pony.

"Come on, beastie," whispers Storm, "Let's have some real fun!"

She heads into the gala, Discord following.

Trouble at the Gala

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Inside the gala, Storm actually freezes up for a moment.

Oh my... I've never seen a place this pretty before. All those jewels, the tapestries, the spectacular windows- they even have real carpet!

"Pinto," growls Discord, "Snap out of it."

"Shut up, beastie. You have no respect for beauty."

"What do you mean?"

"I've never been in a place this pretty in me life!"

"If you want sympathy-"

"Be quiet. Time to make some trouble."

She slinks off into the crowd.

Hmm, who shall I 'borrow' from first? That white stallion over in the corner looks like he might be rich, but that mare has some pretty jewelry... Think I'll go for the stallion first- maybe he'll fight me.

She trots over, keeping on guard.

"Good evening," says Storm.

"Hello... wow, you look lovely!"

"How much of that punch have you had, whitey?"

"You think I'm drunk?"

"You called me pretty. That ain't right."

"Oh but you are! You're the loveliest mare I've ever seen!"

"You are messed up."

"No, I'm Blueblood."


"That's my name, Prince Blueblood."

"I've heard tell of you. Didn't you humiliate that other unicorn when someone threw a pie at you?"

"Er, what do you mean?"

"Some mare name of Rarity. She was talking to you, something happened so a pie or cake flew toward you, and you shoved her in front of it because you were afraid of messing up your perfect mane."

"That was different. I'd never do that to you..."

"Ok, you have had way too much to drink!"

"No I haven't. I've just never seen a mare like you before."


"Yes. You're so graceful, those slender yet strong legs, that deer-like body, the curve of your horn, your long beautiful tail, your colors- you're gorgeous!"

"I'm a black and white pinto. Perfectly ordinary horse color."

"Not around here. I'm so sick of the same parade of pastel ponies, the same body types- I want something exotic. Like you..."

"Back off!"

"What's your name?"

"I go by Storm. And I'm about to kick you!"

"You should. I'm such a naughty colt..."

"Ok, you asked for it!"

Storm slams both hooves into Blueblood's chest, full force, and he collapses to the floor, wind knocked out of him.

The pinto rears up like she's about to slam her hooves into the prince's head, but she thinks better of it.

No need to have another murder on my record- this beastie isn't worth killing. Besides, I do believe that annoying chaos demon will be very interested in a helpless prey.

Unfortunately for her, Blueblood snaps out of it faster than anticipated.

"I like girls who play rough..."

"You want rough huh? How about I crack your skull?"

"That would be painful..."

"You said you like it rough. So either leave me be, or you're crow bait."

"I'll leave you be soon enough..."

He moves in uncomfortably close and licks Storm's cheek. This turns out to be too much for the pinto mare. She cracks the stallion one on the head with her hooves, and he goes out.

"I. Hate. Stallions!! Just 'cause you're a mare, they think they're entitled to you- hate them, hate them, hate them!"

"Oh my," says Discord from nearby. "What happened here?"

"Drunk stallion made a pass at me. So naturally I persuaded him to go away."

"Quite a violent method, but it seems to have worked."

"Take it you'll handle things from here?"

"Of course."

"Good. I'm going to borrow that fancy winged mare's jewels over there."

She leaves, sneaking up on the aforementioned pegasus and stealing the jewels, using such subtlety that the victim doesn't notice right away. And when she does, the pinto is long gone.

"THIEF! THIEF! Someone stole my jewels!" yells the pegasus.

That pinto is too clever for her own good, thinks Discord as he sends Blueblood to who-knows-where. Once this alliance is over, that mare needs to die. She's too smart... But for now, I believe I see another easy mark...

He teleports to a table where a light yellow pegasus with a pink mane is sitting with a green earth pony mare with an orange mane.

"Hello Fluttershy."

"D-d-d-Discord!! W-what do you w-want?!"



"You know."

"Please! D-don't eat me! I-I'm small and weak, n-not a g-good meal..."

"The weak part makes you a target, little pony."

He flicks out his claws, paying no attention to Fluttershy's companion.

"Hey, leave her be. You need to chill, man," says the earth pony.

"Tree Hugger," whispers Fluttershy to her friend, "That's Discord! Run away! He'll kill you!"

"She's right," says Discord, "And I may just kill you anyway. You earth ponies tend to be pretty easy-"

The green mare gets to her feet, her ears flat back.

"I said chill out, man."

"And how will you make me stop?"

Instead of an answer, the green mare starts to sing in a strange language.

"A song, really?" taunts Discord.

Tree Hugger continues to ignore him, her voice raising in pitch.

"What are you doing?"

Still no answer, and her voice gets even stronger and louder.

What? What's she doing? And why is it starting to hurt?

The mare keeps singing, her voice getting yet stronger.

"Stop! It's starting to hurt..."

She doesn't stop, and in fact grows even louder.

Discord screams in pain as the sound seems to take over his very mind.

"Stop it! Stop!"

Pretty soon, it hurts to speak, and even to stand up. He falls to the ground, wanting it to be over.

The earth pony stands right over him, continuing the strange song, pounding it into his brain, and Discord passes out cold.

Storm comes in from behind as the mare stops singing.

"How did you do that?"

"Just used sound to interfere with his aura, man."

"I have no idea what that means, but I think I like you. Any pony who can take down Discord like that, alone, is a-ok in my book. But why did you do that in the first place?"

"He was trying to hurt me," says Fluttershy quietly. "And Tree Hugger wouldn't let him."

"Tree Hugger, huh? Interesting name." She turns back to the earth pony. "Girly, you better take that pretty pegasus mare of yours to a safe place. That devil-dragon Discord wants to kill everyone here if he can. Of course, he won't be able to, but still..."

"Thanks for the warning, man, but I should be able to keep her safe here." The earth pony nuzzles the now-blushing pegasus mare, lowering her voice to a whisper. "I won't let anyone hurt you, Flutters..."

"I meant later," says Storm. "Traitor wants to take over and kill everyone he can."

"We'll be safe."

"Be that as it may, if you ever need help, call on me, Storm. I'll do what I can to help you two."

"Thank you," says Fluttershy, though she keeps her attention on the other mare.

"Heh, I'll leave you girls alone."

"Ok..." The two pony mares have almost forgotten the bounty hunter, lost in each other's eyes.

Storm grabs the still-unconscious Discord by the tail and drags him off, then concentrates on her own thoughts.

Now that's a cute pony couple! May the Great Hawk keep them safe. Kind of makes me want to go spend time with Goldfeather... Ah well, once this job is over, I'm staying at that griffin-girl's side unless she tells me to go away.

Discord eventually comes to.

"What happened?"

"You messed with the wrong pony, Dissy."

Discord's eyes flash red and he brings out his claws.

"NEVER call me 'Dissy'!"

"If you are trying to scare me, you are doing a poor job."

"I'll kill you!!"

"Before the job's done? No, if you kill me now, the ponies here will see me dead with tell-tale claw marks. Word will get around. And when my allies find out, your life won't be worth a plugged nickel."

"I'd say call this job done now, then you die!"

"You haven't caught much prey, I haven't got many jewels yet."

"I'd gladly give that up to feel your blood running through my claws!"

"Sorry, beastie, but you proposed the deal. And if you break that deal, I'll free all those you captured before you have time to kill anyone."

"You don't even know where they are."

"Oh, I have my ways of finding out. Anyway, looks like the gala will be over soon, so we don't have to tolerate each other much longer."

"That can't come soon enough..."

"Shut it. Just a little longer, and then back to the usual business."

"I. Hate. You."

"As you've said, multiple times."


"Look, beastie, it's just for a little longer, then we can try to kill each other. Though, you can't attack me til I'm done bargaining with the 'fence'."

"But she's a griffin! If I touch you, she'll tear me limb from limb!"

"Exactly. And even if she doesn't take you down, you know I have friends in Griffonia, Avia, and down Below. Kill me, you have all those to deal with. Powers or no, how can you survive an attack from all those warriors?"

"By Tirek, why am I stuck with someone so bucking clever?! And how can you be so clever anyway?! And also, what the devil do you mean by 'Below'?! I still don't know!"

"You have bad luck. As for my being, as you say, 'clever', try spending most of your life with practically everyone aiming to kill you. If you aren't 'clever', you're dead. As for the 'Below' line, that is none of your business."

"Curse you to Tartarus, bounty hunter."

"Whatever. Now shall we finish here?"

"Grr- fine."

"Good. And a word of advice: don't try anything stupid. This is too sweet of a job to be thrown out."

"Stupid? Moi? Would I do anything stupid?"

"Let me think about that for two seconds- yes you would."

Discord mutters a long string of profanity under his breath, but decides to remain an ally for at least a little longer.

By midnight, the job is done. The rich ponies have lost most of their jewels, and quite a number of unlucky ponies are trapped who-knows-where and awaiting a horrific fate at the claws of Discord.

"Now that was fun!" says Storm. "If I'm still alive next year, I might go to this gala-thing again to make trouble!"

"I doubt you will be alive," mutters Discord ominously.

Duel and Aftermath

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"Storm," says Discord from behind once they are in the Everfree.

"What do you want, beastie?"

"You've outlived your usefulness to me. I'm going to kill you."

"Oh? Why?"

"The job is done, and now you die."

"Without talking to the 'fence', really?"

"Oh yes. I'm tired of your existence. Surrender, and I'll make it quick."

"I never surrender."

"Such a pity. This is one fight you will lose."

"Maybe I will, but you won't take me easily."

"Perhaps not easily, but you will be taken."

Storms' response is a snarl and she goes to defensive.

Discord attacks, aiming his claws at her neck, and the pinto just barely avoids a deadly blow. She lashes out with her hooves, kicking the chaos demon and making him yelp. But he doesn't give in and slashes at her hind legs. She trips, and Discord moves in for the kill, only to be met by hard hooves to his face.

Discord curses and wipes blood from his muzzle, then strikes again, slashing across the mare's chest. She doesn't cry out, but she's obviously in pain.

"Give up yet, little horse?" taunts Discord.

Instead of replying, Storm's sharp horn tears into Discord's body, making him scream.

"That's it," he snarls, covering the wounds with his forepaw. "I'm done playing nice."

"Playing nice, my tail!" snaps Storm. "You want to kill me!"

"I know."

Discord's eyes glow and he summons some bizarre vines with his twisted magic. The pinto manages to slice him once more before the thorn-vines completely tangle up her legs, and when she tries to use her horn to cut herself loose, the vines get tighter. She can't move.

"Looks like you are the helpless one this time," growls Discord.

Storm is about to retort, when a vine goes around her muzzle, keeping her from speaking.

"I'm going to enjoy this..." The Chaos Demon touches his claws to Storm's throat, a sadistic grin on his face.

Blast! thinks Storm to herself. That beastie's got strong magic, curse it! But at least I fought to the last...

The vine is removed from her muzzle for a moment.

"Any final words before I devour your heart, little horse?"

Storm just glares at him.

"Oh, silent treatment I see. Bye bye."

He raises his claws to strike down, but hears a voice nearby.


"Goldfeather?" mutters Storm.

Discord doesn't even have a chance to respond before a furious female griffin swoops in with a piercing shriek. Sharp claws rip through his bat wing, nearly tearing it off and completely destroying his concentration. The vines loosen around Storm and she tears herself free, and immediately attacks.

By this point, Discord is severely hurt by the griffin's claws, and when he sees Storm is up and fighting, he decides to flee rather than continue the battle- he's injured and outnumbered, and to continue the battle would be foolish, if not fatal.

The unicorn and griffin watch the Chaos Demon leave, both smirking. But once he's gone, Storm's legs give out.

"Little hawk, you're hurt bad!" gasps Goldfeather.

"I'll live," replies Storm, trying to get to her hooves.

"Stay still, missy. I don't want you hurting yourself any more."

"But Goldfeather, there are predators here. They'll smell the blood on me, and-"

"No predator would mess with a griffin. And I'll protect you."


"It's the least I can do for you, my hawk. Now then, let me bandage you."


Goldfeather slips some bandages out of her saddlebags, then binds the pinto mare's wounds.

"I better carry you to a safe place, my little hawk."

"But are you strong enough to carry me?"

"Girly, I'm a griffin, and from the Underground no less. I better be strong enough to carry you."

"Ok... Oh, when we get back, I have something for you."

"Let's get back first." The griffin picks up the injured unicorn, gently putting the mare on her back.

"Hold on to my feathers. I'm going to move fast."

"Ok!" Storm is feeling a bit better now. She holds on tight to the griffin's feathers, and Goldfeather takes to the air, flying at full speed.

That's my griffin-girl. Falcon-fast, lion-fierce, and beautiful to boot! Thank the Great Hawk I met her... thinks the pinto.

Eventually, Goldfeather lands beside a small cave entrance, mostly blocked by a large stone. She knocks three times, waiting for an answer.

"Password?" comes a voice from within.

"Below, in dark and night. Above, in sun and light. Within, power. Without, danger."

"You may enter."

The rock is bathed in a strange magic glow, and moves aside.

As soon as the two females are inside, a palomino pinto unicorn filly comes rushing over.

"What happened to my cousin, Goldfeather?!"

"She and the Chaos Demon had it out again."

"But she's not usually hurt this badly..."

"Traitor used some dark magic on her."

"Ohh... will she be all right?"

"Don't worry yourself, pretty cousin," says Storm, sliding off the griffin's back and landing on her hooves. "I'm fine."


"Come, Goldmoon," says Goldfeather. "My little hawk's got her saddlebags full of treasure!"

"Ooh how? Did you go mining and steal from a dragon, Stormy?!"

"Not from a dragon- story's much less exciting."

"Oh... what happened then?"

"The sissy-ponies of Equestria like shiny rocks. And they had a fancy dress ball thing- they like to show off their jewels."

"How the hay did you get in? Thought they only allow the rich ponies there..."

"They normally do, but the Chaos Demon claimed he needed prey and hired me to be a distraction while he caused trouble."

"Did you accept?"

"That's where I got all the loot. Come on, girls! Let's get to work..."

"But didn't Discord try to kill you?" asks Goldmoon, tagging along behind the griffin and her cousin.

"Oh yes, but he failed miserably, thanks to my eagle..."

The warriors settle down in a side room, the unicorn filly laying on her cousin's back, and Goldfeather sheltering both under her wing.

Storm dumps her saddlebags out on the straw beneath her, revealing a huge pile of gems and gold.

"Little hawk, how did you-"

"Equestria ponies aren't very observant."

"So how much you want for all these?"

"Actually, Goldie, I was thinking maybe I give them to you..."

"Give them to me? You mean for free?"

"Yes, for free. You saved my life, my eagle..."

"T'weren't nothin'. I'd do anything to protect you."

"I know. But still, it's not just that..."

"Oh? Why else, little hawk?"

"Well, I really really like you, and since I don't have feathers, I thought..."

"Oh no! Not the mushy stuff!" cries Goldmoon.

Storm puts a hoof over her little cousin's mouth.

"Stormy," asks Goldfeather, "Does that mean..."

"Uh huh..."

The griffin plucks a feather from her chest and gives it to the pinto unicorn.

"I accept."

Storm takes her hoof away from Goldmoon and rests it on the griffin's forepaw.

"Cousin's getting married!" gasps Goldmoon. The filly leaps off her cousin and starts galloping around the place and kicking her hooves in the air.

"Down, little foal," says Storm.

"So what made you want to propose?" asks Goldfeather.

"Well, at the gala-thing (which was terrible) I saw one good thing- two mares in love, and then when I nearly got killed, I figured I better show the truth while I'm alive-"

She's cut off by Goldfeather pressing her beak against the unicorn mare's muzzle.

"Shh, little hawk, shh..."

Both go quiet, enjoying each other's company.

"Storm and Goldfeather sittin' in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!" says Goldmoon in an incredibly annoying sing-song voice.

The griffin lightly cuffs Goldmoon's ear with her free wing.

"Be quiet, little filly. I'm sure you'll find yourself a sweetheart someday!"

"Ewww!!!" Goldmoon runs away, leaving the griffin and unicorn alone.

"Now that she's gone, shall we have a little fun?" asks Goldfeather.

"Yes," replies Storm. "Let's enjoy the time while we have it- I know my cousin won't stay away for long."

"Indeed. Come a little closer, my hawk."

Storm does, her tail intertwining with Goldfeather's. The two touch beak and muzzle once more, and then start grooming each other.

Cousin's so lucky, thinks Goldmoon, watching from nearby. She got the best girl in the Underground! Or anywhere else, actually.

Someone bites Goldmoon gently on the tail. She whirls to see a silver dapple smoky black horse filly standing behind her.

"Hey girl!"

"Night Wind! You made it!"

"Yup! And I see your cousin finally proposed. Took her long enough!"

"I know!"

"So you want to play, or should we spy on the grown-ups?"

"Hmm... can't we do both?"

"Your cousin would hear us, and she might not be happy."

"Oh, yeah... But still..."

"Come on, girl! Don't want you to get in trouble."


"Bet you can't catch me!"

"Yes I can!"

The two fillies race off, leaving the lovers alone to enjoy each other.