A cool breeze blew through the streets of Ponyville. The only thing that seemed to moving were the shadows cast by the clouds drifting in front of the moon. All the ponies gathered at the gazebo in front of town hall. Applejack dumped a few handfuls of dirt on the old weathered wooden floor, before drawing a crude map of Ponyville. When she did finally talk, her voice was kept so low that everypony had to lean in to hear her. “Alright, as it is we're going to have to give the festival grounds a wide berth. I have a sneaking suspicion that's were the largest grouping of them would be gathered.”
“So if we head down this alleyway towards the school...” Fluttershy whispered before Rainbow Dash cut in. “That's a no go, there's sure to be more of those things hanging around there by now.”
“We should just go back to the boutique and wait until this all of this blows over.” Maude didn't bother to hush her monotone voice.
“That is not an option, darling.” Rarity added, “We don't have enough food or supplies to survive for very long.”
Braeburn hushed his concern. “Besides, it wouldn't take a whole lot of them to break down the doors and come in and get us.”
Twilight pursed her lips taking a closer look at the map.“Perhaps we could head towards Quills and Sofa. We didn't see anything around there when Applejack and I came through.”
Applejack gave a sharp nod. “She's right about that. If we're going to be heading that close to the festival grounds, we're going to have to go in low and quiet. Don't wanna draw too much attention to ourselves.”
“With a group this size, there's no way we won't be seen.” Rainbow Dash spoke, more to herself than anyone else.
“She makes a good point.” Big Mac added, pulling Apple Bloom closer to him.
“So, split up?” Twilight asked, already not liking this plan.
“You guys are listening to me. Stick together survive, split up and bam dead meatsville.” Pinkie Pie finally broke her silence, her voice echoing through the streets. Everyone in the group turned and shushed her all at the same time.
“Butts, there's no way they didn't hear that.” Scootaloo sighed, rubbing her bicep nervously.
“Alright, if we must do this then we need to be quick about it.” Rarity leaned away from the huddle looking around, a sharp gasp brought everyone's gaze to follow hers. One, two, maybe a third virus carriers gathered just at the edge of the town hall building. At first glance they seemed to just be standing there, but after a closer inspection Twilight could see that they were moving towards them. Slow, unbalanced steps carried them towards the Gazebo.
“Whatever we're doing, we need to do it fast because we're drawing a crowd.” Applejack's legs twitched, making her shift back and forth on her hooves nervously.
“Apples stick together, no matter what.” Big Mac nodded, his eyebrow arching with his determined decision.
“Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash will take Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell, head down this route behind this row of houses. Then you cut across to the old antique store. From there, you can cross the bridge and wait for us at the edge of the forest, here.” Twilight explained, drawing a line in the dirt that followed the path she picked out for them.
“There's only five of us...might as well just hand us over to the carriers in a doggy bag. You all know there's safety in numbers.” Rainbow Dash complained, rolling her eyes.
“What...that doesn't even make sense.” Applejack interjected, this time it was her voice the spike the quiet night air. The two virus carriers were now four and their heads shifted in the direction of where they'd heard the sound.
“We need to be quiet!” Twilight whispered, her eyes darting from Rainbow Dash to Applejack. “If you really feel like you need more people in your group then Pinkie Pie and Maude can come with you. Nevertheless, the plan still remains the same. Now go.” Twilight hugged her knees to her chest and sighed. “And be careful, look out for one another, and stay low and quiet. If we don't show up at the edge of the forest in a half hour, go on without us.” There were nods all around and the seven ponies slipped away in the shadows of the town hall.
“Well, I reckon that leaves just us. I think we should head back to Quills and Sofas, from there we'll take this alleyway behind the bowling alley. I doubt we'll see any of the boogers there. We'll have to climb the fence that's back there, but once on the other side it's a straight shot to the river. The Everfree Forest is just beyond that.” As Applejack spoke, Twilight was able to visualize every step of the way. It was the best plan that they had to work with and with the approaching virus carriers, they were even more out of options.
“Applejack, you lead the way, then Twilight and Apple Bloom. Big Mac and I'll bring up the rear. If anything happens we need to stay low and outta sight, stick together as best we can.” Braeburn added, slinking down the small step into the bushes nearby.
Something grabbed him in the dark causing him to cry out. One of virus carriers was laying in the bushes, unaware that the ponies were hiding in the gazebo. Braeburn managed to kick it's hands away, but not before the other four were on the trail. They started running across the open field. Once in the open, Twilight could see there were five of them now and they were moving fast. There arms stretched out in front of them. Applejack grabbed Twilight with one hand, Apple Bloom in the other and bolted. Big Mac pulled Braeburn to his feet as he passed, the two of them easily catching up with the rest of the group.