/ To Run is To Live / Story: The Demon of Mars / by morion87 /-/

An explosion rocked the mobile armor's head, but only enough that it turned its attention away from Applejack and Sunset to look at whatever had shot it. Which was more than enough for the girls at its feet.

Applejack grabbed Sunset and pulled her away, even as another shot rang off the machine's armor. It let out an all too real sounding screech as it fired its beam weapon up the street at something neither of them could see.

The shock of almost dying, and then being saved, was enough to knock Sunset out of her addled state and was soon running alongside Applejack on her own two feet. Looking back as the two of them passed down another street, Sunset felt her heart drop.

The mobile armor wasn't even slowing down and showed absolutely no signs that it had been hit in the head. There wasn't even a scratch on it. It seemed to after something other than them, and Sunset thanked her lucky stars it seemed to have forgotten about them for the moment.

Over the sound of further hits, she could just make out the loud rumble of engines coming back from where that first shot had come from. Whoever was shooting that thing was either very brave or very stupid.

Sunset liked to think it was the former.

Applejack must have thought the same thing for she shook her head. "I give my hat off to them. They're brave to fight that darn thing with just tanks. Lota good that'll do them though."

Sunset gave her a look. "At least they're fighting. I've never run from a fight in my life."

Now it was Applejack's turn to give her a flat look. "Unless ya got something underneath that jack of yours that'll take that thing down." Sunset's silence said it all, and Applejack's look softened. "Look. I ain't more fond of running than you, but what else can we do?"

Sunset sniffed, all of her adrenaline rushing out of her as she slumped against the wall and the realization of how close she was to death. "I hate this. I've never felt so powerless in my life. I don't even know why I'm here now."

Applejack smiled slightly. "Not exactly what ya thought it would be?"

Sunset shook her head. "No. I don't even know what I thought it would be. I can't exactly go home, and I have no place to go here."

Applejack winced, as another explosion went off in the distance. "Least you're alive. Has to count for something."

Sunset laughed, but there was no mirth behind it. "Yeah. For how much longer though? We can't run and hide forever. That thing won't stop, and they're just pissing it off."

Applejack nodded, no matter how much she hated to. Luckily, she knew where they were. "Lucky for us then, Rarity's place is just over there," she said, as she pointed at the next house down the street. It didn't look any different from the rest of the houses.

Applejack though didn't care as she ran up the front steps and pounded on the front door. "Rarity! Get your prissy rear end down here! We gotta go, now!"

Sunset wasn't sure what she was expecting when the door opened, but the ivory white teenager, whose accent was so fake that even Sunset could see through it, was not what she thought Rarity would be.

"Goodness Applejack, you look a mess. And what's all the commotion?" Rarity asked as she stepped out of the entryway. "It sounds like a warzone out here."

Applejack rolled her eyes. "Whadya think's going on?" She asked, pointing at the smoke rising a few blocks away.

Rarity's eyes shrank in horror. "But. But they can't be here. No one said a thing about a mobile armor this far east. How did they miss it?"

"Ya wanna go tell it that?" Applejack asked with a hint of annoyance.

Rarity rolled her eyes. "Fair point." Here she finally noticed Sunset, who had stayed out of their way so far. "And who is your new friend?"

Sunset tried to smile, but it came out forced. "Sunset Shimmer." She winced as another building exploded not far away from them. "And I really don't feel like dying today if its all the same to you."

That at least got a chuckle out of Rarity. "I could not agree more darling. Luckily mother and father took Sweetie Belle out of town for the weekend, so they should be safe."

"What about the rest of the girls?" Applejack asked.

"I'm here," came a new voice, a girl that looked to be just a bit older than the rest of the group, her pink hair standing out next to the others. "Rainbow Dash said she was trying to find Pinkie and Scootaloo, but that was the last I heard from her."

Rarity tossed her hair. "And some people wonder why they don't allow Ahab Reactors in cities like this. Then again, mobile armors don't seem to care much about such things."

There was that name again. Something told Sunset that whatever an Ahab Reactor was, it was important in some way for this world. But that was something she could wonder about later, as the immediate problems came to mind. "Shouldn't we worry about getting out of here?"

Rarity nodded. "Indeed. We can't stay here. This is not how I wanted to spend my weekend, but a lady must make do with the situation at hand," she said as Fluttershy joined the girls on the walkway. "Normally I'd lock up. But I somehow don't see the need at the moment."

"Then we need to leave," Sunset said, pointing down to where the sounds of battle had ended. None of the girls thought it meant anything good, and the same metallic screech from the mobile armor only confirmed their worst fears.

Applejack shook her head. "I ain't leaving without Granny or Applebloom."

Rarity placed a hand on her shoulder. "Darling. Granny Smith is too stubborn to let a little something like this get in her way. She'll be fine. And if Applebloom is anywhere, she'll be with Scootaloo. Those three are inseparable."

Applejack didn't look fully convinced, but she did relax and tried to smile. "You're right Rarity. Just worried about them is all. I can't help it."

That got a chuckle out of the group as they began to leave. But Fluttershy looked back one last time with worry. "What about Rainbow and Pinkie?"

Applejack's smile grew. "If they're smart, they're already trying to get out of the city." She placed a hand on Fluttershy's shoulder. "We'll find them sugarcube. Dash is too stubborn and pigheaded to let this beat her."

Fluttershy did smile a bit at that, but the booming footfalls of the mobile armor put an end to any further talk. Without a backward glance, the girls ran, never once looking back the way they had come. Further down the street, they cut through a side alley and kept going.

They didn't stop running for a long time.