IC date: Autumn 7
OOC date: September 26
Location: Belly of the Beast
PCs: Magpie, Hoarfrost, Lavender, Sadaka, Makuru, Fugue, Siyana
NPCs: Snakebite
GM: Applejack

The quiet-time of the caged foals is interrupted by the sound of a heavy door opening, creaking, and then slamming shut. *SLAM!*

This is followed by some gruff humming, mixed with occasional hisses, as a figure wanders into the ol' Cage Room.

Oh look. It's Snakebite himself. Bearing another bag-ful of foals, no doubt.

Red eyes and everything, the bat-winged hunter mostly ignores the other foals in favor of picking out the nearest empty cell, two attendants standing behind him in the hallway with lanterns to light the way. A click as the cage opens, and a quick dumping of the bag sends two bodies tumbling in! At least one of the two is out cold, a curious griffon with a bandaged wing. The other? Another zebra filly!

The cage is shut and locked with a smooth haste, and the empty bag slung back over Snakebite's shoulder. The humming resumes…the whole process going on despite a myriad of hissing and curses others in the cages are shouting out to the air. And then, just as fast as he had come in, he was gone… The attendents went with him, leving the foal cage room back in general dimly-lit darkness.

Freeze-Frame wakes up a bit from her hay pile in her cell. she found herself hugging both the bunny and Hoarfrost. she gets up and stretches her wings and acheing legs before storlling on over to look down the rows of cages to look at the two new additions to this collection of kids.

Makuru is fast asleep. He's gotten used to the sound of the prison door slamming open and shut, it's really only yelling and his own circadian rhythm that rouses him from his slumber at this point.

Magpie lets out a little grunting grumbly groan. Slowly twitches her eyes open. "Nngph?" she asks eloquently.

Sadaka is also asleep, or at least appears to be, curled up on her haypile with one foreleg over her eyes. She twitches an ear as the cages clang, though, but otherwise doesn't react much.

"Whhh," groans the new zebra. "Where… wha…" Is that Siyana? It is totally Siyana.

Magpie wobbles her way back to consciousness. Sorta. "Lookit my hooves," she mumbles. "They're all… floppy." She waggles her legs, flopping her hooves around.

"Floop…fleh… floppy?" Siyana manages, lifting one hoof and letting it fall, smack into her face. "…ow."

Makuru groans, "Shu'up," and throws some hay over his face.

Magpie says "You shu'up! You can't… you can't change nothin' by gettin' all… bendy."

Magpie falls back asleep with a loud snore.

Hoarfrost hugging to Freezy nervously. The door is unlocked and she can walk out ANY TIME but is too busy fretting like a foal and snuggling into warm Pegasi feathers. Her warmth removed though she ends up trotting about nervsouly instead.

Makuru grumbles, "S'right," and says no more.

Siyana kicks her hooves a little, trying to get upright. All she does is kick her gryphon cagemate in the head. Good thing she's already out? "H…hey, hey…I foun… there was a … driftwidows an'… S'daka, hey they took her." She leans in to the gryphon's face. "Hey. Hey. …Hey."

Siyana clumsily pats the gryphon's face. It's very soft. Pat. Pat. Paaaaaaat.

But the griffon is even more out of it. Like, totally out of it. So out of it that all she does is snore amid all the patting.

Magpie snorts. Twitches and opens one eye. "Time'a get ouddahere," she mutters thickly through the dart's aftereffects, and climbs to her feat to go face her enemy, The Door. She attempts to open it with her face. <clank> She pauses, staring, then tries to push her face between the bars.

Sadaka finally stirs a bit at all the talking, mumbling something and nestling a bit further into her haypile. Mumblegrumble s'the middle of the night.

Freeze-Frame shakes her head a bit, a big frown on her face as she looks over… still no signs of the grown-ups, and more than a couple of times, her inability to keep up with the running had gotten everypony kept from their meals, so… needless to say she's already unpopular with the other batponies. regardless, she keeps quiet at Maku's request, simply watching Magpie.


Hoarfrost seems to remeber something. Digging in the straw she pulls out about two days worth of old fuirt she has been squirrling away. "Here Freeze I have been saving some in case we needed our strength." handing one cup over to the pegasi. Lowering her voice to a whisper. "I got the cape open last night. We can make a run for it to that vent!"

Magpie maaash. Maaash. "I'm eshcapin'," she says, slurring due to having her lips mashed between the bars.

Makuru is already nestled into the haypile when Sadaka tries to nestle further. He mumbles something unintelligble and wraps a forehoof around her.

Snore. And now with all the noise, other foals are waking up! Some of the bat-winged ones peek out of their cages at the ruckus. Fugue stretches out of his haybed with a smack of his lips and a fanged yawn. "What's…all the noise now. More new arrivals? More friends of…" but Lavender's asleep, so he can't rib her about it. Phooey. He squints into Magpie's cage instead. "Why are you doing that?"

Magpie takes a step back and spins to face Fugue. THe room spins a bit. She sits down suddenly. "…doin' what?"

Fugue squints. "Beating your head against the bars."

Magpie squints back. "I'm… 'scapin'. Wiggle through and …. stuff."

Freeze-Frame takes Hoarfrost's offering and gently nibbles at the pomegranate that the Witch's apprentice pulled out… this was an oddly eerie thing to witness somepony new get introduced to their world getting turned upside down. she then blinks and turns to Hoarfrost. "You did…? Okay. I'mma try and start scoutin' things when it comes time for food n' potty."

Siyana finally just falls over, woogy. "This /sucks/. Everything /sucks/. I wanna go /home/."

Aaaaand then there's hollering. Sadaka's head pops up from the hay, bits of straw hanging off her ears. "Shut up it's the middle of the night!" she grumps, then blinks, glancing back at the hoof draped around her shoulders and turning slightly pink. "…Um."

Magpie pulls her lockpicks out and, slumping against the door, starts tinkering with the lock again.

Siyana wrinkles her nose. "YOU'RE the middle of the… of the night!"

"Uh-huh…" says Fugue. Whom parks his flank on the cage floor to watch this comedy of errs. Drugged ponies, and escape artists. Slitted eyes watch Magpie and her lock picks. "Maybe if you twisted it clockwise." he offers. Unhelpfully.

Makuru's eyes are still closed. He turns his muzzle to the sky and shouts, "Shu'up!" one more time, puts his head back down and draws his hooves closer to his body for warmth. Since he has one of his hooves draped over Sadaka this inadvertantly means he draws the filly up against his chest.

With everything else going on, it might be easy to miss an etheral giggle rising up from the general vicinity of Sadaka and Makuru's cage. Followed by two words, sung to the air with all the volume of a breezy whisper. This whisper is closest to the pair of zebras apparently trying to sleep. "found you~"

Sadaka eeps! Suddenly she is somepony's pegadoll except without the wings and that's terrible she misses her wings GAH THIS PLACE IS TERRIBLE. She squirms a bit, trying to wriggle loose and ignore the fleeting thought that this would actually be kinda cozy if she weren't so annoyed with stuff and things.

And then there is a voice. She jumps, and eeps again, and flails back, looking around wide-eyed. Then, "…It /took/ you long enough, geez. It's been three days!" She says this quietly, at least, half-heartedly glaring at… a pocket of empty air, apparently?

Siyana squints, apparently taking Sadaka's words as meant for her. "Wha— well SAW-RRY, I didn' realize you were gone earlier, Miss Priss! I came as fast's I COULD." GRUMP.

Hoarfrost looks at Freeze like she should have more inisitive than that. "Why not now … if they open the cage and finds I broke the lock we will be put in another cage. Lets go now." prancing in place she is impatient. All this is getting her worked up and she just wants to go home and hug Snowfield SO MUCH and she is so behind on her lessons. Trying hard not to suddenly cry she slowly eats her own extra food."

You paged Magpie with 'We already got Hoarfrost with an unlocked cell, why not Magpie too.'.

A grey-and-orange head pokes down from one of the cages, looking down at Hoarfrost and such below. The batpony blinks orange eyes, her orange mane falling free in a very short cascade. "HI!" she says cheerfully. "Are you leaving? Can I come?"

Magpie 's horn, flickering fitfully, manipulates the lockpicks with sort of vague focus. Suddenly the door goes CLICK and CREAK and she flops flat on her face across the threshold.

Fugue's ears perk up. "Wha..hey! You did it!" His ears swivel then towards the bickering zebras. "Hey! There's two cages open now! What… What do we do?" Pff. Some Chiefton's Son.

The etherial whisper giggles again. There's at least a couple of the other bat-winged foals peering curiously into Sadaka's cage, catching the hint of that voice. "sorry~ it was kind of hard to find! this was your best hide 'n seek spot yet!'

Makuru gropes at the air as his pegadoll escapes. He blinks and lifts his head up, finally noticing that /everyone has woken up early again/. The colt yawns wide and looks around. "Oh, hey, more foals," he says with a weak wave to Siyana and the asleep griffon. Then he blinks as the new arrival and his cell make start sassing at each other. "…whatever."

Freeze-Frame nods a bit to Hoarfrost, hoofing over at the cage door to test if Hoarfrost did end up breaking it. this also runs congruent with Magpie's lockpick escape. "If we can't get everypony out, I promise I'll at least go for help.

Hoarfrost about chokes on her fruit as a bat pony apears from no where. Its the pony that filled her face with sleep dust again! AAAHHHH-wait. Thats not Snakebite. "Um .. how did you get out?" its a valid question. "Sure." not even waiting for an awnser. "We are all getting out!" take that! "Can you help other ponies out of their cages too?" glancing to Freezy she stands tall next to her friend "should we get that vent open first?"

Sadaka blinks and tilts an ear, glancing over at Siyana and blinking again, as if just now realizing she was there. Blink. "…Well 'course /you/ didn't notice I was gone," she grumps right back. "S'not like you notice anything 'bout me anymore." The idea that Siyana hadn't noticed she was missing from school or anything for three days does not sting at all, nope, not one little bit.

"It's not hide-and-seek! Somepony bagged us, an' they took my wings, and mama's earring, and they're making us run on this big… big… wheel!" Now she's talking to the air again, presumably. Or just ranting at Siyana more without looking at her? Who knows.

"Wow!" Siyana snaps back, ears flattening. "That wasn't mean at all! Mebbe this is why I never talk to you anymore, cause you're all mean and mopey and you /abandoned me/ and serves me right f'r coming to FIND YOU and your broken stupid wings!!"

Tricker-Treat, meanwhile, blinks. "I dunno! The door was open." She pokes at their bars. "I kind of like being most energetic runner all the time here! I win the good fruit! But I miss Bric-a-Brac. Can we go?"

Makuru's ears perk up at the voice from above as lucidity graces him with its presense. "You are not the most energetic runner," he says defiantly to the ceiling above Hoarfrost and Freeze Frame. There's something orange there and it is /wrong/.

Freeze-Frame shakes her head. "Sadaka, New Zebra! please quit arguing! we need to make 2 teams… one team works on getting the other cages open, and the other works at getting our stuff back from that store room and then opening that bathroom vent!"

"Am too!!" Tricky says. "Sometimes!"

"My wings are broken?!" Sadaka leaps to her hooves, looking thoroughly alarmed. Then she blinks, parsing out the rest of that. "/I'm/ mean and mopey? …/I/ abandoned /you/?!" Air pocket momentarily forgotten, she stamps right on over to the bars closest to Siyana's cage. "I'm not the one beatin' up little foals for no reason! I'm not the one who disappeared for months an' months an' months! I'm not the one who got her cutie mark an' ran off doing… doing… /stuff/ and pro'lly didn't even notice when her best friend disappeared into some winter night place for like weeks!" Stampstompstamp. Bounce.

Magpie scootscoots along the floor to the next cage over and starts picking that lock without bothering to stand up. mmmph. "Hey, guess what," she says to Makuru. "Guess what. Guess what."

And Siyana stomp stomp wobble flop scoot stagger stomp stomps right back! Her nose is against the bars now, distorting her look in a sneer. "OH! OH! Who abandoned who!? You went off on an A'VENTURE withOUT us and YOU stopped talking to me and MAYBE you never thought to talk to me EVER did you!? AND I HAD REASONS, THEY HAD TO LEARN THE WORLD IS TOUGH!! AND THAT GOOD PONIES DON'T EXIST! CAUSE YOU'RE A BIG! FAT! JERKFACE!"

Fugue watches all this with a steadily growing frown. "…Ahem. Can I be let out too then? If you're all so intent on opening cages? Quietly maybe? Those guards could come back, you know. What are they going to do when they see foals out?"

The whisper has stopped giggling. The air next to Sadaka's shoulder is probably a bit colder than the rest of the air now too. "hey. hey. we should play another game. there's lots of others here. we could play 'boo'!"

Makuru looks at Sadaka. Looks at Siyana. Looks back at Sadaka. "Hey…" he says cautiously and probably too quietly to be noticed in the shouting match.
Freeze-Frame decides to go ahead, getting out of her cage and carefully poking her head around the corner into the hallway with all the different rooms to see if anypony is there.

"Well I can open locks now, thats is a useful trick. Not sure how many times though it was hard to break our lock and it made a loud noise." Hoarfrost is cofused by the apparently fast Tricky? Who is that filly? Why is Sadaka so mad. "Sadaka who is she?" if her friend is this mad maybe its more important? Is she a bad filly? Peraps the filly mastermind behind this all? "Urge lets go Freezy!" looking back to Sadaka worried. "Is there a gaurd there Freezy?"

Nopony is there. yet. But it's awful dark without any lanterns…

Sadaka flattens her ears back against her head. "I didn't /mean/ to go off without anypony! I didn't /mean/ to go off at /all/! We got lost! An' it was long and scary and I didn't even want an adventure anyways I just wanted to go home and be with my friends! And then I finally get home and I don't got friends anymore! Nopony even cared I was /gone/! And how am I supposed to talk to you when you aren't even there?! So I made friends with the Things an' talked to them! And maybe the world wouldn't be so tough if you'd stop being so mean!" She's bouncing now, yup. Bouncy bouncy bouncy. Hophophop.

"You're not supposed to be like this! You're s'possed to be my best friend! You're s'possed to be the leader an' the one I look up to an' I thought you were so cool and fun and happy and friendly and I don't care if I'm a jerkface I LIKE YOU OKAY AND I MISS YOU AND I WANT MY BEST FRIEND BACK!"
Click! Magpie pulls herself along to the next door and hauls herself upright. She smiles though the bars at Sadaka. "I think we've had a very important breakthrough here tonight," she says, twiddling the picks. This isn't so hard! "

Freeze-Frame waves a wing to make a motion for anypony who's going to follow her. "It's dark, but there's no light and no sign of anypony…

Hoarfrost concentrates and makes her horn glow best she can. "I'll lead so everypony can see?" the filly offers taking a deep breath and taking a few tentative steps out into the hall. "Its just like the bunker back home. Nothing too creepy not even any zombies." trot trot

Magpie almost drops her lockpicks. "Zombies?!" she squeaks.

Siyana's jaw tightens and her voice gets wobbly. "Yeah, well!! I got my cutie mark and suddenly I had to do things and be a good singer and nopony even CARED about that, and— I was the only one and I had to grow up, 'daka! I'M NOT A LITTLE KID ANYMORE!" Says the twelve year old.

But still, by the end of Sadaka's ranting, her eyes are big and wibbly. "I miss being happy and friendly! I HATE being mad all the time! I just— I just wanna be your friend again!! I w-wanna go home! I was so scared when I saw your wings and I— I'm sorry! I don't even unnerstand what's been— what's been up with me and—" SNEEF.

Makuru trots up to Sadaka and Siyana, separated as they are by the bars of the cages. "/Hey/," he says more emphatically. "I dunno who you are but you're upsetting Sadaka, and if Sadaka says you're her friend then you shouldn't be upsetting her! My momma says that friends don't yell and curse at each other unless somepony owes the other one money." He crosses his forehooves and harumphs.

With a little hornglow, the hallway can be seen. It's empty. And dark. So very dark, beyond where the hornlight fades. All the doors are closed… Even the bathroom door.

Freeze-Frame follows right behind hoarfrost, concentrated on the task at hand in spite of all the noisy drama. She walks along until they get to the store room where she thinks their stuff happens to be. she flies up and sees if there's any device hooked up to the door before trying to open it.

The door marked 'Inventory' happens to be locked. The doorknob rattles, but does not open.

Magpie slumps down the line, working on each cage in turn. Yeesh, how many of these darn things are there?!

A whoooooooole bunch…

Hoarfrost has the cure for locked things! Horn glowing a little more she tries filling it with water again then quickly freezing it. Worked wonders for that big lock!

Sadaka is looking pretty wibbly too, staring down at the floor. Sniff. Sniff. "…I cared," she mumbles. "You got your cutie mark stickin' up for me. 'Course I cared." She sniffles and wipes a hoof across her nose. "…Jus' 'cause you got your mark doesn't mean you gotta be great at it right away. M'not that good a flier yet. I take lotsa lessons. Ms. Rusty says you don't gotta stop being a kid just 'cause you got some mark on your butt that says you're good at somethin'."

The locked door frosts over and the sound of something breaking is heard. …but the lock isn't unlocked. Now it's just jammed and frozen in place.

Meanwhile the whisper of something etherial floats from where the doorknob is. "someone's coming~" it says.

"My daddy says I need to work extra hard now," Siyana says with a note of sadness. "He said I don't got time to be a kid anymore. I have to be a grown up and learn how to sing and sail and stuff." She sits down hard, and then glares at Makuru. "Hey, you shut up!" she snaps, old habits dying hard. "We're havin' a moment here!"

Makuru stomps his hoof and glowers at Siyana. "You're having a moment when we're supposed to be sleeping! I haven't gotten a good night's sleep in days because everypony keeps yelling at each other in the middle of the night! Just kiss and make up so we can go back to bed!"

Freeze-Frame tries the door and just sighs. "Okay, we gotta hope there's a vent that leads in there. c'mon." She flaps her wings and opens the bathroom door instead, leading Hoarfrost in. luckily they have the sink and toilets in here to give Hoarfrost all the water she needs to work with in this particular room!

Sadaka frowns. "An' growing up means you gotta ditch all your friends and start bein' mean to everypony?" She scuffs a hoof at the floor. And then blinks, and turns an odd shade of pink. She stares at Makuru for a moment. Something small and pebble-ish is subsequently tossed at his head.

"Who-are you a zombie ghost?" Hoarfrost asks the air. The air should not be giving her mysterious warnings. "Freezy I think I broke it we need to hi-oh Bathroom." trotting in after her and closing it, hopefully locking it too. "Ponyfeathers now I have to use the fillies room." dancing by the tiolet.

Siyana stomps hard. "I'm SORRY that our months long fight is disturbing your stupid sleep! But I kinda want to get this resolved cause I— I miss my friends. And screw what my dad says. He thinks I can't play with kids my age anymore cause I'm a grownup. But I don't want to listen to him. He doesn't even think I should be playing at all!"

Sadaka tilts an ear, peeking up at Siyana almost hopefully. "…I got my mark too. Maybe I can be a grownup with you an' then we can play together again." She might be missing the point here a little.

Magpie starts in on the next cage, waving at the bat ponies inside. "Hi, I'm Magpie! I'm here to rescue you!" she whispers.

"but… you can't hide in there…" the voice whispers when all the foals start wandering into the bathroom instead.

Said bathroom really isn't very big. It's got a toilet and a sink, and that tempting vent cover bolted into place way up above next to the ceiling. There's maybe enough room for four foals to stand around max. That may be a problem given that more cages are being opened, and batponies are wandering around, stretching their wings.

The air around Sadaka's shoulder gets cold again. "hey… listen… big ponies coming to ruin the game…"

Makuru yelps, "Ow!" when he gets hit with a pebble. "Sleep isn't stupid! They're gonna make us run on big wheels all day and you don't wanna see what happens if you fall asleep on the wheel!" He trots back to the hay pile and flops onto it, facing away from the two zebra fillies. Not that it matters but with his butt facing them like this his own glyph is clear to see.

Freeze-Frame blinks and hums a bit, turning on the sink and flying up by the vent as she patiently awaits hoarfrost to make her move, smiling. "C'mon, Frosty. we're almost there…!"

Siyana mooshes her face against the bars and sniffles. "I like that idea. Friends?" She reaches in Sadaka's direction; not that she can actually make contact.

Sadaka smiles shakily, pressing against the bars to reach out a hoof towards Siyana. "…'Course. You're my /best/ friend."

The moment has to be interrupted, however, by ethereal voices noless. Sadaka blinks and freezes, ears perking. "What? Wha… oh no!" She jumps to her hooves, looking around. "Magpie! Everypony! Get… get back in!" She frowns nervously, prancing in place. "There's guards coming! Act asleep! Ohno ohno ohno we're gonna get caught they're never gonna give me mama's earring back…" When she gets right down to it the wings are replacable. That little piece of jewelry, however, is /not/.

"I have to pee …" Hoarfrost groans but tries to make an ice screwdriver from the toilet water anyway. Her friend needs it! Friends come first. Still she is prancing like a little filly waiting for her turn the whole time.

Makuru grumbles as Sadaka starts panicking about somepony coming. Of COURSE they're going to do the rounds now, foals have been yelling again and they always make them run early if foals start yelling. He pulls some hay over his head and tries to go back to bed.

Freeze-Frame sees that Hoarfrost's ice magic is clearly affected by this need to use the bathroom, so she flies back down and instead sits by the door like she's a little door stop. she looks away while Hoarfrost does her business.

Magpie 's ears jerk upright. She stashes her lockpicks by throwing them into the hay in the next cell. "Hide! Hide!" she hisses, and dives into the nearest cell, practically pouncing Fugue.

Hoarfrost gulps realizing she can't do a think like this, water magic and having to pee is a bad mix to mess up the concentration. This also means she will have to pee with her friend in the room. "D-don't look ok?" she tries her business. Better. Trying the faucet now she gives it a second shot.

Tricky Treat, who has been basically uselessly watching all the OTHER ponies do cool stuff, blinks and darts back into the cage, smacking the door closed with a clank.

Siyana manages a smile before she realizes something is happening. She scrambles back, trips over the gryphlet, and falls flat on her back.

Fugue, at that point, was just getting ready to jump out of his own cell! "What? Hi—AH!" Pounced! Huff! Now the purple pony is sprawled on his back, winded. "Was that…necessary…" All the other free'd batponies look confused. They just got /out/! Why would they want to go back /in/? A few of them do, maybe getting the hint because of the panicky ponies, but some of them don't, poking their noses out the hallway at the other potentially escaping foals.

One of the doors in the hallway has a light behind it. A light that's getting stronger, as though someone with a lantern was coming.
Lavender has arrived.

Freeze-Frame hears the door and her eyes go wide. gulping. she whipsers "frosty… somepony is coming…!" She keeps her fat butt in front of the door, hoping to keep ponies from coming in!

Magpie ahaha. She smiles down at the batpony with the cute little fanglies— NO BAD MAGPIE. "Uh… hi." She scoots off him, pulls the door to. Totally innocent!~

"But you have to …" Frost frets as she looks up at the vents. Guess its her job to open it. Magic lifting the Ice Screwdriver into place. Hopefully getting it to work.

Sadaka runs around in a panicked little circle for a moment before scrambling for the hay too. She might trip over Makuru in the process. She sprawls out, gulping. "Keep quiet!" she hisses to… the air again. "Don't let the big ponies know you're here!"

The bolts make a horrible metallic squeal as they begin to be loosened. It's like nails on a chalkboard. There's at least six bolts, too, and they're not coming easy!

The light is bright behind the hallway door, the one marked 'Exit'. There's a sort of electronic sound coming from the other side, too. Apparently the lock on this door isn't the traditional lock found on most of the others. It's taking a moment to work.

Fugue answers Magpie with a grunt. That's /important/ fangly batpony to you, missy! …Though he doesn't look too hurt over the matter. Maybe more pride-bruised than anything. "Ahem." Apparently him and Lavender have acquired a new cellmate.

Makuru would ask Sadaka why she's telling him to not let them know he's here when they're the ones who put him here in the first place but he is good at sleeping.

Lavender hurries over to Magpie, "What are you doing in /this/ cage…Er, hide, in case they actually have a memory," she whispers to Magpie, and shoots a glare at /Fugue/ for some reason.

Fugue blinks at Lavender and Magpie both. His posture shifts, sitting up straighter. "What's that look for? I didn't tell her to come in here." Sniff.

Magpie uh. She dives into the straw and piles some on her head. Where's she supposed to hide in a jail cell?!

Freeze-Frame bites her lower lip… half of her wants to unscrew the bolts from the grate, but the other half of her knows that if they check the bathroom that she'll be the only thing between the guards and Hoarfrost's potential freedom.

The final bolt screws loose with its fair share of sound and agony. All that screeching! Several of the batpony foals that haven't been able to go inside the bathroom are laying in the hallway, covering their ears. Poor sensitive ears.

The vent cover, thusly loosened, has nothing left to keep it from falling down to the ground. Where it will surely land with a loud clang if left to its own devices and that pesky gravity thing.

The door at the end of the hall finally clicks, and opens. There's a bright light there! A lantern!

Hoarfrost struggles with the ice driver in her magic. This is way too loud … grease magic would be handy right now … is that even a kind of magic? Oop! Its falling dropping the driver she tries both magic and mundane holding out her hooves to catch it. Just don't make a sound! "Freezy I'll hold the door your the only one who can get up there." a worried but determined look in her eyes.

Freeze-Frame shakes her head and tries to grab hoarfrost to airlift her up, but quickly realizes her wings aren't strong enough to lift more than her own weight at the moment. "Ugh…! c-can't lift you… I'm really sorry, Hoarfrost…" she then flies up into the vent and crawls on in!

"Its ok Freeze." Frost hugs her friend "Get help." quick as she can she tries to put the vent back and sits on the toilet, hoping she can use the bathroom as an excuse.

Well… If Magpie's going to jump into the hay to hide, someone's going to have to help hide her. Fugue squints at Lavender, then steps his way over towards the hay bed, turns around, and sprawls out. Because that will totally keep Magpie hidden. Maybe. With a little help.

The lantern, and the attendent behind it, begins to trundle down the hallway. Of course the first thing out of place is the door lock on the inventory room, which looks half-exploded. Huh. That makes the burly stallion squint, and keep on ambling, ears now perked attentively. The next thing? The batpony foals sprawled out on the floor. "What… Hey! How did you get out of your cages!?" He hasn't even noticed Hoarfrost yet!

As for Freeze… Well the vents /have/ to go somewhere, right? This one goes left, towards where the inventory room was. And then straight past that to some of the other rooms. But it's dark in there…

Lavender gets the same idea as Fugue, romping to the hay bed and nearly running into him in the process! "I told you we were going to escape," she hisses to the batpony, then gives him a big grin and flops down in the hay to make a more opaque barrier than just the pile of hay itself.

Freeze-Frame disappears on into the dark labyrinth of the vents. she tries to brush her right wing against the right wall to keep track of things in the old 'follow the wall out of the maze' trick. She wanders a bit aimlessly, honestly being a tad terrified. she also keps her movements to a slow crawly shuffle so her hooves aren't banging around.

The vents get a little lighter next to where another vent cover is! This one appears to be looking down into a room full of /stuff/! So much stuff! Loads of stuff! And look! There's Makuru's bag! And a CAMERA! Just barely able to be seen through the grating and the dim light leaking in from the lantern outside of that door. There's where all the foal stuff went!

Further down is, another vent…

Hoarfrost wonders if she should make a break for it. Run past the guard if he passed the bathroom. Wonders if she should have tried harder to make the vents. Terrified about what is going to happen if she is found. "Snowy wouldn't cry." she assures herself as quietly as she can. Condsidering putting an ice wall over the door or … Ice pilling from the toilet? Why didnt she think of that before she tried to put the vent back on? "Just stay put they can't get mad at you for using the rest room …"

Freeze-Frame sees everypony's stuff… that's good, actually, that inventory room is probably a safe room to try getting into, so she tries giving the great a good and hearty puuuush!

Mumble, mutter, grumble. The attendant puts his lantern down and starts scooping up batponies. Arms full of batpony! With all the unconscious or stunned foals now on his back, he turns to the bathroom and…blinks. Eyes squint. "Hey! What're you doin' out of your bed too?"

That vent grate doesn't seem to be quite as well secured as the one in the bathroom was. It pops open on a hinge and makes a single clank noise from the impact.

Sadaka peeks up from her haypile, gulping a bit and twitching an ear. She nervously peers over towards Siyana's cage, because it would be /awful/ if they made up only for one of 'em to get all in trouble and taken away again!

Siyana is, meanwhile, totally sprawled all over her cagemate. Quite possibly passed out?

"I had to pee." Hoarfrost says as she sets on her 'throne'. Arms crossed and looking grumpy. "I'm a big filly I can do it without a guard holding my hoof." best 'i'm a big pony' she can muster. Its her turn to be loud in case Freeze needs to be loud, cover her flanks as it where!

Freeze-Frame would like to grab everything, but knows she doesn't have time for that. So she prioritizes her Camera, Makuru's bags, and if there's any sort of flashlight or spare lanterns in the store room. it's more important to make haste as she listens to the conversation with hoarfrost through the vent, and she's back in before they have a chance to catch her.

The Attendant scowls. "Well hurry up!" he grunts. "Yer not supposed to be out of yer cages this time of day!" Grumble, mutter. The attendant carries the other bat-winged foals off to their cages for the moment. Cage, shut. Cage, shut! "Hrm. How did'ja all get these unlocked? I told Boss he needed to keep an eye on the locks… Welp now he ain't got a choice."

Meanwhile in the vents, Freeze is presented with a choice. She has stuff now. Does she go back to the other foals? Or does she keep investigating the vents?

Freeze-Frame waits for now. she can still hear that guard. it's still vent crawling time! She has all she needs!

"No pony locked them last time." Hoarfrost says as she flushes the toilet and washes her hooves. She is scared that is no excuse not to wash! "You should just get better gaurds." burn! form an Ice Witch that is like … freezer burn! Without being told again or shown her way she trots back to her cage and closes it. Hoping they don't check its functionality.

The attendant doesn't check it, no. He's already set in his mind that they ought'a change it anyway. Any lock that can let /this/ many foals out is obviously faulty! He's giving Hoarfrost an awful stern look, too, but ends up just grunting. "Fine." He starts to head out of the foal-cage room. Then he stops, squinting over his shoulder. "Hey… Weren't there…someone in there with you? We're still missin' someone."

Freeze-Frame keeps on exploring, although she doens't turn on the lantern she snagged just yet.

"mmm…m pretty sure we're missin YER FACE," babbles Siyana from her cage, sitting up to point at the guard. "HAH! Yer face. I crack me uuuup."

Further exploration of the vents yeilds…another vent cover! Inside this vent cover? An empty room. Isn't that interesting! But further on up, the vent makes a turn. There is the faintest orange glow in that direction…
Freeze-Frame approaches the orange glow sith the utmost curiousity… this might even be a way out or the actual sun or something…!

"Um … A bat boy … I think you put one of them in the wrong cage." Scrunchy face. That makes sense right?

The faint smell of cookies might be a hint that it isn't, exactly, a sun. In fact, turning the corner, Freeze will see that the vent leads to a sharp drop-off. Peering into the drop-off shows…a dull fire. Not quite a sun. This must be one arm of a furnace vent! This might even be what all that running is helping to power! Luckily Freeze could look up too, to see little hoof-sized holes in the top of this vent shaft. That must be where the exhaust goes.

Unfortunately it's not exactly a way out.

The attendant thinks on this. It's possible? He rubs his face with a hoof, shrugs, and starts to leave again, picking up his lantern along the way. "…Gonna hafta do some remodeling down here next time Boss is around…"
Freeze-Frame sighs a bit… she certainly isn't continuing where the metal is super hot, and she's also certainly not fitting through that tiiiny exhaust… at any rate, she has to start crawling backwards. she tries seeing if ther'es anothe rdirection to go from the bathroom vent.

There was another direction! But crawling that way leads back to the foal room, where the vent seems to be hanging right above one of the batpony cages, out of obvious sight. So there was a vent in there!

The attendant picks his lantern up, and activates the lock on the Exit back down the hall. Moments later, he's gone and the light begins to fade… The heavy slam of that door rings throughout the underground hallway.
Freeze-Frame starts to try and force this vent open with her weight now that the guard is gone!

The vent cover pops off, clatters off the top of a cage, and to the floor. Good thing that attendant's already gone!
Freeze-Frame emerges and glides on down, frowning. "Horseapples. it leads to a furnace! although I smelled cookies…! Do any of you batponies have your cutie mark in flame retardancy…?"

Most of the foals (who are still awake) blink and shake their head. most of them have gone back to snoozing already.