• Published 9th Dec 2013
  • 667 Views, 103 Comments

Half-Hour Horses - HoofAndQuill

A collection of short prompt-based stories, from Thirty Minute Ponies.

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Passing the Torch [General]

(The Prompt: Now that we have our Cutie Marks, what should we crusade for?)

(This one suffers from bad pacing. Couldn't get my head in the game today.)

It had all happened so fast.

One day they were gearing up for the annual talent show, shifting their responsibilities around like every year, and the next they were working up a storm, perfectly in sync and with everything going smoothly. Applebloom's hooves moved with perfect skill and pacing as she cut and painted scenery and sets. Scootaloo's choreography and maneuvering went of completely without a hitch, and everything was done to the exquisite sound of Sweetie Belle's songwriting and singing.

The talent show arrived, and it was the best show they'd ever put on. Granted, it was only their third anyway, but everything just went so smoothly that none of them could believe it. The sets, the costumes, the dancing, and the singing were all excellent, and there was no crashing into one another or collapsing structures. Their smiles grew as the song went on, and by the end they were brimming with confidence that they'd all done their parts exactly how they'd wanted to.

There was a flash of light, and a tingling on each of their flanks, and the crowd collectively gasped. A moment later, there was a deafening applause for the Cutie Mark Crusaders' last talent show.

When they realized what had happened, they were absolutely flying with giddy delight, in one case literally.

Applebloom couldn't help grinning like a fool at the pride in her sister's voice, at the afterparty, when the mare told everypony just how useful she'd always been with a hammer and how half of Sweet Apple Acres wouldn't even be standing if it wasn't for that little filly. "I never figured it t' be her special talent, but I guess I should a' seen it comin'! My little sister's finally grown up big an' strong just like we all knew she would!"

Sweetie Belle was practically glued to Rarity's side the entire evening, her normal bashfulness about public singing entirely forgotten as pony after pony made special requests for this song or that. Sweetie Belle nailed each note perfectly, and basked in the applause and smiling faces of each pleased friend. Rarity for her part endlessly gushed at Sweetie Belle about outfits to wear on stage, and how to properly accent her mane's coloration.

Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash spent the evening darting around the room in a halting, occasionally disastrous game of tag. She was in rare form, wings not missing a beat as she looped and dodged around Rainbow Dash. She wasn't able to match her adoptive sister's speed, but she could whip around and turn on a dime, looking for all the world like she was dancing in the air. "What the hay? How'd you even do that, Squirt? You ought to come with me and show the Wonderbolts that kind of move!"

The party went on and on, with everypony enjoying themselves and celebrating the crusaders' final victory and achievement of all they wanted. They did a much less perfect encore of their stage show, though fatigue and laughter managed to cut it a bit short. Still, Pinkie Pie joined them on stage and called out over the whole crowd. "Let's hear it for the Cutie Mark Crusaders, everypony! Three cheers for the three newest mares in Ponyville!"

Something clicked, and as the crowd cheered for them, the three Crusaders shared a look. They'd been friends for years, and it didn't take more than that. The party kept on going, and after a bit longer, they all went home with their families. The bed was tempting for each of them, but they only laid there long enough to hear their families snoring. Then each of the three Crusaders crept out of their houses by practiced routes, and trotted of through the night.


"Isn't it great though? A hammer an' an apple, just like I shoulda figured!" Applebloom grinned and turned her flank toward her friends, sitting in the Cutie Mark Crusader Clubhouse by lantern light. "I couldn't believe it, right there on stage!"

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. "Yeah, it's great, Applebloom. But we've all seen it, come on! What are we gonna do?"

Applebloom sat down and pouted a bit. "I'm proud of it. But anyway, I don't know. We're still all friends, it ain't like we gotta stop that just because we got our cutie marks."

"But we can't be Cutie Mark Crusaders if we aren't crusading for our cutie marks!" Sweetie Belle's voice broke slightly in the middle of her sentence, and she rubbed her throat a little with a hoof. "Too much singing. But should we rename our club? Be something else?"

Scootaloo shook her head. "I don't want to be anything else! We can't be the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but I don't want the club to just end. C'mon Crusaders, it's been so much fun! We got to do all kinds of stuff."

Applebloom looked around the tiny clubhouse, at all the memorabilia and... junk, really, that they'd collected over the years. "Yeah, I'm goin' to miss it too. But we can't stay fillies forever."

There was a silence for a few seconds, and then Applebloom chuckled. "A buncha the fillies at the party kept askin' how I got my cutie mark. I kept tellin' 'em it was just somethin' I've been good at, but they didn't want to listen. Figure that's what we sounded like t' everypony else?"

Scootaloo grinned. "Yeah, some of the pegasus colts were racing me and stuff, 'cause Rainbow Dash was telling them her cutie mark story."

"Hey! Nopony asked ME for advice!"

Ignoring Sweetie Belle, Applebloom poked at the floor of the clubhouse for a moment. Then she suddenly grinned. "Hey, that's it! There's always fillies an' colts lookin' for their cutie marks, an' always a new class comin' up. What if we hired new Crusaders?"

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow. "What, like replacements?"

"Yeah! See, we're done crusadin' since we got what we wanted, but them other fillies still need t' go out an' do all those fun things jus' to have fun. Y'all don't want the Cutie Mark Crusaders disappearin', so that makes sure it won't!"

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo sat up a bit, smiling. Scootaloo's wings buzzed. "Yeah! Cutie Mark Crusader Recruiters!"

They all clapped their hooves together one last time as Crusaders, and knew that the legacy of their group wouldn't stop with them.

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