Chapter 32:

A New Plan!

Roger landed not to far away from where Nigel met his end and clutched his wings tighter around the gems stolen from Blu. He could feel the power from Nigel's jewel surge through his body, filling him with energy and strength far beyond anything he'd ever could of imagined. His muscles bulged as he left himself do a little victory dance, his talons clanking noisily as they came into contact with the soft dirt. He couldn't believe how much he'd been able to get away with so far. He'd plotted against Marco, killed off Nigel, and stole two gems from Blu, and Marco remained none the wiser about his true intentions.

"So, what do I do now?" he asked himself, his eyes continuing to peer at the gems in his possession. "Is the power within these gems the thing that Marco wants to keep a secret? I could use them for myself to power myself up even further, though I doubt I would still be a match for Marco's skills, or I could risk it, and let him take them from me. In doing that I could find out more about Marco's intentions and goals, despite his power boost."

Roger clutched the gems tight, his wing trembled as he weighed the options with a heavy heart. No matter what he did there would be just as many consequences, and he held everything to lose. His beak curled as he thought about Marco and how he remained to be so much stronger than he could hope to be. How did the hawk manage such a tremendous feat? It seemed almost impossible?

"What is his secret?" he demanded of himself. "What is he hiding? Does he know the secret of these gems? Does he know about the strength they can cause? Did he plan to use all of them for himself?"

He stopped and placed the gems back in his pack and shook his head. He needed more information before he could make any decision, his life depended upon it, and he would not let any mistake be the decision between life and death.

"Curse you, Marco." He growled. "You make it so difficult to scheme against you. It wouldn't be so bad if I knew what you were trying to hide."

"YO!" Roger froze as he heard Marco's voice call to him. He turned to see the hawk and Jose the monkey working their way towards him.

The three seated each other upon the ground and began to converse amongst themselves. Roger tried to avoid any and all eye contact with the hawk as often as possible, but kept watch on his action, in order to study him further.

"So I heard the news." Marco frowned. "As hard as it is to believe, I heard Nigel ended up losing to Blu and Jewel."

"Yeah," Roger arched a suspicious eyebrow. "I suppose that's true."

"So that leaves only the three of us left." Jose piped in. "Not very good odds when you think that there originally stood six strong creatures in the Dark Robe Society."

Marco remained silent, his talon dug at the dirt. He held a hint of sadness about him, which Roger took notice of. As much as the scarlet macaw didn't trust him, he hadn't expected Marco's reaction to be so bittersweet.

"There is one other member," Marco explained. "And I think the time has come to awaken him."

Roger's eyes widened at the news.

"There's another member of the Dark Robe Society? Who is it?"

"It's Blu," Marco admitted. "A short time ago, I cast a spell on the macaw and unleashed his inner personality. It twisted him inside out and made him become an entity known as Dark Blu. I think it is about time we let Dark Blu wreak havoc on the world once again."

"But how are we going to manage that?" Roger asked. "How can we possibly make Blu into this Dark Blu? I would assume you would have to use magic, but how would you get close enough to him? He doesn't exactly welcome or trust us and with good reasons."

Marco cut a wicked smile and raised his wing to beckon the two closer. His eyes burned like hellfire.

"I've been thinking about why his precious daughter managed to get away. I say we use her to our advantage. We'll force him to see things our way, or he'll lose her and he will have no one else to blame but himself!"

Marco closed his wing like a fist and made a crushing motion. He formed a wicked smile.

"It's how I did it the first time, and it worked. Oh déjà vu, it feels so good to be bad!"

Marco forced a wicked smile and began to sing.

"Now I know we've been malicious, spiteful and a trifle vicious

It's no secret that we've cheated and we've lied

We've done some double dealings, done some swindling and stealing

But that was amateur and heaven knows we've tried.

We will develop so much faster, now that we're working with a master

Who will help us cultivate our darker sides

You'll discover wicked ways, you've never known before

And you'll become almost rotten to the core!
But it feels so good to be bad!

So despicable to be a deplorable cad!

It is just so thrilling, and so fulfilling

To give somebody the worst time they've ever had

Yes it feels so good to be bad!"

Both Jose and Roger curled an eyebrow as they listened to Marco who continued on his little excursion.

"Case in point, Blu doesn't know it yet, but he is in our power. He'll learn to pay the price when his youngest daughter suffers underneath our talons. I promise you, that by the sunset hour, Blu will turn over a new leaf and become one of the Dark Robe Society members once again!"

"But Marco-" Roger tried to speak but found himself silenced by Marco's wing gripping around his beak.

"You had your chance to do it, I entrusted you to do it

But you bungled it, and you threw your chance away

It's a mess that you've created

Should Blu be unable to be persuaded…

I'm not naming names, but someone has to pay!

Though you gave me cause to doubt you,

There is still a loathsomeness about you

That allows me to let you live this day

And when Blu becomes the creepiest, crummiest thing we know

You'll taste the joy knowing you've created the lowest of the low

YES it feels so good to be bad!

So deplicable to be a deplorable cad!

It's just so thrilling, and so fulfilling

To give somebody the worst time they've ever had

YES it feels so good to be bad!

YES It feels so good to be bad!

YES It feels so good to be bad!"

Marco waved his wing and cackled.

"Let's get moving. We don't have time to waste."

# # #

Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the group all gathered by the waterfall just as the first few rays of sunlight began to grace the world with its presence. Pinkie Pie jumped around, her cheerfulness greeted the morning with earnest welcome. Her smile never fading as she celebrated the day the same way she always did.

"Oh goody, goody, its morning you guys, its morning, oh my goodness, I am so excited that we get to continue on with our adventure today. Is anyone else excited that I'm excited huh? Huh? Huh?"

Rainbow Dash held her hooves to her face and pulled her skin down, she groaned as she tried to drown out the hyperactive pink pony who more often than not would get on her very last nerve.

"PINKIE PIE!" Rainbow Dash screamed. "ENOUGH!"

Pinkie Pie lowered her head and traced her hoof across the ground. Her puffy hair fell flat as she fought the urge to shed a couple of tears.

"You guys don't like me celebrating?" She asked, more than a little hurt by Rainbow's interruption. "Fine, I guess I'll go celebrate somewhere else."

"It's not that Pinkie," Twilight announced. "It's just we don't know where the villains are, and we don't want any actual noise to give away our position. We still have to find Cammel-hoof and we should be a lot farther along by now."

Pinkie Pie's hair bounced up once again and she let out a cheerful smile.

"Okay," she chuckled. "Jeeze, Rainbow Dash that's all you had to say. I was beginning to think you didn't like me."

"We couldn't have that could we," Rainbow Dash groaned.

"Nope, I mean like seriously, I'm the funniest pony around, I mean how could you not like me, huh? Huh? Huh? It's like impossible and would make totally go whaaaaa, if it turned out you didn't actually want to be my friend."

At that moment Blu and Jewel came stumbling out of the forest, Jewel fell to the ground and moaned as her body trembled from shock.

"What happened to you two?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"It looks like you were in a battle." Twilight pondered, her eyes falling on the female macaw.

Blu nodded his head, and tried his hardest to explain what happened.

"Well we were looking for the village when we ran into Nigel-"

Rose fluttered to her father's side and placed a wing against him. Her eyes filled with concern.

"As in the Nigel?" she asked. "The one from all your stories, the cockatoo who worked for the smugglers back home in Rio and held a hand in kidnapping you not once but twice."

Blu nodded his head. He shuddered and began to explain himself further.

"Yeah, it turns out Nigel is a member of the Dark Robe Society, and he chased us to a forest. But it turns out he wasn't alone, we ran into Roger."

"Roger is crazier than ever," Jewel added rising up onto her talons. "He killed Nigel without even flinching. He's after all the gems so he can take down Marco, and become unstoppable."

"Why would he do that?" Rico asked. "You would think going up against Marco would be a losing battle even with more power."

"We don't know, but he told Nigel he would do anything to make sure he remained alive."

Fluttershy fell to the ground and shivered in terror. She couldn't stand the thought of such an evil creature.

"O-O-Oh no!" Fluttershy whined. "Think of what would happen to Equestria if he succeeded, all my little animal friends would be in danger."

"That won't happen, Fluttershy." Twilight reassured her. "Because we're going to stop him!"

"Yeah," Pinkie Pie smiled running up to the waterfalls edge, she placed a hoof on what should have been rock, and fell backwards into a large opening. "Hey," she groaned. "I think I found the village."

# # #

Every single member of the group's jaw dropped as they wandered through the cave just behind the waterfall and took in their first glimpse of Cammel-hoof. The ancient city stood carved from the cave walls, and looked every bit as new as they day it had been built over a thousand years ago. The large stone buildings stretched up to the cave roof, acting as support beams to keep the cave from collapsing inwards on itself. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, the two Pegasus ponies of the group who'd grown up with the legend of Snowdrop, could scarcely believe their own eyes. In all their years, they'd never thought they'd be standing at the birthplace of the happy winter season.

"Oh sweet Celestia," Rainbow Dash said in awe.

Fluttershy nodded in complete agreement. Neither Pegasus pony could blink, nor could they peer away, they stood in amazement.

"According to the history books, this is where a young Pegasus pony named Snowdrop lived before she met the princesses and changed the future of Equestria. We're standing at the birthplace of winter."

"I-I-I can't believe it." Fluttershy admitted. "One little pony did so much for us, which is even remembered today. Who could forget the first snowfall of the year, and who could forget the wishing snow?"

"Definitely not the weather team." Rainbow Dash boasted, standing as tall and as proud as possible. "We work our flanks off all year to try and make winter perfect. It is Princess Celestia's orders."

"Come on girls," Twilight sighed, fighting off her desire to stay. "We have to get moving, we have a lot of ground to cover, and we still need to make it to the Crystal Empire. Every second we waste, is another second closer to Equestria being destroyed and my brother getting hurt."

As the group continued onward, Blu froze in his tracks and peered towards the cave wall. A small blur sped past him, causing him to shudder. He could feel a dangerous presence further in the cave, and he couldn't shake the feeling that before they found the exit, they would meet face to face.

Author's Notes:

The song used is "It Feels so Good to be Bad" from the All Dogs go to Heaven 2 movie and soundtrack just with altered lyrics in various places, no copyright infringement is intended.

The character Snowdrop, is from the fan made episode entitled Snow drop, which in my mind is cannon with the rest of the series.