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It was the night of the Grand Galloping Gala and Princess Luna was thoroughly flustered. She stood in front of her mirror, pouting at her own reflection. Celestia had gone to great lengths to set the evening up for her, lowering the sun early and helping her to raise the moon and coerce the stars out of hiding so she would have time to prepare herself. She had even taken the liberty of personally greeting every guest on her behalf so that Luna wouldn't have an excuse to escape from the party itself.

Luna adjusted her tiara and smoothed out the dress Celestia had picked out for her for the fifth time in as many minutes. She frowned a little at the puffy, lacy affair that now adorned her form, all ribbons and silk and crushed velvet with a large, elaborate skirt that made her feel uncomfortable about the size of her flank. When Celestia had told her no bit had been spared to prepare for the gala Luna had been shocked, even appalled by the flagrant misuse of the treasury to fund an event solely for the aristocracy. When Celestia had then added that the elements of harmony were invited and that Luna herself was to be the center of attention for the evening she had nearly fainted. Luna cursed that mischievous smirk her sister always wore when she was being a... a... Luna thought it over for a moment and decided that her sister was acting like one of the trolls of myth, creatures of deception, trickery and schadenfreude. She nodded to her reflection, who was wearing a smile of triumph at the shared discovery. She cursed that mischievous smirk her sister always wore when she was being a troll.

Her desire to gloat was quickly crushed when she remembered she was still in the dress and was still expected to head out into the ballroom to socialize. The realization of just how utterly unprepared she was hit her like a falling piano. As if socializing wasn't difficult enough with a millennium-wide culture gap, the fact that the elements of harmony would be there filled her with a mixture of fear and dread. Certainly after the defeat of Nightmare Moon they had been friendly with her, even going so far as throwing a party and celebrating with her, but were they in good spirits because of her or because she was no longer Nightmare Moon? She shivered at the loneliness of the thought and felt something like laughter in the back of her mind as the tiny sliver of her former self stirred among her memories.

Her eyes scanned the bare walls of her room as the mocking chuckles of Nightmare Moon ceased echoing through her mind. No one was glad she had returned. Celestia's room had pictures and letters adorning the walls, with many more forming neat piles in her study for her to peruse at her pleasure. After transforming into Nightmare Moon and blowing her old room up in the process all Luna had to line the walls of her new bedroom with were books on culture, history and law and an abacus that she had rescued from a museum. She walked over to it, idly clicking and clacking the beads.

Even with her magic still somewhat unstable after returning to what she supposed could be called normal she had been able to restore it completely, the wood shiny and polished with black wood-stain, the beads painted with silver and pale blues. It looked just like the night sky and she manipulated it just as freely. She smiled and quickly calculated just how long she'd be out among the crowds if she went along with Celestia's plan, taking into account the numerous excuses she had prepared to buy a few minutes here and there to herself. Her jaw dropped as the last bead hit home and she stared at the abacus as though it were telling her a most horrifying and obvious lie. But Abby wasn't lying and she knew it. Hours. Not brief periods where she could acclimate herself to the crowds punctuated with breaks, but huge stretches of time exposed to the general populace with nothing to defend herself from their prying eyes and silent disapproval. She did a quick calculation of how long she would have to be around the elements and was equally crestfallen.

She looked back in the mirror at the under-confident alicorn with worried, teary eyes. It just wasn't possible, not in the slightest. If she brought Abby and a book with her she might feel a bit better but she knew they would mock her for treating inanimate objects like companions like a filly with a security blanket. A sound startled her from her reverie and she looked out the window at the courtyard. Trumpets were blaring and horns announced the arrival of the first wave of guests for the evening. A carriage was pulling up to the castle, with many more behind it. Ponies slowly made their way out of it and the stallions pulling it carried it away to make room for the one behind it, and the one behind that. Soon a small crowd had gathered by the front gate and fireworks were being set off.

It was by the bright pink and blue glow that Luna saw them. The elements stood in a group, with the crowd and yet somehow apart from it. She strained her vision but found she could only barely make them out, unable to tell properly which was which from such a distance. But it was unmistakably them. Luna could see the faint aura of magic around them, remnants of the power they had gathered and used to cleanse her. And then she heard them sing.

She watched as they led the whole crowd in a huge, elaborate chorus number and could hardly believe her eyes. They each sang of their dreams and hopes for the evening and Luna could feel inside her the urge to help them welling up from nowhere at all. It was simply there, this compulsion, stemming perhaps from their song itself, perhaps from somewhere deep inside of her that wished to be appreciated. She nodded to no one at all and walked back over to the mirror to straighten her tiara and delicately wipe her eyes. She nodded in satisfaction and headed for the door. The party could wait, she was a princess on a mission.

-

As Luna strode purposefully, or at least as purposefully as she could while constantly glancing over her shoulder nervously, down the hallway her eyes landed on Prince Blue-Blood. The poor boy was fiddling with his bowtie and looking around for a helping hand. She recalled one of the elements talking about finding her prince charming at the gala and smiled. Objective one of six, she mentally noted, set the stage for true love to blossom. She fought back her apprehension and approached him. The moment he saw her he jumped ten feet in the air in surprise before looking around for an emergency escape route and bowing humbly. His smile did a very poor job of hiding his unease.

"P-Princess Luna, such a pleasant surprise. How good to see you again."

Luna's heart sunk a little but she suppressed her urge to run back to her room and sulk for the moment. She had a job to do, after all.

"Prince Blue-Blood, do you have a companion for this evening's event?"

His eyes widened and Luna's brain managed the same mental leap he had made right as he began stammering.

"W-What? I-I-I... I couldn't possibly- Not that I don't want- I mean, think of the scandal, not to mention-"

Luna cut him off by raising her hoof to silence him. Celestia would have reprimanded her for exuding an ice cold, regal air in that moment instead of loosening up or even using actual words, but Celly wasn't there and she needed him to be quiet for a moment so she could explain. Her mane and tail turned a shade darker and began to shimmer slightly as she unconsciously brought forth Nightmare Moon's influence little by little, her coy and commanding tone echoing through Luna's words as she spoke.

"That will be enough. I was not referring to myself, Blue-Blood, but to a young lady who wishes to spend the evening with you, a regal and royal prince. It was with the sole intent of discovering if you would be able to accompany this young lady tonight that I ask this question, not so that I could ask you for your time myself."

Blue-Blood's expression was one of pure fear and Luna realized what she was doing, fighting against the subtle hold the evil persona had on her mind. Her hair returned to its normal shade and she smiled shyly, turning her head away and trying not to die of sheer embarrassment on the spot.

"Unless of course you had other plans besides wooing a potential suitor, in which case I'm sorry to have bothered you."

He gulped. Grabbing his hoofkerchief from his pocket he wiped the sweat from his brow.

"I-It would be an honor to accompany her. I-I'll be sure to spend the whole evening with her."

Luna beamed, spirits lifted.

"Excellent! And be sure to be as regal as possible. She's expecting someone with refined tastes and a suitably royal personality."

Blue-Blood nodded dumbly. He folded his hoofkerchief and pocketed it.

"Regal," he said. "Got it. I'll be a true noblecolt the entire evening, chivalrous to the core."

Luna blinked, then thought for a moment. All her knowledge of culture and history told her something was off.

"But mares of this era don't expect chivalry, do they? Aren't they more akin to the mares of the 1600s who expected, and indeed accepted, horrible behavior from their lovers?"

"Are you telling me to be a snobby jerk to this filly?"

Luna didn't know how to respond, so she simply pretended the answer was obvious.

"It certainly wouldn't hurt to try, and she seems keen on nobility, famous throughout history for its many social foibles and mistreatment of others."

Luna walked away slowly, smiling to herself and leaving a very confused Prince Blue-Blood to figure out how to interpret her odd command. Despite briefly slipping up with her self-control under pressure she had already managed to arrange for the first of the elements to have a wonderful evening, with her every expectation fulfilled. It was a wonderful sensation, the feeling of having done a good deed with the promise of a reward. Her good deed would surely earn her a smile from the element of generosity. She mulled over what to do next and decided to head to the gardens to get all of the animals ready to make some new friends.

-

The gardens were lovely in the evening and Luna had made it a habit to stroll through them on lonely nights when there were no more decrees to sign and she needed a brief respite from her books. The animals knew her presence well by now and paid her no mind, which up until that point had been exactly as she liked it, but tonight was different and Luna needed them all in one place. She walked over to a small rabbit that was munching on some grass. It watched her, chewing slowly, and Luna had to admit that the little animal was charming, or more colloquially, cute. She smiled at it and the rabbit simply kept eating, its eyes always on her. She slowly walked closer.

"Excuse me, sir or madam hare, but if I might have a moment of your time I have a favor to ask of you."

The bunny turned around and hopped off into a bush leaving Luna to question just how good its manners were and whether or not it was intelligent enough to have any. In any case such a reaction to polite introductions was unacceptable. She followed after it, running around the bush and chasing after it.

"Come back! I merely wish to inquire about a simple task that I have need of your assistance with!"

The rabbit picked up speed and the sound of her voice and hoofs startled all the other creatures and critters in sight. She sighed, exasperated and annoyed. No, not annoyed. Never annoyed, she reminded herself. Never angry or furious or filled with rage or anything of the sort. Hassled, delayed even. Every obstacle was a chance to find a solution, not an excuse to give into petty wrath and destroy another perfectly good bedroom and frighten everyone and make everything worse and make everyone hate her all over again. Nightmare Moon stirred within her once more and provoked her emotions as she brought them under control again, making her more and more frustrated and upset. Her plan would be ruined if she didn't hurry and she still had so much preparation to complete. She had to help them, somehow, but when it came to animals she was just a useless filly. Hopeless. No hope. No light, only suffocating darkness that drove others away. She sniffled, pouted, scowled, shuddered, and then felt rather than heard the noise coming from her mouth, a sound usually reserved for calling dogs and frightening small animals.

The high-pitched wail of complete and utter sorrow echoed through the garden and sent shivers through every living thing that could hear it. Her shout slowly subsided as she heard someone coming close and heard a voice that was vaguely familiar. A yellow pegasus in a green dress was making her way through the gardens and Luna tensed with sudden fear as recognition hit her. The animals, she decided, would be perfectly fine on their own and didn't need her help finding the element and making friends with her. She scurried off back to the palace, not feeling a thin wisp of dark shadow and pent up unhappiness peeling off from her and taking with it some of her hidden pain, making its way to the element of kindness to corrupt and corrode her judgment and drive her more than a little insane.

-

As she made her way from the gardens she made her way through the terrace area and watched an orange pony kick her stand open, flags popping out and apple treats on display. She watched as she sold a pie to a passing member of the Wonderbolts and realized that not only was this an element of harmony, but she was already making her dream come true. Still, Luna felt compelled to help. She gathered up her courage and approached a pony on his way to the stand. He glanced her way and his monocle slid from his face, hanging from its chain just as low as his disengaged jaw.

"P-Princess-"

She held up her hoof.

"Lovely night, wouldn't you agree?"

The pony nodded.

"Y-Yes, your finest one ye-"

"It's almost as lovely as those apple... fritters over there."

Luna wondered just what a fritter was as she read the label but she didn't let her curiosity stop her from making her best attempt at a sale pitch.

"What did you say?"

Luna smiled.

"Fritters. Apple fritters. You should go and buy one."

The pony looked around for a moment, unsure what to say.

"I was just about to, Princess, when-"

"Then hurry along, kind sir, and partake of as many as you desire. And spread the word of this stand and the quality of the products it sells."

The pony inched away from Luna little by little, hesitation spreading across his features.

"Yes, certainly, I'll... get right on that."

The pony took off at such high speed that Luna nearly believed that he had turned into smoke and vanished. She sighed and turned to the next pony in the vicinity, attempting to make her sales pitch to them. Again she was met with disappointment, fear and strange looks and one by one the ponies around her began to give the booth a wide berth simply to avoid having her come over and attempt to persuade them to make a purchase. Luna kicked the ground, feeling utterly defeated by her poor social skills. The element of honesty seem to be in high spirits though, confident in her stall. Luna decided to leave her be and trust that thing would be alright. She wandered off to see if she could find the Wonderbolts and assist one of the other elements with her goal of spending time with them.

-

The Wonderbolts, it turned out, were in the middle of an enormous crowd of ponies, all of them famous performers, aristocrats or businessponies. Luna gulped, walking towards the mob and trying to make out the less-than-subtle blue colors of the Wonderbolt uniform among the multicolored outfits. Ponies turned their heads to look at her, staring and gossiping. She lowered her head a little, trying not to meet anypony else's gaze. The gossip must have been contagious, because by the time she made it to the Wonderbolts they were each busily swapping stories and rumors about her. It was then she noticed the rainbow mane behind them, jumping up and down trying to get their attention. She walked over to them one by one, trying to talk to them and direct their attention where she wanted it, but every time she managed to pull one from their discussion the element of loyalty was already making a similar attempt elsewhere, too far away for her to call out to her without it feeling awkward, forced and frightening.

She cast her gaze around the room for an alternative when she saw a colorful blur do a flip and catch someone's falling glass. The element of loyalty looked around expectantly for the praise of her idols but Luna could see even from far away that she had failed to impress anyone besides her. As the rainbow-maned pegasus walked away, head hung, Luna felt her heart go out to her. The element might be brash, but they both wanted the same things; acceptance, praise and appreciation. Her head searched for ideas and Luna's gaze came to rest of a statue near the middle of the room. She smiled, her knowledge of physics and her keen eye for details quietly computing the weight of the alicorn sculpture and the force of its landing.

It would be just enough that a strong pegasus could easily catch it, but enough that the feat would be impressive, a perfectly tolerable amount. And an object that big would catch the attention of everyone in the room. Luna walked over to the refreshment table and poured herself a glass of punch, her horn glowing softly as it levitated in front of her. With her magic already flowing she discretely directed it to the statue, altering the distribution of its mass to make it top-heavy and easily tipped. Then she did the same to the base, creating a small but steadily growing crack that would result in total collapse right as the party was dying down and the Wonderbolts would be free to rush over to inspect the heroic act of the element. It was the perfect plan, and so long as the statue fell as the pedestal broke apart it wouldn't fall as quickly, minimizing potential damage. And really, who would knock it over before then?

-

As Luna made her way to the entrance hall she couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the sheer number on ponies gathered there, lining up to shake hoofs with Celestia. And there by her side was the Element of Magic herself. Luna dove behind a tapestry to hide while she figured out what to do next, but the element seemed to have already succeeded at spending time with Celly on her own, albeit not the time alone that she had sung about only hours before. Success was success though, and if... Luna's mind searched for a name to put to the face and remembered Celly had called her "Twilight Sparkle". Luna blinked, her eyes running along the folds of the unicorn's dress and taking in the star pattern. Twilight Sparkle. Stars. The evening sky adorned with the glittering jewels that heralded the night to come. She felt herself smiling.

If Twilight Sparkle was already happy with the evening then she felt it best not to interfere. Besides, she mused, what would she say? How could she approach the one who had freed her from her own darkness, this pony whose very name underlined their connection? Luna felt a warmth spread across her cheeks and a sudden wave of nervousness at the thought of talking to Twilight. Just as before a feeling entered her heart that seemed to well up from nowhere at all, but she knew that whatever the sensation was it was pleasant and warm like a candle in the dark.

She found herself staring a little longer than she had intended, her eyes locked on Twilight's. She took a step forwards, then another, moving from hiding place to hiding place. What felt like minutes rapidly became hours as she studied both the element and her own reactions, looking for words she hadn't used or heard in a thousand years and feeling things that she had thought she had lost forever. Joy. Longing. Envy. She realized that she was now only a few feet away, peering over a vase as she hid behind its pedestal with Celestia directly in her field of vision. She felt jealous of her sister once more, but it wasn't over the hearts of every living thing in Equestria. It was just one mare, one very special unicorn that she felt compelled to let her emotions run wild for. This new envy stemmed from Celly being the object of Twilight's affection, her beloved teacher. Luna fought it down with some difficulty. Logic. Rationalization.

She hadn't been part of Twilight's life up to this point, Celly had been there since she had been a child. Such distribution of Twilight's... Luna hesitated to call it love, but it felt like the emotion Twilight showed Celly was the love a child shows its parent. It was only natural. And despite being a student of the sun it was the stars that she was wearing, nestled in the deep blue hues of the night sky. Luna's smile grew little by little and she stopped paying attention to hiding her presence. As the last pony walked off to enter the main hall Celestia turned to Twilight, stepping between her and Luna almost on purpose. Suspiciously convenient, Luna mused, trying to inch around her sister and finding herself blocked at every turn as she spoke to her student.

"Now then, my star pupil, shall we head off to join your friends? With my duties complete I'm free for the rest of the evening and I want to hear all about your adventures firsthand. A letter can only tell so much, after all."

Twilight beamed, almost jumping for joy.

"Yes! I mean, yes, Princess Celestia. I've been wanting to have a chance to talk to you for so long."

Luna stopped in her tracks and remembered what her goal all along had been. Here she was trying to catch Twilight's attention to talk to her when the whole point of searching for her had been to ensure she had time alone with Celestia to catch up. And she still had yet to find the element of laughter to make her night complete as well. A loud crash echoed through the halls, followed by another, and another. The room shook with the force of an especially loud thud and all three mares stared at the door that led to the main hall.

"I think we should hurry along and see what that was, Twilight. If it's something your magic can fix perhaps you can demonstrate for me just how much your magic has progressed."

Twilight nodded, mildly concerned by the sound.

"I just hope nopony got hurt."

Celestia and Twilight headed off down the hall and Luna watched them go, unsure what to do. The hall was completely empty save for a pair of guards who were too busy staring out at the night sky and the rows of carriages to notice her presence. Well, she thought to herself, she had at least managed to try to help the elements have a good evening, even if it was difficult and filled with mistakes. The animals might have been a touch frightened by her, but the element of kindness would easily smooth over their fear and hesitation and make friends with them. She had certainly made a poor salesmare but the element of honesty clearly had a knack for business and didn't need a helping hoof to appeal to the party-goers. The element of generosity would be wooed by the prince, especially after the tips she had given him. And as for the element of loyalty, rigging the statue was a sure-fire way to make her a hero when it fell over.

She walked off back to her room, pondering the fate of the element of laughter. The pink party pony would be too hyperactive for a refined party, but this was the modern era and quite different from what she had grown up knowing. Perhaps in the thousand years she had been imprisoned parties had become more relaxed? Whatever the case, the element of laughter could certainly handle herself when it came to parties, even with her quirks.

Her thoughts turned back to Twilight and the feeling of connection she had felt when she saw her. Had she simply been too caught up in the excitement of having the darker part of herself driven away to notice it? Luna vowed to find out, her mind already working through the long list of books she'd need to read to figure out what was going on. Lore, myths, legends from generations before and after her banishment. Already she could feel the excitement of a new discovery upon her. It felt wonderful.
Wrote this on a whim, mostly because I like the show a lot but also because the idea kept nagging at me to be written out. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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Twilight Sparkle had never run so fast in her life--not that she had lived very long.

She ran across green hills and plains, leaving Canterlot Castle and its festivities behind her. She expected to become short of breath any second, but it never happened.

Soon she could see a house in the distance. As it drew closer, she could see a white unicorn looking out the second story window.

He didn't notice her. He was probably studying the castle guards from a distance again. He'd always told her that he wanted to be one someday.

She went into the house, up the stairs, and bolted through the door to his room.

"Shiningarmorshiningarmorshiningarmorshiningarmorshiningar-"

Shining Armor quickly noticed her voice and looked behind himself. When he realized what the both of them were in for, he held out his hooves. "Twilight! Slow down!"

"Wha?... oh, no!"

She planted her own hooves to stop, but it was too late. She skidded and crashed into him with considerable force, the impact causing the two to roll over and land in a heap.

"Oof!" Shining Armor groaned as his head hit the floor. "Sheesh, Twilight! Only pegasi are supposed to have that kind of speed factor. What's got you so worked up?"

Completely unfazed, Twilight Sparkle was back on her hooves, all smiles, jumping up and down. "Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh! I just got back from the Summer Sun Celebration with Mom and Dad!"

Shining Armor picked himself up. "Really? Did you enjoy the rides? How about the food?"

Twilight blinked and cocked her head to the side in genuine confusion. "Rides? Food? Those were there?"

Shining Armor went silent for a few moments before laughing. Twilight wasn't sure why. Did all the other ponies go for that stuff? It was the Summer Sun Celebration! The sun was the main attraction, wasn't it?

"Okay, sis, tell me..." He gave her a quick hug and set her before him. "...what happened?"

And in a move that surprised both of them, Twilight's smile got even bigger. "Princess Celestia was there! She raised the sun right in front of us!" She raised her hooves and darted around. "Her horn was all glowy, and then, just poof! She's all flying in front of the sun looking like one of those goddesses in fairy tales!" She tilted over and fell onto her back with wide eyes and a dreamy sigh. "It. Was. So. Beautiful."

Shining Armor took a quick glance back towards the castle through his window, then back at his sister. "Oh, right, of course. Celestia. Yeah, she makes it look easy, doesn't she?"

Twilight got back up again and nodded. "Uh huh, uh huh! I tried moving the sun a little more after she was done, but..." Her head drooped. "...I didn't get anywhere."

Shining laughed. "I remember trying that the first time I saw her too. Same results. Trust me, nopony expects you to be able to do what she does. She's on a whole other level from the rest of us. Besides, you're still just a filly. The older you get, the stronger your magic becomes."

"And I'll make sure of it! I'm gonna start studying all the magic I can, so when I grow up, I'll be just like her!" Twilight gasped as she flashed with an idea. "Oooh, oooh! Can we go to the library? If I borrow all of their magic theory books right now, I can get an early start!"

"Whoa, there, Twilie." Shining ruffled his sister's mane. "Take it easy, kid. You gotta remember: Celestia has a horn and wings."

Twilight nodded. "Just like Foalsitter Cadance, right?"

"That's right. You and I? We're just unicorns. Nothing to sneeze at, but there's a limit to what we can do compared to them in terms of magic."

Twilight's confused look was back. "How does having wings give them more magic than us?"

Shining Armor froze momentarily, then mirrored Twilight's expression. "Tell you the truth, Twi... I dunno. Not sure anypony does."

"Neither do I! So I've decided I don't care. I'll be like Princess Celestia, with or without wings."

"Heh. Now that'll be a sight when it happens."

Twilight gasped. "'When?' You really think I can do it?"

Shining Armor looked down at his sister with encouraging eyes and a smile to match. "Sis, you can do or become anything you want. And when you do, I promise I'll be there to see it."

And instantly, Twilight remembered why she never hesitated to spend time with him. Whenever they were together, her heart felt warm, and twice as big.

Shining Armor was always there. He'd always be there. And they'd be best friends forever. She leapt into her brother's outsretched forelegs with a huge hug.

"Thanks, Shining Armor!" She looked out the window, towards the setting sun. "You'll see. I'll soar higher than anyone!"

---

Shining Armor...

Twilight's recollection faded as she ran towards the castle.

He did always believe in me. I want to tell him that tonight. That I appreciate everything he's done for me. But where is he?

She began a sweep of the building. After three floors, she considered giving up. Upon reaching the fourth floor, however, she heard something that shifted her priorities completely.

A voice she recognized, groaning.

Instantly she gasped, jumped, and ran towards the room from where it came. The door was open a crack. Twilight peeked in. Her eyes and mouth went wide at the sight.

Princess Celestia... in pain?

---
"Polaris"
A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction
Part 1: "Fantasy Zone"
by Bookish Delight, 2011-2012
All characters and referred properties belong to Hasbro.
---

She was slumped over a large cushion in the center of the room. Several small blemishes could be seen marking her white coat. A dark pegasus unicorn kneaded her sides, while a pink one coated her with aquamarine light from her horn.

For an instant, Twilight believed the worst. Just before she was about to barge in, she heard Celestia speak.

"Now, are you sure this is a healing spell, Cadance? I'm not going to become one of your thralls before morning, am I?" Celestia managed a chuckle, which turned into another pained groan. "Oooooh.... note to self, laughter still out of the question."

Princess Luna rolled her eyes. "If you still have a sense of humor, then you can't be that hurt. Why did you not simply take a proper rest, instead of slapping a glamour spell over yourself until you were alone? Now we're tending to wounds that are twice as severe as they should have been! Cadance, I dread to ask--how many times have you weathered this cycle in my absence?"

"What was I supposed to do, Luna? Not run a kingdom?" Celestia huffed. "Not be present for the entirety of one of Canterlot's biggest events? Run off as soon as the bride and groom kissed, perhaps?"

"I'm a Princess as well, Celestia! As much a royal figure as you! Everypony saw what happened to you when you fought the changeling queen. They would have understood!" Her voice calmed. "I would have understood."

Princess Cadance held up one hoof. "Girls, please don't argue. Luna, we'll talk later, but... Celestia did go through a lot today. And worse, she had an audience for it. I'm sure her crankiness is simply a result of bruised pride to match her bruised body."

Celestia sighed. "Sister, I... I am sorry. Cadance is absolutely right. But that is no reason for me to take it out on you."

"I have been down that path, dear sister. I apologize as well." Luna leant forward for a hug, which Celestia accepted. The two parted with smiles. "But, truly, when you need me to stand in, please ask. I cannot make amends if you do not give me the chance."

Luna's massage resumed, and Celestia groaned again, communicating slightly less pain this time. "Believe me, you're doing just fine in that department. Luna, Cadance... thank you for aiding your eldest in her time of need."

---

Twilight had seen enough. With one second of concentration, she left the scene in a flash of light.

She reappeared in her old library workshop. She looked around at the masses of books on her shelves, and at her work table with satisfaction. Everything was as she had left it. A simple dusting spell to clear off the year or so of neglect, and it would be time to get to work-

"Twilight? Is that you?"

Twilight recognized the voice, and ran to the terrace to find a small purple dragon sitting in a lawn chair. "Spike? What are you doing here?"

"Somepony at the reception told me what a bachelor party actually was." He opened his mouth wide and briefly placed a claw in it. "After I was done being sick, I came here. Only place where it was quiet tonight." He looked at Twilight. "Why are you here?"

"Princess Celestia's hurt."

Spike shrugged. "I know. We all saw her get hit with that big magic blast."

"No, I mean she's still hurt. As in, she was just putting on an air for the reception."

"I know." Spike shrugged again.

Twilight recoiled. "You know?"

"Yeah. She put on a spell to cover it up, but I could tell the whole time. I think it's some kind of built-in dragon thing. I tried asking some other ponies if they noticed. Some thought I was crazy. Others thought I was trying to say she was a changeling." He paused. "I stopped asking pretty quickly after that."

"Well, if you knew, then why didn't you do anything else? Try to talk to her, try to heal her, try to..."

She trailed off when she saw Spike rise from his chair. He walked in front of her, and stared at her straight on. "Twilight, I'm a baby dragon. She's Princess Celestia. I can't perform spells, and if she can't shake off a magic attack, who can?"

"Apparently she can't! And..." Twilight slumped. "...and it's all my fault."

"All your-" Spike rolled his eyes and sighed. "Twilight. You don't seriously believe that, do you?"

"I didn't at first. But the more I thought about it, the more the pieces fit! The first time I outed the fake Cadance as an impostor, I let myself and everypony get fooled, which let her move forward with her plan. The second time I did it, I simply stood there and watched as Princess Celestia fought Chrysalis alone!"

"So did everypony else."

Twilight stamped the ground. "Everypony else doesn't have my responsibility! I'm Princess Celestia's number one student! Her personal protégé! Her-"

"So what?" Spike threw up his claws. "Seriously, what does that even mean?"

"It means that I... I..."

Twilight searched desperately for words, and came up empty. Spike's glare persisted, keeping the pressure on.

She buckled.

"...I don't know."

She looked back into the library. The masses of books felt like weights on her despite their distance. Her voice became subdued. "Spike, I don't know. What it means to be her student... I'm not sure I've ever known what it meant."

Spike calmed down and sighed. "Sorry, Twilight. I didn't mean for it to come out like that."

"No, it's okay. I think we needed this. It's just... it's been a source of personal pride for so long. Since I accepted the honor, I've gone through so much to learn so many lessons. Some happy, some sad, some frightening..."

Twilight paced around the room. Her eyes scanned several random book spines across the shelves. For every title she read, she instantly recalled the book's contents in the back of her mind.

"But even with all my magic training, all my tutelage directly under royalty, I was powerless against the changeling threat three times. I almost lost my friends and family. I saw Celestia fall without doing anything about it. I was captured while trying to obtain the Elements of Harmony... even with my friends beside me!"

"Twilight, you're just one unicorn. You can't do everything."

"I'm starting to realize that, Spike. Compared to Princess Celestia, I'll always only be able to do so much. Still, when she picked me to be her protégé, she said it was because I possessed a special gift. But if I can't protect the ones I love, or the ones who love me, then..." She closed her eyes. "...how special am I, really?"

The tiniest of mental voices screamed in her mind to the contrary. It was drowned out. A long silence followed, until a new voice called in from the doorway.

"Twilie?"

Twilight whirled around to see a white unicorn. "Shining Armor?"

"Twilight, I've been looking all over for you! I thought we were going on a balloon trip?"

"O-oh, of course!" She looked back at Spike, who simply nodded. "This way, Shining. I left the balloon at the rear entrance."
PREV: N/A
NEXT: [link]


Original Synopsis:
After the events of the Royal Wedding, Twilight Sparkle questions the purpose of her very existence. She fortunately has friends in high places who may be able to provide some answers... but heaven help her if they prove to not be enough.

What Is This?:
Part 1 (more of a prologue, really) of Polaris, wherein Twlilight Sparkle realizes her limited effectiveness during the Changeling Invasion, and doubts her place in the world. The Bookish Delight Season 2 finale starts here!

Dear Princess Celestia:
I've finally got all my old writer's powers back! Let's see if I've surpassed them, shall we? This is the final test!

Text by Bookish Delight, 2011-2012. My Little Pony belongs to Hasbro, not to me. This is done completely bereft of profit.
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A Captain's Legacy

Shining stared up at the oak door that towered above him. It was a normal door, no different than a typical door one would find inside a house. But given the contents stored away behind it, it had an unusually grand feel to it, and Shining couldn't help but feel dwarfed in its shadow.

The old grandfather clock down the hall let out twelve loud booms.

It was noon. The high sun's rays shone through a nearby window and across Shining's stationary, white frame. It warmed his fur while he kept his blue eyes locked on the door.

His parents always said how the attic held an eclectic assortment of things, from old music records to hardcover books that hadn't been opened since his grandparents lived in the house a decade before.

Shining imagined his deceased grandfather, the stallion with the amputated hoof and a pair of wild, yet kind, eyes. Shining imagined his still-alive grandmother, the sweet mare that would always have a batch of cookies at her house for him and Twilight, who would show their gratitude through their quick gobbling of the snacks. The elderly mare would laugh, looking down at her grand-kids' chocolate and cookie crumb-covered faces.

He always felt there was more to his grandparents than what he already knew, especially his grandfather, who passed on about two years prior due to heart problems.

Shining wanted to discover more about his grandfather, to find out why the old stallion had such an air of mystery around him, both in life and in death.

That's why the young colt stood in front of the door, which led up to the attic.  There was something about his grandfather in there. He always heard his parents talk about it, calling it his grandfather's "legacy". It was something that both confused and fascinated him, and he made it his goal to discover what they meant.

He thought about asking parents, but his gut instinct told him they'd never say. They were always so adamant at keeping whatever secrets were behind the door, behind the door, concealed from the curious eyes of the young colt. They often said how, sometimes, things were best left alone. They wanted to respect his grandfather's memory.

But the curiosity of a young colt was a powerful force, and Shining desperately wanted to find out what was behind the door, what lay in the attic behind it.

Unable to remain patient any longer, Shining raised his hoof to the brass knob and turned it. Slowly, the door creaked open, revealing a dark, wooden staircase that, to put it mildly, needed a little more than some TLC. It looked incredibly fragile, like each step had the potential to collapse under Shining's weight. The wood was cracked, cobwebs scattered in the tiny corners of each, individual step. The space was narrow and dark. Shining knew the climb would be a tedious one.

Sighing, he turned and took a quick look back. Nopony was around. His parents would surely scold him if they found out he went into the attic. But that would mostly be because of the dangers that lurked up there, namely rats and rusted nails that could get him ill, had he come into too much contact with either of them.

Both of his parents were downstairs and Twilight was sleeping, taking advantage of the Saturday with a relaxing, afternoon nap,

Once certain that the coast was clear, Shining cautiously began his climb the stairs. He slowly raised his hoof and brought it down onto the first step.

A loud creak sounded, as if he stepped right onto a mouse. He cringed; worried that somepony might have heard the sound. He whipped his head around to look behind him, only to see an empty hallway, not a soul in sight. For the time being, he was still unnoticed.

He let out a sigh of relief and slowly continued his ascent to the attic, each step he took was more cautious than the last. The stairs kept emitting squeaks as he ascended. He kept his eyes down, watching out for any of the dreaded nails or rodents his parents warned him about.

The air got progressively mustier. It smelt like he stepped into a time capsule and he was now inhaling in the stale air from years past, which wasn't exactly false. The attic hadn't been entered in at least two years.

Finally, he reached the top step and sighed. He lifted his head and scanned his surroundings. The attic wasn't anywhere near as dark as the staircase leading up to it was. A modest window allowed ample sunlight to enter the dark space. Boxes upon boxes stacked up to the ceiling, shelves of books pressed against the wall.

Amazingly, it wasn't too cramped. While the stored items made it difficult for the colt to navigate, there was more than enough space for him to walk from one end of the attic to the other without having to step over anything.

His eyes continued to take in the entire area, when a bright glimmer caught his eye.

Shining turned towards the source. Right in front of the window, under a tunnel of light, was a pile of gold-plated military gear. There was a breastplate, gold shoes, and a very large helmet that had a hole in the front for a horn to be placed.

Shining recognized it as armor worn by members of the Royal Guard. His wide eyes started at the top of the pile of gold equipment, and moved south until they landed on something that, at first glance, didn't belong. It was blue and made of felt, a golden star hanging off of it. Shining took a few steps towards the mysterious item. He briefly studied it before realizing what it was.

A medal.

But this wasn't any ordinary medal; this was the Equestrian Medal of Honor and Service, something only a select few, brave ponies ever had the privilege of receiving.

Shining gawked at the symbol of honor, wondering why so many military artifacts were in the attic. Had his parents bought them? Were they family artifacts, passed down from generation to generation?

He took another step towards the medal and leaned forward, his nostrils so close dust that covered the gold on the medal flew into the air, some of which flew up Shining's nose. He started to feel the familiar tickle of a sneeze coming on, so he tilted his head back, trying to hold it in, to keep himself from making such a noise where he might give away his position to his parents.

"Ah....." Shining tried his best to hold back, trying to suppress the sneeze, but it was inevitable.

"Bwaaaa...CHOOOOO!!!!"

Shining sneezed all over the gold armor and medal. The only thing that saved the artifacts from his tactical snot-missiles was his front leg, which he used to cover his nose. Sighing, he wiped his nose with the back of his hoof, cleaning it of the snot that accumulated.

"Celestia bless you!"

"Thanks." Shining replied before he froze. He turned around to see an excitable Twilight standing behind him, a huge grin on her face, her eyes full of playfulness that was typical for a filly her age. Shining had been caught red-hoofed by his little sister.

"Oh..."

"Ha-ha, you sneeze so funny!" Twilight said, "You were like....ahhh...CHOOO!!"

Twilight fell back to exaggerate her brother's sneeze, laughing once she hit the wooden floor. Shining should have been scared, he should have worried that his little sister would eventually run downstairs and tattle on him. But Twilight wasn't like that, and even if she was, Shining couldn't possibly worry when her cute little face was around. She was like a tiny bundle of energy with the best intentions, even if they didn't always result in the best outcomes.

He could never get mad at her. Once she finished laughing, Twilight stood back up and looked up at her brother with wide eyes, full of the innocence of filly-hood.

"So Shining, what are you doing up here?"

"I could ask you the same thing Twily." Shining said with a soft chuckle. His little sister pushed past him and made her way towards the armor.

"Wow, what's all this stuff?" she asked, slowly extending a hoof out towards the golden helmet that lay on the floor.

"That's what I'm hoping to find out." Shining Armor said, turning his attention back to the medal that lay on the floor.

Twilight's little hoof touched the surface of the helmet, causing her to shudder, "Ooohh. It's cold."

She turned to see Shining leaning towards the medal, his eyes focused on what was written on the golden part. Grinning, Twilight went over by his side and leaned forward, squinting at the medal.

"What exactly are we looking at?" she asked.

"I'm trying to read what's written on the medal," Shining said.

"Well, go ahead!"

Shining nodded and leaned towards the medal, eyes scanning the words engraved into it.

Twilight began fidgeting, her impatience growing as she waited for her brother to say something.

"Well? What does it say?" Twilight asked.

"It says...'To a Pony of Great Honor and Integrity: Captain..." Shining paused as he read the name, shocked at what it read, "...Silver Blade."

"Hey! Isn't that our grandfather?" Twilight asked.

"Yeah it...it is." Shining said, picking up the medal and holding it in his hoof. His eyes were wide and his face was in shock as he continued to look down at the award, "I never knew he was a Medal of Honor recipient...or a captain for that matter."

Twilight looked back over at the giant helmet, Grinning, she pointed to it and turned back to her brother.

"Hey Shining! Can you put this helmet on? I want to see what it looks like on you."

Shining looks up at his sister, then down at the helmet, lying on the ground with a certain pride the colt couldn't explain. He didn't need to try it on to know it was much too large for his head. Plus, it was his grandfather's stuff. Surely putting the helmet onto his head when he didn't do anything to earn it would be disrespectful to his grandfather's memory.

He now understood why his parents didn't want them up there.

"I don't think so Twily."

"Oh come on, please?"

Shining was about to protest, but when he looked into his little sister's eyes, he couldn't help himself. For the first time Shining Armor wasn't concerned about his sister's future, because he knew even if she hit hard times, her sweet puppy-dog look would be enough to get even the greediest of ponies hand her all of the bits in their possession.

"Fine." Shining said, conceding defeat to his little sister. He slowly walked over and placed both hooves onto the helmet, lifting it up to eye-level. Immediately realizing it was much heavier than he originally thought, he began swayed around. Twilight watched him, calling out the occasional 'be careful', which really served no purpose other than make Shining roll his eyes and think, "No, really Twilight? This is supposed to look like a circus act where I'm about to fall over."

Finally, Shining stabilized himself, his hooves firmly pressed against the sides of the large helmet, easily a couple of sizes too big for his colt head. Slowly, he lifted it above his head and, even more carefully, brought it down to his horn stuck out of the small hole at the front. Once he felt the metallic interior of the helmet press down against the top of his head, he released his hooves from the sides.

Shining looked behind his sister and at his reflections in an old mirror, propped up against a stack of moist boxes. Even with the giant crack running down the middle of the glass, he could see his reflection. The helmet was huge on his head, reminding him that this helmet was not his, yet it was real. It was his grandfather's guard helmet, something he wore to protect his life during combat he so bravely fought in, and he was using it to play dress-up.

Twilight looked up at her brother and giggled, "You look silly!"

Shining knew he looked silly, downright stupid even. But being the big brother, he wasn't about to let his sister win that easily.

"Really? I think it makes me look pretty dignified." Shining said, giving his sister a salute, "Captain Shining Armor, reporting for duty!"

Twilight gasped, "Oh! You're right; it does look good on you!"

Shining chuckled, lowering his hoof back to the ground and shaking his head.

"No you were right, it looks stupid."

"No!" Twilight exclaimed, "Shining, you look like an actual member of the Guard!"

Looking into his little sister's eyes, he could tell she was being sincere.

"Y-you...you think so?"

Twilight nodded, "Yeah, in fact I think you could pass as a Captain!"

Shining Armor chuckled, rubbing the back of his helmet with his hoof, "Thanks Twily."

Twilight nodded at her brother, but then something else caught her attention. Something was shining behind the golden breastplate.

"Twilight, what are you looking at?" Shining asked.

But Twilight didn't respond. She simply trotted over and grabbed the object in her hooves and dragged it into the open. It was a plaque, roughly the size of a piece of paper. The outline was oak; the center was solid gold with a long engraving carved into it.

"What is this?" Twilight asked.

"Not sure, let me read it." Shining took a step towards the plaque, only to have Twilight jump in his way.

"Um, actually could I read it please?"

Shining smiled, "Of course."

Twilight turned to the plaque, cleared her throat and began to read it. "To Captain Silver Blade, honorable leader of the Equestrian Royal Guard. We give you this plaque and Medal of Honor in honor of your amazing service. Saving thirteen of your men from certain death, and leading countless others, even with the loss of your limb, you have proven to be a prime example of our forces. For this we thank you, and present to you the Equestrian Medal of Honor."

"So that's why grandpa was missing his left hoof." Shining muttered, remembering his grandfather's nub of a leg, how he always said bad people took it from him while he fought for the lives of others. How he wasn't able to make the military connection, he wasn't sure.

"I can't believe he did all of this. Why wouldn't mom and dad tell us?"

Twilight shrugged, "I don't know, maybe they didn't want us to know about the violent way he lost his hoof?"

Shining sighed, "They treat us like we're foals. It's not like we don't know what war is; besides he was clearly a hero. What's the point in covering that up?"

Twilight looked up towards the ceiling, deep in thought with possible explanations.

"Maybe they just wanted his memory to rest in peace with him." Twilight said, trotting over to the golden shield that rested against equally golden back-armor, and looked at her reflection staring back at her, "he didn't need anypony to do bragging for him. Maybe the lives he saved were all the reward he needed. Or maybe all of this brought back painful memories he wanted to forget."

Shining was baffled by his little sister's poignant remarks.

"Where do you come up with this stuff?"

Twilight turned to her brother and grinned. "I read a lot."

Shining sighed, "You sound more mature than most ponies I go to school with."

The white colt then walked over to his sister's side and looked at his reflection in the shield, the helmet still on, his little sister by his side as he towered over her. He looked powerful, like a protector-strong, willing and able. Twilight wasn't kidding when she said he looked like a captain.

His reflection didn't get past his little sister either, who looked up at her brother and grinned, "I bet you'd be the best Royal Guard Captain in Equestrian history!"

Shining smiled, not taking his eyes off of his reflection. "Yeah..."

He continued to stare at himself, imaging a large group of ponies behind him, following him into battle.

He could see spears flying, swords slashing, ponies wrestling on the muddy ground. He would bravely stand at the front of the line ready for battle, giving his troops a motivational speech, a focus on "freedom" and "sacrifice". He imagined trying to live up to his grandfather's legacy, not fully confident that he'd be able to.

This wasn't the first time Shining thought about joining the guard, imagining what it would be like to take control of an army, fearlessly lead a group of Equestria's finest into battle. Would he be brave? Would he be a bold leader?

But now, as he looked at his face, reflecting brightly back at him in the gold, he realized there was one more question nagging him.

Could he live up to his grandfather's legacy?

Slowly, he raised his hoof up to his head. He gave his reflection a salute, imaging that he was doing it to a crowd of hundreds ponies, all under his command, all cheering him name in triumph. He smiled, prideful in his statuesque appearance.

Twilight looked up at her saluting brother and smiled. She leaned her head against his leg and looked at their reflection, the image of her pressed against her brother, standing powerfully by her side, his hoof up in a salute, his face stoic, yet a smile that still showed kindness. The light from the window engulfed his body, making him appear even more powerful.

Taking all this in, Twilight couldn't help but smile even more.

"You really would make the best Captain ever."

Shining chuckled, "How do you know that?"

"Well...if it's anything like being a big brother," Twilight nuzzled Shining's leg, "nopony can be better than you."

Shining turned from his reflection and looked down at his sister. He wrapped his leg around her and brought her close to his side, ruffling her mane a bit.

"Quit it!" Twilight complained, but her giggle took all seriousness away. Shining stood back up.

"Come on, let's go downstairs. I can get you some ice-cream."

Twilight's eyes lit up. "Oh! Can I have chocolate sauce on it? And sprinkles?"

Shining laughed, "Twily, I wouldn't mind if you put hot-sauce and jalapeno peppers on your ice-cream."

"Yay!" Twilight shouted before running off. Shining watched her disappear down the stairs before he took the helmet off. He was about to put it down when he saw his reflection. No longer the mature stallion he saw in the shield. His appearance was once again that of a colt. A colt with honorable and profound dreams, but a colt nonetheless.

He smiled, "Maybe one day, I'll live up to your legacy grandpa."

Shining gently placed the helmet onto the floor, back with the rest of the armor, shimmering proudly in the sunlight. Someday he would work towards achieving that goal. But for now, it was time to go back to being a colt. And so he trotted off, a smile still on his face, ready to gorge on ice-cream with his little sister.
Another quick draft. Let me know what you think :)

"Summary: Shining Armor wants to know what was inside the attic. To discover what his parents meant when they say his grandfather's "legacy".

What will he find inside?

Story inspired by the cover image and the short blurb below it, which was done by johnjoseco: [link]

So yeah, I don't own the image. Just to make that clear.

Edit: WOW, I can't believe how many faves this got.

If anyone's interested, here's a link for it on FIMFiction: [link]
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THE CITY OF TOWNSVILLE…
Oh no, a monster’s coming to destroy the city!

The Powerpuff hotline phone rings…

”Girls, telephone!” - says Buttercup
”I pick it up!” - Blossom says and she flies to the phone  - ”Hello!”

”Powerpuff Girls, a monster attacks Townsville!” - the Mayor exclaimed

”Okay, Mayor! We go!” - says Blossom
”What happened?” - Bubbles asks
”A monster attacks our city! We’ve gotta stop it! ” – says Blossom
”Yeah, let’s go!” – Buttercup says

And the girls go to beat the monster…

The City of Townsville…

Townsville is in danger! We need the Powerpuff Girls!

”ROOOOAAAAR!” - the monster yells

”Oh, there’s the monster! Let’s go girls!” - says Blossom and they attack the monster

”Knuckle sandwich!” - Buttercup yells and hits the monster

”Ice breath!” - Blossom says and breathes ice

”Sonic burp!” - says Bubbles and she burps sonically

Unfortunately, the girls’ attacks were nothing for the monster. It punched the girls with full power that they fell to the ground.

”Ouch!” ”Yikes!” ”Guh!” - the girls moanned on the ground

”This monster hits hard!” - says Blossom
”Yeah, I’m gonna be feelin’ this tommorrow!” - says Bubbles
”Oh man, one more hit and it’s the end for Townsville!” - Buttercup moans
”I wish we…” *sky shaking* ”Wow, what’s this?!” - asks Bubbles
”It seems to be an unexpected sky shaking.” - Blossom says
”Oh no, look at there, now it turned into a big vortex!” - Buttercup exclaims
”And it focuses on the monster.” - Bubbles says

And the vortex throws three boys into Townsville, who immediately runs into the monster,then they attack it.

”Let’s go boys, kick the butts of this monster!” - a boy says

”Yeeaah!” - says the second boy

”That’ll oughta teach that monster!” – says the third boy

MEANWHILE…

”Hey, where’s the vortex?” - Bubbles asks
”I don’t know, maybe it sucked the monster in.” - Buttercup states
”Something better happens right there, girls!” - exclaims Blossom and she points to the monster

And the girls see three boys flying around and beating the monster. They go nearer to see the battle.

”Woooow!!” - the girls say
”I’ve never seen such a superpower like they have!” - Bubbles says
”They are great!” - says Blossom
”I say let’s meet them!” - Buttercup says and they fly to the boys

In the meantime the boys defeated the monster.

”Excellent!  We won!” - says a boy
”Now let’s go, boys!” - says the second boy
”Yeah! Now let’s…Wo, who are you, girls?!” - asks the third boy
”Hello, guys, we are the Powerpuff Girls!” - the girls say
”Blossom!” - says Blossom
”Bubbles!” - says Bubbles
”Buttercup!” - says Buttercup
”We are superheroes!” - says Bubbles
”We always save the day!” - Blossom says
”And who are you, guys!” - Buttercup asks
”We’re the Rowdyrunk Boys and we came from a parallel universe!” - the boys say
”I’m Bolt!” - says Bolt
”I’m Breeze!” - says Breeze
”And I’m Byrum!” - says Byrum
”We’re superheroes as well. Jomo Momo made us to protect our city, Viletown.” - the boys say
”Wow, that’s great!” - says Blossom
”Yep, but where are we right now?” - Bolt asks
”You are in Townsville, which is the opposite of your city.” -  Blossom explains
”Oh, I see. So we’ve been sucked into your universe, girls.” - says Breeze
”Yeah.” - Buttercup says
”Hey, how about saving the day together?!” - asks Bubbles happily
”GREAT IDEA!” - the boys say
”YAY! A TEAM!” - the girls say

And the two heroic trios team up to save Townsville!

Uh oh, look like Mojo’s gonna rob the city bank!

”Hey look, that’s Mojo!” - Blossom says
”And he tries to rob the bank!” - exclaims Bubbles
”Let’s give him a knuckle sandwich!” - says Buttercup with evil smile
”Wait, who’s Mojo?” – Bolt asks
”Mojo Jojo is Jomo Momo’s bad alter in our universe.” - Blossom says
”Ah, let’s kick his monkey butts!” - says Byrum

And they fly to the bank to stop Mojo from robbing…

”Muhahahaha, those puffs will never catch me! All the money will be mine and I’ll be unstoppable!” - says Mojo - ”Now give me the money or I’m gonna have to put you all down!” – Mojo threats the employees

”Not so fast, Mojo Jojo!” - Blossom exclaims
”Curses, the girls and…GREAT BALLS OF FIRE! Who are you, guys? You don’t look like my children!” – Mojo says angrily
”We ain’t your children, we are the Rowdyrunk Boys, we came from an other universe and we are about to kick your butts with the Powerpuff Girls!” - the Rowdyrunk Boys say to Mojo

”NEVER!” - Mojo yelled and shot with his raygun at the heroic girls and boys

They avoid Mojo’s attack…

”Attack!” - Blossom exclaimed and they attacked Mojo

”Uh oh!” - Mojo says

”Blazing kick!” - Byrum says and he kicks Mojo
”Knuckle sandwich!” - Buttercup says and she punches Mojo’s face
”Lightning Bolt!” - Bolt says and he shoots bolt at Mojo
”Ice breath!” - says Blossom and she breathes ice
”Sonic burp!” - Bubbles and she burps sonically and loudly
”Breeze power!” - Breeze says and he blows Mojo away with breeze power

Mojo falls to the ground…

”Now let’s take him to prison!” - says Bolt and they fly to the jail

MOJO JOJO IS BEHIND BARS AGAIN! - the newspaper writes

Meanwhile in the Utonium house…

”Hmmhmhmhm, nothing can better than a cup of fresh coffee!” - says the Professor and he switches on the TV

”Important announcement! Mojo Jojo is behind bars again, no terrorizing! The Powerpuff Girls and their pairs, the Rowdyrunk Boys have beaten him immediately! Great job, girls and boys!” - the reporter says  

”Holy cow, the Powerpuff Girls with a team of superhero boys?!  Excellent, now Townsville will be safe forever!” - the Professor exclaims  ”Can’t wait to greet them!” - the Professor says excitedly

Meanwhile in the city…

”Great job, boys and girls! Now time to go home. Professor Utonium is waiting for us.” - Blossom says
”Yeah, agree!” - says Bubbles
”Who’s Professor Utonium?” - Byrum asks
”Our father.” - Buttercup says
”He created us!” - says Blossom
”He’s a real genius!” - Bubbles says
”Oh well, in our universe he’s called Oppressor Plutonium, a mad evil scientist, who terrorizes Viletown with the Powerpunk Girls!” - Bolt explains
”Yeah, sad.” - Bubbles says
”Yeah, but now let’s go home, girls and boys!” - says Buttercup
”Let’s go!” - the others say and then they fly to home

Later in the house…

”Profeeeesor!” - Bubbles exclaims and the Professor runs to greet them
”Hi girls, hi boys! Glad to see you! Let me introduce myself, boys! I’m Professor Utonium, the creator of the Powerpuff Girls! I create newer and newer inventions!” - the Professor says
”Hi, Professor!” - Breeze saluted him
”Come into the kitchen, in the meantime I made delicious food!” - says the Professor
”YAAAY!” - the heroes say

After dinner and a short talking…

”Thanks for the dinner, Professor!” - the boys say
”Yeah, it was as delicious as you said!” - the girls say
”I’m very glad!” - the Professor says happily
”But actually where did you come from, Rowdyrunk Boys?” - the Professor asks
”We came from an other dimension, a city, which is called Viletown. Jomo Momo created us. We protect our city from Oppressor Plutonium and his daughters, the Powerpunk Girls.” - Breeze says
”Oh, that’s nice….Huh? Oppressor Plutonium? Powerpunk Girls? Jomo Momo? What the holy cow?!” - asks the Professor scaredly
”Oppressor Plutonium is your evil counterpart in Viletown, Professor.” - Blossom says
”Jomo Momo is Mojo’s good counterpart, a heroic monkey.” - says Bubbles
”And in Viletown our evil counterparts are the Powerpunk Girls.” - explains Buttercup
”The Powerpunk Girls has already been in Townsville before. Remember when they destroyed the city as well. The citizens and you didn’t know they are the Powerpunk Girls, but we knew as Jomo Momo told us about them.” - says Blossom
”Oh, the Powerpunk Girls?!” – the Professor tries to remember the punks and his memory comes to mind suddenly

”Hmm.. slow, medium, and…oh, hi, girls!”
”Girls! You will never believe what happened! I was in your room, and..

”You were in our room?” - Brat asks
”You should not enter our room.” - says Brat angrily
”Ever.” - says Berserk angrily
”It’s rude.” - says Brute angrily as well

”I remember now! They were mad at me because of entering your room. They thought it’s their room.” - the Professor remembers
”And when a monster attacked Townsville, they went and defeated it, but then they destroyed the city as well.” - says the Professor
”Oh, girls! Now I completely remember everything!” – the Professor says definitely
”That’s good, Professor!” - the girls say
”Now it’s time to go home!” - the boys say
”But you can’t leave, as long as you stay here, Townsville is safe from everything bad!” - the Professor says
”But we need to go home!” - Breeze says
”Viletown needs us!” - Byrum says
”But wait a minute! How can we go home if there isn’t a teleport vortex?” - Bolt asks
”Hmm, good question.” - Blossom says
”I think I know how to resolve this problem!” - the Professor says and he goes into his lab

Later…

”Okay, here’s this ventilator, which I filled with magnetic beams. These beams cause the ventilator to create a vortex between Townsville and your universe. You can go home soon, boys!” - the Professor says
”HURRAY!” - the boys exclaim

And the teleport vortex appears!

”Powerpuff Girls, it’s time to go!” - says Bolt
”Thanks for everything!” - Byrum says
”We’ll miss you!” – Breeze says sadly
”We’ll miss you, Rowdyrunk Boys!” - the Professor and the girls say

And the boys fly back to Viletown through the vortex. After they left…

”Oh, I miss those boys!” - Bubbles says
”Cheer up, Bubbles, look on the good side! Without the boys we wouldn’t have had chance to beat that monster!” - says Blossom
”I think you’re right, Blossom! Actually we can save our city, even without them.” – says Bubbles with modest smile
”That’s the spirit!” - Blossom says happily
”By the way, what happened to the Rowdyruff Boys?!” - asks Buttercup

Meanwhile in Viletown…

”Come on, boys, let’s kick the butts of the puffs!” - Brick says with evil smile
”Yeah! It’ll be good fun!” - Butch says
”Yeah! But where are we? It doesn’t look like Townsville!” - says Boomer

Oh, Boomer, maybe you don’t guess, but you are in an other universe, where all the villains are good citizens. But nevermind…


So, once again, the day is double saved…
…Thanks to the Powerpuff Girls and the Rowdyrunk Boys!


THE END
Here's the fanfic I promised :la:

The Powerpuff Girls meet the Rowdyrunk Boys and they save Townsville together.

characters © its respective owner
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They say that time heals all wounds. But that's not true. Sometimes, time only causes the wound to fester—to become infected and burn with the fire of loss.

I have told this story at least a hundred times. And every time is like opening the wound afresh and pouring salt into it. So now, I write it down on paper so that those who wish to hear the tale may read of it. For I will never tell this story again.

It was the year 1903, and dust roared across the vast farm fields of Missouri. In those days, I was the head of a small family owned farm in a rural community. The summer had been hot and dry and a particularly severe drought had parched the land. That morning, I arose before sunrise, as was my habit, and started down the creaking stairs from the bedroom to the kitchen. I was thinking the same thoughts I'd been thinking all week: if we didn't get some rain soon, we were going to lose that year's corn crop, and if that happened, we would probably lose the farm.

As I walked into the kitchen, my ears caught the sound of a tapping noise coming from the front of the house, as if on the porch. My first thought was some type of predator—a wolf, or perhaps a coyote. We had already lost several of our sheep that year.

Without hesitation, I jogged out into the living room of the old farm house, reaching above the fireplace mantle and taking down the Winchester lever-action rifle hanging above it. Carelessly, I threw open the door and looked out into the predawn dark.

At first, I saw nothing. But then I looked down on the porch to see a woven wicker basket before the door. Inside, something was wrapped in a crimson blanket that had a strange stylized image of the sun on it, embroidered in golden thread. Never had I seen such a thing, for the thread looked as if it had been woven from actual gold.

Now during those trying, drought-filled years, it was not unheard of to find abandoned babes left on doorsteps. After their crops had failed, many families simply couldn't afford the expense of raising another child. When I reached down to unwrap the blanket, that is exactly what I expected to find. Nothing could have prepared me for what was actually there.

I hesitate to say it was a baby horse, for it was more than that. The young foal in the basket was pure white in color, as if her coat were made from freshly fallen snow reflecting the light of the sun on a crisp winter morning. A single horn grew from the center of her forehead, like that of the unicorns of mythology. On her sides, near the top of her back, grew small feathery wings. Her mane and tail were blending colors of pink, light green, and light blue, and seemed to flow gracefully in some unfelt breeze.

I don't know how long I stared at the strange sight before me, but it must have been nearly a full minute. Finally, I recovered my wits enough to lean down and pick up the basket, taking it back inside the house. There, I unwrapped the young filly—I used the obvious method to determine it was a filly—and held her for a moment. Her magenta-colored eyes looked deep into mine and I found myself wondering why anyone would have simply put something so adorable in a basket and abandoned her on a doorstep.

I untangled the blanket from her and carefully set her down on the rug in front of the unlit fireplace. I thought she might be hungry and went into the kitchen. I had no mares that were with foal at the time, so cow's milk would have to do. My youngest daughter was still not fully weaned, so I did have some baby bottles. I filled a small pan with milk and began to warm it on the stove.

As I waited for the milk to heat, I went back out to the living room and watched her. She stood up, shaky on her four spindly legs. Then, she carefully put one forehoof forward, followed by the other. At one point, she stumbled and almost lost her balance. Now living on a farm, I had seen fillies born before, and I surmised this one must be no more than a few hours old.

I went back into the kitchen to stir the milk and tested it, then filled the bottle, took it back to the living room and offered it to her. She looked at me for a moment, then pecked at it with her muzzle, testing it and playing with the rubber nipple before finally taking it into her mouth and starting to drink. I could feel my heart melting for this poor creature that someone had so carelessly abandoned in a basket. At that moment, I bonded with her as if she were a lost puppy.

I heard a noise upstairs and realized my wife and children were up. Before I had a chance to hide the young filly, they were already out of their bedrooms, standing at the top of the stairwell and staring down at her. The children wasted no time before darting down the stairs and rushing to her, ignoring my wife's shouts to stop. The shouting seemed to frighten the young filly, and she attempted to bolt and run behind the couch. But her legs were still unstable, and slipped out from under her, causing her to land muzzle first on the floor. My three children surrounded her and began to fawn over her as if she were an abandoned kitten they had brought in from outside. At first, the little filly seemed scared, but she quickly warmed up to the attention. She even seemed to enjoy their gentle stroking of her fur and their little hands brushing through her mane and tail.

My wife came downstairs and we spoke briefly while the children remained occupied with the young filly. I was relieved when it took took next to no convincing for my wife to agree that we should keep the filly. And so, our strange little filly had a new home. Now, all she needed was a name.

I thought back to the blanket she had come wrapped in—the one with the image of the sun emblazoned on it—and tried to think of names that might fit our new filly. "Sun" wasn't a good name, "Solar" didn't sound good either. Where had she come from? She had just appeared. A sun. A star from the heavens. From the heavens? Celestia! I suggested the name to my family, and they all agreed quickly. And so now our little filly had a name. And what a beautiful name it was—Celestia.

Now children will be children, and children are not very good at keeping secrets. So it was only a matter of a few days before the entire schoolhouse knew of our strange new filly. Soon, we had the children from every farm in the area—even from all the way in town—coming out to play with our little Celestia as if she were every child's favorite puppy. The little filly seemed to hesitate at first, recoiling from all of the hands reaching out to touch her. But it wasn't long before she seemed to enjoy the attention of the children, even looking forward to their visits. On the days when the dust storms rolled through the area and parents didn't allow their children outside, she would sit by the door, a look of sad longing in her deep magenta eyes, like a faithful dog waiting for its master to come home.

At first, I wondered why none of their parents had come over to see our little Celestia. But then, Billy—he was one of the children who routinely came to play with her—gave the obvious answer: Their parents simply didn't believe them. The other children nodded their agreement. Little Timmy, well he was little at the time, even said that his father had taken a belt to him and told him to stop telling such tall tales.

Of course, it wasn't long before the parents started talking amongst themselves. And when they discovered that all of their children had been telling the same story, a few of them decided it was worth coming over to our farm to investigate. Once a few had seen her with their own eyes, they told all of the other parents at the school parent-teacher meetings. And those people told the people they worked with in town, and so on. Soon, our little Celestia was a local celebrity. I felt it only natural to be concerned about how some of the adults would react to her, but it turned out, my concern was unfounded. All those who saw her fell in love with her, just as the children had done, and word of her continued to spread. Soon, even people from the next town were coming to see her. At first, our little Celestia seemed intimidated by all of the attention. But once she realized all of the people loved her, and all of the hands that touched her were gentle and kind, she began yo crave it like a dog craves being pet and played with. And so life was good. Our little Celestia's celebrity status had extended beyond just the immediate town, and into other small towns close by.

Now as luck would have it, the drought broke later that summer. Autumn came, and we were able to harvest a normal corn crop so we were no longer in danger of losing the farm. And our little Celestia had started to grow up; I'm sure you know fillies tend to grow rather quickly. Her unsteady legs had grown strong and powerful, and despite her youth, she could run like the wind. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. She spoke her first words. She said my name; then she said the names the rest of my family. She even spoke the names of some of the children who routinely came to play with her.

Needless to say, I was completely dumbfounded at this new development, but I was also excited. I took it upon myself to teach our little Celestia to read and to speak the language fluently. When the children came over next time, she stunned them all by speaking to them. At first, they seemed slightly frightened by this new development. But as tends to happen with children, fear soon gave way to curiosity, and in no time at all they were playing again as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. The only difference, was that now their filly playmate could actually talk to them. Even the adults seemed to take it in stride after getting over their initial surprise. And so life remained good. We had sold our entire crop, we had enough food to get through the winter, and our little Celestia was loved by the entire town.

Winter came, and with it, long days spent indoors near the fireplace as the cold Missouri wind whipped across the open fields. Fewer children came to play with our little Celestia now, and those that still made the trek did so less frequently. I can remember one day coming downstairs and seeing her sitting in front of the fireplace, her head hanging low and a distraught look on her muzzle. Concerned, I sat down next to her.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Why don't the children come to play with me anymore? Did I do something wrong? Do they no longer like me?"

At first, I was shocked that she would think that. But then it occurred to me: it was her first winter. I wrapped my arm around her neck comfortingly and spoke in a reassuring tone. "Oh, that's not it at all, Celestia. They love you. All the children do. But in the winter, it's not safe for them to venture so far outside of town. I'm sure all of them miss you as much as you miss them, and they will be overjoyed to see you once spring comes and the snow begins to melt."

That seemed to reassure her. She gave me a small smile and her ears perked up on her head. Then she looked at the bookshelf above the fireplace mantle, before turning her head back to me.

"Will you read a book to me? And teach me more about how to read?"

I smiled in response. "Of course, I will." And that is how we spent much of the rest of the winter. Our little Celestia learned quickly, and before long, she was proficient enough to start reading books to my children at bed time. She had a little trouble turning the pages, but eventually mastered the ability of slipping the tip of her horn between the papers and turning them that way. I was overjoyed that she enjoyed reading to them and had taken it upon herself to do so almost every night. It relieved me from the duty and gave me more time to focus on planning what to plant next year and trying to round up potential buyers.

Before long, spring came, the snow began to melt, and the children were at our door again asking to play with our little Celestia. The first thing they did was marvel at how much she had grown through the winter. The children had also grown during that time, although not as much as our little Celestia had.

The next few years continued much as the the first had. The children continued to play with our little Celestia. The adults continued to be fascinated by her as well, although they did not come to see her nearly as often as the children did. And it wasn't long before our little Celestia was not so little anymore. By the fourth year, she had grown into a beautiful young mare.

Given that she had always had wings, we had often wondered if she could fly, so it came as little surprise to us nor anyone else, the first time she did. Her first flight was relatively short, simply taking to the sky, taking a few turns around the barn, and then landing. But before long, she was flying as proficiently as if she had been doing it all her life.

Now, even the adults came to see her more often. Always, they wanted to see her fly. She would oblige them and perform spectacular aerial stunts. Loops, rolls, dives, and vertical climbs. And when she would land, the audience would cheer and clap for her. And all the while, the entire town continued to love her.

Much to the chagrin of the parents, sometimes Celestia would let the children climb onto her back and give them rides, although no matter how much the children begged her, she refused to fly when any of them were riding her. This was met with groans of disappointment from the children and sighs of relief from their parents. Only a few of the parents refused to let their children ride her though. She was always very careful with the children and had never shown any aggression or carelessness with them. And so all of the townspeople trusted her and loved her.

Other than her willingness to play with and entertain the children, she was always willing to help anyone with any problem she could. I remember that spring my plow horse stepped into a small hole in the field and injured his leg. Thankfully, it was not a fatal injury, but it would take the rest of the harvest season to heal. I don't know what I would have done without Celestia, for she offered to let me put the harness on her, and together we harvested the entire field. I couldn't have done it without her, and we would have lost the crop.

That was just the type of mare she was. When someone needed help, she helped them. And her kindness and generosity extended to everyone in the town who needed her help. And through it all, the townspeoples' love for her continued to grow.

Spring turned into summer and summer into autumn, and the night came where there was to be a town meeting at the community center. Celestia had never been into town before and very much wanted to go along, so we agreed to let her come. When we arrived at the community center and brought her inside, a few people thought it slightly strange seeing a horse inside the building, let alone one with wings and a horn. But once they got over the strangeness of the sight, she was welcomed with open arms.

Folks went about their business, and I stayed next to Celestia. A few minutes later, I noticed her looking intently at something on the other side of the room. A look of sadness seemed to fill her large eyes, and a frown creased her muzzle.

"What's bothering you?" I finally asked her.

"That boy over there. What's wrong with him?" she responded.

I glanced in the direction she was looking, and I saw ten year old Phillip, seated in his wheelchair, his head motionless as he looked at the table. I turned back to Celestia and leaned towards her ear speaking quietly so as not to be heard.

"That's young Phillip. He was born with a spinal cord defect that prevents him from moving. He's been paralyzed from the neck down since he was born. Doctors didn't even think he would survive since they were not sure he'd be able to breathe on his own. But he can." I hesitated for a moment before adding, "Some say it would have been a mercy for him if he had not survived."

She looked back at me, her eyes getting wider. "He can't move at all? Not at all?"

"He can't, except for moving his head a little bit. But he can only do that with tremendous pain. He needs someone to push him around in the chair. He needs someone to lift him out of it at night and put him in bed. He even needs someone to turn him in bed once in a while so he doesn't get bed sores."

I watched as Celestia's ears drooped and her eyes became even more infused with sadness. I felt nearly as bad for her as I did for young Phillip, as I could feel her heart breaking with compassion for the unfortunate child.

Then, the expression on her face changed. Now, it had become resolute. Her drooped ears raised and she held her head high, walking slowly over to the paralyzed child, stopping directly in front of him. Little Phillip looked up with a great deal of effort and pain judging by the scrunched up expression on his face.

For a moment, the two of them simply looked at each other. Celestia said nothing. Neither did Phillip, although he rarely spoke, since it caused him a great deal of pain to do so. I watched Celestia tap a forehoof on the floor once as if to cement her resolve. Then, she lowered her head towards the child's neck. I watched in awe as the tip of her horn suddenly glowed with a radiant golden light, a light as if from the sun itself. Vaguely, I was aware that everyone else in the room had noticed as well; everyone had gone silent and was now focused on her.

She touched the tip of her glowing horn lightly to the child's neck. The glow brightened for a moment and a tingling feeling came about the room. A smell like ozone after a thunderstorm briefly filled the area. Then, the light from her horn grew dimmer and went out. She raised her head back up, took a couple of steps backwards, and looked at him again.

"Stand, and walk," she said in a firm and confident tone.

Nothing happened. For several moments, there was stunned silence in the room. Finally, an indignant cry arose from one of the men a few feet away.

"Is this some kind of cruel joke? He's been paralyzed since birth! He can't stand up and walk! I've never known you to be cruel, Celestia but this … This is just sick!"

I was about to rush forward, and retrieve Celestia, then make a hasty retreat from the building. But before I could move, Celestia spoke again, undeterred and this time in a stronger voice.

"Rise, and walk!" she said, looking at the child sternly.

Phillip's eyes widened. His left arm moved slightly on the chair's armrest, followed by his right. The silence in the room was overwhelming. Everyone's jaw hung open. That child had never moved his arms on his own. Not since the day he was born.

The child looked down at his feet and I stared in stunned silence. I had never seen him move his head that fast before, and he had not winced when he did it. Could it be? Had he actually made a movement without waves of pain hitting his neck?

A stunned gasp went up as his feet moved. His fingers curled, hands gripping the ends of the chair arms. I saw his muscles tighten, muscles that had never worked in his life. He pushed down against the arms of the chair. His knees began to bend and straighten. His legs, which were thin and atrophied from lack of use, seemed to grow firm and strong before my very eyes. And then, unsteady and shaking, he rose from the chair. From the corner of my eye, I saw his parents. His mother had her hand over her mouth, her eyes filling with tears. I turned my attention back to Phillip. With great trepidation etched on his face, he removed his hands from the chair. He was standing! On his own two legs without any help! His eyes simply blinked in disbelief, his jaw hanging wide. Carefully, shakily, he lifted his left foot, moved it forward, then put it back on the ground. Then he did the same with his right foot. The room remained silent, as if stunned by a lightning bolt, the only sound the weeping of joy from his mother and father.

And Phillip continued to walk, the unsteadiness leaving him. He took another step, then another. Finally, he covered the last few steps to Celestia in a bound, throwing his arms around her neck. His mother and father rushed forward to join him, his mother's cries of joy muffled in Celestia's neck fur now as she cried into her mane.

"Thank you! I don't I don't know how you did it, but thank you!" she managed to say between sobs.

Now I don't know how long everyone in the room continued to stand in stunned silence, but at some point, the silence turned to laughter and shouts of joy, combined with people heaping praise and adoration on Celestia. I could see she was starting to get nervous with all of the sudden attention as she danced on her forehooves. I stepped forward, getting near her and motioning her to the door. She quickly followed me, a crowd from the room pursuing us. Eventually, we made it to the door and stepped outside. She motioned me to climb on her back. I did so, and we galloped back to the farm, losing the crowd of people quickly.

Needless to say, word of what had happened spread quickly. Over the next few days, Celestia's celebrity status increased a hundredfold. Sick and injured people started to show up from all over Missouri, looking for this mysterious white horse with a horn and wings that could heal ailments that doctors could only frown and shake their heads at. And heal them she did. Celestia had compassion for all of them and healed every one of them. I continued to be amazed by her kindness and generosity. Never once did she ask for anything in return.

It was on a day about a week later, when there apparently were no sick or injured people to be brought, that Celestia decided to go into town and see some of the kids she had grown up with. I was busy trying to decide whether to plant corn of soybeans next year, and so I declined to go with her. She simply nodded and smiled, then left and started into town herself.

About an hour or so passed before I heard the door open roughly. Hooves clapped on the floor as she came running in, finding me at the kitchen table going through seed offers. Her eyes were filled with tears and she immediately broke down and started crying. Quickly, I stood up and went to her, concern filling my heart.

"Celestia … What's wrong?" I asked in a worried tone.

"They … they threw rocks at me! They told me to get out! That I wasn't wanted here!" she managed to say between sobs.

"What?" I responded in shock. "Who did? Who told you that?"

"The kids I grew up with!" She buried her muzzle in my shoulder, her body shaking with uncontrollable sobs.

"Why? Why did they say that?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. I galloped away as soon as they started throwing rocks." Another sob racked her body.

I held her close and tried to console her. Eventually, I managed to get her to calm down. She sniffed a couple of times and dried her eyes on my shirt. It took a while, but finally, I was able to get her to lie down in front of the fireplace and sleep. By the time I did so, it was evening. The sun had already set, and it was beginning to get dark out. I went to the coat rack and grabbed my coat, throwing it on over my shoulders. I was determined to go into town and find out exactly what had happened and why. And I wasn't going to wait until tomorrow to do it.

Before I could reach the door, I heard a shatter, followed by the thump of something crashing onto the floor. I jumped in surprise and looked towards the window at the front of the room. The glass was broken, a jagged hole the size of a grapefruit punched through it. Shards of glass lay on the floor underneath. On the floor, a few feet away, there was a large rock with a note attached to it. I quickly picked up the rock and removed the note, unfolding it and reading it to myself.

"Pony witch! We don't want you in our community. We don't want witches and their black magic here! Leave!"


"What was that?" Celestia called from in front of the fireplace, wide awake now and back on her feet.

"Nothing," I responded as I quickly folded the note back up and hid it in my shirt pocket. "The window just broke. That's all."

"Windows don't just break," she responded incredulously.

I sighed before answering her. "Some kids threw a rock through it. But you needn't worry yourself about it. I'll have the sheriff come out and take a report. He'll find the people responsible."

"This is because of me, isn't it," she said as she frowned and looked at the floor.

"No. Don't ever think that. You did nothing wrong to cause this," I said, walking over to her and wrapping my arms around her. "It's just kids acting out. It will pass."

I don't know if she was convinced or not, but I was finally able to get her to lie back down and go to sleep. In my own mind, I hoped I was right. I hoped it was just kids being kids and that this would, in fact, pass.

The next morning, Sheriff Johnson came out to investigate. He looked at the broken window and I showed him the rock that had been thrown through it. I made sure Celestia was in another room playing with my children, as I didn't want to expose her to any of this. After a few moments, the sheriff shook his head and sighed.

"I wish there was something I could do, Bill. I really do. But since no one actually saw who tossed the rock through the window, there's no one I can charge with the crime."

Now I wanted to protest, of course. But what could I say? I knew the sheriff was right. And so I only nodded slightly in begrudging acceptance.

"I'll keep my ears open," the sheriff continued. "People who do this kind of stuff often can't resist the urge to brag about it to others. Perhaps someone will overhear something at the saloon. In the meantime, I suggest that Celestia stay away from town until this blows over."

Reluctantly, I nodded and thanked the sheriff for his time. When he left, I went into the other room to break the bad news to Celestia.

"The sheriff … thinks it would be best if you stayed away from town for a while … Just for a little while."

She looked at me with emotional pain etched on her muzzle. I could see tears starting to well up in her eyes, and again, my heart started breaking for her. She rushed towards me and buried her muzzle in my shoulder.

"I don't understand," she sobbed, "What did I do wrong? Why don't they like me anymore? Why would the kids throw rocks at me? Those are kids I grew up with … that played with me … that loved me. What did I do wrong? Why don't they like me anymore?" I could feel her tears starting to sink through my shirt and wet my skin as I responded.

"You didn't do anything wrong, Celestia … Sometimes, people fear what they don't understand. And they don't understand how you were able to heal those people when no doctor could. But this will pass. Once they realize that you are a good and caring being that only wants to use her powers to do good, this will blow over. And like a passing thunderstorm, there will be clear skies behind it."

I knew my answer wasn't a very good one, but it was the only one I could give her. For I myself, did not understand why they would do this to her when she had shown them nothing but kindness and done nothing but help them. I hoped I was right, that it would blow over. But I wasn't entirely sure that it would.

Now the next few days passed without incident, and I thought perhaps it was over. I was starting to feel a sense of relief. And Celestia, who had been distraught ever since the attack on her, seemed to be a little less depressed. Maybe she thought it was finally over as well. But then came that awful night I will never forget.

I had just sat down for dinner with my family when I heard a tremendous commotion outside. Getting up from the table, I went to the living room and saw flickers of orange approaching from the distance outside the window. Quickly, I took down the Winchester, checking to make sure its tube was full of ammunition.

"Keep Celestia in here!" I called out to my wife behind me. Then I opened the door and stepped out on the porch, shutting it behind me. An angry mob of torch-wielding adults waited for me, approaching from the distance. I held the rifle in both hands in front of me but didn't point it at any of them. At the front of the group, apparently leading it, I saw Thomas, the local mill owner. He had a torch in one hand, and his axe in the other. My hands tensed around the stock of the rifle.

"Give us the pony witch! We don't want witches in our town!" he shouted.

"Witches? She's not a witch!" I responded incredulously. "All she has ever done is use her powers for good! To help anyone in this community that needed it!"

"She is the antichrist!" another angry voice called out from the mob. "She performs miracles and healings as it says the antichrist will do in the Bible!"

"The antichrist?" I shouted back in bewilderment. "She has never claimed she's a god. Never asked you to bow and worship her. Never asked you to leave the church or renounce your faith. The antichrist? She's not the antichrist!"

"Then she is worse!" another called out. "She is the beast itself! Or the devil in disguise! She performs miracles and does not attribute them to God!"

"All she has ever done is help you all whenever you needed it!"

"She is evil!"

"Evil? How can you say she is evil? She has only ever used her powers for good!" I shouted back. But now the sound of my voice was being drowned out by rising chants from the mob.

"Give us the pony witch! She is the antichrist! Give us the pony witch!" they shouted repeatedly, thrusting their torches into the air.

The situation was becoming explosive, and I knew violence was going to erupt at any moment. But then, a gunshot to the left quieted them. I turned my attention there, as did the others. Sheriff Johnson made his way through the edge of the gathered mob up onto the deck of my house. Standing next to me, he spoke to the crowd, his voice laced with anger.

"All of you should be ashamed of yourselves! Coming here like this when she has been nothing but kind to you. When she has never asked for anything in return." He looked at one man in the crowd, about two rows back. "Joe, your boy would be dead from that farming accident right now if she had not healed his injuries. You should be utterly ashamed of yourself for being here. And preacher, what of all of your talk of kindness to strangers at your Sunday church services? I'm disgusted to see you here."

For a moment, the crowd remained silent. But it wasn't long before one, maybe a few rows back, shouted out again. "She's the antichrist! We don't want the pony witch in our town!" The rest of the crowd began to become loud again, voicing their support of running our poor Celestia out of town, or worse.

"All of you disperse now!" Sheriff Johnson called out loudly. "Or I will have every one of you run down to the county jail for disturbing the peace and inciting civil unrest."

Well, it seemed none of the gathered mob was willing to go to jail over it. They slowly started to disperse, each going their separate way, the flickering orange torches fanning out and disappearing into the distance. All but one. Joe, the man whose boy had been badly injured in a farming accident, and healed by Celestia remained behind, a look of remorse on his face.

"Sheriff Johnson is right," he said quietly. "I had no business being here. She saved my boy's life and I'm ashamed of myself for participating in this. I know I don't deserve her forgiveness, but please tell her I'm sorry."

I nodded slightly. "I will, Joe." Then, he turned and left as well.

"I'm sorry about this, Bill." Sheriff Johnson said. "I really am. I wish I could do more to offer protection for your farm and for Celestia. But I'm short staffed and there's no budget for me to hire any more deputies. I simply don't have the resources right now to have a deputy patrol this area so far away from town."

I nodded slightly. "I understand, Sheriff."

Then, he turned and left, and I watched him go before turning back towards the door. The fact that Joe had stuck around to apologize gave me a flicker of hope. Maybe the community would realize they had been wrong. Maybe he would talk to them. If even one of them were willing to admit they were wrong, maybe more would be.

I went back inside to find Celestia in tears again, my wife and children trying to comfort her. The shouting outside was loud enough that she had been able to hear every word, and now, she also knew it was not just the children who had suddenly turned on her and no longer wanted her around. I wish I had been a wise man that night. A man of learning who had studied at the great universities. A man who knew what to say to her to comfort her and make her feel better. But I was not, and I didn't know what to say. I think she ended up crying herself to sleep that night.

Again, the next few days passed without incident. And I began to think that perhaps the uproar had died down. Maybe Joe had been able to convince them they had been wrong; that they were wrong to treat Celestia the way they had done. But that night, any hopes I had of that being true were crushed as surely as if they had been corn tossed into a grinder at Thomas's mill.

Once again, my family had just sat down for dinner, when a crash from the living room startled us. There was a strong smell of burning kerosene. I rushed out to the living room to find a roaring fire in the middle of the floor a few feet away from the shattered window. Looking around, I grabbed a blanket from the couch and threw it over the fire, stomping on it to put the flames out. For several long terrifying seconds, I didn't think I would be able to get it out. I can remember flames eating through the blanket, singing my pants, crawling up my leg and burning. Finally, the flames dimmed and went out.

I breathed a sigh of relief, then turned and frowned to see my family and Celestia standing in the doorway to the kitchen. All of them looked distraught and on the verge of tears. It was Celestia who finally spoke, her voice shaking and unsteady.

"I can't stay here anymore. I'm only putting you and your family in danger. I have to leave."

"No … I don't want you to leave. My family doesn't want you to leave," I responded in a pleading tone of voice. "We'll move … We'll go somewhere far away where they won't persecute you anymore," I responded in a pleading tone of voice.

She shook her head sadly. "I can't ask you to do that for me. Not give up your farm and the life you have built for you and your family. Besides, you and I both know that it would only be a matter of time before the same thing started to happen wherever we go. And it's in my nature to help those that need it. I can't simply stop using my abilities to heal sickness and injury to avoid persecution."

I wanted to protest, but deep down, I knew she was right. Not only was my family in danger as long as she were here, but she was in danger as well. And there was no where we could go where that would be likely to change once the local population found out about her abilities, assuming the entire country didn't already know, that is. My entire family gathered around her, and together, we all cried. We must have cried for an hour or more. We cried until we no longer had any tears left to cry. And then, we cried some more. We agreed that Celestia wouldn't leave until we at least had Sheriff Johnson out tomorrow to see what he had to say. Then, we all went to bed, sleeping in the same upstairs room. I kept the Winchester close to me all night, and my eldest son kept the shotgun. We took turns keeping watch out the window in case anyone would approach, but no one did.

The next morning found Sheriff Johnson, along with Matthew examining the damage in the living room. All of us, including Celestia, stood off near the doorway to the kitchen, watching the sheriff and the fire chief. Shortly, the Sheriff lifted his head and frowned at us.

"Again, I'm sorry to say that since no one actually saw who started the fire, there's no one I can arrest for the crime. All we can do is keep our ears open and hope someone brags about it at the saloon in town or something."

I saw his frown deepen as he turned to look at Celestia. "I'd never force you to leave, Celestia. Not after everything you've done for us. But I can't guarantee your safety here anymore. And I don't think it's safe for you to stay here."

All of us said nothing, only nodding stoically. It was like having a second doctor confirm the diagnosis of some terrible disease. We had all been hoping against hope the original diagnosis was wrong. But deep down, we had all known it was not.

"Thank you for your time, sheriff," I responded quietly.

He nodded slightly and came over to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. "I wish I could do more, Bill. I really do. But my hands are tied by the limited budget and inability to hire more deputies. And even if I had more deputies, I don't think I would be able to hold back the angry mob the next time they decide to come out here."

Then he turned to Celestia and put a hand on her withers. "I am truly sorry … I'm so sorry. I'm a better person for having met you. You do not deserve any of what has happened to you. If I don't see you again, good luck, wherever you go."

Then the sheriff and fire chief both left the house.

None of us said anything for a long time. All we did was hug each other and cry. I couldn't understand any of it. All she had ever wanted to do was help people. And they rejected her because of her unique ability to do just that. We hugged, we cried, my family cried. We all cried for what seemed like hours.

"I will never meet anyone like you again, Celestia," I said softly. "I'm so sorry for everything that has happened. I wish I understood why it has happened, but I don't. I love you, Celestia." The rest of my family all took their turns saying their goodbyes, all sharing their love for her.

"Where will you go now?" I finally asked her after I was able to compose myself well enough to speak again.

"I do not know," she said sadly. "I will try to find another world I suppose. One where I am more needed … More wanted."

"You are needed here, Celestia. These fools are just too blinded by dogma and superstition to see that," I said, a hint of anger creeping into my voice.

She said nothing in response to that, her ears remaining drooped against her head. Her once flowing radiant mane and tail lie loosely, as if the invisible breeze that always seemed to keep them in motion had simply died. Now, her tail hung loosely on the floor, her mane limply over both withers. She finally spoke again in a sad, shaky voice.

"I love you all. And I will never forget you. Thank you for taking me in and caring for me in the years I was here."

We hugged again and said more goodbyes. Then, she took a few steps backwards. For a moment, she looked at us with a deep sadness in her eyes. Then, her horn glowed with a golden dot of light. The dot expanded into a sphere, which grew until it completely surrounded her. It closed in on her with a momentary flash of blinding light. When my vision recovered from the flash, she was gone. I hugged my family as fresh tears immediately flowed to the surface, and we started to cry again.

For the next three days, we did nothing. No seed was planted, no buyers were contacted. Nothing. We did not leave the house and rarely spoke, even to each other. Each of us mourned the loss of our little Celestia in our own private way. We mourned her as bitterly as if we had lost a beloved member of the family, for that is exactly what had happened. I went to church on Sunday, but only to tell the preacher that I was leaving the congregation. For the town's treatment of Celestia had caused me to lose all faith in the church and in organized religion.

But life marches on, even when we want it to stop. And so on the sixth day I half-heartedly went out into the field and worked the plow. The tears began to flow again as I thought of the time Celestia had pulled the plow for me when my draft horse had been injured.

It was then that I noticed a man approaching my field from the road through my tear-clouded vision. Wiping my eyes with the back of my dirty hand, my vision cleared enough to see that it was Thomas, the mill owner. Anger rose in me immediately, and I assumed he had come to make sure that Celestia was actually gone. I halted my horse and began to walk over to him, trying to get my anger under control. When he saw me approach, he stopped, a mixture of what seemed like sadness and fear blanketing his face.

"What is it you want, Thomas?" I asked angrily.

"Celestia … Is she here?" he asked, his voice filled with desperation.

"Why do you want to know?"

He stammered with his response. "My … my boy … Jacob. He's contracted smallpox. He's in the hospital … He is dying. The doctors say they can't save him … I … I—"

Any sympathy I felt for Jacob was overwhelmed by indignation at his father. "Now you want her help? You dare come to her now?" I practically shouted.

He recoiled and seemed smaller somehow, as if he were wilting into the ground like a stalk of corn parched by the summer sun. "I … I'm sorry. I shouldn't have treated her that way. Please, I will do anything she asks of me. As long as she saves my boy. Please …" he pleaded.

I shook my head. "You're too late, Thomas. She is gone."

He wilted even further and I saw a look of despair flood over his face. "Can you find her? Please, I'll do anything for her. Anything. Just as long as she saves my boy."

"I can't, Thomas. She's left this world. None of us can go where she has gone. I don't even know where she has gone." I could feel my anger reaching a boiling point. Not only was I angry over what had happened to Celestia, but now over what would happen to this young boy. I shouted at him now, exploding in a rage.

"You and the others couldn't let go of your religious dogma long enough to accept her for who she was! To accept the gift she had! She never asked anything from you in return! All she ever did was help you and this community. And how did you repay her? By accusing her of witchcraft? Of being the antichrist? Well, look where your dogma has gotten you now, Thomas! She's gone. She's not coming back. You are welcome to search my house if you don't believe me."

Thomas recoiled even more under my verbal assault, then hung his head and turned, walking away. He didn't bother to go to the house and see for himself. I watched him go down the walkway, then turned and went back to my plow, tears mixing with dirt now to form streaks of mud on my face.

Thomas's boy died the next morning from the smallpox. He was only twelve years old. That night, Thomas was found in one of the grain elevators at his mill by his wife. He had climbed to the platform at the top, tied a rope around his neck, and jumped off.

Over the next year, the pain of losing our little Celestia never got any better, and my family continued to be shunned by the town and the community. We made the decision that it would be best if we left. And so we sold the farm and moved to Kansas City, where I took a job as a deck hand on the river boats traveling along the Missouri River. Some years later, I heard that Sheriff Johnson lost his next bid for re-election, and left town as well, although I don't know where he went.

To this day, the pain of our little Celestia leaving us cuts deep. I'd like to think that at least the community learned an important lesson from it. A lesson about condemning others who have attributes you don't understand. A lesson about letting religious belief drive people to hate and persecute. But the way they treated her has caused me to become misanthropic, and I doubt that they learned anything at all.

I never saw Celestia again, and I still don't know exactly what she was, or is. Maybe she was an angel sent from God. Or maybe she is God. I suspect I will never know. But what I do know, is that she has a heart made of gold, and that she was the most kind and caring individual I ever met. And that she gave selflessly of herself without ever asking anything in return.

On some mornings, just before sunrise, I almost think I can see her in the sky to the east, as if she is leading the sun up over the horizon. But I know it is probably just my eyes playing tricks on me, combined with age starting to take a toll on my feeble old mind.

Celestia, wherever you are now, it is my deepest hope that somewhere in this vast Universe, you found that world that needed you, that wanted you, and that appreciated you.
A fable loosely inspired by My Little Dashie. A tragic tale about the dangers of allowing dogma to be an excuse for persecuting others who may be different and have attributes and gifts that are not understood. Warning: The content of this story may be ideologically sensitive to some readers.


Join the Temple of the Royal Pony Sisters.
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((OH, Hello kits, who do I have here?

Frostkit, Waterkit, Tallkit and Venomkit? I hope you little ones haven't come to the medicine cat den to cause trouble!!

Oh....you want me to tell you a story....why ask me this question? Why not one of your elders like Hollyspring, Scartail or Sparrowdawn?

Hump! Fine....if you insist, I'll tell you about the flood that nearly destroyed most of the clans and took away the lives of Sharpleaf, Stormspring and my father Boulderstar.

Let me think...oh, come, come, sit down! No! Waterkit! Do not touch the herb pile that Mistypaw worked so hard to make! She wouldn't be happy if she had to redo it!
Good, now be quiet, do you want me to tell you the story or not?! I could easily get back to work on sorting the herbs my apprentice collected!))

Okay...the flood surprised all of us, sweeping cats right out of their nests into the cold of Leaf-fall. I was in the medicine cat den, in my nest trying to fall asleep to the noise of the storm outside. I was alone, Mistypaw wasn't born yet,but Applepool was expecting her, and I had no one there to keep me company on cold nights. When the first wave hit the island I managed not to get carried away by the current as it had done for many of my clan mates. It did take my supply of herbs...
I got up and tried to fight the current but it was hard...I managed to get to the exit of the medicine cat den. Outside cats where everywhere, trying to help the clan mates who had been swept away or escape the grasps of the current which was trying to take them into the dark water of the lake.
"Everyone! Get off the island and swim to the shore!" I heard Lightningstrike call.
I did as the clan deputy said...I trusted my sister mate with my life! Around me cats ran into the waves which they had been trying to escape moments ago, they had forgotten they were Lakeclan cats and that they shouldn't be afraid of water!

(( I know Waterkit! That you aren't afraid of water! You are Lakeclan kit just like the others!))

The water was freezing cold, I couldn't see properly as I swam through the murky lake. I tried to keep my head above but trust me, it was hard. I kept on going down under the surface. Sometimes I just wanted to let go and myself drown. But Boulderstar wouldn't let me die just like that!
When most of the clan members had reached the shoreline my father went back to fetch me...
Boulderstar guided me to reach the shore, he saved my life...but I never got the time to thank him....even in StarClan...
As Lightningstrike helped me out of the dark water my father went back to help an elder....my mother who was still struggling in the water. But it was too late, Shadepelt was dead... When my father realized it he made a noble but foolish decision, probably the most foolish one in his life. He choose to let himself drown so that he could live with his mate in Starclan

I don't know how many lives he lost before he died, when Lightningstrike managed to carry him out of the lake and set the lifeless body on the ground I was surprised at the time to see that there was a smile on his face... Now I understand that my father would have been broken if he had to live without Shadepelt at his side. Lightningstar became a good leader...he managed to rebuild Lakeclan to its former glory after the flood....and when the battle between Darkstar finally happened he was allies with the most unexpected clan...Not even Stoneclan's most dangerous leader was expecting Lakeclan to be allies with Streamclan! And after the battle his long runaway mate, my sister. Shimmerpool returned from her escape from death...Yes kit's, that's a long story, you should probably ask Shimmerpool about that...Now she is his deputy and our clan is strong as ever!

There we go! The story is done! Now you can go and play...WHAT?!! No, no! I am not going to tell you about the battle between Stoneclan and our allies! Go and ask Scartail, he can tell you it! He has the time to spar! No, I have to help Mistypaw, don't forget I am a medicine cat!

Your welcome Venomkit! I'm happy that you enjoyed it! I hope the other's did too....
Have fun, see you kits! And may StarClan light your path!
Okay, so here is the first Fateclan’s written story! (I am sure there will be more coming VERY soon!)
I will be doing more too! They are fun…and it lets me use the character’s I’ve created which won’t be used that much in the comic. One thing I already know…most of my stories WON’T be told like this one…this is the only one (hopefully for me) which will be told by a character to others (I found it confusing to write sometimes the story and then Stealthheart is suddenly talking to Waterkit) So, that will be different…it will probably be still told at the first person (XD That’s how they say when the character is telling the story in French) but sometime it won’t be…Oh, another thing, I will be writing stories that happen like in the past or the future so, if the character dies in the future don’t be surprised that he/she will still appear in the comic…None of my stories will happen at exactly the same time as the BPfate comic….So see ya! Hope you enjoyed it (I spent one hour just rewriting it from paper to computer! I could of used that hour to work on the gorey demise vid!)
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Bakers bake the tastiest treat
To give to mares both strong and meek
Freshness locked inside so deep
This treat I cannot wait to eat

Blueberry, orange, and even plain
Brings me joy when in the rain
Sweet and moist no room for distain
Ingesting them, I'll not abstain

Some prefer to call them muffins
But that name just means nothing
Maffins for days I will be stuffin'
Maffins, maffins worth so much lovin'
This is a goofy poem about maffins. As requested by the gang over at EFR's IRC.
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When I found you,
myself I asked:
what good have I done to deserve you?

Now I know you saved me
just to kill me slowly,
and deserve it I do.
I know I can't write. I just say what my heart feels sometimes, and this is what comes out.
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  Whitemare AFB
14 September 2017 05:00 hours

  Maverick was jolted awake by someone banging on his door.

"Hey time to get up newbie!" Yelled a female voice. Maverick groaned and layed down again.

"Come on man I know yesterday was rough but it doesn't matter to the air force!" She continued banging on the door. "Don't make me call you know who's wake up service!"

"OK I'm up Tiger Angel!" He yelled back. He opened the door to see the black and orange Pegasus standing there.

"About time. And just call me Angel" she said as they headed to the mess hall. When he walked over to the table where the rest of the squadron was, it was obvious by the looks on their faces Angel had given them the same treatment too.

"How do you like our squadron alarm clock?" Whiteblaze, the squadron commander asked.

"Does she have a snooze button?"

"I think so but it takes a baseball bat to activate it", replied a pink Pegasus with red mane.

"And only if you can get close enough, Dahlia" Angel said with a growl. Then a white unicorn with purple mane chimed in.

"Come on you two let's just eat".

  This was only Maverick's second day at the base. Originally a pilot in the Crystal Empire Air Force, he was one of the few who managed to escape the LoD's invasion. He tried to live a regular life in Cloudsdale, but the sky kept calling him. He hoped that someday Discord would be defeated so he could return home. He decided to become a mercenary, and wound up doing work for the NLR Army until about a month before the war, when he transferred to the Air Force.

  Despite his past experience, he still had to go through NLRAF training which might have taken months, but the war sped that up. He started with the 2nd Training squadron, then was transferred to the 24th Tactical Fighter Squadron where he served until the squadron was almost wiped out in an air battle near Canterlot. Him and one other plane survived.

  The squadron was temporarily disbanded, and he went to the 13th TFS, which had also suffered losses since it was a front line squadron. Originally 15 planes strong, it was now down to seven. One pilot had been injured and pulled from service (whom Maverick replaced), 6 were shot down and believed to be POW, and one was killed.
    The remaining squadron members were Whiteblaze (Lunar 1), Glory (Lunar 2), Dahlia (Lunar 4), Tiger Angel (Lunar 5), Sunfire (Lunar 7), and Ice (Lunar 13). Maverick became Lunar 9.

   At 6AM Tex, the base commander, began the briefing for the day's mission.

"OK pilots here's what's goin' on today. Once again be escorting bombers from our own 4th Tactical Bomber squadron as well as some from the 2nd TBS. They'll be bombing a concentration of Solar empire troops and three new SAM sites here along our border. Two Ravens from the Night Owl squadron will fly with the Berserkers to take out the SAM's radars. The 4th Tac' fighter squadron will assist you with the defending. And once again Sentry 2 will be our AWACS."

"Oh boy. 2 of my favorite pilots in the same area" Angel said with a smirk. Her and Ice were friends with Ocelot 5, and Sentry 2 was Angel's favorite controller to pester.

  Whiteblaze chimed in about Ocelot 5.
.
"I still think they need to put her with the Nightstalkers. If she can do moves like that with the Tomcat, imagine what she could do with the Berkut".

"It'd be the first plane to fly backwards at full afterburner", Sunfire replied, and everybody laughed.

  Tex interrupted them.

"OK ponies let's get started. Good luck up there and don't dance with the angels". And with that everypony went to get suited up.


Out on the tarmac the ground crews had their planes loaded up with missiles and ready for flight. The 13th was one of only 2 squadrons of SU-37 Terminators the NLRAF had. Though the camouflage colors were the same standard 3 tone blue, they had a unique pattern, and was also one of the few that had their squadron color on the tips of the wings and tails. Not far from them the F-111's of the 4th bomber squadron were ready too.

"You're ready to go guys", the ground crewpony said to the group.

"Then let's go!" Replied Whiteblaze. And with that all of the ponies got strapped in, fired up the planes, taxied out to the runway, and took off.


  Southeast of Everfree Forest
14 September 2017 12:30 hours.

  The group was 20 miles from the border when they were joined by the Ocelots and the Wraiths.
Sentry 2 came on the radio.

"Pilots here's the plan. Berserker and Night Owl Squadrons, you will hit the SAM sites with Lunar as cover. Wraith Squadron, once the SAM's are gone you will bomb the troop concentrations and armor with the Ocelots as cover".

"Aaaw I wanted to hang out with Ocelot 5", Tiger whined.

"Cut the chatter Tiger", the controller replied.

"Roger carrot head."

"Carrot. Top."

Everypony snickered under their breath.

"Sentry 2 to all planes, we are in the target area. Split off and engage".

(Music: Chasing the Angels)

"Roger Sentry, Lunar squadron engaging", Whiteblaze replied as the 2 groups of planes split off.

  On the ground the radar operators had picked them up.

"Alert! Alert! Incoming bandits! Get the Air Force here!" one of them yelled.

  The F-111's had split off into 2 groups. The first was approaching the first SAM site when they got a lock warning. Almost immediately the Raven fired an anti radiation missile, taking out the radar and rendering the SAM's inoperative. The bombers then attacked them. This was repeated with all 3 sites.  

"Nice. They took care of that fast", Maverick commented.

"They're not a front line squadron but they've proved their worth many times" Ice replied.

"Berserker one to AWACS the SAM's have been destroyed".

"Roger Berserker one. If you have any bombs left use them as you see fit". Just a few seconds latter Carrot Top came back on.

"Sentry 2 to fighters, we have 10 bandits 40 miles out and closing fast. Engage".

"Roger", Whiteblaze replied. "Let's do it guys!"

"Yeah! About time", Angel shouted. Both fighter squadrons hit the afterburners and headed for them. In short order the Ocelots fired off their Phoenix missiles, taking out 3 of the bandits. Soon the dogfight was on.

  The group got their first look at the Solar Empire planes.

"Mirages. Don't underestimate them", Ice said.

"They won't be fooling me", replied Sunfire as she got on the tail of one. She got the first kill of the day, followed by Whiteblaze.

  Maverick now had one in front of him. He was still getting used to the Terminator's controls, but soon was exploiting it's thrust vectoring to it's full extent. In short order he got the bandit.

"Lunar 9 that's a confirmed kill" Sentry announced.

"Not bad Mav, but there's one coming up behind you!" warned Glory.

  The SEAF pilot was good, but Maverick left him dumbfounded by performing a cobra and getting on his tail, and Maverick got his 2nd kill.

"Holly shit dude!" Angel yelled. "That was awesome!"

Dahlia chimed in. "You do know your way around a plane don't you?"

"What do you think?" he replied.

  Meanwhile the rest of the bombers had begun their run. The 3 B-52's flew in a delta formation and dropped their mix of cluster and iron bombs, decimating the ground forces. The Berserkers used their remaining bombs also, and the Night Owl's used their remaining missiles on some ZSU-23 anti aircraft tanks.

"Sentry 2 this is Wraith squadron, we've completed our mission and are returning to base".

"Roger Wraiths. Ocelots, escort them and the other bombers back".

"Roger" replied Ocelot 1. Before they did though Ocelot 5 got a kill.
  
"Alright Derpy!" Ice exclaimed.

"Thanks! I'll catch you later", she replied as the squadron turn and headed back.

Then Angel got a kill, with the last one going to Ice.

"This is Sentry 2. All enemy planes downed. Good work!"

"Thanks Carrot Top, we're returning to base", Whiteblaze replied. And the squadron formed up and headed back.

"Well how was my flying?" Maverick asked. The radio was silent for a couple of seconds before Whiteblaze came on.

"Mav'. You're gonna' fit in with us just fine".

"You're one of only 2 ponies i've seen perform a cobra in a Terminator", Dahlia chimed in.

"Thanks. When I was in the Gracemareia Air Force the only plane I've done that with was the F-15".

"What?" Sunfire exclaimed.

"OK when we get back you're going to tell us more", replied Angel.
Chapter 2 of the fanfic.

Music: [link]

Next chapter: [link]
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  My quest to find him and those who were his friends, and enemies took me all over the five countries that were involved in the war.

  Maverick's friends praised the work he did for the squadron. His enemies showed discontent, but also seemed to have been impressed by his abilities.
  The more I read up on Maverick and the Lunar squadron, the more eager I was to meet them.



1st Lieutenant Rover. "Draco 1"
Former member of the Legion of Discord Air Force
15th Fighter Squadron.

Originally  self employed, he joined the LoD air force after the takeover. He has since returned to his previous job of digging for gems.

  "My squadron was flying on a routine patrol just off the coast when we got the call about the radar site in the volcano being attacked. We immediately headed for it to intercept them.
  
  Unfortunately we got there too late to save the site. We engaged them anyway, which turned out to be a mistake. We had some of the top LoD aircraft, and that squadron made it look like we were flying bi-planes. In short order 3 of my pilots were downed.

  Then their squadron leader, this Maverick you speak of, got on my tail. He was worse than a flea. Nothing I did could shake him, and he got me. I parachuted onto the beach on one side of the island, and watched my last pilot get shot down.

  I watched the planes fly back over the island. The grayish white wingtips made them look so brazen. Then I saw one get shot down by a portable SAM, and I thought I might get to meet the pony who shot me down. I never saw him though. I don't know if the Navy picked him up or what.

Now the war is over, and I'm once again digging underground with other dogs looking for gems. I miss the comfort of the barracks, and the good food. Maybe someday my gem hunting will let me live that way."

______________________
  

Lieutenant Colonel Gilda. "Galt 1"
Former member of the Legion of Discord Air Force.
32nd Fighter Squadron.

  "Originally a member of the Griffin Empire Air Force, she was one of several who were forced to join the LoD after the takeover.

  "I was one of the Griffins who reluctantly accepted the takeover of our country by Discord. Before then I was the commander of my own Griffin Empire squadron. Because of this, they enlisted me in their air force.
   
  Besides being the commander of the 32nd, I trained a lot of the new pilots who were joining also. Most of my flight was newbies the day we were directed to defend the canyon from the attackers.

I was worried we would run into Rainbow Dweeb or that showoff Trixie's squadrons, as we would have been in trouble. When I saw it was just another blue squadron I figured it wouldn't be too hard.

I was wrong. The pilots of this squadron were good. Especially that damn Maverick. I watched my wingmen get shot down one by one, and our ammo supplies get destroyed.

Then Maverick engaged me. Nothing I did could throw him off. He was like damn fly you couldn't swat off your back with your tail. The next thing I know my plane gets riddled with bullets, and I had to eject.

I yelled at him as he flew by. His face was expressionless. You couldn't tell if he was happy for the kill or disappointed.

I completely lost my temper.  My kill score was perfect until that dweeb screwed it up! If we ever return to the skies again,  HE will be the one to get shot down!"


_____________________


Fleet Admiral Geoffrey. Pacific 1-1
Member of the New Lunar Republic Navy

Originally with the 2nd Carrier Fighter Squadron on board the LRS Eclipse, he is now the captain of the LRS Pacific. The Republic's new hi tech battleship.

  "I know most Navy and Air Force pilots have rivalries between each other, but I'm not one of those. I only met Maverick a couple of times, but on both he left quite an impression on me. The second time being the engagement with both Solar Empire and LoD aircraft during the attack on Discord's forces.

  I had never seen a furball like that before. It might have been too much for some ponies, but not him. And with the combination of his and Rainbow Dash's squadrons the enemy never stood a chance. He was truly one of the greats for our time."


_____________________


Colonel Firefly. "Firebane 1"
Former member of the Solar Empire Air Force.
4th Air Division. 7th Fighter Squadron.

   "Intelligence knew about the Republic's plans to attack Discord's forces, so our mission was to give both sides massive losses. It might have been successful, but intel didn't know we would be going up against two of the NLR's best squadrons.

  I knew about Lunar squadron and their capabilities, so  I figured I could counter their moves easily. I didn't know Maverick was the new squadron commander though. I thought it was still Whiteblaze.

  I realized this as soon as I saw his flying. It was some of the best I've ever seen. I had to focus intensely to keep him from getting a lock on me. I did it so much that I forgot there were other planes, and that's how I got shot down.

  At the time I kind of wished he had shot me down. Because the fact it was my childhood friend that did it made it hurt."

_____________________


  Major Octavia. "Mist 1".
Former member of the Solar Empire Air Force.
1st Air Division. 4th Fighter Squadron.


"I wasn't planning on joining the military, but Vinyl convinced me to do it, so I became part of the Air Force. Being an earth pony I've always wondered what flying would be like. It wasn't long before I got to like the freedom of it, even though it was in a jet.

  Under Vinyl's guidance, I became a formidable pilot, and was soon an ace. Air combat is like any musical performance. You have to know your instrument, and how to play it. And you have to be perfect. One wrong note and the performance is ruined.

  Unfortunately the two of us played sour notes the day we met Maverick and the Lunar Squadron.

  After the first few planes got shot down I knew we were in trouble. Those pilots flew better than any I had come up against before. Vinyl was hit first. Her plane was still flyable, so she retreated from the battle. I was sure that one Lunar plane was going to finish her off, but it didn't. The pilot showed compassion.

  It was then I remembered we weren't flying against brainwashed monsters or Griffins. They were ponies like us. Maybe even fans who recognized the cutie marks on our planes. But like us they had a job to do.

  It was then my sour note happened, and Maverick got me.

  After I was rescued, I learned Vinyl had failed to make it back to base, but managed to eject safely.

  Now that the war is over we have returned to our music careers, but if Equestria should be threatened again, we will not hesitate to return to the skies."


_____________________


Senior Master Sergeant Sunfire. "Lunar 7"


"I figured he was just another average pilot, and we would have to train him a little more.

After the first mission with him, my opinion changed. It was clear he knew what he was doing and then some.

I was awestruck by his flying. He made his 37 do exactly what he wanted. It was almost like he became the plane.

And he seemed to prefer using his gun over his missiles in dogfights. It almost seemed like he wanted to give the enemy pilots a chance to bail out. I was proud to have him as my wing commander.


_____________________


Master Sergeant Dahlia. "Lunar 4"

  "There's not much I can say about him that you probably don't already know.

When he first arrived at Whitemare, he really didn't seem like a seasoned pilot. I figured we would be bailing him out constantly.

Boy did he prove us wrong. He put his Terminator through moves I would have never tried. While concentrating on the enemy, he never lost track of his wingponies.

After I learned more about his past and watched him in action, it was clear he was the best thing to come to Lunar squadron ever."



These snippets from the interviews only scratched the surface of Lunar squadron's accomplishments. I continued to look for more as I tried to find Maverick, as I wanted to get every little detail of each mission, if it was possible.
A quick intermission featuring pilot interviews ala AC0.

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