• Published 26th May 2013
  • 1,427 Views, 162 Comments

No Heroes Part II - The Journey Home - PaulAsaran



Fine Crime and Princess Luna have chosen their team. Now there's just the minor problem of bringing them together. Every team needs a base of operations, and what place better than Ponyville?

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Heart on his Hoof - The Founding

He eyed himself in the mirror. Teeth clean? Tie straight? Mane combed? Tail combed? Coat groomed?

Jimmy stood in the doorway, looking amused. “You do know you don’t exactly cut a dashing figure, don’t you?”

Nye turned to his brother to strike an exaggeratedly proud pose. “You’re just jealous ‘cause you don’t have the mare’s beating down your door.”

Jimmy rolled his eyes with a smirk. “It’s our door, and there hasn’t been a mare banging on it in ever.”

“Well yeah,” the younger brother declared with an accusing gesture, “you keep scaring them off.”

The elder twin merely laughed as they went to the kitchen. “You’re not going to go after Fluttershy again, are you?”

“Oh no,” Nye shook his head before grabbing the heart-shaped box of chocolates he’d acquired and setting it in his saddlebag carefully. “I learned my lesson from the last two years. She’s probably not even in town.”

“Then who are you after now?”

“Octavia!” Jimmy facefaulted. “What?”

“Trust me on this, bro,” the elder twin answered, “she’s not interested.”

“How would you know?” Nye asked critically. “It’s not like you ever do anything with mares. You’ve got a libido comparable to a rock.”

Jimmy laughed again and shrugged, giving up. “Alright, ignore my advice. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

And so Nye left, trotting along happily in the bright sun. Hearts and Hooves Day. His favorite holiday of the year. Granted he’d never had much success getting a special somepony before, but he never let that stop him! Every year he went out to find a mare-friend, always confident that this would be his year. It never was, but so what? He couldn’t strike out forever.

A shadow flashed across him, and he glanced up curiously. A lightning bolt and a rainbow were darting through the skies, clouds disintegrating as they zipped past. He grinned and reared back. “Hey, Rainbow!”

An instant later and the pegasus was hovering overhead, grinning. “Hey Nye, what’s up?”

“Me!” he declared happily. “You’re working on a holiday?”

She shrugged indifferently. “Hey, the weather stops for nopony.” She eyed him with a knowing grin. “Look at you all spiffed up. You going to Fluttershy’s place again?”

He grimaced. “Geez, no. I want my gift to be one in a million, not one of the millions.” He glanced around as if expecting to see something. “Say, why don’t I ever see you with some stallion?”

She laughed nervously, flew a quick flip and posed. “Come on, Nye! I’m too busy maintaining my awesome reputation to worry about getting a special somepony! Besides,” she waved a dismissive hoof, “I’ve got to wait for the right guy to ask.”

“Hey Rainbow!” Lightning Dust appeared above the two of them, looking annoyed. “Stop talking to your stallion-friend and get up here! These clouds won’t bust themselves.”

The blue pegasus rolled her eyes and made a grumbling sound. “Yeah yeah, I’m coming. Good luck, Nye!”

“Don’t need it!” he shouted as the two darted into the sky once more.


Octavia stared at the box of candies, an expression of dull disbelief on her face. “I… appreciate the thought, Nye. But I can’t accept.”

He felt his heart sink a little. He tried to speak through the box, put it away and tried again. “But why not?”

She raised her head proudly but smiled all the same, patting him gently on the cheek. “You’re a good guy, Nye. A good friend.” He cringed; he hated that line. “But I’m just not interested in stallions right now.”

He tilted his head, blushed at the image in his mind. “Are you saying you’re a fooling filly?”

Her uncharacteristically raucous laughter took him aback. He stared uncertainly at her for several seconds while she fought to recover. “Oooh, I am so sorry,” she huffed between giggles, “it’s just… it’s just something Jimmy once told me…” And she broke into laughter once more.

Nye lowered his head a little, his happy mood deflated just a touch. And he’d had such high hopes regarding her…

“I…I’m sorry, Nye,” the cellist managed after she finally recovered. “I didn’t mean to… I’m not laughing at you, I promise.” She rubbed a tear from her eye and grinned. “And no, I’m not interested in mares. I’m just not looking for a relationship right now, that’s all.”

“Oh…” It was too late; the image in his mind wouldn’t go away, and it made him blush even more. “It’s alright, I understand.”

“Don’t worry about it, Nye,” she told him kindly, “I’m sure there’s a mare out there who’d love to be your special somepony.” And the door closed, her giggles echoing through the wood.

He sighed and turned away sadly. He had so wanted it to be Octavia; she was that rare kind of classy beauty. What he wouldn’t have given…

No! He raised his head and shook off this defeat. She might be the prettiest mare in Ponyville, but she was by no means the only mare in Ponyville! She was right; surely there was somepony out there who’d accept him.

And he knew exactly who to go for next…


Rarity took a step back from him in surprise. “Oh no no no, Nye! You're asking me to be your special somepony? Again?”

“Ummm… yes?” He said from around the box of chocolates in his mouth.

She batted her eyes prettily, “Oh I am honored that you would think of me, really,” she claimed with a winning smile, “but I told you last time that I simply must wait for a charming elite stallion of Canterlot! You know,” she added with a dainty touch of her mane, “the kind that would skyrocket me into the life of high society.”

“Yeah,” Spike snapped, grabbing Nye’s tie and jerking it so he could look the stallion in the eye, “and besides: she’s mine.”

Nye jerked himself free and put the chocolates away. “Really Spike?” he asked, “How are you going to land her into the land of the rich and famous?”

“Hey hey,” the little dragon countered, gesturing to himself proudly, “I know Fancy Pants!”

“So does she.”

Spike blushed, glowered, tried again. “Well I know Princess Celestia!”

“So does she.”

The dragon sagged, a dull grumpy expression on his face. “I’m just gonna, alright?”

“Aaaww, isn’t he a cute little Spikey-Wikey?” Rarity asked, patting Spike on the head playfully. “I’m sorry, Nye, but I already agreed to let Spike spend the entire day with me.” Spike perked right up and struck a gallant pose. “After all, somepony has to help me with my latest designs and my old pincushion’s just about had it.”

“Hah-ha!”

“Well alright,” Nye muttered with a sigh, ignoring the dragon’s gloat.


He set the chocolates aside so he could ask the question. “Wait a sec, you’re saying no because of what now?”

Twilight sighed as if he were asking the dumbest question in the world. “First of all, Nye, I’m just not interested. I mean you’re a good guy and all, and maybe if we spent some time together, but that would require that I completely readjust my plans for the foreseeable future. There’s just no way I could squeeze you in and do everything I’ve already got scheduled!”

He blinked, glanced around the library in mild confusion, rubbed his head. “You’re serious?”

“YES!” She trotted over to a large book and used her magic to lift it up and thrust it in his face. “Look at how ridiculously busy I already am!”

“Whoa…” he tried to process all the words and numbers and scribblings. “How do you fit this much stuff into a month?”

“A month?” she asked incredulously, “That’s just next week.”

“Oh.” He sat on his rump, stared at the book for a moment. “OH. Uhh… well, oookay, I guess that answers my question. Nice visiting with you and all but I think I’ll be moving on and… uh… bye!”

His conclusion: that mare was crazy.


Nye was rather annoyed with how his day had gone so far. He'd asked over a dozen ponies by now! But he wasn’t about to give up hope. Surely there was some mare in this town who might be interested – and not a little nutso at the same time. He knew it was pointless, but he decided to go ahead and visit Fluttershy’s cottage. It was more to just confirm his suspicions, of course.

And, as expected, he turned the corner to find her cottage surrounded by eager stallions.

“I wouldn’t bother if I were you.”

Nye was startled by the voice, turned and was surprised to see Fine Crime lying with his back against a tree, watching the scene. He trotted up to the unicorn uncertainly. “I wasn’t really going to… but what are you doing here?”

“Watching,” Fine declared with a smile. “It’s rather amusing to see them scramble for her attention.”

He glanced towards the cottage; stallions were at her door and her windows, vying for the opportunity to talk to the poor pegasus who, as far as he could tell, was nowhere to be seen. “They do look rather ridiculous, I must admit.” He sighed and sat next to the unicorn with a bemused expression. “It’s been like this every Heart and Hooves Day since she had that brief stint as a fashion model. Is she even home?”

“Oh she is,” Fine claimed confidently. “Somepony convinced her to stick around.”

“Like who?”

“I think you’ll find out before long,” the unicorn declared with a grin.

Nye studied him curiously. “Don’t you have something better to do today? I mean, like find a mare-friend?”

Fine waved a dismissive hoof. “I’ll get a date with royalty later.”

“Right…”

“No, really.” He grinned mischievously. “I do it every year. Two years ago I swatted Princess Cadance on the flank. Didn’t sleep a wink that night!” He sobered and added in a dry tone, “of course it was only afterwards I found out she was a fake… but hey, foreign royalty is still royalty, right?”

Nye rolled his eyes but decided he wanted to see where this was going. “And last year?”

“Princess Celestia,” he announced. “Swatted her on the flank, too. All I got for my trouble was a wink though. Damn tease.”

Nye gave him a dubious look. “Where do you come up with this stuff?”

Fine took on a high-browed, prissy pose. “I scoff at your disbelief.” Nye couldn’t resist laughing.

Abruptly their vision was obscured by a bright white light that made Nye shield his eyes in alarm. When he looked towards the cottage again he was shocked to find that all the stallions had disappeared. In their places, scattered all around the cottage, were potted plants.

“What the…?”

Another flash of light, and suddenly there was a creature the likes of which Nye had never seen floating above the plants, laughing hysterically. But even if he’d never seen it before, he knew what it was: a draconequus.

A moment later and Fluttershy emerged from the cottage with an alarmed expression. “Discord! This isn’t what I had in mind!”

“What?” The thing lazed back against her mailbox with a smug grin, “you wanted them gone, didn’t you? Besides, I thought you liked flowers.”

“Well yes, I do,” she acknowledged as she floated over the plants, “but I meant for you to just… send them away or something.”

“D’aww, but that’s so boring,” he declared with a friendly wave of his paw. “Besides, I promise I’ll turn them back later.” He rubbed his bearded chin for a moment deviously. “Actually, you know what? You’re right: this is boring! What was I thinking?”

“Oh it’s alright, Discord,” the pegasus announced pleasantly, “you just change them back and…”

The draconequus snapped his fingers, and suddenly all the flowers were transformed into tall vines with terrified pony faces for flowers. The vines squirmed and shook and twisted about frantically, making Discord laugh some more. “Now this is much better!”

“Discord!”

“Oh look,” the creature cried, finally spotting Nye and Fine on the hill, “I missed some!” Nye was prepared to run, but before he could Discord snapped his fingers and was in front of them. He snatched up the terrified stallion and asked in a friendly fashion, “Well, since I had the terrible manners of leaving you out I’ll give you the choice. So what would you like? A turtle? A bat? Oh, I know: a cake! I’ll turn you into a cake and then gift-wrap you for Princess Celestia! Won’t that be fun?”

“I don’t think she’d fall for it,” Fine Crime noted, still lazing by his tree.

“Not helping!” Nye cried frantically.

But the draconequus forget his threat for the moment as he turned to the unicorn with a wicked grin. “You underestimate my powers of deception, boy-oh,” he announced, and raised his hand in preparation…

“Discord!” Fluttershy cried, floating between him and Fine before he could snap his fingers, “you put him down! Nye’s a friend.”

“Oh?” Discord eyed Nye so closely he thought their eyeballs might touch, “so they’re not here to annoy you like all those other stallions?”

“Of course not,” Nye cried, shaking his head violently. “Nope, not me, never dream of it!”

“Oh,” Fine Crime threw in playfully, “so you’re saying Fluttershy’s ugly?”

“Would you shut up!?” Nye caught sight of his box of chocolates that had floated out of his saddlebag to hover before Discord's face. “Hey, give those back!”

Discord smiled smugly as the box opened and the treats floated out. “But if you’re not here to bother Fluttershy then you won’t mind if I have a taste!” And he promptly ate the box. Not the chocolates: the box itself.

Nye stared, scratched his head in confusion. “Err… wasn’t expecting that.”

Fluttershy giggled. “I appreciate the help, Discord, really. But all I want is for them to leave me alone.”

“And they will,” he declared, spreading his hands as if to display wisdom – dropping Nye on the hard ground as he did. “Just think, once I turn them back they’ll think twice before coming to bother you again.”

She sighed, smiled. “I guess that’s true…”

Nye sat up, rubbing his aching head. “Hey, what about my chocolates? How am I supposed to… erm… I mean…”

“What?” The draconequus hovered over his head with a smarmy expression, “Did you need them for something?”

“Discord, give him back the box,” Fluttershy told him sweetly, “please?”

“Oh fine,” he grumbled, snapping his fingers; the box appeared in a flash of light before Nye, opened to show it still had all its candy, and landed gently on the grass. “These two aren’t that much fun, anyway.”

“Thank you,” she said proudly. “Now, if you could just…”

“Come on,” Discord cried, abruptly flying high up in the air, “I have this great idea. Meet me at the chicken coop!” And with a snap of his fingers and a flash of light he was gone again.

The yellow pegasus landed on the hill with a sigh and gave the two stallions an apologetic look. “I’m so sorry you two, but you should probably leave before he… umm… turns you into a pineapple or… or something.” And she was galloping down the hill, looking not just a little worried about whatever this ‘idea’ of Discord’s was.

“She doesn’t have to tell me twice,” Nye grumbled, closing his box of candies and putting it away. He glanced at Fine, who hadn’t moved from his spot by the tree. “You coming?”

“Are you kidding?” the unicorn asked with a grin, “I haven’t been this amused since I got Princess Luna drunk and convinced the moon was out to get her!”

Nye rolled his eyes and decided not to challenge that one.


It took some time to find Applejack. She was far out in the fields, knocking apples off of trees as usual. She was happy to take a break to chat with Nye… until he pulled out the box of chocolates.

“Now hold on, Sugarcube,” she told him sharply, “did ya come all the way out here just to ask what I think yer gonna ask?”

He set the box down and grinned. “Third time’s a charm?”

She sighed and shook her head with a smile. “Ya never give up, do ya?”

“Not when there’s still a pretty pony to ask,” he acknowledged happily.

“I told ya before, Nye: yer just…”

“…not your type, I know,” he concluded with a shrug. “I keep thinking you’ll change your mind after a year of seeing how awesome I am.”

She gave him a good-humored look and quipped, “Sorry Nye, but yer just not quite ‘awesome’ enough. Better luck next year.”

He laughed to hide his disappointment. “What is your type, anyway?”

“That’s none of yer business,” she answered with a blush. “Ya try Fluttershy yet?”

He nodded glumly. “She’s got Discord warding off potential suitors this year.”

That made the farm pony stare. “Discord? Really?” He nodded. “Well, I guess if anypony can help her escape the herds of stallions beatin’ down her door, it’s him. What about Rarity?”

He shook his head. “I’ve gone to every available mare in town already, Applejack. And to be truthful, I wasn’t expecting you to leap into my hooves.” He nudged the box towards her dejectedly. “I just thought I might offer ‘em, is all.”

“Hey, don’t sweat it, Sugarcube,” she offered kindly. “But ya know, I really think yer tryin' too hard.”

He blinked and tilted his head. “What do you mean?”

“I mean yer always so aggressive. I understand ya might feel a tad lonely and all-” He sagged a little at that. “-but seriously, Nye, yer goin’ after mares just because they’re mares. By now they all know yer just chasin’ tail.”

He shrugged. “Well what am I supposed to do?”

“Slow down,” she offered. “Stop goin' for the date and try gettin’ to know ‘em first. That way they can get ta know ya, in return.”

He considered this for a few seconds glumly, not really sure what to say. After a while the orange pony pushed the chocolates back to him with a sigh. “You keep this, Sugarcube. Seems ta me yer needin' it more than me.”


He trudged his way through town, heading back home. It was well past noon and he’d exhausted all his options. Another Hearts and Hooves Day without a special somepony, another year to go about repairing his confidence. How could a stallion strike out so often?

He kept running Applejack’s words through his head, feeling like a fool for not really getting how they were meant to help. Letting the mares get to know him? They already knew him, didn’t they? He was Nye, he ran a coffee and cocoa shop, lived with his twin brother. What more was there to know? And as for him knowing mares… wasn’t that the whole point of asking them out, to get to know them? Sure he had an eye for certain… ‘attributes,’ but how could he get beyond that if they didn’t give him a chance?

“Hey bro.”

He looked up to find Jimmy walking towards him from the grocery stalls, a big bag of ingredients strapped to both sides of his saddle. “Oh… hey Jim.”

His brother eyed him sympathetically. “Struck out again, did ya?”

“Well…” the younger twin muttered, “at least I tried… right?”

“You say that every year,” Jimmy noted. “Did it make you feel any better this time?”

“Never does,” he admitted glumly.

Jim looked at Nye’s saddlebag. “Hey, you still got the chocolates? Don’t you usually offer them to Applejack?”

“She said I needed ‘em more than her,” Nye grumped. “She’s right, I guess.”

Jimmy shrugged, and for a few seconds the two walked towards home in silence. “Kinda hard to believe. I thought you’d get Rainbow this year.”

“Rainbow?” Nye asked grumpily, “Why would I ask Rainbow?”

A moment’s pause.

WHACK.

Nye dropped to his knees and held his head tightly for a moment, cringing against the pain. Then he jumped up and turned on his brother. “What the hell was that for!?”

“What do you mean, ‘Why would I ask Rainbow’?” Jimmy snapped. “Are you seriously that dense?”

“What are you talking about?”

Jimmy facehoofed. “You mean you didn’t ask her? You really didn’t ask her?”

“Of course not,” Nye snapped. “She’s my best friend! You don’t ask your best friend to be your special somepony, it’s just weird.”

WHACK.

“Would you stop that!? It really hurts!”

“You have got to be the stupidest pony to have ever earned an engineer’s degree,” his brother declared angrily. “How could you not ask Rainbow Dash?”

“Because,” Nye countered angrily, sitting on his haunches. “I spend all my time with her! She’s friendly and fun and we love hanging out. Asking her to be… to be…”

Applejack’s words echoed in his head for a moment. “…she's my friend and makes me laugh… and I… I… I gotta go.”

He turned to run off, jerked to a stop, came back to bump Jimmy’s waiting hoof. “Thank you.”

And he was off again, galloping at full speed.

Jimmy rolled his eyes with an exasperated smile. “What an idiot.”


“Rainbow!”

He found her napping at their favorite pond just outside of town. The pegasus jerked awake at his shout and looked down from her high limb to see him, sitting and out of breath. “Nye?” She flew down to land in front of him, studying him with a concerned look. “You okay, buddy? You look like you just ran half-across Equestria.”

He didn’t say anything; he just reached back and grabbed the chocolates, setting them down between the two of them.

She stared at them in surprise… and then her expression dropped to bland annoyance. She turned those eyes on him, and he lowered his head behind his blonde mane guiltily. “You’re offering me candy?”

He nodded.

“You spoke to me this morning about the whole thing.”

Nod.

“You went to every mare in Ponyville, didn’t you?”

Nod.

“And got rejected by every last one of them.”

Nod.

“And now you’re coming to me…”

Nod.

“…probably the very first mare you saw this morning.”

He winced, glanced down at the chocolates miserably, then back up at her.

“So give me one good reason I should accept ‘em.”

Here it goes. He took a deep breath…

“I’m sorry Rainbow I really am but I went all over town talking to all those mares and then Applejack talked to me about getting to know mares instead of just chasing tail and Jimmy kept hitting me on the head and telling me I was an idiot and then I realized I already know a mare and I am an idiot and you always make me laugh and I’m always so happy when you show up and we spend so much time together and I’m an idiot idiot idiot for not realizing it sooner that I was even willing to go fight ghost-zombie-things for you and then you rescued me too and now I get that all this time I was chasing after tails when I already liked you and should have been chasing you all this time but I’m not chasing your tail I just really really like you and I was so stupid for not even realizing it until when Jimmy whacked me over the head and Applejack told me to get to know somepony and I’m probably just making it worse and should stop talking now but will you please please please forgive me for being such an idiot and be my special somepony ‘cause you’re already my special somepony and I just didn’t know it and now I’m just repeating myself so I’m gonna stop talking right now and… and… and…”

He huffed and puffed, finally out of breath. Rainbow had leaned back during the hastily-produced speech, eyes wide in genuine surprise. He kept his head down and eyed her from behind his mane, feeling like a complete and utter fool. She wasn’t going to accept, there was no way, but at least he’d got it all out of his system.

Rainbow stared wide-eyed at him for some time, as if trying to take in everything he’d just said. But then, finally, she smiled. “Nye… you are without a doubt the dumbest stallion I’ve ever met.”

He sighed and sagged a little more, if it were possible.

And then she took the box, opened it, and popped a chocolate in her mouth.

He sat up with a jerk, eyes wide. “You… you mean you accept?”

She grinned and hit him lightly on the shoulder. “Only because that was one heck of an apology!”

He huffed a weak, shaky laugh. “Well… well that’s great…! I mean… as long as you don’t mind having a loser like me for a stallion-friend…”

She shrugged and jumped into the air to strike a confident pose. “Hey, even Daring Do needs a bumbling hanger-on!”

He chuckled, relief and happiness flowing through him. “You mean the one that eventually wins her over due to his persistence?”

She blushed and landed. “Y-yeah… that’s the one. Now… err… stop trying to get me all mushed up. It’s not good for my image. Come on, we’ve got candy to eat!”


Fine Crime sat atop the hill in the fields not far from Fluttershy’s cottage. He stared up at the waning moon quietly, waiting. It was a beautiful night, perfect for an occasion such as this. A gentle breeze was blowing, making the tall grasses sway majestically. The Everfree Forest, just on the edge of his vision, swished and flowed like a distant ocean. A peaceful, quiet night. Perfect. All the world asleep.

Well, not all the world.

A bolt of lightning streak across the moon, turned at a sharp angle and shot down towards him. Lightning Dust came to an abrupt stop, hovering just above him and looking very annoyed. “Alright, Fine, I came.”

“You’re later than I expected,” he admitted.

She glowered and landed on the soft grass. “I had to make sure Keen was actually asleep this time. She always wants to share the bed.”

He nodded understandingly. “Still having nightmares?”

“It’s only been a couple weeks,” she noted sadly. “The kind of stuff she’s seen will take a lifetime to get over.”

“Well maybe after tonight you can get her some professional help,” he offered gently.

She raised an eyebrow. “Uhh, yeah, whatever. Now why the heck am I out here? If you’re about to ask me to be your special somepony I’ll buck you clear across town!”

“Better him than us,” somepony called from the bottom of the hill. They both turned to see the twins Jimmy and Nye walking up to them – the younger brother with a noticeable spring in his step.

“Hey Lightning,” Jimmy said as they reached the top of the hill, “Fine call you out here, too?”

“Uh-huh,” she answered, giving the beaming Nye a questioning look. “What are you so cheery about?”

“Him?” Jimmy asked with a grin, hitting his brother on the shoulder lightly, “He finally asked Rainbow Dash to be his mare-friend.”

Lightning gawked. “And she said yes!?”

“She sure did,” Nye answered, face glowing.

Lightning turned away and muttered something to herself about somepony lacking taste, though the twins clearly didn’t hear it.

“We’re here,” came a new voice. All eyes turned to the bottom of the hill again, where Octavia walked up to them with a serious expression, a nervous Upper Crust following behind. “Looks like everyone showed up.”

“Everyone?” Lightning asked, “so you were in on this?”

“I’ve been ‘in’ on a lot of things,” the cellist answered. She turned her gaze upon Fine. “So I guess this means it’s finally time?” He nodded.

“Hey, Upper Crust,” Nye called to the unicorn happily, “didn’t expect to see you out here.”

“That makes two of us,” she admitted anxiously, “but Octavia said it was important… so here I am.”

“And I’m glad you all could come,” Fine Crime noted, having walked to stand apart from them. “It’s time to make things official.”

“Official?” Jimmy asked.

“Make what official?” Upper Crust added.

He turned to them, face solemn. “Some things need to be explained to all of you. I know you all have had a lot of questions about me.”

Lightning hovered in the air and huffed critically, hooves crossed. “What makes you think I care?”

“I do have a lot of things I’d like cleared up, actually,” Jimmy noted seriously.

“Me too,” Nye mentioned. “Like who you really work for, and why you seem to know so much about all of us.”

“Indeed,” Upper Crust declared. “We know so little about you, and yet you act as if you’ve known us for years.”

“In a way,” Octavia told them quietly, “he has.” She turned away nervously when they all turned their eyes on her.

“Octavia knows what I am going to tell you,” Fine Crime interrupted before any of them could say anything to her. “She knows because back in the Crystal Empire she chose to stick around and listen to what I had to say while all of you went your own ways.”

Lightning flew a little closer to give him an interrogating look. “And what exactly does Octavia know that we don’t, huh?”

He studied them all somberly as he answered. “She knows that for the past three years I have been traveling all across Equestria looking for a select group of ponies, ponies who would become members of a small team. I personally tested each qualifying candidate to see who would make the cut and who would be left alone. In the end, we chose the five of you.”

They all gave one another startled looks.

“Alright, Fine, seriously,” Jimmy said unpleasantly, “someday you’re going to shock us all and tell the truth.”

“This is no lie,” Fine snapped, and his tone made their dubious expressions fade. “Each and every one of you showed the qualities we wanted for this team. Octavia, who displayed devotion, integrity, determination, leadership and kindness, was the fourth candidate.

“Nye, you maintained your social, optimistic nature even when your own life was falling to pieces, and have the honor of being the first pony aside from her sister to befriend Princess Luna, a true indicator of your character. You were number two.

“Jimmy, you overcame your own life’s desire and your fear of your father to do what you knew was right. Number three.

“Lightning, no matter the situation, no matter how depressed or unprepared you ever were, no matter what you thought your personal reasons were, when the time came and somepony needed help you always answered the call, without hesitation or doubt. Number five.

“And you, Upper Crust,” he said, turning to her and smiling pleasantly, “when nopony else would help, when the situation was most dire, you overcame your lack of self-confidence and your personal fears to do what needed to be done. You were the first.”

She blushed, shifted nervously, turned her head away in embarrassment.

“Okay,” Lightning, noted seriously, landing in the grass once more, “okay, I’ll admit: that was a pretty good job buttering us up. I still don’t believe it.”

But the others didn’t seem so sure anymore.

Jimmy stepped forward and spoke hesitantly. “And… what exactly are we supposed to do in this… team?”

Fine Crime smiled. “For that, I think I’d best turn things over to my boss.”

They all looked around, as if expecting to find somepony they’d not noticed before, but of course there was no one. It was Upper Crust who spoke up. “What boss?”

Fine turned to face the moon, concentrated for a few seconds on his magic. His horn glowed brightly, shining like a star in the night. He let it shine for a few seconds, then let it fade.

“What was that supposed to do?” Nye asked uncertainly after a few moments passed in silence.

“It was a signal,” Fine answered patiently.

“A signal for what?” Lightning asked.

He saw the shadow cover the moon and grinned. Turning back to them, he answered. “A signal that the team is at last ready to meet her.”

The shadow soon covered the moon, catching every pony’s attention. They stared in wonder as it solidified, emerged, and floated down on vast dark sapphire wings that were almost invisible in the night sky. Princess Luna landed beside Fine, tall and proud and beautiful among the stars.

“Holy holies…” Jimmy muttered eve as all the ponies dropped to a rapid bow.

Nye was the first to get back up. “Princess Luna! You mean it’s true? Fine really works for… for you?”

“Yes my friend,” she answered calmly, smiling. “I asked him long ago to assist me in finding the perfect ponies for this little group of mine.” The rest of the ponies stood. With the exception of Octavia they were all staring at Fine or the Princess in complete shock. “I understand this comes as something of a surprise.”

“Just a little,” Nye declared. “Why didn’t you tell me!?”

“It was important that none of you know until we were certain you’d still be around for this moment,” Fine Crime explained helpfully.

Lightning, nervous but unable to resist, pointed a hoof at Octavia. “What about her? She knew before all of us, right?”

“I did,” the cellist admitted anxiously.

“Fine Crime and I had no doubts that Octavia would agree to work with us,” Princess Luna announced, giving Octavia a polite nod that made her blush in embarrassment. “And if the rest of you had come after the defeat of King Sombra, you would have known long ago.”

Jimmy stepped forward timidly. “Umm… Princess… my brother and I… we would willingly help you in any way we can. But… I don’t understand how the lot of us could really make a big difference in… well… anything! What exactly do you intend for us to do?”

Fine and the Princess gave one another calm looks, as if sharing some secret message, before the Princess stepped forward to answer. “You will assist the Elements of Harmony.”

“The Elements…?” Upper Crust lost her voice for a moment. “…how are we supposed to do that? Help them do what?”

“Whatever they need,” she replied. Her horn glowed for a brief moment, and then a book appeared before her. As it opened and pages began to flip she said, “There are things that I believe will soon happen. If I am correct, then Equestria will face something dangerous, and I fear that the Bearers of the Elements will not be ready. After my return I spent many months reviewing the lore surrounding my existence that were created over the last thousand years. There is one story that bothers me, which I shall quote now. This comes from the legend of the Mare in the Moon.”

The pages at last stopped turning, and the Princess read directly from an excerpt. “On the longest day of the thousandth year the stars will aid in her escape, and she will bring about nighttime eternal.” The booked closed quietly as she passed her regal gaze upon them all. “Does nopony find anything strange about this passage?”

They all gave one another uncertain looks. For several seconds none of them could think of anything. At last, Fine Crime stepped up to them, catching their attention. “The stars.”

“The stars?” Jimmy asked, glancing up at the sky uncertainly. “What about them?”

“When I was imprisoned on the moon,” the Princess explained, “I had lost all access to the skies. My sister, Celestia, controlled day and night alone. And if that is the case,” she concluded darkly, “how could the stars, which were entirely under her control, possibly have assisted in my escape?”

A moment of confused silence. “Umm… maybe it’s… just a phrase. I mean, who knows who wrote that passage,” Nye ventured uncertainly.

But Luna shook her head. “No Nye, I am confident that was not the case. I did not simply escape; somepony freed me. I know it, I could feel the magic. Four beings, all working their powers at once, rescued me from the confines of the moon. I don’t know who, or why; but if they sought my freedom, then surely they have ill intentions towards Equestria.”

“But… to break a seal created by Princess Celestia,” Upper Crust noted fearfully, “that would require powerful magic!”

The Princess nodded solemnly. “And I have found out who at least one of my ‘saviors’ was: King Sombra.” That earned some alarmed sounds from everypony present.

Fine Crime spoke up after giving them a few seconds to process this information. “We know Sombra was working with somepony, or many ponies. The creature Tazel Wyrm said as much to Nye when he and Applejack rescued the Crystal Heart. We are confident that these other individuals also helped to free Nightmare Moon three years ago.”

“But why?” Lightning demanded, “why would anypony want to do that?”

“We don’t have all the answers, Lightning Dust,” Luna answered. “Nor do we understand why it is these entities have not struck again. The only lead we have is the ‘stars’ reference of an old prophecy, which I believe is not a literal statement, nor an embellishment. Rather, I believe the ‘stars’ is an indirect reference to the secret enemies that now threaten Equestria. There are a lot of questions, a lot of pieces to this puzzle that haven’t been found. I felt the need to be prepared… and so I sought all of you.”

It was Nye’s turn to voice doubt. “Princess… us? We’re something of a mottled group, aren’t we? I mean, you’re asking a bunch of underachieving, unsuccessful misfits to back up the most capable and gifted ponies in Equestria. Who have the Elements of Harmony, no less! What can we possibly do that would help?”

“Whatever you can, Mr. Stone.”

“You don’t understand,” Fine Crime added eagerly. “It’s because you’re not the best that you were chosen! Sure, you’ve got problems. We all do. But it’s your ability to overcome those weaknesses that really gives you the strength we’re looking for!”

“All eyes are on the Elements of Harmony,” Luna told them, casting her gaze towards the distant Ponyville. “They are true heroes. But they can’t be everywhere, or be prepared for everything. They’re going to need help someday, whether they know it or not.”

“And what of Princess Celestia?” Upper Crust queried, “Does she know of what you’re doing?”

Luna nodded gravely. “She knows. She is unaware of who has been chosen for this team, but she knows a team is being formed. But she presides over the Elements of Harmony, and so I shall preside over you.”

“So wait,” Lightning interrupted excitedly, “does that mean we get to hold some sort of awesome power thing, too? Like the Elements of Darkness or something cool like that?”

Fine Crime laughed. “No, Lightning. We won’t have any such boon. It’s just us.”

“Us?” Jimmy asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Us,” he confirmed. “Luna requested that I be part of this team, as well.”

Lightning sagged. “Oh boy… you mean I’d have to work with you regularly?”

“So, if we’re a team…” Nye started, but then he paused and looked around at all the ponies present. “Wait… are we a team?”

The question was out. They all shared worried expressions, considered the choice very carefully. It was several long minutes before anypony answered.

In the end it was Upper Crust who first stepped forward. “I… I want to try.”

Her words seemed to have a cascading effect on all of them.

“I don’t know what good I’ll be,” Nye confessed. “If it were Celestia asking, I don't know. But for you, Princess? ...yeah, sign me up.”

“Then I will do what I can as well,” Jimmy declared. “If Nye is in, so am I.”

“I still think this is the craziest idea ever,” Lightning grumbled, “but I’m not about to argue with a Princess. Besides… I owe Fine. I’m in.”

“I said I would do this back in the Crystal Empire,” Octavia announced firmly, “and I meant it.”

“Good…” Fine smiled proudly at all of them. “…good. Princess Luna, you’ve got a team.”

“Thank you, my friends,” the Princess whispered happily. “You do me and all of Equestria a great honor this night.”


They were all gone, back to their homes to think on what they’d just learned and agreed to. Even Princess Luna. Fine was alone in the field once more, musing on his success darkly. He pondered, long and hard, on what he’d just gotten everypony into. Would he regret it later? This team had to work together, and something told him they were a long way from that. He doubted they understood the true importance of what was happening here. Maybe they had an inkling, maybe not.

But then again, he wasn’t even sure if Luna really understood the full implications of her actions.

He rose to his hooves and turned away from the presence. “You know, one of the benefits of having spent an entire lifetime hiding is that you come to recognize when others are sneaking around.”

He waited, listened. Nothing. After some time he sighed and turned his head to the hill behind him. “Fluttershy, come out.”

There was a squeaky, surprised sound. The pegasus peered up from behind the hill nervously and saw he was looking right at her. She disappeared… but a few seconds later came walking over the hill, slowly and with head hung low. She had a nervous, guilty expression on her face. “I… I’m so sorry,” she whispered, stopping a cautious distance from him. “I d-didn’t mean to pry…”

He turned to her, sat on the cool grass. “You heard it all, didn’t you?”

She nodded anxiously. “I’m s-sorry, I g-gathered this was s-supposed to be a private meeting… I just, I saw you all up here from my cottage and… and then I saw the Princess and I…”

He raised his hoof to silence her. “Fluttershy, you don’t have to explain. Truth is, I wanted you to see this. I picked this hill specifically hoping you would.”

She raised her head in perplexity. “You did? Why?”

He stood and walked closer to her, sitting back down when he was right in front of her. “I’ll be honest with you, Fluttershy: I have a problem. I think you can help me.”

“Me?” She glanced around as if thinking he might be intending somepony else. “What kind of problem? And why me?”

“I can’t tell you just yet,” he explained apologetically. “I’m afraid if I do you’ll refuse. I want to build some trust between us first. So to set the wheels in motion, I set this up so you’d know what’s really happening with me and the others and Princess Luna. You and your friends would never believe any of us if we simply told you; this way at least you know the truth.”

“I… I see…” she whispered, looking down with a blush and thinking quietly.

He leaned forward to emphasize his words. “I know most ponies don’t trust me. I tend to lie about some things. But let me make this clear, Fluttershy: from this point onwards, I will never lie to you.”

“Really?”

“I can’t earn your trust through lies,” he pointed out with a smile.

She studied him, thought for a moment. “Umm… in that case, what do you do?”

He blinked, caught off guard by her directness. “You mean… my job?”

She nodded, expression surprisingly firm. “I know you’ve lied about it to everypony who asks. You work for Princess Luna, but how? Just what are you?”

He sagged. “Oi… I really wish you hadn’t asked me that. You won’t believe me.”

“Then you won’t tell me?”

He gave her a stern look, set his hooves on her shoulders for emphasis. “I will tell you only if you promise me one thing: that you never tell another soul. I mean it, Fluttershy: not another soul.”

She stared at him with wide eyes. “Umm… why…?”

“Just promise.”

“…okay… I promise, I won’t tell anypony.”

He kept his eyes locked with hers for several seconds, just to make sure she understood how serious he was. At last he sat back and, with a sigh, said it. “I’m the Mane Archon, chief officer of the Dark Archons of Equestria.”

She blinked, gazed at him for a few more seconds, then gained a sad expression.

“It’s the truth,” he insisted. “The Archons aren’t just a myth, although we like to make sure everypony believes they are.”

“Then how am I supposed to believe you?” she asked uncertainly.

He considered her and the question for a while. “Come to my home, in the Everfree Forest. The proof is there.”

She jumped to her hooves and shook her head fretfully. “Oh no, I couldn’t! I told you, I’m too scared of the Everfree Forest!”

He stood up as well, focusing a serious expression on her. “If you want the truth, you’ll have to come. I’ll go with you, help you along. Think about it, Fluttershy, please. I want your trust, and your help.”

He began to walk past her, onwards to his home. As he did she turned to watch him go. “Why, Fine? Why is it so important that I help you? Surely there's somepony else?”

He paused at the top of the hill, turned his head to gaze down on her sadly. “It must be you. There is nopony else.”

And he was gone in a cloud of black smoke.

Author's Note:

And so ends the second Series of No Heroes. On the one hand, I'm concerned about how this Series seemed to jump from genre to genre and topic to topic, sometimes extremely. But I did want this to feel very episodic, sort of like the show itself, and that was effectively achieved I think.

Nye getting with Rainbow was not originally intended, but it dawned on me while I was writing the last couple Episodes of the last Series and sorta stuck. I couldn't imagine Rainbow being the romantic type, though; I feel that this dodgy, nervous way of showing her interest more suited her personality.

And at last the concept of 'the stars' has been touched upon, albeit vaguely. That line from The Mare in the Moon always bugged me; this entire story was conceived to explain it. It's never going to be directly explained in the story, so I'll just say it now: I'm using 'stars' as an acronym for the names of the main villains of this story: King Sombra, Tazel Wyrm, Mane Archon, R (not yet named in-story), and Silma. Obviously Sombra's already been dealt with... but there's still four to go.

I'm going to try to focus the next Series on both Octavia and Fine Crime, particularly the latter. In Octavia's case we'll get to see some of her background and family, while in Fine's case he and Fluttershy will attempt tor resolve his Bloodmane issue. I'll also name the last of my five villains (in a sense) and, if things go as planned, set the stage for the story's true finale (which will require a Series all its own, if not two).


UPDATE:
Now you, dear reader, face a decision. You can either go straight to Book III and continue this journey, or you can start Lightning's Bolt. Lightning's Bolt starts immediately after Lightning's chapters in Book II and shows her struggle to learn how to live with Keen. She gets some extensive character growth in it – far more than Book III offers – and you also get some small asides that clue you in on why certain things happen in Book III for some of the other characters. Despite all this, it's absolutely not necessary to read Lightning's Bolt before Book III, so it's your call.

Comments ( 50 )

So you have created a group to get rid of the S.T.A.R.S

...

Sounds like you could use this guy
thecontrolleronline.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/resident-evil-operation-raccoon-city-nemesis-6.jpg

2718799 He might be awesome, but he doesn't stand a chance against... come to think of it, I don't wanna spoil anything. :scootangel:

3587255
It's amusing that you say that, 'cause I was trying to be diligent about not saying hand and people. I think I've gotten a lot better at that in my more recent stories, though.

Something tells me that, when I have time, I'll need to go through this one with a fine-toothed comb.

And thanks for the compliments! :twilightsmile: Both for this story and the last one. I was really starting to think nobody was reading it anymore. :fluttercry:

3589146
I like philequinist, myself. Never even thought about changing that word, though... :rainbowhuh:

2 down, I forgot how many left..
That slendermane part scared the crap out out me.
I kept glancing behind me the whole time,
because right behind me is a wall.
Only 12 thumbs up.. Shame.

Edit: Just thought of something, did u ever try and submit this to eqd?
Has this ever been featured on the front page?

3590385
I tried EQD once with my other - far more popular - Trixie vs. Equestria story, and it got slammed after just two chapters for what they considered 'gross ignorance of grammar rules'. Basically, they shut me down for things about 1% of the reading population cares about. :fluttershbad:

If TvE can't make it - and it's generally considered awesome - there's no way No Heroes is getting featured. My real-life profession i as a technical writer. I have to have good grammar. I didn't know 4/5 of the rules they were shooting at me. I need someone who is a grammar freak to go over the stories with a fine-toothed comb. TvE takes precedence right now, though. I really want to see it featured.

Oh, and that's two more to go, btw. Boy, you're reading through 'em fast!

EDIT: I just went and re-read the last chapter, just for curiosity's sake, and saw so many small errors I cringed. This story definitely needs a third editing sweep.

3591603
Well, at least you tried.
You'll get it one day.
Third... Lol

3805151
Ah, I see you're looking to see how Lightning and Keen met. :twilightsmile:

Warning: The following message has been word-counted at over 1000....
You have been warned...

Alrighty.... Part 2...
Part 2...

hmmmm...
Honestly, I don't quite see why it required the Mature rating... Sure, there were some gory bits, but... Seriously... It wasn't that bad...
The only other part of the story that might warrant such rating was Fine and Twilight going at it... But otherwise, that's all I really have to say about the rating...

Moving on to the story..
Now, as you said in the reply to my first comment said cat-thingy didn't re-appear... But at least I can't complain since you forewarned me...

The only major complaint that I have is that 98% of the story was focused on Nye, when the only one to get major story progression was Lightning... Sure, there was an adventure with Nye, Rainbow and Scoots into the forest finding Fine's home (Assumed it was that anyway) And that Nye had finally thrown off his inner demons by finding a job he actually enjoyed doing...

Sticking with Nye for the moment, I really don't have much sympathy for the guy... I mean, there was the instance with his father from series 1... But other than that, the only problem he really has in this story was finding a new job... Alright, sure... He wanted to find something he liked doing as opposed to some dead-end job selling train tickets, I can accept that... But because he just randomly had days off work trying to figure out what he actually wanted to do with his life just turned him from likeable underdog to self-entitled sloth in my opinion... And then within a timeframe that I assume is a few days -a week tops- he's set up the plans for his own business selling drinks... What was stopping him from looking/trying new things in-between work days?
I understand that he felt miserable but that's no reason to just throw away what little life you have!

Moving away from Nye, since he just annoys me now... (And his "Hearts and Hooves" day 'mission', yeah... that just solidified him in the "Self-entitled ass" section...) Seriously, he asks every single mare in Ponyville (Quite obviously multiple times over the years) before realising "Oh, wait a minute, I've had one all along" yeah... Not even going to touch that...

sorry, got away with myself... Moving off Nye:

Jimmy! Well, well... What have we got here...
I can't remember if he started his shop in this story or the previous one... But him still being terrified of his Father gives him a sense of normalcy. Otherwise nothing much happened with him this chapter... So that's why the only thing I could mention was him being scared of his father...
Moving on...

Octavia was much in the same this series... She didn't change, she didn't grow... She's just the same... Always friendly, always helpful... But; yeah... She didn't do much besides give me a great reason to move on to the next pony:

Whatshername!
Seriously, I can't believe I've forgotten it... But I feel that although she had quite limited screen-time; her growth was best explained, staged, and executed... Her slow spiral into depression from a feeling of uselessness all stemming from that one meeting with Fine in chapter 1 of act 1... Questions her worthiness to call herself an "Important" pony because all she thinks she can do is guess... Her and Octavia I believe have the best chemistry together... Her uncertainty paired with Octavia's "never say die" attitude gives the two of them a much better connection since she always needs the reassurance that it's the right thing to do; while Octavia needs... well, doesn't NEED, but WANTS her to keep going because that's just how Octy is... The chance meeting with Jimmy in the bar to reaffirm that he too feels the desperate struggle against life compared to the belief of power given to them by Fine... The breakdown in communication with her husband (although tragic) was exactly what she needed in terms of that final push to do something about her life, rather than just waste away and become nothing. I only wish I could remember her name... Wow that's horrible...

Lightning Dust!
Had the least screentime... Had most powerful message... But was horribly cliched, which is why she's only second on best-in-story list... (by my count anyway) Changeling invasion trialled in a small town, closest member of family gets taken away (Oh yeah, this section was close to warranting the Mature rating too... forgot about that) Lightning trying everything she could with no success (Despite her best efforts which makes her struggle all the better [along with character development anyway]) And the eventual semi-adoption of a Fluttershy-esque foal... I kinda hope those two get some time together (Shy and young-shy)... And I REALLY hope that Lightning and young-shy (yeah, forgot her name too) get some bonding time, because (to me) that'd make Lightning a stronger character, actually having something to work towards (Read: Any Ditzy Doo story with her, Dinky and Sparkler) and great "D'AWWWWWWW" moments to squee at...
But yeah, Lightning's chapter(s) in a nutshell: Short, powerful and brilliant.... If only a little cliche... But hey, nothing is perfect...

I'm not really going to touch Fine... He has enough problems... Although him and Shy spending so much time together? Not sure if I approve... There will be ponies going after him, and when they learn of Shy, it'll make her life hell... Although if Discord hangs around, that could be fine... Not sure, haven't thought about it much... And this is already WAYYYYY too long as it is...

But hey, you asked for it... HA

Spelling/Grammar/Structure was all good... Mis-communication at times, wonky bits here and there that needed a few reads to get exact meaning... But they were too few and far between to be overly noticable and much too painful to weed-out one at a time in a blanket review like this... Overall great; but another set of eyes editing will do wonders...

And with all that said, I shall move on to Act 3... I wonder what you'll do with the characters in there, now that they're living in the same town anyway...

I only wish I could remember Number one's (and the new foal for that matter) names...
ugh, this'll annoy me to no end...

Well, let me touch upon things in the same order you did.

To begin, I knew Nye was getting a lot of attention in this story. I found him the easiest to write for and found myself falling into a sort of 'Nye trap' where I kept unintentionally going back to him. I'm rather surprised that you don't like him; most people find him highly relate-able.

I don't really understand how you can label him as 'self-entitled'. He never demanded that anyone take care of him, he was just in an emotional slump. Entitlement suggests he was expecting to get by in life without doing anything because everyone else would pay for his existence, and he never so much as thought in such terms. He hated his job, but he'd blown so many over the year he was on his own that he felt like he didn't have a chance getting another one. I understand this emotional rut, for I fell into it once several years back (believe me, it's terrible). And asking every mare in Ponyville out repeatedly? That's not entitlement, that's desperation. It's not like he was out there claiming to be God's gift to mares (save for as a joke).

Nye's not self-entitled. Pathetic? Sure. Lazy? No doubt. But self-entitled? I can't figure out how you get that idea. Maybe we just have completely different ideas of the definition of entitlement. Also, I think you exaggerate his presence; this book was 60% about him (which is still way too much).

But I have some good news: due to the intense focus on Nye this book, he gets very very little attention in Book III.

Poor Jimmy. He really got swept under the rug for most of this story. His role is only slightly more important in Book III. He deserves more attention, and I'm hoping to expand upon him in a future side story, because compared to Nye Jim has a lot of potential.

The same can be said with Octavia. I wanted her to be awesome from the get-go...but in so doing, I left little room for character development. Obviously that was a big mistake, as she ends up being the character with the least growth in the overarching story. I tried to give her a little more attention in Book III, but it wasn't enough to make up for my failures in Book II. Like most others, I have a side-story in mind to focus on her and give her some real character.

Upper Crust is my single favorite character in this story, as nobody grows more. You'll be amazed at the complete change she's undergone by Book IV, it's astounding. She's also the slowest to develop. Curiously, while you're praising this most people practically ignored her because of it. You'll see her growing even more in Book III, and having a touch more attention as well.

Interestingly, most people thought her breakdown with Jet Set was too fast, despite the fact that it was years in the making. They always fail to note that her chapter in Book I took place early in Season I, whereas Book II is beyond Season III, so a lot of time has passed since that first encounter with Fine.

Lightning is my second favorite character, and she actually got more screen time than Upper Crust, Octavia and Jimmy. So she didn't get the least attention, she just got it all at once, which made it feel fast. I realized early on that she needed something independent of the others, though, due to her 'go it alone' nature keeping her well out of Ponyville for some time, which in turn necessitated her not appearing in any of the other chapters. I couldn't put her in early – such a powerful statement for her needed to be the climax of the story – but it left her part as something of a standalone.

Because she had such a powerful moment in Book II, she's one of the characters set aside in Book III so that those with less attention could grab some. She still appears every here and there with Keen, but there aren't any moments of serious character-building. I do love writing her scenes with Keen, though, who is nothing short of adorable. One of my big regrets was that, because I had so many characters to divide the readers' attention to, I didn't find time to really go into their relationship (though there's a distinct d'aww moment in Book IV).

To remedy this, I'm currently writing Lightning's Bolt, a slice-of-life side story 100% focused on their time together that starts right after the events of Book II. It's a bit of a bumpy ride for both of them, but I am quite enjoying it. Slow updates, though, as I actually have a pre-reader for it.

...

That kid is adorable. :rainbowkiss:

I won't touch the Fine and Fluttershy situation – I don't want to spoil you or anything – but yeah, Fine does have his problems. Aplenty. Big things happen for him in Book III.

Book III is much less episodic; the players are together, and it's time they start sharing presence rather than going it alone all the time. Less attention is given to Lightning and Nye, due to the great attention Nye received and the huge event for Lightning in Book II. Focus is instead set upon Octavia and Upper Crust. I meant to give some attention to Jimmy as well, but I'm disappointed to say that things didn't quite work out as planned.

Luna also gets some presence, as a key goal of Book III was to cement her relationship with her own team. We also finally get to learn more about Tazel Wyrm, you'll be glad to know.

Regarding the Mature rating...I was playing it safe. Most people I know in real life would be squeamish around the gore of Fine's chapter and such serious subjects as Lightning's chapters (I grew up among wimps in this regard). I feared that if I didn't call it mature I'd get blasted.

And you think this wall of text threatens me? Ha. Ha, I say! One does not write a 430k story (my current record) by being shy of word counts! Bring it.

4023023
Once again, the follow-up to your follow up...
(Although I will say, I didn't know you had replied to me since you didn't press the reply button... but anyway...)

You're right... Self-entitled was the wrong way to phrase it...
Would probably get better if it was self-ABSORBED since he didn't care about anything other than himself without looking at the big picture...

I understand what it is like to go from one failure to another, but... Really... He goes from "bleh bleh bleh I'm going no-where in my life" to "WOOO! DOING SOMETHING I LOVE!" in (what is essentially) a five minute passage (reading time)....

Really? he only had 60%?
I mean, sure, it's still a majority compared to the other 5 ponies he's sharing the screen with... But, yeah... Give one 60%, then the others share 40... hence why I felt he dominated this section...

UPPER CRUST! How could I forget that... I feel bad now... But, yeah, not much else to say about her..... Yet....
Except that I did notice the time that her relationship broke down... Hence why I noticed her change with more interest... On paper it took one chapter... But in life it was years...

Really? Lightning gets little screen time in 3?
Uber sadface...
Like... Stupidly insane levels of sadface...

I was really looking forward to seeing her change into a forced parental role... She could no longer be the brash underachiever with low self-esteem but had to transform into a caring mother figure to a cute little girl... Now I can't help but feel that No. 3 will be really disappointing...

!
Side-story?
Takes place after book 2?
Focusing on Lightning's Change as I outlined above?!

WOOOOOOOOOO AWES-
wait... it's not finished?
BOOOOOOOOOO!

Now I REALLY want to wait for that to be finished so I can read them all in chronological order...
*checks update status*
You simply MUST tell me how far through that you are, to know whether or not I can read it and not hit end of the updates before the actual story is finished....

Moving back to the reply:
hmmm, It's not that I don't find Fine Crime an interesting character... I don't know, I guess he's just... eh... Can't really put this into words... He's not my favourite, and I can't really tell you why he's not... So, if book 3 can't get me to like him, then I guess I won't... But so far, he's mainly just there to drive the plot... Appear, deliver exposition, then leave just as quickly... (As in, that's what he HAS been doing) I mean, sure... He has to brutally murder somepony once a month but... yeah...
Although if he doesn't have a confrontation with Twilight in book 3, I will be VERY disappointed in you! (And don't spoil if there is/isn't... because spoilers)

I'm all for giving Crust some more time, and Octavia, although the most perfect of the group, hasn't seen much beyond the "You can do this" character... Hopefully she can evolve... But I'm not holding my breath... It's Octavia, if you do anything with her, the fans will hunt you down...

Luna getting a show? Ehhh, even though she is best Princess (pre season 3 finale) I don't see where you can really go with her... Sure, she's the head of what is effectively the anti-terror squads... But, since it's her personal team of agents, I guess she needs to spend some time with them...

I didn't mean for you to feel threatened.... Just prepared...
Since this is probably the most in-depth with a story I've ever gone...

In closing: You seriously need to tell me how long until finished Lightning's Bolt is....

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What, I missed the reply button? :rainbowderp: Le oops.

Well like I said, Nye doesn't get a lot of time in Book III, so you won't have to watch him being all self-absorbed and such.

Book II really didn't have a lot of Fine Crime growth, I'll admit. He was more just 'there' much of the time, save for his personal chapter. He gets much more presence in Book III, though he's not the primary focus. Dunno if his part will endear him to you any more than he already hasn't been, though. I guess we'll just have to see.

I tried to expand Octavia a bit, but didn't really achieve it. She does get one opportunity to be fairly awesome, though, if it's any consolation.

Regarding Lightning's Bolt, I'm sorry to say I don't know how much farther I have to go with it in terms of chapter count. I'm dividing my time between it and another major story (Twilight's Inferno, which I haven't published as I'm waiting for the cover art commission), and because the other story is for a contest I'm writing more on it than Lightning's Bolt. So yeah, there's no way I'd be done if you started reading it now. I've got at least two more major scenes I need to get to, and dunno how long it will take to get to them... Sorry.

I await your review of Book III with anticipation. It really doesn't have many comments compared to the first two...

i ment to mention this earlier, but you keep saying jimmy when it is supposed to be nye :ajbemused:

4597723 not her misery, just the scenes of the dead, killing and such... and awesome story, litterally second best story i have ever read, i forget im reading, and that has only happened once before this story, not just the book, but the whole.

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I scoured these stories dozens of times trying to get rid of those instances. they should be pretty rare by now... :ajbemused:

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I'm glad you're enjoying it! You've got a weird sense of humor, though.

I tend to lose people with Book III. If you feel that happening, do let me know why. I think I have a good idea of what the deal is, but more input is always valuable.

4597852 i think i caught 3 times in the last story, or my memory still hates me, and i will let you know why the 3rd book slips me if it does,and i still dont really get this, but mustaches for you!!! :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

I am once again impressed by your terrific writing, it's splendidly dark, begging to be read more! This deserves to be its own book, I'm just overwhelmingly impressed at the skill that these words are built in, just... wow.:heart:

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Why thank you! But the dark thing... yeah, that doesn't last. Book II was the 'dark' book of the group, really. I find that I tend to lose a lot of people in Book III because it loses that particular bite. So yeah, kudos if you get all the way through it. :unsuresweetie:

2:30 in the morning and I've finished this book. I'm going to pass out soon, so I'll be brief. I loved this story to bits. Really great all around. I hope you're proud of this, because you deserve to be. Damn fine author. Damn fine.

Quick asides: Mane Archon is not Fine Crime, perhaps Hooknife or some elder predecessor. Tazel Wyrm can't be little Kit that Verity found on the island. She's too old. I liked that Upper Crust was the first to sign on, good for her. Lightning is raising a foal. Didn't see that coming.

And now Book III is the next in line. You keep saying that's where you lose people. I find that hard to believe, but I guess I'll find out soon enough.

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Stop it, you're making me blush. :twilightblush:

Once again, I have no choice but to keep mum on your speculations. I will note, however, that Book III reveals Tazel's backstory. Also, because Book II focuses heavily on Nye and Lightning gets such a big moment, neither of them play big roles on Book III. In Lightning's case this was very intentional, as I knew I would be writing a side-story taking place between Books II and III giving her all the extra character growth she needs.

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The concept amused the heck out of me, so yeah. There's much more of her in Lightning's Bolt, and I may someday write a story centered on this little group.

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And here I was wondering if you'd start getting critical on me, considering the No Heroes series is the first one I wrote. Glad you find my writing so addictive. :pinkiehappy:

I actually enjoyed all these stories, gives a good reason each one has to join Fines Merry Little Band of someday Cuthroats. Some to feel like they actually mean something, others for duty, one for adventure. The interesting thing is that through all the chapters some bemoan not getting recognition for the events in the Crystal Empire that at the end of this they discover that if they had stuck around they would have, if only Privatly. Off to part III!

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Kudos to Octavia for knowing when there's something funny going on. Well, you can argue Lightning did too, but she didn't respond to it properly. Sucks to be her. Really. Speaking of which, when you finish all of this do recall that Lightning's Bolt is set between Books II and III and you might be interested in where it goes. It actually reveals a few more things about certain characters, what they were up to and some of the motivations behind their actions in Book III.

Although there's absolutely no need to read it prior to Book III.

Second series down. So far I can't decide if I like Fine Crime, or Lightning Dust the most.

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Lightning Dust.

Nope, put that hand down, it's Lightning Dust.

Although Fine is my favorite of my OCs.

5344902 Lol, Lighning Dust it is.

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I prefer Luna, but Octavia is Best Background Pony.

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There are numerous references, it is true. I don't get yours, though, so I looked it up. Apparently it's from a A Song of Ice and Fire, which I never read or watched. You'll find that I read a lot less than I write nowadays. Anyway, poor Octavia doesn't get near enough character development in this series. I have a sequel that will hopefully fix that.

5531600 Oh trust me, I know it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Using what some would consider evil methods to ensure the overall greater good being part of it. I guess just in my head I would have seen them trying to at least prevent laws like that, but considering the foes that pop up more often than not more pressing matters are also at hand for them to deal with. Eh, it's no biggie just thought I would at least bring it up. And I will be looking forward to this Octavia story!

5537436 Ahh ok, thanks for clearing that up.

5548451 Oh boyy LD is up next!

5567477 I got so caught up with this story and and schoolwork that I just.. Kinda went blank for awhile I guess. Anyway, for this being some of your first works to be put put, I am extremely impressed. Can't wait to read more.

Ah, Nye and Rainbow. Can't wait to see their relationship develop, should be a cute one. Looks like the team has a ways to go before they can effectively act as one, looking forward to that. As for Fluttershy and Fine Crime and his Bloodmane problem...Intresting to see how Fluttershy reacts to what is wrong with him. It's gonna be hard to get her to go along once she knows, I know I would be freaked out if it were me in Flutter's posistion. To Book 3!

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You've got the right idea. Book I identifies the team-members, Book II officially makes them a team. Book III clarifies their role and cements their loyalties (Lightning's Bolt can be considered an extension of that, considering so little of Lightning appears in Book III), and Book IV... well, it finalizes things, if you will.

Book III is often viewed as the most flawed of the set, largely because it drifts away from many of the original themes of the series. I imagine you'll see what I mean when you get there.

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And now you've moved into unedited territory. Brace yourself, everything from here on in is bad in terms of style. The mistakes will be glaring.

I have had enough. From now on, I am editing these stories.

Jimmy lowered his head a little, his happy mood deflated just a touch. And he’d had such high hopes regarding her…

I think you mean Nye

Good work continuing to flesh out all of these characters, even if the "Story of the Blanks" reference was a mite gratuitous.

Also curious to discover which of your five STARS isn't one of the four in-universe "stars".:trollestia:

6767918 Ooh. Still, they couldn't just transform the foals who saw the wrong things?

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To quote Peace:

They saw things they weren’t meant to, and they resisted[...]infestation.

In other words, not every pony can be transformed.

Although to be honest, I hadn't worked out the kinks to the idea by this point. There's suggestion in Reddux the Tyrant that there can be no resistance at all to the 'infestation.' It could be that they simply put up enough of a struggle that the changelings couldn't move them silently or without hurting them.

Wonderful and fascinatingly deep read!
Another!

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It's hard not to see it as cartoonish when she was kicked so hard that she hurtled across the sky. A blow so hard as to generate that much force would more likely splatter her across the nearby surroundings, or at least shatter several bones. Unless ponies are made of incredibly light, low-density material like styrofoam.

As for the name, well like I said, it's just a minor quibbling on my part.

The whole bit with Rainbow Dash seems to have come out of nowhere, if you ask me. Not that I mind. I'm not particularly interested in Nye's love life, or even his life in general. I think Jimmy is the more interesting twin.

Still don't like Upper Crust after what she pulled in her section of the story.

Mostly ambivalent towards Octavia. It does seem that you're handling her with kid gloves in comparison to the others in her team.

Lightning Dust is probably your best in terms of being interesting. It helps that her section of this story has the most action while the others are static and mostly introspection.

Well then, off to book 3.

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Hmm... I think you interpreted literally what was meant to be descriptive exaggeration. Which, I will acknowledge, is entirely on me. It's been a while since I wrote this, but I think my mentality at the time was that she's being kicked out a window, so technically she's in the sky. In hindsight, probably not my best bit of word choice.

That said, you're not going to like some scenes in Book IV. There's a whole chapter or two with some pretty over-the-top combat that more than a few (myself included) have pointed out isn't in keeping with the more 'real' manner of most of this series. Thank goodness I don't do that kind of thing anymore.

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Octavia is... an issue. I wrote her as being the most 'stable' of the team, but that resulted in there being less development for her as a character. I tried to remedy that a little in Book 3. In fact, Book 3 was made to focus less on certain characters who seemed to have stolen the limelight in Book 2, namely Nye and Lightning, and more on those who still needed some attention in my eyes.

7687943 So where do you fall on the "Twilight's an Alicorn" spectrum? I personally think that her ascension could have been handled better, but given that at the time that the producers weren't even sure the show was going to continue, I can understand why they did it.

I was going to say something about the elements of romance in this chapter, but found my thoughts on the subject are more confused than I originally thought and after about 15 minutes of consideration I came up worse than when I went in, so I'll put that on the backburner for now. Generally I can see why people may like it, and can tolerate it, but it's just not for me, in real life or in fiction. That's all I'll say for now.

Apart from that it's time to go into Lightning's Bolt upon your suggestion. Lightning is an interesting character for me, I can relate to the whole "wanting to do something for good but also wanting to be recognized for it" thing (I imagine many people can), and rash action is something I have yet to master. Its always either a case of overthinking things and only acting late, if at all, or forcing myself to go in early because I know that I won't act otherwise. So there are topics to consider as I move into this Lightning focused segment.

“Of course not,” Nye snapped. “She’s my best friend! You don’t ask your best friend to be your special somepony, it’s just weird.”

I agree, though I will say I had crushes in all my friends before knowing better

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Alas, I've already decided not to write anymore large-scale stories for the MLP fandom, so we'll never get to see that war, but it remains an interesting idea for me.

I hope this don't mean that yer leavin' us :applecry:


But puppy eyes aside, that does sound interesting. The Chrysalis we all love to hate would rather die than beg from...ponies.

I vaguely recall reading a fanfiction where there were five or six changeling hives each one denominated by the color of their carapace, one was super aggressive, one had magical prowess, and Chrysalis was a bad egg.

In another that takes place shortly after the original banishment of Nightmare Moon, the changelings live mostly apart from other races, but due to a war that would lead to ruin for all sentient creatures side with the ponies running espionage and messenger type duties.

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I hope this don't mean that yer leavin' us

Not at all. I just realized that with the fandom a shadow of its former self, my ambitions are better served writing original fiction. So all my future long stories will be proper books and FIMFiction will be reserved for short stories and, maybe, a novelette here and there.

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Fair enough, and if I may be so bold, if you ever wanted any assistance with pony projects, I would be happy to volunteer.

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