Twilight was searching through all of the hidden pockets in her outfit when Max finally awoke from his tranquiliser induced slumber. She giggled to herself as his groggy form lifted off the ground and promptly fell back down, his eyes crossed and his tongue rolling around uselessly in his mouth.
"Whad habbened? Whad time is it?" Asked Max, once again trying and failing to stand. Twilight walked over and helped him to his feet, leading him to a chest in the corner of a room. Max sat down and took long, deep breaths, eventually regaining full control over his body. Twilight told him of her encounter with Archangel and the subsequent drugging of Max. He stretched his wings, and Twilight got a good look at her new companion. He was a smaller than average griffin, his wings tipped with a healthy brown colour, and his talons were much less sharp than Twilight was used to.
"What time is it?" Asked Max, standing up and lifting himself off the ground. He flew above Twilight and into the tower's rafters. He grabbed one and began to do pull ups.
"It's around midday. I wanted to wait until the drug wore off before we went and retrieved your sister." She told him, as Max dropped from the ceiling with a thud.
"Ow, that felt awesome." He said, standing once more. Twilight shook her head and smiled.
"You are quite interesting. Did you know that? You obviously dislike violence, and yet you became a guard, then you joined me at the drop of a hat. You willingly put your only family at risk, not to mention your own life. I just can't understand it." Said Twilight, looking at her new friend with much curiosity. Max smiled slightly and sat down in front of her, beckoning Twilight to do the same. He ran his fingers through the small beard that he had and cleared his throat.
"Okay, so I told you about my sister, Jean, didn't I? Well like I said, it's just me and her. We lost our parents when we were young to a plague that devastated the city. Thousands died, but ponies weren't affected. Suspicion increased, especially when the Emperor took a pony into the palace as his own daughter. When the Empress died from the disease, Gregor completely cut off communication with the city. The guards became corrupt, looking out for their own interests above the safety of the citizens. The reason I'm telling you all this is too make you understand that I have seen the worst that this city has to offer. I became a guard in the hopes that I could make a difference to the lives of the griffins and ponies that live on the streets and die every day because of a lack of compassion. Then I saw you, and what you had done. The crowds were cheering you on as you made your way toward Alistair. And when you killed him, it was as though a great weight had been lifted off the city's shoulders. I want to help you because I came to the realisation that your way is the only way to return New Grifburg back to its former glory." Max told her, and Twilight felt a new sense of pride and gratitude toward him. She nodded, before turning and grabbing a bag off a table. She threw it to Max, who peered inside and smiled. Reaching inside, he pulled out a white hooded jumper that was lined red on the inside, complete with holes for his wings.
"I picked this up at the market while you slept. I thought that if you and I are going to be working together, then you should look the part. It will have to do for the moment, until we can get a tailor to make a proper one in secret for you and Archangel." She said, as Max zipped up the jumper. Flipping up his hood, he smiled wide.
"Right then, shall we go and get Jean?" He asked, and Twilight nodded, retrieving her hidden blade and strapping it to her arm. Together, they made their way through the crowded streets, Twilight doing her best to stay out of the path of the guards. She could make out whispers from griffins and ponies alike, all talking about the mysterious assassin that killed Alistair. The walk to Jean's was six blocks, and every comment that Twilight heard about herself in that time was positive. That she had done the right thing. Twilight did her best to hide her smile from Max, lest he think of her as a monster rather than a revolutionary. When they finally arrived at the house that Max and Jean shared, Max lowered his hood as Twilight stood back, keeping an eye out for any guards. He knocked on the door and a few seconds later, it was answered by who Twilight could only assume was Jean. She bared very little resemblance to Max, her colouring being grey instead of brown. The two hugged, and Jean ushered them inside the house, where Max told her about what had happened and who Twilight was. Jean, much to Twilight's surprise, took it all very well, barely batting an eyelid when she found out who Twilight was, or that Max had abandoned his guard position to join her. After he had finished, Max left to begin packing some things that he wanted, while Jean and Twilight stared at each other for a while.
"Are we going to be safe?" Jean asked finally. Twilight nodded, unsure of what to say to her.
"Am I going to have to go on missions and kill?" She continued, and this time, Twilight shook her head.
"Not if you don't want too. I only want people who are committed to helping me to participate in missions." She said, and it was Jean's turn to nod.
"I'm glad, because as much as I want peace for the city, I don't think I am ready to kill anyone." She said, and Twilight smiled under her hood at the scared griffin.
"I'm sure that it won't come to that. Your brother and I are the revolutionaries. He just doesn't want you hurt." Twilight told her. A series of three loud knocks erupted from the direction of the front door, making both Twilight and Jean jump. Twilight gestured to Jean that she answer the door, while at the same time positioning herself behind it. Jean waited for Twilight to get ready before opening the door, and by the sound of her voice, Twilight could tell that it was guards.
"Hello, can I help you?" She asked the visitors. The one who answered had a very deep, yet gentle voice.
"Greetings. Am I correct in assuming that you are Jean Cumulus? Sister of Max Cumulus?"
"Yes, what is this all about?"
"Have you seen your brother lately?"
"I'm afraid not. He does live at the guard tower though, so it is quite rare that I see him nowadays."
"He no longer resides at the guard tower. From our understanding, he has absconded with the assassin that murdered Prince Alistair yesterday."
"I find that hard to believe. He is a dedicated guard."
"Nevertheless, he has gone missing and is now under suspicion."
"I see, well then I shall tell you if I see him." Said Jean, just as Max walked into the room.
"Hey Jean, do you still have my teddy bear? Oh, I see you have company… I'll just leave." He said, and Twilight cursed under her breath.
"Halt, you are under arrest for consorting with a traitor." Yelled the guard, and in response, Max smiled awkwardly.
"Ah…. Well this can only end badly." Said Max. Twilight rolled her eyes and proceeded to buck the door, which happened to close on the front leg of one of the guards, the heavy oak door closing on it almost completely. Twilight heard the griffin scream as his leg broke.
"Hurry, out the back." Yelled Twilight, grabbing Jean and dragging her past Max.
"But I have no back door." Said Jean and Twilight stopped abruptly.
"Didn't need one until now." She said, beginning to panic. Twilight groaned, unsure of what to do, as the door was being rammed by the guards outside.
"Follow me!" Yelled Max, galloping past them and diving straight out a window and into an alley at that rested beside the house. Twilight used her magic to help Jean out of the window and just as the door burst open, she dived out the window and the three of them galloped down the alley as fast as they could. Jean opened her wings and tried to take to the air, but Max grabbed her and pulled her back to earth.
"Don't try to fly, it's too open, they will catch you easy. Our best bet is to stick to the little paths and openings in the slums; they wouldn't bother tracking us through there." Said Max, and Twilight could see the he was already beginning to prove himself useful. The trio made their way to the slums of New Grifburg, which was situated at the furthest corner of the city's borders. Ramshackle and derelict buildings were the norm here, and the griffins and ponies that lives there were a sad reflection of their surroundings. They eventually found themselves without pursuers and settled down behind what appeared to be a pharmacy, only that the front of the building was nothing more than a fire blackened mess.
"Is this what I can expect by staying with you both?" Asked Jean, wheezing with every breath. Max produced a blue plastic tube from one of his pockets and handed it to Jean, who then pressed a button on the top and inhaled deeply from the tube.
"Perhaps." Said Twilight, deciding that is was best not to lie to her about the risks that her brother was taking by helping her.
"Well I for one am having lots of fun." Said Max, and Twilight raised an eyebrow at him.
"This isn't meant to be fun." She told him, while at the same time, a large smile spread across her lips.
"Ah, but it is, isn't it. You like this." He said, and as much as Twilight wanted to say no, and be serious, she couldn't help but nod.
"Dusk?" Said a voice above them, and she looked up to see Archangel standing on the rooftop of the building. He jumped off, landing in front of Twilight and the two griffins.
"Archangel, what are you doing here?" Asked Twilight, getting to her hooves and making sure that the hood was still covering her face.
"I live here. You, however, are an oddity in these parts. What happened? Did they find the church tower already?" He asked sarcastically. Twilight shook her head as Max got to his feet and walked up to Archangel, standing in between him and Twilight.
"So you're the one that drugged me?" He said with much venom in his voice. A cocky smile appeared on Archangel's face as he nodded.
"I did indeed. You must be Max; it shall be great to work together for the sake of the city won't it?" He asked, and Max just stared at him in response.
"I guess, but know that if you drug me again. I will beat you senseless, dress you up like a mare, and hand you over to the sailors. Understand what I'm saying?" Threatened Max. The smile on Archangel's face disappeared, replaced with a scowl.
"I understand entirely." Said Archangel. He turned to Twilight, who had been watching the conversation with much interest.
"So what now, fearless leader?" He said, opening his wings and stretching them to the full extent.
"We do the only thing we can; we head back to the cathedral and make up some kind of plan for taking back the city." Said Twilight, and the rest of the group nodded. They slowly made their way back to the centre of town. Max's knowledge of guard schedules aided them greatly in avoiding patrols but even then, it was sundown before they got into the church tower. They all collapsed on the floor, exhausted from the day's events, except for Archangel, who went out to procure them all some food. Twilight watched Jean as she settled down in what had been Max's bed the night before. She was obviously very scared, judging by the way that her body was shaking. Twilight walked over and sat next to her, putting her arm around Jean at the same time.
"Are you okay?" Asked Twilight, and Jean shook her head, slowly exhaling a deep breath.
"I'm nowhere near okay. In the last twelve hours, I found out that my brother is aiding an assassin, and that he intends to become an assassin as well. And to top it all off, I myself have become a fugitive from the very city that I live in. I have been chased clear across the Griffin capitol city, seen the slums I swore I would never return to and now I sleep on the floor in a church that had been closed down by the now dead Prince of the empire. I'm scared Dusk. I'm really, really scared." She told Twilight, and began to cry. Twilight held her tighter and gestured for Max to leave the room. Once she was sure that he was out of earshot. She lifted Jean's chin and smiled.
"Actually, my name is Twilight, Twilight Sparkle. Don't tell anypony okay." She said, lowering her hood so that jean could see her face properly. Twilight thought that her disfigured eye had turned her off, as Jean turned away from her almost immediately. Twilight blushed, flipping her hood back up.
"No, you don't have to. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to offend you." Stammered Jean. Twilight held up her hoof.
"It's fine, I know the effects my eye has on others." She said, removing her arm from around Jean.
"How did it happen? If you don't mind me asking?" Asked Jean, and Twilight sighed, unsure of how to tell her that it happened while she was slaying her kinsmen.
"I was in the war, still am technically. And one day I was unlucky. A griffin's blade raked across my eye, which filled with blood, hence the brown colour on the outside. As for the white iris, well that was a mystery. Nopony seems to have a clue how it happened or how to reverse it. So I am stuck looking like this for the rest of my life." Twilight told her, and Jean looked at the floor.
"I'm sorry." She said, and Twilight smiled. Archangel suddenly returned, saddlebags filled with all sorts of foodstuffs. Calling Max back into the room, the group sat down to eat.
"Thank you Archangel, this is delicious." Said Jean, and Archangel winked at her playfully, and earned a dirty look from Max as a result.
"How did you come by all this food?" Asked Twilight and Archangel raised his eyebrow at her.
"I didn't steal it, if that's what you are implying. There are many in the city that owe me favours. I cashed one in to get the food. I also cashed in another and managed to score Max and I some wonderful outfits that match yours Dusk." He said, and Twilight nodded, impressed with the Pegasi's ability to procure items.
"So Dusk, you must tell us more about yourself." He said, and Twilight shot a look to Jean before answering.
"No I don't." She replied, and Max giggled at the look on displeasure on Archangel's face.
"What I do plan to tell you is our overall plan for the city."
"Which is what exactly?" Asked Max. Twilight smiled, as she looked around the room at her comrades.
"We kill those that are evil and mistreat their authority as they come into power, while at the same time, encourage those that would use their authority to help others." Explained Twilight. Jean and Max nodded their heads in agreement to the plan while Archangel raised his hoof.
"What do we do if there are none that would use their power to help others?" He asked.
"We forcibly put griffins that are good into those positions through the use of the public. We make then like a certain politician if they can be proven as having good intentions. Otherwise they die. Simple as that."
"Simple as that huh? We shall have to see about that." Said Archangel.
"Trust me, New Grifburg will be safe or I will die trying.