• Member Since 14th Nov, 2013
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We are Ponies Protecting Ponies, a secret organization founded by Princess Celestia for the good of all of Equestria's citizens. Whether it's running protection, disaster prevention, or a terrorist threat, one of our agents is on hoof. We do what we must to give our friends and family their peace of mind. We blend into the background, just like any other pony. Watching. Protecting.

Under order from Princess Celestia herself, our agents have been assigned to the protection of a unicorn named Twilight Sparkle with specific instructions that the espionage tactics we're known for stay in play; Sparkle can't know a thing. She hasn't been a hard VIP to secure thus far; most of her time is spent either at Princess Celestia's side, or in the Canterlot library. Hopefully a brief visit to the nearby town of Ponyville doesn't bring her safety into question.

Featured by Equestria Daily!

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 68 )

Loving this so far. It makes for a pretty damn cool explanation for the limited number of background ponies! And the whole "I will not kill" bit certainly fits right in in Equestria. Looking foward to seeing where you go with this.

Very interesting start.

If you're planning on going through each crisis episode from the PPP's point of view, I can't wait to see how they handle Lesson Zero.

You have my attention. I like stories about the ponies who act as the foundation of Equestria's security. Continue please.

I almost didn't read this when i saw it on the home page, but then i saw it's related to octavia's reprise. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Ya, just a farm town. Nothing ever happens in those…

You're going to refer to them at some point as the P3, right?

So she wasn't just conveniently eating that peanut butter in the park.


4939891 Glad to hear it!
4940093 Lesson Zero is one of my favorite episodes!
4940219 Count on it ;)
4940273 Hey, good to see you again! Can't wait to see what you think of this one!
4940677 I grew up in one myself, though I'm glad you're able to see the irony in the statement :twilightsmile:
4945879 I'm embarrassed to say that this never actually occurred to me

Thanks for the support thus far, guys! Next chapter should be ready some time this coming week!


So far i'm enjoying it!

I am intrigued.

"Well, it is the girls room!" she heard Carrot Top answer. "It's not like any boys will be in here lifting the seats!"

Best. Logic. Ever.

Fun. More. Please

Derpy as a spy. I give you :rainbowkiss: for that idea.

Once the bathroom door closed behind them, Bon Bon said,"All right, ladies; pick a stall."
Amethyst tilted her head. "And what do we—?"
"Lift the seat on the toilet."

Welcome to the Ministry of Magic
Usually it's either Derpy Hooves or Ditzy Doo, this is the first time I've seen it as Derpy Doo.

when i read the summary, All i could think of is Feeling Pinkie Keen.:rainbowlaugh:

"It's not like I'm worried about a cow kicking a lamp," Lyra began.

Ha, I get it.

"They're usually not invited," Derpy interjected.

Pffft, racists...

<It's not like we're being paid to protect her as well.>


Can't wait to see the PPP's adventures in the Everfree

4964713 Here's hoping I can keep that interest going!

4989563 :raritywink:

4989769 :pinkiehappy:

4990232 Same here. For a while I thought about going with Ditzy Doo, but I feel like at this point the name "Derpy" is so ingrained that's it's hard to really escape from. Plus, through my own messed up logic, "Ditzy" actually feels a bit more derogative, especially when I'm portraying the character as a highly trained secret agent. I stuck with Doo to avoid making it seem like there was a relation between her and Doctor Hooves. And yes, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some Ministry of Magic influence there :twilightsheepish:

4991012 I've actually been mulling over ideas for that; we'll see if I ever actually act on them :derpytongue2:

4998334 So glad someone caught that, haha. And don't worry; next chapter we get into some Everfree adventures! Should be here before too long, everyone!

Ditzy is behavioral. Derpy is intellectual.

Can't wait to see how they deal with the manticore and the river serpent.

Lyra rolled her eyes. "Look, I know I owe an apology for not believing that the fairy tale junk would come to life, but 'ancient mystical artifacts' is a little too—

I have a feeling that Lyra is gonna eat her words a lot in this fic

I like this doctor.
I think his name is Time Turner, or some thing like that. And yes I know he has a ton of fan names.

"Phrasing"? Are they supposed to be working for PPP or for Malory Archer?

Celestia is ploting Twilight's life. Also she's hiding in the basement of the library.

I declare Hooves as my favorite character.

"I'm not working here forever, Doo; as soon as Twilight goes back to Canterlot, so do Star and I."

Yep, that's exactly what's gonna happen.

Doctor Hooves would never know that—

That he sounds like the doctor from DW&A?

I really want to see more of this!
Not sure I like how you portrayed Twilight as such a bookworm, though. :twilightoops: She does do a lot of other things, you know.

5041683 That's a good way of putting it. Still not really a best fitting name here tough, eh?

5133088 It would appear you're right about her eating her own words; it's not something I explicitly thought of while writing this, but it does sure seem to come up a lot :derpytongue2:

5043085 Hooves has been such much fun to write; I'm glad you and Lupus are enjoying him! And yeah, officially I believe his name is Time Turner. I opted to go with Hooves because "Time" seems too confusing a name, and I can't hear "Turner" without thinking about Fairly Odd Parents. I just felt Doctor Hooves was a better fit here, though sometimes "Hooves" can cause out-of-context problems as well if I'm not careful about it. I avoided "Whooves" since I'm not using him in a Doctor Who parodic fashion.
5142142 I'm only a little familiar with that series, so I'll take this as a compliment :derpytongue2:

5084049 A sick day combined with an Archer marathon is what led up to this story getting written. I felt like the show needed a little nod, but with your comment in addition to a few others, I'm starting to feel that it's out of place, and may be edited out in the future. More on that in a bit.

5163939 She does, I admit. In the beginning of both the show and this story though, she's more or less described as someone who does a lot of reading. She even admits it herself when referring to her past at times. Obviously the show expands on this later as she starts to come out of her shell. I remember some friends rewatching the first episode and commenting on how they forgot how anti-social she used to be. In any case, I'm really glad you're enjoying the story so far otherwise!

Next chapter should be out later this week, possibly next. It may take a little longer than normal because I recently got some feedback on it, and am tweaking a few things to make it better in the eyes of the writing community. The story itself is not changing, nor is what I've had planned for the ending since the first chapter was published, but if you ever decide to reread previous chapters, you may notice that some sentences are worded a bit differently, or that some sections have slightly more dialogue. Just doing what I can to help this thing reach a wider audience :pinkiesmile: Thanks for the support so far, guys! Really hope you feel that the wait is worth it!

Makes me wonder how many of the Six's exploits the PPP had a hand in.

So time skip to the next big crisis next chapter, or something more slice-of-life?

I've always wondered if there were a group of ponies whose job it would be to survey, and if necessary protect Twilight covertly, since I don't think Celestia would honestly let her student go off without some help. The opening paragraph made me think of this:

So the tree is fake. But discord, the box…
I'm starting to question the show now.
Oh well!

I can't...I can't, I just can't stand that vomit-inducing view of morality that says you should never kill anyone, in any situation – popularized by comics and the laws that restrained them for a time.

I wanted to be intrigued by this...but I really can't.

"Sorry," she said as she pulled the hoof away, "I have snark."

I love Lyra's snark

Very good story. Well done, well done indeed! :twilightsmile:

How does the doctor still have his job?


Well, this is an interesting re-imaging of the show. It does make me wonder, though, what exactly happened when Discord returned?

And why did Celestia send Twilight to ddeal with a certain sleeping dragon?

"I do," Lyra said. "Now come on; we've got some shopping to do.

needs end " marks.

Interesting first chapter.

I don't really enjoy stories like this - stories that take the exploits and accomplishments of the actual heroes and turn it all into somebody else's actual work.

It cheapens what the characters from the show did. And since they were the ones that brought us all here, it never sits right with me to take their achievements and devalue them like this.

The bit about how they freed Celestia? That's the kind of stuff these sorts of stories should focus on. Showing how the things we didn't see happened.

But to take a central idea like the Elements of Harmony and turn it into ponies in the shadows actually doing it all makes the main cast nothing more than mirrors to bounce lasers off of.

I'm sorry, but I'm not reading any more.

If Sparkler was voiced, what would she sound like?

5253469 Yeah I saw this coming midway through the fic and I didn't like the idea at all. I was sort of hoping the machine would fail and it would turn out the Elements were real all alone. The idea that the Elements of Harmony aren't real is kinda impossible since we've seen them function as actual magical artefacts on a number of occasions and even seen their origin by the beginning of season 4.

Besides that issue, the story is otherwise rather interesting and enjoyable. The central idea of a pony secret service following Twi around is a good one and I like how it was represented here and the general characterisation was good too.

I've still to read the epilogue but I'll upvote this for story quality but because of the Elements thing I can't say I like this fic completely.

5254351 That's really well explained. The writing here is completely enjoyable, it's just that one, major, sticking plot choice that I think really undermines the whole thing.

According to this fic, Twilight's friends have no importance beyond how they will help groom Twilight for the crown. Also, it makes Twilight completely wrong in everything she believes about how Nightmare Moon was defeated - that's not exactly something you want in a future leader: completely wrong things they'll base logical choices off of.

It just doesn't work.

I love how the characters are portrayed and their personalities though. They're interesting, engaging, and I cared what happened to them despite how little time we spend getting to know each of them. There's lots of good here, it's just that the one bit of bad is a giant crack in the keystone.

I came down to the comments section to explain my own dissatisfaction with the ending and, lo and behold, the two of you have already voiced it reasonably and clearly.

I loved this story most of the way through, but the ending was incredibly disappointing for me. For all the reasons you've elegantly stated and, perhaps most egregiously, for the unfortunate implications for Twilight and Celestia's relationship.

While it's absolutely true that in the show Celestia can be a touch enigmatic and will often intentionally omit information that she wishes Twilight to learn on her own, their relationship is still one built upon mutual and well-earned love and trust. Twilight trusts Celestia to guide and teach her with wisdom and foresight, while Celestia trusts Twilight to do her best in overcoming the challenges placed in front of her.

This Celestia, on the other hand, is more than willing to lie outright to Twilight in a "the end justifies the means" approach to teaching. That may work for a while, but ultimately results in a huge and extremely fragile web of dishonesty that could easily result in a complete implosion of their relationship later on- something that could have serious consequences for Equestria if it happens after Twilight has assumed a measure of authority as a princess. Quite frankly, this version of Celestia is equal parts shameless egotist and outright idiot for thinking that she can keep the wool pulled over the eyes of a mare as intelligent as Twilight Sparkle indefinitely.

As much as I love the rest of the characters in this story, it's nearly outweighed by how much I absolutely detest this Celestia. It's a shame Hooves' device actually worked, because a simple malfunction followed by the real Elements appearing could have preserved her character and made this one of my favourite stories on the site. As it is, I'm extremely tempted to downvote and am conflicted enough that I literally need to sleep on it before making a decision.

I've been reading and mulling over the conversation that the three of you had here over the last few days, and I feel like the points you bring up are prominent enough that I should address them.

Just as a heads up to anyone who may see this comment before reading the story, this and the posts it replies to do contain some spoilers.

When I started writing this story, I asked myself two questions: what if ponies we regularly see in the background where part of a secret service, and what if the Elements of Harmony were fake? The latter is why I opted to include an Alternate Universe tag. Despite the notion of an "alternate" universe, I still wanted to follow the canon as closely as possible, taking each appearance of these characters and integrating them into my story as cleanly as I could, so that when readers re-watch episodes from the show, they might see these moments and wonder if something like this story could actually be true.

Naturally this sort of notion raised a few problems. As far as why I opted to go with the idea of fake Elements, I believe that stems from me wanting these characters to have a genuine impact on the outcome of the story. I do really like how everything involving Celestia's rescue turned out, but ultimately it wouldn't really mean much if the Elements operated exactly as they do in the show. Originally the idea was that Amethyst did get the device to work on her own, but I realized that would mean that she was essentially who Twilight is on the show, which more or less defeated the whole purpose of not singling out any pony as being more special than others, if that makes any sense. In other words, I didn't want to just make Twilight 2.0. However, from your comments, it does appear that there are a few things I still neglected to take into complete consideration.

Even before this story was published, one pre-reader I had brought up his concern about what the ending would mean for Twilight and Celestia's relationship, just as you all have. He was concerned with the level of trust in the relationship, both in Twilight expecting Celestia to be honest with her, and with Celestia believing in her student. The more I reflect on it, the more I recognize it.

That being said, my integrity as a writer and respect for those who do enjoy the story cover-to-cover (for lack of better terms) means that I won't be altering this story in any way, with the exception of any spelling/grammar things yet to be found (Thanks, TheGreatEater, by the way). I think it's something I need to stick with. I will have you know, however, that if you haven't read either of the blogs concerned with this story, I do intend to continue working with these characters and this universe in future stories. I already have pages of notes and where I'd like things to go, issues to bring up, seeds sown here that I can grow into something much bigger. And I think your comments will enhance those stories. I'm not going to write anything to "fix" what happened here, but I think I can integrate some of these issues and explore their implications. For that, I want to thank you (perhaps prematurely) for ultimately making these yet-to-be-written future stories stronger.

If you're still with me so far, I also want to say how happy I am that, although you found the ending less-than-satisfying, you all enjoyed the characters, the writing, and/or initial concept of the story. For that reason, I do hope you give future installments an honest chance. I'm currently fleshing out a story that's less action and more slice-of-life, where I won't be screwing with canon so much as exploring who these characters are; their histories, relationships with one another, what drives them, etc. Those who read for the action and are hoping to see more canon skewing may be somewhat disappointed by it, but I'm really excited to continue working with the characters I made here and tell more stories with them in it.

Again, thank you for your input. I do believe it will both help me to become a stronger writer, and to really flesh out what I have planned for this setting. I hope you give any future entries a chance.

5268734 I can respect pretty much everything you've said here. While I may not agree with it, it's definitely completely reasonable to do what you've done and to keep things as they are. There's integrity there, and that's a trait I've always found commendable.

The "pretty much everything" is a minor thing. I think that their contribution to the story would still have been significant even if the Elements had worked. With them freeing Celestia, something the show didn't touch on in the slightest, they're the ones who found her and rescued her. The Elements may have stopped Nightmare Moon and returned Luna, but even with real Elements, it's the PPP who find and free Celestia making her arrival at the aftermath of the rainbow cannon a lot better presented than it was in the show.

And it's your writing that really made that stick so firmly for me. Even though they'd be far outclassed in terms of raw power and have little ability to directly effect any of the big battles without the Elements being fake, the way you wrote their teamwork and personalities made their ability to keep those things that were much more powerful than them safe completely believable. It also makes them an organization that works well as Celestia's shadowy hand, arranging ponies and events in the ways that cause Celestia's plans to fall neatly (and seamlessly) into place.

That's a pretty cool thing with or without the Elements of Harmony.

"Only a powerful magic could keep a tree alive that's been hollowed out from the inside! And it's been that way for ages!"

Or the fact that the inner heartwood of a tree is just dead structural material for support and isn't needed to keep the tree alive. The living portion of a tree's wood is the thin layer of cork cambium, which creates new bark, the phloem next, then vascular cambium, and the sapwood of living xylem tissue.

Now, we could debate whether or not the Treebrary could support its own weight without collapsing after so much of it had been hollowed out, but there's no reason it would simply die from losing heartwood.

Carrot needs to brush up on herbology! :raritywink:

She gave a hoof a flick to throw off what she hoped was mud, but without anything else to do with it, she resigned to settle the hoof back onto the squishy floor.

Well, after 1,000 years... considering there's enough oxygen down there that they haven't asphyxiated... taking into account the poo production in a small city and aerobic bacterial activity rates in the mild underground with proper air flow... all the manure would have decomposed completely roughly 950 years ago. :twistnerd:

5253469 Yeah, same here. This is now completely alt-universe and renders the Mane 6 utterly pointless since we KNOW FOR A FACT the Elements are real.

I am not fond of stories which completely ignore concretely-established canon for cheap gimmicks.

Plus, there is absolutely no way this miracle machine would then be able to turn Discord to stone. His power is vastly beyond both Sisters combined. No machine could hope to match.

Not to mention, if a mere 'purification spell' could cleanse NMM so easily, WHY DIDN'T CELESTIA JUST USE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?! Celestia knew when NMM was returning! All she had to do was make sure Hooves had the machine ready and wait for her sister to show up and blast her with the plot-convenient purification ray! The story doesn't even make sense with its alternate solution!

And now, the story has to ignore everything that happens from the first episode of Season 2 and onward.

5269629 To put it in terms of another fictional agency, the PPP would be akin to UNIT (from Doctor Who) or S.H.I.E.L.D.

You still need the heroes to do the big stuff, but the agency is very important at times to saving the day, either backing up the heroes in crucial support roles or stopping lesser villains since the heroes can't be everywhere at once.

5255356 Another thing that doesn't make sense: If the Elements were fake... wouldn't NMM already know that? She would know what magic Celestia really used against her the a thousand years ago AND she would never have heard the phony legend of them either.

Even if she overheard Twilight talking about it in the Treebrary, it would mean nothing to her. She'd probably have laughed and let them go off looking for the non-existent Elements while she took over.

NMM returning to the castle ONLY makes sense if she's legitimately concerned about real Elements with real powers. Otherwise, why else would she have left Celestia, the sole threat she's aware of, alone in the Treebrary where she could be potentially found and rescued? You know, since she would have figured out pretty quickly that the Treebrary was planted deliberately over this super-magical spot which was the only place NMM could capture her... and it just miiiiiight be that Celestia had somepony in waiting to get her out.

So there's no way NMM would have left Celestia there and gone off into the forest to bother 6 useless mares going after a foal's tale.


I'm still trying to work out my own thoughts on this story as a whole in order to give Venates a proper response to his very candid and thoughtful reply, but you raise some interesting points I had not thought about previously.

The behaviour of NMM is a bit odd in the context of a world where the Elements do not actually exist and were not used to banish her to the moon. Her motivations for following Twilight & Co. are definitely a bit murkey. Still, I would not say that it's necessarily an actual plot hole as much as it is an underdeveloped plot point. There are certainly motivations one could ascribe to her for pursuing the course of action she did.

For instance: Despite the girls going after a known red herring, the fact remains that these six ponies were willing to openly oppose her rule and were the only non-guard ponies to do so. NMM could, quite believably, have wished to stamp out what she perceived to be the seeds of a potential resistance movement before it had a chance to take root. She may well have considered it worth the risk of leaving Celestia unattended for a brief period to do so. Considering it took the mobilization of an entire secret service (of which NMM had no knowledge) to free Celestia from the wards she put in place, I'm not surprised her ego would allow her to believe there was no way for Celestia to escape.

That may or may not be the motivation Venates intends, and he can certainly speak for himself, but it's at least one possible method of viewing the events that (at least to me) makes sense.

I'm a bit confused as to your problem with the mechanics of the "alternate solution". Are you saying that Celestia should have used a purification spell a thousand years earlier or that she should have had Hooves' machine waiting to blast her the moment NMM returned? I was under the impression that it was the combination of both Celestia's alicorn-level magic and Hooves's machine that made the purification possible and, since the machine wasn't completed until after Celestia's capture, I'm not sure how she could have possibly done either. Perhaps I'm not understanding you properly?

As for the content of the sewers- I was thinking the exact same thing. Seriously, get a grip, Star. It's probably mud washed in from the soil up top. After a thousand years, there's probably more recycled feces in the cells of your own body than there is non-decomposed fecal matter in that sewer system! :pinkiecrazy:

5278600 Celestia could have been waiting for NMM and blasted her the instant she got back.

Since Celestia's in charge of this secret group, it would have been a rather sensible move to prioritize the machine's completion above all else, would it not?

Basically, it boils down to the same problems the opening of the series left me with (since nothing was properly fleshed out): Celestia has had all this time to prepare and seemingly left everything to sheer chance, making her appear woefully incompetent. At least with Discord, she believed the spell upon him was permanent and was legitimately caught off guard.

This "device" had better not be going where it seems like it's going....

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