• Published 20th Jun 2015
  • 1,047 Views, 45 Comments

The Next Generation: Superheroes Continued - Accordant Author



It's a brilliant idea, enchanted comics. Prince Illusion certainly thought so, when he decided to prank his friends with it. But comics aren’t always fun and games, and chaos magic isn't known for being predictable...

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Reminiscing

Reminiscing

“Where did we get all this stuff?” Spike was somewhat muffled by the large boxes he was lifting over his shoulder. Being a dragon, Spike didn’t seem strained under the heavy load, but he was still leaning slightly to manage the weight.

“Kind of wondering the same thing,” Illusion added, levitating a similar load alongside himself as he descended from the Carousel Boutique’s attic. “I mean, I know you guys moved back to Ponyville eleven years ago, but even so, this is still a lot. Half of it isn’t even related to you work, Mrs. Rarity.”

Rarity answered him without looking up from her own box, the contents of which she was dividing into two piles. "It isn't just our belongings from those eleven years, darling, we took most of what we had in Canterlot too. I had actually meant to go through it all when we arrived, but between T's first year of school and getting the Boutique up and running again, I suppose it just fell by the wayside. Ah, Spike, darling, next box."

Spike obligingly laid the box in his claws in front of Rarity, then picked up the "keep" pile and moved to repack it as Rarity continued. “Thanks again for helping us, Prince Illusion. I know you probably had other things in mind when you came to Ponyville.”

“It’s fine.” Illusion waved dismissively, adding his own box to the pile of unopened ones on the Boutique’s floor. He continued as he moved back to the open attic. “Crys needed to experiment with some new designs anyway, and I couldn’t just leave you to sort through all this by yourselves.”

“Such a generous young gentlestallion.” Rarity smiled brightly as she opened the box in front of her. “I really must do something to thank– hmm. Spike, I didn’t know we still had any of these.”

“Any of what?” Spike asked as he padded over. When he looked into the box, his eyes lit up. “My old comics! I forgot about those!”

“You were a comic book fan?” Illusion moved over so he could also peer into the box. The cardboard was filled to the brim with brightly colored booklets, each proudly displaying a title and issue number in bold fonts. Various superheroes, villains, and objects of power could be found in a half-dozen art styles, and suitably inspiring or fearful subheadings accompanied each.

“Sure!” Spike responded enthusiastically. “Back when I was still Twilight’s assistant, I probably had the best collection in Ponyville! I had all of the Power Ponies ones, and I also followed Everlived, the Fantastic Fillies, Timeeye…” Spike continued reminiscing as Illusion pulled out a comic from the box. It was titled Power Ponies Issue 158, and showed the titular heroes in a desert, facing off against a mare dressed in a purple bodysuit with a toxic green mane splaying out from her head. Behind her, a small colt could be seen holding what looked like a bottle of bright red hair gel as he hid behind a rock.

“I remember that one!” Spike blurted as he leaned over Illusion’s shoulder, startling him into dropping the comic. Spike caught the book with his own claw without pausing for breath. “This was the big final battle between the Power Ponies and their arch-nemesis! Even Humdrum, he’s the little colt, even he helped out! The Power Ponies tracked Mane-iac through the desert so they could use the Hair Gel of Trueform to take away her powers. Took her out of their rogues gallery for a long time. I wonder if they ever brought her back–”

“Spike, dear,” Rarity interrupted as she playfully rolled her eyes. “I think you’re scaring the poor colt.” Illusion was, in fact, staring bemusedly as Spike rambled on about his old hobby, his yellow and red eyes accentuating his expression of bewilderment.

“Oh. Opps.” Spike smiled sheepishly and bent to return the comic he was holding to the box, then perked up and looked over at Rarity. “I’d like to keep some of these though. Some of the older issues might even be vintage, now. Or we could donate them to the Golden Oak Library.”

“Both fine ideas, darling,” Rarity replied as she shut the box with her magic. The same blue energy dragged another towards her. “But we can put that on hold for the moment. Right now, we really need to get through the rest of these.” Spike nodded, and he and Illusion returned to hauling boxes.

A minute later, Spike spoke up again. “Still, though, I really should look and see if any of my favorite characters are still around. I haven’t picked up a comic book in years. I actually – hey! I wonder if they ever made any more of those enchanted comics?”

At this, Illusion looked over. “Enchanted comics?”

“You mean like that one we all went through together in the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters?” Rarity replied to Spike. “The one about the, the Power Ponies, yes?”

“Wait, how can a comic be enchanted?” Illusion interjected.

“It pulled you into the story, literally.” Rarity motioned to herself and Spike. “All of the Elements – and Spike, of course – became superheroes. It was like a whole other world, and we had to fight the, the…”

“Mane-iac,” Spike supplied.

“Yes, the Mane-iac, in order to get out. We might not have made it if it weren’t for Spike, actually.” Here Rarity smiled at her husband, who blushed. “But wait, we could just show you, darling! Spike, where did you put that comic, once we were finished with it? Twilight didn’t confiscate it, did she? I remember her being rather upset about the whole incident.”

“Nah, she wasn’t that angry. The funny thing is, though, I never could find that book after we all went through it. I looked around in the old castle, when I remembered to go grab it, and it was like it had just vanished!” Spike huffed in consternation. “Actually, I remember I went to the store where I got it, the Canterlot House of Enchanted Comics, a few months after I bought that issue. The clerk was different guy than the one I bought it from, and when I asked about the enchanted comics, he just sort of looked at me weird. Said that the store ‘didn’t carry anything like what I was describing,’ or something.”

“Well, that does seem rather mysterious. Maybe they were just an experiment?”

Illusion now had a contemplative look in his eyes. He set down the box he was levitating to focus his full attention on Spike. “How did it look, in the comic? Actually wait, how did it look when you got sucked in there?”

“Hmm? Oh, it was a bright light. The comic just started glowing – like, a ton – and then it sort of… vacuumed us up, I guess? It pulled at us, maybe like a gravity spell? Actually, I don’t know how they would have found a unicorn good enough to cast a gravity spell for a comic…” Spike trailed off, looking thoughtful. Illusion, noticing, came out of his revere and clapped his hoof and paw together.

“Well, that does sound very interesting. It’s a shame they didn’t make more of those comics: they sound like something my mother would love. But, anyway, shouldn’t we get on with the cleaning? I love to hear about your adventures, Mrs. Rarity, Mr. Spike, but I would hate to keep you here all day.”

“Oh, you’re too kind, darling. You shouldn’t have hear us prattle on about our youths. Now, let’s continue. Spike, next box!” The group soon fell back into a rhythm.

...

Illusion entered the spacious bedchamber of Canterlot Castle through the window, scaling the twenty foot wall with levitation and picking the lock with his claw. It was not a particularly sensible method of entry– but if there was one thing Illusion knew his father couldn’t stomach, it was things making sense.

Discord, true to form, only smiled when his son snaked into the bedroom, looking up from his mahogany-and-French-Toast desk, where he had been snipping holes in some recent court petitions. He waved his scissors in greeting.

“Good to see you’re back, son! Anything interesting happen in Ponyville? Something chaotic, perhaps?” Discorded started snipping another hole in the petition, his scissors making faint train noises as they cut through the parchment.

“Nope. It was pretty quiet, actually,” Illusion replied easily. “I helped Spike and Rarity clean out their attic, while Crys worked on some of her new designs.”

“Hmph. That’s disappointing. I remember back in the good old days– couldn’t have quiet hour in Ponyville without somebody throwing a fit. And every week there was an army of clones or parasprites or animated gingerbread men coming through and tearing the place down. It’s hard to believe that place could ever have become so boring.” Discord finished snipping up the petition. He picked it up, peered through the buffalo-shaped hole that had been sliced into it, and laid it on a stack of other government documents, all of which had been alternatively burned, soaked, diced, or covered in sparkle glue.

“Yeah, it really has changed since you and the Elements used to have your adventures there.” Illusion slipped over to face his father, his body contorting impossibly in the air. “It’s funny, though. While I was there, Spike found some of his old comics, and he told me about one he had that was enchanted.

Discord’s expression remained unchanged– but the handheld blender in his paw turned into a haddock, which was suspicious enough. “Really?”

“Yeah.” Illusion turned in midair so he looked down at Discord from slightly above him, horns pointed towards the floor. “It sounded like a pretty complicated enchantment. An entire comic book city to explore, and superpowers, and a very convincing villain. Sounds like something that would have taken a good unicorn years to enchant, and Spike said they didn’t charge extra! It’s a real shame that it vanished right after it was used.”

“Indeed,” Discord chimed in, fruitlessly attempting to mangle the next court petition with his fish.

“Yeah! Seems like something out of the ordinary, even for the Elements of Harmony. I mean, what’s the likelihood that a comic that rare wouldn’t be labelled, and would get into the claws of a dragon who just happens to be friends with a Master of Chaos who specializes in complicated, short-lasting reality alteration magic?”

Discord looked at his son’s mock-wondering expression for a moment, the haddock hanging limply in his paws. “Okay, fine, it was me. Are you happy now?”

“No!” Illusion’s face broke into a mile-wide grin. “I want to know how you did it! You never told me you could create a chaos spell that someone else could set off! How did you generate an entire comic city so fast! Or, wait, was it already there? How did you get the city to not change until Spike opened the book if it was already there? ”

“I didn’t.” Discord smiled smugly. “Spike got sucked into the book when he read my note, not when he opened it.”

Illusion glared at his father impotently. Discord snickered.

Illusion frowned, then closed his eyes. When he reopened them, his normally red and yellow pupils and slits were replaced with warm, baby blue puppy dog eyes that could have melted the heart of a Windigo.

Discord crumbled almost instantly. “Okay. Okay, stop!” He stepped back as if the faux-Fluttershy eyes physically burned him. “I’ll tell!” Illusion grinned and blinked. When he reopened his eyes they had returned to his usual red and yellow combination.

Discord rubbed his head with his eagle claw. “Stupid, adorable…Humph! Okay.” He cleared his throat and adopted a lecturing pose. With a snap of his paw, a white blackboard appeared behind him. “Well, for starters, Spike did not set off that particular spell, at least not in the way that you think. Spike–” Discord used a piece of neon purple chalk to draw the dragon onto his board. “–was just quietly reading his book until he got here.” An enlarged image of the final page of the comic joined Spike on the board, complete with indecipherable text. The Spike drawing frowned in confusion and pulled out a magnifying glass. “When dear Spike got to the cliffhanger, he found a teeny, tiny pocket dimension that moi had already arranged. The city, the villain, the rather tasty cream pies, all of that was already stuffed into the piece when he opened it.” As Spike continued to bemusedly eye the comic, a beautiful watercolor city started to leak out from its pages. The city spread across the blackboard, replete with towering skyscrapers, pie vendors, and a team of caped superheroes overlooking a bank.

“But how–” Illusion cut in, only to be silenced by Discord’s tail.

“Now,” Discord continued as if he hadn’t heard, “all of that would be somewhat useless if the entire city was my usual fair. Cotton candy clouds and dancing buffalo are quality chaos, but the problem with anything quality is that it soon becomes cliché. And it would have spoiled the magic of it, too, if they had known that I was responsible. So, to provide some, if you’ll pardon the language, order to the whole work, I used a base. Guess what it was.” On the blackboard, a large red arrow descended from the ceiling to point at the comic Spike was still examining.

“The comic?”

“The comic! And that, dear Illusion, is how you create an alternate universe.” Here Discord drew himself up proudly, as the comic abruptly expanded, twisted, and grabbed an exaggeratedly panicking Spike to throw him into the watercolor city. “Well, not an alternate universe, exactly. More a broom closet of folded space with a bunch of really good chaos making it seem like an alternate universe, but pretty much the same thing, until you add Pinkie Pie.”

“Okay, that’s great,” Illusion said, clearly impatient. “But that doesn’t explain how you kept the ponies and superheroes from all running around or wrecking the city while Spike hadn’t got to the ‘cliffhanger’. Actually, no, you’re entire explanation should be impossible! Even you can’t make things that can think. The Mane-iac and her henchponies, how did you get them to do what you wanted?”

“I can make things that can think.” Discord snapped his fingers and manifesting a frog in his claw. “I just can’t make things that think they can think. A frog isn’t about to carry on a conversation unless Fluttershy asks it to.”

Illusion blinked a little at this logic, but he soon returned to his questioning. “Okay, so then how did you get the Mane-iac to carry on a conversation? And seriously, why didn’t the whole dimension you made go to pieces the moment you made it? You aren’t very good at making things stay still, no offense.”

Discord grinned at his son. It was a grin Illusion had often seen before– the grin that promised something very chaotic was about to happen.

“Well, son, that little miracle came about through the magic–” Discord reached out with surprising speed, grabbing Illusion’s ear and pulling him towards the blackboard. “–of PLOT!” And with a burst of white, Discord and Illusion vanished into the blackboard, which spun over itself several times before revealing a blank, clean plane devoid of any drawings.

...

Powered Comics Fun Fact: The Fantastic Fillies were Powered Comics first team entirely composed of underage members. Instead of Humdrum, who many thought would become the leader of the group, the original Fantastic Fillies consisted of minor Mistress Marevelous ally Gravity Gal, the entirely new superheroine Vibratto, and the Black Scarf, a vigilante anti-hero whose youth belied a brutal and ruthless attitude towards criminals. The team proved a resounding success, doubly remarkable since its membership was so unexpected. Since their inception, the Fantastic Fillies has both added new members and continued to defy expectations, even refusing to join the Power Ponies when they came of age and splintering off to form their own group, the Justice Crusaders. The aftermath of this event lead to the formation of the Power Ponies’ current youth division, Young Harmony.

Author's Note:

Thank's for reading! I have elected to take a page out of the book of Pen Stroke and would ask that spelling and grammatical errors be PM'd to me so I can fix them without taking up comment thread space. Comments or criticisms on my writing are of course welcome to as much space as they need.

Author's Notes