56w, 1dAussie Bronies
Hasbro does, and they aren't sharing. Greedy bastards.
THE CRUSADERS GO CRUSADING
Like all other days, the Ponyvile school house was ominously silent, seeming to hold its breath in.
Like all other days, the moments before the bell rang were thick with tension; you could cut it with a rubber knife.
Unlike all other days, the second the bell rang in Cheerilee's classroom, an explosion of desks, books, and students occured as the occupants of a few particular seats rocketed through the classroom doorway.
Three small torpedoes of energy, one orange, one light-grey, and one yellow, left tiny flaming hoofprints in the school hallway as they blazed a path toward the main entrance . In tight formation, the trio of pony-bullets would have resembled a squardon of jets, such was their speed and precision as they wove their way through the rapidly filling hallways. Papers flew through the air as the blurs zipped an easily startled teacher. A janitor foolish enough to be caught in the path of destruction was left in a comical spin before recovering a few moments later, eyeballs still rolling around dazedly. Several students would later claim to have been knocked over from the wall of wind following the rush a few seconds later.
One of the rapidly moving objects; the orange one, spoke to it's companions above the roar of moving air.
"Rainbow-3, checking in! Main thrusters are at fifty-five percent capaticy, over!" it said, guesturing to the small wings on its back, which were beginning to vibrate rapidly.
"Copy that, Rainbow-3, execute escape plan 'Scoot-de-loop'!" the center object, the one of a creamy-yellow coloration, barked with the hint of a southern accent. "Lancer-1! Release the payload in t-minus five seconds, over."
The light gray blur nodded in acknowledgement, producing a red, ball shaped object. "Count it out at three, Red-2, over!" the blur cried.
The end of the main hallway was in sight, the doors to the outside still unopened. Anypony who had the hint of an ounce of common sense had moved against the sides of the hall by this time, creating a channel running in a clear shot to the doors for the trio of bolts.
"...3!" barked the yellowish object.
The sight of the crowd on each side of the group started to blur from the speed, forming a kaleidoscope of color.
The orange creature piped up, "Thrusters at one-hundred percent! Turbo-drive engaging!" The wings on its back were moving so fast that they were emitting a sound similar to a racecar in high gear.
The yellowish bolt increased its speed, pulling ahead from the group a ways before jumping off the ground, hurling straight for the closed door.
"Fire!" it yelled.
A red apple, sent from the hoof of the light-grey wingman, sped into the doorknob, hitting with such an impact that the door opened slightly.
The yellow blur slammed into the door at top speed, aiming low so that it's rapid decrease in speed did not hinder the ones behind it. The door almost flew off its hinges from the force of the blow, and the three objects shot through the portal at different altitudes, the yellow one being the lowest, with the light grey one sandwiched in the middle by the orange bolt higher above, which had grabbed the top of the doorway with its fore-hooves. The orange object used its momentum to swing upward and nick a scooter from the very edge of the roof of the entrance pavilion while in the midst of a series of flips, arcing off in the direction of a nearby path. The light grey blur had pulled into the lead and had jumped into the back of the a red wagon parked nearby. The inertia of the object's movement sent the wagon screeching forward into the road. The object, which had slowed down enough by this action to be identified as Sweetie Belle, a unicorn filly with a pink and blue mane, who whipped around just in time to haul the yellow blur, which had caught up after hitting the door, into the back of the wagon.
"Apple Bloom! Where's Scootaloo?" Sweetie Belle cried.
The yellow blur, now revealed to be Apple Bloom, a sturdy earth pony filly with a deep red mane topped with a bow, responded only with a gasp. She lunged forward, pulling her freind down as Scootaloo buzzed down over the wagon from above, the scooter's back left wheel delicately nudging the bow on Apple Bloom's head. The little Pegasus landed in front of the moving wagon, attaching the back of the scooter to the wagon's handle in one smooth motion. The wagon, now being propelled by Scootaloo's wings, settled into a steady, but still quite rapid velocity.
"Sorry I'm late girls, but I had enough height to do a barrel roll!" Scootaloo crowed pridefully.
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS ESCAPE ARTISTS!" They all cried at once. Eagerly, they inspected their flanks.
"Awwwww!" Sweetie Belle whined, "I was sure we were gonna get them this time!"
Apple Bloom patted her back reassuringly. "S'okay, Sweetie. Ah'm sure we'll think of something tonight at Rarity's."
Scootaloo glanced back and nodded her agreement vigorously before returning her attention to driving. Sweetie Belle pouted. "I'm beginning to think we will never get our cutie marks, Apple Bloom! That was the fifth Crusade this week, and still nothing."
Apple Bloom put one hoof under her chin, adopting the universal thinking pose, or at least as best as she could in the back of the bucking wagon. "Why don't we change our strategy a bit?" She mused.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, lately we've all been tryin' ta come up with new ideas for our marks, but why don' we just go and try an' get a mark that somepony else already has?"
"The crazy colt in town who lives in that blue boxy thing has an hourglass cutie mark. We could try to get one 'o those!"
Sweetie Belle pondered this. "Mr. Whooves? No, I don't think we should bother him. That cutie mark seems really... unique."
"Hmmmm... What about Dr. Pones?"
"You mean stallion who came to talk to the class today to talk about his job?"
"Eeyup! He had some kinda fancy-shmancy cup for a mark. Ah think your sister might 'ave liked it."
"It did have a lot of jewels on it." Sweetie Belle grinned, "Wasn't that what his mark was about? Finding treasure?"
"Somethin' called archeology, Ah think."
Further conversation was interrupted as Scootaloo drifted onto Stirrup Street, a broad avenue lined with shops that runs through Ponyville's center. Congested with ponies going about their day, it was a rather busy place. Barreling along at a fast clip, Scootaloo barely had the time to swerve wildly to the side, neatly avoiding crashing into Apple Bloom's older brother, Big Macintosh, who was busy hauling a large cart full of apples to the family apple stand. The two Crusaders in the wagon gave him a wave as they continued on, to which the enormous red stallion lazily returned to the quickly vanishing trio before to the continuing on his way, thoughtfully munching on a sprig of wheat.
A left turn (and a quick snack, thanks to the physics-bending properties of Pinkie Pie) at the tastefully decorated Sugar Cube Corner brought the Crusaders to the home stretch before they arrived at Rarity's house. The Carousel Boutique was a rather ostentatious building covered with intricate designs and ribbons, three floors high, and circular in nature. Each floor was smaller than the last, so from a distance the shop looked like a rather fashionable cake, capped with a small purple dome. Standing outside the store, attending to some garments handing from a line, was Sweetie Belle's sister, Rarity. Rarity was an elegant unicorn with a pristine white coat, an impeccably styled purple mane, and a trio of diamonds adorning her flank for a cutie mark. Her horn lit up a pale blue aura as she used her magic to carefully shake a large piece of linen free of water droplets before tossing it to hang over the clothesline. She turned at the sound of the approaching group, recognizing the sound of Scootaloo's engine-like wingbeats from the many times the Crusaders had stayed at her house.
"Girls, there you are!" She called as the Crusaders pulled up to the store. "I've been wondering where you were. Come inside, I've got dinner ready for you."
The Cutie Mark Crusaders obliged, following Rarity into the store. Passing through the front room, which served as the building's shop, they entered the kitchen. On a round table towards the right, a large bowl of hayfries gave off some light steam, indicating that they'd been completed quite recently. Surrounding the hayfries were several plates piled with leafy greens and assorted grilled vegetables. Scootaloo, who had been working hard since leaving the school, eyed the smorgasbord in a manner similar to a human teenager spying a particularly juicy double-bacon cheeseburger. Rarity noticed the eager filly and tutted, "Uh-uh-uh! Wash your hooves first, Scootaloo. That goes for both of you, as well" she added, looking at the other Crusaders. She closed her eyes in thought. "That wagon of yours is so dirty. You must let me spruce it up for you sometime." The Crusaders had vanished when she opened her eyes again, to reappear at the kitchen sink, all three attempting to wash her hooves at the same time. More water landed on the ceiling than it did on hooves, but the job was done after a little more scuffling and everypony settled down at the table to dig in.
Scootaloo simply dunked her entire head into the bowl of hayfries, eating ravenously. A Pegasus had a high metabolism normally, but an active one like her needed the extra fuel. Sweetie Belle mimicked her older sister, daintily taking bites from the fork she held in hoof. Apple Bloom, not exactly the most cultured pony, switched from stabbing large bites off of her plate to swiping a hooffull of hayfries from the bowl every time Scootaloo surfaced for air. Rarity tried to strike up a conversation; "So, what did you three do in class today?"
"Thhhherr wath uh guethhst thhhpeakur." Came the reply from the face buried in the bowl of hayfries.
"Scootaloo said that there was a guest speaker today. He came in to talk about his job." chimed Sweetie Belle.
"Oh? Who was he?" asked Rarity.
Apple Bloom paused, her fork halfway to her mouth. "It was Indianna Pones!"
"Indianna Pones? Here? In Ponyville", Rarity shrieked.
Scootaloo pulled her head up for a breather, cheeks stuffed with hayfries, and nodded once before returning to the feast.
Rarity wailed: "A famous celebrity like Indianna Pones was here! And I didn't get to see him! Oh! I could have showed him my new line of hats! He's sooo into his hats! He's never lost one on any of his adventures! Not one! Now there is a stallion who appreciates good head-wear!" She sniffled. "Of all the things that could happen, this is, the worst possible. THING!" Her horn lit up, and a fainting couch slid into place next to her, which she promptly fell onto in an unconsolable sulk. Sweetie Belle shrugged at this.
"She'll be fine in a few minutes." she stated to the other Crusaders. Scootaloo pulled out of the bowl, now empty, and contentedly lean back in her chair to let out an enormous, window-rattling belch. Apple Bloom giggled, "Nice one, Scoots! But I was doin' em at that level when Ah was three! Lemme show ya'll how we do things down at the farm."
The darkness fell gently, like a soft, dark blanket being lain over a foal by its mother. The stars were out in full force, twinkling brightly in great multitudes. The nights had been exponentially more beautiful ever since Princess Luna had returned to her duties.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders, however, were too busy planning their latest escapade to notice.
"...and when we find it, POOF, our marks will all appear!" said Sweetie Belle.
"Just think, having cutie marks of priceless treasure! It'll be the coolest thing ever!" cheered Scootaloo.
"We'll be just as cool as Indianna Pones!" finished Apple Bloom.
A hoof-drawn map was spread out inbetween the fillies. "CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS ARCHEOLOGISTS!" was written in thick lettering at the top of the illustration. It depicted a crude sketch of Ponyville and the surrounding countryside done in crayon. A meandering dotted line snaked its way from a poor replica of the Carousel Boutique, out of town, and into the dark green patch taking up the lower half of the map. The line comically looped around a few times before ending in a red "X" drawn over what looked to be a ruined castle. Next to the castle was writing in smaller lettering:
The three fillies rolled up the map and jumped into bed. They needed the rest.
After all, they were leaving first thing in the morning.