A Maze of Misfortune
Twilight kicked the cage again, trying with everything she had to at least dent the bars. Fluttershy threw her shield at it, making it ricochet back to her just like she practiced. Applejack and Rainbow Dash opted to kick the same spot over and over while Blade tried using his incredible strength to push up against the bars as hard as he could. Pinkie and Breeze looked around for anything that resembled an opening control, only to find nothing for the second time. “Find anything?” he asked his pink friend. “Yah, someone put bubble gum on the top of the cage.” she told him. “EWWW!” he cringed in disgust. Twilight again bucked the bars of the cage, “Should we be worried?” the Angel asked. “Not at all.” Twilight grunted as she kicked the bars again. “Our rescuer is little more than a drama queen.” the Angel reminded her, “How can you have such faith even in the most useless of friends?”
“She’s not useless, she’ll be here, just you wait.” Twilight challenged her. “Forgive me if I require an example of her heroics.” the Angel said flatly. Twilight sighed in disappointment, she was sure that the Angel had been learning from her explanations, then a memory hit her, “One time, she was ponynapped by a group of Diamond Dogs. We went to rescue her, but by the time we got there, she had effectively freed herself and the Diamond Dogs begged us to take her back.” she explained. At first the Angel seemed surprised, silent and still, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” she suddenly said. Twilight groaned out loud, and opened her eyes in surprise when the floor shook from a loud thud behind her. Twilight lowered her ears and turned her head, finding a sort of stringy robot with long legs and arms, claw like fingers and what seemed to be an open jaw of sharp silver teeth. Behind it were several more teeth like blades that rotated in opposite directions of each other like saws or a grinder of sorts. “What the hay?” Applejack asked. The robot threw its head up to the ceiling, opening its mechanical mouth to roar before leaning forward and whipping one of its razor sharp clawed hands towards Twilight.
Rarity placed her hoof on top of her head, trying to rub away the pain from tumbling across the floor upon landing. “Oh, that was unpleasant.” she said as she opened her eyes. To her surprise the room looked bare for the first few feet, and then turned into a sort of obstacle course. The room was easily the size of Applejacks barn plus the first acre of land. The floor was littered with what looked to be barricades and blind spots that blocked the laser’s vision. Along the floor seemed to be almost twice as many red dots as before, each one moving side to side at different speeds and distances. At the end of the hall she could see a split, one that turned to the right and the other turning to the left. From down the hall she could hear something that sounded like a struggle, “That fiend!” Rarity huffed as she stood up to her hooves, “It…Is…ON!”
With a burst of speed and a quick disappearing act, she took off. Easily dodging the first set of red lasers, she ducked behind the first of the barricades and waited until she found a clear opening. As she dashed off to the next blind, she failed to notice a small mechanical hand gently remove the jewel on her left front hoof and bring it with the arm into the floor it came from. Again she took off, shooting the gap and loosing another of her jewels. As she approached the next blind, her invisibility suddenly flickered, revealing her and catching the attention of one of the sniper machines. The flicker was only short enough that the machine looked for her, not able to fire upon her at all.
Rarity ducked behind the next blind, looking up to the machine not noticing another small mechanical arm reach out and pluck another one of her jewels off of her flank, ‘Did that machine see me for a second?’ she asked herself, ‘No, that’s preposterous.’ Cautiously, she poked her head out from the block, watching the lasers as they wandered around the floor. Just as suddenly they all stopped and pointed themselves right at her. “EEP!” she exclaimed and ducked back behind the barricade as lasers hit the ground around her. The machines then looked around for her for a second and went back to their routine. “The can see me!” she whispered to herself and looked down at her hooves, just in time to see them flicker again. She also noticed the missing jewel from her armored boot. “Oh dear!” she said, and looked to the other jewels. She turned to her flank just in time to see a small metallic arm pluck the last of her flank jewels off of her armor. Rarity turned instantly and grabbed a hold of the crystal in both hooves and pulled, “That’s mine!” she argued quietly, “Give it here you thief.” The two of them played tug-of-war with the tiny jewel for a few seconds before Rarity heard Twilight scream out loud.
Instantly she released the jewel and turned to the sound, letting it sink beneath the floor, “I’m coming girls…and boys.” she shouted, and took off out from her hiding spot. The sniper machines turned quickly to lock onto her, only to lose her when she vanished a second later and find her again. The little lasers veering away from their intended path to try and search for her each time she vanished. Several shots rang out, some ricocheting off of her armor or glancing her hair just a little. She kept her head down the entire way, vanishing and reappearing seconds apart as she made her way to the door. Just as quickly some small mechanical arms reached out, and plucked the last of her jewels from her armor. Rarity fell to the ground from one of the tugs as the last of her jewels was stolen, opening her eyes to look down both paths, one lead to an open box, one no bigger than her leg and filled with what she knew were her own jewels because of the one that dropped out of a hole in the ceiling above the box. And down the other side, her caged friends wrestling with what looked to be a slender robot that could weave itself through the bars to safety before striking again quickly. Above the cage sat a large digital clock, counting down from one and a half minutes, and spread out in the center, several laser lights of sniper machines, “If I try to get my invisibility gems I risk letting the ceiling collapse on them, but I’ll never make it without them, oh what do I do?” Rarity asked as she began to panic.
“Calm down.” she heard her own voice say to her. Rarity trotted in place as she listened to her NanoPack, “We’ll just have to follow the other’s lead, use your Element of Generosity.”
“Are you sure?” Rarity asked nervously. “It worked for the others, and it’ll work for us. I just need to reroute all of the power from my original jewels into the gem of the Element.” the Sapphire said, loosing Rarity in her explanation. “This had better work.” the white unicorn nearly growled, and she reached behind her to grab a hold of her necklace before slipping it over her head. Like the others, the gold of the necklace melted into the metal of the NanoPack, merging with the power of the Theyron. Rarity shut her eyes, and took off, galloping towards her friends as fast as she could go. Never once did the machines let loose a bullet and about half way, she finally opened her eyes. Happy at first, she glanced to her friends as they fought off the slender robot, growling and tilting her head just right. When it stopped at on top of the cage, she let loose one of her darts, catching it in the eye. The robot flinched hard as the projectile pierced through its head, and she launched two more, puncturing the robot’s chest and CPU/heart, causing it to collapse to the ground in front of them.
She ran past the cage just as the robot hit the ground with a thud, “Those were Rarity’s darts.” she heard Twilight exclaim, and was surprised to see several of the bars be severed near the top of the cage. “Hurry!” they heard Rarity’s disembodied voice call out.
Blade and Applejack both moved towards the freed bars, before turning around and slamming their back hooves into them, folding them out. “Do be careful you two.” Rarity said as she reappeared, simply inches from the tip of the bent bars. Breeze looked to her with a surprised look, and turned his head, glancing down the hallway where she came from. “Quickly, this place is about to collapse.” the white mare told her friends just before the ground beneath them started to shake, and they all began following her as she ran to the far wall. Blade tucked his head down, and rammed as much of his shoulder into the door as he could, smashing it open for the others to exit quickly.
They all turned as the ceiling came down, crushing everything inside and collecting in front of the door that they had just exited from. Breathing heavily, they all rested on the ground, “Everypony alright?” Blade asked, “Fluttershy?” The yellow pegasus turned to him, and sneezed, “I’ll be alright.” she said. “Twilight, Rarity?” he asked as he turned his head. “Present!” Rarity called out as she coughed from the dust that had picked up, and Twilight waved her hoof in front of her, trying to wave away the dust, “I’ll be [cough] fine.”
“Applejack, Rainbow Dash?” he continued. “We’re ok.” he heard the blue pegasus say through her mask. Applejack trotted out of the dust, in order to take a deep breath of fresh air. “Pinkie Pie?” he called out. Instead of calling out to him like the rest of them, she passed right by him, her space mode bubble surrounding her and a happy smile on her face. “Ok…” he said, “Breeze?”
“Right here!” they heard from the door. There stood the grey unicorn, a small treasure chest resting on his back as he walked out of the scattered dust. “What were you doing cutting it so close, I thought you had a lot more time than that.” his brother nearly growled. “I notice that Rarity was missing some accessories.” he explained, causing the mares to turn to their white friend, and Rarity to blush in embarrassment. “I noticed that to.” he said without looking at her. “So I went and got them back.” he said, and allowed the box to slide off of his back and onto the ground. The top popped open the moment it struck the steel floor, and every gem she lost came spilling out. Rarity gasped in a delighted surprise, and ran to the sparkling crystals. “That was the longest Air Flash I’ve ever had to do.” he said happily as Rainbow Dash came up to him and nuzzled his cheek. “I thank you deeply, this armor just wouldn’t have looked quite as marvelous without them.” Rarity said, causing her friends to laugh happily at her comment. “No, I’m serious.” she said to them all.