‘Well, Bruce? Where would you start?’ Twilight mused to herself, staring at the shelves upon shelves of books within the Town Hall Archives.
Like any good government building, the Ponyville Town Hall kept a record of all newspapers that was circulated within town up to fifty years back from the current date, and a record of world news that was circulated up to a hundred years back. They weren’t kept as actual newspapers, as those tended to decompose fairly quickly, but in magically preserved books.
The advent of the computer a decade ago also kicked off what many ponies are calling the Digital Age, leading to many towns and cities to begin the conversion from paper records to digital records. Twilight marvelled for a moment at the difference between Human technology and Equestrian technology. The levels were roughly the same, though automobiles and some other odds and ends were understandably absent. The ways the technologies worked were different. For one, computers were based on crystals instead of computer chips. The make, growth, and even size of the crystal installed within a computer determined both its processing power, RAM, and even memory. Earth computers were far more modular, but Equestrian computers were far more powerful. Magic charged crystals also tended to be the source of fuel for most machines, though electricity was also utilized.
Again, automobiles were strangely absent, even though the ponies had the technology to make them.
Twilight shook her head and refocused on the task at hand.
Being a small town that wasn’t very invested in technology in the first place, Ponyville had yet to even begin the change to digital records. So that meant Twilight had a lot of work ahead of her. She had come here to search for any mentions of the thief Shifter in the world news archive.
‘I guess the best place to start would be recent news,’ Twilight mused, moving to a pull a nearby book from a shelf. It was titled “999-1000 C.E.”.
She had a feeling this was going to take a while.
Two days later…
Her head turned, a bit of blood and spittle flying from her mouth after the solid hit. She rallied by using the momentum to spin around and send a kick at her opponent. It was blocked, though her opponent grunted from the exertion that it required, and got a grip on her leg.
Twilight’s ears drooped as Rainbow Dash grinned. “Oh craaaaAAAAAAH!” she cried as she was flipped up and over, and slammed into the ground back first with a hard impact. Rainbow Dash let go of her and jumped up, her forehooves extended in an obvious attempt to slam into Twilight’s chest.
The Mare-of-Steel-currently-getting-her-plot-handed-to-her rolled to the side and lashed out with a leg, catching Rainbow Dash’s legs just as they hit the ground and sweeping them out. Rainbow Dash squawked as she hit the ground face first in an undignified mess. Twilight leapt on her, but Rainbow Dash lashed out with her own kicked straight into the mare’s face, making her stagger back and yelp in pain.
Rainbow Dash followed up with a second and third kick in rapid succession, using her wings to maintain her closeness to Twilight. She then performed a backflip, catching Twilight on the chin just as she managed to get her bearings. Rainbow Dash landed on all fours in a ready position, wings flared.
Twilight landed on her back with a hard flop, groaning. She didn’t get back up.
Rainbow Dash smirked “Got you,” she declared, before relaxing. She helped Twilight up, and frowned at the swelling on her friend’s face. “You gonna be okay Twi?” she asked.
Twilight nodded, and her wounds glowed with a faint yellow light briefly before slowly healing. She felt her solar radiation reserves drain a good deal, but ultimately still a negligible amount.
A fair amount of passing townsfolk that had been caught up in the spectacle started clapping. They were in Town Square after all.
“Thanks for this, Rainbow,” Twilight said, grabbing a couple water bottles with her magic and bringing them over. She floated one over the Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash waved a hoof flippantly. “Nah, happy to help. Once you told us you needed help refining your fighting style for the pony body, I knew my karate training could help.” She grabbed the offered water and started chugging. After a moment she stopped with a pleased sigh. “Hah… much better. Anyways, tell me again how you made it so I could actually do something to you and not… you know, break my hoof on your face?” she asked.
Twilight finished drinking her own water and answered. “It’s a trick I picked up a few years before Clark died. You know how my powers are fueled by solar radiation, right?” Rainbow Dash nodded. “I basically found the hose that funnels the energy to my powers and closed a valve on it, preventing my powers from being active.” She shrugged. “I have to actively be concentrating to keep it up, but it’s not too hard to do during a spar.”
Rainbow Dash glanced at her and narrowed her eyes. “You dumbed that down for the lowly dropout, didn’t you?”
Twilight grinned. “I figured it was better than trying to explain the rather complicated anatomy of a Kryptonian. I wasn’t even sure it would work, considering my body’s not Kryptonian.”
Rainbow Dash sniggered. “Yeah, well, all the same it still felt like I was hitting sandbags and blocking cinderblocks. If nothing else, you aren’t getting hurt by anything less than a mountain dropped on your head from orbit.”
Twilight laughed. “Been there, stopped the mountain, and still only got some minor bruising from it.” At Rainbow Dash’s lowered jaw, she smirked. “There was only one physical substance on Earth that could hurt me, and it’s impossible for it to be here in this world. I could get crushed between planets and the worst I’d get from it is a migraine and heightened levels of annoyance.”
“... I’m beginning to see why the Hero Soul thing is a big deal,” Rainbow Dash admitted. “I don’t think even the Princesses would walk away from that.” It was clear she was in awe.
“Hey! That was awesome!” an unfamiliar voice called out.
The two friends looked over and spotted a green Unicorn with bright blue eyes walking towards them. His mane was styled like flames, but colored blue with light blue highlights. He was grinning excitedly.
Rainbow Dash, predictably, preened at the praise, while Twilight blushed and looked away, rubbing her neck in embarrassment. “Thanks! I was just helping my friend here learn Karate. I’m a black-belt myself, so obviously I was the best choice for teaching her.”
Twilight gave an internal sigh of relief at Rainbow Dash’s quick cover. She wasn’t learning Karate, just how martial arts applied to the pony body so she knew how to apply it to her own personal martial arts style.
“I can see that,” the Unicorn nodded. He extended a hoof to Twilight. “My name is River Run.” He shook Twilight’s hoof, and then Rainbow Dash’s. “I was exploring the town when the fighting caught my attention.”
“New in town?” Rainbow Dash asked. “I’m surprised Pinkie hasn’t tracked you down yet.”
River Run looked at her and opened his mouth to ask, but instead yelped when a pink mare was suddenly in his face, her blue eyes drilling into his. “Hi!” she exclaimed with a massive grin. “I’m Pinkie Pie! I work at Sugarcube Corner and like making my friends smile. Who are you? What’s your job? What do you like to do?” she asked.
River Run blinked at the rapid-fire introduction and questions. “Er… hi?” He shook his head and focused, extending a hoof to Pinkie Pie. “I’m River Run. I’m afraid I don’t currently have a job, but I guess that’s more because I tend to get restless when I stay in one place for too long. I like travelling.”
Pinkie Pie narrowed her eyes at River Run, and he looked distinctly uncomfortable at the suspicious gaze. Then Pinkie was grinning again. “Okie-Dokie-Loki! Welcome to Ponyville!” With that, she began bouncing away.
River stared after her, slightly frazzled. “Ah… Thanks?”
Twilight and Rainbow Dash fell to hysterics at his expression. He soon started chuckling as well, realizing how he must look. “Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever been welcomed to a town like that,” he admitted.
“Welcome to Ponyville,” Rainbow Dash managed through her laughter. “Check your sanity at the door.”
“That’s normal?” he asked in concern.
“No, that’s Pinkie Pie. Don’t question her.” Rainbow Dash became serious momentarily. “Seriously, don’t. It only ever ends in headaches.”
River Run nodded slowly. “Okay…” he agreed.
“Come on, I’ll show you around town,” Rainbow Dash offered, beginning to walk off. She stopped and looked back at Twilight. “That is, if we’re done?”
Twilight waved them off. “Go on. I’ve had enough of seeing my dignity get torn up for the day.”
Rainbow Dash snickered and walked away, River Run following.