Twilight galloped through cobblestone streets as fast as she could, her white cloak billowing in the wind behind her. Her sights were set on the great cathedral, where she was certain that the pony responsible for saving her from the gallows was waiting for her. As she crossed an intersection, a group of falling white shapes caught her eye as descended upon her. Skidding to a halt and extending her hidden blade, Twilight prepared to be attacked.
“Hey now, there’s no need for that,” joked the brown Pegasus that had landed in front of her.
“Archangel! I’m so glad to see you, how’s Jean?” she asked, hoping that her spell had taken Jean back to their headquarters. Archangel smiled as he lowered his hood, as did all of the others that were with him; David, Chromia, Lemon Drop and finally, Allison.
“Well aside from the broken arm, she’s fine. I’m sorry I doubted you,” he said, looking at the ground in embarrassment. Twilight put her hoof on his shoulder and gave him a warm smile.
“Don’t worry about it, saving my life more than makes up for it,” she told him. Archangel gave her a puzzled look that made her nervous.
“Actually Dusk… that wasn't us at all. We have no idea who severed the rope and the only evidence I was able to find was this,” he explained, reaching into the pocket of his cloak and retrieving a long black arrow. It looked entirely unremarkable, except for the pink arrow feathers that Twilight knew all too well.
“Quickly, which way did they go?” she asked, looking around at all of the assassins. Chromia raised her hoof and pointed in the general direction of the docks.
“I’m fairly certain that they went that way,” she said, her voice full of confusion. Twilight started running in the direction she had been shown, and after a moment, was joined by the others.
“What’s going on?” Archangel enquired as Twilight’s head whipped from side to side, trying to catch a glimpse down an alleyway for the target of her current obsession.
“Archangel, Allison and David, do a fly over and tell me if you can see any large groups of guards going in one direction,” Twilight ordered, ignoring Archangel’s question, as well as the confused looks on the faces of the others. Her three gravity defying teammates took to the sky and started darting around at high speed. Five minutes later, Allison flew down beside her, having had found what they were looking for.
“Three blocks across, one block up. I found two groups of guards closing in on two ponies,” she reported. Twilight’s heart skipped a beat.
“We need to get to them. Allison, you go find Archangel and David and meet us there. Keep an eye on the situation and if the guards attack, I need you to defend those ponies,” she told her and the griffin gave quick salute before rocketing into the sky. “Chromia, Lemon Drop. Hold onto your lunch, we need to get there as the crow flies.” With that, Twilight put a hoof on both of their shoulders and with a flash of magic from her horn, teleported them to the nearest roof top.
After running, jumping and teleporting the four blocks to the location of the two ponies, Twilight was breathing heavily as she followed one group of guards as they chased her liberators. When they finally stopped, she looked ahead to see that the two were now boxed into the small alley. One was an extremely large Earth pony stallion. His coat was a bright red and complimented his orange mane and tail. The other pony was a yellow Pegasus mare with a short mane cut that was not unlike Twilight’s own, aside from the fact that it was pink. Both of them had weapons drawn, the stallion with a long curved sword and the mare with a bow that was made out of a dark red wood. The guards started to close in on them, spears held outstretched in front of them.
“We need to move now!” said Twilight in a panicked tone. “Protect those ponies.” All six of them then leapt from the roof, surrounding the two ponies and taking up aggressive stances. Twilight looked straight at the leader of the group in front of her, standing tall to try and look intimidating.
“You all know who I am, who WE are. So I am being generous today; leave and you can go back to your families. These ponies are under our protection,” she declared, loudly enough for everyone to hear. “Oh, and one more thing… You may need to find a new Chancellor.” She extended her hidden blade, holding it up into the air and showing them Ignatius’ still-drying blood coating the metal. The guards seemed to hesitate for a moment, as though they were gauging whether they could take the assassins or not.
Twilight let out a sigh of relief as both groups of guards turned and hurried away. She retracted her blade, suddenly becoming very aware of the Pegasus staring at her.
‘What are you doing here Fluttershy? You could have gotten yourself killed, same with Big Mac,” she thought as Fluttershy put her bow away.
“Oh thank you Twi-“ she started sweetly, before Twilight cut her off.
“What in the hay are you doing here?’ she asked angrily, making Fluttershy jump in fright.
“Uh… Princess Luna sent us to retrieve you, and we just want you back,” she explained, making Twilight even more frustrated. Luna obviously had no idea what Celestia had sent her to do.
“Well you can just go home. I’m not leaving, not yet.”
“Look Twilight, we have a mission to complete and ah intend to complete it,” Big Macintosh snapped, poking Twilight in the chest. His impressive bulk was the most intimidating thing she had seen in ages.
“Dusk! We have to go before they come back with more guards,” Archangel called out and Twilight let out a sigh, realising that she had to take them back to the cathedral. She bowed her head, taking a huge breath and concentrating on the room at the top of the church. Her horn flared, growing brighter and brighter as she gathered enough energy to get them all back to base. A burst of magenta energy followed and with a grunt of pain and effort, she teleported the entire group.
“Twilight, where are we” asked Big Mac, looking around the modest set up. Archangel and the others lowered their hoods, but Twilight kept hers raised, not wanting Fluttershy and Big Mac to know just how glad she was to see them, and knew that her eyes would betray her.
“This is our base of operations, located within a church,” she explained, careful to keep her voice deadpan. “And I think that it’s time for you both to leave. I don’t want you here.” To Twilight’s surprise, Fluttershy gave her the dirtiest look that she had ever witnessed.
“How dare you! We risk our lives coming here to search for you on Luna’s orders and you don’t even say hello! What is your problem? Do you even care about us anymore? This isn’t what Celestia would have wanted!” yelled Fluttershy, and every word felt like one of her arrows hitting her in the chest. Twilight looked at the ground, to ashamed to look them in the eye.
“I know, but I can’t go back. Not now, and besides, Celestia sent me here to do something, and I have to see it through,” she said, sitting on her bed. As if sensing the awkwardness in the room, Archangel and the others hurried down the stairs and out of sight, although Twilight suspected that they were still listening.
“I know, you were sent her to assassinate Gregor’s son,” said Big Mac in a disapproving tone.
“It was more than that. Celestia sent me here to save these people. They are being oppressed and I am just trying to help them. So I gathered some like-minded individuals and we do what we have to do; we assassinate every corrupt politician, every buisnessgriffin that brutalises their workers or runs slave camps. We fight for the people on the street, just hoping that our main target comes out of hiding soon.”
“And who is your main target?” Fluttershy asked expectantly and Twilight could tell what name she wanted to hear, because it was the name she was thinking of as well.
“Gilda,” she said simply, and from the looks on the faces of Big Mac and Fluttershy as they looked at each other, she could tell what was coming next.
“Twilight, we want to help, and I will not take no for an answer. I promised Big Mac and Rarity that I would kill Gilda and I plan to be the one that does it,” she said. From her tone, Twilight knew that nothing she could say or do was going to change the mind of her Pegasus friend, as so resigned herself to helping them. She nodded once to indicate that she agreed, making Fluttershy smile with an almost manic glee. “Good, then we make a change. Instead of waiting for her, we be assertive and go and get her ourselves.” Big Mac then gave Fluttershy a long kiss.
“Ah love it when you get forceful,” he said, making Twilight feel a little uncomfortable.
“Fine, but if we are going to do this, then we do it my way, which means stealth. And not shedding blood if we can avoid it,” she told them, getting back onto her hooves and walking over to the stairs to tell her team what the night ahead was going to involve.
That night, after Archangel had graciously covered up the moonlight with some clouds, Twilight, Big Mac and Fluttershy made their way toward the royal palace. With a little help from a teleporting spell they were able to get past the gates, but from there they had to get into the actual building on hoof. It took some time, mainly because Big Mac’s large size made stealth difficult for him. They managed to enter the palace through an unlocked servant’s entrance at the side. The entire building was eerily silent and Twilight swore she could hear her heartbeat echoing in the hallways.
After making their way to the second floor, they set out to find Gilda’s bedroom, hoping to catch her asleep. Eventually they found it; a simple looking set of double doors, one of which had a gold star with a ‘G’ in the middle. They entered the room as silently as possible, with every creak of the floorboards sounding like a clap of thunder. With the meagre amount to light available to her, Twilight could see that the covers of the large four poster bed were bundled over something. Twilight stood back, watching Fluttershy and Big mac as they worked. Big Mad readied himself next to the bed, gripping the corner of the coves with his teeth. Fluttershy, however, was floating just above him, drawing a dagger that had the initials ‘R.D and AJ’ carved into the blade.
Big Mac suddenly tore the covers away as Fluttershy dived, plunging her dagger over and over into the shape. When Fluttershy stopped abruptly, Twilight made her way over and was surprised to find that it wasn’t Gilda that Fluttershy had been stabbing, but instead a creepy plush replica of Rainbow Dash. The sound of hoof steps outside caused her to tense up. Twilight flipped the hood back over her head and waited by the door. When the source of the sound got close enough, she reached out and pulled the pony inside. She put her hoof in his mouth to silence him and extended her hidden blade.
Upon realising that it was just one of the servants, she let him go, retracting her hidden blade. Twilight lit up her horn and was almost brought to tears at the sight of him. The pony’s entire body was covered in cuts, bruises, scars and burns.
“Please don’t kill me Dusk! Please!” he begged and Twilight put her hoof on his shoulder to calm him down.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you, just tell me where Gilda is,” she said, disguising her voice by making it deeper. The servant smiled brightly as she talked.
“Is it her turn, have you come to kill her?” he asked gleefully, giving Twilight all the information she needed on who had tortured him. The pony’s smile suddenly faded. “Oh, I’m sorry but she left to visit her father on the front lines, and I have no idea when she will be back.” Twilight cursed silently to herself, before realising what she had to do next.
“Looks like you two are going to get your wish, I’m going where Gilda is,” she said to Fluttershy and Big Mac, who nodded and smiled at her. Twilight wasn’t returning just because of Gilda, nor because she wanted to see her friends. It had finally dawned on her that the city no longer needed her protection. With Ignatius and the council dead, the good elements of society would start to surface, unopposed. Archangel and the others would continue to protect the citizens of New Grifburg without the need for her to interfere. It was time to go home.
The servant showed them a secret way out of the castle that came out onto the streets only a few blocks away from the cathedral, on the walk back, Fluttershy continued to ask questions about her time in New Grifburg, all of which she answered without going into too much detail.
When they did finally arrive, Twilight was overjoyed to find that both of the griffin twins were back. Max still looked like he was having difficulty breathing, but was walking around, and even gave her a hug when she walked in. Jean kissed her on the cheek and showed her the cast that she had around her arm, making a pang of guilt hit her square in the chest. Twilight ushered Fluttershy and Big Mac out of the room, wanting to talk with her team in private.
“Everyone, I just wanted to say a few things. Firstly, you should know that I am leaving with my two friends. They are taking me back to the front lines,” she told them, eliciting a gasp from all of them.
“But we need you,” said David sadly and they all nodded their agreement.
“No, you really don’t. I was only here to make sure that you were all ready to take on the responsibility of the city, and I honestly think you are,” Twilight said, her eyes starting to well up. “Now I want you all to follow Archangel, he’s got the leadership skills that you guys will need. I also want you to know that I love you all, and I’m never going to forget you. I’ll write if I can, and you can always ask me for advice if you need it. The last thing I need to say is that I’m a liar. My name isn’t really Dusk. My name is Twilight Sparkle, and I wanted you to know that before I left.”
Archangel was the first to step forward and hug her, but soon they all joined in, culminating in a huge group hug that lasted for a full five minutes. Twilight desperately hoped that she would get to see them again.
Twilight packed a few of her things away, leaving most of it for the others to use and was then led down to the docks, where she, along with Fluttershy and Big Mac stowed away on a ship called the ‘obsidian.’ It took the better part of five hours to reach the next pony port in the town of Maneflow Springs, where Luna was waiting for them after Twilight had sent word via carrier pigeon.
When they arrived at the Pony camp, Twilight was overwhelmed by the hero’s welcome she was receiving. So much had changed in the time since she had left, such as when Derpy and The Doctor introduced her to their infant daughter; Sparkler.
As soon as she spotted Pinkie Pie, Twilight made a beeline straight for her friend, pulling her into a tight embrace and kissing her passionately. It was her way of showing that she didn’t want to miss another opportunity to show Pinkie just how she felt about her.
‘Perhaps now I can finally get some peace,’ she thought as she drifted away on thought and bliss.