The city was buzzing with talk of what had become known as 'the slums incident.' Twilight and Archangel were walking through the market, dressed in black hooded jumpers. The white hood and cloak that was used to be their disguise was now the only thing giving away their identity. Since they were taking some time off to recover, and owing to the fact that the spring festival had started and the city was in a state of peace, there wasn't much need for them to intervene in anything. Archangel was still walking with a limp, the injury he sustained to his hind leg healing slower than normal because he couldn't find the time to rest it. Since he and David were the least injured members of the team, they had taken it upon themselves to not only take care of the others, but to also train the four new recruits that had joined them, three ponies and one griffin. The one that Twilight was most surprised to see was a white Earth pony with green eyes and a silvery mane and tail. Not long before the battle near the wall, Twilight had rescued her from being assaulted by a pair of guards, and she had decided to return the favour by joining their cause. Her name was Chroma and she was a blacksmith's assistant. In fact, she was the one who had been decorating the hidden blades for Archangel and the others. She had always been curious as to what they were for, and had secretly made one for herself because she loved the design and the mechanism in the blade.
Twilight and Archangel were collecting supplies such as food and water for the group, as well as picking up a hood and cloak for the new members. Twilight's own injury was making walking difficult, not to mention the strain that the saddlebags were putting on her. They sat down on a bench near the middle of the square where the festivities were taking place, watching as ponies, griffins, minotaur and even the odd Zebra danced, laughed, sang and just generally had a good time.
"This is what Ponyville is like most of the time," said Twilight as she munched on an apple. Archangel listened intently, while at the same time scanning the crowd for something.
"I don't remember it too well, but from what I heard, this is what the city was like before the plague as well," he told her, getting to his hooves and waving as somepony in the crowd.
"I thought you said you've lived here your whole life?" she asked as he sat back down.
"Well I have, but I wasn't born here. My parents and I moved here after the plague, when houses were cheap. But after they died, I had to move into the slums so I could afford a place to live. I mean, it's a bit hard for a thirteen year old colt to pay the rent on a house in middle class part of town," he explained, looking down as a very small Pegasus filly approached and sat next to Archangel.
"Hello Willow, what news do you have for me?" he asked the filly, who simply held her hoof out expectantly. Archangel just chuckled, before reaching into his bags and retrieving a small pouch of coins. As soon as the filly had them stashed away, her demeanour changed completely. She jumped up and hugged Archangel tightly as he nuzzled her neck.
"So who's this little one?" asked Twilight, curious as to their relationship. The filly, who was now resting on his back, just smiled at her.
"This here is Willow Wisp, one of my little gathers of information and…. One of Orchid's friends," he replied, before both he and Willow looked away. She couldn't imagine the pain of losing a child, and seeing the look on his face made her never want too. "But anyway, what have you got for me Willow?" Willow shot a quick look at Twilight before leaning in and whispering something into Archangel's ear, and by the look on his face, it was something distressing. After a moment he kissed the filly on the forehead and she galloped off, her small frame quickly disappearing in the sea of bodies. Archangel just flopped back onto the seat, rubbing his eyes with his hoof.
"Hey, what's wrong, what did she tell you?" Twilight enquired, discarding what was left of her apple.
"Willow just gave some rather distressing news," he said, his voice deadpan. "Apparently, our good friend Ignatius is no longer in charge of the city's sanitation, he's now the chancellor, meaning that he's in charge of the entire council," he told her and Twilight simply paled.
"So that means that he can basically do whatever the hay he wants, we have to do something,"
"What CAN we do? Even if had all recovered from that last fight or those new guys were ready… He was legally elected into that position, if he had stolen the job, then there is good enough reason to kill him, but at the moment…"
"But what about all of that stuff we just went through? What about what he did to Max?" argued Twilight, and Archangel put his fore hooves up in mock defence.
"I know, I know. But think about it, most of this city supports us, except for the rich. Now if we were to kill the griffin they elected, then we are pretty much saying that we oppose the rich,"
"But we do!"
"Not all rich people Dusk. You said yourself that we only oppose those that use their money to make life hard for the rest of the citizens, and some of them actually do help,"
"Good point, but I still think that we have to do SOMETHING," she replied in an exaggerated way. Archangel just shrugged and smiled awkwardly. Neither pony talked for a while, both too shocked to say anything. As they watched the market, Twilight began to fall asleep, regardless of the fact that it was the middle of the day. The festival had given them all a good excuse to get some proper sleep, and Twilight was more desperate for it then she thought.
After being shaken awake by Archangel and walking back to the cathedral, Twilight threw herself onto her bed and turned over, waiting for Archangel to get to changing her bandages, as had become the custom since they started their week off. However, it was not just Archangel that approached this time; instead, it was the entire set of new members, which included Chromia, a yellow unicorn stallion named Lemon Drop, an orange Earth pony mare named Mandarin and a grey feathered female griffin named Allison.
"Hi there Dusk, Archangel wanted us to come over here and do some first aid training," said Chromia and Twilight just pulled her hoodie down over her wound.
"Yeah, I'm not overly comfortable with that Archangel," she said nervously as he approached with his first aid bag in his mouth.
"Oh don't be such a foal; we aren't going to hurt you. I just want show them how to them how to change a bandage properly and to show them what stitches are meant to look like when they are done the right way," he explained as he began to unwrap her abdomen. Archangel's 'students' watched with an almost childlike innocence that made Twilight extremely uncomfortable.
The next half hour that followed consisted of Twilight feeling like a science project, being poked and prodded and studied. He then let Chromia do the new bandages and even though she had to restart the wrap twice, she did a fairly good job once she had gotten the hang of it.
After reluctantly deciding to follow them around for the rest of the lesson, Twilight went and watched as Archangel described the flintlock weapon and the way that it had all but killed Jean, before proceeding to replace her bandage. A smirk crossed her lips when she saw all of them but Chromia and Allison turn green at the sight of blood.
"Hey Archangel, I'm going to go and see how Max is going okay?" she called out, as Archangel produced a CPR dummy that he had stolen from Panadol's clinic. "Are you coming Jean?" Jean nodded and clambered toward the staircase.
"That was way too weird," Twilight whispered as they started to walk down the stairs.
Twilight and Jean arrived at Panadol's clinic to find it in a state of complete disarray. Dozens of straw, twig and what appeared to be torn cloth nests covered the floor, with only a few small paths for ponies to walk through. Max was lying in the middle of the room, with the green Unicorn doctor; Panadol looking over him. Tiptoeing through the nests, they approached the table and Twilight smiled when she noticed that Max was not only awake, but smiling. Jean kissed her brother on the cheek when she got to him, and he cringed a little when he tried to turn, letting out a groan of pain.
"So how are you doing?" Twilight asked and Max just raised his eyebrow and gave her a look. "Good point."
"The bones that were just fractured are already beginning to knit back together, and if the paste keeps working at the same effectiveness that it has been, then the fully broken ribs will be back to normal in about two weeks," said Panadol as she massaged some more of her healing paste into Max's chest.
"Two weeks! That's pretty impressive stuff, what makes it so effective?" Twilight asked, her brain instantly going back to inquisitive mode, while Jean just carried on a very one-sided conversation with her brother, who was unable to take any kind of deep breath.
"Well I managed to separate white blood cell from red blood cells, and since they are the cells that help with the immune response, I simply added some other compounds that are well known for their healing properties and made it into a paste. If you like, I can write you the recipe so you can make it yourself," Panadol told her and Twilight accepted the offer, leaving Jean to talk to her brother in peace. They made their way carefully to Panadol's small living space in the corner of the clinic, which simply consisted of a bed, a sink and a little eating area.
"I have to ask, what are all the nests for?" she asked, shifting one out of her way so that she didn't wreak it.
"Oh, don't mind them. I have to do some more work on them to make sure they're all ready for the hatchlings," she replied as she started to write down the recipe for her.
"Hey… I never got to say thanks for saving Max. I know it's your job and all but… thank you for supporting us,"
"Oh, I don't support you guys, nor do I support the guards. I quite honestly don't care about who's in power. I just want to help ponies," she said, handing the slip of paper to the stunned Twilight.
"I respect that, but still… thank you," she said and Panadol just smiled. As they started to return to Max and Jean, the front door burst open to reveal a pair of griffin guards. One was carrying the other, who seemed to have passed out.
"Doctor Panadol, Frank fell off the roof doing a stunt and… and… is that one of the assassins?" he exclaimed, trailing off when he noticed Max lying on the table, his cloak being used as blanket to keep his legs warm.
"Aw ponyfeathers," muttered Twilight.