The place stank like rotting trash. Where most of the lower cells discharged a damp cascade from underground water sources, others remained layered under dust and cobwebs. A cell at the far end of the block even appeared to be completely collapsed. The moonlight barely reached through the gothic obstacles, leaving everything immersed in darkness. Ironically, it was paradise compared to the Canterlot Dungeons.
It was a completely isolated building from the rest of the prison blocks and dungeons, only administered by two guards because of the rather derelict state. Derelict until now, at least. By next week it would have a full staff.
Tempest found himself shoved into the nearest cell from the main access. His wings were bound with an iron ring that clamped snug around his abdomen, with chains bolted to the lower half of it, leading to shackles on his hole-riddled hooves. His horn was wrapped with a cloth soaked in some kind of potion that temporarily prevents magical abilities, which included his natural Changeling ability to shapeshift.
A human man fell after him, bracing himself on a nearby bed. He was completely naked, with only chains and shackles covering his wrists and ankles.
The two guards responsible for their brief "orientation" of their new home were Lunar Guardsmen wearing service uniforms instead of armor. They appeared equipped with 9mm firing devices designed for equine hooves, riot prods, and bright LED flashlights. Modern equipment, much to Tempest's surprise. It was an unusual mix with their dreadful surroundings.
The cell door slamming shut left everyone in the area with ringing ears that would surely last for several minutes.
"Consider yourselves lucky." one of the guardsmen barked. "Not many prisoners sentenced to the dungeons get off the hook with 'good behavior', so try not to give us any grief. You'll surely find yourself back where you started, and I guarantee you'll never see a chance like this again."
The human man turned and sat upward to face them. "As long as I get those clothes tomorrow, like you promised, I'm not complaining."
"'Lyle', is it?" the other guardsmen spoke up. "Yeah, I heard about you. You were a tank driver back in the second Canterlot invasion. I bet you'll be pleased to know your old wreck is now in a museum in Manehattan."
"Quite pleased, actually. Glad it wasn't raped to the core like the rest of my division's junk for the sake of science."
The guardsmen smirked. "Speaking of which, how was that handsome stallion in Block Two-Twelve?"
With a sudden fire in his eyes, Lyle bolted to his feet and charged for the bars, but was quickly halted by the unholstering of the guardsmen's firearms.
"Heyhey, remember what I said. Now you're in our little playpen." He holstered his firing device and got closer to the bars. "Don't mess with us."
His partner also holstered his firearm and they walked away, through the main accessway, slamming the door shut behind them.
Tempest found a black garbage bag in the far corner of the room, next to the toilet. It was recently placed there, as evident by the lack of dust and webs. He rummaged inside and found many items for basic hygiene and various reading material.
Lyle turned to Tempest out of curiosity. "What'd you find over there?"
"My stuff." he answered, pulling the items out and placing them neatly on the stone floor. "Various items confiscated from me when I was first imprisoned. Others I requested upon transfer here."
Lyle watched the items emerging from the bag. A tube of toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, soap, towels, candle, quill with ink bottle, writing tablet, and two books.
"Oh, I got something for you too." He tossed a pack of cigarettes and a lighter next to Lyle's feet.
Lyle sat back down and picked the items up. "Wow. Thanks, man. I owe you one."
Tempest snorted playfully. "You owe me three, cheapskate."
Lyle chuckled and pulled out one of the cigarettes, preparing to light up.
"No, not now. Let's get some sleep first."
He thought about it for a moment, then set the items aside. "I suppose you're right." He climbed into the dusty bed, brushing away the filth as much as he could. There were no covers, leaving him in the shivering cold.
Tempest looked around for another bed, but there was none. Instead he sat on the other side of the cell and lit the candle with the lighter, then began reading one of the books.
It was a publication written by the same man laying on the bed nearby, called "Brave Young Revolutionists". It was an autobiographical tale about Lyle written in first-person about his time serving under the late Commander Taggard Tolwin of the 500th Phantom Raiders division. Apparently it had become a Canterlot Times best-seller despite being written by a prisoner of the kingdom.
Tempest knew its praise was mostly due to the first-person account of someone behind the invasion. It was the first of its kind on the shelves, but more would certainly come should other human prisoners find out. Tempest understood every one of them had an equally interesting story to tell about their adventures, and soon or later they would finally tell their story for all to hear and see.
The idea inspired a creative spark in Tempest's mind, and he had decided on a similar conclusion as well. He had been interviewed from his old dungeon cell by the Canterlot Times in the past, but he knew a written publication, in book form or an article, would be far more impactive with what he had to say. Now, unfortunately, was not the time for such an expression. He had another agenda.
An hour had passed and Lyle was sound asleep. Nothing could be heard in vast, empty prison block but his low snoring. It's time.
Tempest slowly closed the book and set it neatly next to the candle, then crept towards Lyle, careful not to emit too much of noise to awaken him from his slumber. He was like a cat ready to pounce at his prey. Eventually he made his way behind the headboard of the bed and slowly raised his hooves so that the chains binding them hung over his head.
Lyle's eyes snapped wide open as Tempest shoved the chains with all of his might onto his neck. He squirmed and pried for his life under Tempest's exertion, desperately trying to scream under his gargling chokes.
"A lesson you'll be taking to the other side..." Tempest grunted, "Never trust anyling. Friendship only leads to dissolution, especially when the usefulness of one's exploits have expired. Did you really think I would take a human under my wing? It's because of you that my kind now lives in corruption!" He bit one of Lyle's hands as it reached for his face. "Lastly, you leave the world as probably the worst writer I've ever met."
Lyle became limp and collapsed in the chokehold. Tempest finished the job and grabbed his head in his hooves, breaking his neck with a swift twist.
He bolted to the bars of the cell, heart pounding with adrenaline, listening carefully for footsteps or a door opening. For a good three minutes there was nothing, and he was safe to continue with his activity.
He blew out the candle and gnawed away the wax, leaving behind a metallic pipe of some kind, stopped at both ends by a cork. He pulled a cork off and placed the pipe upright against the wall, then moved on to the ink bottle. He unscrewed the top and poured the black "ink" into the pipe, making sure to get every last drop inside.
Next was the pack of cigarettes. He ripped the box open and poured the cigarettes on the floor, then one-by-one began peeling them apart, revealing small nails hidden inside them. He dumped the nails inside the pipe, then relocated it to the corner of the room nearest the cell door.
He moved on to the bar of "soap" and placed it on the floor in front of him. Next was the tube of toothpaste. He unscrewed the cap and tossed it aside, then began squeezing the contents onto the soap. It was much thicker and chunkier than normal toothpaste, therefore much harder to expel from the container.
Satisfied with the amount he applied to the soap, he tossed the tube aside and grabbed the floss container. He pulled a very long strand out, revealing it to be a much thicker and darker string of sorts rather than actual floss, and stuck the end into the "toothpaste" mess atop of the soap.
He then slapped the soap onto the wall opposite of the bars, with the toothpaste end keeping it in place. He unraveled the string from the container as he slowly made his way to the cell door, then dropped the container on the floor.
Next he grabbed hold of the bed where Lyle's body lay and tossed it onto its side, pulling it closer to the cell door. Tempest picked up the "floss" container and the lighter, setting fire to the strand. He hid behind the bed as the string hissed and burned like a fuse, with the spark gradually making its way to the soap on the wall.
The blast sounded as if the world exploded, throwing rock and debris around the cell. Tempest rose from cover and saw that the wall had been completely blown away thanks to its deteriorating rock, exposing the world outside of his confinement.
Lost in the realization of his sure freedom, he had not acknowledged the presence on the other side of the cell door until he heard the distinct sound of keys and hooves shuffling around from the other side.
Tempest leapt to the bars, reaching through and grabbing the Lunar Guardsman by the neck, smashing his head repeatedly into the steel until he tumbled unconscious to the floor.
"Hey!" came a shout from the opening where a wall once stood. The second guardsman unholstered his firing device and prepared to fire.
Tempest reacted and leapt to the metal pipe leaning in the corner, grabbing it and slamming it hard at the edge of the bed. The contents inside reacted from the shock of the impact, expelling the nails as if it were a scatter-gun, killing the guardsmen as a result from an ugly wound to his face.
Tempest ditched his weapon and utilized the guardsman's, making his way to freedom as he disappeared into the dark of night.