Brawler's stomach grumbled. He glared at it, then out the window. It looked like it was about noon. Brawler let out a growl.
I swear to Luna if they forgot to feed me again.
He trotted over to his cell door, the chain around his front left leg clanking along the ground.
"Hey! How about some Celestia forsaken food!" he shouted. He stared through the small barred window of the door. All he saw was the dark corridor of the dungeon, illuminated by only the occasional torch. No guard was coming. Growling again in frustration, Brawler started banging on the door with his chain.
"I haven't had anything to eat since yesterday! I know I haven't got a lot of rights but you're not allowed to let me starve!"
Nopony was coming. Brawler gritted his teeth and slammed his hoof into the door. Then gaped in surprise.
His hoof had broken through the door. When Brawler examined the damage he saw that there were several dents in the wood from his banging. When he looked down at the chain he saw that it was rapidly rusting until it looked a few decades old.
What the hay's going on? This place has all kinds of enchantments on it to prevent this kind of thing doesn't it?
Brawler shook his head; he could wonder about that later. He turned back to the door and punched it again. He continued punching the door until it had a hole large enough for him to pass through.
Brawler grinned. It had been a long time since he had really hit something. His cell was large enough for him to exercise and stay in shape, but wing-ups and running in circles just wasn't the same as landing a good punch. Punching a stone wall or the enchanted door wasn't the same as this. They didn't have any give, so hitting them only resulted in bloody hooves without any real satisfaction that he had done anything.
Brawler walked out of the cell, then the chain tightened when it ran out of length. Brawler turned so he was facing the cell and pulled the chain tight. He stared at the shackle on his hoof.
I might be able to break it if I smashed it against a wall
He noticed the rusted coloring of the shackle.
And then get an infected wound.... Alright, second best option.
He bit the chain as close to the shackle as he could then pulled. The chain stretched, then the third link from the shackle snapped. Brawler stumbled backward into the cell door that was behind him. He stood up, then out of curiosity looked into the cell. Inside was a light green unicorn stallion with dark green hair and a gold bit sign for a Cutie Mark. The stallion was laying down on his cot staring at the ceiling. Brawler knocked on the door.
"You do know the enchantments went away right?" he asked. The stallion continued to stare at the ceiling.
"What of it? I certainly can't break out the way you did. And I don't have any spells strong enough to break free. I'm a banker not a brute," said the stallion.
"Out of curiosity how'd you end up in there?" asked Brawler.
"Oh just taking money from a few hundred different ponies' accounts. Never too much, twenty bits here, ten there, but it added up to quite a fortune. Then of course I got caught and I've been here ever since," the stallion turned his head to Brawler, "If you're hoping for a fellow escapee I doubt you'll find one. With the sole exception of you everypony in this place is either a schemer like me or a brute who's too intimidated by the Royal guard to try anything funny. So I'd just high tail it out of here if I were you."
"Thanks," said Brawler turning for the exit and walking away.
He walked along the corridors where he had seen guards bring him meals. There had to be an exit that way. While he was walking he passed a few more occupied cells. It was just like the stallion said, either the pony inside was too weak to break out on their own or they were scared of getting caught again. A few even warned Brawler to get back in his cell as he passed them.
Brawler shook his head.
Brawler continued to make his way through the dungeon, never encountering a guard once. He wondered where they could possibly be. Usually even if there was a crisis at least one guard remained to keep an eye on the prisoners. He shook his head again, he didn't need to know, he just had to get out of here.
Then again, I wouldn't mind just a little trouble.
It had been eight years since his last fight. Eight years without doing the thing he was born to do. His whole body was practically itching for a fight. Hell, it was hard to keep his wings from twitching as he walked down the corridor. He shook himself.
Focus Brawler, focus.
Eventually he reached a door that was different to the others. It was well maintained and fancier than any jail door he had seen. He passed through and found himself in the Royal kitchen. His eyes widened in surprise when he saw the banquet in front of him. Apparently the cooks had been preparing the Princess' lunch before evacuating. There was fruit, there was pastries, there was all sorts of different food laid in front of him.
He grinned again.
Hope you don't mind Sunshine but this is payback.
He dug in. Anything he could get his hooves on he shoved into his mouth. Prison food was slop with a few hunks of veggies in it; twice a day. And there was more than one occasion that the guards 'forgot' to bring them the morning or evening meal. So a chance to fully fill his stomach with real food was not something Brawler was going to pass up. He ate until he had his fill, then laid on his back and patted his slightly bulged stomach.
"Well I won't be doing that again," he said, standing up, "Don't wanna get outta shape."
He glanced around the room for a napkin or towel. Instead he saw a mirror. He hastily trotted to it and looked in. He barely recognized the face staring back at him. His dark red coat was even dirtier than it usually was and his mane and tail had grown a bit. Most surprising though was his goatee and mustache. He had felt them growing on his face but had never seen how they looked until now. He rubbed it a bit.
I like it. Think I even like the slightly longer mane and tail. I'm keeping this look.
He glanced down and saw a towel on the floor. He picked it up and used it to wash his face off a bit. Then headed out a side exit rather than the main one. The main one almost certainly led to the throne room. And as much as Brawler hated to admit it, the only way he stood a chance in Tartarus against Celestia was if he was in peak condition. He was rusty; he needed to get back into practice before he gave her a piece of his mind. So out the side exit and into the courtyard he went.
When he first stepped outside he had to pause to drink it all in. All the colors, all the smells, all the noises, even the feel of a breeze through his mane, it all said one thing.
'You're finally free.'
I'm never losing this again.
He looked around again, less dreamily less time. That's when he saw them. The guard ponies. All of them looked drained of their color, and the ones that had managed to stand up were either leaning against something or swaying back and forth, ready to collapse at any second. Brawler rushed over and steadied one.
"What the hell happened here?" he asked as he helped the unicorn sit down.
"Tirek." whispered the guard, before coughing.
"A monster, he drained me of all my magic. Along with almost all other Equestrians, growing stronger each time. How'd he miss you?"
Brawler bit his lip.
"He hasn't been to the dungeons yet," he said. The guard's eye's widened.
"Prisoner escape! Prisoner escape!"
Brawler sighed and took to the sky. Tuning out the shouting below him and enjoying the feeling of flight again. His wings were a bit stiff, but he could work through it easily enough. Eventually he flew above the castle and looked around.
Now if I were a monster who could absorb a pony's magic where would I be?
He saw a red and orange explosion in the distance. Followed by a purple one.
Probably that way.
He flew as fast as he could in the direction of the explosions. He wasn't the fastest pony in Equestria but it wasn't long before the scenery was whipping past him and he reached the battlefield in a little less than five minutes. He stopped and hovered when the two combatants came fully into view. One was a small purple alicorn and the other was probably Tirek. He was an enormous red and black centaur with horns and a beard. Brawler arrived just in time to see the two of them shoot magic beams at each other which collided in med-air, resulting in a huge explosion. He had to dodge some flying debris and when it all settled down he saw the two of them talking. He was too far away to hear anything but he saw Tirek summon six bubbles with five drained ponies and one drained... thing. Brawler could tell some kind of deal had been made because Tirek released his hostages then started absorbing the alicorn's magic. Tirek grew larger and larger until he looked like he was twice the size that he was before. The alicorn dropped to the ground and the former captives rushed to her side. Brawler face hooved.
They honestly think that horny centaur's gonna let them live?
He flew as fast as he could straight at Tirek, who was already looking down to locate the alicorn. Brawler aimed for the inside of Tirek's ear and slammed his shoulder into it. Tirek stumbled back a few steps in surprise.
"NOT BAD HORNY! BUT I'VE SEEN BETTER," yelled Brawler. He slammed the broken chain against Tirek's ear, the point of the chain was sharp enough to draw black blood. Tirek roared in anger and pain and clapped his hand over his ear. Brawler flew out from between the gap in his fingers and started for Tirek's other ear. Tirek opened his mouth and started sucking in, swinging his head around wildly. Brawler flew erratically to avoid lining up with Tirek's mouth then reached his other ear.
"What's the matter Horny? You need to drain me to beat me?" shouted Brawler before slashing Tirek's ear again and flying away to avoid his hand.
"ARRGH! YOU ARE AN INSIGNIFICANT INSECT! I COULD CRUSH YOU IN AN INSTANT!" yelled Tirek. He started firing a continuous beam of energy from his mouth and swinging it around. Brawler managed to slip past and get right in front of Tirek's eye.
"This bug stings," said Brawler, then he punched Tirek's eye. When Tirek's eyelid shut the resulting air blast caused Brawler to lose control for a brief instant.
That was all Tirek needed. He swatted Brawler out of the sky and into the ground. Brawler managed to get some lift from his wings to slow himself down, but he still landed spread eagle with a great 'THUD'.
Brawler stood up slowly and spat out blood. Then he grinned.
I haven't had this much fun since I fought off all those guards.
He turned around and saw Tirek coming for him. Brawler's grin widened and he readied his wings.
Time to go out fighting.
Then a bright light erupted from behind Tirek. Tirek turned and saw it too. It was a great swirling ball of light. Then it slowed and revealed the six ponies from before, only they were, different. Brawler couldn't make out what they and Tirek said to one another but before he knew it Tirek was blasting them with energy. Only his beam couldn't pierce the ball of light. The six ponies responded with a blast of their own and Tirek started to shrink, releasing all the magic back to Equestria, then he vanished.
The six ponies slowly lowered back to the ground, their changes slowly vanishing. Then a weird box flew up from where the ponies had and flew some distance away. The six ponies ran after it with the weird creature following close behind.
Brawler continued to stand there, mouth agape. He shook himself, then followed them at a distance. Something was up with those ponies, he wanted to find out what.