Everyone was silent as the two factions stared at each other. For Nathan and Elena, their eyes were fixed solely on Mikhail Khrushchev; the man that had been hunting them across multiple continents. Applejack however, couldn’t take her eyes off the bloody and bruised form of Rainbow Dash. Her eyes were beginning to well up as she stared sadly at her best friend.
“Mister Drake,” said Khrushchev in a thick Russian accent. “How nice to see you again.”
“Can’t say I feel the same, but still,” said Nathan coyly. Out of the corner of her eye, Applejack could see his hand slowly making its way down to the weapon at his side. Khrushchev let out an extremely loud laugh, which was only made worse by the echo in the vast chamber.
“Fair enough Mister Drake, but if you would be so kind as to hand over the necklace you just stole from me so I can be on my way,” he said, holding one of his hands out. “And don’t even think about using that gun, I’ll simply kill my hostage.”
“And just who is she?” he asked, puzzled as to why he would have bothered capturing a random citizen.
“Oh, you don’t know… how sad. But I think you pretty female companion knows,” he told them, before pointing a bony finger at Applejack. Nathan and Elena looked at her expectantly. Applejack hesitated, knowing that she needed to tell them the truth but not wanting to put Rainbow in danger.
“It’s uh… It’s Rainbow Dash,” she said quietly, prompting surprised expressions on the faces of her two friends.
“But how, I thought you said you were the only one to come here?” asked Elena, moving closer to Applejack in the hopes Kruschev wouldn’t hear.
“Ah thought ah was,” Applejack told her truthfully, never taking her eyes off Rainbow Dash’s face. Not once had Rainbow bothered to look up and see what was around her, nor make a snide remark, which gave Applejack a good indication on the way she had been treated.
“What do you want with the necklaces?” Asked Nathan, his hand moving away from the gun at his hip.
“I would have thought you would be aware of their power by now Drake.”
“I am, but that still doesn’t answer my question.”
“These simple necklaces have the power to reshape the world in any way I see fit, who wouldn’t want that kind of control?” he laughed. Applejack’s hands curled into fists as a scowl crossed her lips.
“How dare you! These are the elements of harmony, they’re meant to be used to bring peace, not assert control over people,” she shouted angrily, so utterly appalled by what she was hearing. Kruschev laughed again, this time joined by his men, making Applejack even angrier.
“You are a very funny girl. I like you. Please hand over all of your necklaces and we will let you go,” he told them, and the three just stood defiant against him, not making even the slightest move to get the elements. The short bearded Russian just sighed and waved his hand, silently telling his soldiers to kill them. Applejack suddenly had five guns levelled at her, but she was determined not to back down.
“AJ, get down!” Yelled Elena as she and Nathan dived to the right. The guns went off and the floor around Applejack’s feet was peppered with small bursts of powdered stone. Applejack dived to the left, scrambling behind the wall that made up the entrance to the temple. Elena waved her arm to get Applejack’s attention before she grabbed her spare pistol and slid it along the floor over to her.
“Ah don’t know how to use this,” she said as she picked it up with her thumb and index finger.
“It’s just like using a camera, just point and shoot,” she said hurriedly. Applejack sighed as she gripped the handle and stuck her arm around the edge of the wall, blind firing wildly and hoping that she hit something.
“Be careful AJ!” Nathan warned as he moved ran out from behind the wall and slid into cover behind a collapsed pillar.
Applejack took a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself down and clear her head. She kept breathing deeply, pushing all of the distractions from her mind until all she could hear was the sound of her breathing and her own heartbeat.
Applejack got to her feet with her back pressed firmly against the wall behind her. She inhaled deeply, holding it as she popped out from behind the wall. She gripped the gun tightly with both hands as she brought it up to eye level, training her line of sight on the closest one of Khrushchev’s men. Her index finger twitched as she pulled the trigger. With a huge boom, the gun went off and the recoil threatened to break her wrist, but she kept it steady, moving it to the next closest as the first one dropped to the ground, clutching his chest.
Sound rushed back into her world as she continued to fire and after about half a minute she her gun started clicking every time she pulled the trigger, indicating that she was out of ammunition. She moved back to her original position and waited, listening for any signs of enemies. When no sounds came, she peeked around the wall to see Nathan cautiously making his way along the path.
“Are they gone?” Elena asked as she walked over to Applejack and took the gun off her so she could reload it. Nathan shrugged, putting his own weapon back into its holster.
“Afraid not, Mister Drake,” said the cold voice of Khrushchev from the top of the path. They all whipped around to see that he was back with another fifteen of his black clad men. “You can’t win Drake, so just hand over the necklace and surrender.” Nathan let out a disgruntled sigh as Khrushchev waved his hand again and his new force levelled their weapons at them. He reached into a small leather pouch that he had attached to his belt and retrieved the element of laughter. The blue balloon shaped gem glinted in the light as he flipped it over in his hand. One of Khrushchev’s men was sent down the path to collect the prize.
Suddenly, a bolt of searing blue lightning shot out of the blue gem, arcing into the interior of the chamber. The necklace then began to float away from Nathans hand and into the middle of both parties, still crackling with blue electricity. The member of Khrushchev’s team was apparently too close, as was made apparent when a thick snake-like arc of electricity hit him straight in the chest, making him convulse for a few seconds before he collapsed to the ground, his clothes smoking where he was hit.
The element stopped floating about two metres off the ground, then seemingly detonated into a sphere of white-blue energy. Every single person was staring at it intently in a mixture of fear and awe. Applejack’s eyes narrowed when she saw a shadow from within the sphere and she took a nervous step forward to try and get a better look.
All of a sudden, the shadow dropped through the bottom of the sphere, revealing a bright pink shape that was screaming in a very high pitched tone. It landed on the stone path below and slowly uncurled to reveal a tall woman with bright pink hair and a pink frilly dress that went down to her knees. The woman opened her eyes and Applejack immediately recognised the light blue orbs that met her green ones.
“Oh my god! Hi AJ! I can’t believe I found you so fast because now we can have a ‘We found Applejack’ party earlier than any of us could have expected. Have you found the others yet? Because Twilight told me that we would be arriving at different points in time and that it would be up to whoever arrived first to go and get the others and-“said the new arrival in a tsunami of words. Applejack was having trouble keeping up with her, but she didn’t care, she was just so happy to see her. Forgetting about her current situation, Applejack started running toward Pinkie Pie and leapt at her, drawing her into a tight embrace with tears of happiness streaming down her face.
“Ah’m so happy to see you Pinkie,” she whispered as Pinkie returned the hug.
“I’m so so happy to see you too AJ,” replied Pinkie. The sound of an exaggerated cough filled the air, and Applejack released her hyperactive friend and glared at the source of the noise; Khrushchev.
“Aw, that’s so touching, but please, I have things to do, so just hand over the necklaces,” he said sarcastically and Applejack saw Pinkie’s hand drift to the element around her neck.
“Ah don’t think so, we will fight you if we have to,” she told him and Pinkie growled at him.
“If you even try it, I will kill your friend,” Kruschev snapped, dragging Rainbow forward by her hair. Applejack heard Pinkie gasp beside her and knew that things were about to get tense. No one hurts Pinkie’s friends.
“Dashie! Are you okay?” Pinkie asked, her voice getting deep. Rainbow’s head snapped up when she heard Pinkie’s voice, and she gave a wry smile.
“I’m fine Pinkie, I’ll be down in a moment,” she said in her usual cocky attitude. Pinkie and Applejack both smiled and took a few steps back, meeting up with Nathan and Elena.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” Nathan whispered as he stared at Pinkie with wide eyes.
“Just watch. I think you’ll like this,” Applejack told him. At the other end of the path Rainbow had a wide smile on her face and her head was cocked to the side slightly. Khrushchev was holding her by the hood of her jumper and just watching Applejack and the others in a confused stupor.
With the briefest tensing of her arms, she broke the rope that bound her wrist and grabbed Khrushchev’s arm, twisting it and kneeing him in the abdomen. One of his men tried to attack her from behind, but she kicked out with the same leg she used to knee Khrushchev and hit her assailant square in the chest. Releasing Khrushchev’s arm, Rainbow proceeded to attack the rest of his men, all of which were so unprepared for her that they were just being beaten with almost no effort from Rainbow at all. As the fight went on and the soldiers began to regain their senses, however, they started to get the upper hand on her, which was something Applejack was not expecting. Rainbow was the best fighter of any of them and if she was getting overwhelmed, then it was reason enough for Applejack to worry.
Pinkie’s hand collided with her chest and when she looked down; she saw that Pinkie was giving her the element of Laughter.
“Take this, use it to find the others, especially Twilight. I have to help Dash,” Pinkie told her in the most serious tone she had ever heard from her pink friend. Applejack gingerly took it and placed it in one of the pocket of her pants, giving Pinkie a single nod to show that she understood. She wanted to tell her not to go, but knew that nothing she could say would help.
With a tremendous war cry, Pinkie charged forward and leapt into the fray, bouncing around in the most chaotic fighting style that any of them had ever seen. Applejack turned to Nathan and Elena, who were simply standing in one place with a dumbfounded expression on their faces.
“Come on, we have to get out of here. Pinkie and Rainbow will keep them distracted,” Applejack said giving both of them a quick tug on their shirts. When they snapped back to reality, all three of them started running toward the exit, ignoring the fight going on around them. At one point, Applejack had to roll to the floor to avoid getting hit by a soldier that Pinkie had lifted over her head and thrown as though he were nothing but a tennis ball. There seemed to be no more soldiers guarding the tight passageway that led back into the daylight, something Applejack was grateful for. When they finally got outside into the fresh air of the cemetery, Nathan ran past her, heading for a jeep that had presumably been left by Khrushchev’s men. Starting the engine and tearing off down the road with a screech of rubber on bitumen, Nathan headed for the hotel, repeating the word ‘crap’ over and over in a whisper.
“Are you sure they are going to be okay?” Elena asked from the passenger seat as Applejack watched their rear to make certain no one was giving chase.
“Ah’m pretty sure that Khrushchev guy knows that he needs us girls to make the elements work, otherwise he probably would have just killed Rainbow when he found her,” she explained, silently hoping that her theory was correct.
“I hope you’re right,” Elena said quietly.