Chapter 3: The Shy Queen is Gone part II
"Spike will do. Perhaps a hidden door lurks nigh? Let us search the environs." said the small dragon.
"That sounds OK. By the way I am Rainbow Dash and this is my best friend Twilight Sparkle," Dash said. Once they shacked claws with hooves, the three spread out around the Cathedral, pushing along the walls, searching for a crack that might conceal a hidden door or such.
Twilight pressed against the stained glass windows, looking through them for some kind of other room while Spike checked for loose boards in the floor. Dash looked under the tapestries and paintings. Yet, they found nothing.
Rainbow Dash took off the white cloth of the altar in the front, and found a broken statue of princess Celestia. The search was starting to become frustrating. she silently cursed and pounded her hoof onto the pipe organ. The moment she did, a grinding noise was heard, and a section of wall disappeared next to the organ, revealing a secret door.
Good job, Lady Rainbow Dash!" Spike congratulated, and the trio entered the doorway. On the other side of the door, they found a spiral staircase that led the trio down into the depths of the Cathedral. Several candles cast dim light in the hallway.
Dash glanced to the left and dodged backwards. "Shh!" she said, putting her hoof in front of her mouth. Spike peeked. To the left of the stairs stood three gray three gray gargoyle-like monsters. They were a bit taller than Spike and had sharp claws.
Spike grinned. He seemed anxious for battle, but Twilight pulled him back. "I'll handle this." With that, she threw a green jar to the three gargoyles. There was a green flash, and all three felt asleep. "Sleeping flash potion. Let's go."
"Wait a minute, since when do you know so much about magic?" Rainbow Dash asked, looking suprised
"I don't! I just bought the stuff, OK? That zebra Zecora even have me a discount!"
"Zecora? You saw that witch? But..."
"Just because she is not a pony that doesn't make her evil!"
"But, the rumors say that she's an evil enchantress, that she'll mix up an evil brew and gobble you up. Or something like that! There is even a song!"
"SHE IS NOT EVIL! SHE IS MY SECOND-BEST FRIEND, OK!" Twilight Sparkle screamed angrily
Unfortunately, screaming in a place full of monsters just wasn't a good idea. They soon found themselves surrounded by a dozen green imps, and a chimera zombie pony like like the ones that had attacked them before.
"Sparkle, you got any more of that sleeping flash thing?" Rainbow Dash asked
"No, but I've got this!" Twilight said pulling out a hammer from her pack, just when a big, green one-eyed snake decided to join the fun.
Spike grinned and head for the snake, Dash ducked the evil gray mare claws while Twilight started hammering the imps. That probably wasn't the best way to deal with a place full of monsters, but at least they seemed to be having fun.
Spike was definitely having fun. The giant snake was three times longer than him, and twice as wide, but the dragon's jumps were so frog-like and powerful that evading its blows was like child's play to him.
Dash fought the chimera mare, her sword blocking the monster's claws, while Twilight had already knocked out four imps.
Spike finally decided to start attacking and leapt into the air, then bounced off the wall, heading to the reptile's head, and stabbed his sword into the snake's only eye. The now blind monster screamed and cursed at him.
Twilight seemed to be in trouble, as the eight remaining imps decided to Twilight was surprised as the eight remaining imps decided to attack the unicorn all at once. But then Sparkle took the upper hand when she used her magic to raise two imps and make them crash with the others.
Rainbow Dash was able to cut off one of the chimera's claws, but got herself a bleeding cut slightly above her right eye.
The snake, while blind, was not dead yet. It moved violently and smashed against the walls, trying to get Spike off her back.
Spike leaped off the serpent's head and screamed a vicious battle cry. The snake struck out at him, but at the last minute, the miniature dragon jumped away. The snake crashed into the wall behind him, leaving a big crater.
The blood coming from the wound above Rainbow's eye was making it hard for her to see. She heard something behind her and barely dodged a slash. Speeding herself up with her wings, Dash turned around and charged the monster at full speed, slicing it in half. But it was not a flawless victory, as the monster clawed one of the pegasus' wings before dying, making the blue pony scream in pain.
Twilight had knocked out four more imps, but the remaining four grinned at her, as if they had something planed. They started to run around her in circles. she could only lift two at the same time at most, and if she forced in doing that, she would be attacked.
The imps had managed to land a few hits on Sparkle. But they had gotten so close to her, that one of them had already had its head crushed with the purple pony's hammer.
Rainbow Dash wanted to help, even with her right wing injured, but Spike stopped her. "Let the lady do it herself." The blue mare understood the reason. Whoever had kidnapped the Queen was sure to be a lot tougher than a bunch of imps, and if her friend Sparkle couldn't even beat those, then they would have to put her somewhere safe and just continue the mission as just the two of them.
The unicorn was enraged, and her hammer started to float around her very fast. Twilight was able to knock out two imps that way. The remaining imp looked around scared, finally noticing another imp was dead next to him, and that he seemed to be the last one standing.
Then, he did something no one expected. He bowed to Twilight Sparkle "Please don't kill me, I will do anything!"
Spike put his blade to its throat and looked at Twilight Sparkle, who shook her head. "Don't! Let's question him instead." Spike nodded and shook the imp.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash took a few jars of healing cream and started to heal herself. The wound above her eye sealed, but even with medicine, she would have to see a doctor about her damaged wing later. Though at least she hadn't broken any bones.
The scared imp grunted, and its eyes went wide open. "I'll say this for you. You know what you're doing!"
Spike glared. "What be thy name, imp?"
The imp gulped. "Larry. Larry the imp. Please don't kill me."
Spike growled at him, showing him his dragon fangs. "What be the way to the Queen?"
Larry looked at the blade, gulped again, and answered as quickly as he could. "B-behind me, a switch in the wall. It opens a room upstairs. It's behind the broken Celestia statue. There is a spare key; with that key, you can open the door at the end of this hallway. No other way; the door its sealed with magic from Rarity herself! But the spare key is heavily guarded."
Rainbow Dash looked at him, surprised. "Hey, why'd you tell us it was guarded? You could have kept that quiet and had us wiped out by surprise."
Larry shook. "L-look, I'm not a f-fanatic like the others here. I was d-drafted, and these b-bums never did anything for m-me. Quite the opposite, actually. P-please don't kill me."
Spike scowled. "What they are planing to do with the queen? Are the rumors of a sacrifice true?"
Larry looked at him hopefully. "Yes, but she's still alive, I guess. The boss came in just a few minutes ago, and he always takes an hour at least to prepare... sacrifices..."
Spike stood in silence, shocked and cursing Rarity in his mind "Larry. When mister dragon removes his sword, you will leave this place and never come back. Do you hear me?" Rainbow Dash asked. Larry nodded.
Spike disgustedly removed his sword, and Larry ran up the stairs like a bat out of hell. "Cowardly vermin."
Twilight Sparkle glared at him. "It's better then being an evil fanatic like the rest."
"You are too soft young lady, but the time is nigh." Without another word the dragon headed to the secret switch, a candle lamp, and pressed it. They heard a rumbling sound upstairs.
The ponies and the dragon went back to the first floor and noticed that indeed, there was a secret door behind the broken Celestia statue. After moving it out of the way, they headed inside.
The room was made of stone and had a wooden bed in the middle. There was very little in the way of decoration, and the place looked cheap.
"W-who goes there?" called a scared voice.
Spike and Rainbow Dash got out their swords. Twilight Sparkle pulled out her hammer. "Who is there?" asked the unicorn.
A helmeted colt head popped up from under the bed. The colt then went out from under the bed and stood straight. He wore heavy armor, but had no weapons. He studied the trio intently and shook his head. "You guys look too weird to be monsters in disguise," said the pony.
Twilight Sparkle frowned and Spike growled. "What are you doing here?" asked the unicorn."And where is the spare key?"
"I'm one of the queen's knights. I was defeated by Yakra, the... thing that captured the queen and imprisoned me here," said the colt. "He's one of Magus's minions. They took my weapons and threw me in here. I know nothing of a spare key, though; you must have been lied to. Yakra is somewhere in the back of the underground place, and he has the queen with him. You must save her!"
"Yakra..." said Spike. "I faintly recall such a fiend."
"There is something else," said the knight. "Somewhere in this chapel is a shrine dedicated to Magus. There are many weapons and items in there. I suggest you find this secret room."
Twilight looked at Dash. "Hey, that does sound like a good idea. We may need some better weapons if we're gonna take on this Yakra thing," she said. "Let's find that place!"
The knight looked at both of them. "Good," he said, "cause I'm out of here!" He ran right past the secret door closed behind him
Spike looked in awe at the knight who had deserted them, and a second later, he knew the hard truth.
"It was a trap! Let's get out of here," said Twilight Sparkle. And just then, the roof above them broke and they were attacked by three purple gargoyles.
"Damn Larry! He tricked us!" Dash said heading right into one of the gargoyles, while Twilight smashed the bed into another and Spike had a sword fight with the only gargoyle smart enough to carry a sword.
The gargoyle Twilight was fighting just fainted after having a whole bed crashing in his head. The unicorn would be amazed of lifting something that heavy if she wasn't so enraged.
Dash had her right wing injured, so she could not fly and had pain even if she was a bit stubborn to admit it. The purple monster was good at flying away of her attacks. Then it screamed as a hammer crushed its head. "Thanks Sparkle" Dash said looking at her unicorn friend smiling at her.
While his fight with the gargoyle seemed at first to be in a stalemate, Spike was gaining the upper hand quickly . As his partners had finished their battles, he remembered what was at stake. As his partners finished their battles, he remembered what was at stake, and with a swift move, knocked the sword out of his enemy's grasp." Thou shalt tell me where the key is or else thou shalt taste the sharpness of mine sword."
"What did he say?" the gargoyle asked, a confused look on its face
"You tell him where the spare key is, or he will kill you," Twilight said.
"The snake that was disguised as a soldier and ran away had it"
Then the door opened, bringing with it a voice the two ponies knew well.
"Hey, are you missing this?"
Gilda entered the room, holding a key in one of her front claws "I found it weird to see a soldier running away, so I stopped it. Then it transformed into a giant snake. Bad move! I eat snakes for breakfast!" Gilda smiled. "Anyway, it had this key."
Rainbow Dash hugged Gilda, making her blush."Thank you! Thank you!Thank you!" screamed the blue pegasus "Will you stay and rescue the queen with us?"
"No, but good luck" Gilda gave the ponies the key and left, but not before Twilight have her a goodbye hug. Spike seemed confused but didn't said anything.
"Eh, can I go now?" asked the scared gargoyle. Spike knocked him out with the flat of his sword.
"He shall not rise for a while" Spike said grinning
group of so-called heroes went back downstairs and walked the long hallway. There were a few doors to the sides, but they had no time to lose. At the end they found a large set of metal double doors. Spike had the honor of opening the doors. As he put the key in the door and turned it twice to undo the lock, a flash of blue light emanated from the doors, and they spread wide open.
The trio looked inside the big room. An old gray colt stood behind an altar while the true Queen Posey was tied to a long rectangular stone table. He held a bronze dagger over her with both hooves.
Spike narrowed his eyes. "Tis the Chancellor that has captured Queen Posey!"
"Prepare yourself, Queen Posey. It is time!" The Chancellor looked at the queen, too lost in the ritual to have noticed the two ponies or the dragon behind him, and smirked. "You shall be sacrificed to the great-"
His speech was cut short when the dagger was knocked out of this hooves by a flying strike of Twilight's hammer.
"OUCH! Who DARES?" the Chancellor screamed. Rainbow Dash and Spike charged. With one swing each, their swords severed Queen Posey's bonds.
"Oh Spike, you have come to my aid! Thank you!" The queen said. She looked just like Fluttershy but had no wings.
Spike smiled. "Stand back, m'lady, and allow us the pleasure of vanquishing this traitor!"
She nodded and took cover behind the unicorn. Rainbow Dash looked at the Chancellor, who had jumped from behind the altar and had begun walking toward them.
"Ah, Spike." said the Chancellor. "We meet again. I have not forgotten what you did to me upon our last meeting!"
A confused look crossed Spike's face. "Who art thou?"
The Chancellor laughed. "None of you will leave here alive!" he screamed. "TRUE... FORM... CHANGE!" With that, he began spinning wildly in place, and there was a huge flash of green light.
When the light faded away, a huge green bug-like humanoid stood where the Chancellor had been. It had large horns near its tiny eyes and mouth, and it was about four feet long and four feet tall. Three large tubes stood on its back. It had three eyes, but the one in the center was closed and had a scar over it.
"I am Yakra, Rarity's best Captain! Prepare to die!" the monster said
"You!" Spike growled. He leptat the giant bug, ready to strike it with his sword, but the monster charged forward with amazing speed and blocked the dragon's sword with one of the tubes on his back. The force of the strike made Spike fall back.
Sparkle had to protect the queen, so she couldn't move much, but her horn glowed and her hammer came flying back to her.
Dash didn't know if it was okay to help Spike. After all, those two seemed to have some sort of rivalry, and maybe the dragon would take it as an offense to his honor if she got into the fight.
Just as the small dragon stood up, Yakra charged toward the unicorn and the queen. Twilight threw a red jar at the monster, and it broke in the creature's face, burning it with fire and making it scream in pain.
Dash then charged to the monster and slashed her sword at the monster. Honor or not, she wasn't gonna let anyone harm her best friend. She was surprised when the monster blocked the sword with his arm, without getting any kind of injury.
"Thy hide is still strong" Spike said. He headed for one of the monster's eyes, but the monster stared to jump and bounce around the room, hitting Spike and Dash, almost flattening them.
But when it tried to do with same with Twilight and Posey, the unicorn's magic stooped him in mid air. Twilight Sparkle looked like she was pushing herself to the limit; her face showed an expression of fatigue and pain. She wouldn't be able to stop the monster much longer, especially since it was growling and shaking, trying to get free.
Dash stood up, her right wing hurting more than before. The monster's skin was just too tough! Unless...
Dash ran into the monster, and since it was still floating, she easily kicked it up. When it came back down, Dash stuck her sword into the monster's stomach, and thanks to the monster's weight, the blade made it in.
Yakra roared, bleeding green blood, and punched Dash away. The punch sent Rainbow Dash flying away, but Spike caught her before she crashed into the wall. She struck the monster a blow, but with her weapon still stuck in its hide, the pegasus was left unarmed.
"You... you cannot defeat the mighty Yakra!" the monster roared, as two red jars crashed into its back, making it burn with fire.
As the monster rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames, Dash took the wooden sword from her pack and handed Spike two yellow jars, whispering something so softly that only the dragon could heard it.
Dash charged toward the monster as soon as it stopped rolling around. Yakra laughed, a wooden sword would do him no harm! While the sword snapped swiftly as he blocked it with his arm, he quit laughing when he heard the cracking of two jars at his feet. He tried to move, but found himself glued to the ground.
"Bwahahaha! You fools!"he screamed. The bug monster curled its back, the tube-light projections on his back contracted, and something spat out of them. A gray mass of big spines descended on Rainbow Dash, and she almost avoided them, but one of them struck her left flank.
"Argh!" she screamed as she fell to the ground, noticing the area around the wound becoming a dirty purple.
"Now my poison will kill you, you miserable-" A scream was heard all over the Cathedral as Spike's blade pierced the bug's right eye, and Spike pushed Dash's sword deeper inside Yakra. Both the eye and the stomach were bleeding a lot, but the monster wasn't dead just yet.
"I won't die... alone!" The bug's eyes glowed a bright red, and the whole room started shaking and falling apart. They had to get out of there!
"Run!" Twilight screamed. She didn't need to say it twice.
Spike helped Dash to get up, while the poison slowly spread over her flank. They all ran upstairs; they barely got out the Cathedral before the building collapsed.
"That does not look good. If only I had my pendant..." Posey said while she looked at Dash, who was quivering and could barely stand up.
"I feel... cold..." said Dash. The world was spinning. Her vision was blurry. Everything went dark.
Rainbow Dash woke up in a comfortable bed, her right wing barely hurting. She moved the sheets away and looked at her left flank, it had been bandaged but it felt a lot better. With some effort she was able to stand up. The blue pegasus looked around; there were many beds like the one she was in, and several colts sleeping in the beds. It was dark, the only light coming from a few lit torches. The room was huge and made of stone with a few windows; the pegasus guessed she was in the knights' quarters.
Then Rainbow Dash noticed another pegasus sitting in a chair next to her, a yellow mare with a pink mane. She was so quiet it was no wonder Dash had not noticed her before.
"Fluttershy! You're ok!" The blue mare said, hugging her. Fluttershy blushed and hugged her back.
"I... I am sorry!" The yellow pony said, looking down. "Because... because I used your friend's machine... you almost died!"
"I am better now. So, you are Princess Megan, right? Why did you lie?" Rainbow Dash asked. Fluttershy relaxed a bit when she noticed her friend was not mad at her.
"I'm Princess Megan Fluttershy of Equestria. My mother is Queen Tiffany Posey XII. Listen... the reason I called myself by my second name was because... I didn't think you would help me around if you knew-"
"You silly pony!" Dash hugged Fluttershy tighter. "So, where are Twilight and Spike, and how did you explain looking like the Queen of this era?"
Fluttershy was a bit surprised about Dash's reaction. "Well, Twilight told Queen Posey that I am from a land far away, and that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was also a prophesy about the Queen being in great danger if one day she grew wings, so they didn't ask much else."
Spike entered the room. He had been waiting outside until he heard the two mares talking. "Lady Rainbow Dash, It's nice to see you well. But I failed to protect my Queen and in doing so I have dishonored the Equestria dynasty. Never again will I bring shame to the kingdom. I must leave"
"Now wait one minute mister!" Dash said, looking at him. "It's true the Queen was almost killed, but you also repaired you honor by saving her, why the hay are you leaving?"
Spike looked at Dash's strong rose eyes for a moment, then rubbed his chin as if thinking about the pegasus' question.
"It was my irresponsibility that caused the Queen to be kidnapped. If I hadn't been so negligent none of this would ever have happened. Rainbow Dash, thou hast potential with the sword. But do not slack off, I want a duel with ye in the future!"
Rainbow dash grinned. "So be it. The next time we see each other, I will be at your level of skill!"
Spike shook Dash's hoof with his claw and then looked at Fluttershy. "I hardly knew ye lass, but you have kind eyes; please try to keep Lady Rainbow Dash out of trouble."
"I will, Sir Spike." Fluttershy said and bowed to him.
Then Spike left the knight's quarters and walked out of the castle. Outside, Twilight Sparkle gave him a goodbye hug with tears in her eyes, making the dragon blush.
"Milady, do not cry. I am sure we will meet again soon." Spike said before running away into the Everfree forest, where he encountered a certain griffon.
"So, are you leaving just like that?" Gilda asked. "You know how much Posey cares about you, right?"
"I do. Lass, you helped us against Yakra, will you take care of the Queen for me?" The dragon asked.
"No, she will be alright. Most of the elite soldiers are coming back from the South to protect the Queen. Besides I talked with Posey and she liked the idea of having a spy in Rarity's army."
"That's a dangerous game you are playing lass, but I admire ye for that." Spike said and offered his claw to the griffon; shaking claws before they both parted ways.
After gazing at the Everfree Forest for a moment, Twilight Sparkle walked to the knight's quarters and found the two pegasus mares chatting together in high spirits.
"I hate to ruin the moment guys, but I think the queen wants to see us. And after that I think we should get back to our time as soon as possible." She said.
"Oh, right," said Fluttershy. "Eh... do you think... Spike will be OK?"
"Yes, I do." The purple unicorn said. "Now let's go, before we cause another time paradox."
The three mares went to see the queen, who thanked each one personally. While the heroes rejected any reward money, the queen insisted on giving Fluttershy a crossbow and a pink backpack.
"I... I don't like weapons." Fluttershy said in a low voice.
"Dear child, you look a lot like me, and there is a prophesy that if I grow wings I will be in grave danger. Since I have not gained any wings, the prophesy must be about you. Please accept it, this weapon is easy to use, and if you want, I can have my personal instructor teach you."
"Well... it is getting really late your majesty, and we have a long journey ahead of us." Fluttershy said. "I... I don't want to sound rude but we really have to go."
"I understand, but please, take care. We are at war, and this may not be the last time that looking like me gets you in trouble."
"Yes, your highness." Fluttershy bowed, picking up the crossbow and putting it in her new backpack. Then she put the backpack on and the trio of heroes left the castle.
It was past midnight by the time the group had returned to the clearing in the Dragondorado Mountains where they had emerged from the portal. Unlike last time, there weren't any monsters there. The clearing was perfectly calm, and birds chirped in the woods.
Twilight's horn had served as a flashlight, illuminating their path. It was a very simple spell, but effective.
"Hey Sparkle... you can do the light trick? Since when?" Dash finally asked.
"Well, I forgot to bring any flashlights or candles, and one of the unicorn archers taught me. He was surprised I didn't know how to do such a simple spell.
"Well, I guess what makes sense, and... how did they cure me?" Rainbow Dash asked, curious.
"Well, I gave Queen Posey her pendant back and she used it to remove most of the poison from your system, and I used a general poison antidote on you. Then once we got to the castle, the doctors treated you." Twilight Sparkle said. "Any more questions? We have to leave as soon as possible you know!"
"Sorry." The blue pegasus said. She didn't want Fluttershy to disappear again or something like that.
Twilight Sparkle smiled and pulled a metallic clock-like object from her backpack. She held it high in the air and turned a dial on its back.
The air around them shifted and they could hear a whooshing sound. Then, in the middle of the clearing, a portal appeared. This one, however, didn't try to suck them inside, and was at ground level.
Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy stepped back, amazed. "How did you do that?" The Princess asked.
Twilight Sparkle held her new toy high in the air and grinned. "These portals are passages through time," She said. "I call them 'gates'. Using a certain alloy, and some stuff I got at a garage sale, I created a device which recreates the conditions in my inter-dimensional transport warp machine. I call it a gate key. In short, this little wonder in my hand lets us go back and forth through time using these warps. Same place, different era. I'm 99% sure there are more of them scattered throughout the world."
Fluttershy looked at purple unicorn, impressed, then said "Twilight Sparkle, you're a genius!"
"Ain't it the truth?" Cackled the glasses wearing mare. She caught herself suddenly. "Um... I mean..."
But then both she and the pegasus heard some snoring, Rainbow Dash had fallen asleep during the explanation!
The unicorn got close to the pegasus with the rainbow mane and screamed "Free cookies!" in her ear. Rainbow Dash jumped awake and looked around excitedly. "Free cookies? Where?" She then saw her friends laughing at her and a cold expression covered her face. "Not funny."
"Oh please, a grown up mare like you getting all exited for free cookies? It's really funny, don't you think, princess?"
"Well... yes it is funny..." Fluttershy said in a low voice, sounding a bit nervous and looked at Dash. "You are not mad at us, right?"
"Nah, it's okay." Rainbow Dash said, smiling. "I will just have to think of something to make Miss Twilight Sparkle pay, but we do this kind of stuff all the time, so don't worry!"
"That is good I guess." Fluttershy said, smiling back, then she looked at the unicorn. "Twilight, would you please just call me Fluttershy? I... prefer it that way, thank you."
"Okay, Fluttershy." Twilight smiled, then turned and looked at the whirling rainbow gate. "Well, I'm sure we should be getting back to good old 1000 A.D."
"What makes these gates?" Asked the princess, and Dash hit her hoof on her face frustrated, she wasn't in the mood for more explanations. "Ah, ok, don't worry, you can tell me later!" Fluttershy quickly said, she didn't want her friends to fight.
"Well, let's go!" Dash said, impatient.
The other two nodded and they all stepped into the portal at the same time. The gate closed behind them.
*End Of Chapter One
Special thanks to rhiiazami and H-land from from #mylittlepony at irc.irchighway.net for help editing this chapter