Patent was led outside by the guards, and promptly asked to get inside an arrest wagon. “You aren’t under arrest, this is a just security precaution,” one of the guards said softly, forestalling Patent’s protests. He seemed decidedly grumpy at this turn of events, but climbed in anyway; the guards didn’t look like they would have taken no for an answer.
The guards pulled the wagon through the city, stopping to pick up each of the ponies. The guards told them all not to speak to each other, so they travelled in silence until they reached the castle.
Upon arrival, the ponies were quickly led into a small featureless room in an apparently deserted part of the castle. Two guards stayed with them while the rest left on other business. Almost immediately, Patent started complaining.
“Well, where is she then? I’ve got better things to do with my time than wait for-” he stopped talking abruptly as a purple mist seeped in through a wall and formed into a tall figure, immediately recognisable as the princess by her wings and horn, ethereal mane and dark blue regalia. Thunder Bolt, Plumbers Crack and Pale Ale immediately bowed to her, followed a moment later by Patent Pending who decided that there was no sense antagonising the guards any further.
“Rise” commanded Luna. When they had done so, she began to speak once more. “We have summoned you here to ask for your assistance in a serious matter. Perhaps you have heard of the objects known of the Elements of Harmony. If you haven’t, suffice it to say they are powerful artefacts that my sister and I used to defeat Discord. They were kept in a hidden vault below this castle ever since, until one week ago when a group of ponies managed to steal them, killing several royal guards in the process.”
All four of the ponies displayed at least some surprise at this. After a moment, Luna continued. “We have of course been investigating how this was possible. There is no doubt that this was a very well planned and executed plot. Fortunately we believe we have located the group and know where they are keeping the Elements. Unfortunately, the highly successful nature of the heist leads us to believe they have spies inside the royal guard. As such, while we have been able to locate them without tipping them off, any attempt to apprehend them would most likely fail, as the operation would be too big to hide from their spy. This is where you come in.”
“Our agents have informed us that they are using various different defences to guard the Elements. While the exact nature of these defences is unknown, we believe that you four have the necessary skills to overcome them.” Luna appeared not to notice the sceptical looks that some of the foursome were giving. “As such we are asking you to go on a quest to retrieve the Elements. We aren’t asking you to fight the thieves; indeed direct contact will jeopardise the mission and is to be avoided. The Elements are all that matter.”
“Will you aid us? We will answer any questions you may have.”