• 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. 4 Aurora's First Flight

Chapter 4:
Aurora's First Flight

Manehatten: The Past

"Aurora! You're home!" Rightful Vice greeted his daughter as she arrived home from school, throwing down the newspaper he had been reading and looking over to the front door to their apartment with a wide smile. His smile vanished when he saw Aurora, in tears and covered in bruises with her snout bleeding. He immediately leapt from where he had been lazily sitting on the couch over to his daughter.

"What happened?" He asked in a determined-to-be-firm-but-I'm-losing-it-on-the-inside tone.

Aurora hiccuped a few times, and ended them with a cough. She looked up at Rightful, whose heart sank as he saw that her eyes were swimming with tears. He wasn't sure whether he should cry himself at the sight of Aurora's hurt eyes. Instead, he wrapped his hooves around his filly and hugged her tightly. His heart continued to sink as the only sound in the apartment was the sound of Aurora sobbing.

"N-Night Crawler pushed me down at s-schoooool!" Aurora managed before her voice turned into a wail. Rightful felt a mixture of emotions: Anger, Heartache, Fury, Surprise. Aurora was just a young schoolfilly, for Celestia's sake. He was torn between the desire to comfort Aurora and the desire to stomp over to her school, find that Night Crawler colt, and push him down himself.

"Aurora, you don't get cuts and bruises like that from being pushed down," Rightful told her, "He hit you, didn't he?"

Aurora gasped, and went silent. He waited for a few seconds, "Aurora?"

Still no response, aside from Aurora's own quiet sobs. Rightful sighed.

"Well, how about this..." Rightful began, squatting down on his back legs to be almost at Aurora's eye level, "I'll help you make sure he never 'pushes you down' again, okay? Does that sound good?"

Choking out a few last quiet sobs, Aurora nodded and wiped her damp eyes with her hoof. Rightful sat her down on the couch, and then showed her how to swing her hoof to punch somepony, and even let her try it out a few times by punching his hoof. He taught her to use her wings to her advantage and evade her opponent's blows with her air-superiority. He thought for a minute, and then showed her how to kick with her back legs. Rightful warned her that it would hurt tremendously (and possibly break somepony's bones, resulting in a nasty hospital bill), and told Aurora to only do it in emergencies. Aurora got the hang of it fairly quickly. Rightful wasn't sure whether to be glad or worried.

Afterwards, he made her do wing-ups and various stretches. Aurora had complained at first, but did them nonetheless. Rightful made her one of her favorite dinners, cheesy vegetables with roses for dessert, and told her she could have it when she finished cleaning herself up. Aurora had excitedly darted to the bathroom and came back five minutes later with the blood cleaned from her muzzle and the dirt out of her coat. Aside from a few bruises, she looked fine.

Aurora had gone to school the next day. Night Crawler, feeling invincible after his victory the previous day, had pushed her down again. To his surprise, Aurora practically shot off the ground on her wings and then began to swing her hooves at the unicorn. Surprised or not, Night Crawler refused to be beaten by a little filly, and tried to fight back. Aurora's fast punches kept him on the defensive, and when he tried to attack, she would leap out of his reach on her wings. Aurora eventually ended the fight by ducking underneath a wide punch, and lashing out at his exposed middle. Night Crawler collapsed onto the ground, holding both hooves to his stomach as he struggled to breathe. Aurora, feeling bad about it despite the fact he had beaten her up, helped him off the ground onto his hooves.

Night Crawler, to Aurora's surprise, apologized for what he had done the previous day and admitted that she was "pretty tough". Somehow, the two of them became friends after the whole incident.

They remained friends until Night Crawler moved to Trottingham the next year. A few years passed, and he found a marefriend. The two lovers were the envy of much of the school. Unfortunately, their relationship ended when she moved to Manehatten, Aurora's school to be exact. Night Crawler was disappointed at first, but eventually moved on. She moved on even quicker once she saw how many gorgeous stallions were in Manehatten.

Her name was Golden Eagle.

Manehatten: The Present

How the hay do you put this thing on?!

Aurora groaned in frustration as she struggled to pull the Mare-Do-Well suit over herself. She had been right, the fabric DID stretch, but it wasn't easy. Aurora had tried (unsuccessfully) to put her bottom hooves in first, but it wasn't going well. Her two right hooves were in the boots on the bottom, but her left ones were out of it. Didn't she need them to pull the mask on? But wouldn't it be hard to see if she put it on?

She didn't realize how much trouble she was having until she looked around and realized she was sprawled out on the floor with her hooves in the air and the suit's cape under her. Aurora groaned again, letting her head fall onto the carpet in defeat. How am I supposed to save Dad if I can't even put this thing on? She thought to herself, looking at how much she had gotten on. It wasn't a lot.

That's another thing, how am I expecting to save Dad? Nopony can stop Powerhouse, after all, and if he really did take him... I'm not afraid of Powerhouse, even with his gauntlets, but I AM afraid that I'll never see Dad again. And what'll I do if the Royal Guards catch me? I'm gonna look like a psycho cosplayer in a ripoff Mare-Do-Well costume!

Aurora hadn't realized it, but she was shaking slightly out of nervousness. She took a few deep breaths and forced herself to calm down while she thought. Almost without realizing it, she continued prodding her hoof into the costume.

All-in-all, this was just a terrible idea. What in Equestria was I thinking when I stole this from Evergreen?

Her hoof felt the bottom of one of the boots. She looked down in disbelief, seeing that she had one hoof left before she had the entire costume (aside from the mask and hat) on. Now that 3/4 hooves were finished, the last would be a snap. Without hesitation, Aurora pushed her hoof into the sleeve, and then stood up. It was on, and it was a perfect fit. The cape felt a bit itchy, and the boots felt slightly awkward. She adjusted them, and they felt more comfortable. Maybe she had them on wrong.

That left the mask and hat sitting on the floor.

Aurora picked the mask off the ground first, and gazed into the wide blue eyes on it. She stood there for a moment, breathing heavily.

Am I really doing this?

Aurora thought for a moment about everything Shiny had told her about the corrupt Royal Guards, realized that the Guards were supposed to be the ones saving her father, and then she slipped the mask on. Amazingly, her breath wasn't muffled like she was expecting. In fact, it was a rather breathable fabric. Stretchy, but not clingy. She blinked a few times behind the mask, only to see that her vision was in no way obscured. It was rather easy to see out, in fact. If she didn't know better, Aurora would've thought that the mask had holes instead of a light fabric for the eyes.

She pulled the hat on, admiring how easily it slid onto her head, and went to the bathroom to check her reflection in the mirror. It was breathtaking... almost as if the actual Vigilante was there herself. Almost as if Evergreen was there, her hooves completely healed, standing in all her glory. Aurora felt a twinge of regret for taking advantage of the mare's disability to steal the costume she now wore, but knew that it had to be done. She quietly trotted out of the bathroom, and looked out through the sliding glass door in the living room that led to a small porch. Her eyes widened, and she quickly dived behind the kitchen counter, out of sight of the window. Aurora felt so stupid! Anypony who cared to look over at the apartment building would've seen Mare-Do-Well standing in the middle of the apartment!

Aurora saw the front door almost in her reach, and knew she could probably get it open before anypony saw her through the window. But wait... Aurora knew she couldn't go down in the elevator and walk through the lobby in the Mare-Do-Well costume. Hey, what's going on, guys? Oh, it's me! Aurora! I totally just stole this costume from a crippled mare and I'll be using it to rescue my father from a vicious psychopath wanted by the Manehatten Royal Guard. Wish me luck!

Aurora hesitated, looked over at the window, and knew what she had to do. Straightening the wide-brimmed hat and closing her eyes in anticipation, Aurora took a deep breath and then got to her hooves and ran across the apartment toward the sliding door. She threw it open and slammed it closed as she stepped out onto the porch, a small wooden area with a guardrail that barely held enough room for Aurora to sit and read a book. Aurora leaped headfirst over the railing...

...and then screamed as she fell to the city below.

Below, the streets of Manehatten were dotted with chariots, each racing to a different destination. Aurora's cape flapped in the wind, and she was worried that the hat would fly from her head. Her hooves were firmly locked to her sides, making her feel like a missile falling over the city. She didn't even realize that SHE was the one who was screaming so loudly. Her eyes were wide behind the mask. Aurora realized she had to fly, and tried to stretch out her wings. For a terrifying moment, she was frozen with fear and her wings refused to open, but then they opened at the very last second and sent Aurora soaring back into the skies. Below, there were cries of surprise from the ponies on the sidewalk who had nearly been divebombed by a psychotic schoolmare in a costume.

"Holy Celestia!"

"Is that-"

"The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well!"

"In Manehatten?!"

Aurora grinned to herself. Those ponies thought she was actually Mare-Do-Well! She glanced over her shoulder to see that a few of the Pegasi that had been on the sidewalk were taking flight in an attempt to catch her, but she was long gone before they knew it. Aurora flew lower, back toward the street, scaring a few of the stallions pulling chariots. At one point, Aurora raced past Shiny's house (which rested on a street corner), but went by too quickly to wave hello. Unless it was Aurora's imagination, she noticed Shiny looking out the window at her. Aurora gleefully shot through alleys, rode the wind into the sky, sailed toward the streets without her wings, and then flew back up last second. It had been too long since she had truly flown like this, and she was having such fun! To be flying again, and wearing the Mare-Do-Well suit as well? An incredible feeling.

Her fun was forgotten when she remembered she was wearing the suit. Specifically, Aurora remembered why she had put on the suit. Powerhouse was supposedly in Upper-Manehatten, not far from where she was now. It couldn't hurt to look around, could it? It wasn't like Aurora was really going to fight Powerhouse. That stallion had issues... major issues. And gauntlets of death, he had those too.

But Powerhouse also had her father. If Aurora managed to find Powerhouse, surely she could follow him back to wherever he had taken her father?

Aurora rode on her wings, zooming through the skies and staring down at the city like a hawk. Aurora was soaring over Upper Manehatten before she knew it, keeping a keen eye out for Powerhouse. Aurora thought there was no reason for anypony else to be on the rooftops, only Powerhouse.

But no, Aurora was surprised to see there were other ponies on the rooftops. Some ponies sat looking off the edge of a roof to the streets or alleys below, and Aurora was deeply concerned they were contemplating suicide. Maybe they were just deep in thought. A rooftop seemed like the perfect place to think. She made a mental note to try it sometime.

Aurora's head tilted back and forth underneath the hat as she surveyed. No sign of Powerhouse. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. Aside from a shady-looking group of mares huddling around outside of a bar, that is. Aurora toyed with the idea in her mind about watching them to make sure they weren't up to anything, but scoffed at the notion. After all, she wasn't a hero. She was just somepony who stole the real Mare-Do-Well's suit.

Aurora was losing hope, and then there suddenly came a large, earthshaking crash to her right. A sudden burst of wind from the crash caused her to lose control of her flight, and Aurora went into a spiral. She was falling toward the alleyway below before she could comprehend what had happened. A large object had fallen from the sky onto the roof next to her, and the resulting shockwave had blown her off-course. This information didn't help Aurora, as she was facing the side of a building in front of a street full of busy chariots.

Aurora felt like screaming, and wildly looked around as she flailed her hooves in some attempt to regain control. She noticed her cape dancing around behind her, and wondered for a moment if it could be used as a parachute or hang glider. Shrugging that idea off as "ridiculous", Aurora realized she was in a barrel roll. Aiming to counteract the force, she stuck out her right wing. She managed to stop herself from rolling and steered herself away from the street, but she was upside-down in midair. Aurora managed to use her left wing to steer herself onto her hooves again, and landed roughly in the alleyway on her stomach with her hooves sprawled out and her head hanging limply.

"Ouch..." Aurora moaned, rising on shaky hooves. She stretched out her wings and sighed in relief. Nothing felt broken... maybe a little bruised. She turned her masked face to the sky, wondering what had caused her wipeout.

She gasped loudly when she saw Powerhouse, leaping from the rooftop he had just landed on toward another rooftop a block away.

Aurora recognized him instantly, the shaved mane and golden gauntlets on all four of his hooves was a dead giveaway. He was a large, white stallion, with a coat so flawless it seemed like a fallen star. Atop his head was what used to be a dark blue mane. His eyes were blue, but deeply bloodshot, making Aurora all the more nervous as she leapt off the ground into the air and began to follow him, praying he wouldn't turn around. She briefly wondered what his reaction would be, seeing Mare-Do-Well chasing after him. Would he be surprised? Aurora imagined the look on his face, and smiled to herself in amusement.

Powerhouse continued hopping from rooftop to rooftop, unknowing of the costumed mare following behind him. Finally, somewhere in the industrial district, Powerhouse leapt from a rooftop onto the street below. There was nopony around, aside from Aurora watching from the sky.

As she watched, Powerhouse looked around the street and, seeming satisfied, trotted into a large, abandoned warehouse. As his hooves hit the ground with his trot, the pavement cracked beneath them. Aurora shivered a little, and breathed heavily.

Her father had to be inside, but how could she get in without Powerhouse knowing?

"You are the most reckless, most impatient, most impulsive stallion I have ever met," Rightful Vice told Powerhouse as the stallion marched inside.

"I'm sorry, boss," Powerhouse said sheepishly, lowering his head, "I just had a few questions, is all."

"So you ponynap me off the street?!" Rightful yelled, "For Celestia's sake, Powerhouse! My daughter is probably worried sick! The least you can do to compensate for the inconveniences you've brought on me is to at least keep on eye on Aurora while I stay here. Make sure she doesn't get into any trouble in my absence, and make sure that she or nopony else sees you."

"Y-yes sir..." Powerhouse sighed, now having more work to do, "Aurora's the mare with the blue mane, right?"

"You imbecile, she looks just like a younger, mare version of me!" Rightful snapped, "Aside from her mane. Her mane color is the same as... nevermind. Her mane is blue-green. At least tell me that Plan Omega is progressing smoothly?"

"I'm holding up my side of the plan, boss," Powerhouse answered, puffing out his chest with pride, "But like I asked you earlier, there's got to be something more I can do than just terrorize the northern side of the city-"

"Maybe when we've finished," Rightful interrupted, "Once the PurePonies have been dealt with, assuming you've done well, we'll have more work for you."

"Thanks boss," Powerhouse said, "Y'know, if you're so worried about your daughter, why don't you just leave? Tell the Guards that you escaped?"

"Because that will raise questions, maybe even an investigation," Rightful shrugged, "I'll have to lead them to where you held me, tell them everything I know about you, and I'll have to think of a suitable explanation to everypony and Aurora why you decided to ponynap me of all ponies. It's easier to just wait for a miracle to happen to take the attention off your motives. Besides-"

There came a loud clanging sound, the sound of metal hitting something else, from another part of the warehouse, interrupting Rightful before he could finish his sentence. Both stallions looked around in surprise.

"I don't think we're alone, sir..." Powerhouse murmured, looking around.

"Pretend I'm your prisoner," Rightful whispered, "Yell at me, play the role. We can't let anypony know that you work for me."

"Got it," Powerhouse nodded.

Horseapples! Aurora thought, gritting her teeth and squeezing her eyes shut as her hoof accidentally bumped into a metal pipe that was leaning against the wall, sending it to the metal catwalk beneath her with a loud sound of metal-on-metal.

She had snuck into the warehouse through a broken window on the side, and found herself on a metal catwalk with large crates stacked on it, high above the warehouse floor. Powerhouse was in here somewhere, and she half-expected him to jump out at her at any moment. Nothing happened, and Aurora silently sighed in relief.

She could hear Powerhouse talking in his gruff voice somewhere near the middle of the warehouse... he was close. Was her father with him? Aurora took her steps one at a time, the suit's fabric muffling the sound of her hooves as she tried to hurry forward while taking it slow. She wondered if the purple color would be visible in the dark.

"Shut up!" Powerhouse roared. Aurora tensed up, expecting to feel Powerhouse slam into her out of nowhere, grab her, and then rip her in half with his gauntlets, but nothing happened. She was still on the catwalk, staring down at the warehouse. The catwalk's view had previously been blocked by a few large crates, but as Aurora continued on, she could see over the crates and the top of Powerhouse's head, then his upper-body. Before she knew it, Aurora was staring straight down at Powerhouse and... her father.

"P-please..." Rightful moaned, "Let me go... I just want to see my daughter..."

Aurora's heart felt like it was being torn in half, hearing her father's voice so weak and fearful.

"You're not going anywhere," Powerhouse grunted, pushing Rightful down onto the cold concrete floor. Rightful let out a cry of pain when he hit the floor, and didn't move. Aurora could only stare down at the scene unfolding below her, "Get up!"

"I can't... my hooves... they hurt so bad..."

"Now!" Powerhouse roared.

Aurora threw herself over the side of the catwalk and fell to the warehouse floor, landing between Powerhouse and Rightful Vice. Her back legs were facing Powerhouse, and then Aurora kicked. Remembering everything Rightful had taught her, she lashed out with both of her back legs with all of her strength and caught Powerhouse in his torso, just below his neck. Surprised, the stallion stumbled backwards and then fell down. Aurora turned her gaze to her father, who was still lying on his back on the floor, but now he was staring up at the costumed vigilante standing over him with wide, unbelieving eyes.

"Y-You!" He stammered, "I-It... It can't be...!"

Aurora heard Powerhouse behind her, recovering from his initial surprise and mad as the mythical Lord Tirek on a good day. He got to his hooves, and let out a yell of fury.

"Legendary 'hero' or not, I'm still going to rip you to pieces!" Powerhouse vowed, lowering his head and tapping at the concrete with his metal-encased hoof like a bull. Aurora saw the concrete shattering beneath it, and her life flashed before her eyes as she faced the super-charged supervillain.

No! Gotta get him away from Dad... Aurora thought wildly. Instinctively, Aurora leapt into the air, her ascent aided by her wings, and she gracefully soared over Powerhouse's head. He looked up in bewilderment, still foolishly bent like a bull. Aurora hit the ground behind Powerhouse softly, and then began galloping toward the exit. Powerhouse turned around and charged at the costumed mare. Aurora heard his heavy hooves behind her, and dived to the side just in time as he leapt into the air and smashed down with his gauntlets, demolishing the spot she had previously been and leaving a wide crater in the concrete floor.

Powerhouse looked around crazily, his gaze finally finding Aurora. Aurora bent her legs, and then launched herself off the ground in Powerhouse's direction. She pulled her back right leg back, and then swung it at Powerhouse, catching him on the cheek, just below his left eye.

"Ungh!" Powerhouse grunted as his head snapped back with the force of the kick. Aurora landed in front of him as he stumbled backwards, and then continued her frenzied gallop toward the two big exit doors that Powerhouse had entered through, "You're dead, Mare-Do-Well!"

Mare-Do-Well? Aurora thought, repeating what Powerhouse had said in her mind, Yes... I am Mare-Do-Well. I'm Mare-Do-Well now...

"You gotta catch me first!" Aurora taunted, her mask muffling her voice so even she could hardly recognize it. Her confidence restored, Aurora leapt toward the exit and hurried out to the deserted streets of Manehatten's industrial district. Behind her, she could hear Powerhouse's enraged growl. Once she reached the opposite side of the street, she turned toward the warehouse and stopped for a second to catch her breath. She kept her eyes on the doors, fully expecting Powerhouse to burst from them at any moment like a rabid dog hunting down wounded prey.

A moment later, Powerhouse broke through two enormous windows above the double doors, shattering the glass and sending it onto the ground. He landed in the street, breaking a small crater in the pavement, and grit his teeth as his eyes glared into Aurora's. It felt as though he was looking beyond the mask into her very soul. With an unponylike snarl, Powerhouse threw himself at Aurora, who leapt off the ground and took to the skies on her wings.

"You'll have to be quicker than that!" Aurora said, deliberately trying to provoke Powerhouse. If Powerhouse was angry, he'd become reckless, wouldn't he? It made sense to Aurora... and it had worked in her Batmane comic books...

Powerhouse leapt into the air with surprising speed, nearly knocking Aurora out of the sky if she hadn't managed to dodge to the side at the last second. He reached for Aurora with his hoof, almost close enough to grasp the bottom of her long, dark blue cape, but ended up falling back down to the street emptyhoofed. He gazed up at her with a wild look in his eyes.

"You can't run forever!" He yelled up at her.

"Of course I can't, that's why I'm flying," Aurora replied smugly.

"You think you're funny?!" Powerhouse roared.

"No..." Aurora admitted, "I'm downright hilarious!"

Powerhouse leapt into the air again, making another grab for Aurora, who easily darted out of his way. Aurora raised her hoof to the mask in an exaggerated yawn.

"Is that all you've got?" She asked innocently.

Powerhouse's face went red, and he slammed one of the gauntlets into the street, breaking the pavement and creating even more work for the Manehatten Road Committee to deal with. Aurora wasn't impressed, and was beginning to think that everything in the newspapers about this guy were all hype. That was until she noticed Powerhouse was grabbing a chunk of pavement that he had dislodged from the cracked street, but it was too late. Powerhouse hurled it at Aurora, who tried to get out of the way, but the hunk of stone slammed into her middle, knocking the wind out of her and sending her flying across the sky like a shooting star. Powerhouse leapt into the sky again, chasing after her.

Aurora and the pavement separated halfway through their journey together, and Aurora found herself falling headfirst toward Manehatten. Spots danced in front of her eyes as she struggled to breathe. She could hear Powerhouse's victorious laughter coming closer. Aurora somehow managed to flip her body in midair so that when she hit the cold pavement of the street, it was on her back. She prayed to Celestia that no bones were broken. As she lie on her back in the alleyway, limp and defeated, Aurora thought that it couldn't get any worse.

And then Powerhouse fell from the sky and landed right next to Aurora's weak form.

"Not so tough now, are ya, smartmouth?" He smirked, standing over her. He slipped off one of his gauntlets and dropped it to the concrete, and then reached for her mask with his uncovered hoof, "Now let's see who this pony is..."

No! Aurora wasn't sure if she screamed the word in her head or out loud, but it gave her the strength to resist. She kicked up with one of her back hooves, hoping she had gotten it right with her vision, which had gone blurry and disoriented after the chunk of stone had knocked her out of the sky. She felt her leg connect with Powerhouse's chin, and realized it had been perfect. She grabbed the gauntlet that he had foolishly left discarded on the alleyway ground, and took off into the sky.

"Damn you to Tartarus!" Powerhouse screamed as Aurora began her frantic escape with the gauntlet. She saw a street full of chariots over the next wall of buildings, and knew once she had reached it, she could leave the costume someplace safe and blend in with the crowd on the sidewalk. Suddenly, Aurora felt a heavy weight on her leg, pulling her down toward the street. Surprised, she glanced down to see Powerhouse clinging to her leg with his uncovered hoof. She quickly realized that he had used his remaining gauntlets to launch himself after her and managed to barely seize her leg. Aurora realized that if he had grabbed her leg with his gauntlet-covered hoof, he might've broken the bones in it.

"Can't you take a hint?" Aurora coughed out as she began to involuntarily descend with Powerhouse's increased weight. She swung the gauntlet in her hoof at Powerhouse, who was quick enough to try to block it with his own gauntlet. When the two gauntlets connected, the air itself cracked with a feeling similar to lightning, or a miniature Sonic Rainboom. Powerhouse was sent back toward the ground while Aurora was thrown into a tailspin. She dropped the gauntlet as she lost control, and noticed she was headed for one of the tall buildings forming a wall in front of the chariot-covered street.

Aurora squeezed her eyes shut and braced for the impact just before she slammed into the side of one of the buildings, wincing in pain before she slid off the side of the building and fell toward the ground. Just before she hit, Aurora had one rushed thought:

I can't do this alone.

The world went black as Aurora hit the ground. She didn't even feel it.

Powerhouse didn't see where Mare-Do-Well disappeared to after he had reclaimed his power glove, but he smiled to himself nonetheless. He had read his fair share of Supermare comic books; If Mare-Do-Well was going to challenge him, the resulting chaos over Manehatten would make his job even easier. No matter how curious he was about who was under the mask, Powerhouse hurried away under the dark sky of night.

And yet... he still felt troubled.

Mare-Do-Well posed no threat to him whatsoever, but Powerhouse still had to fight back a sense of unease as he made his way back to the warehouse where Rightful Vice impatiently waited.

Aurora struggled back to consciousness with her last thought as clear as glass.

As the defeated Pegasus lie on her back behind the tall building with nopony in sight, she gazed up at the stars above. How beautiful they were when they twinkled. They were shiny, in fact. Aurora paused as her own musing repeated itself in her mind, and then the perfect pony to help her became perfectly obvious.

She groaned as she climbed up onto her aching hooves. Aurora stretched out her wings and winced in pain. Nothing felt broken, but flying was going to be agony. Aurora leapt into the air, and shakily began to fly over the rooftops. She straightened the wide-brimmed hat on her head, and took in a deep breath. Powerhouse had gotten away, but if Aurora could get this pony on her side...

After flying for a few minutes, Aurora arrived at the small house in downtown Manehatten that Shiny Seas and her mother lived in. She landed in an alleyway nearby, and pulled off her mask to wipe off her sweaty forehead. Aurora ran her hoof through her mane, and looked down at the mask. She began pulling the rest of the suit off, and a sudden wind-like sound rang out behind her. Aurora's head whipped around, and she glared at an empty alleyway. Nopony was there.

Aurora shook her head. Her brief encounter with Powerhouse had left her more rattled than she thought. Aurora wrapped the suit inside of the cape, and held it closed in her mouth as though it were a bag. She then hurried over to Shiny's front door and knocked.

Unknown to Aurora, a certain pony was passing by at that time. That pony had been partying late into the night, and was trying to get home. She was walking down the sidewalk and heard the beating of Pegasus wings down the alley, and looked for the source of the ruckus out of mild curiosity. To her surprise, she saw Mare-Do-Well coming to a weak landing in the middle of the alley. She watched around the side of a shop down the alley as the vigilante, to her surprise, pulled off her mask to reveal the Pegasus beneath. The pony recognized Mare-Do-Well as... Aurora? She gasped involuntarily, and then covered her mouth with her hoof.

She quickly ducked out of sight as Aurora turned around, looking intently for her. The pony waited for a minute, and then looked back around the corner. Nopony was in the alley... Aurora had left. She was a bit disappointed, but now she knew Aurora's secret.

And then Golden Eagle smiled to herself as she thought of ways to exploit this wonderful revelation.

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