Waking from Nightmare: Nightmare World
IC date: Winter 243, 1007 AN
OOC date: November 19, 2012
PCs: Blackbird, Heartsong, Jellybean, Kludge, Magpie, Manyara, Plot-Twist, Ruby-Blossom, Sadaka, Sky-Sparkler, Snowfield, Sodium-Fizz, Solar-Wind, Windrose, Winter-Solstice
NPCs: Harmony-Charmer, Professor Redmane, Glimmer, Heatsink
GM: Applejack, Trixie, Fluttershy

Recent events have been crazy! The opening of the portal between realities, the sacking of the Horseshoe Base, and the mass exodus to the forest to escape the iminent doom of the Queen… It all comes down to a simple plan. Ghosts and pegasi, escorting small groups of two or three ponies through the forest, past an army of zombies, and through the portal to the other side. Where the residents of Horseshoe Harbor, and the six ponies that represent this world's Elements of Harmony wait to usher them to safety.

A simple plan, but much could go wrong with it. The hope was to get enough non-combatants through the portal so that if things came down to a fight, there would be as few chances for injury as possible.

It almost worked…

The last group of foals, three of them to be exact, had just been guided into the forest by the trio of super-friendly ghosts. Five minutes had gone by… When suddenly one of the spooky foals pops up amid the group! "Trouble!" it shouted! And then led everybody through the forest, and to the once-kid-friendly Hive.

"I just don't know what went wrong…" the ghost huffs, on the way to the Hive itself, "Everything was going as planned…. And then one of the kids sneezed! Suddenly there were zombies /everywhere/! They all got captured… But they didn't get eaten! We sent someone to the other side of the portal to tell them too, but now…"

So here everyone is. At the edge of the great clearing inside the forest, wherein the Hive sits. There are still plenty of undead ponies in varying degrees of decompose, but the one thing they all have in common is they're all pretty much grouped in a circle. Inside this circle are three foals. The three foals that were captured. Three foals, and maybe forty or so zombies. Waiting for…something. Probably waiting for /them/.

There's about ten pegasi left in the warband joining those base-ponies. Ten pegasi, the Professor, Heatsink, Glimmer, and an assortment of ponies from another world. All here to save a few foals, and get to the portal. To safety!

Magpie swallows and looks down at the kids. Zombies. Why did it have to be zombies? And she knows from previous personal experience that they /squish/ if you crush their — 'scuse me, being sick behind that tree.

"Oh, for a well-placed pencil," mutters Kludge, rubbing a hoof against his hat under the armor.

Sodium-Fizz poked her head over Winter's curiously, a scowl on her face. She'd have walked - and run - herself, but… still weak from her moonlighting as a garden sculpture. Soda craned her neck around, eyeing the others. "What's going on…? Is the ghost-zombie filly up to something, you think..?"

Blackbird's eyes narrow. Over the last month and change, his mane has gotten shaggier and he's picked up a number of new scars, but he's still the same idiot hero he's always been. Swearing under his breath, he looks to his fellows, to speak the obvious, "We can't let them have the foals!" Good one, Blackbird. I'm sure no one was thinking anything like that. No sirree.

"Stop vomiting, you'll attract their attention," Snowfield says to the ill Magpie as she, too, watches the zombies. "Why do you think they're holding them hostage? Do you think the talkative one is up to something?"

Manyara hangs near the back of the group, frowning darkly and looking rather thoughtful, ears flat as she tries to come up with a plan of action.

Sadaka, on the other hand, is looking less thoughtful, and more frantic. She's sticking with the pegasi, clockwork wings stretching and fluttering nervously as she gives little bounces. "We've gotta get 'em out of there… before they eat 'em… or… or turn them into zombies, or… or /whatever/ they do to ponies they catch!" What /do/ they do? She doesn't really want to know.

Winter-Solstice thunders ahead along with anybody else at the head of the pack of those rushing to help. The good news about cover being blown and the alarm being raised: She can stamp her way along all she wants and not worry about the consequences! Well, anybody being sprayed by the rooster tail of snow kicked up behind her stomping rush might wish Winter was worrying more, but, hey. That she has Sodium astride her back doesn't seem to slow her down. No, Soda can be, like, some kind of crazy vial-slinging turret! Also, if Soda is close, it saves Winter the trouble of hunting her down if she decides to go crazygonuts again. "Nope!" says Winter, in response to Blackbird. "We can't!" Winter is enough of a dumb hero that she can appreciate succint dialogue like that. Because it's true. We CAN'T. "So do we just rush 'em now and start smashing or do we wait for Evil Snowfield to show up and taunt us? And then smash her."

Jellybean paces this way and that, apparently thinking about what's going on. To Snowfield: "It doesn't matter what they've got planned, we have to save them. I-I'll help." He takes a deep breath and then slowly lets it out. "I can do this."

Solar-Wind grumbles, "I'd say its a trap, easy as that" the big stallion voices his opinion, "they are all dead, don't see them getting any better with fighting or anything, I'd say we do a strike, from two sides. Have the pegasi drop in from the middle in pairs, one to grab a foal one to guard" he states, then go at them from there!

Ruby-Blossom softly pats Magpie on the back to console the smaller mare. A sharp glance directed towards Snowfield. "Hush." is she musters while attempting to remain polite - no need to start squabbling among the group.

Someone called for a pencil? Not that Sky Sparkler is aware of the pencil that has returned to her nose. None the less, she has joined the team heading to rescue the alergic foals. "I could try and attract their attention," she offters. "Light up the area around myself, and bolt away to a cloud if they get too close." She jogs along as she mentions her plan.

So close and yet so far! Windrose is here too, hovering higher in the air to get a better view of the situation. For all the good it does, other than being able to count that there's a whole lotta zombies huddled around those foals. Followed by a facehoof when Blackbird states the obvious. Oi, and things had gone so well up until now, too.

Magpie looks over at snowfield, wiping her muzzle. "R-really?" She looks greenly thoughtful for a moment. "…do you think if we all throw up we could make 'em chase us instead of the foals?"

"Cut two paths? Pegasi carve out an exit toward the gate, the others attack the other side to pull their attention?" Plot Twist subjests a plan of attack hovering a few feet off the ground. But as the zombies are rushes she face plams. "This is the problem with not having a clear leader." she leaps forward up over teh pile of zombies trying to get so she can air lift the foals out if things go wrong.

"That's… a good question… Blood works too," said Soda, shooting Magpie a glance. "Or we can… airlift…" She scowled, peering up after Plot-Twist before face-hoofing and glancing at Solar-Wind. "She's just as rash as you are."

"Less talk more rock!" Twist counters as she zips forward to save some foals, a nice change from murdering them to be honest.

Jellybean looks to Sky Sparkler. "If it's light we need, I bet the Sun Charm would be the best way to do that. They didn't seem to like the sunlight before."

Kludge eyes the circle of zombies and the assorted movements of his friends and allies. He might not be bulky enough to bulldoze his own way into the fray, but he can at least help widen any gaps that are made.

Solar-Wind goes with the apparent plan in effect, go for airsupport/airlift with his special somepony! "Airlift and Convoy duty!"

"No, I'm pretty sure that'll just make a big mess," Snowfield replies with an expression on her face that can best be described as 'that is gross why would you even suggest that?' She shakes her head and continues scoping out the scene. "An air assault is probably our best bet. Making themselves run is one thing, but I don't think any of the undead pegasi have enough feathers to maintain flight for any reasonable period of time. They'd just hop around the ground light confused chickens."

Magpie eeps as Plot Twist just charges right ahead. "Oh celestia, she just ran in."

Welp. Ponies are running. Blackbird kicks up snow and gives a yell of heroism! And charges headlong into the fray, hooves a-buckin'. Yes, great example to set. Good going.

"You ponies are all -crazy-!", Windrose emphasizes for like the umpteenth time since getting stick in this snowpocalypse world as ponies just barrel in after the zombies. Wings flap frevrently to keep herself aloft and ready, waiting until there's a more appropriate opening to dive in instead of a headlong charge.

The zombies all gnash and snarl and groan, gathering tighter around the foals as interlopers surge forward. One of the foals, a lilac unicorn whose horn has been obliterated (by Will, no less; she was rescued from the camp), lets out a shrill squeal of fear. The others set their jaws and squeeze tight together, the trio holding on for dear life as the ruthless undead press close around them.

The shamblers don't seem much interested in /hurting/ the foals, at least. Not yet anyway. But when fresh, warm-blooded rescue ponies dive in, a number spill forward to meet them, snapping teeth and limbs at them.

Eeep! Are we charging? We're charging! Aaah! Sadaka blinks and springs into the air, flapping to gain altitude along with the other pegasi. She's getting better at this! It looks a bit less awkward now! Except for the fact that it's still, you know… a flying zebra. So kind of strange. But she's determined to help!

Manyara… seems to have disappeared. This happens a lot when combat happens! But an observant pony might notice the small hoofprints in the snow, leading towards the fray. And an observant /zombie/ could probably still scent the warm-blooded creature weaving through the impending battle!

Snowfield sighs dramatically as the more hotblooded of the group rush into the fray with no regard for strategy or planning. Not to say she wasn't expecting exactly that to happen, of course, but it's important to dream big.

The unicorn takes a few light steps into the clearing horn aglow. "PULL!" she shouts in way of warning before rearing back, kicking her front hooves a couple times for emphasis and then /slamming/ them into the ground. Several zombies in front of her may find themselves abruptly airborne as great columns of ice erupt from the ground underhoof and launching them as if from a cannon. She's not aiming to fling them anywhere in particular so they might accidentally be a hazard for the incoming rescue team, but at least when the zombies land they're not going to be shambling after anypony else.

Magpie whimpers. She uses her magic to bend a branch down towards her from the nearest tree, grabs it in her teeth, and wrenches at it until it comes free with a crack. Thus armed, she plows after the bigger ponies with a terrified-sounding battle cry.

"Right, hold on!" says Winter, to her passenger. Oh, sure, the fliers got in first, but there's plenty go around, and soon Winter is wading into the melee. It isn't her preferred course of action, but she's not about to sit idly by while others throw themselves into danger by air or by ground. That, and she's really happy to finally be at the part where they FIGHT for their FREEDOM. It's so exciting she came up with her own theme song!

"Dun dun dun DUN dun dunna nunna DUN!" The big mare rears up and pops a shambler in the nose with a foreleg, halting its advance. "Dunna nunna DUN dun DUN dun dun DUN dun dun DUN!" Whirling around, Winter brings her hind legs to bear, and a bit of the ghostly light of the moon catches the edge of one of her iron boots- those forgework boots she was wearing when everybody was portal-napped, tools of the trade turned to weapons- before she lashes out with a kick and blasts the zombie back into the crowd. "DUN dun dun DUN dun dun DUN! DUN! DUN! C'mon, Soda! Sing along!" Assuming the pegasus can manage as she sits astride the buckin' earth pony.

Solar-Wind cant get close enough down to the foals to make an effectual rescue, he does stomp some serious zombie skulls or at least does his best to try to as he jumps up then ducks down with his forehooves trying to bash anything in proximity to the foals, just trying to get some more space between foals and zomzom's He keeps this jumping up pattern going trying to punch a hole in this crowd, "Need Airsupport, and blades on the outlying group!" he shouts, "not here, out there, thin the numbers!" he shouts as he keeps jumping up trying to avoid the striking limbs. He jumps and dives sidelong as a zombie body comes flying past "Jeezwhat that?!"

Ruby-Blossom ughs softly before rushing after Maggie and into the fray of battle. She has every intention of assisting with freeing the foals, but won't deny her primary focus lies with keeping Maggie safe and sound; it might be kind of selfish but hay. With her hidden hoof blade exposed, and saddle bags rattling she rushes into battle behind Maggie. "Maggie! Don't wander too far!" she calls out to the smaller mare while staying hot on her tail.

Jellybean swallows nervously but joins the flying charge with Sadaka and his fellow pegasi. He can't really help with grabbing the foals, since he's a leetle to small for that, but he decides to go with his own idea: the sun charm blazes into light, illuminating the battlefield with a lambent golden glow. Hopefully it'll help keep track of things and make the zombies uncomfortable.

Kludge sighs and follows after Maggie and, fully intending on helping to protect the younger mare. While he does have the usual concern for Ruby, he knows that she can take care of herself.

Sodium-Fizz -had- considered using her Kludge-crafted crossbow in a clever scheeme to deliver her recently produced super-bouncy elixir to the foals in the center, but… it turns out it's fairly hard to aim propperly when one have to wrap their hooves around the wildly charging and bucking Winter-Solstice. Heck, it's hard to just get off even, short of being thrown off! And she have absolutely no interest in being zombie-bait a -third- time. The last two were traumatizing enough as it was.

"Winny! Not right noooOOOOO-.." curse that that weak pegasi physique, and the fact Soda's hardly nurtured it prefering to stay indoors, "-OOOWWFff!" She groaned. Apperently riding Winter's just way to much for the small pegasus mare to handle.

Too many zombies. Still too many zombies to zoom in and grab the poor kids. Ooooh, looks like they're going to have to get physical. "I can't believe I'm doing this, but… BANZAI!" Windrose dives in and tries to hit some zombies with her cobbled together 'weapon' of chunk of sharpened metal… but smacking with the flat side, because she really doesn't have a clue what she's doing, she's just swinging wildly!

Sky Sparkler's approach is more… subtle, than most, as she heads directly for the foals. She's trusting in the others to cause enough chaos and confusion.

Still has a pencil in her nose.

Magpie reaches the edge of the battle, and proceeds to start kneecapping zombies with her stick. She throws her whole body into each blow, and while they're not fatal — or whatever the zombie equivalent is — it's still hard to move without knees. Or that's the theory. It's hard to tell with zombies.

Two blades come down into the heads of two zombies. The gravity blades use her downward momentum to easily slice through the sculls. Continuing the motion she flips off and back into the air. "They … seem to protecting the kids!" as silly as that sounds to her she keeps trying to get a new angle of attack. "Solar I'm going up to get some lighting break them up that way!" she launches up to get some weaponized weather.

It's like the aftermath of zombie bowling, when Snowfield ice-bucks a number of them into the air. They flail, a few of them losing parts when they plummet downward and smack into the permafrost. For the most part, they don't seem to be getting up again, but a few of them start straggling up.

Magpie's battle cry turns the attention of one particularly slow zombie; he used to be a unicorn, but now he's just some shmuck with a dangling eyeball. He "hwurrffff"s at her and makes a clumsy swipe, only to get a frantic branch to the FACE. "Hurhh!" And shortly thereafter, there's a nice little opening if Ruby-Blossom wants to crack in with her hoofblade. Especially with Hurff's buddy closing in, it looks like Magpie could use some help from Ruby and Kludge.

Winter-Solstice's theme-songed whack-splats send a number of zombies flying — as well as her marefriend. At the very least, the zombies are going down!

Solar-Wind manages to start shaving off zombies as he flies around, thinning the herd as it were. There are still plenty, but as he dips and stomps and jumps, he's getting a number of zombie craniums on his big ol' hooves. Plot-Twist, for her part, is using her wingblades to slash and hack through any that Solar misses, but there's just so many of them!

WHACK! Windrose smacks her weapon right into a zombie and dazes it, making it groaaaan and whine and fall over. Whump. And there's another one! WHACK!

All of this means that there's a path opening up toward the foals. It's by no means open all the way yet, but the numbers are getting massacred by the sheer number of baseponies in the assault.

Knee-capitation by Maggie offers provides Ruby opportune timing to stick the zombies in the face with her hoof-blade; it's really quite the convinent way to take zombies down! The turquoise mare pushing one zombie away and loudly ewwing as an eyeball comes with "Ack, this one's got it's eye on me!

Kludge bodychecks Hurff's buddy, stomping on any zombie joints that happen to get underhoof of the craftspony.

Sodium's crossbow delivery system went… wide, with Winter's enthusiasm. Now, besides the shambler zombies, there are also bouncing zombies! And one bouncing blue pinto foal, who squeals in terror as he finds himself flailing in the air.

Sadaka circles above, peering down at the foals. "They're backing off!" She shouts down to the advancing ponies. "…Kinda!" she ammends after a second look. "Okay only a little but there's less of them! Eep!" She flaps frantically to get out of the way of one of the falling ones, circling closer to the captive foals. "We're gonna get you out! It'll be okay!"

And woosh! From Jellybean's corner is a new wash of light! Sunlight, added to the light from the portal!

"Dun dun dun dunna nunna- ha HA!" Is Ha HA part of Winter Solstice's song? Could be. It is delivered as atonally as the rest, as she grins back over her shoulder to see shamblers scatter under her mighty assault! "Soda! Soda, did you see that! Look at them go! Ha ha- uh-" Winter glances about. "Soda?"

There she is, on the ground over there. "Ohhhh," says Winter, in the manner of someone finally figuring out a stubborn math problem. "Oh! SODA! HOLD ON!" Tucking her head low, she scrapes at the slushy earth with a forehoof, and then charges towards the downed pegasus, intent on scooping her up with the prow of her broad nose and shrugging her right up onto her own back. Intervening zombies are like PINS before her BOWLING BALL of JUSTICE.

There's something to be said for being a living, breathing pony, compared to an undead husk of a pony. So many ponies going into the fray! So much zombie pony going up in the air! Not even, like, full zombies. Sometimes it's just parts of zombies… Ew.

Nontheless! At least fifteen zombies have already been mutilated! Around thirty-five left gnashing and groaning, and shambling, and stomping at the rescue party. They do try to huddle closer to the foals…but the quickly thinning ranks makes that increasingly difficult. Not to mention a sudden bright light that's causing a few of the zombies to turn away, pressing in closer to each other.

A few of the zombies get smart though. They're starting to get on each other's backs, making a sort of zombie tower! Three zombies high! Just so they can start trying to grope their grubby hooves at the pegasi! And a certain clockwork-winged zebra, too!

Plot Twist comes back down from the sky with a black cloud in tow. "Cloud mortars where first year stuff back in Jr. Speedsters." Lining up on the zombie tower and giving a good buck. Lighting up the area nicely and hopefully taking a few zombies with her. Moving back up she starts leaping on it. RIDE THE LIHGTING

Solar-Wind keeps diving in to the fray, then shoots straight up engages his wing blades, withdraws the blade he fashioned from a bed frame, some fabric, and lots of scraping on hard rock, its rough, but oh so nasty, and he dive bombs straight into the 'party' but well clear enough of the foals, so that maybe he can widen that path!

Zombie pyramids really aren't okay. They're really not, and Jellybean would complain to somepony about this if he thought that anypony would listen. Instead he stifles a whimper, grits his teeth and does a diving run around them. He's flying as fast as he can manage, trying to bring the light around in as disorienting a way as he can manage to hopefully ruin their coordination. "We have to break through them!" he calls out.

The interesting thing about pony-towers, the really /interesting/ thing, is that they're all standing on one set of legs. So, see, when you kneecap the one at the bottom, like Magpie just did…

Yipe! More flapping as Sadaka tries to put a little more distance between herself and the growing tower. She kicks her little hooves out at the nearest reaching leg with as much force as she can put into it. Go away! Bad zombie!

Windrose pauses and peers as the zombies teeter and topple over from getting smacked. "… Huh…" Not that she'd make a habit of this sort of thing, but at least it seems to be working. Until zombies start climbing on top of each other to get at the pegasi. Like her! Barely darting back a few wing flaps, she hmms. Then ahahs. "It's just like a tower of building blocks!" .. What?

She grabs the pot she'd been wearing as a helmet and pulls it off, spins in the air a few times, and then flings the pot at the bottom of one of the zombie totem poles.

It's even funnier with a second kneecap is popped by a sharp blade courtesy for Maggie's partner in crime for the evening - Ruby. The mare grinning at Maggie "Timber~" certainly Maggie has the right idea this evening.

Snowfield stares in disbelief as the zombie ponies display amazing feats of circus acrobatics and form living (sorta) towers to grab at the fliers. "That is the sillest thing I have seen all night," she says with a grimmace before charging forward. Her ice columns are exploded into a shower of snow with a flash of her horn and further powder is picked up from the ground before she jumps into the air.

It's not a very impressive jump by any stretch of the imagination but it's enough to give her a good foot off the ground, which is all the clearance she needs to curl into a ball and harden the snow around herself into a giant ice ball now rolling uncontrollably towards the zombie towers.

Snowfield rolls 1d10 (Strike!) — Result: 7 | Sum: 7

And when you have a falling stack of zombies, it's usually a good idea to trample them as they hit the ground, like Kludge is doing to the stack that Maggie and Ruby felled.

Getting to Sodium-Fizz seems to be a bit of an issue as the mare disspaears kicking and screaming - and quite possibly biting an ear of one of the zombies - under a quartet of the trotting dead, only the odd grey hoof or wing punching out between the not-quite-enough carcases.

Winter's charge does send them scattering… though rather in the wrong fashion, leaving a belivered zombie perched on Winter's back and a grey mare struggling to wrest a - now only one, fortunately - zombie from where it's sunk it's gnashing teeth into the base of her wing.

Suddenly, kick! One of the lower zombies would find its face suddenly assaulted by some rather sharp hooves. Strangely invisible hooves! Manyara kicks out at one, then another, then a third, dancing hoofprints in the snow the only thing to help pinpoint her current positioning around the tower.

Another fourteenish zombies get trampled, kneecapped, smashed, crashed, bashed, slashed, and bowled over! There's a path to the foals! And the three of them know it. Unfortunately so do all the zombies…

Rather than keep up the illusion of guarding the trio of foals, the zombies seem to realize they're /losing/ this battle. They've managed to pull one or two of the pegasi out of the air, but the sheer amount of undead flank being kicked is staggering! They abandon their facade, the remaining fifteenish zombies changing their tactics up and leaping for the foal trio! They're going to make a complete /zombiepile/ out of the delicious little morsels!

A From inside the hive, a wave of sickening sensation suddenly radiates outwards, sweeping across the impromptu battlefield. It seems something is going on inside…

Magpie lets out a yell that's somewhat less battle-cry and somewhat more 'help me!' when one of the zombies from the stack she just toppled ENTIRELY ON HER OWN WITH NO HELP FROM ANYPONY lands squarely on her and starts biting into her shoulder with blunt, tearing teeth!

Ruby-Blossom rolls 1d10 (I hate you dice - Ruby rage?) — Result: 2 | Sum: 2

Blackbird huffs and kicks and headbutts, whirling when he hears a foal cry out. Charging the zombie on Magpie, he whirls to buck it in the head!

Ruby-Blossom angrily charges the zombie that thinks Maggie makes a delicious snack - the turquoise mare throwing all her weight into the zombie; tackling the flailing chomping thing to the ground and visciously pummelling it in a fit of unbridled rage. "DON'T TOUCH HER!" Downright angry and certainly not attempting to conceal it as she utterly pummels the zombies head into a pile of goo - hard enough to bust her blade off it's noggin.

Squeak! No time to think! Sadaka tucks in her wings, points herself towards the foals, and dives! Dive dive dive! She flares out her wings right before hitting the ground, whirling in a tight circle, kicking her hooves out at every zombie face in range. "Back off, you stupid dead things!" And then to the foals, "Run! I'll try an' keep 'em off you!"

"Ha ha ha! Soda! Sorry about that. Guess I should have…" Winter's voice draws up short as she turns to see she has a zombie perched on her back. Not Soda. This one doesn't even look SORT of like her. She scowls, reaches up, throws the zombie to the floor, and stomp stomp stomps its skull until it stops moving.

And then, she turns around, spots Soda, getting BITTEN, and scowls. "GET OFF OF HER!" howls Winter, charging back into the fray. Not many zombies are left, but one of them is chomping on her fillyfriend. "Only -I- get to nibble on her now! Those are the rules!" This time, Winter's approach is much more methodical, much more deadly. Her CIRCLE of DEATH is in effect, any zombie that draws near finding itself with a hoof to the face before it can get a bite or a claw off… or if it does, finding the angered mare is far too stubborn to care. Soon, winding up to aim a kick at the zombie chewing on Sodium… taking VERY CAREFUL aim first to make sure she hits the right target… and THEN blasting it off.

Let's see, Blackbird is helping Maggie, and there's a pile of zombies on the foals. Right. Priorities. Kludge rushes into the zombiepile scrum, relying on his armor to avoid bites as he plows his way towards the foals.

Jellybean, high above the crowd, dives back towards the fray. He swallows nervously and divebombs the zombies surrounding the foals, aiming a sort of kick-stomp at them before flying back up to buzz them again. Fighting is about the furthest thing from what he's good at, but here he is.

"Oh no you don't you… rotty faced meanies!" Windrose really needs to work on her namecalling. That's not important right now! The bigger ponies can probably handle themselves, so she dives towards the zombie pile on the foals and tries to knock away any of them that she can. "Bad zombie! Bad bad zombie!" Who thinks about their own trouble when there's kids in danger?

If there's a hole in the zombies, Sky Sparkler is trying to get the foals through.

Pencil is still in nose, and again she doesn't notice.

Sodium-Fizz cries out. That hurt! And it bloody well should too, seeing as the now airborn zombie was chomping down on a mouthfull of feathers and felsh and didn't actualy part with the majority of it when it parted with Soda. It also seems a quadruplet of zombies can really make a mess of somepony even given only a few moments. Nibbling on Winter's fillyfriend is the least of it, seeing as there's more than one big chunky, bleeding hole in her.

The mare in question whimpers and curls up, a wing hanging limp. The bite seems to have taken taken a few rather crutial flight muscles with it. Between whimpers and gasps, pain pushed into the back of her mind, her eyes rolls around, taking in what she can see and… "Winny…? Foals…" Her ears twitch, eyes locked over in the direction where the big chunk of the fighting is going on, to try and rescue the foals.

The remaining pile of zombies suffers another wave of losses! Body parts thrown everywhere, bucked and smashed out, even with the few lucky hits they got on a couple of the fillies. The mop-up is effective; the remaining undead suckers crumpling into many pieces under the blunt force of many hooves.

All but the two most determined zombies, lunging full-force at the now-fleeing fillies! …POW! Sadaka and Jellybean kick the last two zombies in the face, causing a dull groan and a slump as both zombies crash into each other, landing in the snowy turf, into Winter's Circle of Death. Where they are no doubt about to get stomped to oblivion.

A deathly quiet creeps onto the fetid field. Nary more than a twitch from all the undead bodies piled about. It would seem, the rescue is a success!

Now what's going on inside?

Snowfield within her ice ball bounces across the clearing and lands quite cleanly in one of the tunnel entrances, disappearing down the algae-illuminated tunnels like a pinball down the chute.

Long distance to Ruby-Blossom: Winter-Solstice pets. Even if she hates Queenie, you're okay~

"Whoohoo!" Windrose hoofpumps as the foals scramble to safety after the zombie pummeling. Then starts to do a little dance midair. "Who's awesome? We're awesome. Saved some foals from being zombie munchies and we're awe—" Only to screech to a hault mid-strut as, with the fight rush gone, the putrid ambience finally strikes her. "Gah! What in the name of Luna's socks is that?!"

Magpie scrambles away as soon as the zombie is knocked off her, and whimpers. "Ow. Ow." She limps, clearly not putting weight on that foreleg. She moves to follow the Snowball down the tunnel, her coat and her jacket staining red around the wound.

"They'll be fine. We have a lot of heroes here today," says Winter, as she reaches down to scoop Sodium up. It is perhaps becoming a familiar process by now, which helps make Winter a bit more gentle than she might otherwise have been as she shrugs the pegasus up onto her shoulders. "Now hold on a bit longer! I promise I'll go easier. Can you use your crossbow any more?" Winter smiles in what she hopes is an encourating fashion back at Soda, though her worry is obvious, and soon she looks away, to the rest of the group. She then eases forward into as easy a canter as she can, not wanting to be left behind out here in all the awful.

With the foals safe, Kludge trots over to Maggie and scoops her up onto his back. "Good job out there, kiddo," he quietly mentions.

Blackbird finds himself flat on his face, since Ruby's red rage took care of the zombie and sent him staggering back in surprise. But a hero's work is never done! He stumbles to his hooves and shakes off, huffing and puffing, hunting down Sadaka in the air visually before turning to head straight toward the hive. "C'mon, before anything else goes wrong!"

"Don't -say- things like that!" Windrose retorts at Blackbird as she recovers from the moment of disgust and hauls wing to follow the others.

Several minutes pass before Ruby realizes she's pummelling a whole pile of mush - the mare frowning as she pushes to her hoofs, wiping them in the snow. She stops and spits on the mooshed zombie before trotting after the injured Maggie, and her transport Kludge.

Jellybean lands and gingerly nuzzles Magpie. "You were really brave there." The Sun Charm is still a-glow as he walks towards the mouth of the hive.

Magpie ducks her head a little. "I… had to do something," she mumbles to Jelly.

"I… I could aim, but… not pull it…" said Sodium-Fizz, gasping and biting back a cry of pain as Winter's stride sent her floping wing jaring against the white mare's side, leaving a bloody stain. And… is that? Soda's head craned over to the side, and for a moment she had to fight back icky dizzyness. Something just feelt… ugh. "Magpie…? Are you okey? You look a bit… Here." Soda dug through her claok tenatively for a moment before proofing a small vial to Magpie, Kludge, Jelly, Ruby… Well, anypony really.

At least, she did it for a few moments before her head slumped to rest against Winter's neck. The vial still clutched in her mouth though. "Ugh… I hate this part of being hurt… bleedin'…"

Sadaka hovers for a moment, panting and glancing back at the foals. Are they okay? Are they all here? Yes? Yes! Yay. Good. And other, bigger ponies are taking to bring them to safety. She smiles to them, particularly her horn-less unicorn friend, before a few flaps take her back into the air, following the rest of the pegasi! She doesn't pause for long. If she had, she might have taken note of the new pattern on her flank! Because a stylized wing above a bright sunbeam has appeared amongst the stripes with a small flash as she zips off after the pegasi towards the Hive proper.

Magpie tries to take the potion in her magic and almost fumbles it twice as the lavender light flickers, but she manages to get it to her hooves, pull the stopper and drink it. Immediately she shouts, "EEEYUGH!" On the plus side, the wound on her shoulder immediately stops bleeding, and starts to pull together. Instead of a fresh would, it now looks a few days old.

Jellybean looks up and sees something wonderful. He immediately takes to the air and buzzes a happy circle around Sadaka. "Sadaka! Sadaka! Your flank! You got your Cutie Mark! That's so great! I KNEW you'd be a great flyer, I just knew it!" Hey. Zombies are just zombies but Cutie Marks are the greatest moment in a foal's life.

Sodium-Fizz craned her head around for a moment, looking bleary-eyed up after Jellybean. Flying… zebra… cuti mark…? Yeah, that's bloodloss talking. Winter was starting to stain… rather a bit.

Now that all the action's said and done… And cutie marks are gotten! The Professor and remaining Base ponies whom aren't in any condition to fight advance onto the field, wrinkling their collective noses. Greusome. But effective. Redmane in particular pauses just long enough to admire a flying zebra, and then starts making gestures towards the Hive. "This is all well and good… But shouldn't we be getting to the portal now? We can have a wonderful celebration once we're all safe."

If only Blackbird hadn't charged ahead like a dork! He would have actually heard that his daughter got her mark. But as it is, he's already charging through tunnels.

Winter-Solstice looks up towards the vial. "Huh? Soda-" Winter winces, watching Magpie's reaction. On the one hand, she's glad to see the near-filly doing better, but on the other…. Winter looks back, over her shoulder, at the stricken pegasus astride her. The big mare then stops, reaching back carefully with one hoof, and tries to get a closer look at her wounds. "I hope you have another one of those, Fizz…"

"Flying.. zebra… cutie mark?" Windrose blinks a couple of times. "… Eh, there's been weirder things in the last few days. Congrats kid!" She salutes Sadaka with a hoof, before continue down the tunnels.

A gunshot rings out! It seems to have also come from inside the hive. There are definitely things going down in there!

With Maggie no longer bleeding, Kludge trots into the Hive.

Sadaka blinks back at Jellybean in confusion for a moment. "What? My…" Squeak! She looks back at her flank, twisting in a circle or three as she tries to get a good look. "Wha… I got it! Really?! YAY!" But there's limited time for celebration! She zig-zags excitedly for a moment before darting after the rest of the ponies.

The Harborites and their allies hasten to the portal chamber...