• Published 17th Sep 2014
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Return of the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well - xSorrow

Mare-Do-Well appeared and disappeared in PonyvilIe, but in the large city of Manehatten, one lone mare stands between right and wrong. Taking up the costume and mantle of her fillyhood idol, Aurora faces injustice as the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well

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Chap. 3 Ponynapped!

Author's Note:

About halfway through the original writing of this chapter, my laptop suddenly shut off, causing all of my work to be deleted. If this chapter seems abrupt or not up to my usual standards (assuming I have any), it's because I wasn't happy about having to start over.

Chapter 3:

Manehatten: The Past

"What's that pony wearing, Daddy?" Aurora asked, pointing her small hoof in the direction of the thing that had caught her eye.

Rightful Vice glanced over and groaned. The two of them had gone out to a bookstore (a little "Father-Filly" interaction), where Aurora had marveled at the vast amount of books surrounding her on mountainous shelves. Rightful, his saddlebag filled with books Aurora had wanted such as Power Ponies comic books, three of the "Harry Trotter" books, a Stallion King novel (that Aurora had promised she would read, despite her young age and the fact that the book was over 800 pages), a Batmane/Supermare crossover comic, and a "pony-to-cow" dictionary. Why Aurora wanted any of them (aside for the comics), Rightful would never know.

Now he watched his filly trot over to a large leather-bound book with the bold golden title "The Vigilante of Manehatten". Underneath was the illustration that had caught Aurora's eye, an artist's painting of the Vigilante in her mask, cape, and signature hat. At first, Rightful was hopeful that Aurora wouldn't be interested.

"Ooh, Daddy, this looks interesting!" Aurora exclaimed, "Can we get it? Please?"

"Aurora, honey, you don't even know what it's about," Rightful said weakly, trying to persuade his daughter to ignore the book (even though not knowing what the book was about never stopped Aurora before). His attempts were in vain, and Aurora still stared at the book, moving her lips silently as she sounded out the title.

"What does Vig-ill-ain't mean, Daddy?"

"It's 'Vigilante', Aurora," Rightful corrected her.

"What's it mean?"

"It means... um..." Rightful paused. He didn't exactly want to say 'oh, a Vigilante is a hero' because he knew Aurora loved heroes. She'd only want to research the Vigilante even more, and Rightful wanted to avoid anything about the Vigilante after what he had done. Although, at the same time, he didn't want to lie to Aurora.

"It's okay if you don't know," Aurora said, snapping Rightful out of his thoughts, "Can we still get it?"

"I...I-I... Aurora..."

A few minutes later, Aurora and Rightful left the bookstore. Aurora was more excited about the book about the Vigilante than any of the other ones, and joyfully skipped next to Rightful with the book firmly held in her smiling mouth. At one point, Rightful attempted to offer her a Batmane comic instead, but Aurora had shaken her head.

Rightful glared down at the book, and the masked face of his now-deceased wife glared back.

Manehatten: The Present

Aurora gasped.

The world spun. She raised a hoof to her heart and held it there. Her eyes went wide and her jaw dropped (something she thought only cartoon characters could do) as she struggled to comprehend the sight before her. It was just impossible. There was no way that the crippled (yet young and beautiful to be honest) mare downstairs could have been the Vigilante all those years ago.

And yet...

Aurora leaned forward, hardly daring to believe that her fillyhood hero's costume was sitting in front of her in the secret compartment, but there it was! Aurora hesitated, and then reached out with one hoof.

"Aurora? Are you alright up there?" came Evergreen's voice from downstairs. Aurora jumped, and her hoof shyed away from the costume.

"Y-yeah!" She called back, "I-I'll be down in a sec!"

She turned back to the secret compartment. The Vigilante's outfit was still there, neatly folded. Aurora bit her lip; how could somepony like Evergreen possibly be the Vigilante? Was that how she had crippled her legs? Had Aurora just solved the mystery of where her hero disappeared to, merely by tripping and stumbling upon a secret panel?

Without realizing it, she was once again reaching inside the secret compartment (secretly secured by the secret panel... secretly). Her hoof was about an inch from the costume, yet she was reluctant to touch it while she was excited at the same time. Slowly, her hoof reached down and caressed the suit. To Aurora's surprise, the suit was made from a flexible rubber material. It wouldn't rip easily, but it allowed the pony wearing it to move around freely. Aurora wondered where Evergreen had gotten it. Had she made it herself?

Aurora picked up the suit, and noticed that it was around her size, although a bit small. Maybe the costume stretched...

Aurora shook her head, and continued to look at the suit. The long, dark blue cape which had intimidated so many criminals out there was connected to the suit, so it couldn't be pulled off. The boots were also connected to the rest of the costume, and Aurora wondered how it was supposed to be put on. Inside the secret compartment was the mask and the hat, separate, unlike the rest of the Mare-Do-Well suit. She had seen pictures of Ponyville's Mare-Do-Well and compared it to the ones she had in her books, and thought that Ponyville had done a good job mimicking it. Now getting a closer look, she realized Ponyville's was almost identical.

Aurora reached into the secret compartment again, and pulled out the mask. She stared into its wide, vengeful (empty) eyes, and then turned her attention to the only piece of the suit she wasn't holding: the hat. The iconic, wide-brimmed purple hat.

She bent down and began reaching for it. The tip of her hoof touched it, and a shiver ran down her back.

"Hey! What are you doing?!"

Aurora jumped, dropping the costume to the floor, and gasped when she saw Evergreen standing at the top of the stairs. Evergreen's face was red, her normally calm composure gone, and she was breathing heavily. Her eyes darted to the secret compartment, then to the hat, and then finally landed on the costume in Aurora's hooves. She opened her mouth, but only angry sputters came out.

"How... dare... you..." Evergreen scowled, speaking in a low voice, "Get out."

"You... i-it was... you..." Aurora blinked, trying to envision the crippled mare as a costumed vigilante, "You were her..."

"GET OUT!" Evergreen roared, stomping over to Aurora and slapping the costume out of her hooves, "Get the buck out!"

"There's an actual supervillain on the loose!" Aurora yelled back, remembering back to the newspaper that Shiny had shown her, "Some monster stallion! This city is being corrupted by greed and you're just sitting here, drinking lemonade?!"

Evergreen stared at Aurora, shaking with fury, "You think I wanted to quit?"

Evergreen's hoof, encased in a metal brace, flung out and slapped Aurora across the face, "I LOST MY DAUGHTER TRYING TO PROTECT THIS CITY, AND WHAT DO I HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT?! FOUR BROKEN HOOVES!"

"Y-your daughter...?" Aurora repeated, shocked, hardly feeling the pain in her cheek.

"Now leave! Get out! Don't let me EVER see you again!" Evergreen screamed, grabbing Aurora's mane with her mouth and pulling her toward the stairs. With a mighty tug, Aurora lost her balance and nearly fell down the stairs. Fortunately, she was a Pegasus, and used her wings to glide to a safe landing at the bottom.

"You were a hero!" Aurora told Evergreen, who stood at the top of the stairs, glaring at her menacingly, "But now..."

Shaking her head, Aurora opened the door and left, leaving Evergreen alone. Muttering under her breath, Evergreen went down the stairs, leaving the costume discarded in the middle of the upstairs hallway.

* * *

Aurora, who often took the backroads to get away from the "hustle and bustle" of the main streets in Manehatten, now chose to walk home down a busy street. The kind of street where there are advertisements everywhere and chariots racing past. Aurora chose this path in order to distract herself from her thoughts, but they still persisted. Evergreen was Mare-Do-Well. Mare-Do-Well was Evergreen. Aurora had just met her fillyhood hero and nearly got tossed down the stairs by her. Fantastic afternoon.

"Extra! Extra! Powerhouse abducting ponies! Could you be next?" A young colt on a streetcorner yelled, waving around newspapers. Aurora recognized Manehatten Daily as she approached. The headline was "Powerhouse Abducts Stallion! Royal Guards Terrified!" with an accompanying blurry picture of a hulking stallion with golden gauntlets on every hoof climbing the side of a building.

One of the newspapers was pulled from the colt's hoof by a strong breeze. It drifted on the sudden wind for a moment before coming to rest by Aurora, who picked it up in her mouth and carried it over to the young colt.

"Thank you!" He said jovally as Aurora gave him the paper back. Aurora managed a small grin, and looked at one of the papers he held.

Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes widened. She yanked the paper away from the colt, who gasped with a "Huh?!" as Aurora stared down at the paper. The story on page one began with "Rightful Vice, loving father and assistant manager of First Bank of Manehatten, was ponynapped by Powerhouse as he arrived at his job this morning..."

"Dad..." Aurora breathed, dropping the paper.

She turned, and galloped back down the street, leaving a very confused colt in her wake.

* * *

Evergreen heard a loud thud upstairs.

The crippled mare had been cleaning up the mess downstairs when the noise made her jump in surprise. Old instincts were coming back to her, and she bolted upstairs as fast as a pony with her injuries could manage to move (which was surprisingly fast). Her only thoughts were of the costume, which she had left so carelessly in the center of the hallway. If somepony broke in and saw it, she'd be exposed as the Vigilante.

Evergreen arrived at the top of the stairs to find... nopony at all. She sighed in relief, thinking that something had simply fallen, but there was something about the emptiness that spoke to her. Suddenly, realization struck.

The window was wide open, and the costume was gone.

Evergreen hurried to the window and looked out in time to see a familiar Pegasus vanishing behind a house with a bundle of dark-blue and purple in her hooves. Evergreen sighed, recognizing her at once as the same pony she had nearly thrown down the stairs in a rage.

"Oh Aurora..." Evergreen shook her head, "What have you done?"

* * *

Aurora arrived home, still holding the costume in her hooves. She had always liked flying, but always preferred to trot instead of fly. Rightful had asked her if she'd be interested in moving to Cloudsdale, but Aurora had looked at him in horror and said no. She'd have to fly all the time there, and she loved the feeling of the ground beneath her hooves. Sometimes she was teased because a few ponies called her "afraid of heights", but Aurora never really heard them.

This was the last thing on her mind as she stepped into a dark, desolate apartment. Nothing moved, and the only sound was her own ragged breathing.

"Dad?!" Aurora called out into the abyss before her, "Dad?!"

No answer.

Aurora slowly went further into the apartment. On the kitchen table was a newspaper from earlier that morning. The headline read "Powerhouse in Upper Manehatten?"

Aurora scanned the story for details (nothing about her father) and then looked out the window. Night was beginning to fall as Princess Luna rose the moon all the way in Canterlot. She looked at the costume that she still held in her hooves. The mask, sitting on top of the messy heap of clothing, seemed to stare back.

"Well..." She whispered to the costume, "You always went out at night, didn't you?"

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