"So, they really are good babysitters." Applejack peered back towards the closed curtains of Sugar Cube Corner. With Mr. and Mrs. Cake out for a few days, it was the perfect place to store the Penguins until everything was set up. They just had to take care of the Cake twins for a few hours.. "Who would've thought?"
"Do you really think it's a good idea to leave Pumpkin and Pound with them? Rico does throw up dynamite after all." Pinkie bounced around. "So, what's the plan?"
"We need to keep an eye on them. The sooner they leave, the sooner we don't have to worry about them... waking Discord or something." Twilight Sparkle put each of her blueprints on a table in the center of town. "Now, we need to get them safely to Fluttershy's house, at least for now, and then we can decide how we are going to go about this. I don't see a problem with them staying in Ponyville, but should ponies know they are here?"
"Well, why not?" Rainbow Dask asked as she hovered over the scene. "It might give them something to do with their time."
"You just don't want to deal with them do you?" Twilight asked. "They can get annoying, but we need to send them back home." She rubbed her forehead. "At least they want to go home."
"So, what's the plan sugar cube?" Applejack asked as she trotted up next to Twilight. "Do we need to hide 'em?"
"Well, for now." Twilight admitted. "But we can just use a cart from your farm, right?"
"That seems about right. We should head out then."
"Guys, have you seen the penguins?" Marlene jumped onto the lemur's habitat. As was normal for the day, Maurice was pampering King Julien while Mort was trying to make smoothies. Well, maybe not exactly normal. Smoothies were Maurice's job.
There was a reason why they usually didn't let Mort near the blender.
"Why should I deal with those silly penguins?" Julien asked. "Maurice, fan me more over my head."
"Because SOMEONE just moved into their lair." Marlene hissed and moved the fan away. "Hans is there!"
"I do not know this... Hans." Julien said. "But why should I worry?"
"They'll take away your access to the Penguin's TV." Marlene growled. Julien started and then kicked Mort off of his feet.
"But I need it for the new booty shakes!" Julien sunk to the ground. "How will I learn the new ways to dance?"
"Wait, what do you mean 'They?'" Maurice asked.
"They." Marlene repeated. "It's more then Hans. There's some lobsters and some rabbits and I think there is someone else but I don't know who."
"Then why are you bothering me? The Penguins deal with them."
"Because THEY ARE NOT THERE!" Marlene hissed. "They disappeared last night. My best guess is that Kowalski got his latest invention running. I wonder why he didn't invent a teleporter before..."
"It does not matter to me." Julien growled. "What matters is their tv! Now, you all shut up a little while my brain comes up with a brilliant plan..."
"Really, I don't see why we need to sneak around at all." Rarity sighed as she searched for spare cloth the penguins could use for blankets. "It's not lying to say Fluttershy will be taking care of them."
"I'm more worried about what they could do. " Twilight muttered as she paced. "They broke into the castle without a sweat."
"Well, they did say they got there on accident." Applejack said as she checked the cart again. "So, that's how they got past security."
"But HOW?" Twilight asked. "It's Canterlot Castle. The most secure castle in the world, do you think they just teleported in?"
"You really think Kowalski invented a teleporter?" Mason asked as he sipped his tea. "Well, I wouldn't put it past him...."
"I know, it's weird." Marlene muttered. "They don't usually leave without some precautions. But the place is wide open."
"Maybe it is because of the transfers?" Mason asked. Marlene looked over. "You didn't know? There are quite a few transfers coming today."
"But, why are we receiving transfers? Where is it coming from? Hoboken?"
"Yes, of course." Mason said as he looked through the paper. "Do we get them from anywhere else?"
"Fair point. But why now?"
"Why else? Someone thinks the zoo is dull" Mason argued back as he finished pouring his tea. Marlene resisted the urge to yell at him.
"It doesn't strike you as odd? The Lunacorns get cancelled, the Penguins disappear, these new people show up..."
"Are you suggesting Private kidnapped them?"
"No, of course not." Fluttershy muttered as she prepared the bed in her cottage. "I would love to take care of them. I wonder how the penguins sleep. I'm sure my beds will be lovely."
"I doubt it. I bet they sleep on beds of pure fire." Rainbow Dash glowered. Twilight gave her a look.
"Rainbow Dash, they are penguins. They need cold."
"Oh, I should make a blizzard then." Fluttershy muttered. She began to walk out the door, but Rarity pulled her back in.
"You won't have to if this weather keeps up." Applejack muttered as she gazed out the window. A cold wind whipped by and took a few leaves off the tree. "I thought Winter wasn't supposed to happen for a few more weeks?"
"It's not." Rainbow Dash replied. "I'll have to talk to Cloud Kicker."
"Well, does it matter?" Rarity asked. "Well, I suppose it does. I need to change my stock..."
"And I want to make snowponies!" Pinkie Pie giggled.
"We should get moving." Twilight muttered. "We need to move them out."
"We can't move them out." Marlene explained to the zoo animals. "Not officially anyway. Alice is in charge of that."
"What, you wish to relocate them?" Mason asked. Marlene nodded. "But why?"
"It just seems too suspicious. They come in, the Penguins leave... Why?" Marlene paced.
"Coinci- You are right, this is Skipper." Mason sighed. "If they didn't plan on this..."
"Why would they plan this?"
"They absolutely planned this." Rainbow Dash stalked the ground. "They are-"
"RAINBOW DASH!" Twilight shouted. "Why are you so angry?"
"Because they are going to destroy Equestria!" Rainbow Dash's chest heaved in anger.
"You are acting up." Twilight replied. "I know you aren't really getting along-"
"It's more than that! Then come into Equestria and they try to ruin everything!"
"Sugar cube, they aren't trying to ruin everything. They just have their own perspective on things."
"You don't have one attached to you." Rainbow dash growled.
"Maybe it's a good thing they are gone." Leonard the Koala offered. "No more bombing our habitats in the middle of the night!"
"Yeah, but what happens when you want to sneak out? Or you want some food? Or when Alice and Officer X team up." Marlene pointed out to the assembled animals. "We need them. And if they disappear when these guys reappear that CAN'T be a good sign."
"If they took out the Penguins, aren't we in trouble? Other than Joey of course." Roy the rhino glared at Marlene. "The Penguins are our only line of defense when we're in trouble."
"The timing is suspicious, but I don't think they had anything to do with the disappearance." Marlene muttered. "I've seen one of the new arrivals before. Skipper would love to get his flippers on him... and vice versa."
"So, maybe he already did." Leonard worried.
Marlene half laughed in response. "Really, Lenny, this is SKIPPER. If he had been taken down, half of Manhattan would be in rubble." She frowned. "Or all of it. And someone would have warned us. If not Skipper then Private or Kowalski."
"Then where ARE they?"
"Maybe we should get them a map of Equestria. Can they read?" Applejack asked.
"No." Twilight said as she looked through the directory. Setting all this up was harder then she thought. They needed more than just beds. "Can we order fish?"
"Maybe, but it could take a while to get here." Fluttershy said quietly. "What kind of fish do they eat?"
"I have no idea." The smaller zoo animals were hiding beneath Alice's window. The Parks commission had called Alice about the Penguins missing and the transfers. Judging by Alice's tone, the commission's talk wasn't going too well. "I know they disappear for a long time sometimes, but this is without a trace? And when those-" She stopped as someone yelled at her. "I know, but we don't have a tank. And what does a tank have to do with catching penguins? A ground search is the best we can do right now. What else do you expect us to do?"
"Princess Celestia, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I can't believe you expect me to build a lab in a few hours!" Celestia sighed as she read Twilight's ornate handwriting. It had been a long day for all of them. All Celestia wanted was to relax after the long day of negotiations and governing. Celestia sighed a moment, took in how comfortable her rug was, before picking up her quill with her magic and began to draft a short letter back.
"Twilight Sparkle, you know we need that lab up and running if they are to get any chance of going home." Celestia looked over her note before sending it off again. "Luna, do you think we are doing the right thing?" She could hear her sister's magic as she pulled her breakfast together.
"Why would we not?" Luna said as she looked into her mug of coffee. The day was already starting to wind down and she was preparing to raise the moon that night.
"Well, would they cause any problems to Equestria?" Celestia asked as she waited on her response. Luna raised her mug and thought. Luna liked her mug. Pinkie Pie had made it for her after Nightmare night. True, Cygnus wasn't a chicken but it was the thought that counts. Though how the earth pony made such an accurate representation of the stars was beyond her.
"Mayhaps, but I do not think so." Luna finally said. "Thou art not forgetting that they want to leave too."
"And they didn't know about us. We just need to get them out." Celestia thought. A scroll dropped in front of her. "Now, what will you say?"
"I say we use the underground tunnel to attack." Marlene hissed to her small group... it mostly consisted of the lemurs. Actually, it entirely consisted of the lemurs. "We'll have the element of surprise."
"But don't one of them know about the underground tunnel already? That is where he came from last time." Maurice argued back. "Can we flood the place?"
"No, no, they are mostly aquatic so that won't do any good. And Kowalski's inventions are there, one of them could explode or something."
"Then let us attack through the Private's fake fish!" Julian said as he thrust his hand up. "After all, what can possibly go wrong?"
"Do you REALLY want me to answer that." Twilight growled. Magic coursed through her as she organized the library to prepare for Kowalski's visit. "I can't just share all of my research with somepony that can't read!" Spike scrambled after the books that flew everywhere. "And what if he doesn't know the Scientific theory?"
"I'm sure he knows the scientific theory." Spike said patiently as he picked up another book on non flying birds. "Everyone knows scientific theory! Even Lyra! And she's a musician."
"Fair enough." Twilight said as she settled down. "Now, bring me some equipment."
"Why should we not attack with all star bogeying?" Julian demanded as he paced in front of the habitat. "There is a style of fighting that is as glamorous as me that is based upon the dancing."
"Because you are not trained in it." Marlene explained. "But, you are right about the fish." She dug into the corners of her cave. "And Kowalski left some of his equipment here the last time they used this as a base. We have a shrink ray, the loveulazer, and a jetpack. What are we going to do with the Lovulazer?"
"I do not know." Julian admitted. "Shall one of them fall in love with these bushes?"
"I'm not going to dignify that with comment, Rainbow Dash." Twilight sighed as she looked over the town. "How can they be this quiet?"
"Because it's sundown." Applejack yawned. "Most ponies are off and getting ready to hit the hay." Applejack tilted her hat to keep the setting sun out of her eyes, then something struck her. "TARNATION! THE CAKE TWINS!" The six looked at eachother, then galloped (or flew in Rainbow Dash's case) down the hill into the city.
"Pinkie, I-" The mayor looked shocked as they whipped by her.
"SORRY MADAM MAYOR!" Pinkie yelled as she hopped away. "I HAVE TWINS TO SAVE!" The ponies fought down the urge to run away as they got closer to Sugar Cube Corner. Finally they slowed down just around the corner.
"Ready to go in?" Twilight asked.
"I'm scared to see the damage." Applejack admitted.
"Is it on fire?" Rarity finally asked. Rainbow Dash flew up a bit.
"Nope, still there." The others sighed and walked towards the door. With a small sigh, Pinkie nudged the door open.
"I'm Back!" She shouted.
"Pull up a seat and sat a spell while this spooky spell I relate." The ponies gasped. It really wasn't as bad as they thought. True, the cake twins were tied up with Pumpkin actually weighed down by an anvil, but they were comfortable, if the mush on their faces was any indication they appeared to have been fed, and Kowalski was currently serenading them with a story about a haunted bus.
"How did you do this?" Twilight finally asked. Rarity set about untying the twins while Fluttershy cleaned up the mess around the twins' mouths.
"Just instinct, Miss Twilight." Private saluted as they all got into formation behind Skipper. "Male penguins take care of the young." The three penguins other then Skipper assumed "At ease" positions. "Now, what can we do to help?"
"Just... we'll take you to Fluttershy's." Twilight said. "Just get into the carriage."
"Roll out men." Skipper ordered. The four penguins slid across the floor and propelled themselves up and into the carriage that Applejack had left outside the door. Twilight covered the carriage with one of Pinkie Pie's blankets then prepared to walk out the door with Applejack and Fluttershy.
"Um, do you think this will be alright?" Fluttershy asked. "I have never helped penguins before."
"Dont'cha worry, Fluttersy. They seem to be self sufficient." Applejack said as she trotted along. "They just need a place to stay. I'm sure your house will be fine." A cold wind blew inbetween the buildings. "Well, if your place is insulated."
"I know that, but-" Fluttershy said. "What about Angel?"
"Then Angel gets a friend that can keep up with him. Don't worry, Fluttershy, everything will be fine." Twilight assured Fluttershy, and possibly even herself.
"No, things will NOT be fine. Seriously, what made you think you could even attack me?" Marlene tried to break out of the trap, but she was stuck hanging upside down and staring at the puffin before her. She HAD to talk to Skipper about some of the intruder systems. What were they doing in HER pool? And then to drag her through the Zoo until she arrived outside of their habitat?
"Hans, you'll never get away with this!" She shouted. Hans just rolled his eyes. The Puffin was very similar to the penguins except in three aspects. The larger and more colorful beak, the orange lined eyes, and the fact Hans was completely evil. The penguins could at least hide their psychoticness behind an armies' professionalism and the fact they did try their best to be good.
"Do you know how cliche that sounds?" Hans asked in his harsh scandinavian accent. "I know you, Marlene. You can come up with something better then that."
"You aren't the one who's inside the penguins base! Wait, I need to think that out again." Marlene muttered.
"No, I'm not. I'm still trying to undo the booby traps. How paranoid has Skipper gotten?"
"Well, quite paranoid to be honest. But that's beside the point!" Marlene shouted back and pointed at Hans. Hans just smirked.
"My dear Marlene, you are the one hanging upside down."
"HELP!" came from behind Marlene.
"Along with the lemurs." Hans groaned. Marlene tried to smirk back. "Well, I can use you to defuse the traps."
"What do you even WANT in there?" Marlene finally asked. "The most recent thing Kowalski invented was the loveulazer and that's not working anymore."
"Not a what, but a who! I want to punish those penguins for repeatedly exiling to Hoboken. Not even the rogue zoo keeper, why am I telling you this?"
"Yeah, well, the penguins aren't here anymore. The brainy one did something and they're all gone." Julian twisted in his own vine trap.
"They're gone?" he repeated. "Well, what about that?" His beak twisted into an evil grin. "Now, I shall be having some fun with Kowalski's toys." Something moved in the Penguins pool. "And so will he."