Events have weighed heavy on my mind of late. I am not one to give in to despair — I could never let my squad see me waver — but as the chaos increased night after night without end, I feared for the future of Equestria.
Starlight Dawn brought tidings from Princess Luna herself, although the tidings were worryingly vague. In spite of all this, I had high hopes for the conference of expert ponies.
My hopes were somewhat diminished by the return of Glow — without her armor, but curiously with a bribe she took from the Dragon. Apparently the Dragon spent the previous night skulking about abandoned warehouses. Up to no good, I’d wager. No good, but not particularly destructive at the moment. I assigned Glow door-guard duty, as the previous guards were escorting an insistent yellow mare to the police office for harassing them.
Inside the meeting – the professors started professing – the kind of debate that drives me up the wall.
Speaking of being driven up the wall, I heard a loud thud on the doors, and excused myself to investigate. I could only imagine what kind of trouble Glow had gotten into this time.
Nope, I couldn’t have imagined that. In Glow’s place was a flamboyant fuschia stallion hopping around, nursing a sore hoof. I fixed him with my best glare and demanded an explanation. He was suitably intimidated, but managed to spit out some nonsense about Diamond Dogs and Discord’s bastard brother.
Wait a minute. This pony looked familiar — yes, he had been in the basement of the jeweler’s shop, and had faced a Tunneler. He was probably deluded, but I couldn’t risk leaving any stone unturned, especially since Equestria’s best and brightest were distressingly clueless.
“Come with me,” I said, even as, up the path came Glow and Sunny Scales. “Good,” I said to Glow, “You found the dragon. Everyone, inside.”
Inside, all parties continued talking, with very little doing. It was making my mane itch for action. Sunny, however, made a proposition: he would tell all he knew in exchange for the Crystal Cap in the university’s magical artifact collection.
I knew all along that the dragon knew more than he was telling, but I chomped at the bit when thinking about how much time had been wasted playing his dragon games. We may have made real progress if he had only been forthcoming several days earlier. Still, in the interest of expediency, I allowed the university staff to decide on the fate of their artifact.
Sunny Scales then dropped a bombshell: the chaos was caused by the Underworld leaking into our reality. He offered to take us there. Invigorated at the prospect of actually doing something proactive, myself and the others immediately agreed.
Except now, an all-too familiar rumbling emanated from the basement. The group stampeded down the stairs, and a Tunneler appeared. It sat there, at the top of its tunnel, clicking and sniffing, looking for who knows what. I ordered everyone back, and they all obeyed, except well, and I hesitate to admit this, but my hoof must have slipped on something… and I nearly toppled from the stairs directly onto the Tunneler.
I was saved — yes, I said it. Saved by the dragon. He unceremoniously grabbed my tail to keep me from tumbling. I confess I must have let out an undignified yelp (or scream, probably) of pain. But it did the trick, I was still alive and able to trot up the stairs, sore rump or no.
Things escalated from there, as things often do. The entire building seemed to be encased in a forcefield of blue, wispy, magical strands. I set Glow on guard to watch the Tunneler’s movements, and the rest of us went up to the top floor to strategize.
We came up with an unlikely plan to dismiss the Tunneler: the unicorn professor would distract the Tunneler with a broom stick, while the Fuschia stallion would rhythmically dance to try to get it to go away. I’m not exactly sure why they thought it was a good idea, someone said something about echolocation. Regardless, the plan worked perfectly! The Tunneler clicked to the music and went back down.
Our victory was short-lived, as we were still trapped in the library. We discussed the problem further, though I confess I merely heard a lot of intellectual ‘wah wah wah’.
But Glow alerted us to a dire new circumstance: out of the hole the Tunneler dug, came a huge, flying snake, with two heads (one on either end). The thing had already moved to the first floor and we ran for our lives up the stairs.
On the third floor, I dug my hooves in and cast the best protection spell I know how. It worked! I spent the next minutes, or hours (it was difficult to tell), concentrating on maintaining the spell so that the snake could not attack us.
The rest of the time was, from my point of view, somewhat blurred. But I do distinctly remember a huge spider in a top hat who pulled my sore tail to break my concentration. I held on, though, and Glow selflessly protected me.
Even though my concentration, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of pride. For all of the ribbing I get in the Royal Guard Officer’s Club about the useless pegasus on my squad — I always knew, deep down, that Glow would come through when it was truly important.
At last, the group defeated the snake, and broke the spell on the library. I was exhausted, and we all wearily retreated to the Dragon’s penthouse apartment.
And I am entirely too proud to ask for an ice pack for my sore rump.