'Surprise!' Vinyl Scratch called out as she galloped down the street. 'Surprise!' she called again, hoping to get an answer. Her ears began to droop as no reply came.
Fusilier Willoughby hopped behind her, he was not calling, but he did keep his eyes on the sky. His training taught him to keep his eyes up, where attacks from gryphon airborne infantry would almost always come. While not a gryphon, Surprise was a Pegasus, and would be one of the few in Trotterdam. Outside Equestria, pegasi were a rare breed, and while they could be found outside Equestria, no one knew where to look for them. Non-Equestrian pegasi were few and far between, shy and reclusive creatures that kept to themselves, if there was a central pegasi civilisation, and it was very well hidden.
Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy had taken to looking down from above, against the mostly black background of the Trotterdam streets, Surprise was going to be very noticeable... assuming of course, that she wanted to be found. Surprise was incredibly sneaky, if she wanted to hide, she could hide and nopony or kangaroo would ever find her.
Rarity had taken a photograph of Surprise to the shop that Katrijn worked at, hoping that the high volume of hoof traffic, someone would have seen something.
Pinkie Pie and Twilight had gone off in the opposite direction, hoping to pick up the trail through use of Pinkie Pie's specialised detection ability.
Vinyl Scratch dropped down on her arse and let out a sigh, her eyes began to water, and she ripped the goggles off her eyes and allowed them to hang down around her neck.
'You really care about her, don't you?' Willoughby asked.
Vinyl Scratch looked up, and that was when it really hit her. Vinyl Scratch had never realised, not until just now that she cared about Surprise. Vinyl didn't know how, and she didn't know when it happened, but it did. Surprise had become her friend.
'Yeah, Yeah Willoughby I do', Vinyl said. 'I really do'.
Pinkie Pie walked past an alley and stopped dead in her tracks, her tail began to twitch and she looked inside the alley.
'See something Pinkie Pie?' Twilight asked as she stopped behind her.
'No...' Pinkie Pie said. Her voice began to trail off as she took a step into the alley; her tail began to twitch erratically. Something was here, something important. Pinkie Pie began to dig around in the corners, and that was when she discovered what her twitchy tail was trying to tell her.
Lying inconspicuously on the ground was the chain knife that Surprise had taken off one of the Hopeton ponies in the Divide. Pinkie Pie pointed it out to Twilight, who lifted it up and took a look at it.
Twilight felt uneasy about the weapon, while in the past she had carried a gun, and felt somewhat hypocritical for the line of though, the chain knife was such a gruesome looking weapon. 'This is Surprise's all right', Twilight said. 'I don't know who else would be carrying something like this'.
Pinkie Pie took it from Twilight and stuffed it into her mane where her messy hairstyle was guaranteed to both keep it in place, and keep it hidden from view. They both agreed that it wasn't something that they wanted to walk around with, anyone who would see it would panic.
Twilight took a look around the alley, and discovered that there were drag marks in the dirt that covered the road.
'Pinkie Pie, look!' Twilight said, she lit the dark alleyway with her horn and brought it low to the ground to better illuminate the tracks. 'Let's see where these go', Twilight trotted along the alleyway, following the tracks back into the street. Twilight looked up and saw that there was a clinic across the street. 'Huh... I wonder?'
Twilight and Pinkie Pie trotted across the street and took a step into the clinic.
'Hallo, kan ik u helpen?' a receptionist, who happened to be a boer goat, asked.
'Uh...' Twilight said, glancing at Pinkie Pie for help, but Pinkie Pie had none to offer.
The goat rolled his eyes and let out a big sigh, indicating that he was not going to help, regardless of whether he spoke their language or not, he was only going to talk to them in his.
'Pinkie Pie! Go find Vinyl Scratch and Fusilier Willoughby', Twilight said. 'Tell them that I think I might know where Surprise is and we need them here'.
Pinkie Pie nodded and galloped out the door to find them.
Twilight gave the goat a nervous grin, he returned with an annoyed scowl and went back to his work.
Pinkie Pie returned with the two a few minutes later. Willoughby hopped up to the desk and slapped a photograph of Surprise on the desk. The goat looked up in annoyance.
'Het jy dit ponie gesien?' Willoughby asked.
The goat took a look at the photograph for a moment, and then looked back up.
'Ja, kamer achttien, ga op de rug', the goat said simply.
Twilight, Pinkie Pie, and Vinyl Scratch looked to Willoughby for an answer. He smiled at them and waved his arm. 'Come on', he said and lead the way back into the clinic.
Willoughby stopped outside room eighteen and pushed the door open slowly. Surprise in the room, huddled up into a ball on the bed, shivering intensely with fear.
'Surprise!' Vinyl called out and rushed over to the pony.
Out of nowhere, a big, scruffy schäferhund appeared out of nowhere and planted himself between Vinyl Scratch and Surprise, growling lowly as he studied Vinyl Scratch. Then he found himself taking a step back.
'You', he said.
Vinyl Scratch studied him closely, and discovered that she had seen him before. This was the same schäferhund that Fluttershy had accidentally run into yesterday.
'You', Vinyl said. 'What are you doing here?'
'I am protecting her', the schäferhund said. 'My Infanteriegruppe discovered her lying in the alley across the street screaming. We bring her here, she stopped screaming some time ago... but she will not sleep, the doctors tried to sedate her, but it did not work. I am protecting her from whatever frightened her.'
'Who are you, even?' Vinyl asked, scrutinising the schäferhund closely.
'Feldwebel Hans Fockewulf', the schäferhund said. 'Panzer Lehr division.'
'That's great wolf-boy', Vinyl said rolling her eyes behind her goggles. 'Stand aside and let me see my friend'.
Hans made no objection and stepped aside, allowing Vinyl to approach the bed that Surprise was lying on.
'Surprise?' Vinyl asked, she received no reply, Surprise merely continued to shake and stare blankly into space. 'Surprise?' Vinyl asked again, gently prodding her with a hoof. 'It's me! It's Vinyl Scratch. I need you to come back to reality now'.
Surprise blinked, once, twice, three times before lifting her head and looking at Vinyl Scratch. She said nothing, but glanced around the room at her surroundings. Once at Vinyl, then to Willoughby, then to Twilight, then to Pinkie Pie, and then to Hans, then back to Vinyl, and then back to Hans again, and then back to Vinyl again.
Surprise sat up, but continued to say nothing; Vinyl climbed up on the hospital bed next to her and pulled the mare close to her for a tight hug, causing an ironic look of surprise to appear on Surprise's face.
'Stupid filly! You scared the hell out of me', Vinyl said. 'I was so worried about you'.
'You were?' Surprise asked.
'Yeah... you're my friend, Surprise, I care about you', Vinyl said, and then added a grin. 'Do this to me again; I will personally kick the ever living day light out of you'.
Surprise smiled back at Vinyl, and took her hooves and placed them around Vinyl's belly, hugging the mare back. 'I could take you in a fight', she said.
'Group hug!' Pinkie Pie called out and promptly tackle hugged the two mares, dragging Twilight with her.
'No', both Hans and Willoughby said simultaneously. The ponies giggled.
'Well, we best be going', Twilight said. 'Let everypony know we can call off the search.'
That night, at dinner, Twilight and Co. Along with Fusilier Willoughby were joined by their new friends. Katrijn was sitting next to Fluttershy, and the two mares found themselves unable to take their eyes of each other. Likewise, Tommy Atkins, Rarity's new friend that she had met in the club was sitting next to her, and the two of them engaged in casual conversation with each other. Hans Fockewulf was too big for a chair, he was however sitting on the ground next to the table, sitting quietly, despite the groups attempts to engage him in conversation, he apologised and reported that his Wallish wasn't particularly good.
Just before it was time to serve the meal, Twilight Sparkle cleared her throat. 'May I have your attention please?' she asked. 'We came here, to Trotterdam for a well deserved rest, well we certainly got it. We all had fun, and I'd like to propose a toast!'
Twilight used her magic to lift up her glass. 'I toast to you, our friends, old and new. To friendship!'
'And though soon, it will be time for us to return home, know this', Twilight continued. 'As long as we have our friends, there is nothing that we cannot do.'