Today had been above all an even more exhausting than usual day for Ponyville’s beloved political representative Mayor Mare. It had started out harmlessly enough: she had woken up to the sounds of the usual eight o’clock protesters outside her house, had her morning coffee from Sugarcube Corner utterly ruined by that unruly pink basket-case wielding a strawberry icing gun, and somewhere along the lines Cheerilee had the brilliant idea to bring the gaggle of underage hellions she called a class on a field trip to Town Hall and somehow managed to lose the three most troublesome of the bunch during the Ursa Major’s rampage that had left her office in shambles. Above all else however, the strange two legged giant that her little ponies had just captured could easily cause a panic if she didn’t handle this situation delicately and the Mayor was in no shape to quell one of the infamous riots that Ponyvillians were known for. “Bring him to the library. There, we’ll discuss the reprimands for the crimes committed by this... thing. Not to worry my little ponies, justice will be delivered!”
“Justice? But I am not bad guy! I saved your town and—”
A rousing chorus of cheers drowned out Zangief’s voice and filled the silence that had been left by the mare’s words as the ponies hefted Zangief’s massive frame upon their backs and began marching off in the direction of the library. At the very least, disaster had been avoided for now, but that was only one problem out of many on the politician’s plate. If Mayor Mare knew this town’s residents as well as she thought then it wouldn’t be long before problem number two reared its naive horn. “Ms. Mayor! Wait!” Right on time. The Mayor sighed and began stretching her jaw in preparation to smile. As much as she detested Twilight’s troublesome presence in Ponyville, the Mayor needed the money that Princess Celestia sent every month to ensure her precious student’s well-being, so if it meant taking one for the wallet, the Mayor would smile. “Ms. Mayor!”
Mayor Mare turned to face the sure of the outburst, her face sore and strained from the forced grin, but she had to bear with it. “Please, Twilight, now is hardly the time for formalities. Just Mare will do for now. Now, what did you need?”
“Mare,” Mayor Mare corrected.
“Mare, what are you doing with Zangief?”
The Mayor rose an eyebrow at the name of her town’s newest menace. “You speak as though you know this creature, Ms. Sparkle.”
“That isn’t important right now! Why are you treating him like this? He just saved Ponyville from that Ursa!”
“Perhaps, Twilight, but I have my reasons.”
Twilight skeptically rose an eyebrow at the Mayor. “Reasons, Ms. Mayor?”
“Mare,” The Mayor corrected, “and yes. As you already know, the town has been on ursa watch for the past month and we’ve had to assign guards— all voluntary and not commissioned of course— to watch our borders. Well, one hour ago, we received reports that an Ursa Major had begun to traverse dangerously close to Ponyville, and it appeared to be merely passing through, until it turned and began rampaging through Whitetail Woods.”
“Okay, but what does that have to do with Zangief, Ms. Mare—”
“I said Mare.”
“Oh. My Apologies then. Anyway, as you know an Ursa Major usually doesn’t attack unless provoked, correct?” Twilight nodded. “Well the guard who reported the rampaging Ursa, claimed to have seen a creature that fit your monster’s description perfectly, chasing and attacking the Ursa towards ponyville. A tall beast that walks on two legs and is inequinely strong? Is it a coincidence that the creature that brought the Ursa down fits that description perfectly, Twilight?”
“But, Ms. Mayor—”
“Mare,” the Mayor corrected once again.
“Whatever! I know for a fact that Zangief didn’t do it! I can vouch for his whereabouts during that time—”
“Ms. Sparkle, I apologize, but I must cut this short. As you can see I have justice to hand down and a town to repair, and not a terribly large amount of time to do it. If you have something to say, then I suggest you say it during the trial. I suppose I’ll be seeing you there then?” Twilight glowered after the Mayor who turned and began trotting towards the library.
A moment later, Twilight vanished in a flash of purple smoke and white light leaving the venue empty save for an incapacitated Ursa Major, and a few guards who had been assigned to keep watch over the sleeping giant.
As the guards proceeded to slack off, a voie poured forth from a darkened alleyway. “Well, well, well, it looks like something interesting just flew into this little spider’s web...”
A flash of light erupted just outside of the library door, and from it emerged a frantic Twilight Sparkle. Barrelling through the library’s modest wooden door, Twilight whipped her head left and right in search of Spike, but only found Rarity, still unconscious, wearing a saddle and a bridle, both of which Twilight was certain the fashionista didn’t have when she came in the library earlier. Twilight was also quite certain that Rarity couldn’t light scented candles and scatter rose petals around herself subconsciously, but alas the scent of lilacs and vanilla filled the air, carried by the rhythmic growlings of Beary White.
It was at this moment that Twilight heard Spike’s voice from the stairwell. “So sorry to have kept you waiting, Rarity, but now that you’re very special somedragon is here, the fun can beg—” Spike stopped his sentence short as he made eye contact with Twilight.
Twilight opened and closed her mouth trying to find the right words to delicately ask Spike why he was wearing a cowboy hat and twirling a lasso above his head, but those words never came. “Spike, you can take advantage of Rarity some other time, but right now I need you to help me find some evidence that Zangief has been here for a few hours.”
“Wait, wait wait. Did you mean the first thing you said?”
“Spike, just go!”
“Sheesh, alright I’m moving, I’m moving.” Spike scampered up the stairs grumbling to himself as Twilight began levitating various law books off the shelf, sifting through the tomes like a maniacal sieve of knowledge, capturing only the bits she deemed necessary for proving Zangief’s innocence. It was only a matter of time until the mob carrying Zangief arrived at the library arrived, and Twilight needed all the help she could get.
Just as Twilight was finishing up a particularly thick tome titled “All You Ever Wanted To Know About Being An Ace Attorney”, the door to the library was suddenly bucked in and along with it the familiar gargantuan frame of Zangief.
“Privyet again, dorogaya.”
“Oh, Zangief, I’m so sorry about this, but don’t worry, I’m going to do everything I can to get you out of this, I swear.”
“Thanks much little Sparkle, but something tells me that this will not end well.”
“Yeah, you and me bo-o-o-o-o-th!” The new voice belonged to none other than Pinkie Pie, who was shaking and shivering her way into the library.
“Pinkie sense?” Twilight asked.
“Ye-e-e-ah! Something bi-i-i-ig is co-o-o-o-ming!”
Twilight stopped Pinkie’s shaking by placing a hoof on the pink mare’s nose, but much to the librarian’s surprise the shaking only transferred into her own foreleg. This was serious. “Well, first thing’s first, we have to deal with this trial, then we can worry about whatever it is that’s got you all shaken up.” Twilight looked at the stream of ponies pouring through her door and swallowed nervously. They had all come to see a monster, and she had to somehow convince them their monster was in fact a hero. No pressure.
As the last pony of the mob entered the library followed by Mayor Mare, the room was suddenly abuzz with chatter that was quickly silenced by the gray maned politician as she rose a hoof, effectively silencing the entire room. “My fellow Ponyvillians, I’m sure you all know why we’re here—”
“Not completely!” shouted a stallion from the back of the crowd.
“Well, I was getting to that—”
“Okay! Thank you!”
“As I was saying—”
“Ms. Mayor?” The pony who had interrupted Mayor for the second time was none other than Bon Bon, encouraged by her her sea-green counterpart.
“Is this going to take long?”
“Maybe,” The Mayor answered flatly.
“Can I have a snack?” asked Ponyville’s resident cross eyed Mail-mare, Derpy Hooves.
“No! Now stop talking so we can continue this!” Everypony in the room including Zangief were startled into a stiff unmoving silence by the Mayor’s sudden outburst. “Ahem, like I was saying, we’re here today to deliver judgement upon the monster that chased an Ursa Major into our town and allowed it to wreak havoc on not only our business district but Town Hall as well.” The Mayor gestured to Zangief who was presently being shifted to a seated position by Pinkie Pie and Applejack. “At approximately 2:35 PM this afternoon,several of our border guards reported a disturbance: an Ursa Major wandering closer to our borders than we’d like. Approximately ten minutes later at 2:45 PM we received an update on the disturbance and the patrolling guards reported that the Ursa had started rampaging through the Whitetailed Woods, and that it was being pursued by an incredibly strong two legged creature not unlike this abhorable thing you see here.”
A chorus of murmurs blew through the room, and eyeballs danced between the Mayor and Zangief who, due to an itch on his nose that he couldn’t reach with his arms bound, had taken to aggressively rubbing his face along a nearby wall, effectively removing various chunks of wood and pulp from the tree’s interior.
“Now then, since the culprit fits the description to a “T”, and was unaccounted for during those hours, I believe this is an open and shut case—”
“Hold it!” The sudden outburst from Twilight Sparkle caused the crowd to gasp in shock, and the Mayor to wince in irritation, but she knew that it was only a matter of time before she’d have to deal with Princess Celestia’s prized ne’er-do-well of a student at some point. “There’s a major contradiction of the facts in that statement, Ms. Mare.”
“Mayor, if you would, Ms. Sparkle. This is hardly the time for pleasantries.” All eyes in the room danced back to the Mayor, who while irked by Twilight’s interjection, wasn’t shaken in the least. “Now, would you care to elaborate?”
“Gladly,” Twilight smirked, and moved closer to Zangief. “You claim that my client Zangief—”
“The Red Cyclone!” Zangief’s voice boomed.
“Was in the Whitetailed Woods and unaccounted for during the aforementioned time period? Well, I and the rest of the Elements of Harmony can tell you that Zangief was unconscious in this library for all of a day, and had not set foot outside save for the incident thirty minutes ago.”
The Mayor sighed and shook her head, chuckling at Twilight. “So you expect us all to go solely on the words of you and your friends, and completely discredit the reports of the gate guards then?”
“Objection! First: I’m not dismissing the reports. The reports clearly state that the ursa’s pursuer was a two-legged super-equinely strong creature. I’m merely suggesting the possibility that it could have been any manner of bi-pedal creature.” More murmurs began to spread through the crowd, but Twilight ignored them and held her composure through the rest of the rebuttal held. “And due to the fact that my client has an alibi, it’s highly unlikely that Zangief is the perpetrator. Which brings me to my next point: evidence.” It was at that moment that Spike came huffing and waddling down the staircase, a sack of unknown materials in tow which were promptly seized by Twilight’s telekinesis. “The items in this bag should prove beyond a doubt that Zangief is innocent! Now, Take That!” With a flourish, Twilight scattered the contents of the sack on the floor before the Mayor, who looked down at the assortment of junk at her hooves and then bemusedly at Twilight who had taken to beaming smugly .
“And I’m supposed to be looking at... what?”
The grin slowly melted off of Twilight’s mug; she hadn’t been expecting that response. Looking at the “evidence” Spike had collected, it became abundantly clear why the Mayor was staring at her as though she were insane. The evidence amounted to little more than a few broken pieces of medical equipment, next to a plate full of hair, some of which was burnt. Regardless of the hoof she’d been dealt, Twilight was going to bluff and slander her way to victory for Zangief’s sake. “Why, the equipment that I’ve been using to take care of Zangief of course.”
“So, if I’m interpreting your presentation correctly, then you would have me believe that you, a student of Princess Celestia, were attempting to treat an unknown creature with substandard and dilapidated equipment?”
“Well, it wasn’t broken when I set it up earlier!”
Zangief coughed uncomfortably from his corner before adding his two bits to the argument. “Dah, I broke that when I woke up. Sorry, dorogaya.”
“And that you were going to feed it a steady diet of cooked hair?”
“You’re misinterpreting the evidence!”
As the bickering between Twilight and the Mayor unfolded on stage, two stallions clad in leather armor from the crowd turned their heads to look at the elephant in the room, squinting and scrutinizing the giant before them. Agreeing that they both needed a better look, both stood and began worming their way through the crowd stopping before Zangief. “Ms. Mayor, Ms. Sparkle,” spoke the stallion on the left.
“What!?” Both mares bellowed in tandem clearly displeased that their quarrel had been interrupted.
“This isn’t the same creature that attacked the Ursa,” replied the guard on the right.
“That thing fits your description perfectly! What do you mean it’s not the same thing?!”
“Precisely that, Ms. Mayor. You see the monster we spotted on watch looked similar to this one, but they differ greatly,” explained the guard on the left.
“Different?” Twilight asked. “How are they different?”
“Well this one is bigger—” Spoke the right guard
“— much uglier—” Continued the left guard.
“— and it smells of cheese—”
“— cheese and fear, I’d say.”
Zangief glared at the guards and envisioned their heads resting on a slab of concrete as he prepared to come body splashing down. One day.
Pinkie Pie on the otherhoof had taken to sniffing Zangief. “He does not smell like fear!”
Ignoring her pink counterpart, Twilight resumed her inquiry of the two guards. “Well, what did the other one look like?”
“Much shorter—” Answered the right guard.
“— more aesthetically appealing—” spoke the left guard.
“—it was laughing like a mad-mare—”
“— and it was hurling purple magic about everywhere.”
The mayor rose an eyebrow at the guard’s description. “Purple magic? Now where have I seen that before...”
“I’m not even going to dignify that accusation, Ms. Mayor. For the time being I believe that there is sufficient evidence and testimony to prove Zangief’s innocence, don’t you agree?”
The Mayor grit her teeth in frustration. Zangief had been proven innocent and Twilight had won which left a salty taste in the politician’s mouth, but that was only a niggling among the new issues that had risen as a result of this case. There was another of these strange creatures running rampant near her town, and Celestia knows how many more unaccounted for. The Mayor looked at Zangief and sighed. It was true that she had jumped the gun and placed the behemoth on trial without letting him get a word in edgewise, and it was also true that he had saved Ponyville. While she wasn’t completely sure of the intentions of this “Zangief” she had no choice but to grant him amnesty for the time being and hope that if the town were to come under attack by the other monster, that he would come to Ponyville’s aid. “Cut his ropes.”
“There is no need, Ms. Mayor!” Zangief announced as he stood up, and tensed his muscles. A moment later, there was an explosion of twine and body odor as Zangief freed himself. “And thank you, dorogaya.” Zangief knelt down to give Twilight a hug, but the unicorn shyed away from him uncomfortably.
“Eheh heh, don’t mention it,” Twilight said stepping around the Red Cyclone. “Besides that we have more important issues on our hooves, isn’t that right, Ms. Mayor?”
“That’s right, I want everypony who volunteered for guard duty ready and assembled in front of the library in half an hour. We have to find the other monster before it starts causing more problems than our treasury can handle.”
“I d-d-don’t think you’ll have to look v-v-v-very f-a-a-a-r!” Jittering in place, Pinkie Pie slowly rose a hoof pointing to something outside a nearby window.
Twilight was quick on the uptake, and galloped next to Pinkie Pie, scanning the street for any signs of trouble. “Pinkie Pie, what’s going on out—”
CRASH! The sound of a wall and several shelves collapsing in the library, accompanied by a sudden flood of light prompted the inhabitants of the library to whip around just in time to see a beaten and bruised Big Macintosh slide slowly across the wooden floor.
“Big Mac!” Applejack shouted as she rushed to her kin’s side, and took one of the workhorses hooves in her own.
“Big brother!” Applebloom cried, following her sister’s lead.
Big Mac smiled weakly at his sisters before he let out a pained cough.
“Oh pony feathers. Big Mac, are you all right?” Applejack asked as she ripped Applebloom’s ribbon from the filly’s mane and began to wipe some of the blood from her brother’s cheek.
“Eenope," the injured stallion answered simply. It was a rhetorical question of course, but Applejack had to keep her brother conscious and talking, lest the big lug go into shock.
“Can you tell us who did this to you?”
“Eeyup.” Big Macintosh weakly rose a hoof to the hole in library, pointing to something so distant Applejack had to squint to see it. From this distance, all Applejack could make out was a cloud of purple swirling incandescent energy approaching at a lackadaisical pace. “You gotta get out of here, AJ.” BIg Macintosh struggled to a stand, and began limping unsteadily towards the purple menace. “Take Applebloom, and go to Sweet Apple Acres.”
“And just what do you think you’re gonna do in your condition?!”
“Yeah, what Applejack said!” Applebloom chimed in from her sister’s back.
“Now look here, AJ, I won’t have you arguin’ with me, now just—”
Big Macintosh’s instructions trailed off as Applejack turned and bucked her brother in the side, causing him to go limp and quiet almost instantly. “Sorry Big Mac, but that was for your own good. Applebloom, get down and stay with Big Macintosh, Your big sis is about to save ponyville... again.” Applebloom promptly followed her sister’s instructions and watched as Applejack trotted out of the hole her brother had flown through, followed by Twilight Sparkle, a still jittering Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash, but much to everypony else’s surprise, not Zangief.
“Giefy?” Pinkie Pie asked. “Giefy, aren’t you coming?”
Zangief didn’t answer. His face drained in color, his pupils dilated, his palms began to sweat like a fat kid in a tracksuit, but he did not answer. Instead he whispered to himself, “Chyort voz'mi, why couldn’t it have been another bear?”